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10 August 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

Clutter!Image Source: Studio McGee

Wouldn’t it be so nice to know what an interior designer actually notices in your home? Having this information would make it that much easier when you clean or decorate new spaces, or even when you decide what to renovate and what to leave as is. It can be somewhat difficult to take a critical eye to your own space that you see consistently day after day, but knowing where to place your focus and creative energy would certainly help to take out some of that guesswork, so we decided to reach out to design professional Shelly Gerritsma from Canter Lane Interiors instead. Read on to learn the five design elements she always notices first and wants you to focus on first as well.

Flooring

FlooringImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

As soon as she steps into your home, Shelly notices what’s beneath her feet. “Flooring is a major item. If carpet is dated/worn/sagging/etc, it really devalues the home,” Shelly says. So, instead of using that area rug that has probably seen better days, opt for a brand new design in a fun print, or if you want to really get creative, try adding hardwoods in a funky colour. Shelly will notice!

Wall Colour & Finish

Wall Colour & Finish
Image Source: Inspired by Charm

Once she’s assessed the flooring, Shelly is onto your wall colour and finishes. She advises that “using the proper paint finish for spaces is huge. Do not use a semi-gloss or a gloss paint finish on main living walls as it cheapens the space and looks too harsh. Stick with a flat or matte finish.” She also reminds us that nothing draws negative attention quicker than sloppy paint lines, so always ensure that those appear neat and finished.

Ceilings

CeilingsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Another foundational element that will draw major attention from Shelly is your ceiling. Whether you want to modernise the appearance of your ceiling or you just need to open up the space a bit, this is one area that you won’t regret putting some time into. Shelly confirms that “smoothing out popcorn ceilings is a great way to add home value and to make spaces feel larger due to the shadows cast by this dated finish.”

Scale-Appropriate Furniture

Scale-Appropriate FurnitureImage Source: Studio McGee

Properly scaled furnishings are key when it comes to creating a harmonious flow that’s sure to get noticed in your home. Shelly says, “Make sure that your furniture is not overwhelmingly large or so small that it looks out of balance in the space.” A huge sectional that is crammed into a space or a dainty nightstand displayed in an oversize master bedroom will do nothing but draw negative attention.

Clutter!

Clutter!Image Source: Studio McGee

And lastly, we finish up with none other than that attention-grabbing eyesore: clutter. Yes, clutter! Shelly promises, “Keeping spaces clean and clutter to a minimum is a huge plus. Our spaces truly affect our well being, and spaces that are messy and dirty can have major psychological and physical impact.” Plus, not only will your guests appreciate your clutter-free home but you too will benefit from your Zen space.

 

 

 

 

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03 August 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Luke Menzel, chief executive officer at the Energy Efficiency Council, shares some practical tips for keeping a lid on your winter heating consumption and costs.

1Stop heat escaping
For most homes in colder parts of Australia, heating is by far the biggest slice of the energy bill pie. Insufficient insulation and draughty homes mean that heaters have to work much harder to keep you warm, which adds to power costs.

Draught-proofing your home to prevent heat escaping is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to save energy, allowing you to stay warm and toasty without cranking up the thermostat.

2

Turn the thermostat down
Turning the thermostat too high can be a huge drain on energy and your finances, with each degree adding around 10 per cent to your heating bill. For maximum efficiency, aim to set it between 18 and 20°C. If this feels too chilly (most of us prefer a more comfortable 25 or 26°C in winter), try moving away from uncovered windows, sealing draughts and popping on a jumper.

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Rug up
Having too many cold surfaces in your home can add to the chill factor too – in fact, it can have just as much of an effect as air temperature.

To make your home feel warmer, consider installing secondary glazing and adding heavy curtains to windows, laying rugs on cold, hard floors, and moving your favourite armchair so it’s not right beside a cold window.

Open curtains during the day to allow the winter sun to warm the surfaces in your home. Draw curtains at night to keep the heat in.

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Only heat the rooms you’re using
Rather than heating your entire home, zone your heating so it only warms up those rooms you spend time in. Do this by closing doors to keep the heat where you need it. If you’re installing a new heating system, consider a ducted system that can be zoned for individual rooms.

Tip: Check ducting before the start of winter to check that it’s leak-free, well-insulated and in proper working condition. This can sometimes be done with thermal imaging cameras, to save crawling around in dark spaces.

5Reconsider halogens
Halogen downlights can be a huge energy waster in winter. Aside from their high energy consumption, these lights need to be kept far away from insulation as a fire-safety precaution. This means there is an uninsulated patch of ceiling surrounding halogen downlights that provides an easy escape route for heat.

The heat that rises from each downlight can also create a chimney effect and suck warm air out of your house, which leads to chilly draughts.

6Replace old appliances
That old, second fridge in the garage or dated reverse-cycle air conditioner in the living room could be costing you more than you realise. Consider the numbers; a new, energy-efficient fridge can cost half as much to run as one that’s 15 to 20 years old – this equates to a saving of about $150 per year. Meanwhile, most reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems are between 30 and 40 per cent more efficient than those of 15 years ago.

Splashing out on new energy-efficient appliances can cut your energy costs considerably.

7Be star savvy
Most major appliances, such as fridges and reverse-cycle heating/cooling systems, come labelled with an energy-star rating, which tells you how efficient they are and how much energy they’ll consume. It ranges from one to six stars (although in recent years, four additional high-performance stars have been added to many products). The more stars, the more efficient the product. Appliances with more stars may cost a little more, but you’ll save the money back in running costs.

Be aware that if you have an older appliance at home with a three-star label, it might only rate as two stars by today’s standards – and may not even be allowed to be sold under current minimum standard rules.

The number below the stars on the label is a calculation of how much electricity the appliance will typically consume in a year. Multiply this number by your electricity tariff to get annual running costs.

Tip: Tariffs can differ significantly at different times of day, so choosing when to use your appliance can help save you money. You might find it more cost efficient to run your washer, dryer or dishwasher at night or early in the morning.

8Reduce pump time
If you have a swimming pool, halving the pump-timer duration in winter can result in substantial savings. However, do check with your local pool or spa specialist to ensure you maximise energy efficiency while still meeting all the health requirements required with a pool.

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Tell us
What’s your winter energy-saving tip? Tell us in the Comments section below. And don’t forget to like this story, share it and save the photos. Join the conversation.

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27 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Furniture that does more than one job is a godsend in a small home – here’s what you need to know before you buy.

In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. Here, Christine Gough, interior design leader at Ikea Australia, shares her top tips for selecting multi-functional furniture for a compact home.
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If you’re struggling with clutter, a lack of space or a shortage of storage in your home, multi-functional furniture can really help. So what makes for a multi-functional piece? It is flexible, performs more than one function, and it can be moved around or customised to suit your needs. It often also includes storage, giving you a useful home for clutter so you can create a clear and inviting home.

Here are a few of the most useful designs to consider.

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Image: Delaktig range at Ikea

Modular sofas
Modular sofas allow you to personalise your seating so that it fits your space – and your needs – perfectly. Choose from a ready-made combination of sofa pieces, or create a new combination to suit your home.

Modular sofas are designed with many functions and possibilities in mind. Many contain hidden storage, while others can be converted into a sofa bed to house an overnight guest. You’ll also find styles with removable covers so you can update the look of your sofa with ease.

‘Open-source’ furniture takes the idea of personalisation one step further. Ikea’s new modular Delaktig sofa (designed in conjunction with British designer Tom Dixon) has an aluminium frame and the set-up can be endlessly configured to suit your changing needs – add a side table, a lamp or two, move an armrest or change the cover, for example.

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Storage or nest tables

If space is tight, pieces that do double duty, such as a coffee table with shelves or a storage basket, are a boon. They provide the perfect spot to store cushions, magazines and kids’ toys. Choosing a design on castors means you can also move it to different spots in a flash.

A nest of coffee tables is also a great option for a small space. It offers endless possibilities – pull the trio apart and use as separate side tables when you have friends over for drinks, or place them side-by-side to create one long coffee table for takeaway pizza night.

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Furniture with concealed storage
Ottomans are an incredibly useful piece of furniture for any living room – they can act as seating, footstools or even a makeshift table to pop a book or magazine on. Select one with hidden storage inside, and it will provide you with a handy extra spot to store blankets, throws and the kids’ play things.
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What are the most useful features to look for in a multi-functional piece?

  • Customisable: You should be able to personalise it to suit your style and living needs.
  • Neutral colours: Shades of grey, taupe and stone will co-ordinate with most colour palettes, and can easily be updated seasonally with the addition of pattered and coloured cushions and throws.
  • Flexibility: Look for features such as removable covers and castors that make it easy to move pieces around or switch up the look of your space.
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Zone smart
It’s not just furniture that’s gone multi-functional, it’s rooms too. With many of us moving to smaller homes and open-plan living increasingly the norm, the number of activities that happen in each room has increased. Once upon a time, our living rooms were used for socialising or watching television, but today you might eat dinner there, play games, listen to music, fold laundry and even exercise.

To get the best from a multi-functional room, position furniture to create zones for different activities, such as dining, socialising, work and exercise. Be led by the space and your lifestyle needs, and not by convention. If it works better in your space to have a pair of modular sofas positioned back-to-back or side-by-side rather than a traditional sofa set-up, go for it.

When positioning furniture, factor in foot traffic too. There should be enough room to move through the room comfortably.

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Image: Ikea
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20 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Passionate about technology? A home-automation system is likely to be on your wish list – here’s what you need to know

In this practical series, we ask experts to answer your burning home and design questions. A premium home-automation system – also known as a smart-home system – allows you to control multiple functions in the home, such as lighting, heating and cooling, audio, security, door locks and even kitchen appliances – from a single device, be it a touch-screen remote control or an app on your phone or tablet, from wherever you are in the world.

Tempted? Here, Trevor Rooney, director of residential markets at Crestron, reveals everything you need to know about setting up a home-automation system in your own abode.

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Home automation is all about convenience. Having the ability to control core elements in your home remotely, such as lighting, heating, entertainment and front-door access, can save time and make life run more smoothly.

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Image: Crestron

What sort of things can a home-automation system do? 

  • Give you remote access to door locks so you can control who has access to your home when you’re not there.
  • Switch lights on and off remotely or connect them to a timer or sensors, so they go on automatically (also great for security when you’re not home).
  • Control heating or cooling so you can come home to a warm interior in winter or a cool one in summer.
  • Give you remote access to alarms and surveillance systems; you will be notified if anyone approaches your home and can see who is at your front door. You can also switch surveillance on and off remotely.
  • Change the television channel or switch the set on or off via voice command.
  • Set your coffee machine to turn on automatically in the morning (it will even brew you a cup before you get out of bed).
  • Automate your pool and pond cleaning, with the ability to adjust settings from your smart device while you’re not at home.

 

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For even greater convenience, you can pre-determine the settings on your automated system for lighting, heating and entertainment to suit different situations. For example, you could set the system to control various elements simultaneously, so that when you go to bed it turns off all the inside lights, switches on the security camera at the front door, adjusts the kids’ night lights, and switches off the heater – all with one swipe of your smart-screen remote or an app on your phone.

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Can automation cut my energy bills? 
Absolutely. Here’s how:

  • Accidentally left your lights on when you left the house? With home automation, you can switch lights off from wherever you are.
  • Connecting blinds to a sensor-controlled system means they’ll close automatically when the temperature reaches a certain point, keeping your home cooler and reducing air-conditioning costs. You can also keep your home naturally cooler by setting up an automated shading system for overhead or exterior window shades.
  • No more overheating your home unnecessarily; by installing a smart thermostat, your heating will switch off automatically when the temperature reaches a certain level.

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How is a home-automation system different to a smart-home assistant?

Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are great for convenience. They can perform simple tasks by using voice recognition, such as checking the weather, reading out the day’s headlines or performing Google searches.

A premium home-automation system is far more sophisticated. It allows you to automate several different devices through one simple-to-use interface or an app on your phone. So, instead of having five different remote controls to manage your various devices, you just have the one platform, which can be controlled by voice or touch.

6Image: Crestron

How does voice control work? 
Systems such as those at Crestron can be connected to Amazon Echo’s Alexa Voice Service to enable voice control. This allows you to give voice commands, such as ‘Alexa, turn off the kitchen lights’ or ‘Alexa, raise the temperature in the family room by five degrees.’

You can also control multiple systems simultaneously through a number of preset scenes. For example, in the morning you could say ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Morning Theme,’ and the blinds will slowly open, the lights will switch on and a warm shower will start running in the bathroom. Or, if you want to set the mood for an intimate dinner party, simply say, ‘Alexa, tell Crestron to activate Intimate Dinner.’ The dining room lights will dim, the window coverings will adjust and soothing music will play from your speakers.

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What should I expect to pay?
This depends on the level of automation you want. Crestron’s new PYNG 2.0 platform (available later this year), which controls audio/visual functions, such as the television, Foxtel, Apple TV and Sonos, starts from around $3,500. This would include the processor and a touch-screen remote control. Incorporating lighting and shading solutions into a home-automation system would see this cost rise to around $10,000, depending on the size of the space.

A fully connected smart-home system starts from around $25,000, depending on the size of the property.

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Can I retrofit an automated system? 

It’s best incorporated during the building phase. However, it’s certainly possible to install after the build.

 

 

 

 

 

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12 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

With Australia’s major supermarkets banning the plastic bag it’s a good time to get on board #PlasticFreeJuly.

Quirky, funky, old-fashioned and plastic-free. These are the products that can help you banish plastic from your home.

The initiative, whereby people pledge to reduce plastic from their lives for a month, is a great opportunity to learn about plastic-free eco alternatives beyond the tote bag.

Founder of the Plastic Free July Foundation, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, says while plastic is an extremely useful material the fact it’s designed to last forever causes problems for the environment.

One of the biggest impacts is, of course, on wildlife. But plastic is a huge problem for humans too. Plastic bags contain a cocktail of chemicals that leach into the environment and increase up the food chain. “The UN Environment said it’s one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” Prince-Ruiz says.

Images of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch might suggest it’s a problem happening elsewhere. “CSIRO research found plastic in every beach in Australia,” Prince-Ruiz says. “And because we have high concentrations of wildlife, we’re the area in the world where seabirds are most at risk.”

Only 9 per cent of all plastic we’ve made on our planet is recycled, according to Prince-Ruiz. “This is a problem we can’t recycle our way out of. We need to rethink our use of this material.”

She suggests eliminating all single-use throwaway plastic such as plastic lollypop sticks, bottle caps, drink bottles and bags. “These are what we’re finding in our environment. It’s not about being perfect, or a competition. It’s about saying ‘hey, I’m going to try’.”

Frustration with sourcing plastic-free products led Sydney-based Lottie Dalziel to found an online marketplace where consumers can purchase plastic-free products all in one place. Launched in March, banish offers more than 460 products across 22 eco-friendly and cruelty-free brands, and is part of a growing movement to rein in the problem of plastic waste.

From the quirky and old-fashioned, to the funky and plain brilliant, here’s a glance at what’s out there to help you replace plastic in the home in July and beyond.

Kitchen

Beeswax wraps

Use to replace cling wrap. “It comes in funky colours and is a piece of fabric coated in beeswax,” Dalziel says. “Using the heat in your hand, it moulds. You just unwrap and rinse in cold water and use again.”

Beeswax wraps can replace cling wrap. Photo: Beeutiful.com.au

Lunch skins

The lightweight fabric bags come with a velcro closure and replace plastic lunch and snack bags.

Reusable produce bags

“Take these shopping with you and put your fresh produce into them, Dalziel says. “Keep them in their bags and it helps separate them in your crisper.”

Knitted and fabric cleaning cloths

Washable and re-usable, these replace your Wettex or Chux.

Coconut fibre scourers

A trendy accompaniment to your au naturel wooden chopping board.

Reusable straws

Choose from bamboo or stainless steel options.

Reusable bamboo straws. Photo: Banish.com.au

Tea strainers

Combine the old-fashioned metal tea strainer with loose-leaf teas to banish plastic from your morning cuppa.

Bamboo takeaway cutlery

Chuck these in your lunchbox or buy in bulk for parties instead of the plastic variety.

Dishwashing tablets

Add a tablet to your dishwasher compartment and use as normal. Lil Bit sells a Cajeput-scented, Himalayan salt tablet.

Dust brush

Eco-Max offer a handmade and biodegradable recycled timber and coconut fibre dust brush.

Himalayan salt dishwashing tablets. Photo: Lil’ Bit

Bathroom & personal hygiene

Shampoo and conditioner bars

Handmade, full of yummy ingredients and sure to start a trend. Get them at Lush and Beauty and the Bees.

Deodorant paste

Scent up with this option from Good & Clean. A portion of profits goes to your conservation project of choice.

Bamboo toothbrushes

“Cut off the bristles and the bamboo is completely biodegradable,” Dalziel says.

Dental lace

Made from Mulberry silk and mint-flavoured, it comes in it’s own refillable glass and stainless steel container. Get it at Ecostainable.

Metal razors

Built to last, you probably have one in your cabinet. For something new and nifty try the Parker Safety Razor.

100% natural deodorant paste. Photo: Good & Clean

Menstrual cups

Made with soft, medical-grade silicon, menstrual cups are used like tampons. Find them at Banish and other stockists.

Biodegradable cotton buds

Go Bamboo sell biodegradable bamboo cotton buds.

Tooth and gum powder

Natural ingredients mean this is also better for you. Buy it online at Banish.

Laundry

Soap nuts/soap berries

The saponin-rich shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree nut produce foam when mixed with water. “Add about seven nuts to your washing load in a bag,” Dalziel says. (Micro-plastics in traditional detergents end up in the world’s waterways).

Toilet

Toilet bombs

Pop one in the toilet for five minutes, scrub and flush away. Get them at Lil Bit.

Waste

Biodegradable trash bags

Hurrah. These do exist! Find them online at Biotuff and Flora & Fauna.

Biodegradable cotton buds. Photo: Shop Naturally

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09 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


via reiwa.com.au

Are you looking to jazz up your home but don’t have the available funds? Maybe you are planning to sell, or just want to give it a facelift?

Either way you don’t need to spend an arm or a leg, you just need a little bit of inspiration.

Here are five ways you can give your home the ultimate make-over without breaking the bank.

1. Clean out/de-clutter your home

Start by a good old clean out – this you can do for free. Living in a messy, cluttered house will have you feeling anxious and itching for a change of atmosphere, plus it won’t make a good first impression on visitors.

rid of junk you don’t need, wash the walls, doorways and clean all the dust and cob-webs! This will have an immediate effect on the oxygen circulation of the house – breathing in fresh air is the start to feeling good in your home.

2. Paint the walls

Whether you want to change the colour all together or just want to lift the look,the most effective way to rejuvenate your home is to apply a fresh coat of paint.

Light to neutral colours gives you more flexibility with furniture and décor, and creates the illusion of space. Plus, painting your home is relatively cheap, unless you want to seek a professional painter to do the job.

While you have the paint out, it is also a good idea to re-paint the doors, door frames, skirtings and ceilings in simple white, to freshen up the aesthetic of your house.

For some inspo, find out how to select the right paint colour for your home.

3. Re-decorate

It is ridiculously affordable to decorate your home these days, you just need to trigger your creative side.

Adding plants and some pottery to your home is a great way to set the mood and can be very affordable and easily maintained with a little bit of TLC. Adding a splash of greenery to your space is not only aesthetically appealing, but pot plants also help purify the air, just make sure you buy plants suitable for indoors.

Candles, incense and infusers also have dual purpose when it comes to décor. They look good, and smell good, once again adding that infused delicious aroma to your home.

When it comes to the bedroom and living rooms, pillows, throws and new linen is something that will always catch the eye. What better feeling is there than purchasing fresh new bedding? Try and coordinate this with whatever colour you paint the walls or keep the same colours but you can mix up the styles.

Remember, simple can sometimes mean more, so try keep all decorations minimal but effective.

4. Rearrange furniture

If you already love your furniture but still feel sick of it, a simple re-organise of the couches, TVs beds, tables etc can make you feel like you’re in a whole new house.

Making different uses out of the things you already have in your home will save you money. You think you might be sick of an item, but put it somewhere else and you might fall in love with it all over again.

5. Update light fittings

Lighting is the key to making any home stand out, and you would be surprised what a simple swap of the light fittings will do.

If you’re on a budget consider going for one or two designer light fittings in the main living areas, then cheaper ones for the other rooms.

While we are on the topic of lighting, you can also replace the light switch covers which won’t cost you a lot at all. Swap out those old fashioned, plain switch covers for silver, stainless steel or modern white covers.

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06 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


popsugar.com.au

Decorating Ideas For Rentals

Image Source: A House in the Hills

If there are rules that you as a renter must follow, make it these 10 commandments. Because, while paying your rent on time is important, so too is making sure your place is personalised and stylish. Working within the boundaries of your landlord, it’s little things like a new light fixture that will make an impact without costing a lot of time or money. And, the best part about this entire list is that you’ll leave with your security deposit intact once it’s time to move up and on.

  1. Thou Shalt Add StorageThou Shalt Add Storage

    Image Source: Love Grows Wild

     

    Let’s get real, custom cabinetry is not an option if you don’t own the place. Since rentals usually lack storage, add your own with affordable Ikea bookcases, simple shelves, or these organising solutions.

  2. Thou Shalt Change the HardwareThou Shalt Change the Hardware
    Image Source: A Beautiful Mess

    Rental hardware is basic . . . your style, not so much. Switching out cabinet pulls and bathroom hardware will make a huge difference. Just remember to keep the original pieces to swap back in before moving out.

  3. Thou Shalt Ditch Vertical BlindsThou Shalt Ditch Vertical Blinds

    Image Source: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

    They are the ultimate decorating sin! To prevent your space from looking like a hospital room, take them down or hide them under curtains. Again, don’t toss — they’re essential if you want your security deposit back.

  4. Thou Shalt Line CabinetsThou Shalt Line Cabinets

    Image Source: Sarah Hearts

     

    This might seem trivial and a bit annoying, but lining your cabinets is a must. Not only will it make your kitchen look clean, but also it will mask worn and grungy cabinets without having to paint. Adhesive liner works, but a softer grip liner is better because it’s easy to install; it will also prevent glassware from chipping.

  5. Thou Shalt Accessorise Like CrazyThou Shalt Accessorise Like Crazy

    Image Source: A Beautiful Mess

     

    It’s true, and that’s the only way you’re going to get a truly personal space. Go to town with throws, pillows, and accents that reflect your style.

  6. Thou Shalt Avoid WallpaperThou Shalt Avoid Wallpaper

    Image Source: Hello Lidy

     

    Well, in most cases. Sure it’s stylish, but in all honestly, wallpaper is really inconvenient to remove, especially if you won’t be in your place for long. If you love the patterned look, consider the removable wallpaper seen in this studio or these alternative wallpaper ideas.

  7. Thou Shalt Hang ArtThou Shalt Hang Art

    Image Source: Love Grows Wild

    No excuses — get your art on the walls! Patching up a tiny hole come move-out day is nothing compared to the impact it will make on your space. No need to create a full-blown gallery wall either. Try hanging one statement piece and resting photos on a mantel or shelf, similar to this home.

  8. Thou Shalt Invest in RugsThou Shalt Invest in Rugs

    Image Source: Love Grows Wild

     

    Especially if your place has carpet! Rugs are an easy way to cover up that not-so-cute carpet and can be packed up with you come your next move. Rugs are also a necessity to keep noise down, especially in older apartments with wood floors.

  9. Thou Shalt Emphasise LightingThou Shalt Emphasise Lighting

    Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

    This is another trick that many renters often overlook. Take it from HGTV stars Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri who suggest you use lighting to set the tone and make an impact in a rental. Get creative with floor and table lamps that can easily be moved from place to place.

  10. Thou Shalt Make the Most of PlantsThou Shalt Make the Most of Plants

    Image Source: The Makerista

     

    No yard? No problem. Pots are a great way to achieve the bohemian jungalow look or even have your own urban garden. The best part is you won’t have to fret about leaving any of them behind.

 

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02 July 2018
By portermathewsblog


 

via houzz.com.au

An interior designer reveals the essential rules for achieving a perfectly balanced interior.

Have you ever walked into a room and it just felt right, but you couldn’t put your finger on exactly why? Chances are that proportion was a key factor – whoever designed the room would have paid careful attention to getting the size and scale of the furniture and accessories just right for the space.

We talked to Rohan Smith, senior interior designer at Coco Republic Interior Design, to find out how you can create beautifully proportioned rooms in your own home.

1 Why does proportion matter? 
Because furnishing a room is more involved than simply placing a few pieces of furniture in a space – some fundamental rules of design need to be considered, one of the most important being proportion. You need to consider not only the proportional relationship between the pieces themselves, but to the space that contains them.

A room looks and feels right when the proportions are good, and there’s neither too little nor too much furniture. If furniture is too big, the flow of the room can feel awkward. If it’s too small, the space won’t feel cosy or inviting.

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What are the most common mistakes people make? 

Having all the furniture and furnishings in a room the same height, colour and style. The room ends up looking dull and static. This is easily rectified. A tall floor lamp, for example, can add some height to a corner, while providing a lovely ambient light source. A tall cabinet or bookcase can add visual interest as well as handy storage.

 

 

 

 

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How do you assess proportion? 
One of the easiest ways to assess whether a sofa, dining table or bed will suit the size of your room is to map it out with newspaper and lay it on the floor. This will give you a sense of how much floor space the piece will take up. Living with this template for a few days will give you a definite feel for how it will be to live with the piece.

A more technical method would be to use the Houzz Sketch tool or an app such as Magicplan. You simply take photos on your smartphone, which the app then translates into a plan of the space. You can then add objects, annotations and attributes to create a complete plan of your room.

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What proportions do you need to consider for a living room?
Living rooms can be tricky to get right, especially in open-plan spaces.

If the room is your main television viewing space, then you’ll need to factor in technology as well as furniture. Is the TV too big for the room? Is the entertainment unit balanced with the size of the TV, and the room as a whole? A common mistake is to have a small entertainment unit with a large TV – it should be the other way around. Also, consider whether the sofa is the correct distance from the TV for viewing comfort. It should be about 2.5 times the screen width in distance away, and no more than 5 metres. The centre of the TV should be about 1 to 1.1 metres from the floor.

A large sofa and a small rug also look unbalanced.

For living rooms, the furniture arrangement should be conducive to conversation. Two sofas facing each other or a U-shaped arrangement are ideal. The coffee table should also be the right height for the sofa. You should be easily able reach the coffee table from a seated position so you can rest a cup of tea or a glass of wine.

5
What about a bedroom? 

One of the main considerations in the bedroom is the size of the bedside table in proportion to the bed. For a king-size bed, go for a large-scale beside table of about 70-90 centimetres in width, depending on the size of your bedroom. For a queen-size bed, a bedside table of around 50-60 centimetres is ideal.

Bedside lamps should also sit proportionally with the bedside table and bedhead. Again, for a king-size bed, a larger lamp will work best.

 

6

Are there any golden rules for hanging pendant lamps? 
When pendant lamps are hung too high or low, they can look completely out of place in a room. You need to consider the size and style of the pendant, the ceiling height, and the space in which they will be hung.

Despite these variables, there are still a few hard-and-fast rules that can help when hanging pendants. For kitchen benches, hang lights around 70-80 centimetres above benchtops. This height allows the pendants to provide a useful light source for working, without intruding on the line of sight from the kitchen to the adjoining living or dining room.

For your dining table, sit pendants at 75 centimetres above table height to create an intimate and cosy dining spaceFor entries and hallways where people will be walking beneath the pendant lights, space allowing, the ideal hanging height is 240 centimetres from floor level.

7
What about hanging art?

Choosing artwork that is the wrong scale for a room is a common mistake, with most people erring on the small size. Checking to see whether a gallery will allow you to bring a piece home on approval is the best way around this. If you fall in a love with a piece that is too small for your room, have it re-framed with a larger mount.

Another common mistake is to hang artwork too high on the wall. If a piece is hung too high it will have no connection to the furniture below it, and if it’s above eye level it can ruin the look of a room.

Ideally, artwork should be hung so that the centre of the piece is at average eye level or about 150 centimetres from the ground. In a dining room you might want to hang the pieces slightly lower to factor in the seated viewing height.

Also remember that having some negative space is important. Leaving some walls bare not only puts more significance on the pieces you’ve hung, but creates a calmer feel in the room.

8
And rugs? 

Rugs are a great way to bring a furniture grouping together. They provide a border for furniture to sit on and can help you create individual dining and living zones in an open-plan room where furniture has a tendency to ‘float’. Ideally rugs should sit under the front legs of the sofa and occasional chairs – this helps visually link the pieces together.

 

 

 

 

 

9
What about the proportions for colour in a room? 

When making your selection, consider the 60-30-10 rule, which is a timeless decorating principle that can help you create a balanced colour scheme. Your 60 per cent is the main colour for a room, which anchors a space and provides a backdrop for the other colours. In a living room this would be walls, sofas and rugs.

Your 30 per cent is the secondary colour, which would encompass occasional chairs, bedlinen, window furnishings and occasional furniture. It should support the main colour, while being different enough to set it apart and give the room interest.

The final 10 per cent is your accent colour. For a living room, this would include scatter cushions, decorative accessories and artwork. For a bedroom, think throw pillows and artwork.

10

Do the rules of proportion apply to the little details too? 
Keeping an eye on the proportion of decorative accessories is another important consideration. One large bowl on a dining table might be all you need in that space to create drama. Conversely, combining small objects with other similar objects can create just as much impact. A collection of ceramic pots makes one big statement, whereas a few pots scattered about will look disconnected and out of proportion.

Lamps should not overshadow the table on which they are placed. A large lamp on a slender table, for example, would appear top heavy. Too much variety of scale can cause visual chaos in a focused area, such as a bookshelf. Instead, group items of similar type and scale together, and line up like-sized books for a balanced look.

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22 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Best Home Organising Products

If searching for your keys is a part of your morning ritual, it’s time to break the cycle. Being organised is more than just a personality trait, it’s a lifestyle decision that’s easier to achieve if you stock your home with the right tools. These 15 clutter-busting essentials will make your days feel longer and less stressful. Cheers to that!


Idea:
 If you don’t want to hang a key hook, do yourself a favour and get a key catchall. Having a designated place to place your keys when you walk through the door will save you from the “running late” syndrome. Don’t be that person.

Get it: Making your own leather catchall is easier than you’d think. Follow this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess to DIY your own

  • Shelf Dividers

Shelf DividersImage Source: Bahar Yurukoglu for Domino

Idea: You know how it goes . . . You take the time to meticulously fold sheets and towels, and by the end of week, it looks like a bomb exploded in your linen closet. Here’s where clear shelf dividers come in. They’ll keep your stacks of linens in order without creating an eyesore.

Get it: Stock up on these acrylic shelf dividers to tame your most unruly closet.

 

Idea: Put your pantry on display by keeping dried goods and other treats in lidded glass jars.

Get it: You can get her kitchen jars at Ikea.

Idea: If you’ve seen these used to hang pots and pans, you’ll be happy to know that the idea translates for any room in the house. We love how Sugar + Cloth blogger Ashley Rose used one for above-the-bed storage and decor.

 

  • Drawer Organisers

Drawer OrganisersImage Source: Paul Costello for Domino

Idea: If shuffling through a drawer to find a tube of lipstick gives you anxiety, you’ll be amazed by the efficiency that a simple drawer organiser can offer.

 

Idea: Forget the space-saving allure of forgoing a knife block — we’re crazy about the fact that you can see the shapes and sizes of your most utilised knives while keeping them in reach.

 

Idea: It’s amazing how quickly a tray can corral clutter. Bonus points for turning the top of your toilet into an extension of your medicine cabinet (with the addition of a slim bud vase and framed picture, of course).

 

  • Labelled Boxes

Labelled BoxesImage Source: Cahan Eric For Domino

Idea: Labelled boxes are a great way to organise the things you want out of sight.

 

Idea: Sure, you can use them to hang a curtain, but they work wonders in making the most out of shelves. Follow Martha Stewart’s lead, and use them to organise kitchen items like pot and pan lids, trays, and cutting boards.

 

  • Wall-Mounted Drawers

Wall-Mounted DrawersImage Source: Lesley A. Unruh for Domino

Idea: Whether you need more storage space for clothes or craft supplies, these wall-mounted mesh drawers allow you to customize your storage and easily see what you’re storing.

 

  • Makeup Brush Cups

    Makeup Brush Cups

Idea: Instead of cramming makeup brushes into a messy drawer or makeup bag, keep them within easy reach in a stylish cup.

 

Idea: Whether it’s a drawer filled with neat rows of spices or a creative DIY that frees cabinet space, every organized cook seems to have their spice collection under control.

Get it: A Beautiful Mess has an easy-to-follow tutorial for making these nifty magnetic spice jars.

 

  • Clever Toilet Paper Storage

Clever Toilet Paper Storage

Idea: Running out of it when you need it is the worst, but stacking it in plain sight can cramp your bathroom’s style. Kill two birds with one stone by turning a basket into a toilet paper organiser and dispenser.

  • Stainless Steel Shelving

Stainless Steel ShelvingImage Source: Monica Wang for The Everygirl

Idea: A lack of cabinet space doesn’t have to stop you from owning bulky appliances like KitchenAid mixers and high-powered blenders. Some of the cutest rentals we’ve seen use stainless steel shelves for stylishly organization, making it easy to keep everything within sight. The best part? You can extend them or shorten them for a customized height.

Get it: This shelving unit is a great starter package.

 

  • Ceramic Egg Racks

    Ceramic Egg RacksIdea: While they’re intended for eggs, that doesn’t mean they can’t work for another use. Use the shallow cups to organize rings and earrings.

    Get it: This ceramic egg crate is a solid buy.

    Source: Kelsey Foster via Style Me Pretty Living

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14 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

If you’ve ever bought a heating appliance only to find it woefully inadequate for the task at hand, you need Christian Hoerning’s advice. A technical expert at EECA Energywise, he tells us how to stay toasty without getting burned by the end-of-month bill:

For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than a small electric heater can provide.

Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally.

Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace.Hang on the wall electric fires can be two or three sided and have floating shelves such as those in the Skope Trento Suite from The Fireplace. Photo: The Fireplace

Avoid unflued gas heaters (either portable or with pipes fixed to the walls) that release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires that are draughty and inefficient.

Match the size of your heater to the space. An oversized or undersized heater won’t work effectively, and can cost more to run.

To minimise the environmental impacts, choose a heating option that uses renewable energy, like wood, wood pellets or electricity (which is about 80 per cent renewable on average).

An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling.An Escea outdoor cooking fire completes this outdoor kitchen by Dravitzki Brown Architecture, it comes with an adjustable cooking plate for flame grilling. Photo: Escea

Choose the most efficient model for the job, and use and maintain your heater properly – for example, have heat pumps serviced and regularly clean the filters.

Fireplace: The expert advice

One reason wood fires have fallen somewhat out of favour is increasing clean air regulations in our cities. But wood is a renewable resource – and a real wood fire has romance on its side. So if you’re a sucker for the crackle and the ritual of stoking the logs, look for one that is clean air approved for urban areas.

“For large, open-plan rooms you can’t go past double-sided fireplaces as room dividers. They visually connect two spaces, and add intimate zones to the setting.” – Alex Hodge, Escea.

Escea's double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture.Escea’s double-sided DX1500 gas fireplace adds its magic to both the kitchen and living space of this home, designed by Product X Architecture. Photo: Escea

“Electric fireplaces, using sophisticated LED technology that mimics flames with different effects and colours, are no longer confined to in-wall options. Products such as the Gazco Skope Outset fires can be installed as a two- or three-sided fire so they make a stunning visual centrepiece.” – Geoff Dunn, The Fireplace

“A fireplace in the bedroom is the ultimate luxury, but definitely a better option with gas due to its on/off button convenience and controllable temperature. No one likes to sleep in a room that’s too hot. Escea’s multiroom DX Series has the ability to duct heat into different rooms – a good option for bedrooms as 90 per cent of the heat is ducted, not radiant. – Alex Hodge, Escea

“A fireplace in an outdoor room will add value to your home and extend your living space. Fireplaces provide a central social hub and make alfresco dining a lot more inviting. Escea’s EF5000 outdoor gas fireplace is an easy-to-install option that doesn’t need a flue, so it’s great for balconies and roof gardens that have views you don’t want to obscure.” – Malcolm Burton, Stoke Fireplace Studio

If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you'll need one that's clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding.If you love the authenticity of wood fireplaces but live in the city, you’ll need one that’s clean air approved. Stovax Studio wood fires can be in-built or freestanding. Photo: The Fireplace

Other ways to heat

Sarah Moore from Rinnai says whole home heating (or central heating) is can be unusual, as most of us are used to spot heating just the living area. “Whole home heating allows you to have a warm, comfortable dry house and we have seen strong growth in this space over the last few years. We expect this trend to continue as more people understand the benefits of heating their whole home.”

Fan heaters are ideal for small spaces such as home offices or powder rooms that measure around 15sqm. Installed in a bathroom, they also reduce steam and should be turned on before you take a shower.

Wall mounted and perfectly quiet, convection panel heaters are a good choice for hallways and bedrooms. Choose one with a timer and an accurate digital thermostat.

Radiant heaters are for personal warmth; if you work from home in an open-plan space you could possibly do with one in the depths of winter but they will make no difference to the ambient temperature of the room.

Don’t forget to move the heat outdoors. A 2400W electric outdoor patio heater, for instance, provides heat for areas up to 10m away.

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01 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


popsugar.com.au

How to Get Ready For a PartyImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

 

If the idea of getting your home company-ready is keeping you from hosting a dinner party or even your out-of-town in-laws, we can help. Sure, you could spend all day cleaning and decorating in anticipation, but who has the time? Here are the only things you really need to do before your guests arrive. Don’t worry — they are nothing but easy.

 

The Scent of Your Home

The Scent of Your HomeImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Brinton Parker

Decor isn’t the first thing guests
notice when they walk through your door — it’s the smell. Whether you’re
concerned about the fish you cooked the night before or your dog skipping a
bath — or worse, the scents you’ve become nose-blind to — put your
mind at ease by lighting a candle or simmering a small pot of citrus peels and
cinnamon sticks a half hour before guests arrive. We can’t get enough of these yummy-smelling candles.

A Well-Stocked Bar

A Well-Stocked BarImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

After greeting guests, the first
thing that you will want to do is offer them a drink. You don’t need to be full
service, but make sure you have the home bar basics covered.

 

Fresh Flowers

Fresh FlowersImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich

Flowers are the only decoration a
house really ever needs, no matter the occasion (although we feel pretty
strongly about candles too!). To get the most bang out of your buck, buy potted
flowers, like orchids. They may look delicate, but with proper care, they
will last for a month or longer.

 

The Lack of Clutter

The Lack of ClutterImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

Even if you don’t have time to do a
deep cleaning, you can still organise your clutter. Get a tray or a set of
lidded boxes for each room and corral all the odds and ends — remotes,
keys, mail — in one place. Guests will feel relaxed in a space that
appears organised, even if it is just for show!

 

A Tidy Bathroom

A Tidy BathroomImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Grace Hitchcock

Before guests arrive, make sure your
bathroom has clean hand towels and enough toilet paper. Extra points for wiping
down surfaces and lighting a candle

 

An Organised Entryway

An Organised Entryway
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

Not only is it the first place and
last place that your guests will see, your entryway is also where they will be
dropping their coats and bags. Depending on how much room you have, add a coat
rack, umbrella stand, and a place to sit while taking shoes on or off.

 

 

 

 

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01 June 2018
By portermathewsblog


popsugar.com.au

You’ve worked hard to make your bedroom a welcoming sanctuary, but beneath its pretty facade, there could be serious health hazards lurking. Read on to uncover the bedroom dangers that could be harming you while you sleep and learn what you can do about them.

Air Quality

  • Open Windows

Let your bedroom air out by opening the windows as weather permits each day. It will refresh the space and void it of noxious gasses that can build up indoors over time.

  • House Plants

Not only will a potted plant or two beautify your bedroom, but they will also release oxygen and help filter out harmful compounds emitted by everyday cleaners, detergents, and fragrances. Studies show that these 10 houseplants can even improve your health.

  • Purify

A quiet air filterer is an efficient way to purify your bedroom of dangerous pollutants and agitating allergens like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.

Cleanliness

  • Clean and Dust

Even with an air filter, it’s important to keep dirt and dust mites at bay by cleaning regularly. Pay special attention to areas that tend to accumulate them the most, including the floor, baseboards, windowsills, and upholstery. Even “clean” people often forget to wash these eight things.

  • Wash Bedding

The amount of dead skin, grime, and dust mites that collect on your bedding is rather horrifying and can cause problems from asthma to acne. The good news is it’s easy to get rid of by cleaning your sheets, duvet, and pillowcases every 1-2 weeks. Case in point? This horrific study reveals the horrific result of not washing your pillows for just two years.

  • Air Out Bed

Keep moisture from getting stuck in your bedding and mattress and causing problems by airing it out briefly before you make the bed in the morning. Pull back the sheets, fluff out the pillows, and give everything a few minutes to dry before they’re closed back up for the day.

Hidden Toxins

  • Chemical-Free Pillow

Bad news for memory foam pillow-lovers. These ergonomic head rests often outgas dangerous Volotile Organic Compounds or VOC’s that can cause headaches, nausea, and eye irritation. You don’t want your face, mouth, or nose anywhere near them. Swap them for pillows filled with organic materials, like wool or feathers, or at least a safer foam like a natural latex foam.

  • Flame Retardant-Free Mattress

Considering how much time you spend in close proximity with your mattress each day, it’s a no-brainer to make it a safe one. While many products, including mattresses, were once doused in flame-retardant chemicals, it’s come to light that these chemicals are doing much more harm than good. They’ve been linked to types of cancer, birth defects, and fertility issues. Scary stuff, and reason to seek out an organic, chemical-free mattress.

  • Move Office Equipment

In small apartment or studio, space is at a premium and spaces may have to do double duty – but do your best to keep office equipment away from your bed, especially if it’s running all the time. Research has shown that laser printers emit tiny particles into the air that may be dangerous.

 

 

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21 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

Decorating Ideas For Small HomesImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

An old home with a lack of square metres might feel limiting to some, but the 83-square-metre, 1900s-era Sunset Smart Cottage proves any space can be transformed with strategic decorating and innovative home gadgets. Even the interior design concept for the cottage involved an emerging tech trend: virtual interior design services. Sunset tapped designers Jessica McCarthy and Emily Gaydon from Decorist, a virtual decorating service that offers a fresh approach to the design and remodelling process. “Online services such as Decorist are often budget friendly and more accessible to the masses. We liked the idea that users can get matched up with designers based on their personal style and goals and can work through the process over email, FaceTime, and even texts,” says Sunset home editor Chantal Lamers.

So what exactly was the design strategy behind this tiny tech oasis? POPSUGAR caught up with Decorist designer Jessica McCarthy to get her insights on the smartest solutions for living large in a small home. Read on to discover the optical illusions and space-planning secrets she used in every room!

  1. A Bold First ImpressionA Bold First Impression

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Even the tiniest cottage can have major curb appeal. Jessica suggests painting your front door in a bold hue and replacing the exterior hardware. The cost-effective upgrades are details guests will definitely notice. Keep landscaping affordable and low-maintenance by planting drought-friendly shrubs and perennials from the Sunset Western Garden Collection. Top off the look by adding a few potted plants to the porch for an extra touch of greenery.

  2. Layered TexturesLayered Textures

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To combat the claustrophobic feel of a narrow living room, Jessica suggests opting for a neutral colour palette and avoiding bold patterns to make the room feel large and airy. Since colour and pattern take a backseat, you can go wild with texture. Grasscloth wallpaper, leather seating, linen curtains, and a variety of throw pillows give the space a rich, layered feel. To complete the look, add a semi-flushmount instead of a hanging pendant or chandelier to make the ceilings feel even taller and hang curtains as high as possible.


  3. A Discreet Media Station

    A Discreet Media Station
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Take advantage of precious wall space by creating a media station that is discreet and beautiful. Jessica suggests thinking outside of the gallery wall box by incorporating gorgeous baskets instead of framed art to distract from the floating TV screen. Keeping baskets in the same colour family is Jessica’s trick for achieving a clean and uncluttered vibe.

  4. Stylish StorageStylish Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    While Jessica wanted to keep the colour minimal, she used an accent colour throughout the house for fluidity. In this case, a custom-built cabinet in navy ties in with the sofa pillows and kitchen, but it also conceals clutter behind cabinets and displays beautiful objects on shelves.

     

     

  5. A Mini Breakfast Nook

    A Mini Breakfast Nook

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t eat in it. Jessica loves the idea of pushing a narrow console against a wall and adding bar stools for a makeshift dining nook.

  6. Open Shelves
    Open Shelves
    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Eliminating upper cabinets can visually expand a small kitchen. Jessica leveraged the brightening power of counter-to-ceiling white subway tiles paired with white floating shelves for an airy and undeniably stylish effect. If a remodel isn’t in the works, Jessica suggests painting cabinets and installing new hardware for a customised look.

     

  7. Plug-In Sconces
    Plug-In Sconces

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    If spacious nightstands aren’t in the cards, swap in petite side tables and free up table space by installing plug-in sconces that don’t require expensive or permanent electrical work.

     

     

  8. A Calm Colour Palette
    A Calm Colour Palette

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Like the living room, the bedroom also follows suit with a calming colour palette. Jessica chose a single tone and explored a range of shades on the walls, bedding, rug, and accent decor.

  9. Statement Art
    Statement Art

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Small bedrooms don’t necessarily require diminutive art. In fact, Jessica recommends doing the exact opposite by hanging large baskets, textural pieces, vintage finds from travels, and oversize prints to really make a statement.

  10. Well-Utilised CornersWell-Utilised Corners

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    To make a big design impact in a corner of the room, mix pieces with varying textures. Jessica especially likes the way the leather wall object, wicker chair, and fur throw create a cosy effect that feels curated.

  11. A Modern Murphy BedA Modern Murphy Bed

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    A murphy bed can be the perfect solution for children’s rooms that require space to play or a guest room that can double as an office. Jessica likes the idea of hanging something dramatic but soft above the bed, like the woven wall art. The texture adds interest but won’t break or budge when the bed is closed.

  12. Customised Closets

    Customised ClosetsImage Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Katy Milton of California Closets designed the built-in cabinetry to make the most out of a tiny closet. Jessica recommends adding baskets and bins to cleverly conceal clutter while keeping things in order.

     

  13. Multitasking Work Space

    Multitasking Work Space

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Multifunctional pieces like a small desk, which can be used as an extra table surface for displaying decor, doing homework, and being creative, are one of Jessica’s favourite small-room staples. If you have multiple pieces of children’s art or a group of family photos without the space to hang them, consider investing in the Meural. It’s a digital canvas that gives you instant access to over 30,000 works of art, but which also allows you to upload your child’s drawings and rotate between images.

  14. Wall StorageWall Storage

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Jessica believes shelving can double as eye candy when you mix in your favorite artwork and accessories.

     

     

  15. Minimal AccessoriesMinimal Accessories

    Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

    Create the illusion of more square footage by selecting the right colour palette and working in some cosmetic details. Jessica likes to use large mirrors and extra layers of lighting with sconces to make the space appear larger. Keeping the space clutter-free and minimally accessorised is another tricks she recommends for small bathrooms.

  16. Small-Scale Patio Furniture

    Small-Scale Patio Furniture

Image Source: Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing Corp

If you don’t have room for an outdoor sofa or settee, consider using an Adirondack chair with a foot stool that can be moved. Pair it with a small table and you have the basic comforts needed for lounging

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

How to Make Your Home Smell GoodImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

Have you ever come home from a long day of work, stepped through your door, and noticed that your home smells a little musty? Between lingering food smells from the kitchen, damp towels in the bathroom, and other day-to-day activities, there are lots of things that contribute to your home smelling a little less than fresh. It happens to the best of us, but luckily it’s an easy fix! DIY air fresheners, houseplants aplenty, and some essential cleaning tips are some of our favourite ways to get a fresh home that smells amazing.

Burn a Candle

Burn a CandleImage Source: Francois et Moi

Scented candles add a whole lot of cosiness to your room and can make your entire home smell fresh or festive, depending on the scent you choose! Try this DIY soy candle to get a fresh scent while skipping the harsh chemicals.

 

DIY an Essential Oil Diffuser

DIY an Essential Oil DiffuserImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Candles should never be left unattended, so if you want something that you don’t have to pay much attention to, DIY an essential oil diffuser instead. They can make your home smell great for months and you can choose your own scents.

 

Deep-Clean Your Bathroom

Deep-Clean Your BathroomImage Source: Studio McGee

How often do you actually deep-clean your bathroom? You should really try to get behind all those nooks and crannies that you don’t always pay attention to once a week. Without a good, regular deep clean, your bathroom will eventually start to smell.

 

Get an Air Purifier

Get an Air PurifierImage Source: Love Grows Wild

There are lots of things to love about air purifiers, from getting rid of harmful pollutants in your home to making your home less dusty. They also help contribute to a crisp, fresh smell in your home.

 

Make a DIY Air Freshener

Make a DIY Air FreshenerImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

When it’s not really possible to crack a window for fresh air, try a DIY air freshener instead. You can also use them to freshen up fabrics and get rid of musty smells.

 

Bake Some Bread

Bake Some BreadImage Source: Damn Delicious

What can make your home smell better than baking a fresh loaf of bread? There are plenty of simple bread recipes out there, like this no-knead rosemary bread recipe that will instantly make your home smell amazing.

 

Rid Your Kitchen of Grease

Rid Your Kitchen of GreaseImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

If you cook often, grease can really start to build up, even in places you never expected. Citrus-based cleaners work wonders for cleaning up grease on your counters, range hood, microwave, and more, leaving your kitchen smelling fresh.

 

Create Lavender Sachets

Create Lavender Sachets
Image Source: House*Tweaking

These DIY lavender sachets are a great option if you have specific rooms or areas in your home that need freshening up. Just hang one wherever you want your home to smell good!

 

Simmer Your Favourite Scents

Simmer Your Favourite ScentsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

One of the best air fresheners you can make is one on your stove. Combine your favourite scents, like citrus, cinnamon, cloves, or anything else you like, and simmer it on the stove in some water for as long as you like.

 

Use Houseplants

Use HouseplantsImage Source: Sarah Hearts

It’s no secret that houseplants are one of the best natural air purifiers on the market! Many houseplants help to produce more oxygen in your home while ridding the air of toxic chemicals and carbon monoxide, giving your home a fresher scent.

 

Make Dryer Balls

Make Dryer BallsImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography

DIY dryer balls are a great, less toxic alternative to dryer sheets, but you can use them in similar ways. Put them strategically around your home, like in your linen closet or in your drawers, to keep things smelling super fresh!

 

 

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04 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via houzz.com.au

Which trends from the eighties are worth a second chance, and which ones should you forget about?

Thought 1980s interior trends were destined to stay in the past forever? You might be surprised to see how many of the interior fashions of that decade are popping up again in our homes now – albeit in very different ways.

Capture Ditch frills for refined florals
Pattern went to town in the 1980s, and in turn took city dwellers away to the countryside. No bed was complete without a pillow and bedspread adorned with florals – and of course a frilly edge and valance in an accent colour. Alas, the twee pastoral look was sadly chucked out with the chintz in the 1990s to make way for a plainer aesthetic.

But florals are back, and this time the look is more sophisticated. Take this gorgeous sleep space, for example. The pattern has been used sparingly on the bedhead and cushion, and tones with the plain surfaces elsewhere. The effect is pared back, elegant and a far cry from the Little House on the Prairie look of the ’80s.

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Play with pastels
Nothing sums up the ’80s love of pastels more than the dapper outfits adorned by the stars of Miami Vice. Who can forget the lilac and pink t-shirts that Crocket and Tubbs wore under their laid-back cotton suits? And our homes were resplendent in pastel shades too – pale pinks, mauves, aquas, blues and yellows all vied for centre stage in 1980s interiors.

We’re loving pastels again, however, with aqua, peach and dusty pink seeing a recent revival. Contemporary pastels are muted and look great with soft shades of grey, while peach works well with copper accessories. The key is to choose just one pastel shade and tone it with more neutral hues, rather than going for an ’80s-style pastel extravaganza.

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Go for a country kitchen – just not in orange
While 1980s florals aimed for a rustic ambience, so too did many of the decade’s kitchens. The farmhouse kitchen was a big look in the ’80s. Cook spaces packed out with wall-to-wall pine cabinets might look cosy, but the orange shade of wood could also put you off your microwave dinner.

We still love our country kitchens, but the look is completely different, mainly because of the paler, more stylish oak we opt for in favour of varnished pine. We can also experiment with other surfaces, mixing and matching for a more interesting look. The kitchen here has all the elements of a rustic design, but it has been given a twist. Wood is teamed with painted surfaces, while a concrete work surface adds an industrial edge.

 

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04 May 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

How to Decorate With ColourstrologyImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

 

When it comes to astrology, let’s admit it: who doesn’t love reading their monthly horoscope? Gaining insight into your future relating to your career, relationships, health, and beyond is not only intriguing and exciting, but often, it can be extremely accurate. So, when we heard about a mashup that existed between astrology, design, and colour theory, we had to know more.

This hybrid idealism, coined “colourstrology” by astrologist and numerologist Michele Bernhardt, is thoroughly mapped out in her book Colourstrology: What Your Birthday Colour Says About You. Michele has created a comprehensive chart of Pantone colours that are assigned to every single day of the year as well as one colour for each month. Using ruling planets, sun signs, and the influence of numbers and other important dates, Michele has determined which colour creates the highest benefit for each.

So locate your birthday month ahead, and read on as we break down your most beneficial colour as well as exciting ways you can incorporate it into your home space for an extra boost of positive energy.

January: Caramel

January: Caramel
Image Source: Anthropologie

Hues of caramel can connect you back to the earth and keep you centered and focused. If you are a January baby, try investing in some terra cotta planters and arrange them on your patio or near your windowsill for the ultimate energy boost. Plus, the dark brown colour of the plant soil will also add to the effect.

 

February: Sheer Lilac

February: Sheer LilacImage Source: West Elm

Sheer lilac can improve friendships and cast a vibe of kindness across you and any of your home visitors. Using lilac-coloured mugs and tableware can be the perfect way to receive the benefits of this colour while you enjoy tea or a meal among pals.

 

March: Fair Aqua

CaptureImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Fair aqua can increase relaxation and encourage meditation, so it is just the right colour to include in your bedroom design scheme. Choose a bedding set with bursts of aqua, or try to find a solid aqua blanket that can come in handy both at bedtime or for any lazy Sunday naps out on the couch.

 

April: Cayenne


Image Source: Williams-Sonoma

Cayenne is a bright and intense colour, so be sure to implement it in a space that definitely requires a burst of vitality. If you have a home gym, try painting one wall this bold colour, or add a vibrant table runner to your kitchen nook for an extra pick-me-up in the mornings while you eat breakfast.

 

May: Bud Green

May: Bud Green
Image Source: Anthropologie

The colour bud green is closely linked to prosperity and success, so if this is your birth colour, be sure to incorporate it into your home office or desk space. Try including a green upholstered side chair to maximise this colour’s benefits or, if you’re cramped with space, a sleek green laptop cover or mouse pad will do just fine.

 

June: Aspen Gold

June: Aspen GoldImage Source: Designer Living

Aspen gold can promote successful communication, so think about which room in your home receives the most conversational activity. Painting the walls of your dining room a nice golden colour could be a good touch, or hanging art with bold yellow features is another way to get the most of June’s assigned colour.

 

July: Coral Blush

July: Coral Blush
Image Source: Wayfair

July’s coral blush colour is extremely calming and promotes love and sensitivity, so adding this colour into areas of your home that you closely share with a partner is key. An area rug in a gorgeous blush hue placed in either your living room or bedroom is a genius way to infuse this colour into your space.

 

August: Sun Orange

August: Sun Orange
Image Source: Wayfair

A happy, bright sun orange is the best way to promote playfulness and fun, so recreational areas in your home are the best place to feature this colour. Placing a bold orange umbrella out on your patio will not only liven up your space, but it will definitely encourage lots and lots of outdoor Summer fun.

 

September: Baja Blue

September: Baja Blue
Image Source: Grandin Road

The distinct baja blue is synonymous with both beauty and attractiveness and is an amazing color to feature right in your entryway. Grab a welcome mat in this hue, or hang a framed print duo near the door to gracefully (and charmingly) welcome your guests.

 

October: Cerulean

October: CeruleanImage Source: PB Teen

Cerulean is another colour heavily linked to relaxation and tranquility, so it is an ideal choice for your master bathroom. Whether you decide to paint the walls in this shade or find a towel set in a similar hue, you are sure to enjoy the calming benefits.

 

November: Claret Red

November: Claret RedImage Source: Wisteria

This deep claret red is strongly linked to the libido and nurtures physical connection, so incorporating it into your bedroom space can do wonders for you and your partner. And since this colour is quite bold, focus on finding some smaller claret red accents, like a ring tray or small sculpture, to place on top of your nightstand or nearby dresser.

 

December: Pagoda Blue

December: Pagoda Blue
Image Source: Anthropologie

Pagodea blue symbolises vision, wisdom, and travels, so it is the perfect colour to feature in a bookcase display or wall collage to promote interest and vision. Try locating blue bookends or decorative coffee table books with bold blue accents or even a hanging picture frame with blue rims for an extra dose of imagination in these spaces.

Loving colourstrology? If you are interested in finding out today’s specific colour, just click here!

 

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23 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via domain.com.au

When was the last time you ventured to the very back of your bathroom cupboards? Here are some tips to declutter and organise this area to save you time (and money).


Photo by Dulux Paint

Whether you’ve been living in your home for 15 years or 15 weeks, a bathroom declutter will save you time getting ready in the morning. Plus, you’ll be surprised by how much accumulated clutter you can easily let go of, giving you much more open space.

1. Empty out

First, grab a rubbish bag for anything that needs to go directly into the bin. Ensure some wipes are nearby to clean the cupboards and drawers down once everything is out. Then create space on the floor or benchtop where you can sort things. I usually use the floor, as you can empty every single item out of the bathroom cupboards, drawers, shelves and off the vanity top and lay them out so you can see what you have.

While the cupboards are empty, take the opportunity to give them a wipe out, as bathroom cupboards often end up covered in product, dust and hair. No doubt you’ll find some lonely hair clips living at the back of the bathroom cupboard too.


Photo by Zeitgeist Photography

2. Dump expired products

Once you have everything on the floor, the next step is to throw out any expired products. In almost every bathroom there are products that have expired (sometimes ones that are decades old) that need to be thrown away. Grab your rubbish bag and you’ll be surprised how many items end up in it.

Remember that you put these products on your skin, hair and nails, and you don’t want to absorb out-of-date chemicals into your body. If you can’t remember when you purchased it, the chances are it’s time to discard.

This is also a good time to dispose of products that you keep thinking you’re going to use, but probably never will. Orange nail polish? Out. Purple eye shadow? Out. Self-waxing kits? Unless you’ve used them in the last six months, say bye bye.


Photo by Capital Closets

3. Categories and containers

My key organisational advice for bathroom cupboards is to use storage baskets inside the cupboards or drawers, so that you both contain categories and are able to access items quickly and easily. The following categories are common to almost every bathroom I’ve ever helped declutter and organise:

  • Make-up
  • Hair products
  • Sunscreen
  • Tanning sprays and lotions
  • Moisturiser
  • Basic first aid
  • Sanitary products
  • Shaving
  • Nail polish
  • Eye care
  • Medications
  • Perfumes

I suggest using baskets with handles to make accessing things at the back of the cupboard easier. This way you don’t have dead space at the back where products fall out of sight and out of mind. Use either a black marker or label maker to label the containers, so you can quickly and easily see what is there. You can then put things away quickly, without having to pull each basket out first.

One added advantage of having products stored like-with-like is that when you want to paint your nails, for example, instead of rummaging through a drawer trying to find the polish, file and top coat you can quickly and easily grab the basket where everything is kept.


Photo by MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.

If you have a large make-up collection, it’s even more helpful to further categorise the contents into different types of products. You might like to have smaller containers, keeping lip colours, eye products, foundations and blushes separate. This will also help you know what products you have, and will save you money. When you run out of one eye liner, you can quickly and easily find another one that you already own instead of buying a replacement.


Photo by Dettling-Architekten

4. Use it

Now that you know what you have, a useful tip is to use the products you already own rather than buying new products. Use the sunscreen you have before you buy any extra. Finish the hand cream you have before you trying a new product. Rediscover lipstick colours you forgot you owned. Your wallet will thank you for it.

You may also rediscover forgotten products that inspire you; think massage oil, a pedicure set, bubble bath or hair treatments. Take some time out one night to pamper yourself a little bit… it can be your reward for doing a great job of decluttering your bathroom cupboards.

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20 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

7992823943c6fa91_IMG_8843
Image Source: Woods & Warner

Sleep is important. Like, really important. It contributes to your physical and mental health, happiness and all-round well-being. Step one of getting it right, is creating a space that relaxes and lulls you to sleep, rather than triggering or reminding you of all your to-dos and stresses.

Before you figure out what should be in your snooze palace (yep, that’s what we’re calling it now), it’s good to know what should definitely not be making an appearance behind the palace doors. So we asked interior designers, a lighting scientist and a sleep brand founder (who knows a thing of two about getting a good night’s sleep) to lend their expertise. Heed their advice and nights of perfect rest are all yours. And yes, you will totally feel like a princess. Princess Snooze.

1. Pets

Research shows that 30 percent of pet owners who share their beds report waking up at least once a night because of their furry loved ones. If you want a night of wondrous, uninterrupted sleep, the pooch has to sleep in his own room.

2. Food

“Avoid eating in your bedroom as it sends the wrong signals to your brain,” says Shea Morrison, co-founder of The Goodnight Co.

3. Any work

“Leave your work out of the bedroom, lying in bed processing your work will more likely make you nervous or agitated, or fill your mind with things you’ll need to do in the morning rather than letting you wind down,” says Shea, and interior designer Melita Mayvn of Mayvn Interiors agrees. “Don’t have your office in your bedroom,” she says, “Your bedroom is your sanctuary, not a working space.”

4. Phones and all other electronic devices

After significant research, we now know that staring at the blue and white light emitted from digital screens prevents your brain from releasing the melatonin, which is exactly what you need to for your body to feel sleepy. Without it it’s hard to fall, and stay, asleep. Plus, receiving notifications can be disruptive (especially if you don’t keep your phone on silent).

5. Blue and white light

Other than the sleep-zapping blue and white light that comes from our screens, eliminate all cool white and blue light. “Shades of white light have different impacts on our circadian rhythms,” says Dr Luc Schlangen, scientist and Philips lighting research expert. “Exposure to cool, blue white light suppresses melatonin, and hence makes us feel more alert and awake. That’s why offices, gyms and operating theatres use this shade of white light, whereas exposure to warm yellowish white light increases melatonin levels, and is used in places of relaxation like our living rooms and bedrooms, and also bars, restaurants, and hotels.” Ensure the light bulbs in your bedroom are warm, soft and ideally, adjustable. Try out a Smart Bulb like Philips Hue, $29.88.

6. Bold feature walls

Interior designers Sonia Warner and Jacinta Woods of Woods & Warner say the single painted feature wall is a thing of the past (that they hope never comes back). “Be brave and paint or wallpaper the whole room . . . it will feel more connected and sophisticated.” Not to mention more relaxing, which is exactly why Melita says to steer clear of red, orange or hot pink in the bedroom, “Your bedroom should be soothing and relaxing rather than vibrant and busy.”

7. Oversized furniture

Over crowding your sleep space is a sure way to make yourself restless. Melita warns against furniture that’s too big for your space, “This will make your bedroom feel smaller and cramped.” While Sarah Cichy, director of Piccolo PR says over accessorising or mixing too many patterns will also make things feel cramped. “It’s hard to relax with too much clutter, so keep things open. Select a signature piece and then use a mix of quieter neutrals for the remaining furniture so that the space feels light and open.”

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13 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


via popsugar.com.au

The Best Home Decor For Small Spaces

There’s an art to living thoughtfully in cramped quarters, but there’s a science to choosing pieces that will make the most of your square footage. These decorative essentials seem to pop up in the most stylish small spaces again and again. So tell us, are these space-saving pieces in your home?

Source: A Beautiful Mess

Nesting Tables

Nesting TablesImage Source: Decor Fix

Three tables for the space of one? That’s the beauty of nesting tables. Fan them out when you need more surface area, move them around if you have guests, then tuck them in when you’re done.

Bonus tip: choose an acrylic option, like the set Decor Fix blogger Heather Freeman has to take up less visual space!


Poufs

Poufs
Image Source: House*Tweaking

If you’re a pouf pessimist, you’re underestimating their versatility. Set snacks out on your coffee table, and watch your friends flock to the poufs for prime seating. Position one in front of a chair, and you have an instant lounger. Place one next to your sofa, set a tray on top, and admire your new side table. Best of all, they can be stacked or stored under your coffee table when you aren’t using them.

Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves
Image Source: Little Green Notebook

Floating shelves are ideal for adding more storage than your floor plan allows for. This cramped bedroom didn’t have room for a nightstand, but Jenny Komenda from Little Green Notebook created a smart floating-shelf alternative.

 

Large Mirrors

Large MirrorsImage Source: Love Grows Wild

If you can’t knock down walls, add mirrors. They have the power to reflect light and visually expand a room, so it looks much larger than it actually is.

Pro tip: try styling a large mirror (like the one in Jillian Harris’s home) by layering it behind another piece of furniture.

Hanging Storage

Hanging Storage
Image Source: SF Girl by Bay

You may not have a walk-in closet, but even an unused nook or corner can serve as an impromptu closet if you hang a DIY copper-pipe rack.

 

Baskets

BasketsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

Whether you choose larger lidded options to slide under a console table or line shelves with smaller versions, baskets are essential for organising clutter.

 

Rolling Carts

Rolling CartsImage Source: A Beautiful Mess

There are a myriad of ways to utilise a rolling cart. It can be used as everything from a bar cart (or better yet, coffee station!) to a nightstand. Wheels make it easier to move to different spots . . . like the living room, if you’re entertaining.

 

Pretty Boxes

Pretty Boxes
Source: Manuel Rodriguez for One Kings Lane

The key to making any bookshelf look immaculately streamlined is to load it with beautiful boxes. It’s the perfect way to hoard anything from receipts to your washi tape collection without having your belongings look like a mess.

Under-the-Bed Storage

Under-the-Bed StorageImage Source: Tony Vu for One Kings Lane

A bed skirt and a plastic pull-out container is your ticket for storing seasonal clothes without anyone having to know. You have the space, so why not use it?

Hanging Coatracks

Hanging CoatracksImage Source: iStock

Sure, you could hang coats or hats from these racks, but there’s no need to stop there. Display a set of cabinet-hogging mugs in your kitchen, or organise necklaces in your bedroom. The possibilities are endless.

 

Stackable Storage

Stackable StorageImage Source: West Elm

If you’re short on counter space, think vertically. This stackable apothecary set is ideal for keeping bath and beauty supplies within reach.

 

Slim Hangers

Slim HangersSource: Justin Coit for Domaine Home

Former-reality-star-turned-fashion-designer Whitney Port uses these slim hangers to pack in as many clothes as possible in her cute closet space.

 

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06 April 2018
By portermathewsblog


Best Home Decorating Apps
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Julia Sperling

Home decorating is a hefty investment. Whether you’re renovating or rearranging a room, shopping for a new piece of statement furniture, or designing a new home, there’s always plenty of what ifs to consider. Where to put the lounge? Will it even fit? Ivory or eggshell? It’s a process that can make the best of us question our decision-making abilities.

Of course, like any educated 21st-century citizen would do to make life easier, you turn to apps. And of course, like any 21st-century dilemma, there are plenty of technological solutions for it. Below, we’ve found the five best apps to help you in whatever decorating rut you may find yourself in.

For Inspiration and Ideas

For Inspiration and Ideas

Try: Houzz Interior Design Ideas, Free on iOS and Google Play

Browse through countless photos for inspiration, use the sketch feature to bring your dream room to life, or find a local home professional to help you out with all your decorating needs. The app’s also got a nifty product section to make sourcing products easy.

For Colour Selection

For Colour Selection

Try: Color911, $5.99 on iOS

Whether you want to create a colour scheme for a room, or can’t decide what shade of turquoise will match your throw pillows, Color911 makes colour selection easy. Choose and download from more than 100 colour themes, or build your own custom palette library from photos.
For Collecting Measurements

For Collecting Measurements

Try: Photo Measures, $10.99 on iOS and $4.99 on Google Play

Love the look of a couch but aren’t quite sure if it’ll fit in the space you have? Photo Measures takes the guesswork out of this and allows you to snap photos of every room and draw measures on it. Record and save everything from your living room space to bookshelf width.

For Room Planning

For Room Planning

Try: Mark on Call, $4.49 on iOS

Who said floor plans were intimidating? Mark on Call is like having a personal interior designer at your fingertips, allowing you to map out each room to precision. Enter your room and furniture dimensions and you can rearrange pieces until your heart’s content, even with your skin or finish of choice.
For Real-Time Visualisation

For Real-Time Visualisation

Try: IKEA Catalogue, Free on iOS and Google Play

The app’s 3D and augmented reality feature allows you to visualise what pieces of furniture will look like in your home, meaning hassle- and worry-free shopping. You can even pull pieces directly out of current catalogues, or choose from iconic IKEA pieces in the library.

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