Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Saving money with LED lighting

After much research for my own home renovation project, I’ve discovered that LED lighting is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only are we illuminating our homes with this type of light bulb, they are also popping up commercially in schools, hospitals and offices. I think that their popularity comes from their ability to save energy (and therefore money!) and with LED lighting, saving money doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality or even on style – there are countless designs available so I’m sure I’ll find an eco-friendly lighting solution for my home. Here are few great things that you probably didn’t know about LED lighting and it will hopefully, if you haven’t already, inspire you to make the switch yourself!They run for hours (and hours and hours)

We all know how much of a pain changing a bulb can be. It seems once you have changed one, the others decide to follow suit, and before your know it you’re changing a bulb every other day somewhere in your home. LED bulbs have power for literally hours (around 30, 000 to be exact) and so it is very unlikely that you will even need to change one whilst they are installed (that works out at about 20 years). Standing on a chair and praying for dear life whilst attempting to unscrew the bulb without choking from lampshade dust exposure, is definitely a thing of the past. Continue reading “Saving money with LED lighting” »


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Small decor changes that make a big impact

Many people think that they have to spend thousands of pounds on changes to their home to make a huge impact, but it can be cheaper than you’d think. Lots of little changes can amount to something spectacular, making a home far more homely with just a few choice edits. You don’t need to be knocking through walls or re-plastering ceilings; it can be as simple as adding a few choice details to bring your home together.

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Beautiful lighting

Getting the lighting right in your home can make a significant difference to how it feels. If you don’t like a room, consider if it’s because there isn’t enough natural light, or the electric lighting is too harsh. Many rooms benefit from a dimmer switch, the kitchen maybe being the one exception. Bedrooms and living rooms are vastly improved when you can keep the lighting low and sultry in the evening – perfect for relaxing and feeling cosy. Add a couple of lamps or candles and your home will feel all hygge in no time.

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Spring interior design inspiration – Pastel blue hues

It’s the first fresh sunny day of the year today and, even though there’s frost on the ground, my thoughts have already turned to spring interiors. I found myself on Pinterest looking for pastel colours and design inspiration, despite the fact that it’s still darkest winter and I need the coal fire on to keep warm. Even so, Spring IS coming and we need to start thinking about these things, especially with my home decorating project coming up imminently. So today I thought I’d try to get you all in the mood for spring with some bright and breezy pastel interiors.

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Pastel blue paint helps to bounce light around a room. Photo: Homegirl London Blog

Last year, I styled a spring room with fruity bursts of candy colours alongside my favourite pastel hues. But this year feels different. It feels like more of a grown-up year. Don’t ask me why, but all of the interior design inspiration I see online and in magazines is much more sophisticated than in previous years. It’s all about the light that comes into a room more than the decor, and I believe that nothing can beat bright spring daylight flooding into an airy room. It makes a home feel fresh, yet cosy and welcoming at the same time.blue spring lilving room interior design

Oddly enough, I’ve found that pastel blue hues can enhance this feeling of brightness and freshness without adding that tinge of coldness that is so often associated with blue rooms. Maybe the paint manufacturers have got the mix just right, because all of the pale blue paints I’ve been looking at have felt anything but cold or clinical. Take any of these rooms, for example. They have the bright yet warm feeling of a coastal holiday home, and I certainly associate that with warmer weather and fresh air.

blue bedroom pastel hues

White linens & pastel walls create a very welcoming Spring bedroom. Photo: Stylizimo Blog

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Vintage party ideas & inspiration from Glemham Hall

Whether you’re planning a wedding or like the idea of having a fancy birthday party, I think that a vintage theme is perfect for summer events. When I visited the Glemham Hall vintage wedding fair I was struck by how many of the decorating ideas would work perfectly well for a garden party or a wedding anniversary. Even an afternoon tea with friends could be elevated to a special gathering with just a few vintage-inspired touches. Today I’m sharing some of the photos I took at the event and I hope it’ll help provide a little inspiration when you come to plan your own wedding, baby shower or anniversary party. vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-5vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-16vintage party wedding inspiration ideas retro_-19Adopting a vintage theme can also be a thrifty way to throw a party, as none of the elements needs to match – in fact, the more mismatched your china is, the better! Cobbling together some old jars and tins out of the attic, filling them with pretty blooms and hanging a length of floral bunting is more than enough decoration to hint at a bygone party theme.

In terms of entertainment, I love the idea of using an old record player to provide the background music while you enjoy the party. A cracking record of old songs is a charming soundtrack to a vintage party and you can still buy vinyl records at very low prices in charity shops or at car boot sales. Finding a record player might be more tricky, but ask around your friends and family to see if someone has one stashed away that you could borrow for the day. Failing that, it is possible to hire vintage record players, and even ancient gramophones!

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Interior design inspiration – A bright future for wall lights

Mood lighting, task lighting and full-on daylight illuminations. All types of lighting are important in interior design. Lighting can be the key element that turns a house into a home, and makes a space feel cosy and comfortable. I’ve spotted a shift in lighting trends over recent months towards a new type of light fitting – wall lights. If you associate wall lights with your grandparents’ house it may be time to think again. Where dated glass lamps and tasselled shades were once fitted, nowadays wall lights are pretty darn cool, and I want to prove it to you today..!wall lights angle poise lamps reading armchair library

Library lighting provides a reading nook in this room from House & Garden magazine

As homes evolved over the years, electric lights began to replace the old oil lamps and candle scones of days gone by. So, in later years, it became a rather outdated trend to see lights on walls rather than in ceilings. They seemed to scream ‘requires renovation’ and became something that homeowners were keen to rip out rather than put in. Even the 90s trend for painted uplighters (made popular by Linda Barker and co on Changing Rooms!) wasn’t enough to make wall lights cool – they were simply covering up something that no-one really wanted anyway. But all that has changed in 2016. Wall lights are making a comeback.wall light fitting home interior design globe outdoor lighting

Here an outdoor light fitting has been used to create a modern bathroom on A Beautiful Mess blog

You can see from all these images that interior designers are starting to embrace the wall light as an important part of home décor. Not only does it give rooms an ambience that the ‘big lights’ in the ceiling just can’t achieve (no matter how low the wattage) but it also provides great task lighting. Plus, the design of wall lamps has also moved on in recent years. You’re much more likely to find white glass globes (such as these above from A Beautiful Mess) in bathrooms than recessed LEDs. And industrial-inspired designs are everywhere, making wall lights a must-have item for the first time in years.wall lights angle poise lamps reading bedroom bed side

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4 ways to use fairy lights all year round

I know that many of you love fairy lights at any time of year, just like I do. We’ve hung them in our bedrooms, and we’ve used them in blog posts. Yes, twinkling LED lights make rooms look pretty and they put a smile on my face every time I see them. So why is leaving Christmas lights up all year long considered tacky and unrefined? I’d like to argue that it’s no longer taboo to have fairy lights up during the year, and if A Beautiful Mess are doing it (below), then why can’t I?? Okay, maybe those garish multi-coloured strands of flashing lights  might best be left for the Yuletide season, but you can use strands of one or two colours at any time of year for a budget-friendly way to add a little fun or elegance to just about any room or party. Let’s take a look at four unique ways to use Christmas lights…a beautiful mess outdoor fairy lights all year round

Turn your outdoor space into a night-time wonderland

Wrap twinkle lights around tree trunks, branches, bushes, archways, and other outdoor structures to turn a dark night into a gleaming fairyland. Stretch them across outdoor buildings, fences and patio to create a welcoming party zone for summer get-togethers. Use all-white lights to add an elegant touch to outdoor parties, which looks especially classy for weddings. Or spice things up with a mix of reds, greens, blues, and yellows to create a carnival atmosphere for casual occasions, such as BBQs or cocktail parties. The indirect lighting creates a subtle ambience that encourages your guests to linger outdoors for longer while providing just enough light to make sure that they don’t stumble as they walk along dim pathways.DIY fairy lights kilner jar display for christmas-3

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How to turn a basic kitchen into a luxury space

A luxury kitchen equals expensive, right? And there’s no way that you’re going to spend all your hard-earned cash on a kitchen when you’ve got other rooms in your new home to decorate, yes? Well that’s what I always thought, and when you’re working to a strict budget it can be hard to imagine a kitchen with anything other than the basics. True, you only really need a sink, some cupboards and worktops to create a perfectly livable kitchen, but why not add a bit of style too? Especially if you can do it for a bargain price!kitchen-design-inspiration-wooden-cabinets-painted-unitsWith the right pre-planning and a little bit of effort you can create a luxurious-feeling space at a fraction of the cost. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house; a place where great food is prepared, a place for entertaining friends and somewhere for the family to gather and relax at the end of a hard day. So I think that creating a kitchen that is both functional and comfortable is important. Not only will adding a few design features to your kitchen add value to your home but you’ll also enjoy living there so much more. So let’s start with the basics:

Kitchen Layout

A popular layout is the L-shaped kitchen. It’s great when you’re lacking in space (in a small apartment, for example) because it opens out the kitchen into the living area and makes you feel less ‘hemmed-in’ to a small U-shaped kitchen. The L-shape makes it easier to include a dining area within your kitchen – either against the non-kitchen wall or between the kitchen and the living area if you’re living in an open plan space. It also maximises the floor space for families and couples to cook together without getting into each other’s way.white-kitchen-design-inspiration-L-shape-islandIf the kitchen is in a separate room but is on the small side, you could take down the dividing wall (depending on the structure of the building and planning permission, of course!) which creates an open-plan space. Combining the L-shaped kitchen with an island can create a great space for entertaining, whilst keeping the cooking area contained. Providing a seating and eating area on the island creates a social hub for the whole family to gather round, along with extra storage in the island units.L-shaped-kitchen-design-layout-inspiration-small-spaceIf you need more work space, this is where a U-shaped kitchen comes into its own; this type of design can maximise the cabinet and worktop space in the room without compromising on design or style. U-shaped kitchen designs usually have the extra worktop space to tuck integrated appliances underneath, which is great for keeping a uniform style. Then again, if you choose a cool or retro style, then standalone appliances can be used to provide a touch of colour or design feature to the room.open-plan-white-kitchen-interior-design-luxury-tips-budget

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Say it with light by interior designer Celia Sawyer

As one of my favourite interior designers, I was delighted when Celia Sawyer offered to write a guest post for my wonderful readers. The ‘Four Rooms’ dealer and celebrity designer tells us why lighting should be the first item on your to-do list when curating a new home, and I couldn’t agree more. Here’s her blog post and photos of her recent décor projects – enjoy! Lighting is one of the most important yet often most overlooked elements in good interior design. Lighting is key as it is the one single ingredient that affects all others; there is little point creating a beautiful home if it is insufficiently lit and your well-thought-out furniture and accessories not represented in the best way. Lighting can be quite technical but it is a wonderful medium to work with.

Never skimp on lighting as it is essential to creating ambience and depth in a room. Great lighting can be used in many ways and should be layered to suit your needs. For example if you have features in your room you wish to stand out and display, or areas you wish to highlight, position recessed ceiling spotlights to enhance these.interior design lighting by celia sawyer light living roomWork round the room the way you would walk through; observe how the lighting changes. Are your ceiling lights creating enough impact? How are they hanging? Do you require table lamps? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. An amazing chandelier will give your room the “wow” factor and could be the star feature of your room. Art-deco inspired lighting is a having its renaissance. Think geometric shapes, bevelled glass, gold chintz and reflective surfaces. Typical lighting fixtures include an illuminated ribbon running down the middle or the edge of a recess, which creates a streamlined glow, with a circular light placed in the centre of this area acting as a focal point. The Estadio light above is a perfect example of this.interior design lighting by celia sawyer loungeTable and floor lamps will add that extra warmth and dimension to your room, but also with so many beautiful lamps available now, can become a sculpture in themselves. If you are looking for chandeliers or made-to-order lamps, you will need to give yourself at least eight weeks lead time. Many companies have a range of stock lighting however if you want something really unique, you will most probably be ordering from overseas or a dedicated fabricator in UK who will need longer lead times.celebrity designer celia sawyer sitting room

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Dream a little dream… of a cosy glow

Last month I wrote all about how my bedside lamps both broke within hours of each other, just before the arrival of my guests who would be staying in the bedroom for the weekend. Although it wasn’t the best solution, I quickly nabbed our angle-poise desk lamp as a temporary measure, and although it worked fine, the light was little to harsh for everyday bedside use – giving off more task-based illumination than a soft, sleepy glow. So this week I checked out the lighting section of the BHS homewares sale and snapped up a pair of pretty little table lamps to use in the bedroom. They arrived in no time and I was very excited to unwrap them and set them up in my bedroom.

I chose this style in particular because the lamp bases were operated with a simple on/off switch, which is much better than the touch-on-touch-off lamps that I’d struggled with in the past. The white stick base was available with a selection of pretty shades and after a lot of deliberation I chose this traditional ‘lampshade’ shape with this gorgeous roses pattern. The lamps work great with my existing décor, because the script/text pattern looks great with the book pages that I’ve used to paper the feature wall, and the bold roses print reflects the design on my bedding, as well as the drawings of roses that I added to the wall around Valentines Day. All in all, I couldn’t have chosen a better style of bedside lamp even if I had designed them myself! So you can imagine how delighted I am with my new lights and how they tie all the elements of the décor together.

I like my bedroom to feel like a hotel (is it just me, or does everyone love a good hotel room?!) so I’m delighted that I finally have a pair of working, matching bedside lamps. I’m also trying to create a calming, restful environment to make it easier for us to drift off to sleep so over the past few months I’ve installed blackout blinds (great at this time of year when we are actually going to bed while it’s still light outside!) and have even invested in a mattress topper for a softer night’s sleep – read all about my bedroom makeover series here. The softer lighting that my new bedside lamps emit is much more soothing and calming than the bright task light we’ve been using for a couple of weeks and the whole room feels much cosier with the warm glow from my new lamps.

bedroom makeover - bedside lamps

 

 


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Dream a little dream… Lighting up my bedroom

Last week I told you how I noticed all the things that were ‘wrong’ with my bedroom while viewing it through the eyes of my guests (see my blog post here). It’s funny how you don’t notice the odd cobweb or a tea stain on the carpet until you are opening up your bedroom for others to stay in. I cleaned the bedroom all day long and even scrubbed the carpet before my pals arrived to stay for the weekend! I knew that a light bulb in one of my bedside lamps had blown so I popped to the shops to buy the right size mini-screw bulb for the lamps in preparation for my guests visit. I changed the bulb and promptly dropped the whole lamp on the floor. Oops. When I picked it up, it wouldn’t turn on at all so I changed the bulb for another new bulb, thinking that it must have blown in the fall, but still the lamp wouldn’t turn on. After a fuse change and another new bulb – just to be sure – I concluded that the lamp was broken. Whatever damage I’d done by dropping it had broken the touch-on-touch-off mechanism.

dream a little dream - bedroom makeover series - bedside table lamps

No problem, I thought, I’ll get rid of the lamp and just use the second bedside lamp. I changed the bulb and, inexplicably, it stayed on. As in, it wouldn’t turn off. Again, the touch-on-touch-off mechanism had broken so the lamp would need to be unplugged for the light to turn off. As the plug socket was behind a bookshelf, I didn’t think this would be a practical solution for my guests. I imagined them prodding about for a plug socket just as they were drifting off to sleep. So out of the two lamps I had that morning, two were broken. And my pals were arriving any minute! There was only one thing for it… borrow hubby’s desk lamp for the weekend. It worked fine with it’s ‘normal’ on/off switch but the light was a little too harsh for us to continue using it for a prolonged period of time. It’s intended for task-lighting rather than soft bedside illumination so that’s understandable but hubby ideally wants it back on his desk soon, so I need to find new bedside lamps…

I don’t want to spend a fortune and ideally, I’d just buy some lamp bases and add my nice pleated lamp-shades to them but where do you get simple lamp bases from these days? They all seem to come with shades, and the bases all look a little too big and chunky for my tiny, delicate shades. So the best idea might be to choose something completely different this time and I’m even considering floor lamps because I really like the industrial look. I’ve been researching lighting options below:

 My favourite lamps from Homebase

I really like the soft, diffused light from the bird cage and house-shaped lamps which will be calming and subtle in the bedroom. Also, I really love the quirky design of the tea-cups lamp – you know how much I love my tea! – but is it more suited to a living room or kitchen? The tripod lamp is simple and the dark wood legs will match the rest of the furniture in the bedroom. I think the idea of using an industrial-looking floor-lamp beside the bed is unusual but with the right low-watt lightbulb I think it could work well – at least I’d be able to angle the light into the right position if I were reading – but two floor lamps either side of the bed might be a little OTT and take up a lot of room. I will let you know when I make a decision and will post photos of my newly-illuminated bedroom 🙂

 

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