How to Decorate a Large Wall in Your Home

This article is in collaboration with my affiliate partner, Minted.  This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking on them will not cost you anything, but help The Naptime Reviewer earn extra money.

If you have a large wall in your home and aren’t sure how to decorate it, Minted has tons of inspiration for you.  They carry everything from shelving to fabric to foil pressed wall art (see my previous post), stationary and wedding goodies.  And their products are seriously stunning!

For five years I have had a large wall in my living room — and for five years I haven’t been able to commit to any decor.  Thanks to Minted, I have finally solved the blank wall problem and the room now feels complete.  Not only did I order two sizes of shelves from Minted, but I also ordered prints, limited edition art and 3D gold foil dipped paper trees (see product list below).

Create an idea board

I’ve decorated many walls with Minted products (see this navy blue and teal living room post) and I always love to start with an idea board.  To create an idea board, I open up a simply online editing program like Pic Monkey (www.picmonkey.com), start with a blank “canvas, and add product images saved from the websites I’m planning on purchasing from — in this case, Minted.

Product list

The products I ordered from Minted:

I’m in love with the natural wood detailing on the shelves and they were so easy to hang, so my husband says.  I also love all of the wood frames I chose for the art prints, as they create that eclectic look I was going for.  They go perfectly with my travel photos!
I hope this article inspires you to do something great with your large blank wall in your home!

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Bring Functionality Back Into Your Kitchen

coffee, latte, woman holding coffee

We often hear that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we cook (arguably a very ‘homey’ kind of activity), it’s where we eat and in many cases, it’s where we socialize. This notion of the kitchen being a hub for so many different uses has seen a huge rise in the number of kitchen accessories on the market at the moment. These days, you are just as likely to see a huge range of kitchen decor in a homeware store as you are to see a selection of items designed for dressing up your bedroom, or living room. But our obsession with making our kitchens pretty, aesthetic spaces has meant that one key factor has suffered as a result: functionality. 

Of course, it’s only natural that most of us dream of a beautiful, stylish kitchen, especially if the rest of our home is styled to within an inch of its life. Consistency, as we all know, is part of the secret to great interior design, and often a great-looking kitchen is a catalyst to you wanting to spend more time in there in the first place. But, it can also be a curse when it comes to how usable your kitchen actually is. For example, maybe you went a little over the top with the minimalist trend, and now you have virtually nowhere to store your pots and pans. Or perhaps you are a lover of busy bohemian styles, and your surfaces are so jam packed with trinkets you barely have enough room to prepare food. Whatever your scenario is, you should never have to sacrifice functionality just to get a visually stunning home.
Here are a few ways you can put purpose back into your kitchen, so it’s a place that works for YOU – not the other way around.


Have everything you need within easy reach

More often than not, we tend to have those kitchen implements that we reach for time and time again. Maybe you are the queen of the one pot dish, and therefore you use your wok pretty much every day. Or perhaps you swear by your slow-cooker and make a selection of meals in it at least a couple of times a week. Whatever it is, these are the kind of items it can be very helpful to have close to hand. After all, it may look cleaner and tidier to have them put away, but if you’re only going to need to scramble through draws to find them every day, there is little point in this.

Consider some alternative storage ideas for the things you use most – such as a bar to hang commonly used pots and pans from (just make sure it’s safe and secure first!). The same ethos can also apply to food. For example, most of us use salt and pepper in every single meal to season the food, so there’s no point having your grinders tucked away at the back of an already busy shelf. Buy some trays or baskets suitable for positioning on your kitchen worktop and pop all the spices and herbs you tend to need in there for ease of access. 

Have enough room for everything

On a slightly different note, you may also need to make sure you have enough room in your kitchen for everything you own. Once you have a family, it can feel as though the amount of kitchen items you own goes up tenfold. Lunch boxes, baking equipment, cookware and a much larger snack cupboard – it’s any wonder it’s not all spilling out of your front door! But what do you do when getting a kitchen extension is not an option?

Well, firstly, realize that you may simply be able to utilize the space you already have. Consider how much wall space you have. If there’s plenty going spare, why not have some kitchen wall cabinets installed? If it’s not going to intrude on the kitchen space you have, get some deep ones built which enable you to store many more things in there.
The same goes for your fridge freezer – if you’re still using the one you had before your little darlings arrived, you may need to rethink the decision to hold onto it! Most moms become pros at batch cooking, meaning your freezer will usually be chock-a-block. Upgrade to a larger one to enable you and you family to store much more food – it may seem like a huge expense, but bear in mind that it will save you money in the long run.
If you are concerned about how your kitchen will look with all this extra storage, remember you can get some hidden storage and food prep areas that seamlessly slot into your cabinets, so no one except you will ever know they are there.

The rule of the ‘golden triangle.’

If there was ever a rule for kitchen functionality, it is the rule of the ‘golden triangle.’ The golden triangle is also known as the ‘work triangle’ and has been defined by the National Kitchen and Bath Association as follows: ‘an imaginary straight line is drawn from the center of the sink to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator and finally back to the sink.’ It is supposed to make your kitchen much more efficient and easier to operate in and is something people have sworn by for years. If you don’t already have the work triangle set up in your kitchen, consider having a re-shuffle to create one and see how it can change your cooking experience.

You can also bear in mind specific areas such as your sink – for example, make sure you have space on the left to stack pots that are waiting to be cleaned and an area to the right where you can drain them once they have been washed. This will ensure that you always have a clean and clear sink – just one step closer to achieving that functional kitchen that serves its purpose.Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory Vote For Me @ The Top Mommy Blogs Directory

 


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A Flush Of Heat: Temperature Solutions In Your Home

Cozy interior of living room with fireplace and rocking chair 3d render

If you’re looking for comfort in the home, it might be time to look beyond rugs, throws, comforters, sofas and beds. If you want true comfort, you need to start bossing the temperature around. Easier said than done, especially if you live in a place with a varying climate, but you can certainly take control with a few methods.

We are likely all going to own a thermostat which is extremely important in the management of temperature via central heating. In the colder months this is crucial and if heating doesn’t exist in the household, that needs to change.

Thermostats are not exact and accurate though and controlling heating around the house with a dial doesn’t make much sense in the modern age either. It’s a bit ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ – You’ll be getting up a lot just to get the temperature just right. It’s your choice, but a smart meter in your home could save a lot of time and effort. Smart thermostats and meters can automatically control the temperature of your home and can be operated by yourself remotely via apps. This is amazing for when you aren’t in the household but want to ensure that your home isn’t wasting energy and money by being needlessly heated when no-one is in the premises.

Smart thermostats, like NEST can be programmed to react to external changes in temperature, to timings and even distance from your phone (so it automatically turns on or off when you step out of the home). One of the best ways to ensure that you’re in control of the heating in your home is to buy into the idea of smart thermostats.There are plenty of other ways to heat a home, and if you’ve got fireplaces or air furnaces, it’s important that you maintain these. You need to know how to clean fireplaces, stock them up and of course, how to go about replacing a furnace. These are amazing home options for heating and you’re lucky if your home already has these utilities installed! Keep them in good condition to benefit.

Of course, it’s not just about heating – in the summer months houses can get sweltering! The main way to combat heat in the house is to manage yourself well. Eat well and keep yourself hydrated to enjoy a base level of comfort in a heated home. If you’re still sweating, employ good air circulation in the home. Open a number of windows while you are in your house to ensure that cold air is flowing through. If this is not enough, use fans to boost air circulation. If all of the above are not working for you then you need to spend to get cool – buy air conditioning units. Air conditioning should be a last resort due to its expense, but it is an amazing luxury to utilize when it’s just far too hot!

The key to comfort in the home is managing the temperature. Give it a try when the time is right!

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Get All Your Ducks In A Row

rubber ducks in a row

Spring is a brilliant time for sorting things out. Perhaps you noticed a few issues with your home over winter but couldn’t do anything about them because of the weather, or maybe you want to get to grips with your loft or garage as it is fit to burst with things you are probably never going to use again. Whatever you have so organize, this is the perfect time to get it done and will make sure you can enjoy the summer without having too many major jobs hanging over you.

Unfortunately it’s during the months we most need our homes to behave that they refuse too. Over winter you may have found your heating was compromised, you sprung a leak from your pipes or, even worse, your roof started leaking right as a big storm was due. Spring is the perfect time to fortify your home. Make a good list of all the little things you noticed over winter and decide an order of importance. Then start working out a timeline and a budget. You need to look at the areas which would make next winter very difficult to live with. Especially if you have young children or elderly relatives living with you. A cold home, for example can be terrible for vulnerable humans. Take this opportunity to fortify your home.

Once you are armed with your list and know what you can afford, head out and get some quotes. Try to stick with professionals on the big jobs. Most companies, if you tell them your budget, will work hard to fit within it. So don’t assume because you couldn’t afford their quote, you can’t get the work fixed. Just talk to them, find out if there is another way of repairing the problem and then work together to find a solution.

It is also a good idea to look at your finances. You are at the beginning of the year and you may have taken a bit of a battering over the previous year. So, get everything out, including your savings and investments and have a really good look at where you are at. It might be that a savings account has more money in that you realized, or that you are making payments out every month on something you really don’t use. Such as a gym membership you forgot, or even a package on your Sky TV that you don’t really need if the children have left.
Getting organized now will make your year a lot easier. A great piece of advice from successful business owners is “Don’t get the urgent jobs done first, get the important jobs done first” the assumption is that by doing the most important jobs first, you may find there are less urgent ones coming up. This is great advice to apply to your life. Get all your ducks in a row and head into 2017 knowing your life is running efficiently or that you are working towards that.

Then, take the best season to relax and enjoy yourself!

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Step Into Spring – In Your Bedroom!

The step into spring is a brilliant time. The daylight spans on for a bit longer every day, the breeze begins to feel warmer as it passes you and everybody seems to be in so much more of an unexplained cheery mood – maybe it’s the sun that does it. It’s a time for new beginnings everywhere; traditionally spring is the season of new birth, with flowers popping their heads out to say hello and baby birds hatching to make their way into the world.

So with that in mind, let’s incorporate the fresh look on life into one of the most important rooms in the house – your bedroom.

Colors

Spring colors are associated with being light, and this is the way to go to get your bedroom feeling as fresh as it should. Lighter colors give the impression that there is more room to work with within a set space, and it will leave you feeling clearer and more focused on what you need to do in your day when you wake up to a room that is full of light energy. Choosing a pastel shade can keep you well on theme; think powder blue, lavender and mint for the classics that never fade out of style, or a dove grey for true forward style.

Light

The more light you can get into your bedroom, the better. You can do this in a variety of different ways, whether it’s through changing your curtains/blinds for lighters ones or opening them more often, bringing in floor lamps or even repainting. The cheapest and best way to completely lighten a room is to change the bedding. If you have a dark duvet cover on to begin with, then this will drag the room down and make it look cosy rather than fresh. Take a look at spring duvet sets such as the Vaulia Home Collection, and find one that will suit your style and how you want your finished room to look.


Flowers

Bring the outside in! If you aren’t keen on having fresh flowers in your bedroom, there are some amazing fake replicas which are the way to go to avoid hayfever (allergy) mishaps. Plants are also a sturdy addition to any room; if you aren’t too fussed at watering them every day, consider getting one that requires low attention such as a succulent or even an air plant which barely requires any watering at all.


Decorations

Sit back and think about all of the things that are associated with spring. Bunting, flowers, greenery – all things that can definitely be incorporated into your bedroom … especially the bunting. You can easily DIY your own if you’re a dab-hand with a sewing machine, or look online on sites like Etsy or eBay to search for something that tickles your fancy. It’s so easy to find one to match up to whatever scheme or theme you have planned, and if you vary the fabric used (for example, gingham and sheer fabric), you’re giving yourself leeway to add more bits and bobs to your bedroom without them looking a touch out of place.

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Minimalism No More: Bring Your Living Room Into 2017

When your living room starts to look aged, it can be difficult to put your finger on why. It can be as much about the paint fading and looking tired or the carpet and furniture looking worn out, as it is about fashions changing. Sometimes, it can be as simple as it becoming over cluttered, therefore losing its sense of direction or theme. 

It’s useful to periodically strip it back to basics, keep the aspects that you love, but remove everything which doesn’t give you pleasure. This gives you the opportunity to bring it up to date, without completely overhauling the entire room or completely repurchasing your entire set of furniture. If you need a few ideas for how to bring your living room into the 21st Century, keep on reading.


It’s all in the white and gray

The bright white look is so on trend at the moment, but it can be tricky to get right. The surfaces of the wall need to be perfectly smooth, as any imperfections will just right out of the wall at you. Using softer grays create a more forgiving look, with a touch of warmth and even an element of class. The great thing about both white and gray is that they give you a relatively blank canvass to work from, with regards accessorizing the rest of the room. There is nothing that doesn’t work with white or gray walls, and they bring a brightness, openness, and sense of modernity to even the smallest or dingiest of spaces.

Take a leaf from the Scandinavian book

The word on the interior design street is hygge. If you don’t know what this is, you won’t be the only one. It’s a Danish concept which encourages the person to appreciate where they are in the current moment, and the comfort, happiness, and coziness of the space they’re in. Although it does not translate necessarily directly to interior design, trends of the last year have been an offshoot of this. The idea being that people fill their homes with things which make them feel great, not just things which look stylish or on trend. So the mismatched furniture, wooden log cabin, and even the farmhouse kitchen all stem from this. They offer comfort and coziness over style, and the resulting look is homely and comforting, as well as pretty and rustic. The suggestion here isn’t that you overhaul your home, discarding anything which doesn’t bring you pleasure, but that you only bring in elements that make you happy and allow you to appreciate the moment.


Don’t obsess over minimalism

The barren, minimalist look is going out of style, and many people are celebrating this. It’s a high-maintenance style, and it hardly lends itself to comfort. While high levels of clutter aren’t the way forward, allowing yourself accessories and decorations which create a more interesting look is on trend at the moment. Using old, empty picture frames painted the same color as the wall is a great way to add texture and interest to the wall, and while it could be seen as clutter, it blends into the background but brings coziness to the room. Big, bold prints are on trend this season, particularly tropical leaf floral prints, and when introduced to a room they don’t add anything to minimalism, but they bring a visual texture which is particularly up to date.


Create a focal point

A room can seem a little bit lost when there is no focal point. In a bedroom, it’s usually the bed, in a dining room the table, but in a living room, the focal point can be trickier to find. A fireplace with an ornamental mantle piece is typical, but it only works with a particularly antique look. For a more modern room, a feature wall can work, but they can be harder to get right. 

Using large, modern items of furniture, in particular a sofa, can create the perfect living room focal point, drawing the eye in and putting the emphasis of the room on comfort. Companies such as Modern Digs Furniture offer brilliant statement pieces of furniture, which are both modern and highly functional, and a great addition to the room. If your room doesn’t seem quite right, and you can’t put your finger on why, create a focal point with furniture or artwork, and see the difference it can make.

Don’t keep everything matching

Mismatch furniture is the future. It’s cheaper, cuter, and it can add interest to a room with minimal effort. If you’re adding new lights to your room, choose lamps which don’t match – the different textures and styles add to a more bohemian look which is really on trend. 

If you like to frame artwork for the wall, choose art which doesn’t necessarily match, in frames which are mismatch too. You could even paint them different colors to add an additional level of interest. This trend for mismatching furniture and accessories makes shopping so much easier, and it can look really cute and modern too.

Embrace greenery

If you’ve been to any super cool, almost hipster cafes recently, you may have noticed just how on trend indoor plants are at the moment. Greenery has a magical ability to bring life, interest, brightness and happiness to a room. It softens the edges of a harsh room, it brings color to a monochromatic style, and it even helps to keep the air fresh and banish musty odors. The best thing about plants is the variety of textures, colors, and shapes they come in, making them perfect for decorating a room quite innocuously, but bringing a whole load of comforting texture and interest. Yes, they take a bit of care, but the more plants there are in a room, the more likely you are to remember to water them, right?

Bringing your home up to date is no longer about clearing the clutter and going full on minimalist anymore. On-trend styles this year focus on comfort, happiness and texture, and the boho look is completely in.

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Your Home Sale Checklist

Before you pick up the keys to your new home, there are some things that you need to sit down and consider. It can be a hard thing to do as such a thrilling time, but you need to set aside the time to take a step back and sort some major stuff out. It will cover your back as well as setting you up for a safer and more financially-sound life in your new home.

Pre-Sale Report

A pre-sale report can cover many things that may need improving on your new purchase. This can be done with a pre-purchase house inspection, with companies such as SPI Property Inspections offering this service. It is vital to understand the condition of the property you are moving into, including any pest-problems that you will need to tackle and repair works that may need to be carried out before you settle yourself in. It can be sound advice in whether you want to go forth with the buying of your new home, as in some cases it can cost more to renovate or repair than you would have initially budgeted for – if you have budgeted at all.


Costs – Utilities, Insurances, Life…

If you’re moving into a different neighborhood, chances are that the bills that you are paying will vary from where you had been living previously. Insurance rates can go up or down depending on which street you’re on, and the simple switch of a two-car drive to a one-car slot can make a massive difference on your premium. You will need to check all of this out to ensure that it is affordable and a realistic amount for you to be able to pay out each month. 

Make sure that any utility bills are switched over before you move in and that readings from each meter are sent off to the relevant companies. Look into whether there are any neighborhood charges for waste disposal, community watch or gardening fees. It may help to speak to a few of the neighbors before you start packing your boxes, or ask the previous owner for a comprehensive breakdown of what they pay – tell them to be honest and not skip out anything.


Alma Mater

If you have a family, the best thing that you can do is take a look around the neighborhood and see which amenities are available to you. Check out the local schools and see how they rate in comparison to the one that you may be leaving. You need to take into consideration how much fuel you could be using (or saving – always look for the positives!) driving to get to said amenities and compare it to how much you were using before. Little costs all add up, and while the excitement of a new start may get the better of you, it’s better to be safe and in the know of everything that can crop up so it doesn’t shock you. If it’s making you gasp for the better, then sit back and relax – you’re doing just fine.

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Things You May Not Think About As A Homeowner

Owning your own home is great. It provides certain freedoms that renting can’t, even if you are still tied to paying a lump sum every month. You can do whatever you want (within reason); paint the walls whichever color you choose, decide on whether you want to adopt a pet or not and have people over whenever you like. There aren’t any regulations like you would have if you were paying the same price to rent a house off a landlord.

However, there are certain downsides to having to manage your own property. Little snags won’t be left up to somebody else to fix, and expensive solutions to problems are your responsibility. Here are some of the things that you definitely need to give the once-over if you’re living in your own home – the landlord isn’t just a call away anymore…

Foundations

The foundations of your house are the most important element. It’s the space on which the house is built, the strong, firm base to keep your house upright and as it should be. If there’s a problem with the foundation then that spells disaster for the rest of your house. But don’t fear – there are companies out there that can help you, such as http://www.houstonfoundationpro.com/best-foundation-repair-company-in-the-woodlands-tx/. If you are able to get a professional to come out and assess any queries that you may have regarding the base of your house, you could be saving yourself a pretty penny in the long run by getting ahead of potential problems.

Paint

Paint isn’t just for decoration – it’s also a necessity and preserving and protecting certain things, like wood. If you have wooden windowsills or doors, you will at the very least need to make sure that they have been varnished with something to keep the water away from the inside and prevent it from rotting away. Not everything lasts forever, and eventually windowsills will need to be replaced if not properly taken care of, but you may want to consider investing in the plastic alternatives if you aren’t up to the yearly routine of going outside and going over all of the wooden furnishings to your house. It’s best to do it in the summertime – the weather is warmer, meaning you’re more comfortable and the paint dries quicker, and it’s less likely to rain.

White Goods

Get all of your white goods serviced – including the boiler. If you are used to ringing somebody up to complain every time your washer leaks or the radiators aren’t working, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Look at getting an insurance to cover you, or if this doesn’t take your fancy then aim for a warranty to go with each piece of equipment – http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/insurance/cheap-free-warranties is a good guide.. What may seem costly to you now won’t seem so much of a big deal if something goes wrong; if you haven’t got backup to the basics then you could find yourself unexpectedly out of pocket after having to pay to fix or even replace the machine.

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Creating a Happy Homework Space

This article is part of a sponsored collaboration.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Homework is one of our biggest struggles growing up and it doesn’t end when you become a parent.  Even in Kindergarten our children are given endless amounts of homework to help sharpen their young minds.  The work may or may not be tough for them, but getting them to be self-motivated is one of our biggest struggles as a parent.  Creating a happy homework space might just give them a little boost, though.

Personally, when my home office is a mess, my mind is a mess.  If my desk isn’t tidy, I feel overwhelmed and can’t fully focus on my work.  If I don’t have the proper materials needed to do my work, if my workspace is uncomfortable or the lighting isn’t right, things just aren’t going to get done.  I notice the same little things with my kindergartener, as well.

My daughter is given a packet of homework each week and is encouraged to work on it daily.  Most of the time she sits at the dining table while I’m cleaning up dinner and struggles to get anything done with all of the distractions — television, her sister asking to color on her homework, the racket from the dishes, etc.  Needless to say, creating a “happy” homework space was at the top of my to-do list.

Believe it or not, the motivation for creating a child-friendly office space came from a chair.  This chair is special, though.  It’s a desk chair made for kids and is more ergonomically designed for their little bodies.  Along with a comfy chair, I added some cute kid-friendly decor and books to her desk.

This children’s desk chair is anything but your average rolling chair.  It features a fully cushioned back support and many adjustable options for kids.  Not only can you move the chair up and down, you can also slide the seat cushion forward and backwards for a better fit.

Features

  • Ergonomic cushioned back support
  • Thick padded slidable seat depth adjustable to 1.7 inches front and back with locking mechanism
  • Height adjustable from 16.7 to 19.6 inches with silent gas lift cylinder and full 360° swivel
  • Detachable footrest and rounded armrest for added support and comfort
  • Urethane wheels with attachable wheel covers for protection and movement lock
My daughter is on the smaller side for her age, so finding a desk chair that is able to adjust to her size is so nice.  The detachable footrest has been a big help to keep her from moving the chair as she’s working on her homework.
We decided to go with a grey chair since we have a lot of colors in my daughter’s room, but this chair does come in many other colors.  You can view the entire collection of SitRite chairs on Amazon here.

More color options:

Check out these other fun color options.  I love the green!

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Creating a Chic Bathroom the Hassle-Free Way

If you are a fan of the chic bathrooms that you see in hotels, and would like to recreate that look in your own home you are in the right place. Below I’ll share with you how to get the basics right, and build from there, so that over time you create the bathroom of your dreams.

The right ambience

As well as making your room look chic, you need to ensure that it is somewhere that you can really relax. The last thing you need is a bathroom that is too shiny and slick. It has to have some softness about it to enable you to feel warm and cosy. If your bathroom does not have a cocoon-like quality to it, you will find it hard to unwind in the bath. For a bathroom, you are generally better off aiming for a shabby-chic look rather than a glitzy-chic look.

The vintage look

At the cornerstone of the chic look is the vintage bathroom suite. Nothing says class like a Victorian or Edwardian bathtub. These are now widely available and easy to get hold of from your favorite bathroom store. Large Edwardian or Victorian baths are no longer the preserve of the rich and famous, they are now so affordable that practically any homeowner can own one. Slipper baths and roll-top tubs are nice too, but they are still a little on the expensive side.

Decor

After the style of bath you choose, what you put on the walls and floors will have the biggest impact on how chic your bathroom looks. For the walls, wood panelling can be a great option. You can use a wash or stain to create the right shade.

However, you need to be careful and bear in mind that you are decorating a humid room. It is important to coat the back and sides of the panel with a good waterproof coating. If you cut a piece, you should also waterproof the new edge you create before you put it up. This stops mould getting in and ruining the panelling. The colours you use are up to you, but it is best to stick with pastels, or natural tones like pea green, powder blue or a light russet.

For the floor, a wood finish is usually best, but light tiles also work well. Again, be careful to buy flooring that can withstand the moist atmosphere of a bathroom and make sure that it is non-slip. Some very good laminate floors will do the job perfectly.

No clutter

You want your bathroom to have character, so should buy some nice accessories. However, you do not want it to look cluttered, so keep those to the minimum.

Also, make sure that you build in plenty of storage. That way your chic bathroom will not be ruined by being littered with modern day toiletries and cosmetics.

Achieving the chic look is not hard to do. If you would like some inspirations this Pinterest board, has some excellent examples of various styles of chic bathrooms.

Bathroom Product I Love:

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