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Warning! Many People Unhappy

Summer is a great time to spruce up the house. With school ending, you may find yourself with extra time. Many people use this time to paint, wallpaper, clean, organize, fix up the yards and more. If you've seen those TV commercials on a painting system that supposedly makes masking off your hardwood edges unnecessary and a no drip system, you might want to read some of the complaints being noted on the internet. Once again, TV advertising can really make a product seem fabulous, but the proof is always in the pudding, right? Check out the complaints here.

One must always be careful when buying products, especially those advertised through infomercials. Can it be that they have something to hide and that's why you can't find it in the stores first? A good rule to follow: Do your research first before you spend your money. If something is really cheap in price (and plastic no less), you can almost guarantee it will be cheap in performance. There's a reason why you don't see the professionals using something like this. They know better.


Wall Groupings! The Secrets of Displaying Your Art & Photos

wall groupings, photo groupings, photosIntroducing my newest book that will soon replace my older book called "Where There's a Wall - There's a Way". Using some of the illustrations from the original book, this book adds lots of photo examples of both good groupings and poor ones so you can really see what works and what doesn't. But even more importantly, you'll understand WHY certain arrangements are great and others not so great. This will help you avoid making the most typical and non-typical mistakes you see in homes (and even in fine decorating magazines and books out there).

Wall Groupings! picks up where Where There's a Wall - There's a Way leaves off. While there are many more illustrations in the older version (making it ideal to own both copies), you'll find that either choice is an excellent one to learn how to arrange wall groupings in your home. When the first published book sells out, it will not be reprinted, so if you want both copies, be sure to order them both today. We are on our last box of the older book.

Includes the following: 1) Learning the Rules; 2) Illustrations of Groupings; 3) A Potpourri of Actual Wall Groupings; 4) Drawing Your Own Ideas; 5) Templates to Copy; 6) The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; 7) Additional Resources.

This handy manual is 147 pages and the introductory price is $29.95. Photos are necessarily in black and white. 5x8.5 Softcover. Please note: Orders will be processed before the books arrive, so there will be slight delay in delivery times.

1) Wall Groupings! Secrets of Displaying Art & Photos
2) Where There's a Wall - There's a Way

Garage Door Tax Credits

Did you know you can get a tax credit if you purchase a garage door between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010? The maximum tax credit from all qualifying improvements is 30% of the product cost, capping off at $1500. Before you purchase any home improvement product, ask for a manufacturer's tax credit certification statement or visit the Department of Energy at and click on "For Consumers" and "Tax Breaks". You can also get more help at

Before purchasing a new garage door, look carefully at your home's style and choose a style that is compatible with the architecture. Most garage door sellers will be helpful to you on this subject. One way is to match the style of the windows in the door to the windows on the front exterior of the home. Take cues from the lines in a home's architecture. Do not put a contemporary garage door on a traditional home or vice versa. Remember, you probably will not keep the home the rest of your life, so you should choose according to style for the sake of your resale value. The color of the garage door should ideally match the house color or the trim color of the home. Use hinge-straps and door pulls to distinguish your garage door from all others. Most garage doors can be completed in one day and have the visual impact of a major remodel.

Summer Calls for Simple Accents

You can add a few inexpensive but powerful accents that will fill your home with energy and brightness for the summer. Here is a great summary of my "must have" summer additions:

  • Get to your local greenhouse for live plants.
  • Green plants scream "summer".
  • Succulents should survive anyone with a brown thumb.
  • If decorating with cool colors, avoid yellow green plants.
  • Darker leaves can be placed further away from light sources and still survive.
  • Look for differing shades but don't add too much variety. Some repetition is good design.
  • Select sturdy decorative planters that don't detract from the plant.
  • Select from terra cotta pots to fine china.
  • Blue and white china is spectacular but you can literally go any direction.
  • Bypass the birds, but add one or two bird cages.
  • Edwardian aviaries are back in vogue.
  • Particularly nice are those fashioned from wire with aged patina or painted wood.
  • Use alone or as part of a grouping.
  • Place a fallen branch near it with a fern or bird figurine.
  • Terrariums are also back.
  • Turn your apothecary jars into fine terrariums.
  • Use them on fireplace mantel, bathroom shelf or kitchen windowsill.
  • Cluster 3 of them in different sizes on a wooden tray for a centerpiece.
  • Add river rocks to the dark soil with tiny plants.
  • Get more tips from your local greenhouse supplier.


Makeover for Your Bed

Time to update your bedroom? How about your linens? Isn't it time to treat yourself to a more luxurious bed? This summer's bedding is yummy and delicious and you may never want to get out of bed again - so don't overdo it. Here are some tips that might help.

  • Soft, serene neutrals create restfulness.
  • Change up the tones in your color scheme.
  • Change up the patterns: no more than 3 to a room.
  • Cream can be paired with just about everything: red, green, blue, black, brown.
  • White sheets always look fresh for the neutral bedroom.
  • Or go for bright and bold.
  • Apple green is everywhere.
  • Pair it with tangerine and hot pink.
  • Or try orange and magenta.
  • Add a bit of apple green, orange, pink and blue.
  • Geometric patterns are very popular.
  • Look for citrus sheets for bold looks.
  • Use big pillows.
  • Get rid of the clutter of small, dinky pillows.
  • Use king or queen size pillows with oversized bolsters and buddy pillows.
  • Large pillows help make the bed look wider, and this is usually very good.


For the Kids Rooms

What could be more fun for kids than writing on the walls? Give them one. Now you can get a single-coat, roller applied paint that turns smooth surfaces (walls, fridges, countertops) into dry-erase boards, where you can write, draw or doodle. The paint is formaldehyde-free and uses limited packaging, energy and materials. Cover it with regular paint when you get tired of it. You can get it at Idea Paint.

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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!