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Seven blunders homeowners make

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They walk in and feel this great sense of accomplishment. They're smiling from ear to ear. They picture where everything is going to go, what color they'll choose, the furniture they'll buy, the art and pictures they'll hang, and the memories they'll build. They bought their new dream home and now it's time to decorate.

Why would a proud homeowner take the chance by decorating their new dream home without the help of a professional? According to designers Renee Wolfenson and Ebba Lundberg at Casa Décor in Encino, Calif., there are seven blunders most homeowners make when moving into their new home.

"Many people end up spending more to get a professional to fix their mistakes than if they hired them in the first place," Lundberg said.

1. Not getting help.

Designers can help homeowners plan the use of their living space and come up with a strategy on how to decorate their home based on the space, some of the items they have already and new items for their house. The professionals put together a comprehensive floor plan, furniture layout and a budget before they start in order to avoid mistakes. Designers pull together different material and styles, incorporate items they have, and consider their budget, which saves time and money.

2. Clutter and disorganization

Homeowners should avoid keeping anything they don't use. Having too much clutter can make a room look smaller and less comfortable to live in. Professional organizers can help decide what to dispose of and how to store the rest. Chris McKenry with Get it Together LA was featured along with other professional organizers in the January issue of Oprah magazine, giving some tips on how to decide what isn't needed.

3. Quality versus quantity

Buy the best you can afford. "Spend the money on items that are getting used and abused daily, such as a family room couch." Also, don't fill the space with a lot of unnecessary items. Quality versus quantity: "Having a lot of items will just make a room look more chaotic instead of being a well thought out design where all the elements flow together," Wolfenson added.

4. Bad lighting

The key to success is great lighting. Many don't pay that much attention to their lighting and end up with "bad living space." Don't have just one light source. Lighting is used to make the interior more dramatic and to create ambiance. Have lamps on the end tables for reading or less obtrusive lighting and use dimmers for overhead lighting. Use lighting for focal points in the room and up-light plants. The lighting in a room can change the feel entirely, so finding the right combination is important.

5. Lack of experience working with scale

Since many people have not been trained in interior design, they buy furniture just because they like the color, the fabric or the way it looks in the store. They buy it without a set plan on how it will look in their room or where they will put it. They haven't taken into consideration how it will relate to the rest of the room. Each room is different, and each room needs its own planning. A designer knows how to look at a room and plan what it will look like after everything is put in place.

6. Wrong scale when accessorizing

The details and accessories can bring the room together. Many designers suggest, "Don't buy all the accessories at once." Take time and buy pieces little by little and as they fit the individual's style and the rest of the décor. Group accessories together, don't spread them out by themselves, create a theme and a feeling. Also, they should add some of their own items that have sentimental value. Not everything needs to match or it will start to look like a model home and look too staged.

7. Wrong furniture arrangement

Don't arrange furniture all in a row against the wall. It makes the room look smaller and it will also make the room look boring. The room needs movement and a creative set up. Make groupings that make sense. It is important to look at all the options on paper. Use a floor plan. There is always more than one option for how to place furniture. Look at the floor plan, take into consideration how many people need to sit, and pay attention to the focal points.

Although these are some ways to make sure a home is blunder-proof, it is easier to have someone that has the knowledge and expertise put it all together. Homeowners hire professionals to help build their home, they should also hire a professional to help decorate their home.


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