Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

It’s your home, and everyone loves the personal touch that decorating brings to your room. This summer, it’s all about the style statement, so don’t whimper out and opt for bland colours, take one of these striking colour palates and incorporate it into your home.

Black and White

It might seem like a simple and classic combination, however done right, the black and white palette adds real depth to a room, especially when utilised with a modern and contemporary twist. From incorporating the style into the wall decoration with a striped design, to adding furniture and decorations that complement the style perfectly, you have a whole heap of options when it comes to this colour palette. Here are some of our favourite room additions with this colour scheme.

Black and White Chevron Rug – Urban Outfitters, £69.

Chevron Lampshade In Black – Not On The High Street, £30

Bossenden Wall Clock – House Of Fraser, £40

Coastal Cool

With the sun baking down, and the mild breeze providing a refreshing cool as it calmly blows over the garden and into your home, you can be forgiven for allowing your mind to wander with daydreams of a beached coastline, with radiant heat beaming down and the cool ocean waves whipping at your toes as you stroll over the perfect white sands. It sounds idyllic, but for most of us, the majority of our summer will be spent at home, so now is the perfect time to implement those elements of coastal cool into your house. It gives your rooms a light, breezy feel and with cool vibrant colours, it provides plenty of energy. Colours to incorporate are vast, but mainly focus on aquatic blues and greens, sandy yellows and natural browns.

MissPrint Home Dashes Cushion – John Lewis, £28

Wooden Frame Tealight Holder – Laura Ashley, £22

The Ascot Rug – The Rug Seller, £75-£359

European Clean

In the summer, there’s not colour that emphasises the warmth quite like a clean crisp white. We see it time and time again in the world of sashion, expecially in the summer. Be it in a light and airy linen shirt for a man, or a striking dress or jeans on a woman, white is a colour that really comes into its own in the warmer months. Although it might not be the most practical of solutions, the colour will provide a refreshing and fresh feel. Use white as a neutral backdrop, and then accessorize with statement complimentary pieces in your favourite colors, or create a monochromatic design by enveloping the room in an all-white palette. Mix and match with tones from the coastal cool selection, to add a real touch of summer to your rooms.

Knitted Pouffe – Etsy, £65

Baby Betty Vases – Brissi, £24


This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Kate Hobbs, who has a passion for home interiors and trends.

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Autumn additions on a budget

Autumn additions on a budget

With the summer now over, and the dark autumn nights drawing in, it’s the perfect time to cosy up in your living room and keep warm. Throughout summer, your home will undoubtedly have taken on an open and airy feel, however as the cold of winter approaches, it’s time to turn up the heating, light the fires and go for comfort, as well as style. If you’re after some great autumn additions for your home, here are our top picks.

Huntingtower Tweed Footstool

Autumn styles are all about getting earthy with your colours. Tweed is always a popular option as the colder months roll in, and whether you’re looking at fashion, or home style, tweed is a great option. If you’re trying to add an element of comfort and cosiness to your living room, this Footstool, available at NotOnTheHighStreet is a great option. Adding extra seating for when you entertain, or easily used as a pouffe, this stylish and smart addition will aid in bringing a closer feel to your home. Adding an element of cosiness is always tough, however by adding this to any unused middle ground in your room, it will help to pull your space together.


With a lack of warmth and a feeling of darkness, evenings throughout the autumn and winter can bring on a feeling of gloominess. If you’re looking to inject a feeling of warmth and fragrance into the air, candles are a favoured option by many. Play around with colours and scents to turn your place from a dull winter home into one with a truly radiant ambiance. In addition, why not try housing your candles in fun and quirky designs? Lanterns are one popular accessory for the home, and with more creative options than ever, you’ll be able to customise the scent, and look of your home.


With colder weather, adding a rug to commonly occupied areas is a smart choice. Areas such as your living room or hallway can sometimes lack character, however to provide a more homely and cosy environment over autumn, incorporating a trendy rug is a great option. When it comes to selecting items, it’s always important to take into account the layout and style of your existing room. A cosy feel throughout autumn and winter is good, however there is a fine line between getting it right, and your room ending up cramped. Make sure your new rug pulls elements of your room together, and isn’t just chosen and thrown down without considering the flow of the space as a whole. Remember, more doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to furnishing and accessorising.  

Have you already made a start on your autumn accesorising? We always love to hear your ideas, so make sure you drop us a comment below!

Image credit: CC via Prospect Park Alliance

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Five tips for a summer revamp

Five tips for a summer revamp

Giving your home a summery feel without having a complete overall and redecoration can be tough, however it is possible to encapsulate that feel of the summer in just a few easy steps. If you’re looking for those perfect soft furnishing updates for the summer, here are our top five picks.


Dark colours for a sofa are undeniably practical, however when the summer comes round, these darker shades aren’t great at generating a light and airy feel to your room. If a new suite isn’t an option, throws and pillows are an easy way to add a summery dimension to your room, whilst not blowing a budget on a new three piece suite. If that simply doesn’t cut it, why not get inventive. Some cushions can be transformed with a slipcover to give an entirely new look. the chances are that your living area will have a more practical and hard wearing sofa, however in areas like a summer conservatory or orangery, seating options should be selected with summer in mind. If you’ve got the wicker and cream seating combination in the conservatory and want to entertain, make the most of this room instead.


Nothing adds more to the summer feel of a room than the view. Whether it’s from a big patio door opening out onto your garden, or a simple window allowing the sun into the room, bringing the outside elements into your home plays a huge role in developing a warm and airy feel to the room. Make sure your view outside is un-obscured, and if it isn’t exactly something you want to showcase, make an effort and get to work on your garden and outdoor decorations. Greenery is always one garden element perfect for utilisation through the summer, both outdoor and indoor. Flowers, plants, and other greenery are perfect conservatory items, and can nicely fill those empty window ledges.


If you’ve put in the work to transform your garden from an overgrown winter nightmare into a trim summer haven, then you have every right to showcase it to your home. In order to host and entertain outdoors, turn your patio area into an extension of your home. Perfect for hosting dinner parties which allow people to mingle from the inside to out, an outdoor dining table will help you bring the summer to your home in style. Whether it’s something wooden you’re after to fit in with decking, or something contemporary like this to sit on a paved area, introducing an outdoor entertaining area can help lure visitors from the living room, out into your new garden.

Colour scheme

It’s the simplest and easiest way to give a room a completely new feel, so grab your brush and head to the Dulux website and scout out your ideal summer colour. It might seem like a big job, but giving your walls a quick coat of paint is a relatively straight forward task. Light, bright and airy are the key features of a summer home, so opting for a crisp white, ocean blue or similar summery tone is a great way to transform a room. If you’re after colour ideas, here are our best summer selections.

Is your home a summer haven? If so, what quick tips and touch ups would you recommend for bringing those long summer days into your home? Be sure to let us know below.
Photo Credit: WanderingtheWorld ( via Compfight cc

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Making the most of a holiday at home
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Making the most of a holiday at home

Being a new homeowner is expensive, and unfortunately that may mean cutting out the holiday that you desperately want. It might seem like a poor compromise, but in order to combat the home buying cost, you may need to have a holiday right in your own house… a staycation. Here are a few tips to help you get started for a week off work at home, or even a simple weekend of relaxation.

Frame of Mind

Be sure to act the same as you would on holiday; so stop watching the news and TV in general, stop going on the Internet to check up on Facebook, even stop using your phone. Being in the right frame of mind will help you relax and enjoy your time off more. Remember that this is a break from your hectic life and you don’t need to think about every day problems. Instead, read a book or invite people round for a social gathering. Do the things that you’re always too busy to do. Remove all clutter from the rooms, especially the bathroom. You don’t even have to sort it all out, just shove it in a drawer and forget about it for the weekend. Out of sight, out of mind definitely rings true here.

Staycation Setting

Make your home into your holiday paradise. If you love the beach then put out seashells, deck chairs and parasols. If you love the countryside then put out water fountains, decorative pine cones and scented plants such as lavender. Use new colour schemes to feel like you’re abroad or in a hotel. Candles are also a nice touch, especially outside. If you have a big enough garden, move some furniture around and bring the inside to the outside; put down a rug, bring out cushions and blankets, even bring tables outside if you’re struggling with garden furniture. A fire pit is perfect to sit around and feel like you’re on holiday so if you have one then light it up and relax in the heat.

Things To Do

Cutting out TV and Internet might leave you thinking that you’ll have nothing to do over your well deserved break, but that’s not true. Invite your friends round and spend the day having a barbecue outside with your newly moved garden furniture. If your fire pit is alight then roast some marshmallows and enjoy s’mores for dessert. Try eating food you wouldn’t normally try and if you have no interest in cooking, have it delivered so you don’t have to leave your holiday cocoon. Eat different food every day to maintain the foreign food experience. Another option is to have a spa day. Soak in a relaxing, scented bubble bath with candles and music.


It might not sound ideal, but having a mini-break at home is a great way to recharge your batteries and take a break from your everyday hectic life. If you’re interested in getting onto the property market, simple tricks like enjoying some time off at home instead of abroad can be a great intuitive money saver. For those looking to make that first move and become a first time home owner, check out the services of Keepmoat, over at their website.  
Photo Credit: StevenM_61 via Compfight cc

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Five easy steps to improving your bedroom

Five easy steps to improving your bedroom

The bedroom is a safe haven from the rest of your home. It’s often the only place that is secluded from visitors and house guests, and is a room you’ll spend a lot of time in. It’s a very personal space, so it’s vital your bedroom is a place you enjoy spending time, and in which you can feel at ease. As it’s the room you sleep and relax in, you’ll need to feel comfortable, so with that in mind, we’ve given you a rundown of ahead to consider change, if you want to alter the overall feel of the room.

Give it a lick of paint

The lighter the colour, the larger your room is going to look. Having drab and dark walls can give off a claustrophobic feel, so it’s important you make the space, however small, feel large, light and airy. Many people opt for a white or beige shade, and whilst this is a good option due to the neutral base of the shade, it can often feel a bit drab. If you’re wanting something more vibrant and interesting, pastel colours are very popular and serve the same purpose when it comes to giving a large feel to the room.

Add depth with mirrors

A small or medium sized room will always benefit from utilising mirrors, as it not only aids in projecting light, but also provides depth to your room. Strategically place them in locations that not only allow them to be useable, but also have access to the largest amount of natural light.

Be smart with curtains

Curtains play a huge role when it comes to the feel given off by a room. In the spring and summer months, more draped and thin material options work well, however that needs to be balanced with them being able to prevent the early morning sunlight from penetrating your room at 6am. Likewise, blinds are often a good summer option. Large heavy curtains might be appropriate for the colder months, as they keep out the cold and help your room retain warmth, however that is no longer necessary in the summer. For more on hanging your new curtains, check out our more extensive article on hanging curtains like a pro.

Be tidy and store smartly

Storing your bedroom items effectively can have a huge impact on the perceived size of your bedroom. Even a large room can be made to look small if your floor is covered in objects and clothing, and space is being taken by clothes horses and other items. Whilst decorative items may look pretty on the side, they do take up space, meaning that if you have an already small room, it’ll end up looki9ng even more cluttered. We aren’t saying you need to go completely minimalist, however it’s something to bear in mind if you want to make your room seem bigger to the eye.

Consider flooring options

Whilst it’s the traditional choice for a bedroom due to its ability to retain warmth, carpet can often look very dull. This leaves you with a decision to make; wooden flooring is very reflective and can add a brighter tone to your room, however unlike carpet, it struggles to retain warmth. It’s easier to clean and can give your room an added vibrance, however it depends if you’re willing to sacrifice your warm feet on a morning, as to which option you opt for.



Photo Credit: jinkazamah via Compfight cc

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Hang your curtains like a pro

Hang your curtains like a pro

Once you’ve chosen the perfect curtain design for your home, don’t let them down by making a mess of the hanging! A properly hung curtain will maximise the amount of light that shines through your window, making your room look larger, brighter, and more open. But while hanging curtains may seem like a straightforward process, many people go about it the wrong way.

For starters, most people overcrowd the window with the treatment, leaving very little room for the space to breathe and for natural light to shine through. It’s all too common to see drapery rods hung directly above the windows and only extending the width of the window itself. This chokes the window and can make the whole room appear smaller. Here’s how to properly hang curtains that effectively block sunlight, but still make the room look airy and bright:

1. Considering the Space
When planning to hang a curtain, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration.
First, the room size and the window itself. A large room with large window needs a curtain that matches the feeling of the room. In a large room, there is more opportunity to use heavy, rich and dark fabrics that take up lots of visual space. But in small spaces, or spaces that don’t get a lot of natural light, consider using a light-coloured, sheerer fabric to make the space look larger.

Another important consideration is the drapery rod used. The style of the rod must be in accordance with the style of the room. For example, if you use a massive, heavy-looking rod in a very small room, it’s going to detract from the rest of the décor. Similarly, a large, stately room requires a larger drapery rod so that everything is stylistically balanced.

2. Measuring and Installation
A general rule for hanging standard curtains is that the drapery rod should be installed halfway between the top of the window and the ceiling. This will make the room appear larger, and prevent the window from swimming in excess curtains. Measure from the top of the window to the ceiling, and mark the half-way point between these figures. This is the minimum height at which the rod should be hung. When in doubt, err towards placing the rod higher to the ceiling.

The width of the drapery rod is where most people make mistakes. The drapery rods should actually extend beyond the window, at least 4 inches on each side. This allows you to fully draw back the curtain, so that no part of the fabric obstructs natural light. What you want to avoid is blocking any sunlight that could otherwise shine through, while still making sure that the curtain is fitted to cover unwanted sunlight. That is to say, the curtain — when extended — needs to fully block unwanted rays, but also be able to allow sunlight when necessary. This also allows the drapery rod to be attached to the wall, rather than the window itself. If the rod is attached to the moulding of the window, the fabric will not have proper room to pull back when you try to open the curtains.

As for the length of the drapes, they should just touch the floor. This is the most traditional and streamlined method of treating a window, suitable for most situations. However, it should be noted the length of the drapes are somewhat a matter of personal preference. For example, some people elect to have long drapes the pool on the floor, giving the room a more stately appearance. This can be a great option in large rooms, but shouldn’t be done in rooms where maximizing space is a top priority.

The fullness and type of fabric must also be considered. Are you working with a sheer fabric? You’ll most likely want the finished panel to be 4 or 5 times the width of the rod. Working with a heavy velvet? Try a width 1.5 times the length of the rod, so that the drape is not swimming in fabric. For most traditional fabrics, a fabric width of 2 to 3 times the rod width will allow the fabric to lay perfectly.

3. Helpful Tips
In a small room, hang rods as high as possible. It gives the illusion of extra space.

Consider purchasing curtain hooks that will let the fabric hang down, instead of hanging it directly on the rod itself. This will make it easier to draw the curtains, and will also allow the fabric to hang closer to the window than to the rod.

If your window has a round top, the drapery rod should be hung below the rounded part, leaving the upper window section exposed.

Always try to draw the eye upwards. If everything in the room is hung at eye level, the room starts to feel oppressively small. This is another reason why hanging the drapery rod close to the ceiling works so well.

Author Bio

Amanda Symes is Sales Manager at Curtain World, a leading provider of Curtains, Blinds and Shutters in Perth, Western Australia. Connect with Amanda on Google+.

dearsomeone via Compfight cc

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Give your room extra height

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.

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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Curtains, blinds and more: Five window coverings for your new home
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Curtains, blinds and more: Five window coverings for your new home

After months of planning, organising and waiting, you’ve finally secured your first home. You can see the light at the end of the home buying tunnel, and just want to get settled into your new place. One instant task will be to decorate your empty new home, and especially cover those windows and stop the annoying echo that comes with an empty home. We look at the best five options you have to block out the morning sunshine. 

  1. Blinds
    Blinds are the easy and cheap way to block out the glare through the window. While Venetian, roll up and vertical blinds are definitely not the most sturdy of options, they are arguably the most practical, needing very little upkeep. Easy to customise and available in every colour you could want, using blinds means you can easily match them up your rooms colour scheme. They’re easy to pick up at both specialist blind stores online and locally, along with being stocked by nationwide home stores such as Homebase, B&spacerQ and Dunelm Mill.
  2. Curtains
    The most traditional window covering, curtains are seen throughout every home in the country. Convenient, easily available and with prices ranging widely enough to fit any budget, it is easy to see why curtains are so popular. Often seen as more decorative than blinds, be sure to pick out a design that not only fits the colour scheme of your room, but blocks out the bulk of early morning light. The last thing you want is to be woken at the crack of dawn by the sunrise. Check these out at Next and Argos with styles to and prices to fit any budget. If you’re in need of some help, have a look at John Lewis’ guide to curtain buying for style, size and price tips.
  3. Honeycomb shades
    Working in a similar way to a roll up blind, honeycomb shades only differ in shape, allowing material to scrunch up and compact when opened up. Easy to fit, durable and available in a range of materials, you can choose your shades to suit your style needs. They’re great for making sure you get a full sleep, as they block out the whole window and stop those rays of sun bursting in. Check out Amazon for a range of honeycomb shades from as cheap as £20.
  4. Sheer curtains
    Better suited to living rooms and non-sleeping areas, sheers are a great way of getting the look of a curtain, but with a less substantial material. Even though the thin materials mean sheers allow light to flood through into a room, they manage to add an element of style to a room in which you won’t be sleeping. Sheer curtains make an ideal budget window cover due to their cheaper prices. Check out Ikea for a sheer curtains from as little as £7 per pair.
  5. Roman shades
    Merging the material feel of curtains with the opening style of a blind, roman shades can be used anywhere from your kitchen to your living room or bedroom. Cheaper than curtains and a more stylish choice than vertical slat blinds, roman shades let you block out the sunlight and personalise your room at the same time. Budget options can be seen through home ware sections of supermarket websites like Tesco, or for slightly more cash and greater style options, try the John Lewis’ range.


Special thanks to PanPote for the use of their image.

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