The $15 DIY Decor Anyone Can Make (and 19 Other Beginner DIYs to Try!)

published Jan 30, 2024
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Credit: Anna Spaller

Part of having a home — whether it’s an apartment, a house, or something in between — is creating a customized space that feels personal. You can go far just by buying new home decor that suits your taste (or visiting beloved local thrift shops to buy something secondhand), but for a truly unique-to-you touch, it’s hard to beat DIY home decor. 

While you can, of course, go for large-scale DIYs like IKEA furniture hacks or even whole furniture builds, there are a lot of smaller DIY home decor projects that are totally doable for beginners. Whether you have a few hours while binge-watching your favorite show at night or are willing to dedicate an entire weekend to a DIY decor project, our list of 20 ideas has you covered. From adding scent to your space to making an end table from scratch (yes, you can do it!), peruse our designs to find the perfect fit.

1. Crystal Collage Tray

Are you looking to upgrade your vanity space or give a custom gift? Use photos, scrapbooking supplies, or leftover wallpaper to create a stunning collage tray. Whether you place it on a desk to hold essentials or leave it by the front door for keys and sunglasses, it’s a simple project you can do in less than a few hours.

Credit: Sara Albers of Alice & Lois

2. Tiled Side Table

If you’ve been scouring thrift stores for the perfect side table and have come up short, it might be time to try making your own. This DIY tiled side table involves using tile sheets, which is also ideal for testing your tiling and grouting skills before tackling the bathroom walls. Enlist the help of a friend to keep you company as you show off your do-it-yourself skills.

3. Wood Picture Frame

Woodwork and the accompanying tools can seem intimidating, but making wood picture frames is the perfect place to start. Whether you need a custom frame size or want to create an entire gallery wall, the most complicated tool this DIY home decor project requires is a miter saw. Making frames is also a smart way to use leftover wood from other household projects.

4. Custom Table Lamp

Yes, making a DIY custom table lamp sounds really intimidating. But it’s actually pretty beginner-friendly! With some ingenuity, you can turn just about anything into a functional light. Love books? There’s a lamp for that. Enjoy collecting porcelain figurines? There’s also a DIY lamp for that. This is one piece of DIY decor that you’ll find endless customizations for.

5. Paper Flowers

Of course, fresh roses are always appreciated, but — just like any cut flower — they have a short shelf life. Incorporating DIY paper flowers into your home decor or making them to cheer up a friend is a fabulous way to ensure your blooms last. Also, if you like keeping your hands busy while watching a movie, this flower DIY home decor project is perfect.

6. Tie Dyed Napkins

Want a project that’s beyond easy? These handmade tie-dyed napkins are for you. Creating them is so simple that you could even enlist the help of little hands to have each family member make their own dinner napkin — or go it alone and design a matching set by yourself.

Credit: Cat Meschia

7. Minimalist Seasonal Wreath

From January’s winter through the warm days of summer, a DIY minimalist eucalyptus wreath will carry you through any season. With a base supply list costing under $30, you can customize the wreath for a specific time of year or leave it as a plain, eucalyptus round. Whether you follow the project exactly and use faux eucalyptus or purchase real stalks, the results are lovely.

Credit: Cat Meschia

8. Terrazzo Magnets

Up your fridge game by making DIY polymer clay terrazzo magnets. After all, don’t your family photos and graduation invitations deserve something special to keep them on display? Even if you cover your refrigerator with coupons and receipts, doing a simple magnet DIY can help keep the paper clutter looking fresh.

Credit: Cat Meschia

9. No-Sew Lumbar Pillow

Bedroom pillows can get pricey quickly, especially if you’re searching for something more personalized. Before you banish the thought of a sewing project, consider making this no-sew lumbar pillow. The shape adds a unique accent to any bedding, and it’s super functional for curling up and reading in bed. 

Credit: Cat Meschia

10. Homemade Reed Diffusers

If you’re scent-sensitive or are particular about the various notes in your home fragrance products, making DIY reed diffusers can be a smart answer. A ready-made setup can total anywhere from $20 to $30, but making a DIY diffuser at home is very cost-effective. Plus, you can choose a single essential oil or blend several for a custom scent.

11. DIY Upholstered Headboard

This project is one of the most clever ways to reuse old materials I’ve ever seen: writer Ashley Poskin created this custom upholstered scalloped headboard for her bedroom out of a broken bookshelf. With a penchant for upcycling and a vision for what fabric will work best in your room, you can also make this DIY bedroom decor project in a weekend. The easiest way to make this is to use the boards as-is and simply staple batting and fabric over top, but you can also use a jig saw to create the cute curved shape shown here.

12. Travertine Tile Coasters

Lazy DIY decor project lovers, unite! These DIY travertine tile coasters are perhaps the most straightforward project on this DIY home decor list. Head to your local home improvement store and check out their tile section to get your work started. Then, you’re basically a few cut-and-pastes away from having a handy stack of coasters.

13. Bleached Wicker Baskets

Thrift shops are bursting with secondhand baskets sold for a song, and this project will encourage you to look at them in a new light. For a fresh look, try bleaching old wicker baskets to take advantage of cool shapes (but take the focus off shiny, orangey finishes). The key is using hot water and cheap baskets (they’re easier to remove stain from) for a successful DIY.

14. DIY Terrarium

Including a DIY terrarium decor project in your home is a must. Although they’re adorable and easy to care for, the best part is that you can use almost any vessel to house your mini-world. Search your cabinets or go to an estate sale to find a glass vessel and some tiny figurines. Other supplies include stones and soil before adding small plants to complete the project.

Credit: Cat Meschia

15. Tiled Drink Tray

As another project to hone your tiling and grouting skills, this DIY tiled drink tray is a simple way to start. The base is a simple wooden tray found at your local craft store, and then the personalization begins. Stain or paint your base, add tiles of your choosing (great for using leftovers!), and make this DIY home decor your mini-bar station.

16. DIY Tassels

Sometimes, the simplest touches can have the sweetest effect. Such is the impact of these adorable homemade tassels. Once you have a few, you’ll find tons of places to use them — think curtain tiebacks, lampshades, pillow corners, and more.

17. Tie Dyed Sheets

Sheets can get old, dingy, and show stains in a hurry, especially if they’re a solid, lighter color. Try turning them into tie-dyed bedsheets if you’d rather try upcycling old linens instead of splurging on new ones. The secret ingredient for altering the color of your bedding is colored tissue paper, which you may have lying around the house already. It’s also a perfect excuse to save tissue from your next birthday celebration.

18. Brass Hanging Planter

Small on space but big on ideas? A DIY hanging brass planter for tiny plants is a simple but high-impact DIY. Using brass tubing (did you know there was such a thing??), you can create a geometric design to add interest while elevating your greens to new heights. This DIY decor is also a gateway into more complicated brass tubing projects, such as lighting.

Credit: Cat Meschia

 19. Acrylic Organizer

Playing the clutter catchup game is real, especially on desks, counters, and entryways. However, this beautiful DIY acrylic letter organizer can keep your cards, mail, and stamps in sight and looking lovely. You will need to use a drill and router, but that’s about as complicated as this home decor DIY gets.

Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Prop Styling: Carla Gonzalez-Hart

20. Homemade Scented Candles

Candles are the heroes of the gifting world, especially if they’re homemade. Of course, they also add ambiance to weddings and a touch of coziness at home, but perhaps the biggest perk is that making your own scented candles is easy and cost-effective. A double-boiler is required for this project, but you can also use a microwave to melt the wax in a pinch.