Sunday, August 31, 2008

DIY Home Lighting Design and Planning for Your Home's Interior Designs

Designing for interiors is a balance of all elements.

I believe that lighting is the one element that can make or break an interior design.

Lighting is the one element that can be altered, even after the floor coverings are down and the paint is dry.

With a little clever and thoughtful planning, your room can be versatile with different effects and moods able to be created.

Planning the Room (Designing Home Lighting)
Initially you will need to measure the room and draw a very basic layout of where items are to go, including furniture, drapery, windows, artwork, feature walls, audiovisual equipment and the seating arrangement.

These are all areas that can be a feature or focus of light or light source and should be treated with that in mind.

A directional halogen downlight illuminates the picture grouping.

From left uplight and down light at bookcase, a picture light over the picture, a low pendant over the desk, a freestanding lamp behind the desk, and freestanding uplight lighting the ceiling behind the chair, a directional spotlight lighting the plant.

Of course, this is easy if planning from scratch, but a lot more difficult if you a trying to enhance an existing room as you already have hardwired lights. If the room's layout can be altered, then try to use a flexible lighting system.

For example in a living room or family room the furniture positions can easily change therefore its probable that flexible task lighting will be required as well as the overall lighting system.

The interior decoration of the room is also prominent in your choice of lighting. Remember dark flooring and walls soak up light. Polished surfaces often create glare, light colored walls and floors reflect it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Interior Design Lighting and Decoration of your Home, Ideas, Advice and Examples

Lighting is often left to the last minute and hasty decisions are made.

Lighting should be considered along with the space planning and decoration planning as it relates directly to how each space is perceived.

You could have the best decoration in the world but unless you have made provisions to light it it could disappear into oblivion.

Poor lighting selection can wash out colour and texture, and make the room look less than ordinary.

Where as careful considered lighting selection can greatly enhance even the simplest of interior design features.

We have some simple advice for lighting your home in the following articles.

But never forget, you can work out your lighting requirements yourself, but sometimes it is prudent when spending a lot of money to hire a professional to provide advice, or check your selections and add their recommendations.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Simple to Remember Guidelines to Choosing Colors for Kitchens

How do you choose what colors will work for your kitchen design?

It’s easier than you think. Once you eliminate what won’t work, you are left with a simple palette to choose from. So here are a few ways to filter out colors from your kitchen.

Color for Small Spaced Kitchens

Don’t use dark timbers and colors that will make the space appear smaller. So avoid dark reds, purples, dark blues and greens.

Look for clear crisp colors or whites with a tint of blue, green or yellow for a subtle background of color. Keep cabinetry simple and unadorned and avoid clutter as it will create chaos in a small kitchen.

Color for Large Open Plan Spaced Kitchens

Don’t make a huge contrast in color to the remainder of the d├ęcor in your home unless you want your kitchen to visually dominate the living space. Choose a color that flows with the single open plan space. Generally open plan living uses one color for the walls and has small pockets of color to define specific areas within this.

Open plan spaces predominately use white as a wall color and then add color and texture to that. So colors that would work in a large open plan spaced kitchen are mottled, textured neutrals, whites, grays, black and silver metallics, materials like Corian, granite, laminates, stainless steel and tiles.

Then use color in accessories, flowers, jars, vases, pendant light shades, bar stools, pictures etc to provide focal points and pockets of color.

These kitchens are small functional and compact. They generally aren’t a feature of the home simply a necessity and often use colors and textures to blend into the space and encroach as little as possible.

Most apartments are strapped for space and don’t have an abundance of natural light so bright light and clear colors tend to work best. Once again neutrals, whites and grays with accents of clear crisp colors, teal, apple green, hot pink, citrus yellow in small forms. Therefore the timeless all white kitchen works well with white appliances or for a modern look, soft metallic gray with stainless steel appliances is sleek and functional.

Color for Standard Typical Spaced Kitchen

Yippee!! Anything goes…. Obviously as long as it suits the style of your home and kitchen you can use any colors you like. The only thing to be weary of is lighting.

If you have a lot of natural light and well planned task and feature lighting then the colors you use can be strong and bold and you will still be able to see and the kitchen will be highlighted but if you have little natural light and poor lighting then either upgrade it or choose lighter more light reflecting colors.

Color for Outdoor kitchens

Yes the latest fad – not only is it trendy, but a fun way to use color outside. Think about the plantings that you have. Add some panels of bold colors to contrast. For example red flowers add a purple panel behind them to highlight the flowers and greenery. Add fun colored upholstered squabs or cushions to outdoor seating – hot pinks, burnt oranges, teal and crisp green apple.

For more color ideas for your kitchen look at the specific style of kitchen that you have, traditional, contemporary, country.

Make the most of color, use it, don’t get obsessed with it – step back and visualize your kitchen and how it will look, use brush outs (large cards of paint colors) to hold up in the space to see how the color works at different times of the day with different light. Start gradually and build up color.

If you are in doubt, stick to neutrals and layer gradually. Add color until you get the look you want. After all haven’t we been told for generations from the real estate agents that white is best in the kitchen as it is the color of purity and cleanliness and the most versatile and the best kitchen color for resale!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Contemporary Style Kitchens

Contemporary styled kitchen’s characteristics are their efficient use of space, their simplicity of form and openness.

The cabinetry is simple with little or no decoration; it is often made of prefinished board like laminate, a pale timber veneer, or a lacquered paint MDF board.

The use of glass in overhead cabinets is common and lighting plays a major role.

Cabinetry lighting is a feature especially in glass-fronted cupboards and under overhead cupboards to allow light to fall on the counter top.

Halogen is the preferred type, as the fittings are small and provide a lot of light and they literally make everything sparkle. Pendants over breakfast bars or islands are popular.

Windows in the kitchen are functional and generally not decorated unless with a functional blind to reduce the direct sunlight or provide privacy. Color is what makes contemporary style kitchens popular, reds, blues and bright colors. The color is often in the decoration, not the cabinetry. The walls are painted, colored tiles used as a splash back behind the sink or behind the cook top. Accessories are colored and can be changed regularly to create a new look.

The contemporary kitchen is functional and versatile. The appliance colors can be selected from white the most traditional, to black the most sophisticated or stainless steel for a clean hygienic modern feel.

The contemporary styled kitchen is a low fuss easy care kitchen that has products specified for easy cleaning and low maintenance. Vinyl flooring is popular for it’s easy clean and hygienic properties as well as cost effectiveness. Tiles are popular and new eco flooring options are creeping in for example laminate timber flooring strips, they look like timber but they’re not!

Contemporary styled kitchens covers a vast array of looks, it works well in most modern homes today and is an ideal style for remodeling and renovating your kitchen as it can be changed to create different looks with a minimum expense through colored accessories.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Country Style Kitchens

Country styled kitchens are difficult to define exactly as they have an eclectic feel, which means that they have all sorts of bits and pieces from differing styles and periods combined to create the country look.

There are also regional styles that are probably more well known like French Provincial Country Style or Old English Country Style, Colonial American Country Style. They all bring a similar feeling to the style, that of a safe, warm and comfortable homely ambience to the kitchen.

Generally timber is a major feature either in the cabinetry and or the flooring and the furniture.

Timber counter tops are popular or simply a mobile timber island or cutting block.

The finish to the wood is simple and often a white wash or distressed look is used over the wood to create a weathered or aged feel.

Most country styled kitchens have room for a kitchen table and chairs.

Usually in timber or wood, with a plaid or checked upholstery.

The preferred timber types are pine, maple or the local wood in plentiful supply.

Pot racks – generally metal, and timber chopping blocks are features and numerous other forms of display for cooking utensils and jars of sugar, flour, salt and condiments etc.

The country kitchen lacks order and symmetry but it does possess visual movement and controlled clutter. The style allows for combinations of accessories and wrought ironware, copper pans, ceramic plates and jugs, different patterns in fabrics and collectables. They are functional and homely. Many finishes are different, combining timber with painted tiles, metal work and ceramic, as long as there are no high contrast clashing combinations – the country feel exists.

The prevalent colors are creams and whites combined with natural timbers and light browns. Highlight colors are dependant on which country style you follow but in general, reds, earth greens, blues are popular and common colors in plaids and checked fabrics.

The American Country Style is typified the the colors of sun aged barn reds and dusky blues, patchwork upholstery and painted floor boards, floor cloths and matchboard wainscoting, stenciled motifs and artwork and simple rag rugs.

French Country Style or Provencal or French Provincial is defined by the Provencal print of fabric which features warm sun drenched color schemes of bright yellows, pinks, reds and blues. The walls are often white washed or color washed in natural tones of ochre, russet, honey or rose. The flooring is predominately terracotta tiles and the use of timber is prolific with simple functional, rustic designed furniture. Metals feature in accessories, wrought iron cabinetry handles, pot racks, plate holders and candelabra and shutters to the windows.

English Country Style is a weathered and well-used look. An elegant yet old and faded look, still homely with the generational comfort of unchanged history and style. Worn floor rugs, needlework cushions and upholstery on timber kitchen chairs, faded floral chintz drapery at the windows. Soft subtle mellow colors, creams, pinks, generally warm colors as kitchens were often in colder areas of the house. Display of condiments, preserving jars and always some sort of flowers, either wild flowers in a vase of flowers and herbs hanging over the stove to dry.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Styles of Kitchen - Which One Suits You?

Kitchen styles - sleek and industrial, rustic and homely, crisp and fresh, which one suits you?

There is an expression for all the differing kitchen styles available, but they all have one thing in common.

They all have a sink, oven and refrigerator!

Most have many more appliances and this makes the kitchen the most expensive room in the home to equip.

So careful planning and attention to detail for every aspect is essential from electrical power point placement to light fittings; the kitchen is a complex space to design.

The kitchen is the hub of the home as we all have to eat regularly and it is always a constant buzz of activity. Kitchens are therefore one of the major area home buyers look at along with bathrooms when purchasing a house.

The first consideration whether remodeling your existing house or starting out with a new home is the current style of your home and your furnishings. The kitchen is often placed centrally in the home and therefore visible from most rooms, the decoration and style should flow harmoniously throughout.

Imagine how crazy a sleek single line, white marble top, lacquered cabinetry with stainless steel appliances would look in a country cottage. An exaggeration of concept but crazier style combinations have been seen, unfortunately most of them fail as the contrast is too great and the detail of the styles is broken and lost with the jolting differences in a small space.

In this area of the website we will outline the features of different kitchen styles and allow you to decide which style reflects your home and your lifestyle best.

Traditional Styled Kitchens – Timeless and versatile.

Country Styled Kitchens – Relaxed and Comfortable.

Contemporary Styled Kitchens – Sleek and Streamlined.

Choosing Colors for Kitchens - Find some easy to remember guidelines.

So follow through and find out which style of kitchen fits the look of your home.
To learn about which type of kitchen layout best suits you visit Kitchen layouts.

Remember that there is a style of kitchen out there for everyone, when you add your decoration to the space you completely create your own unique sub style of kitchen design.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Finishing Touches

Your contractors have left you have a brand new interior, you have placed your furniture, but there is still something missing. Yes! The finishing touches. This is where, less is definately best, so select wisely. You want to create features in the room, not collections.

Here are some ways to finish your room:

1. Artwork - paintings or prints. Select pictures or prints that relate to your theme or style, make sure they incorporate colors from your color scheme. They can be used to highlight your colors or just to create a texture to the wall in similar color tonings. If you have a lot of paintings, you are best to group them together to create "one" picture, rather than spread them one by one across the wall. To find out more about placing artwork visit this article below.
Arranging Artwork
2. Artwork - sculpture. Sculpture is a great way to create a focal point in a room, find a god spot to display it and make sure you have a way of highlighting it with light.

3. Vases - Flowers, fresh or artificial. These are a great way to soften a look. Fresh flowers are great because you can always create a new look depending on the type of flowers and the way they are arranged. For example wild flowers grouped suggest randomness, tulips on their own suggest simplicity, red roses on centre stage suggest passion, spring flowers evoke cheerfulness to a room at the changing of a season, large white asian lillies express opulence. To save time and money artifical flowers are a very good option today. They are almost too real looking, and you do look a bit silly when you go to smell them and have a closer inspection! Choose flowers that suit the style you have created, if you need help with this, most florists have a good background in matching flowers to your taste.

4. Cushions - These are the greatest accessory, especially if you
have children, they just love messing up your well placed accessories! They are great as you can further enhance the colors and fabrics that you have chosen, use the same fabric in a slightly different color way or the same colo rway in a different design. Contrasting colors work well to brighten a scheme, or textured cushions in a monochromatic scheme. Fringes and tassels, buttons and beads, the world is your oyster when it comes to decorating cushions, these are a "must have" in almost every room.

5. Throws - these are a simple way to make a room feel more homely.
They are great when you sit in front of the fire at night to read a book and you wrap the throw around your shoulders and snuggle. So they are useful as well as adding color, texture and style to your room. Once again you can follow the prinicples for cushion selection to choose what they will look like.

6. Tie backs, hold backs - curtain accessories, these really add a touch of class to your window treatments. You can choose from such
a huge selection today, so I will just send you to another website to look at how these work.

7. Lamps - we touched on these in furniture placement, but I can't stress enough how these really add the finishing touch and create
versatility in mood creation to your room. You have many options with lamp bases and shades to add color and texture to your room.
8. Coffee table books - the ultimate accessory - The coffee table book. Something grand on a trendy topic like Food from Tuscany, or The History of Fashion, something that makes people want to pick it up and flick through. This is a way of making people feel welcome in your home.

9. Ornaments - keep these to a minimum, as they are the fastest way to clutter, but the odd strategically placed ornament will definately make your house look and feel like a home.

10. Mirrors - These are a simple way to make rooms look larger or
bring in more light to a room via reflected light. There are so many beautiful frames available today that you are bound to be able
to find something to suit your style or look.

Monday, August 4, 2008

How to Pull Your Decorating Scheme Together

With all the hard work over, we now need to tie up all the loose ends. Unfortunately, like every job there is the element of paperwork! I'm sorry, but it can't all be glamor and fun. You must document your scheme, so that everyone involved is following the same path. This is then able to be used to get pricing from contractors and suppliers of products, as well as making sure that you or (your client if you are doing this for someone else) knows exactly where they stand and what they are going to get for their money.
So I will keep this short and sweet.

1. Always write a finishes schedule. This lists up all there areas that you are working in, walls, ceiling, floor etc and what rooms you are working, and then what finish they will receive. This means that a contractor for example a painter can take this piece of paper and walk around the rooms and measure the quantities he needs of each product for each application.

2. Make sure your client signs this document to ensure they know what they are getting. If you are doing this for your self you obviously don't need to sign, but you do need to make sure you have a system if you change anything on this list, so that you can update it and reissue it to your contractors and you all know what is the most up to date copy.

3. With your list (and this should be done when you are selecting your products) check with all the suppliers that the products are available and or that you can get them within your time frame. It adds a lot of money onto your project if you have to courier a product to get it on time. So forward planning is essential here.

4. Make sure that you work out a time line and all your contractors
know when they have the space to do their work and when they are
expected to be finished, and make sure you are tough on this one, it is like a domino effect if you let one slip behind.

5. Make sure you have all your prices and costs in your hand before
you start engaging contractors or manufactures to start making
things for you. You need to ensure that you are within your budget before you start. You want to make sure that you can pay everyone,
if you want to get a start into the decorating industry, lets make it a good one.

6. Engage your contractors and manufacturers ie painters, carpet layers, curtain manufacturers, in writing, always refer to their quotation or estimate and confirm the agreed amount and the payment arrangements. For example a deposit and remainder on completion or
with installments, or payment in full before commencement (watch out for this one, don't ever pay the total account until you have the total amount of work completed or else you have no way of getting the job finished if they don't turn up. They have your money and you have an incomplete job.)

7. Get the work underway, make sure you keep your eyes on the time
and the quality of the work. Always be around, this keeps the contractors on their toes! You don't have to stay but keep popping in to check up on things. You don't want to have the job completed and see that the painter has misread your finishes schedule and swapped some bedrooms around!

8. When the job is completed, check all the work has been done to a
satisfactory standard before you pay the entire account. If you find any problems, write them down and get the contractor back to remedy them. It is important that you get this done ASAP as the sooner it is done the more likely they are to finish it, some contractors start another job and you just can't get them back. So be very prompt on this job.

9. Take out your camera and take some photos for your brag book!!
Well done.