Fabulous Window Dressing

Expert Author Lindsey WatsonHow you treat your windows can have a great impact on your entire room so you should think carefully about the look you're wanting to achieve and also the practicality of the materials you are choosing. For example, although lace curtains may look very pretty in your bedroom, if you have very draughty old windows then you would be far better off choosing some thick lined curtains that will help keep the cold out better.

Roller blinds are very practical and they take up very little space so they are great for making small rooms look a little bigger. You can get some really great designs too, so if you want a pretty flowery blind, or a space theme blind for a kids bedroom, you should be able to find it. You can also get blackout blinds which cut out all the light. Perfect for a bedroom if you work shifts and need to sleep during the day, and also for kids rooms if you have trouble getting them off to sleep in summer when it is still light late at night. I know I have trouble convincing my kids it really is bedtime when it looks like the middle of the day outside at 7pm!

If you have a cold room, rich velvet curtains will look cosy and luxurious, and they'll also help keep the heat in the room. No matter how good your double glazing, some heat will escape through the window so good thick curtains will go some way to slowing down that heat loss. Make sure they are long enough to completely cover the window so stop any draughts getting into the room. Also when choosing curtains, consider the amount of light that is going to come through. A thin pale coloured curtain is going to let through more sunlight that dark thick curtains, so do bear this in mind if it's going to annoy you being woken up at dawn by the sun streaming in!

If you are overlooked then you may want some net curtains. They don't need to be the chintzy lace curtains your granny had in the 70's, there are lots of tasteful attractive alternatives available these days that will look good and give you some privacy.

Slatted blinds are very popular but be careful your room doesn't end up feeling like an office. Horizontal blinds work well in kitchens and bathrooms, vertical in office rooms and living spaces. The advantage of slatted blinds over roller blinds is that you can adjust the angle of the slats and therefore the amount of light that is let through.

Don't forget your window sills too. They can be as much a feature of the window as the curtains or blinds. Wood, or bright crisp white gloss paint will look clean and smart, but how about using bathroom wall tiles in a bright colour? This is especially useful in a kitchen or bathroom where wood can warp and is a great surface on which to grow plants on a kitchen windowsill.

A neglected window sill can look awful, so update yours with new Porcelain Tiles. Visit today for a wide range and unbeatable prices.

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Decorating Your Home for Romance

Expert Author Pamela JaffkeAs Valentine's Day approaches again this year, our hearts and minds turn to romance. The stores are filled with red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Valentine's Day balloons, and, of course, Valentine cards. Who doesn't want to spend a romantic evening on Valentine's Day? But why not let the romance last all year long? Here are some tips for creating a sanctuary in your home to which you can retreat at any time, feeling relaxed and in the mood for romance.

We'll get to the bedroom, but first let's take a look at the rest of your home. Harsh lighting isn't attractive or relaxing. Install some dimmers so that you can dim the lights to create different moods. Make sure that your rooms aren't lit solely by overhead lights. Add some soft lighting through the use of table lamps and wall sconces.

Keep some fresh flowers in your home. They'll smell wonderful and add color and beauty. If fresh flowers aren't possible all the time, supplement with some green plants and silk florals. Place them in your entry, your living room, dining room, and kitchen. Make sure that your home has a pleasant and welcoming scent. Use flowers, candles, potpourri, or essential oil warmers to add wonderful scents like vanilla, sandalwood, or citrus.

Now that your home is welcoming and comfortable, let's concentrate on the master bedroom. This is your private sanctuary - the place you go to escape from the stresses of the outside world. Create the place you love coming home to - the place you'd rather be than anywhere else.

Your bedroom should have soft, beautiful lighting. Bedside lamps should have 3-way switches, allowing you to read in bed, but also to create a romantic mood. I have a salt lamp in my bedroom that creates a soft, warm glow while also releasing negative ions which are known to be relaxing and healthful. Candles also provide beautiful lighting. Everyone looks better in candlelight. Have candles on decorative plates on both nightstands, and on dressers or tables in other areas of your bedroom. Light them all when you want to create a lovely, soft glow. Choose a relaxing scent like lavender to melt your stresses away. If real candles make you nervous, there are some wonderful battery-operated candles that create a soft glow very close to real candlelight. Add a touch of an essential oil to create a relaxing scent. Place mirrors in such a way that they reflect the softened light. Mirrors also reflect life energy and are a great way to create a warm, inviting feeling in your room.

Your bed should be extremely restful and comfortable. Don't skimp on your mattress. After all, you spend one-third of your life in bed. Your bed should have luxurious linens. I love down comforters and pillows. There's nothing like the feel of down. For those who are allergic, there are now wonderful synthetic downs. But don't overdo the pillows on the bed. Keep it simple and inviting.

In the bathroom, have some soft, plush towels, and maybe even his and hers robes. You'll feel like you're at a luxurious resort. Dim the lighting or add some candles around the tub.
Window treatments should be soft but functional. Have the ability to draw the draperies or close the shades to darken the room from street lights or harsh sunlight. Flowing fabrics on your windows create a soft, romantic feeling.

In keeping with a romantic feeling, if possible, hide the TV or remove it entirely from the bedroom. An attractive armoire can be closed when the TV is not in use. Keep a small music system in the bedroom, even if it's just an iPod and some speakers. Playing some beautiful, romantic music will be very relaxing.
Colors are important to consider because they affect us physically and emotionally. For the bedroom choose soft, warm colors. Soft blues and aquas are especially soothing. Try to avoid harsh, bright colors or reds, which are more energizing than relaxing. To create an overall soft glow in your room be sure to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. You'll be amazed how relaxing it feels.

Last, but not least, remove work materials from your bedroom. If at all possible do not put a desk in your bedroom. Use an extra bedroom as an office or have a small work area in your kitchen or den. Bringing work into the bedroom will change the energy from relaxing to stressful. Try to leave the stresses of the day outside of your bedroom.

Try some of these tips and see how much better you'll feel. You can create a private, romantic sanctuary in your own home. And for Valentine's Day, add some champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. Perfection!

If you're looking for home accessories that will create a soft, romantic feeling in your home, please visit our online home accessories boutique, Innovations Home Decor which features unique and beautiful lamps, candleholders, plants, artwork, and other stylish and romantic accent pieces. I've personally selected each and every piece. I hope you find something that makes you smile. Start with one room, and add your personality.

Pamela Jaffke has 25 years experience creating beautiful, functional interiors. She offers practical advice on how to create a home environment that reflects your lifestyle, your passions, and your personal taste on her Design Blog.

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A Touch of Romance for Your Bedroom Design

10 ways to make your sanctuary look its best this Valentine's Day

Whether you're planning on tucking in with your honey or good read, Valentine's Day is the perfect time of year to add a little zazazu to your bedroom. After all, it's cold outside, it's still getting dark early and the most important person the room needs to look inviting for is you. So take a careful look, clear a little clutter, add a few flowers and look at this list for a few more ideas to help your sanctuary look its best.

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