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Bird-Themed Dining Room

Use a variety of fabric ideas to soften dark wood tones for spring, and get step-by-step instructions for slipcovers and fun bird ideas.

Spring Tip #3: Soften wood tones. Use a variety of slipcovers to add color and interest over dark tones.

The furniture in this dining room is nice but not very inviting. Plus, the lack of color, accessories and window treatments doesn't make it a space family and friends would want to spend time in.

After: Softened With Fabric and a Bird Theme

Spring Tip #4: Spring is for the birds! Fabric slipcovers for the table and chairs plus robin's egg blue plates soften the room's furniture. The bird theme is spread around the dining room with eggs tucked into little nests for place cards, birds on the walls and little bird sculptures on each plate as a gift to guests.

wallflower bird ornaments — Anthropology (www.anthropologie.com)
bird sculptures on plates — Pottery Barn

Table Slipcover

Soften harsh wood tones with a tailored table slipcover. Make one yourself following these step-by-step instructions.

Chair "Pillowcase" Slipcover

Chair slipcovers offer guests a comfortable chair while also brightening a room for spring. Want to sew your own? Get the step-by-step instructions here.

Wood Window Valance

Add detail to a window without sacrificing the view with a wooden window valance softened with a linen paint technique.

Materials and Tools:

pine boards (1"x4"x8' and 1"x12"x8')
primer
paint
glaze (Linen by Ralph Lauren) - Home Depot
linen brush
foam rollers
saw
drill
220-grit sandpaper
tack cloth or rags
L-brackets
wood screws
nail gun (or hammer and nails)
wood glue

Steps:

1. Measure the window and make sure valance is wider than window frame by a few inches, depending on how much of the wall you want to cover. Note: If adding curtains, make the valance wide enough so when they're pulled back, they're just covering the edge of the window.

2. Cut two identical pieces of 1x12 to the desired dimensions to create the ends of the valance. This will determine the pitch and depth of the valance.

3. Cut the 1x4 top and front bottom edge pieces to the final width. Cut the 1x12 for the sloped front piece to the same length. Sand the edges and remove dust with a tack cloth or damp rag.

4. Glue edges and nail pieces together to complete the valance shape.

5. Prime, and then apply base coat over entire valance once dry. Be sure to use a color that's lighter than the chosen glaze. This will also be the finished color for the interior.

6. Once dry, apply glaze with a foam roller. Create the look of linen by immediately drawing a dry brush very gently down, and then across the glaze. Let dry.

7. Secure L-brackets to each side of the window. Put the valance in place and secure it to the brackets from the bottom using screws.

A Bird's Nest Fixture

Create the look of a bird's nest in a light fixture by replacing lampshades with woven ones and twist greens around the bottom.

basket buffet lampshades — Ballard Design (www.ballarddesigns.com)

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