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6 tips for finding the time and motivation for DIY

Created: 22/06/2018

Who doesn’t love a bit of home DIY? It’s low cost, gives you a sense of pride and all that hard work can be a great full-body workout! But the thought of doing DIY after the longest week ever at work? When you have kids? When you just want to lounge in front of the TV after ignoring all your other responsibilities? It seems impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you find your home DIY projects require someone with a bit more experience, there are handyman services in London and across the UK that can help with anything from electricals, to plumbing, to carpentry.


6 tips for finding the time and motivation for DIY


1. Think of the money you’ll save

This one goes without saying, but if the thought of saving money doesn’t make you want to jump out of bed at 8am on a Sunday morning, we don’t know what will! The best part of DIY has surely got to be the money saving aspect, right?

“After purchasing our first home we quickly realised that we didn’t have the budget to pay for all of the home improvements that needed doing”, says Little House on the Corner blogger, Christine. “So we decided that we’d do as much of the work as possible ourselves. It was a steep learning curve but now, 7 years later, we love DIY and purposely look for projects that we can undertake.”

According to Money Bulldog, just by painting a room you could save £100-£400 and installing a kitchen splashback could save you £200-£1000. Work out how much money you’ll be saving from each project and let that be your motivation to find the time to get stuck into some DIY!


2. Start small

One of the biggest things that puts a person off DIY is the sheer size of a project. The thought of a project taking weeks or even months is a little bit daunting, so it’s always worth starting small and undertaking a task that can be completed in just a few hours and broken up into little stages. That way, you’ll be more inclined to give up half an hour of your time here and there to complete the project.

Why not start by re-tiling that one wall of your bathroom you’ve said you’ll do for the last four months? What about re-carpeting the spare bedroom? These are all things that can be done slowly and are not particularly time sensitive.

“We also try to tackle just one project at a time.” Says Christine. “That way, we can (try to) contain the mess to just one area of our home.”


paiting and decorating

[Photo credit: Nick Youngson, Alpha Stock Images]


3. Get the family involved

As a parent, it can feel like you have barely anytime for yourself let alone the DIY project you promised you’d get done! So why not make it a family affair and get the kids involved?

From helping you choose between colours and materials to helping out with a bit of painting, getting your children involved with your home DIY project allows you to spend fun, quality time together while completing the job at hand – it’s a win-win!

Getting involved in DIY also teaches children some great principles, such as reusing and upcycling old items before buying something new, as well as proving how a little bit of hard work can create something amazing they can feel proud of.


4. Do your research

Roeshel, DIY Show Off blogger, recommends doing a bit of prepping before jumping straight into a DIY project: “There are so many educational resources and step by step tutorials to assist with a DIY plan of action. Take advantage someone else sharing their experience to make yours a win!” There’s tons of DIY YouTube tutorials out there, and even dedicated websites such as Instructables to ensure you stay safe and get it right.

She also recommends planning when you’re going to do DIY in advance. “I actually add tasks to my calendar and make checklists. Then check off tasks as they're completed.” This will give you a great sense of accomplishment as you start checking off more and more little tasks.

It’s also worth scheduling in some time for yourself, whether that’s going to the gym, spending time with your family or just curling up with a book. That way you have a day off to look forward to that won’t leave you feeling guilty, and your DIY project won’t feel like an overwhelming burden.



diy planning


5. Set a realistic time frame and completion date

Perhaps you have family coming to stay or you want to have your project completed before Christmas, whatever it is, having a date in mind to work towards is great for motivation. Just make sure the timeframe you’ve set is feasible for the task at hand.

The BBC recommends incorporating extra time to allow for things you may not have initially considered: “Don't underestimate how long things can take. Just preparing a room for redecorating - clearing the furniture, taking everything off the walls, washing down surfaces, patching up any damage, covering up the carpet or stripping it and so on - could take a day at least.

You'll feel much better if you set yourself a realistic timetable and are able to keep to it as you go along. Everyone hates a job that drags on and on when you thought you could be done in a day.”

Kerry, who runs her own DIY and renovation blog, also recommends slipping in some DIY whenever you can: "If I’m super busy I’ll try to just fit in 20 minutes here and there, if I can. Because even 20 minutes a day can really help. But generally it’s about prioritising and making the most of the time you do have."


6. Go easy on yourself

"Above all else, go easy on yourself.” Says Roeshel. She also recommends creating a low-pressure atmosphere and a positive mindset, and work as time will allow. Kerry also agrees with this, saying you don't want your DIY project to feel like a burden: "Be sure to give yourself a break from it all once in a while! Sometimes I get on a roll of getting a ton of stuff done - which is great and makes me want to keep it up. But eventually you just burn out. Make sure to give yourself time away from the DIY and then it wont become such a chore!"

Of course life will get in the way – other responsibilities may take precedence over your DIY project, but it’s important to remember that you can always carry on with it tomorrow (or, you know, the day after).


If you would like help with anything from electricals, to plumbing, to carpentry, contact us today.

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Budgeting for home improvements

Created: 29/05/2018

Half a million homeowners exceed their budget when redecorating, according to recent figures by Direct Line Home Insurance

Paint swatches

The statistics showed that 1 in 4 homeowners have faced debt as a result of redecorating in the past five years. The research also revealed ambitious Brits are underestimating the cost of renovations by an estimated £3.4 billion every year, roughly £7,427 more than anticipated per household.

When choosing to redecorate or improve your home, seeking help from your local handyman services is advisable. As well as getting helpful tips and expertise during the process, you can rest assured that the job will be done well, without any hassle. However it’s also important to budget correctly for your home improvements.

According Direct Line’s survey, the most popular room in a property to renovate within 12 months of buying a new home is the kitchen, with a third of respondents stating this is a priority. The living room and bedrooms are the most likely priorities for redecorating, followed by the hallway and dining room.

Preparing for renovations


If you are considering giving your home a little TLC, you’re in good company. The jobs homeowners are most likely to take on themselves are stripping wallpaper, re-tiling and painting. According to Direct Line, one in 20 bold homeowners either has carried out or is planning to carry out a loft conversion, simply to save money.

Dan Simson of Direct Line told The Mirror: “Making your mark on a new property is all part of the exciting journey to make a house your home. Whether it is your first home, you’re upsizing to accommodate a growing family or you’re downsizing once the kids have flown the nest, there is likely to be work you want to do to make it your own.

“Many home renovation shows have given people a false impression of the real cost of remodelling a property, so before you bite off more than you can chew, it’s important to research and price the work accurately, building contingency costs in to the new budget, to ensure your home improvements come in on time and meet your expectations.

“Many homebuyers understandably want to do renovations themselves to save money, but they should be aware that jobs aren’t always as simple as they may seem and some even require specific certification or Buildings Regulations approval, such as rewiring or a loft conversion. Before embarking on a major new project, always ensure you make your insurer aware so they can make sure your home is adequately covered.”

How to budget

Budgeting for home improvements

Be realistic about what you can and can’t do – It can be easy to get carried away when it comes to DIY, but being realistic about what you can and can’t achieve without the help of professionals is crucial to a successful renovation.

Speak to your local handyman ahead of any work taking place - Whether you need help with electrical work, painting, tiling, flooring, plumbing or general maintenance, get a quote from your local handyman services in advance to help you keep track of how much you’re spending.

Create a wish list for the finished space – Think about what you want to get out of renovating your home or a room in your house. Once you have in mind exactly what you’re looking for, it’s much easier to work backwards and see how much it’ll cost. If you don’t have a set idea, that’s when things can spiral out of control.

Make a spreadsheet – Keeping track of your spending is one of the most efficient ways to budget for your renovations. Create a list of the items/jobs you need done, who is helping you, the labour and material costs, when the money is due etc. This way, you’ll always have a document to refer to if additional jobs do need to be completed.

Put some money aside, just in case – It’s not always impulse purchases or snap decisions that result in additional costs when redecorating or renovating your home. Sometimes, additional costs are unavoidable. Keep some money aside just in case.

Before starting any renovation work, let your insurer know that building will be taking place at your property - This will make sure that you are covered, in the event that anything does go wrong. For example, tell your insurer if the builder will have a key to your home, if your home will be left unoccupied, or if there will be scaffolding in place for any period of time.

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When it comes to DIY, are you clumsy, obsessive or reluctant?

Created: 27/04/2018

Brits spent roughly £290 million calling in local handyman services last year to help finish botched jobs in their homes, according to a report by Harris

Painting your home

The decorating company revealed that while 58% of the population has valiantly taken on DIY projects in the past year, less than half were pleased with the final result, and 6%, approximately one million households, called in a professional to do the work.

In response to the fascinating research into Britain’s DIY habits, Harris created a profile of the various personality types of DIYers. “When we carried out our research we found that home improvers fell into one of seven categories – reluctant, obsessive, impulsive, clumsy, planner, overwhelmed and flaky,” Harris Brushes spokesperson Sonuia Sanghera told House Beautiful. “And we think people will be able to identify at least one of these in their circle of family and friends.”

DIY projects

If you’ve ever attempted a DIY project at home, you may find these categories all too familiar:


The reluctant DIYer is said to have a stock of old paint brushes and other materials gathering dust in their home, and they’ll attempt to redecorate with limited, or even unsuitable, tools.


The obsessive DIYer works with the ethos that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. They have ample tools for each job, perhaps too many, and are quick to offer advice to friends and family attempting their own projects.


The impulsive handyperson may decide to spontaneously repaint their bathroom, with little preparation. While their intentions are good, the impulsive DIYer is likely to need the assistance of their local handyman services to finish the job.


Unlike the reluctant DIYer, clumsy handypersons are full of enthusiasm and ready to get to the task at hand. Unfortunately, they lack the skills to get things done. Much like the impulsive crowd, they may need to call in assistance.


Planners often put their heart and soul into preparing for a job, although they may lose track of time along the way. A job which should have taken an afternoon can quickly drag on into the following week.


Taking on a large painting job, or general home maintenance, can be an overwhelming task. For DIYers who quickly feel out of their depth, calling your local handyman is an excellent solution.


Flaky DIYers aren’t immediately thrown by the potential hurdles they face when fixing up their homes. Initially full of enthusiasm, the flaky handypersons quickly lose interest and may even leave tasks unfinished.

If you’re planning to fix up your home, whether fixing the roof or simply refreshing your house with a makeover, it’s wise to consult your local handyman first for professional advice.


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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


“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.


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.


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”.


“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.”


“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.


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!


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”.


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, 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. 


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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