When temperatures are falling outside, it is the perfect time to give our interiors a little face lift. Using warm colors on our walls can help us beat the ‘Winter Blues’. If repainting your walls is not in your budget, well placed and chosen artwork can create an inviting and cozy feeling in your home. By choosing wall art that features gold, red, orange or brown in whatever style or subject matter you appreciate, the earth-tones add richness and warmth to your decor. The changing seasons are the perfect time to make a few changes to the areas in your home you will be spending much more time in during the winter months to come.
Folk is said to be the hottest style for 2009 so forget about the winter chills and start preparing for summer right now with these fresh, floaty and bright ideas for folk decorating.
Chances are the walls of your home are a neutral white or cream color, and this is the best possible base for folk decorating. This is because folk decorating is all about natural products and traditional designs, which are reinterpreted for modern living. These traditional floral fabrics and handmade items are then the stars of the show against their white backdrop.
And there is no need to clear out your whole home to begin again from scratch with this decorating style either. Natural products are a feature of folk decorating and so your wooden dining table and chairs will be right at home, and you can add a calico table runner or paper doilies to bring it in line with the rest of your folk style.
This could be a handmade woollen throw rug draped over the back of your couch, in rich chocolate, red, pink, blue and green colors to pick up the pastel tones of the floral fabrics you have hung from the windows, and the cottage flowers you are displaying in a simple glass vase.
The feel for folk decorating is very bohemian and relaxed, so don’t stress out about matching your designs and colors. Simply have a look through op shops for colored ceramic plates and bowls, and select brightly colored and patterned throw cushions to liven up your couch.
If you are still living in the family home, you may not technically still be ‘living at home’ you may be renting the house you grew up in because your parents have kept it as an investment property when they upgraded homes, or you may be renting your grandparent’s place for the same reason.
Regardless you want to make the space your own, rather than feeling like you really are still ‘living at home’ in the worse sense of the phrase. Well the simplest start you can make on making your home your own is to move the furniture around. Your home may be furnished with your parent’s furniture, your own pieces or a mix of both, but now is the time to move that buffet which you always told your mother would look better under the window, as well as add in fabrics and colors which suit your personal style.
An almost equally affordable way to change the look of your home is to repaint, and make sure you commit to one color for each room as this will give you a lot more furniture placement and decoration options than designating one ‘feature’ wall. While you may still have to check with your ‘landlords’ with regards to your paint color choices, a dramatic difference can still be achieved with only a subtle color change.
Now you can change the purpose of the rooms. Maybe there is a better view from the study so why not make that your new bedroom? Or perhaps you’d rather turn the formal dining room – who uses that?! – into a home office.
There is often a generic belief in decorating that to make a space look bigger you should paint it white. However, while an entirely white house or individual room will look lighter, it will also be very boring. While white may seem like the perfect base for any color of furniture, wall art and flooring you can think of, it can harshly reflect these color choices and show them off in stark relief against their pale backwash.
However, instead of choosing a shade of white, cream or off white, take the opportunity if you are decorating a small space to use color to its full advantage. Nothing is really going to make your postage stamp of a living room appear to be the size of a cinema theatre, so make the space interesting instead.
Take a chance and use color where you wouldn’t normally, paint the whole room a single bold color, instead of committing to only one wall. If you’re not sure that bold colors are really you, then choose a more subtle color like a pale blue or soft green which still give a feeling of airiness – which is what you would have been going for with the white – but also bring with them atmosphere and personality.
However, a small space will still feel dank and imposing if you have poor lighting. While you may not be able to replace the strip of fluorescent lighting due to budget or renting restraints, just don’t use it. Instead light up the areas you really want to see and add warm table lamps to create reading nooks or place a floor lamp behind your sofa where it won’t take up extra space, nor will it create annoying overhead reflections on the TV.
There are some truly terrible rental apartments out there and you could be stuck with any combination of orange kitchen benches, brown carpets and cupboards, carved wooden shelving, not to mention smoke stains from when no one though twice about lighting up inside. And if you’re really unlucky you’re stuck with all of the above!
But don’t worry because we have a bit of decorating advice to get you through the rest of the term of your lease. Firstly think plain and simple decorating choices. There is probably already enough dramatic color choices in your apartment, so don’t just go and add the colors which appeal to you, without regard for what’s already there.
This means choosing plain floor rugs for example, and the biggest you can find to cover as much carpet as possible. Also choose plain colored, sheer curtains to let in as much light as possible to counteract the dark colors of the house. However, just because your curtains are sheer, doesn’t mean they can’t be a tasteful cream, gold or silver color to add a little style.
Still making over the curtains, if your horrid 1970s kitchen has a curtained pelmet over the window, you can change this fabric too. Match it to the color of your other curtains to ensure the change looks deliberate.
Most importantly though, give the whole place a good scrub. Smoke stains and alike should come off of the walls, and you may be surprised to find that the tiles in the kitchen are actually white not the brown you thought they were when you moved in.
When you are throwing a party or hosting a celebration at your place you want to set the right mood for the event so that it really does feel exciting. However, at the same time you don’t want your house to look as though a party supplies truck has crashed into it, as your home and your life there has its own style already and you can make the most of that when you host a party, rather than just covering every surface with balloons and glitter.
Plus your house is already full of furniture and accessories too, so when you add in a lot of party decorations you lose a lot of entertaining space. Instead, why not consider simply enhancing what you already have. For example, why not string fairy lights across your ceiling to create a lighted pathway from the front door, but from above – it doesn’t take up any space at all but adds perfect mood lighting.
And why not decorate with streamers instead of balloons as they too take up much less space and can be a lot classier. Why not suspend a row of streamers from the underside of your kitchen’s breakfast bar, and hang a matching row of streamers across doorways or windows for a fluttery and fun display.
And don’t forget that most events have built in decorations. A birthday celebration will undoubtedly have an intricately decorated cake, while at Christmas time, you often don’t need much more decoration than a fully laden Christmas tree.
If you are looking to furnish a newly decorated room then you are probably wondering how you can get away with buying everything you need, when you should be considering saving more and spending less.
Well the solution is actually that you don’t really need all of the furniture you think you do anyway. Whether your space is big or small – but particularly if it is small – do not simply buy furniture to fill the space, it has to have a purpose. That may sound obvious but there are plenty of large lamps and funky footstools out there which you can do without, making way for a more spacious living area.
For example, don’t go stocking up on coffee tables, instead choose several side tables which can slide subtly next to the sofa when not in use, allowing for more space in front of the couch. You can even choose side tables which can act as stools when you need more seating.
A trick with your sofa is to look for one with legs will make it seem as though you have more floor area, and choosing a low line sofa will make the entire room seem larger. And with all of this money you have saved on not adding furniture you don’t need, enhance the space further by cleverly using mirrors. For example, mirror the wall behind your bed as a bed head is another piece of furniture you can pass on. This opens up the entire room because a mirror running the width of a double, queen or even king sized bed creates a lot of reflective space and light, without taking up any space of its own.
Redecorating your home for the change of the seasons or just for a change in scenery in your life does not have to be an expensive operation, sometimes you don’t even have to buy a thing. For example, you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference simply moving your furniture around can make.
You may choose to reposition your couch to make the most of the glowing winter sunshine which streams through your lounge room in the afternoons. And in the summer time, move your bed around so that the morning sun falls on you for a gentle wakeup call from nature.
You’ll also be amazed at how much of a difference decluttering can make to your home’s appearance. This doesn’t mean just putting old magazines away and packing the kids’ toys away, it means actually pulling out all of your cupboards and getting rid of clothes, old electronics and everything else you’re hanging onto so that the things you do use can be stored properly and old treasures can be discovered and displayed.
If you are going to make decorating purchases, go for colour and texture. If you have a neutral monotone canvas of a home, add reds or yellows, blues or greens, and even some gold for the ultimate refreshment. These colours can be in curtains which change with the seasons, or cushions and throws which do the same.
Texture is also important to consider and if you have neutral tiles, a stainless steel kitchen and a home full of sterile electronics, add some wooden furniture for a natural, tactile and welcoming effect.
The kitchen used to be seen as more of a utility room – it was where you had to go to do the job of cooking and you left it as soon as possible after the last dish was dried. However, the kitchen is now coming into its own as a space where your decorating style can continue uninterrupted, to the extent that many people make their kitchen a separate feature of their home.
Of course to do this the latest and greatest new technology has been brought into play to let your kitchen furniture shine. A fridge is no longer just a fridge, it is also a TV, an ice maker and is lit by LEDs for a brightness to rival your supermarket. And of course, just as storage is important in other parts of your home decorating to remove the clutter and achieve a streamlined look which allows the true features of your style to come through, so too are your kitchen appliances, with gas cook tops which have hidden jets and close up to a flat (easy to clean) surface when not in use.
Your kitchen is not an area of your home which should be forgotten in your decorating and with the latest bling plugged in, and bolder paint choices and bench top and tile colours, it won’t be. Look at decorating your kitchen as you would any other room and choose the latest styles and colours – ones which appeal to you – and incorporate them into your home because with open plan living your kitchen is no longer shut away, and when you think about how much time you really do spend in the kitchen, it is one of the most important rooms of the house.
Probably the biggest tragedy in home decorating is the fact that people either think that it’s too hard to have a stylish designer home, or too expensive. Or both. While it is easy to go out and spend a lot of time and money on expensive items to decorate your home, and even on hiring experts to do the designing for you, the decorating is then not really about you is it?
And that is the most important thing to remember when decorating your home, whether you are choosing wall art or carpet – is it really you? The easiest way to decorate your home in a way which speaks to your true personality is to use things which are already part of your home and your life.
But how do you turn the ordinary pieces of your life into art for your home? You turn them into vignettes, that’s how. Vignettes are little collections of objects, clustered together to make an eye catching display. The best thing is a vignette can be made up of just about anything and each item can tell its own story, as well as contribute to the tale of the other objects too.
You may choose to display objects all of a certain colour, with a splash of a contrasting colour in your favourite piece of the display. Or you may decide to create a vignette which tells a story, for example a collection of sea shells from a recent beach holiday, or souvenirs from a memorable overseas trip.