Is it time for a kitchen spruce up?

Unless you are planning a complete re-think of your kitchen design, and perhaps a switch from a modern kitchen to a traditional look, or vice-versa, there are ways to give your existing kitchen a lift, a spring up-date, and some sprucing to restore and revitalise your love of your kitchen and what goes on in it.
If you consider your kitchen is pretty good already, consider whether some “quick fixes” will further enhance it. Growing some herbs or flowers on a kitchen window sill, or in a corner feature of your kitchen furniture. Something living in your kitchen brings not only a splash of natural colour to your kitchen, but gives it a “living” vibe.
If your kitchen cabinets and drawers are basically sound, then look at ranges of new drawer and cupboard handles and knobs- a quick and cheap way to transform your kitchen. If you have natural wood kitchen cupboards, then consider whether a stain could transform your kitchen. For example, a light green stain on pine can produce a startlingly different feel to your kitchen. These days you can even get kitchen equipment in matching colours from many well-known manufacturers. Imagine having a matching toaster, electric jug kettle and fridge all in matching colours?
A good kitchen should usually centre on the cooker. You may prefer a modern ceramic electric or gas hob or a range oven (particularly good for traditional or country kitchens). It must have worktops either side – and these must be totally clear of dishes, books, bottles, condiments, toys, keys and all the other clutter and detritus that can build up if you are not careful. It can also be dangerous to have combustible things near a source of heat.
In fact a good spring clean of all your kitchen pots, pans, plates, cups and cutlery will probably result in chipped, stained or not-used-for-ages items being thrown out or given to the charity shop.
You can gain extra storage space by fitting a tension rod inside your cupboards. Very cheap, and not requiring any screws or glue. Try one in the under-sink cupboard- you can gain extra space to hang bottles, cleaning sprays and the like. Consider stick-on hooks or similar devices on the back of cupboard doors- a great place to hang dish cloths, tea towels and maybe a sieve.
While we are on utilising storage space effectively, check all your kitchen drawers. Are they really tidy and full? They can be made to hold many more utensils and cutlery by using trays and dividers. It will also avoid you having to rummage around when looking for that garlic press”
Look at your drawers; these can hold many more utensils and household items if the space is properly managed. Fitting cutlery trays and drawer dividers keeps the contents of the drawer easily accessible.
Finally, make sure you clean your kitchen from ceiling to floor every month. That prevents the build-up of stains and grease that can take the shine off your kitchen!

4 tips for choosing colour for your home

These days there are so many colours and colour combinations to choose from that it can be very difficult to choose the right colours and shades for various rooms in your home. In other words you’re spoilt for choice but that can make choosing what suits you and those around you more difficult.
The circumstances may be that you have moved into a new home and want to put your own individual stamp on it, rather than living in someone else’s colour shadows as it were. Or it may be that you have built a new extension to your home and want to decorate that, or simply you want to give one or more rooms a re-fresh. All these are valid reasons to dip your toe into the world of new colours for your home.
But there are some rules, or perhaps guidelines, that may help you not make a faux pas and have to start again with redecorating. You should take into account the architecture of a room, the size, what furniture must be in the room, and the natural light situation; arguably the most important because colours will change their appearance depending on the source of illumination.
The first thing to get a grip of is…you! You may have favourite colours and colours you don’t care for. Make a mood chart of the colours you like. It may be that you like some colours for some things. Such as bright red for your car. But do you want your bedroom to have bright red walls?
Next consider what type of home you have. Is it an “oldy-worldy” cottage type home? Is it Victorian or Edwardian? Is it 1930’s? Is it modern? Many paint companies have ranges of paints that go well with certain periods of property. I live in a Victorian house and have found a company that provides paints that are replications of the colours that were used in Victorian homes when they were first built. How do they know what colours were used when there was no colour photography then? Because there were paintings of internal Victorian house scenes where you can see what colours were favoured at the time.
Consider how natural light affects each of your rooms during a whole day. Do you get orange evening glows in one room, bright morning light in another? Colours appear different in different shades of natural light that change throughout the day. Greens can really come to life when seem with evening orange sunlight on them.
Finally, and I can’t emphasise this too much; try before you buy!!
Get some mini paint pots and test a variety of colours in the room you plan to decorate. A colour on a paint colour chart can look great, but when applied to a wall or skirting board can appear different. If you have a room which gets little or no natural light, then go for white or bright light colours. Some colours such as light khaki and mushroom can just appear dirty and disappointing in a room with little natural light. Get a second opinion, especially if you are sharing your home with others. It will make for conflict if you like a colour and everyone else loathes it!

How to Keep the Outside Outside of your Bedroom!

It’s an increasingly busy world. There are noise, smells, people and demands muscling in on you almost 24/7. Of course the increased interaction and communication in these modern times is vitally important for business and to keep in touch with acquaintances, friends and relatives. There are also a host of entertainments available to you just a mouse-click away. Mobile phones are a blessing and a curse. They enable virtually instant liaison with anyone in the world, but they also mean that anyone can contact you at any time.
In summary, the world can often be a stressful place, and no-one can respond to it all the time. You need a place to call your own, a retreat, a virtual hermit’s cave where you can hunker down, relax and keep the outside world with all its demands for your attention at bay. That place is your bedroom, be it shared with a partner or one for your use alone.
The bedroom is where you spend a third of your life. Perhaps recovering from the stresses of the day, or a place where you can forget whether your on-line character in some fantasy game is being hounded by the AI or other players. A place where you can re-charge your batteries. But how can you make sure your bedroom is totally attuned to provide you with the tranquillity and sanctuary you require?
First you should buy a high quality mattress for your bed. A mattress that doesn’t give you a good night’s peaceful sleep is a waste of money. Find one that suits your sleeping position and then go for the best one you can afford. Make sure you have a comfortable duvet with the right toggle rating for the time of year. Locate the bed according to your depth of sleep. Deep sleepers may want the bed sited near a window so that the light can wake them, while light sleepers may prefer ones away from the window and the sounds that will filter in with the morning bustle.
The bedroom décor is also important. Light blues and light verdant greens can be very relaxing, especially when mixed in with flashes of white.
In order to be a retreat, your bedroom must be truly calming and relaxing. Light coloured walls can help set this mood. Light blues and greens are especially calming. Simple colour washes are better than crazy complicated patterns that may keep you awake or cause you to not return to slumber after waking.
Please please, don’t have a computer in the bedroom be it a PC on a table or a lap-top. The temptation to see who has e-mailed you or mentioned you on Facebook will be too great. Leave the internet for the morning and the day. Ditto the television- unless you are going to watch a peaceful dvd of a forest stream!
The room must be uncluttered and easy on the eye. Have items stored within the bed, and/or in closed bedroom furniture. A busy view can make for a busy mind, and sleep will be far away! In a similar vein the bedroom lighting should be the most subtle of all (apart from spotlights if you read in bed). Low-level mood lighting can create the right mood for you to move from the rigours of the day into refreshing sleep.
All these measures will keep the old day at bay and make you refreshed and anticipating the new day!