One of the most frequent questions I get from those new to social media, or people just looking to venture outside of Facebook, is what is Pinterest and why should they use it?

Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where you “pin” pictures from across the web to share with others, or remind yourself just where you saw that cute idea you just know you are going to try someday.

For me, Pinterest serves a few purposes.

  1. Saves my collection of photos from my favorite sports teams.
  2. A place to store all those great craft ideas I will never have enough time to try out.
  3. One giant “honey do” list for all those things my husband can make, fix or paint.

Admittedly, this is an addicting tool to finding ideas for home improvement, beauty, recipes, fashion and much, much more.  You can spend hours pinning and repinning. but if you don’t apply some of those ideas, it ends up being a giant waste of time.  Small business can use Pinterest to promote their products, services and blogs, but if you don’t make it interesting, it will get lost in the endless sea of pins already out there.

Keeping in mind the sheer amount or pinning I do, this summer, we decided to take several ideas I found on Pinterest and apply them to our cluttered basement in desperate need of a makeover.  If I spend so much time on a social media site, it seemed that it was time to put up or shut up and justify that time by bringing those ideas to life.

Surprise, surprise, not only did we succeed, but we did it on a budget!

First was the color scheme.  As a New York sports fan, I bleed blue.  All my teams have some sort of blue in their team colors.  Couple that with my husband’s love for the Denver Broncos, and we knew blue would figure prominently in the new look.  Since this is a basement, with limited natural light, we didn’t want solid blue walls.  So, I found a New York Giant inspired paint scheme on Pinterest that combined blue, gray and red.   We are thrilled with the way this turned out.

We recycled some old furniture we already had, added a couple inexpensive Ikea futons in red to add more color to the room and found cheap sports posters and clearance red frames to decorate the walls.

Even though the posters filled up one side of the room, we still had wall space to fill.

Welcome to Pinterest idea #2 and #3, canvas art and subway.  I created images and text in Photoshop, sent them through Snapfish to Walmart to print on 11×14 and 8×10 photo paper.

While picking up the prints, I found art canvas two-packs for less than $5 a piece to mount the photos with Mod Podge.  I also painted the edges of the canvases.  The result was personalized art that reflects our family and decorated our walls without breaking the bank.

pinterest-ottomanFinally, we needed a new ottoman/coffee table for the room since we would be using the old coffee table for the tv/video game electronics.  My daughter thought it would be cool to have something that resembled a hockey rink.  So, thanks toFabric.com, I found a fabric hockey rink panel (on sale for less than $6), convinced my husband to get plywood cut to the size of the panel along with table legs (painted red), used some foam we had on hand and bought an additional foam 4 inch thick foam from JoAnn’s (again, on sale for 60% off) to bring the whole project together based on an ottoman project I found on Pinterest.  Using some red and blue fabric I had in storage, I think the ottoman is the cutest (and most practical) thing ever.  Add repeated layers of Scotch Guard and so far, so good on keeping it clean, but useful.

Adding small touches like art glass light switch covers (on sale, of course, at Football Fanatics – and join their Rewards Programs to get free shipping) for our favorite teams, including a
New York Rangers Navy Blue Art-Glass Switch Plate Cover
, a $9 New York poster from WalMart, pictures of our favorite athletes in two clearance collage frames from Target and pillows covered in New York Giants and Denver Broncos fabric found at Fabric.com during their NFL fabric sale.

There were a ton more ideas I saw on Pinterest that I would have loved to apply to this room, but for a first effort at making Pinterest practical, I don’t think we did too bad.  See more pictures of the finished product below: