Home Decor Shopping

A consumer guide

High arched ceilings, immaculate bed linens and classic lighting fixtures. No signs of human life anywhere; no stains on the carpet, no food left rotting on the kitchen counter, and not a trace of clutter in site. Does this sound like your house?

Of course not.

This is the house from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Architectural Digest. It is the home we all covet, but think we can't have. However you can make a reasonable facsimile, all from the comfort of your home.

Start with something simple; a splash of color in the form of flowers can brighten up any room. The type of vase used to hold the flowers can vary depending on your personal style or the theme of the room. Think of creamy white orchids in a cut glass vase, or bright yellow daises in a pale gold ceramic vase. Or, skip the flowers altogether and look for interesting shapes and colors in vases. A bright red sculptural vase makes a statement on its own, while others may prefer one in several different colors or in an unusual shape.

Another quick way to add some stylish elegance to your home is by adding new window treatments. Many homes have vertical blinds, especially in rental properties - but while efficient, they also lack style. Try adding a window valance to draw the eye upward and away from the ugly blinds. Avoid too many bright colors or loud patterns which can look dated in a short amount of time.

Throw rugs are a nice addition to any room, but something that is often overlooked. Rugs come in various styles, shapes, colors and sizes meaning you can choose the best option for your room. Try a darker color in the busiest rooms in the house because they hide dirt better, and look for lighter colors in the kitchen and bathroom. If you find a throw rug that you absolutely love, but have no room for, consider turning it into a piece of art. Hang the rug in your favorite room and create an entirely new focal point.

Think about changing up the lighting in a room to add elegance and class. One option is to add candles - cluster several candles of the same color in different sizes on a sideboard or small table, or try using them in a non-working fireplace. Also think about changing out your current lighting fixtures with more stylish options available at your local home improvement store. Look for sleek metals; polished chrome, shiny stainless steel, or hammered brass with opaque glass.

Focus on finding pieces that you love, and that fit your home. If you have a country style, stick with country pieces and don't bring in trendy modern art. By using your own personal style, any room can have a classy feel.

By Jennifer Eblin