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.

How to transform your child’s room into a princess paradise

Every princess needs a palace, but sometimes they have to just settle for a bedroom. But if your child does have a princess complex, is obsessed with all things Disney, and will frankly wear any shade as long as it is pink, then you might just need to turn that staid bedroom into something resembling a princess paradise. This can be done with a few choice accessories, some savvy furniture ideas and a little bit of imagination.

 

The Bed

A white bedstead works well for a princess bedroom, especially if you are able to use your DIY skills to erect some sort of canopy above the bed that could be topped with a crown or tiara. If (like me as a child) you have two princesses who have to share a room, the good news is that many online companies have a great selection of children’s bunk beds that offer more than just practical design. With white frames, carved headboards and pretty shaped spindles, these beds show that bunk beds do not have to scrimp on the pretty!

A little DIY

The furniture you already have can be revitalised with a touch of paint and some clever stencils. Painting a wardrobe white, and then adding a magic mirror stencil could be a really lovely and special touch, whilst stencils can also be used to create a feature wall, or a princess style border. The great thing is that stencils can be really easy to apply, and they don’t break the bank either.

 

Colour Schemes

Pink is obviously the first colour that comes to mind when it comes to creating an environment fit for a princess, but it doesn’t have to be the only choice. The smash hit film ‘Frozen’ showed that not all princesses wear Pink, making a glamorous icy shade of blue a great choice for an slightly older princess. Belle style yellow can also make a wonderfully sunny run, great for princesses who already have minds of their own.

Accessories

This is where you can really enjoy yourself and let your inner interior designer take over. A  chandelier is the perfect shimmering form of light for a princess bedroom, and makes a perfect statement piece to add to any room. Soft and fluffy cushions, mixed with a few jewelled and sequined ones look lovely scattered on a bed. Anything that screams opulence works well, with velvet being another great fabric to tie in with your design. You can still pick up 1970s style velour bedroom chairs quite cheaply in antique and junk shops and these look great in a princess bedroom. The great news is that, once again, many of the accessories that will work well can be picked up quite cheaply in places like Primark and Wilkinsons. You could also add a few of the ubicquitous Unicorn accessories that seem to be everywhere this Autumn.

With a little bit of work, a small injection of cash and a whole lot of imagination, you can create a room that your princess will be proud to call a Kingdom.

 

Stunning Storage Solutions From Lumino

Increasingly we want our homes to be full of products that can do more than one job. Space is at a premium, so anything that looks like one thing, but can do another job is always something to be impressed with. Lumino, who specialise in Illuminated bathroom cabinets have long since realised that their products can be multi purpose and multi functional. One example of this is their bathroom cabinet with shaver socket , that can be used for storage, as a vanity mirror, and also for shaving too.
Lumino’s bathroom mirrors and cabinets have lots of features which make them both a practical item and yet something that adds a tough of luxury to your bathroom. A key product is the sleek LED illuminated cabinet. All Lumino’s LED illuminated cabinets feature energy efficient lights and come in a variety of styles to suit any contemporary bathroom. These can dramatically transform a dark and small sized room into a larger and more welcoming space. Easy installation with no re-wiring needed.
As well as the lighting, which can always be a good feature if your room is a little on the dark side, the Lumino mirrors also have the demister feature. Bathroom mirrors tend to mist up very quickly due to condensation from hot baths and showers. This can waste valuable time in the morning if you are trying to get ready in a hurry. The demister feature puts a stop to all this, You no longer need to clear the mist away using your hand  which can leave unsightly marks and can be difficult to remove. Lumino’s range of beautiful bathroom cabinets even include innovative and stylish features such as motion sensors to help give your bathroom that added touch of luxury.
A beautiful mirror can add light and the appearance of space to a small room. Lumino mirrors also add the appeal of the most luxurious of hotels. Definitely something that could completely change a room.