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Get Your Home in the Mood for Love

Whether you're married, engaged, dating or single, Valentine's Day is filled with opportunities to do something special for those you like or love. It will just make you feel better too if you go the extra mile at this time of year. So how does one go about getting the home ready to celebrate? Well, the idea is to be romantic, right? So hopefully you'll find some of these tips helpful.

  • Clean home thoroughly.
  • Get rid of all clutter, messes, things that need to be put away and out of sight.
  • Place candles throughout the room or the home. Light them just before your special someone arrives.
  • Get some helium heart shaped balloons that say "I love you" or "Happy Valentine's Day". Sprinkle them throughout your home.
  • Make small hearts and write special messages and place in discreet places where your loved one is sure to discover them.
  • Add some floral decorations in your loved one's favorite bloom.
  • Sprinkle red rose petals from the front door to where you want to lead your loved one first.
  • Decorate your dining table accordingly with linens for a change.
  • Make table intimate with more candles and flowers.
  • Create an intimate setting - fire in the fireplace if it's chilly - or even if it's not.
  • Make your lover's favorite meal and dessert.
  • Use your special plates and flatware or buy some for the occasion.
  • Add the best flower arrangement you have to the table.
  • Lay a special Valentine's Day card or gift on your lover's place setting.
  • Wine is colorful but optional.
  • Wear something classy but still tantalizing.
  • Get the kids away so you can have some "alone time".
  • Play soft love songs in the background.
  • Share memories - especially fond ones when you first met.
  • Talk about where you want to be in your relationship 5 years from now.
  • Be affectionate.
Enjoy your time together. There are many things that require our attention, but relationships are the most important. Make yours special this year.

Getting Ready for Spring

Here are some nifty, inexpensive things you can do to spruce up your home for spring. Do just one - do several - do them all. The choice is yours. Have fun.

  • Add a new area rug.
  • Add a new potted plant.
  • Paint your ceiling a different (light) color.
  • Hang some new wallpaper.
  • Paint an accent wall a contrasting color.
  • Rearrange an entire book shelf.
  • Rearrange the furniture in your family room.
  • Clean where you hardly ever clean.
  • Make your entry look more spectacular and welcoming.
  • Recover a tired old chair.
  • Replace a lighting fixture with a chandelier.
  • Change out your artwork.
  • Add a large decorative mirror.
  • Paint your front door a different color.
  • Paint your shutters a new color.
  • Add more flowers to your garden.
  • Have your trees trimmed.
  • Change your bedding to something light and airy.
  • Fluff up your bed with more decorative pillows.
  • Change out some lamp shades for new ones.
  • Recover your throw pillows with a spring print.
  • Add a new entry rug.
  • Change out the tired, old welcome mat for a new one.
  • Update the family photographs.
Well, that should keep you busy for awhile.

Looking Forward to Gardening Needs

Here are some general ideas to consider as we get further into spring when it comes to looking after your garden.

  • Start a compost pile. Turn it over regularly to keep moist for use later.
  • Acquire pest control products so you're ready to attack when needed.
  • Kill weeds when they are little. Use a flame gun to spot kill weeds while they are small or pull by hand. Vinegar or boiling water also work to kill weeds and don't leave problems behind. Avoid using salt, because it will ruin the soil.
  • Make a plan for your spring gardening.
  • Get ready to re-seed your lawn.
  • You'll want to transplant in April or May. Get your seedlings ready.
  • Complete your structural changes now: trellis, stepping stones, cementing.
  • Make a list of spring vegetables to plant, such as spinach, lettuces, peas, and leeks as well as sweet peas.
  • Think about re-spacing plants to give them more room to spread.
  • Prune your roses just before they start to bud.
  • Don't forget your indoor plants. They need love and care too. Give them some fertilizer. If root bound, repot them. Don't overwater them.
Planning in advance will help you stay organized and motivated and will pay big dividends in the summer.

2011 Decorating Trends

We're not going to see too much of a change from 2010 to 2011 when it comes to decorating trends, but here are a few to consider.

  • Recycled glass countertops instead of granite.
  • Berries and pink shades to black, rustic reds.
  • More turquoise and aqua.
  • Kitchen colors picking up trends from the rest of the home.
  • Art deco themes.
  • Minimalism - a more financially prudent style
  • Repurposing of furniture and accessories.
  • Outreach to more luxurious items to offset recessionary gloom.
  • Concentration on personal style over short lived trends.
  • Eclectic styles
Whatever you do, make your home a reflection of your personality, your ideas, your creativity. Don't worry all that much about trends - they don't last long and may not reflect who you are. Have fun. Be creative. Experiment (within reason). Seek to make your home more enjoyable and more functional.

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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
  • Wall Groupings! The Secrets of Arranging Art and Photos

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