I bet you have a bunch of family photos either in a box or on some SD cards somewhere. Maybe you have mementos from trips or handmade art that your kids have produced. These things may be gathering dust in the closet or been stuck in frames on a forgotten shelf, but now is the time to re-purpose them into personalized home decor items!
I have a ceramic hippo I made when I was in elementary school. This is not a great or even good work of art by any stretch of the imagination but it holds tremendous sentimental value especially since my dad, who died in 2017, held on to him for years and years. I display him on a bookshelf in my living room. Individually he would be considered ugly, but I also have a bunch of animal figures (both mass produced and handmade) that I have managed to collect over the years and when I add my hippo in with them, he makes total sense and adds a very personal touch to an otherwise out-sourced collection. You can do also the same with disparate objects that have a unifying theme, like your kid’s art works all grouped together on a shelf or framed and hanging on the walls. You may have old letters or postcards that you could group together in a frame to create instant and meaningful art in your room. Maybe old tools that your grandfather used or vintage kitchen utensils from your mom. When collected together or mixed with other similar items, it doesn’t matter if these items are beautiful because they mean something to you and that is all that matters in your space.
Put Your Memories on Display
Whenever my husband and I go on a cool trip, we inevitably buy something to bring back and display. If you have some of these items lying around, it is time to strategically use them as decor pieces to remind you of all those good memories. I have several handmade pieces of glass, pottery and wood carvings that we purchased on a couple of different trips to tropical locations. They, like my hippo, are displayed on the shelves in my living room and every time I dust, I am reminded of each trip and how great it was. While these items are aesthetically attractive, they are also great mementos that offer a very personal glimpse into our life together for both of us as well as visitors to our home. Undoubtedly you have some similar items that you can use to personalize your shelves or mantel, too.
Make Some DIY Decor
Photos are probably the most common and underutilized personal decor items there are. Who has time to go through all those photos and pick out the few that would look good in the living room? You should! But don’t just frame those photos (although that’s not a bad start). Break out your crafty pants and make some DIY decor with them. This is a great activity with the kids too. My favorite crafty photo decor pieces are four 12 x 12 canvases that I made using scrapbook supplies and photos from our trip to French Polynesia. They hang in a line on the wall and look pretty cool, especially considering they are more than 10 years old. Other ideas include painting clipboards, hanging them up and then adding photos to them – easy to change out as the desire strikes. Or, hang an old window and add photos to the panes with removable, acid free adhesive. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can send off digital photos to places like Snapfish, Walmart, Costco, etc. and have them transferred onto metal art pieces, coasters or placemats.
A Black Sheep Idea
Finally, I wanted to add one last idea that is not only fun for personalized decor, but includes a great bonding experience for parents and kids or husbands and wives or friends – you name it. In Denver we have a great place called Ceramics in the City. It is one of those glaze your own pottery places and they also offer glass fusing and painting experiences. It may seem kind of cheesy but I recently went there with a group of friends and we had a great time. Now, I have my very own colorful (in appearance and language) set of coasters that I can use at home. When we were there a bridal shower party was going on, there were a ton of parents with kids and they even offer a date night special on Saturdays. You can go as crazy or subdued with color as you want and they have a ton of items to choose from that you can use to create your masterpiece – trays, mugs, figurines, coasters, dog bowls and on and on. In the end, my coasters aren’t super beautiful because it was my first time trying it, but they are funny and offer a great memory. Every major urban area in the US (and elsewhere?) seems to have these places now, so why not have a girl’s night out or a date night and create your own personalized decor pieces while bonding with those you love?