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by Jaima Brown
(ARA) - True decorating distinction lies in details -- little finishing touches and unusual twists that make a room entirely unique. To put your personal mark of creativity in your home, do what many professional interior designers do: Head for the border.
Wallpaper borders are among the most versatile of decorating tools. Furthermore, they are affordable and easy to install. Nearly any wall takes on a more finished look with the addition of a border. But to achieve real distinction, think beyond merely adding a border along the top of the wall. For new ideas, look up and look down.
Consider, for example, placing a decorative border on the ceiling itself, connecting that often-ignored overhead expanse to the walls. Decorators often refer to the ceiling as "the fifth wall," another palette on which to apply their art. By surrounding a room, at the ceiling, with a continuous, unobstructed border, you create a "tray" effect that visually holds the room together.
Nowhere is this technique more useful than in the kitchen. Kitchens typically contain permanent appliances and cabinets that separate wall space. By installing this elegant leopard print border above the crown molding, the overall space has been unified while also giving the room greater depth and height.
The border also provides a visual transition between the kitchen and the living room beyond it. Both the leopard border and the banana leaf wallpaper are from the Winnetka collection from S. A. Maxwell Co. Like all Maxwell collections, Winnetka is arranged in groups according to color. This assures easy coordination among patterns within the same room and from one room to another. All design groups in collections by S.A. Maxwell contain several borders in different widths.
Double-bordering more than doubles your creativity. By combining two borders from the Winnetka collection, we created a truly custom border in the living room. The four-inch leopard border, placed along the outside perimeter of the ceiling, is the "anchor." Banana leaves on the die-cut border repeat the theme of the wallpaper pattern, while their sculptured, outlined edges reach into the room.
Die-cut borders provide sculptured-edge detailing that was once only achieved by tedious hand-trimming around a pattern. To install a double custom border, combine the two patterns on a table, positioning them exactly the way you want them to overlap and join. Measure their combined width. Beginning at the point where the ceiling meets the wall, make a light pencil mark on the ceiling to show how far your custom double border will extend onto the ceiling. Install the straight border first, then overlap it with the sculptured design. This idea works equally well along the bottom of walls, at chair rail height, or wherever else you want to surprise the eye with something special.
Double borders don't have to be joined together to give a room a lift. In a guest room, we ran two different, sculptured ivy patterns parallel to each other, 20 inches apart. Both are from S.A. Maxwell's Wicker Park collection. The large basket and ivy border runs just beneath the crown molding at the ceiling, and the diminutive die-cut ivy border "underlines" it 20 inches below. Even more layering is possible. You might add a vertical stripe wallpaper between the two borders and even place the coordinating ivy trail wallpaper from the same collection under all these layers.
Now you're on a roll. So why not use your border leftovers to decorate a hat box or a group of shoe boxes and make the inside of your guest room closet as appealing -- and unique -- as the room you've created?
For more border ideas, locate a retailer near you that carries coordinated wallpaper and border collections from S.A. Maxwell Co. by calling (847) 932-3700 or visiting www.samaxwell.com.
Decorating Studio, LLC or www.DecoratingStudio.com is not affiliated with the authors nor responsible for the actions or content of the articles, or any 3rd party information within or linked to or from Decorating Studio or Decorating Studio's website.
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