Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Designing the Perfect Home Theater

The big movie houses are fighting a losing battle.  Every year they talk about losing money at the box office, they complain that people are going out to the movies less often than they used to, and their response to losing money is to raise the prices of their tickets and concessions.  The natural response of course is to make your movie night one you have at home.  The floors aren’t sticky, the snacks are cheaper, and any screaming baby or annoying cell phone noises are yours to deal with as you please.

With HD televisions, Blu-ray players, and surround sound systems widely available and at affordable prices, the tech is certainly there to create an amazing home theater experience.  Our focus here will be to look at the aesthetics of home theater design and offer design ideas that may help you design your ideal environment.

Here we have a wonderfully cluttered home theater.  This person takes a design approach akin to throwing wet pasta at a wall to see what sticks.  The presence of a dog adds a nice lived in touch and the nearby cola fridge can provide quick refreshment in a time of need.  The problems with this layout come from what is in proximity to the screen.  The bright color of the nearby fridge can be distracting to the eye and the media shelf also detracts from the viewing experience.  A high shelf that is occupied draws the eye away.

Consider this: in home design there are basically two approaches to a room, fashion or function.  If the function of your home theater is to comfortable sit and enjoy a movie then your focus should be on the screen and not drawn to other objects in the room.

This is an approach to an ideal home theater design.  The television is centered and is the obvious focus of the room.  There are two major design flaws in this.  The screen sits in an elevated position meaning that anybody seated is raising their head to watch whatever is on. If your goal is to simulate the experience of being forced to sit near the front row of the theater then this is easily accomplished by raising the height of the screen.  The second is the position of the seat on the right side of the image.  It isn’t facing the screen meaning that any person sitting there has to change their position to watch whatever is on.

Consider the dimensions of your room when you are designing a home theater.  You can take one of two approaches, design the room around your television or get a television that matches the room.  Sitting far away from a tiny screen means straining to see what’s going on while being too close can give your eyes screen overload.

Our next example is a stellar one indeed.  The aesthetic design is very pleasing.  This home theater uses the concept of stadium seating with ample spacing to allow for an incredibly comfortable seating arrangement. 

The darkened tones of the color scheme also reduce any reflective wash that occurs when watching a movie.  The seats in the front row even allow for one to take up a more relaxed approach in their movie viewing.  The size of the screen is adequate for the size of the room creating a comfortable viewing experience wherever you sit.

The only complaint to address would be the lights in the room.  Imagine staring at a screen for the two to three hours it takes to watch a movie and staring both at a screen and a bright light placed adjacent to it.  The corner of your eye is going to have flash burn after that long.  Dimmer switches are great for the lights in a home theater  allowing you to adjust and still get that theater feel.

The placement of lighting is important in a home theater much like it is in any other room.  Your movie screen is the focus of your room and ideally you don’t want any other light source overwhelming it.  Recessed ceiling lighting or track lighting is a great choice for lighting a home theater.  The light sources are well above eye-level and line of sight or can be directed to where they need to be.

This is closely approaching an ideal aesthetic design for a home theater.  Recessed ceiling lights, a dark room palette, a sizeable screen, stadium seating, and double seats in the middle of each row for one that enjoys watching movies on their sides.  The position of a lighting rig over the screen may be a bit of a distraction to the viewing experience but a simple dimmer switch can help you adjust the lights to an ideal setting.

The perfect home theater is actually quite subjective.  It really is up to you as a person how you design a room.  Consider the aesthetics of a home theater and remember that it ideally should be a room that accents the function over fashion.  Make it truly yours and you’ll find yourself having trouble remembering why you ever left your house to go to the cinemas.

Ross Donald is a freelance writer and interior design specialist with the light fixtures provider LightingSale.com.  Ross loves working with clients to design their ideal setting and enjoys the smiles on peoples’ faces when they can fully relax in their own homes.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

3 Laundering Techniques for Luxury Linens

Many times luxury linens require special care when it comes time to laundering. You want to preserve the materials that are often more plush or dense and find out which fabrics will shrink if dried. In this article we will discuss 3 laundering techniques for luxury linens and how to leave your laundry smelling fresh and crisp.

1. Dry Cleaning

Most sheets do not have to be dry cleaned. The only time you may consider dry cleaning sheets is when they have specialized stitching such as embroidery or custom designs that you do not want fading in a regular washing machine and dryer. Dry cleaning is the perfect solution for linen items such as a comforter, duvet cover or anything that is filled with down. You will want to make sure that special instructions are given to the dry cleaners when it comes to any heat being applied to your linens. The last thing you need is for your items to come back scorched,changed in color or with a loss of ply due to improper care.

2. Washer and Dryer

Most linen can be washed in the standard washer and dryer but there are specific requirements for each item. Shrinkage is something that happens when items are not washed correctly. While a small amount of shrinkage is normal over time, you can slow or halt the process with small steps when dealing with washing luxury linens.

If you can remember that linens that are washed in hot water and/or dried at a very hot temperature will shrink a great deal, you will be prepared to wash most laundry in warm water only. For most luxury linens though it is best to wash them in cold water and use the delicate or short cycle. If you can hang dry your items that will preserve the fabric. You will also want to avoid using a harsh laundry detergent. Look instead for a mild detergent that is especially made for delicate fabrics. Finally, if you remember to sort your whites and colors and wash them separately, this too will help preserve the life of your luxury linens.

3. Hand Washing

Hand washing your luxury linens is probably the best choice if possible. You should use cold water to extend the life of your fabric and once again, stay clear of the laundry soap that is harsh on this more delicate material. Once you have your items in a clean sink with water, swish the items around in the soapy water to gently clean them through and through without aggravating the fibers. Let the water out and rinse the sink before refilling it will more cool water. Keep rinsing and repeating the process until there is no more soapy water in the tub. When it is time to hang your linens to dry, do not try wringing them out with your hands.

Instead place them inside a towel and roll it up to absorb the moisture. Then place your linen flat on a drying rack. If you do decide to put the linens in the dryer, limit it to only five minutes to help take the wrinkles out and keep it to only a tumble dry with low heat. This may be the best method to use if you would like to preserve your items to be used as Guest House linens for when company stops by.

One other tip to think about when deciding what laundering method would be right for your luxury linens is to protect your pillows. You should get a zipped pillow protector. This is especially useful if you have hair coloring or use gel and other harsh hair products that can get into the fabric and cause damage to the material. If you are unsure of how to properly launder

any of your luxury linens, you should be able to find a manufacturer's tag on the inside of the item with cleaning instructions.

Author Bio:

My name is Lynne, and I love writing about things that can help you live your life better. If you’re ever in need of help with Pillow Protector and Guest House Linen, I recommend GuestHouseLinen.co.uk

Thursday, 14 February 2013

How To Design And Create Your Dream Kitchen

Without doubt the kitchen is your home’s heart. It’s where you cook and eat and spend time with the family. The kitchen can definitely connect the family, but it needs a proper design and arrangement. One of the common problems with modern kitchens is the lack of enough space. Even one person cooking in the kitchen might not feel entirely comfortable with too much furniture around and not much space for movement. 

There are many factors which make a kitchen functional and appealing. It’s a tough task to take into consideration all of them, but it’s worth the try. Here are some of the top tips which you can follow if you want to create the perfect kitchen for your home and your family.

·        Planning: The first step and one of the most important ones is having a solid plan that will actually work. Just thinking about the design and the furniture won’t do much. You need a sketch of how your kitchen should look like, the exact measures of the room and a list of the inventory you need to put there. Consider all the other details and features that you need – low ceiling, special doorway, sliding door, etc. Only with a solid plan can you start planning the budget and hiring the designer and the experts. When you start shopping around in kitchen furniture stores, take your sketches with you.

·        Features: Think about all the appliances and the features which you need in the kitchen. Above all, the kitchen has to be functional, with enough storage space and easy to move in so you can prepare food. Check kitchen retailers’ websites and discuss with your family what you can afford.

·        Style: As an important and focal point in the house, the kitchen deserves a style that complements the rest of the house, yet has something special of its own. Whether it will be more traditional or you want a completely modern kitchen, look for inspiration in kitchen design magazines, blogs and online stores. There you will find plenty of great ideas.

·        The Design Team: If you want the perfect kitchen, you might have to consider hiring a specialist in kitchen design. This is the expert who can tell you what can be done, how fast and for how much. It will save you time and effort figuring everything out on your own. The specialist can make the best out of your design plan and include new features you haven’t thought about.

Purchase the cabinets, the sink and the appliances for the kitchen from a specialist supplier so you get a bigger selection and delivery. Invest in high quality products and they will serve you well for years ahead.

Written for EN6 man and van and Barbican area moving

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Keep Your Living Space Fresh: Seasonal Cues for Home Décor

From crisp, red-leafed fall days, to white-blossomed spring afternoons, nature is in a perpetual and captivating state of change that never fails to affect us. We thrive on sunny afternoons spent in the garden and crunchy walks through morning snow. With so much variety in the world around our dwellings to inspire us, the space within is often left surprisingly unchanged.Instead of allowing our homes to remain forever the same, why not harness the appeal of the shifting seasons to decorate our living spaces and keep them fresh year round?

Applying seasonal themes to home décor doesn't require elaborate or costly measures. By keeping four simple elements in mind, anyone can quickly and easily give a room an appealing seasonal motif that will have friends asking for your decorator’s name.


In the fall and winter, our eye is drawn to darker, earthier tones—the yellows and reds of changing leaves, the dark browns of bare limbs, and the muted orange of a harvest pumpkin. In warmer months, bright greens, sky-blues, and whites are more prevalent. Opportunities to introduce these changing tones into a room are nearly endless, and include throws, blankets, slip covers, pillows, curtains, mantle pieces, and framed art.


Warmer seasons are best captured by accessories that are thin, smooth, and flat. As a starting point, fabrics like cotton or gauze work well. For fall and winter, thicker alternatives like fleece, canvas, or wool work best. A fleece blanket draped over a sofa, a few fluffy pillows, and a woven wool throw are a few quick and easy ways to bring winter to your living room.


Which rooms you choose to makeover using seasonal cues, and the arrangement of furniture therein does make a difference. Try to begin with rooms that will see frequent use like kitchens, living, or dining rooms in order to showcase your ideas.When rearranging large objects in these areas, think about close-spaced, cozy arrangements for the colder months. Open, airy, and flowing floor plans are better suited to spring and summer.


This is a broad category, and can run the gamut from tiny accent pieces to more obvious things like framed art. If the latter is more your speed, consider heavy-framed oils for fall and winter, emphasizing colors like burgundy, ochre, and tan. Spring and summer are more suited to watercolor pieces that use brighter tones. If you prefer a less-traditional approach, there are several possibilities to keep in mind, including scents, lighting, organic elements, and holiday accents.

Scents-Essential oils, potpourris, and aromatic plants can provide seasonal scents like cinnamon and pine for winter, or citrus and cotton for summer.

  •       Lighting-Warm temperatures are about open, brightly lit spaces. Consider reducing window coverings for more sunlight, and rearranging lamps to achieve this atmosphere. Winter interiors, while well-lit, should possess a different quality of light. Think about clever arrangements using heavier curtains, sideboard lamps, and light from a fireplace or candles.

  •          Organic Elements-When you bring the outdoors into your home the possibilities are endless. Some ideas include vases or jars filled with seasonal plants and flowers, baskets filled with fruits, gourds, acorns or pine cones, and mantle or centerpieces of cut branches, grasses, or cornstalks.  Whatever route you take, remember that odd numbers and non-uniform arrangements are closer to what’s found in nature—cluster things in groups of one, three, or five.

  •          Holiday Accents-As appealing as inflatable snowmen can be, adding holiday accents to home décor doesn't have to be quite so overt.  A few strategically placed strings of lights and a basket of ornaments, or a small wreath and garland combination of seasonal plants—winter or spring—can add a festive holiday flavor to any seasonal interior. 

  •       By keeping these tips in mind, you can bring the best the changing seasons have to offer into your home. Just remember:  there are no definite rules —the approaches and ideas are as varied as the seasons, so have fun.

Edward Stuart is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher for framedart.com. He frequently blogs on the topics of art, art history, design, and home decor.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Flowers Are The key Factors For Decorating a Home

A favourite habit of all house-proud people is to regularly decorate their home with flowers. There is something just so charming and uplifting about a bunch of flowers that nobody who comes across them can resist sneaking in a whiff! Flowers bring so much simple joy and beauty with them; it comes as no surprise that they are a universally favoured form of home beautification.

Flower arrangements can play a significant role in setting the mood and complementing the theme of the room they are placed in. It may come as a surprise to you, but decorating your home with flowers doesn’t begin and end at buying a gorgeous bunch; there is actually quite a bit of thought and consideration that goes into the activity. Everything, from what colour of blooms to purchase to how many, from what kind of design to arrange them in to what type of container to use, has to be thought of. Here we discuss some fantastic tips and tricks for doing up your house with flowers!

Let’s begin with colour: how do you pick the right colour and shade of flowers for different rooms? If you want to make a statement and are looking to really jazz up a room, then you should go in for bright, bold and striking colours. Deep hues, like wine-red (roses) or striking combinations, like turquoise and purple (orchids), can create a very powerful statement. On the other hand, if you do not want the flowers to overpower the rest of the room, and would prefer a more subtle and classy approach to decoration, you should go in for softer shades. Pale pinks, peaches and other pastels will work well with almost any kind of décor and will add a sweet, soft touch to any room.

If you want a bit of both, or you really can’t make up your mind, nothing works half as well as a bunch of white blooms. White flowers have a dreamy, ethereal quality to them, yet at the same time they are strikingly stunning. The best part about using white flowers is that whether you get a small bouquet, a large bunch or even a solitary, striking bloom you just know that you’re going to add incomparable beauty to the room.

Picking a container can be tricky, especially if you’re particular about details. A crystal or glass vase is usually a popular choice, and also the most elegant, but if you don’t want the stems and the water to be visible, you can opt for an opaque container. Delicate china vases can look wonderful. For a more casual vibe, you can use odds and ends from around the house- big glasses, small buckets, baskets and so on. If you’re keen on crafts, purchase a simple container and do it up yourself with glitters, rhinestones, shells etc.- the possibilities are endless!

Make the most of the flowers you've got by prettying them up! True, flowers are so gorgeous on their own they don’t need any help in that department, but a little extra effort can really go a long way. Use a piece of lace or a ribbon in a colour that compliments your bouquet and tie a beautiful, big bow around the bunch.

Keep the flowers healthy so that they last and brighten up your home for longer. Change the water daily and add “flower food” or preservatives (easily purchased at any florist!) and clip the leaves regularly to keep the flowers healthy. Cut a bit of the stems at an angle at the bottom to facilitate better water and nutrient absorption.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Using Photographs to Accessorize Your Homes Elegantly


Photographs remind you of the most wonderful memories in your life. People, places and occasions are some that come to mind immediately when you see a photo or several photos hanging proudly or placed inside cabinets or on shelves in your living room and even bedroom. Also, photographs are very much treasured and represent your personal happy experiences in the past.

Some may feel challenged at the idea of using photos as accessories at home. This is because personal photographs are available in black-and-white and in color versions, and also in various shapes and sizes. Don’t lose hope as you can absolutely overcome these challenges by implementing the following tips:

Use of Consistent Framing Material

Whether it is gold leaf, wood, copper, lacquer, silver or brass, you should choose one type of faming material to lend a consistent appeal across color types, sizes and proportions to your photo collection.
You can’t go wrong when you decide that the frames you are going to use complement your room décor. If contemporary is your home theme, it is best to pick lacquered frames. Silver frames, on the other hand, support your bid for an elegant room, while polished wood is definitely a great addition inside your office or study. 

Follow the Tallest to Smallest Rule

In arranging photos, you must places the smallest images in the front and the largest ones at the back. It does not matter whether you are placing them on a shelf or a table as each image can be powerful enough to convey the memory it represents amidst a photo collection.

Apply One Photo in a Room Concept

Your sole goal is for your photographs to make their impact in a room. Thus, select carefully from your compilation which photos should find their way into each room. This way, you are more organized in supporting a room décor.

Display Photos along with Books

A bookcase is the perfect one to hold photographs and books together. You can achieve a clean look when you place both on a separate shelf. Using a smaller shelf, the photos must be placed between books that occupy the top and bottom portions of the bookcase. A library-like look is possible when you position alternating bays with photos and books.

Separate Black-and-White from Color Photos

Although it is really possible to group the black-and-white and color photos at the same time, it would be wise to place them in two areas. This is done to attain a strong visual appeal as contemporary color photos and the sepia-tone photos have their own respective use in a room.

Photographs are great accessories to have at home. You just need to know the tricks in using them properly so you can give justice to the important events that they represent in your life. In your bid to highlight the photos you want to showcase to others, you need to maximize their use for greater visibility and appeal. Apply the above tips and you can never go wrong about your photographs.

Maria Samuels keeps things organized at home by using bookshelves to highlight the many amazing places and people she had met so far. She continues to be grateful for everything, including being employed as materials specialist at In Style Modern, which produces the best louis ghost chair replica, ghost chairs and other modern furniture replica.

Friday, 1 February 2013

How to Love Your Laundry Room

Which three rooms of the house do you spend the most time in? The kitchen? The bathroom? The bedroom? Whatever your answers, there was probably one room that didn’t make your list: The laundry room. According to Lis Selin Davis of This Old House Magazine, Americans average more time in their laundry rooms each week (approximately eight hours) than in the bathroom. That may be quite a surprise to some people but it’s true. Hmm, so what do you do when your new place has more of a laundry closet or a laundry nook than a laundry room? Well, here are some tips for making a small laundry space both functional and fabulous:

Look Up

Walls are prime real estate when working with a small space. Don’t be afraid to move up. Here are some ideas:

  Install a towel bar and use hanging plant buckets as storage. They’re great for holding clothespins, fabric softener sheets, and bleach pens among other things.

  Install cabinets or shelves. Either cabinets or shelves will give you a space that is out of the way but easily accessible for storing everything from dirty clothes to laundry detergent.

  Install a bar or retractable clothesline. Having a places to hang clothes so they can air dry will help keep the backs of chairs and other surfaces clothes-free. Just make sure to put the bar or retractable clothesline high enough that clothes (whether they be pants or dresses) won’t touch the top of the washer or dryer.

Make Storage Your BFF

When dealing with a small space, it’s important to cozy up to storage and all the resources it has to offer right away. Here are some ideas:

  Purchase pedestals with built in storage for your washer and dryer to sit on. For a couple hundred dollars you can buy pedestals with a built in drawer that lift your washer and dryer up. It’s a win-win. You get additional storage and you no longer have to bend down as far to load the washer or dryer.

  Use a Lazy Susan. If you have cabinets or shelves in your laundry area, use a Lazy Susan so that, with a simply spin, you can see and reach your supplies without having to dig through everything.

  Purchase decorative bins. Use bins to hide laundry supplies out of site or to store dirty clothes until laundry day rolls around. You can find bins in any color, any style, and just about any material on the Internet.

Get Creative

When you don’t have a lot to work with, you have to think outside the box. Here are some ideas:

  Stack machines to save space. A lot of front loading washers and dryers can be stacked on top of one another which is a great way to make a washer and dryer fit in a space where they otherwise wouldn’t work.

  Install a countertop. If your dryer and washing machine are front loading and sit side by side, having a countertop put in over top will give you a flat workspace for prepping laundry or folding clean clothes.

  Get a mobile butchers block or island. If, in addition to a small laundry space, you have a small kitchen or a kitchen with limited work surfaces, then a butchers block or small island may be the answer to your problem. Simply add some casters and make that butchers block or island mobile. That way it can easily be moved out of the way when not in use in the kitchen or rolled to the laundry area to serve as a work surface. Just make sure to wipe the surface down really well between uses.

  Don’t isolate your laundry room. Don’t treat your laundry room like a space you’re ashamed of or like it’s a dirty secret. Add color and other decorative items that reflect the style used throughout the rest of the home. For instance, washers and dryers now come in a variety of colors including gray, red, and blue. You can also get storage bins, shelving, counters, and etc. in just about any color and style desired.

You’re going to be spending around eight hours a week in your laundry room so do what it takes to make that time as easy and enjoyable as possible. Use all the space you have available to you, including the walls. Utilize a variety of storage options. Lastly, be innovative!

Article contributed by Janet Majors on behalf of Caster Specialists - a one stop shop for furniture casters. Janet is a huge fan of HGTV and organization. Her favorite store? The Container Store! 

The Return of the Dressing Table

Originally popularized by the Hollywood actresses of the 1920's – 1950’s, the dressing table has been recently less favoured by the modern homeowner but they are making a comeback for the 21st Century.

Fashioned from solid Birch, the chic French-style dressing table takes the user back to the 18th Century days of opulence and wealth. The uniquely crafted and hand painted piece bring a touch of lavishness to the modern boudoir yet is not overpowering with detailing and over-complicated features.

The delicately created handles and legs are sturdy enough to last a lifetime and the timeless design and soft curves create a peaceful place to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Available from Roomes Furniture for £1479.

The combination of thick, strong wood and sweeping lines make this elegant dressing table an instant classic. It comes with ample integrated storage and a matching stool which is able to be positioned neatly under the desk.

Buyers have a choice of coloured veneer finishes including Maple, Oak, Walnut, Ash or Cherry. Available from Furnish for £1598 - £1802 depending on choice of wood finish.

This silver leaf table comes in a glimmering finish with matching oval mirror. The metallic look is clean, crisp and contemporary; an asset to a bedroom with a silver-framed bed. Bring the room to life by introducing warmer colors such as crimsons and blues to collaborate with the shimmery texture. Available from Sweet Pea and Willow for £875.

Talk about compact! This is the cleverest space-saving dressing table on the market and a must-have for pokey bedrooms. The integrated chair slots perfectly into the leg area of the dresser and is coated in a high gloss plastic to match the table.

The mirror also folds down so that the full surface can be used as a standard table when the dresser is not required. The futuristic design is also finished with a sleek grey varnish to add to the high-tech look. Available from Dwell for £599.

Perfect for the ladies who do not wear much make-up of wear many items of jewellery, this mini dresser with tapered legs and curved edges is a thing of beauty. The design is inspired by the poise of a dancer and has the quality of finish to match.

The solid walnut structure and red lacquer gloss is reminiscent of 1940’s furnishing yet is modern enough for the fashion-conscious women of today. Available from Made for £349.