Friday, September 19, 2014

From Tool Chest to Coffee Table

This repurposed tool chest turned coffee table could possibly be the best find I've happened upon at an antique marketplace (when you see the price, you'll understand why). I found it while looking for some old salt-glazed crocks. The weathered and chippy finish of the chest, along with the color, kept pulling me back over to continually check it out. I almost left with the crock alone, yet continually thinking - I should get that chest! So, I turned around and went back for it. 

This wonderful item was marked down from $12 to $7.00. How could you go wrong? The rustic heavy-duty hardware alone was worth that!  The floor of the chest was a bit loose and a corner slightly damaged, but as a coffee table, it was perfect!

Learn more about my "new" coffee table at frugal-interior-design's 

Other repurposed coffee table photos, like the one below, can be seen there too!

Simple Crate-Style Coffee Table from Scrap Wood

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Driftwood Floating Shelf

We'll call this a driftwood floating shelf, but it's not the typical driftwood that comes to mind.  A nature walk led me to this rustic relic, almost as though it was begging to be discovered and reused in a new, clever manner.

A weathered wooden beam found washed up along a river's edge gets a new use.

I have found a brought home many wonderful pieces of natural driftwood over the years.  In fact, I have some huge pieces in storage that I've yet to use.  If you walk around my home, you'll find various shapes and sizes propped up in corners and even placed upon tabletops as sculptural artist centerpieces.  I have a love for driftwood, there's no denying it.

From time to time, I find actual "man-made" hewn pieces like this - perfect for rustic furniture, fireplace mantels, or other repurpose projects. In fact, this piece got its first use in my home as a decorative doorway lintel!

Rustic driftwood beam used as decorative lintel over an interior doorway.

Despite loving the above look, I really wanted to try my hand at creating a floating shelf.  It wasn't tough, just required an hour or so of time and the correct hardware.  A nice, simple project that yielded a great look!

This rustic beam works perfectly as a ledge for artwork!

The piece currently resides as the shelf seen above, however, I must confess missing it over that doorway.  I wonder if I'd be lucky enough to happen upon its twin on my next nature walk?  Let's hope for the best!

To see closer views of this piece and to read about the hardware I used to hang it, visit my page on Floating Shelf Ideas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Snowflake Tree on a Budget

LET IT SNOW, said the snowflake tree!!!

Clear acrylic snowflake and icicle ornaments light up and twinkle amid the glow of miniature string lights.

You never know when the mood is going to strike you to go in a different design direction with your holiday tree.  I don't know how many sets of ornaments I have for specific color and theme trees but it's a lot.  The fun thing is creatively mixing and matching and pulling from those not used for years to create a whole new look.

The cost of all new decor can add up quickly, especially if you like throwing in those special, more elaborate pieces.  Seeing as I wasn't up to spending much money on even more decorations, I began pulling out pieces from years past.  Some haven't been used in over 10 years and it was neat to see a theme (so to speak) start taking place.

Little frosted baubles and specialty lighting wrapped in spheres of silver wire, both from Target . . . icicle ornaments used on various trees . . . homemade wire and gem ornaments I made two years ago.  Yes, I was starting to see a design direction develop in color and them.  I knew what I wanted with my icicles . . . SNOWFLAKES!

In frosty iridescence, these snowflake ornaments were a bargain purchase at Dollar Tree!

Yes, snowflakes.  It's been done a million times before but it's always special when you do something "new" to you.  I remembered seeing a few large plastic snowflake ornaments at Dollar Tree so decided to check out their larger store closer to the city.  Wow, they had a whole little section of snowflake ornaments and related items.  For under 10 bucks I hauled home a boatload of snowflake stuff.  Big and small, clear and shimmering, dangling and setting within branches.  Everything came together nicely (and thanks to my mom for some of her former jeweled and crystal drop elements that she was no longer using - they added to the icy aura of the tree.

So, don't spend a ton on tree decor.  Check out the items at Dollar Tree or other dollar stores and use them as fillers or even pieces to showcase.  A mix of new and old can create a whole new look year after year!

A grand ornament that was given as a gift last year seems a fitting topper for my snowflake tree
with it's snowflake-like design, silver-metallic color and inset crystal-like elements.

See more of my Snowflake Tree at Frugal Interior Design!

I had fun using something unconventional as the tree base: A giant SPRING!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple Autumn Decorating Ideas Around the Home

"Hello Falling Leaves" . . . 

It's no secret . . . Autumn is my favorite season and time of year . . . crisp cool mornings, the smell of leaves, earthy colors abound in nature. But back to leaves. It's so easy to draw inspiration from them and use them in your simple Autumn decorating - and of course, free decor is good!

I went a bit low-key this year, but here are a few of my Autumn-inspired ideas . . . SIMPLE!

Vintage bottles with a few leaves.  This is nice to display when having guests over.
However, the look doesn't last since the leaves dry out, so replenish with new leaves daily

Vintage pottery in earthy hues are nice to sit around the kitchen.
Pick up leaves of various shapes and colors that contrast well with your bowl and display them within!

A giant reed diffuser?  I guess it could be.  An old glass gallon jug displays something
I've never thought to use before - dried stalks from the ubiquitous orange tiger lily.

I never tire of the repurposed chimney pot turned planter.
The Summer blooms of impatiens and begonias have been replaced
with some vibrant yellow mums to usher in the season as well as visitors!

A second-hand wreath.  A friend recently moved and asked if I could use this.  "But of course!"
Autumn colors boldly display against a steel blue front door.

The chimney pots flank the entry with twin mums. Don't have chimney pots?
Get some low-cost galvanized pails at a hardware store for a clean, neat  look.

The peachy-orange blooms of the begonias from the chimney pots were still thriving, so they have been transplanted into the old barrel - coordinating nicely with the pumpkins.  

Au Naturale
My aunt sent me this pic of a wreath she put together.  I love that the entire thing is made
of natural, organic elements: baby Indian corn, small gourds, fallen leaves and a grapevine structure.

I hope you have all been enjoying the changing season 
and have been finding inspiration in the LEAVES!

See ideas from years past at 
frugal-interior-design - autumn decorating

More ideas coming soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Curbside Vintage Shutters To Upcycle

A Vintage Shutter Kind of Day!
Some "roadside relics" finds their way into my life.
A pair of vintage shutters pose for the camera (a potential idea for their use at the front entry)

Wow, did I really just see what I thought I saw?  I had to do a double-take; not only because they were "twins," but because I was in disbelief that they were sitting out for trash!  A pair of vintage wooden solid panel shutters!  Yes, solid panel!  Louvered ones are fine, but solid are much better in my book as they allow for more uses!

Vintage Goodness
Interesting Color

I have longed for a set of these old shutters (or similar) for quite some time.  I typically see them at local antique shops for $45 a piece at the very minimum.  I figured one day I'd dish out the $90+ for a set, but now I'm glad I waited!  I was having a rather so-so day, but things turned suddenly brighter when I placed these babies in the bed of my truck!

What a Find!
Great Hardware

They have quite the weathered and worn patina with a teal type green on one side and brighter (yet dirty) turquoise in a chalk-type paint on the other.  The old hinge and clasp hardware is intact in all its rusty glory!

So, what to do with them?
(So many ideas came to mind!)  Should I . . . 
- Use them as doors for an open shelf unit?
- Create horizontal floating shelves on the wall?
- Build a shelf unit with them?
- Use them as pieces in a future vintage cabinet build?
- Hang them as swinging doors between rooms?
-Hang them as artwork?

GOSH, this list could go on and on!

For Now, These Vintage Shutters are:
One of them has found temporary use as an accent to my recent barn wood bench.
"Number 2" has also found temporary use . . . as a decorative top to my chippy paint rustic shelf.
The faded green hues of the shelf coordinate with the colors in the family room.

The weather and worn finish ties-in with other rustic elements in the space, like the old
roadside-found vintage wooden door (seen in the background) and the steamer trunk coffeetable!

What would you do if you happened upon a pair of vintage shutters such as these?  
How would you upcycle or repurpose them?

Thanks to Suzanne at Pieced Pastimes for featuring my Shutters!
You can read about it here:

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Industrial Spring Book Rack

While visiting an auto scrap yard last weekend, I stumbled upon (quite literally) a large coil spring. The spring was from the front suspension of a full-size truck. While walking around, I began seeing many more. Could I have found the treasure trove of industrial elements to repurpose? I think so! Flywheels and other neat cogs and gears were also littered around the yard, waiting to be reclaimed. So many ideas came to mind...welded sculptures, wall art, table leg ideas, etc.

After handing over $5.00, I left with my cool industrial element full of character and rusty patina. I enjoy using such items simply as decorative elements much in the manner of Restoration Hardware. I'm often impressed with the creative minds behind their room staging. Many, "why didn't I think of that" thoughts cross my mind in awe when I flip through their sourcebooks. Nonetheless, I'm often impressed when I come up with some clever ideas of my own (who isn't?)

Industrial Spring Book Rack
Junkyard Auto Suspension Spring Repurposed

In its simplest form, this big spring could be displayed on its own as a decorative focal feature. After a day of that, I decided to stand it upright and place it carefully over a cleaned out yankee candle jar with a lit tealight within.

Used as a candle display?

That look was O.K., but I ultimately decided to give it more of a an industrial book rack.

Simple Style

Free books wrapped in brown craft paper and lightly roughed-up with sandpaper unify the look.

One end of the spring tapers and winds smaller as a decorative scroll-like element.

I often see unique items used as industrial and/or rustic bookends, 

Old Pulley Bookends
Courtesy of Home Decorators Collection


Vise Bookends (available at Amazon
Courtesy of Home Decorators Collection

so why not expand on that idea of propping up books but in a more unique manner?

Although not able to stack or hold a volume of books, my big industrial spring creates a clever tabletop feature similar to the use of a vintage wooden vice for displaying books (below).  

Wooden vise from local antique shop
repurposed as a book holder.

Other ideas for the spring?  Well, I could see it spiraled around 
the exterior of my wine bottle pendant light! (click the link to see how I made the light below)
While you are visiting the main website, be sure to "FB Like" Frugal Interior Design!  

Can you envision it?  I think that would look neat.  

I guess I need to take another trip to the junkyard soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Easy Poster Frame Art Ideas

The offices where I work have different colored accent walls.  A bright limey green, a dull medium blue, and a peachy-orange.  I ended up with peachy-orange.  I've been staring at this orange wall for almost a year now. In fact, the wall they painted as the accent was the wrong wall in my opinion.  You do not see it when you walk into the room.  Instead, you see the other surrounding plain off-white walls, devoid of art and interest.

I've neglected to repaint it (yes, we can choose one of the other colors and paint it ourselves if we want to). Everybody tells me I need to put something up!  So, I finally decided to resolve this "problem" with some artwork. Seeing as I mildly dislike painting even the walls of my own home, I really did not feel the need to undertake that task at work.

A few months ago, one of my co-workers received a gift that had lots of bright orange tissue paper inside. She was in the process of disposing of the wrappings and paper and I said "Oh wait, I can reuse that!"  I took the orange tissue paper home, knowing I would use it somehow to create complimentary artwork for my orange-accented office.

And here it is!
Simple artwork #1
I have numerous old poster frames from when I was in high school.  Yes, they are VERY OLD! They were probably only around $5.00 back then.  Now, you can get similar poster frames with much nicer slide on edges and borders of thicker and chunkier dimensions, making them look a bit more expensive and grand. However, I'm quite pleased with the end result of this project and saved some bucks by not "spluring" on the newer frame types. 

Some $0.69 poster board creates the white background for these piece.  A leftover piece of black poster board from a previous project creates the next insert which I simply have taped into place, and finally, some prints (copies) I had made on gloss paper of pen/ink art I had done last year. Lest we forget the reuse of the orange accent tissue paper . . . I crinkled it into a ball and then carefully smoothed it back out, folding it into a long narrow band which I wrapped around the backer-board of the poster frame (a 20" x 28") and taped to the backside.  

Here is the other one!
Simple artwork #2
I actually put this one together first (despite my caption naming and presentation order).  This poster frame is actually larger than the other (24" x 36"), so it took (2) pieces of black poster board to create the background color.  Once I had those two pieces cut to size and meeting in the center, I taped them in place. Next, I crinkled up the tissue paper, smoothed it out, and folded it into wide bands.  I figured out my spacing, wrapped them over the backer-board of the poster frame and taped them in place.  More artwork I had done last year was printed out on heavy-stock paper, positioned, and taped into place.  I really like the graphic boldness of this piece.  I may actually hang this one horizontally.  That's the nice thing about this artwork - it can hang in any orientation.  

I can't wait to hang this art at work tomorrow morning.  It will be nice to finally pull that orange accent color to the other side of the room through the use of this artwork.  I really think it will give the room a whole new feel and the unity it currently lacks.  

Here are some of the "before" stages of this art:  

The poster frame (wooden backer-board, plexiglass front
and press-on black plastic frame pieces)

Black and white poster board ($0.69 at Dollar Tree) and
leftover/salvaged orange tissue paper (use any color you like!)

Crinkled and foiled tissue paper spacing being determined (a nice accenting element
which provides a color pop and some texture/interest to the final art piece.

Each of these completed pieces cost less than $10.00!  Not bad for some custom art!  You can create art like this easily.  You don't even have to make your own graphic images.  You can purchase paper (by the piece) with graphic designs at Michael's to create a similarly styled look and effect. 

 Now, have some fun and keep it under $10!   :-)

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