A Few Secrets From the Pros

By Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hang window treatments high

Barry Dixon, Warrenton

A good starting point in any home or with any style (traditional or modern) is to hang drapery panels right underneath the crown molding. In the absence of molding, hang the drapery rod as close to the ceiling as possible. Doing so will accentuate the height of the room (whatever that may be) and make windows appear larger than they actually are. This technique becomes more imperative the shorter the ceilings are.

Use fabric on the reverse

Darryl Carter, Washington

When patterned textiles are used on the reverse side, the pattern becomes more hushed. This is often a nice compromise when partners may have disparate tastes or tolerance for pattern. This also prevents the pattern from becoming too dominant in a neutral setting.

Use big patterns in small spaces

Victoria Neale, Washington

It makes the space feel bigger. It's counterintuitive, but it works.

Update an old sofa

Nestor Santa-Cruz, Washington

An old upholstered sofa can be updated using four basic elements:

· Replace existing back cushions with cushions that don't go over the sofa arm. This creates a more modern and simple look and helps the cushions keep their shape.

· Don't use piping or self-welting on the edges of cushions or arms.

· Add a "waterfall" skirt to create a more tailored look. (A waterfall skirt falls from directly below the cushion line to the floor without interruption.)

· Replace a set of three narrow seat cushions with two wider ones. Do the same for back cushions. In some cases, one long cushion on the back and one for the seat can make the look even more modern.

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