How To: Tile over tired laminate countertops
Apply grout over the tile using a grout float, holding it at a slight angle to push the grout into the gaps between the tile.
Make an Impression: “The entry hall is one of the most important rooms in the house because it’s the first impression that you make,” says Libby Palmieri of Palmieri Interni in Solon. She advises decorating it with the same care lavished on any other high-profile space.
Add architectural details such as a chair rail and crown molding, both of which can be purchased at home-improvement stores and installed with relative ease.
“All you’re doing is cutting it into the increments you need, nailing it onto drywall and painting it,” she says. If you’re all thumbs with saws, hammers and paintbrushes, Palmieri says there are other options. “Something as simple as a beautiful chandelier or rug can make the area a little more special.”
“So many people want to try color, but they’re afraid,” says Shari Hiller, the Avon Lake native who co-hosts HGTV’s “Room by Room.” “The foyer is a great place to experiment.”
Hiller’s co-host, Matt Fox, suggests personalizing the space by framing enlargements of family photographs taken during last year’s holiday celebrations. “It’s a great place to have a gallery that shows a little bit about your family,” he says.
Cut the Clutter: In Matt Fox’s kitchen, the area between the top of the cabinets and ceiling serves as a gallery of everything from plants to an old leaded-glass window, but that area remains a barren space in many homes, often at the expense of counters filled with clutter.
Displaying large items such as platters, crocks and baskets overhead frees up work surfaces and puts breakables out of reach. In his home, the HGTV co-host illuminated the area with rope lighting. The cool-to-the-touch strings, available in a number of lengths, can be plugged into a timer behind an appliance and the cord inconspicuously run up the side of a cabinet.
“It really accents everything that you’ve placed above the cabinets,” he says. “And it serves as a night light for your family. When I come down in the morning to make coffee, the lights are already on.”
Guest Bedroom and Bath
Make a Small Overhaul: Repainting and repapering the guest bathroom is at the top of many designers’ quick-fix list.
Of course, many homeowners may debate just how much of a quick fix that really is. A less extreme undertaking is changing the vanity mirror or light fixture. Hiller advocates a collection of mirrors that can be changed with the seasons. An inexpensive oval mirror can be stenciled in paint with holiday motifs and messages — “Welcome to Our Home” for example — or slipped into a picture frame embellished with Christmas-tree ornaments.
“It’s a nice look because it’s unexpected,” Hiller says. “And you’ll actually use a mirror.”
How To: Make a headboard slipcover
A good mattress on a bed frame, of course, is all your guests really need. But the room will look more finished if you add a headboard. Steffanni recommends making a headboard by attaching a folding screen to the wall, perhaps with L-shaped brackets. Hiller suggests that a simple old headboard can be recycled by making a slipcover for it on the sewing machine.
Fox says nicks, scratches and gouges are actually helpful in creating a distressed look. “Rough up” the finish with sandpaper before painting the item with a satin-finish product. Then sand the edges until the old finish begins to appear and seal with polyurethane. Steffanni assures those stuck on the notion of buying bedroom furniture as a set that there’s no interior-design rule stating the stuff has to match.
“An interesting room,” he emphasizes, “is an eclectic mixture of things.”
Dining Room/Living Room
Revive Old Furniture: Slipcovers give old furniture new life, whether it’s a living-room sofa or a set of dining-room chairs. Hiller says the mass-marketed versions have elastic or back ties that, with a little tucking and folding, provide a neat, more tailored look. Even better, Palmieri says, are custom counterparts made by companies such as Cleveland’s Eastern Slip Cover Co. that look like the furniture’s original upholstery.
12:00 AM EST
September 27, 2007