17 articles Articles posted in DIY

Get The House In Order Before Christmas

Get The House In Order Before ChristmasIt’s that time of year when our thoughts are filled with festive plans; where we’re going for Christmas dinner, what’s happening on Boxing Day, who will we see the New Year in with? If you’re someone who likes to host, you may also be thinking about getting your house into shape before the masses descend upon you for eating, drinking and general merriment. But what can you do to spruce the place up without spending a fortune? Here are some ideas:

Flooring

It doesn’t matter how perfect your paintwork is, if your flooring is worn or dated it can ruin the whole look of a house. One of the most economical and hardwearing ways to improve things is by putting down some laminate flooring. It won’t cost a fortune, it will last for decades and you won’t have to worry about someone spilling a glass of Christmas mulled wine on it (which you KNOW will happen if you put a new carpet down instead!)

De-Cluttering

Another thing which can massively improve the look of a house is de-cluttering. If you get rid of stuff you don’t want and keep surfaces as clear as possible, it can even make your rooms look bigger and improve your health because of the reduction in collected dust. If you sell anything of value, you could even make yourself a few quid in the process!

Woodwork

Sprucing up things like skirting boards and dado rails can give the room a much fresher look, and sometimes they simply need a wipe down with a wet cloth or Magic Sponge to get them looking nice again. Look at the bottoms of doors and the areas around handles which can often get grubby over time, especially if you’ve got kids or pets.

Sofas and Cushions

If your sofa cushion covers and throw cushion covers are washable, taking time to stick them through a wash cycle will have two positive benefits – as well as looking cleaner, they’ll smell nice too, which can make your whole living room smell nicer. If they’re compatible with fabric softener, opt for one of the strong smelling concentrated ones for maximum effect.

Carpet Cleaning

If you don’t have the option of ripping up your carpets and laying laminate (if you live in a rented property, for instance), hiring a carpet cleaner is a good alternative. It won’t cost much and will revive the carpets, leaving them looking cleaner and smelling much fresher. You can get spot stain removers and even anti-pet smell solutions which can get your carpet looking and smelling as good as new.

How To Pursue The Modern Washroom Makeover?

Most modern cities have been burdened by overpopulation with the rise of various industries and work opportunities. The rapid urbanization that has come with this influx of people has robbed major cities of large, open living spaces. In order to accommodate all the new people and a large number of people who have started living in these cities, most old houses and buildings have been brought down to give way for construction of newer high rise apartment buildings that can accommodate a large number of people in flats and apartments. Although more people can live in such buildings and apartments, it results in smaller living spaces. Gone are the days of large sprawling houses, people have to make do with small flats with only one or two bedrooms and a single kitchen, dining area and bathroom to share.

In spite of such cramped up living conditions, the desire of people to live in luxury and make their homes feel like a well decorated mansion have not died off. People are preferring to decorate their houses in whichever way possible, and are finding new and innovative ideas to give their bedrooms or kitchens a makeover, all within a budget.

Giving your Washroom a new look

Although people spend ample time decorating their bedrooms and kitchens and spend tons of money buying little trinkets and other accessories to give their bedrooms or dining areas a fresh makeover, one area of the house that often ends up getting neglected is the washroom or the bathroom. It is an indispensable and essential part of every household, and in fact the true cleanliness of a house can be determined by the amount of cleaning that gets done to the washrooms. A guest’s perspective about their hosts manners and cleanliness gets a rigorous test if the guest finds the washroom to be in an unclean and untidy state. Although basic cleanliness and hygiene is a must, one can go a step farther and give their washroom completely new do-over with a few simple tips and tricks as mentioned below.

1)  Changing your shower curtain

Starting off with something simple yet effective, the cheapest thing to do to give your washroom an instant new look is to install a new shower curtain. A shower curtain generally acts as a barrier between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom, providing some privacy and also preventing against unnecessary spilling of water onto the floor of the washroom or onto other dry surfaces. Except for this obvious useful utility, shower curtains can also act as a decorative piece. Many home decor stores or upholstery stores sell shower curtains with unique prints and textures, that can turn your washroom into a completely different feature within minutes. It is cheap, and super easy to install, just slip the shower curtain on to the rod, or install a new rod if you don’t already have a shower curtain, and stand back and admire the new piece of decoration in your washroom, that also serves a purpose. You can choose between a wide variety of colors, textures and prints to match with the rest of your bathroom.

2) Putting up fake trees as decorations

Washrooms can be a hard place to decorate, because it is unwise to keep expensive artwork or sculpture or decorative items in here, since the area always gets wet and may damage your precious decorations easily. One of the few decorations that do enjoy the humid environment are indoor plants, but they can be very hard to maintain and clean, and may end up doing more harm than good. The best alternative to this dilemma is to use an artificial tree. The advantage of these artificial trees over actual potted plants is that they require very little to almost no regular maintenance, and yet they give the same look and feel of indoor potted plants. They can also serve a magnitude of purposes, and can be used in various other ways than simple decoration. For example, an artificial plant wall, which consists of fake creepers and climbing trees and branches arranged on wire mesh network or a simple frame of sorts, can act as a good partition between the shower area and the toilet area, in place of a traditional shower curtain. Also, a fake tree stump can be very easily used as a small tool or a makeshift rack to serve various miscellaneous purposes inside the washroom, as and when required. The possibilities are almost endless, and it comes with the big benefit of being cheap, easy to clean and maintain without causing any unnecessary mess.

3) Installing new tiles

It is virtually impossible to completely change the plumbing and all the faucets and fixtures of a washroom including toilets and bathtubs without causing a huge mess and incurring a large bill from the plumber. But, the floor and wall tiles are much easier to replace and help in giving a complete overhaul to your washroom. It can even be done with very little professional help and thus saves up on costs too.

The patterns and designs and colors of the tiles should match the color of the faucets and fixtures, or to give a more modern look, a contrasting solid color can be chosen to give a new look to your washroom. The common idea is to stick to neutral colors and standard geometric patterns, and although that creates for a very minimalist modern decor, with the huge range of colors, designs and textures available in tiles nowadays, one can give a very unique and interesting look to their washroom without spending a fortune on custom fittings and fixtures. Changing tiles may also be a good opportunity to install anti-slipping or textured tiles that also serve a very useful purpose of preventing slipping on falling on wet floor surfaces, and thus saves from deadly injuries, especially for the children and elderly people of the house.

Not confident with a paint brush? 5 simple ways to add colour to your bedroom

From dull décor to boring beds, our bedrooms can look drab pretty quickly. Clothes on the floor,
tired old bedding, dust, scratched and scuffed walls, the list goes on. If you wanted to give your
bedroom décor a bit of a boost, you could try injecting a little colour here and there. But if you’re
not confident with a paintbrush, then the idea of stripping walls and making it look professional can seem a little daunting.

Even if you’ve recently had a decorator do all the hard work for you and you’ve even had new
skirting boards installed – check out the skirtings r us website for more information – if your room is lacking personality then it can leave you feeling a bit deflated.

But don’t worry! Did you know there are ways you can add colour without picking up a paintbrush? Read on for 5 simple ways to achieve a pop of colour.

Big colourful art

If you live in rented accommodation and painting just isn’t permitted, then hanging a piece of big, colourful art will certainly draw attention for all the right reasons. Not only can you select something that’s big and bold but also something that reflects your personality and really puts a stamp on the property without risking your deposit.

Pillows and throws

With the colder weather now upon us, we’re looking for ways to make our bedrooms extra cosy and comfortable and there’s no easier way than treating yourself to a new pillow, cushion and throw – or three! Choosing vibrant, even clashing colours will really give your room a “pop” effect as well as providing the perfect place to hibernate and binge on all those TV box sets.

Colourful curtains and beautiful blinds

Introducing a set of curtains to any room, makes it look “finished”. They’ll add an extra layer of style and comfort to your bedroom too, so they’re definitely worth investing in. They also serve as an easy way of introducing colour, particularly if the current colours of your room are muted. If you wanted something really eye catching then you could hang two different colours! If you prefer blinds, then you’re in luck – any good blind stockist will have something to suit your colourful tastes and budget.

A rug

Who says you should neglect the floor? Dragging yourself out of bed most mornings will be a little better if the first thing your feet land on is a thick, soft rug. You can buy these in a range of colours, styles and textures so you can really get something that compliments your style.

Upscale your hardware and accessories

This might sound a lot harder than it is! By hardware, I mean things like door handles, the knobs on your wardrobe or bedside table – all these things can be replaced with something bright and vibrant. They’re simple to install and don’t even have to be permanent; you can swap them back again if your taste changes.

How a Dishwasher Changed My Life

Photo by Scott Umstattd on UnsplashPhoto by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash

When we moved here, to our little house in the countryside, I had to accept a few things in order to get the lifestyle we wanted. Firstly, I would have to do a fair bit of driving to get the girls to school. Nights out would either need to be very sober or cost a lot more if we factored in taxis. We’d have to accept that our internet went about the same speed as dial-up, circa 1997. And, perhaps most horrifyingly of all, I would have to accept that there wasn’t space in our kitchen for a dishwasher.

I’d never had a dishwasher until we lived in the house before this one, and getting one at the last house felt like all of my dreams had come true at once. You see, I’m not naturally domesticated, and the washing up was my BIGGEST nemesis. I absolutely hate washing up. And so does everyone else who lives here, so it would often go undone for days at a time, which as you can imagine, is a less than ideal situation.

I won’t lie, I had a bit of a meltdown at Husband and told him that something needed to change, so he put his thinking cap in action (as well as chucking a bit of cash at the situation!) and worked out that we could have a dishwasher if we did a bit of shuffling around in the kitchen.

We’re seriously lucky that we have some super handy and practical people in our family, so after a call to Husband’s aunty (although you could just hire a plumber) we worked out that we could put the dishwasher where our washing machine currently stood and do a bit of a retrofit with the pipes to move the washing machine along a different wall altogether.

We have a galley kitchen, so it wasn’t immediately obvious that we’d be able to do this, but sometimes it takes a new pair of eyes, and someone with a bit more expertise than yourself, to come up with this sort of solution.

Husband’s aunt and uncle ordered all of the parts they’d need and came round one evening a few months ago to get it all done. It only took them two or three hours, and by the time they finished, we had a shiny new dishwasher, ready to go, and a washing machine that actually worked MUCH better in its new position because the floor was more level and it was closer to the dryer, too.

It sounds dramatic when I say it’s changed my life, but I cannot understate this fact enough. Instead of permanently living in limbo between “don’t use the kitchen, I’ve just spent hours cleaning it” and “we’ve got no clean plates, we’ll have to have a takeaway”, the kitchen is permanently clean and tidy and we ALWAYS have things to eat and drink with.

This has also had other knock-on effects too – we eat far fewer takeaways, so we’re saving money and being healthier, both of which are really positive. It also means that the rest of the house is tidier, because there’s a place for all of the dirty plates, cups and cutlery to go. I also enjoy cooking SO much more now. Before, I’d cook a roast or bake a cake and then be faced with the reality that I had to hand wash every single item I’d used in the process. Now, it all goes straight in the dishwasher, nothing is untidy, and I can just enjoy the whole experience of being creative in the kitchen.

If you don’t think you have space for a dishwasher in your kitchen, it could be well worth getting a plumber or kitchen designer to have a look and give you a professional opinion as to whether there might be a way, and if you’re as undomesticated as me, it could genuinely change your life!

Super Easy Ways to Update Your Bathroom

For every family, the bathroom is an important room. It is more than just somewhere to freshen up. A lot of people enjoy taking a long leisurely bath. It is a great way to relax. But, it is only a nice experience if your bathroom looks and feels nice. If yours is looking a little old and tired, do not worry because there are some really simple ways for you to freshen things up a bit.

Replacing the flooring

If the floor needs renewing to the discount flooring depot and take a look at what is available. They sell an incredibly wide range of product and are one of the few online firms that are happy to send you samples. This is a great way of working out if the colour and quality are right.

If you do decide to opt to lay engineered wood flooring just be careful to order the type that is designed for use in a damp environment. This type of flooring can be laid in about 2 hours, looks good and is hard-wearing, all of which makes it a great option for a family bathroom.

You don’t necessarily have to re-tile

When it comes to updating a bathroom, the worst job has to be re-tiling. If you can avoid doing it, you really should. Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to update and spruce up your existing tiling. Simply cleaning it and using specialist grout paint can have a transformative effect.

Cracked tiles can be replaced individually using different, but complementary, tiles. Or you can use decals to cover them up or give your bathroom a fresh new look. Mirrors are great for covering issues up too and freshening things up. They do not take long to hang and you can buy them in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Mirrors help to reflect the light, which means that they help to make the bathroom feel more modern, brighter and, in some cases, bigger.

Create more storage space

A cluttered bathroom will never look nice. Get everybody into the habit of putting their toiletries away. To encourage them to do this provide everyone with a basket to stow their toiletries and other personal hygiene items in. This can be slotted into a rack that is set up in the corner of the bathroom. Better still, when each member of the family is finished in the bathroom, they can take their little storage basket with them and slide it under their bed. You can find plenty of attractive, easy and innovative bathroom storage ideas, online.

Update your towels and bath mats

Swapping your thin, worn towels for some nice new fluffy ones will also have a positive effect. If you use a bath mat update that at the same time.

Add a couple of plants

A plant with big green leaves will look fantastic in any bathroom. Aloe Vera looks especially nice and will thrive in the warmth and moisture. But, the fact that there is a sharp point on the end of each leaf means they may not be a good idea if you have children. Instead, opt for bromeliads, ferns or aspidistra.

Easy Home Improvements That Can Make Your Life Better

We all want to live in a nice home, which is why we spend so much time decorating and updating them. Some jobs take forever and do not really make a big difference to how comfortable we are. While, others, like the ones I am going to talk about below, really do make our life easier and more comfortable.

Install a heated towel rail

Heated towel rails, like this, are great. They look good, will not rust and ensure that you always have a nice, warm, dry towel to use. Often, you can use the pipes that are already in place for your existing radiator. So, installing one need not be too disruptive.

Update your shower

If you want to enjoy a more powerful shower, try updating the showerhead. Sometimes this is all that is needed.

It is also worth checking that the connection between your mains and home supply has been fully opened. Occasionally, this connection can get turned off during construction work and not get turned on properly again. If you suffer from low water pressure throughout your home, this could be why.

Enhance your lighting

Updating your lighting is a great way to improve the ambience of your home. This in-depth article explains what you need to consider when tackling this project. It also outlines the easiest approach.

Draught-proof your home

Draught proofing your home need not take long and it will make a huge difference to how comfortable you feel. Plus, it should also reduce your fuel and power bills.

Refresh your walls

Re-painting or wallpapering a room is a hassle. Fortunately, you can usually get away with taking an easier approach. Sometimes just hanging new artwork or wall hangings can be all you need to do.

Other times, touching up the paintwork will be enough. Just wallpapering one wall can also work. Or, if you could use stencils or wall stickers to change things up a bit.

Paint your front door

Painting your front door will make a huge difference to how nice your home looks from outside. It also worth power washing the path cutting the grass and spraying the weeds.

Renew your door furnishings

If your internal door handles are looking worn, just replace them. It is easy to do.

Sort out your flooring

If your floors or carpets have seen better days, cover them up or replace them. For some rooms, rugs will be all you need. If you do need to renew your flooring, use the easy to lay options. Lino or laminate flooring are too particularly good options. You do not need any special equipment to be able to lay them.

Renew your kitchen cabinet doors

Instead of ripping out your old kitchen and installing a new one, just replace the doors instead. This is far cheaper. Plus, this is the kind of job that you can do gradually, which makes it manageable for most DIYers.

Many of the suggestions I have made, above, are not expensive. So, if you want to make your home more comfortable why not try one or two of them.

Engineered vs Solid Wood Flooring

wooden floorIn a previous blog post, the advantages of wooden flooring were discussed, but some of you may still be wondering whether solid wood or engineered wood flooring is best. With the help of Luxury Flooring & Furnishings, we have analysed the advantages and disadvantages of each to suit the needs of every home.

The Basics

So what’s the difference between these two kinds of flooring? Solid wood is exactly what it says on the tin – planks of solid timber, commonly oak, walnut or bamboo, cut into a certain length and thickness. Engineered flooring is a bit more complicated. Although it uses solid wood on the top layer and therefore looks identical, it has many plywood layers beneath this for support and greater practicality in certain types of home.

Which Do I Choose?

Each type of wood floor has different benefits. For example, solid wood cannot handle fluctuations in temperature, high humidity, or moisture, and shrinks and warps under such conditions. Engineered wood can handle this due to its construction however, making it more suitable to areas with underfloor heating, spillages, or lots of natural light.

On the other hand, solid wood has much greater prestige associated with it, putting up the value of your home, and can last longer. This is partly due to its ability to be sanded down and refinished more often, which should take place every 10-15 years when the floors starts to look worn. This means with solid wood, your floor can look just like new for longer, which is vital in homes with children, pets or high footfall. Engineered flooring can handle 1 sanding per mm of wear layer (e.g. 3mm wear layer means 3 sandings), whereas a solid floor can handle around 8 in its lifetime – if you plan on long term improvements, this is the best choice.

What Else Should I Consider?

Of course practicality isn’t the only thing to consider. Solid wood will set you back cost wise by quite a bit more, but considering they both look the same and install the same way – and install easily for any DIY fan – there isn’t that much of a difference in your decision. In homes with high footfall, children or pets, we recommend solid wood for more restoration opportunities, whereas in kitchens where spillages occur, it is engineered that will go the distance.

So, which would go best in your home?

Upgrading our Bathroom on a Budget

A few months back, our landlady visited to take a look at some things around the house that we were having issues with, and while she was here she said a sentence that sounded like music to my ears:

“You could probably do with a new bathroom, couldn’t you?”

Don’t get me wrong, our current bathroom is functional, but there’s nothing nice about it, and I’d be ecstatic to have a newer one fitted. She’s planning to have it done over the summer which gives me plenty of time to fantasise about what I’d love to be done. Here are a few of them:

New Shower

Our current shower runs off of the taps, which is fine, but the water pressure isn’t hugely high and our heating relies on LPG deliveries, meaning that when we ran out in the dead of winter we were stuck for two weeks over Christmas without being able to have a shower or bath! I’d love her to replace it with an electirc shower, so it wasn’t reliant on gas, and I’m hoping her plumber will compare a range of shower pumps at Pump Sales Direct so that we end up with decent amount of pressure!

Re-Enamel the Bath

Our bath is actually a really decent old cast-iron bath and while there’s nothing wrong with the structure, it could really do with a new coating of enamel as the surface has gone a little patchy. Re-enamelling a bath is a great way to update an old model without needed to spend masses or do tricky plumbing work.

Tiling the Walls

At the moment, we have tiling around the splash-back of the sink and on the wall that the bath adjoins to, but I’d love for the tiling to cover all of the wall surfaces in the bathroom. This would make it super easy to keep clean and looking nice, and would also help to hide the problem we have with mould in the rooms upstairs. I also have a huge thing about white tiles with grey grouting, so if I could manage to convince her to do this, I’d be one happy tenant!

Replacing the Floor

At the moment, we have carpet in the bathroom, which means it’s pretty warm in the winter but I find it a really impractical as it gets wet all the time. Also, who wants to vaccum the bathroom?! If I had my way, I’d go for some beautiful blakc and white checkerboard tiles on the floor to give it a classic, clean look which can be dressed up with accessories of any colour.

Storage

At the moment, we have one, very small, bathroom cabinet which offers very little in the way of storage and I spend my life trying to find places to discreetly stack the masses of bathroom products that we seem to accrue. I’d love a cabinet around the pedestal of the sink or even a sliding bath panel so that we could utilise that empty space under the bath.

What would you add if you had the chance to design your dream bathroom?

The Advantages of Wooden Flooring

As you’ll know if you read Mum’s the Word, we’re currently looking for ways to upgrade the house and make home improvements. You’ll also know that we recently got a puppy, so a lot of our ideas revolve around making things easier and more pleasant with a new pet around. We’ve come to the conclusion that wooden floors would be a really good idea, and I thought I’d give you five reasons why, in case you’re currently trying to make a decision about your own flooring options:

1. Durability

Engineered oak flooring is so durable and hard-wearing; go into any hundreds-of-years old Manor House in the U.K. and you can guarantee that the floors will be wooden! If we lay wooden floor now, it should last a lifetime with proper care.

2. Maintenance

One of the things that really appeals to me about wooden flooring is that it’s easy to maintain. If something scratches it or gets spilt, it just needs a little rub down and re-varnish to get it back to looking it’s best.

3. Warmth

Wooden flooring not only looks warm, but it feels warm, too. Unlike other flooring like tiles or laminate, wood actually retains heat and given the fact that our house gets really cold in the winter, having something to increase our heat would be a huge bonus!

4. Look

Let’s be honest, there aren’t many floor coverings which look as good as solid oak flooring! Going into a house which has wooden floors gives the overall impression of good taste and high quality, and it can also add lots of value to a house if you’re planning to sell.

5. Versatility

One thing I really love about wooden floors is that they’re so versatile. When you go for coloured carpet or tiles, you’re constantly at the mercy of finding things which co-ordinate with them, whereas wooden flooring goes with basically anything. You also have the options to use area rugs which can add a totally different feel to different parts of your house.

Do you have wooden flooring in your house? What’s your favourite thing about wooden floors?

Making Our Home Work for Us with Karndean

Karndean OpusAlthough Husband and I rent our home, we’re lucky in the respect that our landlady is pretty easy-going about what we do to the place (providing we don’t tear down walls or paint the whole place black!). We’ve been thinking lately about what we could do to make the place work a bit better for us, and we think that starting with the floors would be a good idea (puppies and carpets are NOT a good mix!).

One of the options we considered was Karndean, as I’ve heard lots of people saying how much they love it, and to my surprise there are a whole load of varieties of Karndean to choose from. I thought I’d ask my friends who have it what they thought of Karndean flooring and how well it fits into their life. Here’s what a few of them said:

My friend Emily said “We had it at our old house and it was our selling point. It looked like real wood and was easy to sweep, and it was warmer under foot than other hard flooring”

Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days said “We have Karndean across nearly the whole ground floor. It looks great and cleans easily but the biggest selling point for me was that they had such a big range I could get exactly the shade I wanted.”

Tara from Sticky Fingers said “I had it throughout my new kitchen/living extension. Bloody love it. Easy to manage with the dog and muddy kids, warm underfoot looks fabulous. Had tiles before and it was cold and everything that came within sniffing distance of the floor broke!”

In terms of the different ranges, there are three to choose from:

Karndean Art Select

“Karndean Art Select is a range of vinyl flooring featuring exciting hardwood, stone and marble designs that will render a touch of elegance to any space. With an overall thickness of 3mm, and a wear layer of 0.70mm, the Karndean Art Select is super soft and warm under your feet. Completely washable and waterproof, the Art Select collection is perfectly suited for any room in your home.”

Karndean Van Gogh

“The Karndean Van Gogh range is manufactured from highly durable vinyl from the world’s number one producer of luxury vinyl flooring. Available in a variety of sizes and colours, the Van Gogh flooring range is available in a wide range of solid wood effects including walnut, oak and birch.”

Karndean Opus

“The Karndean Opus range of luxury vinyl tiles is a relatively new and a quite popular range of luxury vinyl tiles. It features wood finish as well as traditional stone tile finishes. With an overall thickness of 2.5mm that includes a 0.55 mm wear layer, the Karndean Opus range is available in an array of sizes.”

Do you have Karndean flooring in your home? I’d love to hear our opinion, so please leave me a comment below!