Here’s something you see often in retail stores: Matching design styles for just about anywhere in your house. And some of the decorating themes are very attractive. Many people prefer using these ready made designer looks because they’re so easy. There’s no guesswork – each accent is matched for you automatically. Unfortunately there’s also no uniqueness. No sense of “you” in the finished style. If you mix and match styles up a bit though, you’ll design something that’s just right for you, your house, and your style preferences. Here are a few tips on doing that.

1. It’s ok to begin with a cookie cutter decorating theme, pattern, or color scheme you’ve come across in a discount store. These are actually great starting places for getting fresh decor ideas.

2. Try selecting just one or two coordinated items from the store. For example, let’s say you plan to decorate your bathroom in a sea green color scheme. You’ll find a lot of really nice towel sets or a small area rug runner to fit this color scheme well, so choose one you like. If you just can’t resist… give into your urges and get the coordinated accessories as well, such as the toothbrush holder and soap dish.

3. Now most likely the premade style of one accent piece you choose has suggestions of other colors mixed in. It’s not unusual for instance, to have a mix of blues, tans, yellows and oranges in a ocean themed bathroom set, because these colors can be present when you’re actually at the sea or ocean. So the colors naturally work together well.

And this is a key decorating point: Your decor colors don’t have to match exactly. They should simply fit attractively with each other. So in our sea style bathroom decor example above, it would be completely acceptable to add a set of solid tan colored towels, burnt orange wash cloths, and a southwestern area rug with touches of blue in it.

4. Experiment with different shades of color. If you’re using primarily green in the bathroom design, try both a light and dark shade. Not all shades of the same color work well together though. Sometimes you can tell this instinctively by holding two items of similar colors together in the store, but other times you’ll need to actually buy the items and test them in the actual room itself. Anything that doesn’t quite look or feel right in the overall room design can easily be returned to the store.

5. Use what you have. In the bathroom decorating example, the shades of green might not work well if you have pink walls and aren’t able to change them when you’re redecorating. Likewise if you have a small room with dark wood cabinets you wouldn’t want to use deep green colors in the design because it would make the room seem smaller.

6. Be brave and try mixing decor styles. It’s ok to have a southwestern style towel set in the same bathroom as a seaside designed shower curtain since both designs tend to use earth toned colors.

7. And don’t forget: If you can’t find decor styles you like at regular stores, try shopping around at yard sales and flea markets. Even if you find just one interesting or unique piece that you really love – that’s a place to start. You can create an entire room’s unique design and decor style by simply working from the color and style of that one piece!

Remember that decorating your home is all about you. Your likes, dislikes, and lifestyle are what’s most important. So be sure to inject a little bit of your own personality into the decor of your home, and your friends and family will be envious of your unique, stylish look!

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