The temperature is finally starting to rise and many of us are now thinking about getting our outside and inside spaces ready for summer.
The onslaught of the warmer months means barbeques, summer drinks parties and impromptu get-togethers that can go on until the chilly early hours – the point at which everyone abandons their deck chairs ready to carry on the party indoors! This is why spending as much love and attention sprucing up your indoor space is just as important as tending to your garden furniture and plants.
There are a multitude of quick, easy and relatively low cost ideas that will help drag your home from warm and cozy rooms, to fresh, cool and inviting spaces from which you can escape the hot summer sun.
Here are six of our top tips for doing just this:
Replace heavy curtains with a lighter material to create a fresh, light feeling, and change cushion cover from dark, heavy cushions to floral prints in pale, neutral shades.
The key colours for this summer are: dusky blue, greyed jade and linen, as well as the brighter hues of emerald and African violet.
It’s important to keep a sense of balance with your soft furnishings and combining soft neutrals with vivid exuberant colours will help you achieve a perfectly balanced scheme.
A dark, dull and outdated kitchen will make even the prettiest of homes appear dull and dated. Investing in a new kitchen for summer is a bit commitment, but one I promise you will not regret. There are a huge range of bright and modern kitchens that work well all year round. Visit Betta Living now to view their range of kitchens and be inspired.
They say your windows are the eyes of your house (and as we all know, eyes are the windows to the soul) so it makes sense that your windows should be kept clean and sparkly at all times – particularly during the summer months when the sun will highlight every single smudge and fingerprint.
Instead of forking out for expensive (and usually ineffective) commercial window cleaning sprays, try adding neat white vinegar to a spray bottle, spraying liberally over your windows and then buffing dry with a clean rag – quick, easy and effective.
Share and Enjoy
When you’re looking to renovate your home, it’s likely that you’ll be on the look out for exciting and innovative gadgets to help your home stand out from the rest.
But aside from sourcing a top of the range fridge or purchasing a chic new couch set, there are a few gadgets that could help greatly with the functionality of your home, as well as greatly help you to save money – such as a ductless air conditioning unit.
With the hot summer months now just weeks away, switching your old traditional unit to a ductless one could help to keep you cool, save space in your home and reduce running costs all in one go – as this great infographic from Florida Diamond Contractors highlights:
Share and Enjoy
My home decor style is simple, classic with a bit of a modern twist and of course easy to use, clean and take care of items. The room that reflects this most in my home is the kitchen, where I always try to make my life as easy as possible as I love to cook, but hate to clean! That is why I would love to the Kiran Spot Resist one-handle pulldown kitchen faucet from Moen in my kitchen!
What I love most about this faucet is not that it’s spot resistant or that it’s also finger print resistant, but that it has a wonderfully high arch pull-down that makes it easy to keep my kitchen clean because I can put so much under it! I could also keep my car cleaner and my floors cleaner and I’m sure a number of other things cleaner as I would be able to put a bucket in my sink and fill it! No I do not have a huge wash basin, though I would love one!
Not only does the design of the faucet work well with my existing kitchen decor it’s just a nice piece to look at. Really who wouldn’t want this in there home? Okay, I’m sure someone won’t, but we won’t worry about them.
Want to get one of your own? You can buy the at Lowe’s (one of my favorite home improvement stores!)
Share and Enjoy
Is your kitchen or bath looking a little boring? Are you ready for a change that will make it dramatic and fun? Do you want your friends to walk in and say “WOW”? Well I have the perfect solution for your kitchen and bath décor problem, a glass backsplash! What is great about glass tile is that it’s unique, fun and you can do so many different things with it and even if your friends use the same tile as you, it’s still going to look different then your tile.
Glass tile comes in different shapes, sizes and types. You can get it is webbing that allows for a pretty easy instillation and you can get bigger pieces separately to create your own look. Sometimes you want to mix and match the two to create an interesting and unique look, but make sure to plan and sketch out the tile plan before putting the tile on the wall.
A backsplash can really change how a kitchen or a bath feels. It can create drama, relax you or even make you hungry, cold, or warm. It can completely change the look of your room and is not extremely expensive to do.
Do you have a glass tile backsplash? How do you like it?
Share and Enjoy
Sometimes it’s just better to keep what you have, not only is it great for the environment but it’s also amazing for your wallet. You can’t always keep what you have but when it comes to your outdoor space, you just might be able to make those items last just a little bit longer and create a bit of new style in the process.
One way to do this is by checking out a refinishing service, like the services offered by Patioguys.com, these services allow you to keep your existing furniture for years to come. Most companies will do almost any brand and product, many offer both residential and commercial applications and in the end you really can save yourself some money as high quality outdoor furniture can be expensive.
You can also look at refinishing more then just your furniture, you can fix up your old grill instead of getting a new one. Reuse old pots and containers to make garden features such as water features, bird baths or just general sculpture work. You can even get your kids, if you have them, in on the action by making bird feeders and ferrie homes to put in your yard.
How do you recycle to rejuvenate your yard?
Share and Enjoy
Kitchens are the heart of the home, they come in all shapes sizes and colors, but without some creativity you can’t give your kitchen the pizzazz is deserves to have and the wow factor you want it to.
One way you can make your kitchen proud is to use kitchen tile as a backsplash and focal point tile can really create that wow effect and give your friends and family something to talk about too.
Using unique tile like the one above can be a great way to show off your unique personality and style. This makes me thing of a warm exotic climate, but who knows maybe this kitchen is really located in Alaska!
Using different types of tile can also create some great drama in your kitchen. This modern look is emphasized by the chrome and black tiles. it’s a fun look that still is understated enough that it will last a long time.
The last look is one that I really love as it’s fun and different. It’s whimsical and fun while still being something that you will not get tired of quickly or want to get rid of any time soon.
Have you retiled your kitchen? Share with you your experience and feel free to send me your photos too.
Share and Enjoy
Before contemplating the many ways to incorporate cowhide rugs into your home decor, you might want to consider the benefits of choosing cowhide rugs over other alternatives. From a practicality standpoint, cowhide rugs are an extremely durable floor covering option. They can easily be spot cleaned with a damp cloth. Regular vacuuming is a sufficient cleaning method. One of the major benefits of cow skin is that it is hypo-allergenic.
Including a cowhide rug in your home decor assures that you have a home accessory that is totally unique. That’s a feature that you seldom find with home accessories. Just having a one-of-a-kind accessory in your home decor adds a touch of elegance and luxury and gives you a sense of pride in your choice of accessories.
A black and white cowhide rug is one of the most versatile home accent pieces you can include in your decor. You can be assured that your black and white rug can remain a constant part of your decor through the numerous trendy changes you make as time goes by.
A hypo-allergenic, black and white cowhide rug is an ideal choice for a nursery, a child’s bedroom or playroom. Rug patterns are quite diverse even when the coloring is the same. Browse through the collection of cowhide rugs until you find a pattern that you find soothing for a nursery or exciting for a child’s room. The warmth and texture of a cowhide rug makes it a great surface for kids to play on.
The versatility of cowhide patterns makes them a fantastic piece of wall art for any home decor. An exploration of cow skin rugs will help you find the color and pattern combination that you find most visually appealing. Choosing a cowhide rug is much like walking through an art gallery and selecting a painting that speak to your heart. As you view the various patterning, there’s sure to be one that you are drawn to.
Drape a black and white cowhide rug across a refined, modern style coffee table with an espresso or chrome finish and you will create an entirely unique, eye-catching accent table. This type of rug would look equally attractive across a bench seat in a rustic dining room. They are lovely placed across a sofa or accent chair in any type of decor.
Cowhide in the bathroom
A black and white cowhide rug can add elegance and luxury to your master bath design in a way that no other accessory can. It’s perfect for a sleek, sophisticated modern bath, a serene cottage style bath, or a bathroom with a back-to-nature country decor.
Share and Enjoy
No matter where you live in the world space is at a premium – so it makes sense to use every scrap of it in your home. We can no longer afford to leave our attics and lofts empty or to use them just for storage. The number of loft conversions are growing every year and when done properly they often become the favorite room in the house, whether changing them into a new master bedroom suite, a playroom for the kids or a second living room.
What is it that makes loft rooms so appealing ? My theory is it’s partly due to the relatively high ceilings and quirky angles that you tend to get in loft conversions with odd beams sticking out and unexpected pools of light that immediately give them bags of character – all features that should be maximized in the design of the room.
It’s also down to the light level, the higher up a building you go the better the quality of the light and even if your loft conversion has limited light it may have the advantage of velux windows with views skyward.
Insulation is one of the key problems with any loft conversion. They weren’t built as rooms, and even retrofitting insulation to current building regulations, they tend to be hotter in summer and cooler in winter than the rest of the house.
When designing any room it’s important to consider maximizing the space and this needs to be carefully considered when designing for a loft room as it’s important to use all the eaves space to maximum advantage. Eaves are natural spaces for storage, creating built in cupboards approximately one metre high or shelving out the area for books is a good solution. One metre is about the height where space gets difficult to use efficiently with a sloping ceiling so storage is a natural use for it.
If you’re creating a bathroom in your loft the eaves space is a great place to position a bath as you can easily get in and out without banging your head. Another solution is to leave the space clear to give a feeling of space, when lit cleverly this will also help to maximise the effect, shooting light up the sloping walls to bring a sense of drama to the room.
However you decide to use your loft space it’s an investment worth making and with a little thought and consideration to the shape and angles, could be a stunning addition to your home. See the images below for great ideas of how to use your loft space.
About the author :
Linda Levene is the head designer at LLI Design.
Share and Enjoy
Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious or a secular holiday, there is no doubt that there is a lot to be thankful for when it comes around. It means spring has sprung – or will soon. It means that life is beginning anew; there is rebirth, regrowth, and a new chance; the days are longer and a bit warmer. Decorating your home for Easter is a great way to bring a bit of the sun in and to honor the holiday. Here are some wonderful ideas to try:
Easter Egg Tree (courtesy of MarthaStewart)
This great tree incorporates spring themes of new life with soft, pastel Easter colors.
To start, fill a galvanized steel bucket, flower pot or ice bucket with floral foam, marbles, or small stones. Insert pussy willow branches (if you can pick your own, great! If not, try a craft store or look for cherry blossom or forsythia branches). You can even paint the branches white. Arrange some grass in there as well for decoration.
Next, get your eggs ready. You will have to blow them out so the yolks and whites are safely out. This process of completely emptying the eggshells will allow you to keep them up over the holiday and for years after. If you’ve never done this, see instructions here.
Make sure the liquid doesn’t touch the egg shell – and then make some scrambled eggs. The next step is to decorate your eggs. You can do this in a number of different ways, and there are great commercial kits on the market at Easter time. After you dye your eggs, make sure to blow them out again. This is a great time to get the kids involved. They can use glitter, beads, and other items from the craft store to embellish their eggs.
Thread a ribbon onto a needle and slip it through the holes of the egg. Pull the ribbon through. Double-knot and tie onto the “tree” branches.
Note: Once you know how to make blown-eggs, you can use them to make centerpieces or topiaries, arrange them as decorations in Easter baskets for adults, and even make garlands to hang on light fixtures or the fireplace mantel. Just be careful when handling them, and keep them out of reach of little kids!
Chalkboard Flower Pots (from HGTV)
This makes a terrific decoration for your home – and it can be a nice gift for an Easter hostess, friend, or family member. Personally, I’ve used this idea to create fun hostess gifts where I wrote Happy Easter on the pot and then placed an Easter lily inside for a beautiful presentation. In addition, I’ve used the mini terracotta pots with chalkboard paint to do double duty as place cards on the Easter dinner table and then given them to guests as spring themed party favors to take home with them. I just put a little flowering African Violet in each pot. They looked great!
- Terracotta plant pots.
- Chalkboard spray paint.
- Paper towels.
- Spring bulbs or flowers.
- Potting soil.
1. Prime your pots and let them dry.
2. Apply chalkboard paint to the pots. You will need two or three coats, but let each one dry before applying the next. Make sure to paint the rim and inside 1/3 of the pot, which will be visible. This will need to dry overnight.
3. When the pots are dry, you’ll need to “season” the surface. This prevents whatever you write from being “burned” onto the pot – which means you can use it over and over again as a mini-chalkboard! To do this, rub chalk over the pot, and then wipe it with a paper towel.
4. Fill with potting soil and bulbs or plants.
5. Write a message on the pot. If giving as a gift, write the name of the plant/bulbs and care information.
Egg Shell Planters
You can do this a few different ways; if your family eats a lot of eggs, you can repurpose those shells. Crack them as carefully as possible (in half is good). Clean them and let them dry. You can also blow out the eggs and use a pin or needle to gently break them. This is your plant “pot.”
Next, fill with a light mixture soil and spray it with a water and Miracle-Gro mixture so it is damp. Make a little indent in the soil with a toothpick and plant two seeds per shell; this is great for starting plants indoors before it’s gardening time. Cover with dirt using the toothpick. Spray just a little water on top. Write the name of the plant on the shell in permanent marker. Place the seeded shells in an egg crate or nestle them in a basket for display purposes around your home.
By Easter, you will have little seedlings stretching towards the light; this makes a great spring decoration or gift – and you can plant it a bit later. When you do, simply crush the egg shell up and plant it right with the seedling. Practical, green, and beautiful!
About The Author
JJ Smith is a mom and event consultant that shares her seasonal party planning tips, favorite family recipes, and seasonal gift ideas at www.holiday-gifts-gift-baskets.com where she is a regular blog contributor.
Share and Enjoy
Scotland has an abundance of native plants and herbs and is recognised for its historical and horticultural significance. Scotland’s unique planting conditions mean that in addition to native plants, a variety of internationally renowned plants, including rare and collectable ones, flower perfectly throughout the year.
Scottish gardens are popularly known for having colourful beds of flowers that flourish year-round. These desirable conditions mean that deciding what to include in your Scottish garden can be easy – because there is so much choice, but it can also be very difficult – because there is so much choice! Here’s a few of our favourite plants and flowers, ideal for including in the perfect Scottish garden.
The Scotch Thistle, we couldn’t start with anything else really! This deceivingly delicate flower has come to be an iconic emblem which represents Scotland. Once regarded as a weed, this plant is now a popular addition to gardens all around the UK. The plant sprouts an elegant, purple flower during the summer months and requires full sun and acidic soil.
In spring, you could look to include bluebells and colourful rhododendrons in your Scottish garden. Bluebells have a deliciously sweet fragrance and will brighten up any garden with their violet-blue flowers. Rhododendrons come in a variety of colours and can be planted in most areas of a garden.
During the summer months your planting options are endless. In particular, Scotland is an ideal location for yellow foliaged plants and shrubs because you rarely see leaf burn in the north. This means that shrubs like the Japanese maple are received very well in Scotland. Japanese maple is often admired for its gentle and calming foliage and looks attractive planted next to ponds and water features as the colours reflect beautifully off the water.
Your Scottish garden doesn’t have to fall short during the winter months either. White snowdrops and luscious winter berries will grow fluently throughout the colder months with minimal assistance. This honey-scented plant has stunning white bobbing flowers and looks perfectly at home amongst the snow and sleet. The snowdrop is so well adapted to Scotland’s harsh conditions that you just can’t fail. Winter berry bushes are the perfect feature in a Scottish winter garden as you can enjoy bursts of bright colour along with the option to harvest and eat the berries themselves – the perfect combination!
Other plants that thrive in the Scottish gardening conditions include heather, Scottish flame flower and gorse. When designing a garden you should also consider your garden’s soil type and choose plants appropriate to this. You should also get a good understanding of what parts of the garden receive sunlight and shade as this will determine the type of plants you’ll be able to plant.
Nevertheless, Scotland’s unique gardening conditions mean that a Scottish garden can be whatever you want it to be, just don’t forget to enjoy the designing process!
Author Bio: This article has been written by Joel at Gardens Galore, a garden landscaping company based in Perth, Scotland.