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
Check out these quick and easy DIY projects you can make this weekend without spending a bundle.
What it is: Turn a wall into a storage and work space with just a few add-ons.
How to make it: Cover the top half of a blank wall with stick-on cork tiles to create an oversize pinboard. Use colored tape to delineate zones for different purposes. Install a ledge beneath the cork tiles, and add a hanging rail system just below to make the wall of storage complete. For a fun bonus, paint the lower half of the wall with chalkboard paint to create a kid-friendly place to draw.
What it is: A fits-anywhere organization station to corral essentials near the door.
How to make it: Place a divided bin on the wall for organizing gear. Install a few sturdy hooks for bags, hats, and coats. Use smaller hooks to hang large binder clips to organize important papers that you'll need to grab before leaving the house. Position a large bin or box below the installation as a catchall for other items.
What it is: A storage-filled, flea market-style coffee table that's both decorative and practical.
How to make it: Create this storage-filled table by topping four vintage produce bins with an old tabletop and resting everything on a plywood slab outfitted with casters.
What it is: Magazine pockets for organizing stacks of periodicals.
How to make it: Cover a piece of plywood with upholstery-weight fabric. Cut strips of fabric long enough to be wrapped around the board and wide enough to be folded in half lengthwise to create a pocket deep enough to hold magazines; hem as desired. Fold the strips in half lengthwise and wrap around the sides of the board with the folded edge facing downward. Secure the ends of the fabric to the back of the board with staples. Keep the top layer stapled a bit looser than the bottom layer so that the pouch can accommodate a few magazines. Finish the edges with wood trim.
What it is: A retired suitcase gets first-class treatment as underbed storage.
How to make it: If desired, give the outside of the suitcase a fresh coat of paint. Install a small caster on the bottom of the suitcase at each corner. Stow sheets or seasonal clothing inside the suitcase and roll beneath the bed for out-of-sight storage. Before you begin, measure the height of the suitcase and casters to make sure the finished product will fit under your bed.
What it is: An antique toolbox repurposed for a modern necessity: Charging devices.
How to make it: Drill a hole in the side of a toolbox; the hole needs to be large enough to feed an electrical plug through. Place a plug strip inside the box and feed the plug through the hole. Cut a board to fit inside the box and drill holes on the board (large enough so that one end of your charging cords can feed through them). Plug the chargers into the plug strip, feed the ends through the holes in the board, and place the board inside the toolbox. Fire up the plug strip and start charging.
What it is: A bar-height table with built-in organization made from bookcases and a prefab wood or laminate countertop.
How to make it: For a 36-inch-tall table, use 34-inch bookcases and a 2-inch-thick countertop. (Edge-glued wood tops are available in different sizes at big box stores.) The countertop should be the same width as the bookcase. Long countertops will need a center support. Attach the counter to the bookcases using L brackets.
What it is: Save some money and make your own pretty storage boxes!
How to make it: Select a fabric and a cardboard box in the size that you prefer. Add two times the depth of the box to its length and width and add one more inch on all sides to determine the dimensions of your fabric. Attach the fabric to the box with spray adhesive, pulling the fabric tight to make it secure. Line the inside of the box with remaining fabric and add a ribbon to complete the look.
What it is: A piece of art that also holds your favorite pieces of jewelry.
How to make it: Trim a metal radiator cover or wire screen to fit inside a frame. Stand it at the back of a dresser. Hook earrings through the grid and use small S hooks to hang other items
What it is: An all-in-one organization station for gift-wrapping essentials.
How to make it: Office accessories and bath necessities receive a unifying coat of spray paint and combine as a fabulous hang-anywhere wrapping station. A desk file mounted to the wall partners with a towel bar to stand gift-wrap rolls at attention, while S hooks suspend tools within arm’s reach.
What it is: A stylish, vibrant skirt that hides unsightly storage.
How to make it: Measure your table and cut a piece of fabric to fit around the sides of the table you want to be skirted and cut to the proper length (the fabric should begin at the tabletop and reach the floor). Hem or finish the fabric as desired. Following the manufacturer's instructions, place hook-and-loop tape around the edge of the table and along the top edge of the skirt. Attach the skirt to the table using the hook-and-loop tape.
What it is: Simple wood crates unite to make fabulous bath storage.
How to make it: Reinforce stapled slats on the crates with screws. Paint or finish the crates as desired. Stack the crates together and attach with screws. Make sure your configuration has a sturdy base to support the crates above it. If you have children, use molly bolts to attach the crates to the wall.
What it is: A shoe organizer that works just as well in the kitchen
How to make it: Add three screws to the top of the door and suspend a clear shoe bag from ribbon hangers. Label each pocket with a colored tag and store kitchen tools and supplies.
What it is: Hymnal holders repurposed for bedside storage.
How to make it: Paint hymnal holders (available on ebay.com and other online auction sites) and attach them to the wall next to the bed. This space-saving alternative to a bedside table is perfect for quick, out of the way storage, especially for a bookworm.
What it is: A chic and inexpensive way to store pencils and pens.
How to make it: Use hook-and-loop tape to wrap ordinary paint or soup cans in leftover wallpaper scraps.
How to make it: Prime and paint buckets to match your decor. Adjust bookcase shelves to make room for the buckets. Secure name tags to the buckets with a metal fastener and use magnets to add to-do lists and messages.