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Book yourself in to this design trend

If there was ever a time to judge a book by its cover, it’s when you’re using tomes to accessorise your home. How you display your books depends on the aesthetic you’re aiming for but there is a style to suit everyone, from maximalist tightly-packed shelves to the minimalist art of arranging a single novel.

Coffee table

If you are styling a coffee table and you want the books to convey a lifestyle or make an impression, opt for pristine-condition hardbacks. A collection of Assouline’s travel books will add a splash of Pop Art colour, while if your theme is monochrome, either Chanel Collections & Creations or Tom Ford’s eponymous book will be enough on its own. 

Stacks

If you can build a collection of books with gold or silver gilt-edged pages, you can really make a design statement. Stack these books high with the page edges facing outwards and top with a table lamp or a photo frame for best effect.

Another popular book stack is the pyramid – three of four books placed on top of each other, spines facing out, with the largest at the bottom and the smallest on top. An easy design win is to use books with similarly-coloured covers, then top with a contrasting candle or vase. 

Shelves

If your display involves a traditional bookshelf or bookcase, you’ll need to pay attention to the spines. For a style that echoes a Georgian-period reading room, you can’t go wrong with leather bound books with gilt printing. Buying up encyclopaedias is a quick way to amass such books – look out for Chambers, Funk & Wagnall’s and even Britannica sets.

Grouping books of the same colour together – perhaps following the sequence of the rainbow – is a real visual treat, or you may be led by interesting typography on the spines. If you’re not keen on colour order, you could arrange your books in ascending height order, devoting each shelf to books of a similar height to avoid a mismatch. Don’t be tempted to stuff books in on top of those that are neatly organised as you’ll spoil the streamlined look .

Bundles

There’s a design trend that sees bundles of books tied together with raffia or string, with some foliage interwoven on top. You can easily make your own, using books with similar colour jackets for a subtle effect or in clashing colours for a more retro look. If you’re not feeling creative, you can buy pre-made bundles from OxSupply and even have the spines personalised. 

Where to buy books

Books are one of the most affordable design accessories you can buy. If you need to bolster numbers, start by asking friends and family for any unwanted reads. Charity shops, jumble sales and boot fairs are budget-friendly places to buy, with the advantage of being able to pick up books according to your theme or space.  

If you’re looking for instant impact, head for the ‘decorative’ tab on the Country House Library website, where book bundles are sold by colour, style and even by the foot. For specific titles, visit Daunt Books or Foyles, and Maggs is the place for rare books.

If you have your heart set on more space to display your cherished books, please contact us for a list of available properties.

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Lifestyle Group 2

5 design tricks you can pack up and take with you

Whether you’re a homeowner upgrading your property to make it more appealing to buyers or you’re a design-driven tenant who can’t make permanent changes to their pad, sometimes it makes sense to pursue moveable home improvements. 

It’s actually possible to execute a total home makeover without opening a single tin of paint or making a heavy investment in permanent fittings. The following five temporary design fixes are relatively cheap, easy wins when it comes to perking up a property, and the best bit? Pack them up and take them with you when it’s time to move. 

  1.     Throws & blankets: plain, patterned, tasselled or quilted, blankets and throws are your best friend if you want to add a dash of colour or hide a multitude of sins. Choose the biggest throw possible to cover up a shabby sofa, drape a smaller throw over the threadbare arm of a chair or artfully place a folded blanket at the bottom of your bed for show home style.
  1.     Lamps & lights: forget fixed overhead lights, every design expert knows a room can be elevated with ambient lighting. Table lamps are a great way of making dark corners lighter – add a brightly-coloured shade and the lamp will look stunning even when the bulb is switched off. Don’t overlook fairy lights either. Choose battery-operated strings that can be draped over a mirror or displayed in a glass vase.
  1.     House plants: these living accessories are a vibrant way to bring colour to a neutrally-decorated property, while also helping to purify the air and improve your mood. There’s a house plant that will adapt to every room in your home, from ferns that love humid bathrooms to snake plants that thrive in direct sunlight. Choose a colourful ceramic pot and you’ll increase the interior impact.
  1.     Rugs: if changing your floor covering is not an option, don’t panic as rugs are here to save the day. Rugs can provide a room with a focal point or bring softness to more utilitarian spaces, such as the kitchen. Machine-washable designs even make it easy to use rugs in high-traffic areas. If it’s your garden that’s in need of a cover up, there are some excellent outdoor rugs that can be swept and hosed down to keep them clean. On the move? Just roll the rugs up ready for your next property.
  1.     Books: why read a book and randomly stick it back on the bookshelf when your paperbacks can be part of a cool interior design trend? Make an impactful display by organising the book spines in colour order, or neatly stack coffee table-style books on fashion, travel and photography and place a table lamp on top. 

If you’re looking for a new home where you can make your design mark, get in touch for the latest selection of available properties in your area.

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Lifestyle Group 2

5 ways to know if a potential property will be warm

With the threat of rising gas and electricity prices, it’s no surprise that people are increasingly concerned about  energy efficiency. Heating your home and staying cosy once warmth is generated is very much a hot topic, pardon the pun, so Britain’s third biggest energy supplier – Ovo Energy – felt compelled to dish out some rather novel advice on staying warm at home this winter.

From eating bowls of porridge and performing a few star jumps to cosying up with your pet and leaving your oven door open once you’ve finished cooking, the company’s tips were mocked in the media and labelled unrealistic.

If you’re not happy with how your current property heats up and stays warm, moving to a new home represents a good chance to live somewhere more energy efficient. As well as resulting in lower energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint, a warmer home is the perfect solution if you haven’t got a cat to cuddle.

Here is our advice for home movers on the hunt for comfortable temperatures:-

  • Check a property’s EPC rating

If you’re looking for a home that offers a toasty living environment, take time to understand the EPC rating. An energy assessor will have evaluated the heating system, the windows and any insulation when calculating the rating, which is expressed as a letter. 

A well-performing home will have a better EPC rating – an A is the best classification with G being the worst. Every home we list has an EPC certificate, so ask us for the full details.

  • Read the full EPC report

As well as a certificate showing what letter rating the property has, read the energy assessor’s report. It will contain advice on where energy efficiency can be improved and from this, you’ll be able to deduce how well the property generates heat and where it’s being lost. If the assessor recommends better loft insulation, the addition of cavity wall insulation, upgrading single to double glazing, improving draught proofing and swapping to a condensing boiler or heat pump system, you’ll know the levels of warmth may be compromised.

  • Know when the property was built

All newly built homes have to meet minimum energy standards, so they will be the warmest around, but older homes – especially those that are listed or considered ‘period’ – may be harder to heat and more difficult to keep warm. Aspects such as ill-fitting wooden floorboards, open flues, ageing windows, gaps in the roof and a myriad of cracks formed over time will leave a home feeling chilly. The good news is these defects can be fixed.

  • Enquire about running costs

The current occupants are the best port of call if you want to know if a property is cold and how much is spent on making it warmer. Ask to see fuel bills or smart meter readings from the coldest months – January, February and March ideally. Although how cold a person can stand being at home is subjective, enquire about very heavy gas bills (or electricity bills if the property is fitted with storage heaters).

  • Conduct a smart viewing

There is no substitute for actually visiting a property you’d like to move to and if you’re going on a viewing in winter, you can feel for yourself how chilly a home is. It’s advisable to touch walls and floors with your hand – if they’re stone cold it could indicate the property is hard to heat. If the central heating is on, use caution to feel the radiators, noticing any unheated spots, as this could indicate the system needs attention. You can follow up your viewing with additional questions, asking about the age and type of boiler, how much loft insulation there is and details of the nature of glazing installed.

If you’d like help with EPCs and energy efficiency when moving home, please contact our team today.

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Purple reign! 6 ways to use Very Peri

After last year’s dual grey/yellow combination, the colour masters at Pantone have reverted to a single shade for 2022’s Colour of the Year. Introducing Very Peri – an uplifting shade of purple that was created especially for the year ahead.

Unlike other shades of purple, which are either classified as warm or cool, Very Peri is a mix of colder blues and violet reds, which makes it an easier shade to work with. That said, we appreciate that it may not be a hue you want to paint an entire room.

Using Very Peri as an accent colour is a flexible, low cost and more temporary way of embracing the latest colour trend in your home – especially if you are in rented accommodation and can’t make permanent changes. Here are 6 ideas to try:- 

  1. Say it with flowers…and a vase: one of the quickest ways to bring Very Peri into your home is with a bunch of flowers. Choose hyacinths, irises, hydrangeas and lisianthus for a heady mix of purples, or opt for an all-white selection of blooms displayed in this Dartington Crystal Vase in the amethyst colourway, stocked at John Lewis.
  2. Throw in the towels: add colour and a spa-like vibe to your bathroom with a new set of fluffy towels – neatly folded in a stack or placed over a heated towel rail. Marks & Spencer’s cotton rich towels in the colour violet are a great Very Peri match.
  3. Paint it purple: paint isn’t just for walls. Prepare your surface correctly and choose the right paint finish, and you can apply a coat to just about anything – photo frames, bedside cabinets and even terracotta pots. Try Dulux’s off-the-shelf shade Purple Pout, or its mixed-to-order shade Amethyst Showers 1.
  4. Colour up with candles: Very Peri’s likeness to a vibrant shade of lavender makes it easy to find purple-coloured candles. Many examples that are infused with the scent are often coloured purple too – such as these ribbed lavender-scented candles by Bolsius, stocked by Wayfair.
  5. Cast some shade: whether you have a table lamp, ceiling pendant or wall light, a change of shade can completely change a room’s look. Pooky has an amazing choice of shades designed to fit a variety of fittings. Opt for the empire shade in cobalt silk for a fantastic colour match.
  6. Blanket coverage: a blanket or throw is one of the most versatile home accessories you can buy. This super-soft dyed cashmere blanket in violet from Anthropologie will add Very Peri vibes when neatly folded at the end of a bed or draped over the arm of a sofa.

Over the years we have seen many different interior design schemes in our property visits, with varying degrees of success. If you would like to view our current crop of design-led homes – or would prefer your next property to be a project – please contact the team today.

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Top property tips for cold conditions

How do you create heat in an efficient way, prevent property disasters and keep energy bills in check when mother nature is throwing freezing rain, snow and sub zero temperatures our way? Here are our top 4 property tips for cold winter conditions.

1. Be heat smart: we may be a little more economical with our gas consumption thanks to rising fuel costs and climate change but it’s still possible to create a toasty warm home. If you have radiator thermostats, use them to only heat the rooms you’re using or turn down your main thermostat by one degree. You’ll still generate warmth by doing the latter but, according to uSwitch, you’ll save an average of £80 a year on your energy bill.

The jury’s still out on whether it’s best to keep your heating on low permanently over the winter or programme it to come on when it’s needed most. If you have a smart energy meter, you could try each method for two weeks and see what uses the least gas.

2. Stop warmth escaping: there’s no point creating warm air only for it to leak out and let a cold draught back in. Check for gaps around windows and doors, sealing with caulk and replacing weather stripping around doors if in poor repair. Even an old fashioned draught excluder will help if you feel a chill around your ankles.

You can use expanding foam insulation to fill large holes where pipes leave the property and if fireplaces are not in use, consider getting the flue capped. Don’t forget to check for draughts around cat flaps – you’ll be surprised how much warm air seeps out of a poorly fitted one.

3. Reduce  the risk of leaks: Some of the most common insurance claims stem from water leaks, and the problem is exacerbated over winter. When water freezes in pipes, it expands and can cause the pipe or weak joints to burst open. A leak will start as soon as the water starts flowing again – if it’s a slow trickle or the property is vacant, the water damage may go unnoticed for months. 

Use foam sleeves to lag pipes in lofts, garages and basements where it tends to be coldest, and don’t forget any pipes fixed to external walls and your boiler’s condensate pipe. If the latter freezers, the boiler will shut down when its needed most. 

Another freeze prevention method is leaving the heating on low (13 degrees minimum) throughout cold snaps, even if no one is living in the property. If a property is vacant, it’s also wise to turn off the water from the mains stopcock.

4. Create a safe environment: everyone should get their boiler serviced on an annual basis, not just landlords. While you have a Gas Safe registered engineer in your property, it’s worth getting them to perform a health check on other gas-run appliances, such as hobs and fires, which may be used more heavily over winter. 

As well as installing a carbon monoxide detector and checking it works on a regular basis, book a chimney sweep to prevent a deadly build-up of gas that a blocked flue may prevent escaping.

If you’d like to discuss winter proofing your property or you feel now’s the time to move on to somewhere new, give us a call today.

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Reduce clutter to increase your home’s value

While it’s true that adding to a property – an extra bathroom, a new boiler or an upgraded kitchen – will also add value, there is another side of home improvement where the ‘less is more’ mantra definitely applies. After all, the Queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo, says ‘life truly begins after you have put your house in order’.

Clutter is one of the biggest contributors to a negative property perception. Whether it’s an agent going out to provide a valuation or a potential mover taking a tour, being met by piles of personal effects and belongings collected over the years can seriously affect what value we place on a property. 

The significance of clutter in relation to worth was recently highlighted in a TV show called the Big House Clear Out, where a deep clean and a declutter added £35,000 to the value of one particular property. 

You too could add substantially more value if your home is in need of attention, as a new post-pandemic survey by Rated People found movers are placing increasing emphasis on a tidy property. Clutter, dirt and bad smells can collectively knock almost £54,000 off a home’s value, while 43% of respondents said they wouldn’t even arrange a viewing for a property if it looked unclean in photos. 

The survey also uncovered what particular aspects of a cluttered property would dent the value the most. A dirty bathroom would reduce a home’s value by £8,966, while rubbish or debris in the front garden could take off £8,964.

Unlike adding value with expensive improvements, decluttering and cleaning takes little more than time and some elbow grease. Wherever you are on the scale – from messy home maker to full-blown hoarder – here are 5 steps to follow if you’re determined to cut out the clutter. 

  1. Set aside time: block out a weekend to really get to grips with clutter but if this thought is overwhelming, set a daily alarm and spend 30 minutes clearing one area of one room – perhaps a chest of drawers.
  2. Arm yourself with the right tools: just as you would decorating, preparation is key to efficient decluttering. Gather black sacks, recycling bins, expanding files, paperclips and storage boxes before you make a start.
  3. Be mindful of where clutter goes: if you dump your junk in the garden, you will continue to damage your home’s value so always remove, rehome or recycle. If you must store items on top of wardrobes or under beds, use boxes or risk spoiling the neat look.
  4. Recognise what is too much: if you can’t see your floor, your kitchen work tops or surfaces such as sideboards, you need to be ruthless. Bag up and bin what’s unsalvageable, file paperwork and tackle laundry piles. 
  5. Remember it’s not forever: if you’re decluttering ahead of a home move and want to impress viewers, a good rule of thumb is ‘50% less’ when clearing personal items and knick-knacks. Use your loft or even a storage facility for anything you can’t bear to part with.

If you would like an impartial opinion on your property’s condition, ask us for honest yet friendly advice.

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Doorscaping: designs to elevate your property’s entrance

So many magazine pages and column inches are devoted to interior ideas that it was only a matter of time before the ‘outside’ got in on the act. ‘Doorscaping’ is the latest design trend to catch the eye, with the forthcoming autumn and winter months the prime time to elevate your home’s entrance.

Doorscaping is actually a trend that has been slowly creeping up on us in the UK. We have already started to follow the lead of our friends across the pond, adopting the American penchant for a different door wreath every season. Instead of confining ourselves to a traditional Christmas arrangement for two weeks of the year, more UK front doors have been sporting Easter wreaths and late summer examples made from dried flowers.

Aesthetic efforts outside really ramped up last Christmas, when a number of famous faces adopted a ‘more-is-more’ attitude to dressing their front doors. While 2020’s efforts were grand, this year’s doorscaping is set to be even more substantial. 

Not all of us have the help of interior design stylists to create a ‘wow’ entrance but there is good news. It is possible to create a visually striking doorscaping display with a supermarket dash, a trip to Hobbycraft and a scavenge around your local park or woods. Once you have your haul, visit Instagram or Pinterest and search #doorscaping for inspiration. 

An integral part of doorscaping is a wreath. While you can buy pre-made items, those feeling creative can follow Hobbycraft’s guide to make your own this autumn. Simply swap the choice of autumn flowers for holly, ivy and pine cones next season, and you’ll have a bespoke winter-themed example too. As well as foraging for twigs, autumnal leaves, dried grasses and seed heads, wreaths also look appealing when adorned with cinnamon sticks and dried slices of orange, so add these to your next food shop. 

Doorscaping is as much about your front steps as it is your actual door and Halloween presents an entry-level way of experimenting. You can quickly create a compelling scene by arranging a selection of pumpkins and ornamental gourds on your steps. If you’re not too fond of carving, add some storm lanterns filled with battery-operated candles and you’ll extend the appeal to after dark. 

Some doorscapers change their door mats in line with seasons and events – an easy switch as different types are readily available in hardware stores, garden centres and online. Others dedicated to the doorscaping cause use props to set the scene – think baskets of harvest vegetables, hand-tied wheat sheafs, apple crates and even hay bales.

If you want to go all-out when it comes to doorscaping, the most extravagant projects involve door arches. It’s a hallmark that’s been carried over from weddings, high-end hotels and boutique shops into a residential setting. The very best arches are much-photographed focal points  – even tourist attractions – so if you’re adding this doorscaping element, be prepared for people to stop and admire.

Flora and fauna – fresh, dried or even faux – usually provide the backbone of an arch but each season sees the introduction of extras – balloons, baubles, fairy lights and fruit have all made appearances to great effect. 

While a local florist may offer a door arch service, you can create your own by following Georgia Rivett’s guide, as featured in Northern Life magazine. Attractive alternatives include an arrangement of branches that are intertwined with leaves, lights and berries, or pre-made garlands that are easily draped over a porch.

As an agent, we know that kerb appeal really helps generate interest in a property. Why not apply a few doorscaping ideas to where you live and share the results with us?

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The green green walls of home

Summer has departed and we’re heading for the year’s wetter seasons but on the plus side of so much rain in the UK, our land is a truly green and pleasant one. The leafy flora and fauna outside provides a veritable feast of verdant shades that can influence how we decorate inside.

Using green as a colour in your home has many benefits. Not only is the breadth of shades available dazzling – from mint, apple and lime through to fern, sage and emerald – there are health benefits too. 

Physiological studies have found that surrounding yourself with green can lower your heart rate, reduce stress and prolong lives. Psychologists will also point out the colour can provide a soothing, calming environment in the home and at work. If you need any more convincing about why green is the colour for 2021, this article from Livingetc is a good place to start. 

Understanding shades of green

With a vast spectrum of greens to choose from, it can feel overwhelming when starting out. Although green paint is probably the go-to medium when decorating, the colours mentioned below can be used as inspiration when choosing wallpaper, soft furnishings, accessories, fabric and artwork.

Bold greens with blue undertones, such as Crown’s Exotic No. 343 and  Dulux’s Emerald Glade, can look cold in north facing rooms but they work well when paired with chalky whites and mustard yellows. Use in cloakrooms, dining rooms and home offices, or as a single feature wall for real impact.

Yellow-based greens are generally softer on the eye and can be used to paint an entire room without colour overkill, no matter its aspect. Options to try include Crown’s Gentle Olive or Farrow & Ball’s Churlish Green – shades that look fabulous in living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. 

Vibrant & lush

If you want a pop of colour, Margarita from Benjamin More or Antibes from Annie Sloan are perfect and if the paint name contains the words Lime, Zest or Grass, you’ll usually be rewarded with bold, beautiful green. Pair with brilliant white for a year-round punch of tropical vibes or use to refresh accessories – you could repaint existing picture frames, candlesticks and bedside cabinets for an instant injection of colour.

‘On the border’ greens

There are other shades of green that dance on the border of other colours, making them ideal for those who still need convincing to go all-out green. Dulux’s almost-blue Peppermint Beach is a safe choice, while Green Stone Pale by Little Greene really is one shade away from cream. Pale Georgian is another option to explore – it’s a golden green from Paint & Paper Library with bags of sunny charm. 

Go easy with the lightest of greens 

If you’re hesitant about introducing green to your home, or are worried the colour will make your home feel dark, opt for paint names with aqua, glass, mist or pearl in the name, as they’re usually super-light shades with just a hint of green. Looking Glass from Crown is perfect for those transitioning away from grey, while Little Greene’s Aquamarine Pale and Paint & Paper Library’s Glass colour spectrum will add freshness and tranquillity.

If you’ve been inspired to get creative with the colour green and need a blank canvas in the shape of a new home, get in touch for our available properties.

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Digging deep to add a basement

Much has been made of this year’s ‘race for space’, with home movers buying and selling to gain an extra bedroom, a bigger living area or a much-coveted home office. When you couple this with news that a detached house was the most popular property type bought by new home purchasers during the pandemic, it’s no surprise there is a big squeeze on space.

Many people buy a smaller property for its potential to extend but the traditional route is to go up – a two-storey extension or a loft conversion, for instance – but how about digging deep? It’s easy to assume that basement conversions are just for property high rollers, with A-list celebrities excavating to add a swimming pool, a home cinema or a gym complex, but can anyone add extra square footage by going underground? 

With land at a premium, basements are gaining in popularity as an extension option. If you are considering this route, a quick look at other houses like yours may give you a clue as to whether you’ll enjoy success – if the properties already have basements, your plans will start on a positive note. 

If you are not aware of a successful cellar conversion or basement excavation at neighbouring houses, you will need to work with a structural engineer and the local council on a feasibility study. They are likely to raise the following points:

  • The Party Wall Act: neighbours will need to be notified about any planned work as part of this Act, as it may involve underpinning their party walls and inserting beams into shared brickwork.
  • Permissions: your local planning officer and building control department will decide what’s possible and what will need planning permission.
  • Evaluation: every aspect of your home and land, from soil type and the water table to access and service pipework will need appraising as part of the planning stage. If you don’t understand what heave and hydrostatic pressure is – and how they can affect basement plans – consult with the professionals.

Don’t forget that creating a basement isn’t a run-of-the-mill building project. Going underground requires a team of experts, including structural engineers, surveyors, architects, excavators and waterproofing professionals. This basement guide, created by SWJ Consulting, is a good read for those who’d like more detail about what adding a basement involves.

The need for specialist skills brings us to the cost of creating or converting a basement, and this will vary according to what you have already. If you’re converting an existing cellar, costs can range between £900 to £1,400 per square metre. If your basement is brand new and requires excavating, expect to pay in excess of £1,500 and £2,000 per square metre.

It’s wise to contact everyone who needs to be on board for an estimate before getting too carried away. Ask about their availability too – the best trades can be booked up for months and demand may also mean their prices rise (as will a shortage in building materials).

So will a basement end up paying for itself? The answer is: possibly. For the shrewd property owners out there, basements may present a way of creating an additional income stream. Xcavate Robotics is a company that works with homeowners to establish whether they can squeeze additional underground properties onto their land, with the build taking place under their garden. 

Its subterranean construction system is capable of adding a lower ground floor below an existing structure, and it can even carve out an entire one-bedroom apartment beneath a lawn – perfect as a property that can be rented out, or as an annexe for multi-generational families.

Even if you’re not looking to become a landlord, adding a basement can add as much as 20% to your home’s value, reports the HomeOwners Alliance. Already have a cellar? Even converting somewhere dark, dingy and demoted to a dumping ground will increase your property’s worth.

Ask us for advice and examples if you’re looking to buy a property with basement potential. If the idea sounds like too much hassle and you’d prefer the work to have already been completed, we can find you a home with more space than you have now.

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Is the dining room dead?

What is your gut reaction when you view a property’s floorplan and see there is a space marked dining room? Are you one of those genial hosts who runs off to devise an eight-course tasting menu in anticipation of your first dinner party? Or do you instinctively think ‘waste of space’ as you’re more than happy with a TV dinner eaten off a tray?

Open plan living has pretty much killed off the dining room, with round tables, benches and breakfast bars initiating a much more informal approach to eating and drinking. The separate dining room has, however, been brought back from the brink of extinction in the last 17 months.

Now is a great time to re-evaluate your approach to this most formal of spaces, especially if you have resisted the urge to knock through and create one big open space, or are looking to buy a property with a separate dining room. Here are 5 ways to work a dining room into your property plans:-

  1.     No candelabra needed

If dining rooms conjure up images of mahogany tables, lead crystal glasses and a thin layer of dust, it’s time to find a fresh perspective. Opt for the most modern dining table and chairs you can find, be generous with lighting to keep the ambience upbeat and add vibrancy with brightly-coloured placemats, crockery and napkins (paper versions are perfect). 

  1.     Dual purpose room

If your main concern is that a dining room will be an underused space, give it two identities. Install floor-to-ceiling fitted shelves so the space provides storage or cover the table with wipe-clean cloth so it doubles as a crafting room.

  1.     Convert with a couch

If your dining room is generously proportioned, you could add a sofa so guests can relax with a drink before being called to the table. Even more space? Make that sofa a sofa bed and your dining room can double as an emergency guest room.

  1.     The new home office

Not every home will have a dedicated study or home office, so it’s no surprise that dining tables across the UK have been commandeered by home workers and studying students. After all – you can close the door of a dining room and join a Zoom meeting that isn’t disturbed by the bustle of an open plan kitchen. 

  1.     An excuse to entertain

Although formal meals account for a fraction of our time, retaining a dining room can be the gateway to some fantastic occasions with family and friends. Be liberal with your invitations, drop all airs and graces and don’t save your dining room ‘for best’. Sometimes the most memorable gatherings are over a take-away shared at the table – it’s the company that counts!

If you’re persuaded to find a new home with a dedicated dining room, let us match you with something where you can sit down to a feast. Got a property to sell? We can provide a free valuation and a snapshot of your local sales market, so get in touch.

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Window shopping: a quick guide to curtains & blinds

Curtains and blinds can often be an afterthought when furnishing a home but considering they play a role in privacy, retaining heat, blocking out light and keeping rooms cool, what you put up at your window deserves greater consideration.

If you’ve never given much thought to curtains and blinds, here’s our back-to-basics guide for choosing the right window dressing.

Types of curtains

Curtains can be hung on a pole or fixed to a track with hooks and the header finish will be dictated by what fixing you choose. When using a curtain pole, you can choose from tab, slot, eyelet and pleat top options, whereas tracks tend to only work with pleat top curtains. Curtain fabrics range from very sheer voiles through to heavyweight chenille and velvet, and can be held open when not in use by decorative tie backs.

Curtain length

The general rule of thumb is the longer the curtains, the more formal the look. Full length curtains and oversized panels that puddle on the floor add a sense of theatre and can give the illusion of height. If your window has a radiator below it, the curtains should finish 2-3cm above the radiator so that the heat isn’t blocked by the fabric.

Types of window blinds

Roman and roller blinds are available in a myriad of sizes and colours, and the fabric used can be moisture-resistant, making it suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. Vertical, wood and venetian blinds give a sleeker look, with slats that can be tilted to let in varying degrees of light. Most blinds come in no-drill options for uPVC windows, and can fit both inside and outside of a window recess.

Window blind safety

European legislation (EN13120) stipulates that window blinds are sold with child safety measures to reduce the risk of accidental strangulation or entanglement. Blinds must either have no accessible cords or be supplied with child safety devices, which must be fitted as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Shutters 

Gaining in popularity are plantation-style shutters, which can be made from real wood, wood composite or vinyl. The slats – also known as louvres – can be tilted to let in the desired amount of light, or the entire shutter can be opened to keep the window obstructed or closed fully for maximum shade. Styles include full height, tier-on-tier, café-stye and solid. 

Maintenance

Curtains can often be dry cleaned or even machine washed, so, are a good option if you like your fabrics to always smell fresh – or if sticky little fingers make a beeline for your windows. Slat blinds and plantation-style shutters can be dust traps but are easily wiped over with a damp cloth. For minimal maintenance, opt for roller or roman blinds.

Blocking out light

If the sun streams in at inconvenient times, consider curtains or blinds with a blackout lining or you could double layer – a roller blind mounted inside a window’s recess and curtains on the outside for optimum darkness. Black out window treatments can also reduce heat entering a room, and minimise UV sun damage to furniture and fabrics.

Thermal insulation

Expanses of glass can increase how chilly a room feels in winter, especially if the panes are single glazed. Thermal and insulated curtains can reduce draughts and stop heat loss, and their heavyweight composition provides a good degree of soundproofing and privacy too. Look out for interlined options, where an extra layer of fabric is sewn between the top fabric and the lining.

If you are looking to move home and need more advice about property, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Lifestyle Group 2

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.

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Lifestyle Group 2

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.

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Lifestyle Group 2

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.

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Lifestyle Group 2

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

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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. 

 

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Lifestyle Group 2

Ikea hacks for everyday items

Do you have grand furniture designs but a more modest budget? Do you dread the thought of having the same accessories as everyone else but don’t have the budget to buy high end? If this rings bells, you can achieve a very upscale look with a trip to Ikea and a few ‘hacks’ that are cropping up across the internet.

Furniture and accessory hacks are when you take a run-of-the-mill, boring or cheap item (you could turn to Argos or even a second hand furniture store instead of Ikea) and transform its aesthetic with a few bargain adaptations.

Types of hacks:

Hacks can be as quick and simple as painting a vase, or can involve a little more DIY skill for a total makeover. Here are the most common ways to change the look of an Ikea item:-

  • Repainting items to customise and match your interior design
  • Applying self-adhesive decorative film to a glass surface or panel
  • Adding skirting board and coving so a freestanding item looks built in
  • Removing, adding or changing doors
  • Replacing handles and legs
  • Adding mouldings, dowling or batons to a plain surface to add texture
  • Cutting out parts of doors and draw fronts and replacing with a different material
  • Wrapping items in raffia, string or rope to create a new look

If you like the hack idea but are not sure where to start, here’s our advice:-

Search Instagram: there are over 500,000 posts on this social media channel detailing Ikea hacks – simply search #ikeahack or #ikeahacks. The results are a combination of ‘reels’ – short step-by-step videos of how to undertake the hacks – and ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. You can also follow these search terms so your feed will always be full of novel ideas that are illustrated with photos and tutorials.

Visit YouTube: it’s a similar story on YouTube, where the search term ‘Ikea hacks’ produces thousands of results. The videos posted here are generally longer and more detailed than those on Instagram, making them the ideal choice for complete novices. Lone Fox and Liz Fenwick DIY both have some great suggestions for making everyday Ikea items look more bespoke than you thought possible.

Head to Etsy: there are multiple kits sold via this online retailer that make it super-easy to upscale Ikea furniture. The kits stocked on Etsy are sold for a particular item – including Malm, Besta, Ivar and Kallax – and the adaptations include vinyl self-adhesive decals and fretwork panels that can be glued on. Search Stickers Coloray, HomeArtStickers and TheUpScaleCollection for some stunning examples. 

Follow the interior magazines: even the stalwarts of home interior design have jumped on the Ikea hack bandwagon, and have gathered multiple ideas together in one place. There are 25 adaptations to try thanks to this Ideal Home feature and another 37 courtesy of House Beautiful. House & Garden has taken a different approach, offering a list of partner companies that will upgrade Ikea items on your behalf. 

Trawl the internet: you’ll find a myriad of sources just by typing ‘Ikea hacks’ into Google’s search bar. We like the advice and ideas from Houzz, the 30 hacks from Airtasker and the millions of photos posted to Pinterest

If you have success with an Ikea hack but feel your furniture would look better in a new home, contact us for a list of available properties.

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Lifestyle Group 2

Tenancy ending? Start the big spring clean

The big spring clean – is it an activity you undertake every year? While not everyone may perform a thorough clean every 12 months – we’re talking dusting behind radiators, scrubbing skirting boards and removing cobwebs from every corner – there are occasions when a little more attention goes a long way.

A clean break

End of tenancy cleans are of paramount importance for tenants, as it’s reported that rentals left in less than salubrious states are the biggest cause of deposit deductions. The mantra ‘leave your let as you found it’ should be adhered to, especially as the check-out clerk will compare the outgoing condition of the property against how it was documented on the day you moved in – a state of cleanliness usually backed up with photographic evidence in an inventory.

Before you pick up your bucket and bottle of bleach, check your tenancy agreement. Some landlords stipulate within the contract that a professional cleaning company should be instructed to undertake the end of tenancy deep clean, and tenants may be obliged to use a pre-selected firm.

DIY with a little elbow grease

If there is no obligation to use a professional cleaning service, tenants can perform their own end of tenancy deep clean – just don’t underestimate the hours and effort needed as every nook and cranny should receive some attention. If the job feels overwhelming, the tenant can instruct a company to undertake a specific end of tenancy deep clean on their behalf, although be sure to go on personal recommendations when finding a cleaner.

If you want to ensure your self-administered spring clean gives you the best chance of a full deposit refund, refer back to the inventory document and move-in checklist to refresh your memory with regards to marks, stains and areas of grime. If you can’t find these documents, do ask your letting agent for a copy.

You’ve missed a bit

An end of tenancy deep clean needs to be thorough and methodical, so start with a super critical eye. Dusting, polishing, mopping and vacuuming is the very minimum and don’t fall into the trap of concentrating on everything that’s at eye level. All corners, behind tall appliances, high shelves and plug sockets will need attention.

Of particular importance are carpets, ovens and grills, louvered blinds, white goods and bathroom/kitchen areas that may have seen a build-up of dust, limescale or mould. Anything that wasn’t there on move-in day – but is visible at the end – needs cleaning or removing. 

In addition, cupboards, wardrobes, storage units and drawers should all be clean and free of everything – down to the last crumb. Plus, don’t forget the windows (inside and out) will need cleaning, and any garden areas/outbuildings must be emptied and tidied.

Marketing a property

In addition to the end of a tenancy, a really good spring clean can work wonders if your property is going on the market soon. A clean and clutter free home will always look better when photographed as well as in the flesh for viewings. Follow the above advice and you won’t be disappointed with the end result.

We’re happy to answer all your property questions, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

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Your guide: choosing a vase

Botanical is a big trend for 2021 and displaying blooms inside is an instant way of bringing the outside in. More than just a connection with nature, however, flowers have long been used to sell or let a property – to add a splash of colour, perfume a room and provide a focal point when marketing photographs are being taken.

From bunches of fresh cut flowers to the most convincing of faux foliage, every stem will need support in the form of a vase and the vessel itself can also provide a style statement. Here’s your quick guide to vases and creating striking displays.

Matching the vase to the flowers

The advice from Interflora is easy to follow – the length of the flower stems should be no more than one and a half to two times the height of your selected vase. Don’t be put off by the length of stems when you buy your flowers – some of the best displays are in small, squat vases where the stems have been drastically clipped short.

Also take into consideration how many stems you have – a generous bunch will need a vase with a wide neck so the flowers aren’t damaged, while a small number of willowy stems will need the support of a narrow-necked vase. Extra support can be added by placing some pebbles or decorative stones at the bottom of the vase and pushing the stems in the gaps.

Vase shapes

A vast array of different sizes and styles of vase now line supermarket and homeware shelves but they are loosely based on four classic shapes – column, hourglass, round and rectangular. You can also buy bud vases, which are much smaller with narrow necks designed especially for holding a single stem. There is no right or wrong choice – select what suits your taste, decor or budget.

Materials & finishes

Glass and ceramic are the most common materials for vases to be made of – chosen for their ability to be moulded into different shapes, tinted, painted and textured. As well as not being porous, glass and ceramic are easy to clean – essential as vases can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can impair the life of flowers.

Making your blooms last longer

The beauty of a bunch of flowers is its relative cheapness and ability to instantly change the mood of a room. That said, there are hints and tips to extend the life of your blooms – even if they’re a £1 bunch of daffodils or a mix of free flowers cut from your own garden. Florists recommend:-

  • Cutting stems at a 45 degree angle before placing them in water
  • Changing the water in a vase every two days
  • Stripping the lower part of each stem so there are no leaves below the water line
  • Removing fading or dead blooms swiftly
  • Placing vases in cool spots out of direct sunlight
  • Keeping vases away from bowls of fruit as the ethylene gas emitted can cause flowers to wilt
  • Always adding the supplied sachet of flower food
  • Moving filled vases to a fridge overnight, if possible

Hit and miss hacks

Old wives’ tales for extending the life of flowers include adding some weird and wonderful things to the water (aspirin, lemonade, vodka, sugar, vinegar and even bleach) but there is no scientific evidence that these work, so they are best avoided. Dropping a penny into the vase, however, has some grounding in science as copper acts as a fungicide.

If you’d like to discover additional ways of making your home look appealing when it’s on the market, get in touch for advice.