How to make your home pet friendly

Many landlords have strict ‘no pets’ policies meaning renters are forced to live without a furry, loyal companion in their home. Once you become a homeowner, you may therefore be tempted to rush into buying a pet, but there are many factors you need to consider before you adopt a Pug or Labrador! The main one being ‘is my home pet friendly?’ Here’s what you need to do to make sure it is…

Fur babies

  • A good rule of thumb when pet-proofing your house is to use similar health and safety measures as those you’d use for a baby or toddler. From hiding electric cables behind appliances to not leaving lit candles out, do a risk assessment around your home and try to spot all potential hazards!
  • Putting child locks on your kitchen cupboards can prevent a variety of incidents! Many every day food items, such as grapes or chocolate, are highly toxic to dogs so it is essential you lock your cupboards to avoid tragedy.
  • If you hpugave a small or young pet, invest in a child’s stair gate to avoid any nasty falls as they learn how to navigate the steps. Alternatively, you can pop it on your kitchen door to keep out any hungry pups!

Decorate for your dogs

  • Cream carpets and expensive sofas may be your décor of choice, but with a pet (especially a dog!) it may prove less than practical. Good quality wooden flooring or tiles are much easier to clean, especially when house training, and doesn’t show up those pesky dog hairs!
  • When buying a new sofa, make sure you get one with removable covers so they are easy to clean. Choosing a natural colour is also great at hiding that summer fur shedding.

Glorious garden

  • Your garden should be your pet’s paradise. Be sure that it is completely safe by making it fully fenced, with no gaps and potential repair work needing to be done. This not only protects your pet from escaping, but also lowers the risk of your beloved friend being stolen.
  • Prevent a tragedy by making sure your garden is also completely poison-free. Avoid putting down slug pellets and look out for any hazardous plants that could make your pet ill, even cocoa chips in gardens are highly poisonous to dogs who mistake them for chocolate due to the smell.
  • Make sure that all ponds are covered; your dog may like a dip in the sea but for don’t expect your smaller animals to be good swimmers!cat

Safety first

Just as with children, make sure that you keep your house as safe as possible by closing windows and closing appliances such as your oven. Cats are notorious for finding cosy spots to sleep the day away in and can easily be missed while snoozing in the washing machine. The same is applied to open windows with many cats having serious or even fatal accidents by falling from a great height.

Do you have any helpful advice on how to keep your home pet friendly? Pop your tips in the comments below.

 

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Five ways to recreate vintage style in the home

Are you bored of minimal modernity and craving the class and sophistication of the ‘Mad Men’ era? Perhaps you dream about the rustic charms of turn of the century French country chic? Whatever style you choose, we have some helpful advice on how to achieve your perfect vintage home.

Embrace you erastairs

Select an era you want to emulate, from 1920’s art deco glamour to the homely yet kitsch vibe of a mid-century abode, choose your pieces wisely to achieve true authenticity. However, if done correctly, taking differe    nt inspiration from various eras can also work well for an unconventional yet effortlessly cool home. Pinterest  has some fabulous ideas to transform your home into a wonder of the past.

History in colour

Choosing the right colour scheme for your vintage home is just as important as the furniture, from the dark and striking colours of early 20th century America, to the bold statement prints of the 1960s, each provide a snapshot into that time period. Vintage paint companies such as Grand Illusions, and chalk paint powerhouse Annie Sloan provide a vast selection of high quality paints in a range of colours.

 Blooming Beautifulwallpaper

Don’t restrict the power of the flower to the garden; brighten up your lounge and bedroom with some floral patterned pieces for a groovy 70’s vibe. If you’re a dab hand at sewing, seek out fabric offcuts and vintage themed samples from your local haberdashery to rework old furnishings or make new pieces.

Recycle old treasures

Give antique finds a second lease of life by bringing them into your home. On a budget? By scouring thrift shops and car boot sales you could find a variety of incredible items from the past, without paying “vintage store” prices. Also, spending a little time on EBay can uncover a treasure trove of retro furniture and home accessories, perfect for any vintage home. DIY savvy? Distress an old piece of furniture or reupholster a plain chair to turn it into a wonderful one off piece – the possibilities are endless.

Be inspired by sideboardothers

The internet is a wonderful place to discover inspiration with fantastic interior design blogs, inspirational websites such as Houzz  and Pinterest. However, as well as this why don’t you look a little closer to home? Speak to your relatives who have lived through these fantastic decades and ask to see photos of their homes back in the day. You never know, you may get your very own interior designer to help out in the form of your Grandparent!

Image Credits: Deviant ArtWikimedia, Wikimedia

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Five unusual ways to bring colour to your kitchen

For families who spend a lot of time together in their kitchen, it is important to take the time to create a space that perfectly matches the household’s personality and way of living. If you are looking to add some much-needed energy and life into the room, including vibrant and vivid colours can be a great way to go about creating a lively space that the whole family enjoys.

Take a look at these five inventive ways to add splashes of colour into your kitchen:

  1. Colour pop appliancesretro kitchen

Make large kitchen appliances the focal point by opting for bright items that add cheery pops of colour to the room. Many fridges and cookers are now available in a wide range of shades, and when paired with stainless steel or neutral tones, can help you to create a cheerful and energetic atmosphere.

 

  1. Bright and unusual splashbacks

Splashbacks are often only thought about in terms of practicality. However, why not steer clear of the status quo and look for bright glass tiles, decorative steel sheets or even patterned tile decals and inject a hit of colour into your kitchen?

 

  1. Display your kitchenalia with open shelving

This idea can seem a little terrifying, after all how will you be able to hide your clutter? In order to do so stylishly, pick a few choice areas to place open shelving and select your most colourful crockery, dishes, bottles and glasses to display so that you can bring a slice of the rainbow to your cooking space.

 

  1. Statement countertops

If you are looking for a way to add a feature colour to your kitchen, why not opt for a bright countertop? For a contemporary look, select a statement shade such as pink, yellow or orange and pair with wooden cabinets.

 

Alternatively, if you want to add a touch of luxury, choose a granite countertop in a striking deep tone. What makes granite special is the intricate patterns that can be found within the stone. Sat against bright white walls or cabinets, it can help you to make a beautifully bold and colourful statement.

chalk board walls

  1. Creative chalkboard walls

For those wanting to bring a little fun into their kitchen, why not paint a wall with chalkboard paint? Not only is it perfect for writing reminders and shopping lists, but it can be a great opportunity to let your creative juices flow. If you have a young family, the children will love being able to create chalk masterpieces and any big kids will have just as much fun drawing their own doodles!

For some, incorporating bright colours into your kitchen design can seem daunting. If you’re feeling nervous, think small to begin with and pick out a few bold accessories to add to your space. Once you start to see the energy that these brighter shades can bring, there is no doubt that you will want to add even more flashes of colour into the hardest working room in the home.

 

 

 

AUTHOR BIO: Ashleigh Harman writes for Britannia Living. Famous for their collection of iconic range cookers, customers can use the Britannia Colourange tool to create statement range cookers in any shade, providing people with the opportunity to create kitchens that are truly unique.

 

Image Credits: FlickrFlickr

 

 

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Handy advice on how to keep your home cool in the summer

If you are living in the UK you no doubt have been affected by the July heatwave, where on July 1st, Brits experienced the hottest day on record – with temperatures peaking at a scorching 36.7C!

Such high temperatures can no doubt cause discomfort at home, so we have compiled some handy advice on how to keep you and your house cool in the summer.

Close the curtains

When the sun is shining it maybe tempting to throw open your doors and curtains.  However, windows can account for up to 30% of unwanted heat, and can turn your home into a rather large green house.  Closing your blinds and curtains can help significantly lower the temperature – a trick that you may notice when visiting warmer climates abroad!

Are you looking after yourself?

It may seem like an obvious tip, but ensure that you stay cool by looking after your body.  For example; take regular showers, drink plenty of water, and wear loose clothing when you can.  Also, freezing wet flannels bbqcan make fantastic cheaper alternatives to ice packs – once frozen, press onto your pressure points (i.e. wrists) and feel your body gradually cool down.

Any excuse not to cook…

Make the most of the hot weather by turning off your oven and enjoying evening BBQs instead.  Having your oven turned on will heat up your entire house, especially if used during the day.  So what better excuses to dust off the grill and bring the family round for an al fresco dinner?

Choose the right bed

Choosing the right mattress can save you a lot of sleepless nights once the temperatures start soaring.  Although priced slightly more expensively, buying from a good company such as Sealy, who use Geltex to help regulate temperatures and keep you cool at night, can stop you from waking up in a pool of sweat.

Let your heat rise

It is a common fact that heat rises.  If you have a loft, open the hatch to it and let the heat rise through, so that it can circulate throughout the roof and in return, cool down the entire house.

 

Do you have any more handy tips on how to stay cool?

Image Credit: WikimediaDeviant Art

 

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Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

It’s your home, and everyone loves the personal touch that decorating brings to your room. This summer, it’s all about the style statement, so don’t whimper out and opt for bland colours, take one of these striking colour palates and incorporate it into your home.

Black and White

It might seem like a simple and classic combination, however done right, the black and white palette adds real depth to a room, especially when utilised with a modern and contemporary twist. From incorporating the style into the wall decoration with a striped design, to adding furniture and decorations that complement the style perfectly, you have a whole heap of options when it comes to this colour palette. Here are some of our favourite room additions with this colour scheme.

Black and White Chevron Rug – Urban Outfitters, £69.

Chevron Lampshade In Black – Not On The High Street, £30

Bossenden Wall Clock – House Of Fraser, £40

Coastal Cool

With the sun baking down, and the mild breeze providing a refreshing cool as it calmly blows over the garden and into your home, you can be forgiven for allowing your mind to wander with daydreams of a beached coastline, with radiant heat beaming down and the cool ocean waves whipping at your toes as you stroll over the perfect white sands. It sounds idyllic, but for most of us, the majority of our summer will be spent at home, so now is the perfect time to implement those elements of coastal cool into your house. It gives your rooms a light, breezy feel and with cool vibrant colours, it provides plenty of energy. Colours to incorporate are vast, but mainly focus on aquatic blues and greens, sandy yellows and natural browns.

MissPrint Home Dashes Cushion – John Lewis, £28

Wooden Frame Tealight Holder – Laura Ashley, £22

The Ascot Rug – The Rug Seller, £75-£359

European Clean

In the summer, there’s not colour that emphasises the warmth quite like a clean crisp white. We see it time and time again in the world of sashion, expecially in the summer. Be it in a light and airy linen shirt for a man, or a striking dress or jeans on a woman, white is a colour that really comes into its own in the warmer months. Although it might not be the most practical of solutions, the colour will provide a refreshing and fresh feel. Use white as a neutral backdrop, and then accessorize with statement complimentary pieces in your favourite colors, or create a monochromatic design by enveloping the room in an all-white palette. Mix and match with tones from the coastal cool selection, to add a real touch of summer to your rooms.

Knitted Pouffe – Etsy, £65

Baby Betty Vases – Brissi, £24

 

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Kate Hobbs, who has a passion for home interiors and trends.

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Spring updates for your living room
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Spring updates for your living room

With winter now behind us, April is the perfect time to give your living room a revamp. We’d all like to hope that, over the summer months, an abundance of sun will mean we spend every free minute basking out in the warm garden. In reality however, it’s fairly safe to say that we won’t be spending all our summer outdoors. Prepare for the coming months by revamping your living room, for when the weather turns grim and you have to move guests and visitors indoors. Here are our top tips for updating your living room to be a bright and breezy summer area.

Feature wall

In many cases, people decorate a room and leave it for numerous years just to avoid the hassle of redecorating. Whilst we aren’t advocating that you do a complete renovation after every passing season, it can make a pleasant change to the feel of your room if you implement, or simply repaint your feature wall. Having a feature wall within your room adds a greater depth to your space, and providing you chose the right colour, it means that you can change the tone of your room from season to season.

Change window coverings

Over the winter months, in an effort to keep out the cold, rain and howling winds, a thick heavy curtain is a great option for dressing your windows. However as the winter comes to an end and the weather picks up, it’s a great decorative idea to switch out your heavy duty curtain for something a little lighter.  In many households, blinds are a popular choice as they’re easy to use, provide the option of allowing in light even when closed, and can also be easy to work around when you have numerous open windows. If you have a curtain rail in place and want to alter the look of your windows over the summer, simply switch for something in a lighter material. It’s amazing how much of a role something as simple as a window decoration can play in the overall feel of your room, so making the most a light delicate window dressing can give your room an uplifting feel of summer.

Plants and flowers

Bring a feel of the summer indoors with some home-grown greenery. Nothing makes a room feel brighter than well chosen plants and flowers, and the injection of life to your room can really improve the overall feel and help you escape the feeling of winter. Don’t overdo it, as you don’t want your room to feel like an indoor greenhouse, however a selection of summer greenery can instantly help your living room.

Summer rug

If you want to add a splash of colour to your room, but don’t want to take any drastic permanent action, then adding something as simple as a spring summer style rug can help to drag your living room out of the winter and into the warmer months. Something like a floral rug can bring a real feel of spring into your room, and paired with another couple of light and bright accessories, it can have a real impact on the feel of your room.

 

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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

Things-to-Consider-Creating-a-Good-Living-Room-Interior-Design-Nice-View

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

personal

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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Top ways to bring light into your home this winter
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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

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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

mirror

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

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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

Daylighting_-_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

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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!

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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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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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Kerr Drummond’s top tips for making your first home your dream home

Kerr Drummond’s top tips for making your first home your dream home

Whilst moving into your first home is a real life milestone, it’s a time which is extremely hectic. Once you’ve got your house bought, and are finally moved in, it’s time to get cracking and stamp your own personal style on the home. If you’re searching for the best ways of making your first home into your dream home, here are some top tips, courtesy of interior designer and TV personality, Kerr Drummond.

Don’t be scared!

For most first time buyers, once the expense of investing in your new home is committed to there won’t be a huge amount of cash left for home improvements, so don’t be scared to do some of the work yourself – modern tools and materials are so well designed that even a complete novice shouldn’t be scared to try a bit of DIY. Tasks such as wallpapering and painting are easier now than they have ever been and if you are unsure use the internet as it is full of information. Take the Solvite “Help & Advice” section for example, which has lots of useful videos and a really handy tool that helps you choose the right product for each individual job.

Don’t be tempted to do loads of work on your new home as soon as you move in.

My most successful designs are achieved when I’m working with a client who has lived in the property for a while first. Having lived in the property for some time you will gain a lot of information such as which rooms benefit from natural light and which don’t – this is especially important when it comes to decorating, choosing colour schemes etc. You will also find out what does and doesn’t work about the existing layout in the kitchen and bathrooms, which will allow you to come up with improved designs for these rooms if necessary.

Trust your taste and don’t give in to trends.

The look I always try to achieve is one that is timeless.

Wallpaper is your friend!

Consider wallpapering as oppose to painting, especially in older properties where the plaster finish on walls is not great – a decent filler, lining and wallpaper will hide these imperfections and won’t cost you nearly as much as re-plastering and then decorating.

Consider which room is most important to you.

For some the kitchen is the heart of the home, for others it’s the living room. Allocate your budget accordingly.

Don’t be scared of adding some personality to your new home.

Too many people obsess over keeping their home neutral (another word for Beige) in case they ever want to sell it…I think we should be more inclined to worry about this once we have actually decided to sell the property – redecorating before a sale is not something we should be scared of. So if flock wallpaper and rich colours are your thing go for it!

Use local specialists.

If you are investing in a new kitchen or bathroom head down to a local independent specialist as oppose to one of the national brands – they will be more inclined to give you what you want as oppose to what they have been told to sell to you by head office. They will also develop a relationship with you, which should serve you well as you climb the property ladder.

Visit design shows to get inspiration.

Magazines are great but being able to see products first hand is really important. Many manufacturers use design shows to showcase new products so you will be up to date on what is on the market – be it kitchens, bathrooms or wall coverings.

Make a scrap book of design ideas and styles that you like, from magazine cuttings. Continuity of theme when home decorating is often a good idea to make the whole house work aesthetically and feel right but many of us don’t know what style it is that we like until we put all our ideas together and see that there is a theme running through it.

Don’t be tempted to buy copy-cat-products just because they’re cheaper.

Whether it’s kitchen appliances or wallpaper paste, in the world of interior design and D.I.Y. you generally get what your pay for so stick to a brand you know and trust.

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