Rely on professionals when redecorating

April 22, 2006|By MICHAEL WALSH | MICHAEL WALSH,UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

Even if you lack the imagination or the inclination to create drop-dead gorgeous rooms, you can still have them. The trick is to relinquish responsibility and instead let someone else -- presumably someone with actual talent for this sort of thing -- make all the decisions.

There is no shortage of professional assistance available. Some of it will cost you, but much of it is available for the price of a decorating book or a subscription to a decorating magazine.

Thumb through books and magazines, identify rooms that appeal to you, then get going.

One option is to shop one furniture retailer only. Take your book and magazine photos to a store in your price range, one that has a substantial inventory of furniture, lighting, decorative accessories, window treatments and maybe even wall coverings.

You can assemble almost all the elements for an entire room in one place. Show the salesperson your photos, tell him that this is the look you want and let him find the pieces that are closest to the ones you've specified.

If you're in a hurry to get the job done, avoid customizing. Buy from available warehouse stock or off the floor. It's not at all unusual for furniture store customers to buy an entire model room. If your objective is to (finally) finish a room quickly, then buy what you can lay your hands on.

Some furniture stores have in-store designers who can make the process even easier and faster. Some charge for the service. With others the service is included in the price of the furniture.

Alternatively, limit yourself to one "collection" of pre-mixed and pre-matched pieces. That could be a cottage collection, Mission collection, country collection or contemporary collection that includes sofa, chairs, bookcases, tables, lamps and area rugs. Stay within a single collection and you get the job done in no time.

Another speedy approach is to buy pre-matched elements from discount stores such as Kmart or Target. Martha Stewart and other brand-name designers have done most of the work for you by assembling color- and pattern-matched sheets, pillows, rugs, towels, paint, lamps, mirrors, shower curtains and bathmats.

The idea here is to take advantage of someone else's talent by getting everything you need from a design line at a single department or discount store. This strategy could get you a newly decorated bedroom or bath in one day. Presto! Over and done with.

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