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Invest In Home Decorating

"Not all improvements need to be big-ticket items: there are many do-it-yourself options that will bring your house into the 21st century that are easy, inexpensive and innovative."

Invest in a More Inviting Home

Website: http://www.aracontent.com

(ARA) - With the stock market's volatility, and the financial insecurities of the high-tech industry, consumers are opting to invest their money in their largest existing investment, the home. Homeowners are revamping not because their fixtures have worn out or more space is needed, but because they want to. Some of the intriguing items on the market today are high-end sinks, stone countertops and refrigerator and dishwasher drawers for the kitchen. Detailed embellishments from crown moldings and ceiling tiles to medallions, pocket doors and windows are becoming popular. Not all improvements need to be big-ticket items: there are many do-it-yourself options that will bring your house into the 21st century that are easy, inexpensive and innovative. They will not only refresh it but also increase its value.

A casual ambiance can be updated by moving from the shabby to a more comfortable, chic look. One technique is to use surfaces that are finished to show loving wear, but are not flea market finds. As part of this look, shuttered doors and windows are still prevalent, but they are more solid and may be pocketed into the wall. Hardwood floors have a clean appearance, and can showcase furniture better than wall-to-wall carpeting. New pre-finished products allow this kind of floor to be a low-ticket item. To update a room, choose a single piece of refinished reproduction furniture, such as a Shaker cupboard or a Queen Ann chair painted a soft buttery yellow or a periwinkle blue. Sand the edges and the piece will take on a worn, but gently aged patina. Hang a vintage lace tablecloth with clips from a simple wrought iron rod and draw it back with an old piece of jewelry to immediately add charm.

Hanging wallpaper, once a feared task, has been made friendlier with a product that is strippable, pre-trimmed and pre-pasted. Borders are the ultimate in do-it-yourself decorating. With a little planning, a simple side wall pattern can be chosen, such as Chesapeake Wallcoverings' Tea Towel Stripe, from their new Home and Heritage book and a border design depicting Blue Stoneware. When you're ready for a change, the old border can be easily peeled off, and a new border added, like Cheaspeake's Tin Hearts and Stars design. This is a very flexible option and an inexpensive choice for the consumer, since the whole process of hanging borders will take less than an hour.

Formality is even more evident in traditional décor. Crown moldings and ceiling medallions are being seen in model homes and shelter magazines. The easiest way to update is to mix styles of traditional furniture from different rooms. A Windsor or camelback settee could be moved from the foyer or living room and used as seating at a Regency dining table. Decorators are not opposed to mixing furniture styles and the homeowner shouldn't be either. Great style is not confined to a single era or period; it crosses many. A room should be, above all, warm and inviting and personal. It should not appear to have been lifted from a showroom floor, but built with love and use over many years. When it comes to accessorizing the room, think of a bouquet of wild flowers. Nothing matches, but each bloom blends with the next to create a harmonious effect.

Keep the background simple when combining styles by using a small print or a stripe on the wall, such as Chesapeake Wallcoverings' Apple Blossom Toss or Winterberry Spot, or use a border to unify the space. Include different textures and trims in the accessories. Implement a variety of medium and small-scale prints for the chairs, pillows, and lampshades, keeping the colors in the same shades and intensities. For instance, if using a deep green on the sofa, pick it up again in the small print on the wall. Because the print is small and diffused by the background, the color does not overwhelm. Introduce a large scaled floral on the sofa in throw pillows, with only a small amount of the same dark color, but with one or two complementing hues of the same intensity. Trim with a short bullion fringe in the main color. On a side chair, use a medium print of a fleur-de-lis or a tapestry, again using the main color from the sofa and also the secondary or tertiary color. Trim with one of the secondary colors from the sofa pillows.

Keep windows simple when using fabric patterns. If investment is the goal, install plantation or pocket shutters. These allow privacy and need little enhancement. Use only valences or cornice boards instead of heavy drapery panels. A cornice board can be easily created by upholstering Styrofoam or wooden boards, precut for this purpose. These aids are found at fabric and home improvement stores. Another simple solution is to hang a beautiful remnant of fabric over a decorative rod. These can be quickly changed for the season or when a newer look is desired; it looks expensive, but isn't. Privacy with top-only window treatments can be obtained with the addition of opaque or sheer curtains. Use the same large or medium print on the windows that was used on existing accessories to keep the area unified, but don't try to use too many colors and patterns. Some decorators do this with success; a novice should keep to three or less.

Contemporary décor calls for simplicity, unadorned lines, and either a unity or stark contrast of color. Starting with the walls, a faux finish design from Cheaspeake Wallcoverings' Weekends on the Water is simple to hang and does not require days of labor or fancy sponges. Using this all over pattern as a base, extract a color, such as sea foam green, to use on the floor with area rugs, and again on the windows with sheer panels embroidered with a small design. A possibility for the bedroom is to paint a pencil four-poster bed a contrasting color, such as lilac or blue, but in the same intensity as the walls and windows. Then try hanging tie-dyed fabric from each post. In the family or living room the largest piece should be a contrasting color, a blue leather sofa or a large painted bookshelf or chest. The accessories, kept to a minimum, should be a couple of shades lighter, but in the same color palette as the accent piece. Leave patterns alone for contemporary decor.

Wallpaper, wood flooring and detailed moldings are taking us back to what is familiar and comfortable and forward into a future that needs to be flexible and adaptable to the times. For all styles, the anchors of a large piece of furniture, simple sidewalls and a wood floor don't need to change, only the accessories. Updating is costly when new additions are built or expensive appliances are purchased; but updated wallpaper, flooring, or detailed carpentry embellishments are within everyone's budget and can be enjoyed immediately.

Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to our disclaimer.

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