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Blog posts of '2018' 'June'

Easy Ways to Decorate Your Home for a Party

There are all kinds of different parties, so how you decorate your party will depend quite a bit on what kind of party you're hosting.

One thing that's sure, though, is people will enjoy the party much more if you make at least some effort toward decorating.

Just how lavish and imaginative you can be may be subject to budget limitations, but below you will find ideas to select from that cover a broad range of party situations. Just pick and mix the ideas that will work best for your own party.

 

Make the décor fit the theme of the party

This one is stating the obvious a bit, but using Christmas decorations for a Halloween party won't work well at all. Halloween decorations at a wedding reception probably aren't such a good idea either.

So the first thing you need to think about before you do anything else is the nature of the party you're hosting, and determine an appropriate theme that will suit. You then have the basis from which to proceed with the rest of your decorating.

 

Partying outdoors can sometimes be the best option

Halloween, Christmas, and New Year parties may be the exception here due to the weather we can expect at that time of year, but in general if you have the space and the weather is decent enough, then an outdoor party is often a great idea.

Marquee hire is inexpensive and it's much easier to clean up after an outdoor party than a party you host inside your home so it's worth thinking about. Choosing the right exterior lighting and ensuring you have enough space for all of your guests to move freely are just two elements that you need to get right if your party is to be a success.

If you're feeling arty and crafty, American home-making guru Martha Stewart has compiled 58 interesting ideas on her website for making your outdoor party more interesting. While you're there, check out the piñata ideas, because everyone loves hitting things with sticks!

 

Make streamers that look just like in the movies

Have you ever seen those perfectly crafted streamers that decorate parties in movies and wondered why you never see them in real life? Want to make your streamers look like that? Of course you do. Fortunately the secret to streamer perfection is revealed by craft blogger Dana at Made EveryDay, and you won't believe how incredibly simple it is to do.

 

Flowers are nature's own (almost) perfect decoration

The key word here is "almost", and that's because some people may have allergies, but other than that, flowers are a brilliant way to add colour and a sense of "life" to a room. You can also have flowers and other plants strategically placed through and around your outdoor party for the same reason (just be alert to whether they're attracting too many bees).

Be creative with flowers or pay a professional florist to put flowers together in compellingly beautiful arrangements.

You could also try more advanced DIY flower craft ideas like this hydrangea wreath for the front door suggested by Heidi at The Frugal Girls blog.

 

If you're going to do formal, do it properly

Some parties are just naturally more suited to a more formal kind of atmosphere. Wedding receptions, for example, are usually going to follow the tradition of formal dress and formal place settings.

One problem is that the art of throwing a formal party is not taught as much as it once was, and so it's actually quite easy to make mistakes. The entire point of formal parties is that they should follow the correct form, but first you need to know what that is.

The good thing about formal parties is your home is far less likely to get trashed by the attendees than can be the case with many other kinds of parties. If you'd like to host a formal party but you're not sure how, Jennifer Davenport has a reasonably comprehensive list of tips at her blog, Jennifer Decorates.

 

Table runners make plain tables look more impressive

The human eye is quite amazing, but one of the most amazing things about it is how easily it can deceive us. Adding something as simple as a strip of fabric along the length of a table shouldn't make it seem more impressive, but it does.

The reason is because our eyes are tuned to seek out contrast and symmetry. When you add a table runner (a table cloth that covers the whole length but only a portion of the width of the table) you instantly add contrast.

To enhance the effect even more, place it closer to one edge of the table than the other. This will create asymmetry, so the eye is drawn to it. Run the table runner down the exact centre of the table if you'd prefer a symmetric look.

Here's the impression that gets created:

  •          Symmetric – orderly, neat, precise... conveys a sense of trustworthiness and dependability. A person who can get things done without bending the rules or cutting corners.
  •          Asymmetric – arty, bold, challenging... conveys that you're not afraid to do things your own way, and that you probably are an interesting person with an interesting life.

Once you've decided whether you're more of a fan of symmetry or asymmetry, you'll find a list of DIY table runners compiled by Michael Wurm Jr at The Spruce.

 

Don't forget about balloons

Balloons are another festive party tradition that are right up there with streamers and flowers as easy ways to temporarily brighten up a room with colour. Balloons also allow you an additional dimension of creative outlet due to their larger size once inflated.

Here are some more tips from The Spruce, this time about novel ideas for balloons, and compiled by Stephanie White.

 

That's a wrap

We've just looked at some easy ways to make your next party be a little more successful than the average party. Really it's all about how much thought you put into planning, because the best parties are parties that are planned well.

Getting your home ready for a party need not be expensive or difficult; you just need to be willing to think like a master decorator. Inspiration is all around us but if you really get stuck, just watch a few good movies that have parties in them and you will find ideas jumping out at you.

Meanwhile, for tips of what not to do, there are not many movies that could beat Project X for showing how easily things can go wrong if you don't manage your party well.

Make Your Décor Bloom This Spring

Spring is a time of revival. We celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine after the bleakness of winter. It's almost funny how we greet those first flakes of snow in December with such joy, then by February we are glad to see them well gone.

Your home can celebrate Spring too, with a décor revival that matches the mood of the season. Best of all, your newly created Spring décor will retain most of its charm and joy all year round, so you won't have to break out the paintbrushes and other tools once Summer arrives.

 

Is it time to repaint the kitchen and bathroom?

The kitchen and bathroom are the rooms of your house that will usually benefit most from repainting, and that is especially so in Spring. Adding a dash of Spring colour to your kitchen will make it a bright and cheery space, and almost nobody enjoys spending time in a dull and colourless bathroom.

Perfect colour choices for walls include:

  •          light yellow (R255/G234/B112)- sunny and bright, a colour associated with happiness and warmth
  •          light blue (R112/G181/B255)- the colour of the sky on a warm Spring day, evoking memories of lazy days spent resting on grassy hill sides staring up at the sky
  •          light green (R114/G255/B182) – reminiscent of the freshness of mint and newly cut grass, but you don't want a green that's too intense
  •          light purple (R102/G127/B255) – the colour of lavender, also associated with love, tranquility, and spiritual purity
  •          light pink (R255/G163/B224) – the colour of cherry blossoms, reminding us of that the subtle beauty of nature can affect us most intensely

When it comes to the trim and secondary areas, you'll want some contrast. Here are the best trim colours to use:

  •          When the main colour is blue, green, purple or pink, it is simplest to just trim with white (R255/G255/B255).
  •          When the main colour is yellow, the best trim colour is either blue-grey (R122/G136/B170) or salmon (R255/G112/B134) or brick (R128/G42/B55).

In all cases, the best ceiling colour is white, except when you intentionally want to reduce ceiling reflection (which most interior designers wouldn’t recommend doing in a kitchen or bathroom).

 

How about a greenhouse or conservatory?

If you have enough yard space, installing a greenhouse or conservatory can be rewarding, as you'll be able to grow exotic plants and get your plants off to a thriving start. There is something about wandering into a greenhouse that feels very special.

 

Window boxes: beautiful even when they're not on windows

You may expect that the only suitable place to put window boxes is under windows, but you'd be surprised to learn you can put window box style boxes anywhere on any wall, either indoors or outdoor as you please.

Cleverly building and placing elegantly styled boxes to hold your favourite houseplants will bring the walls to life literally.

Of course it is also fantastic to put window boxes on windows too, but we just wanted you to know it's not the only option.

 

Update your furniture

If your furniture has seen better days or you'd just like a fresh look, shopping for replacements is exciting.

In our King's Road shop you'll find wonderfully interesting furniture choices such as our Jerred and Kildoran chaise lounges, Cleveland high wing sofa, or even the playfully named "Sex" sofa suite. Furniture shopping is never boring at Christopher Wray.

If you really feel like spoiling yourself with indulgent luxury furniture, you’ll love what’s available in the Christopher Wray VIP furniture collection. You'll find a fabulous assortment of classic and contemporary designs clad in luxurious fabrics and leather.

Freshen up your windows

You would be amazed how even something as simple as changing the curtains hanging in the window can completely alter the character of a room. Since it's Spring, bright colours and subtle floral patterns are the best choices.

 

Plant a garden

Perhaps the most obvious of Springtime activities, planting a new garden and investing in some beautiful exterior lighting will give your home an instant lift. This beautifies the outside of your home and can also add value to your property.

While you're at it, you might want to do a bit of indoor gardening as well. Many plants thrive indoors, and there are also terrariums, bonsai trees, and orchids if you want something truly exotic.

 

Celebrate your newly invigorated décor in style

Once you've completed your Spring home update, the best way to celebrate the changes you've made is to invite your best friends to dinner. In keeping with the whole Spring theme you may wish to include some generous helpings of herb roasted Spring vegetables, fresh crusty bread, and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil in your dishes.

Modern Dining Room Style Inspiration

The dining room does not normally have as much importance as it once did, and in many modern homes it has been absorbed into a larger hybrid, now known as a living/dining room, but really your dining room can be a space you can be proud of.

A good dining room, when it is set up properly, will make people want to linger and socialise in it. That's the fundamental goal, because what we really love about dining rooms is the opportunities it provides to bring people together.

It's a place where we can gather with friends and family to enjoy a meal, accompanied by fascinating stories and good conversation. A tradition that literally started hundreds of thousands of years ago, with the only changes being that there's no fire on the floor and we're using tables.

So grab yourself a chair and a cup of your favourite drink and settle in as we explore the most inspiring ideas for a stylish modern dining room.

Flooring

If you have central heating or a fireplace nearby, it can be a very good idea to install a tiled floor in the dining area because this is the hardest wearing flooring material and it is so much easier to clean than other choices. It also clearly has a modern look.

Easy to clean, durable, and attractive, a tile floor
is an excellent choice for most dining areas.

 

The disadvantages of tile floors are they can be noisy and can get a bit chilly in the colder months of the year. Even though there is slightly higher cost involved, it is worth investing in slip-resistant tiling for dining room floors.

A wooden floor provides a warm natural tone. Pictured here
with Morcom dining suite from Christopher Wray.

 

Your next-best choice is genuine hardwood floorboards. While they're not as durable as tile, they are warmer and look fantastic, but are still very easy to clean. If your dining chairs don't have ski feet like the chairs pictured above, it is a good idea to attach furniture sliders to the tip of each leg to prevent scuffing.

Rugs and carpets provide the most warmth and softness, but they
may absorb wine and pasta sauce faster than your guests do!

 

Carpeted floors will provide softness and warmth, but can be prone to staining if food or wine is spilled, and no matter how much you vacuum, your carpet will still harbour dust and particles. Carpet is therefore less recommended than other choices.

Furnishings

The main furniture components in the dining room are obviously the dining table and dining chairs. The ideal table size and shape will depend on how many places you want to accommodate. For an intimate gathering, nothing beats a round table, while rectangular tables are more practical for larger groups.

Modern design involves clean lines and minimal ornamentation, so if the goal is to create a modern looking décor in the dining room, then you'll want to seek out minimalist designs.

Among the Christopher Wray dining furniture collection you will find many good examples, but one of the most versatile is the Eliot dining table, available in both round and rectilinear versions, and with numerous table top choices.

The amazing versatility of the Eliot design makes it a great
choice for many different dining room situations.

The inverted V shaped base of the rectangular style tables makes a very stable foundation for the table, and this innovation also means extra chairs can be added without table legs to get in the way. The base of the round Eliot table has three legs arranged in a pyramid shape, and this also means more room for everyone to sit comfortably around the table.

The Eliot design is also very stylish in round configuration.

 

Another excellent modern dining table choice from Christopher Wray is the Alkham dining table, with a solid central base supporting and oval or round top, providing plenty of space under the table. You couldn't really imagine a more modern (or even futuristic) style than the Alkham.

The Alkham is a real statement piece.

 

When selecting chairs, make sure they suit the table style and are the right height for the table.

Lighting

Lighting is also a very important aspect of the dining room. A room that is tastefully furnished and dressed can still have the entire effect ruined by poor lighting choices.

In general, harsh lighting or even just bright light, is not appreciated by most people at the dining table. Soft light is better. Enough to cast a glow, but never more than just enough. The light will work best if it starts from the centre of the table and spreads out from there, losing brightness almost completely by the time it reaches the table edges. This is what most people would regard as perfect.

Well balanced lighting like this twin pair of chandeliers from
Christopher Wray are the best way to create a convivial ambience.

 

The ideal way to achieve good light in the dining room is with one or two chandeliers suspended just above the table centre. Just because it is a chandelier doesn't mean it needs to look old fashioned. Christopher Wray has hundreds of contemporary and stylish chandelier designs, as well as more traditional styles.

In addition to its practical application, lighting can also be
a work of art. Connesso chandelier by Christopher Wray.

 

By paying attention to the main elements of flooring, furnishing, and lighting, you can make the dining room a welcoming and comfortable space, no longer the forgotten about zone between the kitchen and the living room.

Add decorative touches such as fresh floral centrepieces, paintings for the walls, interesting ornamentation, and maybe even a wine rack to help your dining room develop a sense of character.

That last thing is important because it is your dining room, so it should reflect something of your personality in the presentation. Visit our shop at 599 King's Road, London, for more inspirational decoration ideas.

A Quick Lesson in Bathroom Lighting

 

Lighting for the bathroom is often relegated to an afterthought, which later proves to be detrimental because bathroom lighting is actually so important.

It's one of those rooms of the house where good lighting is essential and where, depending on the size and style of the bathroom, adjustable levels of lighting may be highly desirable.

Investing some time in considering the kind of lighting your bathroom will need is an action you will not regret. Good bathroom lighting pays dividends in terms of making the bathroom a more liveable space.

 

Ambient Lighting

Depending on the room shape, you will need one or more main ambient lights for the bathroom. If the bathroom décor is modern, you may be best served by a flush mounted style of ambient light.

 

A fine selection of excellent ambient lighting options from
Christopher Wray Lighting to suit a modern bathroom décor.

For a more classic décor scheme, consider elegant ambient lighting options that will complement the décor and even draw focus to the opulence on display. If you can make your bathroom feel like a special place, that is definitely a measure of success to be savoured.

 

Tiedro chandelier (with matching wall lights) by Christopher Wray
Lighting makes a good choice for a classically furnished bathroom.

Although it is often a popular choice, we recommend against recessed lighting for the bathroom. Recessed lighting can be a mistake because steam and condensation accumulate in the recessed area, and do not then readily evaporate. This increases the corrosive potential to harm metal, plaster, wood, and other materials.

 

Mood Lighting

The bathroom can also be a place to unwind with a relaxing soak after a busy day. The last thing you want when you're trying to relax is to be blasted in the face by harsh overhead lighting.

A little mood lighting, courtesy of cleverly placed wall lights and sconces, can give you just the right amount of light to achieve a more relaxing and romantic atmosphere in your bathroom.

 

Wall lights such as Dorchester (left), Granton (centre), and
Cannuccia (right), provide softer lighting for better relaxation.

Once again, it's sensible to match the lighting style to the décor of the bathroom. If you're not sure how the bathroom will eventually be furnished, an art-deco style such as Cannuccia has a good balance between classic and modern looks, making it a versatile choice.

 

Task Lighting

When you are trying to shave or apply makeup, there's nothing worse than poor lighting. Good lighting will enable you to see clear detail and avoid embarrassing errors.

 

Innovations in lighting design, like this internally illuminated mirror
are at the heart of the Christopher Wray lighting design concept.

Choosing the right task lighting will be partly a matter of personal taste and partly a matter of practicality. Some designs can meet quite specific needs.

 

The Bristle strip light has a built-in shaver socket,
cleverly saving valuable bathroom wall space.

While the majority of bathroom task lighting is focused on the mirror and sink area, many home owners find the addition of a downlight placed strategically above a toilet bowl can be quite a practical idea too.

Good bathroom lighting should be a design feature

Planning your bathroom lighting at the home design stage, if you have the option, is always the best way to go. This way you can be certain your bathroom lighting will provide adequate light for each purpose the bathroom serves, and that the lighting will be installed in precisely the right locations for best effect.

For more ideas and information about bathroom lighting, talk to one of the friendly lighting consultants at Christopher Wray Lighting, or send us an email. We also have plenty of examples on display at our King's Road shop, and you are most welcome to drop in and browse our collection

Getting the Right Amount of Light

Lighting can be a challenging task, not least because different people and different tasks have different lighting requirements. Some people can't stand being in a dimly lit room, no matter what the circumstances, while others find intense lighting unbearable.

When you are deciding how to set up the lighting in a room, you'll need to find some way to achieve a perfect balance, and exactly where that point is depends on numerous factors.

 

Lighting must suit the purpose of the room

We'll ignore outdoor lighting for the moment, because that's a topic that deserves its own article. Rooms are interesting places. We start with an empty space, and everything you put into that space is going to shape the character of the room.

This fascinating process of adding colours, shapes, textures, and practical items is so much of an art that it's almost a science. Beauty is usually the aim, no matter who the beholder happens to be.

It's not just a matter of what you put in the room, but how you put it there. This includes lighting. If it is the living room of the house, then you'll want a very wide range of different lighting options, so you can adjust the light levels quite precisely.

In the bathroom, you'll normally want much brighter light. This is mostly for safety reasons, but it's also because people often do things in bathrooms where it helps to be able to see clearly.

Kitchens, too, are usually best served by bright lighting. Some very specific task lighting options can help you a lot in the kitchen, as well.

An area of a room used for television viewing is one of the most difficult to get right. Some people really find watching TV in a darkened room to be unpleasant, however if the light is too bright, it will reflect on the screen and become a distraction. Floor lamps often provide the solution, as they are not too bright and can be placed strategically to avoid problems.

 

Light should also suit the people of the room

The first thing to know is that you can't universally please everyone, so it is a waste of time trying to do that. Instead, think about the primary activities that people perform in different areas of the room and try to make the lighting work with that concept in mind.

This involves dividing the room up (figuratively) into zones, and planning the appropriate lighting types and levels that should be dominant in each zone.

In addition to the light, you also have to think about shadow. The placement of a light will affect where shadows fall in relation to the light. Anyone who has ever tried to snap a photo of a document on a table will be well aware of the challenges created by shadows.

People using computers in their work will find it easier if there is not a lot of light reflecting off the screen. If the workspace is designed so that the screen faces in toward the centre of the room, the best position for the light is directly behind the worker, so that the shadow of the worker will fall on the screen and block reflection.

If it is found that this makes it difficult to see the keyboard, then either a low intensity desk lamp or a keyboard with backlighting can be a good choice.

In another area of the room, somebody may need to do a lot of paperwork or reading, and in this situation it is best to have a higher intensity light hanging above the work area, or a desk lamp with medium to high intensity. These lights should be shaded well so that they provide ample light where it is needed, without that light spilling over into other zones and becoming a bother.

Ultimately it is mostly a matter of common sense

Provided that you choose good quality lights and use a sensible range of options for the areas they are installed, you should not experience too many problems. To be extra sure, choosing lights that are dimmable can be a good idea, because that way you can adjust the lighting amount to suit the situation.

For areas and tasks where seeing clearly is always important, bright task lighting placed appropriately is the best way to achieve the correct result.

You can get more tips on light choices to suit your room design by contacting a lighting consultant at Christopher Wray Lighting. They will be delighted to give you obligation free advice for all your lighting needs.