Design / DIY / Home

Make Functional Fabulous

08.29.11

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I don't believe I am alone in my obsession with anything that is utilitarian and provides fabulous Storage & Organization…sometimes those items aren't cheap if they are also chic. Style most typically has a price and that price can occasionally be steep. Whether it's aching and blistered feet from those amazing pair of heels you love so much, or the 'cutting in' from a brand new leather tool belt that could perhaps use an additional notch or two in the waste-line, we all experience some sort of sacrifice in the name of style or function in our day-to-day lives. Many of us are even willing to go without style, in order to experience the pure functionality of an item, if that item has a majorly helpful use.

There is no better thrill than to hunt for an item that you desperately need or want, only to find that it is majorly discounted or inexpensive to begin with!

Though I can think of one that has equal merit…to know that you need or want an item and to know that there are inexpensive versions of that item available, and then to find inspiration for re-purposing or restyling those items with decorative touches that are also inexpensive…especially if you quite possibly have some of those refinishing items already! How about finding inspiration for rehabbing your existing items by giving them a whole new look and shelf life using items you may already own, can purchase for very little, or can create yourself? Can I get a little yahoo for that? Ya'll know what I mean, I am just sure of it..

I was browsing through my Facebook Home page and saw a link that my friend Angie posted on her Fanpage, for a few money saving tips from Martha (do I need to speak her last name? I am sure you know who I mean…kind of like Madonna, only a first name is needed). Needless to say, I was completely taken away to the land of creative possibilities, when I realized that her “money saving tips” were actually decorating on a budget tips…which I happen to adore…even more…

I wanted to share a few of my favorite ideas of hers from that article. Most of them don't need an explanation and only a caption is necessary for indicating what you are supposed to be looking at.

Let's get inspired and see what creative sparks might fly!

I love this first idea because it adds just enough style and interest without overwhelming and without requiring any painting. This is perfect for your yard sale or flea market finds that are a bit worn, the wrong color, or possibly with a slight bit of damage. Forget about patching or sanding and stripping…just decoupage a patterned paper right over top. Fast and simple, with big impact…my kind of project!

It takes a clever person to think about everyday items in ways that allow you to combine random and mismatched things and unify them so that they become a cohesive grouping when they otherwise would not have been. Just think how many towels you have donated or tossed out over the years, because they no longer fit your decor or taste? I bet quite a few…or perhaps you don't throw them out, but you banish them to the deep dark recesses of that area that is for “old towels”, condemning them to use for washing cars, or cleaning up spills (this would be my particular pack rat way…I hate to throw things out, you just never know when an idea might arise for using something you no longer like in it's current state and turning it into a prize)! I even have levels of “old towels” that can be used for certain things but not for others…yes..a bit excessive.

Martha suggests using a ribbon or trim added to your mismatched and misfit towel collection and forcing them into cohabitation and cohesion! I frankly love that thought. Besides, it accomplishes my favorite thing which is to force me to use a new color scheme that I otherwise wouldn't have put together! love a good challenge. Be sure to choose something washable and if possible something with a pattern that ties together the colors you are working with. It doesn't have to be exact, but if you come close on colors, you will benefit greatly. If not matching, then contrasting and complimenting are your next best bets!

Let's get inspired and see what creative sparks might fly!

Cover a plain (and inexpensive) magnetic board with paper or fabric and turn your organizer into an art piece. Not to mention that you will save yourself considerable time by not having to create a fabric covered bulletin board with ribbon in diamond shapes (not that it isn't fabulous as well, just takes a very long time and believe me when I say making straight and parallel crisscrossings is not as easy as you might think). Think about wrapping paper for a large and inexpensive option with a lot of style potential, and secure with Mod Podge or something of that sort.

Enlarge Clip art and decoupage onto furniture or storage items to give old and boring a bit of personality. This is a fabulous way to get an expensive custom look without spending hardly anything and without requiring any special skill.

Out of space for storage? Have you collected a few too many pretty things to keep them all tucked nicely away? Perhaps the solution is to store them right out in the open as seen in this image below with dinnerware being used as display under cloches. The glass elements give a bit of luxury to what would otherwise appear to be a haphazard pile of excess dishes. Something that appeals to the A-type portion of my personality is the fact that the dinnerware is covered and therefore kept from collecting dust and debris…and germs…

Cover basic chipboard or cardboard storage containers in Book Cloth. Give your space not only texture and warmth, by keeping those must have storage units right out in the open where they are easy to access (you know you do anyhow, so might as well reap some added benefit from it), but also pull together your color scheme here just as you would with typical accessories or fabric choices only for a fraction of the cost. Martha has a pdf template for cutting the book cloth to size for those of us who need express and specific directions for every single thing in life like me…though I always find Martha's instructions to be a bit lacking in the easy to follow arena, thank goodness for templates)!

So you have a few floating shelves that have seen better days or no longer match your desired design plan…or perhaps you built some yourself, and painting or staining is not quite your forte? Not to worry, just cover them in wallpaper and give them some panache! Perfect for the commitment phobe who is dying for that uber-chic wallpapered room, but can't quite pull the trigger! Don't have wallpaper scraps on hand? Visit a store near you to see if they might, or consider using a thick wrapping paper, butcher paper, or a series of craft papers.

While I don't actually love the exact shape and styling in the image below…I do love the idea of using something simple and non-traditional in an unexpected way. A basic redwood lattice can be purchased for around $13-$14 and is a fabulously inexpensive way to add a graphic storage element to an entryway that needs to accommodate jackets, hats, gloves…even purses and keys will never get misplaced again and will look good while staying put! Use a lattice from your yard or purchase a new one and grab a few hooks to scatter about it. Hang that baby on the wall in any direction you like and voila…cool and stylish functionality. Perhaps even paint it a snappy color or distress it…

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