Who doesn’t want their home to look like one of those big reveals on HGTV? Unfortunately, we don’t all have the budget to afford a luxury interior designer to make our homes picture perfect. Just because you don’t have a professional design crew at your disposal doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.

When it comes to your home, it’s all about quality over quantity. While you might not be able to afford a complete home renovation, that doesn’t mean you have to accept a life of bargain bin style. As long as you know where to focus the funds you do have (and you’re not afraid of a little elbow grease), you can create a luxury home without breaking the bank.

1. Choose a color palette (and stick with it).

You can add a touch of luxury just by knowing a few elements of design. Color plays a huge role in the mood of a room, but choosing the right colors can sometimes feel like playing the lottery. According to a recent Zillow analysis, homes with shades of powder blue and periwinkle have an increased value of $5,440 on average. While that doesn’t mean you need to run to the store to buy a shade of light blue right now, it does mean color packs a serious punch.

To master the art of color, start small. Work on the main living areas first to gain confidence, then move to the other parts of your home. You don’t need a degree in design to make the colors in your home work for you. You can figure it out for yourself with a simple color wheel. Using colors that appear next to each other will be calming. On the other hand, opposite colors will be bold.


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2. Add texture to create a polished look.

From metal to thick fabric, texture makes your space look luxurious without that expensive price tag. Think of your favorite hotel rooms you’ve stayed in. What made those rooms so special? Odds are it’s the lush bedding, the fabrics, and the metal accents. You can incorporate these in small ways, like through brass fixtures and sculptures as well as lush rugs and cushions.

Playing with texture is a balancing act. Metallics are harsh when used in excess, so you need to soften these shades with plush accessories. We all need accents that shimmer and shine, but we don’t want our homes to be so dazzling they start to feel cold. Those metallics are the little black dress of your home design, while your fabrics will soften the overall look.


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3. Upgrade your furniture.

Think of your furniture as the featured actors in a production. They’re the stars of the show, and everything else is just in a supporting role. Today, most affordable furniture is mass produced and not built to last. These pieces are designed with modern trends in mind, and they won’t fit your design over the years as it continues to evolve.

Do your wallet and your home design a favor and upgrade your furniture. Look for quality pieces that are built with the future in mind. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can’t afford high-quality furniture when the reality is they can’t afford not to purchase high-quality furniture.

Inexpensive, low-quality furniture has a short lifespan. It’ll need to be replaced in 1-3 years, and that means buying another low-quality piece to fill its place. This cycle is endless until you realize the best option is to choose quality furniture from the start. Visit Amish Tables to see for yourself why quality, custom furniture is a smarter choice.


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4. Add molding to your malls.

One of the staples of classic, luxury homes is the crown molding. While your first thought when you think of molding might be something overly Victorian and gaudy, you don’t have to go that route unless it makes sense for your design. Adding molding to the baseboards, ceiling, and chair rail can add depth to your space.

The trick to ensuring your molding doesn’t date your home is to keep it simple. Single-shape molding adds an element of style without being too over-the-top. The good news is that as long as you have a steady hand and some patience, you can install molding yourself in just a few hours.

5. Wallpaper your walls.

Like crown molding, wallpaper evokes a vision of stuffy, outdated homes. Cast all of those thoughts about wallpaper out of your mind. Wallpaper of today is a whole different beast, and it’s guaranteed to take your home design up a notch. Today, wallpaper comes in a wide array of modern patterns and styles. It’s no longer a pain to apply and to remove, and some of it is even reusable.

You can incorporate wallpaper in so many ways that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The most modern options are geometric styles and florals, but don’t be afraid to go bold. You can cover the entire room or just a statement wall, and you can always take it down when you’re ready to move on to a new design.


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6. Take your windows higher with window treatments.

Unless you’re willing to start a major renovation, you probably aren’t physically able to move your ceiling higher. Grand, luxe homes always seem to have high ceilings. While there’s no secret trick to raise your ceiling magically, you can create the illusion of more space with some window treatments.

First, opt for wall-length curtains that go from the floor to the ceiling, even if your window isn’t that high. This will draw the eye upwards and enlarge the space. Custom made curtains will give you complete control and allow you to dictate the décor. Next, add depth with custom blinds or paneling. This simple upgrade will transform your home into a spacious wonderland.

7. Hang statement artwork.

Many new home designers are intimidated by choosing art since there’s so much pressure to find the “right” photos or prints, but this is misguided. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what you hang, as long as you hang it well. Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of actually hanging art with confidence. Don’t worry, you don’t need to measure with your arm anymore.


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Step 1: Measure the top edge of the frame to the hook or nail. This will account for any height difference between where the nail actually sits and the top of the art.

Step 2: Time for some simple math. Divide the entire frame height in half, then subtract the measurement we figured out in the first step. If you’re framing something that’s 22 inches tall, you’ll divide 20 by 2 to get 11. Then, subtract 1 inch for the nail position to get 10 inches.

Step 3: The prime hanging spot should be within an average person’s line of sight—usually 60 inches off the ground at the center. That means we’re going to add 60 to our measurement. When we add 60 to our example, that leaves us with 70 inches. Mark your spot on the wall according to this calculation, and you’re ready to go.

Creating A Luxurious Space

Who doesn’t feel at home in a luxury hotel room? There’s something about the quality design of these rooms that make us want to stay forever. You can bring the luxe of your favorite hotel rooms to your own home with these ideas above.

Luxury doesn’t have to mean expensive. It’s all about the feelings behind the pieces you choose. Your home is your story you’re sharing with yourself and guests. What favorite things and styles do you want to surround yourself with?

Don’t forget to pin these ideas for later.

Linking up with https://www.clairejustineoxox.com/2018/09/goodbye-summer-hello-autumn.html

My Random Musings

When you set up a business, one of the decisions you need to make is whether you will operate as a limited company or a sole trader. Setting up a limited company can appear daunting but does have some advantages that you need to consider.

Limited liability

Although when you set up a business, you are full of hope and self-belief, the truth is that things can go wrong in business. Limited liability protects you if things do go awry as you will not be personally liable for any losses made by your company. This is because the company is a separate legal entity in its own right with its own bank account, assets and so on.


Companies and individuals you do business with may see you are more professional if you are operating as a limited company. Some people will have a business policy of never dealing with sole traders or partnerships. So to an extent, establishing yourself as a limited company can be a marketing tool.

You company name

Once you have successfully registered your company with Companies House your company name is protected by law. They have  very strict rules for the naming of companies so no one else can use the same name as you, or anything deemed too similar. If you know you are the only person operation with your company name, you know you will always stand out and other businesses will not be able to pass themselves off as your business.

Transfer of ownership

When you start a business, succession may not be on your mind but establishing a limited company offers protection for future events too should you wish to transfer ownership in your company to others. This means you or other shareholders in your business can retire easily when the time comes or move on to pastures new without threatening the business.

You should also look into the pay and tax advantages of setting up a limited company which can make you far better of financially. To work out which legal structure of business is best for you, go to the One Click Group which will help you work out the right answer for your individual business.

My Random Musings

Yesterday, I gave up on my son for the first time in his life. I honestly felt that I was not equipped to help him in the present or the future. He was also making it very clear that I was being stupid, not listening and not helping one bit. I ended up concluding that he should rely on his father from now on rather than myself.

Let me explain the situation. We moved to France just over a year ago basically because we felt we were working for nothing in the UK with high rents and so on. I had always fancied living in France anyway but not pursued it as my husband is not the most adventurous. When I saw an advert for a rented house in France I raised the issue which my husband poo-poo-ed as he does with most of my ideas. He came round to the idea when I explained how much better off we would be.

We remained in the UK long enough for my son to do his GCSES. He was disappointed with his results. If am perfectly honest so was I particularly when I thought about how I had encouraged him to revise and perhaps put school work over video games from time to time. That said he was also ill with time off school last year and he struggles with what I think is dyspraxia. We negotiated for special extra time in his exams so he could get things down on paper in the time slot. He did have some incredibly good grades in Mathematics, English Literature and RS. He had wanted to do History and Domestic Science but the places were full for those courses. Politics which is one of his passions was not even on offer.

My son is like me in sometimes really lacking self-belief. I am having to go back and remember just how rotten that is when you are young. The good thing with getting older is even when the negative self-talk hits, you do actually know you can overcome challenges.

I talk to him a lot and explain how people we know including in the family have done amazingly well in life with no or poor exam results. I also point out that despite my degree in Law from Cambridge University, I have never managed to get wealthy or even reasonably well off. I explain that sometimes you meet people that turn your life around in unpredictable ways. He looks at me and I can see what I am saying is not really registering. I remember being the same at his age feeling the older generation really did not get the traumas of the younger one.

It all started yesterday when I was having a really positive home education session with my younger son and daughter. We were looking into various aspects of World War Two. When Anderson shelters were mentioned in a video we were watching we decided to find out why they were named that. Then I came up with the idea we could build one on the land here over the weekend to get us working together as a family outdoors. My husband’s response to this from the other room was that I was being over-ambitious. My teen son followed this up by saying yes his dad was right and it was totally impractical. I lost it. I have asked both of them over the years to help me with home education and they don’t. I think that is fair enough for my teen but really resent that my husband does not help and resents my requests for him to get involved. He has delivered around 5 lessons in 4 years so you get the idea. This from the man who promised he would cover science and maths subjects leaving me to focus on the arts.

My take is that those who do bugger all should not expect perfection from those who are at least making an attempt to get it right!

Anyway, I lost my temper and then cried. We are in France. My teen son wants to return to the UK. He wants a life of his own but does not really know where to start.

Last night when we had calmed down a bit, we chatted. He thinks an apprenticeship would be his best option ideally related to theatre, film, history or politics. He would like to live with a friend but his friends are not in their own places yet and still living with parents. To his credit, he knows I love it here so does not want to drag me back to the UK. I of course want to support him so would happily return to the UK to get him on his feet. We have worked out we need another year to work it all out and in the meantime he can learn French. He says he has tried so I have said we can sit down every day and do a French lesson. We did this today and he made no mistakes at all so that’s a step in the right direction.

I guess this is a triumphant tale in that both of us felt ready to give up on the other yesterday but resolved it positively. I honestly though I was doing the right thing bringing us all here and we have all had a good year but I now need to realise my son has his own dreams that might not quite match with my own and that is OK. We are in this together

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How to find a good gardener is a question for many busy households. Perhaps you are juggling work and parenting and really don’t have time to commit to keeping your garden in good order. This can be an issue as it stops you enjoying your garden to the full and neighbours may complain it is become overgrown and ugly. Many older people struggle as they age to keep up with a garden that is their pride and joy. Gardening is regular household expense if you choose to take someone on so it is important to choose your gardener carefully.

Finding the right gardener

Ask around to see if any of  your family or friends can recommend a good gardener. Be really clear what you want the gardener to do. Some areas of gardening require really good levels of experience and training. Small jobs may just require a gardener who is fit and healthy without any specific expertise. You may feel more reassured for more complex jobs if your gardener can show you paper qualifications. Ask for references or testimonials so you are absolutely certain you have picked a gardener you can rely on. Check whether your gardener has a public liability insurance certificate, which would cover any damage they caused to your property. Safe contractor or CHAS accreditation and evidence of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check are other good signs of a professional business.

Clarity on what you want to be done

Some gardeners are very enthusiastic and might try to persuade you to take on services that you really do not want or need. Before contacting potential gardeners be very clear on the garden service you want them to do for you. Remember you are the customer so you should be calling the shots. Having said that ask them to use their own tools or you could inadvertently end up in an employer and employee relationship which comes with legal requirements.

Set a firm budget

As with all situations where you take on a tradesperson be very clear on what you can afford. If you over-stretch in any area like this, that leads to stress at best and debt at worst. Get firm quotes having set out specifically what you need and want doing in your garden. Make sure the quote is confirmed in writing so you can refer back to it in case of dispute. Check how your gardener wishes to be paid and how often. Although saving money is good, be realistic and question particularly low quotes which may indicate a lack of expertise or other challenging issues. Quotes may be per hour or per job particularly in the case of larger gardening projects. Check that quotes include waste disposal charges too if you want them to take the garden waste away for you.

What tips do you have for engaging a gardener?















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When it comes to the time to buy your next car, will you choose a new car or go for a used one? Cars are one of the most expensive purchases families make so you need to ensure you make the right choice for your individual circumstances. You may be able to access finance or you may struggle due to credit difficulties. Car insurance and other costs need to be taken into account. Aviva’s insurance cover helps whether you go for a new or used option with cover for damage to your brand new vehicle or roadside repairs for an older and used car.


Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of used and new cars.

Advantages of a New Car

My husband prefers new cars as they come with a warranty.
A new car is a good bet so long as you maintain it properly and carry out regular services. New cars come with better mileage rates and lower emissions. If you love your technology, new cares tend to hook up to your mobile phone and other devices that much more easily than used ones.
New cars also give you an ego-boost which an old banger just cannot do in the same way.

Disadvantages of a New Car

New cars are expensive. Not only that you lose money on them the minute you drive them off the lot. The depreciation costs in the first three years are huge. Always consider your other financial needs before investing in a new car both now and make some realistic predictions for your finances for the next few years.
If you take out finance options, do consider the terms and conditions carefully. In particular look at the total amount you will be paying back for that shiny ego-boost that you may come to hate in the future.

Advantages of a Used Car

The obvious advantage of buying a used car is that it is so much cheaper and you can set the budget you want to spend. You may be able to pay in cash which saves you laying out on the costs of finance. You can do research in advance and see if the model performs well or if it is known for particular flaws.
Insurance costs are likely to be lower on used cars so there is a financial saving there too.

Disadvantages of a Used Car

We all have horror stories about used cars. It is far better to take an expert with you to look at potential cars if you are not that savvy when it comes to car maintenance. Not doing so can result in so much stress and financial outlay. In extreme cases, there can even be a threat to life itself. Not every person selling a car has your best interests at heart. Just this week, my brother told me he bought a car on Ebay which broke down on the way home.
If you are buying a second-hand car, you may not get precisely the make, model or colour you prefer. You may have to be flexible about these things. It is arguable that a good history and mileage is far more vital than your favourite colour.

New or Used Car?

In the end the decision on whether to buy a new or used car has to be an individual one. Do talk to other family members and take their views on board. Do plenty of research before making that leap of faith whether you choose a new or used car. Ideally have a mechanic on hand to check over the car before you seal the deal.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Aviva