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From wood floors to accessories, homeowners' style is their best guide

October 28, 2013

Hardwood FloorsBrowsing through decorating magazines is a great way to keep up on the latest styles. But to have a standout room design, homeowners should give themselves credit. Their innate sense of what looks right may be the best decorating guide of all, much like the natural beauty of oak flooring in Anderson's Lincoln Plank collection.

A family's favorite colors and style preferences shouldn't be unduly influenced by current trends. Reflecting one's personality is more important than allowing the "latest thing" to take over a design scheme.

"Great style isn't necessarily a finished product so much as it is an ongoing process," said designer Christiane Lemieux, author of the book, "Undecorate: The No-rule Approach to Interior Design."

Step out of the box
For homeowners hoping to break the predictable look of showroom decor, Lemieux advised them to search through every nook and cranny of their homes to unearth older furniture that can be repurposed into one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories.'s advised people to keep an open mind about what home features look good together in a room. On the surface, an old iron gate may not have much aesthetic potential, but when it's used as a partition in a basement family room to separate different activity areas, it takes on a life of its own.

Taking a cue from professional designers, homeowners should create a furniture arrangement on graph paper that allows them to see everything to scale with the size of the room. They don't have to be great artists - a simple series of squares, rectangles and circles can represent different pieces.

For example, a 4-by-2-foot table would be four blocks by two blocks on the graph paper. Each piece should be labeled and cut out. On a master sheet, the pieces can be placed within the scaled-down room dimensions. It's an easy way to try different arrangements without moving around real furniture.

Mix style and function
As Lemieux profiled homeowners across the country for her book, she found those with the most unique decorating styles showed a mix of eye-catching features and everyday function in their furniture.

Some examples of the home styles that were featured in the home design book included a suburban home that managed to maintain a down-to-earth look while incorporating the homeowners' taste for marble-topped occasional tables. In a Brooklyn apartment, Lemieux found a nature-inspired retreat that highlighted the high ceilings and natural light that flowed into the urban space.