Decorating Frugally by Barbara Jennings  
If you're like me and most other homeowners, you're always on the lookout for decorating tips that cost little to no money. Here are some decorating tips that might come in real handy.

How about adding a border to the top or bottom of your walls.  Don't go buy expensive wallpaper border paper, instead do it yourself. Start by painting two horizontal (parallel) lines on the wall where you want to place the border. Then decide what motifs or designs to paint or stencil between these two lines. Pick colors that complement the background color and the room. Paint your design or pattern on the wall between the lines.

Buy a roll of plastic.  Create your design. Lay the plastic over the design and use an exacto knife to cut out the design. The plastic will make the perfect stencil. You can paint the wall where the design is cut from the plastic or if you have spray paint or an airbrush, use the plastic template and spray the design on the wall. Spraying the back of the plastic with hair spray will help adhere the template to the wall long enough to spray on the design.

For a neat leaf design, take leaves from your yard. Paint the leaf, then press it against the wall where you want it.  Make sure the paint is fairly thin, but not runny. The leaf will leave minute pattern on the wall which really looks terrific.

An old tooth brush can be dipped into the paint. Hold the brush close to the wall. Pull back on the bristles and let go. It will make a spattering effect on the wall that looks pretty cool. Be sure to block off all areas you don't want spattered.

Take a bunch of sponges. Dip just one side into acrylic paint. Don't get it too wet. Press the sponge first against some newspaper to get rid of excess paint. Then press lightly on the wall. The crevices of the sponge will transfer to the wall giving it a nice textured appearance. Don't overdo it. Sea sponges work best, but if too pricey for you, just get some cheap sponges. Pick out some holes in the sponge to make the surface uneven. The design will be uneven. Stand back from the wall some distance and survey what you have done in it's entirety before you do any touch up areas.

Carry the design over to furniture if you like. Just be careful not to overdo it. Always remember that too much of a good thing is simply too much.

Now before you rush off and start, here are some final cautions:

1.   Make sure the surface to be decorated is clean and dry.

2.   Keep your work area clean and orderly. Make sure all paint is placed in a secure place so that it won't get spilled.

3.   Acrylic paint is easier to clean-up and dries pretty fast.

For those of you who are renting and not allowed to paint directly onto the walls, here is an alternative for you.

You can actually do all of the steps above, just paint the design onto inexpensive fabric or old bed sheets. Let them dry thoroughly. Cut out the designs. Now soak them in a solution of liquid starch and water [2 tsp starch to one cup water]. Place the designs on the wall where you want them. Later they can be peeled off, either when you move out or simply tire of them.

About the Author
Barbara Jennings is the author of 6 decorating books and owns one of the top decorating websites on the internet, Two of her most popular books are Decor Secrets Revealed, the art of arranging furniture and accessories, and Rearrange It, a training on how to become a redesigner. Used by permission.

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