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Decorating Dos and Don’ts  

We all want to spend our days in beautiful spaces. But when the time comes to decorate our homes, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. There are a lot of decisions to make, and a lot of rules to follow or break.

Let’s simplify things. Here is a list of simple decorating dos and don’t that will guide you as you make your space just a little bit more comfortable and beautiful. Follow these guidelines, and you can be more sure of yourself as you set out to decorate your home.

Do make use of color families

Your room is not a uniform: the things you put in it and hang on its walls should not match precisely. If you have the exact same color repeated several times, your space is going to start looking like a carefully branded corporate property. Plus, you’ll have trouble adding items, since you’ll have to find exact color matches. Nothing is worse than a color that almost matches, but doesn’t!

But if you take that almost-matching color and make it match just a little less than that, it may start to work in conjunction with the similar-but-not-the-same color and create a pleasing effect. Try using different shades of the same color, and work out to embrace color families: a room that uses warm reds, oranges, and yellows will “match” without having to be “matchy-matchy.”

Don’t point everything at the TV

Remember that old gag from Friends where Joey reacts incredulously to hearing that someone doesn’t own a TV. “You don’t own a TV?” he asks. “What’s all your furniture pointed at?”

It’s funny, but it’s a joke made at the expense of lazy decorators who are content to make a television set the focus of a room. That’s not a good idea, because it will keep your room from feeling like a welcoming place for conversation. Instead create zones with your furniture and bring people together for social moments and conversations. (And remember, Joey was the dumb one!)

Do decorate your walls in a way that shows your personality

Rather than just going to a store and grabbing generic “classy” art for your walls, choose things that are important to you. Frame photographs of friends, loved ones, or places that are dear to your heart — or, better yet, get custom canvas prints. An elegant canvas print can lend a weight and dignity to a personal photograph, helping it to look like it belongs in a place of honor on your wall.

And don’t feel like you have to hang art and art alone. You could hang a shadow box for small collectables, a vintage serving tray, framed ticket stubs, or anything else that speaks to you — and speaks about you to others.

Don’t overthink it

These are just a few basic rules, but that’s okay: remember, the point of making your rooms better is to enjoy them more. When you force yourself to create an Instagram-worthy space and embrace trends that you don’t actually enjoy, you’re creating a room that pleases some imaginary audience but makes your own daily life less enjoyable.

So if you feel your room is perfect for you, just enjoy it! If you think it needs more work, then you should dive in and do more rearranging and more research into interior design. Read up on design blogs if you are so moved, and get more out of your space. You can dedicate as much or as little time and effort as you’d like to decorating. Just remember that decorating is there to serve you, not the other way around.

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