Simple Design Ideas to Recycle Your Dull Table

revamp your tableThe following idea -- recycling furniture with woven mats -- merges an affordable, do-it-yourself sensibility. In other words, it's every green-minded urbanite's dream.

Not sold? Neither was I. That is until I realized that recreating this quirky woven tabletop look, pointed out by Design Sponge, requires neither artistic dexterity nor an eye for chic needles in flea market haystacks.

A shabby table from your sidewalk sale of choice, or picked up at your favorite discount store, is the basis for this project. The next step is simple for most city dwellers: grab some of the woven mats found in many a Chinatown shop.Finally, snag some colored ribbon, a glue gun and polycrylic finish, and you're good to go. The end result is a cozy eye-catcher, a table reminiscent of summer picnics and grandma's house with a hipster bent.

Alas, lazy craftswoman that I am, I tried to think up ways to adjust this project, hoping to cut back on the time and energy required of it. Instead of attacking an entire table, you might top a dresser or simple chair with a woven mat coating. And hey, if you forgo the glue, ribbon and polycrylic finish, dressing up your Ikea kitchen table with a few colorful mats also does the trick quite nicely.

Designer and Style Network personality Mark Montano (who we've previously featured on Rented Spaces) includes this project in his latest book, "The Big-Ass Book of Home Decor," a follow-up to his previous book, "The Big-Ass Book of Crafts." As you've likely gleaned from his tongue-in-cheek titles, Montano injects fun into his work and doesn't take himself too seriously. Check out his blog, which covers everything from his favorite tools – he's a self-confessed "scissor snob" – to his entertainment of choice: TV shows like "Will and Grance" and "Glee."

What does this all mean for you, harried apartment dweller? Well, hopefully it means you've got someone new in your corner, a designer who freely shares his (often easy to replicate) ideas and professional tips. The great thing about many of Montano's suggestions is that they tend to work well regardless of how much space you have; he loves to spruce up small items, like end tables, vases, pillows and drink trays. Occasionally, Montano reveals how to craft an item from scratch, rather than simply dressing up something you've already got in your apartment. For example, he put together this cool, summery lantern with wire plant baskets and paper last May.

But if Montano's table-enhancing idea is not your speed, here are a few other ideas to give your table new life:

New paint, stencils and fabric help you recycle even the most bare-bones pieces, like the tired picnic table showcased in a recent thread on Crafster. After giving the benches a fresh coat of paint and covering them with graphic black-and-white fabric, the resourceful owner applied a similar bold stencil to the tabletop.

Achieve an artistic mosaic look by layering (and reusing) colorful tiles and bits of glass and stone, suggests Ecoki. Break the glass yourself, or purchase a package of glass tiles that have already been smashed to pieces. Ecoki details the tools and techniques you'll need.

Vivid paint and oilcloth are perhaps the simplest ways to recycle a well-worn kitchen table. Suite 101 Green Living offers tips, and points to a few other quick fixes, like creating a garden potting table, or crafting a coffee table by cutting down wooden table legs.

Wallpaper or decorative paper can also be adhered to tabletops, as shown by Apartment Therapy. This easy DIY project lends creative, colorful energy to boring, cookie-cutter tables, and requires only clean hands, spray adhesive and your paper of choice.
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