Decorating on a budget? Like the look of painted moldings? Pattern and practicality finally meet -- in these affordable, ready-made window shades that can be painted in minutes to perk up any decor. They leave woodwork in view, and they're quickly adjusted to show as much of the shade pattern as you want, so you can change the look with a flick of a wrist. Let the ideas and techniques shown here inspire your own showy shades.
For a balanced design, repeat a bedroom's motifs and color schemes. Borrow patterns such as flowers, stripes, and falling leaves from bedspreads, borders, and upholstery.
Think beyond the bedroom to the screen porch, where matchstick shades can temper the rays of a setting sun. Add color in the kitchen to a Roman shade above a breakfast table. Paint a shade in a powder room, home office, or entry.
Using basic painting supplies along with sponges, stamps, and simple stencils, the technique is easy, fast, and fun. No one has to know how little time it takes to brush up such a lavish look!
This geometric pattern adds movement to a room. Use the end of a dry makeup sponge to dab color with varying pressure between taped-off lines. To change the look, use different tape widths and work in the existing shade color as one of the stripes.
Add a final touch with squiggles, accomplished with a stiff, dry, round-tip brush. Push the paint into the shade fabric to leave a strong, solid line. The shade's tabs extend the stripes and help guide design placement.
A single stencil (and no measuring) makes painting these bold blooms a snap. Low-tack spray adhesive helps hold the stencil in place while you apply color. Keep the paint very light around the outside edges and let some areas fade into nothing.
Leave the stencil in place while you add shadows, and remove it before you paint detail lines. With both large and small spaces to fill, you can use various diameter stencil brushes. The larger the space to fill, the larger the brush you can use.
Light-color paint on a cranberry shade creates dramatic contrast at this window. To align the ferns, first tape and mark horizontal and vertical gridlines. When positioning the design, place the same part of the stamp (such as the tip of the fern) at the same point every time.
For accurate placement of a store-bought stamp such as this one, gently remove the foam backing and replace it with clear Plexiglas.
You can adapt this "rows" technique for other shade ideas; for example, use primary colors and geometric shapes for a child's room or a lineup of fruit to brighten a kitchen.
Decorative painter Vicki Nail matched this design to the feel of the shade. Because bamboo is natural and casual, paint the leaves loosely, allowing some tan background to show.
Apply shades of green using a damp dry sponge stamp to form the mottled leaves, then add outlines, veins, and stems with a liner brush. Using a compressed sponge to create the stamp simplifies this project.
The sponge starts as a dry, flat, paper-thin substance. You can cut it to any shape and easily trim finished edges. Once hydrated, its uneven texture helps accomplish a variegated look.
Tools, paint, and other supplies are available at crafts stores and home improvement centers.
Decorative painter: Vicki Nail