Interior Design Ideas for Beginners

Interior Design Ideas for Beginners

Make your space work to it’s full potential with these easy and simple ideas for decorating beginners!


Photos By: Living Etc

There’s something uniquely exciting about having the freedom to decorate your own space – whether you’ve just taken ownership of your first home, or you’re renting out an apartment from an understanding landlord. And while paint colors might be the first thing that springs to mind, making the space work to its full potential is not always as simple as it appears! Here are some basic dos and don’ts, suggestions for those on a tight budget, and clever tricks to make the most of your space!

Pick a Theme Before you Pick Paint Colors

Before you rush off to the paint store, take some time to think about the bigger picture. What mood or feeling do you want to create? Do you want individual rooms to stand out from each other, or would you like a common element to run right through the home? If you’re not sure quite what you want, then flipping through home décor magazines and clipping out designs you particularly like can be very enlightening. Websites like Pinterest can be great sources of inspiration too.

If your favorite color is blue, for example, but you want your home to have a warm, cozy feeling, then using blue as an accent color rather than over all the walls can give you the best of both worlds. Most professional interior designers will create a palette for the whole home before deciding on how to use it in each room.

Work Around the Furniture You Already Have

As much as playing with the aesthetics is fun, a home needs to be functional too. The best design in the world is going to get old very quickly if actually living in the home is difficult! This means you have to consider the placement of furniture before deciding where to place pictures, hang photos, place potted plants, etc. You also need sufficient floor space around furniture so you can access it easily. This includes sufficient room for wardrobe doors, desk drawers and windows to open. Want to play around with different options in a virtual environment? There’s an interior design app for that!

Create Unique Pieces on a Budget by Upcycling

Every year, thousands of people throw old furniture and appliances away because they don’t know how to fix them or just don’t have room for them anymore. A lot of the time, however, all that’s needed is a bit of imagination and a lick of paint to completely transform them. New furniture is very expensive, and your local online classifieds are probably crawling with bargains and even freebies – so take a look before you buy new. It’s more sustainable and kinder on the environment too. Even if an item needs appliance repairs or minor fixes, you can still make a huge saving, improve your living space, and acquire an item that has a story to tell too!

Don’t Follow Trends Just for The Sake of It

Trends, by their very nature, come and go with the seasons – but your home should work for you over the long term. By all means take inspiration from trends you like, but never design a room with colors, textures, patterns or furnishings you don’t like just because they’re ‘in’.

Create a Focal Point

By drawing your eye to the best feature of a room, you lift the entire space. The focal point should let you know at a glance what the function of the room is, and make it an inviting space for that activity. If you’ve got a beautiful fireplace or a lovely view out the window in the sitting room, then try and create a natural flow that encourages the visitor to focus on it.

Make the Best use of Natural Light

Rooms like studies, home offices and kitchens are much more pleasant to work in when they’re flooded with natural light, so avoid the use of dark curtains or blinds that can limit this. You can illuminate darker corners with the clever placement of a mirror or two to bounce light to where it’s needed most. If there’s not much natural light to work with in a particular room, then try and keep it as uncluttered and minimalist as possible to give the illusion of airiness. Another clever technique is to paint the ceiling in a lighter shade than the walls, which makes it look higher and bounces light back down too.

Go Bold!

Your home should be a reflection of your spirit, so if you’ve found a dramatic piece you love or want to do something a little crazy, then take the plunge and go for it! It’s your space, and your opinion is the only one that matters.

How Modern Architecture Affects Office Behaviour

How Modern Architecture Affects Office Behaviour

One of the biggest areas of workplace research over the past couple of decades focusing on how architecture and office design affects employee behaviour! Keep reading to find out how!

Photos Via: Living Etc

In the age of startups, growth hacking and the endless pursuit of maximum productivity, the psychological impact of architecture and interior design has become synonymous with modern offices. According to Haworth research, “architecture, interior design and furnishings provide a tangible way to support – or even change – the culture of an organisation” and there are thousands of other papers providing similar conclusions. More importantly, the world’s biggest brands are conducting their own research projects by redesigning their workspaces and building own work culture from the foundations up.

The influence of architecture and design upon behaviour

The idea that architecture and design impact human behaviour is nothing new. In 1924, Winston Churchill said: “There is no doubt whatever about the influence of architecture and structure upon human character and action. We make our buildings and afterwards they make us. They regulate the course of our lives.”

For centuries before this statement, architectural design had been used in churches, workhouses, prisons and government buildings to elicit certain moods and behaviours among the general public.

For modern businesses, the same philosophy is being used to create workspaces that inspire and empower people to do their jobs more effectively. Research has found natural light can help patients recover in hospital, children perform better in school and employees feel better about doing their job.

In many cases, it’s the small details that collectively make the biggest impact:

  • Natural lighting
  • Plants
  • Temperature control
  • Soundproofing
  • Comfortable furniture
  • Colour psychology
  • Use of materials
  • Tidiness
  • Sense of space

All of the winners of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016 Library Building Awards demonstrated an understanding of how using light, space and materials can drastically impact the way people behave in a public space.

Designing spaces for diverse people

There’s a lot to learn from the best designs of public spaces because they come with a lot of the same challenges involved with designing a workplace. You’re not designing a home for a bunch of like-minded people; you’re designing a space for a team of diverse individuals and trying to bring them together into a like-minded professional state.

As UK office design agency Office Principles puts it:

“The workplace is a very different place now than it was a few years ago. Not only in the profound effect that technology has had directly on the way that businesses are run – remote working, file sharing, virtual meeting rooms for example – but also in the demographic of a modern office. We now have a work force that spans four generations, and the influence of women in both running a company and consuming has never been higher.”

It’s not only the business environment that’s more dynamic than ever but also the workforces behind modern companies that are more diverse – and office designs need to cater for this. Open, creative and inclusive workspaces are a crucial part of bringing these diverse people together but individuals also need spaces to work by themselves when they have private tasks to complete.

Modern office designs provide a diverse range of working environments – such as formal meeting rooms, informal meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, private working booths, recreational spaces and client meeting rooms – to meet the needs of a diverse workforce as their professional requirements change throughout the day.

There’s no shortage of research into how architecture affects office behaviour, which means there’s no excuse for modern businesses to overlook the impact of office design upon their staff. On one side of the spectrum, there’s the use of design elements to reduce stress, create an inclusive environment and boost office morale.

At the other, you have design strategies that make it easier for staff to do their jobs and provide a variety of workspaces that help boost productivity across a wide range of tasks. Tackle office design from both of these angles and you should end up with a happier workforce that naturally gets more done and takes your business to the next level.

How to Care for Stamped Concrete Pool Deck

How to Care for Stamped Concrete Pool Deck

Do you have stamped concrete around your home? Here is the right way to care for it to keep it looking its best for years to come!

Photo: CustomCrete Inc.

If you chose to go for stamped concrete out of all the pool deck options, what an excellent choice! Not only does stamped concrete give off the look and feel of traditional elegance, it also provides traction and is an easy update that increases your home’s value. This keeps your pool deck from being a slipping hazard. Like other pool decking options, stamped concrete requires maintenance to keep it in excellent condition. Here’s a guide on how to care for your stamped concrete pool deck.

Keep it Clean

Occasionally sweep and wash off debris build-up. Stamped concrete doesn’t need to be constantly cleaned but it helps to avoid stains by spending some time off to give it a light scrubbing. Use a push broom and some mild detergent to scrub off dirt and stains. Rinse off the soap residue with a garden hose or pressure washes to keep it clean and pristine. Give your pool a break for a day to allow the deck to dry after cleaning.

Photo: CustomCrete Inc.

Remember to Reseal

A stamped concrete pool deck is a great pool deck upgrade, but it also needs regular maintenance. It requires resealing every 2-3 years. The sealant provides a barrier that protects it against damage and maintains its color. You can either do this yourself or have it done by a professional. Either way, neglecting to reseal will turn your pool deck against you. If you don’t want to cash out on costly restorations, keep that in mind!

Minor damages still call for repairs

If you’re thinking of passing up on repairing services for chipping and small cracks, now is the time to change your mind. You might think that these are just as minor as skin scratches but these can cause major problems when left unattended. Save yourself from costly major repairs by getting the minor ones done early.

Photo: Houzz

Ditch the harsh cleansers

There’s a reason why only gentle detergents are advised for cleaning stamped concrete. If you don’t want to see patchiness on the color of your pool deck, avoid acid-based cleansers. If you live in an area where it snows, avoid de-icing salts at all costs when trying to clear out snow. The compounds of de-icing salts can destabilize the surface of the stamped concrete.

How To Enjoy Your Garden During Winter Time

How To Enjoy Your Garden During Winter Time

Enjoy your home’s garden even in the cold winter months. Here are some easy and super affordable ideas on how on how to turn winter gardens into a reality.

Photo: AJF Design

When the cold winds come knocking, most of us take a step back from our outdoors and start to spend our leisure time on the inside instead. It’s easy to see why – the temperatures start dropping quickly and spending time outside comfortably gets increasingly more difficult – and even though it can leave you wishing for summer back, you don’t have to worry any longer – there are ways to fight the cold back. Out of the dozens of options out there, today we’ll be taking a look at only the very best steps you can take in order to enjoy our outdoors all year round! They’re simple to put into practice, inexpensive and mightily effective so without further ado, let’s begin.

Heat It Up

The most obvious and popular counter-measure – heat. By getting yourself a good looking and potent fire pit or a versatile patio heater, you’ll instantly be on the right track to beat the cold. While a simple patio heater is great and allows you to enjoy your outdoors more easily, a fire pit is another experience altogether. It combines the usefulness of a heat source with the comfortable look of real flames and packages it all up in a gorgeous looking decorative piece that’ll bring everyone together in a warm, cozy and happy atmosphere. Choosing the best fire pit is fairly easy and comes down to one major differentiating trait – is it a propane unit or a wood burning one? Depending on your personal preference and available space, the best choice will differ but you can rest assured that both of them will do the job extremely well. Heat sources like these are the pillar of any winter-proof garden or patio as it will be around them that every other piece such as chairs, sofas, tables and the likes, will stand in order to benefit from the blanket of warmth that is created.

Get Some Cover

Photo: Artemesia Landscape Architecture

Getting some sort of cover from the direct wind is a great upgrade to your garden and cold open-air and even some rain is essential in order to properly use your outdoors during autumn and winter. There are two ways to go about this – either go big or go small. Going small means setting up some windbreakers – either acrylic, glass or simply fabric – which generally is an inexpensive but effective way to protect yourself from the elements. Going big means setting up some large, permanent structures instead such as a pergola or a gazebo which effectively create a season-proof area, allowing you to comfortably use those spaces all year-round be it hot or cold. While windbreakers typically only cover you from the sides (even though you can pair them with a few sturdy wind-resistant umbrellas to get some top coverage), these larger structures give you protection from all sides which is much appreciated not only during the cold seasons to fight off wind and rain but also during the hot ones to get some cool shade. They’re also incredibly good looking, super impactful decorative pieces and last a lifetime but that’s just the cherry on top.

Get Nice and Comfy

Photo: Meridian Estate Greenhouses

With the other steps covering the structural basis, now you only need to take care of the details. When you’re sitting around the fire pit, joyously relaxing, having a nice conversation and sipping on some hot cocoa, there’s only one thing missing – a blanket. If you’re still feeling a little chilly despite all, a blanket will be the finishing touch of heat and comfort, making you impervious to the cold as well as feeling fantastic. There are other little steps that you can apply to create a warmer, more comfortable aura such as placing a couple of rugs outdoors, a set of comfy pillows and even a couple of warm lights as well, all of which work together to create a real sense of hearth and true comfort that not even the harsh elements can disturb.

Bonus tip

Drinking a hot beverage is a classic and surprisingly effective way to warm up. Keep a hot pot of coffee, tea or cocoa nearby and sip away while you relax! Enjoying your outdoors during the colder months is a bit trickier but just as fun, if not more, than during the hot ones. The comfy ambiance, warm flames and cozy conversations are quite unique and make for excellent, long lasting memories so don’t hesitate and let the cold win again this year – roll up your sleeves and fight back by following the 3 simple steps shown above!

DIY Tips to Improve Your Home’s Interior

DIY Tips to Improve Your Home’s Interior

When it comes to getting a house ready to sell, improvements don’t have to break the bank. Simple DIY improvements will help you sell your house for more money. In fact, sometimes they can save sellers money throughout the selling process. Below, you’ll find some of the best ways to increase home value without spending a lot of dough!

Photo: Oh Beauty Interiors

Get started

One of the best things you can do to get the most out of a home’s value is hire a real estate agent. The National Association of Realtors found that the typical home sold by owners without an agent sold for $59,000 less than those sold using a professional.

A trained agent can help you correct any issues with your home that might raise eyebrows with potential buyers — before it goes on the market. He or she can also steer you away from any time-consuming projects that won’t get the desired return on investment. Agents also work closely with home inspectors, whose approval you’ll likely need to finalize the sale. They can help you figure out which improvements will absolutely have to be done.

There are seven major things that a home inspector will look for:

  1. Water damage — average cost: $2,588 to fix
  2. Structural issues — average cost: $4,005 to fix
  3. Roof damage — average cost: $775 to repair, or $6,725 to $9,000 to replace
  4. Damaged electrical system — average cost: $160-$500 to fix
  5. Plumbing problems — average cost: $1,038 to fix
  6. Insect and pest infestation — average cost: $172 to fix
  7. HVAC System issues — average cost: $163-$528 to replace

Staying proactive on these functional repairs can save you money in the long run. For example, hiring someone to look at and clean your crawl space might cost you somewhere between $500-$700, however, an inspection report-recommended cleanup might cost you more than $6,000.

Photo: Ponciano Design

Declutter, clean and stage

Declutter, clean and stage should be your mantra as you home prep room by room. The most important part of preparing a home for sale is removing the you from the home. You want potential homebuyers to be able to envision themselves living in your home, and having all your knick-knacks strewn about isn’t going to get the job done. So, remove all of the personal items you can. Then give your home a good deep clean. For a clearer picture of what that entails, including the supplies you’ll need, check out this home prep plan.

Photo: Ponciano Design

Focus on the kitchen

One of the biggest focal points for potential buyers is the kitchen. But don’t make plans for a full kitchen renovation just yet. Full kitchens renovations actually have some of the worst return on investment statistics. Remodeling Magazine’s 2017 Cost Vs. Value report found that a mid range kitchen remodel cost exceeds its resale value by more than $21,000, and that number more than doubles in an upscale remodel.

Instead of doing a full renovation, focus on these smaller updates:

  • Clean
  • Organize your pantry
  • Use Murphy Oil Soap and hot water to all your cabinets
  • Polish cabinets with Howard Feed-In-Wax
  • Tighten all hinges
  • Clean grout and tiles with an all-purpose cleaner like Soft Scrub
  • Make sinks and hardware shine
  • Deep clean your stove
  • Paint kitchen walls
  • Update light fixtures and bulbs
  • Get new hardware for cabinets and doors
  • Make the countertops look new
  • Switch out the appliances

Photo: Deane Inc

Make cheap upgrades

Two of the best (and cheapest) upgrades you can make to your home are painting and upgrading the flooring. An interior do-it-yourself paint job will cost you around $200-$300 per room. First, decide which rooms are in need of a new look. Ideally, you’d want to remove loud colors because they inhibit buyers from seeing themselves living in the home. Think blank canvas. Then, choose a nice neutral palate, as those hues bring coziness and minimalism to mind. Sherwin Williams’ Sincerity palette is pleasing to the eye. Then inspect your flooring. One of the best investments you can make is in high-grade carpet or hard-surface flooring. If reflooring the entire house isn’t possible, hardwood or laminate the living areas such as the living room and dining room. Stick to the same finish throughout the home.

There are plenty of DIY videos on YouTube to help you through the process, or if you decide to hire someone, the company you purchase the flooring from will likely offer installation services that will be cheaper than hiring a contractor. When it’s all said and done, these improvements will make your home pleasing to potential buyers and help you save money.