Light It Up: How To Bring Your Living Space Alive

When you’re decorating your home, it’s safe to say that there’s always going to be a lot for you to think about. As much as you can be exciting about creating a stunning space, it really does take a lot of work. Not only is there a range of different things for you to think about, you have to ensure that everything all goes together. And that’s the hardest part. So, you have to break it all down. Focusing on your living room specifically, it’s often handy if you can think about the goal you have in mind. When you know exactly what it is that you’re trying to achieve, like a warm, cozy, and inviting space, creating that look can seem easier. So let’s get started.

  1. Create A Gorgeous Base

You always need to start with the base. Don’t get ahead of yourself and start picking out furniture before the basic design is ready. Of course, you could work the room around the right furniture, but it’s often easier to create your design first, and then accessorize. So here, you want to make sure that you’re deciding on your paint colors or the wallpaper design, and picking out the flooring first. When you have this decided, you’ve essentially got a shell of a room complete that you can then start to build upon.

  1. Work With Lighting

    Your next step is to focus on the lighting in the space. You’ll always want your living space to be well-lit. Even if you want to create a cozy finish, you need to work with light to do this. Take a look at these tips on Decorated Life about working with natural light first. As this is often the best place to start. Then, when you’ve got as much natural light as possible, you should think about the lighting fixtures that you need to bring in to see the space off.

  2. Add In A Fireplace

One of the most exciting parts about decorating the living space is picking out a fireplace. Whether you want a working fireplace or something modern, definitely have one. When you choose a stunning design from somewhere such as Real Flame, it really brings the room alive. Not only is it great for heat, but the flames can be incredibly relaxing – whether they’re real or fake.

  1. Bring In Some Atmosphere

You’ve brought in the heat, and now it’s time to add some more atmosphere. Because you’ll always want the living area to look and feel incredible. Think about the heating system you’ll use to add to the fire, and work in a music system, and decorate with candles so you can add home scent into the space too.

  1. Accessorize

Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that you’re accessorizing the space properly. Here, why not take home staging advice from the experts as Elle Decor suggests? Add in mirrors, and soft furnishings, and art to finish the space off perfectly and make sure that it really comes alive.

A Fresh Start: The Benefits Of Starting A Room From Scratch

Taking on a large DIY job may be fun, but it isn’t something which a lot of people will want to dive right into. Choosing to take it slow, the way that people often handle this work is often in chunks, completing parts of rooms, slowly adding to them until they are done. To help you to take a slightly different route, this post will be exploring the benefits of starting fresh, along with some of the help you can get along the way.

 

New Inspiration:

Inspiration will always strike when you least expect it. It’s likely that you have a strong idea of what you’d like from your space, and will have a lot of the tools you need to achieve it. This won’t be possible if you already have the shell of a room to work with, though. Having their influence on one another, the styles will clash, and this will make improving the room into a real challenge.

 

Cleaner Results:

Along with enabling you to jump right into your ideas, this sort of approach will often give you cleaner results. Painting every wall, adding new flooring, and finding fresh furniture will give the whole place new life, and there won’t be any signs of the older styles left behind. When people decide to make small changes to their rooms, they will often find it hard to capture what they want.

 

Complete Change:

Changing a room completely will be a very satisfying job to get done. Changing it’s looks entirely, the feeling this gives will be similar to moving home, and this is something people tend to relish in. The whole process will be fun, exciting, and challenging, adding together to make for something which everyone can enjoy. Of course, though, you’ll still have to do all of the work.

 

An Easier Job:

While it may not seem so, having an empty room when you start a renovation will be much easier than having to battle furniture and other items as you do your work. You won’t have to worry about damaging precious items, and your workers will be able to wear their normal clothing without fear of getting it dirty. It will take some work to clear it out, but you can get some help with this part of the job.

 

Getting Help:

This is where the final part of this post comes in; support. Finding a leading removal company will make the process of emptying your rooms much easier, taking almost all of the work out of your hands. Along with this, a lot of people will find that having painters to do their walls and professional flooring experts for their floors can solve a lot of the issues you’ll face along the way.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to get started on your whole-room renovation. This sort of a project is great for most DIYers, as it will give you the chance to test all of the skills you’ve built over the years. Of course, though, it will be worth getting some help along the way.

Is Your Bathroom Fully Functional?

If you’re a homeowner, or someone who simply lives in rented accommodation of your own, you should know how to handle your living space breaking down on you. And there’s one area more than any other that’s going to give you trouble the more and more you use it: the bathroom.

Feel free to call in all the help you need, as now’s the time to make sure your bathroom is working to the max, and making sure you come out every time feeling refreshed! Here’s a few tips for you to follow if you still haven’t got the first clue about DIY.

Is the Extractor Fan Working?

The bathroom fan is something you need to make sure is operating to the fullest at all times. Otherwise all sorts of smells, bacteria, and just lingering humidity is going to block up your bathroom, and you might just end up with a mold infestation. No one wants to see that when walking in to use the shower! Don’t worry, extractor fans can usually be easily fixed, and none of your guests will be any the wiser about the toilet trip you quickly had to take!

Extractor fans are sometimes rarely used in our houses and apartments, but they should always be a main focus. Above is a video of a common fan installed in our bathrooms being fixed up, so follow it and use the video suggestions to find more solutions. Simple as!

Are You Using Storage Properly?

Your bathroom is a place where you can shove all kinds of extraneous items, as there’s going to be cupboard and closets and towel rails all around the room. However, are you using the storage capacity in your bathroom to the max here? And is the space tidy enough to still resemble a functioning bathroom you’d love to recline and wash away the day’s stresses in? Maybe not…

You can buy yourself some under cupboard or under sink boxes to keep all of your washing items in, like your various shampoos and conditioners, to keep them all within easy reach. Or you could use this post as a sign to finally clear out your bathroom; it’s probably needed doing for a good few months now!

What About the Water Pressure?

Both in your shower and your toilet. Sometimes a flush doesn’t have the power behind it to take everything away, and sometimes the pressure in your shower just isn’t right for your muscles. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with in terms of water flow, make sure you contact some domestic plumbing services to fix the problem up all neat for you. You don’t want to accidentally break the entire flushing system in your bid to plunge more and more water into it!

When it comes to keeping your bathroom as functional as possible, hopefully these ideas could help you a little. After all, sometimes we just need a brainwave to finally sort out a problem we’re experiencing! Become the homeowner you love!

You Can’t Tame Your Home Alone

Do you ever feel like the upkeep of your home is a constant battle? Your home is supposed to be your castle. It’s not only intended to be a fortress that keeps the myriad troubles of the outside world at bay, it’s also supposed to be the one place in the world where you can completely relax, unwind and be yourself. In an era where we’re working harder than ever, working more hours than ever and finding that we have less time to look after the things in life that really matter, your home should be your best friend. Thus, if your relationship with your home is becoming increasingly adversarial, and you feel as though you’re falling out of love with it, something needs to change.

Most of us try pretty hard to ensure that our homes are clean, tidy, hygienic and well maintained. Yet, most of us are unaware of just how much of a toll it can take on our mental health if the one place in the world we’re supposed to feel at ease is just a little… off. Your surroundings have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Yet, despite all our best efforts, there are times when it feels as though nothing we do effects real change. If we share our home with kids and pets these feelings are only compounded.

It may be a tough pill for many to swallow, but even the staunchest clean freak or DIY enthusiast can’t tame their homes without professional help. Given our hectic and busy lifestyles we need to be realistic with ourselves and turn to the help of the professionals when we need it. Here are some areas in which even the best of us may need to outsource for optimum peace of mind and a home that’s perfect once more…

 

DIY Not?

There was a time when DIY was like a family recipe. It was a series of workable solutions (what we might now call life hacks) passed from generation to generation, designed to keep homes well maintained. In the YouTube era, however, there are so many excellent DIY tutorials that handy homeowners can often believe that there’s nothing they can’t accomplish with a well stocked tool belt, a stick of gum and a can-do attitude. While this may be true for many things, there are always areas of DIY best left to the pros. All but the most rudimentary of electrical fixes should not be attempted alone because of the safety risk they represent. They should be left to a registered electrician. If something is wrong with your circuit breaker panel in particular, you must never, ever attempt a repair yourself. Likewise, plumbing is best left to the pros. It might look like Lego with water, but it’s way more complicated than many give it credit for. Your amateur job may look fine at first glance but you could leave your home vulnerable to tiny and imperceptible leaks which could do real damage over time.   

 

Clutter removal with care and compassion

Clutter is more than just general untidiness. If left unattended it can become a real problem and a sizeable drain on your personal well being. It’s human nature to accumulate possessions. To our subconscious, having more stuff increases our chances of survival. The reality, however, is that accumulating more and more stuff simply leads to a cluttered home. Not only is this visually distracting and prevents our homes from feeling truly clean and tidy, it can hinder our concentration. This can be particularly crippling if you work from home. It can create a nagging sense of unease that no amount of cleaning or tidying around it will heal. The trouble is that simply throwing stuff out, donating it to charity or selling it on eBay is beyond many of us. After a while, the removal of clutter can seem like a monolithic task especially if we are unable to part with any of it. If this seems familiar you need a clutter removal service with care and compassion, who will work with you to order and organise your possessions without tossing things out in the name of tough love. Now if only you knew where to find one of those…

 

Bad flow gotta go!

You’ve likely heard of Feng Shui although it’s likely that you take little stock in it. You may regard it as pseudoscience at best or mumbo jumbo at worst. But like acupuncture, tai chi and myriad other Chinese therapies which cause many unaware Westerners to scoff, Feng Shui really works. Enthusiasts say that this ancient art can increase your popularity, boost your wealth and help you to achieve your career goals by redistributing the flow of life energy (qi) through the home. At the very least it can optimize your available living space, give you a sense of calm and well being and make you feel happier than ever in your home. Sure, you could read up on the principles of Feng Shui and attempt to apply them yourself, but the most effective way to employ Feng Shui in your home is too book an appointment with a consultant.

 

Chim Chim Che-Ree!

If your home has a chimney, you’re extremely lucky. A fireplace with a chimney breast works wonders in tying a room together. It can make a great statement piece and can really help to define your living room’s aesthetic. But as much as this aesthetic touch is a gift for homeowners, it can also leave your family vulnerable to noxious fumes. Over time, sooty deposits can built up in the chimney flue. As these deposits grow more robust they can release a noxious combination of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water vapour into your living room. This flue gas may be imperceptible to most but it can still cause lasting damage to your health if left unchecked. That’s why every home with an active chimney should have a chimney sweep on speed dial to carry out regular inspections.

 

Your home is beautiful and ripe with potential. But it’s important to reach out for a helping hand every once in a while to make sure that potential is truly realised.

It’s Time To Start Clearing Out The Junk In Your Home

Let’s be totally honest, one of the biggest issues that a lot of us have these days is that we just have way too much stuff. Over the course of most of our lives, we have a habit of collecting a whole lot of stuff and most of it just ends up cluttering up our homes. Sure, there are plenty of things with lots of sentimental value that you want to keep, but a lot of it is just junk. When your home is full of junk in that way, it’s going to end up feeling cramped and untidy no matter what you do. Because of that, it’s a good idea to take the time to try and clear it out every once in a while. Of course, that’s not always easy. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do in order to start clearing out your home.

Find somewhere to put it

When the time comes to start getting rid of the junk in your home, one of the first things to think about is what you’re going to do with all of it. Depending on the kind of stuff it is, you’ve got a few choices. You can simply throw it away, and if you’re going to do that then there are plenty of places that offer bin hire which can make the process easier. Or perhaps you want to give it away to a good home. If that’s the case then there are plenty of places that take donations or you might even want to sell it on eBay to try and make a little money.

Be brutal

When you first start thinking about getting rid of stuff from your home, it’s tempting to assume that it’s all too precious and you couldn’t possibly get rid of it. However, the truth is that a lot of the stuff cluttering up many of our homes isn’t all that important. Sure, there will always be things that you’ll want to keep but there’s nothing wrong with getting rid of stuff that you neither use or need anymore.

Go room by room

The other major challenge involved in trying to clear out your home is knowing where to start. If you’ve let this kind of task build up over time then it can often be pretty overwhelming. The best way to deal with this is to just take things room by room and work from a plan. That way you’re not going to end up doing bits and pieces here and there and the entire task will go a lot faster.

Clearing the junk out of your home can be tough. After all, it can often feel like you’re not really sure what do keep and what to get rid of. However, if you keep putting it off then you’re just going to end up collecting more and more stuff that you don’t need and you’re going to make the whole situation much more difficult than it needs to be.

The Winter Garden: Enjoying Your Outside Space All Year Round

Whether you’ve bought your property or are renting, when you were choosing the place you live in now- chances are the garden was an important element of your decision. It’s so nice having outside space to get some fresh air, enjoy the nice weather and generally have another spot to relax in at home. For this reason it’s crazy that for a huge chunk of the year, our garden gets neglected. Just because it’s winter here in Australia doesn’t mean you should be hiding indoors- on a dry day it’s still nice sitting outside and enjoying the outside space at your home. Here are some of the ways you can spruce it up.

 

Plant Some Evergreens and Winter Flowering Plants

During the spring and summer, everything bursts into life. Flowers thrive, there’s greenery everywhere and it’s easy to maintain a lush and colourful looking yard. Over the winter it can be trickier, however it’s not impossible. Add some evergreens to your planting scheme in beds, borders and pots- that way everything doesn’t die off completely. There are a surprising number of winter blooming flower choices available. Plant these bulbs along with your usual choices, and then when they start to die off for the year your winter flowers will start growing and you’ll keep the garden looking lively. One of the reasons you probably neglect your outside space over the winter isn’t just because of the weather, but because it doesn’t look appealing. But a little planning and it’s not difficult to get it looking nice.

Some flowering plants prefer cooler temperatures (source)

 

Cover Your Garden Furniture

Garden furniture is designed to be hardy, however it will certainly fade and wear quicker if it’s left exposed to the elements. Nice patio sets, outdoor corner sofas, parasols and barbeques all cost money, so you want to look after them so they can be used year after year. One of the best ways to do this is to purchase covers, of course you could put it all away in a shed, summer house or garage but this can make it difficult to get back out. If you have a mild and dry day where you want to sit outside with friends over the winter, none of your outdoor furniture is accessible. Covers will protect from wind, rain, ice and snow but they’re not too tedious or time consuming to remove if you do still want to use your garden over the colder months.

 

Install an Opening Roof

Opening roofs that sit above your patio are a fantastic choice for all seasons. When it’s sunny it provides shade, and when you get a bit of rain it provides protection. If you’re having a barbeque for example and get a few spots of rain, you don’t all have to rush indoors to stop your food from getting soggy! In the summer especially, chances are it will clear up in a few minutes anyway. Along with covering your furniture with removable covers, having something like this over the top can also provide an extra layer of protection against rain and storms. While something like a summer house provides shelter and shade you definitely get the feeling that you’re sat inside. With an opening roof you still get the benefit of being out in the garden but just with that added protection.

 

Invest in a Patio Heater

A patio heater is actually useful all year round. Even during the spring and summer, it can get a little chilly outdoors later in the evening. If you like to sit outdoors later in the day, or you’ve had a garden party that’s stretched on to the late hours, you can pop on the heater to keep everyone comfortable. Of course, a patio heater is useful when you want to enjoy the garden in the evening. As long as it’s not raining you can sit outside and make the most of your outdoor space, even without the sun shining. They can be fitted right underneath your garden parasol, they can be freestanding or even mounted to the wall. There are lots of discreet models so it doesn’t have to be an eyesore in your garden. If you love reading a book in the garden at the weekend or having a glass of wine outdoors after work on occasion, this allows you to do so all year round.

 

Use a Greenhouse to Protect Your Plants

Lots of plants will come back year after year, which will save you money as you’re not having to constantly buy new foliage for your garden. However if you have a particularly nasty winter, they can die off completely- things like excessive frost or flooding can do this. It’s also more common in plants that aren’t fully established, so if you’ve bought or grown from seed some nice semi- hardy plants in recent years and want to protect them, a greenhouse is a good investment. It doesn’t have to be an enormous model, you can get small lean-to’s that will house a few plants. During the spring, summer and autumn you can use this to grow all kinds of things and extend the growing season. Then in the winter it can be use as protection against frost. If you plan on doing this, keep your plants in pots ensuring they’re large enough for roots to develop and the plant to grow. After a year or two of protecting it in the winter, plant it into the ground where it should be able to survive on its own.

When it’s thick with snow, pelting with hail or tipping it down with rain, you can’t really enjoy the garden and there’s not much anyone can do about that. However there are plenty of dry and mild winter days in most parts of Australia so why not make the most of your garden when you can. How about a winter barbeque featuring seasonal produce, go with something a little different from your usual summer cookout?

Do you make the most of your garden year round?

It’s What’s Outside That Counts: This Year’s Hottest Exterior Design Trends

After the blistering heat of the previous months, while the northern hemisphere enjoys the start of summer, Aussies are beginning to retreat indoors as the days get a little milder and greyer. For many of us, this doesn’t mean that our social lives are curtailed, it merely means brunch indoors rather than barbecues outside. This means that many of us will start to think about sprucing up our interiors as we prepare ourselves to bring our social lives indoors. But while a great deal has been written on the subject of interior design, let’s not forget that what’s outside matters too. If you’re likely to be planning for some renovations in the coming colder months or even just a lick of paint here and there, it’s worth considering addressing the external as much as the internal. Here we’ll look at the importance of a design aesthetic that unifies both the interior and exterior as well as looking at some of the hottest exterior design trends of this year…

 

What is exterior design and why does it matter?

Your interior design is an opportunity to not only create a space that is beautiful and pleasurable to live in, it’s also your opportunity to allow guests an insight into your personal tastes, your creative leanings, your sense style and your personality. Everything from the colour you use on your statement walls to the books you have on display on your bookshelf makes a statement and tells visitors a little about who you are. Your home should tell a story, and your entryway is the first chapter… But the exterior is the prologue. Many are quick to underestimate just how much of a first impression their exteriors can make. Yet if your exterior is looking lackluster, faded, dilapidated, worn or simply bland, the rest of your home is going to have to work that little bit harder to undo that first impression. And remember that you never get a second chance to make one of those. If you will be putting your home on the market in the near future, sprucing up your exterior can add immeasurably to your kerb appeal. Get it right and it can make your neighbours green with envy while engendering a sense of excitement and anticipation in guests about to step over the threshold and into your home. Fortunately, your exterior design needn’t be extremely expensive nor logistically difficult to master. Whether you’re installing new designer garage doors or simply applying a lick of paint and adding some potted plants you can give your exterior a facelift, even on a modest budget. Let’s look at some of the hottest exterior design trends of this year…

 

Keep it neutral, keep it natural

In today’s fast paced and often stressful world, the home should be a sanctuary from the stress and anxiety of work and modern living. This means that we should use as many natural materials as possible in both our exterior and interior design. Natural materials have a soothing effect on the mind and are proven to promote psychological well being. Thus, there are lots of creative ways in which you can use natural stone in your exterior design or timber with a light and natural finish rather than a thick veneer of paint. Needless to say, your use of plants (even if you don’t have a front garden) can make all the difference too. A large potted plant on either side of your front door can be extremely welcoming in even the most modest of front yards. Here are some useful tips on matching your outdoor plants to the materials you use in your exterior.  

As tempting as it may be to paint your front door and other elements of your exterior in a gaudy and attention grabbing colour, this year’s design trends favour a more neutral approach. While beighes, greys and off whites are on the way out indoors, this year’s outdoor trends favour mixed materials within a limited colour palette i.e. mid grey bricks with dark grey roofing.

 

A taste for texture

There’s far more to creating an engaging exterior than colour. Texture is playing an increasingly large role in creating design aesthetics that make for eye catching exteriors. Don’t be afraid to play with texture this year, especially when it comes to juxtaposing different textures; rough with smooth, matte with gloss and patterned with plain. Think steel matte on your guttering or roofing juxtaposed with coarse textured or self patterned brick. This contrasting of textures and finished creates a sense of intrigue which will make your guests all the more eager to see what’s in store for them inside.

 

Red brick is back

We’ve been using it to build houses since the days of ancient Rome and there’s still no better choice for creating an aesthetic which is natural, warming and welcoming. Using this classic building material in elegant and contemporary ways is another method of creating an intriguing sense of juxtaposition whether it’s used for an exterior wall or alongside other curated materials. Pairing red brick with a neutrally painted concrete, for example to create a contrast of tone, colour and texture that is appealing and intriguing yet subtle.

 

Say something with siding

While all these juxtaposed materials, colours and textures are currently en vogue, there will always be those who prefer the elegant simplicity of home siding. There are many reasons why this approach appeals to so many. It creates a neat and welcoming look that’s virtually zero maintenance, and the sheer variation of colour, texture, materials and finish ensures that wherever your tastes may lie, you can find a variant to suit you. However the aesthetic benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. The right siding can also seriously improve your home’s energy efficiency. Good quality siding will seal in the heat during the coming colder months while also allowing your home to stay cool when it’s hot.

So, as your social schedule moves indoors over the coming months, make sure that you capitalise on every opportunity to wow your guests, even before they’ve stepped through the front door.

Indispensable Do’s And Don’ts For Securing Your Home

Home security isn’t something that should ever be taken lightly. After all, you will want to keep your possessions as well as your family as a safe as possible. Happily, there are many things you can do to improve the security of your home, just read on to find out what they are.

Doors

First of all, it’s important to take a long hard look at any entry points into your home. This can include windows and doors, as well as garage doors, and even air vents. The critical thing here is to make sure that there are a safe and secure as possible, and that they will prevent anyone unwanted from getting in.

Regarding your front and back doors, a decent lock is always necessary. Try to choose a lock type that has an excellent reputation for being hard to pick, as it’s pretty easy for anyone to find lock picking materials on Amazon and eBay these days.

Apart from the security of the lock itself, it can also be useful to install a chain. Such a device adds an extra level of protection to your doors and also allows you to open them and greet visitors while first checking their identity with no risk your person.

As well as a chain on the inside of the door additional bolts can help secure your property, and many people choose to install these on either the top or the bottom out outside doors. Of course, the door itself needs to be built of durable material and have sturdy hinges that cannot easily be broken. It’s also vital that any glass in the door is the strengthened stuff. Otherwise, an intruder may be able to break this and gain access to the locks from the inside with little trouble.

 

 

Windows

Another critical outside entryway into the home that it’s vital to secure is your windows. In particular, old style wooden window frames can create a problem because they are prone to damp and rot and so can easily be jimmied open.

One way to get around this issue is to have new UPVC windows installed that include added safety features such as locks. Some people even go so far as to add screen behind their doors and their windows for an added layer of security.

 

Garage doors

Of course, your house’s door and windows are no the only outside entryway on your property. In fact, many homes have a door that leads from the garage into the house. What this means is that it’s essential that your garage door is secure, not just to protect your vehicle but also to prevent anyone gaining unwanted access to your home.

Luckily, this isn’t such a tough call, as there is a range of garage accessories like these B and D roller doors on the market that look both attractive and can help secure your property. You’ll be pleased to know that the best types are made of durable and robust steel too, so they will last a long time as well as providing added security.

 

Garden access

One element of security that is often overlooked is the condition of your garden space. However, it’s pretty crucial that you pay attention to all of the outside areas of your property when it comes to keeping things safe.  

The reason for this is because dark spaces with plenty of cover can make it much easier for someone to scope out or break-in to your home without being spotted. With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to install motion sensitive lights around your home’s perimeter and close into the house, as these will put off all but the most determined of prowlers.

Also don’t forget to trim plants and bushes, especially ones that stand outside of door and windows, so that they do not provide any unintentional cover for someone to interfere with your property and go unnoticed.

 

CCTV

Many homeowners also like to install CCTV to boost the security of their home. In fact, this is something that is becoming increasingly more accessible because the price of CCTV devices is falling, and they also now can be integrated into a smart home system.

In particular, cameras positioned facing doors, and at windows that could be perceived as weak spots work well. Alternatively, indoors cameras to monitor who is entering and leaving the building is a smart idea as you can get a live feed of these sent to your phone no matter where you are. Something that makes it a convenient way of watching out for your property even while you are not at home.

 

Neighborhood watch

Of course, CCTV cannot replace the protection of a vigilant neighbor, and that is why it’s always a bright idea to start up a neighborhood watch scheme if there isn’t already an active one in your area.

Neighborhood watches are useful for home security.

Neighborhood watch schemes are all about keeping an eye on each other’s properties and being vigilant for visitors to the area that appear unusual or out of place. An added benefit of this type of schemes is that it can be a great way to build a community feeling in your neighborhood too.

 

Digital security

Last of all, while the above tips are all about the real-world steps you can take to promote better security in your home, it is also important to note that your digital life needs protection as well.

Yes, that right, as we use our computers and devices more and more, it’s vital that we take the same security conscious approach to them as we do our physical residences. What this means is you need to start adding parental controls and making sure that malware protection and antivirus software are as up to date as possible, as well as ensuring that your network is secure.  The latter being a security measure that will start to be more important even in the physical world, as we begin to increase our use of the internet of things.

How to Get Started with Selling Antiques and Upcycled Furniture

Selling antiques and upcycled furniture can be a lucrative and sustainable business, provided that you put enough energy and effort in planning your model. Don’t treat this venture as a hobby, and you can expect more than a hobby income from it. Whether you are new to the industry of interior design or have experience in the area, you will still have plenty to learn about running this type of business. To help you avoid some of the most common startup mistakes, you will find a few tips to consider before you jump head first.

 

Find Your Niche Market

Selling antiques is a vague description of any business. You will need to find your market that is interested in what you can get them and your suppliers. Some people simply get started with this venture doing house clearances and renovations, coming across some well designed and valuable items that are too good to get rid of. No matter what got you thinking about starting your business, you will have to find your niche; let it be small boutique hotels, B and Bs or family villa owners.

 

Get Your Finance Right

Chances are that you will have to invest in stock and premises when starting an antique and upcycling business. You will also need some industry licenses, and this will further increase your startup costs. If you would like to make sure you are not stretching further than you should, it is recommended that you get help with preparing a financial plan. This will not only help you keep an eye on your costs, but also serve your interest when applying for business finance.

 

Develop Your Workshop

No matter if you are renovating antique furniture or upcycling vintage items, you will need the space. You might want to build your own steel structure workshop or rent an industrial building that has the adequate infrastructure and security for your business. Your workshop must serve the purpose of your business; you need to take care of lighting, climate control, air conditioning, security, and power. The tools you are using might need a higher voltage than regular power machines, therefore, you must check the supplies and the wiring before you strike a deal.

 

Focus on International Markets

While domestic markets can be profitable, you should not exclude international deliveries. In the United States, China, and some Asian countries, the growing upper class might be interested in unique items to furnish their homes. If you can create a pricing strategy that serves domestic and international customers alike, you will have a greater chance of making profits. There are plenty of international online auction sites thanks to the faster and more reliable internet access around the world, so why not take advantage of the latest technological developments?

 

Do Your Market Research

You wouldn’t start any business without researching your market and getting to know your target customer. If you miss this crucial step of building your venture, you will have to face some unpleasant surprises. It is important that you read industry magazines and find out what is popular and how much various processes and renovation projects cost. Without this, you cannot develop a competitive offer and convince your buyers. Check online auction sites and – if you feel like  – record the sale prices of items, so you can calculate your profits and determine the right price to buy at.

 

Don’t Forget About the Competition

Just like any business, antique and vintage furniture sales are extremely competitive. You will have to account for the bargaining power of the competition, unless you have an exclusive source where you get antiques and quality vintage furniture from. Your competition might offer more money to sellers, and you will end up with no stock. They might also have access to markets you haven’t yet discovered, and turn around items faster than you. Make sure that you study the most successful companies in your market and learn from them.

 

Shipping Methods and Costs

One of your greatest variable cost will be shipping. When moving large items, you will need to get a specialist company with adequate insurance and well trained staff, so you can avoid accidents and damage to your goods. Companies like Freo Group have various shipping and haulage packages and a clear pricing policy, so you can calculate the cost that you want to charge your international customers for the insurance and door-to-door delivery.  

 

Business Insurance

You shouldn’t forget about taking out business insurance, either, when starting an antique or upcycled furniture business. You are likely to come across customers who are not happy with the condition of the item received, no matter how good your photos and description are. It is crucial that you cover your premises and take out public liability insurance. If you employ staff, you must provide them with health and safety training and equipment, so you can avoid injury claims. However, if you have a business insurance, you can at least cover the legal costs when things go wrong.

 

Study Demand and Styles

You need to become the expert in the industry if you would like to take advantage of the knowledge and ride on the latest trends. You can study the latest demands and styles by attending conferences and exhibitions, or even learning more about the history of furniture and trends online. Find an online degree program that will give you that competitive edge and help you determine what each item is worth.

 

Study Interior Design

As a complementary skill, you might also want to study interior design. This will help you advise your customers and prospects about arranging and displaying some of the most valuable items. You can find plenty of online courses or sources of information. Interior design is a great skill to have if you are trying to help your customers make the most out of their homes or spaces and find the best way of selling them unique items.

 

Subscribe to Trends

Even if you get formal education, you will need to be prepared for changes in taste and preferences, so you can change your business accordingly. You are likely to find several quality international interior design and antiques magazines you can subscribe to online, and there are plenty of experts and auction houses that offer a free or low cost newsletter. It is important that you keep an eye on the trends and the various emerging technologies that can reduce your cost and turnaround times. You will even be able to advertise in some of these magazines and newsletters, so you can build a strong brand.

 

Build Partnerships

As a small startup antique or vintage upcycled item retailer, you will find it difficult to find customers on your own. It is important that you build great relationships with suppliers, as well as professional interior designers. You can approach smaller designers and larger companies that would be interested in what you have to offer. If you can create a blog that provides value for industry leaders, you can get them to sign up for updates and newsletters, and it is more likely that you can enter a long term partnership with them.

 

Develop Your Online Presence

No business can survive without online presence in the 21st century. You should have a website that allows your visitors to browse your projects and items for sale, and even take a virtual tour in your workshop. You will also have to register your business in local and international business directories, so people looking for unique furniture will find you. It is not enough to have a website if you cannot draw targeted traffic to it and get people to contact you. Give your potential customers more than one way to get in touch; phone, online chat, messenger, and social media. You can benefit from Pinterest marketing like many other small startups before, and get your site and brand to become popular.  

 

Build Your Showroom

Once you have established your brand in the marketplace, it might be time to create a showroom online or at your workshop, where people can browse. While some antique dealers choose to go to exhibitions and trade shows regularly, this can cost a lot of money, and success is not guaranteed. If you can get people to visit your showroom or take a virtual tour, you will be able to show off your style and unique brand without having to spend money and time traveling and delivering your furniture from one location to the next. You can even create an online showroom embedded in your website, if you choose the right designer.

If you are thinking about starting your online or offline antique and vintage furniture business, you need to be prepared for a strong competition. Trends change, and you will have to find the niche market, you can provide more value than other small companies. Build strong partnerships with potential suppliers and end users, and focus on creating a strong, unique brand that people can relate to.

Home Improvements For A Modern Space

If you are looking for ways to spruce up the home this year, there are so many different things you can do. Depending on the budget you have, you could completely redo the kitchen, install a new bathroom and even add an extension for more space. To make the home feel much more modern and spacious, here are some of the things you can do this summer.

 

Color scheme

Come up with a color scheme which you can take throughout the home as a base for your designs. This will likely include neutrals like white, grey or beige, and will cover all of your walls to give a blank slate ready for when you decorate. Once you decide on the colors you want in each room you can bring the color on with artwork, accessories, and furniture. This will not only save you having to redecorate every few years by painting, but it means you are more flexible to color changes throughout the year.

 

 

Bring in height

Create the illusion of height by buying shorter furniture for your living room. If you don’t have a huge amount of space in your home and you often feel a little bit boxed in, you can create the illusion with shorter furniture as well as wallpapering the ceiling with a pattern. The reason wallpapering works is because you are drawing the eye upwards as soon as people enter the room.

 

Spruce up the windows

Your windows are all too often overlooked in the home, but they can actually work as a pretty great design feature if you work on them right. For example, make sure that you pay for any glass repair that you need to ensure no cracks in the panes, and then you can think of changing the frame from white to a bold statement. In the kitchen, for example, green would be a good choice because it will link the room to your garden and give that feeling of cohesiveness. A splash of color in the windows can make a fun addition to your home.

 

Contrasting colors

One of the things which modern homes always seem to get right is the color they add into the space. The moment you start with a neutral palette you are opening up the room to a world of possibilities. Sometimes, contrasting colors can be exactly what you are looking for a make a room pop. For example, in the living room you could have a mostly blue theme throughout, and then you could add some orange or yellow cushions to stand out and make a statement. As long as you get the balance between the two colors right, there is no reason why contrast can’t be wonderful.

 

Invest in your furniture

It is all too common these days for people to simply go to a store such as IKEA and buy all of their furniture from the same range. There is nothing wrong with this, however, when you realize how many other people do the same as you, it takes away the uniqueness of your home. To stand out from the crowd and bring character to your space you need to buy your furniture one by one. Go to auctions, antique stores and look online for secondhand pieces which are unique and have a story to tell. Investing in pieces like this will not only give older furniture a longer lifespan, but it will also make your home feel completely unique.

 

Mirrors

If you have a room which is mostly decorated and you still feel like it is missing something, it is most likely missing a mirror. Mirrors aren’t only useful for checking your makeup before you leave the house in the morning: they are also a great way to make a room feel larger. Adding a big mirror into a small room brings in a sense of light and makes it feel as if the room doesn’t end at the wall. It can be a wonderful way to make your home feel larger without extending it.

 

The cantaloupe rule

To avoid your home looking cluttered from too many ornaments and decorations, you need to think about something called the cantaloupe rule. This is a rule often used in modern design which states that you shouldn’t have any ornaments or decorations in the room which are smaller than a cantaloupe. Stick to large pieces of art, clocks and big vases in your home to make it feel spacious.

 

A sofa for a lifetime

There are many things you can buy for your home which you will eventually replace or get rid of entirely, but the one thing you should always plan to keep is the sofa. A sofa is the main place people will sit when they visit your home and it will be used every single day. Make sure that when shopping for a sofa that you take the time to find one which is the right size, color, and comfort for you all. Try to choose a style which you can bring with you when you move houses.

 

Texture

When you are faced with using a neutral palette for your home you can get bored pretty quickly. But just because the color stays the same throughout a room doesn’t mean it has to look exactly the same. For example, if you wanted to decorate a room white and grey you could start with a grey wooden floor, paint the walls white, and then bring in marble tables and shelving for a different texture. Adding different textures of the same color into a room gives the design depth and makes it feel more organic. You can then finish off by adding in those splashes of color.

 

Velvet

When most of us think about velvet we likely think of something our parents and grandparents would use in their homes. However, velvet is back in at the moment, and when placed over a plain background it can add both the texture and the color you want in your room. Start off small and bring in a small ottoman or footstool in a velvet design. You will soon see that this fabric has a wonderful home in modern houses and you should add more to the entire house for effect.

 

Furniture with legs

If you feel as if you could do with more space throughout your home, one brilliant method to make a room feel larger is to put everything on legs. This means that aside from your tables and chairs, you can buy a sofa with legs and a TV stand on legs too. This makes a room feel larger because when you walk through you can see the floor underneath the furniture instead of it being invisible.

 

Natural light

If you think that your home could do with more light, you need to make sure that your home is inviting the light into the space. For example for a more spacious home, think about getting rid of chunky curtains and instead, going for vertical blinds which can be opened during the day to let in as much light as possible.

 

Lighting

In the evenings, you will likely want to bring some light into the home throughout bulbs, and to make sure you avoid that weird yellow glow make sure you always choose cool white bulbs. Cool white acts like natural light so you will always be able to see clearly at night. Make sure to bring candles into your living room for cozy nights in with a movie, and hang some fairy lights on the mantelpiece for an extra touch of magical during the evenings.

Bring the outdoors in

Plants are a huge feature of modern homes. If you really want to make your home pop and add extra texture to each room, a houseplant is ideal for you. For sunny parts of the house you can bring in cacti and Aloe Vera, and for shaded areas, you can have a peace lily or a snake plant. Bring as much greenery into your home as possible and it will feel much more lively and much more like a family home immediately.

 

Make it personal

When decorating your home it is important that you don’t forget to make it personal and unique to your family. If you have a blank space on the wall, fill that space with a painting you love or a photograph of your loved ones. Bring color and life into your time with items you bought on a family holiday or art that your children have painted at school. Make the most of turning your home into a family home, and bring as much of your character into it as you possibly can.

With all of the tips we’ve given you today, you shouldn’t have any issues with creating a wonderful, modern and spacious home for you and your family to enjoy throughout your lives.