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Making Our Current Home Work for Us

Making Our Home Work for UsPhoto by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Next week, Sausage starts senior school. She turned eleven a few weeks ago and suddenly seems so grown up. She currently shares a bedroom with her sister, which was their choice when we moved in, but a lot can change in the space of four years and I think Sausage is craving her own space. It will be even more important when she has homework to do and needs a quiet place to do it, so we’re having a re-jig of the whole home, to make it work for us.

We have three bedrooms in our home – one for Husband and I, one for the girls and another which is used as an office/dressing room/junk room. Sausage is going to have the room that Husband and I are in so that she and BB have rooms which are the same size, while Husband and I will move into his office and the dining room will become the office.

Both girls would like their bedrooms decorated too, and their colour choices could not be a better illustration of their differing personalities. Sausage wants her bedroom to be purple with black accents, and BB wants hers to be even more pink than it already is! Everyone says they look alike, but I always counter that with “…but their personalities are VERY different!” We’re buying a new bed for Sausage as she’s currently in bunk beds with her sister, and she’s looking forward to choosing one.

At the moment, what we call “the dining room” isn’t actually used for anything close to dining. It’s where Sausage’s budgie, Bagel, lives, as well as the family’s bikes. Our shed isn’t massively secure, so we keep the bikes inside, but this will definitely need to change. As well as a bed, we need to invest in some sort of bike storage for the home, like a shed or lockable bike box to keep everything safe and secure.

We need to do a few other things around the house, too. Our kitchen floor needs replacing and we have the tiles, we just need to get around to actually laying them! Our upstairs bathroom is in a state of disrepair, just because it’s quite old, so we’re hoping our landlady will take care of some of that this year too.

I think the only room we’re not doing anything to is the living room! However, once we get all of the moving around and rearranging done, our home will work a whole lot better for us.

Sausage and BB Design Their Dream Home

It’s been pretty rainy and rubbish here for the last few days and after the madness of last week (Sausage turned 11 on Tuesday, so we’ve had playdates, sleepovers, shopping days as well as a barbecue at the weekend for our friends’ 40th) we’ve opted to spend some time chilling at home. You know what kids are like, though, and even chilling at home means finding pretty constant ways to entertain them, so I thought I’d ask them to tell me what their dream house would be like, and write about it here!

A Personal Lift

While brainstorming their ideas, both girls decided that their dream home would have bespoke passenger lifts – Sausage to transport her dozens of dogs and BB to get her pushchairs upstairs because she wants a dozen babies!  I can see my retirement years being spent doing a LOT of baby sitting and dog sitting…

Walk-In Wardrobe

Despite neither of my kids being massively girly girls, they both LOVE clothes, and another thing they agreed on (I can’t believe they’ve agreed on so much to be honest!). When Sausage mentioned that she wanted a massive walk-in wardrobe, BB decided that she definitely wanted one of those, too. They’d better both have good careers for all this stuff!

Conservatory

I’m not sure what it is about the women in our family, but we all love a conservatory. Maybe it’s the feeling that you’re sitting outside but manage to be warm and dry at the same time? Either way, both girls decided that a conservatory would be high on their list of demands when designing their dream house.

Theatre Room

In all honesty, we’re only just at a point where BB will sit still for long enough to watch a whole film. She’s okay at the cinema because she can’t get up and wander off but at home, it’s a struggle. However, she’s recently decided that she does like watching movies with us (even if we have to spend ten minutes convincing her beforehand!) and both girls agreed that a theatre room would be a great addition to their dream house.

Indoor Swimming Pool

They might not be overly keen on school swimming lessons (who likes being given two minutes to get your school uniform back on to your still-damp body?!) but both girls love being in the water. My dad kindly bought them a pool for the garden this summer and they’e had great fun using it so far, so they agreed that an indoor pool that they could use all year would be a must-have in their fantasy house.

What would your kids have in their dream house?

How to Use a Video Wall in Your Home

Take a number of smaller screens – televisions, computer monitors, etc. – arrange them in a continuous display to form one large screen, and you have a video wall. Sound simple? It is! But the flexibility gained by using several smaller screens instead of one large one allows you to put a video wall in nearly any room in your house! Below are some of the more common arrangements.

Lounge/Living room

Most people use their lounge more for television and film watching than just about anything else. But the old “tv-and-sofa” configuration is tired and a bit blasé. Shake things up by installing a video wall! Mounting the screens flat against the wall saves space, and with a large enough setup, you can easily transform your lounge into a mini-home cinema.

Kitchen

If you’re getting much of your culinary inspiration from cooking shows and instructional videos (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), then adding a video wall to the kitchen makes perfect sense. Add a few screens above your preferred countertop, and you’ve got the ideal way to watch that one video on how to properly slice an onion – for the 100th time.

Game Room

Avid about your video games? The latest high-tech screens forming a giant wall in your game room will certainly improve your experience, if not your abilities. Video games and video walls are the perfect fit, allowing you to get the most out of any game.

Home Office

Another common application of a video wall is in the home office. The multiple screens in a video wall allow you to pull up the most recent project on one screen, presentation on another, and that last-minute memo from your boss as well.

These are only a few of the many options for video walls in your home. You could add a smaller video wall to your bedroom for a lazy night in, or even install one in a sheltered patio or glasshouse. You’re sure to find a perfect place for a video wall in your home as well!

how to use a video wall in your home.

How to Use a Rug in a Child’s Bedroom

You’re finally ready to move your daughter or son into their own room – but it needs a bit of redecorating, first! Adding a rug is one of the easiest ways to personalize your child’s room, while adding some function and comfort as well.

These days, rugs are available in a wide variety of materials and colours. Remember to choose something that is comfortable on your child’s skin, particularly their knees. Consider a rug that has a particular design on it to add an element of fun and adventure to the room – a rug with a built-in roadmap, or perhaps a forest scene. Or you may opt for something classic and quality, like a beautiful wool rug.

For more information on these and other considerations for rugs in a child’s bedroom, see the infographic below from Land of Rugs:

5 Tips for Getting a Stairlift on a Budget

It can be a huge worry if you have an elderly parent or relative who is starting to have mobility difficulties and is struggling with their stairs. Getting a stairlift installed could enable them to use their stairs safely again, without the risk of injuring themselves in a fall. However, although buying a stairlift can work out significantly cheaper than moving house or having building work done to adapt the ground floor, the price can still be daunting for people on a low income. Here are some ideas on how to make getting a stairlift more affordable.

1. Consider a Reconditioned Stairlift

Purchasing a reconditioned stairlift can be a much cheaper option than buying a brand new one. Reconditioned stairlifts are second-hand models that have been pre-owned by someone else and then refurbished to ensure they are in full working order. Many stairlift companies sell reconditioned straight and curved stairlifts at a significant discount. With this option you can save money but still get the benefits of a guarantee and professional installation on a new track. A word of caution though – be wary of buying a used stairlift from a private seller, as you will have no guarantee it is safe to use.

2. Look at VAT Relief

Older people aged over 60 can get a stairlift at a reduced rate of 5% VAT (compared to the standard rate of 20%). This can help lower the price. If the person who needs the stairlift meets HMRC’s criteria of being “chronically sick or disabled” and is buying it for their own personal use they may be eligible to pay no VAT at all (0%). To benefit from this saving, it is important to ask the stairlift supplier for a “User VAT Declaration” form before making your payment, to make sure they apply the zero rating.

3. See if You Can Get a Disabled Facilities Grant

Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are means-tested grants for home adaptations that are provided by local councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The amount of money that the stairlift user might get as a grant towards the cost of a stairlift will depend on their household income and savings. Not everyone will qualify for a DFG and you will need to contact your relative’s council to apply. If they live in a rental property, they can request that their landlord applies on their behalf. Bear in mind there are certain conditions to being awarded a DFG and it can take several months to find out if your application has been approved or not.

4. Investigate Financial Assistance from Charities

Another source of financial aid that you may be available to your relative is a grant from a charitable organisation. Turn2us is a nationwide charity that can check which welfare benefits your relative is entitled to and help find any grants they are eligible for to finance a stairlift. There is a useful Grants Search tool on their website. Other charities that can help those in financial need include Independence at Home and the ACT Foundation, so you may also want to contact them for advice.

5. Consider Renting a Stairlift

In some situations, it can be more economical to rent a stairlift rather than buy one. Several companies offer rental stairlifts for which the user is charged a monthly fee. It really depends on your circumstances as to whether hiring a stairlift is a cost-effective option. Generally, renting a stairlift only works out cheaper if the user will only require a stairlift for a short time, such as during recovery from an operation or illness.

A stairlift can make a big difference to a user’s independence by enabling them to move freely between the floors of their home and keeping them safe on the stairs. As you can see, there are various ways to reduce the cost of installing a stairlift for people on a tight budget. If you’re concerned about an elderly relative struggling with the stairs, it is worth exploring all the options to see if a stairlift is an affordable solution.

Think It’s Time To Move House? Let’s Look At What You Should Do

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You’ve been comfortably living in a fitting home for a while now, and whilst it’s been a blast, you think the tenure here has reached its last legs. It would be lovely to stay here forever and not have to put in the effort regarding relocation, but that’s not the world we live in. As weeks, months, and years go by, your life changes and your situation changes. You’re a completely different person or a completely different family to what you were just a few years ago, and it’s time to find a place to suit your new needs.

If you’ve been through this stuff a fair few times before, then you’ll know all of the aspects it entails – and there are quite a lot, huh? Whilst it’s not a hugely troubling affair, it does need some thought. Let’s have a little look at some of the stuff you should do in the lead up to the potential move.

Plan Things In Advance

Like a lot of things in life, you should probably have a little plan of action written down for you and those around you to follow. If you are doing everything off-the-cuff, then it may get a little confusing as there are many steps.  

Get Your Home Ready To Be Sold  

When the current home eventually leaves your grasp, you’ll want more than enough money in return. If you can afford to invest heavily to hike the price up, then good for you, but you don’t always need a big overhaul – little aesthetic changes can up the value a lot. When it comes to actually letting go, you can go through the traditional process, or you can sell quickly. You can visit the Flying Homes website and others that are similar if you want to take a lot at how that system operates. It is good to make sure everything is looking fresh and smart before leaving as you don’t want potential buyers think it’s a sty!                                                                                                                                                   

Figure Out What Type

There are a bunch of different styles of house in the world, and it’s up to you to choose which would be best. Your initial thoughts are probably to find something similar to what you have now but upgraded or downsized, but there might be something unorthodox out there that suits you perfectly.

Look Up Movers

The whole thing takes a lot of effort – and physically is needed on the day as you’ll be on your feet lifting stuff. If you want some help, then you should probably research companies that handle this process for you so that you can kick back when you have the chance.

Don’t Stress!

It’s easier said than done, but this entire process doesn’t need to keep you on edge throughout. Sure, it can occupy your mind quite a lot as it’s a significant chapter in your life, but there’s no need to worry about it. The moving process is something everybody goes through, and if it were so difficult, nobody would get it over the line! It’s a piece of cake, so enjoy it as much as you can.  

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.

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.

Dress up Your Outdoor Windows for Summer

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As we move into the warmer weather, you may want to give your home a fresh look to reflect the change of season. Not only can you make interior décor changes to fit the summer vibe, but the exterior of your home deserves some TLC too.

Do you ever walk past a lovely-looking house and admire decorative features in the driveway, beautiful windows, or a brightly painted door? First impressions are everything, and what your home looks like from the outside can instantly boost a home’s curb appeal.

With so many styles to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to do a complete overhaul of your home’s exterior, so take it one step at a time, and begin with your windows.

Here are four ideas to dress up your outdoor windows for summer, using the classic English House for style inspiration.

Select Your Window Type

Don’t underestimate the power of your window frames as they make all the difference when preparing your home to “pop” from the outside. Sash windows are the perfect choice to achieve the English House look as the “sashes” form a frame to hold the panels of glass. They’re an elegant and timeless way to finish off a period-inspired home.

You can choose between uPVC Sash Windows or Timber Windows, each of which offers you a range of styles and configurations. From dual swing to tilt and slide to casement and sliding sash, you’ll be sure to find the right option to suit your home. For a classic English House style, a timber window with the sliding sash style would be ideal.

You can also choose any colour for timber windows if you treat the frames with several coatings of specialised paint. White window frames offer a classic English House style and look great against bricks or stone. View sash window inspiration here.

Add Window Flower Boxes

When properly arranged and placed, window boxes are a wonderful addition to your home’s exterior to add some colour and to make heads turn.

The best window boxes compliment the style of a house, so make sure that the size is correct (not too wide) and that the depth gives your flowers enough room to grow, without blocking the window’s view.

Pick your favourite summer flowers and you can look at them with pride every time you return home. View window flower box inspiration here.

Install Decorative Exterior Shutters

Typically, window shutters are used on the inside of the window frame to control the amount of light that comes through. However, you’ve likely seen them on the outside of people’s homes and wondered do people actually open and close them? Although window shutters were originally designed for privacy and security, they are now more commonly used for decoration and style.

Exterior window shutters add character and charm to your home’s appearance and require little in the way of maintenance. View exterior shutter inspiration here.

Consider Window Awnings

Window awnings are another great addition for aesthetic purposes as the overhang above the window adds an extra dimension to your home’s exterior. With so many, colours, patterns and designs available, it’s easy to choose an awning that will match the style and décor you are trying to create. View window awning inspiration here.

Awnings also prevent the sun from shining in through the windows and protect the window from above.

Not only are these window additions great for curb appeal and your own enjoyment, but they can also translate into a higher resale value of your home — in case you ever decide to move.

Now take a step back and admire your Pinterest worthy outdoor windows you’ll be amazed at how much they doll up the exterior of your home!

5 Unique Ways to Give your Room the WOW Factor!

MirrorWhen it comes to interior design, unless you’re an expert it can sometimes seem daunting trying to envisage what a room will look like when you’re finished decorating. You can have big ideas for the finished project, but when it all comes together it feels like it’s lacking something. Today, I’m sharing five ideas of how to add a WOW factor to your room to give you some inspiration for your decorating project.

Graphic Wall Paper

Long gone are the days when wallpaper had to be a flowery pattern; now, your wallpaper can carry you off to an enchanted land, make you feel like you’re sleeping in the stands of your beloved football stadium or even give the impression that you’re sleeping next to a priceless work of art. Azutura offers a whole range of wallpapers which will really take your decor to the next level.

Wall Stickers

If you aren’t brave enough for a full wall mural of wallpaper, you could always opt for a wall sticker. Wall stickers come in a whole range of designs from shooting stars to trees to your favourite quotes and are super easy to apply and remove.

Accessories

If you don’t want to make changes to the decoration of the room, you could always change up the accessories and ornaments you have on display. A statement clock in sterling silver will create a focal point in the room which will draw the eye and create a little wow factor all on its own.

Mirrors

A big bold mirror in an unexpected place will visually double your room size, increasing it’s depth and immediately make it brighter. I love them in areas where you wouldn’t naturally expect them and I like them BIG. The only thing you have to remember is that whatever you put directly in front of the mirror will be reflected so make sure it counts (and looks pretty even from the back)!

A Pop of Colour

Everyone has a different colour tolerance level for the amount of bright colour they have in their rooms. Some people want their spaces filled with bold, beautiful colour. Others prefer a quieter, more muted palette. No matter where you fall, consider adding a new pop of colour to your space. I guarantee it will turn heads.

What do you do when you want to add a bit of WOW factor to your rooms? Do leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

Tips to Refresh your Home at the Start of 2019

As we move into 2019 many people will be looking to refresh their homes with a new modern look. Here we cover several top interior design tips you could use in order to do so.

• New theme

Changing the style to your home is a very good way of giving it that new updated look. This could be done through simply changing the colours around your home. Using a selection of no more than 2-3 core colours is usually the best approach.

• Making a statement

Many people are now looking to make a statement with the style of their home, whether this be through a floor rug or a modern composite door such as the ones at Truedor. Rugs add comfort to almost any space, the right one can push forward a striking statement. It is important to look over the proportion of your room prior to selecting a rug.

• Artwork

Adding artwork to walls can completely change the overall look of the room as on many occasions these are neglected. There are an endless list of different ones to choose from, so you can give your home that preferred style you are looking for.

• Plants

Adding greenery to your home or workspace can really improve the space. It can be a ready compliment to the room, when added to a neutral colour scheme.

• Style right

Choosing the correct décor is very important. Simply keeping things arranged in groups of different heights, textures and tones instantly gives the room that greater visual interest.

• Lighting

Lighting is possibly the most important factor when it comes to creating a modern inviting home. This can be through allowing more natural light into your home through the correct windows in place. Or simply adding floor and table lamps around the living space to create a bright home. Creating a warm glow to a room, is a great and simply way to modernise the space.

• Minimalism

The final tip is being simple. Minimalism is continuing to grow in popularity and is a great way to not only give your home a modern look, but will enable you to enhance the space around the room and home in general.