29 articles Articles posted in DIY

Four Jobs That You Should Leave to the Experts!

Husband and I both come from long lines of people who do things for themselves. Whether it’s decorating, car maintenance, home renovations or any other type of repair, we all get stuck in and do it ourselves and calling in a professional is usually a very last resort. Just a few years ago, I remember having a conversation with some friends where they were really surprised to find that I do things like changing car batteries myself, considering this to be something for the ‘other half’ to do!

There are, however, a few jobs that I would steadfastly avoid, in favour of leaving it to the experts. Here are a few of them:

Electrics

I know lot’s of people do their own electrical work and are very capable of doing so – Husband’s Aunt is one such person and she’s a bit of an idol of mine when it comes to women who get stuck in with the tough jobs. However, electrical work is something that I would MORE than happily leave to an NICEIC Approved Electrical Contractor who knows their way around a circuit board so that I can avoid getting the inevitable shocks!

Gas Work

If you smell gas in your home, you should never attempt to tackle the leak yourself. Instead, immediately turn the gas off at the meter – if it is safe to do so – and call the 24-hour Gas Emergency Services line. An operator will be able to confirm the next steps and arrange for an engineer to be sent out to your home. Where possible, make sure you open doors and windows to allow the gas to escape and avoid using any light switches – this could spark an explosion. Definitely one to leave to the experts!

Tree Removal

Removing a tree can be a lot trickier than you might think. If the tree is quite small, you can easily do this yourself by getting a chainsaw or an ax. However, if you have a full-sized tree, this is another situation where you want to get onto the phone and call a professional to come over and deal with it for you. There are many horror stories out there of people who didn’t properly brace the tree as they cut it down, causing it to fall onto their home or vehicles, causing major damage. There are also stories of people climbing up to trim branches and falling down, injuring themselves. Experts will ensure that the tree falls down in a safe area and that the stump is removed afterward.

Structural Changes

There may be times when you want to change the layout of a building, add a new building or add an extension to an existing structure. This type of work requires a lot of planning, needs the right materials and needs to be completed by professional builders who know what they are doing. Instead of attempting to carry out structural work yourself, you should always ask yourself if there is a reliable and professional local builder who can do this work and ensure that the structure they build will be safe and sound for many years to come.

Five Original Features You Should Definitely Hang On To

Original features - tiling
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

While there’s something appealing about the thought of moving into a new or relatively new house where everything is clean and well-maintained, there’s a lot to be said for older houses with renovation potential. As well as maximising your investment by adding value to an older property, there are a few “original features” which, should you be lucky enough to have them, you should definitely consider keeping. Here’s a few of them:

Radiators

While you may want to get your plumbing looked at by a professional or even totally updated, traditional cast iron radiators  are definitely an example of an original feature that you should keep and restore, rather than removing and updating. Aside from looking fantastic, they’re actually a really valuable asset and can add value to a period property if they’re properly taken care of.

Fireplace

It may seem like having a fireplace is a lot of work (yearly sweeps, maintaining liners, etc) but having an original fireplace in your property can not only add value, it can help you to save money in the long run. Using a fireplace for heat is cheaper than gas or electric heating and it’s also a more carbon-friendly method of heating a property if you burn wood, rather than coal.

Doors

Many newer houses come with cheap, hollowfibre doors with flimsy modern handles, wheras older properties usually have hardwood doors with brass doorknobs. The beauty of original doors is that you can sand them down, refinish them to your liking and even add new door furniture. It might be a little bit more work than hanging new doors, but the results speak for themselves.

Windows

Houses that were built before World War II didn’t have windows with plastic UPVC frames. Instead, most got built with sash windows – the ones with wooden frames that slid up and down to open. In England, the oldest surviving sash windows date back to the late 17th century! Although sash windows might not have the benefits of modern uPVC, the look of original features are far more suited to a modern property and secondary glazing can be added to help with insulation for heat and sound.

Tiling

In many period properties, lifting carpet and other flooring treatments will very often reveal ornate tiling, especially around fireplaces or in hallways and bathrooms. It’s often possible to restore tiling to it’s full glory with a bit of polishing or re-grouting, and it’s even possible to find reproduction copies of your tile pattern if you want to replace broken ones.

Five Easy Ways to Brighten Up a Kitchen

Something we’re currently dealing with in our house is a pretty dingy kitchen. It’s a long, narrow room with windows at one end, which means that you need to have the lights on in there no matter what time of day it is to be able to adequately see. I’ve been brainstorming some ideas recently of how we can brighten the room up, seeing as adding another window isn’t an option, and this is what I came up with:

Lighter Kitchen Units

white kitchen unitsOur current kitchen units are a beech colour, which is fairly light, but I think that white units would make a huge difference to how bright the room looked, especially if they were the type with a high gloss finish, which are pretty trendy right now. I’ve seen some kitchen units for sale but that;s obviously quite a big investment, so I’ll have to save up if I decide to take the plunge!

Mirrors in the Kitchen

Kitchen mirror wallSomething which is cheaper and easier to add to the room right now is mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and give an appearance of space, and there are mirror tiles which are really cheap and easy to fit which would make a huge difference. I also like the fact that you can use mirrors in frames of different styles, hung at different heights which gives a really ecclectic, designer look to a space.

Add Lights

Clamp Lights in the Kitchen

Adding additional lights to your kitchen doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are plenty of options which mean you don’t even need to wire them up to the mains. Strip lights can be added under counters, under eye-level cupboard units, along kick-boards under your cupboards and anywhere you think they’d help. You can also get some great-looking clamp-lights which are versatile and give your kitchen that vintage industrial look.

Brighter Bulbs

This one may seem like a massive no-brainer, but a lot of people persevere with bulbs which aren’t bright enough for their space and it never occurs to them to change them! Kitchens can benefit from bulbs which have a white tone, as its bright and allows you to see more detail, and if they’re 60 watts or below, they’re not bright enough. Experts recommend at least 80 to 100 watts in your kitchen.

Glass and Wire Lampshades

If your kitchen has pendant or celing style lighting, then the type of lampshade you use will make a HUGE difference to how much light you get from them. Anything which is too opaque will cast light downwards, but will prevent the light from bouncing off of a white ceiling, which can really affect how your lighting is amplified. Opt for a glass or wire lampshade and this will give your bulbs the maximum reach to hit and reflect off of every available surface.

Do you have any tips or tricks that cn help to brighten up a dingy kitchen? Have you been through all of this and found an amazing solution? Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear your secrets!

Five DIY Tips for People With Zero DIY Skills!

Despite the fact that we live in rented accomodation, Husband and I like to do as much as we can to make our house feel like a home, and we’re both pretty happy to get stuck in when it comes to DIY. As well as doing our best to keep the house and garden looking nice, our landlady also sometimes looks to us for basic maintenance to the property and it’s generally something we’re happy to do.

There are, however, a few things which are a little beyond our skillset, so with this in mind I thought I’d share some tips on how to improve your home when you don’t want to (or can’t!) do major works:

Stick-On Tiles

Stick and Go TilesTiling is something that takes a fair amount of skill, a whole lot of time and a number of different materials and tools. It’s not an easy job and it’s something that can easily look rubbish if you get it wrong as there’s not a huge margin for error. However, there is such a thing as Stick and Go Wall Tiles, which can be stuck directly over any size tile, or straight onto the wall and require zero cementing or grouting! Perfect for a DIY project!

Vinyl Wrapping

DIY Vinyl WrappingIf you don’t want to replace your whole kitchen, or simply don’t have the budget to upgrade, using vinyl to “wrap” your units can give you a fresh look with little outlay. It’s not the easiest thing to do and does take patience, but the effects can be absolutely brilliant and can massively modernise the look of your space. It’s also WAY less distruptive and less messy than ripping out units to replace with new, and it’s also better for the environment as nothing ends up in landfill!

Adhesive Strips

If your lease prevents you from drilling into your walls, this can mean that you’re unable to put curtains up, no hanging pictures and definitely no shelves, which can be a real drag. Pictures, shelves and soft furnishings can make a major difference in how homely your house feels, so we recommend using adhesive strips like Command strips to put things on the walls instead of nails and screws. There’s a huge variety of different strips for different things and you’d be surprised just how much weight some of them can hold.

DIY Patterned Walls

patterned wallsIf you fancy having patterned walls but really don’t like the thought of wallpapering, there are other ways to create DIY patterned walls. From using a laundry basket to create polka dots to masking tape to make geometric patterns, you can create a completely unique, bespoke design which will look really effective, without spending hours trying to line up sheets of wallpaper.

DIY No-Sew Curtains

No Sew Boho Curtains DIYMaking new curtains for your home might seem like a really daunting task if you aren’t a confident sewer, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think, and you don’t even need to sew a single stitch! There are lots of hardy fabric glues and adhesive strips on the market that allow you to hem fabric and attach curtain tape, as well as an internet FULL of tutorials, showing you how to do it.

Modern Renovation Ideas To Instantly Transform Your Home

Modern Renovation Ideas To Instantly Transform Your HomeWhen it comes to renovating your home, your main goal is likely to revive an outdated interior. While there are near endless options to consider as interior design is an exceptionally vast industry packed with ideas, you may not want to completely makeover your home. Therefore, if your goal is to make modern changes that will have a massive impact, you should consider these modern renovation ideas that will instantly transform your home. Sometimes, changing only one aspect of your home is enough to add vibrance and an entirely new atmosphere.

Install An Ethanol Fireplace

Ethanol fireplace options are the perfect alternative to traditional fireplace designs. If your budget doesn’t allow you to make drastic modifications required to install a traditional fireplace, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover that ethanol fireplaces are better solutions in various ways. While your choice of fireplace design should be determined according to aesthetics to ensure the home addition will serve as both a functional installation as well as a design element, this type of fireplace is also incredibly eco-friendly. Ethanol alternatives do not release harmful toxins in the home, rendering them significantly safer when compared to their traditional counterparts. There are tons of modern designs to consider, and the investment will be worth it in terms of comfort, visual design, and of course, functionality.

Luxury Wooden Flooring

If you are after a renovation idea that will instantly breathe new life into your home, replacing the flooring is a top option. There’s no doubt that old breading carpets are not doing any good for the value of your home, nor are they adding to your comfort. It’s time to finally rip out any outdated carpets and flooring and replace with luxury wooden flooring. By installing quality wooden flooring throughout your home, you will be able to enjoy the pleasant visuals of a uniform home that will enable you to decorate your home in a way that each rooms decor elements flow to the next. The impact the flooring of your home has on the overall look of your home will surprise you.

Accent Wall Designs

You may have never considered having an accent wall in your home, or the overall vibrance it can add to your living area. Creating an accent wall with elegant wallpaper, or even a bold coat of paint that varies from the other walls is also exceptionally affordable. However, it is best to avoid going overboard when it comes to adding an accent wall during renovation; the best locations are generally the living room area or the kitchen and dining area of a home.

Lighting Choices That Stand Out

Suppose your home’s lighting choices showcase ordinary and bland bulbs or regular fittings that are almost unnoticeable. In that case, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover how much impact lighting choice can have to the look and atmosphere of a home. Rather than holding onto bland lighting designs, you should consider accent lighting fixtures such as charming chrome pendant lights that immediately draw glamorous attention to a room. There are tons of accent lighting fixtures to consider, so you may find it beneficial to scour lighting fixture retailers to find suitable complementary pieces to add to your home.

3 Easy Home Improvement Projects To Do Without Leaving Your Home

home improvementLockdown so far has been a hard time, millions of us are now hidden away in our homes away from friends and family. So we have a lot of time on our hands and limited resources for what we can do.  To take our minds off everything that is going on, we’ll be going through some easy home improvement projects you can do without leaving your home.

Revamp Your Bathroom

Bathrooms are usually quite dull looking rooms, so why not add some flair to your own bathroom? The first move to make is giving it a nice big clean, slap on your rubber gloves and get cleaning, this gives you a good place to start with a nice and shiny bathroom. Having a proper clean in your bathroom can usually rejuvenate it nicely.

Next step, is to adding some colour,. Tthis can go a couple ways, for example, if you have some bright coloured towels, hang them up over your radiator in the bathroom to bring in some colour. The next option for colour, if you have a window in your bathroom, you can order a new set of bathroom blinds online from DotcomBlinds to bring some colour to your bathroom. Pop in your measurements on their website and they will make your blind and safely deliver it to your door, in line with full social distancing guidelines.

Arts and Crafts For Your Livingroom

At the moment, there are limited options for how you can add some flair to your living room, new furniture is out of the question and likely you won’t be able to get trinkets to place around the room, so it’s time to take things into your own hands. Arts and Crafts materials can easily be found on Amazon or maybe you have some bits lying around the house.

Maybe you can get some knitting supplies and make a new throw for your sofa or something similar, some painting supplies and you can make some art to hang on your walls. The opportunities are endless in what you can make, this will take up some time to keep you occupied and can help you keep your kids busy with fun tasks!

Declutter Your Kitchen

One thing that can make your kitchen look unappealing is having cluttered surfaces, if you just have the basics out like your toaster and kettle, you should be fine. But if you have the whole suite of kitchen appliances: Panini Press, George Foreman Grill, Blender etc, this can cause your kitchen to look messy.

So hide away all the un-needed appliances and you’ll have a much sharper looking kitchen, on the surface it’s not a massive change and won’t take much time out of your day, but it’s a little task to bring a room to life.

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a Makeover

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a MakeoverPhoto by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash

With Christmas out of the way, many of us are starting to think about ways that we can give our home a makeover for the year ahead. However, the dent that the festive season left in our finances is probably still a factor for most of us, which means that any home improvements need to be done cheaply, or even better, for free. With this in mind I thought I would look at five ways that you can improve your home on a very tight budget.

Recycle

One way that you can improve your living situation is to go room to room and do a full inventory of all of the furniture and fixings that you have in each space. You may realise that one piece of furniture isn’t working for one room, but with a lick of paint or a rub down it might be perfect for a different space. Our TV unit doesn’t really go with the rest of our room, however we’ve been thinking lately that we might mount the TV on the wall, give the TV unit a makeover with a coat of chalk paint and use as a coffee table.

Freecycle

Freecycle is such an amazing place to get things that you need without spending any money at all. If you want to declutter, giving old items away on Freecycle is a great way to do this as more often than not people will come and collect them, meaning you have to make little or no effort to empty a space. Asking for things on Freecycle is also a great way to obtain the resources you need to transform your spaces. We once managed to get hold of enough laminate flooring to recover the floor of a whole bedroom and it didn’t cost us a penny!

Ebay

Finding things cheaply on eBay can be really easy, although sometimes you may need to spend a little extra time seeking out those bargains. However, one trick that I learned years ago is to search eBay with misspellings. This might sound weird, but sometimes you’ll find things with a low reserve and absolutely no bids because they haven’t shown up in anybody’s search results, thanks to a misspelling in the listing. If you can find these listings, these are the holy grail of eBay and often mean that people can get things for next to nothing if you’re willing to put in the time to find them.

Swaps

If you’ve got stuff to give away you might find that someone else has something that you want and is willing to swap with you. Facebook is a great place to find swaps for your items and you may even find that there is a local event where people take their items for swap seats. Hey, if there isn’t a local event maybe you could organise one, if you have the time!

Plants

If you haven’t got the money to do a full makeover of your home, sometimes adding little touches like house plants here and there can make a massive difference to your living spaces. As well as plants giving a burst of colour to a room they are great for your well-being, help to produce clean oxygen and will make your room look stylish and put together.

How to Add a Touch of Luxury to Your Home

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

With house prices on the rise and wages seemingly stagnating, more people than ever are choosing to renovate and extend their current properties, rather than moving elsewhere. There’s scope to add value to your home when making big changes and a lot of this potential lies in the quality of the finish, so with that in mind, we thought we’d talk to you about 5 ways to add a luxury feel to your home:

Bathrooms

Anyone can go and buy a budget bathroom from a massive store and give their washroom a nicer feel, but the luxury possibilities of a bathroom are one of the biggest draws for a buyer. Lots of people will consider buying a house with terrible decor everywhere else, as long as the bathroom has amazing fittings. Insignia Steam Showers are one example of high-end fixtures that will really add value to your home.

Curtains

Cheap window coverings might do for a while, but thick, luxurious drapes will make your home feel a million bucks. Opt for soft colours like light grey or mink, which are neutral but elegant and this will give every room the feel of a high-class hotel room.

Ornaments NOT Clutter

While we aren’t suggesting minimalism for your home (it’s not hugely practical for families, is it?), decluttering your rooms and then dressing them with carefully chosen ornaments and other dressings will help to give your house a “put together” feel, rather than making people feel like they’ve walked into a jumble sale!

Kitchen

A kitchen is another huge expense, but you don’t have to rip it out and start again to give your kitchen an update. My gorgeous friend Jen from Love Chic Living, and person I turn to for all of my interiors inspiration, actually painted her kitchen units and replaced her tiles and you wouldn’t believe that it’s even the same kitchen. Read her post to see the completed makeover.

Plants

Plants…well cared for plants, make a room look great. However, if you’re the sort of person who could kill the hardiest cactus from 100 paces, why not opt for some fake foliage? There are some incredibly real-looking fake plants out there these days, and apart from a little flick over with a duster every now and then, you don’t need to do a thing to care for them.

Glazed or Not? Which internal doors are better

Door styles have come a long way over the years, and this versatility and variety have come as a result of the needs of homeowners across the world. Interior designs are different, and homes now have a lot of different themes as well. Keeping with this variety, two types of doors have taken the market by storm and are the most common choices for homeowners, especially for their internal doors. These are glazed and unglazed doors. Another factor to think about is whether or not you want the door to lock or not. Many people like to have locks on certain doors like bathrooms and get a company such as Fast keys to install it.

“Digital locks are a great addition to a home, from mechanical to digital and biometric fingerprint readers.” –  says spokesperson from QuickPick locksmiths a well established locksmith Newcastle company

The choice of door style that will work best for your home depends mainly on the interior design of the house, the architecture and style of the home, and what the owners want from the home design of course. A glazed door offers a lot of different qualities than an unglazed door and determining which one to buy depends on which qualities work best with your home. Here is a short and comprehensive guide on which door will work best for your home.

A glazed door is often considered to be a bit more modern in its design and style and is commonly used by those that want their internal doors to appear and feel light instead of traditional and heavy. They can be used in kitchens, living rooms, and all kinds of hallways to add in more light to the house and to ensure that the different parts of the house are not closed off from each other. They can, however, only be used in parts of the house that do not have issues with privacy. They can primarily be used in darker corners of the house to add more light to those areas without having to install extra artificial lighting sources such as bulbs. These doors are also customizable in terms of how much glazing is needed. You can have entirely internal glazed doors with large panes of glass or medium or half internal glazed doors that have smaller glass panes and offer a bit more privacy from shops like Online Door Store. Internal glazed doors are great for homes that need the extra light and for individuals that can afford to invest in internal doors that are slightly costly.

Unglazed doors, as the name suggests, are doors without the glazing. They do not have large glass panes to add and bring in extra light into the home. It is possible to use any cut-out space to add glass, but it is up to the homeowner to do so themselves. These doors are considerably cheaper than glazed doors, so these are great options for individuals on a budget. If glass panes must be added to these unglazed doors to turn them into internal glazed doors, then this can be done on a budget by reusing old glazing or finding affordable glass panes on your own. Unglazed doors, for that very reason, are great for homes that do not absolutely require a lot of extra light being brought in, and by individuals that may be on a tighter budget.

DIY TV Stand Ideas To Hide Cable Boxes And Wires

Making your own TV stand requires that you get a professional finish that hides all your cables and wires.  You need something that is going to help you hide the TV, store all theDVDs you have bought, and stow away a few extra things from the living room that you do not have any room for.  Use all the tips below to make this cabinet a reality.  You can create something really interesting when you start using the options listed below.  You might not have thought of making this TV stand yourself, but it is possible.  Plus, you could consider adding a couple furniture pieces together to get the results you want.

1.  Add A Storage Box

You could add a storage box to your TV stand, and you will find some cool ideas when you are looking at different sites that provide you with the furniture that you need.  You will find that you can store all the things you use every day with just one box that was made to accompany the TV stand.  You could even put a speak on top of this box to complete the look.  Plus, you can run all your wires behind this box if you need to.

2.  Add An Upper Shelf

You could add an upper shelf that will hold all the cable boxes and DVD players that you have.  Because of this, you can run all the wires to the back of the unit where no one can see.  You can make just one hole where all the cables come out of the unit, or you could use a few different holes that are out of sight to move your cables around.  Make sure that you have closed off these holes with a plastic or metal ring so that they will not tear.  If nothing else, they look really nice.  Plus, you can create a cabinet that is easy to adjust if you add or subtract any items from your setup.

3.  Use A Special Bundle Coil

You could run all your cables through a special plastic bundle coil.  The coil will wrap up all the cables, and they will be much easier for you to access because they are all in the same place.  Someone who is using the bundle coil can push the cables to a part of the cabinet where no one can see.  Plus, the coil can be unwrapped at any time to reach the cables if they need to be changed or moved.

4.  Use A Cable Strip

You can use a cable strip to hide cables that are running to a particular location in the room or the cabinet. In fact, the cables could be behind a cable trip that is the same color of the cabinet.  No one would have any idea that you have cables under there to begin with, and you need to be sure that you have bought enough material to build your cable strips.  If you buy a generic rubber strip, you should paint it to match the cabinet

5.  Use Bluetooth

Bluetooth connections for all your devices make a big difference because you only need a power cable for each unit.  You could put a power box in the cabinet that will connect to the outside, and you have but back on all the cables that you would normally.

There are many families that need to get a better TV stand, but you can make the TV stand yourself if you add all these little things to a much more functional unit you built yourself.