Home Décor: Get Decoration Ideas, Tips And DIY On A Shoe-String Budget


It’s indeed true that people have an emotional connection with their home. After all, this is the place where you’ll be spending most of your time. You can ingeniously utilise the space within your house and add amazing decoration to create the perfect set up. Your concept could revolve around simple home décor ideas or even complex ones. While the placement and quality of the furniture is important, many overlook the fact that their blank walls can be employed for further embellishments. There are a plethora of home decoration items available in the market that’ll help you do the same. Let’s take a look at a few excellent tips that’ll assist you in enhancing the visual aesthetics of your residence:


Most people seek out the perfect home decorating ideas on a budget, and this is certainly one of them. Wallpapers are extremely flexible with regards to installation and replacement. This is why they have become the preferred choice for many nowadays. They will render your living room attractive, irrespective of its size.

Wall of Memories

Everybody has a collection of memorable photographs that are dear to them. You can use them to adorn the walls of your corridors or even a staircase. If you’re a musician, you can decorate your jam room with posters of your idols. There is no need for extravagant frames as simple ones would do the trick.

Wooden Furniture

Extremely convenient and durable, wooden furniture is rapidly rising in popularity. Good-quality wood pieces don’t require too much maintenance and can easily be moved around. Their rustic look will be simple yet highly enticing. Employing this unique option will provide you with an effective and cost-efficient solution.


Are you a lover of art or an artist yourself? Do you have a fancy collection of creative works? Then you can enrich the walls of your home by hanging those paintings or portraits, which will easily glam up your space. This will also help you maintain a mini art gallery right at home.

Soothing Landscape

The ambience of your bedroom should reflect its purpose. It should be a comforting and relaxing space. Use natural tones like greens and blues on the walls. If you wish to, you can use wallpapers that help you feel comfortable and at ease. The wall hangings in your room can either be inspirational quotes, pictures of your loved ones or simply a calming wall painting.

Bright Paint

Adding a fresh coat of colour is one of the easiest ways for you to add a little character to your décor. If you feel like bright walls all around might be a bit alarming, try adding a pop of red or a bright green to one wall in a room. This will be the focal wall in the room, and you can further embellish it with mirrors, shelves and other show pieces.

Best Curtain Materials

In India, the world is quite literally your oyster when it comes to selecting fabric for your curtains. You can opt for a simple cotton or even khadi instead of the all-too-common chiffon and satin offerings. It’s a good idea to pick curtains in colours that offer a good contrast to your walls.

Old Mirrors

A vintage mirror from an ancestral home could be the perfect accessory in your modern home. These gorgeous artefacts will add a classy touch to any room with their large reflective surfaces and ornate decorations.

Stone Cladding

Want to give your house an ancient look? Then, cladding a certain section of your house with stone tiles is the perfect solution for you. This concept will be ideal for your living or dining room.


What better way to beautify your dining or living room than by installing an enamouring chandelier. You can also settle for lanterns if you’re specifically looking for home décor ideas for small homes. By employing these solutions, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone as they’ll serve the dual purposes of lighting and beautification.


This is another traditional aspect that is common to many old-fashioned Indian houses. They form an integral part of many rural homes and are an absolute visual delight. A wooden swing will greatly augment the look of your living room and veranda. Plus, they provide the perfect spot for you to curl up with a good book or enjoy a heart-to-heart with a loved one.


If you’re not keen on paintings or posters, then you can certainly opt for this option. Choose any theme you like to enhance the visual appeal of your house. It’s absolutely essential that you select the appropriate paint colour that’ll provide the perfect backdrop.

Handcrafted Doors

Want to give your visitors a royal entry? Why not opt for handcrafted doors. They are common across many luxurious Indian homes and will provide your house with a little traditional charm.

CD Wall

With the age of digital music, you can use this idea to use those old album covers while also decorating your home. Create a collage of your favourite CD covers and put it in a place of pride in your home. This is a great way for music aficionados to showcase their vast collection.

You can get really creative with regards to embellishing your house. Using the available area wisely while striking the right balance between simplicity and extravagance can provide you with great benefits. Happy decorating!


Black Friday home deals 2018: Furniture, lights, lamps and bed sheets best UK offers on NOW

Tomorrow might mark the official start of Black Friday but big name retailers have started early this year with some particularly impressive offers on lighting, sofas and everything you need for a full interior makeover.

It’s no coincidence Black Friday comes just in time for the holidays and can provide an excellent opportunity to dress up your home however much you like. Debenhams is having a 50 % off lighting sale for today only, November 22, and we’ve highlighted some fantastic finds below. Other brands like Andrew Martin and department stores including John Lewis are promising discounts of up to 75% across a wide variety of its furniture, home accessories, lighting and everything you need to make your space that extra bit homely.

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal days are the ideal time to stock up on those big-ticket items that you need.

In the lead up to the big sales day, we have gathered the best deals out there so you can plan out your purchases and prevent that last minute panicking buying.

As new deals are released, we will be constantly updating this list to ensure all the best deals are included.

Get ready to shop…

Furniture and Lighting

If your sofa looks or feels a bit worse for wear or you have had the same table lamp since uni and are finally ready for a change, Black Friday offers the perfect excuse to invest in your interior with a range of furniture in every form. Bring new light and life to your space by taking advantage of the impressive discounts that will make updating your space more cost effective. The biggest retailers are going all out with impressive discounts across its range of furniture and lighting, see the best below.

Debenhams *Lighting deal of the day

Take a whopping 50% lighting at Debenhams for today November 22 only. This is certainly one of the best lighting sales around for Black Friday 2018 with an impressive 200+ lighting products offered at half off. A variety of designer options are on offer as well, like the flamingo table lamp by Matthew Williamson reduced to just £42.50. If you don’t have the budget to splash out on a new sofa or table, there’s no better or more practical piece of home decor to spruce up your space than a great lamp. Sale ends tonight.


We analysed 101 companies’ statements on modern slavery – here’s what we found

Modern slavery includes human trafficking, servitude and forced labour, and tens of millions of people around the world are thought to be affected. It affects people in both developing countries and developed countries, including the UK.

Businesses can play a major role in either facilitating modern slavery or eradicating it. Yet firms are addressing modern slavery in their supply chains in many different ways, and the ways in which they report on their activity is sometimes vague and not particularly helpful. That’s the main finding from our new research into modern slavery business reporting in response to recent UK legislation.

Awareness of the problem of modern slavery led to the passing of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015. The law requires businesses that supply goods or services with a turnover in excess of £36m to issue an annual slavery and human trafficking statement. This should outline the steps taken to ensure slavery is not occurring in any part of the business and, importantly, supply chain where it is harder to track if workers are trafficked or trapped into working in poor conditions.

The emphasis on the supply chain raises the stakes for organisations substantially. Their statements have to be made publicly available and be approved by the organisation’s leaders.

There are no fixed requirements for what must be included. But it has been suggested that the statement include details of the organisation’s structure; its policies on slavery and human trafficking; due diligence processes; the parts of its supply chain that are vulnerable and the steps taken to manage this risk; an assessment of the effectiveness of actions taken; and, details of training offered on modern slavery and human trafficking.

Companies have a great deal of freedom to decide what they say and do not say about modern slavery. This means there remains a vagueness surrounding the information they disclose.

What we found

We analysed the latest modern slavery statements released by 101 firms in the clothing and textiles sector. This is an industry with supply chains all over the world, high labour intensity, and one that has experienced major problems with the way it conducts its business in recent years. The industry is particularly susceptible to modern slavery due to the number of low-skilled jobs involved and this is compounded by the demand for fast, cheap fashion.

For most companies we looked at, this was the first statement they had released since the 2015 Modern Slavery Act came into effect. Overall, we found a limited number of fairly standard detection and remediation practices, mainly aimed at first-tier suppliers. The most common detection practice is to conduct an audit against a company code of conduct.

Nike, for example, publishes a code of conduct that its suppliers are expected to follow, alongside its global supplier list. Audits are carried out against the code of conduct, which requires a “respected, safe, fair and sustainable” working environment. Online retailer Asos, meanwhile, provides detailed action plans of their remediation techniques for modern slavery issues such as migrant, refugee, child and contract workers.

The most common response to the discovery that a supplier is not meeting a buyer’s expectations is to put a plan in place to remedy this. A series of corrective actions are agreed, planned over a reasonable timeframe, supported by the buyer and overseen by regular follow-up audits. For example, an investment into the equipment workers are using may be agreed upon.

In reality, this is not as good a solution for modern slavery as it is for other, often more minor social issues. Issues like blocked fire exits or poor chemical safety are easy for companies to identify and their suppliers to fix – without causing too much of a public relations headache (unless they are only identified in the aftermath of a major disaster).

But something as criminal and deliberate as forced labour makes it hard for buyers to act in any other way than reporting it to the appropriate authorities and cracking down on it. So the intangible element of how workers are treated, which can be difficult to evaluate, may offer greater temptation for the supplier (or their supplier) to hide violations.

It’s difficult to evaluate how supply chain workers are treated. shutterstock.com

Buyers cannot easily support or allow for solutions to modern slavery discoveries without admitting fault – as any response other than reporting it to the appropriate authorities could be interpreted as being complicit in criminal activity.

Substantial diversity

There was substantial diversity in the statements we analysed. This reflects the newness of the legislation and it’s likely that responses will become more standardised over time, as expectations develop.

Only 62% of the 101 statements we looked at had been formally signed by the board of directors – despite this being a requirement of the legislation. This draws into question whether the legislation has elevated modern slavery from the procurement department to the boardroom. It also challenges the idea that a firm’s disclosure strategy is in line with its overall corporate strategy.

Another issue we found was that firms refer to future plans or achievements that related to other social or even environmental issues like reducing their water use, possibly as a distraction tactic – to divert attention away from how little they have done, in some cases, about modern slavery so far.

For detection practices to be rolled out across global supply chains, firms may need to work together to have a greater say with suppliers and law enforcers. Or they may need to mobilise vulnerable workers to their raise concerns – a form of whistleblowing.

Companies must also examine what part they may play in encouraging modern slavery, such as by driving down supplier prices or demanding ever-quicker production. These practices play a big role in pushing suppliers to pursue cheap labour solutions and illicit subcontracting.


Traditional Retailers Focus On Customer Experience At The Expense Of Other Innovations

Almost every retailer out there will tell you they need to be more innovative, and that this is hard. Retail has long been an industry focused on buying low, selling high, and optimizing everything in between. Shifting to meet an expectation of providing content, services, experience, engagement and more – this is a big shift, and not easily accomplished. Some retailers – vertically integrated brands, or those with private label merchandise – might be good at productinnovation, but that is a far cry from processinnovation – and that is a large part of what retailers need right now, as they try to make the shift to be more relevant to consumers.

The thing about innovation, though, is that while it can sometimes have an aura unapproachability – only the coolest kids get to do it, it’s the rarified air of the most future-y of the futurists – the reality is, it’s a process, just like any other. It can be broken down into discrete steps, and those steps can be refined and optimized to produce a desired outcome.

Innovation – the act of creating new engines for business growth – has actually long been studied. Doblin, an innovation strategy consulting firm, identified ten distinct types of innovation in 1997. They broke the ten types up into three higher-level kinds of innovation: configuration, offering, and experience.

Retailers have been laser-focused on the latter, particularly the last identified type of innovation out of the ten: customer engagement. This is in direct response to shifting customer expectations, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, there are nine other innovation types out there, and with retailers so focused on just customer engagement, they are leaving a lot on the table. In fact, I would argue that the tenth innovation – this customer engagement – would be more powerful, and retailers would have more options to create innovation there, if they spent more time looking at the other nine first.

That’s not to say that retail has not been disrupted by companies making use of the other nine areas of innovation, but I think it is interesting to see just how many examples in the other nine come from upstarts, rather than from established retailers. Retailers like Walmart and Nordstrom are acquiring their way around this problem, by going out and buying some of these upstarts, but doing so can put a big strain on corporate culture and risk muddying the retailer’s brand in the process.

It’s like trying to transplant a tree: you can buy an older, bigger tree that is already well-established, but if you move it to a new location, the shock can often slow its growth and endanger its health in a way where, if you had just bought a younger tree and let it grow, it would end up bigger than the older tree after just a couple of years. When retailers acquire upstart brands or technologies, they’re often acquiring the same shock and risk as buying that larger tree – and might’ve gotten to implemented innovations faster by focusing on growing them more organically, than they will in trying to graft someone else’s innovation onto their enterprise.

Here are the nine other types of innovation traditional retailers are currently leaving on the table, or trying to buy:

  1. Profit Model – innovations around how the value to customers is ultimately collected. Think Rent the Runway, where consumers get access to luxury dresses and accessories in a rental model, rather than the outright selling of products, or Toms and Warby Parker, with their buy one, give one approach to the market.
  2. Network – innovations around how companies leverage other companies’ offerings to create their own unique ones. Think pretty much an Instagram brand, which reaches a highly targeted set of customers in a unique way, and pretty much operates a contract supply chain, rather than investing in the assets themselves. The product design might be owned by the company, but not the assets involved in making the products or getting them to consumers.
  3. Structure – innovations around how the company is structured. I haven’t really come across a lot of retailers innovating here. More often, I see retailers trying to protect their existing organizational structures from the disruption caused by innovation in other areas. You could probably look at Zappos as an early example of a retailer trying out organizational innovation, with things like paying new people to quit and rewarding customer service reps who went to heroic efforts to help customers on the phone. I’ve always thought of organization design as an outcome of the strategy – you should organize to support the execution of your strategy – so I have a hard time seeing how a retailer could stake an organizational claim to innovation without it actually being the outcome of a different type of innovation.
  4. Process – innovations around how a company does its work. I would look back to Instagram brands, or companies like Dollar Shave Club, who didn’t necessarily invent a new product or a product with breakthrough performance, but disrupted the shaving products industry by going to market completely differently, by eschewing traditional distribution or marketing.
  5. Product Performance – innovations that focus on new products that change the game, or on breakthroughs in product design for existing products. Honest Company is a good example here, not necessarily that the products were breakthroughs in design (many customers took issue with the efficacy of things like the company’s sun screen, for example), but were a breakthrough in terms of identifying strong preferences among consumers for more organic, more “natural” ingredients, and moving to meet those needs. A lot of product innovation these days seems to be coming from niche or boutique brands that have identified a gap in the market, and have organized to fill it.
  6. Product Systems – innovations in the complementary products and services that come with a product. Product system innovation is one place that is hitting the grocery industry hard, as meal boxes have combined with Millennials’ preferences for ease and convenience – and healthy ingredients – when it comes to eating. Big grocery chains have moved to take on boxed meal upstarts, either by offering their own subscriptions, or increasing their in-store focus on prepared meals and meals-to-go.
  7. Service – innovations in how you support your offerings. This is a place where retailers, seeking to enhance customer engagement, should also seriously consider. Some traditional retailers, like REI and Petsmart, have made big investments here, by supporting the whole of customer needs, rather than just focusing on products. Best Buy also put a stake in the ground here with their acquisition of Geek Squad.
  8. Channel – innovations in how products are delivered. Amazon is the original upstart here, and continues to disrupt the industry in how it connects consumers to products, with Alexa, Amazon Go, Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Flex… The list goes on and on. Innovations here have left traditional retailers reeling as they have tried to keep up.
  9. Brand – innovations in how you present your company to the market. Brandless is the quintessential example here, a company that literally goes to market with no branding, other than promising great products at great prices, with no marketing fluff to get in between.

The last innovation type is the one retailers have been so focused on: customer engagement: innovations in how you foster customer interactions. The challenge with focusing on this type of innovation as your primary one is that you’re only thinking about one aspect of customer expectations: how they engage with you as they buy products. This is still a product-centric way of thinking – that your goal as a retailer is to sell more stuff. The reality of the disruption in consumer expectations is that they no longer expect retailers to simply be a way of connecting consumers to goods – the buy low, sell high, and optimize everything in between way of thinking.

Consumers expect retailers to be partners in making their lives better, even when the interaction they’re looking for is low consideration for a low value purchase. Even in that case, consumers expect retailers to at least get out of their way and make the transaction as quick and painless as possible, which is why companies like Dollar Shave and Harry’s took such a bite out of a pretty long-established category.

Consumers also expect retailers to make the world a better place, which is why upstarts have been able to exploit innovations in profit model or product design to meet niches of consumer needs that established companies could’ve easily identified and did not.

The Bottom Line

Customer engagement is important – you’ll get no argument from me there. But it’s not the only thing. Brands like Glossier that approached the market through the Instagram network are able to create completely new forms of customer engagement not because they set out to design a new type of customer engagement, but because it was a natural outcome of how they approached the market.

Retailers who are struggling to be more innovative should look beyond just innovations in customer engagement. They may find their wider exploration of innovation ultimately leads to new ways of engaging with customers, anyway.\


People want Amazon’s Alexa on the toilet (and brands are listening)

U by Moen shower system, which can connect with Amazon's Alexa voice assitant. 

Consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with voice assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. So comfortable, in fact, that they’re looking to use those assistants in their bathrooms — even while on the toilet.

That’s according to public relations firm Walker Sands’ 2018 “The Future of Retail” report, based on a survey of 1,600 U.S. consumers. Owners of voice-enabled devices reported using them most frequently for common functions, “like playing music, looking up information or checking the time.” The majority of people kept them in the living room, kitchen or bedroom.

But others want to use voice commands while in the bathroom: 14 percent of survey respondents said they keep their devices there already, and 19 percent said they would like to be able to use hands free commands in the shower. And, 13 percent “wanted more voice-controlled options for hands-free commands while on the toilet,” according to the report.

It appears some brands are listening, though it will cost you.

In August, Kohler is releasing a suite of voice-enabled bathroom fixtures from faucets to mirrors. Using your preferred voice assistant (Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit) you can turn on the sink with your voice using Kohler’s Sensate Faucet for $660, or get your shower running at the perfect temperature with its DTV+ Shower System for an estimated $3,300. The $1,332 Verdera Voice lighted mirror has Amazon’s Alexa technology embedded within the product, so you can ask it to play music, listen to the news, look up facts or use it as a hub to control the other devices in the suite. There is also the Numi Intelligent Toilet, launching in early 2019, which has a heated seat, plays music and displays colored lighting.

The company sees voice technology as a way to make rushed grooming routines easier. “Voice command in the bathroom makes sense because most of our tasks in the bathroom already utilize our hands — shaving, applying makeup, brushing hair — so having the ability to simply use our voices is an efficient and effective way to multitask,” Nicole Allis, a marketing manager at Kohler tells CNBC Make It.

In March, Moen released an Alexa-enabled shower system called U by Moen. It can turn on the shower, change the temperature and preset shower preferences with just a voice command. A system that controls two shower heads costs $1,225 and a system that controls four shower heads costs $2,265.

“Whether it’s connectivity with our home heating and cooling, sound or lighting systems, consumers are personalizing their spaces with smart home technologies,” Michael Poloha, a senior product manager at Moen tells CNBC Make it. “We thought, ‘Why not give consumers connected water?’”

The system currently just works with Alexa, but Moen has plans to work with Apple’s HomeKit in the future, and possibly Google, according to the company.

While privacy is an obvious concern with smart devices in your bathroom, Kohler CEO David Kohler says the technology is here to stay.

“Our life is connected now. We have devices on our wrist, we’re living in a connected world. We’re learning how to use this [technology] and how it can really hopefully improve our lives,” he told CNET in Januaryabout the line of voice-connected products. “Because of the intimacy of the bathroom space, you want to be careful and you want to preserve privacy, but at the same time, it can be an area where you can enjoy a lot more convenience.”


The sea on your doorstep in this idyllic 12-bedroom Edwardian home in Nairn

During the early years of the Edwardian era, it was said the sun rarely set on the British Empire.

Those who were rich were happy to display their wealth and, for some, summer afternoons spent in the garden and either hosting or attending lavish house parties was the norm.

Napier House, Nairn

Napier House on Seabank Road in Nairn may well have witnessed such times.

The seaside town, often referred to as “the Brighton of the north”, was hugely popular with Victorians and Edwardians keen to make the most of the area’s mild climate, glorious beaches and clean, fresh air.

Napier House was built around 1900 and is one of the most prominent and finest coastal homes in the seaside town.

The front of the house enjoys fine views over the beach and the Moray coast while the back of the house not only overlooks the world-famous Nairn Championship Golf Course, but has direct, private access to it.

For the past eight years, Napier has been home to David and Mary Cameron and their two sons.

Napier House, Nairn

What’s unusual about that is that this gracious, large home has been lived in by relatively few families over the years.

“The house was built as a holiday home by a GP from Edinburgh and his wife, and I’m led to believe it was the first home in Nairn to have its own electricity supply,” said Mary.

“They’d come up for two weeks in the summer and the rest of the year the house was unused, which seems incredible these days.

“Over the years, the house was owned by a series of bachelors and single people who lived here in splendid isolation.”

Napier House, Nairn

Today, the house – which is on the market at offers over £750,000 – is very much a family home, albeit one with a huge amount of accommodation.

The full accommodation comprises, on the ground floor: an entrance vestibule, hall, dining room, sitting room, drawing room, morning room, cloakroom, washroom, main and prep kitchens, butler’s pantry, walk-in larder, storage cupboard, laundry/utility room, paint room and boiler room.

On the first floor, there’s a master bedroom with en suite bathroom and dressing room, five further bedrooms, three bathrooms and a shower room, a large hall, sitting room, linen store and further storage cupboards.

And there’s more…

On the top floor, there are six bedrooms – 12 in total – and what’s described as a tank room.

“My husband David is originally from Forres and although we lived in Oxford, we’d regularly visit Nairn, staying at the Golf View Hotel,” said Mary, 57.

“When the boys were aged 11 and 15, we moved to Nairn to get away from the rat race.

“Oxford is so busy, and it’s not what it looks like on TV.

“Here it’s lovely, so quiet and peaceful, and having the sea on your doorstep is wonderful.

“When I go back to Oxford, I miss the clean air of Nairn.”

The house required upgrading and they tackled this enthusiastically.

Mrs Mary Cameron of Napier, Seabank Road, Nairn.
Picture by Sandy McCook.

“We have done it up inside and out – put in new bathrooms and water systems; a beautiful new German-engineered kitchen, and generally brought the house back to life while keeping as many original features as possible, including all 13 fireplaces!

“They all work, but we’ve never had them all burning at the same time,” said Mary.

“There are fireplaces in some bedrooms and bathrooms which we no longer use, but they could be used in the future.

“We’ve installed two wood burners downstairs and when they’re lit, the house is like a furnace.”

Although it’s an enormous property, Mary said that within a couple of weeks of moving in, it felt pretty normal to have so much space.

“The boys had a whale of a time living here,” she said.

“They’d disappear upstairs with their friends and had great fun playing football and sports in the gardens, or down at the beach.

Mrs Mary Cameron of Napier, Seabank Road, Nairn.
Picture by Sandy McCook.

“It was idyllic.”

While this stunning home is full of wonderful details such as intricate cornicing, wall panelling, working room bells, picture rails, leaded glass, traditional Edwardian tiles, original doors and large rooms, outside is also rather swish.

The house is approached via a pillared entrance while the driveway is lined with maturing beech hedges.

The gardens are immaculate, full of well-stocked flower beds and trees, including fruit ones, and there’s a pond, too.

There is also a summerhouse, greenhouse and detached garage and storehouse.

“Although we offer B&B on a small scale, with both boys now away at university, it’s largely just myself, David and Bilko, our enormous husky, at home now, so the house feels a little too large for us.

“It really should be lived in by a family, so it’s with a sense of reluctance we’ve decided to sell.”