Define Your Style – Home Design Ideas

Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and when it comes to interior design this can often by the best route to take if you don’t trust your own design instincts. There is a danger however, that your house will blend into every other Magnolia drenched, carbon copy home that we see cloned on every street in Britain today. Why do we practice such safe design? Is it because we suffer from a lack of imagination, or are home owners up and down the land just not brave enough to experiment? Maybe in this difficult economic climate we cannot risk straying from that safe colour palette of cream and white?

I say, why create a ‘blank canvas’ (just in case you move home), for someone else to put his or her stamp on. Look for inspiration everywhere and don’t fear your own style. There are several ways in which you can experiment without breaking the bank and below are a few ideas and tips, which could inspire you to create your own unique groove. Firstly, do a little research. Websites such as housetohome have a fantastic gallery of pictures and suppliers that can inspire you and are less likely to be found in the house next door.

Create a mood board. Collect images, colour swabs and fabric samples in order to focus your ideas and inspire you. This way you will be able to see which colours and styles go together and it will also help you commit to only buying what you need. Steer clear of the plain and create simple elegance by choosing a simple colour palette but also experimenting with different textures of paint and fabrics. B&Q have a paint colour mixing service, which can match any of your favourite items.

Add a splash of colour by adding cushions and throws or curtains. Cushions, and more surprisingly curtains, are easy to make if you have a bit of time on your hands and you can get quality designer fabrics at greatly reduced prices online. Stores such as http://www.digbyandwilloughby.co.uk sell designer fabrics at £10 a meter instead of the recommended retail price of £30 to £100 a meter. If you don’t fancy making curtains yourself, Digby & Willoughby can get these made up for you. Alternatively breathe life into a favourite chair with new upholstery with Fabrics from Digby & Willoughby.

Accessorise with one or two unique pieces such as a beautiful free standing mirror or a piece of artwork. To save some pennies you could visit auction houses such as lotsroad or criterionauctions. I recently found a fantastic seascape oil painting in a charity shop and a beautiful art deco bedroom suite on freecycle.org so keep your eyes peeled. Love the traditional? Experiment with mixing the traditional with the new to avoid being old fashioned. Choose classic wallpapers with a funky twist from companies such as Cole & Sons and Zoffany to create a feature wall. Visit reclamation yards such as wellsreclaimation or sites such as salvo.co.uk to find beautiful antique wooden furniture and natural materials to create a classic and unique vintage look.

A statement piece of furniture can be the inspiration for the design of your whole room. Cover an old chest of drawers or table with fantastic hand printed wallpaper, protected with layers of clear varnish and jazz it up with new or antique handles. Try emmamolony.com for hand printed wallpapers. Go off piste, I recently purchase antique music scores from a local bookshop, which cost me 30p each and they make the perfect vintage wall coverings. If you religiously follow modern styles, what is the buzz from the world of interior design, what are the hot colours for 2010?

Colours from Mexico such as, burnt oranges, sunny yellows, gingers and taupe’s are on trend. Various shades of midnight blue with greying whites are in vogue and as well as being chic and ultimately classic, they would be a good long-term investment. Soft vintage colours, such as neapolitan pinks and yellows reflect the current boom in homemade crafts and reclaimed materials. Other colours in style for 2010 will be natural hues, soft beiges and nudes with green or purple accessories. There are plenty of ways to create your own unique style and to update your home. And remember, to play on the words of Jim Rohn, ‘if you don’t design your own style, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much!’

Helena Searle
January 2010

Affordable and Applicable Home Improvement Tips

Everyone wants to upgrade and renovate his/her house in affordable way. Budget is the major factor of consideration. If your budget does not allow you to start major renovation projects such as adding new room or changing floor or alteration in room dimensions you can also go for less expensive affordable home improvements. Minor changes may results in remarkable difference in your home. With less expensive improvement projects you can improve your home and also save money for major renovation project. There are various styles available you can chose such as Victorian, country and modern. Now day’s modern style is most popular home décor. Due to popularity modern home décor has become expensive. But there are still some ways to upgrade your home in affordable way. You can take advantage of certain affordable home improvement tips for affordable home improvement.

Affordable Home Improvement Tips
Affordable home improvement tips allow you to upgrade your home in less expensive way. Following are some affordable home improvement tips.

Use of Inexpensive Home Decorating Items
Use of inexpensive objects to decorate your home is the most easy affordable home improvement tip. You can use inexpensive home decorating accessories to make your house look impressive. Such accessories include curtains, fancy cushions and table covers that look compatible with the pattern and main wall color. This will make your room warmer and modern. Even a good family photograph at suitable place can add character to your room.

Paint
Paint is also less expensive and easy way to give brand new look to your home. You can select any color of your choice. You can use paint on old furniture, walls and floors to give new look. You can also create different designs with paint.

Mirrors
Addition of mirror to any place can make your room look larger than its actual size. It is best for small rooms. In larger rooms you can also use mirrors. Mirrors look great above fireplaces, beds, dressers and in bathrooms. It gives instant fresh look without making complete changes in every thing. It is also a useful and affordable home improvement tip.

Fabrics
Fabric is easy to use in different ways. You can use it in lot of creative ways. It is not necessary that you must buy new fabric to use. You can even use old fabrics in your house. Normally everyone has old table cloths and scarves in their homes. You can change the look of old furniture by simply covering it with cloth. You can also make pictures by covering canvas boards with beautiful scarves or cloth. This is very cheap way to add look as compared to buying expensive show pieces from stores.

Old Furniture
Another affordable home improvement tips is simply change the setting of your old furniture and give a fresh look to your house. This can be done by simply putting same furniture in other room with different theme. You can make your furniture look different by painting it with different color or by covering it with fabrics.

Stenciling
It is also a simple home improvement tip to make your room alive. Stencils are easily available. It can easily paste on the walls. You need to paint them and remove them. It will leave a nice and clearly defined design to add character to your room. It can also used on fabrics and furniture.

Photographs
Beautifully framed photographs are also good option for adding value to your room. It is very affordable home improvement tip for those who have limited budget to renovate your room. The only cost is framing of photograph. Photographs can give pleasant effect to your room.

Working with what you already have
Utilizing all the things you already have is also an affordable home improvement tip. Most people purchased decorating items that does not match with furniture you have. To solve this issue you must try to purchase things that are compatible with other things you already have.

Home Design Ideas to Create a Home of Energy Saving “Green” Beauty

We live in a new world. The time for paying attention to our natural resources is now. We have woken to the realization that our world is not the inexhaustible support system we believed it to be.

Thankfully “going green” does not require extreme and costly changes. Making a significant difference in the worlds natural resources, only takes small decisions made one step at a time. We can decide to:

Recycle Reuse Restore Reduce

With these 4 words in mind we have a few of the most wonderful ideas, tips and secrets to present. Simple and affordable going green ideas. And, if you choose to implement any or all of these suggestions you can be assured you are contributing to the over all health of the earth now and toward a more sustainable living environment for our future generations.

1. Going Green by Changing Your Lights. If every household in the U.S. replaced just one light bulb from the standard incandescent to the highly energy efficient luminescent bulbs being promoted today we would

Save A national average of $600,000,000. a year in energy costs.

Save Enough energy to light more than 3,000,000 homes for one year.

Save Green house gases equivalent to the emissions given off from over 800,000 cars.

Save Significant amounts on your energy bill. My husband spent one day replacing all the bulbs in our home. Not totally convinced it would make that much of a difference on our bill I supported his efforts more for the conservation aspects (and because he had turned off the TV) rather than the money saving pitch.

Boy was I surprised when the next electric bill came,

it dropped approximately 20%! or about 10 cents per

hour!

This change in bulb has one characteristic that may take some time getting used to. When you first turn on the lights – they appear dingy due to the fact they need to warm up a bit before they are at peak – light up the room – performance. They also initially cost a bit more but the standard life span far outlasts the basic bulb – from months to years.

Another energy saving tip is to install dimmer switches. Years ago these dimmers did not provide any benefit other than creating ambient light in a room. Today they are designed to minimize your electric consumption as well.

2. Going Green by Choosing an Eco Friendly Floor. If you are planning to replace your floor with hard wood there are two options that are delightfully green, look beautiful, perform well, and cost less than most hard woods. Cork – Cork has come a long way from its original purpose of wine stopping.

It comes from the bark of a tree that can be harvested once every 10 years and does no damage to the tree at all. Like sheering a sheep! It’s typically sold in tile or sheet form and is easy to install. Because cork contains millions of air bubbles – it is comfortable to walk on and easier on the feet when standing for long periods of time in the kitchen. It is also hypoallergenic, absorbs sounds, and acts as a thermal insulator which means warmth on the feet.

There are fabulous color and grain options available today so be sure to shop around!

There are a few drawbacks to consider. Cork does need to be sealed to moisture protect and is not very resistant to fading or punctures however, it does bounce back well when a heavy blunt object is dropped on it.

The other floor covering option is Bamboo – bamboo is definitely more competitive if you need a harder wood floor. Harder than oak yet it is made from a fast growing Asian grass that matures in about 6 years. It can be refinished numerous times with dye-based stains. Very eco-friendly.

Bamboo also offers a wonderful variety of color, grain and style. Have fun looking for the color and grain of this beautiful hard wood option. Did I mention it’s priced lower than most oak options?

3. Going Green by Recycling or Restoring Your Furniture. Must you buy new furniture or can you refinish, restore, repaint or recycle?

Wonderful design projects can result from painting, restaining or reupholstering that piece that is dated or worn. The most exciting aspect of recycling furniture is the money saved.

Sandpaper, paint and associated supplies are relatively inexpensive. Door knobs, drawer pulls can really change up the look of that tired piece of furniture also with minimum expense. A picture says a thousand words especially in this case. Visit the web site listed below to see some fantastic examples of these furniture restoring options.

Design applications usually last about 10 years. The neutral – earthy colors we have been seeing so often has been around since the late 90’s so it’s on its way out. This year you will start seeing bold, bright colors being applied to accent walls, furniture and textures. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with color, fabric textures and brush techniques. This is the year for bold, bright and beautiful! Go for it.

Another idea you may want to entertain is a fantastic option to buy “slightly used” from your local Good Will or Salvation Army. With a bit of frugal redesign “know how” you can create remarkable results.

4. Going Green by Buying Energy Star Appliances. Energy Star is the U.S. Governments Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy Seal of approval system to confirm a products ability to avoid/limit greenhouse gases without sacrificing quality.

When you purchase an Energy Star item you can be assured you have a product that will reduce energy consumption and save you money when used in your home, guaranteed through the entire life span of the appliance.

2007 stats from energystar.gov reports that consumers “saved enough energy in 2007 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars – all while saving $16,000,000,000. (16 Billion) on their utility bills.

Wow – Good Job! Let’s keep up the good work!