Price Points: Smart light bulbs

 Smart lightbulbs | H is for Home

Home tech has come a huge way in the past few years. What used to be science fiction is now science fact. You can get gadgets to control your central heating, record television programmes while away from home… even water the plants.

We have a home security set up whereby we can see, hear and record what’s going on inside the house from wherever else we happen to be via a mobile phone app. It sends us an alert if the front or back doors are opened.

What we’d like to add to our ‘smart home’ is the ability to turn lights on & off on timer or remotely. A great feature if we’re coming home late or forget to turn lights off when we go out. Smart lightbulbs have now made it possible to do this. They are controlled by wi-fi and smart phone or tablet app. They can still be fairly expensive to buy, but prices continue to fall as more & more brands begin to produce them.

The Crenova (#1) works via Bluetooth, allows you to dim and change the colour of the light and even doubles as a speaker. Just link up to four bulbs to your smart phone or tablet and stream your music library. I can see this working great in the bathroom, enhancing a relaxing bubble bath.

The mid-range WeMo is a straight swap for the basic ‘lo-tech’ bulb in that it only emits white light. You can control up to 50 bulbs (which cost around £25 each) via the plug link and an app for your smartphone or tablet.

At the other end of the price range, the Philips Hue. The Hue, as its name suggests controls the colour as well as the intensity of the light created. This package comes with 3 smart lightbulbs, but it still works out at three times the price of Crenova. However, you can add up to 50 bulbs… (which cost around £15 each) your entire house, inside & out!

The bulbs may be expensive, but they last a lot longer than traditional bulbs. I couldn’t find any information about how long the Crenova lasts. The Hue ‘shines’ for 25,000 hours (about 3 years). The WeMo bulb claims to have a life expectancy of 23 years – not bad!

  1. Crenova® BB-02 8W B22 Bluetooth 4.0 dimmable colour-changing LED bulb: £17.99, Amazon
  2. WeMo smart LED light bulb starter pack, bayonet cap (B22): £60, B&Q
  3. PHILIPS Hue wireless bulbs starter kit (B22): £134.99

Forthcoming Attractions: Early May 2016

Selection of vintage homeware sourced by H is for Home

We’ve acquired some fabulous vintage items this week.

Vintage Thomas Flammfest lidded casserole dish and Johnson Brothers Op Art coffee pot

We’ll start with two pieces for the kitchen diner – both items having a distinct Op Art feel. The coffee pot has a bold pattern of squares & circles in chocolate brown, black & white. It was produced by Johnson Bros in the late 60s or early 70s. The lidded casserole dish was made around the same time and has an equally striking design – this time, a repeating pattern of tulip heads in vibrant green & blue. It was made by Thomas of Germany. As we mentioned in the last Forthcoming Attractions post, we’re big fans of much of this company’s output.

Vintage toy Mettoy Elegant typewriter with original box

This toy typewriter is a lovely example. It’s the Mettoy Elegant model in shades of pink – complete with original box. We’ve had a few of these Mettoy typewriters, but never in this colourway before.

Small vintage Dümler & Breiden fat lava vase and Cascade glass piggy bank

Next is an old favourite – the West German fat lava. This example was produced by Dumler Breiden and has a striking, sculptural form with flashes of orange to the rim and twin handle like openings. The piggy bank was made by Cascade in the 1960s/70s. We like the design and pewter colour of the glass. You might want to use this money box for display only because there’s no stoppered hole to retrieve the coins – once they’re in, they’re in!

Small goose neck desk lamp and mid century modern teak, metal & glass wall pendant lamp

And last but not least, two nice bits of lighting. The miniature desk lamp is really cute. It dates from the 1950s/60s era and has a brass coloured flexi neck – perfect for those dramatic grey interiors perhaps. The wall lamp originates from the same period and is a real beauty. The mount is teak with brass & copper detailing – the glass shade has a wonderful swirling pattern. This piece looks good against grey too – and we can also see it hanging on a bright white wall in a pared back Mid Century Modern space.

Detail from a mid century modern teak, metal & glass wall pendant lamp

If anything has taken your fancy, most of these items have just been put into our web shop.

Pom Poms Galore

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PomPom Galore competition image

It’s December and we have a rather festive giveaway for you this month! PomPom Galore is offering one of our readers a string of their fabulous pom pom fairy lights.

PomPom Galore fairy lights in a Christmas tree

We love fairy lights, we have a tangled ball of them inside a fireplace – when the lights are twinkling, you could almost believe it’s a real fire! 🙂

PomPom Galore fairy lights above white-painted bunk beds

We, of course, always have fairy lights on our Christmas tree; but we also like them draped along shelves and up stair bannisters, dotted with sprigs of holly and ivy.

Lit white PomPom Galore fairy lights on a black background

To enter to win your own string of PomPom Galore fairy lights leave us a comment saying which one you’d choose and how you’d use it in your home. End the year with pom poms galore – good luck!

PomPom Galore fairy lights giveaway

5 Lighting hacks to make your room look bigger

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small kitchen-diner with white opaque globe light shadescredit

If your home is on the small side you’ll need to be creative to get the very most out of every little space you have. Even people with bigger homes want to make the most of the rooms they have.

There are a wide variety of decorating and lighting hacks & techniques you can use to help you give the impression of more space. Here are just a few simple ideas that can be used to achieve a lighter, brighter and bigger-looking room.

bulb pendant light hanging over table & chairs in a sitting roomcredit

  1. Pendant lights

One simple way to make a room look bigger – and to free up some much needed space – is to replace any floor or table lamps with pendant lights. These can have adjustable cords fitted so that you can raise or lower them for different occasions. Remember to angle your lighting so not to cast shadows over corners of your room. If you don’t want permanently bright lighting you could always have dimmer switches fitted so that you can lower the intensity of the lighting at night.

If you want to keep your electricity costs down then fitting low energy lighting, such as LED spotlights or small ceiling lights, will all help keep the your bills to a minimum. If you use lighting well you’ll feel like you have a big, bright space to enjoy and pendants should help in this quest.

Pair of large angled wall-mounted bedside lightscredit

  1. Wall lighting

Pendants aren’t the only way in which lighting can help to make the most of your room. The use of wall lighting, as described in this Mirror article, can help point light upwards and, if you have a brilliant white ceiling, the effect can be amazing. This not only makes your room look lighter, but it can also make the space look bigger. Up lighting will also free up much needed space.

You could have LED strip lighting fitted to the underside of shelving to give the room a warm feeling and these will also illuminate and show off you favourite books or ornaments – making them into bright features instead of dark ‘space eaters’.

Round convex mirror above a fireplace in a small sitting roomcredit

  1. Mirror Mirror

The use of mirrors hanging opposite the windows in a room can help reflect some much needed light and can give the impression of more space. You should try hanging the mirror on different walls until you get the ideal effect, you’ll be surprised how much larger you can make a room look as they reflect the light in effective ways.
Even a small mirror can make a lot of difference to the smallest of areas and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Another great look using mirrors is to hang two or three side by side this can have a similar effect to purchasing artwork.

Brightly-coloured, wallpapered bathroom wallcredit

  1. Painting your walls

An article on the House Beautiful website explains how you can use different bright colours on walls to help give the illusion of space. Light and bright shades are the order of the day to make the most of this technique.

If you do decide to paint one wall a dark colour then make sure that all the other walls are brilliant white or just have a hint of light colour – and don’t make your dark wall the one that gets the most natural light as this will spoil any chance of making the room feel bigger. You could also experiment with different types of wallpaper to give your room a special look. Some wallpapers have patterns that show up best under lights, pick one that really sparkles for a fun effect.

Some large DIY stores have 3D computer software online that can show you how a space would look once it has certain furniture and décor fitted. Model your colour scheme and see just what difference colour can make when combined with lighting.

Pastel colour painted kid's bedroom with floral roman blindscredit

  1. Changing your furniture, flooring & fittings

You’ll be surprised how much difference you can make to a room by just moving your furniture around or by changing the type of flooring you have. When it comes to furniture, why not try two or three different arrangements over the course of a week and see which works best? Don’t just do this in the day time either. You need to see what the effect of natural daylight and lighting is on these items.

The use of striped carpets or rugs can give the impression that the room is longer than it actually is. If your carpets are looking a bit tired you could either lay new laminate flooring or, if your budget doesn’t stretch that far, then you could just lay some new rugs down.

Tidying away any clutter and clearing the window spaces obscured by heavy curtains can also make a room look more spacious. Allow the light to stream into a room by replacing your curtains with blinds.

You can essentially control three elements in your room: the lighting, the colour scheme and what’s inside the room. Tinker with all three of these, while keeping an eye on how to maximise the natural light you get in, to make your room feel as big as possible.

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Bright ideas for illuminating your home on a budget

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various vintage hanging lampshades grouped together in a sitting room

Image credit: Godrich Interiors

A gloomy, dimly-lit home can dampen the mood and if you constantly have to rely on your overhead lights to brighten and cheer up a room you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot on your electricity bill. If you’ve been wanting to make some drastic changes to solve the problem but haven’t the budget for it then don’t despair. We’ve got some bright ideas that can help you illuminate your home without having to spend a fortune…

White-washed loft bedroomImage credit: studio mark ruthven

Paint it up

One of the most inexpensive ways to brighten up any room is to paint the walls with light colours. Whites and pastels trick the eye into thinking that the room is brighter and larger than it is. Light-coloured walls also reflect the sunlight coming from outside during daytime, so you won’t have to turn on your interior lights. Aside from the walls, you can also paint the trim, doors, and stairs with pastel accents to make your home look brighter.

Wrap-around mirrors in a bathroomImage credit: Celia James

Reflect light with mirrors

Mirrors are budget-friendly and instant fix for dreary rooms that lack natural light. Aside from reflecting the existing light from a lighting fixture or a window, mirrors also create the illusion of space, making a room look larger than it really is. For best results, install a mirror opposite a window. The bigger the mirror, the better. Visit a local market for cheap but fab gilt-frame mirrors for a dramatic effect. Aside from mirrors, you can also use reflective surfaces such as mirrored trays and glass bowls and figurines to add sparkle to a room.

Fairy lights in a child's bedroomImage credit: Corynne Pless

Decorate with inexpensive decorative lights

Those string lights you decorated you home with for the holidays can be used to illuminate you home all year round, especially in the bedroom where they work to give off a relaxing feel. You can place the lights across your headboard or over the bed for that dreamy and romantic effect.

Tall multi-armed floor lamp in a mid century modern decorated sitting roomImage credit: Trunk Creative

Brighten dark corners with lamps

Do you really need all your lights on in the evenings when you’re getting ready for bed? Save on electricity without stumbling in the dark with lamps! You don’t have to get those expensive fixtures; a trip to the bargain store (or probably your attic) will do. Keep an eye out for lamps with character, or something you can spruce up yourself to make it suit your home’s interior design. Place the lamps in dark corners or next to a chair for a cosy reading nook.

Angular bedroom painted in pastel coloursImage credit: Gemma Zimmerhansl Interior Design

Use light or pastel colours

Decorate your home with pastel-coloured items, such as furniture, sheets, and drapes. A light-coloured palette can add a lively and airy feel to a small space, such as the bedroom. Divan Beds Centre bed bases in white, cream or beige can make your room look brighter and feel less cramped. While you’re at it, change your bedding to match your new look.

With these tips, you’ll be able to have a more illuminated home while keeping your savings intact. As you can see, when it comes to illuminating your home on a budget, changing one small thing can make a big – and brighter – difference.

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Gimme Five! Cast iron candle holders

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selection of 5 cast iron candle holders

Last night, we had the fire in our den lit for the first time this autumn. We welcome autumn & winter in our house when they come around. Ours is a real cold weather, snuggle up with blankets and cushions and fairy lights kind of home!

At this time of year, at the end of each day, we love to retreat upstairs; and part of the evening’s routine involves getting the fire started and getting the tea lights and candles lit. We have a selection of tea light and candle holders dotted around the room – on tables, on the mantlepiece and crannies in the stone wall. The twinkly, flickering light the candles give is really relaxing and atmospheric. Welcome back autumn!

  1. 3-piece Eric Hoglund Boda wall sconce holders & candle holder: US $849.00, eBay
  2. Pair of vintage cast iron taper holders: £25, H is for Home
  3. Danish Modern hairpin cast iron candle holders: £26.43, Etsy
  4. Iittala Allas round single candleholder: £25, Amara
  5. Japanese cast iron candle stand ginkgo leaf: £22.52, Etsy