Making winter arrangements for plants

January 02, 1994|By Rose Bennett Gilbert | Rose Bennett Gilbert,Copley News Service

Q: I have all my patio plants on the sun porch -- it has windows on three sides. What I need are ideas on how to display them (without buying new furniture. Our budget is fallow!). How would one of the wrought-iron garden tables look indoors? It's painted white.

A: Your table sounds like a perfect beginning -- garden furniture is always in sync with plants, of course. Just remember you are not just wintering-over; you are adding a display of living accessories to your room.

As with any collection, you should keep an eye out for variety in the size, shape, texture and color of your plants in their pots or cachepots and in the height at which they stand.

As background, consider hanging several in front of a window, each at a different level. You can also hearken back to that Victorian favorite, the plant pedestal, to showcase certain greenery.

Legions of vintage plant stands can be found in antique stores and at tag sales. Or you can make your own so you can afford a variety of heights.

In the country-flavored dining room shown here, the plant stand has been built from four pieces of 1/2 -inch plywood, topped with a square of inch-thick plywood and stood on another square mounted on a 1-by-2-inch wood frame. A wrapping of faux marble wall covering belies the handsome pedestal's humble -- and inexpensive -- beginning, a heritage shared by the homemade standing plywood screen. It's decorated with medallions cut from the chair rail border (the wall coverings and fabrics, by the way, come from the Colony Club II Collection by Sunworthy).

Q: Our living room has three windows with arched tops across the front wall. Can you suggest some simple -- and inexpensive -- way to decorate them that won't also block the light? It's those curved tops that are making me crazy!

A: Pretty though shaped windows may be, there's a veritable plague of them descending on the homes of America. After all, the builders who seem to plug rounded windows into every available wall seldom stick around to tell you how to dress them.

Several solutions to consider, some less expensive than others:

* Have a blind or wooden shutters custom-fit to the curve for a spare, architectural treatment that will let you control the light (expensive but long-lived);

* Install a flexible plastic rod around the arch and hang regular floor-length curtains, tied high at the sides (relatively inexpensive);

* Frame each window with an upholstered lambrequin you can make yourself from plywood. Hang ordinary sheer curtains inside so the frame conceals the rod (inexpensive if you're handy);

* Mount translucent shades or pleated blinds upside-down so they pull up to where the arch begins.

* For curtains, borrow an idea from window expert Dorothy Collins: Cut and hem a length of fabric that is twice as long as the measurement around the entire window. Knot it in the middle and tack the knot to the center of the arch. Make two more knots, one on each side at the lower edge of the arch and let the fabric panel drop into a puddle on the floor -- inexpensive, depending on your choice of fabric.

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