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The Smart Approach To Home Decorating - Part 3

Updated on January 30, 2010

A good, standard arrangement is a three-seat sofa placed parallel to the focal point, flanked by two upholstered chairs of various shapes and sizes. Place two more wood-framed and upholstered chairs at a forty-five degree angle to the chairs flanking the sofa. These chairs are important because they can reinforce or introduce the style you're trying to establish. To complete the look, place end tables on either side of the sofa and add a substantial cocktail table in the middle of the arrangement. Put down an area rug to pull the arrangement together. For a bit of flexibility, accessorize with a footstool, ottoman or several loose pillows placed in front of your focal point.

Adding Color: Pulling it All Together

After you've ordered your furniture, you should expect to wait 8 to 10 weeks for it to be delivered. It is rare to walk out with your furniture the same day you choose it. Use this time to work on the background, or the skeleton of the room: the wall color.

Paint is the easiest and least expensive way to transform your room's appearance, but choosing a color may cause you to panic. You may be afraid to make the wrong color choice. There is really no right or wrong color, even if it is not a perfect match to the fabrics and carpets.

More often than not, you'll be shocked when you paint your walls. This does not mean your color choice is wrong! Try to remember that going from stark, colorless walls to dark, rich or vibrant colors takes some getting used to. More than likely, you'll be so in love with the new color in three or four days, you'll wonder how you lived without it. Also keep in mind that by the time you add art, accessories and window treatments, the walls will recede into the background.

The Final Step: Accessorizing the Scheme

After you've painted and arranged your furniture, you'll likely be tempted to call it a wrap, but you are not done yet. The final step is to choose accessories. Though often the most neglected part of a project, accessorizing is as important as any other step in decorating your home. Accessorizing allows you to pull the look together, while adding your personal touch. Think about someone you feel dresses impeccably. Usually that person has taken extra care to accessorize themselves. The same principle applies to decorating.

If you have a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs, heirlooms or other disparate pieces, sift through them, keeping your original scheme in mind. Hand-me-downs can add charm and personal character, but they do need to be figured into your original grand scheme, not placed haphazardly around a room. Remember, the secret to a successful, beautiful and comfortably decorated room is to layer the decorating. For instance, it's not enough just to have a sofa, so make it complete by layering it with a chenille or cashmere throw and two to four throw pillows.

Your room is not complete until the last sofa, throw and pillow are in place. Take the extra steps; don't cut back. You'll gain a sense of satisfaction from each step of the decorating process, but don't stop before you are fully finished. And most importantly, don't let decorating become another incomplete project like the many that await you in your basement. Make the commitment, and you will be amazed at the fulfillment and satisfaction you will feel from completing a project and living in a beautiful, finished home.

Setting a Budget For Decorating

What will this cost me? This is usually the first question people ask themselves when considering a redecorating project. The answer, of course, varies from one project to another. Finding your answer will require that you do some preliminary homework before you start shopping. Many people decide to begin a decorating project and then start buying on impulse without keeping a pre-planned, "grand scheme" in mind. It's important to keep the big picture in mind and think of your home as a whole, before you begin budgeting for something new. You want to be sure that just because you've redecorated one room, you don't have to do every room in the house!

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