Adding a splash of colour for spring
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Adding a splash of colour for spring

Decorating, changing how a room looks and being able to put your personal stamp on it is one of the most enjoyable aspects of homeowning. But be warned, if you’re a first-timer because decorating it can be a potential nightmare if you don’t do your homework first. You risk either starting and then giving up half-way through, or doing a botch job. So if you’re thinking of finally taking on that magnolia coloured living room, here’s some advice.

Before you start

Don’t forget your tools and materials. Buying an initial stock of supplies can be pricey so shop around at places like B&Q, Homebase and Wickes. Remember you don’t necessarily need to buy top brand paint. You will need, at the very minimum:

  • Dust sheets (or you could use old bed sheets or curtains)
  • A roller and tray (or you could try a paint pad)
  • A selection of paintbrushes
  • Paint – emulsion for the walls, gloss or eggshell for woodwork
  • Masking tape to put round sockets and skirting boards

You may also need

  • Filler and a filling knife
  • Safety goggles
  • A shower cap or a head scarf
  • A radiator brush and roller
  • White spirit
  • A roller extension
  • Undercoat / primer
  • Sugar scrub
  • Paint stripper
  • Sandpaper

You might not envision it being a big job, however it’ll certainly take a chunk of hours out of your day. Painting takes longer than you think, so set aside a decent amount of time in which to do it. If you’re painting a large area, it may prove useful to break it down into sections.

Don’t skip the cleaning and dusting. The walls need to be clean before you start applying paint, so don’t forget to get the duster out. Next, wash them using either detergent or sugar soap. Rinse afterwards and wait until they’re dry before you start painting. You may also need to fill in holes and cracks.

Don’t leave your furniture unprotected. In fact, try to clear the room as much as you can. If anything can’t be moved, cover it with a sheet. You should also cover the floor. It’s surprising how far paint can travel.

Don’t wear your favourite clothes and don’t leave your hair uncovered. Getting paint out of your hair or off your favourite top is tricky, so cover up.


Don’t just slap some paint on a random part of the wall. Work systematically from the ceiling, to the walls and lastly the woodwork.

Don’t assume that one coat will do. Unless you’re using a product like Dulux Once, you will need at least two coats, and then it depends on what colour you’re painting with. Leave plenty of time for the paint to dry in-between coats. Don’t keep the windows and doors shut; the fumes and smell are quite pungent, so make sure you consider ventilation.


Don’t leave the paintbrushes and roller tray to dry solid. Clean them properly and store them in a safe place for next time. Admire the view.


Pat yourself on the back, sit yourself down and admire your work. Sometimes it feels like it takes longer to do the preparation than it does to do the actual painting, but it’s worth it in the end.


Photo Credit: khrawlings via Compfight cc

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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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Home touches for the ultimate spring feel
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Home touches for the ultimate spring feel

We might still be in February, but to the optimistic amongst us, Spring is just around the corner. With the warmer days  hopefully soon arriving on the horizon, despite cold temperatures, the sunshine is just beginning to peek through the clearing clouds. It’s never too early to shake off the misery of winter and implement spring into your home, so with that in mind, here are our top tips for getting an early start on your spring decor.

Kitchen: Cooking with Colour

Many kitchens sport drab matching walls and a spaghetti stained backsplash. A spot of paint can change that. Choose a paint colour like bright orange, yellow or sky blue for one wall or area. A streak of highlight will renew your faith in spring veggies and freshly baked bread. Take your update to the next level by purchasing a coloured mixing bowl, bright spatula, blender or toaster matching the colour of your freshly painted wall. Guests will appreciate your thought to go the extra step in contrasting your stainless steel accessories with a few coloured ones. Your kitchen is going to pop and you can revel in your mastery after just an hour with the paintbrush.

Bathroom: Appropriate accessories

No matter what colour scheme your bathroom is, throwing away the plastic accessories and updating them with rustic things from around the house will make your room a much more inviting space. Update the toilet paper holder with a wicker basket you’ve been using for random bits and bobs. Grab unused containers and fill them with all your cotton essentials. Take an empty vase and fill with freshly cut flowers or some bright artificial ones to provide a real feel of spring. And the ultimate trick for the ladies, a cake stand is the perfect way to show off and keep your makeup organised for a fuss free morning.

Bedroom: Perfect pillows

Decorate with a few spring coloured throw pillows to get your home completely revamped for the summer days. You can recover the old pillows with your own fabric or buy an entire new set. The bed is the staple item in the bedroom, so find your favourite comforter to snuggle up. Really tired of your old room? Cover the headboard with a bright or striped fabric to give off a plush new bedroom aura.

Living Areas: Recover your drab lamps

The simple task of changing a lamp cover will shake off gloomy winter nights and help you to embrace spring. Choosing one piece to change in a room is a quick fix and you’ll see a noticeable difference. Go to your local homeware store to see what colours could brighten up your room. Don’t assume popping pink is your only choice, but a light yellow, bold colour or fun new print could do your home the favour it’s been seeking. Don’t want to buy an entire new lampshade? Choose from hundreds of fabric choices at the craft store. With scissors, adhesive, a trim piece and a bit of patience, you’ll have yourself a statement new decorative item.

Outdoors: Get in the Garden

Plants bring life to a home in every way. The freezing temperatures of January and February have now passed and it’s time to dig up the weeds and leftover foliage of the winter. Spring geraniums, begonias, and pansies are all great summer plants that will continually bloom throughout the warmer months. Don’t have the luxury of a front garden or a home in the countryside? Make room for a few potted plants inside your home on bookshelves and the mantel piece, as will add a feel of spring to your home, even on the rainy summer days.

Photo Credit: jinkazamah via Compfight cc

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Top ways to bring light into your home this winter

Top ways to bring light into your home this winter

In the dark days of winter, making the most of the natural light in your home is a great way to not only save on your electricity bills but to also bring out the best in your furnishings and homeware. Here are some top tips on making your house a brighter home this winter…


Clutter-free windowsills


Crowded windowsills can block natural light so try to keep them as clear as possible. Also, keep an eye on any trees or hedges outside your window, as overgrown outdoor plants can stop any light from coming in.


Make the most of mirrors


Mirrors reflect light, so if you hang a mirror opposite a source of natural light, you are automatically doubling the amount of light coming into your room. You could also add mirrored accessories to your room such as wall hangings or photo frames to increase the effect.


Stick to light colours


Like mirrors, lighter colours reflect light so stick to cream, white or cool-toned walls with large furnishings, such as a sofa of a similar shade. You can then accessorise with darker coloured cushions, shelving or rugs.


Consider a skylight


They may be a costly home improvement, but skylights can make a great alternative to windows, especially in rooms that receive lots of natural light. They are also great for letting in warmth and can be beautiful to look out of on a starry night.


Install glass doors


Interior or exterior doors with glass panelling are a great way to let natural light spread from room to room. They open up your house whilst still soundproofing the room at the same time.


Keep it clean!


Last but not least, don’t neglect your duster! Mirrors and skylights may look the part but keeping your lightshades, bulbs and windows clean is always the first step in making the most of the light, whether natural or powered, in your home.

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Our top apps for home lovers

Our top apps for home lovers

If you’ve got a love for all things interiors, you’re likely to love any gadget that can help around the home. If you haven’t considered the usefulness of mobile apps around the home before, here are our top picks.

1. Home Snap
Home Snap









Save the hassle of a visit to your estate agent and avoid those endless online searches for the price of your dream house. Now you can simply take a quick snap of a home that takes your fancy, and let the app find the price.









Giving you the chance to get your creative juices flowing, myPANTONE lets you create colour palettes of endless combinations to suit all your decorating needs.

3. Chairish









Moving house can be stressful and time-enduring, but not for long. The new Chairish app lets you buy, browse and sell furniture on the move, saving you time and energy through its ease and convenience.

4. Easy Measure

Easy Measure











No longer do your need to search your entire house for that lost tape measure. Easy Measure allows you to simply hold up your phone to any household object and let the app do the all the maths, measuring distance, height and width in both metric and imperial measurements.

5. Furniture








For the indecisive amongst us, Furniture app allows you to visualize how an item of furniture would look in your home before you’ve even made the purchase. Shop, pick and place. Furniture shopping couldn’t be easier.

6. Dulux Visualizer App








No longer will you ponder over the perfect shade to decorate your home thanks to Dulux’s recent release of the Dulux Visualizer App. Not only does it virtually paint the walls in your desired shade, it also uses environmental tracking in order to detect edges, surfaces and contour around your home

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Five ways to bring the colour of 2015 into your bathroom

Five ways to bring the colour of 2015 into your bathroom

Every year the Pantone Colour Institute names a shade that they think ties into everything ongoing and upcoming. Drawing from emerging artists and the next big design trends, fashionable travel destinations and the global mood, they pick a single colour that represents it all. The colour of 2015 is Marsala, they’ve decided: a rich, complex red that recalls the fortified wine it was named after. “Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability,” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at Pantone, and its full-bodied charisma has been quickly adopted by interior designers the world over. It’s a colour that naturally lends itself to master bedrooms and living rooms, thanks to its intensity, but don’t overlook your bathroom as a space to experiment with Marsala. It brings warmth into even the coolest, glassiest en suite, as these pictures show, and creates a bathroom you may never want to leave.

The statement bathtub

1 - Statement bathtubIf you find yourself falling in love with Marsala’s rich, indulgent earthiness, a bold bathtub makes a stylish investment. Here, it pulls together fixtures that might otherwise look mismatched: a minimalist, urban window wouldn’t always work next to a salvaged wooden cabinet and an elaborate chandelier. Note the co-ordinated towel, which ties the colour palette together without any danger of the Marsala becoming overwhelming. Navy or white would have been a much more predictable choice here, but it’s that shot of red that makes this whole room stand out.


All over colour

Marsala is not the kind of shade that you need to play it safe with. Drenching your bathroom in such an intense, highly pigmented colour is a fearless move that could rejuvenate the entire space – and you would need very little else to complete it. Here, again, a very pure shade of white brings out the richness of Marsala, but it’s the metallic accents that are most compelling. The texture of the frame breaks up the flat matte finish of the wall behind it, while the postcards inject a bit of humour into the display.

It goes against the grain of everything you’ve been told about light hues making a small space feel bigger, and dark shades making them seem smaller, but actually a rich tone can mask an undersized room by making it feel more luxurious. There are just two questions worth considering first: is there enough lighting, and can you realistically keep it clutter-free? Darker colours tend to absorb light, which you’ll need to counteract, and a medley of everyday soaps and toiletries will jar with such a strong design.

Feature wall

A single wall – or a portion of all four walls – makes an impact with a little less commitment, and can test a new colour before you invest in it completely. In this bathroom Marsala’s been used to add depth to wooden panelling, and emphasise the pattern underfoot. Again, brilliant white comes into play; its modernity brings out the Old World feel of burgundy’s more intense cousin. But what’s really interesting here is the way Marsala stretches across different elements of the room, from the tiled floor to the glossy wood, bringing out their complexities and drawing them together at the same time.



2 - All over colourIf you already have a monochrome bathroom then Marsala, like most colours, is easy to add as a complimentary shade. Compliment a one of our favourite shower room installs, such as a stunning monochrome Aqualisa electric shower. The colours rich charisma makes fresh towels or curtains feel much more indulgent than a more typical choice like black or blue. But fresh (or faux) flowers require even less commitment and look effortlessly striking against the backdrop of a neutral bathroom. Here, flowers in a rich, berry-toned shade of Marsala add interest to slate grey tiles, brought out by a candle and vase in the same colour scheme. Simple but effective, and the easiest way of bringing Marsala into your home instantly.


Complimentary colours

5 - Complimentary coloursWe’ve already seen how well Marsala works in a monochrome bathroom, but if you’re redesigning from scratch you may want to mix it into a palette of soft greys and muted blush tones for a calmer, more feminine feel. Add pearly or luminescent textures, like these shower tiles, to reflect light – a vital consideration when working with a rich colour like Marsala, which tends to absorb light – and keep furnishings luxurious but simple. Pantone have even put together a selection of colour pairings that work especially well with Marsala, and are worth browsing for inspiration. Shades that you may never have considered, like teal or lemon grass, prove that the possibilities are endless.


Guest article provided for First Home News by Katie

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Clever home additions to give your rooms the wow factor

Clever home additions to give your rooms the wow factor

Searching for some inspiration on ways you can liven up your home? If you’re wanting to make a striking difference to your house, without undertaking large-scale renovations, here are some of our favourite home additions and inventive ways to add a ‘wow’ to your home.


Make use of the space under your stairs

Under stair storage

Stray away from the conventional and make the most of the underside of your staircase. It looks cool whilst also allowing you to utilise space for storage.


Use the space around your skirting boards

skirting board



Another area of the home we simply overlook, however this is a space that is perfect if you’re looking for extra storage.


Make shower cleaning easier


Especially if you plan on redecorating your shower area – making a wet room, or walk-in shower is ideal and prevents you having to keep glass sparkling clean.


Creative in the kitchen?

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a whiz in the kitchen, make your chef time efficient. Install island storage perfect for the items you need when you’re cooking, as it will cut down on preparation when gathering your ingredients. Keeping important foods close at hand will prevent you having to dash around.


Get inventive with your kids room


Small homes and limited rooms can make it tough to provide your children in a bedroom they can get excited about. However, a small room doesn’t have to mean dull and cramped. Get inventive with space, and take on one of these impressive bunk bed room designs.


Make your fireplace a feature



It doesn’t have to be as striking as the image shows, but a homely, timeless fireplace can be a real focal point to your room.


Fire pit


Image: ACM Design Architects
While it’s a bit early in the year to be planning your summer, make sure that your patio is ready for those long summer nights in the warmth.


Main image CC licence via

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New Year, new layout: Your guide to a rearranged living room

New Year, new layout: Your guide to a rearranged living room

With the new year now in full swing, it’s time to put away your Christmas decorations and establish a sense of normality back into your home. If the post tidy-up feel to your living room leaves something to be desired, and you want to rearrange your living area and furniture, take a look at these helpful ideas.


This style focuses on plenty of seating and high quality details. A formal setup is a special occasion set up, and it is often the case that with a formal setup, focus is more on entertaining rather than creating a workable space for everyday life. Formal styling centres on clean edges and a tidy look when placing your furniture. Make sure that you utilise correct feeling right angles, ensuring that none of the layout looks sloppy. Making sure that the room has quite wide spacing allows the room to feel grander than it actually is.

Make the most of accessories such as rugs to help define areas like the seating zone, and if you choose a simple and un-flashy material, it sends a welcoming signal. This style works well when your room is furnished and accessorised with clear sets. If you’re well co-ordinated with chair and table sets, along with a matching suite set and well chosen matching lamps and lighting, then your pre-existing possessions will work well in a formal style. In terms of decoration colours, make sure you utilise neutral tones, and any splashes of bright colour should be utilised sparingly.

Feng Shui

A feng shui is used to invite people in to your room and make guests feel immediately welcome, relaxed, and at home. Whilst the word is often banded around, often meaninglessly, the correct association of feng shui is with creating a sense of flow and balance. In terms of arranging furniture, a feng shui feel is often best created by arranging a close gathering space, allowing guests to congregate in reasonable closeness and encourages conversation. Almost a direct opposite to the formal style, feng shui attempts to eradicate sharp angles, instead opting for a more open feel, which comes with a more comfortable air. In terms of floor space, try to utilise a small rug to direct focus into the room’s centre.

Descending from the Orient, modern feng shui often relates back to its beginnings through the use of the colour red, which is renowned in China as the colour of good fortune. Use the colour sparingly to provide a burst of energy to the room, and match it with details of red coloured accessories. Mirrors bounce light around, which, in terms of a feng shui feel allows for the ‘movement of energy’, something which is important to the origins of the style.
Make sure you utilise meaningful objects in terms of decoration, as you’ll look more favourably on an item with true meaning as opposed to something selected simply to fit a room. In addition, make the most of living items in your decoration, as the use of plants and flowers mean you tend to the space and provides the energy which is important to the feng shui style.


If you want your living room to be welcoming to your family, then comfort is the crucial factor. In a family space, the whole area should be seen as inviting and even areas like the floor should be as comfortable as the furniture, so everyone has somewhere to relax, lay out and be comfortable, even if your room is packed with guests. Cheerfulness is an important factor, as you won’t be wanting any accessories or furniture that feels cold or unwelcoming. Pretty much the polar opposite of the formal living room style, anything you include in your room should be inviting and put the inhibitors of the room at ease. Get creative with your style and make sure the room is cosy and welcoming. Seating is important, however if your whole room is seen to be comfortable, then it isn’t vital to have masses of chairs and seats. Make the space the go-to room of the house, where you can enjoy the room no matter if you’re wanting to watch TV, read, or do some work. Make sure you have everything required to keep everyone in the room together. The room needn’t be boring, make sure it utilises flamboyant and elaborate décor. An elaborate rug to lounge on will need to be soft and inviting. Cosy and fun cushions sat atop your sofa will allow kids and adults alike to sink into a comfortable spot and be surrounded in comfort and warmth. The family style room works perfect with a wooden log burner, for those cold winters evenings.

Photo Credit: Snelvis via Compfight cc

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Last minute Christmas additions

Last minute Christmas additions

As the big day looms ever closer, and you begin to finalise your plans for Christmas Day, it’s time for First Home News to give our last minute rundown of the best accessories to add the perfect finishing touch to your home, table and day.

Personalised Table Runner – £30


Courtesy of Not On The High Street, this personalised table runner is the perfect centrepiece if you want to add an element of customisation to your Christmas table. Sure to be a talking point, and a way to make your decor truly unique, this is a must have if you want to avoid a bare looking dining table over the festive period.


Table Confetti – £2.99


Add a fun twist to your table while avoiding the tackiness of glittery confetti with these cheap and cheerful penguin and snowflake table decorations. Perfect if you’re hosting a party and looking to brighten up a buffet table, give these a scatter to add festive cheer to an otherwise drab table.


Table Place Cards – £2.75


The ideal addition for Christmas Day if you’re entertaining a large family and want to designate specific seats to diners, these tasteful yet simplistic name cards are a great and well priced addition to your table this Christmas, at just £2.75 for a packet of six from Paperchase..just make sure that you don’t spell a name wrong!


Bacon Curing Kit – £20


Want the perfect Christmas breakfast when you wake up on the 25th? How does a fresh home cured bacon sandwich sound? Ross & Ross, a small fine food company based in the Cotswolds  are currently offering you the chance to create your own home cured bacon in time for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but to us, that sounds like the perfect treat for Christmas morning, once all the presents are opened. Move quick with this one, it’s a popular favourite and will soon sell out!


Snowflake Coasters – £6


What’s Christmas dinner without a generous glass of wine? And if you’ve got the red flowing, you’ll need coasters. Add a festive touch to your table with these understated snowflake coasters from John Lewis. The perfect item if you’re wanting to mix functionality and festivity on your table this Christmas.

All images used sourced from product sale page. All headings link to product purchase web page.

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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


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.


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


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.


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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