How to Restore Stained Glass

Stained glass windows are truly, truly stunning, and when restored, can bathe rooms in a gorgeous colourful glow which means that there’s little need for artwork. They are incredibly expensive to replace, however, as the glass would need to be cut exactly to size and painted in order to match the other pieces – plus, re-leading and re-arranging the glass all takes a lot of time, patience and manpower, which is why it’s best to restore if at all possible. Generally, you can do a lot of the restoration work yourself as it tends to just require a good cleaning, and possibly a re-painting of the glass (if your contractor/the council agrees that this is appropriate). If you’re unsure, contact a glazing specialist or builder here.


First things first, pull on a pair of gloves, and grab yourself a bucket of warm soapy water and a toothbrush. If the windows are very fragile, gently brush them over with a charmois cloth to get rid of any bits of dirt or debris. If they’re pretty sturdy, give them a brush with a wooden bristle brush. Even better, get your vacuum attachment up there to get rid of cobwebs etc.

Next, working section by section, gently scrub away at the glass using your toothbrush and soapy water. Work in circular motions and don’t expect all of the dirt to come away at once, especially if it’s a particularly old house. Do one layer, rinse, dry, and then repeat. It’s pain-staking work but it’ll be worth it in the end.

If your building contractor/glazer/local council agrees that you can restore the windows by using glass paints, take them up on the offer. It’ll brighten the colours of the window instantly and is a fantastic quick fix, especially if you don’t have the budget to replace any of the glass.

If the leadwork is broken or simply not in the best of conditions, again, it can be repaired rather than replaced entirely. You’ll probably need the help of a glazing specialist for this. Make sure that the glass is supported before removing the broken leadwork. Once removed, this can then be repaired by gluing new leadwork into the broken gaps, or by melting new metal (depending on the source material) along any broken pieces to act like a super-strong glue, holding everything together. Once repaired, the leadwork will have to dry and settle completely. This may be done with the glasswork still in situ, which could mean that you have to be extra careful not to get any metal or glue onto the glass itself. Generally, though, you should be okay – you can use cardboard shields to protect the glass.

Source: Love Home

DIY Tips: Budget Design Ideas

Budgets are getting tighter, but just because you’re penny-pinching doesn’t mean that you have to scrimp on style. When it comes to revamping your home, you can make a huge difference without splashing the cash, so take a look at these budget design ideas to help you make a style statement in your home without breaking the bank. To help you get started, look at this link for painting supplies.



Look Local

Not only can you pick up a bargain by buying furniture, accessories and goods like carpets and curtains from local retailers and craftsmen, but also from looking at local selling groups and online free listing sites. Social networks are actually a great way to find fantastic pieces on a budget and most of the time, sellers will be happy to deliver the goods for a very reasonable price. Don’t forget to check out auction sites, too – just search for goods within 10-20 miles of your postcode to keep delivery costs down.

Accent Accessories

Accents are one of the easiest ways to give your home a makeover, especially if you’re on a budget. Supermarkets often sell some surprisingly stylish pieces and there are also a number of discount home retailers that sell some brilliant accent accessories for a fraction of the price that you’d pay from a traditional furniture retailer. Look for vases, throws, rugs, cushion covers and things like lampshades and pendant shades and you can totally transform a room for less than £20 if you buy carefully.


The easiest room to update on a budget is a room that has neutral furniture and carpets. You might love the colour red, for example, but if you buy a big red sofa it’ll be a nightmare updating the room in the future, especially if you want to completely change the colour scheme. You’d be better off choosing a squishy brown leather sofa or a soft cream suede suite and then updating it with red cushions and throws. Or, you could paint the wall red. In future, if you want to change the look of the room, just re-paint and switch up the accessories.

Function over Fashion

Although interior design trends come and go every year – and although it can be tempting to invest in statement pieces like patchwork sofas or mirrored furniture, it’s usually best to focus your budget on functional pieces that will last for years to come, like chunky wooden furniture, soft cotton or leather sofas and black-lined heavy curtains and drapes. If you want to update your home with fashionable pieces, use accessories to get the look rather than large pieces of furniture.

Multi-Use Pieces

Get the most out of every piece of furniture by looking for multi-use pieces – two for the price of one, if you like! Things like beds with built-in storage in the base, coffee tables with storage drawers and sofas that can fold out into a bed are all brilliant examples of multi-use pieces.

Source: Style at Home

DIY Tips: How to Make a Roman Blind

Learn how to make a stylish Roman blind for your home by following this guide. It takes a lot of effort, but it’s definitely worth it.


Things You’ll Need:

  • fabric and lining fabric
  • blind rings
  • dowel rods that have been cut to 3cm less than the width of the blind
  • piece of wooden batten that is the same width of the blind
  • sewing machine and thread
  • needle and pins
  • tailors’ chalk
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • Velcro sew and stick
  • drill and drill bits
  • wall plugs and screw eyes
  • cleat and screws
  • Roman blind cord. Each length of cord should be 1.5 x the length of the blind + the width of the blind. Once you know how many blind rings you need, you’ll know how many lengths of cord you need.
  • blind acorn (pulley for the blind)

Measure, Cut and Stitch the Fabric for the Blinds

Measure the window using this advice. Add 5cm to the width measurement and 5cm to the length measurement. Cut the blind fabric to size, as well as the lining fabric. Position the fabric so that the right sides are facing each other and the raw edges are matching one another. Pin and then stitch so that there is a 2.5cm seam, then turn right side out and press flat.

Mark Out the Position of the Dowels

Starting at the very top of the blind fabric, measure 5cm down and make a mark using the tailors’ chalk. Make marks every 20-30cm after this, finishing with the bottom section. The bottom section should be half the size of the rest, so if you measured the other sections out at 25cm, the bottom section should be 12.5cm.

Cut Out the Dowel Pieces


Cut out pieces of lining fabric that are 8cm wide by the width of the blind – so if your blind is 30cm wide, these pieces should be 8cm by 30cm. You’ll need one dowel pocket for each dowel section that you’ve marked out on the fabric. Keeping the right sides of the fabric together, fold it in half, take in 1cm seams on either side and stitch along the one long raw edge.

Stitch On the Dowel Pieces and Blind Rings

Next, stitch on the dowel pieces. Turn the pieces and press flat, then pin and machine stitch inside the folded edge of each dowel piece along the lines marked out on the blind. For the rings, sew a ring to the edge of the blind fabric, 2cm from the edge of the fabric, then sew a ring every 20-40cm along the width of the blind.

Fix the Batten to the Window

Secure the wooden batten in position either in the recess or at the top of the window by drilling it into place. Stick the hook side of the Velcro stick and sew to the batten. Use the drill to screw screw eyes into the underside of the wooden batten so that they align with the blind rings, then add an extra screw eye to the end of the batten so that you can put the blind cord into place.

Stitch the Dowels Into Place


Turn 2.5cm of fabric at the top of the blind onto the wrong side, then pin and machine stitch into place. Pin and stitch the loop side of the Velcro sew and stitch into place across the top of the blind, then slide the wooden dowels into the dowel pockets on the back of the blind. Stitch to close up the openings. Hang the blind using the Velcro to make sure that it sits properly and that it hangs straight.

Add the Blind Cord and Finish the Blind

Take the blind back down from the batten and tie a length of cord to each ring on the bottom of the blind. Carefully thread the cord upwards from the ring to the screw eyes on the wooden batten. Continue until you’ve threaded all of the cords through all of the rings and screw eyes (eyelets) and thread through the extra screw eye on the end for the blind cord. Add the blind acorn and secure. Screw the cleat to the wall next to the blind, then hook the cords over the cleat when the blind is pulled up to secure it.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Measure for Blinds

Learn how to measure for blinds, shop-bought or homemade, with this simple guide. Take a look at this guide for measuring tools and sensors to help you get the job done.


Things You’ll Need:

  • pencil and paper
  • measuring tape (metal)
  • stepladder

Measure the Window Recess

If the window has a recess – which means that it is not flush with the wall and instead has a windowsill – you’ll need to measure it so that the blind sits neatly inside the recess. Measure the width of the recess, from the edge of the window to the edge of the recess, three times in three different places and jot down the smallest measurement. Do the same for the length of the recess and jot down the smallest measurement again.

Measure the Width of the Window

If the window doesn’t have a recess, you’ll have to measure the width instead. Measure the width of the window itself and allow an extra 5cm either side to really block the light out. If the window has mouldings, measure from moulding to moulding so that the blind sits flush with the edges.

Fix the Blind Brackets to the Window

The brackets that you use to support the blind can either be fixed to a wooden batten screwed into place around 4-5cm away from the top edge of the window, or fixed right to the window if it is wide enough and flat enough. Once you’ve fixed the bracket into place, measure the length between the bracket and the bottom of the window or the window sill, if you have one.

Buy a Roller Blind Kit

A roller blind kit that is the same size as or wider than your window will be ideal – a kit that is larger than your window can simply be cut down to size. The material that you buy should be longer than the measurement between the bracket and the window sill so that it can be hemmed.

Tips for Measuring

  • Make sure that you measure the window twice to make sure that your measurements are correct.
  • Roman and London blinds ideally need to be made to the exact size needed if they are going to be put into a recess as you can’t really alter them once they are in. Austrian blinds, on the other hand, can be gathered at the top once they have been fitted so that you can adjust the width.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Make Lined Curtains

Making your own curtains is a fantastic project and it might not be as expensive as you’d think. Learn how to make lined curtains with this guide and take a look at this link for sewing goods to help you get the job done.


Things You’ll Need:

  • fabric
  • curtain heading tape
  • curtain lining fabric
  • needle and pins
  • pencil
  • measuring tape (metal)
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • dressmaking scissors

Measure and Cut

Measure out all of the curtain lengths and mark with a pencil or pins. When working with patterned fabric, choose one main point in the design of the fabric and mark off starting at that point, then cut out the lengths. Cut out the lining fabric too, minus any fabric repeats.

Join Up the Lining

Join the widths up by pinning the fabric pieces together along the finished edges of the fabric, with right sides facing. If you have an odd number of fabric widths, use the scissors to cut the odd fabric width in half lengthways and then pin one half to the outside edge of each curtain. Stitch the two pieces together, taking in a seam of 2.5cm, then press the seams open. Snip into the selvages (finished edges of fabric) at 45cm intervals so that the seams won’t pucker when washed or pressed. Do the same for the lining fabric and then trim 5cm from one long edge of each piece of lining fabric.

Stitch the Curtain and the Lining Together


Place the curtain fabric and the lining fabric with the side edges matching, then machine stitch the side seams, taking in a 2.5cm seam. Press the seams open, then snip into the selvages at 45cm intervals. Turn the curtain over so that it sits right side out and then press it completely flat. The lining should then sit centrally behind the fabric of the curtain.

Add the Heading Tape

Turn under 3cm of fabric at the top of the curtain and press flat, then knot the cords at one end of the heading tape. Pin the heading tape up so that it sits 3 or 4cm from the top of the curtain and then fold under the short edges of the tape to cover the raw edges of the fabric. Using the sewing machine, stitch along all edges of the heading tape, then draw up the heading tape so that it fits the window and knot the cords on the other end.

Hem the Bottom Edge of the Curtain

Take down the side hems so that you’re able to turn up the bottom hem of the curtain. Hang the curtains up by a few hooks so that you can finish them off, marking the desired hem length. Double hem the curtains, pinning them in place and then press the hem so that it lies flat. Hand stitch the curtain hem, then trim off the lining, turning it up so that it sits at least an inch above the edge of the hem, then press and hand stitch.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Measure for Curtains

Once you’ve found the perfect fabric for your curtains, you need to measure up – here’s how. Take a look at this link for measuring tools and sensors to help you get the job done.


Things You’ll Need:

  • stepladder
  • measuring tape (metal)
  • calculator
  • pencil and paper

Decide Which Fabric and Heading Tape to Use

Decide which fabric you’d like to use and choose heading tape. Standard heading tape will give you shallow pleats while pencil pleat heading tape will provide deeper, narrow pleats.

Calculate the Fabric Widths

Measure the length of the curtain pole and then multiply the number by 1.5 for standard tape or 2.5 for pencil pleat tape. Add 20 (cm) for the side hems and then divide that number by the width of the fabric. Finally, round that number up the nearest whole number and that will tell you how many widths of fabric to buy.

Calculate the Cutting Length

Decide the length you want your finished curtains to be. If you’re using a curtain pole, measure from the base of the rings and if you’re using a curtain track, measure from 1cm above the top edge. For curtains that you want to be floor-length, add 1.5cm clearance between the lower edge of the curtain and the floor. For curtains that touch the floor, add 5cm to the measurement and for curtains that puddle on the floor, add 51cm to the measurement.

Calculate the Fabric You Need to Buy

If the curtains are made with plain fabric or fabric with only a small pattern that doesn’t need to be matched, multiply the number of fabric widths by the cutting length and then add 10cm to each curtain. If you’re going to have to match up your fabric, add the fabric repeat length to the cutting length before multiplying by the number of fabric widths, then add 10cm per curtain.

You’ll also need the same amount of lining fabric as curtain fabric, minus any extra fabric that has been bought for pattern repeat.

Calculate the Heading Tape

Measure the length of the curtain pole and then add 10cm and this is the heading tape measurement that you’ll need.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Choose the Right Loft Windows

So you want to renovate your loft space… but which windows should you choose? And which windows are right for your loft space? Learn how to choose the right windows below and check this link for glaziers who’ll be able to give you more advice.


Roof Lights

Roof lights are the classic loft window. They are completely discreet, relatively inexpensive and although they don’t provide any extra head height, they’re a simple way to add light to your loft. Because they don’t take away any interior space – or take up any exterior space – they’re suitable for use in spaces where dormer windows might not be appropriate. You can also use roof lights in banks of two or four, in some spaces, to add more light to the loft. Generally, you can also clean them from the inside, which is handy. Some roof lights can be operated with a remote control, while others have sensors that close the windows in adverse weather and special coatings that keep the glass clean.

There are generally three opening styles: pivoted, opening inwards and outwards, and side hung and top hung, both of which only open outwards.

Dormer Windows

Dormers add a huge amount of ventilation and light, but their other benefit is that they add a huge amount of space to your loft. Most loft spaces only have space for you to stand up in the very centre of the room, and adding dormer windows will increase the standing space in the room – and this also allow for other useful additions to the room, such as stairs to the side or a shower. Planning controls do tend to restrict the number of dormers that you can build and you’re often only able to add them to the back of the property. When installing dormers, you need to be sure of their size and design to make sure they fit the aesthetic of your property from the outside. Flat-roofed dormer windows are suited to modern properties, while pitched-roof dormers suit more traditional-looking properties. They do, however, tend to be more difficult to install and are more expensive to install than flat-roofed dormer windows.

Planning Rules

Planning rules differ massively from area to area and so you need to check with your local planning office before getting started. Typically, roof lights don’t require planning permission unless you’re in a conservation area, while dormer windows may require permission. Double check before you install anything, just to make sure.

Building Regulations

Keep in mind when transforming your loft that building regulations require you to have at least one window that can be used as a means of escape, and that window must be reached from the outside with a ladder. Insulation and emissions are also taken into account by building regs, so double check with them every step of the way.


Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: Everything You Need to Know About Sash Windows

Learn more about original sash windows and whether you need to update them or restore them with this guide. Check this link for glaziers.


Are My Sash Windows Original?

It’s relatively easy to check whether or not your sash windows are original or not. If it shimmers, has waves or ripples in it, or tiny bubbles of air, it is more than likely original. Most sash windows tend to be between 120-180 years old.

Should I Replace the Glass?

Original sash windows were designed only to receive single glazing. Modern single glazing is no more thermally efficient than original single glazing, and so you might as well leave the glass as it is After all, if it’s been in place for 100 + years, it’s unlikely to suddenly fall out! Plus, original windows are incredibly beautiful and will add a lot of character to the building.

My Sash Windows Are Rotten

No problem! Sash windows are actually fairly easy to repair. They consist of up to 15 elements, all of which can be repaired or replaced as needed. Keep in mind, though, that sash windows should really be serviced every 12-15 years.

My Sash Windows Aren’t Moving Properly

If your windows aren’t sliding up and down easily, they simply need to be realigned. The windows should be taken out, before being dismantled and then adjusted, realigned and re-corded and then reassembled. Even better, a brush pile draught system should be installed to each window to prevent rattling and draughts. A brush pile draught system should also help to minimise noise, too.

Should I Replace My Sash Windows with Plastic Windows?

It’s always cheaper to repair your original sash windows than replace them with a plastic alternative. Repairing original windows also has less of an impact on the environment by producing less waste and using fewer plastics. Original windows also lend a huge amount of character to your property and without them, that character will be lost forever.


Can I Increase the Security of My Sash Windows?

Most sash windows are fitted with a centre catch on the mid-rail, but this isn’t usually enough to keep your home secure. Adding a key-operated lock – a restrictor lock, in particular, as this allows you to open the window by 10cm without compromising on security.

How Often Do I Need to Paint My Sash Windows?

If you decorate professionally, using the appropriate paint, you can expect the finish on your windows to last between 5-8 years, depending on location and which direction your windows face. Never burn away the old paint as you might burn away lead paint, which could release very dangerous fumes.

How Long Will My Sash Windows Last?

Another 100 years, or much, much longer, if you look after them properly.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: Which Materials Should I Choose for Replacement Windows?

Once you’ve decided to replace your windows, there’s another decision you need to make – which windows to put in. Take a look at the tips below and check this link for window contractors to learn more.


What Do I Need to Think About?

Think about your budget, the area and the style of the home. Budget windows will let down a house with a fabulous interior, but high end custom-built wooden windows will look out of place on a £100,000 home. Once you’ve established a budget and you have an idea of which type of windows to choose, take a look at the additional information about wooden, uPVC and steel windows below to help you make your decision.

Wooden Windows

High-quality, well-built wooden windows that are looked after will last for years and years to come. Wooden windows can cost three times the price of plastic windows, but they do have many benefits. Getting a joiner to make the windows for you ensures that the design remains sympathetic to the design of the property, which is a plus point, and it can also last for an extremely long time, especially if you look after the windows by regularly painting and weather-treating the windows. However, this maintenance can be a downside for some – wooden windows will need to be painted regularly in order to remain in the best condition. Equally, a thin layer of paint will instantly make wooden windows look much better, whereas when uPVC windows start to yellow they cannot be updated with paint and will generally need to be replaced.


UPVC Windows

uPVC windows are generally inexpensive – they’re cheap and cheerful and could last for up to 35 years. These windows will also retain heat, reducing your energy bills, but they can also discolour and fade fairly quickly. Although uPVC windows are a third of the cost of wooden windows, they might only last for a third of the time of wooden windows. In the short term, however, they could be a great choice for brightening up your home.

Steel Windows

Steel windows are very strong and durable, making them a great burglar deterrent and because they are coated with a special film, they require virtually no maintenance. Price-wise, they fall somewhere between wooden and uPVC windows, and although they are more durable than uPVC windows, they only look “right” on certain properties.

Take a look at our guide to replacement windows for more information.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: A Guide to Replacement Windows

Brand new windows can give your home an instant makeover – not to mention, they can make the home feel warmer and brighter too. New windows can be costly but they are a worthy investment, particularly if your old windows are damaged, cracked or in very poor condition. Take a look at this guide to find out whether or not you need new windows and which material to choose if you do and check this link for window contractors.


Do I Need New Windows?

You might want to replace windows that are just a bit ugly – and with the right materials, new windows can definitely transform a dull home into a fantastic-looking home. It’s also a good idea to replace single-glazed windows for double-glazed windows, as they’ll help to reduce noise, reduce energy bills and will retain heat much more efficiently.

Windows with rotten frames, draughts, sticking sashes and cracking frames might also need to be replaced, but it is cheaper and more environmentally-friendly to fix a window rather than replace it. If you live in a period property, it’s especially important that you at least attempt to repair the windows rather than replace as they add a lot of value to the property.

Original Wooden Windows

Original wooden windows are built to last and with the right care, they’ll last for literally 100 years. The type of wood used in windows that are over a century old actually tends to be of a better quality than newer wooden windows, so you should try to repair older windows as with a little love and attention, they’ll last for much longer. If blisters appear on newly applied paint, it could mean that the windows are damp – which is bad news, but it could still be fixed. Speak to a professional as they may be able to rectify the damp issue. Regularly painting and weather treating the wood should protect it from the elements and keep it strong for years to come.


Sash Windows

Original sash windows are a huge selling point, but they are prone to problems with the opening mechanism. Keep them in tip-top condition and fix problems like improperly weighted sashes, broken cords and broken opening mechanisms by contacting a professional to maintain your windows.

UPVC Windows

Windows that are yellowed, cracked or that are misty or steamy are difficult to repair and will likely need to be replaced. Most uPVC windows will last for up to 35 years, but keep in mind before replacing that although many people don’t like uPVC windows, they are a great way to make a house more saleable.

Steel Windows

Steel windows are always single-glazed, so you’ll need to replace them if you want double-glazing. They’re also fairly difficult to repair and you’ll need to call in a professional to fix them – but in art deco or converted buildings, they can look fabulous, so replace them with caution.

Take a look at our guide to which materials to use for replacement windows for more information.

Source: 4Homes