Home refurbishment Leicestershire

How to Halve your Renovation Costs

It’s really important to decrease your costs as much as possible given the fact that nobody wants to pay more than it requires. Often people mistake cheaper prices with low-quality but that’s not necessary.

Most of the times unexpected expenses can occur during home renovations, thus, you need to have additional money stashed in case of an emergency like this one.


Cheaper is not Better

Remember that or you are going to have a bad time. Most of the time cheaper is really low quality and it can bring you a lot of headaches. Not in most cases, but you have to be careful. If you wish to spend less on windows, then you might have to change them all in a couple of years.

Be careful or you will end up buying the materials twice.

Renovate or buy second-hand

You can find a professional renovator to modernize and make an old piece of furniture into something completely new, fresh and unique. It can cost you twice less than something new from the store.

Check the auction houses, flea markets, and second-hand shops to find the best deal. Online auction sites are also a good place to look at, given the fact that you can remotely grab a bargain.

Mix expensive with cheap

You can always make a mix between expensive and cheap stuff. For example, you can pay the extra buck for your windows, beds, and other essential stuff, but buy some cheap shelves.

Go to the unpopular stores

Our last advice is to visit warehouses, local shops and companies to get the best prices. When buying from bigger companies, you can often stumble upon a higher price.

The last way to save money is to do the easiest stuff by you. Do as much work as possible by yourself, but never take a job that requires considerable amount of skills.

10 Tips for Smashing Your Home Design Mental Block

Is your home refurbishment Leicester project all ready to start, but you find yourself sitting there staring at blank walls unable to decide on a direction? Our little guide aims to show you ten handy tips to free yourself from your creative block and set your imagination in motion.


1: Phone a friend

Everyone has that one friend who’s full of ideas. Sometimes their flow of inspiration can be nauseating but on occasions like this their input can be invaluable, so put your pride in the back seat, make the call and soak up the ideas.

2: Hire a designer

It is something of a myth that designers are the domain of the rich and famous. The input of a designer can be tailored to most budgets and you can’t put a price on the years of experience and of course the passion and dedication to fine design that comes with all good professional designers.

3: Create those boards!

The design equivalent of brainstorming, pin-boards and of course their popular virtual equivalent enabled on sites such as Pinterest not only provide a great visual aid, but help to get your creativity in full flow.

4: Go to open houses

It might feel a little cheeky to arrange an appointment to look around a promising house from an interior design perspective, with no intention to buy, but believe me you won’t be the first to do it! You never know quite when you’ll come across an idea that you can steal for your stalled project.

5: Go window shopping

Have a look around some interior design shops and look for colours, textures, materials and other details that you feel an affinity towards.

6: Use a virtual room

Trial and error is often the best way to reveal the winning formula. Online virtual rooms offer that facility without the expense and blood, sweat and tears!

7: Paint swatches

Paint swatches are neat, but there can be an element of overkill in covering your walls in blocks of different colours and sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees. There are numerous ways you can restrict your potential choices, for instance by looking at how mood is influenced by colour and the BBC page has a good article and uses a colour wheel.

8: Incorporate some of your interests

Without becoming twee or cluttered it can be a great idea to use your hobbies and interests to guide your design. For instance a bird-watching enthusiast can choose some interesting tiles that feature our feathered friends and nautical folk can introduce some shipping antiques or upcycle a ships wheel for example.

9: Go travelling

If your budget can stretch to a bit of a backpacking trip then surely there can be no better way to find little snippets of cultural influence that can make all the difference to a design project.

10: Go for it

Make a start. You can always tweak your design along the way, but no project can be completed without taking the first step.

Nifty Shades for May: a Brief Guide to the In Colours for 2015

When looking at your home with a fresh pair of Spring-inspired eyes, one of the most satisfying ways of freshening up your interior design is by giving your interior a new colour or shade. As an interior design company in Leicester, we have taken steps to unearth some of the more exciting colour trends for Spring and beyond.

The overriding trend that we noticed was one that is intrinsically linked to our ever more complicated and connected lifestyles. Mobile technology has gripped us like never before and people are choosing to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life in their homes using shades of soothing blues in their homes, instilling a sense of calm and tranquillity. Particularly prominent are the tropical blues including aqua, azure and mellow green, giving further credence to the escapist theory as we all look to bring the holiday vibe into our living space.

These shades of blues can be playfully combined with tans, burnt oranges, corals and lemony colours to revitalise your tired décor and optimize the chill out factor of your home. Once you’ve decided on the exact shades and tones for you, the question remains as to how best to use these colours.

Paint is the easiest and most obvious way to introduce colour, but even after deciding that a lick of paint is the way forward there are many ways in which paint can be used in the home. The idea that paint must be applied to every wall in a room is finally becoming consigned to history and a feature wall may well be what your room is crying out for. A good tip is to choose a prominent wall – such as the wall you first see as you go into a room and make that your statement wall, giving it your soothing blue shade and giving you an instant shot of calm.

Other ways you can boost your tranquillity and update your palette include choosing a piece of furniture – a kitchen table, chairs or desk for instance – and give them the revitalizing colour boost. Outside the realms of paint, you can even use soft furnishings, such as cushions, lampshades and curtains. Moving into bathrooms and kitchens, you have the added option of replacing those tired kitchen tiles with fresh, exciting new ones in the latest, most exciting shades. With the weather on the change and moods lifted, May is a great month to get started.

Style Quite Literally On Tap!

Be they in the kitchen or bathroom, our taps are used so frequently – we wash our hands and face and clean our teeth many times a day – and yet they are often overlooked as simply functional accessories and yet with a bit of digging and inspiration you might find a way to give your basins a lift by replacing your taps. Of course it is not only style that can justify a change in faucet; there are in fact many different types of tap with various pros and cons. As we are at the heart of home refurbishment Leicestershire we keep up with the latest developments.

In terms of functionality requirements are distinct in the bathroom and the kitchen. Your bathroom taps should be able to control the temperature to a more sensitive level as our skin will come in contact with the water from them more regularly, while a kitchen tap will benefit from swifter access to stronger water pressure and the two temperature extremes to satisfy washing up and pouring a nice cold glass of water.

This short article aims to shed some light on the much neglected tap and how despite our apathy towards it, it remains at the forefront of advancements in technology and design.

LED temperature sensitive bathroom taps
Ideal for running baths, these stylish taps are lined with LEDs that change colour in with the temperature of the water (blue=cold, pink=warm and red=hot). This is a nice detail which marries functionality with style and can add to that magical candle-lit bathroom ambience.

It doesn’t have to be chrome
Chrome looks great, which is why in terms of modern bathroom and kitchen design it is all pervasive and yet there are alternatives. Copper and bronze are both making a comeback, especially when contrasted with colours on the grey/silver spectrum and there are a range of copper sinks– especially the hand-hammered textured sinks – that come with gorgeous copper waterfall taps that can really look great in a well-designed bathroom.

Flexible faucets in the kitchen!
Have you ever found yourself with a mountain of washing up and a tap that just won’t move high enough to direct the water? Or perhaps you have a jug or that won’t fit under the tap to fill it? There are some great options that not only solve your problems but look amazing too. At the top end there are some truly gorgeous articulated kitchen taps that can offer around 46 cm clearance and are made of a unique combination of carbon and metal for consistency and durability. If you’re not feeling so flush, there are some excellent monobloc taps with flexible hoses that achieve the same objective.

Which Kitchen Island?

The kitchen island is a vital component of an open plan kitchen and the decision as to which design to opt for is a very important one that you will live with on a daily basis, so it is vital to think it through first. The folk involved in home refurbishment Leicestershire are there to help you decide on your plan of action.

Larger kitchens

The chances are that should you be fortunate enough to have a large open plan kitchen it is likely to be the hub of your home, where dinners, entertaining, food preparation and breakfast all take place. In this case, large, built in islands deserve their place, with the added bonus of drawers either side to tidy away all those pots, pans, scales, juicers and blenders that will not only be out of sight but also perfectly placed to be extricated and placed on the food preparation area of your kitchen oasis!

Options for smaller spaces

For the smaller kitchen there are some space savvy kitchen islands that do not compromise on storage, using vertical space, with the elevation allowing for storage underneath. A nifty tip is also mounting a long towel bar on the side of your island for those tea towels, aprons and oven gloves. However, some small kitchens will need a compromise and that can be made in the way of a mobile ‘cart style’ island. Options range from cheap and easily mobile trolley style pieces to more elaborate islands on wheels that can look as good as their fixed cousins.

The upcycled option

Do you have an old dresser that you no longer use or want out of the bedroom? It could, with a little bit of imagination and elbow grease, be turned into a stylish and economical kitchen island. Add some dividers and give the dresser a shabby chic makeover with some vibrant colour – blue or green perhaps – and you could have a storage-friendly talking point in your kitchen! The upcycled option could even involve taking a butcher’s block (auctions often feature them) and adding legs from an old piece of furniture. This will not provide storage, but it will look incredibly satisfying.

The upgrade

Perhaps your kitchen island ticks all the boxes in terms of size, storage space and style but is rather tired and in need of a revamp. A new countertop or some sleek wooden panels can transform an existing island and cost much less than unnecessarily scrapping your island and replacing it with a more expensive model.

Innovative Bathroom Lighting Solutions

For those looking to add a certain je ne sais quoi to their bathrooms or shower rooms, you could do a lot worse and spend a lot more than looking at your lighting. There are so many innovative and creative lighting solutions specifically designed for our watery havens that you will be spoiled for choice. Those working on bathroom refurbishment Leicestershire are well aware of the revitalising qualities imbued in some of these lighting ideas and this article highlights some particularly exciting options.

Today’s bathrooms are multi-purpose and have multiple personalities in keeping with the vibrant idea of modern living space. From functional and practical rooms to calming, tranquil oases in a sea of modern stress, our bathrooms must be able to morph with our requirements of them and one fabulously simple way of achieving this goal is via lighting. Of course, simple dimmer switches have, in the past been one of the main ways in which the bathroom can shift from well lit practical morning ‘getting ready’ rooms to chilled out evening ‘winding down’ spaces. Dimmer options on vanity lights are also effective mechanisms to assist this transition.

One fun and modern lighting solution is provided by colour-changing LED shower head lighting, whereby the flow of water from the shower head takes on a specific colour in response to the temperature of the water – blue is cold, green lukewarm and red is nice and hot! Why this may seem a little gimmicky it is certainly not without an element of fun and would be received as such by the littler members of the family.

LED lighting is not restricted to the shower head, of course, representing an efficient and wonderfully flexible way of lighting a bathroom. Colours can be introduced according to taste, yielding sensational results in the ambience department. Stainless steel LED floor lights can look sensational when they break up a sleek, grey slate tiled floor or wooden slatted floor and the array of surface mounting ceiling downlights on the market is staggering. Adjustable and dimmable LED wall-mounted lights can provide flexible lighting that can adapt to the different ways in which you use your bathroom and whether you choose chrome, brushed steel, elegant black or fresh white you can add your own sense of style to boot.

In addition to the modern lighting options, given enough ceiling height a more elaborate low hanging light fitting like a chandelier, equipped with dimming options can be unparalleled in the drive for evening mood lighting.

Open Plan Living vs. Separate Rooms

If there has been one trend in home renovation Leicestershire and indeed in home design in general that has stood out over the last 20 years then it is the shift aware from conventional room divisions to open plan living spaces. There is, of course also the in-between option of a little bit of open-plan space such as a kitchen/diner, with separate living room and bedrooms and even a partially open-plan kitchen/dining space that is more about good flow between rooms than a complete abandonment of division.

It stands to reason that as the typical family dynamic has become more fluid and less traditional, then so has the layout of the average family’s living space. The barriers between male and female division of labour have continued to be dismantled and there are increasingly blurred lines between housework (especially cooking) and leisure time. As cooking and smoothie-making, juicing and other areas of food preparation have become de riguer and somewhat social activities and cooking has evolved into an often shared activity then the role of the kitchen has also evolved. With working roles also ever-evolving, families now spend more time together than ever before and what better solution to this trend than open plan living?

The benefits of fully opening one’s living space are numerous, but the decision can involve quite drastic building work and before taking the plunge it is wise to consider the pros and cons.

The open plan kitchen/diner is ideal for those who like to revel in the glory of the mealtime, those for whom a dinner is not microwaved and consumed over 10 minutes on a tray in front of the TV. The open plan living space is also conducive to minimalist design and enables watchful parents to keep an eye on their children while preparing dinner. For the stir crazy among us it can be especially liberating not to sit in a room and feel like the walls are closing in and open planned space can certainly feel less claustrophobic.

However, with too much open plan space, privacy can become an issue, especially as those children become teenagers and while of course it is possible to retreat to the bedroom this can bring its own worries on occasion! Those with sensitive noses can be put off by the aromas that spread from the kitchen in an open plan ground floor and while this can be partially remedied with odour-neutralising candles, it would be less of an issue in a kitchen shut off from the rest of the ground floor. Even the cons can become pros, however as few could deny the pleasure in the warm waft of freshly baked bread spreading throughout the house. Another drawback of open plan living is that there are obviously less walls throughout the ground floor. Fewer walls equal less wall space to hang art, shelving and cabinets.

While it is possible that the decision to embrace open plan living could be taken out of your hands by circumstance, if you are thinking of renovating a closed room type house and plumping for the open plan option, hopefully this article will have given you some idea as to where your allegiances lie.

Which Kitchen Worktop?

Why go upmarket
Should I go for Granite, Corian, wood or quartz? It is one of the biggest dilemmas when designing your new kitchen, given that changing your worktop is not a habitual event and plenty of time will be spent using it for years to come. Increasingly people are setting aside a larger portion of their budget for surfaces once considered an extravagant outlay. One of the main attractions of higher end surfaces such as granite and quartz is that they are relatively indestructible and render that awful water-lifting that plagued laminate and scratching that affected stainless steel worktops a thing of the past.

Using laminate (cheap), wood (medium) and granite (expensive) as an example, you might be able to make an instant decision according to budget. Laminate comes in at around £20 per metre, wood at around £70 per metre and granite anywhere in excess of £220 per metre. These are rough guide prices and there is plenty of variation on the market. For the purpose of this article laminate shall be treated as a budget choice and is recommended only if the other options are prohibitively expensive.

Wooden surfaces look the business and are a far cheaper option than quartz or granite, so what’s the catch? Well, given several coats of Danish Oil, months apart and care when it comes to leaving water marks then wooden surfaces can maintain their appearance, by and large, for many years. There is no getting away from the fact that more care is required than with quartz or granite, however.

Mineral/Acrylic blend Solid Surface Material
A synthetic material made up of a blend of minerals and acrylic of this ilk lends itself to kitchen worktops as it is seamless, stain resistant and can be moulded into the most awkward of shapes and spaces and there are over 100 colour choices. However, such surfaces are not as heat resistant as granite or quartz and more susceptible to scratching although marks can be simply sanded out. It is also a more expensive option.

Quartz worktops are as strong as granite but also benefit from increased flexibility, which makes them easier to install, although they are even heavier than granite, so professional installation is mandatory. Quartz is not indestructible, but it is stain resistant and because of the colour choices available seams can be hidden well.

Quarried from the earth in large chunks, granite worktops are increasingly popular and will not discolour over time. They do need to be sealed year after year as they are naturally porous. The appearance of granite worktops is not uniform, as it is natural although they are immensely durable and should last several lifetimes! In terms of price granite is comparable to quartz although because it is not made to measure you will usually end up paying more and installation must be done by professionals such as kitchen refurbishment Leicester.

In summary, while granite remains the worktop du jour, quartz is gaining ground and the mineral/acrylic blend surface has its place when flexibility is a must. In reality either quartz or granite will, given that they are installed satisfactorily be winners – adding to the value of your house to boot – but should you not mind taking a little extra care, the aesthetics of a good wooden worktop could win you over, especially considering the potential savings.

Traditional Bathrooms: A Renaissance?

Trends and styles are cyclical. I remember in the ‘90s up until around 2008, the 1980s were considered something of a joke in musical terms, but try finding an up and coming indie band in 2015 that are not influenced by the ‘80s in some way!

Alongside the many people who crave the massaging touch of a whirlpool bath or Jacuzzi, which is likely to be a transient fashion, to there are a growing number who are deciding that they want to go down a more traditional path when configuring their dream bathroom.

What is a Traditional Bathroom?
The beauty of opting for a more traditional bathroom is that you can take the enduring features of bathroom design from past and present, avoiding the pitfalls of going for the latest trend only to see it fall away in coming years, rendering your dream bathroom something of a cliche.

When talking about traditional design, we often reference the period, whether it is Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian or Elizabethan. While it would be perfectly doable to design and fit an Edwardian bathroom in a modern apartment, it is often best to match the period of your house to the period of the design and fixtures that you wish to install.

The fittings
When it comes to fixtures and fittings, there is a tough choice as to whether to go the whole hog and scour the auction houses in search of that genuine Victorian tap of your dreams or with the help of bathroom refurbishment Leicestershire, select well-made modern replicas. Of course, you can do a little of both, mixing genuine period fittings with modern replicas for those fixtures that are, perhaps less prominent and harder to find.

An Example
Let’s assume that you’ve just bought a Victorian house, with a bathroom that is tired and needs a complete overhaul. You can start by removing that water-stained beige carpet and hopefully finding some lovely wooden flooring, just begging for restoration. With the old suite removed, you can opt for a beautiful stand-alone cast iron bathtub, a gorgeous cast iron radiator, painted to contrast stunningly with the colour of your bath. You can visit the local auctions for some period signs to adorn the walls and a nice Victorian chair to sit on, while dressing. However – and here’s the fun part – you can also integrate a beautiful, glass shower cubicle, one of the features of modern bathrooms that’s here to stay, achieving a stunning contrast between period and modern design.

Suffice it to say there is great merit in opting for the integration of traditional design elements in your contemporary bathroom, not least because you are looking back, with hindsight and still finding beauty and ingenuity in the design.

Thinking of Opting for a Wet Room?

So, you’ve got a clean slate, but are unsure just what constitutes your dream bathroom – well one attractive option is to plump for a Wet Room. This article aims to highlight the main benefits of this type of bathroom to help you decide whether it suits your needs.

Wet Rooms in a nutshell
Wet Rooms differ from traditional bathrooms in that they must be fully waterproofed as the room itself is one giant shower cubicle, albeit one that contains everything you need for a complete bathroom. There is no need for a shower screen, although if you prefer a closed off shower area then a glass screen is a stylish solution. Even so, waterproofing or ‘tanking’ the whole room is advisable.

Design choices
These days, in terms of suites there is great variety, with the popular and often smartest addition of tiles from floor to wall with a specially painted ceiling, which makes the waterproofing task much easier and gives you the opportunity to make exciting design choices with a range of tiling options. Despite being a relatively contemporary idea, Wet Rooms can be given either a traditional or modern look, principally via tiling decisions. Massage Brighton

Why Choose a Wet Room?
Freedom: On top of the stylish look that a Wet Room can bring to your home, it is also rather liberating to open the door to your bathroom and have everything there, open and free and ready for you to relax into.

Space Saving: If you have a relatively small space for your bathroom, why shrink it with unnecessary partitioning and a bath tub? The relative absence of fixtures and fittings is tailor-made for smaller spaces.

Easy to Clean: Shower cubicles, with all their little nooks and crannies are a grime and dirt magnet, so imagine the relief at waving goodbye to all that scrubbing!

Safe and Sound: With a non-slip tiled floor all over the room, you can relax in the knowledge that your dream bathroom is a slip-free zone. This makes Wet Rooms a great option for anyone living with a disability or those who require easy access facilities.

Long-lasting: With less fixtures and fittings and things to go wrong, Wet Rooms are a sound long-term investment. Quality water-proofing products are not cheap, but being long-lasting, they are well worth the initial outlay.

Good ventilation is essential in a Wet Room to prevent the build-up of mould and mildew, while tiles used should be non-slip. In addition it is well-worth considering under-floor heating as it is not a great deal of extra work and as well as providing comfort, it will help dry the room quicker, limiting the potential for mould.

With the design and project management skills of those involved in bathroom refurbishment Leicester, acquiring your perfect Wet Room has never been easier.

Solving the Problems of a Small Bedroom

Having limited space in a bedroom can make for a tricky task to accommodate enough storage space without the room appearing cramped. As well as some innovative ways of integrating clever storage options there are also ways of achieving the illusion of space while you’re at it. For instance, staggered floating shelves are great for serving as a rotating display without adding extra holes in the wall. The staggered aspect also acts as a visual trick, to create a spacious feel. The most obvious trick of the trade is the clever integration of mirrors, but clever lighting and utilising the same colour paint for walls and ceilings – so the parameters as to where the room begins and ends become vague – can also help.

Of course the real trick in bedroom design, and where Home refurbishment Leicester can really help to ensure your bedroom remains clutter-free, is the creation of clever storage. The addition of shelving inset into the wall are a great idea should it be possible. The installation of wall sconces, with integrated lighting can be a real space saver, avoiding the use of precious bedside table space and reducing cluttering.

It may be worth exploring the idea of daybeds, if your room is particularly lacking in the space department as this can help you achieve the living room bedroom look and daybeds often have storage underneath, which is, of course, a must in a smaller bedroom.

If you are in the ‘blank canvass’ position and have a smaller bedroom and are wondering just where the wardrobes are going to go, it may be worth looking into the possibility of using a wall to create sliding door wardrobes. It may seem insane to think about shrinking one whole wall of a room, but this type of integrated wardrobe not only looks minimalist and ultra-modern (although they’ve been used for many years in Japan) but it will actually save space over a bulky standalone wardrobe. The choices are wide-ranging and you can tailor the interior space for your clothing needs.

If you can manage without a wardrobe at all then under bed storage, a chest of drawers and a well placed clothes rail may suffice, but bear in mind that the sliding door wardrobes will only serve to increase the value of your house in the long run. For the adventurous minded adult a loft bed is an ingenious way of saving space – although the stronger ones (for two people) can be rather costly. There is also the option of going even further down the Japanese approach and creating a room with tatami furnishings, including perhaps a space-saving tatami futon.

Finding the Perfect Home Accessory Gift Ideas for Christmas

As Christmas approaches and the shops get busier, we’re spoilt for choice with gift ideas for friends and family. Yet, while keeping the children happy is rarely a problem, every year it seems to get more difficult to choose that something special for relatives or friends we don’t see very often but who’ve invited us to their Christmas party or to drop in over the festive season.

Instead of choosing wine, chocolates or flowers, why not pick something that will last longer and look beautiful in your hosts’ home? Save yourself both time and parking problems by looking online. Craven & Hargreaves, an interior design company in Leicester, have a beautiful collection of home accessories to suit any interior design scheme.

Home accessories make a very ‘individual’ gift, but don’t simply choose the things you’d like for your own home. You need to have some idea of the recipients’ tastes so they’ll be happy to display or use their present.

If you know their home well, you’ll probably be able to visualize somewhere for a pretty votive or etched glass bottle: either or which would work well in a living room, conservatory or even a bedroom. Do they have a fireplace? If so, think single or paired candlesticks or an attractive photo frame.

Metallic finishes are currently very popular for interiors and you’ll find them everywhere: from photo frames to pretty hearts for wall hanging, to vintage product themed clocks and signs for the kitchen.

Many people are on the lookout for ways to streamline busy lives. Craven & Hargreaves have a delightful selection of pinboards which would look good in a hallway, home office or kitchen and, with a range of colours and themes, you’re giving something that’s both practical and attractive.

Side tables are invaluable in a living area, especially during the party season, so why not give a set of coasters or a pretty glass or metallic bowl or box? Fill with brightly wrapped sweets or a seasonal potpourri as an extra treat.

If your relatives or friends have recently completed some home renovation work, you could choose something special for their new room. Pretty jars, a cake stand or a recipe book stand would be good choices for a new kitchen, with perhaps an unusual wall hanging for an ensuite or cloakroom.

Of course, you don’t have to restrict giving home accessories as a gift to Christmas time. When you’re looking for a housewarming present, take the time to choose something individual before your first visit and you’re sure to be invited back! As you won’t know what the design, layout and colours are like, or what changes your friends or family want to make to their new home, find something with a neutral colour or finish. Glass scores highly here and you’ll find there’s a good choice of accessories to give any room a lift.

Giving someone a gift for their home shows thoughtfulness and allows you to express your creativity too. Enjoy your home accessories Christmas shopping!