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Breaking the Rules Successfully

Too many people are afraid to break the rules. Actually so many don't even know what the rules are, so they break them accidentally and not with a purpose. Well, for those who don't know the professional arrangement rules, I suggest you consider getting a copy of my ebook called Decor Secrets Revealed, but for the rest of you, here are some handy tips on areas of design that you could masterfully break with forethought and daring so that your home is more unexpected and different from the "safe" homes you see around:

  • Symmetry - Some people think that balance can only be achieved by symmetry, but this just isn't true. They may feel more comfortable with one side an exact mirror of the other side, but balance can be achieved quite beautifully (and far more interestingly) through asymmetry. So don't be afraid to mix things up a bit. Group items in odd numbers. Mix up the numbers: 1, 3, 5 then back to 1 again. Use symmetry and asymmetry together in the same grouping. If you're having a problem achieving good balance, take something away from the room. Often times this is the perfect answer to the dilemma.
  • Matching - Avoid the tendency to match everything: colors, textures, styles, patterns. Yes, you need some repetition to create rhythm and unity, but don't be afraid to mix things up a bit. For Christmas dinner my color scheme was green, black, white and silver. But within that scheme, my black and white dishes had differing patterns. It made the table fun and spirited and less formal. Everyone loved the table display.
  • Scale of Furniture - Yes, it's risky to put large furniture in a small room, but it can actually make the room feel bigger if you keep the furnishings to a minimum. Use a lot of reflective surfaces and keep the patterns and colors simple. Eliminate all clutter - this is a must! Keep the colors light and airy and make sure the ceilings are pristine white.
  • Mixing of Styles - Mixing styles is far more interesting than having one rigid style. But you've got to have a good mixture of each style and one style must dominate. This will add elements of surprise to the room and keep it from looking boring.
  • No Art in Kitchen or Bath - Remove those knickknacks that look too cartoonish and whose scale is all wrong anyway. Go for some actual framed artwork or photographs. Make these rooms come alive, just like the rest of your home. Give your family something beautiful to look at while primping or bathing. Give guests something to talk about when gathered in your kitchen for your next buffet. Extend your personality to every room in your home.
Experimenting with Decorative Pillows - Lots of Fun

Decorative pillows are some of the least expensive, easily removed or added decorative elements you can have in a room. Just use some imagination and sewing talents for those that have them.

  • Change out the colors periodically
  • Change the patterns
  • Turn pillows to the reverse side periodically if there is a different fabric on the back
  • Solid colors make the look less busy
  • Patterns make the look more interesting
  • Use highly textured fabrics with smooth, silky fabrics
  • Use contrasting colors to make them stand out more
  • Mix old pillows with new ones
  • Mix high end pillows with low end pillows
  • Mix the sizes and shapes
  • Add trimmings to some and leave the others bare
  • Elaborate trimmings makes for a more formal look
  • Plain pillows with no trimmings is a more casual look
  • Visit the remnants sections of your fabric store for good buys and lots of variety
  • Buy pillow inserts
  • Down inserts are softer but you could be allergic to them - if so, buy poly-filled inserts
  • Inexpensive, ready-made pillows are available everywhere
  • Patterned pillows on patterned sofas or chairs should be different sizes
  • Even numbered pillows on a sofa is a formal look
  • Odd numbered pillows is an informal look
  • Don't overdo it
  • Jumbo floor pillows add additional seating to any room
  • Make your own pillows and add your own custom embellishments: paintings, lace, doilies, trims, tassels, embroidery and so on.
Creating a Stylish Home for 2010

It's cold or wet in lots of places. Time to make the home more cozy, more comfortable, more inviting. But it's also time to make it more stylish for 2010 and give your whole family an uplift for the new year. Here are some easy ideas and things to tackle first.

  • Eliminate that Clutter - If you haven't packed up all the holiday decorations, now's the time to get it done and out of the way until next Christmas. Organize the decorations by color or type and be sure to label the boxes appropriately. Seal up the boxes with tape to keep bugs and dust out and store in a safe, dry, cool place. Check out every room for unnecessary clutter and messes and resolve to step by step get it put away or tossed away or given away. After all, you've got to make way for all the new clutter you plan on acquiring in 2010, right?
  • Freshen Your Colors and Art- Look at your paint. Do your walls need to be freshened up? How about the color? Would a new color update your home in a flash? Check out your artwork. Is it dated, tired and old? Reuse the frame but update the image.
  • Freshen Up the Bedrooms - Take advantage of the white sales to change out your bedspread, bed pillows, sheets, pillowcases, towels and so forth. In really cold climates, add more blankets or winterized sheets. Dark, warm colors will make a cold room feel warmer and more inviting. Switch to cool, light colors for spring and summer looks.
  • Organize Your China - During the holidays I use dinnerware and flatware that I save for special times of the year. But I also like to change out my everyday wear once a year. It is tiring to use the same dishes for too long. You can buy separates or sets especially at this time of year. It's a great way to spruce up your daily meal time for everyone in one scoop. Give away your old dinnerware - you know you're not going to use it any more. Decorative dinnerware can also be hung on walls or displayed beautifully in china cabinets.
  • Add Storage or Make Storage More Functional - Tackle those messy shelves, drawers, cabinets, closets. Don't try to do everything all at once if you feel overwhelmed. Do one a week. You'll be done before you know it. Buy furniture that serves more than one purpose if space is limited. Buy storage units that have doors or tops to keep the contents out of sight.
White Sales! Here We Come!

Some current deals can be found here:

  • The Great Indoors: 75% off  Charisma Gosford 500 thread
  • JC Penny: 50% off American Living 700 thread count
  • Macy's: 50% off Charter Club king sheet sets 600 thread
  • Bed Bath and Beyond: Discounts on Hotel Collection towels
  • Sears: 50% off Whole Home Premier Pima bath towels
  • The Company Store: 50% off Legends Egyptian
  • Between the Sheets: Low prices on Mr. Softy
$500 Off on Diamond Ruby Course Proves So Popular We Extended the Special Discount!

diamond ruby home staging and interior redesign courseYes, that's right. We're continuing to offer the Diamond Ruby course at $999.95, a 33% incredible reduction! The response was to huge, as well it should be, we just can't take away the incredible offer. We've just now entered the season for buying and selling homes and sprucing up homes we continue to live in. The holidays have ended and now life goes back to the routine and people think ahead to spring and summer - the top buying and selling season of the year.

So if you've been contemplating when you should start, the time is now! We're offering this exceptional price because it is the right price - the right value - the right road. It was so popular thru the holidays we just can't ignore the fact that many people need help to get started and to return to the higher price we used to charge just doesn't compute right now.

I cannot guarantee how long we will feel this way.  So don't wait. Act now so you won't be sorry later - and so you won't miss out on the start of the spring housing move and beautification efforts.

If you've already made some purchases that are part of the course, not to worry, as we will upgrade you manually and give you credit or substitutions so there are no duplications. But you'll have to contact us first (or make a notation of what you already have in the notation box under your shipping instructions, and we'll gladly make substitutions for you).

Here are the purchase links:


CANADA/ALASKA/HAWAII - Foreign countries please use this link. We will process any additional shipping charges to your country as a separate charge.

Enter email address in box and click on submit button below ($147 value).

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Barbara is the director of the
Academy of Staging & Redesign, hosted at
the leading home study course in home staging and redesign.

About the Author

Barbara Jennings is author of 15 decorating books/ebooks: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Staging Portfolio Secrets, Staging Luxurious Homes, Getting Paid: Financial Strategies for Home Stagers, Home Staging in Tough Times, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Secret Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!, and Wall Groupings! The Secrets of Arranging Art and Photos


Copyright Barbara Jennings

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