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


Read more
, , , , ,

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

Read more
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.

Read more
Adding a splash of colour for spring
, ,

Adding a splash of colour for spring

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

Before you start

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

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

You may also need

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


Photo Credit: khrawlings via Compfight cc

Read more
Home touches for the ultimate spring feel
, ,

Home touches for the ultimate spring feel

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

Kitchen: Cooking with Colour

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

Bathroom: Appropriate accessories

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

Bedroom: Perfect pillows

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

Living Areas: Recover your drab lamps

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

Outdoors: Get in the Garden

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

Photo Credit: jinkazamah via Compfight cc

Read more
Finishing odd-jobs in time for Christmas
, ,

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

Read more
Winter colour schemes for your home

Winter colour schemes for your home

When the summer is over, and you think it’s time to get your home ready for the winter, colours play a large role. There is no better way of readying your rooms for the colder seasons than to implement a good, well suited colour scheme for the coming months, be it through incorporating new items and accessories into your rooms, or by having a re-decorate and painting your walls in a way which readies them for the season. If you’re looking for the best colours to implement into your home this winter, here are the top picks.


Implementing a bold colour will really make an impact in your room. Outside, it’s highly likely that the weather will be drab, having a dulling effect on much of your home. Counteract that by really going bold with your decoration. Purples and reds are great, as they help to add a splash of vibrancy to an area. Whilst it might be a bit much to  decorate an entire room in such a colour, implementing it on a feature wall, or through some new accessory additions could be a winner.


Around the home, blue is always a popular shade. If you’re wanting to keep it bold, then opting for a vibrant and striking shade will work well, and as blue is more of a staple home colour, it can be utilised more lavishly without fear of being overpowering. Whilst living areas often go for a more neutral colour, blue can again be utilised as a feature wall. If you don’t fancy making that statement in one of your key rooms, then start off by introducing it in a room of a more creative ilk. Blues often go well in the bathroom, and can definitely often be found in the kitchen.


If you fancy incorporating elements of the season into your room, now is the time to add shades of green to your home. Whilst you’re unlikely to want to bring brown indoors, shades of green are very well matched with the base colours of cream, beige and caramel you expect to see in most homes. Whether your preference is a more vibrant emerald, or something that brings an earthier tone, such as a pine green or teal, green works well, especially through autumn and leading up to the festive period.


If you just want to go back to basics, contrasting black and white is an intense but simple combination of colours that, when utilised correctly, can give off a truly elegant feel. Sometimes, it can be tough to get right, and incorporating an abundence of zebra-esque stripes might not be ideal for the feel of a room, but a good contrast, be it through gleaming white walls with black accessories, or a similar juxtaposition from floor to walls, can make for an inspired colour scheme. For some of the best black and white options, check out these tips from interior designers.


We’d love to hear your thoughts on autumn decorating! If you’ve given one of your rooms a referb, let us know what style you went for in the comments section below.


Photo credit: Free to use & share image from flyreview.com

Read more
Stain removal in your home

Stain removal in your home

When utilised in a room correctly, many rugs add a real depth and, in most cases, can project a feel of expense on a room.  When mud and dirt mingle into a rug, however, in the general wear and tear of everyday life, it can destroy the appearance and texture of the item. A dirty or worn looking rug doesn’t exude an attractive feel, and as a result, cleaning and removing everyday stains is a part of domestic cleaning.


Why removing stains from a rug is so important in domestic cleaning

Rugs are like any other product. When they are cleaned and cared for, they will be a real mainstay in your home. When they aren’t, and the everyday wear and tear of home life gets the better of them, their lifespan will significantly shorten. It is virtually impossible for a rug not to come into contact with dirt. The consequence of this is that over time, the dirt will destroy the fibres within the rug. In the worst cases, if the rug is not cleaned, mildew can set in, effectively destroying the product. This is the reason why removing stains from a rug is so important in domestic cleaning, to maintain the feeling of newness and ensure you get maximum lifespan out of your product.


Using the right tools to tackle the stain

When it comes to cleaning stains, it’s important to blot the rug before any stains dry. Rubbing a stain as opposed to blotting will only make the stain worse. It is also important to use a dish cloth or a microfibre cloth to tackle the stain in the rug. These types of cloths won’t break up when dampened by water.


Removing stains from rugs

There are a variety of different ways to remove stains from a rug. The way to tackle the stain often depends has caused the produce to become marked. One simple starting point is to remove the stain using a mixture of washing up liquid and water.  To do this, simply create a mixture comprising of one teaspoon of washing up liquid, some warm water and a teaspoon of white vinegar. Using a dish cloth, place the mixture onto the rug stain. This mixture is good for removing stains caused by a drinks spillage, such as alcohol and tea.


Removing the stain using white vinegar

The process of removing a stain using white vinegar is to try and blot the stain first. After that, place some white vinegar on the stain, before rinsing the stain with warm water. This tip is ideal for spillages such as fruit juices and milk.


Dealing with pet stains

If you’re a pet owner, we all know that from time to time, they’re going to create a real mess in your home. Pets aren’t always the cleanest of home inhabitants, so it’s good to get into the practice of cleaning items like your rugs on a schedule.  Whilst everyday dirt can easily be cleaned, from time to time, you might have to deal with larger and tougher stains. With tougher stains, it is probably a better idea to take the rug to a professional cleaner for a thorough once over.

Read more
Hottest summer styles: The mineral trend
, ,

Hottest summer styles: The mineral trend

Many thanks to Suzanne Yates, from Graham & Brown, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News and her expert insight into the top trends of this summer. With a rich history dating back to 1946, Graham & Brown have built a reputation as a leading design house and manufacturer.

Invite Mother Nature into your home this season by embracing the mineral trend. Curate all the beauty of the outside world and bring it indoors to promote a calming and tranquil atmosphere. Exploring different patterns and texture allows you to follow the same trend, whilst creating a completely different feel in each room.


  • Take note of the wondrous elements of nature that we often pass by. How many times have you thought about how beautiful the structure of a leaf is? The Glade wallpaper from Graham & Brown takes the intricate composition of a maple leaf, turning it into a beautiful motif that would be perfect for a feature wall in your living room.
  •  The key to using these statement patterns is to use a neutral tone. Greys, beige and white all allow light to reflect across your room, opening up the space and creating a relaxed atmosphere. These shades also replicate the colours of the mineral trend.
  • On your next outing, collect natural trinkets to decorate your living space. Bracken, dried flowers and pebbles can bring literal sense to the mineral trend, whilst helping you to experiment with natural textures.
  • You can also experiment with textures by choosing furniture made from natural material, such as wood and contrasting its rustic feel with unexpected chunky knitted throws or plump cushions.
  • Remember to think of all five senses when working on your next interior project. Texture is a big part of design that many people mistakenly overlook.
  • Wall art can add a quirky touch to your living space and add some personality to your room. These metal birds offer a great talking point, whilst sticking to the mineral trend. A simple twist to prints and canvas, this metal art brings the room to life whilst sticking to the mineral trend.


  • Consider bringing the outside indoors literally by potting a miniature fresh herb garden. The scent of fresh basil, coriander and mint will fill your home with a natural aroma which cannot be replicated with a synthetic air freshener. Edible plants are easy to tend to and take care of and enhance your culinary exploits.
  •  Wooden crockery and cutlery will bring a humble rustic vibe to your kitchen. This simple touch allows us to take advantage of natural patterns. The swirly grain of each unique piece takes us away from the uniform style of modern interiors.


  • Blur the lines between your home and the outdoors by decorating your garden with outdoor lighting and furniture. Fairy lights bring an eco-friendly, effective touch to give the illusion of an expanding space.
  •  Break down physical and visual barriers that cut off the outdoors and the indoors. You can do this by using the same flooring outdoors and indoors. The continuous pattern flows from your kitchen to your garden, removing the immediate threshold which separates the two.


Children’s play room

  • Creating an environment to stimulate your child’s imagination is crucial to their upbringing. Although simple and chic, the mineral trend can also be used to add an outdoor theme to a child’s playroom or bedroom.
  • Perhaps this grey tree patterned wallpaper could be used to create an enchanted forest theme. What better way to implement the mineral trend by combining it with the magic of classic fairy tales?
  • You can be much more adventurous when decorating a children’s playroom, so let your imagination run wild. What may be a feature wall in your living room, could adorn all four walls in a play room.
  • Stick to charcoal, grey and taupe colours, but add contrasting flashes of bright green. This offers a lively take on bringing the outdoors in, which would be perfect for a playroom.
  • Taking your cue from nature allows you to create an ethereal atmosphere that transports you away from the trappings of modern life. The mineral trend implores you to get outside and feel inspired by the world around you. Bring yourself back to your roots with raw elements of nature around your home to evoke a tranquil setting made just for you.


Feature image courtesy of Graham Brown

Read more
Conservatory customisation for the summer
, ,

Conservatory customisation for the summer

They’re a great home addition all year round, allowing you to truly feel the elements of your garden whilst being within the comfort of your home, however in the summer, a conservatory really comes into its own. A haven in which you can enjoy the radiant sunshine, catch a cool breeze as it drifts through open patio doors and retire to when the night draws in, conservatories are the ideal summer home addition. Making sure your conservatory is summer ready isn’t a big deal, however adding a few seasonal touches will allow the room to be the perfect area for summer entertaining.


A conservatory provides an entirely different feel from any other room in the house. Something that looks perfect in the living room is highly unlikely to sit well in a conservatory, especially when considering large furnishing items such as sofas and coffee tables. When it comes to these items in the conservatory, nothing does it better than wicker. The natural feel of the wood, combined with the shapes, comfy cushions and style just work in the light filled, summery feeling area.


The concept of utilising season-right colours can be applied to any room in the house, however it’s vitally important that through the summer months, you get it spot on in your conservatory. Whilst you might not have considered the impact your colour scheme through the winter, when the area wasn’t getting much use, once the temperatures rise and the sun comes out, the colour scheme is a crucial aspect of the home. It is useful to keep white or cream as your base colour which you can then accessorize around depending on your preference. Light shades are ideal for summer, allowing the room to stay cooler even when the glaring sun is out.

Keep it natural

Whilst it’s an extension of your home, a conservatory should also be seen as a transitional area from house to garden. Incorporate elements of nature into your conservatory which will help to aid the room’s purpose as an indoor/outdoor living space. On warm summer days in the garden, or evenings entertaining guests, it’s great to open the double patio doors from a conservatory or orangery and allow guests to move freely from garden to home. Integrate natural elements such as plants and flowers in the room in a more predominant way than you would in any other area of your house. The warmer nature of the room means greenery will thrive, and they also serve a practical purpose too, purifying the air and removing toxins, as well as adding a new depth to the room.


The light and airy feel of a transitional conservatory space means you can truly get expressive with your wall and sill decorations. This is an element of furnishing where you can really hit home the feeling that your conservatory is an extension of your garden, as well as being an extension of your home. Incorporating natural elements into the decor can be a great way to do this, wood and natural stone look great in a conservatory, to try to utilise these materials when it comes to furniture and accessories.


Are you the proud owner of a conservatory or orangery in your home? We’d love to hear your top decorating tips, so make sure you tell us your favourite summer updates in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer via Compfight cc

Read more
© Copyright 2013 Keepmoat