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Do's and Don'ts in Home Decorating & Redecorating

Don't - While it is completely fine to have photographs of your family around the home, avoid overdoing it, especially photos of yourself. Don't turn your home into a kind of shrine of yourself. It will come across as extreme ego to others.

Do - Bringing grass, stones and shells, plants and other outdoor items into your home as part of your decorating will invite the outdoors in.

Don't - Don't try to achieve total perfection in your decorating. Your home needs to look lived in, and sometimes that means a bit of messiness. So everything doesn't always have to be "in its place", so to speak.

Do - Lift your spirits up by adding fresh cut flowers from your local market or your yard.

Don't - Don't think about "matching" colors. Think "blend". Good decorating is NOT a paint by numbers game.

Do - Look for furniture with great lines - its shape and rhythm. If it's something that you know you will love the rest of your life, that's a keeper. You may and probably will tire of fabrics, but they are relatively easy to replace or cover up. So concentrate on the style and line of the furniture.

Do - Keep the overall color scheme or palette similar when mixing patterns. Mix floral designs and stripes together, but try not to complicate the overall decor.

Do - Carefully evaluate the materials you use in your home before you install them. Cool marble flooring may feel great in the summer but terribly unpleasant in winter. Flooring other than carpeting will also add a noise factor. How large a family do you current have? Noise should be a consideration. Wood floors look terrific, but have you carefully evaluated the upkeep and compared that with the upkeep of carpeting?

Do - Place interesting art that expresses who you are around your home. Art can become a great conversation stimulator.

Do - Buy comfortable and functional furniture that evokes a feeling of calm and peacefulness, especially in these times. Natural floor coverings and fabrics like cotton, linen and raw silk will give your home a feeling of serenity and isn't that what we'd all like to come home to?

Don't - Don't follow every furnishing trend that comes down the pike. Choose things that you love. You will live with them for a long time, and your feelings will probably not grow with time. Rule of thumb: Love it or leave it out.

Do - Do mix in a few pieces from other cultures to add interest to your design. Asian lacquered furniture, chests or screens can really add a fabulous dimension.

Do - Remember that much of the time, less is more. One exquisite necklace will be more dramatic and draw far more attention than a necklace with matching earrings and matching bracelet. The same is true in home decorating. Avoid the Levitt's look of matching your sofas with matching tables. It's boring. Mix it up for more impact - just don't overdo it.

Do - Add aromatherapy bath salts, candles and scented soaps to your bathrooms, especially if you have guests.

Don't - Avoid furniture that is heavily used by segments of the population of which you are not a part. For example, cheap, contemporary black lacquer or black leather sofas or combinations of that type are commonly used by bachelors in their early career days. Make sure your home expresses who you are now, not what you used to be or never were.

Don't - Don't forget the little things that can make all the difference: table linens, dishware, glassware, sconces, flowers and other table ornaments. Dress it up with splashes of color and your good taste. It's worth the extra effort.

Do - Mix up your metals. Don't settle for the same old stuff, like porcelain or stainless steel sinks, or brass bathroom fixtures. Choose instead Sapphire or copper sinks, or chrome or nickel hardware. And always look for quality.

Do - Since the art in your home directly expresses your personality, pick furniture that compliments the art. Don't devalue the art by placing furniture around and near it that competes for attention.

Do - Folding, free standing screens are a great way to delineate and separate one area from another in a room. They are particularly useful in smaller spaces. To separate the office area from the rest of the living room, one creative soul made a 4 foot high lattice divider and stained it, and turned it into an inexpensive room divider. The spaciousness of the room was maintained by keep the divider low and the lattice design allowed visibility through it from both sides, while obscuring the office "mess" from the living room.

Don't - Don't overdo your rooms. Too much of a good thing is simply too much. Add splashes of this and splashes of that, but resist the temptation to cover the place with variations of the same sort of paint, or woods, or metals, or gold leaf, or wallpaper, or whatever the case may be. Strive to constantly have a surprise here and there - making sure that all that you include "feels" good in the space. Good design can be boiled down to "color" and "feeling". Great design will have good color and feeling, but then also will always surprise you.

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Thanks to those of you who were nice enough to respond to my survey. Many of you asked for more photographs in the newsletter, so I will attempt to do that, but please bear in mind that graphics use a lot of memory and make the page too cumbersome for those viewers who have slow dial up modems. So I will never use a huge amount of graphics for that reason. But, hopefully, you'll like this issue.


This arrangement may be a bit artistic, but there is much too much difference in the size of the lamp from the rest of the grouping elements. Reduce heights in smaller segments to be most effective.


Just make sure you really want attention going to anything you add that has a dramatic color change from the furniture and accessories in the area.