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Bathroom 7 Ways To Keep It Fresh


Bathroom 7 ways to keep it fresh. It’s a constant battle against dirt and grime.

But are there any extra tips that will help you to keep things feeling fresh in-between those regular cleaning sessions?

Of course, and in today’s post you’ll find out the top seven…

Throw out the curtains

Shower curtains are constantly subjected to a lot of moisture and are rarely dried properly. They’re a breeding ground for bacteria and mould.

So it’s much better to swap them for a simple, modern shower screen (such as those here) which can be wiped clean after every use.

Get yourself a window cleaners squidgy too to prevent limescale building up on the screen.  You won’t have to keep replacing them and the large glass panes will make the room seem bigger.

Window curtains in shower rooms can also wind up mouldy, so swapping these for easy-to-clean blinds will keep the room feeling fresher.

Stick to white where possible

Whether you opt for new tiles or simply re-paint your walls.

Using white and other pale tones instantly makes a space look clean and fresh when you walk in. Plus, it will never date.

And you can simply change the theme by swapping the accessories and colour highlights as your taste changes.

Plenty of plants

There are tonnes of benefits to using plants in your bathroom. Many varieties thrive in moist environments, and they give off more oxygen whilst removing toxins from the air. Freshly cut flowers also give off a wonderful fresh scent to impress visitors.

Re-think the soap

Not only can hard soap leave a gunky mess that dries to the countertop, but soap dishes can also harbour bacteria. Opt for a sweet-smelling liquid soap instead which has anti-bacterial properties, and they’ll be no more mess every time you wash your hands. Attach a wall mounted soap dispenser and your cleaning job will be greatly simplified.

Have ample storage in your bathroom

The better the storage solutions you have and the more you try to keep order, the less spillages you’ll have. Plus, if you have dozens of products out, it can make those crowded areas more difficult to clean and you can get dust build-ups fast.

Use tiered storage to make the most of vertical space and reduce the amount of clutter. Have a good clear out too. Why are you holding onto those old fashioned talcs, creams and hair products that no one has and ever will use? Get rid of them and just keep the products you use regularly.

If you don’t use a pot, tube or gel every day tidy it away into a drawer or cupboard. Store similar products together in a container so it is easy to find and access what you need. Even if you don’t have the storage to put them out of site, putting htem in a container will amke your bathroom appear tidier adn make it easier for you to move things when you clean.

bathroom fresh
Store Similar Products in Containers

In the Bathroom Ventilation is vital

Showers and baths produce a lot of steam, which often settles on the walls to form condensation, which in turn can lead to a mould problem. Proper ventilation can prevent this, so if you have a bathroom window, always open it after the use of cleaning products, chemicals or the shower.

If you don’t have a window, remember to install an extractor fan and regularly clean it. Although this may seem like a big job it is essential. A damp bathroom will always be unpleasant, dirty and unhygienic.

Do away with bathroom air fresheners

If you think that by spritzing an air freshener that you’re cleaning an area, you’d be wrong – that smell quickly sinks to the floor and is gone within minutes. Instead, buy essential oils and reed diffusers, which will emit a fresh scent constantly throughout the day.



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Prevent Damp in your home

Prevent Damp

Prevent damp helps to keep your house dry, warm, and free of mould.

Keep it as watertight as possible.

First of all there are a few areas where water can enter your house.

Likewise its important to understand what these areas are.

Above all checks can be done to ensure all is as it should be.

Prevent Damp make External Checks

First of all check your external walls, check for any of the following:

  • First of all are the windows and window frames in good condition?
  • Another sign of rot in wooden windows is gaps around the frames.
  • These could be letting in cold air and damp.
  • Also mortar in brickwork – is it up to scratch?
  • Because mortar joints should not have pieces missing .
  • So this can cause structural weaknesses and penetrating damp.
  • Furthermore does your property have a damp proof course and is it working effectively?
  • Look for a line of plastic in the mortar joint about 150mm above you external ground level.
  • In older buildings this could be a line of bitumen or even slate.
  • Certainly check if any air bricks blocked?
  • Look for bricks with holes in them placed at about 150mm above the external ground level.
  • They should be free from blockages and obstructions to allow air movement through them.


  • First of all are your gutters blocked or broken?
  • Furthermore leaves and debris can collect in gutters causing them to block.
  • Once blocked water overflows and runs down walls.
  • Likewise this creates moss and algae and possibly internal damp patches.
  • Do you have any missing, broken or out of place tiles?
  • Above all check your roof for tiles that may have been pulled of by heavy winds.
  • Is the chimney and its surround in good condition?
  • Flashing around the chimney should be sealed into the chimney and flat over the tiles.
  • Any lifting or damaged flashing should be replaced immediately to stop roof leaks.

It’s also important to be aware that if you have any climbing plants on your house.

They could be hiding some of the above problems.

Finally roots of trees near your home may be damaging your foundations and damp proof courses.

Prevent Damp do Internal Checks

  • Check windows and walls for condensation.
  • Normally you see water drops on windows or cold surfaces.
  • In severe cases you may even experience black mould in places.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms are areas where condensation is most likely to form.
  • Which is due to cooking washing and drying of clothes.
  • If you spot condensation take positive steps to control this.
  • This can be done by installing ventilation systems to control the relative humidity.
  • And using anti mould products to remove mould could stop it occurring again.
  • Is all your plumbing in good condition?
  • Is there any damage or visible cracks or leaks around sinks or toilets?
  • Damp patches across floors and on walls can be leaking or damaged pipes.
  • Damp patches will look like dark areas on walls, floors and even ceilings.
  • Often once the leak has been rectified the damp patch will disappear.
  • If you have had the leak for a long time this may have caused rot within timber.
  • That will require remedial treatment by a professional.


Finally if you spot any problems take steps to dry out the damp quickly.
Where they is any doubt talk to a

Prevent Damp

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Protect yourself from 4 common dangers during DIY

Protect yourself If you’re a keen DIY hobbyist.

Then chances are you’ll think nothing of touching up some paint, staining wood, or sanding a rough door jamb. On the surface, these can seem like low-risk tasks.

But even little jobs can be surprisingly dangerous.

Especially if you’re used to doing them and have stopped taking the right precautions before you pick up tools.

Some of the biggest risks come in the form of deceptively easy tasks.

And even the most experienced handyman can be caught out.

I am going to talk about four home DIY hazards that you might overlook.

And what you can do to keep yourself safe.

Just keep reading to learn more.

Protect yourself from dust and respiratory irritants

All sorts of DIY tasks, from removing tiles to stripping carpets can produce clouds of dust.

While this is fine in small concentrations, high volumes of inhalable matter can seriously irritate the lungs and airways.

Cutting and sanding jobs can be particularly hazardous.

Furthermore when working with wood, MDF, and plywood, it is so important to make sure your workspace is ventilated.

You should always carry out any sanding or cutting work outside, or in an airy garage with open doors.

If this isn’t possible, then you’ll need to find other ways of ensuring your workspace is properly ventilated.

Open as many windows and doors as possible and use a portable fan to help vent matter out of the room.

It is also a good idea to wear a respirator designed for cutting and sanding work.

If you’ve got a ventilation system in your home or an air conditioner of any kind.

Above all you will also need to be extra-careful these don’t become clogged with dust.

As these will circulate harmful matter around your living space when you next switch them on.

If using a portable unit, put it in a different room while you work.

And if not, switch it off and cover the vents with thick paper and masking tape.

This will stop any dust from getting inside.

Protect with a Mask
A Vapour & Particulate Respirator

Protect when using white spirits and paint strippers

Paint strippers contain potent chemicals called methylene chloride, which consequently allow them to break down solvents.

While this can be very useful when you need to strip furniture or doors for repainting.

As a result it also means they can be hazardous to the lungs and skin if used without the proper precautions.

When using these products, you should always wear clothing that covers the arms and wrists.

Because in case of splashes or spillages you must protect your hands with a pair of chemically resistant gloves designed for use with your paint stripper.

White spirits and strippers also produce fumes that can cause dizziness, nausea when inhaled.

So, you’ll need to make sure that your work area is properly ventilated during use and give yourself regular breaks to allow the fumes to disperse.

After finishing, you should always make sure that you reseal your white spirits and paint strippers securely to prevent any leaks or fumes escaping and store them in a cool, dark place.

If there’s any risk that children might be able to access them, then it’s sensible to keep them in a securely locked box or cabinet in an out of the way place, like the garage.

Protect when repairing electricals

Repairing electrical appliances or rewiring your home can be extremely dangerous.

As a result you’ll need to be particularly confident that you know what you’re doing.

During repairs, you should always wear insulated safety gloves.

And preferably a pair of rubber-soled boots designed for electrical work.

While not a failsafe form of protection they’ll offer an extra layer of insulation should something go wrong.

Electrical repairs can be complex, and there are lots of things you’ll need to bear in mind.

Sso take a look at Electrical Safety First’s guide for DIYers to learn more.

Once you’ve finished your repairs, it’s vital you make sure that your work is sound.

Improperly repaired electricals will continue to be a danger to you and anyone who comes into contact with them, so if you’re not completely confident that your handiwork is up to scratch, call a professional for a second opinion. Even if you need to fork out for repairs, it’s much better than causing an accident or leaving a potentially dangerous appliance to injure those around you.

Painting and Staining

Most of us think nothing of touching up some cracked paintwork or staining a bit of damaged garden furniture. But, nearly all paints and stains contain solvents, which can cause irritation and even burns, so you should always make sure you’re wearing adequate protection — even for small jobs.

Long sleeves, thick work trousers or jeans, and shoes that will protect the feet from splashes and spillages are essential during this sort of work, so make sure you’re fully suited and booted before you pick up tools.

Many people avoid wearing gloves during painting and staining work because they think it will hinder their accuracy with the brush, but there are lots of gloves on the market that will protect your skin without compromising your dexterity.

A pair of well-fitted latex or nitrile gloves will prevent any skin irritation, and you’ll still be able to apply the paint or stain accurately. It’s also important to ensure you apply these products in a well-ventilated area: if you’re working in a space where opening the windows isn’t possible, then wear a respirator and take regular breaks to allow the fumes to disperse.

Even if you’re an old hand at DIY, you should always be on your guard for potential hazards.

Remember, if don’t think you have the correct tools or PPE to handle a job safely, then it’s always a smart move to call in a professional — after all, it’s better than risking an accident or paying a small fortune to fix sloppy repairs.

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Garage Storage Ideas 11 Ways To Keep Your Tools Organized

Garage Storage Ideas For Tools

Cabinets aren’t the only type of storage device you can build to deposit all your mechanic tools and household items. Tools just can’t lie around. While with new household equipment pouring in from fix after fix, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a room to simply stock everything. Therefore make the best use out of your space with these do-it-yourself garage storage ideas and maximize what you can do with the entire area–without having to spend so much as a few bucks!

Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

Because back when I was still starting out on woodworking and other DIY projects, my tools had no place to go. For instance they were just lying on the table, or on the ground, and sometimes, in the weirdest places, like the kitchen drawer. It took me quite a while to sort out and find ways to store my tools inside the garage. Also when I say that these storage ideas that I am about to show you really work and they can do wonders for your storage needs. Here are several garage storage ideas that you can use!

1. Overhead Storage

Overhead Storage | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

Above all suspended shelving might just be for you if you’re planning to make use of every square foot of your garage. Normally used for tools not commonly used, shelves positioned overhead may accommodate those looking for better space.SALE

2. Mounted Wall Rails

Mounted Wall Rails | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

First of all overhead storage may keep your bigger, less commonly-used tools stocked, but tools that are smaller need a more accessible and organized type of storage space. Hence a cost-effective and easy way of storing your commonly-used small tools, you may opt for mounted wall rails.

3. Hanging Jars

Hanging Jars | Garage Storage for Tools

Maybe a more creative and cost-efficient storage of small materials such as nails, bits, and screws, could use simple household materials to create hanging jars. Certainly they are easy to make, they are easy to utilize as well, allowing easy access to the smallest tools of your DIY arsenal.

4. Tire Racks

Tire Racks | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

If you have spare tires that litter around your garage, making tire racks will perhaps be the most beneficial way to go for you, saving space that you can use for more cabinets and shelves.

5. Shelves

Shelves | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized for Tools

Shelves, shelves, good ole shelves. Because they never grow out of fashion for their obvious usability and ease-of-use. If you’re not too worried about space on the ground, a shelf is always an option.

6. Coat Hooks

Coat Hooks | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized For Tools

Likewise coat hooks aren’t just for coats. Hence spare bags or dirty rags can be neatly arranged on coat hooks too. Coat hooks can give your garage not just a more usable space, but a nifty aesthetic feel as well.

7. Re-purpose

Re-purpose | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

Because the best (and most enjoyable) idea among these garage storage ideas would be to repurpose old, unused things at home to build your own garage storage device. Old plaster boards and unused hooks are great materials to use when making shelves, cabinets, or even vertical storage.

8. Jumbo Tape Dispenser

Jumbo Tape Dispenser | 11 Awesome Garage Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

Remember those tape dispensers that you had lying around on your desk? Well, you can create your own tape dispenser for your garage! Think of it as an awesome way to keep track of where your tapes are and how much of them are left.

9. Suspending sliding Storage System

Suspending sliding storage system | 11 Awesome Storage Ideas To Keep Your Tools Organized

Think of them as overhead drawers, if you will. A sliding storage system, like this one, can keep a lot of tools organized without taking up too much space. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to deal with cluttered boxes of stored tools, right? This suspending storage system is a must-have for every DIY enthusiast. Just make sure that the containers are durable and sturdy.

10. The Screwdriver Coat Rack

Screwdriver Coat Rack

DIY enthusiasts know what it’s like to lose a couple of screwdrivers, especially when you need them for certain projects. I can no longer count how many screwdrivers have come and gone inside my workshop. Either the magical screwdriver fairy took them away or I have a bad habit of forgetting Where I placed them. This screwdriver coat rack is going to help you keep your screwdrivers together while saving tons of shelf and drawer space.

11. Truss Shelves

Truss Shelves

This is an amazing way to store tools because it not only serves its purpose, but it also adds a dash of minimalism to your garage. The slanting design of truss shelves allows you to store your items without the shelves looking like a complete eyesore. Think of it as a pyramid. You can sort out your most commonly used tools by placing them on the bottom shelf and the least used tools on the top.

To help you out with organizing your tools, I suggest you list down everything beforehand. This will help you decide on which of these garage storage ideas would be best for them. Did we miss out on any garage storage ideas? Tell us in the comment section below.


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Clean and Deodorize your Microwave


Clean and deodorize your microwave. Because if you are like many people out there, you don’t really think about cleaning your microwave all that often, I mean, the radiation probably keeps it clean and sterile right? First of all the radiation will kill bacteria if left on long enough. Microwaves do not cook via radiation directly. Because the radiation they produce only affects water molecules in the food you are defrosting or heating. The heat is what actually kills bacteriFinally microwaves are an effective way to kill bacteria but only if the items in the microwave heat evenly and you leave them in long enough to be very hot.

What if you only gently reheat a drink? Because the microwaves will be drawn to the high water content in the drink not the bacteria hanging from the crusty dirt on the inside of your machine. It only takes a tiny crumb coated with bacteria to fall into your mug. Because you only gently reheating the drink rather than boiling it the temperature will not be hot enough to the kill the bacteria.

So you do need to keep your microwave clean and these are the best ways to do this.

So how can you get your microwave really sparkling clean?

For instance the first thing you need to do is take out that rotating glass plate that collects the majority of the spills. Because this is usually the piece people clean regularly as it usually fits into the dishwasher. Wash with warm soapy water like you would with any other plate.

Clean your microwave with baking soda

Grab a microwavable bowl of warm water and mix it with 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Pop this in the microwave and turn it on for three to six minutes. When you hear the microwave ding, leave it in there for another minute or so and let the steam fill the microwave.

Next, grab a clean sponge and start scrubbing. The steam will have loosened the spills and dried up food. Furthermore, by using baking soda, you will have absorbed lots of the odour that was lingering inside.

Clean your oven with vinegar

Many people swear by vinegar as the only method, as they feel it is better for removing grease. Pour about 250ml of vinegar and 250ml of water into a microwavable bowl. You need to boil this longer than the baking soda method, between 5 and 10 minutes should do it. This will allow the steam to soften the spills, splashes and food. Grab your sponge and the grime should come off with ease.

Benefits of using white vinegar:

  • No hidden chemicals
  • It’s cheap
  • Removes odours rather than covers them up
  • The acetic acids in the vinegar sanitise and deodorise your microwave.

Cleaning the all important microwave door

No matter which of these methods you use, you will need to clean the door in and out. Your basic glass cleaner should do the job, (it works on the inside too) as either of the methods will have loosened any dried food. Add a little vinegar if you wish and some elbow grease and your microwave will look spick and span.

Good cleaning habits

In the future, dry and wipe away spills quickly after they happen, otherwise they will continue to cook and will become more and more stubborn to remove.

Disposing of your microwave:

As a microwave is a hazardous substance it will need to be recycled rather than just thrown away.

  • Contact a local recycling centre to see what they accept.
  • Contact your local council who may come and collect it for you
  • Some electrical shops will allow you to drop it off for recycling

Killing Bacteria

The good news is that you can use your microwave to disinfect kitchen clothes and washing brushes. Because of the items they come into contact with combined with being wet, they are havens for bacteria. If you wet these items and microwave them for a couple of minutes you will be killing virtually all the bacteria on them!

Spring gardening tips

Check out these gardening products on our ebay shop.

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Handles updating the easy way

Handles are everywhere in our homes. They are visible, obviously! so they have an impact on the look and feel of our homes. We don’t get to choose the handles on most of our furniture so we can end up with ones that we don’t particularly like or that don’t complement the design scheme of the rest of the room.

In addition, handles are tactile, we touch them several times a day and they leave an impression on us; do they feel smooth, cold, sturdy or warm? Does this impression leave us with a positive experience? Does a grubby handle remind you that you really need to do a long overdue spring clean for example? Do old-fashioned or tarnished handles take the shine off an otherwise lovely room?

These days you don’t have to be stuck with handles that you don’t love. Handles are now very affordable and easy to buy online so what are you waiting for? Replace any old or ugly handles with something better and instantly refresh your home.

Clean and Touchup

First of all, you should make sure the surface of the cupboard doors look neat and tidy, you should give them a good clean with something like a cream cleaner or a degreaser. This will fetch off most marks and stains, using an old toothbrush will make this task easier and more effective.

Next, you should touch up any chips or large scratches. Use paint, nail varnish, markers or anything you have to hand. Nail varnish is great for high gloss or plastic surfaces. Strong coffee works well to hide scratches on wood, wood veneer or wood effect surfaces as it can stain the underlying material in a similar colour to the top surface.

Cupboard Handles

Everyone becomes bored with their decor now and again. You can freshen up a room and make it interesting again without having to change the large and expensive elements like furniture and flooring. It is also not very environmentally friendly to throw out chests of draws or kitchen cupboard doors when they are in perfectly good condition. Why not freshen them up instead?

First of all, follow our cleaning and touch up instructions (above). The simplest way to freshen the furniture is to replace the handles. Carefully remove the existing cupboard or drawer handles. Keep all the internal parts and fixings, screws and washers and tape them together – take them to a charity shop, don’t throw them away! Replace them with ones that are different colour or style to the originals.

You can buy replacements very cheaply. You can find a website with a good range of cupboard handles easily online. We like the range at the Handle King, there are a mix of materials (brass, aluminium, stainless steel), colours (matte black, copper, polished/satin chrome) and styles (traditional and contemporary) so you can select a style that you love but is different to what you have grown tired of. One of our likes is the Copper Cup and Brass Victorian Bow handles but there is also a great range of modern handles for under a pound each. We tried a couple of these handles out.

Polished Copper Handles

Polished copper handles
Polished copper handles

We were instantly attracted to the ‘polished copper finish’ handle. We hadn’t seen any before with this finish. Brass is, well brassy, and very old-fashioned, however, the copper finish is much softer and warmer with pink tones. As a result, it is much more modern and softer on the eye. The handles would fit in with lots of contemporary as well as shabby chic design schemes. We loved these handles. They looked great on the bathroom cupboard we tried them on. We replaced the old knobs so we only had to drill one hole for each new handle as we re-used the existing hole. They are very sturdy and solid and easy to grip. They bring the unit bang up to date and make it look really stylish.

Matte Black metal handles

These handles are well made, feel strong and appear durable. Although the design is simple they are good looking and fitted securely on our kitchen cupboards. The matte black colour is unusually tasteful and sophisticated. They would look great in a contemporary loft space or office. We also think they would be brilliant in a farm style kitchen or Scandinavian inspired room too.

Matte black cupboard handles
Matte black cupboard handles

Fitting Tips

When you choose a new handle think about the existing holes in your furniture. Will your new handles use the same holes? If not how will you hide or cover the old ones? For the best (and easiest) finish choose a handle that can reuse existing holes or that will cover up redundant holes.

Most handles simply screw in place by hand or need a simple tool like a screwdriver or allen key. Although Handle King supplied screws needed to fix the handles, not all suppliers do. If this is the case make sure you go to a good hardware shop and buy matching screws. Then all you need to do is step back and enjoy the updated look of your cupboards or chest of drawers.

Protect yourself in your home and workshop

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Money-saving 5 Inspiring Tips for Home Renovation Projects

Money saving tips for home renovation projects.

So is your kitchen looking tired and dated? Are you dreaming of a plush new bedroom? Or do you wish you could install a sparkling new bathroom? Because if you’re itching to update your home don’t let the cost put you off. Finally with some smart shopping, a bit of elbow grease. It is possible to renovate almost any room in your home without breaking the bank.

In this article, we’ve shared five money-saving tips that will give your home a new lease of life. Without the hefty price tag that often accompanies a major renovation project. Just read on to learn how you can transform your home on a budget.

Money devise a budget, and stick to it

Before you begin, you’ll need to work out your budget. Because this will dictate everything from how much you can spend on new fittings and materials. To how much work you’ll need to do yourself. So it’s vital to get an accurate estimate of what you can afford to spend.

Therefore to get started, write a plan of every change you want to make (no matter how minor). Set about finding out how much each step of the process is likely to cost. Remember, many contractors and tradespeople will offer a no-obligation estimate of their costs. So take advantage of this and get an idea of what you’ll need to spend on labour. Finally you can learn more about finding a trustworthy tradesperson for a fair price using this guide from Citizens Advice.

For instance wherever possible, you’ll also want to stick to a cash budget. Because paying for renovations on finance or using credit cards could quickly mean that interest charges spiral. Remember, even with the best planning, there’s always a chance that your project will run over budget. So it’s always sensible to build in some wiggle room in case of unexpected expenses. As a result even if you don’t need to dip into your reserve fund, it will still give you peace of mind to know that it’s there.

Money keep features and reuse materials wherever you can

It’s often possible to avoid some of the more expensive jobs simply by updating the features you already have. For instance, some new handles and a lick of fresh paint or a new stain might be all you need. To elevate the look of those dated kitchen cabinets. Or, you might be able keep the same units and simply fit new cupboard doors. Be inventive, and try to keep your existing fittings and features wherever you can.

money saving
Recycle & Create a Feature

You’ll also want to think very carefully before you throw anything away. As many offcuts and scrap materials can be re-used. With a little creativity, you’ll find that all sorts of odds and ends can be repurposed. For instance, any cut-offs from your new wooden worktops can be sanded, polished. Then mounted on a wall to create stylish freestanding shelves. Curbing waste will also help to keep disposal costs to a minimum. As you’ll have less to throw in the skip or take to the tip.

Save on transport, delivery, and disposal costs

Refurbishments can generate a lot of waste, and disposing of it all can be surprisingly costly. So, wherever possible, try to find alternative ways of dealing with any rubbish. Old furniture can often be donated to charity, and lots of organisations will even collect it from your home free of charge.

Many people also opt to take their rubbish to the tip themselves. To make dealing with waste more affordable, a trailer, can help you take any rubbish straight to the tip as and when you need to, so it’s great if you don’t have the cash — or the space — to hire a skip.

“A trailer also offers more space for bulky items than the car boot, so it’s great if you want to pick up new pieces from salvage yards, or save money on delivery costs by collecting new furniture in person. It can also be a lifesaver if you need to stock up on DIY supplies mid-renovation, like power tools or lumber.”

Don’t be intimidated by DIY

Labour costs will account for a huge portion of your budget. So, where ever possible, keep costs down by tackling renovations yourself. There are wealth of online resources you can use to build up your DIY skills, so take a look at our techniques section to brush up on the basics. Becoming a dab hand at DIY projects won’t just save you money during your renovation: it will also come in handy should you need to solve any issues further down the line, meaning you’ll save even more cash in the long term.

For any complex work you’re not fully confident with, such as plumbing or rewiring, enlist the help of a local tradesperson (just be sure to get a quote first, and shop around to find the lowest price).  Then, carry out any cleaning, re-plastering, or paint touch-ups needed to finish the job.

Go bargain-hunting at salvage yards

If you’re in the habit of browsing pricey catalogue and interior design magazines for inspiration, but can’t match the hefty price tags, try shopping for materials and fittings second hand, instead.

money saving
Bag Yourself a Salvage Yard Bargain

Reclamation yards and antique shops are often treasure-troves of unique pieces, and you can find everything from tiles to kitchen sinks for a fraction of the cost of brand new versions. Remember, if you find a piece at a salvage yard that’s in a need of a little TLC, it’s often easy enough to give them a new lease of life. Wooden furniture can be re-stained or re-painted, while a good clean and polish will often refresh ceramics or metallic fittings. That vintage, reclaimed look is very fashionable right now, so you can be sure that it will give your home an on-trend feel, too.

With creativity, hard-work, and good planning, updating your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Take our tips on board, and you’ll be well on your way to your dream home.

Damp how to conquer it.

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Skirting Boards

Skirting boards, we all have them but how do we upgrade or look after them.

As we have begun to decorate we are realising that it is all about good quality small touches. Because these make the difference; lighting, door handles, taps and skirting boards.

These things can easily be overlooked for flashy pictures and big items like sofas. However, they are the bits of your decor that you really notice. Furthermore you often touch too so the quality (or lack thereof) can’t be missed.

Since we have never written an article on skirting boards I thought I would share what I have learned with you. First of all skirting boards do several things. They protect the wall from kicks, bumps and scratches. They tidy up untidy edgings and they add to the style of your room.


You may have come across the term ‘Architrave’. It is similar to a skirting board but not quite the same. It is the wood or moulding that is used to frame doorways. You should try to match up the shape of your architrave and skirting boards to create a cohesive flow.


Skirting Boards and Architrave come in a variety of profiles. They can be a simple like a plank of woo. Or be shaped and moulded into various designs and styles. There aren’t any standard terms for skirting board shapes. But you can get an idea of the range of shapes available from any good skirting board retailer.

Skirting Board Tools

skirting board tools
A Mitre Saw

As with any DIY job, to get a good result you need to have the right tools. Skirting boards last a long time so you need to fit them right. If you can’t afford to buy the right tools then borrow or hire them. If that is not possible then you are best paying a carpenter to do the job for you.

To fit skirting boards well you need to be able to cut exact lengths of wood cleanly. Doing this with a hand saw is nearly impossible so you really need a ‘mitre saw’. These tools have circular blades mounted in a handle that you can move up and down over a fixed plate. The fixed plate will have various attachments to help you fix the wood in place. So you can measure exact angles before cutting. Professional mitre saws are expensive but can pick up a basic domestic version for about £60.

Obviously, this tool can be dangerous if you don’t operate it carefully. You should always read the manual before you operate it. It is also a good idea to practice making some cuts on spare wood before you start. So you can be confident of obtaining clean precise cuts safely. Although the saw looks quite intimidating, because the blade is fixed in a housing. You can secure the wood before cutting. It is actually much safer than using a hand saw or axel grinder. So use some care but don’t be put off.


Precise measurements are essential. You will need a good tape measure and sharp pencil for marking out the wood and floor. It will be hard to measure accurate lengths on your own. So a second person to secure the measure at one end while you work at the other is ideal.

For an external corner, you should push your skirting board against a wall. Then run your pencil along its edge at the corner and past the wall edge. Do the same on the other wall and where the lines cross is where your skirting boards should be cut.

Measure your boards carefully and then use the mitre saw to cut a 45-degree angle. For internal corners, the process can be more complex and you may need to ‘scribe’ or use a ‘profile gauge’ to get a good fit. The video below is a comprehensive guide to the more complex techniques.

Skirting Board Scribing

This a technique for getting skirting boards to joint securely and neatly or fitting the skirting over imperfections in the flooring. It is much better to understand this technique with imagery. The video below is only a couple of minutes long and explains the process simply.

Skirting Board Fixings

If you have modern, flat plastered walls then you can use wood glue to fix your skirting board. This is a simple and fast way to fit your carefully measured and cut skirting boards.  Apply the glue to the reverse side of the boards in a zig-zag pattern. After fixing to the wall carefully wipe off any excess glue. You will need to hold the boards in place with weights or heavy furniture while the glue dries.

In some cases, you may not wish to use glue or your walls might be uneven making glueing impossible. Then you will need to nail or screw the skirting boards into the wall. If you have stud walls use a stud finder to work out where the wood supports are. Then connect your skirting boards to the wood rather than trying to nail or screw them to the plasterboard.

It can be helpful to drill pilot holes into the skirting board planks before you place them against the wall and fix them in place.  Note that if you use nails or screws you will need to fill or paint the boards afterwards to hide the fixings.


You will need to use a wood filler to finish off the job. All your corners will probably need to be filled. No matter how carefully you measured and cut – imperfections in your floor, walls and the wood planks will mean there are gaps where the skirting board should meet.

There will also probably be gaps at the top between the skirting board and wall. And maybe between the floor and skirting too. It is best to carefully fill these gaps when you fit the boards. If you don’t the skirting will look messy and the gaps will accumulate dirt over time.


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Modern Veneers

modern veneers

Modern Veneers used to be a dirty term. However, over the last 20 years, materials and printing have changed. They can create hardwearing surfaces. Fast to achieve, cheap and the effect looks natural.

Modern Veneers as Worktop Covers

Plastic veneer comes in a range of colours and patterns. It is basically sticky back plastic on a huge scale.

This type of veneer covers old fashioned or damaged worktops. Kitchen worktops can be refreshed and bathrooms updated. These veneers won’t last foreverthough.

But they can transform a room for years. Meanwhile you can save to replace the entire worktop. A cheap way to make a room sparkle. Especially if you are trying to sell or rent a property.

Application is easy but take your time. Avoid getting air bubbles under the veneer. Use a length of wood or rubber spatula to flatten the veneer. Then slowly peel off the backing. Using the wood to flatten the veneer as you peel. Or you will end up with an uneven finish.

Modern Veneers as Brick Slips

Exposed brick walls are a real design feature. However in plasterboarded new builds they don’t exist. You could bring in real bricks to create the effect. But it is expensive, messy and will eat up space. You can buy ‘Brick Slips‘ to create a brick effect easily and cheaply.

modern veneers
This Rustic Kitchen was created with Brick Slips

On a terrace or a garden choose a UV resistant tile. The tiles are made from hardwearing plastic backing with real slices of cement stuck to them. They look good from close-up and they also feel real.

To fit the tiles, clean the wall removing all grease and dust. Use a strong tile cement that is suitable for exterior spaces. Especially if you are working in a garden or on a terrace.

Use 10mm tile spacers between the tiles. Once your tile cement has dried you can grout or cement between the slips. Note that grouting or pointing takes time. It adds to the finished effect so take your time and do small sections. Rather than trying to rush and complete the whole wall in one go.

Modern Veneers as PVC Bathroom Cladding

There was a time when tiles were the option for wet steamy bathrooms. There is now a large range of bathroom panels available. If fitted correctly they are waterproof and easy to clean. They come in large sheets so there is very little cutting, joining or sealing compared to tiling. Easy to fit over existing tiles. Or used to cover non-waterproof surfaces like plasterboard. The tiles come in a range of designs and effect. These can be tile effect, high gloss colours, glitter finishes and printed images.

Use a quality adhesive to glue the panels to the wall. But you need to invest in quality corner pieces and joints. This will ensure that the joints are neat and waterproof. You can buy these with your shower panels.

Shower panels do work out cheaper than tiles. But the biggest saving is the time taken to fit and finish. Shower panels are fast to fit and need little skill. Tiles take time and skill to get neat edges around sockets, sinks and toilets. You then also need to grout and clean the tiles.


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Pizza Oven How to Build in Your Garden

pizza oven

Pizza, nearly everyone likes them. They are easy to make and easy to customise and can be tailored to any particular taste no matter how fussy you are. As a result garden pizza ovens are becoming more popular. Because you can buy basic complete units for your garden for £800 (makes one pizza at a time) but prices rise quite quickly for larger and more ornate models. Surprisingly ‘build your own kits’ are even more expensive.

At these prices you are going to have to be eating pizza for every meal all year to get your money’s worth. As a result a better option is to make one yourself without buying a kit. It’s actually pretty easy and does not require many materials or specialist tools. So it’s a great project to complete over a weekend or two with friends or family. The ovens can be used to make pizzas, bakes, bread and slow roast meat so they do make a good investment.

There are lots of different ways of building an oven. The method outlined here is very simple and can be completed by the novice. A more experienced DIY’er can have fun with it and build something more impressive or unique. The oven will not last forever as cracks in the interior will eventually form. At that point just build another one! The River Cottage Pizza Oven has published a very detailed printable method so have a read of theirs and ours and do whichever you feel more comfortable with.

The basic plan is as follows;

  • Identify or build a base and make a flat fire proof top
  • Create a mound of damp sand in a dome shape
  • Coat the sand in clay, bricks or stone. Cut an opening and remove the sand.
  • Build a door

All these steps can be simple and rustic for beginners or more involved for those with more skills.

Pizza Oven The Base & Top

First you need a base to retain the heat in the oven, form a flat cooking surface and raise the oven to a level you can safely use. You want the central fireproof bit of your plinth to be about 80cm wide with a bit more room to form the sides of the oven and the doorway. There might already have levels in your garden that you can use or you might need to build one.

You can create a frame with wood and fill it with packed rubble and concrete. Remove the wood after the concrete has set or top the structure with brick or concrete so the center of the oven never comes into contact with the wood frame.  Alternatively construct a base from stone, breeze blocks or bricks.

You could buy the materials or just use whatever you already have in your garden and garage. If you already have a raised section of your garden simply dig out a square base and fill it with concrete which you can top with London bricks if you wish. It is important that the base is flat.

If you are building a base with concrete or mortar you need to leave time for it to set before you start to to build the oven on top. So build the base one weekend and the oven the next.

Wood Oven Base

Filled with rubble and concrete topped with bricks

Brick Oven Base

Brick Oven Base

Breeze Block Base

Breeze Block Base

Low Pallet and Concrete Base

Low Pallet and Concrete Base

Pizza Oven Mound Sand

Now you need to form the shape of the center of your oven in the middle of your base. Use damp sand and mound it up into a dome shape. Later on we will discard all this sand – its just there to hold the roof up while the outer layer dries. Therefore the sand will be where the really hot air is when the oven is working.

The sand should not touch anything flammable such as the wooden cladding to your base. You need to leave room around the sand mound to form the walls of your oven and a doorway – so think about the available space and mark out the maximum width of your sand circle before you start.

We want the dome to be as round as possible so if your base is 80cm wide the height should be half that – however there are no hard and fast rules. The oven will be hottest round the edges so a wide base is important for even cooking of pizzas. Pack your damp sand tightly in place and shape it until you have a reasonably neat dome. Then coat it in sheets of damp newspaper. This is important preparation for the next step. If you don’t coat the sand then the next stage will be messy and your oven is more likely to crack.

Sand Dome

Sand Dome

High Sand Dome

High Sand Dome

Wide Sand Dome

Wide Sand Dome

 Coat The Sand

You now need to form the oven wall around your sand. For this you need to use puddled clay (this is a method of mixing clay with your feet to get an even mixture). It is tedious to puddle clay on your own but it’s actually a really fun thing to do with mates or kids.

Form the clay into sausages and wrap them around the sand merging each sausage well in to the next so there are no gaps or cracks. This is really important – if your sausages are not blended properly your oven will crack and be useless. Leave the clay to partially set (about 4 hours) and then cut a doorway. You might want to make your walls from bricks and mortar or mud and straw mixtures instead. Either way all you need to do is build up your walls and cut or form a doorway large enough for a pizza to slide in and out. Leave the exterior to dry

Merged Clay Sausages

Merged Clay Sausages

pizza oven Forming the Wall

Forming the Wall

pizza oven Brick Walls

Brick Walls

Pizza oven Mud and Straw Walls

Mud and Straw Walls

pizza oven Cut a Doorway

Cut a Doorway

If you are using clay; mark out the doorway on the exterior. Once you are happy with the size and shape just use a carving knife to cut through the clay. Leave everything to set for at least 24 hours. Then remove the sand. Light a small fire in the center of your oven to help drying. Some small cracks might form – just fill them in with more clay. See what happens to the smoke – if it builds up in the top of your oven you need to make your doorway higher just to the point where the smoke gently flows out.

Build A Door And Chimney

The door is important to help heat retention, protect the entrance of the oven from wear and to create a chimney. It is best to build the entrance from stone or brick. To fuel your pizza oven the easiest way you can buy specially made pizza oven wood briquettes.

Use your sand to form the internal shape of the entrance way which will support the bricks. Use clay and bricks to build the entrance way around the sand. Where the entrance meets the dome; use clay to form a small chimney to let the smoke out. Leave to dry for 24 hours and then remove the sand again.

pizza oven Forming the Doorway
Forming the Doorway


For best results you should coat the oven with a layer of insulation. To do this mix clay with water until you have the consistency of cream. Then add wood shavings to make a workable paste. Coat the oven and chimney with this. You can leave the brick doorway uncoated if you like the look of the bare bricks. By the way at this stage feel free to personalise your oven.

Pizza Frog Oven

Frog Oven

Pizza oven Have Fun With Your Oven

Have Fun With Your Oven

Ta da – all done.

Pizza oven Simple and Clean

Simple and Clean

pizza oven Modern and Sleek

Modern and Sleek

pizza oven morrocan


pizza oven

Painted Oven

pizza oven grand

A Grand Oven