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décor dilemmas: Cluttered place/ Spartan space | 1 2 3
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Conquering the clutter
1. Tidy up those cords: Gather up excess cord and secure with a twistie, then hide it behind appliances, cabinets, furniture, etc. Any cords that are hanging down or along a wall – speaker wire, hanging lamp cord – can be concealed with self-adhesive plastic cord cover (available at Home Depot), which comes in white and cream and can be painted to match your walls.
2. Organize your books: By size, by subject, by color (that’s a joke … I’m of the firm belief that books should be used, and anyone who organizes by color is obviously more concerned with aesthetics than with ease-of-use). Line up all book spines AT THE FRONT rather than pushing them all towards the back of the bookshelf – trust me, it’ll look a ga-zillion times neater. Leave a little room on the shelf in front of the neatly-aligned books, and you’ve got space to display small pictures and collectibles as well. And speaking of collectibles …
3. Get the knick-knacks under control: First and foremost, do some weeding. Second, group the doo-dads together by theme, color, shape … the key is to make the group look like less of a hodge-podge. Third, rotate your collections! Yeah, it’s a little anal-retentive, but it’ll let you show off all your goods, a little at a time, and, as an added perk, will ensure that your visitors always have something new and different to look at when they visit.
4. Control your color: Paint your walls, bookcases and cabinets in a single color and you’ll instantly unify the largest items in your space. Got 5 different types of woodgrain represented in your furniture offerings? Cover it all up with paint and you’ve got an instant matching set. White gives you a nice clean canvas, and gives the illusion of more space, but it’s certainly not the only option: what’s most important is that you keep the number of different, competing shades to a minimum. Sticking with solids and avoiding patterns will also help minimize the visual chaos.
5. Buy storage containers in multiples: Decorative bowls, glass jars, wicker baskets, galvanized aluminum tins … all provide attractive storage space and can be lined up neatly on a shelf to hide away a wide assortment of odds and ends. Or recycle those empty shoeboxes and turn them into snazzy storage boxes by covering them with decorative paper or fabric.
6. Add a door or curtain to your bookcases to hide away the junk. For easy curtains, you could attach self-adhesive velcro to the top of the bookcase and to a piece of fabric (cut and hemmed to the exact size of your bookcase, of course), or use hooks (attached to the bookcase) and grommets (in the fabric).

got the opposite problem? how to spiff up the spartan


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