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Element of Surprise: Driftwood brings the unexpected to interior decor

(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)
(Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)


Do you love picking up design books and magazines and dreaming of creating spaces in your home that equal those created by professionals? I do.

Those beautiful rooms are styled by people who have spent time and money learning secrets of design and decorating. If you can afford to hire a professional, you can pretty much guarantee a good result.

However, it is also possible and very satisfying to, on your own, decorate rooms in a way that reflects your unique personality and then receive many compliments from friends and family.

I hope over the years that the do-it-yourself projects in this column have helped you achieve pleasing home décor results. I like to say, “Do it yourself!”

Have you ever noticed that design publications rarely feature bathrooms? Although it is the place where you conduct your private business, your guests likely will visit it sooner or later. The quality of its design should be just as good as the rest of your home.

How can you achieve this when it presents so many challenges? It is a small room and so utilitarian. It is full of hard surfaces of tile, stone, porcelain, metal and glass. It has very few textiles and limited texture. The presence of frequent moisture in the bathroom poses problems for the decorator.

It is best to keep bathroom design simple. The room usually is small. Filling it with too many things makes it feel cluttered. Less is more but you also don’t want the bathroom to feel sterile! In our home, I like to bring an element of surprise to every room — even the bathroom. An unexpected element always pleases.

Driftwood can offer an unexpected element to a bathroom! It brings texture to a space of hard surfaces and works well in a moist environment.


In nature, you can find driftwood along shorelines of rivers, lakes and oceans. Most wood sinks and rots in a matter of months. Only wood that contains large amounts of resins floats. Spruce floats for many months, sometimes even years. Eventually, water-worn wood becomes like pressure-treated lumber. It becomes resistant to the effects of constant exposure to moisture. It remains strong and hard. This makes driftwood perfect for the bathroom environment.

Many years ago, I received a beautiful floral arrangement from a friend. The florist used a large piece of driftwood to hold the flowers. It was impressive. It was a very unusual piece of wood.

I kept the wood to use it again. It had been cut to be flat on one side, which made it stable for displaying on the table. I realized that it could also be easily mounted to the wall.

The driftwood had a curved limb protruding from the main section. I envisioned it supporting a round vessel. I found a terra-cotta pot and tried it out. It was a perfect fit.

I drilled a couple of holes through the wood and mounted it to the wall of a small nook located just left of the bathroom sink. This was a little space that was not much good for anything.

I realized I could use the pot mounted on the wood to hold a plant, decorative items or even rolled-up towels.

I white-washed the wood with acrylic paint. The finished piece brings texture into the space and makes the bathroom feel like it is in a spa. The driftwood looks great and adds the perfect element of surprise!

I was lucky to have the perfect piece of wood to work with. You often can buy pretreated driftwood pieces at florist supply stores, thrift shops, home furnishing stores and online. Keep your eye out when exploring rivers, lakes and oceans.

Driftwood of any kind and shape brings texture to any room. It can even serve as a sculptural piece. Make it unique and give the room an element of surprise!

About Haley Holcomb

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