You don't need to spend a fortune to get a striking room

DIY Wall Decor

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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DIY Wall Decor

I need some help with decorating my walls. We just moved and our budget is tight. But I'd like everyone who sees our new home to be impressed. Does anyone have any wall decor ideas that I can do myself that'll look professional but won't cost much? I'm not afraid of do-it-yourself projects, so please let me know any ideas you might have.

Simple, Personal DIY Wall Decor

You can write a saying out on the wall with a pencil and then trace it with paint. Then you have decor that was cheap and very personal.

Visit Your Local Library

Some local libraries allow patrons to check out art pictures for a few months. Be sure to check your local library. Of course, at thrift stores, you can sometimes discover some wonderful treasures!

Frugal Wall Art

Go to your local fabric store and find some clearance fabric that matches your decor. Or use fabric you already have on hand.

At a craft store, buy either a blank canvas or canvas stretchers (you'll need four, two of each length). If you use the canvas stretchers, you just put them together by using a mallet to tap them into place. Using a staple gun, attach the fabric to the frame, alternating the top, bottom, left, and right. Then move out to the corners. Be sure to stretch the fabric a little as you staple, but don't pull it too hard. Now you've got a great piece of artwork for a low price.

From Calendar to Wall Decor

You can use big calendars with beautiful pictures of lots of different topics. Some have birds, flowers, landscapes, etc. These pages can be framed in inexpensive white frames to decorate the walls of your new home. From one calendar, you could get a grouping of two, four, or six pictures, depending on the space. I have bought them on sale at Michaels in the past, but a lot of different stores sell them. You might be able to find inexpensive frames at a thrift store or yard sale.
HJ in Delaware

Unique Decor That Reflects Your Taste

You can use several things to enhance your decor. Go to your local home store, and ask if they have the rejected paint cans. Go through them and you can often find unique and attractive colors for next to nothing. Having walls different colors, which you can easily do yourself, is one real way to give a designer look at low cost.

If you are truly creative, you can then write words that mean something to you up high on the walls and get a custom look for just your time. If you don't feel confident painting the words on, often your local print or copy shop can make decals for you of the letters blown up and you can put them up that way.

Then, if you want to have artwork, go to your local thrift stores and look for either artwork you like or frames you can use. Often you can find them for as little as a dollar. Clean up the frames or sand and paint them if you like. Then place prints from your favorite magazines in them and hang. You can also do a decoupage on a piece of regular cardboard with all your favorite images and frame. Doing this lets you have a unique decor that truly reflects your tastes for very little money.

From Photo to Fabulous

Take one of your photos, print it at Target in an 8 x 10 size, and then frame it in an 11 x 14 inch frame with an 8 x 10 mat inside the frame. It will cost you less than $10 and look like you spent much more!

Quick Decor That's Easily Removed

We lived in a NYC apartment that had paneling in one room and in another room had patchy plaster. I bought some beautiful king-sized, flat bird themed sheets for a deep discount. Then I sewed them together and hung them like wallpaper. I sprayed a little fabric adhesive right under the ceiling molding to hold the fabric and then used some small nails to hammer in decorative trim right over the sheets and underneath the molding. I smoothed it and sprayed the adhesive and nailed the same decorative trim right next to the top of the baseboard. It looked beautiful and I got a lot of compliments. And the small nail holes were not readily visible when we moved and I had to take it all down.

Up Against the Walls...

I went to graduate school on scholarships and had low-paying research jobs on campus. My friends and I were always broke and lived in cramped, cheap apartments near the university. Since we were grad students and considered ourselves to be grown-ups, we made some attempts to decorate our living spaces. Some of my friends could paint their places, but I always had white walls, so I concentrated on getting some interesting art work. My favorite was using my own pictures. I sorted through family photographs and looked for pictures to frame in a grouping on my wall. Alternatively, a person could take a digital camera (or an iPhone) outside to take photos of plants and flowers. A local botanical garden is always a good place to do this.

If a person lives in a city with interesting architecture, roof lines, doorways, alleys and churches are interesting. Try changing them to black and white images on your computer. Save the files and print them out inexpensively with an online provider or at a drug or discount store. There are frequent deals for prints. A grouping of 4x6 or 5x7 photos in inexpensive black dollar store frames can be interesting. If you add a pre-cut mat (in packages of two or three at craft stores), your pictures look even better. I like collage frames and composite frames, which you can pick up inexpensively at discount retailers. These frames hold more than one picture, and you just have to hang up one thing.

If photography is not your cup of tea, you can download royalty free images from several sites on the internet and print them out yourself. I had friends who also framed vintage post cards, greeting cards, vintage book pages and even magazine pictures out of old issues of National Geographic. I once framed a sheet of European wrapping paper I liked in a thrift store frame and an inexpensive mat from an art supply store.

Other options include a variety of art prints and original art work already framed at thrift stores and yard sales for just a few dollars. The selection varies, but if you are patient, you can sometimes find something nice. Since I am still in the habit of living on the cheap, I am still thrifting. I picked up an unusual original oil painting of a tree by a California artist a few months ago for $25. The artist is not famous, but I really like it and it looks great on my wall.

Start with a Fresh, Clean Space

Paint is probably everyone's first choice when redecorating, but even before that, give your place a good scrubbing down. It will help you know what you're working with. When using paint, consider the space. Dark paint makes rooms seem smaller and lighter ones open the spaces up. If your place is old and the rooms/walls no longer square, you probably want to avoid geometric patterns on them or even distinguishing between the wall and ceiling colors. Neutrals are easier to work with, but even so, you should have warm or cool undertones. Consider your furniture colors when choosing.

One of the easiest ways I've found to add punch to a room is to focus on one space. I matted a bunch of prints and put them into thrift store frames on one wall. The frames are different sizes but the same thin black wood, so they match. The prints are of complimentary colors and go with our furniture. They are clustered together in a pleasing arrangement and the pictures can be switched out/rearranged when I get tired of them. I like to gather my collections to "tell a story." Things scattered around look cluttered but three or more of anything is a collection and can be arranged.

Do an accent wall and use that as a central point to your furniture arrangement and decoration. It can be done with a contrasting paint color. A cousin draped a brightly patterned animal print sheet behind her sofa as her apartment would not allow her to repaint. This could be done behind a bed as well to bring focus into a bedroom.

Even though our first furniture was "early modern thrift store," we found we gravitated towards certain colors and styles and that they "worked together." I suspect if you're true to your preferences and are careful about scale in your new place, you'll find you'll like the way the pieces work together.

If all your furniture was given to you and nothing looks good together naturally, there are simple slipcover ideas online. A common color or color family works wonders in tying pieces together. This is good for mismatched wooden kitchen chairs as well. When painted the same color, the hodge-podge seems deliberate.

Most people don't think about traffic patterns. Arrange your furniture to accommodate natural flow. For example, encourage a conversation nook in the living room or helpers in the kitchen by adding a work island.

If you don't like the way it works at first, you can always play with it until things seem to fit. As none of these ideas are expensive, you can experiment without dinging your wallet too much.
Odd Fox

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