High End DIY to Try

By Kate Riley March 6, 2014

I love to look at high end design for inspiration and if I see something I love, I try to figure out how to get the look for less and throw my own spin on it too.

I’ve been eyeing this abstract bookcase at Zinc Door for a year, I want a set of them but at $2,845 each, that’s never happening. A similar look could be achieved with strips of balsa wood gilded and carefully glued to the edges of this display cabinet for $188 at Overstock.

abstract bookcase diy


Gwyneth is selling a malachite keepsake box for $1,200. Create an imitation version with an unfinished wood box from a craft store with this or this DIY technique.

malachite box diy


Love fur and gold together?  I do! This brass + Tibetan fur chair from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams retails for $1,345. I can’t help but think you could recreate with an inexpensive metal chair spray painted gold and upholstered with a mongolian lamb throw blanket


mongolian fur and gold chair diy


Meg at Oliver and Rust created her own impressive DIY mini kitchen island/prep space inspired by a much more expensive version at Williams Sonoma.

mini island diy


Get the look of Ethan Allen’s $719 Warren table with a similar style pedestal table from Overstock for and a can of gloss spray paint. blue pedestal table diy


I love mirrored furniture but as we all know it’s pricey. This dresser by Vanguard retails for $3,415 on sale. You could mimic Courtney’s approach and drill holes with a diamond bit through mirrors attached to an IKEA Tarva or Hemnes dresser. (Lowe’s cut’s mirror on site or ask your local glass shop). Trim around the mirrors like my textured panel dresser from last year and add nickel ring pulls.

mirrored front dresser


I’m working on my own “high end DIY to try” project today, assuming it turns out well, I’ll share it next week. Got your eye on any high end pieces you’d like to recreate?



  1. Your idea for the classy brass + Tibetan fur chair hack is wonderful and may show up in our living area as soon as winter moves on and I can get outside with a spray paint can! I was at a big box hardware store today and they had several outdoor chair styles that were sooooo similar and if I recall correctly, less than $25. Thanks :)

  2. My Lowe’s in the Nashville area told me they don’t like to cut mirror because it breaks so easily. I was really disappointed. I bought a glass cutter on Amazon to try it myself. Haven’t tried it yet though but I have high hopes.

  3. These are great examples of getting a high end look for less! Ikea has a 40×28 inch faux fur sheep skin for only $9.99 http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30229077/ which could possibly work with the brass sprayed chair as well! I’ve had my eye on Wisteria’s Spring Meadow Wall Art for awhile http://www.wisteria.com/Spring-Meadow-Wall-Art-New/productinfo/T10973/. It’s over $300! Tonight I will be working on painting a knockoff version for $20. Wish me luck! Hoping your project goes well too!!!

  4. Your high end DIY ideas are always such an inspiration! I might give the bookcase idea a go sometime in the future.

  5. Love this post Kate! Great ideas!! I am going to link to this post on my next inspiration post!! Always an inspiration, Thank you,

  6. Yes! I was just wondering two days ago if there was a tutorial for the gemstone wallpaper look and the one you linked for the malachite boxes just might work. Thanks Kate!

  7. What a fun post. I read every word which usually doesn’t happen when I’m going through my Bloglovin’ feed. Thanks Kate! I’m totally inspired.

  8. Just a heads up…balsa wood is very soft for trim. It is way too soft. The miniature doll house supply has interesting trims in basswood which is a hardwood, although usually just 22″ long. I’d recommend using the faux wood trim from big box hardware stores. It comes in a variety of sizes/shapes. Also the section where they sell bead board trim. Will take any type of paint. For stain, raw wood trims too. And I think the price is low enough for 10′ to be cost effective. Looking forward to all the projects.

  9. LOVE Love Love the malachite projects. I never cared much for the color green and now I must have something exactly like it! Lol
    Do you happen to know if the technique will work on glass? I’m new to DIY and blogosphere world….I can’t believe I missed out on such talent and imagination. You are AMAZING!

    • Hi Kim, painting on glass is tricky, you have to find a primer or paint product that will adhere, I’ve used oil based sharpies that work well, also if you prime the surface with an adhesion primer that sticks to glass, it could work!

  10. I love that mirrored dresser! I just picked up a piece on Craigslist that I’m transforming using faux grasscloth, nailhead trim and an attempt at mercury glass panels. Eek!

  11. Aaaah, yay! I love high-end knock offs! I don’t think I’ve tried anything specific recently, but I am in the middle of switching all of our artwork to white frames, and they look so much more vibrant.

  12. I LOVE these ideas! I linked to your post on YES Spaces today because this is exactly our goal this year with our 52 projects in 52 weeks for $52 or less and it is definitely a challenge!!! Thanks, as always, for all the beautiful inspiration.

  13. Not anywhere near “doing” a project (the first of which will be painting furniture, though I haven’t bought a can of paint yet). But I am inspired! With kitchen and laundry pieces at the ready, I happily scored (cheap, cheap, cheap) a great old bedside table in perfect dimensions to fit under the makeup countertop portion of my old vanity (where the makeup bench or chair would go) and a wonderful old double-decker silverware storage box to sit on the dropped countertop to create a “presence” for my little decorative green sequined jewelry box currently looking kind of puny there now. I have a vision and as soon as I finalize details, I promise I’ll start. Would love to carry the piece in to a shop where I could work on it with a group of others doing the same. Unfortunately, if such groups exist here, they’re probably in Scottsdale, AZ and I live way on the other side of town. Still, I’m inspired and I thank you, Kate, for the inspiration.

  14. I recently thrifted an old Daystrom metal curved chair for 5 dollars. My vision was to spray paint it gold, recover the yucky vinyl seat (this part intimidates me) and then put a white fur topper on the seat bottom (especially in our cold winters)….your post is so timely with the Mitchell Gold chair…I am exited to tackle this project so hoping for our snow to melt and an early spring so I can get outside and spray away. Thanks for sharing all of these great ideas. PLEASE KEEP THESE KINDS OF POSTS COMING…

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