Palo Alto Weekly

Real Estate - June 11, 2010

Pillow, pillows everywhere

Give a room a new, comfy look

by Kit Davey

Is your living room a little boring? Are your kitchen chairs uncomfortable? Try using homemade throw pillows to add comfort and pizzazz to any room in your home. Pillows not only add character to a dull room but can be made for next to nothing.

You can use pillows just about anywhere:

* Add color to your sofa or reading chair in the living room. Stack up large pillows on the floor for TV viewing or for sitting by the fireplace.

* Make your kitchen chairs and dining room seats more comfortable and attractive. Long conversations are much more enjoyable when your seat is cushioned and your back is supported by a loose pillow.

* Give a sumptuous, romantic look to your bedroom and make reading and laptop work more comfortable.

* Support your back and cushion your seat as you work at your office computer. A den looks much homier with the added texture and color.

* Give your neck support and your noggin a soft snoozing spot as you soak in the tub.

Thrifty pillow making

Walk through each room of your home and look where you could add pillows, or replace tired ones. Does the room need more color? Are your brightly colored pillows too distracting or do they clash with the room's color scheme? Could you enhance the country look by adding more lacy pillows? Could that chair be more comfortable with a tube-type pillow to support your back?

Once you've assessed where you could add pillows, use one of these thrifty sources for pillow guts:

* Recycle your old pillows.

* Purchase gently used pillows at garage sales or flea markets.

* Save the insides of old pillows or comforters and toss the old cover.

* Buy pillow stuffing at your local craft store.

Pillow covering

Look at the color scheme and style of the room needing pillows and select a fabric and details that will enhance the room's look.

Your imagination is the only limit in finding a new material to recover your pillow. Try:

* A piece of a woven Mexican carpet or blanket

* A section of leather from an old skirt or jacket

* A square of fabric cut out from an old dress, shirt, tablecloth, bedspread, shawl, table runner, scarf, flag, curtains, wall hanging or quilt

* An antique handkerchief

* An old pillowcase or flower sack

* A mink or fox stole

* A pair of old jeans. Use the pocket to house the TV remote, your reading glasses, a bundle of dried flowers or a frilly hanky.

If you have a square of plain, light fabric, think of it as a canvas. A few suggestions:

* Use acrylic or fabric paints to paint or stencil on a pattern that matches a detail in the room.

* Look through design magazines or art books for motifs or images to copy.

* Write your favorite word or words in large letters ("DREAM", "CREATE," "LIGHT," etc.).

A pillow doesn't need to have the same fabric on both sides. Why not use a solid color on one side and a pattern on the other, or two contrasting fabrics, or strips of alternating patterns?

Give your pillow an interesting shape. You might place a cube- or spherical-shaped pillow nestled amongst a row of standard throw pillows, or create a collection of pillows, each in a different size.

Pillow detailing

A cleverly adorned pillow can show your creativity and also display some of your treasures. Search your notions box for cording, braid, ribbon or lace to trim your pillows edges. Sew tassels or streamers of ribbons from the corners.

Take a look through your drawers or jewelry box for treasures you can use to bedeck your pillow:

* Sew on your brass or mother-of-pearl button collection.

* Pin on your old sports medals.

* Display your brooch and pin collection.

* Stitch on your Girl Scout or other patches.

* Cut out an interesting design in felt and glue it on.

* Create an arrangement or pattern using parts of an old belt, bits of jewelry, silk flowers, pre-made satin bows, or whatever else you can find.

Ready-made pillow sources

If you're not a crafty person, don't fear. You can buy ready-made pillows for reasonable prices at Pier 1, Cost Plus, Target, Marshall's, Ross Dress for Less, or Bed Bath and Beyond.

Kit Davey, Allied Member, ASID, specializes in re-design, staging, design consulting and professional organizing. E-mail her at KitDavey@aol.com, call her at 650-367-7370, or visit her website at www.AFreshLook.net.

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