Decor in a Day: Easy Decorating Projects

three step stools stacked bookshelf
Try our done-in-a-day DIY decorating projects that deliver big-time personality without a lot of effort.

Brighten a Bedroom

Instantly illuminate your bedside with a series of pendant lights made from canning jars. Purchase socket lights that plug into a standard outlet so you won't have to worry about electrical work. Cut a hole in the jar lid and tuck the light into the jar, then hang from a hook.

Organize Your Office

All you need to corral clutter in your office are three simple ingredients: glass jars, spray chalkboard paint, and a chalk pen. Spray the jars with a few coats of chalkboard paint, label their contents with a pen, and enjoy! 

Snap Happy

You'll be all smiles making this modern-day version of a bulletin board. Customize the size, fabric, and string design to create a playful display with just a few standard tools. Use a staple gun to cover medium-density fiberboard with white felt and fabric. Create rows of tacks and wrap string around each one to create a web. Place photos behind the string, and display.

Punch Up Your Pillows

A repeating floral design makes a plain cotton pillowcase look like designer fabric. Remove the pillow form from the case, and slip a piece of cardboard inside to prevent ink from bleeding through. Roll an even layer of screen-printing ink for fabric over a stamp, then press evenly onto the pillowcase, starting at the center. Repeat, working your way out to the edges and reapplying ink after each print. After the ink dries, heat-set by ironing on the reverse side of the pillowcase.

Wallpaper an Accent Wall

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.

Make your point of entry pop with a personalized welcome mat to greet guests in style.

Pretty Painted Welcome Mat

Make your point of entry pop with a personalized welcome mat to greet guests in style.

Jazz Up Old Dining Chairs

Take an old or unfinished wooden chair from simple to stylish with this easy treatment. Sand, prime, and paint the piece a bold color, like this forest green. Finish the transformation by covering the seat in 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.

Make Over Your Mantel

These glass displays give new meaning to the phrase "message in a bottle." Cut photos to fit bottles. Use a foam crafts brush to coat the front of a photo with decoupage medium, then press it face down onto the outside of a bottle, smoothing out air bubbles with fingers, and let dry. Write special messages on paper and drop inside a bottle or two.

Dress Up a Dining Room

Pretty fabric paints blend to turn plain white table linens into a soft setting for your next gathering. Wash a cotton tablecloth and hang it while damp on a clothesline or large work space. Dilute pink and purple fabric paint with water to various intensities in separate buckets. Keep one bucket of water close by for rinsing the brush. Dip a large paintbrush in a small amount of diluted paint, then brush color in a large sweeping motion onto the damp tablecloth. Work with small amounts of each color, blending them as you work. 

Refresh a Table Lamp

Brighten a ho-hum lamp with sparkling metallic accents. Tape around the cord and top of the lamp base, then spray all-purpose primer and paint below the tape. When dry, spray clear sealer over the paint, let dry, and remove tape. Tape off the painted portion, and spray the top with gold metallic paint. For the shade, punch circles from cardstock to make a stencil. Press the stencil against the shade, spray with gold glitter, and let dry. Spray with clear sealer to prevent flaking.

Perk Up a Tabletop

Using a woodburning tool, add the names of guests or family members to cut log sections. Have each person write his or her name in pencil on the log pieces, then burn the letters into the wood to make keepsakes of those kindergarten printed letters or Grandma's pretty signature. 

Paint an Accent Wall

Wake up a wall with a bright color of 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 white chairs.

Turn a thrifted utensil drawer into a storage gem for your favorite baubbles. We use paint, decorative paper, and pretty knobs to create this one-of-a-kind display.

Easy Jewelry Display

Turn a thrifted utensil drawer into a storage gem for your favorite baubles. We use paint, decorative paper, and pretty knobs to create this one-of-a-kind display.

Update Your Entryway

Add modern flair to your blooms or houseplants by color-blocking a cheap terra-cotta pot. All you need is two colors of exterior latex paint (try sample sizes), a brush, and painters tape. Or wrap a pot with a bit of rope, glue, and tape for an alternative update that packs a style punch.

Wow with Wall Art

Create pretty map art with a map and white mat. Dry-mount a map to a foam-core board by applying a layer of rubber cement to both surfaces, letting it dry, and pressing the surfaces together. Trim any overhanging map with a crafts knife. Print a word or phrase you love and trace backward onto watercolor paper before cutting it out. Glue the paper to the map board, lining up the edges.

Store Toys in Style

Take storage to a new level with baskets and bins sprayed with stripes. Apply wide painters tape to mask off areas on all sides of the container, then, using an all-purpose primer and paint, spray the uncovered areas. Let dry before removing the tape. Use different colors of paint to assign baskets to family members -- it works even for kids who can't read yet. 

Easy Entertaining

Add your own pattern to plain-Jane accessories like this galvanized-metal serving tray. Masking with painters tape keeps edges crisp and clean on our colorful stripes. Think outside the stripe with vinyl decals or stencils -- both make nifty masks and are available in many shapes and patterns. 

Install a Tile Backsplash

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 directions and wipe clean.

Try a Pegboard

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.

Cheap and Chic Coffee Table

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.

Create an Artistic Assemblage

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 artists 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.

Make Affordable Shelving

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.

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