Design Inspiration

Home Décor By The Numbers

Numbers, whether incorporated from found objects or stenciled on, have great graphic appeal — use them to whip up some quick wall art, personalize thrifted or big-box store decor and organize your stuff. Read on for 14 project ideas using stencils, decals, house numbers, found numbers and more.

Mixed-numbers clock. Create a unique wall-size clock using a mix of house numbers, craft store numbers and found items. Search online for “surface mount clock parts” or “large clock hands” to find a kit to create the center clockworks and hands, then start collecting numbers. Choose a variety of shapes, sizes and colors for a look similar to the one shown here.

Scattered-numbers clock. For a different take on the DIY wall clock, use matching numbers but see how far you can stretch them while still being able to read the time.

Number-stenciled dresser. Update an old wooden dresser with nothing more than a small can of black paint and a set of number and letter stencils. Practice on paper first to get a feel for how much paint to use. Carefully measure and tape the stencils to the dresser before beginning. It can be worth the small extra cost to purchase several sets of letter stencils so you don’t have to reuse the same paint-smudged ones on each drawer.

Painted-number basket. Give a plain wicker basket new life with the addition of a single large number. Use a premade stencil or create your own using a number printed onto card stock and then cut out. Spray paint is a quick way to apply paint to a bumpy surface, but the stenciling can also be done with liquid paint and a bit of patience.

Number-grid wall art. If you come across a stash of vintage metal number signs at a flea market, try hanging them in a grid for a cool graphic take on wall art. Apply the numbers randomly or go for combinations with significance to you — maybe the date of your wedding or the street number of your first house.

Numbered stairs. If you’ve ever found yourself counting stairs on the way up, why not emphasize it with numbered risers? You can use stencils or actual house numbers, but the quickest and easiest method is to simply apply decals. Bonus: Decals are removable, so you can take them off to change the look or when it’s time to repaint.

Numbered doors. Large painted numbers make a bold statement on working doors, but you can also try adding them to old doors used strictly for decoration — like the repurposed screen shown here. If you have good handwriting and a bit of artistic flair, you can draw the numbers by hand in pencil, then fill them in with paint. If you’d rather have a pattern to follow, choose a font you like and have each number printed by large-format printers at a copy shop, then use the prints as stencils.

Number-stenciled decor. Unify a group of white ceramics with stenciled numbers. The crisp black-and-white look goes with anything, and it also works for wedding table decor.

Stenciled vintage trunk. Give a weathered old trunk even more personality with a single digit stenciled on the front. Or turn a trunk into an heirloom by stenciling on a meaningful date and filling it with related items — for example, baby keepsakes in a trunk stenciled with Baby’s birth date.

Number stencil wall art. If you’ve done a few stenciling projects in the past, you probably have a bunch of old stencils lying around — why not put them to use as wall art? Tacked or taped to the wall in an imperfect jumble, the stencils take on a graphic quality that would look at home in a workspace or art studio.

Numbered baskets. Keep your laundry supplies, craft materials or kids’ toys neat and orderly in numbered baskets and bins lined in canvas. If you can’t find already-numbered bins, use black fabric paint and stencils to customize a plain set.

Oversize flash cards. For quick (and inexpensive) play room or study room wall art, make your own super-size flash cards at the copy shop using sums written on the computer in an attractive font. Or, for a vintage feel, track down a set of old flash cards and frame them in a grid.

Framed sports jersey numbers. If you have a serious sports player or fan in your house, rescue an old jersey that’s been grown out of and cut it up to make framed wall art that holds special meaning. Or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, the numbered portion of a jersey could become the front of a pillow.

White-on-white appliqué numbers. For a subtler take on the numbers trend, go for white-on-white appliqués on cushions. The number detail still adds graphic flair, but without calling too much attention to itself.

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About the Author

Houzz Contributor. I cover topics ranging from decorating ideas, product picks, Houzz tours, and interviews with designers and architects, to the monthly home maintenance checklist. My favorite pieces to write center around the emotional aspects of home and savoring life's simple pleasures.