weather icon Clear

Sliding panels provide privacy, splash of color

During the past few months, I’ve been asked how I would solve an increasingly common dilemma. It seems that stationary bikes, treadmills, weights and other exercise equipment are intruding on the peaceful ambiance of the bedroom. I have to agree: Waking up to the sight of metal contraptions meant to make you sweat is not my idea of bliss. But with today’s smaller living spaces, what can you do?

In the same vein, but different scenario, a busy family home has the living room and den side by side, offering ample room for two distinct groups to gather. They each want privacy.

I envision the same solution for both questions. Retractable room dividers or sliding panels will block out the athletic equipment and allow the kids to play with their friends — heard but not seen. These panels slide along a sleek aluminum track that is mounted to the ceiling, and open and close easily. Graber panels, www.graberblinds.com, are available in wood and fabric, so you can design your own look. The panels also can be exchanged to match your seasonal decorating.

If privacy is not the issue, but sunlight is, then the solar shade fabrics allow you to maintain your exterior views while cutting glare on computer and TV screens. These panels can be installed anywhere, and you have the option of hiding the track with a cornice for a traditional fitted appearance.

Like a movable wall, they add a layer of texture and color — a good alternative when you want to divide a room or build in some privacy.

DEAR DEBBIE: We are renovating our kitchen and would value your advice on the floor color. The cabinets are white, and the solid-surface counters are dark brown. We want laminate, but not a hardwood look, as there is real hardwood in the hall and dining room. Should we go light or dark? What about a slate pattern? — Hazel

DEAR HAZEL: I agree — choose something different that will not fight with the hardwood that is in place. Slate is a wonderful option in a greenish hue. But what about taking a peek at some of the laminates that have a contemporary feel with brighter colors or ranges that give the illusion of metal floors? The new linoleums have fabulous choices. I would go with a warm copper tone.

DEAR DEBBIE: I have just renovated my kitchen with a bit of wall painting left to do. I love the idea of teal, but I’m afraid it will be too dark. The flooring is brown/blue/gold/slate, the lower cabinets are brown, the white uppers have glass fronts, and the backsplash mosaic is white with red, teal, blue, black, green and yellow accent tiles. Rather than solid paint, is there a technique that will dilute the teal so it’s not overwhelming? — Lisa

DEAR LISA: I love the idea of teal. Here’s an idea: Create a tone-on-tone oversize checkerboard effect. Apply light teal in two coats as a base coat. When dry, map out 12- or 14-inch squares and mask off. Paint alternate squares either in a slightly darker tone of teal or with a high-gloss varnish.

This will take you a weekend; the measuring takes the longest, but if you cut a piece of cardboard or tile, you can measure around this. The look is sophisticated and fun.

Debbie Travis is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. E-mail questions to her at house2home@debbietravis.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Synthetic grass options are better than ever

Today’s synthetic turf advances have addressed many long-held questions that have plagued them, and many high-quality offerings make it difficult to distinguish them from a rich green fescue grass.

Make sure new purchase fits in home

The best thing you can do before you shop for anything is to measure all of the space in your home around where you want the new piece to go. Measure your doorways, hall widths and how much space you have to fill with the new piece.

Interior designers stay ‘ahead of the curve’

The fashion world has an influence on home textiles and interior design. It is usually introduced back east and slowly moves west.

Thoroughly clean driveway before asphalt repair

Asphalt repair is pretty straightforward. Start by cleaning out the debris in the holes. Pull out any vegetation. Get rid of any loose asphalt. You want to get down to a firm area so the patch has something to grab.

Bad home renovations that will hurt your home’s value

While it’s natural to want to make improvements to increase your home’s resale value, some renovations will actually cost you money in the long run

Textured tiles add dimensionality

Textured and raised tile concepts have increased in popularity in the past decade. Experts say it’s largely because of the fact that many of these aesthetic touches are flexible. You can see them in ultra-modern or ultra-traditional spaces and everything in between.

Deep watering stakes not necessarily needed for new tree

The annual South Valley Rose Show will be held Nov. 9 at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices on the corner of Windmill Lane and Paradise Road. Rosarians will be present to answer questions about growing roses in our hot desert climate and poor soils from 1 to 4 p.m.

Empty room of everything to find focal point

To find a room’s focal point, empty a room of everything. That way you can look at the room’s bones and best features. If you’re starting with your family or living room, a fireplace, a window with a pretty view or a built-in wall unit can serve as a focal point.