Thursday, February 19, 2009

Decorating Your Home - When Doing It Yourself Doesn't Make "Cents"

Perhaps you’ve just moved into a new home or you’ve recently downsized. Or maybe the 80’s have called and want their furniture back! Whatever the situation is, you realize it is time to “redecorate.” So, where to begin? And, should you do it yourself? To avoid costly mistakes, such as buying furniture that is too large for your home, take some extra time to analyze your space like a professional designer.

The first thing I tell my clients seeking that “magazine” look for their home is, “Do your homework; start clipping magazine photos of rooms, color schemes and furniture styles that you like.” Then, ask yourself some basic questions:

* Who uses the room?
* Do you have young children, teenagers or pets?
* What is your lifestyle? Are you homebodies? Do you want to entertain?

In a house full of kids and pets, one should look for more durable, pet-friendly fabrics so that everyone can enjoy the room. I particularly love the new outdoor fabrics that have the look and feel of fine indoor fabrics – only they hold up like Teflon in such high traffic areas as the eating area.

If you are using existing furniture, determine what items to keep by asking yourself:
* What items are needed for the intended function of the room?
* Where is the best placement of each item?
* Is the piece a quality-made item that will stand up to use for years to come?
* Does the entire arrangement work well?

Once, you’ve determined what stays, take precise width and depth measurements of each piece and create a floor plan (there are some great free floor planning sites on line) considering the following items.

* Will there be enough room to walk around the furniture? Do we need to consider ADA guidelines for someone using a walker or wheelchair?
* Does the scale of the furniture work well in the room?

I’ve seen people move into a large home yet still try to utilize the under-scaled furniture from their previous, smaller home. No matter how much they like it, it just never looks good in the large space nor does it feel warm or welcoming to their guests.

* Establish patterns through furniture arrangement – always keep ease of movement in mind.
* Establish a focal point – whether it’s a TV or fireplace – and arrange furniture groupings around this.
* Furniture arrangement must be convenient for activities, whether it’s watching TV or entertaining; eating a meal or sleeping.

* What mood are you trying to convey? What image do you want to project?
* How does the lighting contribute to the style and function of the space?

These are just some basics to keep in mind – for a well-thought out room design tailored to the needs and lifestyle of your family, it may be in your best interest to consider working with a professional decorator. If you found these tips helpful and would like to subscribe to my decorating E-Newsletter, simply email me at and type "newsletter" in the subject line.

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