No Excuses Allowed!!



I’ve said the same thing so many times on The Skirted Roundtable that Megan and Linda both groan and say “not again”  whenever I bring the subject up.  But it’s true:   The IKEA slipcovered sofa is the best deal out there!!   There are SO many great looking design options today for those just starting out or for those just starting over.    I only wish I had had all these choices when I was decorating my first apartment – some thirty-five years ago.  Maybe then my apartment wouldn’t have looked like this:




OK, quit laughing!!!!  This was a loooooong time ago and I was a poor, single, 20-something secretary.  I wrote about my gorgeous space HERE if you want to really crack yourself up.   This picture makes me want to cry actually.   As you can see, I could have used  those IKEA sofas.   In truth, back then I desperately wanted white love seats – but no one made slipcovers in the 70s, and keeping white sofas clean is impossible unless they are slipped.  So, I settled for the next best thing – cream colored sofas in some type of hideous stain resistant fabric that felt like Velcro!! 

Which is why I say it over and over again until Megan and Linda want to slug me or gag me:  if I was starting out today, or if I was furnishing a vacation house, I would run to IKEA and buy their slipcovered sofa in white – for $399.    I’ve spent more out on a dinner at a nice place, and we all know where that money ends up – in the toilet!    Instead of spending $399.00 on a fancy meal or a dress you might wear once or twice, you could own a decent, long wearing sofa, with a white cotton slipcover, no less!   There is just no excuse anymore for not having a good looking home because today, there are so many cost friendly choices available.



$399 IKEA sofa, slipcovered in white cotton.  Of course, it also comes in different colors – like black, navy blue, and my new favorite – gray!  The other colors are a little more expensive at $499.00 – but still, that is dirt cheap.




BEMZ:   Ready-made slipcovers for IKEA sofas


Since I am so in love with the IKEA slipcovered sofa, I was thrilled to get a press release from Bemz, the company who make ready made slipcovers for IKEA furniture.    Bemz has recently come out with a new line of Belgian linen fabric slips, which they call their “Loose Fit Country” line.   Bemz is a located in Sweden, but shipping is only $20.00 to the United States.     Prices for the regular Bemz slipcovers are less than the new Belgian linen, but at $482, for a three seater sofa, you can up the quality of your IKEA sofa tremendously.    I love the look of the Bemz slipcover with the hems slightly draping on the floor.  And nothing beats 100% Belgian linen for beauty.  




This IKEA dining room chair is only $79.99 and is another candidate for a Bemz slipcover in the white Belgian linen.




These Bemz linen slips are $122.   All of the Bemz Belgian linen slips come in white, linen, brown, and gray options.  




This Bemz slipcover is softly pleated – another option.



What else is looking good these days at IKEA?    For just $299.00,  I noticed they FINALLY came out with a chaise without an arm!   Wouldn’t two of these be great looking, flanking a big stone fireplace in a cabin on a lake????  






For $349 – I love it in the gray.  I would mix the gray slips with the white slips, especially since the fabrics are solid.   The gray slips would look especially great in a room painted dark gray on the walls with white painted floors.





IKEA:  Just $99.00  in white, $149. in other colors.   You could pair two of these to make a great coffee table - or you could even do them in another color – like the gray for a contrast with the white sofa, or the navy blue if you were designing a beach house. 




Here is IKEA’s version of the white slipcovers mixed with the gray.  And notice the gray walls and the great sheer gray curtains.  




Real Life:  One of my favorite bloggers, Holly from Life in the Fun Lane, bought her IKEA sectional on Craig’s List for just  a song.   I love her house – all dark, dark hardwoods and everything else is white!!!





 More Real Life:  The IKEA slipped ottoman.  From Pink and Polka Dot blog HERE.



More Real Life:  The Style Sisters blog HERE with a red slipped Ikea sofa and the matching chair in blue and white stripes.  So cute!!!




More Real Life:  Just Beachy, HERE,  another favorite blog of mine, recently updated her IKEA sofa with a new slip from IKEA. 




When I wrote about gray wicker, style icon Jill Brinson left a comment saying she bought 3 car loads of the gray wicker at IKEA!   For just $59, I would do the same thing – this basket is fabulous.   Again, two of these would make great coffee tables or – you could stack them up a wall, put them underneath a console, use them in front of beds,  or have cushions made for the tops of them.   They are almost 20” tall! 





These baskets from IKEA are just $16.00, but they are also large at 17” x 21”.    I would fill up bookcases with these, use them in bathrooms, on tables, on top or underneath consoles – the uses are endless, and they are so great looking and soooo cheap and soooo gray!!!!    





These IKEA lanterns come in two sizes, large for $14.99 at 17” and smaller for $6.99.    These would be great electrified and used over a kitchen island, flanking sinks and mirrors, on top of consoles and coffee tables, and used indoors and out.





IKEA:  18” of great design for only $2.99.  I would bring these inside and use in pairs. 



For $299., I would add a genuine cowhide layered over seagrass.   Great price, of course – but in the Sunday paper, they said these are on sale for $99!!!!!!  Check this out before you go though.



A quick check of other catalogues shows a few new items with great looks, and cheap prices.  Now, for sure, Wisteria is much more expensive than IKEA, but their prices are still very affordable compared to what the stores charge.   This new item has great appeal  - trendy nail heads, love the arms, and at $1,149.00 – the price is still great. 





I LOVE this accent chair with the Suzani upholstery.   At $600 from Wisteria – the fabric alone is worth the price.





Wisteria:   This is a huge mirror, at 44"w  x 75.4"h.   Just $449.00.   If this price is out of your range, just wait.  Wisteria always has the best sales.  Even at regular price, this is a lot of look for the money.



Another Wisteria look – love this striped dhurri in apple green!  Refreshing change from the usual blue and white.  Starts at $499.  I would layer the smaller size over seagrass.  This sofa is a great look too – love it’s scalloped back and tall arms. 




Real life examples showing Wisteria bought products – here Trish from the beautiful blog Trouvais pairs the Wisteria zinc altar with a cloche and the Wisteria book boxes.   Trish is such a great stylist – everything here looks antique as opposed to coming from a catalogue.   The cross shadow box is $79 and the book box is $44 and $49.   Wisteria also sell the cloches.  



Here Trish from Trouvais shows the Wisteria sunburst mirror she bought sitting on top of a signed, 18th century settee she found.  I love her concrete balls too!!  Trish actually applied some gold paint to the mirror to make it more gilded.   Wisteria $149.  



More real life Wisteria:  in my daughter’s bedroom, I used the Wisteria chaise longue - $1,119.00, which I had slipcovered in white linen.  It comes in a natural linen.   Also, I used Wisteria’s blue book boxes on the table (Found for the Home).    I love the book boxes – they are so functional for hiding small things in!! 





Real Life Wisteria:  my favorite buy ever.  About five years ago I bought this set of two chairs and one table from Wisteria for the back yard.   They still sell it for $249!  




This month’s House Beautiful showed a room designed by Jim Howard.   I love the bobbin chair, but they are usually so expensive.  Until now….


Check out Wisteria’s bobbin chair, in black!   WOW!   Just $599.00 – not bad for such an attractive accent chair.  




And finally, after I chastised Pottery Barn for not getting with the gray wicker program, I noticed this great looking office chair!  Granted, it’s not in the trendy gray, but still – it’s sooooo cute!!!!   Totally adorable!!!   And only $399.00 – which is a great price for a functioning swivel with up and down lever.

Coming this week – a giveaway to end all giveaways.  I promise you!!!!!! 

And please check out our latest interview with Diane Dorrans Saeks on The Skirted Roundtable, HERE.

In Love with Velvet




For years and years my favorite pillows have been those made of old tapestry scraps – preferably backed with a dark brown velvet as shown above.   The pattern of the tapestry is especially beautiful when paired with linen upholstery or slipcovers.  



imageIs there anything prettier than this?  Two large plain pillows paired with a pillow made from an antique piece of tapestry on a slipped loveseat?  Shannon Bowers.  Lampshades, Watkins Culver, Houston.




Here’s my own version – an antique tapestry scrap, gold braiding, and brown velvet.  No one makes prettier antique tapestry pillows than B Viz – almost anytime you see a pillow like this in a magazine, it is sourced from  B Viz. 


 image A client walked into my house the other day and saw my brown velvet pillows and ordered some for her own living room that I am currently helping her update.    It got me thinking about velvet pillows and velvet in particular - wondering what the instant appeal was?    Looking through old pictures from my portfolio, I was surprised how often I have used plain velvet.  




I think this was the first time in recent history I used plain velvet pillows.  Today, I would make these pillows bigger.  These are probably 20” – but now, I prefer 24” or 26” pillows.   Also, I wouldn’t use welting either.  




For this client, we used silk velvet – which is such a luxury. 




For this client, I used a cotton velvet – I love the density of a cotton velvet.   There’s less sheen to it.  




And here, again, I used a cotton velvet.    I like to pair the plain velvet pillows with one patterned one.  Nothing like using a formula!





Here instead of velvet pillows, I did the sofa in velvet.     The client had picked the taupe and blue fabric on the chair as their main fabric – the plain cotton velvet was used to quiet the room down. 



I used this very inexpensive loveseat covered in velvet from Urban Outfitters in a teenaged girl’s bedroom a few years ago.   Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the room!   This piece was such a steal – and it made a big impact in the teenager’s room.




My sister in law’s sister (got that?!!) has this fabulous antique French sofa upholstered with a silk velvet.  The velvet is actually so old, it’s rubbed off in places where it has gotten the most wear over the years.   To me, this adds to the charm and beauty of silk velvet.




Some favorite uses of velvet:     In this little girl’s room that Sally Wheat designed, the cotton raspberry velvet ottoman makes the room.  I can’t wait to copy this for a client!!!





In Windsor Smith’s study – she used a raspberry silk velvet on one chair and a gold silk velvet on another.  Love, love, love this room!!!


 imageThis blue velvet ottoman seen in Elle Decor is gorgeous.   What a closet!!!



    image Pure Style Home’s Lauren Liess used this apple green velvet on a sofa in her living room.   So fresh!  Originally she was going to have a slipcover made for versatility, but I think she may have abandoned that idea. 



imageI love this aqua velvet ottoman Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen used in this master bedroom!   Again – I love cotton velvet for it’s matte like finish.




Velvet curtains?   The simplicity of Ina Garten’s apartment makes the silk velvet curtains a stand out.   Just don’t use red velvet for curtains!!!


 imageI’ve never used velvet for curtains before myself – but who can ever forget Scarlett O’Hara ripping up her green velvet curtains to make a dress to impress Rhett Butler?

I know how often I say that linen is my favorite fabric, but I surprised myself when I realized how much I actually like velvet!  I suppose the lesson is to think outside your box sometimes????   Next, I’ll be saying I don’t like seagrass.


NOTE:  New Skirted Roundtable is up with Diane Dorrans Saeks, noted author.  Listen HERE.