How to give your home a refurb it deserves

How to give your home a refurb it deserves

So, you’ve decided to renovate your home. Awesome! But how do you know you can give your home the refurb it deserves?

This is a fair question; unless you’re a builder or have significant experience in renovating homes, you’re entering something of an unknown territory.

Get it wrong, and you could spend thousands on a poor project that ruins your home. Get it right, and you’ll give your home an awesome new lease of life.

Follow our tips below and your refurb will be exactly what you expect it to be – and more!

Spend lots of time on the planning phase

What do you want to achieve with the home refurbishment? A larger living room? Better kitchen? More space in the garden?

Whatever it is you need to do, plan it meticulously. The more comprehensively you plan, the more likely you are to refurb your home properly.

Stick to a strict schedule

Home refurbs typically go wrong when the schedule goes to pot, so make sure your project has a very strict schedule attached to it.

The best way to achieve this is to treat it like a work project. How do you ensure things get done in the office? You prioritise tasks, set deadlines, and work to a schedule – and you can do the same for your home.

List everything that needs to be done and by whom, and add a time frame next to each item. Make sure you share this with all of the trades you’re bringing into the project.

Always budget for the unexpected

Things will go wrong during your refurb. Sometimes it’ll be small stuff; other times, it will be a big deal. This is just part and parcel of work of this kind.

You can soften the blow when you have some cash reserves to cope with such unforeseen hurdles, so always include at least a 10% contingency fund in your budget, just in case.

For instance, you may not think you’ll need any electrical work, but what if a worker discovers a serious electrical problem while knocking down a wall? If you have cash set aside for it, you won’t be left with too much pain.

Beware of damp and check for rot

Depending on the age of the house and the condition in which it has been kept, you may come across damp and rot while renovating.

A bit like those unexpected problems, these are two things that are hard to plan for. However, it’s wise to keep these possibilities in mind if you don’t want to be caught out by unexpected problems with walls or ceilings.

Use the best trades

Always work with tradespeople you trust. Most people will have friends or family members who can recommend plasterers, electricians and carpenters, so lean on their recommendations.

There’s nothing worse than bringing in trades that you don’t fully trust. While they might do a good job, the risk is far too high when spending any significant amount of money on your home during a renovation project.

Wrapping up

It shouldn’t be too difficult to refurbish your home properly if you plan sensibly and carry out due diligence and thorough risk assessments to identify any potential obstacles. 

In other words, you just need to do the ground work (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Use our tips above to give your home a refurb it deserves, and give your family a brilliant new living space.

What will be the most popular interior colour schemes in 2020?

What will be the most popular interior colour schemes in 2020?

Most of us will have selected one or more colour schemes, whether we own our own homes or rent from a relatively liberal landlord. However, the way in which we identify our preferred colour schemes is continuing to change, with a number of apps available to help us visualise our options and make informed choices.

At present, 72% of UK adults own a smartphone, while a further 25% use a tablet. This has encouraged individuals to seek out potential colour schemes on their mobile devices, with a huge range of apps developed to provide people with actionable advice.

In this post, we’ll look at one of the best apps for visualising your home decor, while taking a sneak peek at the most popular interior colour schemes for 2020.

What’s the Best App for Finding Colour Inspiration?

While colour inspiration and potential interior schemes can be found almost anywhere in the modern age, one app currently stands apart from its rivals.

We’re talking about the Dulux Visualiser App, which features new colour-picker technology to identify compatible schemes and create a scenario where you can make clear decisions with confidence.

In simple terms, this app lets you experiment by importing colours from anywhere and bringing these to life in a simulation of your living space. It achieves this with the use of augmented reality technology, while you can save the visuals produced and share this with family and friends if you wish.

The Dulux app also offers advice and suggests colour schemes to help complete or augment your home’s interior, and you can even  use the app to purchase colour testers or paint to be delivered directly to your door.

With this type of app, you can bring your design vision to life, and create a stylish interior that is as unique as it is compatible.

What are the Most Popular Interior Colour Schemes for 2020?

Of course, even with technology that can sit in the palm of your hand, we recognise that you may need some help to settle on the final interior colour scheme for your home.

So, here are a few colour scheme predictions for 2020, and a brief look at why they are so popular.

Champagne and Similarly Bold Shades Like Gold and Silver

By itself, champagne is emerging as one of the biggest colour trends for 2020, and it therefore stands to reason that you should consider building your design scheme around this ideal base colour.

There’s another reason for this too; champagne is essentially a flexible, neutral tone that can be combined with far bolder shades such as bright blues and dramatic reds, while also offering a viable alternative to cream, beige or grey.

Champagne introduces an earthy tone that works particularly well with bold textures and materials, while it can also be combined with tones such as gold and silver to create a luxurious and appealing look for your living space or bedroom.

Navy Blue and Champagne

Champagne provides a particularly stark and striking colour contrast with navy blue – a bold tone that works especially well in most kitchens or living rooms.

Navy blue is a timeless and regal hue that continues to grow in popularity, and it is inherently compatible with neutral tones as part of a contemporary interior colour scheme.

Navy blue and white works particularly well in the kitchen, and you can experiment with the ratio of colours to alter the final aesthetic and impact of your chosen scheme.

Combining a navy blue kitchen island and units with white granite worktops and walls can make for an especially impressive “wow factor” look.

Olive Green and White

Olive green is another popular hue that has a similar visual impact to navy blue, and it recently impressed the audience at Milan Design Week in 2019.

One of the key reasons for its popularity is that olive green effectively mimics elements of the natural world, and in this respect it helps to build on the tried-and-tested trend of bringing the outside in.

Both light and darker olive greens certainly make for excellent interior wall colours, while they contribute to a serene and relaxing environment that’s ideal for any bathroom or bedroom space. These tones also work well with white, which should be used to provide a contrasting accent against a dominant feature wall.

You can also introduce light browns into this type of space, in order to introduce warmth and an additional layer of complementary natural colour.

5 things to add to your new homeowner checklist

5 things to add to your new homeowner checklist

Being a new homeowner is exciting and stressful in equal measure.

There’s so many things you want to do to your new space, and the thought of finally owning your own home constantly raises a smile, but you also know the heavy burden that now rests on your head.

This is something you need to protect, invest in and take care of, and as it’s probably the biggest purchase you’ve ever made, that’s quite a responsibility.

In this post, we aim to ease your worries and provide a clear path ahead with five things we think should be on your homeowner checklist!

1. Take some days off work

You’re not superhuman; there’s no way you can mix both moving into a new home with working a full week.

Most people will aim to take a few days off to both undertake the move and settle in once the heavy lifting is complete. In doing so, they have time to unpack, fix stuff, take phone calls, welcome friends to their new abode – and relax.

It might mean you have to miss a holiday this time around, but it really will be worth it.

2. Change your address and deal with utilities

You may be well ahead with this already, but if you’re yet to inform utility companies (gas, electricity, etc) of your new address, you’re in for a whole world of pain later down the line when the bills start piling through.

At the same time, make sure you create a list of every service and institution that requires your address and ensure they’re all informed of your new location.

It’s laborious but, again, completely worth the effort.

3. Change the locks

Amid the flurry of excitement, you’d be forgiven for neglecting this vital task, because so many people do.

Remember – unless you’re buying the house from a trusted friend or family member, you really don’t know all the people who lived there previously. Chances are they still have a key, and regardless of how much you’re willing to trust strangers, it’s safe to ensure the locks and keys are your own once moved in.

4. Give everything a thorough clean

If you’re lucky, the previous owners will have given the house a thorough clean themselves before moving out, but that’s unfortunately quite rare.

Regardless, you’ll want to make it feel like your own, and there’s nothing quite like a deep clean to make the place look like new and remove any remaining traces of its previous tenants.

If you don’t have time to do this yourself (or would simply prefer not to), call in the services of a professional cleaning company instead.

5. Throw a house warming party

Thought we’d suggest renovations and new furniture at this point? Unless you had nothing when you first moved in, of course, you’re going to want to make sure you have something to sleep on and a couch in the front room, but otherwise, it’s time to enjoy yourself a bit.

Buying a new home is quite an achievement, and you’ll probably have spent months working on the purchase and fretting about the progress of the chain, so why not take this opportunity to throw a little housewarming party, let your hair down and show off your new home?

Once you’ve cleared away the empty glasses and champagne corks, then you can make a start on the furniture!

Wrapping up

When you’re handed those keys, it might feel like all the stresses and strains of the house buying process are over, but in reality, you’ve still got a whole lot of work to undertake.

Thankfully, you have one thing on your side now, which is time. That’s something you can’t buy, and it’ll give you the opportunity to undertake each one of the checklist items above to the best of your ability and ensure you create a home that becomes your own little slice of heaven.

How to live through a large home renovation without moving out

How to live through a large home renovation without moving out

When you decide to invest in a significant home renovation, it’s an exciting, yet unnerving feeling.

You know the next few months are going to be incredibly hard work but will ultimately result in something for which you’ve long desired. You’ll be swapping comfort and homeliness for a period where everything is upside down – but there’s one hell of a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite this, living through a large home renovation is enough for many people to either avoid attempting such projects entirely or give up halfway through. Neither of those scenarios are desirable (particularly the latter), therefore in this blog post we thought we’d provide some guidance on how to get through jobs of this size without losing your mind.

Should I move out?

Firstly, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily have to move out unless the job means you physically can’t live in that space any more.

For example, a simultaneous remodelling of your kitchen, living room and bathroom is probably good cause to seek alternative accommodation during the periods where life’s essentials are unavailable, but if you’re having an extension added which won’t impact your sleeping quarters or amenities too badly, living through it will be a far more cost effective option.

Remember – moving out might be just as stressful as staying. You’ll either have to pay to stay somewhere that feels nothing like home or be a burden for a generous family member or friend who agrees to let you stay with them.

Make sure moving out is the absolute last resort.

What to expect when undertaking a large home renovation

Let’s set expectations from the outset; your big home renovation isn’t going to be easy to live through.

What will help will be some prior knowledge of what to expect, because the fewer surprises, the better!

Stuff will get broken

Even if you do everything in your power to remove material objects from potential harm during the renovation, something will get broken.

This probably won’t be through neglect on your part or the builders’ – it’s just an inevitable side effect of turning your home into a building site.

Your privacy will suffer

Unless you’re undertaking all of the work yourself, you’ll have lots of different trades entering your home during the renovation.

That means people with whom you’re probably not that familiar occupying space in which you’re trying to relax or conduct your family life. There’s no way around this if you’re living through the renovation.

It’ll take longer than you expect

Few renovations of significant scale run to time.

Make sure the proposed end time is only held loosely in your mind, because things will go wrong, and that will require more time from the people who are undertaking the work.

The budget will need to be increased

Although not a dead cert, you’d be very lucky for your large renovation to remain entirely within budget.

Things change, whether they be requirements on your part or problems discovered part-way through. Whatever the case, you’ll need to have a bit extra in the pot to account for those unexpected costs.

Mother Nature won’t care what you’re up to

If your roof is coming off for a period of time, it will rain. Trust us.

Running water won’t always be available

We rely on running water to keep clean and stay refreshed, but the work you’re having undertaken will almost certainly impact the feed of it into your home for a period of time.

Make sure you have alternative sources of water available when needed, because this is one thing you simply can’t do without.

Dust will get everywhere

When walls are knocked through and fixtures ripped out, dust that was previously dormant will kick into life and get everywhere.

Literally, everywhere.

And no matter how often you clear it, the dust will return. Ask anyone who’s been through a home renovation and they’ll probably tell you that dust was one of the major pain points.


How to survive the home renovation

Now you know what to expect, it’s time to think about the ways you can prepare and ensure life during the renovation is as normal and non-burdensome as possible.

We think there are five brilliant tips you can rely on to help see you through that period and safely to the other side.

1. Pretend you’re moving out

We noted earlier that stuff will get broken while the house renovation is taking place, but to mitigate instances of this, you need to think like you’re moving house.

That doesn’t mean physically moving out, of course, but instead packing your most valuable stuff and that which will be in the way of the builders into boxes and storage as required.

The tidier and non-cluttered the house, the easier it’ll be for the workers to get the project done.

2. Create a temporary living room

The initial excitement of living among the mess of a home renovation will soon dissipate, which is why you should create a ‘zone’ in which you can live temporarily.

This is particularly important if your kitchen is being remodelled, for example, because you’ll still need somewhere to prepare food and make hot drinks.

Even if it’s your master bedroom, find the space in which you can feasibly spend a considerable amount of time and turn it into your own little hideaway.

3. Use plastic sheets judiciously

As noted, dust will get absolutely everywhere, but it’s also important to keep as much of your personal space as possible separate from that of the work zone.

You can use plastic sheeting to cordon off certain areas.

Nicely inexpensive, these sheets can be attached to walls and ceilings with strong tape and will do an amicable job of keeping the dust spread to a minimum and certain areas of your home separated.

4. Clean regularly

It might feel a bit pointless, but the tidier you can keep the home during a renovation, the better you’ll feel about it.

The trades should do their bit and clean up after finishing work for the day, but you’ll find a significant amount of satisfaction can be gained from sweeping up any left overs and giving the sides a wipe yourself.

Keep on top of it during the renovation, and you’ll have less to do once it’s over.

5. Spend more time out of the house

Weather permitting, home renovations are great excuses to get out a bit more often.

Even if you follow all of our tips above, it will still feel very much unlike home during the build, therefore you’ll naturally want to leave it be for longer periods of time.

Head to the park when you’d normally slump in front of the TV or treat yourself more readily to the odd meal out here and there. You don’t need to be out constantly, but more time away from the mess will help you clear your mind and make the most of the great outdoors.

Wrapping up

None of the above will be easy, and you’ll probably find plenty of instances arise where you end up in arguments with both loved ones and those undertaking the work.

But that’s a fact of life when it comes to significant home renovations. As the saying goes, there’s no gain without pain, and if you ever have a particularly bad day during the renovation, take a moment to survey the progress, and think about what’s to come.

Trust us, it’ll be worth it – big time.

Autumn 2017 Home Decor Ideas

Autumn 2017 Home Decor Ideas

With autumn fast approaching, now is the perfect time to take stock of your home and give it a refresh. You don’t need to tear up the rule book and start again, either, because in this blog we’ve got some brilliantly simple home decor ideas that will give your home a new sense of purpose this autumn.

If there’s one thing this season offers in abundance, it’s inspiration, so let’s get cracking!

Opt for floral fabrics

There’s no getting away from the fact the weather begins to turn a little at this time of the year, which is why opting for floral fabrics and warm woodland motifs on both your walls and accessories is a great idea.

Bring the outside inside, with earthy tweeds, woollen blankets and natural or painted woods. Accessorise with bundled branches in jugs, and you’ll bring a wonderfully seasonal style to any room. Think texture and tone We’ve already mentioned tweed, but wool is also a great element of any autumnal home.

When deciding on textures and tones at this time of the year, opt for palettes that offer rich hues (i.e. deep reds and purples) and contrast them with ceramics.

Go natural

If you’re a fan of natural wood in your home, go for warm woods and contrast them with brightly colours walls, such as yellow, in order to accent the autumnal feel.

Close-up of autumn leaf - studo shot

You can go further by pressing leaves in frames to create homemade artwork that won’t cost you anything more than the frame itself and a stroll through the woods! Natural displays throughout the home will really add to the seasonal design and offer countless reminders of this wonderful time of year.

Make the most of your autumnal walk findings

Why not create a ‘nature table’ for your home?

A table set beside your front door or by the rear entrance can be used to create displays that will last the season and look fantastic during this time of the year. Fruits and foliage gathered while out walking during the autumn can be placed creatively on your nature table and changed as the season develops.

Mix styles, patterns and textures

Autumn features a wealth of colour and texture, and you can use Mother Nature’s finest work to inspire the decor of your living spaces.


A brilliantly autumnal feel can be generated by mixing antique ceramics with coarse textiles and rugged linen. You can even scatter autumn leaves that are just turning in colour onto your dining table to create an attractive accent.

Woodland motifs

A common yet undeniably great way to add an autumnal feel to any home is to pick fabrics and cushions that feature the colours and iconic elements of the season.

For instance, a cushion featuring a woodland motif, or old woollen blanket you might take on picnics will work brilliantly and can be mixed with classic gingham and jugs of branches gathered while exploring the great outdoors. Try and find accessories that feature warm accents and motifs that remind you of this time of year.

Wrapping up

The end of summer isn’t a time to feel sad – it’s a time of the year that gives us all the best excuse to make changes to our homes that will reinvigorate spaces and provide beautiful areas in which to relax and make the most of the stunning autumnal months.