Home decorating tips to make life easier

Home decorating tips to make life easier

Decorating your home can sometimes lead you down a path of extreme design and striking pieces of furniture, with elaborate and confusing elements. The emphasis on making your home look stylish can sometimes be given priority over the need to make your house comfortable. There are ways of incorporating both style and function into your home to make your life easier and less stressful, whether you need to recover from a tiring day at work or you simply enjoy having a place dedicated to relaxing. Here are some simple home decorating tips to help you update your home with the focus on comfort.

Orange upholstered reclining chairs

Reduce pain

Home is about comfort, safety and contentment. Whilst people are often made to feel guilty or lazy for needing to rest at work or in public, home is where you’re able to do whatever you want to ease your aches and pains. Unless you feel the need to adhere to a strict design aesthetic, there’s nothing to be ashamed of when adding touches that serve primarily to reduce discomfort. Take a look at stressless recliner sales to find a comfortable, stylish chair to relax in after a long, exhausting day. It will make your home look and feel more inviting as well as taking the weight off your feet.

open-plan living space

Comfort food in a comfortable kitchen

Do you enjoy baking but can never find the space to store the proper equipment or gadgets? Do you love coming home to a delicious, stress-free meal? When decorating your home, don’t forget the vital role of the kitchen in everybody’s life. Unlike the cold and utilitarian kitchens found in schools or army barracks, your kitchen should exude warmth and relaxation. Food plays an important part in home life, especially with families and children. Design your kitchen to allow for better flow of movement and efficiency by carefully calculating layout and planning the cupboard space you’ll need. This will make cooking much easier and give you more time to enjoy your mealtimes. Keep your dining area as close to the kitchen as possible. Perhaps find a table that fits perfectly in the kitchen, so the food has less distance to travel from oven to plate. You’ll be less likely to burn your hands, and your food will be hotter when you sit down to eat.

open-plan living space

Tactical furniture arrangement

Houses with too much furniture feel cramped and crowded, difficult to navigate. Homes with a large expanse of space seem cold and uninviting. Strike a balance between these two extremes to achieve a stylish cosiness that both entices and impresses. Think carefully about how you move around your house and where pieces of furniture need to be in relation to each other. There’s no point keeping your bookshelf and your favourite armchair in separate rooms. Have a look at the practice of Feng Shui for more detailed information about arranging your home to better suit your lifestyle.


Make your own soap

Win a Soap Kitchen Christmas melt & pour soap making kit with H is for Home

I was never very good at science subjects at school; I couldn’t get my head around physics and chemistry especially. I enjoyed doing the practical experiments – adding one substance to another to make a solution – it’s very much like baking. However, reading in a text book that combining H2O with NaOH causes a reaction that results in Na+ and OH- ions and lots of heat, was Greek to me.

Vanilla soap making kit from The Soap Kitchen | H is for Home

Fast-forward 30-something years and I’ll now always remember that particular little nugget of chemistry. H2O (water) and NaOH (caustic soda) are essential ingredients in soap making.

Tools needed for DIY soap making | H is for Home

Add them to vegetable oil with a dash of essential oil, whisk it all up… and magic happens!

Caustic soda and water solution Liquid soap | H is for Home

Pour the resulting custard-like liquid into your mould or moulds, allow it to cool slowly for 24 hours and you get your lovely bars or block of soap.

Soap hardening in a cardboard mould | H is for Home

The Christmas melt & pour soap making kit that we’re giving away contains moulds in the shapes of a Christmas tree, gingerbread person, reindeer, Santa Claus and an angel. As this kit doesn’t include caustic soda, it’s suitable for use by children with adult supervision.

Slab of home-made vanilla soap | H is for Home Sliced slab of home-made vanilla soap | H is for Home

I really enjoyed making my own soap for the very first time. Having the kit with all the ingredients pre-portioned meant that it was really easy and I was confident embarking upon the strange chemistry & alchemy! I now have the courage to buy all the ingredients in larger quantities and try out other oils and fragrances.

Wrapping hand-made vanilla soap | H is for Home

Some of the bars of vanilla soap I’ve made have now been wrapped up in tissue paper and tied with string ready to be stocking fillers for friends & family.

The Soap Kitchen melt & pour soap-making kit


Shared on: Superluckyme | The Prizefinder | Loquax | Competition Database | U Me and the Kids

It’s curtains for our old pole!

Finial on our new graphite Poles & Blinds curtain pole | H is for Home

We were recently approached by Poles&Blinds to collaborate on a product review. Their timing was perfect! We’ve recently redecorated the lounge, but there was one last remaining job… to tidy up the window area.

Swish Elements Belgravia 35mm curtain pole kit components | H is for Home

As you can see from the ‘before’ photo on the left, it was in a very sorry state! The pole was scratched & very tired looking, there were old Polyfilla repairs – and the brackets were coming out of the wall.

Our old curtain pole - scratched up and bracket hanging out of the wall | H is for Home New curtain pole and tab top curtain

Having looked through their website, we picked out the Swish Elements Belgravia 35mm Curtain Pole with a graphite metallic finish. The room has a combination of cream and dark grey walls with natural colour furnishings in wood, wicker, Hessian, leather and so on. So this graphite shade pole works perfectly in the scheme.

Justin installing our new curtain pole | H is for Home

Justin set about the task (well he does have to earn that afternoon tea & cake somehow, doesn’t he?). It was very straightforward really, the process taking about an hour from start to finish. Drill, screwdriver, spirit level, hacksaw and pencil were the only tools required.

Natural, Hessian-type tab top curtains on our new curtain pole

Sometimes, even relatively simple improvements can make a big difference to the look of a room. We love the pared back style and chunky feel. It also works well with the vintage industrial elements that we have dotted about this space.

New curtain pole and curtains erected | H is for Home

The pole is solid, sturdy and of really good quality. As you can see, we have tab top curtains in this room so didn’t need to use the curtain rings supplied. However, if and when we do (or you have curtains that require them), these rings are nylon lined to give them a smooth and quiet glide across the pole.

Adelle working next to the window in the sitting room | H is for Home

We’re very pleased with the results. That scruffy corner has been irritating us for months! It’s now neat, tidy and colour co-ordinated – and the curtains don’t fall off any more!


Home Etc badge

Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

A lot of hard work is involved in getting rid of large amounts of household waste. There are many options available to make this task less stressful with the two main ones being either to hire a skip or driving the rubbish to the tip yourself.

When it comes down to choosing an option, a decision needs to be made about which choice is practical for you. We’re going to go through some reasons why hiring a skip can be highly efficient and environmentally friendly.

Skip in front of a row of terraced houses

1. Convenience

The disposal of large amounts of waste can be much more convenient when choosing to hire a skip rather than doing it yourself. The clearance company will arrange and deliver the skip – and then you decide when it will be taken away. All you have to do is dispose of the waste at a time that’s convenient to you.

To many, it may seem like driving waste to the tip is a cheaper option, however, once you factor in time and fuel everything adds up – and you pay a lot to just get rid of a few bags. Breaking the waste down and placing it in the designated containers uses a lot of precious time that you may just not have. This task can be left to a reputable and responsible waste company. It can become even more costly if the tip is far away from your doorstep as the cost goes up with every return trip you make. Also, you may not have access to transportation, meaning this complete service could be a total godsend.

By hiring a skip from websites like Envirowaste.co.uk who can deliver and collect at a suitable time to you could be very beneficial – freeing yourself from all the hassle and strain of doing the job yourself!

Skip beside a red brick house

2. Affordability

Affordability is another major reason why people opt for skips, especially if you think of all the trips you are going to make if you have a lot of waste. Driving to and from tips will not only cost you money in terms of fuel, but waste time as you will also have to load and unload the items in your car, sort recyclables and deposit the waste in the correct areas. The weight of the waste in your car can also impact fuel consumption.

Many consider the cost of hiring a skip is only offset by the convenience it brings, but it’s worth noting that there are many competitive skip hire companies offering a variety of services at highly affordable rates.

Skip full of plastic VHS video tapes

3. Type of waste

You need to consider the type of waste you’re moving and throwing away when deciding between a skip and a tip. Dirty and dusty waste can easily find its way into the fabric in your car and be a potential source of permanent damage. As this is not a one time job, days of moving around with the waste can result in holes and tears in the seats and leave them stained. Added to that, loading and unloading heavy objects can cause scratches and dents in the paintwork.

Hiring a skip is a stress-free service that gives you peace of mind and saves your vehicle from potential damage.

Skip full of domestic waste

4. Sanitation

Dusty and dirty waste can leave your vehicle filled with unwanted germs and odours. Sorting all the waste is not an easy task and can be dangerous if the disposed items consist of broken glass or leaking liquids. Hiring a skip will ensure careful handling of all the waste as the company can take appropriate action in a safe and hygienic way. They will know how to handle and dispose of the items with great care so you don’t have to get your hands dirty!

Large number of large yellow skips stacked one on top of another

5. Protecting the environment

Hiring a skip is one of the best ways of conserving the environment by discarding unwanted materials properly, instead of them ending up in landfill. You can even hire a skip according to the type of items of which you need to dispose. Be it glass, metal, plastics, or any kind of household or commercial waste, it will all be taken care of in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner as the provider will have access to many recycling depots, waste treatment plants and dump yards. This way, the environment not only stays safer, but cleaner and healthier.

These multiple advantages of hiring a skip seriously outweigh travelling to the tip to dispose of unwanted items.


How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

When we’re proud of who we are, we reflect in the space we live in. When we’re proud of the home we’ve built for ourselves, we feel at home. Homes, however, require constant maintenance. It’s hard! When wear is starting to show in your home, it’s time to consider some easy DIY projects. When your windows or your doors are rotting and in disrepair, you need to reinvest in your home for more than just its kerb appeal. Your home means so much to you. Put a little love back into it (and maybe save some money in the long run).

Painting wood


Nothing is a better instant fix than a fresh coat of paint. If your home has beautiful features like wood or brick that you absolutely do not want to paint over, a good power wash is the way to go. For wood, however, remember that unless you treat and take care of it, it will rot. Constant upkeep is an absolute must! In most cases, however, especially if your home or fence was already painted, a fresh, clean coat of paint will instantly brighten the look and feel of your exterior.

Tip: Ce sure to fill holes, fix cracks and other sources of disrepair before you paint!

Brass dolphin knocker on a bright blue door

Installing new fixtures

Rusting fixtures, or even just out-dated ones, can really bring down the look and feel of your home. Installing a uniform set of doorknobs, door knockers, and outside lights will really make your home look like new. Having a set of fixtures (meaning they all look similar, or are sold as a set) will make your home look like a professional did the job!

Cream room with light streaming through a window

Install new windows and doors

Single glazed windows and doors that let a draught in are often not only a bit old and sad looking, they can also cost you a lot. Updating them is an absolute must! This investment can save on heating bills in the long run, too, so over time, your investment will have paid for itself! Choose energy-efficient doors and windows, and find the right scaffolding equipment and installation team for you. Sourcing a lot of the materials yourself, instead of through a builder, is a great way to save money (if you have the time to find the best deals). Just make sure that everything is to the correct specifications!

Watering plants in a garden

Landscape your garden

Nothing will make you feel more relaxed and at home than having a perfect getaway in your back garden. Fixing the cracks and getting rid of the weeds between paving is a quick and easy way to make your garden look well cared for. Replace any dead or sad-looking plants with architectural or flowering plants for a new look!

Tip: Buy flowering plants that will bloom throughout the year, so you’ll always have colour and interest!

Being proud of your home is something for which to strive. It means coming home and loving the feel of it. Keeping your home fresh and updated is how you’ll continue to be proud of your home throughout your life.



Can existing tiles be tiled over?

Can existing tiles be tiled over?

If you want to give your bathroom or kitchen a fresh look, laying some new tiles can be a great way to do it. There are plenty of interesting tile designs and colours out there to choose from; click here for some inspiration. Once you have decided which tiles you like, can existing tiles be tiled over?

The good news is that you can tile over ceramic tiles that you already have in place. You just need to make sure you follow all the necessary steps. We’re going to take you through those steps, in this post.

Laying tiles over tiles

Deciding whether the current tiles can be tiled over

Even though it’s possible to tile over ceramic tiles, this doesn’t mean that you should always do so. You need to check that the tiles are in reasonable condition and aren’t lose. If the current tiles are damaged or wobbly, they’re not going to create the firm surface you need for the new tiles.

Laying tiles over grout

Preparing the current tiles for the new tiles

Once you’ve established that you have a suitable surface in place, you need to take certain actions to prepare it, so that you can successfully complete your tiling project. Here’s the preparation that’s necessary:

  • Get rid of any areas that are higher than the rest of the surface. In order for your tiling job to be successful, you need to be working with a flat surface. If there are any spots standing proud, they have to be ground away before you progress.
  • Smooth out the surface, now that it’s flat. You can smooth the surface simply by sanding the area.
  • Make sure that the area is clean and that there’s no loose grout on the surface. The best way to get rid of any surface dirt is to take a vacuum cleaner over the area. You then need to wash the entire surface thoroughly. After the washing is complete you need to give the area time to dry completely.

You may think that all this preparation sounds like a lot of hard work, but it’s necessary if you want the tiling to look good, and to be durable, once the job is complete. After completing the preparation, you then need to apply the thinset so you can put the new tiles in place.

Tiling over tiles that are currently in place is certainly possible, and it’s often a simple process. If you come across any problems, or you don’t feel confident of doing a good job, you may want to hire a professional tiler, instead of doing the job yourself. They have the experience to put to use in ensuring you get the successful results you’re after. New tiling can give a fresh feel to a kitchen or bathroom on its own, or you may want to include it as part of a bigger renovation project, to liven up your home, and increase its market value.