Creative Lighting Ideas for Your Home

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by Stacie

We can do much more with the light in our homes than simply screw in a white or yellow light bulb. But many of us don’t make the effort to do anything more interesting, perhaps instead concentrating on using beautiful lampshades. And while having new light fixtures fitted might seem a hassle, it’s not all that complicated, and it’s not the only way to use light in a fun way. We use the light in our home for practical purposes, like cooking in the kitchen, but we also use it to set the mood and enhance interior design. If you want to do more with your home lighting, try some of these creative ideas.

Take Control

Sometimes the fairly simple ideas are some of the most effective. Dimmer switches might have been around for a long time, but people often still see them as something a bit fancy. It’s easy to install a switch, as well as dimmable bulbs like these Philips LED bulbs. Once you’ve changed your lights to fit dimmer switches, you won’t regret it. You can lower the light in the bathroom for a relaxing bath, bring the lights down in the dining room for an intimate dinner or create some mood lighting in the bedroom. You don’t always want a strong, bright light in the evening, and a lower one can bring a lot more atmosphere to a room.

Learn to Love Pendant Lights

Most of us have light fittings that hang straight down from our ceilings, but they can often look a bit tired or dull. Pendant lights hang a little lower than most and usually come with a beautiful shade, made from anything from glass to brass. They’re particularly popular at the moment because they’re an excellent way to use lighting to create a feature in the room. They look fantastic hanging over a table, kitchen island or bed. There’s a huge range of stunning and creative fittings you can use, from vintage lanterns to contemporary bars and other designs.

Use Color

We often get stuck using white and yellow lights, with perhaps a bit of daring orange now and then. But there’s no need for us to stick to the same colors all the time. There are lots of fun hues that we try out, and they don’t have to be garish or tacky. However, it’s best to use different colors sparingly, perhaps as accent lighting. You can also use colored bulbs with a dimmer switch so that you can adjust their level. Instead of using paint, furniture or other accessories for you accent colors, use your lights instead. As well as choosing a colored bulb, you can use a white one shining through a colorful fixture. You’ll get a more subtle effect, and you can change the fixture when you want.

Why should we settle for boring lighting when we can do what we want with it, just like everything else in our homes? Make your home more fun by playing with your lights instead of settling for mundanity.

Bringing Victorian charm into the 21st Century

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For many people Victorian homes hold a distinct charm that new builds simply can’t match. However, the problems may arise when you discover you still have the original plumbing, the plaster is crumbling and you can’t remodel without jumping through the hoops of your local historical and preservation societies.

However, there are some truly amazing buildings available and the character, charm and sense of history afforded by a Victorian space can be worth any amount of hassle you might have to go through in getting it the way you want.

Victorian statements travel into 2015

For inspiration, take a look at these stunning character homes for sale. Stanmore is home to Bentley Priory, a stately home that has medieval roots but which really came into its own in the 18th and 19th Centuries. In 1848, in fact, the Dowager Queen Adelaide, widow of William IV, leased the Priory and regularly received Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

You really don’t get more Victorian than that – but the luxury apartments, duplexes and villas that have been created within the Priory stand as living proof that period buildings can be brought into the 21st Century. The elegant contemporary interiors co-exist with the character of the building’s original features which, considering the Priory is a Grade II listed building, was an absolute design prerequisite.

Try something different

Even if you’re fitting out your period home on a budget, you can create your own blend of classic and contemporary. You don’t want your home to look like somebody threw their grandparents’ old furniture together along with a trolley dash through your local gadget store but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in some modern elements.

For an eclectic look, try reupholstering a Victorian-style sofa or dining chairs with modern fabrics and bold graphic prints. This diverse mix isn’t for everyone but it can work to stunning effect.

It’s also worth noting that the Victorians themselves were not afraid of colour and bold design statements. The period might be associated with somewhat repressed emotions but in design terms it was opulent, with lots of rich greens, gold-browns, reds and blues. Toning the heavier colours with cool whites can add a modern touch and make the place feel lighter and airier.

So, there really are plenty of options and many ways to bring classic Victoriana into the modern day so, go for it!

Wonderful Ways to Pamper Yourself at Home

We all need some time to ourselves sometimes. We work long hours during the week and then stay busy at the weekend getting out and about or spending time with the kids. But sometimes you just need to slow down and take some time to pamper yourself. But you don’t have to go to a spa to give yourself some special treatment. All you need is a bit of spare time, the bathroom to yourself and a few choice supplies. You can easily enjoy a quiet, relaxing night (or day) in, without having to spend much money at all. Follow these tips to start letting go of all that stress and becoming the most relaxed you’ve ever been.

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Gather Your Supplies

You don’t want to have to get out of the bath and run through the house because you’ve forgotten something. Make sure you have everything you need before you get started, so you’re super prepared. If you’re going to begin with a long, hot bath, you’ll need your preferred products for making it enjoyable. It could be a bubble bath, a bath bomb or some silky body lotion for when you get out. You’ll want to enhance the atmosphere too, so get something the smells good, like candles or incense, and put on some relaxing music. If you don’t already have one, it’s essential to go shopping for bath robes. There’s nothing like getting out of a warm bath, drying yourself with a huge, fluffy towel and then wrapping up in a luxuriously soft robe.

Start with a Bath

Once you have your bath supplies, it’s time to get in. If you don’t have a tub, a shower can be just as relaxing and delightful. Get your relaxing music started, whether it’s classical or pop, and dim the lights to create a tranquil atmosphere that could almost send you into sleep. While you’re bathing, give yourself a mini-massage with a loofah or exfoliate with a good body scrub. It’s also a good idea to take a pumice stone to your feet for silky smooth soles. You’ll step out of the bath feeling like a new woman.

Post-bath Care

Once you’re out of the tub and wrapped in your fluffy robe, there’s no need to stop there. Massaging a quality body lotion into your skin can make you feel blissful. You’ll feel soft all over, and it will help you feel even more relaxed than before. If you want to get dressed, put on some soft pajamas or other clothes. There’s no need to wear stiff garments and restrictive items, when you can slouch on the sofa in your favorite “relaxing outfit”.

Keep It Going

After your relaxing bath and after-care, don’t rush straight back into the real world. Take some more time to look after yourself and forget about your troubles. Sit back and do something that you enjoy that won’t stress you out. For some people that will be watching TV, while for others it could be playing video games or reading a book.

After your epic relaxation session, you’re sure to wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and raring to go. How would you describe your perfect night in?

Why Accessories Are A Girl’s Best Friend

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Women are always up to date on the latest fashion trends, but accessories are just as important. Why are accessories so important, you ask? Accessories are some of the ways women can express themselves without doing too much. From necklaces, bracelets, earrings, to family heirlooms, here are the reasons why accessories are a girl’s best friend.

Self-expression

As said, women use accessories to express themselves. For instance, a woman with a boho chic style would probably prefer to wear wooded beads and hemp bracelets rather than pearls or gold jewelry. Women who don’t want to express themselves through the way they dress can easily turn to accessories to show off their personal style and taste.

Accessories can change a look

Using just accessories, girls can change their daywear to nightwear. If they have on a simple black dress, a few accessories can dress it up or down, depending on the occasion that they are attending. A few fancy bracelets and necklaces can turn a black dress into a party ensemble, while some pearl earrings can make the dress ideal for a formal date.

Draw attention to different parts of the body

Accessories are also a girl’s best friend as they can draw attention to different parts of the body. For instance, to accentuate the neck, a simple necklace could do the trick. A ring with a big stone could also easily draw attention.

Elevate simple fashion

A plain shirt and jeans can be elevated with a few accessories. A fashionable bag, bold jewelry, or a printed scarf can change your look. With just a few simple accessories, you can easily turn your plain clothes into something high fashion.

Heirlooms and special trinkets

Jewelry and accessories are also commonly passed down from generation to generation as heirlooms. These heirlooms are typically made of real metals and have a high value. In other cases, accessories can be a token of appreciation or special trinkets to remind you of someone such as friendship bands and bracelets. Accessories are treasures that the owner can keep for a long time.

Provides opportunities for a simple outfit

Women only need a few essential pieces in their closet to survive – a little black dress, jeans, a crisp white shirt, and slacks are just a few of them. These basic pieces can easily be turned into ensembles of different styles with the help of accessories. Sunglasses, a bag, a hat, and some jewelry can turn your basic outfits into countless wardrobe opportunities.

Accessories are just as important as fashion. Not only that, you have plenty of accessories to choose from! From cheap and fancy jewelry to the more expensive ones, there’s no doubt that each piece can change your wardrobe. Read more about the latest trends in accessories and know how you can turn a simple ensemble into one that will make you feel more confident and special. You can get a bunch of wholesale costume jewelry or a few gold or silver pieces and you are all set!

5 Cooking Tips For The Baker In You

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Baking seems so easy when you see it on cooking shows, but when you try it yourself, it does not always turn out the way you expect. Baking is a technical skill; some say it takes even more skill than cooking. If you want to be a good baker, here are some tips you should follow:

Preparation

Make it a habit to read through the recipe from the start to finish and make sure you have the right ingredients and materials before you start. Also ensure your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin cooking, unless stated otherwise. Be aware of different baking terms to make sure you are doing the right thing. For instance, melted is different from softened.

When using the oven

Always pre-heat the oven according to the temperature in the recipe before baking. Use an oven thermometer to make sure that the temperature is exact. In addition, you also need to have a timer handy. A few minutes or seconds can turn your cookies or cake hard. When baking, follow the times and temperatures exactly as seen on the recipe. You can also use your judgment and check the cookies or cake once in a while.

Types of ingredients

When baking, you will be seeing different types of ingredients – some you normally use, while others you may not have heard of. Recipes may call for salted or unsalted butter, different types of oil, a variety of sugars, and even different types of flour. Read about these varieties to ensure you know what they are good for and why a certain recipe needs it.

Use appropriate measuring tools

There are measuring tools for liquids and measuring tools for solids. When you are baking, you need to use the right measuring tools for the ingredients you are measuring. Another tip is to level off ingredients using a knife when measuring them. Use the straight edge of a knife to get the most accurate measurements. The smallest addition to an ingredient can make a huge difference when baking.

Practice, practice, practice

The first cake or batch of cookies you make may not turn out perfect but with baking all it takes is practice. The more you do it, the better you get. For beginners, it is best to stick to one recipe first before attempting to do others. Once you have perfected a recipe, you can move on to other delectable desserts you can serve to your family and friends.

With these tips, you are sure to be a better baker in no time. If you practice, you will soon be able to make all the desserts that you want including layered cakes, chocolate macaroons, cookies, muffins, and many more! Once you get the hang of things, it will be easier for you to prepare these wonderful offerings that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth!

 

Looking After Yourself In Later Life: 5 Things To Consider Before It’s Too Late!

Make things happen

Many of us don’t like to think about it but it is important that you plan for the future; to ensure that your family members do not suffer when handling everything you’ve left behind when you pass away. Here are five things that you should consider, when preparing for later life:

Write up your will

A last will and testament is the main document that will tell your family what you’ve left behind and how your assets and properties will be divided. This document also states who will have guardianship of your children if they are under 18 and who can execute the will after your death. Your will doesn’t have to be fancy, for those who don’t have a lot of property or money, you can always prepare a simple will that includes all the things that you can remind your family of. Remember to always update your will and read up on the government rules that surround it.

Get organized

Getting organized as early as today means you ensure that you leave no stone unturned. Make a bucket list of things that you need to accomplish and take one step at a time in executing them. Having an organized plan allows you and your family the ease and convenience of arranging and executing your will.

Plan for the future

Another important aspect to consider is your memorial plan. Outlining the service allows your family to have a guide to follow if you want to be more specific about your memorial service. If you want to be buried, it’s best to find a grave plot that’s available. You may contact your local cemetery to inquire about the available plots of land. Contacting a funeral director can help you arrange the specifics for your cremation. There are also prepaid arrangements that can alleviate the costs for your family.

Secure all accounts

Your finances and other aspects like life insurance and bills need to be taken care of. Even though you’ve already passed, you still have a few obligations surrounding your finances. Make sure that your family knows about your life insurance policy and retirement plans like pensions and annuities. Remember that your family can’t claim these accounts if they don’t know they exist and the funds usually go to the state for other projects. Even your digital life needs to be secured.

Get the right equipment

If you have a condition that requires special equipment, it’s best to purchase it in advance so you can utilize it when it is actually needed later in life. It’s not enough for you to prepare funds for your later life, you should also prepare for the future expenses that can stem from illnesses that you could contact due to old age. This could mean stocking up on diapers for adults or organizing a mode of care plan that your family can do should you fall into a deep illness.

Top Tips To Spruce Up Your Bedroom

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Your bedroom is one of the most important parts of your home. This is the area where the magic happens and where you can relax and unwind after a long, hard day at work. Naturally, how you decorate your bedroom, all boils down to your taste in style. With a few additions and a touch of panache, you can turn your bedroom into a relaxation haven that caters for all your needs. Here are a few tips that can help you spruce up your bedroom:

Get some art

One way to make any room more interesting is by including pieces of art. You can hang art on your walls or have it framed and displayed on storage shelves. Make sure that the style of art matches your personality. Try to look for pieces that speaks directly to you. Although art is more expensive in galleries, you may choose to find a number of budding artists on websites like Tumblr and BigCartel that you can buy from instead. Art pieces including sketches and custom drawings are available at affordable prices and will make your room look really good.

Bring in the light

If your room is too dark, it would be better to bring in some light to it. Having a well-lit room enables you to think more positively. Be on the lookout for cheap deals when you visit flea markets and thrift stores; you can always spot a functional lamp at an affordable price there. Another way to bring in the light without adding fixtures is to add a window or install a glass roof to let the sunshine in.

Less is more

You don’t need to have a lot of stuff to make a room more interesting. Often, minimalistic rooms can speak volumes about your personality. Instead of buying more furniture, why not reduce the amount you have and just stick with the basics such as a bed, a comfortable chair, and a good reading lamp – this is all it takes to create a zen-like room.

Functional furniture

Instead of having lots of different pieces of furniture, we recommend using functional furniture that can be used in a variety of ways. Because the bed can take up precious space, you may opt for a sofa bed that you can transform into a couch when you’re not sleeping. You can also install a foldable table that you can use as a desk.

Upcycle furniture

Repurposing furniture and turning it into something more usable is also one way to create an interesting look for your room. You can scour the number of furniture stores in NYC and look for vintage and cheap pieces. Repainting those pieces or changing the upholstery can create a unique piece that would be a great addition to your bedroom. It also helps the environment because you’re basically recycling an old thing and turning it into something new.

How To Renovate Your Living Room On A Budget

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If you are tired of the way your living room looks, but don’t want to spend a ton of money renovating there are some things that you can do in order to vamp up your space, without putting holes in your pockets. These budget-friendly ideas are sure to make your room look like it came out of a magazine:

Consult a professional

When you renovate your living room, you will be making drastic changes that can be quite expensive if you don’t know what you are doing. Consult an architect or an interior designer and share your vision for your new living room. Talk about how much the materials and the labor will cost and how much your budget is. Work out a plan that will fit within your budget and remember to stick to it.

Change the small details

When renovating, you don’t always need to change your furniture. You can change the small details in your living room, so that you don’t spend so much but still change the way the space looks. Swap the door, doorknobs, drawer handles, rugs, and hinges for new ones. Not only are these cheap, they are also quick and easy renovations that can change the feel of a room.

Learn to sew upholstery

If you are tired of the color or pattern of your sofa, you can easily change the way it looks by purchasing new upholstery and doing the sewing by yourself. You can save a lot on renovations if you learn a few basic skills, such as sewing, and by changing upholstery yourself can save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.

Purchase cheap furniture

Furniture doesn’t have to break the bank for it to look expensive. If you know where to look, you can purchase discount furniture that can make your living room appear more elegant. If you have the patience to look for furniture pieces that are cheap, you will be saving tons of money. Check garage sales, vintage stores, and look out for sales, where you’ll find cheap, high quality furniture that will be perfect for your living room.

Don’t forget the decorations

Small decorations in your living room can make a big difference when renovating. Set aside budget for candles, mirrors, a vase, or a nice painting. These small details can make a huge impact in your living room. Again, you don’t always have to rely on purchasing expensive items, you can even upcycle some of your own furniture to minimize your spending.

These are some of the tips that you can use if you want to renovate your living room on a budget. If you know what you want and you know where to get it, you can easily change the way your living room looks without having to spend so much. Look out for the latest trends and start renovating your space!

Decorating a guest bedroom

One of the great things about owning your own home has to be sharing your living space with friends and family. Welcoming people into your house helps your home become a living, breathing space and it’s important to ensure that they feel comfortable and relaxed when staying over.

With this in mind, the guest bedroom is the focus of where they’ll get to enjoy the labours of your hospitality. And here’s a few tips to make sure that your guests get the very best experience when staying in your spare bedroom.

A sense of space

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It’s important to ensure that your guest’s room feels part of your home, but also allows them the sense of having their own space. So with this in mind, it’s a good idea to de-clutter the room and make sure it doesn’t become just another one of your storage areas!

In order to do this, have a good clear out of any unwanted clothes or possessions that may be lurking in any cupboards. Investing in new inventive storage units will help you bring order to an unruly living space, and will also provide an area where your guests can tidy away any travel luggage.

The essentials

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Once you’ve minimised the room to the bare essentials, you’ll have to learn to look at the room through the eyes of your guest. And what’s most important to their stay will undoubtedly be the bed. Guest beds all too often suffer from a lack of attention by homeowners who rarely have to attempt to get a full night’s sleep in a guest bed.

So be ruthless and imagine if you could get some decent rest on your guest bed. If not, then it might be time to check out some of the specially built stylish wooden guest beds currently out there. Many of these have the additional bonus of an extendable double bed feature that can slide out and then neatly be put away again.

A personal touch

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It’s also important to make sure that your guests don’t feel like they’re staying in a hotel. So your aesthetic choices in this area are very important. Invest the guest bedroom with a splash of warming colour to make sure it feels cosy, or even have a well-placed photograph frame to add a sense of belonging.

Including a few useful implements that your guests might have forgotten are also useful to have dotted around the room. These can include things such as additional power sockets, chic alarm clocks and even a few books about the local area so they can feel at ease in their new surroundings!

Some simple feng shui guidelines to help you transform your home

hshui-wealth.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960 Many people have recently chosen to take inspiration from the East when transforming their home – this has proven to be a popular interior design tool for many years now. Regardless of whether you own a contemporary or traditional property, feng shui helps to promote feelings of harmony, balance and welcome.

 What is feng shui?

 While many believe feng shui to be something of a vague concept – a surge of Chinese investors in Britain have greatly increased its popularity in the UK. This cultural and spiritual belief involves pinpointing a location where you really belong, through the use of good energy. This energy promotes a feeling of wellness in your home, allowing you to feel at ease in every room in the household. To achieve the full benefit of feng shui in the home, your interior must feel serene and composed, with a sense of warmth and flow.

Go with the flow

 A house with good feng shui boasts a strong, smooth and unblemished energy flow to the front door – nothing should obstruct the door or pathway. Brightening your interior space using the likes of an open plan living concept will create a clean space with plenty of light and fresh air. Ridding the home of unwanted clutter and obstacles will not only free your mind, but also the many surfaces in your household. The main energy centres include the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room and the kitchen.

Good feng shui in the living room

A clutter-free home that is light and bright has the beginnings of a feng shui living space. Putting a clear organisation system in place is a must, especially if you wish to promote the correct energy. When choosing a good feng shui decor scheme for your living room, begin by creating an energy map of your home. This will help you to choose the correct colours, fabrics and shapes for key furnishings, including sofas and chairs. G Plan has a wide range of Stunning Fabric Sofas to choose from, which are guaranteed to create a welcoming and stylish focal point. Your aim is to provide a clear, unobstructed flow of energy, which can be achieved by placing your furniture in the right place. Although minimalistic in style, it’s still important to create areas of warmth to encourage cosy, social and centred environment.