DIY to Try

By Kate Riley August 13, 2013

The catalogs have been arriving in great numbers again (‘tis the season) and they can be overwhelming – most of them end up in the recycling bin but I do like to browse through the pages of the favorites for inspiration because I like to see how the stylists arrange the rooms to showcase the merchandise. There’s always one or two things on the pages that pop out at me and I think for that price it could be done as a DIY project for much cheaper. For example…

This Paris Art set is for sale for $999 at Wisteria. Why not buy a giant vintage map print on Etsy or eBay and spray paint some basic frames gold to recreate at a fraction of the price.

paris art wisteria


I absolutely love bone inlay but it’s so pricey. This small Aleppo Inlay Table at Serena & Lily is $895. What about using a $99 IKEA Chest and a Nagoya Stencil with two tone paint for nightstand to mimic the look for less?

inlay chest diy


You know all those chairs we spy in thrift stores for $5 or $10 each? This $399 Artisan bench in the Grandinroad catalog makes me think they could be cleverly reinvented into an entry or outdoor conversation piece. Modify this tutorial from This Old House to turn multiple chairs into one long unique bench.

artisan bench grandinroad


Versions of this $1600+ Gustavian Bed have been tackled by a few bloggers for far less than the Viva Terra price tag.  See Kristi at Addicted to Decorating for how to make a similar headboard and Suzie at The Accent Piece for the full bed.

gustavian bed diy


This European Chalkboard (upper left) with its rustic frame is $299 at Napa Style. How about a similar project for less than $25?  Becky at Beyond the Picket Fence,  Liz at Love Grows Wild, and the girls at Shanty 2 Chic all pulled it off.

diy rustic frame chalkboard


You can make your own lamp out of just about anything. If you want something quirky for your home like Anthropologie’s $448 bunny love light, follow Gina’s tutorial for making your own with some cheap thrift store ceramic figurines. *as always with electricity, be SUPER careful of electrical or fire hazards.

diy lamp


And will someone please prove that you can recreate this fancy $1200+ Arteriors light fixture with some gold spray paint, wood or aluminum disks and a $59 drum pendant? Please?

arteriors fixture diy


Are you a “I could make that for less” thinker when you browse the catalogs too?

Beckie has a great site Knock Off Decor where she features DIY projects inspired by catalog or retail furniture and accessories. Have you created a DIY version of a pricier piece you’ve seen in a catalog or online? Link to it in the comments, I’d love to see it!




  1. Hmm, I may just have to take you up on that challenge to make a new drum shade…. We have a light in the foyer that needs a makeover – it’s the kind that rhymes with tube :-)

    And there is a fun art supply store that sells metallic paper. Could be the makings of something good!

    Missed you at Haven! Hope you are enjoying the end of the summer.

    P.S. I did a Ballard cowhide pillow knock off recently

  2. Great ideas. Love the book lite idea from Gina. The bed idea is one I could use for the basement bedroom and I’m needing a trip to IKEA. Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Kate! This is a fantastic post. So excited to try the map idea for my two story stairwell!

  4. I saw that bench in the Grandinroad catalog and had the same exact idea. I am on the look out for 3 old chairs. I love it.

  5. Hi Kate,
    I just kept saying “yes, yes, yes” as I read this post, love all the ideas. In fact, I’ve done my version of the first idea … 9 frames forming a picture. I couldn’t find a map at the time so I enlarged a photo I took and “divided” it into 9 sections using Photoshop. I’ll change the “art” over time but the frame I made is a keeper and easier to work with, I think, instead of 9 individual frames we joined all the frames together so they hang as one … nothing in the grid can become crooked and you only have to hang a single frame :) I have a tutorial that explains how we constructed our single frame from 9 ready made frames …

    Of the ideas in your post I’m seriously considering the chandy + disc hack. Thanks for the idea. Robin

  6. Well as usual your posts are interesting, but this “walk around blogs” is excellent , congratulations.
    From BsAs, Arg, Julia C.

  7. Love all the projects, Kate. I’ve created a DIY version of a headboard I saw on Serene and Lily. Here’s a pic of the inspiration one (left) and my version (right). It cost me a fraction of the price:

  8. I love that idea for a headboard. My husband and I started a headboard out of wood pallets just need to attach it to a frame or something. BUt would love to make it look a bit nicer like that one.

    We did that with a large map too. But on 3 canvas prints. Love this post today :)

  9. So awesome, Kate. I love the classic look of the arteriors fixture diy. Sooooo elegant. I will definitely try this one.

    For the past few months I’m focusing on floor designs, and mosaics. This projects will add up sparkle in my room for sure, especially the gustavian bed.

    Looking forward for more ideas from you, kate ;)

  10. I don’t comment often, but I wanted to let yiu know I really enjoyed this post. Love your blog!

  11. I’ve been throwing around the map idea for some time but never thought of framing it like this. Really like it painted in gold. Now I just have to find a map! Thanks for sharing all these great projects. Gotta go shopping. Pinned.

  12. Fabulous post. I have made notes for the wall map, bed, nightstand AND bench. So many projects, so little time :)

  13. The wheels are spinning (and leaping and dancing)!!! Love all the ideas and inspired to go DIY!

  14. The price of the chalkboard offends me. Like, to a shocking level, viscerally offends me. $300 for a chalkboard? Why? I can list several worth charities to which someone can contribute most of that money. I’ll even DIY them a chalkboard myself.

  15. Love so many of the ideas you posted! Especially loving the IKEA chest with the bone inlay look!! Recently I used National Geographic maps (because of their large size) to line the back of some Billy bookcases from IKEA and am really happy with the results! Love maps!

  16. I totally do that! And then I also drool over things that I know that are out of my DIY range but overpriced. I have never been a fan of that 3 chair bench. But that circle chandelier would be super fun and easy to do!

  17. That light fixture has been added to my to do list! I have the perfect spot for it – thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Kate, your stenciled “faux bone inlaid” tray led me to this Aug 2013 post. I LOVE this blogpost sooooo much! Would you consider devoting a separate Pinterest board to “Catalogue-Inspired DIY”? Now I’m even more grateful for those free catalogues because they provide endless inspiration for talented & creative DIYers with an excellent eye for design like you, Kate, which (thankfully) you & your fellow bloggers & followers, in turn, are kind & generous enough to share with the rest of us! Every one of those catalog items pictured is well worth duplicating (except perhaps the Grandinroad bench, but that’s just me); in fact, many of the DIY versions you’ve featured are far BETTER than the original products! Once I stopped drooling over Wisteria’s Paris Art Set, I spotted 3 more “DIY-worthy” candidates in that same photo: the elegant candle wall sconces flanking the Paris Art Set (somewhat reminiscent of those DIY starburst mirrors), the fabulous upholstered coffee table, & the petite side tables on both ends of the sofa. Anyone willing to take on these additional challenges after you’ve conquered Kate’s chandelier challenge? Thanks again, Kate! Donna

    • Great idea Donna, I’ll keep featuring more as the ideas pop into my head when I read the catalogs!

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