Inexpensive wicker that looks as if it belongs outdoors changes the mood of any room. Put chairs in a sunny corner of their own or mix them with your upholstered pieces.
Plates in unexpected colors make a fresh wall arrangement. Vary hues (within a family), sizes, textures. Put the most dramatic plate toward the center (lay out the plates first to experiment); attach wire plate hangers and hang plates on picture nails.
Stack modular storage units (from $22, amazon.com) to make a stepped side table with surfaces for displays and lighting. Create miniature still lifes in the cubbies, or stack reading material that you’re going to get to...someday.
Hang canvases painted with interior latex paint to brighten blank walls. Think big: The canvases should fill the wall.
Even photocopied art looks sophisticated when it floats between two pieces of glass in Umbra’s Document Frames (from $13,umbra.com). The wall color shows through the glass, creating the illusion of a custom mat.
A variation on the idea: Make use of mittens missing their mates. Cut felt to fit the backing of the frame ($24 each, mtsframes.com), then use craft glue to adhere the felt. Center the mitten on the felt and glue it down; let dry overnight.
Use shells and other beach bounty to warm up a kitchen, an entryway, or a stairwell by creating a rustic, relaxed display.
Add interest to a store-bought lamp shade with the help of ribbon, glue, and an eye chart. (Print one for free online, then have it enlarged at a copy center.)
An easy paint project: Create a trompe l’oeil headboard. Cost: about $20 and zero floor space. For how-tos, see Paint a Faux Headboard.