How to make the most of a small bathroom footprint

Ariel view of a small bathroomcredit

No matter what the shape and size of your home, youll always want it to be as stylish and comfortable as you can make it. When it comes to the bathroom, the three key things people look for are practicality, storage and luxury. Even if you’re dealing with a footprint that’s rather small, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve this by paying close attention to detail with your design features. Here are a few tips to get you started…

Start with the tiles

Campact bathroom with mushroom coloured tilescredit

As soon as you start to put colours and tiles on your walls, your bathroom can instantly appear larger or smaller. If you’re already dealing with a tight footprint, go for lighter, elongated tiles that give the appearance of a brighter and longer room. Try to stay away from pure white, as this can often be a little too dazzling.

Instead, light grey and ivory make good off-white colours which will still enhance any light that hits the walls. Consider adding a border tile too, which is again a slim, long design, so that the person entering the bathroom is instantly given the impression of more length.

Think about fixtures and fittings

Compact corner bathcredit

Next, it’s time to think about the bathroom furniture. If space-saving is your ultimate goal here, then you need to look at a variety of different designs and styles to find what you like. For example, a large, traditional roll-top bath would be completely impractical for a smaller bathroom, but you could get a corner bath with shower that has traditional features, so that you still have the look and feel you desire.

It’s best to check out an online retailer with a large choice, such as Better Bathrooms, to make these initial decisions. Then, consider additional items like floating toilets, where the cistern is concealed within the wall, so as not to take up precious floor space.

Start thinking vertically

Vertical shelving in a compact bathroomcredit

Now that you have your colours and fixtures all in place, in order to make this space usable, you’ll need to turn your attention to storage. Whether you have three children and their bath time toys to worry about, or you’re a leisure-lover with dozens of pampering products laying around, don’t think of your walls as dead space, and start using them more creatively. You can opt for the more conventional wall-to-ceiling units, or go for hanging compartments and shelving units that can be easily moved as your needs change.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to use every single nook and cranny in your space. You can easily have vanity units built to conceal pipes and such, but can you use that space for anything else? If you have an awkward recess in one wall, look for what tailored storage solutions there are around, so that you can turn it into something useful.

We hope this post gave you some inspiration – if you have any more ideas for small bathroom solutions, please let us know in the comment section.

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Cabling your new home for the future

Cabling your new home for the futurecredit

Home automation of today would have been considered magic just fifty years ago. Lights turning on and off as you move through your house, motorised blinds that adjust on their own, music of your choice being piped into the room you’re occupying and security, power and environmental controls being adjusted just as you arrive home after a hard day’s work. One system can take action based on the input or the status of another, all without any human intervention.

The mainstay of this magic is the wiring. If you take the right steps concerning your wiring when building your home, then you will be ready for most new technologies that will be available in the near and not-so-near future. With the proper cabling, upgrades to any of your systems won’t require you to uproot the existing cables from the walls to install new ones. You’ll just need to replace the equipment and devices on either end. Even if you don’t have the cash to create the systems of your dreams right now, you can install the appropriate cabling for it and take advantage of it when you have the funds. The most expensive part of any home automation system can easily be the labour costs involved with the installation of new wiring!

Before you begin laying down cable, it’s a good idea to develop a plan. It’s actually a good idea to develop a plan before doing anything in life, but that’s enough philosophy for now. It may also be a good idea to get the help of a professional at this point. Decide what you need and where. Electrical and mechanical automation, network communications, telephony, television, video, security and audio are systems that can be included in your plan, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Depending on the applications you’ll require, you must then choose the proper types of cables.

Any British cable supplier can provide the myriad of cable types for any and all home automation and smart home needs, so acquiring the cables should not be a problem.

You can begin your plan by making a list of all the rooms in the house and deciding what applications you want each to have. You can also make a list of functionalities that you want everywhere, such as audio and smart lighting. Think about the long term as well. How will your needs change over the years? How about when the kids grow up, or the guest room is converted to an office? Even if you install cable that you never use, it will still be worth it.

Future-proofing your house in this way will not only allow you to enjoy the benefits of home automation and smart home functionality, but just the very presence of the cabling in the walls will end up increasing its resale value.

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6 Things to consider when remodelling your kitchen

White contemporary kitchen dinercredit

If you’re in the planning stages of remodelling your kitchen there are a few things you should bear in mind before embarking on major work. A little bit of forethought can make all the difference between an acceptable kitchen and one that is a real pleasure in which to work.

Hansgrohe PuraVida electronic kitchen mixer tap

Waterworks

Like many homeware products, kitchen taps have got very high tech in recent years. Gone are the times where all you could find to buy were ordinary hot & cold or plain old mixer taps. These days, you can get instantaneous hot water straight from the tap – no need to stand and wait for the kettle to boil before you can enjoy your first cuppa of the morning!

Heavy-duty kitchen taps which used to only be seen in industrial kitchens are now available for the domestic market. You can now get those rugged taps with extendible, flexible hoses for jet spraying debris from plates, pots & pans before they’re loaded into the dishwasher. If that’s the kind of thing you’re after, some of this range of Grohe kitchen taps may be suitable.

Many, such as Hansgrohe kitchen taps, incorporate sensor control – just move your hands back & forth under the spout and temperature-controlled water will flow automatically, great if your hands are dirty or you’ve been handling raw meat or fish. You can find a huge range of these kind of kitchen taps at Superbath.

Kitchen with hard-wearing red rubber flooringcredit

Take to the floor

The kitchen floor is probably the heaviest area of use in most houses. It needs to be durable, non slip and easy to vacuum and mop. There’s a huge range of options available – rubber, laminate, linoleum, ceramic & stone tile, wooden boards and polished concrete to name a few. The choice depends on your favoured look – and budget too of course! Some surfaces are suitable to carry through into another room or even garden to give real flow to the space.

Aga range with blue tile splashbackcredit

Off the wall

Choosing the right wall covering and material is an important factor in your kitchen design. Most importantly it needs to be resilient and easy clean to clean particularly above the stove and around sink area. Ceramic tiles, sealed natural stone, glass and stainless steel are all great options. The wall covering is also an opportunity to inject a desired colour into a scheme – from subtle natural tones to attention grabbing feature walls. Ceramic tiles and specially formulated kitchen paints provide a limitless range of options when it comes to completing the look.

Modern monochrome kitchencredit

Let there be light!

There are so many options when it comes to lighting in the kitchen. It needs to be practical in that it provides light for working, yet it also has the potential to create atmosphere and drama. Home design often combines cooking and dining into one open plan space these days and lighting can help define these different zones. Therefore, spotlights, task lighting, strip lights, under-counter down-lights for worktop tasks, over-table pendant lights for dining, extractor units with integral lighting for cooking can all be incorporated into a scheme as required. When it comes to bulbs, energy saving LEDs initially cost more, but you won’t have to get the stepladder out to change them as often as normal halogen bulbs.

Corner built-in kitchen drawerscredit

Maximum storage

Whether your planning on installing a fitted or free-standing kitchen, you can never have too much storage. My dream house would contain a separate pantry area for storing surplus jars, tinned food and other dry goods.

Fitted kitchen designs are very clever these days with a combination of overhead and low cupboards in a myriad of sizes, shapes and configurations – with special corner drawer units and under stair shelving to make use of often wasted space. A well-designed kitchen makes the most of drawer, counter-top and shelf space. Decide whether you’d prefer cabinet doors, open shelves or a mixture of both. Some things look lovely on display – jars of different shaped pasta, preserved fruits, pulses and so on.

Free-standing kitchens can be more quirky and unique. Express your style with vintage kitchenettes, butchers blocks, welsh dressers and plate racks. Finish the look with wicker or wire baskets in various shapes and sizes.

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What’s the point?

With plug points, similar to storage, you can never have too many. When planning your new kitchen, think about the best place to install them. As well as needing to plug in white goods such as the fridge, stove and dish washer, think about where small appliances such as kettle, toaster, coffee-maker, microwave, food processors etc are going to be situated. Where would the best place be to plug in the vacuum cleaner? Space saving plug points can pop up from within the work surface or embedded flush into the floor.

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Three hip ideas for new-age interior design

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eclectic living room

The home is what you make of it. We all want to enjoy cosy and welcoming living spaces, but we don’t want to spend beaucoups of money in order to achieve said look and feel. It can be frustrating to contemplate the time and costs associated with interior design projects that are necessary or inspirational, but this doesn’t have to be the case. We’ve put together a list of four hip interior design ideas that will add a bit of spice and style to the 21st century home. Not only are these ideas fun and fresh, but achieving them doesn’t require tons of money or time on your part.

artificial grass flooring in young person's bedroom

Artificial grass floor-coverings

We’ve seen plenty of trends in which hardwood, tile and stone floor-coverings have been promoted and adopted by the latest and greatest celebrities and interior decorators. For those wanting to add a bit of feng shui to one or more rooms in the home, a different approach could be an indoor artificial grass design.

Easier to clean thoroughly than traditional carpet, highly versatile and durable to traffic, artificial grass can be selected in a variety of colours, textures and thickness. Many designs are comparable in feel to carpet, which means that the concept of artificial grass feeling like plastic is very much outdated.

Not only can artificial grass be used inside the home, but a seamless interior to exterior design plan can be incorporated in order to extend the covering outside of the home.

indoor water feature in a stone wall

Indoor flows of water

Bringing nature into the home doesn’t have to consist solely of children and animals tracking in mud and debris – it can also be a truly clean, organic and invigorating experience! A recent trend of indoor water flows within the home has been occurring, as more and more home owners seek to get back in touch with Mother Nature in one way or another.

From custom glass water walls to real-life babbling brooks running throughout the home’s floors, these design elements can dramatically improve overall day-to-day mood and ambiance. While a more invasive approach is needed for some of these ideas, you may choose to opt for something as simple as a standalone fountain in the bedroom, bathroom or living areas.

under-stair shoe storage

Abundant storage… everywhere

Most homes are designed in such a way that plenty of usable area goes unused. Walls, closets, staircases and many other areas are left to occupy space that cannot or is not used for storage and display in standard form.

Shelving, recessed areas and hidden spaces are increasingly becoming common in new interior design plans due to the need for many to make the most of smaller living spaces. Each wall presents possibilities for creative shelving situations that can be easily constructed by most, with a variety of recessed shelving kits and tutorials available via the web.

Beneath staircases and elevated floors, even more room for storage can be added with a little bit of ingenious design planning and preparation. There’s no need to be shy about where you can add a bit of storage: the answer is “everywhere”!

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10 decades of iconic interior design

Recently, Hillary’s Blinds contacted us asking us to chose what we thought was an iconic interior design item from the past century. We found it really hard to narrow it down!

What era should we choose from, what type of item? We eventually decided upon Robin Day’s Polo chair designed in 1975. It’s British, has been produced in the millions (and still counting!) and has been exported all over the world. Chances are most of our behinds have graced a Polo at one time or another!

Other bloggers and design experts such as Walnut Grey, Confessions of a Design Geek and Little Green Shed have also chosen their favourites. See the full listing below. What’s your iconic interior design item?

10 decades of iconic interior design
10 decades of iconic interior design – Hillarys

10 common underfloor heating questions answered

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lounge area with poured resin floor with underfloor heating

Image credit: Resin Floors North East

Underfloor heating can leave many people puzzled when it comes to ascertaining how they work and how they can benefit those who have them installed. Here we’ve taken the 10 most common questions concerning underfloor heating and provided the answers:

'How Underfloor Heating Works' diagram

  1. What are my options when it comes to underfloor heating?

There are two types of underfloor heating available, electric and wet. Electric underfloor heating consists of heat mats, packed with electric wires that warm up once connected to the mains electric supply and thermostat.

barn conversion loft bedroom with wood floor and underfloor heatingImage credit: William Beard Flooring

Wet underfloor heating utilises plastic pipes under the floor that heat up using warm water from the central heating system.

L-shaped sofa in front of a fire with Indian stone tiles with underfloor heatingImage credit: Llama Developments

  1. Where can I buy underfloor heating?

Your local DIY store probably stocks underfloor heating kits that you can pick up off the shelf, but we recommend that you speak to an expert, such as The Underfloor Heating Store and visit their showroom to witness the benefits of such a system for yourself.

kitchen underfloor heating

  1. How much does underfloor heating cost to install?

Prices vary depending on whether you opt for an electric or a wet system, but you can buy electric heat mat kits from £74.99 or a wet underfloor kit from £239.99. Then there’s the cost of installation, tools and labour for electricians and plumbers: put aside £400 as a starting point.

Tiled floor with underfloor heating in a bathroomImage credit: VIP Plumbing & Heating

  1. How much does underfloor heating cost to run?

This varies on the size of the room and the system used, but you are looking at an average cost of £248 per year, based on 25m underfloor heating running for four hours everyday for a year.

Bedrom with grey walls, tall feature window and wooden floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: Architecture Live

  1. Which underfloor heating system is best?

Both systems can heat the room to the same temperature. However, bear in mind that a wet system is cheaper to run than an electric even though it requires more work to install.

Wet systems are also more energy efficient, a traditional central heating system requires the water it uses to be heated to 80°C, whereas an underfloor heating system requires just 45°-60°C and will still heat a room to a comfortable 21°C, with no cold spots. This will save you money in the long run and reduce your carbon footprint.

Grey and yellow kitchen-diner with underfloor heating Image credit: Avocado Sweets

  1. How long does underfloor heating take to warm up?

This all depends on the thickness of the floor, the insulation you lay down and how well insulated the room itself is. The general consensus estimates that it takes around 30 minutes to heat a wooden floor but can take a few hours with an un-insulated, concrete floor.

kitchen with vintage industrial stools on a grey rubber floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: Chris Dyson

  1. Can I install underfloor heating myself?

Anyone can install underfloor heating and treat it much like any DIY project. You will, however, require a qualified electrician or plumber to connect your system to the mains electricity or central heating system.

open plan, white-washed, light-filled lounge with wooden floorImage credit: The Bazeley Partnership

  1. What size of kit do I need for my room?

The Underfloor Heating Store recommends that you buy an underfloor heating kit that covers between 80-85% of the free floor space in the room to reduce the occurrence of cold spots. It is also important that you do not order too much if you are using rolled heating mats because you cannot simply cut the cables.

large kitchen with central island and polished tiled floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: DDWH Architects

  1. What floors can underfloor heating be used with?

You can install underfloor heating beneath most flooring solutions, tiles, vinyl, laminate and even carpet can all be laid over underfloor heating, just bear in mind that better insulation is required for thicker floors.

Cream fitted kitchen with tiled floor and underfloor heatingImage credit: P & P Maintenance Services

  1. Can I put furniture on top of underfloor heating?

Most free-standing furniture is fine to place on top of an underfloor heating system. Just be careful when placing items such as thick rugs or dog beds in the room because they can trap heat and cause issues.

Now you know the answers to the most commonly asked questions, it’s time to get your very own kit laid in the conservatory, in the kitchen or even the bedroom and enjoy toasty floors underfoot!

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