Easy ways to give old furniture a new look

  • By Mary Carol Garrity Scripps Howard News Service
  • Thursday, June 16, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Looking for a fun project to fill those long summer days?

Give your home a new spark using tantalizing, terrific textiles. Here are three ways you can use five yards of fabric to give your home a great new look for the season.

1. New pillows. Tired of your sofa? Freshen it up with new accent pillows. It takes just a few yards of fabric to re-cover your existing pillow forms. Timeless fabrics like plaids, soft linen blends and florals are big right now, as are geometric patterns in all the hot new colors, like yellow, gray and coral.

But don’t confine yourself to just one pattern or pillow shape. Mix three or four patterns and several shapes to give your sofa lots of visual interest.

Try this: Center a large rectangular pillow on the back of the sofa. Then nestle square accent pillows against the sofa’s arms. Be sure to make a few extra pillows to toss on side chairs to create continuity in the room. Or toss three square pillows across the back of a love seat to make it look cheery and cozy.

For a customized look, use interesting trims on your new pillows. How about ribbon-covered buttons? Or brush fringe? I love mini-flanges. A bit of advice: Don’t forget to put a zipper in each pillow cover so you can slip it off for laundering.

2. Tremendous linens. Give your table some kick by crafting one-of-a-kind table linens. Create a square table topper, then lay it on the diagonal at the center of your table. If you want more texture, crisscross two table runners. If you don’t sew, no problem. Just iron the raw edges under and no one will be able to tell the difference.

If you already have a tablecloth you love, make some zippy new napkins that bring out its colors or accent your dishes. Don’t be afraid to introduce bold fabrics with large prints and startling colors. How about a black-and-white damask table topper paired with apple-green napkins? Or an Ikat-patterned tablecloth with a bold solid napkin?

3. Change a chair. Have a side chair that looks shabby? Transform its look by making a slipcover for just the seat cushion. Or change the appearance of dining-room chairs by redoing the upholstery seat cushions or creating skirted slipcovers to rest over the existing seat.

My dining-room chairs are covered in black leather, but you’d never know it because I dress them up with fabric slipcovers. Right now, they are covered in a blue-and-white print that pulls out the blue in my dining-room walls.

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at www.nellhills.com.

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