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Beautifying Your Home

"Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want." --Jim Rohn

As a frequent traveler, I'm often amazed at how dramatically my mood changes depending on where I am staying. I have stayed in some very nice hotels that were so warm and welcoming I loved being in my room. Other rooms were so dark and uninviting I found my mood spiraling downward. Our environment and surroundings play a huge part in how we feel on a day-to-day basis. Think about it. When your home is messy, chaotic, cluttered, and filled with piles, how do you feel? My guess is "stressed" is amongst the adjectives that top your list. Likewise, when our homes are clean and straightened we feel more at peace.

So why not create a dream home for yourself? You don't need a million dollar budget and a designer's help. Instead, approach your home with the same mentality we bring to this challenge - one day, one step, one project - at a time.

The task of beautifying your home will be an ongoing process. I recommend getting a separate binder for this project. I have a binder with dividers for each room of the house that I wanted to "beautify." Then when I found pictures, ideas, or had inspirations, I would store the information behind the applicable room tab.

The process of going through your home is much like when we created the MASTER TASK LIST. Choose a room in which to start. Sit down for a good twenty minutes, really taking in all the items, furniture, textures, and colors of the room. Then imagine how you would like the room to be. Don't be shy, write down anything that comes to mind no matter how crazy it seems. There may be things on your list that aren't practical right now and that's okay. These notes will give you a clue into the traits and mood you want to create in the room and you may be able to find a less expensive alternative. (For example, in one room I would have loved new hardwood floors. Instead, I found that sanding the current wood floors and covering them with inexpensive rugs purchased at a wholesale outlet, created the nice warm feeling I was looking for.)

Here are some specific things to think about in each room: COLOR: Do the walls represent the room? If your house has all white walls, consider toying with color. Painting a room is the quickest way to give it a fresh look. Stenciling is another option for those who don't want to brave a full paint makeover. If you want to keep your white walls, are there prints or paintings that could be added to give the room a new tone? What types of prints and paintings would you enjoy - abstract, contemporary, wildlife? What colors should the paintings emphasize to help coordinate the overall color of the room?

FURNITURE: Are there pieces of furniture that need to be refinished, repaired, or replaced? Are there any pieces you would like to add?

WINDOWS: Do you like your current window coverings? If not, what would you prefer? Would you like to go with a valance? Blinds? No coverings?

DECORATIONS: What elements could be added to change the tone of the room? How about a small water fountain in a room where you like to relax? Fountains can be found very inexpensively at stores like Target or Wal-Mart. Would an arrangement of candles or dried flowers add to the room? Could you remove items to simplify the space? Could you swap items with items from another area of the house for a fresh feel?

FOLIAGE: What about plants? Plants quickly provide a new feel within a room. If you have a bad history with plants, don't despair. Visit your local garden center and explain you want a very durable plant for someone without a "green thumb." These garden experts can help you pick the plant that is best for you.

FLOOR COVERING: How do you want your floors to look? Would you like rugs, floor coverings, hardwood, or to lay new tile?

Idea-Gathering Gathering ideas can be a very fun step. Begin by paging through magazines and finding attractive rooms. For example, if you are working on your living room, begin by finding living rooms that have a theme or feel you would like to emulate in your own home. Don't worry if you can't find something that is exactly like what you want; you can clip furniture from one picture and paintings from another. Here are a few more sources for idea-gathering:

1. If you have a friend who has a "knack" for displays and interior design, consider seeking her help and recommendations.

2. Visit furniture stores, antique shops, and department stores to gather ideas for displays and decoration. Check your local library and bookstore for additional books and ideas.

3. The internet also has a ton of great resources for decorating. Try doing a search at www.google.com for decorating. The Better Homes and Gardens website has a lot of great resources as well - you can find that at www.bhg.com.

4. Visit your local improvement store. Look at their idea books and magazines. Find paint samples and color palettes that are appealing to you.

5. Let the process of gathering ideas take as long as you desire. Remember this is a work in progress. Once you have some ideas, pick one to start. I encourage you to work through one room at a time, completing it in its entirety before moving to the next room. This way you will be able to enjoy one room while working on the others and not cause a lot of clutter or disruption in the home.

Remember that decorating and performing a facelift to a room needn't be costly or time consuming. Adding a new print to a wall, colorful pillows to a couch, or a few plants can breathe new life into a tired room.

Your Assignment

Begin gathering ideas. Try to choose at least one idea that can be implemented today to beautify your home.

Brook Noel is the author of The Change Your Life Challenge: A 70 Day Life Makeover Program for Women. Her unique program has helped thousands of women "makeover" all aspects of their lives. Learn more at http://www.changeyourlifechallenge.com

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