Creating the Perfect Relaxing Atmosphere in your Home

It’s official – we’re spending more time than ever working our butts off. In fact, most of our working hours aren’t even logged or paid for. With this in mind, it’s becomes even more essential to have an amazing home to return to after a long day in the office; something that you can call your own.

With most of us choosing to live with others (whether this is in the bustling city with like-minded strangers or still at home with the parentals), it isn’t always a case of returning home and switching off. You need that one area free from noise and the daily grind.

Whether you have a place to yourself or a house share with six others, this is possible! And here are a few ways you can build a tranquil atmosphere in your home:

Subtle Lighting

It is so essential to control your lighting if you wish to optimise any room, let alone if you wish to create a calming atmosphere. The last hour in the evening is all about winding down. This not only gives you the best opportunity to have the perfect night’s sleep, preparing yourself for the day ahead, but has been proven to help you loosen.  Forget your troubles with dim lighting best achieved with lamps. Whether that’s a floor lamp or mini bedside table, try opting for one with adjustable dimmer depending on your mood. If you seach online,  you wouldn’t believe how important it is to get this right. Just imagine unwinding after a long day with your favourite book, a glass of red and subtle lighting.

Plenty of Pillows

We went with the alliteration but we don’t just mean pillows – anything soft goes! Lots of pillows and cushions make your space seem more homely putting you at ease and helping you relax. It adds that all-important personality too. Especially with many different fabrics and calming colours such as greens and yellows. Steer clear of those dark reds! Why not go one step further with an array of bean bags? It helps if you have the space, but your beanbag can also signal your alone time if you don’t have enough space in the bedroom. Once you slouch in your beanbag, your housemates know it’s your time for unwinding.

Involve All Senses

We’ve spoken about using a number of fabrics, and of course the lighting, but don’t ignore your sense of smell. Grab yourself a number of calming lavender candles to help soothe your mind. There are so many scents out there perfect for relaxation. Whether you decide to opt for an array of cheaper smaller candles and experiment with various smell combinations or opt for a larger more prominent smell, you will be surprised how much of a different these can make.

These three points are so easy to achieve. They require no special circumstances, huge amounts of cash or massive amounts of effort. Just small changes you can transform your living space to create a calm and serene atmosphere, perfect for escaping the real world, just for a moment or two.


The Household Items You Can Make Money Off

In such a harsh economic climate many of us are rather desperate for a quick bit of cash. Rather than pawning our most precious and treasured family possessions, you might be better off selling a few household items instead.

See below for a few suggestions of items you might have lying around the house that you could sell:-

Now for those who may have the following lying about…

Exercising Machines

How many of us have had that sudden urge to get slim, muscular or even just healthy and splashed a load of money on an exercise equipment or some weights? The problem is, saying you’ll exercise and actually doing it are two completely different things, even if you’ve gone through all the effort of buying these expensive machines in the first place.

Fortunately, you can sell such items on Amazon or Ebay, or even to a friend or neighbour! Used treadmills are sold for over £100 on Amazon and Ebay so you should take the opportunity to make yourself a bit of money and wallow in your laziness.

Old Video Games

If you’re an adult below the age of forty, the chances are you spent a considerable portion of your youth playing video games. Many of us would therefore pay a whole load of money to get these back into our possession. Your old Playstation might be in fact a lot more valuable than you’d assume. Furthermore, if you’re child has any old video game consoles these can also be sold of course. They don’t even have to be that old as many people sell Nintendo 3Ds online for a fair amount of money.

Old Computer Parts

When your computer dies, rather than simply throwing it out of the window, you can break it apart and sell the parts online. Even if the computer is absolutely dead, a few of the parts may still be worth a good bit of money, so take the opportunity to sell them. As well as the external pieces such as the keyboard and mouse, you can also sell some of the internal pieces of hardware.

See how much different parts are being sold at on Amazon and Ebay and use them as a platform to get yours sold. Alternatively, you could visit a local second hand computer store and sell it to them.

I’m Richard Daniels and I’m a British freelance writer. From articles on how I sell my stuff, to where’s best to auction goods, I tend to cover topics on making a quick buck.

Do-It-Yourself Home Improvements for the Garden

Entering into a double-dip recession, it’s time to count pennies again. DIY home improvements can be a nifty way of saving a lot of money as well as adding a personal flair to your home. As we move into the summer, and hope for the sun and hot weather to continue, we Brits spend as much time as we can in our gardens. It’s the season of the Barbeque and the time of wafting scents of charred meat fill the air on every street.
One project to set your man on this summer could be a ‘DIY Fire Pit’.
Ingredients: A shovel, a small bag of gravel and some Breeze Blocks or bricks (fire not included). Depending on the size you make it, you could use your own oven racks to transform it into a barbeque.
Invite your friends over, char some meat and make the whole street jealous. Cook smores over the open flames and enjoy the ambience of having a fire to light up your garden.
Garden Lanterns are a lovely way to make your garden beautiful in the dark and twilight of summer. For the cheapest version of these, use old tin cans. Punch holes in the sides with a nail and hammer, being as artistic as you like, paint and put a tea light inside. You can either use some garden wire or twine to hang them or just place them in plant pots and tables. For the less crafty using old jars and filling them with sand and a candle can be equally as beautiful.
Hanging them with wire from trees or fences and painting them with some left over paint from the kids ‘stained glass craft kit’ can give your garden that special glow.
jar and tin DIY candle lanterns

DIY candle lanterns

Not much a bird fan? How about making your own butterfly feeder! Tempt these beautiful insects into your garden with colourful plates of nectar. This is a really inexpensive project and would be a great summer activity to do with children. Look here for instructions on how to make your feeder and recipes for butterfly food.
Recessions and generally being short of cash gives us the opportunity to get crafty. To put things that would otherwise go in the trash to good use. Just think, every time you use that jar of pasta sauce, open that tin of beans or throw out a slightly chipped plate… that could be something beautiful for my home!

Moving Home? Leave your broadband behind

Moving home can be one of the most stressful times in your life. There’s so much to think about and we often forget some of the most important factors. A prime example is broadband; you can either go through the hassle of carrying over your previous provider or alternatively start fresh and opt for a cheaper package. Nowadays it is expected to find a broadband package that not only includes broadband but also a telephone line as well as television depending on the package you want to go for.

There are plenty of factors you can consider when determining your broadband package and making the decision to switch providers or stay with your current provider and it is best to contemplate these before moving house.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Are you satisfied with your current broadband package?
Do you think you could find a cheaper deal elsewhere?
There is always a chance of finding a better broadband package so it can be a good idea to compare broadband deals online – This can save you a lot of time so get planning before the big move! Whilst making your decision it is important to consider cancellation fees, the date your contract ends as well as the process of carrying over your broadband package to your new home as this can require installations.


It is also worth checking out which packages you can get around your new area as there can often be restrictions. It’s pretty hard to imagine life without the internet, especially when you’re in your new home hoping to order brand new furniture online so the internet although usually forgotten in the process is actually more of an essential than you might have thought!

How to Decorate a Mini Apartment

There’s no need to dread an apartment that leans towards the ‘bijoux’ end of the scale when there are so many decorating options available to make the best out of it. Little spaces with big personalities are frequently featured in lifestyle columns as aspirational – so get designing.


This utility room is made beautiful by careful organisation of the useful things within it. The cupboards, drawers, boxes and baskets are coordinated in shades of cream to set off the pretty eggshell blue walls. The lesson here to keep small spaces neat and tidy.

Remember to have fun

Hello, who’s that? If seeing a zebra staring at you when you come into your bathroom for your morning shower doesn’t cheer you up, then nothing will! OK, quirky animal prints aren’t to everyone’s taste but it’s a fantastic way to make a statement in a limited amount of space.

Dark colours can work great in small spaces

It’s common knowledge that small spaces should always be painted as pale as possible right? However style blogs now note that rich, dark colours can create a sense of space and place as well as white walls, if not sometimes better. Choose blacks, blackened browns ad charcoals to bring the tranquillity of night. Then accent the rest of the room with pale and brightly coloured objects.

Mini apartments can be gems and there’s now a whole culture of decorating magazines and blogs celebrating the art of living in a small space. If you’re creative and inventive, you can transform practically any space into a great place to show off your tastes and interests. You don’t have to compromise on form or function!

How to decorate a small bedroom for a couple

A small bedroom for a couple needs both great use of space and great expression of your style. Good or bad bedroom decor can mean the difference between a relaxed feeling and stress that carries over into your home life. We’ve picked a few budget-friendly items to liven up your pad.

Cosy Under-foot

how to decorate a small bedroom for a couple

To make the most of a small space, a rug adds warmth and interest to the square footage that you have. This pretty astronomical design brings a bit of the night sky inside and isn’t too loud to overwhelm a small space.

Storage needs cornered

This cute corner storage unit is a good solution for two wardrobes that need to be condensed into a tiny space! It’s reasonably priced and available at – you guessed it – Ikea. The light colour will help to bounce light around your room- a key concern when you’re trying to make the best out of a small space.


An eye-catching print in a small space is the best way to express your style. This Flamingo print from Habitant is going to cheer you up every time you walk through the door! It comes in at a very pocket-friendly £12.00.

Light of my life

This metal bedside lamp is also from Habitat, and it’s so useful and adorable that it’s frequently sold out on their website. The polished metal look will fit in with absolutely any bedroom decor and is more sturdy than a cloth or glass alternative.

What kind of style will you choose for the bedroom you share with your partner? Remember that limited space doesn’t mean limited style options. Pick bold options that make you feel happy when you see them dotted about the room and remember to maximise the space that you do have with clever storage.

Top US Hair Salons For Interior Design

Can a beautiful interior in a hair salon make the experience worth part of the price tag? We take a look at four stunning salons as famous for their looks as their locks.

Mizu Salon Boston

top us salons

The Mizu (which occupies the inside of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel) is a kind of religious experience. The all-white, chapel-like space is one of the most unusual places to get a haircut in the Northern states. Alongside the most minimalist salon interior experience you could possibly imagine, the Mizu’s team make regular editorial contributions to fashion magazine and advertising shoots.

Ruggeri Salon New York

top US salons

This New York salon has a more home-y feel. That is if you were in the home of a kind of art collector-cum-interior decorator. We think it’s a great anecdote to the typical clinical feel of contemporary salons and the light looks much more flattering!

Drybar California

top US salons

The Drybar is typically Calfornian with its design ethos of ‘clean and pretty’. It’s kind of a compromise between an uncluttered, unfussy white space and a very feminine salon with its marble tops and decorative mirrors. The Drybar (you might guess this by the name) is somewhat unusual in that it doesn’t offer colour or cuts. Just blow dries to shape your mane into something a bit more stylish.

Bumble and Bumble New York

top US salons

One of the biggest product brands in the hair industry have a chain of airy, industrially-kitted out salons in New York. The attention to detail is really breathtaking and the space manages to look as accessible and welcoming as it does sparse and cool. Their Meatpacking District branch is noted for its exceptionally fashion-forward haircutting and host of other services like a cafe and shop.

The decor of a hair salon can say a lot about its ethos and the quality of the artistry that goes on there. A hair salon that advertises itself as a ‘total experience’ might charge a premium for its services, but it’s down to the individual to determine how important the decor and feel of a place is to a great haircutting experience.

London Interior Design Trends for 2012

compare London property prices

You’ve decided to compare London property prices , you may have even put a deposit down. Now you need to think about designing an interior for your new flat or house that expresses your lifestyle and your needs. We take a look at some of the most beautiful, most quirky and cool interior design ideas we predict to be popular in 2012.

Wallpaper as a focal point hot for 2012

Antique and contemporary antique-look wallpaper continues to be a big trend in 2012. New craftsmen from the past are celebrated and big new designers are heralded.  This year it’s the turn of Madeline Weinrib. Her wallpapers and fabrics are inspired by traditional motifs and techniques from the around the world, ranging from Ikat to Moroccan prints.

Reclaimed furniture an enduring trend

Furniture reclaimed from schools (science lab stools and workbenches – anyone?) and brass door fitting reclaimed from demolitions are becoming popular additions to contemporary homes. You can style your interior so that it isn’t obvious that some of your furniture and fittings are reclaimed. That’s part of the point – making the design and materials of the past a seamless part of the future.

Neon tops the colour charts

You might think neon is difficult to use in the home, but for 2012 design companies have come up with innovative and subtle ways to put a pop of loud colour into your home. Try neon as an accent (rather than as a wall shade for your bedroom) and incorporate it into glassware, backlit mirrors, splashed onto wood as colour and woven into textiles. If neon makes you tremble, then try its cousin chartreuse, a slightly dulled bright green that is perfect around kitchens.

Minimalist fittings with unique and free flourishes are perhaps the key trends for 2012. The focus is on showing your resourcefulness and pleasure in finding useful and quirky things to decorate your home.

3 Contemporary Fireplaces That Burn Greener

energy prices

Fireplaces are a feature that many buyers would be willing to pay a premium for, whether in the countryside or in a city townhouse. How many buyers however know that fireplaces cause a lot of environmental damage and also pose a serious hazard to asthma sufferers and people with heart problems? Not to mention there are escalating energy prices to worry about. Let’s explore fireplace concepts that are better for us and the environment.

EcoSmart Aspect

The EcoSmart Aspect fireplace uses bioethanol fuels to produce a more environmentally friendly home heating option. It can be installed in houses, flats, businesses, bars and anywhere else you can think. Its design is minimalist enough not to be out of place in any interior design context.

Fire Ribbon Vent Free

All extras have been stripped away for this fireplace. It looks as if it consists of nothing but a single ribbon of fire. It’s sure to attract compliments from houseguests and will add to the cool points of any room you put it in. Because there’s no vent, you really can put it in absolutely any room you choose – there doesn’t need to be a chimney to the outside world. A vent free fireplace burns very hot, which in turn makes it more efficient.

Ecosmart Zeta Stylish Fireplace
The zeta is fully portable and requires no installation. It runs on bioethanol. The modern design would make a stunning centrepiece for your environment and the glass screens amplify the comforting flicker of the flames. The outside is also finished in leather and available in three colour ways.

You can now add a green fireplace to your home. Remember to check carefully the safety requirements and choose a style that reflects the space you have and the type of design environment you want to create. Contemporary fireplaces are designed to be as ornamental as much as they are built to keep you warm.