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!

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How to make your room look classier without throwing anything away

Bright, modern living room

You may have recently been looking at the glossy home decorating magazines and finding the recommended room makeovers to be hugely expensive. Without breaking the budget, you’d probably prefer to find a way to make your existing room look classier and perhaps include the odd addition to jazz things up for that finishing touch.

Here are a few suggestions for improvements and upgrades that look upmarket without being exorbitantly expensive.

Plant on a bedside table

Go natural

Adding some plants or freshly cut flowers to a bedroom brings new colour, vibrancy and air purification into the room. Look for a vase that you haven’t used in ages. Maybe it’s in storage or tucked away at the back of a cupboard. If you’re unable to find an attractive one, look at a local charity shop to see if there’s something affordable that someone decided they didn’t like any longer.

Watch a YouTube video on flower arranging to get an idea how to put fresh plants together in an attractive arrangement for your bedside table. And there you have it; a fresher looking bedside table that brings a little nature into the bedroom.

Grey buttoned sofa with collection of throw cushions

Rethink the throw cushions

Older cushions, and particularly their covers, tend to look a bit weathered over time. The colours fade a little with each washing cycle and the fabric isn’t as interesting any longer. Changing cushion covers for new ones with an interesting pattern is inexpensive to do. Anyone who is a dab hand with a sewing machine can take some fancy fabric and turn it into a usable cushion cover. If you’re not this handy, then consider buying separate covers but keeping the existing fillings.

With cushions that don’t feel plush, consider adding a second foam or fill to the inside of the cushion to double its size. There are many new, inexpensive fills for cushions delivering refreshing comfort even to an older sofa. And when your sofa’s fabric or leather has seen better days, consider a long throw to cover the length of the sofa adding that touch of luxury and increased comfort without needing a complete replacement sofa.

Grey buttoned ottoman bed

Knowing when it’s time to replace the bed

Older beds lack suitable under-bed storage options and don’t necessarily provide the simple luxury and elegance that’s much needed. Wooden Ottoman beds provide new options for home-owners who feel it’s time to replace their tired bed frame with a more complete, modern one. Made from wood and covered in attractive fabrics or leather, these Ottoman beds offer something different than the typical brass bed frame we’ve all seen before.

Minimalist whitewashed room

Reduce clutter

Reducing the amount of clutter is often the last thing that anyone thinks to do; however, it’s effective in making every room look larger while giving the existing decorations and furniture a better chance to get noticed. Many of us collect too much of everything over the years. By cutting back on what we actually need to keep hold of and finding places to discretely store items out of sight, it transforms a living space and opens it up for further refinements to entirely change how it feels.

Adding a touch of class to every room doesn’t have to cost the earth. In many cases, it takes some re-imagining of each living area to determine how to get the most out of it along with a few small additions to bring something new.

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The ultimate guide to greener living

The ultimate guide to greener living

Not only does greener living directly impact the environment, when done correctly huge savings can be made to your annual household expenditure too. There are so many different ways you can incorporate greener living into your home, from having a water meter installed to discontinuing using plastic carrier bags. Here are a few pointers to get you on the road to greener living.

Daylight bulbs

Be energy efficient

The energy used to fuel our homes is not only one of the biggest household expenses – it’s one of our biggest contributions to climate change as individuals. Thankfully there are a few tricks to cut both, from simply turning down the thermostat by one degree to installing loft insulation which could knock up to £225 off your annual energy bill.

Turning off lights, taking appliances off standby and implementing timers will all help reduce monthly outgoings. Contact your energy provider and ask for a smart meter, which will allow you to check in near real time where your household is using the most energy and what it costs. It comes in particularly handy if you’re renting with friends and split the cost of your utility bills.

Dripping tap

Save water

With access to clean and safe drinking water literally on tap, it can be hard to identify with the need to actively try and save water. However, according to Water Wise the UK actually has less available water per person than most other European countries. Installing water efficient products will not only reduce outgoings, but you’ll be directly cutting down the energy used in treating and pumping waste – making a positive impact on the environment.

As toilet flushing, baths, showers and running taps are the biggest culprits in terms of water consumption, install a ‘hippo’ in the toilet cistern to save up to 3 litres of water with every flush. It’s also a good idea to fix dripping taps and fit showers and taps with aerated heads. Outdoors, a water butt is a welcome addition to any garden instead of a hose attached to the mains.

Cyclist on a racing bike

Leave the car at home

It can be so tempting to jump in the car and nip down to the local shops rather than brace the weather and endure a 10-minute walk. However, cutting down on unnecessary short journeys will not only greatly reduce your carbon footprint but will save you money on petrol and parking costs. What’s more, it’s a great way to sneak some exercise in to your daily routine.

When buying a new car, look for newer, more energy efficient models. While cutting your carbon emissions, they’ll also save you money on vehicle tax and petrol costs.

Basket of fresh vegetables

Grow your own

Whether you only have space for a few raised boxes or house your own vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden, growing your own food doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Hydroponic gardening is perfect for growing fruit and veg indoors with a quick turnaround. With practice, while you may still need to pick up supplies from the local supermarket, you’ll be one step closer to self-sufficiency.

What are your top tips for greener living?

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Effective and stylish ways to make your home a more private place to live

make your home a more private place to live

Do you want to make your home a more private place in which to live but don’t want it to resemble some kind of prison? Combining home privacy with style isn’t an impossible task. With some thought, you can transform your home into an eye-catching place in which to be, where only you and people you allow onto your property can enjoy. Below are some tips that will let you do this.

Metal wrought iron gates

Install the appropriate gates

When most people think about making their home more secure and private, they instantly think about installing some kind of gate such as sliding gates. This is particularly true if it’s easy to drive into your property or go around the back of your property.

Sliding gates and swing gates are the two main types of outdoor gates available. Sliding gates and swing gates can be opened and closed manually; or, if you have the budget and it’s practical to do so, you could install electronic gates, giving you more privacy when you leave and return home.

You have a wide selection of gates to choose from, which you can browse online at https://www.mistergatesdirect.com/sliding-gates.html. You can install large sliding gates at the entrance to your home, at the side of your home, or any other location where you want to restrict access.

Perimeter fence around a house

Add natural features around the perimeter of your property

Planting trees, shrubs or hedges around the perimeter of your home gives it a much more natural look and feel. However, doing this also allows you to create a secure border between your property and the outside world. Laurel, beech, hawthorn, blackthorn, and English yew are just some of the options available. They are difficult to see through and prevent intruders from walking onto your property.

White picket fences

Wooden fencing

Today’s home owners have a wide range of attractive and stylish fencing options from which to choose that are available in different heights and sizes to suit different homeowner’s needs and requirements. Fencing products are made from various types of sturdy, long-lasting wood, such as cedar and treated pine. Popular fence designs available include shadow box, dog eared, picket, privacy with lattice, privacy arched and picket scalloped designs.

turquoise-painted metal fence

Other fencing options

As demand has grown for fencing in modern homes, fencing manufacturers have looked to alternative materials to make stylish fencing products. Corrugated metal fencing and PVC fencing products have become just as popular as more traditional wooden fencing. These alternatives may be more expensive, but they are guaranteed to make it difficult for people to trespass and they will last a long time.

Whitewashed garden wall

Boundary walls around your home

If you’re not green-fingered or you don’t have the time to prune and tend to a natural boundary of trees or hedging around your home, adding a wall may be a more practical option.

This may seem like a boring and dull option, but the materials and wall designs available now can make the walls around your home another attractive feature that also serve an important function. Bricks, stone, white-washed render and metal are just some of the materials you can use to build these structures around your home.

Green painted wooden shutters on a yellow house

Blinds, shutters and curtains

If your home is close to a road, street or neighbour’s property, or you have limited space outside your home, it’s not as easy to put features in place that will prevent people from looking inside your home. However, there are steps you can take to address this issue.

Firstly, you should consider installing blinds or shutters. These features will not only give you more privacy but will also helps regulate the temperature inside your home during hot and cold weather.

Night-time is when many burglars strike and when it’s often easier to see what’s happening inside a home. Adding a thicker set of curtains on each window in your home will ensure that nobody outside your property knows what’s going on within.

frosted sash window

Frosting and mirror films

A wide range of security technologies is now being used by window and door manufacturers to make homes safer. Frosting or adding mirror films to windows and doors are two ways this is happening. With these features, people inside a house can look out but people outside can’t see in.

Beware of the dog sign on a fence

Add deterrents

If you’ve had enough of people wanting to look inside your property or trying to trespass, there are more direct ways you can solve this problem. Getting a reliable guard dog and placing clearly visible signs outside your home should act as strong deterrents for anyone who’s thinking about entering your property or wants to get a closer look at your home.

Most homeowners want to be left in peace and don’t want any unwelcome intruders. However, to achieve this, homeowners must make changes to make this happen. Each of the points above can help you to achieve this outcome.

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4 new gardening trends to try in 2017

4 new gardening trends to try in 2017

Many recent studies indicate that time spent in and amongst nature plays an instrumental role in reducing stress and improving general health & well-being. Fortunately, due to modern advancements, it’s not necessary to go into the woods to spend time with nature. You can do so in the comfort of your own home, office or garden.

No longer are we limited by climate, rainfall, space, and soil conditions when it comes to growing plants. The advancement in modern techniques and technology enables virtually any available space to be transformed into a plant haven. Here are four new gardening trends to consider.

Vegetable seedlings

  1. Growing herbs & vegetables indoors

Indoor gardening techniques and equipment have improved in leaps and bounds over recent years. People are often choosing (or being forced) to live in smaller spaces without large gardens, whilst at the same time the demand for local and organic food has increased tremendously. Hence, many are opting to grow their own herbs, salads and other vegetables such as pak choi and chillies indoors. You can also grow your own herbal plants for infused teas, soaps or medicinal treatments. A windowsill is a perfect site for all this. You might also have a small balcony area that you can dedicate to these plants; or, failing that, grow plants under lights or use aquaponic systems.

Swallow greenhousecredit

  1. Greenhouses

If you do have some outdoor space, it doesn’t need to be large or expansive in order to grow your own food. You can have a Swallow greenhouse installed in your backyard or flat roof terrace. These greenhouses are specifically manufactured to help grow delicate plants that require specific conditions. They are constructed of timber that is heat-treated up to 215ºC, protecting the construction from rotting. Hence, you can be assured of the durability of Swallow greenhouses as they’re built to handle cold and damp weather conditions with ease. If you’re considering installing a Swallow greenhouse in your backyard or other potentially suitable space, pay a visit to the site greenhousestores.co.uk.

Cacti and succulent house plants

  1. Jungle and desert-inspired interiors

A trend that has been gaining momentum recently is grouped collections of house plants. If you browse magazines and interiors websites, you’ll see that many home-owners are using house plants to decorate their homes – arranged in wonderful assemblages of various sizes and shapes. Many have broad, glossy, architectural leaves and others cascade down from shelves and hanging planters. This gives quite a jungle-inspired feel and they’re currently all the rage.

The same can be said of cacti and other succulents. Again, they’re arranged in concentrated collections for maximum impact. Various pot colours & sizes – and using alternative containers such as up-cycled tins can add further interest. When decorating your home, consider these bold and intriguing house plants – for both the natural air purification benefits and to make a real interiors statement.

Click Grow house planting kit

  1. Hi-tech gardening tools

There’s some great new technology on the market for the both the experienced and aspiring gardener.

There is a growing range of apps available for your smartphone or tablet. There are plant identifiers such as the RHS ‘Grow Your Own’ which tells you what fruit & veg you can grow; when to plant and harvest and what pests and diseases you may encounter. There are also a number of podcasts that you can download and watch to improve your gardening knowledge.

The Parrot Flower Power plant monitor is a little device that you stick into your plant’s pot (either indoors or out) and it monitors and analyses the growing conditions. It sends you alerts to your smartphone via an app to let you know if the plant needs more or less light, water, warmth or even if it needs to be re-potted!

If there are rooms in your house that get little natural sunlight, you may find it a challenge to grow plants successfully. This dilemma has now been solved. There are now planting kits that come with integrated LED lights to ensure that your plants get all the light they need.

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Sponsored: Dark and dramatic autumn table setting

Dark and dramatic autumn table setting with cutlery and plates from Wayfair | H is for Home

It’s the first of September in a couple of days – and that means the meteorological start of autumn. As the evenings draw in, our minds turn to cosy nights indoors, warm blankets, wood-burning stoves, candles and fairy lights. And, of course, equally important – good hearty food and perhaps a glass of red wine or two. It’s the perfect time to invite family or friends over for an evening feast – an opportunity to celebrate the harvest season and all of nature’s bounty.

Nothing will suit the occasion more than a dark and dramatic autumn table setting! A black or dark grey tablecloth is the ideal backdrop – decorated and accessorised with antique brass candlesticks, feathers, fossils, pine cones, leaves, berries and fruit. Whatever you feel adds to the interest and drama for a special meal.

We’ve recently received some lovely tableware from Wayfair that is perfect for creating just the right style and atmosphere.

Gold coloured cutlery set from Viners with black linen napkin | H is for Home

First, is this gorgeous burnished gold cutlery set by Viners. It’s titanium coated stainless steel and has a real feel of luxury and opulence. It’s just perfect for that celebratory meal – and we loved it combined with the other metallic tones that we incorporated into the table setting through candlesticks, ribbon and other trimmings. On a practical level, the coating creates exceptionally hard cutlery that is ten times more resistant to scratching than untreated stainless steel. It also helps prevent corrosion, rust and tarnishing.

Black & white Seltmann Weiden porcelain dinner plates with black linen napkin | H is for Home

The luxurious quality continues with the porcelain china dinner plates by Seltmann Weiden. There’s a crisp white central presentation area with an organic, flowing black border which frames the food like a picture. Again, absolutely perfect for creating the dramatic table setting. As with the cutlery, these don’t fail when it comes to practicality either – the plates have a scratch resistant surface, are dishwasher safe, oven safe and microwave safe.

Two lovely items that we’ll be able to enjoy year after year.

Dark and dramatic autumn table setting with cutlery and plates from Wayfair | H is for Home

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