Great Home Decor Accessory Ideas

While home makeovers are very popular and everyone would like to go out and buy all-new furniture for their house or redecorate completely, not everyone has the money to do that. To be honest, not all interiors actually need a complete makeover. Not all furniture that is boring or slightly worse for the wear needs to be replaced completely. Often just a few intelligent touches will completely change the look of your home and give it a fresh new look that will make both you and visitors to your home, fall in love with. If you're wondering where to start, going online is the best place.

You can browse through the hugest collections of home accessories online these days, all while sitting on the same sofa that you want to perk up. Online art sellers, which are also sometimes known as print on demand sites, are run like marketplaces, where artists and designers from places as far away and near, get to offer their art for sale. Most of this art is available to buy as any number of designer personal accessories and home decor items. From smartphone cases to card wallets, mugs, t-shirts, printed cushion covers, shower curtains or framed wall art for your home, the possibilities are endless.

Start with printed cushions

If you want to dip your toes into the world of buying designer home decor items for your home, the best place to start is with a designer cushion cover or set of cushions. These are the smallest items in terms of home furnishings really but that is their advantage. Since they are small and relatively cheap, you can change them often, if you change your mind or if you tire of them. They are also really effective when it comes to changing the look of any room in your home. Whether it is printed cushions for your bed or designer cushions for your sofa or couch in your drawing room, den or any other room. There isn't an easier way to perk up the mood and look of a room and make a boring looking sofa set or couch look really quite funky, without actually reupholstering it or even replacing it.

There are other small ideas that work equally well too, like designer shower curtains for your bathroom. Bathrooms are often overlooked when it comes to changing the look of your interiors, because most people think there isn't a whole lot you can do without actually breaking down or remodelling the bathroom. But actually, something as simple as a new pair of designer shower curtains can make your bathroom look completely fresh and new.

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Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Remodeling your kitchen is big investment, and to get the best out of the deal, you need to be very careful about the cabinet hardware you choose. This is because the hardware provides the final touch to the cabinets by highlighting their aesthetic value. Kitchen cabinet hardware includes knobs pulls, hinges, and drawer slides.

The placement of knobs on cabinets requires some serious thinking because an out of place positioning can mar the effect of the cabinet. So you need to check whether the knob should be at the center or the side of the cabinet.

Decide whether you want a vintage, contemporary, or trendy look for your kitchen cabinets. The market is flooded with knobs to suit all individual tastes and you can choose between the classic bronze designs, the futuristic pieces in aluminum, or the trendy ones made from glass, stones, or mosaic.

You have the option to choose from single magnetic touch latches. They usually are made of plastic with a steel counter plate. The magnets in them keep the doors of the cabinets tightly shut preventing the entry of cockroaches, and other insects. These latches come in a variety of colors and finishes and you can choose from brass finish to polished aluminum or a drawer touch latch in ivory color.

Check out the market and you will come across the unique, stylishly designed lighting that serves as accessories for the kitchen hardware. You can choose from the halogen spotlight to the dramatic slim lights. Be it a compact low profile lamp or the surface mounted spot light or even the fluorescent connectors, you'll find that these artistic pieces come in both premium and economic forms to suit all budgets.

Depending upon whether your kitchen cabinets are framed or frameless, you can choose from a wide array of draw runners and slides. There are runners that have front and rear brackets that attach to the side or bottom of a cabinet. Alternately, you can opt for integral front brackets for frame mounting.

You can customize your kitchen cabinets by adding accessories such as cutlery trays, pantry shelves, and waste disposers. Their beauty lies in their utility because they make working more organized and simple.

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A Misunderstood Profession: Interior Design

Define your career. If you are a doctor, you diagnose and treat peoples' ailments. If you are a hairdresser, you cut, color, perm, and style hair. If you are a police officer, you uphold the law, investigate crimes, and in general protect the citizens of the district in which you work. Most careers can be at least briefly described by almost anyone. If you have one of those careers, you are very lucky.

Before I entered the work force and opened my own design firm, I never would have imagined that I would be getting calls to mend curtains, remove stains from carpets, find out why one bulb in a chandelier will not work … I am an interior designer – I design interiors; but I can recommend a seamstress, carpet cleaning company, electrician … Then the dreaded question comes, "What do you mean you design interiors?"

Once-upon-a-time-ago I thought that to be an easy question to answer. Somehow, I now find it easier to explain to a child why the grass is green.

Rather than trying to define interior design, I have taken to explaining the process of designing an interior.

I analyze, ask questions, draw, review the budget, draw some more while asking more questions. Slowly, what started off as sketches develop into floor plans and other technical drawings. Some of the drawings get colored in. I help my clients make informed decisions regarding the use of space, materials, products, color, lighting, layout, construction methods, other professionals … The drawings / plans then go to contractors and specialty contractors. I review the submitted process with my clients – one submission is higher, but that is not necessarily bad because the others are each missing things. A contractor is selected, the contract signed and the work begins; I'll be there routinely while the work is in progress. I basically act as a representative on my clients' on behalf, as well as a protector to my own design. Time schedules are reviewed frequently, problems that arise are handled in such a way that my clients may later know the solution but not the headache involved to understand and work out the problem. The work is wrapping up, only the finishing touches are left but I am already preparing a list of things that have to be finished, repaired or touched-up.

What had been a noisy, dirty, smelly construction site has now fallen quiet and already been cleaned. I walk around looking at and examining the full-size, real thing of all the drawings I had done weeks, if not months, ago. Back at the office, I edit the deficiency list started a few days before and send it to the contractor and clients. The job is soon completely finished, but my work is still not done.

My clients call, happy with the finished space. There are some last minute questions regarding maintenance of some of the new items, where to find certain decorative things and accessories that suddenly have importance, placement …

Area Rugs and Home Decor – Color, Art and Function

When referring to Interior design and home decor, the versatility of an Area Rug is often overlooked. These mini-masterpieces serve as artwork, have the ability to shape color, and add needed function in any home.

Color seems to be the most confounding element for most homeowners to master effectively. Color is not nearly as complex as it seems. The complexity seems to stem from the sheer magnitude of differing color, tones, hues and shades. We all know what our favorite colors are, yet when we try to pin that color down as a useable element of design, we are confronted by hundreds of choices in tone and hue. Most of us need a standard from which to work. This is where an area rug can have a principle role in helping us sort through the inexhaustible choices we face. If we would first choose an area rug with the colors we favor, the task of choosing color for other decor items seems to fall in place. The use of an area rug as a color reference will ground your space and limit your choices, which will make the task a lot less confusing. Your colors are already decided by the colors most prominent in your area rug.

The next function of area rugs are to add beauty and depth to a room by the utility of art. Patterns and perceptions in rug design are vast and often intriguing to the eye. As a painting adds drama an scope to a wall, an area rug is a work of art for your floor. Area rugs come in any and all varieties of patterns and designs to accommodate any style of decor imaginable. Therefore, no matter what style you are trying to achieve, from traditional to contemporary and everything in between, you will be able to find an area rug to artfully engage all who visit your space. I can only consider all the times that I did not even notice a well placed rug, until I had set in that room for a season. As your eye begins to draw downward from other treasured elements of decor, you finally notice the art that lies at your feet. Many of your guests will discover themselves drawn into the intricate beauty of a well placed piece of floor-art.

The final element is that which is fundamental to the existence of area rugs. They are utilitarian in design. They were originally conceived to provide a function. The first rugs in existence were likely simple in their utility. To provide a comfortable space to sleep, or to protect ones feet from the bare soil. Today we have a vast arena of uses for area rugs. From those that supply a place to wipe our feet off, to those that protect our original flooring investment. You can postpone refinishing or replacing an expensive flooring investment with the strategic placement of area rugs and mats. Your purposes could be as simple as providing a soft and clean …

A 4-Phase Plan to a Successful Designer Kitchen Remodeling Project

Have you heard of the nightmare stories people share about their designer kitchen remodeling experiences? There are quite a lot of things that can go wrong with such a project, as it is complex and requires some professional assistance.

However, upon the start of any such renovation, you must know that it is totally worth it. The kitchen is undoubtedly the most important room of every home. People call it the 'social hub of the family' for a good reason – everyone visits it on a daily basis. As for seeing the successful completion of a kitchen renovation project, you need to follow a strict 4-phase plan:

Find the right contractors – if kitchen remodeling is on top of your wish list, you may want to hire the best pros for the job. Probably the best place to start your search for a contractor to carry out the job is personal recommendation. Ask your friends and relatives if they know of such person who they have hired in the past. Don't forget to check contractor credibility and reputation, because in the end of the day they are only as good as the last project they have worked on. Check out their work with previous clients and make sure you discuss every little detail with them before giving them the green light – it is your bespoke kitchen after all.

Planning the layout – if you are working with an experienced planner, they will let you in on all the secrets about maximizing storage space, high-end materials and needed features. However, you must ensure that you provide the contractor with an accurate rendering of your current kitchen. Also, you need to make a detailed wish list, indicating your needs for storage, style and must-haves. Whatever you do, don't forget to consider the utility of your kitchen triangle – the connection established between the refrigerator, sink and stove.

Cut costs – it is easy to get carried away with your bespoke kitchen design and end up spending a third of you property's value on this project alone. Before you begin your project, you can think whether what you've got at the moment is good enough, ie it doesn't really need total renovation. In terms of appliances, you should mostly pay attention to your stove's burner heat output, energy efficiency, ease of operation, safety and ease of cleaning.

Avoiding mistakes – just like any grand project, kitchen renovation can take a wrong turn here and there. That is especially the case if you decide to be your own general contractor or hiring the wrong person for the job. Make sure you have the specifications of the project listed before you hand the project. It does good to nobody if you start changing your mind halfway through the project. Surely you must devote some time and attention to the project so that it doesn't turn into a disaster.
Getting a designer kitchen surely is wonderful, but you must follow these steps to ensure that …

Why You Should Be An Interior Designer

The world has been through 50-years of DIY culture, with the majority of people re-modeling, upgrading, and decorating their own homes in their spare time. However, that cycle is ending for a number of key reasons and this demise has given birth to some amazing and exciting opportunities for those people interested in Interior Design.

In the DIY period, people were happy to spend their spare time on home-improvements and they enjoyed showing off their efforts to all their visitors. Today, there are too many distractions and alternatives that have much more appeal to the modern generation of homeowners – who are happier spending their time in more entertaining activities with their friends.

Furthermore, in most families, adults are bringing home larger disposable incomes than ever before and today they prefer to employ an Interior Designer, rather than spend hours in trying to do it alone. The plethora of glossy magazines that are now available each month have thousands of pages with colorful photographs of beautiful homes, all with rooms designed by an expert in Interior Design. These magazines create the desire in people to have such a room in their own home.

That burgeoning desire for a beautiful home can only be fulfilled by an Interior Designer.

For years, tradesmen like painters, decorators, and carpenters would have nothing to do with people who worked in the Interior Design industry, and with a sneer, they would tell their customers not to waste their money on them. Today, it is a completely different story, because the tradesman now accepts that a home designed by an Interior Designer is far superior to anything they can provide. Furthermore, the tradesman often earns a far bigger profit when completing work for an Interior Designer compared to when they work directly for the customer.

This is because the Interior Designer will quote for the complete job: from basic design to provision of all the materials and completing the actual conversion. It can even include the supply of carpets, curtains, rugs, furniture, pictures, and ornaments. The fee for the decorator who does the painting and papering is perhaps only a small part of the overall price, and will often include a 15% to 20% profit margin to the Interior Designer.

Tradesmen in the home-improvement industry now spend considerable time and effort in developing a good relationship with Interior Designers, because today they can provide an increasing part of their annual income. This is a two-way connection, because the Interior Designer often receives valuable inquiries for design work from their pool of tradesmen. In addition, when the tradesman completes their work to a high standard, the Interior Designer is likely to benefit in the future from referrals and additional work from their clients.

However, working on designs for homes is only touching the surface of the income stream of a good Interior Designer. There is a vast and highly profitable design market in the retail, commercial, and industrial sectors where directors and managers are not slow in …

With Spring Upon Us, Time To Make Garden and Landscaping Plans

Spring officially begins March 20 but there is no need to wait to start planning and planting your spring garden and landscape projects.

Evaluate Your Soil: With the heavy rains over the past few months, important nutrients from the soil may have leached out. Add soil amendments with the proper pH balance to encourage strong plant growth. Cultivate the soil down one foot. Add appropriate organic soil amendments before any new planting.

Start Your Spring Garden: Plenty of vegetables and herbs can be planted in the ground in March. Vegetables include beets, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, endive, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, strawberries, squash and tomatoes. Herbs to plant now are basil, chives, cilantro, dill and parsley. These vegetables and herbs can be planted from seed or as seedlings.

Plant Blooming Flowers: For an instant spring flower garden, plant blooming flowers such as azaleas, petunias, marigolds, bearded iris and geraniums. These and more are available at nurseries this month.

Add Fragrant Shrubs: A garden should smell nice as well as look nice. Add star jasmine, lilac or gardenia to your garden. Their scent will enhance the beauty of your landscape. Don't forget sweet smelling herbs too such as sage and thyme.

Plant Avocado Trees: Now is the time to plant avocado trees. Patience is key, as the trees may not produce fruit for three to four years (longer if planted from seed). New trees need deep watering (especially during summer). Trees need full sun and plenty of room to grow (they can grow as high as 35 feet). Avocado trees are also available in dwarf size.

Practice Weed Control: If you haven't kept up on weed control, by now, weeds could easily account for much of the greenery in your garden. Spend an afternoon or two weeding your yard and then add a layer of mulch. Mulch not only invigorates plants, but also suppresses weeds before they start. Add at least a two to three inch layer around trees, shrubs, flowers and plants.

Maximize Fruit Production: Apple, apricot, peach, and plum trees routinely set more fruit than the trees can ripen. As fruit begins to appear, twist off extra fruit when they reach about marble-size. Leave two of the largest and healthiest young fruits on each 12 inches of stem.

Fertilize Citrus Trees: Add a well-balanced citrus fertilizer early in March. Nitrogen is the primary nutrient that needs to be replaced (once in spring and again in fall). If leaves are yellow, the tree may be experiencing an iron deficiency. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package to determine quantity. Don't apply the fertilizer directly to the base of the tree. Instead, place at the drip line.

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Renovate Your Old Bathroom Into a Master Bathroom

TIPS FOR SELECTING AN EXPERIENCED AND RELIABLE BATHROOM REMODELING CONTRACTOR-

Half of the work is completed as soon as you find a reliable and trusted remodeling contractor. The process of remodeling the bathroom is quite complicated and challenging. You can follow the given tips to make an effective decision.

FIRST MAKE YOUR MIND REGARDING DESIGNS-

It is necessary to do research on your part instead of depending solemnly on the designs that the contractor shows you. Visit nearby showrooms selling washroom supplies, checkout various showers, taps, tubs, its design online and set your mind regarding what kind of technology you want to get installed in your bathroom. After getting an overall idea, contact your contractor for getting an estimate of the cost.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE FINALISING THE CONTRACTOR-

Taking opinions from neighbors or peers does no harm, in fact, you can take notes from their experiences and take precautions beforehand. Read the reviews online and you may contact the recent clients of the contractor and ask about their experience, quality of the services and work done by the contractor. These tips will help you in selecting a trustworthy contractor who will meet all your expectations. The fee for contractors varies according to the work, place, time, etc, so keeping in mind these factors, choose a qualified person for your remodeling project.

SET YOUR BUDGET-

Remodeling the bathroom is a challenging task because of the many hidden costs and problem pops-up which you may never expect. So, it is important to set the budget beforehand that will cover the cost of such unexpected situations. Choose the accessories according to your budget, because the contractor fees, delivery charges, plumber or electrician fees is also involved in remodeling the bathroom. Do not expect all your expenses will get covered in the contract, there are few hidden expenses for which you have to pay separately from your pocket.

DO NOT FORGET TO ASK FOR INSURANCE OR BONDING-

This aspect is often overlooked, but it is important to be on the safe side. A legitimate bathroom remodeling contractor will never hesitate to share such information with their clients. The proof will help you to check the credibility of the contracting company. Another important thing to keep in mind is to verify the validity of the license of the contracting company. Check they have certificates from legal government associations, such as the National Kitchen and Bath Association, etc. For this purpose, you may hire the services of such agencies. Remodeling of the bathroom is an expensive work, make sure to get it done by experienced and qualified workers.

GET IT IN WRITING FROM THE CONTRACTOR-

Before making the final deal, scrutinize the contract to make sure it is legal and clearly defines the project plan, complete budget, a change-order clause (if any problem arises during the working period), warranty period, etc. Getting all these things in writing will serve as a proof in the future if any conflict arises between the client and contractor.

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Suitable Betta Fish Tank Decor

Betta fish are probably among the most popular fishes to breed these days and it is easy to see why. These fish look absolutely stunning with their vibrant colors and long gorgeous fins, it is hard to imagine that they actually originate from the murky waters of rice fields in Southeast Asia. Apart from how beautifully they look, another plus point of having the Betta fish as a pet is how tough they are. These fish come from some of the most dank and poorly aerated waters and have evolved to be extremely hardy. You can easily keep a Betta fish in a tiny little water container with no filtration and no aeration and they would still survive well. This is because it is one of the few fish that is actually fine with taking in atmospheric air if the oxygen concentration of the water is low.

But the downside to the Betta fish is that they are extremely territorial. In Southeast Asia, they are better known as Fighting Fish. When two male Betta are placed in close proximity, they would battle to the death, a brutal sport that the local kids partake in. You can easily tell the male and female apart, the male being the colorful ones and the females generally plain and unattractive. The female Betta also tends to be a little less aggressive. This would mean that you would only be able to keep one Betta in your fish tank and have no other fish in there or it might tear the other fish apart.

When choosing suitable suitable tank tank ornaments for your Betta fish, you would have to take into consideration their aggressive nature. You would need to ensure that your fish tank decor does not injure the Betta in any way.

The first thing to avoid is having any decor with a reflective surface. Avoid mirrors like the plague. If the Betta sees its reflection in the mirror, it will assume that there is another male in there with it and will go into attack mode. It will keep hitting itself against the mirror until it eventually bleeds and dies. You might find an aquarium toy sold with a mirror that is supposedly meant to keep Betta fish stimulated but it is not a good thing to have for this kind of aggressive fish, so I would recommend not getting it.

You would want to get an ornament that provides the fish with a small cave to go into. One great aquarium decor to get is a floating Betta log, which is a plain hollow log that floats at the surface. Since Betta fish breathe in atmospheric air as well, having them close to the surface during their rest time is a good idea. Betta do need a secluded place to go into and rest from time to time.

If there is space constraints in your tank and a floating log would consume too much area at the top, you could opt for …

Picking the Perfect Details for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Nothing refreshes the look of a kitchen more than new kitchen cabinets. The crisp, clean lines and shiny hardware draw the eye and tie the whole room together. But there are so many options-how does a homeowner know what to choose? Here are some tips to help anyone pick out the perfect cabinetry for their home.

First Things First

Before a homeowner begins picking out new kitchen cabinets, he or she should know the exact layout of the kitchen. Measurements should be taken, and an overall design theme should be chosen. This will make the ordering process much more streamlined. Standard lower cabinets should be 24 inches deep and 36 inches tall, while upper cabinets are usually at least 12 inches deep and 18 inches above the counter. However, these measurements are only a guideline and can be customized.

Stock, Semi-Custom, and Custom

Kitchen cabinets can be ordered three ways: stock, semi-custom, or custom. Stock varieties come as-is and are the most affordable options. They may come assembled or in a package to be assembled by the homeowner. Semi-custom means buyers have a few additional options when they are ordering that will give them more flexibility, but they are still restricted to what is already available. Custom options are designed especially for the homeowner and can be adjusted to fit any configuration.

Framed vs. Frameless

Standard cabinets are usually framed, meaning that the door and drawers are attached to a front frame. However, European, or frameless cabinetry, has been rising in popularity in recent years. In this option, the door and drawers are fastened directly to the box. The lack of a front face can lead to reduced strength of the structure, so experts recommend avoiding cheap materials such as particle board and instead using more substantial wood.

Door Styles

There are a number of different door styles, from traditional Shaker to flat to doors with glass panels. The door style will make a significant impact on the overall style of the kitchen. Consider flat doors for a minimalist look or Shaker for a more traditional feel. Custom molding and different finishes can be added to existing doors to create an even more personalized look.

Built-In Accessories

A number of accessories can be integrated into cabinetry to customize it. Designs tend to change based on technical trends. For instance, homeowners today often design built-in charging stations that will keep electronics off of the counter. Appliances such as heavy mixers or coffee pots can be placed on lift-up shelving that is hidden behind doors. Other popular trends include pullout trash cans, doors that open with a touch, and integrated LED lighting.

In order to get the best value for their money, homeowners should focus on the quality of materials and construction over desired features. Avoid over-customizing, as some features can be so personalized as to damage resale value. However, well-done construction will always be a sound investment.

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