Living Space: Create instant wall hangings with quilts, rugs, fabric
Few things lend warmth and elegance to a room like framed artwork. But, let's be honest: Fine art can be expensive. And if you're just starting out in a new apartment or have moved into a larger home, you need a way to add artwork without breaking your budget. The good news is adding interest to your walls can be as easy as looking under your feet.
Rugs as art
Whether you have an expensive, silk Oriental carpet or a thrift store find, carpets can be just the thing to warm up a wide expanse of wall. Southwest decor often incorporates beautiful hand-woven Navajo rugs on walls. Rugs don't have to be relegated to the floor.
Intricately patterned Oriental carpets, delicate French Aubusson or Native American-inspired carpets make fine wall hangings. Rugs stand out and can soften up a brick or stone wall or a wide open expanse of space.
If you have vaulted ceilings, a rug or runner hung horizontally can visually bring down the tall room scale. Or, hang a rug vertically in a stairwell or along a large wall.
Hanging rugs can pose a challenge, but some simple tricks can make the chore easier. The first option is to create a hanging runner by measuring a 1-foot-by-2-foot piece of stock lumber.
Cut to the width of the carpet. Cut an equal length of carpet tacking board and nail into the one-by-two. Drill and attach the one-by-two into studs in the wall where you want to hang the carpet.
Once the runner is up, hang the carpet on it, making sure the rug grabs onto the carpet tack. If you need something more secure, or if your carpet is quite heavy, try a specialty hanger, such as the Zbar hanger made specifically for hanging carpets.
Fabric on wall
If you've inherited a beautiful, handmade quilt, why not display it rather than keep it folded in a drawer or closet? Quilts can be hung in the same places as rugs, or they can be hung behind a bed to create an instant focal point in the bedroom. They can even be folded, hung on a ladder and leaned against a wall.
There are a variety of ways to hang quilts. Because these are delicate, handmade pieces, you want to take special care in hanging them, and for that reason, it's a good idea to use a specialty quilt hanger that won't damage the fabric, like a ladder or a compression bar.
Don't have any quilts or striking rugs? Today's fabric stores carry a variety of tapestry-like fabrics and upholstery fabrics that when hemmed and hung on a wall can create a fabulous focal point. Search for a fabric that works with your decor.
Fabric remnants are another choice as wall hangings. First, hem all four sides with fusing tape. Then create a large pocket to hang on a drapery rod, or use a tapestry rod and clips to hang the piece.
Presto, you have instant artwork for a fraction of the price of the real thing.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.