Boring to beautiful homes in 6 simple steps
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Boring to beautiful homes in 6 simple steps

Your home is not only a place to lay your head, but a reflection of your individuality. Regularly updating the look of your home will help maintain a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere without running the risk of boredom. In order to achieve this, we’ve compiled our six top tips on how to transform your place from being boring into beautiful home, with little cost and minimal effort.

 

Wall Murals

Plain, dull coloured walls in a room can instantly add a sense of monotony when not used creatively. To brighten up lifeless walls around your home, design, create and paint your own mural. By choosing one singular wall as your focus point, adding a mural not only adds a sense of individuality to your room, but also saves on the expense of redecorating. For those of you who are less artistic, wall stickers are available for a quick fix to any room.

 

Storage Solutions

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Storage space is key when it comes to de-cluttering your home. Not only are storage boxes efficient, but they are also cheap. Store those rarely used belongings under your bed and inside your closet. By moving these items out of sight, focus is shifted on the remaining pieces of furniture in the room, whilst also giving the appearance of larger space. Alternatively, if you prefer to proudly display your collections, invest in some conventional storage shelves and cabinets to place around your home.

 

Accessorise

A patterned duvet is no longer enough to create that homely bedroom feel. By investing in cushions, throws and blankets, you are not only increasing the comfort of your bedroom, but also creating a more relaxed environment. Similarly, invest in contrasting cushions and throws for your living space in order to refresh the look of other rooms around the house.

 

Interior Lighting

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Lighting has a significant effect on the mood and ambiance within any room. Soft lighting creates a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere, whereas bright, florescent lighting can be harsh. In order to achieve a relaxed atmosphere and sense of style within a room, invest in candles, crystal lampshades and fairy lights. Make sure you also make the most out of the natural light provided.

 

Improve your Exterior

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If the view outside your front room is not overly pleasing on the eye, distract yourself and visitors by making the view inside a more appealing one. With a variety of blinds, curtains and nettings, you can make sure the inside look attractive and stylish, even if the outside does not.

 

Personal Touch

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Finally, nothing says home sweet home quite like a display of framed family photographs. By hanging them along the hall, above the mantel piece or across the walls, the faces of your loved ones will brighten up any room within your home.

 

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7 ways to use colour in your new home
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7 ways to use colour in your new home

When moving into a new home, finding ways to make the property feel like your own is important.

But, sometimes the idea of redecorating a place from scratch can seem overwhelming. One thing that can be said for certain is that taking the time to choose the perfect colour palette for each room can have a big impact on the feel of any home.

Read our top decorating tips and take a look at the infographic to discover what tones and shades would work best in your new house.

1) Think about the atmospheres you want to create

Colour can affect our emotions. For example, shades of blue often evoke feelings of calm, while purple can help to create a sophisticated, dramatic ambience.

It is important to think about how you want yourself and others to feel when in your home, and use those thoughts to choose colours for each room.

2) Begin with your bedroom

Research shows that the majority of us spend a third of our time in our bedrooms when at home. So, make decorating this room a priority so that you put together a relaxing retreat where you can enjoy a good night’s sleep.

The way you decorate your bedroom should depend on how you sleep. Lighter sleepers should opt for pale, lighter shades, whereas heavier sleepers can go for darker tones.

3) Move onto ‘entertaining’ rooms

Next, you should look to decorate any rooms where you entertain guests. If you like to host dinner parties, think about improving your kitchen and dining room, whereas if you are more of a ‘come over for a coffee’ host, the living room should be a priority.

4) Entryways make a big impression

It has been said that impressions are made as soon as someone steps over the threshold of a home. Decorate your entryway in a way that showcases your personality to those walking into your home. People with an adventurous side may want to embrace striking colours, while the more relaxed homeowner may want to opt for pale, neutral combinations.

5) Add colour through accessories

If you would prefer to stick to neutral colours on your walls, use accessories to add colour. Try scattering contrasting cushions on the sofa in your living room, and even in each of your bedrooms. Plants can also help to bring colour to your home – try positioning them at varying heights to add variety and excitement. Colourful rugs also instantly invite guests into rooms with wooden floors, and mismatched vases, ornaments and candles can spark interest. If you’re looking to shake up the look of your home with accessories, whilst sticking to a budget, check out what discount retailer TJ Hughes has to offer.

6) Don’t be afraid to contrast colours

You may not know it, but contrasting colours are often referred to as complimenting colours. Using shades that are opposite one another on the colour spectrum can help to intensify their appearance. For those feeling brave, try using blue, orange and brown together in a room, or even a lively combination of purple and yellow.

7) Try living with an accent wall first

If you want to experiment but are unsure of how certain colours will look in a room, use your chosen shade on an accent wall. This will be easy to paint over if you then decide to go down another route.

Author Bio

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Rachel Campbell.

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7 signs your home is ready for Christmas
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7 signs your home is ready for Christmas

The cold weather is here, and with just a week to go until the big day hits, many of our homes will be well and truly decked out ready for Christmas. Whether it’s the assortment of decorations cluttering your home, or the assortment of sweet treats already kicking around in your kitchen, there are certain things in a home that truly signal that the festive period is here…

 

You might have just vacuumed your carpet…

tinsel

 

However within ten minutes, your clean floor is already covered yet again by artificial tree leaves and gold foil that have begun to shed all over your carpet.

Image credit: christmasstockimages.com

 

 

 

 

Bringing out the decorations means re-planning your furniture…
and whilst it might give your room a refreshed and reinvigorated feel, it also means you’ll have to adapt your normal walking route in the living room, which is tough. Expect stubbed toes and a number of bumps with the tree as you’ll no doubt forget about the new layout of your room and walk around on autopilot.

 

Expect to enjoy your festive favourites on TV…


8252330825_d1deaf0617_bHowever whilst you might enjoy watching Home Alone a couple of times to get you in the Christmas spirit, there are only so many times you can enjoy watching Arnie search for Turbo Man..and we won’t even get into classics like 1964’s Santa Claus conquers the Martians!

 

As much as you want to stick to healthy eating habits…

Mince_Pie

 

That cupboard full of mince pies and the fridge full of cheeses are just way too tempting.

Image credit: en.wikipedia.org

 

 

 

 

All your wardrobes are off limits for storing your clothes…
due to the assortment of gifts hidden away from curious unknowing eyes – namely, your kids.

 

Your mantelpiece and windowsills have also lost all function…
as it is currently covered in Christmas cards from your friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues, the random guy you occasionally say hi to at the supermarket and Dave the butcher.

 

 

And upon returning home from work each day, the abundance of external lights on your street makes it look like a runway at Heathrow.

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Then even when you enter your home, the living room lights up like the Las Vegas strip..just think of the electricity bill.

 

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Real vs Fake: The Christmas tree debate
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Real vs Fake: The Christmas tree debate

It’s that time of year again when tradition faces up against practicality in a debate which gets replayed up and down the country every Christmas. Do you get a real tree this time or an artificial one? The truth is that both are worthy of being the focal point of your seasonal celebrations but to help you make that all-important decision, we’ve put a together a guide outlining the pros and cons of both set-ups so you can avoid any festive fall-out this year.

A Real Tree

Pros

The custom of having indoor trees arrived in the UK in the mid 1800’s and since then they have gone on to become a traditional staple of British homes during the Christmas season. For some, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree adorned with tinsel and lights and the process of getting one and then realising it might need some modifying to get it into the house has an air of nostalgia about it. This is matched by the fresh pine smell which intoxicates the room, and regardless of what some companies may tell you, this scent cannot be replaced by a festive air freshener or plug in.

For the eco-warriors amongst you, real trees are all natural and so disposing of them is easy and environmentally friendly. You also won’t have any problem having to store it, as you can just take it outside and let it bio-degrade naturally.

Cons

Real Christmas trees are an expensive investment, when compared to its artificial counterpart; especially as you’ll have to pay out year after year. The care and attention they need as well as the mess they leave behind can also be more hassle than it’s worth for some.

An Artificial Tree

Pros

The beauty of having an artificial tree is its convenience and practicality. There’s no need to stress about having to go out and choose a tree and try and force it through the front door, it’s just merely a case of getting it out of the box and assembling it. An artificial tree will also prove to be cheaper in the long term as it’s a one-time purchase and a relatively low cost one at that. They’re also easy to clean up afterwards and you’ll avoid that unenviable pain of standing on loose pine needles with bare feet.

An artificial tree also has the added benefit of always looking pristine and perfect. If you’re preoccupied with having an idealistic looking tree then an artificial one is the way to go as it will never go brown and will most likely fit your living room to size.

Cons

The flip side to all this practicality though is that artificial trees are not friendly to the environment as most of them tend to be made from PVC which is non-biodegradable and can release toxins over time. Perhaps its biggest flaw in this debate though is that it doesn’t hold the same memories of Christmas that the traditionalists yearn for.

Which one you choose is merely a matter of lifestyle and preference, but whether you go for tradition or convenience, it’s not the tree that matters but the people around it.

 

This guest article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Samanta Towns.

Images used under creative commons courtesy of Jean-Marc PAYET.

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Finishing odd-jobs in time for Christmas
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Finishing odd-jobs in time for Christmas

To say it’s simply a few days of celebrations, the festive period can be an incredibly hectic period. Aside from wrapping presents and preparing food in time for the big day, you may have spotted areas of your home which require touching up or working on in preparation for the 25th With guests arriving for the celebrations, you need your home to be looking its best. As the calendar ticks over to December, there isn’t time for grand renovations, however you should have opportunity to add the finishing touches that will get your home ready for the festivities. To help you along your way, we’ve put a list together a list of the areas you may want consider touching up before Christmas

Getting rid of any clutter

If you are going to be hosting a house full of guests over Christmas, the last thing you want is to have them to  clambering over clutter. Before you contemplate decking the halls and throwing tinsel over the tree, take a look at ways in which you can declutter and create a tidy, welcoming environment for those coming to stay.

For best results, take it one room at a time and look at what is and isn’t necessary. Be practical; you may find there are plenty of items that can be discarded or removed temporarily from the room.

Make sure you have enough room to accommodate extra beds

Beyond getting rid of any clutter, if you are going to be having quite a few guests and you will be using inflatable beds, it makes sense to move things around to accommodate them while you have the time. Of course, also make sure you have a pump and that it works.

Finish off any odd-jobs

They’re the nagging jobs on your to-do list that you just never get around to doing. Whether it’s fixing the lock on the bathroom door, replacing light bulbs or hanging those mirrors that have been leaning up against the wall for the last few months, take a look at the odd-jobs you haven’t got around to doing and make the time to do them.

Change your door knobs

If you want to make some stylish changes in your home before Christmas, door knobs are an excellent place to start. Often overlooked, door knobs featuring ornate detail can transform existing doors without having to replace them. Consider Victorian door knobs which feature plenty of grandiose detail but are perfect for both contemporary and traditional interiors.

Giving your skirting boards and door frames a lick of paint

Freshen up a room by concentrating on the smaller details. Through every day wear and tear, skirting boards and door frames can become grubby, discoloured and in generally in need of some TLC. Give them the love they need and make your home look a little fresher with a lick of paint.

Clean the carpets

Hire a carpet cleaner for the weekend and really get deep into your floors. It’s amazing just how dirty carpets can get and we guarantee you’ll be amazed at the results once you have given them a deep clean with a specifically formulated carpet shampoo.

Make use of fold-up chairs

If you’re going to be having a lot of guests over for dinner, it’s wise to make use of folding chairs as these can be easily stored away when not in use and will save you from reanacting a scene from a comedy sketch where everyone is sitting on chairs of varying heights.

This guest article was exclusively written for First Home News by Dean Ronnie.

Photo credit: Jonas Nordlund via Flickr

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Preparing a bedroom for children

Preparing a bedroom for children

If you’re a new home owner with a family, we all know that sometimes, it can be tough to prepare a bedroom for children. Decorating a child’s room can prove to be a tough chore, as you need to make sure it’s both hard wearing and practical for children. There are also plenty of other points to consider, from the age of the child to the gender and colours you’ll be expected to use. A boys rooms will typically be required to be more durable than girls, although with accidents to be expected, it makes sense to be overly cautious and prepare the room for every eventuality.

To begin, simply take a look at the space you have. Obviously, a larger room will offer more potential, however it will take more time, effort and money to decorate to a high standard. Typically, you don’t want to have too big a space for a small child, as it’s unnecessary and can be wasteful. If you have no alternative smaller rooms, it makes sense to divide the room into a play area and rest area for sleeping. Smaller rooms are easier to decorate, will often require a little more imagination to make clever use of the space available. If you’re looking for inspiration, checking online is a good idea (for interior design ideas Room to Bloom and Gabrielle Blair have particularly informative decorating blogs) and if that fails, reach for magazines that might give you a few ideas. Once you’ve gained some insight and inspiration, head to a DIY or hardware store such as B&Q or Wickes, to make sure that your ideas are feasible and within a sensible budget.

The key to making a kids room which is easy to maintain is to try and keep it simple. Make sure you have walls that are easy to clean; special paints can be purchased, which make the surfaces easy to be wiped down. Try to avoid wallpaper, as it can easily be damaged and is then harder to replace. Paint is easy to touch up, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need a stock in reserve for when damages occur. Flooring needs to be practical, and often carpets can be tricky to keep clean – sensible colour selection is key to preventing them getting dirty quickly, however if you do have accidents with stains, there are products readily available for heavy duty cleaning.

When you have the basics sorted, it’s then time to invest in strong, durable furnishings. If your child is slightly older, and is ready to move into a bed, opting for something with underneath storage can be a great space saving solution. If a child is older, then you have the option of  higher level beds that have either a desk or wardrobe underneath. They’re not only great child friendly  options, but they’re also great for space utilisation.

If space is an issue and you’re after innovative storage solutions, stackable storage boxes are reasonably priced and easy to use. Toy boxes are the answer to easily storing toys and it is good to encourage children to tidy up after them. For messier items such as paints and play dough it may be good to keep them out of reach to prevent unsupervised play. It can take time forming the just right design. Try to choose bright and warm colours and involve your child, they will find it fun.

Storage can often be an issue when you’re trying to arrange your new home, and it’s often necessary to have a thorough clear out of all your clutter. Make sure that you aren’t hoarding, as if space is a precious commodity, you won’t want your cupboards to stay full of old keepsakes.

If you’ve recently redecorated a room for your children, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave us all your top tips in the comments section below!

 

Photo credit: CC image sourced from en.wikipedia.org

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Winter colour schemes for your home
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Winter colour schemes for your home

When the summer is over, and you think it’s time to get your home ready for the winter, colours play a large role. There is no better way of readying your rooms for the colder seasons than to implement a good, well suited colour scheme for the coming months, be it through incorporating new items and accessories into your rooms, or by having a re-decorate and painting your walls in a way which readies them for the season. If you’re looking for the best colours to implement into your home this winter, here are the top picks.

Bold

Implementing a bold colour will really make an impact in your room. Outside, it’s highly likely that the weather will be drab, having a dulling effect on much of your home. Counteract that by really going bold with your decoration. Purples and reds are great, as they help to add a splash of vibrancy to an area. Whilst it might be a bit much to  decorate an entire room in such a colour, implementing it on a feature wall, or through some new accessory additions could be a winner.

Blues

Around the home, blue is always a popular shade. If you’re wanting to keep it bold, then opting for a vibrant and striking shade will work well, and as blue is more of a staple home colour, it can be utilised more lavishly without fear of being overpowering. Whilst living areas often go for a more neutral colour, blue can again be utilised as a feature wall. If you don’t fancy making that statement in one of your key rooms, then start off by introducing it in a room of a more creative ilk. Blues often go well in the bathroom, and can definitely often be found in the kitchen.

Autumnal

If you fancy incorporating elements of the season into your room, now is the time to add shades of green to your home. Whilst you’re unlikely to want to bring brown indoors, shades of green are very well matched with the base colours of cream, beige and caramel you expect to see in most homes. Whether your preference is a more vibrant emerald, or something that brings an earthier tone, such as a pine green or teal, green works well, especially through autumn and leading up to the festive period.

Monochrome

If you just want to go back to basics, contrasting black and white is an intense but simple combination of colours that, when utilised correctly, can give off a truly elegant feel. Sometimes, it can be tough to get right, and incorporating an abundence of zebra-esque stripes might not be ideal for the feel of a room, but a good contrast, be it through gleaming white walls with black accessories, or a similar juxtaposition from floor to walls, can make for an inspired colour scheme. For some of the best black and white options, check out these tips from interior designers.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on autumn decorating! If you’ve given one of your rooms a referb, let us know what style you went for in the comments section below.

 

Photo credit: Free to use & share image from flyreview.com

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Combining modern and vintage style to work in your home
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Combining modern and vintage style to work in your home

Fashion is brilliant; it is almost like a list of pre-set rules that enable just about anyone to inject some style into their home. With fashion all you need to do is pay attention and have the money available and you can keep up with the latest trends.

Fashion however can also be a nightmare. While keeping up with the latest trends is nothing to be ashamed of, if we all kept up with trends and paid attention to the latest home fashions, our homes would quickly become dull. While it’s all well and good looking to the latest modern design, it can quickly become boring if done to death and seen everywhere.

One way to remedy this is by teaming up new items with items from the past. This doesn’t mean having completely vintage inspired interior design, nor does it mean having completely modern inspired design. Instead it is a combination of the two. For every modern feature you add to your home, why not add something vintage to compliment it?

To get you started here we have put together a few suggestions of modern pieces and vintage pieces which work together spectacularly well…

Contemporary, geometric rugs paired with reclaimed hardwood flooring

When you think of reclaimed hardwood flooring you probably picture it in a rustic, country home setting, not in a modern, urban environment. This needn’t be the case however. Why not mix things up and add flooring of this type to your more modern home? By adding contemporary rugs that are usually reserved for modern interiors to this flooring, you can create the perfect balance of old and new.

Victorian door knobs and oak panelled doors

No longer do internal doors come in a one-design fits all option. Today, there are all kinds of striking options available with an emphasis on attention to detail. These options which feature wonderful designs and patterns, are the perfect way to add high-end design at every detail in a modern house. To compliment these, why not add an item featuring superb attention to detail from the past? Hand-turned, artisan pieces, Victorian door knobs were designed to be a focal point of interiors in years gone by and will perfectly compliment such doors. By combining them you will take two items from different eras and create something filled with detail.

Glass topped dining tables with shaker style chairs

Why not team a clean, minimalist and ultra-modern glass-topped dining table with contrasting, solid oak wood shaker style chairs? Again combining two eras, this will create a quirky and striking look that will add stand-out style to your dining room.  If you’re not a fan of mismatching furniture, consider choosing a glass-topped table with white legs and pairing this with shaker-style chairs which have been painted or stained to match.

Welsh dressers with modern accessories

Think of a farmhouse kitchen and what are the images that come to mind? Natural stone floor, an Aga and an abundance of pots and pans? Probably all of the above, plus a Welsh Dresser right? No farmhouse kitchen is complete without a Welsh Dresser. Welsh Dressers aren’t just for farmhouse kitchens though; they are great in kitchens just about anywhere. To make one work in your kitchen, why not utilise one with modern accessories? Instead of the usual vintage style crockery, pots and pans, why not display the most contemporary accessories you can think of? Consider using one to display such items as modern plates, bowls and cups, stainless steel vases, glass candle-holders and sculptured desk lamps.

 

CC image used courtesy of French Finds

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Small gadgets to improve your kitchen
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Small gadgets to improve your kitchen

As a place where we spend more waking hours than anywhere else in the house, kitchens need a little bit more TLC. Unlike those of yesteryear, todays modern sculleries have evolved into more than just a food preparation area. According to a study by research experts, Magnet, the kitchen is now a place where we dine, study and socialise.

As a result of this evolution, the area has ballooned from an average of 5.9m² to a whopping 11.2m². It now includes gadgets such as flat screen TVs, radios, toasters and dish washers to make it as homely as possible. Investing in exceptional furniture and gadgets can make your kitchen more exciting to spend time in.

To help you renovate the area, here are some top rated gadgets and furniture you need in there.

The four minute doughnut

They’re the ultimate comfort food snack, and it can often be a pain if you just fancy indulging, but don’t have anything in the cupboards. Even if you had the energy to go off to a local shop and stock up, you’d probably have a selection of stale and unappetising donuts waiting for you. What could be better than having the ability to cook up a batch of treats from the comfort of your kitchen?

The Babycakes Doughnut Maker allows anyone, even kids, to bake six pastries in four minutes. It doesn’t need cooking oil and doesn’t fry the doughnuts, making it a healthier and affordable alternative for people who have a sweet tooth.

Dispensing all-round goodness

Sometimes, through the summer especially, there’s nothing better than an ice cold glass of water. In the winter, if your morning routine strictly consists of commencing the day with a hot cup of coffee, the BIBO table top water dispenser may be just what you need. It’s an all-in-one unit that relieves the need for appliances such as your kettle, coffee machine and water cooler; saving you space, while also providing clean filtered water. What’s more, the BIBO uses very little energy and can be programmed to automatically switch off whenever you’re not using it, saving money on your utility bill.

Scaling down

No one likes to work in a cluttered kitchen where the worktop looks like a storm came along with friends and had a party. We’re often looking for ways to save space, but getting rid of essentials such as weighing scales and chopping boards can be a real hindrance when it comes to cooking.

However, saving space is easy to manage with the Salter Scale. Designed to serve as a clock, thermometer and scale, the device allows you to save space by getting rid of all three appliances in your home. When you’re not using it, you can just hang the stylish, high-tech disk on the wall.

Eggcellent appliance

As humans, our senses are limited and can’t detect when something’s off until we come to prepare it for a meal. This often leads to disasters of stomach-turning proportions. Even more so when it comes to inspecting an egg’s freshness. It’s difficult to tell if an egg has gone bad just by looking at the shell. But as soon as we crack it open, our kitchens transform from a heavenly space into a rancid, sewer system in no time.

The Egg Minder spares your senses from the horror. It’s basically an advanced egg tray that tells you how many eggs you have and their current state of freshness. The appliance communicates with your smartphone and provides push messages when everything is about to get sour, or your supply is running low.

Author Bio: This article was provided by Tendai on behalf of BIBO. He spends the better half of his day trying to make the best coffee. The other half is spent writing lifestyle articles that help families cut costs and live happily ever after. Some of his stories can be found on his Google+ page.

 

Image used uncer CC license courtesty of home space

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It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.
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It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.

It’s the end of the week again, which can only mean one thing here at First Home News…we want to hear your First Home Views! The easy to enter competition gives you the chance to win the fantastic new interior design book, BrightBazaar; the brainchild of world-renowned blogger, Will Taylor.

So it’s time for us to once again turn the spotlight onto you lot – our readers – giving you the chance to share your wealth of house and home advice on a variety of topics.

Summer is still here, which means when the sun is out, we’re making every effort to head outside and entertain family and friends. Hosting weekend dinner parties can be the perfect way to spend time in the sun, relaxing and enjoying the company of those closest to you. So this week, what we want to know is this: ‘When hosting a dinner party, what item or accessory do you bring out to wow your guests?’

To enter, just leave your top recipe in a comment below this article. We’ll be announcing the winner on Monday. Good luck!

Bright Bazaar has an RRP of £25, and is available from Amazon. The book explores specific colour palettes for every room in your home to give you the confidence, knowledge and inspiration to get your colour choices right first time. Packed with personality and heart, playful but informative, engaging but practical, Bright Bazaar is brimming with ideas that work.

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