Designers' tips help you deck the halls inexpensively


November 24, 1990|By Charlyne Varkonyi

Sometimes it really is the little things that count, even in home decorating.

That's good news right now when we're digging deeper into our pockets for everything from holiday gifts to food and drink for entertaining.

True, most of us don't have a lot of extra cash to throw around these days, but even so we want our homes to look fresh and inviting for the upcoming prime entertaining season. So, we asked four local design professionals to put together a baker's dozen ofeasy decorating pick-me-ups for under $100.

The following advice on holiday and year-round design comes from Joyce Griffith of Papier Interiors, Tom Williams of Federal Hill Interiors, Debi Long of Decorating Den and Marilyn Esham of Findings, the new home design boutique created by Rita St. Clair. Many of the decorating ideas rely on fabrics and trim; price estimates are from Calico Corners.

1. Top it off:

Create a long scarf to drape across the top of your drapery or mini blinds. For a 48-inch window, you will need a minimum of 4 yards of fabric that is at least 48 inches wide. Taper the ends and hem the fabric. Attach a brass hunting horn to the center of your existing draperies and drape the fabric through. Pin this swag to the existing drapes to hold it in place. Cost: About $48 to $56, depending on fabric used.

2. Tie one on:

Tassels can add some color and style to door knob, chests or attached to drapery tiebacks. Cost: About $5 to $12 each.

3. Head for the border:

A wallpaper border can give any room a finished decorator look. You don't need to hire a professional wallpaper hanger and as long as you prep the wall properly the borders can be stripped easily when you move out of an apartment or change your decorating scheme. Cost: $15 to $20 for a spool of 15 yards.

4. Fringe element:

Spruce up some old pillows with some fancy new braid or brush fringe. Cost: 65 cents to $4.40 a yard, depending on style and quality.

5. Cool in the shade:

An old lamp can get a brand new look with a different color or shape shade. Or, if you are a sucker for tradition, you can get your lamp shades remade. Cost: About $30 to $60 each.

6. The brush off:

If you don't have the time or the money to repaint the whole room, just do the highlights. Paint the crown moldings, door trims and baseboards in a color to coordinate with the furnishings. Cost: $5 to $8 for a quart of semi-gloss paint.

7. Twinkle, twinkle, little lights:

Add several strings of tiny, white lights on large plants in your home, such as a ficus tree or large fern. Cost: About $12 for 50.

8. Ring around the rosette:

Fabric rosettes give a finished look to everything from drapery tie backs to baskets. You'll need a piece of fabric about 6 inches wide and one yard long. Fold the fabric in half and wrap it in a circle, like a tightly gathered ruffle. Coordinate with other elements in the room such as the square topper for your round table. Cost: $5.99 to $6.99 a yard for upscale seconds in brand names such as Waverly and Schumacher.

9. Skirt the issue: Take a round table with a floor length skirt and add some pizazz with a topper. Select a square piece of fabric in a slightly deeper hue than your color scheme. Green or red moire or cotton brocade gives a festive holiday look. You will need about 1 1/2 yards of fabric. Cost: About $15 to $25 depending on the fabric.

10. Born to run: Something as simple as two runners of Christmas plaid fabric can give a holiday table a refreshing look. Cost: About $40.

11. Eggs-actly right: You don't have to have the money of the late Malcolm Forbes to start an egg collection. They may not be Faberge, but you can afford some lovely onyx eggs. Put them in a crystal bowl on a side table or in a basket on the coffee table. Cost: $8 to $12 each.

12. Ottoman empire: Give an old ottoman a new life by covering it with a hemmed piece of fabric that grazes the floor. Take a piece of contrasting fabric or rope braid and tie it around the middle. Cost: $35 to $60, depending on fabric and braid.

13. Slip on a seat: A dining room can get a needed uplift by reupholstering the chairs. Removeable seats can be done with a little bit of fabric and a staple gun. Four yards of fabric will refinish eight chairs. Cost: About $24 to $48.

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