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The Ten Commandments of Dummy Design
10 steps to successful home decorating

Dummy Design is not for designers, nor is it for people who have hired professionals to redecorate their homes.  Dummy design is for the average middle class American citizen that is sitting at home, looking around and hating what they see in their homes.  They want a change.  They want a gorgeous home.  They donít want to have to pay thousands of dollars. 

For those such people, I have written the top ten commandments of dummy design to get them off the couch, and into their garage for some new decorating ideas.  (Yes!  You can find amazing decorating material in your garage!)

The Ten Commandments of Dummy Design

#1 Do not add something to your home unless it is useful and beautiful. 90% of items should be both. Recycling bins donít have to be ugly bright blue messing up the dťcor of your kitchen. You can use an alternative container or simply pretty up the ugly blue crate. An easy fix is to get a simple cardboard box, paint or cover it in wallpaper or fabric, cut a whole in the bottom, flip it upside down and plop on top of that ugly crate. Voila! You now have a gorgeous, coordinated recycling bin!

#2 Pick a color scheme and delineate from it only when you are making a conscious statement. It doesnít matter what colors you pick, just pick some! After you have picked 3-5 colors, stick with them whether it is the mundane things like soap and shampoo or the decorative items like towels and rugs.

#3 Every time you buy something, throw something (or give something) away.
The worst thing in a well designed room is to have it ruined by clutter. Most people in America have too much stuff, rather than too little. If you make it a practice to throw something away, or donate an item, every time you buy a new one, you can begin building a successful design. If you donít, your designing efforts will be in vain.

#4 Donít buy items that arenít essential to the way your family lives, even if everyone else has one.
If you donít drink coffee, donít buy a coffeemaker. If you donít drink wine, donít buy a corkscrew. Many of the items cluttering up your space are for a lifestyle that you donít live. Toss them out or donate them!

#5 Use what you love. Hide or throw away whatever you are apathetic about.

If you love your precious moments figurines, display them in groupings. If you are keeping them because they are a family keepsake, put them in a box in the attic.

#6 Steal, Copy and Imitate, then Add, Delete and Finish.
Steal ideas from magazines, copy color combinations in catalogs, imitate store displays and donít hesitate to take inspiration from your friendís homes. Once you have your inspiration, tweak it to make it your own. Add items that show your personality, delete items that create clutter, and finish your room with some personality and flair.

#7 Choose a style, choose a sub style, and keep those in mind whenever you add a piece to your home. Rather than defining your style by a time period such as Victorian or Modern Country, define your style based on a few key factors. Do you prefer bold or safe looks? Do you prefer simple or complex design? Do you prefer warm or cool color schemes? Do you prefer thick or thin furnishings? Once you figure out those preferences, you now have a style. For example, I am a bold, simple, warm, thick so I like heavy furnishings in warm colors, simple lines and bold accessories.

#8 Learn the difference between what you like and what can work for you.
There are new trends coming in and out of style almost weekly! Determine the difference between what items you like in the store, and which items will actually work in the design style you have established in your home.

#9 When you want to change your style, start small and start cheap.
There is no reason to spend a fortune reworking a room or reinventing your style. Start cheap with gallons of paint, garage sale finds, clearance purchases and items found dumpster diving. Once you determine you love your new style, then you can start spending more money to complete your rooms.

#10 If something doesnít seem quite right in your space, take a picture, evaluate it, then remove something from the space. If you must, add something.

Picture editing is a fantastic tool for self-proclaimed dummies. If you donít trust your designerís eye, simply take a picture of your space. This can lend a new vantage point for you to look at your spaces and determine what you need to add or delete.

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