Styling a Contemporary Kitchen

Creating a chic and contemporary kitchen is a simple and effective way to set a sophisticated tone for your home. There is so much choice when it comes to modern kitchen cabinetry, so how do you create the perfect clutter-free room for relaxing and entertaining?

Contemporary worktops

Modern cabinetry is all about uncomplicated colours. Bright white worktops are too ‘clinical’ for some people, but for others, they’re a simple and effective way to create an ultra-modern kitchen for family and guests to enjoy! But colour is certainly having a moment, consistent colours and patterns of the latest composites are perfect for contemporary kitchens, and choice for these have taken off over the past few years to include everything from brilliant white to zingy orange. One way to get colour into your kitchen units is by opting for a  hand-painted kitchen, this is a type of finish that primes cabinets and doors before painting them by hand in the desired style. These are great because you can choose from a wide variety of style including traditional, contemporary, weathered, sleek and cottage.

Kitchen cabinets and their door fronts can be hand-painted if they are made from MDF, bare, waxed, or lacquered wood as well as acrylic, melamine and foil-wrapped laminate.

Perfect order

We all dream of having a well-organised kitchen. So thankfully, modern kitchen designs revolve around the ‘uncluttered look’ that helps us stay calm and cool as we cook. For most of us, the main problem in keeping our kitchens pristine is our work surfaces. While we all might want that statement — and often used — KitchenAid mixer on show, that doesn’t necessarily work with all the other kitchen paraphernalia we collect over time. Hiding clutter in open-plan kitchens is essential. So, plan plenty of storage areas such as deep pan drawers and tambour units to keep small appliances, crockery and china out of sight. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards with no handles can hide a multitude of sins. So, if you have space, they’re a good investment. But remember, for your kitchen to work efficiently, you need easy access to appliances. Place pan drawers by ovens, larders close to prep areas, and china close to the dishwasher.

Crisp-clear lines

How do you get that sleek, aerodynamic look that creates a stand-out, modern kitchen? The best way is with handle-free cabinets. The in-frame construction of kitchen cabinet doors with no handles is both modern and extremely durable, which gives this design feature an edge on others. In smaller kitchen spaces, the absence of handles helps to make a room feel bigger, while in a kitchen with lots of cabinetry, it prevents an overload of steel handles. If you don’t want to commit to all handle-less doors, then you can integrate a run of classic cabinets a contemporary edge by dressing them with sleek bar handles. For an all over modern effect, add modern built-in appliances and top with cool composite worktops. Or, mix and match your kitchen style by incorporating flat-fronted wall cabinets.

Kitchen utensils

Creating a modern kitchen is simple once you get the basics right. But if it’s all about minimalism and clean lines, what do you do about your cooking appliances? Today, there are plenty of contemporary-looking utensils and gadgets for you to choose from that give a complementary look to your modern kitchen. For example; if you have your heart set on a range cooker, choose one of the more modern steel models from Smeg, Mercury or Rangemaster. Integrate as many kitchen appliances as you want, and if possible, place items such as washing machines and tumble dryers in utility rooms. Ensure your fridge and freezer are stored behind closed doors, then keep sightlines clear by installing below-cabinet, in-ceiling or pop-up extractors. Investing in built-in cooking appliances with a sleek, glass zoned induction hob is another good move for a contemporary kitchen. Give the ideal finishing touch with a few modern-day luxuries — such as a boiling water tap, pop-up power points and cool lighting!

Advice for a contemporary kitchen:

  • Vary your levels

A tall breakfast bar next to a lower-lying island is great for providing a relaxed but modern-looking place to eat in your contemporary kitchen. You can create several levels on a peninsula with a raised area to hide the washing-up from dinner guests, or even get a stool that sits just below your breakfast bar to add an extra level to your kitchen and maximise the seating area available.

  • Simple and effective surfaces

A quick way to keep your design modern is to opt for glass or composite for your splashback which you can get from Simply Plastics. Laying large-format floor tiles and securing them with a matching grout gives the much-loved modern look, too.

  • Customise your worktops

Install very thin worktops that help your units look more like furniture. Wrap a composite work surface in a contrasting colour, or place material around the cabinetry on your kitchen islands and at the end of runs.

  • Brighten up your modern kitchen

If you played it safe until now, get creative with your choice of kitchen lighting. Plinth lights almost make base units look like they are floating above the floor, while installing cool LED strips to the interior of wall cabinets and shelves work to highlight favourite kitchen accessories in a contemporary fashion.

Going for a sleek and contemporary kitchen style with neat worktops and modern appliances not only makes your house look amazing, but it also keeps your room free of clutter giving you much more room to cook, relax and entertain!

A guide to choosing a new sofa

It seems so simple to say you are going to get a new sofa. A simple matter of choosing something you like, ordering it and then sitting back and relaxing until it comes. Well, as someone who once made a mistake with the sofa that I ordered, and then had to cancel and choose again, I can say that it is not as easy as all that. There are things to consider to make sure the choice is one that suits your house, and suits your family, and will last you for some years.

Things to consider when choosing a sofa

Style.

When you choose a new sofa it needs to fit with the style of the room. If your house has a old-world feel you may want to go with something like a Chesterfield sofa, a classic design that suits living rooms with dark wood and vintage style elegance. More modern settings may suit slouchy leather styles, more relaxed and less structured in their design. If you choose a style that is out of touch with the rest of your room, this was be jarring and just won’t look right. You also need to think about the colours and fabrics that you opt for. Leather can look modern and minimalist, especially if chosen in a neutral shade or classic black. Fabric sofas can be perfect if your style is chintzy with a slightly vintage feel. Bright colours can make your sofa a focal point of your room, giving your room a theme, particularly if the rest of your decor style is minimal. If you love Art Deco style, which has certainly grown in popularity this year, look at a tan or an antique gold velvet sofa with legs for a retro look. Check out interior design magazines and Pinterest pages for inspiration.

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Who lives in your house?

The style of sofa and chairs you choose are definitely influenced by the people (and pets) who love in your house. Do you have children? Or pets? If the answer is yes to either of these questions, then white or cream fabric may not be the best choice for your sofa, frankly it won’t stay that colour for long. A new sofa has to be a practical choice too, and a wipe clean leather may work better with young children than something that will show every stain and spill. How much you spend on a sofa may be affected by whether you feel it will be a stop gap until your children get older, or an investment piece that should last for years. Another factor could be the actual size of the sofa, whether it is a two or three seater, whether you might opt for a corner sofa, or a pouf as an extra seating option. Your family must always be at the centre of your thoughts when choosing a new suite.

Size Matters.

But size is also important in other ways. When you choose your sofa you need to look at the dimensions of the room it is going to live in. Large sofa’s with corner units are great for big living rooms, but put these in a smaller room and the effect will be ruined and the room will look swamped.  Many three piece suites now come with two sofa’s – can your room take this much furniture? Will you be able to move around the room once the furniture is all in? Size really does matter when it comes to furniture, less is more and can make your room seem far more spacious than if you have literally shoe horned everything into a room.

Order A Sofa Swatch

Buying a new sofa is a big expense so you need to make sure your choice is right, especially if you are not planning to redecorate the whole of your living room. One way that you can test out your choice is to order a sofa swatch so you can test out how the fabric and colour will look with your current furniture. Most online stores allow you this option and this is a great way to check out your design ideas before you commit to buy. It may also help you to choose some accessories for your new sofa before it arrives.

 

When do you need it for?

Most sofa’s have to be ordered, and then there is a waiting period before it is delivered.  This is something you really need to remember if you need your sofa by a certain date. Many people order a new sofa in the Autumn that they want to be in place in time for Christmas, as this is a busier time of year it may pay to order earlier to avoid disappointment.

Do you have any tips for choosing a sofa? What is your preferred style of sofa – something traditional, or something with a more modern feel?

 

How To Get Back Into Shape After Birth

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During pregnancy, you can crave all kinds of foods, sometimes in odd combinations. There are other changes too, all because of a significant surge in hormones.

Women can feel pressured to snap back into shape as soon after birth as possible. We see pictures of post-partum celebrities who within days of giving birth seem to have lost every ounce of ‘baby weight’ they gained.

Articles on celebrity diets and tips on post-pregnancy weight loss litter the pages of women’s magazines.

Start when you are pregnant

It is perfectly natural to gain weight during pregnancy. And we all do it differently. Some women seem to blossom and balloon, whilst other pregnant ladies maintain their lithe shape and enjoy a pert bump.

Some of us gain weight right at the start, others gain it in the final trimester… we could go on but the point is this, just as you probably wouldn’t eat a family sized chocolate cake for breakfast when you are not pregnant, throwing caution to the wind and eating what you want when pregnant is not a wise choice.

Maintain the healthy lifestyle you followed pre-pregnancy but enjoy the odd treat or two.

A helping hand from nature

Once the baby is born, you can drop between 11 and 13lbs of weight instantly. Breastfeeding also helps with the calorie control as feeding your baby uses up over 800 calories a day.

Rest and recuperation is essential but once you have the all clear from the midwife, get back to walking or your gym routine, or whatever exercise you did pre-pregnancy – and start gently.

Rest and sleep

Babies don’t have a set sleep pattern, although others may boast that their little one is sleeping through the night. The point is, their sleep cycle changes and as mum, when baby sleeps, you need to be resting or sleeping too.

Odd sleep patterns cause chaos with the metabolism, making shifting baby weight a little tough. Rest and sleep when you can.

Look at Exercise – enlist a personal trainer

A personal trainer used to be the confines of the rich, but these days most gyms allow you to work one to one with a trainer in order to establish an exercise plan that is perfect for you and your body needs. A personal exercise plan can work within your limitations, can address your personal needs, and can help you to lose weight and get in shape in your own time.

Make sure your personal trainer has the best personal trainer certification that will ensure you are getting the correct, safe advice when it comes to exercise plans – you do not want to be putting your body into any harm as you are getting fit and active again.

Nature’s weight loss remedies

Nature, as you would expect, has many helping hands when it comes to helping your body recuperate post-birth. Many of these remedies, however, are not suitable during pregnancy but once baby is here, why not try;

  • A dash of lime or lemon juice in water, sweetened with honey a couple of times a day can help to lose weight, especially if you have water retention
  • Green tea has excellent weight loss properties
  • Munch of negative calorie snacks such as celery, tomatoes and cucumbers

If you are breastfeeding, remember what you eat passes on to baby so don’t go overboard otherwise you will be battling colic!

Join other mums

Having a baby is an exciting, thrilling time but when reality sets in, you need the support and encouragement, as well as company of other mums. Getting out and about, being part of a group is excellent for focusing on other things other than your weight.

Calorie counting is the answer

You can sup as much green tea as you like but, if your calorie intake is way ahead of your calorie expenditure, shifting the extra lbs you have gained is not going to happen.

Calorie counting is boring, no doubt about it but, with all kinds of calorie counting and fitness apps available, it can be slightly more fun and easier to manage.

Changing attitude to food

You’ve enjoyed pregnancy and your little bundle of joy is here – and you need to get back into a healthy eating routine – and this not only means the food and drink you consume, but when you consume it.

During pregnancy, attitude to food does change. In late pregnancy, portion sizes would have been smaller because you felt ‘full’ and cumbersome with a full-term baby. Now that you can eat normally again, portion sizes increase. It is amazing how many not-so-good habits stay with us.

Eat well at breakfast, get back to eating fish three times a week and opt for lean cuts of meat again. Space your meals over the day so that your calorie intake is evenly spread.

In summary

Your post-pregnancy body can feel very different, certainly for the first few weeks or even months after giving birth. You need to give it chance to heal but you also need to be mindful of making changes that will help you get back into shape both physically and mentally so that you can look forward to the challenges of parenthood.