When I started designing my home, like most home owners, I had two boundary conditions and one wish - budget and individual expression, and a high end cohesive end result. We travel a lot, and my interest is towards ethnic exotic handicrafts, possibly inherited with my own ethnicity, and those inherently are brilliantly colorful. So as I incorporated them into my husband's minimalist taste, seeking the end result above - I had to devise crafty ways to tie them together. I decided to do so by incorporating a bit of black and white, often converting 'non' black and white stuff into 'black and white' inexpensively, in every room. Below is what and how I did so.
For our entrance - I needed something big and eye catching without breaking the bank and had achieved that by using a drop cloth ($10) from Lowes, a rough sketch, two wooden planks ($4) and some paint samples from Lowes again ($2 -$4). While the artwork itself turned out OK, it is not the topic of this blog post. I needed to flank it with something on the sides to make sure it looked structured and for the above mentioned connection to the rest of the house. I did it with two panels of Ikea curtains (I believe $25 total) and small curtain rods (~$6, Home Depot). Below is the result.
Proceeding into the house, I had small shelf put in into the otherwise empty enclave to have purpose. The vase on top - a plain glass vase from Ikea covered with black and white fabric (I bought a big black and white curtain for ~$10 of a print I liked and as you will see have used it throughout the house to cover objects as needed).
On the opposite side, some items are purchased - like the Home goods water pitcher and World Market table napkin, but the frames around the collected memorabilia from our travels were put there to tie them together to the opposite side.
The pantry needed some heavy efforts in cohesiveness given the multitude of colors it is subjected to from various packaging, thrifty storage solutions and trays and serving ware. So I covered some emptied cereal containers with black and white fabric to use as plastic ware holders and connected two mismatched stools (bought from Ross/T J Maxx separately) by covering with same fabric and bordering with black and white tape. Thanks to black and white being neutral, my toddler now pushes them around the entire house as needed for her climbing purposes and they fit in every room.
The guest bedroom and nursery got their shares of wasi tapes and fabric coverings. Mostly on small items to pull together the overall look. A little wasi tape here and there, as I found out, goes a long way to make an item fit in.
For the guest bathroom, I used some Kabuki fabric I had purchased in Japan, had it folded in form of a peasant shirt (instructions can be found online, can be done with any square piece fabric) and one wood flat plank ($2, Lowes) which I had had cut into two pieces to make the bathroom valet as I call it. I glued one wood piece into another with wood glue and mounted the shirt on it.
Back to the front of the house after a full circle, the formal sitting area has blue as its primary color and black and white as the secondary. I framed left over fabric from other upholstering (or 'covering' as I call it) projects into $1 Ikea frames, took print out of images meaningful to me in black and white and framed them, and lastly a collage from my sister (in black and white as specified by me) was added to the collection.
The DIY s are simple and cheap, and fast. And they don't have to be in black and white if that's not something you like. They can be in any color, to pull a fun cohesive yet individual theme through the house in any color of your choice.
For more ideas and discussions, visit and leave comment at thoughtsandrights.com