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  • 5 Ways to Make a Kitchen-Diner a Real Entertaining Space

    Cooking, eating, entertaining - it’s all done in one room nowadays, but how can you make your kitchen-diner really perfect for parties and dinners? We show you how.

    Transforming Your Kitchen-Diner

    Celebrity baker Mary Berry may have championed the kitchen diner but many of us lamented the passing of the formal dining room. Kept pristine for ‘special occasions’, the busy family home can no longer afford the luxury of a room shut away until the next dinner party or family gathering. Thus, the ever-practical kitchen-diner is a common and loved feature in many homes.

    But, when the need arises, how can you ‘dress it up’ so that it transforms into a beautiful entertaining space?

    1. Table settings

    Think of the table as the shoe of the outfit. You wouldn’t wear a sparkling, off the shoulder dress or tux and black tie to a formal dinner party with comfy slippers on your feet – no matter how much you want to!

    Shoes are what people really notice, their quality and the upkeep, just as when they attend a dinner party, they notice the dinner table: the table cover, the cutlery, the plates and so on.

    If it looks tired and jaded, it will show. They will notice the small chips out of cups and the dishwasher-faded gold edging on the dinner plates. They will notice the scratches on the glass tumblers from heavy use and they will notice the mismatching items too.

    To transform the kitchen-diner space, you need to transform the dinner table. And that means a clean pristine table cover, beautiful cutlery and crockery all arranged in a way that screams classy, not clashy.

    2. Change the lighting

    In the busy kitchen-diner, it makes sense to have functional lighting. You need illumination at a busy family meal, and when the space is the hub of activity from homework to boisterous play.

    And so, you have probably opted for LED lighting that really does illuminate every inch of the room. And it makes sense but for a dinner party, it is too stark, too bright, too much.

    If you have LED lighting, you could have a dimmer switch fitted by a qualified electrician that allows you to dial down the kitchen-diner landing lights to create a softer ambience to the room.

    Or, you can go one step further and opt for a pendant light (or lights) that float above the dining table. This display can act as a focal point too, a marvellous piece of on-trend lighting that becomes part of the more ‘formal’ entertaining and dining setting you are opting for.

    3. Clear the clutter

    Do you know what the best investment is for a kitchen-diner, other than a fantastic dining table? A sideboard.

    You may think that a sideboard is a throwback to the 1970s but frankly, with so many modern designs from the minimal to the traditional, there is an almost never-ending choice of dining room sideboards.

    They are versatile in so many ways. For example, keep your ‘best’ dinner service or pretty accessories in there for the next time you entertain. And when you do, simply load the clutter in the cabinet and drawers whilst bringing out your candelabra and napkins.

    4. Add seating

    Entertaining, of course, is not just about formal dinner parties. They can be informal gatherings where guests drop by, enjoy great food and interesting conversation, whilst making memories with plenty of laughter too.

    When it comes to having guests in your home, seating is usually an issue and when it comes to the kitchen diner, you need to pack in versatile seating that see your guests more comfortable than standing for hours and hours.

    How about…?

    • Dining benches?

    There is nothing better for any dining room than a dining bench. An expanse on which you can squeeze several children or a few adults, you can no better investment in our eyes. When not in use, it tucks neatly under the dining table or for ad hoc seating, place it down the length of a wall and pull out when needed.

    But if you are still thinking hardwood benches with no back, take a fresh look because there are some amazing designer pieces (but without the price tag) with a high back, upholstery and exquisite button or stud detailing.

    • Informal seating such as tub chairs?

    Tub chairs are low backed chairs that bring a sense of fun into play in any room. They cocoon the person seated, enveloped in a semi-circle curve of the seat that forms the arm and the back of the chair too.

    As well as leather tub chairs for sale – great for wiping up any spills after a party – there is a growing range of upholstered tub chairs too. Opt for fun florals, demure checks or inject a zing of colour into the kitchen diner with bright coloured tub chairs.

    4. There is NO set entertaining formula

    The kitchen diner is a great space. It can be a large room, a great place to invite family and friends to dine, as well as to party.

    Many hosts worry about their party not being fun enough, people not enjoying themselves or running out of food and drinks. Some of us become so entrenched in ‘making the party happen’ that we forget to be part of it and enjoy it too.

    In effect, transforming your kitchen diner into a fantastic entertaining space is about:

    • Atmosphere – this is created by the people you invite mingling, laughing, chatting and enjoying themselves
    • Ambience – is created by the backdrop, so thin lighting as well as how the room looks, accessories and details that add sparkle to the space
    • Food and drink – from a formal dinner party to a party, delicious food and a choice of drinks help people to relax and enjoy themselves
    • You – from meeting and greeting, to mingling and attending to your guests, the real star of any party is you!
     

    From formal dinner parties to informal gatherings, your kitchen diner is the ideal space. Switch it up with these ideas and relax!

  • How to Make Chair Leg Floor Protectors

    The Wonders of Chair Leg Floor Protectors

    Floor protectors are a very cheap and easy method of safe guarding your furniture and flooring. Chair legs without some form of cushion or pad underneath them can cause all sorts of damage to both hard floor surfaces and sometimes carpets. The last thing you want is to be sliding all over varnished floors, or worse, horrible floor scratch marks. Instead of covering the floor with unsightly plastic chair leg protectors, add inconspicuous fabric protector pads to the bottoms of your chair legs.

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  • Turn a Bare Bedroom into a Homely Haven with These Tips

    We spend half our lives in the bedroom – whether it’s sleeping, reading, or getting ready for the day ahead or a night out. Why leave it looking utilitarian? Make it a real place to be with a few tips and tricks.

     

    Try a darker colour on one wall

    Light colours may make the bedroom look and feel bigger, but they can also give it a clinical feel when what you need is cosiness and character. Rather than opting for busy wallpaper, create a feature wall with a darker shade of paint. We love very earthy, almost mud greens or a dramatic navy.

     

    Adjust the lighting

    Everything about the room should ooze opulence and cosiness. But even with all the chunky knit bedspreads and cushions in the world, it won’t look super-homely until you adjust the lighting. Simply changing the bulbs to warm white, soft glow varieties is enough to make a difference but consider pretty lampshades that diffuse the light a little too.

     

    Layer rugs

    Whether you have carpet or a hard floor, using rugs is a great way of spelling homely in the bedroom. Layering rugs adds more depth and texture to your space. For example, if you frame the bed with a large rug under it, it gives you a border around the bed. Choose deep pile sheepskin rugs for when your feet land on the floor in the morning.

     

    Blankets and cushions

    There are all kinds of memes and cartoons that depict a mountain of cushions and rugs on the bed that makes getting into it an obstacle course that requires grit and determination to complete. But, there is no denying that cushions and throws act as lush soft furnishings that instantly turn a bare bedroom into a heavenly haven.

    Want to be on -trend? Use natural materials such as wool throws and chunky knit throws and cushions cover. Keep the colours in tune with your overall colour palette too.

     

    Add quirky touches

    Some bedrooms lack the personal touch, the essence of any relaxation. For example, for additional storage space, why not make use of vintage suitcases, elegantly piled in a small tower on the floor or used as a bedside table? Personal touches are not just about photographs, but small things that signify your personality.

     

    Create a bed canopy

    Romantic canopies don’t just belong to four-poster beds, they can be used to elegantly drape over any bed frame, whether it’s a super king or a single. There are all kinds of DIY solutions for hanging a canopy over a bed, from fitting rails to the ceiling, to artistically fixing and draping one on the wall behind the headboard.

     

    Add warm accents

    You should spend time considering the pieces you add to the bedroom, just as you would the living room. All too often we assume that because this is essentially an intimate space and not one where we consciously spend lots of time, that anything that grabs our fancy will do when it comes to bedroom furniture such as side tables. Warm tones add character to a bedroom, so choose wooden items such as bedside tables to soften the look.

     

    Think texture

    A room can look devoid of character when everything is literally ‘flat’. If you are adding throws, cushions and rugs, opt for textures that are almost over-the-top. For example, a deep pile sheepskin rug, throws that have a heavier texture and cushions that also have a texture of their own. Or opt for a waffle bedspread.

     

    Tufted headboards

    Again, you may think, another throwback to decades past but if you think the tufted headboard – a large expanse of fabric with same coloured buttons for detailing – is old hat, you need to look at some of the modern examples. The modern way is to have one that is tall, over almost over-sized. Choose a large rectangular tufted headboard, or opt for a more ornate, detailed shape and finish.

     

    Add a chair or two

    Dressing and undressing usually means sitting on the edge of the bed but did you know that with some types of mattresses, this can be cause them to dip and sag? A bedroom chair, or two, is a better solution. And there are many different options, although the simple, yet elegant frames of fabric tub chairs make ideal bedroom companions.

     

    Creating a reading nook

    A fabulous use for fabric tub chairs is to create a relaxing reading nook, an ideal solution for a hard-to-dress or use corner. Make it the space where you enjoy your evening drink and a good book, or your morning coffee whilst you catch up on the news.

     

    Mix patterns

    Another factor that leaves the bedroom looking flat is not having a pattern to break the monotony of colour. Whilst glossy magazines show us the minimal look with pristine painted walls and white bedlinen, this is essentially a show bedroom with very little in terms of personality. To add small snippets of detail, use pattern. Maintain the same colour palette and style of pattern, such as floral, but include it in bed linen, cushions and wallpaper for accents in the room.

     

    Move the furniture around!

    It can be the simplest of things that allow a room to take on a whole new look and ambience – and moving the furniture is one of those things. Many people swear by a Feng shui bedroom where the bed is placed in the ‘correct’ position to maximise relaxation and well-being.

     

    Add an obvious note of colour

    From a brightly coloured cushion or two to a spectacular ceiling light, add a real zest of colour and detail to the bedroom!

     

    It should be a place of calming relaxation and romance, a haven from the stresses and the strains of life but this doesn’t mean remove all detail to minimise distractions. Rather it is about adding small details that add character, without cluttering the space.

  • Keep Up with the Interior Design Trends This Season

    As seasons change, so do fashions. Make sure you keep up-to-date with what’s popular. Here’s what’s going to look stylish in your home this season.

    Popular Seasonal Design Trends

    You want your home to be stylish, without compromising on functionality and practicality. But with trends changing so fast, it can be hard to keep up! We took a look at some of the smaller and bigger changes you can make to your home this coming season to keep right on trend.

     

    Part 1: Colour

    Colour is important in every room of the home but what colours and schemes do interior designers say will be forming the backdrop to our homes this coming season?

    Pink

    Pink was a big colour last season and like most trends, it is not going away entirely just morphing into a new shade. Designers expect lavender and lilac to be the strongest pastel colour this coming spring and well into summer too. The announcement of Pantone’s colour of the year as ultra violet has strengthened this love of all things purple. For the price of a pot of emulsion, you can bring any room bang up to date.

    Bold, earthy colours

    room with blue walls

    If pink is a little too sugary for you, bold and earthy colours may be the colour scheme that takes your fancy. Having trouble choosing? As you would expect, interior designs are on hand to help you.

    When thinking of colour, think darker shades that have a moodiness, a depth and a drama all of their own. Very dark green is making a strong showing, as is navy.

    High contrast palette

    Many of us shy away from using very dark colours for fear that it will make a room too gloomy, closing it down and making it appear smaller than it really is. But there is a solution this coming season with a welcome high contrast palette.

    Use dark, earthy colours alongside crisp white woodwork and pristine white ceilings. Keep accessories neutral too. This allows the depth of the colour to come through without overpowering the rest of the room.

     

    Part 2: Patterns

    Adding character and detail to a room is achieved in many ways: pattern is just one of them. But what are the must-have patterns this year?

    Circles

    cluster of cushions on sofa

    We have mixing florals and geometric patterns making a strong showing for the last few seasons. Circles, however, have tended to be assigned to children or funky spaces, with multi-coloured circle patterns on everything from bed linen to rugs.

    But, we are pleased to see that circles have come of age and, with more muted ‘grown-up’ colours, circles are predicted to be the must-have pattern this year. Why opt for a circular pattern upholstery on tub chairs, for example?

    Tone on tone

    Not a pattern as such but a finish that helps those of us who shy from patterns for fear of overdressing a room. Basically, this is where you paint furniture the same colour and shade as the wall against which it stands.

    Our tip – use sparingly as it can soon tip from something quirky and unique to something that is overdone. Start with small items first and see if you like the look. It works well if you are trying to create a vintage appeal to a room.

    Agate wallpaper

    We were surprised at this too and although we aren’t too sure this will be a super-instant hit this coming season, it could be the pattern for your home that is easy to use. And when the trend disappears, you simply strip the wallpaper and replace with something new.

    You may have seen the wallpaper ‘art’ you can now purchase, which sees the whole expanse of a wall covered in one pattern or image. We have come across a suggestion that agate – the pattern found in some rocks and stones – will make the must-have wallpaper backdrop. Worth the risk? Maybe…

    Part 3: Details

    Accessories are the details that lift the room. It can be anything from a large wall clock to a spectacular hanging light. We took a look at some of the budget options for making small changes with big impact.

    Brass

    Brass finishes to accessories, from table lamps to taps, was a welcome respite from polished and matte chrome that we had seen for many years. And thankfully, there is no sign of it going away just yet.

    Choose brash finishes that are slimline and clutter-free, to keep the look classic and not too lumpy or overly traditional.

    Sculptural light fittings

    Designers take key elements from design schemes and incorporate them to give new twists on favourite classics. Very few of the elements we have talked about thus far have been structural changes and although changing a light fitting isn’t a bit ask, it is one that needs to be carried out by a qualified electrician.

    But it is worth it. Make the most dramatic and over the top statement that you possibly can with an amazing light fitting. Make the statement in the lounge, in the dining room or even in the hallway. Think big, think designer, think impact.

    Bold accents

    room with tub chairs

    There are times in any interior design scheme that there needs to be a zing of colour or detail that is obvious and bold, but well-placed.

    Comfy accent chairs make the ideal vehicle for colour and pattern, which are pleased to see is muscling in on the action this coming spring. The contrast can also be within the chair itself – plain, block colour back and side, but pattern seat and scatter cushions, for example – or choose a colour or pattern for use across the whole chair that sits well within your home décor.

     

    There is no denying that a stylish abode is a perfect way to relax and destress in our busy lives. And we want to have the latest trends in many areas of our homes. These ideas are perfect for every room in the home.

    What changes do you plan on making in your home this year? What can you see as being the next big trend?

     
  • Living Room Design Tips For the Most Stylish New Year’s Eve Party

    Your living room is likely the central hub of the house and number one room for entertainment over the festive period. As well as relaxation and leisure, this is the room in which you will play host to your loved ones and guests. It should be comfortable, clean and appealing, and should also be the chance for you to express your personality and taste.

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  • 4 Ways to Relax and Unwind This Christmas

    Christmas should be a fun and relaxing time of year, but these days many people find that commercial and social pressure can make it a stressful period. The preparation for Christmas begins earlier and earlier every year: between shopping and decorating the house, sorting the tree out, sending Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents, cooking the Christmas dinner and making sure all the kids have a good time, it’s easy to lose sight of the appeal.

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