Consider Four Unique Home Decor Styles

Where we live is a showcase of who we are. Our home reflects our personality, taste and lifestyle and these show through in the style of home décor that we adopt.

There are a wide variety of home decor themes to choose from that are as diverse and unique as we are. Just a few authentic pieces, which can be obtained online are enough to bring out a theme. What we decide to display serves as an aesthetic statement to our guests and create a favorable setting that keeps us feeling at home and comfortable during our waking hours. Here are a few unique home decor styles to consider.

Gothic Decor

Gothic design originated from the medieval period in Europe and is characterized by an ornate yet dark decorative style. Gothic home decor integrates gargoyles, dragons, vampires and other creatures of the night. Although this sounds foreboding, it is a great way to create diversity when blended with other styles. Gothic decor adds a touch of wonder and even whimsy to your decor. Gothic style can be found in lamps, clocks, statues, sculptures, wall and even candle holders. There are artists that specialize in this median and create remarkable looking art.

Egyptian Decor

Egyptian home decor incorporates the bold designs, intricate patterns, and ornate sculptures from Egyptian antiquities. Rich colors such as gold, bronze and turquoise dominate the Egyptian palette. Depending on your budget, Egyptian decor can consist of antiques or faithful reproductions. Statues and sculptures of Egyptian deities are common. Egyptian style candle holders, urns, vases, mirrors and other home accent pieces are quite striking.

Asian Decor

The Asian style of home decorating incorporates design elements from Japan, China, Thailand, and Indonesia. Using any one influence could suffice although combining different design traditions creates a richer texture. The colors red, black, and gold are typically used. Asian decor often includes depictions of the Buddha and of the indomitable Asian dragon.

African Decor

African decor is not particularly colorful but it is very interesting. The African theme draws its inspiration from nature. Its main distinguishing feature is the use of the continent’s cultural symbols and patterns. They are present in everything from woven decorative fabrics with tribal motifs to exotic art and craft pieces. African decor consists of tribal masks, sculptures and vases. The colors used are natural earth and rainbow hues.

Contemporary Decorating Style

Contemporary style or ideas can be easily identified. This is because the main traits of these styles are orderly placement, finer lines and a combination of modern and traditional ideas without actually contradicting each other. The texture used is usually more sober and more comfortable. Bright colors are rarely used because in this style the colors used are warm and in the mid range.

Simplicity is the key feature

In contemporary decorating style remember the key idea is simplicity. Even in the furniture the colors used are material used is very sober and sometimes even boring. However at times there can even be an infusion of bright colors and this may come from an accent wall that has a contrast color or vivid colored cushions, sometimes even rugs that are really colorful will compliment the contemporary look of your home.

Some ideas that you can use: Following are some of the ideas that can be implemented in order to get that contemporary feel:

o The things you use must be modern, practical and functional at the same time.

o You need to choose Berber if you are looking for a smooth surface.

o Details like furnishings, accessories and moldings need to be avoided on all surfaces.

o There must a consistency in the design that you choose, be it wood surface, tables or shelves.

o You could cover a wall with fine texture of linen wall paper. And the patterns must be simple.

o The fabrics used for the upholstery should be either in silk, wool or even linen with a special focus texture and color and not patterns.

o A special emphasis needs to be kept on less clutter and it could sometimes be difficult in a normal house. But the idea is to keep the clutter in a place that is out of sight.

o Other important feature is the use of multi-door systems, use of materials like bright metals like nickel, chrome etc. but definitely in a very subtle manner.

American Decorating Styles

The way Americans have traditionally decorated their homes is a reflection of who we are as a people. Unlike the fancy pomp and decorative fluff of many European styles, American homes are neat and functional. We don’t play at being kings; we respect and admire the common man. We are a rough and tumble society that values getting things done, and our decorating has always reflected this.

During the colonial period, the early settlers were limited in their furnishings to what they could make, or what they could carry from overseas. This gave our country an early start with a style that was simple, functional, and effective. From such humble beginnings developed a style that was inherently down to earth, and even later on when European goods became more readily available, many homes still reflected this humble spirit.


Largely isolated from the rest of the world, Americans were free to create their own design trends. However, the isolation was not total, and people still brought ideas and styles from their countries of origin, and applied them to their homes in America. The result was a mix of new trends with a variety of older styles to create a blend that could only be called American.

The Gothic movement was especially influential in American design. One of the dominant European styles, its high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows blended with humbler American traditions such as whitewashed siding to create a more dramatic America trend.

Since the early American settlers were largely English, they were also heavily influenced by Tudor decorating styles. These lush and intricate designs added bright colors and posh patterns to American furnishings.

Federal style decorating, and architecture, is influenced heavily by classic Greek and roman styles. This includes straight lines, clean and simple spaces, and the use of classic materials such as polished marble.

American country is a younger style, that is opposite the pomp and self importance of Federal and Gothic influenced styles. It has a very light tone, that is cheerful, and simple in a crafty way.

American country style features mix and matched furnishings, with both newer contemporary styles blending in with traditional, hand me down style accessories. Its main philosophy is to be casual, relaxed, and friendly.

Americans are a unique people, and their decorating style reflects this. Mixing and matching various European traditions, the relative isolation of the country has allowed the creation of a completely new style. While this trend does have old world influences, its inherent spirit is entirely one of a kind.

Safe Rooms – Preparing a Home Safe Room

Safe rooms (or also known as panic rooms) may be installed in your home to keep you free off intruders. All you need to do is to choose which room in the house you want converted and then go about consulting with builders to figure out how much a home safe room will cost you.

Safe rooms, as professionals call them, have been in existence throughout history. It was only when the movie Panic Room came out that the concept of safe rooms became very popular. In the United States, safe rooms have been built ever since the first colonials arrived in the New World.

Before, safe rooms were built by those who could afford it. In old Europe, the mansions and palaces of the gentry often had rooms with built in features that made it impervious to common thieves and intruders. Only recently did the cost of safe rooms decline which makes it affordable to people living in suburbia. Still, a safe room isn’t cheap. Installing a safe room will cost slightly higher than ordinary room renovations.

The safe room has fortified ceilings and walls that are difficult to bypass. It is ideal to use steel to reinforce the walls of the safe room. The cost of steel can be quite prohibitive though, so bricks and cement are often used as replacement materials. Installing wall reinforcements will add to the weight that the floor or foundation has to bear. The builders must do a thorough inspection of the floors and foundation around the walls of the room to make sure that the house doesn’t collapse. If any adjustments need to be made, they will find them during the inspection. The ceiling itself has to use other materials like tin or very strong wood. Using brick or cement for a ceiling is highly possible but it would require massive reinforcements for the walls and posts just to hold the ceiling up.

The safe room door should be able to withstand almost any effort to break it down short of using a tank. The doors are usually made of double-core metal with a heavy deadbolt installed. The door, together with the reinforced walls, makes the panic room safe from almost anything. All that is needed now are the amenities, as these rooms must be livable. If the time comes that its needed, it should be ready for occupancy for a number of days. Water, a sink, a toilet, some food and furniture will serve this purpose well.

A fortified room must have a communication device installed. This will make it easier to call emergency services if you are forced to stay in it. A video feed to a monitor or two inside the room will also allow you to see outside the room. This will be of great help to you if you are under siege because you can monitor the movements of the perpetrators and inform the police.

In tornado prone areas, these panic rooms would be the ideal place to hide in because of their reinforced nature. Fire will not spread or get through the reinforced walls and ceilings which makes these rooms an ideal place to go to when a fire breaks out.

Although you may not want to think about it, people you know and invite into your house may be the ones to commit criminal acts. Having a home safe room to run to which will keep the offenders out is a very huge gift for your peace of mind. If this should happen to you, the cost of having one of these safe rooms in place might be cheaper than any cost you are willing to pay.

Gardening Tools You Cannot Do Without

A garden is a piece of land or space that can be used to cultivate flowers, herbs or fruits. This piece of land or space could be your backyard, a hydroponic shed or small flower bed at the corner of your property. Gardening is therapeutic, it can help ease stress and provides and opportunity for self enhancement and increase in self worth through the process of bringing crops to life from just seedlings.

When considering the idea of setting up a garden, it is important you take note of the required tools to help make the job easier or if you have already setup your own garden getting to know the right tools for the right purpose will also enhance your gardening experience. I shall be talking you through some of the ideal tools that is required to setup and make your gardening experience a blast.

Before we commence, I would want to say that when picking garden tools, make sure to invest only in quality and trusted tools, it is no gain saying that you invest in tools that can’t stand the test of work. Also ensure that all tools have a proper place for storage and also they are properly maintained to promote their useful lifespan. Establish a regular maintenance routine and make sure to have your tools kept oiled up to avoid rust. Remove all tools from area that are prone to dampness, let your tools be kept in clean and dry places just as the doctor ordered. There are some key tools required to guarantee an amazing gardening experience, I have outlined a few key tools below;


A hand rake is an inevitable tool for every gardener. The rake plays a vital role in loosening the top soil to allow the plant retrieve maximum nutrient from the soil. The rake is also used to clean up the garden of loose dirt and or dried leaves. It is important that you invest in rakes that are metal and hand comfortable handles, this would make the activity of cleaning and raking easy and less stressful.

Garden hose

Every home should have at least one garden hose, they serve multiple purposes. They could be used to water a lawn or wash the car. Rubber hoses have more flexibility and are less susceptibility to cuts and abrasions but are usually more expensive. A garden hose connects to a source of water by means of plastic couplings or of brass fittings. Layers make up hoses and their strength increases with each additional layer. When you have thicker hoses, the likelihood of kinking reduces and this ensures for constant flow of water. Usually, the length of a hose determines the weight. Treat your hose properly so it could serve you well. Avoid leaving pressure on it unnecessarily and running hot water through it. During purchase, make sure you ask the right questions before making your purchase. Avoid light hoses and hoses without adequate thickness.


A shovel is an essential tool for gardening. They come in different sizes, shapes and a variety of forms. Shovels are made from metal with some having wooden or plastic handles. A shovel is used for scooping, digging and shoveling of soil or dirt. The shovel is important in any garden setup, it helps you save strength on otherwise difficult task of digging.

Garden Fork

A garden fork resembles a shovel only that it is pointed spikes like that of a rake. Garden forks are usually required in larger gardens and small farms to move large bales of dirt or grass. They are the most ideal tool for moving hay for livestock feed. The garden fork is usually metal and has wooden handles which makes usage easy. It is important that safety measures are observed at all times to avoid injury when making use of the fork and all gardening tools.

Pruning Saws

A pruning saw is a hand tool that has the same serrated blade as a normal saw and it’s used to trim live shrubs and trees. There are different pruning saws for different purposes and type of shrub or trees. We have the arborist saw and the curved hand cut saw to name a few. A pruning saw is an ideal tool to have in your tool shed, it allows you to take care of renegade shrubs and tree branches.

Pruning saws comes in different sizes and types. Just like every tool, for a pruning saw to be keep functioning, it need to be maintained. Ensure to clean it after every use and oil the blades at intervals, sharpen the blades when necessary and use the different pruning saw correctly for their required purpose.

Hand Trowels

A garden trowel is a small hand tool that is used For weeding and cultivation. They usually have wooden, plastic or metal handles coated with rubber. Garden trowels that do not have the metal handles are prone to breaking or bending. It hand trowel is very useful for most gardens, I am yet to see a garden tool shed that doesn’t have a hand trowel. It’s one of the mist basic gardening tool.

Like all gardening tool, it is important to have a proper maintenance routine. Your hand trowel should be kept clean, sanitized and wiped dry after every use. Infected trowels is harmful to your garden as they can spread disease from one plant to another. The best way to store this trowels is by hanging them up. Most garden trowels are built with a hole at the end of the handle which can be used to hang them.

Pruning shears

Pruning shears are sometimes called hand prunes. They are used for cutting and trimming of any unwanted branches and weeds. They can also be used to shape out your plants to allow for effective growth, pruning a tree at intervals helps to improve its overall growth potential by weeding off old and unwanted parts. Pruning shears are small and handy just as they are quite inexpensive. After every use, rinse your pruning shears with water, dry them and cover them with their protective cover before placing them back in your toolbox.

Like the hand Trowels, hand prunes are very important garden tool for every toolbox. It expected that every garden should have a pruning tool. Hand prunes come in various sizes and shapes for performing different types of pruning. Sometimes the differentiating attribute is the material used in forging it and the manufacturer. Invest only in quality prunes forged from stainless steel to ensure it last longer for the purpose.

Green House

A green house is a protected growing environment created for the purpose of growing tender plants and seedlings or cultivating crops that requires an all year round protection. They are beautiful and useful structures used by gardeners. It serves as a shield between nature and what you intend to grow or are growing and allow for plants to be improved and growing seasons to be extended artificially.

Green Houses serves as a shelter from excess cold, heat and pests. In making a buying decision of a green house, take into cognizance, the area you live and what you intend growing. The use of a green house can make you grow things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to grow, you have more time to concentrate on the successful growth of your crops as you no longer battle with pests. The price of your green house varies and it is most times a function of size and material used in its construction. Ultimately, before making a purchase, understand the benefits of a green house, conduct a little research to determine if a green house is right for you and which one works best for you for the purpose you intend for it. Examine your environment to decide the type of green house that works best as these factors will help you make the right decision.

Garden pots and plantera

There’s a large variety of pots and planters on the market. If you are looking to buy some, you should definitely get what suits your needs and purpose in terms of functionality, color and style. The kind of pot or planter you use depends on your needs, climate and the kind of plant you intend growing on the pot. Planters are made from different materials to serve different purposes. Some common choices include Concrete, clay, metal plastic or wood. Planters and pots are great ways to bring nature indoors, on your balcony or evn onto your patio.

The list of gardening tools is not exhaustive but I have chosen to educate you on this few, it is my hope that you have learnt a few things. I wish you a happy gardening.

Home Garden Patio – Relaxing With Nature

Building a garden patio is a way to create an environment to relax with nature in your own yard. It is like adding another room to your home where you can spent time with family and friends, host parties or just enjoy natures beauty.

The ideas are unlimited when it comes to designing a patio. They all have their own personal unique qualities and can be built in any shape or size, along with being built out of a variety of materials including concrete, brick pavers or stone. They can be built as a garden alone to relax or include a cooking area so you can have all the conveniences of the kitchen in your home.

Gardens are a great feature that can be designed into a patio. Container gardens, raised beds and water gardens are all great ways to attract the beauty of nature into the area that you will be spending your time to relax. Flower, herb and vegetables can all be easily grown in any of these methods of gardening.

Berries and dwarf fruit trees are another way to add character to your patio landscape. There are even blueberries that can be grown in containers. Mixing berries, flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables in to your landscape will add a unique personal touch to your patio design. All of these plants can be planted in containers, raised beds or any of the traditional methods of gardening.

Get creative, your imagination is the limit when creating your own personal home garden patio.

Creating a Fabulous Home Garden Design

A garden is an essential part in any home. This serves as a place where your family can connect with nature and provide space where you can find peace while everything is chaotic inside your home.

This is the reason why designing your garden is important. Many people consider hiring others to design for them not knowing that it is better if they do the designing themselves. This is because it can save a lot of money and that way, their vision of their garden will truly be embodied. Some might find it intimidating to take into their own hands the responsibility of deciding for the design of their garden not noticing that all one needs is imagination, creativity and confidence.

Think of what you want your garden to look like, if you want it to tell a story or not, what would you like the garden to remind you of and such. You decide the outcome of your garden. Be creative. Don’t think of planting roses just because everybody else in the neighborhood has roses. Think of other ways that you can express your imagination without being too afraid of what others might think. After all, it is your garden, not theirs. Be confident in your vision. Contemplate on what you want your garden to look like, what you want it to make you feel and stick with it. Know that your vision for your garden will satisfy you of all the people.

However, these three things are worthless without proper planning. Organize these three pointers and plan your home garden carefully. Always consider safety, practicality and beauty. Keep in mind that that the plants need to be properly aligned for proper growth. Make sure that they get all the nutrition that they need. And always make sure that they are not contrast with each other. Your garden should reflect you. It should please you as well. Designing your own garden will help you a lot into achieving these concepts.

Space Planning: Dining Room Case Study

Recently I did some space planning for “empty nester” clients. Their kids had all moved out, but still return for family dinners and special occasions. That’s all fine, but the “family” has gotten larger with the addition of spouses and grandchildren. It has become increasingly difficult to accommodate everyone at the same table for dinner. Sound familiar?

The Problem: Small Dining Room

For these clients, the enjoyment of having everyone at the same table was a “must”. Ideally they wanted to be able to seat 16 people comfortably. The problem was that their current dining room was an enclosed room of about 10.5 x 12.5 feet with no potential for expansion. At the most, they were able to fit 12 people very snugly into this room with the addition of two table extension leaves and extra chairs. There was very little space left to walk around the table. The “kids” (not so little anymore) were relegated to the kitchen table.

The Solution: Re-purposed Family Room

On the opposite side of the house was the family room measuring 10.5 x 16.5 feet. Adjacent to the family room was the living room which was used only for entertaining. Can you see where I’m going with this? Here is the case I made to my clients for moving the dining room function into the family room.

1. The family room is no longer needed for its original function as a family gathering space since the clients had become empty nesters.

2. The family room is located off the kitchen, so the proximity for ease of serving food is the same as the dining room.

3. The family room is the perfect size for a new dining space with the potential to seat 16 people.

4. The family room has the potential to become an even larger open concept space by removing the dividing wall between family room and living room.

5. Why not move the television into the living room so the empty nesters can enjoy their living room on a daily basis?

They were on-board with the idea, so I proceeded to prepare furniture layout plan options, two with the dividing wall between family room and living room left in place, and two with the wall removed. One of the options was to create a multi-purpose dining room by including a small sitting area in front of the patio doors for enjoying the backyard. The dining table would be kept in its smaller footprint with leaves stored away. Then, in advance of guests arriving, the sitting area chairs would be moved to the living room and the table leaves popped into place. My clients liked this multi-purpose option and in the end they opted to leave the dividing wall in place, in order to preserve wall space for their recently acquired entertainment unit. They also decided that their old dining room could be re-purposed as a main floor office/library space.

Converting the Family Room Décor

Simply moving the family room furniture out and the dining room furniture in, is really not enough to re-purpose the space. In order to create ambiance for elegant dining some décor changes are required. Here are some of the steps I recommend.

1. Lighting: Contract an electrician to install a junction box for your chandelier. Make sure it is installed where it will hang over the centre of the dining table and not simply in the centre of the room. Also consider adding a recessed ceiling light in each corner of the room (about 18″ away from walls). These should all be on dimmer switches.

2. Fireplace: Update an existing fireplace by removing the hearth and refacing the surround with an elegant material such as marble or granite. (One option is to repeat the kitchen countertop stone.) If your fireplace is wood-burning consider installing a gas insert. Or consider removing the fireplace altogether so your buffet can take pride of place on the focal wall.

3. Walls: Paint or wallpaper to add interest, warmth and drama.

4. Ceiling: Paint the ceiling a shade of the wall colour to increase the coziness factor.

5. Moldings: Add crown molding and beef up the baseboards to make this room an elegant principle room. Add wainscoting or chair rail to visually reduce the wall height and help protect the walls from chairs moving backward.

6. Flooring: Wall to wall carpeting doesn’t work in a dining room! Install hardwood flooring to match what you already have elsewhere in the house. It will be easier to clean up spills and move dining chairs back and forth. Although I am not a fan of area carpets in dining rooms, they do add a lot of warmth. Ensure your area carpet is large enough so chairs don’t get caught half on and half off.

7. Furniture: Investigate getting another extension leaf made for your existing table or upgrade to a new one of the appropriate size. If purchasing new furniture, consider slightly narrower chairs. Remember, extra dining chairs can be scattered around the house to replace desk or bedroom chairs.

8. Draperies: Install new floor to ceiling draperies for windows or sliding glass doors.

9. Mirror: Add a stylish mirror over the fireplace to add sparkle and reflect the chandelier. If you have a china cabinet, install mirror behind the shelves.

10. Art & Accessories: Add a large piece of art opposite the fireplace or a large grouping of smaller frames. Add a table runner, a floral centrepiece, candles and voila – a fabulous new dining room!

It’s never easy to make the decision to shake things up in your home. But it can be very rewarding and even exciting. However, it does take some planning and budgeting. And of course, when considering any renovation, the age-old question inevitably comes up as to how it could affect the resale value of your home. So you may want to contact a real estate agent in your area. On the other hand, if you are not planning to sell your home, why not make it work for you?

These suggestions are intended as a general guideline to specifically convert a family room into a dining room, thus making better use of available space.

Bed and Breakfast Rooms

Although Bed and Breakfast refers to a specific type of accommodation, that naturally must include a morning breakfast meal as part of the accommodation package, there are however a number of different types of rooms that are often available at Bed and Breakfast accommodation establishments, each designed to cater for varying needs of individual customers, and each usually affecting the price of the room.

Single bed rooms are the standard, basic room type. These are in most cases the cheapest room option a Bed and Breakfast will offer and usually with the most basic facilities. Including a single bed and intended for one person to stay in, they are ideal for single travellers who often are only looking for a one-night stay. As a result, facilities are often limited and may only include basic storage for clothes and washing facilities, although upgraded facility options are often available at additional costs. The idea of keeping these types of rooms as basic as possible is to keep the cost of the rooms low for the budget user.

Double rooms are in most cases very similar to single rooms but with a larger bed. Though designed primarily for a couple to stay in, they are commonly taken up by single guests who prefer to pay the bit extra for the extra space. Indeed, many Bed and Breakfast establishments offer double beds as standard in their basic, single room options. As double rooms are usually larger then singles, facilities are also usually greater, with extra storage and greater washing facilities. Although the price of a double room will be greater than a single, the price per-person is in most cases less than a single room and therefore a cheaper option for joint travellers.

Twin rooms will be very similar to double room options in most B & Bs, and often the rooms will be identical and cater for two people to stay in the room. However, there will be two single beds in the room instead of one double, designed to suit two people who are not a couple and who wish to sleep in separate beds. In most cases, the price of a twin room will be the same as a double, although they can vary, often the twin room being more expensive due to the extra bedding required and resultant additional washing.

A standard family room will in most cases cater to sleep four people, consisting of one large, double bed and two single beds, although in some cases the room may have two double beds. These are ideally suited for a couple with two children, although other groups of three or more people will often share family rooms between them to keep the cost down per person, rather than each having separate single rooms. Another advantage of family rooms is that they will usually have en-suite bathroom facilities.

En-suite rooms are rooms that have a bathroom attached to the room that his not shared by any other rooms or guests at the Bed and Breakfast. This is more desirable to most guests as it offers more privacy and relaxation than sharing washing facilities, and in many B&Bs all the rooms will have en-suite facilities in all their rooms as standard. However, many travellers prefer to take rooms with shared washing facilities, as these types of rooms will be cheaper, often significantly so. En-suite rooms will usually include

a bath and showering facilities along with a toilet and wash basin, although some may not have a bath, and in rare cases toilet facilities will be shared and not included.

View rooms are also another common room variation at Bed and Breakfasts that will affect the price of the room. Not all rooms in some establishments will be situated within a building with an external wall, and therefore will not have any windows. In these cases, rooms that have an external wall and a view from a window will be highlighted and often come with a higher price tag. A view room may also refer to rooms that have a view of a particular scene that is attractive to guests, and separate them from other rooms that have a view but not of anything interesting. Again, these rooms will usually be more expensive. Similarly, rooms with a balcony will usually be specified on a room list, and will be the higher rate rooms.

Best Garage Doors For Your House Garage

I remember the garage door that my parents used to have at home. It was something ugly, but highly efficient, it was really working well. However when it came to looking good, you just could not find something passable in those days. However things are so different nowadays when you can find practically anything that your budget allows you to pay for.

During the last few years garage doors have really undergone a lot of changes, modifications and pattern changes that make them highly appealing these days to most homeowners. There are many brands available today and you can find them in many different types and materials to suit your heart’s desire.

Some of the most popular garage door types are the composite doors, wooden doors, fiberglass garage doors, rolling steel doors and tempered doors. Obviously each of these types is made of the respective material, hence the actual product name. There are many different elements that entail buying such a garage entryway, such as cost and quality, so you really need to make your careful research before shopping for yours, since they are not that cheap to afford to buy one every year.

When it comes to price, you can really find them for all budgets. If your wallet is rather slim, you can go for rolling steel doors that cost less than some other ones however they are made with equally high quality in mind. Also these are very easy to clean and maintain. When it comes to design, you can find many different ones as well, so you can really pick and choose the right one for your own garage.

Quality is crucial and no matter your budget, you should never leave this aspect out. Wood is a good quality material that many homeowners prefer for their garages and with good reason. Not only that but they are also much better looking than those of other types of materials. And having a garage door that is useful, modern and very elegant can really increase the curb appeal of your home.