Last Updated on October 30, 2011

Today’s economy has made it essential for those who are planning building projects to consider every cost advantage they can find. Making sure they save money but also build without losing quality is key and of course maintaining their own unique style is important to them as well. So how can you have it all? Well it’s not easy, but if you plan your home remodeling or building thoroughly then you will be happy with the results both financially and aesthetically.

1. Building Plans
Having land or a lot that can be built upon without having unnecessary costs for tree removal and land clearance will of course save thousands of dollars. In addition, if the property is already water and sewage connection ready that will keep more of your money in the bank. Before beginning the building project obtain the city and county building permits necessary for where you live. Read the regulations for building height and weight and check for any other building requirements for the property you are building on.

2. Type of Building
It has been proven that a two-story structure building or home will save hundreds of dollars in construction materials. A two-story will still provide the same living space as a ranch constructed home, and it can be built on less property. Of course, you will want to keep your dream design in mind, but you may be shocked to realize that with just a little modification, your dream home can be much less expensive as a two-story structure.

3. Designing the Building Plans
Pre-planning on your part will provide cost savings too. Consider the size of your furniture, walking areas, window placement and door size when deciding the floor dimensions. Having a large piano would require the area to be larger. Essentially, try and think of many of the pieces of furniture you already own and see if they can fit in your new living space. Aside from the cost of building, furnishing can be one of the most expensive parts of any home. If you can plan before your home is ready, you may find use for some of your current pieces and may also be able to pick up less expensive pieces when you come across them.

4. Purchasing Building Materials
Use the ‘Keep It Green’ for material cost savings while also helping to have an environmental minded building or home will protect the world. Use recyclable construction materials whenever possible. Consider reusing cabinets and home fixtures whenever possible and remodeling or refinishing with new paint and surfaces. Essentially, the less new products you consume for your new home, not only will it be less expensive, but it will also be better for the environment as well.

5. Contracting The Construction
Any time you can do some of the construction yourself, money will be saved. You want to save money but the most aspect is that you don’t lose quality on construction. Compare contractors in the area and get references when possible. Another suggestion is to actually visit some of the building projects they have worked on. The visit will allow you to see firsthand the quality of workmanship.

These are the top five essential suggestions that can keep more money in your pocket. With a little pre-planning you’ll have less surprise re-builds or additional costs. Of course that means fewer headaches or mistakes made and when completed you’ll have a beautiful, quality built building that you can be proud of.

Janelle Williams is a money saving diva who enjoys saving money on home improvement and many other aspects of life. She is also a contributing writer for CouponCroc, a site which offers a variety of savings and Asos discount codes to make life more affordable.

Last Updated on October 29, 2011

Tiling isn’t as difficult as it sounds. It’s normal to be concerned that the tiles might crack, be crooked or not adhere right. The fact is that tiling is actually quite easy, provided you know some simple tips.

1. Put it on paper first. Drawing the pattern on graph paper will allow you to adjust for appearance and balance before you start laying the mastic.

2. Have all the materials you will need before you start. Go over the list and check it twice. Make sure you have the right trowel, the spacers, mastic, utility knife, measuring tape, level and pencil. Make sure you have the cutter you will be using for the tiles.

3. Clean the floor thoroughly. Nothing will ruin your job faster than a greasy floor that prevents the tiles from adhering properly.

4. Level the floor properly. Don’t rely on the adhesive to fill small holes and impressions in the floor. That’s not what it’s designed for. Before you start laying tiles, put your long level on the floor and shift it back and forth, searching for low or high spots. Correct these spots by sanding down the high areas and using a floor leveller in the low areas. Taking the time to do this will avoid problems with tiles that are uneven and it will prevent the tiles from cracking.

5. Lay the tiles out without actually using adhesive. Use your pattern and lay the whole tiles down to see how they actually look before you start. This is your chance to make minor changes.

6. Draw out the grid. This cannot be stressed enough. The grid will help ensure that your tiles are straight and that they stay straight as you work. Mark the straight lines about two feet apart, starting with cross lines that run down the centre of the room in either direction.

7. Work in small sections. Mastic can dry quickly, and once it dries you’re in for more work if the tiles aren’t in place. Spread the mastic in one of the quadrants you created with your floor grid. Lay the tiles in place, taking care that everything stays straight and true with the marked floor lines.

8. Use spacers to keep the tiles consistent. This is another tip that can save you a great deal of time. You can lay the spacers flat on the floor or wall and bury them under the grout. You can also choose to stand the spacers on one end and remove them all before the grout is applied.

9. Proper grouting will make or break the entire project. Use ready-made grout or mix it carefully following the manufacturer’s directions. The grout should be applied at a 45-degree angle using a rubber float. It should be worked into the spaces that are between the tiles. Use your thumb or finger to gently run a smooth line through the grout for an even and attractive appearance.

10. Seal the grout. This cannot be stressed enough. When the job is done and the grout has cured for a few days, take the time to seal it in. It will hold better and it will be more resistant to staining.

Laying tile isn’t rocket science. The average homeowner can do it and it will look great. Follow these tips here to make the job easier and to achieve a professional look that you will be proud of.

Isaac is a blogger and home improvements guru working for Cliq Studios, Cliq’ are a kitchen cabinets specialist who design, manufacture and sell the finest oak, maple and cherry kitchen cabinets. Cliqs’ easy to use website can help visualize your new kitchen!

Last Updated on October 28, 2011

Every home should have a basic set of tools. From putting up shelving and pictures to replacing washers and fixing guttering, a basic tool-kit will allow you to tackle the majority of home repairs that may occur throughout the year. Tools can be expensive, and good tools don’t come cheap, but it’s worth spending the money as quality tools that are purchased early in life will be much more cost effective in the long run. A good quality tool will last a life time and a poor quality tool may only last for a few jobs before it needs replacing.

As with everything in life, having a good selection of tools at your disposal is important. Despite what you may think, you don’t need three different types of drill for basic home repair tasks, instead a dozen or so carefully selected tools will equip you for most eventualities. Here we take a look at the 12 items that should be bought to make up a basic and serviceable home tool kit. There will be times when you need to buy additional tools from outside of this list, and these should be bought as needed.

1 | Hammer

No home is complete without a hammer, and a claw hammer is advised for the basic tool box. Hammers come in many different options. A steel or fibreglass shaft with a smooth head is perfect for home use. Choose either a 16 or 13 ounce hammer, depending on what feels comfortable, with a claw to enable you to pull nails and aid in demolition.

2 | Tape Measure

A tape measure is an essential part of just about every DIY job. From finding the centre of a wall to hang a picture, to measuring floor area to calculate material requirements, a good tape is invaluable. A 16 foot tape is the shortest that I would recommend as measuring areas in the home can be tricky if your tape measure is too short. It’s fine to buy longer if you feel you need it. Reliable brands such as Stanley will last you for many years.

Photo: wwarby

3 | Handsaw

For the majority of jobs around the home a circular saw is over-kill. A handsaw is a simple and elegant addition to any home tool box and is essential for any woodwork that you are carrying out. From fencing to putting up a stud wall, a decent hand saw will last you a number of years. The 12 inch Stanley FatMax is a reliable and fast working saw that will give you a good straight cut. Of course the more you use it the blunter the blade will become, meaning that you will need to replace it over time.

Photo: Noel Feans

4 | Screwdrivers

A good set of screwdrivers including 1/4 and 3/8 inch flat heads and No.1 and 2 Philips heads will cover most home jobs. Screwdrivers are great for anything that requires a screw (obviously). Flat-pack furniture, shelving, woodwork, plumbing, and electrical jobs all require a good screwdriver from time to time. Avoid battery screwdrivers. If you want a battery screwdriver you’re better off getting a drill with the appropriate attachment and heads.

Photo: comedy_nose

5 | Adjustable Wrench

You could go down the route of buying individual wrenches, but a good quality adjustable wrench is all that you should need for a basic toolbox. A 10 inch or 12 inch adjustable wrench is a good starting point and will give you enough leverage to loosen stiff and stubborn nuts.

Photo: pfarrell

6 | WD-40

Never underestimate the usefulness of WD-40. A can of hydrocarbons and pure magic, WD-40 has many useful applications around the home. From stopping squeaks and creaks to loosening rusted or corroded nuts and bolts. If that wasn’t enough, WD-40 can also be used to clean the tools in your toolbox, meaning that WD-40 is an absolute must have item in any home.

Photo: ATWJ

7 | Pliers

There are many different types of pliers, but for a basic toolbox needle-nose pliers are the most appropriate. These are ideal for any electrical work that you may be undertaking, from rewiring a plug to connecting a light switch. Needle-nose pliers allow the user to work comfortable in small electrical boxes and can also cut wire.

Photo: Admond

8 | Rotary Drill (Mains Powered)

This is absolutely the only power tool you need to have for a home tool kit. One with a 13mm chuck will allow you to attach a variety of drill bits. Variable speed, reverse function and side grip are additional features that will also help you to get the most out of the tool. A corded drill will also be light to use then a bettery equivalent and won’t need charging, especially important if you don’t use it for a few months. You won’t have to incur additional costs either such as replacing the battery when it looses its ability to charge.

Photo: cogdogblog

9 | Spirit level

A spirit level is essential if you are building, putting up shelving or levelling kitchen cabinets. Buying one with both a horizontal and vertical bubble tube will allow you to check if a surface is horizontal (level) of vertical (plumb). A standard carpenter’s or mason’s level is ideal for home use and one between 90cm and 120 cm will allow you to cover most occasions when a spirit level is required.

Photo: ahisgett

10 | Retractable Knife

A retractable or trimming knife is another essential bit of kit for any toolbox. These can be used for a huge number of different cutting and trimming tasks. From cutting cord and rope to trimming wood and plastics, a retractable knife is an exceptionally useful tool to have at your disposal.

Photo: Public Domain Photos

11 | Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Yes I know it’s a boring one, but PPE is essential to provide you with a safe working environment. Safety glasses, gloves, ear defenders, steel toe-caps, dust masks, hard hats, etc. Some of these items may not be necessary to every one, but at the very least a good pair of gloves, safety glasses and ear defenders should be part of your toolbox.

Photo: S. Diddy

12 | Toolbox

Once you’ve got all the essential tools that you will need for the years to come, you will of course need somewhere to put them. A toolbox is not only a good place to store your kit, but can also save you time on a job as you will not waste time searching for various tools that are scattered around the house. Toolboxes come in various shapes and sizes. Metal, plastic and canvas are all available and personal preference and capacity should guide your purchase.

Photo: Robert S. Donovan

Alex is a new homeowner who has found Stanley and DeWalt Tools to be among the best available when buying tools direct from online retailers.

Last Updated on October 27, 2011

One way of adding a bit of character to your home is by changing the door handles. These are a part of the home that are regularly ignored and only changed if completely necessary, with many people thinking, “It’s only a door handle”. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and here a few examples of wonderful and wacky door handles that could really add some flair to any home.

If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, then this may look familiar to you. This door knob seemingly represents Panetheus having his eyes pecked out by a bird as a punishment from Zeus for giving humans the secret to make fire. It’s certainly something that may make visitors think twice about their behaviour in your home, if not a little intimidated!

door handle 2
Photo courtesy of Astorg

On a similar note, here’s another way to mark your territory from a building on the Rue Rambuteau street in Paris.

door handle 3
Photo courtesy of Nep

The handle doesn’t always have to represent something, however. This woven handle is a nice piece of contemporary interior design that, to the naked eye, doesn’t really look like much yet still stands out.

door handle 4
Photo courtesy of Sualk61

Similarly, this handle seems to represent little but an upside down door knob, however it does stand out as being unique, and someone in Graz certainly likes it.

door handle 5
Photo courtesy of Jotefa

Here’s another interesting door knob with a religious theme – this time from Cologne Cathedral. The largest Gothic church in Northern Europe isn’t particularly famous for its door knobs, but they deserve a mention nonetheless.

door handle 6
Photo courtesy of Sandxr

There isn’t really much to say about this door handle, after all, it’s not all that clear what it actually is. It looks like it’s a rock in the grasp of some claws, either way it’s unique and sure to stand out on any door.

door handle 7
Photo courtesy of Sfgamchick

Finally, here’s one for the inner child in you. Remember the Walt Disney film, Alice In Wonderland? Of course you do! Well here’s the character The Door Knob serving its true purpose. The eyes even move when you turn the knob, providing the opportunity to release the child inside you.

Author Bio
Jack Oldham is a recent BA (Hons) journalism graduate who regularly blogs about window treatments, DIY and door handles.

Last Updated on October 27, 2011

Turn your indoor or outdoor patio into an entire additional room with creative decorating ideas. By adding an outdoor fireplace or patio heater you can create a spot to spend time in during the colder fall and winter months instead of only being able to use your patio in the summer. The most usable patios are enclosed – if yours is open, you may want to install an awning or at least put up a large patio umbrella for cover. Before furnishing and decorating your patio, make sure to clean it so that it will look its best.

Choose a theme and design the patio around that style of decor. For example, for a tropical theme, opt for bright aquas, oranges and yellows along with images of palm trees, colorful birds and the ocean. For a Mediterranean theme, find tapestries, pillows and pottery in deep purples, greens and golds. You’ll also want to design the patio around its main function – if you’re going to be entertaining, you’ll need lots of seating space and surfaces for drinks and plates, plus a miniature bar. If you want a quiet reading nook, you’ll need plenty of light and quite, serene surroundings. If your patio is large enough, you can section off areas for different things – one section can be used for sipping morning coffee and flipping through a newspaper and another section can be just for the kids.

Lay area rugs on the floor and add seating to create an inviting lounge area. Adirondack chairs, a bistro set, rocking chairs, a porch swing, hammocks or even a couch will add charm and functionality. Keep oversized pillows nearby so guests can plop down on the floor to talk or read when there’s a crowd. Illuminate the area with hanging overhead lamps, candles, tiki torches or string lights. Anything that provides soft light, like Chinese lanterns, is perfect for patio lighting. Remember, you don’t have to run to the store to buy brand new furniture – use what you’ve got and update it with a new coat of paint. You’ll be surprised at the facelift you can give your old furnishings.

Mix color, scents and natural foliage by adding potted plants, herbs and flowers to your patio. Create more floor space by hanging plants or placing them on tall, thin stands. When choosing plants, make sure that they’ll survive and thrive on the patio – check out how much sun and shade they need. Plants can also be used to section off your patio if there isn’t an outline of the area. For a spin on basic plants, purchase a topiary in the shape of your choice (they’re like bigger, better Chia Pets). Place bird feeders, bird baths or fountains around to add to the natural vibe.

Add the element of sound to your patio. Wind chimes can sound beautiful – just make sure that they don’t get in the way of relaxation. If you’d rather use your patio to get some shut eye, install a sound system and play CDs with natural sounds, like soothing running water. A stereo can also be used to play music when you have guests over.

About the Author: Samantha Reynolds writes for Patioshoppers.com, the leading e-tailer of outdoor rugs, Christmas holiday decor and other unique patio goods.

Last Updated on October 26, 2011

Cooking at home can be a wonderful adventure that provides you with the opportunity to explore foods and spices, allowing for the discovery of new tastes without having to jet around the world. Equipping a kitchen for usability and convenience can be a challenge or it can be fairly easy to accomplish. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common features built-in to kitchen remodeling jobs to achieve the ideal level of beauty and flow in your kitchen.  If you are in the process of remodeling consider adding one or more of the following to your home, making time spent in the kitchen as enjoyable as possible.

1. Granite countertops

In the kitchen, resiliency and durability are paramount. Granite countertops meet this need well, offering heat- and scratch-resistance, making it possible to cook without having to scramble for a trivet when it’s time to move a hot pot off the stove. The scratch-resistant surface will not be damaged by knife use. Granite surfaces also resist stains and come in a variety of styles and designs, making these types of countertops ideal for all kitchens.

2. Island

kitchen-island

An island is a great way to maximize space in a kitchen, a room where work areas and storage availability are sometimes in limited supply. A mobile island allows everyone from cooking hobbyists to professional chefs to create a layout that works best for their changing needs. Scoot an island next to a stationary counter to add space, especially for involved recipes with several preparation steps, or move the island between your kitchen and dining area to divide the room without having to add a wall.

3. Wall ovens

wall-ovens

As mentioned, optimizing the space available in a kitchen can make the preparation of even the simplest meal that much easier. Wall ovens can help with this goal, freeing up counter space that can be utilized for other tasks. Wall ovens also eliminate the need for bending over to attend to simmering meals, and, given their adjustable placement in the wall, make foods easier to access. Double wall ovens are also an option and extremely convenient when cooking several foods for the holidays.

4. Slow cooker

Ideal for the person who wants to come home to a prepared meal or cook a meal while something else is going in the oven, a slow cooker is a handy tool in the kitchen. They take up little space, are energy efficient, and can be used to  prepare everything from entrees to desserts. What better way to simmer a winter stew while still being able to leave the house for work or errands?

5. Henckels knives

 

A quality set of knives in the kitchen can make food preparation tasks that much easier. Well known for the comfort of their grip and ease of use, Henckels is a brand used by people all around the world. Start with a standard and practical 8-inch cook’s knife, which can be used to slice, peel, and chop. Invest as well in a serrated knife, which can be used to slice through crusty breads or anything with a tough surface and soft interior. Kept sharp, knives will remain widely useful in the kitchen. Investing in a reliable brand like Henckels will ensure a long life of this necessary kitchen tool.

Spending time in the kitchen should be as fun and stress-free as possible, a goal within reach with these must-have items. Save money by investing in durable tools that will hold up under years of use and discover anew the joy of cooking.

Thomas Stone, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys Korean barbecue, and spending his time keeping up with the latest innovations in elite kitchen appliances.

Last Updated on October 26, 2011

Most home owners will want to sell their home at some point to either move on, upgrade or downgrade. In a buyers’ market there is plenty of choice for many people looking to buy a new home, so how, as a home seller, do you make your property stand out from the crowd? There are certain ways to add value to your home in order to make it more desirable, I’m going to focus on my top 5 below;

  1. Explore the idea of a loft conversion

Statistics and other figures show that adding a loft conversion to your house can, on average, add 12.5% onto the final selling price… so why would you not do it? Loft conversions are the quickest and easiest way to add another bedroom, bathroom or general room to your house. A lot of the work can be done from the outside too, which reduces the amount of mess and disruption on the inside.  One key point to note is that loft access needs to be in an accessible point of the house where entering and exiting won’t cause much disruption.  Ensure that the conversion keeps within the theme of the house and doesn’t look like a last minute add-on (even if it is!).

  1. Add a conservatory

Any added living space is a bonus to almost every family. A conservatory provides extra space in a room that you can enjoy near the garden at any time of the year with all of the family. Again, much like with a loft conversion, it is important that the conservatory is an extension of the house itself and not just an added extra to the side of your home. To create the effect that the conservatory wasn’t a last minute addition you can make sure that there is no separate entrance and that the floor matches the previous room.

  1. Convert your garage

Many home owners have a garage yet they don’t have a car in it. A garage without a car or even intent to have a car is causing a lot of wasted space. A garage can make up a lot of extra space, so it is important that you think carefully about making any changes to it as it would be a permanent change.

  1. Refit your bathroom

This could potentially be big job, but studies show that it can add up to 3% to the value of your home if done correctly. A poor bathroom is one of the biggest deterrents to any potential buyer.  If a complete bathroom refit is out of the question then at least make sure the bathroom you have is ticking all of the boxes. Mould is common in bathrooms, as is hair, dust and even cobwebs, so ensure all these things don’t exist in yours.

  1. Outside care

Sounds simple, but looking after the outside of your home is often overlooked by many homeowners. Paint the house and at least ensure that it looks a bit neater than your neighbours. Wash the windows, wipe down any windowsills, brush up any leaves and just pay some care to your property.

This post was written by Lucy Pitt. For more information about loft conversion visit pcoleconsult.co.uk

Last Updated on October 26, 2011

If you’re a fan of reality TV and home shows, you’ve probably wondered how the producers manage to work their magic, fixing up homes in just a couple of days, and spending next to nothing in the process.

The secret to the success of the makeover shows isn’t anything magical, it’s simply that they have the formula for decorating down to a science. They know exactly what they need to do, and they’re ruthless and efficient when they do it. It also helps that they have some great contacts, so they know which company is the best to order made to measure blinds from, and get to hear about any sales going on long before the average member of the public.

Giving your own home a make over

If you want to make over your own home, you’ll need to be strict with yourself. The decorators used by the makeover show companies don’t have any attachment to the homes they’re working on. They throw out all the clutter, they work fast, and they are capable of seeing the big picture.

Makeover show producers are professionals, and they don’t tend to make mistakes. They know that it’s a better idea to get Roman blinds made to measure than it is to just order a standard size off eBay without checking that it will fit. They calculate wallpaper needs precisely (accounting for repeating patterns) instead of buying a couple of extra rolls and hoping for the best. They don’t buy things just because “they look great” without thinking about where those items will live. In short, they have enough experience to avoid the most common mistakes.

Two heads are better than one

You’ve probably noticed that make over TV shows tend to have more than one designer. Sometimes, the designers are “competing” against each other, but they usually work together at least for part of the show to come up with a common theme. If you’re looking to revitalize your home, why don’t you work with a friend? Even if you don’t like all of their ideas, they’ll be able to give you some inspiration, and perhaps a reality check. You might think that those polka-dot made to measure blinds will look awesome in your modernist room, but your friend will be able to tell you if they’re a step too far.

Price everything, and stick to your budget

Sometimes, the TV show producers cheat a little. They give prices that include paint, wallpaper, furnishings, and expensive materials, but they don’t count the wallpaper paste, the paint brushes, the ladder, and other tools that you may or may not have in your home. This is part of the reason why viewers struggle to replicate the successes of the TV shows – they’re meant for entertainment, not as a decorating guide, but it’s easy to forget that and be taken by surprise when the figures don’t add up.

So, if you’re trying to decorate on a budget, price everything before you buy, and don’t be tempted to spend extra to chase a TV show dream. It’s not worth getting into debt for oak flooring and a plastic 1960s chair!

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Moonshadow Blinds, suppliers of made to measure blinds and Roman blinds made to measure. James writes on subjects relating to home improvements and DIY.

Last Updated on October 26, 2011

Negative equity is something that all homeowners fear. Fortunately, it’s possible to protect your property investment with a few judicious home improvements. Investing money up-front to improve your home will not only serve you well while you live there, it will pay off when you come to sell. Even if you’re on a limited budget, it’s possible to make minor home improvements that will entice buyers into paying more for your home. Hopefully the following tips will give you some ideas for easy home improvements that will make your home fetch more on the market.

Go Energy Efficient: Check your home out from top to bottom. Fit draft excluders (a cheap and cheerful upgrade), change your light bulbs to energy efficient ones, and check out your loft insulation. These simple improvements will save you money in the short term, and increase your home’s potential value on the market too. More expensive energy savers include double glazing and cavity wall insulation, although in certain areas you may qualify for a grant so make sure you investigate all options fully.

Install a water filter: How much do you spend on bottled water and replacement jug filters? A water filter will save you time and money in the long term. It’s only a small luxury, and it doesn’t cost much to install, but it’s a big hit with many home buyers.

Sort out your garden: First impressions count. If your garden is overgrown, messy, and unkempt, then buyers will have a negative impression of your home before they even step inside. Create a positive first impression, and they’ll be more receptive when they take the interior tour.

Upgrade your boiler: Old water heaters use big tanks, and cost a lot of money to run. Tankless water heaters (such as a combi-boiler for example) are more energy efficient, and offer instant hot water when you want it. This saves money, is better for the environment, and is more convenient too.

Consider a loft conversion: If your home is a little small, why not get a loft conversion? If may be that a dormer loft conversion would allow you to stay in your home rather than selling it to move somewhere bigger. Even if you still move, a loft conversion should pay off in increased home value when you move, and could speed up the sale of the house too.

Some of the above suggestions are quick and easy jobs that can be done in a day or a weekend. Others, such as a replacement boiler or a loft conversion, may take longer, but they’re well worth it.

Be aware that not all home improvements are an instant increase in home value. If you opt for a lot of upgrades on your home (for example a conservatory, loft conversion full insulation, and new heating), you might push it too far beyond what other homes in the area have in terms of upgrades, and you could end up making your home less desirable to buyers. Check with an estate agent for a rough idea before you spend too much money on home improvements.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Buckley Loft Conversions, the experts in loft conversions Birmingham and loft conversions Staffordshire. James writes on subjects relating to home improvement.

Last Updated on October 25, 2011

Do you love staying in luxury hotels? Does returning home after a holiday hit you hard because you hate your own bedroom? If so, these tips will help you to turn your home into a local luxury hotel that you’ll look forward to returning to each night.

The magic of hotels

A huge part of the appeal of a luxury hotel is that the room screams quality. It’s spacious, clean, and comfortably furnished. To recreate that feel, all you need to do is invest in some comfortable furniture, and get rid of any clutter in the room. Your bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation. You don’t need exercise equipment, entertainment gear, or anything other than a bed, wardrobe, and dressing table in your bedroom.

Designing for luxury

Luxurious doesn’t have to mean expensive. If your existing furniture is getting a bit tattered, replace it with something simple, but high quality. Budget beds of the kind sold by most mattress discounters are just as good as the beds offered at most hotels, but hotel beds feel nicer because they’re freshly made with clean linen every day. If you had a maid making your bed every day it would probably feel luxurious too!

Again, simplicity is key with the rest of the furnishings. Give yourself plenty of space to hang up clothes, lay out your cosmetics, and get ready on a morning. Clutter makes rooms feel smaller, so try to avoid it as much as possible. Simple, clean furnishings are the order of the day.

Luxury hotels spend a lot of time concentrating on lighting. They usually offer a general room light, strip lights, and focused lights around key areas – e.g. reading lamps near the bed, and lights on the dressing table too. Lighting is one area where it is worth spending extra money, so the funds you save by investing in budget beds and simple tables can go towards high quality functional and mood lighting for your room.

Keeping the hotel atmosphere

Sadly, most people can’t afford cleaners and maid service for their own home. If you’re not a millionaire, then you’ll need to do your own cleaning. Instead of making a monumental effort once every few weeks, try building some time into your daily schedule to keep the room in hotel-like shape.

It takes a housekeeping worker at a hotel approximately 12 minutes to clean a hotel room and the en-suite bathroom. If you emulate their working pattern and spend a few minutes each evening tidying up your room, you’ll be able to keep on top of the clutter that inevitably builds up.

Once you get into the habit of doing a little work each day, it will quickly become second nature, and you’ll gradually get quicker at performing the tasks you need to do. The thought of adding to your housework list may not seem appealing right now, but if you give it a try you’ll probably find that you’re more relaxed, and much happier, in a clutter free, luxurious environment. This is one piece of work that’s definitely worthwhile.

This post was written by James Harper on behalf of The Original Factory Shop, the mattress discounters and budget beds supplier. James writes on subjects relating to homes including interior design tips.

Last Updated on January 6, 2020

Many decorating trends are fleeting—gone just as quickly as they appeared. While in the case of shag carpeting, this was probably a good thing, we are fortunate that there are some exceptions. One such exception is geometric patterns.

Geometric prints have been used in Indian and Southwestern decorations for decades, and more modern versions became especially popular in interior design in the 60s. Today, geometric prints and patterns can be used to add a contemporary touch to rooms using stylish geometric artwork or painting, rugs, and accessories. They can also be used to create a focal point in a more rustic space by way of Indian or Southwestern prints. Because these patterns are typically bold and attention-grabbing, only a few pieces are necessary. So for decorators on a budget, geometrics are perfect way to spice up current design without breaking the bank! Read on for a few tips on how to incorporate the patterns into your décor. 1. Start Small A little goes a long way with these bold patterns. So begin with a throw pillow or two in the living room and a few decorative plates in the kitchen. Be sure to maintain a balance when using geometrics. Mix classic shapes with the more modern style.

Geometric Patterns in Kitchen

Here, geometrics are used sparingly—in the stool cushions and in the stars above the sink. The clock offsets the sharp edges of the stars, while the cushion covers are bold, the white of the rest of the room keeps them from taking over (see tip #4). 2. Pick the Right Patterns Some geometrics are easier than others to incorporate into design: hexagons, diamonds, stripes, and the Greek key pattern. Patterns with curves, like concentric circles or waves will keep things on the softer side. For example, a honeycomb throw or a zebra print rug will keep the décor from becoming too rigid. 3. Color Is Key When incorporating geometric prints, be sure to pick colors that are in the same subtle color family to keep them from competing with one another. In a kitchen or bathroom this may mean picking your prints based on either your granite counter top or the cabinetry—whichever is more reserved in color. If you’re working with a busy print, color is especially important. Neutral colors will keep the pattern from taking over.

Geometric Rug

The zig-zag pattern in the rug works because it’s in the base colors—white and navy. Stick to the neutral colors (as opposed to the baby blue or yellow here) to keep your geometrics under control. 4. Stay Grounded Geometric prints and patterns add flair and style, but may confuse your eyes if they’re all over the room. Use some solid color pieces to ground the patterns and keep the room from feeling too busy. Refer to the kitchen picture above for an example of this. The white counter tops, floor, and cabinetry provide the perfect backdrop for loud geometric prints. 5. Experiment Bottom line, using geometric patterns is going to require some experimentation to learn what works in your space. Once you’ve mastered level one of geometric prints, try layering with different patterns, like floral. Stay within with your color palette and go wild! Guest author Maggie Voelker is a fashion writer in Indianapolis, IN for a discount sunglasses provider. A recent college graduate and apartment dweller (read: poor and under the control of a landlord), Maggie must restrict her interior designing to cutting pictures out of magazines and giving advice to readers.

Last Updated on October 24, 2011

Are you tired of searching for the French look for your home on a shoestring budget? The clean, classic, and crisp look that defines this country is something that adds elegance to the home. Getting the style you want is not a huge hassle if you have the right information.

What Are the Elements of the French Look?

When it comes to achieving the interior design elements of France, certain items should be included. Among the list of items defining this style are:

• Soft pastel colored walls
• Hand-crafted laces and soft cream coloured fabrics
• Hand-carved wooden furniture
• Baseboards and fluted mouldings
• Ornate jacquard and brocade upholstery
• Artwork and antiques

However, there are other points that are typically over-looked. For example, many people focus on the cool white-blue colours of the country French look and forget about the warm gold’s and yellows. Others will forget about the ornate toile and only highlight pinstripes and floral patterns. In the end, getting the balance right means focusing on centrepiece items.

French Look Centrepiece Items

In French interior design philosophy, when a person walks into a room, their eyes should focus on the most beautiful thing that room owns. For example, a crystal vase may be the only finery. For this reason, it will likely be in the centre of the room. Instead of putting fresh cut flowers in it everyday, a bundle of pussy willows or other decorative dried plant may be used. Other ideas include artwork, a chandelier, a handcrafted wooden table, or an ornate antique.

Deviation in French Interior Design

When it comes to making the final decisions on what direction the interior design should go in a French look, the next obstacle is an important one to face front on. That decision is whether you are going for a country French or a palatial look. With so many of the castles and chateaus in France, there is a distinct pattern. Unlike the French country look, the chateau style is the opposite of simple. This means that the ceilings and floors may be as highly decorated as the floral pattern on the walls.

French Painted Furniture

What distinguishes the look France loves compared to other countries is their penchant for painted furniture. Instead of tossing something out when it is getting dull or boring, the French will opt to see how it looks with a fresh coat of paint. With the simplified country look, this means choosing soft pastels in bold colours like marigold, olive, or colonial blue. On the other hand, with the elegant look, painted furniture means pairing up bright white with gold paint.

Distinct Fabrics Finalize the French Look

Fabric selection is everything in your interior design scheme geared to reflect the homes of Paris. If you want the most extreme country look, your fabrics will be cotton and cream coloured. However, the elegant designs of a French chateau are reliant on shiny jacquards, organza, and satin. Whether you choose the luxury or everyday look of France, the main point of all interior design in that country is for the owner of the home to have a space that reflects how they feel. For this reason, be sure to expand your inner desires and dreams to there fullest as you decorate your home with the French look.

Sarah writes for Out There Interiors is an exciting interiors company committed to delivering gorgeous, quality furniture and furnishings such as mirrors, French furniture and chandeliers. They boast a bright team of capable, animated employees who are all eager to see and knowledgeable in the upcoming trends in modern furniture and interior design.