Home & Garden

The Divas of Decorating

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We#ve all been there before.

You walk into a home and don#t get beyond the linen-textured walls and antique chandelier in the foyer. When you do get up the courage to venture into the other rooms, they all look like they came straight out of Veranda or Southern Living. Suddenly, your home needs a lot more help than when you left it, and you immediately revise your Christmas list to include a visit from a decorator. Wouldn#t it be nice if there were a decorating hotline you could call to find out the latest trends and decorating tips?

Well, instead of that, we#ve got the real thing # tips and trends from the decorating divas themselves. For them, a room plus design equals success. They can transform four bare walls into a warm, inviting space. But how do they do it?

#I use the four #P#s# of decorating: paint, pictures, pillows and plants,# says Lawrenceville designer Tracy Cook of Design Etc. #You have to have a good paint color. Then your pictures help set the tone, whether you want the room dressy or Old World. Pillows and plants bring warmth into a room, and the plants help soften corners.#

Cook#s design style incorporates unique ideas that are simple yet effective. She loves hanging her window treatments without using rods. Instead, she comes up with creative alternatives, such as the unique laundry room window treatment in a model home at Winmark Homes Falls of Braselton. There, she used a clothesline from one corner of the room to the other and attached the window treatment with clothespins to the line.

#When I#m out shopping and see something like a clothespin, I think #what can I do with this?# For example, in one of the model#s bedrooms, I used an black iron trellis as a headboard # you have to look for things that are unusual,# said Cook.

She tells people to find one thing that inspires them, whether a picture, book or lamp, and use that for the room#s inspiration. Then shop for fabric.

#You can go anywhere to find fabric but I especially like Lewis and Sheron, Forsyth Fabrics and Frugal Fabrics,# said Cook.

What about decorating trends? Various colors are hot, according to Angela Cain of Duluth#s Nouveaut?/Angela Cain Interiors. Shades of the #70s are coming back but in more subdued colors such as terra cotta instead of orange and spring greens instead of bright greens.

#In fabrics, we#re seeing lots and lots of silks, from patterns to solids to textured and even printed silks. As far as furniture and accessories, more contemporary lines are popular.

People are mixing it with traditional, putting contemporary artwork in traditional frames, wanting cleaner lines, not so much gilding # more wood tones. The Asian influence is also big now since it blends well with traditional,# said Cain.

If you#re decorating on a budget, Margaret Morgan, owner of Home Accent Interiors in Buford, suggests starting with a few accessories # new lamps, throw pillows, reupholstering a sofa, changing window treatments.

#You can give a sofa a facelift with new fabric and pillows # you don#t have to go out and buy a new one. There are wonderful fabrics out there that are comfortable and user-friendly,# said Morgan.

#When a room comes together, it#s like a painting with a perfect perspective and balance,# said Morgan #And it reflects the home and the homeowner.#