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Stylish, easy basics for all room decoration situations

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Your home should reflect your style, taste and personality. You should always use the things you love, but not everything has to go out all at once. The idea is to edit, edit, edit and your favorite objects will then stand out.

Here are some other things to keep in mind:

Scale and proportions. These are important considerations when selecting furniture and décor objects. To make the most of spatial planning, a room should have a combination of balanced heights with visual weights. For example, a high-ceiling room should have a tall highboy or screen as well as consoles and other waist height or lower pieces. Balance is the watch word here.

Repeating elements. Having everything match is too matchy-matchy. A typical mistake many people have is trying to rely heavily on the idea that everything should be in sets. Repetition is a good principle, and is often done in 3s—but be wary of “suites”, “sets” and all-one-color furnishings. You need contrast. If you do have sets, break them up and use in different rooms. That way there will be continuity between spaces.

Vary your furniture style and period. Don’t buy all your furniture from the same store. Don't buy everything for one room with the same brand. It does sound like it would make things easier, but it will be boring or too repetitious. Don’t use all the same “period” pieces either. For example, you can mix a French antique with modern and have it look smashing. The best rooms mix old and new, making the room soulful and as if it had evolved over time. Truth in point: a safari campaign chair would look great with cozy chic.

Strive for unfussy. Casual elegance with refined, yet relaxed pieces is best. Don’t buy for looks alone. Make sure you sit in chairs and couches. Stiff period pieces may be backbreaking. Also, don’t overload your sofa with back pillows—most of the time they will wind up on the floor. Remember polished but unfussy
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Take a look at wallpaper again. Instead of a custom painted finish, today there are papers that will cost a great deal less. Not to mention, but a growing trend is for removable papers for those who reside in apartments or who are leasing condos.

Select fabrics with confidence. Always get swatches before purchasing a big-ticket item and live with the design for a while. Will it hold up? Will it be a bear to keep clean? How does it fit with the furniture design?

Use these ideas in your planning stages and your unique personality will come through without looking like sameness. And study great room design in magazines and books. It's surprising how much you can pick up from studying really good design.

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