A Cosy Home For Christmas

I am a real sucker for the Channel 5 Christmas B movies, the sort that star people like Hayley Duff and Nicolette Sheridan and are set in places where they have crisp, deep snow, acres of Christmas lights and the biggest trees you ever did see.

I’ve always loved these films and I think part of the reason for this is to do with the places where the characters live. They always exude cosy ‘Christmasness’, with roaring fires, huge sofa, windows with shutters and festive/alpine touches.

If this is your idea of decor heaven, read on to find how you can add your own cosy touches to your home this winter.

Adding Tier on Tier Window Shutters

Beautiful tier on tier window blinds not only add extra warmth to a room, but they look cosy and festive too. Wooden shutter blinds give your house a Nordic touch, and if you look at the range from Thomas Sanderson you get a design that is handcrafted and traditional looking.

Cushions, Lots of Cushions

Have you ever noticed just how many plump cushions festoon the sofas and chairs in Christmas movies?  Every sofa just looks like you would sink into it and not want to ever get up again.

Whether you decide to opt for plain and simple cushions that you can use all year around, or whether you go for a few seasonal options, it has to be said that cushions totally equal cosiness.

A wreath for the mantlepiece

All good Christmas films have a festive wreath on the fireplace that is a real statement piece. Home Alone had a wreath and stockings hanging above the fire, whilst even the minimalist style of the LA home in The Holiday had a festive wreath – it’s one thing a cosy festive home just has to have. Real greenery works best and can add a beautiful festive scent to your home too, but there are some really stunning artificial mantle wreaths, and many have twinkly lights that add to the magical Christmas aura.

A cosy throw

Your can transform your usual sofa into a festive version of your sofa with the addition of a cosy Christmas throw. These look and feel soft and comfy and cost very little, you can usually pick them up for less than £10 from stores like Matalan, Asda and Tesco. The throw can be worn over the top of the sofa, or thrown over the arm of a chair, and can simply be folded away once Christmas has gone.

Are you adding any seasonal touches to your home this Christmas?

Your Luxurious Bathroom – Finishing Touches

On Monday I wrote a post about how even the smallest bathroom could be transformed into a luxurious space with the addition of a few choice pieces of furniture. Today I am continuing with the bathroom theme and talking about those finishing touches that will leave your room feeling finished and polished.

Here are a few other things that need to be considered when it comes to your perfect, tranquil space.

Storage

When you create your beautiful space it is so easy to forget the practical issues that the room might have. Like, for instance, does it have any storage spaces. There is nothing that spoils the look of a room quite so much as bottles of bubble bath that sit on the side of the bath. Put them away people. Glass shelves look so attractive and also help to give the illusion of space, whilst displaying your lotions and potions in such a way as to make a feature of them. They will keep your bathroom looking neat and tidy, and so stylish as a result.

Your Shower Curtain

Shower curtains used to be so dull and boring – one block colour, just a practical but dull necessity. Not anymore. These days your shower curtains can be another reflection of your personality, with a theme and design that really shows off your taste. So, if you’re idea of a perfect place is the beach, you can have a beach themed curtain. Sex and the City fan still hankering for the return of Carrie and the girls? How about a Manhattan night themed curtain. Opt for an extra long shower curtain to avoid filling your bathroom floor with pools of water – these can also be used for roll top stand alone baths too.

A light up Shaving Mirror

This is one bathroom item that my husband claims you cannot not have in a bathroom. A magnifying shaving mirror can, of course, also double up as a make up mirror. The good news is that a light up, magnifying shaving mirror takes up hardly any space at all (they often sit on window ledges) and can be picked up at bargain prices at this time of the year, Boots have a particularly good one that is often the Star Buy and is well worth a look.

Bathrobes

Some people keep these in the bedroom, but I think a hook on the back of the bathroom door is where your bathrobe should be kept. Think of the classiest hotels that you have stayed in over the years, and it is a good guess that a white fluffy bathrobe would’ve been a feature. Look at stores like John Lewis and Debenhams for a good quality robe in cotton waffle or Turkish cotton, or you could check out Zara Home. who have a great robe for less than £20 in their mid season sale.

 

 

 

 

Making Your Kitchen Cosy This Winter

The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and temperatures have definitely dropped. Yes, Winter is almost upon us. Brrrr.

If you’re are planning a new kitchen, then you might well have spent a lot of time pondering the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and the appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly. You might have even started to think about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen – particularly during the winter months – is often not given nearly enough thought.

How you heat your kitchen, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating, your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but also how you design the room from its inception. Kitchens are often the hub of the family home, used for dining, chatting, standing around and drinking coffee, but none of this will happen if the room is cold when the oven is off.

BACK TO BASICS

The key to a heating system that works efficiently is a good boiler. When you’re planning your kitchen design, it might be worth factoring in a new boiler rather than repairing it if yours is more than 15 years old as they’re not nearly as energy efficient as new models. Updating an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler could reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency. Also, replacing a boiler could free up room for more cupboards or worktops and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler.

CHOOSING YOUR TYPE

  • Radiators

For many years, central heating systems running a series of radiators have been the heating of choice. But although most homes already have these in place, you can update them from dated 1970s flat panel models to one of the many stunning styles on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus. This can totally update your room, or can tie in with your period features.  For modern kitchens look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in it’s look like Bisque’s Classic range, which echoes Edwardian shapes.

If you’re particularly eco-minded then aluminium models are a good option, as they heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators, which will save both time and energy.

One thing you should do if considering radiators is ensure you have just the right amount to heat the room. There are aplenty of online calculators to help you do this – just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.  Also look at the size of your rad so it doesn’t swamp your room.

  • Underfloor heating

A great option if your kitchen is being designed from the floor up; underfloor heating gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.

Depending on what type of heating you opt for, it can be used under most types of flooring, including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest, but a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles are almost always a perfect fit with underfloor heating.

There are two options, electric and wet systems. Electric flooring is easier to fit, being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor, just check with your builder first. Wet systems require more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds.

One of the biggest benefits of underfloor heating is that you don’t have to give over valuable wall space to radiators, meaning you can often include more cabinets for additional space and bespoke storage solutions. This is great news if you are struggling for space. It is also vital to have your kitchen design finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring, as it would be an absolute waste to heat built-in cupboards, or under appliances. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in but also where to place the controls on the walls. Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning.

  • Cast-iron ranges

While an ‘always-on’ Aga is often the traditional choice in farmhouse designs and looks very attractive and rustic, it will provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning but it can’t run a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators.

  • Go mobile

Finally, consider investing in an app-controlled heating system such as Hive or Nest so you can switch on your heating, using your phone, wherever and whenever you feel the need with great ease.