20 Autumn Decor Updates for Under £20

20 Autumn Decor Updates for Under £20

I love Autumn. While most people in the UK are lamenting the loss of summer, those few valuable weeks of sunshine in a climate that is normally featured on the news for its persistent rain, here I am thankful for the break in the heat and enjoying the turn of the season.

I love the colours of autumn: the golds, reds, browns, and oranges warm me down to the depths of my soul. And, although spring is the season of new beginnings, without autumn to clear out the old there would be no new beginnings to enjoy. For me, the breezes that autumn brings blow out the cobwebs and leave me feeling refreshed…especially after what turned out to be one hell of a heatwave this summer.

Autumn also marks the nights drawing in that bit earlier, the perfect excuse to cosy up on the sofa with the people you love, drinking hot chocolate and eating home baking. Without autumn, my addiction to blankets and cushions would be entirely unjustified! AND, as if that’s not enough reasons to love the season already, it is also my birthday in Autumn, around the last weekend of September.

I’m not normally one to follow a trend, however, when the season changes I do tend to make some seasonal updates in our home to accommodate the turn in weather. You may have seen my Bring in Spring Blog Series earlier this year where I shared with you all some of the ways that I get the house ready for the spring months. Today I want to show you how you can get your house autumn ready, and that it does not need to be expensive to do so.

Below you will find 20 ideas that all cost under £20 to bring your home into the autumn months and make it feel warm, cosy and the perfect hygge hideaway from the autumnal weather outside. Most pictures are linked directly to supplier websites if you click them, but if in doubt just ask.

 

Cushion Covers

Swapping out your cushion covers is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to update your spring/summer colours for autumn/winter ones. And I can’t recommend H&M Home enough for availability of cushion covers of all colours and sizes.

  1. Dark Dusty Rose: summer ending does need to mean that all pinks must go. H&M have captured a beautiful shade of dark dusty rose that is a perfect hybrid colour and will see you from summer to autumn with ease.

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    HM Dark Dusty Rose Cushion Cover £3.99
  2. Ochre Yellow: Another colour that is the perfect hybrid as it can be used across all 4 seasons by pairing it with different colours accordingly. Coupled with dark dusty pink and rust tones, ochre yellow is the ideal shade for autumn.

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    H&M Ochre Patterned Cushion Cover £3.99
  3. Velvet: velvet is a warming and luxurious texture that is perfect for autumn thanks to its decadence and cosiness. Pick velvet covers in warm tones for the ultimate autumn style.

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    H&M Gold Velvet Cushion Cover £6.99

 

Throws and Blankets

Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons for cuddling under a blanket on the sofa. I love have lots of blankets around because it saves me needing to have my heating on all of the time helping my purse and helping the planet. I also have blankets in the bedroom for an extra layer at night, which is the perfect solution if you share your bed with someone who likes a different warmth of duvet to you.

4. Rust fleece: This tasseled rust coloured throw I got in TKMaxx and I can’t oversell its quality. It is a heavy fleece throw with gorgeous tassled edging and the colour is simply perfect. As we all know, snooze you lose in TK Maxx and Homesense, so here are another couple of throws from the TK Maxx website just now that are perfect for autumn.

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Rust Coloured TK Maxx Throw £19.99

5. Fluffy: autumn to me is all about warm cosy textures. So aim to mix things up with velvets, weaves and fluffy throws like this one.

TK Maxx Fluffy Blanket £19.99
TK Maxx Fluffy Blanket £19.99

6. Tassles: continuing on the mixed textures theme, consider a tassled trim throw. This one is perfect for the colour lovers amongst you.

TK Maxx Ochre Blanket 2
TK Maxx Ochre Blanket £19.99

 

Dive In

Most cushions on the high street come with a man made fibre filling which is one of the reasons that the shops are able to offer them at such amazing prices. A microfibre filling is less expensive than a feather one. However, only a feather filled cushion can offer you the squidgy comfiness we all want to relax into in the evening. So, I try to swap out all of my fibre filled cushion inners for feather filled ones when money allows.

7. Feathers: Recently I came across an excellent online store called Homescapes which sells feather inners of all shapes and sizes, and at an excellent price point. Not only that, but I paid a few pounds for standard delivery and their service was so efficient that the delivery turned up the very next day! It was amazing.

Homescapes Feather Inner
Homescapes Feather Inner £4.99 50x50cm

 

Flowers and Plants

With summer over, arguably so dies floral season with it. However, there are some seasonal solutions to having flowers and plants in your home. I recommend going faux or dried: in fact dried grasses just scream harvest time to me!

8. Dried Pampas Grass: Through the power of Instagram, I recently came across a beautiful online store called The Little Deer which sells natural products in muted tones, from furniture to beauty items. My favourite item from their store is their dried Pampas Grass.

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Dried Pampas Grass from The Little Deer £14

9. Dried Flowering Cloud Grass: Also from The Little Deer, this grass is perfect for people who have lighter woods in their homes like birch and pine as it tones perfectly. Check out The Little Deer’s website for lots of other dried grasses of all heights and styles, there are so many to choose from depending on your needs.

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The Little Deer flowering grass £8.50

10. Hydrangeas: normally a little pricier than other faux flowers, hydrangeas have a much bigger head on them which explains the price difference. In fact, you only need 3 or 4 stems to completely fill a vase and have it looking full and bushy. Flo and Co Interiors has the best range of autumnal hydrangeas I have seen.

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Faux Hydrangea from Flo and Co Interiors £11.95

 

Lighting

If you read my Bring in Spring blog series you will have seen how much I like cool white lightbulbs, or daylight bulbs, and use them all throughout the house in the lighter seasons. Well, although in autumn and winter I still use daylight bulbs in certain places…think bathrooms, dressing table areas etc…now is the time of year when I swap back to warm white light bulbs to create a cosy effect.

11. Warm Bulbs: Value Lights is the most comprehensive website I have found for extremely well priced and variable bulbs of all kinds.

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Value Lights warm soft bulbs from £0.89

12. Exposed bulbs: A current trend I am in love with is for lighting with exposed bulbs. Iconic Lights has a wonderful range of extremely cost lighting solutions and low cost filament bulbs to go with them. I have ordered the Watson concrete and metal lamp for only £9!!!

Watson Table Lamp

 

Scents and Fragrance

Autumn is a treat for the senses and I’ve focussed a lot on the two most obvious senses when it comes to home updates: sight and touch. However, according to studies, smell is the most powerful of the human senses and should therefore not be forgotten when considering bringing your home into the autumn season.

13. Candles: One of my favourite small businesses, which I happened across once again thanks to Instagram, is also very local to me: Orchard Cheshire. They have just launched a series of autumn winter scents including Blackberry and Bay, Damson and Plum, both of which I have ordered. These 300g jars have a massive burn time of around 60 hours and are only £14 each.

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Orchard Cheshire Honey Jar candle £14

14. Autumnal Cooking: Ok, so traditionally you don’t want your home to smell of cooking smells, however, there are a range of amazing Autumnal candles that draw on some of the foods we associate most with this time of year, for example Gingerbread, Maple, Apple and Pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie Candle Etsy
Lindsey Lucas Candles on Etsy from £5.99

13. Burner oil: I have always had oil burners in my home, but my new favourite thing is my scent mister, a safer and alternative way to spread fragrance. I still use the same oils as a traditional burner though and will never move away from good old Marks & Spencer who can always be relied on to come good at autumn winter time.

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Refresher Oil from M&S only £6 pack of 2

Wall Decor

One of the fastest ways to refresh a room without digging out a tin of emulsion is to decorate the walls by other means. There are some amazing online retailers of prints and artwork these days, not least Desenio which has one of the largest ranges imaginable.

14. Artwork: One of the amazing things about Desenio is that there is always a discount code to be found on Instagram. Have a look out for their collaborations with Instagram users for codes that can earn you up to 25% off their products. The colours in these prints I have chosen are beautiful for Autumn but will remain neutral and timeless.

15. Frames: My whole life I have only ever used white frames…on everything. If I ever ventured away from white it would only be for the odd photo frame and a white metal like chrome would be the finish I would choose instead. However, I have learned over time that the choice of frame colour can not only frame your art more beautifully, but can also be used to create different moods in a room. For autumn I have added in some natural wood frames for a warmer effect. These ones are from Desenio and start at £3.95 per frame.

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Oak wood frames from Desenio from £3.95

16. Mirrors: provide a reflective surface in room to bounce off any light that does come in, despite the shorter days and darker nights. Furthermore, mirrors reflecting candlelight creates more warmth and cosiness. This one from The Range adds texture and natural tones, perfect for Autumn.

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Round mirror from The Range £12.99

 

Wicker

To be honest I don’t think the season really matters much in this instance as the use of a variety of natural materials in the home is always lovely. However, the colour palette that so many natural materials create lends itself perfectly to Autumn thanks so its shades of brown and warm neutral tones. One such material that is extremely easy to come by and cheap to purchase is wicker.

17. Tray: Perfect for bringing warm drinks and yummy treats to your loved ones in an evening, a wicker tray is a perfect autumn addition. There are a multitude available on the high street, mine is from One World Trading, but simply type into Google to see what options are available to you.IMG_20180916_083029-01

18. Hanging decoration: for door handles, walls, or ceiling, from hooks, pegs, shelf brackets…wicker hearts are charming rustic and easy to find. This one was only a few pounds from B&M Stores.

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Inexpensive hanging decorations are available from BM Stores

 

Warm Metals

Metallic accents not only provide the perfect contrast to natural woods and materials already discussed, but their light reflective surfaces lift autumnal colour palettes and prevent them from being at risk of dullness.

19. Gold:

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Hanging gold leaf from Dunelm Mill £2.50

20. Copper: I cannot big up George at ASDA enough for copper accessories for your home. For a more autumnal look, avoid items with copper and marble which suits the lighter months more and stick to earthier tones, so copper on its own or with woods. These LED candles are ideal for autumn evenings and are a snip at only £9.99 for the set.

Copper LED Candles
Set of 3 copper ombre LED candles £9.99

 

Moodboard: Scandi nursery in monochrome, mint and mustard

Moodboard: Scandi nursery in monochrome, mint and mustard

How can I be planning and decorating my son’s bedroom already? This is a horrible example of how fast time flies. George is currently just over three months old and sleeping in a bedside crib in our room still, but, if he is anything like his big sister, he will outgrow his bedside crib and be into his own room within the next 5 or 6 weeks. It is simultaneously the saddest and happiest thing to see your child grow and become more independent, but ready or not, I can’t hit pause on his growth curve so I need to get this nursery sorted because George isn’t hanging around waiting on anyone.

With all of the inspiration available to us via Instagram, Pinterest, and the plethora of online shops trading today, it can actually be really difficult defining exactly what you want for any room that you choose to decorate, and George’s nursery has been no exception. For months I have pondered over what I would like, getting myself all confused in the process. I think I always knew I wanted a scandi feel…but did I want woodland, monochrome, adventure? Did I want grey, yellow, blue, or green accents? Do I want wallpaper, wall decals, paint? Honestly, it’s been a bit of a minefield and I realised that I was going to need to make a mood board in order to clarify exactly what I want.

Mint Green and Mustard Yellow

Funnily enough, the thing that ended up helping me define my first accent colour was George’s comforter. I knew I wanted a muslin comforter because the fabric is safest for children from birth and I like to instill good sleep patterns from as early an age as possible, so after some research I eventually picked the Liewood Agnete Cuddle Comforter in Dusty Mint Green.

Liewood comforter
Liewood Agnete Dusty Green Comforter from Scandiborn

And, it was from exploring the Scandiborn website further that accent colour number two cropped up, thanks to this gorgeous little cushion:

Fabelab cushion
Mustard yellow Fabelab bear cushion from Scandiborn

So, probably not the most traditional of colour combinations, but I like how it clashes. Paired together with a basic monochrome and grey base palette, I think these colours really pop and add some interest. My problem now was that I had a bunny, and a bear, so what overall theme was I going to work towards?

Canadian Woodland

In the UK, when we think of woodland we probably most commonly think of rabbits, squirrels, badgers and deer. But we don’t have that many grizzly bears wandering around…apart from me in the morning after being up all night with the baby! I toyed with the idea of a sort of Never-Never-Land idea and realised that the addition of all those pirates and mermaids was going to confuse me even more, so that was swiftly veto-ed. After all, this room is the size of a postage stamp, there’s only so much stuff I can fit in there.

So, the Canadian Woodland soon became the perfect solution. A lovely mix of the woodland animals we know from the UK, plus a few exciting ones that the kids will recognise from storybooks and Disney movies: raccoons, bears and moose for example.

Wall Decor

Adding blue accessories was a perfect idea

These amazing little wall decals from Scandiborn bring all of the animals in a Canadian wood together perfectly. I couldn’t afford enough to cover a full feature wall though, so, I have decided to use them to decorate the walls of a little over-the-stairs cupboard in George’s room that I’m planning to make in to a cosy reading nook for him. But this leaves me with the problem of how to paint the walls of the room itself to best reflect the theme. I have already undercoated them all in white and am thinking of hand painting some trees onto one of the walls using black and grey paints. Goodness knows how that will work out, but lets just see how it goes and if its a disaster then white emulsion to the rescue!

Natural Wood

In-keeping with the desire to have the room feel Scandinavian (despite the Canadian bears, moose, and raccoons, lol!) I have bought several items in a natural wood finish for adorning the walls and displaying George’s little bits and pieces. These spice racks are from Ikea and I’m sure you have all seen the many ways they are used to display other items for the home. The peg rail and the rabbit mirror are both from H&M Home and were an excellent price and therefore ideal for a cost conscious mum on maternity leave.

Bits and Bobs

I think one of the things that make a room feel special are all of the unnecessary bits and bobs that hang and display and essentially offer no function other than to look pretty. Etsy is an absolute haven for this sort of thing. I have my eye set on a pom pom garland, some fabric letters spelling out George’s name, and lots of cool monochrome artwork for a gallery wall. It would be even better if we could find some mono artwork with accents of mint green or mustard yellow in it. I just need to ensure that the little animals displayed in the artwork don’t venture beyond Canadian woodland animals! Ha!

Furniture

The furniture I selected for the room is actually out of stock now. I got it from Ikea and am still trying to locate the matching wardrobe to complete the set. I opted for traditional white furniture because I figured that no matter what it will always match the decor of any future children that we may end up having…sorry Damon, cover your ears!

I would keep an eye out on the Aldi Special Buys offers if you want white furniture for your nursery: they always have some good items on there and they are very reasonably priced.

The Final Look

My Post

As you can see from this little moodboard, there are a few other items I have either looked at, pinned or ordered for George’s room including this cute canopy. I would love a mint green one, but these canopies are not totally budget friendly, although I am sure worth every penny they cost, they are just hard to afford on a maternity leave income! There is a beautiful dusty mint canopy that matches the Liewood goodies I have bought for George from Scandiborn which is the one I remain lusting after. Maybe Santa can bring it for him 🙂

Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs: collaboration product launch night

Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs: collaboration product launch night

Not in a million years did I ever imagine that a day would come where I would be going to an invite-only exclusive launch event for a line of new interiors products! Never ever! When I set up my interiors account on Instagram last November, and then this blog a few months later, I did so for my own personal outlet and enjoyment. And yet, here I am, with thousands of followers, hundreds of unique visitors a month to my blog, and receiving party invites of this kind! I am one grateful girl.

The invite to the Iconic Lights and Grillo Designs event is the first invite of its kind I have ever received. The event was happening fairly locally to where I live, I am obviously a follower of Medina @ Grillo Designs on Instagram, and Iconic Lights and I had partnered before for a photo shoot opportunity, so all of those things combined to make me the lucky recipient of an invitation. Yippee!

So, a novice at this sort of thing, there then ensued several weeks of uncertainty over what to do and what would happen and I’m very happy to share with you the stupid reality of my experience, for your giggles if nothing else.

The Invite

One day I received a mysterious package in the post. I wasn’t too confused as my internet shopping addiction is well known and documented on Instagram, but I was still racking my brain trying to remember what I had ordered. On opening I found a lovely botanical themed invite and some beautiful little succulents.

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What I failed to realise is that the succulents and moss were intended to be put together into a glass container to create what is called a ‘terrarium’. This was a word which at the time I was completely unfamiliar with until several weeks down the line I saw people posting their own special deliveries on Instagram all styled up and beautiful…but by then it was too late for me: the moss was in the bin, and the succulents were in little pots on a shelf! Ha! #plantlady I am not!

The Build-up

There then ensued several weeks of Instagram stalking to see who else had received an invite and would be going to the event too. Guys, I’m talking interiors Instagram royalty here! Katie from @comedowntothewoods, Justin from @design_at_nineteen, Beth from @bethshehata, Louise from @home.of.four, Ellie from @e.t.shown_home…to name just a few! Eek! And here I am with my little account and my little blog and my tiny-human led home going to be mingling with design led interiors fashionistas!

This was also when I discovered my succulent faux pas, Justin I’m pointing at you here with your beautiful terrarium (there’s that word again). I remember walking into the hall and looking at my little succulents in their little plastic pots and thinking ‘Oooooooooo, that’s what I was suppose to do with the moss’, lol! I should also note that last week I managed to drop two of the succulents, smashing half of their beautiful little petally leaves off, so now I have wonky succulents in silly plastic pots, as if I couldn’t get any more useless!

The Wardrobe Issue

Every girl knows what it’s like trying to pick an outfit for anything…a date, an interview, a wedding, pretty much any event, ever. But, only a breastfeeding mama knows how it feels when you have humungous leaky boobs at the same time. Disaster! Although I wasn’t taking George with me, I did need to have access to the breast-area in order to express them off at some point in the night so they didn’t explode. So I needed to try and look sassy but not over-dressed, with easy access but not slutty, and accommodate the hot muggy weather even though it was also raining! What the hell?! How is this even possible?

I eventually settled on a canary yellow button up dress thinking it would be loose and baggy enough to feel cool despite the humidity. I could not have been more wrong.

Zara dress
Beautiful Zara Button Up Dress

The Wardrobe Issue Continued

My advice to you is never ever have a drastic haircut right before a big event. And that is all there is to be said on the hair issue!

Then there was the yellow dress issue. What a gorgeous dress, I mean look at it. However, what I didn’t realise was that it was made from a fabric that crushes really easily. Add in a delayed train journey, some torrential rain, a traffic jam that resulted in me needing to walk/run most of the way from the train station to the venue, and some hormonal sweats (yes, apparently that is an actual thing for breastfeeding mamas who don’t have their baby with them) and the dress turned into a sodden, wrinkled, limp mess! Disaster! I literally had to go to the toilet and take it off, hang it on the back of the cubicle door and let it dry off for a while as I expressed my sweat-causing boobs into a bottle. It is hands down one of the least elegant, unladylike, depressing things I have ever had to do. But a few proseccos later and I was able to openly laugh about it…my apologies to anyone at the event who really just didn’t want to know (Lee @ Iconic Lights, I am truly sorry).

The Event

Ok, so now that I have overshared quite sufficiently, how about the event itself? Wow! I don’t think I have been anywhere as cool as The Menagerie in Manchester.

 

Jasmine and the team from Iconic Lights had done an amazing job making this uber cool venue even more hip with their own additional decor, and of course, the products of the moment, the lights that we were there to celebrate the launch of.

Who even knew that Instagram selfie photo scenery even existed?! Ok, maybe some of you Instagram die hards did, but I didn’t! I wasn’t quite brave (or dry!) enough to get into the ball bath, but I did stand next to it trying to hide behind some beauties.

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From the front: Laura @lifeonjacklane, Frankie @luckyplot13, Lucy @_itslucy_, your truly, Amy @harrison_nate_and_me

Amy and Lucy were two of the first people I met, standing out in the street in the rain, looking rather lost and trying to work out where to go. They immediately took me under their wing and I was so grateful for the support given my embarrassed frantic state.

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The way Lucy and Amy looked after me is testament to how friendly and supportive the Instagram community is

And the product? Classically Iconic, the products are affordable, well made, modern pieces that can fit into a range of working homes. The range includes a pivoting desk lamp, a matching floor lamp (both available in both grey and black) and an amazing geometric ceiling pendant. They clearly display Medina’s practical style and reflect the functional artistic colour palette of her home. I would be happy and lucky to own one and am now surveying my house trying to work out where I can slide one in without my other half noticing. Although, even if he did notice, the cost is so purse friendly that I’m sure he wouldn’t mind at all!

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Iconic Forton Desk Lamp in Grey by Grillo Designs

I just want to take a moment to thank Medina and Jasmine, and all the team at Iconic Lights for inviting me to come along. I would also like to say a big thank you to the contributors to a gorgeous goody bag full of little lovelies which I had a rummage through on the way home. And lastly, I would like to say thanks to everyone from our Instagram community who made my night so much fun, it was so lovely to put names to faces.

Head to www.iconiclights.co.uk to see the full range of product in the Grillo Designs range and to read more about Medina and her vision for these products.

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Bring in Spring, Part 3: My top Spring Green picks for your home

Bring in Spring, Part 3: My top Spring Green picks for your home

There is no colour in the spectrum that speaks Spring to me more than green. Green is the most common colour in the natural world and represents new life, freshness, vitality and rebirth. Do you know what happens to your body in the presence of green? Sensationalcolour.com explains that being in the presence of the colour green stimulates your pituitary gland. Your muscles are more relaxed, and your blood histamine levels increase, which leads to a decrease in allergy symptoms and dilated blood vessels, aiding in smoother muscle contractions. In short, green is calming, stress-relieving, and – a bit paradoxically – invigorating.

And yet, the use of green in interior decor has traditionally been limited and restricted. In fact, as I was growing up the colour green in decor was really only used in two ways: Lime green bathroom walls and accents in the new uprising of Barratt home new builds, and drawing room green in old traditional properties with uncomfortable leather sofas. In both examples the use of green seems very limited to specific target markets and tastes, but I think that is changing.

Valspar’s chosen colour palette for 2018 features 12 different colours, and a quarter of them are shades of green, all of them very different to each other: one rich and emerald-like, one greyish and muted, and the third blue-green like the sea. Access the Valspar website here to see examples of how they can be used Valspar’s colours of the year 2018

Furthermore, the botanical trend has hit modern style in a big way in the last few seasons. From high street fashion to high end wallpaper, there is no sign of this theme going anywhere any time soon. And once again, quite obviously, green features in a big way in botanicals.

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HM Home Botanical Theme from Style at Home

 

I have been working on an idea for decorating our living room. It isn’t a massive priority because of the pending arrival of baby, however I have started to plank a little collection of items what are building up a more developed idea of what I would like the space to look and feel like. And, guess what, green is the theme. You might call me a tentative theme adopter though…I love dark walls but would probably only paint one rather than a whole room. I love plant life, but I would limit myself to only a handful of real plants and use faux for the rest. I love velvet furniture, but am more likely to get a pouffe or chair as opposed to a sofa. This is just the way I roll, and it’s the way I plan to roll with my green living room theme. I would much rather ensure that anything I might tire of in the future is inexpensive to redo and replace than requiring a complete recarpet and new furniture.

Here I have collated my top ten green themed items/ideas for your home that will bring in the spring season’s colour without requiring a complete redecoration of your entire house.

1. Amara Living Cushion

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I adore the colours in this beautiful embroidered cushion from Amara Living. The mix of blues and greens keeps the green hues from being too overpowering.

2. H&M Home Blanket

Green Jaquard Blanket
This beautiful sage green colour is a muted way to introduce green to your decor and the pattern has a classic, timeless appeal.

3. Trouva Hanging Planter

Trouva hanging planter
This gorgeous hanging planter comes in two sizes, large as pictured here, and small.

4. Ikea Round Rug

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This round rug from Ikea is 130cm diameter and an absolute steal at only £25. It will break up the angles in our living room perfectly.

5. Laura Ashley Wallpaper

Laura Ashley Greendale Wallpaper
This Laura Ashley wallpaper is currently down to only £16 a roll and I cannot peel my eyes from it. It has the perfect mix of green and grey for a lovely soft colour palette.

6. Laura Ashley Curtain Tie Backs

Laura Ashley Curtain Tie Backs
These curtain tie backs can be paired with green, grey, or neutral coloured curtains while still bringing in a hint of green to your room. Laura Ashley has many items in this colour which they call Pistachio, and much of it is currently in the sale so check it out.

7. Cable & Cotton String Lights

Cable and cotton lights
I love cable and cotton lights, and what makes them so amazing is that you can guild the colour palette and length of the string to suit your needs. This set is an off the shelf option from them called ‘Primrose’ but visit their website to see the vast array of colour options they have available, or build your own.

8. Junique Prints

9. Matalan Foliage

Matalan Palm Tree
Matalan’s home department is absolutely divine just now. They’re faux greens, from succulents to tall plants will bring green into your home easily and with no maintenance required.

10. Graham and Brown Clock

Graham and Brown Clock
This clock is called the Lagoon Wall Clock, and oh my, it is absolutely divine! The mix of greens and blues in this is too perfect for words.

Bring in Spring, Part 2: Spring Decor Ideas Under £50

Bring in Spring, Part 2: Spring Decor Ideas Under £50

There’s just something about Spring, isn’t there? We are always so hopeful that the sun will shine, the daffodils will bloom, the rain will lightly sprinkle before sunrise leaving a coat of dewy freshness on the grass for us waking in the morning…but in actual fact the sun rarely shines, the rain always falls, and our daffys end up drooping under the weight of the downpours and high winds that batter them long after winter is supposed to have finished. Welcome to Britain, people!

However, spring remains the perfect time for new beginnings and fresh starts, for cleaning out the dusty cobwebs and preparing ourselves for the remainder of the year ahead. With the dark months of winter behind us, with the clocks going forward, with our Christmas debts almost paid off and forgotten about, using your April to find freshness feels like the perfect way to bring lightness into your life and home.

And doing so doesn’t need to cost a fortune. It would be easy for me sit here and type about all kinds of expensive things you could buy, all the big projects you could undertake to freshen up your home, but that’s not what this blog is all about. This blog is about real life solutions for real life homes that normal people like you and I can undertake. So I have challenged myself to share with you some ideas for spring decoration that you can manage easily and without great expense.

 

Sheer Curtains

I am not suggesting that you replace your blackouts with sheer curtains only, however there is always the possibility of double hanging your curtains to create a layered look. Normally we would shed layers as lighter days and warmer weather comes in, but adding them in this instance will add lightness to your room.

Sheer curtains allow light into your room without losing privacy so they are perfect for when the days get longer, allowing you to wake up, get up, and get ready without exposing yourself to the neighbours in the process, and without turning on a light to be able to see. They also filter the light coming in to your room so that on a dull day, their whiteness will brighten the room despite the lack of sunshine. Lastly, sheer curtains will hide a multitude of sins (like our dark brown, badly maintained, faux lead lined windows which are in dire need of replacing and do not match our interior decor at all).

To achieve this look, you will need double hanging curtains pole and brackets (click here to shop), and a set of sheer curtains (click here to shop) like those below:

 

Cushion Covers

We all love a throw cushion, and I have some collection of them! However, I’ve recently started buying more cushion covers instead of the full cushion. This keeps my costs down, but also allows me to swap the covers and put some into storage as the seasons change.

As winter leaves and spring arrives, think of swapping out your heavier, knitted, chunky cushion covers for lighter fabrics, patterns and colours that bring the new season into your home. Swapping out just the cushion covers allows you to mix up colour on a neutral base and make you room feel completely made over with barely any effort.

Blue and Yellow:

Two of my most favourite colours, and in my opinion, the absolute epitomy of warmer climes…think sun, daffodils, baby chicks, blue skies, walks round the lake, and spring showers. As you may have noticed, I’m sort of obsesses with H&M Home because their products are inexpensive, fresh and unique while remaining good quality. So here is a little selection of some of my favourite cushion covers in blue and yellow designs which vary from around £3.99 to £12.99 each.

Dusky Pink and Green:

With the botanical trend set to go nowhere any time soon, we might as well all embrace it and incorporate it into our homes. But botanical doesn’t have to mean old fashioned. Combining dusky green and blush pink with some natural prints is the softer way to incorporate the biggest trend of the last year into your home.

Again, see some of my favourite picks from the H&M cushion cover selection below to inspire you on how to bring spring into your home inexpensively. This selection costs between £3.99 and £8.99 per product:

 

Plant Life

Flowers

What says spring more than some beautiful fresh flowers in your home? There are a selection of delivery services now that offer you fresh flowers to your doorstep for a monthly subscription. Check out:

  • Bloom and Wild: monthly subscriptions through your letterbox starting at £18 per bouquet click here
  • Freddie’s Flowers: weekly subscriptions through the letterbox starting at £20 oer bouquet click here
  • I would recommend searching instagram for these company’s latest brand reps who regularly offer discount codes to followers. Try searching hashtags like #bloomandwild and searching the feed for relevant reps and codes

I am aware that there are similar subscription services for plants as well now. The only service I have used is Bloom and Wild, back when it first launched, and the flowers lasted for a couple of weeks which really is exceptional.

For the more cost conscious, spring flowers can be picked up as part of your weekly grocery shop for around £5 a bunch. Try eucalyptus and pussy willow stems for neutral perfection that will last for weeks and weeks on end. I have eucalyptus I got at the Colombia Road Flower Market in London 6 weeks ago and it is still as fresh as the day I got it, even if the scent has died somewhat.

IMG_20180329_115732-01
Fresh eucalyptus can last for weeks

And, for the even more cost conscious, I can’t recommend faux flowers enough, I have them all over the house. My favourite retailer of faux is actually Ikea. They have such a  vast selection of stems, and most stems are 50cm at least meaning you can cut them down the size you need for your vase. I have also got some gorgeous faux flowers from Dunelm Mill so check them out too for more inspiration.

Plants

Guys, I am not green fingered, it’s pretty shameful how fast I can kill a plant. But I do have a few live plants in my home, the rest are all faux plants from Ikea and The Range mainly.

IMG_20180315_115210_514
Faux plants are so easy to maintain and can look very real

There is just something about the colour green that screams fresh new life, and therefore I would highly recommend using them to make your home decor suitable for the spring season.

 

Daylight Bulbs

Such a simple solution, but what a massive difference they make. Daylight bulbs have a much cooler, fresher colour of light than traditional yellow light bulbs. Where standard bulbs can be good in winter to create warmth on dark cold nights, daylight bulbs are definitely the best option for spring as they are designed to prolong the feeling of natural daylight in our homes.

I get my daylight bulbs from Wilko’s www.wilko.com which has an amazing selection of screw, bayonet, spotlight, and all kinds of wattages. Their daylight bulbs cost around £5 each, dependent of course on the size and type.

 

Go White

Freshen up any space with the addition of white into a room.

  • Paint: banish yellow, peachy magnolia for white on your walls with a basic white emulsion. Extremely large tubs of white matte emulsion can be picked up in most stores for around £15 each. White, but that’s so clinical, you might think. Trust me. White opens up a space, makes it look larger and brighter and reflects light around the room. Forgive these work in progress shots of our hallway, but they help to show my point. Note how even with the dark carpet on show the space still looks lighter and brighter with the walls changed from magnolia to white. (ps.the carpet is being replaced in a fortnight, yippee!)
  • White bedlinen: is crisp, fresh and clean and can always be dressed up with pillows and throws if you want to add a splash of colour. I have the most amazing non-iron bedlinen that I picked up on Amazon would you believe. You can access it here for only £15.99 for the set including king duvet cover and 2 pillow cases:  Poly Cotton Duvet Set with 2 Pillowcases By Sasa Craze Bedding (King, White)

    IMG_20180317_151928_995
    White bedlinen is fresh, crisp, clean and matches all decor styles
  • White towels: I got some amazing inexpensive ones in the John Lewis sale. Just don’t go wrapping your hair up in them after dying it (I did that yesterday!) *Top Tip: pop your towels in the tumble dryer for 15 mins before folding and putting away and they will be extra fluffy when you go to use them.

 

Go Natural

Winter is a lovely time to brighten up your home with sparkles, metallics, glass and shiny things. Spring is a lovely time to take it back to nature with the incorporation of natural materials and fabrics.

Try out some woven placemats on your dining table, recycled glass bottles on your mantlepiece, jute rugs in your hallway, seagrass belly baskets as plant pots, and wooden candlesticks….well, everywhere! Check out the Shop my Instagram page for links to some of the loveliest items currently in stores made from fresh and natural materials, and all of them well below £50 in cost.

 

Spring Scents

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Daisy Blue Candles Plum and Rhubarb

Think fresh, fruity and floral. I am a massive fan of Daisy Blue Candles from where you can buy one of the loveliest freshest fragrances around: Plum and Rhubarb. Its so zingy! My favourite is actually the reed diffuser because it emanates fragrance all day without the need to light it like you do with a candle. Lorraine also sells some wax melts in the same fragrance which I really need to try out.

 

Try out some of my easy, simple and cheap ideas for bringing spring into your home and let me know how you get on. Leave a comment or send me a message with any questions, and good luck, it’s so much easier than you might think. All products I recommend in this blog are simply things I have chosen myself, I am not working with any brands to advertise the products on this page.

 

Bring in Spring, Part 1: Getting Organised

Bring in Spring, Part 1: Getting Organised

There are a hundred blog posts that could be written about all the different ways of organising things in your home, so for my ‘Bring in Spring’ seasonal feature, where should I start?! In my opinion, the utility room is where it all begins because how can you start to spring clean your home if the place from where it commences is in chaos?! Here I am going to focus on the ways you can organise your utility area to ensure it provides the perfect foundation from where you can manage your home’s spring cleaning. I understand that we are very lucky to have a utility room, however, all of the hacks and advice I list below are completely applicable to your kitchen, garage, or cupboard under the stairs too…anywhere that you keep your home’s utility items.

Get things off the floor

Twin Slot Storage System
B&Q Twin Slot System raises bulky equipment off the floor

How much space do clothes horses take up?! So much. Plus, if I had a pound for every time Evie had almost trapped her finger between the bars I would be a Mulberry handbag owner. We used to lean our clothes horses (yes plural, we have 2 for all of that family washing) against the radiator when they were not in use which was cluttered, messy, obstructed heat into the utility room, and tempted the little one to go play with them and try to pull herself up to a stand using them as leverage. So, I utilised space above the utility room sink to create a hanging solution for the clothes horses, it only cost a few pounds and was super easy to do.

I used the B&Q twinslot system (viewable here) for versatility. Plus, I wanted brackets that were white in colour so they would disappear into the wall rather than standing out like most metal and wood brackets would. It is possible to recreate this solution using something like a bike rack, but I found this nice white storage system the cleanest looking. Try this out for hanging the buggy, your bike, lawnmower, and other big equipment up and out of the way.

Utilise Dead Space

Ironing Board Bracket
The garage door opens against this wall but a slim wall mounted storage solution can make the space useable

The space behind doors that open against the wall can easily be forgotten about and underused. But in a family home all space is needed. This inexpensive iron and ironing board bracket I picked up on Amazon (Brabantia Ironing Board Hanger and Iron Store – Black). The iron holder is teflon coated to protect your wall from burn marks caused by a hot iron being replaced here shortly after use.

Another great way to make use of very narrow spaces like those behind doors is wall hooks. Behind the utility room door here I have used wood mounted rows of hooks which you can buy from lots of retail outlets…mine are a mixture of Amazon and BM Stores. I have used the hooks to hand the family’s jackets…but what about cooking aprons, tea towels, mops, sweeping brushes, feather dusters…all of the things that lie around in utility rooms creating more clutter. Use your narrow spaces and get things off of the floor, you would be amazed at how much more useful the space can become.

Hanging hooks everywhere

Kitchen Utensil Hanging Rail
Hanging rails are perfect for storing little things you don’t know what to do with

You know when you move house you always end up with those boxes of items that you just don’t know where to put so you procrastinate unpacking them for as long as possible? I’m talking batteries, string, spare buttons, shoe polish, stationary, light bulbs…all households have this problem. I can’t recommend kitchen utensil hanging rails enough for solving this problem. I have used them throughout the house for different things.

The rails I have used are from Amazon (click here) but are also available to buy from Ikea and Dunelm that I have seen and will cost between £5-£8 on average for a 50-60cm rail including the hooks. Pick up these white pots for only 50p from Ikea (click here) and you have an adaptable storage system for all kinds of little nuisances. In the utility room I store the items mentioned above and more, but in Evie’s playroom these rails display her artwork and have pots containing pencils and crayons. And in the kitchen I have a rail with kitchen utensils hanging.

Underneath your shelving

Shelf brackets
Use shelf brackets that themselves become a storage solution

Did you know that you can actually buy shelf brackets that themselves can be used to store items? These shelves were an amazing find from Wilko’s (click here). I have used some of the hooks that came with my kitchen utensil hanging rails to hang even more items from underneath my shelving, like this fluffy duster. This is particularly useful for items that get damp when using like towels and cloths, and especially if the shelving is hung above a radiator like they are in my utility room. Look for brackets that have hooks, curves and details on them.

Did you know you can also attach the kitchen hanging rails I mention above to the underside of shelves? This is what I did in my kitchen and is another way of squeezing every last inch of stage space out of your shelving systems.

Kitchen shelf storage
Hanging kitchen utensil rails from the underside of shelving brings another level of storage

Look Up

Ikea storage hacks
Use all the space, even up high. Your ceiling and above windows and doors can also be used for extra storage space.

Ceiling storage is a real possibility! Ikea hack solutions like this are not just great for hanging your socks up to dry, but think about it for things like storing tea towels, cloths and dusters. Even at my 5′ height I can easily reach this to bring it down from the curtain pole, but it can also be hung from a hook in the ceiling.

The next solution I would like to install is a pulley. A traditional item found in older homes, a pulley is a ceiling storage system used for hanging washing to dry or for storing pots and pans with an easy rope system access.

I have also just bought the Bittergurka storage system from Ikea (click here). My intention is to plant herbs in here and hang them in the kitchen, but this could also be a ceiling storage solution in smaller spaces for your cleaning fluids, washing powders etc, keeping them away form the reach of little hands.

Do you have any other ideas on how to organise your utility room? Leave me a comment below and let me know if you try any of these things out, it would be great to hear if they work for you.

A really quick fireplace upgrade that will save you a fortune

A really quick fireplace upgrade that will save you a fortune

When we moved in to our house we knew that we would need to put in a lot of time, effort and money to upgrading what was there. We didn’t buy a total refurb job, we looked at them and decided it would be too much, especially given we were in the very early weeks of pregnancy at the time. So instead we bought a 1990s house that had been carelessly looked after and had barely seen a lick of paint in decades bar the occasional pot of magnolia gloss being slapped on anything from walls to woodwork to ceilings…yes, ceilings! And artex ones too!

One room that needed little immediate care and attention was the living room. Don’t get me wrong, all the woodwork needs painted, the walls too, the metalwork like light switches and handles need changed, and a whole host of other small things. But at least it was fairly neutral and the artex ceiling had been plastered so decorating the living room is low down on the list of priorities. However, one thing that really stood out and totally ruined the whole room was the fireplace. The surround was a very dark moulded wood, it had decoupage mouldings on the front top corners, the fireplace detail was brass and the marble surround was a weak beige colour.

Original 1990s fireplace
The original 1990s fireplace was an eyesore in the very neutral room we inherited

I decided to paint the fireplace instead of replacing it as depending on the fireplace and surround we bought, the total cost would have been £500 at a minimum rising to thousands depending on how new, modern or fancy the items we picked were. Painting on the other hand we could do for a few ten pound notes handed over at our local B&Q.

  1. First I prised off those moulded details from the top right hand corners which were held in place by thin pins. I just used a scraper to gently wiggle behind them and gradually ease them away from the surround.
  2. Then I gave the full fireplace a gentle sand just to remove any top shine from the stain. After sanding I wiped it all down with a clean damp cloth to pick up any dusty residues.
  3. I was all ready to tape up the brass fire area with rolls of plastic dust sheets and frog tape, only to discover as I went to begin that the brass bits simply pull away. This meant I could spray paint them in the garage rather than worrying about the living room carpet and furniture.
  4. I cleaned down the brass bits and then raised them off of the garage floor in order to spray them more evenly round the sides.

    Prerparing brass fire for spray painting
    I propped up the brass items off the floor using old paint cans
  5. I used a high heat resistant paint I picked up from B&Q
    Rustoleum Stove and BBQ paint
    This paint is perfect for a fire surround as it is safe for extremely high temperature exposure.

    6. I sprayed the brassy bits all over and left to dry while I went back through to paint the surround.

    spray painting a brass fire
    The spray painting took only a few minutes and dried overnight

    7. I gave the fireplace surround 3 coats of Rustoleum chalk paint in Chalk White. As you can see, I had run out of frog tape so I used masking tape to mask off the walls, hearth and marble surround. Masking tape definitely isn’t as good at protecting your painted walls, but I wasn’t too fussed because we plan on decorating the walls soon anyway. And, it’s better than nothing.

    8. Once dry, I popped the freshly painted and no long brass bits back in place, and voila! Just like that, it was done. Months of procrastinating and the fireplace was done in an evening!

    Painted fireplace
    This cost me £9 in total would you believe!!!

    The total cost was only £9…the price of a tin of spray paint. I already had masking tape, and I already had some chalk white chalk paint left over from when I upcycled shelves (See how I did that here). So I think was definitely a better option than replacing the fire altogether, don’t you??

Covering up your boiler to make your room feel more furnished

Covering up your boiler to make your room feel more furnished

We have the oldest, crankiest boiler in the world. But, for as long as it still heats our house safely and (fairly) effectively then I am happy to make do and mend until such time as we have the finances to afford to replace it. However, not only is the boiler old and cranky, it is also very ugly indeed. Years of age have stained it yellow and brown, it is covered in the old stubborn marks of stickers and labels that have decorated it over the years, and it really was such an eyesore in my lovely fresh utility room. So cover it I must!

The original utility room and its old stained boiler
The original utility room and its old stained boiler

I researched online for ideas on how to cover it and although I saw lots of great ideas involved blocking it in, using cool blackboard doors, and hiding it with kitchen cupboards, none of these were going to work for me because of the size, position and shape of the boiler. Where it is restricts me from using a cupboard style covering because we wouldn’t be able to access it for repairs and maintenance. So I came up with an alternative idea I thought would work wonders for us, and could do for you. And not only that, it was so cheap!!!

Shopping List

  • U or L shape shower curtain pole set. I got one from Dunelm Mill for around £15 that came with 3 rods, 2 corner inserts, 2 straight inserts, and 2 wall attachments. I can’t see it on their website (despite only getting it a few weeks ago) so I have used this image here from Argos instead where they are selling something very similar (but including a shower curtain too) for around £25. I would recommend trying out Home Bargains or B&M as I think this is exactly the sort of thing they would stock. For this project I used 2 rods, 1 corner insert and the 2 wall brackets.
    U Shaped Adaptable Shower Rail Set
    U Shaped Adaptable Shower Rail Set. For this project I used 2 poles, the wall brackets and one corner insert

     

  • 2 wall plugs and 3 screws. I used normal 5mm wall plugs rather than big heavy duty plasterboard ones because the weight of the pole is so very light. However, you should choose the wall plugs and screws that suit the wall you are hanging this on to.
  • One curtain to the width and length required. I got a dunelm curtain in the sale for £10. What a bargain! I bought a curtain in a nice light fabric so that heat from the boiler did not become trapped behind it. Also, the lighter the curtain, the less stress on the pole.

 

Equipment

  • Saw
  • Drill with suitable drill bit for the screws/wall plugs you are using
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver (to fit the screws you have chosen to use)
  • Probably a step ladder if your boiler is wall mounted as high as mine

 

How To

  • Measure the width and depth of your boiler so you know how long to cut your poles down to. I needed one pole at 35cm, and one at 50cm. Remember to add on some breathing space so your curtain is not pulled tight against the boiler, I allowed for a few extra centimetres on each pole.

    Measuring up the boiler
    I measure out from the wall with the back door on it (31cm), and then out from the wall on the right (43cm)
  • Using the saw, cut the 2 poles to the required length. I cut mine to 35cm and 50cm. Then connect them using the corner shaped insert, and push the two wall brackets on to either end until you have a nice neat L-shaped pole.
  • Hold the pole up to the wall round the boiler and using your pencil, mark the points where your screws will go through. Each wall bracket on my pole had 3 screw holes, so I had 3 marks made on each wall.

    Marking your pilot holes
    I made 3 marks on each wall where the screws would go and used a 5mm drill bit to create pilot holes
  • Using the appropriate drill bit for your chosen screws and plugs, drill a pilot hole into the wall where you have made your marks.
  • Insert your wall plugs into the pilot holes.
  • Now, take the wall brackets back off your pole and screw the them into position.

    Brackets on the wall
    After I inserted the wall plugs into the pilot holes, I used my screwdriver to attach the wall brackets to the wall
  • Thread your curtain onto the pole (I used an eyelet curtain to save any faffing with pencil pleats and to avoid the need for curtain rings.)
  • Push your pole, holding the curtain, into the wall brackets.
Bye bye ugly boiler
I slid the curtain onto the pole, and pushed the curtain pole into the wall brackets

 

And, voila, all done! It looks so much better than before, don’t you think?!?!

Before and After:

 

 

Additional Note:

Not while hanging this curtain, but when I was hanging the door curtain, I drilled into the wall to make pilot holes for wall brackets and drilled straight into the electrics. Be careful! There will be a lot of plumbing and electrics around your boiler, especially if it is situated in a utility room or kitchen. We use a stud finder device we got on Amazon for around £20 to detect for electrics and pipes etc before we drill any holes in the wall now. I’m not convinced it is 100% accurate, but I do think it is better than using nothing at all!

For this project:

Our stud finder detected something behind the wall to the left of the boiler, so we used no more nails and glued a block of wood to the wall into which we then made our pilot holes and attached our curtain pole. Just sand the wood down on each side, paint it on the visible sides the same colour as your walls, and then glue into place following the product instructions. Ensure your screws are long enough to go through the block of wood and just into the wall but not all the way through the plasterboard. Arguably its not as neat as going straight into the wall itself, but the curtain covers it up anyway, and its a whole lot safer than burning your house down or electrocuting yourself!

Prepping your woodwork: my 5 top tips

Prepping your woodwork: my 5 top tips

Painting woodwork is the arsiest of all home décor tasks. There’s just so much of it…and it has all those little nooks and crannies and moulded bits…and you need to worry about paint spreading in multiple directions…down on to your flooring, up on to your walls, over onto your plug points and handles! What a headache.

However, it goes without saying that refreshing your woodwork is so worth it afterwards because what a difference it makes to the look and feel of a room.

When we moved in to our house in November we knew we would have so much woodwork to do…basically all of it. Our previous owners had not only not kept on top of their woodwork, they had also painted it gloss magnolia at some point in the distant past, magnolia which has stained even yellower over time. Gross.

So far, the only woodwork I have done has been in the utility room and in the new bedroom…which I am yet to reveal…however, just because you are special I will share with you now my top tips for managing your woodwork upgrade before I share the overall room with you.

  1. Use an electric sander

This is especially true if, like us, you have more than one door in your room. We had 4: entry, en suite, 2 x wardrobe doors. Or, if like us, you know that this is not the only room you’re going to tackle. You can pick these up fairly cheap and use with a medium grain sandpaper when removing top shine from glossed woodwork. It took us about 3 hours to do the whole room and all hovering etc afterwards using an electric sander. It doesn’t quite manage the most detailed and moulded of skirting boards, but those bits you can just go over manually.

Sanded Woodwork
I used an electric sander to take the sheen and grime off of the woodwork which was painted in gloss magnolia

 

2. Sand, but don’t worry about revealing the true wood underneath

If you are going to paint your wood again, this is true. However, obviously if you want natural wood skirting boards then ignore this tip. Most importantly you want to remove the top shine and grime from your woodwork so your new paint can stick to it. Do not underestimate the importance of sanding your woodwork. I forgot to sand one of the doors in the utility and paint just would not stick to it at all. I ended up having to give the door 4 coats!! The best way to know you’ve sanded enough is to use your fingers to touch the surface, if it feels slick then it needs a further wee rub, if it feels slightly rough or textured, then you’re good to go.

One coat of paint
Left door has had one coat of satinwood following sanding. Right door has just been sanded. There is already a massive difference.

 

3. Use polythene dust sheets in your wardrobes

That dust gets everywhere, and don’t assume otherwise! Our wardrobes are fitted and the doors are stiff and tight and nearly impossible to open, and yet that dust managed to seep through crevices and work its way all over the contents of the wardrobe. Damon bought a roll of polythene sheeting and I should have pulled off  a length and draped it over the clothing inside the wardrobe. Learn from my mistake people! Protect your threads!

4. Use Frog Tape

I pride myself on being a good ‘cutter inner’. I have an innate ability to draw straight lines and find it therapeutic to cut in and paint straight lines with clean white satinwood. However, because I am pregnant and was struggling on my hands and knees to get the woodwork done comfortably, I decided to use frog tape for the first time and ever. Oh holy moly. Why oh why have I never used this stuff before?! I know people go on about how good it is, but I honestly never thought that would apply to me and my OCD straight line painting. It does! No straight line is as crisp as a frog tape straight line. Get all over it people! And, it is soooooo much faster if you take the time to frog tape your carpet too because then you just whack the paint on willy nilly without needing to be cautious on either side of your skirting boards. Frog tape = time saving = more time for tea and cake when painting is done! 🙂

Frog Tape for woodwork
Frog Tape, even for a good ‘cutter inner’ like me, is an absolute saviour!!!

5. Daylight Bulbs

I cannot underplay this tip…it might come last on my list but only because I want to go out with a flash…of daylight! If, like me, you have a job, or children, then you find yourself using your precious evenings and nights to do these painting jobs in the house. Cue winter woes, when the light starts to fail at 3pm in the afternoon and you can’t even see what you are doing. I bought some daylight bulbs from Wilko’s, removed the lampshades from the lamps and hey presto, its like painting in the sunshine except without the overbearing heat. This is invaluable for ensuring you have a good even coverage on your first coat, because get that right and only 2 coats should be needed, saving you time and money on that oh so expensive paint. Would you believe that this photo was taken by the light of a daylight bulb and not natural daylight itself?

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Fresh clean woodwork makes all the difference to a decorated room