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Pie in the sky

- Author: Crystal

This is probably insanely expensive, but it looks really cool: check out The Sky Factory, a company which offers custom-designed “authentic illusions of real skies that transform confined interiors into spaces of natural beauty and freshness.”

I guess when wealthy people can’t install a real skylight, they can buy these to make rooms feel more spacious and open.

The “Programmable SkyCeiling” simulates the rising and setting of the sun.  I can dream, right?!

No Comments - Categories: Interior design

Using walls to your advantage

- Author: Crystal

Cabinets, bookcases and shelving units can take up a lot of precious floor space, making a room feel cluttered and bottom heavy.

Instead, take advantage of walls as a storage alternative. Consider wall-mounted shelving for books, CDs/ DVDs, collectibles, and decorative items. Below are a few beautiful examples of wall-mounted shelving.

For books in the living room, from Apartment Therapy:

In the kitchen, by Rakks:

Mounting your television on the wall is a huge space saver. This TV wall mount bracket tilts and swivels, while this one (below) from Bontempi Casa looks sleek and modern:

Have more ideas to share? Post a comment or write to Crystal and let her know!

No Comments - Categories: Interior design

The wonders of paintable wallpaper

- Author: Crystal

One Sparkleize reader writes:

Dear Crystal,

To add texture to my bedroom walls, I am thinking about installing some paintable wallpaper to the wall behind the bed. I’d then like to paint the wallpaper a soft sage green color.

Is there a pattern that I should stay away from? Are some brands of wallpaper better than others? Is thicker wallpaper easier to apply than thin wallpaper?


Hesitant in Hillsborough

Dear Hesitant,

Congratulations! Paintable wallpaper is an easy and economical way to add depth and sophistication to any room. There is no need to be hesitant! I wholeheartedly applaud your decision to add a textured accent wall to your bedroom!

It is very difficult to go wrong with patterns of paintable wallpaper, because it is the color that really matters. In your case, you’ve already selected a subtle, tasteful color that likely already coordinates well with the decor and other colors in your bedroom.

That said, here are some general guidelines about patterns:

  • Large patterns tend to be better for larger rooms because they visually shrink the space and make it cozier.
  • Stay away from thick stripes.
  • Keep in mind that wallpaper featuring certain patterns can perform optical illusions that make rooms that ordinarily look too long, too boxy or have low ceilings appear more proportionate.
  • To make sure you like it before you buy it, get samples and bring them home to try out!
  • When you buy, be sure to all rolls are from the same lot so the patterns will match.
  • To make the most out of the pattern you choose, wait a full 72 hours to allow the paper to totally cure on the wall before applying paint!

Here are a few of my favorite patterns:

  1. clouds or waves,
  2. cool and sleek,
  3. fancy “old school”,
  4. kinda funky, and
  5. organic.

Don’t worry too much about the brand. More important than the brand of the wallpaper you choose is a) liking what you’ve selected, and b) the quality of the installation job!

Thick vs. thin
Thick is not necessarily better than thin, but here are a few things to consider. The thicker the paper:

  • the better it will hide any flaws in the wall underneath,
  • the harder it will be to remove,
  • (often) the higher the quality it will be, and
  • (usually) the more expensive it will be.

If you need tips and instructions on hanging and painting your wallpaper, check out this site from the DIY Network. Good luck to you!

No Comments - Categories: Interior design

Ten great switchplate sites

- Author: Crystal

Switchplates are an easy and fun way to add a little bit of character, class and color to an otherwise boring wall.

If you live anywhere near Durham, North Carolina – or perhaps if you pass through this way sometime – I’ll let you in on a little secret: The best place to get switchplates around here is one of my favorite stores, called Vaguely Reminiscent, which is located on Ninth St.

Now, don’t despair. Even if you don’t live here in the Triangle area, you can still find really unique switchplates! After carefully scouring the Internet, I found ten Web sites where you can order fantastic switchplates. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Mosaico Decor
  2. Flopping Fish
  3. Sue and Don’s Crafts
  4. A la Mode
  5. Imperial Enamel Art
  6. Switchplates by Ramona
  7. Tin Can Sally
  8. Robot Candy
  9. Joan Wells
  10. The Mad Monk

No Comments - Categories: Interior design