Archive for the ‘interior decoration’ Category

Turn your bathroom into a spa

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

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rose petals floating on bath water and feet with red-painted toe nails poking above the waterImage credit: Dennis Wong

As everyday life gets more and more stressful, and pockets get pinched ever tighter thanks the recent economic downturn, we’re all looking for ways to de-stress and bring some tranquillity back into our lives. Spa treatments are a great way of easing the knots out of tense muscles, but visits to a spa can be a bit on the expensive side. The next best thing is to create your own spa at home in your bathroom, and it’s easier to do than you might think.

bath with lotions and rolled up towels beside itImage credit: Anna

Setting the scene

If you’re ready for a little redecoration in the quest for tranquillity, doing a makeover in the bathroom will help create that all-important spa atmosphere. Choose soft blues and greens to recreate a beach atmosphere, or if you don’t like those colours, go for gentle, natural colours that are calming rather than bright colours designed to wake up the mind.

Bathroom furniture can help you set the scene in own home spa. Vanity units are great places to keep lotions and potions. To give a really authentic look, why not keep rolled up towels in there too? We tend to fold towels at home, but most of the towels in spas are rolled. They take up less space that way and look quite exotic too. Stick to white for a real spa look, or mix up the colours for something a little brighter, especially if seeing colour cheers you up and lifts your spirits. That’s part of what spas are about, as well as helping you to relax physically.

Vanity units come in all sizes and shapes, with both open shelving and closed cupboards, and they don’t cost a fortune to fit. Having all the bathroom bits & bobs neatly tucked away helps to keep the surfaces clean and clear, and this too is important when creating a spa atmosphere because clutter befuddles the mind and prevents relaxation. Online stores such as www.bellabathrooms.co.uk have a great selection that can give you some idea of what’s out there and give you inspiration.

lit tea lightsImage credit: Thomas Wanhoff

Adding accessories

Soaking in the bath is relaxing by itself, but adding a few extras can really make the spa experience come alive and relax the senses as well as the body.

Soft music, preferably instrumental without lyrics or nature soundtracks such as lapping waves, can all help you let your mind wander and stop thinking over the day’s troubles. Light a few candles, placing them out of harm’s way so they don’t fall in the water (another great use for vanity units), and remember to incorporate scent as well. Our sense of smell is a powerful mood enhancer, so choose something such as lavender, which has a well-known relaxing scent. You could burn incense or use a reed diffuser for a more subtle smell. Scented bath oils are a good idea too, since they also soften the skin.

While you’re relaxing in the warm scented water, it’s a good time to use a face mask or an eye treatment. Lie back, let your mind wander and feel the stress of the day melt away.

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Redecorate without redecorating: 5 Quick tips

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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Bedroom of Marc and Edwina Boase in Brighton taken from their feature on Design*SpongeImage credit: Daniela Exley via Design*Sponge

So, this is the holy grail of all interior design; how to redecorate without actually redecorating. But just in the same way that a new pair of shoes makes Carrie Bradshaw feel like she has a whole new outfit, and the same way that a new supercharger makes Lewis Hamilton feel like he has a brand new car, there are some quick and cost effective ways to help you spruce up your home.

Our sitting room

Cushions and Throws

It’s truly amazing what a few cushions and throws can do for your home. If you want to build up depth and textures in your interior design, make sure you layer, layer… and layer some more. Not enough pennies in the piggy bank for some new fabric? Not to worry. Old curtains, bed sheets and upholstery offcuts can all be recycled to create your new cushion covers. For sewing newbies, here are 3 ways to make a cushion cover.

Orange feature wall in our kitchen

Paint a Feature Wall

An easy way of refreshing the look and feel of a room is to create a new focal point. A feature wall is quick and simple to do: a new lick of paint and you’ll have a whole new space. If you want to save money or you want to be more eco-friendly, you can even make your own home-made paint. Vintage industrial storage drawers in our sitting room

De-Clutter Your Home

Sometimes the quickest way of improving your home décor is to de-clutter and keep it looking clear & tidy. Throw away anything you don’t need, use old materials for recycling / up-cycling projects, and make sure you have ample storage around the house. For a range of storage units, chest of drawers, blanket boxes or display cabinets, visit the Fortune Woods website.

branch being used as a curtain poleImage credit: The Burlap Bag

Update Your Window Furnishings

Windows are key features in every room. You’d be surprised at how a new curtain fabric, a fresh tieback or an imaginative curtain pole makes a world of difference. Visit UKTV to find out how you can make your own curtain tiebacks to save money.

Before & after painted chest of drawersImage credit: I create… with love

Paint Inexpensive Furniture

French colonial, English country cottage, shabby chic, mid century modern; there are so many different interior design looks you can create simply by painting an old piece of furniture. Buy second-hand furniture from a flea market or car boot sale and give it a new lease of life by painting it your desired colour. You can refresh the furniture regularly with a new coat of paint and edit your accessories / cushions to match.

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Top tips to update your teen’s bedroom

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

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Teenager's bedroom with an orange colour schemeImage credit: Sergi Mengot

Kids, they grow up so fast! Before you know it, building blocks and soft toys are just a distant memory. Colouring-in pens turn into make-up sets; Lego cars turn into skateboards. And the adorable, pint-sized children’s furniture they once loved no longer has a place in your home. As your little ones develop into their teen years and early adulthood, it’s important that you give them the independence they crave.

Every child’s bedroom is their safe haven, a place where their creativity and inner confidence can be nurtured. So it’s important that as parents, you can create a safe and inspiring place for young teenagers. Here are some quick tips on updating a teen’s bedroom.

Grey teenager's bedroom with bright coloured highlightsImage credit: Mazzali

Upgrade their bedroom furniture

From 12 years old and onwards, it’s not uncommon for children to want a more grown up space. Small updates to the furniture can make a big difference. If you’re not ready to invest in a double bed for your teenage son or daughter, or you don’t have enough room for a full size bed, you can find small double beds which are ideal for this transition period. (Visit Bedz R Us to find out more).

If you can’t afford to update furniture such as a wardrobe, bookshelf or a chest of drawers, a great tip is to update them with new finishes. Replace old wardrobe door handles, give the furniture a new lick of paint, or customise it using découpage from old magazines.

Teenage boy's bedroom with a black & white colour schemeImage credit: Stepinit.com

Choose a new colour scheme

It can be a confusing time being a teenager; part of you still finds solace in childhood comforts and the other half is desperate to grow up. So the decorating theme in your teenager’s bedroom needs to be a good halfway house. Try experimenting with different colour schemes. Monochrome is sophisticated and slick, but add a splash of hot pink or midnight blue to inject some youthfulness into the theme. Replace the bed linen and introduce some slightly more mature and refined decorative items into the room. Find out how to choose the perfect colour theme for your teenager in this UKTV article.

Teenager's bedroom wall covered in Polaroid photosImage credit: Lou Noble

Create a stimulating environment

It’s no secret that teenagers spend most of their time in their rooms – this is just the way of the world! So it’s important that a teen’s bedroom is a stimulating and interesting environment. Encourage their interests and hobbies and help them to learn new things. For music lovers, encourage instruments or music players. For art lovers, encourage them to help decorate their own walls. Or for photography enthusiasts, give them the confidence boost by incorporating their work on the walls. Here are some super cool ways to decorate using photographs from Houzz.com.

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A small bathroom makeover with a great tile effect

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

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White tiled shower roomimage credit: The Design Chaser

Many homes have one or more small-sized bathrooms, if you have one you’ll want to make the space seem as large as possible. Knowing how to choose the right tiles is a great start in doing this.

Choosing the wrong tiles can make a small bathroom look as though there’s even less space in it. You just need to put a little thought into your remodelling to reverse that and create a roomy feel.

white tiled bathroomimage credit: Into the Gloss

The Colour

A bathroom is always going to appear larger if its décor is mostly light in colour; cream or traditional white are an excellent choice if you want to create the effect of space. Of course, these colours may be a little too traditional and basic for some tastes. If you want to add a splash of colour to the proceedings do it with a mirror with a bright frame. This has the added advantage of being another giver of a feeling of space. Your towels can also be a great way of brightening your bathing area. You can even complement accessories with edgings for the tiled area.

green tiled showerimage credit: James Balston Photography

The Size

It’s not a good idea to use really large tiles in a smaller-sized bathroom; likewise very small tiles are not ideal. The smaller the tiles, the larger the amount of grout that’s visible. You can click here to learn more. Medium-sized tiles are usually the best choice, less grouting and less cutting than would be required for larger tiles. That being said, where there’s very little exposed wall, such as between units, smaller tiles can be the optimum way of filling a hard to tile area.

blue mosaic tiled wall border above a WCimage credit: Better Homes and Gardens

The Pattern

Huge, fussy patterns are not a good idea in a small space; they’re overwhelming and lead to an overfull feel. Likewise, really intricate patterns in the minimum of space can be very uneasy on the eye and feel a little claustrophobic. If you want to use patterned tiles in a small bathroom the best way to do it is to use them intermittently, as a splash back or as a border. Another technique of adding interest to a bathroom without reducing appearance of space is to choose light, same-coloured tiles that have some texture to them.

dark tiles on a bathroom wall laid on the diagonalimage credit: Home Designing

The Installation

Most people lay their bathroom tiles in a traditional straight row, straight tile pattern; it’s by far the most popular positioning technique. Diverting from the norm, by adopting a diagonal pattern, fools the eyes into thinking that the area covered by the tiles is larger than it actually is. Another great way of giving the sense of additional dimension to a bathroom is to use matching wall and floor tiles in a lighter tone. By doing this you allow the interior design to flow right through the room which makes it seem less cluttered and larger.

A small space can be just as beautiful as a larger one; it just requires a little creativity of thought.

Five show home elements to incorporate into your interior design

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

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sitting room with parquet floor

Have you ever looked around a show home and thought, “Wow, this place looks totally stunning!”? If you’ve taken the time to visit a show home before, there’s a pretty good chance you would have said or thought something right along these lines. That is because developers and property managers put a lot of effort into the perfect presentation of their show homes; after all, these are the properties that will encourage people to move into another one on the development. There are plenty of techniques that developers use to get the best out of their show homes. In fact, there are companies such as Emblem Furniture (www.emblemfurniture.co.uk) who provide staging and furniture hire services to those who are in the trade. Of course, as a home-owner you want to make your home look great whilst still being functional. Therefore, it’s a good compromise to borrow some home show elements, without going the whole hog. Here are five suggestions that could be right up your street:

kitchen sink with industrial-type pull out spray tap

New appliances

When did you last update your kitchen and utility room appliances? Dishwashers, washing machines and fridge freezers can last a fair number of years, but it’s always worthwhile checking out what’s new on the market. This is because appliances can become outdated in terms of energy efficiency and features – it may surprise you, but a new appliance could actually cost you less in the long term. Not only that, but companies are always finding ways to present appliances in a more attractive way, really adding to the look of your home.

orange feature wall in our kitchen

Subtle colour themes

Another thing that show homes usually do well is colour. Whether this is in the walls, floors or furniture, show homes draw in your eye without making you flinch. You could consider incorporating some of these subtle colour themes into your own home such as using calming greens in the kitchen, or warmer colours in the living room. If you’re slightly afraid of colour, you could try starting with a feature wall to introduce yourself to the idea.

large, colourful painting in our sitting room

Feature decorations

Speaking of features, it isn’t just the walls that can make an impact. You can also look to decorations such as clocks and artwork to do the work for you. If your walls are currently a bit bare and barren, this could be a really good technique to bring some character and life into your rooms. Mirrors with interesting frames can also be another great option.

sitting room with chrome coffee table with shiny black glass top

Shiny materials

You can also use other shiny materials aside from mirrors to achieve a high-end finish in your home. Glass is a popular option if you want to create a feeling of spaciousness, and glossy cabinets are perfect for your upgraded kitchen. It’s well worth having a look around warehouses and showrooms in search of inspiration.

kitchen-diner with strips of inset ceiling spotlights

Bold lighting

Finally, check out what lighting options are available to you. If you haven’t been to the hardware store in some time, now might be the perfect opportunity. Show homes often use spotlights to good effect, and will regularly have a statement light fixture in the entrance hall or living area. Borrow these concepts to pull off your own brilliant show home feel.