Common Household Problems Fixed in a Flash

Common household problems – things like bumps and holes in the walls, scuffs on the walls from shoes being kicked off or even just drawers stuck on their runners – can be a real pain in the neck. But luckily, you don’t need to call a handy man in to fix all these little jobs. You can do it yourself far more easily than you might think, without any special “tools“.


  • If there are tiny little holes in the walls but you don’t have any caulk or filler, you can use toothpaste. Yep, really. If it’s a white wall, just smooth a little bit of toothpaste into the hole and even out with the tip of your finger. If your walls are painted, you can still use toothpaste – let it dry and then paint with a matching colour.
  • To clean rust – it might sound obvious – but you’ll need a rust cleaning powder. Sprinkle it around the effected area, dampen the rough side of a regular dish sponge and scrub gently to remove the rust in tiny little black flakes. Regular cleaning and regular use of a rust cleaning product should prevent it, too.
  • If you have scuffs on the wall due to kicked off shoes or furniture dragging where it shouldn’t, you can easily clean it off with a half and half solution of white vinegar and water, again, using the abrasive side of a regular dish sponge to buff away the marks. The place will smell vinegary for a while, but at least you won’t have to repaint!
  • Dressers that get stuck on runners are incredibly annoying – especially if you have to put up a fight with your chest of drawers every time you want to grab an item of clothing. You can either use something like WD40 to oil the runners so that they run smoothly, or if you don’t have any, just rub an unscented candle onto the runners to lubricate them.
  • Want a new loo seat? They’re easy to replace – just measure your existing toilet seat, unscrew the nuts on either side of the toilet seat, chuck the old one out, then put the new one in place and just use the same screws to fix it into position. Easy peasy.
  • If your sofa is sagging and the cushions practically sitting on the floor, you can easily sort it out without having to resort to a new sofa or re-upholstery. Buy some plywood, with a smooth side, measure it to the size of the cushion, then pop smooth side up underneath the cushion – it’ll give it extra support.

Source: The Nest

How to Prepare for a Home Renovation

A home renovation can be super exciting. Ranging from a mini renovation whereby your home gets a facelift, to a full on revamp with walls knocked down and an extension added, making over your home has never been easier. Before you get started though, it’s important to have a good think about the issues mentioned below, just to make sure that everything you’ve got planned is right for you and your circumstances. Read on to find out more and take a look at this link for building materials to get you started.



How Long Are You Going to Live There For?

Are you going to be moving out in the next five years? If so, it’s important to keep potential buyers in mind when you’re planning your renovation – use neutral colours on the walls and think about the finish you’d want to see when looking for a new home. Focus more on the kitchen and bathrooms, as these are probably the most important rooms when it comes to selling up and if you can, use quality materials that will last a good few years. If you’re not moving out, or are renovating to create your forever home, you can afford to be a little more creative.

What’s the Next Step?

Trying to do everything at once can be expensive, and not to mention, disruptive. That’s why many people choose to do gradual renovations, whereby they add things and replace things and decorate as and when they can afford to. If this is what you’re doing, you’ll need to plan ahead. For example, if you’re replacing the kitchen cupboards and the worktops but can only afford to do one at a time, do the worktops after – it can be very difficult to remove a worktop without cracking it, particularly if it’s made of marble or granite. If you’re replacing the sink and want to add a shower tap later on, get the relevant holes cut before you fit the sink as it’ll be a real pain in the bum to do it later on. Plan ahead and you should be just fine.

How Long Will it Take?

Contractors tend to be quite conservative with their time estimates and if you’re having major work done, such as a new kitchen, bathroom or bedroom, it can be very distracting. If you have to sleep somewhere else whilst the work takes place, it can be even worse – especially if the contractor takes more time than they quoted. Before you sign a contract, call up a few of their references and ask them if the contractor finished on time – just to give you peace of mind.

What Should You Do First?

As a general rule, the first room you tackle should be the smallest room in the house – for example, the bathroom, or the home office. Do everything, including all of the finishing touches. When you start to move onto bigger rooms like bedrooms and the kitchen and things start to get a little bit stressful, you can look at your completed room and feel a sense of achievement. That’s what you’re doing this for.


DIY Tips: How to Remove Plaster to Expose Brickwork

Architectural style – plenty of glass, stripped back walls, concrete or wooden floors and lots and lots of steel is fast becoming one of the most popular interior design trends out there. Unsurprisingly, really, as it’s easy to maintain and is pretty much effortless – just hang a few pieces of abstract art and you’re good to go. Exposed brickwork also looks stunning in period properties. So how do you go about removing plaster and exposing the brickwork underneath? This tutorial will show you how.

Things You’ll Need:

  • plastic sheets
  • acrylic sealant
  • gloves, goggles and mask
  • hammer
  • refuse sacks
  • strong wire brush
  • metal bolster
  • cold chisel


Finding Out if You Have Brickwork Beneath Your Plaster

It’s easy enough! If your house dates back to before the 1950s, there is probably brickwork beneath the plaster. If you don’t know, simply chisel a bit of plaster away in an inconspicuous area – underneath a radiator or behind a sofa. Keep in mind though that not all brickwork is pretty – in fact, some is downright ugly. As a rule of thumb, the older your house, the better quality the brick will be. Modern homes are often built with concrete breeze blocks which aren’t particularly pretty so you’ll need to check before you get started!

Preparing the Room

Exposing the brickwork isn’t particularly difficult, although it is pretty messy – so you’ll need to properly prepare the room. Box up and remove furniture and objects that you don’t need, then use plastic sheeting to cover anything you can’t remove. It’s also a good idea to tape up doors so that dust doesn’t end up blowing all the way through your house.

Getting Started

It’s much better to do this by hand rather than with a power tool – using a power tool means that you risk damaging the wall. If it’s 100 years old, you really need to try to preserve it!

First, create a hole in the top corner of the area of brickwork that you want to expose using your hammer and chisel. Work downwards, chipping away just a little bit at a time. It’s time consuming, but it’s definitely worth it. If the walls are particularly old, they’ll be rough and uneven which means that you will meet resistance as you go – so you might need to go at the brick in a couple of different directions.

Take a spirit level and mark a straight line – if you want to make a straight edge. Mark a sharp line in the plaster using the spirit level to make sure that it’s straight (use a scalpel for this), then chip up to that line using your chisel. If bits of plaster are sticking to the wall and you can’t get them off, spritz with water to soften and then try again.

Cleaning the Bricks

Vacuum the bricks to get rid of dirt, then wash using soap, salt and a wire brush. Be gentle – you don’t want to damage the brick. Wash with water then dry with a towel.

If that all sounds like too much hard work, not to worry – you can now buy “fake brick” that looks surprisingly realistic – not at all like the fake brick wallpaper that was popular in the 70s.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Decorate a Narrow Room

Rooms that are long and thin are often the most difficult to decorate. Arrange the furniture incorrectly, use the wrong wallpaper or choose the wrong colour for the walls and the space will look even narrower. Follow these tips to learn how to decorate a narrow room effectively, making the space wider and more inviting. Take a look at this link for wall covering supplies to help you get started.


Arranging furniture

Although it often makes more sense to create one central seating area, it can leave one or both ends feeling a bit neglected and unloved. If the space isn’t used, it’ll just end up being a walkthrough or corridor, so you’ll need to arrange the furniture more effectively. Breaking up the space with a piece of interesting furniture will help to break up the space and make it more interesting. You could choose a freestanding fireplace, an open shelving unit, an ottoman or even just a large coffee table.

You might be tempted to put long sofas down the walls as they do fit into the space, but this will only make the room feel narrower. Pull the furniture away from the walls so that it floats and tricks the eye into thinking the room is bigger and remember – the more floor space you can see, the bigger the room will feel.

Functional spaces

Instead of just using the space for sitting, think about creating multiple functional spaces for multiple uses. For example, if you work from home, add an inwards-facing desk (as it’s far more social), or add a cosy lounge area that both you and the children can use – a few comfy chairs, a bookcase, a low level coffee table and a few bean bags. Think outside the box and instead of basing your living room on the traditional sofa and television, do things differently.

New furniture

If you can afford to buy new furniture, invest in a few curvy pieces instead of long, thin pieces. Choose a love seat and a few armchairs instead of a long, thin sofa, or an L-shaped suite. Opt for a curved coffee table, side tables with curved edges or a circular dining table – the lack of sharp angles will help to detract from the room’s skinny shape.

Statement features and lighting

One of the easiest ways to add interest to a long, thin room is to add statement features and lighting. A starburst mirror on a wall, bold wallpaper (think geometrics, oversized florals or thick stripes), a bright paint or even something as simple as a framed print or large digital photography canvas.

Narrow rooms often have dark corners, too, as the natural light from the windows isn’t usually enough to light the whole room, so it’s important that you either maximise the light available or use plenty of clever lighting to create zones. Avoid using heavy drapes or dark window coverings and use floor lamps, table lamps and ceiling lights to brighten up the space.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: Feature Wallpaper Tips

Feature walls are an interior design style staple. Many design schemes are based around one feature wall, with the colours and textures of the room inspired by the tones and patterns of the feature wall. Take a look at these top feature wallpaper tips to learn exactly how to make the most of your space with a feature wall and take a look at this link for wallpaper and decorating supplies to get the job done.

feature walls


  • Mural prints: Instead of choosing a wallpaper with a repeating pattern, choose a feature wallpaper with a large mural print that’s spread across the whole wall. The image above shows a pretty, delicate wallpaper that looks perfect when paired with plain, pared back furniture. The flowers and birds add softness, but still create plenty of interest.
  • Use the same print in two coloursAn easy way to add interest to the room is by using the same wallpaper print in two different colours. A great way to do this is to use one colour on the chimney breast and the second colour either side of the chimney. Or, you could frame the wallpaper in a chunky frame and position it on the feature wall to provide contrast. If you want to create impact without making the room feel small, use the softer wallpaper colour on the chimney breast and the brighter, bolder colour on the two alcoves.
  • Add texture: Feature walls don’t just have to be flat and smooth – for real impact and to make a dramatic style statement, opt for a paper with texture, instead. Materials include seagrass, sisal, woven paper, silk and raffia for a high-end, luxurious feel. Alternatively, choose a paper that has a slightly sheeny or metallic finish, or a soft suede finish. Look for wallpapers that have a “strokable” finish for a luxe freel.
  • Frame your window: You don’t always have to put a feature wall on a large wall that has no other features, windows or doors. For a surprising take on the feature wall trend, use a patterned wallpaper to frame your window and either make the most, or detract from the view beyond. Bright colours and zingy patterns work best.
  • Light and shade: When choosing your feature wallpaper, it’s really important that you think about the basic concepts of design: light and shade. Walls that are papered in paler colours will receed into the room while walls that are papered in darker colours will “pop” out. If you paper a narrow stretch of wall in a long, thin room in a darker colour, it could make the room look smaller, so it’s important that you choose colour carefully to balance out the space and to make it feel bigger or smaller as necessary.
  • Feature alcoves: If you use the space in one of your alcoves as a mini office, or if you just want to add interest to the space without overwhelming the room, make a feature out of one or both of the alcoves. If you’re using an alcove as a little office space, wallpaper using a feature paper, then use floating shelves to store your supplies.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Make a Dark Room Seem Lighter

Playroom a little dull? Box room feel like a cave? Many of us are stuck with a small, dark room that we don’t know what to do with – simply because it’s so dark. Learn how to make a dark room seem lighter with these nifty tips. Take a look at this link for painting and wall covering supplies to help you get the job done.


  • Choose paint or wallpaper with a metallic or lightly pearlescent finish. It’ll help to bounce light around the room, emphasising what little light you do have, making the room seem lighter. Go for light, neutral colours – if you’re trying to make your room look brighter, painting the walls lighter is key.
  • Alternatively, choose, a bright, light sunny paint or wallpaper. Things like pale lemon yellow are always a great choice as they bring the outside in. Neutral, earthy tones are always a good choice if you don’t want to use white, cream or a pale metallic.
  • Try mirrored furniture. It makes small rooms look appear larger – and it also makes dark rooms appear lighter. Mirrored side tables and chest of drawers will make all the difference.
  • Choose fabrics, furniture and soft furnishings with a slight sheen or metallic finish. The more of these slightly sheeny materials, the better – they’ll bounce light around the room.
  • When you come to choose furniture, look for pieces that are light in colour and tone and introduce colour using one or two paintings, cushions or a brightly coloured bedcover, for example. Introduce as much in the way of light, bright colours into the room that you possibly can and don’t use dark, draining colours, especially on the wall coverings and walls as it’ll literally drain all of the light from the room.
  • If you can, choose light, reflective flooring. Glass tiles are always a good idea for an office or similar room, as they’ll bounce light around. You could also paint wooden floorboards for a cool and quirky look, or, if you’re furnishing a bedroom, opt for a carpet in a luxurious pale wool finish. Again, think about using carpet with a light sheen – it really helps create a feeling of light and space. Light colours add light – dark colours minimise and reduce light and make any space feel darker.
  • Don’t be afraid to use large lights. We often use lamps and spotlights only in small rooms like offices and small bedrooms, but you can really afford to use a little more artificial light. When lighting an intimate office or eating area, why not hang low pendant lights instead of using lamps? You could even install pendant lights over bedside tables instead of using lamps. Put spotlights everywhere you can fit them – under cupboards, in cupboards, about shelving units, in bookcases and in the ceiling, too. They can throw off a surprising amount of light and as a bonus, reflect off of every shiny surface – making your room lighter, brighter and cleaner, too!

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Apply Wall Stickers

Wall stickers are cool, creative and quirky, too. They’re easy to apply and are a really simple to update the look of your room in an instant, plus, they’re really inexpensive too, making them a great alternative to wallpapers. Learn how to apply them with these tips and take a look at this link for wall covering supplies.


Things You’ll Need:

  • wall stickers of choice
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • soft cloth

Prepare the Wall

Prepare the wall by giving it a good wash. Make sure that it’s completely clean and free of dust and debris before you apply the sticker. The wall should also be completely dry, too. If you want to paint, do so before applying the wall sticker and ensure that it is completely clean and dry before you get started.

Mark Out the Placement

Decide exactly where you want the wall sticker to go. Before unpeeling the backing, put the wall sticker on the wall, make sure that it is straight using a spirit level and then mark the placement of it on the wall using a soft pencil that you can rub out or blobs of tack. Once you’re happy with the placement, you can get sticking!

Apply the Sticker

Carefully peel the backing off of the sticker. Get someone to help you if it is particularly large so that you don’t get tangled. Following the guidemarks that you made earlier, put the wall sticker into place. Smooth it out using a clean cloth. Again, get someone to help you, if you can, so that the sticker is firmly in place on the wall.

Removing the sticker is fairly simple. Use a hairdryer to blast warm air onto the wall to warm the sticker. Once warmed, it should just peel away from the wall with ease. If it gets stuck or if there are pieces of adhesive left behind, warm them too and scrape them off gently with a palette knife. Try to get as much of the sticker off in one go so that you don’t have to do this – scraping the wall with a palette knife could cause scratches in the wall and so you may need to fill and repaint to cover up the marks.

Where Can I Put Wall Stickers?

You can put wall stickers anywhere you like. They often look lovely when positioned from the skirting board upwards, like a tree or flower growing towards the sky. They can also look cool and quirky when positioned next to windows and doors. They also make a great focal point above beds and sofas, and you can use them anywhere that you’d use statement wallpaper. They work best on plain, painted walls.


DIY Tips: How to Stencil

For a unique, cool and fun look that’s much cheaper than patterned wallpaper, try stencilling. Stencils are an easy and fun way to create a bespoke look and they’re a great crafting activity to do with children. Learn how to stencil with these tips and take a look at this link for paint and wall covering supplies.


Things You’ll Need:

  • water-based acrylic paint in white and in one or two colours
  • paint roller and paint tray
  • small paint roller or small paintbrush
  • measuring tape and pencil
  • spirit level
  • stencil
  • stencil mount

Prepare the Wall

If necessary, strip the wall of paper and replaster. Otherwise, fill gaps in the wall with filler, smooth and leave to dry, then sand until you achieve a smooth finish. Paint the wall white, one or two times, to completely cover up any existing colour or to create an even base for the stencil colours. If you want to use two colours, at this stage, paint the base colour onto the wall and leave to dry. Apply additional layers of paint as needed until you have a base colour you’re happy with.

Mark Out the Stencil

The easiest way to use a stencil is to mark it out all over the wall before you apply the paint. Work out how many times the stencil needs to be repeated across the wall and adjust so that there is a neat finish along the edges of the wall, along the ceiling and along the floorline. Mark the position of the stencil with pencil, then use the measuring tape and spirit level to mark where the stencil should sit, each time, making sure that the stencil is completely straight.

Paint the Stencil

Next, it’s time to paint the stencils. Apply stencil mount to the back of the stencil. Apply the stencil to the wall, using the guide marks that you made, making sure that it is stuck firmly to the wall with no ripples or bumps in the stencil. Pour the coloured paint into a small roller tray and use a small roller to apply it inside of the stencil. If you’re working with a very intricate design, use a small stencil brush instead. Pull the stencil off the wall, leave the paint to dry, then repeat until the stencil is complete, always following the guidelines so that the pattern is straight and even. If you’re working with a particularly complex stencil that requires a few colours, make sure that the paint is totally dry before reapplying the stencil and adding the next colour.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: Choosing Kitchen Wall Tiles

Kitchen wall tiles are essential in most kitchens as they help to protect your walls from cooking splashes and spills but they also brighten up your kitchen and can pull the whole room together. Learn more about kitchen tiles and how to choose them with this guide. Take a look at this tiling link to help you get the job done.


Budgeting for Kitchen Tiles

Luckily, there are some fantastic budget buys to be found – DIY stores stock a huge range of kitchen tiles, many of which can look expensive when fitted provided you choose them with care. Glass and ceramic always look expensive but can often be found for very reasonable prices. You can spend a lot of money on tiles, too, particularly if they are handmade. What you spend really depends on what you can afford.

Modern Kitchens

Modern kitchens are often complimented by bold, graphic colours and tiles in more unusual shapes and materials. “Brick” tiles are always stylish in a contemporary kitchen, but graphite and stainless steel tiles will also look good.

Traditional Kitchens

In traditional kitchens, earthy tones and traditional shapes tend to look best. Look for rich creams, olive greens and deep reds. Stick to more traditional materials, too, like ceramic.

Pros and Cons of Ceramic Tiles

  • Ceramic tiles are incredibly hard-wearing and water resistant, and this means that they’re a very popular choice. They’re made from clay and then set and fired at extremely high temperatures, making them extra durable.
  • They’re also available in a huge range of effects and styles, including glazes, textured finishes and various prints and colours.
  • The only downside is that ceramic tiles can be expensive, particularly if you choose a very bespoke finish or pattern.

Pros and Cons of Porcelain Tiles

  • Porcelain tiles are a great budget alternative to natural stone tiles. They’re strong, easy to maintain and very durable. They’re also available in glazed and unglazed finishes.
  • Tiles that are unglazed will be cheaper, but they do need to be sealed both before and after grouting, which means that they require more work. If you’re on a tight schedule, glazed porcelain is the easier option.

Pros and Cons of Glass Tiles

  • Strong, durable and very architectural, glass tiles are fast becoming a favourite of designers. They’re also not as expensive as you might think and can provide a seamless, smooth finish that isn’t too obtrusive.
  • Glass tiles are also available in a huge range of colours and textures, as well as shapes and sizes. “Brick” tiles are very popular, but you can also find mosaic glass sheet tiles as well as small, regular-sized glass tiles.
  • The downside with glass tiles is that they can smear very easily – which can be frustrating when it comes to cleaning them.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Clean Paintwork

Learn how to clean up paintwork and painted walls without causing further damage by following these nifty little cleaning tips. Take a look at this link for cleaning supplies.


You probably weren’t thinking about sticky fingerprints, scuff marks and juice stains when you were picking out your paints – but not to worry! You can easily clean small spots and marks without too much effort – but if not, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount of the paint back so that you can use it to cover up particularly stubborn marks and scuffs should you not be able to clean them.

Again, you can buy wipeable and washable paint – definitely a good idea for kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms and dining rooms. You can get it in a number of colours and finishes and if it gets marked, all you need to do is wipe it with a damp sponge.

If you haven’t got wipe-clean paint, you can still clean it – it just takes a little extra work. Here’s how to clean your painted walls and keep your home looking spick and span.

  • As soon as you notice small marks or spots on the walls, wipe them down with a damp cloth. That’ll usually be enough to do the trick, although it might not! If not, use a little bit of weak washing up liquid.
  • You can actually wash down large areas of wall, but it’s really important that you vacuum the walls first. If you don’t, dust and dirt will get mixed in with the cleaning solution and you’ll just end up smearing the dirt all over the walls.
  • Use warm water, a weak solution of washing up liquid, and a slightly damp cloth – too much water could result in some serious damp patches, so make sure that you use only as much water as you can get away with.
  • As you clean, dry the walls carefully using some paper towels. Drying as you go ensures that the paint won’t become overloaded with water. You should use paper towels, instead of dry cloth, as fibers will come off of the cloth and get stuck on the walls – so it’s important to use kitchen roll or something similar instead.
  • If you’re trying to remove particularly bothersome stains, try sugar soap or a weak solution of soda crystals. These methods could stain, however, so test them on an inconspicuous area first.
  • If you’re still struggling, paint over the mark. Stipple the colour on and be sure to fade it out into the clean paintwork, so that there isn’t an obvious line between new paint and old.

Source: 4Homes