Take Basic Household Items From Boring to Brilliant

Chances are you have one of these dime-a-dozen basics that’s ripe for a redo. The experts at HGTV Magazine show you how to pretty them up.
By: Jessica Dodell-Feder
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Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Photo By: Thomas Liggett

Basic: A Nothing-Special Coat Rack

With just some wooden craft-store balls and a few coats of colorful paint, you can transform this bland piece into something cheerful.

Pop Some Color Onto Coat Rack Hooks

Unscrew the hooks, and paint the base with latex paint. Place each wooden ball on the end of a pencil, paint it, and let dry upright. Screw on hooks, and attach the balls to the ends using super glue. Paint: (coatrack) Pure White by HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams; (balls, clockwise from top left) Martha Stewart Crafts acrylic paint in indigo, amaranth, pond, habanero, chamomile, marmalade, blue calico, geranium, beach glass and poodle skirt, $1.50 for 2 ounces, Michaels stores; Wooden balls: Woodworks Ltd. 1" ball, $6 for 50, and 1 1/2" ball, $4 for 10, both craftparts.com

Basic: A Blah Folding Table

Every extra-large get-together or impromptu game of cards on a back deck calls for a folding table. The uses are endless, so bring some life to this functional staple.

Top a Folding Table With a Fun Pattern

Unclip or unscrew the tabletop from the frame. Paint the frame and the legs with an indoor/outdoor spray paint, and let dry. Cut a piece of water-resistant oilcloth fabric slightly bigger than the tabletop, and place it over the tabletop. Using a staple gun and 1/4" staples, attach the fabric to the underside of the tabletop, pulling it taut as you go. Reattach the tabletop to the frame. Paint: Real Orange by Rust-Oleum; Oilcloth: Toile Orange, $9 per yard, oilclothbytheyard.com

Basic: An Ordinary Vase

By now you have more plain vases from Mother’s Day, anniversary and birthday arrangements than you know what to do with. Transform them into ones you’ll actually use.

Give Vases a Swirly Design

Slip rubber bands over the vases, overlapping them in places. Smooth out the rubber bands so there are no twists. Apply a light coat of spray paint. Let the vases dry to the touch, then remove the rubber bands. Paint: Hosta Leaf and Totally Tangerine, both by Krylon

Basic: A Cheap-o Bulletin Board

From home office to teen bedroom, a corkboard works in just about every room. Dress it up to mix with any decor in your house.

Cover a Bulletin Board With Floral Fabric

Paint the frame with semigloss latex paint and let dry. Cut the fabric to the size of the cork, adding an inch to each side. Fold the extra inch of fabric under and iron the creases. Attach the fabric along the edges of the board with brass thumbtacks. Paint: Cloudburst by Sherwin-Williams; Fabric: Waverly Esmee in turquoise, $30 per yard, joann.com; Thumbtacks: Bazic brass thumbtacks, $4 for 200, amazon.com

Basic: A Plain Lampshade

Instantly add color and texture to a room by elevating a plain-old white lampshade into something unique with just ribbon and glue.

Stripe a Lampshade With Ribbon

Cut ribbons into equal lengths, each about the shade's height. Dab craft glue at the top and bottom of the shade, and adhere the ribbons so they slightly overlap. When you're done, glue one piece of ribbon around the top and a longer piece around the bottom of the shade to hide the other ribbons' edges. Ribbon: 5/8" single face satin in silver, cream, light blue and torrid orange, $1.50 per yard, mjtrim.com

Basic: A Drab Doormat

A doormat may be one of the first things people see when they enter your home. Make their first impression one that brings a smile to their face.

Stencil a Greeting Onto a Doormat

Center the stencil — you can custom-order one online — over the mat, and tape down the edges with strong tape. Use a round stencil brush to dab a heavy coat of flat latex paint inside the stencil. Let dry for 10 minutes, and remove the stencil by pulling it straight up. Paint: Refreshing Pool and Pear by Behr; Stencils: Custom "hi!" and "bye!" stencils in 8" monogram font, $26.50 each, stencilease.com

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