10 Ways to Decorate An Alcove


Most interior designers love working with alcoves and find that they have great design potentials in that they can be designed and decorated in such ways that they become a focal point in any room, instead of being an ignored or uninteresting space.

Alcoves are recesses you’ll find within interiors spaces (hallways, living, dining, bedrooms, or bathrooms). They range from tiny nooks to wide bays. But many homeowners don’t know what to do with these recesses and end up placing a planter, a nondescript item or storage boxes into theirs. Others just leave them empty.

However, there are quite a number of ways to turn a niche into a spectacular space that’s not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional as well, depending on its width and depth, whether it has windows or not, or its ceiling height.


Alcove Design Concept



10 Ways to Turn Your Niche into an Impressive Space


1) If your alcove is wide and deep enough to fit in a comfortable chair like a sofa or divan.  Add a smartly styled table in front of it to serve as a coffee table and set this on an area rug. If it is a wide bay window recess, you can add side tables. Hang a large painting on the wall behind the sofa and put a  table lamp on one of the tables and artsy decorative pieces on the others.

Regard this space as a cosy nook, a quiet area away from the household crowd, or a small retreat.

2) For smaller alcoves, mirror the walls from dado height up to give an illusion of a larger space. Antique themed mirrors or bronze mirror look great for this style. Add a high display stand or something like a plinth and place a large vase of freshly cut flowers on it. You may prefer to place a treasured carved statue, an abstract piece of artwork, an aquarium, or any decor item that's a good noticeable size. Fix a decorative pendant light fixture to drop from the ceiling.

Now, you have a beautiful spot that enhances the room.



3) Under-the-stairs niches can be converted to a work-at-home office. All you’ll need is a suspended surface to serve as your working surface, some shelves, a drawer unit under the suspended table top, and a nice chair, swivel if you like. The walls can be finished in a contrasting colour from the other walls in the room in a deeper hue colour that will accentuate the recess complement the other walls in the room. The back wall will also look great with a textured finish or wallpaper.

4) If you love aquatic life, have your alcove converted to an exotic space with an aquarium, sea shells, drift wood, wallpaper with coastal, beach sand, or palm trees illustrations. Build the fish tank on a raised platform. Its height will depend on the alcoves ceiling height and how high you desire your aquarium to be. The platform can be a cabinet to serve as storage for fish food and aquarium tools and accessories.

If you don't particularly like aquariums, you can build a large open or closed plant terrarium instead.

5) An indoor water feature like waterfalls and is popular because of the tranquil feel it creates. You can add a floor standalone water feature with cascading waterfalls or a tabletop one placed on a decorative table. Whether you want something modern, traditional, or rustic depends on the theme of your interior space.

Tranquil indoor water features will greatly enhance your alcove.

6) An alcove can be transformed into a mini gallery that’s filled with photographs, plaques, paintings, or groupings of framed artwork. These can be arranged on all three walls of the niche and well lit with a ceiling light fixture that has a similar theme to the gallery display. For example, if you decide to arrange black and white photos or art décor works, the ceiling light must be of a design that goes perfectly with the theme. You can also use vintage-inspired wall sconces.

Place an imitation area rug on the floor, round, rectangular, square depending on the configuration of the alcove. Its size will depend also depend on the floor space of the recess. Your guests will linger in this space for a long while, enjoying the collections on the walls. It is important that they all be small, framed, and arranged in a pleasing manner.

Alcove Design


7) Place an area rug in the alcove and under a low coffee table to display family relics and personal mementoes, keepsakes, collectables, and the like. You can also display unusual art objects, ceramics, figurines, etc…  Your collections should make your visitors linger and scrutinise.

8) Another design idea for an alcove space is to set a chaise lounge in the space with plush plump bright pillows or if you prefer, you can use a classic accent chair like a scroll chair. Hang a large framed artwork on the wall - metal artwork will be a nice. Set a runner rug in front of the chaise and place a small round top table on a thin pedestal to its side. A floor lamp directed within can throw in subdued light if or when the need arises.

9) If the alcove is less than 1metre wide, convert the space into a display section. Use thick shatterproof glazing for a floor to ceiling shelves and build a dropped (false) ceiling above, fitted with recessed lights that’ll light up your displayed items. The recess can serve as display shelves for anything from collectables and memorabilia to ceramic ware, porcelain vases, and small family photographs. You can display any of your items you want to show-off. Ensure the wall is painted a light hue so that whatever items are placed on the glass shelves will stand out clearly and distinctly.

Try to avoid clutter on glass shelves.

10) If an alcove is set with bay windows, a built-in upholstered bench with plush colour coordinated throw pillows placed as back support creates an awesome look, especially if it has a great view of the outdoors. If the bay window has a wide ledge, decorate it with scented candles, vases, pots of potpourri,  decorative art pieces, carvings, ceramics, and the like. It can be decorated nicely to enhance the alcove.

The platform of the upholstered bench can have concealed storage facilities that's not only a part of the furniture but a structure that is functional and handy.



With any of these ideas, you can turn your alcove, niche or other interior wall recesses into a designer’s delight, a space that can serve as a hiding place of sorts, a nook to read, a place to relax and take a nap on a daybed, or a place to exhibit your prized collections.

Decorate Your Bedroom Walls with Mood Enhancing Decals

Once in a while, we start to get tired and dis-interested with the look of our interior space. It may be the bedroom, living room, dining area, or simply the bathrooms, but there is this lacklustre look that appears somewhat boring, you feel it needs a pep-up. 
Calming wall decal - 'Window to the Beach'
When we get to feel like this, our interior space needs livening-up. But then we begin to think of the costs, and lay back down with a sigh. But having a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t transform the look of your bedroom, or other rooms of your home. A beautiful make-over can be achieved without being 'sent to the poor house!

Liven-up Your Bedroom with Creative Wall Decals and Murals


There is nothing like spicing up your bedroom with creative ideas that’ll make your friends 'green with envy'. Most of us will love a new look bedroom but feel that not much can be done because beds already have a predetermined spot in the room. That’s fine. In fact you can completely change the theme of a room without moving a single piece of furniture out of position.

'Ocean Path' - Mood enhancing removable wall sticker

Wall decals are just the right thing to turn a bland interior space into a dream room because the themes are endless.

From modern and retro wall stickers, to calming water themes prints, applying decals, murals and other forms of ‘wall tattoo’ can quickly change the atmosphere of a bedroom . . . from dull and dreary to cheerful, mood inspiring, and aesthetically pleasing.

Bedroom decals can be used to create an illusion of elegance, for example as an iron headboard for a platform bed. It can be used to create an illusion of living in a penthouse, with a skyscape theme. And it can be made more alluring, to give a look of 'royalty', by adding some Swarovski elements for extra sparkle.

Features and Themes


Decal sizes vary from small to large, and the bedroom’s size and expanse of the wall you intend to apply it on will determine the size(s) you choose. Also, there are hundreds of themes you can use, and you can even create your own design if you are creative or ‘interior decoration inclined’.

'Bird and Flowers' - Wall decal

Themes and scenes range from the classic, as in stained glass designs, to nature themes of trees, Venice canals by night, stars, and butterflies. There are picturesque views of city skylines, exotic beaches, and shooting stars. Inspirational quotes are quite popular and if you love ‘city scapes’ at night, you can only get those with wall murals.


'Earth Moon' Decal

 

How to Apply Decals

 

Further Reading:
5 Creative Headboard Ideas
How to Develop an Interior Design Concept
10 Ways to Add Charm to Your Bedroom
 

Style Your Walls with Peel and Stick Decals

So your interior space is looking lacklustre and you are looking for ways to give it some pizzazz. Sometimes all you need are pretty wall decals. They are cheap, easy to apply, and pleasing to the eye.

Imagine getting a room makeover in the most inexpensive way. Yes, you can and you don’t have to spend tonnes of money too.

You can let your creative juices flow and become an interior decorator of sorts by simply using wall decals, a form of wall art that comes in many forms which include floral, quotes, sky-scapes, ornamental designs, beautiful scenes, scroll-like designs, and the like.



Though this article is about wall décor in your interior space, be it the living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or dining room, decal stickers can also be used on windows, ceilings, mirrors, and even some furniture pieces.

You can also apply them on your refrigerator and kitchen cabinet units . . . you just name it.

As long as decals are applied on flat surfaces, they can be used to improve the look of any interior space - classic, traditional, modern, or urban.

And if ‘futuristic’ is the way you wish to go, if you are creative enough, or, are willing to do a bit of image search for futuristic themes, the ideas you can come up with will have no bounds.



Turn Your Drab Room into a Delightful Interior Space


Quick, easy and affordable home decorating ideas are many, but being able to transform interior spaces from boring uninspiring rooms to bright and cheery spaces in a matter of minutes is just what many home decorating enthusiasts are looking for.

Wall art done the affordable way is a great quick-fix-it. These decals give any space such a fresh and invigorating feel, many homeowners just love them.

They are versatile, very decorative and lively, and will bring "sunshine" into any interior that for instance lacks adequate natural light.

They can be used to add splashes of colour, give added depth, and portray a sense of individuality.

Some come like hand painted wall art; others with subtle themes in black and white but the less busy the decal design, the more aesthetically pleasing it will be.


How to Choose the One That’s Right for You


Decorative wall stickers like all other vinyl decals are easy to apply and if you are the creative type you can play around with the pattern arrangements to create your own unique style.

The removable and the re-usable types are great value for money in that if you feel like changing its look or arrangement every now and then, you can. Just tweak your creativity by re-arranging and re-designing your decals to give you a different style.

Because they come in various sizes from the very small to the really large, you can put together a beautiful and scenic floral wall mural simply by using a combination of decals. Larger sized ones can be combined with images of birds, birdcages, butterflies, and bees, to create a really beautiful scenic view.



The best wall art stickers are reusable, removable, and repositionable, and you can apply and reapply the stickers time after time without any effort and without the mess associated with most other means of interior design tasks like wall painting that can be quite costly, time-consuming, and laborious.

With affordable floral decal stickers like these, anyone can create the look they've always wanted in a matter of minutes! All that's required for application is to just peel the backing and paste it on the wall surface carefully.


Buy - Beautiful Wall Stickers Online



Further Reading:
How to Develop an Interior Design Concept
How to Create Zones Within a Room
Simple Painting Techniques for Interior Walls



How to Turn a Small Balcony into a Garden

Many of those who live in high-rise apartment buildings always miss having a garden. We all love plants and gardens as they play a major role in our lives asides the fact that they are aesthetically pleasing, therapeutic, and calming.

Though we may not have a garden to enjoy like those who live on the ground floor, it doesn’t mean we can’t have one created one on our small balcony.

While a balcony can range from a size that will take only one or two people (with a tight squeeze) to a space large enough to take four, terraces which are much larger than balconies can conveniently take up to more, with some large enough to hold a small party of a dozen or so people.



Most of us have balconies though, so, how do you create a small garden on a 10th-floor apartment balcony? And if you are passionate about gardening, how do you intend to enjoy your hobby while living in a small 7th-floor apartment?

It’s really not hard and as long as you start with the basics, the floor, wall, and ceiling, you will soon know what you’ll require for each.

Floor

The best way to make a balcony a mini garden is to lay faux grass as its flooring. Forget ceramic tiles or stone flooring. You can find quality faux grass (artificial turf) in the market, online or off, especially at home improvement stores. They look and feel so much like grass, they'll even fool the cows!

Additionally, add a small cluster of potted plants. Make sure they are not in the way; besides they don’t have to be large potted plants. If you prefer, a lone plant in a clay pot will suffice. If you don’t have that much space, go vertical by placing them on stumps of tree trunks, or on mounted shelves

You can also create a bed of smooth pebbles, using a custom built metal trough not more than 10cm (4inches) deep. This feature, combined with the faux grass flooring will make your balcony seem like a mini-garden.



Walls

What great ways to create a garden feel than by mounting simple trellises on external walls on the balcony? A trellis is great for vines and creeping plants that flower. For a simple trellis, go for those made with light wood, bamboo, or slim metal bars.

You can also finish one wall with stones or bricks. There are ceramic tiles that look and feel like stone, and they come affordable. Apply this for a rustic feel that is typical of many gardens. Bricks will also look great when applied on a wall and painted any colour you desire.

Alternatively, you can fix slim shelves onto a wall and place a collection of ornamental small potted plants like cacti, aloe, asparagus ferns, staghorn ferns, and Chinese money plants. You can also use the shelves to display your growing herbs or vegetables.

The shelf sizes and numbers will be dependent on the available wall space, but something long and narrow along the wall can be used to showcase a beautiful range of plants. Keeping the width narrow allows them to sit within the space instead of dominating the small area. Arrange the plants in such a way that hanging plants are at the bottom, and those with more height are kept along the top, to softly frame the feature.



Ceiling

With the balcony ceiling, it depends on whether the balcony is open to the skies or covered with the floor slab of another level above. Any which way, you can still create a dramatic ceiling in your little outdoor space. It only requires a little imagination as there are no hard and fast rules on what works and what doesn’t.

For the open ceiling, you’ll need to shade your balcony. You can do this by building a pergola or awning structure with wood beams left in their natural form, or painted white. You can hang potted plants from it or train vines to grow over it. And because your balcony is small, it won’t cost you much.

For the overhead concrete ceiling, install hooks for a collection of hanging plants in pots or baskets. Hanging plants is one of the most visually impactful ways to decorate a small balcony ceiling.


Make Your Balcony an Extension of your Indoor Space


Balconies have the greatest impact as an extension of the indoors but for small balconies, your goal should be to bring the outdoors indoors, especially if there is barely any room to sit out with a cup of coffee and a book. If this is the case, set a couple of small wicker chairs (and table) or simple wrought iron chairs by the entrance leading to the balcony.


Small Balcony Design Ideas

For those lucky to have larger balconies, you may have enough space to seat a couple of people within your balcony space.

Visually, foliage beyond any room makes an impactful connection with the outdoors and will make the adjoining indoor space seem larger. So, even if you only have a tiny balcony, it will be worth your effort to create beautiful greenery out there, as it will provide a focal point beyond the boundaries of your interior walls.

Related:
Who Should you Hire for your Landscape Design?
How to Develop an Interior Design Concept 

*Images created with interior design software*

 

Best Ways to Design a Kitchen Layout

Beautiful kitchens are not only achieved by how pleasing to the eye the whole room is, but by how well they work for users, and how functional they are whilst in use. And being that a kitchen still remains the heart of most family homes no matter what age, it's a room (or space) in a home that needs special attention design-wise.



Having a successful kitchen that works effectively is fairly easy as long as its planner takes into account the fact that a kitchen activity flow must follow a triangular path. This is what kitchen designers refer to as the 'work triangle'.

Work Triangle in a Kitchen Layout


The work triangle in a kitchen plan is the distance between the sink, refrigerator and the cooker.
  1. The path of a kitchen's work triangle begins at the food storage area (refrigerator). This path's distance can range between 42" (1m) to 60" (1.5m) to both the kitchen sink and the cooker.
  2. The next point of the triangular path is the food cleaning and processing area (sink). The area and the counter-surface around it are where foods are cleaned, cut, mixed, stuffed, etc..., and set in readiness for cooking. Of course, it sometimes depends on the type of dish being prepared, for instance, salads require no cooking while beef stroganoff does.
  3. The last path of movement and point of the work triangle is the cooking area and this is the location where the oven, the stove, and microwave are installed. This is where the processed and mixed foods are cooked.

This triangular path works well for efficient activity flow and though kitchen designs should be (to some degree) adaptable to homeowners ways of life, certain things will still remain constant.

Nonetheless, the best kitchen planning involves following a flow pattern (whilst working) that heightens efficiency and saves both time and expended physical energy.

Kitchen Planning and Counter-Tops


The standard requirement for a kitchen countertop's width is 60cm (24") but in some regions of the world, you'll find lesser countertop widths of 50cm (20") and 55cm (22"). The lengths of these work surfaces will always depend on a kitchen's size (area) and its length and breadth.

Backsplashes, a vertical addition to counters, are an essential part of kitchen cabinet surfaces though today's backsplash offers more that protection from splatters of food and splashes of liquid. Modern kitchen planners now use them in a wide number of ways to add beauty to their kitchen design ideas. You'll find them in materials ranging from colourful PVC based strips to glass, stainless steel, ceramics, and wood.

Counter-tops that end in dead-end corners can serve as surfaces to place containers or food items that are going to be used or stored away.

Proper Planning Ensures Design Success


Asides all the technicalities involved in planning a great kitchen, this room, being the hub area for the whole family, should be as spacious as is possible; it must be warm and welcoming, have ample storage in terms of open and/or closed cabinets, a walk-in larder if space permits (or one built into the cabinetry), and a serving counter-top and/or a breakfast counter.

A waste disposal unit in the kitchen sink, central island cookers with down draft extraction fans, an intercom system, telephone and double ovens, built in warming trays and microwaves is good to consider during kitchen planning, adds to the ease of cooking and affords forms of entertainment.

Many homeowners plan that their kitchen is in close proximity to a utility room. Well-positioned utility rooms could provide spaces for deep freezers, washing machines, dryers, folding tables, (for laundry), ironing boards, and sinks (or half baths).

This room which is best as an appendage to a kitchen should have counter-tops, cabinets and open shelves

A kitchen planned with an accessible garage should not only have space for just parked cars, there must also be extra space for storage and if possible, a tiny workshop.


For the newly liberated empty nesters, now that there is more space per square foot (metre) available for just the two people, it's advisable to consider your kitchen planning to include wider doorways and easy-to-reach kitchen furniture.

This will be a practical factor in the years to come because of easy access and movement around the kitchen either with a wheelchair or just for the ease of manoeuvring.

Related:
5 Efficient Kitchen Layouts