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Take the time to get it right

Do you wonder at the people who moved into their new house and are still decorating a year and a half later?

Do you wonder at the people who moved into their new house and are still decorating a year and a half later?

Well, that’s me. And I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with it, either.

You may titter and giggle at my expense, but my view is that it is better to make choices slowly and carefully, so you don’t end up with something that you decide later is really not the right thing.

And believe me, I didn’t start out this way.

You need to know that I am an impatient decorator. I made lists, and come hell or high water, I worked to put check marks on the page beside my tasks. I even gave myself tight time limits, and then I bought what I thought was the best choice within my time limitations.

Logical? Efficient? Maybe, but in home decor, the results end up “OK” rather than “splendid” or “stunning.” And you don’t want “acceptable” after you spend considerable bucks on improving and sprucing up a place. Why not go for some pretty amazing results? They are within your grasp.

The issue boils down to time. If you want your place finished, furnishings and accessories in place overnight, you can do it. But you run a high risk that the pieces will not work for you. Either you’ll discover too late that the piece is badly designed or poorly constructed, or the look, on second thought, is not to your liking.

Making good decor decisions takes time. As with many things in life, you make bad decisions if you rush. My parents will forever regret the day that my dad snapped up a bathtub at what he thought was a very good price that wouldn’t last. It was a great price but there was a reason for this — it was badly designed. It was built so low that it does not allow a comfortable “lean-back” position, but they didn’t discover this until the tub was in place.

Don’t let this happen to you. Take your time and look around. Do your homework. Decide first on the look you are seeking (if you don’t know, check out magazines to decide what look you prefer), and then check out possibilities and prices. Your choice will emerge eventually, believe me. By all means, do your homework efficiently (I’m sure you’ll be faster than I am), but do it.

Sometimes, after you’ve done some checking around, you’ll see something and be blessed with that feeling that you’ve found exactly what you are looking for. Hallelujah! Check around for pricing, to ensure you find the best cost. Then buy it.

But sometimes, it isn’t quite so clear cut. You’ll see a piece that works on some level, whether it be colour or size, but you know in your heart that the piece satisfies only in a “good enough” way. If this is the case, make a decision to look around some more.

Here are some tips to help you make good decisions about buying furnishings:

• Commit to taking the time to make good decor decisions, including the need for research such as checking around for pricing and choices.

• Be careful with trends, fads, anything in extreme pattern designs, or anything that is likely to become “dated” quickly.

• Avoid impulse purchases.

• Go with your heart. Don’t let anybody talk you into buying something you’re not certain that you like.

• Generally speaking, try to buy quality products over time, rather than buying lots of inexpensive furnishings all at once. Make sure sofas, chairs and upholstered furniture are well constructed and solid. Inspect seams, and check fabric for cleaning instructions.

• When you shop for furnishings, start with the basics, or the big pieces like sofas, upholstered chairs, beds and side tables and a dining room table and chairs. Save accessories for later.

• If you are decorating an entire house, do one room at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.

• Once you are armed with research about possibilities and prices, effective people tend to make decisions quickly and then stick to the decision rather than vacillating.

– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.

 
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