Home And Garden

Written by Christa Gatewood
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Decorating a home is the perfect time to express personal style and individuality. Although it is a daunting task for some, it is ultimately an exciting and rewarding experience. A home need not only serve as a functional space, it can also be a place to recharge, relax, entertain and reflect aspects of our personalities into the world.

These days the market is flooded with products for the home as well as a wealth of advice and information about decorating. This information can be found in decorating books, magazines, television programs and on the Internet. But, with all of the information out there, it can be a challenge to weed through and find one's own personal style.

Decorating with Purpose

Decorating is most often done upon moving into a new home, but it can also be done whenever the mood hits or one has outgrown a particular design. When decorating or re-decorating a room, the first question that should be asked is: What is the purpose of this space?

The purpose of a space may not simply be a functional purpose, it might also be what feeling or mood the room should emit. For example, the purpose of a dining room might be to provide a place to gather and eat a meal. This is true. But, the purpose might also be to make the extended family feel welcome and inspire conversation. Or the purpose of a bedroom might be to provide a place to sleep, but it might also be to provide a peaceful sanctuary from the hassles of everyday life. The secondary purpose of a room is very important because that is what will dictate elements of design such as color and form.

Finding the Furnishings to Match Decor

Once the purpose of the room is decided, the next step is to find the pieces of furniture and accessories that will match that purpose. Visiting furniture showrooms is a great way to determine one's personal preferences and have a chance to personally experience different design elements. Bringing a camera along to photograph the pieces that fit best into your room's design is a good idea. Later, similar pieces can be found by shopping on the Internet or in catalogs.

Looking through design books and magazines is also a great way to help match mood with function and personal style. Having a clear plan is the best and most efficient way to decorate. That way you don't buy pieces that look good but don't fit when they are placed in the room.

Following Trends While Remaining Classic

It is very tempting to follow the hot design trend of the moment, but only following trends will lead to frequent and expensive re-decorating. Many trends will sustain themselves for a long time, but some will burn out as quickly as shag carpeting. Telling the difference is very easy. If the furniture has clean lines, is made of natural materials, has quality workmanship and incorporates some aspects of traditional design, then it is a classic piece and it will be around for a long time.

However, if the piece is made of synthetic materials, has a very unorthodox shape or color and is cheap (or worse, way over-priced), it is probably not worth the money. One or two pieces such as this may be a fun and whimsical addition to a room--they can be traded out at any time--but an entire room like this will have to be redone sooner than later. Investing in quality pieces will save time and money.

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