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How to gain the most space from a small room

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If you need more shelf space to display books and other treasures, consider using that wall space over the doors and near the ceiling. This high, often unused space is the perfect place for many things, including the speakers for stereo systems, according to Naomi Gale, a New York shelf specialist. Such shelves have existed in many traditional homes, she says, and have been known as plate rails because they once were used specifically for the display of beautiful china or pewter plates and platters and perhaps a few pitchers, mugs, or porringers.

Today, this designer explains, such shelves can be purchased in almost any style, length, and finish, including Oriental, 18th-century, French Provincial, country, and sleek contemporary. To avoid a crowded or squeezed look, she recommends that they be hung about l5 inches below the ceiling. Other experts say they can be hung as high as 12 inches under ceiling height.

Mrs. Gale notes that six inches is sufficent depth for these shelves, allowing sufficient room for most books, plates, porcelain objects, small paintings, bottles, vases, and various other art objects.

Such shelves can add architectural interest to a bland room. They can help to create a period look, unify a decorating scheme, make very high ceilings seem lower, and help a sofa wall become a more impressive focal point in a room.

A pyramid of corner shelves, as shown, can also add a multitude of decorative and display possibilities to a room. These can be planned and installed by a professional designer or installed by a carpenter or a handy do-it-yourselfer.

When simple pine shelves are used, most people prefer to paint them the color of the walls or cover them with the same wallpaper that covers the walls. For contrast, some edge the shelves with a contrasting braid, ribbon, or colorful plastic tape.

The room that features a prominent Schumacher flamestitch pattern on the sofa , with matching wallcovering on the walls, indicates an expression of new life for a very ancient pattern. The jagged flamestitch is a pattern, hundreds of years old, that has come through many countries, including Hungary and Italy. In its original applications, in embroidery and in weaving, it was crude and primitive. It has been refined over the years into one of the most durable and continually pleasing of all traditional patterns. Every top fabric showroom today shows flamestitch, and numerous furniture manufacturers are using it to cover sofas and chairs.

Today the flamestitch pattern is woven, printed, and knitted, and a whole range of pastel color combinations have joined the deeper reds and greens and other traditional colors. The many variations on the flamestitch theme have also contributed to its stylish prominence in the past half dozen years.


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