Think outside the square and truly personalise your home by making some of the decor yourself. Go on, give it a go – not only will you save money, we guarantee you’ll have fun, too
9 things you can make for your home
Professionally made curtains or blinds can be expensive and the cost adds up quickly. However, with a sewing machine and a few outside-the-box ideas you can have some window treatments whipped up in no time and at a fraction of the cost. If you have a small window in need of some kind of covering for privacy or to diffuse light, consider sewing together some scarves in a sheer or lightweight fabric, with an opening at the top to thread through a rail.
2 Plant pots
With living greenery such a hot interior trend at the moment, this is a great time to introduce some plants in handmade pots to your home. Not only do plants pump oxygen into the air, they help soften the edges of any interior. Concrete planters are very on-trend and can be whipped up in a weekend – check online for instructions – then either painted or left natural to suit your scheme. They also make a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative so make a few extra while you’re at it.
Knitted blankets are all the rage in interiors right now and they are especially useful in the cooler months. However, they are often expensive to buy. If knitting is something you enjoy doing or you’re keen to give it a go (joining a knitting group is a great way to get started), head to your local wool stockist and ask them to advise you on the number of balls you’ll need for your project, then get clicking. Wool is often in clearance sales in spring so it may be a good time to stock up and knit for next winter.
4 Napkins and place mats
If you’re a regular entertainer and love to change up your table linen, making napkins from cheap cotton or linen off-cuts and place mats from felt or heavy canvas material, will not only save some dollars but give you the opportunity to be as creative as you want. Check out the emporiums for cheap fabric or search the bins at fabric shops for off-cuts – the beauty of this project is you don’t need large pieces of material.
The bed is generally the biggest item in the bedroom and is therefore a good place to create a focal point. If you have always dreamed of a headboard but it hasn’t quite made it up the priority list, why not make your own? There are loads of neat ideas on Pinterest, from simple plywood boards kept plain and minimal, to ones painted with cool, geometric designs. Even pegboard works here. If your style is rustic, there are numerous pallet designs online to copy; if you prefer a plush look, buy some fabric from a discount emporium (they normally get ends-of-line of quality fabrics and sell them at a fraction of the original price) and give upholstering a go. No one sees behind the bedhead so it doesn’t have to be perfect.
With a million and one things to spend money on for your home, producing your own artwork is a fabulous way to keep the household budget under control. Creating your own masterpiece can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. Framing some beautiful wrapping paper or a series of greeting cards or postcards is a very quick and effective way to get things up on your walls with minimal effort. However, if you fancy indulging your inner artist, buy an inexpensive art canvas or two and experiment with an on-trend marble effect or geometric pattern. Painted plywood off-cuts in squares or rounds look fab, too.
Cushions are one of the quickest ways to change the look of a room. If your living room or a bedroom is screaming out for a quick makeover, changing out your cushions for some new ones will have your space looking new and fresh in no time. There are numerous designs to suit your sewing level – not all cushions have to have a zip! Also, they can be made from almost anything – sacks, tea towels, scarves, an old jumper or a favourite T-shirt. Sewing stores such as Spotlight sell fabric in ‘fat quarters’ (fabric squares) and two of these make the perfect cushion size; they generally cost $4-$5 a square.
Having a single place to gather notices, kids’ awards, invitations, tickets and photos is really useful. Whether it’s for a home office, child’s room, kitchen or family area, a pinboard or moodboard will not go amiss. Get hold of some cheap cork tiles or cork sheets and glue to an art canvas, then cover in fabric that matches or complements your decor. A plain cork pinboard can be given a new look by painting on a cool stripe or dot design. Or cover a wooden art board in fabric (or paint it), attach ribbons across the front and peg items onto them.
Pop into a fabric store and see if they have any off-cuts. A piece of hemmed or fringed fabric looks great draped over a chair.
Words by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Josette Van Zutphen, Eve Wilson, Maree Homer/bauersyndication.com.au; Mel Jenkins and Wendy Fenwick/Flash Studios; Bauer Media Group Studio.