How to Get More Natural Light in your Home

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Natural light makes a huge difference to the overall energy and aesthetic of your home, as well as to your mood. You might think there’s nothing you can do without altering the structure of the building, but there’s actually several additions you can make which will make your home feel like a lighter and brighter place:

Window Treatments

Your choice of window treatment has the most influence on the amount of natural light in your home. Avoid heavier fabrics with lining, instead try opting for shades with easy mobility (such a cellular or pleated blinds) so you can lift them up and down when needed. You can also try sheer curtains, which are often made from translucent material – this allows you to have natural light in your home without compromising on privacy. Cafe curtains are another great option, as you can block out the bottom of your window whilst still letting in tons of natural light from the top.

Mirrors

One of the easiest changes you can make is to add more mirrors around your home. Mirrors reflect, so by placing them in strategic spots you can really create the illusion of additional light. You can also buy furniture that has glass or mirrored panels or accents if you don’t have space for a mirror.

Color Palette

Having a lighter color palette in your home can really do wonders for light. By painting your home in lighter shades, you can allow the sunlight to move more freely inside – think eggshell, blue, and light grays.

Change the Layout

You can make a big change by simply moving your furniture around. You might be surprised by how much light is being blocked by your floor plan, so try moving all items a few feet away from any source of natural light, including doors.

Make a Change

If you have a thick door letting no light in, look into replacing it with a door that has a window. This will open up the room a great deal.

What are the Best Window Treatments for Bay Windows?

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Bay windows are a beautiful addition to your home. They are a focal point for a room, letting in copious amounts of light, giving panoramic views, and creating the illusion of additional space. As they’re such an impactful part of a rooms decor, it can be difficult to figure out how to best dress the windows. Take look at some of these suggestions to make your bay window the best it can be:

Roman Shade

This type of shade is a beautiful frame for bay windows, providing a colorful accent and offering a little more privacy. A functional and stylish choice, you can afford to go bold with color or patterns on your Roman shades, as well as playing around with textures.

Enclosed Curtains

If your bay window comes with a seating area, you may want to enclose the area with curtains. Depending on the material of the curtain, you can use this window treatment to insulate the room and create a cozier atmosphere. Choose a thicker, possibly even blackout material in rich silks or embroidered cotton – especially if your bay window is in the bedroom.

Austrian Shades

Austrian shades are a bold choice, but if done in the right way they can really make a statement. In Austrian shades, the material is gathered into scallop when raised, giving a luxurious edge to your decor. Bay windows can handle the elaborate nature of this treatment, choose light silks that complement the colors in the rest of your decor and ensure they lift high enough so they don’t block out too much light.

Cellular Shades

Now onto a more contemporary style, cellular shades are great at blocking light and noise, as well as insulating the home. You also have a great deal of control as you can easily pull the shades up and down when needed.

Layering

No matter what type of treatment you choose, you should always consider layering.Using multiple treatments means you can meet both functional and aesthetic goals – for example, use cellular shades combined with drapes.

Types of Window Treatments

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The type of window treatment you choose can really impact the overall energy and atmosphere of a room’s decor. Not only that, your window treatment has practical applications – do you want to invite light in the room or block it out? Do you need sound insulation? Are you having a combination of blinds and decorative drapes? If you want blinds, what style, color, and material? There’s just so much choice available to you!

Shutters

A classic choice, shutters are sturdy, solid, and stable. They cover the frame of the window completely, comprising of most usually horizontal rails. Shutters come in a range of materials, (most usually wood for exterior) from glass to textured cloth. There are many beneficial qualities to this treatment, including sun, heat, and storm protection.

Cellular Shades

Cellular shades are a modern, improved version of the traditional shade. Thanks to their ergonomic design, they manage to insulate much more efficiently, and can block out light making them the ideal choice for the bedroom. The cons of this window treatment are its expense, difficulty in cleaning and light control, and its aesthetic.

Venetian Blinds

One of the most popular choices for window treatments, Venetian blinds comes in a huge array of prices, colors, designs, styles, and materials. They are great for controlling the amount of light  in a room, although they’re not as good at blocking out sound and temperature as other treatment options.

Curtains

Another extremely favored window treatments, curtains straddle both style and practicality with no problem at all. Of course, this is all dependant on your requirements – and your budget. Blackout curtains are a firm favorite for the bedroom, but you can also use drapes as an elegant addition to the interior of your home. There’s a huge array of curtain materials, so they vary in terms of  insulation, cleanliness, longevity, fire resistance, and noise absorption. Be sure to shop around and find the best fit for you.

Sheer Curtains

Also known as net curtains, this material stays in place over the window permanently. The purpose of sheer curtains is to provide a greater degree of privacy without compromising on light. As such, they tend to come in light shades of whites (eggshells, ivory etc.).

Cafe Curtains

Another option to dress up your widows whilst adding to your privacy, cafe curtains are popular choices for the kitchen or bathroom. They run along the top or bottom of the window along a single rod, meaning they still let in a great deal of light.

Cabinet Door Styles

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Choosing the style of your cabinet sets the whole tone of the room that contains it; it’s the main focal point in every bathroom and kitchen, drawing the eye and dictating the overall decor. By replacing (or even refurbing) your cabinet doors, you can reinvigorate a space and create a whole new look. So what styles are available to revamp your interior?

Shaker

The shaker cabinet is one of the most well-loved styles in the interior design world. It takes its inspiration from the simplistic and clean nature of its namesake, and comes in a wide variety of different materials. The most traditional choice is hardwood, but nowadays one can find shaker cabinets in composite woods and even aluminum. You might also opt to ‘dress’ your shaker up with an ornate handle or an interesting finish. Whatever your design decision, the great thing about a Shaker cabinet is that they complement pretty much any interior design – from contemporary to beach house.

Cathedral

Another classic choice is the cathedral cabinet, which feature a raised panel and decorative arch. This style is best suited for traditional, classic interiors (like farmhouse or French country) and looks best constructed out of hardwood or composites.

Beadboard

Beadboard is the perfect choice for shabby chic, nautical, or beach house interior. It’s formed of panel of wood, most famously in light oak or painted white for a vintage feel. This type of cabinet works really well if you want to create a distressed finish on your wood.

Mullion

This cabinet is characterized by its individual, often translucent or transparent panels of glass framed in wood – much like a window. Just like a window you can add leaded glass for decorative purposes. This style is great for adding space to a room, and lends itself well to gothic and country-style homes.

Slab

The best choice for those who want to keep their cabinets clean, sharp, and contemporary, the slab style matches well with contemporary and industrial interiors. It can be on the more expensive side, but it’s elegant flair is unmatched if you’re taste is thoroughly modern.

Best Material for Cabinets

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Cabinets for your bathroom and kitchen are most traditionally made with hardwood (oak, cherry, and ash for example) and there are many advantages to using this material, however it’s not the most affordable and there are other options available on the market. In fact, there are so many different material for cabinets nowadays that the modern homeowner has more choices than ever before!

Hardwood

Hardwood as long been seen as the prominent material for cabinets, but it can be an extremely expensive choice. In order to be more budget-friendly you can instead opt to have a thin layer of hardwood over a substrate.This brings the cost down considerably.

 

The type of hardwood you choose is completely up to you –  just remember it’s important to consider the grain, construction, and finish of the wood as well as the type. The most popular woods include: cherry, maple, oak, hickory, birch, ash, and pine. You should also consider the color of the wood – many woods come in different shades and you can stain them to fit the rest of your decor.

Wood Composite

Another option is to choose wood composite materials which don’t have the same shortcomings as wood (ie. more water resistant and less susceptible to warping). They are made in numerous different ways, but are basically engineered to be stronger (and cheaper). There are different levels of quality when it comes to  wood composite – plywood is generally considered the most desirable, followed by MDF and then particleboard. The great thing about wood composites is they can imitate the look and overall effect of hardwood without having to pay the large amount that comes with it.

Aluminum

If you are looking for a contemporary feel to your kitchen or bathroom, aluminum might be the material for you. It’s super sleek, modern, and strong, and unlike wood it’s not affected by moisture. You’re also not limited to silver/grey – it comes in many different shades. It doesn’t come in anywhere near the amount of style as wood/wood composites, but it’s worth looking into if you favor modern decor.

What is the Best Wood for Kitchen Cabinets

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The right wood for your kitchen cabinets is dependent on several different factors. You have to consider not only the aesthetic, but also the practicalities and of course the price. It’s advisable to look into a few different options as they each have their own benefits

Painted or Not Painted?

Cabinets are a hugely influential part of your kitchen or bathroom decor, dictating the style and being a major decorative focal point. They need to balance practical requirement (strength and water resistance) as well as being stylish. As such, they are usually a high ticket item in your redecorating budget – after all it’s easy enough to give your wall a lick of paint but not so to replace every cabinet in the kitchen.

So on the whole, which woods work best or the kitchen? Well first you have a big decision to make – do you want the cabinets to be painted or not? Will you want to in the future? That will almost certainly impact on the wood you should use. If you’re intending to paint your cabinets, you’ll need to ensure the surface of the material can be or even should be painted on. It’s often better to opt for tight-grained woods if this is the case.

For non-painted cabinets you can choose any type of hardwood you like, however in terms of durability cherry, maple, hickory,  ash, and oak are the professionals top picks. This is because these types of wood are scratch resistant and strong, making them worth the higher price. That’s not to say other types of hardwood can’t be used (walnut, mahogany, birch, and beech are all popular choices), it all depends on your preference and price expectations. You also need to look at the finish of the wood, as this will effect your choice too. If you want the hardwood look without some of the drawbacks, you might want to consider compound materials which are less susceptible to the weaknesses of traditional materials and may not cost as much.

What are Shaker Style Cabinets?

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Shaker style cabinets are one of the most popular choices for the kitchen. They’re characterized by their well-known five panel design which makes up the recognizable recessed center. The major draw of this type of cabinet is its ability to remain timeless; this means they complement many different types of interior styles making them both a fashionable and practical choice.

History

You might have guessed that this type of cabinet got its name from the familiar religious community, The Shakers. In fact, there’s a whole subsection of furniture inspired by Shakers – certainly something to consider if you’re looking to give your home a traditional and simple style. Shaker furniture was built with practicality, simplicity, and minimalism in mind, and the cabinets reflect this ethos. The whole idea was to use the minimum amount of material to the maximum effect, whilst also building something that lasts (hence why they would use strong woods in construction). The cabinets have since evolved to be more decorative, but the underlying design remains the same.

Modern Shaker Appeal

So how has the shaker cabinet been able to stand the test of time? Well it has a certain ability to transcend the fashionable fads thanks to its initial simplistic design. It’s no nonsense approach mirrors many modern trends, making it the perfect companion to  industrial and contemporary interiors. Shaker kitchens instill a sense of tradition which complements as opposed to clashes with the modern appliances or decor it sits alongside. But it’s not just modern styles that the Shaker cabinet can work with, thanks to its classic design it can just as easily fit with country, nautical, and traditional interiors. It’s pretty much the most adaptable of all cabinet types.

Another great feature of the Shaker cabinet is its a solid blank canvas ready to be bent to your will. You can keep it simple, or you can opt for a modern twist depending on your preference. Then there’s the material – iit’s offered in every material and finish imaginable to suit all budgets. In short, if you’re looking to marry adaptability and style, Shaker cabinets should be at the top of your list.

Best Cabinet Features Your Kitchen Needs

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Designing the kitchen of your dreams can be a fun process, we promise!  When it comes to the features of your cabinets, you don’t need to sacrifice your style for practicality. There are a multitude of thoughtfully designed additions which will make your life easier. Take a look at the following and find the features that best suit you and your kitchen:

Hidden Appliances

Appliances can make your kitchen appear unsightly and create a division in your overall design. Luckily this can be easily avoided by hiding them behind specially-designed cabinets. The door is carefully built into the cabinet, creating an illusion that makes a significant difference to your kitchen.

Trash Pull Out

In a much similar vein, why have your trash can on view when you can hide it? Remember to get a large enough size cabinet – the last thing you want is to have constantly overflowing trash!

Drawers

Drawers are not just limited to cutlery – nowadays having a variety of different sized drawers proves to be a super useful feature of any modern kitchen. Having several different sized drawers adds flexibility to your kitchen, as you can use them to hold anything from plates to pans and appliances. You also don’t have to squat down to see what is inside, you simply pull them out and everything is on show. One thing to be mindful of is where and how far the drawers come out to, check with your kitchen designers as they can advise on the best layout for your space.

Corner or Pull Out Cabinets

By having drawers that reach back into the depths of your kitchen or around corner, you’re making the most of your space and making your life easier.

Soft Close Hinges

Investing in soft close door hinges might not seem like an important addition, but once you install them you’ll wonder how you ever lived before. They eliminate the clattering and bashing of door closing, also meaning the contents move around less.

Types of Cabinets

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The type of cabinets you choose for your home has a huge effect on the overall decor of the kitchen or bathroom. They are the most visible part of the room and need to meet both aesthetic and practical needs. Luckily there are a huge range of cabinets available, from incredibly elaborate and decorative to simple and clean. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular:

Louvered

This type of cabinet is most recognizable thanks to its horizontal slats. The main advantage of these cabinets is they provide ventilation thanks to their shape, as well as adding a element of texture. Thank to their design they make a great choice for any area that need air, such as cabinets near radiators or dryers.

Flat

Flat cabinets are the last word in modernism. Sleek and stylish, they come in a wide array of laminates or wood with different finishes. They’re on the more affordable end of the budget, and work well with industrial and contemporary decor.

Shaker

A very popular cabinet choice, this classic design is suitable for a whole range of different budgets. The great thing about the shaker cabinet is it matches many different types of decor from modern to traditional, and comes in just about every material and color you can think of. Using a natural finish can really complement a classic, country kitchen.

Beadboard

A perfect cabinet for those who adore cottage chic, beadboard cabinets are a beautiful feature with a bright and informal feel. The center of this type of cabinet is made with individual panels which, although difficult to clean, look divine.

Inset

On the more expensive side of our scale, inset cabinets are lovingly made with longevity in mind. They fit very precisely in their frames, with minimals spacing and gaps in comparison to other cabinets. Insets come in range of colors and finishes, which add to the overall elegance of this classic design.

Distressed

Finally we come to distressed – a growing trend in the cabinet world. You can pick up this type of cabinet from many manufacturers, who rub the corners and gently sand away the finish of the doors and drawers to imitate a vintage aesthetic.

Developing a Color Palette

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Making a color palette helps immeasurably in the redecorating process. It gives you clarity and ensures your vision will work harmoniously, as well as ironing out any kinks early on. If you’ve never developed a color palette before, don’t worry as it’s an easy and fun technique that can be used for every type of style and room.

Start With Color Theory

A great way to begin, this is a psychological theory which suggests every color infers a different emotion. For example, orange implies warmth and optimism, purple imagination, brown nature and comfort, black sophistication. Find a full table of all colors and use them to help create the mood of the room.

Use a Color Wheel

Color wheels can help you match different shades together ensuring they all complement each other. This age old guide helps to create color schemes by logically matching literally every color under the rainbow. Experiment and see what feels right – you can find several websites online that do the hard work for you as there are many different avenues explore, such as monochromatic or analogous matches.

Add Neutrals

Neutral shades help to break up bolder and brighter colors, and they have to be chosen with just as much care and attention. Choose at least four, even if you have only one in mind – you might surprise yourself. Add more gray, black, or white to a neutral shade from a different effect.

Use Images

If you’re finding it hard to develop using just color, try finding images you like instead. Not just of decor but all manner of things including art pieces, nature, clothing – pretty much anything you can think of. A good tool for this is Pinterest.

Contrast

Contrast is another important element to play around with (think about white text on a black background as opposed to a light grey) Contrast makes a room pop, so use different colors for art, flooring, and ornaments to make them standout.

Remember experimentation is key, it’s important to find what works for your home and your style.