7 Things to consider for first-time homeowners decorating their homes

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Decorating your first home? Then we’ve put together our 7 top tips to help you, from discovering the artist within you to making the most of the inexpensive solutions available. You’ll soon have your new property feeling like a home. Here are some hints and tips on how to go about it

1) Incredible paint effects 

Take a leaf out of the book of Jocasta Innes and rediscover traditional painting techniques to introduce some unique style into your home. In her book Paint MagicJocasta re-introduced painting techniques such as marbling, stippling, stencilling and rag-rolling to the British public. So why don’t you have a go? It’s amazing the effect that a fresh lick of paint can have on a room. So get out your paint brushes and get to it. If you want to make a small room seem larger, then stick to pale colours and use paint with light reflective qualities toenhance the light levels in the room. It will help give your home a fresh new look and make it look brighter and bigger to boot. 

2) Statement furniture

Put a personal stamp on your home with a few pieces of statement furniture. Invest in furniture that is well crafted and will serve you for a long time to come. Shop around online to buy furniture directly from the manufacturers, so that you save by cutting out the middleman. That way you’ll get better quality for your budget and save the pennies and pounds.Look closely for the signs of a well-made piece of furniture from dovetail joints to wooden corner blocks and avoid those pieces that primarily utilise staples, glue and nails. 

3) Think vintage

Vintage style has been a firm favourite with interior designers for a long time now, and it’s an easy way to inject some personality into your interior design scheme. Scout around your local charity shops, auction rooms and car boot sales to find a few choice bargains. Don’t stick rigidly to one era. Have fun creating a pick ‘n’ mix of different styles to introduce a unique personal style into your home. If you’re looking for a focal point for a room, vintage finds can be the perfect means to achieve this.
If you’re working to a small budget to decorate your first home, then don’t forget to check out the freecycle network: www.freecycle.orgIt’s a community-based initiative that’sentirely non-profit making. Here, you could find a pre-loved pieced of furniture that needs a new home and stop it going to landfill. With people regularly updating their soft furnishings, living room suites and kitchens, you never know what nearly-new treasures you might find, so log on to find out.  

4) Making over your kitchen

Making over your kitchen doesn’t have to be expensive. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to shell out for an entirely new fitted kitchen, as that’s not the case. You can give your kitchen a fresh new look simply by giving it a new coat of paint or putting new doors on your cabinets. In fact, you don’t even need to do the latter, with specialist paint and colourful vinyl available to update a tired-looking kitchen. Have a go at some DIY jobs like tiling, there’s lots of advice available online from Wikihow to YouTube.        

5) Architectural salvage

Architectural salvage yards can be the perfect place to find an unusual feature for your new home or garden. Don’t just take things at face value, think about how you could reuse or repurpose objects and give them a new life. Old sinks and chimney pots have long been repurposed as eye-catching garden features, while vintage industrial paving could be reused to create the hard landscaping features in your garden. What’s more architectural salvage yards often come up trumps with striking features for inside your home from stained glass inserts for your windows to old sewing machine bases to repurpose as tables.

6) Discover your inner artist 

Discover the artist in you and get creative while decorating your new home. Whether it is fabric, painting, woodwork or ceramics that interests you, use your creative talents to make your house a home. Sign up for a local evening class and develop your craft skills. Get to work creating a bright rag rug for your living room, a painting for your wall, a quilt for your bedroom or a statement piece of ceramics to give the wow factor in your home. Consider reupholstering your vintage and charity shops finds to give them a new look. The sky’s the limit, so let’s get started.         

7) Light fantastic

Optimise the light levels in your new home by introducing mirrors and glassAgain mirrors are something you can pick up for a song in your local charity shop, but there are also lots of chic, inexpensive examples available in high street shops too. Consider creating a gallery effect with lots of smaller mirrors clustered together on one wall. Also, think about introducing glass tiles or light fittings with cut-glass elements that will reflect light around your home. 

So there you have our seven top tips for decorating your first home - we hope it’s got your creative juices racing and that you’ll soon have your new home decorated.

Top Tips for Revamping Your Backyard

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

With summer now just around the corner, this is the perfect time to start revamping your garden so that you can spend some quality time with your family in the backyard over the warmer period of the year. This can be achieved in many different ways, but ultimately you will want to create a bright, attractive and fun space that is great for the kids, but also somewhere that you can chill out or socialise with friends.

Social Area

One of the most important parts to address is the social area. All gardens should have a space where you can sit down and enjoy food and drinks together whilst soaking up the sunshine. Raised decking is a superb place to do this as it can look fantastic and perfectly blends the indoors and outdoors together.

You will want to have a table large enough so that you can enjoy family BBQ’s, as well as enough chairs for the family and a few additional guests. It is worth installing a clear glass balustrade if you have raised decking and young children, as this will make sure that no accidents occur and it can also look great too.

Outdoor Lighting

You may also want to consider outdoor lighting for this social area. This allows you to enjoy being outside once the sun goes down, plus it can also help to create a welcoming ambience and accentuate certain areas at night.

Lawn Games

Another way to revamp your garden is to invest in some fun lawn games that you can play as a family. This could include skittles, croquet, bowls or any other type. Kids love to spend time playing in the garden, so consider joining them with games that are great fun for everyone. You
 may also want to invest in some outdoor storage so that these games and any other toys can be stored away whenever not in use. This keeps the garden looking tidy and attractive.

Non-Plant Surface

If your grass often looks scruffy and unattractive, consider constructing a non-plant surface through the garden to create contrast and to improve the look of the overall area. This could be a gravel path, pebbles, bark chips or paving slabs.

Fresh Paint

Applying fresh paint to the perimeter fencing, garden shed and furniture is a quick and easy way to revitalise the entire backyard and you could even try bold new colours to revamp the garden.

These simple steps will transform your garden and ensure that it is where you and your family create many happy memories this summer.

How to choose windows for your baby's bedroom

Want to choose the right windows for your baby’s bedroom, then here are a few tips to help you:

First and foremost, you’ll want a window that your child can’t open, whether it has handles that are out of reach or are fittedwith locks. Look at options where the windows open at the side or top. If you do have locks fitted, keep the keys where only adults can reach them, but in an easily accessible place in case you need them quickly. You may want to baby proof your windows in other ways, like installing window stops or guards, but remember the latter must have a release mechanism in case of an emergency. 

When choosing your windows look at the options for strengthened glass or having a protective film installed – so there is no risk of the glass shattering.

To minimise sound pollution and to ensure your baby has a good night’s sleep, consider installing double or triple glazing to keep the noise levels down. It will help you all to have a peaceful night’s sleep.

In addition, you’ll want to consider how the window will contribute to the warmth of the room, but allow for ventilation too. Look to see if windows have a good energy efficiency rating, as the better the rating, the more the windows will retain warmth, reduce drafts,  cold spots and the build up of condensation.

Frame materials
UPCV windows have a reputation for lasting a long time, whilst wooden windows suit properties of a more traditional style and are often considered more environmentally friendly too. Aluminium and steel frames also have a reputation for lasting a long time, can be built to a slim design and suit a certain sort of property down to the ground.    

Easy to clean
You’ll also want a window that’s easy to clean, just in case of mucky finger marks. Something you can wipe clean easily is just the ticket. 

Once the safety and practical considerations are out of the way, you’ll want to consider the look and 
aesthetics of the windows too and choose a style and material that fits in with the rest of your home – especially if it is a period property.  

If you’re planning to install new windows, then give time to consider whether there are any permissions you need in place beforehand. Remember, if your property is in a conservation area or is listed, there will be restrictions on what you can do, and youll need listed building consent. Some new windows even require planning permissionIn addition, if you’re in a leasehold property, then you may require the permission of the freeholder or a maintenance company.  
If you’re not sure what windows to choose for your baby’s bedroom, then ask the advice of the professionals, the team at Buckingham double glazing can help you find a window that’s fit for purpose and gives you peace of mind too.

How to Freshen Your Kitchen for Spring

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

As the weather slowly gets better and we approach a much brighter and cheerful time of the year, it is worth freshening your home to fully embrace the warmer months. One of the best areas to do this is the kitchen - during the spring, this becomes a crucial part of the home where you will be cooking up a range of fresh and tasty meals for family and friends and possibly socialising whilst you do so.

Here are a few ways to embrace the spring in your kitchen, all of which are about adding colour and making it a fresh, airy and light place to be.

Deep Clean

The first way to freshen this area of the home is a deep clean. This will involve cleaning out all of the cabinets and throwing away anything that you no longer need (you should also do this in the fridge and freezer). All the surfaces should also be cleaned and cleared. This will improve the look, feel and also the smell of the kitchen.

Replace Blinds

The summer is all about warmth and fresh air. Embrace this by getting new roller blinds that make it very quick and easy to allow in plenty of natural light and fresh air - this will make an enormous difference to the space. You should also select a bright colour to add to the light, airy feel that you want. For the widest selection, you should shop at specialists, such as Direct Blinds.

Kitchen Garden

It is dangerous to have your kitchen filled with plants, but if you have a large enough windowsill then you could add some colour and life with a small herb garden. This will also come in handy whilst cooking, as you can simply grab a few herbs whilst you make your dish. Herbs also add a wonderful fresh aroma that will make the kitchen an inviting area.

Replace the Lighting

The lights are often an overlooked element in the kitchen, but they play an enormous role in how the space looks. When used correctly they can brighten the space and accentuate certain areas. Consider replacing your current lighting with something more modern - pendant lighting is a popular choice for kitchens.

Counter Stools

If space permits, some counter stools are a great way to freshen the kitchen. They add colour, but
more importantly, it encourages people to socialise in this area which the cook of the house is sure to appreciate.

These tips will freshen any kitchen and make it a bright, colourful and airy place to be this spring.

How to Accessorise the Fashion Trends this Spring

The warmer weather is finally on its way, which means it’s time to overhaul your wardrobe, ditching the chunky knits in favour of the latest spring trends. Whether you’re heading to work or on a night out with friends, you can effortlessly incorporate these trends into your life, bringing style and sophistication to your wardrobe.

To help you along the way, we’ve put together some of the hottest trends of the season, telling you how to make the biggest impact with these outfits, and how to accessorise them in style!

Add Colour to Bold Prints

Patterns are a must this spring, which is why your accessories will also need to be bold. Team your vibrant clothes with an equally vivacious piece of jewellery – beaded chokers are a great ideaThere aren’t any rules when it comes to this trend, which gives you the perfect excuse to go all out. 

However, if you don’t want to overload yourself with too many colours and patterns, why not opt for a colourful necklace with a plain top and patterned skirt?

Make the Most of Your Pins

Miniskirts are another order of the day this spring so be sure to emphasise your legs with chunky sandals. Not only will these help to elongate your limbs, but they’ll also create maximum impact. 

Simply team this getup with a simple top or wrap, so you draw all of the attention to your stunning stems!

Get the Trekker Look with a Fringed Handbag

Firstly, the idea of this trend isn’t to look like you’re about to go exploring in the Australian outback. Instead, it’s all about adding a chic touch to a neutral, casual outfit. A fringed bag in brown is sure to do the trick, as it will help you to nail this trend without looking too Crocodile Dundee. Use it as a contrast to khaki tops and white shorts. 

Accentuate Your Waist in Loose Clothing

Floaty outfits are something else that will be bursting on the scene this spring, but you needn’t lose your hourglass figure within them. Opt for an earthy brown belt to pull the look together whilst defining your waist in the process. It’ll also help to remove the risk of any flyaway layers, keeping the look refined and elegant. 

Whatever your style, there’s sure to be a fashion trend to suit you this spring!