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Five Uses For…

Five designers tell us what they love about ribbon.

Just as the fashion set loves its ballerina flats with bows, interior designers recognize the classic yet whimsical effect of ribbon. All you need is one spool to unfurl a flurry of possibilities. Here’s a little inspiration from five pros who are going with the grosgrain.

Photograph: Katrina Wittkamp
Prime ribbons: A stack of beautiful ideas from Soutache.

1 Wall border  “We often use decorative cording or ‘tape’ [ribbon that’s about two inches wide] as the accent or border on upholstered walls. With a solid fabric, maybe silk or cashmere, I would use it along all the edges: at the ceiling, baseboard, and inside and outside corners. It adds a great detail to the treatment and takes the already luxurious application and makes it purely decadent.” -Frank Ponterio, interior designer, 847-234-5704, frankponterio.com

2 Table covering  “For a unique tablecloth, wrap a table width-wise with ribbon. Either cover the entire surface with a variety of patterns and widths, or leave spaces between place settings to imply fitted placemats across from each other.” -Meryl Levenstein, co-owner of Lililak, a company that specializes in decorative elements for homes and special events, 847-831-4184

3 Room divider  “Remove the fabric from the wood or metal frame of a folding screen, cut strips of ribbon to the appropriate length, and sew rod pockets at the tops and bottoms of each strip. Attach them vertically, side-by-side, or with space between the ribbons. If it’s done tightly, you can weave in horizontal ribbons as well. Let the ends hang, or go for a more tailored look. You could also just tie the ends of the ribbons to the rods for a more free-flowing look.” -Maili Powell, owner of Soutache, a decorative trim shop, 2125 N. Damen Ave., 773-292-9110

4 Chair rail  “Use a wide, pretty ribbon instead of a chair rail. I recommend a grosgrain or embroidered one. It’s a good way to incorporate an accent color, such as red, that you don’t want to use too much of in a room. For example, I could see a room with taupe on top and chocolate at the bottom, with a ribbon that has gold, wine, and forest green in it. For attaching it, I’ve had good luck with Fabri-tac fabric glue.” -Claudia Pareja, owner of upholstery boutique Kachi Bachi, 2041 N. Damen Ave., 773-645-8640, kachibachi.com

5 Bookshelf trim  “Use ribbon as a border along the edges of thin bookshelves to give them a more finished look. The fun of using ribbon is to find some wonderful design that is striped or picot-edged and then to select coordinating-but preferably contrasting-colors to use it with."  -Alessandra Branca, interior decorator, owner of the showroom Atelier Branca, 1325 N. State Pkwy., 312-787-6123, branca.com

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