Category: home design (3)

Lighting creates mood and atmosphere in your home and ensures you can achieve the feeling of a relaxed, welcoming space. To help make lighting shopping hassle free, here are few tips to brighten up your search for the perfect light.
Matching your lighting to your style

Your lighting fixtures are a key opportunity to define and reinforce your design style. Consider the overall look you want to achieve and how the shapes, materials and designs you choose for your lighting fixtures can have an impact on your design scheme. Here’s what to look for when buying pieces to create three signature looks:

To achieve the Chic look, seek out warm materials and timeless designs to create an effortless, laid-back feel. Neutral tones and natural materials like linen and wood work well, along with polished chrome and smoked glass.


For a more Urban take, look for clean lines, crisp colours and Scandic influences to create a cool contemporary feel. A series of statement pendants and modern shapes will all help bring your Urban design scheme to life.


Lighting fixtures with elegant shapes and rich materials will help achieve an opulent, Luxe look in your space. Create drama with sophisticated lampshades in black teamed with luxurious bases in chrome, glass or reflective materials.

Essential pieces

The best decorative lighting fixtures will balance functional needs with the style, age and character of your home. Choose fixtures that enhance the space and provide the level of light you need.
Pendants are perfect for creating ambient light and are most often used for stairs, living rooms, dining rooms and entryways. You can make sure your pendant lighting is in proportion by measuring the space and assessing the ceiling height. Ceilings which are less than eight feet high work best with mounts that are flush or semi-flush so you can maximise the available height. Higher ceilings are more versatile; cathedral ceilings and ceilings more than 10 feet high look great with hanging pendants and statement chandeliers. In general, the larger the room, the wider the light fitting should be – bulbs will be spread further apart and throw light further into the room. Larger rooms will need larger chandeliers or ceiling lights to illuminate the space evenly.


Wall Lights are an unobtrusive way to introduce accent and ambient light into a space. These fixtures are particularly useful in narrow spaces, small rooms and areas with low ceilings, as they can provide brightness without taking up additional room.
Wall sconces, wall lamps and picture lights don’t need to be subtle – they can add drama and interest to the room and can also help to create repetition and symmetry. In addition to style, height placement is important here – too high or too low and the proportions of the room will feel strange. Your wall lights should be high enough that you can’t look down into the fixture and be in your natural line of sight.
Lamps are the most versatile lighting fixtures because they are easy to move around a space which can completely change the feel of a room. Consider how both your base and shades can work together to achieve the desired effect – buying these pieces separately gives you more options and an extra opportunity to add your own unique stamp.

are an easy way to add light to darker corners of the room and also introduce height and interest to your space. If a floor lamp is going to be in a high traffic area, make sure it’s heavy enough to ensure that it doesn’t fall over when there’s movement in the room. Also consider scale here and how your lamp will look when arranged with the others.


Invest in the right lamp base and it will last you through several room changes. Large bases create impact and add weight to your design scheme, while more delicate bases work in rooms that are already short on space. Look at the finish and how it matches with the other materials already in your room to ensure your base will work. Consider the height of the base and the height of the table it will be resting on – a bedside table may require a taller base to ensure the light is at the right angle for reading in bed.
Lampshades can help you control light and offer the opportunity to accent your colour scheme, introduce pattern and texture or make subtle seasonal changes.
The shape, material and opacity will all affect the quality of light. If you are using your lamp as accent or ambient lighting, choose a shade that will filter light and create a soft glow. Task lamps on the other hand require shades that will maintain the quality of light and still provide enough illumination. There are two main types of shade:
Translucent shades made from sheer fabric or paper, perfect for reading and adding ambient light.
Opaque shades made from materials like silk, thick parchment or laminated card. They will direct light in defined, up-and-down beams, and work well to help highlight objects or areas and set the mood in your space.

There are dozens of shapes you can choose from to complement your lamp base. Some of the most popular include:

A circular-shaped shade where the sides are vertical. Drum shades tend to be short and wide while more traditional cylinder shades are tall and thinner.

A square or rectangular shaped shade with sharp edges that works best with cornered bases.

A simple shade that fans outwards in an A-like shape, where the bottom is roughly twice as wide as the top.

A simple shade with a bottom width three or four times larger than the top that pushes light and emits it from the bottom of the shade.
Proportion is key. Look for a shade that’s just under half the size of the base and approximately double the width – too big and your lamp will feel top heavy, too short and your lamp will feel off balance. Consider placement too – if your lamp is going to be in a hallway or on a bedside table, make sure it’s the right height so you don’t bump into it or risk knocking it over as you try to switch it on and off.
Choosing the right light bulbs

Under recent legislation, the traditional incandescent or tungsten light bulbs have been phased out of production and replaced with safer, more sustainable alternatives. While this is a good thing – energy saving bulbs are better for the environment and last tens of thousands of hours on average – it does present a unique challenge to homeowners trying to create their perfect lighting scheme.
Classic tungsten bulbs emit an instant warm, radiant light – they naturally create atmosphere and are what many of us look for when we go shopping for light bulbs. Energy saving bulbs on the other hand tend to naturally omit a cooler, white light and can take anywhere from a few seconds to up to a minute to fully come to life.
To find the right energy-efficient bulb, look at lumens instead of watts – a typical incandescent bulb emits 800 lumens, so finding a light bulb in that range will replicate the level of brightness. Many LED light bulbs will also indicate a colour rating – warm light, soft light, and bright white are three of the most common. In general, warm light and soft light LEDs are closest in tone to incandescent bulbs and perfect for the living room and bedroom. Bright white bulbs on the other hand are really well suited to workspaces and areas of the home like the kitchen.


IP Ratings

One last thing to consider with your lighting is the IP rating. The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is an important factor when buying a light for outdoors of for the bathroom. The code is designed to give us a quick understanding of how well-protected a light fitting is – the higher the rating, the higher the protection.
The rating scale is comprised of two numbers ranging from 0 to 8. The first digit indicates how protected the light is from anything (such as dust) getting inside. A rating of 0 means no special protection, while a rating of 6 indicates the light is dust tight.
The second number indicates how much moisture the light can withstand, either from drips or by being submerged in water. 0 indicates no special protection, while the maximum rating of 8 means the light is protected from continuous submersion.
Lights for outdoors and for the bathroom need a minimum IP44 rating, though the placement of your light may mean you want even greater protection. A security light on the side of your home, for example, would need a higher IP rating to ensure it’s safe and protected against water and any foreign bodies.

As another British property price boom gathers steam, many are searching for their dream ‘period property’. But why do people favour certain architectural eras?
Ask a Briton to describe their ideal home, and the chances are their reply will include the adjective ‘period’. Depending on who you ask, however, the period in question might vary wildly.It might be Georgian, with its neo-classical stylings and clean, symmetrical lines. Or it could be Victorian – all about cornicing, bay windows and patterned brickwork. Others might prefer the light airiness of the Edwardians or the stark geometry of the modernist era.
But in a property-obsessed nation, where it sometimes feels as though estate agents’ lingo permeates every discussion, plenty of people have a favoured architectural era – whether or not owning such an edifice will ever be within their financial grasp. For some, it’s a deeply emotional attachment. “It’s all about what resonates with you and makes you think of home,” says architectural historian Ellen Leslie. “If you’re in any way interested in buildings, you’re going to have a preference.”
According to estate agents, the Georgian era is widely regarded as the UK’s preferred period as there’s something about the grandeur of great Georgian cities that means it’s always popular. For this reason, he adds, many places with large stocks of such buildings, like Edinburgh, Bath and Brighton, tend to attract London-style prices.
But for most Britons, however, this preference is entirely aspirational – owning a Regency townhouse or a Robert Adam country pile is something only to be contemplated in their wildest fantasies.
The Georgian period runs from 1660-1840 and “classicism was ascendant”, says Robert Bargery of the Georgian Group. “The art of town planning reached a point of high refinement, with elegant squares and terraces beautifying cities. Often there was an attempt to simulate the country, so terraces of townhouses resemble a country house, with projecting end bays and a central pediment.”

Key features include:
 Symmetrical facades
 Geometrically proportioned rooms
 Tall windows to let in light
 Fanlights above front doors

It’s harder to find similar properties in places like Glasgow and Manchester, whose architecture reflects the fact that they boomed during the reign of Queen Victoria.
For many British urban areas, “period property” translates for most people as a Victorian dwelling. The era saw countless rows of terraced homes built to cope with massive movements of population to towns and cities, and helped shape the country’s perception of what a home looks like.

However, it’s not long since the style was far less favoured. Just as 20th Century architecture is now reviled by many like Prince Charles as “monstrous carbuncles”, Victorian design was once widely considered ugly and unfashionable.
Architectural styles changed gradually throughout these periods, says Chris Costelloe of the Victorian Society.

Key features include:
 Bay windows introduced in 1860s
 Decorative detail
 Houses more alike due to standardised materials
 Built on rectangular grids, often one room wide plus corridor
 Front door often set to one side

In the late Victorian and Edwardian period, houses were increasingly built with:
 Lower ceilings
 A growing preference for red brick
 More ornamentation
 Stained glass in front doors

After World War II, people wanted modernism. Victoriana was synonymous with slums, soot and the kind of “dark satanic mills” described by William Blake. Decrepit late 19th Century terraces were bulldozed to make way for new, clean properties with indoor sanitation. In those homes that survived, fittings like fireplaces and tiles were chucked out – to the bitter regret of latter-day vendors for whom the words “original period features” are like manna.
But fashions change. In 1958, the poet Sir John Betjeman and the architecture guru Nikolaus Pevsner set up the Victorian Society to save the glories of the age from destruction. Thanks in no small part to their efforts, the period’s aesthetic charm is once again widely appreciated.
It isn’t the only era whose reputation has been resuscitated.
At the time of their construction, the inter-war suburban “Metroland” homes that housed commuters and their families were loathed by the cultural elite as vulgar and shabby. In his 1939 novel Coming Up For Air, George Orwell described a street of these properties as “a prison with cells in a row. A line of semi-detached torture chambers”.
Recently, however, they have undergone a reappraisal. Groups such as the Royal Institute of British Architects have hailed the influence of the Art Deco and Arts and Crafts movement on homes from this period.
The 1930s saw an explosion in suburban development, says Henrietta Billings of the Twentieth Century Society.
“Inter-war suburban housing turned its back on urban slums and instead fuelled aspirations of a new way of life: home ownership in quite leafy surroundings. This style of housing took design elements from the Arts and Crafts movement, but relied on mass production to make such houses affordable.”
These houses typically have:
 Bay windows
 Mock Tudor timber beams – often stuck onto the outside
 Steeply pitched roofs
 Stained glass panels
 Tall chimneys
 They are often semi-detached with a garden at the back and front
 Some have a garage attached

More importantly, ordinary families have come to value their spaciousness and convenience, says Cook. “They used to be very unfashionable, but now people appreciate them,” he adds.
And admirers of post-war modernism – whose detractors, chief among them the heir to the throne, have long associated it with grim tower blocks and urban decay – are staging a fight-back, too, proclaiming the aesthetic virtues of post-war optimism and communal living.
Many of the bold, idealistic structures of Le Corbusier and Erno Goldfinger are now listed. Flats in Goldfinger’s Trellick Tower in west London – once a byword for crime and inner-city blight – have sold for up to £480,000.
Just as enthusiasts for Victoriana rallied to preserve the era’s buildings, the Twentieth Century Society was formed in 1979 to “safeguard the heritage of architecture and design in Britain from 1914 onwards”. Estate agencies like The Modern House specialise in selling modernist – or, to adopt a recent euphemism, “architect-designed” – homes.

Those with an affection for concrete at least have plenty of affordable options on former local authority-run estates the length and breadth of the UK. Others on a median salary, who prefer more traditional styles, have fewer realistic options – unless they are prepared to resort to new-build pastiches that borrow design features from earlier eras.
Famously, the Prince of Wales backed the construction from 1994 of Poundbury, a neo-Georgian development on the edge of Dorchester, Dorset. The experiment sought to recreate architectural principles from a bygone age, but it has been derided by some within the design establishment.
According to Harriet Harris, senior lecturer in architecture at Oxford Brookes University, it’s unlikely such estates will ever win the kind of affection generated by their Georgian precursors.
“Most serious architects do think these pastiches do negate real design because they are not innovative,” she says. But that’s not to say the public will necessarily agree. According to Cook, such pastiches have no trouble selling.
Phrases like “mock Tudor” are sneered at by design critics but remain popular with buyers. So too are “Barratt-style homes” – synonymous with the 1980s Channel 4 soap opera Brookside.
Still, many buyers continue to seek out the authenticity a vintage home offers. As long as they do, the search for a period home will remain a common aspiration in a property-obsessed nation.



Wallpapers have been transforming otherwise ordinary rooms into specific, evocative spaces for more than 500 years. And with a few rolls of the stuff — handcrafted by contemporary makers or scooped up from a vendor specializing in vintage stock — you can do that, too. Since many of today’s top wall decor trends have roots in the past, let’s take a quick trip through the archives of wallpaper history.
The earliest wallpapers in the Western world were conceived as alternatives to costlier textile hangings like woven tapestries or embroidered panels, with ornate patterns that riffed on those motifs. The eighteenth century saw a European obsession for hand-painted silk wallcoverings imported from China, and French and British wallpaper manufacturers became wealthy by printing their own interpretations of Eastern designs.
Prior to the industrial revolution, all wallpaper patterns had to be hand-stenciled, hand-painted, or (most commonly) block-printed on individual sheets of handmade paper, which were then joined together to create wall-sized panels. All this changed around 1840, when factory-produced, continuous sheets of paper and mechanized rollers put intricate and colourful patterns within the budgets of the masses. By the late nineteenth century, however, supporters of the Arts & Crafts were fed up with industrialized production and called for a return to traditional crafting methods — notably, British design reformer William Morris, whose beautiful block-printed patterns are still produced today.

Now, even as modern advances in digital printing have revolutionized wallpaper production once again, we’re also seeing a subset of craftspeople return to traditional printing methods, à la William Morris and many of the most up-to-the-minute designs for 2016 are revivals and reinterpretations of historic styles.
Below, find six trends to show that when it comes to wallpaper, what’s old is new again.

DIY Decals
In mid-eighteenth-century England, print rooms were quite the thing: DIY decorators collected inexpensive prints of favorite artworks and pasted them directly to their walls in creative arrangements. The prints were often further embellished with wallpaper frames and decorations manufactured by paper-stainers specifically for this purpose. Today, removable vinyl decals alleviate the potential for mess, and give us even more freedom to cut, paste, and move stuff around our walls. Thanks vinyl!

Lush Botanicals and Florals
Big, bright botanical patterns help us feel more connected to nature, even when we’re stuck indoors. Some beautiful examples were produced by early nineteenth-century French manufacturers; as horticulture was a fashionable hobby at the time, botanically accurate images of roses abounded. This year, look for tropical-inspired patterns featuring motifs like palm fronds, hibiscuses or twisting jungle vines, or classic florals updated with vibrant colour palettes to bring a 21st-century feel to this timeless concept.

Trompe L’oeil Texture


Another favored nineteenth-century trend making an appearance in 2016 collections is trample l’oeil. French for “fool the eye,” trompe l’oeil wallpapers create the illusion of a textured surface on a flat wall. By choosing paper instead of the real deal, consumers were able to get the look of draped fabric, elaborate moulding, gilt and leather — without the price and upkeep. Today’s designers tend to focus on patterns that imitate natural materials (and in a strong second place, faux bookshelf prints), but don’t overlook vintage papers for tufted, lattice, and even macramé inspired styles.
Repeating Vignettes
During the mid-Victorian era’s Rococo revival, quirky, toile-like patterns with little repeating vignettes of exotic or idyllic locations were very popular for the parlor; scenes of bucolic life and architecture from far-off lands show up with frequency. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we’ve seen playful new riffs on this old style, which is good news for parlors (and living rooms and bedrooms) everywhere.
Room-Specific Papers
Jumping forward to the 1950s, we find an affinity for themed wallpapers specific to spaces like kitchens, kids’ rooms and laundry rooms. After decades of turmoil brought on by the Depression and then WWII, Americans were eager to settle into the good life. Wallpaper reflected this desire quite literally by depicting objects associated with a comfortable domestic existence. Food themed patterns are a fun and witty choice for cooking and dining areas.

Geometric Feature Walls
Another great throwback to postwar America is the feature wall papered with a large scale geometric pattern. Many of the new homes mass-produced for suburban developments featured wide-open floor plans. People found that papering a bold pattern on just one wall helped to bring interest and intimacy to a living space without becoming overwhelming. For 2016, geometrics incorporating thinner lines and neutral tones are particularly on trend.

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