Decorating is fun. It's also daunting.
Whether you are choosing a sofa for a first apartment or rethinking a whole house, keeping track of all the paint names, fabric swatches, telephone numbers and store receipts is key.
Here are a few things that the SOS sisters -- Connie Britell, Mary Jo Donohoe and Suzanne Hawkins, Washington area decorators/sisters who run Sisters on Style -- tell their clients:
* Create a file of "likes" and "dislikes" using photos of rooms, styles, colors and products from magazines and books. Use stick-on notes to remind yourself why you saved it. This helps if you're doing it yourself, and saves time (which means money) if you work with a decorator or other design professional.
* Write everything down. When you place an order, jot down all the details -- date, color, pattern number, person whom you spoke with, confirmation number. File it all in a notebook or accordion folder so you won't waste time when you need to check something or reorder months later.
* Make a collage of your selections -- paint chips, fabric swatches, furniture finishes, flooring samples, window treatments -- to bring together elements of your design scheme. This is what the pros do when they make their presentation boards for clients. Sketch rooms, drawing furniture placement to scale (graph paper helps) so you don't make costly mistakes.
* Don't feel trapped by something if you don't really love it. A big, old Oriental rug may be a family heirloom, but if it drives your decorating decisions toward colors you don't like, roll it up and put it away.
* Overwhelmed by paint choices? Look in your closet: Our clothing tends to reflect the colors we like. Consider starting there.
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