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26 Ingenious Ideas For Your Home

by Maxwell Tielman


One of the great perks of working at Design*Sponge is being able to look into people’s beautiful homes and see all of the crazy, wonderful, and simply ingenious ideas they come up with. Here are 26 brilliant ideas, gleaned from some of our favorite spaces, that will simplify your life, satisfy your budget, and add flavor to your home. —Max


1. Don’t hide your extension cords! Spruce them up instead with this giant, braided cord wrap DIY.



3. …or books!









11. Show off your home’s weird pipes and fixtures. Paint them neon!



13. Frames can be beautiful—even without art inside!


14. …they’re also great for making mirrors look larger!


15. Create a lovely, rustic dining table on the cheap—with a pair of sawhorses and a slab of wood!




18. Ceiling fans can be ugly. Dress yours up with some painted designs!


19. Driftwood + S Hooks. BOOM. Instant coat hanger.


20. Know what time it is. Everywhere. Cluster vintage clocks together!


21. Don’t have enough room for all your plants? Build this stacked hanging planter!




24. There’s never such thing as too many mirrors—especially if they’re painted in complementary or matching colors.



26. Make changing your art easy as pie—by hanging it on a peg board!

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  • Really great ideas here — simple, stylish and original! I love repurposing, and just reused an old leaning metal “pocket” shelf as shoe storage/display. Space saving and decorative!

  • great ideas you’ve got here. love it. what seems important is the mix (mashup) of old and new to create an inviting space that everyone enjoys. sometimes it’s easier said than done, but half of the fun is to arrange and then re-arrange until it’s “just right.”

  • First of all, the house we just moved into has a sun room that stretches the width of the house and much like #16, I decided to use it as my bedroom. Everyone thought I was crazy for doing so (You’ll freeze in the winter! What about the back door going through your bedroom?) There is only a window unit in there since it was not originally included in the air ductwork, but it is probably my favorite bedroom I’ve ever had. I wake up with the sun streaming through all my windows in the morning. And it has some incredible wood floors that were stained an olive color whereas the rest of the house is just regular wood floors. Secondly, I am also going to have to try the embroidered screen door! That’s too great to pass up!!

  • Wonderful ideas & I can’t wait to find a few frames without the art! I recently had a cat shaped cutout cut into my laundry room door to allow for better access. And yes the cats actually use it!

  • Love the driftwood hanger and the magazine stool….and oh it reminds me that it’s time to start looking into cool frames at the flea market!!

  • I don’t know if it’s the context in which the ideas are being shown or if I just think about things differently, but I don’t like a lot of these ideas. Granted some are good – narrow bookshelf is awesome – colored wires and mirrors can be nice touches. Saying the other ideas are ingenious is a stretch.

    1. Large cord in front of a door. 2. Faux fireplace that doesn’t match the other architectural details of the space – truth to materials and authenticity 4. sitting on magazines will never be comfortable, it will be an absolute dust trap and silverfish love the glue in the bindings 6. depends on the type of pattern 8. wait until that person scuffs up their shoes on the concrete – how about the floor? it would be a scratched up mess 15. the sawhorse legs are impractical because they take too much space, you can only fit three people here when you could fit 5 with different legs 18. all you are doing is highlighting an ugly fan – keeping it white would help it blend in better

    I think there needs to be a better blend of style and function. A lot of these seem like pinterest pipe dreams. They look good in editorials, but should never make it to the home.

  • I really like the pink neon pipes. Any suggestions for a paint color/brand to match them? Thanks

  • I tend to agree with Chris… “Pinterest pipe dreams”. Many of these ideas look ok, but are impractical in reality.

  • Unfortunately, I agree with Chris – I strongly suspect most of these ideas in practice would be non-functional. Fun to look at though!

  • Just a safety note on the braided extension cord suggestion, that is a giant fire hazard, especially if you’re already overloading your cord.

  • Chris, Erin, and Mrs. Potato– I understand your skepticism, but I assure you that all of these tips had been tried and tested in reality– all of these images were pulled from past house tours on this site, houses that are inhabited by real people using these creations. You can click the links below each photo to view the house tour and learn more about each space. As far as I know, they’re quite happy with the way their ideas turned out. ;)

  • this post had some good ideas, but seems a little all over the place and doesn’t seem to fit in the look/feel of d*s in general. what’s with the large font? these ideas don’t cohesively go together either. this just feels out of place!

  • It’s a shame that as we get older, all we think about are practicalities …. C’mon people, let a little whimsy into your life and stop being so darn serious !

  • Great post! The one with all the white frames has inspired me to do something similar in my house, I’ve been lamenting the lack of archhitectural features so I’m going to give the impression of them instead. Hope there’s going to be more of this to come?

  • My critique of the items that Maxwell and Chris are debating has less to do with the personal appeal– would you want to live in a space with these objects?– and more to do with permanence of function.

    A magazine stool is an evanescent fix for not having a stool. A designed piece of furniture is ergonomic– it has been crafted to meet the human needs of the person who will use it– and is created of permanent materials. It’s a commitment. You can move it around, but you can’t dissolve, reshape, or discard and replace it as easily as a hacked concrete block bed platform.

    If your philosophy of design is “constant reivention,” maybe these objects are a starting point. But the selection of permanent, and therefore more thoughtful and appropriate, furnishings will suit most designers better.

  • Love the table and sawhorse set up. Wondering how best to fasten it securely to avoid tips.

  • I’m so in love with this post!
    The major problem I’ve had with making my space my own has been that everything feels like a copy of a copy of a copy of anything you can find in the Target catalog.

    These ideas are unique and original and they allow the designer to put his or her own spin on them. Which is so rad.

    Thanks for such a great post.

  • I love your idea and this site. When I see a link for 26 ingenious ideas, I stop and go look at the link because I know they really will be. Although all of the ideas may not my style they ALWAYS start me thinking. The ideas are fresh and so fun. I am so happy to always see such cool and fun stuff! BRAVO and thank you!!!!

  • Ha ha, that’s awesome! I like the 4th, 7th and 23d tips most of all :) I would certainly recommend the author to continue these posts. They are wonderful. I have something to ask you. What can I also do to make my gray room more attractive if I have only brown and gray colors in it? Thank you in advance ;)

  • Max… this collection slays me. Thanks again for always bringing ideas that I can incorporate in my citified version of suburbia.

  • Ingenious is the perfect word to describe this post. I was especially impressed with the idea of filling an old fireplace with books. It turns an inactive, empty area into an eye catching display! My interest was sparked by the idea of stacking magazines to create a coffee table. I would possibly also suggest combining the fireplace and the coffee table ideas and create a coffee table out of old books and a glass top. I feel like this might create a stronger base for the table while still being a super interesting conversation piece!

  • yeah what is up with the giant font, something wrong is going on here website guys!

  • So great. We have ugly ceiling fans painted to blend in, but I think the chevron design is a much more cheerful choice. Thanks for the great round-up!

  • I think for the most part of browsing this lovely blog I found my mouth wide opening saying out loud “whoa, check that out, that’s so cool looking!” or “oh my gosh, I love this website!” There’s so many of my favorites, I couldn’t possibly pick one. I have a few of those old fashioned heat radiators in my apartment (your image/idea #4 and #22) I’d love to see some of your DYI ideas on how to cover those safety but yet have a cool and unique design as the covering. Thanks!

  • I just want to echo what some of the other readers have already said: some of these ideas are terrible. Either because they’re just plain ridiculous (make a giant braided extension cord!???) or dumpy (using a stack of magazines as a chair). I swear it feels like I just stepped into a Portlandia episode or something. Give your readers a little more credit, please.

  • I am late to the party here but I wanted to say that I agree that this post felt very un-D*S. I felt like I was being yelled at the entire time I scrolled through with the large font and abundant exclamation points. I’m really hesitant to criticize because I don’t want to come across as a jerk, but I think it’s important that a major blog business entity such as D*S be aware when something is so far off the mark. Like… I felt like I was reading Buzzfeed.

    You should probably take it as a complement that anyone even notices or cares when something is “off” on your excellent blog!