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6 Ways to Transform a Room With Fabric or Wallpaper

From the personal files of the cleverest home experts.

1. Dress Up Boring Windows
Buff-colored blinds are about as dull as it gets, but they're cheap and stop the sunlight from bleaching your furniture. To break out of boredom, simply glue a bold wallpaper print to the inside of each blind. Roll out the blind to its full length, then cut out a sheet of wallpaper to fit the width exactly. Using a clean paint roller, spread some wallpaper adhesive over the inside face of the blind. Lay the cut piece of wallpaper on the glued surface. Press down and smooth out any air bubbles with a rolling pin. Trim away excess wallpaper, if necessary.

2. Limit Bold Patterns
A little decorative detail can go a long way, so don't overwhelm. Adding striking touches, for instance on the edge of cushions or a lampshade, is a good way to use expensive fabric without breaking the bank. When you need less than a yard of material, you may find exactly what you need at a greatly reduced price in the remnants section of a shop.

3. Create a Sofa That Flatters
In other words, cover it in a material that would suit you if you were wearing it, instead of a neutral shade that simply blends into the room. If you choose a fabric in your favorite color, you're unlikely to ever get tired of the sofa and you'll look good sitting on it.

4. Large Chair, Small Print
If you're covering a large chair, like a wingback, choose a fabric with a small-patterned print. The shape and style of these chairs makes them dramatic enough. A small-scale pattern helps to balance the drama and lends a touch of sophistication.

5. Go for Child-Proof Covers
If you have young children, select a 'forgiving' fabric on your sofa and armchairs. You're probably already aware that patterns can help to hide spills and crumbs, but did you know that a textured fabric (a cotton velvet or some other textile with a pile) will also work wonders when it comes to masking any mess? Try it. You'll worry less about your children's sticky fingers and enjoy the time spent with them more.

6. Make a Decorative Bulletin Board
Large acoustic ceiling tiles – the kind you often see on office ceilings – make good, inexpensive bulletin boards. Go to a DIY store and look for a tile-size that appeals to you, but note that larger tiles will be easier to work with, so choose ones that are at least 1 square foot, if possible. Wrap them in decorative fabric of your choice, and glue this to the back.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest