Once you own a home you quickly come to one realization: it’s a project that will last you a lifetime, longer maybe. It doesn’t matter whether or not you bought a fixer-upper where renovation needs are obvious or put out for spanking new digs still lingering a fresh paint smell. You will find, especially with the first whisper of spring, there is suddenly a thousand things you want to build, paint, decorate and update. And that’s the upside of home ownership, isn’t it? You get to personalize your décor to suit your style. Just make sure that your style is from this century, hopefully ahead of the curve, and not scrambling for footing on the downside slope. To help you keep your choices fresh and new, here are some tips on what to avoid in 2015 when your need for new becomes overwhelming and you have to change something.Stone Tiles in Living Room

Visit Italy

Italian is over. Arrivederci. It was che bello while it lasted and the stone-look ceramic tiles that went with it were lovely. Tuscany in America. But it’s finito, terminato, e, andato. No more gilded gold, blood red brocade, or Klimt reprints. Today, think New York subways. That flat or glossy white tile, whichever you prefer, is simple and chic, and looks great with the clean design lines coming out of Northern Europe. And it works in both kitchen and bathroom.

Lighten Up on the Drapery

That fabric puddle where your drapes fall to the floor and beyond needs a haircut. Now’s the time to trim those drapes. Shorter and less is the call as far as window coverings are concerned. Some drapes don’t come anywhere near the floor, riding above the wall heater. Rods are also being pushed up above the upper window trim white curtains sometimes end a foot shy of the floor. Whatever length you choose, leave the valances, ruffles, pullbacks and other fluffy accessories behind. No double layers either. Need extra coverage? Put simple blinds underneath. Now you’re done.

Hardwood Tiles in the Lobby

Always in Style: Hardwood

Hardwood says class, whether refurbished two-inch wide oak, or contemporary four-inch engineered hardwood. Even good quality laminates can look great, chosen with taste and care. What is not okay is to chop up your floor area with something different in every room. Moving from laminate in the kitchen to parquet in the dining room and carpet in the living room is a roller coaster of styles and tiles that will make you dizzy and your home look smaller. Find one look that you can seamlessly put down, at least throughout the main floor rooms and entryway. Pull out the stair carpet while you’re at it.

Layer the Lights

Mount your track lighting in the garage where it’s always belonged and should always have stayed. Changing up your lighting can be a really affordable way to update the look of your home. Look for chrome, brushed, bronzed, or nickel finishes. Consider light clusters, rather than single lamps in corners. And scratch the match-ey match-ey lampshades. Look for complements, not duplicates. But don’t go overboard. The Friends-era mismatched dining room chairs and purple kitchen have given way to sophisticated pairings of wood and glass and calmer colors throughout your home.

Bathrooms 101

The pink clamshell shaped sink, with matching wall sconces in the bathroom, has got to go. Same holds for the three-sided, enclosed-top bath and shower combos. Choose an elegant, freestanding tub with an oversized showerhead. Spend money on a fabulous, not plastic, shower drape. If you can afford it, put in a glass walk-in shower, with multi-level showerheads. Here’s also where you get to the tile stores. Choose something in a glass tile or maybe polished porcelain. Either tile choice is soothing and will create a spa-like retreat from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home.

Porcelain Tiles in the Bathroom

To Wallpaper or not to Wallpaper

If you have wallpaper and (worse) trim on top of it from the seventies, tear it down. Really. Still, this call is a tough one. Although you can forego (and please do, for all our sakes) the six-inch wallpaper trim, wallpaper is coming back in some really fierce patterns, colors, and textures. For the most part, though, the new papers appear on accent walls, not as paint substitutes. So the advice here might be out with the old and in with the carefully considered new.

Whatever your design plans, be sure to run your ideas by a professional. Experts know their stuff and can help you avoid costly design mistakes while choosing something that will make a statement about your personal style and taste.

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