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Getting the Biggest Bang from a Bonus Room
By Jaima Brown

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bonus room decor(ARA Content) The living room is giving ground to special-use rooms, or "bonus" rooms, as some builders call them. And the family room is moving upstairs from the basement.

These are among the findings in "What 21st Century Home Buyers Want," a survey of customer preferences conducted for the National Association of Home Builders. In fact, an astonishing 34 percent of the consumers surveyed by NAHB actually said they'd be willing to purchase a home without a living room, if the space were used for a special-use room, such as media or entertaining.

This special space, whether it's a small loft or the entire top floor, can be adapted to the residents' particular preferences, such as the pursuit of a hobby or pastime, and even accommodate the diverse, multiple needs of several members of the family. Furthermore, unlike a basement it comes finished, and offers both heat and light.

Making the most of this cherished special space, however, calls for decorative treatments that signify its purpose and provide an atmosphere that's appropriate for its use. Nothing does this as definitively - or as beautifully - as wallpaper.

Sewing and other forms of making things by hand are growing in popularity. In a small sewing room, one homeowner heightened her enjoyment of time spent there by exercising her creativity on the wall. Against a mini-print of hearts and stars from A Stitch In Time, a new collection from S. A. Maxwell Co., she fashioned a faux quilt from pieces of coordinating papers and borders in the same collection.

The quilt itself is made of alternating squares of other wallpaper patterns in A Stitch In Time, turned to form diamonds. The faux quilt is framed in a quilt-themed border in the collection, which is die-cut on both sides. The signature, stitch-in-time border of a shelf containing an antique toy sewing machine, colorful spools of thread, and knitting needles and yarn, runs all along the top of each wall, tying the whole room - and its purpose and theme - together.

As a family or with friends, people are discovering new enjoyment in entertaining at home. Maxwell's A Stitch In Time has wallpaper and borders tailor-made for game rooms and media rooms, too.

Between a ceiling of wallpaper stars and mini-gingham checkered walls runs a border featuring reproductions of primitive, painted, vintage game boards. The rope rug under the billiard table is from the same era.

Happily, today's electronic media can be easily disguised. An armoire conceals the family's library of CDs and DVDs along with the CD player and other audio components. Like the overstuffed chair and the billiard table, it also helps bring warmth to the room.

Like a picture on the wall, the flat-screen television is built-in and "framed" in a thin wallpaper border of alternating hearts and stars that has the same vintage patina of the American primitive game boards on the border above.

A vintage-style media room with built-in cabinetry to conceal electronics is surrounded by a medley of wallpaper and a border in the Vintage Tuscany collection from L.V. Emmert Studios, a division of S. A. Maxwell. The wallpaper is a soft, muted rendition of old-time sheet music, while the border adds harmony from film.

It features such symbols of old-time movie glamour as an antique movie projector, film reels, a director's chair and other artifacts that once brought action to a Hollywood screen set. The border is edged, top and bottom, with strips of tiny stars to replicate the look of perforations along a continuous length of film.

For more modernist media/game room motifs, other Maxwell collections contain prints of billiard balls and winning poker hands.

To find the nearest retailer carrying A Stitch In Time, Vintage Tuscany, and other fine wallpaper collections from S. A. Maxwell Co., call

(847) 932-3700 or visit

Media technology is surrounded by a harmonious combination of wallpaper that recalls old-time sheet music and a novelty border based on images of early filmmaking.

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