HOW TO DECORATE YOUR HOUSE - ROOM BY ROOM

By Alan Knight
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You can find a lot of advice out there about home decorating.  Usually they will focus on a certain room or even a part of the room, but who has the time to find the whole package.  Extensive reading is a luxury few have.  Trying to piece together information on decorating the entire house is daunting.  So, why not look at all the parts in one complete article.  We will take it one room at a time.

The ENTRY way of your home may seem to be an insignificant area on which to focus.  But this is not the case.  This tiny area provides the visitor with their first impression of your house.  If a visitor comes through the front door and continues on to the next room without stopping to admire something special you have failed.  Your guest needs to be greeted with a positive and welcome atmosphere from the very first moment they enter.  This can be done in a number of ways.  One of the most popular ways is to add a side table, and one that is unusual.  About thirty years ago, we moved into an upscale neighborhood in Houston, Texas.  The neighbor just behind us was very cordial and offered assistance with the move-in.  On the second day, she had noticed that we had a foyer that was causing some decorator problems.  We had nothing to really complete it.  So, she went to an antique shop, found a long, tall and narrow oriental table and brought it over.  It was beautiful.  Made of mahogany with delicate imprints and sculptured legs, it seemed to be absolutely perfect.  I was ready to pay her any amount of money to keep it, but she insisted on giving it to us as a house-warming gift.  Tables like this one can perfectly accessorize an entry area.  Also consider purchasing some art or an antique mirror to go over the table and then add d├ęcor on top of it.  If your guest does not stop at your foyer to admire your work, you need to rethink the way it is decorated.

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The living room or family room comes in all shapes and sizes.  They are multi-purpose rooms and are one of the most used spaces in the home.  This is a great place to have fun with color, pattern, and accessories.   By the way, before you start buying decorator items measure your room, shelves, windows, and other elements BEFORE going shopping.  Items in a store will always seem smaller because the store is so big.  You will be sad if you get your items home and they are the wrong scale or too small or large for a wall or table.  In most homes the family room also serves as an entertainment center.  Instead of displaying a rather utilitarian flat screen TV or stereo system in the open, why not choose an antique armoire or manor cabinet where entertainment centers can be concealed when not in use.  Then decorate the areas around that piece of furniture.  Since they are typically tall, choosing tall plants on either side is an option.  Also make the seating look warm and comfortable.  Break up the usual couch and chair with some other pieces, like a chase or deep lounging furniture.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Also end tables for reading and floor lamps are a good choice.  The key is to create a theme and find interesting pieces, not the usual fare.   If the family room is more of an entertainment room, choose wall decorations that are more fun than artistic.  I remember one home that decorated the family room New Orleans style.  There was jazz artwork on the walls, rote iron railings in key places and even a cool player piano.  A massive antique armoire housing the entertainment pieces and even an antique popcorn machine really defined it.

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Because kitchens are designed 98% around function, it can be hard to know where to put the pretty things.  Kitchen decor should reflect what’s happening in the kitchen.  Start with selecting pretty jars, canisters, baskets, and greenery, even silk plants or plastic fruits or veggies can’t hurt.  For counter placements, start with the corners.  If you have the height, put the taller pieces in the corner and layer out in front of them.  The canisters that hold actual food can be placed more in the middle or near the stove top.  Again, less is more in the kitchen.  Keep those counters free of clutter and keep them as clean as possible so you have more room to cook and less places to collect dust and germs.  Above cabinets, keep it free of clutter.  Again, less is more.  Some people love to pack them full from corner to corner.

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Bedroom colors are important.  The wise will prefer to keep the tones and patterns subdued... to create a relaxing and restful place to retreat to.  Neutral colors with accents of pattern and lots of texture can create this comforting look.  If you have a head or footboard that is a great statement piece, let them speak for themselves.  Choose simple accessories that complement the focal point-furniture.  Floating nightstands are a good way to simplify.  Also, don’t be afraid of wallpaper.  The wallpaper of today is not your grandma’s wallpaper.  Adding a pattern to the wall behind your bed, whether with paper or a stencil, creates a beautiful finished look.  Gorgeous fabrics in a bedroom is what makes them feel lush and comforting.  Most people choose to hang decor above their headboard, which is totally fine, but don’t be afraid to be different and hang pieces over your night stands instead.  Another thing, you don’t have to buy “bedroom sets” (or living room sets) because when you do, you’re allowing some salesman or manufacturer to decorate your home.  Instead, choose furniture pieces that complement each other, but don’t necessarily match each other.  Paint your side tables a fun color and then repeat that color throughout the room.  Have your headboard be a bright color and then have neutral side tables.  The ideas are endless, and I promise if you break away from the “bedroom set” idea, you’ll have a more designer look in no time.

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The bathroom is similar to the kitchen in the fact that they mostly exist for functional purposes. That doesn’t mean you can’t add a little decor to them.  For example, for the vanity add beautiful canisters or baskets that hold the everyday items like q-tips and towels.  Tall and thin vases with greenery and flowers bring the outdoors in and soften up the hard lines of a bathroom.  One way to really add a focal point to a bathroom is the addition of a clawfoot or pedestal porcelain bathtub.  There are a few specialized companies (Tub King, Inc. for example) that have brought back the old antique style with some more modern improvements.  The slipper tub, for example, made of thick, rich porcelain comes in various sizes to fit any bath and has the sexy lines of a slipper.  Instead of placing it in a corner, as with traditional bathtubs, you redesign the bathroom to have it in the center as a key focal point.  With draperies and towel to add color to this beautiful fixture, you can really make the bathroom come alive.

One last thing, unless architectural elements call for something different (mantels, wainscot, etc.) hang your art with the center of the piece just above eye level.  A good standard is about 5 foot 5 inches.  If you look around, most people hang their frames and mirrors way higher than this... bring them down where you can actually see them.
When you examine your home room by room, does it speak to you?  Is there a consistent pattern that shows someone took time and energy to make it special?  There is a lot you can do, even on a budget.

In this article I have provided sound advice on how to decorate your house room by room, including the kitchen and bathrooms. This advice includes design styles like contemporary verses antique and architectural elements like a claw-foot tub verses a modern pedestal bathtub.  

If you would like to see examples of porcelain, claw-foot, pedestal and contemporary bathtubs, visit our website at www.tubking.com. You will not be disappointed. We hope you visit soon.

Thanks again for visiting with us.  Until next time.

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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

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Alan Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville,  Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, the company is also multiple time award winner, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you would like to contact him, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at alan@tubking.com.

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