Exclusive renovation tips from UK bloggers and designers

             

We have asked some popular bloggers who work in the UK to provide us with some of their top tips for renovating and using DIY to keep your decor fresh and appealing. We have exclusively spoken to the home blogger Kazzabeth and the carpenter's daughter Vikkie to get their top tips!

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Meet the bloggers

 
 

Reading blogs is a great way to get information on a huge variety of things, and you know you're getting opinions and advice from a real person, usually someone with a real passion for the subject they blog about. Kezzabeth and Vikkie are two interesting ladies with a passion for DIY and home renovation. 

 
             
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Kezzabeth

Otherwise known as Kerry, created her blog as my little place on the web to share the progress of her new home renovations. Kezzabeth is a home blogger and says 'My blog follows the journey of our home renovation, sharing how to tackle and create DIY projects, renovate on a budget and basically all things home/interior-wise!"

Take a look at Kezzabeth's wonderful blog to get some great information on putting your own individual stamp on your home.

 
             
 

Vikkie

Vikkie is a carpenter’s daughter who has taken the advice of her father to tackle almost every thinkable DIY project in her very first home, and her blog takes you along with her through this journey. Vikkie says 'My blog is a DIY blog for girls or first home buyers.  I share my DIY experiences and talk about how many jobs aren’t as difficult as people may think.  If I’ve encouraged someone to save money and produce great results, then I’m happy."

'My blog’s ethos is:  How can you learn a skill for life if you don’t try it for yourself?" Check out Vikkie's DIY blog here. She also writes a healthy eating blog that you can find here.

  Image of carpentry and DIY blogger  
 

When renovating an older home what would be your top tip for improving a space quickly and inexpensively?

 
Painting and cleaning is a great, and inexpensive way to liven up a room

Kezzabeth advises 'One thing we’ve done to keep costs down is to keep floorboards exposed. Carpeting large rooms or adding tiles can cost a lot of money! But, you can sand floorboards by hand with a belt sander or similar, and just adding a bit of paint or varnish is a really cheap solution to flooring.

'If your bathroom isn’t a horrendous avocado green and you’re on a budget, another great idea is to just replace the fittings. By adding new taps, plug, shower and tiles, you can save heaps of cash. And when you’re done, it will look brand new!'

Vikkie suggests 'Before ripping anything out or knocking down a wall, so try to make one change at a time.  Simple changes can change your whole perspective on the layout or design without any costly regrets.'

In your opinion, what is the easiest way for someone to put their own stamp on a property they have just moved into?  

Vikkie says 'A good clean and a lick of paint can really transform an area, becoming the perfect blank canvas to compliment your own personal belongings.'

Renovate a wooden floor by sanding and varnishing

Kezzabeth agrees, she says 'Paint! If you have to live in a renovation project and can’t afford to do it all up in one go, just by adding a new lick of paint (even over old grubby wallpaper!) can make the world of difference. There is so much you can do with paint - murals, geometric shapes, paint effects - it’s an easy and quick way to revamp a room and make it your own.'

Are there any style trends you think might take off in 2017?

Earthy writing represents colour theme expected to be popular in 2017

Kezzabeth thinks 'the earthy colour scheme might take off over the next year. Bringing the outdoors in has definitely been a growing theme, but I think earthy tones with the botanical prints might be big next year. I’m definitely loving it!'

Vikkie's opinion is that 2017 will be the year for 'Larger monoprints & more copper home accessories.'

What would be your top tips for fitting new doors?

Kezzabeth recommends 'Measure twice, do once is something I strongly recommend when it comes to doors! There’s nothing worse than having chiselled too deep for a hinge, or in the wrong place and having to patch it back up. I recommend using something to prop the door up to the right height too whilst fitting - don’t rely on someone just holding it up for you!'

Fitting a new door with a support from below

Whereas Vikkie advises you consider 'Hiring a professional to do it!  It needs to be perfect and you need patience.'

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Meet some of our in-house design team

Our parent company, Boys and Boden Ltd., is a group of builder's merchants that has trading divisions that include Plumbline, plumber's merchants; Pear Stairs, staircase and stair part manufacturer and supplier; and Taps the bathroom retailer. This gives us exclusive access to an in-house team of designers and builders who are always on hand to dish out advice and guidance. Here is an interview with our team members Jen G and Clair T.

When renovating an older home what would be your top tip for improving a space quickly and inexpensively?

Jen: In older homes, the rooms can be typically smaller. Many people say to increase space paint the room a lighter shade, but in a small darker space this can make the room appear much colder. By using a warm shade, such as a terracotta, and clever use of lighting you can make the room more inviting.

Placement of furniture can also increase room space. Placing your sofa away from the wall and putting a slim line console or narrow table behind can trick the eye into making the room appear bigger.

If you have a period home, ditching the window treatments not only increases space but also increases the natural light coming into the room. 

Clair: Plan ahead to avoid making last minute decisions that would cost more and to also make use of the features of an older property instead of masking them which could be more expensive.

Do you think new doors can transform a house? How do you think this could be best achieved?

J: New doors do improve a house, making the rooms look more finished. If using white paint on any skirting, then opt for a white primed door. Glass doors increase light, or opt for a classic oak door. If working to a tight budget, removing living/dining room doors can alter the look completely by making the space more open plan.

C: I do think new doors can transform a house by giving a fresher look as most doors in older properties have been painted numerous times.

In your opinion, what is the easiest way for someone to put their own stamp on a property they have just moved into?

J: Painting a room rather than wallpapering is one of the best ways of putting your own stamp on a property quickly and inexpensively. Wallpaper in a vibrant pattern can lose its appeal rapidly. Paint can be freshened up to keep the room looking as good as new. 

C: Fresh coat of paint and accessories.

Are there any style trends you think might take off in 2017?

J: Jewel colours inspired by space and the cosmos are coming in for 2017. Dark rich purples, dark green and metallic accessories will make an appearance. The copper lighting will make way for dark bronze or burnished steel. Terracotta is also making a comeback but in a more matt form.

What would be your top tips for fitting new doors? 

J: Get an expert to do it. Doors can be tricky, but if they are done right, by a professional, they should work correctly and last for years. Also, remember if a door is not fitted correctly it can void your warranty and could actually cause damage to a door.

C: Get someone else to do it!

Do you prefer internal doors to be glazed or solid panelled doors?

J: I personally prefer solid panel doors, or the sliding pocket doors (if the property allows). Where glass does let light in, it doesn’t allow for privacy, which can be tricky if you use the living room for guest to stay over.

C: Depending on the room and light situation. Definitely, glazed doors to create an illusion of space and solid doors for privacy reasons.

How do you think a home could be made to feel more spacious?

J: There are many ways to increase space in a room. Choosing pieces of furniture which serve more than on purpose. Use of mirrors (the bigger the better) to reflect light back into the room. The most important one, in my opinion, is to regularly declutter. Get rid of anything you no longer use, or haven’t used in over a year.

C: More light, brighter, cleaner colours

What interior colours and styles do you like most in a house?

J: I love the Scandinavian look. I think it’s something that never goes out of fashion, and allows for new fashionable pieces to be mixed with the Scandi look e.g. 

I love floral wallpaper (a throwback to more opulent times). It’s not to everyone’s taste, but with white trims and doors, it can look clean and less fussy. I also love the use of dark navies and blues, this is a look I would definitely use.

C: Traditional,  I like natural woods with stains or waxes to highlight the grain pattern and texture.

Do you think front doors are more than just functional?

J: Front doors are the first thing people see when they come to your home, or are passing by it, so the term “kerb appeal” is very real. The whole door and the area around can make your home more inviting. Use of bold colours can be great, particularly red which is a lucky colour and means welcome in some countries. Even if you have a PVC door, using outside lamps and planters can increase appeal.

C: Front doors have changed so much in recent years. They seem to be getting bigger! They can really draw attention to a property.

How would you describe WD XL Joinery / Boys and Boden / Pear Stairs to someone who has not seen them?

J: Wonkee Donkee XL Joinery online sells internal and external doors for your home. Offering a huge range of glazed and panelled doors, fire doors, doors sets, sliding doors and frames.

The parent company of Wonkee Donkee XL Joinery is Boys and Boden Ltd, and is the one-stop shop for everything you need for DIY/Builders/Trade supplies.

Pear Stairs provides excellent bespoke stairs. You can use the online stairs planner to have a go planning your own stairs, or if you prefer, the staff and designers can help you through the whole process from design to fitting.

C: Informative and helpful and seems to sell everything. Boys and Boden is an excellent builder's merchants that cover Mid-Wales, Shropshire and Cheshire. The branches are a great way to physically see all our products. While the Wonkee Donkee sites are great for online shopping and general information. 

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