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A New Year, A New Look

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Out with the old, and in with the new, or so the adage says. A new year beckons a new look. When discussing a decorating project, nearly everyone takes it for granted that their designer wants to start the project with all new items. This is the recommended course of action when there are no constraints, including the most important item: the budget.

While this is true and necessary for some projects, projects that require a bit of control require a different approach. The most successful designers know how to rummage through a client's existing items and separate the "must go" from the "can use" and the "must keep." As a global concern for a healthy planet prevails, more consumers are embracing a "recycle, renew and reuse" philosophy.

Believe it or not, a new look can begin with the things you already own. Start by emptying your room of all its existing contents. This will allow you to imagine your "new" decor. Establish the purpose and function of your room. Is this a bedroom, and will it remain a bedroom, or will it be turned into an at-home office? It's best to start the design process with a clear game plan for the room's intended use.

The most dramatic change will come from a new paint color for your walls. For the cost of two gallons of paint, most rooms can be transformed into your favorite room. Select a color that is pleasing to you. Don't be afraid to drum up some excitement and choose a daring color. If you decide to paint your trim, consider a shade other than white — perhaps a shade lighter or darker than your wall color.

This will add a custom look.

If you decide to buy one item, I would suggest buying a natural fiber rug, such as sisal or seagrass. This type of rug is woven, eco-friendly and has become a classic because of its versatility. It will go with any style of decor and can be dressed up or down depending on your furnishings. These rugs are extremely inexpensive and can be bought from almost any lifestyle store and even online. Buy the largest rug that will fit in the room so it clearly reads as background, rather than focal point. It will serve naturally as a collector of all the different items you decide to bring back in.

Shopping at home can be fun. Bringing items back into the room is the tricky part. As you comb through your own furnishings, keep an open mind. For example, a bedroom dresser paired with an interesting mirror can become a featured grouping in the living room, or a pair of etageres or bookcases could flank a sofa and show off a mixture of coffee table books and interesting collectibles.

The great thing about decorating with items you already own is that the possibilities are endless. Always strive to incorporate something unexpected into your design. All you need is a little manpower for the furniture shuffle.

In this final phase of your makeover, remember that the purpose of your project is to refresh, renew and restore, so steer clear of clutter.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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