How Your Living Room Walls Can Bring the Room Together

Decorating the living room walls is one of the largest home decorating tasks that you can take on. This room generally gets a lot of traffic and so each decision that you make should be considered carefully.

Decorating the living room can be a bit of a challenge initially, but the entire experience becomes truly rewarding as you bring the room together with a few simple wall décor choices. The living room, in particular, is one of the integral gathering areas of a home. As such, your selection of paint and wall décor is essential to the comfort of the family members while they are in this area.

Please forgive a shameless plug at this point for our friends at Let’s Decorate (http://www.decor8uk.com) who offer a great selection of wallpaper and paint from leading brands.

Whether you incorporate everyone into the planning of the living room’s décor or you simply invite them to share in the fun of putting it all together, sharing the work with loved ones will decrease the anxiety over making the correct choices. In fact, as long as each facet of the decorating process meets with your approval, there really aren’t any wrong choices to make. It does help to do a little reading up on the topic of blending colours and décor within a room before you actually go about the business of splashing paint upon the walls or pasting the entire room with wallpaper.

When incorporating wall décor into the living room, consider the primary purpose of the room. For some homeowners, this room will be reserved for social events, while for other homeowners, it will be the primary family-gathering spot for television viewing, computer usage, and more. Incorporate wall décor that blends with the purpose of the room.

If the living room is going to be used as a study room or research location, then the wall décor (paint, wall hangings, and wall art) needs to be bright and colourful. On the other hand, if the room is intended for social gatherings only, the sky is the limit and you can incorporate any colours and any type of wall décor.

If your living room includes a fireplace with mantel, you have an excellent focal point that you can take advantage of when decorating. Setting up a proud display of photographs above the fireplace mantel can be accented by a number of attractive wall décor items. Setting the wall clock up in this area is also an excellent choice since this area will be one of the primary focal points in the room.

Don’t have a fireplace and mantel? There’s no problem with that at all. Simply select the largest wall with the fewest interruptions (windows, closets, archways, and doors) and use this for your primary focal point. You can set up a display of picture frames, build in a few book shelves, or set up enclosed glass cases for a wide assortment of collectibles based on the kids’ activities including sports, dance, band, choir, 4H, and more

Utilizing wall sconces, attractive mirrors, and wall art to bring the room together offers the opportunity to incorporate a bit of creativity while remaining true to the theme of the room. Adding fiber optic flowers to bring together the different colours that are incorporated in the living room is another of the many choices that you have available to you. The colours can be set to rotate in an eye-catching sequence or set to present one colour individually. The variety of colours helps homeowners to bring together existing décor in the room in one easy maneuver.

One important fact that you must remember no matter how many wall décor items you decide to use is that the selection of your wallpaper or paint colour should be the first decision that you make when redecorating the living room walls. Make sure that you do your research first since there are almost as many different types of wallpaper and paint as there are colour options. 

Simple ways to cut energy costs at home

If you cringe every time your electric bill arrives in the mail, it may be time to make some small changes in your home. Little things can add up fast to save you money on your energy costs, and these 10 tips will get you started.

The most cost-effective way to cut your costs is through better insulation and by investing in  the latest insulating paint products.  But, there are lots of other smaller  things you can do to keep the bills down.

  1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. These highly efficient light bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs, last up to 6 times longer and burn much cooler.
  2. Plug your appliances and electronics into a power strip and turn off the power when you’re not using them. Even when they’re turned off, electric devices such as computers, printer, TVs, and coffee makers continue to consume electricity.
  3. Install a programmable thermostat. Keeping the heat turned down or the air conditioning turned up during the night and while you’re away from home can save you up to £150 a year on electricity costs.
  4. Have your central heating and any airconditioning system tuned up annually. Inefficient heating and cooling systems use considerably more electricity. An annual tune-up will keep your units working safely and efficiently year round. Between tune-ups, check your air filter every month and replace it when it’s dirty. A dirty filter impedes the flow of air to your system, making it work harder to keep you comfortable.
  5. Use ceiling fans year round to cut electricity costs. In the summer, the fans will make you feel cooler, allowing you to set your thermostat a few degrees warmer. In the winter, reverse the direction of the fans to push warm air down and distribute it throughout the room. You will feel warmer, so you can turn down your thermostat a few degrees. Make sure to turn off the ceiling fans when you leave the room.
  6. Replace old appliances with Energy Star models, which are highly efficient and use considerably less energy to operate. These units will more than pay for themselves over their life span.
  7. Close your blinds during the day in the summer and keep them open during the day in the winter to make your home more comfortable at more optimal thermostat settings.
  8. Seal the air leaks in your home to increase its energy efficiency by up to 20 percent. Apply caulk around stationary parts of doors and windows and install weather stripping between movable parts. Doing so will improve your comfort level at lower thermostat settings in the winter and higher settings in the summer.
  9. Operate your dishwasher and clothes washer only when you have full loads, and always use the shortest washing cycles. Clean your dryer vent before each load to reduce the drying time. If possible, hang your clothes outside to dry, then tumble them for 10 minutes to fluff them up.
  10. Avoid using heat-generating appliances, such as ovens and clothes dryers, during the day in the summer. Doing so heats up your home and makes your air conditioner work harder to keep you cool.

Finally, you should definitely check out the UK government’s Green Deal as that offers the opportunity to improve your energy efficiency whilst reducing the upfront costs.

Top ten ways to decorate your home for Autumn

Fall colors are the warm colors on the color wheel, but deepened a bit into browns and purples.  Think of rusty reds, deep maroons, vibrant golds, dark chocolate brown, pumpkin oranges, and yellower greens in sage or olive.  Combine these colors with black ironwork wall hangings and candle holders, or with warm metallics such as bronze, copper or gold.  Add textural elements like harvest baskets and burlap, and nods to harvest on the farm – think scarecrows, Indian corn, apples and caramel, galvanized tin pails, and old pitchforks.

  1. Let your entry give a warm welcome.  If you are just going to put up one decoration for autumn, make it an autumn wreath hung from your doorknocker with a rustic strip of burlap or a deep crimson strip of thick ribbon.  Stores are full of wreaths of beautiful artificial autumn leaves and crimson berries, perhaps intertwined with pine cone.  Include a welcome mat in deep fall hues, a large pumpkin and a couple of mums.  A console or dresser inside your front door will look elegant and inviting dressed with a tall vase of fall branches and accompanied by an area rug in deep fall hues.
  2. Make an inviting outdoor space for glowing twilight conversations.  Don’t neglect your outdoor living areas when fall rolls around.  Now that the sun isn’t shining as intensely, you may enjoy spaces that were too bright or hot over the summertime.  Cluster some seating on a deck or patio, or under a beautiful maple tree in the front yard to invite neighbors and friends to draw up for a conversation and perhaps a glass of wine or apple cider.  Offer thick throws, consider a pot or two of mums to set the scene on a back deck or patio, and don’t forget to have a fire pit handy (never near a wooden deck!) or some candles or tiki torches to light the early autumn nightfall.
  3. Hang dark curtain panels to warm and soften chilly windows.  If you have filtered summer light at the windows with gauzy sheers or simple valences, it’s time to hang some curtain panels in deeper colors.  These will soften the edges of the windows and block drafty areas when the weather turns brisk.  Extra layers help warm your room visually as well.  Layer one or two area rugs underfoot in rich fall colors.  Softness, deep colors, and warmth are your goals when dressing your rooms for fall.
  4. Dress up your fireplace with sparkling glass and natural decorations.  Play up any fireplaces you have.  Add several glass vases, votives or hurricane glasses to glisten in the warm light of a snug family room.  Tuck in candles, spiced potpourri, pinecones, berry garlands, and perhaps some small pumpkins, gourds or twigs.  For extra shimmer, trim the votives or vases with gold foil accents, either rimming the tops or spelling out a fall message.
  5. Layer fabrics and add lamps for a cozy family room.  Adorn the couches and chairs with throws and toss pillows in deep fall colors and knotty or cabled weaves to invite family and guests to curl up.  Finish the room with plenty of lamp light to warm chilly evenings.  Consider changing some of the shades to black or burlap shades for drama or texture with your lighting.
  6. Set a bountiful dining table.  Fill a long, narrow rustic crate or box, or line up several shorter ones along the center of your table.  Fill them with pumpkins, gourds, branches and berries, and tuck in some chunky ivory pillar candles.  Burlap can be cut into an interesting table runner, and you can layer on place settings of plain white dishes topped with harvest-colored napkins that are tied with bits of raffia and decorated with autumn leaves.  Include lots of pretty glassware to reflect the candlelight.
  7. Remember to warm up your bathrooms.  Hang a rich, dark shower curtain in autumn colors or adorned with a fall motif.  Purchase coordinating fall-colored bath towels and rugs.  Put up some seasonal wall art and dress shelves with berry garlands.  Finish with scented soaps and candles.
  8. Use seasonal fruit and nuts to bring fall to the kitchen.  Set up a centerpiece on an island or prominent countertop by surrounding a hurricane glass with leaves or pinecones and filling it with a base of popcorn, cranberries, or acorns.  Stand a thick pillar candle in the center.  Scatter small rugs in autumn shades on the floor and display coordinating tea towels and oven mitts.  Top a cake stand with bright green apples for a table centerpiece, and flank with small wooden bowls filled with nuts.  Tuck a pie pumpkin on the corner of the counter next to the refrigerator.  A small accent lamp on a countertop will light a dark corner and lend warmth to the hard surfaces in your kitchen.
  9. Coax out the autumn colors in your bedroom prints.  Look at your existing patterned comforter or bedding.  Are there any fall colors you can pull out of these prints?  Place a couple of chocolate brown stuffed pillow shams at the head of the bed, change the bed skirt to a tailored deep burgundy or toss a deep gold or plum plush blanket at the foot of the bed to make your existing bedding more seasonal.  Use a duvet cover to completely change the look of the bed, or turn back a neutral comforter to show fall sheets.  A beautiful quilt layered at the foot of the bed will help.
  10. Soften and warm chilly surfaces to dress up your bedroom.   Add a large deep-toned area rug under the foot of the bed, or line each side with smaller rugs.  Toss a few fall-themed pillows on the bed and hang some heavy curtain panels at the windows in place of airy drapes or summery valences.  (You can get microfibre ones inexpensively from big-box stores that are durable even in houses with pets and small children.)  Change out lampshades if you have darker or more decorative ones that will fit your existing lamps.

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Three ways to decorate walls without using paint

Does your rental agreement prohibit you from painting your wall? Then don’t worry. You can still inject a little bit of personality into your mute cream-coloured, super-plain apartment walls.

Don’t let the “no paint, no holes on walls” rule stop you from channelling your creativity. Here are the top three ways to decorate your walls without risking your security deposit.

Use removable wall hooks with adhesive backing

If you are a dorm dweller, then you’ve probably tried using 3M strips of plastic hooks to hang wall items. Their adhesive backing does not leave marks when peeled off the wall. So, get hold of removable wall hooks and start hanging your choice of framed wall art or photographs! You can even hang your collection of vintage plates. Just use multiple hooks to hold heavy items.

Another no-paint decorating alternative that makes use of removable plastic wall hooks is the creation of a fabric wall. Stretch various swatches of colourful fabric onto stiff board backings. Hang them gallery-style on your wall. Experiment with different fabric colour schemes and arrangements until you are satisfied with the overall visual effect of your fabric wall.

 Use folding screens

You can prop them against the wall to add visual interest and texture to your walls. You can use one as your headboard or as a “new” wall — like a divider to designate two open spaces in your apartment. Just make sure that you clean folding screens regularly as they have a tendency to accumulate dust and dirt.

Use wall graphics and decals

These wall-decorating options are easy to apply and remove without damaging the walls. Do you like the feel of a mural, a contemporary black-and-white abstract pattern, a bamboo grove, or a minimalist landscape? If so, then removable wall graphics and decals are perfect for you. They come in a stunning plethora of designs and motifs. There is always something for every personality—the cartoon fan, the Zen practitioner, etc. If you are stuck with an off-white wall, then make the best of it by adorning it with intricate wall decals. White is the best “canvas” for just about anything.

Of course, if you are able to paint your walls, we recommend the beautiful range of colours and finishes from The Little Greene Paint Company.