Cheap & Easy Upgrade: 1x2 Molding

Cheap & Easy Upgrade: 1x2 Molding

Oct 9, 2009

A few years ago a friend asked us if we could decorate her apartment in Brooklyn. She didn't have a whole lot of money to spend on it — which was fine as we didn't like to spend people's money anyway. The apartment was a basic new-remodel, with the original space broken up into basic drywalled rooms, which lacked any character. Sometimes of course this is exactly what you're looking for, but we wanted to make it look more feminine and European.

We didn't have much art for the walls either — and if you don't have something that looks good, don't just tack up a giant movie poster to cover an empty wall. We'd always liked the way molding looked, and it seemed like a very cost effective, stylish, and resourceful way to achieve that European look, and for less than the cost a "Breathless" poster. And you can frame out a long empty wall in any variety of design.

You can go to a hardware store or lumber yard and buy new molding by the foot, but if you're on a super-tight budget, there's usually wood that can be found at any construction site or dumpster. If you can't find either, than 1x2 boards are the way to go, they're cheap, and because there's no detail on them, you can butt them together at right angles very easily. In our book Wary Meyers' Tossed & Found we concentrate on the 1x2, in this molding project and in another project called the Eiffel Mantel.


  • 1 The project's opening spread with an Yves Saint Laurent inspired pink and orange color scheme of large panels to break up a wall.

  • 2 This is another apartment where we made the molding a little more orientalist — this was actually the first time we used it. The original plan was to make the "molding" with paint, inspired by David Hicks' stripe details from Mrs. Mark Hampton's bedroom, but it looked so flat and still like a big expanse of wall — we weren't working with Mrs. Hampton's architecture — so we decided to make the painted lines three-dimensional.

  • 3 This photo is the initial David Hicks inspiration, and I think the pink stripe is actually ribbon.

  • 4 The next picture is a concept sketch page from our book, in this case, a deeper study of customized "monogrammed" 1x2 molding, including an alphabet, some Kanji (Japanese characters), and Cyrillic, and how these could be used as decorative "picture frame" moldings.

  • 5 We took this photo earlier this year behind a sea shell shop (by the sea shore) in Islamorada, Florida. All the 1x2's you could ever need are out back, waiting for a dumpster, having already safely protected large shells and coral.

So, if you're staring at boring blank walls, this is a really great way to add some interest. All you need is a saw, some paint, a hammer and nails, and Wary Meyers' Tossed & Found. And incidentally it was the David Hicks color scheme of Burgundy and Pink that prompted us to pick the pink metallic leather for the chair's lightning bolt patch.

John and Linda Meyers are otherwise known as Wary Meyers Decorative Arts, which focuses on interior design, object design, painting, illustration, and soft sculpture (coming soon). Their new book, Wary Meyers' Tossed & Found: Unconventional Design from Cast-offs is a DIY trip through their world of yard saling and resourceful repurposing. Out now from Stewart, Tabori, and Chang.

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