• July 12, 2014

Tips on how to keep white sofa slipcovers looking new

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Posted: Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:30 am

It’s summer now, and I see many beautiful home magazines with easy, breezy coastal living rooms that employ white sofa slipcovers. The articles assure me that bleaching the slipcovers is easy when they get dirty. How easy is this? And where is a good place to buy nice-looking yet affordable ones? (Custom-made would be way out of my budget.)

I use only non-chlorine bleach. Some laundry detergents have non-chlorine bleach as part of their formula, or you can buy something such as Clorox2 and add it to your cycle. I like the Tide pods for tough stains because they have detergent, stain remover and brightener in them. They would be great on white slipcovers. I know what you mean, that you don’t want to get custom slipcovers, but they really would be the best look for your sofa, unless you can contact the manufacturer and see whether they sell slipcovers to fit your particular style. I know Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams offers this service. Otherwise, there are Sure-Fit white slipcovers, and sometimes you can find them at Wal-Mart and/or Overstock.com.

I love the idea of mixing and matching frames to decorate a wall but don’t know where to begin. Should I just go to the store and buy a bunch, or do I need to map out on the wall where to place them?

You could go one of two ways. First of all, you could go the same-frame route. I might go to a store such as Michaels, Marshalls, Target or the Container Store and pick up some identical frames in different sizes. You could go black, white, gold or silver. Buy more than you need because you can return the ones you don’t use. Measure your wall and lay out the frames in a neat pattern. Figure out which photographs or artworks will work together in a pleasing arrangement. Don’t put any holes in the wall until you are sure you like your arrangement. A second route would be to use an eclectic assortment of old and new frames — some carved, some modern, some painted, etc. I prefer the frames to be in the same general color scheme, but some people like to mix the whole thing up. Do the same process of laying everything out before you nail.

Does anyone have any good ideas for storing magazines? I’ve downsized as much as I can, but I can’t bear to throw away my old, beautiful Martha Stewarts. The issue is that not only is the collection big, but it’s also very heavy.

I once was doing a photo shoot at a designer’s house and found that they stacked their magazines under all the skirted tables in their house! I actually love to see stacks of magazines neatly piled on shelves, whether in slipcases or just in simple rows. The Lucite cases are attractive and don’t take up visual space. I don’t blame you for wanting to keep these magazines for inspiration. They also look great in big, oversize baskets. I recently bought some wonderful big woven baskets in the Marshalls linen department for $20. They have an expensive look and would be great for stashing your magazines.

I live in a split-level Colonial house that has light gray siding. The shutters are terribly faded and made of cheap plastic, so I am considering buying new ones. Should I go with dark blue shutters? Or dark red? Some houses in my neighborhood look great with dark red shutters, but their siding is white. My door is white, but I’m thinking that I’ll paint it blue if I do blue shutters, or red or black if I do red shutters.

I would definitely stick with navy blue shutters. They have a more classic look to them than red would. You could paint your door in a lot of different colors — dark green would be nice — or a mustard yellow.

We have a peachy-pink 12-inch square ceramic tile kitchen floor with smaller tiles in the backsplash. The counters are black faux granite and shiny with medium-brown cabinets. What color should we paint the walls?

Peachy pink and black? I think I would go for an off-white. Maybe something like C2 Breathless, a white that has a very pale touch of pink, or Martha Stewart’s Fledgling.

We bought a small house, and we are almost done with the renovation. Now we need to get window treatments; since the house is small, we are leaning toward blinds. Where do people get nice window treatments at a reasonable price? I am so confused and overwhelmed with this one.

Are you interested in wood blinds? I really like the look of the white ones. Plantation shutters are also still popular, but they can be expensive. There is Next Day Blinds, which has alternative brands to Hunter Douglas. And also J.C. Penney and the major big box stores do blinds.

The walls in our guest room have several patches of (rejected) paint samples. I’m paint-chip weary. Please help me find a lovely shade of sage.

I know choosing paint colors is stressful, and everyone always thinks they are making the wrong choice! Too light or too dark! I really am getting to love the new Benjamin Moore Williamsburg colors. For sage, they have Russell Green, and maybe you’d like Burgess Green. Farrow & Ball has Stone White and Ball Green. Martha Stewart for Home Depot has Spanish Moss. And C2 has the aptly named Sage.

Have you made an “oops” moment where you regret a designing choice or a furniture purchase for your home?

I have made mistakes, sometimes by ordering things online. I just bought an orange lacquer tray for my beach house from West Elm. I was hoping it would match some new sofa pillows we got last time we were there. I opened the box, and it is a really, really bright orange, not the sort of burnt orange of the pillows.

I sometimes make fast decisions because I don’t have time to ruminate over things. The yellow paint in my guest room is a bit harsh, and I have never liked it.

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