Donna Webster

HomeOwners Library


Decorating with stripes gives you the opportunity to experience tremendous versatility in your room. They can make your room look bigger or wider, more serene or bold. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad. Watch out for wide stripes with dark or bright colors. They can be very overpowering to work with. Try using these stripes in small quantities, perhaps in wall covering beneath a chair rail.

Also keep in mind that the larger the room, the wider the stripe can be. A narrow vertical stripe works well in smaller rooms, particularly those with low ceilings, as they will help make the room appear larger.

Do you have a 2-story wall in your home? Adding a vertical striped wall covering or paint treatment to this very large wall will draw unnecessary attention. The wall is already very long, and a striped wall covering will make it seem even longer. Rather, you might opt for a bold, dramatic color, or a textured paint finish on this wall to highlight this wonderful architectural feature in a more understated manner.

Wonderful Wall Covering!

Decorating with wallpapers is truly fun! Today's patterns have become so attractive and exciting in recent years that it's tempting to go all out. I suggest you admire and consider them, by all means, but take care not to overdo it-remember, it's the whole room on which you must concentrate.

Even with today's rage for sponge and rag painted walls, wallpapers can outlast paint, especially those treated to resist soil and moisture. The better the quality, the longer a paper will keep its look. Since it's the labor cost to hang the paper that makes the job expensive, it's no real savings to economize on the paper itself. Since splurging costs so little more, bypass run of the mill designs and look for the wallpaper that will make the greatest impact on your room. A really stunning paper is even more striking on one wall. Considered that way, the most expensive paper doesn't seem extravagant.

Another great advantage of choosing the best-it can establish the color scheme for the entire room and introduce the element of design into it-design you know is exceptional. Wallpaper color and pattern, like paint, can create certain illusions. A large sweeping design can make a room look smaller. And conversely a small room can be given unity with a tiny-patterned paper and matching fabric.

Vertical stripes will make a room seem higher; if you want to "lower" the ceiling, try placing a border around the room, right below the ceiling. And remember if you select a boldly patterned paper, you'll want to keep your floor covering and fabrics selections fairly subdued in design.

Using Prints and Patterns:
The More The Merrier!

Well, almost! In years past, using more than one print in a room was considered taboo:but not anymore! In today's free wheeling world of decorating, mixing prints and patterns is more the rule than the exception. In many traditional rooms, a single print is still used lavishly, for upholstery, drapery and even as a wall cover. But today's fashion conscious homeowners want to mix and scramble both patterns and colors with a truly uninhibited hand.

If this approach is a new one for you, start with a very simple pattern:perhaps in a single color, with a white or ecru background. It's easy to add additional patterns by keeping to the same color scheme. Try combining a large scale floral print with a plaid, stripe or check! An instantaneous decorator look will appear. Or how about adding a paisley pattern, which are perennially popular, with a simple geometric pattern.

The thing to remember is that there must be some relationship in color, pattern or theme between your desired prints. Naturally the color relationship is the easiest to establish! A general rule of thumb is to follow the 60-30-10 rule. Your main pattern will be used the most (60); your secondary pattern half as much(30); and your third(10), or splash pattern is used sparingly.

We suggest that if you find a print you absolutely love, you should consider using it on the flattest surface possible. Perhaps as a bedspread, or sofa upholstery. If this print if gather in a window treatment, you'll tend to diffuse the design that attracted you in the first place! By all means, have fun when you play with prints and patterns. Look in magazines:read books:collect swatches. Your new room will be much easier to design than you think!

No More Ruffles, No More Frills!

That's the spirit of today's nurseries! Babies aren't infant very long, and as soon as they become active toddlers, furnishings need to be chosen with their pace and punishment in mind. That isn't to say that a nursery shouldn't be pretty: just that it must be practical and sturdy as well.

Psychologists say children like and thrive around primary colors, so stay away from proverbial pink and blue no matter how much you like them. Sunshiny yellow, fire-engine red, and brightest blue are all beauties for babies. As always in decorating, start with the largest areas first:the walls and floors. If you're painting the walls, be sure to use washable paints. Wallcoverings, too, come in myriad delightful designs and colors. Try hanging a blackboard at child-reachable height, so as to avoid scribbles on fresh new walls. Borders are also great for childrens' rooms, as are hand painted designs such as clouds and stars.

Since afternoon naps and a good night's sleep are a definite must, window coverings require serious consideration . Dark shades or fabric treatments with room darkening lining will definitely aid in nap times. Delightful curtains can be made of nursery-designed sheets. And duvets are great for bedspreads in a nursery because the covers can be easily cleaned and replaced. One special reminder: whatever fabrics you select, be sure they're washable!

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