February 25, 2006
BY FRANCES INGRAHAM HEINS
Albany Times Union
Do-it-yourself decorators were once models of stamina. They’d trek from store to store choosing paint and sit for hours thumbing through thick binders of wallpaper and fabric. They measured walls, assembled furniture-sized pieces of paper to move around the room and hauled samples to and from stores.
Although the best way to get a sense of how a room will look after a re-do is to see the actual color and feel the different textures, the Internet has made it much easier to narrow the field of choices from unfathomable to just a few.
Here’s a list of Web sites we found to be particularly helpful for people trying their hand at decorating. Some offer advice while others offer online services such as room planning. In addition to these, check Web sites for fabric, wallpaper, paint and furniture manufacturers.
• All Your Rooms is an online magazine produced by Georgia-Pacific, makers of such paper goods as Brawny towels, Angel Soft bathroom tissue and Dixie cups. Between the smattering of ads and coupons for G-P products, the site is loaded with decorating tips, divided by room. www.allyourrooms. com
• Do It Yourself.com offers advice on when and how to hire a designer, how-to projects, moderated forums, Q&As, tips and tricks, annual design trends and an online home center store where you’ll find everything from air filters to washing machine parts. Time magazine has named this site as "One of the Top 50 Sites in the World," plus it is repeatedly honored among the Best on the Web independent home improvement/home repair sites. www.doityourself .com.
• Home & Family Network.com has decorating ideas, projects, lessons, a glossary, bookstore, and information based on the Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Gallery. www.homeand familynetwork.com.
• Interiordec.about.com is, according to Nielsen NetRatings, a top 10 Web property guide, used by one out of every five people on the Internet. About.com is owned by The New York Times Company and covers more than 500 interior decorating areas. www. interiordec.about.com.
• Rental Decorating Digest: Rental Living with Style is full of interior decorating ideas for your apartment, home, studio or dorm room, including organizing a room, tips, columns, budget decorating, style guides, wall decorating ideas, window treatments and gardening for renters. www.rental decorating.com.
• Decorating Studio answers just about any question you may have on decorating and trends with lots of how to advice and sources. www. decoratingstudio.com.
• Plan3D is online home design software where you can plan your landscape, remodel a room or decorate one room at a time and furnish it. You can also plan your whole house from cellar to attic in a three-dimensional schematic with shadows, textures of materials and blueprints complete with dimensions. The cost is $2.95 a month when you purchase a full-year subscription or $14.95 for one month. www.Plan3d.com.
• Feng Shui Crazy provides basics about the discipline, tips, advice from feng shui experts and authors. It’s an interesting site to view if you don’t go blind from the annoying flashing giveaway ad in the right hand rail. www.fengshuicrazy .com/interior-design- tips.php.
• Home Dec In-A-Sec provides a way to order window treatments (they’ll make the curtains for you) and sewing patterns from the McCall (Butterick and Vogue) Pattern Company, for people with little or no sewing ability and sewing tips. Swatches, patterns, trims and fabrics can be found at www.homedecinasec.com and www.McCall.com.