Warm Winters with Calor

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Over two million rural homes in the UK are ‘off grid’ with no access to mains gas, and so rely on alternative energy sources for heating and hot water – vital for a warm and welcoming home during the festive period.

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Oil is often the default option, and some properties use solid fuel or electricity. However, there is another option that has been growing in popularity in recent years – LPG.

Here, the experts from Calor run down the top five reasons why it makes sense to use Calor LPG…

Versatile and convenient

Firstly, it’s just like having mains gas, and LPG is perfectly suited to central heating and hot water, as well as cookers, gas fires and even tumble dryers! If you love to cook, you’ll have an instant, controllable flame and the additional reassurance that you can still rustle up dinner in the event of a power cut.

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A more secure option

Shockingly, the annual cost of rural crime in the UK has increased 13.4%*, and oil is often targeted as tanks are easy to identify and siphon oil from. Crime can increase in winter with the cover of darkness, and it’s also when most people stock up their oil tanks for the winter months, so you may want to look at a more secure way of heating your home. LPG is stored in tanks and is virtually impossible to steal, so you can put your mind at ease, put your feet up and relax in your warm and cosy home.

Green and clean

An increasing number of homeowners are considering the environmental impact of their fuel choices too. Global warming and greenhouse gases are hot topics and initiatives have been introduced to tackle these problems. For example, the Government’s recently announced Clean Growth Strategy focuses on reducing carbon emissions and helping the UK become eco-friendlier.

With this in mind, Calor has created its exclusive BioLPG, created from a mix of renewable and sustainably sourced raw materials. What’s amazing is it can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 38% compared to heating oil! **

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Simple switching

Calor makes switching simple with a number of tools to help you through the process, such as the helpful online quote tool that allows you to quickly see at a glance how easy it is to switch to LPG or BioLPG.

Also, Calor’s handy LPG Boiler Installer tool provides you with details of gas safe registered heating engineers in your area. All you need to do is simply enter your postcode and you have a whole list of professionals who can install, maintain and service your boiler.

Fuelling rural communities

Calor also gives back to local off-grid communities via the Rural Community Fund, which offers grants for projects that will improve local life. In 2018 a total of £50,000 went to 21 rural projects across the UK from as far as the Orkney Islands to rural Cornwall.

For more information visit their Community Fund website. Entries can be used to help community centres, village halls, sporting venues as well as initiatives to support local schoolchildren and the elderly.

With all of these reasons why LPG could be the perfect rural fuel choice for you, why not switch today?

For more information on heating your home with Calor LPG and BioLPG, visit www.calor.co.uk or call 0808 159 7864.

*https://www.nfumutual.co.uk/farming/ruralcrime/

**Atlantic Consulting, 2017 ; BioLPG’s Carbon Footprint Savings


Something for the Weekend - Get Dotty for Polka Dots

Polka dots are synonymous with fun. And with polka dots appearing on the runways by just about every notable fashion designer, it’s time to bring couture into your interior scheme by using geometric paint patterns to mimic the design.

Contemporary yet deliciously retro, the polka dot pattern works throughout the home with contrasting or complementary shades

 On the walls - Pashmina, Matt Emulsion. For the dots - Copper, Metallic Emulsion. On the woodwork - Jet Black, Non Drip Gloss.

On the walls - Pashmina, Matt Emulsion. For the dots - Copper, Metallic Emulsion. On the woodwork - Jet Black, Non Drip Gloss.

Alternatively, adopt the playful nature of the design, and create imperfect alternatives to the traditional pattern by painting freehand spots. Using metallic shades to create these shapes will add an additional layer of fun.

 On the walls - Hare, Matt Emulsion. For the dots - City Break, Matt Emulsion.

On the walls - Hare, Matt Emulsion. For the dots - City Break, Matt Emulsion.

“One great way to add character to a space is with a textured or metallic emulsion. Rather than paint an entire wall, why not stencil metallic or textured paint in circles on to a monochromatic base to add areas of drama and interest.” Judy Smith, Crown Colour Consultant

All paints shown are from Crown Paints.

Left to right:

  • City Break, Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l.

  • Millionaire, Metallic Emulsion, from £19 for 1.25l.

  • Pashmina, Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l.

  • Striking, Metallic Emulsion, from £19 for 1.25l.

Make Life Easier with a Stiltz Home Lift

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For homeowners who are starting to find stairs a challenge, but love their home and do not want to move or downsize, Stiltz Home Lifts offer access to all areas of the home with a unique range of ‘through the floor’ domestic lifts.

The Stiltz Home Lift has been designed to make life easier by providing a discreet and practical alternative to using the stairs making it much simpler to move around the house - all at the touch of a button.

Unlike old-fashioned stairlifts, a lift can transport passengers from floor to floor in under 30 seconds, does not block up the stairs, is whisper quiet, and the larger lift accommodates a full-sized wheelchair.

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Who can a Stiltz Home Lift help?

A home lift is ideal for any who has mobility issues stemming from an operation, accident or illness, who is asthmatic, suffers from a heart condition, or any other issue that means taking the stairs are a challenge. A Stiltz home lift is a safe, comfortable and stylish way to independently travel between floors.

How does a Stiltz Home Lift work?

With an intelligent, modular design the award-winning Stiltz Home Lift fits into almost any location in the home and is entirely self-supporting, so no load bearing walls are needed. The only work required is creation of a small opening in the ceiling for the lift to pass through between floors, and if you install one in the turn of the stairs, not even a ceiling aperture will be needed. The Stiltz home lifts are powered by a super-efficient, self-contained motor and plugs straight into a normal mains power socket – just like any household appliance.

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Which Stiltz Home Lifts do you offer?

The Stiltz range is available in two models: the two-person Stiltz Duo+ Home Lift and the new wheelchair-accessible, three-person Stiltz Trio+ Home Lift which includes a gently-angled integral ramp for easier wheelchair access.

The solid-sided, entry-level Duo and Trio Classic models feature a unique thru-car option allowing users to enter into through one side of the lift on the ground level and leave from the other side once it has reached the upper floor.

What features does a Stiltz Home Lift include?

Travelling between floors on easy-glide rails in under 30 seconds, the Stiltz Home Lift is elegantly curved with a clear car body. It is designed in a stylish pale grey finish with internal lighting making it safe to travel in day or night.

It is packed with safety features including multiple sensors so everyone remains safe, an in-car control panel with hold-to-run controls and two remote control handsets to call the lift at any time. An optional seat is available.

Where can a Stiltz Home Lift be installed?

The Stiltz Home Lift is so versatile it can be installed from hallway to landing, living room to main bedroom or, for total discretion, cupboard space to cupboard space. It can even fit in the void of a turning staircase or take pride of place in the centre of a room or entrance hallway.

How do I arrange an installation?

For more information visit www.stiltz.co.uk

How To Stencil Wooden or Concrete Floors in 4 Steps

If your floors are looking tired, dated, dull or damaged, why not bring them back to life, and back on-trend with a stencil and some chalky finish floor paint. It’s a quick, easy and cost effective option if you're prepared to try some light DIY, and once applied it will provide a timeless, hardwearing finish that looks amazing.

Chalk paint can be applied to wooden floorboards or concrete flooring and can be applied directly over old paint and varnish. 

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What You Will Need:

  • Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint (two colours)

  • Small foam roller and tray

  • Large roller and tray 

  • Paint brush 

  • Sander 

  • Stencil 

  • Cloth 

  • Masking tape 

  • Paint stirrer

  • Can opener

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Directions:

STEP ONE  Chalky Finish Floor Paint can be applied to concrete floors, bare wooden floorboards and floorboards with old paint and varnish, once the surface is prepared properly.

Wooden floors should be lightly sanded, vacuumed, and wiped completely clean before painting. Concrete floors should be vacuumed, wiped clean and allowed to fully dry before painting.    

STEP TWO Take your Chalky Finish Floor Paint base colour (we used Chalk White) and paint around the edges of the room, cutting in a couple of inches.

Next take your large roller and get to work on the main area of the floor. Start at the furthest corner and move backwards towards the door, leaving yourself an escape route. 

You will need at least two coats – check on the tin for drying times between coats. The thinner the coat, the more hardwearing it will be, as it will dry harder.

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STEP THREE Measure the floor to locate its centre. Using masking tape, position the stencil at the centre so that it does not move while you are painting.

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STEP FOUR  Take your second Chalky Finish Floor Paint colour (we used Anthracite) and apply a small, even amount paint to small foam roller. 

Apply the paint to the stencil. To avoid bleeding, make sure that there is only a small amount of paint on the roller at all times.

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Remove the stencil and reposition it. Depending on your stencil, you may need to wait for your design to touch dry to avoid smudging the previous stencil. Repeat until the whole floor is covered.

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For stockist information and more inspiration  please visit www.makeityours.co.uk

How To Create a Terrazzo Print Dressing Table

Terrazzo may be one of the hottest interior design trends this year, but you don't need to rob a bank to incorporate it into the home. This DIY version using a chalky finish furniture paint is super easy and can be done on a shoestring.  

We're featuring a terrazzo dressing table, using an upcycled piece of mdf but you can use this technique on pretty much any project, big or small.

What You Will Need:

  • Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint
  • Rust-Oleum Furniture Lacquer (spray)
  • Homebase Clever Cube
  • MDF sheet (cut to size)
  • Brackets
  • Cutting mat
  • Sticky back plastic
  • Stanley knife
  • Drill and screws
  • Artist brushes
  • Roller and tray
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Directions:

  • Take your chosen shade of furniture paint for the base (Chalk White is used here) and stir thoroughly before use. Paint the top, sides and front of the MDF sheet with a roller and leave this to dry. You may require a second coat.
  • To create your stencil, place the sticky back plastic on the cutting mat and begin to cut out the terrazzo design with a stanley knife. If needed, print out a picture of terrazzo and use this as a guide.
  • Stick your stencil to the MDF, ensuring it's secure. Take your remaining furniture paint shades and paint in your design. The colours used here are Ink Blue, Belgrave and Duck Egg. Once dry, protect and seal the paint with lacquer.
  • Personalise the Clever Cube to match your project. Here the top two sections of the cube and the wall brackets are painted in Belgrave. Hooks have been attached to give additional compact organisation.
  • Finally, use a drill and screws to attach the brackets to the wall and secure the terrazzo table top in place.

Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint is perfect for small or large projects as it can be applied directly onto wood, brick, stone and plaster without priming or sanding.

For stockist information and more inspiration visit www.makeityours.co.uk

How to Home Stage Your Property for a Really Quick Sale

Sometimes property sellers need a very quick sale. You might be relocating for a new job or need a bigger house for a growing family or you’ve found your dream home already and can’t wait to move in.

Whatever your reason for wanting to sell your property fast, there are a few key actions that will get prospective buyers interested. And, the more appealing your home looks to buyers, the faster it will sell.

How can home staging help?

You have little more than 10 seconds to make an impression on a prospective buyer. If you want to sell your property quickly, you need to make a positive impact straight away. This requires more than just a deep clean and tidy-up.

To get buyers interested you need to think about how your home is dressed. This means lighting, furnishings, interior design and greenery.

Here are 11 tips to help make your property stand out from the crowd and get a quick sale.

1. Go Minimal

The first rule of getting your house ready is to declutter. Remove all unwanted objects from each room. This includes cupboards, wardrobes, and bathroom cabinets. Especially any ornaments or personal memorabilia — you want to depersonalise rooms as much as possible. Aim to get rid of least 30% of your things. You can throw these away, recycle or place in storage.

2. Curate Furniture

Remove all unnecessary furniture to free up space. This doesn’t mean empty your house out entirely. But, buyers struggle to visualize living in a place that is empty. Rather make sure the furniture you include serves a purpose e.g. a table to indicate a dining area, or a well-placed cuddle chair with a rug thrown over it for reading. Show off any period features — especially if they are in good condition. Fireplaces and wooden flooring are very desirable to buyers.

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3. Sort out Lighting


Get the lighting right. Hands down this is one of the most important house staging tasks. Dark spaces are unattractive to buyers. Make the most of any natural light you have — remove heavy curtains and any obstructing furniture or clutter. Turn on all lights even during day-time viewings. Add table lamps to darker zones to brighten them up. To create a warm ambience, change light bulbs to soft glow.

4. Decorate Wisely

Navigate carefully between neutral and boring. There’s no doubt that earth tones work better than more bright colours on walls. You want to sell your house not your taste in interior design. But, a splash of colour on an accent wall can also brighten up a drab room and create a modern feel.

5. Be Nosy

Go along to a few viewings of similar properties and get inspiration for what works and what doesn’t.

6. Manicure the garden

This is one of your most prized assets. Its worthwhile spending time making it presentable and attractive. Make sure you maintain a mowed the lawn. Dress up garden furniture with cushions and rugs. Make it more appealing by adding flowers beds and updating old paving stones.

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7. Accessorize

Mirrors are a wonderful accessory as they reflect light and makes small spaces feel bigger. Place them in corridors, rooms. They also work well in small gardens.

Don’t forget to add fresh flowers in rooms.

8. Home Furnishings

Add a little luxury by adding soft furnishings and cushions. Place rugs in specific places like by the kitchen workbench. Buy new towels and bedding. Throw a blanket over the end of the bed for added comfort.

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9. First Impressions

Before your buyers even steps inside your house they will be forming an opinion of what to expect. This means the front of your house needs to look as great, as the inside. Give your entrance the ‘wow factor’ by ensuring it is clean and tidy. Add a hanging flower basket, install outside lighting and update outdated door numbers with a more contemporary style.

10. Create Flow

Leave doors open to encourage buyers to wander comfortably around your property. They should be able to see inside the room immediately so make sure your best features are clearly in sight.

11. Banish bad smells

Bad smells will keep your property languishing on the market. Smoking and pet smells are a big turn-off. Place potpourri and scented candles around the property — perfect for small shelves. If you have time, bake bread and make fresh coffee on viewing days. This will fill your property with comforting smells adding a sense of homeliness.

By investing time in home staging your property, you will attract more viewings and interested buyers helping you sell your home fast.

Create This Stylish Organiser For Your Bathroom

Since Bank Holidays were made for DIY, we thought we'd share with your today a little project that will help take the pressure off your bathroom storage. There's no getting away from it, even the most organised of bathrooms can soon get out of hand with shaving brushes, aftershave, cotton wool pads, eyelash curlers (to name but a few), vying for space. So try creating this space saving bathroom organiser made from upcycled mason jars, courtesy of Bosch. Perfect for even the smallest of bathrooms.

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What You Will Need

Metal drill bit 3mm
Wood drill bit 1-2mm
Hammer drill
Pencil
Drill bit for wall plugs depending on the wall
Ruler
Long board
Jars
Stainless steel hose clips
Wood screws
Wall plugs

1. Mark out the jars

 Use a ruler to get the centre point

Use a ruler to get the centre point

The first step is to mark out the position of the jars on the wooden shelf. Position them so that the jars will be equidistant and centred on the shelf. The length of the shelf and number of jars are optional.

2. Drill the holes

 Don't forget to pre-drill

Don't forget to pre-drill

Then pre-drill the holes that you have marked on the board using a thin wood drill bit. Next drill the holes using a rotary hammer drill.

3. Time to fit the hose clips

 Screw the hose clips in place

Screw the hose clips in place

Before continuing, pre-drill the hose clips with a thin 3mm metal drill bit. Then fix the clips to the shelf with wood screws in the places you have marked out on the shelf.

4. Adding the finishing touches

 Now to add the jars

Now to add the jars

Last but not least, place the jars in the hose clips and tighten. Then fix the finished bathroom organiser to the wall with wall plugs, screws and a rotary hammer drill. Your eyelash curlers, cotton buds and shaving brushes now have a new home.

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5 Essential Floor Sanding Tips For Beginners

Sanding and finishing floors - particularly the hardwood variety - may seem like a challenging task for the uninitiated. However, the process is surprisingly straightforward - assuming you have the right equipment and tools. If you can borrow or rent a large electric sander, this will make the process easier. However, you can complete the process by hand sanding too - although if your floor is very large, this could be a cumbersome task. After several hours of hand sanding a large surface, you may even hot-foot it from your home for an emergency trip to your local DIY store - and invest in a sander.

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Here are five helpful tips for sanding your floor.

1. Use the right grit number as the sanding progresses

For most floors - particularly older, more uneven ones - you may need to use two or three different grit numbers. The lower the grit number, the rougher and more vigorous the sanding. For a very uneven floor, begin with a something like a 36 grit, before progressing to a 50 or 60 grit. If the floor is already fairly flat and even, you might start off with a 60 grit. In the final stage of sanding, by which time the floor should be flat, switch to a finer grit of 80 to 120.

2. Combine diagonal with straight movements

Initially, moving your sander diagonally will help even out the floor. For the latter stages of the sanding, perhaps using something like an 80 grit, move the sander in line with the direction of the flooring.

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3. Use the same sequence of grit numbers when sanding the edges

If you started off with 60 grit for the central areas, before finishing on 80, then repeat this sequence when sanding the edges. You can clean the corners either by hand, using a palm sander - or perhaps even a delta sander if you have access to one.

4. Use the dust-bag wood dust to fill any gaps

After carrying out the initial rough sanding, empty the dust bag and use the wood dust to fill in any splits or gaps. Add PVA glue to the dust, mix it, then apply the filler to the gaps using a spatula. Leave enough time for the filler to dry, before sanding it off - 100 grit should be sufficient.

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5. Using a final fine grit is important - especially if you plan to stain the wood

Once the main sanding is completed, go over the middle and edges with a fine grit of around 100. If you don’t have a rotary or finishing sander, you can do it by hand. This final stage of fine sanding is very important if you plan to stain your floor.

You can find plenty more tips for your DIY over at the DIY Advice blog.

How to Make The Best Out of Your Small Bathroom

If you’re anything like me, you might have found your dream home. It has everything you want, except the bathroom is…small. Or maybe you’re lucky and have everything including a large bathroom for yourself but your guest bathroom is not quite as big. Either way, the question remains: How can I make the best out of my small bathroom?

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It is well known that mirrors can make a space look larger and that shelves and cabinets are essential in a small space. I like to combine these two principles in my bathroom to make sure every square inch is utilized and use a bathroom mirror cabinet. A bathroom mirror cabinet helps open up your small space and also provides valuable storage room useful for cutting down the clutter and keeping things nice and tidy. Gone are the days of the boring bathroom cabinet, today’s options provide a much more updated and attractive look.

The space above the sink is often underused in traditional bathrooms, usually featuring only a mirror or at best a thin medicine cabinet. Cabinets from companies such as Villeroy & Boch and Duravit have taken a seemingly simple bathroom item and loaded them with features. Many feature built-in lights which brighten up your bathroom and give it a more open feel, as well as interior outlets and adjustable shelves so you can customize the interior to suit your needs.

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Another great way to win some space in your bathroom is with your shower. Your shower does not have to take up all the space in your bathroom, and with the many options available to us today we don’t have to sacrifice comfort when choosing to downsize our shower. Hansgrohe, one of Germany’s finest shower manufacturers provides a wide selection of ceiling mounted showers tailored to every shape and size of bathroom.

A growing shower trend is ceiling mounted shower heads. Not only does it bring a fashionable new minimalistic aesthetic to your bathroom, it also reduces the space needed for the shower. With this type of installation, you can even enjoy the luxury of a large shower head in a small shower.

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Finally, the last tip for making the best out of your small bathroom is using soft closing toilet seat. While this might not seem intuitive – hear me out. Small bathrooms are usually up against or attached to other rooms, particularly bedrooms. Walls are often thin, and noises travel. One of the additions to the bathroom that was most appreciated by the rest of my family was the addition of a soft close toilet seat. No more waking up the loved ones when getting up to use the toilet in the middle of the night.

The majority of the major toilet manufacturers now offer soft close toilet seats with designs to suit every bathroom’s style. Switching the toilet seat is also a simple way to update the look of your toilet without having to buy an entire new toilet. Just a warning, you really do get used to having a soft close toilet seat and when you visit the homes of friends and family who do not, you will probably slam their toilet seat shut and wonder how you lived without soft closing seats.

Every bathroom can be beautiful and functional, no matter the size. By following these three tips and shopping around for some extra ideas you will be able to find solutions to your small bathroom problem and have a space that you truly love and find comfortable.

Top Tips For Using Yellow Around The Home

Yellow inspires optimism, confidence and brightness and can make a room feel warmer. Good things to remember as we hurtle headlong towards Autumn. If you are thinking of redecorating soon, maybe consider this most sunny of colours. And to help us out Valspar have suggested a few tips to help us along the way.

Mood Boosters and Modern Touches

 Valspar Simply Brilliant

Valspar Simply Brilliant

Tapping into current colour trends, there’s been a real shift of people moving towards brighter colours with a clean-cut finish. Sunny shades of yellow can work on almost any wall, when paired with a crisp white ceiling and skirting boards the effect is fresh, bold and classic whilst remaining current.

 Valspar Sunwashed Meadow

Valspar Sunwashed Meadow

Yellows don’t always have to be bright to bring cheer into your room. Using saturated yellow hues such as ‘Sunwashed Meadow’ can be a fantastic way to add a burst of colour to living spaces. Pairing these shades with contrasting charcoal grey and black furnishings provides a contemporary look.

Make a Bright Statement

 Valspar Sense of Wonder

Valspar Sense of Wonder

If you have a kitchen that doesn’t get a lot of natural light, yellow is the perfect choice to brighten up this important family space. To achieve a rustic feel in the kitchen, you can team sunny yellows with natural wood panels. For your kitchen refresh, opt for the Kitchen and Bathroom range from Valspar®, which can endure the scuffs and knocks of daily living without compromising on colour or finish.

 Valspar Yellow Ombre 002

Valspar Yellow Ombre 002

If you’re feeling creative, shades of yellow work really well as an ombré effect. This is a simple and stylish technique that can be used to create a unique, personalised accent wall by blending several different yellow shades together. To achieve this, choose three different colours from the same colour family, one light, one medium and one dark to create a striking statement wall.

Colour Pops

Colours matter. They tell the world who you are, so what better place to start than with your entrance? Statement front doors are one of the hottest trends of this year and bright yellows are perfect for creating a warm, welcoming entrance and setting your house apart from the rest.

 Valspar Zany Jane

Valspar Zany Jane

Cheery yellow shades complement red brick perfectly and provide an eye-catching contrast to any adjacent greenery. Use Valspar® Exterior Wood and Metal to paint doors and window frames in the same shade for show-stopping results.

 Valspar English Primrose

Valspar English Primrose

Using yellow when upcycling is ideal for adding a playful feel to a room and vibrant shades work well to add a pop of personality and individuality. Valspar’s Premium Blend v700™ Wood & Metal will give even the thinnest piece of MDF a beautiful finish, that is long-lasting and withstands those everyday knocks.

Holiday DIY Projects with Crown

Holiday weekends offer the perfect opportunity for finishing those half-attempted DIY tasks or unleashing your creativity with colour. Whether it’s a tired piece of furniture in need of attention or a plain wall that is crying out for a little charisma, there are a number of ways to make the most of the long weekend.

  Dash Of Nutmeg, Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l, Top Notch & Midnight Coal, both Non Drip Gloss from £15 for 750ml

Dash Of Nutmeg, Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l, Top Notch & Midnight Coal, both Non Drip Gloss from £15 for 750ml

Crown’s selection of multi-surface emulsions, non-drip glosses and satins offer extensive colour choices and high-quality finishes. With step-by-step guides available, alongside expert advice from the colour consultants, visit www.crownpaints.co.uk for answers to your DIY questions.

  Dash of Nutmeg, Hare, Soft Shadow, City Break, all Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l; Steel Drum, Non-Drip Gloss, from £15.49 for 750ml.

Dash of Nutmeg, Hare, Soft Shadow, City Break, all Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l; Steel Drum, Non-Drip Gloss, from £15.49 for 750ml.

'Many lack the confidence to consider a paint effect, but it can be a great way to personalise your walls. You can create a mountain scene by simply layering paints and the outcome delivers a mix of drama and serenity'. Judy Smith- Crown Colour Consultant

  City Break & Hare, both Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l.

City Break & Hare, both Matt Emulsion, from £14 for 2.5l.

Expert Advice - Planning a New Kitchen

Planning a new kitchen can be a daunting task. The modern kitchen has a million and one jobs to do including cooking, cleaning, dining, entertaining, homework and sharing family time. So, the key to making it all work is space, storage and functionality. Luckily, the team at Neptune Kitchens have experts on hand to answer all of your kitchen queries. 

 Neptune Edgbaston - Suffolk kitchen hand-painted in Sage from £12,000

Neptune Edgbaston - Suffolk kitchen hand-painted in Sage from £12,000

Where To Start

“It’s so important to have an idea of what you want before approaching a designer. They will ask you how you will use your kitchen, these factors will dictate where to start with the initial ideas for your kitchen and help determine other important factors such as storage.”
Rebecca Malyon, Head of Design, Neptune

 Neptune walls painted in Teal emulsion, Carter shelves, Longton large pot, Henley kitchen in Snow from £14,000

Neptune walls painted in Teal emulsion, Carter shelves, Longton large pot, Henley kitchen in Snow from £14,000

Zoning

“Well-thought out zones make life more efficient. The whole room just flows. Factoring in primary zones for cooking and socialising allows the kitchen to become a multi-purpose hub, bringing the whole family together. It also lets you make the absolute most of a room. With zoning in mind, every nook and cranny is explored.”                                                           Rebecca Malyon, Head of Design, Neptune

 Neptune Suffolk Larder Cabinet

Neptune Suffolk Larder Cabinet

Storage


“Focus on how you use the kitchen and determine what is needed for the way you cook and
entertain. This will ensure that you utilise all the available space for your individual requirements. My best advice for storage solutions is to find the correct balance between interesting storage options and lots of open cupboard space”                                            Daniele Brutto, Co-Founder, Hub Kitchens

 Burbidge Salcombe Painted Dresser in Charcoal and Chalk From £2,200

Burbidge Salcombe Painted Dresser in Charcoal and Chalk From £2,200

Freestanding Furniture


“Freestanding dressers or full-height larders not only look beautiful but give you mountains of storage space too. A countertop cabinet means that you can keep things like toasters, kettles, coffee machines or mixers on that low level, on your work surface, plugged in and easy to
use, but they’ll be hidden behind the bifold doors when you aren’t using them.”
Becky Smith, Kitchen Designer, Neptune Bristol

 Neptune Suffolk Kitchen from £16,000

Neptune Suffolk Kitchen from £16,000

Kitchen Islands

“Having a kitchen island has huge benefits that go further than just the additional work surface. A beautifully designed island also turns into a beautiful piece of furniture with ample storage, if used wisely you can make your kitchen work efficiently for you.”
Rebecca Malyon, Head of Design, Neptune

Expert Advice - Choosing a New Bathroom Floor

With so much choice available, it's often hard to make final decisions when choosing new items for the home. This week we're going to help you transform your bathroom into a stylish sanctuary by picking pretty and practical patterned flooring. Below, Sarah Turner, Buyer, Hard Flooring & Rugs, comments on current trends and things to consider when choosing new bathroom floors.

 Carpetright Mardi Gras 599 Sagres vinyl tile, £15.99 per square metre.

Carpetright Mardi Gras 599 Sagres vinyl tile, £15.99 per square metre.

First the Practicalities

“Prioritising safety in the bathroom is essential, so ensure you consider how practical and slip resistant flooring is before purchasing.

Vinyl is highly water-resistant and is a great way to update your room without blowing the budget.

There have been many developments in design and styles that mean the effects vinyl can create, such as tile or wood, are incredibly realistic. It’s a great choice for families as it is durable and softer and warmer underfoot than laminate.”

 Carpetright Tarkett Starfloor Retro Luxury Vinyl Tile, £28.99 per square metre & Moroccan Pattern Duck Egg Rug, £34.99.

Carpetright Tarkett Starfloor Retro Luxury Vinyl Tile, £28.99 per square metre & Moroccan Pattern Duck Egg Rug, £34.99.

Then the Style

“Increasingly we are seeing customers opt for bold shades and patterns in their bathrooms; using it as a way to add a little personality to the room.

Light and bright colours work well in smaller areas and can help give the illusion of space.

If your room is on the larger side patterned flooring creates an eye-catching statement.

A well placed rug can also be added to spacious bathrooms to help create a warm and inviting atmosphere, just try to make sure it is not in an area that is often wet.”

For more examples of vinyl flooring and more advice visit Carpetright.

DIY Colourful Pallet Outdoor Lounger

In just a couple of hours, you can transform three unassuming pallets into garden furniture. Pick any colour you like, and decorate with coordinating cushions for the party-perfect snuggling lounger that’s straight out of Love Island!

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You Will Need:

  • Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Garden Furniture Paint.
  • Wooden Pallets.
  • Small Roller and Tray.
  • Paint Brush.
  • Paint Stirrer.
  • Paint Tin Opener.
  • Electric Drill With Screws.
  • Metal Brackets.
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Directions:

  1. Ensure surfaces are smooth, dry and free from contaminants. Take your chosen shade of garden furniture paint and paint the pallets. (Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Garden Furniture Paint requires no priming, is water resistant and is mould and algae resistant too). Use a mini roller for an even finish.
  2. One to two coats will be needed, and you'll need to leave the paint to dry for one hour before flipping the pallet and painting the underside. You might need to use a brush for the harder-to-reach areas.
  3. Create the base of your lounger by stacking one or more pallets to the right height. When you're happy, secure them with screws and an electric drill. Use metal brackets for extra strength.
  4. Add another pallet propped in a vertical position to create the back of your lounger. Again, secure it in place with drill, screws and brackets.
  5. Dress for comfort! Homebase sells special pallet furniture cushions that fit perfectly on top of pallets. 
  6. Add more colour with more scatter cushions, pot plants and fairy lights.

For stockist information and more inspiration visit www.makeityours.co.uk

The Small Decorating Details That Matter the Most

Collaborative Post

When it comes to home decor, it is often the little things that make the biggest difference. We have all been there. After finally clearing away the paint pots, removing the dust covers and putting the furniture back, you stand back to admire the results.

Of course, the room looks far better, but for some reason, you are still not 100% happy. In time, you come to realize that not bothering to repaint the doors was a mistake, a big one. When you redecorate and renew everything, the little things that are a bit ratty seem to stand out like a sore thumb. To make sure that does not happen, read on to find out which little jobs people forget to do or skip over when they redecorate.

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Renew or repaint your skirting boards

Painting skirting boards is a bit of a pain. It is a tricky and uncomfortable job and if you do not take the time to rub them down properly they never end up looking right. Fortunately, replacing your skirting boards is a lot easier than it used to be. Firms like skirtingsrus.co.uk sell high-quality replacement skirting that is not expensive. Using this type of product, it does not take long to update your skirting boards and your room will look so much better when you do so. For a start, it gives you the chance to properly hide all of those awful cables you have been trying hard to ignore, for years.

Door handles

As we have already mentioned, it is a really good idea to repaint your doors when you redecorate. If you cannot face the idea of doing that, consider replacing them or using door stickers, instead. At the very least, take the door handles off and give them a deep clean. If they are too worn, replace them. These jobs will not take you long but they will make a huge difference to the overall finish of a room.

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Fill in any gaps

Before you paint or re-paper, take the time to fill in any gaps that you have between your windows, door frames and skirting. It is much easier than trying to paint or paper over or around them. Plus, the overall finish of your walls will be so much better.

Dirty fixtures and fittings

If you are not planning to change your lighting fixtures, take them down and deep clean each one. They will look so much better. Plus, your room will feel far brighter if you clean the bulbs and glass lampshades.

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Tips for snagging a newly decorated room

Before you put your furniture back, it is a good idea to do a quick snag check. Issues are much easier to spot and sort them out while the room is empty. This reduces the risk of things being damaged and saves you having to go through the trouble of moving your furniture again.

This comprehensive snag list is written with someone who is moving into a new house in mind. However, it can just as easily be used to help you to snag check a room you have just decorated.

Weekend Project: Colourful Hexagon Corkboards

Yes we know it promises to be a sunny weekend, but if you get itchy feet while lounging in the garden then this project is for you. It won't take up much time and you'll achieve beautiful, colourful cork boards for your home office without the hefty Etsy price tag. 
With a sheet of cork and Rust-Oleum paint, you can create the perfect tessellating hexagon cork board to fit your personal interior colour scheme.  And a little tip - we chose Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch spray paint (available in 42 colours) to complete this project, ensuring a flawless finish without brush marks. 

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
 

  • Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint. We chose Blossom White, Candy Pink and French Lilac  
  • Sheet of cork  
  • Cutting mat
  • Pen
  • Ruler
  • Stanley knife
  • Tape
  • Paper template  
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DIRECTIONS

STEP ONE Take your template and mark out a design on the back of the cork. We used a ruler alongside our template to ensure straight lines. 
STEP TWO Place the cork on a cutting mat. Using your stanley knife, carefully cut through the cork. You may need to go over each line a few times with the stanley knife, depending on how thick your cork is.  
STEP THREE On the front of each cork hexagon, mask areas that you do not wish to paint with tape, ensuring each piece of tape if pressed down firmly.  
STEP FOUR  Holding the can approximately 30cm from the surface, spray in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping with each stroke. For best results, whilst spraying keep the can the same distance from the surface and keep the can in motion. 


You will see that some of the paint will absorb into the cork! Apply several light coats a few minutes apart for full coverage. 

For stockist information and more inspiration please visit www.makeityours.co.uk  

Ovenclean’s Top 5 Kitchen Spring Cleaning Tips!

With the weather finally getting warmer, it’s the perfect time to throw open the doors and windows for a thorough spring clean! The kitchen is a great place to start your spring cleaning, but can often be an overwhelming task!

We’ve pulled together our top 5 tips for tackling spring cleaning the kitchen to hopefully make it a far less arduous chore:

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1. Tackle your windows - Use mild soap and warm water to initially clean the window, rubbing away the dirt and dust. Then mix one-part water with one-part distilled vinegar to really cut through the grime and leave your windows gleaming! Finally, wipe away any remaining streaks with either some kitchen towel, or ideally a microfibre cloth, and your windows will be left spotlessly clean – allowing all that spring sunshine into your home!

2. Wash your washing machine – According to some recent research done by Appliances Direct, the washing machine is the least cleaned item in the house, cleaned on average once per year! If you don’t clean your washing machine, you may well notice it starts to smell of mould, which could also start affecting the smell of your clothes… Cleaning out the drawer will help remove any built-up detergent that might have started going mouldy, and running an empty wash every now and again will help to clear the drum. Check your washing machine instructions too as many now have a cleaning function built-in!

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3. Get your oven deep cleaned – As Britain’s most-hated chore, why not get your oven professionally cleaned by one of Ovenclean’s trained specialists? Having a professional oven clean will only take a couple of hours and will transform the quality of your food. A dirty oven also affects the efficiency of an oven, meaning it takes longer to get to the correct temperature and may also affect the cooking time.

Food particles stuck to the grill become charred, and research shows that charred food may contain cancer-causing agents. Plus, bacteria can also grow in those food particles; therefore, it is imperative that ovens are properly cleaned. Ovenclean’s specialists use a unique, environmentally friendly caustic soda free cleaning system, which rids ovens of germs and leaves them ready to use again as soon as they’ve finished.

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4. Clean out your refrigerator – This is really a job that should be done regularly, not just for spring cleaning. Make sure you empty out any old jars lurking at the back and wipe down all surfaces. Don’t forget to clean the fridge gulley at the back – so that any condensation can drain properly. Use a cotton bud, toothpick or pipe cleaner to clear out any debris but always check your fridge handbook to avoid causing damage.

5. Clean your dishwasher – Like the washing machine, the dishwasher also needs regular TLC. Baking soda and a damp cloth can be very effective at removing any food stains and also getting rid of bad odours. Another top tip is to run a hot cycle with nothing but a cup of distilled vinegar on the top shelf.

Breaking up your kitchen spring cleaning tasks into these manageable chunks will hopefully mean it’s not such a daunting prospect, and getting a bit of help from your local Ovenclean specialist will help even further!

IKEA Hack - Neon Pop Cabinet

Still looking for something to do this long weekend? Why not create your own neon pop cabinet with this quick and easy IKEA hack and RustOleum neon spray paint. And don't be scared of incorporating neon into your home. This piece is sure to brighten any space and add an element of cool fun to any room. We guarantee everyone will ask where you got this cabinet from.

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What You Will Need:

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  • Rust-Oleum Neon Spray Paint in Pink
  • Ikea Ivar Cabinet
  • Drill
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Wood Glue
  • Wood Saw
  • Screw Driver
  • Wooden Spindles

Steps:

  1. Take your spindles and measure how long you want your cabinet legs to be. Mark a cutting line and cut with a hand saw.
  2. Sand the edges until they are smooth and even.
  3. Move the legs to a well ventilated space and place on top of a large dust sheet or some old newspapers. You may want to cover the surrounding area with additional dust sheets or newspaper to protect from spray mist. 
  4. Take you rcan of Rust-Oleum Neon Pink spray paint and shake the can for one minute once the ball begins to rattle. Spray the leg, holding the can approximately 30cm from the surface and spray in a steady back and forth motion, slightly overlapping with each stroke. For best results, whilst spraying keep the can the same distance from the surface and keep the can in motion. Apply several light coats a few minutes apart.
  5. Attach the legs and edging, ensuring they are fully secure.
  6. Stick some plants on top, sit back and admire.

Neon spray paint by RustOleum is an ultra bright, premium quality, fast-drying coloured spray paint for use on most indoor surfaces. It's available in pink,  yellow and green and is suitable for wood, metal, ceramic and more.

For stockist information and more inspiration visit Make it Yours.

How A Self Storage Unit Can Help You Get The Home Of Your Dreams

The wardrobe needs sorted, again. There’s too much tupperware in your drawers, again. The cupboard is so packed with camping gear you can barely see the boiler anymore. If your home feels like a daily obstacle course - then read on because we’re about to dig into some of the amazing benefits of using a self storage unit, and how it can help you get the home of your dreams.

You get to keep your keepsakes, but out of sight

Good news. A storage unit will allow you to keep all of your keepsakes without having to look at them everyday.

You can keep the two old tea sets you’ve inherited from your favourite gran, and still live your life in a scandi flat with clean lines and minimalistic design.

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Moving to a new place becomes a breeze

If you’re a person that moves around a lot, then having fewer things can really make your life easy peasy.

Have you ever had to move from one place to the other and been genuinely surprised with how much stuff you had? You’re not alone.

As years go by, we all accumulate a lot of stuff. Some of which becomes hard to get rid of. Instead of getting rid of old keepsakes and seasonal objects, go ahead and get them in a self storage unit. You’ll be able to access them basically whenever, and they won’t be in your way.

Don’t be tied down by stuff.

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The fewer things you have, the easier it is to keep tidy

The fewer things you have in your home, the easier it is to tidy and declutter.

We usually gather stuff for one of two reasons: because we need/ want it or because it has sentimental value. Now, of course you cannot put the toaster and the laptop in a storage unit, you need these on a daily basis. However, sorting through your things and putting the things away that you do not need on a regular basis is a good idea. Perhaps sort your decorative objects such as tea light holders, fruit trays, and other decor into sets. You don’t hang up your christmas decorations in the summer, why not sort all your decorative items into seasons?


Oh, and rotating your decor regularly makes you feel like you’re getting ‘new’ stuff all the time. Even though you aren’t. Money saver right there.

You can save an awful lot of money on space

If you live in a big city, you’ll know that the price per extra bedroom in a flat is bonkers.

A lot of people actually only need one bedroom (and then of course the legendary air mattress for guests spending the night).

In Glasgow, the average price for a 1 bedroom flat is £545. The average price of a 2 bedroom flat however, is £783. That’s £238 more for one extra bedroom/ month!

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Take Storage Vault in Cambuslang, for the humble price of £31.25/ month, you can rent a 25 sq ft storage unit. That’s a room the size of a shed, and is big enough to fit a large sofa, or 50-60 moving boxes. Renting a storage unit can save you £206.75/ month compared to renting a two bedroom flat.

£206.75 is a lot of money. You can book a holiday every second month, lease an Audi A5 cabriolet, or save £2,481/ year for a house deposit.

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A uncluttered flat mean an uncluttered mind

Being surrounded by clutter is an ongoing cause of stress.

Although some people argue that mess is where they thrive, the general consensus seems to be that a tidy room is a relaxing room. Research suggest that the general consensus is in fact right. For the vast majority of people anyway.

A tidy uncluttered space promotes a clean and clutter free mind. So do yourself a favour, and get stuff you don’t use out of your way.

IKEA Hack - Ink Blue and Gold Decadent Drawers

This is a quick and easy IKEA hack. Perfect for a little weekend project. And when it's finished no one will guess where you got this decadent little number. It uses a chalky effect furniture paint to create a fashionable flat matt finish to flat-pack furniture. And best of all it requires minimal preparation. Now that's the kind of project we like!

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What You Will Need

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  • Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint
  • Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax,
  • ClearIKEA Tarva drawers
  • Paint roller
  • Paint brush
  • Paint stirrer
  • Can opener
  • 2 x microfibre cloths
  • Drawer handles
  • Corner plates and screws
  • Drill

Steps

  1. Take the Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint and stir thoroughly before use. Paint the top, sides and front of each drawer with a roller. Paint any remaining hard to reach places with a paint brush. Leave this to dry. Your drawers may require a second coat.
  2. Using Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax in Clear, fully wax the piece of furniture with your dry cloth. Work the wax into the surface in small circular motions. Leave for 15 minutes and buff with a clean, dry cloth. Furniture wax is easy to apply with a brush or rag and will give you a soft, velvety sheen, which provides a matt finish for projects that require more durability against knocks and stains.
  3. Position the corner plates on the edge of the drawers pre-drill small holes to make it easier to screw in the screws. Take your flat-topped screws and screw into place to secure the corner plates. Repeat this step for the handles to complete your project.

For stockist information and more inspiration visit Make it Yours.