Fun Interior Decorating Ideas For Spare Pieces In A Sheet Set

Those extra pieces in a sheet set don't have to be stored or tossed out. Use them for some of these great decorating tips!

So what to do with spare pieces from that expensive "˜bed in a box' or the great sheet set which was on sale? Decorate the rest of your bedroom with them!

Pillow shams generally have only one fabric side which matches the sheets, and the backing is color-coordinated but plain. Use the matching fabric side to create ruffles for those plain curtains already at the windows. (Why not take them down and put them in the washing machine while you prepare their "˜face-lift'?) You'll need a pencil or marker which is visible on the wrong side of the fabric, pins or cellophane tape, sewing scissors, ruler, iron and ironing board, needle, matching thread and a sewing machine. Measure and mark lines two inches apart on the wrong side of the fabric, and then cut the fabric into strips. Using the sewing machine and matching thread, sew the strips together into one long, two-inch wide piece. Now fold and press flat a tiny 1/4 inch edge on one side of the long fabric piece. Do the same thing once more. Carefully stitch this hem using the sewing machine, so you have a nicely-finished edge. Your ruffle is now 1 1/2 inches wide.

Lengthen the stitch area on the sewing machine, and stitch one long, unbroken line along the raw edge of the ruffle. Don't tie the thread off when you get to the end; instead, gently pull the thread to gather the ruffle. Once it's lightly gathered, decide whether you want the ruffle at the bottom of the curtains, at the top, or along the sides or centers of the curtain panels. Divide the ruffle in half so you have enough to trim both curtains. Tape or pin the right side of the ruffle to the right side of the curtain, and stitch close to the edge of both materials. Last step: iron and hang your new curtains.

You can use the sham's color-coordinated plain fabric to cover a lampshade by simply cutting the fabric to fit and gluing it on over the old lampshade, if you wish. A remnant of glued-on braid in a harmonizing color will finish the lampshade nicely.

Another use for a pillow sham is for decorative pillows. First, cut it in half, backing and all. Turn under and press a 1/2 inch hem along the raw, newly-cut side. Use two sofa pillow sized forms or old sofa pillows, and cover each with half of the pillow sham. Pin the opening closed and blind-stitch the edges to finish.

That fitted sheet in the set may not fit one of the newer, thicker mattresses. You can easily turn it into a new skirt for your dressing table or curtains for the window. First draw a line horizontally across each end of the sheet so that all of the gathered corners will be discarded when you cut the fabric along that same line. Next press out any leftover wrinkles in the flat piece of material, and fold the material in half either lengthwise or by the width. Cut along this fold line, and you have the two panels needed for either the dressing table skirt or the window. Hem all four sides of each panel using the sewing machine (or some press-on hemming tape). If the panels are curtains, fold under 1 1/2 inches of sheet material at the top and zigzag stitch along the edge. This creates a rod pocket so the curtain can be hung. Repeat for the other panel. If the panels are for your dressing table, fold under 2 inches of fabric at the bottom and zigzag stitch along the edge for a hem. Now attach the tops of the panels to your dressing table with either thumbtacks or staples. Cover the tacks or staples with braid or ribbon, and you're done.

You can also use one of those same hemmed panels to cover a scrap piece of 1/4 inch plywood which has been padded with an old towel or piece of quilted material glued to the wood, and hang it over the curtain rod for an elegant valance. Use inexpensive "˜L' brackets to hang the valance. Repeat for the other window. (If you only have one window, use the pillow sham to make the valance.)

Finally, use those panels for a regal look above your bed. You'll need two decorative flower pot hanging hooks and one fancy drapery rod finial which will screw into the wall, plus a pencil, yardstick and painter's masking tape, two heavy rubber bands, and a small nail and hammer. Measure carefully, and position the drapery finial on the wall exactly in the center of the head of your bed, 24 inches from the ceiling. Mark with the pencil, and start the screw hole by lightly tapping in a nail. Now screw the drapery finial into the wall. Next measure the distance from the finial to the outside edge of your bed, and put a small strip of painter's masking tape to mark that point. Do the same measurement for the other side.

Now use the yardstick to find the center point of the wall from the finial to the left side of your bed. Put another small strip of painter's masking tape at that point, and pull off the other piece at the far outside edge. Repeat for the other side of the wall. Measure 30 inches from the ceiling, and mark that point on the wall with a pencil. Use the nail and hammer again to start the screw holes for installing the flower pot hanging hooks.

Stitch the two panels together at the top edge in a very shallow seam of about 1/4 inch. Put a rubber band at the free end of each panel and work it up to the seam, letting the rubber band gather the fabric for you. Now place the seam over the finial and let the panels hang straight down. Take the left panel and drape it gracefully over the left flower pot hanging hook. Repeat for the right side, adjusting it so the panels hang at the same level. You can twine silk flowers and ribbons along the hanging hooks if you wish, or leave them plain.

You've used your creativity to fashion a coordinated bedroom!

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