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When it comes to decorating, options and ideas are everywhere. Two local designers share some tips on what not to do when making changes to your home.

  1. Don’t play the match game. While many ads and commercials tout the convenience of buying identical sofas, love seats and chairs, Michael John Weber, an interior designer with Collaborative Design in Waukesha, has a better idea. “If you are using a sofa and love seat in the same color and fabric, there is no variety. Mix fabric with leather, or for a more dynamic look, eliminate the love seat altogether and try picking two chairs instead. Spread them apart, move them around the room or place a table between them.” 

  2. Don’t pick the paint first. “One should always pick the paint after deciding on the furniture,” Weber says. He advises clients to take home paint samples instead of bringing fabric swatches to the store. “Always compare colors in your home and never compare them at night. You have to consider the lighting in the room, north or south exposures, for example.”  

  3. Can’t picture that. Make sure pictures are the right scale for the wall space, advises Sarah Fitch, owner of Decor Adore in Hartland. “Many people hang pictures at the wrong level. Pictures should be about eight inches above a sofa or at eye level. It’s also very important to consider how the picture will be framed and to choose the appropriate frame style. The wrong frame could ruin the entire impact of the picture or painting.” 

  4. Don’t stumble around in the dark. Poor lighting can detract from the style and functionality of a room. “There are three basic types of lighting: purpose or task lighting -- table lamps, for example -- ceiling lighting and accent lighting,” Fitch says. Avoid any shadows in the room and consider the layering of lighting for maximum effect. 

  5. Don’t rush to the finish line. “Don’t feel you have to do it all at once,” advises Weber. He adds that shopping for everything at one time could lead to purchases of lesser quality items and craftsmanship just to stay within a budget. He says, “It is better to invest in a few good pieces and decorate in phases.” 

  6. Don’t go it alone. Meeting with a professional designer could be the best decorating investment you make. Even if you prefer to shop on your own, getting basic expert advice on colors, furniture options and lighting will give you the confidence you need to turn your house into your beautiful home.

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