How To Decorate Your Home With Musical Instruments

Do you turn on the tunes as soon as you arrive home? Does Alexa know all your favorite songs? Music, as Plato said, "gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything," per Goodreads. However, you don't need to be able to carry a tune to add some musical notes to your decor. We are not talking about arranging framed photos on your grand piano — although that is a mighty fine idea. There are plenty of other creative ways to incorporate musical instruments into your surroundings.

Not only is decorating with music on trend, but using instruments, sound equipment, and even sheet music, lets more creativity shine in a new setting. When you're ready, turn on some tunes, assess your space, and gather your collectibles. It's time to display and revitalize these pieces of musical history, including instruments, amps, music, posters, tickets, pictures, VIP passes, and even that confetti from the last Muse show. While some of our ideas extend into the outdoors, most invite you into a chic space. Craft some harmony in your home with these creative ways to add musical notes to your home.

Create a stage area

Do you have a karaoke machine? Disco ball? Colorful lighting? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're a great candidate to give these items a home by designing a stage for your living space. Fantastic for budding musicians and actors, a dedicated platform in your home brings out the performer in all of us. According to Teach Mama, building your own stage is not difficult. You can make a 4 x 6-foot platform by placing two 3 x 4-foot parts together. After cutting the wood to size, use eight corner brackets to form the frame that will become the stage base. Then, attach plywood to the pine frame using 3-inch wood screws.

After assembling the pieces, it's time to paint and apply the flooring. We love the look, durability, and ease of installation peel-and-stick vinyl tiles provide. Then set up the drums, microphones, and guitar stands in a staging area so that they are displayed and ready to tune and play. Remember, if you build it, they will come.

Purchase black and white vinyl flooring at Lowes for $1.23 per square foot

Get ready to tickle those ivories

When most of us picture decorating with pianos, we often think of a large grand or baby grand piano grabbing all the attention in the center of the room. When decorating with musical instruments, just like with jazz, as long as it all jives, it's good. If you plan on playing the piano, keep decorations to a minimum. However, adding adornments to the adjacent wall — like instrument storage, music-themed art, or shelving — all guides the eye to the focal point piano. Speaking of the piano, you don't need a dark wood model with a cracked and aging finish. You can style a piano with houseplants, neutral colors, and mirrors. According to At Home With Ashley, painting the piano does not change the sound quality as long as the soundboard, the area right under the strings, is unpainted. Since pianos have so many moving parts, they often depreciate over time (via Joshua Ross). Well-maintained Yamaha and Steinway pianos keep more of their value because of the high sound quality.

Paint is a fantastic way to refresh an old or damaged piano. Don't worry about inflicting damage with a paintbrush. Using chalk paint instead of regular paint is much easier (via Chaotically Yours). Aside from ensuring the surface is clean and dry, there's no prep before painting this ultra-matte finish paint. You can brighten the soft finish with the application of a coat of wax if preferred.

Purchase chalk paint at Lowes for $25

Incorporate sweet harps

The heavenly harp is much like a piano in structure but played by plucking the strings. The oldest instrument in the world, according to Weirdomatic, pictures of this beautiful instrument graced the tombs of ancient Egypt back in 3,000 B.C. Since then, this heraldic instrument has appeared in paintings and sculptures throughout different cultures. As harps are one of the more expensive instruments, running up to $50,000, check tag sales, thrift stores, and instrument repair shops for more affordable choices (via Pro Music Vault).

At over 6 feet tall, the harp stands alone. Their graceful lines and ethereal tone have long made these instruments a component in elegant music rooms. Since their stature and style steal the scene, let them be the center of attention. Gilded and over-the-top ornamental Rococo harps are sure to make a statement. If you're regularly playing the harp, keep it accessible. You can balance or contrast the style and dimensions of the harp in the music room for a professional look. Take an old harp and use the frame to make a shelf (via Sarah Joy Blog). Use the flat part of the harp and attach a narrow board on top, then sand and paint the entire project.

Purchase a harp at Guitar Center for $1,245

Go for the brass instruments

Trumpets, trombones, baritones, tubas, and French Horns are all popular brass instruments. Made from brass or metal, they are sometimes silver or gold plated. You can find used horns in playing condition for as little as $100, per Reverb. However, if you want one simply for decoration, keep a watchful eye on advertisements and neighborhood garage sales to nab an instrument for less. Transform a trumpet into an acoustic speaker for your phone by inserting little phone speakers near the bell of the instrument. This placement will naturally amplify the brass (via The Heartless Machine on YouTube).

Aside from attaching them to the walls with a little ingenuity and a blow torch, you can turn your brass instruments into vases, sculptures, fountains, or lamps. This project takes under an hour to create a one-of-a-kind trombone lamp (via Instructables). Gather a trombone, a long extension cord, a power cord, two one-inch wall hooks, electrical tape, ¼- or ½-inch heat-shrink tubing, four electric splices, pliers, a lightbulb socket, a light bulb, and a lighter to heat shrink. First, join the extension and power cords. Then, run them through the horn and feed them through the bell. Splice the wires to the socket, install a lightbulb, and hang your new trombone light on hooks.

Decorate with posters

If you have tickets, swag, or large posters from classic rock bands like the Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, combine them into a personally curated musical exhibit in your home. Of course, shadow boxes and display tables can hold musical memories but let's give them something more substantial. No matter your musical taste, concert tickets and photos on acid-free paper make beautiful music together on a coffee table like this from Rouse House Design. To make your own version of this table, you'll need a drop cloth, sandpaper, painter's tape, foam brush, gloves, a drywall scraper, a bucket, and a paint mixing stick. Get some Mod Podge and polyurethane, and start organizing your musical treasures. Once assembled, glue them to the table and apply four or five more layers to keep the polyurethane from penetrating the papers. Tape the table edges, and pour on and spread the polyurethane. When bubbles form as the coating dries, use a blow dryer to make them disappear as the polyurethane cures.

To make your own musical wallpaper, find different posters and cut them into squares (via Retro Renovation). Cut the tens or hundreds of one-foot squares for the wall or accent area with a glass template. The transparency lets you see the design and ensure the section will be just what you envisioned. Lay a few rows on the floor and get a feel for the colors and textures. Use a level to put horizontal lines on the wall, and attach the squares with wallpaper paste.

Purchase Mod Podge at Michaels from $2.50 to $55

String up some stringed instruments

On their own or combined with others, stringed instruments are a great way to express your musical personality. From a hand-crank hurdy-gurdy to a long-necked sitar or lute, there are over 300 types of stringed instruments to choose from, per Connolly Music. While we have all seen music rooms with wall-mounted Fender or Rickenbacker guitars, how about combining them with albums and album covers, cymbals, and music posters? When decorating with disparate shapes, choose instruments and pieces that coordinate for a unified look or opt for contrast for an eclectic statement. 

Don't want to use the entire instrument? Transform an old acoustic guitar and scrap wood into a cool shelf with the help of a miter saw, a sander, wood glue, and screws and clamps (via Stromboli Stronghold on YouTube). Using the guitar body as the shelf frame, it's simply a matter of cutting scrap wood into shelves and little support blocks, then screwing in small supports underneath the shelf. You can do the same with a stringed violin case (via Lora Bloomquist Create & Ponder). Decoupage sheet music to the case for a musical flourish.

Add some wind chimes

Not just for the outdoors, chimes make a welcoming display in any room. Crafters can make just about anything — cutlery, beads, glass, CDs, wood, even cans and bottles — into colorful chimes and mobiles. However, making a musical mobile is not difficult. With a visit to the home supply store and items most DIYers have on hand, Instructables crafted a beautiful set of chimes.

To complete this project, you will need an 8-foot length of ¾-inch diameter copper pipe, a scrap piece of wood for the top, some decorative chain, five "I" screws, three brass hooks, and a key ring. Tools include a jig and skill saw, pipe cutters, needle nose pliers, and a drill. The wood top needs some paint or stain and sealant. Divide the pipe into 16-inch, 14-inch, 12-inch, 10-inch, and 8-inch pieces. Then use steel wool to soften the sharp edges. One side of the top will have the brass hooks to hang the chimes, and the other side will have five screws, one for each chime. Then, using the pliers, thread the wire through the chime and attach it to a chain. Many chromatic tuners are available for phones if you want to create a pentatonic — five-note scale — sound.

Play with some sheet music

Available in every style, theme, and color, with bright pictures of composers, singers, bands, and Hollywood stars, sheet music is a conversation starter. The music and lyrics come in fashionable covers that express their era and genre. Why not use them and make some beautiful music in your home? From simply displaying a favorite piece of music on a steampunk or Victorian music stand, sheet music mixes with all decorating styles. Of course, sheet music can substitute for any paper decorating application, including tablescapes, collages, wallpaper, and handmade wreaths. It also makes fantastic furniture covering, per Miss Mustard Seed. Lay out the tunes, apply a layer of Mod Podge directly to an item of furniture, place the sheet music, and coat with another layer of Mod Podge. For an older-looking piece, add a layer of antiquing tint before applying more Mod Podge and then a layer of polyurethane. This technique works on most porous items like wooden ornaments, dressers, and photo frames.

Framing your sheet music is an ideal way to make a style statement. Since sheet music is often sized between 9 and 12 inches, finding standard frames can be problematic (via Mozart Project). Instead, consider making and sizing copies of the covers. Monochromatic or black and white pages can make a big statement when grouped on a wall over a piano or drum kit.

Embrace perfect percussion

Everyone loves drums, including little kids pounding on pots and pans with kitchen utensils to aged rockstars jamming on drum sets. For over 6,000 years, humans have been banging on drums. From one-headed drums like congas and bongos to two-headed bass drums, percussion instruments make for timeless decoration. Drums come in many different sizes and shapes, so they're versatile. Large African drums like djembe drums, which have a tightened head tuned by a colorful rope, per Djembe Direct. These drums also make beautiful coffee tables. You just need to add a round glass tabletop.

Once drums, especially bass drums, have reached the end of their life, it's time for them to put the fun into function. A drum wine rack is as easy as removing one drum head, installing a pre-made wine rack, and cutting out holes a little larger than the wine bottles. You can use four different-sized tom drums and create a stunning light fixture (via DIY Household Tips Guide). After choosing a location, and deciding how to space the four tom drums, find the stud and drill holes, then use wood screws to attach square metal table leg supports to the appropriate places on the wall. Take both heads off, use long screws and secure the drums to the wall. Then install the LED light tape.

Purchase metal leg supports at Lowes for $3.78

Make some noise with vintage radios

You don't have to be an audiophile to appreciate the bright chrome of a Fender amplifier or the lines on a wooden radio. Vintage and antique radios, amps, speakers, and even old gramophones look — and sound — fantastic when brought into the 21st century. Since a lot has changed since the days of large vacuum tubes and transistors, there's a lot of room in these classics for compact speakers and WiFi tuners. You can even deconstruct those 1980s-era speakers to house sound equipment, CDs, or your vinyl collection.

Jenron Designs took a large vintage radio, sanded it, and refinished it in a darker shade to hide some of the wood damage. Then, they replaced the damaged speaker screen with a new screen. Speaker cloth works too and is easier to cut. Once you cut the covers to size, attach them to the radio with brads. Then, connect a tuner with a Bluetooth connection, or use a modern speaker with WiFi and Bluetooth, synch your device, and you will be ready to rock.

Purchase a Bluetooth tuner from Bose for $699.00 and speaker cloth at SpeakerWorks for $19.95

Design a simple cymbal statement

The gong is one of the brass percussion instruments that packs a pitch. When pondering how to repurpose cymbals or gongs, decide if you want a classic look or a shiny, new one. If so, then grab a buffer and some brass polish. If you're making a light fixture, the brighter finish will reflect more light than a matte one. Making a DIY light fixture is simple, per Designed Decor. With a light kit, wire strippers, and a straight edge, a cymbal can become a hanging pendant light with a conveniently located hole in the middle.

After deciding where to hang the light and how long a cord you need, slice partway through the plastic to reveal the copper wire underneath. Run the wire through the cymbal center and, on a ladder, get ready to attach the wires. It's always wise to double or triple-check to ensure the power is off. Connect the lamp wires to the house wires, matching black to black and white to white. Wrap the wires and secure them with wire caps.

Purchase a light kit at Build with Ferguson for $28.05 and nab a cymbal at Zildjian for $99.99

Play that funky music

There is just something special about vinyl records. Whether finding a classic gem in a used record store or peeling the shrink wrap off a new purchase, records are perfect for your home decor. While the artsy record jackets are ready to go on your walls with some double-sided tape, you can use the albums in hanging arrangements, light fixtures, and even jewelry.

Scratched, warped, or unplayable records get a new life when melted. Yes, melted. Depending on the type of records — old, thick 78 albums take longer than little 45s — it only takes minutes to stop the world and melt with it. It's important to remember that vinyl is not healthy to breathe, so when heating up the tracks, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area. Cooking up the tunes only takes about 30 minutes in an oven set around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, per Kitchen Smug. They recommend putting the album in a heat-resistant pan or bowl and heating it from the bottom. Once pliable, form them into decorative bowls, or give them a big cannoli shape and attach them together for a one-of-a-kind wine holder. Paint the albums in coordinating colors for a retro '60s vibe. Colored albums, especially blue, yellow, and red, can be melted, formed, and cut into interesting shapes for necklaces.