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Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

Painting tips and tricks to make decorating much easier

 
 
I have done so much painting in our house since we bought it and I can imagine we will be doing one hell of a lot more painting in the future and so anything that can make painting easier and quicker is a winner!
 
Over the last few years, I’ve learned a few simple tricks that have really helped to make painting easier and quicker and I thought I would share them with you in the hope they may be able to help someone else.

Tip number 1: try before you buy 

When I’m looking for a new colour to paint the walls in any room, I always buy some samples of different colours before buying a full-size tin of paint. It is really useful to be able to compare paint colours, particularly because they usually look slightly different when they are painted on the wall in comparison to how they look on the image on the tin. 
 
It’s much better to buy a small sample and decide you don’t like it than to buy a much more expensive big tin of paint, only to find that you don’t actually like the colour.

Tip number 2: preparing to paint 

I used to just paint onto the wall without doing any preparation first and then I would later regret it. The walls in our home had so many little cracks and holes in them that would pretty much drive me mad. 
Nowadays, before we paint anywhere, my hubby and I go all around the walls sanding down any little bumps with sandpaper or scraping them off with a scraper and filling in any holes. It takes a little time to do, especially when painting a large area, but it makes such a big difference to any painted wall.

Tip number 3: cover up

I always used to keep a set of clothes just for painting. Yes, I would have a top and a pair of trousers that I didn’t like anymore just sitting in my drawer for when the time came to paint.  Such a waste of space!

I recently decided to buy some coveralls instead. I bought some from B&M and they were about £2/£3 each, and I’ve seen other shops selling them for a similar price. It has been so much easier to put them on over my normal clothes, then fold them up and stash them away for next time, rather than having to keep getting changed. They have protected my clothes really well. They even have a hood on them, which is great for protecting my hair if we are going out after painting, as I usually end up with little dots of paint all over myself!

Painting-overalls
Dan did a great job of modelling his new coveralls! Probably best not to go out in, or people will think you have gone a little doolally, but highly practical.

Tip number 4: masking tape

I find that using masking tape is a great way to make edges much neater. In particular, I always try to use it when I’m painting skirting boards because then I don’t have to worry about painting the floor at the same time!


Tip number 5: never clean plastic trays again

I think I discovered this tip online a while ago and I’ve since heard it quite a few times. Nearly as annoying and time-consuming as cleaning paintbrushes is cleaning out the plastic tray that you pour paint into. With this tip, you don’t need to clean those plastic trays out ever again.
 
Roller-tray-with-foil
If you take some aluminium foil and put it into the tray, pushing it into the corners and around the edges, when you have finished painting you can just remove the foil and throw it away, leaving a nice clean plastic tray that doesn’t need any cleaning. 
 

Tip number 6: clean your brushes less

One of the things I used to hate about painting was having to keep cleaning brushes after every use. This is time-consuming and not the most fun job, which is all the more annoying when there is lots of painting to do over several days.
 
A professional decorator told Dan that instead of cleaning his paint brushes after every use, he simply wraps them in a plastic bag so that they don’t dry out, and they are fine to use the next day.
 
We decided to give this a go and it really works. When we have finished painting for the day, we simply put our paintbrushes into plastic food bags and they don’t dry out. I’m not sure how long they can be wrapped up without drying out for but we’ve tried it for longer than overnight and the brushes have still been fine.


And there you have it, 6 simple tips that have really helped to make painting our house so much easier. If only we had known them all when we first moved in!
Home & Interiors

Kitchen makeover

When we moved into our house, the kitchen needed completely ripping out.

Kitchen makeover

I would have liked to have been able to save the units and just update them, but they were in such a bad state that they had to be ripped out and thrown away. Some of them didn’t fit properly and half of them were falling apart. There also weren’t any units on the other side of the kitchen and we wanted to put units there, so we decided that we really had no choice but to start from scratch and buy everything new.

Not to mention that everywhere was completely filthy, and I mean filthy. The house had been empty for a long time before we purchased it and it was in such a bad way. We knew that we just needed to basically start again. So that’s what we did.

Kitchen makeover
Just look at that flooring. It was beyond disgusting!
 
Kitchen makeover
There was dark wooden panelling all along the left hand side of the kitchen, which just made the room feel even smaller and dark and gloomy, so that came straight off the wall too.
Kitchen makeover

We replaced the old units with a complete new kitchen. We chose cream-coloured units and wooden worktops from Focus (the DIY chain that doesn’t exist anymore). We thought that light-coloured units would help to make the kitchen feel a little bigger because it is a small space.

Kitchen-new-units-and-magnolia-walls

We wanted some colour in the kitchen, and we found the square tiles at a clearance price, so we decided to get 3 different colours – cream ones to match the units and two different brown tones to complement the wooden worktops.

My Dad taught Dan how to tile when we got the house, so he tiled the kitchen. It took him quite some time but he did a really good job.

Kitchen-after

When I saw the white sink at Focus I just had to have it – I love the white against the brown worktops.

Kitchen-sink
Kitchen-after-2
Ironing-board-and-Dyson

Without a utility, we need somewhere in our small kitchen to store our ironing board and vacuum cleaner. The ironing board fits perfectly against the fridge behind the kitchen door and we bought a wireless Dyson that also fits perfectly in the small space.

Kitchen-after-left-hand-side

Left-hand-side-of-kitchen

We don’t have a utility or anywhere to really put the litter tray and the animal’s water fountain and bowls, so we created a breakfast bar and we put them under there so they are a little out of the way. Having the litter tray in our kitchen is in no way ideal but I have had to get used to it!

We replaced the awful dark and ridiculously sticky flooring with laminate, which Dan laid throughout the living room and kitchen, so the flooring flows through the whole of the ground floor.

We are really happy with how the kitchen has turned out. We have managed to get a good amount of storage and worktop space out of a small room, and it works well for us.

 

Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

How to cleverly disguise ugly cables

Ever since we moved the TV to the other side of our living room, we have had cables trailing all along one wall from the socket in one corner of the room to the TV unit in another corner.

Having two cables trailing along the floor looks messy, so we cable tied them together and attached them to the wall just above the skirting board. However, this still didn’t help to make them look much better, and they looked pretty obvious trailing the length of the skirting board all the way across one wall.

When shopping in B&Q recently, I spotted some trunking that looked like a clever way to disguise the cables, and so we decided to try it out.

D-Line-pvc-white-trunking

 

We used D-Line PVC White Trunking, which can go either at the bottom of your skirting board or at the top and it looks like it is part of the skirting.

The trunking has strips on the back that you pull off, which reveals the adhesive that sticks the trunking to the wall, so you just push it onto the wall and it sticks to it, so you don’t have to start using screws or buying your own adhesive to attach it to the wall. So easy!

We used two pieces and one of them we had to cut down so that it would fit – Dan used a saw to cut it and it was really easy to saw through.

Once the trunking is attached to the wall, you open the lid and push the cables inside and then click the lid back into place.

D-Line-pvc-white-trunking-open-for-cables

D-Line-pvc-white-trunking-with-cables-in
D-Line-pvc-white-trunking-completed

The cables are now cleverly hidden away.

Home & Interiors

Garden progress

After laying turf on our back garden to create a lawn, and putting a border with plants at the rear of the garden, we still had a lot more work to do in order to improve the rest of the garden.
Back garden progress
We were fed up of looking at the ugly concrete slabs that made up our patio, and as soon as we got rid of the weeds that grew in all of the gaps between them, more sprouted up again. The only good thing about this photo is the cat sat in the bucket! Isn’t she cute!
 
We also decided to get rid of the concrete posts that had been the edging for the lawn in our back garden and replace them with a brick wall. 
 
Remember the second patio that was originally in our garden that resembled a chessboard? 

Garden progress

We could have bought all new paving slabs, but instead we chose to use the lighter coloured slabs from that patio. However, there weren’t very many of them, so we decided to space them out a little and fill the rest of the space with gravel. Gravel is a good way to fill large spaces in the garden easily.

My hubby and his brother (who we managed to bribe to come and help us with promises of food!) took up the old concrete slabs. They were large and very heavy, and it was hard work in the hot summer weather. 

Garden progressThey laid weed control sheeting all over the patio area, and then put sand and cement down before laying the new slabs.

The also built a brick wall to frame the edge of the lawn, which looks so much nicer than the old concrete slabs.
Garden-with-wall-and-patio

We chose gold coloured gravel because it goes really well with the slabs and is quite a light colour, which I think helps to make the garden look bigger. 
 
As you can see in the corner, we painted the garage magnolia, which brightened up the awful dark pebbledash a great deal.
 
Our table and chairs were very kindly given to us for free by a family friend. They were going to throw them in a skip until they heard we had moved into our first home and asked if we would like them. They were a little worse for wear but after a good sand and some paint, they were looking much better.
 
We also added wooden edging at the back of the garden to separate the plants from the lawn, in the hope that it would deter the dog from jumping all over the plants. It took a lot of us telling him off for constantly jumping over it, but after a while, he actually started to listen and realised the border is there for a reason. No more squashed plants!

 

Home & Interiors

How to make a small house feel bigger

 
Our house is the first home my hubby and I bought together and I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that it’s really small. We have just 2 rooms downstairs – the living room and the kitchen and that is it; there isn’t even a hallway. Upstairs we have the master bedroom, a small bathroom, and finally a really small second bedroom that I use as a place to do my make-up/storage space/occasional dumping ground. 
 
And there you have it – that is our home.
Bearing in mind that this small space has to accommodate 2 humans and 3 pets, getting what little room we have to work for us has been difficult at times, but after a few years, I think we’ve finally got the hang of it. I really wanted to share some tips with you that have helped us immensely.


Tip 1: De-clutter (KonMari style)
 
Decluttering is going to make a huge difference to how spacious a house feels, and the KonMari method is definitely the one I would recommend. Before using her method, I had attempted to declutter our house so many times, but I always seemed to still have way too many belongings for such a small home, and it felt like we had nowhere to store everything.
 once-you-learn-marie-kondo-quote-2
After completing a KonMari-style declutter, for the first time since moving into our house, I haven’t felt like we have a severe lack of storage, everything has a home, and now we have so much less stuff everywhere that our home feels much more spacious. 
 
I have written a detailed post about my experience of the KonMari method here.
 
 
Tip 2: Put appliances away
 
Our kitchen is small and because of this, we struggle for space on worktops. I decided a little while ago to take the toaster off it’s usual place on the worktop and to keep it in a cupboard instead. I also did the same with my husband’s coffee maker and the little pods in their stands that go with it, keeping them all together in a cupboard rather than on the worktop. 

kitchen-countertop

I’ve found that just putting these appliances away into cupboards has made it feel like there is so much more space on the worktops. It makes the surfaces much easier to clean too! Oh how I love anything that saves time cleaning!
 
One appliance I haven’t put away into a cupboard though is the kettle. I just feel that it gets used way too often to have to keep putting it away and fetching it out again, so it can stay out in the open. Besides, there’s no way Dan would agree to keep putting it away again. You don’t want to get between him and his mugs of tea!
 
 
Tip 3: Use neutral colours
 
I’m such a fan of neutral colours and I think they have made a big difference in making the rooms in our house feel lighter and bigger. When we first got the keys to our house, the rooms were painted in various colours, from green to orange, sometimes with different colours in the same rooms. It made the house feel so small and dark and gloomy. In the kitchen, there was also dark wood panelling, which made the space look tiny. Why anyone decided to put dark wood in there, I will never know.
 
One of the first things we did when the house became ours was to paint pretty much every single wall in the house magnolia, just to brighten it up. It made such a huge difference – it was like being in a completely different house. 
 
I’ve now become a big fan of painting walls white – it looks so clean and modern and keeps rooms light and bright, even with a darker accent wall like we have in our living room.  
 
 
Tip 4: Use mirrors
 
I really do believe that using mirrors makes rooms appear to be bigger than they actually are. We have got several mirrors around our house. 

Landing-mirror

Our landing area is very small and has dark carpet, which doesn’t help to make it feel bigger, but it is practical with 3 pets. However, having the mirror there really helps to make the space feel much bigger, as well as reflecting the light from the light fitting opposite it, which brightens up the landing area so well in the evenings.
 
Tip 5: Change the layout to make the space work better
 
This is often really easy to do, depending on the room, although it can be a slightly more expensive option, such as in the bathroom, when you have to pay for plumbing to be moved around. It can be really worth doing though in order to make a huge difference to the feeling of space in a room and just to make rooms work better for you. 
 
We made some changes to the layout of our house, particularly in the bathroom. 
 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Moving the position of the bath made the room feel more spacious and it just seemed to make the room flow much better.  Having the sink stuck behind the door next to the bath had made the sink area feel very cramped. 
Neutral bathroom with porcelain floor
Now you can stand at the sink with a feeling of more space and natural light pouring in through the window next to you – much better!
 
 
Tip 6: Use clever storage
 
When there is a real lack of space in a room, finding ways to store belongings can be tricky. Often using tall storage units are a good idea because they can provide lots of space to store things but they don’t take up much floor space, which is often lacking in a small house.

Spare bedroom storage units

In our spare room, we used two thin storage units and pushed them together. They take up hardly any room in what is the smallest room in our house but because they are tall, they store lots of items.

Spare-bedroom-after 

Tip 7: Choose the right furniture
 
Choosing furniture that is raised up on legs can help to create an illusion of more space.
 
Mirrored furniture can reflect light and also help to make a room feel bigger. 

bedroom-2
 
The wardrobe in our bedroom has a full length mirror on each door and it really helps to give the illusion of the room being bigger and more spacious. 

 

And there you have it; 7 tips that can help to take a home from feeling teeny tiny to a decent size. Hooray for more space!
Home & Interiors

Transforming our back garden

When we got the keys to our house, similarly to every room inside our home, the back garden needed a lot of work doing to it. It was basically just patio and weeds – a lot of patio and a lot of weeds.  And nothing else. Nada.

Garden progress

It all looked so grey and, well, lifeless. The garage was a covered in a dark pebbledash, which further added to the dullness of the garden. 
 
The garden is a good size and so we knew that with a lot of work, it could be pretty great. 
 
Because we had so much work to do inside the house, which took priority, it was a couple of months later until we got round to making a start on working on the garden. 
 
By this time, the weeds had gone a teeny bit crazy. 

Transforming our back garden

What a lovely view we had out of the rear of our house at this time!
 
I’ve never understood why it had 2 patio areas, it just doesn’t make sense at all, so one of the first things we did was to get rid of one. It made so much more sense to just have one patio area at the rear of the house and to make the other area into lawn.
 
We had to remove all of those concrete posts from the middle of the garden that framed the patio area that we took out, which was not a fun job!
 
We also started removing all of the weeds.
 
And if you thought the rear of the back garden looked bad, wait until you see how bad it looked closer to the back door…
Transforming our back garden
My other half decided it would be a good idea to create a temporary dumping ground for all of the weeds, concrete, and soil and sand we were removing from the garden, which he then framed with some of the slabs. Boy was I glad when the skip arrived to take away his masterpiece!
 
When we had finished clearing all of the weeds, concrete and general rubbish we kept finding away from the rear of the garden, my hubby flattened the area and laid turf.
Back-garden-with-turf
We made a soil border at the very rear of the garden and planted some shrubs. We finally had a lawn and plants – at last our garden was finally looking like a garden and not just two patios surrounded by weeds.
 
Dog-playing-in-back-garden

The dog was just as happy as us with the new garden. Plenty of lawn to run around on with his toy – perfect!

 

Home & Interiors

How we updated our spare room

Just in case you need a reminder – here is the spare room pre-makeover, in desperate need of some TLC. And a good clean to boot.

After a thorough clean, many coats of paint and some carpet later, the room basically became a dumping ground. Following a clear-out, it then became a home office for quite some time, a couple of years at least. Although if I’m honest, it shared the title of home office with dumping ground a lot of the time!
 
We had a desk in the room for a long time and we eventually decided that it was much too large for the room and took up way too much space, so we made the decision that the desk had to go. We removed it and completely changed the room with the new found space we had available.
 
First, we took out the old IKEA Aneboda wardrobe we had in the alcove next to the door because it didn’t really suit our storage needs. It had a rail for hanging clothes and we decided we just wanted a cupboard with lots of shelves, so I managed to persuade my husband to make his own cupboard and he has done such a good job! 


Cupboard
I love the bright colours and the large polka dots on the storage box that sits on top of the cupboard – it’s so fun! It’s a large box too so it’s great for storing more stuff out of sight. What I don’t love is that awful patterned ceiling though. Why oh why didn’t we get it re-plastered?!
Spare-bedroom-after
I had really wanted a mirrored dressing table for a while and when I found this one in the sale at BHS I had to have it!
Spare-room-mirrored-dressing-table 
I think I may have to spray paint that bin gold to make it fit in with the room more. It may not look quite so random then! We also need to replace the carpet at some point – it is old carpet my parents’ kindly gave to us when they replaced theirs and it is looking a little tatty now.
Perfume 
We found some storage units at a ridiculously low price when browsing a clearance sale at B&Q one day. They were meant to be for a bathroom, but we thought they would be great for our spare bedroom to put our books etc in. We actually just bought one at first, but when we got it home and saw that it fit so well in the room, we went back to the store and bought a second one! We were lucky to get it because the rest had all sold. 
 
Spare bedroom storage units
We put the two units next to each other to make them into one storage area. The printer sitting on the top of them isn’t ideal but it is really the only place we can think to put it! 
 
Some old seagrass baskets we had fit perfectly into the top sections to hold lots of bits and bobs and keep them out of sight. 
Seagrass-baskets 
Our Vera Wang vase was given to us as a gift at our wedding and so it is very precious. It is so precious that I don’t want to put flowers in it! So it sits nicely in the storage unit alongside some accessories that I spray painted gold to match the room.
 Vase-and-gold-accessories
I wasn’t sure where to put the sewing kit my Mum bought me when we updated the spare bedroom but it is so cute with the little coloured scottie dogs all over it that I thought it would look good on display! Isn’t it cute!
Scottie-dog-sewing-kit 
And so there you have it. Our spare bedroom has gone from an unsightly mess to a dumping ground to a home office, and now finally it is a highly useful place to do my make-up/storage area. 
 

 

Home & Interiors

Landing update

 
I wish I had some photos of our landing when we first moved in to show you, but unfortunately I don’t seem to have any. I seem to recall that it was bright orange with no proper floor covering and I think all of the doors to the upstairs rooms were dark wood and in a bad way. The landing space is very small and the orange walls and dark doors made the space feel even smaller and really dark and gloomy. We couldn’t wait to brighten the space up.
 
The photo below shows a door from one of the upstairs rooms after we had taken it off it’s hinges and temporarily put it into in the spare bedroom, just in case you need a reminder of how bad things were – oh they were bad!

Spare bedroom before makeover

Those doors had to go and so we replaced them all with brand new doors, which we painted and glossed. I say we painted and glossed; we actually got a lovely painter to come and paint and gloss them for us because with the sheer amount of work we had to do in our house, we desperately needed a little help! And boy were we glad of the help with all of that painting!

Landing-doors

There was no proper floor covering on the landing or the stairs. My favourite floor covering for pretty much every room apart from the kitchen and bathroom is carpet, so we set about choosing a colour that could handle our dog and cats walking all over it. We decided on a mink colour, although the carpet that was delivered was actually a dark brown. We have no idea quite what happened there, but we couldn’t be bothered to send it back, so we just rolled with it!
 
When we first bought our house, we painted pretty much every wall magnolia, which included the landing and stairs. These areas remained the same colour for a few years, until I saw a photo on Pinterest that inspired me to paint our landing, stairs and 3 walls of our living room white. I literally saw the photo and suggested to my hubby that we paint some walls in our house white. I was bracing myself for his response, but to my great surprise, he actually thought it was a good idea and we literally got the paint out of the garage and started painting! The power of Pinterest inspiration!
 
I bought the 3 canvases that sit opposite the spare bedroom door in a sale at Homebase. I thought they were quite cute and they fit so well into that little space on the wall.
Canvases-and-mirror-on-landing
Live-Laugh-Love-pictures

I love using mirrors in our house to make spaces feel a little bigger. They also help to reflect light around the room,which really helps to brighten our landing up at night. We found this bevelled one at a bargain price at a shop called JTF, which is a little similar to Makro and Costco, and we loved it so much that we bought a second similar one for our living room! 
Landing-mirror
I’m still really glad we decided to paint all of the landing white on a whim the way we did because it looks so light and bright now. It looks so much better against the dark brown carpet that we didn’t actually order! 
Home & Interiors

Bathroom progress

When we got the keys to our new house a few years ago, the bathroom was in need of a total re-fit. Let me remind you of how grim it was!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Similarly to every other room in our house when we purchased it, there wasn’t a single thing in the bathroom that didn’t need replacing, from the tiles to the toilet, the bath to the flooring.  And not forgetting the completely pointless air freshener!
 
Whether I looked at the bleurghy green of the bathroom suite or the sticky mess of a floor, we didn’t feel that anything could be improved without getting rid of it all completely and starting again.
 
We also didn’t feel that the layout worked. The shower was on the wall over the middle of the bath, which you can just about see peeking out from behind the door. The sink was behind the door. We wanted to swap the bath and sink so that the sink was next to the window and so that the shower could be mounted on the wall next to the door, so that it was above the bath taps.

Bathroom makeover

We soon got stuck in, ripping everything out of the bathroom, until there was literally just the shell of a room.
Fortunately, our plumber was able to swap the position of the bath and the sink as we had hoped, so they could go in the positions we were hoping for. 
 
And here we have our bathroom when we finally finished decorating, although the bathroom has changed quite a bit since these photos, and I will show you how it looks now in another post. 
Bathroom-2
Dan, with a little help from my Dad, tiled the bathroom and we painted the rest of the walls in magnolia, so that it was a nice neutral colour to make the space feel bigger. Just moving the position of the bath had really helped to open the room up a little and not make it feel so small.
 
We really wanted to tile the floor, but we were struggling for time with the amount of things we had to do in the rest of the house and my Dad managed to find some laminate flooring that was very cheap, so we decided that it would make do for a while.
 
Everything in the bathroom was brand new, apart from the cream bowl on the right-hand side of the windowsill. It’s a lovely Laura Ashley bowl that I’ve had for years and I thought it would look nice in the bathroom to keep cotton wool in.


Cotton-wool-in-Laura-Ashley-bowl
Bathroom-after
The hand-wash dispenser on the sink is a very similar cream colour and I picked it up in a sale at B&Q.

Handwash-dispenser

As I mentioned earlier, the bathroom has changed since we first finished decorating, and I will put up an up-to-date post soon. I was just so glad to get rid of that awful toilet!
Home & Interiors Lifestyle

The KonMari method: never declutter your home again

I had never heard of Marie Kondo until I happened to come across a mention of the KonMari method when I was reading something completely irrelevant on the internet. I discovered that people were raving about what an amazing book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying* was.

At first, I was a little sceptical. I wondered what decluttering method could possibly cause a great number of people to be so amazed at the results it provides. I presumed it would just be something similar to decluttering and organising methods I had heard about before. As it turns out, I couldn’t be more wrong.

The KonMari method is revolved around the idea that we should only have things in our home that ‘spark joy’ and that we truly love. This was an idea that immediately appealed to me. Surrounding myself with only things I love and getting rid of things I don’t actually like that much in my house sounded like a great idea. This was a new concept to me and I began to wonder why I had never heard of it before, as it just seemed to make so much sense. It was like a light bulb moment.

Marie advises that we often keep items because we are anxious about the future or because of an attachment to the past. I realised just how right she is when I began putting her method into practice. I had previously kept many items because I worried I would need to use them one day, which meant I didn’t want to risk getting rid of them.

Only the items that bring you joy should be kept, everything else should be thanked and discarded. Yes, you should thank items that you decide not to keep! This does sound a little wacky, but surprisingly, it works.

Instead of the usual approach of tidying room by room, Marie advises working in categories and in a specific order too.

The logic with this order is that clothing is the easiest category to sort through, which is why it is the first to tidy. Clothes should also be further divided into smaller categories e.g. tops, bottoms, shoes and so on. Items that have sentimental value should be left until last because they will be the hardest things to part with. The idea is that by the time you get to this category, you will be so used to the process that you will find it easier to sort through.

I can’t even begin to imagine just how many bagfuls of items have left my home since I started kondoing. I wish I could have taken a photo of all of the bags full of belongings I got rid of. I had to visit the charity shop so many times to give them all of my donations. I could have sold things instead, but I didn’t want to have so many bagfuls of items taking up room. It felt quite cathartic to keep taking it all out of the house. It also felt good to be able to give back in some way to a charity that does fantastic work.

Previously, I thought that I was good at getting rid of clutter. It turns out I had no idea of just how many items I was holding onto that didn’t make me happy or that I kept ‘just in case’, but that didn’t need to be kept at all. Since kondoing, I haven’t regretted getting rid of any of the items that I discarded. I also found that discarding things and getting them out of the house became quite addictive.

I’ve heard stories of people kondoing other things in their life after completing the KonMari process, even their partners! I’ve also heard of opportunities opening up for people when they have cleared out their clutter. I can completely understand how this can happen.

I would go as far as to say that completing the declutter has changed my life. That may sound rather ridiculous, but I have found that having so many less belongings and more space to be a lot less stressful. It’s now so much easier and quicker to clean the house and to keep it clean and tidy. Our home feels like such a nicer space to live in and much calmer.

I have written about how the KonMari method has influenced other areas of my life in the below post.

Marie advises that this will be the last declutter you will ever do and that you will no longer have to tidy every day. I still have to tidy daily, but this is pretty much because Dan has a habit of not putting things away in the right place. Even the KonMari method hasn’t worked to make him tidy! However, I don’t think I will ever need to have a big declutter ever again, which is a fabulous result.

The KonMari method has helped me to get rid of so much clutter. It truly has been life changing and I can’t recommend it enough.

 

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Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

Living room storage unit makeover

Our father-in-law kindly gave us an old unit he no longer wanted when we moved into our house. It had a few white paint marks on it and some minor dents and scratches to the laminate (at least that’s what I think it is), so it was looking a little sad. 
 
I didn’t know I was going to start blogging before I did a makeover of the storage unit and so any photos of the unit pre-makeover that I’ve managed to find are obscured in some way, usually by a cat!
storage-unit-before-being-painted
This was the best photo of it that I could find. I think it was taken when we hadn’t been moved in for all that long, as the living room has changed so much since then. It’s a shame I couldn’t find any close-ups to show you the condition the unit was in.

 

I had spent ages trying to find some wicker baskets to fit into the unit that would be good for storing things, and I finally found some at my local garden centre. The problem was that they didn’t fit very well. They weren’t tall enough and so you could see into them easily, which made the unit look a bit messy. They also stuck out a little, which just didn’t look right. 
 
I got fed up of the paint marks and the cheap-looking laminate, so I decided to take the plunge and paint the unit white. This was the first time I had every painted a piece of furniture, so I was a little scared!
 
I was in Wickes one day and spotted their own brand Cupboard Paint in White Mist, so I thought I would give it a try. I was a little concerned when it appeared to have a slight lilac hue, but after applying it, it turned out to be the white colour it said it would be, thank goodness.
 
I gave the unit a very light sanding and then a good clean. I didn’t bother with primer or undercoat of any kind, mainly because it say on the tin that you don’t need it. 
 
I had to apply a few coats of paint in order for it to have a good finish.
Living room storage unit makeover
And here is the storage unit, given a new lease of life with it’s white paint. 
 
I found the new baskets that are the perfect fit for it at B&Q. They only had the one left in store, so I ordered them online and I was so happy to find that they fit so well. 
 
If I tell you that they delivered a toilet to me instead of the baskets the first time round would you believe me? Because that’s what happened! If they had brought me a surround sound home cinema system, I may have accepted, but I have no need for a second toilet, so I sent it back! If only they had sent me something more exciting than a toilet *sigh*. 
 
Fortunately, on the second attempt, I received the baskets, which was a relief. It’s a great way to store things like hubby’s Xbox games and the TV remote controls so that they are easily accessible but out of sight. 
Living room storage unit makeover
The clock is the Laura Ashley one I bought that was meant to go in our bedroom, but ended up being put in the living room instead. We bought the lamp just a few weeks ago at BHS and I just love the modern design of it. The Vera Wang photo frame was a wedding gift, so it is very special to me, and I just love the little knot in the top right-hand corner – I just hope no cat claws find their way to it! The candle on the left was also a gift and I’ve had the vanilla candle with twigs for years now. The wooden plate it stands on was originally brown but it went a weird colour, so I spray painted it gold. The coasters that you can just about see are the Crazy Daisy design by Portmeirion and I just love how they bring a pop of colour to the unit. 
 
I was really pleased with the results of my first attempt at painting furniture and it’s turned an item I wanted to replace into something that I’m now really happy to have in my home. It made me a little more brave at experimenting, and I’m so glad I did it!
Home & Interiors

Master bedroom progress

We have come a long way since the look our bedroom had when we got the keys to our house around 3 and a half years ago. And isn’t it a good job!
Bedroom before
We knew as soon as we saw the bedroom that everything would need replacing and redecorating. I think the only thing that has stayed the same in the room is the window – even some of the wall was knocked down when we decided to get rid of the hot water cylinder that was housed in here.  
 
The small door that you can see on the left of the above photo was where the hot water cylinder was kept. 
Hot water cylinder
When we knocked down the part of the wall that contained the cylinder, we installed a wooden shelf over the top of the wall that remained, as shown in the photo below. This was great because it meant we had a place to put the TV, that we didn’t really have much space for before. Extra space is always a bonus!
Bedroom floor before
This was probably not our bedroom’s finest moment. No radiator, bits of the wall missing and no floor –  I couldn’t wait for this phase to be over and for us to have a bedroom that wasn’t in bits. 
 
A couple of years down the line…
 
…and here we have our bedroom in it’s not quite perfect but HUGELY improved (I hope you will agree!) state. 
bedroom-2
One thing I really regret not doing when we got some of the walls re-plastered was not getting the ceilings throughout the house plastered, as none of them are smooth – they are all the really old fashioned textured plastering. It would make such a mess if we were to try to get them all sorted now so we are just going to have to roll with it. 

The shelf that the TV is sitting on is where the hot water cylinder used to be, so getting rid of that part of the wall has made such a big difference to how spacious the room feels.
 
As you can probably tell, I love images of the beach, as they remind me of holidays and they are just so calming and relaxing. The picture on the left is hanging up way too high and needs to be moved down when I can persuade my hubby to do it! I had put it into the loft (ok, we all know I didn’t put it up there) because the frame had gone a bit strange but I decided to use silver spray paint on it and it looks good as new.
Master bedroom progress
 
The little cluster of photographs in frames above the bed are from IKEA, both the prints and the frames themselves. 
 ikea-pictures
I spotted the prints with a reduced sticker on them a few years ago and so they were cheap as chips. I just love the calmness in them and the colours go well with the bedroom. I love the way the white frames look against the golden colour of the wall. I debated painting the wooden frames but I decided to leave them as they are because I quite like the look of them the way they are.
 Master bedroom makeover
The white mirror was from B&Q. It was originally a pine colour and I didn’t like it very much, but it was really cheap in the sale so I decided to buy it and paint it white and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
Master bedroom makeover
One thing I really want to change about this room are the curtains. They were really cheap ones we bought just to make do and we’ve never got round to replacing them. They are really thin and let lots of light in, so it’s a good job we’ve got a blackout blind for during the summer. 
 
I would also like to replace the bedside tables, as one of them matches the chest of drawers but the other one doesn’t match anything, so it looks a little odd. I considered painting them all white but the one bedside table is a different size to the other one so they still won’t properly match. I might end up replacing them all at some point.
 
I may well get rid of the glass shelves too because I’ve had them for years and I’m a little over them now, but I will wait until I find something to replace them with.
 
The clock on my bedside table really doesn’t match the room, being purple and all. I bought a cream clock from Laura Ashley that I love, but when I tried it out in our bedroom, the loud tick tocking it made meant we couldn’t sleep! We ended up moving it to the living room instead. So after that mishap, I decided the purple, not matching my room at all but very quiet which is good for trying to sleep, clock would have to stay, well, for now anyway.

Bedroom chandelier

The light hanging from our bedroom ceiling used to be on the landing, but it hangs low and so anyone who was particularly tall that visited our house used to hit their heads on it! We thought we better stop being selfish (hubby and I are quite short and never had a problem with it!) and move it so we swapped it for the higher light that used to hang in our bedroom. 
 
My Mum gave this light fitting to me when she replaced it with something else and the carpet is also from my parent’s house from when they swapped it. What would I do without my parents!