The simplest home updates to maximise your interior

The simplest home updates to maximise your interior

Revamping your home’s interior is well worth the investment. Not only will you find more joy and comfort in your home, but you will also be more encouraged to invite guests over and use your space more.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of relaxation and pride that comes from returning to a beautifully revamped home after a long day at work.

Revamping your décor has many benefits, so here are some simple updates to maximise your interior.

Add indoor plants

Bringing nature into your home is a great way to make the space feel fresher and more inviting. If you’ve visited a friend’s home and instantly felt relaxed, it may be because they have plants and flowers dotted around the home. Not only are houseplants and fresh flowers ideal for making your home smell great, but they bring a touch of nature and life to your home.

Plants work well in any interior. Greenery can add much needed colour to an all-white, minimalist home.  You could add real plants or these faux floor plants to upgrade your interior with a touch of nature.

Create a feature wall

If you don’t want to paint your entire home, you can quickly upgrade any space by adding a feature wall.

Feature walls are ideal if you don’t necessarily want to be surrounded by colour but want to add some interest. If you want to keep your home neutral but add a focal point, a feature wall is great at doing.

You can apply paper or fresh paint to change one particular wall. Although it’s a simple and basic update, you’ll gain amazing results.

Repaint

Speaking of painting, if you have the time and desire, you could repaint your entire home. Whether you want to repaint the walls or the furniture, repainting is a brilliant technique for refreshing your home.

Even if you choose to paint using the same or similar colours, it will transform your home and give it an uplift.

Install new lighting

The lighting you choose for your home can completely alter the mood of your interior. For instance, if you like a relaxed vibe in your lounge, choose table or standard lamps with warm, Edison filament bulbs. You’ll want completely different lighting in your kitchen and other work areas of your home, so opt for overhead and under-counter task lighting with bright LED bulbs that mimic daylight.

Installing different bulbs can help you achieve the different atmospheres that you desire. Also consider investing in new lampshades, as these will make a huge difference to a space. A new glass or crystal chandelier can be a small yet grand feature for your interior. It can transform a basic bedroom or living room into a luxury space.

Update the doors and windows

If your home’s doors and windows don’t maximise your interior design, update them. If you paint the walls, add new furniture, and change the layout yet keep the same doors, the space won’t feel finished.

Your old doors may not align with the interior look you’re seeking. However, you don’t necessarily need to invest in new ones. Stripping down, sanding and repainting the existing doors will give them an entirely new look.

Meanwhile, updating the windows may be necessary if they’re old and ill-fitting. If they’re single-glazed or damaged, they could be making your home cold due to draughts and poor insulation. When this happens, you’ll probably be overpaying on your energy bill. Investing in new or updated windows and doors will save you money in the long run and also upgrade your home’s appearance.

Add more art

A great design tip to upgrade your home’s potential is to consider adding more art. Blank walls and boring spaces can be instantly transformed by adding a picture or two.

If you aren’t into art, you could find pieces that align with your colour scheme. The art doesn’t necessarily need to speak to you personally, it’s adding a layer of interest that’s important. It needs to work in harmony with the other décor, of course, but if it does so, it can instantly make a room feel more homely.

Personal touches

Nothing is more unique than personal touches. You could hang artworks that your children have created, family and holiday photos or homemade decorations.

These simple, one-of-a-kind touches can transform your home and make it feel more personal. They also make great conversation starters when you host guests.

Your home won’t replicate anyone else’s when you feature personal touches.

Install lighter window coverings

If you aren’t getting as much light into your home as desired, your interior will benefit from new, lighter window coverings.

Blocking the natural light with dark blinds or heavy curtains doesn’t give your home the best look. When you install lighter-coloured window coverings, they let as much light pass through as possible.

If the natural lighting is still restricted, remove the window coverings altogether or hang a light, gauzy fabric. Of course, you may need them in your bedroom and bathroom for privacy and sleep. However, removing them from your living space may be best to achieve maximum light.

Use colour wisely

While you may love colour, don’t drown your home in it. If it works for you, that’s fine. However, your interior may feel overbearing when you add too much colour.

In most cases, it’s best to choose a colour scheme. Choose a palette that helps you feel relaxed and calm, as you don’t want to feel stressed or overstimulated while relaxing at home. Soft pastels, light neutrals and gentle greens are best associated with calmness.

When you choose a soft colour palette, it can help to create a timeless look and feel. Plus, it allows you to add flashes of vibrant décor elsewhere in the home without crowding your space.

Declutter

Decluttering isn’t necessarily a new feature like the other recommendations, but it will certainly update your home.

Too much clutter creates a stressful and chaotic environment. When everything is clear and organised, you’ll likely feel calmer at home and in mind. Decluttering is a fantastic way to organise your home and get it in tip-top condition. If you find your home difficult to manage, with chores overwhelming your to-do list, you may find things much easier when you have less stuff.

The best way to declutter is to start with one room and one cupboard at a time. You don’t need to completely declutter in a single day. Spreading it over several days or weeks may encourage you to get rid of more. When you start small and slowly work your way around your home, the task will feel a lot less strenuous and overwhelming, and it should encourage you to push through until you reach that final room, cupboard or shelf.

Don’t panic about getting rid of your stuff. You can pass it on to its new good home – a friend or a charity shop.

More mirrors

Mirrors are a great feature to enhance the brightness throughout your home. They reflect and bounce light around your spaces, helping rooms feel airer and lighter. Plus, they make great statement pieces if you want to add more quirk to your interior.

Adding mirrors to every room and mirrored objects throughout your home is a simple yet effective way to upgrade your home.

Dress your windowsills

Many homeowners forget to dress their windowsills. Even if you’re a minimalist, dressing your windowsills can upgrade the look of your interior.

If you want a luxury interior, add decorative items to the windowsills to add more personality. We don’t recommend using them as storage, as this will make the home look and feel cluttered.

When you add interior accessories to your windowsills, they’ll feel more refined and well-kept. If you want to add personality and fun to your interior, the windowsills are a great place to add books, candles or houseplants.

Update your soft furnishings

If your soft furnishings are looking a little tired and worn, you may want to consider updating them. Bed linen, towels, cushions and throws can benefit from updates every so often. You don’t need to spend a fortune on these pieces, and they’re quick to upgrade, giving you all the more reason to update them.

If you add new bedding, refresh the cushions and install new lighter curtains, you could quickly transform the entire look of your bedroom. Softer and fresher soft furnishings are an easy way to revamp your home without spending much time or money.

Work on tired-looking furniture

Old-looking furniture needs to be renovated if you want to maintain an impressive interior. While old yet beautiful furnishings add personality, worn pieces do not.

You don’t necessarily need to buy new furniture. Instead, you can revamp and upcycle your existing pieces.

For example, you may have an old dresser that hasn’t had any love for decades. If so, you could revamp it by sanding, painting and installing new hardware. You’d be surprised at the difference a quick furniture update can make.

Update the hardware

Speaking of hardware, it’s a simple update you can do to elevate your interior.

Installing new door handles, cupboard handles and fixings can transform the look of your space. Along with a furniture update and a paint refresh, you could be on your way to achieving a much improved home with a few quick and simple updates.

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Avoiding the cowboys: How to hire a builder

Avoiding the cowboys: How to hire a builder

If you’re a homeowner, at some point you’re likely to need to hire a builder to carry out repairs or improvements. But with all the horror stories you read on the internet, the process can seem scary. How do you avoid the cowboys, and how do you make sure the work done is satisfactory? Here are some tips to help you hire and work with a builder.

Stay local

When you’re trying to find a builder to do some work for you, it can be tempting to cast a wide net, especially if those nearby are busy. But this isn’t recommended unless it’s someone you know or have hired before.

A local builder is easier to call back if issues arise or if you find further work to do. And they’re likely to be more willing to turn up. It can also be harder to check the reputation of someone who doesn’t live locally.

Don’t rush in

Taking time to do your research is key to successfully hiring a builder. Ideally, you want to choose someone with a good reputation, the right skills and plenty of experience.

A good way to start is to make a list of the local builders and building companies in your area. Then, check with family and friends, to see if they’ve used any of them and whether they’d recommend them. Builders may also have lots of online reviews from customers, which can help determine how good they are. They may also have their own website featuring case studies of work they have done in your area. Next, you can check to see if they’re members of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) for extra reassurance.

Now it’s time to narrow down your list. Some builders and building companies specialise or concentrate on certain jobs, such as renovations and extensions or maintenance and repairs. So, it can be handy to make a list of the jobs you want completing and see which builders on your shortlist are the best match. Looking at the descriptions on their listings and at previous jobs they’ve done should help with this.

Getting quotes

Once you have a shortlist of builders that you’re happy with, it’s time to contact them for quotes. Even if it’s just a small repair job, you want to get at least three quotes.

To make sure that the quotes you get are accurate and fair, invite your shortlisted builders around to assess the job and discuss your options with them. If there’s more than one way to complete a job, ask for separate quotes for each option. Also, ask for detailed quotes, as this makes it easier to compare costs and look for savings.

Sometimes quotes can seem a little excessive or too good to be true. You can check the average cost for most building jobs online, to get a feel for what’s fair. If quotes seem a little low, check that hidden costs such as scaffolding and skips are included.

If a builder says they’ll give you a cheap quote in exchange for cash up front, be very wary. This is a tactic frequently used by cowboys.

Working with a builder

Once you’ve found a builder, and you’ve received a quote that you’re happy with, you need to agree upon a start date. It’s rare that a builder will be able to start right away, so make sure you pin them down to a date, so you can prepare.

It’s also a good idea before they start work to check if you need to do anything such as move furniture or cars out of the way. If there are access or similar issues, make sure they’re aware of them. It’s also wise to check they have all the right paperwork in place. Your builder should have insurance to cover public liability and accidental damage and an insurance-backed guarantee, so the work they do is still covered even if they go out of business.

As you may have guessed by now, communication is a very important part of maintaining a good working relationship with your builder. Make sure you’re clear about what you want, and speak up straight away if you have any concerns. Keep an eye on progress, so you can be confident everything is moving along as you’d expect and that nothing is deviating from the agreed plan.

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5 tools that can make caring for your garden much easier

5 tools that can make caring for your garden much easier

Your garden may offer you solace and space in the sunshine, which can be vital as the summer rolls on through, but it’s an area that can require a lot of care. There are a lot of gardening tasks that you should never skip, and tackling of all of them can be a real chore. However, there are tools out there that can make caring for your garden much more effectively, saving you time and energy.

Robotic lawnmowers

Robotic lawnmowers are a revolutionary tool in garden maintenance. These autonomous devices are designed to mow your lawn without any manual intervention. Equipped with sensors and programmed routes, they navigate through the garden, cutting grass consistently and efficiently. The major advantage of robotic lawnmowers is the time they save. Instead of spending hours pushing a traditional mower, you can set the robotic mower to operate on a schedule, even when you’re not home. This continuous mowing keeps the lawn well-maintained and healthy, as frequent mowing encourages denser growth and reduces weed proliferation.

Automated irrigation systems

Automated irrigation systems are another game-changer for garden maintenance. These systems can be programmed to water your plants at optimal times, ensuring they receive the right amount of moisture without the need for manual watering. This is especially beneficial in large gardens or during hot summer months when plants require frequent watering. Automated systems often include features such as soil moisture sensors and weather forecasts, adjusting watering schedules based on real-time data. This precision not only saves water but also promotes healthier plant growth by preventing both over- and under-watering.

Leaf blowers

Leaf blowers significantly reduce the labour involved in clearing leaves, debris and grass clippings from your garden. Compared to raking, a cordless blower is much faster and requires less physical effort, making garden clean-up a breeze. They are especially useful in the autumn, when leaves can quickly cover your lawn and garden beds. By keeping the garden clear of debris, leaf blowers help maintain a neat appearance and prevent the build-up of material that can harbour pests and diseases.

Weed torches

Weed torches offer an efficient and eco-friendly solution to weed control. These tools use propane to produce a high-temperature flame that quickly kills weeds by disrupting their cell structure. Unlike chemical herbicides, weed torches do not leave harmful residues in the soil and can be used in organic gardening. They are particularly effective for targeting weeds in hard-to-reach areas, such as between paving stones or along garden edges.

Garden sensors

Garden sensors are sophisticated devices that monitor various environmental factors such as soil moisture, temperature, light levels and humidity. These sensors provide real-time data to a connected app or system, enabling gardeners to make informed decisions about watering, fertilising and other maintenance tasks. By using garden sensors, you can ensure that plants receive the right conditions for optimal growth without the guesswork. This technology reduces the risk of plant stress caused by over- or under-watering and helps optimise resource use.

Your time in the garden can be better spent actually enjoying it. Hopefully, the suggestions above help you do that.

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Taking on a fixer-upper – jobs to tackle first

Taking on a fixer-upper - jobs to tackle first

Buying a fixer-upper has multiple benefits. If you buy a house that isn’t in pristine condition, the asking price will probably be much lower, so there’s a golden opportunity to add value and put your stamp on your new home. There are downsides, but being methodical and organised can help you reduce risks and save money. In this guide, we’ve outlined some essential jobs to tackle first.

Wiring and electrics

Outdated wiring and electrical systems can be dangerous. If you’re taking on a project and the property needs rewiring or significant upgrades, it’s best to seek expert advice and address issues as a priority. Contact reputable local companies and get recommendations from people you trust and community social media groups. Get multiple quotes and compare prices. Make sure you understand the scale and type of work required, and ask for a full, written breakdown of costs. Always ensure that contractors have the relevant insurance, permits and licences. Many people like to get stuck in when it comes to DIY jobs, but anything that involves electrics or gas should be left to the professionals.

Roof repairs or replacement

The roof plays a critical role in protecting the property from the elements. If your new home has a damaged roof or there are signs of wear and tear or leaks, contact local roofing firms. It’s important to sort the roof out as quickly as possible to prevent further issues such as leaks and damp patches. It’s worth exploring the option of completely replacing the roof if it’s an old house as you’re likely to need frequent repairs in the coming years.

Windows and doors

Replacing old windows and doors has multiple benefits. New windows and doors are more energy-efficient than older examples, which will save you money on energy bills, and they can also look stylish and smart. Modern windows and doors offer enhanced security and privacy, and they can also boost curb appeal. As well as replacing old or damaged doors and windows, you may also want to consider adding extra windows to maximise natural light. Contact glass suppliers to find out more about features like roof lights, lanterns and skylights. Adding more light will make your rooms look bigger and brighter. It’s beneficial to compare quotes and consider different designs and styles before you decide what to do and which company to choose.

Layout changes

Older houses often have different layouts and floor plans to newer properties. If you’re modernising an old house, you may want to alter the layout to suit your lifestyle and your requirements. It’s common for new homes to have bigger kitchens and open-plan living areas, for example. More traditional properties usually have a larger number of smaller rooms. Knocking down walls can help you maximise usable space and design rooms that are better suited to your family. It’s better to draw up plans during the early stages of the renovation than to modify the layout later.

There are lots of advantages to buying a fixer-upper, but there’s often a lot of work involved. If you’re taking on a large-scale renovation project, focus on priority tasks. Examples include updating the electrics or rewiring the property, replacing windows and doors, repairing the roof and adjusting the layout of your living spaces.

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