It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.
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It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.

It’s the end of the week again, which can only mean one thing here at First Home News…we want to hear your First Home Views! The easy to enter competition gives you the chance to win the fantastic new interior design book, BrightBazaar; the brainchild of world-renowned blogger, Will Taylor.

So it’s time for us to once again turn the spotlight onto you lot – our readers – giving you the chance to share your wealth of house and home advice on a variety of topics.

Summer is still here, which means when the sun is out, we’re making every effort to head outside and entertain family and friends. Hosting weekend dinner parties can be the perfect way to spend time in the sun, relaxing and enjoying the company of those closest to you. So this week, what we want to know is this: ‘When hosting a dinner party, what item or accessory do you bring out to wow your guests?’

To enter, just leave your top recipe in a comment below this article. We’ll be announcing the winner on Monday. Good luck!

Bright Bazaar has an RRP of £25, and is available from Amazon. The book explores specific colour palettes for every room in your home to give you the confidence, knowledge and inspiration to get your colour choices right first time. Packed with personality and heart, playful but informative, engaging but practical, Bright Bazaar is brimming with ideas that work.

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Conservatory customisation for the summer
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Conservatory customisation for the summer

They’re a great home addition all year round, allowing you to truly feel the elements of your garden whilst being within the comfort of your home, however in the summer, a conservatory really comes into its own. A haven in which you can enjoy the radiant sunshine, catch a cool breeze as it drifts through open patio doors and retire to when the night draws in, conservatories are the ideal summer home addition. Making sure your conservatory is summer ready isn’t a big deal, however adding a few seasonal touches will allow the room to be the perfect area for summer entertaining.

Furniture

A conservatory provides an entirely different feel from any other room in the house. Something that looks perfect in the living room is highly unlikely to sit well in a conservatory, especially when considering large furnishing items such as sofas and coffee tables. When it comes to these items in the conservatory, nothing does it better than wicker. The natural feel of the wood, combined with the shapes, comfy cushions and style just work in the light filled, summery feeling area.

Colour

The concept of utilising season-right colours can be applied to any room in the house, however it’s vitally important that through the summer months, you get it spot on in your conservatory. Whilst you might not have considered the impact your colour scheme through the winter, when the area wasn’t getting much use, once the temperatures rise and the sun comes out, the colour scheme is a crucial aspect of the home. It is useful to keep white or cream as your base colour which you can then accessorize around depending on your preference. Light shades are ideal for summer, allowing the room to stay cooler even when the glaring sun is out.

Keep it natural

Whilst it’s an extension of your home, a conservatory should also be seen as a transitional area from house to garden. Incorporate elements of nature into your conservatory which will help to aid the room’s purpose as an indoor/outdoor living space. On warm summer days in the garden, or evenings entertaining guests, it’s great to open the double patio doors from a conservatory or orangery and allow guests to move freely from garden to home. Integrate natural elements such as plants and flowers in the room in a more predominant way than you would in any other area of your house. The warmer nature of the room means greenery will thrive, and they also serve a practical purpose too, purifying the air and removing toxins, as well as adding a new depth to the room.

Decor

The light and airy feel of a transitional conservatory space means you can truly get expressive with your wall and sill decorations. This is an element of furnishing where you can really hit home the feeling that your conservatory is an extension of your garden, as well as being an extension of your home. Incorporating natural elements into the decor can be a great way to do this, wood and natural stone look great in a conservatory, to try to utilise these materials when it comes to furniture and accessories.

 

Are you the proud owner of a conservatory or orangery in your home? We’d love to hear your top decorating tips, so make sure you tell us your favourite summer updates in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer via Compfight cc

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Childrens bedroom ideas
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Childrens bedroom ideas

At some point, every family needs to take care of the furniture and decoration of a beautiful nursery. Decorating a nursery is something that’s dependent on the personal taste of the parents, but if you’re struggling for inspiration, here are our best tips on how you can make the walls of your children’s bedroom pretty without blowing a budget.

1. Firstly, the walls of the nursery must be easy to clean. No matter how hard you try to explain to your children that they must be careful and should keep a room clean, they’ll inevitably end up stained and dirty. Choose waterproof wallpapers or waterproof paint, which can be cleaned easily by end of tenancy cleaners.

2. No matter what type of bed you choose for your room, it is important to know that the well-decorated wall behind it highlights and complements the colours and look of the bedroom. Make the most of different styles to ensure your child’s bedroom remains attractive and impressive.

3. As much as you’ll want to retain  the theme of your home into a child’s bedroom, it often isn’t condusive to the mind of a young child. Beige, cream and other neutral colours are good for hallways and living areas, however when it comes to kids, it’s often the case that brighter, bolder and more engaging colours are utilised. Make a statement and branch away from the monotony of an adult room. Don’t hesitate to use wall stickers when decorating the walls of the nursery. Make the most of flower motifs, animal forms, or utilise stickers of your child’s favourite character.

4. Another great idea when it comes to decoration is to add individual personal touches. This way both you and your children have the opportunity to spend some time together and enjoy the nursery renovation. Take some special eco-friendly paints and use your palms and fingers in order to create some unique designs on the walls.

5. Buy a couple of templates from your local craft store and use them to create a feature in a certain part of the nursery. This will help you turn your children’s bedroom in a true fairytale world. The best part is that you can actually use these templates not only on the walls, but also on all pieces of furniture you want to customise.

6. Whilst decorating the nursery, try not to opt for any extreme decoration or furnishing. Children grow up quickly, and they will soon have more mature and grown up tastes. It’s worth being mindful that it won’t be long before you’re having to decorate all over again.

Photo Credit: Curtis Gregory Perry via Compfight cc

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Customise your kitchen tiles

Customise your kitchen tiles

There are many ways to decorate your kitchen, from giving it a lick of paint to replacing the old kitchen clock. One of the less explored areas is decorating your tiles in order to give this room a bit more character. Here are our favourite five ideas sure to inspire you.

Tile Stickers

Tile stickers can be used over a plain coloured kitchen tile in order to make a pattern such as a mosaic. You might think it sounds a bit cheap and tacky, however there are plenty of elegant and original options available if you go for this option. What’s more stickers are easy to fit, all you need to do is stick them over the tile and distribute them in order to make the desired pattern. It is, however, a good idea to map out the design before applying the stickers to the tiles, to help prevent disaster.

Painting your Tiles

If you are artistically minded, you can paint your tiles. Tile paint is widely available and is easy to use.  Tile paint is a particularly good option to consider when your kitchen tiles are white. Decide on a design and isolate the tiles that will not be painted with masking tape and carry out the required amount of coats.

Use different coloured tiles 

Tiles on your kitchen wall do not all have to be the same colour; use different coloured tiles to add depth to your room by creating a pattern.  Likewise, you can select different coloured tiles in order to create a mosaic. You can use as many different colours as you want and give your kitchen a quirky edge, but thoroughly plan in advance to make sure that end result will be to your liking.

Multiple texture tile design

You can use a variety of different materials to decorate your tiles from stickers and paint to a variety of decals. Opting for a selection of different materials and textures in tile decoration will provide increased originality and will offer a completely unique visual effect. However, it is important to plan out what materials you are going to use as poor planning can result in a design that is too busy.

Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles are very much the trend these days; the different coloured tiles used to draw a pattern provide a Mediterranean like atmosphere. What’s more mosaic tiles are available in a huge variety of colours and materials. Mosaic tiles can be fitted to the kitchen wall or to the kitchen floor. You can however create your own mosaic by using different sizes and colours of tiles or by using a stencil to paint them. Otherwise if you are a dab hand at DIY you can also create a mosaic pieces of chipped tile.

 
Diamond Tech via Compfight cc

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Implement patchwork style into your home
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Implement patchwork style into your home

Helen Edwards is a full-time freelance writer and a part-time administrator. Originally from North Wales, she is currently living in a pretty village on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. As well as writing articles she also writes fiction; her first novella is currently being considered by a publisher.

Do you find that you can’t get enough of the current patchwork trend, but you just aren’t sure about the best way in which to introduce it to your home? Whether it’s bought or ready-made, here are four effective ways to add your favourite colours and patterns into your rooms.

Flooring

A patchwork tiled floor will have a dramatic impact in a kitchen, bathroom or conservatory, as the eye would be immediately drawn downwards. As flooring isn’t something that is changed particularly frequently, this might be too bold a choice, and so a patchwork rug in the lounge or bedroom might be a better and cheaper option. Just remember, a rug is far easier to change than a tiled floor.

Furniture

Investing in a patchwork sofa or chair is a great way to make a statement in the room of your choice. Although this isn’t the cheapest way to bring the trend into your home, patchwork sofas and chairs are becoming more affordable as more options become available. Shop around, as there’s sure to be a design out there to suit your price range. With a little bit of know-how and some material, you could even re-upholster a chair yourself, in your favourite patchwork style.

Soft furnishings

Soft furnishings can change the look of a room instantly and are the cheapest and easiest way to introduce gorgeous patchwork designs to your home. Think cushions on your sofa, a bedding set, a throw or even a lampshade. If you are nifty with a sewing machine, you could make a cushion or a quilt with a truly original patchwork design. The options are endless, and if you don’t like something or it’s not working, it’s no hassle to change it.

Walls

For a feature wall with a difference, decorate one wall with ready-made patchwork wallpaper. An alternative to a headboard in your bedroom is to patchwork the wall space at the head of your bed using wallpaper samples or remnant rolls cut to size. You could even tile a small area using tiles. You can do this in the kitchen, the bathroom or anywhere you like. It’s your house, and your style, so be creative.

Style tips

If you want to put together different patchwork patterns make sure the scale of the prints is similar, that way the overall effect won’t look messy. If you’ve gone for a patchwork sofa, keep soft furnishings plain but try to tie-in the colour scheme with one colour in the pattern. Keep walls white so your patchwork quilt really stands out.

Photo Credit: -Merce- via Compfight cc

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Spring decorating to brighten your home
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Spring decorating to brighten your home

 

Thanks to Jeska Hearne, the author of Lobster and Swan blog, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News. 

Jeska is an interior design writer who lives to make her (and hopefully our) surroundings a happier, more beautiful place. Her interest began when she was in college where she studied Graphic design and design communication, and developed her obsession with the beautiful pages of Vogue and Elle. 

 

Freshen the air indoor areas of your home with a deep Spring clean. I’m loving all the Spring cleaning activity on Pinterest at the moment, with  lots of lists of all the things I could easily do when I get the cleaning kit out. With lots of lovely brands offering natural cleaning products that smell as good as perfume these days, it doesn’t have to be a thankless task carry out that much needed clean.

Here’s my checklist, and although it isn’t all so fun, all will be worth it in the end when you can put your feet up in a fresh relaxing home:

  • Safety first – check smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Clean out and tidy your kitchen cupboards and fridge, discarding anything that is past it’s expiration dates.
  • Dust, vacuum and mop floors and skirting boards.
  • Flip or rotate your mattress.
  • Clean mirrors, light bulbs and windows to let all that extra light in.
  • Wash pillows and curtains to help reduce allergens and dust mites.
  • Hang rugs and throws out in the fresh air on a clothes line to freshen.
  • Open all doors and windows to thoroughly ventilate your whole house with fresh spring air.

Add a rug

I enjoy plain and simple interior settings but love to add a surprising splash of colour with soft furnishings and decorative details that can easily be swapped into different rooms throughout the year. A soft rug underfoot is all the better if it comes with a bold pattern to lift a room aesthetically.

Creative art

Create living art installations using blossom, spring flowers and twigs. I’m a huge fan of two tone apple blossoms and cherry is another option if you’re looking for a shabby chic look. Utilise frilly blooms, which look lovely in vases or tied together on a front door and do things like scattering edible petals on tiered cakes to use as gifts if you’re visiting friends. There’s nothing more joyful than being handed a posy of pretty coloured flowers after all the greyness of Winter.

Decoration

For an instant spring wow moment decorate the treads of your stairs with vintage floral wallpaper. I loved this idea the minute I discovered it in a book I was reviewing. To paper your own,  just cut to size and glue pretty patterned papers to your stair treads with a wash of PVA glue and then seal them with another layer. Once dry, use a clear matt varnish to create a more protective finish.

Image credits: Rug via Gabba Gabba Gorgeous, Spring Cleaning via House to Home.

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Revamp your room with spring colours

Revamp your room with spring colours

With March now well underway and the weather beginning to brighten up, our thoughts are all dominated by the seasonal progression into spring. As much as we’d all love to carry out a spring makeover to give our rooms a summery feel, it isn’t always feasible. One great way to provide your room with a new feel whilst not being overly costly is to give the walls a new lick of paint, so if you’re wanting to incorporate springs hottest colours, use these colours for your new coat of paint.

Cayenne

Named as the ‘it’ colour for spring 2014 by the colour experts at Pantone, this shade of red is likely one you’ll see incorporated in all aspects of life, from the hottest fashion trends to everyday high street products. It might be a bold colour, but adding it into a room provides a real statement. If you find the pinkish red to be a bit garish for a feature wall, then incorporating it into a light and airy room through incorporation on cushions and throws can add a real punch.

Violet Tulip

The perfect spring shade comes in the form of violet tulip as this light and bright colour works well in kitchen and bathroom areas, along with also being implementable in the bedroom. When winter comes to an end, and your flowers begin their journey from sapling to fully grown, it’s a great time to begin implementing summer garden colours into your decor. This shade of violet is very similar to the shades seen in both lavender and hydrangea plants, so bring the colour indoors and add a bit of summer flair into your room.

Dazzling Blue

One clear theme of spring 2014’s ‘it’ colours are that many are off variant shades of blue. Perfect for bringing an impactful splash of colour to painted walls, adding a feature of dazzling blue can add another depth to your room. When decorating, many opt to use neutral cream and beige shades, and whilst this keeps the room naturally light, adding one feature wall to your room can give it a whole new energetic feel.

Celosia Orange

Breaking away from the shades of blue, Celosia Orange is a vibrant shade you’ll be seeing a lot of as spring and summer progress this year. Giving off a warm feel, the shade works great as an accessorising colour. You’d probably steer clear of opting for celosia coloured carpets, but incorporating the shade in accessories provides a spark of sunlight and bright exuberance to your room. It works best in light rooms, so accessorise the bedroom or living areas with the colour to add a splash of energy to the area.

Photo Credit: lucia and mapp via Compfight cc

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Incorporate spring colours into your home

Incorporate spring colours into your home

As the year begins to brighten up, and the short days come to an end, you might feel it appropriate to update your home through adding the seasons latest trend. From the in style items of furniture to the hot colours for spring, check out our ideas below.

Colours

‘In’ colours are often dependent on what the weather outside is going to be like, and as the warmth of spring and summer kicks in, shades of red and blue are hugely popular. The Pantone colour of the year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, but if this particular shade of purple isn’t your cup of tea, then Cayanne, Radiant Blue and Placid Blue are three of our favourites from this year’s colour of the year shortlist. Most spring decorating ideas are inspired by characteristics of the growth and blooming feel of the season. As March rolls in, we begin to see nature waking up after the cold and baron winter, so incorporating this into your home means that everything has a nice, fresh and colourful feel.

Incorporate them in the dining room

It’s important to push your boundaries when it comes to incorporating spring features, however your dining room is an area that, we imagine, you’ll use mainly for entertaining.

It can be tricky getting a dining area right, as it needs to impress guests, but also function as a usable room. Getting a statement wooden table often works when furnishing your dining area, as it’s going to be the most used area of the room – from eating with company to sitting back and enjoying after meal wines. If you’re wanting to incorporate spring into your dining area, decorative elements that come in fresh and bright colours are ideal. Curtains play important role in decoration as well as the accessories and tablecloth, so opt to mix these new items with this season’s colours.

Make the most of them in your living room

The chances are that when it comes to relaxation time, you’ll predominately spend it in the living room. Items like sofas are too expensive and large to update with the seasonal trends, however additions such as pillows and throws can easily be replaced to get your room more in tune with 2014 style. Emerald Green is a very popular style option this spring, and adding artwork, curtains and accessories of this shade can have a stunning visual impact.

It can be tricky to incorporate new trends in a living room, as you want to give off a feel of the room being both cosy, but also visually impressive to guests, so make sure you tinker until you get it perfect.

 

So, this is our initial advice when it comes to revamping the feel of your home for spring. Make sure you keep an eye out for suture posts on this topic, and if you have any of your own advice, make sure you let us know about it.

Photo Credit: coco+kelley via Compfight cc

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Give your room extra height
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Give your room extra height

If you’ve just brought your first home, it is unlikely that the rooms will have impressively high ceilings. A high ceiling has the tendency to give a room a more spacious feel, but you need to strike the correct balance between height, light and generating an inviting feel. Have the best of both worlds and check out our recommendations below, as we’ve come up with some sneaky decorating tips to give your low ceilings the illusion they’re ten times taller.

Vertical Striped Walls
It is common knowledge that vertical stripes can be flattering, as it tends to look slimming and can elongate the look of a person or object. By creating a vertically striped wall, the room will automatically look taller as it plays a clever trick on the eye. It’s a great option if you’re looking to give your room a bigger feel, but before you rush into it, make sure your colour choices complement each other.

Low Horizontal Furniture
By choosing furniture closer to floor level, the room is guaranteed to look larger. By purchasing low furniture you are creating a greater distance between the furniture and the ceiling; maximizing the perceived space in the room. Items such as a low sofa work great and give your room a taller feel, whilst also incorporating great style and comfort.

Draw Attention to the Floor
By drawing attention to the floor, the ceiling inevitably looks further away, giving your room the extra height you desire. By adding a variety of colours and textures you will create a sense of depth, drawing the eyes in. A statement real wood floor will have your guests admiring the surface, naturally drawing their eyes downwards, however if you don’t have that kind of budget, then making the most of a simple rug or coffee table can also work.

Windows
Large glass windows bring more space to a room through allowing you to see further than just the four walls around you. This method will work best on the ground floor, preferably with a garden to look out onto. Obviously you aren’t going to go out and add extra windows to your room, however if they’re covered or obscured rearrange your room to utilise the natural light.

Light Colours
Using lighter colours and clever contrasts opens space within a room and makes walls appear further back than they truly are. This illusion involves selecting soft, light tones, as these have proven more reflective; making a space feel open and airy. The natural feel will open up your room and you’ll really notice the difference.

Photo Credit: Ivana Vasilj via Compfight cc

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Brighten up your home this winter

Brighten up your home this winter

The winter can  have a gloomy feel, with cold weather and dull days being enough to get anyone down. If you’re looking to combat winter gloom over the coming months, then sprucing up your home to give off a brighter feel might be the way to go about it. Here are some helpful tips for making your home brighter and more inviting.

De-clutter

Sometimes the best way to feel better about your home is to do a deep clean. Removing any clutter will begin the process of brightening your home, particularly in rooms that have shiny, reflective surfaces like the kitchen and bathroom. Once you see your reflection in your kitchen surfaces, you’ll instantly start to feel better. Clutter blocks the light from coming into your home so the more stuff you clear away, the better.

Be bold

Don’t be afraid to add a splash of colour to your rooms. Even one feature wall with a bold colour accompanied by unique picture frames would do the trick in transforming one room into a fresh, exciting distraction from the doom and gloom outside. Stay clear of dull browns and blacks as they will absorb the light; take a risk and try a light purple or a peacock blue to stay bright and your home will benefit. Add matched picture frames and photos to compliment the feature wall. It is a quick and easy way to brighten a room with funky, detailed effects. The feature wall can become a focal point in a room and allows you to position accessories and furniture in a way that draws in attention. John Lewis has a selection of framed artwork and detailed pictures that would compliment any home.

Let in the light

Your home can look so much brighter and give off a more energetic vibe when you simply make sure you have light in plentiful supply. In terms of natural light, make sure that your windows and doors aren’t obscured or hidden. Ensure that your interior lighting is efficient too, and bulbs are in the best condition. A dull bulb will only drag the brightness of a room down. Ensure all bulbs are full wattage or maybe consider LED white lights for lower energy consumption but a brighter light.

Colourful curtains

If your wall colours are a neutral shade, and you don’t fancy redecorating, then compliment the walls with bright coloured curtains. Keep the fabric lightweight though, to allow the natural sunlight to shine through and this will help liven up any space in your house.

Go green

Plants are such an easy and quick way to bring in new life in to your home and brighten the winter up with some nature. Venture out to your local garden centre and you’ll be surprised at the options available for you to choose from. The added living feel provided by plants are great if you’re wanting to give off a feng shui feel.

Photo Credit: Pandiyan via Compfight cc

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