Decorate! Part I

If your living room walls are more bare than Mother Hubbard's cupboard, you might need to spice things up a bit. "Yes, I do, Dear Designer," you say. "But my last dollar went to Starbucks for that Triple shot, Skinny Cow, Double Chocolate latte!" As I peel you off the wall from your chocolate caffeine high, I recommend easy and cheap ways to add more interest to your walls. Although I will admit that the sight of you hanging off the wall with a chocolate mustache and twitchy eyes WAS interesting!

1. Lots of Frames. Visit your local dollar store or thrift shop and pick up cheap frames and mirrors of assorted sizes and shapes.

2. Remnants. Edge the frames with fringe, braid or even pompom remnants. Get the remnants from the thrift store, local fabric shop or raid your own rag bag. The lace on that old shirt that had a hole in it would work great around the mirror.

3. Paper. Don't have a painting or photo you want to display? Try framing of piece of remnant wallpaper, or a saved piece of wrapping paper, a fabric remnant that has a striking geometric print or even a colorful place mat cut to size (pick up one for a song at that same thrift store).

4. Chalkboards. Check out your child's room or your local thrift shop (yes, I DO spend all my time there!) for assorted chalkboards and arrange them on your wall. Use them for an ever-changing display of your child's art, messages, or caffeine-powered rants.

5. Just Paint. If you just cannot think of anything to put in those frames, paint in coordinating colors and hang them empty on the wall in groups. And if you have a sense of humor, you might frame that bad patch on the wall and pretend the blemish was intentional!

6. Records. Pick up old vinyl records from the thrift shop - particularly bad or scratchy ones because we don't want to ruin the good ones. For the sake of musical history, I recommend using old Lawrence Welk albums. Spray these in bright colors and attach them to the wall as instant graphic elements.

7. Used Canvases. Pick up old, used canvases from failed art projects at the thrift store (and shed a tear for dashed dreams of artistic grandeur), spray paint the whole thing black or white. Then visit the kitchen corner of the thrift shop and pick up all of the wooden spoons, spray paint in bright colors and glue to the canvas in an arrangement of your choice. Hey, its not Matisse, but it works.

See! With a little imagination and some pocket change, you can add life to your living room walls. Now, I wonder what we could do with all those used Starbucks coffee stirrers you have been saving.


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