Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Room With A View: How To Make The Most Out Of Where You Live

In today's modern towns and cities, it can be difficult to find a property that meets all your needs AND that has a great view as well. As the national and international demand for property soars, house are being built closer and closer together. Even apartment blocks are being deprived of the city skyline views due to other rival blocks being built right next door, overlooking them. It's a shame, as no one wants to look out their window and see nothing but concrete! So, whether you are blessed with a beautiful garden or if you're in a 11th floor apartment, here are some ways you can make the most of whatever view you have.

The city dweller

If you live in the city, chances are you live in an apartment. City centers are very coveted places to live due to their great links to businesses and leisure districts - therefore houses there are very expensive, not to mention rare. Most city dwellers, for that reason, live in apartment blocks - usually rental properties. This is practical, but often, it can mean you compromise on a nice view. Unless you're lucky enough to be top floor with nothing obstructing your view of the city, you probably aren't all too thrilled with whatever you see when you look out the window. For example, maybe your flat faces inwards into the communal courtyard. If so, get creative! Get some window flower beds and try your hand at a bit of inner-city gardening. Or dress your windows with pretty curtains, cute trinkets or a set of fairy lights. It's not much, but it can make all the difference to what was otherwise a dull and uninspiring view.

The country bumpkin

So you live out in the country? While this isn't everyone's cup of tea (lack of amenities etc) it's probably working just right for you - and plus, you are blessed with beautiful surroundings! Whether it's desert, thick forest or rolling hills, it sure does make a change from waking up to the smell and sight of city fog every day. But what's the point in having that lovely view if you can't even see it properly from your house? After all, there isn't much better than watching a glorious winter sunset from the comfort of your own home, cup of coffee in hand. If you don't already have large windows, consider getting some installed so you can make the most of your surroundings. If your windows are old and looking like they are in need of some TLC, contact a company who specializes in glass repair.

The suburban family

If you live with your family, you probably reside in a suburban, largely residential area. In this case, you have probably been blessed with two gardens; a front yard and a back yard. While it is hard to inject personality into gardens that are built the same as everyone else's on the street, it's certainly worth giving it a go, especially as it gives you something nice to look at every day. If you are a complete gardening novice, start with the basics, such as taking care of your lawn and implementing some flower beds. These simple changes can really brighten up your home, and give you guests a great first impression when they come round too.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Home Run: Gorgeous Makeover Ideas


The world seems to be somewhat dominated by a touch of doom and gloom on all fronts, at least in the media anyway; what with that guy called Trump, and the ice caps melting faster than a fridge freezer with no door, and the fact Comedy Central no longer shows Friends. But don’t despair, because there is an easy way to brighten up your life a bit, and it starts with your home (it could also end with your home, but we don’t want to cast judgement). What we are trying to say is, why not do some home improvements to take your mind off things. They don’t even have to be expensive. In fact, we’ve found the smaller, creative ideas usually have the best effect, as you’re about to find out.

It’s all about restoration and revival

These are quite literally free ways of changing up your space to make your home feel more, well, epic. And it starts with a quick wander around your home and looking at anything that needs a little sprucing. Take your coat and hat rack for example; it’s a mess, and you only wear one of the coats so why you feel the need to supply the entire Aussie army is unnecessary. A simple hack is to take the unused coats and put them away - closet, underneath your bed, charity shop etc - and then put pretty little things in its place, like jewellery or handbags or dress hats or your crown. Simple. Free. Gorgeous.

Time to reflect

Of course we are talking about mirrors. The more mirrors the better. And the more unique they are the more your life will feel like a sonderland. So pop to a local market, or charity shop, or start rusting up some mirrors or chucking decals on them or using a stencil to write cool quotes on them. Chuck them in the corners of each room, make a feature wall out of loads of framed mirrors, even put some on the walls of your garden. Mirrors are amazing.

Paint the heck out of your place

Magnolia walls mean magnolia life. That’s a factoid, but could well b a fact, because magnolia is just a fancy-pants way of saying beige and no one wants to be beige. Pick some colours that reflect you; light pastel colours, or bold colours for a feature wall, or anything. Just not beige. Please not beige. You don’t even need to do this yourself. Why not flick through an interior design magazine (by which we of course mean Pinterest), phone up some great house painters, go to work and then come back to a new house. Yes. Yes. Yes.


Light of your life

Lighting. We don’t know you but we do know you have never upgraded your lighting or even thought about upgrading your light so it is time you upgrade your lighting. There we have it. Go to a reclaimed store and find some incredible gems, like lamps with intricate bases and massive shades, or grab a copper ceiling lamp shade or hang a cheap chandelier above your staircase. Or go with the current trend of floor standing lamps, you know the ones, they’re everywhere, the ones that look like something a Hollywood movie producer in the 1920s would use on set. They’re cool.


Boost Your Home’s Security to Boost Its Value

We don’t always think about home security, especially if we’ve lived in a place for more years than we can remember. In those cases, we’re normally pretty in tune with the safety aspects of our neighborhood; we’re friendly with the people who live next day, might know exactly where the local police lives, and also might be able to differentiate between actual criminality and local nuisances. That’s good for you right now, but everybody wants to feel secure and safe and at home in their new property, and that includes people who might be interested in one day buying your home. Adding a few features can improve your security and add value to your home.


Vulnerable Sites

Homeowners aren’t always the best people to judge what counts as a security lapse in their home. They see these things everyday and probably don’t even think about them anymore. But take a look around your property and ask yourself: if I were a criminal, is there anything here that would be considered a weakness in the home? You might be surprised. Side gates that don’t close properly, damaged garage entry spots, and poor front door security can all compromise your home. Fortunately, these are easily fixed once they’re identified. Garage door repair and solidifying your entry points is an easy way to improve security.

Make Things Bright

Again, if you were a criminal, which would you prefer: the cover of darkness, or a bright spotlight on your activities? Yeah, it’s an obvious one, and that’s why it’s important that your property bright. Something as simple a motion sensor light at the front and back of your home is enough to make a would be criminal turn around and leave your property alone. These protect your home while you’re away, but can also add a level of security when you’re arriving home too. Criminals prey on darkness; don’t make it easy for them.

Add Security Systems

In this day and age, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a home security system. They’re affordable, easy to install, and offer a level of security that can’t be undervalued. A family who is looking for a new home would draw much peace of mind from knowing that their new home already has a well functioning security system in place. There are many different systems you can get - some advanced, some highly technical. Speak to a security expert about what would be best for your type of home and location.

Keep The Grounds Clear

The most often overlooked security lapse exists in the areas surrounding the property. As a responsible homeowner, it’s your duty to ensure that the grounds around your house are kept clear. Just like the darkness, criminals need concealed spaces to gain entry to homes. If your bushes are overgrown, it’s simple for a criminal to bide their time until they see you leave your home. Keeping things trim and clearing away overgrown gardens removes this hiding space and adds a level of security in the simplest of ways.


The Big Whoopsies You're Likely Going To Make In A New Home

Whether you’re renting or buying, moving into a new home can be quite the chaotic time. You can be left a little dizzied by the experience for weeks afterward. In that time, it’s very easy to make a few mistakes that might make it just a touch harder to get acclimated or, at the very least, make you feel very silly indeed. So, let’s make sure you get nice and cosy with the new digs as soon as possible.

Bringing everything and the kitchen sink

Goodness knows that moving day can be quite the stressful affair. It’s a good idea to get boxes marked or colour-coded before you start getting people to take stuff, so they more easily know where it should go. However, one way you can easily reduce the amount of effort is by simply bringing less with you. Make sure you do an inventory of all your stuff and start looking for ways to get rid of the things you no longer really want or need. You might be able to make some money from them or even do a little good by donating them.
Rushing the d├ęcor

This is an important one. Don’t feel like you have to get started with sprucing up the home as soon as you get in. Give yourself a little time to unpack and breathe. More importantly, get to know the property a bit better. Lighting, room sizes, and other qualities could impact the choices you make.

Neglecting the outdoors

It’s easy to not quite understand the effort involved when moving into a place with a bigger garden than you’re used to. Start to neglect it and things will get very untidy, very quickly. Either start getting the numbers of local garden contractors or start up a little schedule that makes it easier to remember to take care of the garden.
Getting yourself locked out

It’s a very silly error that happens all too often when entering a new home. You just might not be properly accommodating for the mental fact that it’s your home, so you don’t think to take your keys. If you have any old keyrings you used to use in your own property, get them fitted on so it doesn’t feel quite so new taking your keys. Most importantly, make sure you have help on hand like the locksmith - Lock, Stock & Farrell. Get them dialled in your phone sooner rather than later for when it happens.

Not getting to know the essentials

There are problems that can be a sight riskier than simply forgetting your keys, however. For instance, dealing with broken taps that won’t stop running or even an electrical risk. Make sure that you are able to locate your water shut-off valve, fuse-boxes, and other essentials when you first move in. That way you can shut down serious risks until you get someone more qualified in to make the necessary fixes.

Take the time to get to know your new home, and keep reminding yourself that you live here now. You’ll grow to love it as much as you thought you would when you first agreed to move in.


Five Minute Makeover: Making Your House Look Cleaner Than It Actually Is!

Flickr Image By: jinkazamah
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You're chilling out on the sofa binge watching your latest Netflix obsession and vaguely thinking about whether to open another bag of chips when suddenly your phone beeps. Oh wow, it’s your parents, and they've sprung a surprise visit on you saying that they'll be there in half an hour to take their son, or daughter out for lunch!

Don’t Forget The Three T’s

It's interior design code for Toilet, Television, and Tables and trust us clean 3T’s can make all the difference. For instance, dust tends to accumulate around our electronics annoying, isn't it? Dust particles are attracted to shiny surfaces and tend to settle on screens and consoles, which just happen to be in the living room and where you’ll go for a cup of coffee before heading out. Grab a cloth and dust the Playstation, your DVD player and any DVD’s while you're at it. Without a doubt, your bathroom needs to  be fresh, tidy and guest friendly while the toilet bowl should be smelling pleasant, completely free of stains and been bleached recently. Ensure there’s also hand wash or soap available and the toilet roll’s actually on the holder.

Store Stuff In Baskets

Instead of piling everything higgledy-piggledy into your bedroom wardrobe thinking your mom won’t look there,  save yourself the extra stress and buy baskets. Yes, baskets can help you lead a clutter-free life and are an excellent item to have in a hurry. How this works is by assigning a colored basket to each room, so yellow’s the bathroom, red’s kitchen, blue’s the bedroom and, well, you get the idea. When tidying up in a hurry go through each room with its corresponding basket then store them somewhere inconspicuous until you’ve got time to sort the contents.

Water Those Plants

This one sort of works like a placebo as you wouldn't expect to find green, leafy and lovely plants in a messy, unkempt apartment. Obviously, it’s good to keep your plants alive, and it’s not hard to look after simple terrariums and succulent pots. Still, by making sure they're in top condition i.e. no dead leaves, dry soil or fading flowers it'll automatically make the room feel lighter. Go around the house and slide back any closed curtains or blinds, opening windows to air out rooms as fresh air can help too. Finally, grab the vacuum attachment and hoover up any pet hair, crumbs and bits of paper from the sofa.

Do Any Waiting Dishes

Nothing looks more off-putting than a pile of dirty dishes lying in the sink, or worse on the countertop with food congealing on the plate. Fill the sink with hot, bubbly suds, pull on your favorite marigolds and then get washing! Dishes, once you start them, don't take a long time and then there’s nothing nicer than seeing a completely clear draining board. Another option is to hide the pile of waiting dishes in the oven. Although we don’t really recommend this as mother’s love to inspect appliances and, if you forget, then there’s going to be a real mess to clean up the next time you open the door because you’ll need to clean out the oven as well.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Transform Your Life! How To Get Your Home Squeaky Clean

In this day and age it’s hard to keep on top of everything in your busy life. Chances are, you’re balancing a job, kids, a relationship, your family, your friends… and the state of your house is often a lot further down the list than any of those things! It’s easy to close your eyes and try to ignore what needs to be done in your home around you, but the truth is that after a while it’ll start to look a little shabby and you’ll start to feel embarrassed. Luckily, there are things you can do to help yourself…
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Start With A Deep Clean

First of all, if your house is in a bad state then the best way to solve that is with a deep clean. Go over your home with a fine toothcomb and make it as spic and span as you possibly can. Obviously if you’re busy, this is a lot easier said than done – but this is what cleaning companies are for. Make sure that you’re extremely clear about your requirements and what you want from them, and let the professionals get down to work. Make sure that you launder your couch covers, that you go for carpet cleaning for any rugs in your home, and that your kitchen and bathroom are particularly carefully cleaned. If you want to declutter your home, try Marie Kondo’s techniques and get rid of the possessions that don’t spark joy in you.
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Form New Habits

Once your house is clean, it’s time to keep it that way. The best way to do that is by cleaning little and often. It’s unrealistic to force yourself to spend half your weekend cleaning your home. Instead, try and spend half an hour every night keeping on top of household chores. One night you could change bedsheets, the next you could clean your kitchen, and so on. Making sure that you’re up to date on the cleaning in your house whenever possible will ensure that it doesn’t all build up and come to a head in a whole hellish day of cleaning. Try to make it as positive for yourself as you can by playing some of your favourite music and treating yourself afterwards to a glass of wine and a few squares of chocolate. You should also try to avoid clutter as much as you can by keeping baskets in each room that you drop clutter into before sorting them out at the end of the week.

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Involve Your Family

Of course, there’s absolutely no way that you should be the only person who’s responsible for keeping your home clean and tidy. If your partner doesn’t get involved then it’s time for a short sharp conversation with him – and it’s time to make some cleaning rotas so your kids start doing jobs too. You can give them treats and rewards to incentivise them and to show them that hard work definitely has rewards in the real world. Make sure that everyone keeps to the rota – and keep to your sections as well so you aren’t a hypocrite!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tired of an Unispired Home? Spruce It Up To Look Like New!

Over time our homes can lose that sparkly ‘freshly decorated’ look. Areas of clutter accumulate, chips and scratches occur, and you’re left with a space that’s in need of an update. If you’re looking to bring a new lease of life to your home, here are a few things to try.


Have a Deep Clean and Declutter

Before making any changes to your home, thoroughly cleaning and decluttering is always a good idea. Just this change alone may be enough to make your home feel much fresher, particularly when you clean areas that would usually get missed on a regular clean, such as carpets, curtains, and soft furnishings. Go through doors and cupboards getting rid of things that are no longer useful; it frees up precious space for the things you do need and love. With everything clean, decluttered and organized you’ll be left feeling rejuvenated, and your home will look fresh and new again!

Change Up The Flooring

Old flooring that’s past its best will make any home look shabby. If your laminates are warped, your vinyl is peeling, and your tiles are chipped its time for a refresh. Revive your home by ripping everything out and starting again, choosing hardwearing choices for high traffic areas downstairs and carpets for upstairs. Opting for the same color and material throughout will help to create flow between the rooms and look nicely put together. Sites like Empire Floors have a range of different floor coverings in one place so you can easily browse and compare.



Walls can become grubby over time. Dogs might shake after a bath or rolling in mud and make marks on the walls. Kids might put mucky handprints on them, and scuffs and scrapes can occur from moving furniture and other items in and out. A lick of paint can soon transform the area, making it look fresh and new again. If your walls get grubby quickly, opt for a paint which can be wiped down. Light neutrals are always a good choice, although they will be the first to show up marks so regular top ups might be needed.

Revamp The Furniture

You might be bored of looking at the same old furniture, but it doesn’t need to be completely replaced if it’s still functional. You could upcycle with a coat of paint; solid wood pieces are great for this although you can buy paint for laminated wood too. If you want to upcycle in the kitchen, you could use paint designed for kitchen cupboards (this will be wipeable, so won't be ruined by splashes or spills) and replace all of the door knobs. You could switch up the handles or legs on units, generally just give them a new lease of life. It’s a quick and cheap way to change up the look and can bring a whole new look to your room.


The Grass Is Greener! Moo-ving To The Countryside

Gorgeous scenery which stretches as far as the eye can see; that’s how most of us picture the countryside. Still, it’s easy to assume the silence, serenity and solitude can become rather maddening in the long-term. Perhaps life away from cities or towns is quite welcome when holidaying, but that’s no way to build a permanent life. Right?

There are vast advantages in country life over city life.
It all depends on the individual. However, if city life has become too much for you, then it might be time to consider moving elsewhere. Of course, perhaps relocating to pastures new has never appealed to you, because you believed homes in the city had far more to offer in terms of modern, contemporary style. In addition, the endless people, public services and amenities are something absent in the depths of nature.

Actually, this stereotype isn’t true at all. Many quaint, yet modern towns flourish in the countryside. In fact, rural properties which bewilder through their modernity, rather than some sense of traditional quaintness, are abundant, if you know where to look. The city isn’t your only option. You might consider agencies such as Pat Rice Hawkins if you’re looking to buy a the perfect farm or house, set in an idyllic part of the countryside.

When you see what exists on the market, you’ll understand that you can still live in an unbelievably-stunning home, much like your current residence, but you’ll have the added benefit of fresh air, freedom and a happier home for you and your family.

The countryside is sustainable.
If the thought of global warming and a weathered planet is enough to make your head spin, then you might find relief from land in which there’s actually room to breathe. Even if you’re no farmer, you might enjoy growing your own strawberries or herbs for fun. You can make the most of that beautiful country air, along with the scorching sun, and power your home through solar panels and wind turbines.

Create a secure, homely base of operations.
Moving to the countryside can be a way to escape the noise of civilization by creating a real home; somewhere for only you and the family. If you have a job in a nearby city, you don’t have to give it up. Beautiful hills, forests and rolling landscapes aren’t always a million miles away from life, as I mentioned earlier. You could still keep your current job and reap the benefits of all the entertainment your nearby town or city has to offer, but you no longer have to live amidst that soul-crushing noise and chaos. The frantic nature of the city could be something you enjoy on occasion, before returning to your quiet, peaceful abode after you’ve had your fill.

A healthier life.
Above all else, living in the countryside is just, quite simply, good for you in terms of your health. Studies have shown that living in such conditions can help to reduce stress previously triggered by a hectic, overwhelming lifestyle. The city may be right for some, but it isn’t right for everyone. If a chaotic routine is wearing you down, you might find that moving to the countryside with your partner, or your family, is exactly what you’ve always needed. You may still be able to commute to work, if you love your current career, but that doesn’t mean you should have to endure the numerous other woes tied to city life.