Of course, not everything I decorate with was covered in dirt. Although, as I'm sitting here thinking of what wasn't I'm finding myself mostly at a loss for words... besides the appliances, couch, mattresses... yeah, I've done a lot of cleaning!
Here are some of my favorite, budget friendly ideas that anyone can do. Why not try bringing a little 'country' home today? At least take a fresh look at what you have around the house, or out in the garage. You might be surprised what you can do with what you already have! I list the main 'ingredient' below, and then what to do with it further down. Have fun!
- Canning jars, clear and blue with or without zinc lids.
- Galvanized pails or metal buckets.
- An old dresser.
- Large white cloth napkins.
- Vintage handkerchiefs.
- Old wooden chairs, any style.
- Muffin tins.
- Terra cotta pots.
- Metal coffee cans.
- Pieces of wood.
- Quilted pillowcase shams.
- Old, extra or broken metal rake.
- Old greeting cards, brown grocery bags, wrapping paper.
- Vintage suitcase.
So here are some of my suggestions, but feel free to let your own imagination run wild!
- Baskets- People were using them at least as far back as 7000 BC, and for good reason. They still are probably one of the most versatile items in your home. Use them outside for planters, in the pantry to organize kitchen staples, under the sink to gather cleaning supplies, or on the kitchen table filled with dried flowers. Make your own gift basket filled with goodies to give away. I stock up at the local thrift store for decent quality and cheap prices.
- Canning jars- Originally used for preserving nature's bounty, these glass jars are useful, cheap, and easy to find. Store dry goods, such as pasta, in them (with zinc lid) and display on your kitchen counter. Group an odd number on a shelf and place votive candles inside. For a beachy look, place sand and shells around the votive holder. Wonderful for casual floral arrangements. Tie a pretty ribbon around the top for an added touch. They come in several sizes, earlier jars have glass lids, and blue jars usually cost a little more.
- Metal buckets- The buckets I have started out in the barn and have some dents, something I prefer to call 'character.' The kids like use them to hoist toys up to their playhouse. I also like to place a canning jar or two inside to make larger flower arrangements. Others have drainage holes (I use a hammer and nail) for container planting. Just place gravel in the bottom, fill with moist potting mix, and fill with plants.
- Old dresser- Dressers aren't only for the bedroom. I keep one in my living room that is a lower version, with 3 long drawers. It holds my magazines and books, and some art supplies. I could use it in the kitchen to store extra kitchen supplies, linens, special occasion dishes, etc. If you had the space in a bathroom (I don't!) it could be used to hold towels and other supplies. When choosing one, look past the surface and make sure it's a sturdy piece that will fit in your space. Sand, prime, and repaint or strip and stain.
- Large white cloth napkins- There are other colors of napkins to choose from, but I like white because they're cheapest, easiest to replace, and versatile. Use them between two large curtains as a quick 'valance' draped over the curtain rod, so that they form triangles. Overlap as needed to cover the entire rod.
- Vintage handkerchiefs- Using the same technique as with the napkins, lay the dainty hankies over a curtain rod, or over a simple lace curtain. Beautiful feminine effect for a girl's room. Stitch together for a simple table runner. Frame with an old picture in front. Place one under a vase of flowers (use one that you don't mind possibly staining).
- Old wooden chairs- Look for a chair with a removable seat, or one with a cane seat that is torn, and remove. Paint the chair if desired. Find a container that will fit firmly in the hole, or buy chicken wire and staple around the hole and line with moss or coconut liner. Fill with moistened potting soil and plants. Make sure you decide if the chair will be in the sun or shade, and choose plants accordingly.
- Muffin tins- Fill with votives in glass holders for an easy centerpiece. Paint if desired by first priming with spray paint then applying acrylic paint. I recommend getting old muffin tins from a thrift store, new non-stick coated pans won't work w/paint. Use in a drawer to organize jewelry or small craft supplies.
- Terra cotta pots- Something that comes in so many sizes for so cheap... yeah, I can work with that! The inside and outside of the pot can be painted with acrylics and sprayed with sealant. You could use it for planting, or place a candle inside. Group several together at different heights w/candles for an outdoor party.
- Metal coffee cans- I made luminaries out of these last year with a hammer and nail, and then with a drill after my husband found out what I was up to. I suggest starting out making holes in 2 or 3 straight lines inside the grooves. You'll figure out more pattern ideas as you go. To paint you can either spray paint, or use my gritty version to give a nice smell and texture: after a base coat of spray or acrylic paint is applied, but still wet: sprinkle cinnamon on the paint. Let dry completely, then paint your final coat. Spray with an acrylic sealant. Use a candle in a glass container to complete the project.
- Pieces of wood- Make your own signs. Find a piece of scrap wood or buy a board from somewhere like Lowe's. Have it cut to the size you want if necessary. Sand the edges and paint with an acrylic paint as a base coat. Let dry. Stencil or free-hand your saying. I like to paint a line in the color of the words around the edge, and then sand away some paint for a worn look. Spray with an acrylic sealer, especially if the sign could be outside.
- Quilted pillowcase shams- Use these 'mini-quilts' under a centerpiece on your kitchen table, or under a side-table display. These can be found for a dollar or two for a pretty pair at thrift stores. Even if they don't match your bedroom scheme, they might look nice somewhere else in your home.
- Old, extra, or broken metal rake- Make an original place to hang items in your garden shed or garage. Take the metal end of the rake apart from the wooden handle. Turn the prongs so they're facing up, so you can hang things from them. Figure out where you want it... place it where no one will run in to it. It's nice to have an extra set of hands when putting it up. Use nails or screws to fasten securely.
- Old greeting cards, brown grocery bags, wrapping paper- Make your own gift tags from things around the house. Cut out with plain or patterned scissors and use a hole punch to string a ribbon through. Could also make bookmarks from the greeting cards. Around Christmas, use the grocery bags to make paper chains to go with a natural decorating scheme. Use wrapping paper as an inexpensive material for scrapbooking.
- Vintage suitcase- Set the stage for seasonal vignettes. Look for a large suitcase with a lid that stays open at a 90` angle. Use old books to boost your display items to different heights. Bring in an electric candle or string of Christmas lights to highlight special features. Remember everything looks better in odd number groupings.
"To think creatively, we must be able
to look afresh at what we normally
take for-granted. "
~ George Kneller ~
to look afresh at what we normally
take for-granted. "
~ George Kneller ~