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LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

Garden update: painting our brick wall white

We built a brick wall in front of the lawn when we replaced our patio, which you can read about here.
Garden-with-wall-and-patioWe were really pleased with how the brick wall turned out, and with the improvement it made from the concrete slabs that it replaced.

I’ve been admiring white walls in gardens on Pinterest for quite some time – I love the bright modern look they provide. I was concerned about painting our brick wall white because the dog and cats are always walking over it, so I was worried that they would scratch the paint off easily, but I thought it was worth the risk!
white-colours-masonry-paintWe chose this Colours Masonry Paint in pure brilliant white from B&Q, which is designed for exterior walls.

First of all, we moved the gravel away from the front of the wall. When the gravel had all been moved, we gave the brick wall a thorough clean, choosing a nice summery day so that it would dry quickly, so that we could begin painting.

painting-brick-wall-whiteWe gave the wall two coats of paint. The paint requires 4-6 hours of drying time before it can have a second coat, so we made sure we started painting early in the day, so we had enough time for the first coat to dry before we painted it again.

brick-wall-painted-whiteWe painted the wall about 3 months ago now and the paint has lasted really well so far, even with our pets running all over it. There are a few areas where the paint has chipped off, but it isn’t very noticeable and can be quickly patched over.

I was also worried that the wall would get dirty quickly, but I haven’t found it to be too bad and any dirt is easily wiped off.

white-brick-wallThe dog clearly wanted to show everyone his rear end in this photo – I do apologise!

I’m so happy with how the wall looks painted white in our garden. So far, the paint has fared really well and I love the way the white contrasts with the deep green of the lawn and the gold gravel.

Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

Barbecue spray paint makeover

A few years ago, my mum and dad bought us a charcoal barbecue as a gift. When we got our house and had so much work to do to improve it, buying a barbecue just wasn’t a priority, so it was such a nice surprise to receive one. We really enjoy having barbecues in the summer with some salad and crusty bread yum!

We have debated swapping to a big gas barbecue many times, but I like having a charcoal one and when there are so many other things for the house and garden we want to spend money on, it seems silly to buy something so expensive when the barbecue we have works perfectly fine.

Although it does the job, it was looking a complete mess and it had started to go rusty in places, as you can see in the photo below of the bottom part of it. Oh such a glamorous photo!


We decided to try using some spray paint on it to see if that would make it look a bit better, to see if we could improve it’s appearance, rather than throwing it away.

We used Rustoleum Stove & BBQ Paint, which we thought would be perfect, considering it’s specifically for barbecues, so it can resist high temperatures. We decided that black would make a nice change from silver.


We gave the whole barbecue a really good clean and then Dan separated the smaller parts of it out onto cardboard, and started spray painting.


We wrapped kitchen roll around the wooden parts of the handles, so that we would paint just the metal part and not the wood.


We left it all to dry in the sunshine and then gave everything a second coat.

And here’s how it looks after it’s spray paint makeover.


We had already tried out the newly painted barbecue by the time I got round to taking these after photos and the spray paint held up perfectly fine, which is a good start!


I was battling the sunlight, so apologies that the second photo isn’t as clear as it could have been. However, hopefully it shows the huge change that just some black spray paint has made to it’s appearance.

The spray paint canister does say that it stops rust, so I’m hopeful that this will be the case. The wooden handles aren’t looking too impressive and the legs are a tad bit bent but, other than that, it looks pretty much good as new!

We’re really pleased with the results and it was so much cheaper than buying a new barbecue.

Home & Interiors LIY (Luxe it Yourself)

How to make your tile grout look like new

We have found that over time, the white grout over our bath tends to blacken, which certainly isn’t a good look. 


I definitely like to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly. And ugly that definitely is!

We have a shower over the bath, so I think that mould likes to grow due to the water hitting the tiles at the side. Cleaning, even with mould remover, doesn’t completely get rid of the discolouration, so we decided we needed to use something to brighten the grout up again.

We used Ronseal White Grout Pen, which we got from B&Q. 


First of all, I cleaned the grout and tiles and then left them to dry. 

After shaking the grout pen, you literally use it like a normal pen. It does say not to be too heavy handed because the paint will come out too fast and overflow, which I can imagine would happen, because the product does come out really easily and quickly.

If you get any of the product on the tiles, just wipe it off with a damp cloth. It does require a steady hand to keep within the lines of the grout and after leaning over the bath doing it for a very short amount of time, I had to get Dan to help me out to finish it off!

As you can see, our grout looked as good as new again. It does say to leave it to dry for 24 hours, although I left it for about 21 hours before having a shower, and I didn’t have any problems.

We have used this pen before, and we found that the grout stayed white for quite some time.

So much quicker and easier than replacing the grout!

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!

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.
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 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.



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.



The cables are now cleverly hidden away.

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!
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!