How to Choose a Style for Your Home

Whether you are moving into your first new home (as in the previous article) or just want to change the look of your current home, here are some guidelines to begin that exciting home decorating process by Emma Joyce.*

Regardless of whether you’re a first-time home owner in need of adequate home décor or simply want to make the interior design more appealing to you, you should have your own ideal style in mind before you start your search and decoration work. You might prefer modern vibe or love the feel of rustic chic style, or you might even adore vintage décor. In the end, you might find mixing and matching different styles perfect for your own needs. Whatever you choose, it’s essential that you have your own take on each and every one of those styles.

Know your styles
There are many home design styles out there and finding your perfect one(s) might seem difficult at first. Therefore, you need to know what some main characteristics of each style are. For example, already mentioned modern, rustic chic and vintage are three top and most popular styles according to design experts, and these three represent all other styles and differences between them. In general, modern style is minimalistic in layout, with sleek furniture and other elements, statement accessories and bright colors. Rustic chic can have a lot of modern elements when it comes to décor, but there are still a lot more decorative pieces around, a lot of wood and nature-inspired elements and pastel colors. On the other hand, vintage style is characterized by bold, deep colors combined with a lot of intricate details reminiscent of old times, eras and different cultures.
Ask yourself for help
If you’re unsure what style would be perfect to complement your personality, simply ask yourself what your likes and dislikes are, and what are your general preferences in different aspects of your life - like fashion, for example. What’s more, you definitely have certain countries in mind when thinking about dream vacations, and this might happen to be due to the unique architecture and design characteristic for these places. Are there some books and movies that inspire you? In general, your whole life can serve as a great starting point for discovering your perfect home design style.

Other helpful means
In some cases, you might find your own preferences confusing and far from helpful when it comes to home styling. This is not a reason to worry, though, since there are many online quizzes that can assist you with your search. Also, there are numerous magazines and countless blog posts featuring different home styles, that are bound to prove useful when choosing your own décor trend. Basically, there’s a great deal of inspiration at your disposal.
Mix and match
Even though there are many styles that are called by one specific term and involve a set of characteristics, you don’t have to choose just one and most certainly don’t have to include everything that’s said that specific style involves. Actually, it’s even more rewarding and entertaining to mix and match aspects of different styles in order to make your home truly personal and unique. For example, if you like the modern minimalist style more than any other, but still want to break the plainness, big, bold and beautiful designer pots can be the perfect way to do so. Also, if you have strong appeal towards two or more completely different styles, you can take upon yourself the task of decorating each room in your home by rules of each of these particular styles. What’s more, you can make everything more toned down or more extravagant. For example, if you’ve decided that vintage is the right way to go, you can make it almost gothic like, with bunch of patterns and gothic details, or you can make things simpler by going for the retro vintage style. It’s all up to you.
It’s essential to stress the importance of following your own tastes and likes when looking for a décor style, as well as implementing it in your own home. It’s not necessary for anybody else to like it or approve it, as long as you’re absolutely happy with the environment you’re creating for yourself and your own comfort and pleasure.

*Emma B. Joyce is blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She got hooked on home accessories and decorations during her traveling and now cannot stop searching for new inspiration.

Décor Guidelines for a Frst-Time Home Owner

Buying your first home is always a very exciting time but can be a little overwhelming when it comes to decorating it.  Diana Smith has some helpful tips on how to get started.

There’s hardly anything more fun and fulfilling that the feeling you have when you get to decorate your first home. There’s absolutely no limit to what you can create, but if you struggle a bit, a few helpful guidelines can prove to be very useful, in case you don’t know where to start. Still, remember that this is the fun part and there’s absolutely no reason to stress and worry about the décor. Allow this process to relax and make you happy.
Start with the walls
When in doubt, change the wall colour! You have probably seen this tip in almost every article regarding home décor, but that’s simply because there’s nothing better to freshen up and personalize your home than a coat of new paint or new set of wallpaper. Not to mention that it’s one of the easiest way to spice up the look of your home, especially if your furniture is still not set up. Bold shades are very trendy, but if you’re not too keen on having this trend all over your home, stick to the one accent wall rule. 
Decide on the layout
Once you have your walls done and the whole place cleaned up, you can start bringing the furniture in. For this, you need to carefully measure the rooms, choose the purpose of each room and pick the focal points. That way you’ll have it a lot easier to organize your furniture layout and make the space clutter-free as well as more spacious and easier to move around. Measuring the size of the rooms is especially important if you’re about to head out to buy new pieces of furniture. Keep in mind that if your home is on the smaller side, you don’t need bulky pieces of furniture. 
The best part – accessories
Accessorizing your home will give it a personal touch and a true homey feel. There are many ideas online that could help you with accessorizing trends, but it’s important that you make your own final decision according to your particular likes and interests. In general, less is more. Focus on accessories such as rugs, cushions and curtains, while keep it simpler but still unique when it comes to gallery walls, photos and figurines in order to avoid clutter.

Mix and match
There’s nothing wrong with having rooms in your home resembling the ones from the interior design magazines, but you don’t need to make everything conform to one style only. Actually, your place will look more endearing and creative if you incorporate two or more styles at once. For example, if your living room is not really big, you don’t need to buy a whole seating set. You could simply get the sofa that you like and mix things up with interesting bentwood chairs, or mix and match the dining chairs with a dining table from another set that you find more suitable for your taste and size of the room. If you’re on a budget, don’t shy away from antique furniture and garage sales because these can be revamped to accommodate all your personal and creative needs. 
Invest in appliances
While there’s always a way to save money on before-mentioned steps for decorating your home, it would be wise to invest more money on your kitchen appliances right from the start. By getting yourself energy efficient kitchen appliances, you’ll provide yourself with good quality products that will last you many new homes to come as well as save money on electricity in the long run.
Your first home definitely won’t be your last home, so don’t get too worried and obsessed with making everything perfect right from the start. There’s nothing that can’t be changed and transformed when it comes to interior design and it’s not like you’ll have to live with the same décor you first decided on for the rest of your life. 

How Elegance & Family-Friendly Design Can Coexist

When decorating our homes, elegance and family-friendly design is possible to achieve...Marie Nieves shares some beautiful ideas on how to do it.

When decorating their homes, people usually seek for pet and kid-friendly materials, multifunctional furniture and plenty of storage space. This striving for functionality usually pushes the style and elegance to the side. However, designing a family-friendly home can actually coexist with the elegance, but you just have to be creative and think simple. 

Open Spaces

Homes should never be cluttered and filled with unnecessary things. This could be challenging since there is at least three people living there, but you have to prioritize. Elegance is all about minimalism and simplicity and that should be your primary aim. Another problem that could occur is designing and dividing too open spaces. The best advice is putting up wallpapers in order to create accent walls and to subtly divide the space. However, you should opt for pastel colours and fine lines in order to do this, while the accent walls can have a bit more colour on them. 

Make a House feel Homey 

This can be a tough task when it comes to big houses, but the trick is in the common areas. Living room, kitchen, playrooms and other areas where you love spending time with your family should be kept airy and fun with vivid colours, comfortable furniture and the things you all have in common and love. As far as private rooms and bedrooms are concerned, don’t try to make them in huge rooms. If you keep them simple and small, you will encourage your kids and yourself to spend as much time as possible together in the living or dining room. 

Outdoor Entertainment 

Your home probably has a backyard that certainly shouldn’t be neglected. Since you strive for the functionality, consider setting up or renovating the deck into a sophisticated homey space for you and your family. Use sustainable wood for the structure and place plenty of colourful soft cushions all around. This way, not only will you make another common area for all of you to enjoy a summer night’s gathering, but you will greatly extend the landscape design of your garden and the value of your home will increase. Also, you can add a small fireplace in the middle and organize family camp-like evenings during the summer. 

Add Antiques 

Modern designs look very elegant, but the whole monochromatic look can come off as boring. In order to break the dull atmosphere, you should consider adding a few antique pieces. Big, elegant provincial chandelier made of wrought iron will look stunning over the dining table and will certainly contribute to the atmosphere during the holidays. Also, some antique figurines, iron chairs and coffee tables will transform the empty rooms and provide comfort. If you go to the flea market or any antique shop in your town, be sure you will find some hidden treasure that can extend the style and elegance in your home; just make sure not to mix too many antiques and keep things simple. 

Decorate with Flowers

The best choices of colours for an elegant interior are whites and pastels. However, you will need something to break the monotony. There is a very simple solution to that – floral decoration. Have as many indoor plants as you want on the bookshelves, by the windows and on the tables. Make sure they are colourful and neatly organized in order to better the atmosphere and bring more life and fresh air into the room. Also, don’t be afraid of floral patterns for the table cloths and cushions. Find patterns and colours you like that go well with the rest of the interior design, and that way evoke warmth and blissfulness in your home.  

The key is in simplicity combined with a few wow factors. Above all, keep your home clutter-free, airy and filled with flowers and soft fabrics, and you will have no problems with making the elegance work with family-friendly design. 

Roads towards Increased Thermal Comfort at Home

Lillian Connors shares some great ideas to help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Too hot in the summer and too cold in the wintertime - sounds familiar? It’s not uncommon that people cannot obtain perfect temperature in their home in the periods of excessive heat or chill, and that can decidedly affect their comfort, mood and productivity. On top of that, the mismanagement of home temperature will also reflect negatively on the utility bill.
A series of factors should be taken into consideration if you wish to to create an optimal thermal environment for the entire year: air velocity, temperature and humidity, sun heat gain and the temperature of the nearby devices or surfaces. Here are a few tips on how to improve the thermal conditions in your own home.
Furniture elements

Start with the simplest alterations and tweaks. Examine your furnishing elements and pinpoint the ones that often make you fidgety and uncomfortable. Whether you’re working from home or just lounging in your free time, mesh back chairs are great in minimizing the heat build-up, unlike the padded seats with leather or woolly upholstery. Likewise, goose feather pillows and cushions are veritable “furnaces” in the summer, so it’s better to store them away during the hot months. 
When picking out furniture, favour the pieces with circulation gaps on the side or at the back. The same principle can be applied to outdoor structures like patios and decks. Lastly, invest in overhead lighting pieces with low-heat emission, like LEDs, or at least opt for task and floor fixtures with this type of bulbs.
HVAC settings and operation

Before you start searching for the source of problem elsewhere, check the thermostats to see if it matches your usual temperature setting. Make an agreement with your family members about the ideal values for the season, and try to stick to it. The sudden shifts will also overload the AC system and increase your electricity costs.
Move on to the system dampers and diffusers. The jammed dampers can significantly reduce the air flow and make the room stuffier and hotter. When diffusers are concerned, sometimes a simple opening of a VAV box can release the much needed gush of cool air during the hottest hours of the summer days. 
HVAC filters and upkeep
The optimum operation of air management devices is bound to improve the quality of air in your home and maintain a pleasant airflow. As a bonus, a high-performance HVAC system is proven to lower the energy costs by 10%.
It goes without saying that you should service the device regularly and clean the filters at least twice a year to ensure an undisturbed operation of the AC system. Top it off by making use of the appropriate filters that fit the needs of your family (hypoallergenic, ozone, etc.).
Organize the appliances
If you’re blessed with enough space in the house, try to remove all the devices that emit a lot of heat from the places where you spend time. For instance, keep your water heaters, washing machine and dryer in a separate room or in a basement. When it comes to tech devices in your living room or bedroom, make sure they are spaced out evenly and placed far from the bed or other seating furniture.
Low-e window treatment

Windows are one of the sorely neglected house elements when temperature control is in question. The use of some quality solar window film solution can serve as a year-round solution for thermal comfort of all house members. This treatment can minimize the sun heat gain during the warm months and keep the heat out from the air-conditioned spaces. This invariably makes the rooms more pleasant while the energy consumption is kept at minimum.
Similarly, this special window film treatment aids in heat retention during the colder periods. In addition, your family members can leave the shades and blinds open thanks to the anti-glare property of the solar films. This will allow you to fully enjoy the benefits of sunlight and feel more connected with nature.

The stuffy, hot air or shiver-worthy conditions are equally undesirable when our living environment is concerned. Utilize some of our advice to increase a thermal comfort in your home as well.

Smart Design Ideas for a Small Bedroom

Small bedrooms are an opportunity to create that warm cozy retreat we are looking for after a long day.  Chloe Taylor shares some beautiful ideas on how to do just that...

The bedroom is a haven; it’s a place that forgives all daily failures, comforts on a hard day, it’s a place of solitude and joy, it’s a lover’s nook and your shelter from the world… The bedroom is the start of your day and the end of it. For this reason, even though the accent is often placed on other segments of the home, the bedroom should be the centre of your attention, in terms of its design, practicality and the atmosphere you are looking to enhance. 
In case you are struggling with a small space, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a decorative complexity of larger rooms. If anything, a small room oozes a sense of warmth and coziness which is making the room look even more appealing than if its elements were scattered over 30 feet of space. 
We are giving you a few amazing ideas that will help you manipulate your small space and turn it into a gorgeous space with a true design impact.

Work with what you’ve got 

To get the best out of your small space, consult an expert that will suggest furniture placement in order to get as much space as possible. While you may have an idea in mind, it’s possible that not everything will work as you’ve intended it – and this is where a professional can help. Don’t fail to present them with your plan and idea and look to incorporate it into the finalized plan
Does that sofa really work in the right corner of the room or would it be better at the bed’s foot? How about that flower pot under the window? Should you move it next to the desk? Wouldn’t that rocking chair look better across the bed? Work with them on finding the best solution possible.
Choose a color 

A light palette visually opens up a small bedroom, while art pieces, interesting fabrics for bed covers, pillow cases and rugs will take away a sense of dullness and instill a feel of excitement and vigor. Earthy tones work amazingly with small spaces, too and combined with a white base can really make an impact. You can use it as base or in accents, either way they are promising a wonderful small space manipulation. Don’t use just one color, though, or you’ll be running a risk of having the room looking too depressive. 
Manipulate the space
These days, most of furniture is grandiose and difficult to incorporate into a regular bedroom space. Luckily, custom-made furniture is your next best choice (maybe the best choice, altogether) with an amazing array of options – from bed frames and closets to desks and vanities. With amazing companies, like Brisbane Shelving, you are given the liberty to have virtually any piece of furniture crafted by your personal desire and space measurements. We love it!
Mind the ornaments
Place photographs, personalized pieces of art, ornaments, quote-wallpapers or quote art on the walls. Another option is to add fresh flowers, your grandma’s portrait, dream catchers, graphic curtains, lace in accents in interesting shapes around the space in a manner that is logical to you. Place mirrors strategically for space depth. Rely on elements that trigger pleasant emotions and make you feel wonderful. A simple manipulation of eye-catching art, clocks and lights on the walls will land excitement to your little space. 
Give it a personal touch
Challenge your inner artist – frame pictures of cities you want to see, that beautiful snap of random people laughing you caught on your camera last Christmas, frame motivational quotes that always give you strength, etc. Each time you step into a room, you’ll get overwhelmed with beautiful emotions – and that’s a priceless feeling. 
Decorating your space after your own temperament, tastes and expectation may be the best move to make, especially if you are just moving in (starting from scratch is always fun) or re-decorating an already existing décor. Good luck!

Tips for Making Your Home Look Expensive

We of course want our homes to look as beautiful as they can but sometimes our budgets gets in the way.  Diana Smith is here to give us tips on how to make your home beautiful without the expensive.

A lot of people dream about making their home look more expensive. Still, what does this mean? The difference between expensive and expensive-looking is extremely hard to notice. When you enter your friend’s home and see a luxurious chandelier, you can only assume it cost an arm and a leg, but you can’t know for sure. The only way to confirm your suspicion is for them to tell you, but there are two problems here. First, it is rude to just go out and ask people how much they paid for their furniture. Second, even if they do answer you, there’s no way of knowing if they are telling the truth. Luckily, this is something you can turn to your advantage, and here are few tips for making your home look more expensive.

Less is More

Now, this particular tip has several positive sides. If you opt to go with minimalism, you are automatically required to purchase less items for your home. This means that if you have a tight budget, you will be able to set aside more money for a single item. In fact, what a lot of people decide to do is buy one really expensive item, set it as a focal point and then align the rest of their home around it. In this way, items with the same pattern, color or similar style become observed expensive by association. The reason why this works best in minimalism is because it increases the chance that your guests will focus on that one particular item. 

Wall Painting and Crown Molding
One thing that doesn’t cost much, but can make your home look more expensive, is a proper wall painting. White, beige and different shades of grey can be ideal for hallways and even living room, while lime light goes perfectly with your bathroom. This, when combined with crown molding can make your home get a regal look. What you need to do is get a professional painter to encapsulate a lot of molding and shape it to flare out a top edge of your wall. Unfortunately, crown molding doesn’t look well in every home and according to some, for this to work your ceiling should be at very least 10 feet tall. Still, all of these are more guidelines than actual rules and situationally even deciding not to adhere to them might work.
Buy Online
Finally, the price of an item is a relative thing. Sure, in a furniture salon it may have one price, but once it gets resold (even after a single day) its monetary value will suddenly drop. This of course doesn’t mean that its beauty will suffer in any way. What you need to do in order to save money by purchasing these items is look for homeware online. There is a plethora of amazing e-stores where you can find everything you need at a much better price than if you were to look for them in person. Furthermore, you can also look up various social media for items you may need. For example, a lot of classy furniture can be found on Pinterest or even Facebook. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy tech pieces or even make some items on your own, you may look it all up on YouTube.

As you can see, the lack of funds seldom has the power to stand in the way of a true genius. This being said, the beauty of your home and how expensive it looks won’t be determined by how much money you throw at it. After all, you won’t show off your receipts to the guests. You just need to help everyone reach their own conclusion. Later on, even if you try to tell them how much you really paid for it, they won’t believe you.

How to Work with LED Lights in Different Segments of Your Home

Lighting is a very important design element.  Here are some tips from Lillian Connors on how to work with LED lights in every room.

According to the Department of Energy, widespread use of LED lights has the potential to fundamentally change the future of lighting. These bulbs use more than 70 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, and even last 25 times longer. This sounds like a perfect reason to introduce them into every room of your home and simultaneously save money, energy and indirectly – the planet. However, each room of your house has different requirements according to the tasks and activities done in those areas. Here are some tips that will help you effectively plan the LED lighting of your home, while keeping in mind these special requirements.

Living Room

Living or family room is the most frequently used room in the house, and as such it needs an ambiance suitable for gatherings, conversations and relaxation. This means you should avoid strong shadows or glare. Since it is a multifunctional room, consider installing dimmable LED lights, so you can adapt the visual appearance and the mood of the space to various occasions. LED lights usually go down to about 10 percent of the total light output, which is much lower than filaments, but they are still saving a lot of energy.
The Kitchen

Kitchen is an “all work-no play” room, and every inch of it has a concrete function. That is why it is important for it to be fully illuminated with wide angle lights. However, that’s not nearly enough. Some areas will require even more light. Task LED lighting can be installed under the cabinets, on the platform and the sink, on the kitchen island or in the pantries.
Dining Room

The dining space should have ambient lighting, but you shouldn’t disregard its function. Therefore, there should be plenty of light focused on the table. You can achieve that with an overhead fixture (pendant light), which can, at the same time, serve as a decorative element. The fixture should be 28 to 32 inches above the table in order to provide sufficient, yet not too strong lighting, say the experts at Industralight.

The primary function of this room is sleeping, and for that, you don’t need heavy lights. Instead, opt for soft ambience lighting, task lighting with bed stand lamps and, if you want, accent lighting to highlight artwork or photo frames. If you like to read a couple of book pages before you head to the dreamland, you should consider cooler shades for table lamps to avoid eye-strain.
Entryway and Staircase

Although no special tasks are being done in these two areas, it is important to light them properly, since they should reflect a welcoming feel and provide enough visibility to be safe. It’s recommended to use surface mount lights or direct RCC to save false ceiling cost. 

Bathroom lighting is probably the most demanding to pull off, since it should have solutions that cover wide angles for cleaning, ambience lights that create a relaxing vibe and task lights around the mirror and the shower. 
Additional Installation Tips

Although LED lights should be adapted to different functions of different segments of the house, there are some common rules that should be applied in each of them. LED lighting should never be installed in the corner, or near the fan diameter. In first case it’s a waste of light, in second it can create flicker in the room. 
Also, several lower power LED lights properly distributed across the space can illuminate it better than one higher power light. The last two things you should consider are the ceiling height and the light temperature. The higher the ceiling is, the more (or more powerful) lights you’ll need. The three temperatures of LED lights are cool white (reading rooms, workshops, kitchen, etc.), neutral white (living room, bedroom, office) and warm white (dining room, leisure spaces). 

LED lights provide you with a wide range of possibilities when it comes to interior design. They can be adapted to each room unique feel and at the same time, save you money and energy, so what are you waiting for?