Decorating my home

If you’re about to tackle the big task of downsizing your home, start by easing yourself into the right mindset. This may be the most important tip, so if you do nothing else, at least do this first step.

The right attitude can make a big difference, which is why you shouldn’t bother starting until you understand this: it won’t be easy, but getting rid of some belongings can actually feel great.

Photo source: Eulerr

Make sure what you keep is really something you can’t live without. 

Is everything you own worthy of a space in your home? Is it useful like a toaster, or a great pair of shoes? Is it something that you find beautiful or inspiring something you love? Or is it something with great sentimental value one of a selected number of things you keep because of the sentiment? If it’s not any of these things, then perhaps it’s something that you can part with, and let it go to another home.


Regarding the sentimental stuff

Sometimes it works to take a picture of an item, and let the original go. Keeping antique furniture that does not fit your decor, style or taste for sentimental value will always stick out like a sore thumb. If no other family member is interested, keep the picture of it and donate to a good cause.


For children’s art projects and schoolwork: 

Be selective in what you keep, or this stuff can overrun even a large space. Your children may have opinions on what they want to keep, too. In general, keep the essay about “My Family” but maybe not the ones about less personal topics. Keep a few wonderful original drawings, but perhaps not the ones where your child coloured in a form.


Pick your storage containers wisely. 

Square or rectangular pieces make better use of limited space than do round containers. Wicker baskets are attractive storage containers that can be slipped under things and stacked on shelves. Cubes can double as storage, extra seating and as a coffee table.


Sell, donate or dump?

Sell, recycle or donate, but try not to dump goods in your wheelie bin. You can probably sell the vast majority of items you no longer need, perhaps at boot sales or online via websites such as eBay or Gumtree.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling things, charities will be happy to take most stuff off your hands. They’ll welcome clothes, bedding and other items you may feel aren’t good enough to sell or give away.

Certain items will be more difficult to get rid of. Charities may be unwilling to take electronic devices, such as TVs, on health and safety grounds, so unless you can sell them, you’ll need to offload them another way. Call your local council and ask their advice, or take them to your nearest council recycling centre.

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Looking for ways to spruce up your home without putting yourself in the doghouse? Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or want to spiff it up inexpensively for your own enjoyment, we’ve got 10 good strategies for you to consider.

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The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home’s condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country.

  1. Make your kitchen really cook.

The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential home buyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated. For a few hundred pounds, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones. If you’ve got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing company, many companies can remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes and then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new.


  1. Buff up the bath.

Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Even simple things like a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath. If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.


  1. Step up your storage.

Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets. In the end, your closets will be more functional while you’re living in the house and will make your home look more customized to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.


  1. Add a room in a week or less.

If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can’t be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn’t have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you’ve now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value.


  1. Mind the mechanics.

It’s often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks, those details tell a buyer that someone has really taken care of the home and can really influence its price.


  1. Look underfoot.

Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colours. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most real estate agents don’t suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.


  1. Let there be light.

If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room’s lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days.


  1. Reframe your entry.

Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.


  1. Consider curb appeal.

Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept driveway makes a great first impression. What buyers see when they first drive by your home is tremendously important. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change people’s perception of your home and, therefore, increase its value.

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Clean the dryer exhaust
A clogged vent is a potential fire hazard and a drain on your dryer’s efficiency. Make sure the exhaust is coming out while the dryer is running. If you don’t notice much exhaust, you may have a blockage, which is best determined and repaired by a professional. Vacuuming the vent will also help the dryer’s performance.
Clean and repair the deck
A thorough washing may be all it needs, but if your deck has loose boards, cracks or decay, it needs more work. If that’s the case, pressure wash it first. Always test for decay, especially in areas that seem to stay damp. If the wood is soft and spongy, or doesn’t splinter when poked with a screwdriver, your deck may not be safe to use. Also, look for small holes, which can be a sign of insects. If the deck coating has worn away, apply a waterproofing coating after cleaning.

Clean out gutters and window wells
Leaves, petals and seeds can accumulate in your gutters and window wells in the summer. Clear the debris to keep rain water draining properly and away from your home’s foundation. Also, make sure an animal hasn’t turned your window well into its home.

Inspect your roof
A very simple and easy way to inspect your roof without risking your safety: use binoculars. If you only need a few shingles replaced, a handyman may be able to replace them for a nominal charge. For extensive damage, you should contact a professional roofer.

Caulk the cracks
Check for gaps around windows and doors and reapply caulk to prevent leaks. Also, add weather stripping to doors. You’ll help your air conditioning system run more efficiently and will save money.

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You’ve got the power!

It’s no secret that many of us are becoming much more conscious of how our actions are affecting the environment and the world’s energy resources. We’re a nation more in-tune with the detrimental damage these huge energy businesses inflict upon the environment and are now looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. The energy we use in residential properties makes up about one quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Reducing the power used to heat and light our homes can be relatively easy. In fact, you must have been living on a desert island with no Wi-Fi for the last few decades if you’ve missed the many initiatives persuading us to do just that.

When doing our bit to lower green house gas emissions, it really does begin at home. Whether it’s subsided insulation, boiler scrappage schemes or cavity wall insulation initiatives, we’re fast waking up to the fact that we need to use less gas and electricity at home to reduce our carbon footprints.

But what measures can you take straight away (for example if you’ve just moved into a new property) to immediately have a quick and positive effect on your energy usage?

Here are the top seven quick fixes to reduce your carbon footprint, compiled with help from expert research from energy efficiency pioneers, the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales.

1. Draught proof

Brrr…the only draught anyone should experience in the comfort of their own home should be from a freshly opened can of beer. These annoying blasts of cold air emanate from chimneys, windows and door frames, through letterboxes and cat flaps, skirting boards, between floorboards, and where pipes and cables come into a room. Pretty much any small gap or hole. They’re not just uncomfortable, but also mean you need to turn the heat up to stay warm, which means burning higher amounts of fossil fuels, in turn increasing your carbon footprint. Luckily, they’re easy to stop.

Fill gaps at skirting boards, between floorboards and around plug holes etc with sealant. Unused chimney? Board it up or use or a chimney balloon, a clever device that will block the flue, but burst harmlessly if a fire is lit. Install seals on openings such as windows, doors, cat flaps and letterboxes. These are available in all good DIY shops and fairly easy to fit.

Also, if the draughts are coming in through window frames, fitted thermal curtains will greatly reduce heat loss and keep the room nice and cosy – at least at night time.

However, never try and completely make a room airtight as some airflow is necessary, particularly if you have a real fire.

2. Central heating

Central heating is your ally in the war against chilly rooms and frozen toes, right? Indeed it is, but your heating system can also be your worst enemy in terms of energy efficiency and fuel bills. Make it more friendly to the environment and your wallet by fitting thermostatic valves that add extra control to the heat of each room. Not just on or off. That way you can have your living room nice and toasty, and your hallways or kitchen just warm enough to take the edge off the cold.

3. Hot water

A bit like all of us, hot water tanks really appreciate an extra jacket when the temperature falls. It’s an indirect way of reducing your carbon footprint, by keeping your water tank warm and cosy. Buy one from a DIY shop if you have an older cylinder system, and also remember to wrap all hot water pipes in insulating foam sleeves.

4. Lighting

Low-energy bulbs are now the only type you can buy due to EU legislation that banned the manufacture of the old-fashioned incandescent ones. Hardly surprising, when only 10% of the electricity they used was converted into light, with the rest turning to heat.

But which of the low-energy options available is best?

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are very efficient, using 75% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, so a 20W CFL replaces a 100W (watt) incandescent. They’ll take a few second to reach maximum output, however.

But even these have been superseded by an even more efficient light; the LED. These are available to fit most fittings and are particularly good for replacing spotlights and dimmable lights. They are more efficient than CFLs and will save you more money in the long term, plus provide maximum light output almost instantly.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, both CFLs and LEDs are a cost-effective option for most general lighting requirements. And the energy savings aren’t just good for the planet. Replacing a traditional light bulb with an LED of the same brightness will save you about £3 to £6 per year. And by replacing all the bulbs in your home with LED alternatives, you could save about £35 a year on your electricity bills. They’re great for your carbon footprint and your pocket.

5. Fridges/freezers

Okay, not really a quick fix but worth considering if you’ve just moved into a new property and the previous occupants have kindly left kitchen appliances like fridges and freezers. Modern models are much more efficient, so if they are very old, try and look past their vintage chic and think about good old-fashioned economy and how much electricity they are gobbling up.

6. Laundry

Washing machines use their energy to heat the water they use, so use a low temperature setting whenever you can and try and always wash with a full load. Tumble-dryers use lots of energy too. If you can, use a washing line to dry clothes as often as possible. Before you hang out, spin to get rid of as much excess water as you can; a 500rpm spin removes about one-third of the water and a 1100rpm spin removes half.

7. Cooking

Did you know that a gas cooker usually creates less carbon emissions than an electric cooker? You do now. This is because burning gas directly may be a more visible way to create CO2, but generating electricity in fossil-fuel power stations creates way more. In fact, research has shown that a gas hob leads to about half the CO2 emissions of most electric hobs (electric induction ones are more energy-efficient). What’s more, gas is lots more controllable so less danger of burnt pans or saggy soufflés. If you’re choosing a new oven, gas will ultimately create less greenhouse gas and reduce your carbon footprint.

For more advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more energy efficient, visit the Centre for Alternative Technology’s site or get more useful advice from the Energy Saving Trust.

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This is the ultimate way to get all the insights after a first impression! Guests will know exactly what type of personality the homeowner is judging only by the… book’s cover a.k.a. the front door.

Photo source: Pixabay

Black: elegant, powerful, and prestigious

White: simple, crisp, and pristine

Gray: timeless and classic

Navy: authoritative and trustworthy

Green: calm, quiet, and soothing

Red: commanding, dynamic, and engaging

Purple: dramatic

Yellow: warm, welcoming, and optimistic

Pink Lavender: youthful and spirited

Natural stain: rustic and comforting


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Selling a house or putting it up for rent will get the owner through some trouble. One thing you should consider is raising the property’s price before you make any of these real estate moves.

Depending on the budget, one can choose any of these types of easy-to-do improvements:

#1 Revive the faded colours of the walls

#2 Give the windows a bold new look

#3 Make partial updates to the kitchen…

#4 And a few tweaks to the bathroom

#5 Wipe and polish everything in sight

#6 Sanitise and deep clean carpeted areas

All the details (with tips & tricks!!!) of these low-budget steps are in this complete article on Property Division.

11 Low-end and High-cost Ideas to alter the Value of your Property

We can only guess that the second part of the article (the high-budget improvements) were made by the owners of the priciest home sold in January, though!

Priciest home sold in England and Wales in January was almost £38 million

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One of the most important rooms of a house is the kitchen. And it’s usually difficult to find a design that suits your style, is efficient, functional, and in the trends at the same time.

So if designing/ redesigning the kitchen is on your list for 2018, we made a list of articles you should check out before settling your mind on something.

9 Top Trends in Kitchen Design for 2018

9 Top Trends in Kitchen Design for 2018

They are saying that you should have on your shortlist of kitchen-must-have’s the following:

  • technology and gadgets;
  • white, elegant gray and dark shades as colours;
  • less upper cabinets;
  • quartz countertops;
  • clever storage space;
  • hardwood flooring or ceramic tiles;
  • single-level multipurpose kitchen islands;
  • … and, since everyone gets around the kitchen, please provide it with some pet-friendly spaces.

However, trends are not always about keeping it clean and neat. Sometimes they are bold and revolutionary… like these suggestions from Elle Decor:

Photo source: Elle Decor

Photo source: Elle Decor

And for all those wanting a kind, calm, and loving kitchen, just like your family, get some inspiration from this types of natural wood cabinets. They might be more in your trends than you think!

Natural Wood Kitchen Cabinets [GALLERY]

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House trends can be confusing if you are one of those addicts always wanting to ride the wave. And it’s usually not the trends themselves, but the terms specialist use to name small changes in style from one trend to another.

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We have ‘Scandinavian’ vs. ‘minimalism’ for example. When you see an image of two rooms that illustrate these two design concepts, you might be inclined to say there is no difference. Specialists beg to differ and that is because:

  • minimalism refers to open-spaces decorated with industrial materials and a lot of geometrical shapes;
  • while ‘Scandinavian’ means using natural materials and pale shades.

Moreover, the Scandinavian trend implies using minimalism items like these pieces of furniture we like! 🙂



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Photo source: Pixabay

Kitchen design in 2018 is all about timber veneers, colour contrast, texture, metallic, and the ongoing industrial look,’ says bespoke furniture manufacturers Schmidt.

The tail end of 2017 has seen the emergence of more bold colours and textures in kitchen doors and this will follow into the New Year. The mix of striking solid colours and woodgrains will continue to prove popular, whilst more industrial finishes like concrete will sit alongside these to really create interest in the kitchen. Consumers are increasingly looking for more variety and being braver in their style and colour choices.’


  1. ‘Vibrant colour schemes will continue to be popular for 2018 with a focus on both Scandinavian application. The use of colour in the kitchen is extremely important and should reflect homeowners’ personalities and their needs. For instance, a space for cooking should be light and bright while spaces designed for entertaining could have a darker essence to provide a suitable ambience.’


  1. From Cobalt blue to powder blue and teal, blue is the colour of the MOMENT when it comes to kitchens. Darker shades of this versatile hue will prove to be the most popular. ‘Undoubtedly the biggest colour trend the industry has seen this year is the desire to have blue in the kitchen,’


  1. ‘Golds have been on trend for a while now but the move to combining them with browns and organic materials is going to be big for 2018,’ predicts Papilio. ‘Combining the use of neutrals, golds and organic textures makes for a warm environment with slight seventies feel, hitting the mark in terms of both style and substance. The Boho look is not only easily adaptable with other colours but also comes hand in hand with good quality and timeless design – something which a kitchen needs to present.’


  1. ‘Smart appliances are developing at a rapid pace and anyone considering installing a new kitchen in 2018 should really not do without a boiling water tap , being seen as a necessity in today’s living, wifi ready appliance that are allowing us to control our kitchens from afar, and steam ovens and vacuum drawers, this makes cooking quicker, easier and contains the flavour in the food,’ say Kitchens International.


  1. Feel like you’re on holiday all year around with a kitchen inspired by warmer climates. Pinterest data reveals that there has been a 128% rise in searches and saves for Moroccan-inspired décor, with ‘Moroccan tiles’ and ‘Moroccan splashbacks’ really gaining momentum. Mike Lavers agrees. ‘We predict that striking mosaic wallpaper and feature floor tiles will be hugely popular in 2018, along with other light Moroccan touches such as chunky wooden worktops, gold lanterns and pendant lighting.’
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Welcome to 2018! Optimism tells us it is going to be a great and exuberant year, so be prepared!

Consider it a DIY project or your new home and make the best of it. As we know from the previous year already, anything can be changed and we tried to prove it with helping articles, tips& tricks, and a handful of useful advice.

Let us guide you through 2018 as well and enjoy the ride that will make you reconsider your perspectives about a home.

Photo source: Pinterest

First things first, we trust a general guideline about the trends to follow in the year to come. Elle Decor made a list based on Pinterest searches and it features:

  1. Wall art
  2. Patterned plants
  3. Mixed metallics
  4. Terrazzo flooring
  5. Statement ceilings
  6. Spa-inspired bathrooms

You will find details and pictures in the article.

What have you been thinking about changing in your house this year?


Photo source: Pinterest

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