Ten Tips to More Successful Decorating Ten Tips to More Successful Decorating

1. Hang pictures at eye level. People frequently make the mistake of hanging photos too high. Hanging them at eye level for the average person's height will enable them to be enjoyed and also make them work better with the furnishings, such as sofas and chairs.

2. Use accessories in odd-numbered groups. It's just a matter of balance. Odd numbers - such as three or five - work better than even-numbered groupings of four or six.

3. Use wallcovering borders. Borders define your lifestyle. They not only are decorative, but frequently they can be a reflection of your interest. There are novelty borders that depict gardening scenes, sports activities - such as golfing or fishing - or well-loved children's characters, such as Winnie the Pooh or Peter Rabbit. Use borders creatively around doors or windows, at ceiling or chair-rail heights to give personality to your room.

4. Decorate for your lifestyle. If you move frequently, you may want to choose neutral furnishings that can go with any decor. Or buy area rugs and extra fabrics that you can take to your new home. If you have young children and pets, choose easy-to-clean carpets and colors that camouflage dirt and scuff marks.

5. Use paint to minimize home's defects and accentuate positive features. For instance, use light colors to make a room look bigger. Or dark colors to make a room look more cozy and intimate. You can accent a room's feature - such as a pipe or post - by painting it a different color from the rest of the room, or de-emphasize it by painting it the same color.

6. Use wallcovering suited to your home. Choose lightly-colored textures and small prints for a smaller room; opt for larger prints and darker backgrounds for a larger room. Use stripes to give a room the illusion of height. Use wallcoverings to tie rooms together. For instance, a living room and adjoining dining room can be done in the same or similar patterns to give a sense of cohesiveness.

7. Look for coordinating products. Many of today's wallcovering sample books feature a whole gamut of coordinating home fashion products, such as borders, fabrics, comforters, pillow shams, place mats, table rounds, and shower curtains. By selecting a specific collection that features these products, you can put together a whole cohesive decorating package for a relatively low cost.

8. Have a focal point. Your focal point can be virtually anything - a fireplace, a painting, an entertainment center. By having a focal point, you can decorate to accentuate the focal point and give your room a sense of cohesion.

9. Collect photos of rooms you love. If you're not sure how to define your decorating style, start collecting photos from decorating magazines. Look at the photos to determine what is the same about them - same colors, same styles, same types of furnishings. Once you've determined that, you can pretty well draw some conclusions about what styles are right for you.

10. Work from a total plan. When decorating your home, don't just go piecemeal from room to room. Work up a plan for the entire home, including budget and timetable. As you go along, you can be on the lookout for products that work within your plan. Your neighborhood decorating center will be glad to help you devise this plan and work at making it become a reality.

Courtesy of the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association

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