Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Designer Amy Dantré Wikman shares these tips for creating fresh, fun interiors.

Although Amy practices an "anything goes" approach to design,she offers these guidelines for infusing a home withpersonality.

Decide on a look. Start with photos of rooms or details youlike. For the home of Amy's friend Glenn Murer, the two set out tocreate an environment reminiscent of the old beach houses they grewup with.

Start with good bones. Keeping the walls, ceilings, andfloors simple and clean will allow you more freedom in choosingfurniture and accessories. Amy selected wide moldings, highceilings, and antique-pine floors as the backdrop for Glenn's retrolook.

Find things you love. When shopping, think about what fitsyour style, as opposed to what fits in a certain space. Amy saysshe does this with art, accessories, and even furniture, andworries about putting the puzzle pieces together later.

Pick a color scheme. If you decorate with items fromdifferent eras, make sure their tones work together. The pea greensand mustard yellows of the '70s may not match the vibrant colors ofthe '50s.

Adopt modern comfort. Where luxury and convenience count,buy new. For Glenn's home, Amy bought up-to-date appliances andfurniture that offered eclectic styling. She says, "While retro isgreat, modern-day comfort should come first."

Go for a few bold items. Put your money into some brightpieces. In Glenn's home, the neon lobster sign and the jukebox go along way to define style.

Honor your past. For personal touches, incorporate memoriesfrom your childhood. Maybe you played the Happy Days game, or read all the Nancy Drew books. You canfind the real things on eBay (where a search for "retro" brings upthousands of auctions), or seek out a modern re-creation.

Shop for authentic details. Flea markets, antiques shops,and junk shops offer inspiration and great finds from decades past.Amy incorporated old signs and accessories to put the finalflourishes on the retro feel.

Interior and architectural design byAmy Dantré Wikman, Wikman Design Group, Suwanee, Georgia;404/277-1551, www.wikmandesigngroup.com, or e-mailamywikman@mindspring.com.

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