Interior Design for Living: Making your home an extension of you

By SUSAN GILL SPELLMEYER

Q: I want my home to be beautiful from a decorating point of view, but it's important that it ends up looking like "me" and not as though it's out of some magazine. How can I accomplish both?

A: It's important for you to personalize your home, for that is what makes it unique. You don't have to sacrifice good design to accomplish that.

One of the first things I would caution you about is not to let yourself be influenced by fads in style and color. Fads are very fleeting. What is in today is out tomorrow. Remember the Mediterranean-Spanish phase from years ago when the only colors that seemed to exist were avocado and gold?

If you happen to truly like a certain style and color, by all means use it. But don't select it because it's in. Not only does it fail to reflect your personality, but it dates a house, and very few people plan on redecorat­ing every few years.

If you are attracted to a certain trend, create the flavor in your selection of accessories. They can always be changed if you tire of them. A lamp, a throw pillow, a vase or even a coffee table can be replaced in a few years without great loss.

Be certain to choose colors that you feel comfort­able with and flatter you. A room that expresses your personality should be decorated in colors that you like and are familiar with.

A good way to determine this is to look at your wardrobe and look for a color that seems to predomi­nate. Most people have a natural instinct as to what colors are flattering to them.

As you would select a dress in a becoming color, so should you select the colors for your room. This is an important basic step in making the room look like you.

You'll see the popular color trends on display in all the furniture stores. They may be beautiful, but may not be appropriate for you. If the colors don't suit you, the room will look as if it were clipped out of a magazine.

On the other extreme, if you like something, don't use it everywhere. It becomes boring by repetition, and the effect is ruined. If you like stripes, flowers, a certain color or anything, use it — but not every­where.

Your personality has many different and unique aspects. Your house should reflect that in the varied selections that you make.

Don't forget the fact that each room should flow smoothly from one to another, but they don't have to be the same. Selecting different patterns, treatments and colors makes your home far more interesting and more of a reflection of you.

Don't be afraid to use favorite photographs of family, friends, a scene you like or even a pet.

A vase that was your mother's, a quilt you made or even a picture drawn by your son in kindergarten can all be appropriate and charming if used properly. They add a warmth and uniqueness that is yours and yours alone. These are the touches that truly personalize any room.