Buying your first home

If you are currently in rented accommodation or living with parents or relatives then you may be looking to purchase your own home. These days, it’s is no easy task purchasing your own home as long gone are the days of 100% mortgages. Most mortgage companies like you to have at least ten percent deposits but ideally twenty percent. With the average three bedroom home in the UK costing in excess of two hundred thousand pounds that is a huge amount of money to have to save up. With the cost of living rising too, many young people are struggling to get their foot on the ladder. Some government schemes may help them such as the equity loan which tops up their deposit up to twenty percent. The buy must have at least five percent deposit but the government can then loan them up to an additional fifteen percent. This offer is only open to people who have never owned a home before.

If you are considering buying a new build then you will need a minimum of fifteen percent deposit. You may be able to go down the shared ownership route if you are not able to get a mortgage for the full amount that you require.

Transforming your room with clever lighting

If you have recently decorated a room but it still doesn’t seem quite right, it could be that the lighting needs to be changed.

Lighting is so very important to the ambience of a room yet very often it is a bit of an afterthought. You may spend hours agonising over which wallpaper looks the best and which pictures or ornaments will complement the design, without really giving a thought to the lighting. You should try and decide what lights you want and wear prior to the decorating as if you need walls chasing out or new lighting circuits put in then you will want to have that done before you decorate.  

Dimmable bulbs are a great option as they allow you to have the light when you need to do something but make it more relaxing and calm when chilling out.

Many people install under cupboard lighting in the kitchen so they can have a subtle light on all the time. This is usually done by gluing an LED strip under the cupboards with can often be either battery powered or mains powered.

You can even have smart lighting installed in your home which can be controlled via an app or smart devices such as Alexa.

What should you do in preparation for selling your home?

Lots of people have been stuck in their homes for the past 12 months and you may of realised that it no longer meets your needs. If you are considering selling your home then there may be certain things that you need to do to it to get it ready to go on to the market. Some changes you do to your home may add more value to it such as installing a second bathroom or building an extension. Other changes you make to your home may not add much or any value but will make it more saleable. If you are looking for a quick sale then you will want to do as much to make it more attractive to buyers as possible without spending too much money. If you are in no rush then you may be able to invest slightly more into the home as long as you are confident you will get a health return on your investment.

You need to make a list of work that should be completed before the home goes on the market and ideally create a timescale for each project. This will give you something to work towards and make sure that all the work gets completed in time for when you want to put it up for sale.

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.

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.

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.