Friday, January 25, 2013

Decorating with Fabric Panels

If you're looking for a way to add a little flair to your decorating scheme, fabric panels are an easy and inexpensive way to add color, texture and pattern to your walls. Fabric panels are simple to make and you don’t have to worry about sewing anything. You can make your fabric panels any size you want and customize them to fit perfectly in any decorating style. After investing in a few basic materials, all you need is a little imagination and you’ll soon have designer type accessories for any room.

There are numerous ways to decorate with fabric. A typical fabric panel consists of fabric wrapped around a rigid surface or frame such as a piece of plywood, canvas frame or foamboard. You can often find wood frame pieces made for canvas art frames that have corners designed to interlock at craft or art stores. Your fabric piece should wrap around your board or frame with 1 to 2 inches of leftover fabric on each side. Staple or tape the fabric to the back of the board or frame, pulling the fabric very tight and folding the corners like you would when wrapping a present. Use a very strong, durable tape like duct tape if you can’t use staples, making sure you can’t see any tape from the front. Use wall putty or a picture hanger to hang the fabric panel.

You can also hang fabric panels from the wall or ceiling, similar to curtains. A ceiling mount curtain rod or curtain rail can be used to hang fabric panels, which can act as a room divider or cover for an open storage space. Sheer fabric panels can provide a sense of privacy while still maintaining a sense of open spaciousness. You can find hanging fabric panels at stores like Ikea.

Fabric panels can be used on the ceiling to diffuse light and add a layer of softness to the room. Fabric on the ceiling also adds an unusual element to the room's design scheme, providing interest and and character to the space.

Fabric panels can be used to create a custom headboard or textured accent wall in your bedroom. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

Eclectic Bedroom design by Other Metro Interior Designer Neslihan Pekcan/Pebbledesign

Stop by your nearest fabric store and see what inspires you. Take a few swatches home with you to see how they look against your walls and with your other decor. Browse online for more photos and ideas for fabric panels and layer your home with fabric!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Window Treatments: Scarf Valances

If you are looking for an easy way to dress up your windows or you want something out of the ordinary, scarf valances may be just what you're looking for. A scarf valance can be used with curtains, blinds, shades or used alone to provide a chic look while still allowing plenty of light to enter through the window. You can buy ready-made scarf valances or make them yourself. If you don't know how to sew or you don't own a sewing machine, don't worry. You can still make a scarf valance without touching a needle or thread, as long as you have an iron.

You'll need to install some hardware to support your scarf valance. Look for a decorative curtain rod to hang the valance from. Any type of curtain rod will work but you may want to stick with a wooden curtain rod. This way, you can secure the fabric with thumb tacks if necessary. Wood rods can also give the window treatment  a classic, upscale look. Add interest with decorative finials.

An easy way to figure out how much fabric you need is to multiply the width of the window by three. if you have a very large window and you plan on using multiple swags in your scarf valance, add about 10 to 15 inches for each swag.

 To hem your fabric without sewing, lay the fabric out on the floor.  Fold approximately 1 inch  of fabric  over and press the seam with an iron.  Insert hemming tape into the fold and iron again to secure  the hem.  Repeat this for each side of the fabric.

There are several methods for hanging a scarf valance, depending on the look you want. For a single swag with symmetrical amounts of fabric hanging on each side, you will need to find the center of the fabric and mark it with safety pins or tape. Mark the center of the curtain rod as well. Fold the fabric in accordian style folds and secure with safety pins or loosely tie string around the scarf to hold the pleats in place. Hold the material up to the rod and match the center marks. Then drape the fabric over each end of the curtain rod, front to back. Pull down the center into a crescent and adjust the sides. Remove the safety pins or string and adjust the folds as needed.

For more of a designer look, hang the scarf asymmetrically, with one side shorter than the other. You can also install eyehook medallions above the window and thread the fabric through them, with cascades hanging in between. Make multiple cascades for larger windows, looping the material around the rod as you go. Intertwine two colors for a layered look.

For the best results, use a two sided fabric that doesn't have a wrong side that will show when twisting and turning. Silk, satin, chenille or any type  of sheer fabric will work well for a scarf valance.