By Mary Beth Breckenridge Akron Beacon Journal
Just about every home has an eyesore.
Maybe it’s a wonky window or flooring that’s seen better days. It grates on your nerves, but fixing or replacing it is too far down the priority list.
We’ve gathered a few solutions for disguising some common decorating problems, tackle that trouble spot.
Windows that are oddly shaped or just plain unattractive can get a greatly improved view with clever window treatments.
Bath Township, Ohio, interior designer Alan Garren offers this trick for hiding those too-short, too-high, too-plain windows that are common in ranch homes from the 1960s: Extend the window frame all the way to the floor, then install a two-part shutter. One part covers the window; the other covers the wall below it. Keep the bottom part closed, and no one will know there isn’t a window behind it.
Or cover the window with an attractive shade that extends below the window, suggested Christine Haught, who operates Christine Haught Ltd. Interior Design in Bath. Adding drapery panels on either side would give the windows more visual weight, she said.
An eye-fooling paint finish can make the flaws seem to disappear, says Sacha Coehn in “The Decorator’s Problem Solver: 100 Creative Answers to Your Most Common Decorating Dilemmas.” She recommends creating a mottled paint finish with a masonry roller and matte latex paint in two colors that look good together. The more uneven the walls, the stronger the contrast between the paint colors should be, she says.
Pour a pint of each color into opposite sides of a roller tray, next to each other without mixing too much. Working in sections about 3 feet square, roll the roller once through the paint tray, and then roll the paint onto the wall in single, long, spaced-apart strokes.
Once most of the paint has been transferred from the roller to the surface, roll over the first strokes to gently blend the colors. Roll at different angles to create a subtle, dappled effect.
You can cover part of it with a rug, but it’s pretty hard to blanket an entire room without spending just as much as you would to replace the carpet. Interior designer and home stager Lynn Koerner of Interiors by Lynn in Streetsboro, Ohio, recommended starting by anchoring a seating area with an area rug.
A budget-friendly approach is to buy a carpet remnant and have the carpet store bind the edges to create a rug, Haught said.
Cathedral ceilings look great in photographs, but sometimes they can make a room feel too cavernous for comfort.
Haught recommended making the ceiling less obvious by painting it the same color as the walls, but in a lighter tint. Ask the paint store to mix the ceiling paint in a half formula of what’s used on the walls. And choose flat paint for ceilings, so it doesn’t draw attention by reflecting light.
You can also create the perception that the ceiling is lower by hanging a large-scale lighting fixture that brings the eye down, she said. Drapery panels that extend only partway up the tall walls will also help.
Neither Koerner nor Haught has any qualms about painting dark brick fireplaces. Usually a neutral color is best, Koerner said, so the fireplace becomes less dominant in the room.
If you like a more contemporary appearance, consider removing or changing the mantel or other moldings, Haught said.
It’s best to choose a single wall color for all the adjoining spaces and then add color to surfaces that aren’t walls, Haught said. In an adjoining kitchen and great room, for example, you might be able to add a pop of color in the cabinets or the backsplash.
Or perhaps choose one accent wall to paint in a color that’s different from the other walls, she said.
Don’t worry about the single wall color being too boring. Haught said the continuity creates a more relaxing backdrop than one that’s chopped up by a variety of colors.