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Posts Tagged ‘guest post’

Planning a Bespoke Kitchen of Your Dreams

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Contemporary designer kitchen

As the old adage states, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and in the same manner, the way to a house’s heart is through its kitchen.

Houses are bought and sold on the strength of their kitchens, and are usually the first thing to be remodelled when new owners move in.

Your kitchen has to represent you and your lifestyle, so getting the design that works for you, your family and what goes on within it takes a great deal of consideration. Here are a few things to thinks about when planning a bespoke kitchen of your dreams.

Seek Advice

Like planning for a wedding, most people have made vague plans of what they think that they might want long before they meet ‘The One’. However, turning this into a reality takes a lot of fine-tuning.

Talk to bespoke kitchen designers such as Increation about some of your ideas. This way you will be able to get more of your own input into the design as they use their own craftsmen and source all of the products and materials around what you want.

Using High Street firms will result in you having to fit around what products and stock they have available and could result in compromise on certain features.

Put function before fashion

A good kitchen design should be timeless. Appliances may change and develop over time, but how you utilise the space and how it makes you feel should remain fairly consistent.

Choosing a high gloss, brilliant white worktop might fit with the style that you have selected on your mood board of ideas, but if that is where the kids usually do their homework it might not hold its lustre for long.

Draw on your memory bank of certain designs you have admired in the past and see if they still resonate with you now. Take on board the latest trends and styles but don’t be a slave to them.

Embrace your fantasy

Your new kitchen needs to represent and reflect you, so let your imagination run wild and contemplate a quirky feature you might like to include which will hint at the kind of person you are.

Maybe it could be an original mosaic or tile used, or a pattern that echoes around the space. Visit your favourite gallery or museum and look at art and design related magazines, not just ones that focus on interior design.

Make a list of the works of art that resonate with you and see if you could make a reference to a building, painting or sculpture that you identify with.

Or maybe you have a geographical place that you would like to capture the essence of and allude to with the colours you chose etc.

Get your kitchen right and the rest of your house should fall into place, and even if it takes time figuring out exactly what you want, it will be time well spent and should also be a lot of fun.

***This post is in association with Increation***

Top Ways to Modernise the Look of Your Home

Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Top home improvements: New doors and windows

Oak French doors

Home improvement projects are an attractive alternative to moving house, especially when the property market is slow. With a little vision, you can give your property a modern look and make it more liveable.

A change that will have a major impact is to fit new windows and doors. One of the main reasons people do this is because modern glass and frames improve heat retention, which will help to reduce household energy bills and cut carbon emissions.

Of course, you may be more interested in how they look. Choose sliding sash or fret windows with slick white frames and you will instantly give your property’s exterior a modern appearance.

Adding matching doors will complete the look. An option well worth considering is fitting double glazed French doors by Safestyle UK in your lounge. They will let lots of light into the room and also provide easy access to the garden or patio on sunny days. The latest generation of French doors come with multipoint locking systems, so there is no need to worry about compromising security in search of an extra touch of style.

One thing to be aware of is that you may need permission from the local buildings control authority if you plan to install a new door, rather than just replace an existing one. Use a reputable builder to do the work and they will ensure the job complies with all the relevant regulations, but it is worth putting in a call to the council just to check.

The most obvious modernisation projects inside the house are to fit a new kitchen and bathroom. Sleek contemporary units and fittings, along with state-of-the-art equipment can transform the feel of the two rooms, but you will need plenty of money to do it.

If your budget is more modest, you may wish to focus on your property’s decor. A cosmetic makeover can give your home a fresh new feel, particularly if you opt for the latest styles. You will not have to worry about the look going out of fashion in a few years’ time, as redecorating is simple and relatively inexpensive, so you can just do the job again when your tastes change.

New lighting is a great way to complete a home modernisation project. Spotlights add atmosphere to any room, but if you want something that makes a real statement, try crystal effect wall lights or an LED tree light.

***This post is in association with Safe Style UK***

Buying a New Sofa

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Contemporary fresh design sofa

When it’s time to buy a new sofa, or buy one for the first time, there are a few vital points to consider before you set off to the store, or settle online to find the object you will be parking your posterior on for the next few years.

We all want value for money when purchasing anything new, so here are three important points to take into consideration when shopping for your new sofa.

The Frame

You need a frame that will stand the test of time, so it needs to be sturdy. A decent frame will have dowelling, screws and glue, firmly holding the construction of the frame together.

A frame that is just flimsily nailed or stapled together or has no wooden blocks reinforcing the corners will not be sturdy and will shorten your sofas life immeasurably.

Suspension

Suspension basically means the springs that give your sofa it’s bounce and it’s resilience to being jumped on by the children, or heavily plonked on at the end of a long day!

You need to pay attention to how the springs are set in the frame. As with the frame, these are hidden from view on your sofa, so these are important things to look up in the catalogue, or to ask your salesperson about in the shop.

The tighter the coils of these springs are fixed to the frame the more longevity you will get from their ability to support all those people sitting on the sofa! So, coils that are TIED into the frame will be stronger than coils that are just DROPPED into the frame.

The Cushions

The cushions of your sofa need to be durable both filling wise and material wise. Removable covers or wipe down surfaces are a must, if you are wanting your sofa to stand the test of time. Take time to work out how you best want your sofa to feel, soft and squidgy, or hard and firm?

It’s always a personal choice, but researching the possible fillings for your cushions, will mean you know exactly what you’re plumping for when you get to the store.

Not sure where to start in your hunt for a new sofa? Find sofas online with the experts at CSL – order now and get delivery in 72 hours.

***This post is in association with CSL***

Buying a New Bed

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

How to buy the perfect bed

On average, we spend a third of our lives asleep, so it makes sense to invest in a bed that helps us get the best sleep. Here are some top tips to consider when buying a new bed for your home

Measuring your bedroom

Before you decide what size of bed you want to buy, it’s crucial to measure the space you have available in your bedroom. Remember to allow plenty of space to be able to walk around the bed, plus space for any bedside tables or other furniture in the room.

Most bed measurements are given in feet and inches, although shops may offer conversions too, so it’s a good idea to ensure any measurements you take are in the same format to allow easy comparisons.

Choosing a bed size

When you’ve worked out how much space you have available in your room, you can decide on what size of bed you want to buy.

Some of the standard bed sizes in the UK are:

Single – 3’ by 6’ 3”

Small double – 4’ by 6’ 3”

Double – 4’ 6” by 6’ 3”

King size – 5’ by 6’ 6”

Super king size – 6’ by 6’ 6”

There’s quite a difference in size between a double and king-size bed, and again between a king and super-king size. A double may fit comfortably within the space available, but it’s worth bearing in mind the additional comfort you could gain from a king size bed.

With a king size bed, there’s much more space to spread out, turn over and move around in your sleep, which is ideal if you’ll be sharing your bed on a daily basis. Carpetright king size beds provide the ultimate in size and luxury and are available to suit a range of budgets.

Choosing a bed type

To complete your perfect bed, you’ll need to think about what type of bed frame you want.

If you’re after extra storage space in your home, then a divan bed is a good option to explore. A divan provides a sturdy base for a mattress and has built in storage drawers around the base. The bigger the bed you choose, the more storage it’s likely to have.

If you’re keen on making a statement with your bed, then a contemporary bedstead frame is worth considering. Both wooden bed frames and metal bed frames are widely available in a range of distinctive styles.

***This post is in association with Carpetright***

The Secret Charms of Designer Bedding

Thursday, September 6th, 2012
Luxury designer bedding from Debenhams

Macdonald Chantelle bedding

While the importance of a good bed and mattress is widely recognised, fewer people are as likely to suggest that the quality of your bedding can also affect your sleep. However, even when you disregard the fact that some materials may be more likely to irritate sensitive skin, bed sheets do play a part in the quality of your sleep.

Tuck yourself under bedding that you feel comfortable with and you’ll find it much easier to drop off. On the other hand, if you have to get into a bed with ugly, unattractive or garish bedding and you’ll feel too anxious to completely relax before you’ve even got undressed.

New bedding is also a great way to inject some life into your bedroom. While re-decorating your bedroom can be expensive, not to mention incredibly inconvenient if you plan to repaint the walls or put in a new carpet, changing your bedding is a quick, easy and relatively cheap way to instantly transform the environment. The bed is the centre of attention in any bedroom, so it’s no surprise that a simple change of bedding should produce such effects.

With the money you’ll save on taking this quick and simple decorating short-cut you can afford to splash out on some truly luxurious bedding. Debenhams has a range of stylish bedding from exclusive designers such as Rocha.John Rocha and Julien Macdonald that look a lot more expensive than they actually are. Some people will want something truly sumptuous like Macdonald’s ‘Chantelle’ bed linen in silver with matt satin and black flocked lace, while others will find Rocha’s simple and elegant ‘Poppies’ bed linen more appealing.

Red and white poppy bedding

Poppies bed linen

When it comes to your bedding don’t forget the extras. Bed throws and cushions can instantly enhance any bedroom. As well as the aesthetic improvements an extra throw will keep you warm and snug in winter, while cushions are great for propping yourself up on a lazy Sunday morning.

So while you might find yourself struggling to get through the day, there’s no reason why you can’t sleep like a king or queen with affordable, luxurious bedding and covers.

***This post is in association with Debenhams***

Advantages of Laminate Flooring

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Modern and contemporary laminate flooring

If you want the look and feel of natural wood in your home but aren’t keen on the cost, there is one more affordable option open to you: laminate flooring.

As well as being easier on your wallet, laminate floors are scratch and stain-resistant and easier to install than traditional hardwood floors, making it a great option for do-it-yourself enthusiasts who want to save on the cost of labour. Most retailers now offer glueless laminate flooring that simply slots together and comes with instructions that make it easy for anybody to install.

Most laminate flooring has a wood-effect finish, so you can choose from any kind of wood imaginable according to what suits the space. Smaller, darker rooms can be made to look bigger and brighter with a white beech finish, or alternatively you can achieve a luxurious, classical effect with oak or mahogany. There are even designs that mimic the rough-cut, knotty floorboards for a cosy, rustic look in the kitchen or living room. Take a look at the range of laminate flooring from Topps Tiles and see if any of them inspire you.

Don’t forget that laminate flooring isn’t all about wood: there are all kinds of finishes available that mimic marble, stone tiles, ceramics and even mosaics. These are particularly attractive in bathrooms, providing a way to get that classical feel without spending all day laying tiles!

If you prefer to go the wood-effect route in the bathroom, you’ll find laminates a much better choice than solid wood anyway: it is much more moisture-resistant and easier to clean. However, you should make sure the floor has been well sealed to stop any moisture seeping into the wood-chip base below.

If this has got you in the mood for a housing redesign, cast your eyes over these pictures from Houzz of how laminates can be used to stunning effect!

***This post is in association with Topps Tiles***

Creating the Perfect Child’s Room

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Bunk bed for child's room

All kids are different, and you may feel like you’ve got your work cut out for you when trying to find a room design that makes them happy. Add to this the fact that your child’s tastes will change as they get older, and you’ll see why it’s vital to get it just right if you don’t want to keep redecorating every couple of years!

The key to the perfect kid’s room is to choose a theme, but don’t overdo it. For instance, if they like skateboarding, why not buy some cheap skateboards and use them as shelves? Or if it’s horses, use silhouette wall stickers instead of wallpaper – they look cooler and can be peeled off if they’re no longer required! It’s usually best to paint walls with tough, wipeable emulsion rather than using wallpaper – as well as being more hard-wearing, it’s cheaper and gives you more design options.

As in any bedroom, the bed should be the centrepiece of the room. Children’s beds come in all shapes and sizes, and can be chosen to suit the theme. However, don’t worry if you can’t find that perfect race car bed – just choose something simple and classic and then decorate it with duvet and pillow covers. Check out the range of kids’ beds from www.time4sleep.com for some ideas – you’ll be able to find everything from bunk to cabin beds.

If your children are school age, it’s important to give them a space to work – a desk by the window will encourage them to do their homework there. Items like laundry hampers, shelving and storage boxes allow them to organise their belongings instead of leaving them on the floor, making less work for Mum and Dad. Finally, you can brighten things up with a few accessories – cushions, bean bags and funky lampshades will all bring a room to life.

***This post is in association with Time4Sleep***

Creating a minimal look in a modern family home

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Modern minimalist home style

Cross wall unit

Clean lines, hard surfaces and low furniture – these are the three core elements of the minimalism look.

However, to achieve a minimal haven in your home, it is also expected that you have no mess, no clutter, and total tidiness. It is for this reason that most families find it difficult to achieve the minimal look, and avoid it as much as they would a 24 hour flight with the kids.

Yet, the minimal look can be family-friendly. Typically, most minimal rooms are painted all white, and occasionally use an accent colour such as red on cushions or additional touches, to brighten up the room. However, another way of going for a minimal colour scheme is to paint the room in neutral tones, such as greys, muted greens and blues. This keeps in line with the understated feel you may want from your room, but also ensures that children’s grubby fingers won’t leave too much of a stain on your clean walls.

The biggest problem for families is dealing with clutter. However, this can be easily remedied. Instead of trying to hide all the clutter away, and then have to take it all out for the children to play with, just display it. A shelving unit like this one by Fashion for Home is fantastic because it allows you to showcase your clutter in the walnut shelves – which rely on magnetism to stay in place. The unit itself is so modern and minimal that any objects you place inside will do little to challenge its design.

When it comes to overcrowded bookshelves, just hand pick the favourite family books and transfer them to a modern, clean and contemporary shelf. This cross wall unit is a great design piece, and allows you to display a small selection of your books on the crosses, which work instead of typical shelves. Click here for more information.

Flooring is the factor that works most in favour of families. Instead of easily damaged carpets, the minimal look calls for simple, glossy and easily wipeable floors that are perfect for any family. Black granite flooring works well for kitchens, livings rooms and can be used for your entire downstairs. If it does feel too stark, a rug will soften up the minimal décor, and give the kids somewhere to play.

Visit F4H website for more information.

***This post is in association with Fashion For Home***

Balancing Style with Practicality: How to Plan your Family Bathroom

Monday, July 16th, 2012
Contemporary family bathroom ideas

Kingston bathroom suite

Practicality is the word here. It’s all well and good having that carefully crafted contemporary bathroom, but it’s not as if the kids will notice! There are various ways in which you can design a practical and safe bathroom to suit your needs, without neglecting style.

A bath is a must as shower enclosures will never suffice for the little ones, anti-slip surfaces are also advisable (avoiding those nasty slips that can happen in a bathroom). Materials that can be wiped clean,  such as simple porcelain, are great as your units can be kept sparkling with minimal effort.

Fit for all the Family

The design and decoration of your bathroom are, to an extent, as important as the units themselves. Having a bath at the end of the week with relaxing music playing in the background is the ultimate form of relaxation for the modern working mum or dad.

This means that it’s important to keep your bathroom looking fashionable but also ensure that it remains a space where children can begin to learn about personal hygiene.

Tiles should be prioritised for flooring and tiling as their easy wipe and waterproof nature mean that they’ll be entirely child resistant!

If you have a small room to work with, then giving the impression of space is a good way to open up your bathroom and make it more inviting. This can be done in various ways, one being that you can use large tiles for the floor surfacing as this will make the space seem bigger.

A good way to solve the adult/child divide when it comes to bathrooms is to install dimmer devices for the lighting. This means that it can be both bright and cheerful for the kids and also more sensual and tranquil for the parents!

Storage

Contemporary bathroom suite ideas

Palma bathroom suite

Over-imposing storage should be avoided as it can take the focus away from the rest of the bathroom (that is unless you decide to make a fixture such as a vanity unit the design focal point).

Blending storage units with the tile surrounds is a useful tip as your eye will more naturally be drawn to the features such as the bath or toilet that contrast in colour to the more dominating tile coverage.

Placing these disguised storage units below your sink or even above the toilet for example can be an effective way of incorporating these storage components into the room whilst avoiding making them stand out.

Follow these simple tricks and you’ll be well on your way to securing a family friendly, but magazine-esque family bathroom.

***This post is in association with Bathrooms4all***

What to look for when buying a mattress

Monday, July 9th, 2012
How to choose a mattress

Memory foam mattress

Finding the perfect mattress is very important as you will be spending quite a bit of time on it and it will play a part in ensuring you get a restful night of sleep. Therefore, when shopping for a mattress, keeping some key things in mind can help you find the best mattress to fit your needs.

There are many different kinds of mattresses to consider, so when you’re shopping, don’t rush into it and buy the first mattress you see. It’s always a good idea to try out a mattress before you buy, but many people simply lie down on it for a few seconds. Realistically, this isn’t enough time to determine the full comfort level. Sometimes a mattress can feel comfortable at first, but after a time, becomes less so.

Instead, take your time and spend some time relaxing on it. Also, if you will be sleeping with a partner on the mattress, take them with you to try it out too. You want to know how the mattress feels with both of you on it. Many mattresses feel quite differently when one person is on it versus two.

A good test is to lie on the mattress with your backs to one another to see how comfortable it is when there are two of your lying on. It’s also worth seeing how the mattress feels when your partner gets out of bed. Ideally, your comfort and sleep shouldn’t be disturbed too much when someone else moves on the mattress. If you do notice the effects of their movement, then take it into consideration as you compare mattress options.

Another thing to consider when purchasing a new mattress is size. The mattress must be long enough to comfortably accommodate your height. Taller people, usually those over 6 feet, will want to choose a mattress that is no smaller than a king size. If you’re extremely tall, then a California king mattress may be more appropriate. For a mattress for a couple, so long as their heights are less than 6 feet, a queen mattress will be perfectly adequate.

When purchasing a new mattress consider testing out one of the popular memory foam mattresses. These can be quite comfortable as well as therapeutic for some conditions. It’s always good to try to find the best memory foam mattress available.

Before you make your final decision, do your research carefully and test out plenty of mattresses to find the perfect choice for your sleeping needs.

***This post is brought to you by Memory Foam Mattress Direct***

 
 
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