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Designing Dilemma Extra!

How to Design Your Home For The Way You Really Live

Got a sloppy spouse who loves to eat late night snacks while reclining on the living room sofa? Do your kids use your gleaming hardwood floors for indoor hockey practice while you're at work? Here are a few tips to create a home you can really live in that will look great for a long time!

  • Put your money in the places that will get the greatest wear, meaning the furnishings we sit and stand on. Spend more to get heavier and more durable fabrics and flooring. The more money you spend in these areas, the longer it will probably last.


  • Consider laminating your most heavily used dining chairs. Kitchen chairs will last longer and look better by simply laminating the seats. Almost every fabric can be laminated, you just have to know where to send it.


  • The more color, pattern and texture, the better your rug or sofa will be at hiding stains and wear.


  • Keeping window coverings off the floor protects them from potential abuse. Choose coverings that raise and lower rather than opening and closing from the sides.


  • Choose natural fibers, like wool or cotton, with a touch of nylon, polyester, or even rayon. The combination will ensure a smooth feel on furniture and the floor and you can reap the long wearing benefits.


  • Good lighting can make modest rooms impressive; without it impressive rooms look modest. Consider putting most of your lighting in the ceiling. Table and floor lamps will inevitably get knocked over and broken.


  • Take another look at ultrasuede! New fibers closely simulate the look and feel of suede, but with the cleanability of polyester.


  • Match wood stains and paint finishes to crayon and magic marker colors. As furniture legs and tops get scratched and even gouged from daily family use, you'll want to make simple repairs that keep the wood surfaces looking new.


  • Avoid chairs and sofas with large, oversized arms. They take away from the actual seating space and because they are often sat on, the fabric on the arms wears out very quickly.


  • Turn the endless supply of children's art to your advantage. When it comes to art, it's not the quality of what is being displayed that counts. It's how we display it. Let one large wall be designated the official "hanging place." This wall can be painted with a magnetic additive, allowing all pictures to be easily hung with magnets.


  • Loose pillow backs require a lot of maintenance. Avoid them! You'll be forever fluffing and arranging them and they make too tempting a weapon for a pillow fight between siblings.


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