Looking for some easy ways to spruce up your home for the New Year without spending a fortune? You’ll love these six easy DIY living room and kitchen art projects from Cole Mayer! I am fascinated by the quilling paper art form that he talks about. I’ve never heard of it before, but it sounds like a great way to relax and make something beautiful. Check out Cole’s ideas and start DIYing your way to a beautifully decorated home!
DIY Living Room and Kitchen Art Projects
Back in college, my then-girlfriend-now-wife decided my walls were too bare, and doodled animals and funny sayings. My favorites were “Nonconformist pig says moo” and “Citrus fruit are tangy,” which I taped up for all to see.
It’s now a decade later, and my wife is pregnant. In order to save money, we are basically living on budgets mimicking poor college students. And that means we’re doing DIY projects to liven up our kitchen and living room. Here’s what I have planned for the walls (and beyond…).
- Twirling paper
A form of paper art that became popular during the Renaissance and is making a comeback, quilling can be done with scissors, a few toothpicks, and glue – though there are proper tools available, as well. Also known as paper filigree, the quilling itself is the hard part; all that’s left is mounting the art in a shadow box and hanging it on a wall. Pinterest is perfect for inspiration, with everything from simple to complex designs. If you’re like us, though, you can go with pop culture.
- A shadow box alternative
There are two major components to this project: a crate and wrapping paper.
A wooden wine crate is perfect, but any wooden box will do to create a display case. This functions similar to a shadow box, displaying non-flat objects, without a pane of glass, and with a colorful interior.
If you are near a winery or tasting room, you should be able to buy a small crate from them for a low price – possibly even free. You can use leftover wrapping paper from the last birthday gift you gave, or even wallpaper – both will give you a wide variety of designs to choose from. Now all you need is glue and a way to hang the crate from the wall, and your display is ready.
- More wallpaper uses
Do you have wallpaper leftover from the display box? Do you really like the design? Consider alternative wallpaper uses. I have a boring stepping stool in black and white. I can add some color with wallpaper. I also act as the bartender for our house parties, so I’m going to line a tray with to give it a color pop. I love surprising house guests, so I’m removing all the drawers from my kitchen (no small task) and gluing wallpaper to the sides.
- A gallery wall
My wife has already been in for her first ultrasound, and she’s going to be making another version of the Dream Big quilling project for our own home. I’m going to combine the ultrasound with the quilling – and, once I have a few objects, the display case – to create a gallery wall next to the kitchen table. Right now, there’s an old print from mother-in-law that’s mostly there to fill the space.
- A blackboard table
When my wife and I moved into our new house last year, we bought a new dining room table. While building it was easy, the tabletop is incredibly heavy, and the two of us were just barely able to lift it. It had a dull metal finish that was reminiscent of marble. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo as a bottle of nail polish remover was knocked over, destroying the finish.
Before we moved states, we had a refrigerator that we painted using blackboard paint. Using chalk, we could write our grocery list on the fridge itself. Needing a new finish for the table we decided to revisit this idea. Now, we can write on the table during dinner, so we don’t forget an idea, or leave a love note to each other in the morning. Visiting kids love it, and it’s simple to clean up.
- Coloring books for adults
An easy way for good art to make its way onto your walls, that you can say you made without needing any artistic talent (see last tip) is to only do half the work. By that, I mean doing the coloring in coloring books. Aside from quilling, coloring books are one of my wife’s favorite ways to destress after teaching teenagers all day. There’s a coloring book for everyone – from geometric mandalas to Game of Thrones. Arguably the most famous of modern adult-oriented coloring books are Johanna Basford’s series, which sparked the current craze.
By sheer coincidence, a Latvian woman turned that same fox into a quilling project. After you have finished coloring, you just need to pick a frame and hang it.
Most of these are fairly easy – even if you lack artistic talent like I do. All the projects, however, will add pops of color and art to your kitchen and living room, from your walls to drawers, and even your stepping stool and table.
About the author:
Cole Mayer was a newspaper reporter for three years with the Mountain Democrat in California. He and his wife, currently expecting, have been using old art to decorate their home while saving money. Cole’s wife loves to quill and color in her downtime, which inspired Cole to use her art- as well as his own- to liven up their home on a budget.