Web can bring world's décor into your home

Sites offer furnishings and other items from all over the globe
2012-05-13T00:00:00Z Web can bring world's décor into your homeBy Marni Jameson By Marni Jameson Arizona Daily Star
May 13, 2012 12:00 am  • 

This summer will bring another staycation for me. No Italy or Istanbul. No Tibet or Taiwan. No Egypt or England. If I want an escape, I'll have to rely on my fantasies - and the World Wide Web.

Thanks to the Internet's global reach, I can bring these places home without going anywhere.

On a recent Web adventure, I stumbled on theFoundary.com and Fab.com, free, members-only flash site that offers up to 70 percent off home furnishings from around the world for very limited times, sometimes only 72 hours, or while supplies last.

Combine these sites with local shopping and you can have home décor from all over the world.

I asked Vallerie Drorbaugh, who as the Foundary's style manager mixes styles for a living, for the secret to making your home look well-traveled even if you're not.

"Absolutely mix styles, but carefully. Select few items. Keep them large. Edit them well," she advised. "Your home shouldn't look as if you went out one day and bought a bunch of furniture to match. It should reflect you - your heritage, your experiences, the places you've been." And perhaps even the places you wish you could visit, and maybe will. Here's how, says Drorbaugh:

Inject ethnic touches. Do this by incorporating one piece of furniture from another country, print fabrics that betray their heritage, wall color in a spicy hue that matches the region's food: Think Indian curry, Spanish lime or Mexican chili powder. Hanging a framed vintage map of an exotic land also adds a worldly touch.

Hold it together. The secret to pulling off disparate styles is to have a unifying element. A common color throughout your home, common flooring or consistent window treatments will give your home a sure hand and serve as a neutral backdrop on which you can layer eclectic furnishings. Drorbaugh clips sheer white cotton gauze panels over all her windows. They go with everything, can be dressed up or down and unify her home.

Add a common thread. In addition to a shared neutral background, it helps if foreign accessories have a color, texture or motif in common. Consider collecting mirrors from around the world, or folk art, rugs and pottery from different countries that all incorporate brick red.

To get that global feeling, shop for imports online and at flea markets. Don't overlook mass-produced domestic reproductions of pieces inspired by other countries, she said. "You can get the look, without the price tag."

Try the unexpected. Drorbaugh used an Indian sari as a shower curtain. Moroccan wedding blankets (her latest weakness) make great bed covers but can also be used as throws or wall hangings.

Hot right now. The Moroccan look has been popular, she says, "because it's masculine and feminine, romantic without being frilly." Coming up on its heels is Africa. Orange is the hot color now, but blue and green are coming on strong, too. She's also noticing that homes are loosening up. "We're a little less spare and stripped down than we were. The look is more relaxed and lived-in. We're seeing more human elements in homes maybe because we're spending more time there."

Because we're not on vacation.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of "House of Havoc" and "The House Always Wins" (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com

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