Quick Tips to Help a New House Become a Home

Home Sweet Home

When you have moved into a new place, it can be hard to make it seem less empty and sterile. Even if you are already head over heels in love with the place, you can still struggle to make it seem more comfortable and homely. It can be difficult to really settle in.

“New house” isn’t really the same as “new car” – you want to ensure that that feeling fades away as soon as possible. Instead of waiting around for weeks while you don’t truly feel at home, there are some steps you can take to speed along the process. Here they are.

Start with What You Need

When you’re unpacking all your various boxes, it can be tempting to start off with the shared areas, like the kitchen and the living room. Obviously, get the big and important pieces done first – places to sit and eat, things to do the cooking with – but after that, it is important to ensure that you get your everyday stuff.

We’d recommend sorting out your closets and drawers first of all. This will mean that you’re not struggling to find things to wear when you’re back at work on Monday morning!

Get the Kids Sorted

If the kids are comfortable, then the house is as well. Nothing makes a new home feel any more stressful than the children bugging out about everything being all new and strange, so you can improve the whole atmosphere very quickly by ensuring you make them happy first.

That’s why we recommend starting with the kids’ rooms, making sure they have the things that they need to feel comforted and at home. A happy child makes for a happy home, leaving you to get the rest of the stuff sorted in peace.

Grab the Favourites

The best way to feel at home is to bring out all of your favourite things and to make sure you feel good about life in your new home. Get your favourite music on, turn the lights down a bit and chill out with a glass of wine or a beer or something. You’ve just moved house – you deserve some you time!

Cook yourself your favourite meal as well. Sure you can treat yourself to a takeaway on the first night, but nothing screams “home” like home cooking. (And it means you have to get all the kitchen stuff unpacked as well, so it’s a win-win situation!)

Make Yourself Comfortable

Okay, so the whole point of this article has been to help you get comfortable in your new home, but this time we actually mean it in a literal sense – you need to bring out all of your softest and comfiest things!

That means your nicest bedding sheets and covers, your plumpest pillows and cushions, a warm and fuzzy rug or two, and maybe even a lovely throw. Make things comfy and you’ll feel comfy yourself.

How to Make a House into a Home

Male Hand Drawing Entertainment Center Unit Over Photo of Beautiful Home Interior.

There is a certain difference between something you’d refer to as a house and something you can call a home. The difference is not really something you can narrow down to specifics, but we can all tell one from the other – a house simply has something missing when compared to a home.

A house needs to have certain things within it before it can truly be considered a home; just small things that can make the difference, make the dwelling seem comfortable, welcoming and lived-in. If your house feels like it’s lacking something or if it simply doesn’t seem homely enough to you, we have put together a short list of steps you can take to get that lovely lived-in feeling.

From the Floorboards Up

If you’ve ever moved into an unfurnished home – and we’re sure you have – then you will know the strange coldness of an empty room, especially if the area is uncarpeted. The weird echoing of your footsteps, the bare walls and floor… it’s certainly not a welcoming feeling.

However, this can all be offset by the floor covering. Even without any furniture or decoration present, a room can feel homely if it has the right surface underfoot. And for that, you need fabric. This doesn’t mean carpeting is necessary – wooden floorboards are more than acceptable – as long as there is some form of lovely, warm fabric to stand on. Obviously, a nice carpet will work, but a charismatic rug can add a great deal to a room, adding a more meaningful touch of personality.

Let There Be Light

Lighting is so, so important in a home, especially in any room you’ll be spending a greater amount of time in: the living room and the bedroom, for instance. Obviously, however, the majority of lighting jobs aren’t something you can or should do alone – you will need to enlist the help of a professional. But it will be worth it!

Swapping out the lighting for something more you will instantly make the room feel more personal and welcoming. Make sure to think about where the light is being directed towards. Usually, a house’s lighting is done on the cheap, with little thought given to the actual aesthetic value. If you want things cosier, bring the lights closer to the ground and use a nice, soft bulb.

If you want to ensure that the whole room gets a decent share of the light, why not try installing a chandelier? This will scatter the light all around the room, making the entirety of the area bright and warm.

A Work of Art

By far the easiest – and probably cheapest – way of adding a personal touch or two to your house, adding a little bit of art to your walls or shelves is fantastically effective. And it requires an absolute minimum of effort!

All you need to do is to find something that has some special meaning to you. It doesn’t matter what it is – a painting, a statue, some handmade crafts, a conch – as long as it has personal worth. Whatever it is, it will add the perfect personal touch.

How to Winter-Proof Your Home

snowflake at wood background

Autumn has well and truly set in – the nights are creeping in earlier and earlier with every day that goes by, and coats are becoming more and more an everyday necessity. Sadly, it seems as though the summer isn’t coming back for a quick encore, even though it only lasted for about a week or so.

However, we can’t wallow for ever. At some point, we have to accept that winter is coming, and we have to be prepared. Winter-proofing your home is a great place to start, as it will keep you and your loved ones toasty and warm whilst also saving you a bit of money in the long run. What’s not to love?

Here are our tips. It’s all you need to make a good start on protecting your home throughout those chilly winter months!

Protect Your Patio

Winter is cold and wet – any aluminium patio furniture is at risk of rusting. Bring in the furniture if you can, but if not, you should at least cover it with some tarp. This should help keep it pristine.

While you’re at it, if you have a garden hose lying around outside, drain it and keep it somewhere warm until the spring. If you don’t, the water will freeze inside it, ultimately causing holes to appear.

Use a Thermostat

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat already, we’d recommend investing in one. They’re not overly expensive, and the investment will pay for itself over time.

Fiddle about with the settings to find something that works for you, but we’d recommend turning it down by 5 degrees or so while you’re at work, and making sure the warmer temperature kicks in about an hour before you’re due to get home.

Remember as well, if you go away for a while in winter, your pipes are at risk of bursting if they get too cold. A programmable thermostat will help you avoid that pitfall.

Replace Your Doors and Windows

This step is a bit more expensive in the short-term, but as a longer-term investment it will definitely pay off. A full-glass storm door will do the job when it comes to preventing drafts, but these can be costly.

When it comes to windows, get them double-glazed if you haven’t already. Triple-glazing is also an option, but the gains aren’t quite as noticeable. You can also look into low-E treated glass – these save energy too, but with the added benefit of cutting UV rays.

Insulation Is Key

Insulation is sort of the be all and end all of money-saving home improvements. Not only does it trap heat and keep out the cold, but it also helps to cut down on outside noise and reduces drafts. It’s definitely worth looking into.

Get it installed in the roof or attic, as well as in the basement if you have one. Foam insulation is by far the best option, though it is of course slightly more expensive than fiberglass. Get an expert round if you’re not sure whether you’re insulated already.

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.

movinghouse

  • 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: What You Need to Know When Moving Into Your First House

So you’ve just bought your very first house! Congratulations – assuming all goes well, this will be one of the most exciting times of your life! But how do you go about filling your new home with love? How do you go about deciding on a theme, or furniture? How do you budget? Read on for our simple guide to decorating your first house. Take a look at this link for painting materials to help you get started.

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  • If you’re moving in with someone else, and living with someone else for the first time, it’s really important that you take into account each other’s tastes. You will have to compromise and there might be some things in the house that you don’t like, but that’s all part and parcel of living with someone else. If you’re living alone, you can go all out with your own tastes – just make sure that you don’t go too over the top as you still want people to feel comfortable when they come to your house!
  • Think about your tastes – what do you like, what do you dislike, which kind of colours, patterns and textures inspire you? When you go to a hotel, what do you like about the decor? If you think it would help, make yourself a mood board and refer back to it when you’re shopping. Include colours, textures and patterns that you like.
  • If you have the space for it, put in a guestroom. If you can’t put in a full guestroom, at least have a guestbed somewhere – either in your home office, or even something like a Z-bed or sofa bed would do the job. Just in case your mum, dad or sister wants to spend the night!
  • If you’re trying to stick to a budget and don’t have anything to start with, concentrate on the essentials. You’ll need things you’ve probably never even thought about – wooden spoons, a colander, a soap dish, plenty of hangers, so make a shopping list and think about all of the things you genuinely need. If you’re unsure about the kind of things you need and you’re moving out of your parent’s house, walk around and take notes of everything in their house that you use every day or every week..
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, it’s your first house, and so you need to make a real impact. Whether you want to go wild with colour or crazy with fabrics, it’s always worth doing something just a little bit different. If you want to be bold, use colours that are opposite each other on the colour wheel and if you want to be subtle, go for tonal colours that blend together. Don’t underestimate the impact that a framed poster can have, too – if you’re a fan of The Godfather for example, pop a film poster into a chunky black frame for a chic accessory that says “I’m a grown up” rather than “I’m a student”.

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.

furniture

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: Tips for Setting Up a Home Office

Whether you work from home, want a little space to get on with your hobbies or just need somewhere to sit and pay the bills, having a dedicated home office definitely makes things easier. But where should you put the home office? Take a look at the tips below and at these links for building materials and office furniture to help you get the job done.

homeoffice

How Much Space Do I Need?

Around one in eight of us in the UK work from home full time – and if you’re working from home, you’re going to need more space than someone who uses an office for just a couple of hours a week. At the very least, you’ll need a desk, chair, storage space of some sort and a computer and the associated equipment. But this doesn’t have to take up much space – the image above shows that you can set up a fully fledged home office in the box room or by stealing a little space out of the corner of your living room.

Choosing Your Furniture

In a dedicated home office space you can afford to be a little bit louder with your choices, as you don’t have to worry about toning furniture in with the rest of your belongings. For a modern look, a desk with holes in the top that you can thread cables through will be a good choice, and a good storage idea is a mix of open shelving and cupboards instead of a big, chunky filing cabinet. Ensure that the desk is in the right position so that sunlight does not fall onto the computer screen and make sure that you can push your desk chair back at least 70cm without bashing into anything.

If you’re putting a home office into a room that has another use, such as a guest room or the living room, a shutaway computer desk is a good choice – once you’re done, you can just shut the doors and the computer disappears. You can also buy desks that have slots for folding chairs, so you can put the chair away too. You can also buy large open shelving units that have pull-down desks, which are an excellent choice if you’re not planning to keep your computer on the desk permanently as you can just slide away the desk when it’s not in use.

Where Could I Put the Office?

You can put the office in any unused spots – places that you might not have thought about. That cupboard under the stairs? Take it out and pop your office there instead. Or maybe you could put a compact office on the landing, if you have a little spare space. If you are putting the office into a space commonly used by other people, you’ll need to be really ruthless when it comes to clutter, so choose furniture that has plenty of storage and make it a habit to put everything away at the end of each day.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: Can I Build In My Back Garden?

Up until recently, it was relatively easy to secure planning permission for building in your back garden. But now, British gardens are being taken out of the category known as “brownfield“, which could have some huge implications for self-builds and for those who wish to build their own homes.

garden

How Many Homes Are Built In Back Gardens Now?

In 2008, data showed that up to 80% of homes were built on “brownfield” – the term used to describe land that has potential for building development or that was previously developed. Brownfield was also used to describe land where warehouses were taken down or revamped or building new housing estates on the land from old pubs. Gardens also used to be described as brownfield land, and this meant that homeowners could easily get planning permission to build structures in their back gardens. Those wanting to make fast money by selling off part of their garden could also get in on the action – in fact, the demand for garden dwellings grew by 11% from 1997 to 2008.

Changes to the Law

Plans are now being made to take gardens out of the brownfield category, which means that although people could still secure planning permission for a dwelling in their garden – or those buying a portion of land from a garden could still get planning permission for that piece of land – it will now be more difficult to do so. Local authorities will now be able to deny planning permission in areas where locals object to the build and where it is important to maintain the character of the area.

Pros of Building in a Back Garden

Depending on the plans and the location of the site, building in a back garden can be a good thing. For example, in villages where people have large properties with large back gardens, or where there is plenty of public land available for building, self-builds and building in a garden can be an excellent way to buy a home in an otherwise unaffordable location. If done tastefully and with the help of the local planning department, building in a back garden can create mixed villages of different sized homes, provide affordable accommodation, provide special needs accommodation and create much needed smaller homes whilst still retaining the character of the surrounding area.

Done improperly, however, and garden builds can go badly wrong. They can take away light and privacy from neighbouring properties and can also seriously impact the character of the area. Too many builds on otherwise protected green land could also impact the local wildlife in the area and could reduce the amount of garden visitors such as frogs, birds and bees.

Back garden builds are a fantastic way for many people to get on the property ladder. As long as the home is built with sympathy – and by following the advice of the local planning department, this still remains a unique way to build. Although it will now be more difficult to secure planning permission for back gardens, sensitive builds that take into account neighbouring properties and the surrounding area will be much more likely to pass the planning process.

Source: 4Homes