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