Expecting the unexpected

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Years ago, my budget (or lack of it!) and creativity got together and I used a white picket gate for my 3-year-old daughter’s headboard. My mother-in-law thought this was appalling and promptly brought a “decent” headboard to our house. Normal was not on my radar … even then.

Recently, my son sent me a link to a photo of a wall covered with wood salvaged from discarded pallets. I guess he felt like I needed to do something noble with the mountains of pallets that I have growing behind my warehouse.

The photo was good for a giggle, and it reminded me of the unusual applications that make decorating so unexpectedly special.

I have used mirrors and hubcaps as ceiling medallions, reupholstered a stool in a baby blanket, used a drop cloth as a grommeted window treatment, used a painters drop cloth as a rug, used a desk as a night stand, used a beaded necklace as a drapery tieback, used strands of pearls draped in a chandelier, used vintage earrings and brooches to embellish pillows, heard of a coffee table that was “upholstered” and used as an ottoman, helped hang a contemporary mirror as a headboard, saw an oil painting used as a headboard, used a delicate tea pot with a broken lid as  vase for fresh flowers, used a toile ceramic tooth brush holder for a petite fresh floral arrangement, saw stacks of books artfully arranged with a wood top as a desk, and thought about using a bird cage as a chandelier.

If you like the idea of using mundane items in unexpected ways, check out this list of unexpected sources from Web site/blog Apartment Therapy (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/).

McMaster-Carr Supply Company – Lighting, industrial fans, office supplies and more

The Museum of Useful Things – From baskets and hampers to giant rubber bands and bridle hooks, The Museum of Useful Things carries an unusual assortment of unlikely accessories that could be used practically in the home.

Staples – for printing large artwork

Table Legs Online – You can make a table top out of just about any flat surface with the right legs.

Chicago Canvas – If you have large windows to cover, consider checking out the canvas, muslin and theatrical fabrics from Chicago Canvas and Supply.

U-Line – Check out U-Line’s industrial supplies for wire shelving, unique tables and counters, labels and a plethora of other materials that can be utilized in a home setting.


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