Category: home (5)

Making up spaces that can be considered both indoor and outdoor can make your home highly appealing and often very sellable. This is because you can build new entertaining spaces and rooms to relax in and enjoy precious time with family and friends – something that’s highly attractive to most people.

When you select the correct garden features to suit your style, your home’s outdoor spaces start becoming more and more alive. The garden can be kept spruced up by adding decorative accessories. You could even add features like swings, garden sculptures or fountains to bring a focal point to a beautiful space.

Just make sure you choose something right for the space, ensure it’s not overcrowded and don’t add too many accessories. If you do have a large garden, a big fountain or statue makes a good statement piece.

On the other hand, massive accessories can detract from the garden if the space is smaller. You can use mini accessories, like bird baths, lanterns, wind chimes or big planter boxes.

Here are five fantastic additional design elements to help you transform your spaces and create a stunning indoor-outdoor feel to your home.

FurnitureOk, it may seem pretty obvious, but it’s important to have the right furniture in this space. This will bring the are to life and make it a relaxed, easy-going place to hang out in – perfect for kicking back with a glass of wine in summer and having a few friends over to relax with a barbecue.

Outdoor kitchens

Now these are the ultimate luxury, really something special. When entertaining, you can cook delicious concoctions on the spot and ensure that your drinks are always cool on a hot, sweaty summer afternoon. This also allows you to feel that you’re intimate with your guests and to chill out with them without worrying about having to go backwards and forwards into the kitchen.

Outdoor blindsA stunning way to make your living space beautiful at any time of the year, these blinds can protect you from strong sunlight and mosquitos in summer and keep the rain and wind away in the winter. They do a good job of keeping bugs out of guests’ food along with a view of your gorgeous backyard. Perfect!


Outdoor tech! Hooray! A chance to take in a film and listen to some tunes while relaxing with friends and family. This adds a certain je ne said quoi to your day and allows you to enjoy food and drinking in the sun.

Glass doors

One way of bringing the outside in to your home is to use wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling glass doors. This ensures that light can flood into your living and dining spaces, all the while keeping the cold out during the winter months.

Good luck!

Given the nature of the UK property market, it is easy to see why home owners are keen to add as much value to their home as they possibly can. While there are many ways in which you can make your home look better or feel more comfortable, it can be harder to add genuine value. This is why it is best to listen to the property experts before investing time and money into home improvements.

As you would expect, different experts hold different opinions on what will provide most benefit when adding value to a home. This can seem frustrating to some but it means that homeowners have a number of options to choose from and they can choose an option that best suits their budget or the current condition or layout of their home.

An extension

There is a wide range of possible extensions to choose from, which makes it difficult to note a price for this level of work. Extensions can range from two-story improvements that practically double a house in size to adding a small single story room.


A loft conversion

Given that adding an additional bedroom to your property is said to add an additional 9-10% of value to your home, converting your loft into a bedroom is a great choice for many people. If you are currently only using your loft for storage or no purpose at all, it makes sense to convert it. You need to make sure that converting your loft doesn’t impact on any other living space in your home, but if it doesn’t, you can expect to get a good return on your investment.

Again, the variances involved with loft conversions means it is difficult to state a price you should be paying for this work. A minor loft conversion can cost around £15,000 while many people will expect to pay between £20,000 and £40,000 for a larger conversion.


An additional bathroom

Having an en-suite or additional bathroom can add a lot of utility to your home and property experts predict that an additional bathroom can add 6% to the value of your home. Depending on the size of the room or the materials being used, the cost of a new bathroom can range from £2,500 to £7,000 and beyond depending on your choice of fittings and labour.


An improved kitchen

Kitchens have been consider to be a key aspect of making a home more attractive and adding value to your property of late. There has been a greater acceptance of the fact that the kitchen is the hub of family life, making it an important part of the home. Studies suggest that the average cost of a new kitchen comes in at around £8,000 but a new kitchen can add around 6% value to your home so often this can be seen as a good investment if you were considering selling the property in the coming years. A new kitchen, bathroom or extensive will help increase the level of sale ability to your property too.


A Conservatory

While a conservatory will minimize the amount of space that you have in your garden, it provides you with an additional room. This is also a very pleasurable room which means that there is a lot of benefits to be gained from adding this style of extension. You can expect a good standard of conservatory to add around 5% to the value of your home while the cost of a conservatory can be anything between £4,000 and £10,000 if not more in some cases depending on the size, shape and design.

If you are looking to upgrade the standard of central heating, you can expect to pay around £3,500 and the expected impact on value is likely to be around 5%. This may be one of the more cost-effective ways to add value to your home but it is a decision that every property will need to make. Some of these options will impact on your day to day life more than others, which means you need to think about any impact on your family or home life while work is being carried out.

All of the images use on this blog are properties we have for sale. For more information on our properties: 

Flat winners

The average price of a flat in the UK has risen from £150,749 at the end of 2008 to £237,223, according to the latest research, outperforming all other types of property. On average, people are now paying almost £20,000 more for a flat than for a semi-detached home. A major factor is the rapid increase in flat prices in London – if London is excluded, then terraced homes top the price rise list, followed by semi-detached, then flats, and finally detached.

Flats must recycle water_2_0.JPG
Leaving London

Around four in 10 first-time buyers in London say they are willing to move to a more affordable part of the UK if it means they would be able to buy their first property, which is good news especially for the market in the South East and in towns and cities on the edges of the commuter belt, such as Brighton.

A separate report from Generation Rent says that housing costs are forcing young families out of London, with net migration from the city among thirtysomethings and children under 10 up by a quarter since 2012. It shows two thirds moved to the South East and East of England commuter belt, 12 per cent went to the Midlands, and a similar figure to the North of England.

Home improvement hotspots

People living in Kensington and Chelsea lead the nation in home improvement planning applications with 7.3 for every 100 homes in 2015. The fewest applications were made in Blackpool (0.4 for every 100 homes). Cambridge saw the biggest increase in home improvement planning applications in 2015 compared to 2013 and 2014, up 119 per cent. Overall, the report shows that rural areas are far more likely to be hotspots of home improvement activity than more urban locations. A separate report from Sainsbury’s Bank shows that just over one in ten UK adults has carried out home improvements costing more than £25,000 in the past two years.
First time buyers

The number of home sales to first-time buyers jumped seven per cent between February 2015 and February 2016 to 21,100. The figures show that in February the average deposit put down by a first-time buyer was £29,451, an increase of nearly 15 per cent year-on-year. Unsurprisingly, London remains the most expensive spot for first-time buyers with the average value of a first-time buyer property £314,626, followed by the South East (£211,638). The North East £114,163) and Northern Ireland £99,294) are the two cheapest areas.

New build

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that detached homes in England and Wales were the most commonly sold type of newly built property between September 2014 and September 2015. They account for a third of all new property sales, overtaking sales of new flats. The ONS report shows that a newly-built property was just as likely as an existing property to sell for £1 million or more last year, a big change from five years ago, when new properties were less than half as likely to sell for over £1 million as other ones. In total, the number of homes sold for £1 million or more in England and Wales has increased to over 70 times the level of 1995 – last year, 1.6 per cent of all property sales were for £1 million or more.
Living at home

The most popular reason why young adults say they still live at home is that they want to be with their family. In second place was saving for house deposit, but overall a third had not fled the nest because they simply could not afford to rent by themselves. Indeed, one in five had no fixed rental arrangements, simply helping out when possible and 15 per cent paid no rent at all.


Gross mortgage borrowing from the High Street banks is continuing on an upwards trend from January, when it was the highest since mid-2008. The number of mortgages approved for house purchases was 27% higher than a year earlier, the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said.
The BBA said that investors were keen to complete before tax changes as in just over a month’s time, at the start of April, most owners in England and Wales will pay a 3% surcharge on stamp duty on purchases of buy-to-let properties and second homes.
However, it appears that – although mortgage lending is rising – the number of property sales that have actually been completed, is yet to pick up significantly, with 105,940 homes sold last month, a similar total to October and November.

The new stamp duty surcharge is expected to raise £1bn extra for the Treasury by 2021, but landlords have argued it will “choke off” investment in rented properties. Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that demand will continue to exceed supply in the property market, pushing up house prices as a result.
“Looking ahead, we expect approvals to remain on an upward trend. Consumer confidence is high, real income gains remain strong and mortgage rates are set to fall again in response to the decline in wholesale funding costs,” he said.
“New buyer enquiries at estate agents have been rising quickly and point to mortgage approvals rising by a further 5% over the next three months. With the active supply of homes on the market close to record lows, house prices look set for very strong gains.”

Wallpapers have been transforming otherwise ordinary rooms into specific, evocative spaces for more than 500 years. And with a few rolls of the stuff — handcrafted by contemporary makers or scooped up from a vendor specializing in vintage stock — you can do that, too. Since many of today’s top wall decor trends have roots in the past, let’s take a quick trip through the archives of wallpaper history.
The earliest wallpapers in the Western world were conceived as alternatives to costlier textile hangings like woven tapestries or embroidered panels, with ornate patterns that riffed on those motifs. The eighteenth century saw a European obsession for hand-painted silk wallcoverings imported from China, and French and British wallpaper manufacturers became wealthy by printing their own interpretations of Eastern designs.
Prior to the industrial revolution, all wallpaper patterns had to be hand-stenciled, hand-painted, or (most commonly) block-printed on individual sheets of handmade paper, which were then joined together to create wall-sized panels. All this changed around 1840, when factory-produced, continuous sheets of paper and mechanized rollers put intricate and colourful patterns within the budgets of the masses. By the late nineteenth century, however, supporters of the Arts & Crafts were fed up with industrialized production and called for a return to traditional crafting methods — notably, British design reformer William Morris, whose beautiful block-printed patterns are still produced today.

Now, even as modern advances in digital printing have revolutionized wallpaper production once again, we’re also seeing a subset of craftspeople return to traditional printing methods, à la William Morris and many of the most up-to-the-minute designs for 2016 are revivals and reinterpretations of historic styles.
Below, find six trends to show that when it comes to wallpaper, what’s old is new again.

DIY Decals
In mid-eighteenth-century England, print rooms were quite the thing: DIY decorators collected inexpensive prints of favorite artworks and pasted them directly to their walls in creative arrangements. The prints were often further embellished with wallpaper frames and decorations manufactured by paper-stainers specifically for this purpose. Today, removable vinyl decals alleviate the potential for mess, and give us even more freedom to cut, paste, and move stuff around our walls. Thanks vinyl!

Lush Botanicals and Florals
Big, bright botanical patterns help us feel more connected to nature, even when we’re stuck indoors. Some beautiful examples were produced by early nineteenth-century French manufacturers; as horticulture was a fashionable hobby at the time, botanically accurate images of roses abounded. This year, look for tropical-inspired patterns featuring motifs like palm fronds, hibiscuses or twisting jungle vines, or classic florals updated with vibrant colour palettes to bring a 21st-century feel to this timeless concept.

Trompe L’oeil Texture


Another favored nineteenth-century trend making an appearance in 2016 collections is trample l’oeil. French for “fool the eye,” trompe l’oeil wallpapers create the illusion of a textured surface on a flat wall. By choosing paper instead of the real deal, consumers were able to get the look of draped fabric, elaborate moulding, gilt and leather — without the price and upkeep. Today’s designers tend to focus on patterns that imitate natural materials (and in a strong second place, faux bookshelf prints), but don’t overlook vintage papers for tufted, lattice, and even macramé inspired styles.
Repeating Vignettes
During the mid-Victorian era’s Rococo revival, quirky, toile-like patterns with little repeating vignettes of exotic or idyllic locations were very popular for the parlor; scenes of bucolic life and architecture from far-off lands show up with frequency. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we’ve seen playful new riffs on this old style, which is good news for parlors (and living rooms and bedrooms) everywhere.
Room-Specific Papers
Jumping forward to the 1950s, we find an affinity for themed wallpapers specific to spaces like kitchens, kids’ rooms and laundry rooms. After decades of turmoil brought on by the Depression and then WWII, Americans were eager to settle into the good life. Wallpaper reflected this desire quite literally by depicting objects associated with a comfortable domestic existence. Food themed patterns are a fun and witty choice for cooking and dining areas.

Geometric Feature Walls
Another great throwback to postwar America is the feature wall papered with a large scale geometric pattern. Many of the new homes mass-produced for suburban developments featured wide-open floor plans. People found that papering a bold pattern on just one wall helped to bring interest and intimacy to a living space without becoming overwhelming. For 2016, geometrics incorporating thinner lines and neutral tones are particularly on trend.

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