Time to make room for new furniture


January 03, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer

Q: It's time to spruce up my living room, which has a rather nondescript style. Because I hate the idea of throwing away furniture, my plan is to do-over some upholstered pieces and a couple of fine lamp tables. I would like to create a contemporary look that's also a bit decorative, but I need your help in getting there.

A: Sometimes it really is best if some pieces of furniture are thrown away -- or, better yet, sent to the recycling center or local thrift store. Be honest now. Aren't there some items you've never been that crazy about and would be glad to get rid of?

If you're still hesitating, please consider that the cost of reupholstering and refinishing can often exceed the price of new furniture. And unless you're exceptionally skilled at make-overs, I doubt that the quality of new factory-built furniture will be inferior to the pieces that you intend to refurbish by hand.

I certainly do not discourage frugality and self-reliance. But I do have to be candid in evaluating the options. Whatever direction you take, I hope you will at least introduce new floor and wall treatments. The surround of a tired and nondescript room needs just as much attention as its contents do.

Let's take a look at the photo. This made-over setting includes a club chair, lamp and lamp table, fake leopard-skin carpeting and a Japanese screen in the background. The chair, at least, is proof that skilled hands can give a sagging old piece a comfortable contemporary look by softening its proportions. If you have a Larsen-type chair or a skirted variety of that style with a good frame, a talented upholsterer should be able to perform a similar resuscitation. You'll have to decide whether such an operation is worth the expense.

In doing over your lamp tables, consider adding a metal base and a glass or marble top to make the pieces look more important. Those materials will work with just about any style of furniture. In the setting shown, the glass-top table is from the Mastercraft collection.

These days, floor-coverings don't have to be in a single, wall-to-wall color. And it's OK to choose something wry and amusing. If you prefer carpeting, look around for a pattern that you like. Keep in mind that lattice patterns will create a sensation of depth, directional stripes will make the room seem wider, and

mini-designs will usually go well with other large patterned fabrics in the room. Fake animal prints are now considered more stylish than ever.

A hint of the Orient, perhaps in the form of a decorative screen, will give your spruce-up a bit of zing. Jardinieres for your bigger potted plants will be another tasteful touch. Remember, it's the details that make or break an interior design.

Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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