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Little things make difference. (Easy Does It).

When Gayla and Bill Stone and their three girls moved into their new home, they were delighted to find that the lovely antique pieces they had collected were a perfect fit for the new surroundings. The spacious living and dining area had wonderful architectural details, high ceilings, and large windows bathing the area in sunlight from two sides. The French-pleated tone-on-tone striped cream silk window treatments hung from metal rings and rods and puddled on the beautiful hardwood floors with a sisal rug custom-made to fit the space, and the pale bamboo gold walls served as a neutral palette. Since everything worked so well to begin with, we decided to see what little things would make significant differences. We decided to "fluff" the room with a few easy-does-it ideas. You may want to use some of these ideas to 'fluff' your own room.

* We covered Gayla's blue-, gold-, and wine-striped Chippendale sofa in a neutral tone-on-tone stripe and accented it with pillows that are not too "matched." Large pieces of furniture sometimes work well as neutrals with smaller pieces covered as accents. Remember that stripes work well with other stripes and that colors should not all match perfectly to have a room that looks evolved. Try mixing patterns, especially with a neutral backdrop. We covered the neutral dining chair seats in a large, colorful plaid to give more color to that part of the room.

* Some designers believe that a room is not complete without a black piece and a gold-leafed piece, and this proved true for Gayla's living area. The antique black paper-mache handpainted tray table was the perfect choice for a coffee table. It gives character and special warmth to the conversation area grouping. Another easy way to add a black piece is to paint a small accent chair black with a few touches of gold, and add a colorful cushion fitted with roping. It will serve as extra seating and add appeal to the setting. This is a big impact with very little effort. The chair can actually be spray painted black, and the gold can be applied with a gold marking pen.

* Since the piano commanded a great space in the area, we added color and softness by having the bench covered in fabric.

* We placed old and new blue-and-white porcelain pieces on top of the antique chest-on-chest in the entrance for height and color. The blue and white is great with any color scheme and works beautifully in a traditional and eclectic setting.

* For the round table, a larger top really made a difference. Cut a pattern from newspaper and try it for scale in your space. You will see the difference immediately. You might also consider different heights by adding to the legs since it is all covered with fabric. Place an undercovering of flannel under your tableskirt for fullness.

* Plants really make a big difference in any setting and especially in this light-filled area. This grocery store orchid becomes a sculpture when placed in a nice container with a little green moss. Remove the sticks and secure with a piece of curly willow or a pussy willow tied with a French ribbon. Orchids usually keep their blooms for a month or more. As a general rule, water your plants on the same day once each week, and fertilize once a month. Also, color can be achieved by adding fruit to crystal containers.

* To the plant at the entrance, we added a new large healthy palm. Around the base of the container we added small pots of ferns, ivy, and begonias for color, lushness, and fullness. Leave the small plants in separate pots for easy watering, and add green moss to cover the containers. This treatment is especially nice with miniature poinsettias at Christmastime, or pansies and African violets. Most blooming plants work well and will last for several weeks or longer. It is great fun to achieve different looks.

* This wonderful alcove with an English huntboard is certainly a focal point for the entire area. We decided to add a larger, traditional mirror with gold-leaf detail and matched gold-leaf English wheat sconces with candles to make the area even more prominent. The larger mirror gave a better proportion to the space. We arranged Gayla's collection of Staffordshire dogs in a grouping on the huntboard. We placed Staffordshire figurines on the facing table, surrounding white vases with colorful flowers. Work with collections, favorite family pieces, and special gifts to achieve a home that fits your family and lifestyle. Don't be afraid to use things in unexpected places and move objects that are visually pleasing to enjoy in different places. Make a house your home.

Special thanks to Interior Spaces for sharing Staffordshire pieces.

* Gayla had a great old family lamp with four candle arms, with good lines that almost faded away until we gave it a designer look with gold leaf and a little braid on the lampshade. Gold-leaf the base according to directions on the package. Glue tiny strips of braid to the top and bottom edges of the shade. Change the height of a lamp with a new wooden or marble base, or place it on a stack of books. New finials may also add a nice touch.

* The game table area was enhanced by larger framed pictures in the space just above it, a throw of a deeper color draped over one chair to call attention to the almost neutral area, and inviting books placed with accessories on the top of the table.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Downhome Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:decorating
Author:Roper, Patty
Publication:Mississippi Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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