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10 Most Common Home Decorating Don’ts

Learn what not to do with your decor (and how to fix it if you already have).

Sure, your rooms look OK at first glance: You finally got rid of that lumpy sofa and own a set of kitchen chairs that don’t fold up. But what would an interior decorator have to say about the state of your home? If you suspect your attempts at “mix and match” just look messy or your furniture arrangements are a little too fussy, read on to see if you’re committing our experts’ top decorating faux pas—and learn what you can do to fix them.

Faux Pas #1: Ignoring Scale

Every piece of furniture looks great in the store—but chances are your rooms aren’t showroom size. “Measure your space and decorate accordingly,” suggests Kenneth Brown, a Los Angeles–based interior designer who sells home decor pieces through QVC. For smaller rooms, ignore your instinct to use a series of diminutive pieces; fewer large-scale pieces will make it seem less busy. On a similar note, consider filling a wall with a single large painting, rather than a group of smaller frames. “It will act as an additional window and draw the eye beyond the room,” says Brown.

Faux Pas #2: Relying on Recessed Lighting

“I’m so tired of recessed lighting,” says Brown. “It makes a room look like a football field.” If you have recessed lights, use them, but layer your lighting by incorporating additional lighting features. Consider table lamps and floor lamps, and highlight artwork with picture lights. “Your room—and everyone in it—will look beautiful,” says Brown.

Faux Pas #3: Buying the Entire Matching Set

Just because a store showcases a sofa, loveseat, chair, table and ottoman as a set doesn’t mean you have to buy every piece. The first piece Brown recommends leaving behind? The loveseat. In its place choose two chairs, which will allow you to mix and match colors and patterns. Another way to mix things up: Choose a traditional sofa in an unexpected, modern color.

Faux Pas #4: Picking Paint Colors in the Store

“Stores have terrible lighting,” warns Brown. If you choose a color based on what you see in the store, chances are you’ll hate what winds up on your walls. Before you have an employee mix a few gallons of paint, first consider the colors in natural light, and then again in your home. For the best perspective, Brown suggests poking a hole in a piece of white paper, holding the paint swatch behind it, then looking at the color through the hole. This will give you an unadulterated view of the color.

Faux Pas #5: Letting an Accent Overtake a Room

Too much of one thing, like an animal print, can look overdone. “You don’t want to live in a theme park,” says Brown. It’s fine to introduce an accent piece—a few pillows, a throw or this animal print bench. Just remember that a little bit of pizzazz goes a long way.

Faux Pas #6: Having Knickknacks Scattered Around

“Nothing’s worse than a bunch of tchotchkes placed randomly around a room,” says Susie Coelho, HGTV host, author and designer for Grandin Road. The most frequent offenders: angel statues, children’s pottery and mismatched candlesticks. Edit your collection as much as possible—consider showcasing just a few pieces and rotating the display seasonally—then put everything in a curio cabinet or on a corner table. By grouping like items, you make insubstantial pieces more significant.

Faux Pas #7: Displaying Greenery in Itty-Bitty Pots

“Plants should make a statement,” says Coelho. “Otherwise they should be left outdoors!” Yes, small planters were en vogue in the ’70s, but that decade has passed. The modern way to do it is to use one large tree in a pot. A series of small indoor plants is just going to make your space seem cluttered—and dated.

Faux Pas #8: Getting Overzealous with Wall Color

Walls covered in too many colors are distracting and create visual tension. “You want your guests to feel stimulated, but you also want them to feel relaxed, says Coelho. A yellow room followed by a turquoise room followed by an orange room looks tacky and badly planned. To ensure a soothing flow from room to room, focus on a subtle variety of colors or tones, such as coordinating shades of green or earth tones.

Faux Pas #9: Not Knowing When to Quit

People are inclined to add more furniture and more artwork and more stuff until they can’t move around in a room without knocking over a decorative table. “You may have some stunning pieces,” says Coelho. “But who can tell when they’re surrounded by average ones?” The current trend is toward simplicity. To make a statement, clear out clutter and let your rooms breathe.

Faux Pas #10: Selecting Busy Textiles

When you’re choosing window coverings, tablecloths and upholstery fabrics, steer clear of anything with heavy gathering, ruffles or too much fringe. “Cleaner lines are better,” says Coelho, “and they’ll collect less dust.” If you favor prints, keep them subtle so you can switch things up periodically. If you opt for a loud print, you’re forced to use that piece as the room’s focus until you get rid of it.

10 Tips for a Beautiful Yard

Need to add variety to your garden or add color year-round? We’ve got you covered. Try some or all of these ideas to spruce up your yard.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

1. Greet Guests with Flowers

Flowers always make a home seem more welcoming. Adorn your entrance with assorted annuals and perrenials to keep color year long. Petunia, Snapdragon, Lily-of-the-Nile, and ‘Gertrude Jekyl’ roses are great additions.

If you have a small space beetween your house and the street, try putting a low fence in front. It gives the illusion that your house is farther from the street than it really is, and it also makes for a great space for planting flowers and vines.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

2. Plant Rambling Vines

Clematis is one of the showiest vines we have. It offers blossoms of blue, purple, red, pink, or white. Grow them on a fence, on a trellis, or in a container. Or let them scramble over shrubs and perennials.

Clematis Planting Guide
When to Plant: Fall and spring are good times, because the weather is cool.
How to Grow: Plant clematis in fertile, loose, well-drained soil with lots of organic matter. It likes cool roots, so plant where the leaves get sun but roots are shaded.
How to Fertilize: Feed monthly in spring and summer with an organic fertilizer labeled for roses or tomatoes.
When to Prune: Some types bloom on new growth and some on old growth. When you buy, ask at the nursery what type you have and when you should prune.
Where to Buy: Local garden centers have lots of choices in spring.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

3. Dress Up Your Driveway

By carefully sculpting the landscape and choosing the right plants and materials, you can hide your unattractive driveway. Start by creating a slightly raised island of lawn in the center of the drive. Then, add a low boxwood hedge toward the back of the island with roses, annuals, and perennials rising above the hedge in the front. Blend a variety of colors, textures, and heights for a great look. Try ‘Crystal Fairy’ rose for height, lamb’s ears for texture, and ‘Butterfly Deep Rose’ pentas for color.

Photo: Van Chaplin

4. Plant No-Fuss Lilies

Crinums laugh at drought, don’t need fertilizer, and welcome hot, humid summers with lily-like flowers that perfume the air. Growing into huge bulbs over time, they’re practically indestructible.

Crinum Planting Guide
Why You’ll Love Them: Fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers in many colors appear in spring, summer, or fall.
How to Grow: Most prefer at least five hours of sun a day. They’re not picky about soil.
Where to Grow: Most do best in the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South (zones 8-10). Some, such as Crinum x powellii ‘Alba’ and ‘Ellen Bosanquet,’ are hardy farther north.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

5. Deer-Proof Your Garden

To keep your flowers from being gobbled up by deer, choose flowers that people find glorious and deer find disgusting. Choose perennials like butterfly weed, globe thistle, ‘royal red’ butterfly bush, or purple cornflower. Find these at garden centers, and plant them in well-drained soil.

Photo: Van Chaplin

6. Add Height with Planters and Baskets

Add dimension to your yard with elevated planters and hanging baskets. It creates a sea of beautiful color. Plants love the good drainage and aeration that raised planters provide.

Basket Planting Guide
Each basket should contain three types of plants-a “spiller” (something that hangs down over the edges) like begonias and variegated sage, a “filler” (something that mounds and fills in) like Kong coleus, and a “thriller” (something that is tall and eye-catching for the center) like purple cordyline.

Photo: Van Chaplin

7. Grow Blooming Shrubs

Chinese snowball is one of spring’s showiest shrubs. White flower clusters 6 to 8 inches across festoon its branches in late spring. The plant gets big—12 to 20 feet tall and wide. Though it looks like a hydrangea, it’s actually a viburnum.

Chinese Snowball Planting Guide
Where to Plant: Find a prominent spot where it will have room to grow.
How to Grow: Give it full to partial sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Prune, if necessary, just after it finishes flowering in spring.
Where to Buy: It’s available at home-and-garden centers.

Photo: Van Chaplin

8. Hide Outdoor Structures

Sheds, garages, and outdoor workspaces are not always the most attractive in your yard. Use these spaces as a setting for a beautiful display of plants and flowers. Try adding brackets and a wooden plank to create a shelf on the exterior of the structure above the entrance or windows. Then, set lightweight fiberglass planters filled with flowers atop it to hide the structure. Potted ferns are great additions for the base of the structure.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

9. Plan a Garden Surprise

Create a garden paradise in your yard with intersecting trails, meandering streams, inspiring vistas, and hidden rooms. Design small hideaways where people can gather for drinks and try mixing formal with informal for stimulating visual tension. You can also get creative and save the biggest garden surprise for the farthest spot in your yard instead of putting it directly next to the house.

Photo: Ralph Anderson

10. Enjoy Color Year-Round

A great thing about gardening in the South is that we get treated to colorful flowers, leaves, or berries in every season. Look for these each season:

Seasonal Flower Guide
Spring: azalea, daffodil, forsythia mandevilla, dogwood, wisteria, bearded iris (pictured), peony
Summer: hydrangea, daylily, gardenia, crinum, lantana, crepe myrtle, impatiens, zinnia
Fall: pansy, aster, sugar maple, beautyberry, ginger lily sasanqua camellia, holly, autumn crocus, mum
Winter: winterberry, Colorado blue spruce, amaryllis, Lenten rose, rosemary, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, crocus

 

Publish Site: www.southernliving.com/home-garden/gardens/10-best-yard-landscaping-ideas-00417000072301/

 

The Best Earrings to Compliment Your Hairstyle

The right earrings can create the perfect finishing touches to your hair. The wrong earrings, on the other hand, can either get lost in the depths of your tresses or stand out so much that they are the only thing people notice about your outfit.

There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to create the perfect balance between hairdo and earrings. This will help your favourite jewelry to give the maximum impact and ensure that your earrings enhance your look without distracting from it, making the most of your best features.

There are two ways to decide which earrings to wear. If you have a particular pair that you want to show off, choose the right hairstyle to go with your earrings. Alternatively, if you have decided that you want to wear your hair in a certain style, you need to select the appropriate earrings to show off your locks at their best.

Earrings for short hair and up-do’s

The great thing about short hair and up-do’s is that when it comes to earrings anything goes, to a certain extent. You can wear small studs or massive drop earrings if you want. However, it can be helpful to bear your face shape in mind if you want to create a look that’s balanced and makes the most of your assets.

When you have short hair your facial features become much more prominent, so you’ll want to choose earrings that complement your best features rather than drawing attention to your imperfections.

As a general rule of thumb, if you’ve got a long or oblong face, a pair of long earrings will accentuate this when your hair is worn up. Similarly, women with round faces will make their faces seem even rounder when they choose a large pair of hoops. This is generally true when you are wearing your hair up. However, women with short hair will find that this visual trick is even more noticeable.

Earrings for long and shoulder length hair

If you are wearing your long hair down, you will find that small earrings such as studs can get lost in your hair. A good way to make sure that your earrings get noticed is to go for a pair of long drop style earrings, even if your face is long. They will provide tantalizing flashes through your flowing hair and will add a hint of texture and sparkle to your finished look.

If you have shoulder length hair, you can really play around with your look to get the right balance of earrings, necklace and hairstyle. Chunky necklaces look great with shoulder length hair, but you’ll want to keep it balanced with a smaller pair of earrings if you opt for a statement necklace.

Colour matters

The colour of your jewelry can really enhance your best features, so you need to make sure you’ve got it right. Jewelry should complement the colour of your outfit first and foremost, but if you’re wearing something like a little black dress, you’ll want to choose jewelry to complement your hair and skin tone instead.

Blondes tend to suit really bright colours such as sapphire blues and lighter coloured silver whereas darker hair can look great with gold jewelry and the deeper coloured stones. Redheads and jade or emerald green are a match made in heaven; there is nothing quite like it for showing off those auburn locks.

Written By: Publish Date: Publish Site: dangerouslee.biz/2012/06/08/the-best-earrings-to-compliment-your-hairstyle/

Graphic Design: Decorating With Geometrics

Whether you passed geometry class or not, decorating with geometric shapes is an easy A. Here’s how interior designers do it, and how you can incorporate them into your home.

Geometry 101

Not all geometrics are created equal, and designers have found that some are easier to incorporate into your decor, as well as more transitional over time. Their go-to prints include, hexagons, diamonds, stripes and the Greek key pattern. Photo courtesy of Mary McGee.

 

Start Small

Little flourishes go a long way when it comes to geometric shapes. Use bold prints in small doses, such as throw pillows for your sofa, a geometric carpet, which also hides wear and tear, or on the cushion of a side chair. But if you do one, don’t do the other, says Los Angeles designer Mary McGee, who kept this all-white living room refined and calm, while adding visual interest in the form of zebra- and lattice-print pillows.

Keep Your Balance

A common trick of the trade is to juxtapose modern shapes with more classic ones — which is what Dallas-based designer Elaine Williamson did when she chose these mod, Jonathan Adler fixtures to counterbalance the elegant sophistication of a bathroom’s carrera marble countertops. The mirror works as a mix between the two styles — mod with sophisticated lines.

Color Coordinate

Designers agree that color is critical when incorporating geometric prints into your decor. Their best advice: choose one that weaves through all of the patterns in a room. “The reason that these geometrics work well together is due in part to the fact that they’re kept in the same subtle color family, so as not to compete with one another,” designer Julie Massucco says of the rug and woodworking her firm Massucco Warner Miller chose for this master dressing room. Design by Melissa Warner.

Show Your Soft Side

“To ensure your patterns don’t become too harsh or rigid, remember to add patterns with curves, such as concentric circles or waves, to patterns that are more structured, such as chevrons,” Elaine Williamson says. She does it in this small living room by using a curvy zebra rug and circle-like honeycomb pillow to offset the sharp diamond pattern on the wall.

Size Things Up

“Scale is the most important part to keep in mind when introducing a geometric, or really any pattern, into a room,” says New York designer Elizabeth Bauer. If you pair, say, a large pillow pattern with a small one, the larger pattern will certainly overshadow the small. An easy rule of thumb: pair geometric shapes with the next largest or smallest pattern, like Bauer does here, matching the large stripes in a vintage print with slightly smaller ones in a pair of chevron stools.

Stay Neutral

This tiny powder room, designed by San Francisco-based Niche Interiors, is a study in bold design. Principle designer Jennifer Jones used a slightly metallic ogee trellis wallpaper to give the space an element of surprise. When working with this much pattern, however, you’ll want the palette and other elements to remain neutral. “It works because we kept the rest of the bathroom neutral — white moldings, wood floor and a mirror to tie it all together,” she says.

Ground Your Graphics

Bold prints may win your attention when you enter a room, but your eyes inevitably need a place to rest. Create a few spots in between using solid color. They’ll help ground the geometric patterns and keep it from feeling overly busy, like in this tiled kid’s room created by Miami designer Deborah Wecselman.

Advanced Geometry

Ready to take your geometric game to another level? Layer it on with other patterns, says Chicago designer Summer Thornton. “I’m a huge fan of layering patterns, but it does take some practice,” she says. Blending and layering adds depth, as in the case of this floral window treatment and graphic pillow combo Thornton used in her own home. Plus, it’s much softer and easier on the eyes than two geometric patterns paired together, she says. Thornton’s trick for making sure two patterns are complementary, “Imagine the pattern in black and white. How much contrast would the pattern have? Is it entirely mid-range or lots of very deep saturated colors contrasted against bright white? When layering, look for some of each.”

 

Written By: Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson Publish Site: www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/graphic-design-decorating-with-geometrics/pictures/index.html

Color Trends: What’s New, What’s Next?

Which colors will dominate decor this year? Experts share the latest research.

While you’re still deciding where to spend next year’s summer vacation, color forecasters have already predicted what color your bathing suit will be for the year.

Color forecasters are part designer, part sociologist and part predictor. They draw information from the runway, auto manufacturers and the housewares industry; they scour showrooms, trade shows and magazines for trends; they consider what’s happening culturally and how this impacts our national mood. Then they take all of that information and translate it into what colors we’ll be wearing and decorating with in the next year.

The Colors Are Coming

The housing crisis, ongoing war, historic election and economic downturn have combined to shape Americans’ color tastes. We’re searching for the color equivalent of mac and cheese: safe, traditional and comforting. But the pops of bright colors, from crimson to acid yellow, suggest that we’re ultimately hopeful about the future.

Neutrals are now, especially in larger purchases like cars, sofas or carpet. “For those big-ticket items, we’ll make the safer choice such as neutrals, from rich gray to camel,” says Emily Kiker Morrow, Director of Color, Style and Design at Shaw Industries. And, she continues, “We’re using trendier colors, like acid green or amethyst, as accent pieces.”

Denise Turner, founder of Color Turners and a color forecaster, agrees. “Neutrals continue to flourish, as companions for brighter hues or as standalone, monochromatic color schemes.”

Both color forecasters see chocolate brown on the wane, though Turner notes that brown is still the go-to color in nearly every industry, from auto manufacturing to fashion to home. The guard is changing, however, as lighter browns begin to make an appearance. Morrow says, “We’re seeing browns shift to the colors of spices and beverages. Think mocha and cinnamon.”

Which neutral might just surpass brown as the favorite? Gray. And it covers a wide range of hues, which span soft gray to charcoal to hematite, and gain interest from metallic and pearlescent accents.

Green continues to gain strength from its association with the growing shift toward eco-consciousness. It will show up in everything from fabrics to accessories to countertops.

Turner noted that, after 9/11 blue surged in popularity. This comfortable, soothing color is associated with dependability, constancy and peace — qualities Americans seek during unstable times. Now every product in the industry uses some type of blue, and many are paired with brown, from chocolate to taupe.

According to Turner, pink and red are “the colors of causes.” Think about the ribbons on our lapels to help raise awareness for breast cancer, AIDS or heart disease. But these sisters in the color family are also making their way into the home.

You’ll see red as a bold accent in black-and-white designs; and look for pink in romantic bedrooms, the modern girl’s living room or even in the kitchen, from cabinetry to appliances.

Violet came in through the back door, catching fire in the goth trend in high schools (think purple-black T-shirts, eyeliner and fingernail polish). From there it made its way to the runway and now it’s lightening as it crosses into the home; popular variations include violet, wine and true purple.

Hot Color Combos

Just as the popularity of single colors waxes and wanes, so does the popularity of color combinations.

Brown and blue has been a favorite for several years and Turner predicts it will be a favorite through 2013. Morrow agrees, though she believes that the brown will be lighter (tan, caramel and camel), rather than chocolate.

For the last few years, black and white has been a popular combination in the European market, but Turner has noticed that it’s making its way across the pond. While Morrow has seen it more in accent pieces, like textiles and wallpaper, Turner suggests it will take over entire rooms and recommends pairing it with hot accent colors like red or acid green for the latest look.

What’s Not Selling?

While you’ll see elegant gold in designs from traditional to Tuscan, don’t look for sunny true yellows in American homes (though Europeans love them).

Orange is another color that’s getting little love, unless you choose corals or an earthy, deep orange. But even then, these are used only as accents.

The trend toward violet, wine and amethyst is edging out soft lavenders or true purples. These colors, which were so popular in the 1980s, have taken a back seat to their bolder cousins.

Resources

Emily Kiker Morrow, CMG
Director of Color, Style & Design, Shaw Industries
Website: www.shawfloors.com

Denise Turner, ASID, CID, CMG
Founder of Color Turners
Website: www.colorturners.com

Written By: Kelley Walters Publish Site: www.hgtv.com/decorating/color-trends-whats-new-whats-next/index.html