Taking a long hard look at curtain hardware

Window dressing can make a massive impact on a home: it frames the windows and adds softness, colour, texture and pattern to a room. But window dressing does not only consist of curtains: the curtain poles have a huge impact on the overall look as well. There is a large variety of curtain poles, tracks and finials available and knowing what to choose, can be a daunting task. Let’s break curtain hardware down for you!

curtain hardware basics

Twofold Interiors

Poles

Curtain poles are perfect for both formal and informal rooms. They can be used with rings or with eyelet curtains that slide directly onto the pole. Curtain pole thicknesses vary from 16mm all the way to 93mm so that you can create a variety of looks.

Finishes include brass, chrome, pewter, dark and light woods, solid painted colours, beaten copper and cast iron.

curtain rail basics

You also get clip-on poles that look like a pole, but that has a track installed behind it. This is great when you want to use curtains without rings. The Alumina range by Finishing Touches has a track integrated into the pole itself, making it even simpler.

Finials

Finials are the bits that you fit onto the end of a curtain pole. Finial styles are practically endless: metals, glass, acrylic, wood. And they are fashioned into all kinds of designs and shapes to suit different styles of décor.

curtain rail basics

Brackets

A curtain pole will usually have a matching bracket, so there isn’t much to worry about here. If however, you want to hang a double layer of window dressing, like a sheer and a dress curtain, then you will need to choose your curtain pole based on the bracket.

There are lightweight cup brackets for 16mm poles, up to heavy-duty brackets for the thicker poles. For poles longer than 1.2m or heavy curtains like those with blackout lining, you will need to install a central bracket as well to prevent the pole from sagging. Ask your sales assistant to suggest the most appropriate one for your needs.

Also, consider whether your curtain pole will be installed on a back or a side wall. Not all poles have the option of end brackets, so if you require them, you will have to choose your bracket first.

Pelmet Pole

providence cottage

I have written about pelmet poles before, but they really are a great invention. It has the look of a wooden pelmet, with the functionality of a double track. They come in a variety of finishes to match the room.

Extendable & Telescopic Poles

curtain hardware basics

Fitted with spring-rods, these are perfect for when you have a bit of a space constraint and want to install a curtain inside the window recess. Extendable rods are perfect for non-standard window widths, and they don’t need to be cut down to fit.

curtain hardware basics

Serena & Lily

Happy Decorating!

This post is sponsored by Finishing Touches.

Why do you need a headboard in your bedroom?

I have recently been headboard hunting because, as you may have noticed in our cottage renovation project, we don’t yet have one in the bedroom. And it’s not for lack of trying. To be honest, I found the options a bit overwhelming and as it happens with overwhelm, proceeded to do absolutely nothing about it. This made me think: why do you need a headboard in your bedroom? Is it really essential and will it make a huge difference if you don’t have one?

providence cottage

Let’s first look at a few pros:

  1. A headboard is both functional and aesthetic: it gives you something to lean against and frames your bed.
  2. It’s a practical way to keep the wall behind your bed protected.
  3. It adds depth, texture, colour, or softness to your room – depending on the design of course.
  4. A headboard adds a finishing touch to your room.
  5. Its style can emphasize the style of the room.

So how do you choose the right headboard style?

There are so many different varieties of headboards available that it is difficult to cover all of them. A headboard also doesn’t have to be a solid piece of wood or upholstered item: it could be anything that frames the back of your bed. In terms of trending bedroom styles, here’s what you should be looking for in a headboard to complement the design of your bedroom.

 

1// BOHO

Sadies Lovely Life

The boho look is built on the layering of textures and natural materials. Go for carved wood, woven rattan or textured upholstery. And if you were into alternative style headboards, then this would be the style to explore.

 

2// SCANDINAVIAN

By Koczanska

The Scandi trend is still going strong! If simple, clean lines and great design is your thing, then this is your style. Blond wood or white headboards as part of the bed frame is the perfect choice to create this fresh fuss-free look.

 

3// MINIMALIST

Domino

Taking Scandi a bit further, minimalism strips a room of anything that doesn’t fulfill a basic function or that which we value most. Anything that detracts from that, is removed. Choose a headboard that doesn’t show off, in honest materials like wood or natural fibers like cotton or linen.

 

4// FRENCH COUNTRY

Infiniti Homes

Still popular for its coziness and nostalgia, French Country is all about dreamy linen, deep buttoning, and distressed finishes. Get the look with a linen or brocade headboard and beautiful lace bed linen.

SHOP YOUR NEW HEADBOARD HERE!

5// VINTAGE

headboard

Design Collector

Vintage as really become popular over the last few years. It’s a style initially built on frugality and a sense of environmental kindness. But it has by now flourished into a style in its own right. It’s accessible, economical, and adds a wealth of character to any room. Like with boho, you can also really think out of the box here. Anything that can be positioned in a more-or-less upright way behind your bed, can work!

 

6// MID-CENTURY

headboards

Lynden Foss for Inside Out

The furniture of the 50’s have really made a comeback in a big way and there really are just 2 things you need to remember here: tapered and wood. Tapered legs on beds, nightstands and dressers and natural medium wood finishes create the most amazing midcentury bedroom. Throw in some twill on an upholstered headboard with a wooden trim and you’ve stepped back in time!

 

7// JUNGALOW

Anthropologie

For those who live in urban areas but yearn for a bit of the outdoors. This is another style that plays with natural textures and materials, mixed with greenery. A LOT of greenery. The idea is to create a jungle, so don’t hold back!

Finishing Touches offers a unique approach when it comes to headboards. You can design your own headboard according to fit your style and personality in 3 easy steps:

Step 1:  Check the size! Standard bed sizes are:

Step 2: Choose your design and fabric. There is a wide variety of fabric options and 8 different designs:

Step 3: The Admin. Place your order, process the payment and collect your headboard in 10 to 15 work days.

Remember that you will get your 20% off made-to-measure designer headboards from Finishing Touches until 24 December, so hurry to your nearest Builders Warehouse and place your order!

Happy Sleeping!

This post was sponsored by Finishing Touches.

What is the best way to mix prints like a pro in your home?

When I think of mixing prints, I am reminded of the heyday of florals and stripes in the 90’s. Everything was pink, peach, and pale blue with touches of burgundy for a formal setting and splashes of soft turquoise to keep things light. Although terribly outdated now, this laid the foundation for many interior brands who kept building on that to bring you an abundance of patterns thrown together in a very structured but seemingly random way. I struggle to mix patterns in fashion – I have to have a particularly good self-esteem day to pull it off. But in interior design, I throw patterns together with reckless abandon! Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you want to mix prints like a pro in your home. Use it as a guide, and then throw all caution to the wind. Play a little this spring -what’s the worst that could happen?

1// seek inspiration

There are few places I go to for my patternal inspiration (yes, I just made up that word – but it works!).

  1. Missoni
Missoni Home Emme Collection

The mother and father of textile prints, this family-built design house is synonymous with mixing things up. I wrote about Madame Rosita Missoni’s talk at the Design Indaba Conference 2 years ago and was so inspired by this matriarch’s fierce passion for pattern. Here’s a designer that is truly fearless!

2. Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley Living Wall

I started my career with this amazing brand, and will forever love their homeware! They have been throwing together prints since post WWII, and doing so fabulously. Their online catalog has some serious pattern eye-candy! And while they are quite traditional, they do also have amazing contemporary ranges.

3. Anthropologie

Anthropologie Medina-printed Rivona Chair

It’s no secret that I have a huge design crush on Anthropologie. They have this way of doing a crazy mix of colour and prints and making it all work.

2// find a common thread

Voutsa for Anthropologie

Whether you choose a colour, a scale, a pattern, or a texture, as long as there is something tying everything together, it will work! Maybe everything has some botanical element in it, or there is a touch of blue in all of them. It could also be that you have a large painting, rug or wallpaper that is the unifying element in all of it.

3// play with layers

Liberty For Anthropologie Feather Bloom Shams

Start with an item and build from there: this will usually be a big piece, like a carpet, or curtains. Then gradually layer on top of that. A bedroom also offers ample opportunity to play with different layers of pattern. Use curtains, or a duvet cover or quilt, as the starting point. Then add a different print with pillows, followed by accessories like a throw or a scatter.

4// vary the scale

Anthropologie Edlyn Sofa

If everything is the same scale, things can get pretty hectic, pretty quickly. Have large patterns mixed with small patterns and dense prints with more spacious prints. White space or negative space is also very important here: there has to be some quiet in all the busyness to give your eyes a rest!

5// jump out of your comfort zone

Old Brand New

Unless you plan to redo all the walls with an imported wallpaper and have floor to ceiling curtains made, the risk in throwing prints together is actually quite small. There is no right or wrong: as with anything in your home, if you can live with it and it makes you happy, then it works! Buy a few cushions to start with, and see if they work together in your current living room. If they don’t, you can always take them back 😉

Happy decorating!

 

 

 

The modular sofa that will make you want to play with your furniture

Sofa shopping can really be a challenge: it’s too big, too small, not the right fabric, it’s just not flexible enough, or you just don’t know what you’re supposed to be looking out for. But then local design legend, Weylandts, came up with the Easy Living Modular Sofa that combines extreme quality and comfort with the ultimate flexibility. It’s one of those designs that you look at thinking: “Why are not all sofas designed like this?” It’s not often that I get excited about seating, but when I started to explore all the possibilities of these modular sofa units, I couldn’t help myself.

All 5 of the modular units in the range boast feather-filled cushions, 100% linen slip-covers in grey or white and gorgeous teeth-stitched detailing.

weylandts modular sofa

weylandts modular sofa

Putting together the different configurations is a bit like building a puzzle with multiple options. Determine how many bums on seats you need, pick your modules and start playing with your furniture!

Here are our top tips on what to consider when buying a sofa:

1// Weight

A sofa has to be heavy. If you can pick it up with one hand, that means that the frame has been made with lightweight materials which will not be durable in the long run. A heavy sofa means that the frame has been constructed using durable hardwoods. Even modular sofa units have to feel heavy when you try to lift them. If you can comfortably pick it up, it’s probably not a great frame.

2// Warranties

Any retailer should offer you a warranty on their product. Read their terms and conditions, but it will usually comprise 2 years and exclude reasonable wear & tear if the product was used in an appropriate environment. So, don’t buy domestic furniture and use it in a retail or commercial environment.

3// Upholstery

There are so many upholstery options out there that it can be difficult to know where to start. Natural fibers like linen, wool, bamboo or hemp are always a great option for their luxurious look and feel. To protect your upholstery, you can choose to have a professional application of a stain repellant coating. This kind of microscopic film on your furniture will ensure that it stays clean and looking like new. Leather is another great option that comes in a variety of colours and finishes to suit your home. If you take care of your leather furniture properly, it is sure to last you a lifetime.

4// Filling

Most sofas are made with foam on the seat and feather, foam or a combination of the 2 for the back cushions. Unless it’s an allergy issue, always go for feather. You can puff up feather cushions again and again where foam tends to compact after prolonged use and then have to be replaced. Feather is also incredibly comfortable.

Our Favourite Picks

Weylandts offers a fantastic selection of sofas to suit your home. Click here to have a look! Or have a look below at my favourite accessories from their range.

weylandts modular sofa

1… colourblock scatter camel  |  2… potted beacarnea |  3… ica vase – medium  |  4… handwoven throw natural blue  |  5… bone inlay stool  |  6… vedic leaf vase  |  7… basket patterned wire  |  8… 100% cotton duvet set  |  9… blue lily study scatter

 

Now, go and #playwithyourfurniture!

This post is sponsored by Weylandts.

 

6 foolproof updates for a Spring-ready home

It may be just me, but no other season has quite the effect on me that Spring has. It makes me want to change things up, throw things out, and generally, take stock of my life and my home. Getting your home ready for the new season is really simple when you look at a few key elements: windows and window treatments, and home decor and accessories. Here are my 6 foolproof updates this season so if Spring fever has not quite taken hold of you yet, you’re in the right place!

1// take it down and wash it out

spring fever

My Domaine

The warmer weather is perfect for getting your curtains cleaned. Read the care label on your window treatments and wash it in the machine if possible, or have it dry-cleaned. That goes for removable upholstery, quilts, and throws as well.

2// hang something lighter

spring fever

Homemy Design

Spring is the perfect time to add some airy sheers to your windows. Pack your heavy draperies away and replace it with light linen and cotton that can sway in the breeze. Dress up the look with some designer crystal poles, or keep it simple with a classic natural wood pole.

PRO TIP: Curtain clips that make it easy to hang and replace curtains later as the season turns. That also means that you can use simple drops of fabric as a window treatment instead of made-to-measure curtains.

3// go floral

1. hertex florence in ebony //  2. sew & such floral bunting in red  //  3. home fabrics orsay in summer  //  4. h&m slub weave cushions cover // 5. handmade by me foliage on pink wallpaper  //  6. hertex exotic in dijon  //  7. sunkissed handmade floral letter  //  8. a love supreme palm in yellow //  9. sharon b design yellow protea cushion

As I mentioned in my The Most Inspiring Things in September post, florals for Spring are hardly groundbreaking stuff. But if Mother Nature can get away with redecorating with florals every year, so can we! Floral Roman blinds, scatter cushions, prints, rugs – anything that brings blooms into your home. Finishing Touches has a great variety of materials you can choose from so that it will light up your room this Spring. Make use of their made-to-measure service to make sure that your blinds fit your window perfectly. Here are some of the bright and breezy fabrics on offer!

4// lighten up textures

Anthropologie

Pack away tweed, wool, heavy quilts, hide, thickly woven accessories, and throws. Replace them with light cotton bed covers, cotton throws, woven textures, and light fabric prints. Just this textural change alone will already make a huge difference to your interior.

5// throw some light around

spring fever

West Elm

Mirrors are an amazing way to bounce light around the room, so get that glorious spring sunshine into every nook and cranny with a few well-placed mirrors.

6// and as always, declutter and throw out

spring fever

My Domaine

The amazing thing about sorting out your home is that it seems to clear your head as well. Our homes are a reflection of ourselves so, if your home is a cluttered mess, chances are you don’t have a lot of mental and emotional clarity either. Clear out the old and redundant and make way for the new! I dedicated an entire section in my FREE e-course on decluttering, so if you haven’t yet signed up for it, you can do so here.

Happy Spring!

This post is proudly sponsored by Finishing Touches.

 

Add a fragrant touch to your guest room with Rain

I always see the Rain shop and think, WOW, how lovely! It smells amazing, it looks cozy and inviting, and it generally just warms my heart to think that a small company from Swellendam was able to create this iconic brand. Made with natural African botanicals, these gorgeous bath and beauty products are packed with antioxidants, moisturizers, and nutrients. You must have a look at their delicately illustrated herbarium where they share the benefits of the ingredients – it’s informative and lovely to look at!

Rain is what is good about our beautiful country:

In support of that vision, here are some amazing products that you can buy directly from their web store to add that finishing touch to your guest room and guest bathroom. And don’t forget their homeware – I have my eye on one of those crochet blankets!rain

  1. honeycomb Blanket \\ 2. organic scented sachets \\ 3. bath mat \\ 4. rock mint bath salts \\ 5. wild cotton glycerine soap \\ 6. wild cotton body lotion \\ 7. wild cotton gift box \\ 8. bath salts in bag \\ 9. baobab and olive soap

And now that you have all of these lovely products, here are 5 tips to make your guest feel pampered:

  1. Luxury bath products are always a treat. Whether you choose bath salts, bubble bath or a luxurious bar of soap, make sure that they are hypoallergenic and natural as far as possible.
  2. Scented sachets in drawers and cupboards will ensure that they stay fresh. Closed doors have the tendency to become musty, which is not what you want when a guest opens a doors or drawer.
  3. Soft and absorbent bath mats will ensure that feet stay dry and warm on bathroom floors. They are also great to prevent slipping! Choose super absorbent cotton which dries quickly when aired after a shower or bath.
  4. Body lotions and potions are always a nice touch, but again you have to ensure that they are natural and suitable for sensitive skin.
  5. Heated towels are such a treat! If you don’t have a heated towel rail, install a wall-mounted heating panel and place a freestanding towel rail in front of it to make sure that your guests have toasty towels.

Happy hosting!

All images courtesy of Rain.

Light Layers Of Window Dressing for a Small Cottage

A light-filled home is on most people’s priority list. Because let’s be honest, those amazing interiors that you covet on Instagram and Pinterest are never of dull, lifeless and dark rooms. But what to do then if you live in a place where it gets inappropriately hot in summer but you have beautifully light-filled rooms? I was faced with this conundrum recently while redoing the cottage that we have on the farm. The bedroom windows face both west and north, the open-plan living/dining room and kitchen have windows facing south, west and north. This provides for ample light but little in the way of reducing heat gain in the summer. Here is what I came up with to dress the windows of this small space with the help of Finishing Touches.

1// LAYERING

providence cottage

Especially for a guest bedroom, layering window dressings give the occupant ultimate control over the amount of light allowed into the room. Have blackout curtains on a separate track to dress curtains so that they have the option of completely blocking out the light, or just diffusing it. Using 105mm Fluted Designer Pelmet Poles gives you the option of having 2 layers of curtains with a wooden pelmet fitted to the front for a slick finished look.

2// BLINDS

providence cottage

Blinds are such a fantastic way to regulate both sunlight and heat gain in a room. By tilting a blind upwards, you allow the sun’s rays and heat into the room. By tilting down, you create a shadow which still allows light in without the heat. It’s basically the difference sitting under an umbrella versus not sitting under one. I chose white aluminium Venetian blinds in the living areas to blend with the walls. Darker blinds in the bedroom further aid blocking the light when they’re closed. The blinds are doing such a fantastic job in the bedroom, complemented by simple eyelet curtains on understated 35mm Designer Range wood poles.

 

3// KEEP THE FABRICS LIGHT IN THE LIVING AREAS

providence cottage

Heavy drapes are great for large rooms, but when it comes to smaller spaces it’s best to stick to lightweight fabrics. These faux silk curtains are light and airy while sufficiently diffusing the light when they’re drawn. For more on how to choose fabrics for a room, click here!

4// ADD A TOUCH OF GLAM WITH 20mm

providence cottage

Curtains can work at a variety of lengths, depending on your needs:

  • make them 20mm shorter than floor height to simplify cleaning underneath (this is my least favourite)
  • keep at floor level (standard)
  • make them 20mm longer so that they “sit” on the floor

By making them longer, it puffs up the curtain and makes it look much more elegant. Adding a darker border to each curtain will hide any dirt that may get on them at the bottom.

5// DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE BATHROOM

A small white aluminium Venetian blind ensures privacy in the bathroom while allowing for enough natural light to enter the room. Make sure that the window is always slightly open to prevent moisture from damaging the blind in the long run.

Happy Decorating!

All of the curtain accessories and blinds in the cottage were graciously sponsored by Finishing Touches.

 

Know your synthetics from your naturals: a quick guide to curtain fabrics

The durability of materials is always a consideration when you are furnishing a guest cottage or guest room. And when you start looking at rub-counts and coatings, things can get pretty overwhelming. Here’s a quick to curtain fabrics so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to your window dressing.

Natural Curtain Fabrics

Cotton

A natural and sensible choice, cotton is lightweight, durable and inexpensive. A thicker fabric will last longer, especially if your window is getting a lot of direct sunlight. Adding lining will make sure that light is being blocked effectively, and will also improve the fade resistance and longevity of the fabric. Cotton comes in a vast variety of prints and colours, so you really are spoilt for choice.

  • Pros: Available as both tighter and looser weaves to accommodate the required level of light
  • Cons: tends to fade in strong sunlight

Linen

curtain fabric

Style Lovely

A firm favourite, I use linen as much as possible. It is heavy so it hangs really well, and linen sheers have the most magical quality when hung in front in French doors, softly blowing in the breeze. While more expensive than cotton, it is a natural fiber that has great durability and a beautiful course texture.

  • Pros: Hangs extremely well and suitable to both formal and informal rooms.
  • Cons: Dry clean only and wrinkles easily

Silk

This is Glamorous via Flickr

Another gorgeous natural option, silk curtains are typically expensive and suitable to a more luxurious setting. Their airy, billowy fabric drapes well, especially when the curtains are made longer to puff up on the floor.

  • Pros: Extremely luxurious and stylish
  • Cons: The fabric will naturally degrade over time, especially when exposed to harsh sunlight. Silk is dry clean only.

Velvet

Cocon Decoration

While traditionally being made from silk, modern velvets are made from cotton or even wool to make it more affordable. A beautifully lush and thick fabric, velvet drapes beautifully and is perfect for formal rooms. Because of its thickness, velvet curtains have superior sound, light, and heat insulation properties making it perfect for bedrooms.

  • Pros: Great insulation properties
  • Cons: Velvet curtains tend to be very heavy. This fabric is dry clean only.

Synthetic Curtain Fabrics

Faux Silk

Curtains to Go

While it looks like the real deal, faux silk has improved durability and colour fastness.  These curtains drape equally as well as well as their natural counterpart and retain that shimmer that you want from a silk curtain.

  • Pros: affordable and machine washable
  • Cons: these curtains can sometimes look too shiny, which takes them from looking stylish to looking cheap. Rather choose silk curtains with a slight slub to avoid this.

Faux Linen

SF Girl by Bay

Another great alternative, synthetic linens has the lovely texture of linen without improved crease resistance.

  • Pros: Affordable and comes in tighter and looser weave for light control. Machine washable.
  • Cons: This fabric sometimes tends to pill.

Inspired By Charm

Polyester

Not pretending to be anything other than what it is, poly curtains come in a massive range of prints, colours and textures. It drapes well, is resistant to fading, stretching, wrinkling, and shrinking. It can be washed in the machine and is affordable as well. A lot of fabrics are being made by combining natural fibers with polyester, thereby marrying the best qualities of both and making it more affordable.

  • Pros: It’s virtually indestructible. Except for 1 thing (see cons)
  • Cons: Polyester is basically a type of plastic, so it is highly flammable, doesn’t breathe well and tends to retain odours.

  1. Multicoloured Paisley Print linen Curtain  |  2. Suede Eyelet Charcoal  |  3. Striped Lined Eyelet Curtain  |  4. Melange Slub Taped Self Lined Curtain  | 5. Iris Print Linen Curtain  | 6. Floral Print Cotton Curtain  |  7. Anna Duck Egg  |  8. Diana Multi  |  9.  Textured Karoo Eyelet Curtain  |  10. Floral Taped Curtain  |  11. Large Floral Print Linen Curtain  |  12. Longer Eyelet Sheer Curtain

While I tend to think that natural fibers are generally superior to synthetic fibers, you have to consider the level of care you are willing to offer your window dressings. If I have to take the curtains down to be dry cleaned every time after we have a guest in the cottage, it’s going to become a complete drag and stupidly expensive. I also don’t want to be ironing curtains (when was the last time you ironed a curtain? It’s a huge job!) so for me, poly and poly-mix fabrics are going to win hands down in guest accommodation.

A curtain doesn’t hang by itself though, so here is a roundup of the best curtain poles and tracks from Finishing Touches. For a reference guide on curtain headings, click here!

  1. Designer Pelmet Pole Range  |  2. Elements Range  |  3.  Half Round Double Track   |  4. Classic Wood Range  5. Designer Wood Range  |  6. Galaxy Range

Let me know what you have in your guest room – I’d love to know!

Happy Hosting!

This post is sponsored by Finishing Touches.

Feature image: Homes To Love

Turn your study into a guest room without breaking a sweat!

Hospitality is defined by the online dictionary as the “friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests…”.  It’s also synonymous with words such as kindness, warmth, and generosity.  It conjures images of a beautifully decorated guest room with fine linen and thoughtful touches, always at the ready for guests or even friends who came for dinner and stayed for breakfast. And who wouldn’t want to be received in that way and offer their guests the same warm-hearted welcome? Unfortunately, our families seem to fill our homes to the brim – no matter the size of either – and few of us have the luxury of a dedicated guest room, let alone cottage or suite.  So, we make do. We cozy up, accommodate our guests in the room that can be spared, and declare: “The more the merrier,” because South Africans are hospitable people. Here are a couple of tricks to quickly turn your nursery, TV room, playroom or study into a guest room that is as comfortable as possible and requires the least amount of effort on your part.

Tip #1 Embrace the sleeper couch

Smitten Magazine

I know, they take up a lot of space when all you really need is an armchair most of the time, but they are a life saver for that odd occasion when you really do need an extra bed.

I’ve had an exhausting look for alternative sleeping solutions for my own home the last few months and, unfortunately, I couldn’t find the traditional sleeper couches that form real couches and then fold out into real beds.  The stores are filled with futons – kind of a couch, but not nearly as comfy, and kind of a bed, but not nearly as big or comfy either.

One positive is that they fold out with absolute minimal effort, are generally very affordable and often have removable covers that you can throw in the wash.

Tip # 2 Don’t waste floor space when you can use the wall

Chances are, after adding a futon to the dual purpose room, there’s not much space left for a guest bedside table, and the desk or change table may not be in a good position to double as a place for guests to place a reading lamp, book or morning coffee.  In addition, the built-in-cupboard no doubt is also completely occupied, leaving them no space to pack out some clothing or a toiletry bag.

Bloglovin

Here’s where wall mounted hooks and shelves come in very handy.  A low wall mounted shelf next to the futon doesn’t hold much but opens up just enough space to place a coffee cup, cell phone and pair of glasses.  The fact that it only held a few books or trinkets to start with, also means there’s less stuff to stash away before guests arrive.

Wall mounted hooks provide the ideal space for guests to hang a jacket, laptop or vanity bag, or freshly ironed evening wear, without taking up any floor space that could otherwise be put to good use.

Artilleriestore

Speaking of good use – the humble cube or ottoman is a firm dual purpose favorite of mine, as it can be used for seating, a coffee table or even a step ladder.  They’re also really light and easy to move around, and you can have removable covers made for them in a jiffy.

Reading lamps shouldn’t take up valuable space either, as they can be replaced with ceiling pendants on extended cords.  Consider adding ceiling brackets that allow you to move the pendant to a different spot in the room at a moment’s notice.

The Design Chaser

Tip #3 Don’t hold back on soft and small furnishings

I’m talking throws, oversized pillows, and mounted picture frames.  Just because the room serves two purposes, doesn’t mean it can’t still look every bit as pretty as a dedicated guest room would have.

The very same throws and large scatters you place on the futon as part of the room’s normal décor, can double up as a blanket or throw once the bed is made (white bed linen is your most versatile bet here), and maintain the room’s carefully designed harmony.

If you opt for two 60 x 60 scatters or even slightly larger, custom-made ones instead of the popular 45 x 45 ones, these can double as continental pillows when guests arrive and won’t take up any additional storage space.

Chica Flair

Finally, make an effort to get wall art that ties in with the décor of the space – even if it’s not in a place you’d see it all the time when the room is used as a study, for example.  If it’s in a place where guests see it when the futon is all made up, it will round off the room beautifully.

If your futon is a little worse for the wear or the wrong colour, you can have a removable, washable cover made for it like I did.  Alternatively, you can also have a traditional sleeper couch or single sleeper chair made up.  Get in touch if you’d like any of these soft furnishings made up, or need some space saving advice.

Feature Image: Bloglovin’

Happy hosting!

Top 11 Insider Tips on how to get your home ready for Airbnb

I have been a host on Airbnb for 2 years now and will remain one for the foreseeable future. Even if at some point I stop renting out my own home, we are the process of renovating the cottage on the farm for exactly that purpose. There are many pros to putting your property on Airbnb, but there is also a lot of preparation that goes into it. Here are my personal top 11 tips on how to get your home ready for Airbnb.

It’s important to first determine the type of accommodation that you offer. We only make our home available for booking during the Easter and Christmas holidays. We tend to be away during those times anyway and this way we know the house is occupied (diminished security risk) and we get an income from it – bonus! It’s a big job packing up a home – especially with 3 boys! – so it has to be worth my while. For that same reason, we also don’t accept bookings of less than 3 nights. If however, you have a smaller place or the property is not your primary home, then it’s much easier to be flexible with your bookings.

So how do I secure all of our personal belongings, create closet space and open up our home to strangers? Easy!

Image Ed O’Reilly for Ideas

TIP #1: Declutter

No-one likes to fight their way through the clutter! Make way for your guests and clear desks, counters, tables, bedside tables, and dressers.

TIP#2: Only lock away your most valuable things

Airbnb is built on the principle that you stay in someone’s home, so it’s totally expected that there will be personal things like photographs, artwork, and any number of other things that you adorn your home with. Unless it’s priceless, leave it where it is. It probably adds to the look and feel of your home and someone else will most likely treat it with the respect it deserves.

TIP#3: Clear some closet space

If you have double wardrobes, then try to cram everything into 1 for the duration of your guests’ stay. If that is not possible, then invest in a few clothing rails with fabric hanging shelves and position them in front of wardrobes.

TIP#4: Lock with cable ties

Not many of my wardrobes and cupboards have keys, so I end up cable-tieing everything. It’s a friendly way to say: “this is my personal stuff, please don’t open”. Here’s what I lock: pantry cupboard, drinks cabinet, 1x closet in every bedroom, linen cupboard, chest of drawers, dressing table and my walk-in.

TIP#5: Clear out your bathroom

Our bathroom cabinets have open shelves with baskets. Nothing could be simpler: I throw everything in there and stack them on top of each other in the laundry baskets which I store in my walk-in closet. Granted, the walk-in is a life saver come pack-up day, but you can easily store this in another cupboard or even in the garage.

TIP#6: Invest in Airbnb linen and towels

I bought separate sets of bedlinen and towels that we use for guests only. It’s all white which makes cleaning really easy and makes the bedrooms look fresh and inviting. Our bed linen gets packed away in the (locked) linen cupboard so that when we return, I just pull all of the bed linen off and put ours back on. I also always take it to the laundry to be washed and ironed – it’s just too much to get through a domestic washing machine in any reasonable time! When it comes to towels, bath sheets are always a better choice. It’s not essential, but I have a white bath sheet and a small white towel for each guest, as well as a separate set of dark coloured hand towels for each bathroom.

TIP#6: Buy a separate set of bathroom products

A nice touch is to offer hand soap and lotion, shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner to your guests. I bought a set of luxury products for each bathroom in the house which is only taken out when we have a booking and then replenished and safely packed away again afterward. And make sure that you have enough toilet paper and toilet spray or a perfumed reed diffuser for your guests for the duration of their stay.

TIP#7: Put together a cleaning kit

Unless you want your guests to leave your home in a tip, put some cleaning products in a caddy in the kitchen where they can clearly see them. Dish washing liquid, a small container with washing powder (just in case), surface cleaner, toilet cleaner, glass cleaner, sponges, dish cloths, bin liners and dishwashing machine tablets if you have a dishwasher. Also make sure that you have insect spray as well as insect repellant, insect coils or citronella of some sort in your caddy if the season requires it.

TIP#8: Make sure that you have braai necessities (totally essential if you are in South Africa!)

If you offer braai facilities, make sure that you have fire wood or charcoal, braai tongs, grill, fire starters and matches handy.

TIP#9: Local attractions and instructions

Put together a file with everything your guests need to know about your home: emergency numbers, security codes, neighbour’s numbers, and any weird and wonderful things that will help them enjoy their stay. It’s also nice to put in something about yourself, and if you plan to host regularly, you can also add a guest book. Guests tend to leave brochures and pamphlets of local attractions which can add some further reading to your file.

TIP#10: Clean up! 

This may seem obvious, but make sure that you home is in an immaculate condition when guests arrive and 9 out of 10 times, they will leave it in an immaculate state when they leave.

TIP#11: Welcome note and gift

This is again not essential, but it definitely is a lovely touch. I always write a message on the chalk board in the kitchen to welcome our guests and leave a box of chocolates for them on the table. It’s a small thing that makes all the difference!

I’d love to hear your tips on hosting with Airbnb – please drop them in the comments below!

 

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