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Decorate Like You See in Magazine and Book Illustrations?
By Jeanette Joy Fisher

Have you ever wondered why interior designers place slippers on the ottoman in magazine photos?

They do it to make the staged setting look as if itís a lived-in room. Pictures and illustrations in decorating books, magazines, and other advertisements are designed to sell a product or an idea.

But what's missing in the staged rooms of most interior design books and magazines? People.

When it comes to decorating your own your home, forget the empty rooms you see in the magazines and books. You should design your rooms as backdrops for the people who use and live in those spaces.

Design for you! Use these interior design psychology tips:

Leave empty space. Empty space gives you breathing room and allows the most important items in the room to shine, which are the people!

Use small patterns on walls and furniture. Avoid large-patterned fabrics and wallpapers with designs larger than your head. Huge florals will interfere with the appearance of the people in the room. You don't want to have to compete with bold patterns behind your face. Patterns on sofas and chairs that clash with clothing will also make you and your guests feel uncomfortable.

Use colors that complement people. Finding the right colors to complement your skin and eyes deserves planning. Most people look great when surrounded by color. For light skin colors, use yellows, pinks, and beiges. For darker complexions, yellows, olives, and tans can make people stand out. Since most people no longer have bright white in their eyes, avoid pastels that are whiter than the white in your eyes.

Add textures that feel good to the touch. Support your sense of touch by adding textures that are nice to caress. You don't have to touch velvet to sense its softness, and soft textures like chenille and satins will visually support your feeling of being pampered, as well.

Arrange accessories to shore up emotions. In one of my rooms, I arranged my mantle accessories to make a statement, and it looked great in photographs, but after analyzing why the mantle didn't seem to smile, I realized that it wasn't personal. When I filled it with Mili fiori lamps, crystal candlesticks, and antique vases, the space looked great, but it really began to smile when I added a Mexican Rose rock under the painting.


Think comfort before pretense. Just because a sofa or chair looks fabulous doesn't mean the piece is comfortable. Remember, when you walk around a showroom, sitting down on any chair feels good, but in order to truly test a piece of furniture, you need to sit on it for a long time, until you feel totally rested. Only then will you be able to feel the real support and comfort level of that piece.

Design for your location and support your emotions with nature.  Reinforce the natural beauty surrounding you. I'm so lucky my mother paints in oil. She painted our lake scene, without all the houses.

Lake Elsinore, California, by Jayne St. John

Remember, your home is a place for people, and when you and your guests look and feel great in your home, you can be sure that you've designed a great setting; one that far outshines the staged sets you'll see in magazines and books.

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