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. 

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.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Top 5 Lighting Tips for Your Living Room

With the winter months fast approaching and the chilly evenings getting longer, the lighting we incorporate into our living room interior becomes all the more important for creating ambiance and warmth.

The lighting you choose for your room can have a massive effect on the feel of the space. And when the rain, wind and snow force you to spend more and more of your nights tucked up in front of the telly with your loved ones, it’s essential that you get the lighting just right.

That’s why we’ve created this all important guide to choosing your living room lighting this winter; helping you make the choice that’s practical, stylish and effective.

Warmth

As the temperature plummets, it comes as no surprise that most of us want to inject warmth and comfort into our room. The easiest way of achieving this is with effective lighting.

It goes without saying that that you should opt for yellow lighting, as opposed to harsher and colder white light. You should also look for lamps which incorporate warm colours in their shades, like this beige faux silk shade. For added warmth, choose a brass or wooden design for the bass.



(Madrid Table Lamp, in Antique Brass, £49.50, available from Mail Order Lighting.)

Luxury

As a rule, I never actually use the room’s ceiling lights, with the exception of kitchens and bathrooms. However, if for whatever reason you need to use the ceiling light in your living room, you can detract from the somewhat harsh effect this has by choosing a design that incorporates jewels or crystals, for a look that’s opulent, charming and welcoming.

Take a look at the range of Dar lighting at Mail Order Lighting, for some great examples which incorporates these design features.

Modernity

A living room’s lighting isn’t restricted to your lamps and ceiling fixtures. Sometimes, when the weather turns particularly nasty, there is nothing better than the warm glow of a gorgeously inviting fire.

These days, you don’t even have to have a fireplace to enjoy the iconic notion of sitting by the fireside. Options like this SmegFlueless Gas Fire, available to buy online from John Lewis, make it possible for anyone to bring the warming glow and subtle lighting of a fire into their home.

Tradition

Nothing says cosy like traditional interior design features. While you may not want to completely transform you room into a testament to classic design, it is possible to enhance a room’s element of tradition with the addition of lighting.

Something like the classic Tiffany lamp adds style and sophistication to a space and incorporates gorgeous warm colours, perfect for battling the winter blues.



                                 (Raindrop Table Lamp, with Tiffany Glass, £63.36, at Mail Order Lighting.)

Function

I’ve never been able to see the beauty in reading or desk lamps. Even iconic designs, such as the traditional brass base with green glass shade, while undoubtedly a classic, should be confined to the study; and modern designs with their hinges and maneuverability… well they’re just plain ugly.

However, if you spend the majority of the winter months lost in a selection of your favourite beach reads, dreaming of white sands and blue skies, then you’ll struggle to read by firelight alone. That’s why I’m a big fan of small reading lights like this one from Water stones, which can be attached to your book as and when you need it. What’s more, you can enjoy reading your favourite book in clear lighting and bask in the subtle and calming lighting of the fire. Sounds like total heaven if you ask me!


Jack Collier is an interior designer and decorator, with a passion for creating unique and beautiful room designs, writing on behalf of Mail Order Lighting

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Luxurious Makeover for Your Bathroom

The bathroom has grown to be one of the best-loved rooms in many households. For many of us our bathroom is a place where we can unwind, allowing ourselves to take some time out from our busy lives, sit back, and relax.




Relaxation can be achieved in a variety of forms and where better to start than in your bathroom. We all need a bit of luxury in our lives so we’ve found some products that could be used as part of your own luxurious bathroom makeover.

Wet rooms


Wet rooms have become an increasing popular feature in many bathrooms. Not only do wet rooms look fantastic, giving a sleek contemporary feel, but also they are also highly practical. Wet rooms are extremely easy to clean and they are accessible for children and those with mobility problems.

A wet room can be installed in almost any home and is an ideal solution for many small or unusually shaped bathrooms. Wet rooms are a desired feature to any bathroom and can even add value to your home.

Hot tubs



Hot tubs used to be a product that you could only dream of having, now they have become readily available, even though they are still a luxury product they are now a lot more affordable to buy and run.

Hot tubs are a perfect way to de-stress and relax after a long day at work. There is no better way to spend your evening than in the tub with a box of chocolates or even a glass of wine. Let your troubles melt away as you sit back and revive your body and mind. You can read more about the benefits of Hot Tubs on iconic hot tubs blog.

Heated towel rails


As the winter months are drawing nearer we are all thinking about ways that we plan to keep warm. A heated towel rail can be an asset to any bathroom and with a large array of designs and shapes to choose from it could be just what you need over these cold winter months.

You may think that heated towel is a bit extravagant for the everyday bathroom but you would be surprised at its benefits. Heated towel rails can keep your bathroom at a reasonable temperature, helping you to save money on increasing energy bills.

Waterproof Televisions


Many people have dreamed about relaxing in the tub whilst watching their favourite TV shows and now it’s possible. There are now an exclusive range of waterproof televisions that come in a wide variety of colours and styles to suit you.

These amazing digital LCD televisions were created and tested specifically for use in wet areas, so there is no need to worry about losing picture or sound quality. The glass screens are heated to prevent condensation from forming in high humidity and they even come with a waterproof remote.

Under floor heating


Underfloor heating is a modern and high- spec feature allowing you to enjoy the luxury of warm floors when showering in the mornings and even providing a good selling point when selling your property.

You may not need this in the summer months but during our long cold winters, under floor heating can be a blessing in disguise. Underfloor heating is thought to be a more efficient way of heating a room. The room's walls, doors and windows are well insulated - because of the way the heat is distributed; it also means that you can get rid of your bulky radiators giving your bathroom a nice clean finish.

Author: Izzy Evans from Iconic Hot Tubs, interior design enthusiast and blogger.


Sunday, 22 September 2013

Five Tips for Your Outdoor Home Improvements




Maintaining your home and making improvements are crucial ways to maintain your investment and the enjoyment you get out of your home. Certain improvements can increase the value of your home, save you money on your homeowner's insurance, or qualify you for tax breaks.

Keep Up On Repairs

No one likes major projects, like residing or roofing your home, but it is important to stay on top of these repairs. Keep track of your warranties, and the expected life of important home features such as your roof, as keeping these items in good repair, can save you thousands of dollars down the road.

Look For Tax Rebates

Some outdoor home improvements, such as solar panels, have government incentive programs. Before you start a major project, especially if it is a project that will conserve or produce energy in your home, look for these incentive programs to see if you qualify for any tax rebates.

Consider Cost Versus Added Value

Many outdoor home improvements will add resale value to your home, such as landscaping, or installing a tile roof rather than a shingle roof. Do your research to compare how much the improvement will cost, against how much value it will add to your home. For example, installing a swimming pool will add value to your home, but you will most likely pay more to install it, than you will gain in resale value. The personal enjoyment of owning your own pool may be well worth the money lost, but it is important to understand all the factors before you start construction.

Improve Your Home Security

Getting a home security system does more than just improve your peace of mind. It can also significantly lower your homeowners insurance. Home automation systems can help you control lights, door locks, and alarms automatically through your computer or smart phone to make it look like someone is home at any time. Some services also offer alarms, cameras, glass break sensors, smart thermostats, and motion detectors. These features protect your home when you're away, and convince your insurance company that you are less of a financial risk to them.

Consider How Long You Intend To Stay

Some improvements, such as adding solar panels, can save you money in the long run, but only if you intend to stay in your home for a long period. Many solar panels will pay for themselves in electric bill savings within ten years, but if you plan to move in two, it may not be worth the investment. If you'll be looking for a new home soon, you may want to hold off on installing that deck in the backyard, so you will have the funds to install one in your new home.

Outdoor improvements are a great way to maintain your investment in your home, and get some new enjoyment out of an old space. Just be sure to do your research to get the best value for your time and money.


“Brooke Chaplan is a writer and freelancer living New Mexico. She enjoys blogging about home, family, and fitness articles. Learn more about improving a home through automation at Kansas City home automation. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Banish the Blues: Bring Warmth to Your Bedroom this Winter

It’s difficult to admit, especially after what turned out to be something of a glorious summer, but the winter is fast approaching. Dark mornings and chillier evenings are signalling the arrival of the colder weather and with it, the temptation to withdraw indoors and while away the winter months sipping tea and piling on the pounds to stave off the icy chills!


With that in mind, it’s important that our little caves are up to the job of harbouring us for a long winter of hibernation. When it’s cold, we all love to hideout in our bedrooms, where we can truly relax in our most comfortable (and often most unattractive) clothing. That’s why I've created these top tips for bringing some much needed warmth to your bedroom this winter.


Accessories


No one is saying that you have to completely redecorate your bedroom in time for winter. On the contrary, you can enhance the warmth and the inviting feel of your room with a few simple additions.

Naturally, the focal point of any bedroom is the bed - so when you’re looking to alter the design or feel of a room, this is the place to start. Adding cushions and a throw is a simple and relatively inexpensive measure that will increase the sense of opulence and comfort in your bedroom, which is just what you’re looking for on those chilly December nights! When I want to add warmth and decadence, nothing serves me better than gold. That’s why I love this range of gold cushions and throws from very.co.uk.


Function


I’m of the firm opinion that televisions should be banished from bedrooms. Your boudoir should be a sanctuary free from harsh noise and mental stimulation, which is why I despair at people who insist on having a flat screen at the bottom of the bed!

That said, I also believe that your bedroom should offer more than a place to rest your head. Armchairs are a great addition to any bedroom, and provide the perfect spot for curling up with a good book and a warm blanket, when the wind and rain are lashing the windows.

This classic leather chair from the range of designer chairs at Cult Furniture, in the iconic Mies van de Rohe style, is perfect for adding style and sophistication to your room, while providing a wonderfully warm place to snuggle up in when you’re in need of some alone time.



(Miesvaan de Rohe Style Vintage Chair, in Brown Leather, £349.00, available at Cult Furniture.)


Lighting


It’s dark for the majority of theharsh British winter, so we’re left with little alternative but to create our own lighting. It goes without saying that when you’re trying to create a warm atmosphere, lighting is a crucial tool. Opt for yellow, as oppose to harsher white light and use table lamps for a warm and cosy atmosphere.


Jack Collier is an interior design enthusiast, with a passion for creating unique and distinctive room designs, writing on behalf of CultFurniture

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Matching Your Garden Design to Your House Architecture

Gardens are natural embellishments that can make a home so much more charming, relaxing, and homey. There’s no hard and fast rule about the kind of garden that you should maintain to enhance your house. But if you want not just another residence, but a lovely, welcoming home, take time to know which garden style you should have to matching the features of your house.

Is your house design inspired by the Victorian era?


Victorian_house
Image Source: flickr.com


There are several types of 19th century Victorian architecture, but the most popular is the Queen Anne with its “painted lady” look. It’s also made distinctive by its tall and narrow windows, pitched gable roof, and patterned shingles. Columns, turrets, porches, ornate wooden brackets, and decorative woodwork add more character to buildings of this style.

If your home is inspired by this ornate design, your garden has to have a complementary look.

·         The grass must be immaculately trimmed, the hedges well-groomed, and the flower beds neat and free of dried leaves and petals – almost like a painting.

·         Remember that Victorian homes are meant to grab attention and admired. So make your flower beds bold with an assortment of vividly colored flowers.

Or do you have a prairie-style home?


Prairie_house
Image Source: flickr.com


Prairie-style houses are generally identified with their low horizontal silhouettes, having broad, low-pitched roofs and one to two-story structures. Everything about these homes is huge – the overhanging eaves and square porch supports. This design also has an inclination to use natural materials like wood and stones. Windows typically provide the accents with geometric or floral designs.

If your home fits this description, follow the features of the prairie gardens popularized by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, and your own greenery and outdoor area will be perfect.

·     This style makes use of melodramatic swathes of ornamental grasses together with perennials. Prairie gardens are best for large gardens, but with control and creativity, you can use the same concept in your small space.

·      Alongside the Indian grass, grow wildflowers like false blue indigo, meadow blazing star, butterfly weed, and black-eyed Susan, for instance.


What if you've got a very chic contemporary structure?


Contemporary_home
Image Source: flickr.com


Contemporary house architecture is largely inspired by the temple construction scheme called “zenshuyo,” which is actually characterized by orderliness, simplicity, and lightness, except for its decorative curved roof. This is why a modern home usually takes the minimalist approach of having clean, simple lines and open spaces. It’s stripped of all things unnecessary and focuses on the essentials.

Your challenge in creating a garden for your contemporary living style is making everything appear relaxing and effortless.

·         Remember that everything in your garden must be made to calm the mind and relax the body, creating a spiritual ambiance. You can think about your own outdoor area as your homage to nature.

·         Make sure you have the basic elements found in a Zen garden – rocks, water, sand, and bamboo. Limit your plants to evergreen trees or shrubs. This landscape type often doesn’t require a lot of flowering plants, but if you wish to have them, choose from azaleas, hydrangeas, wisterias, and water-lovers like lotuses and water lilies.


Gardens turn a residential structure into a welcoming home. If you’re planning to create or refurbish yours, look at the architectural features of your house, and take your cue from there. Let the style flow from your front lawn to the backyard.

About the Author - Raquel Merc has mainly contributed about travel and lifestyle. But she’s also started writing a variety of articles on home management and parenting since becoming a mother in 2010. Among her recent works, feature ideas and insights on food and home, including articles for Simply Sheds.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Happy Halloween to You All! Halloween Decor Ideas



Halloween is a fun holiday for adults and children. Home décor suited for occasions is a beautiful idea, there are various themes that one can do for Halloween festival! To get in the mood of the holiday!

I will show you some brilliant ideas that will make your holiday remember able!

·         The Spooky corner:
This is necessary have for a home with children and trick or treat time. Creating a perfect corner for taking good pictures and memories will go a long way.All you need is a bit of time, glue and colored paper!



·         Pumpkin surprise:
 Last year I was lucky to find a lantern (a thrift shop find I will cherish for each holiday to come!), so I will be creating a small corner in the porch for trick or treat! This looks easy to do; will be needing ribbons and of course pumpkins!




Black and orange is a lovely theme, complementing each color tone. In addition, the warmth and festiveness of Halloween is portrayed through such décor. Candles are available in many designs and themes. I love using theme shapes and fragrances, they really add a lot to the overall ambience.


Image Source                       

·         Count Dracula’s feast:
Dinner table, as no holiday is complete without a grand feast, so is the case with Halloween. Theme inspired menus and table décor create an aura of Count Dracula’s dinner table in every house. I like using colored napkins, table runners, matching cutlery and coasters. Accessorizing is necessary to make any theme complete and final. Flowers are weakness, so orange roses it is!



Using a rustic traditional dining table set and adding spider webs, rusty leaves and details will only add more flavors to the table décor. Last fall I got my dining room set from Shop4Furniture and grabbed a few black candles and net and Voila! A haunted themed dinner table, everyone especially loved my lamp lights covered in black net and I used dried flowers, spray painted black to complete the theme.


·         Easy to do décor for Halloween:
Many of the things used can be done within a budget at home, not requiring you to spend an outrageous amount of money for the holiday! My nephew makes amazing ghosts and spider webs using old white flat sheets and twine and yarn. Similar to the images below:






·         Halloween center pieces:
I like doing centerpieces within the Halloween theme so everyone really gets into the festive mood. This year I am thinking of using candles lying around home and pair them twigs and burlap for a haunted theme; it really is a great fabric to work with and has many creative uses!



Hope you guys enjoyed these great easy to do Halloween ideas for décor! I sure enjoyed sharing them. Thanks for having me Chelsea! Wish you guys have a great spooky holiday season!
xo

Eva
Hello dear readers. I am Eva Stephen from Home Décor and am pleased to be here. Chelsea has been kind enough to welcome me to do a special guest post for Halloween, so today I make sure*both*Home Décor readers (interestingly we have the same blog) enjoy decorating for Halloween!