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Create your office hide away

The Perfect Hidden Home Office

Working from home has many advantages – it's convenient, flexible and the commute is no trouble at all. But the downside is that it's all too easy for your business to take over your home. Paperwork and office equipment can easily spread, making your house look cluttered and leaving you open to the possibility of vital documents becoming lost. In an ideal world you might convert a spare room, garage or summer house into a home office, but sometimes that just isn't feasible. However, a hidden office can be used when you need it and disguised when you don't, allowing you to simply shut away your workspace when it's not in use.

Define Your Space

Whether you use the cupboard under the stairs, a corner of your bedroom or even part of your living room, you will need a base for your office. This could simply be a foldaway table that can be stored against a wall when not in use. A creative alternative is a modified sideboard that opens up to allow you to sit at it like a desk. Choosing one in the same style as the rest of your furniture will allow it to be seamlessly incorporated into the home.

Easy Equipment

Most home workers rely on the internet but unlike the old days when this meant plugging into a phone line, wireless technology allows you to work from all over the house. Rather than a bulky desktop computer, choose a slim-line laptop which can be easily hidden away in a drawer. You will need wiring accessories such as multi-way socket boards to charge your laptop or power your printer, but these can be stowed away when not in use.

Decorate and Disguise

To truly hide your office, add decorative touches that help it blend with your existing décor. Store paperwork in colourful patterned boxes to make an attractive feature. Add pictures, bright curtains or even cushions – any accessories that will make the space seem less like an office. You will need effective lighting so choose lamps that are both stylish and functional. Make the most of any unused areas, such as the gap between your desk and the wall, by using them as additional storage for stationary supplies. Keep all power cords tidy with wiring accessories such as cable ties to minimise clutter and make them as unobtrusive as possible.

Allocating even just a small portion of your house to a hidden home office can allow you to function effectively in your professional life without allowing your business to encroach on your home life.
 

 

Creating A Lighting Plan?

Create a Lighting Plan

If you are carrying out a large renovation or overseeing a new build, you're probably pretty familiar with architectural plans. These are vital in order to get a good idea of what the finished project will look like, as well as to ensure planning regulations are complied with. However, creating a separate lighting plan can be extremely useful, allowing you check your building has sufficient illumination before carrying out complex electrical work.

What Lighting Do You Require?

Think carefully about how you use your space to help you decide where to put your lights. A kitchen will need to be brightly lit so you can see to chop food and cook, even in the evenings. A spare room that isn't used often will probably just require a ceiling light and possibly a bedside lamp, but if it is also functioning as a study you will probably need some extra illumination. If you like to read in the evenings you will need to make sure you can do so comfortably, bearing in mind that the older you are, the more light you will require. Think too about the direction of the natural light in your home and what time of day you will be using the space.

Most rooms will have a central ceiling light but you might want to consider adding wall lights, particularly if there is a feature you want to light up to establish a focal point in the room. Adding in a mixture of floor lamps and table lanterns will create a more dynamic interplay of light, as well as allowing you to create a variety of atmospheres.

How to Make a Lighting Plan

If you don't already have a plan (bird's eye) of the room, draw one on some graph paper. Mark all windows, radiators, doors and immovable fixtures. Draw in where any large pieces of furniture will be and use arrows to show the direction of the natural light. Lay a piece of tracing paper on top and then work out where your lights should be. Consider where to place your designer sockets, ensuring you have enough for all your appliances. Make sure your switches are conveniently located, such as by the front door for a hall light. Check all entry and exits points of the property.

Using a diagram to help you plan where to install your fixtures, switches and designer sockets can not only make sure your lighting suits your requirements, but also help you to avoid spending time and money rectifying insufficient or poorly located lights.

If you would like help with your lighting plan Harbro have trained lighting specialists that can ensure no mistakes are made and do free of charge surveys.

Click here to view The Harbro Lighting Range

by Gary Hunter

Give Your Bedroom a Hotel Style Makeover

Give Your Bedroom a Hotel Makeover

Hotel-style bedrooms have become increasingly popular as we look for fresh ideas for interiors and new ways to add a touch of luxury to our homes. The focus of this style of décor is to make your room as tranquil, uncluttered and opulent as possible, giving the feel of a high-end hotel room and hopefully ensuring you a great night's sleep.

The Main Attraction
A hotel-style room is all about the bed. Whether your taste is for something sumptuous and traditional or chic and contemporary, the bed should be the focal point of the room. Choose a wooden sleigh bed for a comfortable and timeless look, or go modern and minimalist with a metal frame. A headboard is an absolute must, from elaborately ornate cast iron to a richly upholstered button-back. If you have the room you might even consider a four-poster, draped with fabulous fabric.

Other Furniture
One of the key characteristics of this type of room is that is should remain uncluttered. Fitted wardrobes are ideal for keeping clothes out of the way, whilst a chest of drawers or dressing table is also useful. Ensure that you have ample storage as there should be no random bits and pieces left on any of the surfaces. Bedside tables are handy for all your odds and ends but choose ones with a drawer or door so any mess can be concealed. When it comes to colour schemes, you can be as bold as you like. Dark reds and blues give the room an eye-catching look, whilst monochrome has a chic and modern feel. Black and silver look particularly dramatic used together. Alternatively, you might decide to create a tranquil, restful ambience by using lots of white, with perhaps just one accent colour for interest.

Finishing Touches
This is where you can add all the little touches that will really make the space feel special. Walking into the room should feel like a treat every time, so indulge yourself with some fabulous accessories. A dramatic ceiling light will look fantastic, especially teamed with matching wall lights on either side of the bed. Fit sleek designer sockets to add a sophisticated touch – choose from metallic, clear or even colourful glass. Hang the walls with plenty of mirrors and some stunning prints. Finally, dress the bed with a pile of soft pillows and an array of unusual and interesting cushions.

From a sumptuously over-the-top bed to stylish designer sockets, add luxurious elements to your bedroom to give it that extra-special hotel feel.

 

Maximising Space in your hallway

Maximising space: Making the most of your hallway

Halls and landings are often relegated to the bottom of the to-do list when it comes to DIY projects. So much time is spent on the 'rooms' of our houses that we can easily forget that these spaces can be useful too. Follow these simple ideas to make the most of these potentially awkward spaces.

Bright and beautiful

The hallway can often be a bit dark, especially as there may be no natural light. One option is to remove any solid staircase sides and replace them with spindles. These will allow more light to pass through the hall. You could even choose toughened sheet glass panelling for an ultra-modern look. However, if this is too much work then an easier solution is to make sure you have great lighting. Instead of a traditional pendant or uplighter, how about a track of LED spotlights? These can be angled in all directions, allowing you to illuminate those awkward dark corners of your hall and landing. Or for a bold look, why not use a more unusual light such as a chandelier? Not only do these make a fabulous focal point for your hall or landing but really make them feel like proper rooms. If you have a long landing or hallway, you might need more than one light fitting in the ceiling. Just install Crabtree grid switches at either end so you can turn them on and off independently. Crabtree grid switches can also be useful at night as they allow you to turn off the downstairs hall light from the landing once you have walked upstairs.

Gorgeous accessories

Although hallways are largely functional, there is plenty of opportunity for eye-catching decorative touches. A sideboard is not only useful for collecting post and keys, but can be decorated with plants or ornaments. Dress the walls with all your treasured family pictures and you and your visitors will be able to admire them every time you walk past. The long drop of wall down a staircase is a perfect place to display any wall hangings or large artwork that you may have. Shelves of books bring instant colour to the space. If you have room, then what about adding some seating? A small sofa or even a window seat provides a lovely little space for someone to snuggle into. You could even add a comfortable armchair by the phone for those long calls to friends and family.

Good lighting, furniture and accessories can really make this space come to life, giving you extra space that is beautiful and useful.
 

 

The right tools to do the job

Essential Investments for Your Toolbox

Whether you're a serious DIY enthusiast or just tackle the occasional job around the house, having the right tools will make your project go much more smoothly. Pulling together a few basic pieces of kit ensures you are fully prepared when there's a job to be done.

Box Basics
Your first purchase is likely to be the toolbox itself. Although any container will do, specially designed ones have a number of benefits. Many have compartmentalised trays for screws and fuses, which can help you stay organised. A box with wheels and a handle is easier to move and if you have small children you might want to consider a lockable one.

Most household jobs can be tackled with a fairly basic toolkit. A claw hammer can be used for both inserting and removing nails. Both flat-head and cross-head screwdrivers are among the tools you will use most but an electrical detection screwdriver can also be very handy. Include a hacksaw and a retractable tape measure. Choose an adjustable wrench to help you fit nuts and bolts in a variety of sizes. Lockable pliers are invaluable for gripping a variety of materials, but basic combination pliers will also work well. A utility knife and scraper are useful for a range of tasks, as is an awl and an array of different-sized chisels. Having a selection of nails, screws and rawl plugs in different sizes is a great idea, as is putting together a collection of wiring accessories such as plugs, spare fuses and electrical tape. Putty, masking tape and sandpaper are always helpful. Including a torch in case of power cuts or to illuminate dark cupboards is also a sensible precaution.

Additional Equipment
Once you've got the basics, you can move on to more specialised tools. A drill, preferably cordless, is useful for a multitude of jobs. Many also function as an electric screwdriver. A jig saw is invaluable if you do a lot of woodwork, as is a circular saw. An electric sander can save a great deal of time and effort.

When buying tools, remember that cheaper isn't usually better. Investing in quality tools ensures you will get optimum performance from them for many years to come. Other items that perhaps won't quite fit in a toolbox but are useful nonetheless are a step ladder and an extension cable reel. You could even use your drill and insert hooks or screws in the wall to tidily hang your tools on.

Whether it's basic wiring accessories or specialised power tools, having the right equipment means you're always ready to tackle any job.

 

by Gary Hunter

 

Handy Hints to Paint Like a Professional

Handy Hints to Help You Paint Like a Professional

Adding a coat of paint to a room is a quick and cheap way of giving it a new lease of life. Follow these simple tips to get a truly professional finish.

The Right Tools

As with any DIY project, half the secret of success is to use the right tools for the job. Collect together everything you might need and lay the items out on a table. Essential kit includes a variety of different-sized brushes, rollers, a paint tray or kettle, a ladder, a roller extension, protective clothing, filler and sandpaper, white spirit for cleaning, newspaper, a brush rest and, of course, your paint.

Preparation

Clear as much furniture as possible from the room and lay down dust sheets. If possible, remove the radiators. Walls should be cleaned with sugar soap, allowed to dry and have all cracks filled and sanded. Prepare the walls by rubbing with fine sandpaper, remembering to vacuum up the dust before beginning painting. Use masking tape around window frames, skirting boards, switches and back boxes to help you paint a clean line around the edges. Shake the paint thoroughly, stirring if necessary, before decanting into a smaller container.

Easy Does It

If you are painting the ceiling, or lid, start with this so any paint that splashes down on to the walls can be covered later. Cut in edges with a small brush to give you a nice straight edge before painting the rest of the wall. It's best to do this as you go along – painting all the edges first can lead to differences in colour and even cracking of the final finish. Don't overload the brush or roller, as excess paint will splash everywhere. Use brushes for small, tricky areas and rollers to cover large expanses. Half-size rollers are perfect for chimney breasts or doors. Use even strokes, covering an area of about a metre at a time. Finish with diagonal sweeps as their edges are harder to spot than vertical ones.

Keep It Clean

Unfortunately, accidents do happen and you might end up with a spillage. Small splashes on the skirting board, light switches or back boxes can be quickly removed with a baby wipe. Cat litter is great at absorbing more substantial spills on the carpet if you happen to have any on hand. If not, wipe as much as possible, then sponge on some paint thinner – you may be able to salvage the situation.

Follow these few simple tips and you will find it easy to give your room a professional-looking makeover.Click here for switches & Sockets to match your paint

 

Childrens Rooms need fun lighting.

Personalise Your Child's Room with Fun Accessories

Unlike the rest of your house, which might be quite neutral in its décor, your child's bedroom is one place where you can really let your imagination run riot. There's an array of exciting accessories you can use to make it as colourful, fun and individual as your child.

Blissful Beds

These days your child's bed doesn't have to be boring. Novelty beds such as racing cars, boats or even castles will make even the most reluctant sleeper want to snuggle down. If this doesn't appeal, you could always choose a plain bed, whether it is a single, double or even bunks, then accessorise with colourful bedding and plenty of cushions.

Novelty Furniture

Beds aside, there are lots of other pieces of fun furniture to choose from. Painted bookcases are a lovely touch. Either buy one already patterned with your chosen design or have a go at customising one yourself, perhaps even using some glittery or metallic paints. Letting your children have a go at decorating a cheap wooden bedside table or toy box is a great way to get them involved and will make their room feel even more special to them. Storage is vital for a child's room to prevent people tripping over endless clutter. Choose units with shelves or baskets so that toys and books are easy to find but can be quickly tidied away.

Finishing Touches

If you decide not to invest in large novelty furniture, there are plenty of smaller ways to add charm and character to a room. Paint a bright mural to create a room that will really stand out from the crowd. A jungle or underwater scene would look fabulous as a feature wall. A bright rug is an easy way to add instant colour and will help protect your carpet too. Bunting and fairy lights add an enchanting atmosphere. Or what about a gauzy canopy over the bed for that real fairytale feel? Smaller bedside lights are useful, especially if your child prefers to sleep with a nightlight. You can even buy battery-powered push-button lights that attach to the wall. Display treasured artwork in frames to brighten up the walls. Painted shelves or patterned designer switches are simple to install, or hang a door sign with your child's name on to truly make the space their own.

From colourful designer switches to bespoke bedroom furniture, there's no end to the number of ways you can introduce a magical feel to your child's room.

Harbro Electrical has a full range of childrens lighting available.

By Gary Hunter

 

 

Keep Your Home Safe with Lighting

Clever Lighting to Keep Your Home Safe

When the lights are out, it's easy to feel vulnerable. But there are a number of different options you can choose to make you home safe and secure.

Timer Switches

Returning to a dark house after a long day out at work can be a bit daunting. An unlit home also sends a signal to potential burglars that your house is empty. Timer switches for your lights are an easy option, allowing you to arrange for various lights to come on at a particular time. Simply program the dial, then plug in the lamp and timer. In addition to being easy to use, timer switches are inexpensive, so you can use them in several different rooms at once. This will enhance the impression of a person moving about inside the house. Use timers when you are out in the evening or away on holiday to deter intruders.

Photocell Lighting

This type of lighting is especially useful for illuminating a porch or pathway. Photocell lights, sometimes known as dusk-to-dawn lights, come on when the daylight fades. They have a programmable sensor so that they operate once a sufficient level of darkness, or lux level, has been reached. This constant light can be very handy to you as a homeowner to light any hazardous dark areas around the exterior of your home, as well as warding off burglars.

Motion-Sensor Lights

These are the ideal option if you want lights to come on as you approach your home, making it easier to navigate your way to the door. They can also help protect your home against unwanted visitors. As the name suggests, these lights come on when movement is detected by a special sensor on the light. The key to using these successfully is to make sure they are positioned correctly – you may need a few trial runs to get this right. If they are too low then they could be disabled by a burglars, so make sure that you put them well out of reach – ideally so high that a ladder is required. Choose one with two bulbs so that if one blows you will still be protected. And don't forget that as motion-detecting lights are located outside, you will need to ensure you use weatherproof sockets and boxes to avoid potential weather damage.

Installing extra lights is a great way to safeguard you home against potential intruders. Whether you are using indoor or outdoor lighting, make sure you use weatherproof sockets where appropriate and vary the programs on your timers to create a more realistic effect.
 

All available in our harbro online store!

by Gary Hunter

Create The Perfect Outdoor Entertaning Space

Create the Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Space

When the weather's good, there's nothing like spending time outside to lift your mood. Whether you have a large garden or a small balcony, creating a little area for entertaining is a lovely way to enjoy your outdoor space throughout the day and into the long summer nights.

Essential Equipment
At the very least you'll need something to sit on. This could be a pair of deck chairs, a couple of sun-loungers or a set of garden furniture. If you have the room, a large outdoor sofa or futon piled high with colourful cushions makes an attractive feature. Or for a less formal feel, what about a hammock? If space is tight then fold-up chairs are an easy solution. A table is also handy, whether you choose a large dining table, a small round cast-iron one or even a low coffee table.

Interesting Plants
Using plants in your entertaining space is a charming way to not only blur the boundaries between inside and out, but to add interest and really make the most of the outdoors. Even on a balcony you could have flowers growing in tubs or up trellises. Choose plants that not only look good but that can be used in other ways. Herbs such as rosemary, sage and borage look spectacular and are useful in cooking. Or choose fragrant plants to add another dimension — lavender, scented stocks and roses all give off a wonderful perfume that will add to the ambience.

Additional Touches
Lighting is essential if you want to use your entertaining space after dusk. Outdoor fairy lights with weatherproof switches look pretty festooned over trees or along a balcony. Solar-powered lamps come in a range of shapes and styles, from small portable ones that resemble rocks to contemporary lights on sticks that can be arranged in a flowerbed or border. Or for a really bohemian atmosphere, use candles in glass jam jars and hurricane lamps scattered around your entertaining space.

There are a multitude of other accessories you could add in to really make your area special. Add cushions, throws and umbrellas to provide texture and colour. A barbecue is a useful addition, as is a chiminea. They look fabulous, can be used for cooking and will also provide warmth — vital for those evenings when there's a chill in the air. Water features with weatherproof switches would add a delightful background noise if you have the room.

No matter what the size of your outdoor space is, you too can create a delightful sanctuary for you and your friends to enjoy.

Visit Our Online Store for Next Day delivery on all Outdoor Lighting.

by Gary Hunter

Fabulous Flooring Ideas

Superb Solutions for Fabulous Flooring

All too often, how we cover our floors can be a bit of an afterthought. So much effort is put into choosing the ideal furniture, the perfect colour scheme and the right accessories, whilst the floor is often regarded as merely a backdrop. But with a little imagination, great flooring can add a whole extra dimension of interest to a room.

Great-Value Options
Even if you're on a budget, there are plenty of exciting options. Linoleum or vinyl flooring is hardwearing and easy to keep clean, making it the perfect choice for kitchens or bathrooms. Patterned or plain, it is even available in tile or wood effects. You can lay it yourself with very little in the way of specialist tools. There is a range of thicknesses available to suit any requirement and price range.

Laminate flooring is another extremely popular choice. It looks lovely in a hall or living room but it can even be used in the kitchen. A layer of cushioning underlay is required and it is a little trickier than lino to lay in an awkwardly shaped room. However, the end result is a lovely wooden effect for a fraction of the cost of the real thing, with the added bonus that it is much easier to maintain.

Cosy Comfort
Carpet is always in fashion as there are just so many types to choose from. It's available in a wide selection of colours and you can choose from simple neutral tones to more complex traditional patterned styles. Not only does carpet bring interesting texture to a room, but it gives a lovely cosy warm feel underfoot. Small colourful rugs can be used to break up very large expanses of carpet, as well as to conceal the covers of your floor sockets.

Stunning Effects
If you are looking to make a bold statement with your flooring there are some really exciting options out there. Stone flooring is fabulous in a kitchen, either in creamy limestone or dramatic dark slate. A hallway is the perfect place to display a mosaic floor, with Victorian-style coloured tiles particularly popular at the moment. Highly polished parquet adds a sumptuous touch. A wooden floor with an inlaid pattern is not only stunning and sophisticated, but makes a real centrepiece for the room. And don't worry that your electrics will spoil the effect - the latest floor sockets are available with wooden or antique-style metal covers for an unobtrusive finish.

We also highly recommend adding LED lighting to your flooring this can creat a runway efect in halls and stairways that look fantastic.

By Gary Hunter

The Perfect Job DIY or Professional

DIY or Call a Professional?

It would be handy if essential DIY skills were taught in schools, but most of us pick up our knowledge from friends, relatives, TV programmes and, sadly, bitter experience. There are plenty of projects that you can safely tackle at home, but there are some that are best left to the professionals. A number of factors will affect whether you reach for your toolbox or the phone number of a local tradesman.

Your Skills
Wiring a plug, changing a fuse or bleeding a radiator are simple jobs to carry out yourself. More complex tasks such as laying laminate flooring or wiring in Crabtree grid switches are perfectly manageable with the correct information. There are hundreds of how-to books and videos available, making DIY easier than ever before. However, some jobs may be beyond all but the most enthusiastic amateur. Certain tasks, such as installing perfectly level worktops, require a high level of skill that takes time to develop, so are best left to those who have had years of practice.

Legal Requirements
There are some home improvements that can only be carried out by a professional. Many plumbing and heating jobs must be carried out by a Gas Safe (formerly CORGI) registered plumber. Any substantial electrical work will require a safety certificate provided by an electrician. Not only should contractors have the correct qualifications, but they should also have valid insurance and ideally be a member of a professional guild.

Constraining Factors
Time and money are the key issues here. If you are at work all week then spending your weekend on DIY might be the last thing you feel like doing. Alternatively, you might find it a fun hobby and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from completing a task yourself. Hiring a professional is a good idea if you simply don't have the spare time or inclination for a project. Carrying out work yourself is usually, although not always, cheaper. You may need to hire specialist tools that can push up the cost of the work. And bear in mind that if things go wrong, a project can end up costing you far more to put right than you would have spent on paying somebody else to do it in the first place.

From tiling a bathroom to installing Crabtree grid switches, there are a whole host of household tasks that are perfect for the DIY enthusiastic. However, to keep you and your home safe it is vital to know when it's time to call in the professionals.

Keep Your Cables Tidy & Your Family Safe

Tidy Up Your Cabling for a Safer Home

These days, with so many gadgets and appliances in our homes, we are overrun with numerous cables and remotes. Whenever we buy a piece of equipment, such as a new games console, it's tempting to just plug and play. However, over time this results in your cables becoming tangled, damaged, impossible to separate and potentially even dangerous. Spending a little time streamlining your wiring can save you time and effort later on.

Safety First
Loose wires trailing across your floor can be a dangerous trip hazard, whilst tangled piles of assorted cables can become damaged. To avoid this, tackle each problem area individually and methodically. For example, many people have a television, DVD player, games console and satellite TV equipment all situated in one place. Carefully unplug all the devices and spread them out on the floor, making sure you know which cable belongs to which item. Use sticky labels to help you identify them if necessary. You may even find miscellaneous cables from now-defunct appliances that can be removed. Clean or dust all the cables, checking for any loose or damaged wires and carry out any repairs or replacements. You can then begin to put everything away neatly.

Smart and Secure
Gradually plug everything back in, allowing yourself just as much cable as necessary and folding any excess into a neat bundle. Cables travelling in the same direction can grouped together if you wish. Secure these bundles with wiring accessories such as cable ties. Plastic ones are a quick and convenient option, whereas Velcro is ideal if you are likely to need to move the cables on a regular basis. A really useful idea is to colour-code your wires according to appliance. That way, if you need to unplug one or replace a part, you will be able to quickly identity the relevant cabling. You might wish to use accessories that match your cables for a subtle, unobtrusive effect. Alternatively, choose bright colours and make a feature of them!

For longer cables, such as TV aerials entering the house from outside, you may need a different solution. Sometimes these can be hidden underneath a carpet, although this can lead to damage and makes access difficult. Instead, run them along the edge of the floor or skirting board, using cable clips to keep them tight to the wall and prevent them from becoming caught in people's feet.

Using wiring accessories such as cable ties and clips is a great way to ensure your electrical appliances are not only safe, but look neat and tidy too.

By Gary Hunter
 

its all about the tiles!

Add Flair to Your Home with Gorgeous Tiles

Using interesting tiles in your kitchen, bathroom or downstairs cloakroom is both practical and appealingly decorative. With the different types, you can create a variety of individual looks.

Which Type Is Best for You?
Ceramic tiles are among the most popular as they are available in such a huge range of colours and sizes. From plain white tiles in a contemporary bathroom to elaborately moulded floral ones in a country kitchen, they are a truly versatile option. Choose a single colour for a modern finish or intersperse with a contrasting colour or pattern for a more decorative look. Stone tiles are the perfect accompaniment to virtually any colour. Use polished marble or travertine for a sophisticated finish in the bathroom or matt limestone to add a wonderfully outdoor feel to your interior.

For a more unusual look, choose glass tiles. You only need a few to make a bold style statement, so they are perfect for small areas and have an elegant, modern feel. Or use mosaic tiles to give a luxurious, sumptuous feel. They are supplied on a mesh for ease of hanging and add instant glamour to any room.

Practical Tips
Buy more tiles than you need as there can be a surprisingly amount of wastage - most shops will buy back unopened boxes. You run the risk of slight differences in colour if your tiles are from different manufacturing batches. Choose good-quality adhesive and cover a maximum of one square metre at a time. Use spacers to ensure an even gap between the tiles. Grout is now available in a range of shades, so choose one that complements your colour scheme - it doesn't have to be plain white.

Remember to switch off the power before attempting to fit tiles around sockets and back boxes. For a sleek effect, carefully dig out a channel in the wall so you can use recessed back boxes rather than surface-mounted ones. Check your work with a spirit level as you go to ensure that your tiles remain level and use tile edging for a smooth finish. If you are new to tiling, start with a small area and a simple design, such as a splashback for a sink. You can progress to complex jobs which involve cutting more intricate shapes. And finally, don't forget to seal edges near water to prevent moisture seeping behind the tiles.

With a little practice, you'll soon find it easy to hang tiles in your home. Make the most of the vast array available and create a truly individual interior.

Creative Lighting

Creative Lighting Solutions to Transform Your Home

Installing interesting lighting in a room can dramatically alter the whole feel of the space. Lots of small lamps will give a cosy, bohemian feel, whilst installing rails of halogen spotlights creates a more contemporary effect. Use creative lighting to produce an array of exciting effects in your home.

The Main Attraction
Most rooms will have at least one ceiling light providing the majority of the interior's illumination. In the past, this would probably have been a central pendant with a fabric or paper shade, but these days there is a wealth of exciting styles to choose from. A lamp mounted flush to the ceiling with several bulbs, usually three or five, will give you the opportunity to shine light into a variety of different directions, minimising dark, shadowy areas. For a luxurious touch, what about an opulent chandelier? Adorned with beads, crystals or even fabric, these make a sumptuous style statement that is truly desirable.

Kitchen lighting can be among the hardest to get right. Thankfully, old-fashioned strip lights are largely a thing of the past and a series of spotlights suspended from a track provides a much more attractive centrepiece. Not only can these be angled to light specific areas such as the cooker or fridge, but they have a minimalist, contemporary feel that works well in such a functional space.

Enchanting Extras
Adding supplementary lighting to a room is a fabulous way to potentially create a variety of atmospheres. Wall lamps can be used to add extra illumination, whether you choose traditional sconces, picture lights or even contemporary glass uplighters. Operated by separate designer switches, they can be used independently of the main overhead light to create a subtler effect. Add a selection of small free-standing ornamental lamps on tables or dressers to give an eclectic feel or even a large floor lamp to create a dramatic focal point.

Individual Effects
For a truly eye-catching effect, what about introducing some colour? Use tinted bulbs, coloured glass shades or even the latest colour-changing LED lights to add additional interest. Alternatively, change the brightness of your illuminations according to the occasion. Sophisticated designer switches and dimmer controls allow for dynamic lighting that can be adjusted to suit your mood.

By adding different types of lighting to a space, you can create an array of effects and enjoy the interplay of light and shade across both your walls and ceilings. Using a variety of light sources brings an extra dimension of interest to your interior that is utterly charming.

Simple changes to freshen up your interior

Simple Changes to Freshen Up Your Interior

Despite our best efforts to make our homes look good, keeping them appearing fresh and attractive can feel like a never-ending task. All too often, no sooner have people completed one redecoration job than they spot two or three more that need doing. And once you update one room, it can leave the others looking tired and unloved. Here are a few simple tips to help you revamp your interior without having to completely redo a room.

Update Your Soft Furnishings
A new sofa, bed or dining table represents a substantial financial commitment, but for a much smaller outlay you can change the accessories in a room and give it a completely different look. A new pair of curtains and some matching bright scatter cushions can give a whole new lease of life to your living room. If old age has made your carpet look a little worn or dirty, lay a new rug over the top. Not only will this disguise your flooring's flaws, but will add an eye-catching focal point to the room.

Change Your Electrical Fittings
The lighting of a room is often an afterthought, but the difference that a new lamp makes can be quite astounding. Over time, fabric lampshades can become frayed and faded so replace these as necessary. If you have always chosen a traditional pendant, consider an ornamental chandelier-style light to give your room a new look. Add in smaller table lamps to bring a cosy feel to the interior. And don't neglect the basics - sockets and switches can become cracked and discoloured over time, so replace these with some elegant designer sockets for an easy and stylish touch.

De-Clutter Your Space
When you've lived with a room for a while, it's easy to become blind to the everyday mess that accumulates on surfaces and in corners. Try to look at your space with fresh eyes and see if there is any clutter that could be tidied away or even thrown out. Add a bookcase or shelving unit to ensure that everything has a place, choosing one with cupboards or drawers if you would rather not have your untidiness on display! By simply clearing out any unnecessary articles, you will find that your room will not only feel bigger but will recapture some of that just-decorated fresh feeling.

From updating your electrics with designer sockets to adding some flamboyant cushions and throws, there are a number of easy ways to revamp the look of your home without breaking the bank.

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