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Home & Interiors

Spruce up Your Outdoor Spaces to Add Value to Your Home

Every time you make a home improvement it is worth thinking about how to do it in a way that adds value. Provided you do that, when the kids have left and you want to downsize you will improve your chances of making a big profit on your house sale. There are lots of ways to add value to a family home. One of them is to upgrade your outdoor spaces. A nicely landscaped garden can enable you to sell your house for up to 20% more. It also greatly improves the curb appeal of your property, which will tempt more potential buyers to view it.

Plant a tree

Perhaps the fastest way to add value to your property is to buy a tree from somewhere like The Tree Center and plant it. You just need to choose one that will grow well in your climate. When deciding which tree you will plant take the time to find out how big it will grow. This will help you to work out how far away from your home it should be planted. You should also find out how far the root system will spread. The roots of plants can do a lot of damage, especially if they reach your drains, or worse, the foundations of your house.

Maintain your guttering

Keeping your gutters clear of debris is an important task. Usually, you will only need to do it once a year.

Failing to do so, can lead to your property being badly damaged. If water does not drain away properly, it can easily get into the fabric of your building. Once it is in the roof or walls it will spread and can cause a huge amount of damage. When that happens, the value of your home will fall drastically.

Create more private space

People like to spend time outside, but, when they do so they do not like to be overlooked. As a result, planting a hedge or installing a fence can make a house more appealing to potential buyers.

Build an outdoor dining area

Creating somewhere for the family to eat outdoors is also a good idea. If you have the budget, consider building an outdoor kitchen. This article will help you to work out if it is worth doing so in your case.

Install patio or French doors

Connecting your garden to the rest of your home using full-length glass doors will improve your house in several ways. It will let more light into the room, and ensure that the view of your garden can be enjoyed.

As you can see, improving the curb appeal of your property is not hard to do. You do not need to invest a lot of money to make your outdoor spaces more appealing. This is means that you can get a great level of return on your investment. Plus, your family will be able to enjoy spending more time outdoors in a pleasant environment. So, it is hard to think of a reason not to invest a little time and money in improving your outdoor spaces.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Our loft/attic conversion- some advice

We have discussed our renovation projects at length on the blog.  We are getting there finally.  Last piece of the epic project was the conversion of our attic or loft space. The boys are getting older and  they really wanted a “boys den”. The most logical place to do this was the attic space.  There isnt enough head room to make it a bedroom for adults but there would be plenty room the kids to stand for quite a few more years.

The Stairs

floating stairs

Pic Credit: https://uk.fontanotshop.com

The best piece of advice I can give here is to do you research.  Price and quality really does vary considerably and if like our it is going to be in almost daily use, durability will be critical. Many hour were spent pouring over google, Pintrest and home & interiors magazines. The stairs for us would also be a focal point as they lead on from the current staircase.  I have completely fallen in love with the designs and selections from Fontanot stairs designers.   Within reason I never mind spending money on quality.  These stairs will be in place for sometime to come so as well as being durable they need to be easy on the eye too or else it will drive me crazy every time I look at them!

How utterly amazing are the floating steps staircase.  I mean wow, want want want.  My kids are little too young for us to have these yet but in another couple of years this is the dream.  I love clean lines and that sharp crisp look and they totally tick all the boxes for me.  I have even checked, our wall is load bearing and suitable to accommodate them! Hint hint Dada Fairy!!!

Light – natural and artificial

Pic Credit: Sterling Build

Lighting is important especially for the attic.  I wanted as much natural light as I could without spending a huge amount of money on roof structural alterations. We went with 3 velux windows which bring in tonnes of natural light. They really make this space so workable.  Having shopped around we ended up buying blinds from Sterling Build. We went with three different types of Star Wars blinds  and they worked out so much cheaper than buying direct from Velux. Quality is perfect and they are blackout blinds which make it it ideal if we did decide to use the room as a bedroom for sleep overs etc.  We also added a huge amount of artificial light with integrated spot lights.

I am so thrilled with the outcome its a very usable space.  The kids really do love it and especially enjoy the pals coming over for play dates or movie nights. Has anybody else converted their attic spaces? I’d love to see some pics.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control

 

Home & Interiors

Landscaping Ideas And Tips For Your Garden

When planning your garden as part of your landscaping goals, it pays off to have a good understanding of the plants you can grow. Garden plans can be categorized as perennials or annuals, exotic or native, shrubs or climbing plants.

In addition to this you need to know their names, the colours of their flowers, their foliage, their growth habit and the size they reach when fully grown. You also need to be well conversant with their suitability for your particular climate. With this knowledge, you can then start designing and landscaping your garden.

Here are landscaping ideas for your garden.

Choosing a style

You need to consider your location, climate, soil type, terrain, and function of your garden when choosing a garden style. There is no use an Italian garden style that requires good soil and plenty of water yet you live in a dry neighborhood where the soil is sandy. Sandy soil leaks water too fast and is unsuitable for water-demanding plants. The function you intend for the garden is vital in choosing an appropriate garden style. The garden styles would be different if you want a safe playing zone for your kids from when you want suitable place to host parties.

Designing the garden

You can design everything on paper first before implementing it on the ground or plan as you go along.

The first approach gives you the artistic impression of how everything will look like after you complete the project and will save you lots of time and money. While being spontaneous is exciting, it can lead to costly mistakes and waste of time when you learn that something is not where you’d like it to be and you have to make changes.

You need to put some thought while designing especially when you are installing features like water features and building walls since they can’t be easily moved like plants.

Its also important to consider at this stage features such as paving or cobbles as they will need to be in situ before the planting starts.

Choosing your plants

The choice of plants to have in your garden should be suitable to the garden style and the climate of your area. Indigenous plants grow better and need less attention since they are better acclimatized to the existing conditions but should you decide to have a mix of indigenous and exotic plants, be sure to grow them in separate locations.  Exotic plants tend to either wilt and die or become overly dominant when planted close to indigenous plants. Also, find out What Is The Best Grass Seed since you will also need to have a grass cover in your landscape. However I must admit like Life as Mrs D I too am a little tempted with artificial grass!

Planting

Take into account the color of your plants when planting since this can either add to the appeal of your garden or destroy it. Color is one of the most important aspects in landscaping and can make or break your garden.  Space your plants well and plant them in odd numbers. Plants with off the same species and almost similar colors should be clustered. For instance, red, orange and yellow garden plants should be close to each other.  To add to the allure of your garden, blend bright colors with dull ones and you can also plant a few scented flowers in your garden but be sure they are not too strong.

Home & Interiors

Raising the worth of your property through home improvements

If you’re considering moving house in the near future, you want to make your money back — and home improvements can help you achieve this. After all, data from the Office for National Statistics has predicted that those in the UK collectively spend almost £30 billion on home improvements annually. That works out at £43 million each week.

Installing a new kitchen

kitchen

Pic Credit Pixabay

“If you are only going to improve one room, make it the kitchen. This has now become the showpiece area of the home. We don’t just cook in it, we do homework in it, we watch television in it and hold dinner parties there” commented Phil Spencer, presenter of Location, Location, Location.

Look at both the price bracket of your entire home as well as the kitchen when it comes to any transformations. There’s not going to be very much value added to a house that’s valued at £170,000 if it’s fitted with a £25,000 kitchen.

If you find the right balance, installing a new kitchen can add an estimated 4.6% to the value of your property. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) echoes this statement, acknowledging that a new kitchen will make a property more appealing and can add up to four per cent to its overall value.

Installing a new bathroom

From a bespoke bathroom to an added en-suite, the Nationwide Building Society have found that this renovation can actually add 5% to the worth of the property which is something that homeowners should be considering if room permits.

Although this can add so much to the value of your home, you don’t have to go over the top when it comes to design — Phil Spencer advised homeowners to keep it simple. He points out: “You don’t need to do a lot with the room, it’s all about the features that you put in, such as a set of new taps, a heated chrome towel rail, a big new shower head, a power shower, and a glass screen or glass door instead of a shower curtain.”

Investments for your loft

If your home was built before 1975 or had a headroom of a maximum 2.3 metres — this will be perfect when it comes to converting. The Nationwide Building Society estimates that a loft conversion may be able to add up to 21 per cent onto the overall value of a home, while Nationwide indicates that adding a double bedroom to your property — to which the loft can be transformed into this suitable space — can add over 10 per cent to the property’s value.

With a lot of regulations in place, you must be familiar with the process of loft conversions to ensure that you’re meeting the requirements set out.

Altering your garage

By adding a double bedroom to your home, you can add up to 10% to the value of your home according to Nationwide. If a loft conversion doesn’t work for your property, or you are looking for another room to convert, consider transforming a garage.

Research carried out found that 90% of garages in Britain do not have a car in them — and this is a waste of space which could be used for something else. In general, the British media personality and television presenter, Phil Spencer, says that the value added can be calculated by multiplying the square footage gained by local price per square foot.

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Constructing a conservatory

Mark Hayward, the Managing Director of National Association of Estate Agents commented: “Conservatories will add value to a home, but they need to be made with quality materials and provide a lot of light in order for the value to be significant.”

With there being a lot of materials on the market, homeowners should stick to glass and not uPVC when it comes to the build. A high-quality conservatory can add as much as five per cent to the home’s overall value, according to property valuation providers Yopa, though Phil Spencer is confident that 11 per cent will be added to the value if the conservatory is part of a full-blown extension.

Changing your garden

welcome sign

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Before deciding on whether to have a conservatory or not, you must consider how much space of your garden this is going to take up. This is because a property’s outdoor space can also add substantial value. 

When switching up your garden, make sure that it remains accessible and can still be enjoyed by your family. For this, consider fitting glass doors which open out into the garden and install high-quality outdoor lighting throughout the garden.

Decking is also an easy option when it comes to garden alterations and can even add up to 2% to the homes worth.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Keep your growing family happy with these interior design tips

child playing with cameraWhether you’ve already got a few little ones, or you’re eagerly waiting for the pitter patter of tiny feet, here are some family-friendly interior design ideas to ensure your home is the ideal space for all.

Distractions are vital

Pricey trinkets and inquisitive children don’t mix. For that reason, it’s a good idea to place distractions around the house so that they’re not focused on playing with (and possibly breaking) your works of art. Create a specific space for children to unleash their energy, such as a playroom or a music room.   

Pay attention to fabrics

When tasked with designing a family home, a lot of design experts will swear by durable fabrics such as vinyl or faux leather that are easy to wipe clean. With children, spills are inevitable so you want to make sure that you can wipe them away as quickly and as easy as possible. You might also want to bring an outdoor rug inside, particularly in areas that see a lot of traffic such as the kitchen.   

Conceal utilitarian features

One of the most exciting parts of interior design is adding those thoughtful features that tie the room together. When you’re doing this, consider how much you can hide certain utilitarian features such as radiators and plug sockets. This will also help to keep wandering fingers at bay and improve the overall safety of your home.

Embrace their creativity

Praise your little Picassos by giving them their very own exhibition.child climbing on furntiure Instead of confining them to the fridge, invest in some fun frames and use them as décor in your living room, kitchen, or playroom. This might even be an activity you want to do together as a family.

Consider an open floor plan

An open plan living space is the ideal choice for those who are planning to grow their family. This openness allows everyone to spend time together, and it’s easy to turn two rooms into one by being mindful of the interior design that you choose. Coordinate the two rooms by choosing a neutral colour palette that you can then add splashes of colour to as you go along, and open up the space with doors from bi fold shop, so the transition between the two rooms is seamless.

Go further than pink or blue

While pink and blue are the colours usually associated with newborns, choosing a neutral colour palette for your first kids’ rooms will allow you more freedom when the next one comes along. Opt for colours such as cream, beige, and pale yellow and remember that lighter shades can help the room to look bigger and brighter than it really is.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Giving your bedroom a chic makeover

The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in any home. It’s where you relax after a long day looking after the kids, where you spend intimate time with your loved one, and where you recuperate and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Unfortunately, after a while, it’s easy for any bedroom to become cluttered, outdated, and unappealing.

If your bedroom isn’t the Instagram-worthy room you’ve been hoping for, now could be the perfect time to invest in a quick, simple, and cost-effective makeover. After all, changing the atmosphere of your bedroom doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or expensive process. A little rearranging, a good colour scheme, and even the right window dressings can make a world of difference.

 

  • Rearrange your furniture

 

Sometimes all you need to do to transform your bedroom from drab to fab, is to give yourself a different perspective. Look at where you currently have your drawers, wardrobes and bed, and think about whether they might work better at a different angle, or in a new configuration. You may be surprised at how easy it is to add charm to your sleeping space when you move the king-size bed into the middle of the room, rather than against the wall.

If you’re not sure how to rearrange things, try sketching out an idea of what your ideal bedroom might look like first. It’s worth keeping some cleaning tools on hand too – there’s likely to be some dust to clean up when you’re finished moving things.

 

  • Let there be light!

 

bedroom interior

Pic Credit: Pixabay

With your bedroom’s new layout showing off your furniture in all its glory, it’s time to think about how you can let light into the room. Window dressings can be complicated in a bedroom, as you want the perfect combination of something that keeps out the sunlight when you’re sleeping but lets plenty of rays in during the day.

Switching to shutters could be a great way to give yourself the best of both worlds in your bedroom. DIYshutters.co.uk has plenty of options that effectively block out light for when you’re snoozing, and also give you an extra level of privacy when you need it most.

 

  • Pick the perfect colour!

 

Colour is a vital consideration when you’re giving your bedroom a makeover. You’ll want something that demonstrates your unique personality but remember that going too bold with your shades could mean that you end up giving yourself a headache during those hours when you’re supposed to be getting plenty of rest. While there’s nothing wrong with having a passionate statement wall, it’s usually a good idea to keep most of your colours calm and neutral.

Remember, if you stick to soft shades and you want to add more chic style to the mix, you can always spruce things up with some colourful accessories, bedding, and throw pillows.

 

  • Draw attention to the bed

 

The bed is the central and most important piece of furniture in your bedroom, so make sure it shines. When you’re changing the look of your room, take the opportunity to change the sheets, flip the mattress, and even consider treating yourself to a new throw. You could also add extra pillows that bring life to your bed when you’re not using it.

Don’t overlook the power of a great headboard. In any bedroom, a headboard can really help to bring all the elements of your property together in a unique and exiting way. If you can’t afford to buy a new one, you could always consider upcycling the old one with a new lick of paint or some beautiful fabric.

 

  • Add your finishing touches

 

Finally, remember that the little things can go a long way when you’re creating your perfect bedroom. Attractive bedside lamps and a few photos of your friends and family can help to bring warmth and personality to your room. The finishing touches you add will depend on your specific preferences. For instance, some people will want to go with a family-friendly look that features plenty of pictures of loved ones, while others will be prefer a romantic atmosphere with scented candles and luxurious textures.

Sweet dreams!

If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect bedroom, now’s the perfect time to take the plunge. With the tips above, you’ll be able to create your perfect bedroom experience in no time, without leaving your bank account in tatters!

Home & Interiors

How to Make the Most of Shrinking Living Rooms

No, you’re not imagining it. Living rooms are officially shrinking! According to new research carried out by LABC warranty, lounges in Britain’s homes are now 32% smaller than the equivalent properties in the 1970s. Separate research conducted by Cambridge University in 2014 found that new build homes in the UK are the smallest in Europe. So, what are we to do about the lost square footage and what’s the best strategy for living with smaller spaces? Let’s take a look at how to make the most of shrinking living rooms.

Clever furniture choices

Sitting room furniture

Pic Credit: Pixabay

When you don’t have a lot of floor space to spare, you need to be even choosier about the furniture you select. In fact, if your lounge is on the small side, you may actually have issues putting essentials like sofas in situ. Go too large and you may find you have to take your UPVC glazed window out just so you can get your sofa in your living room! I may or may not be speaking from experience here!!!  If you really need a larger sofa for lounging on, think about purchasing a two-piece L-shaped sofa that can be slotted together once in position so you can avoid awkward window removals! Many L-shape sofas can now be set up in right or left facing, so you can make the most of your room shape too.

Mounting your TV on the wall rather than on a stand is another commonly used space saver but if you want to get serious about reclaiming as many square inches as possible, it’s time to select stackable and multi-use furniture. Nests of tables are handy pieces that can be tidied away easily; footstools that double as storage space are a godsend when you need quickly clear up for a guest’s arrival too. Folding tables and chairs are great for creating a little kids’ play corner that can be stored away when not in use.

Blending and zoning

Even with smaller, cleverer furniture choices, some modern living rooms still feel cramped. After all, the living room tends to be the space where the family gathers together for activities. You might use the living room for watching TV together or as a space where the toddler plays with their toys or you may want to eat and entertain in your lounge. That’s a lot of demands put on a small space and a variety of different activities that require very different types of furniture. Many homeowners choose to alleviate this closed in feeling and accommodate different goings-on by blending and zoning spaces.

Fancy giving blending and zoning a go? Removing the wall between the living room and dining room will open up your space, but you may want to retain some element of separation. Floor-to-ceiling internal bifolds like these from Vufold will let lots of light flow through the space while giving you the option to close off into defined rooms. Alternatively, you could try your hand at simple zoning of your living room using separating furniture such as bookcases or other stylish options so that you have quieter nooks for play or activities like homework or reading.

Go digital

According to research by Which, 24% of UK homes now contain some kind of smart home device. I have written about this before, the Dada Fairy has become hooked on smart home features these days! Some of these gadgets will be cameras aimed at increasing security or central heating control systems, but many more are likely to be smart TVs or hubs like the Amazon Echo. These nifty devices do your bidding with a simple voice command, playing your choice of music or film, searching the Internet for you or even making a call. Along with being the friend of multi-taskers – these gadgets can also prove to be handy space savers in the living room. With TV and music on demand you can rehome your DVD or CD collection and claim back valuable storage and surface space in your living room. Of course, if you’re one of the rising numbers of people who has returned to buying vinyl records, it might be time to think about where your record player and record collection lives in your home.

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Home & Interiors

How to Create a Sumptuous Conservatory Interior

Your conservatory doesn’t have to be to be devoid of style and with the sunlight streaming in, you can create a sumptuous, luxurious space in the conservatory. Here are some fabulous ideas that are on-trend for the coming year.

No matter what interior design style you like, in a space like a conservatory where you want to relax and enjoy the warmth and the view, sumptuousness and luxury are the key factors.

And here’s how you can achieve it…

#1 Informal, relaxed seating

When it comes to conservatory furniture you may have a fixed idea in your mind of what it would normally look like. But think outside the box and you will see that the range of conservatory furniture is much more than a boxy sofa.

As well as a deep sofa and armchairs, take a look at some more quirky ideas. From swing seats to garden rattan furniture, by using throws and scatter cushions, you can create an appealing seating area with a hint of the quirky.

#2 Consider the French look

The French look has many distinguishing characteristics, but its feminine, detailed appeal is something that many people find quaint and appealing.

Opt for a bistro style seating arrangement – a small round table with two or four chairs, usually in white metal but a wooden set would work too – and keep the walls white, using ditzy flower prints for throws, cushions and any blinds.

#3 Homely touches

For some reason, many homeowners take a very sparse approach to accessorising their conservatory, a complete contrast in some cases to the remainder of their home.  However, we are beginning to see the error of our ways. Maybe it was something to do with the strong sunlight bleaching the colour from materials and fabrics but with many conservatory furniture manufacturers taking this into account, there are now more accessories and soft furnishings to choose from.  Add homely touches such as coordinating throws with contrasting cushions. Don’t forget sculptures and silk flowers too, to soften the edges and give a luxurious feel to the conservatory room.

#4 Bring the outdoors in

The main reason behind a conservatory is to form a bridge between the interior of your home and your garden.   It makes sense to include plants in the conservatory but if you feel that an array of hothouse tropical plants and citrus fruit trees is a little too predictable, use the window dressings and a feature wall (if you have one) instead.  The large, leaf print wallpapers and materials that have been on-trend for the interior of the home for some time now and are still ‘in’ for 2018. And that means, choosing large print wallpaper and chic Roman blinds for the conservatory too.

#5 Focus on the windows

On one hand, you want the sun and daylight streaming in through the vast expanse of glazing in the conservatory but on the other, there are times when you could do with a little shade.

Ditch the vertical and horizontal blinds for this year’s must-have window dressing of Roman blinds. Individually made, they can be operated independently and give a fantastic streamlined, unfussy appearance to a conservatory.

And don’t hold back on colour or pattern as the blinds may be the only zing of colour in the space and with so much light to play with, it is hard to make the conservatory dingy.

#6 Make a style statement

The interior design of a conservatory can afford to be more relaxed. And it can also be the space that you indulge more of your style. An accent chair, for example, either in a statement colour, design or shape is an ideal addition that turns the conservatory from ordinary into extraordinary.

#7 A vibrant dining space

If you use your conservatory as a dining room, you will understand how the light plays with reflective surfaces but what about how it adds drama and depth to vibrant colours?

But colour isn’t your only friend in the conservatory, large, bold prints are too. Make the most of the dining table with a table covering in bold, vibrant coloured stripes – the on-trend colour schemes for 2018 range from understated ice cream pastels to cherry red and deep purple – with contrasting floral napkins.

No matter how big or small your conservatory, you can afford to have fun, relax the style boundaries and let your imagination go to play creating a sumptuous conservatory interior.

 

Note: This post is in collaboration with Rattan Direct who stock a range of conservatory and garden furniture made from beautiful rattan. With sumptuous cushions and soft furnishings, your conservatory will be a place of luxury.
Home & Interiors

Lights, Camera, Action….

Lights, Camera, Action or not as the case may be!! I know you are probably totally fed up of hearing about our renovation woes! We are very much nearing completion with the bulk of the structural work completed.  While we have had disagreements over some of the larger elements of this project a serious bone of contention has become the interior details and most specifically the lights/lighting.

I quite literally spend hours turning off lights in our house. The Dada Fairy and the kids cannot seem to master the art of turning off the light when they leave the room.  The house was completely wired in the new and the Dada Fairy insisted on tonnes of lighting both inside and outside. My neighbour was only half joking when he said to my husband one day you wont be happy until the house is visible from space!!

Who knew  choosing light fittings would be so difficult. We are poles apart in terms of what we like. He likes the almost industrial vibe im more in favour of warm cosy type fittings. He wants tonnes of light in rooms. I can see where he is coming from as living at the end of a hill our house can be quite dark.

lightbulb

Pic Credit: Pixabay

For me however lights are a lot more than just that, lighting can transform a room. Also for me the energy efficiency of the bulbs is key. Our bills previous in Winter could top 300 however after the initial outlay on the LED bulbs we have noticed a marked improvement.  Our November/ December bill for last year was only 120 for 2 months.  For us it has been totally worth the initial outlay. Once we have all in place, ill be looking into the smart home features like the Philips Hue. My sister has this and finds it brilliant.  Being able to turn on and off lights from an app on your phone, no more running after the boys to turn off lights!!

Because my husband often works from home, he is very aware of the lighting needs in areas of the house, for example task based lighting, ambient lights and general lighting.   Who knew there was so much to consider!

One other item that I was indifferent about was a sensor light out in the garden.  This has been a great addition as it illuminates the area very quickly.  As we are often away the motion sensor light is another device which will hopefully help protect the house for unwanted guests! While no light will keep a thief out it will hopefully create the illusion that somebody is home. Separate to that, its great when you pull up outside late in the evening the drive is lit up instantly.

If you do have any pictures of your inside lights I would love to see them. I have been searching on line for weeks now for inspiration but we still cant agree. We are getting there though and when we do ill be sure to update this article.

 

Home & Interiors

How to Choose a Rug that Perfectly Matches Your Flooring

Looking to buy a rug but are unsure of where to start? The first thing to consider is how well it matches your floor. When you find a nice match, the entire room looks so much better, with improved décor that really enhances the space and works well together.

Yet it’s not easy to find the right rug for every floor. Many assume you only use rugs on laminate flooring, but rugs work amazingly well on virtually every type of flooring – even carpets! So, it’s important to think about the type of flooring you have and how to find a rug that matches it well.

There are a few things to consider, with size and shape being obvious places to start. However, to ensure you get the perfect match for your flooring, you want to think about a few more things, including the colour and pattern and how it works with the floor.

Other important considerations to make include the texture and overall style of the rug – choose wrongly and the rug won’t look that great at all.

Check out this infographic from Land of Rugs for all the help you need to choose a rug that perfectly matches your flooring! Land of Rugs have also kindly offer 10% of code for Mamma Fairy readers simply input blogger01 at the checkout.

Note: This is a collaborative post