17 Simple DIY Inspirations for Your Home

Spruce up your abode with these budget-friendly ideas.



 

Before you hibernate during the cold months ahead, handle indoor and outdoor home improvements. We've assembled a list of DIY project ideas that shouldn’t take a lot of your time, money or sweat. Refrain from maxing out your budget by using reasonably priced materials purchased at local stores or ones repurposed from your home.

Check out the listings below each suggestion to find your supplies at area spots. Keep in mind that price estimates are based on average fees for the primary supplies; reuse household items when able.



 

Outside:

Glow By Night
It’s difficult to see those concrete planters and pots at night. Avoid stubbing your toe by coating them with clear glow-in-the-dark paint to brighten your porch or patio with a cool nighttime glow. You can even spray your stepping stones and garden borders to light the way for your guests with a FernGully-like touch.

[Estimated price range: $10-$15; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Sparkle and Shine
Do you have a wooden fence that’s an eyesore? Don’t just accent it with flowers and vines; brighten it by filling holes with colored glass marbles or fish-tank stones. They’ll not only reflect the light for eye-catching color, but they’ll also let light shine through at the right angles.

[Estimated price range: $5-$10; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Walk Your Way
You could buy expensive ready-made stepping stones or sidewalk blocks, but that wouldn’t be any fun for you or your wallet. Take the creative path by mixing your own concrete. Grease disposable cake or pie pans and create a layer of colorful marbles, flat mosaic pieces, stones or other waterproof pieces that you may have laying around. Finally, pour the concrete on top of your creation and let dry. When ready, use as decorations in a garden or to create a functional pathway.

[Estimated price range: $10-$15; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Solar Lights Done Right
Tired of how plain solar lights look around your porch? Try something different by putting the light tops in mason or jelly jars instead of on their stakes in the ground.

[Estimated price range: $10-$20; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Swing Your Seat
Don’t pitch that old wooden kitchen chair just because a leg is broken or loose. Turn it into a backyard swing for the kids. Just remove the other legs, flatten a side of each if need be to fit flush against the bottom of the seat, and drill holes through the ends, each corner of the top of the backrest and the front of the arm rests to string the rope through. Paint it a fun shade and hang in your favorite tree.

[Estimated price range: $10-$20; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Don’t Get Stumped
Have a big, old stump in the middle of your yard and don’t know what to do with it? Build a bench or picnic table around it, and use the inside of the stump for a plant centerpiece or umbrella stand.

[Estimated price range: $100-$300; check out the inspiration here.]

 

From Files to Flowers
Whether you have a big metal filing cabinet taking up space in your house or just bought one at a thrift shop, consider using it as a backyard planter. Remove the drawers and recycle or reuse. Then waterproof the cabinet with colorful rust-resistant paint. Fill with soil and your favorite flowers, herbs or veggies.

[Estimated price range: $15-$50; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Blur the Boundaries
Surrounding your garden with bricks or plain concrete boundaries is so expected. Instead, create a functional garden border by using cinder blocks. This actually gives you more room to plant small herbs in each block’s holes while also protecting your flowers.

[Estimated price range: $15-$20; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Flying Saucers
It’s time to do something with your dishes if you’ve broken so many that you’re contemplating buying new ones. If you don’t intend to reuse them for a stepping-stone project (see above), make upcycled cup-and-saucer bird-feeders. Here's all you'll need: cup, saucer, a long bolt, nuts and washers, glue and cord.

[Estimated price range: $10-$20; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Pretty Ponds
Don’t buy one of those expensive garden fountains. Construct your own patio pond with a galvanized steel tub, small pond-water pump, water plants and rocks collected from your yard.

[Estimated price range: $30-60; check out the inspiration here.]



 

Home Furniture:

Fun and Functional
Repurpose an old dresser or nightstand to create a vibrant storage option. Remove as many drawers as you'd like, recreate a solid platform in the bottoms of each empty drawer slot, paint and use baskets for cute yet functional storage of knick-knacks and supplies. Try adding hooks to the sides to display hangable items.

[Estimated price range: $15-$30; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Focal Fab
You can also refurbish your dresser or nightstand. Try roughing up the surface with sandpaper to better hold a fresh coat of paint. Put a fresh coating of paint in one color on the top or drawers, or both. Once it’s dry, use a stencil to preserve that color in a design while you paint the entire thing with a darker hue. Remove the stencils to reveal your new bedroom focal piece.

[Estimated price range: $20-$40; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Country Crates
Use wooden crates to design a new living-room coffee table, or shelves for the laundry room or pantry. Arrange, connect crates with screws and fasteners, and paint or stain. You’ll have rustic storage and display in no time.

[Estimated price range: $10-$50; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Fire Your Bookshelf
Do you have a beautiful but nonfunctional fireplace, plus a bookshelf or record case sitting around? Why not contain the bookshelf or record case inside the fireplace? Secure shelves inside of the fireplace to help free up floor space.

[Estimated price range: $20-$40; check out the inspiration here.]

 



 

Home Accents:

Personalized Lamps
Make your lamp a playroom or desk accent piece by filling a spare vase, a clear vase base or premade clear lamp with extra LEGOs or small figurines. Then add a light fixture and shade to the top. Fill with sand and shells or marbles for a more mature look.

[Estimated price range: $10-$30; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Save Kitchen Space
Create a wooden hanger for your coffee mugs on the wall or cupboard near the sink. Simply select your wood, paint it your desired hue, add hooks and start hanging. Decorating this piece could be a fun project for the kids.

[Estimated price range: $5-$10; check out the inspiration here.]

 

Color Me Charming
Need a new vase or two, or just want to revamp an old one? Use waterproof enamel paint to coat the inside of an old mason jar, wine bottle or clear vase to create a centerpiece bursting with color and DIY charm.

[Estimated price range: $10-$15; check out the inspiration here.]



 

Suggested Supply Stores:

 

  • The Urban Gardener
  • Chapon's Greenhouse
  • American Native Nursery
  • Sylvania Natives
  • Reilly's Garden Center at Summer Seat Farm
  • Pat Catan's
  • Busy Beaver
  • Do It Best
  • Artist & Craftsman
  • Trader Jack's Flea Market
  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army USA
  • Red, White and Blue Thrift
  • Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
  • Zerrer's Antiques
  • Pittsburgh Antique Shops


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