Normally found in classrooms and carpenter's shops, rulers and yardsticks are everyday items that have recently taken on a new function as home décor.
The straight flat lines of the classic measuring tools are a great fit for tabletops, light fixtures and wall décor.
Vintage-style wood yardsticks line the top of a pine-and-metal tray table from Ballard Designs. For added retro charm, the sticks are labeled with shop names and addresses such as "Laura's Floral Shop" and "Enzo's Fine Antiques."
The shade of a hanging pendant light from Pottery Barn Kids features replicas of vintage wood rulers, just the accent for the room of a child learning to measure things at school, or even for a cottage-style kitchen.
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At online retailer Etsy, rulers and yardsticks are transformed into primitive wood stars, jewelry boxes and even jewelry. At one company, Mitercraft, the rulers themselves, made of woods including maple, cedar and walnut, are functional works of art with intricate inlays and laser engravings. Prices are $18 to $33 at Etsy.com/shop/Mitercraft.
For crafty types who want to create their own ruler art, Better Homes and Garden magazine offers a how-to for building a starburst mirror surrounded by rays of wood rulers. Materials include 22 yardsticks, a round mirror, wood glue and a hand saw to cut the sticks to varying lengths. For step-by-step instructions, go to BHG.com.