House plants not only make your house feel more like a home, they also help to clean up your air. Plants filter harmful chemicals from the air (such as formaldehyde and benzene which are commonly used in household cleaners) and  they also oxygenate your air. Here are our top tips for making plants into a feature in your home. Make space in your life for a bit more greenery!

Create a green room divider

Fill a backless shelving unit with plants and create an indoor living wall. This can also be a great way to divide up your living space, creating a dedicated dining area or reading nook within an open plan living room. Add candles too and you’ll have a stylish focal point for daytime and evening.

Add hanging planters

Hanging planters aren’t just for town high streets and outside of pubs! Add low maintenance succulents, or training plants like Senico Pearl or the very suitably named String of Beads plant to easily add a touch of green to any room. You can buy loads of different hanging planters online (in all kinds of shaped and sizes). This one pictured is from Not On The High Street. You can hang them from curtain rails or exposed beams, or you can buy stylish minimalist frames that can be attached to the wall.

A sprinkling of succulents

If you’re a serial plant killer, these are the plants for you. Extremely hardy and low maintenance, succulents (like cacti) can live on the moisture in the air. They benefit from a sprinkling of water now and then, but you can forget about them for a long time before they start to turn brown. You can buy them as tiny cuttings (only a few centimeters across) and they grow fairly slowly, so they’re great for smaller spaces like a bookcase or desk. They also cope better than other plants in less well lit spots.

Populate corners with greenery

This large Peace Lily really looks at home in the corner of this room. It can be tempting to position storage furniture in corners, such as bookcases and drawers, but reshuffling a room so that furniture is more central can make a room appear more spacious and well proportioned. You can also even out the levels in your room with a plant. For example, if all your furniture looks a bit low, add in a tall palm. If you already have items high up like tall lamps or shelves, a short plant can make the room look more balanced.

Make a mini oasis

Terrariums are a great way to add plants to your home in a flexible way. Terrariums are a bit like tiny self-contained gardens. And because they’re completely enclosed in a glass container, you can easily move them around from room to room. You can buy ready-made terrariums from good quality florists or from boutiques. Or, you can get creative and make your own. Companies like The Botanical Boys run regular terrarium-making workshops in East London.

Make a statement

Make one plant a real focal point in a room. In this studio/living space, the greenery has been allowed to creep in, making for a stylish mix of man made and natural. You could achieve the same effect with a large hanging plant, or a mature palm.

Grow your own greens

The kitchen is a great place to start when greening up your house. Living herbs can be bought in most large supermarkets and don’t take up a lot of space. Add a small herb planter to your kitchen and have fresh herbs to hand whenever you cook.

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So you’ve just bought your first home? Congratulations! Now you’re free to really make it your own. But buying a home can be pricey, so maybe you’re thinking you don’t have the budget right now to start decorating? Not necessarily! Here are some great tips and ticks for ways you can start decorating your new place and really make it feel like a home, straight away, without breaking the bank.

Make your accessories into a design feature

Instantly inject a bit of your personality into your home and save on storage space at the same time by making a feature of your accessories. Hang hats or jewellery in a bedroom or hallway – use simple hooks or even hang a brass bar with rope. You could even up-cycle a vintage ladder to make a quirky hanger and shelving unit.

It’s ok to mismatch

Don’t worry if all your furniture doesn’t match – mismatching furniture can look great. Just spend some time thinking about the placement of your furniture, and perhaps bring the style together with cushions that follow a specific trend, or with certain types of plants.

Print your Instagrams

We’re all guilty of it – you’ve got hundreds of photos online but they never see the light of day. Why not print them out and use them to decorate your new home. You could hang them with string and pegs, or just pin them to a cork board. Lots of services online will print your pictures on high quality glossy paper and post them to you for a few pounds. A box of glossy prints would also make a great house warming gift.

Make your ceilings look higher with dual tones

Make your space look bigger and save on paint by painting half way up your walls. Be careful to use complimentary tones (pastel shades work particularly well for this) and always put the darker  or bolder tone on the bottom.

Maximise storage space with creative shelving

Get creative with your shelving! Get hold of some old crates (top tip: car boot sales are a goldmine for these) and position them at opposing angles. This is a really flexible way to make space for plants and ornaments and is very inexpensive.

Upcycle a second-hand sofa

There are loads of ways you can improve the look of a second hand sofa. First of all, if the cushions are sagging, refill them with extra stuffing. This will instantly make the sofa look newer. Add a colourful throw and cushions and consider replacing the sofa’s feet. You can buy stylish wooden sofa legs (very Nordic in style) from most good home improvement shops. They simply screw on.

Display your kitchenware

If you’re unhappy with the style of your kitchen cabinets, why not remove them entirely and replace them with simple shelving, magnetic strips, bars and hanging hooks. There’s no need to hide away your kitchenware, having it on display will make your kitchen look functional and homey.

Make DIY artwork

You can improvise artwork for you home by using the covers of vintage magazines, or trawling through old books for interesting images and illustrations. IKEA sell an excellent range of very inexpensive frames. Then you can build up a great collection of prints over the years.

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As the days are getting shorter and the sun sets earlier in the evening, you might be looking for ways to make your home brighter and lighter. Here are some easy tips for filling your home with light and making your spaces look more sunny and spacious…

Lighten up on furniture

Dark furniture can suck the light out of the brightest rooms. Go for lighter wood tones, or white furniture to make a room feel so much lighter and more spacious. You don’t need to rush out and replace everything you own – why not just add a lick of white paint to your furniture? You’ll see an instant difference.

Give your windows space

Keep the space around your windows clear! Don’t clutter up windowsills with ornaments or put large plants in front of windows. Apart from the obvious (less light getting in through the window in the first place) cluttered windows can create a more cramped feeling in a room and make it look darker than it is.

Go mirror mad

Mirrors serve two great functions: they make a room look bigger by creating an optical illusion of space, and they bounce light around the room, making it look instantly brighter. Adding a large mirror opposite a window or door will really lift the mood of your room.

Get colourful with rugs

Colourful rugs, or even just colourful cushions, can really jazz up a room and make it look brighter. Rugs with bold patterns have the added benefit of hiding small stains and pet hairs too.

More matte

It might seem counter-intuitive, but matte paint on walls can actually make rooms look more light-filled. This is because too much glare from gloss paint will reflect light in odd directions, tricking the eye into thinking the room is more cramped and less bright. The same goes for furnishings and flooring.

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