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tipsTimeless Tips

Less is more. If an item in the home is not useful or beautiful, then it’s best to give it to someone who can use or appreciate it.

By Cathy Osoria

Don’t feel guilty about keeping inherited items that are just cluttering space.  A few style-defining quality pieces speak louder than lots of knick-knacks. Displaying collections at different levels in smaller clusters will spotlight them creating more interest and a clean simple look. Larger “chunkier” accessories can replace lots of small scale clutter.

Everything doesn’t need to be “matchy matchy.”(Mix, don’t match.) Don’t be afraid to combine different design styles to create more interest. Yes, there should be something that holds it all together whether it is a theme, color or a style.  Try mismatching furniture like end tables or nightstands, mixing metals, mixing old with new and  combining floral and graphic prints.  Use abstract art to offset classic furniture.  If traditional decor is looking stuffy, then pop a modern classic unexpected piece into the room.

Move furniture from walls. Furniture pushed against the walls usually leaves an awkward large space in the middle of the room that can be unattractive and uninviting.  Create cozy conversation groupings by mixing chairs and sofa and placing accent tables (possibly with lighting) within reasonable reach.

Rooms should flow together. Creating unity throughout the home helps to avoid a confusing “choppy” look and can make a home appear larger.  This can be achieved with color, like materials, overall theme or style and flooring. A good color relationship can be achieved in adjoining rooms by using complimentary or coordinating colors of paint. Flooring like hardwoods running throughout the home will prevent rooms from looking disconnected.

Every room can use a touch of black.This may seem strange in a room of neutrals and pastels.  Using the color black adds a focal point that can ground, anchor and add sophistication to a room.  Black in accessories, trims, lighting, paint or a bold piece of furniture will help sharpen any decorating scheme.

Paint is an inexpensive way to alter any decor and solve many issues. Paint can be used to refurbish furniture, thereby tying a room of mismatched and random pieces together. The last decision should be the choice of paint color. There are unlimited paint choices available and far fewer choices for fabrics, finishes, etc. Let other items be the inspiring factors, and match your paint later.

Speaking of inspiration, start with an inspiration piece. Build the room and color scheme around a cherished piece. Rather than seeking to pull a whole room together all at once, invest in one interesting piece and let it set the room’s tone.
Larger pieces should be neutral and classic. The couch, rug,wallpaper or window treatments set the tone for the entire space.  Choosing solid, calm colors for those larger purchases gives a good foundation. This allows personality to be added with shapes, color and texture later.

Decorate for functional beauty. Decorate for how life is being lived now. If the household includes three large dogs and three children under the age of 7, vinyl furniture and plastic accessories might be a consideration.  The adjustment doesn’t have to be that extreme, but the concept of who will be using the room and the function of the room needs to be kept in mind. Washable slip covered furniture might be a good solution with interesting accessories that are “child friendly” or already “distressed”.  Knowing one’s needs, budget and lifestyle will assure smart decorating decisions.

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