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May 13, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, May 13, 2005

From chaos to visual peace From chaos to visual peace (May 13, 2005)

Making your bulletin board a sight to behold

by Kit Davey

L oose take-out menus, a year-old dentist appointment card, and a finger-painted masterpiece dangling by one corner -- does this remind you of your fridge or bulletin board?

For most households the bulletin board is an essential organizing and display tool. But beautiful it is not. How can you bring visual peace to this chaotic collection of loose papers?

** Try living without one. Set aside some time to remove all those loose papers and organize them into categories. Sort your papers and store them in manila folders that can be kept in a drawer or basket. Instead of layering your refrigerator with your kid's masterpieces, provide one large picture frame per child. Have your child pick a permanent hanging spot in the kitchen or family room. Collect your child's art and awards in a box and at the end of each month have him/her select a favorite piece (or two) to insert in the picture frame.

** Hide it. Install a small bulletin board on the door inside the wall cabinet above your phone or inside your pantry door. This keeps important information accessible but hidden from view.

** If you must have a bulletin board, keep it tidy! Remove soiled or aged papers, place papers on the board at right angles to each other (rather than willy-nilly), leave some air space here and there and tack down all four corners of whatever you're displaying. To make your board more arty-looking, add pieces of fabric, feathers, a pressed leaf, a small, framed piece of art, or a lightweight pendant or mask.

** Change your board's location. Why do we think bulletin boards must be in the kitchen, next to the phone or over our desks? Why not devote an entire wall in the family room, in the stairwell, along one side of a long hall, the ceiling in your teenage son's room, the area over the commode in the guest bath or on the side of your kitchen's work island?
@12subhead:Unique bulletin boards

Your bulletin board doesn't have to be a warped, pine-framed chunk of cork. Use a little elbow grease and creativity to construct your own ever-evolving work of art:

** Use molding or a wallpaper border strip to frame in and define a large area on your kitchen, family room or hall wall. You can paint the wood "frame" in a different color than the walls. If you want to protect your walls from pin holes, mount a section of carpet, cork or fabric covered-cardboard in the opening.

** How about using a folding canvas screen as your board? You can pin photographs, artwork and awards on them. These screens work well as room dividers and corner fillers, too.

** Make your own French ribbon board. Cover a rectangle of cardboard with a thin layer of quilt batting. Select a pretty fabric to wrap the batting-covered board. Wind satin ribbon around the board, creating a grid-like effect. Secure the ribbon to the board by pushing a tack into each intersection. Fancy up the head of plain tacks by gluing on buttons or charms or use upholstery tacks, which come in a variety of finishes. For a romantic look, slide old postcards or photographs, dried flowers and bits of lace under the ribbon

** Instead of using your refrigerator to show off your collection of refrigerator magnets, display them on a large cookie sheet you frame and hang on the wall. Or purchase a sheet of (ferrous) metal from your local hardware store, cut to your specifications, and install it wherever your heart desires.

Kit Davey, Allied Member, ASID, is a Redwood City-based interior designer who redecorates by using what you already own. E-mail her at [email protected], call her at (650) 367-7370; visit her Web site at

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