How to Use Utility Rooms Efficiently

Most people’s utility room is an extension off the kitchen area and there is good reason for this.

The kitchen is the busiest room in the home and some functions that take place in a kitchen can be extended into a utility room. Not only that, it can serve as additional area to an already limited kitchen space.

This close proximity allows for efficient and functional use of both rooms. On the one hand, an extra freezer (if you have a large family) can be placed in a utility room. It can have fitted shelves where you can store things like homemade preserves, tins, chinaware, spare glasses, etc..., a good way to de-clutter the home.

On the other hand, a utility room can be used for your laundry tasks that range from sorting dirty laundry to washing, drying, and ironing, and folding-away.

This is not to say you can’t have a utility room in another area of the house. Some homes have the room in the basement yet others have it a converted attic.

Reasons Why You Need a Utility Room

If you are building your home from scratch, it is good to plan the best position to site your utility room.

Of course the most obvious function of a utility room is for laundry tasks so if yours is meant to serve this purpose, make sure your design has an exterior wall because of plumbing pipe work needed for the washing machine and utility sink.

If you need this room for something multi-purpose, for instance, if you need it to serve as a handy workshop, closet organiser, and storage seasonal clothing such as winter coats, then it can be situated anywhere from next to the garage to an extra bedroom.

And if you need one to serve as an extra kitchen area, a pantry and wine cellar, site the room adjoining the kitchen. It all depends on the function you’ll need the space for, both now and in the future.

There are some other reasons why you need to incorporate a utility room into your home’s design. They can also function as:
  • Your DIY craft workstation – a set-up with a work table that doubles up as an ironing surface
  • A room to store stepladders, tool boxes, vacuum cleaner, and carpet/curtains steamer
On a final note, not only are utility rooms great places to do your washing and ironing, crafting, storing, etc..., they allow for a more efficient use of other spaces in the home thus giving homeowners the opportunity to divide work functions into specific areas.

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Home Office Ideas - How to Create a Functional Workstation

Do you work from home and if you do, how comfortable is your workstation?

Many who work from home seem quite comfortable using the kitchen counter or the dining table as an office desk. But then, in the kitchen, when it’s time for food preparation and cooking, everything - books, pens, phones, laptop and all get pushed to the side to create space for the room’s purpose.

Created by Viryabo@Polyvore

Yet others run their home office in the living room, feeling generally unfazed with, discs, USB drives, routers and the like strewn all over the floor or on the coffee table.

None of these working conditions are good enough for anyone that works from home.

Though we have all the advantages and perks of technology which basically means we can run our home business in less space, it is still best to identify and create a spot in the home to work comfortably and efficiently.

This can be a small part of the living room, dining area, the hallway, a corner, niche, or by a bay window. A private space that’s conducive for your work solely and out of the way of other members of the household. But then this is great if you have ample space in your home.

In many cases, the home is small and there is barely much space to allocate for a home office. If this is the case, there needs to be ‘sharing of space’. But how do you separate home and work life when they share the same interior space?

Areas in the Home That Can Serve as Office Space

Finding the best space to serve as a home office work station is usually the easy part but designing and decorating the space using functional and efficient furniture and furnishings that’s the right scale and size in relationship to the rest of the room is the “not-so-easy part”.

But first, let’s identify the possibilities:
  • Underneath the staircase
  • First floor landing
  • A niche or recess that’s a minimum of 90cm (36 inches) wide 60cm (24 inches) deep and 180cm (72 inches) high
  • Free wall space within the living or dining area
  • A existing closet
  • The extra room (once the kids have ‘flown the coop’).
  • A guest room that can double up as a study or home office
There must be perfect integration of your home business setting with the rest of the surrounding interior space. So it’s important that you pick out the best place within your home to do your other home business tasks without turning everything upside down!

14 Ways to Make your Workstation Functional, Comfortable, and Pleasant

It is important to create your own personalised workstation. Asides making it functional and comfortable, you must endeavour to make it cheery, bright, and even colourful. Your home office must come across as a passionately put together space with a real sense of energy.

Most home based workers often forget that this space needs to be attractive and inviting, worrying more about its function and ergonomics. But creating an office at home goes beyond that. You want an office that is so lovely that you don't want to close the door on it or hide it from inquisitive eyes. You want to show it off!

When designing a home office, you should:

1. Blend it into the surroundings in a pleasing manner

2. Ensure it is organised and free of clutter

3. Keep your desk neat and avoid too much desk bound paperwork

4. Have a memo board for notelets, to-do list, calendar, or photographs.

5. Store files, receipts, and the like electronically

6. Make sure your desk and its accessories match the room’s décor and theme for a sleek stylish look

7. Make the workstation a flexible space in the event that other family members wish to use it

8. Ensure the scale of your home office furniture corresponds with the scale of other items in the room

9. Have ample storage. Try installing floating shelves above the desk and/or vertical files to organize and keep at arm's reach If your work requires you to store a lot of paperwork

10. Add a splash of bright colours (wall, chair, and floor rug)

11. Hide all electrical cords. This makes your workspace clean and organized

12. Make sure that you have a very comfortable chair. Remember that you may have to sit in it for hours to get your work done

13. Have good lighting for your desk and its close surrounding area

14. Accessorize your office desk in a pleasing manner. Personalise your workstation with things that make you motivated and cheerful

Your home office workstation is an interior zone where you’ll be spending a great deal of time working, so it is important to be happy with its setup.

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Clever Storage Ideas for Bedrooms

As bedroom spaces become smaller, we need to be more creative with storage solutions.

Coming up with storage ideas by using spaces and furniture optimally requires some thought and the best way to approach the issue is to draw up a rough floor plan of the entire bedroom space, including the areas designated for furniture.

Bedroom Storage Ideas (created by Viryabo@Polyvore)

Plan for both vertical and horizontal spaces for bedroom storage, especially if your apartment doesn’t come with a walk-in closet; this way, it’s easy to start thinking and sketching out the kind of units that will work best for your room.

Types of Bedroom Storage

There are two types you can use in a bedroom.
  • Standalone storage furniture
  • Built-in units
Standalone furniture for storage includes chest of drawers, armoires, bedside cabinets, storage beds, dresser, wardrobes, tallboy, and highboy while built-in units include fitted wardrobes, built-in chests, and floor to ceiling wardrobes.

Features of bedroom storage include:
  • Long and short hanging sections (long hanging sections are good for hanging full length gowns and dresses, trousers, long skirts, overcoats, etc... while the short hanging spaces are ideal for hanging skirts, blouses, shorts, shirts and the like) with inner lighting
  • Open or closed shelves for folded clothing, tees, hat boxes, etc...
  • Drawers for undergarments, socks, scarves, odds and end stuff, etc...
  • Pull out wire baskets for sundry items, or anything you may wish to store away in an easy to access airy unit.
  • Shoe racks, bag racks, and belt hooks
  • Upper storage spaces for large boxes, suitcases (if you don't have ample closet storage), etc...
  • Jewellery lock-away sections, travel and other important documents
If you are designing your bedroom DIY wise, consider space for the above when mapping out your sketch. If you are hiring an interior designer to do the job, start off by discussing all your storage requirements him or her.

You can also find bedroom fitters at your local home improvement stores. A designer or fitter should present you with a simple to read and understand plan with working drawings that show how spaces will be divided and allocated.

Integrate Storage Design Ideas with Bedroom Style

Bedroom or closet storage and organisers must be well integrated with the total design concept of the bedroom and its décor. For instance, a heavy rich mahogany wardrobe may be beautiful and elegant, but it will look out of place if incorporated within a room that has an ultramodern dresser and country style night stands.

Likewise, you wouldn’t want to mess-up your minimalist less-is-more look with a heavy oak bed, an elaborate foot chest, and some heavy ornately carved headboard.

However, it’s good to note that if you are one that has a preference of say an eclectic theme or absolutely love Bohemian décor, then set interior design rules don’t necessarily apply.

Any which way, it’s best to choose a bedroom design that's not only pleasant but also possesses great potentials for a good variety of storage solutions.

Affordable Storage Solutions

If you are on a tight budget and want organise things inexpensively, go for built-in wardrobe units without the doors. Instead, install roll-up blinds (wood, bamboo, or fabric) or drapes which coordinate well with the room's colour scheme.

This idea is great for hiding everything in a visually pleasing manner and can be applied for dead corners, niches or a wardrobe recess.

Louvered doors that can be found at most local D.I.Y. stores are another alternative. They are lovely, have character, and are very affordable to serve as doors.

Finally, if you live in a tiny flat where your bedroom serves a dual purpose . . . as a living room during the day and as a bedroom at night, what appears to be a wall in daytime can be pulled out at night to form a bed with a sprung mattress and built-in lighting. This storage idea works great where space is limited, like in studio apartments or converted lofts.

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Antique Chinese Oriental Rugs

Chinese antique oriental carpets and rugs are beautiful pieces of Chinese art influenced by the religious faith of Buddhists, Taoists and Lamaists.

First woven in China over 2000 years ago, they were made from fine silk with symbolic and figurative imagery used as highly important themes.

Chinese Oriental Carpets - Created by Viryabo@Polyvore

Pattern themes such as 'The hundred antiques', 'The fragrant fingers of Buddha', 'Waves and clouds of eternity', 'mythical dragon', 'the horse', and many of such distinctive patterns were characteristic features of their rugs.

Instantly recognised by their beautiful colours which mainly consisted of blue, apricot, and yellow, an antique Chinese oriental carpet is an embodiment of tradition and culture that also utilises light and soft tones of silk . . . dull yellow, salmon, brown, tan and rose.

Chinese carpets weavers of old used a reverse weaving method typical of antique Persian rugs with its quality determined by the number of knots in a finished carpet. The number of knots in a rug showed the remarkable effort that was put into its weaving.

Skilled weavers sometimes took up to two years to complete a hand-woven silk rug that measured about 1metre X 1.5metres (3ft X 5ft). Machine produced Chinese rugs don’t have knots and the fringe is attached after the carpet is woven.

There was no real oriental carpet industry in China until the mid-1700s

Today, the production of Chinese rugs and carpets have become highly commercialised with the same unique patterns extensively imitated, and fringes sewn on after weaving.

And because they are highly popular and sought after (they fit into most home décor themes), there are very affordable and sometimes cheap versions in the market with shapes, patterns, and colours made solely to appeal to the western world.

Unfortunately, modern Chinese rug weavers and producers have disregarded old traditions and methods of production.

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Antique Oriental Carpets and Fine Rugs

From oriental carpets to tribal rugs, the luxurious productions of antique rugs by weavers from the East have always been in demand by western homes and collectors since the days of Marco Polo (a Venetian merchant traveller of the 13th and 14 century) and the development of long distance travel.

There are six main classifications of antique oriental carpets and each type is usually named after its area of origin or that of its weavers. Out of the main classifications, there are 50 common types of rugs.
 The New York Antique Society regards oriental area rugs as:
  • Antique - carpets that are over one hundred years old or woven before 1875
  • Semi-antique - rugs that are between fifty and a hundred years old
  • 'New' - oriental carpets and rugs less than fifty years old
Antique oriental carpets and fine rugs are all classified under the following six categories:
  1. Chinese oriental carpets
  2. Persian rugs
  3. Indian carpets
  4. Caucasian oriental carpets
  5. Turkish carpets
  6. Turkoman carpets
Designs on antique oriental rugs symbolise an exceptional variety of artistic expressions found in each village and city from which they originate, with their intricate designs as varied as the weaving centres that wove them.

So whether you prefer the exquisite detail found in centuries old antique Persian carpets or oriental carpets that feature abstract patterns and baroque designs from Europe, the diversity of antique rugs make them great complements and accents for any interior décor style.

Modern Antique Inspired Oriental Carpets and Rugs

Today, oriental carpet production is highly mechanized and sold in commercial quantities. And though a few carpet weavers still hand-weave as it was done in the days of old, mass produced floor coverings is what you’ll mostly find in today’s market.

Mass production of oriental carpets (inspired by antique themes) has affected quality with the use of less than perfect craftsmen, cheaper weaving materials and modern chemical dyes.

Today, the few authentic hand-woven antique rugs are mostly found in museums, in the homes of the very wealthy, and with ardent collectors.

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