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 top tips on how to update your living room

 

After years of enduring magnolia and off-white walls in your rented properties, you may find yourself overwhelmed with choice whilst deciding how to update your new living room.  It may seem like a daunting task, but we have compiled some simple yet effective tips that can help:

Discover new lighting
table lamp ikea

Different types of lighting can have a huge impact on the mood of the room.  Light that is too harsh and bright could make the room feel clinical and cold, whereas softer lighting will create a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for cosy nights in.  A well lit room can be achieved easily by using lower watt bulbs, installing a dimmer, or strategically placing lamps to benefit the levels of light your room receives throughout the day.

You can find a wide range of affordable yet stylish lamps perfect for any modern living room in high street retailers such as Next, or John Lewis.

Paint in wonderful white

Choosing whitwhite walls e paint to redecorate with may not seem like a drastic change to your living room, but this classic look will never go out of style.   To  avoid a sterile feel to the room, make sure you use different textures in your room to give it a more homely feel, such as cushions or t  throws.

You could also choose a colour pallet to accent your room with, making future changes to the room more practical to deal with over the years.

 Writing on the wall

Personalising your living space has never been easier with a range of decorative wall quotes, words and letters to choose from.  Add words and  images to your wall using artistic vinyl graphics, or frame an inspirational or humorous quote to hang as a centre piece.  Online retailers such as Not  on the High Street or Etsy have some fabulous designs which can instantly transform your surroundings.

Change the dynamics

Change the dynamics of your room by moving around your furniture to create more space and making the most of the changing light conditions throughout the year.  You can also do this by changing the position of your radiator or removing a door to create more options whilst deciding where to place your furniture.

Go green plant

Add a splash of colour to your living room whilst also improving your mind and health, by introducing house plants and flowers.  This will create a fresh and natural feel to your room, instantly changing the atmosphere and bringing life to your home.

 

 

 

 

Image Credits: FlickrIkea

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Attaining a stylish garden

zen Gardens are an important part of any home; they’re a place to be at one with nature, to enjoy peace and tranquility in between neighbours mowing their  lawns, and relax whilst soaking up the sun (the little amount that we get). In true Brit-style, we’ll take any smidgeon of sunlight emerging from behind  the clouds as an excuse to crack open the beers and get the BBQ going, but this is almost impossible to predict. It’s therefore important that your garden  is ready for any impromptu summer barbecues, parties or outdoor get-together’s you may decide to host, and we think that one simple yet effective way  of doing this is to replicate the style of your home from the inside, out.

Imagine yourself in your living room minus all of its furnishings; you probably wouldn’t want to spend much time in there would you? Well the same  applies to your garden. Decorating your garden with plants is only the first step in creating a harmonious and stylish area, but furniture is an  increasingly vital element. There are a range of different furniture designs available to suit your desired garden style and theme. For example, Japanese Zen gardens have become very popular in recent years and are a modern favourite in garden design. Some others include Mediterranean, Tuscan, and Traditional English country for example. Allocating a theme to your garden will enable you to stay within a colour palette, chose materials complimentary of one another and above all, avoid mismatched items.

Choosing your Style

When looking for garden furniture, you made find than you’re overwhelmed by the vast number of different types and styles that are available.ratan furniture

For a more traditional and classic look, there are many different types of wooden furniture that are of high quality and well-made to look simple but effective. Rattan is also a great choice of furniture that is extremely charming. Rattan is made from superior quality resin and comes in two different types: Flat weave is a more cost-friendly and gives a more modern look whereas round weave is more traditional and perhaps a little more attractive and luxurious. Metal too has the potential to be attractive and luxurious and is conveniently simple to maintain. For a more modern appearance, darker coloured furniture such as black is more appropriate, or even sheer white – however white furniture, particularly fabric coated ones can be difficult to clean, but is nevertheless just as beautiful.

 

Picking up the Pieces

Garden furniture doesn’t have to be dull, however many flock towards the standard green or white plastic chair and table sets or the regular old wooden pieces. Not  that there is anything wrong with this, but your garden should be a place you actively want to return to due to its beauty and charm. Furthermore, many shy away  from the more interesting types of garden furniture as it is often found to be pricey or overindulgent. However, realistically you do not have to spend that much  money and stylish garden furniture can be picked up at a decent enough price.

You first need to establish what type of furniture you are looking for. Are you looking for an outside dining set, chairs, a coffee table, a bench, sofas or something  else? Are you buying according to a theme? You also need to think about who will be using the furniture and when.

Chairs and sofas are great for if you host an occasion or get together and even to also create an outside relaxation area. You may be more interested in purchasing  an outside dining table, allowing you and your family to enjoy the evening, or perhaps a coffee table for reading your book with a cup of tea or coffee. There are  many different arrangements to choose from, it’s simply about finding the right one to suit you.

 

About the author

Laura Morrissey

 

Laura Morrissey is a digital content editor and home improvement enthusiast at George F Knowles Furniture. She is a native of Liverpool with an interest in high quality craftsmanship & traditional luxury furnishings and passionately writing about them.

 

Image Credits: PixabayStatic FlickrOutdoorWickerFurniture.com

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11 Tips for an Easy and Affordable New Home Makeover

You’ve got a new house, but it doesn’t quite feel like home yet. Give your new place the makeover it needs to make it feel like it’s truly yours.

We’ve put together a list of 11 things you can do to drastically change the appearance of your home, easily and affordable. By the time you’re done, the old owners won’t even recognize the place anymore.

 1. A FreshFarbroller Coat of Paint

Perhaps the most cost-effective way to dramatically change the appearance of any room, a fresh layer of paint is the first order of business for any new  home makeover.

 2. Install Interior Shutters

Swinging wood shutters add charm and privacy to your home. They’re also easy to install.

 3. Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

You don’t have to replace the cabinets to make your kitchen look brand new and you don’t need very many supplies for this project either. Some cleaner, sandpaper, paint brush, the finish of your choice, and a weekend of time is all you need.

4. Refinish Your Wood Door

Damp weather and bright sunshine damage the appearance of your front door over time. Rather than replacing it, you can refinish it with a few affordable supplies.

5. Power Wash Your Deck

If the previous owner failed to maintain their deck, chances are it has more blemishes than you can count. However, a power wash and thorough scrubbing can revive that old deck in no time.

6. Install Stair Bracketsdeck_washing

Decorative stair brackets added to the exposed side of your staircase adds architectural flair and elegance. They’re easy to install using adhesive and nails.

7. Add a Back Splash to Your Kitchen

Backs splashes are affordable, easy to install, and easy to clean. With so many options available you can find exactly what you want to complement your kitchen.

8. Update Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

You can find stylish and functional faucets that are reasonably priced and easy to install. Small changes like this have a big impact on the appearance of a room.

9. Install Dimmers on Your Lights

Dimmed lights dramatically change the atmosphere of a room. Installing dimmers is easier than you think and doesn’t cost much either.

10. Replace Your Shower Head

You can install a new shower head for the purpose of saving money on your utility bill, increasing water pressure, or simply for aesthetic appeal. Most shower heads can be replaced in less than five minutes.

11. Replace Cabinet Knobs

Adding or replacing knobs on cabinets gives your new home a custom look that you can easily change whenever you want. Installation is a breeze and affordable knobs are easy to find.

 

Image Credits to: CaptainsavehomeWikipedia

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Quick advice for furnishing your new home

Quick advice for furnishing your new home

If you’ve just moved into your new home and want to jump straight into giving your open spaces that splash of personality that comes with furnishing, we know how tough it can be if you’re having to stretch a relatively low budget. Whilst some areas, like a spare room, can be put on hold as they aren’t a pressing concern, others need to be furnished quickly in order for you to be able to effectively continue with your everyday life. It’s a given that your bedroom, living room and dining area are tough to do without, so if you’re looking to decorate these areas without splashing too much cash, check out our handy tips.

Buy used

New furniture can be very expensive, however if you buy used prices are generally more affordable. The one problem with used furniture however, is that some of it can be dreadfully tasteless and more suited to a skip than your house. Despite it often being tough to find tasteful options for furnishing and decorating, it is possible to pick up items for next to nothing. Check out our blog post on Flat Broke Furnishing if picking up freebies and second hand items sounds like a suitable option for you. Alternatively, browse eBay, Gumtree and other auction sites for bargains to incorporate into your home.

Buying packages

Furniture can be expensive to buy, and we know just how big a headache balancing a budget can be when you need a number of pricey and sizeable items. Fortunately, some retailers also understand that and are able to offer you a solution. Shop around and make sure that you make the most of the diversity of your local area. Don’t be suckered in by the big  brand names – chain stores might be convenient as a ‘one stop shop’ destination, however they don’t always offer the best value or craftmanship.

Revamp

It might be the case that in the process of moving, you’ve acquired some old furniture that is serviceable in your new place, but just needs a bit of a revamp to make it fit for purpose. Simple things such as painting wooden furniture or giving them a coat of oil, replacing knobs, and re-covering chairs can all breathe new life into the items. Moving the position of items of furniture within a room can also make a difference, and can give an object a completely fresh look.

Photo Credit: SANDICES via Compfight cc

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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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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.

During

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.

Afterwards

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.

Finally

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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Home design inspiration on Instagram
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Home design inspiration on Instagram

If you’re new to your first home, decorating can be a daunting challenge, especially if you’re looking to make vast changes and truly put your stamp on your new rooms. When faced with such a blank canvas, it can be tough to get inspired and know what you want, however in the modern online world, your never far from incredible design ideas. If you’re searching for a creative muse, but don’t have the hours to spend trawling design showrooms, here are some Instagram accounts that are perfect for design ideas.

 

Domino MagDomino Mag

As one of the most respected interiors magazines on the market, it’s worth following Domino for those quick glimpses of inspiration throughout your day.

Image via Instagram @dominomag

 

Design Sponge

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.38.55

If you’re more of a DIY designer, then Design Sponge is definitely a must follow and with over 3,000 images to peruse at your leisure, there should be plenty of ideas you can adapt.

Image via Instagram @designsponge

The Every Girl

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Ranked by Forbes as a Top 100 Website for women, it’s no surprise that the abundance of home and interior shots are a great starting point when it comes to design.

Image via Instagram @theeverygirl_

 

Homestead Seattle

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With a following of over 15,000, this is the go-to place if you’re looking for vintage furniture and restoration ideas.

 Image via Instagram @homesteadseattle

Illenia Martini

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From Italy, to New York and back to Europe, the Instagram account of Illenia Martini is the place to head if you’re looking to open your eyes to more continental and Atlantic themes in your décor.

 Image via Instagram @ilemartini

Tappan Collective

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A true hub from some of the brightest up and coming artists around, this is a user you need to follow if you’re looking to put an artistic stamp on your walls.

Image via Instagram @tappancollective 

Orlando Soria

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As creative director at one of America’s renowned design experts Homepolish, this is the place to head if you enjoy clean, minimal design ideas mixed with flashes of greenery.

Image via Instagram @mrorlandosoria

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