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Spruce Up for Spring Time for back to basics.

Spring is a great time to start new decorating projects. After a long winter, it is especially appealing to think about ways to spruce up home sweet home. Here are some things to think about when selecting coverings for windows and floors.

Windows: Do you need privacy or just a decorative treatment? If privacy is a concern, you can choose drapes that draw closed or decorative fabric shades. Roman shades have straight-across folds of fabric for a tailored look. Or, for a lighter touch, choose balloon shades with soft poufs of fabric. Any of these options can be lined with blackout fabric for total light control.

Wood blinds or plantation shutters are popular solutions that offer both style and privacy. Check the depth of your windows since these blinds are thick and usually have to protrude slightly.

If you don't need privacy, the sky is the limit! Go for contemporary fabric swirled around a rod, or traditional swags and jabots (draped fabric at the top with "tails" on either side). Valances are another good choice when you want to keep your view unobstructed. A valance is essentially a treatment that covers just the top of the window, and today, they are available in many styles. You can even hide blinds underneath them, to be pulled down when needed.

Custom or ready-made? Without a doubt, custom window treatments provide the most flexibility and are usually the most costly. The upside is you get to pick the fabric, size and style. There are some wonderful in-stock window treatments available, but you will have limited styles and sizes to choose from. Check your local fabric stores for prices and labor charges on custom work to compare with what your area retailers can offer.

Floors: The type of flooring you choose will set the tone for your home. Choosing what to cover your floors with is one of the most important decisions you will have to make regarding your home. When used throughout a house, wall-to-wall carpet seems to expand the space - the rooms appear to flow from one to another. Carpet can also unify the design of space and tie rooms together. Area rugs call attention to their definite size, and therefore, the size of the room. For rooms that feel small, carpet is usually a better choice.

People generally choose carpet over hard surface flooring for a variety of reasons. It offers warmth, both real insulation against cold and also that psychological warm feeling. It is comfortable underfoot and acoustically quiet. You tend not to hear the echo of footsteps throughout the space when floors are carpeted. It is also safer than hard surfaces. One is less likely to slip and fall, and if falls do occur, the cushioning effect of carpet protects against serious injury.

Selecting a style of carpet can be a daunting task. There is a wide variety available today, from luxuriously smooth cut piles with a velvety texture to the opposite extreme. A very smooth surface will show traffic paths more than a rough surface one that has textured or curly yarns. Berber or loop styles have an altogether different surface and are also good for high traffic areas.

Think about the areas to be carpeted and how they function. First choose the style of carpet based on the kind of traffic and use the space will get. This will help you narrow your search for the best carpet for the room. Then you can focus on choosing a color or pattern. There are no right or wrong choices for carpet colors. If you have a color in mind or have always wanted a particular color on the floor, by all means go for it. Part of the fun of decorating comes from choosing new and different products to showcase in your home.

When purchasing any of these home basics, it pays to take your time. Take home samples of fabrics and carpets, and see how they look in a variety of lighting. Buy the best you can afford of these building-block items because they are not ones you will replace often. Get the basics right and the rest of the room will fall into place.

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