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WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Are you the type of shopper who gobbles up the latest merchandise? Do you have a trendy-looking clock in every room? Coordinated throw pillows that change with the season? Are you a hip-aholic -- always after the newest, trendiest things for your home?

Here are a few tips to help you make the best of today's mass supply of merchandise.

Remember that many of the mass-produced items you come across are trendy and may look outdated one day.

If you want to treat yourself to some trendy items, that's fine, said local design professional Michael Starks.

"But don't spend a lot of the money on trendy items you may grow tired of and will probably eventually sell in a garage sale. Spend your money on the classics -- pieces you will love and want to live with forever," he said.

Do look for quality. Those Staffordshire-style dogs you see in a catalog may catch your eye, but unlike the real thing (and even some of the better fakes), the features may be a bit off.

Believe it, those canine's crooked painted-on eyes will soon get on your nerves.

Personalize what you own. Don't try to make your room look like a page from a store catalog.

Mix old with new. Family heirlooms with handcrafted treasures.

Remember, it's all in the mix.
-- Susan Martin

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