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How Are You Coping With Color?

2011 color trendsEvery year you can count of color palettes changing, even if only so slightly. And this year is no different than any other. We've been heavily influenced lately with overtones of purple, green, orange, red and neutrals. And the trend continues for 2011, however there are changes within each category.

2011 color trendsFor instance, the plum colors are darkening and becoming closer to that of berries. Green is shifting from citrus to lettuce. Orange is going from bright orange to burnt orange. Red is taking on a cherry attitude. And neutrals will be more heavily influenced by metallic and gray.

2011 color trendsSo if you're thinking about switching things up, look for the oh so subtle changes in the color families and you'll be right up to date. Vary the percentages that you use and mix tints and shades together for a more interesting blend that is exciting and challenging.

For a more indepth discussion about 2011 Color Trends, consider getting my updated Color Trends Report.

Flooring Materials? What to Choose.

Flooring is a serious decision, mainly because of its cost but also the difficulties of getting product installed. So obviously you don't want to make any mistakes. But it's also a complex subject. But it is a good time to consider upgrading because manufacturers have bent over backwards to improve their products without increasing the costs to consumers.


  • Recyclable
  • Little waste during installation
  • No harmful "volatile organic compounds"
  • Needs to be resealed every 2 years
  • Easy cleaning
  • Sweep and wash with vinegar or gentle floor cleaner
Natural Stone
  • Granite - durable and resistant to staining; good for kitchens
  • Marble - elegant, durable, beautiful; must be sealed and cleaned regularly
  • Limestone - not recommended for heavy traffic areas; can scratch and scuff
  • Travertine - porous; requires resealing; less durable than granite or marble
  • Slate - water-resistant; ideal for outdoor applications
  • Ceramic - durable, glazed or sealed, not damaged by water
  • Porcelain - easy to clean, long lasting, moisture resistant
  • Terra Cotta - rustic, weathered look; lasts longest when sealed
Other Sufaces
  • Hardwood - environmentally friendly; look for FSC seal to be sure lumber is from sustainable, managed forest
  • Bamboo - very durable, dent resistant, flame-resistant; can be nailed down or glued down or floated
  • Cork - rapidly renewable material, doesn't kill trees; great acoustic properties, blocks sound, keeps space quieter; spongy for less fatigue when standing long times; resilient against marks, fire resistant and hypoallergenic
  • Carpet - adds warmth, style, texture, softness; hides sub-floor irregularities; install over most surfaces; offers more options

10 Ways to Save More & Waste Less

Here are some eco-friendly tips to help you save:

  • Designate a family member each week to make sure lights are turned out when leaving or not being used.
  • Reduce odors by using baking soda, especially in refrigerator.
  • Keep windows locked to improve seal and prevent leaks of warm or cooled air.
  • Boil water faster by using a lid on pan.
  • Turn off dishwater before dry cycle and let things air dry.
  • Look for concentrated products that last longer.
  • Stock up on extra supplies each month as costs are going up.
  • Send kids to school with litter-less lunches in reusable containers.

Reduce Your Clutter; Clear Out Stuff

Every year it seems like my storage needs double in size. I admit I'm a bit of a packrat. But I can't keep "kicking the can down the road" like our politicians are doing with the country's debt. Sooner or later there always comes a day of reckoning. Here are some tips that can help others as well as your de-cluttering needs:

  • Donate old blankets, thick towels, linens to animal shelters for the cages.
  • Donate unused furniture to National Furniture Bank Association that gives to victims of hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. Also helps victims of abuse and those below poverty levels.
  • World Computer Exchange is a nonprofit that donates your old computers and equipment to disadvantaged kids in more than 65 countries. Make sure you strip them of all personal data first.
  • National Cristina Foundation ( donates equipment to charities everywhere.
  • Handheld electronic gaming devices are most cherished by military troops overseas. Contact Games for Heroes (
  • Get-Well Gamers Foundation ( distributes to 40 children's hospitals.
  • Dress for Success ( donates clothing to disadvantaged women and helps them find employment.
  • Donate old prom dresses to
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer ( takes wedding gowns, slips and veils. Proceeds go to

working women

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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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Barbara Jennings

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