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Think About the User When Picking Your Next Chair - Plan Ahead

Before you buy your next chair, think about who will sit in it, where it will be located, how it will be used and by whom. Here are some important questions and aspects you should consider:

  • Will the chair be a statement piece in a formal setting?
  • Will your kids eat popcorn on it while watching TV?
  • If the chair will see little use, the focus should be on styling.
  • If the chair will see a great deal of use, comfort and sturdiness should be the top priorities.
  • Will the chair be mostly used by a man, a woman or children? It really can't serve all three at the same time.
  • Buy a chair that is the appropriate scale for the room, nearby furniture and it's function.
  • Don't be afraid to mix styles but the colors need to blend with other colors in the room.
  • Buy high quality pieces. Chair will look brand new for years.
  • Decide whether you like firm or soft cushions.
  • How long will person typically sit in the chair at one time?
  • Do you need a chair with a tight back or loose cushions?
  • How high can the back of the chair sit?
  • Will users sit up straight or lie back or slouch in it?
  • How wide and deep should the chair be to fit the space but also the body of the main user?
  • How high should the arms be in relation to height of person using it, height of end table nearby?
  • Do you prefer fully upholstered chair or light and airy with exposed wood on legs and arms?
  • Fabric skirts on chairs soil easily.

Does Your Yard Have a Focal Point?

We know that rooms need a focal point to reference the eye in a specific place. But have you thought about your front or back yard? Yards also need focal points and space planning to look good. Here are some tips.

  • Think of your focal point (or center of interest) as you would punctuation in a sentence. Think of the plants as if they were words.
  • Consider borders and a variety of textures.
  • Multiple focal points placed among groupings of plants provide the eye with a place to start, and then the eye moves outward from there to view the cohesive whole.
  • Examples of focal pieces: sundials, large pottery, sculpture, water fountains, decorative stones and the like.
  • Think vignettes.
  • Arboretums, pergolas, benches, furniture and the like add natural resting or eating places.
  • Make your yards an extension of your personal style.
  • Add color and repeat plants for unity.
  • Layer the heights.
  • Add a fire pit.

Tips for Wallpaper Novices

The first time you decide to hang up some wallpaper, it can be a little daunting to many. Wallpaper is making a come back, you know. So here are a few tips that might take the mystery (and fear) out of hanging wallpaper:

  1. Small prints suggest "country" so best to avoid them unless the room is already a country theme. Go for larger scale prints for more contemporary look.
  2. Do your research by looking through plenty of wallpaper books at your favorite home store. Most have pictures of rooms with the wallpaper on the walls so you can get a good feeling of what it will actually look like.
  3. Decide in advance the feeling, look and color palette of your room.
  4. Check out the kind of paper or vinyl you are hanging. Don't put fragile paper in bathrooms or kitchen or where there is a lot of activity.
  5. Choose papers like you'd choose a wardrobe. Only buy what you feel comfortable with long term.
  6. Start with just one wall. If you like it, do more.
  7. Murals are coming back as well.
  8. For natural wall coverings and specialty papers, hire a professional to install.
  9. Large prints in small spaces are ok.
  10. Bold prints in a small room make it look modern and contemporary.
  11. For first project, pick a large, unobstructed wall. It will be easier to do.
  12. Don't mix too much pattern in one room. Mix a large, medium and small pattern together for best results.
  13. Don't paper the ceiling.

Decisions About Built-Ins

Built-ins add value to your home because when you want to sell it, you'll find buyers will love the additional storage capabilities. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough storage, particularly if you plan to grow your family.

Places to add storage:

  • Pantry in your kitchen.
  • Custom bedroom closet.
  • A library with wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelves.
  • An enclosed entertainment center.
  • A crafts area.
  • A tool and wood working center.
  • A home office center.
  • A homework or toy center for children.
  • An emergency staples holding center.
  • Under the steps storage.

Choose high grade wood or save money with stain-grade plywood trimmed with MDF (medium density fiberboard).

Design your own units, or for closets check out stores like the Container Store, Home Depot, Lowes and other hardwood stores for prefabricated storage systems. IKEA is also a great, inexpensive source for storage units.

If you hate clutter, put solid doors on the fronts of shelves and cubicles. To display accessories yet reduce dust, put glass doors on the cabinets. Open shelving is the most accessible but gathers more dust.

Paint cabinetry a variety of colors or stain them. Choose your colors based on the colors in the room, but also based on what color the items you will put on the shelves.

Paint or wallpaper the backs for a more custom, colorful and more dramatic effect. Vary the heights of the storage from long and low to tall and wide. A window seat serves two purposes: a place to sit and read but also a place to store toys or just hide messes.

Combine open shelves with enclosed shelves to create a more dramatic look and style in the room.

Fashion Video

Another funny back to school or back to work fashion video. Enjoy.

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Barbara Jennings is author of 17 decorating books/ebooks: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, A Real Estate Agent's Guide to Offering Free Home Staging Consultations, 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, Do's and Don'ts in Home Staging and Redesign, and Wall Groupings! The Secrets of Arranging Art and Photos

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Barbara Jennings

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