Adding Light To Your Home

Whether you are showcasing your home in order to sell it, looking to increase the sell on value, or just improving the look and style to improve your quality of life, adding light to your home is always a good, positive thing. Dark and dreary rooms can not only leave your home looking in a less than perfect light, they can also affect your mood and productivity.In this post I am going to be looking at some of the ways you can improve the quality of light in your home, both through adding natural light, and through cheats that just make rooms seem brighter.

Lantern Roofs

Lantern roofs are a brilliant way to help light flood into your home. They can be added to any room of structure that has a flat roof, and are commonly used on conservatories, but can also work on ground floor extensions to create a version of a summer house in your home. Lantern roofs may add all that light, but you needn’t be worried about them bringing in extra cold, nor unwanted outside noise. Most are made from advanced double glazing which keeps out both cold and noise and makes them energy efficient. They look amazing, adding a real architectural feature to your home, and certainly add the light you were looking for.

Adding a Conservatory

Any size of conservatory can add a light, airy space to your home. A conservatory could be great as a playroom that leads straight onto the garden, or a dining/entertainment space which makes the most of natural light. Conservatories can be a way of creating space that you need for a growing family, and even if space is tight, i.e. on a terraced house, you might be able to create a utility space that may make your current kitchen feel more spacious.

Change your windows

Are your windows giving you the maximum amount of light? When I moved into my home, our front reception room , which we intended to use as a dining room, had a small bay window. This was fine in terms of giving me a large space to display a vase and picture frames, but not so good in the amount of light it allowed into the room. We decided to improve this by changing the bay to a large sash picture window. The change was unbelievable, with the room now flooded with natural light that now makes it one of our favourite rooms, particularly as the room is self facing. You need to look carefully at your current windows. It may be a simple change that can improve the whole light and ambience of a whole room.

Choose Your Colours Wisely

When it comes to decorating, the colours you choose could make a lot of difference when it comes to the mood and brightness of a room. Recently dark coloured accent walls have become a trend, but these do darken the look of a room, although they can look very stylish. Neutral shades of cream, white, magnolia and beige can not only be a blank canvas, but they are light and airy, so if you do opt for the accent wall, make sure it is balanced by lighter shades.

Darker furniture, including sofas and chairs, and anything in dark wood, also needs to be balanced. Think of all those Victorian sittting rooms filled with dark furniture and heavy chintz fabrics, and you can see why soft, floaty cushions, light coloured blinds and bright coloured prints are essential if the larger pieces of furniture edge towards the darker side. Another great feature to have is a large mirror, this will not only give the illusion of light, but one of space as well.

Check out your lightbulbs

Many people have switched to energy saving bulbs in recent years, hoping to save on bills and help the environment, but there have also been complaints about the dimness of the light that these can give off. We have recently switched to LED bulbs as an alternative. These are not only energy saving (thus helping to save on those ever rising bills) and longer lasting, not needing to be changed quite as often, but they also create an instant brightness.

If you want the best of both worlds, a light that is instantly bright, but can also be dimmed, maybe in a children’s room, or the living room where you want a softer light in the evening, you can also get dimmer versions of the LED light.

What measures have you used to improve the light in your homw?

Open Or Broken-Plan? A New Design Trend

Multi-functional rooms have been popular for a long time, they allow you to use your space in a way that suits you, and this seems to be a practical option that appeals. Many of these rooms are open plan. However, once we have opened up our homes from many small rooms to one big one, this can cause problems. One room zoned into specific areas for cooking, dining and relaxing appears to be a dream, but is the reality somewhat different? Together with Harvey Jones, fitters of bespoke fitted kitchens, lets take a look at this new kitchen trend.

Living in open-plan spaces

When leading a sociable lifestyle, entertaining guests can be difficult if you are short of space. This is why open-plan areas can seem like such a convenient solution. For multi-functional rooms that include a kitchen, the benefits are clear. It prevents the cook from feeling isolated for a start, allowing them to feel part of the conversation or action. A bespoke kitchen scheme that includes an island or peninsula that looks out onto the rest of the space means that cooking and preparing food need no longer be a solitary process.

Going open plan is also great if you have children. From toddlers playing to teens doing their homework, for busy families a space that performs several functions allows the family to spend time together even when they’re performing many different tasks.

House sizes are decreasing year on year, and that’s why an open-plan kitchen/diner can seem like a good alternative to a separate dining room that may take up too much space. A kitchen/diner can be a good way of maximising space and design. However, you do have to be careful when planning a multi-functional room,  do all the zones work well together? You must also recognize and accept that this kind of layout will reduce privacy, particularly if you’re opening up the whole of your downstairs. Having nowhere quiet to retire while the kids watch TV or play can become a problem. Noise from appliances might disturb you or that clearly evident pile of washing-up could nag at you as you sit down for an evening of TV or a quiet read. Fewer walls also mean less space to put furniture, which can lead to a room that’s crammed around the walls or jumbled in the centre. And don’t forget those food smells that will now clog all spaces.

How can design move on from open-plan living?

As a new trend for 2018, broken-plan living can set the new precedent in interior design trends, replacing open plan in the future. The idea is to retain all the things you love about open-plan – particularly the light and openness – while at the same time zoning the space to allow for more privacy should you need it. Rather than doing this with colours and textures as you would in a true open-plan arrangements, broken-plan employs structural elements such as half-walls, dividing shelves, changing levels, walls of glass and even mezzanines to delineate and formalise areas for different uses.

How does this trend look?

By cordoning off certain areas to create new spaces, ‘walls’ can be created by using boxed shelving and other furniture to define spaces that weren’t previously there in the room. Of course, you don’t want to regress back to small poky rooms, so don’t cram the shelves full of books – instead, artfully arrange a few favourite pieces to signal the change between one room and another and leave some of the shelves open to allow light to freely cascade from one zone to another. If you’re just starting your project, consider just knocking down half a wall and leaving the top open, allowing sight-lines through but at the same time giving you more wall space to play with.

As well as this trend, Crittall-style windows have also become a popular interior design trend. Metal framed windows and sometimes doors traditionally used in industrial spaces or as exterior walls onto gardens have celebrity fans such as TV presenter and architect George Clarke, who celebrates their ability to cleverly divide an internal space without shutting off one room totally from another.

Broken-plan spaces can accommodate changing floor and ceiling heights – helping to bring spaces together that usually wouldn’t work as an open plan space. With broken-plan living, the options are unlimited when it comes to your interior design space.

Homes And Interiors: Alternatives To Carpet

Excuse the pun, but where do you stand when it comes to carpet in the home? Do you still have it in your living room, or, like me, is it now banished to bedrooms only? (Please don’t say you have it in your bathroom, perish the thought.) In the 60s, 70s and 80s carpet was a status symbol as well as a key home furnishing, with a thick shagpile being the height of luxury, something to sink your feet into.

But now there are many different kinds of flooring that are more suited to 21st century living, where we want the practicality of a floor that is easy to clean, especially if we have children or pets. We want it to match our decor, even if this is something we change often, and we want it to have a modern, stylish look, often aiming for a neutral, minimalist edge.

So what alternatives are there to carpet?

Vinyl Floor Tiles

Karndean vinyl flooring is a luxurious, durable choice for flooring in many different rooms including living rooms, hallways, bathrooms and your home office. Karndean is a popular choice because it looks stylish and comes in a wide range of finishes, tones and textures that can give your floor the appearance of a real wood or stone floor, but without the dust or coldness that can come with the real thing,

Karndean floors often come with a guarantee that ranges from 15-25 years so as well as looking good, you also get the piece of mind that comes with knowing your floor is protected.

Parquet Flooring

Parquet flooring is a type of wood flooring made from small blocks or strips of wood. It is a flooring that was often used in civic buildings and school halls, but has now become highly sort after for the stylish look that is also hard wearing. Parquet floor can be expensive but you can find reclaimed floors at reclamation yards and antique centres.

This is my favourite sort of floor, beautiful and stylish and perfect for hallways.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate has become the most popular type of artificial flooring, and also one of the most reasonably priced. It is a hard wearing option, this makes it a good choice for families, and is a type of flooring that is fairly easy to lay, meaning those with a grasp of DIY can fit the floor themselves.

Laminate can come in the form of a wooden look floor, or a tiled floor, and the ease with which it can be cleaned is clearly one of its better selling points. It can work in pretty much every room in your home, from bathrooms to bedrooms, and is a most popular choice for living rooms.

What sort of floor do you prefer in your home?