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Tips on Home Decorating


The contemporary style tends to reflect current furnishing trends. Since trends are constantly changing, creating a look through your wall decor and accessories is the most cost effective. This way you can update the room by changing out a few key pieces as color palettes and accent looks evolve. If your sofa and chairs are in solid colors and your tables reflect simple lines that do not identify a specific period, it will be easy to design a contemporary room. Check your decorating magazines for the latest color schemes. Are any of the colors currently represented in your upholstery? If not, do the colors you would like to incorporate complement your upholstery? Fabrics with a subtle pattern, or no pattern at all, in neutral colors such as beige, cream, taupe, gray, brown and black can be paired with a variety of accent colors to add impact and personality to the room. The color palette you choose to emphasize can then be tied together with your wall decor, throw pillows, lampshades, window dressings, glasswork and small collectible items.

Contemporary art tends to makes a strong statement but still allows the designer many opportunities to create either a bold or subdued color scheme. Contemporary subject matter can range from stylized landscapes to architectural motifs -- from ethnic art (Native American, African-American and Latin American) to surrealism. One popular contemporary look is achieved with a basic black and white color scheme that can be set off nicely by black and white photography.

Some of the popular contemporary looks in imagery can be found in the work of artists such as Thomas McKnight, Michael Parkes, and Russell Erickson. For the black and white scheme, a dramatic effect can be achieved through the use of classic nature shots from photographers such as Ansel Adams.

The work of Thomas McKnight brings a strong contemporary feel to the traditional subject matter of landscapes. Many of his images are views of room interiors looking out onto beautiful scenes such as the New York skyline, the coast of Greece, or a Caribbean resort.

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His palettes are vibrant, combining a profusion of colors in each piece. Since many of the scenes include water, shades of blue tend to be the color that tie many of the images together. An example of McKnight's work is "Mykonos Panorama".

For those people that are drawn to the unusual or whimsical, Michael Parkes may be the perfect artist to make your statement. His work takes you to a surrealistic dream state where the beautiful is mixed with the bizarre. His color palettes range mostly from gray undertoned shades of blue mixed with soft creamy yellow to darker images of gold, black and brown. The dramatic subject matter will draw the viewer's eye and make your wall decor a perfect conversation piece.

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Some of Parkes' best selling images are "Gargoyles", "Deva" and "Ribbon Dancer." These prints all incorporate the gray blues and soft creamy yellows and golds into the palette. By combining both warm and cool colors together, the images can work with a variety of mats and frames.

Another variation on the contemporary landscape theme is the work of artist Russell Erickson. His images combine an impressionistic style with an updated contemporary feel. The color palette of two of his popular images, "Walk In the Park" and "Spring Awakening," have a muted misty look in deep teal, rose and cream.

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In the last five years, there has been a significant increase in the availability of African-American Art images in print form. The subject matter, color palettes, and painting styles reflect a variety of moods and lifestyles, offering a wide selection for the consumer to choose from. Some examples of this variety are images such as "Family Reunion" by Ruth Russell Williams, "The Beauty of Color" by Tim Ashkar, "Night Life Studio" by Ernest Watson and "Growing Passions" by Lauri Cooper.

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In the area of Latin-American art, the works of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are now finding popularity in the mainstream as well as enjoying cult status. Rich color schemes depicting their own lives and the lives of the Mexican people is the main focus of these artists' works. Both Rivera and Kahlo used portraiture in their work to illustrate their artistic expressions as well as their personal and political views.

Some of the best selling images are "Peasants," "Nude with Calla Lilies" and "Baile en Tehuantepec" by Diego Rivera and "Self Portrait with Monkeys" by Frida Kahlo.

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If your taste leans toward classic lines and subdued color combinations, the architectural motifs may be to your liking. There are many variations in style and theme for prints classified as "architectural". One of the most popular looks incorporates various elements found in actual architecture, such as Greek or Roman columns, capitals, archways and balustrades.

Yet another type of architectural art is found in images that are painted by current artists who have been inspired by the classical line and form. These images can range from an impressionistic style such as "Floating Gardens" by Arnold Iger, to the abstract, such as "Fresco Nuevo" by Laurie Fields, to such images as the dreamlike "Architectural Fantasy," by Carl Laubin

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Romantic ruins and lost cities have long been a popular theme for artists. "Flora Exotica" by Hampton Hall is an excellent example.

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For those who wish to create the drama of a black and white motif, black and white photography can add the perfect touch. Images such as Oak Tree, American Wilderness and Redwoods, by photographer Ansel Adams, make a powerful statement while keeping with the continutity of the theme. Small black and white family photos can also be framed and hung in groupings to accompany the larger images and add to the look. Accent colors can be used in the black and white scheme, to add further impact to the look. A splash of red in the fabric of your throw pillows, the cobalt blue vase that was passed down from mother to daughter, these are the personal touches that make the look of the room unique to you.

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