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.