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.

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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.

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How to keep your towels in pristine condition

How to keep your towels in pristine condition

A dirty and threadbare towel hanging loosely from your bathroom’s rail can make the entire room look drab. Towels are among those home essentials that undergo daily use and need to be washed frequently. This makes it hard to keep them looking fluffy and fresh however, if you try the following methods, we can guarantee you that your towels will retain their freshness for longer.

Silver coloured washing machine with towel

The right time to wash

The right time to wash towels is after three to four days of use. This keeps them in good condition and removes all damaging grime from them. Normally, people use them and wait an entire week before they wash them. Try to rotate between two or more towels. Have one on the go and keep the others washed and when you use another then wash the first one.

Washing machine cycle display

Cold water washing

Normally, people tend to use hot or warm water for laundry and this goes for their towels as well. Washing towels in heated water shortens their life and makes them saggy and rough. This is why we recommend using cold water to wash them. Cold water prevents shrinkage at the seams and helps retain the colours in the material for longer. This method also works when washing bamboo towel sets. Cold water washing is recommended for removing certain stains such as wine, coffee, chocolate and blood.

Bottles of Gain fabric conditioner

Avoid the fabric softener

People use fabric softeners to keep their laundry soft, however they don’t realise that the harmful chemicals in them can actually reduce the life of textiles. In order to retain your towels’ ultra-plush feel, keep them away from these unnatural products as they damage the fibres and make them less supple over time. Instead, throw a tennis ball into the dryer along with the load. This will agitate and fluff them up and help them dry more quickly.

Drying a towel on a washing line

Drying matters

Most towels are made from cotton that dries quickly. So prolonged drying can actually reduce their life. It’s best if you dry towels separately from other items to extend their life further. Also, don’t forget to forgo the tumble dryer sheets as they can seriously reduce towel absorbency over time. Line drying instead of tumble drying can also help increase their lifespan.

Laundry detergent powder

Detergent quantity

Don’t guesstimate with the detergent quantity. Know the precise amount of detergent your towels need as these contain chemicals that can harm the fabrics if used to excess. Read the specification set out by the manufacturer and measure out the amount of detergent needed. Remember, a medium load roughly translates to about two to three kilos of laundry. It fills three-quarters of a household washing machine.

Bottles of bleach illustration

Use a bleach alternative

Bleach can keep your towels white and bright, but those chemicals can also damage the material. In order to get that bright white lustre back to your towels try using the baking soda and vinegar approach. Simply add half a cup of baking soda with your preferred detergent and wash the towels in the washing machine. While rinsing, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar and you’ll be good to go.

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Tips on how to style your holiday home

Tips on how to style your holiday home

If you own a holiday home or have recently purchased one, you need to know how to prepare for the guests to arrive. You have a blank canvas on which you can truly use your style to give it a unique touch. Thanks to the rise of sites such as Airbnb, you can now rent out your property for days or weeks at a time when you aren’t using it, meaning you can get some welcome additional income to help with your household bills or Christmas presents. However, you don’t want your home to lose those quintessential touches – making it feel more like a hotel than a cosy bolt hole. So, whether you plan to use your holiday home yourself, or are looking to rent it out to holidaymakers, then keep these styling tips in mind.

Large picture window in a holiday home

Flooring

Believe it or not, flooring can make or break a holiday home. If your property is by the beach, then carpet is a nightmare to clean, while woodland cabins could soon see your dream floorboards become mud stained and damaged. If you are planning on renting out your home for several months of the year, then you need to make sure that you put practicality over style when choosing the right flooring for your property.

If your home is likely to be popular with families, then a non-slip and easy clean option will be a functional ideal to help any little accidents to be removed quickly and easily. If your property is in a more urban setting, or you only rent out to adult guests, then go wild with your dream cream carpets or wooden floors. However, if you want to make sure that you protect your flooring then warn your guests before arriving. Stiletto heels will cause some serious damage to your oak floorboards, so it’s better to set some ground rules before you start welcoming guests.

Open fire in a rustic holiday home

Embrace the surroundings

Remember, that your property is your second home, rather than a hotel or guest house. So, don’t let yourself be too influenced by the latest style trends or colour palettes. If you are fortunate enough to own a log cabin or cottage in Cornwall, then embrace your surroundings and any features that your home already offers. Don’t spoil gorgeous wooden beams with garish paint, or get rid of architectural features – as these add a unique touch to your property. Remember, these are all aspects that you can highlight when marketing your house to potential guests. If visitors wanted to stay in a hotel, then they wouldn’t be choosing your home.

Neutrally decorated sitting room in a holiday home

Be bold

Use colour to give your vacation home a truly unique touch. Remember, that you can use bright and vivid colours in the living areas, although bedrooms should be kept neutral so that your guests can feel a sense of calm when they are resting. Neutral tones can make the house feel modern, open and clean, but the use of dark colours in small, cosy living spaces can make any property feel cramped and oppressive for guests. Always buy sample tins of the paints that you like and test them in natural daylight for a true representation of how it will make your room feel. If you have a room that is for younger guests, then you may even want to consider using paint that is designed for easy cleaning. Tots and little hands will soon wreck any white walls, so make sure that you choose a darker neutral tone to conceal any damage.

Neutrally decorated double bedroom in a holiday home

Add unique touches

If your home is full of quirky or unique furniture, then this could influence whether your guests keep coming back year after year. Especially if you are marketing your home for adult guests, then make sure that you use a few unique pieces and items across your home to give it a personal look and feel. From adding some flea market finds, to leaving family photos on display, there’s no reason why you should make your home a sterile or boring environment. So, let your creative juices flow and be sure to include several items or pieces of art work that celebrate who you are as a family. It’s advisable, however, to refrain from keeping objects of high sentimental value in your holiday home, some things cannot be replaced!

Patio overlooking the Greek coastline

Ample seating

Don’t scrimp on seating! Even if your home is small and perfectly formed, remember that when your guests stay in your property they may invite friends and family members over for meals. Be sure to have ample seating in your living room, with a cosy couch and lazy chairs for your visitors to chill out in after their family meal. If your property has a deck, then be sure to provide some outdoor seating too, as your guests will love the opportunity to spend time eating and sharing time with family outdoors. You could even consider keeping some extra seating in store, if you have a garage, so that any visitors can help themselves and make good use of the space. If you’re looking for advice or help on renting out your holiday home, then sites such as TripleNet Gateway can help. Visitors may be put off returning to your property if they can’t enjoy it to the full, so make sure that you consider all options as you prepare your home to receive paying guests.

As a holiday home-owner, you need to make sure that your property reflects your own tastes and style, while providing a practical and welcoming space for any potential visitors or guests. Make sure that you provide enough seating and consider the type of flooring within your home. Don’t be afraid to include a few unique items or family photos to make guests feel welcome and at home – it’s a holiday home and not a hotel. Finally, have fun with colour to make your property feel stylish and warm. There’s no reason why you can’t inject your holiday home with a few stylish touches and colours, just make sure that whatever you choose suits your space. Once you’ve given your home a makeover, you can sit back and enjoy your stylish efforts.

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Maintaining healthy habits is crucial

Maintaining healthy habits is crucial | H is for Home

Healthy habits have a huge impact on our lives. We feel better both physically & mentally – and of course need less medical care. They contribute to a real sense of well being and stability. And even when we experience personal hardships or illness, healthy habits help us bounce right back and return to our usual selves much faster than someone who is less prepared. Here are some things to consider when assessing your day to day habits and how healthy they are.

Messy living room

Maintain your belongings

Keeping personal property in shape is one key to supporting healthy habits. It may sound a bit weird but when your furniture is attractive, your bed is comfy, and your electronics work well, you’ll feel much better about your home and surroundings. The home is a safe haven, a place to relax. We physically and mentally need it to be clean and comforting at the same time. Take a look at your surroundings and notice if something needs upkeep or replacing. Furniture lines like Bernhardt Furniture are a great resource for replacing old furniture and sprucing up your living spaces. If your kitchen is messy, it’s time to clean it and keep it neat – you’ll find it beneficial in terms of practicality, safety and hygiene. If you have a lot of clutter, or redundant broken electronics, it’s time to clear it all up and recycle it.

fork wrapped in a blue tape measure

Eat nourishing foods and maintain an ideal weight

You truly are what you eat and eating healthily is the top way to take care of yourself. Whether you just want to avoid illness or you’re working at losing weight, your food is a top priority to consider. Avoiding processed foods is a good starting point. That way you really know exactly what you’re consuming. Secondly, eat as cleanly and as organically as possible. Read the labels on foodstuffs in order to avoid unnecessary additives, excess salt and sugar. The amount of sugar and salt added to many common foodstuffs can be quite surprising. When you eat well, your body feels well, and you mentally feel well. Many people speak about making dietary changes and suddenly they are less tired, more energetic and way more productive than before. Your body is a temple, worship it!

weight training equipment

Exercise and enjoy it

Exercise is often overlooked because we tell ourselves we’re too busy. Really, we can fit in light exercise each day. Consider taking a short 10-15 minute walk in the morning, on your lunch break or after dinner. If you still struggle to find the time for a short walk, include them in your everyday errands. Perhaps park a little further away from your work entrance, supermarket or shopping centre than you could do – those extra steps will give you a bit of light exercise or head space to think. If walking isn’t exciting enough for you, find out what is. Try yoga, pilates, a running group or even a spin class. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you’re taking time to work your body.

Friends spelt out in Scrabble letters

Don’t be the hermit

Everyone needs solitary time, we have to recharge from our work lives and home lives. Too much time alone isn’t taking care of our mental health though. We need social interaction to bring us a sense of peace, belonging and experience a bit of joy. Make sure that you’re not working too much or always at home. Once every couple of weeks, have friends over for a pot luck dinner. Go out to the cinema with a friend, meet someone for coffee or have a lunch date with someone with whom you don’t spend all day at work. If you’re struggling to make connections with people, check out a site like Meetup in order to find people who have similar interests as you.

Healthy bodies and minds can stave off so many of the illnesses that can plague us. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever get sick or feel down. However, with healthy habits and good friends you’ll find that you recover much quicker.

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Is this the end of open-plan living?

Interior glazed sliding doors

Over the last two decades, the trend for open-plan living and wall-less dwellings rose faster than you could swing a sledgehammer; however, over the past few years, we’re seeing a complete reversal in interiors trends with home-owners opting for more traditional, segmented living spaces.

There are various reasons as to why this could be. The practicalities of an open-plan living space are not as obvious as you might think. Downsizing all the possessions and knick-knacks you acquire over the years is no mean feat, not to mention the daily struggle of keeping every surface clean and tidy if you have children or room-mates. In fact, families who have previously opted for open-plan living are reverting to traditional, divided rooms as a more practical way of living, according to Jane Green from the Telegraph. Individual rooms provide quiet sanctuaries for homework, reading and watching your preferred Netflix series, and people are suggesting they prefer to cook in the kitchen in peace, without having the constant interruptions from a television that can be seen and heard over the worktop.

circular dining table and turquoise-pained chairs

There is no doubt, it seems, that separate rooms provide areas of sanctuary and quiet which in turn, create cosier, more inviting spaces to spend time to undertake your preferred activity of relaxation. One might even argue that segmented rooms are actually driving families back together in a more traditional sense, since the kitchen and dining room are becoming device-free zones, promoting a healthy appetite for dinner conversation.

Dog on a lap on a sofaWith this in mind, we’re thinking about the more conventional ways you could furnish these individual living rooms without compromising on style. First things first, retrieve that box of ornaments from storage and choose a selection of objects that will look fantastic displayed in a bespoke alcove bookcase by The Bookcase Co. Think about quality curation, carefully selecting objects that work well together based on a specific colour palette, as opposed to quantity.

A slim and stylish desk for homework or working from home is essential. This mango wood version from Swoon is effortlessly chic and compact and will fit in alcoves, smaller rooms or even under the stairs.

Enormous three-seater and corner sofas might work well in gargantuan open-plan living areas; however, smaller spaces call for smaller sofas. Create cosy nooks for books with a two-seater sofa from Arlo & Jacob. The perfect size to snuggle up to someone, or stretch out and make the most of some quality alone time.

Dining table & chairs with a tall cactus in the backgroundA well-placed rug can instantly update your interior, bringing with it warmth, pattern and texture. They also help to create zones, if you do happen to have a room on the larger size and want to break it down further. You’ll find a vast selection of traditional and modern rugs from OKA, with the option of wool and cotton, amongst others.

To avoid areas becoming too dark and closed off, this slender floor lamp by Perch & Parrow is fashionable and functional; perfect to shed some light on those newly created cosy corners of your living room.