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.

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.

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.

5 DIY Home Decorating Projects

Next to renovating, home decorating is the best way to revitalize your home and improve your living space. With home decorating, taking the DIY route is relatively safe, and it lets you use your creativity in design choices. This helps to make your home feel uniquely personal.

If you’re looking to get started on a decorating project but are stuck for ideas, check out our top 5 DIY decorating projects.

  1. Your front door is the introduction to your home. It should be elegant, make a statement, and introduce guests to the theme that they’ll find within. You don’t need a completely new door to change the outward facing feel of your home. Simply painting the door, or changing the molding to an accent color can make a world of difference.
  2. Handles are one of the simplest things you could change in your home to make immediate improvements in any room. Drawer and cupboard handles, as well as door handles are easily replaceable by hand. New fittings can freshen up desks, dressers, closets, and kitchen cabinets.
  3. Change your curtains. Curtains are one of the easiest things to change in your home. Another great thing about new curtains as a redecorating project is that they’re available in a wide variety of colors and styles. Choose curtains that complement your entire décor, especially your carpets and walls.
  4. Decorators who are a little bit more adventurous could try redecorating their current furniture. Older hardwood items can be sanded and re-stained, or if you’re the creative type you could even create your own paint designs and finish them off with a sealant coat.
  5. Add some rugs to your living spaces. Rugs are underutilized these days, especially since so many homes are carpeted. Contrary to popular belief, rugs DO work over carpeted floors. You only need to choose them carefully. Aim for a rug that doesn’t clash with the rest of your décor, and you need to be very careful by considering the curtains, wall color, carpet color, and even the furniture. If you want to carry a theme and you have a light carpet, an easy rule of thumb is to match your rugs to the color of your curtains.

Home decorating can be fun and rewarding, so long as you plan it right and remember to consider the overall design and look of your décor. Starting any of these simple projects is easy, and all of them can be completed for only a small cost. Redecorating today could completely transform a tired space, helping you to feel wonderful in your home again.

Top 5 Home Decorating Disasters

One of the great things about decorating your own home is that you get to input some of your personal creativity and flair in to any space. This means that you will have total freedom to get the look and feel that you want. Choosing your own paints, carpet, furnishings, or even lighting fixtures is all part of the fun in decorating your new home, or in revamping your tired décor. One problem though, is that not everything that seems like a good idea actually works in practice. If you’re taking it one step further and thinking of installing improvement yourself, then there’s even more risk to get it wrong.

If you’re thinking of redecorating, or are decorating a new home, you don’t always need to pay a professional designer. However, it wouldn’t hurt to know the top five home decorating disasters that you need to steer well clear of.

Bathroom Tiles. Tiles are a beautiful flooring choice for any bathroom. The right kind of tile will create an elegant and timeless look, and can turn an ordinary bathroom in to a luxurious escape. Homeowners need to be extremely careful not just in choosing tiles, but in installing them. Not all tiles are alike and bathroom tiles need specialized coatings and sometimes materials to keep looking their best. Installing the tiles is a critical job, and getting anything wrong can cost thousands in getting professionals to start all over again. If you have no experience in installing tiles, working with grout, or any general handy-work, then this is one home decorating disaster where a professional is needed.

Carpets. Carpets beautify and make homes more comfortable. There’s no other material that evokes luxury in the way that carpet does. Choosing carpets should not be based on looks alone, but practicality too. Light colored carpets might look elegant, but imagine how hard they can be to keep clean. If you have children and pets, then light colored carpets could be the worst choice you could make. Lifestyle comes before looks, and in the case of carpets there is a lot of care required to avoid a decorating disaster.

Lighting. Lighting is one area of home decorating that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Above all, lighting should be practical, so if you’re going for the latest in designer fixtures, make sure they allow enough luminance. Elegant and practical is the safest way to go.

Hanging decorations, artwork, and portraits. Consider that decorations, family pictures, and artwork are all to be enjoyed, so why do most homeowners place them at heights that require stepladders to appreciate? Aim for eye level height of the second tallest person in the family. Unless you’re in the NBA, going too high will only compromise your décor.

Avoid overmatching. When you’re in the bed and bath store, or any boutique decorating shop, you will notice that there are matching sets of almost any item. Placemats that match couch throws and cushions, which match curtains, which match the doormat… and it goes on. Over matching everything in your home is a decorating disaster that you will regret. Variation is what makes a décor beautiful. Your furnishings and decorations should complement each other, rather than creating a sterile and stifling look throughout your home.

Decorating your home should be about variety, practicality, and comfort. Homeowners should not shy away from style, but need to be aware of what can go wrong. In the case of renovations, always use professionals if you’re not skilled in the job. Additionally, sometimes an interior designer can be a help, even if you only bring them in for a short consultation.

With the right care and restraint your home can be as beautiful as you want it to be, as long as you know where to draw the line when it comes to home decorating.

Top Five Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home

victorian-home-ok

This house needs work! How many times have you said that? How many times have you looked around and wondered where your renovation dollars would be best spent?

The answer to that question may well surprise you. If you’re considering selling your home or you’re simply looking at the best ideas for renovation that will give you a solid ROI on your home maintenance or modernization, it may amaze you to know that some of the smallest updates can give back big dividends.

Before you consider making huge home improvements like tearing out that wall or making the room larger, take a look at these top ways to get a good return on your investment of renovation money.

  1. New garage doors can give you a vast ROI on your investment of about a thousand dollars or a little more. Installing a new set of garage doors may raise the price of your home as much as 5K.
  2. New windows–Your windows may be leaking heat or cool air to the outside world. Setting in a few new energy efficient windows, even if you can only do one room, will give you a nice return on your investment. It may raise the value of your home as much as two or three thousand dollars.
  3. Painting your home can raise the value as much as five thousand dollars. The colors that you paint your home make a big difference in how much it will raise the value. For example, pale yellow or cream colored homes typically sell faster and may sell for a slightly higher price.
  4. Add a spare bathroom. Even if it is only a half bath or a shower stall and a small bathroom, a second bathroom will raise the price of your home and give you a return on your investment that may be twice what you spent. If you can’t afford a new bathroom then spend a little and update your current bathroom. You could consider some low cost but sleek looking items such as a wall based towel warmer or other amenities and the return on the investment will be at least twice what you spent.
  5. As of 2011, the kitchen went back to being the most important room in the home. It was more valuable to home buyers than the living room and the way that the kitchen looked and was laid out was very important. A facelift to your kitchen, stainless steel sink, a coat of paint or new facings in the cabinets can net you a very positive return on your investment.

Every investment in your home is a positive one, but some will give you a far greater return on your investment. The largest outlay isn’t necessarily the best outlay when it comes to home renovation, so choosing carefully based on what will give you the biggest draw to the home buyer and the best return on your investment of money is in order.