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6 design hacks for your home

There are countless ways you can tweak and hack your home to improve the design and vibe of your space. Design hacks are all about adding your own mark, giving your space a new hue, or taking something found and crafting it into a piece of furniture all your own. A little imagination, a little creativity, a little elbow grease, and boom -- a whole new world (and a new side table). 

Below, we present six ideas for hacking your home this year.

Bring the outside in.

There's a great big world out there, so why not get closer to Mother Nature in the comfort of your own home? Keep this in mind next time you’re on vacation. Grab a piece of driftwood when you’re strolling along the beach and fashion it into a small side table or, if it’s big enough, a bar top. See a fallen branch on a hike? With a little sanding, that will make a nice key rack next to your door

We also love bamboo as a material, if you can source it. It's strong and resilient (yet natural), and makes for simple and mobile room dividers that can create new spaces quickly.

A new coat for furniture.

Your furniture doesn't have to cost a million dollars to look like a million bucks. A coat or two of high-quality paint or finish on a dresser or dining room table can give it almost a near instantaneous (and unique) upgrade. First, give the existing coat a sanding that will prep the surface for painting.

Next, get some primer from your local hardware store and lay down a coat. (You might be able to skip this step if the existing surface is rough, but when in doubt, prime.) Finally, grab that paint can and get to work. Tip: If the furniture in question comes unassembled, you can always paint before assembly.

Get weird.

Sometimes a hack is more a state of mind. In this case, we mean abandon the staid idea that everything needs to go together in a seamless and neat fashion. If you have an older piece that doesn't seem to fit, try it out anyway. You never know where a sore thumb will actually tie  it all together. Like that vintage lamp you found at an estate sale. It might not seem like it goes with everything else you’ve painstakingly planned out, but once you’ve got it home and plugged it in next to your reading nook it feels just right. A good design hack is all about experimentation.

Read more: Dreaming of a home of your own? Find out what to expect from the 2023 housing market .

Build a side table.

With a little bit of elbow grease—eh, perhaps we should say glue and tape—you can transform a dusty old side table into a piece that looks great and costs less. Start with four porcelain tiles in a pattern you like (we like vintage tiles, which you can source all over the internet or locally). Glue them all together, using tape on the inside to secure the bond, then return the next day to caulk any cracks. Acrylic paint and a coat or two of water-based sealer and finish make for the finishing touches. Now that old side table has a new life and new look.

Ombré, anyone?

You can do it with your makeup, so why not do it on your walls? Start by painting one color on the bottom third of the wall in question. Then mix a bit of the second color into the first one, painting or sponging it onto the wall, and adding more of the second color as you get higher up. The top third should be only the second color.

The hue of the paint is easy to get wrong, so we'd suggest practicing on a piece of paper to make sure you like both before going all in on the wall. General rule of thumb is to keep the colors warm, light and simple.

Go high, go long.

Shades don't need to cover only the windows. If you have smallish windows, one fun hack is to install large floor-to-ceiling curtains that will draw the eye and make the room look bigger. A similar technique to take advantage of high ceilings in small rooms is to hang long pendant lights from the ceiling. This bit of trickery is a deceptive hack that can elongate the feeling of a room.

These ideas will transform a space from a house into your home.  

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