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How to create a dining room that will impress

With the popularity of cookery programmes sky high, the urge to have a dinner parties shows no sign of waning. While you may think the focus should be on the quality of your cooking, how can you make sure your dining room also leaves a lasting impression?

Whether it’s for a family Sunday lunch or a celebration dinner party, your dining area should be as dynamic as the food on offer.

“Just as we wouldn’t serve dinner on chipped crockery or wine in cracked glasses, we wouldn’t want to have shabby curtains and faded seat covers,” says Laura Calvert, Merchandise Manager for Plumbs.

The easiest way to achieve a chic look is with matching or coordinating soft furnishings such as seat covers, curtains, blinds and cushions – all of which can be chosen with the help of Plumbs’ Home Consultant.

Decide whether you like a formal or a more relaxed look in order to stamp your personality on your dining area.

“A look I love is when curtains, blinds, seat covers and cushions are co-ordinated sing a variety of textured fabrics,” says Laura. “It gives a really opulent feel to your interior.” 

Of course, dining rooms have changed radically over recent years. No longer a separate room used on high days and holidays, dining tables are now often being incorporated into the heart of the home – the kitchen. This means your kitchen/diner has to look its best at all times because it is always on show.

So how can you achieve an exciting new look in your dining area?

Plumbs offers a full range of loose seat covers which are practical because they can be machine washed or replaced when you fancy a new look. “With the huge choice on offer from Plumbs, you can match seat covers to curtains or try a coordinating look with blinds and cushions to add interest and variation,” says Laura.

If you’re planning to entertain for a special occasion such as Christmas or Easter, Plumbs’ set of loose seat cushions in seasonal colour fabrics such as reds, tartans and checks can give your dining area an instant fresh look to suit the season, says Laura.

If you have fixed cushions in your dining room chairs, Plumbs also offers a full re-upholstery service so your chairs are taken back to the frames, restored and recovered in a new fabric of your choice. With a huge variety of materials and colours to choose from, there is something to suit every style and impress your guests.

“We have a choice of beautiful plain and semi-plain fabrics that complement each other really well,” says Laura. “For real pizzazz, you can also use contrasting colours for a vibrant and contemporary look.”

Another way to add richness to your dining room or entertaining area is to focus on the curtains. In recent years, there has been a move away from pelmet curtains and towards a cleaner, pared down look among Plumbs customers.

“We are seeing a return in popularity of curtain poles and tracks,” says Laura. “Our most popular look at the moment are eyelet curtains with a metallic pole. This is a contemporary, clean look that works really well when the dining area is part of the kitchen.”

There is no need to compromise on luxury with this look because curtains can be teamed with coordinating blinds to dress the window and add layers of colour and texture.

For advice on how Plumbs can help you refresh your dining room or area, contact a Plumbs consultant to give you free advice and quotes.

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Your Home Improvement Resolution

Millions of people every year will make a new year resolution and millions of people will not keep to them, I know, I am one of them.  This is mainly because they are not realistic, too many are made or they're not thought through enough.  However if home improvement has been one of them we have some good tips to help keep you on the road to resolution.

To manage any sort of project there are three main requirements:

    • Decide what needs to be done
    • Prioritise what need to be done
    • Set yourself goals to achieve what needs to be done

In deciding what needs to be done you should try and take a subjective look at your home, a good way to do this is to take a walk around in the mindset of a prospective buyer, you will probably be shocked to see what is in need of improvement.  Get a piece of paper and a pencil and walk through your home room by room.

Starting from the entrance to your home, be it a porch or hallway.  Is it bright and welcoming, or dark and uninviting?  Using softer and lighter shades of colour on the walls can make a dramatic improvement to how people first perceive your home.  This can also be achieved of letting in more natural light, which is not always possible but can be remedied by adding more or brighter lighting fixtures.

The next logical step would be your Living Room, this is where you most need to feel relaxed and restful.  So it is important that all the walls, furnishings, curtains and flooring be coordinated and harmonise with each other.  Neutral tones on the walls are often used as a safe colour to achieve this effect and are easier to contrast with your other features.  If you find your suite is looking tired and worn, fitting made to measure furniture covers are a cheaper alternative to buying a new sofa.

Dinging Rooms are going to a big design essential for 2008 and visual indigestion will definitely not improve your family's appetite. Ever wondered why red is such a popular colour for restaurants and dining rooms? It's because it stimulates the appetite. It's also an energising colour and therefore a good backdrop for social situations. However, choose the shade carefully - you want to create warmth rather than an oppressive, angry atmosphere.

Now to your Kitchen, the most important factor of this room is hygiene.  If there are any dirty marks damage to work surfaces or cupboards then the impression may not be very tasteful.  The main idea of improvement to this room is make it as functional and pleasant to be in.

You may not think it but it can be quite simple and relatively cheap to spruce up you Bathroom.  Just by replacing your taps, toilet seats, shower curtain/door etc. with new or modern fittings can make a real difference.  Look at the flooring, we are becoming more European in our tastes and they regard carpet as unhygienic. Changing to cork, bamboo or ceramic tiles will give your bathroom a fresh, clean and modern look. Coloured suites are also out of fashion. Look out for offers at the DIY stores or on the Internet and consider replacement with plain white.

And finally your Boudoir.  In the bedroom the obvious focal point should be your bed and dressed to command attention, this can be done in a number of fashions such as using bedspreads and scatter cushions.  Colours again are important in creating the right atmosphere and reflect the personality of whoever this room is intended.  You should take you time here to decide how you can create that ultimate feeling for yourself.

Good luck!

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