Decorating filter: Windows, doorways, and no talent
October 11, 2008 8:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm moving into a new home soon and, sadly, I have absolutely no interior decorating talent whatsoever. I've managed to get by most of my adult life by snagging ideas from magazines and tv shows, but two things about my new house have me stumped. Here's where you come in...

Challenge One: There is a large and beautiful window over the front door with a ledge underneath. From the outside, the window frames a gorgeous chandelier that's hanging in my entryway. Indoors, I think the ledge wants something on it, but short of a bucket of water and a rope so I can douse my guests with a surprise bath, I can't think of what to put there. Actually, there are a couple more ledges of this sort in the living room with picture windows very high up on the wall (the room has cathedral ceilings).

So, what can I put on these ledges? I don't want plants, fake or otherwise, so what does that leave me? My tastes trend more toward modern, clean, eclectic, and even a bit kitchy. I don't care for country, cutesy, or flowery.

Challenge Two: I'm taking over one of the downstairs rooms as my home office. Neither entry into the room (there's two) has doors, so what can I do to create faux-doors? I'm not concerned with keeping sound or pets out, so the solution doesn't have be a solid door-substitute. I considered the type of curtains found in the doorways of Japanese shops, but don't think I can pull it off without making it look like a dorm room. I was thinking of beaded door hangings, though I don't want it too look like I've cordoned off the hookah room.

So, MeFites, help me decorate my place, and we'll have a virtual housewarming party when I move in. Thanks!
posted by _Mona_ to Home & Garden (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Challenge one: how about some substantial candle holders and/or decorative vases with some willow stems or bamboo sticks, arranged nicely? (Places like Pier 1 should be able to help you here)

Challenge two: how about a shoji screen?
posted by AV at 8:33 AM on October 11, 2008

Neat bottles, pottery, maybe interesting figrues for the ledge. I have a three foot tall rearing horse on mine.

Doorway could use screen or maybe a bambo curtain...
posted by bjgeiger at 8:47 AM on October 11, 2008

Challenge 1:
- Some funky paper garlands
- A minimalist flat of grass (may count as a plant)
- Branches that drape organically over the edge

Challenge 2:
- Sliding panels like this
- A lush wall of pleated velvet or silk (double track ceiling mount) that extends wider than the door itself, like this, this or this.
posted by cocoagirl at 9:05 AM on October 11, 2008

I vote for nothing on the door ledge. Anything placed that high up will have to be pretty large to be visible and to fit the scale of its placement near a big dramatic window, and that would muck up the view of the chandelier from the outside. If you're dead set on it, it would have to be something that is equally attractive from both sides of the window, and I'm coming up with nada.

For doors, I would second/third/fourth shoji screens. If you can't source them, louvered bifold doors from the home depot are an easy option.
posted by brain cloud at 9:44 AM on October 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

Letters. Big, vintage plasstic or wooden or aluminum letters.
posted by cachondeo45 at 9:48 AM on October 11, 2008

Letters. Big, vintage plastic or wooden or aluminum letters.
posted by cachondeo45 at 9:48 AM on October 11, 2008

Challenge 1 - Nothing. That spot will be too high to put anything of small scale. Anything large will distract from the chandelier when viewed from the outside. Also, are you planning to climb up there and dust tchotchkes? (Of course, if it's really high up maybe you can ignore the dust.) Focus your decorating energy at eye level and keep the ledges for later.

Challenge 2 - Why are you blocking off the room? Is it to hide clutter or some other reason? If it's strictly about clutter you could consider getting additional storage to keep the clutter to a minimum. Depending on the doorway, you might consider having pocket doors installed. They are a nice solution for areas where a full door and frame aren't acceptable.
posted by 26.2 at 9:56 AM on October 11, 2008

Challenge 1 - I like the idea of glass bottles -- blues and greens are always pretty and quite modern.

Challenge 2 - IKEA has sliding panels that one can use in lieu of curtains, I think I've seen something similar at CB2, also, using marimekko fabrics. Or just a curtain.
posted by echo0720 at 10:45 AM on October 11, 2008

Photos are always most helpful. ;) But in the meantime a few questions.

For the foyer: How much room is between the ledge and the ceiling and how far out does the ledge go beyond the actual door frame? Is there any sort of decorative moulding at the ceiling or is it a clean line and what colour are the walls (are you leaving everything white)?

For the office: Again, how much room between the top of the door frame and the ceiling? Where are the doorways in relation to the corners of the room (are they splat in the middle of the wall or are they near the corners and kind of out of the way)? What is the floor covering situation? What are you planning on doing to the windows? Are there other doors in the room (i.e., closets)?

Are you looking do cover the doorways for privacy purposes, to play hide the shit, to protect from drafts or just do dress it up?
posted by dancinglamb at 11:02 AM on October 11, 2008

do=to in that last sentence. my kingdom for editing abilities. *sigh*
posted by dancinglamb at 11:05 AM on October 11, 2008

I think "nothing" might be the right answer for the ledges, too, but it's hard to say without seeing what they look like. By "ledge" do you mean the bottom part of the window frame that happens to be wide enough to set something on, or do you mean something that sticks out, like a shelf?

If it's more shelf-like and sturdy, you could try colored glass block. Just a few, randomly placed. Nothing too pattern-y or assembled looking.

Pictures would get you much better answers, but if you're not yet moved in, that might be a challenge of its own...
posted by donnagirl at 12:05 PM on October 11, 2008

Vote for nothing on the ledge on the door. Picture frames or an interesting statue on the others. Remember, they don't have to be family pictures in the frames - something colorful and abstract or a B&W cityscape might work well.
posted by metahawk at 12:15 PM on October 11, 2008

Spend a while on these websites and you'll have a dearth of ideas for these issues. And they have great links to sales, posts on other design/remodeling blogs and surprisingly cool stuff from catalogs. And TONS of photos with ideas.
- Apartment Therapy - not just apartments
- Design*Sponge
- decor8
- Desire to Inspire
- Door Sixteen
- sfgirlbybay
- Poppytalk
- Remodelista
- Desire to Inspire
- Also check out Domino Magazine - the website has a cool new feature where you can store inspiration images (from their website, any other website, or anything you upload directly) to your own "deco file". It's a great way to keep it all organized by room.
posted by barnone at 1:16 PM on October 11, 2008 [10 favorites]

(sorry, not dearth of ideas. abundance of ideas.)
posted by barnone at 1:17 PM on October 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all the awesome suggestions!

Dancinglamb, my goal for the doorways is to provide a visual cue to let my kids know when they can and can't just walk in and start babbling at me. Also, since I work from home, I'd love to be able to just "shut my office door" and walk away in the evening. Right now, my desk is in a common area of my house and there's no separation between work and home life. It drives me crazy.
posted by _Mona_ at 7:16 AM on October 12, 2008

Your kids can't bother you in the office if they CAN'T FIND THE OFFICE! Muah ha ha ha ha!

Seriously, though. I have always wanted one of those. It annoys me that the setup in my current place makes it impossible.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:14 AM on March 3, 2009

« Older Dishing up mosquito larvae   |   How do I get around this minor Letter of Rec issue... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.