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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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How to throw a successful first dinner party

After years of being the grateful guest, now is the time to stick the oven on, call up your friends, and brush up on your Nigella as you host your first dinner party.  But before you rustle up some home cooked delights and pick out the perfect outfit, check out our handy advice on how to make your first dinner party a raving success.

dinner decorSet the scene

We all love a theme night, but when hosting a dinner party we have to question whether taking inspiration from your past student nights out is the right decision to make.  For a more sophisticated approach, incorporate a colour scheme to your table or dress code.  You can find fantastic name cards, table runners and more from leading brands such as Not on the High Street.  Hosting on a budget?  Experiment with candles to achieve an elegant ambience.  This is a great chance to express your personality and the food you are serving so choose your ideas with care.

Cheers!

Your guests will most probably be thirsty when they arrive, so ensure that you provide a welcome drink, giving your friends a choice between soft and alcoholic.  Ensure that you don’t end up doing a champagne toast in your favourite tea mug by buying buying the correct glasswear before the night.

Food for thought

To avoid the heart ache of discovering your friends new found vegetarianism just minutes before you present your delicious beef casserole, plan ahead and make sure your menu adheres to any dietary requirements your guests may have.  Once your menu is planned, research potential soft or alcoholic drinks that will compliment your food, wowing your friends with your new found sommelier skills.

Serve in style

These days you’re more likely to be served your dinner on a wooden board and your chips in a shopping trolley rather than proudly presented on a beautiful dinner sdinner partyet.  Impress your guests with your best tablewear and invest in some new plates, crockery and cutlery.    Cooking meat, fish or shellfish?  Ensure your guests aren’t struggling with their lobster and steak by buying the right type of cutlery for their food.

Let me entertain you

You don’t need to spend a fortune on grand entertainment, after all it should be the food and company that is the main focal point of the evening.  However, if you would like to inject a bit of fun in between courses why not host a quick fire quiz round, pop on some music for an impromptu boogie.  Pinterest  has thousands of party game suggestions that can be enjoyed for any type of night.

 

Have you got any top tips for a fantastic dinner party?  Let us know in the comments below!

 

Image Credits: Pixabay,  Flickr

 

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Bathroom hacks you can’t live without

towelsBathrooms can be a nightmare – from a lack or storage leading to stray toiletries and towels to endless cleaning difficulties. To ease the pain, here are some handy hacks sure to transform your bathroom into your favourite room of the house.

Get yourself organised
Unless you are extremely lucky, most bathrooms are limited in size. This can make storage solutions a big issue, leading to some very frustrating clutter. Here are some quirky but helpful ways to make the most of the space you have.

  • Wine rack towel holder – do you have a wine rack that you never seen to fill? By screwing it to your wall and rolling your towels instead of folding, you can create a stylish towel rack.
  • Hang your towels here – there are a whole host of towel rack alternatives out there (if you don’t have a wine rack knocking about). Give your bathroom some personality by painting old cabinet doors or coat hooks to match your colour scheme. Attach hooks on to a shabby chic headboard for a Parisian feel, even attach hooks on to a surf board for a fun beach vibe – the possibilities are endless.
  • Let them eat cake – do you own an attractive cake stand but haven’t got round to baking those cupcakes yet? Place it in the bathroom as a great storage solution for your small bottles of lotions and soaps.
  • Never lose those pins – are you always trying to recreate the perfect up do but keep losing your hair grips? Stick your pints to a self-adhesive magnetic strip which can nestle comfortably underneath your bathroom mirror. Potential hours of searching solved in an instant!

Amplify your sound
Do you like to relax in the bath with your favourite tunes, or are you into a bit of shower karaoke in the morning? Amplify the sound in your bathroom by placing your music device or phone in your sink – just make sure you turn the taps off first!

Save on ironing time
If ironing is at the bottom of your favourite chores list then this hack will save you time and stress.   By closing your doors and windows and having a hot shower, the steam in the room will help de-wrinkle your clothes.

Keep it cleacleaning tapn
Struggling to keep your bathroom clean and finding that commercial products just don’t cut it? Try out some of these more traditional methods that even Kim and Aggie would approve of:

  • A mix of vinegar and baking soda will do wonders for your toilet without resorting to using bleach. Just had a party and have leftover cola? The acidity in the drink works wonders in dealing with lime scale.
  • Sprinkle some salt on a grapefruit and use it to scrub your bathroom free of soap scum. Not only will it end up smelling delicious, you are once again avoiding using any dangerous chemicals.
  • Struggling to clean your shower head? All you need to do is pop some vinegar and water into a plastic bag and submerge the shower head in it for 30 minutes, securing with an elastic band. Rinse afterwards with hot water for sparkling results.

Do you have any more helpful hacks for the bathroom?   Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credits: FlickrPixabay

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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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What can first time buyers expect to get for their money?

 

It’s no secret that getting on the first rung of the property ladder can be an extremely difficult task, with many first time buyers struggling to meet the high costs involved with purchasing their first home.

According to Rightmove first time buyers can now expect to pay an average of £169,414 to get their foot on the ladder – that’s an increase of 7.6 per cent on last year’s figures. A recent report by The Independenlondon flats 2t also revealed that unaffordable housing is forcing first time buyers out of the home towns they’ve grown up in and love.

So, what can first time buyers expect to get for their money?

London living

Reports claim that those hoping to buy in the notoriously expensive London need to be earning a whopping £77,000 a year to afford the capital’s average house price of £384,856. However, if the national average of £169,414 is more in your price range, you’re likely to be looking at a one bedroom flat in north London or The Isle of Dogs. The sizes may be “bijou” but many would argue that the lack of space is a small price to pay for the opportunity to live so close to the big city and all it has to offer.

A quiet lifeisle of wight
If you enjoy the open air, a slow pace of living and love the sea, perhaps a house across the Solent may be of interest?  You can buy a spacious three bed semi  in the more rural/coastal parts of the Isle of Wight, offering outside space and with a beach never more than 20 minutes away. You can expect to get a lot more for your money than if you buy around the nearby commuter belt of the south east.

 Go up north
Moving further up north to Cumbria, you could enjoy a three bedroom detached property in areas such as Wigton or Windermere. Prices generally are lower in the north with many areas such as Leeds in Yorkshire or the suburbs of Newcastle offering semi-detached or terraced properties with a garden for the average asking price. However, you may find that prices begin to rise the closer you get to the city centre – notably in the larger cities such as Leeds, where you could possibly purchase a two bedroom apartment for the same price as a house several miles down the road.

 How are you finding prices in your area? Do you plan on buying closer to home, or do you have to look elsewhere for something more affordable?

Image Credit: GeographGeograph

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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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Three quirky hacks to make sure your furniture fits

One of the most stressful parts of moving into a new home is the daunting task of fitting in the furniture from your old home, as well as those additional items you buy along the way! But before you rush to transport your sofa or desk to your new place, make sure you have space for it all with these helpful measuring hacks.

Plan with cardboard

Do you have any spare cardboard boxes lying around after packing? Well, why not use them to find the perfect position for your furniture by simply cutting them to fit the dimensions of your chairs, tables, cardboard boxcabinets etc? You can then place them down, measure your space and work out exactly where your furniture should go before having to take on any heavy lifting!

Go virtual

Release your inner tech savvy by seeking out helpful apps, such as the Ikea Home Planner. to place virtual furniture in virtual rooms using your smart phone or tablet. There is no need to hire an interior designer as you can measure, rearrange, and style your room with nothing but technology.

Measure without taSpool_of_stringpe

Don’t have a tape measure? Don’t fear! These handy tricks will help you use your body parts to measure any space – it may look silly, but we promise it works!

  • Do you know exactly how tall you are? Lay on the floor to work out the dimensions of your room – you could even get different family members involved to give you a choice of heights!
  • Work out how many inches your shoe size is (there are plenty of tables online) and work out the length of something by walking toe to heel. For example a UK size 7 is 9.875 inches (25.1cm). Make sure you do it a few times to get the correct measurement, even if it is a bit time consuming.

Wrap a piece of string around your furniture and mark it, then take a ruler out and measure its length. Quick and simple!

 

Image Credits: WikimediaWikimedia

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Kitchen hacks you can’t live without

If your kitchen is on the small side, or you just own a lot of stuff, these kitchen hacks can be a life saver. From reusing household items unconventionally, to simple storage techniques, here are some of our favourites:

TicTac Herb Storage
These durable plastic containers are a really useful and neat way of storing your herbs and spices and the small cap opening means you can control the amount of herbs/spices you distribute. The clear containers will enable you to see what’s inside, and if all your herbs and spices are in these it creates a neat, uniform drawer or container that will tessellate perfectly.

chopping board Over the Sink Chopping Board
An over the sink chopping board can temporarily expand your counter space, perfect for smaller kitchens making it easier to multi-task. You can find  these in retailers such as Ikea. Now you have no excuse not to have all the family over for lunch!

 Magazine Holders as Storage
Magazine holders are surprisingly versatile and can be used as great space-saving hacks. Store kitchen essentials such as tin foil, cling film and baking  parchment – the boxes fit perfectly in the holders which can be stored easily in your cupboards. You could also store your tins neatly, eliminating  another storage problem as the rack creates a new “wall” to store items against.

 Say Goodbye to Fridge Odours
Use kitchen staple baking soda to make pouches that you can put in your fridge to get rid of any lingering odours. You can make the pouches out of some cotton cloth, a coffee filter, or even use an old (clean!) sock. Just remember to tie it securely so you don’t have baking powder in your dinner!

Shoe Organisers in the Pantry
If you have a pantry, hanging shoe organisers on the back of the door becomes a great way to store your snacks. It effectively uses the limited space you may have and also is herbs frozeneasily accessible and quick to find what you’re looking for.

Freeze your wine
Do you often use wine in your cooking but find it hard to create space in your fridge? Pour some cooking wine into ice cube trays and pop them in the fridge. Use when you need them and save the good stuff for the fridge!

Quick and easy herbs
Another one for the freezer, pop some fresh herbs and olive oil in an ice tray and freeze them. You can take them out and put them in sauces and pastas when you need them, reducing the amount of waste from continuously buying fresh.

 

 

Image Credits: WikimediaFlickr

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How to De-Clutter Your Home in 4 Easy Steps

clutter1Now the weather is warming it’s time to start on the cleaning projects you’ve been putting off for months. But that doesn’t mean everything has to be as miserable as cleaning the gutters or chimney.

A simple way to clean and freshen your home is to get rid of the clutter. An organized home looks good and feels good to live in.

Here we’ve outlined how to de-clutter your home in four easy steps. This covers 99% of clutter that most people have.

1. Create a Plan

The first step is to walk through your home and make an assessment of each room. Where do you see the most clutter?

For most people, the clutter is confined in storage spaces such as bedroom closets and kitchen cabinets. Don’t forget to look under beds and behind couches where you might have been guilty of stashing a few things when you had guests and forgot.

Once you’ve identified your problem areas, start attacking them one room at a time. You can even separate this into several weekends if the problem is severe. However, it’s usually best to get it all over with at once.

 2. Give Away Old Clothes You No Longer Wear2202304362_8c42dd6d4d_m

We often end up hanging on to clothes we no longer wear for several years. An easy way to de-clutter your closets and drawers is to get rid of all those  old  clothes.

The benefits include:

  •  Donating clothes to those less fortunate
  •  Freeing up extra space
  •  Having an excuse to buy new clothes

If you’re getting rid of designer clothes that are still in good condition you can actually sell them and put that money towards your new wardrobe.

3. Organize the Kitchen and Pantry

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens and it’s easy for that space to get cluttered, especially throughout the holidays.

How many random containers are going unused in your kitchen? Now is the perfect time to go through your kitchen cabinets and get rid of all those old containers and dishes that do nothing but waste space.

This is also a great time to have a look around your fridge and pantry to locate any food items that need to be tossed. A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen!

4. Commit to Filling One Large Trash Bag With Junk

Some people have a hard time letting go of their stuff. Does that sound like you?

If so, try to commit to at least filling one large trash bag full of junk that you’re not using. If you can give that stuff away to charity that’s great, just get it out of your house.

If you can’t fill a large trash bag, good for you, your place must be well-organized! Or maybe you are hanging on to things you don’t really need. There’s a simple trick to figuring out whether something has sentimental value or you are hoarding. Before opening a drawer or cabinet, write out a list of everything in there. The things that don’t make the list usually aren’t important and can be tossed.

Spring cleaning shouldn’t feel like torture, but it should make a noticeable difference. Have you started yet, or are you still putting it off?

Image credits to: FlickrRecapo

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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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