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Modern Kitchen Design for Contemporary Living

The kitchen is famously the heart of the home and we all know that, when it comes to party time, it’s definitely the only place to be. Therefore, it’s important that this pivotal space reflects the style you want to convey to friends and family; be that a rustic Arts & Crafts feel or Scandinavian Chic. In keeping with the current trend for kitchens with a contemporary finish, we’ve put together a list of five tips that will ensure your kitchen will be the most talked about, and in, of the party season:

1) Sophisticated Shelving

Keep the overall look sleek, with a minimum of ornamentation for a modern and uncluttered look. Cabinets should be flat-panelled and white, with simple or no handles. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards are also a great storage idea.

2) Modern Worktops

Kitchen work-surfaces are subject to heat and spills amongst other perils, so ensure that your choice in worktop is durable and easy to maintain, as well as being aesthetically appealing. In keeping with your modern theme why not choose a concrete, steel or glass worktop? Alternatively, consider granite as the definitive choice in hardwearing luxury.

3) Elegant Flooring

The key thing to remember when deciding on kitchen flooring is that it should be watertight, slip resistant, resilient, and easy to clean. Ditch the linoleum in favour of more stylish tile slabs (in porcelain, stone or ceramic); alternatively polished concrete is the ultimate in modern industrial chic and is sure to cause a stir amongst your friends.

4) Island Living

Kitchen furniture should be simple and stylish; utilising clean lines. If you are fortunate enough to have room for an island or breakfast bar in your kitchen, your choice in bar stools can accent the overall contemporary feel you are seeking to convey. Some great examples include: modern retro, contemporary classic or sleek and funky.

5) Dining à la mode

When settling on a kitchen set, opt for simple lines and colours; the contrast of chrome and treated wood makes for a winning combination and glass table-tops will add a definite up-to-date flavour. Decide whether the shape and size of your kitchen space would suit a rectangular, square or circular table-top and pour over the range of options we have on offer at Furniture Countrywide to give you some great ideas.

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Getting creative in the kitchen

The kitchen is not just where we prepare food, it’s a creative hub. It can serve as our study, the children’s extended play area, a place to elaborately wine and dine our friend’s, or just exchange gossip over coffee and a packet of chocolate digestives. In many ways, the feel of our kitchen is as important to us as the way that it functions. From eating, meeting, relaxing, work and play: today’s kitchen should be as adaptable as the multi-tasking approach that we extend into the rest of our lives. So, how can you maximise the multifunctional possibilities of your kitchen space? Check out our following five tips to see:

1. Lighting
Lighting is probably the simplest way to alter the mood of a space. Go for multiple light sources (for example, up-lighting, cabinet lighting and lamps, as well as ceiling lights). For maximum versatility, a dimmer switch can help to create instant ambience for a perfect dinner party setting!

2. Hooks, knife racks and pot racks
These are all great storage-saving devices that can free up desirable work-surfaces; so your kids can spread out their school books whilst you get on with preparing their dinner. In particular, pot racks can add a particularly stylish flourish to your kitchen’s overall presentation.

3. Surface space
Following on from our blog entry about space-saving kitchen sets, kitchen surfaces should be versatile enough to serve as food preparation, entertaining and study areas. Always remember that a single piece of furniture can serve multiple needs.

4. Wall shelving
Shelf space could play a key element when it comes to maximizing the multifunctional possibilities of your kitchen. For example, a series of corner shelves could be the perfect way to display your favourite recipe books, novels and coffee table books without taking up too much space: reflecting the idea that this is a room to learn and relax, as well as cook.

5. Sideboards and free-standing shelving
Choosing an overall presentation style in the kitchen can help dictate the way in which it functions as a space. If you are going for a relaxing ‘country’ atmosphere, why not use a sideboard to display ornaments or bric-a-brac that add to a homely, rustic feel. Take a look through some of our storage and solutions for more inspiration.

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Spring Cleaning: The Bedroom

As the crocuses begin to bloom, it’s time to emerge from your winter hibernation and prepare your home for the brighter coming months. Spring is traditionally a time for disposing of old and unused items, de-cluttering, organising, cleaning and giving your home a general makeover. We thought that we’d start you off with a few ideas for the bedroom.

Bedrooms are more than a space to just sleep in and should reflect your display and storage needs, as well as your personal style. We’ve got plenty of ideas to get you started.

Choose a bed that matches your style, storage and comfort needs
When it comes to choosing a bed there are plenty of considerations to factor in, most importantly your bed should be comfortable and supportive. Next decide on a style of bed: a storage bed is a fantastic choice when space it as a premium. If watching tv in bed is your favourite indulgence, this can even be factored in too!

Bedside and dressing tables
Bedside and dressing tables can create a useful surface on which to place lights, clocks, books and photos, as well as providing extra storage space below. However, don’t forget that a simple and uncluttered bedside table can instil both a wonderful sense of calm within the room as well as a stylish, modern touch. A well-chosen dressing table can provide a valuable space to get ready for glamorous nights out, as well as adding a hint of luxury to your bedroom décor.

Book-cases are great for providing up-top display space and spaces to store paperwork, books and more below. A good display tip is to store your books by size and subject; alternating between standing books horizontally and vertically will relieve the monotony of rows.

Mirrors are great device to add both a touch of glamour and create a sense of space in your bedroom. Reflecting outside views can make a space feel larger and leaning a tall mirror against a wall can create a real sense of depth. Whilst a decoratively framed mirror can add a touch of antique-chic to your bedroom, a simple frame adds a cleaner, modern feel.

If you are fortunate enough to have big windows in your bedroom you can turn them into a feature by using flowing curtains and layering the window with blinds too. Window seats are great for keeping clothes and extra bedding under.

Whether you have a walk-in wardrobe or opt for free-standing one, a great tip is to organize clothes by colour to locate items fast. Use a single style of hanger for a more streamlined look and use baskets to create extra storage at the base of your wardrobe. A wardrobe with a fitted mirror can also be a great way to create the optical illusion of more space.

A beautiful piece of framed artwork can really help to set the mood of your bedroom. Prints and posters are readily and cheaply available on the internet, from the great masters to more contemporary artists. Vinyl wall decals are also another great way to add a decorative element to your room: we found some good examples on Pinterest.

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Spring Cleaning: The Living Room

We recently gave you some hot tips for giving your bedroom a spring makeover and now it’s time to turn our attention to the living room. Spring is a great time to motivate yourself to re-design your living space and get rid of your unwanted clutter. When it comes to interior design you don’t have to take the minimal approach, but you should think about organising your space in a way that suits your practical needs, as well as your aesthetic aspirations. If you don’t want to go to the time or expense of a dramatic overhaul, we’ve put together a few simple ideas that could make a big difference.

Coffee table
A coffee table perfectly proportioned to your sofa can act as an ideal focus point for your living room. In keeping with the springtime theme, think about placing a vase of blossoms or a bowl of fruit on your table top. A selection of brightly coloured coffee table books also makes a great finishing touch.

Create a display of your favourite collectibles using a stylish piece of furniture, such as a console table, or some shelving. Have some fun by taking the approach of a museum curator and think about how the colours and forms within your display may compliment each other. You could really go to town with this idea and we found some fabulous example on this website!

Patterned wallpaper can really break up the monotony of a room and add a much-needed splash of colour. If the thought of wallpapering makes you shudder (at the recollection of messy, prior attempts), you may be interested to know about stick and peel wallpaper. Yes, for the commitment phobes amongst you, removable wallpaper now exists! You don’t even have to re-decorate the entire room: a simple accent wall can give the space a pleasing lift.

Nest of tables
A nest of tables can provide both a practical and stylish addition to your living room. In fact, once you have your own, you’ll probably wonder how you ever managed to do without one of these handy, space-saving products. Perfectly designed to come to your rescue when you need somewhere to pop down your cup of tea or newspaper and, when you no longer need the spare surface, you can neatly tuck your tables away.

You can liven up the whole feel of your living room cheaply and easily with some well-chosen finishing touches. Brightly coloured vases, cushions, rugs and throws can make a real difference to the feel of your room, as well as bringing some spring cheer indoors.

Signature piece
A signature piece is a worthwhile investment that can really set off the mood of your room. Choose an item that you absolutely love and feel expresses your personal style, be that a chic easy chair, an antique-style sofa or a classic recliner. Plus, in treating yourself to an item of luxury seating, what better way to relax and admire the results of your spring makeover?

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Spring Makeover: The Dining Room

In the final instalment of our spring makeover series, we want to share some ideas that might help to inject your dining room with a seasonally fresh look. As formal dining has become a less prominent feature of our busy contemporary lifestyles, you would be forgiven if this area of your house has become something of an unofficial storage space. In fact, whilst the dining room was traditionally set aside for eating and entertainment, in reality, for many of us it has become a makeshift home-office, children’s play area or general dumping ground for paperwork, magazines and redundant household technology. In line with our previous suggestions we offer some simple tips for de-cluttering and re-organising, as well as bringing some colourful cheer into your dining room space.

If you find that your dining room is being utilised as a much needed storage area, work this factor into your overall design. A sideboard is a classic piece of dining room furniture that can help you to systematise anything from your plates and table cloths, to your children’s art supplies. There are plenty of types and styles to choose from, examples range from a sleek, contemporary unit to a more traditional feeling dresser (that can also double-up as a display unit).

Dining room table
When it comes to choosing the perfect dining room table, think about how it best fits into your lifestyle and practical needs. If the table is more likely to be used for the occasional brunch for two, you might think about a stylish drop leaf table; if entertaining the family for a formal Sunday lunch is part of your weekly routine, a dining set that makes a statement could become an important and memorable part of the occasion.

Dining room chairs
The type and style of chairs that you opt for can be an important consideration to the overall look of your room. If you intend to use your dining room space in a multi-functional way, it makes sense to have chairs that can be easily stored; in contrast, if you want the space to be more dramatic in feel then your chairs should also reflect this decision. A bench is a great way to give your dining room a casual but stylish Scandinivian feel.

TOP TIP: Choosing white or light furniture can help to give your space a fresh lift and a more spacious feel.

Table Linens
To give your dining room a sunnier feel, exchange your heavy-draped winter tablecloth for one that is lighter and brighter in colour; the same goes for tablemats and napkins. A table runner is a great way to enhance table settings and create a “finished” look. In keeping with the theme of the season, gain inspiration from some of the beautiful floral linen designs that we discovered on Pinterest.

What could be a finer way to celebrate spring than to gather your favourite blossoms and turn them into a tabletop feature? Artist and florist, Dr Lisa Cooper, shares her own enthusiasm for this idea: “The first flush of the roses are the best that you will see all year, the rhododendrons draw out the homebodies to far away gardens to awe. The blossom will make you mad with delight, there are lupin, macrocarpa, tulips, gladioli, poppies, ranunculas, sweet pea, hyacinth, iris, blushing brides, flannel flowers, wattle, jonquils, calendula, local carnations, delphinium, forget- me-nots. It is glorious madness!”

Non-floral spring table décor
If hay fever is likely to leave you in fit of sneezes at the thought of our last tip, fear not: there are plenty of other ways to create a striking tabletop feature, without a sneeze in earshot. Why not, for example, consider a dramatic candelabra, a cheerful bowl of fruit or a glass bowl full of water and floating candles. An elegant vase displaying handpicked twigs can also make a unique, seasonal centerpiece for your table.

Lick of paint
If you have the time and inclination it might be worth thinking about repainting the whole room for an exciting change.

“The mood and ambience of an interior space can be changed quite dramatically, especially when all it takes is a coat of paint. I recently had my apartment here in NY painted back to a very soft white grey for the summer months. It was a welcome change to refresh not only my space, but also my outlook on life.”

However you decide to approach your spring-cleaning this year, we hope that we have given you some helpful inspiration!

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Ttips for creating a pleasant and attractive sitting area

The sitting room is the only room in your house that is, in most cases, dedicated solely to leisure and it should therefore be both relaxing and elegant.

In many period houses the fireplace acts as a strong focal point for the living room, this should be made the most of as sitting areas benefit greatly from focal points. A functional fireplace is a real selling point, whether you have a country property with a log fire or a town house with an imitation coal-effect gas fire.

A fireless fireplace should also be made the most of, do not leave it lifeless, with some decorative pine cones or tasteful lighting it can become a real focal point. After all, in this day and age many fireplaces act only as a decorative piece anyway, rarely or never used for their original function.

With regard to the furnishing of the sitting area, you would ideally want the room to be kitted out with smart, modern, fabric upholstered items, but do not worry if this sounds impractical or unaffordable because there are plenty of low cost tricks that can help you to revamp or disguise old furniture.

The mantelpiece

Over the years your mantelpiece can collect an awful lot of clutter and although everything on your mantelpiece may have a special significance to you, potential buyers are not going to be impressed with some discoloured trophy or your 7 year old sons cracked clay model. By all means carefully store them away until you move but do not leave them on show, display only a few choice objects such as candles (tall ones often work best), a stylish collection of vases or a nice clock.

The focal point

Focal points are welcoming and give the room structure and a natural centrepiece. Fireplaces can be a really impressive focal point if given a little care and attention, any existing fireplace should be restored as this can really revamp your living area and if it is working, do the job properly and get the chimney swept.

If you have got that type of old-fashioned gas fire that reminds you of your grandma then remove it straight away, replacing it with a coal-effect fire in a traditional grate. If your fireplace has been blocked up, do not be tempted to leave it like that, simply unblock it, erect a simple shelf and insert a grate into the opened up space.

Decorating a non-functioning fireplace with a pile of logs, some pine cones, fairy lights or candles can be extremely effective and attractive. It matters more that your fireplace is aesthetically pleasing than functional, the radiator should do a good enough job of keeping the room warm and cosy for your viewers.


If your seating is falling apart or beyond repair it may be worth putting it into storage or simply throwing it out and hiring nice modern furniture for the benefit of your viewers. This is not usually necessary though as tired old sofas and chairs can more often that not be hidden and given a face lift by some inexpensive throws and some decorative cushions. Alternatively you could get them professionally recovered by a specialist.

If you are considering buying a new suite for your new house anyway think about buying it now, making your current place look nice for potential buyers, and then taking the new suite with you.

Furniture arrangement

Too many chairs can make the room look busy, unstructured and unsettling. The traditional lounge suite of a sofa and two chairs is often too much for the modern living room, two sofas work better and so you should consider storing away any excess chairs and possibly investing in a new sofa from a chain store or hiring one. The addition of a low table, around which the furniture can be arranged, will give the room a coherent look.

The television

There is no getting away from the fact that, however sophisticated you are, the television is going to be an important part of your living room. The key though is that it should not be seen as dominating or as the only important part of your living room. It is not necessary to hide your television away but it is worth remembering that the television should compliment the room, not the other way round. It is a sitting area, not a cinema.

The curtains

Simple, light coloured curtains or some roman blinds will open up a room and prevent it from appearing gloomy. This can work to your advantage especially if you are selling in the summer.

The lighting

The key to lighting a sitting area successfully is variation. A single, central pendant light will not suffice as it may do in other areas of the house. Wall and table lamps give your living room a much softer, cosier dimension and can be utilised greatly to your advantage if you are having any evening viewings.

The flooring

Getting your carpets cleaned professionally can be less expensive than you think, if not, you can shampoo them yourselves but either way a dirty carpet can be really off putting for a potential buyer. Once they have associated your house with dirt it can be a hard association to ignore or see past, especially if it is subconscious. Ripping a carpet out that is past its best and cleaning up and sanding the floorboards beneath it is a better option than leaving it in, this way the buyer will see a blank canvas that can be easily altered to their taste.

A dining area

Finally, if there is no separate dining room or clear eating area in your kitchen, you may have to create a well-defined dining area in your sitting room.

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Tips for a Bedroom

The bedroom is likely to be the biggest single room in house. Everyone will want an area where they can see themselves enjoying their downtime in comfort and peace.

The focal point of any bedroom should be the bed, so pile it high with cushions and pillows to create a soft and inviting environment.

The next priority is storage. Built in cupboards and wardrobes are a big plus as they free up space elsewhere in the room for other furniture and walkways. Those not fortunate enough to have built in storage can make the most of old wardrobes simply with a coat of eggshell paint. This is an easy and cheap way to rejuvenate your old furniture.

Here are some more simple tips for a Bedroom:

  1. Double bed
    Try to have a double bed in the room. Do not place the long side of the bed against a wall. A bed should have three sides of access, otherwise it will feel claustrophobic and it will be difficult to make the bed. If the view from the window is good then have the bed facing towards that window and exploit nature’s gifts.
  2. Bedside tables
    Bedside tables are essential in a well presented bedroom but be careful not to clutter them up. Take any cups or glasses down to the kitchen, wipe away any grimy marks and just furnish with a lamp, book or even a treasured personal belonging to give the room a friendly and inviting atmosphere.
  3. Books and bedside lights
    Talking of books, lots of people love to read in bed so reading lights or bedside lights are very popular. Those with switches operated from the bed are especially attractive.
  4. The space underneath your bed
    Staying with storage, utilise the space underneath your bed. Cheap plastic storage containers are great to hide clutter in.
  5. Flooring
    Flooring is an area not to be overlooked. If your carpet has seen better days then do not be afraid to discard it if there are decent floorboards underneath.
  6. Colours
    Use off-whites, creams and pale yellows
  7. Hang a few mirrors and pictures
    Always hang a few mirrors and pictures, or you run the risk of the room looking cold and lifeless. A suitable picture will compliment the décor and mirrors will fill the room with light and give the impression of more space.
  8. Bed linen
    Avoid bright bed linen. Instead try white linen, it brings a clean, fresh image to the room. Luxurious cushions are a nice touch and add a bit of style to the layout.
  9. Chandelier
    When looking for a light fitting, try something elegant. A basic chandelier is a great addition. Or maybe choose an up-lighter, it can take the focus away from the ugly bulb or ideally will hide it completely.
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Tips for a desirable bathroom

A large bathroom with all the trimmings is obviously ideal. A large free-standing bath and a separate shower unit with a wet room floor and huge shower head are of course extremely desirable. You can, however, make a big impression with a small bathroom with the most basic of suites as long as it is kept clean, bright and airy.

Do not worry that your bathroom looks nothing like those in the magazines with the marble floor, the sink that looks like a bowl resting on a wooden shelf and the cistern built into the wall, as long as you have the basics, some determination and a free weekend, you should be able to turn your bathroom into a place where a potential buyer can imagine themselves having a long relaxing soak as they recover from the stresses that come with moving in to a new place.

It must be spotlessly clean and shiny

Almost any bathroom can be transformed by a few of hours of hard scrubbing and cleaning. Any grime and limescale should be removed from around the taps and fittings, resealing may be necessary if the sealant has rotted. A new tube of sealant can be picked up from around £6 from any DIY store, and if applied carefully can make an incredible difference. Cleaning the grouting between tiles is another thing that will instantly make your bathroom look nicer. Also touching it up with a grout pen is relatively cheap, easy and very effective; again, grout pens are available for a few pounds at any good DIY store. Finally, polish any mirrors or fixtures and fittings to a high shine.

The bathroom suite

White bathroom suites generally look the best; you should look to replace a coloured bathroom suite if it looks tired. People tend not to realise how cheaply you can get a basic new bathroom suite for, they retail for as cheap as £200 at certain DIY stores and will almost certainly pay for itself in terms of the value it will add, especially if you are able to fit it yourself.

You may only need to replace the bath panel; these come in a few different styles, wood or plastic, and are in standard sizes, readily available for collection from most DIY stores.

Bathrooms with separate shower cubicles or wet rooms are very popular but a shower attachment on the bath is a good alternative.

Modern Bathroom

Modern Bathroom

Make sure if you do have a shower in your bath that you have a nice new shower curtain with a plain design, or better still, the more expensive option of installing a glass shower panel at the side of the bath can make a difference.

If you have a cast-iron bath that has seen better days it may well be worth getting the enamel replaced as opposed to replacing the bath for a cheaper alternative.

The tiling

If your suite is in good condition consider replacing the tiling, especially if you have a coloured suite and you feel the old matching coloured tiles are making your bathroom look dated. In this case think about using a plain white tile which can simply be fixed on top of the old tile in many cases.


Standard radiators are simply not fashionable or aesthetically pleasing, so replacing your radiator with a smart chrome towel rail may well make a big impression on the potential buyers and you can pick them up for around £60.

Towels, toiletries and appearance

Investing in some nice white fluffy towels and bath mats will give your bathroom a glamorous feel. Also, clear away any budget shampoo, near empty toothpaste tubes, battered toothbrushes and all other unappealing clutter, replacing them with fresh new stock and a few select top-of-the-range toiletries for display.

Rip up the carpet!

Carpets do not work in bathrooms. They get damp, discoloured, smell, rot and generally look tatty. Either seal the gaps on the floorboards beneath the carpet and paint them, or replace it with cork or vinyl.

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Summer Colours

Nature Inspired Colours for Home Interiors

The natural world is full of complex colour palettes and textures: the bright, soft green of leaves against a rough dark brown bark; a sprig of pink flowers growing amid grey and white rocks. Use nature as a starting point to plan out the perfect colour palette for any room in the house and you could see the value and comfort of your home increase significantly.

Winter Colours

Winter colours

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In colder climates, the winter season means the arrival of white snow, barren dark brown tree trunks, and crisp bluish ice. Channel these winter colors into a chic, high-contrast look for a living room, bathroom, or bedroom.
Grey: use this versatile neutral for wall colour, window treatments, or textiles. Combine with white to create a brighter space, or use several shades of grey to add depth.
White: add some pop to a grey or blue room with crisp white woodwork. White bedding, area rug, or window treatments provide contrast for a grey or blue wall colour.
Light blue: a classic neutral, light blue offers a versatile backdrop that is more interesting and relaxing than plain white. Brighten a space with cool blue walls and silvery blue textiles.
Dark brown: a rich chocolate brown will offset the cool blues, whites, and the grey of a wintry room. Try adding dark brown with throw pillows, a sofa slipcover, footstool, or bedding.
Autumn Colors
The vibrant, colourful palette of the autumn season offers bright reds, oranges, and a myriad of brown shades from which to choose. A combination of these colours is perfect to create a cozy den, home office, or family room.
Dark brown: this rich colour is ideal for a neutral to help balance a space with a large amount of colour. Use for woodwork, floors, or furniture to ground the room and add an earthy element.
Khaki/natural: like dark brown, a light khaki or “natural” off-white can act as a canvas for more colourful textiles and accessories.
Dark red: a deep red provides eye-popping colour against a brown wall or furniture colour. Use red for accents like throw pillows, plant holders, and other decorative accessories, or go bold with a dark red accent wall.
Burnt orange: a dulled, brownish orange will provide an effect similar to dark red in a foliage-inspired room.
Mustard yellow: try this flattering tone on an accent wall, in textiles, or plant holders.

Spring Colours

Spring Colours

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Channel a lively, colourful flower garden with this springtime palette for a living room or sunroom.
Grass green: use this bright colour, or tone it down to a soft kelly or lime, and use for throw pillows, couch cushions, or to brighten mismatched or plain coffee and end tables.
Yellow: add eye-popping colour with a cheerful yellow. A yellow area rug creates a lively focal point in a room, while a few yellow accessories keep a space fun and funky.
Khaki/natural: a creamy off-white provides the perfect neutral to offset an array of springtime colours.
Pink/magenta: to break up a citrus-y green and yellow room, add a few magenta accessories. The jewel tones will depth and visual interest to a sunshiny space.

Summer Colours

Summer Colours

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A summertime by the seaside evokes a lovely, calming palette of greens, blues, and other cool tones. Use these relaxing shades to liven up a bedroom, bathroom, or living room.

Khaki/natural: just as a sandy beach provides the ideal backdrop for watery blues and greens, so does a light neutral brown for a living space. Put this colour on the walls, on the floor, or bring in this light neutral with pine or birch furniture.
Light blue: try this cool blue on the walls or with textiles like bedding or accent pillows.
Teal: a deep blue-green provides intriguing contrast to the other light neutrals in this seaside color palette. Work in through accent pillows, a collection of decorative bottles or vases, or for a bold look, try spray-painting accessories like candlesticks or bookends.
Bottle green: capture the look of ocean glass by incorporating rich bottle greens. Pair green bottles and glass vases with teal accessories; display on a windowsill or use to break up a packed bookcase.
These color palettes offer relaxing and lively combinations inspired by nature. Use these palette ideas to add depth and visual interest with color.

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Interior Design

Whether you have been neglecting the interior of your home for a few years, or you have inherited some less than tasteful décor from the previous occupier of your new home, a facelift would make your home a much more pleasant place to live, as well as adding substantial value to your potential resale figure.

It is important then to get your décor right, especially if you have the potentially brilliant opportunity of starting from scratch, so considering the possibility of hiring an interior designer to help you make the most of your home can be a very wise and fruitful decision.

In essence, an interior designer is a trained professional who will plan and supervise the decoration and furnishings of the interior of your home, office, outside living space, or any other space for that matter.

Options range from the full consultancy and project management package, where they do everything from hiring the plumber and sourcing materials to positioning your television at the right angle, to a self explanatory design-only service.

Why not do it yourself?

It would be incorrect and grossly unfair to suggest that this is something that you categorically cannot do yourself. Some people have a natural flair for design and instinctively know what will look good.

But, if like most people you struggle to envisage things unless they are laid out in front of you, or your taste and ideas seem only to please you whilst those around you wince, then you would probably be better off enlisting the services of somebody with the skill and experience to get your home looking like one of those featured on the telly!

As well as the ability required to get the best out of a home, there is also the stress factor of doing up your home. It is a lot of work and requires a huge amount of patience, time and effort if you are to do it yourself.


A good designer will welcome your initiative so do some research into things you like, have magazine cut-outs of rooms or colour schemes that you like ready to show your designer, and do not be afraid to select certain pieces of furniture that you would really like to be implemented into your design. This will save the designer time, and you money.

Do not be alarmed if the designer is seemingly rather intrusive. A good designer will want to know things about you and your family so that they can please you specifically and give you a unique end result with a personalised touch.

During the project

Throughout the course of the project you should meet regularly with your designer to ensure that everything is being done to your taste and to prevent the designer going down a route that is not to your taste before it is too late.

It is of paramount importance, if you are to keep costs at a minimum and results to a maximum, that you regularly converse with your designer and highlight any concerns as soon as possible so the necessary adjustments can be made.

The best piece of advice is to be as actively involved as your obligations will allow, although the designer is the professional it is not the case that you should just sit back and let them get on with it.

It is important that you listen to what your designer has to say, they are the expert after all. However, if you work as a team, you will get the best results.

Any problems?

The majority of designers will be extremely keen to leave you with a project that you are pleased with. But, things can go wrong. The most common things to go wrong involve misunderstandings with regard to costs and the design itself.

Most of these problems can be avoided with regular meetings and a good working relationship with your designer. However, if you feel that there is a serious problem with regard to negligence that cannot be resolved privately, you can ask BIID to put you in touch with a mediation service, or contact your solicitor for further advice.

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