Learn what you might spend on DIY decorating, plus where it’s good to splurge or scrimp Fred Albert You’ve just moved into a new home, and you’re ready to decorate. Or you’ve been in your home for a while and want to give the place a whole new look. And you want to do it yourself. The big question is: What’s it going to cost you? There’s no magic formula for figuring out how much you can expect to spend on decorating. (Trust me — I asked.) But there are steps you can take to figure out what the project might cost and where the money should be spent. Make a BudgetAssuming you’ve figured out what you want your home to look like and have made the decision to decorate the home yourself, you need to come up with a budget. Instead of trying to guess what the project might cost, start out with a figure that represents what you’re willing to spend. Make a list of the rooms you want to decorate, and list the items you will need to purchase for each room. (Don’t overlook wall treatments, flooring, lighting, accessories and labor.) Decorating 101: Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro? Enter this information on a spreadsheet and assign a cost to each item. Do some basic research in stores and using catalogs and Houzz. Sure, you can spend $500 for a sofa or $5,000 for a sofa. But what are retailers charging for the kind of quality and style you want? Then plug that figure into your spreadsheet; do that for each of the items on your list. What to Spend More On There are some areas where you should spend more money, and some areas where you can scrimp. Most professionals agree that seating should be a priority. “I don’t like scrimping on a good upholstered piece,” says Woodland Hills, California, designer Alana Homesley. “If you have a quality sofa, it can last you for 30 or 40 years.” Claudia Juestel, the owner of Adeeni Design Group in San Francisco, agrees. “Buy the best mattress you can afford and the best sofa you can afford,” she says. Even when she’s working with a small budget, Juestel will order custom upholstered pieces, because they will get used more than anything else in the house and will last for decades. A dining table is another good investment piece that can adapt to a variety of settings and last a long time. Although not as durable or transportable, window treatments can have a big impact on a room’s appearance. “There’s nothing worse than a room that has bad...

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Nicole was at RESACON 2017 this past past weekend (Jan 26 through Jan 28) and had the good fortune of meeting HGTV star Sabrina Soto. Sabrina stars in the HGTV series Equity Angels and is also a lifestyle expert, interior designer, bargain hunter and, she says, “most importantly, Olivia’s mommy.” We also discovered that Sabrina has her own blog site: sabrinasoto.com, which is where we found the article below. (But, by the way, you should go check out her blog about her master bedroom! Blkadj;fkjad;lfkjal;eautiful . . . and she shares where she got the goods!) Originally posted on sabrinasoto.com on January 6, 2017 I am so ready to get organized! To me, a new year is like a fresh start. As cliché as it sounds, it’s an opportunity to commit to making meaningful changes and being your best self! When I was thinking about my goals for this year, I came up with six small ways to make big changes in 2017. Like they say, “New Year, New You!”   Kick the Clutter If you know me, you’ll probably already get why this is the first thing on my list! Clearing the clutter from your life is the BEST way to start fresh! I’m a huge believer that all of that extra stuff we hold onto only weighs us down. Start organizing by category and get rid of things that don’t serve a purpose in your home or workspace! I like to keep a basket in my closet for items that I no longer want or need. I hold onto the basket until it is full and then donate the things I still want to let go of! This is a great system because there’s no pressure to decide on the spot. If I find myself going back into the basket, I know I shouldn’t get rid of certain pieces. Trust me, letting go of the things that are not functional or beautiful will change your life! I’m looking to cut down on even the littlest things, starting with my car keychain. I have a bunch of loyalty cards on my keychain that I don’t use and I’m ready to take them off. The only one I need is my Plenti card! As I mentioned in my previous stocking stuffer blog post, I love using Plenti! It’s a multi-brand rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem rewards points across a variety of brands including: Macy’s, Rite Aid, Chili’s, Exxon or Mobil, AT&T, Direct Energy, Nationwide, Direct Energy, Harveys Supermarkets, Enterprise, Expedia and Hulu. It streamlines my different rewards programs into one. Goodbye cluttered car keychain!   Try a...

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Get a great result even without an experienced touch by following these basic design guidelines Judith Taylor I hate to break it to you, but designers don’t follow a secret rule book. There are no hard and fast laws governing what we do. We are creative types by nature and love to imagine, dream and explore, following our intuition. That said, there are some rough principles that guide us to ensure a great result every time. They are just tried and true things that work. And these aren’t tricks or skills that take years to master. Anyone can do them from day one. Consider this a foundation for developing your own quirky, creative, rule-breaking intuition. White T Design 1. Pick the paint color last. I get calls all the time from homeowners who want to pick a paint color before they move in. I get the logic. Why not arrive to walls with a fresh coat of paint? Of course you can do it this way, but in my opinion it’s not ideal. There are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades. And each one looks different from home to home, because light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not in your new one. You want the color that best complements your upholstery, artwork, rug and whatever else. You can pick that color only if your stuff is actually inside your home. 2. Give your furniture some breathing room. Resist overcrowding a room. Gracious living means space to maneuver with ease. This is really great news if you are working with a tight budget. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture. Spend more of your budget on fewer but better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than if it’s stuffed to the gills with flea market finds. The high-backed chairs shown here, for example, stand out because they don’t have to fight for attention. Nest Architectural Design, Inc. 3. Hang artwork at the right height. Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the midline (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) And you should do the same. In a room like this, where the ceilings soar, there might be a tendency to hang the art higher. But remember: It needs to relate to human scale, not the structure’s scale. If you’re not sure, take a picture. It’s remarkable how much a photo can reveal. Print it out or use Photoshop or an app to draw on the photo. This can give...

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