my Old Workshop

Decorating tricks and tips

Here are a few inexpensive ways to revamp a room.

You can magically remove an uneven ceiling. Install cove or plate rail molding a couple inches below the lowest point of the ceiling. Paint the molding one color, continue this color up the wall and include the ceiling. Your eye notices the level molding, and you can run wallpaper up to the bottom of it. A darker color works best.

If you don’t want to remove firmly affixed wallpaper, or you’re unsure of the wall condition underneath, try this. Apply a thin “skim” coat of drywall compound to the entire wall surface. This covers up wallpaper seams. Sand the surface lightly, prime and paint. Both drywall compound and latex paint may lift or bubble the paper in places, but if you let it dry without disturbing it, it should settle back into place.

You can spiff up fake wood panelling with a coat of paint. Just dull the surface with TSP or an abrasive cleaner mixed with water, then prime and paint with latex or alkyd paint. You can also wallpaper it. Follow the same prep, but fill the indentations with drywall mud.

Want to distinguish a plain room for little cost? Make a mock fireplace, using stock trim and moldings, and place a couple logs or a vase of flowers in the opening.

If you’ve changed the bathroom or kitchen color, and the ceramic tile no longer belongs, you can paint over it with a special primer formulated to bond to slick surfaces. Top coat with high gloss alkyd.

Make a long narrow room look more proportioned by painting the room two shades of the same color. Paint the wall opposite the door the darker shade. Or paper it with prominently patterned wallpaper. This seems to bring the wall closer.