Author

cooper klein

Mirrors don’t belong exclusively in the bathrooms. In fact, they have a variety of uses in homes, such as opening up the space, reflecting light and generally contributing to the overall décor. Mirrors are the magicians that create an illusion of spaciousness, but only if you know how to use their magic. Don’t stress about it, you don’t need a magic wand or something, just a few Houdini décor tips that will teach you how to choose, combine and where to place the mirrors.

The shape determines the position

  • Mirrors come in various shapes and styles. If you are not sure how to hang them, you can always use the shape as a guide:
    The classic vertical rectangle can be treated as an artwork and used as a focal point of the room (e.g. above the mantel).
  • The horizontal rectangle can be used in a similar manner, but it is also great for filling up elongated empty spaces, such as the entryway wall.

Image source: homebnc.com

  • Large round mirrors anchor the room and make amazing focal points. Such a mirror can be turned into the star of a room, particularly if the frame is dramatic and jewel-like. If the frame is minimalistic or non-existent, the mirror is simply chic and nonchalant.
  • Small round mirrors are an instant décor pick-me-up, and they can be hung anywhere.
  • The sunburst mirrors are very popular because of the uplifting feeling they introduce into any space. They work the best when used as accents.
  • Classic oval shape possesses a seamless elegance, but it still conveys a powerful design statement. It can break the monotony of square shapes when placed between two windows, or look as it belongs when hung above the entryway console.
  • The floor mirror is a tall mirror often on a stand or leaned against a wall. It is most frequently used in the entryway, but it can also bring life into an unused corner of the living room.
  • The arch shape gives a room a vintage feel and serves as a dramatic architectural element. It can be used in the bathroom, living room or the entryway.

The art of creating a reflection

Image source: homebnc.com

As mentioned in the intro, one of the most important roles of mirrors is to reflect the light and make the interior brighter, more open and more spacious. Because of this significant role, mirrors should never be placed randomly around the house, or else they would reflect things you don’t want to see in double (e.g. that chair with a bunch of unfolded clothes). The mirror should reflect a beautiful view or bounce light. For the latter one, it should be placed opposite the window or an artificial light source.

Working on the illusion of spaciousness

Image source: homebnc.com

The very bouncing of the light will make a room appear larger, but there are some other tricks you can use to maximize that feel. For example, using horizontal mirrors in a staircase or a narrow entryway can widen the area and create a better flow from one room to another. Mirrored furniture can trick the eye into believing there are no mirrors there, while acting the same way in terms of reflecting the light.

Take Feng Shui into account

Image source: sunset.com

As a centuries-old tradition, Feng Shui makes a lot of valid points when it comes to interior décor, and it is not different with mirrors. According to Feng Shui, it is a great idea to place a mirror over a fireplace. This brings good energy into the room, and the fire element of the fireplace balances the water element of the mirror. Other useful hints you can get from this philosophy is positioning a mirror to face something you love and using curved mirrors to disperse energy more efficiently.

An extra warning: mirrors in your home don’t only reflect the light, but also your style. Besides the shape and the position, you should also think about the frame as the key factor since it will serve as a décor statement.

With the holistic approach to the modern living the majority of families are adopting as their silent rebellion against the exhausting capitalist living, homes are no longer fulfilling their initial roles as being just, well, homes – places where we live our regular days and keep dirty socks next to our beds. These days, homes are largely being turned into meditative spaces, with each room holding a particular reflective significance to the individual or the entire family living in it.

And so, backyards are turned into contemplative outdoor oasis, the sameness and simplicity of room design is being abandoned for the sake of personalized spaces that agree with the occupant’s temperament and sensuality, bathrooms are turned into spas and pampering spaces – and everyone is, all of a sudden, becoming aware of the importance their personal spaces have in their everyday lives.

We’re not entirely sure when bathroom design per se came in the forefront of home renovation and became an important interior stylistic solution but we’re absolutely positive the trend isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. There’s been a lot going on throughout the previous few years in terms of bathroom design trends, but 2018 is bringing something particularly exquisite. Much like the majority of home interior design, bathroom design is also turning to simple solutions and de-cluttered spaces that invite good energy in and celebrate relaxation, and that will also allow you to sell your home faster if you ever decide to do so.

If you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom or building one from scratch, go through these hot 2018 bathroom trends to get inspired:

Ceramics and marble, the romance

Ceramics and everything ceramic-related grew in popularity in the last months of 2017 and designers feel that ceramics are about to get even bigger in 2018. Used in floors, showers, and even vanities, we’re seeing a lot of geometric patterns in uniform, multi-colored, tone on tone or and even patchwork patterns that sure look phenomenal. Almost mural-like, ceramics are intended for both smaller and larger bathrooms and they have the tendency to look super luxurious regardless the space. The market is featuring a lot of ceramics that imitate higher-end materials like marble, wood, and concrete and there’s a lot of quartz featured as well.

Return to nature

The year 2017 has been all about organic living and finding ways to incorporate natural elements in our everyday lives. In 2018 bathroom design we’ll be seeing a lot of seamless lines, super clean colors, and practical and simple space arrangements embellished with a hint of organic coziness and elegance. Using a chopped trunk instead of a bathroom stool, including tall greenery in the corners, using organic wool covers over your vanity chairs, letting the light in, etc. – these and many other organic elements are going to be a true hit in 2018.

Lifestyle bathrooms

Long gone are the days when bathrooms were practical rooms only; these days the shift is transitioning into additional living area giving you the opportunity to use your bathroom for relaxing as well. Chic lighting fixtures, soft furnishings and practical storage solutions have now become the norm while recessed mirrors, indulgent rainfall showers, freestanding baths and open shelving are taking full dominance over bathroom interiors. We will be seeing a lot of ‘His’ and ‘Her’ basins too that not only look extremely stylish but are a super practical solution for busy bathrooms.

Escapism

If there was one word that defined bathroom design in 2018, it was escapism. Although practicality and functionality of bathrooms will still be paramount (cleverly hidden storage inset in walls and behind mirrors), the bathroom will turn into a spa-like space. For instance, bathrooms with a lot of floor-to-ceiling windows will make for a perfect meditative space. The inclusion of the outdoors through the introduction of natural light and earthy materials with the existing nature-inspired design will be a real hit.

Owning a pad that is attractive and masculine at the same time doesn’t have to mean 50 shades of brown, hunting trophies and a swordfish above the mantelpiece. Not everyone is Earnest Hemingway, though many of us wish we were.There’s no reason a guy can’t make his crib nice, stylish and female-friendly, and still keep some of raw manliness ripping through. Bear in mind that there’s nothing effeminate about decorating and matching colour and style. You don’t need to know fancy decorating words like “wainscot” or became a Feng Shui grand master. These six tips for men really work.

Try vintage

Decorating Tips for Clueless Guys

Vintage-themed furniture pieces and decorative wallpapers can save you a lot of money and still look great. Any stylized period piece you buy is going to send the message that you know what you are doing. Scour the classifieds and garage sales for older desks, sofas, shelves, ottomans and dressers. Vintage pieces are simpler to buy, and will probably last longer than modern plywood.

Permanent furniture

The whole point of having a bachelor pad is having a space you where you can comfortably entertain guests. But if you’re still hanging onto folding picnic chairs and padded crates, chances are you won’t see many visitors. Still, having a real, permanent-looking furniture isn’t enough. Aside from the comfort and utility, think of the message that your furniture sends to the guests. Yet, a man’s crib doesn’t have to look like an Ikea catalogue. Mismatching is perfectly fine, even encouraged. As designer Suzanne Kazler once said, “a room should feel collected…not decorated.”

Framed wall art

Decorating Tips for Clueless Guys

Although bare walls are the signature of a bachelor lifestyle, having some framed artwork shows that you’ve overcome the basic need of having a roofed shelter and a bed. Framed art is a proof that a guy has reached a final stage of development – now he cares how his place looks like and he’s ready to put some effort into it. Bachelor art doesn’t have to be expensive. Look for pieces that relate to you in some way but also upgrade the overall feel of the place.

Window treatment

You can tell a lot about a man by his window treatment. While you probably wouldn’t cry to your buddy how it was about time you changed your curtains, you must know that window treatments separate the men from the boys.

Having mini-blinds is one thing, but having real curtains shows that you have an eye for detail. After all, if your lady friend decides to stay over, she’ll be more comfortable if your windows are covered.

Books on shelves

Decorating Tips for Clueless Guys

Real men read real books. Of course, it doesn’t mean you need a shelf-full of Russian classics and German philosophers. It’s okay to have some glitzy fiction, a few Baldaccis, Kings and a Jack Reacher or two, but it’s nice when you have some real literature to show off.

Of course, owning a bunch of grand titles means nothing unless you are able to converse on them. Check Amazon’s list of 80 books every man must read and pick something you’ll actually enjoy reading.

Solid home bar

Decorating Tips for Clueless Guys

Although you may want to hide the good stuff, a well-stocked bar display is something every man must have. A bar cabinet or a cart is nice, but even a simple serving tray on the countertop will be enough. In many ways, a bar is a microcosm of a man’s overall situation and his tastes in life. You don’t need a bar-full of expensive liquor, just a few essentials that, like the bookshelf, hopefully show a bit of your personal preferences.

You don’t need to wait until you make six figures. Start with targeted upgrades like these listed here and you’ll soon realize that even with little time and investment you can do a lot to transform your college pad into a sophisticated bachelor’s apartment.

Finding the leaking areas in a roof can be quite cumbersome. However, summoning Toronto experts can help a great deal in the search for leaking holes and to execute the patching process. Eventually, when the leaks in your roof become a serious problem, patching requires roofers who are accessible to the individuals of all standards of living. Failure to fix leakages in a roof can lead to bigger problems like rotted framing, sheathing, destroyed insulation, damaged skylights, and growth of molds. Hence, it is critical to patch any roof leak as soon as you notice it, before any further damages. Water stains extending across the ceilings or rundown walls are signs that a leaking roof is getting serious.

Fixing shingles

Fixing shingles is the first essential tip to consider, unless your roof is crafted from weatherproof membranes (typically flat roofs are made up of these). Finding broken shingles involves checking for the damaged areas in the roofing by running a hose along the roof sections. Additionally, fixing shingles includes looking for the damaged curled or missing shingles. After identifying all the damaged areas, the curled shingles are straightened out using the heat from home appliances like an electric hair dryer. The curled back shingles can also be repaired using asphalt roof cement. Damaged shingles will often need to be replaced by your local roofers, but in the end it is better to pay for a repair than to pay for the installation of an entirely new roof. Additionally, it’s going to be a massive inconvenience for your family if your entire roof needs to be replaced.

workers on the roof repairing

Rolled roofing

Rolled roofing is the second vital tip that should be considered. It involves attaching an asphalt roll to the roof with an adhesive called lap cement. Spreading and pressing down of cement under the loose roofing material adds an extra layer of protection for the vulnerable shingles. Galvanized roofing nails can also be driven through the roll roofing to ensure that it is stable.

Patching damaged shakes

Patching damaged shakes is another basic service that should be offered by your local roofers – Professional Roofers are extremely adept in this technique – especially in Toronto where this design is so common. Hammers and chisels split damaged shakes and then a hacksaw is used to cut off the ends of the nails that can’t be pried out. Alternatively, if the use of a hacksaw will harm the good shakes, it is critical to work on the nails while cutting them down. Replace the old shakes with new ones if they are beyond patching with a fine toothed saw. The new shake is then slid into place and hammered using galvanized roofing nails. Once the new shakes have been nailed in, you can seal them with a caulking compound.

worker on the roof

Besides these three strategies for patching a leaking roof, there are other minor repairs to consider. Making connections is one of them. It involves inspecting areas where the surfaces connect the chimney and the vent pipe. After inspection, the damaged parts of the surfaces connecting the roof are replaceable with new ones. For more information concerning patching of leaking roofs, visiting your local Toronto experts will help a great deal. Alternatively, roofing websites provides more roofing information that will guide a layman through the patching process.

 

 

Having rodents in your home can be a traumatizing experience, as you lay awake at night listening to them scurrying between the walls or getting into your kitchen and contaminating your food. 

They leave droppings in your cupboards or on the floor, which can carry viruses and make humans very ill. Rodents aren’t the only pests that can ruin your summer in Toronto, especially as so many of them multiply in the warm weather. Cockroaches thrive in the heat, bed bugs are a year-round threat, carpenter and pavement ants reach their peak activity, fruit flies plague your kitchen, centipedes and millipedes abound, and, especially in the late summer, wasps and hornets become dangerously annoying. One thing to keep in mind is that DIY methods are often dangerous, and it’s much better to find professional pest removal in Toronto.

Rodents can be preventable, though. 

The Fantastic mice control specialists share with you pro tips to try if you’re worried about rats or mice creeping into your home.

wasps

Clean Regularly

Bear in mind that high hygiene at home can highly reduce the chances of any pest infestation. Pests such as rodents are attracted to your property foremost because it is a food temple. 

So, our advice is whatever methods you try, never neglect the cleanliness of your home. 

  • Make sure, crumbs, food leftovers (especially pet’s food) to be swept, carefully packed and put every meal away. 
  • Use a vacuum cleaner minimum twice per week. 
  • Wipe the worktops, kitchen tables and inside the cabinets. 

Basically, casual housekeeping sometimes might save you from the unwelcome vermins

Eliminate Food Sources 

As part of the above-mentioned tip, one of the most effective deterrents against pests of all kinds is eliminating their food source. This is impossible when you’re dealing with pests like bed bugs, which feed off of you, but putting away pet food overnight can restrict their options. 

Keep in mind that modern cat culture is far from pets being exterminators, unlike their feline predecessors. Cat food is only going to attract more rodents! 

If you live in a house and have bird feeders this most certainly will attract rodents as the grains will fall on the ground eventually. Even if this is a delightful and generous act, you have to get rid of the bird feeders or keep them as far as possible from the property. 

rat-in-home

Keep Garbage Bins Sealed 

So, you keep clean, keep the food well packed but this is not enough if your garbage is exposed and easily reachable. You know rodents love burrowing in the garbage for food. For that reason, keep all garbage bins closed, throw the containers regularly (every day, if possible). If you can put the bins outside during the night as rodents are nocturnal and will be “hunting” during this time of the day.

Eliminate Entry Points

After you ensure your home is as clean as possible, you have to block all entry points. This preventative measure is the most effective one as rodents have to have an entrance in the first place. Repair all holes, small or big cracks and seal them well.

Exclusion is an important part of Integrated Pest Management and helps reduce over-reliance on chemical methods.

Also, wide-open doors and windows can invite rodents, especially in the cold weather when they are heading to a warmer shelter. Always check your garage’s door, basement’s window and door or your conservatory’s door if closed. 

Buy Rat Traps 

Traps can be effective for eliminating rats or proving that you have them if you understand how they move around your home and you know they haven’t begun to multiply. 

Whereas mice tend to be curious about their environment, rats are cautious and avoid new things. Rat traps are effective in cases where a rodent infestation has not already arisen. 

When trying to catch one or two rats, a rat trap can ensure that the rodent has been completely eradicated from the property.

mouse

Rats usually stand close-by walls 

So, traps will be most effective if positioned around a wall and where it’s dull. For example, your closet, kitchen cabinets, behind the sofa or under your bed are the perfect locations where you can trap the rat. You may need to place unset rat traps in their path to convince them that the traps are safe before you set the real deal. 

Install Gutter Guards

Rodents are fantastic climbers. This means they can reach your roof through the gutters. Install gutter guards that will block access and keep them out. A bonus is that your gutter won’t be clogged with leaves. 

Call A Pest Control Company

Not all pest control companies are the same, and there are a few industry standards that only reputable pest control companies follow on a daily basis. 

For starters, any pest control company worth its salt will offer a free, no-obligation quote over the phone. Additionally, the best and most trustworthy pest control companies stand behind their service and generally offer a one-year warranty. Make sure to ask these questions before you decide to hire a pest control company. However, choosing a professional rodent control is the most effective way to prove your home. Experts know how the rodents act, where they possibly hide and can find the rodents’ nest. They are well equipped with high-quality traps, baits, and other approaches. The specialists are certified and are properly educated. The success of the experts is close to 100% due to the fact that they do it.

After you have decided to hire a pest control company, it’s important to note that the top companies only hire exterminators who are licensed must provide an official extermination card upon request. Make sure you ask the exterminator for identification before he begins work. 

One of the big concerns with pest control is the toxicity of the chemicals used. When a responsible pest control professional eliminates pests from residential areas, they use chemicals that are non-toxic and perfectly safe for children, pets, pregnant women and elderly people. Know who to call when you need a Toronto pest exterminator and get great, safe service.

To sum up

In conclusion, keep your eyes wide open. Always maintain a clean and disinfected properly. Regularly check for new entry points and close them as soon as possible. Pay attention to your doors, windows, and gutters. Buy rodent traps just in case but remember that professional pest control is always way more effective when dealing with the nasty vermins

These days you can spend a fortune renovating your home to make it greener and more energy efficient, however not everyone has the time or money to upgrade their home. Don’t be disheartened there is still lots that you can do to make your home more energy efficient without breaking the bank.

pink piggy bank

Creating good energy habits is the first step to making your home more energy efficient, simple steps like turning lights and electrical appliances off when you leave a room. If no one’s in there you’re wasting energy to entertain an empty room. Standby energy consumption can account for up to $120 on your annual energy bill. By simply turning everything off at the wall can save you over $100. Easy, right?

Operating your appliances efficiently is another important step. You can buy the most energy efficient appliance however if you don’t operate it efficiently and smartly it can be counterproductive. For dishwashers and washing machines ensure that you always operate these with full loads, washing your dishes and clothes in half loads is a waste of energy and water, unless the appliance you are using has a specific half load function. Operate the machines using the eco function.

dishwash machine full of dishes

Washing your clothes in cold water can save you up to $100 on your washing energy bills a year, you can increase this saving by drying your clothes using your solar dryer (the clothes line!), hang your clothes on the line or on a drying rack inside and you can almost double this saving.

Other simple steps you can take with your fridge and freezers is to ensure that the door seals are clean and free from grim, ensuring they close properly and don’t let air out. Make sure that your fridge freezer is full, empty space means that your fridge or freezer has to work harder to keep that area cool, fill up those spaces with Tupperware to help combat this issue.

Hot water accounts for a large part of your annual energy bill and while it might be tempting to stay in the shower to heat up on those cold mornings this is going to drive your hot water heating bills through the roof. Have a timer in the shower and get everyone in the house to actually stick to it.

girl taking a shower

Did you know that if you turn on the faucet when it’s in the hot position even if the water coming out the tap is not hot it’s still costing you on your energy bill? Always ensure you have the faucet on the cold position to ensure you are not drawing hot water unnecessarily.

We hope these tips will help you save energy and money on your next electricity bills!

Created by Julie Moore director of Save Energy Save Money

Many people started growing plants to fill an empty corner in their yards. Stores often have a wide variety of trees to choose from. It’s not an easy decision. One option you might want to consider is growing bonsai trees. Bonsais can make a beautiful display. Growing them is also a fun and relaxing hobby. There are no special powers required to make a bonsai, just a bit of knowledge and enough time to care for them. Here are some tips from a bonsai enthusiast to get you started!

Tip 1: How to keep your tree mini

Scissors are the secret weapon to turn a tree into a miniature version of its potential. The trick to keeping the tree small is to continually cut back shoots as they grow. As a general rule, let a shoot grow to four or five sets of leaves and then cut it back to two. Each time you cut back a shoot, there is a good chance it will branch into two. Wait until those two shoots grow out and then cut them back to two sets of leaves. Do that again and again and soon there’ll be lots of little branches. Just keep in mind that to mimic real trees, you should aim for shorter node lengths (the distance between branch off points) the closer you get to the outside of the tree.

old man trimming bonsai

Tip 2: Sunbathe and rotate sides

As tempting as it may be to keep a bonsai inside so it can be shown off to guests, most species flourish with lots of sun.They can be displayed inside for a day or two here and there, but make their home in a sunny spot in the yard. For even growth, rotate the tree every few weeks so that sun gets on all sides. Otherwise, one side may look healthy while the other side looks sparse.

bonsai tree with yellow leaves

Tip 3: Read the soil

Bonsai soil dries up pretty quickly. There’s only so much water a small pot can hold. It may only take a few hot, dry days without water for a bonsai to wither and die, taking with it years of work and a piece of your heart. The key is to water the bonsai after the soil has mostly dried up but before It’s completely dry. Never let the soil completely dry out or it won’t last long. But allowing it to dry out a bit is necessary to prevent root rot, which is fungi growing in the root system. Root rot can occur when the soil is constantly damp. Watering daily is probably a reasonable place to start but try and read the soil rather than sticking to a strict time-based watering schedule.

Tip 4: Repot and trim the roots every year

Roots can quickly outgrow a small pot. If the roots take up too much space, there won’t be enough room for the soil and the tree won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients. To make sure there is enough room for the roots to grow, repot the tree every year and trim off about a third of the root mass during each repot. Mix in some slow release fertiliser into well drained soil and you’re ready for another season. The time to repot deciduous trees is when the leaf buds swell before buds open. For evergreens, research the specific variety to find the recommended time to repot.

Tip 5: Let your bonsai grow in free spirit

The quickest way to an old looking bonsai is to develop a nice thick trunk and to grow lots and lots of little branches at the outside of the tree. Having lots of little branches also helps make the leaves smaller too. The way to thicken the trunk is to let the tree grow. So let the top of the tree or a particular branch you want to thicken grow long. Yeah, it’ll look funny for a while, but you can chop it back after it thickens up.

bonsai tree

Tip 6: Be patient with the growth

After getting a bonsai, you may find yourself racing outside every few hours to see if it looks old yet. It’s going to take a while. Try and enjoy the process. Photo journalling is a great way to see progress over time. It won’t be until looking back over old photos that you realise how much they’ve grown and developed.

Tip 7:Get tooled up

To get started, you’ll probably need bonsai scissors, a branch cutter, some cut paste and some wire (a selection ranging from 1mm to 5mm in thickness). It’s worth going for quality. Japanese manufactured bonsai equipment is highly regarded. Although you can probably get away with using normal scissors for a little while, the benefits of bonsai scissors are the clean cuts especially on the roots during repotting. A clean cut will be more likely to generate new root branches. And a clean branch cut with quality branch cutters will heal over faster and more attractively.

tools for maintaining bonsai tree

Tip 8: Find some buddies

If you want to get into this bonsai thing, why not join a group or attend some classes to learn more? Discussing with others is a great way to learn and get solutions for problems in your area. Also, since bonsais are so needy, it can be hard to leave them on their own for any length of time which means it’s difficult to get away. A bonsai buddy may be willing to care for your bonsais while you tick off those travel goals.

So now you have another option to fill up that vacant patch of yard. If you could imagine yourself crafting some beautiful miniature trees and you have the ability to give them the attention and care they need, why not grow a bonsai? If you are interested in knowing other options for renovating your garden, connect with a local gardener or local arborist for more information.

Author Bio

Andrew works at Oneflare as an Android Developer He loves writing, mountain bike riding, and surfing. Oneflare is Australia’s fastest growing online marketplace connecting consumers with experts within the home improvement and services categories.

Australians love the great outdoors, but it’s all too easy to neglect our outdoor spaces when we think about rejuvenating the design of our home. We tell ourselves, it’s too big a job, no one sees the backyard anyway, and besides, it’s too expensive.

But an outdoor renovation can breathe new life into your home like nothing else, so we talked to Steve Jovcevski, property expert at financial comparison site Mozo.com.au, to get some top tips on refreshing your outdoor spaces – without sending you broke. Here’s what he had to say:

Assign the space a purpose

If you’re working to a budget, the first thing to do is sit down and think through what you want to achieve with your outdoor space. Will you be hosting big groups of people? Relaxing on your own? There’s no point spending a bundle on beautiful lawn furniture that you have to pack away every time family comes over because the kids want to play backyard cricket.

Choosing a centre piece for your outdoor area – say a classic BBQ – and then working out from that is a good way to create a cohesive, useful space. Decide what you want to use the space for, then make sure all your effort – and money – is going toward that purpose.

barbecue grill

Keep up with maintenance

Another easy thing that will give your outdoor areas an immediate boost is making sure you keep everything – from lawn, to garden beds, through to outdoor furniture or decks – well maintained. A nice neat lawn that’s mowed and watered regularly looks a thousand times better than one that’s been neglected, and old patio furniture can often be rejuvenated with a good scrub down and a bit of elbow grease.

Make an escape from the weather

One key way to make your outdoor space more useful and versatile is by putting up some kind of cover to keep it safe from the weather. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown pergola – a fabric sail can work just as well to keep the hot Aussie sun off and transform your backyard into an oasis.

It’s important to make sure your design elements all compliment each other and unify the space, and getting this major element right can help you with the design and tone of the rest of your outdoor entertaining area.

man mowing grass

Light up your life

When it comes to fairy lights, I find people either love them or hate them, but there’s a reason they’ve been a hot trend lately – if you often entertain at night, stringing fairy lights above an outdoor seating area is a quick, relatively cheap way to add a touch of magic to your backyard.

It’s a good idea to plan out where you’ll place the lights before you start, and as you do, keep in mind that the more lights you have, the more expensive it will be to buy and then run them. And remember – if you’re leaving them up permanently, make sure they’re not too exposed to the elements. Stringing them up under a pergola is a good way to keep lights dry.

Get creative with outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture is one aspect of home design that I think you can really afford to get creative with. So instead of heading out to IKEA with a shopping list, think about DIY options, like repurposing old cinder blocks, tree stumps, or barrels as seating and tables.

The beauty of using these objects – aside from giving new life to what might have otherwise ended up as rubbish – is that you really get the chance to put your own style into it. It can be as rustic or luxurious, colourful or elegant, eclectic or streamlined as you want to make it.

old garden chairs

Opt for remnant stone

Hardscaping – putting in features like retaining walls, walkways and edging – can be one of the most expensive parts of sprucing up your outdoor areas. If you like the quaint, cottage-y look, one way to refresh your hardscaping while keeping a handle on your budget is to use stone leftovers that you can get cheap at building supply auctions.

This look isn’t for everyone though – so before you go ahead, make sure remnant stone will suit the overall look of the space. If the rest of your exterior design is ultra-sleek and modern, it’s going to look pretty out of place. A nice, modern alternative that might suit your look better is a green wall.

Look underfoot

The design of a great outdoor space often starts at the bottom. Choosing the right paving material can make a big difference to both the look of your space and your budget. Generally, crushed rock or gravel is a less expensive option than traditional pavers, and with the right styling, can look just as good – just don’t forget to lay weed mat first. Polished concrete is another good, low-cost and low-maintenance option that I personally favour.

If you prefer traditional pavers, think about interspersing them with grassy areas to cut back on the amount of expensive material you’ll need.

Steve is Mozo’s property investment and lending expert. With an extensive knowledge of home loan products and property trends, Steve is full of practical tips to help first homebuyers, refinancers or investors build and get the most out of their property portfolio.

With the warmer weather finally gracing us with its presence, there’s nothing we can’t do… especially when it comes to all the long, gorgeous summer get-togethers. For some reason, parties seem to be more fun when they’re thrown in the backyard and the easier-to-clean-up aspect doesn’t hurt, either!

Let us tell you a secret

Backyard parties are meant to be cozy and casual, social and fun. Anything that even reminds of those stuffy and formal events that are not only expensive but too stressful to organize (aren’t we all stressed enough, already!) shouldn’t even cross your mind. Instead, focus on the lazy awesome summer jams that will leave you with a smile on your face and so many memories you won’t even be able to count! Essentially, your motto should be: The more casual, the better. Remember that.

In the spirit of what you’ve just read, we’re giving you a few awesome ideas to count on for an unforgettable bash!

Spread the word

To actually have people come to your gathering, you need to make sure they’re informed that there is a gathering, at all… right? Right.

When coming up with the body of invitations: a) be chill and humorous about the content; b) include these four things:

Where should they appear: My place, you know it. In case you don’t… why don’t you? Anyhow, here’s the address: (fill the address in).
When they’ll be eating: The food will be served from 5 to 8. Don’t be late or I’ll give your intended portion to the neighbor’s dog. What they should be wearing: I’ll be flipping burgers, you wear flip-flops. Please don’t show up all formal – sounds about right
What you’ll do if it rains: I hope it won’t rain but if it does, I don’t have a plan. I guess we’ll all scotch inside!

Oh, and – make sure you send out the invitations at least two weeks ahead and have them RSV Ped; these days everyone’s so busy so ensuring your desired guests will pop up is essential. When sending the invites, do it via email, social platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.) or standard mail.

Pick the backyard theme

If you’re one of the creative souls, you’ll enjoy coming up with a party theme for this summer get-together. Although choosing a theme may sound like a hassle, it actually isn’t. Knowing what style you’ll be going with helps you choose decorations in a much easier way as well as the entire vibe of the event. If, however, you aren’t that keen on theme-picking, go with a traditional yard-decorating: Christmas lights hanging from the trees, pretty paper lanterns, comfy pillows to sit on, a drinks stand and a buffet. Décor is always best done in a Bohemian and funky manner; eclectic is the way to go so no reason to worry about table accessories and matching plates. Jars can serve as glasses, a wooden cutting board can be used for food servings and paper plates may just save you. It’s all cool!

Choose smart music

Always go with songs that have a universal appeal — oldies, retro favorites, hop jazz, chill, instrumental, jazz, beach and summer pop music. Keep the volume moderate so you guys can actually talk… and keep the neighbors happy.

Plan a simple menu

If you feel like barbecuing, then barbecue. It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s fun! You may gather a few of your friends to come earlier and start the grill – you’ll get a chance to chit chat before everyone gets there and you won’t die trying to do everything yourself! If, however, you are into something fancier, then go with that. Our advice though is to choose the simplest version possible.

P.S. Here’s a fun idea: why not ask everyone to bring something to eat and drink? This may actually be amazing, especially if you’ve got a multicultural gang around! If everyone brings something from their culture, you’ll have a wonderful feast together and learn a little bit about each other’s heritage. Plus, along with the food – you’re getting a theme, too!

Although the first thing that comes to mind when designing a stylish bedroom with a masculine vibe is simplicity, this decorating task actually requires more effort and skill than you might think. You need to create a balanced look that will be both functional and stylish, while also creating an ambience of comfort and tranquillity.

Choosing the right bed

Not only should your bed ensure that you get a good night’s sleep, but it can also be a stylish statement piece in your bedroom. It’s important that you choose the right mattress that will provide appropriate support for your back. Buying a mattress separate from the frame will provide you with more options when it comes to design and comfort. Since the bed is also the focal point of the room, you should opt for a frame that reflects your personal taste and the general style of the room. You can go with a bold design, conspicuous hues and stylish materials, such as metal or rich wood. Since your bed will bring both comfort and style to your room, you shouldn’t hesitate to invest a bit more to ensure the best quality.
Bedroom

Setting the mood with lighting

Lighting is an important element of interior design, and it can greatly influence the general atmosphere of the room. Subtlety is the best policy when it comes to lighting. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use lighting fixtures as stylish details. Dimmers are always a trendy and functional solution because you can adjust the light depending on your needs. You can have brighter light when reading, and then reduce the intensity when you want to create a relaxing or intimate atmosphere. Downlights are another great choice because you can experiment with their position and spread them across the ceiling.

lighting

Introducing mirrors

If you have a small bedroom, adding mirrors will help you create an illusion of spaciousness and openness. However, there’s no reason why you can’t use mirrors as stylish accessories at the same time. You can experiment with the size and shape, and use intricately designed frames to emphasise the style of your bedroom. When it comes to placing the mirrors, there are several options. If you don’t have much space, you can always place them on the closet doors. According to feng shui principles, you can bring calmness into your room by placing a mirror opposite the window. Since a mirror directly facing your bed isn’t actually advisable, you can opt for a subtler solution – place it either on the side or in the corner of your room slightly facing your bed.
Bedroom decor

Trendy colour scheme

Long past are the days when only blue was considered to be the colour for boys. The colour scheme for your bedroom can include a variety of hues that will introduce a masculine vibe. A popular trend is mixing black, grey, white and gold, but if your bedroom is really small, you should go with more neutral and brighter shades. If you’re not a fan of white, you can always go with a pale grey for the backdrop and then use bolder hues for accent pieces. Of course, if you like blue, you can always experiment with different hues – deeper shades of blue combined with yellow is quite a stylish choice.

Colour scheme

Adding a personal touch

Your bedrooms should reflect your personality and style, so don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to your room. Artwork is always a great way to add both character and style to your bedroom. You can display your favourite pieces and use them to create a cohesive look. For example, you can use colours and shapes that reflect the style of the room. You can also display your favourite books, or a collection of personal items. Interior design provides a lot of opportunities for self-expression, so don’t hesitate to use them.

man with his book

With the right approach and several trendy ideas, you can easily design a unique bedroom with a masculine vibe.