Try these (FREE!) decorating tips at home

In this week's Home Inspirations column I thought I would share a few of my favorite decorating tips! 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• August 27, 2011

When I speak to organizations throughout southwest Florida, I always offer some tips that my audience can actually go home that day and either try them out or include them in the decorating plan in their own homes. 

Try some of these ideas for making quick changes that may make you like your home a lot more! 

The best news: Many of them are absolutely free or will cost very little to implement. My top decorating trips that anyone can implement are listed below. Give them a try! 

• Keep your decorating plan simple and uncomplicated.

• Declutter. It makes all the difference: Start with the refrigerator magnets and work through old stacks of magazines. Then remove some furniture if your room seems too crowded.

• Color is a decorator's most valuable tool and it can be yours as well. Follow this color rule for distributing color and you can't go wrong: 20% walls, 30% furniture, 10% accessories.

 • When selecting paint colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow and I have never been sorry.  See below:

Mother nature's color palette at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.JPG

One of nature's color pallets photographed at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Living Room with Nature's colors.jpg

Nature's colors used in this Estero living room.

• Afraid of paint color? Select a neutral tone and add pops of color with accessories and fabric. 

• Accessories make a room. They are the icing on the cake. If the accessories are not right, nothing else matters. Your accessories should reflect your personal decorating style. Tip: When purchasing accessories think about quality over quantity. If you don't love the purchase, don't buy it. Be careful and don't over accessorize. I use Coco Chanel's rule: "When accessorizing always take off the last thing you put on." It works!

• Group collections together rather than throughout the house. 

• Frame photos in the same color and type of frame. The result: you will see smiling faces rather than a lot of different picture frames.

• Replace standard builder switch plates and door knobs.

• Establish the focal point in the room and develop your decorating scheme around it.

• Blend old with new. Use your vintage pieces as accents. With a little creativity, you can give an older piece a new life. 

• When hanging a chandelier (I encourage you to incorporate a chandelier into your decorating!), the bottom should hang 36 inches above the table.

 • Give a bathroom a spa makeover: replace mirror and shower head, add a curved shower rod and white shower curtain, splurge on fluffy white towels, add sea glass accents along with soft music and aromatherapy. Bliss! 

 • Before you head out the door to shop: Come up with a plan of action and establish a budget. This is what decorators and designers do and my advice: Don't leave the house without these two items!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit