Shabby Chic At Home: Is Less, More?

If you have an older home that you want to make some changes to, then you really need to think about what will work well with it. An ultra minimalist and modern style of decor could work. However, due to the nature of the design of the home, it could look a little out of place. So it could be worth considering and embracing, a bit of classic British shabby chic for your home. With a cottage feel, full of lace, and frilly touches, it can look really cute, but still with a bit of a retro vibe. The key is to not overdo it, though, or it could end up looking like an old people’s home! So here are some tips of how to embrace shabby chic the right way. You’ll have a cute and cosy interior before you know it.

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Look For Antiques

If you want to get some genuine shabby chic into your home, then being on the hunt for antique furniture is a great way to do it. You don’t have to leave the furniture as it is. However, you can if you would like to. But repainting and reupholstering is a great way to get some really unique pieces that look just as stylish too. It could be some old French chairs, for example. With a sand down, a lick of paint, and fresh new cushions, they could look amazing in a dining room, or even to use with a dresser in a bedroom. They key to finding the best pieces of antique furniture is to look for the potential that the furniture has, not just what you see it has on face value. If the thought of reupholstering does scare you a little, then why not look at an article like upholster.co.uk/howto/, for example. Then you’ll have a guide to help you get the furniture looking as you’ll want it to.

Choose Dainty Accessories

In order to embrace the shabby chic look in your home, then it is all about the accessories. Personal preference does come into play here, as not everyone is going to want accessories on every shelf and in every room. So choose what works for you. Think about things that give a nod to the shabby vibe, though, with things like cute cups and saucers, as well as vintage teapots or silver trays. Flowers are always going to work for a shabby chic look. But instead of the more modern looking succulents, choose actual flowers, or even paper flowers for something extra quirky. One piece of advice is to not go overboard with the colours that you choose. They should suit the colours of the room and compliment them, not clash or distract from them. When it all fits with the tone of the room, it looks right, rather than something from a jumble sale.

Country Kitchen

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. So it makes sense that getting the kitchen right is the best way to get the overall look of the home that you want. An English country style kitchen is the best way to get the look that you’re after. You could choose some intricate designs on your kitchen units, as well as choosing rustic wood floors and a rustic wooden table and chairs. Annie Sloan do some great paints for this shabby chic look in a kitchen, as in most instance, you don’t even need to sand down the furniture. It just paints right on. So you may have a table that just needs a little love and an update. Leaving the top of the table as wood, and then painting the legs a lighter colour, like cream or white, is always a good shabby chic look. It makes it look very homely and chic but still gives it a modern and classy edge.

Don’t Forget About the Bathroom

The bathroom can often get a little overlooked when it comes to decorating the house. Especially when it is decorating the house in this shabby chic style. Which can leave it looking a little out of place with the rest of the home. But there are lots of ways that you can make your bathroom a cute and cosy shabby chic style bathroom. First of all, if you have space, then a freestanding bath in the bathroom is the way to go. It just screams elegance and vintage style, just like in the old movies. So look for a roll top bath with claw feet, from somewhere like drench.co.uk for the ultimate shabby chic bathroom style. Of course, there are plenty of showers and sink styles that will work too. It is just about things like the fixtures and fittings when it comes to getting the style just right, though. Look for waterfall showerheads and taps, rather than their really modern looking counterparts. It is also a good idea to look for bronze or brushed gold taps, rather than shiny stainless steel silver ones. The latter just looks too shiny and modern, when you are trying to achieve a classic and slightly aged look.

Other things that work well in the bathroom are freestanding towel rails, as it will make them almost look like a changing rail or shutter. Choosing fabric shower curtains is more of a shabby chic look, rather than a glass or Perspex shower screen. So all just things to bear in mind. In many ways, it is all about the accessories and the finish on things, that will really give you the shabby chic look.

Wall Decor

You can’t just have bare walls in your home, can you? But you need to be more particular about what you want on the walls when you’re trying to achieve a certain look. One thing that I particularly like is when a plain mirror is framed and paired with a large vintage looking photo frame. Often you can’t find a mirror with the right kind of edging (and if you can it will often cost a fortune). So framing the mirror with a large photo frame can give it a quirky and vintage look. The best thing about it is that you can sand down and distress or paint the photo frame, so you can make it look quite different to how you bought it. Again, don’t just take these kinds of thing at face value. Look for the potential that they have, and you can make something look completely different and just in the style that you want.

Other wall decor could be classic photographs in mismatched frames, as well as putting accessories on the wall. Old plates or saucers could be hung on the walls too. You could frame three in a row that are similar, just like you might do with photographs. Just be careful to not overkill the look. Things like that don’t need to be on every wall in the home, for example. But a few here and there will make the room look totally different than if there photos or wall art hanging there instead.

Think About Colour

Some colours will really help to give the home a shabby chic and vintage look. Some colours, however, will really distract from the look that you are trying to achieve. The colours you want to go for should be softer colours, rather than harsher colours. If you’re unsure what I mean, then just think of a cream coloured wall versus a white coloured wall. The white colour might look more crisp, but it does look more harsh than the soft cream coloured wall. So pure bright white is a colour to be avoided really. The same goes for bright colours too. Pastel shades and paler colours will be the colours to choose. A duck egg blue or pastel blue will look much softer in the home that a bright cobalt blue, for example. So think about colour in your home and choose it wisely. It can make all of the difference!

Layer Up

Trying to achieve a shabby chic look in the home can come down to lots of different layers. First of all, you start off with your walls. Then there might be accessories on the walls or photographs, and mirrors hung to display. Then you need to layer things up on your furniture. Think about throws and cushions for your chairs and sofas, as well as cloths and lace trimmings for things like your dining table and on your bed. You could add lace to shelving in your home, to add another dimension to it. All of the frilly and feminine touches will give your home a really vintage feel, and make it the prettiest place to be. Again, don’t do everything all at once in one room. It could be a lace tablecloth and drapes in one room, with a frilly throw and cushions in another room. Less can be more.

Is shabby chic a style that you love in your home? Would love to hear what you think.

Don’t Improve Your Home Alone

Although your home may be your little castle, and although improving it by yourself may be something that you long to do, you have to enlist help. You simply can’t take a home improvement venture alone. Well, that’s if you want your home improvement to be a success. Below you can find a few instances of when you should ask for help, and details of those who can provide it.

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The designing

Designing a home is only something a select few can make a real success of. These types of people are called architects and interior designers. They have a talent to pinpoint even the smallest of instances that could hamper a successful home improvement. They also have the talent to be able combat these instances and make them right. An architect is definitely somebody you should enlist to help you because he or she would help you get the best out of every room in your home before the improvement takes place. They would position the appliances, cupboards and other kitchen necessities in the most practical places possible. They would make the living room a nice place to be in by positioning it in a way that makes it both comforting and open. And they would make sure that the bathroom is laid out in a way that makes it as safe a place as possible in relation to the water usage within it. And then, once the architect has sprinkled their architecture magic all about your home you’d get an interior designer in. They would get to work in bringing the plans laid out by the architect to life. They would bring unused spaces to life with decor. They would choose a colour scheme that would accentuate a room. And they would do a whole host of other brilliant designing things.

The manual work

Manual work is not for everyone, that much is for certain. Some people just don’t have the body to be able to paint, lift and stretch for large portions of the day. No, this isn’t laziness. It’s just nature. But, if you feel that you’re just not up to the heavy lifting, stretching and other strenuous activities induced by home improvement work then you should know all hope is not lost. You can and should get help off of someone who is able to do these things. And this type of person is generally going to be a tradesperson. These types of people are physically capable of completing the manual work that is demanded of a home improvement venture. This is exemplified by the fact that they do it for a living, every single day. And because they do it for a living it means they are professionally qualified and in the know on how to complete it. Painter and decorators, for instance, are both used to the demands of a long days working on a home and they are trained to be able to do the work also. They will prepare the places in your home that is going to be painted. They paint them. And they then add the finishing touches to them in order to ensure all is as you desire it to be.

The payment

Home improvements cost a lot and there’s no getting around it. Before you even stop to consider how much you have spent you could have already spent tens of thousands — and that’s just on one room! So, you need to take your budget into account. And one way to stretch this budget as far as it can go is to ask for financial help from others. This could be family member, a friend, a colleague or even a professional borrowing company. It’s not embarrassing to ask for financial assistance — in fact it’s quite a normal thing to have to do, especially when you are undertaking a home improvement venture. Borrowing is a quick way to get the money you need to turn your home into your dream home. Borrowing from people you know is a great way to cover the costs of your home improvement without having strict deadlines to pay back by. But when you take this route, you might not be able to get the amount of money you need. But cash loans without lenders makes the attaining of substantial amounts of cash as quick and as easy now as it ever has been. You just need to be aware of the deadline that is in place on you to pay the money back by. And you need to be capable of paying back the money you borrowed before this deadline. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help financially, whether you ask somebody you know or a professional borrowing or lending company.

Unless you are professionally trained in all trades, have an architectural or designing streak coursing through your veins and are made of money you simply cannot take a home improvement venture alone. You must enlist help — if you don’t, not only will you ruin your improvement plans but you could make your home an unsafe place to live in. So, don’t be silly. Don’t put your safety and your home’s much-needed improvements at risk; ask for help when it comes to making upgrades to your home.

Living Room Design Mistakes to Avoid

For most people, the living room is the room they want to spend most of their time in when they are at home and awake! It is a room that is comfortable and a pleasure to be in. If you don’t find yourself agreeing with this, there could be something very wrong with the way your living area is designed. Are you committing a design sin? There are many of them, and a lot of them occur in many living areas. Let’s take a look in further detail, so you know what living room design errors to avoid.

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Hanging pictures at the wrong height – This is one of the biggest living room design mistakes you will see. It is something most people get wrong. It is important that your pictures are at the average human eye level, which is 60 inches from the floor to the middle of the picture.

Hiding your windows – A common mistake homeowners make is hanging their curtain rods too low. Curtain rods should be as close to the ceiling as possible. This makes the room appear more welcoming and luxurious, and it creates a sense of height. When the rods are too low, it makes the room feel like it is caving in.

Failing to add your personality to the room – Do you really want your living room to be a carbon copy of a furniture magazine? Or, every other living room you walk into? This can easily happen when you buy generic items from retail stores. This is why it is important to add unique upgrades to your living room. These are items that you have carefully sourced, which reflect your personality and make your living space unique. Alternatively, you can go a step further, and opt for a unique feature that hardly anyone else will have, such as lowering the floor to make a conversion pit seating area.

Not enough variety – They say that variety is the spice of life, and we couldn’t agree more. Don’t buy all of your stuff from the same shop. It can be very tempting, as it is practical and most stores have entire ranges where everything matches. However, if you want a room with dimension and personality, this is not the way to go about it.

Not thinking about the overall colour scheme – The colour palette you choose is of paramount importance. Colours have the ability to impact how we feel. They evoke emotions, and so you really need to think about the feeling you want to create in your living area. If you want it to be a relaxing space, you need to stay away from harsh, vibrant colours. Instead, choose natural, muted, and pastel shades. This does not mean the room needs to be boring. No one wants to sit in a sea of beige. Ensure there is a nice balance of tonality in the room, so that you have a mix of mid, light and dark tones that feel harmonious.

Putting your sofa against the wall – You should not put your couch against the wall unless you have a really small living room. Whenever you have the option, you should ‘float’ your sofa away from the wall. This will make the space look a lot bigger and more welcoming.

Failing to focus on comfort and relaxation – This is undoubtedly one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to living room design, but you would be shocked by how many homeowners make it. They focus on what the room looks like visually, as if they were viewing it from the outside in – looking at it in an interior design magazine, so to speak. Instead, they should be thinking about what it is going to be like sitting in the living room and enjoying the time in there. There are so many different ways to bring comfort and relaxation to your living area. Check out Fombag.com for a good place to start. They have beanbags and plush pillows for an instant injection of coziness. Aside from this, you can add a fluffy and indulgent rug or throw. Think about soft and comfortable textures, and you can’t go too far wrong.

Not having a logical layout – The furniture you choose should fit comfortably into your living area, and the layout needs to make sense. All too often, people try to cram in as much furniture as possible, like a coffee table that hits your shins every time you walk into the room or a sofa that is way too big for the space. This feels imbalanced, and it does not create a good energy. It is important that everything is to scale and logically placed.

Leaving the light until last – It is never a good idea to leave the lighting until last, yet far too many people view it as an afterthought. If you want an environment that is enjoyable to be in, you need to have a flexible lighting scheme. Mood lighting is important, meaning you have practical day lighting, yet you also have lamps and dimmable wall lighting for the evening.

Not having a focal point – Another cardinal sin when it comes to living room design is not having a focal point. Think about it as if you were painting a picture. When you walk into your living room, where do you want your eyes to go to first? This will help you to create the perfect focal point that will tie all of your living room together elegantly and gracefully.

Being a clutter bug – Last but not least, let’s end on a design mistake that is simply unforgivable – too much clutter! This is never a good idea. Less is more when it comes to accessories in your living room. This is essential to create a sense of balance and calm. Order becomes discord, and there is too much distraction when there is an overflow of clutter. Divide everything in your living room into the things that matter, things that are important, and things you can do without. Remove those in the latter category and repeat the process until your room is balanced.

 

Beat the Heat With These Essential Pre-Summer Home Upgrades

With summer coming up soon, homeowners all across the northern hemisphere are preparing their homes for the inevitable heat. They’re installing fans, replacing air conditioning, changing their windows and even decluttering the house so they have more space to move around. If everyone else is making changes, then why aren’t you? Unless you want to sweat throughout the hot summer months and make it hard to do anything at home, here are a couple of essential pre-summer home upgrades to help you overcome the heat.

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Ceiling Fans

If you don’t have one already, then you’ve probably been kicking yourself to get one for the past few years. A ceiling fan moves hot air down and helps it circulate around your rooms. They don’t rotate as quickly as desk fans or cooling fans and they aren’t made to actually cool the air like an air conditioning unit. Instead, it simply helps to circulate the cool air better and creates a breeze that we all long for during the hot summer temperatures. If you’re going to install a ceiling fan, then make sure it’s a reputable one such as Casablanca fans and ensure they have a switch on the fan to change the rotation. This is because ceiling fans can be used to help during the summer as well as the winter.

Repair and Service Your Air Conditioner

The last thing you want is for your air conditioner to break down just as the hot summers come rolling in. If your air conditioner is somewhat old then it might be worth the effort to completely replace it. This is because you don’t want your air conditioning unit to break down a few into a hot day. Repair and maintenance costs might also be lower during off-season days, so ensure you’re not delaying it. The filter may also need to be changed. Depending on the type of air conditioning unit you use, you might not be able to change it yourself, so ensure you call someone to help you get your unit in working condition. You may also want to upgrade your thermostat so that your air conditioning unit has a more accurate and reliable reading to work with.

Add a Film to Your Windows

Window films are simple upgrades that will help you reduce the amount of heat entering your home without compromising the amount of light that also enters. These solar control window films are fantastic for the summer because they make a significant different in the temperature of your home especially if you’re living in an area that gets a lot of sunlight. Not only does it reduce the temperature in your house, but it also shields you from harmful UV rays and makes you rely less on electricity in order to keep your home cool. These come in various shades and strengths which is helpful if you also want to reduce the amount of light coming in. Most companies will send you samples of each film they offer in order to convince you and allow you to test how effective they are.

Unique Home Upgrades You’ll Love

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Taking the time to plan home renovations is probably one of the most exciting aspects of being a homeowner. You may not have bought your dream home initially, but you can make as many changes as you like to turn it into the house you’ve always dreamed of owning. Your home is somewhere you need to be able to relax and so you want it to look as perfect as it can. This can include anything from coving and crown moulding in the living room, to a swirly whirlpool jacuzzi bath. Whatever you need to upgrade your space, you should do.

Upgrading your house can include all the regular changes, such as kitchen upgrades and giving your house curb appeal, but what about the more unique upgrades you could make to transform the space? If you like to make things unique in your home and you have the budget to do it, you absolutely should. We’ve put together some unique home upgrade ideas so you can have your pick of the bunch:

It’s all about conversation in your living room. Lowering the floor to create a conversation pit seating area like this one will take some work, but once it’s done you will have created one of the best social areas a house can have. Your living room should be warm, cosy and yet airy enough to be well-ventilated. If you have the luxury of high ceilings, bring some nature indoors and decorate with potted plants and beautiful flower arrangements. This’ll offset the cosiness of your new conversation pit in your living room.

If you have the luxury of a conservatory or decking outside, adding a hot tub is never a bad idea. Hot tubs used to be the mark of the wealthy but there are so many affordable options out there. It’s always better to install a hot tub outside the house instead of having one in your upstairs bathroom, as you then reduce the risk of flooding. You’ll have questions to ask when your home floods so if you can make upgrades that avoid this, do so. Having a hot and bubbly hot tub in the back garden should be a pleasure rather than a pain so if you mess with any plumbing, have a professional come in and do any installations for you.

When you have a family, your kitchen becomes a twenty-four-hour washing and drying space. Not only are you up to your eyeballs in laundry, but the dishes from the endless cooking and mealtimes can really pile up. It’s not unique to have a dishwasher, but it’s very unique to have two! You can get double drawer dishwashers like these, or just have them placed in different areas of the room. Your kitchen should be a hub of activity but that doesn’t mean you have to be Cinderella! Let one start washing while you load the other, and you’ll never physically wash a dish again.

Are you looking to do a huge remodel? Getting in the contractors so you can play cruise director rather than building yourself is a good idea. Think about what you want for your home and ask your contractors to tack on a guest house or an intricately built treehouse to your home. A guesthouse is the perfect addition to your home if you have guests over a lot and once you’ve all exhausted the fun in the conversation pit and had a relax in the hot tub, that guest house would be so much better than having people head to a hotel.

Bookworms among you will love the idea of a reading nook and installing a hidden nook under the stairs in the house can feel creative and secretive all at once. Add in some shelving and comfy pillows with some centred lighting for the perfect ambience. You don’t have to own an entire library a la Beauty and The Beast, but a small nook with blankets and cosiness for you to curl up in could be the perfect area of relaxation, and you haven’t even renovated too much!

One of the best luxuries when you stay away from home is a wet room in a hotel. The ability to walk in to your shower and not have any glass to clean afterward is amazing. Fully tiling your shower room and adding in jet washes is definitely a unique aspect to a house that you wouldn’t normally find. You can even transform the tiniest bathroom into a walk-in shower room. The luxury that’ll ooze from a room like this can make you feel pride in your home you wouldn’t have previously felt.

Unique upgrades happen all over the house but in the kitchen, you could make your rubbish disposal far more interesting by installing chutes in your kitchen. One for regular trash and one for recycling and you can funnel these straight into your garage, making your life so much easier. There’s no more emptying trash cans and dragging them through the house and into the garage when you can just make life easy with chutes.

If you are lucky enough to already have a laundry room in your home, then making changes here can change your whole laundry experience. Installing a sink with jets in your laundry room can be the best place for handwashing the delicate items in your basket. You should also add a counter top of baskets for the smalls in the home as it will make life easier when washing, drying, folding and sorting socks. Upgrades should be about making your life easier and this is the best way to do that.

Your home is the place you can have anything you want as long as you have the budget for it. You should go as above and beyond as you can for your home. After all, you’ll be the one living in it!

Luxury Features That Will Make Your Home The Ultimate Relaxation Haven

Your home should be more than just somewhere to come home to at the end of a long and hectic day; it should be a space that you love, a luxurious place. Your home should allow you to feel lavished and spoilt; it should give you the chance to relax and unwind quickly and easily. Think opulence. Think extravagance. Think luxury.

When you think about the word ‘luxury’ what comes to mind? Because the features that come to mind are the things that you should aim to incorporate into your home to make it a more luxurious and relaxing space. With that in mind, below are some examples of features that you could consider adding to your home to make it a more relaxing and luxurious space.

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Hot tub, sauna and swimming pool

What could be more relaxing and luxurious than a hot tub, sauna or swimming pool, or all three of these things? If you’ve got plenty of space in your garden, then building a sauna or swimming pool or adding a hot tub could be an option. You can opt to have the pool and hot tub outside, or you can incorporate a covering over them, depending on what you would prefer and how often you would like to use them. If you are going to add a covering to these areas, consider incorporating strip lights to add a warm glow to the room, creating a more calm and tranquil atmosphere. It’s also important that heating is taken into consideration, as there’s nothing less luxurious than a hot tub or pool area that’s cold, is there?

Meditation room

All of the most luxurious homes are fitted with tranquil meditation rooms. These are usually marble affairs that have a stereo, some floor cushions, and some scented candles dotted about. If you are desperate for a meditation room but have no room inside your home, perhaps you could build a summerhouse to use as a meditation room? Having somewhere to relax and unwind is crucial if you want your home to have a wonderfully luxurious vibe to it.

Outdoor kitchen

In luxury homes, having a well designed indoor kitchen just isn’t enough, an outdoor kitchen is also required. The fact is that when it comes to hosting BBQs and summer parties, having an outdoor kitchen can come in incredibly handy. All an outdoor kitchen needs is a sink with running water, an outdoor grill, and an area for preparing food on. So building an outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to be a nightmare, it’s just a case of being willing to invest in the space and realising that it will add value to your home, so is worth the time and money. You can opt to cover your outdoor kitchen or have it completely open air, depending on where you live and what the weather gets like.

There you have it, a guide to the luxury features that will make your home the ultimate relaxation haven, and a place that you look forward to coming home to at the end of a long and hectic day.

Why Your Dream Home Isn’t Out Of Reach

If you’re the type of person that thinks the home of your dreams is out of reach – there are plenty of reasons why you are wrong. It might be that the home of your dreams is closer than you realize!

One of the first things that you need to do when attempting to grasp the home of your dreams to check your expectations. If budget and realism is constricting your ideas, then you might need to bring your dreams and ideas back down to ground! Bankrupting yourself in the pursuit of a dream home isn’t a good idea, is it? Anyway, a more grounded dream home that isn’t the Palace of Versailles will be easier to design, and build while being cheaper. This makes it plenty more affordable, which makes the home cheaper. This means it is closer to being an actual home that you can live in rather than being a dream.

Then comes the planning. Planning is where you get your dreams and ideas down on paper. While you can do this yourself, it’s a good idea to only handle this phase on your own if you have a mindset and the skills that can lead to an actual home being designed. This isn’t for the realm of fantasy – designs need to be realistic and mathematical in nature – if you lack the skills you need to consult professional constructors and architects. There are even agencies who specialise in the design of family homes. These are the people that can take your ideas and transform these ideas and wishes into realistic plans – something you can take forward into actuality.

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The actual building of the home is something best left to professionals, especially so if building from scratch. It’s not impossible to develop a plot of land on your own, but it certainly is hard, laborious work and even though you might very well have the skills to build, you might lack the experience or knowhow to resolve issues. Leave it to a professional team who can actually carry out the work. Good professionals as well, so read the reviews and work with experience. Don’t skimp on cost here.

If you do want to get into DIY – this is something you can do, without building from scratch. It might be that your current abode just needs a few tweaks and renovations to become the home of your dreams. DIY is something that should be relatively risk free, but be sure to not push your abilities too far. Start out with simple skills, like tiling and painting before moving onto more demanding tasks. Learning these skills is a great way to be handy.

With a good budget, realistic expectations, great designs, a good team and the willingness to work hard, the home of your dreams might be closer than you could have ever expected. It will remain out of reach if your plans are too lofty and grandiose, so bring everything back to Earth and actually dream up a home that can actually be realized.