Thursday, 8 December 2011

How To Personalise Your Student Room

Stamping your identity on a student bedroom, whether in university halls or in a shared house, can be a tricky prospect. Landlords manage to weave a surprising number of rules into accommodation contracts that make personalising your home-away-from-home a challenge, particularly if there’s the dreaded ‘no blu-tak’ clause. However, there are plenty of tricks to make a room homely besides posters, and several ways to get round the blu-tak issue without forfeiting your deposit

Think Beyond The Walls
From the edges of the mirror to the back of your bedroom door, there will be surfaces available that you can stick posters and photographs on without fear of damage. Think creatively: why not arrange photos in an interesting pattern on the side of the wardrobe, or use a variety of magnets to fix postcards on the radiator? Whenever I move into a new room, I also see if there are any opportunities for hanging ornaments up, a reliable favourite being around the light switch. Another good tactic is to anchor a mobile from a bookshelf with a dictionary or heavy text book.

Perfect Pin Boards
Some rooms come complete with a pin board, which is an excellent opportunity to get inventive. Stretching a bright scarf or patterned wrapping paper across such a board can instantly provide a focal point for your room, besides making an excellent background for tickets, flyers, pictures and anything else you want to put up. If there is no pin board, small cork boards are relatively cheap to buy and can be stood on a shelf or at the back of a desk.

Bright Bedclothes
Choosing a particular duvet cover and pillow cases before moving into your new room will immediately give you a sense of ownership when you make the bed for the first time. Whether it’s a conscious decision to take a bit of home with you, or a fresh start with brand new bedclothes, this is certain to make the room cosier. Rugs, cushions and throws can also add personality with minimum effort. Lay a throw over your bedside table, or tie a light cloth around the back of your desk chair. Go for a colour scheme or mix and match – you can change it easily as the mood takes you!

Look to the Light
A lot of student bedrooms don’t have a lightshade, but even if they do, there’s nothing to stop you removing it during your tenancy and replacing it with something more interesting. I opt for a pirate-themed shade myself, complimenting a couple of cushions I also have, but there are so many options to either make a statement or just add a touch of individuality by hanging something different over the light bulb. Some contracts outlaw them, but fairy lights are a very effective way of creating ambience and failing that, a bedside lamp angled towards the ceiling produces an instant snug feel. Moving on to natural light, window stickers are a great way to brighten dull days and a window sill is the perfect place for those photo frames.

So there you have it, a few ways to personalise your student room without sticking posters on every wall. Of course, if you are allowed to use blu-tak, white-tak or picture hooks, go for it! Just remember to double check your landlord’s preference first. Happy decorating!

Written by Jemma Saunders (@JemSaunders1)
Read more tips for your home on this blog

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Simple Makeover Bathroom Ideas

Your bathroom means a lot to you and has many functions! It’s your wake-up call in the morning, the home of your child’s rubber duck and where you can enjoy a long relaxing soak after a busy day at work, but if your bathroom is crying out for a makeover and you’re on a tight budget then look no further.
In this post, I will divulge into how you can make your bathroom looking new and fresh in no time at all on a budget.

Lighting
Changing the light fittings in your bathroom can make a world of difference! Adding chandeliers to a bathroom may seem a little out of the ordinary but they can add a beautiful element of glamour. You’ll be surprised at the choice of chandeliers available at markets and charity shops. If you find the perfect chandelier but that is not quite the colour you are looking for they can be easily spray painted to the colour of your choice. Add candles to your bathroom to give it a romantic feel – there’s no better way to relax than in the bath in a candle lit bathroom!

Tiles
Tiling a bathroom is a large and messy job and often requires a lot of time and effort. If you’re looking to change the tiles in your bathroom but don’t want the hassle then self adhesive wall tiles are a great alternative to ceramic tiles. The backing peels off to reveal an adhesive tile that is strong enough to stand the test of time; you then just stick it to the surface and move on to the next one. You can even ‘tile’ over tiles.

Shower curtains
Glass is a great alternative to a shower curtain. It will open up your space and make the room feel larger than it is. Shower curtains collect the water and over time mould builds up on them and this often isn’t removed by washing. Save money from buying numerous shower curtains by investing in a glass shower guard. If you shop around you’ll be able to buy one for as little as £30.

Fixture and fittings
Fed up of your dull fixtures and fittings? New fixtures and fittings such as light switches/ cords and taps are an easy way to give your bathroom a whole new look. Your current fixtures and fittings can be spruced up with spray paint or new styles are available at a reasonable price from antique shops or DIY stores.

Accessories
Adding new accessories are a fast and easy alternative to giving your bathroom a new look. Remember to buy accessories that clean easily, often, artificial flower arrangements collect dust, which is hard to remove. Pound stores and large supermarkets have a beautiful collection of bath mats dispensers and soap dishes available for very little cost. Large mirrors are great to add light to a dull bathroom.

By making these few changes your bathroom will feel as good as new – and what’s more you won’t have to spend a fortune.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Mirror Framing Project - How to frame a mirror and the options

This guest blog post was written by MirrorMate Frames®, which offers custom cut mirror kits to attach beautiful frames to boring, builder grade mirrors. This mirror framing system, frequently used on bathroom wall mirrors, can be installed in 20 minutes and come in over 65 different frame styles to complement any type of d├ęcor.

Framing a mirror yourself may seem intimidating, but don’t let the idea of the unknown stand in your way. There are simple and inexpensive steps you can follow to successfully undertake your own mirror framing project and, as a result, spruce up the look of your existing mirror. Remember that purchasing a mirror-framing kit also is an option.

Measurements
Measure the mirror’s width and height before you move on to any other step. This can affect each of the other steps.

Picking out the pieces
Based on your desired design, select molding trim pieces (there are many options) that complement the room or area where the mirror hangs. Take note: the wider the trim pieces, the less mirror surface you will have left. Measure the four molding trim pieces to size based on the mirror measurements. Mark the measurements.

Cut, sand, wipe
Using a miter saw, cut a 45-degree angle on the ends of the trim pieces (a home improvement store can do this for you for a fee). The angled ends should match up together. Next, sand the cut ends with sandpaper until smooth. Wipe the edges with a cloth to remove the sandpaper dust.

Time to paint
With a paintbrush, paint or stain the molding trim. Allow it to dry and, using another paintbrush, apply a coat of polyurethane to the molding trim and allow it to dry. Note: polyurethane is available in different finishes - such as glossy, matte or satin.

Placement

Place several dots of epoxy adhesive onto the back of your first piece of trim, and place and press the molding trim onto the top of the mirror. Do this for the remaining three pieces, aligning the angled pieces together. Allow the pieces to dry.

Finally, the finishing touches

Apply a small amount of like-colored wood putty into the corner angles and smooth the putty into the trim pieces. Smooth the putty well and, to disguise any unwanted adhesive or seams, touch up the trim with paint.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Bathroom Remodel: DIY or CAP (Call a Professional!)

A DIY makeover can save you a lot of money on your remodeling project. If everything goes smoothly, you’ll get the added confidence boost and satisfaction of a job well done. The trouble with DIY is that sometimes you may get in over your head. Once you’re stuck you may end up investing more time and money into the project than you had originally planned. Keep in mind the following before you start your new project.

Size Doesn’t Matter
…But the scope of the work does. Remodeling every aspect of a small powder room may be a greater challenge than simply replacing the fixtures in a large bathroom. Cosmetic changes are much easier to tackle on your own, however plumbing and tile can be challenging. Space isn’t the biggest obstacle, the work is.

Confidence is Key
If you’ve done a lot of DIY projects and you feel confident in your ability to work with the tools and materials needed there is a good possibility you could tackle the remodel solo. If you’re relatively new to DIY, ask yourself the following questions: Can you wield a power tool? Are you able to follow instructions? Do you have the patience to complete repetitive tasks (painting or tiling) well? The most important thing to asses is your ability to remain calm and flexible should things go awry.

Time is Money
Even if you decide to do a DIY remodel, consider the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to the project. Although it can be less expensive than calling a pro, it might take you much longer to do the same work. Are you willing to devote evenings and weekends to the project and sacrifice some personal time?

Speaking of Money…
Anywhere from 25-50% of total project costs will go to contractor, labor, and installation costs when you work with professionals. By doing the work yourself, you will definitely be saving some money. The good news is you don’t have to hire a professional for every aspect of the remodel. Get estimates for each task. If you feel uncomfortable DIY-ing the plumbing, hire a contractor for that portion of the job. Keep in mind that if you turn the whole project over to professionals it becomes harder to control the timetable.

Expectations
For some projects like light or hardware installation, the finished appearance will look the same whether you pay a professional or you tackle it DIY-style. But then there are other projects like tiling, that could look noticeably neater if done by a contractor. Before you start your project you’ll have to come to terms with what imperfections you can live with if you DIY.

Where to Start
For DIY novices, consider the following projects: painting, sink/bath faucets, and replacing light fixtures.
For intermediate DIYers: replacing vanities, toilets, or sinks.
For skilled DIYers: relocating toilet, installing new countertops, removing tub.

This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more tips on home remodeling.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Best Tips to Pack your Stuff When Moving House

There are a lot of things you need to do when moving out of your house and into a new one. The effort and exhaustion can be taxing and through effective organization and planning, you can reduce the stress level. The most important part of the whole process is packing your belongings. When you look through your home, you are going to be surprised at the amount of things you find, some of which you haven’t seen for ages. This makes packing all the more difficult and you need to do it properly. Here are the best tips to pack your stuff when moving house.

Supplies

Before you start packing, you need to get the right supplies to do the job. These will include boxes, cartons, tapes, scissors and ropes along with the tools needed to unscrew or unfasten wall fixtures. Make sure that all the things you need are in place before you start packing.

Appliances

Appliances are sensitive and slight mishandling can cause a lot of damage. Your television, fridge and other electronic goodies are expensive and you need to make sure that they are moved as safely as possible. The best way to pack the appliances is to use their original cartons, boxes or other packaging material. They are going to be safe in those and you probably won’t be able to find other containers to pack the larger appliances properly. Moreover, you have to clean all the appliances and defrost the fridge and freezer. Tape the doors and bind the wires. Consult the users’ manual for proper disconnection.

Furniture
A more complicated job than packing appliances is handling the furniture. Your beds, sofas, chairs, cabinets and tables have to be handled with care or else they will get damaged, scratched and might even break. The best approach is to disassemble the furniture that can be taken apart. This makes the whole job much easier. For the larger furniture, have it loaded into the truck first before anything. Don’t keep the furniture tilted or turned over. Leave it in its original position.

Clothes
Clothes are easy to pack. You can place them in cartons, boxes or bags. However, you do need to make sure that each member of the family has his/her clothes packed separately so that there is no mix up. Also, keep the clothes you’ll need immediately, such as night suits apart so that they can be packed in the boxes you will open first.

Kitchenware/ Breakable Items

The biggest risk when moving is to the kitchenware and other breakable items. They have to be packed very carefully. If you have their original boxes, it becomes easier. If you don’t, then you have to wrap each item in a cloth or newspaper before placing in a carton. Make sure that the boxes containing these items are clearly marked with ‘Kitchen Items’ or ‘Fragile’.

Essentials
There is some stuff you will need when you get to your new home. Clothes, cutlery, toothbrushes and slippers are just some of the items that are needed right away. Have them packed together and mark the box as ‘Open Me First’.
When you know the tips for packing each kind of item in your home, the whole job becomes much easier and stress free for you.

Andrew has been working as a removalist for the last 3 years specialising in interstate removals. In his spare time, he loves to offer advice on how to move house.

Thinking of moving to Italy? http://www.fnworldwide.com/european_removals/moving_to_italy/ will help make your Mediterranean move go smoothly.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to Make a Great Patio Area

To make a great patio area create shade with a veranda, have solid decking or paving, make the space pretty with garden and buy a quality barbecue.

Many homes in Australia have some sort of patio area, even kit homes, which are perfect for entertaining, creates a space for children to play during wet weather or if you want them to get out of the sun and is somewhere for you to relax on a warm day. To make a great patio area there are several things you should include.

Veranda or Awning

Your patio area will need shelter and you can either extend your veranda out to cover the patio or have an awning which can be attached to the exterior wall of your home and pulled out when you need it. The benefit of this is you can fold it away and let the sun in through you windows, keeping your home warmer in winter, plus get it out of the way if you want to use the space for something else.

Paving or Decking

You will need a hard surface, which you want it to be even. If you lay pavers yourself make sure you use a spirit level to get them straight and even, otherwise pay a professional to put them down for you. A timber decking always looks nice, although it will require you to re-stain it every few years as the weather gets to it. A decking is best when your home is built on a sloping block or you can have one built up if your garden is flat.

Garden

Put a garden in around your patio which will soften the hard edges of your deck or paving and provide extra shade. You could have plants in pots around your patio and also hanging baskets. Grow climbing plants, such as wisteria or climbing roses up the veranda posts and up over the veranda so that your patio blends in with your garden.

Barbecue

No patio area is complete without a good barbecue. Invest in a good quality one as it is better to get one that will last. You will find that if you have a great patio area you will spend a lot of time out there, particularly in summer, and a barbecue is a quick and easy meal to have through the week as well as an easy way to entertain. You don't need to plan a barbecue like you do a normal party. Just let your friends know on the same day and pull a few steaks and sausages out of the freezer and you are set.

Outdoor Kitchen

If you have the space and the budget and feel that you will use your outdoor space often you could install an outdoor kitchen. This makes entertaining a lot easier as you are then able to prepare all you food outside. Have a decent amount of bench space, a sink and even a fridge and you can run your whole party from out on the patio. The chef need not be stuck indoors away from the guests at all.

Play Area

If you have children think about their needs when you set up your patio area. Allocate an area just for them to play, with a small table and chairs for them to draw, play games and build cubbyholes when it's wet.