How to facilitate your ageing parent’s life

How to facilitate your ageing parent's life

Our parents are amongst the most important members of our family; they gave birth to us and raised us to become strong and independent people. Therefore, it’s essential to offer parents our full support. There are lots of practical ways in which we can make sure that they have a safe, comfortable life; especially if we can’t be around as much as we’d like.

One of the main things that relatives need to think about is loneliness. Our ageing parents and grandparents sometimes consider themselves a burden and begin to isolate themselves. It’s important to take steps to facilitate and encourage their interaction with other people.

Furthermore, ageing parents and relatives face other daily difficulties at home. Some of these problems may be related to the fact that they begin to lose their mobility, vision, mental abilities or a combination of these. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which we can make their life easier and show them that they can always count on our help.

Elderly woman using a mobile phone

Independent living products

Seniors often experience a sudden change in their physical abilities – their hearing, dexterity, eyesight etc. Therefore, some tasks that they once found easy and took for granted can become truly challenging for them. Regardless of that, there are certain technical aids that can help them to remain self-reliant and retain control of their daily care tasks. Examples include safety kettle tippers and ergonomic tin can and door openers. You could also swap microwaves, telephones and clocks for examples that have bigger displays.

Man sitting on his own looking out to sea

Prevent loneliness

Most elderly people prefer to remain in their own homes, maintaining their independence, even when they find it difficult caring for themselves. Unfortunately, even when family members try to remain involved, it can be difficult to look in on ageing parents as often as they’d like – especially if they don’t live nearby. This can sometimes lead to a lack of social interaction for the aged. They may become lonely and depressed due to the passing of a spouse, neighbour or friends. Fortunately, there are a growing number of opportunities for social engagement these days. The most obvious one is definitely care homes. However, in home care for seniors is a preferred alternative for elders who would rather remain in their own home. With this option, they can receive assistance according to their individual needs.

Man walking with mobility aid

Mobility aids

Currently, there’s a wide variety of mobility aids available to the elderly and infirm. Some of the most popular include power scooters and four-wheel frames. These accessories can help seniors remain independent, allowing them get around and keep mobile. In addition, it may be necessary to improve the layout of their home. Too much clutter or furniture can impair their movement. If they use a scooter or frame, ensure there are ramps installed so they don’t slip or trip. There should be ample floor space to get through doorways, to their bed, toilet and bath. Moving around the kitchen and lounge needs to be made as simple and smooth as possible. Removing some internal doors and having a more open-plan design should be considered.

Besides this, make their home safer and more accessible by improving the lighting – especially along corridors, in hallways and above external doors. Lay down non-slip mats in the bathroom and make sure stair and handrails are well-maintained and secure.

These are just a few ways of ensuring that your ageing parents enjoy a safe and comfortable life.


5 interior design tips to spruce up your living room for 2018

5 interior design tips to spruce up your living room for 2018

The start of a new year is arguably the best time to set goals for your personal and professional life, so why not reflect positive change in your home as well? It turns out that your home surroundings have a significant impact on your mental state. A well-styled home that aligns with your personal tastes will be a more relaxing, happy environment for you to enjoy.

The hub of many households is the living room, making it the perfect spot to freshen up. Not only will you appreciate the fruits of your labours, but your guests and loved ones will be able to as well. Thankfully, revamping your living room interior doesn’t have to involve serious renovations or a background in interior design.

Here are 5 tips for refreshing your living room space effectively and without any intrusive remodelling.

Modern decorated sitting room

Give your living room a beautiful foundation

When you think about giving your living room a new look it is easy to forget one of the biggest statements in this space – the floor. Your choice of flooring can make an otherwise beautiful living room feel drab, aged or even visually cluttered. Rather than fight with your floor, consider the option of having it removed and replaced with a material that will serve as a beautiful foundation to the rest of the space’s style.

A wonderful choice of flooring that is growing in popularity is modified wood. Modified wood is a real wood product that is sustainably manufactured and free of questionable chemicals so common in residential wood flooring. Modified wood is incredibly smooth and available in clear or high character boards, depending on whether you like the look of natural knots or prefer a plain look. Modified wood is about as durable of a wood floor as you can get.

Diptych artwork on a sitting room wall

Finish your walls with personal photographs and art

Wall art can make or break a room. Many pro interior decorators are well-aware of how important wall art is, especially when it comes to putting personalized finishing touches in a space. Since the living room is an area often used for entertainment and gathering, placing personal photographs or unique art here is ideal.

Rather than dealing with printing photographs yourself and then trying to find frames, opt for custom canvas prints instead. Custom printed canvas is attractively chic and casual, adapting to essentially any type of home design style you can think of. They are also lightweight and fairly easy to hang.

Brown corner sofa in a sitting room

Invest in matching furniture that showcases your tastes

Certain design styles like bohemian and shabby chic may look mismatched, but even these very flowing aesthetics still need to have some sort of cohesive look when it comes to furniture. Furniture is often the biggest statement piece in a room when it comes to personal fixtures. Not only is the style of furniture important, but also the quality.

Forget about trying to get by with boring or cheap looking particle board furniture pieces and invest in a matching set. Real wood furniture is always a good option and if you select attractively simple designs, like those you’d find in a Amish living room furniture set, you’ll be surprised at how versatile it can be. A Mission couch, coffee table and a couple of chairs can fit in essentially any living room, whether you’re going for a industrial or an urban modern effect.

Sitting room with weathered, wood clad walls

Capture the warmth and texture of weathered wood

Weathered, aged wood is highly sought after for its warm appearance and texture that faux products often fail to replicate. While you can find this type of wood used for many interior design projects consider the idea of using reclaimed wood wall panels in your living room.

Rather than going the usual route of painting an accent wall, cover that wall in reclaimed wood instead. Ideally this will serve as a backdrop to your main seating area, such as behind your sofa, though you really can get as imaginative with this product as you’d like. A huge advantage of this type of panelling is that you can have it installed right over your existing walls.

Wood clad sitting room wall

Add sleek minimalist touches with bamboo

Another natural material that offers a bit of a different vibe is bamboo. If you like the idea of wood panelling but want a very sleek, modern look try bamboo panels instead. Bamboo doesn’t just offer a cleaner look than most wood, but even just as a material it is very versatile.

You can use bamboo panels as wall art or a tropical-esque backdrop to a built-in. You can even use bamboo veneer to cover tables, entertainment centres or floating shelves. If you’re striving for a green home and are concerned over organic material sustainability, you’ll also appreciate the fact that bamboo is a more responsible material than new wood.

With a little creativity and enthusiasm you can easily make your living room feel like a whole new space.


6 ways to bring sunlight indoors

6 ways to bring sunlight indoors

If some of the rooms in your home are on the dark side and could do with brightening up, there are lots of different tricks you can use to bring sunlight indoors.

Two Velux-type windows in a bedroom


Installing a skylight or Velux-type window has one of the most dramatic effects possible, allowing sunlight to flood in from the open sky above. They really can transform a space from dark & dingy to light & airy. There are lots of attractive blinds on the market specifically for this type of window from manufacturers such as

Bathroom with a mirrored wall


Mirrors are a great, inexpensive way of increasing the amount of sunlight coming into your home. Placed strategically opposite a window, they bounce and reflect light around a space. They work especially well on dark stairways and bathrooms.

Desk and chair against a brilliant white wall

Reflective walls

Various companies have developed interior wall paints which contain light-reflective particles. It’s a subtle, clever way to maximise natural light entering the property.

Glazed internal sliding doors

Glazed doors

Glazed doors (both exterior and interior) can make a real difference to the amount of light entering a house and dispersing it throughout the rooms contained within. B&Q have a huge range of glazed doors – traditional, folding and sliding. Similarly, glazed wall panels can divide up larger open plan spaces – creating defined zones for living without blocking light. They’ll need to be made of toughened glass if safety considerations demand it of course – small children or boisterous pets running round, for example.

Daylight bulbs

Daylight bulbs

If you have a room that is windowless and at the centre of the house, you can easily fake natural sunlight these days. There are now specialist bulbs on the market that mimic sunlight, illuminating your room with a sunny glow.

Open-plan living area

Remove unnecessary partition walls

If it’s not load-bearing, removing a wall won’t require the installation of an RSJ – and should be relatively inexpensive. If it’s made of plasterboard rather than solid stone or concrete it’s even easier! Removing walls between kitchen and dining rooms has become common practice. One of the major benefits of this is to allow light to flow between the front and back of the house. Other common areas where this can have a dramatic ‘opening up’ effect is the hallway, landing and larder areas.

Can you think of any other great ways to bring sunlight indoors? We’d really love to hear your thoughts.


Tips for transforming your bedroom into a relaxing space

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colourful bedroom with tree patterned wallpaper

Your bedroom should be a safe haven, a place where you can relax, unwind and forget about the troubles and stresses of the world outside. However, many of us don’t maximise on the space that we have to make into the sanctuary that we both need and deserve. To make your bedroom more relaxing, there are several changes you can make to improve on the quality of your rest, which can improve your overall health as well as your emotional and mental well-being. Here are some ways that you can make your bedroom more relaxing.

desk space in a bedroom

Make space to sit

If your bedroom is big enough and you have the room to play around a bit, then you should consider making a little seating area in your bedroom. Many of us just end up sprawling across the bed to read or mess around on our laptops, but this can affect our sleep patterns because we end up associating the bed with mental activity when it should be associated with rest.

Either bring in a chair or small sofa, or do something even simpler like put some cushions on your windowsill to make a nifty window seat. This is a great way to make your bedroom a more relaxing space, giving you a place to curl up and unwind.

cream bedding with yellow ochre throw and coloured cushions

Invest in a new bed and mattress

Your bed is extremely important, so it’s crucial that it’s of a high quality and provides you with the right level of comfort and support so you get the most out of your rest. If you’ve been sleeping less well lately, or have noticed that you’re tossing and turning more in the night and waking up feeling less rested, then it may be time for a new bed and mattress.

A high quality bed and mattress can transform your sleep and rejuvenate you. Visit Bedstar for more information, and see if you can find a new bed and mattress that suits your needs. They provide a wide range of bed frames and help you find the best mattress with their online questionnaire. Ordering a bed from Bedstar online will also guarantee you next day delivery, so you don’t have to worry about when your new bed will arrive.

Bedroom with cream colour scheme

Create an atmosphere

At the moment, does your bedroom really feel like a place where you can relax or is it just somewhere to put your head down at the end of the day?

Redecorating your bedroom can be a great way to create a relaxing atmosphere. For example, painting the walls in a calming colour can help you to unwind at night, and lighting can also be used to help you wind down in time for bed. By investing in some dimmer lights or soft bedside lamps, you can transform your bedroom into a serene and relaxing space.

Remember that your bedroom should be your sanctuary, rather than just another room in your house. By making a few simple changes, you can make your bedroom a more relaxing space, giving you somewhere to rest and refresh yourself.

How to make a home more comfortable in hot weather

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M House designed by Jamie Falla Architecturecredit

Depending on whereabouts you live, the summer months can be unbearably hot or a bit of a washout. Obviously, if your local climate is cool, damp and miserable, your main problem will be staying warm not cool, but if your summer is likely to be hot and humid, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure your home is comfortable.

There are lots of efficient ways to keep a home nice and cool when the weather is hot. Some are very simple; others are more expensive. Either way, it’s definitely worth spending a bit of time getting your home ready before the hot weather arrives or you could end up suffering in the heat.

Black and white photo of a woman and an early air conditioning unitcredit

Install air conditioning

They may be expensive, but air conditioning systems are the most effective way of keeping a home nice and cool when the temperatures rise. An air conditioning system is essentially a climate control device. It can be set to whatever temperature you prefer, be it reasonably warm or freezing cold. You can also adjust the temperature in different rooms, so if you prefer sleeping in a cool bedroom but prefer the living areas to be a few degrees warmer, air conditioning is ideal.

However, in order for an air conditioning system to run efficiently, it does need to be regularly maintained. Filters need to be checked once a month and replaced if necessary. Regular maintenance will improve the quality of the air circulating through your home and ensure the system runs economically. For best results, schedule air conditioning maintenance with an AC repair company in the spring so that any problems can be dealt with before the temperatures soar through the roof. That way you can enjoy a nice cool home even when it’s baking hot outdoors.

Vintage image showing man and woman inspecting a room thermostatcredit

Set the thermostat to the right temperature

It might be tempting to switch off the air conditioning if you’re leaving town for a few days, but this is a false economy. If you do switch it off, your home will soon heat up when it is hot outdoors and by the time you come home, the place will feel like an oven. Sure, it will soon cool down once the air conditioning kicks in, but the system will be placed under immense strain as a result. For this reason it’s much better to have the air conditioning running 24/7.

For best results, set the thermostat to a lower temperature at night when you need to sleep, and then turn it up during the day when you’re in and out or not at home. This will place less strain on your climate control system and help it to run more economically.

ceiling fan in a bedroomcredit

Buy some fans

Electric fans are a quick way of cooling a room down when the weather is hot. Fans don’t actually cool the air down, but they do circulate it throughout a space, so a fan makes the room feel a lot more comfortable. If it is a warm and sticky night, plug a fan in so you can enjoy a gentle breeze wafting over the bed. It might be a bit noisy, but many people find that white noise helps them fall asleep.

Window with 'Air conditioning works best with windows closed' noticecredit

Close the windows

Don’t open the windows if the weather is hot. All this does is let the warm air in, not to mention the insects. Try and keep windows and doors closed during the day – especially if you have the air conditioning turned up. It’s OK to open windows at night, however, as this will provide much-needed ventilation.

White sitting room with white curtains closedcredit

Shut the blinds and curtains

Always close blinds and curtains to keep the sun out when it’s hot. The thicker the curtains, the better, as thick fabric will block the sun more effectively. Some blinds are made from reflective fabrics, which is useful in rooms with a lot of direct sun, so consider buying this type of blind when you remodel your home.

Garden art galery built into a tall hedgecredit

Create shade outdoors

A useful way of cooling a home down is to plant trees and foliage on the side of the property that gets the most sun. Trees and shrubs don’t grow overnight, but in the long-term they’ll be a valuable sunshade. If this isn’t possible, you should definitely make good use of blinds and curtains instead.

As long as you’re careful, it should be possible to keep your home reasonably cool, even during very hot spells. And if you’re in the middle of a heatwave, stay out of the sun as much as possible and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.


Star buy!

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vintage Seth Thomas starburst clock

This wonderful vintage starburst clock was our ‘star buy’ at yesterday’s auction.

Also referred to as sunburst clocks, this one has a brushed metal face with a radial pattern of wooden star/sun rays.

vintage Seth Thomas starburst clock

Produced by the very good maker Seth Thomas in the 1960s, it wasn’t cheap – but it’s a great example. The condition is superb and it’s keeping perfect time.

vintage Seth Thomas starburst clock on our bedroom wall

The clock seems very happy in our bedroom. We know we shouldn’t be keeping shop stock, but it won’t do any harm to look at it for a while.

The modern, stylised shape and brushed metal is softened by the warm wood, providing a great link between old & new when going for that eclectic look.

vintage Metamec starburst clock

We already have an example of this type of clock in our top floor lounge/bedroom.

detail of vintage Metamec starburst clock

It dates from the same period, but this one is made by Metamec.

vintage Metamec starburst clock on our upstairs lounge stone wall

This one was also bought as shop stock – two years ago!!