April 26, 2012

DIY Projects to Save You $100’s (Part One)

I often have people tell me they would love to do more DIY projects, but they are turned off by the fact that buying the supplies needed for a project often costs just as much as it does to go with the ready-made option. It is true: some DIYs can wind up costing more than what you can buy ready-made, but there are plenty of categories where you can save hundreds of dollars by exerting some elbow grease and doing things yourself. 

Today begins a two-part series where I am going to share six different categories where DIYing really can save you money!

Decorative Accessories

Spending $30 here and $30 there on trinkets and baubles to accent your home might not seem like a lot at the time, but it really starts to add up in the long run! Check out your thrift store, flea market, or even consider upcycling items you might otherwise throw in the garbage, like bottles, jars and cans. 

Another great place to look: the clearance section at Hobby Lobby. You can often find home decor items with minor blemishes (cracks, chipped paint, etc.) discounted as much as 90%, and with a little bit of glue and/or paint to fix these cosmetic issues, they will be as good as new and perfect for adorning your home! 

There is a set of greens birds you might have noticed in a few of my home decor displays.

My Christmas mantel

…and my Spring mantel.

I scored those little guys for just $5 (for both!) on clearance at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago, and although they were in need of some TLC, a can of Krylon Moss spray paint was all it took to update them to match my decor. These are one of my favorite home decor purchases I’ve made in a long while!

Looking for some more stylish ideas to save on home accents? Check out the eye candy below!

Emily @ Decor Chick – Spray Painted Mason Jars

Obviously, there are some situations when decor items warrant spending a bit more, as is the case for collectors, for instance. I have a collection of crosses that I add to year after year (a couple of which you can see in my spring mantel above), and I am willing to spend a decent amount when I find a cross I love that I want to add to it. But if you’re simply seeking attractive objects to fill your home, you can find them for much cheaper than you can buy them at places like Pottery Barn or Anthropologie. 


When we moved into our last home, we had zero in the way of lamps. Thinking I didn’t have any other options, I forked out close to $600 dollars on lamps for various rooms in our home (and that was at half off), and trust me: that was at a time when we did not have $600 to spare. I look back on that and think about how silly it was of me not to go to the thrift store or scour some yard sales instead. It is incredible what a can of spray paint and some creativity can do to transform old, outdated lamp bases! Just add a new shade for $10-15, and you’re all set. Word to the wise, though: at a yard sale (or even the thrift store) always request to try out a lamp before purchasing, taking along your own bulb if necessary. This will save you the hassle of having to rewire a lamp that doesn’t work properly.

Recently for George’s nursery, I took an outdated lamp and freshened it up with a coat of paint and a spray painted lamp shade to create this honeycomb motif. Total cost for this project? $15!

Check out this gorgeous revamped lamp from the lovely ladies at Shanty 2 Chic…

…and this yard sale lamp makeover from Myra at My Blessed Life.

There is so much potential in making old, ugly lamps new again!

Throw Pillows

Throw pillows can be ridiculously expensive, and especially considering how truly straightforward a standard square pillow cover is to make. Why not buy a couple of yards of fabric you love (on sale, if possible!) to make your own? I make my DIY pillows even more cost-effective by making my own pillow forms out of body pillows, which generally allows me to get three pillow forms for the same amount (or less) than I would usually spend on one.

Changing out throw pillows can really give a space an instant facelift, and if you are anything like me and like to switch them out regularly, the key to ensuring DIY pillows are as cost-effective as possible is to invest in (or make) a few pillow forms and then sew covers to go over them, instead of making traditional stuffed pillows with fiberfill. The cost of all that batting can really start to add up! Sewing an envelope closure is so simple to do (I detail the process in this tutorial), and folding up and stowing away covers when not in use is much easier than finding a feasible place to store oodles of fluffy, bulky pillows!

If you’re inspired to make some pillows of your own, the PS archives are full of great pillow tutorials, including my Monogram Pillow Tutorial from earlier this month…

…or pay a visit to some other places to check out these gorgeous pillow projects!

Desiree @ The 36th Avenue –  Bicycle Pillows

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for the second installment of this two-part series when I’ll share three more of my favorite money-saving DIY categories!

Thanks so much for stopping in!


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7 Responses to DIY Projects to Save You $100’s (Part One)

  1. Jessica @ Sunny Tuesday April 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I love this series, Amy! I’m pinning this! 🙂

  2. Navy Wifey Peters April 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    I definitely want to do the shoe box wall art project and make the monogram pillow! Thanks for the great ideas!!! I think I pinned them all!

  3. Heidi @ Decor & More April 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Awesome tips, Amy! Thanks for sharing — hitting the thrift stores tomorrow. 🙂
    xo Heidi

  4. Jeni April 27, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    What a fantastic topic to share – thank you!!

  5. Allena Mistral Jewelry April 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Awesome ideas! I love the idea of knowing what to DIY and what not to (even though I DIY EVERYTHING anyways). If you’re looking for cheap fabric, sign up for Joann fabrics email list on their website. At least once a week, I get a coupon for 40-50% one item (a yard of fabric is one item) or 40% off one cut of fabric. They’ve got lots of really nice fabrics that are like $15 a yard, but are so much cheaper if you have coupons. They also have a coupon app for your phone which gives you an additional set of coupons every week or so. I can usually buy 3-4 different types of fabrics with coupons per trip.

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