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Dreaming of a home theater but lack the space in your home? You don’t need an extra room or basement to bring your luxe home theater dreams to life. Just look to your living room. With these tips and updates, you can transform your living space into an entertainment epicenter for the entire family.

Blackout Curtains

Custom drapes can make a fabulous first impression in any living space, but the right type of curtains and drapes can make all of the difference — especially when putting together a home theater. Practical and stylish, Roman shades complement a wide range of different home aesthetics. They can be customized with a variety of fabrics and can be paired with a blackout lining to give your living space the ultimate home theater feel, keeping light out when it is movie time.

Speaker Stands

Arguably one of the best things about going to the movies is the theater-quality surround sound. Bring that experience to your living room with a high-quality speaker system. To ensure that you have the best sounding movie experience at home, be sure to use speaker stands and speaker mounts for your speaker system. A properly installed speaker system will actually boost the sound of your favorite movie, television show or playlist.

Plush Pillows

No home theater is complete without a few oversized pillows to snuggle up to. Not only will these plush pillows come in handy during your next weekend Netflix binge, stylish, oversized pillows can amp up your interior decor from season to season. Toss a few pillows onto your sofa, loveseat or favorite chair, and keep a selection of extra pillows stored in a chic wire basket for when you have guests over and need a couple extra pillows to pass around.

Dimming Lights

Different lighting styles can set the tone and mood throughout your home. Today, there are more lighting options to choose from than ever before, many of which are easily customizable and easy to operate as well. Philips Hue, for example, offers a series of different lighting options, all of which can be customized and controlled directly from your favorite device. In fact, you can make your home theater experience an immersive one by linking up the Hue Entertainment lighting system to whatever you are watching on the big screen. Think of this high-tech lighting system as a special effect. The lighting in your home can match what is happening on the screen, seamlessly complementing the cinematography of whatever you and your family are watching together. Hue Entertainment is also compatible with audio and gaming content.

Dark Paint

Give your living room the ultimate theater vibe with a fresh coat of paint. Dark colors such as navy blue or burgundy are both great options. Dark colors are optional because the light won’t reflect back to the screen. Additionally, when choosing your living room paint colors, keep in mind that gloss, semi-gloss and satin-finish paints can create glares. Rather, opt for a flat, no-glare paint color for the living space. And when choosing your color for the living room walls and the living room ceiling, DIY experts recommend choosing a paint color that will not distract from the screen.

With these tips and tricks your living room will be movie-ready in no time. Pass the popcorn.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

Remember when you were a child in grade school and you planted a seed in a small cup of dirt, watered it for a few months, and then watched it grow into a full-grown plant? It was a simple endeavor, but it probably gave you a lot of fulfillment, even as a kid, to be responsible for something so tiny and be able to nurture it into something more.

Creating an organic garden in your adulthood is not that elementary a task compared to growing a small plant in a cup, and yet it can give you the same kind of satisfaction and instill a similar sense of childlike wonder you felt back then. If you want to grow your own fresh vegetables or flowers (or both), here is a concise beginner’s guide on how to grow your own organic garden:

Planting Seeds

1. Choose a specific time for planting. Most gardening experts recommend planting after the soil has dried—that is, after the ground has thawed from the effects of winter.

2. Start making your bed. Three weeks before you’re set to start planting, prepare the ground by sinking a fork into it and loosening the soil to about twelve inches below the surface level. Then take a half-inch of compost material and layer it all over your bed. Rake all over the surface until there are no weeds, clumps of dirt, and big stones.

3. Start digging holes for the seeds. If you like to have a bit more symmetry and order in your garden, you can carve out shallow furrows or trenches with a hand trowel or a hoe. Or you can set up your garden in a grid form.

4. Lightly water your plot, but do it so as to just moisten the soil a bit. The purpose of watering the plants before sowing the seeds is so that the seeds do not get drowned or swamped out of their holes if you water after sowing instead.

5. When sowing the seeds, make sure you don’t plant them too closely. Seed packets will usually tell you the specific distance you should plant them apart from each other. If you’ve dug a trench, spread the seeds all over it; if you’ve created planting holes, put two or three seeds in each hole. Sprinkle soil on the seeds afterward, pressing gently to make sure they are firmly embedded in the soil.

Dealing with Weeds

Weeds rob your plants of much-needed water and nutrients. They can also serve as habitats for pests, and they can also turn your beautiful garden into a terrible mess. It’s crucial that you get rid of them if you want your plants to flourish, but you don’t have to resort to using toxic sprays that have harmful chemicals. Instead, you can try the following natural approaches:

1. Mulch – Organic mulch is comprised of things like dried grass, straw, and shredded leaves. You should spread a thick, two-inch layer of this on the ground surrounding your plots so as to deter weed growth. Mulch has the added bonus of nourishing your soil as it slowly decomposes over time.

2. Hand-Pulling – This may sound like a lot of work but it’s something you need to do to prevent the weed situation in your garden from getting out of control. Pulling out a few weeds every day is much better than just waiting around till the problem gets bigger; then, you’ll have a much harder time getting rid of them.

3. Corn Gluten – Spreading corn gluten meal is another thing you can do to discourage the growth of weeds in your garden. Corn, when it is processed, produces corn gluten as a by-product, which inhibits weed growth and fertilizes your soil at the same time. It is also an environmentally friendly product as it is safe for both people and animals.

The Watering Process

Contrary to what most people think, watering plants is not that as simple as pouring water on them every day. There are guidelines that you must follow if you want to make sure that your plants get just the right amount of sustenance:

1.  Choose and Plan Your Garden’s Layout Accordingly

Your garden’s layout will influence the way you water in that, for instance, a plant that requires a lot of shade will require a lot more water if you put them in a sunny spot. When planning your garden, consider the specific needs of your plants and try to group them according to those needs.

2.  Water During Cooler Times of the Day

Watering in the early morning or the early evening—when temperatures are much lower—will help your plants to retain much of the moisture from your watering. When watering, direct your spout or hose at the soil around your plants.

3.  Employ the Rainwater Harvesting Technique

If you want to get really green, healthy, well-nourished plants, try to practice the rainwater harvesting technique—a practice in which you’ll gather rainwater in storage containers like those provided by Rain Water Tanks. Rain is the purest kind of water there is, unlike the water that comes from our taps, which is full of all sorts of chemicals.

Planting your own organic garden requires a lot of hard work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process. You can build your own garden room, to which you can retreat after working so hard planting and watering and weeding.

There are endless options to plan a garden wedding, but unfortunately not many outdoor wedding ceremonies boast rustic decorations and beautiful flowers. To make your wedding ceremony special and elegant at the same time, here are 13 practical, well researched and proven garden wedding decoration ideas to implement on your wedding day:

13 Exciting Garden Wedding Decoration Concepts

1.  Color Combinations

Garden Wedding Decoration Ideas

Image via celebrationsathomeblog.com

Brides select colors based on personal taste, however, garden wedding decoration means that half of the color theme and selection work is done.

To make the shades blend with the natural surroundings, select a floral based color palette. A warm, soft yellow and pale pink combination not only imitates flowers, but also looks different from the greenery.

2.  Wedding Boards

garden-wedding-decoration-ideas

Image via thebridelink.com

Decorate your wedding ceremony with beautiful wedding quotes and announcements in the form of wedding signs. Add garden flowers on top of the signs to give a romantic touch.

3.  Ceremony Walkways

Ceremony Walkways

Image via theamalfiexperience.com

Add different floral details and décor to make the moment of walking down the aisle a truly special experience. You can also scatter flowers and add garden details to make for a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony.

Try out pink frosting aisles.

Not only they create a personalized path but also gain a lot of attention to make for an excellent ceremonial debut.

With your names and wedding date interlocked in a heart design in a color of your choice, they add the perfect romantic and finishing touch to your wedding ceremony.

4.  Using Floral Designs

Using Floral Designs

Image via happywedd.com

Using simple floral designs that match with the entire theme and style is one of the finest ways to adorn and make your outdoor wedding appear like a flowery garden.

Floral design is in fact one of the most simple, common yet effective garden wedding decoration ideas.

5.  Table Settings and Numbers

Table Settings and Numbers

Image via elizabethannedesigns.com

With colorful and flowery embellishments, do not forget the table settings. Beautify the dinner plates with a few guest favors, a paper doily with a menu on the top of napkins.

Throw in some candy filled tins, decoratively washed tape with a scrapbook decoration matching with the theme. Place flower vases at both sides of the table for a simple and attractive look.

You can also get creative with table numbers. Use decorative items such as frames, moss sheets and letters made from card boards for an innovative expression.

6.  Printed Items

Printed Items

Image via Maxpixal

Image Printed items such as menu cards, table signs and direction symbols help in rendering a pulled together look to an event.

Using a coordinating collection throughout the event assists in tying different areas within a large space. However, make sure the printed pieces complement the event’s design instead of competing with it.

7.  Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake

Image via hudsonvalleyceremonies.com

Wedding cake is the focal point at reception, but as per current trend, it needs to be enhanced with an auxiliary table set of goodies and sweets.

Setup a late-night snack table with a collection of treats which guests can munch or pack up after the party.

Donuts and brownie pops are a good choice and can easily be arranged in a little time. Add some candies for more variety and color.

8.  Ceremony Sceneries

Ceremony Sceneries

Image via Herecomestheguide.com

There are some simple ways to make an out-door wedding more personal; for instance, good-looking fabric drapes hanging over branches of trees, wooden doors and a tree trunk covered with an incredible flower wreath are some excellent ceremony backdrop ideas.

9.  Colored Paper Fans

Colored Paper Fans

Image via fascinationeventos.blogspot.com

Arrange a few colored paper fans to keep the guests cool at your wedding if it happens in the summer season.

These small wedding details add timeless elegance, capturing the cool breezy summer attitude for a celebration at anytime of the year. The fans are available in multiple shades to match with the colors of your wedding theme and décor.

10.  Seating Arrangement

Seating Arrangement

Image via planitcfl.com

Outdoor weddings present a lot of seating choices. From luxurious seating areas to sweetly decorated wings and hay bales, a seating arrangement entirely depends on your taste.

Go for mix matched furniture or ask from friends and family what they have in place. You can also visit a local farm to arrange an alternative seating area on budget.

11.  Hanging Decor

Hanging Decor

Image via confettidaydreams.com

The natural splendor augments the décor of outdoor weddings. Choose an area filled with trees if you can, as this not only adds attractiveness but also provides you a structure for hanging.

You may hang glass bottles, floral, crafty hanging frames and books to create a walk down memory lane effect.

Tie the items strongly using tough ropes with tree branches to make sure the items do not fall down.

12.  Lighting

Garden Wedding Lighting Ideas

Image via golights.com.au

Lighting is essential to a perfect wedding day. Even though, there are plenty of lighting options available indoors, you need to think out of the box for outdoors.

The set up would depend on the day light saving and the season you are getting married in. Use Festoon lighting option to light up the entire wedding space to give an industrial look.

Candles are another wonderful way to light up a space in order to create a romantic atmosphere. Place the candles inside of jars, lanterns and even tables as an additional decorative element.

13.  Balloons

Balloons Garden Wedding

Image via modernwedding.com.au

Balloons are significant to all celebrations. Browse a few online stores such as Molls Parlour to get large sized balloons.

You can also go with one or two color combinations for a simple balloon décor. Try adding ribbon and pretty strings to complete the celebration effect.

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This graphic is made by Compost Direct after surveying 2,000 cat and dog owners in Britain. It mentions the dilemma of pet owners to keep up the pet-friendly gardens. Often, they had to take their pets to a vet after they find them acting weirdly due to consuming poisonous plants and flowers. This infographic speaks volume for maintaining a pet friendly garden.

pet friendly gardening

Featured Image Source: Pixabay

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Outdoor Kitchen Ideas

Dining outside in the open is fun but what’s more intriguing is bringing the whole kitchen outside. Cooking meals in the open is so enjoyable that you would never want to get back to your indoor kitchen. Set up a kitchen in your backyard or on your roof, work on little details, and design a gorgeous sight to make your cooking experience more pleasant. Check out the following amazing outdoor kitchen ideas and get inspired to do something similar in your backyard or on your roof top.

1.  Blue Cabinetry:

 outdoor kitchen ideasImage Credit: housebeautiful

Check this gorgeous kitchen in the open. Cabinets with Nantucket-style doors and the Caesarstone kitchen top give away the perfect water-like impression. Do something similar to your outdoor kitchen if you like. It would look attractive if you paint the ceiling with Benjamin Moore’s Blue Springs.

2.  Salvaged Materials:

kitchen-2Image Credit: housebeautiful

This is a simple old school style. The use of salvaged and earthy colors will give the kitchen some maturity. You can use antique styled tables and chairs for that too. Buy some old-fashioned pots and vases to decorate your outdoor kitchen.

3.  Stained Oak:

kitchnImage Credit: homestratosphere

Build the ceiling of your kitchen using stained oak to give your kitchen a very warm and cosy look. Use a drop-down metal gate to keep your appliances safe in case of rain.

4.  Terracotta Hues:

kitchn-2Image Credit: blogkitchens

This stunning kitchen idea is a mixture of earth and sky colors. Arrange wicker chairs around a sandstone table for seating. The Fogazzo 1050 pizza oven is just the perfect addition to this kitchen design.

5.  Repurposed Shutters:

kitImage  Credit: pinterest

Make your open kitchen’s cabinets using old cypress shutters. Outdoor dining and cooking are all about natural environment and surroundings, and these cabinets would give your kitchen a closer to nature feeling.

6.  Barstool Seating:

seatingImage Credit: tripadvisor

An outdoor kitchen is incomplete without a bar area. Set up a backsplash with a counter in your kitchen to serve as a bar area. While you cook and serve, your guests can sit around the bar and entertain themselves.

7.  Built-in Beverage Cooler:

cooler-freezerImage Credit: newair

I love this idea. Simply ask the designer to convert one of your sinks into a built-in beverage cooler with a teak top. This way, you can not only keep your drinks cool but you can also save a lot of space.

8.  Garden Walkway:

gardenImage Credit: housebeautiful

An outdoor kitchen without a dining area is incomplete. Design a beautiful walkway that leads to your kitchen’s dining area. Arranging flowerbeds on both sides of the walkway will further beautify it.

9.  Cosy Fireplace:

fireplaceImage Credit: housebeautiful

To give a homey feeling to your kitchen, build up a fireplace just like this. This is perfect if you like old-fashioned architecture. Set up an array of potted plants just above the fireplace.

10.  Wine Racks:

wineImage Credit: pinterest

Add wine racks like this in your outdoor kitchen as a beverage center. You can also keep a keg tapper nearby.

11.  Tranquil Outdoor Dining Area:

dinning-areaImage Credit: hgtv

If you like your dining area to be elegant, set up a two-tiered iron chandelier just above the dining table. A Zinc-topped table and antique chairs are sure to complement the flowery and green surroundings.

12.  Recycles Fountain in an Outdoor Kitchen: 

fountainImage Credit: housebeautiful

Set up a fountain like this in a corner or against a dull painted wall. Ask your designer to make this fountain using lavabo and a horse trough. You can also add plants above and next to the fountain.

13.  Soft Spot for Sitting:

soft-sittingImage Credit: housebeautiful

There should be a comfortable place to lounge next to your outdoor kitchen where yours guests can sit and relax while you cook. Use a curtain rod to hang a cushion. Use colorful cushions and pillows to give a warm look to your lounge. You can set up this lounge next to the fireplace.

14.  Rustic Accents:

designingImage Credit: novehome

Small details and decorations matter a lot when it comes to designing an outdoor kitchen. Put a lamp made from a barn vent on top of a shelf above the icemaker or freezer. You can also use rope handles on the cabinetry.

15.  Table Setting:

table-sttingImage Credit: housebeautiful

This table setting is one of my favorites. Arrange Vietri’s Paprika dinner plates on the Dining table. Simple flower vases with fresh or artificial flowers can be arranged on the tables too.

16.  Hidden Storage:

hidden-storageImage Credit: housebeautiful

This storage idea for your outdoor kitchen can save you a lot of space. Keep your grilling station organized with this hidden drawer. The utensils will be out of your way hanging inside until you need them.

17.  Wood-fired Oven:

ovenImage Credit: pinterest

This multi-purpose oven is just what you need in your outdoor kitchen. You can not only make pizza in it, but also bake grill steaks and smoke salmon. Get a mason to set this up in your kitchen according to your kitchen’s decor.

18.  Braided Ropes Cabinet Knobs:

knobImage Credit: housebeautiful

Use these braided ropes instead of regular cabinet knobs, if you like the decor of your kitchen more natural and earthy.

19.  Creative Counters:

extra-sittingImage Credit: housebeautiful

For extra seating, build such counters in your outdoor kitchen. Set the counter under an extra-wide window where you can keep your crockery and cutlery. Put these Tolix Marais stools next to the counter for seating.

20.  Stone Varietals:

stone-varitiesImage Credit: housebeautiful

If you prefer stone shelves, table tops, counter tops, this outdoor kitchen design is what you need. Use “super strong” paving blocks to build up a terrace. Top the island with bluestone. To give the architecture a lighter look, use stainless steel for the base of the island.

If you want to build an outdoor kitchen, there is so much to take into account. The 20 outdoor kitchen ideas that I have shared above demonstrate perfectly how to set up a kitchen outdoors. If you are on a budget, employ budget-friendly ideas only and improve the decor gradually.

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The true value of historic homes does not relate in its architectural beauty, but the occupants they accommodate. They allow us to relive famous events and surround ourselves in history. Below is a list of the top ten historic homes in the world. Visiting them is worth the time whether you’re a history buff or just a sight-seer. Some of them should definitely make it to your vacation list.

Top 10 Historic Homes in the World

1.    The Mark Twain House and Museum (Hartford, USA)

Mark Twain House

Image via Flickr

Topping our list of historic homes is the 25 room, 3 storey house where Mark Twain wrote some of the greatest books in American literature including Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, and the adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Built in 1874, the house displays many of the modern innovations of its time. It had seven bathrooms, was lit by gaslight and had modern plumbing with hot/cold water. One of the bathrooms even had a shower! Moreover, there was a burglar alarm system that ran on batteries.

2.    Thoor Ballylee (Gort, Ireland)

Thoor-BallyleeImage via Flickr

Thoor Ballylee castle was built in the 15th or 16th century and owes its fame to having once been owned and inhabited by William Butler Yeats. It is also known as “Yeats Tower”. The famous poet purchased the castle in 1916 for the paltry sum of £35 and lived there with his family from 1921 to 1929. The tower has four floors connected by a stone stairway built into the outer wall. Each floor has a single room and a window that looks out onto the Streamstown River. A tablet on the wall of the ground floor has a romantic inscription from Yeats to his wife.

3.    Villa La Rotonda (Vicenza, Italy)

Villa La RotondaImage via Wikimedia

Arguably the most magnificent structure on our list of historic homes, the Villa La Rotonda was commissioned in 1565 by a priest as his retirement home and is considered one of the best works of the architect Palladio. The design of the famous Renaissance villa was inspired by the Roman Pantheon and itself has provided inspiration for thousands of subsequent buildings. It is also known as Villa Capra in honor of the Capra brothers, who finished the building in 1592. It is built on a hilltop just outside the city of Vicenza and features a central circular hall responsible for the name “La Rotonda”.

4.    Tai Fu Tai (Yuen Long, Hong Kong)

Tai-Fu-TaiImage via Wikimedia

From the outside, the Tai Fu Tai does not look impressive enough to compete with the other names on our historic homes list, but the well maintained exterior and the opulent interior make up for any lack of stature. Tai Fu Tai was built in 1866 by Man Chung-luen – a noteable merchant of his time. The source of his wealth remains unknown to this day. What’s known is that his generosity earned him the title of “Tai Fu” (meaning important person) from the Qing emperor. The house is a typical example of Qing Dynasty nobleman’s dwelling and was built in response to the honor bestowed on Man Chung-luen by the emperor. In 1987, Tai Fu Tai was declared a historic and architectural landmark and is thought of as one of the most elegant buildings in Hong Kong’s New Territories.

5.    Isamu Noguchi’s House  (Shikoku, Japan)

Isamu Noguchi’s House
Image by Shinya Suzuki

Also known as the Mure Property, the famous Japanese/American sculptor’s house should be a part of any historic homes list. It was originally a 200 years old samurai dwelling that was moved to its present location and restored by architect Tadashi Yamamoto. The house reflects the persona of its owner. At the time of his death, the restored compound consisted of a samurai farmhouse, work and exhibition spaces, a yard for sculptures, a hilltop garden and an outdoor atelier. The house remains Noguchi’s greatest legacy.

6.    Finca Vigia (San Fransisco De Paula, Cuba)

Finca VigiaImage via Flickr

Home to Earnest Hemingway from 1939 to 1960, Finca Vigia was built in 1886 on a hill located 15 miles from Havana. At that time, it was consisted of a 15 acres farmhouse and was chosen by Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn (Hemingway continued to live there even after they divorced and he remarried). The house witnessed the writing of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea”. Fittingly, it is now a museum dedicated to the work and life of the famous author.

7.    Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)

Anne Frank House
Image by daryl_mitchell

Currently housing a museum dedicated to the wartime diarist, the Anne Frank House is probably the most recognizable name in our list of historic homes. The Anne Frank House was originally an office building where Anne’s father (Otto Frank) also had his business. For more than two years, the family lived in the annex which was accessible through a concealed doorway behind a moveable bookcase. The hiding place was betrayed in 1944 and the occupants displaced to various concentration camps. Otto Frank was the lone survivor of the events. Anne Frank’s original diary and other notebooks are on display in the museum and visitors can embark on a “virtual journey” in a dedicated multimedia space.

8.    Claude Monet’s House and Gardens (Giverny, France)

Claude Monet’s House and GardensImage via Wikimedia

This picturesque house and its surroundings are a monument to the famous impressionist artist, Claude Monet. It has made its way onto almost every historical homes list compiled, having been the subject of many of Monet’s paintings which feature scenes from the garden. The famous gardens themselves comprise of two sections: a flower garden called Clos Normand and a Japanese water garden. Monet settled in Giverny with his family in 1883. The Clos Normand was planted on an area of one hectare. Ten years later, Monet purchased a neighboring property to construct the water garden.

9.    Blenheim Palace (Oxfordshire, England)

Blenheim-PalaceImage via Flickr

Blenheim Palace has the distinction of being the only non-royal country house in England to be called a “Palace”. It was built between 1705 and 1722 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Part of its fame owes to the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Its place on our list of historic homes is unique, as it is still the principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough (though it also functions as mausoleum and national monument).

10.    Monticello (Virginia, USA)

MonticelloImage via Wikimedia

Last but certainly not the least on our list of historic homes is the house of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the US, which was originally a 5,000 acre plantation. It was designed by Jefferson himself at the age of 26 when he inherited the land from his father. On his own direction, he was also buried on the grounds in an area now called the Monticello Cemetery. Monticello was purchased by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1923 and is now a museum and educational institution. In 1987, the house was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.