Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picking The Right Paint For Your Bedroom

Painting Your Bedroom is an inexpensive way to get a whole new look, however some people find it to be an overwhelming task to choose a color or type of paint. Many simply stare at the thousands of color swatches in the store and then walk away confused without ever picking out a color!

If you want to paint your bedroom, the first step is to select a range of colors or color theme. That way, when you go into the store you can narrow down your selection of color swatches to those in that general color shade.

If you want your bedroom to evoke a certain mood, some colors have shown to be better at evoking certain emotions or moods. Calming colors are soft colors - blues, greens, and lavenders in a muted shade. Anything too vivid or bright will not be calming. If you are decorating to have a calming effect these colors go quite well together. You could punch it up a bit with some brighter accents in the same colors but with a different tone. I like a sage green for the walls with some light sky blues and lavenders sprinkled around the rooms Bedding, wall coverings and flooring can be a solid color to keep the calm mood going. Accent with candles and perhaps a table top waterfall.

On the other hand, you might want to paint your bedroom so that it energizes. Maybe you want to wake up in the morning ready to go! Then you might want to try bright colors like reds and yellows with maybe a bit of orange thrown in. I love the look of deep red walls even if it may take several coats to cover! Yellow and orange make a nice color combination - maybe a bit 70's so you could do a nice retro design with these colors. Tone it down a bit by using brown as an accent. Of course, you can always use red with black and white for a classically contemporary look. And there’s always a white room (bedding, walls, and floors) with bright red, yellow, blue and orange accents for a mid century feel that will liven up the place.

For a more elegant type of bedroom, you may opt for tans of off whites. These can match very well with some darker, rich colors like maroon, gold, or even black. Use some deep jewel tones to create a romantic but calming feeling. Gray and brown can be a nice modern color palette – use deep colors not light and you will be surprised how this can give the room a cozy feel that is a bit more modern.

Another choice you may have to make is if you want to use traditional paints or get an effect on your walls with special effect paints. You can add texture to your walls with paints that have texture build in, or use special paint to get the look of marble or old world plaster.
Some of these use solvent based glazes and others have specially made paint just for that particular look you want. A trip to your local Home Depot will find these paints as well as free classes on how to apply them.

Considering Paint Colors When Preparing Your Property for Sale

It is undisputed that the decision to purchase real estate is very much an emotional one. To spike the emotional interest, you need to consider the paint schemes of your property.

Considering Paint Colors When Preparing Your Property for Sale

A very odd thing seems to happen to people when they decide to sell their home. They immediately start doing all the improvements they meant to do all those years, but never got around to. When the home is ready to be listed, it is usually in the best condition it has ever been. Put another way, we clean it for someone else. Sprucing up a property prior to selling is definitely the right move, but it is odd that we make it nicer for someone else than we do for ourselves!

If you know the least thing about real estate, you understand the concept of curb appeal. Curb appeal is simply the appearance of the home from the street. The goal, of course, is to have great curb appeal so a potential buyer is hooked when they first drive up to the property. If they fall in love at the first glance, they will often overlook problem areas and make an offer.

A big part of curb appeal and the emotional hook in selling a home is the color. If you walk through any crowded area, you know humans have very different ideas on what constitutes good taste. Very different! In the case of your property, you must acknowledge this fact when considering the paint scheme. Just because you like deep burgundy does not mean most potential buyers will.

The first rule when discussing the color of a property is the clash rule. In this case, the key is to go with a color on the exterior of your home that does not clash with the other properties on your block. While a unique color may look good on the house in the abstract, it can make it an eyesore in the neighborhood as a whole.

The second rule with paint schemes it emphasis. The nature of most properties is they have appealing sections and utilitarian sections. If possible, the appealing sections such as trim around bay windows should be painted in a darker color. Conversely, utilitarian areas such as sizeable flat walls should be painted in a lighter color. This strategy will draw the eye of potential buyers to the appealing sections and away form the utilitarian areas.

Everyone has different tastes when it comes to clothes, cars, people and homes. Apply these rules to the color scheme of your home and you shouldn't have any problems. Now, about that tie...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Remodeling Your kitchen with Contemporary home decorating style

Remodeling Your kitchen with Contemporary home decorating style

The Contemporary home decorating style ought to instill sleek and stylish design to any kitchen. Maybe one of the most captivating facets of this decor is the beige tones with black and white which work with the minimalist accessories for sizeable effect. Get the feeling of modern design with contemporary decorating no matter where your dwelling is.

You can spruce up your kitchen with area rugs. Don�t forget that your floor decor is part of your decor, so be positive to shop for a design that coordinates or matches with both the colors and also the room design. Choose white, black or beiges with your short pile or shag rugs and these should improve the style favorably.

Obtaining window treatments for your kitchen is an important mission due to the fact that the wrong style can really diminish your interior decorating scheme. You want to consider an ambiance which is minimalist in for your curtains or sheers. For a pleasing design buy some simple blinds.

While you are shopping for kitchen chairs and tables for your wonderfully decorated kitchen, you want to be sure to shop for items that add appeal to the design theme. For the most part, pieces which are sleek steel look the best. Types of pieces to think about include sleek linear style items.

No decorating scheme would feel put together without the suitable decorative items, so try decorating with some pottery and dish towels. The minimalistic feeling of this decorating approach should be mirrored in the accessories. Making the most of accessories could add your own diverse touch on the design approach.

Lights could be expensive, but then if you do your shopping at consignment stores, you can get suitable lighting fixtures to suit Contemporary home decorating style. Your room design should look perfect if you buy lighting fixtures simple. Consider decorating overhead lighting that add interest to this kind of contemporary decorating.

Making use of Contemporary home decorating style in your kitchen is a pleasing way to have a fine design in your home. Make time to use the appropriate furniture and accessories and you have an interior decorating scheme you will be proud of.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Having Contemporary home decorating style In Your studio apartment

Decorating with Contemporary home decorating style In Your home

Contemporary home decorating style is a sleek and stylish way to add interest to your home. This interior design uses beige tones with black and white with accessories for a perfect style.
Get the feeling of modern design with contemporary decorating no matter where your residence is.

You can perk up your home by displaying area rugs. It�s smart to pick floor covering that is most suited to the decorating scheme color and also look. Choose white, black or beiges with your short pile or shag rugs and your floor choices ought to show off the design theme fantastically.

The right lights can be a perfect way to round out Contemporary home decorating style thus you need to think about this area. With this kind of design style, you�ll want your lights to be simple.
Think about shopping for lighting that coordinate with this type of contemporary decorating.

You are looking for your furniture to compliment your room style. In most cases, sleek steel items go well with this theme. Select types of pieces that look charming with this decorating theme are sleek linear style items.

Personal touches are a critical part of any design style and adding paintings and knick knacks to your room could help complete the decorating theme. Decorating with items which have a minimalistic theme could look best with this sort of decor. Decorative items give a sense of style to the room so you want to be sure to get ones that are a part of your own style.

Picking window treatments for your home is a key responsibility because the wrong type can essentially diminish your decorating style. You are trying to go for a minimalist style, Therefore keep this in mind when selecting curtains, drapes or shutters. Decorate with simple blinds to achieve an effective attractiveness.

By applying Contemporary home decorating style in your home is a fine way to have a fine decorative style. If you practice smart shopping practices at consignment stores and yard sales you ought to save a lot of cash and make a custom decorating style for less cost.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tips on Choosing the Right Paint Color for the Master Bedroom

Choosing paint can be frustrating and confusing, plus small paint color samples on tiny cards do not provide enough of a sample to really see what the end results will look like on master bedroom walls. The painter must have a vivid imagination and be able to envision that one-inch square completely covering the walls and what looks good on a tiny square might not look nearly as wonderful on master bedroom walls.

People are often disappointed when master bedroom walls are covered in a hue that is too bright or too dark, and they regret the time and money spent on the job. Worst of all, unless they do not mind repainting, and possibly priming shortly after the paint dries, they are stuck indefinitely with a paint color they really do not like. The paint color in a master bedroom is important, and the following tips and advice will help you choose just the right hue for the room. Paint is definitely the least expensive way to make the greatest impact, and that impact should be a positive one.

Size Consideration

A small room will look smaller than ever if painted in a darker shade. When considering paint for a small master bedroom, choose light colors. This is the least inexpensive way to add the illusion of square footage without remodeling.

In addition, the color of the ceiling is also an important consideration when choosing paint. Choose white to add the illusion of height to the room, and paint the ceiling the same light color as the walls to expand the look of the entire space. Color has the power to completely transform a room, and unless the room is already large, go with crisp light colors that will give the room an open and airy feel.

Mood Matters

The master bedroom is a haven for relaxation and a place to unwind. The color of the walls should promote rest and create serene ambience, this is why it is important to choose the right paint color to set the mood of the master bedroom.

Cool light colors such as blue, green, lavender, or creamy neutral hues are ideal for master bedroom walls, and the options are virtually endless. When shopping for paint for the master bedroom you will find hundreds of cool color options, and many paint stores will match specific colors when a sample is provided.

Awkward Angles

Many people wonder what paint color to choose for a master bedroom with awkward angles, but the same applies for a bedroom with a more interesting perspective as a basic bedroom that is square or rectangular in shape. No matter what color you choose, the light will play on the colors and change the way they are viewed, but this is a definite plus. Corners will appear darker at times, and walls that vary in shade depending upon lighting will add interest and definite appeal to the room.

Add More Color with Accent Pieces

If lighter hues are not your style but you do not want to go too bold with wall paint colors, choose colorful accent pieces for the master bedroom. Add drama to the space with color-coordinating throw pillows, bedding, and eye-grabbing wall décor. Unlike paint, accent pieces can be changed with little effort if they do not meet expectations. They will add vibrancy and color to the room without too much commitment. If the colors of accent pieces are too energetic or heavy, they can easily be replaced with something more suitable.

Try It First

Instead of taking a chance with a color you are not sure about, do not try and make a decision using tiny paint chip samples. Choose a high-quality brand that offers small bottles of color to sample, or invest in a single quart of a chosen paint color.

Paint a piece of poster board instead of the wall, and after the paint has dried, place the extra-large sample on the wall in many different positions. Place the color next to flooring, next to window treatments, and next to master bedroom furnishings, and stand back to get a more realistic idea of how it will look on walls. This is one of the best ways to make sure you will be happy with the results, and although it will take a little time and a small investment, you will end up with the right color to complete the haven for relaxation that you have always wanted.

Jessica Ackerman is a senior staff writer for Wall Decor and Home Accents, and she has extensive experience in interior design. Jessica specializes in decorating vertical spaces with wall sconces, wall hangings, mirrors, and wall wine racks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How to Choose the Right Paint Color

Choosing the paint color for your room, at first seems like the best place to start. True it will make a big change in your room but you need to have other things already picked out for the room. Furniture, rugs, fabrics are all things that need to be decided upon before choosing your paint color. Never go the opposite way; paint color then all the other items.

Once you have all your basic items in your room you can get ready to start deciding on paint colors. You should make sure to carry your coordinating samples with you. These will be your fabric pieces, tile, trim, etc. You are seeking the paint color that compliments what you already have in the room. A quick tip for working with print fabric is try and choose the background color in the fabric for your wall color.

You don’t want to be too “matchy” with your pieces and your wall colorings, so a good contrast is good when you have a lot of one color. If you have solid fabrics whose colors are repeated in many items in the room, go for a contrasting paint color. For this it would be helpful to get a paint wheel and find the color opposite the colors you are working with. This will give a great contrast from having too much of the same color and have your room looking great and well put together.

If you are having a hard time finding the color on the color chips at the local store never forget about custom color matching. You can have the exact color you want that may be in a fabric matched to the correct color. Once you think you are set on the colors you are interested in for your room. Look at it in many different lights to get a good view of what you really want. A perfect way to be sure is to take all your coordinating samples and your paint chips you have picked out and place them in the room you will have them in. Look at them throughout the day and evening. This will now give you a clearer picture of the paint will look in the room and with the coordinating pieces.

Anytime you have to paint the ceiling, you need to remember that the ceiling color is best made lighter than the wall colors. This is very easy to achieve by using white paint to dilute the wall color. A ratio of 25% color to 75% white works best.

Always remember wet paint dries differently. So, don’t fret about the paint color as you are painting it on. Wait until it dries to get the real effect of your wonderful work of choosing your own paint color.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Custom Cabinets Vs. Stock Cabinets

So, you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen and aren’t sure whether to go with custom or stock cabinets. Well we at HDF are here to help with some information to consider when you are choosing. Many factors will come into play when deciding. Factors like budget, design, and time-line.

You will want to make sure that when you are setting up your kitchen budget a big amount will have to be allocated to the cabinets. Cabinets are the heart and soul of your kitchen, so you will want to get the best that you can afford in the style that is fitting to your kitchen style.

Stock cabinets are made to common sizes and configurations, so if your kitchen is oddly shaped you may not be able to use the stock cabinets. Although they are usually more affordable than custom cabinets they can sometimes end up being quite expensive. Another feature for buying stock is the delivery time. Most of the time stock cabinets are ready for immediate delivery. You will also notice when looking through these cabinets, the selection is limited and they can be hard to assemble and install.

Custom cabinets are the ideal choice for a kitchen remodel or new build. They allow full customization of size, design, shape, hardware and any special features you may want with your cabinetry. They can fit any kitchen’s size, even the oddly shaped ones. Of course, custom cabinets are more expensive than custom, but if you can afford them they are well-worth it. Custom cabinets are also designed and installed by professionals, so you are guaranteed a perfect outcome once you place your order. A drawback to custom cabinetry is that because they are custom they will take much longer to be delivered than stock.

When making your choice of whether to buy custom or stock, you need to keep in mind your budget, design and time-line to finish. This will help you decide which will be best for your new kitchen.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ideas for How to Decorate a Bedroom

The bedroom is one of the most fun rooms in a house to decorate. Unlike your family room, living room or kitchen, your bedroom is a place that is meant just for you to enjoy instead of being a public place. It should be a room where you feel tranquil, relaxed at home. When decorating a bedroom you should choose items and colors that you love and that you find peaceful and comforting. Here are some ideas on how to decorate a bedroom to get you started.

When decorating a bedroom, you first need to get an idea of the space so that you have a better idea of what furniture will fit in the room and how it should be placed to make the most of your space. Start by taking measurements of your bedroom. Be sure to take notes on the locations of any windows, doors or closet doors including where they are positioned along the wall and how wide they are. Then, take a piece of graph paper and draw out the floor plan of your room. Draw the perimeter of the room and then mark in any doors, windows or closets. You may also want to include notes on the location of electrical outlets if you plan to run a TV in your room.

Next you will either need to choose furniture or decide how to arrange the furniture you already have. If you are starting with new furniture, take into account the measurements of the room so that you don't buy bedroom furniture that is either too large or too small for the space. No matter how you try to squeeze it in, a king sized bed probably isn't a great choice for a tiny bedroom. Decide the maximum size bed that can comfortably fit in the space. Next, see how deep and wide items like dressers and armoires can be to fit well around the bed and still leave room to walk in the bedroom. Take your notes with you when shopping for furniture to be sure that everything you select will work in your room.

If you are using your existing furniture you will need to determine if you have too much furniture for the space or if you need to buy an additional piece or two to supplement what you have.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets suffer more damage than any other furniture because of the tough conditions they are used in - dry and hot air because of the oven, then high humidity when steaming vegetables or boiling water. Kitchen hands are usually covered with grease, meat and butter that leave their imprints on cabinets. Thus it’s no wonder cabinets need refreshing often. If you think it’s time to do this stick to the following steps:

1. Preparation:
Make sure all cabinet surfaces are clean and free of food residue. To do this you need to remove the doors (they would be easier for cleaning) and lay them down so you can clean them. Use a rag and all-purpose cleaner, then wait until they are dry.

2. Remove old finishes:
Get at least a 150 grit sandpaper and sand the cabinets. You don’t need to take down much - a few passes over all surfaces are enough. It is a very important step as sanding will allow the primer to bite and hold onto the surface better and prolong the life of the paint job.

3. Primer
After sanding it’s time to apply the primer. Primer makes a better bond with wood than paint alone does, hence increases the quality of paint job; moreover, applying primer greatly decreases the possibility of chipping and peeling. Choosing primer depends on the type of paint you are going to use. Oil-based paints go with interior oil-based primer, while latex paint combines with shellac based primer. Both primers have strong odour so apply them in a room with good ventilation. Shellac based primers dry relatively quick so make sure you are ready to work without breaks when applying them.

4. Painting
It might have been exhausting to sand and primer, but you can be sure you’ve made a great foundation for the paint. There are two ways you can apply paint in home conditions: using a pneumatic sprayer or a paint brush. The sprayer creates a smooth and flawless finish, but if you don’t have one - go for a 2,5 - 3″ brush. If you use a brush make several thin coats; a single thick coat is no good - it is less durable and is more likely to have flaws. To make a really good finish after applying the first coat wait until dry and sand it very lightly with 400 grit sandpaper. This will ensure a perfect bond between coats. Usually 2 coats are enough but if you feel you need a third one (for woods with heavier grain) - go for it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Enhancing Design with Curtains and Drapes

Using Color and Style on Your Drapes and Curtains to Complete a Room

A room just isn't complete without window curtains and drapes. No matter what your taste, effective window treatments can make a room change from ordinary to stylish. Additionally, curtains and drapes are affordable.

For those who are renting or don't have the budget to completely redecorate a room, window dressings can add a finishing touch to make any room feel like home.

There are many drapes and curtains styles to choose from, so before you make any purchases, do some research to find a style that you can live with for a while.

Even though curtains and drapes are more affordable than redoing an entire room, they're still an investment, and one that will be in place for a while.

Curtain Colors
Color is an easy and obvious place to start when looking into new window treatments. Experimenting with colorful window treatments is a great way to expand your creative comfort level.

If you're not ready to paint your walls maroon, for example, you can incorporate the color in your curtains and drapes to make a dramatic statement that is easier to change should you decide you don't like it. It also eliminates the need to get into a major redecorating project, as painting or wallpaper often require.

Use complimentary colors throughout the room, including the window treatments. Not sure what color to choose? Consider all the elements of color in the room, including furniture and accents such as throw pillows, throw rugs, or paintings. If you're not comfortable with your color abilities, consider using a color chart from a local paint store, craft store, or out of a design book.

These tools group similar colors that work well together. Using these tools, you can choose drapes and curtains that will compliment the other colors in the room. It will also help boost your confidence level.

Pick a style

The options for drapes and curtains are nearly endless, or so it seems. While it may seem like "just" curtains, they can be powerful design elements when done well. That said, it pays to take some time to review various styles and choose one you really like. This also has a direct influence on the type of curtain rod you'll need, or other hanging design elements. Again, there are many design choices when it comes to hanging your window treatments, so it is best to know what you are getting yourself into.

Do you like traditional designs, or do your tastes run toward the contemporary looks? Do you like bold color, or do you prefer subtle shades? Consider making a list of the design elements you know for sure. Then, browse through a variety of design books and websites to get a good idea of how these designs are incorporated in different ways.

Another key element to consider is the fabric choice for your curtains and drapes. The fabric, and texture of the fabric, can greatly enhance the overall design scheme. A lightweight, airy fabric is perfect for a sunny kitchen, while a heavier fabric works well for those areas where you need more privacy and need to compliment larger, heavier furnishings. Do not be afraid to explore and experiment with different fabric types.

Mixing lightweight fabrics with heavier ones gives you daytime and evening options, for those rooms where you want to take advantage of natural light, but also need privacy in the evening. This combination also works well in climates that change dramatically, allowing you a lightweight summer option, and insulating curtains during the winter. It also eliminates the need to change your window treatments with the seasons (although this can be fun!).

As you know and will quickly discover, there are more things to consider than simply color and texture. The options for hanging drapes and curtains are seemingly endless! As you browse through design books and home improvement stores, allow your imagination to drift as you consider different possibilities. Even some contemporary hanging designs can work very effectively in a traditional room, adding a complimentary mix of design.

If you do not like a traditional valance, many draping styles offer a similar framing effect without being as constrictive as a valance style. On the other hand, if you don't like the freeform look of draped fabrics, a flip-style valance may be the perfect option to give your drapes a polished, styled look.

Don't be afraid to mix styles. You can always change your mind. Take advantage of drawing boards (or computer programs, if available) to "test" your designs before making final purchases. Even a rough sketch can give you an idea if you will like the scheme. Use pictures in books and the design sections of home improvement stores to get a visual idea of how different options look. (You can even trace them and add your own colors to get a better feel for your choices.)

Decorating on a budget

Once you have chosen your design, it's time to look for fabric or drapes. Even though window treatments are less costly than completely redecorating a room, fabric and drapes can add up quickly. This can be even more of an issue if you have many windows to treat, are using layers, or if you are using design to make your windows appear larger.

One way to overcome this problem is to shop wisely. Be on the lookout for sales and discount drapes and curtains. Look for discount stores, clearance items, and seasonal sales. Another option is to combine your own fabrics with discounted drapes or to alter them to meet your needs. Tab-top curtains, for example, can be made from standard drapes (so long as they are wide enough to create the desired effect for your window).

In other words, be open to ideas and take your time when shopping. The finished effect will be worth the wait.

Adding elements

Adding design elements to your curtains and drapes can be an effective and cost-saving method to add instant design and style. Visit your local craft or design store to find ideas for adding design elements. Artificial vines or flowers can add a nice touch, as can using twigs, bamboo, or other natural items.

These elements help bring the outside in and create a warm, comforting feeling in the room. Design elements such as ribbon, beads, buttons, clips, and anything else that catches your fancy allow you to add a personal touch. These result in a truly unique window treatment, a finishing touch, and represent your personal style.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Indoor Foliage Plant Care Tips

Water every week to 10 days.

Water at the sink or outside with the hose. Let water run through soil, drain, and replace.

When watering larger plants, slowly pour small amounts of water, enough so that a little comes out of bottom into your protective saucer. Insure that your floor surface is protected from excess water.

Do the soil touch
Touch the soil – go about 1” down into the soil. If it's dry to the touch, then water. If it is moist at all, wait a few days, and check again.

Never let plants sit in excess water
Most plants will become distressed from too much water. Many plants want to be slightly dry before the next watering, but some plants like to stay slightly moist. Ask about your plants specific watering needs at time of purchase, or go online and find out what your specific plant likes.

Rotate your plants monthly
This way they will get an even distribution of light, and their growth will be more evenly distributed.

Fertilize every month or so with a good liquid plant food. Don’t over do it ⎯ just a small amount is fine.

Clean the foliage
Spray your plants with a gentle water stream (the shower works well ⎯ or outside with the hose) a few times a year to clean the foliage.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Using Natural Elements in Wood Design

Incorporating wood into your interior design elements is a wonderful way to add elegance and warmth into your home. If you like the look of wood, one way to use it in your design is with interior wood shutters. They look nice, can be used alone or with additional window treatments, and allow for both natural light and privacy.

Additional benefits to using wood interior shutters is that they offer insulation during cold weather, are easy to clean, and are good options for homes with interior decoration for children. As they are sturdy and typically do not use a cord for opening and closing (which poses a choking hazard for young children).

If I have wood blinds, do I need curtains?
Many people like the look of wood shutters. They instantly give your home a classy look, and may even help raise the resale value of your home should you choose to sell. When you opt for these window coverings, you have the option of using curtains in addition to the shutters.

However, on their own, they look nice and offer a variety of benefits, from privacy to insulating effects. If you like both a classic and contemporary look, shutters can do the trick. They're a time-honored design element, and also work very well with any type of interior design, from traditional to a minimalist contemporary room.

Interior wood shutters are available in natural woods, or painted in soft, natural colors such as whites and beiges. You can find them in real or fake (faux) materials as well, so regardless of your budget, you can likely find a shutter to meet your needs. Many shutters made of natural woods, such as ponderosa pine, can be finished using almost any type of stain, thereby giving you a full range of options.

Many styles and interior design options are available for both wood and faux wood shutters. There are many traditional slatted styles available, for example, but also variations such as solid panels, cutouts, and combinations. They may open accordion-style, or as a complete piece (like an interior door mounted shutters ).

Installation of interior shutters is generally quite simple, and you can do it yourself or have them professionally installed. They can be mounted both inside the window frame and outside, so you need to examine your windows and determine the best mounting option for your needs. Your style preference may also determine the best method for installation.

Interior wood shutters are also available for specialty windows, such as arched or palladium, so if you have these types of windows, you do not need to rule out this type of wood for wooden blinds . Additionally, many companies offer custom-made options, which allow you to use shutters on odd-sized windows or doors.

Varieties of hardware options are available for wood shutters as well. So you can compliment other wood interior design elements in the room. The combination of many shutter and hardware style options allow you to create a unique window treatment for your home.

Choosing Interior Shutters
As soon as you begin shopping for interior shutters, you will soon discover that there are many suppliers from which to choose. As with all types of purchases, comparing prices, styles, and options will help you make the best decision. First, determine your budget. This can help narrow your choices, or at least point you in a certain direction. Interior shutters can vary greatly in price. If your budget allows you greater flexibility, one way to narrow your options is by choosing a general style.

The best interior wood design shutters by ponderosa offer a number of looks, as there is build-in flexibility. Wood shutters are more expensive than faux, but they are durable and stylish. If you prefer a real wood, this may be the way to go. These shutters can be stained or painted to meet your design preferences. Interior faux wood shutters also come in a variety of looks, but you will have to choose from one of the available colors. If you're on a budget, however, faux shutters can save you a bit of money. They are often nearly half the cost of real wood shutters.

Keep in mind that real wood shutters require different care than faux wood interior shutters. If you have young children, for example, you may want to consider interior faux wood shutters, as materials such as plastic and vinyl can be cleaned easier (and crayon will come off much easier!).

As with all major purchases, find out your options ahead of time as far as customer satisfaction and warranties. This is particularly important when purchasing custom-made shutters. If you decide you don't like them, will you have any options for returning or exchanging them? Warranty considerations are also important on any type of shutter, particularly those claiming to last a lifetime.

Warranties vary from one manufacturer to another, so be sure to inquire about this. In addition, many warranties are considered void if the product is not installed using specific methods. If you plan to install your shutters yourself, you may inadvertently void any warranty.

Learn first how to build wood shutters. And find out if the shutters chosen must be installed professionally for the warranty to remain in effect. Some companies offer free installation, so look for this option as well. If you choose to install the shutters yourself, consider looking for those with pre-drilled holes, so you won't have to do that part yourself. This option also helps eliminate the possibility of your damaging the shutters during the installation process.

Caring for wood shutters

Real wood shutters will need more maintenance than the faux kind, but some people find that it's not that much extra work, and the look of the real wood is worth it. If your shutters are painted, they will probably need repainting at some point in time. For stained wood shutters, care for them as you do you wood furniture.
Use a quality polish when cleaning. You can find specialty-made dusting tools for slotted shutters. Vinyl and plastic shutters are quite easy to care for, which makes them ideal if you have young children or simply want a low-maintenance shutter. No matter if you have wood or faux shutters, if they're in a high-moisture area, such as a bathroom, check for mildew on occasion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Decorate a Small Bedroom

Learning to decorate a small bedroom without creating a cluttered space can feel like a difficult challenge. There are two parts to the equation of successfully decorating a small bedroom. First, you’ll need to create a storage system that will let you fit everything into a small bedroom without making items inaccessible, or creating wall to wall clutter. Then, it’s time to use some professional design secrets, like a limited color palette and varied light sources, to create the illusion of a larger space. With these easy tips for storage, color choice, and lighting, you’ll be able to decorate a small bedroom so that it doesn’t seem very small at all!

Storage: Banishing clutter

When it comes time to decorate a small bedroom, many homemakers panic because there’s simply nowhere to put everything! If finding room to store all of your belongings in such limited square footage seems impossible, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Professional interior decorators and organization experts agree that inadequate storage is in fact one of the toughest obstacles of living in a small space. However, with these the creative ideas, you can create a sustainable storage system in a small bedroom. The key is to find wasted space and make use of it. Get or build a wooden closet organizer so that you use every inch you’ve got. Kick out the spiders living under your bed and add a few plastic bins or rolling drawers down there for some extra storage room. Fill those containers with items sealed in vacuum space bags, and you won’t believe how much you can fit! Now that you’ve got everything put neatly away, it’s time to move on to the next phase of learning to decorate a small bedroom: making it look great.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Decorating with Bamboo Shades

A Natural Alternative to Traditional Window Treatments
Bamboo shades refer to window shades made from lightweight materials such as bamboo, reed, rattan, jutes, faux wood and woven woods. These are typically woven together to create a textured, natural look. They are also a very affordable option, and require little maintenance. Dusting with a feathered or lambs wool duster will often to the trick, as will careful vacuuming with the duster attachment.

Because they are lightweight, they are not as durable as some other options. They are available in a range of styles, and often use pull cords for moving them up and down. These two issues make them not a good choice for a children's room, but other than that, they can be used to compliment a number of decorating styles. Many also come with valance options for a complete window treatment.

Bamboo shades have been used for a long time. Originally, they were made by drying bamboo reeds, and weaving them together using rope. If you want an 'old style' bamboo shade, it is possible to find handmade shades for a reasonable price. Advances in technology also make a number of other styles available, many of which are similar to the original hand crafted versions.

The natural appearance of bamboo window shades makes them a perfect option for those who like a simple look.

If you already have elements of the outdoors in your design style, bamboo blinds may be a perfect choice. In addition, with the popularity of rattan throw rugs and other nature-inspired bamboo flooring options.

These shades match the decor in overall style, color, and texture.

Depending on your tastes and needs, bamboo shades can be found with just the natural elements, allowing some light to filter through when closed.

For additional privacy and some insulating benefits, some bamboo shades are available with a liner. For those that roll up for opening, remember that the liner will show when open.

If you do not like this look, consider a shade that opens differently, or adding an additional window treatment. A sheer curtain in a natural color can add a nice visual to your bamboo shades as well as add a bit of additional privacy when needed.

Bamboo Shade Styles
There are a number of bamboo shade styles available. You can find shades with small bamboo pieces woven together (matchstick style) or with wider, flat pieces mimicking a blind. Bamboo roll up shades are a popular style, and just as the name suggests, they roll up to allow light in. Roll up shades quite literally roll up the window, much like your roll a sleeping bag.

This style uses a pull cord method, which can be dangerous for children (or enticing for cats), but they are easy to operate and add an interesting look.

If you don't like the roll up style, consider bamboo roman shades. These lift in folds, creating an open look with a nice visual style. When opened, these shades look like pleats. This style is also designed better for a lining, as the lining will not show when the shades are open.

Shopping for shades

Different methods for lifting the shades are available, so be sure to carefully inspect the hanging framework and pull mechanisms. A quality hanging frame and lift is essential, as these help extend the life of your shades.

Choose a manufacturer that offers a warranty on the shades, particularly the frame and lifting mechanisms, as these parts are more likely to be defective than the woven shades (and more difficult to replace).

If you are treating multiple windows, look for shades that are similar in color. Because they are made from natural materials, color variances are a given; however, you can find some that have fewer variances than others do, which will give continuity to your design.

Most indoor bamboo window shades hang from the inside of the window frame. Be sure to measure carefully and work with a salesperson or read instructions carefully on how to measure to order the correct size for your windows. If you are installing the shades yourself, inquire about the hardware necessary for installation. Look for shades that come with all the hardware to save yourself time and trouble, and to ensure that you hang the shades properly. Also, make sure that the warranty on your shades stays in effect if you hang them yourself.

Outdoor Decorating With Bamboo Shades

Bamboo outdoor window shades are another wonderful decorating idea to bring design and an indoor feeling to your outdoor spaces. In addition to looking nice, they offer a shade option for your outdoor living spaces such as sunrooms, patios, and decks.

Because they are lightweight, bamboo outdoor shades can be hung from a variety of places, such as from lattice coverings, without causing any damage by adding too much weight. In addition, the natural look of bamboo and lightweight woods is perfect for outdoor areas. If you are looking for a cost-effective option to shade yourself from the hot sun or if your outdoor area happens to face west, consider using bamboo shades to block the setting sun while maintaining an open feel.

Buying bamboo shades
Many home decorating stores offer bamboo shades, as do a variety of online retailers. Even though bamboo shades are more affordable than many alternatives, it is still worth the time to look for discount bamboo shades, particularly if you will be using many of them throughout your home.

Cutting Bamboo Shades

Keep in mind that, while some manufacturers may offer some custom options (such as a shade for a specialty-width window), cheap bamboo shades from discount stores or through a clearance option will be pre-cut. However, comparison-shopping in this way can significantly cut your costs if you have standard sized windows.

When shopping for discounted bamboo blinds in store, or cheap bamboo shades, inquire about the warranty options. Some will offer the standard warranty, which is what you want. If you find cheap shades at a discount store, they may be returns or defects, and you want to know this before purchasing.

In addition, remember that low-cost, affordable bamboo blinds or shades may be of a much lower quality. In some instances, the savings cost may not be worth the reduced quality. Again, as with all purchases, shopping around can save you both money and frustration.

If you like a natural look, want a window covering in a natural color, or are simply looking for an affordable and attractive window treatment, bamboo shades may be a good option for you.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Contemporary Interior Design Tips

Contemporary style is considered anything that has been created in the last half of the 20th century. This type of interior home style offers soft looks with rounded lines and modern designs. This style can contain neutral or bold colors and will focus on the basics of line, shape and form. This is a fun and upbeat style that will enhance almost any style of home or personality. Contemporary interior design features tone on tone color, which includes browns, taupe and cream, colored whites. There are sometimes bold colors found in one specific piece in the room such as a rug, particular wall or special piece of art in the room. The furniture is made up of smooth clean lines without a lot of detail included. Furniture is usually made out of light colored wood like maple or birch, glass, stainless steel or chrome. The furniture is simple and comfortable at the same time. You will find the fabrics to be simple and tasteful. The fabrics include silk, wool, linen, and cotton. They are known for the great texture and neutral hues. You may also be able to find unique bold colors in the pillows and throws to accent the neutral colors. This will be a great way to add compliments to your contemporary style. The lighting that is used in contemporary designs should be floor or table lamps that have straight lines with sleek finishes. The shades may have a touch of bold color or pattern to them to create a contemporary theme in the room. You may also want to consider recessed or track lighting in your room. Track lighting can add a dynamic flair to your room by adding several different lights to brighten areas in your room. There are choices like halogen track lighting, which will produce extremely bright light from smaller lighting fixtures. You can add this type of lighting to enhance certain pieces like art or a statue. You will be sure to get compliments on your appreciated track or recessed lighting. Contemporary style is something that anyone can appreciate and get comfortable in. This theme can be used in any style of home. You can do the entire home in contemporary style or just choose one room in your home to decorate in this sleek and crisp look. If you have colors that have been on the walls for more than twenty years, you need an up date, one that will make your home a little different, but with a soothing and useful feeling to it at the same time. The key to contemporary is to not have too much in one room. You should have just the necessities for seating and furniture. Do not over crowd the room with clutter or accessories lying around all over the room. You want to achieve the look of less is more? You can do all this for a lot less money than you used to be able to. You will be surprised at the enormous amount of selection that you will find when you are searching for your furniture. You will have a tough decision ahead of you, but it will be one that you will enjoy for years to come.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Furnitures care- Cleaning Furniture Upholstery & Hardware

The furniture that we use in our homes is not made of just wood. They have upholstery and sometimes have hardware made of brass or bronze. It is these parts that enhance the beauty of the furniture and make the piece a part of the rest of the décor of the room. These parts too get dirty, gather dust and need to be cleaned regularly. Here are a few suggestions on cleaning upholstery and hardware.

The best method to remove dust from upholstery is to use a vacuum cleaner. Place a soft screen in front of the vacuum cleaner nozzle, to prevent the tip of the cleaner from damaging the material. Use the brush attachment and clean carefully.

Professional help should be taken if the upholstery is damaged or stained to a great extent.

Furniture sometimes has metal hardware as part it. The metal used is usually brass, bronze or silver. Hardware in modern furniture has a clear lacquer finish that gives them a lustrous appearance.

Hardware is sometimes coated with certain types of restorers that eliminate the need for constant polishing.

Furniture hardware often gets tarnished, as it is exposed to the atmosphere and reacts with it. In a case like this polishing the hardware can improve its appearance.

Before polishing the hardware, remove the hardware from the furniture if you can. Otherwise cover the areas around the hardware, especially the wood, with acetate sheets to prevent the polish from damaging the woodwork.

Polishing hardware while it is still on the furniture damages the area around it. This also allows the polish to get under the hardware, thus damaging both the metal and the surface around.

Clean hardware using a mixture of acetone and alcohol. Add both these ingredients in equal quantities to make a mixture. This will remove dirt and oil residue. Dip a soft bristle brush in this mixture and scrub gently. After it dries polish it with lint free cloth.

Polishing must be done in small areas at a time. After polishing remove all residue.

Follow these suggestions to clean upholstery and hardware on wooden furniture. While cleaning hardware that cannot be removed from furniture special care must be taken to ensure that no damage is done to the furniture itself.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Furniture Care-Wood

Like all things in the house you wooden furniture is subject to wear and tear over a period of time. Therefore you must take care of your wooden furniture regularly. Many times we are careless with the way we use the furniture at home. This can result in stains and scratches on the furniture. Waxes can buildup on the furniture as well. There are ways in which stains, waxes and scratches can be removed and prevented. Here are a few tips on how to do the same.

The oil from our skin and the food we eat gets on to the furniture. This oil attracts dirt, especially on parts of the furniture that we frequently touch. Using a detergent to wash of the oil and dirt can affect the finish on the furniture.

To get rid of wax use mineral spirits or naphtha as a cleaning agent. Dip a soft rag or very soft steel wool in mineral spirit and rub gently on the affected area.

Sometimes the wax that has built up on the furniture can soften the wood. If this has happened then cleaning it with spirit can leave you with bare wood.

If you feel that the finish has been damaged, the best thing to do would be to stripe the wood and refinish it.

To hide a light scratch on the furniture use padding lacquer. Take a soft cloth and fold the corners so that the center becomes a ball. Apply padding lacquer to this pad and tap on your palm to spread the lacquer through the pad. Apply the pad on the furniture in the direction of the grain. Use one smooth, gentle movement while applying lacquer. Allow the lacquer to dry and reapply if needed. Do not over do it, as you may have to redo the whole piece.

You can use polishing compounds to remove light scratches. These compounds are best used on furniture that has high gloss sheen.

If furniture with satin or dull sheen has a scratch, take soft steel wool pad and dip it in lemon oil or wool lubricant. Rub the pad on the scratch in the direction of the grain. This will work on minor scratches. You may have to rub the rest of the surface to make the sheen even. Wipe off the extra oil and apply polish you like.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

8 Tips for Decorating a Small Bedroom

When decorating a small bedroom then it makes sense wherever possible to conserve the floor space you have in order to make a cramped room feel larger than it really is. Below are some small bedroom decorating ideas which should help you to achieve the right result for such a small space.

1. If you do not have enough space in the room for small bedside table then why not place a wall mounted shelf next to the bed. It will have enough space on it to place an alarm clock, books, photos and other items which will personalize the space for you.

2. If you do not have the room for a bureau or closet then use under bed storage instead. They can either be made from inexpensive plastic or if you wish you can have some made to order from wood. But it is important that you have enough space beside the bed so that you can pull them out when you need access to them.

3. For those of you who want to watch a little TV before going to sleep then fit either a wall or ceiling mounted TV stand. You will be able to purchase one in any good DIY store or store that specializes in storage products.

4. The colours that you use on your walls in a small bedroom should be neutral tones and only 2 or 3 hues of this colour should be used in the room. It is important that you paint the moldings and doors in the room in the same colours as the walls by using contrasting colours you will be making the room feel smaller than it is. The ceilings should be painted white as they will provide a sense of height to the room.

5. The furniture for such a room should be clean lined and have small delicate patterns on it which will help to foster the illusion of space.

6. Open up the room by maximizing any views that it may have of the outdoors by using light fabrics or blinds at the windows.

7. Ensure that the room is well illuminated as this will also provide a sense of space in such a small room.

8. If you are able to add a mirror in a position opposite a natural form of light as this will help to provide further light into a room and therefore create the illusion of space.

Hopefully the small bedroom decorating ideas that have been provided above will help to create the haven of peace and tranquility that you are looking for in such a confined space.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Furniture Care-Furniture Tips

There are a number of things that we do not know about the furniture we use. There a number of small problems that crop up every now and then with the furniture that is regularly used. It would be simple if someone gave you a few ideas on small repairs that you can do yourself at home. Given below are a few tips on dealing with simple problems with furniture and answers to some common questions about furniture.

Be careful while buying wooden furniture. Furniture made of particleboard and medium density fiberboard is also called "solid wood". But furniture made out of these is not worth buying, as it is harder to repair and heavier than real wood. Buy furniture with signs that explicitly say solid oak wood or cherry wood or ash wood. These are safer to buy.

A number of times you want to know the kind of finish that has been used on your furniture. To find out you will have to do a solvent test. Dip cotton in some nail polish remover or acetone and rub over an area that is not easily visible. If the finish softens then the finish is nitrocellulose lacquer, which is the most popular finish in the furniture industry. If the finish softens with alcohol then the finish is shellac. If it does not soften with either acetone or alcohol then the finish is varnish, polyurethane, catalyzed lacquer etc. that cannot be dissolved by its original solvent.

If you are applying finish on your furniture then remember to account for humidity. High levels of humidity in the air will prevent the finish from drying and it will turn white or have a dull finish. If a professional is finishing your furniture then allow the piece to dry completely, for a few days before using it.
Placing any kind of potpourri directly on the furniture will damage the finish even though it is kept in cloth or plastic bag.

If metal bed frames are squeaking then just apply oil to the rivets and this will stop it from squeaking. If a bed made out of wood squeaks, it means it is getting loose and needs re-gluing.

In a drawer wood moves against wood and certain parts need to be lubricated. If drawers stick rub some paste wax on the drawer and the wood that it rides on. If this does not work then the drawer needs some repair or is very worn out.

Glass tabletops actually protect the wooden tables. Do not allow moisture get trapped between the glass and the wood. Raise the glass tabletop with rubber bumpers, this will allow airspace and let the wood breath.

Before using wooden screws rub a little candle or bee's wax or soap on the screw threads and it will move more smoothly.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Painting Issues - Part 3

▪ What if you have an old house with wood siding that has been painted many times and is peeling badly? Unfortunately, I have found no easy, inexpensive solutions. You can replace the siding (expensive), or you can scrape the old wood as well as possible and repaint (less expensive, but still a challenge).

▪ When painters clean their brushes at the end of the day, they can leave unattractive paint stains on the ground outside. It is best to specify a location where the painters are to clean their brushes so that they do not do this in a very conspicuous location.

▪ The best way to manage painters is to go through the house and note locations that the painters missed or that need touch-up or cleaning. Make a list of the exact locations and give a copy to the painter. Then, schedule a time to walk through the house with him and point out the areas that need attention. If you only have one copy of the list and you give it to him, he may lose it, and then you will have no way to verify that the work was done!

▪ Watch out for sloppy painting. You should not have to tolerate paint getting on the metal door hinges, on the carpet, or on the window glass.

▪ Sometimes, in old houses, there may be wood that has chipped and needs to be built back up. In hardwood floors, you can use wood putty (as the hardwood floor contractor to fix these). On interior or exterior trim, you can use a product called "Bondo" to build the wood back up. Check Home Depot or Lowe's for this product.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Painting Issues- Part Two

▪ Can you paint pressure treated wood? Yes, you can, but it is best to wait for a few months for the moisture and chemicals to leech from the wood before the paint is applied. Otherwise, the paint will not stay on the wood for very long.

▪ There are generally three variations in paint style: flat, satin or semi-gloss, and full-gloss. Flat paint has no shine to it. It is harder to clean than the other types, but the trade-off is that it shows fewer imperfections on the wall surface (bumps and seams). Satin has more of a shine, and full-gloss has the most shine. Full-gloss is usually used on trim (like crown molding).

▪ I love to build new houses that look old, so I like to use "historical colors". Some paint companies (like Benjamin Moore) have certain colors in their collection that are the same colors used in older houses.

▪ Be sure that your painter saves you some paint in the cans for touch-ups and duplication later!!!

▪ Your interior trim carpenter may ask you whether you want to use "paint-grade wood" or "stain-grade wood" in some places like the mantel, for instance. Paint-grade wood has more imperfections but is less expensive. Stain-grade wood is more beautiful and is more appropriate for the application of stains.

▪ I once heard that yellow houses sell faster than houses of any other color. I have never checked the validity of this theory, but my own experience indicates that yellow is an excellent choice for an exterior. It can make a house look bright, fresh, cheerful and...just plain new! I paint my houses yellow whenever possible.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Painting Issues - Part 1

Consider these painting issues now so that you don't have expensive change orders later in your home remodeling project.

▪ Before the paint can be applied, the surface needs to be "primed". This simply means applying one or two coats of primer paint to the surface so that the final coat will have something to stick so and so that the original colors of the surface will not bleed through. Usually one priming coat is sufficient.

▪ If you do a lot of home renovation, you will eventually come across persistent stains that bleed through the paint. These stubborn stains require a special coating to keep the stain from bleeding through. The product that I have seen used most is called "Kilz" and should be available in most home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowe's.

▪ Here's an area where renovators often cut corners: Exterior trim should be backprimed. This means that the decorative pieces of wood on the outside of your house should have paint on all sides before they are attached to the house. Without backpriming, the wood can absorb moisture, which can cause warping, rotting, and shorter paint life on the front of the piece of trim.

▪ The best way to choose paint colors is to see colors that you like on other houses. I knocked on someone's door once to ask them the name of the paint on their house. They were happy to help. When you visit a friend's house, note the colors of their walls and ask them for names of paint colors.

Note that any paint company can duplicate a color made by another paint company. All they need is a paint sample or sometimes just the name of that paint color.

▪ Before the paint is applied to your walls, confirm that the paint in her cans is an exact match to the paint color that you specified. Have swatches and samples available for comparison. During my first home remodeling project, I had to repaint an entire room because the color was significantly darker than what I had requested.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Simple And Easy Bedroom Decorating Tips

As every one will tell you we all want our bedrooms to be warm and inviting as well as a place where we can get away from the stresses and strains of modern living. But for many decorating a bedroom can be a daunting task. But hopefully the bedroom decorating tips that we provide below will give you the chance to produce your dream bedroom.

The best way to achieve this is by using decorative pillow and then pile them high on your bed. It is important that you use a variety of shapes, styles, sizes, colours, patterns and materials for these.

Also you could use candles as a great accent item which will add a splash of colour to any room and can add a wonderful mood altering scent to the room as well. Another way to add scent to your room is by strategically placing some pots of pot pourri around your bedroom.

Little Girls Room
If you want to add wonder and enchantment to a little girl’s room then why not consider using special lighting. How about adding a small decorative chandelier to the design of the room they are quite inexpensive and your daughter will enjoy looking at the light as it sparkles on the chandelier glass.

Color in a Bedroom
If you want to achieve a much fresher look in your bedroom then why not consider using more neutral colors instead. There are many items within a bedroom which can be easily adapted to match a bedroom design and by using neutral colours on the walls this will help you change the colors of the room more easily simply by changing the bedding and accents that you have in it.

A more personalized room
To achieve a more personalized look to your bedroom why not gather a few small mementos that are based around a particular theme and them display them either in picture frames or a shadow box. However when grouping such items together it is best to group then in odd number (3 or 5) as they look much better than even numbers of items together (2 or 4).

How to create the illusion of space in a bedroom
To create the illusion of space in your bedroom then use cool light colours (white, blues or greens) as this will make the walls seem to recede. Also paint the moldings around the room in the same colour. Plus look at the furniture if you have in your room (a king size bed placed in a small room just does not work). Also remove as much clutter from view as possible and this will help to create the illusion of space in a room. If you can place a mirror on a wall opposite a window as this will reflect light back in to a room further creating the illusion of space and making the room feel bigger than it is.

Hopefully the bedroom decorating tips which have been provided above seem simple and inexpensive and will help to provide that look you are after for your haven from the stresses and strains of modern life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why does my blog suddenly have popups

Kill the popups and no I’m not talking about the online game. This is something that many of you may not be aware of. Recently in the blogger help group I have seen a few bloggers complaining about pop-ups on their blog.

I wonder who thought that annoying pop-up ads would be a great idea and that the internet community would enjoy them? I almost always refuse to go back to a site with a pop-up window.

How to removed it!!!

Ten Budget Headboard Ideas From Recycled Items

A fabulous headboard can add drama and focus to your bedroom. But what if you don't have a fortune to spend? You may already have to makings of a headboard around your home or in your local thrift shop. These headboard ideas are made for ordinary items, but have extraordinary impact.

Use pillows. Attach drapery rings to the edges of three or four matching pillows. Slide the rings over a drapery rod attached to the wall just above the bed and have a padded headboard formed by the hanging pillows.

Use an old discarded door. If you want a classic wood look, sand and stain the door to match existing furniture. Or paint the door and distress for a more vintage look. If the door is paneled, the panels can be painted a contrasting color, stenciled with elegant designs, or decoupaged with fabric or handmade papers.

Use a section of wooden picket or wrought iron fencing behind the bed. The sections can be painted and fastened with bolts or hooks. For a more feminine look, weave thick satin ribbon in and out of the pickets and attach with bows at the edges.

Use garden trellis sections. You can decorate with fabric and ribbons for a Country French look or simply paint.

Use old window frames. Leave old painted window frames as is for a distressed look. Or frame coordinating (or contrasting) fabric for instant art that brings a room together. If you can find wallpaper with an outdoor scene, frame the scene to give the illusion of a window looking outdoors.

Use folding screens. An elegant folding screen with fabric or painted panels can be easily attached to the wall or left standing for a simple headboard solution. A black wrought iron screen against a wall painted with dramatic color is a dramatic look.

Use vintage napkins, placemats, or old silk scarves. These pieces can be hung on curtain rod which is attached decorative rod holders just above the bed.

Use scrap plywood or MDF covered by cedar siding or wood flooring. The headboard will have a rustic, lodge look if covered by cedar shakes or a more traditional look if covered by tongue-in-groove flooring.

Use framed photos. Create an arrangement of photos grouped by size, frame color or theme to give the illusion of a headboard above the bed.

Use a vintage quilt or thrift store tapestry. Mount the fabric over a shower curtain or café curtain rod using curtain hooks with a clip bottom. This looks great in a country or European-style bedroom.

Tiles, strips of fabric, bookcases, the back of an old sofa, a large poster or wooden shelves can all be used to fashion a headboard. There are hundreds of items around your home which can be recycled into a headboard and cost little or nothing. Earth- and budget-friendly - what could be better than that?

Monday, June 1, 2009

How to Light Your Art

For many people, illuminating art is an afterthought at best. Most of the time, we simply drive a nail into the wall and stick the thing on it. Sure, you can hang a painting on your living room wall and call it a day. But the addition of properly chosen and installed lighting fixtures can really highlight your artwork – as well as protect it as an investment. Deciding what fixtures to use, where to use them, and how to complement your decor and the piece’s framework is all it takes to take your art to the next level of design perfection. Follow these simple suggestions, and you can’t go wrong.

1. Is your art behind glass? If so, and if it’s not special non-reflective glass, you’ll want to go with more subdued lighting, usually in the form of a much lower wattage, softer bulb.

2. If the piece is particularly large or grand, consider illuminating it using a pair of fixtures, like sconces or small wall lights, on either side. Be careful with this, though; if you choose lamps that are overly ornate, the effect might come off as over the top and baroque. Unless, of course, that’s the look you’re going for. In which case, go for it with gusto!

3. Never under any circumstance should you hang your artwork in direct sunlight. Many a valuable painting has been destroyed by the sun’s UV rays, and this damage is not typically covered by most home insurance policies. Avoid the problem in the first place. Even if you put the art behind glass that claims to block UV rays, the heat from the sun can wreak havoc.

4. Not that you would use a fluorescent bulb, anyway, but – just as a reminder – you shouldn’t. Displaying artwork should involve incandescents, which emit a very small percentage of UV rays, limiting the potential damage they create to your art.

5. Visit a frame store to see what options are available to you for individual lights designed to illuminate art. Your framer will also be a great resource for ideas and troubleshooting.

6. A basic rule to remember: Use the lowest level light you can. A brightly lit piece of art is never enjoyable to look at; on the other hand, a painting that has just enough light to enjoy its depth and richness is much more pleasing.
There are, of course, other factors to consider, like complementing framework (for example, if your painting’s frame is gold, you probably don’t want to go with a brushed nickel fixture) and your home decor (if your furniture has a stark, modern aesthetic, you probably want to stay roughly in that feel). But the rules are not hard and fast, and you can certainly mix and match different fixtures to achieve the result you’re looking for. Just remember that displaying art beautifully should focus attention on the art itself, not how it’s displayed.