Squeeze More Space From Your Home  
by Barbara Jennings
Celebrating our roots is something most Americans enjoy doing. We take pride in our ethnic heritage. But we often neglect to bring the love of our upbringing into the decorating motif of our homes. Heritage decorating, sometimes also called ethnic decorating, is important because we shouldn't want to separate ourselves from our roots. It's part of our personal culture and upbringing. It's been already woven into our personality and character.

Having grown up in Japan (my parents were missionaries), I have always been drawn to the Asian motif - not the more ornate look often found in Chinese styles - but the simple, clean lines of Japanese furniture. While I'm not presently decorating with any blue hues, I still love the Japanese blue and white pottery and dishes. It just reminds me so much of my childhood. It is still as fashionable today as it was decades ago.

If you need some help in identifying your heritage and the styles that are prevalent where you grew up (or where your spouse grew up), visit your local library and check out some books on that part of the globe. Look at paintings, textures and fabrics from that country or area. Once you have a good solid feeling of the style you want to emanate, start looking for pieces to gradually add to your home to bring some of that influence back into your life. Here are some tips.

  • African - Many African styles and shapes of today are clean and pure. Consider tribal benches, curved seating, tables and ornaments carved from a single piece of wood. Look for rich textures and patterns in the fabrics from African countries. Their beadwork is usually very detailed. Masks are a must, along with plenty of baskets, plants and rough hewn wooden accessories.

  • Asian - I love to go to Los Angeles to the Chinatown district and browse the stores. While it is difficult to differentiate between the furnishinging from different Asian countries, such as China and Japan, it really doesn't matter. Just look for pieces that appeal to you and that fit within your budget. Typical furniture selections generally come in a black laquer finish or a reddish/black or reddish/brown finish. These pieces blend into most decor whether it is traditional or modern. Just remember, don't overdo it. Asian design is generally more sparse and simple.

  • Italian - Italian design generally celebrates the diversity and craftsmanship of it's various regions, with a strong emphasis on fabulous food. Consider getting some Venetian glass chandeliers. Look at the colorful pottery, their woven textiles, their modern furniture. These are excellent ways to bring a little Italy into your home.

  • Swedish - Well, what can I say? Visit IKEA. The Scandinavian style is dramatically set by light wood finishes. The style is definitely simple, almost plain. Red, white and blue are the favorite colors, often incorporating brillian florals into the look. You'll find tons of ideas and storage options to give your home that European look that is high tech and modern.

Whether your motif is straight out of your own upbringing, your spouse's, or just a style you happen to love, you can find fabulous books that highlight the people, the culture and the style of any country on the globe, practically. Be creative. You don't have to go all out for the style. Just bring a little of it into your room for a taste of it. The eclectic room is far more interesting with you can see and feel twinges of a particular locale added to the mix. This is also a great way to incorporate all of those old pieces that you've inherited from Grandma's estate that you don't know what to do with yet. Have fun and take chances with your decorating. Let it really reflect you.

About the Author Barbara Jennings is a well known author and interior decorator in Southern California. She is also a published artist. She teaches rearrangement design and how to do it as a home based business. Visit her website at Decorate-Redecorate.Com. Used by permission.

More Decorating Articles   by Barbara Jennings
Tips to Change Your Decorating by the Season

More Decorating Tips to Pull Your House Together

How to Get That Warm Feeling in Your Home

Edible Table Decorations

Make Your Heritage Your Motif

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