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.

Color

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.

Texture

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.

Space

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.

Ambiance

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



flickr/http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewardco/

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.

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 KaneBros.com 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.