Home & Garden

Magazine ideas: Plain pillows transformed by a few quick stitches

Billows of pillows, with mix-and-match shams and bolsters artfully stacked atop one another, is a popular look in the home magazines.

From a practical standpoint, it can be a hassle to remove and then rearrange a pile of pillows on a bed or sofa you use every day. But a guest room or seldom-used formal living room is another story. The fall issue of Creative Home, a special-interest publication of Better Homes and Gardens, advises buying inexpensive plain pillows and customizing them. Hobby stores are full of trims, ribbons, buttons and gewgaws that are perfect for personalizing pillows.

The magazine shows a pillow that has been decorated with a flock of butterflies. Butterfly shapes were cut from several colors of felt and sewn through the thorax with a couple of stitches to secure them, letting the wings flap free.

Elsewhere in this issue:

— A large weathered tin ceiling tile makes an offbeat backsplash behind a stove. This homeowner also made her own kitchen island that's exactly the right height by mounting an old desk atop a handcrafted base.

— If storage space isn't a concern, sacrifice a closet to make a cozy reading nook. Homeowners removed the closet door in a child's room, enlarged the opening and built in a bench, which they loaded with comfy cushions and pillows. Plaid curtains that hang from a rod in the opening can be pulled when the child wants total privacy for reading or daydreaming.

— A homeowner adds architectural heft to a fireplace by nailing strips of molding to the wall above the mantel in a six-panel pattern, then topping the whole thing at ceiling height with a strip of crown molding. She painted all the molding and the drywall inside the panels white to match the rest of the room's woodwork.