How to Decorate Ceilings on a Budget

budget ceiling

 

An easy way to give a room an added pop is to decorate the ceiling.  And while this doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, it can still have a big effect on how the room is perceived.  If you’re looking for an affordable way to bring your ceiling into the conversation, check out some of our ideas on how to decorate ceilings on a budget.

Ceiling Medallions

A ceiling medallion is not only a practical way to hide the unattractive wires and light box of the light fixture in a room, it can also become a beautiful centrepiece in itself.  These days these ornamental features are usually made of polyurethane foam which makes them affordable, lightweight and easy to install. Choose a ceiling medallion that works with the other elements in the room.  If your furniture is ornate, choose a ceiling medallion that’s similarly detailed. If you’ve gone for a sleek and modern looking room, a simple ceiling medallion shape will provide continuity. If the room already has crown or chair rail mouldings, match your ceiling medallion to their style for the best results.  A ceiling medallion is an economical way to decorate your ceiling that still provides a strong design punch.

Painting

No longer do ceilings have to be a boring white.  You can paint your ceiling to match your furniture, the floor or make it stand out on its own.  Smaller rooms benefit when the ceiling is the same colour as the walls. If you have moulding around the room and/or a ceiling medallion, a neutral ceiling colour will highlight those features.  A strong, brightly coloured ceiling works well in rooms with neutral coloured furnishings and walls. Adding pinstrining to the edges of the ceilings can create the illusion of a tray ceiling.

Ceiling Decals 

There are a lot of decals and stickers on the market these days that work really well on ceilings.  You can add floral flourishes, pinstripes, skyscapes or interesting patterns and shapes that will immediately draw the eye upwards.  Decals and stickers are very affordable, easy to apply and can be customized to work with both your room and your personal tastes.

 

Should You Place a TV Above Your Fireplace?

fireplace tv

 

 

Maybe you’ve moved into a new house or maybe you just got a brand new TV.  Now you have to decide where the TV belongs. Should you place a TV above your fireplace?  Well, that really depends. In this article we’ve described scenarios of when you should or shouldn’t position your TV above the fireplace.

 

Proximity Of Jacks And Plug Ins

If all the cables, jacks and plug ins required for your TV make placing the unit above your fireplace easy and convenient, then this may make it a good idea.  The last thing you want is for wires and cables to be strung all over your mantlepiece. If the hookups allow for it, why not?

Small Rooms

Sometimes the size of the room will dictate where your TV must go.  If you’re dealing with a small room, there might not be enough space for the TV to go anywhere else.  Using the space above your fireplace will give more room for furniture and other living room necessities.

Low Temperature Fireplaces

Putting your TV above a wood burning fireplace is probably not the best of ideas.  The heat could make this a dangerous plan. However, with lower temperature fireplaces such as electric, gas or gel you won’t have to worry about your TV being melted by a roaring fire.

Solid Fireplaces And Chimneys

If you have a fireplace and chimney that’s made of stone, brick or some other solid material, you might find it almost impossible to mount your TV or run wires.  With this type of setup it may not be worth your while to try and get everything properly attached.

Large Fireplaces

If your fireplace is quite tall, your TV may end up being placed too high on your wall and compromise your viewing experience.  TVs should really be placed at eye level. This is especially important with newer TVs that feature high definition or 4K graphics.  Viewing these types of TVs at an angle may render the sharper picture useless.

Viewing Distraction

If you have a roaring fire underneath your TV while watching a seriously dramatic or intense moment, your eye may be constantly pulled away from the screen.  If you want the best cinematic experience, any added movement around the TV screen will be an unwanted distraction.

Three Ways to Save Money with an Electric Fireplace

Gas or Electric FireplaceKeeping your house warm in the cold of winter is a necessity, but it doesn’t always have to be incredibly expensive.  There are ways of heating your home that can bring down your costs and still keep you warm and snug. Electric fireplaces are one of those options.  In this article we’ve come up with a list of three ways to save money with an electric fireplace.

Zone Heating

By only heating the spaces in your house that you’re actually using at the time, you can cut down on your heating costs.  When you turn on your furnace your entire house gets warmed up, even if you’re only using your living room. By using your electric fireplace to heat up the room you’re using, rather than the entire house, you’ll bring down your overall energy bill.  The results will be even more noticeable the bigger your house or if you’re trying to heat up rooms that are colder because of their location or construction. An electric fireplace can also allow you to evenly heat your house for less money in a way that a traditional furnace can’t.

Electric Versus Gas Or Wood

Electric fireplaces are much cheaper to install than a traditional wood or gas fireplace – especially if your house is already built.  You don’t need to worry about chimneys, gas lines, ventilation or open flames when you’re dealing with an electric fireplace. All you need is access to an electrical socket.  The cost of burning wood or gas will also be more than the cost of the electricity needed to run an electric fireplace. This also doesn’t take into account the amount of physical energy that needs to be expended when you have to haul, chop and stack firewood.

Energy Efficiency 

When it comes to wasted energy, gas and wood fireplaces can lose more than half of their energy into the atmosphere.  Most of the heat from gas and wood fireplaces goes straight out the chimney. Electric fireplaces on the other hand are almost 100% energy efficient.  Air pollution and greenhouse gases are minimal compared with gas or wood.

How to Choose the Best Ceiling Medallion

Architectural plaster moulding

Ceiling medallions first became popular in Victorian-style, middle and upper class homes in the 19th century.  The decorative feature was attached to the ceiling and used to accentuate the light fixture or chandelier. Ceiling medallions have become popular again in the 21rst century and are often used in large rooms as a novel decorative addition.  They also have a practical purpose of covering the unsightly ceiling box of a light fixture. Getting a ceiling medallion that works best for your room isn’t quite a scientific endeavour, but there are a few tricks of the trade that can be used when deciding how to choose the best ceiling medallion.  Read more to find out how.

Measure For Success

There is an industry formula that can be used to measure for the best size ceiling medallion for any room.  This involves calculating the room’s square footage and dividing by seven. The resulting number will give you the ideal diameter of a ceiling medallion in inches.  Of course this is only a guideline, but it will at least give your somewhere to start. Often interior designers will try and match the size of the ceiling medallion to the size of the light fixture.  However, in large, fancily decorated rooms it might make sense to use a ceiling medallion that’s larger than the light fixture. For smaller, simpler rooms, it might be better to go with a smaller ceiling medallion.  Use the square footage divided by seven formula to get a base measurement to work with and then adjust according to the type of room and light fixture you have.

Matching Styles

Look around the room and try and match the style of your ceiling medallion with its surroundings.  If the room is large, highly decorated and already full of a lot of other types of moldings, you’ll be able to utilize a ceiling medallion that’s much more detailed and intricate.  Patterns on furniture, wallpaper and the floor should also influence the type of ceiling medallion you choose. Just like putting together a matching outfit of clothes, you can do the same when it comes to putting together a ceiling medallion and the other features in the room.

What to Look for in an Electric Fireplace

electric fireplaceIf you’re looking for a stylish, but effective way to heat a room in your house, you might want to consider an electric fireplace.  These appliances are just as functional as a space heater, but are much more aesthetically pleasing. And as opposed to a traditional fireplace you don’t have to worry about fire hazards, soot, smoke or having to keep a supply of chopped wood.  To help those who are in this market for the first time we’re providing a list of what to look for in an electric fireplace.

Portable Versus Inserted

If you have an existing fireplace cavity you might want to look into an electric fireplace insert.  You can convert a wood or gas fireplace to electric by installing an electric unit into the existing mantle.  That said, if you don’t already have a fireplace you can get a stand alone electric unit that doesn’t require a fireplace cavity for installation.

Plug-In Versus Hardwired

You can also choose between units that simply plug into a wall socket or ones that need to be hardwired into the household power supply by an electrician.  Hardwired units will give off more heat, but the plug-in units don’t require any installation expertise to get them up and running. As an added bonus plug-in units are really easy to take with you if you plan to move.

Design

There is an almost unlimited number of fireplace designs when it comes to electric fireplaces.  You don’t have to choose the first one that falls into your cost range if its look doesn’t quite fit with your household interior.  Take some time to shop around and find something that’s both fashionable and functional.

Options

There are a lot of extra bells and whistles that can come with a new electric fireplace.  Ask yourself if some of these could enhance your lifestyle. Look at options such as timers, remote controls, brightness controls, variable heat settings, flame and smoke effects and thermostat controls.  Electric fireplaces can last as long as 20 years, so getting one that’s comfortable for you to use will ensure it’s money well spent.

Four Things to Plan Before Wallpapering

wallpaperThe thought of wallpapering may intimidate a lot of people, but with new types of wallpaper and adhesives it’s becoming a lot easier to finish a room yourself.  That said, you’ll still need to plan ahead when it comes to hanging wallpaper. The more planning you do, the less likely you’ll end up with unsatisfactory results.  In this article we’ll go over four things to plan before wallpapering.

Wall Preparation

Removing any existing wallpaper will make it much easier to get a smooth and bubble-free application of the new covering.  If your walls are freshly plastered you’ll want to make sure to apply a wall sealer before hanging any wallpaper. This will allow the wallpaper paste to adhere much more easily.  You’ll need to degloss any walls that have a high gloss paint as the paste won’t stick to it very well. You might want to consider hanging lining paper as well to prevent the wallpaper from shrinking when it dries.  It will also help disguise any stains or imperfections in the wall.

How Much Wallpaper Do You Need?

There are plenty of online calculators that make it easier to decide how much wallpaper you actually need.  Give yourself at least 10% extra to make up for any spoiled pieces. You’ll also want a bit more than that if you’re using a large repeated pattern.  Many shops will allow you to return unopened rolls, but check first to make sure.

Placing Seams

Poor seam placement can result in awkward patterns or unsightly lines in obvious areas.  Examine your room and try to choose where the best places for the seams to fall will be. You’ll also want to plan where the last seam will be placed.  It’s very likely any patterns won’t match up at the final seam, so having it fall in an inconspicuous place, such as overtop a door, will be to your advantage.  

Where To Start?

Choosing the best place to start wallpapering can vary depending on the layout of your house.  If there’s a dominant feature such as a fireplace or chimney, you might want to start there. If not, a corner can be a good place to begin.

Four Ceiling Decoration Tips

You may not have considered it before, but others definitely have.  Decorating your ceiling has become the newest trend in interior design.  Working with the so-called fifth wall can add pizzazz to a room that a simple white ceiling is unable to achieve.  For those who are ready to do something bold with their ceiling, we’ve come up with four ceiling decoration tips to make the transition that much easier.

Try Wallpaper

You may never have thought of wallpaper as an ideal covering for your ceiling and you couldn’t be blamed.  It’s not called ceiling paper! But wallpapering the ceiling has followed in the footsteps of the revived popularity of wallpaper itself.  This isn’t your grandmother’s wallpaper either. The number of designs has increased, while the manufacturing of the product itself has been improved.  If you can’t find a design that you like straight off the shelf you can even get custom made wallpaper these days.

Size Up Your Room

Decorating your ceiling works better in larger rooms.  When the ceiling is low or the room is small, a decorated ceiling can make things look even smaller.  It may be best to opt for a neutral colour if you have a low ceiling or little square footage. Work the ceilings in your larger rooms.  The space will allow the extra colour and texture to breathe.  

Keep The Colour Balance

Don’t try to go too far out when it comes to colour schemes.  If you’ve already got some flow going with your furniture, carpet and accessories, keep with the theme when it comes to your ceiling.  More than three different colours in a room creates clash rather than harmony.

Work With What You Have

If your ceiling is already textured or has some intriguing details, use those as a starting point to build upon.  Add wallpaper or colour into the spaces between beams. Brighten up the ceiling medallion and moulding with a colour that matches other elements in the room.  Add stippling to give your ceiling a texture that works with the furnishings or flooring. If you can match what already exists with the design you see in your mind, things will come together more naturally.

Which Type of Fireplace is Most Energy Efficient?

Humans have always been fascinated by fire.  Even more so when that fire can actually occur in your living space.  It’s been found that houses on the market sell faster when they feature a fireplace.  And why wouldn’t they when the buyer is envisioning themselves cuddled up with their family in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night?  But the fact is that fireplaces cost money. Not only in installation costs, but in fuel, maintenance and lost heat. So to get the most out of your fireplace you may be wondering which type of fireplace is most energy efficient.  In this article we’ll rank the three main types of fireplaces in order of energy efficiency.

Electric Fireplaces

They may not seem the most romantic, but electric fireplaces are hands down the winner in the fireplace energy efficiency rankings.  Part of the reason is that an electric fireplace doesn’t require a chimney which allows heat to escape the house. Heat produced by an electric fireplace stays within the confines of the building.  They are also the cheapest type of fireplace to run. Electric fireplaces do not release pollutants in the way that gas and wood fireplaces do. They also run cool to the touch which makes them safer around children.

Gas Fireplaces

Gas is a clean burning fuel, but it still requires a chimney.  This allows some of the heat that’s produced to escape the house.  The fact that gas doesn’t produce soot or ashes means that they’re easier to maintain than wood fireplaces.  Natural gas is relatively cheap and although a natural gas fireplace will cost more to run than an electric fireplace, it will cost less to run than a wood fireplace.

Wood Fireplaces

Wood fireplaces are the least energy efficient types of fireplaces.  Wood is a relatively expensive fuel that can cost three times as much to burn compared to an equivalent gas fireplace.  Not only do wood fireplaces lose more heat up the chimney when compared with gas, wood fires have a tendency to draw warm air out of the room making them even less efficient.  Burning wood releases ash, soot and other pollutants which results in the need for more maintenance and regular cleaning of the chimney.

Top Tips for Choosing a Fireplace Mantel

new fireplace mantel A fireplace very often becomes the centrepiece of the room it inhabits.  Not only do the flames command attention, but the mantel itself frames the fire and allows pictures and other decorations to be easily displayed.  A mantel is a great way to jazz up a simple fireplace.  But there are some factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right one.  In this article, we go over some of the top tips for choosing a fireplace mantel.

Budget

A fireplace mantel can be simple and affordable or it can be extremely ornate and expensive.  Knowing how much you’re willing to spend will play a large role in the type of mantel you ultimately decide upon.  Factors such as the material the mantel is made of, the detail of the design and its size will determine how much it will cost.  Once you decide on how much you’re willing to spend your choice will become easier.

Size

Choosing an appropriate sized mantel that works with both the fireplace and the room, in general, is an important consideration.  Finding the right balance will allow the fireplace to become a focal point without overwhelming the entire room.  Make sure to take into account the size of the room, the mantel and the fireplace itself to get the best balance possible.

Measurements

Knowing the size of your fireplace and firebox will be important when it comes time to choose an appropriate mantel.  Whether or not you have a hearth will also play a role in the size of the mantel that works best.  Fireplace facings are another thing to keep in mind when shopping for mantels.  Oddly shaped fireboxes may require a custom made mantel to ensure things look natural.

Material

Mantels can be made of a wide variety of materials.  Most mantels these days are composed of wood because it’s cheap and easy to work with.  However, you can also get mantels made of stone, marble and a number of other materials.  Take into account the furnishings and design of the rest of the room to allow you to choose something that’s appropriate.

How to Install a Ceiling Medallion

Ceiling medallions, Decorative Medallions

A ceiling medallion is a decorative accent that covers the part of the ceiling where a light fixture is attached.  They can range from the very basic to highly ornate and patterned. The size of the ceiling medallion is typically matched with the size of light fixture that it’s paired with.  Installing a ceiling medallion is quite doable for the average DIYer. In this article we’ll go over the tools needed and the various steps required for how to install a ceiling medallion.

Materials List

To install a ceiling medallion, you’ll need the medallion itself along with some needle nose pliers, a drill or screwdriver, screws, wood filler, putty knife, paint and brush, glue and caulking.  

Preparation And Safety

Test to make sure you have all the necessary parts and everything fits before proceeding.  If you need to paint the ceiling medallion, you might as well do this before you install it.  Allow it to dry completely. Make sure to turn off the power at the circuit breaker box before attempting the installation.  Remove the existing light fixture from the ceiling and the wires.

Installation

Make sure the decorative side of the ceiling medallion is facing the right way and thread the wires through the central hole.  Centre the ceiling medallion over the hole it’s going to cover and mark where you want it to sit. Apply a decent amount of glue or caulking to the ceiling side of the medallion and hold it into place until you can secure it to the ceiling with the screws.  If there are any gaps between the ceiling and the ceiling medallion you can fill this in with paintable caulking.

Final Touches

Once the ceiling medallion is securely in place you can reattach the light fixture to the exposed wires.  If you needed to add paintable caulking, sand down any rough edges once it’s dried and give it a coating of paint.  Turn the power to the circuit back on and make sure the light works as required. Stand back and enjoy the fruits of your labour!