Wednesday, 29 February 2012

What Are The Best Kitchen Colors to Compliment Stainless Steel Appliances?


You've lingered over paint swatches and read the paint color selection guide, but are still unsure what color to use in your kitchen. Colors that match with stainless steel are wide and varied, but that doesn't mean to say that stainless steel is a good match with any color on the chart, or tile sample you find.
 

Zesty green works wonders
 against stainless steel
Here Are Your Color Choices...
In a kitchen, your color choices are more restricted than with most other rooms as you don't have soft furnishings to fall back on, as a way to introduce color. Color in a kitchen tends to revolve around paint on the walls, tile splashbacks, countertops, and cabinets.

Metallics are one of the hottest color trends in decorating at the moment, so pairing stainless steel with other current colors would give your kitchen a highly trendy appearance; Try zesty green, warm yellow, mushroom, and deep berry tones. Using black and grey in small spaces, or as a metallic would also work well.



Walls - Paint, Tiles & Splashbacks
Stainless steel softly reflects color, especially strong color used on the walls, so care should be taken not to overwhelm a room with too many different colors, as with the reflections from the stainless steel, it will create a confusing and busy looking kitchen decor.

Tiles with a gloss finish are not a good idea for a kitchen with a number of stainless steel appliances, although a splashback area in stainless steel, or mirrored-type tile can work well. Otherwise, tiles are best kept to those with a more matt, or textured look. Many colors for tiles work well, but don't use more than two, as again it will overwhelm the room. Neutral, and earth tones, are good kitchen colors that match with stainless steel, and give appliances a complementary backdrop. Although, don't be afraid of using more vivid red, black or purple, if that suits your scheme better.

Paint colors to avoid when matching with stainless steel would be brown, mid/dark green, orange, or deep pink. Using an ice blue color, would also be a shade to avoid, as accompanied with the steel it could look cold.



Rich color on the floors offsets the gray and steel
Countertops
The range of countertops available now is astonishing, whether you buy storebought, or opt for building your own wooden countertops. There are more types of wood from the palest beech, to the darkest iroko, before we even start with granite type worktops. All this means is there is more choice in both color and texture to use in your kitchen, so which countertop color best matches with stainless steel?

The good news is that stainless steel matches well with almost all natural materials, so if you have a wood countertop, granite, or a faux finish stone, this is a perfect combination for stainless steel. The only thing to watch for would be using a similar shade granite to your appliances, as it can seem a bit dull and grey, unless you counterbalance this with a rich color on the walls.



Real wood cabinets have a natural
 affinity with steel colors
Cabinets
When looking for kitchen cabinet colors that match with stainless steel, it is more a question of what other colors are already in use in the kitchen's decor. Cream, is a color that works very well with stainless steel, as does the current trend for gloss finishes on cabinet doors. Red and black are popular options for kitchens now, and both work really well with stainless steel, if the color on the wall isn't competing for attention. Wooden cabinet doors with a natural finish, also have a naturally affinity with steel colors.

Whilst it's true to say that matching colors with stainless steel isn't a hard task, you should definitely think about the whole picture, of cabinets, countertops, etc. and how all these colors combine, before making your main color choice.


Image credits:
Purple kitchen - http://flic.kr/p/5bzd2Q
Green kitchen - http://media.photobucket.com/image/green20kitchen/akaicrymagaku/apaato/Foto439.jpg?o=71
Gray countertops - http://flic.kr/p/5jrxXL
Wooden kitchen - http://flic.kr/p/5LP7EL

Do You Change Decor With the Seasons? Try Some Spring Table Decorating



So now you've created an amazing springtime centerpiece, what if you want to take your theme further and embrace an entire spring table decor idea? Here are some great ideas.

Rabbits and greenery add instant springtime magic
Fresh & Natural
Decorating a table creatively in Spring, is probably easier than at any other time of year. Just one look around you will open up a world of natural materials to use in your spring table decorations. The fresh green shoots are starting to appear, and the first signs of spring are here bring us wonderful tulips, crocuses, hyacinths and daffodils. If you don't have any of these in your garden, they will become less expensive when the season gets going. A simple bunch tied with some raffia, makes a wonderful centerpiece on its own.

One particularly easy way of creatively decorating a table, is to echo the flowers you have used in your centerpiece, onto each place setting. Either place it across the plate, tie a coordinating ribbon around it, or use the petals as a stand for a name place card.

New life is the theme of spring, and incorporating a mini nest either as a centerpiece or mini place setting makes a wonderfully creative touch - make the eggs chocolate ones to enthrall little guests, or make your own from polymer clay. Use some branches and twigs in your table centerpiece, to echo the theme across the table.
 

A piece of driftwood, or small plank of wood set down the center of the table, makes for a particularly unique table decoration. You are then free to add candles in holders, or shot glasses with flowers along it.


Yellow is the classic spring color of choice
Bright Springtime Fun Decor
Make your springtime creative table decor come alive with some zingy bright spring colors, and fun springtime elements.

Start out with a white or yellow table cloth as your base, and use the brightest crockery you have. The spring table centerpiece on this one can be as creative as you dare. Use a simple flowerpot of greenery (even just grass or watercress), and set a nest in the centre. Lay it onto a square of green felt and then build up your fun image - a fairy toadstool house ornament, or ducklings and chicks to run riot across the rest of the table too. Why not add a runner of blue fabric down the center of the table and ruche it up to give a wavy effect - room for ducklings to swim in. Edge with flowers or smaller pots of grass, and don't forget to include some fluffy lambs or crafted Easter bunnies.

As for floral decorations in this design, large daisies or pink tulips work well, as do daffodils.

Make small toadstools from polymer clay (or use real mushrooms on the day), with a small slit cut into the top, to allow for a dinner table place setting name card.
 

Remember the table decor's color theme should be bright, but not overpowering - make sure there is plenty of green to balance out the yellows and pinks that are likely to feature.


Easter eggs can be decorated and piled on a plate,
or make a centerpiece with an egg wreath
Easter Table Decor 
A prominent feature in any creative spring table decor will eventually be that of Easter. Any of the above ideas will work well for an Easter theme with just a few tweaks.

The quickest way to introduce the Easter theme to the spring table is by changing the centerpiece. This is easily done in one of two ways:

Use a basket or large shallow dish to display a pile of painted eggs. Leave them plain or decorate with any pattern you wish.

You could even use egg shaped candles to match your color choices.

Create a table wreath made from painted eggs, or even plastic eggs (plastic eggs are available from many pet stores as they are used as encouragement for chickens to lay!). Use wire to push through the eggs to attach them to each other, and hot glue gun certain places for added support. Then wrap around leather strips, or ribbon to keep it all in place and add further decoration.

When you are in the pet store, why not pick up some plastic aquarium plants to use as grass and foliage around your display, or utilize mini flower pots and dress each with grasses or herbs from the garden. To show respect for this religious holiday, incorporate some crosses by either using washed popsicle sticks, or wide dried grasses.

Creative table decorating in spring just means using the natural materials around us to embrace the feeling of the season, and having a little fun with finishing touches along the way.



Bird nest table setting - http://www.flickr.com/photos/55589578@N00/2255381141/sizes/z/in/photostream/

What Bedroom Style is For You? New Ideas for Bedroom Decorating



What's Your Style?
So what's new in the world of bedroom decorating? Ideas vary from highly minimalist, square lines, and plenty of hidden storage, to romantic looks with the current color trend of rich yellows and berry colors, complete with canopy beds.
  
To a large extent, your bedroom style will be influenced by three factors:
  • The size of the room / style of the house.
  • If you share the bedroom with anyone.
  • Does it need to be multipurpose - e.g. is it also a home office, or studio.

Whilst it's easy to create a look for everyone, convincing your other half of the qualities of floral yellows, and a romantic bed canopy may be a fruitless exercise, if they prefer a more masculine minimalist look, with clean lines. If your room is a multipurpose one with little space, then it's going to be difficult to embrace vintage style with a laptop amongst the decor. So think about these factors, before taking on one of the new bedroom decorating ideas in your home.


Modern Minimalist 
Hide the clutter in floor to ceiling fitted wardrobes
A modern minimalist room doesn't sound the most romantic bedroom style, but it does have the added benefit of being both a masculine and feminine look, so you're off to a winner before you start. The key looks for this style idea are:
  • Neutral colors - you don't have to stick to cream and beige though, grey is a hot color trend at the moment that would work well, as well as the winning black & white combination for accents.
  • Bed with built-in drawers.
  • Texture plays a huge role in this bedroom style, to compensate for the lack of color. The use of natural materials such as leather, glass and wood are widely used. Try using a fake fur throw over the end of a bed.
  • Mirrors, of any description add a different texture and feel to the room as well as adding more space to a smaller room. Can be used as tiles on door, mirrored wardrobe doors, or simple mirrors hung in threes (triptych), directly onto the wall, with no frame.
  • Clean lines - slidedoor wardrobes, hidden TVs, simple handles or no handles on drawers, epitomize this look.
  • Flooring is simple, either a neutral colored carpet, or warm colored wood.
  
Make it work for you - Create a feature wall using one of the latest large print wallpapers, or a striking color painted wall. Add some DIY wall art to add a splash of color.


Romantic 
Canopy curtains add instant romance
Romance is never dead, when you have so many options to create a romantic retreat in your bedroom.
  • Canopy beds, are an instant way to create romance in a bedroom, from a modern four poster style with a tented canopy, to a more flowing sheer voile fabric draped at the head of the bed.
  • The new over-sized floral print wallpapers work well in a romantic room, creating a sense of drama if you use the more dynamic and deep color combinations.
  • Most colors apart from bright primary colors, work in a romantic room. Deep purple berry shades and neutrals work especially well.
  • Storage doesn't have to be hidden away, but wooden storage should be either stained dark, or painted cream or white.
  
Make it work for you - use plain color on the walls rather than patterned wallpaper, and add features to the wall that mean something to you instead. Use roman shades instead of luxurious drapes to dial down the girlie-factor.


Yellow with black & white accents
is a winning combination
Color Me Trendy (but Cozy)
This new bedroom decorating idea is flexible in that as long as you stick to a few color and pattern rules, anything goes:
  • The style should be relaxed and comfortable, rather than structured and streamlined - creating a peaceful but fashionable retreat is the goal.
  • Lots of soft furnishings soften the edges of any furniture.
  • Walls can be left plain in the current color trends of - grey, mushroom, linen, metallics, rich yellow, deep blue, blackberry, rich red. With accents of off-white and black.
  • Pattern can be used as wallpaper, drapes, or bedclothes. Florals are big news right now, especially large flowing designs, in the colors of the season.
  • Accent anything with black or grey, to add sophistication this season.
  
Make it work for you - if you want to embrace the pattern trend but don't want to use florals, then opt for stripes which are also a current trend - try metallic horizontal printed stripes to create a larger feeling space. Add relaxed chairs if you have room.
  

Vintage Style 
Classic vintage style never
gets outddated
This might seem like an odd choice to be included in an article about new bedroom decorating trends, but the idea isn't as strange as it sounds. There is a definite lean towards the revival of more classic and historical looks, allowing us to combine different eras into one style idea for a modern decorated bedroom.
  • Furniture can be mis-matched to create an eclectic look. It should either be grand wooden chairs, or beds with lustrous fabric padding like an old-fashioned French boudoir. Or true painted furniture in the shabby chic style.
  • Walls can be painted in vintage colors of powder blue, cream, dusky pink, or olive green, or use the modern scroll and swirl patterned wallpapers.
  • An ornate mirror should figure somewhere in the room to add some sheen, and you could also add a simple chandelier for the same purpose.
  • Doors, skirting boards, and coving can be stained with a dark oak wax.
  • Drapes should be luxurious with fabric pooling onto the floor.
  
Make it work for you - storage can be put out on display so use plain wooden boxes and paint them in a coordinating color. Be truly eclectic and employ some old world style, adding animal prints to jazz up the decor.


Mix & Match the Looks
If you like some of the ideas from one bedroom scheme, and some from another, then don't be afraid to combine the styles to suit you.

Romantic styles can combine easily with the vintage style, to suit your tastes. A romantic bedroom can also feature a modern style of canopy bed, and the use of more masculine colors, with the odd floral or sequined cushion thrown in for contrast.

Hang items on the wall of any scheme that mean something to you to create more personal style - items such as guitars and surfboards add a striking touch to any of the new bedroom decorating ideas given here.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Avoid Being a Boring Diva - Bird Themed Decor to Make your Table Sing



Bird themed decoration is hot news in the world of home decor, and incorporating it into your table decorations means that you can update the look really easily.

There are many ways to achieve the look, from using wreaths on the table and altering them to your needs, create some natural but fun table centerpieces, or just add the odd finishing touch.



A wreath centerpiece can easily
 work in a bird or nesting theme
Bird Decor Table Centerpieces
Any good table decor plan starts with the centerpiece, and there are many options when it comes to bird themed decor for the table.

The wreath style of centerpiece works especially well with the bird theme, and there are many variations on this to try. An authentic, and indeed unique table wreath, can be made by decorating with branches and twigs to create a bird nest. You are then free to decorate this wreath as you wish. Add a simple bird ornament (you could always make your own from polymer clay), to make the bird nest wreath its home. You can add further details such as small eggs, and even wire a mushroom bird to the wreath. The eggs could be made of anything from polymer clay, or even plastic ones from a craft shop, chocolate ones, or the real thing.

The wreath pictured here has also made use of other natural materials available at the time. This obviously depends on the season, but lengths of ivy and grapevine always work well. Pine twigs and pine cones have been used here but feathers or even berries could be used. Adding cherry blossom, or any small flowers in purple and yellow, would be perfect for a spring table decoration.

Or try making a wreath from feathers. Many feathers work well, but large types, like peacock feathers, definitely add a certain grandness to the table. You could also use the wreath idea, to merely frame your main centerpiece, or use a large shallow dish with egg shaped candles in, and the wreath around the outside.


Another centerpiece idea you could try is using an ornamental bird cage. You can buy these from craft stores, or try tracking down pre-owned ones that you can clean up and spray paint according to your decor. Simply use these as they are, and drape them in some greenery or fairy lights, or use them to display a more traditional floral centerpiece inside.






Mock bird nests are super easy to make
Bringing the Bird Theme Together
In table decor treat your tablecloth like a photo treats a frame -- it should be attractive, but not the star of the show, its job is to show off the decorations to the best advantage. A white tablecloth will always be a winner, but you can change this according to the season, or match it up to one of the colors in your centerpiece. Add more detail to your tablecloth by introducing some bird motifs. You can either buy ready-made appliqué pieces, make your own, or else use an iron on T-shirt transfer. There are plenty of free images to be found on the Internet; simply save them to your computer and then print out using a transfer sheet - iron on the motifs to your tablecloth wherever you wish.

Continue the theme of your centerpiece, through to the table place settings. Mini bird nests make attractive place card holders, or indeed holders of chocolate eggs to keep all guests happy.

If you want something a little bit different at mealtimes, why not use a birdhouse or nesting box as a napkin dispenser. Leave rustic and wooden, or paint up to match the rest of the table decor.



More Ways to Attract Birds to Your Dining Table
Of course, there are many other small ways that you can incorporate bird decor to your table. There are many bird images around at the moment, thanks to it being one of the popular decorating trends. You could try using a sample of wallpaper featuring birds as a runner down the center of the table, or as a mat to put bowls, etc., onto.

There are numerous modern and vintage plates and pots that feature bird motifs, and a metal trivet with a bird design in the middle would be a good option too.

Of course, for an instant bird theme table decoration why not just use a bunch of "bird of paradise" flowers in a tall vase, for an abstract bird decor idea, or incorporate them into any of our table centerpiece ideas above.

Bird themed table decor doesn't have to mean bird ornaments all over the table. The ideas here will give you many options to make the decor of your table just sing.



Headline image - http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetkiera/5482963436/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Bird Wreath - http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftygirls/1072630720/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The 5 Most Popular Paint Colors for Kitchens in 2012



Color Trends 
Just as in fashion, color trends in decorating are constantly changing to bring us brighter, better, more inviting rooms than ever before. Unlike in fashion though, there will always be kitchen color favorites that are traditional, tried and tested.
  
The most popular kitchen paint colors of the moment complement stainless steel appliances, natural material countertops, and gloss finish cabinet doors, as well as the more traditional wood cabinets. In short, they have changed with the way the materials and appliances we use in our kitchens have changed.
  
Popular paint colors to use in the kitchen now are:
  • Yellow - rich, warm, and creamy shades as opposed to pale and sunny tones.
  • Purple - a hot color trend, especially the more rich berry hue.
  • Red - more on the side of burgundy and deep red, than scarlet though.
  • Cream - goes with almost anything and creates a warm feel. More beige and mushroom tones, as well as rich cream work well too.
  • Duck Egg Blue - Warmer than ice blue, and less intense than mid/navy blue.
  
But how can we use these colors in the kitchen, and how do we know which is the best match for us?


Color Matching 
Knowing the most popular kitchen paint colors is all very well, but it doesn't necessarily follow that all of these would be a perfect choice for you. As well as your personal taste, we also have to consider existing features, and if they will match with your preferred color.
  • Light wood cabinets benefit from warm yellow, cream, and duck egg blue paint on the walls.
  • Dark colored cabinets love darker cream, and intense colors like red.
  • Granite worktops in a kitchen are complemented by yellow walls, and rich cream, as are concrete countertops In small areas, rich red is also a winner.
  • Wood countertops can handle most colors, but benefit from a lift of warm color.
  • Current color trend cabinets such as purple and red, are complimented hugely by cream, or even yellow in small spaces. The opposite is also true - glossy finish cream cabinets with a red or purple paint on the walls are a winning combination.
  
You should avoid bland colors on the wall such as magnolia, unless you add a paint effect over the top, to bring it to life. Crisp white, or small elements of charcoal and black are acceptable as accents, and work with any color scheme.
  
Remember that the paint you use on your kitchen walls doesn't have to be restricted to just one color either. Just as a living room will often have a focal point to decorate around (like a fireplace), so too does the kitchen - usually the stove and extractor fan area. You can choose to decorate this section in a complimentary color to the main color of your walls. Using these tips and suggestions, decorating with popular kitchen paint colors will be easy as pie.
Image Credits:
Blue kitchen - http://flic.kr/p/24WCcP

How to Add Some Pizzazz by Decorating Canopy Bed Curtains


If you are lucky enough to have existing canopy bed curtains and you just want to give them a new lease of life, or maybe you've just made some canopy curtains but want to decorate them to be more in keeping with your room, then there are lots of different ways this can be achieved. Various ways are detailed here to cater to the novice with a glue-gun to a more experienced sewer.

Adding applique and trim adds a new look instantly

Add Appliqué, Ribbons & Gems
This idea for a canopy bed decoration works especially well in little girls' rooms, but can certainly work for the grown ups too.

Buy ready made appliqué items from craft stores, or make your own - just make sure to zig-zag stitch around the outside to prevent fraying. Good motifs to use are mini crowns, hearts, butterflies, geometric shapes, bows, clouds, stars, or the initials of the princess. You could also add hair clips in the same way, affixing to the bed curtain with a few stitches around the clip.
 

For a more grown up feel, add some ribbon to the edges of the curtains, or create mini bows to sew on. To add some sparkles to your bedroom decoration, stick some fake gems from a craft store or unwanted costume jewelry using a hot glue gun.


A simple valance or fabric swags can
make all the difference
Add a Valance or Border
One decorating idea for canopy beds you can use no matter what type of canopy you have, is to add a valance or decorative border along the top of the canopy curtain. You can use either glue, or sew on a border to the top of the curtain in a coordinating color, or even using a different texture such as velvet or satin.

Make it either part of the existing canopy curtain, or else make it separately with curtain heading tape so it hangs nicely over the top of the curtain. Using the second approach also means that you can have the valance permanently fixed over the frame, even when the canopy curtains may be pulled back.



Decorate the Curtain Pole
The curtain pole or bed frame will be exposed for the majority of the day, as your canopy curtains are likely to be pulled back, or at least partially back for most of the time. Take advantage of this space and decorate the canopy bed frame.

The easiest way to do this is with enamel paints - enamel ones are the paints you get in craft shops, usually in small pots. Using any other kind of paint would work initially but enamel paints are hardwearing and shouldn't feel or flake off as curtains are pulled back and forth.

Choose an appropriate design for your bedroom's decor. Even a simple swirl or wavy pattern will make a difference. Keep it subtle by using a color similar to the bed frame, making it look embossed, or go for a coordinating paint color to match the canopy curtains or other bedding.




Further Canopy Decorating Ideas
If the above canopy bed decorating ideas aren't for you, then what about this selection of quick decorative fixes:
  
A small strip of fabric
adds a decorative edge
  • Add some curtain tie backs or embellish the existing tie-backs.  
  • If you never draw your canopy curtains closed, then why not add some swags or fabric between one corner of the bed and the other - either in the same fabric, a sheer white fabric, or a coordinating color with the existing curtains. Simply knot them onto the frame or sew on some lengths of ribbon to tie around the frame.  
  • Add another curtain over the top in a sheer fabric - use white to soften the look or any other color to create a unique shade and further depth to the canopy.  
  • If your bed curtains are rarely pulled back, then why not push in some fresh or faux flowers into the top ruched section of the canopy curtains.
  
Even if your canopy bed was expensive, decorating ideas for canopy beds don't have to be. The great thing about these ideas is that they don't have to be permanent either, so if you can't decide between all these great decorating ideas, use one now and then change it again in a few months.
 
Image credits:
Pink canopy bed - Chris Short/Flickr
 

Top Ways to Improve The Exterior Appeal of Ranch Style Homes



 
Classic Ranch Style 
Ranch homes began their history in 1920s America, but soared in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s as more people started building their own homes. Often called California Ranch Homes, Ramblers, or Ranchers, there are several key things that make a Ranch style homes exterior such a popular design.
Covered porch and entryway with simple
columns epitomizes Ranch style
  • Dramatic entry - whether it's stairs with a mighty balustrade leading to the front door, an arch, or a huge monitor over the doorway, entries to Ranch style homes are always dramatic.
  • Usually single story.
  • Natural materials are used, such as oak and brick. However, brick Ranchers are usually covered over and everything is painted.
  • Long layout with low pitched roofs.
  • Integrated garages.
  • Covered porch/entry - can extend along the front and side of the house as a long veranda.
  • Large windows - often bay windows, but always large to let in lots of light.
  • Minimal exterior decorations - pristine paintwork and a well cared for garden are all a Ranch house needs.
  • Rear of the house is likely to have sliding doors/French doors leading on to a patio.
  • Often a big contrast between exterior house color and roof color - a cream color house with a red tiled roof, is a popular look.
  • Wherever you find a Ranch style home it always has that taste of the American West.
  

Remodeling a Ranch Style Home 
A stone patio or decking brings the Ranch look
 together at the rear of the home too
If you have a Ranch style home and want to add some "wow" factor to the exterior, to boost its curb appeal, then it's not that difficult to do. Depending on your budget, you might want to consider some of the following renovations when remodelling a Ranch style home.
  • Use stucco or plaster to cover exposed brick, or give it a good sandblast and an exterior paint job; cream, beige and lemon yellow colors work well, but make sure they have a warmth to them.
  • Replace windows with larger bay ones if possible; even if you only use them in a couple of places, it makes a huge difference.
  • If you have a larger budget, consider adding a second story, or add gabled dormers if you already have a multi-story Ranch house.
  • Update the entry way by adding a covered foyer, an arch, or install some stairs with a new balustrade.
  • Add stone accents to chimneys and/or bump outs, but remember to keep the look natural.
  • Add stone patio or decking to the rear of your Ranch house.
  • Landscaping can create a perfect frame for your Ranch home, no matter what your budget. Add to a featureless lawn with a rock garden, stone path, or some new trees and shrubs.
  
Don't think of a Ranch style home as boring, think of it as versatile because there's just so much you can do with this classic house design. No wonder the Ranch style homes exterior is one of the most popular styles of home today.

Image credits:
First image - http://www.flickr.com/photos/68202643@N03/6212537965/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Second image - http://www.flickr.com/photos/behrpaint/6008922107/sizes/z/in/photostream/

Monday, 27 February 2012

Need Some Decorating Inspiration? Tons of Ideas for Kid's Bathrooms Coming Up...



Bathroom Themes for Kids 
Kid's bathrooms are the easiest to incorporate the idea of a theme into. A bathroom doesn't have to have color coordination with other rooms, and because it's a kid's bathroom you can let your imagination go crazy. Here are some top theme ideas for kid's bathrooms:
  • Frogs
  • Princesses
  • Butterflies
  • Robots
  • Cowboys
  • Crayon/art studio
  • Rubber ducks
  • Animal farm (or pick individual animals such as a cow theme)
  • Bears
  • Zoo Animals
  • Surf Dude/Beach
  • Under the Sea
  • Pirates
  • Games Console (Mario, Space Invaders etc.)
You can of course combine two (or more) themes into one - robots and games console could be easily combined, as could surf dude and, under the sea.


Where to Start?
The quickest way to imprint a theme onto a bathroom is on the walls. Murals are easier to create than you may think. A faux painted clouds and sky design, is a good place to start for most themes (either on the walls or ceiling). From there you can add details to make your kid's bathroom unique. Make sure to use paints specifically for bathroom and kitchens, as obviously this room has to put up with a great deal of moisture, humidity, and plenty of splashes too.

Smaller details to establish the theme can simply be painted on, either freehand, or by penciling in outlines for the larger features. If you are constrained by time, or artistic talent, then shop-bought motifs can be easily incorporated onto your background. To prevent these motifs (vinyl wall decals, or stickers) from peeling off the walls, secure with strong wallpaper paste and use a clear varnish over the top to seal them.



Don't Forget the Small Stuff
A kid's bathroom needs a few finishing touches to underline the overall theme. It's a good idea to put toys on display that tie in with the theme such as squeezy pirates that squirt water, wind-up fish toys, and of course rubber ducks. Towels with motifs, and even kids toiletries, can be used as display items.

The use of water-soluble crayons can be used to keep bath-time fun. Obviously make sure the children are surrounded by wipe-off surfaces - you don't want any crayon on tile grouting or even worse, your beautiful wall mural. A whiteboard attached to the bath-side makes a cute addition, which shows the kids that this is the place for artwork to take place.

Bathtime can also be made educational, as well as fun, by using foam letters and numbers that stick to the bath and tiles when they are wet. Get them to leave cute messages for each other, or spell out their name.



Ideas for Older Kids
Older kid's bathroom ideas, are more difficult to come by, but are not impossible to achieve. Older children may be at home with a more grown-up theme like pirates, games console, and surf dude, but if you have a number of kids of different ages to keep happy, then keep the theme more neutral. Mosaic tile patterns are a good way to do this, whilst still allowing you freedom for some creative expression. This also means you can use bright primary colors, but control to what degree to keep it from being overbearing. Water splash motifs, geometric shapes, fun mirrors, funky tap designs and storage, will make the room feel a bit more grown up, whilst still keeping younger members happy too.



Practical Considerations & Storage
Nothing makes bath-time more fun than bath toys but they soon mount up. Bath-side storage, such as nets that attach to the tiles with suckers, allows them to get out and put toys away themselves. Other storage ideas that work well are, chrome corner units that allow toys and washcloths to dry off, or use a plain wooden storage box to keep on the floor. If you paint over it, you can then decorate it further by incorporating a motif from your theme.

A stylish, heated towel rail is an excellent feature to include in a kid's bathroom. Not only does it look good, it also offers much more room for drying off numerous towels in one go, than a conventional radiator.

Keep these practical considerations in mind, and along with your kid's bathroom ideas, theme, and imagination you will be able to create a child's bathroom with style.



Image Credits:
Multicolored room - http://www.flickr.com/photos/paperseed/5367794144/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Football storage - http://www.flickr.com/photos/49293152@N06/4625878281/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Top 10 Bathroom Themes and The Right One for You

Decorating a bathroom can be a tricky business because there is little wall space, or often little space at all, to play around with. It can also often be expensive. So whether you want to give you existing bathroom a makeover or you are creating your theme from scratch, here are the top 10 decorating themes to get your creative juices flowing.

Mediterranean/Tuscan 
Earth tones, cream colors and ornate
light fittings are the way to go
To add a touch of luxury and sophistication, you need look no further than the Mediterranean or Tuscan themed bathroom.
  • Use texture and tiles wherever you can, in earth tones and dark cream. Tiling up the side of the bath, makes it more a part of the room's scheme - as if it has been sunk into the room.
  • Accessories should be opulent gold features, including taps and other small bathroom fittings.
  • Flooring should be tiled. Usually large natural colors, but can employ the use of mosaic in the center of the room with a pattern, or to define the edges of the room.
  • Dark wooden units are used, in contrast to the lighter colored tiles.
  • Mirrors, glass and more ornate light fittings are used a lot in the way of accessories.
  

Coastal/Beachside 
Of all the bathroom themes this is the most relaxed. Open to interpretation, by either going the nautical route or the beach route or a combination of the two, is a style that suits the whole family and offers the opportunity to imprint a lot of personality onto the room.
Beachside wall murals
are irresistible
  • Either use natural beach theme colors to echo the ocean and sand, or use the nautical combination of red and relaxed denim blue, or navy blue.
  • Try creating your own mural, or paint small features directly onto the walls, such as lighthouses, shells or boats.
  • Make it a more surfy theme with a surfboard or body board hung on an open wall.
  • Use shells and pebbles around the bath, sinks, and on top of a toilet cistern.
  • Tongue and groove wood paneling around the room, up to about waist height, and paint it white, or sand it down to a rough bleached driftwood appearance.
  • Add small details like anchor light pulls, and rope door handles.
  • Use wall art and frame it in rustic, natural driftwood-type frames.

Ambient lighting and clear lines
epitomize a spa bathroom
Spa Style 
Luxury is the key word to keep in mind when trying to incorporate spa style into your bathroom theme. The atmosphere should be calm, and feel like a retreat - not a style for a family bathroom.
  • Colors are usually white, but can employ more neutral creams and beige, especially in the form of texture.
  • Use his and hers sinks if you have the space, and incorporate lighting around the mirrors above them.
  • A corner bath, sunken bath, or whirlpool bath are worthwhile investments when employing the spa style.
  • Apart from piles of white fluffy tiles that can be stacked anywhere and everywhere, storage should be hidden away, under sinks or in seagrass or rattan boxes.
  • Mood lighting is an important factor. Recessed hologen leds into the ceiling, floor, or bottom of units can be linked to a dimmer switch.
  • Use glass screens to distinguish areas, but keep the room open, and create a good flow.
  • Flooring should be polished tile or laminate.
  
French Classic  
The French classic style of decorating a bathroom is not for the feint hearted as it employs lots of pattern and detail, but not much in the way of color:
The French style needs black & white
decor and a feminine touch
  • The French classic theme does not employ a lot of clean lines - it is a style that embraces curves and femininity.
  • Vanity units are common in a French classic bathroom, so that the sink's workings are hidden away underneath.
  • Cabinets can be wall mounted or free standing and are usually painted. Try painting faux aged cabinets, to give a shabby chic distressed look.
  • The French classic theme relies on black and white together as a color scheme. This can be in the use of fabrics, wall tiles, or square floor tiles.
  • Toile fabric is heavily used in French classic decorating in the home, and in a bathroom would usually be in the black and white colorway, although blue and white can be happily used.
  • Add authenticity with an ornate mirror, and accessories in the black and white colorway.
 
English Victorian  
A roll top bath is a must
The English Victorian style is one of those bathroom themes that is epitomized in just a few easy elements:
  • A roll top, or stand alone bath is a must, with classic taps.
  • Sinks should be pedestal style, with lots of curves and detailing.
  • Flooring should be dark wood - or stained dark. For today's bathrooms then a laminate option would be better that can stand up to moisture.
  • Add details with authentic looking apothecary bottles, and a double sided shaving mirror.
  • Walls can either employ patterned wallpaper (hard to use in a bathroom because of moisture levels), or wood paneling. As this can often seem dark (as it was in Victorian times), it is perfectly acceptable to paint the paneling, or tongue and groove work, into a neutral color.
 
Cutting edge bathrooms have clean
lines and no clutter
Cutting Edge 
An uber trendy theme that is constantly changing. A perfect look for a singleton or couple. The look is pristine, clean lines, hidden storage, and square look to taps, baths, and sinks. The only room for curves is on the shower cubicle that can have a curved element to it.
  • Add very few touches of color in either bright pink, lime green, or a black and white combination.
  • Sinks and baths should always be white.
  • Tiles can be used in small areas, such as splashback areas around the bath and sinks but should be monotone. Usually polished ceramic look, but can employ mosaic style with small amount of texture.
  • Shower should be a large, or powerful one with lots of polished chrome elements or black, for contrast.
  • Use gadgets and neat little ideas to the max - for example a pull out floating unit from under the sink, hides away pipes and incorporates shelving for handy storage. This can be colored in contrast to the sink.
 
Moroccan 
The Moroccan themed bathroom is all about the tiles.
It's all about the tiles
  • Colors for walls in a Moroccan style room are usually dark sand/terracotta, and often on the floors. If you want a more muted tone of this, then employ stone tiles or matt laminate flooring in a warm cream shade.
  • Bathroom fittings such as taps should be gold or burnished copper, and employ curves or some form of detailing.
  • Sinks can either be very angular and appear floating on top of a unit, or a semi circular affair with added detailing around the edge - add your own detailing with mosaic tiles for a unique touch.
  • Tiles around the bath edge (top and bottom), the sink, and any other units should use mosaic size tiles in ornate patterns, or checks. Circles are a common element in tiling. These tiles can be in any color, but avoid overly bright ones used together. Blue and white around the edge is a good frame to a detailed pattern.
  • You can employ some exposed brick work, for a more authentic touch - try using a sponge to create faux brick painting.
  • Colored glass bottles are a great accessory, as are Morrocan style lanterns with tealights inside.
  
A country bathroom benefits
from wood paneling
Country  
The epitome of relaxed style, the country bathroom theme can be made more masculine, with the introduction of darker colors and country accessories, more feminine with checks and florals, or kept simple as a good all-rounder for a family bathroom.
  • Utilize whatever bath, shower or sink combo you currently have, and add dark wooden paneling or units to it. Tongue and groove paneling is a natural choice and can be stained with a dark oak wax, or painted white according to your needs.
  • Pattern in the form of checks and ginghams can be incorporated into details on towels, or as a small window dressing.
  • Accessorize with colored glassware and small country items like horseshoes, or wooden carvings.
  • Use wicker boxes and other natural products for your storage. A dark wicker chair in the corner makes a restful stop, or place to store towels.
  • Natural stone tiles or warm earth colored laminate is a good option for flooring.
  
Modern Family 
Storage is the most important thing
in a modern family bathroom
A modern family bathroom has to be practical, but that doesn't mean there's no room for style. It does mean that compromises have to made as this room has to be all things to all members of the family.
  • Storage is an important factor with the modern family themed bathroom, but it doesn't all have to be hidden away. More attractive bottles can be put out to display on glass shelves, towels neatly folded or rolled onto a metal shelf or wire rack also works well. The use of natural grass baskets also incorporates style and texture to the room as well as handy storage.
  • The use of two sinks, if you have room, will save a lot of arguments.
  • Clean lines for baths, again if you can incorporate storage with a pull out unit at the bottom of the bath then all the better.
  • The modern look this season is to hide away all pipework, sink uprights, toilet cisterns etc, this is a great look for a modern bathroom as it provides not only additional storage, but is a lot easier to clean too - a prime consideration for a busy family bathroom.
  • Add personality to the room with modern taps and fittings, recessed lighting, and the addition of a current color trend like zesty green or berry red.
  
Tropical  
A tropical bathroom is nothing without
color and plenty of plants
To create a true oasis of calm and opulence, embrace the tropical theme bathroom, where you feel like you're on vacation just taking a shower.
  • Bright colors can be used on the walls, or try and emulate tropical beach feeling using ocean blues, and exotic greens, teamed with sandy creams. Accent with pale green, brown and cinnamon.
  • Incorporate more color and authenticity with the addition of pot plants.
  • Use pebbles and shells either scattered around the edge of the bath or sink, or fixed in place with grouting as you would do with tiles.
  • The addition of a wet room instead of a separate shower unit, especially if you use a large shower head, replicates a waterfall, and keeps a good flow in the room's space.
  • Use curves to echo the waves on the beach.
  • Wooden accessories are a good contrast to the other textures in the room.
  
Whichever one of these bathroom themes you choose to use for your home, make it unique to you with finishing touches and accessories, or use a combination of a couple of styles for a truly unique bathing experience.
 
 

How to Decorate Your Home in True Colonial Style



Authentic Colonial Color 

Red paint color was the cheapest
paint around in the Colonial era
Colonial inspired homes should be decorated in earthy color tones, but the idea that the look is drab can be overcome by using several colors in one area.
  • White - Walls and ceilings were usually painted white, in order to make the small rooms of a colonial home, appear much larger.
  • Dark Brown - commonly used for furniture and small details to contrast against the white walls.
  • Ochre (dark yellow/beige)
  • Red - very popular color of colonial times as red paint was the cheapest - exterior front doors of colonial homes were usually painted in this color.
  • Forest Green
  • Black - usually used on exteriors, often on shutters.
  • Yellow
  

Walls & Floors 

The biggest way to create impact in any room is decorating the largest spaces in the room - the walls and floor.
  • Wallpaper was used but only in wealthy colonial homes. A more traditional approach of the time was to decorate walls with the use of stenciling. This often included fruit and flowers - designs inspired by nature were popular decorating ideas to use in the home.
  • Crown and dentil moldings were common features in colonial homes, to add decorative detail but were usually painted the same color as the rest of the walls, doors, and chair rails.
  • Flooring was pine wood and sparse, brightened by the addition of a braided rug, or painted canvas floor cloth.
  • All colonial inspired rooms should feature a chair rail on the walls - in colonial times these were used in a practical way to keep the paint from getting worn when chairs were pushed back against them.
  • Wooden wall paneling was often used in colonial homes, in addition to chair rails, which again was limed or left in its natural state. The wall paneling was used in quite a low position around the walls (about 1/4 the way up), to create the illusion of a larger room. Pine was most often used for this purpose.
  

Furniture & Big Details 

Dark wood and limed wood
were popular in Colonial times
Most colonial homes only had room or money for furniture that was purposeful.
  • Dark wooden chairs in a rustic style were commonly used and didn't have to match - they also featured little in the way of soft furnishings.
  • Detail was added to the wood, by the use of the liming process - a lime paste was added to the wood to protect it, but left behind a white detail on the pores and grain of the wood. You can recreate this by using homemade milk paint.
  • Furniture over all was rustic and practical.
  • A modern home decorated in the colonial inspired style, should be decorated to feature plenty of storage, as clutter wasn't acceptable in a colonial home. In colonial times this would have been wooden boxes, but as long as it's natural and practical, it will fit right in.

Finishing Touches 
Finishing touches make all the difference
It's the details that not only bring a look together, but also help to create an authentic colonial inspired style, to the home. Here are some "finishing off" decorating ideas:
  • Folk art images were widely used as smaller details in a colonial inspired home.
  • A handmade quilt should feature as a decoration in any bedroom that is inspired by colonial style.
  • Add internal wooden window shutters if you don't already have them. For true authenticity add leather straps to cover the hinges.
  • If you don't fancy the idea of internal shutters then use simple tab top curtains, hung from a dark wooden pole.
  • To add colonial style to your home's exterior, paint it white, with black shutters, and a bright red front door.
  • Use candle holders and wall sconces for candles - these can be wooden or wrought iron.
The colonial inspired home decorating ideas given above, should have given you enough ideas to transform the interior or exterior of any home into an authentic colonial retreat.
Image credits:
Exterior - http://www.flickr.com/photos/23295039@N02/2372983286/sizes/z/in/photostream/

How To Faux Paint Wood: DIY Techniques That Work

Painting faux wood is not as hard as you may think. There are several ways to achieve a faux wood finish, and there are three different techniques detailed here.

Choose Your Wood Type
Apart from mahogany, that is not really knotty, most wood appears the same when presented as furniture - the wood grain, and the knots of wood. The variable when creating a faux wood finish is obviously the color. The best way to achieve the desired look is to choose which wood you are going to try and emulate, and study the color in an existing piece of furniture. This does not have to be in your home; try a furniture store or a friends' house, and look at their furniture for some inspiration.


Getting Started
You will be looking at mixing up two different colors for your faux wood paint, a darker base coat, and a lighter top coat. When creating the paint mix, the type of paint does not really matter, as long as you have checked its suitability for the surface you are using. Using tester pots of regular emulsion paint is a good way to get started, or try some of the budget acrylic paints from the arts supply store. Play around with paint color mixes for your faux wood until you are happy.

If you are using MDF (medium-density fibreboard) as your faux wood painting surface, you need to prime it first. Paint dries too quickly on the porous surface of MDF, making it unsuitable for faux paint techniques, unless you use a special primer.



1. Sponge Technique
Apply the darker basecoat to your chosen surface, and allow it to dry completely. The lighter topcoat you are now ready to apply should be thick and gloopy. Now apply the topcoat with a brush and work quickly. If you find the topcoat is drying too quickly, then add a dash of vinegar to slow down the drying process. You can now either use a cheesecloth to run along the surface to create the faux wood grain, or use a dry, rough paintbrush to drag along the topcoat, wiggling the brush slightly as you go. Both methods leave sections of the basecoat exposed, and a good looking faux wood grain effect in its wake.

Using a small natural sponge, go over the still wet topcoat, twisting the sponge tightly on the surface to create the effect of knots in the wood.



2. Rocker Technique
A wood-graining rocker can be obtained from DIY stores, and is usually found with the paintbrushes. It is a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, and creates a very realistic and natural faux wood finish, when used correctly. Again, apply the darker basecoat and allow it to dry thoroughly. Apply the topcoat, and start your rocker at one end, working in lines (think planks of wood). Slide the rocker through the wet surface to create the faux wood grain. Stop and rock it slowly, at intervals, to create the knots, and keep going in one continuous line to the end. Wipe off any excess paint that has accumulated on your rocker before continuing.

When starting the next plank, the one adjacent to the one just completed, start with the rocker in a different position than the one used originally. You can vary the look from plank to plank, either working completely at random, or alternating on each row to give a more natural appearance.

If the finished appearance is a little stark in contrast, allow to dry a little, and work over any unnatural looking grains with a dry paintbrush to soften the look. Please note: the image used here is for visual reference and is not the result of faux wood painting.



3. Brush Technique
This technique is a little more involved in terms of paint mixing, but very easy to do, and produces a very natural look. It is only recommended if you require a faux mahogany wood finish, as the appearance is softer than for other woods.

Start with a basecoat of black, and allow to dry completely. The topcoat would ideally be a mix of bright red, dark orange, beige, and purple (an arts and crafts store identifies these colors as: cadmium red, burnt umber, raw umber, and dioxazine purple), mixed with a glaze. This can be a specialist paint glaze, or a mix of paint and vinegar (one part vinegar to six parts paint).

Paint the top coat on with a large, domed brush, leaving streaks of the black undercoat showing through. Keep the brush strokes going in the same direction to create the wood effect.

Using any of these faux wood paint techniques should leave you with a natural, and realistic faux wood finish to any item you set your brush to.