Decorating Your New Home: Invent a New Look with Existing Furniture

The movers have just left and you're surrounded by boxes of stuff
that looked great in your old house, but you haven't got a clue how it
will all come together at your new home. Well, now is the time to
literally “think outside the box.” Just because a furniture piece worked
one way before doesn't mean it can't have an even better use in your
new home.

To make a warm, inviting environment, professional arrangers suggest
you maximize the use of the furniture, art and accessories you already
own. You might be surprised at the new looks you can create with your
existing furnishings and accessories.

What better way to make your house into your home than by surrounding
yourself with the items you've collected over the years. Your new home
is giving you the advantage of a clean slate, so revel in the many

Fresh Ideas

Analyze your belongings. Consider using some of the furniture in a
fresh and altered presentation. A favorite living room chair may be more
at home in a bedroom; a dining room cabinet may work nicely as a focal
point in the living room; a dresser can make quite a statement in a

Are you short a side table in the living room? Look to your bedrooms
for a nightstand that might fill the role nicely. A day bed could serve
double duty in a family room.

Downsizing? Moving Up? Moving North or South?

Each change leads to different decorating challenges. When
downsizing, it is really advantageous to utilize usual pieces in unusual
ways. Small rooms can take a very large piece of furniture so don't
discount that family armoire too soon. You can still keep your favorite
buffet, if it fits, in the entry. An upside-down umbrella stand may make
a great home for a plant.

If your new home has a larger living room, avoid spreading your
furniture out too far to fill the room. Consider two groupings: perhaps a
primary one for conversation, and then a smaller, more intimate area
for a dinner for two or a reading area. This arrangement will help
maintain a feeling of warmth and coziness.

If your move has brought you to a different climate, you will need to
address some decorating style differences. In the warmer regions,
especially during the hottest time of the year, you'll want to be more
of a minimalist. Your color palette is likely to be lighter. In cooler
climates, your palette is likely to have darker tones and heavier
fabrics. The easiest way to introduce the color changes is with flowers
and pillows.

Shopping in Your Own Accessories Store

As you unpack your moving boxes, try placing your art, lamps and
accessories in one room, preferably in groups of like items or similar
color. By doing this you will create your own "store" of goodies to use
when adding the decorating details to your home.

When hanging your art, place complementary subjects together, or
group works by the same artist. You can create interesting arrangements
by mixing in plates and other objects.

Whether you’re putting the final touches on a mantle, creating a
tablescape or filling a curio cabinet, remember to group your
collections together for the greatest impact.

Contrast gives
punch. On your tabletops, consider mixing rough surfaces with smooth;
matte finishes with reflective ones; and high items with low ones.
Hard-covered books are great for creating varying heights.

If you empty your "store," it’s time to make a wish list of the items
you would like to have. This list will be much shorter if you have
indeed maximized the use of your existing furnishings. When you do go
shopping for new things, to help you make correct color matches take the
arm protectors from your sofas and chairs. They make convenient,
portable color swatches. And, if possible also take a small piece of
your carpet, an extra tile or piece of counter top.

Enjoy creating your new decor and remember that your creation is a
work of art in progress. Keep working with it until it feels right.