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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Go slow with home decorating...

From one of my recent real estate news sources comes this tidbit.

Buyers are often in a hurry to decorate their new home. But advocates of a fledgling decorating philosophy known as “slow design” say that's not the best decision. Instead, they urge home owners to feel comfortable letting their décor grow organically, adding one unique item at a time. “It's a big investment, and you're going to live in the space for a long time. Decisions shouldn't be made over a glass of wine on a weekend," says Wynne Yelland, principal with Locus Architecture in Minneapolis.

Here are some suggestions for giving a home personality "slowly" — and without spending a fortune:

Think heirloom. Seek out well-made pieces by local artisans.
Start small. Anchor each room with one piece that will have real character, depth and meaning that will last.
Be patient. Don't buy a roomful of furniture all at once. Let the décor evolve over time.
Don’t automatically throw away things that are old. Sometimes a coat of paint or a small repair can result in furniture that is better than new.

One nice thing about this approach is that it may save you money; or at least you won’t spend it so fast.

I can remember when my wife and I moved from our modern home in Orchard Lake out to our current, historic home in Milford. Nothing that we had in Orchard Lake seemed to fit in our new home; and, indeed, within a year or two, I don't think that we still had more than a handful of furniture items that we brought with us. We spent a lot of time in antique stores for the first year, finding tables and lamps that would fit in to the historic look that we were going for in the Milford house.

It was amazing to us how many lamps and floor lamps we had to buy. Very few rooms in the Milford house had overhead lights that one could turn on with a switch. All of the rest of the rooms needed multiple lamps to light them up. So, finding the right accessories for each room - end tables and lamps, was a big deal and time consuming. We went slow with that and sort of did one room at a time.

One other thing that I might add to the advice above is to spend some time thinking out what overall theme you want to have for the house. Even though “eclectic mix” could be thought of as a theme, it is jarring and somewhat disconcerting to walk from one room to another in a house and experience a dramatic difference in the design theme in each room. Going from a room done in a look of classic elegance into a room decorated in modern contemporary just doesn’t work (at least not for me).

There are transitional themes which would allow for the mixing of the new and old that might work if well executed. The theme will also help with color choices for walls and window treatments. French Art Poster colors may work well in a modern house, but wouldn’t necessarily fit in a historic house.

So, maybe the overall takeaways here are two – go slow and go consistent (stick to a theme).

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