1. Use painted shutters as a message board. Scoop up a set old shutters from a junk shop (or the roadside), add a coat of bright paint and use them to hold notes and snippets of inspiration. Hang them on the wall or simply lean them against it and move them whenever you feel the urge.
3. Brighten your entry with colorful hooks. It’s the first thing you see as you walk through the door, so why not make it more cheerful? Fun hooks are an easy way to make this area of the home stand out while adding much-needed storage. Try the classic multicolored Eames hooks shown here, whimsical animal-shaped hooks or repurposed vintage glass knobs.
4. Set up a cut-flower station that’s just as pretty when not in use. Fill a few shelves on a bookcase or open cupboard with your favorite vases, pitchers, floral buckets, mason jars and a basket of supplies (twine, scissors, floral frogs), and you’ll never have to go scrambling for a vase again. For bonus style points, keep at least one of the vases on display filled with fresh flowers and organize by color, shape or material.
5. Spice up your stairs with paint and stencils. How lovely to have a staircase that surprises you with beauty every time you ascend and descend! Try painting wooden stairs (or just the risers) plus the walls in the stairwell. For extra adornment, use stencils (stylized flowers and geometric prints work nicely) to create a pattern on the wall or steps.
6. Put basic terra-cotta pots to work on your mantel. Simple terra-cotta pots can be found at most big garden and craft stores for a song — or maybe you already have some gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. Choose a variety of sizes, from tiny to medium, and fill the pots with shade-loving houseplants (like ferns) from the nursery. Place them in a cluster on your mantel, propping up one or two with a book or an upturned bowl to give some height. Remember, when using old pots, be sure to scrub them thoroughly first.
7. Use wooden hangers to display art prints or old calendar pages. Looking for a quick way to wake up your walls? Use wooden hangers (like the kind for pants) and clip on art prints, pages sliced out of damaged art or photography books, or sheets from an old calendar.
8. Back a bookshelf with colorful paper. You can use vintage wallpaper, gift wrap, scrapbooking paper or any other pretty paper you have for this project. Remove everything from the shelves or cupboard you want to line, and remove the shelves as well if you can. Using double-sided tape, and trimming your paper as needed, apply the paper to the back wall. Replace the shelves and your stuff — your ho-hum bookcase is now a focal point.
9. Give your yard a makeover. Think bamboo fencing, tiki torches, hanging lanterns and brightly colored outdoor cushions. If you have an old surfboard or boogie board lying around, mount it on the side of your storage shed or fence, or set it atop a sawhorse to make a thrifty DIY outdoor bar. Use a colorful fringed sarong as a tablecloth, and pipe some vintage surf music outside.