Do you love Christmas, but find that copious amounts of green and red and an army of Santa Clauses don’t work for your decor? Do you want to invest in accents that you can leave out all year? Keeping things simple doesn’t have to be boring! 

Make your own rules and refresh your decor with metallics, beige, white and pops of black and copper to add interest and depth. Add texture through natural materials, metal and glass to elevate your seasonal decorating and make it stylish and chic. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, a modern look will bring the festive winter wonderland indoors without the cold; while down south, wooden elements give a coastal vibe for summer. Here’s 7 ways to add some sophisticated touches to your decorations.

1. Make first impressions count

The first place you welcome your guests is at your front door, so add seasonal cheer with a beautiful door decoration. Go big, but keep it simple – it doesn’t have to be flashy to make a statement. As with all modern decor, keep in mind that less is more. Choose a simple colour palette of green and black, or silver and gold and then use that to inform your decorating choices for the rest of your home.  

2. Mix up materials

Wood, metal and glass are all great materials to work into your decorating. Wooden bead garlands, copper and brass stars and glass Christmas trees all add a touch of modern scandi to your home and are easy to source. Offsetting these with black and touches of deep green keep the modern theme going. Opt for geometric decorations, such as cones, stars, triangles and stylised reindeer, rather than more detailed, traditional shapes.  

3. Deck the halls — modern style

Choose a gorgeous Christmas tree and make it the focal part of your living room, while keeping other decorations minimal. Let your tree shine and decorate it sparingly in colours that match your decor and tie in with your wreath. There’s no need to be limited to traditional Christmas colours! Wooden or monochrome decorations tipped with gold or silver add a luxe look without overwhelming your tree. If you want to go even more minimal, there are gorgeous LED-light branch trees in silver or gold that are a striking alternative to a traditional green, fluffy tree.

4. Light up your space

One of the most simple, but effective ways to decorate is by playing with lighting. At night, the glow of Christmas lights is cosy and festive without being overwhelming. There are so many gorgeous LED decorative features available these days. Choosing simple forms with lighted elements, such as woven cone trees for the mantle, dresser or coffee table, is a great way to bring Christmas into your house while keeping your look fresh. Don’t forget the outside of your house – twinkling fairy lights are an elegant but low-key way to add a hint of the holidays to your exterior.

5. Hang your stockings with care

Opting for modern decor doesn’t mean ditching your stockings! Beautiful Christmas stockings are a must for your family no matter what style of decor you choose. Make them a feature with a simple pattern in neutral colours, add a sparkle with lurex thread or opt for a chunky knit.

For those celebrating in the northern hemisphere, dress your mantle with lights and bare branches for a festive touch while the yule log burns – or create a makeshift mantle out of a sideboard or buffet. Showcasing family photos from past Christmases printed in black and white is a great way to personalise your decor. Think simple but striking, and don’t be afraid to pare back your decorations.

6. Dine in style

If you’re hosting a Christmas or holiday meal, dining in style with beautiful table decorations and dinnerware is a must. Start with matte black stoneware for an organic feel, then continue the gold or silver theme with fabric napkins and simple table decorations, such as small metal or porcelain trees or bare branches. Use tea lights or string lights to make your table an extension of your decor.

Get the party started with a luxe silver or gold bar cart filled with all your favourites for effortless entertaining with a touch of glamour. Use glasses and decanters with a hint of gold and silver to complete the look. An open bar cart will have you prepared for any thirsty guests and Santa might thank you for something stronger than milk too (are there rules on drinking and sleigh driving?).

7. Complete the look

Without turning every nook and cranny of your house into the North Pole, think about adding touches of Christmas to rooms where they’ll have the most impact. Small decorations in the powder room and kitchen will complete the look (without risking the Grinch’s ire!). Luxe throws – faux fur for those experiencing a winter Christmas and lighter materials for antipodeans – add depth to beds and sofas.

Homemade posters featuring quotes from favourite Christmas carols or books are a fun way to update your existing decor for the holidays with a personal touch. Even better, swap out photos or prints in existing frames to keep the cost down. Monochromatic or metallic Christmas cards can also be used as a low-budget way to bring Christmas art into your home.

Hannukah is right around the corner, with the period between the 28 November and the 6 December just weeks away. Around the world, those celebrating Hannukah will dedicate nine nights to lighting the nine candles of the Hannukah Menorah – not to be confused with a Menorah, which only has seven.

The Menorah is perhaps the most crucial part of a Hannukah table – it doesn’t matter whether it’s real or embroidered into the tablecloth. Below, we will explore how a modern Menorah design can make your Hannukah table.

The Symbolism Of A Menorah

In Judaism, the Menorah symbolizes universal enlightenment. It’s one of the most widely recognized Jewish ornaments, although many people outside of Judaism may not know its name. The tradition of lighting a Menorah began after slaves left Egypt for the Promise Land, and God commanded the fleeing Israelites to light a candle to represent the seven days of creation. 

Now, the Hannukah Menorah is an adaptation of the Menorah that has nine candle holders for each day of the holiday. It’s symbolic to Hannukah, and you could argue that Hannukah would not exist would it not be for the lighting of a new candle on a new day.

How A Modern Menorah Will Transform Your Hannukah Table

Whether you’re going to make your Hannukah steeped with tradition or not, a modern Menorah can transform your Hannukah table to combine class and style with ancient tradition. Traditionally speaking, your Menorah only needs to have the nine candle holders – the rest can be left to the creativity and artistry of the Hannukah table arranger. 

When you think about a traditional Hannukah Menorah, your mind might jump to a simple gold design with curving branches that glide away from the stem – modern Menorahs are anything but that. When you buy Menorahs online, you’ll notice bright colors, designs that are anything but the traditional curved horns, and grand designs that boast modern art.

It’s awe-inspiring to watch artists like Yair Emanual and Simon Pearce explore modern-day design trends – but yet they are still able to pay tribute to Jewish Hannukah Menorah traditions. The sanctity of the holiday is upheld by including the nine candle holders – whichever way the artists choose to put them.

Design Ideas To Explore

As mentioned, traditional Hannukah Menorah designs usually comprise a central stem with eight branches spanning from it. Modern Hannukah designs are anything from it. When looking at Yar Emanuel’s work, you can see the combination of traditional artistry with modern-day, vibrant colors. If you want to move further away from traditional Jewish designs, look for any design that differs from the classic central stem and branches.

We also mentioned that a Hannukah Menorah doesn’t have to be a physical ornament. Some households prefer to paint their own Hannukah Menorah onto the tablecloth. It still upholds the traditional values of Hannukah by including the nine stems, of which you could put a tealight candle at the top of each one to light each evening. This idea gives you the chance to be your own artist and create your own stunning Hannukah Menorah designs. There are, of course, plenty of modern-day designs online if you’d prefer to shop for one.

Hannukah is a sacred and beautiful holiday that millions of people celebrate around the world. It gives us a chance to reflect on the creation of life and explore the beauty of light, reminding us that the light of the Lord is there in everything we do. How will you celebrate Hannukah this year?

Image: Pxhere

There’s an excellent chance that you’ll never own anything more expensive than a house. We’re willing to spend so much on property for two reasons: firstly, we need to have places to live, and secondly, it offers incredible investment opportunities. If you can read the market well and perfect your timing, you can make a lot of money simply through buying and selling property — all while being your own boss and being fully in charge of your destiny.

Now, you may have clicked on this post because you’re planning to sell your property soon, or maybe it’s simply because you want to have the option of selling your property at a good price if you deem that worthwhile. Regardless, the core point of raising property value through interior design is absolutely worth your time and attention.

To help you make your property more valuable, we’re going to look at some straightforward interior design tasks you can carry out. Let’s get to them.

Prioritize kitchen and bathroom design

There are two parts of a house that inevitably get the most attention from prospective buyers. The kitchen, and the bathroom (or bathrooms). Bedrooms are obviously important, but they’re relatively easy to overhaul. Kitchens and bathrooms take time and effort, which is why you should focus on them for your interior design project.

Concentrate on making these areas feel as luxurious as possible. This can be done on a budget since it’s all about perception: you don’t need to pay much to add some light, clean everything, and distribute some accessories. You can even make a tiny kitchen feel substantially bigger. If you can get this done, you can add value quickly by making prospective buyers feel comfortable in the property right away.

Cater to the pros and cons of the area

To get some added perspective on what can affect the value of property, I spoke to Ade Labinjo, CEO & Co-Founder of the online mortgage company Breezeful. He raised the following point:

“Now that remote working is common, people are free to choose the locations they want, so a typical buyer will care slightly more about the region than the property. Your job as a seller, then, is to make your house best meet or exceed their expectations for the area. Do what you can to play to the strengths of your neighbourhood and diminish its weaknesses.”

“Take Ottawa as an example. Canada’s capital heavily features government-commissioned architecture that was designed to be robust and utilitarian. If you own property that fits that mold, why not add some flair through eye-catching interior design? Visitors will love the mixture of functionality and form. And if they need help finding the best mortgage rates Ottawa has to offer, send them our way. Our online service can do all the hard work for them.”

People prioritizing interior design can forget about the context of their surrounding areas, and that’s a major mistake. There will be things about the region that are drawing the interest of your prospective buyers, so build on those to make your property stand out from the crowd.

Focus on neutral colours and open spaces

When someone buys property with the intention of moving in, they want to have options. It’s unlikely they’ll want to keep everything as it is, so they’ll plan to get to work quite quickly: repaint walls, adjust layouts, change materials, etc. You need to take this into account with your interior design, and the best way to proceed is to focus on neutral colours and open spaces.

Why neutral colours? Because they look crisp and clean, help places feel light and airy, and — most importantly — allow visitors to freely imagine how they might redecorate. When you use bold colours, you make it tougher for people to envision alternatives. A house decorated with neutral colours is more like a blank slate ready to be filled in.

Similarly, the answer to the question of “Why open spaces?” is that they show potential. You want the property to feel as big and flexible as possible. Yes, a densely-decorated room can look really nice, but what if someone looking at it doesn’t like the layout or has a different purpose in mind for that area? Keep things simple and spaced out so the property can have the broadest appeal. This will significantly help the value.

What Is Covered Under House Insurance?

Posted on Thu, 14 Oct 2021 by Guest

It’s a question that is on the mind of every homeowner, especially if they are buying a house for the first time: which worst-case-scenarios are your homeowners insurance policy capable of covering, and which will still fall onto your shoulders alone?

We will discuss what will be covered under a standard policy in this write up. Of course, the first thing worst mention is that simply having a policy is essential – and, without it, you will be the one stuck paying the bill in terms of repairs and maintenance, no matter what goes wrong.

Before you purchase a house insurance policy yourself, however, you need to know what needs to be covered in order to feel confident that your future is secured. What are you getting for what you pay? Why skimp on an insurance policy that won’t cover everything? Or worse yet, why pay more for extra? Isn’t it about time you saved your money and re-invested it in something completely different?

Keep in mind that while some insurance plans can cover the basics and then some, other plans may lack it. If you want to know what coverage to expect in an insurance policy, keep reading. Let’s dive right in:

1. Environmental damage

Nature can be a destructive force at times. And it will depend on what part of the country you’re in. If you are in the middle of tornado alley, then your house could get damaged by a tornado.

If you live near a flood prone area, your yard or home may be partially submerged if you live close to a flood zone. Environmental damage will usually be covered under an insurance policy regardless of the insurer.

2. Fire damage

Fire damage can occur due to causes both within or beyond your control. Your home can face minor damage, or it could burn down completely – and you will certainly want to ensure that you and your possessions are covered.

You may lose personal items due to a fire. Whether it can be replaced or not may depend on the policy – and that is why it is so incredibly important that you take the time to read through the policy before signing it.

3. Theft protection

Burglaries happen every 30 seconds. Most of the time, things can go missing. For this reason, you will need an insurance policy that will replace any items that may have been stolen from the home.

While it is important to keep your doors locked when you’re not home, burglaries can still happen. There are those who can find creative ways to gain access into your house and make off with some items that may be valuable to them.

4. Injuries/Liabilities

Someone could slip or fall in your driveway. Whatever danger is present on your property, you may be held liable – even if it’s an ice patch. This could result in you paying medical bills or even legal fees should a lawsuit arise.

With an insurance policy, your insurer will take care of these expenses on your behalf. You usually won’t pay out of pocket most of the time. But it’s a lot better than having to.

5. Uninhabitable conditions

While it may be a difficult scenario to consider, it is entirely possible for a home to turn into an uninhabitable space in the blink of an eye – and without any warming. Granted, this may be a temporary thing but, even then, dealing with the clear up while trying to find (and pay for) temporary accommodation is an incredibly difficult and stressful undertaking.

With the right insurance, your expenses will be covered until you’re on your feet again. This will prove invaluable if the worst ever does happen, and you face days, weeks, or even months without being able to re-enter your home.

Why do Some Homeowners Shy Away from House Insurance?

While house insurance is a necessity, it’s completely optional whether you want to be covered or not. Unfortunately, most people choose not to get covered for one reason: the cost. On top of that, they also want an insurance policy that may cover the basics (while omitting the rest).

So they will feel confused about what’s covered within their policy and what isn’t covered. This is what makes choosing an insurance policy so complicated at times. However, you don’t have to worry about the complexity that comes with choosing a policy – understanding what your non-negotiables are, and ensuring that you read carefully through the policy before signing, will mean that you can cast fears over future worst-case-scenarios from you mind as you settle into homeownership.

From pizza ovens to breakfast sandwich makers and heated butter knives, we’re now in the age of hyper-specific kitchen appliances. With more and more kitchen gadgets becoming available, it can be difficult finding space in small kitchens to store them all.

We’ve compiled seven alluring ways of storing kitchen appliances in small kitchens that will declutter your space and free up your mind so you can focus more on the cooking.

1. Ace the Main Appliance Layout

As far as kitchen appliance hierarchies go, your fridge, stovetop, and dishwasher are all the way at the top. It’s critical you ace the placement of these when you use a kitchen appliance installation service so you can base the rest of your kitchen organization around this.

Designate zones around these appliances for food preparation, cleanup, pots and pans storage, food storage, and utensils. This will dictate the space you have to store your appliances and the types of storage that will work in your kitchen.

2. Utilize the Corners

Older kitchens tend to have those awful corner cupboards where you need to blindly reach all the way to the back to find what you’re looking for. Thankfully, there have been some very clever corner cupboard storage solutions that have been developed since then that make this the perfect place to store small kitchen appliances for easy access.>

Carousels and Wari corners are just some of the ways you can increase your kitchen’s accessible storage space. This storage solution can be used to store your small to medium-sized appliances, as well as your general kitchen utensils.

3. Maximize Your Cabinet Space

Get more out of your kitchen cabinet space by making it work for you. Most of us only have one shelf in our cabinets and a tonne of wasted vertical space above it. You can double your storage space here by adding in an extra shelf or using shelf risers.

You’ll be able to more efficiently store your small appliances, cups, bowls and more here, freeing up other spaces for your large appliances.

4. Vertical Storage Is Everything

When you’re working with a small kitchen, your vertical storage space is more important than ever. Extra shelving on your walls means you get more free space on your countertops and have less cluttered shelves down low.

Large appliances are heavy and it can be risky storing them above your head. This is why additional shelving to hold your cups and plates is good to free up space in your lower cabinets to store these bulkier appliances around your waist level. Meanwhile, your small appliances like a mixer or blender can easily fit on your top shelves.

5. Display What You Can

Some appliances are just too pretty to stow away in your cabinets. Depending on how much counter space you have, you can proudly display your commonly used appliances while also making extra space for your less glamorous appliances in your cupboards.

It’s more convenient to keep your frequently used appliances out for ease of access. If space allows, store these appliances in an appliance garage. Get some powerpoints installed nearby and you can keep your coffee machine, kettle, or whatever other appliances you commonly use within easy reach at all times.

6. Switch to Multitaskers

Instead of trying to find all this extra space to store kitchen appliances, why not downsize your appliance collection? There is a range of multi-tasking appliances on the market now aimed at simplifying your kitchen gadget collection. Appliances like the Thermomix can replace your blender, slow cooker, standing mixer, soup maker, food processor, juicer, digital scales and stick blender with just one appliance.

Imagine the space you’ll save by replacing all these kitchen tools and appliances with a multitasker like the Thermomix!

7. Store Seasonal Appliances Away

The slow cooker is a staple in the winter months, but do you really need it out when the warmer months come around? Consider storing the slow cooker away in the garage when summer hits so you have room to bring out the trusty ice cream maker instead.

These kitchen appliances tend to be large and bulky, so storing them in your garage or another storage space will go a long way in freeing up more space for all your small appliances.

While not all of these tips will work for every small kitchen, taking the ones that will work for you will help to maximize your available appliance storage space. With such limited space, every little bit helps when you’ve got a small kitchen.