Friday, 12 March 2010

How to Light an Existing Room

A number of options exist to illuminate the room without having to change fittings that are hardwired or permanent features and fixtures.
Using freestanding lamps and up lights we can enhance and focus on the features mentioned previously.

The Table Lamp

These come in all forms and sizes, and the shade can be a feature or selected to blend in with the existing decoration.

The lamp can be used to illuminate a corner or as a task light beside a chair for reading.

The ideal positioning of the lower edge of the lampshade should be at eye level when you are seated - varying between 970 mm and 1007 mm above the floor.

Other features of the simple table lamp are that it gives three forms of lighting; up light / down light, task light or ambient background light. This is especially useful if the lamp is attached to a dimmer.

The Free Standing Lamp

This is similar to above but is used more for placing in corners to make a room feel larger or dividing up spaces when placed between two sofas for example.

A standing lamp with an interesting sculptural base or decorative shade can be used to create a statement. It does not need to match the table lamps but should be complimentary.


How to Create Safe and Functional Decorated Outdoor Living Areas


Firstly you need to define how you will use the outdoor living space. Is it going to be a static area, purely for aesthetics or will you have children playing there? Will you be using it at night, or solely during daylight hours?

These factors will determine what you need and what you can actually place in your space.

For a static space, sculptures and water features work well. They provide a focal point and can be the source of the theme of your garden. The water feature also creates movement into a space that is static and creates a quiet calming sound of water flowing.

For an interactive space, pots are great as they keep the plants and flowers off the ground and are less likely to be stepped on.

Bench seats and seating sets are ideal in these areas as you can sit and enjoy your garden. The ideal situation for these seats is to have a solid ground with paving so the table and chairs remain level and don't wobble. Be sure to select a material that weathers well like cedar or teak timber or wrought iron. For a modern alternative Dedon furniture offers a stunning all weather water-resistant wicker range (as shown below). See


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tips for de-cluttering your home

Step 1 - Act like you are about to move house. Take everything out of the room. (Do this one room at a time or the clutterbug just won't cope!)

Step 2 - Bring back the most important things for the room. For example a living room, the sofa, couch, chairs, TV, stereo, side tables etc.

Step 3 - Work out where all the important items sit within the space. Move them so the space flows and that you can move freely around the room. Then sit down and have a look around, breathe in, how do you feel? You should feel liberated and more at ease as you not having to fight with multiple colours and textures around the room.

Step 4 - Start layering. Select a few things at a time to bring back into the room to decorate with. Paintings, pictures, a vase, a rug, lamps. Do it slowly and feel how the space is changing. Pick out the best items that you want to show, don't use all of them. It is important that the room expresses the personality of the owner, but we don't need their whole life story in one room!

Step 5 - Stop! Yes, don't keep going. Less is better in a room. Put all the remaining items in storage until you are happy with the new space. Then after a few weeks, sort through it all, keep what is reusable, and donate the rest to a charity or sell it on ebay!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Interior Trends in Commercial Interiors

Emerging Trend Forecast for Commercial Spaces - Hotels, Restaurants and Bars

Furniture at throwaway prices with mass-produced origins is rapidly losing its appeal. A more discerning clientele demands luxury interiors which combine quality craftsmanship with inspiring design. With an explosion in the luxury travel sector and an increase in designer boutiques hotels and restaurants, the specification needs to appeal to the more design sensitive. Consumers are becoming more design-savvy and expect a new hotel, restaurant or bar to be visually extraordinary; they want to be inspired not only by what they eat, but by the whole experience.

Colour selections have tended to digress from drab neutrals like browns and taupe’s to livelier, riskier colour with more visual impact. Monochromatic themes are still abundant, but injected with opposing hues such as deep reds and purples, vivid indigo blues and jade greens. Exotic hides and printed leathers such as shagreen or ostrich prints add richness and interest to otherwise flat interiors. Crocodile and lizard print leathers, in a myriad of colours, are an increasingly popular choice in many commercial fit outs for wall paneling, floors and furniture.

With our increasingly transient nature, style direction has become more influenced by cross-cultural factors. Rich textures, patterns and inspiring colours from Morocco, the Orient and Africa have become part of our design psyche and have filtered into designer’s style books. African decor continues to fuel styles for the home and can be easily integrated into more contemporary design choices.

Urban Cape is an interior design house specialising in the design and manufacture of contemporary furniture. All hand-crafted in South Africa from extraordinary materials and finishes combining deep solid timbers, exotic hides, sumptuous soft plain and printed leathers as well as rich leather clad options. Designed to withstand the rigors of the contract market, each piece can be modified to suit the client's personal specification for any aspect of their home, office, shop, hotel or restaurant.

Written by Urban Cape Ltd