Designer advocates using personal style

Sunday, June 2, 2002

Television decorating guru Lynette Jennings is a strong advocate of personal style. From her program on the Discovery Channel, "Lynette Jennings Design," to her own diverse two homes, she lives it.

"Design is not absolute. Its beauty is in the eye of the beholder," she says. "We need to own up to who we are and what we like and then have the courage to live the way we want, with what we want. Now that's design. Taste is personal. Period."

With direct encouragement, Jennings tells homeowners to shed perceived "shoulds" and "musts" around them. "It's about saying no to stuff you don't like."

Jennings suggests that families take a good look at their space. If time is spent mostly with the kids, then why do so many family rooms wind up in the basement with no view or natural light? Do you "save" the living room for guests? Realistically, just how often do guests come to see it?

"It's time to make homes conform to your needs. The American house plan hasn't kept up with our varying cultural lifestyles," she says.

It's all about freedom, Jennings explains. It's time to get rid of the so-called rules that guide home decorating. Kitchens don't have to be yellow, a 1940s throwback. Little girls' rooms don't have to be pink. And if you want a pool table in the middle of the living room, go for it.

Non-rule ideas from Lynette Jennings:

There are no right and wrong answers. Color is simply personal.

Decorating with color means wearing your taste on your sleeve.

Show emotion. It's better to have a gorgeous, comfortable room full of colorful personality than a white box.

Define a color with a white trim. White trim can brighten or sharpen a color.

Paint adjacent rooms the same color, and walls seem to disappear, enhancing visual flow from one space to another to create spaciousness.

If you love beige, that's fine. Just deepen the color on your walls for drama.

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