A beginners guide to a clever garden design
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A beginners guide to a clever garden design

Summer is around the corner, however after a winter of abandonment, you might find that your garden looks more like a farmyard than a relaxing spot for you to enjoy the company of guests.  If you need to get your garden into shape this spring, here are some of our landscaping cheats.

How To Make A Garden Seem Bigger

If your garden is on the small side, then you may feel limited in what you can do; however with a few little tricks you can make your garden seem bigger than it actually is. Trimming and hedging those bushy borders or intrusive trees can really help to free up some much needed space, whilst retaining height and texture with foliage and trees can help you to keep your privacy from neighbours. Contrasting warm-coloured flowers in the middle of your garden with cool colours on the border can help to give your garden a real feeling of depth, while clever garden lighting and reflective ornaments can also play their part.

How To Create a Mediterranean Style Garden

Mediterranean gardens are often designed to evoke a real holiday-feel, where a warmer climate and sun-kissed colours are utilised. If you’re looking to incorporate a feel of Europe in your garden, features such as large seating areas and terracotta potted plants take precedent over grassy lawns, which are often hard to maintain in the heat of the Mediterranean sun. Paving stones and pebbles should be sprinkled around large plants pots, while ceramic tiles should be used to add a Moorish colour style. Walls should be whitewashed or painted in an earthy, sandy tone before vine-covered terraces are erected for a shaded dining spot. If space permits there should be different dining areas for a variety of outdoor living, with al fresco dining terraces complimented with simple benches and shaded spots.

How To Create a Cottage-Style Garden

Traditional cottage gardens are full of flowering plants and lush foliage which are planted in a purposefully informal style. Aiming to create a romantic and natural woodland feel, you can have free reign to plant all of your favourite flowers. There are no strict planting patterns or colours or scents to use, as texture, depth and variety are the king of the cottage style. Beautiful flowering archways and stepping stone pathways can lead to hidden garden areas, where a vintage hammock or tree swing are perfect for watching the birds fly overhead. Rustic water buckets and troughs are also great for an added character-feel and can often be found for a good price in an old junk yard or online.

How To Create a Chic and Sleek Garden Retreat

In contrast to a wild cottage garden, a sleek and chic retreat needs clean lines, formal plant designs and minimalist trees. Here, fussy borders are a thing of the past, as are fruit trees, unruly lawns and overgrown hedges. Lawns should be kept to a minimum and must be neat and weed-free at all times, while large flowerbeds should be replaced with sleek rockeries and simple water features. Patios and decking are often used to create a contemporary design, along with cool colours and sculpted trees.

How To Attract Wildlife

You don’t need to have masses of flowers and plants to attract birds and other wildlife into your garden. Even just a few carefully potted plants and hanging baskets can attract birds, insects and beetles into your garden with ease. Plants which offer nectar, pollen, seeds or sap should be prioritised first as these are important food sources for our feathered, furry and flying friends. Digging a pond or installing a bird bath or water feature can also help to create a welcoming habitat for the friends of the natural world.

 

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The Pursuit of Happiness: Searching for the perfect first home.
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The Pursuit of Happiness: Searching for the perfect first home.

House hunting is a tough game. House after house, viewing after viewing and offer after offer – it can easily become a mind numbing cycle.

As a first time buyer, the pursuit of your perfect home can be daunting. There are tonnes of ‘how to’s’ and ‘top tip’s’ flooding the internet, but not to worry, we can lead you through the maze!

The first thing that needs to be said is try not to get too bogged down on looks. ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’, ‘looks are deceiving’, ‘beauty is only skin deep’, we’ve all heard the sayings, but it’s true. Houses can be hiding secrets behind those perfectly painted walls; mould, damp… the list goes on. Falling in love with a home too soon can be a bad idea too; not only could the estate agent get a whiff and make you pay for it, but you could be setting yourself on the path for heartbreak. Ultimately, they do say location is everything. It’s always worth really grilling the estate agent to make sure you’re in the safe zone.

Speaking about the safe zone, have you really researched the area fully? Are crime rates low? A great website for this is crime-statistics.co.uk, it only takes a few moments to pop in the postcode and find out exactly what the surrounding areas are like. Asking neighbours or visiting at a different time of day is always a good idea to get a true feel for the area. Have you thought about what’s nearby? Trekking a mile for a pint of milk isn’t exactly ideal. Go for a look around to get a feel for the area, you might just find the perfect reason to stay!

So what if it’s a bit of a ‘fixer-upper’? No problem, just make sure don’t get yourself in too deep. If you’re a dab hand at DIY and have some cash left in your budget, turning that house into a home yourself is a great idea. But if you’re no good at this, a new build could be right up your street! This is where buying a newly built property can be a good idea.

So whether this is your first buy or not, just enjoy the hunt. It’s about the pursuit of a happy home after all.

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5 ways to bring Morocco to your home
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5 ways to bring Morocco to your home

If luxury and opulence are two words that are appealing to you then why not update your home with a few easy ideas inspired by the streets of Morocco.  Moroccan souks are energetic, lively places that are bursting with vibrant handmade fabrics and intricate lighting and decorations.

Lighting

Playing around with lighting throughout your home is a sure fire way of being able to create a relaxing atmosphere. By incorporating colourful Moroccan lamps to your home, you can decorate your home while brightening up the place. Another way of adding soft lighting is by placing intricate candle holders around the house to help you wind down in the evenings. Using scented candles is a definite plus for turning your house into your home.

Fabrics

If comfort and luxury is what you want in your home then soft furnishing is a good way to start. Why not try stacking mismatch cushions in the living and bedroom or using colourful scarves to decorate the walls?  Experimenting with different textures such as silks throws and velvets can help to add to a luxurious feel. Pouffes are also an easy way of incorporating a Moroccan theme at home and are also a favourite with the kids. If you prefer a more minimalistic approach then having simple décor with a Persian rug could be the way for you.

Mirrors

Adding metallic framed mirrors work well to give an illusion of a bigger and brighter space. Silver and copper frames with engraved patterns help to add to an ethnic vibe. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try mirrored furniture that while further enhance any soft lighting that you’ve incorporated.

Metals

Metals such as copper and silverwork are commonly seen in Moroccan décor and kitchenware. Tea glasses, candles holders and silver plates are an easy way to incorporate this. Charity shops are a good place to hunt for silverware for cheap while bringing something unique to your home.

Colour Schemes

Bright colours are at the forefront of Moroccan themed décor where rich purples, oranges and metallic are used in fabrics for a luxurious effect. For a fresh modern twist for summer, you could use bright and neutral colours while integrating Moroccan references in artwork or furnishing.

Try the trend for yourself and see which Moroccan trends you can bring into your home this springtime.

Image credit: Jon Olav Eikenes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonolave/

 

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Top five apps to ease your house move
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Top five apps to ease your house move

When you’re moving home, it’s often the case that you’ll take any help and assistance you can get. Whether you’re doing it all for the very first time, or are becoming a seasoned pro of the house moving game, these smartphone apps are the perfect assistance in what is undoubtedly going to be one of the busiest periods of your life.

 

Rightmove

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If you’re at the very beginning of your house search, then it’s well worth downloading the Rightmove app. As the UK’s most popular property listing website, Rightmove boasts more than 49,000 commercial properties and homes for sale and to rent across the entire UK.

With quick and easy phone access, you can now easily search for your dream place, whilst tightly filtering your results to keep the homes you search within your price range and ideal location. What’s more, you can customise your search to only show results within a certain size bracket, neighbourhood, public transport route, postcode and more.

 

Crime Map: England and Wales

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It’s one of the defining factors when it comes to searching for a property, so it’s well worth having this knowledge of the area in the palm of your hand. If you place high importance on the safety of an area, something which is especially important if you’re moving with a young family, then it’s worth checking out the crime statistics of an area prior to beginning your house search.

Using the UK Police database to show statistics for a wide range of neighbourhoods, the England anad Wales Crime Map keeps you informed on everything within an area, from small crimes of theft to more violent crime. It’s a quick and easy app to check, and definitely one that will help you get the destination of your new home right.

 

Mapumental

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Whilst not strictly speaking an app for your phone, or even for your tablet, Mapumental is a website that has mobile functionality, and adds huge value to anyone who is considering a home move. Ease of travel is one aspect that can have a huge impact on your everyday life – nobody enjoys hours sat in rush hour traffic every morning and evening, so utilising tools like this, allow you to calculate the traffic on your commuter route, as well as examine the length of time a journey would take on public transport.

The Mapumental site allows you to ou search for properties based on how long it takes to travel from your prospective new home, to a point of interest – be it work, the nearest cinema or your favourite restaurants. However, instead of searching by distance, you search based on the time it will take for you to reach your destination of choice.

 

Around Me

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Whilst a quick move to the other side of town will likely not provide too much upheaval in your everyday life, moving to an entirely new city, region or even country can leave you starting from scratch, especially when it comes to getting to know your new neighbourhood. Whether you’re looking for the nearest independent café to grab your morning coffee at before the commute to work, or searching for your new favourite restaurant, Around Me provides a handy guide to your new local area.

 

UKMortgages

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Months before you’re faced with your hectic moving schedule, you’ll have another stressful period to navigate – the financial aspect of your move. Money and mortgages can easily confuse people, and if you haven’t been through the process before, it can be a wholly stressful time. To get the ball rolling when it comes to sourcing your mortgage provider, it’s well worth taking a look at the UKMortgages app. With regularly updated financial information, and the convenience of having updates sent straight to the palm of your hand, utilising this sartphone app will let you get a feel of what is available for you in the market, when it comes to your financial future.

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Sale
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5 Ways to Prepare Your Home For Sale

When selling your home, it’s tough to know what compels buyers to take a liking to your house, let alone love your house enough to place a bid. Is it something as simple as the feel given off by your colour scheme,  the exterior vision your home exudes,  or even the raw potential of the space as a whole.  It’s impossible to know what will wow a buyer, especially when people have such different and ranging tastes. There are a few questions that creep into the mind of every homeowner when they decide to sell a home, and with so many doubts flying around your head, it can be tough to know that you’re concentrating on the right things when sprucing your home up to impress potential buyers. If you’re wanting to give it a go yourself, without the help of a home staging professional planner, we’re here to give you guidance.

 

CHECK OUT SOME OTHER TIPS:

Re-paint the walls with neutral colors
You may love the individuality of your pink walls and your kids may be crazy about green, but when it comes to buyers, it helps if they’re able to block out the individual style of the current owner and imagine what they’d love the home to look like. This is made abundently easier if  you utilise neutral tones, so give them a quick lick of paint, touch up any areas that are in need, and make the most of tans and whites.

Remove personal items
As mentioned above, it’s important to let your buyers feel what the home would be like for them. Buyers must be able to envision themselves into your home. So it’s better to remove everything that’s too personal like your personal photographs and individual sentimental posessions.

Have Proper Lighting
It’s show time, so make your home as enticing as possible through use of lighting. Open up the window areas and ensure you aren’t blocking out natural light.  Add floor and table lamps to all the areas where lighting is dim to ensure you aren’t leading buyers into a dingy home. Lights make your cheery room look bigger and welcoming.

Go Green
Green is the color of nature and symbolizes the growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. So, use some potted plants or a few pretty looking buds in a vase to bring some energy into the space. Also, fill out the empty corners of the home. Make sure that plants are healthy.

Organize your closets
When it comes to home selling, storage space is a huge selling point, if your open spaces and storage areas are cluttered and overflowing to the brim, buyers will get the feeling that you don’t have enough space. Make your belongings look more organized and remove all the excess clutter.

It might seem like common sense, but these quick simple jobs can make the world of difference. If you aren’t sure whether your home is ready for a viewing, have a test run with a family member or close friend. They’ll have a fresh mind, meaning they’ll see your home in the same way a buyer would.

 

Author Bio:

This article was produced exclusively for First Home News by Lynelle Thompson, a proffessional blogger and former writer on Interior Design and Home Decor related topics.

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Boring to beautiful homes in 6 simple steps
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Boring to beautiful homes in 6 simple steps

Your home is not only a place to lay your head, but a reflection of your individuality. Regularly updating the look of your home will help maintain a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere without running the risk of boredom. In order to achieve this, we’ve compiled our six top tips on how to transform your place from being boring into beautiful home, with little cost and minimal effort.

 

Wall Murals

Plain, dull coloured walls in a room can instantly add a sense of monotony when not used creatively. To brighten up lifeless walls around your home, design, create and paint your own mural. By choosing one singular wall as your focus point, adding a mural not only adds a sense of individuality to your room, but also saves on the expense of redecorating. For those of you who are less artistic, wall stickers are available for a quick fix to any room.

 

Storage Solutions

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Storage space is key when it comes to de-cluttering your home. Not only are storage boxes efficient, but they are also cheap. Store those rarely used belongings under your bed and inside your closet. By moving these items out of sight, focus is shifted on the remaining pieces of furniture in the room, whilst also giving the appearance of larger space. Alternatively, if you prefer to proudly display your collections, invest in some conventional storage shelves and cabinets to place around your home.

 

Accessorise

A patterned duvet is no longer enough to create that homely bedroom feel. By investing in cushions, throws and blankets, you are not only increasing the comfort of your bedroom, but also creating a more relaxed environment. Similarly, invest in contrasting cushions and throws for your living space in order to refresh the look of other rooms around the house.

 

Interior Lighting

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Lighting has a significant effect on the mood and ambiance within any room. Soft lighting creates a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, whereas bright, florescent lighting can be harsh. In order to achieve a relaxed atmosphere and sense of style within a room, invest in candles, crystal lampshades and fairy lights. Make sure you also make the most out of the natural light provided.

 

Improve your Exterior

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If the view outside your front room is not overly pleasing on the eye, distract yourself and visitors by making the view inside a more appealing one. With a variety of blinds, curtains and nettings, you can make sure the inside look attractive and stylish, even if the outside does not.

 

Personal Touch

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Finally, nothing says home sweet home quite like a display of framed family photographs. By hanging them along the hall, above the mantel piece or across the walls, the faces of your loved ones will brighten up any room within your home.

 

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Homes of the rich and famous: Where does Bond live?
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Homes of the rich and famous: Where does Bond live?

He’s the world’s most renowned secret agent, who dresses to kill, travels the globe with beautiful women and always saves the day, so it’s surely only fitting that James Bond lives in a stunning home?

The famed fictional member of her majesties secret service is always depicted in stunning locations, however for a glimpse into the lives of those lucky enough to take on the prized role, we’ve taken a look at their real life homes. Prepare yourself to get jealous…

 

Roger Moore

Roger Moore home

Listed on the market back in 2013 for a cool £4.5 million, this 11 acre Buckinghamshire house was the home to Roger Moore for the duration as his first three stints as 007. The incredible sprawling location offers five bedrooms, a drawing room, study, library, lobby, boot room, conservatory, games room, gym, a wine cellar and swimming pool. If that wasn’t already enough, the plot even has a separate annex and guesthouse to retire to.
Image: Savills

 

Sean Connery

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Home to one of the most popular Bond actors, this Irish mansion was home to Sean Connery throughout the 1970’s. Located in Bray, County Wicklow the Victorian six-bedroomed property is set in three-and-a-half acres of grounds which offer flower gardens, mature trees and a tennis court.

 

Pierce Brosnan

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If it’s the luxuary Hollywood lifestyle that you’d imagine for a Bond star, then Pierce Brosnan’s home ticks all the boxes. His 13,000 square-foot residence in the glamorous Californian hotspot that is Malibu is ideally on the beautiful west coast beachfront. A true hub for A-list film stars, Malibu boasts incredible weather, surf and quality of life – so it’s no surprise this Bond traded in his service revolver for this incredible new home. With neighbours including Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, Mel Gibson, Cher, Dustin Hoffman and Danny DeVito, and an average home price on the street of over $10 million, this impressive abode is exactly what you’d expect from one of the world’s most deadly agents.
Image: Splash

 

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig

As recently as 2014, rumours circulated that current Bond, Daniel Craig and hollywood star wife Rachel Weisz were interested in this £5 million valued Grade II listed converted mill. As a pair, the couple are amongst the biggest names in film, so we’re under no illusions that their action packed lifestyles will undoubtedly result in them owning homes around the world, however nestled away in Warwickshire this 18th century getaway boasts boasts eight bedrooms, a cinema and a lake, and sounds like the perfect retreat for a couple looking to escape the frantic Hollywood lifestyle.
Image: Heritage Property

 

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Home design inspiration on Instagram
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Home design inspiration on Instagram

If you’re new to your first home, decorating can be a daunting challenge, especially if you’re looking to make vast changes and truly put your stamp on your new rooms. When faced with such a blank canvas, it can be tough to get inspired and know what you want, however in the modern online world, your never far from incredible design ideas. If you’re searching for a creative muse, but don’t have the hours to spend trawling design showrooms, here are some Instagram accounts that are perfect for design ideas.

 

Domino MagDomino Mag

As one of the most respected interiors magazines on the market, it’s worth following Domino for those quick glimpses of inspiration throughout your day.

Image via Instagram @dominomag

 

Design Sponge

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If you’re more of a DIY designer, then Design Sponge is definitely a must follow and with over 3,000 images to peruse at your leisure, there should be plenty of ideas you can adapt.

Image via Instagram @designsponge

The Every Girl

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Ranked by Forbes as a Top 100 Website for women, it’s no surprise that the abundance of home and interior shots are a great starting point when it comes to design.

Image via Instagram @theeverygirl_

 

Homestead Seattle

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With a following of over 15,000, this is the go-to place if you’re looking for vintage furniture and restoration ideas.

 Image via Instagram @homesteadseattle

Illenia Martini

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From Italy, to New York and back to Europe, the Instagram account of Illenia Martini is the place to head if you’re looking to open your eyes to more continental and Atlantic themes in your décor.

 Image via Instagram @ilemartini

Tappan Collective

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A true hub from some of the brightest up and coming artists around, this is a user you need to follow if you’re looking to put an artistic stamp on your walls.

Image via Instagram @tappancollective 

Orlando Soria

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As creative director at one of America’s renowned design experts Homepolish, this is the place to head if you enjoy clean, minimal design ideas mixed with flashes of greenery.

Image via Instagram @mrorlandosoria

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7 ways to use colour in your new home
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7 ways to use colour in your new home

When moving into a new home, finding ways to make the property feel like your own is important.

But, sometimes the idea of redecorating a place from scratch can seem overwhelming. One thing that can be said for certain is that taking the time to choose the perfect colour palette for each room can have a big impact on the feel of any home.

Read our top decorating tips and take a look at the infographic to discover what tones and shades would work best in your new house.

1) Think about the atmospheres you want to create

Colour can affect our emotions. For example, shades of blue often evoke feelings of calm, while purple can help to create a sophisticated, dramatic ambience.

It is important to think about how you want yourself and others to feel when in your home, and use those thoughts to choose colours for each room.

2) Begin with your bedroom

Research shows that the majority of us spend a third of our time in our bedrooms when at home. So, make decorating this room a priority so that you put together a relaxing retreat where you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

The way you decorate your bedroom should depend on how you sleep. Lighter sleepers should opt for pale, lighter shades, whereas heavier sleepers can go for darker tones.

3) Move onto ‘entertaining’ rooms

Next, you should look to decorate any rooms where you entertain guests. If you like to host dinner parties, think about improving your kitchen and dining room, whereas if you are more of a ‘come over for a coffee’ host, the living room should be a priority.

4) Entryways make a big impression

It has been said that impressions are made as soon as someone steps over the threshold of a home. Decorate your entryway in a way that showcases your personality to those walking into your home. People with an adventurous side may want to embrace striking colours, while the more relaxed homeowner may want to opt for pale, neutral combinations.

5) Add colour through accessories

If you would prefer to stick to neutral colours on your walls, use accessories to add colour. Try scattering contrasting cushions on the sofa in your living room, and even in each of your bedrooms. Plants can also help to bring colour to your home – try positioning them at varying heights to add variety and excitement. Colourful rugs also instantly invite guests into rooms with wooden floors, and mismatched vases, ornaments and candles can spark interest. If you’re looking to shake up the look of your home with accessories, whilst sticking to a budget, check out what discount retailer TJ Hughes has to offer.

6) Don’t be afraid to contrast colours

You may not know it, but contrasting colours are often referred to as complimenting colours. Using shades that are opposite one another on the colour spectrum can help to intensify their appearance. For those feeling brave, try using blue, orange and brown together in a room, or even a lively combination of purple and yellow.

7) Try living with an accent wall first

If you want to experiment but are unsure of how certain colours will look in a room, use your chosen shade on an accent wall. This will be easy to paint over if you then decide to go down another route.

Author Bio

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Rachel Campbell.

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Top tips for reinvigorating your bedroom

Top tips for reinvigorating your bedroom

Imagine coming home after a long day to a clutter-free bedroom, it’s a nice thought. Your bedroom is supposed to be a place for you to relax and unwind, but there’s no way you can do that whilst living in a mess. If you seem to be living in constant untidiness, then you probably have too many possessions and not enough storage space. Fear not however, we’re here to share our top tips on how you can utilise maximise the space in your room, and avoid the dreaded clutter.

Have a clear out…

You may think that you need to retain all your possessions, but every so often. it’s worth taking a look at your belongings and truly sorting through them. Divide possessions up into rubbish to be thrown away, items to send to a charity shop, and things you still need. It’s a quick and easy way to cut your clutter.

 

Store things away…

If you’re got possessions that you want to keep, but have no room for them in the home, making the most of storage space is an easy solution. Whether it’s using that space up in the loft, or hiring somewhere external to your home, make sure your house isn’t a treasure trove of unused items.

Use The Wallsbedroom

You probably have a lot of wall space that you’ll never have considered using. These can be great for storage, and can be utilised by hanging up high shelves (you may want to ensure that you can actually reach them). As the shelves are higher up, they do not disrupt the dynamic of your room. There are also shelves available to fit into the awkward corners of the room. This not only prevents you from storing things on the floor or buying new furniture, but it can also be more aesthetically pleasing.

Keep The Walls Simple

Apart from shelves and mirrors, ensure that nothing else is on the walls. Overcrowding them with pictures can often darken the room, so keeping the walls as minimal as possible will help to open up the room. If you find that your ceiling is low, you can use vertical striped wallpaper to create the illusion of more space or alternatively, if the width of the wall is smaller, you can buy horizontal striped wallpaper to make the room appear wider.

Ditch Unnecessary Items

Avoid having any unnecessary furniture in the room, and if you’re unsure about an item, consider whether or not it really serves any purpose. By removing unused and unnecessary objects like this, you will free up a lot of space in your bedroom. For absolutely necessary things like glasses, you can put up a small floating shelf. This will cause minimal disruption. You can use the nightstand in another room of the house, and look around the rest of your bedroom to ensure that everything in there is serving a purpose.

Get your bed choice right…

These are often slimmer than a usual bed and have storage space underneath. They are the perfect solution when it comes to space utilisation and often come with a more comfortable mattress. This also allows you to buy a bigger bed; as the beds are slimmer, you can invest in a larger one which means that you can get an even better night of sleep. We all knowfairy lights how important that is.

Use More Lighting

It’s simple; the brighter your room, the more spacious it will look. There are many options when it comes to lighting. You can invest in wall lights which are hung up higher on the walls. You can also use spotlights or buy fairy lights. This is a good way to brighten up the room whilst still being decorative. Try and position lights in the darkest corners of the room, or alternatively place mirrors within these spaces to create a flow.

Use A Lighter Colour Scheme

 

The colour of the walls can affect everything else in the room. If you have dark coloured walls, it is always going to be difficult to make your room look bigger. Try and go for something light, such as a shade of white or beige. These can help to open up the room and will make you feel like the room is spacious and airy. You can even get creative with different paint finishes, such as using a paint with a sheen on the ceiling. This is very effective with reflecting light and again, will help to make your room appear to be larger and brighter.

Photo Credit: WikimediaPixabay

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