Archive for November 2015

A Vocabulary of Oriental Area Rug Design Motifs

Acquire the decorative vocabulary of oriental area rugs, and learn to speak a language that is centuries old.

Weavers of oriental area rugs work with an ornamental vocabulary that has been passed down to them through centuries of tradition. By combining basic motifs, rug weavers can create a vast array of design variations. Mastering this vocabulary starts with learning to recognize the most frequently used motifs.

Oriental Carpet Design Motifs: A Word about Meaning

In Oriental Carpets: Christian, owner of notes that weavers of carpets do not necessarily know the meaning of the designs they use. In the same way, the speakers of a language use words without knowing their etymological origin. Design motifs will see shifts in meaning depending on where the carpet is made. An Oriental area rug is therefore best understood as symbolizing the condensation of an ancient cultural tradition. That said, most motifs have basic meanings, often derived from nature.

Oriental Carpet Design Motifs: The Herati

According to Essie Sakhai, “the herati is the most commonly used pattern element.” In its simplest form, the herati motif consists of a diamond with a rosette at its centre, a pair of smaller rosettes at each of its four corners, complimented by a leaf motif on each of its four sides.

Oriental Carpet Design Motifs: The Boteh

As a design motif, the boteh is recognizable as the basic element of the paisley pattern. Boteh means ‘leaf’ in Persian. In addition to representing the leaf, the boteh can be seen to symbolize a water droplet, almond, or pinecone. In the Zoroastrian religion, as textile scholar Jacques Anquetil notes, the boteh represents a flame, connoting immortality.

Oriental Carpet Design Motifs: The Crab or Spider

A variation on the star cross motif, a crab or spider motif has a lozenge shape with eight extended arms hooked inwards. Understood as a tarantula or scorpion, this motif woven into a carpet is said to carry magical powers of protection for its owner. As a cosmic symbol, the crab or spider evokes nature’s symmetry as an echo of the sun and its rays. The spider is also understood to symbolize the carpet weaver’s craft.

Bedroom Paint Colour Ideas

Bedroom paint colours are your most powerful way to influence the mood of the room. Putting some serious thought beforehand into what kind of “vibe” you want the room to put off can end up saving you a lot of time in the end.

 There are many bedroom paint ideas that can give you just the style you’re looking for. Once you find the perfect ideas for your home, consider hiring a contractor like Titan Contractors to do the job for you. Here are some fun paint colour schemes for the bedroom that are worth considering.

Try a multi tone approach when it comes to bedroom paint colour.

For a fun contrast with your bedroom painting colours, try using more than one hue of similar colours. For example, if you were to pick earthy browns, you could do 2 bedroom walls a darker brown colour and the other two a lighter tan. Top the bedroom paint scheme off with a bright white ceiling and you’ve got an easy sophisticated look. This bedroom paint idea can be put into play with virtually any colour variation out there and is easy to do.

Try painting only 2 of the bedroom walls a darker colour.

One of the bedroom paint colour ideas I appreciate is the understated effect of painting only one or two of the walls a drastic colour. If you use a bedroom paint colour through the whole room that is moderately subdued (i.e. white, tan, or the like) and then paint a wall or two something darker and more dramatic, you can pull a lot of colour into the room without it becoming overwhelming.

Try a bedroom paint accent border.

A fun bedroom paint colour idea that is good for modern style bedrooms is one that employs the mid-level border around the circumference of the room. First paint the bedroom the colours that you want the entire wall; the choose an accent colour to paint across the middle of all of the walls. You can see some nice colours at .

Add a splash of style with a painted wall mural stencil.

One of the fastest ways to bump up the interest of your bedroom paint colour idea is to add a wall mural. Wall stencils are easy to do and come in a wild range of themes and sizes. All you have to do is use bedroom paint to create a clean, fresh canvas, and then paint your design of choice over it using the stencil. This can be a great approach to take for bedroom paint when you have a large wall that you are otherwise not sure what to fill with.

Efficient Fireplaces & Gas Electric Pellet Information

Heating efficiency is one of the most important concerns to a homeowner, especially to those living in a cooler climate. Air-conditioning systems can provide heat, but a popular supplement is the fireplace. Modern technology has allowed many fireplaces to become more and more efficient, no matter the type. Homeowners should choose a fireplace based on their personal heat needs and house requirements. See here for examples:


Most fireplaces come with some type of efficiency rating. Gas fireplaces, for instance, will show how many BTUs (British Thermals Units, a common format of heat measurement) they will produce, usually in one hour. Fireplaces may also use ratings like the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency Rating, which shows how easily the fireplace turns the energy it takes into heat. The steady state efficiency rating is also used, which shows efficiency while maintaining a specific temperature.

Direct Vent

Direct vent fireplaces use one vent to cycle air in and out of the fireplace and are built with a hollow space around the fireplace so that household air can pass close to the heat and heat transfer can be achieved more easily. Direct vent fireplaces tend to be more energy-efficient, but only work with fireplaces that produce emissions. They can improve a pellet or gas fireplace’s efficiency, but do not affect electric fireplaces.

Ventless Fireplaces and Inserts

Ventless fireplaces do not produce emissions that need to be vented outdoors. Electric fireplaces, which use heating elements, are always ventless and can also be portable, unless they are inset in a hearth. This allows the homeowner to target specific places for heat output.

Inserts are essentially metal shells that allow homeowners to transform one type of fireplace into another type. If the homeowner has a masonry fireplace, he can increase efficiency by using a gas, pellet or electric insert. Wood stoves can often be made into gas or electric fireplaces with the right insert, but transforming a pellet stove can be more difficult depending on the type of stove.


Gas fireplaces are stationary and must be connected to to natural gas lines to function. They use only a small amount of electricity, and the natural gas burns so cleanly that they produce only a very small amount of emissions. Out of the three, gas fireplaces tend to produce the most heat based on the fuel used, but tend to be one of the most expensive options as well.


Electric fireplaces use a heating element that resists the electric current flowing through it, Theresistace builds up heat and radiates it out from the fireplace. These fireplaces are somewhat portable and have the lowest cost out of all three. The heating elements used are very durable, but radiant heat is not always the most efficient option.


Pellet stoves like those sold by Stoves4Lifeuse small bundles made of compressed wood shavings. These recycled wood shavings can be very energy-efficient, if used in the correct amounts. Some pellet stoves have an automatic dispenser that release pellets as needed. Although the pellets burn cleanly, they still produce emissions and require proper venting.

Decorating Your Master Bedroom

How To Turn Your Bedroom Into A Private Retreat

With just a few minor changes, you can turn your master bedroom into your own private sanctuary.

Your bedroom is the place in which you rest and unwind at the end of the day. It’s also a place where couples bond and experience intimacy. Consequently, the décor of your bedroom should be conducive to a sanctuary or private retreat. To turn your master bedroom into a private retreat, try some of the following suggestions.

The Colour Palette – Choose a colour palette that will be both relaxing and sensual. You’re surely not going to be able to relax or rest in a lime green or bright orange bedroom. Colours that are said to be peaceful and tranquil are soft yellows, blues, greens, taupes/warm browns and lavenders. More romantic colours include reds, burgundies and pinks. So how do you choose colours that evoke both relaxation and romance? Why not choose one of each? Consider having the wall behind your bed a warm red, and the rest of the room taupe. You can either paint the wall or use a warm red fabric or textured wallpaper to cover the wall. Continue the colour scheme by using the red accent colour in other areas of the room, i.e. throw pillows, rugs, curtains or a cashmere throw.

Remove the Television – Although many people have a television in their bedroom, it may be best not to. Television can be an enemy to a good night’s sleep. How many times have you planned on getting to sleep early just to stay up late watching a television show? This can be the same for spending quality time with your significant other. Without the television, possibly you’ll have more intimate/quality time together while also getting more rest.

De-Clutter – I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “a place for everything and everything in its place”. This should be the rule of thumb for your bedroom. Clutter will surely detract from your ability to rest and relax, so de-cluttering should be your first priority.

Soft Romantic Lighting – You can add peace, tranquility and romance to a room by changing your lighting. Use softer lighting, add an elegant chandelier over the bed and incorporate accent lighting with wall sconces or rope lighting in molding or around doors/windows.

Plush Bedding & Accessories – Comfortable and cozy sheets, cashmere throws, down comforters, silk pillows, cozy rugs and suede curtains are all great touches for your private retreat. And don’t forget a fabric headboard! You can find a good selection at:

Other Accessories – Add accessories to your retreat like scented candles, indoor waterfalls/fountains, fresh flowers/plants or electric fireplaces.

Implementing just a few of these changes/ideas can make a huge difference in the ambience of your master bedroom.

Top Ten Tips for Buying Great Furniture on a Budget

Buying furniture can be expensive, but there are solutions for buyers looking for style without the price tag – see for some furniture bargains.

Moving into a new house is exciting, but the cost of furnishing those extra rooms can dampen your spirits. While there are no shortage of furniture stores, the cost of simple basics like chairs can leave you reeling. It’s particularly tricky to find stylish or unique furniture on a budget – but the good news is – it’s not impossible. Here are some tips and resources for anyone looking to decorate their home with panache, without breaking the bank.

Mix it Up With IKEA

While IKEA furniture may not be the sturdiest, and buyers are understandably wary of purchasing items that also grace thousands of other homes worldwide, IKEA needn’t be ignored altogether. The trick is to browse the IKEA website and identify a few pieces that can be mixed and matched with your other acquisitions. IKEA really does corner the market in cheap stylish furniture, and their prices on things like sofas, sofabeds, dining room tables and barstools can’t be beaten. Just make sure to pair your IKEA buys with some more unique pieces for an eclectic look.

Be Your Own Designer

Gothic Cabinet Craft makes some wonderful inexpensive wooden furniture. You can choose from a variety of designs, woods and colors and Gothic will deliver your customized finished piece. Don’t be afraid to order a Gothic piece to be delivered “unfinished” and paint it yourself. You could consider a silver paint to create a similar effect to mirrored furniture, for example. Alternatively there are wonderful high gloss lacquer paints that give pieces a contemporary look. You’ll get the effect of a much more expensive and unique item.


Anthropologie has doorknobs, handles and hooks in different colours and styles of cut glass, ceramic and wood. You can order these online to jazz up any piece of furniture, or door. The best approach is to mix it up a little, but not too much – don’t have every knob on a 9 drawer dresser be different, but feel free to mix and match larger pieces like doorknobs.


Don’t be afraid of Ebay when furniture shopping, they have wonderful pieces on the site – although it’s really best suited to the buyer that knows exactly what they want. Type in “chair” and you’ll be scrolling through pages for hours. But type in “Eames chair” for example, and you’ll narrow the field down to some more manageable options, including less expensive copies of the designer look you’re going for. Don’t forget a lot of online stores also have pages on Ebay, it’s not just used or vintage furniture. If you’re shopping for a specific look, say “shabby chic,” “Danish modern” or “retro,” simply type the phrase into the search bar – and Ebay will offer up all the vendors of that type of product.

Flea Markets

Flea markets are best left until the later stages of your search, because it’s unlikely that you’ll find a great bed or sofa there, but they’re a treasure chest for things like lamps, mirrors, pictures, candlesticks and the like – and the good news is, chances are you’ll make a unique purchase. Don’t expect them to necessarily be the cheapest items you buy, though, as flea vendors often have quality vintage pieces. But you can always haggle.

Urban Outfitters

For some funky but inexpensive furniture items, try Urban Outfitters. They have some terrific sofas, chairs, rugs and room accessories but without a hefty price tag.

Customize Furniture for Less

At Ballard Designs you can choose from a huge selection of furniture items, each one offering a wide variety of colors, fabrics and wood finishes – meaning you can tailor your item to fit right into your style scheme. The best part is, unlike other customized furniture, this one’s affordable – and the quality’s great.

Stylish High Street Stores for Less

Cheap Bed Sale is a great resource for well priced and stylish furniture including these small double beds, leaning toward the contemporary. Crate and Barrel, which can also be found in malls and high streets across the country, can run a little pricier but still has some affordable items. Crate and Barrel’s sister store CB2 offers contemporary pieces at a lower price. In certain areas, Crate and Barrel has warehouse stores where left over stock pieces are sold at marked down prices. To find out if there’s one near you, simply call your nearest Crate and Barrel store.


It’s an obvious point, but a good one. If you have something to sit on and something to sleep on, then take your time furnishing your home. Furniture stores can offer dramatic mark downs on pieces during sale periods, and you may find you can save hundreds of dollars. Often there are ways to create a price alert on their website, whereby they’ll email you if there’s a reduction on the items you select

Kids’ Bedroom Decor Made Easy

How to Decorate Your Child’s Bedroom Simply and Inexpensively by

Decorating your child’s bedroom without spending a fortune can be quite the task. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep everyone smiling.

Trucks, trains, superheros.Horses, princesses, and fairies. Children’s favorite things can change rapidly, so how you choose a theme and decorate their bedroom should take that into account. You do not want to be left with a closet full of accessories when the next fad comes along. Children’s bedroom themes need not be as difficult as it seems or expensive. Here are a few hints to keep in mind as you begin your project:

  1. Keep the room’s theme broad. A child may have a much longer interest in trains than Thomas the Tank Engine or construction trucks longer than Bob the Builder. Keeping the theme broader may be in your favor. If your child must have a specific character, use items that are more easily changed such as a lamp or a framed poster.
  2. Transform the wall. One of the easiest transformations for a bedroom is the wall. A fresh coat of paint to change the color can change the entire room. Using borders or wallies (applied and removed easily with water) can inexpensively accent a theme of your choice. Stencils, murals, large posters, and simple framed photos or prints can highlight a room’s theme too.
  3. Keep Bedding Simple. Bedding need not be overdone. Having bedsheets of a kids’ choice usually gets them pretty excited, which makes a matching comforter unnecessary. Using a neutral color for the comforter versus one with many colors and patterns will be easier to use with future themes. This will enable you to get more use out of it and make it easier to accent the room in the future.
  4. Hand-me-downs. If you know of someone whose kids have outgrown their decor, you may be able to acquire them and incorporate them into your own kids’ rooms. Tag sales, consignment stores, thrift shops, and even online services may help you find items you need for a fraction of the cost of buying it new. You can also use other on line services to list items you may be looking for.
  5. Room accents. Items that can easily be changed as a child’s interests change are perfect room accents. Theme-specific lamp shades, dresser knobs, small rugs, throw pillows and light switch plates can be found at many discount stores. Small toys, action figures, or dolls from a favorite movie or television show can add to the room’s theme easily. Books within view on a shelf can also highlight a theme inexpensively.

Remember to keep your kids involved in the choices, especially if they are older, so they feel they have contributed to creating their own special space.

What Is the Effect of Pipe Bursts?

Burst pipes often lead to water damage unless the leak is caught and repaired immediately. About 250,000 families have their homes damaged from frozen pipes bursting each year, according to State Farm Insurance. Burst pipes also present a significant problem to cities and municipalities when major utility line pipes rupture.

Burst pipes can cause much damage, ruining carpets and floors, shorting electrics and creating excellent conditions for the growth of mould or mildew. Water from pipes may flood the basement, ruining everything that you have stored down there. Your walls might also be damaged from burst pipes so you must resolve the situation as soon as possible. Any furniture in the path of the water could become damaged, resulting in extensive repairs and replacement costs.


Sewage can spill into the open when a sewer line bursts. In some cases an enormous amount of dangerous waste can flow into the environment creating a potential health hazard. A sewer pipe that burst in Florida in June 2011 released about 2.2 million gallons of sewage into the Thompson Bayou wetlands. A later pipe failure in August 2011 released about 1.4 million gallons. Authorities advised residents not to engage in water-related activities, due to dangers from bacteria, according to the site.


Water main bursts can create a considerable amount of damage to property and be an inconvenience to residents. Such events prevent traffic from proceeding normally and flood nearby homes and businesses. Water main ruptures might also interfere with gas lines, which happened when a water main burst in New York City in August 2011. Many area residents were left without a way to cook for their families, according to the New York Daily News.


Prevention should be the prime weapon in your arsenal against damage from a pipe bursting in your home. In particular, guard against frozen pipes, a widespread cause of pipe failure. Cover exposed pipes with insulation, such as fiberglass and remove any garden hoses from outside taps. When freezing weather hits, leave hot and cold taps open to allow the water to drip. Avoid turning down your thermostat at night.

Avoid a Burst Pipe This Winter

Whether you’re on vacation or at home, winter often brings concerns of burst water pipes. A careless mistake may end up costing you thousands of dollars in repairs. It can also cause you to lose precious family valuables. To save yourself the hassle of dealing with a burst water pipe, you should take preventative measures.

Determine which water pipes are at risk. Look for pipes in the attic, crawl spaces and on outside walls. These are more likely to freeze over because these places are usually not well insulated.

Insulate each individual water pipe with insulation sleeves or wrapping. Do not leave any gaps or holes. These areas are still vulnerable to freezing. Seal any cracks and holes in the house in close contact with the water pipe. Any cold air from the outside will contribute heavily to a frozen water pipe.

Turn on each tap to allow a small amount of dripping. In case a pipe is freezing, this helps release pressure between the water supply and ice patch.

Set the thermostat temperature for no less than 55 degrees.

Open all cabinet and closet doors. This will provide more warm air circulation for the water pipes.

Call a plumber if you suspect a pipe is frozen. There will be no water flowing from the suspected tap.

Helpful Advice

If you are going away for an extended period of time, make sure to drain all your pipes completely. Turn off the water valve and then turn on all the taps until the water stops flowing. If there is no water in the pipe, there is no chance of freezing.

Allowing your pipes to drip can cause a significant rise in your water bill.

Although you can unfreeze water pipes on your own, you run the risk of warping and damaging the pipes. In the worst case scenario, your efforts to unfreeze a pipe may result in a house fire. The best solution is to call a plumber – I recommend for a fast and affordable service.

Convertinga Loftinto a Bedroom

You can save money on a bedroom addition by using loft space. Because the roof, walls and floor joists are in place, this cuts expenses on construction materials. Adding exterior windows or dormers can boost your budget, but a well-planned bedroom addition will increase the value to your home. Because a loft is somewhat removed from the house, a converted loft is space that a teenager or college student would enjoy.

See to discover how good a loft can look.

Sketch all space you will use for a bedroom area. Designate closet space and electrical outlets. Include bedroom windows or design dormers to be built. Plan to build stairs from the floor below that are at least 4 feet wide as a spacious stairwell creates room to bring building materials and furniture to the bedroom. Check with local authorities to obtain a building permit and a list of regulations before you start construction.

Remove wiring that runs through or across floor joists in the bedroom area. Redirect this wiring to run on the outside perimeter walls of the bedroom space or in ceiling areas. Frame the bedroom space with 2- by 4-inch lumber. Place vertical studs every 18 inches. Insulate all walls and ceiling areas. Install sub-flooring. Hire an expert carpenter or builder to help install one or more exterior or dormer windows.

Install electrical outlets, housing for light fixtures and insulation. Next, drywall the room and ceiling. Frame the walls in the staircase area and install drywall in that area. Finish drywall surfaces with joint compound. Frame closet space and finish with drywall. Hang closet doors and the exterior door for the bedroom. Install crown molding around the perimeter of the ceiling.

Paint the drywall areas of the bedroom with flat or semi-gloss paint. Paint all wooden trim, door facings and crown molding with semi-gloss or high-gloss paint. Connect all electrical outlets and light fixtures to wiring.

Install wood flooring or tile in the bedroom area. Finish the staircase leading from another floor and install a sturdy handrail. Install baseboard materials around all floor areas, including interior spaces of the closet. Paint or stain the baseboard sections before you put them in place.

Use slanted ceiling space in a loft to expand the floor space of a bedroom. Tight spaces that will not allow overhead room or elbow room can serve well as storage areas.

Fix all roof areas in dormer areas that need repairs. It’s costly to go back later to fix a leaky roof or repair ceilings affected by moisture problems.

  • Partner links