A Beautiful Home on a Budget

A Beautiful Home on a Budget

Collaboration with Poppy J.

For many, their home is forever changed with the arrival of children, and priorities swiftly swivel away from purchasing the latest must-have designs, towards trying to keep the home moderately presentable on a budget. It can be extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that your once pristine palace now resembles a giant crumb-filled toy box, but there are ways you can regain control of your home without having to empty the entire contents of your wallet.

DIY Magic

Once you have accepted you can no longer splurge on every piece of furniture you fancy, you can delve into the magical world of “make-you-own” creativity. The internet is swarming with fantastic decorating tips and tutorials, explaining how you can create amazing accessories for your home, from snazzy vases, to beautifully elegant curtains. You could even make your own chandeliers simply by using plastic spoons, yes plastic spoons! If you want to attempt something a bit bigger, why not give building your own coffee table a go, using wine crates and a lick of varnish

Search the Sales

There are some household items that could prove a little ambition to make, even for the most experienced DIYers, and the sensible thing to do is but furniture that is going to last for several years. Be savvy and scour the online sales for bargain purchases such as cut-price sofas and beds. If your bed and mattress hasn’t been changed in a long time it is worth taking a peek at online retailers such as Bedstar, who regularly have sales. Check their stock for stylish, yet hard-wearing bed frames that can withstand being bounced on by children and pets.

Out With the Old…

Budgeting isn’t just about spending less, and if you can bear to part with existing household items, you could actually be sitting on a goldmine, which can be used to spruce up your home in a child-friendly way. Your threadbare sofa could actually fetch you a few quid on local buy and sell sites, and if you have items such as exercise equipment or still boxed kitchen appliances, admitting you are never going to use them could result in you putting some much-needed pounds in your bank.

Swap Skills

One of the best things about the internet is that we now have the ability to be in contact with all different kinds of people from all over the world in mere seconds. We are also able to contact local people who have talents that could help you revamp your home. I’m not talking about professional decorators and painters who will charge you for jobs done in your home, but people who are willing to trade their particular skill in return for another. There are many sites that advertise this scheme and so if you are a whizz in the kitchen, fluent in a foreign language, or are a talented musician, you could offer to teach another person these skills in return for them sprucing up your home. Take a look at The Guardian’s top ten list of swapping sites and benefit from the skills of others.

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Sheesham Furniture

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Sheesham Furniture

If you are looking for a different hardwood type of timber when you are purchasing wooden furniture, you should consider Sheesham timber products.  The wood scientifically known as Dalbergia Sissoo has the easier to pronounce name of Sheesham and the most famous use of this type of wood is in furniture production.  In fact, it is thought to be the most useful form of timber in the whole of India.

The wood is found in lots of places throughout the sub-Himalayan area, including everywhere from Assam to Indus.  As well as being found in various Indian regions including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.  The timber and Sheesham furniture are available in large quantities particularly from the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh regions.

What Makes Sheesham Timber So Distinctive?

Sheesham timber is typified by its golden brown to deep brown colouring, with very striking dark streaks that give it a very visually stunning appearance.  It has quite a coarse but balanced texture and is very hard.  As it has a naturally strong resistance to rot and decay it is one of the most popular woods for engraving and carving in India.

What Other Reasons Make Sheesham Timber So Good For Furniture Production?

As Sheesham timber does not split or warp and seasons extremely well it is perfect for cabinet and other types of furniture manufacturing.  It is also one of the timbers in the world that is least susceptible to problematic and destructive dry-wood termites and is thus has greater durability than alternatives.  Further to this, the wood reacts well to polishing and finishes with a nice smooth furnish and resists cutting and sawing but is great for turnery.

Why Choose Sheesham Furniture?

Because of the nature of the timber, Sheesham furniture by default will have a very unique colouring because of the timber’s very well defined grain, which can be finished to improve the look and quality with hand waxing.  Often, Sheesham furniture incorporates hand-forged wrought iron work, often referred to as Jali ironwork.

Interestingly, as it is such a versatile and sturdy type of wood when Sheesham timber is not being used to make exquisite furniture, it is used to make a wide range of different things including sports goods, tool handles, engraved pieces, carved pieces, ornamental turnery, musical instruments, charcoal for cooking and heating and aircraft and marine-grade plywood.

If you are looking for wooden furniture that will stand the test of time and use, due to a close grain and hard structure.  For wooden furniture that will also look smart and sophisticated and add a natural touch to your home; then you should consider Sheesham timber-built pieces of furniture.  If you are also worried about your furniture looking too much like other people’s furniture who have the same or similar wood-built pieces, then you needn’t worry as due to the individual characteristics and markings found in the wood, every piece of furniture made from Sheesham timber is always going to look a little or lot different than other pieces.

Tips For Choosing Bathroom Tiles For A Small Bathroom

Tips For Choosing Bathroom Tiles For A Small Bathroom

As everyone has different needs, wants and tastes; when it comes to choosing the best bathroom tiles for your home, it is quite a subjective matter.  Something that looks perfect to one person, may look hellish to another person.  Although the colours and designs you choose will be your own, there are still some basic pieces of advice you can follow to make sure you choose tiles, such as those available from PlumbTile.com, wisely.

In the following article we will discuss tiling a bathroom and what to consider when doing so.

The Size Of Tiles You Should Choose

One of the best things about shopping for bathroom tiling is that there is such a wide variety of styles and sizes available.  It is important to bear in mind that just because a certain style or design looks beautiful on paper, it doesn’t mean it will on the walls or floor of your bathroom.  You also need to consider the size of the bathroom as not all types of tiles will look good in every bathroom.  Before you hire anyone or lay any tiles you need to take a sample and really give thought to how your bathroom will look when it’s finished.

The majority of interior design professionals will recommend that you avoid using larger sized tiles in a smaller bathroom, as it can make the room look and feel small.  When the truth is that you can have just as many problems when you opt for smaller sized tiles.  As smaller tiles will mean more grout lines and a grid-like look, it can make you feel boxed in, in a small bathroom.  It is best to find a happy medium between large and small tiles.

Can You Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger Using Tiles?

The short answer is yes, but it really depends on the the style of tile you choose.  A well-known industry tip is that you can make a room look bigger by decorating it with lighter colours.  So consider using lighter shades and colours such as creams and whites.  Even if you mix up the colours and have dark with some light, like white and black tiles, you need to ensure that at least 50% of  them are light.

The Number Of Tiles You Need

Before you go out or log online to buy bathroom tiles you should figure out how many tiles you will actually need to complete the room.  There are various tile calculators online that make finding the information very easy.  These take the measurements and dimensions of your bathroom to calculate the correct number.  If you don’t fancy doing it that way, you could take your bathroom’s dimensions along to your nearest tile retailer.  Regardless of how you measure for the number, always add 10% to that number to buy enough tiles to cover pattern matching, waste, cuttings and breakages.

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Let’s be honest – once your toddler starts walking, talking, and playing around the house, keeping your home clean, tidy, and stylish can become a bit of a challenge. But while you will most certainly have to give up some control (and will find yourself regularly craving a holiday weekend away to restore the balance), having kids doesn’t mean you have to compromise your eye for interior design. It simply means that you have to rethink your attitude a little. From minimalist design ideas, to easy origami animals for kids to create – here are four tips on how to give your home some style, co-designed by your children.

Choose your statement pieces – but make sure they’re resilient

Living with kids doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in nice furniture, but it is important to choose pieces that are sturdy enough to handle some wear and tear, without needing a professional clean every other week. Go for dark colours, leather, and patterned fabrics instead of cream coloured suede if you want to invest in a designer piece. When it comes to coffee tables and cabinets, think practical and go for smooth shapes rather than sharp corners. By thinking outside the box, you might even stumble upon a great piece of furniture that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Learn how to curate your kid’s art

Kids love painting and arts and crafts. No wonder – it’s a fun activity that teaches them valuable manual skills and is great to relax kids that tend to get stressed and worried. But if your kids are proud of what they have created, they will most likely want to see it up on a wall for everyone to admire. Whilst you might be hesitant at first to give your kid that prime spot in the living room that you had reserved for some “real art”, it’s time to shift that mindset. The trick is to curate your kid’s art so only selected paintings or projects make it up on the wall. This will not only make sure that you can pick and choose which art works will complement your home, but it will also instill a real sense of pride in the chosen artist.

Encourage variety

If your kids tend to stick to the same watercolour style every time they dig out the craft utensils, it might be time for you to show them what else is out there. You could, for example, introduce them to the art of origami – whilst it sounds difficult and fiddly, a lot of origami is simple, straightforward, and suitable for kids. Take a look at these easy origami animals for kids that you can make together. Another idea is to start a collage art project with your children. You can use family photos, magazine cutouts, or pictures you have printed to make collage art. Why not for example make a family calendar? You can buy plain white calendars in every art shop. Once you start to embark on bigger art projects such as these with your kids, the results will surprise you – and look surprisingly great on your kitchen wall.

Keep it simple

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you try to create a style for your home is that it’s crucial to go for simplicity over clutter. A minimalist look for your flat or your house is always great, but it’s almost essential when you have small children playing in the living room and spreading their toys out in the kitchen. By keeping it simple, not only will your kids have fewer opportunities to knock things over when things get a little wild. But it also means that even if they spread out all their toys next to the couch, the room won’t feel to messy and cluttered, and cleaning things up after will be an easy and quick affair.

From easy origami animals for kids, to simple storage solutions – having children doesn’t have to be a hindrance to your interior design. There are loads of ways your family can enhance the look and feel of your home – give one of these simple ideas a go and see what you can achieve.

8 Benefits of Using a Letting Agent

8 Benefits of Using a Letting Agent

If you’re a landlord, you may have considered using a letting agent to help you in your venture. They aren’t compulsory, but they can make the process of letting a property a whole lot easier. There are both pros and cons of course, but this post is going to focus on 8 benefits you can enjoy from working with a letting agent:

They’ll Help You to Prepare Your Property

Your property needs to be properly prepared if you’re going to let it out. You need to have the proper checks in place, such as making sure there are no fire hazards due to furniture or electrical appliances. You should also have certificates in place to support this.

They’ll Sort Out Your Inventory

You’re likely to leave some things in the property, such as cabinets, carpets, and maybe a sofa. If you find a letting agent in Wolverhampton, they’ll more than likely have employees who specialise in taking inventory. This is very important, so you can make sure nothing is missing or damaged when your tenant moves out.

They’ll Take Care of the Deposit

In your tenancy agreement, you’ll require a deposit for any repairs and maintenance that need to be done when your tenant leaves. If the repairs are light wear and tear, your tenant will get the deposit back. If they haven’t looked after the house, you are entitled to keep the deposit for repairs. The letting agent will take care of all of this and keep it in a government scheme for you, as stated by law.

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photo source: Flickr

They’ll Check The Property Every So Often

Every so often, a good letting agent will check on the property and come back with home reports to make sure that your tenant isn’t having wild parties and trashing the place.

They’ll Take Care of Repairs

If repairs do need to be taken care of, and they more than likely will, your letting agent will do this for you too. It’ll be much nicer than you having a phone call at 4am, with your tenant frantically telling you they have a leak.

They’ll Get You a Tenant Quickly

Letting agents are likely to be able to get you a tenant much quicker than you can. Your property should be occupied in no time.

They’ll Vet Your Tenant

Although the letting agent will get your property occupied quickly, they won’t shove any old person in there. They will vet your tenant, doing all of the proper background checks to make sure that they are respectable.

They’ll Give You Peace of Mind

Do to everything a letting agent can do for you, you’ll have peace of mind that your property is well taken care of. I advise you meet your tenant at least once; perhaps when they look around the property for the first time. This way, you know who is taking care of your property.

People have different opinions on letting agents, but you can’t deny that they make a landlord’s life much easier!

Moving Up on the Property Ladder: Is Now the Time to Upgrade Your Home?

Moving Up on the Property Ladder: Is Now the Time to Upgrade Your Home?

With a growing brood and an ever-growing family, there never seems to be enough space in the home. Kids are not just kids. They come with toys, books, clothes and other stuff. As they get older, the problem seems to intensify! Children take up a lot of space in the family home. With this in mind, you may be considering moving house. A house with more space is always needed with an expanding family. The property market, in the UK, has slowly been recovering. This means that more and more people are keen to move house and upgrade to their dream family home.

But, is now the right time to move property? Let’s find out.

Moving Up the Property Ladder

Moving up onto your next property is a significant step. But, for expanding families, space is always welcome. It is needed, in fact. Whether this is your second home or your twelfth, you need to think about the implications, as well as the benefits, of moving house. After all, moving home is cited as the most stressful thing an adult can do.

When the credit crunch hit in 2008, some homeowners found themselves in the unfortunate position. Negative equity became the homeowner’s burden. With the inevitable rising costs of property, the consumer need for larger properties took a hit. But, the economy is rising once again. Now just is the perfect time to start afresh in an upgraded property.

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Check Your Property Prices

Having a substantive knowledge of the local property market will serve you well. You need to ensure that you have the money to fill the shortfall of your next property. It is said that the average cost of an upgrade is 32%. This means that you are likely to pay over £40,000 more for your next property. You need to ensure that you have the finances in place in order to move. What’s more, you need to consider whether now is the right time to move.

Value Your Home

Negative equity didn’t affect all homeowners. On the contrary, some people have profited from the credit crunch. With this in mind, you need to make sure that you are aware of the real and present costs of your property. A residential property search in Seaton, for example, can ensure that you are au fait with the local figures of housing. Of course, tailor this to your location accordingly for real costs. The best place to check your current valuation is on the online market. An estate agent will be able to assist you with this too.

Your New Mortgage: Money Matters

Buying a bigger property means that you need to assess your mortgage. You may have to put in for a larger loan. Ensure that you are checking out the latest deals. You don’t have to go with your current mortgage provider so that you can move. Interest rates are at an all time low. For those who are current homeowners, now is the perfect time to move. But, do factor in the additional costs of your mortgage into your budget. Fixed rate deals are perfect for those that want to upgrade and move up on the property ladder. You will also need a 10% deposit for your new home.

What to Look For When Viewing a Rental Property

What to Look For When Viewing a Rental Property

Viewing a rental property can be exciting and daunting in equal measure. There might be lots of people waiting to see the house or flat you’re interested in, and so you may have to make a quick decision. If you get this right, you could land the perfect pad. On the other hand, if you make a mistake, you may miss out on the ideal home or end up with the wrong property.

It’s important to know your rights as a renter and to have a clear head when you’re viewing homes. This brief guide will help ensure you know what to look for.

Check for maintenance issues

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When you’re walking around rental homes in Gorleston, make sure you look for any potential maintenance issues. Pay particular attention to details like bathroom and kitchen fixtures and fittings. It’s also worth having a look at gutters, windows and roofs to see if there are any obvious problems.

Make sure you run the taps, flush the toilet and test the shower to make sure they all work too, and try opening the windows.

The last thing you want to do is move into a property that’s falling apart. If you see potential problems, don’t be afraid to raise the issue with the owner or letting agent.

See how much storage there is

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the property suits your style requirements. However, it’s also crucial to focus on practical points. For example, note how much storage there is. You don’t want to sign a lease only to realise you’ll have to ditch half your belongings to squeeze into your new place.

Bear in mind that you can add storage solutions like wardrobes and shelving, but you’ll need enough square footage to fit the items in.

Check heating and insulation

Heating and insulation are other key points to consider. Check to see if the property is double-glazed and ask about the age and condition of the boiler and central heating system. Bear in mind that this could have a major impact on your bills. If your rental property is drafty or suffers from inefficient heating, you could end up spending a fortune throughout the winter.

Make sure you feel secure

Another top tip when viewing properties is to check for any security measures. You’ll no doubt want good quality door locks and well-designed windows.

The surrounding area should feel safe too. Bear in mind that places can seem very different during the day than they do at night. With this in mind, it’s helpful to visit the area after sunset to see whether or not you feel safe there. This will have a big impact on your quality of life, so it’s worth making the extra effort.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the issues you need to look out for when you’re viewing rental properties, but it’s a good start. By taking advantage of the property advice available online, you can help ensure you choose the right home for you.

How To Turn Your Home Into A Fun Space For Your Child’s Birthday Party

How To Turn Your Home Into A Fun Space For Your Child’s Birthday Party

You children aren’t going to be young forever. Pretty soon they will fly the nest, and their youth will be gone. For that reason, it’s vitally important you make the most out of your time together. Birthdays are always going to be special, which is why we thought it might be a good idea to publish a post that gives you some great ideas about transforming your home. While some parents choose to make party bookings at activity centres and the like, that can cost a lot of money. Considering that, we think it’s much better to hold your child’s birthday celebrations at home.

Take a few moments to read through some of the ideas we’ve listed below, and organising the perfect party for your child should become far simpler. We’ve done our best to make things simple for you. The suggestions in this post could help to make your home a much more fun environment for everyone who attends. While you could give their room a makeover for the big day, it’s, usually, better to keep the activities downstairs.

Get lots of party decorations

You might not get too excited by having banners that say, “happy birthday” all over your front door, but your child is guaranteed to love it. You can also get these for the walls inside your home. Perhaps it might be wise to get some streamers and other items too? You see, it’s all about getting them excited about their special occasion.

Design some personalised balloons

While most parents simply purchase a cheap multi-pack of balloons for their child’s birthday party, you could go one step further. Why not get some personalised ones with their name on. You could even have their face put on the balloons if you think they would appreciate it. Ten years ago, you might have had to travel long distances to make that happen. However, thanks to www.balloonsgalore.co.uk and other similar websites, you can now have them delivered to your door.

Put on a nice spread

There is little point in cooking posh meals for the children attending your party. Most of them will have no interest in sitting down to eat when there are lots of fun activities going on. With that in mind, you should make a buffet so kids can eat as and when they feel like it. Just do some sandwiches and nibbles! Remember though, some children will have different dietary requirements, and so it might be wise to speak with their parents beforehand.

Select a suitable playlist

Most children listen to the radio these days, and so everyone at your party should be familiar with songs that are currently in the charts. Even so, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase a standard party CD. The hokey-cokey never gets old.

As you can clearly see, you have your work cut-out. Arranging a children’s party in your home is going to take a lot of time and careful preparation. However, everything should go to plan, so long as you start work straight away.

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The Lowdown on Home Reports

The Lowdown on Home Reports

Home reports are often confusing for those that are in the middle of buying or selling property. The financial terminology is one thing to get to grips with, but official reports are another. The whole process can be headache inducing. In 2014 and beyond, there is going to be a significant onus on home reports. This is going to be soon being an important part of the property market. You will need to get to grips with this, so that you can ensure that you are armed with all of the facts when you are in the midst of selling your home.

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This image has been sourced from Scott Maxwell via Flickr

What you need is a no-nonsense guide that can assist you. Here is the skinny on home reports and why they are so important.

Home Reports 101

Home reports are becoming an integral part of the moving house process. When you are in the middle of selling your home, the last thing you want to be thinking about is surveying and reporting on your property. However, you will not be allowed to advertise the sale of your home without a home report. The importance of this document cannot be stressed enough.

From the Buyers Perspective

As a buyer, you want to know that your money is being spent on a worthwhile product. After all, the buying and selling of property should be treated as an investment. As a buyer of any commodity, you need to know that your cash has not been invested poorly. Customers can rest in the knowledge that home reports are becoming more prevalent within the property market. This means that you can have all of the pertinent information on your investment prior to purchase. This allows buyers to make a sound judgement call before they invest their money.

As a Seller of the Property

Home reports enable people to sell their property in a more robust way. You should be aware that you need to seek out the services of surveyors in order to get this task completed. This is not a job that can be undertaken via the DIY route.

What is Included in a Home Report?

The report includes many factors about the property. It will detail the condition of the property. This will be assessed on the infrastructure as well as the interior and exterior of the property. The report will include information on the market valuation of the house. This is to ensure that the house is, sold at a fair price. What is more, the property will be assessed on its energy efficiency. Detailed Harvey Donaldson and Gibson home reports can be obtained. This is to ensure that your home meets the current criteria.

Important Information on Home Reports

You need to be aware that home reports must not be any older than 12 weeks when the property is advertised for sale. However, they do not have an ‘expiry date.’ It is up to you whether you decide to update them in due course. You are also not obliged to fix the problems that are found within the report. But, they are reported so that potential buyers are aware of any issues.

Treat Your Children To The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover – They Deserve It

Treat Your Children To The Ultimate Bedroom Makeover – They Deserve It

A child’s bedroom is one of the best places to decorate in a home because we can have fun with it. It is one place that we must often redo because as the child grows, so do their interests. It is just a natural part of growing up.

We can have fun in there by thinking back to when we were young and introducing features that we always wanted. There are many DIY chain stores out there that offer fantastic products, so it is easy to find inspiration when we run out of ideas. There are no fixed rules when dealing with a room or children; have fun with the project. Let your imagination fly, and treat your children to the ultimate bedroom makeover. Here are some ideas to help you on your way.

Wallpaper Mural

When we speak about wallpaper murals, it conjures up an image of ducks flying in formation over a green landscape. Modern murals are much more than that. Thanks to the digital age, we can take pictures and view the results on a computer screen. Are you aware that there are companies that will make a mural from your digital photographs? In fact, they will print any image for you. Maybe the kids have a favourite hero or television program. Those characters could adorn one wall in the room. If you find an image, make sure that you have the right to use it. Companies could be fined heavily if they printed a picture that is under copyright.

Furniture

The beds are the biggest items of furniture in the room. Think about giving them something special. Take some sketches to your local joinery and see if they can make the bed to your specifications. The one in the image is amazing; can you do better? It could be a spaceship or bunk bed bus. The possibilities are endless. You might want to ask the joinery to come up with a matching wardrobe too.

The children will probably have friends to stay overnight at some point, so get a sofa bed from Multiyork or your local outlet. The kids will have somewhere to sit and watch TV in the day, and somewhere for their friends to sleep at night. It is wise to buy one with removable covers too, you know how kids are.

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Sarah Embaby

Entertainment

We spoke about the digital age earlier. You can help your child get ahead in the world of information technology by installing a computer, television, and DVD player in their room. They will be able to talk to their friends online, play games, and stream movies from the internet. Some people shudder at the thought of this idea, but with the correct parental safeguards in place, it is essential to their education. Many children have this equipment already, and your little ones might be at a disadvantage if you do not give them the tools they need.

I think you will agree that you dreamed of such a room as this when you were a child. Living standards improve over the generations, and everyone strives to give their children the things that they never had themselves. Are we spoiling them? That will be the subject of debate for eternity. You must do what feels right; only then can you have a clear conscience.