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Branching out in home interior design

Not everyone has the eye of an interior designer and even fewer people have the discretionary budget to hire one to redo their entire house. And yet, some people who claim not to be creative or rich are able to organize their homes with elegance and style. Of course, their claim that they lack creativity my just be modesty, but they might be telling the truth. You actually don’t have to have training or a knack for picking out stylish things in order to make your home warm, inviting, and pleasant to be in. All you need is the motivation to make a change.

If you’re tired of living with the same old boring decor, throw out your excuses and be willing to make a difference. That’s precisely what Trish and Bonnie, the masterminds behind blog sensation Uncommon Designs, did. Despite having no formal training in interior design (one has a Bachelor’s degree in Management, the other has one in Nursing) they have been able to beautify their lives and their homes simply by taking the time and energy to infuse their decor with their own personality and flair. And they came up with some tips for other homeowners who would like to do the same.

1. Find what inspires you.

If you aren’t sure what your style is, sit down and make a list of objects, patterns, textures, motifs, colors, etc. that inspire you. Do you love butterflies? The outdoors? Books? Fine dining? Keep a notepad nearby as you go about your daily routine and jot down those topics that most interest you. Or take a walk through a home furnishing store, a friend’s home, or even a greenhouse to get a feel for what appeals to you.

2. Choose a new accessory.

You don’t have to completely refurnish your living room to give it a different feel. Instead, pick out that one item that has been tempting you every time you visit Pottery Barn or Pier 1 Imports and either buy it (if you’re really throwing caution to the winds) or see if you can find an item like it that’s off brand. Perhaps you’ve fallen in love with a gold-framed mirror. Could you make it yourself for less than it costs to buy it new? Once you have your item, start looking around for matching accessories that might help tie it more concretely into your room.

3. Keep furnishings neutral.

When it comes time to replace your threadbare couch or squeaky recliner, resist the tempting floral patterns and plaids that you see at the furniture store. Stick with neutral colors. Trish explained, “I love to change out my rooms for seasons and holidays. A neutral background allows me to throw in whatever colors I am currently loving without disrupting the flow of my room.” Neutral goes with virtually any accent color you could pick, unlike those pretty, but non-neutral furnishings you might be tempted to buy.

4. Don’t be afraid of change.

Sometimes we resist changing color schemes or furniture layouts because we’ve become attached to how things are. Will it feel like “your” home when it doesn’t look the same? Trish encouraged homeowners not to resist change to stubbornly, saying, “Embrace change. You may decide your current style does not match your family’s lifestyle. . . . It is ok to let go, and change things up a bit at times.”

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