The NOVICA Art Expert

With such a tremendous variety of handmade treasures to explore, Novica brings to you the Art Expert, a series of detailed informational columns designed to help you expertly tour your way through the wide, wonderful world of fine arts and home décor!

Home decor - shopping lists and budgets

By Catherine Gallegos, continued from Novica's Home Decor Homepage.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 3

Home decor chapter 2: creating your shopping list

Outline your basic furnishing and decorating needs by walking through your home room-by-room, noting room widths, lengths, and ceiling heights.

Entrance halls and even outdoor welcome gardens should introduce the style you will set throughout your house. Be sure to consider practicality as well as beauty when outlining necessary furniture, coat racks, mirrors, perhaps handmade wall mirrors, and other appreciated accessories.

In the living room, determine the best view for seating, exactly how many items of furniture you'll need, and how much wall space you'll allot for entertainment equipment. Determine what wall and floor space remains comfortably available for home décor accents, to bring warmth and personality to the room. Remember to avoid crowding.

Likewise, carefully analyze bedrooms to determine how much space beds will occupy, nightstands, lamps, dressers, chairs, perhaps a settee or divan, and possibly an armoire (especially if closet space is insufficient). Make note of the remaining wall and floor space. Extra flat space on top of dressers and other such horizontal surfaces can be enhanced with textile runners or other home décor accents.

Bathrooms can be transformed into places of comfort and welcome with the addition of carefully considered home décor accents. Think outside the box by considering such additions as attractive hand-woven lidded baskets (perhaps in a range of sizes), to gracefully store such items as extra toilet paper. Likewise, the wastebasket can enhance the view or detract from it, so consider it an integral element of your home décor. Consider all aspects. Since bathrooms are not typically a room with a view, you might compensate with the addition of framed art. Nature-themed paintings can be a wonderful treat, especially in rooms with a limited view. Water-themed paintings and seascapes are ideas to consider. Do consider humidity concerns when selecting such items as watercolor paintings or other susceptible works of art, especially if ventilation is limited.

Kitchens and dining rooms ideally carry your signature style. From flatware choices to serving ware, cooking utensils to table settings, wall space to storage space, the kitchen can be a place of great welcome, comfort, and allure. Consider placing a bench -- perhaps heaped with handmade decorative pillows -- along an empty wall to lure the cook to a welcome tea break, or to entice visitors to keep the chef company! Original still life paintings of delicious fruits and other luscious fare can certainly help whet appetites! Instead of viewing the kitchen simply as a functional workspace, consider transforming it into a place where you'll enjoy spending much time.

The floors of your home are an integral aspect to consider decorating. Wood floors invite the lavish use of area rugs, especially in high-traffic areas including entrances, hallways, bathrooms, bedsides, and in front of couches and other favorite sitting areas. Area rugs help dampen sounds within a home, and are additionally helpful to soften the pitter-patter of feet in any upstairs rooms, helping create a more peaceful and beautiful environment.

Likewise, consider wall hangings to help soften a room's acoustics, to visually warm colder areas, to fill vast or small "empty" vertical spaces, and to help extend your chosen style throughout your home. You might consider carrying your theme onto horizontal surfaces as well -- perhaps adding handmade textile runners to tabletops, dressers, nightstands, and draped gracefully across the foot of bedspreads.

Paintings, photography, and all other framed art -- and the frames themselves -- as well as sculptures and other non-functional art, should ideally maintain a sense of continuity throughout a home, even if the theme within that style varies significantly from room to room.

Cultural and region-specific home décor can blend well. For example, rustic Mexican décor often blends beautifully with East Indian, Southeast Asian, and some African accents. Other styles are better carried singly, as is typically the case with such highly stylized décor as traditional Japanese and Chinese styles, or even starkly modern preferences, for example. There are certainly exceptions; ways that such styles can be carefully blended.

Online stylistic comparisons will help you quickly gain a strong sense of compatibility from culture to culture -- what works and doesn't. Remember also that the Public Library's décor and architecture shelves are another great resource to help you examine and compare styles to assess compatibility.

Budgeting for home décor

If cost is relevant, as it is for most of us, bring a firm budget to your own bargaining table, and do stick to it. Once you've carefully listed all your home décor needs and desires, online shopping will provide you with instant access to line-item pricing -- and the opportunity for extensive comparison shopping. Today, the world is literally at your fingertips!

Keep looking until you find what you love at a price you can afford. Be open to discovering furniture and home décor treasures and styles that you might never have imagined. Once you bookmark all the needed and desired home décor items that harmonize with your favorite style, keep looking until you find pricing and quality that measures up to your list and matches your budget.

Home Decor Homepage | Chapter 1 | Chapter 3

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