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.

Improve your security at your home by investing in lighting

It may sound like a simple solution, but lighting really can help aid your security at home. Many of us try so hard to not waste electricity and cut down on our bills by ensuring that lights are off, but this could in fact leave us vulnerable.

For years people have been leaving a light on in their home when they go out, but burglars have quickly wised up to this and it’s time to be a little more creative. Leaving a light on in your hall way when you go out or go on holiday is often not enough as a burglar often surveys a house a few times before breaking in and if they notice that you are doing this when out, it may even help them to know when is the best time to strike.

There are a number of different devices and apps that allow you to turn your house in to a smart home. You will be able to turn lights, sound systems and TV’s on and off remotely. You can set them to come on and off at certain times throughout the day or you can do it from your mobile device. This is a much more realistic way of making it look like your home is occupied when it isn’t. Garden lights and security lights can also act as a deterrent.  

Keeping your luxury kitchen clean without causing damage

There are so many cleaning products on the market now a days that it is difficult to know which are the safest to use in a luxury kitchen with high quality units and worktops. The kitchen manufacturers will offer guidance on what not to use but often resort to the caveat of simple wiping down with washing up liquid and a damp cloth. If this does not do the job what are the safest cleaning products to use on my expensive kitchen appliances and fittings?

There is an ever-growing range of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market promoting products that contain no harmful ingredients whilst boasting about their cleaning power. These products would be ideal to use in the kitchen as you could fill assured that they would not cause damage due to their composition.

It is worth researching natural cleaning solutions such as lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda as these would be a gentle way of cleaning surfaces without using harsh chemicals. Be wary of using some natural products however because although natural they may cause damage on natural surfaces such as wood.

Natural wood worksurfaces should have been treated with oil on installation and this should be repeated regularly to protect the surface from stains due to spills of liquid.

Three Reasons to Consider Rooflights

Rooflights are a premium option for many, but they can do so much for a property that really, than should be considered as standard more often. Here are three reasons why you might want to consider a rooflight for your home:

  1. Rooflights can make your home feel bigger. When a house of flat is lighter and brighter, it can feel larger as well. You won’t have to do anything (like build an extension or make the ceiling higher) to feel like you have more space – simply creating more light can do that for you.
  2. Rooflights let in more natural light. it is thought that most rooflights can let in more natural light than a vertical window of the same size. This can be really quite a dramatic amount, so you get better value for money when buying a rooflight instead.
  3. They are a good aesthetic design feature. Rooflights can be a beautiful, modern design feature, perfect for homes of all ages and styles.

What Constitutes a Luxury Kitchen in a London home?

The kitchen: one of the most important parts of the home. In London especially, where space is always at a premium in the home, it’s essential that kitchens are designed and configured around the space that’s available, whilst still remaining elegant and function. There’s great demand for the luxury kitchens London homes boast, so much so that some companies specialise in designing and installing only the most high specification, premium kitchens. But what actually makes a kitchen luxury, and why is it so important to have a kitchen that makes a statement?

When looking at the meaning of the word luxury, two elements really stand out: elegance and comfort. Kitchens that are classed as luxury will go far above and beyond the usual and will stand out in a class of their own. This is especially important in London homes, for homeowners who want the very best.

If you are having a luxury kitchen installed, these are some of the features that might make it stand out:

  • Appliances. The ovens and hobs you choose will undoubtedly be from the leading luxury brands, giving you additional settings and cooking options. You might also choose more premium accessories such as warming drawers, waste disposal units and hot water taps. These are appliances that aren’t essential, but will make a big difference to a kitchen, placing them firmly in the ‘luxury’ bracket.
  • Work surfaces. The most standard worktops will usually be made of laminates, but if you’re having a truly premium and luxurious kitchen fitted, you might choose to go for something such as granite. Marble is also an option, though it will need to be properly sealed and often isn’t especially suitable for kitchens – granite tends to be the more practical choice. You might also choose an option such as hardwood, or mirror chip quartz if you’d like something sparkly.
  • Sinks and taps. Belfast sinks are the most obvious luxury sink type. If you have a more modern kitchen, you might also opt for an undermount sink, which will need to be fitted into a hard worktop. These are usually made of stainless steel and will really make a statement. You should choose taps that complement the sink you have as well, and make sure they’re in a finish that matches with the handles and other accessories in your kitchen. It’s key that everything looks uniform in a luxury kitchen.
  • Cabinet frontals. Choose high fashion options like high gloss, or more traditional wooden frontals. Often in more luxurious kitchens, frontals and cabinets will be handmade to order so that they fit perfectly into your kitchen (ideal for London apartments) and you can completely personalise their appearance.
  • Heating and lighting. Underfloor heating can really help to make your kitchen feel more special, and there’ll be no need for radiators, giving you back more wall space and making the room look more minimalist.
  • Refrigerators. Large American fridge freezers are highly popular and give your kitchen real personality. They’re available from some of the leading brands in kitchen appliances and come in various colours and finishes too, from pastel palettes to strong, modern colours like black and chrome.

Is your Rooflight Ready to be Replaced?

Modern rooflights can be very long lasting, giving their best for 20 years or more in many cases. If you have older rooflight though, they might not be as advanced and will probably need to be replaced after a few years. There are some tell-tale signs you can look out for to see if your rooflight might need to be replaced.

First of all, the most noticeable visual sign is condensation. If the seal is broken or the glazing is old, the rooflight might begin to get condensation forming on it. If this happens when it didn’t used to, there is definitely cause for concern.

The next thing you might notice is a drop in temperature. This can be quite distinct and can make a room uncomfortable. If you have an older rooflight that is letting in a draught or has cold spots around it, you should consider a new rooflight with better u-values.