Cozy up your home this fall
By Donna Babylon
The lazy (or, not so lazy) days of summer were wonderful. But, now it's time for the kids to return to school and for you to move forward on those decorating projects that have been on your "to do" list for the past few months. Fall is the perfect time of year to dive in and create a comfortable and inviting living space. When winter comes roaring in, you'll be spending more time indoors and you'll appreciate a cozy home. So, where and how do you start?
Fall is one of the most colorful times of the year, with once-green leaves changing into vibrant colors. It's as though nature is nudging you to consider adding color to your home by showcasing its beautiful color palette.
Having fun with color is one of the most exciting aspects of home decorating. A dash of color here and a splash of color there add personality to the room, and can be accomplished even if you are on a tight budget.
Color Your World
We see so many colors all around us, but it can be a challenge to select and commit to colors we want to actually live with. So, how do you approach adding color to your home? First of all, take a deep breath and relax! To develop a personal color sense, look through magazines and clip photos that catch your eye. The clippings may seem unrelated at first, but you'll gradually see a color pattern develop as you review your preferences. Another easy way to determine color for your living environment is to turn to your closet. What colors do you like to wear? More than likely, if you like wearing particular colors, you will enjoy living with those same colors.
Before committing to painting a whole room in the color you selected, first test your color choice. Buy a small quantity of paint and paint several very large pieces of cardboard. Hang them around the room so, throughout the day, you can observe how changes in lighting affect the color. Give your eye time to adjust to the change. When you are comfortable with the color, then you can confidently paint the room.
Let's Get Cozy
Why would you want to decorate your home for the fall? For the same reasons you change your wardrobe when seasons change-for variety and to better enjoy the changing weather. Fall is soon to arrive so let's get started!
- Fall, like any other season, is defined by unique colors. Add some accessories and accents from the warm side of the color wheel that remind you of images of fall and winter.
- Gather some colorful leaves and frame them in inexpensive frames.
- Add a slipcover to your favorite sofa or chair in dark, rich colors for a completely new look.
- Replace your floral tablecloth in the kitchen or dining room with a warm and cozy blanket.
- Individual bowls of pinecones, leaves, nuts, or gourds placed around the house announce the arrival of fall. Also, wooden bowls can be filled with balls of different colors.
- The nights are getting longer-and chillier. This is the perfect time to bring out the candles. Group them together for maximum glow.
- Take advantage of the bounty of this harvest season and use scooped-out squash or pumpkins as natural containers for colorful fall flowers.
- The right fabric can turn any room into a cozy cocoon. Scatter some throw pillows made from fuzzy wools, "snuggly" flannels, velvets and corduroys. These additions are sure to fend off fall and winter chills.
- Use mismatched mittens as a silverware holder at each table setting on cold fall nights.
Whether you are sprucing up your home for the fall or any other season, decorating doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, you'll enjoy your home even more knowing that its million-dollar look costs next to nothing to create.
The most inexpensive way (in fact, it's free) to change the look of any room is to rearrange the furniture. Move the furniture away from the walls and group several pieces together for an intimate conversation area. Try placing a piece of furniture at an angle in a corner. Or, arrange your furniture around your fireplace or wood stove for added coziness.
Evaluate your budget and allow more money for some areas of a room than others. You don't have to furnish your home with the biggest and the best - incorporate things that you love and you'll never go wrong.
Used furniture is a great way to save precious decorating dollars. You'll be surprised at what items you find in an alley the night before trash pickup, in your mom's attic, at a garage sale or flea markets! You may find it hard to adapt to this form of shopping, but if you want to be a budget-minded decorator, you can't be a snob! As a side-note, when looking at previously owned furniture, examine the basic construction. If repairs are needed, make sure you can do them inexpensively and that you can hide the repair with paint and/or fabric. Don't be afraid to pass on it if you think it's more than you can handle.
The best low-cost decorating tip is to learn to sew. Sewing items for the home is a completely different experience than making skirts and jackets. Think of home decorating projects as simple geometric shapes with straight-line construction. Besides, you will be able to create items that are one-of-a-kind that reflect your individuality as well as saving a lot of money.
Redecorate With What You Have
Not in a position to do a complete overhaul? Sometimes just changing one or two features in a room will give it the boost it needs. The secret is to find items you already have in your house that can be used in another room and possibly in a different way. If you use your imagination and look carefully around your home, you'll find plenty of interesting items to adapt to new uses. For example, display a collection of antique plates on the wall in the bathroom or bedroom - not in the more traditional setting of a dining room. Consider interchanging your lamps from one room to another (for example, your living room and your bedroom). If the bases of the lamps don't fit in with their new positions, cut a large circle of fabric, center the lamp in the middle of it, and gather the fabric at the neck of the lamp for a completely new look. Secure the gathers in place with a piece of decorative cording. Tuck under any raw edges for a nice finish.
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