Decorate to inspire

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Do you ever look through a country decorating magazine and sigh when you you see some of the rooms?  You think “Wow, now if I could decorate like that!. Its so warm and cozy and inviting….”
Well, you can.

Let me start by saying I am not formally trained in interior decorating. I don’t think you have to be…however you do need a good eye for spaces, colors , themes and a feeling . If you’re not sure, ask a friend to help. Or find a decorating board on the web. There are many where you can submit a picture  of a room and receive feedback and  free advice  from others. 
Personalizing your room is easy. Once you have your major furniture (couches, tables beds, etc..), it’s  all about the accents and accessories. Look around the room. Are most pieces of furniture square or rectangular? The buffet, the table,  entertainment center, tv. armoire, etc? Then you need to add round items!   Yes, round. Try some round accent pillows , some rounded  or oval  wall decor, or lots of grouped curved vases and bowls. It softens the room to our eye and adds gorgeous contrast.

How about color? Do you have a neutral toned room? Tha’s a perfect base for accent colors. The best thing about the accent colors is that you can change them! Change them every year, or better yet, change them, with the seasons…put peach and soft yellow accents in the spring, add a turquoise in the summer. Take away the peach and yellow come  autumn and keep the turquoise with some other jewel tones…greens, magentas, deep oranges,  even a dash of purple in a tossed blanket can brighten up a room and briing  those beautiful harvest colors inside.

Yard sales are a great way to shop for bargains and antiques that don’t break the bank. I’ve been going for years and I see such amazing things. I once bought a dresser and a desk  that I repainted in a crackle-type antique style. They were $10 each and are the star pieces in the rooms they now reside .You can  get funky vases, pillows, pictures and statues too, collections from other states, countries and eras that are fantastic accents. An eclectic mix of styles can fit great if they are all similiar in material (ie, all wood, all metal, etc..) Or they can be different and have a common theme…(all with birds on them, all light green, etc..)

I am a big collector of what I call “inspirational decor”, one of which is old signs. You can get those old kitchen signs at many small retailers, and often find them at yard sales too. I have several lovely wooden signs, One favorite being the large off white, weathered sign above my fireplace that says PEACE. It relaxes and re-focuses  me every time I look at it.   Another is outside on  my front porch : a simple reminder every time I come home and to my guests “Enter with a  happy heart”

Another thing that adds a warm lived-in touch is books. Stacks and stacks and piles of books:on the tables, on the floor, on the shelves. I  never  get rid of a  good book I read . You never know when you’ll want to re-read them . I do lend them to friends and I love my library. Many of my books are self-help, inspirational type and just leaving them around on my tables, I tend to grab one here and there, if even to read a page as a quick pick-me-up. Its another way to add a touch of positivity to what can be a stressful  crazy world.  You want your home to be your haven, your get-away, your sanctuary,your nest.
Make it personal .There is nothing like clustered  family photos and trickets from vacations to add a warm fond touch . We are full of memories and seeing rememberences of fabulous days, events  or places brings a comforting  feeling to us. Even if you can’t go back to Hawaii, that picture you took of the sunset can almost evoke a feeling a being there…you can almost smell the salty air and the pineapples and coconuts from the tropical drinks. And THAT sure can put you in a good frame of mind, can’t it?

Speaking of smells, candles are one of the best ways to add ambience to your home. especially scented ones. Can’t burn candles? Use a simmer pot and some wax melts. What’s nicer than smelling a scent like hot apple pie or Cinnamon bun on a brisk fall day? Or  lilac and  hydragea  on a just -about -springtime  day? Smells also evoke wonderful memories , like Grandma baking or Mom’s soft and sweet powder, or the breeze on the bay.

Fresh flowers are lovely too but can be expensive  to buy all the time. In the summer, gorw some in your yard. Perennials spread every year and are inexpensive to buy a small plant.  I simply love to get outside with my shears and cut big armfuls of flowers to bring in to the house, filling my vases until overflowing.

To me, there is truly  no place like home.   If you’re not happy with the feel of your home, add some of these warm touches and I’m sure it’ll bring a feeling of comfort and joy.

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