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Southern Style
Family history can help in seasonal decorating
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Decorating your home is a process. This process includes collecting mementos, furniture, and items given to you from other family members. Things we have in our homes tell a story about our families. Things passed between family members are special and tell about what has been important in our personal history. Using these special things, either furniture or accessories in an attractive way, sometimes requires us to rethink use and location of furniture.
When arranging your home, consider how a piece of furniture can be used. Think in terms of storage, display, or hiding electronic pieces that distract form the décor of a room. Consider where a piece would be most useful in your home. Perhaps a piece that has always been in a bedroom would function better in a foyer or kitchen. Use what you have, or if you feel that a piece is completely out of place, consider passing it on to another family member.
Family teapots or crystal from grandmother, fishing lures from grandpa, paperweights collected or other items can make striking accessories if displayed attractively. Rather than spreading these items out around your home, group them as a collection which often has more presence than displaying a single item. Generally only large items tend to look best when displayed alone.
Books collected by your family can be used as accents when decorating. Small stacks of three to five hard bound books with paper jackets removed can be used to elevate a lamp, a small framed picture, or accent piece on a table top or shelf. Groups of family pictures create a striking display when frames matched by color or style are chosen. Often, reframing family pictures can update décor in a quick and relatively inexpensive way. The frames do not all need to be the same for a traditional look, but should blend in style or color and be different sizes. For a sleeker, more modern look, frames of the same size and color may be used.
When arranging your collections on a shelf, tabletop, or any surface, remember to vary height and depth. It is best to start with all shelves cleared and like items grouped together before starting to arrange.
Lean large trays or framed art against the back of some shelves with items in front to create depth. Turn books horizontally and vertically. Remember to use them as platforms for elevating collectables or small framed pictures of children or family members. Use boxes and baskets to hide clutter. Strive to use things with a similar color palate together. Turn some items or stacks of books at angles for interest. Place taller items in the back of shelves with smaller or shorter items to the front to create layers and depth. Pull some items, usually three, closer together and place at various levels so that your eye has a visual resting place. Bowls or containers on shelves can be used to hold seasonal things such as small pumpkins or glass Christmas balls as the seasons change.
If some items do not work with your arranging, consider storing them for a time or passing them along to others in your family.  If something is very special, create your tabletop or shelf arranging around it by purchasing other things to go with it.
Furniture, mementos, and collectibles tell a story of loved family members, precious times with children or memories of the past. Southerners always like to share stories. Share yours with special folks who enter your home!
Rebecca Masters is a teacher who enjoys gardening, decorating and entertaining. She can be reached at 764-5413 or
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