From My DIY Inspiration Files

By Kate Riley March 11, 2010

The Special Interest Publications by Better Homes & Gardens are one of my all time favorite go to resources for DIY ideas.  Today, I thought I’d pass along some of the ideas from my inspiration files that I think are completely fabulous. 

Enjoy ! 

How cool is this idea to wallpaper the drawers of a dresser with a little decoupage ?

bhg wallpapered dresser


Sew a half dozen sheer napkins together for a cafe curtain, and add charm with mismatched flatware as curtain hooks !

bhg napkin panel


Add a pop of color to your pantry by sewing kitchen towels into basket liners. 

bhg kitchen towel liners


Jazz up your summer table by hot gluing decorative items like sea glass (or vintage buttons, glass gems, etc.) to plain napkin rings.

bhg sea glass napkin ring


Transform the drab into the fab by backing an ordinary bookshelf with wallpaper and replacing the wood shelves with glass.  Très chic !

bhg wallpaper lined bookcase


Refashion a shutter and some brackets into a one-of-a-kind shelf and coat rack for your entry. 

bhg shutter shelf


Add vintage charm with skeleton keys mounted to an embroidery hoop backed with scrap paper or wallpaper remnants.  Very creative !

bhg keys in hoop


Float stock cabinets off the wall, remove two doors, then add a pop of color to the remaining door fronts.  I love the crafty clock made out of foam core, paper secured with spray adhesive, chipboard numbers and an clock making kit.   So fun !

bhg diy clock and cubes


Got a great vintage piece of cloth but you’ll never wear the outdated piece ?  Refashion it into shams and an accent pillow.  Brilliant !

bhg retro pillow


Create a sheer canopy with panels and a ceiling medallion centered above a bed. 

bhg ceiling medallion


Use garden hanging baskets mounted low in a kid’s room to corral toys and books.  Be sure to secure to your wall studs !

bhg hanging planters


Build a unique pencil holder out of rosettes from the lumber department !  Or how about this – fill a pair of them with sand, top it with another rosette, and you’d have a perfect set of original bookends.

bhg molding pencil holder


Add interest to a plain vase by using painter’s tape to create your design, then  sponging on some colored glass paint. 

bhg painted glass


Convert an old fashioned end table into a modern file cart and tool storing station.  This is genius ! 

bhg file cart


Add a touch of garden themed whimsy to your kitchen by bringing in a trellis and displaying your kitchen utensils. 

bhg trellis


Another plain shelf is given new life with fresh paint, contrasting scalloped molding, and decorative paper secured to the back.  You can spot the ‘Before’ in the bottom corner. 

bhg shelf after 

All images courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications. 

Aren’t these the most fabulous ideas ?   Which one is your favorite ?


  1. I’m giggling here, because I think our inspiration files must be quite similar! I love them all, but the redone shelf in the last picture is waaay cool. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love those publications as well.. my reading basket is full of them! Lots of fun ideas that you posted, but right at this moment I’m liking the planter baskets to use in my entry!

  3. I love the planter backets on the kids walls! I am not a big fan of the hammock method for storing all the “stuffies” ( stuffed animals ) that she has, so this will be great!

  4. aughh! I love the idea of the planters to hold kid stuff! I’m so glad you shared that and I was just at the hardware store this morning…I’m thinking another trip is in order. :)

  5. I was wondering if you could share which publication it was in. I have several and saw the first one in your post on a card for subscribing to Do it Yourself but the actual mag was 100 best decorating ideas so I had no idea where to look for that back issue! Excellent post! Love your blog!

  6. I love those special publications! I think we’ve read the same ones because I recognize just about all of those projects. My favorite is the shutter shelf and the office on wheels. If I knew how to sew I’d make pillows out of some of my grandma’s vintage clothing.

  7. I love those publications too. I have seen most of these ideas, but not that canopy–that is amazing. I need to do this to my little girl’s room. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Those are great! I’ve saved a few to my own inspiration files… especially love that shutter shelf and the planters as baskets on the wall.

  9. Wheeeee!! I am dizzy with glee over these. I love love love the shutter shelf. I always see these dated 70’s shutters at my favorite antique mall, now I actually have a reason to buy them!
    So loving the Inspiration File!

  10. I love the shutters made into a shelf with the addition of some brackets. I could do that – I just might, if I ever find some shutters. Definitely an idea to store away.

  11. I’m with the others, I love the planter baskets for kids toys! I’ve seen something similar, also in a BHG special interest where they used a small window box in an office/studio to hold canvases.

  12. These are great ideas. I liked the suggestion of repainting a shelf, removing the wood plank and replacing it with glass and a little wallpaper for the backing to boot-so pretty! I have a small shelf like that in our den that would benefit from that treatment.

    I loved the wallpaper on that dresser in the first photo, I really like that pattern and would love to replicate that on the drawers on my office desk1

  13. I happen to have a sectioned wooden box thingie (it was actually the packaging for my daughter’s play kitchen accesories set- pots, pans, dishes etc) that I haven’t thrown away but haven’t figured out what to do with yet. I think it would look remarkably similar to that last shelf- thanks for the inspiration!

    BTW- I have a few projects in mind that I’d like to tackle using wallpaper. Do you have any favorite places (online or brick and mortar?) to buy great wallpaper without spending a fortune? Thanks!

  14. Oh I love the planter baskets on the walls…I am thinking I could use the wooden rectangular window boxes on the wall for books in our playroom! I have a huge binder full of inspiration that I haven’t look at in awhile, off to check it out.

  15. i could look at pictures like these for hours. thanks for posting the suggestion, i wouldn’t have thought to go there. now i know what i’ll be looking at for the next hour ;)

  16. Wallpaper = god’s gift to DIYers. I love that stuff. :) Now the hanging planters… THAT’S a little slice of brilliant right there. I’m all over that like white on rice. Take it one step further and line them with cute fabric that coordinates with the room, so the barbie shoes and legos don’t fall out onto the floor!

  17. I love all of those. I actually bought a cheap-o (I think it was “camp rock”) little shadow box on clearance a long time ago, covered the picture with nice scrapbook fabric, then put some skeleton keys in that. I love the look with the embroidery hoops. Awesome inspiration.
    P.S. Do you have any use for some wood ladder-back chairs? You aren’t super close by, but I am trying to sell them on Craigslist, and I can totally picture you making something amazing with these (refinish/painting, changing the seat)

  18. A canopy from a ceiling medallion?! That is a fantastic idea, I’m sure to use that one at some point! Also adore that pillow made from an old dress…what great ideas. Thanks for sharing, Janell

  19. How funny, I was just looking at that first dresser yesterday when I was going through some older magazines. I also love the kitchen towel liners and the hanging baskets. Great ideas!

  20. I love the BHG special publications issues too! I always look at some of the great ideas and think “Now, why didn’t I think of that”? I love the planter idea for the kids rooms and that kitchen trellis is so pretty! Thanks!

  21. So fun! I love their issues too. LOVE that cafe curtain with the forks and spoons. Looks a bit like my curtain and chandelier that I redid for our kitchen. Pics on m blog.

  22. Is there a shopping guide/source for those hanging planters? I have been looking for something JUST like that, but with little success. They are so simple and just what I need, and I see the $14 price tag in the corner…where are they from??? Thanks!!!

  23. I love the cane decoupaged dresser the best…fab ideas! And the rosettes pen holder…amazing…so cool to have a desk decor that looks like an architectural element.

  24. Leslie, these ideas are from the following issues: 100 Decorating Ideas under $100, Summer 2009; 100 Ideas Makeover Style, Fall/Winter 2009; DIY Summer 2008; 100 Decorating Ideas under $100, Spring 2009. LOVE these magazines !

    Jessica – the planters are from Kinsman Company. They are listed at $21.95 at this link:

    Maureen – send me pics and I’ll send YOU ideas !

  25. Just recently found your blog and I just absolutely love everything about it!!! LOVE these inspirational photos! I could totally see mysef using every one of them but my favorite is the hanging garden baskets for kids toys! What a great idea!

  26. I love all these ideas. The wire baskets – genius! The shutters for a shelf and hanging – wow! Napkin rings – making tomorrow with all that beach glass the kids brought home. The re-purposed dress to pillows – now I can finally clean out the bin of “what do I do with this stuff that is old but I can’t wear” – YAHOO!!!

  27. I keep a stack of those idea-filled gems with many dog-eared corners. I have grand plans to undertake many of the projects. Someday.

    My favorites were the last (shelf redo – fabulous!) and the baskets for corralling toys.

  28. We can’t afford magazine subs right now so I wanted to thank you for a peek at the goodies in this one. As I was scrolling down, I let out a resounding “HA! I’VE ALREADY DONE THAT!” The hubster was thrilled that it was something we already had instead of something new I wanted to try…heehee! After 2 years of holding up morning glories, I yanked our old falling apart trellis insided, gave her a good clean up, glued all of the wobbly parts and painted her up pretty. She’s been the focal point of my kitchen ever since! She’s sooooo puuuuurty with fake ivy vines twising around and teeny tiny sauce pans culled from Grandma’s basement hanging all over. I plopped some S hooks here and there and hang herbs to dry on her as well! I had doubts about this project when I first started it 4 years ago but how cool is it that we’ve got the seal of approval now!?! Thanks again!

  29. I LOVE the rolling cart! Can you please share the name and date of the magazine that photo came out of?

  30. Good morning, ms CG!

    These are totally awesome and lovely ideas, but I always feel like they don’t apply to my (ugh rental suite) home. Mostly I get perplexed by what to do in the kitchen (especially with storage), the bathroom (it’s very white, while only the towels and floor mat provide colour; its a very small space w/ no window as well), and sometimes the bedroom, but as long as the clutter is gone and the bed is made, I don’t mind so much. It’s always dark in there anyway.

    Any ideas? We have stuff on the walls, but it always feels so drab and boring! After two years of the same thing, I am ready for a change!

  31. Oooh love the glass shelf idea, very pretty! I’m hankering to start decoupaging onto furniture, it just looks gorgeous :D

  32. i love each of these ideas! i’m laughing at myself, though, because my absolute favorite was the mismatched flatware reuse idea ;)

  33. Hi!
    I love all the great ideas you posted…….BHG is my favorite place to find inspiration. You should come visit my blog and see my before and after of my cottage kitchen! It was a monumental undertaking, but SO worth it now! You won’t believe it’s the same cabinets….I don’t and I’m the one that did the work! LOL
    Have a great day!
    (really love the cafe curtain with utensils idea, thanks for posting!)

  34. My favorite is the dress turned pillow, and there is a good reason it’s my favorite right now! I am currently wearing an adorable vinatage skirt I found at the thrift store, but it’s a tad tight on my waist, and annoying me. I have been thinking all day how well the design would go in my bedroom as a pillow. Seeing this dress turned pillow made me smile :). I can’t wait to make my new pillow, but am sad to say goodbye to the skirt!

  35. in love with ur blog. obviously :) but HAD to stop and say the garden basket idea for storage in the kids’ rooms is GENIUS. love it.

  36. This is so rewarding to look at. Your file of DIY ideas has now become my file of DIY ideas. I especially like the shutter turned the coat rack. I think, I’m subscribing to BHG now.

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