Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DIY Pillow Covers

I recently took a trip to Ikea and picked up 4 Hendriksdal chairs, which you may have come across in my Best of Ikea post.  The Hendriksdal chair is a beautiful parsons chair with an easy to clean slip cover.  Although the chairs are beautiful on their own, I felt like they needed a pop of color... so I decided to get on sewing my own pillow covers to take my kitchen nook to the next level!  This is a great project for beginners, as it consists of only a few simple straight stitches.  Easy and darling!

Cute right?!  I fell in love with this fabric at Hancock Fabrics.  I had been looking for a fabric to freshen up this room, and this was the perfect fit.  It combines the sage green in my nearby living room and brings in some spa blue and yellow to brighten things up... it is exactly what I had been looking for!  Along with the look, it was only $16 per yard.  Since I only needed 1 1/2 yards of fabric to complete 2 pillows, this was quite a steal for the perfect fabric.

Some things you will need to complete this project:

1 1/2 yards of fabric
2, 12" x 16" pillow inserts
fabric pins
sewing machine

Begin by measuring out your fabric.  The first piece you will need is for the front of the pillow.  I keep a 1/2" seam allowance on either side, adding 1 inch to the width and length of the pillow measurements.  To simplify that... just cut a 13" x 17" piece of fabric for the front of the pillow.

Next, you will want to cut the 2 pieces for the back.  These 2 pieces will create an envelope for the pillow to be inserted into.

The first piece will need to measure 13" x 9".  This piece will be the front of the envelope and will fall in the center of the pillow.  The other piece will need to measure 13" x 11".  This will give enough room for overlap to create the envelope and not allow the pillow to show through the opening.

Once you have your pieces cut, pin your seams and sew the edges of the envelope, as shown in the picture above.  Once those edges are hemmed, pin the rest of the cover's edges together.  When you do this step, make sure to pin everything inside out, so that your stitches will be on the inside of the fabric.

Next, just sew your edges, stuff in the pillow, and voilah!  You have your own beautiful pillow cover!  

Thursday, June 2, 2011

How to Choose the Right Area Rug for Your Home

Bringing in a rug can completely change a room.  Rugs can be used to ground a space, to add color and pattern, to define a room in an open plan, to reduce noise, amongst other things.  Choosing the right area rug can be overwhelming, as there are so many options to take into consideration, such as: What size rug is best for the space?  What material should it be made of?  What style best fits the room?  Etc.

Size Matters. Choose carefully when it comes to the size of your rug.  First things first, a rug is meant to accent a space, not cover it... so make sure not to buy a rug that will go wall to wall in a room.  Generally speaking, there should be about 18" of space from the rug edge to any wall.  This is a great guideline when you're considering rugs for main areas such as living and dining rooms.  Keep in mind that there are always situations where this guideline doesn't quite fit, such as in an entryway or small mudroom.  I would have no problem bringing a rug closer to the walls in either of these circumstances, but always remember to keep some kind of visual space between the rug edge and the wall to keep a sense of visual space and flow in the room.

Massucco Warner Miller

Material Wise. Choosing the right material is key if you want your rug to stand the test of time.  When it comes to rug materials, there are many to choose from.  Some of the most common are: wool, cotton, sisal, seagrass, and jute.

Wool.  Wool rugs are known for their durability.  They are resistant to staining, naturally color retaining, and for those of you with allergies, resistant to dust mites!  Wool area rugs are best used in high traffic areas.

Cotton. Cotton area rugs are soft and comfortable.  Cotton and wool are often used together to create a rug.  A cotton, or cotton wool blend, rug is a great option if price is an issue.  Using cotton will bring down the cost of a rug significantly.  Although cotton is a great rug material, it does ware down over time more-so than wool.  With that said, it is a very good candidate for someone who is looking for a less expensive, still high quality rug.

Sisal and Seagrass. Sisal and seagrass are both great products!  Sisal rugs are very durable, flame resistant, and great for sound absorption.  Sisal is also a completely sustainable material.  Both sisal and seagrass rugs are great for high traffic areas and are a beautiful addition to any room that's in need of a touch of nature.

Jute.  Jute is a bit more coarse than sisal and is a bit more prone to staining.  Often, jute it combined with a synthetic material to make it more durable for daily use.  Jute rugs also add a beautiful natural element to a room.

Style. Consider the color scheme of your room and compliment those colors with the area rug you choose.  If you're not one to be tied into one color scheme, go for a neutral colored rug that will be able to support your design changes.

Coco Kelley

If you are one for contrast, go for a rug with a beautiful geometric print in a bold color.

Jan Showers

Optical Illusions. Have a room that's long and narrow?  Use a nice stripe or chevron pattern (stripes going horizontally along the shortest wall) to visually widen the room.

Don't be afraid to double up.  I know that throwing one rug on top of another is taboo, but if it works in your room, go for it!  Doubling up on rugs can add warmth and texture to a room that's lacking.

David Bromstad HGTV