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7 Solutions for Design Dilemmas

Don't let design dilemmas get you down. Create a serene space with some simple steps.
Don't let design dilemmas get you down. Create a serene space with some simple steps.
Courtesy of Homemadesimple.com

While we'd all like to think we're interior design experts, the fact is that our homes can all use a little help every now and again. Problems arise, even with the most well-intentioned plans. We've compiled seven common décor problems and offer simple solutions to help you realize your home's full potential.

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Picture those furniture ads with their matching sofas, love seats, and recliners, along with their twin end tables and two identical lamps. These types of design decisions are easy because there's little risk involved. You know it will look good because it looks good in the ad. But if the room becomes too predictable, it can become dull and lack personality.

Solution: Stay within your color palette, but don't be afraid to gently mix textures, patterns, and metals-chenille with leather, flowers with pinstripes, bronzes with pewters. Then add a couple of little surprises, such as an antique Chinese red table to complement the sofa or some Turkish pottery to hold a bouquet of wildflowers. Result: instant pizzazz.

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Eclectic is cool; in fact, it is one of design's trendiest buzzwords. But if you pair a Southwest-style tin mirror with an English walnut dining table and add a prairie-style light fixture, you've probably gone over the line.

Solution: A restrained hand. You can't buy everything you love, any more than you can wear every piece of jewelry you own on the same day. Decide on your basic style, and then incorporate a mere handful of unexpected touches, rather than a circus of them.

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You've got flowers and fruits, tassels, and tinsel, vases, and figurines galore. If every visible surface in your home is covered, then it may be time to pull back and rethink. Remember, the eye needs places to rest. A few bare spots are essential; if everything is noticeable, then nothing is.

Solution: Remove all accessories, and then put back only about one-third of them. Banish the remainders to the basement for a month. Occasionally recycle and recirculate. Everything will feel fresh and new again!

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Your rooms may look as minimal and serene as any modern magazine layout, but they may say nothing about the people who actually live there. Maybe the magazine or even a friend has had a bit too much influence over your purchases.

Solution: Steer clear of anything that you know is just not "you." Add a handful of items that truly make a house a home: framed photographs and children's drawings, your grandmother's hand-stitched quilt, your favorite stuffed toy from childhood, your mom's cookbook-whatever feels warm and welcoming when you walk through the front door.

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We all need to keep an eye on our bank balances, but if every home furnishing purchase is made with an eye to price, you may never be wowed when you enter a room.

Solution: Save up for one spectacular leather chair, iron bed, or cherry breakfront. Eventually repeat the process with a dining table, an original oil painting, etc. With just a few high-end items as your focus, you can better economize on smaller pieces and accessories. Besides, the good stuff tends to last longer, and it may end up being cheaper than continually replacing things that fall apart.

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You know it when you see it: dinky furniture in a large room or an 11-by-14-inch family photo mounted over a fireplace with a two-story ceiling. And adding more items doesn't seem to help.

Solution: Try to choose fewer, more massive things. Luckily, gigantic armoires and sectional sofas aren't difficult to find; they're everywhere. Also, large pieces work equally well in smaller rooms and give the illusion of space-just don't use too many of them.

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Newspapers, magazines, unopened mail, discarded jackets, scarves, and tennis shoes...pretty soon you start to feel like the clutter is taking over your home.

Solution: You already know. De-junk on a regular basis-weekly, or if you can manage it, daily. Invest in a couple of large trunks where, for appearance's sake, you can stash whatever you don't have time to sort before it has a chance to become an eyesore. Your entire life will seem much more peaceful if you're not tripping over toys or coming home every day to what feels like a disaster area.

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