Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Living Room Makeover on a Budget

Could your living room do with a bit of sprucing up? If you're looking for some quick and easy ways to spruce up your living room that won't involve you spending a fortune or bringing in the experts then look no further.

Believe it or not, but you can still get a designer look without breaking the bank. Create a stunning living room just by following these 5 steps to giving your living room a makeover on a budget.

Create your own artwork

Female Face Decal

Artwork brings colour and sets the mood of a room. You can create your own artwork without being an artist. It's easy!

Have a go at creating images using templates and stencils, the more you practice the more you’ll get the hang of it. Hanging paintings and prints on your walls can completely change the tone of your living space. Experiment using different frames, they come in all shapes and sizes.






Update your sofa

sofa

Does your sofa need a new lease of life? You should could try covering it with a cover or throw, it’s cheaper than buying a new sofa or reupholstering your old one.

Custom-made sofa covers can be expensive but, if you’re handy with a sewing machine you may consider making your own. There are so many colours and textures available, you’re spoilt for choice!

If your sofa is beyond repair don’t worry, there are plenty of budget sofas around that will save the day!

Feature wall

Beach cottage style: Blue living room + playful pattern mix + 'Clear Skies' by Benjamin Moore
We all know that wallpaper can be extremely pricey, so instead of spending a fortune wallpapering every wall why not just wall paper one. 













Try to be bold with your colour choice, after all it is a feature wall and you want it to stand out.


                                                                                                                                                                    Buy flowers                                                                                                                 

Living Room
Here is something that will cost you nothing, bring the outdoors in with some fresh flowers. Flowers will brighten up any room and also add natural fresh fragrances. Flowers are the most cost effective way of adding colour to your living room.





You could opt for very realistic silk flowers if you want to enjoy year-round blooms, a small investment that will last a while.


Cover worn carpet with a bright rug


rug envy

If you have worn flooring or threadbare patches but can’t afford to completely replace them then why not cover them up by throwing down a rug. Create a welcoming cozy environment by opting for a vibrant, bold colour.

You want to make the rug a focal point in the room, use neutral tones to fit in with your existing colour scheme. If you go for the right type of rug you can transform your room without replacing the flooring.









Author: Izzy Evans, 20 years old blogger at Iconic Hot Tubs, home improvement & interior design enthusiast.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Tips for Looking After Your Houseplants

Whether you have them as a complement to your garden or simply enjoy having them in your home as an alternative, houseplants bring joy to many people around the world. However, they have a different set of demands to those that grow outside, but these are generally easy to deal with.
Source: flickr.com

Where to Grow Them
You know that garden plants grow best when they are given plenty of sunlight, and houseplants are the same. Therefore, it is best to grow them close to a window, or at least a part of the room where they are going to enjoy lots of sunlight. Plants tend to prefer being in sheltered locations, so if you do have them near the window, ensure you aren’t going to have it open too much or are exposing your plants to too much of a breeze if they are.
Ultimately, where you place your plants will be dependent on the plant itself. Some need more sunlight when they are flowering, while others need very little light in comparison to others. It is definitely worth researching plants before buying. If you want to buy plants but you live in a reasonably dark house, choosing one that needs lots of sunlight probably isn’t the best idea.
What about looking after them?
Watering
This is important to get right, as the majority of houseplants dies because they are given too much water. The best way to look after your plants’ watering needs is to ensure the soil or compost is moist when you water it, but then wait until it is almost completely dry before watering again. If your houseplants need water before this point, you will be able to tell.
If you are going on holiday, then most plants can survive for two weeks without water, although depending on how much they rely on sunlight you might need to place some of them strategically around the home. Just remember to provide a good watering before you go and as soon as you return!
Feeding
Water is usually enough for plants to thrive indoors. However, when you buy them, ask at the garden centre whether a monthly helping of plant feed or a particular type of compost is known to be effective for boosting growth.
Pruning and Pests
If there are any leaves on your houseplant that are dying, remove them at the earliest opportunity, as they still might be taking water and nutrients from the soil, both of which can be used far more effectively by others. If any parts of your plant are sharp or difficult to remove, your regular garden secateurs are fine to use.
You might think the houseplants benefit of being safe from pests, but this isn’t always the case. Keep an eye on your houseplants by looking at whether they look good. If they are looking sorry for themselves but they are well fed and watered, check for bugs and white ‘fluff’ around your plants. Bugs can be brushed away by hand, while the white fluff could be meal bugs or aphids, and should be sprayed with an organic pesticide to kill them off.
Author Bio: Jane loves her home interior, and brightened it up at the start of summer 2013 by bringing in a number of large houseplants. Her husband also gets involved around the home, and wants to buy sliding wardrobe doors for the bedroom early in the New Year.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Ho, Ho, No – Santa-Free Winter Décor

Sometimes winter feels like little more than frozen gray slush piles and red fat suits. Winter décor can seem equally sparse or simply aimed at pleasing children. Many of us want to change up with the season, but without solely focusing on Christmas. You’ve already learned how to winterize your bedroom, but there are many ideas for the rest of the home.





























I’m forever wondering why winter-trimmings seem to mimic the outside world: trees, branches and ornaments artfully flocked with fake snow, shiny plastic icicles, themes in cool silvery tones and stark white. Unless you live in a climate that’s never seen a single snowflake, you’ll probably want to leave the cold weather outdoors.

Don’t be afraid to avoid the typical red and green overload. Sure, good tidings abound and Kris Kringle is the man of the hour, but there’s no need to go Griswold and turn your home into a shrine to goodol’ Saint Nick. I’ve always been wondering what those yard inflatable’s do with a power bill…

Warmth and comfort are the keys here. Plush carpeting becomes a snuggly focal point. If you’ve got hardwood or laminate flooring, consider a cozy area rug for the duration of the season. Plump pillows and soft throw blankets draped on your sofa and chairs are inviting for guests. Heavy drapes double as a form of insulation over frosty windows, so consider adding some padding to your window treatments.

Soft lighting schemes are one of the quickest ways to get cozy for winter. Candles are at the top of the list, but seriously, be careful. It’s little surprise that December is the number one month for candle fires starting in the home. White colored Christmas lights are a fun lighting choice year-round but obviously fit in best during the winter months. Outfit your accent lamps with lower wattage (or even yellow-y) bulbs for intimate, ambient lighting.

The internet must have been designed to give us inspiration for fun crafting projects. Wreaths and garlands featuring natural elements like evergreen boughs and pine cones are a classic. Consider the myriad of decorative and ornamental uses for things like cranberries, acorns, cinnamon sticks, apples or whole cloves. Dried plants and flowers are seasonally accurate and look rustic. Potted bulbs, such as canna lilies, can brighten the mood.
































If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, let it be your centerpiece during winter. Wood burning fireplaces are ideal, and a pain, so don’t rule out the fake kind – there are portable gas and electric versions available for any home. Even if you just have a mantle without a fireplace, consider throwing a couple candles in there to highlight it.

Jonathon Ensor is a freelance design blogger for Empire Today. He prefers a Solstice bonfire to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and, as a result, expects to find coal in his stocking.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Live Outdoors this Winter

For the majority of us, our gardens are strictly off-limits during the colder months. Aside from the odd mission to refill the bird feeder, most people retreat indoors for the duration of the winter and only venture out again with the arrival of spring.

However, on those crisp, clean winter mornings, it seems such a shame to let the outside space of our homes go to waste. On winter days when there’s not a cloud in the sky, I’m desperate to escape the house, shake off the stuffiness of the central heating and spend some time outside.

This guide has been created to help you make the most of your outside space this winter.

Decking and Patio 

When it comes to spending time outdoors in the winter, your decking or patio is the perfect place to relax. However, if you’re planning on spending a lot of time using your outdoor space, it’s maybe worth constructing a small structure to protect you from the elements. If you build a simple structure with vertical beams, this can be modified between winter and summer: in winter, a cover can be stretched across the beams to act as a roof, which can be removed in the summer for a light, airy space.

That said, you don’t even need to have a covered area to enjoying being outside during the colder months. Take a look at this fantastic example from houzz.com, of a simple outdoor living space, which uses a gorgeous free standing fire at the focal point.

Furniture 

The only type of furniture that’s going to survive the duration of a winter outdoors is made from metal and even that has a chance of rusting. What’s more, when I want to sit back with a cup of something warm and enjoy the freshness of winter, I want comfortable furnishings that are going to help me to relax.


That’s why I would advise using indoor furniture and arranging your living space each time you want to use it. I like to keep things simple when it comes to outdoor furniture, so I love the selection of modern furniture at Vita Interiors. The clean, simple lines of pieces like this oak coffee table are perfect for the outdoors and will add a touch of elegance to the proceedings when you’re entertaining guests.



(This oak coffee table, available to buy online from Vita Interiors is a great piece to add to your outside space if you’re entertaining guests.)

Heat 

Ask your friends if they want to come and sit in the garden with you this winter, and I’m sure you’ll receive a resounding ‘no’. On the other hand, invite them to relax around a crackling log fire, drinking hot coco and toasting marshmallows, and I’m sure you’ll be flooded with positive RVSPs.

There are lots of options when it comes a fireplace for your outside space. If you want to go all-out, you can construct a freestanding fireplace from brick or stone that will give the living area a sense of permanence. This is also a great place to cook and can be used all year round.

If your budget can’t stretch to a permanent structure, another option is a clay or metal chimenea. These are a fantastic addition to a deck or patio area and are designed to generate intense heat, so they’re perfect for outdoor winter living spaces. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

How to Compliment a Garden Centerpiece

The centerpiece of your garden is the place where your eye is first drawn when you look at it. It’s the focus, like the main object in a painting. A centerpiece can be anything; a fountain, a statue, a rock formation, a seating area, or a flower bed, as long as it draws the viewer’s attention. To make sure that your chosen centerpiece actually functions to fulfill the role that you’ve selected for it, you need to set up some subtle (and some less-subtle) clues that will direct the attention of your viewer toward it.

Visibility

The first and most important bit about your centerpiece is that it should be highly visible. That means that when designing and putting together the surrounding landscaping you should focus on removing extraneous items that might draw attention away from the item, and situating the centerpiece in a very visible spot, perhaps on a raised platform, a berm, or simply in an open space. It should not need to share the spotlight with anything else.

It does not need to be in the objective center of the garden, as the word may imply. Rather your centerpiece is the object of that subjectively determines the center of the viewer.


Image Source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com


Direction of Attention

Attention can be grabbed in a variety of ways that don’t actually involve the item you’re drawing done anything particularly conspicuous. The trick is to make everything else in the garden point to the object. If your garden has a walkway then that walkway goes directly to your centerpiece. If there is a formation of bushes or trees then the line of symmetry will be dictated by the centerpiece. If the sun is rising or setting it better travelling right over your centerpiece. Alright that might be pushing it, but you get the idea. All roads lead to Rome, where Rome is the focus of your garden and roads are everything else located in the garden.

Color and Symmetry

Whether your centerpiece matches its surroundings as far as color is concerned are of relatively little significance; however making sure that all of the other things in your garden match each other is imperative. Nothing should look in any way obtrusive, asymmetrical, or attention-grabbing except your centerpiece. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be interesting. On the contrary, often the most intricate artistic details are to be found not in the centerpiece, but rather its surroundings. The care put into these reflects positively on the focus, even when it’s not consciously absorbed. For the more watchful, these details are a delight to enjoy, but not until after the main event has had its moment, as is its place.

The Background

Like a single red flower upstaging an entire meadow of white, you can use the colors in your garden to direct focus. Your centerpiece may have many colors, but if you make it unique by giving it a color that the rest of the garden does not have, then it will stand out more.

For example, if your centerpiece is a red sandstone boulder covered in patches of blue lichen and green moss, you have a lot of colors to work with. You could match it with a decorative bird feeder, your flowers, or even a fluffy cat, without sacrificing the dominance of your centerpiece as long as you give it a monopoly on one of those colors.

So keep in mind, the centerpiece of your garden is the focal point, the axis of symmetry, and the most visible part of your garden. Everything else in it serves to help draw your attention to it. It’s a lot like fashion and make-up; it should draw attention to the wearer, not itself. In the same way the complementing décor should not draw much attention to itself, instead providing a frame that serves to accentuate the focus.

Author Bio: Ernie Allison is a bird watcher with a love of life and nature. He is passionate about wildlife conservation and writing. He writes both for pleasure and profit, currently for Bird Feeders.