Category: Interior Design


How To: Hang Wallpaper

Use these tips to achieve satisfying, professional-level results the next time that you set out to hang wallpaper.

Here’s how to get a professional look when you hanging wallpaper. After you line up your pattern, overlap the top and the bottom by about two inches. You should always cut each piece a little long. Then after smoothing out the bubbles and checking to make sure the wallpaper is plumb, use a five-inch putty knife as a guide for a perfect razor cut on the top and at the bottom. This will ensure a clean and crisp professional edge.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

DIY Wallpapering
How To: Wallpaper a Corner
12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper


Shopping for a New Chandelier? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

While style is an important consideration in choosing a new chandelier, don't overlook the finer points of scale, installation requirements, and, most important, how well the fixture will satisfy your lighting needs.

Spiral Chandelier

Maxim Lighting at Bellacor.com

Nothing epitomizes decorative lighting quite like a chandelier. A chandelier is the jewelry of a room, accenting the architecture, furnishings, and decor. With so many fixture choices available and so many possible applications within the home—in dining rooms, dens, and even bedrooms and bathrooms—choosing a chandelier can be overwhelming. But if you adhere to a few design rules and installation tips, you’ll be on your way to dressing your room right—and in the best decorative light.

Style
There are chandeliers available to suit any style and decor. Fixtures that have their lights directed up are more traditional; the most formal of these fixtures showcase bare candelabra bulbs. Adding glass or chandelier shades softens that formality, resulting in a slightly more casual attitude. For a more informal feeling, choose a chandelier on which the lights are directed downward. An additional benefit of this more casual design is that your decorative chandelier can also serve as task lighting—aiding cooking or homework duties. In general, metal finishes are more formal than painted ones.

Related: Which Lighting Where? 9 Pro Tips for Improved Illumination

Functionality
If your chandelier is serving a primarily decorative purpose, it can really be the focal point of the room, highlighting the beauty of your furnishings and decor. If, however, you require task lighting, find a fixture that also has a downlight, to illuminate the surface beneath it.   For either application, don’t miss out on the flexibility that you’ll get by installing a dimmer switch. Dialing the lights down can create a warm glow, similar to candlelight—perfect for evening entertaining.

Uptown-Lodge-Chandelier

Sea Gull Lighting at Bellacor.com

Size
Choosing the proper size chandelier is important.  A fixture that is too large will overwhelm a room, while one that is too small will disappear and lose its impact. Josie Jaspers, of the lighting and home furnishings online retailer Bellacor, advises: “Choose a chandelier that is 6 inches narrower on either side than the smallest width of the table.  If your table is 48″ x 72″, then the recommended width of the fixture is approximately 36 inches (6 + 6 minus 48).”

Installation
Jaspers also has tips for determining the correct hanging height. For a dining room, “the chandelier should hang approximately 30 inches above the tabletop in an 8-foot ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height, add one inch. In a 10-foot ceiling, the chandelier should hang approximately 32 inches above the table.” You should keep in mind that in rooms with lower ceilings (less than 9 feet), a chandelier may make the ceiling feel low. If you must hang a chandelier in a room with a low ceiling, be sure to hang it high enough so that it doesn’t become a hazard. If possible, mount it over a table to avoid bumped heads and to keep it from impeding foot traffic. If you’re putting a chandelier in a bathroom (Sure!—why not?!), the rule of thumb is to keep it 6 feet away from the shower or tub.  Moisture is the enemy of electrical wiring, so purchase a model that is rated for “wet” or “shower location” use.

With so many options available, you’re bound to find a fixture that suits both your practical needs and decor. With the right fixture, you can just dim the lights and turn up the style—a chandelier brings it all together.

 

This article is sponsored by Bellacor.com. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Quick Tip: Embossed Wallpaper

With origins in England, embossed wallpaper endures as a common choice among homeowners seeking an old-world look.

There’s a revival of the 19th-century embossed wallcoverings Anaglypta and Lincrusta. Anaglypta is a heavy embossed paper with a soft, low relief that must be painted after it dries. Lincrusta is made of something that’s a lot like rubber, and its relief is much deeper. Both are great-looking and easy to use.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

Wallpaper Basics
Bob Vila Radio: Vintage Wallpaper
Today’s Toile: Artisans Retool a Classic Pattern


Quick Tip: Using a Wallpaper Pasting Machine

Wallpaper pasting machines enable do-it-yourselfs to much more quickly complete a common home improvement job.

If you have to hang a lot of wallpaper, here’s a time-saving way to apply paste. Try a manually operated wallpaper pasting machine. Cut your wallpaper strips to length, then fill the reservoir with paste and coat the applicator bar. Place the paper on the bar, close the top, and pull the paper back towards you. This way, you’ll get an even distribution of paste on each piece of paper in seconds.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

DIY Wallpapering
Bob Vila Radio: Vintage Wallpaper
12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper


Weekend Projects: DIY Window Treatments

If you've been scared off in the past by the vast selection and high cost of window treatments, try your hand at some of these accessible DIY approaches.

Why do people so often ignore the importance of blinds, drapes, and curtains when they are chief among the elements that make a house a home? For one, window dressings are not essential. You can easily live without them, or with an inherited solution that you don’t love. Also, window treatments can be expensive, particularly for those in homes with many exposures. If you are looking for low-cost, high-style ways to decorate your double-hungs, check out these DIY window treatments culled from around the Web.

 

1. MAKE A ROMAN SHADE

DIY Window Treatments - Roman Shade

Photo: remodelaholic.com

Pick a fabric, any fabric—shop online for a wide selection—then follow this Remodelaholic tutorial to make your own Roman shade. These DIY window treatments, easily operated by cord, present a smooth panel when closed; when raised, the fabric falls in neat, attractive folds.

 

2. HANG DRAPERY

DIY Window Treatments - Drapes

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

These DIY window treatments are well within reach of beginners, thanks to a lucid Apartment Therapy guide. Besides fabric, the only materials needed are common household items. If you can measure the width of your window, you can do this project.

 

3. DRESS UP A DROP CLOTH

DIY Window Treatments - Painted Drop Cloth

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

Many store-bought window dressings feature fussy floral prints or funky geometric patterns. If neither option suits your taste, take a cue from Stefanie of Brooklyn Limestone, who used iron-on transfers to decorate a drop cloth–turned–shade in her own style.

 

4. MOUNT SHUTTERS

DIY Window Treatments - Shutters

Photo: meridianroad.blogspot.com

Using repurposed wall paneling, Suzanne of Meridian Road built this pair of interior shutters, mounting them via gate hinges. Shutters are perfect for those who dislike cord-operated window treatments and for anyone who wants to cultivate a rustic design scheme.

 

5. LACE A WINDOW SCREEN

DIY Window Treatments - Lace Screen

Photo: bloggen.designmadde.se

Even though they are technically not window treatments, we couldn’t resist including this creative DIY from designmadde, in which squares of lace are installed behind screens. The former beautifies the latter without at all diminishing their utility.


Weekend Projects: DIY Thanksgiving Decor

With a minimum of time and expense, you can whip up some DIY decorations that are sure to brighten and beautify your Thanksgiving celebration.

There’s a lot to be thankful for: your health, the roof over your head, and the loved ones who surround you at Thanksgiving. This year, celebrate your gratitude by welcoming guests into a festive atmosphere, one that reflects the special qualities of autumn. Down-to-earth and beautiful, these DIY Thanksgiving decor projects are as accessible as they are affordable, and each one promises to help make your holiday memorable.

 

1. CRAFT A GRAPEVINE PUMPKIN

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Grapevine Pumpkin

Photo: makeit-loveit.com

Whether you’re an occasional craft-store visitor or a frequent, preferred-status customer, you’ve no doubt seen grapevine for sale on the shelves. For little more than $3, you can combine grapevine with floral wire to create a decorative pumpkin, the perfect accent for a side table.

 

2. HANG A BANNER

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Banner

Photo: atsecondstreet.blogspot.com

Nothing says “give thanks” quite like a banner that actually spells out the phrase. In about 20 minutes—with only scissors, glue, ribbon, and a downloadable template for the letters—you’ll be able to hang your own loud-and-proud declaration over a doorway or across the mantelpiece.

 

3. ARRANGE A CENTERPIECE

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Centerpiece

Photo: shelterness.com

DIY Thanksgiving decor preparations would never be complete without a centerpiece for the dining table. Gather a loose collection of painted pinecones, raw birch wood, and gourds in a clear vase or a patterned bowl, or display fall flowers in a medium-size, hollowed-out pumpkin.

 

4. LAY OUT A CALENDAR

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Calendar

Photo: comfyinthekitchen.com

Count down to turkey day with a Thanksgiving-themed calendar. Arrayed on autumn-appropriate burlap are 30 taped-on felt squares, one for each day in the month. Double the utility by putting December on the reverse side, so you can just flip it over at the end of the month.

 

5. MAKE A WREATH

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Corn Husk Wreath

Photo: thefarmershusband.com

If you’re shucking any corn in the days before Thanksgiving, be sure to set the husks aside. (Alternatively, head to the nearest farmer’s market, where you can likely buy husks by the bagful.) Then use them to make a corn-husk wreath and hang it on the front door. Is there a better invitation to a fall feast?


How To: Clean a Microfiber Sofa

You can keep that soft, lustrous microfiber sofa looking great if you vacuum it frequently and make sure you clean it only as directed.

How to Clean a Microfiber Couch

Photo: shutterstock.com

In recent years, microfiber furniture has risen in popularity with homeowners because the fabric is not only appealing to the eye but also super-soft to the touch. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and microfiber’s downside is that, compared with other types of upholstery, it takes a bit more care to clean.

Related: How To Clean EVERYTHING

The first thing to know is that microfiber varies from product to product. For different forms of the material, different cleaning strategies apply. To determine the right approach to take, check the manufacturer’s tag, which should be marked W, S, S-W, or X.

Here’s what those letter-based codes are all about:

  • W means you can use a water-based solution.
  • S indicates that you must use a solvent-based cleaner.
  • S-W denotes a fabric for which it is safe to use either a water-based or solvent-based formula.
  • X means that neither water- nor solvent-based cleaners are appropriate; the fabric may only be vacuumed.

No matter the code listed, begin cleaning with a conservative method, moving on to a more aggressive approach if necessary. If you’ve never before used a particular cleaner, try it first on an inconspicuous part of the furniture and proceed only if it produces the anticipated results.

Least risky of all is vacuuming, and it’s recommended that you undertake modest cleaning efforts on a regular basis—weekly or bimonthly. Equip your vacuum with the brush attachment and be careful not to press too hard on the fabric or you may inadvertently press in dust or dirt.

Code W Microfiber
Mix a small amount of gentle laundry soap into a bucket of cold water. Dip a clean washcloth into the soapy water and use it to moisten any stained areas of the couch. Continue dipping and blotting until you are sure the stain has gone away. Now take up any excess water with a dry washcloth. Never allow water to puddle or pool on the furniture. Once the fabric has dried, vacuum once again to restore the nap.

How to Clean a Microfiber Couch - Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

Code S Microfiber
Sprinkle dry detergent on the stained area, gently massaging it in with a soft-bristled brush. After leaving the detergent on the couch for as long as advised by the directions on the product label, vacuum thoroughly in order to remove all of the detergent.

Related: 7 Pantry Items That Naturally Clean and Freshen

Alternatively, blot either rubbing alcohol or dry-cleaning solvent onto the stain. Let sit for a few minutes, then dry the area with a clean washcloth (blot, don’t rub). As a final step, restore the nap by combing the microfiber with a soft-bristled brush.

Code X Microfiber 
Loosen dirt and dust with a soft-bristled brush, then vacuum thoroughly with the brush attachment. Though in the case of stubborn stains it may be tempting, never use harsh chemical cleansers, bleach, or acetone on this type or any other type of microfiber. Do so and you risk severely damaging the fabric. Stumped? Contact the sofa manufacturer for advice.

Lush and lovely when new, a microfiber sofa can be kept comfortable and beautiful for many years, provided that you maintain the piece with the variety of TLC that suits the fabric.


Bob Vila Radio: Window Treatments

With so many choices in window treatments, ask yourself a few questions before narrowing down your options and making a final decision.

Choosing window treatments can be one of the most difficult design decisions you’ll have to make. There are so many options, and so many choices are simply a matter of personal style, that it’s hard to know where to begin.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON WINOW TREATMENTS or read the text below:

Window Treatments

Photo: shutterstock.com

The two questions that will help you get started are whether the window treatments need to provide privacy or not, and whether your goal is to admit light or block it. Some rooms need lots of privacy—bathrooms, for example, or ground-floor rooms near busy streets or sidewalks. In those rooms, you’ll probably want to start with blinds or shades that completely block the interior from view. Other rooms, such as living spaces facing your own yard, may not need complete privacy.

Your choice will be affected by the amount of light you need or want in a room. A south- or east-facing bedroom may need light-blocking window coverings so the sun doesn’t wake you up with the roosters. A porch or playroom may require only sheer decorative coverings, if any, to fill the room with light.

The rest is largely a matter of style and layering—you may still feel overwhelmed with choices, but once you answer those two basic questions, you’re well on your way to decorating your windows.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


What Would Bob Do? Hanging a Heavy Mirror

Bob Vila answers a reader's question about how to hang a heavy mirror. To submit a question of your own, visit the Forum!

How to Hang a Heavy Mirror - Wood Frame

Photo: thinkmakebuild.com

What would be the best way to hang a 40-pound framed mirror? Should I find the studs in the wall or use a picture hook without finding the stud?

Your mirror is too heavy for picture hooks, but for a wall surface made of drywall or plaster, a wall anchor would likely do the trick. A variety of anchors are available these days, each with a slightly different design; all are more reliable than the old-fashioned ribbed plastic plugs. In your case, I would recommend a winged anchor, such as the Pop-Toggle from Hillman, in part because its screw may be withdrawn and reinserted any number of times. That flexibility comes in handy if you have not determined precisely where to position the mirror. Besides winged anchors, other options include self-drilling screw anchors, molly bolts, and strap toggles. First check to see how each one is rated for the type of wall material on which you’re planning to hang your mirror.

Related: 5 Favorite Picture Hanging Tricks

The only downside of relying on studs is that you cannot control their location; they are seldom located on the part of the wall where you want to hang an item. But if you get lucky and there happens to be a stud in the position where you would like to hang a mirror, then use a 2½-inch wood screw for a wall with ½-inch drywall. For plaster walls, use a 3-inch screw in order to be certain that at least two inches of the screw threads bite into the stud.

How to Hang a Heavy Mirror - Brick

Photo: ciiwa.com

I am trying to hang a 75-pound mirror on a brick wall. I have 100-pound gauge wire (doubled), heavy-duty hooks, and masonry nails, but I’m still afraid it’s going to fall. Do the masonry nails go into the brick or the mortar? Is there a safe way to do this? 

If you want to hang a heavy mirror on a brick wall, it’s a little more work. But in comparison to drywall or plaster, a brick wall is able to carry a much heavier load. As above, you have a variety of wall anchors from which to choose. Newer polyethylene expansion anchors, like the Poly-Set (from Red Head), twist as you drive them in; the result is superior holding power. Remember that you will need a masonry drill bit of the diameter specificied by the anchor manufacturer.

To submit a question of your own, visit the Forum!


How To: Choose the Right Rug

There's more than just color and pattern to choosing the right rug. Follow these basic tips to make certain the one you select will meet all of your needs.

How to Choose a Rug - Mohawk Tropical

Mohawk's "Home Strata Tropical Acres" area rug at Bellacor.com

Nothing can draw the elements of a room together quite like a rug. It can make a cold room cozy and inviting, define different functional spaces, add color and pattern where none existed before, and create comfort where it’s most welcome—underfoot. Whether your style is traditional, contemporary, funky, or ultramodern, you have endless possibilities to consider. If selecting the right rug has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, here are some basic guidelines to help you make the best choice.

Construction
A rug needs to be more than pretty—it needs to serve the function of the room and home. Think about your family’s lifestyle and the kind of traffic your rug is likely to endure. “If you’re placing the rug in a high-traffic area, woven rugs will perform best,” advises Jennifer Palmer, a rug specialist from one of Bellacor‘s best rug brands, Mohawk.  ”Likewise, if you have pets, you don’t want a looped construction, as dogs’ and cats’ nails tend to snag and pull tufted loops, so a cut-pile construction is the smarter choice.”

Of all rug types, hand-knotted construction is the most expensive, because of the intensive labor involved in the process. But hand-knotted rugs also offer the longest endurance. A good hand-knotted rug can last 10 to 25 years; a great one, over 100. Machine-made rugs, which can be manufactured quickly on power looms, sell for more reasonable prices. They generally have a lifespan of about 20 years, although a high-quality and well-maintained product can last much longer.

Composition
Rugs are constructed of either natural or synthetic materials. Natural fibers like wool or silk generally last longer and are better quality but can be costly. You might want to go for wool or silk if it’s important that your rug retain its value. Less costly natural fibers, like jute and cotton, are more affordable. Synthetics are the least expensive and come in an incredible range of colors and styles. Among synthetics, polyester and nylon have the greatest stain and soil resistance, with nylon holding its color best over time.

How to Choose a Rug - Surya Cosmopolitan

Surya's Cosmopolitan Green Round Rug at Bellacor.com

Size and Shape
Choosing the right size rug is key to making your space feel comfortable. You should use a rug to define the space rather than “float” in a room.  And don’t get a rug so large that it touches the baseboards. Consider a range of shapes, and don’t just limit yourself to rectangles. Square rugs complement a modern room, but they look equally good under a pub-style table. Ovals can be used in place of rectangles in a living room, and round and octagonal rugs work well under similarly shaped kitchen or dining tables.

Placement
The placement of a rug can make all the difference in the feeling of a room. Use your rug to complement the design of your space and furniture. An area rug should be approximately the same length and width as the furniture in the space. If you’re putting a rug under a coffee table, place it so it can accommodate all four legs. A rug in a dining room should extend to just beyond the chairs when they are pulled away from the table. In a bedroom, multiple smaller rugs may look better than a larger area rug that is mostly covered by the bed, so don’t forget to consider runners. In general, maintain an equal amount of floor space around a rug to give the room a sense of balance.

Design
A rug can be the focal point of a room or help to pull together an eclectic group of design elements. Think about the other details of the room design when selecting a rug. If you already have a busy patterned upholstery or wallpaper, choose a subtle rug, or one in a coordinating solid color, so it won’t compete. Conversely, if your room is more neutral and subdued, you can introduce some vibrancy by choosing a rug with a bold pattern. Overall, select a rug that complements your decor. The colors don’t necessarily need to match, but at least one color should coordinate.

Whatever rug you choose, proper care will ensure its lasting performance and beauty. Use a quality rug pad underneath to both reduce the wear on the rug and protect the floor beneath it. Vacuum it regularly to keep dirt from getting ground into the pile, and clean it when it is soiled. Different materials, construction methods, and fibers require different cleaning methods, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes time to clean your rug. With the proper TLC, an area rug can keep your room cozy and vibrant for years to come. For more information on rug design, selection, care, and maintenance, visit Bellacor.

 

This article is sponsored by Bellacor. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.