Saturday, 28 January 2012

organised chaos

I'm no expert on time management and organising, but I do occassionally like to read up on these topics to keep myself sane with the daily household chores - with the baby (now officially a toddler), my blogging, a decorating hobby and a full-time job, I find the following tips do help.

We love household chores! Source unknown.

1. 15-min cleaning spree
I wake up every morning and make it a point to have a simple breakfast. After which I would dedicate about 15 minutes of cleaning - doing the dishes (though this sometimes take up the full 15 minutes), sweeping up the spilled crackers on the floor, doing the bed, putting away the toys. I usually clean as I go. Doing this everyday helps to lighten the load of chores we have to do in the weekends! I also like coming home to a cleaner house.

2. Clean the sink 
I read this in the Fly Lady's book. It's about keeping the kitchen sink clean everyday. Every room has a 'sink'. For example, the 'sink' in the bedroom would be the bed. So I try to keep the bed made everyday too. It'll motivate you to keep the other things in the room clean.

3. Folding the laundry 1 basket at a time
Ugh, the dreaded laundry. No matter how many times a week we do the laundry, the basket is never empty! And let's not talk about the clean laundry that needs to be folded. My husband and I have gone weeks with unfolded laundry - just pulling out what we needed from the basket of clean clothes. One tip I've started to lighten the load of folding is to fold 1 basket of clothes for every 1 basket we put in the machine.

5. Tidy up drawers as you open them
I do not like to keep a lot of things, so each time I open up a drawer, I would quickly rummage through and dispose of anything that I feel I don't need. I also do this to my fridge.

6. Having an ugly room
We dedicate a room in our house to put in things that are not pleasing to our eyes. It's kind of like a store room. We also stash away stuff in this room on days when guests are coming *wink wink*. This room helps keeps our other rooms prettier by taking in all the ugly. 

I can't think of any more at the moment. Let me just say that at this point, my house is not looking as spick and span as I'd like - but it's okay to have those bad days some times.

I'd love to hear how other busy women out there keep up with their household chores! It isn't easy!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

10 of my tried and tested...

I have been getting requests from a few friends to write a post on how to redecorate their homes without undergoing a complete overhaul. So I've compiled a list of 10 decorating tips which I find would be most pocket-friendly and practical - tried and tested by myself!

1. Take your time 
I don't believe that a house can be decorated overnight. Decorating is not cheap and you have to get the 'feel' of your home before you decide on how it should be decorated. So my first tip is to not go out on a whim and purchase everything pretty you see on sale.

Take your time in decorating and your unique style will shine through. Source unknown.

2. Choose a theme 
I find that collecting pictures online and in magazines help you define your style. Of course, there are soo many beautiful photos of homes out there that you'll practically ooh and aah at every one of them. But which ones would you actually keep as reference? Rip those pages out (okay, if you're like me who treasures her books and magazines, just take a photo of them with your phone cam), or save them in your 'Dream Home' folder on your desktop.

Once you flip through those photos again, you would find a few elements that all those photos have in common - there, you've found your decorating style.

Collecting photos for my blog has helped me figure out the decorating style that I like. I love the combination of clean lines and texture in the baskets of this room. Source here.

3. Don't go on a shopping rampage
I once visited a friend's house where she asked me to give her decorating advice. After scanning her home, I noticed that she had a lot of pretty stuff, it's just that she did not know where to put them and some did not look good together. I believe that everyone has the ability to identify beauty before their eyes, but it takes another level of (dare I say?) skill to actually know how to arrange those things together.

Of course, a tip when you go out shopping for home decorating is to not buy anything that you feel is pretty and a bargain. Figure out your decorating style first, then you will be able to shop for things that would go well with it. Then list down what your room lacks in. Maybe a blank wall needs new artwork. Or the sidetable needs a lamp. Or a new chair to go with the table. Also, having a budget for decorating really helps you in holding back on unnecessary stuff that may end up as clutter.

IKEA is a place I turn to when I'm on a budget. Need I say more?

4. Change your wall colours 
I wrote a post on paint colours recently. To some it may be troublesome - to protect your existing furniture, to look for painters, to agree with your spouse on a suitable colour - but the impact is great once the work is complete. And seeing new walls would motivate you to create a new look for the whole room!

5. Add in cushions 
This is one of the simplest and effective ways to brighten up your room. If you find your sofa is looking rather dull, throw in two pillows in a bright colour and it will instantly brighten up the mood! I have a cream-coloured sofa, and I paired it with bright turquoise pillows. It also works to have a few decorative pillows in different shades of the same hue on your bed! 

You can find pretty pillows at Jusco, or Home's Harmony at reasonable prices. If you can't afford decorative ones, a simple plain one in a nice colour would do. Or buy beautiful fabrics cheap from Kamdar and make your own cushions!

Click here to see how this cream sofa can go through different looks by  just changing the throw pillows. House Beautiful

6. Decorate with existing things in your house
Are you an avid reader who loves books? Do you keep a collection of China plates? Why not show them off on a bookshelf or hang them up as artwork? Okay, I think this is the only tip I've not tried and tested myself yet. I don't really have a collection of anything to display.

What's great about this collage is all the plates are blue and white. They look great when grouped together. Source unknown.

7. Rearrange furniture
This requires no cost at all! Just a simple rearrangement of furniture can do wonders to the energy of your room. Keep on rearranging till you find an arrangement that pleases you. Of course, you'll probably need someone to help you with this. So it'd probably cost you a ringgit or two to treat the poor fella for a drink. 

My rule of thumb: the key furniture of the room should be the first thing you see when you enter from the door. i.e. if you think your sofa is the prettiest part of the room, then make sure it's the first thing you see when you walk in!

See, even Obama does it in the Oval. How cool is that. Source unknown.

8. Declutter
This should be another whole post by itself. Try not to hoard too much stuff in your house - donate them to people who would actually find use in them. Decluttering is liberating - trust me!

Whoa. A de-clutter Mind Map. My sis would love this.

9. Change your curtains 
Some people do not realise that their curtains have a great impact on the whole room. If you have a great view, you may just need night curtains. If you need some privacy, or the view is not a pleasing one, then you may need both day and night curtains. 

I really love sheer curtains and will personally use them in all my rooms. There's something soft and romantic about having white, plain sheers in a room. I would keep my night curtains in a simple and plain colour, no patterns but with great texture - velvet, linen, cotton. Nothing shiny. Also, try to avoid short curtains. I made a mistake with my current home by buying half-length curtains. It ain't pretty. No matter how tall your windows are, you can't go wrong with full-length curtains at ceiling height (note: the longer the curtains, the more expensive they are. So you may need to compensate by having full-length but not at ceiling height). 

I just had to feature Victoria Hagan's curtains. Droolworthy. Country Living

10. Pamper yourself!
Some people would not decorate their bedrooms because they feel that no one really goes inside to see it. I beg to differ. I love having a room that is pleasing to my eyes. And having beautiful bedsheets is the closest I can get to emulating those rooms I see in magazines. My personal fave - my white quilt. Another point to note is that having a beautiful bed motivates you to keep an overall clean and pretty room. Go on, pamper yourself!

I fell in love with the quilt in this photo. So I went out to Jusco and bought one similar to it for our bedroom. Home Beautiful

I do hope these few tips will help you in keeping your house pretty. They work for me!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

wall colours

I've been down with a fever and stomach bug for the past few days - not a pleasant experience indeed. But I am grateful that I am getting better now and updating my blog with this post. :-) 

I have been asked by a few people to recommend paint colours for their rooms, so I thought that this post may help some of you reading this to decide on the colours you would like for your home.  

Changing the colour of your walls is one of the easiest ways to give your room a complete transformation. Personally, I would stick with creamy whites – safe colours that would suit any furniture in the house and with the added flexibility where you can change your room colour themes by changing the other elements in the room.
With the room above, just change the colour of the curtains, or the cushions and you would totally change the mood of the room already! And can I just say, I am in love with those curtains and how they sort-of puddle on the floor a little bit. Casual and chic.

Victoria Hagan
There is also something about white that connotes peace and serenity. I'm a big fan of Victoria Hagan's work. It looks so effortless - like everything turned out so beautiful unintentionally.

For those who would just get bored with white/cream, a great colour would be light grey. I feel that grey is so classy, sophisticated and cooling. Any furniture would look great with it. Like this room.

Traditional Home
The grey walls of this room make a great background for the black and white framed photos. 

This room below is gorgeous too. The grey walls with the white moulding looks so pretty. And I love the accent colours coming from the modern chairs.

If you want to go bolder with your walls, you may want to target smaller, intimate spaces - like the bedroom, the bathroom, or a study room - as I notice that wall colours would bring visual interest to smaller rooms and would make a bigger impact.

Like this fresh mint green in this cute room featured on the IKEA 2012 catalogue.

The sage green in the bedroom below is also gorgeous.  I wouldn't mind waking up every morning in this room and sit on that table, writing letters to my dear friends. Who writes letters these days, anyway? Okay, it's just that the room and that table reminds me of Pride & Prejudice a little bit.

Blue for a bedroom is also gorgeous. 

House Beautiful
I really like the shade of blue in the picture above. So calming. I see that mirrored side-table in interior design magazines all the time. I wonder where I can get my hands on it in this country. 

I'm a big fan of blue, by the way. You can refer here to the blue bedroom we created for my sister’s bedroom.

You can even go light pink or peach for the feminine side of you.

House Beautiful - Penelope Bianchi
And who would have thought a bathroom would look so pretty in pink! I would totally hang out in this bathroom all day long.

Velvet & Linen
So these are my ideas of how to go about choosing colours for the home! Hope you've been inspired!

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