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Before You Begin a Decorating Project . . .

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living roomBefore you begin any decorating project, you need to stop and clearly define what you hope to achieve. When you are contemplating how to arrange and display your accessories, for instance, your aim should be to highlight the qualities of the objects themselves, but you don't want to overwhelm the other furnishings. You also want everything in a room to complement the overall decoration of your home.

So ask yourself some questions. 1) Do you have any objects that you want to show off in a singular, dramatic way?  2) Do you have a group of related objects that you wish to feature in a grouping? 3) Do you wish a group of objects to be seen as a unit?  4) Are you dealing with how to display a host of collectibles?  5) What do you want the display to focus on? Will it be color, form or material or two of these simultaneously?  6) How formal or informal do you want it to be?  7) Do you want objects to be fixed in one place for a long time?  8) Do some of your objects need to be flexibly moved from one location to another?

As you can see, you are faced with a myriad of choices which will determine many of your decisions.  So the more focused you are on your end goals and the more clearly you have thought things through, the more successful the outcome is likely to be.


WHERE TO FIND IDEAS
There are many places you can visit to gather ideas and inspiration. True, you're not likely to be able to acquire the exact object, in many cases, but that's really not the point.  The point is to look around at what is already there and let the creative juices within you activate.  Visit local art galleries and museums.  Look at store window displays with a renewed and focused mindset.  What excites you?  What do you consider to be innovative?  These types of places, while very different from your personal space, may trigger ideas you have never thought of before.

This is a starting place. Look through books, eBooks and magazines. Cut pictures out of magazines that appeal to you and save them in a scrapbook or a special decorating box. Take trips outside your hometown or even your country, if possible, and study the shapes, designs and interiors of places unknown to you.  Fresh ideas will appear.

Let nature influence you.  A walk in the park, a walk along a beach, a drive up a mountain, a visit to a local design center, a visit to the studios of local artists and craftspeople, a visit to a community fair -- these are all additional ways to look at the world around you and see what feelings and instincts it draws out of you.

Study the shapes of objects, their colors and texture. These are some of the ways you can add special interest and surprise to any room in your space.  

"Thanks to you my living room has been transformed from a passage way leading from the front door to the family room, into an inviting place where you'd like to sit down and visit a while!!!!! Jim said when he first walked thru the door...."Hey....I really like this!!!".....this is the same person that doesn't notice anything about the house unless it involves "his" chair! . . . I retained more of the book than I thought....because it definitely came into play today. . . . We've decided that instead of sitting in the dining area to share our day with each other, we are going to sit in our 'new' living room.  Much more comfortable!!!!!" - Sandy Finch

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