33 articles Articles posted in DIY

How to Make the Most Out of a Bay Window

How to Make the Most Out of a Bay WindowCredit: Brian Goodman/Shutterstock.com

Bay window spaces can be awkward to know what to do with; furniture often does not fit easily, and simple placing a statement palm tree in it can often feel like poor use of the space. This piece aims to show you some fun ways to think about your bay window, with some tips to making the most of it, and making your house shine in the process.

Use Bespoke Furnishings

Rather than treating the bay as a token space in the room, and adorning it with a cursory lampshade or houseplant, consider turning the space into a statement. You could do this with a single piece of bespoke furniture, like an armchair which clashes with other furniture in the living space. You could use a wire-frame shelving unit or waist-high rack to store a number of houseplants of different sizes and levels, creating a window herbarium with interesting topography. For an even quirkier approach, considering investing in a hammock with a bold fabric design on it, for window-lounging and statement décor.

Fit a Window Seat

The above ideas add visual appeal to the space, but can only be so functional. You could install a fitted bay window seat, comprising a padded seat situated just below the sill of the bay window, and your choice of storage beneath said seat. This storage could be used for further aesthetic appeal, in the form of accessories, decorations and perhaps the odd succulent, or alternatively used for utility purposes. Cupboards under a bay window seat present a handy place to hide additional blankets or throws, as well as consumable objects like candles and matches. The space could even be used to store books.

Consider French Doors

If your budget is big enough to make larger changes to your bay window, this could be the perfect opportunity to install French doors. If your bay window is ground floor and backs onto a garden space, the conversion of the bay into a form of porch for French doors out into that space would create additional light and air into your living space, and provide you a unique entry point into your garden. If the bay is on the first floor, things get significantly more expensive; the addition of a balcony can have the impact of extending your bay out even further, taking advantage of the vertical space above you and creating more light.

Furnishing a Bathroom Bay

Of course, your bay window might be in a space less amenable to these kinds of furnishings – namely, the bathroom. A fitted window seat could still work here, but upholstery in an essentially wet room could be a bad idea. Instead, make the most of the room’s function; consider installing a stand-alone bath unit in the window, giving you views of outside from the comfort of a luxury bath. A separate shower cubicle in an opposite corner could give you a real sense of space, and allow you to maximise your bay.

Quick DIY Fixes to Improve Your Home

If you’ve got people coming over for Christmas but feel like your home isn’t quite looking its best, you may be thinking about doing some quick DIY fixes. However, with time being short and money being potentially being even shorter, you might need to find some quick and low cost solutions. Here are five quick decoration tips for keeping costs down.

Adhesive Wall Tiles

If you want to decorater without having to strip walls or do tricky wallpapering then opting for stick-on wall tiles could be a great solution. As well as giving you a convenient solution to covering walls quickly and efficiently, you can often find tiles with textures to make the walls look like brick or stone. They’re also great for covering walls which are less than perfect, allowing you to avoid costly filling or plastering.

Create a Feature

If your fireplace doesn’t get used take advantage of this natural focal point. A fireplace is any room’s greatest asset, so play it up! Paint the inside of your fireplace in a bright or bold color. Place a large plant, stone bust or other artifact inside the empty space. Create a small scene or vignette using art, coffee table books and other collectibles. Group candles of all sizes together and light them to create a warm and lovely setting. Or store extra books or a large wicker basket with extra pillows here. Don’t let this extra space go to waste!

Hang Mirrors

Add oversized mirrors to your space. Mirrors will open up your space and enhance the room’s natural lighting. Large mirrors need simply lean against a wall or rest on a mantel for a simple and perfect touch. Add one mirror, add several. You can’t go wrong here!

Use Your Corners

We all have corners in our homes that we don’t quite know what to do with. One easy DIY solution: install some simple floating shelves which give you more storage space and look great at the same time. It requires a bit of woodwork, but it’s worth it to take a previously unused corner and turn it into a statement corner.

Upgrade Your Doorknobs

Whether you upgrade your doorknobs to a vintage or contemporary style, the results will be impressive. If you choose to use reproduction knobs, check local salvage yards to help reduce cost. Otherwise, you can check sites like Etsy for some creative designs. New doorknobs can really elevate the look of your rooms with minimal effort and outlay.

Industrial Features for Modern Homes

Industrial Features for Modern HomesEver since I was a teenager and saw the film Shooting Fish, I’ve had a thing about industrial spaces which are repurposed as homes. In that film, they live in an old gasometer and it always really appealed to me, as does the idea of old factories, warehouses – anywhere with acres of spaces which can be carved into living areas. However, the reality might not match the fantasy, so with that in mind, I thought I’d look at some industrial features we could incorproate into a more traditional home to give a similar feel:

Grated Walkways

Mini mesh grating is what is used for walkways in many industrial spaces and actually makes for a great industrial look in a home. I’m not usggesting that you use it for all of the hallways in your home, but for a staircase in a concrete home it would look absolutely fantastic. It’s also much easier to construct than regualr stairs, too.

Reclaimed Scaffolding

Scaffolding poles are SUPER cheap to buy from reclamation yards – usually about £1.20 per meter, which means that they make great handrails which are eco-friendly and good value. You can paint them to give them a different look or leave them as-is for a super industrial look, but they can be used all over the home to great effect.

Bare Walls

Whether your home is make of brick, concrete or something else, one of the simplest ways to give your space an industrial feel is to strip it back and have bare walls. An exposed brick wall would make a fantastic accent wall, and also means that you can change the colour scheme of the room whenever you want. The concrete look is an extremely simple, yet stylish looking feature. This can be easily incorporated by using cost effective cement boards.

Exposed Pipes and Beams

Leaving pipes, beams and other structural features exposed is another great way to make a space look more industrial. Metallic pipework looks especially pronounced against white and muted paint jobs, and it’s often designed with an intentionally weathered look to reinforce the gritty, industrial motif. If you want to achieve this look but don’t want to gut your entire home, you can fake it by creating shelves out of copper pipes or making an industrial desk lamp.

Lighting Features

High ceilings with dramatic lighting is a major trend. It’s common to find light globes hung with wires or even stage lighting in modern industrial designs. Pendant lighting such as filament lights with Edison-style bulbs is another unique way to create a retro industrial look. Choosing fixtures with rustic metals and creative details is a simple, effective and COST-effective way to add to the look.

5 Alternative Materials for Modern Home Renovation

Gone are the days when houses were all built using bricks and mortar – these days, there are MANY alternatives to the usual house building materials when embarking upon a home renovation. Many of these alternatives are much better for the enviromnment and some even go back to old fashioned methods which seem like they should have dissapeared long ago! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look as some surprising materials that you can use when renovating or building your property:

GRP Grating

Some of the materials whioch people are now using in their homes were originally designed for more inductrial settings. GRP grating is a non slip flooring constructed from fibreglass, and is an ideal and cost effective alternative to traditional grating materials like wood, mild steel and stainless steel. It’s got many different uses and you could use it in many different ways when renovating your space.

shipping containers home renovation

Shipping Containers

Years ago, Husband and I say a programme on the TV where people were using shipping containers as the bones of their home and we loved the idea! Instead of needing to build from the ground up, shipping containers were placed on a foundation and bolted together, then made livable on the inside. I’ve since seen loads of people doing it and some companies even pre-fabricate them and deliver them ready to go. It’s super green too as you’re recycling old materials.

Bamboo

If you’ve spend any time on the internet in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen those crazy videos of the builders using bamboo scaffolding to climb up and down huge buildings when on site. However, bamboo can be used for more than just scaffolding. Thanks to its composition, bamboo is extremely durable. It has no rays or knots, unlike wood, so it can withstand more stress and it’s also better suited to glueing than hardwood.

Straw Bales

Taking things back to several hundred years ago, lots of people are building eco homes using a combination of straw bales and lime plaster. The process can take a while and it’s not always cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it as not many builders have the specific skills needed but the result is fantastic. The combination of materials is also a good insulator and is said to keep buildings warmer than your average building materials.

Wood

Although timber based homes are not commonplace in the United Kingdom anymore, their significance is again being realised. Those living in the large cities among the noise and pollution feel the need to spend a few days in a relaxed environment that will allow them to live a calm and healthy life. Wooden houses offer these advantages and accordingly there has been a growing demand for wooden houses in the UK as a second or holiday home.

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.

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 or neon filter lights which look like a modern art piece. 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.

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.

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.