Staying indoors during the coronavirus pandemic has taken cabin fever to a whole new level.
One way to take your mind off things is to change up your living space with a DIY project that adds some rustic, mountain-inspired warmth to your home.
These five simple projects will make your “cabin” more inviting, and all can be built in a weekend with minimal tools. Scroll through the photos to take a closer look at the process.
If you’ve got a noisy room in your house, an acoustic panel will do wonders for cutting down sound, and it adds a cool wall accent as well.
It’s a simple design and also a good way to recycle old fabric.
Step 1: Check your home for wool blankets, old curtains or unused fabric, then figure out the size of your panel based on the material you want to feature.
Step 2: Build a frame out of cedar 2-inch-by-2-inch boards, cutting 45-degree bevels at the corners. Screw them together with 2.5-inch trim-head deck screws. (Other kinds of wood will also work, but cedar is lightweight, easy to find and you can screw it without pre-drilling.)
Step 3: Fill the frame with old fabric, such as beach towels, rags or unworn clothing. The key here is to add lots of layers, so pile on enough fabric to fill the depth of the frame.
Loosely sew the fill fabric together into a rectangle a few inches wider than the frame.
Starting on one of the inside edges, use 1.25-inch drywall screws to attach the fabric to the frame, pulling it tight when you screw in the opposite side. Trim the excess fabric with a good set of sewing scissors.
Step 4: Attach your pretty exterior fabric by wrapping it tightly around the frame, folding the corners like you’re wrapping a present. Secure it by screwing it into the back of the screen. Hang it by mounting the frame directly to the wall or with picture-hanging hardware.
Rustic coat rack
A coat rack is one of the most simple yet striking projects you can tackle, requiring just a single piece of reclaimed wood and some off-the-shelf coat hooks.
Step 1: Find some reclaimed wood. You don’t need a lot of it — just the length you want for your space and desired number of hooks. It can be a thick slab or as thin as a half-inch.
Source from your garage or shed, check with friends and family or put a call out on a neighborhood website. Once the stay-at-home order lifts, visit specialty stores such as Ballard Reuse, Second Use and Earthwise Architectural Salvage to find fun remnants. Look for pieces with old nail holes, knots and circular-saw marks for extra character.
Step 2: Prepare the wood by filling and sanding. Remove any bits that will snag clothing, but leave old holes for character. I like using Timbermate water-based wood filler. Match the color of your wood or use black if there are lots of dark knots and holes. Lightly sand the filler down.
Step 3: Stain the board. I prefer Rubio Monocoat because it’s low VOC, hardens nicely and is easy to repair.
Step 4: Attach the coat hooks. Local hardware stores offer several options. Oil-rubbed bronze is a good style for a rustic look. Space them evenly and screw them to the board. Attach the board to the wall using at least one wall stud (ideally with at least two trim-head screws in the stud).
Wood accent wall
One of the biggest impacts you can make to your space is adding an accent wall (or ceiling!) using a variety of reclaimed wood.
Step 1: Measure your wall and source your wood from the same places as the coat rack project. Plan on 20%–30% waste, so buy extra. If you want the wall to have a uniform thickness, use old hardwood flooring. The tongue and groove shape on the edges will click together nicely without any gaps.
If you want more variety, use different thickness and widths so some pieces protrude, some are fat and some are skinny.
Step 2: Remove any floor trim or molding.
Step 3: Paint the wall if you expect lots of gaps. Use a dark color or something close to a wood tone, otherwise you’ll see the white wall behind. Skip this step if your wood won’t have holes or gaps.
Step 4: Lay out the first few rows to find a style that looks good. If you have enough space to lay out the entire surface area, that’s ideal, but most people will only have room to prep a few sections at a time. Fill holes, sand and stain as you lay out each section.
Step 5: Mark the studs on your wall and, starting from the floor, going row by row, attach the boards with a finish nail gun. Measure and trim the ends of the boards where they meet the adjacent wall.
Step 6: Using a table saw, rip boards lengthwise where they meet the ceiling for a snug fit. A table saw is also necessary for getting uniform edges and making adjustments to fit a combination of narrow and wide boards together.
Step 7: Reinstall your floor trim and molding with a nail gun. (Size adjustments may need to be made.)
Nothing says “I live near the mountains” like a rack full of skis. Plus, they’re useful for drying gear between ski outings.
Step 1: Plan out the size you want and find a floor mat that will fit underneath. The coconut fiber mats from Ikea work well for handling drippy skis and will save your floor from scratches. Ski racks that are 30 inches wide will hold around five pairs of skis. Cross-country skis will need less space than fat alpine skis.
Step 2: Using cedar 2-by-4 boards, build a rectangular base that fits over the mat. Cut corners at 45-degree angles and attach the boards with 2.5-inch trim-head deck screws.
Step 3: Build the vertical stand. Install a pair of 2-by-4 boards upright with another pair of 2-by-4 boards angling from the front to the back. For adult skis, a good height is 5 feet tall. For poles or children’s skis, 3 feet tall is ideal.
Step 4: Bridge the two upright sides with a cedar 2-by-4 board.
Step 5: Cut a wood dowel into 5-inch segments. Drill evenly spaced holes in the cross-board using a drill bit that is slightly larger than the dowel. Use wood glue to mount the dowels and create dividers.
Step 6: Sand and stain as needed.
Reclaimed-wood bed frame
Building a custom bed frame isn’t as hard as it sounds. And with a few basic skills you can create a piece of furniture you’ll use for a lifetime.
The trick to making an inexpensive reclaimed-look bed is to use standard wood for the frame and then wrap the outside with attractive reclaimed wood to add style and a feeling of burliness.
Step 1: Figure out the frame size based on your mattress. Also consider the height you want it — do you want under-bed storage or a low platform bed? Since the bed is a custom height you won’t need a box spring.
Step 2: Build a rectangular frame using 2-by-6 boards (or larger). The platform on which the mattress will rest will cantilever over the frame, so your frame should be a few inches smaller than the mattress.
Step 3: Attach the legs. At the corners of the rectangular frame, install 2-by-6 boards (or larger) cut at 45-degree angles. Place your leg posts (4-by-4 boards or larger) in the center of the angled board. Sandwich the leg post with another 2-by-6 board cut at a 45-degree angle. Be sure you like the final height or cut your legs to adjust. Use decking screws to pin everything together, and finish with Simpson SDWS 6-inch ledger screws to mount the legs. Once the legs are attached, add additional stringers (supportive pieces of wood that run the length of the frame) if necessary.
Step 4: Install the platform. This can be cedar decking, plywood, cabinetry wood or scrap 2-by-4 boards — what matters is that everything is the same thickness. The platform should extend past the mattress 1.5-inches on all sides.
Step 5: Install 2-by-2 boards around the outside edge of the platform. This keeps the mattress from sliding off.
Step 6: Wrap the exposed frame with reclaimed wood. Old flooring works well for this. Thinner wood is easier to work with and is cheaper than thicker pieces. If you can source bigger beams and larger timbers, use them for the frame itself and skip the wrapping step.
Step 7: Fill holes, sand and stain as desired.
Step 8: If you want to add a headboard, attach the bed to wall studs using ledger screws. Then follow the instructions for a wall treatment to construct a headboard. Mount the wood directly to the wall with a finish nailer, or build a frame of 2-by-4 boards and wrap it with finish wood.