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Decorating on a Budget



Decorating on a budget can be tough, or it can bring out the best in us due to the discipline it requires.


The most prudent thing to do is to buy only a few things or even just one thing at a time, and make each purchase count. Buy good quality and be sure it is going to be pleasing to the eye for several years to come. In other words, don't buy cheap stuff and don't buy fads. A good piece of furniture should last about 10 years so think long -term investment when getting out the checkbook.


Seasonal sales are a great way to find quality at affordable prices. It is always a good idea to window-shop the furniture stores during non-sale periods to stake out the items that will best suit the home and homeowner's taste. Then wait for the sale. This way there won't be the temptation to buy on impulse just because it is on sale only to find later that it really wasn't the piece de resistance that it seemed to be during the frenzy of the sale. You could ask the salesperson to keep you in mind and give you a call when a sale is approaching.


Ample use of white, off white and earth tone fabrics on upholstery, and natural woods for tables are always safe and seem to have perpetual acceptance. They won't go out of style. You can add accents in current colors so as to stay in vogue, yet have the ability to change easily and inexpensively as the years go by. For example, throw pillows and simple accessories can add great color while affording an easy way to redecorate later without costing an arm and a leg. It is much more economical to buy a few new pillows than it is to buy a whole new sofa.


Paint is cheap. If you really crave color, paint the walls. Then in a few years when color styles change, you can repaint without having to redecorate the entire room.


Floor coverings should be neutral colors also. Dark green tile throughout most of the house might seem chic today but not so much in a few years. Wood floors are always in vogue so that choice is safe. Wall-to-wall carpet is always welcome and here again, select a color that is neutral.


What about window treatments? Well, they are expensive and, though some windows can be left bare, others need to be covered for privacy. What to do? In this case, if the perfect window treatment isn't affordable today, then some inexpensive covering will need to be purchased. Blinds of all kinds are not pricey and usually can be kept even when the preferred treatment is added in a year or so.


The main thing is to purchase wisely. Buy quality, buy good style and good design, and take as much time as necessary (years even) to make everything just right.


(Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of Mystery of Color.)


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