Eco-friendly home decorating tips

Eco-friendly home decorating tips

As looking after the planet has become a more and more pressing matter, many people are hoping to change their ways in order to do their part for the cause. It’s important to become more conscious about how human actions can have severe consequences on the environment, not only in an altruistic sense but also to protect the planet so people can continue to live on it safely. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process of decorating your home. For those who wish to help the planet while staying stylish, here are a few good tips on how to decorate without harming the environment.

House plant with blue glass lamp and books

Plants

Deforestation is a terrible issue. Natural resources are being used up and consumed faster than they can be replaced. That’s why it is important to help redress the balance in as many ways as possible. Although it may not quite be a forest, if everyone chose to decorate their home with more plant life, the world would surely benefit. Plus, greenery adds effortless beauty to any room. House plants help to keep the air clean whilst also brightening up their surroundings. You won’t need to worry about them clashing with your preferred sense of style either, as plants are timelessly attractive. Just make sure to research the characteristics of your chosen plants as some varieties can attract unwanted pests. You can look here to find out what you need to know about termite swarms to keep your home staying spick-and-span.

Green roofs on urban multi-storey buildings

Green roof

If you’re serious about your decision to help the planet recover from the overuse of its resources, a great way of reducing the amount on your energy bill is to install solar panels in your home. Whilst most are simply placed on the roof of a house, you can turn them into a feature. When the sunlight hits your roof, you’ll be able to store energy that’s completely green and environmentally friendly. If you’re lucky, you might even generate more than enough energy and the excess can be sold elsewhere. There are other ways of decorating the exterior of your home in eco-friendly ways. Why not grow grass or other low-maintenance plants on your roof to blend your home into the natural environment? Whether you live in the countryside or the city, a textured green roof is eye-catching and attractive to wildlife such as small birds and insects. Creepers and climbing plants growing up the exterior walls adds interest to any building and well-maintained window boxes make your home look pretty and will be bursting with life.

Hessian shopping bags

Recycling and upcycling

It’s all about reducing waste when it comes to protecting the environment. Fortunately, recycling has become almost second nature to most households. It might not seem like much, but by separating your metals, glass, plastic and cardboard and disposing of them properly you’re doing the world a huge favour. To extend this into your decorating, you can find or create furniture and homewares created from recycled or reclaimed materials. You’ll get the best of both worlds – stylish, beautiful, original interior design and a clean, green conscience.

[disclosure*]

Designer Desire: Esteri Tomula

Mosaic of Esteri Tomula ceramic designs | H is for Home

Another designer from the Finel/Arabia stable, Esteri Tomula (1920-1998) produced many patterns for their ceramic and enamelled wares many of which were designed by Kaj Franck.

A few of her designs are still in production today and can be purchased from Arabia or the Finnish Design Shop. Her vintage wares can regularly be found on eBay, Etsy and Pamono. We’ve got our eyes peeled hoping to stumble across a set of her salt & pepper pots (top, right). Aren’t they sweet?!

She was very prolific during her career; above are some examples of our favourite designs.

Portrait of Esteri Tomulacredit

Additional image credits:

DishwareHeaven

Price Points: Statement pendant lights

Three statement pendant lights | H is for Home

We love our characterful 19th century mill-worker’s cottage but we wish our ceilings were a bit higher. Not because we need to stoop to get around (we don’t) but because we wish we could illuminate the rooms with statement pendant lights.

In our kitchen, we have a group of recessed LED down-lighters which are practical and unobtrusive. However, we’d love to be able to have attention-grabbing lighting hanging from the ceilings of our sitting room and bedroom. Maybe in our future house!

  1. KNAPPA pendant lamp: £18, IKEA
  2. Saloon Flowers 5 designer pendant lamp: £112.90, lights.com
  3. Ballroom glass lights by Grattify: £220 each, Notonthehighstreet

Cakes & Bakes: Ginger stout loaf

Home-made ginger stout loaf sliced | H is for Home

I’ve made a few ginger cakes before, however, this ginger stout loaf is probably the most moist, treacly, dark and delicious of them all!

Porter and black treacle mixture in a saucepan | H is for Home

I’ve had a couple of bottles of Hatherwood Purple Panther porter in the fridge since before Christmas. I’ve not tried them yet, we’re having a Dry January… does cooking with alcohol count as breaking the fast? I’ve only used about a quarter of the bottle, so I’m wondering how to use the leftovers… baking-wise. I’ve used it in the past in chocolate cake and bread, so perhaps something different this time. What do you recommend?

Jar of Opies stem ginger in syrup | H is for Home Mixing bowl with sugars and chopped ginger | H is for Home

I’ve halved the original recipe, which is a Bundt cake that serves 12. It called for 3 large eggs. How do you halve 3 eggs? Well, I whisked up the 3 eggs and poured half of the mixture into the batter. I used the other half in a frittata for lunch… waste not, want not!

Ginger stout loaf batter in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home Cooked ginger stout loaf in a lined loaf tin | H is for Home

We’ve had lots of cold, damp, misty, murky weather of late. This rich, warming cake – served alongside a nice strong cup of tea – or with some piping hot custard – is the perfect antidote.

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest if you want to try the recipe soon!

Ginger stout loaf
Serves 8
Cook Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 120ml/8 fl oz stout/porter
  2. 6tbsp molasses
  3. 3tbsp ginger in syrup, chopped finely
  4. 2 medium-sized eggs, at room temperature
  5. 1tsp vanilla extract
  6. 100g/½ Muscovado sugar
  7. 100g/3½ Demerara sugar
  8. 100ml/3½ fl oz vegetable oil
  9. 125g/4½oz plain flour
  10. ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  11. ½tbsp ground ginger
  12. ½tsp cinnamon
  13. ¼ tsp ground cloves
  14. ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  15. ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  16. ¼ tsp allspice
  17. ¼ teaspoon fine sea saltHome-made ginger stout loaf ingredients
Add ingredients to shopping list
If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease & line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin with parchment paper
  3. Pour the stout and molasses into a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a simmer, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat, set aside and allow to cool
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped ginger, eggs, vanilla extract, Muscovado sugar and Demerara sugar until the mixture is no longer gritty
  5. Slowly add the oil, mixing all the while
  6. Slowly add the stout mixture and mix until well combined
  7. Carefully add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing well in between each addition.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared tin
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  10. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack
Notes
  1. Serve warm with custard or allow to cool completely before topping with cream cheese icing
Print
Adapted from New York Times
Adapted from New York Times
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Home decorating tips to make life easier

Home decorating tips to make life easier

Decorating your home can sometimes lead you down a path of extreme design and striking pieces of furniture, with elaborate and confusing elements. The emphasis on making your home look stylish can sometimes be given priority over the need to make your house comfortable. There are ways of incorporating both style and function into your home to make your life easier and less stressful, whether you need to recover from a tiring day at work or you simply enjoy having a place dedicated to relaxing. Here are some simple home decorating tips to help you update your home with the focus on comfort.

Orange upholstered reclining chairs

Reduce pain

Home is about comfort, safety and contentment. Whilst people are often made to feel guilty or lazy for needing to rest at work or in public, home is where you’re able to do whatever you want to ease your aches and pains. Unless you feel the need to adhere to a strict design aesthetic, there’s nothing to be ashamed of when adding touches that serve primarily to reduce discomfort. Take a look at stressless recliner sales to find a comfortable, stylish chair to relax in after a long, exhausting day. It will make your home look and feel more inviting as well as taking the weight off your feet.

open-plan living space

Comfort food in a comfortable kitchen

Do you enjoy baking but can never find the space to store the proper equipment or gadgets? Do you love coming home to a delicious, stress-free meal? When decorating your home, don’t forget the vital role of the kitchen in everybody’s life. Unlike the cold and utilitarian kitchens found in schools or army barracks, your kitchen should exude warmth and relaxation. Food plays an important part in home life, especially with families and children. Design your kitchen to allow for better flow of movement and efficiency by carefully calculating layout and planning the cupboard space you’ll need. This will make cooking much easier and give you more time to enjoy your mealtimes. Keep your dining area as close to the kitchen as possible. Perhaps find a table that fits perfectly in the kitchen, so the food has less distance to travel from oven to plate. You’ll be less likely to burn your hands, and your food will be hotter when you sit down to eat.

open-plan living space

Tactical furniture arrangement

Houses with too much furniture feel cramped and crowded, difficult to navigate. Homes with a large expanse of space seem cold and uninviting. Strike a balance between these two extremes to achieve a stylish cosiness that both entices and impresses. Think carefully about how you move around your house and where pieces of furniture need to be in relation to each other. There’s no point keeping your bookshelf and your favourite armchair in separate rooms. Have a look at the practice of Feng Shui for more detailed information about arranging your home to better suit your lifestyle.

[disclosure*]

What home-owners need to know about asbestos

What home-owners need to know about asbestos

Here in the UK, many home-owners have older properties, as it’s part of the character of the land. While these older properties are stunning to look at, unfortunately, they can house hidden health hazards such as asbestos. According to research carried out by the British Lung Foundation, approximately 14 million
homes in the UK were built with asbestos. Perhaps even scarier than that is the fact that surveys show
that 65% of home-owners admitted they didn’t know how to identify asbestos.

What this means is that a lot of education is needed when it comes to home-owners in the UK and the asbestos that may be hidden behind their walls and ceilings. Here we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about asbestos, including why it’s so dangerous to your health, how to identify it, and what to do if your home has the material somewhere.

Blue asbestoscredit

What is asbestos?

Asbestos itself isn’t just one thing. Rather, it’s made up of six different, naturally occurring minerals. The minerals consist of very fine fibres that are resistant to a variety of chemicals, fire and heat. There’s no odour or taste to them and, unless you know what to look for, they’re undetectable.

In the past, asbestos was used to fireproof building materials, which means it was quite common to find it in houses. Unfortunately, after it was widely used, it was also determined that exposure to it can lead to mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer. These diseases can be deadly, which is why home-owners should not be taking a risk. Between 2011-2013, there were 2,538 deaths in the UK due to mesothelioma.

In the UK, structures that were renovated or built before the year 2000 have a chance of containing asbestos. There are some regions in the country that are known to have more asbestos sites than others. These regions contain asbestos not just in homes but in commercial buildings, refineries, power plants, schools, factories and chemical plants.

In 1985, the UK banned the use and import of brown (amosite) and blue (crocidolite) asbestos. The law was then replaced in 1992 to include the use and import of white (chrysotile) asbestos. During the 1990s, the government also clamped down on how work was to be conducted on structures that contained the material, stating that only a licensed professional could go about removing it. Then in 2006, the law was strengthened again, and a maximum exposure limit set that required additional strict training regarding how to handle the substance.

Asbestos in use in roofing

Does your home have asbestos?

Of course, no-one wants to think their home was constructed using asbestos; however, for you and your family’s health and safety, it’s vital you find out. Whilst it’s safe to say that any home built before the year 2000 is at risk, those built prior to the 1980s are almost certain to contain it. The typical areas in which the material was used was in the insulation, exteriors such as the shingles and roof, in flooring, the interior walls, in wiring and in old appliances, and in the heating and boiler systems.

The trick with asbestos is that it’s harmless so as long as it’s mixed with other materials or it’s contained within casings. Once you disturb it, however, is when it becomes dangerous. What this means is that you shouldn’t tamper with building rubble in case it’s present.

If you plan on carrying out renovations, your home is starting to show wear and tear or you simply want peace of mind knowing that your home is free of asbestos then it’s a good idea to look into carrying out a survey. When looking for asbestos services, make sure you choose a UKAS accredited company such as EDP, to ensure that surveys are being carried out safely. They can come out and locate the risk and assess if any asbestos exists in your home. They are even able to tell if any of the substance is present in the ground which is important if you plan on constructing a new structure on a site.

From here, the company can provide a detailed plan on how to get rid of the substance, which is called remediation services. Removing asbestos is something that by law must only be carried out by licensed professionals. It’s an extremely dangerous job and needs to be carried out in the correct manner with appropriate protective tools and clothing. Not only that, it also needs to be disposed of properly once removed. You want to be sure that there are no airborne containments, which are extremely hazardous to health.

Asbestos warning signage

Not to be taken lightly

For many property owners in the UK asbestos is, unfortunately, a very real issue about which to be concerned. Knowing whether or not your home contains it, where it may be, and how to get rid of it will ensure the safety of yourself and all others who live in the home.

[disclosure*]