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How to Decorate Artistically

Looking around and thinking your decor is just so-so? Perhaps it's time to view it from the perspective of an artist.

Living spaces can appear rather bland when little care is taken for ebb and flow of lines and details. Throw in the need for some color correction and you have a room that is in dire need of a review. (Please scroll down for rest of article.)


It's not so much about what is in a room, but how it is in balance. For the artist creating a still life, he or she knows that odd-numbered groupings look best. They also must make sense; you wouldn't place fruit next to an old hay baler. Hues and shades are often complementary based on color wheel analogy. In addition, the style of painting must reflect the talents of the artist or it will appear stilted and amateurish.

Most of us know the differences between traditional and contemporary looks. Our homes generally reflect that, both on the interior and exterior. This is usually a reflection of your own tastes as well. Those who are leasing may have less flexibility in structural appearance, but it's still easy to pull a space together so it looks inviting.

Stand back and look at lines link together and move around a room. This includes the profile of a bookcase or fireplace, dipping down to the back of a sofa, along with the interruption of lamps and coffee tables. If you have too many choppy jumps between items, this could create a disruption in flow. On the other hand, too many tall items in one spot, then a mish mash of lower lines can also be distracting.

Begin by rearranging furnishings. Angle when possible to add interest. In less traditional spaces, asymmetrical placement is also a plus. You can also smoothen lines with art and sculptural additions. It may even be as simple as re-grouping paintings or photo collections. Getting rid of clutter is another way to clean up the flow. If you have collectibles, make an interesting arrangement in just one spot, rather than scattering them throughout the room.

Texture is next. Like the more modest still life, you may want to limit textures in a room to three. This, by the way, is the same number as your main color choices: focal, secondary and accent. Do you have an overabundant mix of heavy and light fabrics? This refers mainly to the weight and not the color. If you own a leather sofa, for instance, you wouldn't load it up with silk pillows.

The same goes for window treatments. Are the draperies too weighty for the rest of the room? Even if you're making them the focal point, they can quickly overpower with multiple use or sheer size. Patterns can also come into play - are there too many? If you prefer a busy look, try to minimize the effect with careful color selection. For the eclectics out there, this is another caution zone.

It has been said often that in every home, you'll find something that is out of place, even downright tacky. Probably so. If your casual or lived-in look borders on the truly shoddy, then consider giving it a little elegance. The easiest way to do this is with flowers. Of course, keeping a fresh vase on the dining room table may not be practical. A singular and unique antique or lookalike can help bring a new tone to any space.

Some complain that a space can appear too bare. Adding a throw is an easy fix and a wonderful way to change up a space from summer to winter. They're inexpensive, so you can have a collection of warm fuzzies along with lightweight crochets folded along the top of a side chair or spread across a trunk.

You can certainly find inspiration in home decorating magazines, but the experts warn against becoming a copycat. The trick is to take away something from a favorite photo, incorporate it into a room and make it all yours.

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