5 ways to (almost) instantly perk up your décor

Vintage décor in a sitting roomcredit

Ever feel like you’d like to give your home a jump-start in the style stakes but think it would take too long or be too costly? Here are five cheap, quick and easy ways to (almost) instantly perk up your décor.

Jug of flowers on a table

Buy some flowers

Plants and flowers are an inexpensive and easy way to change the look and feel of a space. Fresh flowers add colour and fragrance to a room. Check out the large range of bouquets you could display. They can also be used to soften hard surfaces such as concrete and stone – and bring nature indoors which is a useful tool in uniting interior and exterior living – a strong current trend in home design. The containers that you put your flowers in also offer opportunity, whether it be traditional vases or jugs, or perhaps experimenting with colourful vintage tins and bottles.

Grey and white feature wall decorated with triangles

Make a feature wall

Wallpaper, paint, stencils and decals are all possible ways to create a feature wall. All of these options can be completed in a couple of hours and offer dramatic results. A feature wall allows the introduction of bold colours and strong patterns without over-powering a space.

Fairy lights inside a fireplace | H is for Home

Update the lighting

A string of fairy lights gives a magical feel to the room; drape them over a mantlepiece, hang them from the ceiling or bundle them inside a fireplace. Set them to twinkle mode to imitate the flickering of a real fire.
Installing up and down-lighters can quickly change the focus of a room. They can be used to avert the eyes from less attractive corners onto strong features.
Old fashioned filament light bulbs are really popular at the moment. They radiate a soft, warm glow or candle-like flicker; a quick and easy way to enhance the mood of a room.

Handmade woollen throw over a leather sofa | H is for Home

Add soft furnishings

Soft furnishings such as cushions, rugs and throws can bring an instant shot of colour to a room – and can be very successful in adding highlight tones to neutral colour schemes. They introduce softness, texture and warmth too – perfect for that comfortable, cosy retreat.

Oil painting above a fireplace | H is for Home

Hang some art

Display prints, posters or paintings easily – it just takes a hammer, nail and a bit of string or wire. There’s no end of possible sources – inherited pieces, vintage market finds or online bargains! You could frame your children’s artwork – you never know, they may become a world famous artist when they grown up!
You don’t even have to go to all the effort of hanging it on the wall – art can often look great propped against a wall – or sitting on on a shelf or an easel.

If you’ve done any of these – or have any other ideas about adding a burst of freshness to your home – tell us all about it below.

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Autumn roofing maintenance tips

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The autumn is an ideal time of year to head up onto your roof and check what’s going on up there. In doing so, you can be alerted to any problems that are starting, and you can hire a local roofer to make repairs before the long, hard, and damaging winter approaches. The weather is ideal, it’s the right time to do some cleaning and maintenance, and you can rest easy during the rest of the year, knowing that your roof will be able to withstand the elements. So keep reading to learn about a few autumn roofing maintenance tips to get started.

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Clean out the gutters

First, get into the gutters and downspouts surrounding your home and make sure that all of them are totally clear of debris. You may want to wait until the leaves have all fallen off of the trees so you can remove them as well before the winter hits. The key is to ensure that everything drains smoothly, without any obstructions. If you have to, install some gutter guards, as they’ll make this task much easier and save you time every year.

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Check the roof’s covering

Next, head onto your roof with care so you can carefully inspect it to ensure that it will be able to withstand all of the harsh elements that will come its way when winter hits. For example, if your roof is tiled, check for any broken or cracked tiles, as these would need to be replaced before winter. On the other hand, if your roof is made of metal, look for any indications that the metal is warping, rusting or blistering, as those problems will also need to be addressed before winter. If you’ve inspected your roof and noted that a lot of the slates need to be replaced, or there’s a lot of damage throughout the entire roof, you may need to replace the whole thing.

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Look for any signs of water damage

In addition to looking at your house’s roof from the outside, you also want to take a look at it from the inside. Look at the interior of the roof to search for any signs that there’s water damage anywhere. Small signs of this type of damage may be identified during this inspection, but because it is the autumn, you’ll be able to have them fixed right away, before the winter can cause further damage with its ice and snow. Remember, a small leak could turn disastrous once heavy rains or other harsh elements come into play.

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Inspect the chimney, pipes, and skylights

If you have any skylights, pipes, or a chimney on the roof of your home, you should also check any of the flashing that surrounds them to ensure that everything is in good enough condition to make it through the next few seasons.

With the tips above, you can make sure that your roof is in the best shape possible every year in the autumn. When the winter hits, you won’t need to worry at all about the integrity and strength of your roof, and you and your family will be protected from the elements.

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Get yourself and your house ready for winter

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There’s not much prep needed for summer – a few workouts, maybe a leg wax and a spray tan – the rest just takes care of itself. Winter, however, needs a bit of forethought and a lot of smarts if you want to avoid all the petty annoyances that the cold weather brings.

By following these clever tips, you can win at winter, hands down!

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Make a pebble boot and umbrella tray

This is genius – when you’re on your summer hols, select some attractive pebbles and carry them home. Get two or three cat litter trays and fill them with the pebbles, then use them to stick wet umbrellas and wellies in. The boots and brollies will drain without leaking all over your floor.

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Order your heating oil while it’s still summer

Yes, winter’s a long way away, but if there’s one way of getting cheap home heating oil it’s to order it while the sun is shining. That way, you’ll get a great deal and you’ll feel all secure once the first frosts appear!

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Buy some spare car mats to help you get out of deep snow

If you’re in an area that actually gets good old fashioned deep snow, you’ll be familiar with getting stuck in it! The lack of traction for your car wheels will have led to many a late start, so keep a couple of spare car mats in your boot and when you’re stuck, place them in front of your wheels to give them something to grip.

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Make instant (well, almost) snow tyres for your bike

Another genius hack here. Not many people use their bikes in the snow because it’s hard to grip. Wrap cable ties around the wheels at 3-4cm intervals for that all-important traction.

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Vacuum-pack your summer clothes

This space-saving trick works all year round, of course, but there’s something significant about getting out the winter woollies in anticipation of the cold weather. You feel armed, somehow.

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Use wine bottles to keep your boots upright

This might seem a bit obscure, but if your boots flop over while they’re drying (on your pebble trays), then once you haul them upright, they will start to develop cracks, which shortens their life and can let leaks in. Keep them standing proudly and they’ll last another winter.

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Switch to dog training mats for when it’s really cold

If you have a really small dog, or one who feels the cold, on some days even nipping out for a quick pee and poo is torture for them. Buy a few packs of puppy training mats for these occasions – you may need to remind them what they’re for – and you’ll have a happier dog.

Sausage dog tartan draught excluderscredit

Think about ways to retain and add heat to your home

This could be using bubble wrap to insulate windows, or getting the kids to make some draught excluders over the summer holidays. There’s also handy tricks like leaving the oven door open after you’ve finished to let some heat into the kitchen.

What are some of your great ideas for staying warm and comfortable over winter?

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Simple ways to add value to your home

Australian cottage exterior 'Simple ways to add value to your home'credit

Do you want to add value to your home and make it a more comfortable place in which to live? This is the wish of many home owners around the country, but many of these people are not willing to take the necessary steps to achieve this goal. It’s not as difficult as it may seem to add value to your home and the following tips are some of the easiest ways in which to do this.

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Replace old windows and doors

A large number of older homes still have the same windows and doors that were fitted when the house was originally built. The technologies used to manufacture modern windows and doors have come a long way in recent years. Energy efficient windows and doors ensure that homes are warmer and look more stylish. Attractive and secure garage doors also add value to a home and are provided by suppliers like the Garage Door Company Ltd. You can check out their site to find a solution to suit your type of property.

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Install insulation and a new heating system

Every home owner wants to live in a warm, cosy home. However, older heating systems were often not as efficient as modern heating systems. If you feel the cold in your home during the winter, you have a heating problem that needs to be fixed.

In most cases, installing a new boiler, radiators or other types of heating systems will make a huge difference to the temperature inside your home. To ensure that this heat does not escape, it’s important to check how well insulated your property is as well. If it’s not up to the necessary standard, it’s wise to install additional insulation in the wall cavities and in the attic space.

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Landscaping

When you’re attempting to add value to your home, not all changes take place inside the property. Most people enjoy spending time outside in a well-kept garden. However, many gardens leave a lot to be desired and are not inviting places to in which to spend time.

Hiring a professional landscaper to inject some life into your garden has the potential to add thousands of pounds to the value of your home and make it an attractive area for family and friends to relax, especially during the summer.

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Flooring

The floors in a home suffer the most from wear and tear. This is particularly true in high traffic areas of the home such as corridors and entrance ways. Replacing existing flooring products with high quality carpets or wooden flooring will instantly transform each of the rooms in your home.

Painter/decorator carrying tins of paint and paintbrushcredit

Clean and paint

It’s amazing how fresh a home can look by simply cleaning it and giving it a coat or two of paint. Once a home owner sees the difference this can make, it often inspires them to make other changes that will greatly increase the value of their home.

Some people make changes to their home so that it becomes more comfortable to live in, while other home owners want to increase the value of their property so that they can sell it profitably in the future. Either way, making the changes above will ensure that both of these objectives are achieved.

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Tips for transforming your home on a tight budget

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Eclectic loft apartmentcredit

Renovating a home is a lot cheaper than moving to a new one. You can spend as much or as little as you like to refresh old rooms or even add new ones, but if you don’t have a lot of spare cash, you need to look at strategies to achieve the maximum effect for as little as possible. Luckily there are lots of cool ways to do this.

Budget renovation projects can include this desk and shelves made from wooden cratescredit

How much can you afford to spend?

Before you begin, do an honest appraisal of your budget. It is pointless starting a project and then running out of cash halfway through. Work out what you can afford to spend and then do some cost calculations. After all, there is no point looking at expensive materials and furniture if you can’t afford to buy them. That would be torture!

Little girl painting a wall redcredit

Cheap labour

Labour is often a significant part of any renovation or building project. Say, for example, you’re intending to fit a new kitchen. Kitchen cupboards are not always terribly expensive. Indeed, it’s possible to pick up relatively cheap ones if you have the time and energy to shop around. However, the cost of fitting a kitchen can be very expensive, so there’s plenty of money to be saved by using cheap labour.

Cheap labour isn’t always to be recommended, but if you have friends or family who can do the job and are willing to help you out, enlist their services. Offer to cook them a meal or organise a BBQ to feed everyone at the end of the job. You can hire specialist tools such as Lincoln plasma welders from local hire shops, so no long-term investment in equipment is necessary.

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Inexpensive materials

Some materials will need to be bought new: timber, plaster, electrical components, etc. Other items can be picked up cheaply second-hand. Furniture is a good example of this. Why buy new when you can find good quality vintage pieces?

Look online for cheap or free materials for your project. Old pallets are a good source of wood for furniture projects, so ask local businesses if they have any going spare. If you need a bag of plaster or cement, see if a local builder has any half-used bags he no longer needs, or check Gumtree or eBay for unwanted extras left over from other people’s renovation projects. It’s amazing what you can find if you go out of your way to look!

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Make do & mend

Don’t buy new when you can give something old a makeover. We are all too quick to throw away items of unwanted furniture in favour of new pieces from high street shops. New is nice, but if you don’t have much money it makes sense to restore an older piece of furniture and give it a shabby chic makeover instead.

Budget renovation projects can be fun, but always adhere to health and safety guidelines. And if you need to hire tools to get your renovation project up and running, check out what’s available at Welding Outfitter.

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5 reasons you should invest in decking for your home

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garden decking with metal bistro furniture

With the recent run of horrendous winter weather, thoughts don’t immediately turn to decking; but it’s actually a great time to give it some consideration. An opportunity for a bit of unhurried thought mulling over options in terms of position, design, materials and finish. There’ll be a few months to put money aside… and also the chance to get a reputable & professional company such as EnviroBuild booked in before the spring rush. Then you can sit back and look forward to your lovely new decking being installed and ready to use the moment sunshine reappears. Here are five reasons to invest in decking for your home.

decked extension surrounded by trees

1. It can increase the value of your property

Decking can add considerably to the value & saleability of your house – providing it’s well planned and well executed – it needs to feel like an integral & coherent part of the house/garden scheme. Simple, timeless styles are preferable – and products with a long life expectancy and accompanying guarantees are most desirable. Poor quality decking with cheap, poorly installed materials will never add value.

decking boards

2. It’s eco friendly

Wood plastic composite (wpc) decking, which is the material used by EnviroBuild, is made from 60% recycled wood fibres and 40% recycled high density polyethylene. Both products which would have otherwise ended up in landfill.

Decking with osteopurmum flowers

3. It’s practical

This composite material is easy to maintain and comes with a reassuringly long guarantee. It doesn’t need to be stained or treated. It won’t split, splinter, warp or rot and the composition inhibits mildew growth. It’s also safe as it’s slip resistant.

Decked area with deckchairs

4. You can do it yourself

You can get the professionals in to install the decking, but if you’re practical and handy with tools, then it’s definitely a potential DIY project. There is lots of information online to help you successfully install decking yourself.

Decking with far-reaching views over countryside

5. It’s good for you!

Having a decked area in your garden encourages you to spend more time outdoors; with all the benefits of relaxing in the fresh air, pottering in the garden or watching the nature around you. It might do wonders for your social life too… all those parties you’ll be hosting on your new decking! 🙂

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