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Decorate Your Home Like a Pro with These Easy Steps

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You've moved into your new home, unpacked the boxes, arranged and rearranged the furniture, and hung a few things on the walls. Hmmm. You know, or think you know how you want your rooms to feel but can't get from the builder's white walls and your old stuff to that beautiful comfy, inviting look you got when you were in the model of the home you purchased?

Before you panic and accurate anxiety sets in, know there are more easy solutions at your fingertips than ever before. There are decorator magazines, home decorating shows, websites, retailers, and great books with excellent instructions. Revisiting model homes will help. Okay, you say, I see them, I buy them, I visit them, I like them, but how do I do it? I don't know where to begin.

Start with one room you love in a magazine or model home. We'll call it your dream room. If you can go to the model home to feel and study the space or the room, you will get the best results. Ask if you may take pictures of the models too. This will help when you get home and when you shop. Take a tape measure and a spiral notebook to make notes and draw sketches. I like the ones with plastic tabs and pockets inside.

Let's start decorating by seeing what we like.

Are all the walls the same color and the ceiling too? What color(s) are in the room? Write this down. Is there a chair rail, decorative molding at the top, wall covering, or faux painting? What is on the floor? Is there tile, wood, carpet, or area rugs? What color and texture, and pattern? Is the area rug braided, a Persian carpet, or a contemporary design diagonally placed partly under one of the chairs and sofa?

What style is the furniture? Is it all a matching set? Do all the woods match? Maybe the sofa and club chairs are the same styles and wood finish, but the chairs have patterned upholstery, and the sofa is a solid or striped fabric. Write this down.

How is the furniture arranged? Does the sofa sit in the middle of the room, separating the conversation area from the game table, or is all the furniture pushed up against the walls? Draw a small floor plan, so you don't forget when you get home.

The windows. Are there blinds, shutters, valence, or draperies? Are the rods large or small, wood or metal with massive finials? Could you make a note of it? If panels are on each side of the window, do they go all the way to the floor? What color are they? Do they match the walls, or are they the same fabric as the toss pillows on the sofa? Is it the drapery hold back that catches your eye? You will have to consider the exposure and privacy of your windows when you make your final window treatment selection.

The allure is the accessories. This is often what many people love most about the model homes or magazine pictures that inspire them. The details, the little things we all love to collect and buy when we shop. This is what pulls the room together and gives it your personality. In the room you love, what kind of lamps are there? Is there a place to store the things you need to put away? Are there several things grouped on the coffee table? What sizes are they? Is there something pretty tall, a large round platter set on a stand and a box all grouped? If there are photographs on the end tables, how big are they, and how does the frame style work with everything else in the room?

What is on the walls? Is there one large picture over the sofa, or is there an arrangement of black and white photos in different size frames? What color is the matting, and how much space from the image to the edge? Details, details, details. Draw a sketch of the picture arrangement and the sizes in your notebook.

Congratulations. You have just completed the first step to decorating your own home.

You know what you want, how it goes together, and what it will look like. You don’t have to break the bank now to create your room. You probably already have the furniture pieces and accessories. You may already have the lamps and area rug as well. You may have to recreate and rearrange.

Get started. The paint store selects the paint chips that best match your dream room. Grab several samples; color can be deceiving and look different depending on the light. Take them back to the model home and see which ones match the best. Buy the paint and paint the room.

Your window treatment. If you copy your dream room, ensure you have covered the proper privacy and exposure considerations. This is where a lot of people go astray. They think they like shutters and buy them. Then they don't want them and wonder how their dream room went wrong. Your dream room may have been airier with a shade and drapery panels on large wood poles. The wrong blinds, shutters or draperies, and hardware can be a costly mistake that you probably won't change.

Arrange your furniture for conversation, TV watching, family fun, reading, eating, or homework, keeping in mind your dream room. Was all the table lined up on one side of the room? Your sofa may be the wrong color, and your chairs may need to be redone. That doesn't mean you have to buy all new; consider slipcovers. You can buy them or make them. Be sure your accessories are things you want around you and are of a grand enough scale for your space. Voila! You're on your way to decorating confidence and living in the home that makes you and your family happy.




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