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4 furnishings to improve your home's interior decor

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Housing represents most people's biggest expense. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), Americans spend on average 26 percent of their total earnings on mortgage (or rent), utilities, household maintenance, home décor, and related expenses.

Transportation (13 percent) and food (10 percent) come in second and third, respectively. Also, Americans spend nearly 8 percent of their annual discretionary income on furniture, according to Forbes.

Here are five furnishings that may improve the ambience of your home, without breaking the bank.

1. Antiques

Research your city for antique shops where you can find classic pieces at bargain prices. AntiqueMalls.com is a site that lets users find nearby shops.

Antique pieces such as a wooden table, metallic candleholder, or rug can make your home nostalgically attractive. With antiques, intrinsic worth isn't necessarily reflected in the price (which you can negotiate with a shop owner). It's a piece's ability to add a nostalgic quaintness to your personal space.

2. Flowers

Plants and flowers have a psychological calming effect inside a home or office. People often feel more comfortable in a green, leafy environment as opposed to dwelling inside a commoditized box with exclusively geometrical features.

Artificial flower arrangements are an option for homeowners who'd rather avoid constant watering and maintenance.

3. Artwork

Artwork can add a soothing pleasantness to your surroundings by depicting images you're familiar with. If you grew up on a farm, an impressionistic painting of the old Midwest might be perfect near the dining area or kitchen.

Artwork that works best as interior décor often conveys a homeowner's personal background or interests. It's a way to customize furnishings to reflect your unique tastes.

4. Candles

Like flowers and plants, scented candles have a relaxing effect on people, particularly those who practice aromatherapy. The soft scents of a lighted candle can improve a person's mood, and establish a romantic ambience. Additionally, a simple flame can allow homeowners to turn off unneeded artificial lights, which may be harsh on the eyes.

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