A decorating epidemic is festering in the living rooms of America—the time warp. Admitting there's a problem is the first step to recovery. "Look at the pictures of your hair when you got married, and then look at your living room," designer Nate Berkus says. If they match, "your living room is wearing blue eyeshadow."
Not to fear, the cure is surprisingly easy and affordable. Get Nate's top offenders—and their remedies:
Busy patterned rugs underneath busy patterned sofas. Clashing patterns scream clutter. Update an old sofa with a simple slipcover, and replace patterned rugs with a more muted option. "A simple rug—cotton, wool," Nate says.
Ruffled throw pillows. A fresh pillow can change the look of any chair. Replace ruffled pillows with modern linen, cotton or velvet options.
Dried flower arrangements. They're dead and dusty—toss them. Replace them with an elegant, live orchid.
Ruffled or lace curtains. Forget the frilly curtains and make your windows look taller at the same time. Nate suggests hanging an inexpensive bamboo shade between the ceiling and the top of the window. With simple linen or cotton draperies, you'll get good height from any update.
Multiple photos in a single, matted frame. Photos are the most important, most personal decoration in any home, so make them stand out. Nate says too many photos in one frame make your favorite pictures seem less important. "You don't have to throw anything away," he says. "Just frame them individually." If a single photo needs more oomph, reprint it in sepia or black-and-white.
Wallpaper borders. Make a commitment. "Either wallpaper or paint," Nate says. "You're not fooling anybody."
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What are your favorite inexpensive decorating tips? Leave a comment below!