Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Tips to Design a Wonderful Playroom

Kids always fancy having a place in their home where they can play and have fun. A place that looks attractive and is full of fun stuff for entertaining activities always appeals to children where they can invite their friends to have fun together. It is not a difficult task to design an entertaining playroom at home that let your children spend most of their time at home. Make use of the extra space in your home and design a wonderful entertainment area for your children. Here we are going to present some great tips to design a wonderful playroom that will surely make your kids happy. 

Colours

As you are designing a play area, it should be bright, colourful and funky. Add lots of colours in the room by painting the walls in vibrant shades. Make use of colours to create a certain ambiance in the room. You can add a blend of different hues like purple and pink, red and yellow and green, blue and orange. The combination of these colours will remove the dull effect from the room and will also create a refreshing ambiance. You can also paste stickers and posters on the walls to make the room more attractive, lively and joyful.




Furnishing

Once you are done with painting and adorning the walls, turn your attention to furnishing items. You need to select some nice and functional pieces of furniture for the room. As this is a playroom, I would suggest adding multi-purpose furniture that plays multiple roles for the kids and save the space. You would find a huge collection of multi- functional furniture items in the market like beautifully designed sofa beds, storage sofa beds, futons, storage seats, multi-functional storage tables etc. As this is a playroom, you need to accommodate the playing stuff, gadgets and gaming tools without occupying much of the floor space in room. Storage furniture is an ideal solution to store these items without creating mess in the room but make sure not to buy too many furniture items as playroom should possess sufficient space for children to play around.  The furniture items should own a stylish and striking appearance so that it makes the room trendier and modish.




Utilize empty walls

In order to save the floor space in play area, utilize the space on empty walls in a creative way and make the room look smarter. Hang the playing stuff and toys on walls that will not only manage the scarcity of space but will also adorn your room in a smart way. Hang pictures of your kid’s fun activities and memorable moments to add a personalized touch in the room.   





























Tech Corner

Accept the fact; today’s generation cannot think of its survival without tech gadgets. Make a tech corners for your high-tech kids in the playroom where you need to place a computer, a play station and music player.






















By following these tips, you will surely be able to design a wonderful playroom for your kids


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Modern Manners for Successful Hosting

Hospitality doesn't mean fanciness, it means to generously receive your guests. Don’t worry about showing off or impressing people, but instead,  share your home and your time. Having guests any time of year come to stay can be both easy and difficult. Here are a few modern manners on how to handle these situations gracefully and stress-free, so everyone can have a positive memorable experience.



1. Declutter & Provide Space for Your Guests:
Getting your home cleaned and organized is the first step before your guests arrive, besides, reining in chaos around the house is never a bad idea. You and your visitors will be more comfortable without piles of wanted clutter and embarrassing messes. Once you have organized, make sure your guests have a clear place to put their things. Give some thought to where your company will store their things. Perhaps in a closet stocked with a variety of hangers, or may be some drawers in a bureau.

2. Respect Your Guest’s Privacy
First of all, don’t make your elders sleep on the couch. If your younger sibling or some friends are coming to stay, they can stay on a pull-out couch or sleep on an air mattress. When your parents or grandparents are staying, offer them a bed and if your bed is the only bed in the house, that means you’ll be sleeping on the couch.



If you need something from the room your guest is staying in for the time being, consider it their space. Always knock and wait for a reply before entering. It would also be considerate to let them know when your going in the room, even if they are not in there at the time.

3. Distinguish What is Yours and What is for Everyone:
Your guests should respect your privacy when staying with you, but in case they don’t  leave out extra toiletries for your guests to use and some other basics that add a welcoming touch. Fill a little basket with towels, shampoo, soap, and other basics for the bathroom, and may be provides a carafe of water, a few books, a candle, or fresh flowers on their nightstand to help them feel at home. As a precaution, you may want to tuck out of sight anything you don’t want them to use or see, like that super expensive face cream or your prescription medications.

4. Stock Your Pantry and Make Something Special
When it comes to gatherings, people like to share meals. Breakfast is a little hard to read though. Some people wake up before the sun comes up, and some well after. Prepare ahead of time with a savory quiche, your grandmother’s coffee cake, or a large bowl of seasonal fruit for quick, easy breakfast options so that people can help themselves.

Keeping that in mind, keep refreshments on hand because no one should ever have to ask for a glass of water. If guests are over, put out a pretty pitcher of water and some glasses. By making snacks and drinks readily available, you’re also freeing yourself to enjoy your friends instead of being busy waiting on them. They are there to spend time with you, not to have you wait on them.

5. Strive for A Meaningful and Memorable Event:
It depends on you and your guests like to do, but planning one meaningful event will create a memorable experience. It really could be anything: dinner at a nice restaurant, a morning hike through the woods, a day at the beach, or a beer/wine tour and tasting. The options are endless. When your visitors go home, they will definitely reminisce about this event in years to come.

Noella Schink is a writer and fervent home cook from Portland, Maine with an affection for rustic New England decor and culture. She is inspired by local designer Sturbridge Yankee Workshop for home decor elements like rustic kitchen tables, chic country furniture, wool-hooked rugs, and kitchen gadgets.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

NO MORE GLOOM! ADD SOME COLOR TO YOUR KIDS ROOM



They say that a kid lives inside each of us and honestly, I agree! The only problem is we don’t usually find opportunities to give in to the whims of the child.

When it comes to decorating your kid’s room I think one should let loose that inner child. I am sure, lots of you are thinking about how one room will fit in with the perfectly synchronized setup of the rest of the house. This is the time when you should remind yourself “IT’S A KID’S ROOM”. This is the one place when you can step out of the norm and go wild!

Kids love colorful and loud things and after all shouldn’t your kid love the room that they’re going to live in? Here, colorful doesn’t mean you turn the whole room into a rainbow but rather add colors to the room in a way that stands out and isn’t heavy on the eyes.

Colorful quilts and pillows:

If your furniture is a standard color then a fun way to color up the room and give the room a happy, fun atmosphere is by using colorful bed sheets, quilts and pillows etc. Adding colors to the bed corner will brighten the room and expand the room quite a bit.

If it’s a baby your shopping for then bright colors will attract your baby’s attention, not to mention it will look absolutely brilliant.  The bedding is the center piece of the room whether it’s a proper bed or a crib for your baby. Hence accenting it with bright colors will sure make the whole room revolve around its center piece.

Walls:

Walls are the dominating factor in any room and kid’s room is no exception. If you want to add color to your child’s room and make sure it shouts out the essence of being a kid and more specifically your kid then painting your walls with a nice catchy color is sure to get the job done.

Here, painting the wall isn’t everything. You could go for a theme for your kid’s room. Wallpapers are the new paint and with the amount of choices in the market, no two rooms will be the same. You could have a famous cartoon character as a theme or go for something completely unique. Mix and match or just plain old color synch will make your room unique and give your kid’s room that something extra.

Bed Sets:

Bed set isn’t always the most obvious choice when you’re trying to color up your kid’s room. But believe me when I tell you that though a lot of people aren’t doing it, this is one style that is a definite eye catcher. Whether it’s the desk, the sofa or the complete bedding and shelving etc. having colorful furniture is a sure fire way to make a bold statement and your kid is going to love it.

Thinking out of the box isn’t something most people are comfortable with but when you try it out once in a while you’d be surprised at the results. Your kid’s room will be the envy of all the other kids not to mention quite a few parents as well.

Bookcase Bed:

One excellent option when it comes to your kid’s furniture is a bookcase bed. It saves a ton of space and allows you to decorate your room, store toys and other stuff and will highlight the bed space even more than usual.

Bookcase beds come in different colors as well as regular standard colors. They emphasize the bedding and make the room more spacious and lively. Having a bookcase bed or a bunk bed allows for more space within the room for other things and fun activities as well as coloring up the room, if not by its own color than by the color of the things on those shelves.

Writing Desk:

Writing desks are a vital part of a kid’s furniture and with the many designs and styles available in the market, there is never any shortage of colorful desks. Just like bookcase beds, writing desks can fulfil your colorful dreams by either being colorful themselves or by portraying colors with the help of the things on the desk.
Writing desks allow your child to study there, store his or her stuff and in general have a corner for creative and academic interests. If you room is colorful with a regular white or brown desk, this will highlight the desk and vice versa. This means that you can come up with a huge amount of combinations and choices for your room that will never be the same for any other.

Accessories:

These are the little things that though individually may not look like much but when put together in a room will highlight your kid’s room’s theme or focus point. Whether it’s stickers to put up on the wall, pictures, cloth hangings, stuffed toys or other décor pieces etc. these little details are what make up a room and a kid’s room in particular is highlighted by these little accessories.

Having colorful décor pieces on a desk or shelf, stuffed toys decorating the bed and room all around or wall hangings, picture frames etc. loitering on the walls is a perfect way to give a touch of your own personal style and taste and will accentuate the room beautifully.


When it comes to a child’s room there is so much more you can do than any other room in the house, so many colors you can play with, so many different styles and designs you can utilize and the best part is that you don’t have to hold back. You can go all in and there will be no judgment or wrong moves you could make there. So give your kid’s a special room that they will love to call their own and that you will love setting up.

Friday, 31 January 2014

5 Winter Home Decorating Tips

5 Winter Home Decorating Tips


Why not turn your house into a shelter of joy and warmth during the winters by using home decors and bright colors. Read on to know more about home decorating tips for the winters.

As the winters take its toll on us, and we struggle to create a much cozy environment in-house, what are the most obvious tips that we need to follow? How do we end up creating a cozier interior within our homes and enjoy the warmth of our homes? Here some tips of decorating and turning your home into a more cozy shelter.

Holiday Mood Color

Most people opt for colors such as green and red in order to compliment the holiday season. But you can always choose to do something different by playing with colors inside your house. Color the walls inside your room with warm colors and accentuate them with proper holiday decorations. Suppose, if you are decorating the room with a Christmas Tree, find an appropriate corner for the same. The idea is to place the tree in such a position that it highlights and accentuates the room. But make sure that it does not occupy too much space as it can make the plot look more cluttered. If you find a good place then you can go about decorating the tree with necessary ornaments.

Try and Usher in the Warmth in the Décor


Choose colors like orange, red and yellow as these are warm colors. These colors can actually brighten up your home especially during winters. Accentuating the area is very important. Choose furniture that would complement the area of the living room. You can choose to brighten up the living room by using heavy curtains. Choose a good color for curtains that will help in further complementing the look of the room.

Rearrange the furniture if necessary and create areas where you can choose to strike up a conversation especially in front of the fire place. Choose bright colored fluffy cushions and pillows. Compose and decorate the living room according to your tastes; the cozier it looks the more happy will you be while sipping coffee beside the fireplace in the evening.

Opt for Winter Rug Decoration

Opting for rugs all over the house for decoration during the winters is a great option. It is actually a sensational feeling to cover your feet in a warm rug and thus help keep cold at bay. You can put rugs on the floor and on the couch, arm chairs and also window seats. It is always advised that you choose bright colors; but on the contrary sometimes opting for paler colors for rugs can also do winders. Colors like lilac and other floral colors can be used to decorate the home during winters.

Welcome nature through your Interior Decoration

Indoor plants are a good option for home decoration. Mild fragrances inside your house can have a great appeal. It will also add a hue of color. Once you have placed an indoor plant in your house, it can complement the background wall especially if it has a light color. Choose from other elements such as cones, pebbles, dried branches and be used to generate patterns and designs for decoration.

Let there be Light!

Well, finally we all know that during winters it tends to become dark quite quickly so you must lit up your house in a variety of lights. For this, if you have a fire place, nothing like it. Lighting up a fireplace, is probably the best thing to experience during the winters. Opt for yellow colored lights in the living room; decorate the room with floating candles placed on a low-height table. You can also get lamps with low-watt bulbs; these will add subtle hue to the house.

The above paragraphs give a fair idea about some of the major ways of decorating your house during the winters. If you choose the right colors and right décor items then you can turn a cold winter into a one that is filled with extreme warmth.

Author Bio: Sampurna Majumder is a professional writer who enjoys creativity and challenges.  Barely a year into new media, she has written several posts, articles and blogs for prominent real estate websites. The above post throws light on ways to decorate your house during the winters. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Create Drama and Atmosphere with Chandeliers

The chandelier may appear to be out of place in the modern setting but for homeowners who wish to add an element of drama in their home should consider incorporating chandeliers into their lighting scheme.


Before scoffing at the idea, know that chandeliers also come in subtler and streamlined versions. Ornate chandeliers with dangling crystals and delicate curving arms are still alive and well but unless the home is as grand as a Malibu mansion – or one that is decked in true traditional style – then it is advisable to go for contemporary or modern chandeliers. 
The shimmering crystals may be missing in the modern versions but in its place are metallic surfaces or pieces, still designed to maximize illumination. However, aside from lighting living spaces – the more valued advantage to using chandeliers is that they instantly punch up flat spaces.  The chandelier’s interesting patterns and its degree of brilliance provides a remarkable if not somewhat theatrical mood to the home. 
To get the most out of this most charming lighting fixture, here are a few tips on creating and emphasizing mood.

·       It has to match the overall theme.  What’s exciting about furniture shops of today is that they are packed with a great selection of items. Stamping your personality through lighting fixtures can be fun. However, also ensure that the selected items will not clash with the larger scheme. Carefully consider the materials, color, and the finishes and check if it agrees with the room’s design.  

·        Consider the scale of the room. Do not overlook the room and the chandelier’s size. An oversized chandelier will definitely look awkward – if not downright hysterical – in a small room and likewise, standard sized chandeliers may be too small for large halls or dining rooms. This will not only affect the decorating style – but also illumination.

·         Let it be the focal point. Draw the eye upward and install the chandelier in the center of the room.  Avoid using visual clutter, as it will look to busy and take the attention away from the chandelier.

·    Enhance mood with layers of lighting. Chandeliers provide enough reliable illumination but to enrich the experience, complement it with other lighting fixtures such as dimmable floor and table lamps or even wall scones. Light, as many designers know, does not only emphasize interesting architectural elements but also helps in achieving specific emotional responses.

·      Consider its function. If you are lighting a high traffic area, go for chandeliers that provide enough light. Chandeliers make fantastic eye candies but never lose sight of its main function.

For lovely interiors, do not underestimate the power of lighting. In this case, chandeliers may be a throwback to the days of grand palaces and aristocracy, but its seemingly innate power to evoke responses remain true to this day.
Opulent or stripped to the basics – create mood and drama with chandeliers.


Laya Cusano is the chief editor of The Furnished Up Blog. She also oversees the Marketing Department of Furnished Up, a provider of decorating advice to furniture shoppers and homeowners. You can follow Laya Cusano on G+.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Decorative Art Glass in Your Home

Art glass bowls can act as great accessories for many places within your home, from the bathroom to the living room. Art glass is made almost exclusively with the aim to decorate home, it isn’t always functional per se, but it can be used in a function-like way to decorate.





You don’t need to lock it away and hide it in your glass cabinet either. A fine piece of decorative art glass can make a fine centerpiece or brighten up a large window sill. With young children around it is probably best to keep it on a higher shelf!



Functional glassware is what you eat and drink from and decorative glass is the fine crystal glass that is too good to even put fruit in. This is how one differentiates between decorative glass and utilitarian glassware, and whilst one wouldn’t like a scratch or nick in a glass meant to drink with, such a thing on an art glass bowl will seriously devalue it.

There are however different pieces from different places in the house, so a decorative glass bowl in the bathroom will look different than one meant to be in the living room for instance. The bowl in the bathroom can be used to keep soap or cotton balls, or maybe hold bath oil and the like.



Then there’s the option of using decorative glass vases as candle holders, you can pour some water into it and come tea light candles which will create a very romantic and nice smelling atmosphere. In case the glass bowls are made of clear glass, then you can also add in some rose petals or use it as a home for a small goldfish.

One other method of using clear art glass bowls is to fill them with colorful stones or marbles and by using this method it won’t matter exactly where you place them, because they will work great with your home décor.



One great advantage of art glass bowls is that they are very versatile in that you can play around with them in order to make them unique and blend them into whatever décor design idea you’re going with at any given time. This means that they can act as great decorative accents for all the major holidays just by changing the items that they hold or the way in which they are arranged within a larger decorative setup.


Also let’s not forget that art glass bowls are a great idea for a gift which you can then fill with potpourri or likewise tiny and colored things, maybe someone’s favorite candy.

Friday, 8 November 2013

5 Practical Ideas to Personalize Your Walls

High-impact wall decorating on a budget has never been easier. Visit home improvement stores and flea markets to find décor pieces made from various unique materials, from paper to fabric. Or you can do it in the comfort of your home: browse the Internet and you’ll discover DIY ideas that require either new materials or your existing kitchen items.

Creativity and resourcefulness on your walls can magically transform a regular room to a spectacular space. Go ahead and try your hand in it. Here are 5 unique wall decoration ideas that you can finish in a short span of time and with a limited budget.

Creativity Right Above Your Head



Your bedroom should have the most personal design in your home. For couples, you can hang a series of 3 or 4 photos from your wedding or favorite travel moments above the headboard. For the poet, you can put up verses of your own work in separate frames. Or you can just use cheap but beautiful prints.

If frames aren’t your thing, you can place open shelves or racks where you can put your personal collection of souvenirs from your travels or your favorite toys. If you’ve got a talent for painting or stenciling, you might want to do a mini-mural, instead of a real headboard.

Livelier Living Room

Make the most of the sunlit area in your living room by hanging framed prints of butterflies, birds, or flowers on that plain section of the wall beside the window. The bright hues of the subjects will create a colorful splash on the initially neutral room. Breathe more life to the area in a subtle way by adding lamps, throw pillows, and other accessories that echo the colors of the framed prints.

Buy easy-to-assemble wood frames from a thrift shop and customize them with stain or paint. You can choose a dark wood stain or a bold orange paint, depending on the overall design you wish to show. Or if you got a painted frame, you can make it into something shabby but sophisticate by roughing it up with sand paper.

Big Ideas for Your Small Kitchen



The kitchen, especially a tiny one, is one area often devoid of décor in most homes. Well, it shouldn’t be or doesn’t have to be. You probably don’t even have to buy anything new to brighten it up. Check what you have in your stockroom or cupboard.


  • If you’ve got a collection of miniature cups and saucers, don’t let them accumulate dust in its boxes; display some of them in open shelves above the window or simply on top of the cabinets.
  • You can also make a collage of favorite spices in dry leaf form - basil, bay, laurel, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Arrange them on boards and frame and hang them. .
  • Look at the pots and pans that you use. Place pegs or hooks on an empty wall near your stove; make sure you put spaces in between enough for you to hang all your pots and pans. This arrangement becomes your organizer and décor in one. .


A Love for Literature

Bring out your collection of worn or tattered books with interesting covers. Detach those fanciful front covers and frame them. These will make great wall décor pieces for your reading corner, study room, or bedroom. If, however, you want to keep the book in one piece, scan the cover in full color or in black and white, instead.

Your Kids’ Gallery

Add a touch of childhood fancy to any room in your home by framing your children’s artwork. Show your pride in your kids’ creations and let your kids feel special. You can choose the hallway or the stairway to hang them. You can install a cork board if you want the children themselves to do the pinning of their artwork.

Once you’re finished decorating your wall, don’t forget to take time to appreciate your labor of love. Your wall won’t look blank and boring anymore. In fact, don’t be surprised if you’ll feel even more inspired to add some more furniture and accessories to further improve the look of your new room or home.

About the Author - Raquel Merc is a writer and a homemaker. She has recently contributed a variety of articles on home management and improvement. These include tips and ideas on practical matters like gardening, interior design, and even kit homes.

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.