Get Creative With Leftovers


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Design tip from Lynn Wyndham Morris
IIDA, Allied Member ASID, NKBA, USGBC,
Director of Communication, ASID


A Touch of Tradition Home & Garden Shoppe

7313 Carroll Road, Suite D, Sorrento Mesa


760-633-4474 or 619-669-8871

Lynn Morris is the principal designer for A Touch of Tradition Home & Garden Shoppe, a full-service design studio, and furnishings, lighting and accessory shop. From exclusive fabrics and window coverings to ready-made and custom furnishings, lighting and accessories, TOT-HOME offers stylish interiors with enduring appeal for every style of decor.


I often have clients with wood pieces “lying around” that they don’t know how to use. Perhaps it’s extra molding from a remodel, an old chair with one broken leg, an extra picture frame, or even wood artifacts that you’ve found in an antique shop. Here are a few ideas to give them a new life.

Chair legs: Make one or two into bookends or candlesticks. For candlesticks simply bore out a hole in the top large enough for a taper candle. You will likely need a base for support — pre-made squares can be found in the fence supply area of hardware shops. For larger pillars, in addition to a base, add a thinner piece at the top on which to place a wide candle. When you need bookends, cut a chair leg in half, lengthwise, and place each half on a base. Paint or stain, and voilà! For a distressed look, use crackle paints or sand off small areas to reveal the surface underneath.

Extra molding or old picture frames: Make a “box” on your wall in which to insert a piece of art, a hanging plate, etc. Extra casing from trimming doors makes wonderful rectangular architectural elements on a living room wall. I often hang individual mirrors within each rectangle to double the effect of a gorgeous room. For drama, you can paint the interiors of the “boxes” in a different color than the main wall — use one color for all the boxes or paint each one its own color for a variety of hues. If you have carpentry skills and more time, build an indoor planter box, apply the extra molding and even use some of your chair legs as feet.

Drapery finials: I found a great neoclassic finial at a thrift shop and didn’t find a match. Single finials can become a decorative element as a wall “hook.” Screw the flat end into the wall — using a wall anchor for support — and create an attractive place to hang a wide-brim hat, guest towels and even the dog leash. For a custom stairway, dress up the flat top of your newel post.

Categories: Home Design