The word 'Art' is most commonly associated with pieces of work in a gallery or museum, whether it’s a painting from the Renaissance or a modern sculpture. However, there is so much more to art than what you see displayed in galleries.

The truth is, without being aware of it, we are surrounded by art and use it on a continual basis. Most people don’t realize how much of a role art plays in our lives and just how much we rely on art in all of its forms in our everyday lives.

The Joy of Art

You may be wondering why all of these things are so important to our daily lives and that you could probably survive just fine with essential items that were non-artistic. That is just the reason why art is so valuable! While art may not be vital to fulfill our basic needs, it does make life joyful. When you look at a painting or poster you’ve chosen to hang on your living room wall, you feel happy. The sculpture or figurines on the kitchen windowsill create a sense of joy. These varieties of art forms that we are surrounded by all come together to create the atmosphere that we want to live in.

Art and Music

The importance of art in our daily lives is very similar to that of music. Just like art, music can make life extremely joyful and can have a huge effect on our mood. In the workplace in particular, music is something that can help people set the mood for what they are about to do. If you have something hard or difficult to work on or are feeling tired, an energetic song will likely wake you up and add some enthusiasm to the situation. Similarly, when stress is high, many people find that relaxing to calming music is something that eases the mind.

Inspirational Art

Inspirational art, such as posters are often found in work spaces to encourage employees to continue being productive. There is now an increasing amount of companies using art in their offices, as well as playing background music, as it is proven to actually work in making end results far better quality. There may be a piece of art that you own that you personally find motivational. Perhaps a print with a positive affirmation or quote beautifully scrolled on it or a painting of a picturesque scene of where you aim to travel to one day.

SOME REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

1. Creates Mood
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
3. Makes Memories
4. Provides a Colour Palette
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity
7. Conversation Starter
8. Supports Artists
9. It is an Investment
10. Creates a Livable Environment
11. Keeps the Brain Active
12. Relaxation
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun!

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Summer is the perfect time to tackle those DIY projects you've been waiting to finish. Add summer entertaining into the mix, and you'll want to update your outdoor space for sure. However unless you've got an experienced landscaper at your fingertips, it can be a daunting, time consuming and expensive task. Luckily, House of Home Partner Brickworks has enlisted the help of landscape designer Matt Leacy to show you how to DIY your outdoor space this summer.

The key to any DIY project is to get your preparation and your foundations right. If you do these two things,you're halfway there.

  • How To Build A Retaining Wall
  • How To Lay Pavers On Concrete
  • How To Lay Pavers On Sand
  • DIY Garden Edging

How To Build A Retaining Wall


Before you start you’ll need:

  • Some aggregate and cement
  • A wheelbarrow
  • A maddock, larry or shovel
  • Austral Bricks or pavers
  • Masonry glue
  1. Get the aggregate and some cement into a wheelbarrow. There you can thoroughly mix it with a larry (or a maddock or a shovel), until it's mixed through.
  2. Place the mix into your trenches or where the foundations are going to be for the wall
  3. Once it's in place, get a rough level, then compact it, followed by...

Summer is the perfect time to tackle those DIY projects you've been waiting to finish. Add summer entertaining into the mix, and you'll want to update your outdoor space for sure. However unless you've got an experienced landscaper at your fingertips, it can be a daunting, time consuming and expensive task. Luckily, House of Home Partner Brickworks has enlisted the help of landscape designer Matt Leacy to show you how to DIY your outdoor space this summer.

The key to any DIY project is to get your preparation and your foundations right. If you do these two things,you're halfway there.

  • How To Build A Retaining Wall
  • How To Lay Pavers On Concrete
  • How To Lay Pavers On Sand
  • DIY Garden Edging

How To Build A Retaining Wall


Before you start you’ll need:

  • Some aggregate and cement
  • A wheelbarrow
  • A maddock, larry or shovel
  • Austral Bricks or pavers
  • Masonry glue
  1. Get the aggregate and some cement into a wheelbarrow. There you can thoroughly mix it with a larry (or a maddock or a shovel), until it's mixed through.
  2. Place the mix into your trenches or where the foundations are going to be for the wall
  3. Once it's in place, get a rough level, then compact it, followed by another rough level with a spirit level. You are now ready to put in your first course
  4. Make sure you sweep the top of each block and remove any debris that could create an uneven surface.
  5. If you need to, cut blocks to size to fit the space, or fill gaps in a course.
  6. Remember: measure twice, and cut once. Start your cut on the face of the retaining wall block, as this will give you the cleanest edge. You then should be able to simply drop them into place.
  7. The rest of this process of building a wall is the same as what you've already seen.
  8. With any interlocking retaining wall system, you have to glue down the final course.
  9. Once you’ve reached your second-last course, apply masonry glue to the top of the second last course, put the final brick in place, and repeat.
  10. Do that for the whole final course, and you’ll have a beautiful finish.
  11. Once you've reached the desired height, you then have to think about where is the water going to go, depending on the location and height of your wall. Water will naturally seep into the garden bed, so if there will be an excess of water, materials like an agricultural pipe covered in a geotextile fabric can be used to direct water to stormwater.

How To Lay Pavers On Concrete - Video Tutorial


Before you start you’ll need:

  • Some aggregate and cement
  • Brickies’ Sand
  • Cement
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Tilers’ Glue
  • Notched trowel
  • Pavers

Once your form work has been laid, here are the next steps you will need to follow to ensure a picture-perfect finish to your paving job.

  1. Mix in the sand and cement together thoroughly in a wheelbarrow using a shovel or a Larry
  2. Use this mix to build a bed that has a minimum of 1 and 64. This enables the water that lands on the area to run off the pipe and into a drain.
  3. Once your bed is laid let it cure
  4. Waterproof the bed by simply rolling or painting on the waterproofing membrane. Wait for it to dry.
  5. Mix the tiler’s glue to a consistent mix, following the directions on the bag.
  6. Using a notched trowel, apply the glue to the bed. Then lay a paver on the glue. Repeat until complete.
  7. Cut the pavers to size around the edges where the paver meets a wall or a step.
  8. Once all the pavers are glued, let the glue cure. Once the glue has cured it's time to grout. This locks the pavers into place, so that the gaps between them don't fill up with dirt and weeds.
  9. Now that the pavers are in, the last consideration you need to make is whether to seal your pavers. This decision depends on the space, the product you've selected and the intended usage of the area, but unless stated otherwise it is suggested to seal anything you put underfoot.

How To Lay Pavers On Sand - Video Tutorial


Before you start you’ll need:

  • To clear your space
  • Road base
  • Wacker compactor
  • Paving sand or washed river sand
  • Level
  • Straight edge
  • Screen

Road base or crusher dust is made up of large particles and small particles which enables it all to get compacted and combined together to form a hard structure.

  1. Start with compacting the road base- use the wacker compactor to made a really hard form foundation for everything that will be put on top of that.
  2. Once the road base foundations are solid, add your sand to the top, spreading it evenly.
  3. Once the sand is roughly levelled, compact it solidly again with the wacker compactor.
  4. Make sure the sand is levelled with a straight edge
  5. Lay down your screen rail, while making sure that there s fall in the paving so the water can escape.
  6. Screen all the sand back so you have a nice level sand bed and you can start laying your pavers.
  7. When it's time to lay your pavers, you want to make sure that the first line is dead straight. Every few lines after that check up with your string line.
  8. You can use a string line or straight edge tol be able to see if it's straight or not.
  9. At some point in the job you're going to need to cut in your pavers. Whether it's up against a brick wall, or a house, or a driveway. If you want a really neat cut, use a brick saw like we are. Or you can use a hammer and bolster, or a grinder but it depends on the depth and width of your pavers.
  10. Where your paving doesn't meet a house, or a brick wall, or something to lock it in, you’ll need to lock it in manually.
  11. Remove the sand down to the road base, and then do a haunch along that paved edge. That’s a sand and cement mix spread along the edge of the paver, pushed in and smoothed off with a trowel. That locks the edge in so it never moves.
  12. Once you've locked in your edges, it's time to sweep in the sand to interlock the rest of the body of paving. You can do it in layers if it doesn't all go in the first stage. Come again the next day to sweep it in again until you've got a really solid gridlock of paving slabs.

DIY Garden Edging Video Tutorial - Video Tutorial


Before you start you’ll need:

  • A block clamp
  • A bucket of water, cream cement
  • A measuring tape
  • A spirit level
  • A clean sponge
  • A square mouth shovel
  • Some stakes
  • A string line
  • A trowel
  • A wheelbarrow
  • Some clean yellow brickies’ sand
  1. Using the square mouth shovel dig a trench to a depth of around 100 to 200 mm below ground level.
  2. Run a string line between two of your stakes to ensure that you lay the blocks in a straight line, and that they’re level. You can use the measuring tape to set the height.
  3. Holding the spirit level along the string line, set the line level by ensuring the bubble is in the centre of the level.
  4. Now place the block in the trench and move it into place against the string line. Double check that it is correctly positioned by placing the spirit level onto the block, and checking that the bubble is centred.
  5. Continue placing the blocks side by side in the trench, moving each into place against the string line.
  6. Using the spirit level, double check everything is straight by placing it onto the block and checking that the bubble is centred.
  7. Mix the mortar using brickies’ sand, cream cement and water. The standard ratio is a 3 to 1 mix. The best method is to mix the cement and sand as a dry mix, then add water to bind the mix. The mortar needs to be fluffy, sticky in texture, and cream in colour.
  8. Using a trowel, scoop up the mixed mortar and use it to fill up the joints, smoothing it off carefully at the front.
  9. The horizontal joint needs to be approximately 20 mm wide.
  10. Allow the mortar to set for approx 20 minutes before cleaning down.
  11. Spread a bit of water on top of the first course (layer), and you're ready to lay the second course in precisely the same way you laid the first course. The horizontal joints on his course should also be 20 mm wide.

*Limestone blocks can be heavy so a block clamp is a handy tool. However, ideally you should have the help of another person to assist with lifting and moving the blocks into position without causing injury * A half block must be cut to achieve the stretcher bond pattern.

  1. Use an angle grinder with a quick cut diamond masonry blade
  2. Blocks should be laid so that the joint of the underneath course is centred below the block above
  3. Using a damp sponge, wipe down the joints to remove the excess mortar, and to create a nice clean finish.

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How to Arrange Art

  • "People have a tendency to hang art too high," says Linda Crisolo, Art.com director of merchandising. "The center of the image should be at eye level." In living rooms, people are usually sitting, so artwork should be lower. A good way to ensure you're placing artwork at the right height is to hang it one hand width above the sofa.
  • A common problem when hanging artwork above a sofa or sideboard is that it's not in scale. Having pieces that are too small or too large will make the whole arrangement look strange. "Make sure artwork is at least two-thirds the size of the sofa or sideboard," Crisolo says. "For example, a 9-foot-long sofa should have a 6-foot-wide expanse of art above it."
  • In the bedroom, choose personal art, such as family photographs or your own photography. If you're arranging the pieces in groupings, Crisolo recommends sticking with one color theme, either all black-and-white or all color photographs.
  • "Above a mantel or fireplace is the perfect place to layer pieces," Crisolo says. "A house looks like a home when you can see layers of artwork and accessories."
  • In the kitchen, hang art in a place where it won't get damaged by water or heat. Consider placing art above an office space, near the dining table, or above open counter space. Crisolo also recommends avoiding kitchen art in the kitchen. "I tend to shy away from pictures of asparagus in the kitchen," she says. "Vintage art with traditional frames works in a traditional kitchen. In a modern kitchen, try bright colors with stainless-steel frames."
  • A symmetrical arrangement creates a striking and simple focal point. All-white frames and mats unify this grouping. "I like to use the same frames to create homogeny," says Crisolo.
  • When deciding where to hang images in your home, consider the wall space available and the arrangement of the room. "Use small pieces between windows and doors," Crisolo says. "If small items are in a space too large, the pieces look lost. With larger pieces, allow room for people to step back and admire the work."
  • Artwork collaborates with other accessories and decor to create a visual story. Make sure images, moldings, and shelves all work together. "Hang artwork in front of a bookcase, on the face of the shelf," Crisolo says. "The shelves and ledges become part of a decorating story."
  • Make sure your arrangement matches your decorating style. "Symmetrical arrangements are more traditional or formal. Asymmetrical is modern," Crisolo says. "Also look at the image and style of the frame. For cottage-style rooms, stick with vintage images or botanicals. In modern rooms, choose large and abstract pieces."