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HOME FRONT: Back to the Books; Design Inspiration 

It's almost back-to-school time. So we asked Leslie Segrete of "While You Were Out" and "Trading Spaces" and Richmond designer Marcie Blough, owner of BluMarc Designs, to share some easy and creative design ideas. They're worth trying out in a dorm, apartment or teenager's room.

Segrete's Suggestions:

1. Create your own custom-shaped memo boards using Homasote (found at hardware stores). Add decorative tacks, cover with fabric, use multiple pieces to create a tile effect or form a ribbon grid to make a photo holder.

2. Give your walls a painted effect using 6-inch ribbon. Mount it diagonally, vertically or horizontally.

3. For harsh lighting: Hang a Japanese paper umbrella under a fixture, or place pieces of theatrical gel (at any theatrical supply company) inside the shade.

4. Use theatrical gel to create a stained-glass window. Spray your window with cleaner, arrange the gel pieces and use a squeegee to flatten.

5. Use binder clips to attach a bedsheet to the top of the window and tuck it in at the bottom of your blinds to create a Roman shade.

Blough's Suggestions:

1. Make your own frame by joining pieces of wood cut at a hardware store. Paint it, put paper or fabric behind it and mount your poster on it. Multiple frames and backgrounds create a mosaic look.

2. String a rope across your room and hang photos with clothespins for a darkroom look.

3. Attach nonflammable items to each bulb of a string of lights.

4. Cut a 12-inch-wide extra-long strip of fabric and let it hang from the top of the window to the floor.

5. Use snap-together cubes. Arrange them in a different way for a unique storage system.

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