Fresh Design finds: Contented cat cookie jar

May 24th, 2016

Oh my, this is purr-fect! A gorgeously created large cat design cookie jar.

Can’t get enough of cats? Or wish you had one, but can’t have one in your current home? Why not offer a home to this gorgeous large feline jar instead!

The contented cat is made from stoneware and is designed to be a cookie jar. It’s a good size and will look elegant displayed on your kitchen worktop.

The cat lives up to its name of looking contented. His eyes look open and alert and there’s a definite smile going on! Although it’s designed as a biscuit jar, you could easily use it for other storage purposes, or just as a decorative accessory.

You’ll find the contented cat jar available at Anthropologie.

How to Choose Wooden Flooring for Your Home

May 23rd, 2016

Love the way that engineered oak flooring can create a wow factor floor! It looks gorgeous in a modern home and this oak floor has lovely colouring.

Are you giving your home a makeover? Knocking down walls, creating new rooms and selecting paint colours is a tall order, and it doesn’t end there. Once you’ve sorted out everything at eye level, you’ll need to turn to the job sitting right under your nose… the flooring!

If wooden flooring is what you’re after, here’s how to choose the right type for your home.

Real wood flooring

Real wood flooring is precisely what the name suggests – boards of single pieces of wood that are typically around 20mm thick. Sometimes called ‘solid wood’ flooring, this option is great for those wanting to add a desirable ‘selling point’ to their homes as real wood flooring is a fashionable trend right now.

Real wood flooring is typically laid in a tongue and groove style and looks fabulous in areas that get lots of traffic, such as hallways and living areas.

However, there are some problems with it. Firstly, it swells in damp conditions and shrinks in dry ones, so it won’t stay the same over its lifetime.

It is also quite tricky to install so will probably require an expert fitter, and is often the most expensive option for homeowners.

Laminate flooring

Oiled oak laminate flooring helps add character and charm into a room. It looks and feels warm and cosy.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is laminate flooring. This type of flooring is a piece of compressed MDF, designed to look realistic by overlaying it with an image of wood (or any other material you’d like to emulate, such as concrete, marble or tile).

Laminate wooden flooring is often laid across entire properties in kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms because it’s an easy surface to clean, is fairly hardwearing and is easy to install.

While this type of wooden flooring is cheap (with prices ranging from around £5 to £50 a square metre), it doesn’t feel like the real thing.

It can wear out over time and can’t be repaired once damaged, and isn’t always a great option if you want to add value to your home.

Engineered wood flooring

Engineered oak wood flooring can create a dramatic effect in a kitchen.

Engineered wood flooring is a number of layers of wood (normally three or four) that have been glued together to create a plank that is around 14mm thick.

A real-wood veneer is then placed on top to enable homeowners to sand it back and restore it to its prime if it becomes damaged.

For many homeowners, engineered wooden flooring is perfect as it’s solid, isn’t quite as prone to changes caused by temperature or humidity in the same way that solid wood flooring is (which means it can be used with underfloor heating systems) and can also be nicer to walk on than laminate flooring.

So, while it’s not cheap (£20 to £200 per square metre) it might be worth the investment if you want to lay it in areas of your home that get a lot of traffic or are on display to guests.

If you’re interested in this type of flooring for your home, why not check out engineered wood flooring from Ken’s Yard?

(Disclosure: This is a guest post)

Relax in style: Gorgeous hanging chairs for your garden

May 17th, 2016

Oh to relax in one of these chairs! The contemporary hanging style seats are bang on trend and perfect for using indoors or outside.

Kick off your shoes, grab a book and a glass of wine, and relax in style, with one of these gorgeous hanging garden chairs.

They’re super comfy with cushions inside, you benefit from a bit of shade and can enjoy the gentle action of swinging in the breeze.

And when the weather isn’t so great, or if you’ve not got outdoor space, most of them would work equally well inside too – bonus!

1. Broste Copenhagen Lot hanging chair – Design55 (on offer)

2. Grey flower pod hanging chair – Debenhams (currently 30% off)

3. Dark brown rattan effect LA Malibu hanging chair – Debenhams (currently 30% off)

4. Teardrop retro styled egg-shaped rattan hanging chair – Living it Up

Contemporary witty glass wine and spirit decanters

May 13th, 2016

Decant your wine or spirits into these entertainingly engraved glass bottle decanters. Great gift ideas for wine and spirit lovers.

Do you decant your favourite wines or spirits?

There used to be a time when decanting alcohol at home was commonplace, but these days it so often stays in the original bottle (…until it ends up in a glass!).

These contemporary glass decanters could put a stop to that though, as we love their witty phrases. They can be personalised with messages too and, with 10% off at the moment, could make a great gift.

These four are a small taster of the options available:

Tequila decanter

Port in a storm decanter

Whisky makes me frisky decanter

Witty personalised gin definition bottle

Buy them from Copper and Sable’s new store on NotOnTheHighStreet.

How to Add Value To Your Home: Three Simple Steps

May 11th, 2016

Do you want to add value to your home without the stress, mess or costs that come with building an extension? Well, fear not, because although adding an extension is often the first thing that comes to mind, it is not the only way.

There are actually other quicker, simpler and more cost-effective ways of adding value to your property. These won’t only add to the value, but they will also make your house a nicer place to live for the duration you are there – you may even find yourself putting off the move!

So, here are three simple steps to add value to your home.

Step 1: The interior

How to update your interiors and add value to your home

You don’t need to make any huge changes to your interior to add value to your home – it could be as simple as giving it a refresh.

Your carpets, for example, have probably become worn and faded over the years, especially in the hallway and stairs, which you walk over the most and any stains can make your property look dated and create odours, if not removed.

Getting your carpets cleaned or changing them completely, will give your home a fresh, clean look and feel. Plus, there’s a good chance that you will see a 50% return on your investment as a result – bonus!

Likewise, give the walls a lick of paint, but keep colours neutral – you aren’t decorating to your taste, you are creating a space that someone else will be able to picture themselves living in.

Step 2: The exterior

Paying attention to the exterior of your house can help add value when you want to sell

When decorating or renovating a property it’s easy to focus mostly on the interior of your house but it’s important not to neglect the exterior. Curb appeal can not only enhance the value of the property but also attract potential buyers if it’s on the market.

After all, the outside is the first thing visitors will see, so update everything you can from fence panels to walls, garage and front doors. However, be sure to use specialist paint for these tasks – shop at Rawlins Paints to find exactly the right product for outdoor projects.

Don’t forget about the garden because this is a major part of that first impression. If it is messy and overgrown, then this is how house hunters may view your home.

Start by simply giving it a tidy – mow the lawn, cut back the bushes and throw out any rubbish. Then start planting and add in a few garden ornaments, like the quirky ones you can buy from Create a space that is modern and welcoming because, with an 88% return on investment, this is actually the second best thing you can do to increase the value.

Step 3: Focus on the kitchen and bathroom

Add value to your home by installing a brand new modern bathroom

The kitchen is the heart of the home – we don’t just cook and eat in it anymore, it is the place where the family gather for a cup of tea to discuss their day, or friends sit to gossip over a bottle of wine.

Therefore it is probably one of the first places a buyer would look to update – so, if you are only going to update one room – make sure it is this one! This could be a complete renovation, or simply an update of cupboards (try painting wooden cupboards while for a fresh new look) and counters or installing modern appliances. Research by HSBC has found that a new kitchen can add at least £5,000 to a property’s price.

Next, move on to the bathroom – again this doesn’t have to be a complete renovation – it is actually the little things that will make a big difference! Add in a larger showerhead, swap the shower curtain for a glass screen or door, and update the taps – how about this wall mounted waterfall bath filler – for something stylish, but a bit different! These changes won’t cost you much time or money, but it will add 2.88% onto the house value!

So, put away that planning application form and start shopping for taps, paint and garden ornaments – you will be surprised how quickly and easily it will add a significant amount of value to your house!

(Images courtesy of Pixabay, via Midascode, Giovannaorlando and ErikaWittlieb)

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)

Light up your life: 10 outdoor lighting ideas

May 10th, 2016

From LED to candles, nothing creates outdoor atmosphere like some strategic lighting. Drape strings of lights through the branches of trees, position lanterns and use tealights to cast pools of light onto your outdoor table.

Even if the weather’s not fine enough to sit outside, looking out of the house onto a lighted garden can look very pretty. Here are our top 10 picks.

1. Kamla garden lanterns, Red Lilly


Create ambience around summer patios for garden parties with these recycled glass lanterns. The wire holder has a vintage rust patina and can be spiked into the ground. The lanterns come as a set of two and are available in three different styles. £19.80 from Red Lilly.

2. Brass lanterns, MiaFleur

These stylish brass coloured lanterns will bring an atmospheric glow to your alfresco parties. Made from zinc with a brass coloured coating, and with a hinged glass door to protect the candle from the elements, this is a lovely way to light up the garden. Available in two sizes so that they can be grouped together to create an interesting contrast. Prices from £36 from MiaFleur.

3. Lighthouse 220, Menu

The Lighthouse oil lamp from Menu makes an unusual addition to those balmy English evenings (remember those?!) when you can sit outside with a glass of wine. Inspired by the lighthouses along the Scandinavian coast, the porcelain and steel lamp has a newly developed oil burner that gives a bright light. There’s also a unique filling system that makes it possible to replenish the oil from above so there is no need to take the lamp apart. £64.95 from Black by Design.

4. Oval loop lamp, Edge Company

If you don’t like the hassle of candles, this nickel plated mesh wire lamp is battery powered for light with minimum work. Available in two different designs, they’re also currently 50% off in the sale. Were £48 now £24 from IN-SPACES.

5. Aurora mood lantern, The Glow Company

Stylish and contemporary, the Aurora mood lantern creates a focal point in your garden with colourful light. A lightweight but sturdy lantern that’s IP65 rated for outdoor use, it changes through eight key colours and everything in between. Set to colour phase, colour flash or hold on your favourite colour for stunning mood lighting and even adjust the brightness of the colours depending upon your mood, all via remote control. £39.95 from The Glow Company.

6. Hallianna outdoor lighting garland, Out There Interiors

Contemporary outdoor lighting to brighten up a boring wall or illuminate a late night barbecue need not be twee. These functional, no nonsense bulbs are perfect for the modern exterior and will lengthen those summer evenings and barbecues with friends. £85 from Out There Interiors.

7. Bottle light, RED5 Gadget Shop

Don’t throw away your empty bottles – recycle them into lamps with these bottle lights. A cork based design holds a small yet super bright rechargeable LED for you to slip into your bottles.  Perfect for indoor and outdoor use, the lights create a cosy, improvised table feature and won’t be blown out by a gentle breeze. £9.95 each from RED5.

8. Miners’ lamp, Coastal Home

This traditional miners’ lamp is ideal for a table decoration or for hanging from a tree. Inspired by 19th century miners’ oil lamps and adapted for modern day tea lights, this wind proof enamel lantern creates a welcoming light on dark evenings. £11 from Coastal Home.

9. Grey stone effect lantern, The White Lighthouse

This grey stone effect candle holder with cut out stars, handle and glass inner is actually made from concrete, making it robust and giving it an urban twist. £12 from The White Lighthouse.

10. Brushed metal rectangular lantern, Hoi Polloi

This unusual brushed metal rectangular lantern would look wonderful on a terrace or dining table. Pop in a couple of pillar candles to enjoy an atmospheric glow. £66.99 from Hoi Polloi.

By Sara Walker

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