Home improvements on a budget

If you desperately want to do some home improvements but are struggling to find the funds to do so, then below are a few simple ways in which you can make a difference without breaking the bank. Over the last 12months many of us have spent a lot more time in our homes and gardens. This may of made you notice areas of your home that you feel need improving but you may also of been hit financial and be struggling for money. If this is the case then all is not lost. There are many ways in which you can make a big difference to a room in your home without having to take out loans or spend all your savings.

Often decorating is the easiest way to make a big difference. Kitchens are often one of the main rooms in a house that people say they want to change. They get a lot of use and because you are constantly cooking and cleaning in them, they tend to get a bit grubby over time. It may be that you want to change the cupboards and the tiles around the kitchen, but this can be a big job and will often cost thousands of pounds. Lots of people chose to just replace the cupboard doors rather than the carcases too which can cut the price, but even this is still not cheap. Lots of companies now do cupboard paint, allowing you to totally transform your kitchen for less than £20 a tin. This paint comes in a variety of colours and often requires very little preparation. You can change the colour of your kitchen easily with cupboard paint at a tiny fraction of the cost for a new one. You can also change the door handles which again will give the kitchen a whole new look and feel. There are some great makeover images on the internet giving you ideas of how to paint your kitchen to give it the wow factor.

If you feel your living room is looking a bit dated, then a lick of paint can do wonders. Also, simply tasks such as decluttering and replacing tired old ornaments with more modern ones or artificial plants can give the room a new lease of live. If the carpet is worn out then why not hire a carpet cleaner. Not only can this give your carpets a fresh clean look, but it makes the room smell lovely and clean. When decorating you may want to stick to one or two colours and then you can add a splash of colour using furnishings such as cushions, rugs, candles and tie back. If you then decide you want to change the colour scheme, this is easy and cheap to do.

Have you got the decorating bug?

When it comes to decorating, you often find that you don’t do any for a while but then once you start you can’t stop. It is easy to get carried away with decorating and if you’re not careful you can take on too much at once. It is important to finish one job before starting the next. For example, if you are decorating your kitchen then try not to start another room until that one is finished.

If you have not done a lot of decorating before then you may need to pick which jobs you do yourself and which ones you pay someone else to do. If you need new flooring such as carpet or lino, it is often better to pay a professional to do it rather than attempt it yourself as one wrong cut could ruin the entire flooring.

Wall papering is a skill that you can learn quite quickly. Make sure that you are using the correct sort of paper and paste for the job. If your walls are quite rough and you are not going to have them replastered, then you need to use a thick wallpaper or lining paper underneath first.  Some wallpapers require paste the wall paste rather than paste the wallpaper. Be sure to check this before starting as the wrong paste may mean that the paper doesn’t stick.

Giving your children somewhere to play in your home

It can be so easy to get tied up in wanting to have a clean and tidy house that you forget to give your children a play that they can play and make a mess. Once children get to a certain age, they can help to tidy up even when they are very young. It is an important life skill for them to learn so you shouldn’t feel bad about asking them to help.

With many children at home at more than usually at the moment, it is important that they have place that they can play in without worrying about getting into trouble for getting toys out. It may be that you don’t like having a lot of toys out in the living room or that you have a younger child that needs to be kept away from certain toys that may not be safe for their age. A playroom is a great addition to any family home. Often spare rooms or conservatories are the idea place to create a playroom in. You may want to decorate the room or if using a garage, do a proper conversion if the room is likely to stay as a playroom for some time. The beauty of a playroom is that your children have somewhere to play where all the mess can be shut away if you do not have the time to deal with it at that moment. Children often learn a lot through play, so it is vital that they are allowed to do this within the home, and you may not always want them shut away in their bedrooms.

Creating the perfect home office space

With many of us having to work from home again, it may of become increasingly apparent that we need a designated space to work from. Working occasionally on your lap whilst on the sofa is ok, but if you are having to do video calls, sit for long periods or time etc then you should ideally be sat at a table or a desk. Sitting on the sofa for periods of time is not good for your posture and if you are trying to have video calls with your boss or clients, it doesn’t look as professional.

Ideally you want to use a spare room and convert it in to an office but this is not always an option for many people. If you are short on space, then finding a corner of a room in which you can set up a desk is fine. Try and position it away from the TV and any other distractions you may have in the room. Make sure you invest in a good quality chair if you are going to be sat down working most of the day and try to give yourself 10 minutes break every couple of hours to stretch your legs.

Keeping the house clean and tidy during the festive season

During the run up to Christmas, most people have a lot more things in their home. You may have a huge Christmas tree taking up half your living room and tinsel draped all over your photo frames. It can be hard to keep your house as clean as tidy as even simple jobs such as hoovering the carpets is now harder than before.

If you have children, then you will probably find that Christmas day is a bit chaotic and that you end up with boxes everywhere. It is a good idea to give each child a box where they can store their sweets and chocolates and then either a box or a sack to put their presents back in. this mean that they still have easy access to them but that when you can to clean round it is easy to move them.

No one wants to be cleaning on Christmas day so try and make things as easy as possible in the run up. Keep on top of the washing and try and get the house clean before Christmas eve.

If you are having new furniture for Christmas such as a sofa, then try and ensure it arrives well in advance so you have time to get rid of the old one as this could take up a lot of room.

What is Decking Used for in the Garden?

Grass, seating areas, verandas, patios… all are good options for the garden. But what about decking? How can it be used in the garden, is it a viable option for your home, and will it look just as good as a paved patio or a veranda? The short answer is that yes it will; decking has a smart and attractive look about it, making sure that it is aesthetically pleasing and that it is a strong choice for a whole host of homes. It is also good from a functional point of view; there are non slip options available, it is good for children, and it is suitable for pets to use as well. All of this, and it can still be a highly durable option for the home too.

The Perfect Sink for your Kitchen

Even if you have a dishwasher, the sink is still something very important to consider in your kitchen. The sink is as much about designing your kitchen to look a certain way as it is about ensuring your kitchen is practical. You should choose a sink based on the way that it looks, as well as the size and shape that will be a match for your kitchen.

If you want a specialist sink such as an undermount or a Belfast sink you will need to have the right type of worktop to go with it as well, usually solid wood, quartz or granite. Other types of material you might have for a sink are:

  • Stainless steel – practical and timeless. Can also look modern. Very hygienic and easy to clean.
  • Granite composite – strong and high quality. Made from a beautiful granite composite material. Easy to maintain.
  • Ceramic – traditional and attractive. Needs to be paired with the right kind of worktop and tap.

Is it time to update your kitchen?

If your kitchen is older than ten years old, you may be thinking of updating it in some way. For some this will involve a completely new kitchen especially if you have moved into a property and have inherited someone else’s choice of kitchen units and décor. If this is the case it is worthwhile getting a kitchen designer to visit and give you a no obligation quote. Even if you choose not to use the company for the final work it can give you some good ideas about kitchen design and an idea of the costs involved.

It could be that finances dictate an update to the kitchen is a more realistic option and there are a few improvements that can be made which do not cost the earth. The first one is to consider painting the kitchen unit doors and replacing the handles with more contemporary ones. This is simple to do and costs little. A more expensive option is to replace the doors with doors of a different style. There are companies that advertise that they can completely transform your kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen.

Changing the flooring in a kitchen can make a big difference to the overall appearance and again can be done fairly cheaply.

Are there any Special Considerations Needed for Kitchens in London?

London is a vibrant, exciting place to live, with a lot to offer everybody. Homes themselves can be smaller than average, though – and if not, they can be very expensive. The average person will not be able to afford an enormous London home. However, many own their own little slice of city living, and have a corner of London to call home. This means kitchens in London need to be adapted to the kinds of living spaces that people have, whether they are flats, houses, awkwardly shaped or standard shaped, old or new, have lots of windows, or very few at all. A London kitchen designer will need to be able to think outside the box and create stunning rooms for homes of all kinds.

Getting a new kitchen designed anywhere is a big step to take and is both exciting and a little nerve wracking. Having a kitchen designed in London is much the same, but is perhaps even more important than anywhere else in the UK. With space at a premium, only a professional kitchen designer will be able to use a room to the best of its ability – DIY kitchen installations are probably not a good idea if you want a kitchen that is stylish, modern, beautiful, and at the same time, well designed and very easy to use. The detail of the design is essential to the success of a kitchen.

If you are looking to have a kitchen designed for you in London, these are some of the key considerations that you will need to bear in mind throughout the process;

  • Don’t necessarily choose a kitchen designer tied to a specific company. They might not be the best company to supply kitchen cabinets, appliances, fittings and furniture for your London home and you may want something more bespoke, anyway. Choose a designer who can make sure your kitchen is fully customised around you and your every wish.
  • Don’t spend too long looking at kitchens online or in magazines. This is a good step to take initially, while you are working out what kind of kitchen you would like and what styles and colours appeal to you, but the design of your London kitchen will very much depend on your space, and what can be achieved with it. Talk to a designer sooner rather than later so they can measure up and tell you what options you have for your kitchen.
  • Make your kitchen versatile. Open plan living is popular, especially in London properties such as flats and terraced houses where space is at a premium. Think about creating a kitchen space that is perfect for cooking, as well as for sitting down and relaxing, with an integrated kitchen and living space. Islands are also very popular, with bar stool seating so that the kitchen becomes a more sociable space. You want to get the most out of your London kitchen and a professional designer will understand how to make your space beautiful, functional and also versatile.

Bring calmness into your home-buy a plant

It has been shown that a feeling of calmness and serenity can be brought into the home by positioning green plants at strategic places in the rooms. Many interior designers use plants to draw the eye to a particular feature or to conceal an unattractive area whilst some choose plants that are a talking point. The choice of houseplants is immense and so to get an idea of what is available a visit to your local garden centre is worthwhile.

A large floor-standing plant provides a focal point in any room but unfortunately not everyone has the space. If space is not an issue, then a large swiss cheese plant with dark green glossy leaves in the corner of the room will be a striking feature for any home.

In order to keep your plants in a healthy condition water them well but ensure that the water can drain out of the main pot. Most plants should be fed during the summer months with a balanced liquid fertiliser and some plants can be put outside in the warmer weather.

When choosing an indoor plant consider a plant with feathery leaves such as a type of fern as these plants with their delicate fronds give the impression of serenity and calm to any room.