Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
Try our do-in-a-day decorating projects that deliver big-time personality without a lot of effort.
If you love a fabric pattern but don't have a lot of yardage, use a yard or less to make striking wall art. Cover a variety of different-size artist's canvases or canvas stretchers with the fabric, stapling it in place on the backs. Be sure to cut the pieces so that you are displaying your favorite parts of the fabric's motifs.
Immortalize a family member with an easy-to-make silhouette pillow. Take a photo of your loved one's profile. Use a computer to size the photo to fit the front of a pillow cover; print the image. Copy the outline of the profile onto tracing paper. Transfer the profile onto fusible web and cut out. Fuse the shape onto web, following manufacturer's instructions. Cut out the felt shape. Remove the paper backing and position the felt shape, web side down, on the pillow front. Fuse it in place.
Wake up a wall with brightly colored paint. A cheery color such as this vivid yellow goes a long way in a small space so limit it to one wall in a room. This color would be especially effective in a north-facing room that doesn't get a large amount of natural light. Ground your saturated color with furnishings in neutral colors such as the white sofa.
Create a makeshift library with three stacked stools in a sophisticated palette of gray and white. Paint the tops of two stools in a warm white and one in a warm gray. When dry, paint the bottoms of the two stools in gray and the other in white. Use sticker letters to spell out library-related words in Latin, Italian, and French and adhere them to copper plant tags. Glue the plant tags to the fronts of the dry stools and stack the stools as seen in the photo.
If your home office doubles as a project command center, organize it with an affordable and good-looking pegboard option. Customize the pegboard with spray paint, following the directions for your selected material. Attach the pegboard to the wall, secure to wall studs if you're planning to hang books or other heavy items, and personalize with shelving, bins, and hooks to suit your needs.
Add pattern to your walls without visual overload. Choose one accent wall in a room to cover with wallpaper that shares at least one color with your other walls. An accent wall injects an artistic touch while saving decorating time and dollars. If you're repainting the walls, too, do those first and paper last.
Craft an easy and unique coffee table from two shipping pallets. Secure the pallets together, one atop the other, using wood screws. Cut a top and base to size from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and screw to the top and bottom of the pallets. Frame the top MDF piece with lattice strips to finish the edge. Paint the entire piece and let dry. Cut a decorative rug to fit inside the top, then secure with an appropriate adhesive such as Gorilla Glue. Attach casters to the bottom.
Take an old or unfinished wooden chair from simple to stylish with this easy treatment. Sand, prime, and paint the piece. Add a number to the chair back using a stencil and contrasting paint. Finish the transformation by covering the seat in numbered fabric. Remove the seat, place a layer of polyfill on top, and cover with the fabric, stapling in place on the bottom; replace the covered seat.
A basic flat sheet makes this once-drab dining room delectable. First, fashion curtains from four sheet parts dyed contrasting colors with easy-to-do washing-machine-applied dyes. Stitch tie-dyed top pieces to lightly colored bottoms and embellish the seams with contrasting ribbon. An extra strip of sheet, dyed a soft cream, makes a pretty stenciled table runner.
Craft an upholstered headboard from a cutter quilt. Lay the quilt, right side down, on a flat surface and top with lightweight quilt batting. Trim both to fit the headboard, leaving an allowance for wrapping the fabric. Remove the headboard from the bed and lay it on top of the batting (or paint and dry it first for a new finish), then wrap the quilt around the headboard, top to bottom, securing it on the back with staples. Replace the headboard. Top your headboard design with pretty wall decals.
For a dose of quirky charm, create a bedside table from vintage suitcases. Search flea markets and estate sales for three suitcases in graduated sizes. Measure and cut a base from plywood to accommodate your largest case. Screw wooden furniture legs onto the base and paint. When dry, stack the suitcases on top. Use the suitcases to store off-season clothing and accessories.
Turn a low shelving unit into a footboard that provides a spot to sit down as well as a place to stash stuff. Stock the shelves with matching baskets to keep books and blankets neatly tucked away. Identify the contents of your storage baskets by adding decorative labels. Use chipboard tags designed for scrapbooking glued to lengths of ribbon and attached with binder clips.
Skip pricey curtains in favor of this DIY option that makes it a snap to coordinate your room. Cut a full sheet in half lengthwise and hem along the cut edges. Dress up the bottoms by stitching on leftover fabric in a pretty pattern and hide the seams with a stripe of coordinating ribbon.
Convert an old dresser drawer into a medicine cabinet that provides storage and style. Cut a plywood shelf to fit inside and nail it in place. Paint the piece to match your room. Screw eye hooks into the bottom and thread a painted dowel rod through for a spot to hang towels. Line the back of the cabinet with patterned wallpaper or scrapbook paper glued in place. Mount the drawer on the wall with screws.
Add color and pattern to your kitchen with a mosaic tile backsplash. With new materials on the market, such as the Bondera Tile Mat Set, it's now possible to set and grout tile in one day instead of two. Apply the mesh tile mat set to your clean, level backsplash surface. Smooth out any wrinkles as you apply. Peel back the liner on the mesh side, and then press your sheet of tile into place firmly for five seconds. Once all tiles are in place, apply grout according to manufacturer's directions and wipe clean.
Cleverly outfitted, an old armoire can become a storage-rich kitchen pantry. Repaint the cabinet to match your kitchen decor then, when dry, line the inside of the doors with metal and cork inserts or coat one door's interior with chalkboard paint. Put the doors to work with magnetic spice tins and hooks for utensils and push pins for holding memos and lists. Drawer inserts keep contents such as recipe files handy and neat. Use baskets, bins, glass jars, tiered shelves, and a lazy Susan to organize the pantry contents.
Simplify laundry day with a screen made from two sets of bifold doors hinged together. Dress up the doors with paint and wallpaper, then use hooks and an over-the-door caddy to store cleaning essentials. Add a framed stain-removal chart for handy reference. Dress up your frame with paint and a fabric-covered mat.
Drench your outdoor room with juicy color. Spray-paint a worn woven chair with a bold new hue. Add more color to the room with pillows. Make a pillow or two from coordinating fabric remnants, or embellish a plain pillow cover with a shape cut from contrasting fabric and adhered to the cover with fusible web.