Top Picks For You

We’re All Stuck at Home—So We Have 6 Ways to Make It Prettier

Make home more exciting with these simple projects.

Suddenly we all have more time on our hands—so much so that we aren’t quite sure what to do with it. Do we take up exercising and commit to something more than a five-day free trial, or do we join the ranks of everyone breaking out their muffin tins for the first time in years? While both of these options are good, I recommend something with an outcome that won’t get old in two days.

Why not put this extra time into the very place we aren’t supposed to leave? These small DIY projects are simple enough that no one will have to be called if they go wrong and are a perfect way to bring a little something new into the home that might be becoming as stale as the bread you made. Try one (or a few) of these time-killing projects with results that will last long-past quarantine.

1 OF 6

Removable Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a finicky thing—a pattern that looks fun now might not be so cool in five years. To avoid the hassle that is removing wallpaper (it requires a lot of patience and vinegar), consider a temporary wallpaper. This is as easy to put up as it is to take off, and if you’re a renter, won’t upset landlords.

You can find these all over the web and at retailers like Target, Wayfair, and Anthropologie, but consider shopping small and supporting independently run businesses during this time, which you easily find through Etsy or Kate Zaremba Company (they offer cute, modern colors and patterns). This project can add a little quirk to any space, all while being relatively commitment-less.

2 OF 6

Herb Garden

This is something you can do outside or in, but for the sake of quarantine and bringing a little bit of oxygen into your home, your kitchen might be the best place for it. Adding an herb garden to your kitchen not only gives you easy access to fresh ingredients at dinner time, it also adds a bit of beauty to something otherwise industrial.

There are many ways to add an herb garden to your home, some more expensive than others. You can invest in something like the AeroGarden, which makes caring for plants super easy, but is on the expensive side. For a middle-priced project, you could buy one of the many indoor-herb garden baskets online, which can be hung in your kitchen (wall decor is a serious bonus), or go the really-cheap way. Here, all you’ll need is a shoe organizer, dirt, and your herbs of choice. This cheap-alternative still looks nice but will cost you a fraction of the price. If you’re looking to enhance your pasta-game, this DIY herb garden is a must.

3 OF 6

Plant Hangers

And while we’re on the topic of brightening up our home by bringing the outside in, allow me to introduce you to a project that will take time, but would likely cost you a pretty-penny otherwise. I’m talking about a macrame plant hanger—they’re incredibly “in” in the sense that they’re sold at every pricey home-decor store for way more than rope should be and can be spotted “Brooklyn Apartment Tour” video you find on YouTube. The great thing about the crafty-aesthetic is that it can be done at home for a fraction of the cost.

You’ll need some rope, a pot, a plant, and a ceiling hook. From there, you can follow this tutorial (or this one, or this one) to see how it’s done.

4 OF 6

Give Old Furniture New Life

This project requires old furniture and paint in your color of choice. If you’ve got furniture you were wanting to refresh anyway, use that, or head to an online seller to get shabby-looking pieces shipped to you. It’s time to turn shabby into chic.

Make sure the piece you’re getting ready to paint is nice and clean so that the coats go on easy, you won’t want to be adding a layer on top of dust. If the piece could use a little more love than just a clean—say it’s got some rough spots—do a basic sanding over the top to create a smooth even surface. From there it’s as simple as painting it! Michael’s is offering curbside pickup, which means you can select the color you want online and pick it up the same day. Pick something neutral or make it your newest canvas, painting the whole thing white so you and your friends and kids can add your own creations—this can be elegant or fun, it’s totally up to you. Whether this fixer-upper becomes a new piece for your living room or just something you keep to the craft room, it’s given new life to something otherwise dated (and given you something to do).

5 OF 6

Brew for You

While this craft might not brighten up the room, it will brighten up your mood. Lots of our favorite breweries have had to close their doors for now, and it is possible to be Bud Light-ed out, so consider taking this time to make your own. The cool thing about home-brewing is that you get to choose exactly how funky, fruity, or hoppy you like your drink—it gives you the chance to build the beer you had always wished was on the menu. On top of it all, there’s a little bit of science here, making it a bit more exciting than most drink recipes.

What you’ll need does depend on what type of beverage you want to make, but something standard for them all is your spin. So decide what that ingredient (or ingredients) will be, and build around them. Not only will you get a refreshing new beverage come summer, you’ll also get to bottle, label, and share with friends post-quarantine.

6 OF 6

Some Ceramic Decor

That hand-crafted mug you’ve been eyeing online—you can probably make it, and now is the time to. Many pottery studios have taken to the web to offer virtual class in pottery making, including this Chicago-based studio offering online studio time. This is the perfect opportunity with someone not-so well-versed in the art a chance to learn from an instructor. If the studio near you is offering this service, chances are they might also be offering drop-offs for firing (which means that you don’t have to and definitely should not build the dumpster one you found online). This is the chance to make the tea set you’ve been eyeing, knowing the right size for your servings and the colors that will pop in your kitchen.

Your first batch might not come out perfect, but the great thing about ceramics is that, so long as you didn’t poke a hole in the bottom, it’s still totally useable. Functionality and beauty don’t have to go hand-in-hand.

Home projects in a time when leaving the home isn’t recommended is the thing that’s going to take us from growing tired of our space quick to loving it again. And think, by the time lockdown is lifted you’re home will be ready for every dinner party you could imagine—a chance to unveil the new look.