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January 25, 2010

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Living room, lounge room, family room; this is the main room in your home. The hub of most activity and the perfect place to express your personal style. A room that should be warm, inviting, cozy and comfortable. An inviting room for guests and for you to come home to. A room you should be proud of.

The size and shape of the room will dictate where you place seating. Start with a sofa or sectional it is usually the largest piece and focal point of the room. Choose a color and fabric you love and if you have children and/or pets, a durable covering. Practical also for the “it could happen” red wine spill! Consider the chairs; are they accents, or do you need them for seating. Adding an ottoman is great if you have the room. They serve multiple purposes from a place to put your feet up and relax to extra room you may need to play a game or pop a tray of drinks and nibbles on.

Think about the overall aesthetic of your room when selecting a coffee table as it is a design element. Do you want to display books, candles and items that are reflective of you or keep it unadorned? End tables are usually where your lighting will go but they can be beautiful and functional as well. Consider side tables with drawers or shelves. If there’s room, a sofa table is perfect for lamps, a statement plant and can display framed family pictures or collectibles.

Electronics are a big part of the main room and if the space is large enough, place your electronics in an entertainment center or hang your television on a wall. Not only will this free up space but allow unobstructed viewing from all over the room. Think about how you, your friends and family will be using the room before installing, carefully consider wiring and placement. Don’t need wires as obstacles or the dog pulling a cord out during the big game! Same with your lighting, think about the over all use of the room when placing lamps and how far away the wall socket is. Consider if the lamp is for ambiance or to read by.

Now the fun part – Shopping! Know all the key factors before you head out; color, price, size and look for quality. It is always a good idea to spend a bit more to have it last a lot longer.  On line shopping is great but see if you can find the piece in the store before you purchase on line. Colors and textures can be vastly different from what is on the screen. Sit on the furniture; don’t be shy about trying it out, comfort and durability are key. Sit and lie down on them. Bounce up and down on the cushions to make sure they are soft enough or firm enough. Wiggle the arms, examine the seams, make sure the legs are sturdy and joints secure. Same for tables, especially if you fell in love with a piece that you will need to assemble. Make sure it will not be wobbly.

Finishing touches, the pieces that define you. Pillows and a decorative throw on the sofa not only look great but will help make your space even more cozy and inviting. Area rugs will add color and character, as will wall decor.  Use color and texture to tie all together.

Whether we’re sleeping, lounging, on the laptop or watching television the bedroom has become the extension of the living room in many households. It is in many homes, more than just a sleep space.  Still, a good night’s sleep may mean the difference between on mediocre day and an amazing one.  Think carefully about color and comfort. Do you need a completely dark room to sleep, is temperature a factor? Do you have room to add a comfy chair to curl up in for some me time, a bookshelf? Whatever the size and shape, there are ways to create a room that works.

Eliminate clutter. It will reduce stress and you’ll be able to find your belongings quicker. Tripping over clothes or stepping on a hairbrush is not the most relaxing way to begin to relax into sleep. And your state of mind when you wake up to a clean, tidy, uncluttered room is so amazing versus the alternative. You will feel happier and ready to take on the day; making your bed can be an accomplishment!

For a  change, you can try rearranging your furniture. Relocating a bed within a room can make a huge difference. Think about space, accessibility and what you see when you wake up. It can be a mood lifter to look out a window instead of at a wall.

Color is a big factor in a bedroom, color is emotional. The walls can dictate the over all look and feel of a room. Red walls and wild wallpaper may look great in a magazine but not likely to help towards a restful night. Think colors that make you calm and happy. You can always add pop with pillows and bed coverings.

Consider lightening. Create a warm, gentle glow that will help you wind down and prepare the body for deep relaxation.

The most important thing to remember is that the bedroom should dictate your personality and your lifestyle.

This isn’t as difficult as one might think. This is my favorite part, assessing a client’s decor and finding what needs updating or improving. What is already there that can be used; what piece or color do you love that we can build a theme with.  I cherish going from room to room, pondering the perfect room and what would make each space more inviting and welcoming.  Change is good in life and in our homes.

Sometimes that change is as simple as a coat of paint, and other times it is that perfect picture or piece of furniture. Try rearranging the furniture – pull your furniture away from the walls. Try positioning it at intriguing angles. For example, a sofa arranged diagonally across a narrow living room might make the room look wider. Or try painting one wall your favorite color and make it the focal point. Hang interesting art on that wall and move a nice piece of furniture there. (Note: Make sure that the color is one that is shared with several other objects and fabrics in the room.)

Another tip is greenery – it always adds a breath of fresh air to a room. If you don’t have a green thumb, try silk plants and trees. The quality has gotten so good that its hard to distinguish them from the real thing.

Finally, clutter has a way of eliminating the desired mood and effect of any room. Find storage spaces for papers, toys, and other items that take from the personality of a room.