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Make a list, set budget before decorating home

But don't do more than one room at a time or buy too much furniture

Are you a list maker? Do you start your day with a list of 'to-do's'?

What if I give you a list of 'to-do's' and 'to-don'ts' for decorating?

— Do set a budget and be sure to include enough to do everything you want to do.

— Don't buy something just because it's on sale. What seems like a bargain at the store might become a white elephant at home.

— Don't do more than one room at a time. When you can't afford to do all your home at once (and who can?) then go slowly and make sure each room is done right.

— Do keep a scrapbook of ideas, colors, floor layouts and styles of furnishings you find attractive when you look through magazines. This can serve as an excellent guide when you start shopping.

— Don't buy fads unless you plan to redecorate every three years. And don't spend money on too much furniture. You want your home to look nice and complete but not overcrowded.

— Do buy fabrics and wallcoverings that are practical for the rooms you use most. Remember the children and the pets when considering what you will use.

— Don't use too many similar textures in the same room because they will cancel each other out and the effect will be either too busy or too bland.

— Do paint the walls (if they haven't already been painted) if you're planning on wallpapering in the future. Use an oil-based paint so the walls will be pre-sealed for wallpaper later. This step now will save lots of time and money later.

— Don't paint the walls and baseboard different colors if the room is small. That will tend to cut up the room, making it seem even smaller.

— Do pick wallpaper patterns that are proportionately sized for the room. A big repeat in a small bath, for instance, will be lost due to all the cutting around cabinets, etc.

— Don't just buy furniture and accessories off a showroom floor. Make furniture templates and arrange them around the room so you can see how the pieces might fit in before you actually purchase them.

— Do make a plan. If you have a plan, you know where you're going and how you're going to get there. If you don't, you might wander aimlessly and only succeed in going around in circles and making yourself crazy.

Always make a list. It works.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, is president of Rosemary Sadez Friedmann Inc. in Naples, Fla.