Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Old and new can make a stylish and eclectic mix

Modern v Traditional
Now, this isn’t another of those blogs about an eighteen year old marrying a ninety-five year old millionaire – it’s about how to mix and match different eras in your home and it will be a lot more successful than that marriage, that’s for sure! Lots of people decorate with very strict rules about what can be mixed with what and it can end up looking a bit sterile. After all, when they were ‘new’ and ‘newish’ Art Deco and Art Nouveau turned up on the same mantelpiece – people didn’t throw things away just because a brand new trend had surfaced, so there is no need to keep things apart now. When you have paid for a traditional rug, for instance, there is no need to change it because you have made the rest of the décor more trendy – the fact is, the two styles will get along just fine.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

Although your traditional rug may not be an antique of the future, it has a place in any décor. And if you have bought modern rugs and now want a change, the same thing applies. Just think of all those people who had Flotaki rugs back in the day – it’s a sure bet they wish they had kept them now, because they are right on trend. It isn’t everything that deserves to be kept no matter what, but you will know what you like and what you don’t want to part with. A natural rug will keep its good looks for years and a wool rug will never date. The real rule with buying anything if you want it to stand the test of time is to spend as much as you can possibly afford. Traditional rugs in particular are examples of where this rule bears fruit – if you buy a really good, hand knotted rug you really could be giving your grandchildren a nice heirloom. But if your pocket won't stretch to that just yet, why not by a lookalike and get the pleasure of the look while you save up.

Take care of things and they will last

It isn’t too obvious to say that if you look after things they will last longer – many people abuse or neglect their belongings and are then surprised when they fall to bits. When you get your traditional rug home – or any rug with an unusual pile or finish – you will find care instructions with it and these are there for a reason. Many traditional rugs have a silk finish whether or not they actually contain the fibre and this is ruined if you use the beater bar of your vacuum cleaner. Switch it off if your cleaner has this facility or use the tool – you will ruin the pile if you are too rough with it and your traditional rug will be ruined. Traditional doesn’t mean tired and tatty, so take care of things and they will last a lifetime.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Hair standing on end? Natural fibres can help cut static

What with central heating and a lot of man-made fibres in clothes and furnishings, lots of people these days suffer from static build-up, often causing painful discharge of sparks either from one person to another or from a person to an object, such as a metal bowl in the kitchen, a doorknob or light switch. If you are very unfortunate you will find you have an almost permanently statically charged cat, which makes for interesting times; it really makes them grumpy. There are various things you can do to prevent this, such as tumble drying with an anti-static sheet in the drum and wearing as much cotton as you can, but one thing that will make a big difference is using natural rugs on your floors. Natural fibred hardly ever hold a static charge and you will be much more comfortable if you use wool rugs or ones made of bamboo or coir as much as possible.

Humidifiers can help as well Although most people worry about their homes being damp, dry air is a real problem if static is causing you discomfort. You can choose to have a device which puffs out small amounts of steam on a timer or you can have other gadgets that spin water in a tank and this humidify the air. If you have a raffia or coir natural rug you can damp them down very slightly in very dry weather – they won't mind this and in fact it will keep them supple. The problem with many man-made fibres is that every time you step on them they rub together under the weight of your foot and each time they do this they build a charge, which then gathers until it is earthed by something – and here we are, back at the poor unfortunate cat. Natural wool rugs don’t do that because the wool, raffia, coconut fibre or what have you don’t have the same properties. Although you will probably have a lot of sources of static in your home, natural rugs will ensure you don’t make things worse just by walking across the floor.

How to be more comfortable in a static environment With so many gadgets around all giving off electrons the modern home can really never be free from the problem, but along with your natural rugs you can make other changes to make things more comfortable. Keeping the air damper is certainly a way of doing this and using a natural bristle brush will help your hair be less static. When you are vacuuming or any other task involving a rhythmic movement, wear cotton if you can, so you don’t accidentally build up static in your clothes as your arm brushes your body. Use fabric softener or, preferably, dry your clothes outside so they discharge to the air. And, whatever you do, if he is looking fluffier than usual and a bit out of sorts – don’t touch the cat!

Size isn’t everything – shape matters too

When you think about a new rug for a room, probably the first thing you do is reach for a tape measure. Obviously, the rug has to fit the space – there is nothing worse than buying a large rug and then finding you can’t open the door – but you should also consider the shape as well, because using a round rug can really give a floor space some definition. Most rooms, perhaps obviously, are square or rectangular and this is reinforced by how we place the furniture – normally around the walls or opposite other items. Think two sofas facing or a couple of bookcases and chairs around the wall. If you introduce a round rug into this scenario, it gives a bit of fluidity and makes the whole area look less formal. 

Read the full article at the Rug Zone Blog 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Don’t forget the bedroom when redecorating

It depends, but most people tend to decorate somewhere in the house at least once a year. There is something about the lengthening days of spring that make us want to have a bit of a spruce up in the house and the areas most often decorated are the hall, the sitting room and the kitchen. After all, they are the areas that most visitors see and where most people spend a great deal of time. The problem is that there is a limit on how much decorating you can do – either the money or the inclination runs out and yet again the upstairs has been forgotten and looks even dingier than it did when the same thing happened the year before and even possibly the year before that. So, once again, the poor old bedroom loses out.

If the budget has almost gone … again!

Perhaps this advice comes too late and you have already done the decorating and spent almost every penny. Not to worry – there is still an awful lot you can do. Most people suffer from a shortage of drawer and hanging space and this can leave the bedroom looking a little like a laundry, with clothes everywhere. Before you buy a nice wool bedroom rug to make things a little fresher and more luxurious, it probably wouldn’t hurt to go through all the things you have stuffed in drawers and in piles around the room and see what can go to the charity shop or car boot. Once the room is clear, you can decide on a rug – wool rugs are lovely in bedrooms because they are so soft on the feet, but you may feel that something a little more exotic would be nice for a change. In that case, a shaggy rug with a metallic thread would look very feminine and being in a low traffic area won't suffer from a flattened pile.

Be selfish!

The great thing about buying a bedroom rug is that you don’t really have to think about anyone but yourself (and possibly your other half …) because unless you invite them in, visitors aren’t likely to be going into your bedroom on a regular basis. So if you fancy an elegant wool rug or a crazy pink furry one, it is totally up to you. Most bedrooms have limited floor space so you probably won't need a very large rug in your bedroom so you can go for quality and natural fibres have a lot to be said for them in the bedroom because they don’t cause static build-up, the cause of bad sleep patterns, according to some sources. A bedroom rug will need frequent shaking and vacuuming because there are a lot of health issues to consider. Bed mites are on the increase and are found in even the cleanest homes and of course the shed skin flakes and hair that are inevitable in a bedroom make a perfect breeding ground for the little varmints.