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We Got Some Ink: International Herald Tribune & New York Times

Ask the Decorator and I were written about in an article yesterday that appeared in the International Herald Tribune. The article, How-to video: From Jane Fonda to the Net, was about the rise of How-to videos online. Thanks so much Miguel and the International Herald Tribune!

UPDATE: The article also appeared in the New York Times today: Making Money, the How-To Way

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Wednesday, Apr 23, 2008 in Ask the Decorator News.

Garden Inspiration

The big thing on Earth Day used to be planting a tree. Every year as a kid, I would be reminded to plant a tree, and on few years I actually did ... or thought about it.

While the idea is a good one, not everyone has a place to plant a tree. But almost everyone has a place for a garden - even if it is small. So this Earth Day consider planting a garden, whether it's a window box, container or traditional garden.

And to give you some inspiration, here is a list of the Most Beautiful Gardens in America and a list of the Most Beautiful Gardens in the World.

Happy planting. Now I've got to decide what I should plant ...

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Tuesday, Apr 22, 2008 in Decorating Inspiration.

Are Home Ratings Helpful?

I had a viewer write in the other day and tell me his story about having his home rated. He uploaded a picture of his family room to a Web site to see if the room would get the coveted five stars or thumbs up or whatever the standard was. Instead of getting constructive criticism, he was blasted for being plain and told to change what was in his room.

So he did. And then he wrote to me a little later because he wasn't sure if he liked the changes.

This happens quite often with decorating. We make decisions about color and fabric that we like. Then we ask our friends and family what they think, and trouble ensues. It's not their style. The fabric is too bright. Did you really buy that sofa? And now that home rating Web sites, such as Rate My Space on, have sprung up, the problem has gotten even bigger because there are more people we can easily reach who will hopefully give us approval.

But is approval really what we need? As far as I know, that person from Chicago and the other from Sacramento don't live in your home. So why does their opinion matter. It's you that you have to please. It's those who actually use the room that should like it - not the millions of people using a ratings Web site. And sure, the chance at a perfect 5 star review might be a tempting reward after the hard work of decorating. But in the end, the best reward is you liking the room. You walking in and loving what you see. And you seeing the people in your home love it as much as you do.

So go and pick what you like, and forget about everyone else. For all you know, you might hate their homes if you had the chance to peak in.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Monday, Apr 21, 2008 in Musings.

Why Do You Decorate?

It's a question we rarely ask, but should.

Knowing why we decorate will make us better at it. Decorating is like anything else in life. Understanding your motivation - your goals - will give you direction.

Instead of having to guess - why you like that color, which chair is best for your situation or how you should arrange your furniture - you will have a concrete reason serving as a guide for every decision you must make.

So here are some common reasons why we decorate. Have fun understanding your motivation, and I hope it helps you become a better decorator.

I decorate to create an environment that stimulates learning/ sharing/ love/ happiness.
I decorate to impress others.
I decorate to show off my accomplishments/ talents.
I decorate to prove to myself that I can accomplish something.
I decorate to express myself - my likes and dislikes, my emotional state, my loves.
I decorate to make my home more functional and easy to use.
I decorate to stimulate conversation.
I decorate to challenge myself.
I decorate to increase the value of my home.
I decorate because I think I'm supposed to.
I decorate because I like things that are pretty.
I decorate because it makes me happy.
I decorate because I want my children to grow up in a beautiful environment.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Friday, Apr 18, 2008 in Musings.

A Little Spring Inspiration

I went on a walk yesterday and was amazed by the vibrant, little flowers in bloom. It's so easy for the long winters to make you forget about the beauty of spring, and after being cold and gray for so long, I want to bottle up that color and life and bring it indoors.

And in case you feel the same way, here's a snapshot from my walk. The bright yellow, green and white would make for a beautiful, cheerful color scheme.

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Posted by Meghan Carter on Thursday, Apr 17, 2008 in Decorating Inspiration.




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