Interior Design for Living: Inexpensive draperies brighten an apartment

By SUSAN GILL SPELLMEYER

Q: I've just moved to an apart­ment where I will be living for only a year or so. I have to cover my bedroom window for privacy but don't want to purchase expensive draperies or anything I won't be able to use later. Do you have any ideas?

A: Get two sheets in a colorful pattern that together measure at least twice the width of the window. Feed a wooden pole, painted or stained, through the larger hem by merely opening the ends. Then baste the bottom hem up, without cutting it, to a length that just misses the floor. When you move, you will have two perfectly good usable sheets and, in the meantime, you've en­joyed your draperies.

Another idea is not to put any­thing on the window, but purchase a folding screen which could be wallpapered or covered with fabric and moved at will. This could be effective in providing privacy today and offer versatility in the future.

Q: I have spent hours in the wallpaper store trying to select pa­per for my house and often come home with nothing. It is so frustrat­ing and confusing. Can you give me any hints?

A: Consider what you want the wallpaper to do. If it's for a formal dining room, for example, don't worry too much about the prac­ticality and concentrate on the ap­pearance. Silk, grass cloth or hand­ prints may be some considerations. Wallpaper for a kitchen should be washable and more durable — prob­ably a vinyl or, at the least, vinyl coated. If it's going over a wall in poor condition, select heavier wallpaper which will camouflage the imperfections. Fabric-backed papers are good for this.

Next, think about the room itself and what design might look attractive. In a small room, you don't want too large of a print.

If you have a lot of wall hangings, pictures, baskets and accessories, you may want to use a texture in an appeal­ing color to form a background for these objects.

Consider your wall space. If it's all cut up with windows and doors, be careful that the pattern isn't too large or it, too, will be "all cut up." If you're using it for an accent wall, you may want a large, colorful pattern to create a dramatic effect. Before you walk into the store, know the size of your room. Bring samples of carpeting, fabric and paint to help you with your color. And select a store with experienced salespeople who are willing to guide you.

When you have made two or three tentative selections, take them home. Live with them. Analyze the effect in various lights, and walk in and out of the room of left. Feel your reactions to each sample. If you decide you prefer one and the more you look at it, the more you like it, order it.

Q. My husband and I want to decorate our living room. We're starting from scratch and we're on a tight budget. We need your advice — we can't afford to make mis­takes.

A: The most important thing to do when you're tackling a large project like this is to know before you start exactly where you're going to end up. Don't just im­pulsively buy something because you like it. It will probably be wrong.

Start off with a good floor plan. Work it out to scale on paper after you've written down what function the room needs to perform for you. Cut out templates and move them around on the graph of the room, walk through the room.