Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Feng Shui Bedroom Tips - How to Feng Shui Your Bedroom

Seven Basic Feng Shui Steps for A Perfect Feng Shui Bedroom

A good feng shui bedroom is a bedroom that promotes a harmonious flow of nourishing and sensual energy. A good feng shui bedroom is a bedroom that invites you, lures you in, excites and calms at the same time. A good feng shui bedroom is fun and pleasurable to be in, either you are there for a quick nap, a good night sleep or to make passionate love!

To create a perfect feng shui bedroom, you can use a variety of simple, practical feng shui tools, such as the basic feng shui tips below:

1.Let go of the TV, computer or exercise equipment in your bedroom. The good feng shui energy in your bedroom is destroyed when these items are present in your bedroom.

2.Open the windows often or use a good quality air-purifier to keep the air fresh and full of oxygen . Be mindful of the quality of air in your bedroom. You cannot have good feng shui in your bedroom if the air you breathe in is stale and full of pollutants. Please note that plants in the bedroom are not good feng shui, unless your bedroom is fairly large and the plants are located far from the bed.

3.Have several levels of lighting in your bedroom, or use a dimmer switch to adjust the energy accordingly. Good, appropriate lighting is very important, as light is our # 1 nutrient and one of the strongest manifestation of energy. Candles are the best feng shui bedroom lighting, but be sure to buy candles with no toxins.

4.Use soothing colors to achieve a good feng shui balance in your bedroom. Feng Shui bedroom decor is a balanced decor that promotes the best flow of energy for restorative sleep, as well as sexual healing. Best feng shui colors for the bedroom are considered the so-called "skin colors", and we know the colors of human skin vary from pale white to rich chocolate brown. Choose colors within this range that will work best for your bedroom decor.

5.Choose the images for your bedroom wisely, as images carry powerful feng shui energy. Best feng shui advice for the bedroom art is to choose images that you want to see happening in your life. Unless you enjoy being sad and lonely, do not use sad and lonely images in your bedroom.

5.Follow the basic feng shui guidelines for your Bed, which are:
have your bed easily approachable from both sides,
have two bedside tables (one on each side) and
avoid having the bed in a direct line with the door.
A "good looking" and well-balanced bed is very important in creating a perfect feng shui bedroom. Good mattress, solid headboard and high quality sheets from natural fibers are also very important in creating harmonious feng shui energy.

6.Keep all the bedroom doors closed at night, be it the closet doors, the en-suite bathroom door or the bedroom door. This will allow for the best and most nourishing flow of energy to strengthen your health, as well as the health of your relationship.

The idea of a perfect feng shui bedroom may bring different images to different people, but they will all have one thing in common - Pleasure and Dreaming as the keywords. In a good feng shui bedroom, every item will reflect the clear intent for love, healing and relaxation.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Few Simple Steps to Make your Garden Look Great

The reason that I enjoy gardening so much, not only for myself, but working in other people’s gardens is the transformation that can be done, sometimes in a relatively small space of time. As such offering garden services to others is a pleasure and not a chore.

The main reasons for people calling in someone to look after their garden is because they simply don’t have the time but also because they lack the knowledge that is required to transform a basic ordinary garden into a colourful and tidy place that you can lounge and relax in on those hot balmy days during the summer months.

I am often called into gardens that have let nature take over, the main structure of the garden is in place, but the beds and borders have been swamped by weeds. The lawn is growing into the beds as well; they have lost their way and need redefining.

Garden Lawn Care

The lawn will need to be cut, preferably with a good rotary or cylinder mower. Hover mowers are great if you have banks and slopes to contend with, but a rotary or cylinder mowers will give your lawn the nice cut that is required. Rotary mowers have an advantage over the cylinder mower in that they are simpler to use and generally the ground does not have to be 100% even. They are also easier to maintain than a cylinder mower. A cylinder mower is generally used if you want a bowling effect lawn, which most people do not. To finish the lawn off you must always cut the edges. If the edges need redefining then use a lawn-edging tool.

Garden Beds and Borders

Always ensure the beds and borders of your garden are kept tidy by regular weeding. This can be achieved using a long handled hoe. Although this can seem a bit of a chore it will later pay dividends. The main structure of the planting should be created using shrubs. Then you will have your perennial plants and finally for that splash of additional colour through the gardening calendar summer bedding, spring bulbs which can include snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, tulips and many more. Also ensure that any shrubs are kept in check by pruning at the required times. For example spring flowering garden shrubs need to be cut and tidied after they have flowered. This will ensure new growth during the summer for flowers the following year. Be sure to place plants in an environment in which they will feel at home in.

Patio Cleaning

Patio areas need to be kept clean and tidy. This can be undertaken by the professional using specific patio cleaning equipment or by pressure washing. There are also many chemical cleaners on the market. Patio paving can cost a client large sums of money to have installed so it is worth looking after this area for longevity. Additional sand and cement mix brushed in between the paving may be required after either of the above processes.

Gravel Areas and Pathways

Keep any gravel areas free from weeds either by using a systematic weed killer or getting down on your hands and knees and removing the garden nuisances by hand using a trowel for example.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Elements Of Design In Home Landscaping

Home landscaping can add beauty and value to your home. The success factor lies in advanced research and planning so that your home landscaping design flows together in a beautiful backdrop that is pleasing to the eye and functional to the inhabitants. Consideration of plants that will work in your particular climate and coordination of your various elements will give you a home landscape that you can be proud of and enjoy for many years. But before you head to your local nursery, you want to take some time to think about what you want your end result to look like.

Pick A Theme

Home landscaping, just like interior decorating, requires that you select an overall theme or design that you can work every landscape element into. Do you love the look of climbing vines and rambling roses in an English garden? Or do you prefer the natural beauty of a mountain meadow? Is the laid-back color of a cottage garden more your style?

There are many books and websites available to give you examples of different styles of home landscaping. There are few activities more enjoyable on a wintry day in February than perusing the pages of home landscaping books! Once you determine the style you are working toward, you have narrowed your choices for plants and other design elements somewhat. With the huge selection out there for home landscaping, a little narrowing can be a helpful process. Begin a sketch of your design on paper, or use a computer software program that will help you design your home landscape like a pro.

Plan Your Design

The next step will be to research the types of plants that not only fit with the theme of your design but will also work well with your climate, soil type, and amount of sun your yard receives. Make a list of the plants that you are interested in and begin placing them within your plan. Other elements, such as paths, decks and patios, and a lawn will be added to your design plan as well. Keep in mind that, while a selection of plants will make your home landscape more interesting, a hodge podge of variety will not flow particularly well. A repetition of shape, color and texture will help link the various areas of your home landscape.

Home landscaping is an important element in the overall beauty of your home. With research and planning, your yard can become an oasis for you and your guests, and provide enjoyment to your family for many years to come.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Perfect Bathroom Design

Imagine ... You enter an airy, spacious bathroom. Elegant colored marble surrounds you, and assorted greenery adds to the sense of freshness and well-being. Start the spa bath, and put on your favorite CD. Now lay back and relax in the fragrant bubbles. You feel peaceful and alive.

After bathing, you step out onto a welcoming warm tile floor and maintain that comfortable, relaxed "hot tub" feeling as you stroll over the luxurious surface to grab the cozy, heated towel that's waiting for you. The days when you shivered every time you got out of your bath seem like a dim & distant memory.

Now you stand in front of your fog-free mirror — no need to wipe the mist and condensation off two or three times before getting a blurry reflection of yourself. In this luxurious and temperate oasis, a "renewed you" serenely smiles back.

Do you like what you see? With all the innovative products, designs, and new materials becoming available through the industry, your bathroom can now be so much more than a sink, a tub, and a toilet in standard white.

You have a great range of options, and there are lots of fun decisions to be made on the way to creating your perfect bathroom!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't move improve!!!

That ough to be the Mantra of shell-shocked home owner now.As prices of new home's keep climbing up and up (even as they shrink in size),it makes more sense-both financially and space -wise-to stay put in your old home .

But there's no need to put up with chipped floor tiles or a dark kitchen,or force growing kids to share a cramped toilet.A thoughtful renovation will renew your home's finishes and even add comfort to enhance your family's lifestyle.

While you're planning that renovation,Don't forget to think may want to sell on in the future ,so use this opportunity to significantly increase your home's market value.Choose savvy renovations like an extra bathroom or a bright new kitchen rather than fixtures like trendy chandelier or high-end hi-fi system that will depreciate on date.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What you will find in the perfect bathroom:

1.Large Bathtub

Large bathtubs or bubble baths are a must in luxurious bathrooms, but they are expensive and require a lot of space.

2.Ceramic Tile Floor

The perfect bathroom needs a ceramic tile floor. Ceramic tiles are the most artistic and beautiful improvement over any other type of bathroom floor.


Hi-fi or television is not only for the living room! You often spend a lot of time in the bathroom. It's the perfect moment to listen to that song you like so much.

4.Fog Free Mirrors

After a long, hot shower, why should you wait until the steam clears before you can see yourself in a mirror? These systems will slightly warm your mirror so they remain crystal clear throughout your shower or bath.

5.Warmth and Comfort

After your bath, what's more comforting than a warm towel? You can also warm your bathroom floor

Monday, December 1, 2008

Things You Should Look Out For Before Doing Your Landscaping

There are many things that one should know about landscaping design overall, especially if you are planning on taking on a landscaping design project of your own. So many times I find landscapers struggle to find their design idea. However, once they establish a framework of necessary design elements, it usually goes pretty smooth from there. By taking the time to think of various basic questions, you'll realize that your landscape design plan will be more efficiently carried out with regard to effort, time, and cost.

Before you start your landscaping work, make a plan. Having a plan for your landscape lets you take advantage of common sense and economy when doing your landscaping. Without a plan, you may buy things you don't really need, and waste a lot of time and money, only to realize that you are getting no where. Begin by completing a rough sketch of your landscape design. Find out precisely what you require to make it possible. If you need suggestion, there are numerous websites where you can get lots of ideas of what you need to complete the task. Specialty stores and home improvement warehouses are places where you can get free advice from other experts on hand who can give you good pointers.

While planning your landscape design, remember to check on building codes and make sure that your plan is according to those complicated property lines. Check with your utility companies where the underground power, telephone, and cable wires are run. You do not want to hit one of these important things while digging around in your yard and building your landscape. Figure out all of this before you finalize your landscape plans. This can help you a lot of unnecessary trouble in the future.

If you are intending to add plants, think about what kinds of plants grow well in your area. You need to know what plants are local to your region so that your success rate of growing these plans is higher and your cost of maintenance is lower. You might really enjoy succulents, for instance, but if you live in a very wet area they might drown in all the extra water. Please be warn that maintenance cost for landscaping features such as water features and plant may cost you a bomb. For example, if the soil is not suitable for the plant you've grown, you may have to spend a fortune to fertilizer that plot of land, just to make sure that the plant is growing healthily.

If you're making your purchases at a big store, be sure to carefully inspect plants for diseases and insect problems. These stores are not always motivated to offer their plants the kind of care that a nursery would. If the plant you purchase is diseased, you'll have to get it all over again when it dies, and this means cash down the drain. Besides that, the disease or pest can spread to your other plants.

A useful tool in planning your landscape is landscape design software. This software can be used to figure out which plants may look good in your backyard, and which plants would go with your house. Some software even let you to scan in an image of your own house to get a better idea of the possibilities. It can also be used to find out which plants are best suited to live in your climate.

If you have to purchase any landscaping equipment, do your purchasing in stages. Your plan should include a timetable for when you will install each portion of your landscape. If you're like most people, you probably can't afford to make all the changes you want at once. Planning out your landscape project in stages allow you to buy what you need as you go, and when money is available. This helps you avoid the interest and fees associated with home improvement loans or putting your purchases on credit cards.

You should keep in mind that cheaper is not always better. If there is very minute distinction in quality, then buying the cheaper item is of course the best choice. However, if you compromise the quality for price, you may end up having many future problems. Fortunately, local stores often have seasoned experts who can share their wisdom for free if you ask questions while making a purchase. Specialty stores can also provide you with correct information on landscaping. If you are not experienced, you can save money in the long run by spending a little more for better service.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Time to Realize Your Dream Home

After grabbing that dream home of yours, the next real test is buying furniture for shoring up its prestige. Some diligence and you can actually get good bargains for your furniture needs. Read on to know how.

Your big dream of having a home that truly reflects your personality might just seem a reality. Now that you and your partner have truly moved into the spacious dream home, it’s time to get real and spend some extra dollars on the cool furnishings that would just add the required dimension to it. The type of furniture and its suitability in your house would actually measure the social status enjoyed by the family. In short, it’s time to realize your dreams.

Whatever you purchase, the first and foremost aspect is a detailed market research. It’s your hard earned dollars that are at stake and never feel satisfied unless you get what you require at a price that you can afford. Sometimes, it gets difficult to make the right choice after scanning all the available options in the market. The situation particularly gets more complex when you take into account the online dealers splashing their exquisite collection for sale on the Internet. In fact, Internet should be your first resort as far as market research is concerned. You never know from which part of the world you get a dream deal.

Planning for the precise furniture required for every room in your house is half the job already done. The beds and dressing table made by the deft artisans can make your bedroom speak volumes about the kind of persona you possess. Before finalizing the Amish made furniture, it’s always advisable to go through various catalogues and brochures available with the Wholesale Amish furniture dealers. With all the dimensions in hand, this would not only help in selecting the right furniture but also let you decide the furniture within your budget.

The basic material used in the furniture is always a vital consideration in your ultimate choice. Wood, fabric, iron content, aluminum and foam all add up to make the furniture article a lasting piece. The grace in the furniture is obviously another important feature but the hallmark of a quality furniture article is its ability to fight stains. Before buying furniture for your home, always make sure that the stain-free feature is always present in every article. This is because your furniture is the most vulnerable thing in your house. As far as the stains are concerned, furniture is the most risk-prone entity and must be given a thorough anti-stain coating regularly.

Your furniture must be a blend of modernity and traditional craftsmanship. While the modern furniture with provisions for gadgetry is vital for the comforts they lend, the traditional looks remind the furniture about its real identity.

Another important decision to be made is the brand-decision, i.e., whether you want expensive branded furniture or affordable but classy non-branded ones? If you are status-conscious and have those extra dollars in your pocket, always go for branded furniture as they come with a ‘tried and tested’ guarantee. But if your pocket is slightly less heavy, non-branded furniture is just right for you. A little knowledge about the kind of furniture you are about to purchase can actually help you in buying quality non-branded furniture.

Finally, it’s entirely your discretion as to how you decide to go about the furniture shopping. But when it comes to dressing-up your home, lesser the compromises, greater the gains!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brighten Your Living Room - How to Decorate Your Living Area

In your home, the living area is one of the busiest rooms. It's the room that an outsider gets to see and form a lasting impression about your home. Hence the living area should be well decorated, well-laid out and should appeal to guests and family members. It should project a homely, comfortable yet elegant image.

With a combination of imagination, good taste, statues and lamps any living area can be transformed into one that exudes elegance and coziness at the same time. There are several ways you can decorate your living area to catch the attention of the visitors and earn numerous compliments:

Rearranging Furniture

Your lifestyle or taste determines what the focal point of your living area is. If you have a fireplace, you can rearrange your furniture around it. Or if a piano is the focal point of your living area your furniture could be set around it. When rearranging your furniture, also consider traffic in your living area.

Colours to Create Warmth

Colours have psychological effects on people and their moods. When applied in your living area, colours can intimidate, invite or irritate. Decorating using colours is also an inexpensive way because it only involves painting or papering walls. You want your living area to be warm and inviting and you could experiment with green as it is one of the warmest and most relaxing colours.

Mirrors for Space & Depth

Create space and depth for your small living area by positioning a mirror on a wall. Your mirror should reflect something pleasing to the eyes. If you have more wall space, try adding small paintings on either side of the mirror.

Adding Small Furniture

To create a 'lived-in' aura for your living area, position small furniture in the room. This can be a small bench or a low sofa table. Place magazines, journals and newspapers under the table. Placing flower vases, baskets and small plants on your table also creates beauty and livens up the room.

Statues for Elegance

Corners and table tops are good places for small statues. Statues, especially marble ones, provide an aesthetic feel to your living area. The Greeks use marble for sculptures for its strength, durability. Statues of deities and laughing Buddha bring in positive energy. You could also experiment with themes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Convenience of Ready-to-Assemble Furniture

Ready-to-assemble furniture is a viable alternative for the frequent movers. The convenience and budget-friendliness of the ready-to-assemble furniture makes them a hot item in the furniture market. Read on to learn more.

We live in a day and age where time is available only at a premium. People suddenly don’t find enough time to spend with the vital aspects of their existence. For instance, parents find themselves at odds with their children due to the lack of quality time spent with them. But the adults are not the only ones at fault. The problem lies with the fast-moving world where technology developments mean increasing workloads and constant movements from one place to another. Relocation means not only bodily relocation but peripheral relocation also. Your favorite furniture also needs to be constantly shifted. Here lies the problem because it may not be entirely feasible to move your exquisite every time the work demands relocation. The solution lies with ready-to-assemble furniture.

The instant furniture, as it can be so easily called, is the solution to your cup of relocation woes. The ready-to-assemble furniture generally comes in three pieces. Its main USP is the ease of transportation. Usually fastened with modified screws, the instant furniture is easy to assemble, dismantle and handle. Your life becomes more simplified by the do-it-yourself pieces, which when joined, transforms into a unique furniture article.

Ready-to-assemble furniture brings along other benefits in your life too.

Quality: Contrary to earlier beliefs, the quality of ready-to-assemble furniture is improving with several new players emerging in the market. Quality varies from wooden to metal pieces. Not so long ago, Amish furniture was not the toast of frequent movers but with changing times you can enjoy the luxury of compact Amish handcrafted furniture.

Variety: Ready-to-assemble furniture comes in a vast range to choose from. From office furniture to home furniture to outdoor furniture, this genre of furniture won’t disappoint you. The stylish ready-to-assemble desks, chairs, hutches, tables, conference tables, credenzas, bookcases, file cabinets, mobile carts etc. would leave you craving for more.

Price: What more? The easier to handle furniture items won’t make a very big hole in your pocket. Of course, the more you spend, the better will be the quality.

While ready-to-assemble furniture seems an easy option, yet there are certain cautions that must be followed to make your experience with your furniture a happier one. If the furniture seems too heavy, ask for the help of someone who can share the burden and place the furniture at the desired place. Generally, the dismembered pieces are not too burdensome to handle but still, in case of inconvenience, never shy away from seeking your partner’s help. The dimensions of any furniture are extremely important so that they can be easily shifted from one room to another without scratches and dents. If you can’t find the furniture of your requirements in the market, try to custom-made by placing an order with the desired dimensions. Always assemble the furniture in the room, which is the final destination, for the time being, of the furniture. Always read the instructions before assembly or dismantling.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Speaking about Balinese house there are at least 3 types of architecturally observable. First, is the house compound which is consist of at least 4 pavilions plus a complex of family temple. Second is a standing alone house some time with a separate pavilion for kitchen, and the third is a housing complex, where rows of houses belong to a different families standing face to face at the left and right side of a courtyard. This third type a family usually has 2 houses, one as normal house and the other as kitchen. The first and second types are usually found at low land where people live with irrigation system. Their house compound or one standing house is normally enclosed by private wall with entrance gate called "angkul-angkul" The position of houses either in a dense complex or scattered in a long distance from one another. It is mostly built close one another except in some places which were supposed much later settlement. The third are where the houses are in a dense complex normally the settlement in highland. The area of a settlement is normally laid out on the right and left side of a main road. both on the right and left sides the area is divided into many slots of land (courtyard ), in Balinese this slot is called " natah". In one natah some time consists of many families with the pattern of house of each family facing each other, as mentioned above. Most families on a natah usually originated from one single family who has been living for many generations, from a father and mother who had developed into many family units. When a village was first established it was probably close to the forest and to maintain the safety and security of the member they had probably form a close position to facilitate instant emergency contact. Seen from the structure of the houses regardless the types mentioned above seems that Balinese had not experienced any animal endangering since their house is low, in average 40 to 50 cm foundation's height from soil level. It is not like other ethnics such as Batak, Dayak, Toraja, Makassar, and others where their house is built on a high poles. In contrast, Balinese house showing an effort that it is equipped with anti magic elements. So it was probably in the past Balinese was more horrified by magic instead of real animal attack or might absence of this wild animal, as proved by biological study that Bali had ever only small leopard at west national park, it was already extinct in immemorial time. It was a belief that West Bali National Park was a lost city and until now is considered at the abode of invisible being. During rainy season the invisible being will go out far of their area to look for food materials. If they have to be visible to human being, they changed themselves into a tiger . But this is only a myth, and it was a prove that once a small species of leopard was ever leave in West Bali National Park. A house for Balinese is an interwoven elements between super natural thoughts, land status, temples, cemetery, kinship, and special organization. Before proceeding to discuss about architectural style of the house we describe about these elements which also gives special characteristic to a house, especially the position and orientation. The following thoughts are considered in constructing a house.

1.Facing road line, this is avoided and is called "tumbak rurung" literally in English means " targeted by a road-spear". There is a myth saying there is also an invisible being who also passing the roads. Since the house is just like blocking the road, than the invisible being can enter the house, and making trouble to us. If one is forced to build a house like this because of later environment changes or reconstruction, they usually build a small shrine just in front of the house toward the direction of the road. At certain days they put offering of flowers and coconut leaves to make the invisible being aware of the block.Standing alone house between 2 parallel roads on one side of the house is empty land. This position is called " Celedu Nginyah " literally means sun-bathing scorpion. This position is also avoided or put a shrine facing to the empty land.Build a house on the 2nd place from a house belong to family, while the 1st one from the family house is other persons without blood relation. So the space looks like being cut by other family. This position of 2 family houses putting some one in the middle is called "ngapit", and is avoided.Build a house between road, when two families with blood relations one staying at left side, and other at right side of the road. This position is avoided, and is called "negen jalan" literally means " holding the road"

2.Directly on the north side or east side of village meeting hall is also avoided. Here the understanding of north ( Bali "kaja" ) and south ( Bali "kelod" ) have additional understanding than just mere a directional concept. One important aspect of Balinese orientation is mountain. As Bali is divided by mountain range from west tip to east tip, the people of south Bali has different mountain-orientation. For those people leaving at the south to the mountain range, use the directional words exactly as the English word means. While northern Bali use the word north to refer the mountain, and south to refer the sea. So, it is in contradictory with English words, which for north Balinese resident "north" means English "south", and "south" means English "north". In other words we can say "kaja" direction is meant "south", and "kelod" direction is meant "north". While at the other side Balines e use also these world to purely referring directions. In relation is a house position, it is avoided to build a house directly at the northern side of village meeting hall, or directly at the east of it. This position is called "ngeluanin", which contains a meaning to take a position at front of more senior people, or put ourselves at higher position. Point of orientation is not only a mountain but it can be any kind such as temple, the start of a river, or any place which is considered as sacred, and east-direction ( sun rise ). It means that when people sleep the body stretches with the head toward the "luanan" or to the point of orientation, and the legs be directed to the stretches in contradictory which is called "tebenan" as the antonym of "luanan".
There are some traditional thoughts that underlay the construction of a house which is in fact give a slight physical layout, position, and appearance of a house in relation with a bigger settlement pattern. Balinese house among 3 types mentioned above might arising question which is the original house or Bali. Architecturally all are original, except the 2 later types have small similarities with Javanese house such as the low foundation concept and room layout, while more detail functional and decorative aspect are Balinese original. Other important aspects that influence architecture of Balinese house are customs and economic achievement of a family. Customs indicate that when a family become big, or when 2 boys of a family have married, one of must build a new house while the other one still live with parents. In case this family has better economic level, normally they buy a new land to build the house, near the village. The new house is often get new architectural elements due to the outside influences, or just for more convenience with more accessories. The influence of space efficiency has also been taken into consideration which give much changes to the traditional Balinese house. Common shape of the house reflects much the maximization of space usage instead of non functional aspects. Among others, one type of Balinese house is considered very unique and interesting for everyone, that is the first typed mentioned above, which is called a house compound rather than a house. Below we will discuss it more detail about this special type from architectural aspect until the functional aspect of the compound. Structure and Function of the house
A unit of Balinese compound is bordered by a wall encircling the house's land. The house's land in Balinese is a "karang", while the border in the form of stone wall or clay wall or natural plantations is called " penyengker " literally means "border". Border for Balinese house has very important meaning, especially associated with magical believe. To enter a Balinese house an entrance gate is constructed, which is usually direct exit to the village road or village ally. One of the house discussed more detail is Balinese compound, since it is very unique and showing deep local concept. It is called Balinese Compound, since in one of the settlement area there are at least 4 pavilions plus one complex of family temple. This type of house normally constructed by the people living at the low land or in the past it was closed to the capital city of the kingdom. Currently such a house is very rare, except those who have economically success, they build this house compound with more modern touches. The compound is always encircled with border at least by living plants, and has one entrance gate. When this entrance is constructed in clay or stone or wooden materials it is called " angkul-angkul " This traditional entrance has 2 types, one is split gate, and one other is closed gate, it is depend on the owners' preference. When you see straightly into the house compound the entrance looks closed from inside. But this is a block to the entrance usually in the form of stone wall or clay wall. While the house member go in or exit the entrance from the side of the block, not straightly. This is related with the myth that if the entrance is not blocked that the evil spirit whose movement is always straight can enter the house, and is troublesome. So to avoid the evils spirit the entrance is detoured to both sides of the block. In the area of the wall there are pavilions plus family temples. The placement of the pavilions in the area of the compound usually divided into 3 areas which can not be mixed up. This placement is according to the believe of orientation of the directions. As mentioned above that orientation influence the architectural plan of a house, you can find the concept that family temple must be placed at "luanan" normally at northern most or east area of the land, orientated to the mountain and sun rise position. In the middle is the houses where member of the family live, while after that is the place of kitchen, pig house, or poultry shading, and others. The use of this partition among 3 segments of the courtyard is very strict, while in the center of the courtyard is considered sacred place, and can not build any thing. Usually in the middle point is constructed a shrine as a place to put offering to the guardian of the land ( Balinese " Pengijeng karang " ). The most simple one as the prototype of Balinese compound is believed to have the following pavilion inside their pekarangan:

1.Family temple, normally consist of at least 5 small shrines, each shrine related to the ancestor worship, Hindu gods, and invisible being,Bale Daja, is the pavilion build near family temple. In the past this pavilion was used to keep all the ceremonial materials. While in some areas this pavilion is used to lock in a newly married couple as long as 3 days and sleeping room for children. But currently it is used as normal house.Bale Dauh is normally an open pavilion with one bedroom which is not totally enclosed by wall. The pavilion is used as the reception of guests, and for parents sleeping room.Bale Dangin, is also built in open air with bed. This is the place of grand parents to sleep. If one of the family member died is also laid down here before going to the cemetery.Dapur ( kitchen ) is built behind, normally consist of 2 room, one room is for cooking with open area, and one room is closed room to keep all the cooking materials.Behind the kitchen in the past was built rice granary. A family in the past it was not rare to have more than one granaries as the symbol of their economic level. Around the area of granary usually constructed the house for pigs, poultry, or some time for the cows. Here are usually dug out the well ( Bali "semer" ).

2.In the back of the court yard is called " teba " in less or more can be translated into " wastes yard ". In the past the management of waste was not yet fully concerned. A family just throw away the wastes to "teba", and normally they do not have private toilet or water closed, so every time they just go to " teba "
Among those pavilions it is introduced the system of constructing based on the number of column. If a pavilion have 4 columns it is called "Sakapat Pavilion", and if it has 8 columns it is called "Sekutus Pavilion". Indeed the bigger the number of the column, the bigger the size of the pavilion. It might have the relation with the economic status of the family. It is probably the pavilion with the name according to it's column number is the oldest type of Balinese compound architecture. The latest development only the Bale Dangin still remain with the same style as in the past although in most parts of the architectural elements are intricately decorated with Balinese style. While other pavilions such as Bale Dauh and Bale Daja have got new architectural concept of totally closed house, only opened with one or 2 doors. Inside area divided into some sleeping room plus one living room and one open guest reception or terrace. This kind of house has almost Bali-wide-use since probably 20th century as the result of Western contact which gave influence to architecture. With the development of technology that is the materials for the house have given also different architectural elements such as roof before using thatch changed by zinc or clay tiles or asbes, natural stone or clay floor change with ceramic or any floor tiles, and also the other house elements. At last by the quick changes of the basic type of the houses appear 2 elements that is said to bring Balinese original architectural elements such as:

1.Intricate carving on ceiling, column, base or wall, gates, and other parts of the house

2.The use of red brick which is rubbed until the surface become smooth and the lines between bricks are not observable.

One aspect within Balinese house need to be described shortly here is the family temple. The basic idea or the ancient form of this family temple must have been the ancestor's spirit worship or the worship of the guardian of the land. So in the past it might consisted only one or 2 shrines. With the coming of Hindu influence the number of shrines were added for the gods and goddess. Other thought that gods or holy ancestral spirits can be worshiped temporary from home have also added more number of shrines. For example a family can build temporary above of god that reside on Batukaru temple or Besakih or any other temple in Bali. So it is not rare a family has a family temple with many shrines or just only 6 shrines as basic small new family. This basic small new family must be the bigger number of current Balinese family temple type. Normally the shrines in the family temple consist of the main function:

Kamulan shrine, a 3-niche shrine which has now associated with " Trinity " in Hindu god,Gedong Kompyang, an ancestor's shrine,Pesimpangan shrine, can be more than one shrines as temporary above of god when a family having ceremony, they can praying to any temple in Bali without specially coming to the temple.Piyasan shrine,k is the biggest in the temple compound, to put offering during the ceremony. Also used to keep the cloths, umbrella, and other rituals tools,Tugu shrine, is dedicated to guardian spirit of the land
Padmasana shrine, an open shrine, usually built in stone. In the past was dedicated to the highest god Siwa ( Shiva ) or Surya. In the past Hindu in Bali had more character in Shiwaitic with the finding of many linggas and Ganesha statue.
Within different cast also have different number of shrines in their family temple according to their tradition in building shrines for their ancestors. While in families of urban areas within the cities which are normally new family most have only 2 shrines for their family temple, those are Padmasana and Tugu. Since their customary organizationis still bound by their original village.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making The Right Decision While Buying Home Furniture

The market offers a large variety of materials to choose from when you are planning to buy furniture. Your decision should be based on research, taste, and the overall decor of your house.

While you would have spent hours, perhaps days, in making the decision on buying the right furniture for your home, there is bound to be some confusion in your mind in view of the large variety of choices available to choose from. While you are not to be blamed for the perplexity troubling your mind, it does help to make an informed decision based on good research and basic knowledge of furniture types.

Much depends on your outlook towards the various materials available that are vying for your attention. If you prefer wood that has been the choice of several generations and is known for its durability and class, you are amongst millions of people who want to own a piece of nature molded specifically to your personal needs. More so if you plan to own a piece of specially made wooden , it is bound to bring a class to your home that is otherwise hard to come by.

Wooden furniture is well known to last long, really long. For how many years have you been seeing that special rocking chair your grandfather used to spend his mornings on? Or the old, but still sturdy closet that you have been storing your clothes in since you were a toddler? So if you are the types who prefer that your children and their offspring as well remember their young days spent cradling in the comfort of the classic setting of your ancestral home, wooden furniture is definitely the way to be.

As far as wooden furniture goes, offers a class that cannot be ignored by any serious buyer. Whatever be your choice of wood, good definitely warrants a close look before making your decision. Known for its exclusivity and long lasting, sturdy designs, you will never regret having made your decision in its favor.

Now coming to the next choice – what if you are living in a rented apartment that you are going to move out from in a year or two at most, and would not like to lug your stuff along thereafter. In such a case, you would be better off investing in furniture that would last about as long as you desire it to- which in your case is just a couple of years. You could go in for decent wood laminates which offer the same functionality, while not being nearly as expensive as wood. It will save you the trouble of having to worry what to do with your furniture when you are moving as it would have lived its minimum life. The lower cost and life does not mean, however, that you have to compromise on design, as any good dealer will offer you a large variety of design to suit your tastes and needs. From modern to traditional, all types are available in this versatile material that also fits comfortably into any pocket.

If you are looking at pure smart prototypes to go with the latest designs, glass offers varieties that are hard to ignore. From simple glass tops to total glass molded furniture, you can choose depending on your individual taste. Colored, etched or smoked glass furniture is bound to add an elegance that reflects your panache and taste. A word of caution, however, for those with small children. Glass furniture may cause injuries as it is prone to breakage due to rough handling. Also do be careful that your purchase does not have any sharp or rough edges that have the potential to cause injury, besides the furniture looking ungainly and short of good taste.

More about some other alternatives in my next article. Be sure to sign in next fortnight to look up some other interesting options before making your decision.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Energy Saving Tips

Free and Low Cost Recommendations

Replace standard incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and save 75% of lighting costs.

Unplug electronics, battery chargers and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.

Take steps to cut water use such as installing faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, and low-flush toilets. As much as 19% of California electricity is used to pump, transport and treat water.

A 5° higher setting on your air conditioning thermostat will save about 10% on cooling costs.

Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and equipment - they're up to 40% more efficient. Find rebates and incentives in your area using our rebate finder.

Turn your water heater down to 120° or the "Normal" setting when home, and to the lowest setting when away. Water heating accounts for about 13% of home energy costs.

Reduce air conditioning costs by using fans, keeping windows and doors shut and closing shades during the day.

Turn off unnecessary lighting and use task or desktop lamps with CFLs instead of overhead lights.

Enable "power management" on all computers and make sure to turn them off at night.

A laptop computer uses up to 90% less energy than bigger desktop models.
When possible, wash clothes in cold water. About 90% of the energy use in a clothes washer goes to water heating.

Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when fully loaded. Fewer loads reduce energy and water use.

Make sure your dryer's outside vent is clear and clean the lint filter after every load. When shopping for a new dryer look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off when clothes are dry.

Test for air leaks by holding a lit incense stick next to windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing or weather stripping.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Choosing The Right Furniture For Your Living Room

The living room is the place seen first and foremost by all guests – it is an important reflection of your taste and creates an everlasting impression on their minds. Spare some time and make it a true reflection of your graceful personality.

You have been thinking hard recently about how to refurbish your house to spruce it up and make it more smart and modern, but don’t know where to start? Worry not, for after going through this article you will have a fairly good idea of how and where to do the needful for giving that new look you to your house you so desire.

You can hire a good interior designer to suggest you themes and a layout for your house. The professionals usually have a good knowledge of what is available in the market to suit each budget and taste, and would be able to advise you on this aspect as well. They would probably be able to suggest a theme to suit your personal preferences and help you make your decisions accordingly.

Alternatively, you could use your own ingenuity and knowledge to save on costs, as hiring a professional can be prohibitively expensive. You would have to gain knowledge, though, and it would require some amount of time and effort to study the market and decide what you want.

Let us start with the room your guests are likely to see and appreciate first when they come to visit after you have re-decorated your pad – the living room.

Start with a theme – you can decide on a traditional or a modern look. While hand crafted stuff like bamboo furniture is more suited to the traditional look, the modern look and feel is accentuated by the use of smart wooden or leather furniture. A set of leather sofas adds a touch of class to any living room, and is associated with aristocracy and elegance. You can choose from a variety of colors such as black, brown, red etc to go with the overall look of your room. Choose black or dark brown for a touch of sophistication that gels with your overall image. Brighter shades like red or green would look good if you have overall designer settings. Even if the color of your set is a sober black or brown, you can add red leather recliners to add a dash of color to the settings.

Look at the placement of your sectional sofas next. Preferably, the largest piece; i.e. the three or five-seater, should be placed along the longest wall. If your settings are in a large hall, place your five-seater so that it does not constrict the entry and the exit spaces. Place the single pieces evenly in comparison to the three/five-seater. They can either be placed along one side of your living room, or placed one each on either side of the main sofa. The latter is better if you have another sofa set to place, or have a five-piece set that needs more space, and would balance out the settings. If you have a stand-alone leather recliner, it is best placed in a corner where it will go well with the sitting pattern. Children generally love recliners, as it offers them a degree of comfort exceeding the normal sofas.

Look for a smart center table to go with the overall settings. Glass tops are mostly preferred for their elegant looks and large variety in which they are available. A combination of a glass top and chrome-plated frame is the latest ‘in’ thing, and will definitely give that extra special look to your room.

So don’t just procrastinate. Go ahead and make a start, and I am sure you will soon end up with a living room you will be happy to invite your guests to

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Often, the selection of an air-conditioner's size is a guessing game. To many, buying an oversized air-conditioner may seem to be the solution to ensure that coolness is achieved. Far from truth, an oversized air- conditioner's high initial cost, high electricity consumption and eventual discomfort due to poor selection would definitely spell disappointment at the end of the day.

Here's a checklist to help you understand and select a suitable air-conditioner for your home.

A. How large the cooling capacity needed depend on :

The SIZE of the room

The PLAN and ORIENTATION of the room
Different room plans and orientations require differing cooling capacity even with the same room size. For example, rooms facing east and west, require higher cooling than rooms facing north and south.

The PURPOSE of the room
Rooms with differing purposes will exude different heat loads. The higher the heat load, the higher cooling capacity is needed. A room's heat load is influenced by many factors (see above drawing). How much heat is insulated also depends on the kinds of material used for the walls and ceilings.

The LOCATION of the indoor and outdoor unit
Higher cooling capacity is required when the indoor and outdoor units are located in places with excessive heat exposure.

OCCUPANTS in the room
The number of people as well as their activities in the room affect the heat load of the room.

B. What are the differences and features to consider when buying an air-conditioner?
Cooling capacity
For 1 hp, coolling capacity ranges between 8,500 Btu/hr and 10,000 Btu/hr in different brands. The higher the Btu/hr, the higher the cooling capacity.

Electricity Consumption
For 1 hp, EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) ranges between 8 and 12 in various brands. The higher the EER, the higher the efficiency.

For 1 hp, airflow varies from 210 cfm to 300 cfm. Higher airflow provides faster cooling as well as better air circulation.
Built-in or external starter
Built-in starters are maintenance free and more accurate.
Remote control
Whether it is wired or wireless.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

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Exterior or Interior Wooden Door for Your Stylish Home

How many times would you take a second look when passing by a beautiful house? It’s not conventional to glance the second time around but beautiful houses are like beauties that deserve a second look. Similarly, a house with beautiful and stylish exterior or interior wooden doors makes you want to knock and visit the house right? Wooden doors are good attractions for many passerby and visitors. In fact, if your main entrance is a wooden door, you can tell how pleased your visitors are when they arrive in your porch and just imagine their fascination when they know on to that beautiful main entrance wooden door!

While these days, people who use metallic doors are increasing in numbers, the benefits of using the wooden doors are by par more practical and easy. That said, it’s important for you to be fully aware of your options prior to using wooden door against metallic doors:

Wooden doors and the specific making
From color to texture, the main wooden doors or entrance needs to be carefully considered. Understanding the basic type of wood would help you determine if you will be needing mahogany, maple, pine, hickory, red oak, walnut or white oak. Your understanding of what type of wooden door you’d like and how this door is made out will help you pick the best exterior, interior even your front or main door. Choosing the best type of materials used for your door is as good as keeping your wooden door for a longer period of time.

Wooden door and its style
Will you needing a wooden door with enhanced security features? Or you prfer a wooden door with a mix of metals? While you can request for combination for any customized wooden door making, it’s important for you to reconsider this option so you won’t compromise the making of the wooden door or destroy it good outlook. The need to carefully maintain it regardless of time and season will help your wooden doors last.

Ask the expert and get the delivery confirmation
If you ordered the wooden door someone else or from a manufacturer, make sure that the manufacturer’s service crew is with you when you remove and reinstall the door during that time. Understand that installing a wooden door requires the expertise of a trained crew so never attempt to do it yourself. Of course, when you place your order for the wooden door, even online or when you visit a physical store, you must be certain when the delivery would occur.

Time and expenses
Typical wooden door s may not be really that costly but if you are to enhance the wooden door with some security features, you will need to reconsider your budget. Also the type of materials used for the wooden doors matter a lot too. So to save money, make sure to scout for good wooden door especially that of your entrance. Accentuate the entrance wooden door with some accessories to add style and beauty to your front entrance.

Choosing the best wooden door for your home would enhance the style for your residence. In terms of cost and maintenance, wooden doors are easy to keep and maintain so rest assured that you will not experience much worries.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interior Wood Doors: Perfect Choice for Your Home

Are you a first time home owner who has grandeur thoughts about the kind of house you’ll have? How exciting it is to own a home for the first time and have it designed according to how you always planned it. Be it as it may but how do you go about planning which type of door is perfect for your home? Will you be using PVC or the kind of interior wood doors for your entrance? If you are the type who prefers classy yet secured entry, you may want to use the interior wood doors over the PVC. Why so?

First, the interior wood doors, despite their making, can be enhanced. It’s true that PVC or the metallic hollow door or strong plastic doors can provide you added protection. However, if you are the type who loves to accentuate and accessorize most of your home pieces, installing interior wood doors is a perfect choice for your stylish home. This is also true for those home owners who decided to reconstruct their homes to match their personal preferences or for those who changing their home style from one theme to another.

The second reason why interior wood doors are perfect for your home is the fact that these doors come in varieties of styles. Understand that interior wood doors can be customized and are labored greatly. That said, it means you can pick the kinds of interior wood doors based on your preferences. Would you prefer sliding door over folding doors? Or you prefer to have the double French or the Patio style? Whichever you think are the best interior wood doors, you will definitely benefit much from choosing wood doors over other types of doors.

Third, maintaining wood doors over PVC is more practical. While it’s true that regardless of the kind of door installed in your place, maintenance for the interior wood doors can be really easy especially if you are to use the kind of cleaning and maintenance materials specifically use for woods. You may want to use non-abrasive commercial cleaners to maintain that new-look features of the door.

Lastly, designing your interior wood doors can be really fun. Not only that you could accessorize the door by purchasing some accessories like door knockers, flip lock for added security or the chain bolts. You can install these accessories yourself though you can always ask for the assistance of the home maintenance staffs in your area.

That said, practical ways of taking care of your interior wood doors is easier than keeping PVC or metallic doors. You can also be confident that the interior wood doors are sturdy as long as you choose the best and quality made in town. You can always pick good wood doors but choosing which is sturdier and is made of fine quality materials is another challenge. With that, make sure to always communicate with your interior designer or scout for more information online.

Choosing the custom made interior wood doors can be costly compared to other ready-made doors. Yet, the beauty and the style these custom- made doors would definitely improve your home inside out.

Lighting Up Your Living Room

Living room lighting is not just about lighting up your room, it's also about creating a mood for relaxation, or entertaining or just watching TV.

Your living room can take on many different roles, it can be used for watching television, reading, listening to music, relaxing and chatting to friends and family as well as being used for hobbies and various pastimes such as playing chess or knitting.

Therefore the lighting in this room needs to be sufficient in order to accommodate such a wide variety of different uses. This is easily achieved by using lighting that is both flexible in quantity and quality. And, instead of having just one mediocre light bulb hanging from the centre of the room - you can go wild and give your imagination a run for its money by incorporating downlighters, recessed lighting, decorative table lamps, reading lamps, wall lights, maybe picture lights as well to highlight an interesting object, and of course your pendant lighting or chandeliers.

Living room lighting lends itself to being open to many different lighting sources and your mix of indoor light fixtures and fittings should accommodate a wide spectrum of moods and activities.

Generally, many households tend to have an insufficient number of light fittings to completely satisfy the lighting requirements of the room. A pendant and a few lamps, floor and table lamps, for example, are generally not enough to do justice to living rooms which also tend to be quite large in comparison to other rooms in the house.

As a rough guide, having a couple of table lamps, four to six recessed downlighters, a picture light to highlight an ornamental object or painting, some sort of concealed lighting inside a bookshelf or other unit, as well as a floor lamp - are considered a good quantity of light fittings which can be used to properly light up your living room. As you can see, you do not need to have all these different types of lighting and lamps all on at the same time. Rather, for effect, you would have a few lights on depending on what sort of mood you wanted to create and what activities were taking place.

Remember also that when it comes to lighting, the different types of light fixtures are quite versatile and can adapt to suit different lighting requirements. For instance, using adjustable lights means that you can highlight different objects by simply repositioning the light source from the lamp. Similarly, decorative table lamps can be used not only as an ornamental object but can provide background lighting for performing tasks as well as being a light source for other objects displayed on the table.

Living room lighting is not just about lighting up your room, it's also about creating a mood for relaxation, or entertaining or just watching TV.

Lighting room lighting can include decorative table lamps, all types of Tiffany style lighting as well as sconces and floor lamps. By using all of these you give the room depth and character.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Arranging Living Room Furniture for Maximum Effect

The living room is today's most 'lived in' room, so it is important to make the most of the space you have. Get some simple expert tips...

For many years, the living room was the formal room in the home – a room that was only used for special guests. Families either gathered in the den or gathered in the kitchen. As times have changed, the living room has become just that – the living room. This has now become the room in most homes where the family gathers – relaxing together over a good book or watching favorite TV shows together, and even entertaining friends. We now tend to invite our guests and friends into the comfort of the room in which we actually perform the art of living, in a less-formal, more inviting atmosphere.

The arrangement of your furniture can have an affect on how the room is viewed by family and guests. Does the room seem open and inviting? Does the room seem small and crowded? You want to convey a feeling of welcome and comfort to your family and guests – allowing them to feel that they are free to actually "live" in the room. The first step is to determine what the focal point of the room will be – will it be an entertainment center or perhaps a warm, cozy fireplace?

One of the most important aspects of furniture placement in the living room is allowing for traffic to move through the room comfortably. You don’t want guests having to worry about bumping in to knick-knacks and other things as they move around the room. You want them to be able to move from place to place within the room easily. Depending on the size of your room, you may want to have one grouping of comfortable seats – close enough for conversation, yet far enough apart for individual privacy as well. For a larger room, you may want to have several groupings of comfortable seats, with a central focal point on the entertainment center or fireplace.

Large furniture should be placed along the walls whenever possible. This leaves more space for traffic in the center of the room. If your living room is used often – as is usually the case when the room is used both for entertaining and for family, there will be a lot of traffic – and by leaving maneuverable space, you are letting your family and friends know that it is okay to use this room for living, without them having to worry about breaking things or knocking things over.

For living rooms that are used for entertainment and family rooms, you can use furniture to your advantage. Many tables and entertainment centers have shelves and storage spaces that can be used to keep the room cleared of clutter. Games, movies, CD’s, and books can all be stored within easy reach without cluttering the room and creating a sense of less space. A great idea if you have small children is to use an area rug in an open space in the room, giving them a "play area" that can be utilized even when adults are entertaining friends.

When deciding on the arrangement of your furniture, you need to keep in mind the comfort of your guests, the amount of space needed for traffic, and the atmosphere that you are trying to create. Using small tables beside chairs offers a person a feeling of personal privacy within a room of people by giving them somewhere to put things such as their drink glass or a favorite book they may be reading. Use corners for things such as lamps and large decorative pieces, allowing them to add to the décor of the room without taking away space and making the room feel crowded. Whether your focal point is a fireplace or an entertainment center, you should arrange furniture that invites each person in the room to be a part of the group as a whole, and also allows them the privacy to take a break from the conversation when needed. The point is to make your family and guests feel that they are welcome in your living room and that this is the room for "living" – together.

Monday, November 3, 2008

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Three Very Short Steps to a New Living Room

Three simple suggestions that will help you revolutionize your living room.

So I was at a friend’s house the other month, a cute, turn-of-the-century bi-level in a southwestern college-town. You know the type: wood floors, an outside color scheme of olive and orange, pleasant backyard, etc. He opened the front door—wood, its plate-glass window with beveled edges—and let me in. And I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Did he actually live here? Could he? We stood in the entry foyer, which was completely empty of furniture, and I looked into the living room to my left. It was almost as though an alien had watched several films set in the 1970s United States, and had taken careful notes about the types of furniture humans have. TV: check. Couch: check. Coffee table, Barcalounger, second easy chair: check, check, check. But the furniture was just sort of strewn around the room (as much as a couch can be strewn, anyway), arranged haphazardly in a way that suggested the alien’s homemaking duties had been fulfilled as soon as everything had been purchased and delivered.

The friend I was visiting is an intelligent, dedicated individual, well-respected in his field and also not without a certain personal style. He’s a well-rounded person, and reasonably fir, psychologically (well, as much as anyone interesting ever is). So, why was his home in such disarray (if anything, things got worse in the other rooms)? And, more importantly, what could be done about it?

Since I don’t intend to use the Web as a forum for psychoanalyzing my friends, and given that I’ve talked since then with a number of people who feel similar degrees of disinterest in their physical environments, I think the latter question is the one to take up here. Specifically, I want to offer three thoughts about arranging living spaces with minimal extra effort.

Sure, there are about a hundred shows on TV dedicated to just this topic, but we all know that Trading Spaces costs a bundle; and the work they do there certainly requires a ton of time and effort. Following are three short tips for those who want to (or who think I might want them to) rearrange their homes a little, but who don’t want to think about it all too much.

1. Craigslist. Seriously, especially if you live in a big city or a city with a lot of students, there’s no need to buy furniture new ever again. Do you know your living room really needs a lamp behind the sofa, but don’t want to be overwhelmed by a billion glittering lights at the mall or at your local designer lamp boutique? Check out (or an equivalent service; there are several, many of them locally oriented) in your town or city. Just get online and browse the ads every now and then until you see something that appeals. This takes all the stress out of buying "home stuff," by the way. Instead of the whole "I’m on a mission; get out of my way, lady" mentality that’s hard to avoid if you’re seriously shopping for something, you can just check in from time to time to see if anything good has popped up.

2. Living spaces are for living in. Even if you have no friends, spend about three minutes imagining a lively conversation taking place in your living room. Then rearrange the chairs and sofas so that everybody (imaginary friends, if need be) can participate in that conversation at the same time.

3. If you make the TV the centerpiece of the room, the TV will be the centerpiece of the room! Nothing against television, but if you want people to actually talk to each other, it’s important to set up the space so that it makes talking easy. Most people’s default is to set up living spaces as little altars to the television, allowing everyone to see the TV at all times. If that’s what’s most important to you, of course, then I guess that’s okay . . . whatever. But if you want a little more human interaction, keep in mind that it’s your job to redirect people’s attention from the default position. So, don’t arrange the room around the TV. Arrange the room, and then figure out a place for the TV that will be more or less convenient.

Take these three suggestions, and they could revolutionize your living room. Most importantly, perhaps, they could revolutionize your living room with almost no real effort on your part. Happy minimalist rearranging!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carpeting Tips for Small Spaces

(NC)-Creating the illusion of a larger area begins with just a few simple tips for anyone challenged with decorating a small space, and wall-to-wall carpet offers the perfect design medium to achieve your goal.

When decorating any space, large or small, start with the floor. To enhance a smaller space choose carpet in a solid colour and smaller pattern. Refined textured loops or subtle cut-and-loop patterned carpet styles are in the popular interior design spotlight today. Especially for a small room, textured carpet provides the illusion of depth and volume. Selecting a carpet in a neutral colour stretches the space. A carpet colour similar to the colour of the walls will help to create the impression of more space. And in the latest carpet styles, "neutral" is far more interesting than yesterday's plain and safe beige. The sophisticated "new neutrals" cover an exceptional range from creamy whites and soothing taupes to warm sand to dove greys and tinted pastels. Not only are there more choices in carpet colours, the style choices are tailored to fit your lifestyle with a vast array of designs in casual, classic or contemporary décor styles.

If you are decorating an open-concept area, a smaller home or modern condo, try to avoid distinct breaks between rooms and keep the floor coverings in a similar colour. By keeping the background of your room or home in a neutral palette, you will have optimum flexibility in your selection of furniture and accessories to add colour and texture without minimizing the illusion of space.

You may change your paint and furnishings over the years but your floor covering is a longer-term investment decision. Today's carpet texture, pattern and colour choices are virtually endless. The carpet you select is an important design element, the foundation to your decor and will set the tone for the entire room.

Monday, October 27, 2008

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Make Small Rooms Feel Bigger!

Decorating small rooms can be quite a challenge, but there are some simple things you can do in a weekend to make the space seem to expand before your eyes!

1. Go buy the largest mirror you can afford, and place it in a focal area of the room, such as over a mantel, or over a sofa. Hang it a little higher than eye level to avoid reflecting clutter if necessary. If you can't afford a large mirror, drop by your discount store and dollar shop and pick up a few smaller ones to create a grouping of mirrors to accomplish the same purpose. I have decorative mirrors in almost every room of my modestly sized home, and when I take them down to paint or clean, I am shocked at how much more closed in the room feels. One mirror adds several visual feet to any room!

2. Don't leave your walls white! I know, that's not what you've always heard. White walls can be difficult to pull off in an interesting way, and they don't expand a room any more than light colors do, so add some personality! Paint your walls a light cool color, such as blue or green. Cool colors fool the eye into thinking the walls are farther away than they really are, while warm colors make walls seem closer. (Most whites used in homes are warm whites.) So bring in that pale blue or green!

3. Change your furniture arrangement. I don't believe there is any one formula that works for every room...some rooms will seem larger with the furniture against the walls, and some will seem large if you float the furniture out into the room. Experiment! If you don't want to spend a whole afternoon rearranging furniture (I know a good chiropractor!) then use graph paper to do it. Assign each square of the paper to 1 square foot. Draw in walls, traffic patterns, and other obstacle such as doors. Then cut out small pieces the size of each piece of furniture. Now you can use your furniture templates to move your furniture around on paper, to find the perfect fit for you, before you move a stick! Keep in mind, you still may want to make a change or two after you get it all into actual place. That's ok, us decorators change our minds too!

4. Remove all accessories that break up the space. This is the case where less is more. If two patterned pillows add the pizzazz you need, then don't add four. Use larger scale accessories instead of many smaller ones. And get rid of clutter! We tend to stop seeing the pile of magazines because we are used to them, try to look at the room with an objective eye. If your kitchen is small, don't store things on the counter, put them behind cupboard doors. Kids toys? Find inexpensive bins that can slide under the end tables, then cover with table cloths. If you don't love it or need it, get rid of it! (Don't keep an accessory out just because it fills space!)

5. This is the most underutilized tip for small rooms of all, but also one of the easiest! Keep all your windows and reflective surfaces sparkling clean! Don't believe me? Try it now, go clean that sliding glass door, then stand back. Looks bigger, doesn't it! Now do the same for the rest of the windows, tv screens, dishwasher fronts, glass over artwork and glass tabletops. The shiny clean surfaces both reflect light (which always brightens and enlarges a room) and creates a smooth surface for your eye to glide over, creating the illusion of more space! It works!

Five easy ways to enlarge the look of any room, and you can do it in an afternoon or a weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tips For Decorating Your Living Room on a Budget

In most homes, the living room is the place where most of the action happens. This is where you spend time together as a family and entertain your friends. Apart from the bed room, your living room is where you spend the maximum time in your house. It is no wonder then, that all of us want our living rooms to look good and be comfortable. However, with constant wear and tear, our living room starts looking drab, old fashioned and mostly in need of a change for the better. Unfortunately, redecorating even a single room in the house can prove to be extremely costly, and a situation involving redecorating your living room is no different. However, with our tips on redoing your living room, you can easily and quickly freshen up your living room’s decor without spending a huge packet.

Bring Out The Colors: Changing the color scheme of a room is an easy and inexpensive method of redecorating it. Choose a color scheme that is different from what your living room was sporting earlier. In order to give your living room paint a professional feel, mix and match two or three colors, paint one wall a different color or use dark colors for accenting certain portions of the room.

Go Green: Bringing in plants into your living room adds both color and life to the room. Adding greens to a room always makes it look classy and cool. Buy a couple of potted plants and arrange them in a corner of the living room where there is some light. You can also keep your plants in a dark corner and hang a lamp on top. This will not only make sure that your plants live; it will also result in a beautiful corner arrangement.

Add Space: If you wish your living room was larger than what it currently is, but can do nothing much about it, then putting up a couple of mirrors on the wall is the next best thing to breaking down walls. Mirrors add an illusion of added space, and if you do it correctly, you might just end fooling yourself about the actual size of your living room.

Cover Your Floors: Changing your dull or drab floor tiles or carpeting is an extremely expensive move. If you are fed up with your old floor, then buying carpets and multi colored rugs and placing them strategically across your living room will give your living room floor a new lease of life and color at a minimal cost. You can choose from a wide range of floor coverings depending on your budget and the theme of your living room.

Create Your Own Art: One of the cheapest methods of decorating your room is by using art work and decorative pieces that you have created yourself. Even if you are not very artistic, you can easily put together a collage of pictures, leaves or dry flowers that will look appealing once it is framed. You can also frame interesting pieces of fabrics or cushion covers to create a tapestry like wall hanging.

Add To Your Upholstery: While changing all the furniture in your living room, sofas, settees and chairs can be very costly, you can easily get the upholstery changed for a fraction of the price, and your sofas will once again start looking new. If you cannot find someone to do this for you, then you can shop around for throws, shawls and new cushion covers to give your seating space a new look for less.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to Contemporize Your Living Room

If you’re looking to redecorate your living room by adding a contemporary and timeless look, consider adding new pieces of furniture. Easier than looking for new housing, redecorating can be a fun and worthwhile project that gives you a chance to change the look of your home. I’m not going to lie, shopping for the perfect furniture pieces can be a time consuming task, but it can be a lot of fun. There are plenty of furnishing options out there that will give your home a refreshing, contemporary feel without you having to go toward the modern sterilization route. In this three-part series, I’ll introduce you to the beauty that is contemporary furniture for your living room, dining room and bedroom.

Let’s start with the main room of your home, the living room. Living room furniture is supposed to illustrate a welcoming look for both you and your guests. Since we’re looking to add a modern dash of style to your home, it’s best to opt for something comfortable, simple, and a bit of color wouldn’t hurt. Couches like the ones from the Shelby Collection found on offer wide, soft box cushions and defining style that easily fits well in any home. And if you can afford it, it’s not a bad idea to purchase matching love seats and ottomans. Unless you’re an advanced level interior decorator who knows how to mix and match furniture pieces for an eclectic look, it’s probably best for you to stick with matching pieces and case goods.

Living room accessories like coffee tables, end tables and consoles will add to the new look of your home. If it’s a clean look that you desire, you simply can’t go wrong with dark wood. Dark wood or stained wood furniture has been a popular trend in the furniture market over the past few years. TheSoho Black Ash Living Room Collection, which can also be found on, is an excellent example of this beautiful trend. Creating an avant-garde look that won’t go out of style anytime soon, dark wood can be tricky but sophisticated feature for your home. Best kept for a few key furniture pieces like coffee tables, dining tables and dining chairs, too much dark wood can give your home a darkened appearance. With that said, it’s a good idea to limit just how much dark wood you want in your home.

Another solution you may want to consider when investing in a deep hue furniture item is finding one that’s been paired with glass. Glass adds an elegant aesthetic to just about anything, and pairing it with wood gives it an ethereal look, considering that wood is a very solid element.

Remember, just because it’s contemporary doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be minimal in style. Modern furniture doesn’t have to be intimidating; it can be just as welcoming as your mom’s old matronly, yet comfy couch. In our next installment, we’ll go ahead and talk about creating a contemporary flair to your dining room.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Design Tips For Decorating A Small Living Room

See how easy it is to get big style in small spaces with these decorating tips for small living rooms.

For gathering and entertaining, your living room is important, so you want to be sure it has a great interior design. But what should you do if the space is very small? Fortunately,decorating a small living room can be easy with the interesting room design ideas practiced today.

First, you must stick to an which you like but which will also suit a cozy area. One significant feature to avoid with small living rooms is clutter because it has a proclivity to make the room look significantly smaller.

Maximizing the area in your living room is key so take this into account when thinking about your design theme. A modernized design could be ideal, as this tends to enhance space and living area, instead of many items battling to occupy the same space. Take care to pick an interior decorating scheme you love since this is going to be where you spend the majority of your time.

One key piece of making your living room feel bigger is the color palette. Usuallu people are under the impression that that you ought to just use light paint colores in small rooms, but usually there is actually more to it than that. If you prefer bright or deep colors in your living room you can have it without making the room look small if you decorate with a monochromatic decorating theme, or one where the colors are of an equal brightness. For a scheme that is more colorful try blues and greens that all reflect an equal intensity or to achieve a calm and peaceful style pick a monochromatic color scheme of moss greens. If you'd like to allow for the illusion of depth paint the wall opposite the entry a deep, intense color. For wall paint colors, pale tones like gray-blue will create an overall larger look as they make the walls appear to recede. If you fancy something a lot of interesting, cool colors including blue, purple and green will have the same effect.

Don't forget when you are decorating a small living room to research where you are putting the furniture and accessories. While lots of people dismiss the qualities of Feng Shui, the ideas behind it could still be practiced when arranging the accessories and furniture in your living room. Be positive your furniture is not set close to the doors since this can truly open up the space. This should also help set off a larger piece of furniture such as an entertainment which can help the room look bigger.

When it comes to filling the room with furniture, stick to small or medium sized pieces. Using a love seat, in lieu of a large sofa, can make a lot of difference in space, but still allow guests to be comfortably seated. It makes sense to add appealing charm to your living room by mixing in a bit of larger scaled items, so why not use the small sofa but also use a large mirror or art piece, it is able to also add atmosphere to the room.

These philosophies could help you in your interior design adventure while decorating a small living room. Purely because your living room is less spacious doesn't mean it can't have the same top notch design style you see in big designer homes - it basically takes a bit of unique creativity.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Patio Furniture - Coordinating Cushions, Chairs, And Canopies

Patio furniture is often the 'afterthought' in a patio design. Ideally, however, your design plans should incorporate basic ideas about patio furniture. A well-coordinated look is possible only if the patio itself, the patio awning or canopy, and the patio furniture complement one another.

You have a diverse range of choices available. One of the most popular is cast aluminum patio furniture. As long as you steer clear of tubular framing, these furniture pieces are extremely functional on a patio. In spite of being fairly lightweight and easy to move about, solid cast aluminum chairs are sturdy enough to withstand the wind and weather to a large extent.

In contrast to wrought iron sets, cast aluminum patio furniture won't rust. It is preferable to buy furniture with welded joints. If bolts are used, they should be stainless steel or aluminum. A solidly crafted aluminum chair, that is powder coated, will withstand years of weather extremes, and family fun.

Just make sure that you follow the maintenance instructions to the letter, or you may find that you have voided your warranty! Usually all your aluminum patio furniture asks for, is to be spruced up with a bit of water, to which a gentle detergent has been added. This if often followed by a light coating of car wax as a sealant.

The Telescope Sling Collection is an example of aluminum patio furniture, with styles to suit any patio design.

Wood patio furniture is a popular choice, because of the warm atmosphere it creates. Western Red Cedar is frequently used, because of its well-known weatherproof properties. As the wood isn't prone to warping or cracking, it is highly usable outdoors.

Cedar is oil-rich, an important factor as far as wood preservation is concerned. It also has an inbuilt insect repellant! A Cedar set has a richness, which can be further enhanced with your choice of fabric for the patio furniture cushions.

Another category you may consider, is plastic and resin patio furniture, such as the Kettler Outdoor Furniture range. A wide variety of chairs, chaise lounge designs, and tables are available. Resin patio furniture is superbly suitable for outdoor use, because of its weather-resistant characteristics.

Resin has the ability to go with the flow, so to speak. It expands and contracts with changing weather conditions, and doesn't fade. The Kettler range of patio furniture use a double-injection molding process, which adds to its quality and explains why these pieces have such a long life.

If your patio design guides you to choose a Sunbrella Awning, you have the perfect partner for your patio furniture, as discussed at Sunbrella fabrics are well-tested for outdoor use. Creating a perfectly coordinated look is painless, with such a classy range to choose from.

Your patio furniture cushions, decked in Sunbrella's fashionable fabrics, will be unlikely to fade or stain. Your patio is there to add to your quality of life, and to facilitate effortless entertaining. Every aspect of it should therefore be easy to maintain. By choosing Sunbrella fabrics, you choose carefree patio living.

Your extra living 'room', has to be comfortable and relaxing. Your choice of patio furniture is important enough to justify careful deliberation!