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Facing the fear of decorating

What I think stops most people from doing or redoing a room or an entire house is the fear of what it will look like when it is done. You have to be comfortable in your space. Your personality has to shine in your room.

I am often asked to help with decoration of a client's home. I always like to know more about the client, I always inquire, what is your favorite color? Do you like bright rooms? Or do you prefer a dark drapery or perhaps jewel tones? Then I am ready to suggest how well rust silk would complement this, with a lamp in the corner. I am really against buying entire bedroom suites; this shows you have money but not much taste. Match your style with the room. The electric mix of old and new will never go out of style.

 
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There is no right or wrong way to decorate, but there are a few basic rules that will help you crate a comfortable living space. Remember that is what it is "a living space" and not a museum. Make sure that everything in the room is user friendly. It should also suit the requirements of your family. A 10,000-rupee vase on a low coffee table is not a good idea if you have young children in the house or visiting.

One good way of thinking is that your house is a woman, and like a woman she likes change. To keep her looking fresh and in tune with current home fashion. The first basic rule is a color scheme - make sure that you have two basic color stories, with one accent color. This will keep the room harmonious. This will also help you in changing the look for festivals and seasons. This can be fun and not too expensive: for Dewali change only the cushions and keep diyas and festive runners on tables; for monsoon keep large clear glass bowls of colored water and floating candles; and during Christmas you can bring in red poinsettia flowers, large red cushions and perhaps a Christmas tree with all the trimmings.

Low seating is very good to look at but it is not comfortable. It does not make the room look bigger... it makes your back hurt. I strongly advise my clients to keep away from low seating arrangements and stick with conventional 16" to 18 " off the ground chairs and sofas. Think of other ways to bring the Far Eastern look into your home. Perhaps with clean lines and un-carved furniture. Bamboo mats and chicks are a definite oriental influence. Single flower arrangements with water bodies are claming and very Zen.

Bringing small artifacts from your trips is a wonderful way to remember your holiday well after you get back. They make wonderful conversational pieces and help you share you memories with friends and family.

Just like a good photograph needs good lighting so does your home. Tube lighting is not mood lighting, keep it far away from your living spaces. Table lamps give a soft glow to the room and throw light upwards making any room look larger. Colored glass hundies are the current rage, use them sparingly but where there is high visibly and this will create the desired effect.

Wood is one of the most comforting ways of furnishing a room. Whether it is wood flooring or new furniture it makes the home. I personally think old wood is like an old friend full of character and may even have a few flaws, which creates depth. Make old wood work for you. Reinvent ways of using it in your home. An old banister as a candleholder, a cradle as additional seating, an old door as a coffee table - this shows a sense of individual style.

Loose the fear, and begin to enjoy your living space. Change can be a refreshing experience.

As published in Femina