Creative Material Sources for Decorating

by Kathleen Wilson

Use your imagination when looking for sources of material for your decorating and crafting projects. For instance, fabric is found in a lot more places than just the sewing store!

  • How about a favorite old sweater recycled into a throw pillow cover? Or the seat of a pair of worn-out jeans for a pillow on a child's bed or chair? An old striped button down shirt could recover that extra chair in the corner, or that beautiful old skirt, stained on one side, could make accessories for the family room.
  • Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find usable material for next to nothing, and the bigger the size, (for once) the better! (More material!)
  • Old worn out blankets make great linings for quilts, potholders, quilted curtains and shades, etc.
  • Tablecloths and cloth napkins, either your own or purchased at yard sales, make wonderful material for projects, or can be made into window treatments and throw pillows with little or no sewing! Cardboard cereal boxes make excellent bases for fabric covered picture frames. Many "snap on lid" type containers can be dressed up and used for desk top storage, small toy pieces, tea bags, etc.
  • Large corrugated boxes, or TV and stereo boxes still packed with their styrofoam, make great end tables when covered with fabric. This way, you don't have to store empty boxes, and your husband can sleep well at night knowing that he will always have the appropriate packing for the treasured TV!
  • Boxes can also be covered and used to add height to a tabletop or cabinet display. If they have a removable lid, they can be covered and stacked for storage, similar to hatboxes.
  • Sheets area great value, especially if you watch for good sales. Twin-size flats seem to be the best value, and are easier to work with. If you find a great sale, but don't have a project in mind, pick up white ones. You can always dye them, or stamp/stencil them later to meet your needs!
  • Free houseplants? Take ivy cuttings from outdoors, root in water, then pot up! Shade annuals bought on sale also make beautiful, cheap flowering houseplants.

Look at things in new ways, and learn to see things for what they "could" be, instead of what they are! The best way to develop your creative eye is to continue to read publications like KW Design's Budget Decorator! The more you are exposed to great budget saving ideas, the more you will spur on your own natural creativity! (Yes, it is in there!)

Kathleen Wilson is responsible for KW Design's Budget Decorator. Visit their website at

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