Home Decorating For Dummies
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Refurbished furniture can add a lot of character to your home. Decorating old or unfinished furniture lets you make a creative statement. Take a look at the following decorating tips. Try some out on your furniture:
  • Consider new uses for old furniture and unique items. Turn an old combination radio/phonograph in a beautifully veneered cabinet into an elegant foyer console. Try using drums as tables; bunch together a trio of drums and use them as individual coffee tables.

    Discreet furniture never reveals its source (garage sale or heirloom?) but adds to a room’s o

    Discreet furniture never reveals its source (garage sale or heirloom?) but adds to a room’s overall beauty and comfort.
    • Create an instant slipcover by throwing a king-size sheet, quilt, or bedspread over an unsightly sofa. Tie it in place with rope or grosgrain ribbon.

    • Decorate an old chest for a teenage boy’s room with discarded license plates. Garage sales and junk stores are good sources. Just decide where to add them. Nail them into place.

    • Decoupage an old dresser or dressing table with motifs cut from wallpaper. Safeguard with a finishing glaze or coat of polyurethane.

  • Dress up a plain-Jane, upholstered side chair. Get out the trusty hot-glue gun to attach interesting gimp (an ornamental braid or cord), fringe, or other trim along the bottom of the seat.

  • Faux paint old wooden furniture. Paint stores have rows of booklets describing various techniques step by step. They also carry kits. Everything you need is right there in the store.

  • Individualize dining room chairs for your children. Paint mismatched chairs bold colors (all the same or coordinating colors). Stencil your children’s names on the chair backs, or add a motif. Craft shops have small glue-on toys, animals, numbers, and initials.

  • Paint a wooden chair with an interesting shape in different colors and patterns, like a Victorian house. For color combination ideas, pick the colors already in your scheme. Some paint companies put out booklets of historic color combinations; check these out for instant inspiration.

  • Paint vertical stripes on an old dresser or nightstand. All you need is tape (you can buy special masking tape at the paint store), a brilliant color or two, and a very steady hand wielding a paintbrush. Measure off the stripes using a ruler and a pencil to make light marks.

  • Take a tip from Colonial homemakers and cover tables in flat-weave rugs. Dhurries, needlepoints, or chainstitch rugs transform tables into desks and display areas for framed family photos.

  • Use a deep, glass-fronted china cabinet to hold a small TV or serve as a minibar in the living room. Punch a hole in the back to slip through the wires for any appliances. Display glasses and ice buckets.

  • Use pillows to convert lumber into a sofa of sorts outside or inside. Use flatter pillows for seats and backs and fluffier ones for decoration and added comfort.

About This Article

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Katharine Kaye McMillan, former senior editor of a New York City-based national magazine, is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to internationally circulated Florida Design Magazine. She is the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, she holds a masters degree in psychology and is a doctoral student in psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.

Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer, whose interior design work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. Known as a trend spotter and for clearly articulated views on design, she is quoted frequently and extensively in both trade and consumer publications. She a ppears on TV and talk radio. A prolific writer, she is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration, with Sun Country Style signature collections of furniture based on two books. She has taught decorating courses at several colleges and conducted numerous seminars across the U.S. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune newspaper based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has been editor-in-chief of two publications and was head of a New York City-based public relations firm representing some of the most prestigious names in home furnishing and building products. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in art history (with an emphasis in architecture), from the State University of New York (New Paltz). She was awarded a certificate from The New York School of Interior Design.

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