How to update your kitchen on a budget
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How to update your kitchen on a budget

We all dream about installing brand new kitchen fittings complete with state-of-the-art appliances, and designer fabrics; but the reality is that after purchasing your first home a total room revamp is often far too costly.  However First Home News has come to the rescue by providing you with our top tips to updating your kitchen on a budget.


You don’t have to fit a new range of cabinets to make the most of your kitchen. The easiest way to give your kitchen a new lease of life is to sand down wooden cabinets and paint them in a different colour. By doing this, you can totally transform the aura of a room. If the worktops are the main issue, you can replace only the worktops without a complete new range of cabinets. IKEA stocks some very stylish and pocket-friendly ideas on its website.


Update your accessories!  You may not think it, but simply by adding new tea towels, crockery and ornaments, the whole colour scheme of a room can be changed and look rejuvenated.  We love Cath Kidson inspired floral prints and bright colours, especially during the winter season to brighten up those dreary days.


If you’re in need of new appliances, hold out on paying over the odds for brand new state-of-the-art machines. Instead, wait until the seasonal sales begin, as some retailers knock hundreds of pounds of various styles. If you can’t wait that long, just log onto Kelkoo or Pricerunner to source the cheapest places to buy your appliances. Surprisingly, it’s always worth negotiating with suppliers – they’re experiencing the recession too!


Re-decorating on a small scale always works extremely well: replacing the curtains or blinds in the kitchen can provide you with a whole new style and colour scheme to work with throughout the room. You could even introduce a feature wall painted in a statement colour to tie in with new furnishings. Easier still, by re-arranging the layout of the kitchen, you can completely change the appearance and atmosphere of a room.

What do you think? Is updating your kitchen better than fitting a completely new one?

Images used under creative commons courtesy of hammocks & high tea.

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Four Great Ways to Utilise your Spare Room

It’s the typical dilemma with a spare room – it has the potential to be anything you want, from giving you more room for storage to a place for visitors to stay, but you still haven’t had chance to make the most of it. If you’re adamant you want to make the most of your space, but aren’t convinced what you transform the room into, check out these options.

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If you’re business day doesn’t end at 5pm and you need a quiet haven to concentrate on evenings or weekends, then you need to transform that spare room into your home office. You don’t need the room to be huge to make an office workable, you just need to utilise what you have at your disposal. Head to IKEA for a flat pack desk, make sure you’re set up within wireless range of your internet, or sort out a phone line if not. Nowadays, you’ll probably be able to just use your mobile for calls, but if you need to have a landline, be sure to get that sorted too. In terms of decorating, you’re probably best to go with light and simple colours – anything too dark and your room will seem to shrink, and the last place you’ll be wanting to work is a claustrophobic little cupboard. Stay simple with the decor, and you shouldn’t have any problem keeping your concentration.

Spare bedroom

Definitely the safe option when it comes to spare room ideas, but having an extra room always comes in handy. Whether it be to prepare for a growing family in the future, or to put up friends and family when visiting, sticking a bed and wardrobe in there is definitely something to consider. If you have relatives from elsewhere in the country, or you’ve relocated to an area away from your family, having that spare room will help improve the chance of people visiting for longer periods, such as weekends. Check out Hammonds for bedroom furniture that innovatively saves space – on the off chance your room is on the small side.

Games room

If you’ve got no practical need for the room, take the fun option and embrace your inner teenager. A games room will might not be absolutely essential to running your home, but it gives you the perfect spot to let your hair down and kill a few hours. The size of your room will play a large factor in how you fill your room, with something like a snooker table or pool table maybe being too big, but you can always opt for table football or table tennis if you’d rather. Get yourself a Bose sound dock or put a TV on the wall, and you’ll be able to visit your games room for hours of entertainment. If you have kids, or are expecting to soon expand your family, why not give the games room a kids feel. For those rainy weekends at home, it’d be a godsend to have a place for them to enjoy, rather than them driving you up the wall.

Music room 

If you, or any family member enjoys a passion for playing instruments, then this option might be the one for you. Having a room specifically for musical enjoyment allows you a space to really work on you’re playing, be it a piano, the drums or a guitar. It’ll help out with the harmony of the house, as there should be no arguments about blasting out music in the same room as people trying to watch TV. Just make sure the room isn’t right next to your bedroom – the last thing you want is an early morning wake up call from your kid on his guitar.

Images used under creative commons courtesy of Mackenzie Kosut.

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To Wallpaper or Not to Wallpaper?
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To Wallpaper or Not to Wallpaper?

The colour or pattern of the walls in your home may not seem like a huge decision, but each tone and style adds a whole new feel to a room. From a dark, enclosed room to a light, airy and spacious one, how you decorate your walls is all down to personal preference. Obviously the final decision on how you want a room to look is down to your own style, but to guide you along, we’re offering the ultimate guide to wallpaper versus paint.

To Wallpaper…

Wallpaper is extremely durable, which can be an important asset in your new home. The last thing you want to be doing after six months is having to retouch paint up after delivery men chip and scuff it. Durability is vital if you have kids, as we all know the battering your walls will be taking from toys in high traffic areas, so if you need it be sure to opt for a paper you can clean, so you can get rid of any dirt or marks. Choose your ideal wallpaper from a huge range of high street home improvement stores like Laura Ashley and The Range.

Generally speaking, wallpaper can be more expensive than a quick paint job. Obviously, as with all things prices can differ greatly depending on quality and type, but on average you’ll have to pay that little bit more to deck out your room in a good wallpaper. Even with the most sturdy and durable of choices, damage can still be done to paper which leaves you with the hassle of redecorating. It simply isn’t as easy as whipping out your paint brush and covering over the marks. Removing wallpaper can be a chore too when you decide the time is right to redecorate, and you’ll need to spend a number of hours scraping the walls clean. If you’re hoping to leave your walls for a few years without needing maintenance, wallpaper may not be for you, as from time to time, moisture can begin to weaken the wallpaper adhesive and leave corners curling up and looking untidy.

To Paint…


Painting is generally the easier option. All you need is to get you started is a tin of Dulux from your local B&Q or Wickes. Obviously, if the walls had previously been papered, you have a real chore of a task removing it all, and may even need to get the walls skimmed before you begin – but in general, painted walls are easier to maintain. Any scuff marks and dirt can be wiped off, but even if they’re stubborn it shouldn’t be anything a quick lick of paint can’t handle. Repainting to change your style can be done more frequently, and should only take you at most, a day to do.


We might have said earlier that quick touches up are a pro of painting, however the real issues begin when you need to do it so often that you run out of paint. When this happens, it can be a real effort to match colours, and becomes expensive if you need to buy new paint that blends in perfectly with your wall colour. If this is the case, you may be better off repainting completely than just touching up again.

Do you see yourself as an interior design guru? Leave us some of your tips and advice below.

Images used under creative commons courtesy of Jen B.

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Five living room additions that won’t break the bank
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Five living room additions that won’t break the bank

As a first time buyer, it’s no secret that money will be running low after your big purchase. Heading into an empty house with limited funds can be scary, but there are ways to fill that room without emptying (what’s left of) your bank balance. With your living room being the main place to congregate in your new home, we look into some budget items perfect for your living room.

  1. Coffee table
    If your living room is large and you feel daunted by the task of filling it, don’t worry. A coffee table placed in the right spot can drastically reduce the amount of space you need to fill. Naturally fitting well near a settee or suite, the coffee table is convenient and catches the eye. Retailers such as Ikea are great for finding homeware at a reasonable price, and if wood is to your liking, this oak veneer table from the Vejmon range would fit nicely into any new home, and is available in three different styles.
  2. Lighting
    Nothing is as depressing as an empty, dark room. Be it through natural or artificial sources, you need to make sure your new living room is well lit. To kill two birds with one stone, why not accessorise with a number of lamps for the room. Allowing you to fill empty space on top of tables and units whilst also brightening up sections of your room, well positioned lighting gives any room a whole new feel. For everyday run of the mill accessories that won’t stand out to guests, check out Amazon; it offers a wide range of basic products, such as this chrome lamp. It might not be top of the range, but would blend in well to most living rooms.
  3. Pictures
    If bare walls aren’t your idea of a homely room, then you’re probably searching everywhere for something to fill them. Whilst real paintings by top artists  ay be out of your price range, there are options available to fill your wall space. Most chain furniture stores offer mass produced pictures and other items, such as the choices of London city scenes and Sherwood Forest available online at the Furniture Village. Alternatively, if you want to add a real family feel to the home, the internet is packed with sites willing to print your precious photo memories onto a large canvas, with prices ranging from £30 to £80 depending on size.To further explore your options, click over to our article on filling empty wall space (linked to another of our articles).
  4. Rug
    Large empty rooms can often be made to look even more sparse if the floor seems to span for miles. Break up the floor space with a well placed and stylish rug. In addition to adding a homely feel to the room, your new rug will add a feel of warmth and comfort. Even though some high end styles can run you into the hundreds, there are plenty of options around for the budget shopper. This Maestro range comes in a selection of colours and shades, and can be used to add a touch of beauty to your living room.
  5. Cushions
    So you’ve moved in, got your TV and sofa in place and the room still looks empty.
    How about throwing some cushions on that sofa to add another element to the room? Now we aren’t saying go out and get enough cushions that you’ll be swimming in them whilst watching Coronation Street, just settle on two or three. Department stores such as Debenhams have huge stocks of cushions like this Taupe burnout leaf cushion, that add colour and comfort without breaking your budget.

That’s five I can think of but do you think I have forgotten anything?

Images used under creative commons courtesy of Yvonne Eijkenduijn.

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Curtains, blinds and more: Five window coverings for your new home
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Curtains, blinds and more: Five window coverings for your new home

After months of planning, organising and waiting, you’ve finally secured your first home. You can see the light at the end of the home buying tunnel, and just want to get settled into your new place. One instant task will be to decorate your empty new home, and especially cover those windows and stop the annoying echo that comes with an empty home. We look at the best five options you have to block out the morning sunshine. 

  1. Blinds
    Blinds are the easy and cheap way to block out the glare through the window. While Venetian, roll up and vertical blinds are definitely not the most sturdy of options, they are arguably the most practical, needing very little upkeep. Easy to customise and available in every colour you could want, using blinds means you can easily match them up your rooms colour scheme. They’re easy to pick up at both specialist blind stores online and locally, along with being stocked by nationwide home stores such as Homebase, B&spacerQ and Dunelm Mill.
  2. Curtains
    The most traditional window covering, curtains are seen throughout every home in the country. Convenient, easily available and with prices ranging widely enough to fit any budget, it is easy to see why curtains are so popular. Often seen as more decorative than blinds, be sure to pick out a design that not only fits the colour scheme of your room, but blocks out the bulk of early morning light. The last thing you want is to be woken at the crack of dawn by the sunrise. Check these out at Next and Argos with styles to and prices to fit any budget. If you’re in need of some help, have a look at John Lewis’ guide to curtain buying for style, size and price tips.
  3. Honeycomb shades
    Working in a similar way to a roll up blind, honeycomb shades only differ in shape, allowing material to scrunch up and compact when opened up. Easy to fit, durable and available in a range of materials, you can choose your shades to suit your style needs. They’re great for making sure you get a full sleep, as they block out the whole window and stop those rays of sun bursting in. Check out Amazon for a range of honeycomb shades from as cheap as £20.
  4. Sheer curtains
    Better suited to living rooms and non-sleeping areas, sheers are a great way of getting the look of a curtain, but with a less substantial material. Even though the thin materials mean sheers allow light to flood through into a room, they manage to add an element of style to a room in which you won’t be sleeping. Sheer curtains make an ideal budget window cover due to their cheaper prices. Check out Ikea for a sheer curtains from as little as £7 per pair.
  5. Roman shades
    Merging the material feel of curtains with the opening style of a blind, roman shades can be used anywhere from your kitchen to your living room or bedroom. Cheaper than curtains and a more stylish choice than vertical slat blinds, roman shades let you block out the sunlight and personalise your room at the same time. Budget options can be seen through home ware sections of supermarket websites like Tesco, or for slightly more cash and greater style options, try the John Lewis’ range.


Special thanks to PanPote for the use of their image.

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