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22 Tips for Decorating or Staging Your Home

This is a time of year when many people are moving into new homes, preparing their home for sale, or just looking to update and refresh the rooms where they currently live — which can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and confusing task. This is one of the favorite topics of our friend and interior design expert Laura Bullock. Here are her top 22 tips for decorating your new home, and many of these are helpful if you're staging your home to sell or just sprucing things up. I have to confess, I use a lot of these in my own home — it's hard to pick a favorite!

  1. Set the tone at the front door - If you want your house to make a great first impression, paint the front door a fun, glossy hue such as red.
  2. Keep wall colors light and neutral - Stick to colors like beige or gray, especially on the first floor, where flow is important. 
  3. When placing furniture in the living room, create a conversation area such as two chairs facing the sofa or a sofa flanked by chairs that are facing each other. The most common mistake to avoid is pushing all the furniture against the walls. Float the furniture away from the walls – it will make the room feel bigger!
  4. Artwork - Look for the right size and scale, which is just as important as how it is positioned on the wall.
  5. Layer your lighting - Add ambient, task and accent lighting areas
  6. Place area rugs under furniture feet to anchor the room.
  7. Use visual tricks to raise the ceiling - paint, place curtain rods above windows, choose striped curtain fabric pattern
  8. Give outdated finishes a new life - Spray paint an outdated brass chandelier, change out kitchen cabinet hardware, paint kitchen cabinets white, replace mismatched and broken wall switch plates 
  9. Fight the urge to make everything match - This just makes your room look like a showroom.
  10. Paint or wallpaper the back of your bookcases.
  11. Paint an inexpensive piece of furniture white.
  12. Use what you already have to decorate - In the dining room cover a wall with plates. Art from children’s books can be framed and hung in nurseries. Mount empty frames painted the same color on a stairway wall.
  13. Wallpaper your vinyl window shades.
  14. Create a focal point - A piece of art, a headboard, the fireplace mantel, the decorative vent hood in the kitchen.
  15. Achieve the drama of a major art piece inexpensively by displaying a tight grid of small framed pieces.
  16. Use decorative mirrors to add instant light to your living space. Group them together to create a beautiful wall display. 
  17. Wicker baskets - Attractively hold keys or mail at the front entry; display and store fruit and veggies in the kitchen; books, toys and blankets in your children’s room, or organize your sheets and towels in the linen closet.
  18. Plants are an inexpensive means to accessorizing your space and add color and texture. Not only are they beautiful, but many can clean household air and balance humidity.
  19. Can’t afford new furnishings? Use accessories to bring a new look to old furniture: throw pillows, throw blankets, and area rugs give your ‘old’ room a new look and feel. 
  20. Can’t afford to wallpaper an entire room? Try wall stickers or decals, wallpaper just one wall or above the chair rail.
  21. Chalkboard paint is a favorite in kitchens - Paint one wall, a panel on a pantry cabinet, or even as a backsplash. To add visual interest to your child’s room, mix chalkboard paint into any color and use it with stencils to give a custom look.
  22. Finally, off-white is the color trend for 2016. Use it to update walls, cabinets, furniture, and accessories. Some of my favorite whites: Benjamin Moore Simply White; Sherwin Williams Alabaster; Behr Ivory Keys; Glidden Cappuccino White.

Hope these help you create welcoming, refreshed spaces in your home. Did we miss your favorite decorating tip? If so, please share!

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