Wednesday, August 3, 2011


For my inaugural Minimalist post, I decided to write about something that I am constantly dreaming up new ideas for: DIY projects. Living in the city on a tight budget and being surrounded by incredible designers and talented artists, it’s hard not to get a little jealous of the things you can’t afford. My solution: make it yourself. All of the projects I am going to show you cost me less than $50 each (and most of them less than $20!).

1.Fabric-covered lampshade. My previous roommate left me this great lamp and I perused thrift stores until I found the perfect shape of shade I wanted. Ended up buying one from Diversity for only $3. I glued about 1/4 yard of fabric around it with tacky glue. Total project cost me less than $15. This tutorial is basically what I did.

2. Pillow cover. I had some old maroon pillows on my couch that were driving me crazy so I decided to make covers for them. I got a great deal on the upholstery fabric at JoAnn (45% off!) and used this tutorial to make them.

3. Wall decal. This project isn’t technically DIY, since I didn't create the decal, but I consider it an awesomely minimal solution to no painting rules in apartments. I ordered it from Amazon for only THREE dollars. Seriously. Also, it was crazy simple to put on the wall and peels right off!

4. Chalkboard. I made this from the top of an old Ikea coffee table that was given to me by a friend who was moving. I simply removed the legs and painted it with chalkboard paint and hung it on the wall! SO easy! Biggest expense here is the chalkboard paint, which will run you about $16 for a quart (at Lowe’s).

5. Reupholstered dining chairs. I purchased these great metal leg chairs from the thrift store for $20 for the pair. I made a cushion out of stuffing and felt and then pulled fabric over the top and stapled it to the bottom of the seat. Total cost was around $45 including the chairs.

6. Painted rug. I had seen tutorials for painting rugs for a few months and decided I must try this. I purchased a rug from Big Lots ($20) and used some left over paint from a dresser I painted awhile back. I absolutely LOVE the final product. I used this tutorial to guide me.

7. Chair makeover. I got this chair on Craigslist for $5 but it had a ridiculous office chair base with wheels, which I immediately removed. I found an old table by a trashcan in my alleyway and removed the legs and then added them to my chair. It took me all of 30 minutes... it was a good day to say the least.

There are literally tons of resources, tutorials, and information out there about DIY projects. A few of the ones I love are Pinterest, Design*Sponge, and Curbly. What are some of your favorites?

Stay tuned for part two of "I Spy DIY"!

Christie Thompson


missemilyjones said...

welcome to the team, christie! such a fantastic inaugural post.

and thats a pretty hot maple table you have in the foreground there... hah!

Anonymous said...

Yes, love this!

stitchmond said...

My friends always give me crap because I want to build things rather than buy them. I make my own pillows all the time and I am actually building a table. I pick up scrap wood, fabric, frames, and furniture parts whenever I find them. A quick hit with sandpaper, stain, paint or glue and things are better than new. I check out all the time for DIY projects.