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Interior Design: Getting an Idea

If you're ready to take on the challenge of redecorating your home's interior, start with the basics to help with those important decisions

Redecorating or moving into a brand new home has many challenges and pitfalls. Designers and decorators can help for a price, but you can also handle the transformation yourself. A little ingenuity and understanding of your own personal style will go a long way toward bringing a unique look into your home.

The style you choose will not only be based on taste but should reflect the character of your home based on interior and exterior archetectural elements. From contemporary to Oriental to traditional or somewhere in between, you'll have many choices. We will be discussing many of these styles in separate articles. Often, it helps to go from room to room and inspect your furniture. If you plan to keep it, then that can determine not only style but also colors.

A color scheme is important and you should try to maintain unity throughout each room. They do not have to all look the same, however; the focal color - from the selected range - can vary from room to room.

Some people enjoy the contemporary starkness of monochromatic hues and add a splash of color while others utilize a range of complementary colors to create a cottage or Tuscan style.

Texture is important in a room and you will want to assess the existing window treatments along with the style of fireplace if you have one.

Lifestyle should also be considered - do you have an active family? Do you lean toward a more casual family-gathering style or are formalities more important? What type of entertaining do you enjoy and how often?

And within each style, you can still impose a mood and your own personality. You'll accomplish this with lighting, art, accessories, and floral or sculptural groupings.

You'll find many creative ideas from studying magazines and visiting home showrooms. Don't forget to stop by carpet and tile stores, where you can get plenty of helpful information on the latest styles and trends. If you plan to reupholster, you will also want to visit fabric shops.

Begin by window shopping and, even though you'll be tempted, don't purchase anything until you have a specific style and color scheme on paper, along with an inventory of furniture and accessories that you already own.

Now, you're just getting started. Take photos of each room, along with the focal pieces. Create a color chart with your chosen hues. When you start browsing and gathering information, feel the textures of swatches and play with the combination of colors from your chart.

Don't be afraid to experiment - mistakes happen. More often, though, something that seems not quite right at first may grow on you - give it time. Relax and your own personal style will develop right before your very eyes!


If you're not quite ready to spring for a full interior design, try a few quick additions to change up the scheme

Redecorating a home is a monumental task and not one that you want to jump into quickly or throw together without some forethought. A redo can often be done on a small budget, but you may not be sure, yet, how you want that room to look.

If you're in limbo about which style to choose or direction to take with colors, a few interim steps may be the answer before you plunge in with a full-scale change.

Here are just a few ideas that will give you a new look without making a total commitment to a complete overhaul.

You can make these additions from different viewpoints. One is color; you should have a focal color, a secondary color, and an accent color. You can choose any of these with the applications below. The second is patterns and textures. Look around the room and decide which patterns and textures are dominant and which take lesser roles. You can replace one or more of these to achieve minor - but stunning - changes.

-First, get rid of clutter. Remove all non-essential pieces from a room so you can have a fresh look at each piece of furniture, wall coverings, window treatments, and existing art. This means getting rid of magazines, small objects, and any other extraneous pieces that you have grown tired of.

-Add slipcovers to your major furniture pieces. You can also cover dining room chairs for a fresh look.

-Add throw pillows, both large and small. These can be placed on furniture or piled in a spare corner. Color, pattern, and texture are important in replacement choices.

-Throws and area rugs. Choose a coordinating scheme between a new throw and an area rug. This will help you start tying down some basic color decisions.

-Lighting. Move existing lamps around or purchase new shades. You'll see a world of difference with either of these additions.

-Purchase baskets. If you have an active family, then it may be easy to clean up with a few strategically placed baskets. Choose a color that will be complementary to a number of styles, whether country or mission or traditional. You can even load the baskets with pillows and throws.

-Candle holders. These can be an important, but inexpensive, addition as you'll be able to experiment with different candle colors as accents.

-Move pictures around. This is a chore, but can make a dramatic change in a room. Once you have rearranged the art, you may see some interesting color combinations with a fresh eye that will work for the rest of the room.

Now that you have made some basic changes, if you want to bring out your knickknacks, mementos, or special collections, by all means do so. Your home reflects your personality and, regardless of style, that's what it is all about.





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