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Before I start this week’s blog, lets look back a bit to see what we’ve covered. So far we’ve talked about the kitchen, bathrooms and the living room. But what’s the first thing people notice about your house? The outside. I primarily design the inside of a home, but have at times worked with clients on their yards. I’m not a landscape designer by any means, but I can offer an opinion on what looks good.

The guest bathroom or powder room is one of my favorite rooms in a house. To me, this is where the faint of heart can really have decorating fun. The guest bath is just that, for guests. So why not jazz them a bit while they visit. It’s usually a small space comprised of two pieces; a sink and toilet. So it should be relatively easy to decorate. Paint and lighting is key here.

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Last weeks blog talked about the master bathroom and how it’s a sanctuary for some. This week I want to write about the hall bathroom. Depending on the size of your home, this can be one of the busiest rooms in the house. From kids to guests it can take a real beating, therefore the design plan should be able to really hold up.

Next in this series, I’d like to talk about the bathroom: specifically the master. The level of design change really depends on the age of your bathroom. If it’s fairly new then all you need are some simple enhancements; towels, a few accents, plants, etc. But if it’s older or outdated remember paint and some hardware are simple fixes you can start with.

Lets start with towels. I really don’t think you need to replace all of them. Your everyday towels will be just fine. I’d change out the ones on ‘display’. Pick your color scheme first and go from there. You can carry over the bedroom colors or use a complimentary color. Both should work out well. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors and patterns depending on your style. I like to display my towels rolled on a tray or even in a basket given the space. If you have a garden tub, you just fold a few and let them sit on the tub decking. Again, I wouldn’t spend a fortune on towels that might just be used for show.

Now, for the accessories. Add some plants, real or otherwise, maybe a piece of coral or even some candles. Again, this all depends on available space and the look you’re trying to achieve. If you have a stone or tile floor like most of us, add a few rugs to warm the space. With all the hard surfaces, bathrooms can become a little cold and sterile.

With the hectic pace today, it seems more than ever, we need a sanctuary or safe haven if you will. The master bathroom has become a place to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work. A long soak in the tub, candles and soft music can do wonders. So don’t be afraid to make it your own. Enjoy!!!

Lets tackle another key room in the house; the Living Room. Most of the time its the first room your guests see and often times the most over looked. You can add simple cost effective elements here, too. Again, have a plan of attack and you should be fine. Lets say you have great lamps but the shades are looking a little weathered. Simple fix, add new shades. There are many places these days where you can mix and match your lighting at a fairly inexpensive price. I usually go to Lamps Plus on-line first to see their selection, then I hit my local Target. Both have great selections with many colors , shapes and styles. Don't be afraid to add a patterened shade to your lamp especially if your room is void of color, pattern and/or textures.

Designing for Less is a short series about simple fixes and design tips for the budget conscience. We’ll be looking at the kitchen, bathroom, living areas and bedrooms.

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