Design 101: Great Fixes You Can Make Fast

“What are some improvements I can implement now?” “What is the best color for my room?”  Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day. For the purposes of this article, we’re tackling the first one. “What are some improvements I can implement now…”

Insufficient storage – There are ways to add storage without interrupting the feel of a room. In a bedroom try under bed storage. Long, low containers with wheels make pulling them out easy and you can utilize the entire under bed area.  If they show, simply hide them with a bed skirt. In a living room consider a storage ottoman.

Pro Tip: Bed skirts typically come in both pleated and tailored varieties.  If you have an exposed frame, they can be attached with Velcro on the underside.

Disappearing keys – Or wallets, cell phones, etc. An easy solution is to place a pretty bowl or tray by the door.  Then when you come in, your wallet, keys, and glasses can go right there. This works for daily medications, too. After you take your dose, flip the container upside down to remind you that you took it already.  When you return home for the day, flip it back to prepare for the next day.

Pro Tip: Leave your keys on top of anything you need to take with you.  If you have to take your keys off that bill or package it’s much harder to forget to take it, too.

A better night’s rest – Replacing a mattress is expensive, so if you that’s not an option try these tips for better sleep.

  • Upgrade your pillow: If you prefer a soft pillow, try one with down and feathers. For a firmer pillow, look for one made with sculpted memory foam.  
  • Change your sheets: Those with high thread counts often retain heat. Look for sheets made with natural fiber and a thread count of 400 or below. If you must go with synthetic sheets, try Tencel.
  • Keep the room dark: Inside mount window treatments like roman shades and blinds have light leaks.  Consider blackout lined window treatments and install them with four inches overlapping the outside of the window.  
  • Have water handy: Place a carafe of water and a glass by the bedside. Proper hydration is important to combating insomnia and if you do wake up, not having to get up makes it easier to return to sleep.

Pro Tip: Down and feather pillows and inserts are now available in both cruelty free and hypoallergenic options.

Revive dining room chairs – If your dining room chairs are “slip seats,” you can freshen them up in an evening. How to tell: If the fabric is pulled to the bottom of a separate piece of wood and stapled (as opposed to sewn with a “boxing strip”) then you likely have a slip seat.  

Materials:
Three quarters of a yard of 54” wide upholstery fabric per pair of chairs
Dust cover fabric
Heavy duty staple remover
Metal staple gun
Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Remove the staples and take off the old fabric.
  2. Place the seat cushion on the new fabric.
  3. Pull the fabric taught and tack down the center of each side with the staple gun.
  4. Continue pulling the fabric taught and tacking it down working your way around the sides of the seat.
  5. At the corners, fold the fabric as if you’re wrapping a present and tack it down.
  6. Cut off the extra fabric.
  7. Using the staple gun, attach the dust cover fabric to the underside of the seat.
  8. Flip it over and you’re four screws away from a brand-new seat!

Pro Tip: Don’t have a fancy staple remover?  A pair of pliers and a screwdriver with the tip wrapped in athletic tape will suffice. The tape protects the wood from being badly gouged if you slip.

Yaron Linett
About Yaron Linett 7 Articles
Yaron Linett is the principal designer of Formal Traditional, a full-service design firm located in Warrenton. To submit your interior design questions, drop him a note at yaron@formaltraditional.com or visit www.formaltraditional.com.

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