How to Hang Art and Mirrors

Hanging art, photos, pictures and mirrors is easy, right? Well, yep. You pop a nail or picture hook into a wall and sit the picture or mirror on top – it is that simple. But getting the configuration right – and the positioning exactly tight – can be a little more difficult. Here, we explain everything you need to know.

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  • Arrange everything from one bottom line. It gives the eye something to focus on, and helps to bring order to something that could be chaotic: for example, if you’re hanging a lot of small or medium sized pictures or shelves or objects on one wall. Keep in mind too that that bottom line can start lower down than you might think, as we all have a tendency to hang pictures quite high up on the wall – so play around with how high or how low you place the bottom line
  • Soften up the hard lines of a doorway or fireplace by framing them with pictures, art and mirrors – remember, you don’t just have to place artwork in the middle of a wall, it can quite literally go anywhere
  • One large image (by large, we mean really, really large), is probably the easiest way to make a statement. It is also a really effective way to make the room feel larger, even if it’s a small space. You don’t need to shy away from big design and big impact, just because the room is a little bit smaller than you’d like!
  • Choose unusual-shaped frames and hang them in unusual spaces – for example, that slim snippet of space between kitchen cupboards, or behind the loo in the downstairs cloakroom. It jazzes up a space, creates interest and helps to fill gaps – plus, the use of unusual frames will always create a talking point. It’s the same kind of thinking behind decorating your downstairs loo with cat wallpaper – it’ll always get people talking!
  • Hang a picture ledge, and you can then mix and match your art, accessories and photos as and when it takes your fancy. It’s a bit like a temporary art gallery, and you can then add new bits and pieces or swap them out if your style changes, or if you’re the type of person who likes to change things up quite frequently
  • Group some images within a framework to turn them into a larger piece of artwork – arrange them on the floor first so you can get a sense of composition, then hang them on the wall.

Source: Ikea

10 Simple Ways to Jazz Up an Old House

Trying to work out how to jazz up an old house can be really tricky – should you go for a traditional or classic theme?  Which colours should you go for? Wooden furniture or coloured furniture? Should you paint the walls? Wallpaper? So many choices! You could get a handyman to help you, or hire building materials to get the job done yourself.

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  • Shut the front door! Jazz up your house from the inside out by painting the front door a bold and bright colour, such as red, orange or yellow – all traditionally welcoming hues. For a traditional look, choose sage green or duck egg blue.
  • Minimise jarring transitions between rooms by keeping the wall colour neutral throughout. That doesn’t mean that you have to paint the whole house beige, but you can use pale grey or a taupe instead. The bonus is that in the future, you can update the room using new cushions and paintings without having to re-paint the walls.
  • Keep the original floors, if you can. Sand them down, replace any broken tiles or boards, then varnish to seal the floors.
  • Group your sofa together with tub chairs or armchairs in a way that invites conversation. “Modern” styles often feature chairs at jaunty angles and although it can look interesting, it isn’t all that comfortable or familiar. Don’t choose a boring old L-shape, either – choose a two seater or three seater and team it with a few single chairs and footstools instead.
  • Keep window coverings paired back and elegant. Old houses typically have large windows and high ceilings and the last thing you want to do is reduce the light, so choose linens and soft cottons in pale or neutral hues to keep the windows uncluttered. Alternatively, you could always use shutters or blinds.
  • There’s a reason why mirrors are so commonly used in old properties – they bounce light around and are an easy peasy way to add a decorative touch to any room. Choose mirrors with stone or metalwork frames.
  • Hang the right artwork. Surround prints or black and white photographs with vintage frames, then hang them in a mosaic style pattern in the middle of the wall. Nothing looks sillier than a teeny tiny photograph hanging at the top of a wall, so make sure that the artwork fits the space.
  • Layer lighting by using lamps, overhead lamps and floor lamps. Older houses look best when they’re cosy and inviting, and layering lighting is an easy way to achieve this.
  • Define any seating areas using rugs. The general rule is that all of the seating – all of the chair legs and table legs – should fit on the rug, with at least a few inches of extra fabric around the edges of the furniture.
  • Above all, if you’re stuck – and you don’t really know how to make the most of your space – get someone to do the job for you. Professional decorators are well worth their fee – just make sure you find someone with experience in setting up older houses.

Source: This Old House

10 Simple Steps to Spruce Up Your Home

The weather is starting to turn and with the cooler temperatures come grey skies and cloudy days – which can make everything else seem a little bit gloomier, too! So spruce up your home and make everything seem a little bit brighter and more colourful by following these simple steps. Take a look at our painting & wall covering supplies to get the job done.

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  • Spoil yourself by displaying plenty of pretty blooms around the house year-round. Whether you like brightly coloured flowers or chic and elegant roses, they’ll not only pep up a room but will also add a fabulous scent.
  • Switch faux fur blankets and throws for light knitted and woolen throws instead. Faux fur may be cosy, but it’s also quite bulky and heavy and can take up a lot of space, so go for something lighter instead.
  • Use trunks and storage cases to store things like winter coats, winter boots and walking gear. They take up too much space in wardrobes and chests of drawers so that means you get more room to store everything else!
  • Shop at antique fairs, flea markets and charity shops for unique finds. You can get cheap furniture, fabulous fabrics and cool cushions for next to nothing, which means that you can easily experiment with your style until you find a look you love, and update your home with the latest trends without having to spend a fortune.
  • An easy way to change the look of a room is to swap out the rug or to add a new rug. Natural textures and fabrics like sisal are beautiful on wooden floors as they help to bring the outside in, but they’re also a modern twist on regular patterned rugs.
  • If you have a bar within your home or want to show off your antique glassware, keep a cool champagne carafe on hand for decoration as well as to make pouring the perfect cocktail a breeze.
  • If you live in a small apartment or flat, help to increase the feeling of space by using wall planters. They’re a great way to introduce greenery, and they also help to make a room feel bigger and brighter.
  • Start using prints in new and unexpected ways. Printed fabrics are quite unusual but they can be incredibly chic – look for printed cushion covers, duvets and blankets.
  • Paint behind your shelves or the back of your bookcase for an instant style update, or re-paint one or more of your walls.
  • For a high-end, designer look, paint everything white. Jazz it up with hints of colour here and there or include plenty of pretty prints.

Source: The Nest

Tips for Moving From a Flat to a House

It’s the big move. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest moves you’ll ever make. Taking all of your furniture, accessories and the minutiae that makes up your life – from your small flat, studio or apartment – and moving into a house (or merging it with someone else’s stuff) is super tricky. Moving house isn’t just about hiring a truck and getting your furniture unpacked. It’s about creating a home. Learn how to move from a flat to a house and create your perfect nest by following our tips.

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  • Look at what you already have. If you’re moving in with someone else, moving alone or moving into a room in a shared house, you’ll need to make an inventory of literally everything – and we mean everything that you already own. If you’re moving in with someone else, determine whose stuff is of a better quality (unless there is sentimental value involved). Think about where the heck you’re going to put everything and what you’re going to need to buy.
  • Have a serious think about your budget – i.e. what you can afford to spend on stuff for your house and whether you’ll need to beg, borrow and steal from friends. How much do you have coming in? How much can you spend? In an ideal world, you’d spend about six months getting everything just right, allocating around 40% of your disposable income (meaning money that isn’t allocated for bills or the mortgage or the rent or debts) towards decorating your new home. But if you’re not that fussed, or if your budget is very small, you can take longer.
  • What can you do with what you already have? Chances are, you already have something that can function as a table. Or as a desk. Collected a selection of mismatched chairs over the years? Not to worry – paint everything and it’ll look like it was meant to happen that way. Repurpose, recycle and reuse everything you can get your hands on and don’t be afraid to completely change something. A hulk of a worn mahogany dresser can easily be transformed into a light, bright, pastel bookcase with a few hours of painting and a little bit of elbow grease.
  • The easiest way to inject a bit of life into an otherwise bland and boring magnolia space is simply to buy a pot of bright paint (or some bright, bold wallpaper) and slap it on the wall and/or walls. White/magnolia/cream walls are often quite lonely-looking and can result in a scheme that looks as though you’re either renting, or like you never quite got round to decorating. So put some paint on the walls!
  • Go around the house and see if you can find any “gaps” – as in, places where there isn’t any stuff and where it feels like there should be stuff. What could you do with that gap? Could you use it as a home office? Reading corner? Crafting cove? Or would a bookcase/plant/squishy chair/beanbag look good there? Nothing says “I don’t have any furniture because I used to live in a flat” more than a virtually-empty house, so try to make use of all of that extra space.

Source: The Nest

DIY Tips: Nifty Tricks for Small Spaces

Small spaces don’t need to feel like caves. Nor do they need to be sacrificed because they “can’t be anything else”. A small bedroom doesn’t have to become an office, or an en-suite bathroom, or a home office. That nook under the stairs doesn’t need to be turned into a storage cupboard. Follow these nifty tricks for small spaces to learn exactly how to use them most effectively, with lots of clever details and use of colour to make them much more inviting.

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  • Use interesting objects – anything from nude portraits to a big geometric print to a bold pattern on the wall – to draw attention away from the size of the room. It’s a sneaky trick, but it’s a good one.
  • One trick is to mirror the wall opposite the source of light – the door, or the window. You can do this either using a large mirror, or for a truly full on and elegant look, use three mirrored panels – one of 50% in the middle of the wall, and two panels of 25% on either side.
  • In a thin and narrow kitchen, avoid putting too much stuff up too high and – this is the biggie – get rid of stuff. Do you really need 2 different sets of plates? 4 types of glasses? A “good” set of cutlery and a regular set of cutlery? No, not really. Use what you have and get rid of the stuff that actually, you don’t need.
  • Another option for small spaces – perhaps if your hallway is particularly small, you can play on the size of it by using a patterned wallpaper, mirrors and an eclectic mix of paintings to create an intimate and welcoming place to greet guests.
  • More is more when it comes to mirrors – for a vintage, eclectic feel, group a random selection of mirrors on one wall with plenty of different frames, wooden, frameless, black, vintage frames, gilt frames, with the largest frame in the middle.
  • For a huge amount of wow factor – and to truly show off your style – cover the whole room with the same fabric. Curtains, cushions, throws. Even if your favourite pattern is zebra print. It’s a fast way to make a huge impact and it’ll make the room feel more cohesive, too.
  • Panelling a small room in pastel hues is a lovely way to make it feel bigger.
  • Don’t be afraid of adding things like fireplaces or mantelpieces, either – in Victorian houses almost every room had a fireplace and they’re a brilliant way to add a focal point, as it provides a spot that you can easily hang art or mirrors above.
  • If you’re brave, go for a full on fantasy inspired look – graphic floors, high gloss units, a high gloss ceiling – anything that shouts “look at me”. Use the 1960s as your inspiration and you won’t go far wrong.
  • In a small bedroom, a four poster bed can actually make the space look bigger provided that there’s enough space for you to get around the bed, and for an end table and bedside tables. You don’t have to scrimp on luxury just because you’re short on space.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 20 Things No-One Ever Told You About Decorating

Decorating doesn’t sound like it’s difficult – slap a bit of paint on the walls and artfully arrange a few cushions/pillows along with a few candlesticks and paintings and viola, job done. But to get it right, and to get it right in every room of the house – every time – requires a little more skill. Read on to find out about the 20 things no-one ever told you about decorating and take a look at this link for painting and decorating materials.

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  • 2 cushions look decidedly unwelcoming and sparse. Use at least two sets, instead, in different colours and textures for a more luxurious and comfortable feel. Same goes for decorative pillows.
  • Small bed + small bedroom = even smaller bedroom. Use a bed with a taller mattress and a big headboard instead.
  • If you have a vintage or antique cabinet or armoire, arrange the contents elegantly and keep the doors open to show off your stash.
  • Dark walls tend to reduce the feeling of space, but if the room has plenty of windows and pale floors, a smaller space can still rock dark hues.
  • An easy peasy way to transform a bedroom with sliding wardrobe doors? Wallpaper ’em. If you’re converting a bedroom into an office, this is a particularly good idea as the wardrobe is quickly turned from a closet into a chic filing cabinet.
  • Large collections of plates or various accessories can be displayed easily by setting up elegant wall brackets – just pop your accessories on top. Make sure you secure them if you have little ones about the house.
  • Using a real rug instead of a bath mat in a bathroom might sound counterproductive, but really, a bathmat is just a bit cheap and it won’t withstand as much wear and tear as a real rug. Just wash it carefully.
  • Stop the press: living rooms do not need to have sofas. Nope. Arrange some lovely cosy chairs and love seats for a different look.
  • A white room will always look chic and it’s a look you can instantly update with a few brightly coloured accessories – be it living room, bathroom or bedroom. You don’t have to use colour.
  • Mix and match styles – a four poster won’t look incongruous in a stripped back modern bedroom, it’ll look fabulous.
  • Layering up your lamps is a fab idea. Have two either side of the bed, and another two just above the headboard for reading. It’ll make the room feel much more ambient.
  • Blankets and throws look messy if you don’t fold ’em up. When not in use, fold carefully and arrange at one end of the sofa. If you’re using throws to cover sofa cushions, make sure they’re well tucked in all the way round rather than just thrown on top. It might be called a “throw” but that doesn’t mean you should just chuck it on.
  • For plenty of versatility, instead of a traditional coffee table, use a fabric ottoman topped with a wooden tray. The ottoman provide perfect storage and the tray can be picked up to carry cups back to the kitchen.
  • To emphasise the feeling of space, choose furniture with legs that are raised off the ground. To make the room feel more grounded, choose skirted pieces.
  • Gold doesn’t have to be showy. A few muted accents here and there will give the room a fabulously luxe feel.
  • If you have a big room but not enough stuff to stuff it with, a potted plant perched in a corner will never go amiss.
  • The very best fabric choice for a dining room is leather – it’s very strong and really easy to clean. Even more so if you want white chairs.
  • In your dining room, use co-ordinating yet different sets of chairs. For example, one high-back bench, one bench and two chairs instead of 8 identical seats.
  • Be kind to your closet. If you’re lucky enough to have a walk in wardrobe, give it some love with lights and colour.
  • You can reinvent vintage pieces. Just because they’re from the 1950s doesn’t mean they should stay that way, plus, not every piece of furniture in the house can be dark brown.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 10 Colour Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Do you know which colours work well together? Which colours you should use as the neutral backdrop to your bold accents? Whether it’s okay to mix and match colours, patterns and textures? Read on to find out the 10 colour mistakes you shouldn’t make – ever – and take a look at this link for painting supplies to help you on your way.

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1. What Colour is Your Ceiling?

We’re willing to bet that it’s white. And if it’s white, it means that it has flecks of grey in it – all white paint contains a subtle hint of grey. If you put this colour onto the ceiling, it’ll make the height of the walls seem shorter, shrinking them and making the room feel smaller. Use a warm cream instead.

2. Matchy-matchy

Although you need a coherent colour scheme, it’s best to avoid exactly matching a colour on the wall to a colour in the fabric of a cushion – it’s too obvious. Instead, choose something that has a few tones of grey in it, as it’ll stop everything looking matchy-matchy but still keep the entire scheme cohesive.

3. Neutrals

Every room needs balance, so it’s really important that you team those bold bright colours with a number of soft neutrals – they won’t tone them down, exactly, but they’ll really make them pop and will help to prevent the space from just looking like a paint chart.

4. Colour Continuity

Although you might not want to use the exact same colours in every room of the house, to create a sense of continuity, it’s a good idea to use similar hues, or at least colours in the same palette, so that all of the rooms feel somewhat connected to one another. This is particularly important when spaces actually run into each other – like a dining room and a kitchen.

5. Cool Contrast

A room without contrast is boooorrrriiiinnng. Plenty of neutrals are nice but what makes a room even nicer is to add some lovely contrasting colours or textures. For example, a black leather chair or some sleek and glossy white furniture provide lovely contrast to a soft carpet or a fluffy cushion.

6. Don’t Go Too Far

If you make things too obvious – or go too far with your colour scheme by not using contrast or neutrals, you’ll make the room look a bit stiff. A bit unloved and a bit show-homey. What you want is something that’s both stylish and substantial enough for the whole family to enjoy.

7. How Will You Look?

People never think about how the room will complement them – a lady with blue eyes, for example, might benefit from a room with shades of grey and lavender, as it’ll help bring out the colour of her eyes.

8.  Not All At Once

You should never be afraid to use colour, but if you’re not brave enough to do everything at once, let the room evolve by adding more and more colour as you feel comfortable. It’ll also make you feel like the room is constantly changing, preventing boredom from settling in.

9. Get the Right Finish

You’ll need to prepare the walls well and use a decent paint if you want the end result to look good, whatever finish you’re going for – matte, eggshell, patent.

10. Choose Deep Colours

Deep colours should pull you in, rather than leap out at you, so it’s important that you add some depth to a room by choosing some deep colours.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 5 Must Know Home Decor Tips Part 2

Decorating is always difficult. Choosing a theme that everyone will love and that everyone will feel comfortable in can be tricky – plus, it can be difficult knowing whether to keep up with the latest interior design trends or opt for something safe. In part 2 of our must know tips series we share exactly how to transform your house, taking it from drab to fab. Take a look at this link for painting materials to help you get started. lounge

Use Neutrals

Neutral hues don’t have to be boring. In fact, when layered up with different textures, fabrics and hues – metallics on the walls, wheatgrass flooring and soft, suede cushions all work brilliantly together even if they’re similar in colour, as it stops the room from looking too matchy-matchy. In the image above, taupes, creams and greys combine to create a restful look that is anything but boring.

Include Side Tables

Side tables might not sound like a particularly exciting interior design choice but including them in your design means that you’ll instantly create a feeling of cosiness. Interior designers use side tables and follow the rule that for every chair or sofa there should be a side table. When you stay at a hotel, you’ll see plenty of tables next to sofas, which is meant to make you want to curl up with a coffee or a glass of wine and a magazine – so follow this rule in your own home.

Don’t Hide the TV

For years we’ve struggled with TVs. Do we keep ’em out in the open? Hide them away? Put them into a cupboard? The truth is, it’s perfectly fine and completely acceptable to keep the TV out in the open now, especially if it’s a newer model. You could put it up on the wall and run the cable underneath the plasterboard but this will usually result in you getting a cricked neck when watching the footie. Just put it on display, but try to make sure that it isn’t the main focal point.

Mixing Patterns Isn’t Easy

Although interior designers will tell you to be brave, to mix and match patterns and to choose colour combos that you’ve never really thought of, it does take a lot of practice to properly mix patterns and colours. If you are going to mix patterns, make sure they’re in a similar if not identical colour scheme, or that they’re the same kind of shape/style/size. For example, you could mix stripes and a flock pattern if they were in a similar colour, and vintage floral fabrics that have flowers roughly the same size and shape.

Make a Small Space Work Harder

A thin and narrow kitchen can be difficult to work with but that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on storage space or crimp on style. Put cupboards and units up to the ceiling and keep everything light and bright. Stuck with a teeny-tiny bedroom? Consider using a built-in sliding wardrobe and maximise every single bit of space for shoes, socks, shelves for t-shirts and jumpers and hanging space for blouses, skirts and dresses.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 5 Must Know Home Decor Tips

It can be tricky when decorating your home, especially if you’ve got to do the whole house from top to bottom. Follow these top 5 must know home decor tips to learn exactly what you need to do – and what you should stay away from – when decorating your home. In part one of our mini-series, we talk about keeping away from cliches, mixing and matching styles and keeping small spaces warm and cosy. Take a look at this link for decorating supplies to help you on your way.

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Don’t be explicit – be implicit

Being too OTT with your style will just embarrass you in years to come. If you live near the seaside, for example, it can be tempting to go all out with conch shells, ropes and plenty of sea blue. Although that decor might suit the location of your home, it’s far too cliched to ever really be considered stylish. Instead, be implicit. Give a nod to the ocean with sandy-coloured carpets. Use pieces of washed up wood to make accessories or hammer together to create one-off pieces of furniture. Choose bright, light hues as they’ll reflect the light, bringing the brightness of the seaside indoors, for a timeless look that won’t make you feel queasy in five years’ time.

Mix and match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles and time periods. An antique footstool can work beautifully with a minimalist coffee table and more often than not, these humble materials – an old bit of wood or a piece of antiqued leather will work brilliantly well with contemporary materials like stainless steel or a sleek expanse of glass. Source items from charity shops and antique fairs and try to see past how something currently looks – you can always paint it, stain it or repurpose it.

Hang artwork together

You don’t need to hang just one picture on a wall. Put them into a group. Generally, the rule is that design works best in threes, but this isn’t always the case. For example, four paintings hung together in a square can look super stylish. Collage style arrangements look lovely too. For a contemporary look, use the same frame for each painting and for a cool and quirky vintage look, use a number of frame styles – wood, matte black, steel, patterned, plain. Arrange them on the floor to find something you’re happy with before arranging on the wall.

Scrimp and save

Good design doesn’t necessarily equal lots of money. You can get good design by buying cheap – you just have to be savvy. In a kitchen, for example, keep the base units and drawers and just replace the door and drawer fronts. That way, you’ll be able to afford the smart gloss finish or 100% solid oak. Shop where you wouldn’t think to shop – supermarkets often sell excellent accessories and homeware for much less than you’d think.

Sorting out a small space

Often, the emphasis is on making a space feel bigger, but sometimes, you just gotta embrace what you’ve got. And that means unifying the space, rather than dividing it with colour and pattern. As an example, in a smaller bedroom, you could wrap the headboard in the same paper as you hang on the walls.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: How to Make a Beautiful Home Office

There are more home offices than ever before with more and more people working from home – so it’s important that you make yours beautiful. If you have to work from home and if you have to spend eight hours a day there, you might as well create a lovely space to do it in. Follow our tips to creating a beautiful home office and take a look at this link for painting materials to help you create the perfect working space for you.

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  • Find the right space for your office. Ideally you’d be able to shut the door on your office so that you can leave work behind when you’re finished for the day. You’ll spend as much time in your home office as you will in the rest of the house, so it’s important not to treat it as a boring spare room. Be kind to your office and it’ll be kind to you!
  • Consider a stand up desk or a chair with a gym ball. Recent research has shown that the more sedentary you are, the more likely it is that your life expectancy will be reduced – so think about having a standing desk, where you have to stand up to work, or a chair that’s half gym ball – it’ll force you to make constant shuffling movements to stabilise your body which will increase your core strength
  • Another good idea is using an L-shaped desk, with the computer set up in the corner of the L, with a printer/copier at one end and organisational space at the other. Don’t waste those two work surfaces as they’ll come in super-handy!
  • Get a comfortable chair. If you are going to sit down to get your work done, make sure you do it in comfort. It doesn’t even have to be stylish – just something comfortable, ergonomic and supportive, that’ll provide your spine with the support it needs for you to sit down all day. Don’t scrimp on it, either – your chair and your computer should be your biggest investments
  • Use some colour, but make sure that it is conductive to a working environment. Bright and bold patterns are all well and good in a bedroom or leisure space but if you’re trying to work you can’t choose a headache-inducing ’60s geometric print. Green and blue are lovely choices but generally if you just choose something that you find restful and relaxing, you’ll do just fine
  • Remember that you can never, ever have too much storage space. A cluttered office is a sign of a cluttered mind, as they say, so it’s important that you keep it fairly tidy. Full shelving units will do the job nicely but if you’re short on space, open shelving or even just a chest of drawers stashed under your desk.

Source: Mashable