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Scripps Howard News Service
I love making New Year's resolutions, and here are a few from me and my decorating team that you might want to adopt to make your home even more lovely in 2013.
For years, I was convinced that shutters were the only kind of window treatments that would work in my living room. But I revisited the idea of drapes, thinking they could be my ticket to fabric paradise.
I am so glad I did, because I was completely wrong -- my windows look lovely framed by simple fabric panels.
Next on my list: Updating the tired drapes in my bedroom. I prefer subtle colors in my bedroom, perhaps because by the end of the day my overcharged brain needs a chance to chill out. The camel-and-cream animal print I used for my drapes is the perfect blend of edgy and serene.
Rethink your decor when the decorations come down
My home always seems so bare right after I take down holiday decorations. But it's the perfect time to look at your decor with fresh, new eyes and make some much-needed changes.
First, take a critical look at everything in your home. Start with the displays in bookcases and on side tables. How can you edit them so the design is clean? As you pinpoint items you are not using or no longer love, donate them to a charitable organization so they can bring joy to someone else.
Once you've done a good, thorough cleaning-out, take a second look at your furniture placement.
Does the flow of each room work? Are all the furnishings to scale? If not, try moving pieces from room to room, using them in new places and in new ways.
Take a look at the walls of your home. Are they filled with artwork that makes your heart sing?
Far too often, customers tell us they don't hang art in their homes because they are afraid they won't buy the "right" artwork or hang it "correctly."
Toss that one out the window, because in my book, the only "right" artwork is the kind that makes your heart skip a beat. And the only "correct" way to hang it is the way that pleases you. Can it get any better than that?
Add theatrical lighting
"All the world's a stage, so you need to light it well," said Bruce, our resident actor and singer.
Bruce uses three creative techniques to create dramatic lighting in a home.
The first is "framing," placing a pair of matched lamps on either side of a killer display. Try it on your buffet or mantel this year. You'll be surprised by how the lamps spotlight the tableau.
The second is "illuminating," using lovely lamps to provide the light you need to perform a task, like reading.
And the last is "highlighting," using a small accent lamp to call attention to something special to you.
To pull this off, pick out some objects of great sentimental value, like snapshots of loved ones, a treasure from vacation or a family heirloom.
Then, put them on a side table under the downward light of an accent lamp.
Freshen accent pillows
The secret to being a pillow princess is to fill the pillows with high-quality down inserts. Get rid on any old poly forms you may have in your accent pillows and replace them with down pillow forms.
When you do, you will be amazed by how sink-into-soft your pillows look. Instead of the stiff, uninviting look you get with poly form pillows, those stuffed with down inserts are plump and full and indulgent.
Unlike poly forms, down forms don't lose their shape. Just plump them and they are perfect again.
This column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.