Let’s be honest – you don’t have the time or money to spend thousands of dollars on extravagant, “luxury” decorations. You simply want decor that looks amazing, starts a conversation and perhaps projects to work on with your kids. You appreciate the value of getting your hands dirty and building something yourself.
Catering to your love for hard work, we’ve found these genius upcycling ideas for your home. From building life-sized artificial flowers, to covering your floor in pennies (this looks awesome), to upcycling an old music stand into a lamp… we’ve got 31 ideas that won’t break the bank, but are sure to spark a conversation. Impress your guests not with your wallet, but with the creativity and hard-work from building something you can be proud of. Not to mention spending creative time with the kids.
1. Giant Paper Flowers
Calling all flower fanatics. These human-size flowers by Design Sponge are something to surely awe your guests. Great for parties or outdoor decorations.
2. Penny Floor
Save up your spare change to re-do flooring in your home. Happy Roost Blog gives us this tutorial that will stop visitors dead in their tracks to take a closer look at your copper floor. It’ll make all of that time crouched down placing the coins worth every penny (pun intended).
3. Lego Wall
Never ruin your day by stepping on a stray Lego again. This Lego wall is a treat for the eyes, but will also help your kids keep their building blocks off the floor. Dornob gives us a few examples of how this DIY interior design project is executed.
4. Tear Off Wallpapear
Create custom designs with this tear off wallpaper as seen on Design Milk. With unlimited design options, you can use any colors or build any pattern you want. How creative can you actually be?
5. Puzzle Stool
Stools can look good on their own or as part of a set, as proved by Homemade Modern. When playing in the toy room, your tots will be proud to have a parent who built these.
6. Baseball Bat Headboard
Design Dazzle has the perfect headboard in mind for your little baseball fan. Old baseball bats are combined together to create this attention-grabbing headboard.
7. Painted Concrete Floors
If you thought hardwood, carpet and tile were your only interior flooring options… think again. Vintage Revivals is here to show you how stylish painted concrete floors can be.
8. Playhouse Table Cloth
Here’s an example of temporary DIY interior design — a playhouse tablecloth. Meaningful Mama dreamt up the idea to drape over her dining room table for playtime. It can also be nicely folded away when not in use.
9. Discarded Drink Packet Disco-Style Light
We suppose disco lights will never go out of style. At least, not if Yanko Design has anything to do with it. They took recycled drink cartons, upcycled (a lot of) them into a spherical disco ball, then put in a light. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
10. Toy Car Holders on Wall
Reduce closet storage clutter and show off your little boy’s toy cars. When he isn’t running the mini hot rods up and down the kitchen table, Style Files shows you how to hang up those cars on a magnetic strip.
11. Ironing Board Chalkboard
Pull together another writing surface in your home with this DIY project from Hometalk. One day you’ll buy a new ironing board and will need to figure out how to dispose of the first one. Looks like you just found out how.
12. Video Game Racing Cockpit
The casual gamer takes a serious leap into hardcore gaming with this racing installation. Popular Mechanics shares this DIY project that adds a little spice to your kid’s life. But be careful, it’s bound to make all of his friends jealous.
13. Brick Book Display
Make bricks beautiful again by painting classic book spines onto their textured surface. Salvage and Selvedge offers this fun project that is sure to spark a conversation. Choose your favorite book, grab an old brick, a paintbrush and get to work.
14. Rope Wall
Throw out everything you know about conventional room dividers. The Brick House decided on DIY rope walls to segment office space in a warehouse. While the privacy element isn’t really there, these walls are effective in carving out space and are stylish to boot.
15. Map Wallpaper
Start saving maps from your family vacations to decorate a new room. Not only will this idea from The Inspired Room save you a trip to the paint store, but it uses nostalgic memories as decor. A fantastic idea for those who are passionate about travel.
16. Sputnik Chandelier
Little Green Notebook takes an IKEA hack to another level with this DIY sputnik chandelier. After customizing this chandelier to fit her personal interior design aesthetic, she hangs the oversized orb to illuminate her large dining room.
17. Macarame Curtain
Try this different take on a closet door courtesy of A Beautiful Mess. Handmade charm woven into impeccable design makes this the perfect, tasteful addition to any room in your house.
18. Geometric Wreath
Cheap straws are transformed into a high-end geometric wreath in this project from Vintage Revivals. So much style, with so little cost and effort.
19. Sliding Barn Door
Bring the best of the outdoors into your interior. House Tweaking did just that by adding a sliding barn door to a bedroom.
20. Floating Bookshelf
Let literature soar in this floating bookshelf product highlighted by Yanko Design. You’re bound to start a conversation with the person beneath it.
21. Dinosaur Toothbruth Holder
If the little ones struggle to brush their teeth, give them an incentive with an adorable dinosaur toothbrush holder. All This for Them drills hole in a dinosaur toy, then uses that for bathroom decor that is sure to excite the kiddos.
22. Top Hat Lighting
Add some class to your living space with top hat lighting installations. Mr. Kate shows us how this eccentric idea can easily become a DIY project. Hats off to you, Mr. Kate!
23. Music Tripod Lamp
When you’ve decided to put down the violin, turn the rusty music tripod into an unusual lamp. The Painted Hive provides step-by-step instructions for this upcycle DIY project.
24. Marble Top Table
A thrift store table sees new life with a unique top, thanks to this Craftster user. Multicolored marbles make it an eye-catching tabletop for any room.
25. Giant Wooden Star
A good amount of scrap wood and ambition were all that Unskinny Bop needed to create this giant wooden star for mantle decoration. It stands out, not only because it’s oversized, but because it’s perfectly handmade and beautifully colored.
26. Corner Door Shelf
Craftaholics Anonymous offers one of our favorite projects, made with a castoff door in this corner shelf. The shelf is a cool use of a small space with some excellent design flair.
27. Faux Succulents Made With Pistachio Shells
It seems succulents are increasingly common in design nowadays. Fake your own with some discarded pistachio shells as seen on Addicted2Decorating. If even the incredibly low-maintenance succulent is too much maintenance for you, you’ll love these faux versions.
28. Tree Bookshelf
Construct a bookcase with a little more character using this tutorial from The Design Confidential. You’ll be proud of how functional and clever your new decor is.
29. Plumbing Handle Heart
Salvage expert Joanne of the Salvage Secrets Blog manages to construct a darling heart out of mismatched handles and some wire. The end result is undeniably cute in the most unexpected way.
30. Triple Bunk Beds
Your kid’s sleepovers just got crazier. The Handmade Dress built triple bunk beds as a neat way to cram as many sleeping kids as possible into a smaller space. Although, we’d say you don’t have to be kid to enjoy these.
31. Circus Marquee Light
The retail price of these circus marquee lights could easily exceed your interior design budget. That is until you’ve found this tutorial. Enter How Joyful with this DIY lesson that will save you cash without sacrificing style.
Your own re-imaginings?
What ways have you used upcycling principles, or out-of-the-box design?
Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t?
Are there ideas that surprised you either way?
Tell us about it in the comments section.