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How to feng shui your home

Created: 26/03/2018

Creating a positive and welcoming atmosphere in your home is key to living a good life. Your home should be your sanctuary, a safe place in which you can unwind after a stressful day at work and create lifelong memories. Many believe in using feng shui to transform their home into a place of comfort and security.

Indoor plants

What is feng shui?

Feng shui is an ancient art and science dating back some 3,000 years in China. Translated literally, 'feng' means 'wind' and 'shui' means 'water'. Both of these are associated with good health in Chinese culture, so good feng shui essentially promotes good fortune, while bad feng shui does the opposite. The concept of feng shui revolves around 'chi', or energy, and is concerned with the placement of the objects within your home, helping you to achieve harmony between yourself and your surroundings.

It's said that the Chinese believe strongly that energy flows everywhere, including through nature, homes and people. Sha, is known as a negative energy, and yun, a positive energy. Although it might sound somewhat complicated, the practice of feng shui is more straightforward. In this article, we'll look at how to feng shui your home.

How to feng shui your home

How to feng shui your home

Draw in positive energy

Creating and welcoming a positive energy in your home starts with the front door. The doorway is considered the entrance point for all energy, so it's advised that you make this space as bright and welcoming as possible. Add plants or flowers if you have space, welcome mats and let plenty of light in.

Arrange your furniture in an 'empowering position'

In terms of feng shui, placing a piece of furniture in an 'empowering position' means you can see the entrance to the room from where you are sitting, but you're not directly aligned with it. According to experts, the areas of your home where you spend the most time relaxing with a book or in front of the TV should have furniture placed in an empowering position. Otherwise, you may feel uncomfortable if you can't see who is coming and going from the room, and feel weakened.

Make any necessary repairs

 

Plastering your home

This may seem like an obvious tip, but making any necessary repairs in your home will help to avoid negative energy. Whether there's a patch of persistent mould, chipped paint on the wall or any other damage to your furnishings. If you need any help getting this part of the feng shui process done, it may be worth enlisting help from local handyman services.

De-clutter to de-stress

Many people hold on to furnishings for sentimental reasons. Whether it's a decorative throw left behind by a loved one, or a gift, it's important to be honest about how you feel having these items on display in your home. By clearing your home of any features you're not 100% happy with, you will create a broadly more positive space and regain control of your living environment.

Be aware of any irritating movements or sounds

A dripping tap or draughty window can cause you great discomfort at home. You may not attribute your irritability to these unsettling sounds, but once you've eliminated them, you should feel much more relaxed. Hiring a local handyman to come around means you don’t need to take on any of the labour yourself.

Bring the outside in

There are many benefits associated with bringing more greenery into your home. In terms of feng shui, adding some of the five elements into your house (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) helps you to stay connected to nature and in turn, relax. Bring in plants or flowers, incorporate metal and wood furnishings, and light candles for ambience.

Rethink your colour scheme

In many cases, the colour scheme in your home could be getting you down. While we often pay attention to the furniture and furnishings we add to our houses, we don't often give the same consideration to our colour schemes.

While many elements of feng shui can be added with a little DIY, some aspects may need the help of an expert. Contact your local handyman services for assistance with any repairs to make your home a positive and happy place.

 



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Valspar’s top colour tips for a home makeover

Created: 09/02/2018

Valspar - Carolina Blue

Our previous article suggested a few tips for choosing the right kind of paint for decorating your home, both internally and externally. However cheap or expensive the brand of paint used, however, you will still be left underwhelmed with your makeover efforts if you do not select a colour which suits your living space.

This month, we have spoken with Kasia Wiktorowicz from Valspar – a paint manufacturer with over 200 years of experience – to get some expert advice on how to settle on the perfect colour for your next redecorating project:

“Choosing paint can sometimes be a daunting task. When faced with rows of paint tins it’s easy to forget that, when in place, a colour can be responsible for evoking real emotion. We know that people can be afraid of introducing colour into their homes for many reasons, so Valspar wants to help give people colour confidence, and demonstrate to them that a home full of colour can be fun, vibrant and dynamic.

- "Colour can really help you make the most of the available space, so think about the size of the room you're painting. Light colours will always uplift a small room and make it appear bigger. In larger rooms you can use dark colours to make the room feel cosier or create a more dramatic effect.

- "Consider the natural light that you have available. Lighting can transform the colour on your walls. Valspar has light boxes on its chip rack in B&Q stores, giving you the chance to test out how your paint choices will look under different illuminations.

- "Think about the quality of the paint you're using. Valspar's premium paints feature a super scrub formula and undergo vigorous scrub testing, so paint won't fade. This is particularly useful for lighter colours that may show up marks if it's an area of high traffic and for any south facing rooms as the sun can fade colours over time.

"But most of all, remember to be confident, know what works best for you and go for it.

Decorating techniques people can use for a professional finish

Paintbrush

“For that professional final look, Valspar offers a large range of finishes including matt, gloss, silk and mid-sheen. All our finishes deliver a high quality, professional look, but with any finish you should consider the type of room you’re decorating and which one would suit the space best - and of course make sure you’re working with the correct paint for that room. Our Kitchen and Bathroom paint contains a mould resistant formula for rooms exposed to moisture and comes in a silk finish which works perfectly to reflect the sheen of bathroom fixtures.

“In terms of design, it’s important to always think about the way in which you can approach particular rooms with different decorating techniques. For instance, a child’s bedroom is the perfect place to get creative; you can use stencils to make playful scenes on the walls. Think about your child’s interests and try something a little personal for them.

Couple painting wall

“In other rooms, such as a study or lounge, consider a bespoke design. Horizontal stripes will instantly elongate any small space and are a great way to make a small room appear larger. Use painter’s tape to get that perfect straight edge.

“Think about accent walls and try playing with similar tones of the same colour. A tonal scheme that combines shades of one colour makes any space visually ‘easy on the eye’ as there are no contrasting colours fighting for your attention and it creates a sense of serenity and calm. 

“A good idea is to make a mood board before you start and consider how your chosen wall colours for your walls will impact on your furnishings. Looking at a room in this way, and having a clear direction, will help your idea really come together and deliver that professional, considered finish.

Valspar Premium Blend v700 Walls & Ceilings is available in 2.5L, RRP £25.20 from B&Q stores nationwide.

Bathroom

Valspar - Bathroom

Use your colours to create a relaxing haven in your bathroom

“To create a relaxing environment, people often reach for calming colours such as greys and browns; however, when it comes to bathrooms it is best to avoid darker shades.  Many bathrooms lack natural light so work best with lighter hues or brighter shades.

“Colour inspiration can be taken from anywhere and Valspar’s unique colour matching technology enables you to scan and match any colour exactly. Be it the blue sky from a holiday photograph or the rich, soft hue of your favourite nail varnish, whatever shade makes you feel calm and relaxed, simply bring a sample to B&Q and that exact colour can be replicated in your bathroom to create your own personal haven.

Create Your Comfort Zone

“We're constantly battling being busy in all aspects of life and more and more we’re seeking respite from stress with products, tools and services that balance our fast-paced lifestyles. Our bathrooms are often the ideal place in the home to escape and unwind, so we expect to see more muted mid-tones that counterbalance busy living replicated when it comes to our bathroom colour schemes, with soft, calm, balancing and restorative shades growing in popularity.

Comfort Zone Palette

Valspar - Feline Frolic R116C                    Valspar - Cool Agave R257F                    

Valspar - Au Contraire R60C                    Valspar - Comfy Cozy R199D                    

Valspar - Cremini Mushroom R87C                    Valspar - Whisper Softly W36E

Valspar v500 Kitchen and Bathroom Paint is available in 2.5L, RRP £27 from B&Q stores nationwide.

Injecting colour into outdoor space

Valspar - Zen R254C

“When it comes to decorating, outdoor spaces are often overlooked but with the right shades, they can become an extension of the home. A garden can be the perfect place to let your imagination run wild and be brave with colour. For inspiration, you could use the plants in your garden; the colour of your bricks and pathway; even the shade of your garden door, fence or window frames. Perhaps you will want to coordinate with these, or enhance them by choosing a complementary shade.

Valspar - Seize the Day R217D

“When choosing exterior paint colours, it’s important to think about the natural colours that are already present. Plainer gardens can really benefit from a bold splash of colour, whilst those full of flowers might suit more subtle shades, providing a more neutral backdrop against which they can stand out.

Valspar - Cabana Glow R143D

“Valspar has over 160 new beautiful and durable shades to its Garden and Decking Colours range to brighten up exterior spaces. ‘Zen’ is the perfect shade for those opting for peace and tranquillity, whereas those looking for something brighter can opt for colours such as ‘Seize the Day’ or ‘Cabana Glow.’ Whether you want to create a specific colour scheme, or simply enhance the natural beauty of your garden, Valspar has a shade to suit.

“Weather-proof and with UV protection, Valspar Garden and Decking Colours give a long lasting finish that won’t crack or peel over time. With a six year colour protection guarantee, you have more time to sit back and enjoy your outdoor space.”

Valspar Garden and Decking colours have a Mid-Sheen finish and are available in 2.5L & 5L, RRP £22 - £39.98 from B&Q stores nationwide.

Paintbrushes

Don’t forget that, whatever your final paint colour choice – and whichever part of your home you are planning to rejuvenate – it is always best to rely on the expertise of our South London handyman services to complete what is always a tricky task. However high quality your paint is, we can guarantee that it won’t look as nice on the carpet as it does on your walls!

Image Credits: Valspar, Melanie Tata, NeONBRAND, William Felker



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Choosing the right paint for your home makeover

Created: 05/02/2018

Graham & Brown - 'Penelope', £32 per 2.5L Durable Matt / £36 per 2.5L Resistance

‘Penelope’ paint (Graham & Brown, £32 per 2.5L Durable Matt / £36 per 2.5L Resistance)

With the New Year upon us, the urge to rejuvenate our homes and give our living space a fresh look is definitely growing. Whilst significant structural work can take several weeks or even months to complete – not to mention requiring a significant cash investment – more cosmetic changes such as repainting one or more rooms is a relatively quick process which can nevertheless make all the difference to how your home looks and how you feel about it.

We have spoken to some of the UK’s most prestigious paint manufacturers to get their views on what products to use if you have decided that your house needs refreshing but are not yet sure how to proceed. With their help, you can be sure that your home’s new look will be one you want to keep for many years to come.

Oricalcum linseed paint

Oricalcum - Paint tins

The first company we spoke to was Oricalcum, who are specialist manufacturers of linseed paint, which is regarded as one of the most durable, weatherproof and cost-effective products out there. Michiel Brouns, founder of Oricalcum, shared some of the great reasons why DIY enthusiasts – particularly those who want to revamp their property’s exterior – should consider investing in a tin or two:

Long lasting

“Linseed paint is steeped in history; traditionally used to colour and protect Swedish houses. Original coats of linseed paint still survive on these houses, which are well over 500 years old”.

Stops rot

“Linseed paint not only acts as a protective film over its surface, it cleverly transforms a two-way transfer of humidity to stop moisture from becoming trapped under the surface of the paint, therefore combatting rot and decay”.

Cost-effective

“One tin of linseed paint will cover anything from 15-22m² per litre. In comparison, that’s one litre of linseed paint to 2.5 litres of conventional paint. And because it doesn’t require multiple coats, linseed paint works out even cheaper.”

Eco-friendly

“Basically, [linseed paint is] flax seeds pressed to make raw linseed oil which is then boiled. The only material added is natural powdered pigments to produce a varied colour palette”.

Oricalcum - Painted wood

And much more…

On top of this, there are many further reasons why you should consider purchasing Oricalcum if you are looking for a paint which will truly stand the test of time.

- As mentioned above, linseed paint does not require multiple coats, meaning that – as well as saving money – using it will also save you a great deal of time on your next redecorating project.

- Oricalcum is also extremely versatile. Whether you want to paint a garden fence, an iron gate or a kitchen cupboard, this ‘one-size-fits-all’ product will do the job efficiently and effectively, inside and out.

- Importantly, the lack of unnatural solvents, binders and emulsifiers in Oricalcum means that you will not have to put up with the overpowering smell which usually accompanies re-painting your home.

- If the sun is shining, your coat of linseed paint will dry in less than 24 hours outside. If your paintwork is internal, a well-directed UV light will speed up the process even further.

- Obviously, probably the main reason we decorate is to get our home looking more attractive. Fortunately, Oricalcum also understands the importance of making their products visually appealing, which is why their linseed paint boasts an impressive range of rich, deep colours – many of which are not often available as exterior paint. Furthermore, the experts at Oricalcum are able to custom-create any shade of paint you desire if you have seen a less durable example of a colour you like elsewhere.

- Another enviable property of Oricalcum is its ability to combat the mould growth which often damages the texture and appearance of new paint. The zinc white oxide which is in every tin of Oricalcum ensures that no additional anti-mould product needs to be added following the initial application.

Website: www.linseedpaint.com

Telephone: 01423 500694

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball - Pitch Blue and Calke Green

‘Pitch blue’ and ‘Calke green’ paint (Farrow & Ball, various prices)

Of course, there are plenty of other options out there for those wishing to stay on top of the very latest seasonal decorating trends and tailor their makeovers accordingly.

Surely the best place for the style-conscious consumer to go remains Farrow & Ball, the Dorset-based paint and wallpaper experts, who, since 1946, have been creating colours and patterns which are as popular and accessible as they are bold and distinctive. 

Farrow & Ball - 13113 Tented Stripe

‘Tented stripe ST 13113’ wallpaper (Farrow & Ball, £64 per roll)

As is the case every season, Farrow & Ball have plenty of fresh ideas on how to ensure your home is looking its best in spring 2018. Interestingly, their latest palette advice encourages using a combination of two distinct but complementary colours – Pitch Blue and Calke Green – within your living space. Joa Studholme, Farrow & Ball’s international colour consultant, has more detailed guidance:

“The slightly more sober Calke Green can be used on the bottom half of walls and across the trim, while vital Pitch Blue is brushed onto upper walls – and even the ceiling – for an intense yet perfectly balanced combination that should not be taken too seriously, to create rooms that are filled with fun and optimism – a room that will make you smile”.

Farrow & Ball - BP 5606 and Pitch Blue skirting

‘Helleborus BP 5606’ wallpaper (Farrow & Ball, £115 per roll)

As well as being available as paints, Farrow & Ball’s two recommended colours for the upcoming season are also incorporated into some fantastic new wallpaper designs. Pitch Blue features in Tented Stripe ST 13113 (which was actually based on the Duke of Wellington’s campaign tent), whilst Calke Green can be found in the botanical-inspired Helleborus BP 5606.

If this has awoken your inner design guru, be sure to follow Farrow & Ball’s Facebook and Twitter accounts so that you never miss out on the latest developments in paint and wallpaper fashion again!

Website: www.farrow-ball.com

Telephone: 01202 876141

Graham & Brown

Finally, we spoke with another cutting-edge wallpaper and paint specialist, Graham & Brown, to get their thoughts on which colours you should look out for if you are hoping to redecorate in 2018.

Enjoy the images of Graham & Brown’s Colour and Wallpaper of the Year below:

Graham & Brown - 'Penelope', £32 per 2.5L Durable Matt / £36 per 2.5L Resistance

‘Penelope’ paint (Graham & Brown, £32 per 2.5L Durable Matt / £36 per 2.5L Resistance)

Graham & Brown - 'Pierre', £40 per roll

‘Pierre’ wallpaper (Graham & Brown, £40 per roll)

Graham & Brown - 'Pierre', £40 per roll

‘Pierre’ wallpaper (Graham & Brown, £40 per roll)

Here’s what Paula Taylor, Colour and Trend Expert at Graham & Brown, had to say about why the above palette should be considered as part of your next home improvement project: “This comforting, blush colour palette works to create a warm spring feeling in your home. Chic and neutral, it can standalone or work perfectly when combined with the flowering pink magnolias seen in the Pierre wallpaper”.

Website: www.grahambrown.com

Telephone: 0808 168 3295

Painting wall

And there you have it! From outside to inside, from bold to subtle and from decorative to durable, you can see that there are plenty of first-rate options out there for those hoping to add some vitality to their home this year.

We hope you have been inspired by the suggestions above. Don’t forget that you can always call on the services of a handyman to apply the paint for you if you are not the most confident at completing this tricky job without making a mess!

Image Credit: D Coetzee



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Cost-saving kitchen decorating ideas for the New Year

Created: 03/01/2018

2018 spelt in sparklers

The New Year is a time for looking forward and making resolutions to improve whatever area of our lives we feel could do with a little boost. It may not be the most traditional of resolutions, but one way in which we can make 2018 a year to remember is by getting our house in order – quite literally!

It is no secret that life is much more enjoyable when our living space is attractive and comfortable. That’s why we have taken the time to speak to Cassiefairy, a lifestyle blogger who has a passion for making her home beautiful at a minimum of expense. Here’s what Cassie had to say about her plans for decorating her kitchen (and a couple of other corners of her house) in 2018; we hope it will give you a few inspirational ideas!

“My New Year’s resolution for my home is to crack on with the renovations. The kitchen of our 1950s house needs an overhaul but the cost of fitting an entirely new kitchen soon adds up, which has put me off starting the project for nearly a year now! I'm therefore planning to save money (and time) by painting the cupboard doors and switching the worktop for a much lighter, brighter surface. 

Modern ktichen

“Keeping the layout the same means I don't need to buy new units or flooring, so the makeover should be completed fairly swiftly. I'll be charting progress of this project on my blog Cassiefairy.com, along with my decorating project to spruce up the staircase and turn our hallway into a gallery wall. Well, that's the plan anyway!”

Man decorating on ladder

However big or small you decide you want your New Year’s redecorating project to be, of course, is entirely up to you. One thing that you will have to be sure of whatever the size of the job, though, is that it is completed to a professional standard.

If you live in or around the capital, the best way to do this is by employing the expertise of a South London handyman service company, whose experience in completing all kinds of makeovers – from minor cosmetic work to major redevelopments – will ensure that you do not spend the rest of the year trying to get your house looking how it used to before you started your DIY project!

Image Credits: NordWood Themes, H E N G S T R E A M, Emily May



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How to choose the perfect sofa

Created: 28/11/2017

Bagsie sofa in Kingfisher clever cotton (Loaf, from £1,695)

Bagsie sofa in Kingfisher clever cotton (Loaf, from £1,695)

If our home is a castle, then our sofa is surely the throne. We can spend as much time and money as we like ensuring where we live is filled with beautiful artwork, high quality carpets and an immaculate kitchen or bathroom, but all that will seem to count for little if you do not have somewhere comfortable to sit down and relax after a long day.

Investing in a decent sofa is one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to creating the perfect home. There are a number of things to take into account before making your final choice – from fabric and colour to size and shape – and this isn’t something you should rush; providing you pick the right one, the sofa you settle on (so to speak) should last you for years to come.

We spoke to the experts at Willow & Hall – manufacturers of luxury sofas and sofa beds – to find out the answers to all the most vital sofa-related questions, and to see some examples of their latest and finest products which might help to inspire your ultimate selection.

How are the best sofas and chairs made?

The Gastard 3-seater sofa in Cotton French Blue (Willow & Hall, £1,363 / sofa bed £1,553)

The Gastard 3-seater sofa in Cotton French Blue (Willow & Hall, £1,363 / sofa bed £1,553)

“When beginning such an important purchase as furniture buying, it’s essential to shop around and review your options, a simple rule that not everyone adheres to. I would always recommend looking for a company that values craftsmanship by making everything by hand with an offering of high quality fabrics rather than flat pack furniture that requires self-assembly and tends to have a shorter life span. At Willow & Hall, we believe in combining the finest materials with traditional craftsmanship. All of our furniture is handmade to order in our Wiltshire workshop by craftsmen with over 35 years’ experience and all of our frames come with a long lasting 10-year guarantee.”

What difference do the fillings make?

The Lover 2-seater sofa in Linen Cotton Pistachio (Willow & Hall, £1,060)

The Lover 2-seater sofa in Linen Cotton Pistachio (Willow & Hall, £1,060)

“Choosing the right seat cushions is always down to personal preference. Given the option of different fillings, always opt for one that will provide comfort and is easy to maintain on a daily basis.

“Reflex foam provides a very supportive and relatively firm sit, keeping its shape very well and requires very little maintenance – just a simple turn every two-three months. However, make sure to opt for reflex foam, as this will recover well and keep its original shape and density.

“Those looking for a slightly softer sit and a more relaxed look should consider either siliconized hollow fibre or feather-wrapped cushions. Simply give them a quick plump-up after use and a real shake down once a month to keep the shape and comfort.”

Should I opt for fixed or removable covers?

Wishford 2-seater sofa in Matt Velvet Turmeric (Willow & Hall, £1,270)

Wishford 2-seater sofa in Matt Velvet Turmeric (Willow & Hall, £1,270)

“I would always recommend removable covers that are cleanable, meaning that if there should be a stubborn stain that can’t be spot cleaned it can either be put in the washing machine or dry cleaned. It also means that if the sofa is looking a little grubby, the covers can be washed and refitted for a fresh look, time after time, and if needed new custom made covers can replace old, tired covers.”

What do I need to think about re fabrics? How can I check a fabric is suitable?

Appledoe 3-seater sofa in Broad Weave Linen Silver (Willow & Hall, £1,329 / sofa bed £1,519)

Appledoe 3-seater sofa in Broad Weave Linen Silver (Willow & Hall, £1,329 / sofa bed £1,519)

“In order to get a real look and feel for the fabric, I would always suggest ordering a selection of fabric samples and testing them in different lighting to see how they might sit within the room.

The choice of fabric durability all depends on the piece of furniture and how often it will be used. Thicker, more hard-wearing fabrics are best used on everyday furniture such as sofas, whereas more delicate, lightweight materials are better suited to an occasional chair and footstool.

As an industry standard, most companies trial the fabrics with a rub count test to gauge how hard-wearing the upholstery is. The majority of fabrics come with at least 20,000 rub counts, whilst anything near 100,000 is considered very resilient.”

Where should I buy?

As well as Willow & Hall, we were also impressed by the range available from Loaf, experts in laid-back furniture for the whole home. Along with the Bagsie sofa featured at the top of the page, examples of several of their other favourite products can be found below:

Slowcoach sofa (Loaf, from £1,195)

Slowcoach sofa (Loaf, from £1,195)

Truffle sofa (Loaf, from £1,495)

Truffle sofa (Loaf, from £1,495)

Souffle Modular sofa (Loaf, from £655)

Soufflé Modular sofa (Loaf, from £655)

Dixie corner sofa (Loaf, £2,745)

Dixie corner sofa (Loaf, £2,745)

Dixie love seat chaise (Loaf, £1,295)

Dixie love seat chaise (Loaf, £1,295)

Chatnap storage sofa with arms (Loaf, from £436)

Chatnap storage sofa with arms (Loaf, from £436)

As you can see, there are plenty of options available which will allow you to find your ideal sofa, whatever the variety of tastes that exist in your household.

Of course, it may be the case that you are buying your new sofa (or sofas) as part of a total makeover of your house. If so, make sure you call in the professionals for any jobs which you do not have experience with if you want to make your home’s new appearance memorable for all the right reasons! A quick search for handyman services near me will allow you to look up the experts you need to make the best of all those tricky household tasks.



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Expert bathroom design tips from Ideal Standard

Created: 19/10/2017

Ideal Standard bathroom featuring bath, basin and toilet

In a world which seems to be getting more hectic by the day, those moments of total solitude and relaxation that we occasionally get to enjoy are becoming ever more precious. And, although in one sense it is an entirely functional and necessary space, our bathrooms are also now becoming an important place in terms of our overall wellbeing. 

The most private part of our home, a well-designed bathroom can be so much more than a place to hurriedly wash and clean ourselves in the mornings. Fortunately, the creative talents of a wide range of designers and manufacturers mean that the idea of our bathroom being a haven of peace and tranquillity where we can truly get away from it all is now no longer only in reach of those who own huge properties. 

Ideal Standard basin

We were very happy to hear from Robin Levien, designer at the bathroom solution experts Ideal Standard, about how customers – if they are willing to invest in the right products – can create their very own oasis, even if they are short on space:

“British bathroom designs are continually evolving and the trend for incorporating storage and furniture to make the most of small spaces is becoming ever popular. As the average UK bathroom is now the same size as a king size bed, the main suggestion for a clutter free compact bathroom is to keep it simple. It’s really important to take time to determine how the space needs to work for the home’s needs, so by using a streamlined approach, you’re more likely to get it right.

Ideal Standard basin and vessel unit

“The addition of a vanity unit or beneath basin storage is a simple way to exercise good design and limit clutter within the bathroom. Likewise, incorporating cabinets which are fitted with accessories such as mirrors can also free up wall space. Additionally, a corner basin built into a cabinet means you can install it right into the edge of the room, which is an excellent way of reducing clutter by maximising space as well as providing that all important storage.

“By opting for wall hung furniture, or even WCs, the illusion of a bigger floor space is created and additionally makes cleaning easier. Such furniture options offer many practical advantages, for example, hiding pipework and items you’d rather keep out of sight. The ability to hide away a bulk pack of loo roll makes for a much more intelligent use of available space, as well as a tidier, more appealing room. 

Ideal Standard bathroom featuring bath and basin

“A more unconventional way to declutter the bathroom is with Ideal Standard's revolutionary toilet, the AquaBlade system. The flushing technology engineers the power of water to cascade rinsing water down from the top of the toilet bowl opening, jet washing the entire bowl when you flush. This feature comes as standard with all Concept Air toilet bowls, offering the best aesthetic on the market with superior hygiene, less splashing and provides the option of not having to have a toilet brush. 

Ideal Standard basin

“And finally, it’s an obvious one; the finish and colour options, as well as choosing well-designed products, are key to creating a sleek look in your bathroom. Subtle pairing of gloss and matt white will create a calming look. However, simplicity and luxury can also be achieved with richer colour ways, including luscious matt dark brown, along with light brown wood and light grey wood options.

"Simplicity is important, but remember, you will be living with your selection for a long time, so it’s important to think beyond aesthetics and be sure that the chosen products perform well too.”

Ideal Standard bathroom featuring bath, basin and mirror

Every product pictured in this article is available from Ideal Standard, which shows that you don’t need to pay luxury prices to get the very highest quality and aesthetically pleasing bathroom products. So, why not ‘take the plunge’ and start planning your dream bathroom today?

The Ideal Standard website features a very handy ‘showroom finder’ tool which allows you to look up your nearest plumber’s merchants and bathroom stores, from which you will be able to order any bath, shower or other product that takes your fancy. Simply take your pick, place your order and book up your local expert handyman services provider to install your perfect space.

Image Credits: Ideal Standard



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IKEA’s top space-saving tips for your home

Created: 03/10/2017

IKEA NORDRANA baskets in bathroom

In our increasingly crowded modern world, the simple concept of space is now at more of a premium than ever before.

A combination of towns and cities growing busier and the ever increasing number of consumer products we now have to choose from has led to us struggling more and more to fit everything we own into our living spaces comfortably.

Fortunately, the fact that many of us are now facing these challenges means that many producers of household goods and furniture are taking major steps to help us make the most of the space we have – however limited it may be – to make sure our homes can stay clutter-free without us having to say goodbye to any of our favourite items.

We were delighted to speak to the team at IKEA, one of the world’s best-loved furniture and home accessories providers, about some of the products they would recommend for maximising your precious space.

How to save space in your bathroom

The bathroom is often one of the smallest rooms in our home, yet, if you think about it, probably contains more individual items than any other (with the possible exception of the kitchen), meaning that freeing up space is both a challenge and a necessity. Fortunately, IKEA have several great value products which can help you to do just that.

Carol McSeveny, Bathroom Sales Leader at IKEA UK and Ireland, said:

“Floating shelves are an inexpensive option for small bathrooms with little storage space to spare. Hang a pair of shelves, such as the IKEA BRICKAN shelves, above the toilet or create a makeshift vanity by hanging a large mirror over a single floating shelf. 

IKEA BRICKAN wall shelf

Pictured above: White BRICKAN wall shelf (£18)

“The floor beneath a console or sink is storage space waiting to be claimed. If you don’t have the budget to stretch to a sink with built-in storage, consider placing a woven basket such as the NORDRANA basket underneath as a simple way to store clean towels or extra toilet rolls, whilst also being pretty in its own right. 

IKEA NORDRANA baskets

Pictured above: Set of two grey NORDRANA baskets (£6)

“And as always, a well-planned cupboard or drawer makes tidy storage far easier to maintain. Sort your toiletries in to containers and bowls and then label each one in a design to suit your décor – giving everything a place, yet maintaining style.”

How to create a space-saving ‘nook’

Something you may not have thought of is creating a space for relaxation out of spare room you already have!

IKEA are big fans of making your own ‘nook’ – a cosy space in a previously unutilised corner of your home which can be turned into a haven of quiet comfort – and have a couple of recommendations on how to do this.

Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader from IKEA UK and Ireland, said:

“There are a number of ways to create a nook at home depending on how much space you have, but try and make the space as comfy as possible so you can truly relax and escape the outside world. One awkward area which hardly ever gets used, but is great for a nook, is the space under the stairs. 

IKEA RAMSTA lighting chain

Pictured above: Chain of 30 RAMSTA bright white lightbulbs (£4.50)

“Use a mattress topper, such as TALGJE, to add a layer of padding on the floor and finish with multiple cushions for extra comfort. To decorate your nook, simply place some fairy lights such as the RAMSTA lighting chain around the sides and attach wall shelves so you can store books and other accessories.

“To complete your nook fix hooks with some fabric along the edge of the bottom of the stairs to create a division so you can easily escape the rest of the home.”

Man lying on hammock

So, if you have just moved into a new place which feels a little pokey, hopefully the above will help you to see that the only limit to making yourself a lovely home is your imagination!

Whilst it is always best to call on the help of professionals who provide expert handyman services in Central London to sort out those major jobs like plumbing and electrical work, there is no reason why you can’t carry out your own space-saving project at a bare minimum expense. You certainly won’t need to build an extension to feel like you’ve just gained a whole lot more space!

Image Credits: IKEA, Drew Coffman



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Bafflingly dangerous DIY acts revealed in new photos

Created: 11/09/2017

Danger sign showing person falling

A series of shocking new photographs have been published, revealing the extent to which some people are prepared to put themselves in danger just to complete the smallest of DIY tasks.

The photos, which can all be viewed in this Sun article, feature a range of unbelievable acts of ‘workmanship’, including – perhaps most ridiculously of all – a man changing a lightbulb above a swimming pool whilst standing on a miniature rocking horse, which itself is balanced on a ladder!

Plenty of other astonishing images are also included, such as a man precariously balancing on top of an internal door so that he can paint his ceiling, as well as someone using an angle grinder-like device with a plastic bag substituting for a protective mask.

Arguably the most bizarre image, however (although not strictly DIY-related), showed a group of people placing a huge trampoline on the roof terrace of a massive tower block. As the article noted, “hopefully this family has a large mattress they can put outside their building for the inevitable disaster about to happen”.

‘Hilarious and heart-stopping’

The images, which exclusively feature examples of male idiocy, are described in the article as possibly being a demonstration of “why women live longer” than men! The pictures are described by the article’s author, Emma Gritt, as sitting “somewhere in the grey area between ‘hilarious’ and ‘heart stopping’”, adding that “they’ll make you grateful for health and safety standards”.

It goes without saying that – whilst tasks such as changing lightbulbs and painting are usually fairly risk-free - all of these examples fall firmly under the ‘don’t try this at home’ category!

If you are in any doubt about whether that next DIY job you have lined up is entirely safe, don’t find out the hard way; simply call up an expert handyman professional in south east London to make sure you don’t end up like any of the enthusiastic amateurs discussed above.

Image Credit: Alexander Svensson



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DIY stores report mixed summer results

Created: 05/09/2017

As the summer draws to a close, business analysts have been poring over the performance of the UK’s biggest DIY chains, and - partly due to the great British weather – the results have been mixed.

This BBC News article describes how the country’s two most recognisable DIY brands, B&Q and Homebase, both suffered in the three month-period from May to July as consumers held back from buying traditionally strong seasonal sellers like garden furniture.

Whilst Homebase’s owners would no doubt have been slightly alarmed by their 4.3% drop in like-for-like sales, this result was still not quite as poor as B&Q’s, who saw their sales slump by 4.7%.

This disappointing performance led to Kingfisher, who own B&Q, losing 4.1% of their share value, which was the most lost by any FTSE 100 company during the period.

Homebase have now been owned for over a year by Bunnings Group, an Australian firm who purchased the company for £340 million. Since that time, Bunnings has been developing a strategy to secure Homebase’s long-term growth, with managing director Michael Schneider admitting that they were in for a “long slog”, adding that “there’s no silver bullet” for changing a company’s fortunes.

Screwfix continues to impress

Not every DIY firm wilted in the summer heat, however, with Screwfix – also owned by Kingfisher – reporting a 10% rise in sales between May and July. This particular result will surely come as a relief to the industry in general as an indication that it is not DIY as a whole which is falling out of favour with the public.

Whatever the financial results of Britain’s biggest DIY stores, there can be no doubting the UK’s continued passion for improving our homes. Whether it is always wise for us to make these improvements ourselves, however, is another matter – remember to leave the biggest jobs to the experts at handyman companies in London to ensure complete peace of mind.  

Image Credit: Lee Bristol



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New research reveals Brits’ DIY habits

Created: 29/08/2017

New research from the Halifax bank and insurance company has revealed some interesting facts about the way Brits’ DIY habits and aspirations are changing.

The study was full of interesting statistics, including the eye-catching assertion that only 22% of us believe that we live in our ‘dream home’. Perhaps more surprisingly, this is also the case among 62% of homeowners who have houses worth £500,000 or more.

The report – which is discussed at length in this Property Reporter article – also reveals that around two-thirds of people have made home improvements over the last two years; and, whilst the average spend for most of this work was between £2,000 - £5,000, one fifth have spent upwards of £11,000.

Regional data was also scrutinised as part of the survey, with London named as the UK area where the most large-scale property changes are being made. According to the results, planning applications for domestic work in the city rocketed by an astonishing 60% between 2012 and 2016.

At the other end of the scale, Scotland’s growth in applications of a similar nature was a comparatively tiny 3%, with the number of submissions actually falling in the 12-month period of June 2015 – May 2016.

Basement conversions are on the up!

The survey also told us more about the kind of work which people are investing their hard-earned cash in, and the findings are indicative of changes in the way we want our homes to look. For example, planning applications for conservatories have fallen by 3% since 2012, whilst loft conversion proposals have risen by 43% in the same period.

Incredibly, basement conversions have grown by over 180% over the last five years – something which the housing historian Melanie Backe-Hansen puts down to ‘a lack of space in our cities and towns’.

Whatever your next home improvement project will be, the wisdom of experience will no doubt tell you that it’s best to call in the professionals to help. Take a look at the comprehensive range of handymen services we offer before you start planning your upcoming extension or conversion, and save yourself a great deal of time and expense!

Image Credit: Philip Swinburn



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