02 June 2011

Slipcovers To Dye For ...

Lately I have been in a bit of a house funk.  What with obligations at work and school; with kids and hubby and extended family; with play dates (both child and adult), projects and extra-curriculars (mostly for the kids) AND the dog, there never seems to be any time for the house.  With so many projects currently stalled in mid-launch, I just can't get to the finish line with any of them and it's driving me

C... R... A... Z... Y...

I'd be willing to settle for the house just being clean, but even that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

So when I decided to take a little time-out in my day today to visit all my favourites blogs and just
zizz out for ten minutes, I was totally chuffed to find a project that seems manageable even with my small budget of time, and turns out some seriously spectacular results.  It's time to dye to some slipcovers, people!  But first, let me dial back the clock a bit and start at the beginning.

You may remember way-back-when (OK, so just a couple of months ago) when we upgraded our dining room chairs from these:

to these:

and added the new carpet (as seen above) and the new painting, featured here:

I wish I could! .... "Relax," that is ....

I had big plans for those chairs when I first walked them in the door, which included adding slightly more padding to the seats (they fit hubby fine but the front of the frame hits the back of my knees a little funny, so they're comfortable but only for so long.  I'm aiming to rectify that so I will never want to get up from the table to do the dishes ever again).  Also on my wish list was bleaching out the slipcovers, which are a bit off with age.  Not yellow or grey, I don't mean that.  They just look ... not fresh.  I was hoping that with some soaking in baking soda and lemon, and then a couple of good hot washes with bleach I could get them back to sparkly white.  And then, of course, I plan to darken up those wooden legs to blend with the table a bit better ~ the two different shades of wood look (let's face it) ridiculous right now.

However, as the weeks ticked by and I've had no time to do anything with them, my passion for the white chair is fading.  I LOVE the all-white room and I'm thrilled with the neutral carpet and the dark furniture, but right now it feels very stark.  There's too much contrast.  Yet weirdly, it's bland.

I feel like the dining room - like me! - needs a little boost; a little kick-in-the-pants of color.  Something to get it's heart rate up and the oxygen flowing, right?

So obviously I'm missing some very key pieces in the room but the way I see it: we go one step at a time.  Curtains are a big-time must (I just
can't continue to have the whole street be able to watch me dash from bathroom to laundry room in a towel any more!) and my rational mind says I should select the curtain fabric first and then decide what to do with the chairs, but where's the fun in that?  Seems too easy.  My heart says: buy the dye and see what happens!  Again, though, let me take a step back.

So as I said, I'm
zizzing this afternoon and I'm reading all my favourite blogs, and lo and behold on the very last one on my list (in alphabetical order), lovely Sherry over at Young House Love posted an article yesterday about her recent foray into the world of fabric dye.  She too had dining room chair covers that were not in a color that filled her heart with gladness (I know, that wasn't cool ... I'll try to keep my Rod Stewart references to a minimum) and she just went ahead and DID something about it!  Her slipcover experiments are documented here, and I extend a hearty thanks to her for her detailed play-by-play.  Seeing it posted there with photographic evidence that it actually works is a huge boost!

So I thought to myself,
Self! THIS is something you can do, and you can do it in less than an afternoon.  In fact, you can do while you're doing something else (at least while the washer is running).  How great is that?!  Totally great, that's how.

Which brings me to my point: I want to dye the dining room chair slipcovers.

Which brings me to my dilemma: what color??

A reasonable person would, as mentioned above, NOT make life more difficult for herself (and by extension, her husband, children and everyone else who knows her who can still bear to listen to her wax poetic/whine about her home renos and decorating dilemmas) by committing to a slipcover color before selecting the curtain fabric.  What if I find a curtain fabric I love that doesn't at all match the chair color?  What if I flip-flop once I dye them (
again ... like usual) and change my mind after a few weeks?  Did this experience with the plain white teach me nothing? (yes)  And where does the wallpaper fit in?

Well, I don't know the answer to any of those questions
(except the one, about the lesson of the white, but I'm choosing to ignore that one).  We'll just deal with those bridges when we get to them.

For now, it's a question of color!  Originally I was thinking turquoise curtains, to pull from the art.  Not sure if I'm married to that, or if maybe I should alter my thinking to include pattern (turquoise sari fabric, perhaps, with tangerine and yellow accents? that'd wake up the room!), or go plain and neutral (to coordinate with the rug) or take off in a completely different direction (orange?).  I'd like the chairs to provide a splash of color: somewhere for the eye to stop and absorb the scene.  I'd also like them to act as a bridge between the artwork and the ginormous picture window (eventually with its dressing).  With an extensive range to choose from, thanks to
iDye dye packets, I'm confident we can find the right one.  I've narrowed down the field to the shades I like (goodbye medium blue, black and fire red!) and now comes the heavy lifting.

(should you choose to accept it):
I've been staring at these color blocks for two hours now and I think I know which one I want to go for, but now it's your turn.  Come on, folks ... help a girl out!  Take a peek below and tell me which color would you choose for the chairs, and why?  Sound off in the comments section!