Staging

Staging
A Clients' Kitchen Staged to Sell!

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting my blog. I have a passion for decorating! And, as a decorator and home stager who's helped many people transform their homes, I wanted to share my ideas and tips with others. Enjoy! My company's motto is: "Home Staging for Selling or Staying!"



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Decorating Tips for Your Christmas Tree


Happy Holidays to all!  Only 10 days until Christmas!  If you'd like some tips on decorating your tree this year, here are some of my (hopefully) useful tips:

Beginning the task: When decorating your tree, put lights on first, then the garland, and finally the ornaments. I think of my tree as a three-dimensional painting. Do you have a color scheme or theme that you want to follow? Sometimes having a plan for your tree makes it more fun to decorate – at least in my opinion. You can spend all year collecting items for your tree – but a good time of year to find bargains is, of course, the post-holiday sales.

Hanging Ornaments: Begin by hanging "filler ornaments" and evenly space them around the tree. They could be basic solid color balls that are easily found at discount stores in a wide range of colors to coordinate and enhance your decorating scheme. You'll need about 20 "filler ornaments" for every two feet of Christmas tree. Don't hang all your ornaments on the tips of the branches. Instead, hang ornaments and other decorations 'inside' your tree to add depth and interest.

Light it up! If you do not have a pre-lit tree, here’s a suggestion for adding lights: You can’t really have enough! Lights give a tree dimension and beauty so pile them on!! I have a 6.5 foot tree and it has 500 mini-white lights on it – it’s gorgeous! Start arranging Christmas tree lights on the branches near the base of the tree. Weave strings of lights along the branches "inside," then move to the outer edges of the branches.

Adding the extras: There are so many beautiful accessories to add to your tree – from pine cones to flowers to bows, just to name a few. Once your tree has lights, garland and ornaments, you can fill in the "holes" with your accessories. And VOILA! Your tree is a masterpiece. By the way, my 6.5 foot tree is embellished with 400 ornaments and accessories, and each year, I receive so many compliments. You can accumulate these over time so that you don’t break the budget!

Keep your live tree fresh! If you bought a live tree, cut the stump of the tree with a fresh cut and set it in water immediately. A fresh-cut tree will absorb several quarts of water right from the start. So it's important to check and refill the water level several times a day for the first week. You can cut down on frequency later. Be sure to place you Christmas tree in a stand that has a large water reservoir and keep it filled.You don’t want your tree to dry out!

If you have any questions, please email and check out my website at
www.AGoodeStartDecorating.com; or feel free to post a comment below!
Have a safe and wonderful holiday and Happy Decorating!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Staging Your Home During the Holidays

During the holidays, many sellers always ask me, “How much holiday decorating should I do if I’m trying to sell my house?” So, I wanted to share my home stager guidelines with you if you’re trying to sell your house during the holidays:

     -I always suggest putting a wreath on the door and little white candles in the windows since both are very warm and welcoming (the objective if you’re trying to sell your house).
      -Outdoor lights can be a bonus and can be pretty and attractive, especially at night.  But be careful not to go overboard like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s, ”Christmas Vacation.”
           -Don’t put out your blow up Santa and his reindeer in your yard! Put out your holiday “ornaments” next year. 
     -In my opinion, it’s OK to have one Christmas tree or a menorah out during the holiday season, but as soon as the holiday is over, everything should be put away (including the gifts!)
    -Try to keep your holiday decorating to a minimum.  Don’t deck out your house with lots of Santas, nativity scenes and other Christmas or Hanukkah d├ęcor.  Keep it simple  - they are very distracting to prospective buyers.  You want them to look at your house, not your decorations.
          -Holiday baking is a plus -- so if you have to bake six dozen chocolate chip cookies, it would be great to do it before the open house (and put a few out for prospective buyers and your realtor).

      Hope these suggestions have helped you if you’re trying to sell your house. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  Best wishes for wonderful Holiday Season and Happy Decorating!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Green" Ways to Make Your Home Shine for the Holidays!

If you are hosting family and friends for the holidays, I'm sure you've been busy getting ready for the event. Whether you are getting your home ready for the holidays or ready for sale, here are 10 "green" tips using many household items that you may already have in your house.  They are much healthier for your family than using the alternative, chemical-based products.

1.  Clean your glass windows, doors or mirrors with a mixture of white vinegar and water and wipe with newspaper for a beautiful, streak-free shine.
2.  Freshen your garbage disposal by putting a lemon wedge in and running the disposal.  This will neutralize odors and crease a fresh, lemony scent.  Fresh lemon can also be used to scrub kitchen counters and salt can be added as an abrasive for stubborn stains (tip - be careful using any abrasives with granite and marble - they are porous and scratch easily).
3.  Remove crayon from the walls with toothpaste (not the gel type).  Simply put a small amount of toothpaste on a  damp sponge and wipe gently, then wipe away any residue with a clean sponge.
4.  Remove watermarks on wood surfaces by rubbing a little mayonnaise on the wood and then buffing out the mark.
5.  Remove candle wax from fabric by hardening it first with an ice cube and then chipping away the hardened wax.
6.  Repair small scratches on hardwood floors with wood stain magic markers, available at most hardware stores. Be sure to choose the color that most closely matches the wood, fill in the scratch with color and buff with a soft cloth to blend.
7.  Stainless steel appliances will shine if you rub a little olive oil on a soft cotton cloth and polish to a shine!
8.  Remove soap residue in your dishwasher by running a wash cycle with a couple of white vinegar instead of soap.
9.  Clean stains on upholstery with a small amount of club soda on a dry cloth.  Some stains may be more difficult to remove.  If the club soda does not work, make a paste of 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of club soda.  Rub a small amount on the stain with a soft cloth.  Gently rub the cleaner off with another clean soft cloth dipped in a little warm water.  Once dry, vacuum off any remaining residue
10. Remove oil and grease stains on concrete driveways and garage floor by sprinkling the stains with baking soda or an other absorbent substance such as cornmeal or sawdust.  If the stain is dry, be sure to wet it first to create a paste and then scrub with a stiff brush.  If this is unsuccessful, try using automatic dishwashing detergent, leave it on for a few minutes and then poor boiling water on it and scrub with a stiff brush.

I hope these tips will make your home shine for the holidays!  Happy Decorating!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays!

Time is fast approaching for the holidays so it’s time to think about making a few low budget changes!  If you’re unhappy with your living room or dining room - especially your worn-out sofa and/or chairs - here are some budget-wise decorating ideas to update your upholstered items:

- If your sofa or chairs need recovering or need to be replaced and it’s not in your budget this year, consider slip covering them instead! You can buy stretchable slipcovers at stores such as Walmart and Target. For even more selection, look at Surefit, Bed, Bath and Beyond, J.C. Penney or Pottery Barn slipcovers online – to name a few!!

-If you can’t find a ready-made slipcover to fit your sofa, find a nice quilt or throw to drape over your sofa to cover those worn out or stained area.

-Add accent pillows for some added color to your “new” sofa. Accent pillows are good to “hide” holes and stains too J.  You can add up to six on a long sofa; about four on a love seat; and one or two on a large chair.

- Many dining room chairs that have removable seats can be recovered easily.
Just unbolt the seat from the chair frame and stretch your new fabric over the seat. Make sure you have extra fabric to tuck around to the back and use a staple gun to attach it.  Or you can add extra color and style by covering your dining room chairs with slip covers made for them. You can buy them from the stores I mentioned above.

Hope these ideas will help you (and your wallet)get your home ready for the upcoming holidays! I'll blog some more ideas next month or  check out my facebook page for lots of decorating ideas and pictures of rooms decorated by A Goode Start Decorating:  www.facebook.com/agoodestartdecorating.

I'd also welcome any comments from you on my blog.

As always, Happy Decorating and Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Decorating Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Table

Fall is in the air and it’s only a few weeks until Thanksgiving!  If you are hosting this wonderful dinner, you are to be congratulated.  And, you may want a few ideas for your tablescape. So, here are some ideas to help you get ready for the big day:

1. You can either make or purchase a fall-inspired or Thanksgiving centerpiece. Make one yourself by using a traditional cornucopia centerpiece with fruit or a fall floral arrangement made with clippings from your garden! Believe it or not, my mums and marigolds are still in bloom! Or, you can then scatter some fall leaves from your yard, very small pumpkins, berries or nuts on the table around the centerpiece to highlight it around your centerpiece (remember to wash your yard-treasures thoroughly before adding them to your table). If you don't feel adventurous in making your own arrangement, then I encourage you to get one from a local florist.

2. You can add candles to your table in fall colors - shades of gold, rust, burgundy, green or browns - or use a set of rustic wooden or metal candleholders to decorate your table. Another suggestion - you can use the candles as a centerpiece.  
If you use candleholders as your centerpiece, you can arrange autumn foliage, wheat sprigs, berries, nuts, and mini pumpkins and other seasonal vegetables around the base. And now, we have many beautiful battery-operated lights that can be intermingled in with your natural treasures, and you don’t run the risk of starting a fire! 

3. In lieu of a vase, use a large, hollowed-out pumpkin to display your floral centerpiece. Scatter sprigs of wheat, clusters of berries, nuts and autumn leaves around the base of the pumpkin.  Brighten up traditional floral arrangements by adding a few LED lights on twigs into the arrangement.  Just remember to make room for the battery pack at the bottom of the vase or container. It makes a beautiful arrangement!

4. Set your table with a tablecloth, table runner, place mats and napkins in the colors of fall – gold, rust, burgundy, bronze - in prints and/or coordinating solids. To avoid a cluttered appearance and to highlight your centerpiece, be careful not to use too many prints on your table.

5. Use napkin rings that reflect the season as well or you can slip a twig of wheat or fall foliage into the fold of the napkin. You can also coordinate the napkin rings, with a similar autumn-inspirited motif, into the table scape.

6. If you have good china or dishes that have autumn motifs and/or colors, suggest that you coordinate them with the colors and other elements of your table's decorations.

7. Finally, beautiful maple leaves (or other suitable leaf) or a mini-pumpkin can be used as place cards for your guests! If you use leaves, please rinse leaves carefully and pat dry. Once dry, write each guest's name on the leaf or mini-pumpkin with a black or gold felt-tip pen.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Decorating!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Give Your Home a Lift with Paint!


Do you want to change your home's ambiance for the least amount of money before the Holidays? If your answer is, yes - here's how: Paint!  And Fall is a great time of year to paint your home.  The weather is cooler, and it is easier to air out your house to let the paint dry faster.

Changing the color of a room can transform the overall feeling of a room. First, you need to decide on a new color. I'd like to suggest a couple of options:

1. Before you buy the paint color that you have selected, I recommend that you purchase a sample in order to paint it on your wall to see if you like it. Most brands of paint these days have samples available for purchase. This is a good idea because you'll get to see the color on the wall in your room in different lighting - morning, afternoon and evening light. Paint colors can change according to the light in the room, and you can make sure that you like the way the new paint looks during the different times of day.

2. If you'd rather not paint samples on the walls or a sample color is not available, I'd like to suggest that you attach several large swatches of the new paint color (available for free at the store) and tape them on the wall in order to visualize the paint color in the room. This can be very effective in helping you make a decision.

3. If you're still indecisive, paint one wall in the room. One way or the other, this will help you make a decision on whether you can live with the new color.

4. If you are trying to paint over a dark or bright color, you really need to paint the walls with primer paint first. This is an important step so that the old color does not "bleed through." Talk with the paint store experts about paint that has both primer and paint combined. This may be a good option for you and will enable you to skip a step.

5. Another suggestion in selecting paint is to choose low or no-VOC paint (VOC stands for volatile organic compound). It is a little more expensive, but it does not emit harmful smells or odors as much as other paint and is considered to be a "green" alternative. I wholeheartedly recommend low or no-VOC paint to my clients.

Even if you do not like the new color --painting is basically the least expensive way to get the most impact in redecorating your room. You can always repaint. Be brave and try it! If you need a second opinion before you start to paint, call your favorite decorator.
As always, Happy Decorating everyone!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Get Your Home Ready For Fall!



Autumn is time for changes – the leaves are turning, the kids are back in school, football games are on TV, and you start looking toward the upcoming holidays – which will be here before we know it!

If your house needs a little TLC before the fall football get-togethers and the holiday season begins, here are a few ideas to help you:

1. Begin your task with one room at a time – so you do not feel so overwhelmed.

2. Identify the problem area(s). And ask yourself - are there too many books, magazines, dishes, knick-knacks, blankets, toys, etc. around? Does something need to be repaired or fixed before you can start organizing? If so, try your hand at the repair, hire someone or bribe your significant other to help you.

3. Next, start looking for some storage solutions to organize your belongings. This could range from bookshelves with canvas or wicker baskets to under-the-bed storage containers (I bought lifts at Bed, Bath and Beyond for my bed so I could squeeze some storage containers under my bed). B-B & B has a wide variety of containers as well as Target and Walmart; or it you have a Container Store or IKEA nearby, check out their selection.

4. Store items in trunks that are available now in different types, colors and sizes and are attractive ways to hide belongings. I have four wicker trunks in my house – all used for storage – from throws to decorations to family board games. And if the trunks are located in family areas, they provide a convenient storage for frequently used items.

5. In my home office, I bought two black storage ottomans that I use for filing bills and paperwork in my office, instead of a filing cabinet. They are also comfortable to sit on if you occasionally have a visitor while you’re working in your office.

6. Children's toys can be stored away in colorful trunks, square ottomans, canvas baskets in storage cubes or bookshelves, or in plastic containers. Color-code each container (for each child or for the type of toy) for easy retrieval and easy clean-up by the kids. The colorful, square storage ottomans are multi-purpose and can also be fun to use as extra seating around a small table (I bought mine from Target). And you can stack them in a corner too.

7. Buy some over the door hooks for the bedroom doors to hang bathrobes, purses or hats to save some room in closets.
8.  Use wicker or canvas storage boxes to organize your smaller items in closets.  They look great along the top shelf holding purses and hats or on the closet floor holding shoes and socks.

So, there are few suggestions to get you started on your fall clean-up. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add your comments. Happy Fall!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Even More Decorating Tips for Your Outdoor Room - Part 3



Here are more decorating tips for your outdoor room.  Lighting can be very important – especially if you want to enjoy your outdoor space at twilight and after dark.  The lighting aspect of your outdoor room can also be taken care of in an affordable yet stylish manner.

Use candles or torches for that elegant and peaceful atmosphere and if you are worried about safety you can go for solar lamps. If you want to create a festive mood, hang some holiday lights over the porch beam or on a nearby tree. You can even make luminaries by dropping a candle in a punched recycled can. My personal preferences are inexpensive, decorative paper lanterns with battery-powered lights that are sold at stores like Pier One. They add a calming, relaxing ambiance.

 I’m also seeing more and more lamps that can withstand outdoor use – both floor lamps and table lamps. I’ve even seen outdoor chandeliers! I can’t confirm how good these “outdoor” lights work without problems  – so I recommend that you talk with one of the knowledgeable sales persons at the department store before you purchase them.  I’ve even seen outdoor TVs!

Finally, add style and charisma to your outdoor room with creative accessories. You don’t have to spend much to put together a bunch of accessories that blend with your outdoor room setting. Collect scrap lumber and paint some attractive signs or lean a used picket fence on one side of the porch wall. You can paint it or start growing some attractive flowering vines around it. Hang pretty bird houses or just place them in a corner to add character to your outdoor room. Add some pretty cushions and throw pillows to your chairs and some eye-catching napkins or placemats on the table to add color to your outdoor room. If you have an old ladder or bookcase, paint it and put plants or flowering plans on it for decoration.

 Your new outdoor room will quickly become your sanctuary or your party room once you have it ready for summer. Please feel free to email me at AGoodeStartDeco@gmail.com
if you have any questions.
As always – Happy Decorating!

 

 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Decorating Tips for Outdoor Rooms


Tips for Decorating Your “Outdoor Room” – Part 2

Happy July and Independence Day!  Time to enjoy the beautiful weather and think about extending our living spaces to our decks and porches. One of the considerations in setting up your outdoor room is privacy. If this is one of your concerns, here are some ways you can do so.

If you’re one of those lucky homeowners whose deck or outdoor patio is protected by a wall or a fence on at least one side, you’re probably not as concerned about privacy.

If you do want to add some privacy, you can use a trellis on one or more of the other sides. For additional privacy you can plant a vine that is fast growing, on the base of the trellis. We made our own trellis with a sheet of lattice set inside a wooden frame with a T-base for ground support. To make your trellis portable, you can anchor them in a planter and move it however you want them to be placed.

If your outdoor room is protected from the weather by a roof, like the end of a deck you can forget the trellis and just hang panels of sheets, muslin or some outdoor curtains (possibly made of Sunbrella fabric, which is rather costly, but it is fairly resistant to sun damage and fading).

For a quick fix, use a staple gun to hold the sheets or material together and don’t forget to add tiebacks to use when you need to let the breeze in. If you like to sew, you can sew the seams together to make a wider panel. This is one of the best and affordable ways to create your own outdoor room that you can change every year.

Next month, I’ll give you a few more ideas for outdoor rooms.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at AGoodeStartDeco@gmail.com.  Have a wonderful month and Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Decorating your "Outdoor Room" on a budget!


If the temperature is any indication, Summer has finally arrived! And it’s time for enjoying the great outdoors, entertaining and celebrating the beautiful weather. If you love relaxing on your deck or porch like I do, here are some ideas for decorating your outdoor space. Since outdoor rooms are very popular now, there are many more options to the homeowner. Your outdoor room can be an extension of your home and you can personalize it with some exterior decorating ideas.

 Selecting outdoor furniture which suits your personal taste and style may be challenging. Prices range from the inexpensive (resin or aluminum) to the more expensive (wrought iron or wooden) – for example. You can choose from many different styles and colors to meet your needs. And there are many bright new colored accessories (pillows, cushions, umbrellas) featured this year!

If you’re on a budget, discount stores usually have less expensive outdoor furniture available or you can pick up an Adirondack resin chair for a very reasonable cost. This year, you can even choose some brightly colored Adirondack chairs. Fun! Once you add throw pillows on the chairs, they look great in most settings. You can even find some bargain outdoor furniture at consignment shops and garage sales. If they are wooden or metal, you can usually spray paint them – but make sure you read the label to ensure that you buy a paint that will adhere to the surface.

So - start planning for your time outdoors this summer now - while the selection is great! And please check out my "A Goode Start Decorating and Home Staging" Facebook page and my website at www.AGoodeStartDecorating.com. Happy Decorating!!!!

 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Stager's Tips for Selling Your Home (and edge out the competition!)



Well, it’s finally nice weather and the Spring race to buy a new home is on! If you're a home buyer, you definitely are on a house-hunting mission! If you and your real estate agent do "drive bys," you've probably eliminated a few properties based on their exterior appearance - including broken railings, children's toys in the yard or an unmowed lawn.Curb appeal is so important to the prospective home buyer since it is the FIRST impression a prospective buyer will have.   It could mean the difference between a "sale" and "no sale."

If you are the home seller, here are some recommendations to keep your home in pristine condition and appeal to the prospective home buyers "drive by":

1. Make sure that your lawn is freshly cut and that leaves in your lawn are raked. If winter has set in, please make sure that the snow has been shoveled in the driveway and on walk-ways and sidewalks.

2. Your home's entryway should be attractive and welcoming. Consider a potted plant by the entrance, repaint the door, add a beautiful wreath on the door and/or a new exterior light to highlight the entrance.

3. Make sure that you repair or replace any problems - such as broken railings, doors, lights, or other exterior items. It means so much to a prospective buyer to be greeted with a welcoming exterior.

4. Clean and sweep clean your walkway and drive way.

5. Store away garbage cans, recycling bins and other "extras" in the front yard.

6. Ensure that the exterior of your home is power-washed, including siding and decks. It is an alternative to painting. If the exterior of your home is clean, it will show well to prospective buyers.

7. Store-away your treasures that could look like "clutter" to prospective buyers. It will distract them and they will not be able to envision themselves in your home -- which is a very important element in whether or not the potential buyers will fall in love with your home and want to buy it.

8. Tackle one project at a time when you're de-cluttering your home. You do not want little problems in a room to distract the buyer and cause the potential buyer to focus on the flaws. For example, ensure that peeling wallpaper is glued down; chipping paint is repaired and that all covers on all electrical/lighting outlets are replaced. Repair all dripping faucets and moldy caulking. Believe it or not, this really makes a difference!

9.  Consider painting your front door a complimentary, but eye-catching color. Generally, your front door is the focal point of your house.  Remember, most buyers like traditional colors; for example, blue, grey, green, black, white, brown, cream and red for front doors.  They usually do not care for non-traditional colors such as purple, pink, orange and bright yellow.

So, my advice to home sellers - do a walk-through of your home. Try to have a critical eye and identify any potential problems that possible buyers may see.

Real estate agents and professional home stagers can help you with this tedious process. Remember, this is still a difficult real estate market and you need to ensure that your home looks its BEST - the first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Please let me know you need an objective opinion. I can help you if you in the Anne Arundel (Maryland) county, Southern Maryland or Eastern Shore area. Good luck to you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tip for Hanging Pictures and Wall Art


As an interior decorator for 25 years, I’ve helped my clients hang many pictures in their homes, so I wanted to share some of my tips with you.

If you have a large empty wall where you’d like to hang lots of pictures, I’d like to suggest that you arrange the artwork on the floor first.  Then, measure how far they need to be from one another (each picture should be the same distance from the other, vertically and horizontally).  Next, take one at a time and put them on the wall.  I usually start from the center point and work on each side.

Another option would be to make a template of each picture and adhere it to the wall gently using a re-useable adhesive, which looks a little bit like putty, but it won’t tear pieces from the wall or the paper patterns.

For a grouping, consider a grouping of four of the same-size pictures, together like a four-square to give the illusion of a larger picture.  I’d like to recommend that the pictures have a unifying theme, such as cityscapes, landscapes, and florals – to name a few – and have the same frame color. 

Family portrait groupings should also have the same frame color and the same mat color so that they look good together.

If you decide that you would like a different configuration for your grouping, consider using a larger picture in the center, and then place two smaller pictures on either side. Odd numbers can look great in a grouping if they are placed correctly.

Hang pictures at eye level – but not too high.  For instance, if you are hanging a picture over a sofa, place the bottom of the picture no more than 12 inches above the top of the sofa.  If you hang it higher than 12 inches, the viewer’s eye will just go to the wall, not the picture.

Don’t place one little picture on a large wall – it will get lost on the wall!  If there’s not enough artwork to fill the space on a large wall, I’d like to recommend that you put mirrors or a shadowbox in the grouping.

I hope these suggestions will help when you’re hanging artwork. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.  And, as always, Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips on Buying Furniture

 
After selling furniture for a couple of years and 25 years experience as an Interior Decorator, I’d like to suggest the tips below if you are in the market for new upholstery. When looking for upholstery, you should ask the salesperson for information on fabric and construction before making your decision to purchase.
1. Fabrics:

Durability and function should be paramount in selecting which fabric you choose for your upholstery. Fabrics can add color, character and charm to your room.

-Leather has features which can make it superior to other upholstery materials since it will not tear along the seam lines or easily rip as some other fabrics do. Leather is made to provide you with years of timeless beauty, however, it is a bit pricy.

-Leathermatch is a more economical material choice. Leather match upholstery means the piece has a combination of real leather and dyed-to-match vinyl. It features the look of leather at a more affordable cost.

-Microfiber features superfine filaments that are manufactured and woven together to create synthetic fabric. It has a softer, almost suede-like texture and is generally lighter than conventional fabrics. In general, microfiber fabrics are resilient or resist wrinkling; have a luxurious drape and body; retain their shape; and resist moisture very well. In addition, they are relatively strong and durable in relation to other fabrics of similar weight.

If fabric durability is a concern when purchasing your upholstery, a fabric constructed out of synthetic fibers (such as Viscose and Polyester) may be the right choice for you.

-Organic fabric:You can also consider wools and heavy cottons, which usually wear well. Cottons can range from twills to chintz (polished cotton). In my opinion, I prefer chintz because they clean better than twills.

In summary, all fabrics are subject to wear-and-tear. Sunlight and humidity can affect the quality of your upholstery. I highly recommend taking proper care of your furniture to ensure that the quality and appearance of your furniture does not change.



2.  Furniture construction:

Comfort is key to a great piece of furniture. When deciding upon the construction of your furniture’s cushions, it is important to keep in mind that both down and synthetic cushioning have different advantages. Synthetic cushions (i.e., foam) tend to give firm yet comfortable support for upholstered seating. Down filled pieces will provide a smoother seat, allowing you to feel like you are "sitting on a cloud."

The other important aspect of your furniture's construction is the spring foundation. If you prefer sinking into the softness of the cushion, you should explore styles that are supported by 8-way suspensions. This type of support is achieved when single coil springs are attached to the webbing with link and then hand tied to each other to create superior elasticity in the seat. This gives the entire cushion a durable but very soft feeling with little support from the frame.



Sinuous Spring support is made up of S-shaped wires that are also known as “S coils” and “zigzag springs.” Springs are fastened with clips and no-sag nails to be staggered every few inches from front to back or top to bottom under the seat cushion and behind the seatbacks. This tightly held formation provides a slightly firmer support for your sofa, chair or ottoman.

Furniture frames are most commonly constructed out of kiln-dried hardwoods. Typically, Oak, Maple, and Poplar woods are used in this type of frame construction. Kiln-dried hardwoods provide sturdy structure and long-lasting durability to your furniture. Other pieces are constructed with rattan or metal, making your furniture stylish as well as strong.



3.  Function of the Room:

Before selecting upholstery for your room, consider the function of the room. Is it a formal seating area? What about a casual living room where friends and family can feel at ease?

Furniture styles and fabric choices can aide you in creating a space that will meet your needs and provide your room a great new appearance. Fabrics with details (such as damask, tapestry, brocade) and matched with elegant framing structures create a more formal appeal. While furniture with darker fabrics and softer style-lines (such as microfiber or leather) are ideal for high-traffic areas in your home.

4.  Style of your Room:

Style is a channel through which you are able to express your imagination and individuality. Here are some common style themes that are useful to consider when purchasing furniture for your home:



-Traditional Style: Calm, orderly, and conventional. This style is functional and uncomplicated. Traditional furniture pieces tend to accommodate a busy lifestyle, by being easy to maintain and child-friendly. However, there are many traditional pieces that adhere to the non-trendy design principle (for example, 18th century furniture) which can create a more formal atmosphere.



-Transitional Style: Transitional style is the synthesis of traditional and contemporary furniture. Finishes, materials and fabrics are combined to create a timeless and versatile design. This furniture is simple yet sophisticated and utilizes straight lines and very carefully balanced proportions.



-Modern Style: Modern style features clean lines and unique shapes. You will notice neutral elements accentuated by bold colors and geometric patterns. Modern style can be both casual and formal in appearance.



-Casual Style: Casual style is warm, comfortable and inviting. This style is defined by simple details, neutral colors and comfortable seating. Textured elements of fabrics along with softer choices of fabrics create an informal, welcoming atmosphere.



-Formal Style: Formal style features delicate, opulent fabrics which are ideal for light-use and if the room is used only for entertaining or conversation.

Hope these tips have been helpful to you.  As always, until next  month, Happy Decorating!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ready, Set, Downsize!

There can be many different reasons for downsizing – but moving is probably the most common. Well, I’m not moving, but the older I get the more I get annoyed at all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. Does this sound familiar to you? 

In the past, I would move to a different home every four years. And every time I moved, I would sort through my stuff, donating lots of bags to the Salvation Army, Purple Heart and Goodwill. As you can tell, my love of shopping for clothes, shoes and decorative items has always gotten me in trouble.

However, now that I’ve been living in the same house for the past five years, my “stuff” has been multiplying exponentially. Not only is the crawl space under the house filled up completely, but we now have a garage that has no more extra room – especially for a car. And it's migrating to my two spare bedrooms and the closets are bulging at the seams. I'm really tired of the piles which seem to grow on a weekly basis. And even more frustrating, I usually can't find what I'm looking for!

Time out. I need to fix this situation! No one else can weed out all my personal items unless I call a professional organizer.

So, what has inspired me to think about downsizing? Because I've been helping my family transition into a new, smaller place after moving from a large house with lots of storage. Now they are in an apartment with no basement, no garage. To make their situation even more challenging, not only are they moving their own belongings, but also all the inherited "treasures" from their parents. Since I really don't want to be in that situation when I'm older with lots of aches and pains, I've decided to tackle my downsizing process now -- while I still have the energy without the maladies.

So how do you let go of your "treasures"? The answer is -- with difficulty. But, in my opinion, the pay-off is worth it.

Here are some suggestions on my downsizing method:
1. First, make four piles: 1) Give-away or donate; 2) Sell; 3) Trash; 4) Keep (try not to be tempted to add too many items to that pile).
2. Second, in sorting through your personal belongings, ask yourself: Will I need or wear it now or within the next year? If the answer is no, you probably want to put those items in the "give-away, sell or trash" pile.
3. Third, can I give it to someone who can use it? Donating items to charity organization can provide you a tax donation write-off -- just make sure you get a receipt for your donation. By the way, Purple Heart will pick it up from your doorstep if you schedule it with them online.
4. Next, do you want to sell your items and make a little money (or a lot, depending upon the worth of the items)? You can put ads in a Craig's List for free or in your local "Pennysaver" for very little money, or have a garage sale or take items to a consignment shop. Your choice. Will your efforts be worth the pay off? Maybe. It depends on your point of view and your priorities.
Personally, I'm lazy about garage sales, so I decided to donate those items that I hadn't used/needed in a year, and I received a tax receipt. Remember when you’re donating to keep the receipt and itemize (and summarize) the number and types of items.
5. Which leads me to my fifth suggestion: ask your family or friends if they would like to "inherit" your hand-me-downs. If they're ready for your hand-me-downs, that will help your downsizing efforts.
6. Finally, here's my last suggestion if you going through this alone and need help: Consider hiring a professional organizer to assist you in sorting through items and deciding whether to keep them, sell or donate them, or trash them.
Or, if you're going to sell your home, professional home stagers can help you "de-clutter" to make your home appeal to prospective buyers.  If you are totally overwhelmed with the process, you may want to call a Professional Organizer to help you. 
So, right now, I'm taking my own advice and beginning to downsize on my own. If you’re also ready to take on this challenge, best of luck and hope you love the results!

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