Redecorating your home at little cost and effort

September 5th, 2008 - 11:27 am ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Sep 5 (DPA) A few new cushions on the sofa, a wall covered with floral wallpaper and a redecorated dining table… it does not take much effort or expense to transform your home.”You can do a lot with colours and fabrics in particular,” said Sam Bohr, a member of Die Wohnberater, a Berlin-based interior decorating consultancy.

“Anything that’s fresh is trendy now …such as in green and blue.”

Patterned wallpaper is also coming back into fashion. Whether playfully floral, in brightly coloured 1970s style or simply stripes of varying shades, new wallpaper on a single wall is sufficient to give an entire room a totally different feel.

“Interior decoration stores have a great selection of wallpaper now,” Bohr said. At prices of around 15 to 25 euros for a 10-metre roll, papering a 15-square-metre wall will cost you no more than 75 euros ($110).

If papering is too much work or too great an alteration, you can paint.

“A red wall in the kitchen is surely something to arouse the appetite,” Bohr remarked, “whereas soothing colours would be better in the bedroom.”

Sabine Schur, a decorating expert with the hobby-store chain Idee Creativmarkt in Paderborn, swears by large wall stencils.

“They enable you to paint flowers and patterns on the walls, and also things like a golden Buddha,” she said.

The stencils, up to 180 cm by 40 cm in size, are available in home decor stores for prices starting at about 20 euros.

Smaller stencils, along with fabric paint, can be used to decorate pillows and tablecloths, which then become one-of-a-kind items that give rooms an individual touch.

“It’s also fun to embellish textiles with a fabric marker,” Schur said. One type of marker even applies little balls of paint to the fabric that look like beads when dry.

Another popular way to decorate household objects is via the “napkin technique,” in which thin, patterned napkin layers are applied to smooth surfaces with a special glue.

“You can use it to redecorate wooden chairs and tables too,” Schur pointed out.

Manfred Pulst, who belongs to a handicrafts association called Hobby-Kreativ in the town of Bietigheim-Bissingen, recommends the “stamp technique” for home decorating. It can give a special note to tablecloths, curtains and lampshades. All you need is acrylic fabric paint and stamps from a specialist store.

“You’ve also got to give free rein to your imagination, of course,” Pulst added.

For people fond of handicrafts anyway, Pulst suggested gluing small bits of coloured stone, glass or tile to a table to make a Mediterranean-style mosaic.

Candles, whether on the balcony or living-room table, bathe rooms in the most varied of moods no matter what the season. A favourite type is the lantern - a classic.

“The large or small glass cases can be filled with sand, seashells or pebbles before the candle is placed inside,” said Ingrid Grimm, of the Stuttgart-based Candle Quality Association.

Colourful flower petals are another possibility. “You can collect all of these things while you’re out on your walks,” Grimm noted.

Floating candles are popular in summer. “They’re especially pretty in an old cast-iron tub outside, surrounded by greenery,” Grimm said. Even plain tealights can float nowadays - in air-filled glass holders. A tub with a half-dozen tealights can quickly turn a balcony into a summery sea of lights.

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