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Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 | 3 comments

West Elm: DIY or Buy?

West Elm: DIY or Buy?

Whenever I’m looking for something for my house or thinking of a project to do, there’s always that nagging question, should I DIY or buy? I have to consider cost, time and whether or not I have the skills and tools needed. But after a quick glance at a West Elm catalog that came in the mail the other day, I realized there are a lot of ways to replicate the cool, mid-century items on the glossy, perfectly staged pages.

First, pillows. The catalog features a bunch of graphic patterns in all sorts of fabrics.


If you invest in good pillow inserts, it’s easy and inexpensive to make your own covers. I made some similar graphic pattern pillows last year for my back porch, but we use them all year long. The outdoor fabric is great for floor pillows and is especially durable with kids. If you don’t have a sewing machine or don’t know how to sew, check out Sew Lab in Del Ray where you can enroll in classes and take advantage of “open sew” sessions.


Lambskin also makes an appearance in the catalog.


An easy no-sew option is to buy a faux sheepskin from IKEA and drape on a bench or wrap about a chair cushion for some fuzzy textural interest.


I love these hand-woven baskets in the catalog, especially that large bright blue one.


The small ones are $69 each, but I found almost the exact same baskets (also hand-woven in Africa) at the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market last summer for a fraction of the price.




If you want to DIY, take a look at this tutorial Leslie posted in which she upcycles rope into a sturdy, decorative basket.


The marble top on this console table is a handsome accent for a plain table.


If you already have a table in your house but perhaps the top is damaged or you just want to make it more unique, check out the selection of marble and granite slabs at places like Community Forklift and ReStore and have a fabricator cut the piece to size.

Granite at Community Forklift

Finally, I really like these colorful retro-styled bowls with hand-drawn patterns.


Another easy DIY, take a cheap bowl and a porcelaine pen and design your own. Follow the instructions on the pen — you’ll need to bake the bowl after you paint to secure the design otherwise it will wash off (also good to know in case you don’t like your design).


Check the pen’s label to see if it’s food safe — the pen I bought is not, so I’m only decorating the outside.


Have you seen anything in a catalog that you decided to DIY instead of buy?


    • Love these Marcy! The photos are great and really show the process. Thanks for sharing!

      • Thanks ladies!

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