Category archives: Budget Decor

DIY Style File | Office Wall Art

Here’s a pretty resourceful design idea I spotted on Curbly: how to turn your collection of business cards into wall art. It’s an especially great project if like me, you’re in a design-related field and have collected bunches of stand-up-and-be-noticed cards. Or if you’ve abandoned your rolodex for a PDA.

* Sort cards by color, texture or theme. Look at them as a whole to see what kind of large scape print you can create with them.

* Turn them around. Some cards may have more designer appeal upside down, sideways, or on their backsides–begging to break out of the “same old, same old” mold.

* Cut, crop, or shred. Some cards exude more character when they’re cropped in dynamic ways. Think circles, lines, squares. Bring out your inner David Hockney.

* Consider designing a series of small pieces rather than one large piece.

* Mix the media. Admit it: you’ve been dying to do something with that new cover sheets on those pesky TPS reports. Ah, yeah.

* Layer it. Marker work on top could be fun–especially if you have a large number of white cards. Glue a few together to create some depth and pop.

* Get wordy. Arrange them into your favorite quote or word.

We’d love to see your designs or post your favorite office DIY project here. We won’t tell your boss. Really.

A Quick Shopping Tip on Craigslist

Taxes. Work deadlines. Press deadlines. You get the picture…I’ve been trapped under something heavy.

So as to not leave you empty-handed for too long, I’m passing on a tip I just discovered over the weekend. It will make your vintage, second-hand shopping much, much easier. And the reuse of pre-loved pieces is one of the best ways to express your personal style and go fabulously green. Are you ready? – This is a real-time image browser of everything sold on Craigslist. Enter your location to whittle down the options. Choose your favored category like “furniture” and CLICK.

Drumroll please…

An instant feast of photos of sofas, chairs, sideboards, lamps each listed with a price and location. Mouse-over that Eames-period plywood chair and the actual text listing will pop up like a Pop Tart from a toaster.

This works everywhere…as an experiment I typed in “Israel” and in the Art category were some paintings.

You’ll never have to click through each little listing again. It’s like–magic.


Wall Art for Modern Kids

Decorative wall decals are an simple way to personalize and dramatically change the look and feel of any room. They’re ideal for artistic little tykes, who can mix and match to their hearts’ content.

These stainless-steel Wall Puddles by Toord Boontje bring a little bling to any wall. Three designs in all: Bird (7” x 10”), iris or daisy (11 1/2” x 10”). Their self-stick backing makes for goof-proof installation. Available for $30 each at romp.

Designed by Dutch designer Inke Heiland, each animal silhouette is hand-cut from vintage wallpaper and available in 3 different prints per animal. Available exclusively through romp in the U.S., or through the designer’s website in the Netherlands.

Other eco-friendly appliques worth considering are the removable or magnetic styles we featured here and here.

Studio Sale at Lotta Jansdotter

Fresh from the Fab Green inbox: one of my favorite designers, Lotta Jansdotter, is spring cleaning and we’re invited! She’s launching a sample sale on March 25 at her Brooklyn studio. What you’ll find: accessories for the home from past seasons, samples, and one-of-a-kind items up to 60% off.

Lotta Jansdotter’s Studio Sale:
Sunday March 25th
from 12 – 4pm
at 75c Hoyt Street
(between State & Atlantic Ave)
Brooklyn NY 11201
ph: 718-596-2055

Non-New Yorkers (self included) can find some great deals on select items online. I went ahead and bought a button tote (lower left picture) to serve as a sweet shopping bag. Made from eco-friendly 100% linen.

Fab DIY: Magnetic Spice Containers

Curbly has become my go-to site for inspiring DIY style projects for the home. Here’s one for gourmets looking to add some spice to your storage. Goodbye clunky, lazy Susan!

Amber of My Aim is True used watchmaker’s tins made from recyclable glass-topped aluminum. Some magnets and a hot glue gun and voila–sleek, easy-to-find spice containers you can store behind your stove top, refrigerator, or even on the wall if you have a magnetic strip…

Fab Green Tip: This idea makes for a great office organizer as well. Paper clips, rubber bands, magnets. You don’t need to be a foodie to have good looking storage for all those little things in life.

Thanks Amber!

DIY STYLE | Ping Pong Lamp

I discovered this Atomic Pendant Lamp by Jeff Schneider on one of my virtual strolls through Apartment Therapy and was immediately drawn to its bubbly nature — thanks to over 400 ping pong balls and a hot glue gun. Jeff was kind enough to share his DIY instructions with anyone looking for a crafty light on an even lighter budget.

Step by step instructions from Jeff himself (with fab green tips thrown in):
1. Have a handyman install a hanging bulb (how about an energy-saving compact fluorescent) on a plastic arm, spray painted silver with a hoop above it to support a lampshade.

2. Purchase a spherical paper Chinese lantern with wire as the base of the structure. Wood will not work as you will have to remove the Chinese lantern after you have created your ping-pong sphere. the wire unravels easily.

Make certain that the hooks on top of your lantern will attach to the spider or hoop attached to your hanging arm. If not, leave more space at the top of your lantern for the hoop and you will attach hooks later.

Take into account how the size the ping-pong balls will add to your lantern. An 18″ round lantern worked well for me as my foyer is high and rather large.

2. Buy seamless ping-pong balls (or try collecting recycled ping pong balls from your local rec center or online at gigoit). Although they say they are seamless, there is a seam on the inside, which will be visible (i’ll let you know how to deal with these in step #3). I needed a bit over 435 ping-pong balls for my 18″ lantern and purchased them from Robbins Table Tennis.

3. Glue the ping-pong balls together around the bottom of the Chinese lantern. Continue to glue, using a small amount everywhere the ping-pong balls touch. starting at the bottom, you can determine if you would like a small opening or if you would like the sphere covered completely. In addition, by starting at the bottom, if you end up with an odd space at the top… who cares? Who’s going to see it?

If you do not want to paint the ping-pong sphere after assembly, color test some of the clear glues. I used superglue, which yellowed as it dried, but made for a very strong sphere. If you do not paint, your shade will be have a yellow hue as the ping pong balls themselves are off-white.

Make certain that the seams of the ping-pong balls are parallel to the sphere so that they won’t be visible. this sounds like a pain, but it’s really worth it. I learned as I went along and didn’t match up the seams or make certain they were parallel to the sphere and you can see them. In other words, look at the ping-pong ball from the direction it is facing out… you shouldn’t be able to see a seam from that angle. once you get going, the process moves along quickly, especially with a fast-drying glue.

4. When the sphere is complete:

start delicately removing the wire from the lantern. The wire and paper will come out easily.

If the top ring of your lantern (with the hooks) attaches to your spider or hoop, keep that top ring and glue it to your top ring of ping-pong balls.

If the opening of your shade is still too small for your spider or hoop, do what I did. take an exacto knife and start removing ping-pong balls, cutting at the glue between them until you have a gap large enough to place over the hoop or spider. Take that top ring of the chinese lantern, cut it with wire cutters and size it to your new opening and glue it to your top ring of ping-pong balls

5. If you want to paint the sphere buy some type of high heat resistant paint meant for radiators, etc. (hmm, anyone know a green alternative here?). I was lucky enough to be able to use an empty apartment in my building that was being renovated.Iif you don’t have a space available, find a large box, buy some clear plastic. Hang your sphere inside the box attached to a dowel so you can turn it. Spray in very light coats, multiple times. Maybe you can find an auto body shop? I’m certain they could do a great job.

Feel free to e-mail Jeff if you have any questions about the project. Thanks Jeff!

DIY STYLE | How to "Vogue" Those Walls

Holly Becker over at decor8 posted this fabulously green idea yesterday that seemed perfect for those among us who need a 12-step program to rein in our magazine addictions: design-your-own wallcovering.

Tools: a paper shredder that can turn those Vogue mags into long and lean ribbons. Cross-cut patterns will work too, but you will have to work harder with smaller pieces. Old magazines (if you’re a pack rat, consider clipping out the pages you want to keep and shredding the rest. If you haven’t looked at a magazine in over a year, shred away!).

See the full post at decor8. Photo and idea originally taken from Budget Living: Home Cheap Home.

Make it Fabulous:

Get creative with your materials. Play with recycled newspapers, old greeting cards, wrapping paper, colorful junkmail, the West Elm catalogs that arrive in your mailbox every other day, past IKEA catalogs, maps. The choices and patterns you can design are endless.

If you design it, send us a photo!

Design Meets Cannery Row

Storage that doubles as a piece of wall art? The Cesaria Evora Storage Unit by GodoyLab takes recycled cans and transforms them into a wall mounted shelving unit. Originally designed in 1997, Emiliano Godoy has created many versions since. These units strike a perfect balance of industrial style and elegance.

The DIY Version: Create your own storage unit from empty paint cans or coffee cans. Peel off the labels (you may need to soak them in water first). Paint the interior (and/or exterior) a sassy color for a two-toned graphic effect.

Personally, I’ve been wanting to design a room divider from cans for my home office. Open up the bottom with a can opener and paint the interior with a low-VOC paint (in a peacock blue). The trick is to hot glue them in an arrangement that becomes freestanding. Voila–a storage divider.

FLOR Holiday Sale

FG favorite FLOR is having holiday sale–15% off of everything in their collections. We love them for their mix-and-match potential, easy breezy installation, and eco-friendly leadership in the carpet industry. Simply type in FSH1506 before Friday November 17 to take advantage of the discount.

Some budget-style options:

Fedora Carpet Tiles by FLOR
Fedora is truly an example of eco-modern style. You can design-your-own pattern from six contemporary colors. Plus it’s made from 80% post-consumer content and feels like brushed felt. $5.94 a tile ($2.21/sf) after 15% sale.

Heartfelt Carpet Tiles by FLOR
Heartfelt is a clean, minimalist take on the textured felt trend made popular by Ill-ustration, nani marquina, and Anne Kyrro Quinn. We love felt because it’s a natural fiber (no chemicals), it’s tactile, naturally fire-retardant and biodegradable (interior designers have health and safety issues to consider for our clients). Since it’s a tile, I personally recommend the darker colors if you want a clean, uninterrupted surface. $10.19/tile ($3.79/sf) after 15% sale.

Terra Carpet Tiles by FLOR
A playful take on neutrals, Terra offers another opportunity to get creative and mix and match your own pattern. It also takes advantage of textiles made from corn (in this case PLA to be specific). Considered green because it’s natural and renewable, though some eco-purists question possible downsides depending on how the corn is grown. Read more about corn-based textiles here. $11.04 /tile ($4.10/sf) after 15% sale.

Hello Doily Rug by FLOR
I love the Hello Doily rug for its ability to transform Victorian style into something urban and sleek. $322 after 15% sale.

DIY: Hotel Style at Home

In a few weeks I get to start making over my apartment–in hip green style of course! And since I’m on a shoestring budget it will definitely involve some DIY. Craig’s list, ebay will be my usual suspects, as well friends over at Apartment Therapy. But I’ve also just discovered a local underground source in Hotel Surplus Outlet.

Two years ago I assisted with the refurb of several suites at the Hotel Bel Air so you’d think I would’ve been in on a place like this. Those five-star castoffs have to go somewhere right?

Here are a few makeover contenders:

Lattice Armoire from Shutters on the Beach, $199.
This piece would be quite the hottie painted in China red. Or Antique White. How about glossy black? There are also matching chairs, desks, mirrors and accent tables.

TV Console Cabinet Antiqued Blonde
Not bad. A little beige. A color update (may a low-VOC peacock blue) would make this console a standout. $99.

Bentwood Dining or Occasional Chair
Paint the frame glossy black and reupholster in a retro print. $69.95

Antiqued Silver Side Table, $149.


Phillippe Starck Lord Yo Chairs for $69.99 each

Hotel Surplus Outlet is in downtown LA and open to the trade and the public. There are definitely finds to be had–pieces that once lived among the rich and perhaps famous in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and Shutters on the Beach. Or with baywatchers at the Surf and Sand. Most of the pieces are high quality transitional pieces like Louis roundback chairs, Bergere chairs, loveseats that could use some updating. Lots of ceramic table lamps to satisfy one’s taste for chinoiserie if you go for that sort of thing.

The Fab Factor: Hotel living at home. A chance to experiment with those Design on a Dime ideas. The feel-good moment when you’ve undergone Operation Furniture Rescue. Consider low VOC paints for added green factor.

Don’t live in LA? Hop on Google and find a hotel surplus provider near you.