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Recession Brings Comfort Designs in 2009 and Beyond

The state of the economy has brought about major changes and design is no exception. More than ever people want to relax and feel comforted in their homes, especially since they aren't going out as much as before. Even in major magazines, you'll notice there is a strong emphasis now on "everything old is new again".

Prepare to see overstuffed rolled-arm sofas and occasional chairs mixed with warm woods, wool rugs, windows dressed with heavy draperies instead of cold shutters, walls with rich paint hues, new invigorating wall coverings, crown moldings, and large chandeliers. In stressful times, it is not unusual to find us returning to the classics of yesteryear.

Fabrics have returned to rich velvets and mohairs, bold damasks, heavy linens and textured silks. Wallpapers are bold and flocked, grass cloths and dramatic bold printed stripes.

Reproductions of timeless classics are reappearing: wingback chairs with ottomans, tufted sofas, chaise lounges, roll-top desks, leather recliners and even grandfather clocks. These all remind us of less stressful times.

Even our automobiles have returned to prior classic designs. During times of major change, designs generally turn to prior decades when there was less turmoil and less stress. Consumers lose their taste for trendsetters and long for "the good old days".

If you're staging a home or doing a redesign, look for ways to bring out the traditional influences. More and more young adults are moving back home with the folks to ride out the difficult times together. This makes the family room more used and more important than ever as families start to play games together, watch movies and have family time once again.

Focus on your back yard as it will be the "new vacation place". Look for bargains in patio furniture, cooking units, heaters and pool accessories.

Though the economic pullback in 2009 is difficult on all of us, look for the good it also brings: more family time, rekindling relationships with friends, a return to what's comfortable and a quieter lifestyle.

Take Ten Years Off Your Home

How do you liven up your space and make the old look fresh and new again in 2009? While I discussed above the return to classic design, no one wants a home that looks dated and tired. So how do you make the old look new? Here are some ideas.

  • Paint a room - repaint that scuffed woodwork and that facing paint color. Cover over those marks and scratches. Pick a new palette that blends with the colors of your furnishings in the room, but is a change from the old.
  • Take down that stained, antiquated wallpaper. Repaint or re-wallpaper. Even one wall makes a huge, positive difference.
  • Replace those worn, tattered accent pillows. I just told my daughter to bring home her tattered pillows (she coming for her birthday) and we'll recover them with a new accent color I have in mind for her. Her apartment is decorated with soft, muted green, brown, white and black. We're going to throw in some hot pink to liven things up a bit.
  • Have a lot of wood furnishings that are dented and nicked or dingy with fingerprints and hand oil? Now's a great time to do touch up with a stain stick. It's amazing how new and fresh your wood can look with some touch up and wax and polish.
  • Give your home a deep cleaning. Put on your favorite music, haul out the vacuum cleaner and give each room a complete deep cleaning. Scrub your walls. Polish your silver. Scour the grout. Wash your windows. Amazing!
  • Toss out the artificial greenery and replace it. If keeping it, use a spray cleaner to diminish the dust and liven up the colors. Today's faux greens and flowers are so much better quality than your old ones you'll wish you had "de-weeded" long ago.
  • Put away some of your accessories. Today's look is less cluttered. Make sure you have some large pieces in what you accessorize with to make bold statements. Remove all pieces you're not crazy about first; then re-evaluate what you might want to add to the pieces you keep.
  • Replace hardware: light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware. There are many styles today that are fabulous. Change out old doorknobs and cabinet pulls. Put a new doorknob on your front door.
  • Consider new window treatments. Remove all dated window coverings or ones that are faded, dull and overly dirty. Change out your shower curtain for a new, clean one.
Jazz Up Your Focal Points

Your focal points in a room are very important and you want to make the most of them at all times. This might not be an easy task and many people are so unsure of what to do, they do nothing at all. Typical highly visible spots in a room are: fireplace mantels, coffee tables, end tables, side tables, bookcases, large walls. Most people have purchased small accessories. This is why they find it so difficult to create strong focal points. It's much better to bring in some large, dramatic pieces and design these areas for a cleaner, more dramatic statement. So here are some tips to help you make your focal points more dramatic and bold:

  • Walls and Mantels - You probably don't change your mantel decoration very often. This is usually because it is such a special place, you've already selected your favorite pieces to go there in the first place. But if you're ready for a change, consider a symmetrical arrangement if your room is formal; an asymmetrical arrangement if your room is casual. Use greenery as the ever constantly changing element. Be sure to balance the two sides of a mantel and balance the wall art with other furniture. Make sure the heights drop in increments of only 1/3rd for the most pleasing outcomes. Your mantel decorations should express your personality and passions.
  • Coffee Tables - Beautiful trays look fabulous on sturdy coffee tables as well as ottomans serving in their places. Keep the ugly remote controls in a decorative box or container with a lid so they are out of sight. If the room has very high ceilings, look for accessories that are quite tall to help fill the space. Go for simple, dramatic effects or combine assorted sizes, shapes and heights for table groupings.
  • End Tables - Combine a decorative lamp, plant and figurine together in descending heights or just show off one large, fabulous lamp.
  • Side Tables - Show off your family photographs, collectibles, a beautiful framed mirror on the wall above. This is even a good place to mount an oversized flat screen TV.
  • Bookcases - First decide on a purpose. If you have a ton of hardbound books, turn it into a beautiful library. If not, keep the shelves open and not too cluttered. Fill the vertical height between shelves with larger pieces. Don't cram it full of odds and ends and small stuff - too cluttered. Keep a contrast from the back of the shelves to your accessories. Make sure each shelf looks balanced from right to left.
Requesting a Favor, Please

idea paintIn nearly 8 years of publishing this newsletter, I have never before asked for a favor from subscribers. But I do have a small one to ask now. My daughter is a model and up for consideration for a modeling job with an online clothing company. I would greatly appreciate it if you would click on the link below and vote (as many times as you want) for Eurie.

Vote for Eurie Here

Click on the circle next to the name Eurie and then click on the vote button. That's all you have to do. Many thanks in advance for your participation and help. - Barbara



home staging in tough times, bookI thought I had written just about all the books for home staging that were in me or that you could possibly ever want or need, but tough times call for more in-depth training. So therefore I wanted you to be the first to know that I am near completion of the first draft for another book called Home Staging in Tough Times. It will be a little while yet before it is ready for pre-sale, but I think this may be one of the best, most practical, most thought-provoking and most income generating books for you I have ever written. Be sure to watch for it. I promise you, it will NOT disappoint you.

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About the Author

Barbara Jennings is author of 14 decorating books/ebooks: Decor Secrets Revealed, Rearrange It, Home Staging for Profit, Home Staging for Yourself, Staging Portfolio Secrets, Staging Luxurious Homes, Getting Paid: Financial Strategies for Home Stagers, Arrange Your Stuff, Advanced Redesign, Pro Art Consulting, Where There's a Wall - There's a Way, The Secret Art of Hanging Art, Great Parties! Great Homes!, and Wall Groupings!