Category Archives: Inspiration

5 Functional Yet Stylish Home Redesign Tips

Whether you’ve finally got a foot on the property ladder or you’re more of a casual renter, you’ll be well aware that it takes a little effort to turn a house into a home. But from forking out for renovation fees to overhauling a property with someone else’s name on the mortgage, this is easier said than done.

In today’s post, we’re showing you how you can revolutionise your interior without having to break the bank.

  1. Get smart with storage

In an age where technology is very much a part of our everyday lives, more and more homes are seeing an increase in tech usage – and with this comes more gadgets, wires and ‘stuff’ in general. This leads to the need for extra space to store these additional possessions – so how can you find more space in an already busy home?

It pays to do some research if you’re looking for those lesser-known hacks, but we would recommend working room by room. Add clips to any desks to keep charging wires stored neatly away, utilise door hangers in bedrooms, pegboards in the kitchen and the inside of cupboard doors throughout your home to create a touch more space while also keeping things tidy.

  1. Maximise shelf space

Image: Pixabay

From chunky wooden units to sleek white cabinets, shelving can be incorporated into any room in the home, offering both style and practicality – but are you using it to full effect? While we’re not suggesting you pack your shelves with odds and ends, it’s not unlikely that you’re failing to truly maximise this space.

Before you simply remove items from every surface and transfer them to your shelves, start with a declutter. Ask yourself if your accessories are needed in that room or if they’re adding to the space’s aesthetic. If the answer to both of these questions is no, then consider repurposing them or giving them to charity – rather than storing them on a shelving unit where they’ll simply gather dust.

  1. Invest in multi-use fixtures & fittings

When it comes to standard fixtures and fittings, move away from thinking that a single furniture item has just a single function. For example, can a footstool double up as a storage unit? Do you need a large dining table or can you invest in a smaller one that folds out or allows chairs to be tucked neatly away underneath?

Beds are an obvious area for space saving, particularly if you have small children and their toys seem to multiply overnight! Mesh nets can also be an effective option for family homes, allowing you to attach them to various walls throughout the house so you can store bath toys, shoes and other objects with ease.

  1. Upcycle tired furniture

 

Image: Pixabay

 If you’re creatively minded, you’ll be able to find upcycling opportunities in just about every room in your home. Whether you’re hanging onto used wine bottles and turning them into stylish candle holders or sanding down and repainting tired-looking drawers, a little imagination will go a long way when it comes to redesigning your home.

For items that seem beyond repair, put your DIY skills to the test – you’ll soon find you can achieve more than you first thought. Rather than throwing away a table with broken legs, why not attach it to a wall? This will save space and money, as you won’t need to shell out for a new one. Old sofa cushions can be repurposed to create comfortable dining chairs, while mounted ladders can create additional wall storage – the possibilities are endless.

  1. Switch up your floor plan

In your quest for a functional yet stylish interior, don’t neglect floor space. Keep in mind that smaller spaces will benefit from less clutter, so, where possible, elevate your home accessories to free up your floor. This could be as simple as switching a floor lamp for spotlights or saying goodbye to free-standing bookcases in favour of floating shelves.

Something as seemingly insignificant as rearranging your furniture or mounting your TV onto the wall can completely alter a room’s aesthetic – so if you’re at a loss as to where to start with your redesign, consider these minor updates first.

Final tips

For homeowners: it’s wise to think in terms of long-term investments. Whether this is laminate flooring that requires little maintenance (as opposed to carpets which can become dirty and worn down more easily) or granite worktops that are designed to stand the test of time in your kitchen, keep the future in mind before you part with your hard-earned cash.

For renters: avoid splashing out on costly updates that you’ll be forced to leave behind when you move on. Consider curtains instead of blinds, (as these can be more easily tailored to fit your new windows) and use protectors on the bottom of furniture to avoid indentations in flooring. This will all serve to help you keep the property looking pristine, without any added expense when you move out.

Remember: if you are investing in some home design updates, find a tradesperson you can trust first.

Content provided by Ian Roberts, PR Executive for Stone Genie, premium quartz, Corian and granite worktop  specialists.

 

Top 5 tips to save energy at home

Energy saving and eco-friendliness are hot topics right now. With the government setting up new rules and regulations (such as Boiler Plus) which promote energy conservation, many homeowners are seeking to adopt a more cost-effective and environmentally aware lifestyle*.

If you think you could do with toning down on your household’s energy usage, here’s a list of the top 5 ways we believe you could save energy at home:

  1. Install an A-rated boiler ­– Getting an A-rated combi boiler installed into your home is typically a great way of saving energy. Most modern boilers are condensing, which means that they are designed to recover and reuse as much energy as possible, potentially preventing excessive energy wastage. Some new boilers also have key features such as user-friendly controls and smart thermostat compatibility which are designed to make controlling and monitoring your central heating system quick and easy tasks. You could therefore keep a close eye on your home heating settings and ensure that it is not in use when it needn’t be.
  2. Insulation – There are plenty of areas within your home that could be insulated. This includes your walls, roof, loft and floors. Insulation generally helps reduce unwanted heat loss or heat gain by providing a barrier between inside your home and the conditions outside to help keep temperatures constant. This could help you save energy as your appliances potentially won’t have to work as hard to keep your home at your desired temperature.
  3. Replace your lightbulbs – According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting contributes to 15% of the average household’s electricity bill. By switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs such as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), which typically require less wattage, you could conserve more energy and potentially save up to £35 a year on your electricity bills (Energy Saving Trust).
  4. Get a smart thermostat – Smart thermostats are intelligent devices which are designed to connect to your home heating system and provide a more convenient way of heating your home. Smart thermostats, such as those manufactured by brands link Nest or Netatmo, have built-in motion sensors which are designed to monitor your central heating habits to create daily heating schedules that fit your lifestyle. In addition to this, these smart gadgets are also designed to be compatible with most smartphones and tablets, so you could access and control your heating whilst on the go! You could never have to worry about leaving your heating on again!
  5. Turn off appliances that aren’t in use – Not only could this be one of the best ways of saving energy in your home, but it’s also generally the easiest! Ensuring that you turn off your appliances when you’re not using them is not only a quick and easy task, but it could also cost nothing to do. According to a 2014 article by the Energy Saving Trust, Britain could save £1.7 billion a year by switching their appliances off of standby, with each home apparently having the potential to save around £30 a year (Energy Saving Trust). Turning your appliances off of standby could be a quick fix for homeowners looking to reduce their household energy bills.

Reducing your energy wastage could not only benefit you and your finances, but it could also have a positive impact on the environment. Reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your energy bills are amongst the list of potential advantages that could come with trying any of our 5 tips*. Making the decision to try one (or all of them) could be the first step to you saving energy in your home and boosting your property’s energy-efficiency.

* http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/boiler-replacement

Content provided by Help-link.co.uk

5 Reasons to Consider a New Bathroom Installation

Home renovations in general, take a lot of time, money and patience – even more so when its an important room in the house such as the bathroom. Your bathroom should be a place of serenity and relaxation, it should be a place where you want to go after all its more than likely the first room you visit on a morning and the last place you visit on a night.

If your bathroom fills you with dread and makes you want to be in and out as quickly as possible then it could be time for a remodel.

We’ve gathered our top five signs in which you should be on the lookout for, suggesting you should think about getting a new bathroom installed.

Worn Out?

Along with the kitchen the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house, it goes without saying your bathroom will be in need of some TLC. There does come a point where something has to be done, for example if your tile grout is flaking or mould and moisture damage is occurring it may be time to give your bathroom a refresh, along with these not making your bathroom look appealing there could be potential health hazards, making it important to get it sorted.

Fancy a Change?

One of the most popular reasons people visit Solutions plumbing and heating for remodelling a bathroom is due to a change in circumstances within the family. Young families with children tend to rework their bathrooms to accommodate the newer additions to their family, adding more storage space and usually a larger bath if they don’t already have one. Along with new families, a new bathroom maybe beneficial to an elderly homeowner with reduced mobility who may find it difficult to get in and out of the bath, they might benefit more from a walk-in bath or shower.

Is It Functional?

Although the aesthetics of your bathroom are important, functionality must always come first. These sorts of issues usually arise from the decisions of the previous owner, however your thoughts and circumstances maybe completely different to the previous owners. Instead of putting up with them why not do something about them? You would be surprised at some of the dysfunctional bathrooms that are out there, especially in smaller homes.

In Style?

If your bathroom hasn’t been touched for a few years, it may just need a bit of a facelift. Styles and tastes can change at a rapid rate, sometimes a room can benefit from a little revamp. You don’t have to stand for that bright flowery wallpaper the previous owners left you with, its time to make your own mark on the room. Small changes such as little fixtures, the wallpaper or even the shower curtain can make a huge difference to your bathroom.

Is the Lighting Right?

When getting ready in the morning the last thing you want is poor lighting to make things even more difficult. The lighting in a bathroom is crucial, it can be as simple as adding a couple of new fixtures or as extravagant as installing a sky light. Your bathroom should always be a bright and well-lit space, but should be dimmable allowing you to create different moods depending on the time of day and who is using the bathroom, after all your bathroom should be a relaxing place where you can unwind after a long stressful day.

I Need a New Bathroom, What Next?

If you’ve read through our top 5 considerations on a new bathroom installation, and agreed to one or more of our reasons why, it could be time to reconsider your bathroom layout. At Solutions Plumbing and Heating we give you the freedom you are looking for. We will work closely with you to ensure the finished product is everything you expected and more.

Will a New Bathroom Installation Be Expensive?

At Solutions Plumbing and Heating, we price every project based on the amount of work involved. By visiting your property and seeing first hand what you need doing, we will be able to provide you with a more accurate quote. We always recommend one of our team members to come and visit your home to assess the amount of work needing to be done, however quotes can be given through email or over the phone if we receive the layout and measurements it also helps if we have photos and if possible images of the facilities you’d like us to install.

How Long Do Bathroom Installations Take

Each bathroom installation varies on the amount of work involved, an installation can take anywhere between a couple of weeks or a few days depending on what needs to be done to complete the project. You might then be asking yourself if a new bathroom installation will cause disruptions in your home? Here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating we will try and disrupt as little as possible when installing your new bathroom, our service includes fitting dust sheets to protect your home, we are professional technicians who offer a top-quality service, we will respect your property and remove any old bathroom equipment to leave your new bathroom looking clean and brand new.

Why Choose Solutions Heating and Plumbing?

Our friendly and professional team offer a caring service that stands out, we believe that the entire project is focused on your vision of a bathroom that you will cherish. Solutions Heating and Plumbing have over 20 years’ experience, we understand what it takes to provide a bathroom installation service in which you are completely happy with.

We believe we should be your first choice when considering a new bathroom installation, here’s a few reasons why;

  • Care and attention with each installation
  • Excellent customer service
  • Reliable installations, repairs and maintenance
  • Comprehensive plumbing services
  • Experience from installing a range of bathrooms and bathroom furnishings

If you believe that your bathroom is in need of a bit of a makeover, please feel free to get in touch with us here at Solutions Plumbing and Heating let us help you turn your bathroom into a special sanctuary which you actually look forward to winding down in. Give one of our friendly team members a call today on 07825 268097.

5 Ways To Embrace Vintage Interior Design In Your Home

Image: Unsplash

All things vintage are en vogue at the moment, and this is especially true for furniture. If you’re a homeowner in need of some style inspiration for your new home (or even a place you’ve lived in for decades) then we have you covered.

 In this quick guide courtesy of the antique and furniture experts at Featonby’s, we’ll show you how to embrace this vibrant furniture trend in your home.

1. Small-scale furniture overhaul

When homeowners think of getting new furniture, they often imagine the difficulty of moving out well-loved old sofas and replacing them with new flat pack furniture that can take an age (and an engineering degree) to construct.

However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t invest in somesmall-scalefurniture options like end tables and small bookcases. These items are portable enough to move from room to room, meaning that a vintage-savvy homeowner can do a style switch-up in any room with ease.

2. Art – to make the space your own

If you’ve recently moved in to your first house, the walls can seem a little bare. Of course, there are a lot of wall decoration options out there, and the choices can be dizzying. Our solution is that you should consider diving into the vintage art market for some bespoke pieces to really make your home unique. You don’t have to be a millionaire to bid on art at an auction, as all manner of budget-friendly pieces are auctioned off every day up and down the country.

The satisfaction of owning a piece of handcrafted art, and appreciating it every day in your home, is undoubtedly one of the finer things in life.

3. Functional vintage

Of course, investing in vintage chic doesn’t have to mean investing in objects that have no purpose other than looking pretty and making your home look fantastic. If you value form and function, there are plenty of options out there for you.

Functional vintage pieces, such as old-school coffee machines or classic fine china from manufacturers such as Denby or Meissen are a great investment. Even built-to-last kitchenware such as Le Creuset pots are considered vintage chic nowadays, so the next time you’re after something functional for your home, cast the net a little wider and think about investing in a vintage piece.

4. Harness the vinyl renaissance

The recent vinyl boom shows no sign of slowing, which means that a huge amount of vintage record players and dusty old LPs are cutting-edge at the moment. This is an ideal vintage style option as you don’t have to invest in a bulky old-school turntable, just the records will do and modern turntables are fairly cheap.

Display your favourite iconic album covers in frames on your walls or just play the music out loud for a fun throwback that’ll have you loving forgotten classics all over again.

5. Glassware & Vases

Vases and other glassware in vintage styles are another type of vintage chic gaining traction, and they look good just about anywhere in the home. High-quality vintage brands to look out for include anything related to the Murano Glass of Italy and art deco British companies such as Sowerby and Bagley.

 Murano Glass is derived from the Italian island of Murano near Venice, which benefited from the area’s artistic heritage to boom in the 1950s and 60s, and pieces from the region are held in high regard today – so keep your eyes peeled for delicately crafted glass vases in riotous colours.

Of course, the best way to find vintage interior design pieces is to get out there in the markets and auctions and scan for something that’ll really make your house a home.

 

Alex Jones is a content creator at Featonby’s, a specialist antiques and collectibles auction house based in North Tyneside, England

The inspiration starts here…with a visit to Grand Designs Live

 

Grand Designs Live, proudly sponsored by Anglian Home Improvements, returns to London’s ExCeL from 5 – 13 May 2018. Whether you’re planning a self-build, renovation or are adding the finishing touches, this unique event offers visitors a chance to discover the latest innovations, explore this year’s trends and preview unseen products.

Presented by Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, the show is the ultimate day out for any budding grand designer. From free expert advice, new product launches and over 500 specialist exhibitors in six project zones, there is something for every home project at this multi-award winning event.

Claim your FREE tickets!

We have teamed up with Grand Designs Live to offer you FREE weekday tickets and £10 weekend tickets to the event (saving up to £17)*

Simply visit www.granddesignslive.com, follow the link to book your tickets and enter the code CHECK2018 to claim!

*T&C’s: Valid on standard admission tickets only. Tickets must be booked in advance before midnight on 12 May 2018. Saving is based on door rate ticket prices. Free weekday tickets valid between 8 –11 May 2018 only. Subject to limited availability, tickets allocated on a first come-first served basis. £10 weekend tickets incur a £1.70 transaction fee.

Free tickets to The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show!

If you are planning an extension, halfway through updating your interior or dream of building a sustainable house from scratch, a visit to The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show from 1-2 July 2017, at Sandown Park, Surrey, will give you practical help to turn your ambitions into reality.

Across two full days, visitors can speak to over 220 exhibitors and access more than 500+ advice sessions, 20+ free masterclasses on essential topics which can tackle any problem, from implementing the latest intelligent security systems to funding a remodelling project.

Resident property specialists will be on hand to help people with all building and renovating queries and leading companies will be exhibiting their latest ranges of services and products from an array of industries including architecture; design; financial topics; kitchens; bathrooms; doors and windows; lighting; heating; ventilation; planning permission and much more. The show venue will become a useful platform for all consumers who are facing similar challenges throughout all stages of their projects, as they can soak up advice and guidance and take inspiration from successful case studies.

 

To claim a free pair of tickets usually worth £24 (price in advance), follow this link www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/checkatrade, insert your details and print your tickets to bring to the show.

Please note that tickets must be redeemed before the link expires on 3PM 30 June 2017. Additional T&Cs apply: www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/terms

Revive Your Home With A Spot of Summer DIY by Craig Phillips

The completion of a long DIY project is a very satisfying feeling, days, weeks, even months of demanding work culminating in a lasting piece of furniture or a change to the home. Summer is the perfect time to put those long-standing plans into action and make your ideas a reality, even if it’s just a spot of painting!

If you’re fresh to DIY, don’t let the idea of an arduous project or lack of experience with the requisite tools hold you back. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your home or garden, without any prior experience. Here are just a few ways to change up your property this summer…

Make use of a bright day and get creative with your home

Yes, while most will see a bright, summer’s day and flock to beaches or parks for a leisurely day, a spot of clear dry weather can be the perfect moment for an opportune piece of DIY. If you fancy adding a fresh lick of paint to your walls, it’s a great time to shift furniture into gardens and will also allow rooms to fully air out. Perhaps if you’ve worked on a summer house or other outdoor unit, it can be fully utilised between your DIY breaks.

Bring plants indoors

And for those rainy days, it can be great to have a bit of life indoors, primarily with plants! They can brighten a room and freshen it up, both visually and literally by keeping air temperatures down and reducing airborne dust levels. There are plenty of innovative ways of showing off your new additions too, with hanging up a few lighter greens on rope shelving or even hanging them from a spray painted wooden or plastic dowel rod. Stylish and healthy!

Recycling!

Using old furniture, perhaps not fit for its original purpose anymore, is a brilliant way to do things both on the cheap and it’ll give you a unique piece too, that may even become the envy of your home. Trends involve using old doors, re-painting them and shaping them to become a new bed backboard, while wood plank crates can have metal legs attached to create rustic-looking shelving and side tables. Repurposing dilapidated pieces is a great way to express your creativity and improve your skills, too.

Get creative with wall art

Livening up your walls is a fantastic way to change your home up with very little effort. But rather than spending small fortunes on pieces of art, you’d be just as well to get creative, mounting an artsy shower curtain onto a wooden frame could do the trick. If you don’t have a spare shower curtain lying about, you could use wooden boxes and picture frames to create a shelfing/wall art hybrid, practical and good to look at.

Are you indulging in any big DIY improvement projects this summer season?

 

 

This blog was provided by Craig Phillips.

Get Your Home In-Law Ready This Christmas!

With those chilly mornings and evenings drawing in, it can mean only one thing – the countdown to Christmas is on!

While the festive season is a great time to get together with friends and family, it can also be a stressful time. With so much to think about in terms of planning and preparation, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.

family-christmas-smal

Add to this, guests staying at your home for a couple of days and you have the recipe for a potentially stressful situation!

The key, of course, to a successful festive break is to get organised in plenty of time. While I can’t help you decide what to get your Great Aunt Alice this year, I can share some of my top tips for getting your home guest-ready.

If you do have guests coming to visit, the most important thing to consider is where they will sleep. Ideally this will be a room of their own. Not only will this give them a space of their own to escape to for some quiet time but will also be the perfect place to store all their luggage and gifts.

If your spare room is looking a little neglected, don’t panic! There is still plenty of time to get it ship-shape and in-law ready!

Of course in an ideal world, getting your home ready for guests would require little more than a clean and tidy. However many of you may be faced with a much larger project.

Firstly, if your spare room is a dumping ground then spend an afternoon sorting it out and store what you can in the loft space. Invest in some basic storage solutions such as lidded plastic boxes to neatly store and stack everything else away.

couple-small

Once the space is tidy, you can see what you are working with. Firstly check the walls – are they in good repair? If the walls are papered and seen better days, you will need to strip them.
From here, assess the quality of the plaster. While it may seem like a big job, giving the walls a light skim will leave them looking smooth and fresh and offer the perfect base for painting.

Re-plastering the walls will require the skills of a professional plasterer, visit www.checkatrade.com to find a trusted and approved plasterer in your area.

Whether your walls need plastering or not, if the room has been left untouched for a while it will most likely require an update of the décor.
The easiest way to achieve this is with a coat of paint, while this is something a competent DIYer can do themselves. For those short on time or unwilling to tackle the project, a professional decorator can be called upon to paint walls, ceilings and woodwork to a high standard.

With the décor refreshed, you should next consider storage for the room. Not only will this make your guests stay more comfortable but it will be useful all-year round.
If your room is especially small or unusual in shape, consider inviting a joiner to design bespoke storage for the space.

With over 23,000 vetted tradespeople including plumbers, decorators and electricians, Checkatrade.com is the perfect place to start when it comes to getting your home ready in time for Christmas!

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By Craig Phillips
Checkatrade Ambassador

The Ultimate Eco Drive Challenge – 2000 Miles Across Europe Using Limited Fuel!

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This Friday (2nd September) two teams from Whiteboxvan.uk will begin their 2000-mile trip across Europe in cars they purchased for £250. They are hoping to raise £2000 for the Sussex Community foundation, a charity that helps fund community groups tackling deprivation and disadvantage.

map

Starting at Whitebox HQ in Lancing, West Sussex the two teams will be driving across Europe as economically as possible, time penalties will be added for every refuel. Using their skills to keep the fuel stops to a minimum, they will cover approx. 500 miles per day. First car back to HQ is the winner.

“It’s fantastic that companies like Whitebox are willing to give their time to help support the local community”. Miranda Kemp, Sussex Community Foundation.

The eco run will take place betw een Friday 2nd until Monday 5th September. To ensure that no one misses out on the action the whole event is to be filmed by Punchy Pictures. For more information about the Sussex Community Foundation see their website or view the interview.  More information about the eco run is available via  http://www.whiteboxuk.co.uk/eco-run-96-w.asp & https://localgiving.org/appeal/WhiteboxUK/

For further information, please contact [email protected]. 07818 414758.

Family weekend!

Where to start?  I recently spent a long weekend with family and part of it with friends, I have a huge family with 4 siblings 10 nieces and nephews along with an extended family of what feels like hundreds of Aunts, Uncles, cousins, second cousins, second cousins twice removed……….

When we were young I relished time with my family, we had similar interests, sense of humour and in the 70’s no digital games just a garden hose, jacks (someone will explain if you don’t know this) a tennis ball in a pair of my Mum’s stockings so we could play ‘my mother say’s (again ask someone)

Now as adults we all have different interests, ego’s, we live in a digital age that we all feel we must check constantly, we have our own family that are of course the best at everything in our eyes and we are happy to shoot anyone down who may think differently. Our children don’t have the same bond with their second cousins because we have all moved to different areas of the country and even different continents, this leads to stilted conversation sometimes, in particular various parts of the family have opted out of ‘normal civilisation’ and although the conversations about living off the land, being ecological and not having a carbon footprint all sound commendable the reality is limited chat, no common interest and a slight body odour emanating. We all say ‘I love my family to death but’ do we really mean this? I had a good think after and came to the resolution that I would hunt down and do bad things to anyone who hurt my family and I do love them but, I don’t want to spend too much time with them, we all gave the cordial, ‘we mustn’t leave it so long next time’ ‘let’s make a date’ but in reality I don’t feel we mean it and secretly we are all slightly relieved when we can go back to our own castles and slate everyone in private.

fam

The next day I spent with my girlfriends, I literally spent the whole day in hysterics, belly laughing, looking at something inappropriate and knowing that they will also have clocked it and with one look doubled up without having to say a word. Finishing each other’s sentences, never tiring of talking about our past escapades and still finding them hysterical, knowing that bring a bottle always means two, that if my house isn’t spot on tidy no one is going to talk about it later and on the whole having the most brilliant day.

This leads me to the old analogy, ‘you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends’ True to a certain extent but, I am still fiercely proud of my slightly eccentric, eclectic, sometimes wholly inappropriate family and will keep in touch with them however, thankfully by good old Facebook where we can all hide behind our online persona, we can send the odd Happy Birthday or even just a smile.

Safe until the next family get together!