Top Tips – How to Hang Wallpaper

Modern decorations in room

Putting up new wallpaper can have a dramatic effect on a room, transforming it from something drab into something wonderful. But it can be a surprisingly tricky business!

First of all, don’t rely on the walls and corners to act as a guide – they’re often not as straight as you might think. With that out of the way, it’s time to get onto our main tips; if you’re looking to hang wallpaper in the near future, read on!

What Do You Need?

Before starting any job, you should make sure that you have absolutely everything you could possibly need to complete that job. When it comes to hanging wallpaper, there aren’t a great deal of items you’ll need to invest in, but they’re all important.

Obviously, you’ll need some fantastic wallpaper. That much is obvious. You’ll also need some way of making it stick to the walls, so get some wallpaper adhesive. Apart from that, there are a few tools you’ll need: a paper hanging brush, a stripping knife, a trimming knife and a seam roller. A foldable paste table can’t hurt, either!

Got that? On we go then!

Where Do You Start?

Ideally, you should begin at the corner. Hang your first length on a bare wall – no doors or windows should be interrupting your work at this point. It’s best to work away from windows, as this will stop any overlapping strips from casting shadows.

Also, if your wallpaper features a large pattern, you’ll want to hang the first length over a focal point like a fireplace, working away in both directions from here. This ensures that the design is both central and symmetrical, making sure it looks as amazing as possible.

How Do You Hang Wallpaper?

First of all – take your time. Rushing it will make the job much more stressful, and will usually end up with it not looking anywhere near as good as it could have done. Make sure you have plenty of time in which to do the job and do it well.

To position the first length, use a spirit level to draw a level line from the ceiling to the skirting board. Then place your first length at the top of the wall (after you’ve pasted it!), ensuring the right edge runs down your pencil line. Leave 5cm or so excess at the top if you can, as you can use this for trimming. Hold the paper at both sides and work slowly down; this way you’ll avoid rips and stretching.

Smooth the paper down with the paper hanging brush. Work from the centre outwards, ensuring there are no bubbles in the paper, and making sure the edge keeps dead on that pencil line.

Once the first length is on, crease the paper against the skirting board and ceiling. Then gently pull the paper up enough so that you can cut along the crease, before brushing it down again.

After this, things get a little easier. Fit the next length against the first, making sure the pattern lines up. Once you have a few sheets hanging, use the seam roller and lightly (lightly!) roll down the joins. Carry on until you’re happy with the whole room!

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

DIY Tips for Beginners

Frau beim Heimwerken, Werkzeug

Just by having a few tips on your side, DIY can be made a whole lot easier, and more enjoyable to boot. DIY is there to save you a bit of money, but it can be pretty costly on your time. Luckily for you, we’re here to save you a bit of time with your DIY.

It’s the best of both – so what have you got to lose? Here are our tips!

Stop Wood from Splitting

When you’re hammering nails into thin wood, you risk the wood splitting. Use this age-old carpenter’s trick to prevent that happening: drive the head of the nail into the wood perpendicular to the grain. Simple!

Keep Your Brushes in Good Nick

The best way to keep your paintbrushes in good condition is also one of the easiest: hang them from a clothes hanger after you’ve cleaned them. Keep them going for longer!

Avoid Splinters

Drilling a hole into wood? You’re always going to encounter a bit of splintering on the bottom. How to avoid this is nice and easy – all you need to do is pop a bit of spare wood underneath it, and secure it all together with clamps.

Stop Paint Drying on the Tin Edges

If paint dries on the edges of the tin, it can make it hard to get the lid back on properly, which could in turn cause the paint inside to start drying?

How do you stop this? Simply fold a bit of foil around the edges.

Drill Holes into Glazed Tiles

You don’t want to risk your drill slipping as you’re making holes in glazed tiles. All you need to do to avoid this is popping some masking tape onto the tile. Make a cross with two short strips, with the centre on the hole. Then get to work!

Catch Dust While Drilling

When you start drilling into a wall, it can create a whole heap of dust. If you want to avoid that, all you do is get a Post It note and fold it in half. Stick it to the wall beneath where you’re drilling, and all the dust you create will fall neatly onto the “shelf” you’ve made below it.

Put up a Level Shelf

Putting up a shelf is an easy job. Making sure it’s perfectly level, however, is less simple.

Here’s an easy way to make sure your shelf is 100% level. First, fix one support to the wall. Next, place the shelf on top of the support, and a spirit level on top of the shelf. Move the shelf slowly upwards, until you can see it’s perfectly level, then pencil a line below the shelf. Hey presto – that’s where to affix the second support!

Magnetise a Screwdriver

A magnetised screwdriver is a surprisingly useful thing, especially if you need to put some screws into awkward to reach places. You can easily magnetise your screwdriver at home, simply by getting a magnet and running the magnet over your screwdriver repeatedly, always in the same direction.

Need to stop it from being magnetised? Just put the same pole on the screwdriver and run the magnet in the opposite direction.

Top Hints and Tips to Help You Save Money with DIY

Hands with DIY tools.

No one has money to spare at the minute. Christmas and New Year celebrations have eaten into our savings, and we are all having to spend more than usual on food and heating to get through the cold and damp weather. So we like to save money wherever we can.

One way of doing that is with DIY – it’s obviously so much cheaper than hiring a professional to do the job for you. And it can be fun! You’re already saving cash by doing it yourself, but we’re here to help you even further by making more savings.

Here are our top tips.

Tumble Dryer Tip

If you’ve got a tumble dryer, you know it’s expensive to run. One quick and easy way of making it a little less costly is to simply shorten the vent hose. Disconnect the tube, clean it out with a vacuum, then trim the hose until it’s only about a foot longer than the absolute minimum.

Super easy job, but will make your dryer much more efficient, saving you both money and drying time.

Borrow Tools

This is a stupidly easy tip, but one that is so often overlooked! If you have a job that needs doing but you don’t have the tools necessary, your first stop shouldn’t be B&Q or a tool hire firm.

Instead, just ask around! Enquire with friends and family, and someone is almost bound to have the tool you need. And if not, why not try Zilok instead? It’s a person to person rental site – it’s like borrowing from a mate, but with a small fee attached. Every little helps!

Close Doors

The easiest tip of all, yet it can lead to significant savings. Close your doors. It really is that easy – close doors to rooms you’re not using, and make sure your cupboards, closets and wardrobes are all closed.

This reduces the space in the house that you’re heating, saving you on your energy bills. It also makes the place look a bit tidier – bonus!

Fix Your Fixings

If you’re not already using energy efficient light bulbs (halogen is preferable), what are you waiting for? Sure, you might have to wait a few seconds for the light to warm up and reach its full potential, but you’re saving a small fortune without really having to do anything. And it’s better for the environment.

Also, think about installing dimmer switches. These will help reduce your energy consumption that little bit extra.

Insulate Hot Water Pipes

Get hold of a few pre-formed foam tubes. These fit around your pipes nice and snugly, with a minimum of effort. They’re super cheap, and will lead to decent savings on your energy bills.

Recharge Your Batteries

Another stupidly easy tip – use rechargeable batteries. You might not think so, but you’ll actually save a bundle by moving away from disposables. You can even go for a combo charging unit, which will ensure you have all the batteries you need – from A to D – ready and waiting whenever you need them.

Our Favourite Christmas Decorating Ideas

Lantern on window sill in winter mood. Blur christmas tree inside

This Christmas, why not try something a little different for once? Instead of stringing up glitzy tinsel everywhere and hanging shiny baubles off of every available surface, how about trying something unusual?

Here in this article we’ve rounded up some of the best decorating schemes out there that are a bit removed from your typical Christmassy ones. Take some inspiration and make your Christmas perfect and uniquely.

Go Rustic

Ditch the chintzy rubbish and go old school this Christmas. We love a good rustic theme, due to their longevity and timeless appeal. Maybe you can’t afford to be updating your decorations to something completely new each and every year – if that’s the case, rustic is perfect for you.

Make your fireplace the centrepiece: decorate the mantelpiece with some festive foliage – holly leaves and the like – and top it all off with a couple of hessian stockings. You can even hang a chalkboard above the fireplace, where the whole family can write festive greetings.

And of course, your tree has to be a real one. Substitutes simply won’t cut it. Capitalise on the theme with some extra rustic decorations; we’re thinking wreaths and pinecones.

A Touch of Gold

Gold is one of the most Christmassy colours there is, perhaps behind only red and green, and it adds a touch of class to boot. What better way of going gold than by basing your whole colour scheme around it? Pair it with cream to add some understated elegance to your dining room.

Your focal point is the dining room. Dress it up with your gilt-edged chinaware and glasses, with luxury golden crackers at each place and a few old baubles dotted around. Dress your tree sparingly, with all gold baubles, and finish off the look with a string of fairy lights along the mantel.

Glitz and Glamour

Make your dining room really glamorous by adding crystal baubles to your place settings. Stick to two coordinated colours to really set things off – gold and white work well with the crystal.

Start the table off with a fabric runner, then pop a charger plate underneath each setting. Then you’ll want to ensure everything is coordinated: matching napkins and candle votives, plus some elegant glassware. The baubles are the finishing touch. Attach a nametag to each and everyone has a lovely memento to remind them of such a special Christmas.

All White

If your living room is already in a neutral colour palette, then you are halfway there already with this idea. Make things a little bit more glam by adding some beautiful metallic accents. Chuck a couple of embellished or sequinned cushions on the sofa, as well as on any chairs, and wrap the gifts in golden paper and top them with silver ribbons.

Your tree should be similarly coordinated, with white decorations making up the bulk. Add a touch of colour with some gold and silver accents, with some nice beads to finish it all off. Think about a frosted tree instead of a regular pine to really tie it all together.

Quick and Easy Craft Projects to Brighten up Your Home

Basteltisch mit vielen verschiedenen Dingen

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.

What Is Upcycling? Some Hints and Tips

upcycling

Upcycling has become rather trendier and more popular over the last few years. What has caused this surge in upcyclers is up for debate – perhaps, after the economic crash, the fact that it is more wallet friendly attracted people to the idea; or maybe it’s the “hipster”-esque chic and ideals of the act. Whatever it is, we’re all for it! It’s fun, it’s cost-effective, and it’s good for the environment.

But what actually is upcycling? Simply put, it’s the process of transforming old or otherwise useless things into something useful, beautiful, or even both. It’s recycling “upward” – improving something instead of simply reusing it – hence the name.

Whether you are an upcycling veteran or a complete newbie to the world, there are a few things you should keep in mind, if you want your projects to go smoothly and with the greatest of ease. Here are our hints and tips; take them in, then go out and upcycle to your heart’s content!

Tip #1 – Make Sure You’re All Kitted Out

Before you start any kind of upcycling project, first make sure that you have absolutely everything you need, as well as some things you don’t think are entirely necessary, but that might come in handy.

Keep those stress levels at bay by being well prepared for any eventuality. You don’t want to have to run to B&Q mid-project because you don’t have any useable paintbrushes!

Tip #2 – Remember That Mistakes Can Happen

Mistakes can (and when it comes to DIY, often will) happen. Don’t let this stress you out too much, and definitely don’t expect everything to turn out perfectly like you imagined without much effort.

Don’t panic if you make a mistake. Remember, it’s not the end of the world. More often than not, a mistake will be fixable, so don’t chuck out your “failed” work just yet!

Tip #3 – Get a Guinea Pig (or Two or Three!)

No, we’re not recommending you get a furry friend (although they’re so cute!) – instead, ensure you always have a piece that you’re happy to lose.

If you’ve got an idea for an ambitious project, don’t set to work straightaway on an already beloved piece of furniture. Shop around at car boot sales and junk shops, and you should be able to find something similar in size or shape. Use this as a test run, making all the mistakes on the piece you’re less attached to.

Tip #4 – Don’t Be Afraid to Mix Things Up

Many of the best results from upcycling projects have come from people who weren’t afraid to experiment a bit, using a wide variety of different fabrics, patterns and colours.

Once you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt, make sure you try out a whole load of new things. Try an unusual texture, or simply go crazy with the colours.

Tip #5 – Have Fun!

Related to the above tip, you won’t get anything truly special unless you’re willing to have a bit of fun with your designs. Don’t upcycle for the sake of it – have fun and enjoy it!

It’s really that simple – don’t get too stressed out if things don’t end up as planned, don’t get worried about potential mess, just have fun.

Top Dusting and Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Have a glance over our tried and true top tips for cleaning and dusting to get your home spick and span in time for spring. Or – if you’d rather have someone else do it for you – hire a cleaner to get the job done faster!

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  • Don’t dust any surfaces that are taller than your tallest friend. Dust ceilings, of course, but try not to put yourself out!
  • Banish pet hair by popping on a wet rubber glove and brushing it lightly over the hair. It’ll lift right off.
  • If you’re prone to getting distracted when cleaning, set a timer for 30 minutes so that you can get more done more quickly – then get back to more interesting stuff, like watching TV, or cooking, or going out – or getting to the pub.
  • Keep cleaning products in a shoe holder hung over the back of the laundry closet door – they’ll be super easy to see and use.
  • Shaving foam can work wonders for lifting red wine out of carpets and upholstery, especially if you haven’t got any actual carpet foam or stain remover.
  • Washing the tub is actually really easy if you just hop in and do it nekkid. Be careful with the harsh chemical cleansers, as obviously, you don’t want your bits to get chemically burnt, but you can get into all of the nooks and crannies much easier without worrying about getting your sleeves soggy.  When you’re done, run the shower, then take a shower yourself.
  • Get someone to help! You help them clean their house, they help you clean your house – ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, everyone’s house gets cleaned a little bit quicker.
  • Instead of running up and downstairs all the day taking stuff back up with you, keep an empty basket at the foot of the stairs and toss toys or any miscellanous bits that need to go back up – then just take the basket up at the end of the day. Saves running yourself off your feet all day!
  • Only got time to clean one room before guests arrive? Make it the bathroom – it’s the only room they spend any time in on their own and it’s the only room they’ll likely notice any mess in.  The rest of the place? Just a quick tidy round and a shove of things into the cupboards will do.
  • Remove food odours from plastic containers by washing with warm water and baking soda – it’ll lift heavy odours right out.
  • Speed through chores in the best possible way – by putting on your favourite music and enlisting the help of your children. Or, your friends. Offer them their drink of choice as a reward or a cartoon instead!

Source: Real Simple

7 Steps to Creating a Sleep Sanctuary

Create a cool and calm sanctuary in your home by following these eight simple design tips – thing like the perfect height for your headboard and how to match your bedside tables. If you’re not particularly good at painting and decorating, get a decorator in to help, or if you need an extra helping hand – such as the services of a handyman – hire one by clicking here.

bedroom-headboard

 

  • If you want to buy a new headboard (and you should, they really make a room), it should be approximately 45-54 inches in height from the floor to the top of the headboard if your room is eight to ten feet tall, whether you’ve gone for an arched design or a regular flat design. Any taller and any artwork that you get will end up too high on the wall. Get something that’s upholstered for extra comfort.
  • Bedside tables look best when they sit just an inch or two lower than the bed, which is usually 24-27 inches tall. If you’re going for mismatched tables, they should still be the same height, and they should sit around 15 inches deep so you can fit lamps and bits and pieces on them.
  • Pop a bench at the end of the bed for valuable storage space and to pull the room together. If you’ve got little ones, it provides a really good spot for them to curl up on when they can’t sleep, too. It should be about 2/3 the width of the bed, and at least three feet away from the wall opposite the end of the bed.
  • Art above the bed, whether you choose bright modernist pieces or religious museum-worthy art, should fill around 2/3 of the space horizontallty and 2/3 of the space vertically.
  • If you’re trying to unify two different bedside tables, make sure you choose two matching lamps. For a style that’ll never date, opt for drum style shades, as they’re very clean and unfussy, which means that they won’t interfere with the rest of the decor and you can keep ’em even if you change the furniture.
  • When it’s cool out, keep a throw or bedspread laid out over the bottom of the bed – that way, you can just pull it up if it’s chilly overnight. When it’s warmer outside you can simply fold it up and toss it over the back of a chair.
  • If you want something comfy and cosy to sink your feet into when you step out of bed in the morning, opt for a cotton or plush rug instead of a sisal rug ‘cos it’ll be softer on your toes. There should be at least three feet of rug on all three sides of the bed, otherwise, it’ll just look a bit small and awkward.

Source: Teal Simple

How to: Clean Your Closet

Cleaning out your closet isn’t a particularly fun job, but it’s one of those jobs that just has to be done every now and then, to make space for all of your new clothes! But sometimes, starting the job is more difficult than actually doing it, so we’re here to tell you how to clean your closet!

closet

  • The very best way to get organized, in our book, is to make a ruddy good mess first. In the case of cleaning your closet, one of the simplest things to do is to take all of the clothes from your closet, and then dump them out on your bed. That way, you can’t go to sleep until it’s all done, can ya?
  • Same goes for your dresser drawers and bedside tables, too. Get em out. Get everything out. Now is not the time to worry about cleanliness. Start this job early in the day, as in, 8am. Not at 10pm, as you won’t be able to sleep, and if you like a tidy house, dragging everything out of your drawers and your wardrobe late at night only to make a massive mess is just going to stress you out, so why bother? Get started early, preferably on a Saturday or on a weekend or when you have a couple of days to spare.
  • What do you want to keep?  You’ll want to make three piles, obviously – keep, chuck, and donate. Chuck or donate stuff that’s either too big, too small or that you bought on a whim and have never, ever worn.
  • Before you put everything back away, invest in a few clever organizing essentials – things like plastic boxes for your shoes, hangers that you can hang multiple tops and blouses from, boxes under the bed for off season items that might not fit into your wardrobe and mini storage boxes that can store things like jewellery or makeup. That way, you’ve got stuff to put your stuff in, as it were, so that everything is fabulously organised by the time you’re done, instead of just being shoved back into drawers onto shelves.
  • Sort your clothes by type and arrange them on shelves so you know exactly where to find the specific item of clothing that you’re after right away. That way, you can put together outfits with ease – yay! If you’re feeling really, really fancy, or if you have loads of space in your closet, you could even arrange your stuff by colour.
  • When you’re using the closet once you’ve done the big clean up, make sure that you keep it clean and tidy – it might take a few seconds longer to fold things and to leave everything neat, but it’ll make life soo much easier when it comes to actually using it!

Source: Real Simple

6 Tricks to Make Doing the Washing a Breeze

The average family runs their washing machine around 400 times a year – which averages out at more than once a day. If you have little ones, you’ll know that it’s way more than that – sometimes four, five or even six times a day. If it feels like your washer is constantly running, and you want to cut down the load a little bit, use these six tips to make doing the washing a breeze.

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  • To save dragging around a heavy basket, or carrying around armfuls of laundry, just buy a basket on wheels! That way, you can wheel it from the bathroom or wherever the laundry is kept to the washing machine and bada-bing, bada-boom, you can do your washing without dropping any socks along the way.
  • A brilliant way to store lost socks when you’re looking for the other lost socks, is to use a free “lost sock” print that you can find online. We found one with the text “Clean. Single. Looking for a mate.” with applique detailing. Pop it into a frame, glue gun clothes pegs to the bottom of the frame, and when a lost sock appears from the machine, you can simply peg it up until its partner appears.
  • Use the same kind of dispensers you can use for water to hold your detergents – the kind with little taps. That way, you can dispense the perfect amount of detergent or conditioner into the ball that you pop into the drum. Just be sure to keep them on a high shelf if you have children, especially if you’re planning on keeping them on display.
  • Insert hooks and shelves into any nifty little spaces that you can find, however small or awkward. They might not seem as though they’d be particularly useful, but even if they can only handle a bag of pegs, a laundry bottle or some sponges, they could come in really, really handy.
  • Create a bookshelf/shelving unit-cum-ironing station. Sounds weird, but it’s a pretty handy way to store everything that you’re going to need to store, like your iron, ironing fluid, dryer sheets, conditioner, etc, etc, etc, and the top doubles as your ironing board! You won’t be able to buy one (we haven’t seen one anywhere) but if you have a handy husband then you can ask him to help you out, or get a builder to fashion one for you.
  • 3 laundry bags/boxes. Instead of having to sort out laundry when you’re in the laundry room, have 3 separate bags/boxes for coloured clothes, white clothes and delicates. Viola. No need for sorting. Just do your washes as and when.

Source: Real Simple