Winter is just around the corner, where it gets dark much earlier and just by having the lights on for more hours we increase our energy consumption. In addition to using our lights for longer hours each day, in order to combat the cold we also switch on the heating – this will mean a big increase in our energy consumption and monthly expenditure at home. Energy saving has become one of the main concerns in the UK, not only with a view to saving on bills but also because of the environmental impact this entails and the current fuel crisis. We have put together a few energy saving tips to try out at home and significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Top energy saving tips

Tip 1: Ventilate the house early in the morning

energy saving tips: open the windows in the morning

The house should be aired out every day to let fresh air in. Ideally, this should be done in the morning with the windows wide open for at least ten minutes. If, on the other hand, this is done in the evening when the house is warmer, extra energy will be required to recover the heat coming out of the windows, thus increasing the cost of our bill. 

Tip 2: Insulate doors and windows effectively

Good insulation is the key to preventing heat from escaping from your home through doors and windows. If you notice that your front door has a gap between it and the floor, you can fit rubber weather stripping to prevent heat from escaping. A small rug can also be useful, simply slide it towards the door and block the heat from escaping. When it comes to windows, opting for double glazing will significantly reduce energy consumption.  

Tip 3: Turn off the heating in empty rooms

If your house has several rooms and they are not being used, why have them heated? Keep the radiators on in the rooms you are in or are going to use for a while, turning off the radiators in the rest of the house. Don’t forget to close the doors once you have switched off the heating, otherwise we will lose the heat from the rest of the house.

Tip 4: Maintain an optimum temperature

Believe it or not, the optimum temperature to save energy is between 20°C and 21°C, and it is advisable to lower it by at least a couple of degrees at bedtime. Moreover, it is much more economical to keep it on at a constant temperature than to turn it on and off every time we feel cold. 

Tip 5: Wrap up warm

energy saving tips: wrap up warm

The most economical way to keep away the winter chill at home is to have warm clothes at your disposal, such as sweatshirts, dressing gowns and woollen socks. If just wearing one of these is enough to keep the cold at bay, why keep the heating on? Also, keep thick blankets handy so you can cover up on the sofa when watching a movie and have warm drinks during the coldest hours. At night, cover up with a winter duvet to keep you warm and help you fall asleep. All these small changes will help to significantly reduce your electricity bill. 

Did you enjoy this article on energy saving tips? Why not read our blog post on how to prepare the garden for winter or even our guide on how to bleed a radiator!

Are you trying out some ways to reduce your energy consumption at home? Let us know how you get on via Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

After the summer months outside it’s time to get back to the routine and put our house in order again. The bustle of people in the house with the whole family on holiday, visitors, open windows… All these things make our house suffer and we don’t have it as clean and tidy as we would like it to be. So it is time for an autumn cleaning blitz to get everything shipshape for the winter months.  

Although it is not an easy task and requires several days, we are going to give you some tips to do it effectively in the shortest possible time, although it can all be summed up in one word: organisation.

Autumn cleaning deep clean

Tip 1. Create an autumn cleaning schedule

The first thing to do is to draw up a cleaning schedule in which we divide the house by areas, tasks and days. If you don’t live alone at home, involve the other members of the family, this way it will be more effective and quicker. Keep in mind that it will not be a general cleaning but something much more thorough where we thoroughly clean things that we normally overlook. 

Tip 2. Wash your textiles

Autumn cleaning blitz: wash all textiles
Autumn cleaning blitz: wash all textiles

Don’t forget to wash all textiles as this is where dust tends to accumulate the most. Wash curtains, sofa covers and bed linen… as this is something we tend to put off and put off. Take the opportunity to give the rooms a new style by bringing out your favourite bedspread or renewing some cushions. Don’t forget to vacuum carpets, or if you want a more thorough clean, cover them with bicarbonate for a couple of hours before vacuuming. For stubborn stains, soak a cloth in cleaning vinegar and rub the surface, leave for a few minutes and then wipe with a damp cloth. In a matter of minutes you will have them as good as new. 

Tip 3. Wardrobe refresh 

Autumn cleaning: Wardrobe organisation
Wardrobe organisation

This is one of the tasks that takes up most of our time and that we put off for as long as possible, especially if there are a lot of us at home. Make it a day for yourself, put on some background music and take the opportunity to get rid of all those clothes you no longer wear. Separate them into three sections: to throw away, to donate and to keep, so the process will be easier. In a few hours, you’ll have your wardrobe organised and ready for autumn.

Tip 4. Use small household appliances

Although many people think that there is no better cleaning than the old-fashioned way of cleaning by hand, others take advantage of new technologies to get hold of a multitude of devices that make our lives easier and, best of all, save us time. If you have a robot floor hoover, run it for a while before cleaning to remove most of the dust, if you have a steamer, use it in the kitchen to remove grease, to clean bathroom tiles and even to disinfect mattresses and pillows. There are even automatic window cleaners that thoroughly clean both sides of the window. 

Tip 5. Autumn cleaning: attention to the smaller details

Clean door handles, intercoms and light switches
Clean door handles, intercoms and light switches

There are many items that we don’t normally pay much attention to, but we handle often and they are probably full of fingerprints and germs. Door handles, intercoms and light switches are good examples. To clean the latter, rub the surface with a cotton wool soaked in alcohol and if there are stains on the surrounding wall, use a cloth with lukewarm water and rub gently so as not to remove the paint, until they disappear.

Tip 6. Tidy up the pantry 

Organise your pantry
Organise your pantry

When we do the shopping we usually take the opportunity to rearrange all the products in the fridge, but when it’s time to put them in the cupboard, it becomes more difficult and we end up with everything mixed up on different shelves. With the help of a labelling machine, print out several small signs with the names of the different product groups and stick them on the front of boxes or baskets. This way you will have your pantry sorted by categories and it will also be easier to place and find what you need.

Did you enjoy this article on our autumn cleaning tips? Why not read our article on Japandi interior design or even our guide on how to remove stains from wooden flooring!

Are you doing an autumn clean too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Pet-friendly plants for green interiors

Not only are indoor plants beautiful and decorative, and fill with life any room in the house, they can also clean the air and improve your mood. However, some indoor plants can be dangerous for our beloved pets. Here we’re going to share our favourite pet-friendly plants so you can have a safe, green interior. 

Pet-friendly plants
Pet-friendly plants

How to regulate the temperature with plants

Have you ever heard about green roofs? They improve the energy efficiency of the building in which they are installed, due to the fact that plants absorb the heat of the sun and, in the winter, keep the heat inside the building. 

Plants can regulate temperature and humidity on their own. Have you ever walked barefoot on a grass lawn? It immediately cooled you down, didn’t it? The idea is to make use of this particular characteristic of plants, by creating green spaces both inside and outside our homes.

Create a green wall

If you cover your walls with plants, you will keep the heat away. You can do this with pots (if they are made of terracotta, so much the better) or with vertical structures that you can fill with soil and plants. 

If you are an expert DIYer, you can make these structures yourself using wood, a material that helps absorb the heat. Plus, you can make it to measure, according to the size and measurements of the wall you are going to cover. And don’t forget about balcony tiles, which will also be cooler if you cover it with wood.

Set up your vertical wall at a certain distance from the floor, to prevent your pet from reaching the plants. This way, you won’t need to worry about the plants you choose for the wall.

There is also the option of planting climbing plants and waiting for them to grow and cover the wall. But don’t even think about planting ivy, bougainvillea or wisteria, as they are toxic and are not pet friendly plants.

If you have no access to an outdoor space because you live in a flat, you can always choose hanging plants that you can suspend from the ceiling. It will be quite difficult for your pets to reach them, although one thing is for sure, cats will find it an irresistible challenge. If your plants were there before your pet arrived, and you have nice pots that you don’t want to get rid of, why not put them in macrame plant hangers? You could even make them yourself. It is both easy and fun! 

Which plants are toxic for pets?

No one knows your pet and how they behave around plants better than you. When you are planning on filling your home with plants, it is important to know which plants can cause problems if your pets chew or eat them. And when we talk about “toxic plants”, we should be clear about which part of the plant is toxic and in what quantities.

For example, the Cyclamen can cause many gastrointestinal problems in animals who eat their tuber or rhizome, which contains terpenoid saponins. Its leaves and flowers also contain these toxic saponins, but in lower quantities.

The leaves of the trendy Swiss Cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) contain calcium oxalate, which can cause issues with your pet’s oesophagus and gastrointestinal tract. 

Turning now to plants that are edible for humans, dog owners know very well that plants in the allium family (garlic, leek and onions) contain toxic sulfur compounds. What about parsley? It looks pretty harmless, doesn’t it? Well, parsley is toxic to both dogs and cats, although only if ingested in great quantities.

If you have a cat at home, you will have noticed that they like chewing its leaves in order to purge and vomit hairballs. For this purpose we recommend that you plant cat grass (Nepeta cataria) or Dactylis glomerata in a pot at home. They love the smell of cat grass, and if they get used to having it at home, they might stay clear of your other plants.  

Here is a list of some pet-friendly plants and those that are toxic, among which we can find the beautiful geranium, the ivy and other plants that are commonly seen inside our homes:

List of pet-friendly plants and of toxic plants

Did you enjoy this article on pet-friendly plants? Why not read our article on small space design ideas on a budget or our IATA-approved pet carrier buying guide!

Are you both a plant and pet parent? Share your plants and pets with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

A subtle blend of Japanese delicacy and Scandinavian ingenuity, Japandi is the modern, soothing style you don’t want to miss. At the heart of this design trend? Minimalism and sophistication. So if you like functional and warm interiors, this Nordic-Japanese movement is definitely for you. Between the choice of colours, materials and decoration, your interiors will evolve into a calming, functional and chic space.

A combination of minimalism and subtlety for a Japandi look

Japandi design
Japandi design

Born from the mixing of the words “Japanese” and “Scandinavian”, Japandi is also the visual reflection of this. Pure and sober, this design trend brings an elegant and functional touch to your interiors. In addition to the subtle harmony of colours, furniture and materials, this hybrid style also brings well-being and harmony to your daily life. 100% winning then! If minimalism is at the heart of this decorative movement, the comfort and quality of the materials are not to be neglected. Ah, cocooning when you like it! With a few key design principles and tips in your pocket, this trend will soon be your new favourite.

A Nordic-Japanese movement with rich colours 

Deeper colours mixed with lighter neutrals
Deeper colours mixed with lighter neutrals

A real invitation to relax, the colour palette ranges from neutral, pastel tones to darker shades. While white, black and grey are characteristic of the Scandinavian style, Japandi goes further by opting for neutral but deep colours. Taupe, green, dark grey and mauve are particularly popular. However, the result, sober and refined, will be no less bright. It is the harmony with the materials and objects that create the magic with a light yet calming glow. 

In Japandi, quality is more important than quantity! 

After the preparations, it’s time to personalise and to sort out the essentials. The culture of minimalism enjoys a refined interior as a reflection of clarity of mind. This makes objects which are beautiful decorative accessories and those with sentimental value stand out all the more. Focus on creating an uncluttered but functional space! In the Nordic-Japanese movement, utility takes precedence over the purely decorative. To create a harmonious home, you should also choose soft, clear lines rather than complex shapes, as these can make your rooms look heavy and untidy. 

Natural materials at the heart of Japandi design

Natural materials are key to the Japandi look
Natural materials are key to the Japandi look

Natural materials are very much in vogue. Oak, beech or pine – wood is the star. Often dark and raw, it gives depth and character to a room. With its artisanal and sometimes rustic touch, it enhances your living spaces. In parallel, stone and metal are also popular, the latter for its minimalist aspect. For a lighter touch, opt for cork or paper. Vegetable fibres fit in very well with this trend. Wooden floors, stone bathtubs and marble basins fit perfectly into open rooms that let in light. The key to a successful design? Think “Wabi-sabi”, of course! In other words, a beauty that can also be seen in the imperfections and patina of time. Simplicity and authenticity transport you into the world of spirituality and contemplation. 

From furniture to decoration, this decorative style focuses on the essentials

Essential furniture comprising a variety of natural materials
Essential furniture comprising a variety of natural materials

Beyond its usefulness, Japandi furniture also promotes well-being and spirituality, which are important in Japanese culture. Several types of furniture can coexist perfectly, such as a futon in the bedroom, a designer coffee table in the living room and a chest of drawers in the hall. The important thing is to keep the balance between minimalism and refinement. Beautiful lighting completes this very special atmosphere, where lamps fulfil their decorative and useful role perfectly. They can be made from natural materials such as paper or bamboo, or from metallic materials which are darker in colour. Ceramic or wooden tableware also leaves a lasting impression. Finally, adding a few candles and teapots will make your interior even warmer. 

A modern and soothing look: Home sweet home

Japandi is not just a decorative style but a state of mind and a way of life. It emphasises nature and authenticity, for a return to the essentials. Both indoors and outdoors, extend your Zen garden with a few plants, herbs or branches to recall the alliance of the raw and the delicate. Everything goes in the same direction to offer yourself well-being and peace of mind on a daily basis. And creating a soothing and functional interior is not a bad idea, is it?

Did you enjoy this article on Japandi design? Why not read our article on small space design ideas on a budget or our room divider buying guide!

Are you decorating your home with the Japandi trend? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Shelfies have become increasingly popular recently, and you can have them in the kitchen, holding your stylish coffee sets, in the bedroom, or even as a perfume display. Shelves are both useful and versatile, and have evolved to such an extent that, combining functionality and design, they have become key pieces in the decoration of any room. We have put together some top shelfie styling tips so your shelves are both organised and Instagrammable.

Shelfie styling tips

1. Keep a visual order

Boxes are practical to tidy things away on the shelfie
Boxes are practical to tidy things away on the shelfie

We all have decorative objects in our homes that we like looking at and showing off, but we also need space to store them and put away the more practical and less beautiful things. For this we can use boxes or baskets, which are both practical and stylish, and place them on different shelves alongside the rest of the decorative objects. This can help us hide routers, cables or remote controls, easily and effectively. It is a very useful solution, and others won’t even realise where you’ve hidden these unsightly gadgets.

2. Open shelves to visually expand the space

Do you remember those old mammoth furniture pieces that covered the whole wall from one end to the other and visually engulfed the whole living room? Today, we can simply put shelves from wall to wall. This gives us the same storage space and capacity, and at the same time, it doesn’t visually overwhelm the space. Your living room will look twice as big. 

3. Don’t fill your shelfie with things

Leave a distance between your shelves
Leave a distance between your shelves

We always start placing objects on the shelves and almost inadvertently, never stop adding more. To be brutally honest, in this case as in many others, the saying is true: less is more. Use your shelves to stylishly stack objects in different sections, always leaving a good distance between them, in order to have enough space in-between and avoid visual saturation. This also allows you to draw attention to that beautiful wallpaper in the background, and make it part of the room’s decoration.

4. Use bookshelves as space dividers

You don’t have to live in an open plan loft to do this. If your front door is in the living room, you can place a shelf right next to it. It will function as a space divider, providing privacy and at the same time, helping you keep everything you need when you leave the house or come back in at hand: keys, bags, slippers. Use trays, boxes, baskets or stacks of books both to decorate and to partially or fully cover the gaps in each shelf, to provide you with the privacy you need.

5. Choose the ideal decorative objects for your home

Your shelfie should reflect your personality & style
Your shelfie should reflect your personality & style

When thinking about what to put on your shelves and make it the focus of attention, remember that it should reflect your personality as well as fit into your home’s decorative style. If you love nature, put pots with real plants on the shelves. And if your home is, for example, decorated Nordic style, you cannot fail to include natural fibres, objects with simple lines and a chromatic palette in neutral or soft tones.

6. Apply these infallible decoration rules

Group the objects into 3 on your shelf
Group the objects into 3 on your shelf

If you hesitate when it comes to grouping objects together, use this useful and age-old architecture and painting trick: make it an odd number, ideally 3. Group the objects according to their visual weight, placing the largest ones in different sections of each shelf, always seeking visual harmony within the whole piece. This will help you effectively distribute the volume along the shelves, and prevents them from looking heavy or overburdened. Choose a colour range in line with the room where the shelves are, and introduce small doses of colour with different objects. Turn around some of them for a creative touch. For example, you can choose to stack some books horizontally with the cover facing out and at the top, place a decorative object.

7. Indulge your creative side and make your own shelfie

DIY your own shelfie with some wooden planks and rope
DIY your own shelfie with some wooden planks and rope

Pinterest and Instagram are full of DIY ideas to help create your own shelves, and can be a great source of inspiration. Did you know that just with a few simple wooden planks and ropes, or even with fruit boxes, you can make very original shelves? All you have to do is give them a coat of colour (or leave the wood intact) and hang them to create a fun and cheerful design. You can use them for your urban vegetable garden in the kitchen, or to place your favourite cups. Not only will they be cheaper, but also, having made them with your own two hands, you will want to proudly show them off.

Did you enjoy this article on shelfie styling tips? Why not read our article on small space design ideas on a budget or our room divider buying guide!

Are you organising and styling your shelfies? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!