Decorating for the Artistic Soul

Archive for February 2009

Decorating on a budget is so very important these days. I am a firm believer in the ten commandments of budget decorating. In this article, let’s work on the first five.

1. Determine a realistic budget and stay within it! It is absolutely not true that you have to spend 125% of your budget to get good results. And you don’t have to go and buy something just because it’s cheap, either. Shopping at estate sales, flea markets, and thrifty shops can turn up untold treasures, at unbelievably low prices. Patience is a virtue!

2. Go ahead and make a list of what you absolutely have to have to be able to use your room. If you have to have a table and chairs, get them. And now make one of the other things that you really want but cannot afford at the present time. Reupholstering those chairs, and finding the perfect centerpiece for that table can wait!

3. Tell yourself that when decorating your home; planning,, imagination, and creative effort are far more valuable than money. And you and your family will be so proud when it is finished!

4. Don’t discard things that you already have. If they are still functional, consider using these items with some small changes. Or perhaps they can be used for an entirely different purpose in another room.

5. Examine items that you simply HAVE to keep, such as your great grandmother’s settee or your mother’s favorite lamp. Build your scheme around these items and it will look like you meant them when you are finished.

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and rolls of blinds or window shades. They are a simple way to dress up a room with a minimum of expense and fuss.

After you hang up your blind, curtain, or shade, you now have several choices. You can buy a preformed…even a pre- upholstered box and just hang it up. Or you can cut the facing piece into a novelty shape. A car, a crown, a bunch of balloons, clouds, flowers…paint it to match your room décor and you’re done.

You can make one, using plain rectangular pieces of plywood, and then you have oodles of choices for decorating it. For a boy you can paste animals, balls, sports scenes, airplanes, cars, monsters, etc., onto the painted surface.

For a girl, you can take an extra pillow case that matches her linens and pleat it across the box, stapling as you go. A tie back curtain hanging from it with wide ribbon bows would be lovely. Or find girl-things and paste them on as you would for a boy’s room.

In either case, you can also wallpaper it the same as the walls, border it with a border paper, and use the top shelf of the box for displaying model cars or little dolls or stuffed animals.

Whatever you decide to do, let your child have some input into it. Kids take more pride in (and better care of) a room that they helped plan!

The type of room dividers I am talking about here are the fold-up screen type, that are easily moved and can stand free but may also be folded up and used just for decoration as well.

There are many different ways to use portable room dividers:

· They can separate a large open room into small cozy areas.
· They can give you privacy or block out light.
· You can turn a corner into a closet area.
· You can simply use them as a form of decoration to fill an unused space, hide a flaw in the wall or the floor, and so on.

Room dividers are versatile, reusable, and can be very inexpensive for the budget-minded family. If your child has no special room to play with his toys in, make a storage corner in your living or family room by using an L-shaped, or two accordion folding room dividers to make place for his things. A low bookcase for books, puzzles, and stuffed toys and a covered toy box for his odds and ends can nestle behind the screens, leaving your room ready for drop in company.

If you have a one wall kitchen design that is totally open to your dining area, you might want to have a room divider that can be opened to separate the areas… both for when you’re cooking, and also to hide the disarray while you are eating. That same divider can be opened in from of a window that is adding too much glare to the room while you are watching television!

Now that Spring is on the way across the country and many people are looking for a fresh look in their homes, it’s also a great time to start thinking about decorating outside. What can you do to clean up and brighten up the outside décor of your home? Maybe you haven’t put a lot of thought into it yet or maybe you have but you just don’t know how to go forward.

Here are five great tips for decorating outside that can help you no matter what kind of home you have:

1. Add some lawn ornaments. There are so many different types out there today that you are sure to find something that suits your tastes. It can be something classic like a small wooden birdhouse or something modern like pole mounted outdoor lights. Maybe you enjoy lifelike deer statues or a water fountain. From the simple to elaborate, you can spice up outside your home with lawn ornaments.
2. Paint- Look at areas outside your home and on your home that you could paint and give a bright new look. Whether it’s your whole house or just some trim or the front porch, new paint can make a big difference.
3. Flowers and greenery- Adding flowers, vines, plants, bushes and more to your front lawn is a quick and easy way to brighten things up.
4. Porch or patio- If you don’t currently have one, you might think about getting one and if you do have one, you can add a new touch with new furniture, cleaning old furniture or adding other accessories.
5. Law care- Great lawn care starts early in the year and can make a great difference in the look and décor of your home. A beautifully trimmed, green lawn will make your home look warm and inviting.

Southwestern style is generally made up of rough textures, earthtone colors, and fabrics that are hand woven in bright colors. Traditionally you would have light colored stucco walls, and wood covered or rough hewn, open beam ceilings. Floors and countertops should be done in hand painted tile to lend authenticity.

The furniture should be large, comfortable, unpretentious, and upholstered in leather or woven fabrics. The wood is often knotty pine and distressed. The browns and sandy tans of the furniture are offset by bright, highly patterned Navajo type rugs. Since large, open rooms are the norm, pull the furniture away from the walls. Wrought iron and glass tables can be used to keep it looking simple and uncluttered..

For accessorizing, use leather lampshades on wrought iron lamps, hang a colorful Mexican serape on the wall, or perhaps a beautiful American Indian blanket. Tall cacti planted in Talavera pottery would be lovely. Agave plants and succulents in rough clay pots should abound. Peach, teal and turquoise need to pop up somewhere in your accenting.

Any electronics; i.e. television, DVD player, stereo system; should remain in a closed entertainment center or armoire, to keep the ambiance undisturbed when not using them.

Southwestern design is a very comfortable and casual style that is easy to accomplish and easy to live with. It is a nicely balanced combination of American Indian, Mexican, and country cabin that combines the colors of the desert, the greens of cactus and the reds of the natural wonders of the great Southwest.

When your bed doesn’t have a canopy frame, there are several ways to dress up your bed and add drama and romance to your bedroom:

· Hang two short curtain rods from the ceiling at the head and to the sides of your bed and running perpendicular to the wall. They should be at least 6” from the bed to allow for easy bed-making. Hang floor length panels and tie them back to the wall.

· Make a coronet by attaching a half-circle of plywood (3/4 inch) to the ceiling, and then attaching fabric around the outer edge of the wood. This is lovely when you use sheer fabric. In the summer, switch your fabric to mosquito netting for a practical new look.

· Install four towel rings to the ceiling, one at each corner of your bed, making sure to leave a little space for bed making. Using long lengths of sheer fabric, swag from the right head ring to the left foot ring, making sure there is enough length to reach all the way to the floor at both ends. Do the same for the other two rings.

· Use one towel ring on either side of the head of the bed and attached to the ceiling. Swag fabric through both rings, making sure that it hangs long enough to fan it out on the floor. To make it even more dramatic, paint that one wall a darker contrasting color .

If you have a four poster bed you may want to secure your panels to them though it isn’t necessary. When using patterned panels, it is a nice finishing touch to make a few throw pillows for the bed from the same fabric. Using two or three pillows of different shapes and sizes will add interest.

Accent pillows are really versatile and useful. Not only do they draw color to define or embellish a scheme, but also can be used for head or back support, for stacking under a table for floor use, or even to raise a child to the correct table height. But they can be very pricey, and they wear out if used often.

So the way to enjoy pillows without restraint is to make them or recover them yourself! If you are lucky, your pillows came with zippers in them, and you can simply take them apart at the seam and use the pattern to whip up another. A double bonus is that you can usually even use the same zipper.

However, if you are starting from scratch, here are a few tips:

1. If at all possible, use a zipper pattern to make it easier for you the next time you change them.
2. Invest in a roll foot for your sewing machine, which will make adding trim, welts, etc. easier for you.
3. Use two or more shapes for your pillows when using them in one spot; i.e. a bed or a large sofa.
4. To avoid empty corners in your pillow covers, cut a V to the corner before your turn the cover right side out.
5. Finish the edges to prevent unraveling, but don’t leave a lot of bulky hem.
6. When using ruffling, you need to buy three times the linear length around the pillow to have enough fabric to gather.

Use a quality fabric. It doesn’t have to cost a lot…pillows use little material and you can buy remnants. This small change in your room is going to make a big difference!


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