Blog by Beebe Cline

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17 Ways to Decorate With Everyday Things

Netflix has changed the way we binge watch TV — instead of being way behind because you are only on season three of Breaking Bad, you're behind if you haven't watched an entire brand new series two days after it premieres. In an effort to stay up to date, I've been watching the new series Orange Is the New Black, and I'm constantly amazed at the ingenuity the inmates use to make useful things out of the few items they have.

So far my favorite is the way Sophia covered her prison-issue sandals in duct tape because metallic was very in that season. Inmates transform juice packets into lip stain, make earplugs out of pillow stuffing and affix pictures to their walls with gum (do not try that one at home!) It's actually full of inspirational lessons about working with what you've got at your disposal. Many Houzzers have this same talent for working with what they have around the house. Here are 17 uses for everyday items that are likely stashed somewhere in your home.
On the show, the women have to get very creative about working with what they've got, and sometimes trading with what they've got. In this scene, Piper has to trade a few chunks of her blonde locks for Sophia to use as highlights in Tasha's hairdo. In return, she gets cocoa butter, which she mixes with chewed up peppers to create a soothing lotion for Red's aching back, which keeps her from getting "starved out." It's complicated, and one must be clever about working with what's available.

Side note: I recommend reading Piper Kerman's memoir, which the show is based upon, before your binge watch.

You probably have your own lotion, so here are some other things you can do with what you may already have around the house:
Double-sided tape. Houzz contributor Samantha Schoech didn't wait around for a wallpaper hanger; she simply affixed this Woods wallpaper with double-sided tape.
Rulers and yardsticks. These charming little wooden rulers used to be given out as freebies at businesses such as hardware stores and banks. The great typography and signs of use make them wonderful items to display today.

Here's how to make this garden organizer
Staples. You know you have that fabric scrap pile and that horrible still life of the pewter mug with the pears on top of the sad dish towel you painted when you were going through your adult ed art class phase (I know I do!). Stretch a patterned fabric across said canvas and staple it to the back of the frame. Trust me, if your art talents are lacking like mine, it will be a major improvement and you'll actually want to hang it.
Tea bags. Give your too-bright-white fabrics and furniture a lovely aged look with tea. Here's how
Toothpaste. Anyone who has ever had to take down thumbtacks from a dorm room with no access to spackle has learned this one — toothpaste does the trick in a jam. Use plain white, let it dry, then sand it down. Another great use for toothpaste is to shine your faucets with it when you spill some in the sink (I picked up that tip from Mrs. Meyers).
Pipes. Use plumbing pipes and connectors to make industrial strength shelves, either freestanding or wall-mounted. You may have to actually make a trip to the hardware store for this one, but hitting your neighborhood store is a lot easier than the ordeal of going to Ikea.

How to make these wall-mounted shelves
Duct tape. It's amazing how much one can do with this strong tape; my personal favorite is this bench created by Cece Kaufman Interiors.
Twine. I love twine; it has a charming, old-fashioned feel to it, and better yet, you probably have a spool in your gardening bag. This ingenious napkin ring is crafted of twine and a few acorns and leaves.
Clipboards. Whether made of particleboard, lucite or metal, clipboards make great makeshift frames for art as well as spots to pin up work and inspiration. Just hammer a long nail right through the little hole and into the wall. You can even make a mat underneath the art out of a piece of paper.
Binder clips. These metal clips have a nostalgic feel and are a great way to clip up art. You can use them on a magnetic board or attach them to the wall with tiny nails. I've used the giant ones before to hold up larger pieces and the look is clean and industrial.
Maps. I love maps, but no one seems to use them anymore because they have GPS to help them get lost. At least GPS doesn't require a lot of complicated folding. Anyway, use maps to wrap shoeboxes and transform them into office-worthy organizers or Martha Stewart-caliber gift wrap.
Old newspapers and magazines. Get out the Modge Podge and rediscover the fun of decoupage. Whether it's lamps, a dresser or an entire wall, this retro art is making a big comeback.

Learn how to use decoupage glue
Rubber bands. If you've ever made a ball out of these, you have the skills to transform a piece of furniture by wrapping it in colorful bands.
Soup cans. Remember wrapping a can in paper in kindergarten and giving it to your Mom as a pencil holder? Even though a 5-year-old could do it, it's a great idea. These cans are simply stuck to a magnetic strip to corral small tools, brushes and pencils. Leave the Campbell's labels on for a Warholian vibe, or strip them off for a sleeker look.
Blankets. If you don't have a tablecloth that's meeting your needs, throw a clean wool blanket on top instead. It will transform your tablescape for a cozy wintry meal.
Mason jars. If those heirloom candlesticks are too fancy for your relaxed dinner party, get out that 100 pack of tea lights from Ikea and pop them into mason jars. These also work well as hurricanes outdoors.

See more uses for mason jars
Clothespins. Extend a string, piece of raffia or wire for your favorite photos or pages from a book and clip them up like little pieces of laundry on a line.I like to do this with my holiday cards so that I can enjoy looking at them for a month.