4 tips for creating a stunning bathroom

4 tips for creating a stunning bathroom | H is for Home

If you’re a home bird who loves cosy nights in, it’s important that you invest in your bathroom and turn it into a place in which you enjoy spending time. This will come in handy whenever you’re trying to unwind with a relaxing bubble bath or indulge in a home spa day. Investing in your bathroom is also a fantastic opportunity for you to impress your guests and to increase the value of your property. That’s why you should do everything in your power to create a stunning bathroom in which to be proud. Below are four tips that will help you to do this.

Modern bathroom with wooden vanity unit

Do your research

Before you make any important decisions, it’s vital that you do your research. This will help you save on time, money and effort. If you’ve never renovated a bathroom before, it will also give you the chance to feel confident in your choices. Why not take it one step at a time? You could read up on the pros and cons of installing a bath instead of a shower. Then, you could look into the best ventilation systems for keeping your bathroom clean and fresh. Finally, you should find reviews that explore specific pieces of equipment such as hand basins and toilets. Simply visit the plumbing info to find out more.

Modern bathroom in neutral colours

Get inspired

If you’re struggling to get excited about your bathroom transformation, you should constantly be on the lookout for sources of inspiration. This could involve flicking through magazines that are dedicated to covetable bathrooms. Or, as a cost-effective alternative, you could read online blog posts and scroll through relevant Pinterest boards. Another great idea is to stay alert when you’re visiting other people’s homes. Make sure that you pay a visit to their bathrooms and keep your eyes peeled for interesting ideas. This is the perfect opportunity for you to find out what you like and what you’re trying to avoid.

Bathroom decorated with accessories in shades of blue

Choose the right colour palette

One of the biggest decisions that you’ll make, when it comes to designing your bathroom, is your choice of colour palette. Instead of opting for a simple white or beige, it’s vital that you explore all your options. If you’re trying to create a relaxing room, you’ll need calming tones such as a pale blue or a mint green. Or, if you’re aiming for a feeling of luxury, you’ll need rich shades such as amber or a deep purple. Whatever you decide, just make sure that you find a paint that’s specifically designed to work for bathrooms. This will help you to prevent mould, damp and water staining.

Fancy hand wash and moisturiser, brushes and cosmetics

Have fun with your finishing touches

Once you’ve mastered the basics, have fun with your finishing touches. Even if you’re dealing with a regular family bathroom, it’s still important to put in the effort. You could do this by purchasing a luxury robe to hang on the door, finding a gorgeous diffuser to place on a shelf, and investing in high-quality towels to brighten up the space. You could also take inspiration from deluxe hotels and include a luxury moisturiser alongside your hand soap.


Improving your home: When to hire and when to DIY

Improving your home: When to hire and when to DIY

It’s no secret that a lot of money can be made from buying a property that is in need of some work and doing it up yourself. However, depending on the amount of work necessary, this can soon become a costly affair.

Therefore, when you embark on a house-remodelling project, and you’re looking to set a budget, you should consider just how much of it you can do yourself. After all, if you save some money on stripping your own wallpaper, you may be able to afford that beautiful ceramic sink you’ve had your eye on for the kitchen.

The main three questions to consider when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional are: do you realistically have the time to complete this project? Do you realistically have the skills to complete this project? Could it be dangerous to yourself or damaging to the property if you attempt to complete this project on your own?

Below is a list of some of the most common tasks associated with doing up a house, as well as some recommendations on what you should DIY and for what jobs you should hire professionals.

Opening cans of paint

DIY: painting

Although it can seem daunting, learning to paint a room isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Have a look at tutorials online and perhaps find a more experienced friend or family member to assist you.

Wooden shelves against a grey wall

DIY or HIRE: cabinets and shelves

It may take some practice, but hanging cabinets or shelves isn’t too difficult once you’ve got the hang of it. Again, there’s a wealth of tutorials online on this subject for you to watch and learn.

Repairing a thatched roof

HIRE: roofing

As a rule of thumb, anything that may damage the structure or integrity of your home should be done by a professional. If you need your roof fixed, for peace of mind hire a professional roofing company that has a number of good reviews.

Laying laminate flooring

DIY or HIRE: flooring

When it comes to flooring, you can either DIY or hire, depending on what kind of work you are looking to have done. For example, laminated flooring is much easier to install than hardwood flooring.

Installing plumbing in a house

HIRE: wiring and plumbing

Although most people are capable of doing minor electricity jobs such as changing a plug themselves, all the major wiring should be done by a professional. Getting wiring wrong can cause a lot of damage – not only to yourself but your property. Similarly, plumbing mistakes can seriously damage your property, and the property value along with it, so make sure you hire a trusted professional for all your plumbing needs!

Small jar of chalk paint

DIY: furniture

This doesn’t refer to flat-pack or self-assemble furniture, but rather to a project where you buy a cheap piece of furniture and do it up to your liking. Most people have seen IKEA furniture hacks, and while they may look easy online, it can be difficult getting the desired result. Nevertheless, failed furniture DIY projects would never damage your home and seeing as IKEA furniture is very budget-friendly, you can easily try out your DIY skills without breaking the bank.


10 tricks interior designers won’t tell you

10 tricks interior designers won't tell you | H is for Home

Whilst you may already have a few ideas for revitalising your home’s appearance, putting them into practical action could be difficult – and seemingly call for the services of an interior designer. However, we’re going to reveal some tricks such designers may prefer to keep secret.

Hang artwork at a suitable height

We may not know huge amounts about art, but we know what we like – pictures, posters & paintings hung in such a way that we can view them easily. Artwork is often hung too high; keep the bottom of each piece a mere 7½-20cm/3-8 inches higher than furniture. Leaving too much space in-between creates a distracting void.

Shelf with books stacked vertically and horizontally

Shelve your books horizontally & vertically

Have 60% of your bookshelves’ tomes stacked vertically and leave the remaining 40% stored horizontally. This is good for creating both visual balance and spontaneity, says Reader’s Digest. Intersperse the books with other objects such as vases, framed photos or potted plants.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Position mirrors around 132cm/52 inches up from floor level. Opting for this kind of placement with your mirror can avoid, for most people, the stooping or tip-toeing that can happen whilst attempting to take a look at themselves.

Table and chairs with place settings and centrepiece

Set the table

If you’re planning on buying a new dining table, choose one that exceeds 90cm/3 foot in width. This should leave sufficient space for diners’ plates and cutlery along with, in the centre, serving dishes and centrepieces. If the room it’s going into is fairly small, a circular table might be a better option.

Colour a room happy

When bringing colour into a room, it’s good to give 60% of it over to a dominant hue, assign 30% of it to a secondary tone and designate the remaining 10% to an accent colour.

White-painted pallet coffee table on wheels

Get the measure of your coffee table

These days, a sofa seat is typically around 50cm/20 inches high – a comfortable height for sitting. That leaves the ideal height for a coffee table at approximately 38-50cm/15-20 inches. A convenient position for setting down and picking up your cup of coffee, book and remote controls.

Make fresh use of old pieces

Don’t assume that making your home look fresher automatically entails buying lots of new furniture and fittings. It may be far better to re-purpose existing items. Example ways of doing so are suggested by Freshome, which suggests turning an antique vase into a utensil holder or an old dresser into a bathroom sink and cabinet.

semi-sheer white Roman blinds at a kitchen window

Be flexible with your budget

Spotted some floor-to-ceiling curtains in a luxurious fabric? They might be outside your budget – in which case, cheaper Roman blinds made from the same fabric could be a more affordable option. Similarly, you could forgo pricey custom cabinets in favour of stock cabinets, the door fronts of which can be customised with a paint job or new handles.

Put familiar rooms to different purposes

A room you’ve long has as a little-used dining room could actually make a good home cinema or games room, while a living room could be re-imagined as an office, says NOLA.com.

Lantern roof installed over a kitchen

Create balance

This includes balance in colour, texture, furniture and lighting; the installation of lantern roofs could particularly assist you with the last of those.


How to make your home a greener place to live

How to make your home a greener place to live

Everybody has the desire to try to live a better and healthier lifestyle, and in the same way, they also want to use as few natural resources as possible. Just as there are options in the way you can live, there are also ways you can turn your house into something that’s far more energy efficient and a lot greener. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your home that will make a significant difference to your life and the environment.

Smart thermostat app

Install programmable thermostats

If you’re the type of person that always leaves the heating or the air conditioning on when there’s no-one in the house, then a programmable thermostat is for you. It will allow you to control when you have the heating and the air conditioning on, so you can have it colder at night and slightly warmer in the mornings. These types of the thermostat will save you a lot of money and energy in the long term. To take things a step further, if you install a smart thermostat, you are getting all the benefits of a programmable version, plus the ability to turn it off and on when you’re not there. That means you can always instruct it to turn on just before you get home if you’re going to be late.

Saplings in light bulbs

Change your light bulbs

Traditional bulbs have long been known to be inefficient and have a relatively short lifespan. With the introduction of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED), the cost of energy used by house lighting is drastically reduced. If you’re still using the older types of bulb, then changing them to CFL or LED ones will show an immediate difference in your energy consumption. In some cases, the only lights that couldn’t have this new type of bulb were those that were designed to be dimmed. However, there are now more modern versions of LED that are dimmable.

Bobble hats on roofs

Eliminate air leaks and heat loss

One of the main reasons that homes lose heat is through escaping air and uninsulated walls and roofs. If you’ve ever seen the roofs of houses after it snows you’ll see that the uninsulated ones have melted the snow, whereas those with insulation haven’t. If you’re not sure whether your home is insulated or not, you can get it checked and have insulation fitted that uses natural products. It’s not just the insulation that you need to think about; you should also look for anywhere the air is leaking out. It could be from the toilet outlet, or perhaps the outlet pipes for the sink. Fill the gaps with expanding foam or plaster to seal the holes and keep the heat inside. One other way that heat can escape is through your windows. It may be because they’re older windows with only a single pane of glass, then they could be losing much more heat. If that’s the case, then you should be thinking about window replacement Virginia Beach so that you can get new ones fitted.

Appliance energy label

Upgrade to energy efficient appliances

If your household appliances are more than a few years old, then they might not be terribly efficient. For that reason, you may want to consider changing devices such as your washing machine, fridge-freezer or dishwasher to one that has a higher energy star rating. Sometimes there are schemes involving your energy supplier that can help you cut the cost of replacing inefficient appliances.

Aerated tap water

Reduce water consumption

There are many ways that you can reduce your water consumption and lower not only your water bills but also help to conserve water. You can start by adding aerators on your taps and fitting low-flow shower heads. These use less water but still give a good spray, so you’re not missing the additional supply. You should also think about switching from taking baths to showers as this dramatically reduces your water usage. Another way to save water is to use plants in your garden that don’t need much water, or those that are native to your country. It will mean that you spend less time watering them and you’ll use less water to keep them healthy. You can also choose to fit a water butt to catch rainwater; you can recycle this natural water and use it in your garden.

Solar panels on a roof

Switch to solar power

There’s been an enormous boom in people choosing to get some or all their energy supply from solar power. There’s no doubt that for those who can have it, there’s a significant reduction in their energy bills. In some countries, you can even sell the power you don’t use back to the grid. There are solar solutions available for both hot water and electricity. With water, it’s pumped through tubes that absorb the sun’s energy and heat the water. With electricity, solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. Both systems are fitted to the roof of your home and are placed at the best angle to get the most sun. There are also other water heating systems such as one that uses a series of underground pipes in your garden to absorb heat from the soil.

Compost heap


To reduce the amount of food waste that you send to landfill, you can buy or build a composter for your garden. The food waste goes on the top, and bacteria and worms turn it into compost that comes out of the bottom. Some food shouldn’t be composted – items such as meat, fish and bones. However, newspapers, junk mail, egg boxes and cardboard can be disposed of on to a compost heap. The other advantage of creating your own compost is that you’re not buying peat-based compost that is taking away natural, non-renewable resources.

If you’re looking to change the way your house uses energy, then there are many ways you can achieve it. As well as these ideas, you can also try growing some of your own food and fitting a more energy efficient boiler. With just a few simple changes, you can start to make a real difference to the planet.


Our custom-made roller blind from Contrado

Our downstairs cloakroom with new custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

We’ve recently undertaken a programme of home improvements here at H is for Home. These range from quite major jobs like re-pointing gable-end walls and chimney repairs – to smaller scale tasks such as redecoration and general sprucing up of neglected corners.

The old white roller blind in our downstairs cloakroom | H is for Home

One room that needed some attention was our downstairs loo. The window area in particular was very tired – a bit grubby if we’re being honest!

Window sill with rust stains from plant tins | H is for Home

The old blind was dull and way past its best – and the sill had been stained by plant pot bases over the years. We discovered the lovely folk at Contrado on Instagram and they asked us if we wanted to try out one of their roller blinds. Perfect timing!

Vintage 12 Angry Men film poster | H is for Home

London-based Contrado offer a service whereby you can customise & personalise all manner of homewares, fabrics, gifts and clothing.

Pattern on our custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

Customisable is a very apt word indeed. We measured the window and recess so the blind fitted perfectly. We chose which side we wanted the chain on, the material the chain was made of… even the pattern (and size of the pattern) printed on the fabric. We looked online and found a copyright-free design that we liked and Photoshopped it to get the exact colours we wanted. The blind was delivered swiftly and exactly as we specified. It’s very well made and the materials used are excellent quality. The large stylised flowers are reminiscent of Marimekko fabric designs we like. There are lots of house plants in our downstairs loo – and the window also looks out onto the garden – so the pattern picks up on all this natural vegetation. We went for a grey & orange colourway on a slightly off-white background. The room has an exposed stone wall with grey tones – also silvery chrome fittings and galvanised metal containers. There were already quite a few orange decorative touches in the room such as the vintage film poster and plant pots. The blind really helps pull it all together.

Our downstairs cloakroom with new custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

Installing it was a straightforward 20-minute job. As we were changing the blinds we took the opportunity to touch up all the paintwork. We’re very happy with the results. It’s been a really good return on half a day’s work. It’s overall much brighter and fresher – and the blind really lifts our spirits when we enter the room!

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How to decorate your home on a budget

How to decorate your home on a budget | H is for Home

If you’re looking to give your home a new lease of life, but you don’t have the budget to spend a lot on materials or furniture, then there are still many things you can do to brighten up your home. However, if you’re staring at the walls and struggling to think of any ideas, then here are a few that can help get you started.

Paint and paint brushes

Use paint creatively

Using paint to bring some colour back into your house is ideal, whether you are staying in the house or getting ready to sell. It is a popular idea to add a splash of colour to just one wall to create a feature wall. It allows you to use vivid and bright colours without going over the top. If you are feeling particularly daring, you can paint the whole room in a bright colour, though the rest of the furniture of the room should be in neutral colours to avoid clashing. Using paint can work in any area of the house, though it is particularly effective in bedrooms and living rooms. Also, don’t forget about the exterior of your home, either!

Spacious living room

Switch things around

If your budget doesn’t stretch to new furniture, then that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a new look. Think about what you already have and see if you can change things around. Maybe something that has been in the bedroom for years can find a new lease of life in the living room. It doesn’t matter what it has been used for in the past; you can create new and exciting ideas just by using it differently. You should also think about what you no longer need, as a room that is cluttered can feel untidy and cramped. If you can identify some things you no longer want, then send them to the local charity shop or sell them online. You may even raise enough money to buy something else.

Sofa, pot plant, chest of drawers and tall floor lamp

Choose your lighting

You may not think so, but lighting can have as much of an effect on a room as decorating. By adding some side table lights or a standing lamp, you can create a nice comforting mood in the room. It’s perfect for the evening when you want to sit back and relax after a hard day at work. If you already have side lamps, then think about moving them to other areas of the room, or to another room altogether. Why not use some old fabric to recover the lampshade? It will need to be fire resistant, but you can easily create a lamp that will match the décor of the room.

Grey sofa with contrasting cushions

Add some cushions

Your budget probably won’t allow you to afford a new sofa, but you can still give it a new lease on life. Try buying some cushions in a colour that matches the walls; they can be scattered on the sofas to give them a new look. Get some of different sizes and colours so that it doesn’t look too uniform. You can apply the same trick to the bedroom, buy some cushions to go on the bed during the day. It will make the room look better, and it will be great to sit up in bed reading with them around you.

Sewing workspace

Try matching fabrics

If you are handy with a sewing machine, the possibilities are endless with what you can create. Buy yourself some material that matches your colour scheme and make some curtains to go along with some cushion covers. It means you won’t have to buy new cushions and it will be cheaper than buying ready-made curtains. You can even take it a step further and buy towels in matching colours for the bathroom and kitchen. If you can get enough material, you can even make bedspreads or bed linen with one side plain to offer a contrast.

Small, circular mirror above a side table

Add size and light with mirrors

One of the quickest and easiest ways to add another dimension to your room is using mirrors. They don’t have to be new; you can find interesting ones in charity shops. By placing them on the wall, they can make the room look a lot bigger. They can also reflect any light in the room to offer a brighter look. To add a little style, you can experiment with multiple mirrors in a room; go for different sizes and designs, which will make it look special.

Using a staple gun to reupholster furniture

Recover and reuse

Apart from just moving your furniture into other rooms, you can also redesign them to make them more contemporary. An old chair might look as though it needs to go, but with some fabric to cover the chair and some paint, you can give it a whole new look. You will need to sand down the wood and remove the old coverings before you start, but it isn’t as hard as it sounds, there are guides out there that can walk you through the process. Once you have mastered the idea, you can tackle any furniture in the house in the same way.

Monochrome framed poster above two white metal trolleys

Add some artwork

To add something a little different to your room, why not think about adding some artwork? It can be something you create yourself, or perhaps some pre-framed prints that you buy from the store. You can also find some nice examples in charity shops; there are often hand painted examples that have been donated. Another idea is to find a poster that you like and buy a frame for it. It can be a new or used frame, and you can then paint it to match the décor of the room. You can create a nice feature wall by assembling pictures of various sizes and placing them all on one wall or a room. It’s also effective to have family members on the wall of the hallway as you enter the house. With a little imagination and some reworking of old furniture, you can redesign your home within even the smallest of budgets.