View a selection of new build family homes and you’d be hard pushed to find a design that doesn’t include at least one open planned room, unless you’re looking at really large properties. Walk around some small to medium-sized homes marketed at new or growing families and you’ll likely be presented with one or more open plan living spaces. In fact, you may even find that as many as three rooms have been rolled into one in the name of embracing ‘family friendly’ living space. A recent survey by one homebuilder Countryside claims that open plan living is very much in demand with 65% of buyers looking for an open plan living, kitchen and dining area because they are ‘family friendly’.


Let’s be honest, there’s a fairly obvious reason why developers have embraced open plan living. Missing out a wall here and there allows for a lot better flow of light and air and can make smaller spaces look larger. And of course, you save a few bricks and time on building too. But is it all about creating an illusion of space and saving a few quid or are there real advantages to opening up your home? Let’s look at the pros and the cons to see if open plan living could be a fit for your family…

The pros

You won’t miss a thing

An open plan space is perfect for sharing with the whole family and especially good for keeping a close eye on cruising toddlers! Whether they’re reaching for things they shouldn’t or taking a peaceful nap, it’s easier to watch over them to ensure nothing is amiss. Plus, with bigger areas to explore, there’s more room for toys and less likelihood of bumping into things. And, if you have guests over for entertaining, you’ll have a bigger space to dine or party in too.

There’s more space for furniture

When your rooms are on the compact side, squeezing in a sensible furniture layout can become problematic. This means family friendly furniture such as a proper dining table is often sacrificed in order to conserve floor space. With an open plan living-dining room or a kitchen-diner, much smaller homes can accommodate furniture favourites such as table to share family meals around or a larger sofa to snuggle up on to watch movies together.

It’s easier to decorate

If you’re an interiors enthusiast you’ll know the struggle of seamlessly linking your décor as you step from room to room. With open plan living it’s much easier to create a logical flow with colours, prints and textures that work together. There are larger walls and floors that allow you to experiment with different techniques more easily and can make things like wallpapering and laying flooring or carpets easier. Plus, with fewer rooms to decorate, you may even find you save a few pounds on the overall finish.

open plan ideas

The cons

Noise and smells travel

It’s not just special moments and a larger space you share with open plan living spaces. In fact, depending on the layout on the activities of different individuals, you can end up sharing some pretty annoying things too. The potent smell of the nappy bin might waft through you’re communal chill out area or if you’re ground floor is entirely open plan, the scent of last night’s tea might hang in the air while you’re watching TV. That could be enough to put fish permanently off the menu in some households! Then of course, there’s the noise. If cooking in the kitchen is usually your quiet haven, you can forget having a peaceful five minutes if the kids are playing in the same space. Likewise, if someone’s trying to do some homework in your dining area it will be hard to persuade the rest of the house that the TV should remain switched off for the duration.

Privacy is a precious commodity

As kids get older, open plan living starts to throw up more issues. Along with needing a quiet spot to work in, you or they might want to spend some time alone without heading up to your own bedroom. You might need to factor in younger children playing with toys whilst older children try and chat with friends. It’s also common to could contend with everyone playing on multiple devices like mobiles and tablets all in the same space, which can result in lots of annoying beeping. Having some separate spaces to retreat to can be beneficial for all the family and makes it easier to accommodate each other’s moods, hobbies and interests.

Temperature regulation is tricky

Hands up who turns the radiators off in some rooms but keeps other areas extra cosy because everybody in the family seems to have their own personal temperature preference? Not only do larger areas take more heating but it’s also harder to keep separate warm and cool spaces if you need to with open plan areas. For example, if you’re cooking up a storm in your kitchen diner on a hot day, you might find that the temperature in your dining room becomes too close for comfort. This can be especially the case in well-insulated modern homes.

Can you compromise?

If you’re on board with the benefits of open plan living but less enthused about the drawbacks, there are a few things you can do. Broken plan living – described here by Houzz – is a modern update on open plan living that factors in a family’s need to socialise or spend time separately. Cleverly placed furniture can provide quiet nooks and corners or if you’re planning a move or some renovations, inserting mezzanine floors is one way to instil privacy, though it won’t necessarily help contain unwanted spreading of sounds or containment of heat. An easier (and more cost effective) solution is to consider fitting doors that can be opened and closed as required. These indoor bi-folds by Vufold feature larger floor to ceiling glass panes so that you still have the advantage of free flow of light but can close the door on unwanted interruptions if you’re in need of a bit of peace and quiet.


What do you think of open plan living spaces? Do you find them useful for family life or do they throw up lots of problems with practicalities in your household? Do you have any other hacks to share that allow you the best of both worlds?


Related posts:

Ways to add a touch of character to your bathroom

5 Overlooked decor touches to add to your home

How to DIY your way to a vintage home




Do you love open plan living? Are you thinking of open plan living? Do you ever wonder if open plan living is really family friendly? Head over to my blog to read more.



These days we lead such busy lives that we rarely have time to spend in our bedrooms. Most of us simply fall into bed and switch off the lights after an exhausting day! That doesn’t mean you should leave the decor of your bedroom to become an afterthought. In fact, it is thought that a bedroom that is carefully planned and decorated could even aid good sleep. If you’re looking to add something extra to your bedroom, then try some of these beautiful ideas for a new look:



If you love the beauty and the scent of flowers and blooms, then add a vase or two to the bedroom. Lavender, in particular, can aid sleep. You can buy fresh lavender almost all year round these days. The colour is particularly attractive and can easily be incorporated into your theme or colour palette. Soft lavenders and powder pinks are ideal for this room.


bedroom decorating ideas


Don’t forget, you can also include floral wallpapers or bedding to your bedroom. Petite patterns like this have come back to popularity, so there are plenty in the stores to choose from. Some window blinds feature this type of pattern too. Prints or sketches of flowers in light pastels or pencil could become perfect wall art material for your bedroom as well.


decorating ideas



You can choose elegant metal bed frames that offer a more feminine and pretty look for the bedroom. An antique brass finish can be very attractive. Some Serene Furnishings beds have an elegant ivory finish for a softer look in the room. This can be ideal if your bedding is in ivory, or you have pale curtains in the room. It can also match any rugs that you might be using. Bedside cabinets can also be painted the same shade if you have a wooden cabinet to upcycle.


ideas for your bedroom


Dressing tables are essential. If you continue the ivory or metal theme here, you will find you have plenty of choices. The table and the table-top mirrors should match. You can place a vase of flowers here, and the colour from them will be reflected in the mirror. Why not add a delicate lace or crochet topper? A couple of ornaments or trinkets will finish this off beautifully.



Stripping your floors bare and painting them can open up a lot of choices in the bedroom. You can use a thin lacquer or varnish to protect and highlight the grain of the wood. Or you can paint them ivory, duck egg blue, or a soft lavender colour. Add a couple of rugs for a soft finish. Why not paint the skirting boards in a feminine colour too? If you have floor-standing radiators, it might be worth painting these the same colour too.


Bedrooms can be elegant, feminine and beautiful. They can be painted and furnished in any colour you like to suit your mood or suit the season. Add a few pillows, cushions and a throw to the bed, and you’ll have a room you’ll love to use. Perhaps you’ll make it to bed a little earlier tonight?


Related posts:

Ways to add a touch of character to your bathroom

5 Overlooked decor touches to add to your home

How to DIY your way to a vintage home

3 Simple Tricks to add a touch of luxury to your bedroom



These simple decor tricks will help you add a touch of beauty to your bedroom.  Featuring easy and low cost ways to enhance your bedroom.  Head over to my blog to read more.



Quarter of 14-year-old girls ‘have signs of depression’.  Here are some apps that may help.

The news this morning that a quarter of girls and nearly one in 10 boys show signs of depression at the age of 14, is heartbreaking but also a fact of this mad, mad world unfortunately.


The study which involved over 10,000 young people looked at how many of them experienced signs of depression with those from a poorer background or being of mixed or white ethnic background having an increased risk of signs of depression.



The study also involved parents.  It showed that some were not attuned to the true pressures of their children and that parents often underestimated the stress an concerns of their teenagers.


It’s not really surprising as parents have so much going on in their lives.  So I wanted to share with you some apps which you can recommend to your teenager should you be worried about their mental health.  We use apps for many things and teenagers have grown up using them.  So making use of these seems like a great idea.


Of course, these apps are not and should not be viewed as a replacement for seeking professional help if you are concerned with your teenagers’ mental health.  However, they can help if your teenager is feeling stressed coming up to exams or there are other changes happening in their life.



Elefriends is a supportive online community from the mental health charity Mind. They try and provide a place to listen, a place to share what you are feeling.  It’s also a great place to read how other people are coping with particular issues.  The app is free to use but is restricted to over 17’s)



Silvercloud is another free to use app which provides a wide range of interactive programmes, tools, and tactics for mental and behavioural health issues. Some of the topics covered include addressing wellbeing, life balance, time management, communication skills and relationship issues as well as stress management.


RCPsych Mental Health App

A free to use app which I think is more suited for parents as it provides general information about mental health disorders together with links to helpful videos.  A good place to find out further information on mental health.


Catch it

Another free to use app which was developed by Liverpool and Manchester Universities.  The app allows you to record your moods and is designed to help you work through them using a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach.


I hope you have found some of these apps useful.  Do you know of any others?





Need some tips to help your teen on their shaving journey?  Head over to my blog post on Top Shaving Tips 🙂




No messing around today, let’s get straight in to my top tips to help you be an awesome parent to your teen!


Give your teenager a break

Let your teenager establish their own identify by giving them more independence and letting them find out their place in the world.  Give them the space they need to do this.


Stay connected

Keep talking to your teenager.  You could also ask their friends round for pizza.  It’s a great way of getting to know who they are handing out with and you can keep an eye on them while in the house!


Choose your battles

Some things are not worth getting annoyed at such as dying their hair or an untidy room.  As long as your teenager is healthy, happy and safe don’t worry about the small things.


Set ground rules

It’s important to set the rules in advance and discuss them with your teenager.  That way your teenager will accept them more readily and they won’t seem unfair.


Talk about risks

It’s good to talk to your teenager about the reality of life.  It’s important to talk to them about drugs and sex.  It’s all part of parenting and necessary to ensure your teenager can make informed choices.


Check in

While you don’t need to know what your teenager is doing every second of the day, it’s important to know where they are and to check in.  Again discuss this process with your teenager and agree some rules.


Keep communicating

Teenagers often feel interrogated by parents.  Overcome this by telling your teenager about your own day before enquiring about theirs.  If they seem upset but don’t want to talk at that particular moment, tell them if they feel like talking later, you are happy to listen.


Be a good role model

Actions really do speak louder than words so be a good role model for your teenager.

Happy parenting!


parenting tips


Need some further help with your teenager?  Head over to my blog posts on:

Top Tips for a Thriving Relationship with Your Teen.

A Game Plan to Help you Parent Your Teen.

How to Stay Connected to Your Teen.

Apps to Help Your Teen with their Mental Health




If you were to walk into your living room, kitchen, dining room and bedroom, you would probably get a warm, fuzzy feeling in your belly, which is because you have done all you can to make these rooms feel warm and cosy. You have embellished them and graced them with all sorts of decorative flourishes. You have done all you can to give them character. So why haven’t you done this to your bathroom? Don’t worry, we were expecting your mouth to fall open slightly as you scratch your head!


bathroom makeover


It is odd though, right? After all, the bathroom is a place where we can end up relaxing for an hour without any distraction, which means it is more deserving of some character than every other room in your home. With that in mind, we have come up with some simple ideas to help you add a little style and character to your bathing space. Trust us, once you have made these amendments, your home will feel more whole than ever.



Do Away With The Conventional Bath Mat

There is no rule saying you need to step out of the tub or the shower and onto a conventional bath mat. It is just something we do without giving it any thought. If you really want to make an impact in your bathroom, however, we suggest you swap your mat for a vintage rug, something that will fill the giant space in the middle of your floor with a little more excitement and character – something Persian perhaps.


Sit Back And Relax

You’ll be gobsmacked by how dramatically a chair can change a bathroom, and that is without even touching on the practicalities of this addition. It could be an old wooden chair that stands out in all white bathroom. It could be an ottoman that adds a layer of luxe. It could be an old armchair in the corner that bursts with personality. Whatever fits your space and your wants.


bathroom makeover


Things Don’t Need To Be Boring

There are certain things that every bathroom needs to have – bath, towel rails, faucets etc – but these things don’t need to be boring. They don’t just have to exist. In fact, we urge you to make these things into features. Get yourself a Salzburg Traditional Victorian towel rail from Upgrade your bathtub by getting a freestanding version, or painting your current one in bright colours. Instead of just having whatever faucet, invest in some brass ones, something that will give your taps a bit of character.


Wallflowers Not Needed

If there is one thing every bathroom needs it is a splash of nature, at least according to It could be that you add a bunch of fresh – or fake – flowers to the windowsill or stuff a few branches of eucalyptus into a big black and vase and push it into the corner of your room – it doesn’t matter so long as you do. These will bring a life to your room and add another level of serenity. Some will say this only works if you stay on top of them, but we think the rustic look works best of all.


Related posts:

5 Overlooked decor touches to add to your home

How to DIY your way to a vintage home

3 Simple Tricks to add a touch of luxury to your bedroom


Need to add a touch of character to your bathroom.  This post highlights some easy ways to change the decor of your bathroom.