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Decorating your first home

One of the most exciting occasions in many people's lives is the day they move into their first house. Sometimes that exhilaration can give way to distress as new homeowners face the daunting task before them--filling up all that space with the right things. "The biggest problem I see with people decorating their first home is not taking the time to figure out exactly what they want," says Roderick Shade, founder of Roderick N. Shade Interior Design in New York City and author of Harlem Style. "I always advise people to slow down, take their time and really think about the things they want."

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Do Your Research

Before you buy your first item, Shade suggests that new homeowners look at decorating magazines, examine the different types of furnishings and compare overall styles, such as contemporary versus traditional. "Once you figure out what style you want, you can develop an approach for each room that's part of a whole-house plan," he says.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

First-time homeowners operating on a budget often have the urge to initially buy a lot of inexpensive items. Instead of filling up a house quickly with a lot of furniture and accessories that you really might not prefer, Shade recommends you buy a few quality items that you really like. Start with the basics. For example, if you're shopping for a bedroom, buy the bed you really want, and add complementary furnishings later.

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Use Color and Light

One of the most inexpensive ways to change the feel of any room is to use color. If you want to make a room more vibrant, Shade says, a new paint job might be all you need. He also advises new owners to pay attention to lighting. If you're looking for a work-area light fixture, buy a strong one that's suitable for the task. Shade says your lighting will also look better if you light a specific space (such as a wall where you plan to display artwork) rather than trying to buy a light fixture that illuminates the whole room.


Consider Professional Help

If it's all just too overwhelming, consider hiring a designer. Many design professionals who work across a broad range of budgets are available. Using a designer could actually save you time and money since they know where to shop. You can also take advantage of staff design consultants who are available in stores that sell furnishings or window treatments.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Essence Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group


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