Sunday, 27 January 2013

Are You Yellow?

When decorating a room, one of the many decisions that must be made is color. Color must be selected for the walls, furniture, accessories, window treatments, and etc. When trying to create a beautiful, put together space, color can’t simply be selected by throwing a dart at a bunch of paint samples. Various colors must be evaluated for their strengths and weakness.

One color that often seems to be described as “too” something is yellow. People will say it’s too cheerful, too bright, too powerful, too childish, too modern, too old fashioned, too country, too bold, and on and on. It’s a color that just doesn't seem to fit in. However, when used correctly, yellow can be (to quote Goldilocks) just right.

The first step to putting the color yellow to good use is understanding that there are many different shades of yellow and each has its own personality. Cream, butter, lemon, dandelion fuzz, and neon are all different shades of yellow and that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Keep this in mind about yellows:

   Shades with reddish undertones tend to be warm and welcoming
   In general, the color is uplifting and cheery
   Bright shades can bring light to otherwise dull or dark spaces
   Softer shades (think along the lines of cream) can be soothing without being depressing

 When trying to pick a shade of yellow, consider:

   The size of the space
   How much light the space gets

Small rooms with little natural light can handle pops of bold, bright shades. However, rooms with large windows (especially facing lots of greenery) or large amounts of light should avoid the more dramatic shades because this color strongly reflects light and can quickly take on a garish, jarring appearance.

If yellow is going to be used as the paint color for a room, the most important thing to remember is to test the color out before committing to it. Paint small swatches on the walls and live with the color for at least 48 hours before making a final decision. Evaluate how the color looks at different times of the day in different lights.

 If the selected yellow is a “fun” shade, remember that having all the walls the same bright or for lack of a better word, harsh color can fatigue the eyes and lead to headaches or irritability so break things up. Use the color to create an accent wall. Add wainscoting or a chair rail to pull in a different color. If all the walls are yellow, try layering with other colors to relieve the monotony. For instance, try bringing a lot of a more neutral color into the space in the window treatments, furniture, decorations, and etc.

For those that don’t want to or can’t paint, yellow can still be used. Remember that there are lots of color decisions to be made when decorating. Shades of yellow can be incorporated in the furniture; slipcovers aren't just for grandma’s couch anymore so go out and buy a sunshine yellow one for a burst of color in the room. Yellow can also be incorporated in accessories such as artwork. Use yellow patterned throw pillows, golden picture frames, or a soft hay colored area rug.

To sum it up:

    There are plenty of opportunities to use yellow in a room from the walls to the rug.
 Look at all the different shades of yellow available.
• When painting, test the shade before committing to it.
   Use yellow moderately.
   When using yellow, layer with other colors to avoid overdoing it.

When trying to decide on a color to use, don’t rule out yellow because it’s “too” something. Yellow can be the perfect touch to a space. Its a color that feels social and bright. Don’t be yellow; use yellow.

Article contributed by Alex on behalf of Stone Statements - Cincinnati’s granite countertop provider. Alex is an HGTV addict who loves exploring new ways to bring color and style to  a space. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

5 Tips to get the Best Sleep Ever!

Choose the right mattress

Because mattresses come in all shapes and sizes, make sure you test out whether you prefer a soft or sturdy bed. Memory foam mattresses react to body heat and mould to your shape which eliminates pressure points and guarantees comfort. Don’t forget to get a neck and head-supporting pillow too.

All mattresses from 1907 Beds are made by expert Northumbrian craftsmen who take pride in what they do. All materials are locally sourced so you can be rest-assured that your bed, mattress or ottoman has started its long life in the UK. 

Memory foam mattresses are especially useful if you suffer from allergies. They are made from synthetic materials and conform to the shape of your body to ensure you are comfortable yet supported. However, whether you choose a natural or memory foam mattress is down to personal preference.

Clear your bedroom

A cluttered bedroom is harder to relax in; “out of sight out of mind”. Try to make sure all clothes are put away, your dressing table is organised and your floor space is as clear as possible so your bedroom becomes a haven for rest and relaxation.

Also, try to set a regular bedtime so your body gets into a habit and knows when to switch off. It’s ok to have a late night every so often but regularity aids your body clock and ensures you get to sleep quicker.

If you’re a little short on space, consider an ottoman bedstead as they make a great storage device. Alternatively, you can get under-bed rolling draws to keep your clothes clear from view and your bedroom tidy.

Have a cuppa

English tea has been globally recognized as a sleep aid for thousands of years. If you suffer from insomnia or restlessness, try having a mug of Chamomile or Valerian tea around an hour before bedtime instead of resorting to medicines.

Drinking any tea makes you take time out from your work and stresses of the day and is a great way to prepare the mind for rest.

Unwind in the bath

When running your next bath, add a few drops of aromatherapy oils to the water for bonus therapeutic benefits. If you have trouble sleeping due to a cold add eucalyptus oils to relieve pressure on your sinuses.

Herbal baths reduce tension and promote circulation; essential for a healthy 8 hours. Various aroma blends are available nationwide so you are sure to find one to your taste.

Keep cool

The most sleep-provoking temperature is known to be 18°C so make sure you purchase a fan for those summer months in the UK.

If a noisy fan is an issue then you can always place the fan further from your head (on a dresser for example). This aids room ventilation which helps you drift off.

If you can’t find a fan or if the one you have is too noisy simply crack open a window. Make sure you roll your blinds down to stop sunlight giving you an early wake-up call.

5 Ways to Liven Up the Look of Your Backyard

Redecorating or remodeling your living room, bedroom, or bath? There are hundreds of guides out there. Want to give the front yard some love? Again, lots of guides for that improvement since it impacts curb appeal. People want to make sure it always looks good. But try to find ideas to liven up the back of the house and many experts go strangely quiet. What's a person to do if they're trying to improve the outside area where the family actually wants to hang out?

Luckily, we came up with a few great ways for you to turn your backyard into that oasis that you've always dreamed of. Read on for five ways to get a fantastic-looking backyard without emptying your savings account.

Use the environment.  

No, this doesn't mean that you should have your guests sitting on large stones, but some backyards are more than willing to help you dress them up. For example, instead of building a covered porch or out-building, consider tying an attractive sheet or drapes between trees to serve as a roof and creating a "room" beneath it with a few select pieces of outdoor furniture.

Never underestimate the power of paint.

Maybe you really want a good-looking outdoor dining set but don't have the budget to pay for it. One fun DIY option is to look for cheap (and probably slightly battered) chairs and a table at garage sales, and then spruce them up with a new paint job. This way, you can choose whether you want them to blend in with the surroundings or make a statement with bold, funky colors.

Add some natural "wall" art.

Indoors, we make our wall space more interesting by hanging pictures and paintings, so who's to say we can't do the same thing well, something similar, anyway when we're outdoors? People with fences surrounding their yard can add some life and color to this "wall" by hanging brightly-colored potted flowers in an artistic arrangement. Take the color up a notch by choosing planters in a rainbow of hues or painting them yourself as a weekend project.

Trashy seating.

For cheap and easy last-minute party seating, you can use sturdy plastic storage containers and even old (small) garbage cans by flipping them over and covering them with small blankets. Choose interesting fabrics and bright colors. Your guests will probably think they were using some kind of hip new outdoor seating that you paid way too much for.

Let there be kitsch!

When decorating the outdoors, it's okay to go big and bold. That means you can feel secure in your decision to buy that cheap, gaudy chandelier and hang it from a tree, or even go with a "man-cave" theme and finally put up that fluorescent beer sign you've been hiding since college. You have to be a little larger than life if you want to stand out against the backdrop of nature all around you, so bring on the garden gnomes and knick-knacks you wouldn't be caught dead putting up inside your actual house

Generally speaking, outdoor design should be about adding color, life, and functionality. You want this to be a space that feels a little bit like a vacation from everyday life while still being close enough to normalcy that home is just a few steps away.

About  the Author: Stephanie writes about landscaping and exterior design. She reviews sites like to help people get ideas for their yards. When she's not working she catches butterflies with her 2 daughters. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Matching Curtains with Décor in Seasonal Makeovers Spells Harmony

Seasonal changes are clarion calls for a change of décor. Summer gave way to autumn and autumn to winter. Time for interior decorators to give residences their seasonal makeovers within suitable themes and homemakers to change drapes and upholstery.

Usually in the summer, things are much simpler with décor or specifically window treatments. In the fall, more ornate accessories and adornments like fringing, tassels, cording and tiebacks are highlighted. In winter, there is more fabric bead-work and trim. The view from the window is framed by drapery panels which also insulate from cold temperatures outside.

Seasonal makeovers and window treatments

Family Room with Curtains

There are a number of questions to be asked when seasonal makeovers guided by themes impact window treatments.
  • Sheer curtains or venetian blinds?
  • Side panels or heavy drapes on a curtain rod in gleaming ivory white?
  • Fabrics with less emphasis on pattern or more on texture?
  • Heavy luxurious fabrics like washed velvet and raw silk or lighter ones like linen?
  • Autumn shades such as olive, rust, terracotta, latte, sage and kiwi or neutral ones like white and ivory?
To put it simply, each season requires its particular window treatment – in design, fabric or color and once thematic, it will match the décor. Such a matching harmony can raise the look’s classic appeal.

Personal fabric selection

How to make curtains match general décor? Actually, this question can be turned around to ask: How to make living space décor match curtains? The answer contains a few revealing facts which are surprisingly relatively unknown. The magic lies in selecting your own fabric rather than buying drapery not only for covering a chair but also as sofa covers and co-coordinating cushions. The same material can then be used for curtains for a perfect match!

The popular assumption is that customized window treatment is more expensive. Not necessarily so. Choosing fabric yourself rather than buying readymade drapery is less expensive. However, it will have to be supported by judicious choice of fabric. For instance, exotic fabrics and their elaborate treatments can be very expensive. A lot also depends upon keen shopping sense and the retail outlet where the shopping is done.

Besides, it can boost savings as it helps avoid costly mistakes. Moreover, customized draperies also ensure that lining co-ordinates in different rooms of the house and that of the outside present a continuity of look.

hotel room

Aside from matching living space décor with curtains, through shades, pattern and design, one must always keep in mind the seasonal décor theme. This will enable one to make the right selection of fabric even in relation to its texture and feel. So, summer would require lighter material such as cotton or linen while winter would need heavier material like raw silk or washed velvet.

Curtain calls

Eventually, it is the window that is the essential part of the treatment. Drapes can make a window seem larger or even de-emphasize it. For a larger window, run curtains on a curtain rod beyond the window and along the wall. For a smaller window, select a fabric that goes along with the wall shade. Curtains can even make a ceiling appear higher by mounting them on a curtain rod as near to it as possible.