A home is your little private kingdom, offering you all the freedom in your private space. Undeniably, we all long to be home after a busy day. But none would like to see a chaotic home that only adds to the clutter lying inside the mind. The desire to retire to a relaxing and welcoming home is so human. But the walls and roofs alone do not make a home and while homeowners often spend a fortune on these, a beautiful home takes great planning, creativity and perseverance.
Also, it is important to note that money alone may not help as you also need to factor in your needs, the space available and personal likes before you can create your own, special place. Home décor, as an art, reflects personal tastes and goes beyond just furnishings.
Read on to find what all you can do to have a dream home décor along with the appliances without burning a big hole in your pockets:
Essentially,home decorations are an extension of individual personality. Though there is a plethora of items for you to choose from, it would be better to get to the drawing board first and plan the stuff.
Choosing just the perfect decoration items can at once make a home so pleasant. Zeroing in on a theme and choosing items that fit in perfectly is all that you need for the trick. Colors, carpets, cushions, drapes, statues and sculptures and plants – each one has a role to play here.
Play with Colors
Remember, home is where you’re going to spend most of your life. Everyone loves bright, cheerful colors which cheer up your mood.
Notwithstanding the dreary winter cold outside, create your own sunshine with bright reds or oranges. Choose bold prints and designs to inject a new life into the cold walls.
Add Some Light
Though some people associate natural light with intrusion into their private space, having natural sunshine to illuminate your drawing room is a great energy saving and health-promoting idea. You may have the windows fogged or filmed on one side to avoid any unwanted attention from sneakers.
As for the places where sunshine doesn’t reach, have plenty of lighting. You need multiple levels and intensities of lighting at different places to ensure optimal lighting. Being able to control each layer of lighting is essential and for this, dimmers are needed. In the dining room, having a chandelier with shaded bulbs is enough as the bare ones emit an unwelcome light.
Bedrooms require soft lighting with a table lamp by the bedside. If your bedroom has a small reading area, you’ll need a reading light there, but if you are fond of reading in bed, it would make sense to have sconces above your head. This concentrates the lighting to create a smaller light area, so as not to disturb others. And remember, dimmers are important here, too.
The “Heart” of Your Home
The kitchen is rightfully called the heat of a home, as it binds together all by being the factory of many a savory dish. Having a safe and ergonomic kitchen that pleases both the eyes and the palate is every homemaker’s dream.
Functionality is the key here as a homemaker has to spend a lot of time here. Besides the usual meals, you have teas and mid-day snacks. Making them extracts a heavy price as it requires you to walk, bend, kneel and stretch, too.
Ergonomics assesses every element to optimize your movements and minimize the resulting body stress while doing the kitchen work.
Getting It In Order
You can optimize your functionality by having a counter surface next to the fridge. Having it away from kitchen means you leave its door open for long, which affects its cooling. Put away your dishes, plates, glasses and containers in the main storage area. As for the sink, your cleaning solutions need to be easily accessible, helping you save the unwanted bother.
Food preparation can be fun if all your stuff – utensils, chopping blocks, oils and spices are well-organized here. The cooking area must have a cooktop, hood and enough space for utensils, pans and pots, which may be stored under it. Go in for a fingerprint-resistant sink which doesn’t get messed with kids’ fingers.
Play with colors to make your kitchen appealing. Though the whites look great and appeal to a great many as they create many possibilities for decorating them, they can be bothersome in a home with young children. They can get soiled easily and require high maintenance. Instead, experiment with hues of different shades to know which one suits you and color-coordinate with the rest of the stuff.
As for the lighting, having recessed lighting in the ceiling, task lighting in areas of food preparation and a chandelier hanging over the dining table can do the job perfectly well. It would be prudent to invest in lights to illuminate this area, too.
Lighting And Colors For The Kids
Children love colors –a lot of them. So brighten up their bedroom with colorful furniture with those cartoon characters.
A novel idea would be to paint one of the walls here with blackboard paint as kids love to work on them with chalks, boosting their creativity. Have plenty of lighting overall, with a provision for good night-time dim lights.
Washing It All Away
The bathroom is one of the more neglected areas in a home. To many, it appears quite congested irrespective of its area.
Here’s how you can make it the kind of space you want:
1. Given the limited floor space here, you need to create more space with wall-hanging stuff like cabinets and hooks. Put away less frequently used stuff there.
2. Ensure bright lighting here to cheer up the mood.
3. If you have the space, have a separate toilet so that the joint one does not get blocked. Or, you can have an intelligent seat which cleans the bathroom and deodorizes it of unwanted smell.
4. Simply put away the tub in case you don’t need it.
5. Try having a shower seat for a better bathroom experience.
6. For added comfort, you may consider heated floors, which can be mood-boosting in a real sense.
Equipping Your Home
So now the basic job is done, but still, running a home efficiently and smoothly requires many gadgets too. These will help a homemaker accomplish routine household functions like food preparation, cleaning and food preservation.
With domestic help becoming prohibitive in terms of affordability, it’s a DIY culture out there, necessitating the use of domestic appliances to save time, bother and money.
One just cannot imagine a modern home sans appliances, which can be grouped into:
1. White goods (major household gadgets)
2. Smaller gadgets
3. Consumer electronics gadgets
It cuts a broad swath here, covering nearly every device for domestic use, including light bulbs, stoves, toasters, air conditioners, fridges, dishwashers and consumer electronics items. With the advent of better technology, there’s more coming now. We see increasing networking of home appliances with coupled functions and controls for better energy distribution, sharing load features, and synchronicity.
So much so that we have an Internet-enabled appliances too, which enable remote control, automation and better functionality. Notwithstanding their mind blowing variety and the comfort and time savings they can bring, you need to be prudent in terms of selection, use and maintenance to get the most out of them.
Buying Home Comfort
Investing in a home appliance, like other big buys, needs good research, which takes into account many factors like your unique needs, lifestyle and the budget. A good way to start, especially when looking for sensitive items such as ice makers, is to check out some great portable ice maker reviews out there.
The following are also some tips you might follow for a hassle-free buying experience.
1. Do Your Maths
So you almost fell for the latest, hi-tech sound system on your shopping spree last week. But before taking the plunge, set a limit on what you want to spend. With a budget in place, you can eliminate many choices straightway and take more pragmatic buy decisions instead of buying recklessly.
2. List It Down
Make a list of all the features you want – essential, desirable and no-no. It will help you stick to the stuff needed, thereby saving you some extra dollars. Obviously, with such a list in hand, ruling out the improbable and focusing on the desirable becomes that much easier.
3. Ask Around
Blind dates may be your game, but blind shopping can get very expensive. Therefore, before swiping the card, you need to have done all your homework – look for competing brands to find the best value for money and look up the newspaper ads for factory seconds or hardly used items, which can be yours for a fraction of their price. Also make a comparison of their warranties.
4. Check Testimonials
For testimonials to be more reliable, you would require a flesh and blood recommendation. The more, the better here as online reviews may be doubtful guides. Ask around if any of your friends has had any experience with the product and its pros and cons before you make up your mind.
5. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
Buying an item simply because it goes well with your home décor is a blunder. Getting a color of choice is fine if you like a brand, but remember that appliances are supposed to be functional items. You certainly would not like to call in a technician every other day to fix your oven or AC. Better buy something which works well, besides looking good, too.
6. Factor In Servicing Needs
Do not buy any appliance without requesting for the names and mobile numbers of those who can service it, in case of need. The service standards usually have a huge variation in terms of brands and your physical location. Lesser known brands typically present a problem with their after-sales service. So do have a check on the service record, as several brands are not exactly known for great after-sales service.
7. Regular Maintenance
Durability and reliability are key to buying home appliances, but ensuring them takes a bit of pain. If you are really keen on getting the best bang for your buck for long, you have to be ready for that occasional Sunday, when you will have to be busy tending to your home appliances for preventive and curative maintenance.
Here’s our DIY guide to ensuring a long life for your home appliances:
A microwave is mostly a workhorse and is overworked, implying that you need to be extra careful about its cleanliness. For stubborn dirt, one tip is to steam clean it using water and lemon pieces in a microwave-safe bowl and let it heat up there. The resulting water vapors are going to make the job of wiping down that much easier.
Though fridges live long i.e. up to more than 12 years, to get such longevity, you need to have a regular check on the rubber gaskets. Besides, it would help to remove the food and debris using soap and water, followed by a towel dry to keep the doors tight.
It will ensure a consistent cooling as the cool air gets trapped inside the fridge. Sticky fridge doors can save energy by not letting the cold air out. Ensure that the fridge is not kept open very frequently or unnecessarily.
3. Air Conditioner
If you would like to have your air conditioner serve you loyally, clean its filters after 15-30 days to ensure good airflow. However, should you be having a reusable filter, you may vacuum it to get rid of the dirt there. In case of disposable ones, just remove and replace it with a new one.
Empty your toaster crumb tray at least weekly, if not more as if left overflowing or unattended, it can be a potential fire risk.
5. Gas Stove
The food spills on a stove can block the burner and keep it from turning on. Use a toothbrush to brush off the spills for a smooth experience.
Have a weekly rinsing using vinegar to maintain its smelling good all the time. Do not use strong chemicals as they can react with the metal and corrode it. A word of caution – remove any pots or plates from the dishwasher while doing it.
7. Washing Machine
Peek into the hoses of your washing machine to check flooding or choking. Look for cracks and deformities.
8. Water Filter
With constant use, water filters can get blocked with sediments, which will render it hard for water to pass through. Go in for a water filter change every quarter or earlier. This is quite important if you find that the water pressure and the color have changed.
There can’t be a standard to-do or to-buy list for home décor and appliances. It’s each to their own as preferences, personality and aspirations vary from person to person. An efficient, well-run and pleasing home demands a bit of planning, creativity and regular upkeep on your part.
Contrary to popular perception, most successful homemakers do not necessarily have bulging pockets and in fact, some of the most beautiful and well-run homes are owned by the not-so-wealthy. It is the care, insight and hard work that makes a home a coveted, go-to place.