Adding shade to your garden this summer

Getting out in the garden has become one of life’s real pleasures and with many of us planning to swap international holidays for time off at home this year, making your outside space as usable as possible has become a priority.

Deciding to add a form of shade to your garden can prolong the amount of time you can sit outside comfortably – and provide somewhere to entertain even if there’s a sharp summer downpour. What type of shade you opt for will depend on your aim, approach to building work and budget.

What do you want to take shelter from?

A traditional British summer can include sun, rain showers and even stormy conditions so with this in mind, decide what you want protection from the most. If, where you frequently sit outside, enjoys full sun, shade can create a cool spot to set up a dining table or outside sofa when the temperature rises. Go one step further by making your shade waterproof and you will stop having to scuttle back inside every time the heavens open.

A pergola with a wood or metal frame and a transparent plastic roof will be waterproof but may not provide cover from the sun, while growing a dense canopy of plants over the top of a pergola will do the reverse – give shade but will let water in. If you want protection from all of the elements, choose a pergola with a retractable waterproof shade or opt for an adjustable louvre roof, allowing you to adjust the angle of the slats according to the weather conditions. A retractable awning fixed to a wall is another option, as is a sail shade made of waterproof fabric stretched between fixed posts.

Do you want a permanent structure?

The UK is no stranger to blustery conditions and a permanent structure is the safest way of providing shade that will withstand a summer storm. Bear in mind that tenants would need permission from their landlord before adding any form of permanent shade to the garden.

Pop-up gazebos and canopy parasols offer a temporary shade solution but they will need weighting down to give them stability; they can suffer damage if subjected to high winds, so factor in collapsing these items and storing them inside on a frequent basis. A pergola, sail shade or awning will require building works to ensure the structure and fixings are solid, and you’ll need to check the frame’s dimensions don’t break any planning restrictions.

What is your budget?

You can pop to Argos and pick up an inexpensive, pack-away gazebo but it’s unlikely to be of a quality that can be left outside year round. Likewise, garden parasols and umbrellas vary widely in cost, and it will be a case of you get what you pay for. A permanent structure will involve an investment in materials and labour but you will be repaid with peace-of-mind that your shade won’t blow away into next door’s garden and that the structure can be utilised all year round.

If moving home is on your list of summer activities, let us find your perfect property match. Contact us for a list of available properties, some of which will come complete with shaded garden areas.

6 ways to fragrance your home ahead of viewings

Step inside any property and our senses tend to take over. While so much emphasis is placed on what a home looks like, those hosting viewings shouldn’t forget what it smells like either. In fact, it was only in May 2021 that a survey found as many as 95% of home buyers could be deterred from purchasing a property due to an unpleasant pong.

Smells that make buyers baulk

Strong cooking odours, musky dampness, stale cigarette smoke, pet smells, sweaty gym kits, recently used toilets and rotting rubbish are all cited as aromas that can detract from a property and may also shorten the duration of time a potential buyer spends on a viewing.

Of course, the holy grail of home fragrancing before a viewing has been baking bread and freshly brewed coffee – two things guaranteed to stimulate the olfactory receptors – but there are other ways to perfume the air so every sense is stimulated in a good way.

  1.     Candles: as well as releasing a gentle scent, the flicker of a flame can also create an inviting ambience. Opt for non-toxic candles made with natural soy wax and pure essential oils, and keep the wick short to prolong the life of the candle. Don’t forget, never leave a lit candle unattended (even if you’re briefly showing people around your house), and keep naked flames away from draughts and draped fabrics.
  1.     Diffusers: there are two main types of diffuser to choose from. Mist air diffusers usually require an electric supply, as droplets of essential oils are dispersed using ultrasonic waves created by a vibrating plate. Reed diffusers can be placed anywhere, consisting of a small bottle filled with a liquid fragrance, with rattan or bamboo reeds inserted into the solution to soak up and release the scent. The reeds do require turning frequently to maximise the aroma distribution.
  1.     Burners: a burner usually comprises a bowl suspended above a lit tea light. Traditionally, the dish would contain water with a few drops of essential oils added but gaining in popularity are fragranced wax melts. Both work on the principle that the heat from the tea light below warms the water or melts the wax, helping the scent permeate a room.
  1.     Flowers: for scents that are 100% natural, nothing beats a vase of real flowers, with the bonus of the blooms being visually attractive too. Lilies, freesias, gardenias, hyacinths, roses and stocks are some of the strongest smelling flowers you can display but ask a florist about their compatibility with pets, as some are toxic if ingested.
  1.     Air fresheners: conventional air fresheners used to get a bad press for smelling too synthetic but manufacturers have made massive strides in their bid to come across as more discerning, with far more natural ingredients used. Choose from plug-in options, aerosol cans and trigger sprays (that can also be used on fabrics to mask stale smells), upmarket room and linen spritzers, and gel air fresheners but use with restraint – stick to one scent or the result could be too heady, bordering on overpowering.
  1.     Fresh air: never underestimate the power of the great outdoors – fresh air is free and always there! If you’re cooking, smoking or exercising in your home before a viewing, always keep your doors and windows open. Likewise, keep rooms where pets and teenagers congregate well ventilated.

If you would like more advice on how to conduct the perfect property viewing, get in touch with our team today.

5 ways to embrace friluftsliv – the Nordic love of outdoor living

Ubuntu is over (the Zulu way of saying ‘we are all one family’). We’ve gone past gezellig (the Dutch term for ‘a cozy atmosphere, which allows good times to happen’). And the cosy, comfortable and convivial hygge? It’s had its day for now.

The lighter, brighter and warmer weeks are here, and that calls for friluftsliv (pronounced free-loofts-liv) – the Nordic word for open air living.  Even if you’re not a fan of following interior fads, Covid has forced many of us to entertain outside, and friluftsliv can also reduce stress and boost wellbeing, so why stay inside?

It’s already common across Scandinavia to get together and socialise outside, whatever the weather. While we’re not suggesting that a hike in the pouring rain with friends is the fast track to contentment, friluftsliv is about shifting your mindset and being ready to head outdoors at the end of the working day, rather than loafing on the sofa or being glued to a screen.

Setting the scene in your own back garden or on your balcony will contribute to the success of friluftsliv, especially if you can create an all-weather area. Here are our top 5 tips for those looking to embrace outdoor living:-

  1.     Provide somewhere to cook: this could be a pizza oven, a BBQ or even an open fire with a tripod set over the flames. Pre-plan a weekly dinner menu that can be cooked outside without an oven or microwave and you’ll find you stay in the fresh air to eat, rather than scuttle back inside.
  1.     Make sure you can see: once we’re past the summer solstice, the nights start drawing in but that’s no excuse. Lights that run off the mains, solar alternatives or even battery-powered lamps can create an alluring atmosphere after dusk and allow you to see what you’re doing.
  1.     Keep your furniture on standby: if the rigmarole of uncovering and arranging your garden furniture is a barrier to sitting outside, opt for weatherproof tables, chairs and outside sofas that are always out and ready for use. Look for metal, pre-treated wood and plastic rattan options.
  1.     Create a sheltered area: it rains alot in the UK, although summer can bring tropical downpours where the temperature remains high and the atmosphere humid. Opt for a sail shade, gazebo, pergola or awning to create a dry corner where you can watch the weather roll in.
  1.   Ensure there’s a source of heat: chilly, clear-sky nights often follow searing hot, cloudless days and when the sun sets, the temperature can drop sharply. A firepit, chiminea, gas-fired patio heater or open fire will provide a welcome social focal point as well as warmth.

If your appreciation of outside space is growing in importance, talk to us about moving home for more friluftsliv. We can show you a list of available properties with gardens, patios, balconies and terraces.

Marble: this month’s hottest interior trend

Marble is one of the most expensive materials you can add to your home, used for centuries for its cool, durable luxury. While it has always had timeless appeal, marble has not always been at the top of the interior fashion pack but in 2021, it has seen a resurgence in popularity.

If you love the look of marble, here’s how to incorporate it into your home, from wall-to-wall tiles and small pieces of the real thing to the best faux options and DIY hacks that won’t break the bank.

What is marble?

We’ll spare you the geology lesson but in short, marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to heat and pressure. Marble deposits can be hundreds of feet thick, making it suitable for quarrying, carving, sanding and polishing.

The main characteristic of marble is its veining – streaks that make each slab unique.  There is a myriad of marble colours available thanks to the different minerals present in the stone, from the purest white through blue and green to the deepest black.

Why is marble so expensive?

As a naturally-occurring material, marble has to be quarried from the ground. It’s a slow, laborious job, therefore the labour costs are high, and some of the best marble is in remote areas where new roads have to be built just to gain access. The price of Marble varies with plentiful, easy-to-quarry marble from cheaper labour markets, such as India and China, carrying a lower price tag.

Rarer types of marble will always sit at the premium end of the market, and these include the white Italian Statuario Marble of Carrara, the deep red Sicilian Diaspro and the jade green Brazilian Amazzonite.

Will marble worktops stain?

Marble is one of the most requested materials for kitchen worktops as it is heat resistant but before you get carried away, it’s worth knowing that marble is porous – meaning it has tiny holes that can absorb oil, juice and red wine. Spills will need mopping up very quickly to avoid permanent staining.

Where else can marble be used in the home?

Marble is better suited to bathrooms, where it can make a beautiful vanity unit worktop. Marble basins are also freely available and can be purchased for less than £300. Its heat resistance also makes marble a superb choice for fireplace hearths, backplates and mantles.

On-trend: marble tiles

The elegance of marble is the darling of 2021’s interior design scene, with marble wall and floor tiles making style statements – especially when the biggest tiles available are used, or when the tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern. Some of the most stunning effects are when the same marble is used to tile the floor, walls and shower cubicles in bathrooms. It can look impressive but it may not be budget friendly.

Add marble through accessories

If worktops and wall tiles are outside of your budget, marble accessories are a cheaper alternative. Opt for the interior designers’ favourite – marble spheres in different sizes – or follow the practical route with marble vases, coasters and serving boards.

The no-marble marble

Marble’s distinctive pattern can be recreated using cheaper production methods and materials. Browse supermarket homeware sections, stores such as B&M and Home Bargains, and online retailers, for convincing plastic/resin faux marble accessories. There’s also a good range of marble-effect wallpapers, self-adhesive murals and waterproof shower panels if you want to avoid the fuss of tiling.

DIY marble

Sticky back plastic with a marble printed pattern can be stuck to most clean, dry, smooth surfaces for an instant marble makeover, while along the same lines but on a grander scale, it is possible to ‘wrap’ old worktops with a marble-effect vinyl film. You can even buy marble-effect spray paint and marbling kits from stores including Hobbycraft.

It’s easy to embrace marble, even if you’re not as grand with its use as the Greeks and Romans. If you’d like more interior advice or a list of available properties where you could work some design magic, contact us today.

7 places to start when baby proofing your home

Switch on the TV or visit a news website and there is no shortage of bumps and babies. Among the glut of Royal births and new celebrity offspring, one headline did catch the eye and it concerned the ex Chancellor, George Osborne.

It was reported that the former political high flyer, who is to become a father this summer, is being encouraged to baby proof his London home, after it was revealed to be a very chic, sharply-styled mews property that is more bachelor pad than baby nest.

This case highlights how some parents may have to adapt their grown-up interior style to accommodate small people – especially leading up to when babies start crawling and walking.

With this in mind, we bring you our quick guide to baby proofing a new home, bearing in mind that small people are quick, inquisitive and unpredictable.

 

  • Implement electrical safety

 

Tiny fingers will find the smallest of gaps, so lockable plug socket covers are a must, especially when it comes to sockets at skirting board level. It’s also wise to tie up cables and to block electrical hubs with heavy items of furniture.

  1. Remove hazardous items 

Babies love to reach out, grab things and put them in their mouths so hazardous items should be locked away or moved up high before a baby is born. Pay particular attention to batteries, coins, knives, tools, cleaning products, alcohol, sewing kits, plastic bags, house plants and medication. As an extra precaution, add safety catches to cupboard doors and drawers below waist height.

 

  • Eliminate trip hazards

 

As soon as a child’s first step is taken, parents need to remove anything that could cause them to fall. Pay attention to unsecured rugs, piles of shoes, loose pieces of carpet, trailing wires, vacuum cleaner cords and extension cables.

 

  • Secure windows & doors

 

Window restrictors and childproof locks offer peace-of-mind if you have little explorers, and don’t forget to only ever use cord-free window dressings. Door stops and finger guards will prevent fingers and toes getting squished, and it’s also wise to check if any glazed panels contain safety glass.

 

  • Buy baby gates & a playpen

 

A baby’s new found freedom can also present an accident waiting to happen. A baby gate at the top and the bottom of the stairs is advised and using a baby gate across a doorway will restrict access to an out-of-bounds room or the garden. A playpen is another way to keep a baby safe in one spot.

 

  • Make furniture safe

 

Sharp corners will quickly be at eye height of a toddler, so use cushioned guards to prevent injury, paying particular attention to low-level items. Heavy or freestanding furniture pieces – especially bookcases, dressers and chests of drawers – should be screwed to the wall or securely fastened using anti-tip straps/brackets so they can’t be dragged over or toppled.

 

  • Fire & water safety

 

Open fires and fireplaces should always be screened with a fixed fire guard, and extreme caution should be taken with candles or wax melt burners. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, if not already in place, and ensure they are tested on a regular basis. You may also like to buy a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket to keep in the home. Don’t forget to keep kettles out of reach and install tap guards to avoid scalds.

Outside – fence off, securely cover or fill in ponds, water features and pools.

Download, read or buy now 

This online guide to baby proofing really is a must-read, and covers other areas, such as garages and gardens, in more detail. If you find your home is unsuitable for family life, contact us for a list of alternative properties.

Live in or move out? 7 considerations before renovating

If you are planning to buy a ‘doer upper’, are remodelling a home for the rental market or want to add value to where you live, what you do with yourself during the project is just as important as what you do to the property.

Major renovation works can equal major disruption – think removing the roof, pulling down ceilings and taking a sledgehammer to walls. There will be noise, dust and a house full of trades, meaning you’ll be short on peace and privacy.

If your burning question is ‘should I move out during renovation works or live in?’, here are seven considerations for you to mull over.

  • Can you afford to live out?

If you’re thinking of moving out during the renovation work, factor in the cost of renting a property short term – or perhaps living in an Airbnb for a few weeks. If you can stay with family for free or go down the Grand Designs route with a caravan in the garden, you will save money.

  • Do you have a project manager?

The ability to move out may also depend on the scale of your renovations and if you’ve employed a project manager. If you’re self managing and living in, you’ll have the advantage of being around to make critical decisions in person. The luxury of a project manager, however, is that they’ll take on the day-to-day decisions on your behalf, freeing you to go to work or live elsewhere.

  • Can you plan for unexpected delays?

While moving out and escaping the chaos may sound ideal, you’ll have to plan for unexpected delays which, unfortunately, can happen when renovating a property. Likewise, if you’ve taken annual leave to stay at home, be aware you may have to return to your workplace leaving an unfinished project behind.

  • How will you clean and wash?

Never underestimate how much busy households rely on running water. Whether it’s to drink, wash up, clean clothes or bathe, the absence of water can make everyday living a challenge. Establish with your builders and plumber how long your water may potentially be turned off and when it will happen, then plan your living arrangements around the timings.

  • Can you cook ‘camping’ style?

As well as water, you may find there are periods when you’re left without gas and/or electricity. For those who are replacing their kitchen, you’ll also need to check the schedule of appliance removal and when new ones will be operational – not just fitted as gas, water and electricity will all need to be connected to start making meals again.

The novelty of cooking on a camping stove may soon wear off and take-aways can hurt the wallet after a week. Batch cooking and freezing meals ahead of renovations is an option if you can retain the use of a microwave. If your project is short but high in disruption, a week or two on holiday in a full-board hotel may be an idea.

  • Do you have children or pets?

Renovation people, small people and furry people don’t always mix, especially if your project is whole-house or your home is short on liveable space. If you’re considering moving out as a family, balance the job of packing up and the disruption to daily routines versus staying at home and working around the mess.

Did you know ingesting too much dust can lead to serious health issues for some animals? Therefore boarding your cats/dogs is sensible, as is sending smaller pets to a temporary home while work is completed.

  • Do you work from home?

If you’re having your house rewired, or are moving light switches and sockets, an electrician will frequently visit your fuse box to cut the power and the supply can also ‘trip’ without warning. Your wifi connection may be disrupted, so if you rely on the internet for emails and video calls, moving out could be a more reliable option than living in.

Also factor in the noise of pneumatic drills and circular saws – they’re not conducive for a peaceful day at your desk. You could explore the option of renting a desk in an office hub while work is ongoing, returning to the property at night.

If you’re not deterred by the prospect of power tools, piles of rubble and the job of making endless cups of tea for trades, contact us for a list of potential property projects. We can also match you with homes where someone else has done the hard work already.

6 ideas to get your guest room ready

With gatherings given the green light and overnight stays back on the agenda, your spare room may be in more demand than ever but is it ready for overnight guests?

Spare rooms have a notorious habit of becoming dumping grounds, which can render them unusable but with a plan of action, you can transform your space into somewhere welcoming for guests. Here are 6 ideas, tips and tricks for you to try:-

  1. Declutter: cast your eye around your spare room – are there stacks of laundry, piles of books and items destined for the loft? If so, diarise one day devoted to decluttering and remember the ‘reuse, reduce and recycle’ mantra.
  2. Upgrade your storage: if, despite decluttering, you have items that need a home in your spare room, think about storing them out of sight. While plastic boxes are practical, they don’t really set a relaxing tone, so opt for storage ottomans, blanket boxes and neat under-bed bags.
  3. Decorate: tired, dated rooms won’t provide a warm welcome but almost any decor can be refreshed with some basic DIY. A fresh lick of paint on the walls in a restful shade, such as pastel blue or green, is a good place to start. You could also paint wardrobe doors, change drawer handles and replace the floor covering, if it’s especially worn.
  4. Add furniture: while a proper bed is ideal, you could compromise with a sofa bed, futon or pull down bed to save space, a bedside table with a lamp saves fumbling around in a dark, unfamiliar room looking for the light switch. If you have room, a chest of drawers will provide guests with somewhere to store their clothes during extended stays.
  5. ‘Dress’ to impress: you can make the experience of staying away from home more inviting with a few finishing flourishes. Prevent guests awkwardly asking for towels with a neatly folded bale at the foot of the bed, while a reed diffuser will perfume the air and disguise any odours that can occur in underused rooms.
  6. Tackle dual-purpose rooms: if your spare room also doubles as an office or where you practice a hobby, your main preparation before guests arrive will be to find a temporary home elsewhere for your paraphernalia. If not possible, use a room divider to screen off anything that doesn’t set the right scene.

If you don’t have enough bedrooms to invite family and friends to stay, why not talk to us about trading up? We can show you some available properties that give that extra bedroom and space to host.

Wallpaper: what the best dressed rooms are wearing

Wallpaper is back in the interior design spotlight, thanks to a certain flat refurbishment and a Prime Minister left with a huge redecoration bill. While the fact that Carrie Johnson gave the green light to wallpaper that cost over £800 a roll caused outrage, the follow up news is also causing consternation.

If reports are to be believed, the ultra luxurious wallpaper is already peeling off, with interior designer Lulu Lytle recalled to examine why the rolls of gold are falling down. It is thought the handcrafted nature of the wallpaper chosen made it extremely difficult to hang and ‘wallpaper-gate’, as it’s been dubbed, has brought to light the issues faced when using paper wallcoverings.

If you have been inspired to break out the paste and paper table – and want to avoid any nightmare scenarios –  here’s our quick guide to wallpapering:-

Preparation is king: flat, smooth and dry walls will ensure that the end result is as good as possible. It’s best to remove any existing wallpaper – using a wallpaper steamer is usually the quickest way but ensure the walls dry out before you put any new wallpaper up.

If you’re wallpapering over painted walls, fill in holes, sand back to achieve a smooth surface and wash down before papering. Newly-plastered surfaces should be left to dry for at least a month before wallpaper is applied and the plaster must be sealed before you start. If you’re after perfection, you could put up lining paper before your final wallpaper choice.

Types of wallpaper: gone are the days when wallpaper had to be put up using a thick, gloopy glue. The traditional method of using paste applied to the wallpaper is still very common but there are less-messy alternatives.

Pre-pasted wallpaper allows you to just add water to make the paper sticky, or there’s self-adhesive wallpaper where you simply peel off a backing and apply. Every room in the house can receive the wallpaper treatment, as you can now buy paintable, washable and moisture-resistant examples.

Tools for the job: prep work may require filler, sandpaper, sugar soap, a sponge and perhaps a wallpaper steamer. As wallpaper is sold in rolls, you’ll also need a surface that’s long and clean. While you can use the floor, a specific wallpaper pasting table is best. Hanging wallpaper is about accuracy, so a sharp blade or scissors, tape measure, plumb bob, pencil and carpenter’s levels are vital.

Depending on your adhesive type, a pasting brush, something to mix the paste in or a tray filled with water can be useful. Once the wallpaper is in place, a clean, dry sponge, a seam roller or a wallpaper smoother will help remove small bubbles and join seams.

There is more detail and advice in B&Q’s ‘how to hang wallpaper guide’ – have a read and make a list of what you might need to get wallpaper ready.

If you’re looking to move home and fancy a property where there’s already wallpaper in place, ask us for a list of available homes that are decorated and ready to move into

5 ways to fake the top interior trends

Has an interior design trend ever caught your eye and drawn you in…..until you get to the price? If you’re furnishing on a budget but don’t want to compromise on style, there is good news.

We’ve tracked down the easiest, cheapest and most effective home hacks that even novice DIYers can follow. Why not try one out this weekend?

  1. If you follow interior fashions, you’ll know that Crittall style windows, doors and partitions are all the rage. The Crittall style is when a plain pane of glass is divided into sections by a black metal grid for an urban look. Off-the-shelf options can be expensive to buy and install but there is a quick and cheap fix. Armed with nothing more than a £2 role of electrical tape, people are creating stunning – and temporary – Crittall-style shower screens and doors. Take a look at this home hack and start taping.
  2. Reeded glass is having a design moment and the textured look can be seen across drinking glass, light fittings and doors. Replacing existing glass to get the look isn’t always practical but you could try this brilliant cheat. The DIY approach involves the application of temporary reed-effect film, which can be applied to glass-fronted cabinets and internal doors.
  3. Even TikTok has been taken over by the interior design experts and one of the most popular tutorials has been posted by Geneva Vanderzeil, as detailed in this upcycling article, and features a surprising kitchen store cupboard staple. People are using a mix of acrylic paint and baking powder to give plastic or glass surfaces an earthen, on-trend terracotta-style texture. You keep costs down even more by browsing charity shops for vases and pots that could be transformed with a quick lick of this home-made mix.
  4. If you’ve been browsing the interior design shops, you may have noticed spirit bottle table lamps made from your favourite tipple. While some are merely stuffed with fairy lights, there are now more substantial versions – with hefty price tags – that are sold with a proper light bulb fitting, flex and plug. It is, however, relatively easy to make your own. This bottle lamp kit is just £14 – just add an empty bottle, shade and bulb for a stunning effect!
  5. When rattan is all over design stores Swoon, MADE.com and Oliver Bonas, you know it’s a trend to emulate. Rather than shell out hundreds of pounds for ready-made items, it’s actually very easy to adapt existing items of furniture. Armed with a jigsaw tool, a staple gun and a pre-woven roll of rattan, you could take on one of these DIY cheats. One of the most popular – and impactful – involves cutting out the middle panel of cabinet doors and fixing the rattan over the gap left.

If your design ideas go above and beyond furniture accessories, why not speak to us about moving home? Our friendly team is on hand to help, so contact us today.

Upcycle basics for the uninitiated

You may be familiar with the phrase ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ and while it’s traditionally a slogan applied to household waste, it’s also a sentiment that spilling over into interior design.

The practice of shunning brand new furniture in favour of repurposing what already exists has the dedicated and more glamorous name of ‘upcycling’, and is often used in the same sentence as ‘pre-loved’, ‘vintage’ and ‘revamped’.

Whether you’re a skip rat on the hunt for a cast aside gem, want to refresh what you already own or are reducing your carbon footprint by refusing to buy new, upcycling is the easy way to breathe a new lease of life into items.

This Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Upcycling is a great place to learn all the dos and don’ts, especially on matters of preparation and tools, and there are links to some great finished projects for inspiration. If you’re nervous, however, why not start with one of these simple ideas that are perfect for upcycle novices:

Replace the handles:  if you have a screwdriver, you can change door knobs and drawer handles. A trip to B&Q or Ikea is a good place to start but for a myriad of choice, take a look online. Currently in vogue are leather pull handles, knurled details and matt black bar handles.

Repaint the surfaces: thanks to some highly advanced primers and good old fashioned sandpaper, almost any surface can be treated and repainted. A great place to start is Zinsser, whose primers make light work of wood and plastic finishes. Take a look at their ‘how to’ guides before tackling your paint job.

Change table legs: it’s highly likely that any side, coffee or dining table will have legs that are simply bolted on. If that’s the case, it’s super easy to transform the entire look of an item with new legs. Today’s most fashionable option is hairpin legs and there’s even a company dedicated to selling these in different colours, styles and sizes. The Hairpin Leg Company’s website will give you all sorts of ideas – take a look!

Apply interesting elements: even the plainest bedside cabinet can become an eye-catching statement piece with a little imagination. Vinyl decals, stencilling and decoupage can add interest in the form of colour and pattern, while gluing on wood beading and moulding can add texture.

Choose a new top: sticky back plastic isn’t just for Blue Peter or exercise books! This self-adhesive film has a myriad of applications in the home, especially on flat surfaces. One of its best uses is to recover existing furniture tops and with retailers including Wayfair stocking on-trend prints, including terrazzo, hessian, distressed wood and marble, you can quickly upgrade your look as you upcycle.

If you’re a design conscious home mover and would like a new home to match your style, contact us for a list of available properties in your area.