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Favorite item of the week

Oversized mirrors in handsome frames are a favorite prop in furniture showrooms, but they can make a dramatic statement in homes as well. A large-scale mirror provides a focal point in a large room, tames a high ceiling or brightens a dark space by reflecting any light there is and bouncing it around.

The 55-by-89-inch La Scala mirror shown here from Thomasville Furniture illustrates just how striking an oversized mirror can be. Like many other oversized mirrors spotted in magazines and showrooms, the base of this one is engineered to rest on the floor so that the mirror leans against the wall, an interesting alternative to wall-mounted mirrors.

Either way, an oversized mirror for the right spot is a real find -- whether you buy one new or come across one at a flea market.

As Alexandra Stoddard writes in one of her decorating books: "The use of mirror as an architectural element in your house can profoundly alter the energy of a room."

Decorating tip

Running wallpaper up walls and across the ceiling is one way to create old-fashioned warmth and atmosphere in a room, especially one with interesting angles, recommends Better Homes & Gardens on its Web site.

Months of style

Hungry for some decorating ideas? The decorators at Decorating Den offer a different tip for each month of the year in its 2000 Dream Room Calendar.

Open to January: Custom-designed window treatments allow you the opportunity to unleash your artistic flair. The decorative style of a room is often set by the window treatment alone.

Flip to February: Coordinate three fabric patterns to give any room a decorator touch.

Come March: Update any room in three simple steps -- new furniture arrangement, simple window treatment and slipcovered seating.

And for April: Make a traditional room "pop" by introducing a surprise element such as a contemporary mirror.

Organize it

If it's organizing tips you're looking for, the creative crew at Jo-Ann etc stores offer some ideas:

Cover storage boxes with fabric that you love. Embellish with ribbons, cords, tassels or lace to suit your personality. Fill with photos, messages, mail or reminders.

Decorate clear, plastic storage boxes to match a theme in any room of the house. Stencil a pattern or let the kids paint their own designs on boxes to serve as storage bins for toys, hair accessories or any knickknack not in use.

A fabric-covered bulletin board can add organization and a creative touch to any kitchen, office or bedroom. Dress it up by crisscrossing ribbon diagonally over the board, securing with tacks where the ribbons intersect.

For more ideas, check out the "New Beginnings: Let's Get Organized" event from 1 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 9 at Jo-Ann etc stores in Amherst, Blasdell and Cheektowaga.

From the home front

"It's better to simplify than elaborate. Simplicity allows change and has a longer-lasting appeal to the eye."
Vincente Wolf, interior designer

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