Design & Decorating

How To Create Free Art Work For Home Decorating

Having beautiful art work for your home can be very pricey. Some framed art work can cost as much as a piece of furniture. But, even if you’re on a tight decorating budget, you don’t have to skimp on wall decor. With a little imagination and time, you can create your own art work from things you already have or things that are free!

If you have a contemporary styled home, black and white photos look great framed in metal. Botanicals, florals and landscapes add to a traditional design and florals also look excellent in a cottage style home. If you have a country themed decor, weathered or antique looking frames will blend right in.

If you need some pictures to hang on your kitchen walls, consider using some restaurant menus! Most restaurants will give you a menu absolutely free and they make really unique framed pictures. Another great idea for the kitchen is to frame some favorite recipes. Or, even a wine list from your favorite restaurant!

Plates are another great way to create art work for a kitchen or dining room. And, if you have a few pieces of antique silverware, they’d look really nice hanging in a shadow box frame. In fact, you can hang almost any type of kitchen utensil in a shadow box frame.

Some of the calendars you can find have gorgeous pictures of flowers, scenery, animals and various other things. You can purchase a themed calendar and create 12 coordinating pictures for your wall. In many cases you can pick up free calendars at some banks or merchants and not have to spend anything on the pictures!

Cards are another excellent low cost choice for creating your own art work. Create a collage of sports cards for a unique picture for a boy’s room. A collection of post cards from some of the trips you’ve taken can make a great collage. And, for an entertainment or gaming room, even a deck of playing cards can make a great conversation piece.

I have a picture hanging in my living room that has trees and plant life in the background and some gorgeous hummingbirds flying around in the foreground. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on that picture and every one is really surprised to find out that it used to be a t-shirt!

I just cut the design out of the shirt, pulled it taut on a thin piece of cardboard and taped it down on the back. Even when I tell people that it was a shirt, no one believes me. This would be great to take t-shirts with different sports teams and make a whole collection of pictures for a sports fans room! Or, once your little girl has outgrown her Disney shirts, make some unique pictures for her room with them.

Another cheap way to make some gorgeous art work is by printing off pictures that you’ve taken yourself. That gorgeous picture of the sun setting on the ocean that you took on your last vacation would look wonderful hanging in your bathroom! Or, even the picture of a snow covered mountain you took on a ski trip!

We all take pictures of our family and friends, but it’s easy to find all kinds of scenery to snap pictures of to turn into art work. Take your camera with you where ever you go, you never know when you’ll run across and old barn, a farm, horses or anything that would look just gorgeous hanging on your walls!

How To Choose And Coordinate Fabrics For Decorating

Fabrics are one of the best ways to accessorize your homes decor. And, with all of the different choices of colors and patterns that you can find, there’s always something that will look great in any room.

Whether you decide to use fabrics that blend in with your decor, or fabrics that catch the eye and make a statement, choosing the right fabrics can finish off the rooms look.

When choosing fabric, there’s not only limitless colors and designs, there’s also several types of fabrics. Some fabrics are better for certain things than other because of durability, usability and overall easy care of the material.

Cotton fabric holds colors and designs very well and even comes in different finishes. You can either choose cotton that has a natural finish, or you can find many cotton fabrics that has a sheen. Cotton makes the best choices for pillow covers, table cloths, table runners and even drapes and curtains.

There are many types of polyester and nylon materials, they are especially woven so that they look like natural fibers. Depending on the weave, the thickness of these types of fabrics makes them work well for draperies and pillows as well. They’re also great to use if you want some really unique looking sheers for your drapes.

Using velvet in your room adds a formal, elegant feel. And, although velvet is very soft and luxurious to the touch, it can also be very durable. Some antique chairs that were upholstered with velvet have withstood time and use very well. Velvet comes in different thicknesses and you should choose accordingly for the project you’ll be using the fabric for.

Velvet curtains can add a lot of elegance to your window treatment. And, it’s also excellent for making throw pillows for your living room or bedroom. It’s a very versatile material that can be used for almost anything you’d like to decorate.

If you need a really rugged fabric, denim is perfect. But, it’s only good for adding to a casual decor. It’s really great for kids rooms since it can hold up to a lot of abuse. And, denim is available in more colors than just the common blue. You can often find it in red, black, white and other colors as well. But, if you can’t find the perfect color, denim can be dyed very easily.

Linen is classy and beautiful, but only when it’s pressed! If you don’t like the wrinkled look, don’t choose linen. It will wrinkle almost immediately even after pressing. It works great for draperies though, since you rarely have to touch them.

Although, silk is very fragile, it can be used for certain projects. It’s great to add texture to your room because it comes in so many different types of finishes. It’s not the best choice for high traffic, high usage areas, but it can add a touch of romance and elegance to a bedroom.

Coordinating your fabric colors and designs is really simple and can add a professional look to your homes decor. Just remember to keep all of the fabrics background colors the same. Also, repeat the colors in each design that you use. If one fabric has shades of pinks, choose all your fabrics with shades of pinks.

Mixing different sizes of designs can add interest to the decor. For instance, if you’re using florals, choose some fabrics with small flowers, some with medium sized flowers and some with large, bold flowers.

Ways To Use Seashells In the Bathroom

Since most bathrooms are fairly small they are often one part of the home that gets a little neglected during decorating. But, your bathroom can be turned into a relaxing, seaside retreat with a few simple ideas, a bunch of seashells and some water themed accessories.

Seashells are generally cheap and easy to find and you can often find them at thrift stores for almost nothing. And, if you live near the ocean, you can create a wonderful design with shells that you’ve collected yourself.

I probably have way too many seashells in my bathroom. Each one just has their own beauty and I seem to want to add them all to my bathroom decor. It would be pretty aggravating dusting all of them if they were other types of items, but since they’re literally water proof, you can just lay them in the tub and spray them each time they need cleaned!

I found some really pretty seashell border on sale and put it half way up the bathroom walls. But, you can add border either there or at the top of the wall. I put it about five feet up on the wall because you get to see it more there. Border up at the ceiling doesn’t get to be enjoyed as much in a small room.

The border has seashells of various sizes all over it, so I cut out several of the designs. I used the cut-outs as accents, I applied some to the front of the toilet tank. I didn’t really expect those to stay on very well, toilet tanks are bad for condensation and I figured it would just get damp and fall off. But, it’s been there for almost a year and still looks really good.

I also applied some to the mirror, which makes it match the bathroom. Then I applied some to the wall just above the back of the tub and shower. I didn’t use any special adhesive to attach them, I just wet them and pressed them on with a soft cloth, just like I did on the wall.

I had ran across some starfish and I just hung them on nails beside the sink in a diagonal line. You don’t even have to make a hole in the starfish, the nail will fit right into the opening on the back. I also used a few pieces of natural coral that are aquarium decorations. My shelf is all made of wire, so I laid some pieces of clear glass over them to place all of the shells and coral on.

If you’re going to have seashells you’ve got to add some sand. I just purchased some small bags of sand that came from the craft section, but you can use any type of sand. While I choose the natural sand, the crafting sand usually comes in several colors, so you can even have it match your color scheme.

I poured some of the sand into a little glass boat and laid seashells all inside it and it sits on the bathroom sink. It’s a simple idea, but it looks really nice and everyone loves it. I did the same thing in a small globe shaped bowl and set it on the shelf along with the larger shells.

To blend a trash can in with the theme, you can hot glue small shells onto it. And, you can do the same with a hand soap dispenser or any other item that you use in the bathroom. Small seashells can even be glued to the front of a soap dish and to the back of a hand mirror.

I have a solid color shower curtain and didn’t want to purchase a new one, so I spiced it up a little. I’d found a planter hanger made of seashells and took it apart to use the shells. I used some twine and strung up several seashells on lengths of it and tied them around the shower hooks. Leave the string long enough so that the shells dangle.

You can find nets made especially for decorating that you can hang all sorts of sea life on. And, you can add shells to almost anything to add to the decor. You could even hot glue some seashells over the vanity knobs. Hot glue is the best to use for projects like that because it’s not permanent. If you decide you want to remove the shells you can just pull them off. And, you can easily pull any remaining hot glue off of non-fabric items as well.

Understanding Home Decorating Themes

There are many types of decorating themes to choose from when you decide to re-decorate your rooms. While you might not really care what your particular style is called as long as you like something, if you’re really serious about interior design it really helps to know the specific terms for themes.

Formal traditional says it all in the name. It’s formal atmosphere that is very traditional. It refers to designs that originated from eras such as the Victorian, Renaissance, Georgian and Greek. The style is refined and elegant all the way to the window treatments.

Informal traditional is almost the same as formal traditional, except the style is a little more comfortable. There are more earth tone colors in informal traditional and the furnishings have a slightly softer, inviting touch.

Environmental just simply refers to furnishings and design that include textures, patterns and colors from mother nature. And, international modern design has a simplicity with smooth surfaces and hard lines. Unusual textures are also combined with abstract patterns.

The design referred to as primitive or ethnic has more of a masculine touch. Styles can range from South Sea, American West or African themes. The textures are heavy and patterns have a lack of sophistication that is charming.

Romantic Victorian is a favorite design style,it has lot’s of patterns, lot’s of florals and beautiful colors. Pattern is the main goal in this theme, with the walls and accessories having lot’s of designs. There are so many patterns that it almost creates a cluttered look, but it’s a look that works very well.

American country includes furnishings that can be designed after styles from the 17th century to modern day. Hand crafted work is evident in this very popular theme. There are several other design themes including shabby chic that is pretty much just a mix of whatever you like.

Before you start any decorating project, you should set a realistic budget and stick as close to it as you can. Setting a budget ahead of time and adhering to it can keep you from be disappointed by getting half way through your project and running out of funds to complete it.

Also, decide what the most important change you want to create is. Do you want the walls redone? Maybe you want a new sofa or lamps. Decide what will be the most expensive and most important part of your project and purchase that item first. If you do run out of money, you can always add accessories later, as long as you have your main decorating done.

You of course, need to decide on the style you want to accomplish before you make any purchases. If you’re still undecided about the total look that you want to create, browse through some home decorating magazines to get some ideas. Even if you don’t like the entire room in a magazine, you can get ideas from individual pieces of furniture, accessories or even the color scheme.

Choose what you want to use as the focal point of your room. The focal point could be a fireplace, a special antique table or even a beautiful painting. Maybe, the focal point is the object of your desire to redecorate. If so, decide what you want to use as the point of the room before shopping.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating is not choosing pieces that have the right proportions with each other. If you’ve ever really like a room, but there was something that was just not right about it, it could be as simple as the tables being too large or too small for the sofa. Proportion is a very important aspect of having a well balanced room.

Cheap and Free Ways to Decorate Your Home

Redecorating your home can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you’re on a tight budget. We’d all like to have rooms that are worthy of a magazine layout. But, unlike professional interior decorators we don’t have tons of accessories and money at our disposal. Most of us also haven’t got a degree in the art of decorating.

There are some simple designer tips that you can follow to give your home a more professionally decorated look. And, these tips don’t even require a large decorating budget! With these simple decorating steps you can use many items that you already have.

Most people always hang family pictures and art work too high. They will look much better is they’re hung at eye level. You’re eye level might be too high or too low depending on your height. Designers recommend that art work and photos be hung at the height of an average person. Pictures are much easier to view at this level and they also blend in with your furnishings better.

Every room should have a focal point! A focal point can be anything that you want to use to attract attention. It could be a painting, a family portrait, a fireplace or a piece of furniture. Once you’ve chosen a focal point, decorate with accessories that will accentuate it.

Balancing out all of your accessories can also make your room look much more stylish. Instead of having groups of items in even numbers, go for groupings of odd numbers of accessories. For instance, if you have a set of vases, group three or five together instead of four or six. Most sets of anything come in an even number of pieces, but if you only use part of the set it will make a big difference in the look.

Wallpaper can change the entire look of a room, but it can be fairly expensive. If you’re on a low budget, consider using a wallpaper border instead. There’s so many beautiful borders to choose from that you can find one to match any decor. And, they’re pretty inexpensive. You’ll be amazed at how much the look of the room will change by just adding a simple border.

You can never go wrong by decorating with neutral colors. Using neutral colors will allow you to use an almost unlimited number of other colors as a contrast. It’s also a great idea if you have to relocate a lot for your job or other reasons. Since, neutral colors will match almost any decor, you won’t have to start your decor from scratch every time you move.

Another really big expense in decorating is curtains and drapery. If you have any experience at all with sewing, you can easily make curtains from sets of sheets. If you don’t feel confident enough in your sewing abilities to make actual curtains, cut the sheets in strips, use the iron in hemming tape and drape them over your curtain rods.

Sheets are also great to use for recovering throw pillows. If there’s not a huge difference in price, opt for a set of king sized sheets so that you’ll have plenty of material. Make your curtains, cover your pillows and then use any leftover material to make some small table cloths or runners for your coffee table and end tables.

If you love the look of dried flowers but hate the prices, collect flowers dried by mother nature! Some of the prettiest flower arrangements I’ve had have been dried flowers, bulbs and other items I’ve collected on a fall hike.

If you live in an area where you have access to a field or wooded hillside, you can find all kinds of beautiful dried plants in the fall. I’ve never treated mine with anything, but if you want you can either buy a spray sealant or even use hair spray to help keep them from falling apart.

Distressed Furniture Gives You The Look of Antique Without the Price

The distressed look is in! Many homeowners search flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores to find furniture pieces that need refinished! This weathered, time worn look is becoming exceedingly popular in home decorating!

You don’t have to scour used furniture sales to find great looking distressed pieces of furniture. You can easily give your existing furniture pieces that same aged look yourself. Following the same steps that the pro’s use, you can refinish your furniture so that it looks like it needs to be refinished!

The first step is to sand the piece. You don’t need to sand it down to bare wood, you just want to remove all of the shine from the surface. Neither the primer or the paint will adhere well to a shiny surface, you want the entire piece to have a dull surface.

Now comes the fun part, roughing up the surface! Distressed means that the furniture has been well used, it should have some dents and dings. You can use a hammer, chain or any other object do some physical damage to the furniture! How much or how little damage you do is up to you!

Once you’ve added the aged beaten look to the piece, apply a thin coating of a quality white primer to the surface. Allow the primer to completely dry, then use sand paper to just lightly sand any areas that are to rough.

The color of the top coat of paint you choose for the piece should compliment your rooms decor. But, that’s entirely up to you, some people like to have contrasting colors. Just make sure you get a quality paint. Apply two coats of the paint making sure that it’s allowed to thoroughly dry between coats.

To get that wonderful crackle finish, you can apply crackle glaze to the entire piece or just apply it on the areas you want to crackle. Crackle makes it appear as if the paint is peeling off of the surface, just like it would if the piece was really old.

Following the steps above will give you a white base that will be visible through the crackled areas. If you’d rather have a different color showing through the top coat, simply choose a different color primer.

After you’ve allowed all of the coats to thoroughly dry, you can apply a glaze coat. This is a totally optional step, but it will make all the details in the piece more visible. Pro’s recommend that you use either a dark gray or brown glazing so that it will highlight the areas that you roughed up.

Glaze should be applied to the piece with a paint brush. Once applied use a rag to wipe off any excess glaze. Wipe the entire surface in the same direction applying even pressure for the best results.

It’s not necessary, but you really should apply a sealant to the piece. While you purposely set out to make the piece look old and distressed, you’ve put a lot of work into creating that look. A sealant will help to protect the piece from unwanted distress!

A water based polyurethane is really good for this purpose. You should apply at least two thin coats and lightly sand the piece after each coat dries completely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for the best results.

Now, you’re ready to admire your work! You’ll be amazed at how old this technique can make even the newest piece of furniture look. It’s a great way to have the look of antique furniture without the price tag!

Convert Pieces of Furniture Into Beautiful Kitchen Islands

A kitchen island is a great way to add both counter space and extra storage to your kitchen. They’re very convenient and while many styles are available commercially, you can save a lot of money by making your own kitchen island. If you want to add a kitchen island to the design of your kitchen, consider converting pieces of furniture!

If you don’t have a lot of carpentry skills, you can easily create a unique kitchen island out of existing pieces of furniture! Some items that look really good when converted to island’s are dressers, pie safes, hutches and even desks.

Even with very little experience doing carpentry, you can easily make some small adjustments to furniture pieces to make beautiful islands. If the piece you’re using is too tall and has legs, just measure and cut the legs off to make it the right height.

The best pieces of furniture to use are ones that already have built in storage such as drawers or shelves. But, even if you choose to use a desk that is open at the bottom, shelving kits can be used to create storage underneath the island.

Buffet’s are also great to convert to an island. However, since a buffet is made to sit against the wall, they don’t have very finished backings. Bead boarding is good to use to create a finished back, it’s also fairly inexpensive.

Many lumber supply companies will even custom cut pieces for you. If you’re not confident in cutting a piece for the back of your item, you can ask if your local lumber store offers the option. But, if you’re using an old piece of furniture for your island, it’s probably not perfect anyway. Small imperfections can just add to an antique style and if you don’t cut it exactly square it will just make it look better!

As far as the work top goes, you can either choose to leave it as is or cover it with another material as well. If the wood looks really good and you want to use the existing surface, apply several coats of polyurethane sealant to the top to help protect it from water, stains and scratches.

If you want your entire kitchen to match, you can even attach a piece of counter top that matches the counters already in your kitchen. If you want to add a new top, cut a piece of plywood that is about 3″ larger than the surface on all sides. Attach it to the piece then apply the material on top of the plywood.

It will look more professional is you first remove the existing top. But, some pieces of furniture are made so well that trying to take the top of might damage the sides. If you try to remove the top and it doesn’t come loose easily, you might want to just leave it alone. You can compensate for too much height on the top by adding a decorative flat wood molding to the edges.

The tops of furniture can be finished in the exact same way that you would finish any regular countertop. If you’d like to cover the surface in tile, spread an even layer of adhesive over the surface and just place the tiles where you want them. Tap them down into the adhesive and seal all of the seams with a clear silicone to prevent water leaking onto the wood surface.

Once you’ve gotten your kitchen island finished you can add accessories to make it even more convenient. For quick access to a kitchen towel, hang a nice towel rack on one end of the island. Small hooks can even be attached to hold utensils or pot holders.

One great way to blend the piece in with the rest of your kitchen is to change the knobs. Either use identical knobs, or purchase some that resemble or fit your kitchens style. There are many types of knobs available from rustic and country to modern and contemporary.

There’s a wide variety of items that can easily be converted into beautiful kitchen islands. You can even use matching book shelves side by side with a decorative top for a fast and simple island. And, many pieces of furniture make great islands without any changes at all!

Create A Dora Bedroom For That Special Little Girl

Almost every little girl just loves Dora and her trusty side-kick Boots. It’s a craze that created so many things that you can use to decorate a bedroom for that special little girl.

You can easily find everything from the bed set and curtains, to clocks and artwork. But, you can also easily create one of a kind items to decorate a Dora dream room.

The biggest purchase you’ll have to make will be a Dora bedding set and they’re really not that expensive. You can find them at about any discount store and they’ll usually include the sheets to. You may even be able to find several designs, so that you can get the look that you want.

Another great place to find Dora items is at thrift stores and yard sales. This is a great way to get a lot of stuff really cheap and allow you to have more to decorate with if you’re on a budget.

Since my grand daughter loved Dora so much, I’d always watch for deals on Dora items. I gathered up a lot of stuff from the thrift store and found some stuff at the flea market.

I’d found several dolls in different sizes, a couple of monkeys and a sheet that was in really good shape. I also found an alarm clock that featured Dora and Boots!

I used the sheet to make some extra pillows to add to the bed and made a large Dora pillow for her to sit on in the floor when she was playing. To make the fabric stretch farther and make more pillows, I choose a matching solid fabric for the back of the pillow covers.

I also cut some of the Dora, Boots and other items out of the sheet. I ironed them onto some wonder under bonding material and used them to create a small wall hanging to go over the head of her bed.

Using wonder under is great way to create crafts. It’s a fusible material that has a peel off backing. You can cut out any design and then iron it onto the fabric, peel off the backing and iron it into place on another background fabric.

To keep the edges from fraying you can go around them with a thin line of matching fabric paints. It’s washable and you can design your own scenery, just don’t leave it in a hot dryer or it may peel off.

I used a sky blue background material and then just cut some green grass out free hand style. I cut a tree trunk out of some brown material and just made tiny scallops around the edge of a green circle for the tree top.

You can add almost anything you want to the wall hanging. Some small silk daisies will really stand out in the grass! Just remove the stems and sew or glue them into place.

My end result was a rectangle wall hanging that was the same width as her bed. It featured Dora and Boots walking among some trees, with butterflies and flowers.

We then hung some small brown rope from the ceiling in various parts of the room and hung the stuffed monkeys from them. We found a perfect color that almost looked like vines in a jungle.

I had a small wooden shelf in the closet that I didn’t use anymore and we painted it a pretty bright pink to match the comforter set. We used it to hold her clock and set some Dora figures on it to add to the theme.

We made our own Dora framed art, by cutting some Dora themed place mats and placing the pieces into some picture frames. One of the placemats was also used for the table beside her bed instead of a table cloth.
Wal-Mart had a selection of several Dora placemats and they made nice looking pictures.

There’s so many Dora items that you can purchase if you don’t have the crafing knowledge or the time to make things from scratch. The crafting things that you can do with any theme are almost limitless. You’d be surprised at how cheap you can do a whole room with just a little creativity!

Quick Fix for a Tired Kitchen

Until recently, we lived in an old house. Not old enough to be considered historical, or even classic, just old enough to be considered junky. There’s not a straight line or level plane anywhere in sight, and without a total demolition and reconstruction, we’re pretty much limited to cosmetic fixes.Being rather limited, income wise (which is why we live in an old house in the first place), my goal has been to make the biggest possible improvement for the least financial output. I decided to start in the kitchen, the worst room in the house.This is a standard “farm kitchen”, in other words, it’s huge. Lots of floor area, covered with hideous linoleum, old cabinets made of plain wood that go all the way to the ceiling, walls painted beige with flat latex, supremely ugly counters…you get the picture. This was surely the Frankenstein of kitchens, cobbled together with bits and pieces that didn’t match. My job was to pull it together, make it appealing to the eye, and do it all on a miniscule budget. I’ve read some of those remodeling magazines, and my God, they estimate that simple remodeling costs as much as a whole house! Well, they’re wrong.First I decided on my color scheme. I like a clean, modern look, so I picked white semi-gloss for the walls (easy to clean), with gray doorframes, baseboards and trim. Now I can use whatever colors I want for accents. I felt a burst of color was necessary to liven up this huge expanse, so I chose a red countertop. I went to a local home building center, and purchased a premade formica covered counter for about $10.00 a linear foot. The counter is 12 feet long, so that’s $120.00, a far cry from the magazines estimate of $1000.00 for a 12 foot formica counter. I found a white double sink on sale for $35.00, along with a red, single handle faucet that perfectly matched the counter. It was under $20.00. For the floor, I bought Armstrong adhesive linoleum tiles, in a gray marble design that matched the trim color. The cost was under $100.00 for a room that’s 20’X 14′. A couple of throw rugs with nonskid backing in front of the sink and stove finished it off.Next were the cabinets, the toughest part. After 60 years of use, they were chipped, and had fine cracks in the wood. Stripping and refinishing was a job I didn’t want to tackle, and paying a pro would cost hundreds of dollars. I couldn’t just paint them, the gouges and dings would be too visible. While browsing in K-Mart one day, I ran across some granite look texture paint. I bought a can of Krylon Make-It-Stone, in a gray with black and white flecks, and did a test door. This stuff is great! It fills in imperfections, covers stains, and hides dirt extremely well. It comes in about six different shades, ranging from gray, to sandstone, to green. Do NOT use the FleckStone brand, it’s cheaper but much thinner. I tried it on a different door and it looked horrible. It took me 10 cans, at $10.00 a can. A hundred dollars is a chunk of change, but it was well worth it. Each can of paint comes with a can of sealer, which you must use to lock out grease and dirt, and to make it washable. Make sure you ventilate the room well when using the sealer, it is truly noxious.I added some red drawer and cabinet handles, and two new mini blinds for the windows, and I was finished! I’d spent under $400.00 and had a completely different kitchen. The cabinet treatment has gotten lots of comments and compliments, because it’s quite unique. People that saw my kitchen “before” and “after” were amazed at what I’d done on such a tight budget. With the assistance of technology you can now easily see how things will look without actually applying the changes.I hope you’ve gotten a couple of ideas that you can use in your own kitchen out of this. The main thing to remember is that if you take a little bit of time to hunt, you can find good quality materials cheaply. Your first stop should be one of the large builder’s stores, like Home Depot, they have prices that are hard to beat! Stores like K-Mart and Wal-Mart also have some nifty items like outlet covers, switch covers, and drawer pulls. The main thing is to take your time and look for what you like at the best price.Now, go take a look around your kitchen and see what you can do to spice it up!

Fun Kids Rooms For Cheap

Kids are fickle creatures. Their passions change weekly, if not daily. A parent can go crazy, not to mention broke, trying to decorate a kid’s room in the style that he wants right now. Let’s not even think about that fact that as a child gets older, the Barney motif is out, and Junior will be horribly humiliated if any of his friends see one trace of purple in his domain. So what’s a suitably concerned parent to do? Improvise! There are many ways to give your child a new room frequently, without going banktrupt or insane. You can purchase area rugs in solid colors at a nearby Wal-Mart or K-mart for next to nothing. A 4X6 foot rug can be turned into an entire world to a small child! Is your kiddo into Hot Wheels? Get a rug in green (grass, of course!). A roll of black contact paper will produce miles of wonderful highways and byways for travel. A bag of plastic trees, farm animals, wild animals (maybe he wants to go on safari in Africa today), and other assorted play figures will give him hours of enjoyment. If your child is more a cowboys and Indians person, substitute appropriate figures and some Lincoln Logs (which were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John) for hours of frontier fun. Green in also the color of Barbie’s lawn, and Barbie could use a nice black driveway and road. Or a gray contact paper patio. Fabric paint can easily transform a white rug into a nifty hopscotch board. Kids always latch on to the newest “in” toy or cartoon. Spiderman is currently in the lead, but he’ll be replaced quickly by the next big thing. How do you satisfy the longing for today’s big craze without breaking the bank? Sheets. Sheets are the answer to every decorating challenge you’ll encounter. Buy two sets of the expensive character sheets, and stock up on cheap white top sheets. Congratulations, you now have a Spiderman bed, curtains and throw pillows. Put one set of Spidey sheets on the bed. Most kids have twin beds, and sheet sets only come with one pillowcase. You have two sets, so your child has two matching pillow cases. Take the other top sheet, cut it into four equal lengths, give them a small hem on the edge to prevent fraying, and sew then down the sides of two white top sheets. Position the strips below the wide hem of the top of the sheet. You may have noticed that this hem at the top is open on either side. And it’s the perfect size to slip right over a curtain rod! If you’re not a sewer, you can use double sided, heat actived tape to do all this. The second bottom sheet can be saved for a spare, or used to make some nifty throw pillows. Kids also love tents, which is more of a long-term interest, from toddlerhood to almost adolescence. You can buy a basic canopy bed for $150.00 or less. You want a simple design, just four upright poles, with the four pole frame around the top. Most styles are available in black or white, one of which should be a suitable color. Once again, drag out the cheap top sheets, thread them onto the horizontal canopy frame, and your child has a permanent tent. You can tuck the end ones and the ones on the back side under the mattress for a nice, tight tent. Toss in a flashlight (or wall mounted reading light), a good book and an apple, and your child will be set for the night. If you have a color printer, search the net for pictures of you child’s favorite characters. Print them off, slap them in cheap dime store frame with construction paper mats, and your kiddo will have cool artwork that no other kids have (unless their moms visit this site). This is especially neat if you have a printer that will do photographs well. A child with photographs of The Rock on his wall will be the talk of the town. What child wouldn’t be thrilled with his own personalized street sign? I purchased one for my daughter from a seller on Ebay. The signs are 24 inches by 6 inches, metal, and available in red, green, and blue, with your choice of wording. For less than $21.00, your child can have his room designated as Brian Ave., Jessica Blvd, or Cameron St. Just do a search on Ebay for the sellers offering them. I’m sure you could also order these items directly from sellers which have their own website. With a little imagination and a tiny bit of cash, you can give your child a great room!

Fool Proof Color Coordination

Many of us are afraid to try coordinating colors in a room. This fear can be acquired by simple self doubt, or the experience of walking into a friend’s room and swearing that you will never, ever make the mistake of trying to combine colors in case it should end up looking like that. Fear not, there is a simple, fool-proof method that will have you using colors like a pro!

A room is divided into five main parts - walls, trim, floors, furniture and accessories. The problem arises when you’re trying to decide what colors to use on each element. Most of us simply give up, and choose safe, boring white for a good portion of it. How do you utilize other colors, and not end up with a garish, ugly color scheme? Keep reading, and you’ll see just how simple it is.

You’ve already learned that the room has five parts, so you won’t be too surprised to find out that the color is a four-part system. These four parts are - Main Neutral, Secondary Neutral, Main Color, and Secondary Color. A color is neutral if it is a shade of white (bright white, cream, eggshell), brown (beige, sand, tan), or black (light gray, charcoal gray, dove gray).

Five parts to a room, four color options. Pretty simple so far, right? Don’t worry, it doesn’t get much tougher. In most rooms, the walls and the floor will be the two main sections, with the trim and furniture being the secondary areas. If your floors are wood, they’re completely removed from the mix, and the equation changes. Walls are still main, and either furniture or trim is elevated to main. Which one will become a main element depends on the room and your own personal taste.

Let’s take a closer look at a standard room, with the floors and walls being main, and the furniture, trim and accessories being secondary. Pick a main neutral and a main color for your walls and carpet. You could choose sand colored beige for the walls, and a deep burgundy carpet. Or perhaps a dove gray carpet and a navy blue wall. Either choice works beautifully. Now your secondary neutral and color come into play. Beige walls and burgundy carpet. How about chocolate brown trim, and some hunter green furniture? You could even use a neutral for the trim and the furniture, reserving your secondary color for accessories, like pillows and decorative items.

In some rooms, the trim is extensive and/or ornate, and deserves main status on its own. Choose a color that highlights and accentuates your trim work, with a contrasting color for the walls. Two neutrals are fine, as long as they don’t blend together. White trim and charcoal or reddish-brown walls is a stunning look. The trick is to decide which of the four room elements you want to draw attention to, and use a color that will highlight it. Using dark shades elsewhere, and a bright neutral or color in the desired area works, as does the reverse method of using light shades in areas you don’t want to stand out and deep, rich colors in the area you want people to notice. My living room has a lot of handcrafted woodwork in the moldings, mantel, and attached shelves. There are also two sets of double windows that take up most of the wall space at either end of the room, along with a swinging, multi-paned glass door leading into another room. There is no way that the trim could not be one of the major parts of the room. My woodwork is bright white, the walls are charcoal gray to accent the white, the floors are hardwood (which is insignificant for this exercise) and the furniture is beige. However, I have accent pieces in cobalt blue and ruby red to bring a much-needed splash of color to the room.

You may have noticed that I’ve talked about five room parts, and only four colors. Accessories usually don’t comprise a true main focus in a room, so you have lots of room to play around with them. If you’ve used two different neutrals and two different colors already in the room, you can use any of those colors accessorizing, or a different shade of one of them. Let’s go back to our first room, the one with beige walls, burgundy carpet, brown trim, and hunter green furniture. You could use the same burgundy in throw pillows, silk flowers, matting in paintings. Or perhaps some beige and brown striped silk pillows would do the trick. You could venture into a new shade by choosing a mint green color for some lamps or pillows, playing off the hunter green; or perhaps a rose color to tie in with the burgundy.

If you’ve chosen a fabric that is multicolored for your furniture, or wallpaper with more than one color, the dominant color is the one you consider when choosing the rest of the shades for the room. Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell exactly which color is dominant. A pale yellow wallpaper with deep green vines may actually have more yellow, but the green may stand out more. A good way to find out which color is stronger is to call a friend that’s been to your house often and ask them, “would you say my walls are yellow or green?”. Most people don’t notice an actual pattern, instead they notice a predominant color that sticks in their memory.

When choosing colors for the main, I’d recommend using the same color tone for both. If you’ve selected a sapphire blue, make sure the other color is also a rich jewel tone, or keep both colors pastels. You can use a pastel and a deep color as mains, but not all colors will actually go together well, and many times it’s not apparent until you’ve done all the painting, carpet installing and furniture buying. Just because the sunshine yellow and emerald green look good together when you hold the paint chips side by side doesn’t mean it will translate well when your walls are yellow and your emerald green carpet is installed. Too much depends on the size of the area that is being covered, the layout of the room, and the style of the room. If you simply must have that one particular shade of color in your room, use it in the accessories.

Simply put, pick two neutral colors and two “real” colors. Use them on the walls, furniture, trim, and floors. Then use one of these four colors, or a different shade of one of them, for accessorizing. If you’re not that brave, use neutrals everywhere, and save your two colors for the added touches.

Do It Yourself Unique Borders

We recently bought a new house. Well, it’s actually a very old house, 100 years old, but in great shape. I’ve been trying to do some cosmetic work on the inside that will personalize it, but not cost a fortune. The 3/4 bath downstairs was painted a hideous shade of Pepto Bismal pink with a stunning floral border in the same shade. Mind you, this was a recent decorating disaster, as evidenced by the fact that part of the border hadn’t been put up yet. The previous owners moved out while they were remodeling, leaving a lot half done. I’m still marveling at the fact that someone would actually choose that shade of pink to paint a room.

The whole family was beset with dry heaves every time they entered that room, so it was apparent that the color scheme would have to be improved as quickly as possible. You can see the results in the picture above. It’s probably not too terribly clear due to the fact that it’s a small picture, but you can get the general idea. It’s a small room, about 6 by 8 feet. There’s a corner shower taking up a good chunk of wall space, so there’s not a huge amount of wall area. Even so, I was particularly proud of the fact that the finished room cost me a grand total of $2.25!

The gray and white walls weren’t a conscious color choice, they were simply the two colors left over from when the painter did our living room and dining room. He over estimated the amount needed by an incredible margin, so I’m stuck with a lot of gray paint I need to get rid of. The room is too small to paint the whole thing a dark gray, and there’s only one small window to let in light. Gray alone would have made the room entirely too cave-like, but I had to use some gray. I decided on a two tone paint job, with the upper half being one color and the lower half being another color. The standard choice is to put the darker color on the bottom, and the lighter color on top. In this case, I decided that gray on the bottom and white on top would give the room a somewhat institutional, “penitentiary” feel, so I threw caution to the winds and reversed the color scheme.

Once that was accomplished, I was left with a demarkation line between the gray and white. Something was needed to cover it up and add some “oomph” to the walls. They still had an institutional look to them. Possibly a mental institution look. A border was the logical choice, but a ready-made border wasn’t possible for two reasons. One, there’s no place in my one horse town to buy a ready made border, and two, I hated spending $12.00 a roll for 15 feet of border.

The thought of stenciling or painting a border crossed my mind, but I’m not an artsy craftsy person, and I knew it would look really, really bad. I needed something with straight edges that I could just stick up there, following a measured line. I can measure and draw a straight line. The next day, I went to our local department store and browsed around for ideas. By “department” store, I mean small store that carries more than groceries, but no wallpaper. I found myself in the craft department, quite by chance, and stumbled upon the answer to my dilemma. Ribbon! Weather proof ribbon in lots of rich shades and various widths. I grabbed a roll of deep purple in the inch and a half width, and a roll of maroon in half inch width. Each roll contains 15 yards, instead of the typical 15 feet found in a wallpaper border. I also bought a roll of ice pink in the 3 inch width, but decided not to use it when I heard the gagging noises emanating from my husband when I suggested it.

I measured the width of each wall, cut the ribbon to length, and glued it using “tacky glue”. The first run followed a line I’d drawn, and the following two rows simply followed that row, overlapping it slightly. It took me less than an hour to put up all three rows, and the result is something unique and striking, in colors I want.

The ribbon cost $1.49 for the inch and a half, $.99 for the 1/2 inch, and the glue was $1.69. I used less than half of the ribbon and glue, bringing my actual cost down to less than $2.50. Not a bad price to finish off a room and give it a new look!

If you have a room that needs a little something extra, think outside the norm. Try to find other materials and methods that will give you the result you want in an easier, cheaper fashion. When it’s this inexpensive, you can afford to rip it all off if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d like.

Decorating for Both Sexes

When it comes to decorating, some decisions result in the war between the sexes. All of us have seen rooms that are fabulously feminine, or marvelously masculine. This works fine as long as you’re single, but how do you integrate both styles in a household with both a man and a woman?

As I thumb through various decorating magazines, I repeatedly see rooms that just do not look like they would be inviting for a male, done up in a multitude of floral prints and pastel pinks. I also see plenty of the reverse, with rooms done in dark colors, heavy furniture, and decorative accents that are quite manly. How do you reach a happy medium, and come up with a room in which both sexes can feel equally at home?

The answer is actually quite simple…moderation. As you’ve seen in other articles on this site, I’m a big believer in neutrals. Not only in color, but also in style. A room, especially a common room like a dining room or living room, should be mostly neutral, with accents reflecting the tastes of both homeowners. Fifty percent of the room should be neither masculine nor feminine, while the remaining fifty percent is divided equally between them.

For example, avoid a wall color that is strongly considered either “girly” or “boyish”. Leave the pink for the lady’s sewing room or bathroom, and the tobacco brown for the study or office. Choose a more gender neutral shade like blue, green, beige or gray. Avoid a frilly, feminine furniture style, or a heavy wood manly look for the whole room. If you simply must have that pretty floral sofa, then balance it with a couple of non-floral chairs. A pair of elegant wingback chairs will match in style, but if they’re upholstered in a hunter green, they’ll balance the floral and lend a masculine air.

Most of us have our own “spot” in a room. You and your spouse probably each have a favorite chair or end of the sofa that you claim each time. Turn your spot into a little island of femiine or masculine comfort. An end table with a lace cloth, a filigree picture frame, a bud vase of flowers and a pretty lamp will make your area quite pretty, while a solid wood end table (perhaps with a solid color cloth on it), a heavier lamp, a wooden or brass picture frame, and a pewter Porsche will make the man’s section suitably masculine.

Accent pieces for the rest of the room are easily available in styles that are gender neutral. I have a number of gorgeous vases and pitchers in shades ranging from emerald, to cobalt blue, to ruby, and my husband loves them. The glassware is very sleek, with no patterns or designs. The colors and the lines of the glass make a statement all on their own, with no need for added ornamentation. Artwork is another way to bridge the gender gap. Put a more masculine print in a slightly feminine frame, or the floral still life in a simple wooden frame. Let the masculine and feminine elements compliment each other, and provide a contrast to each other.

In rooms that you share with each other (or with company), the objective is to make it welcoming for both sexes. Each of you should have a room of your own to decorate in whatever style you love, with no interference from the other party. Get together and decide which room each of you gets to claim, and get to work making it into the retreat of your dreams. If space requires that you share a getaway room, divide it in half, and each of you decorate an end in your favorite look. Pull it together by becoming more neutral (there’s that word again!), as you work toward the center

With a little give and take, you can make the rooms in your home welcoming and inviting to members of both sexes, which is the object of any decorating endeavor. Neutral doesn’t mean boring and impersonal. Neutral means having a complimentary backdrop to showcase what makes you unique!

Decorating Disasters

Sometimes, despite the best intentions, and the best laid plans, things go wrong. Horribly wrong. I thought I’d share a few of my little decorating mishaps with you, in the hopes that it may make you feel better the next time something doesn’t work out quite right for you. Then again, you may read this, laugh hysterically, and think, “what a moron!”Years ago (12, to be exact), I decided to paint my son’s room. The walls were a very rough textured, stucco-like finish, and it took forever to paint it. I’d chosen a nice orangish peach color, that was suitable for a boy. Of course, paint color looks different in the can (and on the wall before it dries), so I nonchalantly painted the entire room, and waited for the “true” color to show up. It never did. It ended up being the exact shade that was in the can, wet. Which is also the exact shade of pink that you see on the right side of your screen. My son was not happy! There was no way I was going to spend another entire day painting this room (I was pregnant with his sister at that time), so we decided that the best form of damage control was to basically lie through our teeth, and tell everyone that the room was supposed to by his new sister’s, but he decided to stay in it because it was the bigger of the two kid’s rooms. Next was the kitchen floor. Our house was old and decrepit, and the floor had two different kinds of linoleum on it. It was a huge kitchen, and installing new linoleum from a roll would leave an obvious seam, no matter which direction we ran the roll. I hate carpet in the kitchen (it gets icky too easily, and I’m not a neat cook in the first place), so that left wood laminate, tile, or vinyl squares. We were too broke to afford wood or tile, so vinyl it was. I chose a gorgeous gray marbled looking adhesive backed square, and did the whole kitchen in a few hours. Looked darn nice, too! Before too much longer, the house began to settle. I have no idea why it waited 60 years to start doing it, but it did. Within months, the squares were not only starting to buckle in areas, they were actually moving inches from their original location. I solved that problem quite stylishly by nailing the suckers down. We intended to cave in and put down kitchen carpet (the floors weren’t in good enough shape for anything else, by this point, unless we replaced the entire floor down to the joists and leveled the house). My next experiment in horror made us decide to just give up and buy a new house. The bathroom had paneling on the top, and some sort of slick white and gold patterned wallboard on the bottom. The paneling stuck out about an eighth of an inch further than the wallboard, which didn’t look too great in the first place. In the second place, the paneling was really dark, and made the small bathroom look even smaller. I did a quick fix by painting the entire room white, and putting up a molding to cover the overlap of the two materials. Looked darn nice, too! The house didn’t have central heat, so the bathroom was heated by an old (and now illegal) gas wall heater. Over time, the heat made the paneling dry out and split, and the moisture made the paint peel off of the slick wall board. The previous owners (or whoever had put up his nightmare wall treatment) had considerately nailed the paneling and wallboard directly to the studs, so to redo the walls would require a major sheetrocking job, unless we wanted to go with paneling or wallboard again. None of these options seemed particularly attractive, so I came up with the brilliant idea of texturing the walls with joint compound (the white, thick, stuff that’s used to smooth drywall joints).Now this technique will work. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I decided to do this at night, when everyone was asleep, to avoid traffic in and out of the bathroom while I was trying to work. I finished one wall (the largest, most noticeable one, of course), and it looked darn nice, too! I headed off to bed, and was awakened a few hours later by my husband laughing hysterically. I stumbled into the bathroom to see what was so funny, and discovered that heavy, thick, joint compound does not adhere well to slick paneling and wall board. An entire wall’s worth of “stucco” had slid slowly down the wall and pooled along the baseboard, where it was rapidly turning into concrete. I scooped up as much of the mess as I could, and went back to bed. Later, I did as much damage control as possible, by troweling on a very thin layer, working in small sections, and waiting for it to dry. I spent hours in there, carefully smoothing the stuff back up the wall if it started to slump downwards again. I completed one long wall, and one short wall, over a four day period, then I gave up. Shortly thereafter, we bought another house. Don’t worry, no other poor saps got stuck with the house from hell. It got destroyed by a tornado before we ever got to the point of putting it up for sale. I can’t say that I was terribly upset. It got what it deserved.

Add Interest to Windows and Mirrors with Glass Etching

If you have a window that isn’t well suited for conventional window treatments, or if you need the window as a source of unencumbered light, consider etching the glass.

Etching provides privacy, while letting in light. Depending on the design you select, it can also give you some visibility, while restricting what those outside can view. Etching is a lot simpler than what most be think, and doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment. Most of what you need is probably already available in your cabinets right now!

There are two methods used in transferring the design to the glass. The first method will require the following supplies:

  • Etching Compound in gel form, not liquid.
  • Masking Tape
  • Disposable Applicator (brush or foam)
  • Stencil Pattern(s)
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Protective Eyewear

First, decide how you want your pattern to be positioned on the glass. If you want high visibility, an etched “frame” around the edges of the glass is fine. For a little privacy, an additional, larger pattern in the center works well. Play around with the positioning until you find a layout that pleases you. Unless you have multiple copies of the same stencil, you’ll have to do one section, then move the stencil to the next one.

Using the masking tape, secure the stencil to the glass. Apply the etching gel according to the manufacturer’s directions, let it set for the recommended length of time, then remove it according the instructions. The etching compound is highly corrosive, so make sure your wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself from spatters. Once the first section is finished, move on to the next section.

The second method requires the supplies listed above, with the addition of:

  • Clear Contact Paper
  • Carbon Paper
  • Pencil
  • X-Acto or Utility Knife
  • Design Pattern (or stencil)

Cut a sheet of contact paper the same size as your pane of glass. Lay it on your work surface right side up. If you’re using a stencil, simply place the stencil in its location, tape it down, and trace the pattern through the cut outs. Move it to the next section of contact paper and repeat until the entire sheet has been filled in. If you’re using a printed pattern, place the carbon paper upside down on top of the contact paper, lay the pattern over that, and trace the pattern with your pencil. The pressure will transfer the design from the carbon paper onto the contact paper. Repeat the process in new areas until the contact paper is filled in with your design layout. Carefully cut out the pattern with your X-Acto knife, cutting through the contact paper and its paper backing. The result will be a sheet of contact paper with open spots where your etched design will be.

Carefully peel off the top half inch of the backing, all the way across the sheet. Position it on the glass, making sure it’s lined up correctly. Press the exposed adhesive onto the glass until it sticks. Slowly peel the backing down, aligning the contact paper and pressing it into place as you go. Apply the etching gel according to the instructions. The contact paper removes easily when you’re finished. This method is more time consuming than the first, but it does allow you to use any design you like for your pattern. It also allows you to do the entire window at once, instead of one section at a time.

Etching isn’t difficult or expensive to do, and it’s a marvelous way to add an artistic element to a window, or any glass surface. This technique is a great way to add that “something extra” to a mirror, or even glass doors in kitchen cabinets. Best of all, you did it yourself!

Design Tips To Make Small Rooms Look Larger

While you can’t always remodel to increase the size of your rooms, you can make a room appear to be larger than it is. With a few simple design tricks, you can open up those smaller spaces.

With the use of color, lighting and the right furniture arrangements you can literally trick the eye into seeing a larger room. The room just looking bigger will really seem to open up and provide extra space!

One of the best and easiest ways to make the room seem larger is with color. Most people already know that light colors make objects seem bigger, but bright colors also create the same effect.

The trick is to paint the moldings and trim with a lighter color than the walls. Darker objects appear farther off and lighter objects appear closer. With the wall just a shade or two lighter they’ll appear farther away than the trims and the room will look more spacious.

Arrange the larger pieces of furniture such as a bed or sofa at an angle. This will take advantage of the diagonal length of the room and give the eye a farther distance to follow.

Using scaled furniture is another way to optimize the appearance of space in a small room. Over stuffed furniture will take over a space, but a simple love seat or sofa will fit in great.

Chairs that have open backs and a slim style chairs are great accessories. And, if it’s a bedroom choosing an open styled headboard will open up space. The ideal furnishings for a smaller room would all be below eye level in height.

Mirrors aren’t only decorative, the rooms reflection will create a look of having a larger area. They can even add to the brightness with the reflected light from a window or lamp.

Replacing the closet doors with mirrored sliding doors will greatly increase the desired look. This works well in a small bathroom by adding mirrored doors to the vanity and even on kitchen cabinet doors.

Floor and table space can be cleared up with the use of track lighting. Track lights are easily installed and when angled toward the walls not only adds the look of space, but provides a relaxing mood lighting.

Add splashes of color to the room with your accent pieces. Colorful throw pillows, small pieces of artwork and other size appropriate pieces can compliment the room without taking up precious space.

Just keep the decorative accessories to a minimum for the best results.
A clean, neat room always appears larger, so keep magazines, books and other items hidden away when not in use.

One real good way to add storage space is with a ottoman that has built in storage. This would be a very good place to keep your magazines and books, as well as anything else that you don’t need all the time.

The more floor space you have the larger your room will look to. Choose sofas, love seats, chairs and other items that have exposed legs to open up the space underneath them.

For a really small bedroom you might want to get a futon or even a day bed. Both are multi-functional since they can be used as a sitting area during the day and then double as the bed at night. Even something as simple as not using a dust ruffle on the bed can add space!

Avoid upholstery material that has large designs. Choose either a small design or solid colors, you can always add the color with matching pillows and table doilies.

Although, following these simple design tricks won’t actually increase the size of your room, it will make you think it has. It’s quite amazing what you can trick the mind into thinking!

Artwork Displays That Work With Your Room and Furnishings

No decorating theme would be complete without art work to accent the rooms walls. But, sometimes deciding how to display framed art can be quite daunting.

Many times you can find the perfect picture to compliment the rooms theme, but once you’ve got it hanging on the wall it doesn’t look right. The problem usually isn’t the picture, it’s more than likely the place or the area that you’ve hung the picture in thats not right.

There are different areas that are best suited for certain sizes of art. Knowing how to arrange them in the right way can make all the difference in whether you like the picture on your wall or just like it when it’s off the wall!

Any piece of large artwork is going to be the focal point of the room. Size the art to an area of the room, for example a large print should be hung over a large piece of furniture. The sofa, a dining room set or a fireplace are all great areas for larger artwork.

Grouping small pictures together is very pleasing to the eye. Your eyes will normally move around the set noticing each picture. When grouping smaller frames together the best look is achieved by having matching or at least similar frames.

Just having frames that are in the same color scheme as the room will improve the look of a group. You can also use matting to blend several pictures together to make them appear to be a matching set.

Small pieces of artwork hung alone on a large wall or empty space will appear to be just floating on the wall. And, a large wall can make a small picture appear to be even smaller than it is.

If you only have one small piece of artwork that you want to use, hang it low on the wall. You should also place it close to the rooms furnishings so that it won’t stick out and seem out of place in the room.

Before hammering all the nails into the walls and just hanging a group of pictures, figure out how you want to arrange them. Lay them all out on the floor or a table and move them around until you get the look that you want.

The decorators rule of distance when grouping artwork is three inches. This is used for both groupings of the same sized artwork and groupings of various sized artwork.

Leaving a three inch space at the tops and bottoms of all of the frames will separate them without leaving a large gap. It will help them to blend together instead of seeming to be just hanging there on your wall.

One of the main mistakes most people make when hanging artwork is to hang it to high on the wall. Artwork should always be hung so that the center of the picture is at eye level.

No matter how big or small the artwork is it should be hung with the center at the same height. The basic height used by most interior decorators is between 60″ and 66″ from the floor.

If you’ve ever been to an art gallery or visited a home that’s been professionally decorated, you may have noticed that you don’t have to look up to see the pictures. You’ll be amazed at how just lowering the artwork a little can make all the difference in how it looks on the wall.

Large pieces of artwork that are hung behind a sofa should be hung no more than ten inches above the back of the sofa. Hanging the picture too high over the sofa will leave a void that separates the frame from the furnishings. A lower picture will blend in and the eye will follow the sofa up to the picture.

Transform Your Ceiling With Decorative Tiles

If you would like to give your ceiling a whole new look consider installing ceiling tiles. They come in so many designs, it will be easy to find the perfect style to blend in with any decor.

Ceiling tiles are one of the very few ways that you can add some decoration to the ceilings in your home. And, they’re very easy to install with basic knowledge of carpentry! You will however have to be able to remove the light fixture in the ceiling!

Make sure that you turn off the breaker to the room, leave the light on and when it goes off you know that you’ve turned the right breaker off! You can run an extension cord from another room and hook up a light so that you can see to work.

The first thing you’ll want to do is get an accurate measurement of your ceiling. Not only will you need to know the size to make sure you purchase the right amount of tiles, you’ll need to use a frame to install them on.

There are two ways that you can install the tiles, on a wood frame or on a metal track. The tiles edges are tongue and groove, which means that one side of the tile will have a tongue that will slide into a groove in the other tile. Either way you should be able to do an entire room in a days time!

If you choose to use a wood frame you’ll need to purchase enough to space them as wide as the tiles are. You’ll need to place a strip of wood at the center of all of the tile joints, plus you’ll need to create a frame around the wall of the room.

The only real difference in using wood strips and the metal tracks is the way the tiles will be attached. With a wood frame you’ll need to staple the tiles to the ceiling and with the metal tracks the tiles will be attached with small metal clips that fasten right to the track.

You will need to use a stud finder to locate the boards in the ceiling. The framework needs to be attached into a board to make it sturdy and keep the ceiling from literally falling on your head!

You will have to climb a ladder repeatedly around the whole room to locate and mark all of the boards. But, once you’ve gotten them all marked you can use a chalk line to make a mark the length of the ceiling.

If you don’t have a chalk line you can use a yardstick or small piece of thin board to mark them. Of course, this will require two people both on ladders. One will need to hold each end while one of you runs a pencil down the side of the board.

You will also need to mark lines in the other direction, the finishing result will look like a square blocks all over the ceiling. For this set of lines you should start in the main center of the ceiling.

The reason that you need the second set of lines is because this will be the guide for you to know where to attach the frame. For this set your first mark should be in the main center of the room.

This will prevent you from ending up with tiles that are just a few inches wide at one end. If you start in the center the end tiles will come out the same width on both sides and look much better.

You should also measure the width of the room and cut the first tile so that the tiles on each end come out the same size. You will end up with full tiles in the center and smaller tiles going all the way around the edges of the room.

The metal tracks come in pieces that are each four foot long. So, unless your room is divisible evenly by four you’ll need to cut the last piece in each strip.

You can use a pair of metal cutters or even a hacksaw to cut the pieces to the correct length. If you’re using a wood frame, then you can choose to use longer pieces or cut them for easier handling!

The chances of your ceiling being completely flat are pretty slim. Although, usually it’s only a slight difference, it may not seem so slight once all the tiles are in place.

You can loosen some screws in the frames and let them drop down enough to make them level if the ceiling is barely off. But, for larger gaps
you should put some kind of shim between the ceiling and the frame to secure it. You can check this by placing a level across the frame.

Once you’ve gotten all of your frame up and measured and cut the first row of tiles, you’re ready to begin installing them. Just put each tile into place and slide them into each other.

If you’re using a wood frame you’ll just staple each tile into place once you’ve interlocked them together. With the metal track the clips will attach both to the tile and the track to secure them.

For an added extra touch, you can add crown molding around the corners of the ceiling. This will not only hide any small gaps between the tiles and the wall, it will give the project a really nice finished touch!