Converting a cold, sterile house into a warm and inviting home is something that can often be achieved with a minimum of expense and effort. A home should reflect the personalities of its inhabitants and should also make everyone – both residents and guests alike – feel at ease.

Heating

A cold house is an uninviting house and no matter how beautiful the décor, if the space is cold no one will want to spend much time in it. Virtually all modern homes are fitted with central heating, and some more traditional German homes feature beautifully ornamented porcelain stoves that are not only attractive but also functional in that they provide additional heating. In the US and Canada, many individuals have installed wood-burning stoves in their homes; a wood-burning stove is guaranteed to act as the focal point of any room it is in and, if used according to the manufacturer’s directions, will provide a cost effective supplement to any central heating system. For those who don’t want to go to the trouble of getting wood or the extra cleaning a wood-burning stove will require there are many excellent quality gas and electric stoves on the market which will serve much the same purpose.

wood-burning-stove

Color

Choosing the right colors for the individual rooms in a home is vital. Most rooms benefit from the use of brighter colors including whites, yellows, and reds. Of course other, darker colors can also be used, but when choosing darker shades it is vital to ensure that the room’s lighting complements the color scheme.

A great way to give a room more of a personality is with the use of decorative items on the walls. Some families mount their photographs on the walls, while others will invest in artwork; provided that the picture is framed well, even a second-hand print can provide the perfect color supplement to a room. Another way to add a splash of color to a room is to hang a small, brightly colored rug on a feature wall; this works very well in rooms where the predominant color is white.

Books and Furniture

A bookshelf can add character to a room and, as long as it is kept tidy, will enhance almost any space in the home. Shelves are also useful for holding ornaments and other decorative objects; a simple vase of flowers placed on a shelf will help make a room look beautiful and alive, as long as the flowers are regularly changed. Houseplants can also help to provide character to a room, but they will need to be maintained and cared for.

The main features of any room that is used for relaxation are the sofas and chairs. Leather sofas are both beautiful and comfortable and can be livened up with some colorful cushions and throws. Sofas and chairs are relatively easy to move around should you wish to change the design of the room. Some people choose place their sofas by a fireplace, while others prefer to have them placed by the window. In the end, it is all a matter of personal choice.

bookshelves-window-seat

Lighting

One of the easiest ways to improve the look and feel of a room is to make sure that the lights provide a soft glow rather than the harsh glare, such as one would get from an overhead fluorescent tube. A dimmer switch, which allows complete control of the amount of light, is an excellent idea in more intimate areas such as bedrooms or the living room, and table lamps with energy efficient light bulbs and attractive lampshades can totally change the feel of almost any room. Paintings and ornaments can be highlighted with individual picture lights, which will help to provide a relaxing atmosphere.

What tricks have you learned to bring your home to life? We’re going to be needing lots of tips since this is the first time we’ve really had a chance to focus on decorating at one of our homes!

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