Archive for March, 2011

Mar 09 2011

Transforming a Basement into a Spacious Utility Room

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Many homes don’t really have enough space to put a washer, dryer and other necessities out of sight.  If your washer and dryer currently sit in a kitchen, bathroom or other open space, or you have a tiny utility closet with no room for hanging clothes or storing detergent and other needs, why not transform your basement into a spacious utility room?  You can remove these eye-sores from view, and create a spacious room for not only washing and drying clothes, but hanging and ironing as well.

Thoroughly check floors, water leaks, wiring etc.

Before you make the decision to move your “laundry room” down to the basement, make sure you check everything out thoroughly.  Have a plumber and electrician check out wiring and water supply, so that you know you won’t run in to any problems later on.

If there is work to be done, such as the installation of additional wiring, a drain or circuit breakers, have all of this completed before you begin the project.  You might also want to consider removing any carpet if you have it in your basement just in case any accidents occur or water seeps in.

Choose colors and decor carefully

While you may not really think about decorating a utility room, if your basement is large you may someday want to use it for other purposes such as a game room or reading area.  Decide what colors you want to paint the walls; if your basement has no windows, consider a light color to brighten the room so that it doesn’t seem quite as dreary.  Be sure to use a paint that is resistant to mold and mildew, since basements tend to be damp.

For the floors, a natural stone finish works well and won’t be harmed if water does happen to leak.  A concrete floor is sufficient if you cannot afford to change the floors; just add a few accent rugs here and there for a splash of color.

Furniture

It’s a good idea to add a couple of chairs and an accent table in your new utility room.  This will be an area where you can sit and read a magazine or enjoy a cup of coffee while waiting for your laundry to finish drying.  Any type of furniture you like is suitable, as long as it is comfortable and complements the rest of the decor.

A dehumidifier is a good idea to help keep the air in the basement dry, which also helps prevent mold and mildew from building on walls or fabrics that may be on your furnishings.

Finish the room up with “necessities”

If you have a large family and do a great deal of laundry, you will need to add a few finishing touches to the new utility room.  Consider racks for hanging clothes as they come out of the dryer.  Set up a special area for the ironing board, and place a few shelves on the wall to hold laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover products.  This is also a good place to store other chemical products you usually store elsewhere in your home; it will free up additional storage space!

Put these ideas to work in your home, and you will actually enjoy doing laundry!

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Mar 09 2011

Camouflage Rooms…Gone Girlish!

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Do you have a daughter that loves to hunt?  Maybe she wants to decorate her room in camouflage, but wants something that leans toward the feminine side.  Just because she enjoys hunting doesn’t mean she wants a room filled with brown and green!  You can incorporate a camouflage theme while still using girlish, feminine colors.  Let the room express your daughter’s love of hunting while still keeping the feminine side intact.

Listen to her opinions and thoughts

Let your daughter join in the discussion about the colors she would like to use in her room.  Pink and light shades of tan or chocolate brown offer a feminine touch, while still keeping to the hunting theme.  A pink comforter designed in a camouflage style paired with light chocolate brown sheets is attractive and unique.

Blue and brown work well together too, so if she would rather have a soft blue and tan look consider going along with her wishes.  As long as the decor of the room isn’t too loud or shocking, why not let her enjoy her surroundings?

To add further to the feminine look, consider a frilly bed skirt to contrast the rugged look of the camouflage comforter.

Color the walls beautiful

A soft pink or blue shade for the walls, when combined with wood paneling, creates a striking look.  The wood offers a natural woodsy appeal, while the blue or pink paint adds depth.

As far as artwork, consider nature prints of beautiful mountains or forests; take into account the surroundings normally found when hunting, and incorporate those aspects in the wall decor.  Frames made of rustic wood add further to the appeal of the room.  You may even consider having your daughter take a few pictures in the areas where she hunts, then make a large collage of one wall!

A bulletin board filled with pictures and other mementos of your daughters hunting experiences adds a personal touch; consider wall shelves decorated with some of her favorite hunting gear.

Add unique accents

The accents you add to a room really pull the look together and add interest.  For the bedside lamp, consider a log base with a frilly pink or blue lampshade.  You may even want to consider creating an original headboard by covering it with a fabric that complements the room.

An old wooden trunk placed at the foot of the bed adds to the rustic appeal of the room, and is perfect for use as additional storage.

Add a faux bear rug, a jewelry stand designed out of sticks and twigs to hang necklaces and bracelets on, and you have a room that is not only unique but stunning as well!  It’s easy to incorporate both the love of hunting and your daughter’s feminine side – just use a little creativity of your own, and design a room that your daughter will enjoy spending endless hours in.  Just because your daughter loves hunting doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy a feminine touch as well!

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Mar 09 2011

Add a Touch of Asian style to Your Home

Decorating in an Asian style can be intimidating, and many people find it difficult to get the look “just right.”  Most of the time if the finished look doesn’t meet your expectations, it’s because there are too many decorating items in the room.  The Asian theme is a simple one that uses very little to create a bold, dramatic atmosphere.

Natural fabrics, materials and accents are the core of Asian decorating.  Stone, bamboo, plants, and planters or containers that are simple and unassuming work naturally in this decorating theme.

Colors should contrast

When attempting to achieve an Asian style look for your home, it’s best to stay away from using different shades of the same color.  Colors should sharply contrast one another, so that each stands on its own.  Think black, white, red, gold, silver and dark green.  Of course you don’t want to use all of these colors at once, but red, black and gold make for a beautiful room with lots of depth and dimension.

Classic or modern?

When choosing the furniture for your Asian-themed room, rattan and wicker are traditional in Asian decor.  If you desire a look that is a bit more modern, consider dark or even black-lacquered wood accent tables and mahogany or black leather furnishings.  Wicker and rattan furniture looks vibrant and alive when topped with plump cushions or throw pillows.

If you feel that dark lacquered furniture makes the room look a bit too dark or gloomy, liven things up by using brightly colored throw pillows, accent rugs and wall hangings.  With darker furnishings, you want to keep the walls a light color as well.

When arranging your furniture, it’s important to keep wide open spaces with Asian style decor.  This style is known for sparse accents, each demanding attention on its own.  Avoid clutter or an over-abundance of knick-knacks, as this takes away from the elegant beauty of the room.

Add texture and interest

While you want to keep accent rugs, cushions and throw pillows on the simple side, be sure to include plenty of texture.  A red and gold pillow makes a stunning accent when placed on a rattan sofa; consider natural materials such as bamboo for rugs and window coverings.

A dramatic water fountain is a great idea for the focal point of a room; for the walls, consider large gold-framed pictures of cherry blossoms or even samurai swords.  Remember to keep wall decor to a minimum – a single large print on one wall is plenty when the picture contains bold, vibrant color.

Plants are essential for pulling the look together.  Consider a bonsai tree or any plant that has large, plush leaves placed in stone or bamboo containers.  Add an Asian themed room divider, a few randomly placed Asian figurines inside glass domes, and you’ve achieved the look you desire!

Remember, if something just seems out of place or doesn’t sit right, look around and see what you can take out of the room.  With Asian style decor simple, uncluttered and natural elements make the look.

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Mar 09 2011

A Country Themed House Lets You Relax in Down Home Style

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Are you looking for a relaxed way to decorate your home that offers beauty and appeal, but is comfortable and relaxed at the same time?  Perhaps you are leaning towards an old country theme, but you just haven’t made your mind up about it yet.  We all agree that an old country theme is very welcoming, and it also brings back memories of simpler times.  Instead of spending a great deal of money to decorate, you can make creative use of many things you may already have!

The kitchen – the heart of your home

In a country home, the kitchen has traditionally been the hub of most of the activity.  Instead of things being hidden in cabinets and drawers, regularly used items were left out in the open in an organized fashion.  For example, pots and pans, mason jars with food, and the cooking and eating utensils simply become part of the decor.  Leaving utensils and cookware visible in an organized fashion adds a warm feeling to the home.

Warm colors are responsible for a great deal of the ambient atmosphere you find in a country themed home.  Wooden tables and chairs lend to the country look, and can even be mismatched.  A good way to get a rustic feel is to leave little imperfections in the furniture untouched.  An attractive and appealing way to display dishes would be to use an old china cabinet; these are also great for storage.  Consider painting stencils on your kitchen wall; farm animals and sunflowers add charm.  Sand the stencils lightly after drying to give them a worn look.

Furniture offers a “come inside and relax” appeal

Living room furnishings should be attractive and lend to the country appeal, but you also want furniture that offers that “come in and sit a while” feeling.  Plaid and floral prints in warm shades of burgundy, country blue and cream are perfect for the country theme, but be careful not to overdo it.  Stack a few old suitcases at the end of the sofa for a unique end table that also offers storage!  If you already have a bit of brick or stone on the inside walls of your home, this adds further to the charming old-style appeal.  Don’t worry if you don’t have this; you can accomplish the look with a faux finish.

In the bathroom, nothing says early American architecture quite like a claw foot tub.  If the room is large enough, use an old dresser with an oval or round mirror as your vanity!  If the vanity you currently have looks a bit too modern, cover it with antique looking wood veneer and hang a mirror framed in wood or wrought iron on the wall.  Brass fixtures and floral wallpaper add further to the country appeal – and don’t forget a few candles scented in honeysuckle or vanilla for a scent that helps to bring back fond memories.

Mismatched pieces and unique ideas create beautiful surroundings

Country themed decor is one that requires very little matching; for example, mismatched pieces are charming in the bedroom if used properly.  A nightstand can be made from an old wooden crate – just whitewash it and add a large round silver serving tray on top!  An old wooden trunk placed at the foot of the bed adds charm and serves as storage space as well.  An antique bookshelf (or one you’ve made to look antique-y) is the perfect place to store candles, books and other knick-knacks while adding to the country atmosphere of the room.

Creating a country themed home is easy and affordable for most any budget.  Look around your attic or storage area and put your imagination to work!  You would be amazed at how some items you may now think of as junk can be transformed into treasures.

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Mar 09 2011

How to Make Your Small Apartment Look More Spacious

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

If you’re planning to move into a small apartment in the near future or already live in one, you may be wondering how to make it appear more open and spacious.  The way you decorate can make a huge impact on the appearance of your apartment; whether it looks tiny and cluttered or light and airy.  In this article you will find plenty of great ideas for visually expanding the square footage of your apartment.

Finding unique ways to store some of your belongings out of sight is essential to making your apartment look bigger, so we will touch on that area as well.

Storage tips

Clutter makes any room look smaller – and messy.  If you have lots of “things” that you collect but don’t really use on a regular basis, put them away.  Buy plastic storage bins for your belongings and place them under your bed, or even in a closet.

Color coordinated wall shelves are a great place to put your collectibles, candles and other trinkets so that they aren’t scattered all over accent and end tables.  Keeping the tops of your tables empty is important for keeping the look open and uncluttered.

If you are one of those people who like to collect anything and everything, consider renting a storage shed or even throwing away those things you really never use.

Choosing the right furniture

When it comes to apartment living, you need to keep furniture to a minimum.  Choose a style that is simple and designed on a smaller scale; avoid heavy, bulky looking furniture with intricate carvings.

A sofa that pulls out into a bed may be one idea you want to consider if you plan on having any overnight guests.  Also look for sofa and end tables that have cabinets or drawers underneath that can serve as additional storage.  Include a television stand with doors so that when not in use, you can hide away the television.

With furniture, it is important that you think not only about style and design, but consider how certain pieces can be used as additional storage space.

Color

Color plays a huge role in how small or large your apartment looks!  Lighter colors visually open up spaces, while dark colors diminish.  Choose neutral or pale shades such as sand, pale peach and butter yellow to make the area bright and cheery.  Stick to three colors, with one being the dominant to make your apartment look stylish and coordinated.

Walls should be uncluttered as well; instead of a grouping arranged using several smaller pieces of artwork, consider a single large piece of art for the wall.  Again, the look is uncluttered and streamlined.  To add interest and appeal to the room, consider painting a single wall a different color from the rest; for example, if your living room walls are cream or off-white, paint one wall pale peach to add depth.

If you decide to use curtains for the windows, stick to light, airy sheers and avoid heavy drapes that are darkly colored.  You may even consider hanging sheers at ceiling level well above the actual window to give the impression of a larger window.

Put these ideas to work in your apartment, and you will notice that it looks twice as big!  You can get rid of that claustrophobic look and feel if you do it right.

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Mar 08 2011

Basements Make the Perfect “Bedroom” for Your Dog!

If you’re a dog lover who has a sweet companion but have nowhere but the yard to put him at night or when you are away during the day, have you considered renovating your basement?  A basement can make a great kennel for your dog, especially if you have a basement that is rarely used for any other purpose.  You can create an area for your dog to play, and a separate area for him to sleep at night.

Of course, you want to have your pet stay outside whenever possible for the exercise and sunshine, but on those days or nights when inclement weather brings rain or snow or extremely dangerous temperatures, an inside “kennel” of sorts is perfect!

Inspect your basement

Before you jump in and begin renovating your basement for your “best friend,” check the area out thoroughly.  Make sure the basement is dry and free of leaks.  Is there a door exiting from the basement where you can insert a doggie door?  If there are no windows to allow natural light to come in, you will need to place some sort of lighting in the room so that your pet isn’t left in the dark.  Fluorescent light is perfect for this as it replicates natural light better than regular light bulbs.  Determine if there are any safety hazards that need to be repaired before you begin the project.

How big will your pets “palace” be?

How you renovate your basement depends largely on the size of your dog.  If you have a small dog, you may want to enclose one corner of the basement to be used as a play or sleep area for your pet.  If you have a very large dog, you may want to allow him/her to use the entire space and simply section off areas that are to be used for sleep and play.  A large playful dog who loves to jump and frolic will need plenty of room to move around!

Consider these factors before you choose flooring

You will want to put some type of flooring in your basement to cover the concrete.  Concrete can be extremely cold in the winter time, and it wouldn’t be a very comfortable surface for your pet when resting or sleeping.  Carpeting would be warm and plush, but isn’t really suitable for pets because it collects hair, dirt, dust and other materials that can absorb odors.  A vinyl floor works well as you can sweep and disinfect it by mopping.  Simply buy a pet bed for your pet to rest and sleep in, or make a bed out of old quilts or blankets.

Spoil your pet with plenty of toys!

Why go to all of the trouble to renovate your basement for your companion if he won’t be happy?  Make sure you put all of his favorite toys and play things in the basement, such as rawhide bones, chew toys, balls, etc.  Provide plenty of fresh food and water, and your pet will think he’s gone to pet Heaven!

Make the basement “injury proof” for your pet

You love your pet, and you want to make sure he is not only cozy and warm but safe as well.  Cover electrical outlets; remove any electrical cords that he/she may get to or chew.  Look for any sharp objects could potentially be dangerous, and just make certain the basement is safe in general.  Your kids and the entire family will enjoy participating in renovating the basement and coming up with ideas; after all, what member of the family is more beloved than your pet?

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Mar 08 2011

Give Your Kitchen Old-Time Diner Appeal

Published by under Kitchens,Uncategorized

Decorating your kitchen in a retro diner theme is perfect for those who love the old-time appeal of diners from the 50’s and 60’s.  If you’re tired of the way your kitchen looks and want to do something dramatic, this is your chance!  Friends and family will love gathering in your retro-style kitchen to visit, play cards and enjoy a milkshake, just like the good old days.

Decide on a color scheme first

Before just jumping into everything, first choose the color scheme you want to use in the kitchen.  Consider using colors like red, turquoise, and pink; bright flamboyant colors are perfect for this retro look.  Of course, black and white work as great accents for any of these choices.  Many times you will see an old fashioned diner use red and white checkered table cloths and decorations.  No matter what colors you choose, make sure there is plenty of chrome!  Shiny accents further enhance the appeal of a retro kitchen.

Prepare to paint

Before you begin painting walls or cabinetry, take the time to tape off trim, door frames, window sills and other areas you aren’t going to paint.  Tarps are great for protecting countertops, cabinets and floors from paint splatters, so that you don’t spend more time cleaning up and touching up than necessary.

When you have chosen the primary color for your kitchen, paint at least one wall to infuse the room with bright color.  If your cabinets are currently stained or painted, sand them to remove most of the surface paint or finish.  You can then re-paint them any color of your choosing – and don’t forget the hardware!  This is the perfect time to include a little of that chrome we were talking about earlier.  Buy spray paint in a chrome finish, and give your drawer pulls, cabinet door knobs and other small accessories that retro “shine!”  If you painted one wall red or turquoise, you may want to consider painting your cabinets black or white to contrast.

Give the floor “retro” appeal with black and white

Ceramic tiles are perfect for a retro themed kitchen, but if it’s easier on your budget vinyl will work as well.  Black and white tiles fit right in with the theme; they add further depth and interest to the room.  You can also use black and red if you really want the room to pop, but make sure that the bold color won’t wear out its welcome too soon.  Before you purchase your flooring, make sure to measure the room so that you don’t end up with too many tiles (costly) or too little flooring to cover the area.

Rev up the retro with accessories

Now that you have the biggest part of the work completed, it’s time for those accessories that really help bring out that retro diner appeal.  Anything that is shiny or chrome will work; the dining room table should have chrome accents, and vinyl upholstery really contributes to the vintage look.  A large neon clock or flashing sign will bring to mind the old diners of the 50’s and 60’s.  Flea markets, online auctions and vintage shops are the perfect places to find these accessories, usually at a great price!

You can be sure that when you transform your traditional kitchen in to a “retro diner” it will bring a bit of nostalgia and old-time enjoyment to the room.  Everyone who enters your home will be envious of a kitchen that is warm, welcoming and totally unique!

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Mar 08 2011

Combine Decorating and Energy Savings to Make Your Home Beautiful on a Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Are you on a strict budget but still want to decorate your home?  There are many cost-effective things you can do to make a house look amazing.  Also, there are some tricks to decorating that can keep your house cool during the summer months.  If you are looking to decorate your home on a small budget, or just to want to prevent the hot sun from skyrocketing your electric bills, keep these ideas in mind while shopping.

Conserve energy AND give your home a “cool” new look

A good way to keep your house comfortable during the summer is to control how much sunlight is coming in the windows.  When sun shines directly into the house it heats things up approximately 5 or 6 degrees.  You can fix this by simply using curtains.  Thick, dark colored curtains are the best way to keep the sun from heating the room in the summer.  They can make a world of difference in your energy bills, as your air conditioning won’t kick on as often.

Another thing to keep in mind is textures; during hot summer months, looking at a warm, fuzzy blanket will make you feel ever hotter.  Remove those accents that seem warm, whether it is a fuzzy blanket something else, and replace it accessories that contain fun, bright colors such as orange, yellow and pastel blue.  Also to save you money, turn down the lighting in the room; the brighter the light, the warmer the temperature – and the more electricity you use.  Using a cute colorful fan can be the best way to cool down a room and stir the air around a bit!

Use what you already have in a different way

If you are just looking to decorate on a budget, there are several things you can do without a lot of expense.  Re-use things in your home; for example, if you get tired of seeing the same things in the same spot, simply move them to a different area.  Doing so will bring a fresh look to your home, and you won’t spend any money at all.  A good way to change the look of a room without spending a whole lot is painting.  Painting walls, end tables, lamp shades and other accents can completely transform the look of a room!

Artwork is great for decorating, but can be very expensive.  To avoid spending money on artwork, create your own!  This way it is less expensive and you will also add a touch of your own personality.  If you have too many accents and decorations, it can lend a cluttered.  Remove some of the décor, and you will see how clean and fresh the room looks!

Whether you are looking to decorate for the summer and keep your house cool, or just want to change things up a bit without blowing your budget, you can easily accomplish both.  Just follow the simple ideas and tricks above and you are assured of great savings on both decorating and energy costs.  Using bright, fun colors in a room can make the room seem so much cooler, and it’s not all that expensive.  Keep these ideas in mind when you are ready to shake up your décor a bit – it can be fun, even while you’re counting your pennies and enjoying the money that stayed in your bank account.

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Mar 08 2011

Take Your Bedroom WAY Back With a Retro Theme

Are you crazy about the colors and decor schemes from the 1950’s and 60’s?  If you love all things bright with an atmosphere that reflects the tastes from decades ago, you will love having a bedroom decorated in a retro theme.  You can often find many accessories with which to decorate at antique shops and flea markets; most of these items can be found at bargain basement prices!

The 60’s were all about peace and love.  To recreate the look of an era gone by in your bedroom, incorporate beads, leather, fringe, peace signs and over-sized flowers in the look.  This look is cool and thoroughly “hip.”

Furnishings for a “groovy” look

Even in the bedroom, you must have a couple of bean bag chairs if you want the style to have an authentic look and feel.  The bed and other furnishings should be basic and sleek; no bulky furniture or intricate carvings in this look!  Bedspreads made of velour, chenille or other “furry” looking fabrics will fit right in.

Flowers are really “cool”

Back in the 60’s, you could find daisies everywhere you looked!  Stick-on daisies are perfect for decorating a border around the top of the wall, or for sticking on the nightstand.  If you would rather not stick these peel-off stickers on your furniture, paint them on!  Today, painting with stencils is a huge trend, and you can design your own daisies – and paint them any color you like.

Cover the windows and doors!

If you’re too young to remember, but have seen pictures from this era, you may know that beads were all the rage for covering windows and doors.  To give your windows a bit of covering while making them really “cool,” hang strings of beads.  You can also do this in your doorway; just make sure to hang them on the inside of the door frame if you want to use the door.  You can find beaded curtains in every color imaginable online.

Color it vibrant

When striving for the 60’s era look, nearly anything goes!  Colors are bright, even fluorescent.  Consider bright blues and yellows, red, purple and even orange.  Paint a single wall sunny yellow, then incorporate an orange bean bag chair and beads of all colors for the windows and door.

The walls hold special appeal

What would a retro bedroom be without plenty of retro artwork?  Find a few Peter Max prints and hang them on the walls.  Pictures of Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix will really bring back memories for those old enough to remember this time period.  You could also consider hanging a few peace signs on the wall.

Other ideas for creating a “retro” look are square or round corduroy and silk throw pillows for the bed in jewel tones.  For additional seating, a boxy 1950’s style chair covered in aqua, yellow or green leather really makes the room pop – and don’t forget the lava lamp!

There are an endless number of accessories that will help you generate a look reminiscent of a time that was loved so many.  The look is fun, vibrant and filled with love.  Use some of the ideas above when creating a retro bedroom you and everyone else will really “dig.”

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Mar 08 2011

Ideas For Decorating A Toddler’s Room

Published by under Bedroom

Today, toddler’s can be just as opinionated as the rest of us.  They know what they want to eat, to wear, and what they want in their bedroom!  A little three-year-old girl may want princess or Dora decor, while a boy may lean toward sports themes or Spongebob.  Whatever you choose, you want your toddler’s room to be one that both you and he/she love.

Don’t overdo it

When choosing a specific theme, you may be tempted to buy everything with patterns or characters from that theme; be it curtains and sheets or a comforter, lamp and rug.  You may want to re-think this decision and choose curtains and a lamp that will match with any decor which may come to be in the room in a few years as your toddler grows.  Also, you don’t really want a room that practically screams “Spongebob” when you walk in, so taking it easy with the actual cartoon characters will make the room much more tolerable over time.

Choose furniture that will transition

You should think long and hard before you furnish your toddler’s bedroom.  Instead of brightly colored dressers or night stands that are designed for a small child, choose wood furnishings that will blend with any type of decor you may put in the room later on.  You may want to include a bookcase which will help encourage your child to read.  The same case can also be used to display some of their favorite toys or photos.  Teddy bears, toy trains and photos of your child in colored frames that complement the decor make wonderful additions to the bookshelves.

Imaginative artwork for the walls

If you stick to classic wood furniture that will be suitable for the changing decor, it’s okay to liven up the walls a bit with original artwork.

Murals are a great way to add color and liven up a toddler’s room.  Paint a mural of your child’s favorite character if you are artistic, or use stencils that suit your child’s gender; some options include stars, flowers, footballs or other shapes.  You might also consider copying images from favorite books or using pictures he/she colored in frames on the walls.

Accessorize the bed with fluffy throw pillows that not only add to the decor, but work double as toys.  Area rugs and bedding that are solid or designed in patterns that pull out the colors in the characters or theme of the room pull everything together, giving you a finished look.

Decorating a toddler’s room involves a bit of give and take; you want them to be happy when it’s complete, but you don’t want the theme to be over-powering.  Let your toddler help in choosing the accessories you will use to decorate the room, and you choose furniture, bedding and items that are more costly.  You will enjoy decorating the room with your child, and he/she will be proud of the room because they had a hand in its design.

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