Quick and Easy Craft Projects to Brighten up Your Home

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Crafting is a lot of fun. The problem is, craft projects can easily eat into your free time. And when you work full-time and/or look after a family, your time for yourself becomes incredibly precious, and you’ll often not want to “waste” it on creating something. Especially if you can use your time to read a book, explore a new part of the country, or simply to catch up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

So what are you to do? Well, it’s simple – get started on some projects that won’t eat up all your weekend! Read this article and use our tips and you’ll soon be able to complete some fantastic crafty projects and enjoy some free time. Who says you can’t have you cake and eat it?

Create a Funky Noticeboard

Is your boring old noticeboard getting you down? Maybe it’s making one corner of the kitchen look particularly drab, and is in some desperate need of livening up. Well, here’s one way of adding a bit of pizzazz to it.

Simply take the noticeboard off the wall and remove everything from it. Then grab some masking tape and use it to make interesting patterns on the board. We suggest a repeating chevron pattern, but you can go wild with checks or zigzags, or classic and simple stripes.

Next, get hold of a pot of paint in a lively colour and go to town with a brush. Paint over the masking tape until all the spaces are covered, then carefully peel off the tape. Leave it to dry overnight and… voila! One funky, fresh new noticeboard. Easy.

Make a Mini Photo Gallery

This one is just as easy as the last, and is a great way of making a personal and sentimental little piece to jazz up the home. It also makes a fab gift for friends and family!

Start off with some grey or sepia-toned card, and cut it to frame size – we like 33cm x 24cm. Next, grab some glossy white card and cut them into smaller shapes, 10cm x 8cm in dimension. Then, using a scalpel, cut out a square in each of them. Trim four photos so they will be displayed perfectly through the square hole, and glue the mini frames on.

Then all you need to do is attach two lengths of string the big piece of card and – with mini pegs – simply peg the photos to the string. Just pop a frame over it and you’re all done! One lovely mini photo gallery in minutes.

Produce Lovely Personalised Cushions

How about making matching his and hers throw cushions for the bedroom? It’s really easy, and can quickly brighten up the room. Take two matching cushions – perhaps in colours that will really pop against the bedding – and grab some iron-on letters.

All you need to do now is follow the instructions included in the iron-on letters’ packaging. Basically, this amounts to centring the letters on the cushions, then carefully ironing them into place. This’ll only take a few minutes and give you months of bedroom colour.

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: 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: 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

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.

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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: New Ways to Accesorise Your Home

Show off your accessories and make your rooms shine with personality by following our top tips to accessorising your home. Lamps, candles, rugs, cushions and canvas images – they’ll all add life to your room without being too overwhelming. After all, a bright pink cushion is far easier to live with than a bright pink wall! Take a look at this link for decorating materials to help you get started.

accessories

  • Got some lovely plates? Instead of lining them up around your kitchen wall or on a formal dresser, arrange them in an informal pattern on the wall in another room of the house, as in the image above
  • Brighten up your bedroom without adding clutter in the form of decorative pieces or too much detail on the wall by using patterned bedclothes or by adding a patterned throw – it might sound obvious, but it adds interest to the room without taking up any extra space
  • Make a feature out of your favourite books and knick-knacks by displaying them on open shelving units – a brilliant way to make your books into a focal point. Group colours together and remember – don’t use the shelving unit as a dumping ground!
  • Hang a statement clock. Clocks used to only be hung in kitchens, but now, they’re becoming art in their own right – hang them in your living room, dining room or bedrooms
  • Choose a statement light feature or use a glam chandelier to add elegance to a room. Practical and stylish, light fittings are an easy way to accessorise
  • Add a faux fur throw. Fold it and hang it over the end of your bed for a luxurious feel, drape over a sofa or hang over a cosy armchair. Look for soft, strokable fabrics and not only will they add a glam feel to your room, but you can also wrap them around yourself on a cold night
  • Not got the budget to buy new textiles? Revamp them with a packet of fabric dye. In the kitchen, dye your apron, oven gloves and tea towels to give them a new lease of life, dye white towels for use in the bathroom or even a set of white bed covers if you’re creating a new colour scheme in your bedroom
  • Glass vases are an easy way to add opulence to any room – plus, you can pick them up really cheaply from charity shops. Display them in groups on shelving units or on windowsills
  • Make the room feel bigger in an instant by adding a freestanding mirror – in many cases, the larger the mirror, the better. Plus, it gives the room an opulent, luxurious feel
  • Transform the floor into a cosysnuggly, lounging spot by stacking large floor cushions
  • Makeover every day items like a vintage milk jug or old teacup into accessories – use them as vases or to display candles
  • Tie curtains back with jewelled ribbons for a luxurious look on a budget

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Decorate a Rented Property

Whether you’re staying in a rental property because you’re saving up for your mortgage, or because you’ve just moved out of your mum and dad’s home and have inherited some second-hand furniture from the rest of the family, chances are, you want to make your home just a little more interesting! Follow the tips below to learn how to decorate your rented property with flair and style. Take a look at this link for painting and wall covering supplies to help you get started.

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Invest Only in Furniture and Accessories That You Can Take With You

The mistake that many people make when decorating their rental property is to spend lots of money on changing the walls or floors – but when you move, you won’t be able to take any of these things with you. Instead, invest in furniture and accessories that you can take with you and if you’re stuck with boring, bland pieces that were given to you by family members, jazz them up with a lick of paint and a few stencils.

Brighten Up Your Bathroom

If you’re stuck with a boring bathroom or an ugly avocado bath suite, you can make it prettier! Buy a new bath mat, matching towels and a shower curtain if the shower curtain supplied is a bit grotty, then buy candles, accessories and pretty soaps in complementary or matching colours to brighten up the room. When you move, just take everything with you!

Curtains, Sofas and Stained Carpets

Many rental properties come with curtains and lampshades. If you don’t like the ones in your house, just replace them with something cheap and cheerful and store the old curtains in a plastic bag until your lease is over. If your home is fully furnished and you’re stuck with a manky old sofa, brighten it up with a big throw – tuck it in around the cushions and jazz it up a little bit with pretty embroidered cushions. Dirty carpet? Cover it up with a cosy faux fur rug.

In the Kitchen

If your kitchen cupboards are looking a bit old and dull and your tiling a bit dirty, give it a new lease of life with some grout whitener and a good deep clean. Hang pictures on the walls using velcro picture hooks – that way, they won’t make holes in the wall – and if there’s space for a table, dress it with a pretty tablecloth or runner and a vase of fresh flowers. Even displaying your cookbooks and liquor bottles can make your kitchen feel much more homely.

Top Tips

  • Nothing says “I’m rented!” more than mismatched crockery and old, chipped glassware. Buy a new set of crocks, glasses and cutlery and just take them with you when you move.
  • Hang large mirrors to give the illusion of space in a smaller room.
  • Add life to your bedroom by hanging a big canvas over the bed and adding colour and personality through your curtains and bed covers.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Make a Large Room Cosy

Small rooms are notoriously tricky to decorate – but larger rooms can be even more so. Too much furniture and the room will look like a junk stop. Too little and it’ll look like an empty loft space – so it’s really important that you get the balance right. Follow the interior design tips below for making a large room look cosy and take a look at this link for painting and wall covering supplies to help you achieve the space of your dreams.

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  • Divide the space up into zones, so that the room doesn’t look like one big space. Instead, it should look like a number of smaller rooms without walls within the same area. Try freestanding shelving units as they’re a brilliant way to divide up the space, or use visual elements like different flooring or colours on the walls or even different lighting to divide the space. In a lounge, a sofa can act as a divide between two spaces – whatever the divide, it doesn’t have to be huge.
  • Give the space unity. When choosing furniture, make sure that it’s all the same colour and tone, and where possible, if you’re trying to create a feeling of coziness, use chunky wooden pieces. If you want to make the room look cosy, it’s important to fill it with large pieces of furniture that complement the space and the dimensions of the room – smaller pieces of furniture will just get swallowed up and will look a bit silly. Look for warmer colours and if you do want to use a neutral colour like beige, make sure that you choose a colour that is really warm and steer away from clinical whites and ice blues.
  • Add a focal point. The easiest way to make a room look cosy is to add a focal point – but please, please make sure that you don’t use your TV! The absolute best choice would be a real fire, but if it wouldn’t like right in your room, fake it by adding a modern electronic fire that hangs on the wall.
  • Look for wallpapers with textures and warm colours. Look for textures such as slightly embossed papers or flock papers with a velvety feel as they really help to make the space feel warmer.
  • To make a ceiling look lower and to make the room feel slightly smaller, paint it a shade or two darker than the walls. It won’t really be that noticeable to the naked eye, but it’ll trick your senses and will make the ceiling look slightly lower, emphasising the feeling of coziness.
  • Remember that you can get away with virtually any colour in a large space – don’t be afraid to splash some paint around. Deep red always looks beautiful with polished oak floors and beams, but you could use sage green, duck egg, zingy yellow or a deep aubergine hue instead and they’d all look fantastic.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: Key Living Room Trends for 2014

This year, we’re seeing some fabulous new living room trends. Here, we tell you what’s in, what’s not and how to achieve the look in your very own home. Read on for some of the hottest trends and take a look at this link for painting and decorating materials to help you get the job done.

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Art Deco

Inspired by glamorous Hollywood homes of the 1920s, art deco is one of the biggest and boldest trends of 2014. Floorboards should be stained dark brown or even black – for this look, the darker the floorboards the better. Look for geometric print fabrics on cushions and chairs, or for geometric-shaped ornaments. Key colours include grey, mustard and turquoise and for fabrics, look for natural materials. Metallic furniture or fabrics with a slight sheen also work well with this look.

Mad Men

This trend is totally inspired by Mad Men. Keep flooring or carpets dark brown in colour and paint walls a rich, bright yellow – not too muddy and not too mustardy. Add beech furniture and look for pieces with either tapered legs or gently curving edges. Grey works well with the yellow and brown hues, so look for grey sofas and chairs. Finish the look off with plenty of cushions in a range of geometric patterns and for fun, add a starburst or mosaic mirror to one wall.

Oatmeal

Pared-back style is big news for 2014, so choose a range of au-naturel colours and fabrics for a subtle, stylish look. Choose oatmeal-coloured fabrics made from all-natural fibres and look for plenty of contrasting textures – they help to add richness and depth to a room without making it look too fussy. Look for striped linen cushions in neutral hues, and complete the look using plenty of chunky wooden furniture, wicker baskets and if you like, by adding a few contrasting colours – sage green and pale duck egg blue work particularly well in this kind of look when teamed with the oatmeal.

Super Pale Pastels

Pastels can look a little bit too sugary-sweet, but if you choose pastels that are very, very pale, they’ll look just right. Look for the lightest blush of pink, the palest baby blue and the creamiest shades of beige then complete the look with touches of natural wood and the merest hint of copper. Very pale grey also looks wonderful. Try not to interfere with these colors too much – only a little bit of pattern is needed as if you use too much, the whole room will look entirely overdone.

Victoriana

This modern take on antique chic uses pared-back, minimalist furniture and quirky, Victorian-inspired accessories and paintings. Frame your favourite modernist images in a golden gilded frame, and add cushions patterned with stopwatches and top hats. Use luxurious fabrics to contrast with the minimalist furniture and finish the look with the requisite decorative globes or an old-fashioned telephone or two.

Source: UKTV Home