Design Tips...Tired of ready-made bed linens always looking skimpy ? Next time buy bed comforters and dust ruffles one size larger than the bed it's intended for; the cut of the next larger size will make up for the skimpy fullness factor found in most ready-made products. Don't worry, the larger comforter will look luxurious, but to hide the white platform section of the oversized skirt, you'll need to gather up the excess in a straight line and pin it to the top of the box spring….see a simple way to beat the skimpys!
For Every Space Around
Your Home & GardenLow Cost, Quick and Easy Design & Decorating Tips for Every Budget
To keep your house fresh smelling, hand fluff and lightly crush loose potpourri daily making sure to keep it in a W I D E mouth container instead of a small jar or vase…all of the fragrant petals, pods and fillers need continual movement in order to circulate the great aroma beyond the bowl and into your rooms .
Whenever selecting a paint color from the store brand chips, keep in mind that the color will appear differently once on your walls. .... in other words, most interior paint colors will appear lighter and brighter than what was represented on those tiny little paint chips. So anticipate the change, and buy the next DARKER shade of paint represented on the paint chart; on your walls , the dried paint will look like the chip sample you really liked !
Want to create a relaxing and comfortable home for yourself and family? Well , try a little soft music playing in the background of your home activities. The sounds of a soft instrumental or soothing melody can actually make your home feel more comfortable and inviting. Keep the volume down low so that you can still converse, watch TV and read comfortably… remember the music is BACKGROUND to your life so keep it softly quiet.
Time to change the fluorescent tubes in your bath or kitchen? Why not consider installing a fluorescent tube with a 3500 KELVIN temperature rating ( 3500K ) so that your skin will no longer have that horrible green or orange glow …in other words, the lighting from these specialty tubes will actually make your skin and clothes look more true to life plus have the added benefit of actually lasting longer between changes.
Installing a chair rail or mid-wall paper border? For a room with 8 foot ceilings, be sure to install the divider no higher than 37 inches from the floor. If your ceilings are 9 foot or higher, measure up 42 inches from the top of the baseboard and install the base of the rail or border on this mark…now you'll have the room proportions right!
Installing a new chandelier overtop of the dining table? Be sure to cut and measure the chain so that the base of the fixture will hang at least 42 inches above the top of the table…anything less than that will look cramped and actually interfere with conversations across the table.
Got an old oil painting that's looking old and dusty? If it's not an investment piece, clean the canvas by spraying a good grade of furniture polish directly on the painting and rubbing in a circular motion with a clean white cotton cloth. …the wax will help loosen any dirt and also protect the glossy finish of the canvas.
The bright light from the new tabletop halogen lamps is perfect for use on desks and other work areas. But when it comes to changing the bulb, extra care needs to be taken. Be sure not to touch the surface of the replacement bulb; the oil from your skin will cause the bulb to burst and could cause injury from flying glass. Be safe and always wear gloves or cover your fingers with a plastic bag whenever handling the bare bulb.
Got a laminate kitchen or bath countertop that needs a quick face lift? Try a little furniture polish!. That's right, enhance the luster by spraying quality furniture polish directly on to the countertop, letting the whitish spray sit for about 2 minutes and then wiping it off in a circular motion with a clean cotton cloth.
Can't seem to get your glass doors, windows, mirrors, and artwork glass really clean and free from streaks? Well ditch the paper towels and pick up yesterday's newspaper… the stiffness and absorbent qualities of a wadded newsprint will actually clean and polish the glass instead of just wiping up the cleaning solution!
Want your whole house to smell fresh ? Display loose potpourri in every room and be sure to replace it at least once every 3 months. Store the old dried goodies in a paper sack in a dark closet after adding a few drops of refresher oil to the mix. Wait 3 months and VOILA' a fresh batch of potpourri!
Want to update an old lamp without spending a lot of money?? For under $50.00 you can change the harp to the next smallest size, add a black paper shade and tie a drapery chair tassel around the throat…WOW what a difference!
Want to give your home that " comfy designer look " ? It's easy, just use hardback glossy jacketed books to decorate with! Collect lots of flat coffee table size books featuring your color scheme in the cover photo and use the books under lamps, propped against the back of bookcases, under flower arrangements, and even stacked on the floor beside a favorite reading chair….see it's easy to decorate like a pro!
Starting a room paint project? Before you buy the paint, test the paint chip sample in the room during morning light, early evening light and artificial light from lamps, TVs etc. Don't be surprised if you see three different colors, so be sure to tell the paint clerk to lighten or darken the color formula accordingly prior to mixing so that you end up with a color suited to all three lighting conditions.
Want a simple no-sew decorative treatment for a small boring bedroom window ? Just remove the existing curtain and leave the basic white rod installed. Using one rectangular bed pillow sham, remove the pillow insert and then drape the empty sham over the rod so that it forms a triangle. Allow the point of the triangle to hang down about 15 inches …instant style for a special bedroom!
For a total designer looking bath, don't forget the small details. Be sure to update and replace worn and ugly towels, mildewed shower curtains, and ratty looking bath mats. Usually one year of everyday use will render these items useless with a helpless case of the "uglies". So remember, even the most handsome and well designed of rooms still need attention to the small details of everyday living!
It seems all the most comfortable looking rooms have at least one knotted and fringed throw draped over a comfy chair or tossed at the foot of a luxurious bed…so why does yours looked like granny's folded shawl? Because you're trying too hard! Instead of folding and placing the knitted wonder, just gather it in the center using your thumb and index finger and then just THROW it like you would a dead mouse or dirty diaper …see, that's easy to get that designer comfortable look!
Repairing the walls in bathrooms where the wallpaper has peeled and paint is chipping are easy to fix IF you start at the beginning. Strip off all existing paper, lightly sand the walls after filling any holes or feathering ripped sheet rock with a thin coat of spackling compound. Next paint the walls with 1 coat cheap latex flat and then coat the walls with a quality "size " agent. Now hang SOLID vinyl paper instead of standard wallpaper …the extra care and use of the correct wallcovering product will ensure a care free bath for years to come !
Whenever cleaning and running the vacuum cleaner be aware of the damage you can cause to your fine decorative floor items. A good oriental or bound area rug should never have the beater bar of the electric vacuum run over it; the vacuum will "eat" the binding tape and cause the rug to ravel. Instead use a good broom to sweep the dirt off the rug perimeter and fringe and then just use the electric vacuum in the direct center of the rug.
Like the designer look of lots of throw pillows ? To keep them comfy, be sure to fluff and punch each pillow daily so that the down, filling and other fibers can breathe. This way the pillow will remain soft and pliable and not hard and over inflated like an old basketball!
When building a new home or attempting a major remodel on your present house, don't forget the number rule of design…only build what you can afford to decorate! Nothing is worse that having a brand new house with nothing in it but your same old worn out stuff!!! Remember, sometimes a smaller square footage is better if it means that you can comfortably enjoy / afford all of your efforts in a completed decorative style!
Got a loveable house dog whose messy eating habits leave t your nice clean floors all wet and messy? Circumvent the problem by raising the food and water dish; if a dog has to reach up and over to get to his food he's less likely to drip and spill all over your floor. So keep the dog and your floor happy by purchasing one of the new raised dish pet serving stands. Several models are available for under $80.00 in most pet stores.
A good contractor- grade tape measure is considered one of the most basic of tools – so why do I continually see folks struggling to use these metal tapes? Could be no one ever taught us how to use this tool properly. Listen up – here's how it works! Just use your index finger under the tape as you pull it from the metal case. Apply pressure along the underside of the metal tape anywhere that you want to stop the tape; the pressure from your finger will stop the tape from retracting back into the case… see that was easy!
Tired of the "grasscloth wallpaper below the chair rail look"? No wonder, it's been around for almost 20 years! Start to change the dated style by just springing for a can of paint. That's right, you can actually paint the grasscloth and other natural wallcoverings with any good quality latex satin paint. Since the surface of the old grasscloth will be really dry and brittle, be prepared to apply at least 3 coats for full coverage.
9 foot ceilings are a great design feature IF you know how to work with the space. Be sure to raise everything by at least 2 inches…chair rails, backs of sofas, heights of beds etc. Here's your chance to really uses all of those handsome new over sized pieces and large scale accessories…in 9 and 10 foot ceiling spaces THINK BIG!
Peeling wallpaper in bathrooms are easy to fix IF you start at the beginning. Strip off all existing paper, lightly sand the walls and fill any holes or ripped sheet rock. Paint the walls with 1 coat cheap latex flat and then size the walls with a quality "size " agent. Now hang SOLID vinyl paper instead of vinyl coated goods…see, not so hard to do it right !
For really "quick fix " to peeling bath paper, get out a can of clear polyurethane. Simply glue back all peeling areas and then cover the walls with 1 coat of poly over the top of the wallpaper…the walls will be secured and will look bright and shinny!
For wooden front doors, don't forget the sun…yep! that's right that huge heat ball is very damaging to your front entryway…the sun can literally bake the clear finish and warp the wooden surface right off of your expensive door. To help keep it the finish in a protective state, be sure to apply add at least one coat of clear polyurethane every Spring and Fall.
To spruce up your kitchen and keep the kids happy try upholstering the chairs in vinyl flannel backed tablecloths. Nowadays they are cheap and the patterns are more than just red and white checks. Just center the pattern , cut and staple the cloth under the chair seat just as you would any fabric…WOW instant decorating that's water and spill proof!!!
For a designer looking bath, don't forget the small details. Be sure to update and replace worn and ugly towels, mildewed shower curtains, and ratty looking bath mats. Remember, even the most handsome and well designed of rooms still needs attention to the small details of everyday living!
It seems all the best looking rooms have at least one knotted and fringed woolen throw draped over a comfy chair or tossed at the foot of a luxurious bed…so why does your looked like granny's folded shawl? Because you're trying too hard! Instead of folding and placing the knitted wonder, just gather it in the center using your thumb and index finger and then just THROW it like you would a dead mouse or dirty diaper …see that's easy!
Update your complexion and the appearance of your meals by simply changing the light tubes. That's right, just swap out the old fluorescent tubes in all of your kitchen and bath fixtures with top quality lighting tubes. Don't settle for daylight or warm white tubes…they either make you look too pink or too green. Instead insist on tubes that are tri-phosphorus and rated 3500 Kelvin. You'll be amazed at the color and quality of the light coming from that old fluorescent fixture!
Considering a new paint color for that dark bedroom ? Well don't select the lightest shade on the chart unless you want the room to look greyed and washed out! For any space that is lacking in plenty of natural light, always select a paint color that is in the middle of the charts….once it is on the walls, it will actually appear lighter and seem to make the room more inviting. If you selected the lightest color, once on the walls, it will only look BLAH! with a grey caste.
Glue guns are the best invention in the 20th century! With specialty caulk glue sticks you can even seal around the bath tub and shower stall. The wood glue sticks do wonders securing broken furniture and the plastic acrylic glue sticks are a must for fixing children’s toys. As a safety tip, be sure to keep a fireproof dish in the toolbox to act as a stand for the hot glue gun, they get extremely hot!!!
Still looking for another way to brighten the basement living area? Simply position oversize containers filled with beautiful artificial plants and add uplights behind each container using either a “Dawns Pink” or a compact fluorescent bulb ----- each give a soft warm glow that will lighten any space!
DESIGN BASCIS – Wallpaper Terms
Paper-backed Vinyl: A wall covering that has a paper substrate laminated to a vinyl sheet or ground. The ground for paper-backed vinyl makes up 25 – 50 percent of the total thickness.
Fabric - Backed Vinyl: Wallcovering that contains a solid vinyl intermediate layer laminated or coated to a woven or non-woven fabric substrate.
To make existing black wrought iron furniture look like the new VERTIGRIS FINISH (swirly marble look) this tip is quick and easy. For complete step-by-step instructions E-mail your request to the office and mention today’s tip.
Play up your homes exterior with curb appeal. To get a few ideas, drive through several up-scale neighborhoods and take photos of those homes that catch your attention. You’ll soon notice that all of these houses create something special near the front door. Depending on the architectural style, this could be the decorative wide moldings that surround the door, an attractive canvas awning covering the front entry, beautiful potted shrubbery at either side of the entry, or something as simple as a shiny brass knocker and kick plate.
HAND – A drapery term that relates to the soft “hang appeal” of a fabric. Most of the more expensive decorative fabrics have a wonderful hand in that they are soft, pliable, and drape or flow nicely much like they would when they are being used to decorate our homes. You can determine the “hand” of a fabric simply by rubbing the fabric between your own two hands and notice how the fabric feels and drapes between your fingers and palms.
When arranging furniture in a small room it’s best to use an offset style of furniture placement. Arrange the sofa so that it’s catty-corner in the center of the room, with the chairs on each side. This usually makes the entire space seem more open and free flowing. Tie it all together with an area rug laid parallel to the front of the sofa.
Want to create a relaxing and comfortable home for yourself and family? Try a little soft music playing in the background of your home activities. The sounds of a soft instrumental or soothing melody can actually make your home feel more comfortable and inviting. Keep the volume down low so that you can still converse, watch TV and read comfortably…remember the music is BACKGROUND so keep it softly quiet.
Considering a new paint color for that dark bedroom? ---- Be sure not to select the lightest shade on the chart unless you want the room to look grayed and washed out! For any space that is lacking in plenty of natural light, always select a paint color that is in the middle of the charts…once it is on the walls, it will actually appear lighter and seem to make the room more inviting. If you had selected the lightest color, once on the walls, it would only look BLAH! with a gray cast.
Want to update an old lamp without spending a lot of money? This trick is simple! Just lower the existing harp and install a black coolie-style paper shade. Add a spiffy finial and WOW, a great new look for under $35.00.
Can’t seem to get your glass doors, windows, mirrors, and artwork glass really clean and free from streaks? Simply ditch the paper towels and pick up yesterday’s newspaper…the stiffness and absorbent qualities of a wadded newsprint will actually clean and polish the glass instead of just wiping up the cleaning solution and smearing the glass.
DESIGN BASICS – Wallpaper Terms
Commercial (Contract) Wallcovering: Wallcoverings that must meet certain minimum physical and performance characteristics, such as flammability, wash ability, scrub ability, stain resistance, and tear strength, set by Federal guidelines. There are three classifications: Type I, Type II, and Type III.
To spruce up the kitchen and keep the kids happy, try upholstering the dinette chairs in vinyl flannel-backed tablecloths. Nowadays, they are cheap and the patterns are more than just red and white checks. Just center the pattern, cut and staple the cloth under the chair seat just as you would any fabric…WOW instant decorating that’s water and spill proof!!!
For a total designer- looking bath, don’t forget the small details. Be sure to update and replace worn ugly towels, mildewed shower curtains, and ratty looking bath mats. Usually one year of everyday use will render these items useless with a helpless case of the “uglies”. So remember, even the most handsome and well designed of rooms still need attention to the small details of everyday living!
Chintz fabric is really a great choice whenever considering new draperies IF you know how to balance the stiffness of the fabric with the overall size of the window. A little confused? Well, first you have to understand the nature of Chintz fabric, in a word, STIFF. So the trick is to be able to balance this inherent stiffness with the “hang” appeal of today’s soft and free flowing drapery styles. So the tip is simple; for a not- so -stiff chintz drapery window treatment ADD more fabric for a fullness factor of at least 2 ½ - 1 (instead of 2 –1 )and be sure to use a good quality “inner lining” in addition to the regular lining.
Installing a new chandelier overtop of the dining table? Be sure to cut and measure the chain so that the base of the fixture will hang at least 36 inches above the top of the table…anything more than that will hang to low and look cramped and actually interfere with conversations across the table.
Using candles are a great way to add a touch of romantic comfort to our lives, but whenever actually lighting and enjoying the flickering candles, be sure to keep these safety tips in mind:
Trim the wicks to ¼” after each and every burn session, this will help maintain the appearance as well as the potential flammability of the actual candle.
Never leave candles burning while not in the room---- it’s just like a small infant… you never know what could happen so why take the chance?
DESIGN BASICS – Wallpaper Terms
Scrubbable: Any type of wall covering that can be scrubbed with a soft-bristle brush and a prescribed detergent solution.
Strippable: Wallcoverings that can be completely removed from walls without steaming or scraping.
“Empty nesting” with a big house?----think young by “re-thinking” your dining room. Why not turn that little used dining room into a small den or private sitting room? Usually the small space is perfect for a couple of comfy club chairs with an ottoman and a good size TV…see, a perfect spot to unwind and relax for just the two of you.
Give your basement new life by changing those old cool white fluorescent tubes and replacing them with the more energy efficient 3000 Kelvin tubes. They will give the basement a warm pleasant feeling similar to a regular 100 watt light bulb without making everyone’s face look green as with the standard fluorescent tubes.
Painting your front door a bold color is a great way to establish your personal style. Be sure to prep the surface properly and use an oil base gloss paint; you’ll be pleased with the results!
When shopping for tools, keep comfort in mind. If it feels good in your hand buy it. Just because most men’s toolboxes have large headed nails and heavy claw hammers doesn’t mean that we women need those in our tool baskets. I find a small lightweight hammer and a few finishing nails without heads are all I need for most projects. The same goes for saws. A small hand hacksaw is sufficient for most projects; for anything-larger get the lumberyard to cut it for you.
Update your den by painting the paneling. For complete step-by-step instructions E-mail your request to the office and be sure to mention today’s tip.
When considering a kitchen work island WITHOUT enlarging your existing square footage, keep in mind the size requirements associated with a work island. So before getting your heart set on an island, get out the tape measure and the masking tape for a little show and tell. On the floor, measure and mark with the masking tape a minimum of 36” out from the face of the sink cabinet, stove cabinet, and the refrigerator. The remaining space is the largest area you can safely and effectively use for the location of the new work island.
For added design savvy, try hanging an oversized decorative mirror overtop of the bathroom sink. The trick to making this work is in the lighting placement. Hire a licensed electrician to move the existing wall- mount light fixture above the vanity to a higher spot further up the wall. The center of the electrical mounting box should be at least 84”. Once the light fixture is re-installed this higher location will enable you to hang a tall vertical mirror.
For a really smashing room arrangement try the minimalist approach. Start by clearing out your den…I mean EVERYTHING! So get ready to strip it clean. Now, only bring back into the room those items that are in GREAT shape and currently in fashion!----everything else needs to be scheduled for a yard sale. As for the placement of the remaining pieces, be creative and arrange the seating for comfort and use not tradition!
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Deborah Burnett is a nationaly recognized health and wellness design authority and keynote presenter bridging the gap between science and evidence based epigenetic design which explores how the body and brain are affected by the interior environment