Tuesday, 29 May 2012

How to Paint and Decorate Striped Bathroom Walls

Summer is a great time to revamp your bathroom into a relaxing haven; perfect for chilling in after a hot day. One of the latest trends in interior design is to use stripes, which works well in any sized bathroom so it's a look that works for everyone.

Horizontal or Vertical Stripes?

Whilst vertical stripes have been a common feature in living rooms, hallways, and kitchens for years, the use of striped bathroom walls has not been popular in bathrooms.

Bathrooms are not friendly to wallpaper, because of the humidity and moisture levels, which is why we tend to prefer tiles and paint to decorate our bathrooms - this is almost certainly why stripes have rarely made it into this room.

The use of stripes in a bathroom should not be overlooked however, as they not only provide added pattern and interest to the walls (without being too fussy), they can also create visual illusions.

Vertical stripes are ideal if you want to create the illusion of a taller, more grand looking bathroom. Ideally you would only use this on one wall, or one section of wall in the bathroom - a bathroom should be a restful haven, not somewhere to inflict headaches with the overuse of stripes on every wall.

Horizontal stripes are one of the hottest current trends for decorating, and are ideally suited to small or narrow bathrooms, that you want to make feel wider and more spacious. Again, using it on one, or maybe two walls in the bathroom would be sufficient, and to maintain a more modern, restful feel should be wide stripes, or of varying widths, rather than narrow, or candy stripes.

How to Paint Stripes

Striped painted bathroom walls are the easiest way to get the look of stripes in the smallest room of the house, you just need:

  • Tape Measure
  • Spirit Level (preferably large with indicated measurements like a ruler)
  • Masking Tape
  • Plumb line (for vertical stripes)
  • Bathroom paint (regular emulsion paint cannot withstand moisture in a bathroom and will peel off the walls)
For painting vertical stripes
  1. Mark with a pencil around the top of the wall, where you want your stripes to go.
  2. Hang a plumb line from your first mark and "ping the string" of the plumb line to leave a perfect vertical line - no spirit level needed.
  3. Continue around the room.

For painting horizontal stripes
  1. Armed with a large spirit level make your first pencil mark, ensuring that it is straight by focusing on the bubble in the spirit level.
  2. Draw lightly across the spirit level. Move your spirit level across the wall, making sure you have a good overlap with your pencil mark, and make another mark in line with this one.
  3. You could also try measuring your points from either the floor up, or the ceiling down, and then joining these marks up using the spirit level.

For vertical or horizontal striped painted walls, the next step is the same.

Mask off each area with masking tape, and paint your stripes. Remove the masking tape whilst the paint is tacky - not when it's wet as the color can bleed, and not when it's dry as your paint is likely to flake off.

Other Ways of Using Stripes in the Bathroom

Of course striped bathroom walls don't have to be just horizontal or vertical. You could also try painting:

  • Diagonals into the corner of the room.
  • Mask off squares or circles and paint stripes within them.
  • Use one small section as a focal point - maybe off to the side of center.
  • Freehand and irregular stripes for a more relaxed feel.
If you don't want to use paint, to create striped walls in the bathroom, you could also:
  • Use tiles to create the lines, if you don't have a steady hand. Either as a few strips, or just as a splash back.
  • Add small mirrors, or mirrored tiles to create stripes and the feeling of space - metallics are also a hot decorating trend, so you are incorporating two trends into one.
Whichever way you choose to create striped bathroom walls, just remember to use it in one area, or space the stripes out - you want to create the feeling of a modern sanctuary, not migraine central!
Image Credits:
Black & silver stripes - http://flic.kr/p/Epsfk

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Want an Easy Project? DIY Bench Cushions Instructions

It seems summer might just be on its way, and as you never know how long it's going to last it pays to make the most of this lovely weather as soon as it appears. The instructions here are suitable for bench cushions that you will use outside as well as inside, with special considerations that you might need to make for each.

Relaxing on a bench seat by a window, or soaking up the rays in the garden - you have the power to style!

Choose the Right Materials

Whether your focus is on how to make bench cushions for outdoor use, or indoor use, the basic principles for making them both are the same. The only extra consideration that you need to make for outdoor bench cushions, should focus on what kind of fabric you are using, as your cushions will be exposed to Mother Nature.

The two main things to consider within this are:
  • Is the fabric you have chosen fade-resistant - especially important if you have picked a dark color.
  • How likely are your cushions to be left out in the rain - in which case some waterproofing medium might be needed.
Other materials required are:
  • Tape measure
  • Upholstery fabric, or thick fabric that will stand up to wear
  • Piping cord (optional)
  • Foam padding - try using some environmentally friendly foam cushions
  • Sewing machine (although it will take longer to do so, sewing bench cushions by hand is perfectly do-able)
  • Waterproof silicon spray (optional - for outdoor bench cushions)

Measuring & Cutting Out

Just as in any other aspect of home decorating, preparation is the key, and with making bench cushions, measuring is the preparation. This is very important to get right, to not only make certain of a good fit, but to ensure no fabric is wasted - or even worse you don't buy enough fabric, meaning another trip to the store and added expense.

  • Measure the length and width of your bench seat, and order, or cut to size, a piece of foam. If you require a deeper cushion then you can place two pieces on top of one another.
  • Measure the depth of the foam. 
  • Add together the length and width measurements and multiply this by 2, then add 1 inch. We will call this (A).
  • Now cut out a strip of fabric to the length (A), by the depth measurement plus 1 inch. This will create the seat surround. If you are using cord piping then cut another strip to this same length but only 1 inch wide. 
  • Cut out two pieces of fabric to your length and width measurements, adding 1 inch to each. This will create the bench cushion, top and bottom.

Making the Cushions
Now the maths is over, it's time to get on with the actual making. If you aren't using piping cord then start at bulletpoint 2:

  1. If you are using piping cord in making your bench cushions, then use the strip of fabric you cut before and place the cord down the center. Fold one side over to the other, and stitch down it, enclosing the piping cord inside. Pin this around the edge of the top cushion fabric allowing for a 1/2 inch seam.
  2. Pin the seat surround, around the edge of the top cushion piece of fabric, allowing for a 1/2 inch seam (if you are using piping cord this should now be sandwiched between the top cushion section and the seat surround. Make sure that the right sides of fabric are facing each other before sewing into place.
  3. Pin the bottom cushion section to the bottom edge of the seat surround, again allowing for a 1/2 inch seam.
  4. Sew around 3 edges - the 2 longest edges, and 1 of the shortest.
  5. Turn the cover the right way around. Press out the seams, before pushing the foam inside the cover, from the shorter end you didn't sew.
  6. Fold in 1/2 inch fabric from this open end at the seat surround and at the seat bottom - make sure they are in line with the other seams so no raw edges can be seen. Neatly sew this section, joining these remaining items together.
Voila! Job done.

After completing these steps in how to make bench cushions, you may want to weatherproof your cushions for outdoor use. Simply spray with a waterproof silicon spray once the item is finished, and leave for a few hours for the substance to completely dry, and penetrate the fabric. Now the process is complete - bench cushions made the easy way!