picture-1 Decorating your walls can be a way to express your personality, showcase favorite items and bring life into your home. Think outside the box: Why settle for just hanging a few pictures on the wall when you can do so much more? The first thing you need is a plan.

. Decode your decorating style

. If you really don't know how you want to decorate your walls, pick up some home decorating magazines. You can get them on the cheap at garage sales and secondhand bookstores. Go through them quickly, ripping out the pages that speak to you. When you're finished, look through the pages you picked carefully and notice the patterns. Are you drawn to certain colors, styles, such as country or contemporary, or do you have an eclectic style where you just like a variety of looks? Also, check out the lineup on HGTV and other decorating shows. Take note of what appeals to you, and what would look good in your home.

. Express yourself

. If you have a hobby or passion, those interests may provide a natural pattern for planning your home interior wall design. Sports fans can mount their team's pendants, posters, even team shirts, and liberally indulge in their team's colors. Photographers should definitely use their work to decorate their homes by framing and arranging their best works. Foodies might use menus from their favorite restaurants to decorate their walls, and film buffs' walls could feature movie posters alongside a group of ticket stubs arranged in an interesting display. Photos of family and friends, framed individually or in a collage, make wonderful wall displays.

. Go shopping

. Start shopping at home. What items do you have that you want to display? Gather them up, then see what you'll need to buy to pull it all together: frames, shelves, an extra piece or two. Decide what type of shopping best suits your budget. Secondhand shops and garage sales offer many surprisingly good quality decorating elements, so why not start there? Also pick up whatever you'll need to hang things up: hammer,nails, picture hangers, and picture hooks, screws and wire for heavier items.

. Put it together

. When you've decided how you want to decorate your wall and you have all the items ready to go, draw a plan on a piece of paper first. The usual rule is to hang an odd number of items and not to hang them all in a straight line. Then go ahead, decorate your wall, then relax and enjoy the results.

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit www.manobluedesign.com or email marie@manobludesign.com

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