3 Ways to make your home look more spacious

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It’s incredibly easy and affordable to make smaller rooms in your home appear more spacious. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. By following these 3 steps, you can easily add length, depth and height to any space.

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Use low-contrasting, cool colours

Lighter colours reflect light. Darker colours absorb it. In the world of decorating, there are several ways to manipulate colour to make a space feel larger:

  • Lower the contrast among the colours in a room. Stick with neutral tones in adjacent shades throughout your design.
  • Paint trim and moulding a shade or two lighter than the walls. This helps to make walls appear as if they’re receding.
  • Use colours that are cool, as opposed to warm – icy blues, greys, mint greens – these are all colours that give the illusion of spaciousness. Carry them over from your wall colours to your designer curtain fabrics, wall art and throw pillows.
  • Consider your art work. If you’re decorating a small room, covering the walls with multiple large canvases or frames can often make the space feel more overcrowded. If you’re wanting to make an artistic statement in your room, try installing wall murals instead.

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Create room flow

Avoid interrupting the flow of your space as much as possible. Rooms that are cut up into sections by furniture, rugs or other elements feel smaller than rooms with plenty of open space. There are a few simple methods of optimising the flow in your home.

  • Consider installing seamless flooring, such as hardwood or tile, that flows uninterrupted from room to room. Choose larger flooring units, as opposed to smaller ones. For instance, 18-inch tiles make a room appear more spacious than 12-inch tiles because there are fewer grout lines that intersect, making the overall pattern appear less busy.
  • Purchase furniture that serves a dual purpose, such as an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table or an armoire that stores your television and electronics. This will help you streamline your furnishings and eliminate extra pieces that take up needless space. You also want to make sure the furniture pieces you’re displaying are proportional to the size of your room. While oversized couches, cabinets, dressers and beds look dramatic; they take up much more space than needed.
  • De-clutter and organise. Go for a minimalist approach to help your space look larger. Make good use of vertical space in the form of bookshelves and wall-mounted ledges. This will help to get articles such as books and collectibles off tables and stands that take up precious floor space.

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Reflect soft, natural light around the room

The way in which a room is lit goes a long way toward creating a mood, whether it’s small and cosy or spacious and relaxing. There are many creative ways to bring openness to a space using light:

  • Introduce natural light. Cut daylight-blocking shrubbery away from the windows of your home, and clean and polish the glass on both sides. The addition of natural light to a space gives it an airy and open appeal.
  • Where natural light is not an option, use lamps. Try to create soft shadows as opposed to stark contrast between dark corners and bright white walls.
  • Use mirrors – mirrored doors, back splashes or decorative mirrors mounted as art. Mirrors help reflect light around a room, giving it depth and fullness.

These simple design tips will easily and instantly make a small space seem much more spacious.

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Quick tips to make a family-friendly designed home

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Feel the need to redesign the look of your home? Start with the practicalities – have children or pets for instance? Then it’s probably not wise to put a delicate glass collection arranged in a cabinet for starters – it will end in tears. However, you wouldn’t like a home that looks like a day-care centre either. There is a middle ground: an attractive, comfortable and unique home that can withstand the rough & tumble of family life.

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Moving in soon? This advice is even better if you’re looking to purchase a new home in a fresh location since you’ll have more freedom with regards to design and greater influence over the look of each room in your house. Start by looking at expertly-built homes in a good development beforehand. The houses for sale in Adelaide, Australia are worth considering during your house-hunting expedition.

Now, read on to discover the dos and don’ts when creating a home with family-friendly design.

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Consider your family’s lifestyle. Each room in your home might look beautiful, but if it doesn’t take into account the unique demands of your family, life will quickly become frustrating – and a little dull too perhaps. To avoid this, adapt your decorating style to stand up to the rigours of daily life – vomiting babies, sibling food fights, messy pets, indoor rugby matches, and even slobby spouses. Take into account everyone who’s living with you and decorate accordingly.

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Don’t put off decorating. Many families hold off decorating their homes until their children are older – making the family do with tired furniture and household accessories many years after they’ve passed their best. It’s not necessary with a bit of thought. A fresh look gives everyone a lift! Even your youngest kids can benefit from the new, beautiful scheme. You can even get your kids involved in the process – asking what they’d like to have in their room when redecorating – and showing them how they could help. They’d learn skills that they might actually enjoy – and perhaps develop a sense of ownership. They might think twice before messing up rooms that they’ve helped to create!

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Make it simple and sophisticated. There is beauty in simplicity. A clean-lined, but casual and comfy look is always a good way to go for family life. Avoid over fussy furniture and unnecessary detailing – real dust traps. Choose materials that can stand up to those dirty shoe prints and pet hair. Vintage and well-loved items survive kids better than precious antiques or the pristine new – a bit of extra wear & tear can even add to the vintage charm. Whatever you choose, low maintenance is a must! Once you have kids, you’ll have little time to plump up cushions, dust surfaces and constantly clear clutter.

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Choose indestructible finishes and materials. Look for the toughest materials around. For the walls, choose a wipeable paint. You can also have a chalkboard paint or graffiti board for your little artist. For hallways, install kick boards and paint it with gloss or semi-gloss paints. For the windows, opt for simple, easy-clean roller blinds or good roman shades – those made with natural materials such as bamboo are also great – they’re durable, stylish and add a bit of texture to all the smooth paint. For floorings, look for surfaces that can be cleaned up with a damp mop. Wood, laminate, rubber and linoleum work well.

Well, we’ve covered the basics, just focus on function over form, and you’re well on your way to creating a family-friendly designed home. Know any other techniques? Please share them with us below!

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5 mistakes you’re (probably) making in your bathroom design

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We all think you don’t want a large, free-standing bath in a small room. But sometimes, it’s the smallest (and quirkiest) of design decisions that can actually do the most injustice to what should be the best room in the house. Illuminated Mirrors lists some of the most common bathroom design mistakes and how to avoid them.

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Not considering the colour/material of your towels

Ok, ok. It sounds like an odd choice, but linens and towels are actually one of the biggest causes of bathroom chaos – not because theyre left on the floor, but because of their colour. Darker shades can leave pieces of fluff absolutely everywhere meaning, while your room might look gorgeous when guests arrive, one rub of wet hands and bits of dark material will make even the newest of suites look grubby. Consider the fluff your different towels will leave, as well as the material they’re made of when buying – a small decision, but one you’ll be grateful for when it comes to the weekly clean.

On the other end of the scale, dazzling whites only stay dazzling for a brief length of time when they’re used as much as a towel is. Opt for shades of cream or muted colours – not only do they bring a statement to your room, but they also save you cleaning/replacement costs in the future.

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Putting mirrors in the wrong place

We’ve all heard the age-old trick that a mirror can add more space, right? However, where you put the mirror is as important as putting it up itself. Consider the places where light is most likely to hit, and avoid placing opposite dirty laundry or parts of the bathroom that need a touch of repair. Reflecting dirty areas of the room or piles of washing will make your room feel smaller and more cluttered – try and position your mirror so it reflects the brightest and lightest areas – whichever feature you wish you had double of (bar the toilet) is always a good start.

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Poor lighting

Linked directly to the above, insufficient lighting is one of the biggest crimes you can make in your bathroom – it adds a grubby touch to even the cleanest of rooms and makes doing make-up, shaving or general pampering near impossible. It’s a particular problem in rooms with dark features making things like your mirror (in the right place) and clever additional lighting vital. For example, when choosing a cabinet, consider options that come with in-built LED lighting – a small touch, but something that makes a real difference to dark rooms (and as they’re energy saving, your electricity bill too!).

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Not considering storage

What’s a bathroom without all the lotions, potions and general commotion that makes us look beautiful? Male or female, we’re all guilty of storing a few too many bottles at the side of the bath or on shelves – however, all these wonderful items can make your bathroom look smaller, dirtier, more cluttered and generally less of a haven. Consider proper storage when you’re designing – making it a feature, rather than a necessity.

Wicker baskets, for example, can look beautiful in the right style of room while metallic, cool cabinets can hold a huge amount in more modern rooms. Think of your theme and what storage can be linked to it – nautical bathrooms, as an example, could really be brought to life using faux fishing crates. Be creative and don’t be afraid to experiment – you can always remove storage solutions if they don’t work!

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Bad ventilation

No matter how nice the bath potions used, a poorly ventilated bathroom will always smell damp and be a haven for mould. One of the most common offences in the bathroom lies in lack of airflow – either ignoring an extractor fan or a good old-fashioned window. Consider where you can have your ventilation source before any other design or you’ll pay the price in a worn looking bathroom fairly quickly. While a window wide open is always the best trick for a touch of fresh air, consider a) what you’ll do when it’s freezing cold and b) the amount of dirt the open window will bring in. Having a proper think about small niggles like this before finalising any designs can increase the longevity of your brand new suite and avoid any issues in the long-term, keeping your bathroom beautiful for longer.

Your bathroom should be the best room in the house. A few simple changes can make it just that – no matter how big it is. Consider light, air and space and you’ll be onto the best path with a room you can enjoy for a long time.

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Want a home office but have no space? No problem!

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Whether you work from home full time or you’re simply trying to get some extra work done after-hours, a home office can be a perfect solution to balancing your laptop in your knees in front of the TV. But with a severe lack of space in many of our homes, just where can you put one?

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Maximise the space

If you can’t stretch to occupying one room in your home to transform into your office then keep an eye out for any nooks and crannies that can be the perfect place to get your work done.

Simplicity is key so look for a spot where you can fit a table, your laptop and a couple of drawers. Consider the natural light in a room too – you want to have plenty of natural light whilst you’re at work so look for a space where this is possible.

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Build up

Once you’ve identified a spot, build up starting from the walls. Hanging shelves to keep files and folders can help to keep your room from getting cluttered whilst also drawing the eye’s attention towards the walls. Mix it up and hang some decorative objects too, to create a pretty and inviting atmosphere.

To try and use the space effectively think about what you’ll need. If you need a printer and scanner – consider buying a two-in-one to save on space. If you need a filing cabinet – consider wall storage such as magazine racks or display shelving. Do you need a bookcase? Again, consider an attractive bookshelf and only keep the books that you’ve used in the last few months. Any others should be placed in storage, sold or donated to a charity shop. Do you need a table and drawers? Why not consider getting a desk with built in drawer space?

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Get comfy

Every home office needs a comfy spot – no matter how small. If space allows, try and invest in a super-comfortable, statement armchair to step away from your workload. Having a small space where you can take yourself to is great for concentration and productivity levels.

Plus, it gives you an excuse to take 10 minutes to kick back with a coffee, a book or even a light snooze!

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Personalise it

Whether you’ve found a space under the stairs, a spot in your bedroom or even an underused corner of the kitchen add some personalisation to your office by hanging a noticeboard on the wall surrounding it to keep any important clippings, events or even your favourite drawing done by your little ones.

If this is your permanent spot, paint the wall in front of your home office with a bright colour. Shades of green, for example, are good for people who work long hours as the colour does not cause fatigue and can help you to remain calm whilst yellow can help to stimulate creativity and encourages optimism.

Don’t forget to add a plant or two. Plants help to increase the air quality around you and can even help to boost your productivity levels. Choose a low maintenance plant such as a spider plant or philodendron as they require less care and attention than others (perfect if you’re too busy!).

How have you incorporated an office into your home? Be sure to let us know and get in touch!

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How to add a touch of Italy to your home

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When one thinks of Italian interiors, a sense of timeless style, quality and perhaps opulence comes to mind. From grand interiors with richly carved furniture, luxurious fabrics, ornate mirrors, decorated tiles and lavish gold detailing – right up to the clean lines of contemporary urban design – full of space & light, designer furniture and modern artwork. Or perhaps what could be termed as classic Tuscan style says Italy to you – the faded charm of country houses and villas with all their character and romance – antique country furniture, exposed stone, wooden beams and baked terracotta.

Perhaps you’ve been inspired after a trip to the country or while scouring magazines or Pinterest – here’s how to add a touch of Italy to your home:

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Old World Italian vs modern Italian

As we’ve mentioned, Italian interiors come in various forms from minimalist urban chic to traditional country rustic. Before you start introducing that touch of Italy to your space, decide which you prefer and which style your home suits best. Perhaps develop an eclectic look where styles are fused – sleek and luxurious with ornate additions such as a grand chandelier, ornate carved antique furniture or fine art sculpture introduced to a room. Or perhaps a grander, luxurious and lavish overall feel with touches of modernity in the form of a cutting edge designer chair or piece of modern art.

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Invest in stone

When it comes to adding a touch of Italy to your space, you can’t make a better start than investing in some good quality stone. Perhaps heavy-duty limestone floor tiles to create a clean, timeless look. Marble or marble-effect worktops are ideal in kitchens. Or incorporate stone accessories – marble chopping boards and pestle & mortars, for example. Small mosaic tiles are perfect for kitchen or bathroom splash backs. And decorative stone sculptures and pillars introduce an atmosphere of classical antiquity.

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Go ornate

If you’re going for the opulent look then the more ornate the better when it comes to creating the Italian feel in the home. Look for mirrors with intricately designed frames and carved furniture reminiscent of that you’d see in a stately home or grand villa. Opt for large rugs with elaborate designs, opulent chandeliers and decorative handles to doors & drawers.

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Add some colour

When it comes to colour a neutral backdrop with striking golds, rich blues and reds work perfectly for adding a touch of grand Italy to your home – we love this combination of a bold chandelier, ornate gold mirror and the sumptuous sofa design. If you’re thinking country rustic, then it will be a palette of creams and terracotta with subtle natural tones introduced through stone, wicker and wood.

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Take inspiration from famous Italian periods

The Renaissance and Baroque periods are strong influences when it comes to Italian interior design. Craftsmanship is of great importance. Take inspiration from this principal and purchase the highest quality that budget will allow. When it comes to furniture and accessories, luxury and opulence is important when replicating Renaissance and Baroque eras.

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Don’t forget your outdoor space

Outside is as just as important as the inside when it comes to creating a home that transports you to Italy. Structure is important with stone paths, trimmed hedges and sculpture offering a strong backdrop. Olive trees, figs, citrus plants or perhaps tall Italian cypress trees can be planted in pots at the entrance to your home or garden. These particular trees are very distinctive and classic Italy. They can thrive in the UK because they are a hardy, evergreen and drought resistant too.

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What’s your bathroom style?

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natural styled bathroom with white suite and walls and wooden floor and beams

The bathroom is such an important room in the house. It has the obvious functional side – a place to wash, dress, brush teeth and take medicines. It’s often a place of rest and relaxation too – long soaks with bubbles, candles, magazines, music and glasses of wine are a much loved pleasure for many.

So, what’s your dream style? This website if full of bathroom ideas to get you started on creating your new look.

industrial bathroom style

Vintage industrial

This bathroom style incorporates a utilitarian vibe with naked copper pipes, metal lockers & wire cages for storage. Clean, unfussy and practical, perfect for loft and factory conversions.

luxe glamour bathroom style

Luxe glamour

Lots of gold, lots of opulence – think 1940s Hollywood. Oversized cut glass chandeliers ornate rococo mirror and picture frames. Over the top swag & tail curtains. A place to indulge and linger for a while.

boho bathroom style

Boho

An eclectic style drawing on global influences… glazed Moroccan tiles, Indian hammered metal framed mirrors and colourful woven laundry baskets from Ghana. Candles, incense and keepsakes picked up on travels to faraway lands, finish the look.

minimalist bathroom style

Minimalist

Clean lines, white-washed walls, white suite, lots of invisible storage to hide away all the washing, cleaning, health and beauty accoutrements. An uncluttered space that gives room for clear thought and relaxation.

feminine bathroom style

Feminine

Feminine doesn’t just mean pink and fluffy. Display pretty perfume bottles, lotions and potions – vases of fresh, fragrant flowers perhaps. A place for pampering and indulgence.

gentleman's club bathroom style

Gentleman’s club

Less Corby trouser press more classic wooden valet stand. Unfussy, but comfortable and warm. Lots of wood, soft towels and quality toiletries.

tropical rainforest bathroom style

Tropical rainforest

A very natural and lush look. The UK may be a temperate country, but lots of tropical plants love a bathroom environment where it’s often, warm and steamy. A few we recommend are the peace lily, orchids, ferns and succulents such as echeveria, aloe vera and the jade plant. If you’re limited in your windowsill or shelf space, spider plants are perfect for hanging baskets.

retro pop bathroom style

Retro pop

A fun and vibrant space with bold and bright primary colours. Quirky, vintage accessories and comic book graphics add further interest.

Deco fabulous bathroom style

Deco fabulous

A strong, crisp design look dating back to the Art Deco movement that originally came to prominence in the 1920s era. Chrome baths, basin pedestals, towel warmers and radiators are classic pieces. Angular shower heads and bath taps maintain the flow of things.

nautical inspired bathroom style

Nautical

A nautical or coastal theme is a popular, much-loved decorating scheme for bathrooms – and not just for those that live near the beach. The seaside association with clean air, bathing and freshness being a strong draw. Shades of blue and white which reflect sea and sky work very well. Weathered paint finishes add character. Finish the look with objets trouvés that you picked up on your travels such as shells, pebbles and drift wood.

in collaboration with Homify