Holiday Decorating- Victorian Colors Lend Appeal

While we were celebrating in December we had some decorating ideas for 2015.

The old style decorating, rich Victorian color and textures are once again one of the most popular decorating styles today. Victorian England, so named for the queen who popularized a specific style and decor was a time of very rich and ornate styles.

The decorating style works well in a living room or dining area, which by its very nature can be that ornate, highly colored and textured room. Dark, muted tones or brilliant cranberry are some of the colors that you’ll be using in your room. Multiple textures, yarns, velvet and embroidery are used to attain the very ornate room that you’re looking for.

Christmas decor, by virtue of what it is and what it can encompass, lends itself well to the Victorian style. Rich jewel tones and colors are blended into a holiday tree and across tables and mantels to give your room a rich, elegant and sophisticated look.

The colors that you’re going to want to weave into your decorating include these:

Color Palette

The holiday tree can be decorated with dark red roses or apples, while white lights will set it off nicely. Tucked in among the branches, pieces of baby’s breath or dried flowers are the perfect accompaniment to fans that you’ve created from easy to find wallpaper samples from your local decorating store.

Fast and easy Victorian ornaments can be made simply by folding a piece of colored or decorated scrapbooking paper into a cone. Hot glue some lace scraps around the top opening and add a ribbon hot glued into place to make a hanger.

Fill your cone with dried flowers and baby’s breath or miniature candy canes and suspend them from the branches of your tree or from ribbons in the window for the perfect Victorian ornament. Your cheap and easy ornaments can’t miss being a hit on your tree.

Your holiday decorations don’t have to cost the earth, any more than your Victorian living room. Easy care carpet tiles in rich jewel tones such as cranberry or deep green and used furniture with a few years on it can provide you with the room that you’re looking for.

A Touch of Green

house-plantGreen growing plants just somehow make a place look and feel more welcoming. Many people have houseplants in their homes but haven’t thought about how they are placed. Usually, they are simply put where there is someplace to put them that provides the light they need to grow.

Look around your home and picture it with plants taking a bigger role in the decor. Some areas are perfect for groupings of plants. The kitchen is a great place to have groupings of plants that are not only decorative but useful. Herbs can be grown in the kitchen in small pots and grouped to make a lovely display. Position them so sunlight from the window falls on them most of the day.

The living room is one room that usually has plants in many homes. They are often just scattered around though. Rather than just set one on a table, another on a shelf, group a few in a corner with tall ones at the back and others in front of those arranged in descending height. You could also have a corner shelf unit with smaller plants arranged on it with a few other things such as figurines to make an attractive display. Tiered hanging planters with two or three plants hanging in front of the window would look nice.

Other rooms in the house that might not be ideal for living plants can be livened up with good quality silk plants. A vine winding down a hallway going from shelf to wall sconce to picture frame adds character to an otherwise mundane area. Hallways are usually not good for living plants so silk plants are ideal here. Bedrooms can be good for live plants if they get enough light but if not, silk plants work very well. Bathrooms are also a room where silk plants may be the best option.

Experiment with plant placement in each room to see what arrangement works best for you. Once you have plants in nearly every room, you can see and feel the difference. The entire house just feels more alive. Even decor that seemed to have gotten less interesting takes on new life as the plants add a different look to what was already there.

Display Your Collection throughout the House

curio-displayDo you have a collection of some type you would like to display? Do you hate the look of a big display cabinet? Why not make small displays throughout the house? You will achieve your goal of displaying your collection and add charm to the decor of your home.

Arrange a small grouping of your collection on a coffee table or end table in the living room. If you have a bookshelf or entertainment unit, an arrangement of pieces would add interest there. Use a few pieces of your collection on your dining table as a centerpiece when it isn’t being used at mealtime. Small shelves on walls in various parts of the house can hold a few pieces as well. Just about any table or shelf in your home has potential as a display area for part of your collection.

A collection of figurines can be fun used as displays around the house. You can add interest by arranging them so they tell a story. For example, a collection of frog figurines may include humorous ones of an elderly frog couple sitting on a bench and some frog children playing. Position them so grandma and grandpa frog are watching as their grandchildren play.

If your collection is large enough, after you have placed carefully arranged groupings everywhere you can think of, there could still be some left you want to display. For these, a small wall mounted curio cabinet may be enough to hold the rest. Again, you can be creative in how they are arranged in the cabinet so it has character.

To add to any holiday decorating you do and just for fun, let your collection celebrate with you. Add small decorative items to your displays for the holiday that gives your collection the appearance of celebrating that holiday. If Easter is the next holiday coming up, using the frogs as an example again, have your frogs hunting Easter eggs and maybe put bunny ears on one.
Some people have more than one collection. If you do, you may be able to combine them in your displays around the house. This could make each collection even more interesting than displaying them separately. Finding different ways to display them can be fun and make your home a more interesting place for your and anyone who visits.

Carpet with a Personality: What Does Yours Say about You?

carpet tile installation

The carpet you choose for your living spaces says a lot about you; so why not make sure you’re sending the right message?

You want your home to be comfortable, but also something uniquely personal. You can achieve this by paying particular attention to the carpets that you use, taking in to account not only colors, but styles and materials.

Color

Color can represent your personality, and influence mood. Different colors suit different living spaces.

Take a deep crimson as an example. This color is known to stimulate conversation. A crimson colored carpet in a family sitting room can make it the perfect place to entertain, or to relax and bond with your family. Other colors, like light pastel blues and greens, can improve productivity, so they could be the perfect choices for home offices.

Try to find a color that represents you, but also one that fits the room and the furnishings. Don’t be afraid to go for neutral shades in rooms where the focus may be on artwork, designer sofas, or even an entertainment center. The carpet doesn’t always need to set the mood, but sometimes will simply complement the space you’ve already created.

Cut

The materials you choose for your carpet will determine comfort as well as durability. All-wool solutions may be expensive compared with synthetic carpet fibers, but for many they are the most comfortable and luxurious carpets. However the modern technology used to produce synthetic carpets is well advanced, so it’s still possible to get a luxurious feel from synthetic.

The cut, or pile height, will also make a difference to how your carpet feels for you, your family, and your guests. High pile carpet is extremely luxurious underfoot, but it’s important to understand that it can retain dirt and debris, and is notoriously hard to clean. Try to strike a balance between comfort and practicality, especially in high traffic areas.

Carpet Patterns

When you already know that your carpet is going to be a standout room feature, carpet patterns may be appropriate. Patterned carpet can be as subtle, or as dramatic as you want it to be. As with color, keep in mind that the pattern can potentially detract from the rest of your décor. You can also use patterns to change how big or small a room feels. Circular carpet patterns can make the floor space feel more compact, whereas pin striping can make a room feel larger.

Choosing your carpets is not as mundane as most would assume, and you can be just as creative as you would for your curtains, wallpaper, and even your furnishings. Remember to consider your own personality, the purpose of the room you’re carpeting, and try to strike a balance between practicality, comfort, and style.

The right carpet choices will help you to design a space you love, that can be enjoyed for almost the lifetime of your home.

Installing Carpet Tiles

claret carpet

Installing carpets is a simple and effective way to improve any interior space. Some people avoid installing carpets during renovation or in new construction because of the sensed difficulty. Modern carpet rolls are easy to install and professional installers will be able to make seams barely visible. There is also an alternative for those looking for the easiest option; carpet tile!

Carpet tiles are made pieces of carpet designed to be easily installed in any space. Because carpet tiles are modular you can mix and match as you need, move them around with ease when compared to regular carpet, and best of all they look just as good and are just as sturdy as traditional carpet rolls.

Commercial business owners are one group who will find huge benefits in installing carpet tiles. Tiles cut down the time and labor normally associated with installing carpets, so a business can have their flooring completed in just a fraction of the time that it would take for a conventional installation. Because tiles are a modular they can be installed in smaller sections than traditional carpet rolls. This means there is less impact to an operational business.

Most of the commercial carpet tiles available today are rated for at least ‘heavy’ commercial use. This means that in busy offices, storage facilities, and other demanding environments the carpet tiles will retain their professional looks and structure.

Hospitality providers will also love carpet tiles for similar reasons. Tiles designed for use in hospitality rely on exactly the same qualities that commercial tiles do, but they come in a wider variety of designs and thread choices. There is a misconception that tiles can’t provide for as luxurious a feel as rolled carpet. This is not true, and there are literally hundreds of pile options for businesses who need luxury options that are designed for comfort as well as durability.

With tiles being such a great option for businesses, you could be forgiven for assuming that traditional rolled carpet still rules the residential market. Well actually, carpet tiles work perfectly installed in the home too. Residential carpet tiles will work great in those spaces where you need a versatile solution that can be easily redesigned at a later date. Children’s play rooms for example will benefit from heavy duty residential carpet tiles. These types of tiles are resistant to staining, and will maintain their appearance even under heavy use. They will provide a comfortable and safe playing surface, and still give you the flexibility of easily removing the tiles later and laying new ones if the purpose of the room changes.

There are so many great reasons to install carpet tiles, no matter what you need them for. From the office to the bedroom, you’ll be able to find a carpet tile to suit any of your needs. Why not try out the easiest method of installing carpets today that is more convenient, less expensive, and endlessly versatile.

Bring the Country Home

Country style decor is a popular decor that many people spend a fortune having someone else do for them. If you want a decor with a country flavor but have a tight budget, paying hundreds of dollars is not an option. It also isn’t necessary as you can do it yourself and come up with a country style that is uniquely yours.

As with most things, the place to start is with the planning. Decide just how far you want and can go with the decor. Consider the furniture you have and what can be done to make it fit into your new decorating theme. You might be surprised by how much of the furniture you already have that can easily fit into a country theme with a few small changes such as slipcovers or accents.

Wall decor is perhaps the next thing to consider as that will have an effect on what type of country style you end up with. Do you prefer an open meadow type of country style or an on the farm style? Both are quite comfy and beautiful so it is just a matter of which you prefer. This choice will help in deciding what accent pieces you might choose to complete the look you want, though many will look great with either choice. Depth of color may be what is most affected. Open meadow country will most likely have lighter, airier colors while on the farm country will have deeper, richer colors.

Making an existing couch fit into the new country theme may only need a country quilt or granny square afghan draped over the back with country themed pillows on the seat. A side chair might have chair doilies on the back and arms. Wood end tables may not need anything but if you like, you can put small country style placemats on them.

Table or floor lamps with wood bases fit well into a country theme, especially if they are the table leg style. Lampshades can be a plain, linen look style or a more ruffled style, depending on your preference. Look around at various lamps and you will find ones that will fit perfectly into your country style. Second hand stores are a good place to find lamps that will look great.

The smaller room accents can be the most fun to find as well as the least expensive. This is where you can really add your own unique signature to the decor. For vases, consider Mason jars. Even many florists use them as vases for flowers ordered by customers. Add some raffia and a country styled bow at the neck and fill the jars with dried flowers for a touch of color.

If you are fortunate enough to come across them, a butter churn and/or a milk can make great room accents and can be used to store small items in. Another thing to consider if you can find one is an old Farmer’s Almanac to display on a shelf or table.

Designing your own country decor is not hard to do and can be a lot of fun. Doing it yourself lets you save money and take your time to find just the right pieces.

Styles That Say Welcome to My Home

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a style that says welcome? For most people, the answer is one word – comfort. When you or a guest enters your home, you want to feel comfortable. The overall style of the room people most often see first is what will welcome them to the home. This is usually the living room so it should be the room with the most comforting, welcoming style.

Color often sets the tone of a room. A welcoming room will be colorful enough to be pleasing but not glaring. If the room is too monotone in color, it may seem stark or sterile. A nice balance of color, often in earthy tones with a few brighter accents, works well to put people at ease.

Furniture also does a lot to indicate how comfortable and welcoming a room is too. Seating that looks comfortable will say welcome much more that seating that looks hard and uncomfortable. A living room set can be a couch and chairs with ottoman or a nice sectional that invites people to sit back and relax. A few large fluffy pillows will help create the welcoming effect. Too many and it seems too crowded.

A few well-placed end tables add to the effect and provide a convenient place to set down a cup or glass. A coffee table also adds to the effect. It is best that they be all wood. Glass tops look great but the concern that the glass may get broken can interfere with the welcoming effect you want. A nice solid wood often has a more welcoming effect. Bookshelves can be a nice touch as well. Place a few books that may be of interest to those using the room as well as a few pictures and knick-knacks for a nice homey effect.

Flooring is often a forgotten part of creating a welcoming style. Though most people automatically think of plush carpeting, a hardwood or laminate floor can be just as welcoming with the right rugs placed on it. The rugs can be just about any type as long as they go well with everything else in the room. Of course, feeling good underfoot makes a big difference.

Things to avoid should be a consideration. The room should not look stark or too metallic. Some people like the look of the chrome and vinyl but that does not always equate comfort to them either. Also, the room should not look to busy or cluttered with accents. This can have the effect of making people feel ‘pushed out’ of the room rather than invited in. With accents, too few and the room feels empty. Too many and it seems too crowded. Find a nice balance with a few well-placed accents and you will have a room that is inviting.

When you are deciding how to create a welcoming style, think of what makes you feel welcome and use that as your yardstick. If you feel welcome and comfortable in your home, so will others.

Proper Tile Flooring Care

Tile flooring enhances any room in a house. You can choose from many different styles, colors, and materials when you choose tile. However, you need to care for this flooring in the correct manner for it to retain its attractive appearance. Check out the following care instructions.

Know What Type of Care Your Floor Needs

You first must know how to take care of your specific type of tile before you can care for it correctly. Do you have glazed, stone, unglazed, soft clay or glass tiles on your floor? This is important to know, as the same cleaning agents do not work on all of them.

Glazed tiles should be cleaned with an all-purpose commercial or household cleaner that is oil free and approved for cleaning grout.

Stone and unglazed tiles take special preparations made just for this purpose. These cleaners have a neutral pH and remove oils, spills, and grease from these types of tiles without harming them.

Glass tiles call for a non-abrasive cleaning solution approved for use on glass.

Use the above list as your guide to which cleaners you should buy for your flooring. However, remember never to cleaners that contain bleach or acid on any tile flooring. In addition, do not use any oil-based, wax-based cleaners or sealants on the tile. Sealants are only for grout joints.

Cleaning Routine for a Tile Floor

  1. Sweep or vacuum your tile flooring on a routine basis and before mopping to remove all dust, dirt, and debris. Pay close attention to the grout lines to make sure nothing becomes trapped in them.
  2. You should mop once a week with the correct cleaner for your flooring. Refer to the list above to make sure you use the correct cleaner. Do not use scouring pads that contain metal on the tiles.
  3. Rinse the flooring with clear water after mopping it. Allow the floor to dry before walking on it as dirt will stick to a wet floor easily and you will need to mop all over again.

Follow the above care instructions and your tile flooring will stay attractive and in ideal condition. You want this flooring to provide beauty in your home for years to come.

Hardwood Floor Care

hardwood-floor-careHardwood floors are beautiful but do require special care to keep them looking great. Following some simple tips on what to do and what not to do in taking care of a wood floor keeps the floor from being damaged and dull.

Anything wet on your floor

  • Using a wet mop or anything wet on a wood floor can cause damage to the finish and to the floor if the floor is left wet. Keep these things in mind in cleaning your wood floor.
  • First, be sure you clean up spills immediately. Use a dry cloth or a soft paper towel to wipe up non-sticky spills. If the spill will likely leave a sticky spot, use a damp cloth to clean it up and dry the area right away.
  • Second, never use a wet mop or any cleaners not designed specifically for hardwood floors. Water can seep between the planks and cause the wood to swell. Cleaners not meant for wood floors will damage the surface and could go deeper into the wood.

Clean your floor gently but thoroughly

  • Sweeping your floor should be done with a soft tipped broom to reduce the risk of leaving scratches on the floor. Brooms with soft, feathered tips not only reduce scratching but also do a better job of sweeping up the finer dirt particles.
  • Vacuuming will get up dirt a broom leaves behind so it is a good idea to vacuum regularly. Just be sure to use a hard floor attachment and don’t use a vacuum’s beater bars on the floor.
  • All floors do need mopping, including hardwood floors. It is best to use a mop with a microfiber head on wood. It should be wrung out until it is just slightly damp and then sprayed with a cleaner made for hardwood floors. Rinse the mop often and thoroughly, wring it out well and respray with the cleaner. Be sure the floor is dried well after mopping.

Protect your wood floor from damage

  • Moving furniture around can scratch wood floors. To avoid this, put felt pads on any furniture legs so they slide easily on the floor without leaving scratches.
  • Protect the floor from most spills and wear by using rugs in places where spills and heavy traffic is most likely to occur. Rugs also are decorative and add a cozy touch. Be sure they have cotton backing rather than vinyl, polyurethane or rubber as moisture can get trapped under rugs backed with them.
  • Sunlight also has a damaging effect on hardwood flooring. This can be minimized with the use of curtains or drapes. Since most people don’t want the thicker drapes keep shut all the time, using sheers that will let light in but keep out the damaging rays can be used.

Taking care of a hardwood floor doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow some basic guidelines. Then you can have a beautiful floor that shines.

10 DIY Home Improvement Disasters

The do it yourself home renovation option is a great way to fill in your spare time, feel good about doing something around the home, and of course it can save you hundreds if not thousands on contractor bills. But how about when something goes wrong, and what happens when you try and tackle something that’s a too far outside of your skill set?

We take a look at 10 DIY disasters that could turn your dream DIY project in to a decision you end up regretting.

  1. You might find some of the disasters on our list amusing, but electric shocks are no laughing matter. It’s more common than many think for an inexperienced DIY’er to go through an electrical main with a saw or drill, or even try to wire something wrong and end up with a nasty and potentially life threatening shock. Even if you ignore all of the other disasters in this list, electrical safety is one area where you need to take extreme caution.
  2. Broken glass is a common DIY disaster, especially when mounting doors, windows, or moving large appliances or materials through the home. Take care of your surroundings, and get someone to help in risky situations.
  3. Breaking a water pipe is a sure way to get your house flooded before you have half a minute to realize what just happened. Whenever you’re drilling through your walls, get the plans to your home first. If you can’t get them then use simple logic: don’t drill within a foot of the floor level, and stay far away from tap fitments and plumbing.
  4. Common accidents like falling from a ladder can cause serious injury. Professionals undergo strict safety training, but you probably haven’t. Use a home step ladder when you’re on your own, or seek assistance when you’re working at height or in awkward positions that could be dangerous.
  5. Read the instructions on flat pack furniture. All of those items from IKEA look simple to build, but if you go in ‘gung ho’ and mess it up, you’re going to end up with a collapsed piece of furniture later.
  6. Don’t take on too many projects at one time. Stick to a single project where you can invest your full efforts. Taking on multiple projects usually means you will be overwhelmed, leading to a home full of half-finished projects.
  7. DIY is not just about saving money. Yes DIY can save you money on labor from professionals, but that’s not the only consideration. Aiming to do everything for the lowest cost possible is a recipe for disaster. Quality and workmanship should come first.
  8. Some DIY’ers have imagined that it’s fairly simple to erect a fence, only to find that there’s actually a significant level of engineering involved. Making a fence stand up, ensuring it has a strong foundation, and even making sure it’s level and straight could be difficult for the inexperienced. Avoid disaster by doing your research, or enlisting the help of a professional.
  9. Don’t ever remove a wall without consulting a professional! Few homeowners would know how to look at a wall and determine if it’s load bearing or not. Knocking down a structural wall could compromise your entire home, not to mention the safety of your family. Don’t even think about this DIY project without at least having a professional inspect your premises.
  10. Don’t rush. Take time with everything you do to make sure it’s done right. Rushing something as simple as mixing drywall compound could mean a horribly uneven and ugly wall repair. Avoid disaster by being patient.

DIY should be about the experience and the control that it gives you over a job done by someone else. Any savings are secondary. Be patient, logical, and know your limitations. It never hurts to get a professional consultation before starting DIY work. At least you will know if you’re up to the task, or if you’re the next DIY disaster victim waiting to happen.