Redesigning your Living Room

The objective of 2016′s decorating style is to blend modern conveniences with a thoroughly clean sense of balance in the home. Next season’s interior design trends will focus strongly on spatial attributes and minimising clutter. If possible, remove walls to expand the area of the living room, this will accentuate the key pieces of the room and the architecture. If knocking down walls is too drastic a move, try updating your lighting in the room. In almost all cases, a brightly lit space conveys a feeling of openness, regardless of the size of the room.

Attractive design

This attractive design mode focusing on openness has also been seen in furniture designs, with a strong move towards to sleek sectional sofas which can be customised to fit in almost any room. One reason for the sectional sofa’s popularity is its modular design which features its own separate seating area. This feature makes sectional sofa or corner sofas more versatile because they can be used to fill a corner of a room, or separated into sections for a more casual setting.

Elegant designs, comfortable furnishings and luxurious materials are back in season. Over the previous year, we have seen wood finishes and trimming become lighter in colour and rougher. Many people preferred an unfinished surface over a shiny one for a natural appearance. As a result, there has been a slow trend leaning towards bright and bold patterned chairs and sofas to add contrast. Leather sofas, which grew out of fashion in the past decade, are swiftly making a comeback to complement corner sofas.


Create combinations

Many people are choosing to combine muted earth tones with unique colour combinations to create exciting interior designs. The 2016 colour palette leans heavily towards the subdued earth tones, with colours such as black, brown, green, grey and tan dominating. Walls and floorings are generally reserved with a cream, white or light beige colour. Furnishings and trim work tie the room together with varying shades of black or brown for definition. This colour palette is excellent for creating a space which conveys peacefulness and simplicity.

For those seeking to create a more lively environment, using dark and warm colours, brown and yellow tones and deep coloured shades of semi-precious and precious stones are strong colour design trends for the upcoming year. Combining traditional and exotic materials inspired Asian, Middle Eastern and African designs, can create a warm and cheerful atmosphere. Greens, reds and other colourful accents are used to accentuate the room through plants, ceramics, and fabrics. Unique interior design ideas include combining sleek surfaces, vibrant colours, shiny fabrics with classical grey, gold, white and silver tones.

Kitchen Cabinet Faux Finishing Beats Expensive Upgrading

Everyone who is interested in enhancing the value and beauty of their home will want to look into different cabinet faux finishing techniques.

If you read home decorating magazines or watch home improvement programs on TV, you know that refinishing your kitchen is one of the prime ways to add value to your home.

Certain home improvements, such as adding a swimming pool, do provide enjoyment but really don’t do much to enhance your home’s value.  Refurbishing the kitchen, on the other hand, gives the most bang for your buck.  Cabinet faux finishes also greatly increase the warmth and inviting nature of this “heart of the home”.

When you consider the number of cabinets in the average kitchen, both above the countertops and at floor level, you are looking at a sizeable investment to replace them.  Faux painting your cabinets is the perfect economic and cost-effective alternative when you decide to upgrade your kitchen.

Whether your preference is formal and traditional, informal and modern or cozy and warm, there is a cabinet faux finish method perfect for you.

For a more formal, traditional kitchen, you may want the look of hardwood cabinets but without the high cost of replacements.  The perfect cabinet faux finish for you then would be faux wood graining that will allow you to replicate any type of wood.  This method requires a base coat of paint and two glazes in complementary tones of the wood of your choice.  The authentic hardwood look is achieved using a special wood-graining tool available at paint and craft stores.

If you prefer a more informal and modern kitchen update, you may want to try a metallic cabinet faux finish.  You can imitate the look of silver, gold, copper or pewter using specially designed paints available at home improvement stores.  The effects are realistic and dazzling.

Finally, if cozy and warm is your idea of the perfect kitchen, you have several choices.  Sponge painting the cabinets will give you the look and feel of an old-time country kitchen with very little cost or effort; color washing and distressing will duplicate a French country kitchen.  Either method requires only two colors of paint and a sea sponge for sponging or a stiff brush for colorwashing.

No matter which type of cabinet faux finishes you choose, the end result will be so dramatic, you may decide further upgrading is absolutely unnecessary.

How to Keep Your Home Clutter Free

Depending on how ambitious you are for the day, plan out how much you want to achieve in cleaning out your home. Your home should be a sanctuary for you to retreat and rest, if it causes you any stress because you are unable to use certain spaces in your home or not able to find certain items, than it’s time to clean out the clutter!

The 1-year rule

It may seem like a simple rule, but it’s probably the most difficult one to follow. It’s easy to keep things that you hope to use someday later down the road, especially clothes you wish you can fit again. But if it’s been unused for a whole year, the likelihood of you ever using it again is slim. Think of that item as being better off donated to someone else in need, especially when it comes to baby items your older kids no longer need. Once you give up the need to hold on to things, you will feel free to put your energy towards more important things.

Separate into categories

There are those items that you will use everyday, organize them in places where you can easily access them whether it’s out in the open or stored in cabinets. Seasonal items can be stored in your home, but most should be stored away in the garage or storage room. You will only use them once a year, so there’s no point in taking up the storage space inside your living areas. The last three categories should be donation, garbage or recycle. These are majority of the things you no longer need, so find containers or bags to separate what needs to go where. If the items are usable, then donating them to a local charity would help those in need as well as the environment. The rest that you no longer can used should mostly be recycled, and the rest can be garbage.

Involve the whole family including kids

Make it a summer cleaning event for the whole family! Everyone should be involved with the cleaning as it makes it a habit for the entire household to keep the home consistently clutter free. Parents collecting habits will inevitably be passed to their kids, so the earlier you get your kids involved the better. Children bedrooms should be left up to them to decide what they like to get rid of, teach them the techniques and check in every half an hour to see how they are doing.

Keep the habit

Cleaning out clutter may only take a few days, but it should be a daily consistent effort to keep your home tidy. Make an effort beginning of the day to put things in order so you can peacefully enjoy your organized home. And at the end of the day, if you are too tired to complete all the chores do your best to make it an easier task for it to be completed tomorrow. For example dishes should be soaked for an easy wash tomorrow. Just remember, a clutter free home is a peaceful home.

The Top 10 Home Improvement Money Pits

Part of the fun of owning your own house is changing it to fit your style. That could involve redecorating, landscaping, remodeling or simple improvements. Unfortunately, some home improvements just don’t hold their value or turn out to be money pits that you’ll wish you’d never taken on.

The Market for Home Improvements Has Changed

If you’re thinking of undertaking some improvements in order to increase the resale value of your home, think long and hard before you do so. Not long ago, there was a time that any home improvement you made to your house translated into increased resale value, but in today’s housing market that is not the case. Many homeowners have even found that their pride and joy project was really more of a liability when it came time to sell.

Why is this? First of all, the housing market has changed. Buyers are no longer looking for the latest and greatest luxurious amenities. They’re looking for solid, good quality basic amenities. They’re looking for home that they can stay in for a long time and make their own. That means, anything that is too over-the-top or too personal to you is not going to sell well with buyers. Think basic and functional, not luxurious and unique, if you are undertaking a home improvement project with the expectation of selling in the near future.

The Top 10 Home Improvement Money Pits

  1. Room Additions
    Any addition is going to be expensive and that is where the problem lies. When you add onto your house you’re adding on everything – heat, A/C, electricity, water, not to mention the construction and building materials themselves. It is for this reason that room additions rarely pay off. You’re even worse off if you undertake a specialty room addition, which limits the use of the room to one purpose.
  2. Upscale Remodeling
    Upscale remodeling has a place; just make sure it’s in your neighborhood. Any remodeling should be done with the neighborhood in mind. If you overdo it, you’ll end up eating the cost of the remodeling because buyers won’t be willing to pay so much more for something that is so out of character for the area.
  3. Kitchen Remodeling
    Kitchen remodels are tricky. They are costly and disruptive. There’s a good chance problems will be uncovered as the kitchen is remodeled, resulting in unanticipated expenses. In addition to that, overly elaborate kitchen remodels can turn buyers off. A buyer expects a kitchen when they purchase a home. They aren’t going to pay much extra just because you decided to remodel it.
  4. Home Office Remodeling
    A home office remodel may sound like a good idea, but home offices take up precious square footage. Buyers will be looking at square footage and the functionality of a room. A room that is dedicated as an office will be much harder for future owners to change to the room they need, which could be a bedroom or dining room.
  5. Sun room additions
    Sunrooms sound great. What could be better than lounging in the privacy of your own home with the sun beating down on you? But sunrooms never recoup their cost. This is because they’re expensive to undertake. But more importantly, once you have a sunroom, you really can’t use it for much else. Like the home office, the buyer is limited in their use of the room.
  6. Bathroom additions
    Bathroom additions cost a lot. There’s no way around that. No matter how big you make the bathroom, you’ve got plumbing, heating, electrical, water and moisture control to deal with. Then figure in the fixtures. Specialty items like Jacuzzi’s only put you deeper in the hole. If you’re going to do a bathroom remodel, your best bet is to stick with your current footprint and just upgrade your fixtures.
  7. Garage addition
    Garages are nice. But they are also expensive. Building a garage requires all the work of building a house, minus heating and air conditioning. That means you’ve spent money to add square footage that is uninhabitable in most cases. No buyer is going to pay extra for a garage addition.
  8. Back up Power Generator
    While people may appreciate the idea of a backup power generator, most won’t pay extra for it. It is not considered essential. Anything that is not essential to the function or purpose of the home will drain money from your pocket.
  9. Master Suite Addition
    Master suites are one of those falling the wayside improvements. Most people don’t spend much time in the bedroom and if they have the choice of a larger living room or a master suite, they’ll choose the living room. Master suite additions are costly and limit future buyers use of the square footage.
  10. Swimming pools
    Again, swimming pools are not considered essential amenities. Although you may love swimming, many homebuyers would rather not take on the expense and maintenance that a pool requires, especially in a moderate climate. Most people prefer to have yards and swimming pools eat up huge chunks of the yard. Plus, it may scare off people with young children.

Most of these money pit projects have a common theme. They are too narrow in their functionality to be of real value to homebuyers. Unless you are doing the upgrade or remodel for yourself and not with the expectation that it will pay off down the road when the time comes to sell the property, then save yourself the money and don’t do it.

Bedroom Decor Ideas for Girls

So, what do you know about decorating a girl’s bedroom aside from using the color pink? Stumped? Well here’s a guide with tips from the interior designers themselves.


Four-poster beds are a classic solution that fit a variety of bedroom themes. If you stick with a fairytale theme for example, four-posters definitely fit the bill perfectly. Interior designers love these beds because they’re timeless. Not only do they look charming in a little girl’s room, they also remain a novelty as she grows older. Drape a four-poster with chiffon curtains in the color of your girl’s choice for a fairytale effect just like in the books.
If a four-poster is unavailable, simply take pink mosquito mesh (dye if unavailable) and hang it from the center above for a draping effect.

Many interior designers are often surprised at the fact that not too many people consider using large stickers (or decals) to decorate walls. If you’re looking to spice up a girl’s bedroom, make it funny and more original, then wall stickers are an elegant and nifty way to do it. Wall stickers have a lot going for them, hence their popularity with designers. For starters, they’re fairly affordable and a breeze to install. They also complement a bedroom theme perfectly. You can choose from fairytale characters for a fairytale theme, sports stickers for a sports-themed room and so much more. Best of all, if you or your little girl feel like renovating, all you have to do is peel of the stickers, wipe off the residue, and reapply new ones!

Pink is Timeless

It’s true. Pink rooms are a classic theme for girls’ bedrooms. After all, pink symbolizes youth and tenderness. It’s a color associated with fairytale themes, Barbie and pretty much everything that’s for girls. Pink may be a cliché, but if you know what to do with it, you could get awesome results. For example, interior designers recommend using pink and pairing it with white contemporary furniture for a clean and spacious effect. Select white and pink furniture with modern designs, and mix and match. For a brighter and more fun girl’s bedroom, pair pink together with green.


Flowers aren’t just for grown-ups; they can add so much life to a girl’s bedroom too! You can mix and match your flowers, depending on the season, with your curtains,  carpet and fabrics for a brighter and refreshing effect.

5 Tips For Effective Winter Lawn Turf Care

Many homeowners are tempted to forget about their lawn throughout the winter months.  Whilst this is understandable during the wet and cold period; maintaining your turf during this time is important.  Grass that is in good condition when the warmer weather arrives will pick up sooner and look great right through the summer.  By following the five tips below you can give your lawn a helping hand during the winter.

Making the cut

Whilst grass will go fairly dormant throughout the colder months, it does still grow a little and will need cutting.  Your best option is to cut the turf shorter than you usually do in order to minimise the number of times you need to get the mower out.  Never set the cutters to less than 0.5 inches, or you risk scalping the grass and leaving it over exposed to the cold weather.

Keeping it cleared

Remember to remove any items for lawn when the weather turns bad.  This should include children’s toys, slides and any flower pots.  If you don’t the grass will become very pale underneath and possibly even die off; leaving you with patches come spring.  You should also brush away any leaves or branches that fall and which can act as an ideal home to damaging pests such as mice and insects.

Just add water

As crazy as it may sound; your lawn turf may well need some watering throughout winter.  This is especially the case if the weather remains very cold for long spells and the water in the soil is frozen.  Likewise if there is an extended dry spell you may want to switch on the sprinkling system or get out your trusty hose.

Keeping it aerated

Try your best to aerate your lawn before the first freeze of the winter arrives.  This should be done using a spiking tool or of course you can use your normal garden fork.  Make sure that you repeat this process two or three more times through the course of the winter; providing of course the ground isn’t too hard.

Dealing with snow

Whether you love it or hate it, there is a good chance that you are going to have some snow on your lawn at some point throughout the winter.  If the snow is only going to be there for a short time then it shouldn’t really cause any damage.  However, large quantities of snow that is present for a long time will often result in the lawn becoming compacted.  When the snow freezes it can also cause damage to the roots of the grass.  If the weather forecast predicts a cold spell after the snow has arrived then it is a good idea to clear away most of it whilst you do your drive and pathways.  Make sure that you don’t let any de-icing salt go on the grass when spreading it around your property, as it will cause the turf to die off.