14 Flashes of Design Brilliance With Everyday Items
These ordinary home details turned on their head will open your eyes to a new side of the decorating world
Lisa Frederick September 1, 2012
Houzz Contributor. After journalism school, I fell into decorating media and immediately discovered a new passion. An Atlanta native, I spent several years as an editor for Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine before making the leap to national publications and websites such as Houzz, Better Homes and Gardens and Southern Accents. I live in Birmingham, Alabama, with my husband and son, who’ve gotten used to coming home and finding the furniture rearranged. When I'm not dragging case goods across the floor, I enjoy good food and wine, college football, music of all kinds, and traveling.
Houzz Contributor. After journalism school, I fell into decorating media and immediately... More
Every now and then, I come across a design idea that's so simple yet so ingenious that it sparks a "Why didn't I think of that?" facepalm. These 14 bursts of inspiration speak for themselves. They represent some of the best lightbulb moments that Houzz has to share — all easy, all creative and all totally inspiring. Which one's your favorite?
Think this backsplash is a tile mosaic? Look closer. It's actually fabric covered with glass — so much easier, more affordable and unexpected.
The last place I'd think to put a window is right near the floor, but this one completely transforms a narrow office nook. It leads the eye straight through the space and provides an unusual perspective on the natural world outside.
A simple coat of kelly green instantly connects this grid of window framing to the landscape and calls attention to the view. Color is one of the surest ways to create maximum impact with minimum fuss, and this inspired treatment proves the point.
Mirror cutouts layered over wallpaper curve along this powder room wall, filling the empty space in a wholly delightful way.
Flummoxed about how to hide unsightly wall cables indoors? Embrace them as part of the design. Not only do these cables act as graphic, industrial-style frames for the windows, but they also inform the room's palette.
If your shower curtain is too short for the space, link extra curtain rings together to create a series of chains. Poof! Problem solved, with a great new look to boot.
Rather than a traditional foot-of-the-bed bench, this smart design incorporates a built-in ledge that can be a perch for slipping on shoes or a spot for stashing extra blankets.
What's sassier than an animal-hide rug? An animal-hide rug cut up and stitched together in a crazy quilt of random squares.
Most people would have painted these chairs white and called it a day. A dip-dye technique puts a sleek cap of paint on just the tops — and increases the interest 10-fold without an ounce of extra effort.
Colorful grout is pretty common, but this shower stall takes it a few steps further: Slivers of the vertical tile that makes up the rounded columns separate the subway tiles for a grid of staggered colors.
No room for a traditional breadbox on the counter? Tuck it deep within the island. You could also stash utensils or other kitchen gear inside.
Here's one way to tackle unsightly old paneling: Paint the grooves white and the boards indigo to transform it into a graphically striped wall treatment.
If you've ever had a dog or a small child, you know what a pain it is to put up and take down door and stairway gates. This built-in, retractable version not only is a cinch to pull out when you need it, but also looks way more attractive than the portable kind.
Who knew C-clamps could be so chic? Mounted on a taxicab-yellow slab of wood, they morph into the most awesome coat rack ever.
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