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These simple DIY projects will turn your gently used items into trendy cottage focal pieces

Even the most traditional cottages need a bit of sprucing up from time to time.

A new item or two can take a room from feeling cluttered to cohesive.

You won’t be alone in your DIY project either, as a recent study from Kijiji called The Home Sweet Home Report found that 60 per cent of Canadians have been using the extra time at home over the past year to take on home renovation and decor projects. So if you’re ready to clean up your cottage and tackle a DIY project in the process, here are a few simple ideas that you can try this summer.

Getting started

Decluttering is the first step to any DIY project. Not only will this clear out your cottage, making it feel more spacious, you’ll discover hidden gems you haven’t seen in years.

If you find an item that has a lot of solid wood that you aren’t planning to keep, place it in a pile to be repurposed.

For other items that you don’t have a strong attachment to, create a pile of items to be sold.

Any items that end up in this pile can be sold on Kijiji so that you can invest that money into items that will better fit your space. You can check out Kijiji’s Make Money From Home page for insights on the home items that are in high demand today.

Now that you’ve cleared out unnecessary items, you can determine what you’d like to do with your space.

DIY accent piece

Bottle cap glass

If you enjoy a beer or two around the campfire, you’re going to love this idea for cleaning up your space, and creating a subtle accent piece.

Find an empty glass vase or container that can fit at least one liter. Begin by filling the bottom of the glass with sand. Take your existing bottle caps, rinse them, and then toss them on top of the sand.

Once you have a solid layer of bottle caps, add another layer of sand, and repeat the process.

It’s a great way to remember those late nights with friends and family, while also being environmentally friendly. The colours add a nice touch to any room, and feel right at home at the cottage.

DIY focal pieces

For your focal pieces, you’ll want to spend a little bit of money to pick up some used furniture if you don’t have any that you’re willing to alter. Kijiji’s Home Sweet Home page is a great way to shop locally to find that perfect second-hand piece for your cottage that you can customize to suit your personal taste. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Take advantage of Kijiji Alerts and you’ll receive a notification anytime someone uploads an item relevant to your previous searches.

Coffee table

You can find cheap coffee tables made with real wood online for a fraction of their original cost. They have a large surface area that’s usually made of wood or glass, and legs that can be altered, so they’re perfect for DIY alterations.

If you have a wood surface, you can create a table that’s in the shape of the lake that your cottage is on.

Start by blowing up an image of your lake to the appropriate size.

You can do this by measuring your table, finding an overhead image of your lake on Google Maps, cutting the image into pieces using an image editing program, and printing them out one by one.

Once you’ve done that, you can tape them together and trace them onto the surface of the table.

After you’ve traced the image, you’ll want to find an appropriate spot for the legs on the shape, and then get to cutting.

With a bit of sanding, and a few new holes for the legs, you’ll have a table that’s uniquely yours that will get a lot of attention.


If you’re looking for something that’s even easier, getting a used dresser for your room is a great way to add a pop of colour with a fresh coat of paint.

Choose a colour that accents your space, such as a soft blue for light woods, or a deep burgundy for dark woods, and paint the entire outside of the dresser with that colour.

To make it stand out, keep the original wood colour on the drawers, and sand off the top layer to bring out the beautiful fresh grain. You can then seal it to make sure that it isn’t warped by moisture in the air from the lake to keep it in great condition for years to come.

And if you’d like to add an extra layer of beauty, swap out the handles and knobs. Creating your own handles using wood from the surrounding forest adds a bit of local flavour, and they’re one of the easiest pieces to carve for beginners.

Have fun with it

Whether you have old hockey sticks from when your children were growing up, or even broken tools from your shed, you can create unique pieces using a fresh coat of paint, or sell them to other cottagers in your area that could use them for their own projects.

If you’re updating your cottage this season, consider looking to other cottagers for your inspiration.

And hey, if you’re not the DIY type —not all of us are— then there’s always someone who is. Your well-loved items can be loved well by someone else!