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Pieces with air underneath are smart buys, too, because that open area is potential storage space, she said. Put an attractive basket under an end table, for example, and you have a place to keep magazines, electronic gadgets or anything else you need to store.

Don’t be deterred by out-of-date styling or an unattractive finish. “You put some white paint on it, and suddenly it looks fabulous,” she said.

But do look for matching pairs, she advised. Ward is a proponent of what she jokingly calls the Imelda Marcos rule, named for the former Philippine first lady and infamous shoe hoarder: You can never have too many pairs.

Pairs, she said, give balance to even the most awkwardly laid out room and satisfy our innate need for symmetry. So by using pairs of chairs, end tables, pillows, lamps and other items, we can make our rooms more pleasing to the eye and comfortable to be in.

And that’s what decorating should be all about.

©2014 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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