The cast-iron period fireplace in my kitchen had not been looking its best for a good while. The front of the fireplace had glimmers of rust (I’ve since found out you should never clean a fireplace with a wet rag or it will rust - who knew??) with the edges of the fireplace having a chalky white rust all around. Before I completely redecorated this space I needed to sort it out. It was suggested to me by a lot of people that I give the fireplace a coat of black metal paint, but I knew that would completely ruin the beautiful iron shine and make it look flat and inauthentic. Instead, I wanted to restore this fireplace properly, so I did quite a bit of research into how I could do that. I purchased the following products and hoped for the best, luckily the fireplace turned out better than I could have ever expected! This is why I want to share this on the blog today as I was so happy with the result and thought it might help others (this post is in no way sponsored, I purchased these items with my own money).
For the past 6 months I’ve been completely obsessed with circular mirrors! I’ve replaced every non-circular mirror in my home with a circular one and I’ve loved the effect it creates in the room. The round shape is so pleasing on the eye and it feels a much more contemporary design to whatever I had there before. In my last blog post I talked about how circles in the bathroom are a trend that is here to stay, so I was delighted when online bathroom suite retailer Soak.com gifted me their Iris bathroom mirror to hang in my home.
In the first few months of starting this blog I attempted a little DIY of adding some home-made wall panelling over a damaged wall in my hallway. Fast-forward a couple of years and this blog post is still my most popular post ever. Even though I look back on the whole post (the terrible photography, the over-linking, not to mention the shoddy DIY job itself!) and cringe a bit, it points out that loads of you actually want to DIY wall panels in your own home, and are seeking out how to do it online.
There are a few reasons as to why I decided to attempt a DIY kitchen splash-back, even though I had never tiled before in my entire life! The main and most obvious reason was of-course money. Our old cooker had died a very sad death the day before Christmas and we couldn't get one the same size, so we had to have someone come and cut away the worktop and a section of the units to fit in the wide new cooker. We then had to have a joiner in to re-build part of the base units once the installation was complete. The wall tiles also came a cropper as part of the switch-over, but I just did not have a spare £500 to give a professional tiler to come and sort that out aswell. Yet, another reason apart from money was that I had discovered the new Syren range of wall tiles by Topps Tiles.
As part of my Revamp Restyle Reveal Sitting Room plans, I wanted to get rid of an old display cabinet that was not making the most of the space and create what looked like bespoke bookcase shelving. I had long admired the many amazing Ikea Billy Bookcase hacks that are all over Pinterest, so being on a tiny budget and for the love of DIY, I set about making my own version!
The picture below is of the en-suite bathroom off our guest room at home. It is mainly used as the 'downstairs loo' as it is right by the kitchen in the basement. It has this lovely window that looks onto our back courtyard and then over to the kitchen window, however, this view can only be enjoyed when frequenting one of two places - either using the toilet or taking a shower! Safe to say whatever side of the window you are on, no-one is going to want to see someone else the other side of the glass
The 12th - 18th March 2018 is National Home Improvement Week - a week to inspire, celebrate and enable people to improve their own homes. So when DIY & Home Improvement online marketplace Mano Mano asked me to share a great DIY that people could easily copy, I instantly thought of the nursery project that I had recently carried out for one of my clients.
One of the main pieces of feedback I received in regards to the Revamp Restyle Reveal project was how I was going to tackle the dreaded built in wardrobe dilemma. If you remember (or if you don't you can read all about it here!), I really disliked these cream veneered built-in wardrobes that we inherited with the house. The wardrobes just did not work with the room and really stood out and I felt they were an eyesore. I'd spent the past couple of years really trying to decide what to do with them. I spoke to some very much in-the-know people (such as Oliver Thomas from the Great Interior Design Challenge) about what to do with them and they all told me to paint them in the same as the wall colour. The idea was that they would 'blend in' a lot more.
After the Revamp, Restyle, Reveal bedroom reveal, I've had loads of questions about where my new large brass-trim dressing table mirror is from. The answer is it's actually a DIY job and it cost me £9.37 in total! So, today on the blog I am going to tell you how I made it.
It was only a short while ago that I was a wallpaper neophyte. Even though I jump into pretty much all DIY with both feet, eager and willing to giving whatever it is a go, with wallpaper it just did not appeal. Mixing the paste, matching the pattern, not covering the light switch - it all seemed so stressful. Yet when I decided that I wanted to wallpaper my bathroom, enough was enough, I needed to bite the bullet and learn how to do it. Turns out it wasn't as bad or as stressful as I had expected after all! Since then I've done a bit more wallpapering and learnt what you have to do and where you can cut corners, so to speak.
Hello and welcome to my post as part of the summer #UKHomeBlogHop! If you are joining me from Season's In Colour's post and have never read this blog before, then let me introduce myself. My name is Melanie and my blog is all about doing interiors on a budget with a bit of creativity and some DIY. For those of you who have come directly to this post just to check it out, then a huge thank you for coming by! If you enjoy this post then please do have a peep at the other blogs in this summer's Hop, all about styling our homes for summer. There are 27 amazing interior bloggers taking part in total, and it all starts here with host and organiser Swoonworthy's summer style.
Bathroom design, unless you have a very large budget, can often be uninspiring. It's very easy to fall into the trap of wanting clean lines and muted neutrals, because we tend to want bathrooms as sanitary, bright spaces. Smaller bathrooms can often end up being completely tiled in one plain design; while bathroom fixtures and fittings are often brought matching each other and therefore lead to a dull & flat space. One great and very cheap way to create an interesting and attractive bathroom is to DIY your own basin stand with vintage furniture.
We all know that kitchens are the area of the home that can suck away all our hard-earned cash. The units, worktops, fixtures and fittings - all these things often cost a lot of money. I know people who have been put off purchasing a home as the kitchen has not been to their taste or style, and they can't afford to also purchase a sleek, shiny new kitchen on top of the property price.
Unsurprisingly, I love trying out new crafts. Creating paper cut artwork was something that I had never done, so when G . F Smith invited me to a paper cutting workshop with Poppy Chancellor (paper cutting artist and illustrator du jour) to celebrate their quest to discover the world's favourite colour, I jumped at the opportunity.
The lovely ladies behind MiaFleur recently provided some gorgeous gold champagne flutes for an Instagram competition that I wanted to run in celebration of my blog turning a whole year old! I definitely owed them one, so when they challenged me to a guest post for them on a DIY feather wall hanging, how could I refuse?
I'm currently re-vamping our home office as it had turned into a complete disaster area. The home office had belonged to my husband until this blog came along, then unfortunately for him I intruded on this room as well. One of the problems that I caused was that I had paint charts and fabric samples strewn everywhere, and whenever I needed to find one of these quickly, it was in a pile somewhere either on the floor or on the desk.
My mother-in-law recently asked me to cover an old headboard in her guest bedroom and add in tufted buttons (that trick which create the plush diamond pattern effect). I'd never upholstered a headboard before, but spurned on by how well my pink velvet bedroom bench came out, I watched a few YouTube videos made by an American upholstery company, made notes, then went about sourcing the items required to do the job.
After painting my living room a lovely blue recently (full room reveal coming soon!) I wanted to add some geometric artwork that matched the modern pattern on my new cushions, as well as matching the walls and the blush pink tones I'd added into the overall scheme. I'd been inspired by some of the SS17 art prints for Marks & Spencer at their press show at the end of last year, but didn't really want to part with any extra cash (the room revamp having cost enough already.)
When I was younger I remember pressing flowers by sticking them inside a heavy book, then putting them in the airing cupboard for 3-4 weeks. I've only recently found out you can actually press flowers really quickly using an iron! I brought one of those cute brass and glass hanging frames in the January sales and I wanted to put pressed flowers inside. I decided to give the iron trick a go, and it totally worked!
How often do you redecorate a room, but it is let down by the same old boring light switch plate or plug socket? In my first house I redecorated all my rooms numerous times, but left the crap white plastic light switch plates the same! Looking back now, I could see they would stand out a mile and let down the effort I put in the rest of the room. I wouldn't tackle them for the same reason most people don't - spending extra/unnecessary money on a qualified electrician, plus not attempting to changing it myself due to being nervous of electricity.
It's dark at 5pm, it's suddenly really cold - yep - winter has arrived! Along with your winter gloves and scarf, the welly boots need to be on hand for those really bleak days. Although a necessity, I really do hate welly boots in the house. They are bulky, flop over on their side, leave dried up mud bits around and generally just get in the way when left by the back door or in the hallway. Earlier in the year I was watching a C4 Kirsty & Phil 'Love It or List It' property programme. Kirsty showed the participating couple a 'space saver' house with welly pegs on the wall by the back door to house filthy wellies, rather than store them inside. Inspired, the next morning I knocked out this simple welly boot holder to hang on an outside wall on our house.
If you have not used it before, then let me tell you that chalkboard paint is flippin' brilliant. You can buy it in tiny pots from the DIY store or places like Hobbycraft for about £3, and you can apply it to pretty much everything. I've used chalkboard paint a lot in my kitchen where I use it on cheap food storage pots to label what food is inside, and turn something plain into something a lot more interesting. I also painted a shopping list board on an unused, thin bit of wall next to our cooker. This has made it easy for everyone in the house to just list what is needed on the board (no random scraps of paper everywhere) for the next time someone pops down the shops. I didn't have to bother finding and buying a 'proper' chalk board to fit this area and hang up. It also gets used and wiped constantly, yet it remains completely durable.
I have to admit I spend a fair amount of my time online just saving images of pink and gold chairs and sofas. Seriously, if you follow me on Pinterest and look through my boards it's all full of pink and gold decor. Blush pink in interiors has been huge for 2016, and as the metallics trend continues to thrive blush pink and gold has been featured a lot in furniture and homeware by brands such as West Elm. The new Tom Dixon designed resturant Bronte in London is also awash with dusty pink chairs and a candy pink concrete bar. I LOVE pink and gold together, but seeing as I wasn't going to be able to convince my husband that we needed to replace our perfectly fine sofa with a pink number anytime soon, I decided to bring a bit of pink & gold in the bedroom by DIY-ing a pink & gold bedroom bench from scratch.
I made this chopping board for my husband at the end of last year. He's quite the foodie and cooks all his meals from scratch (unlike me, I love food but not cooking. When he isn't home I'm more of a G&T and a slice of cheese-on-toast girl).
I love kitchen equipment made from natural materials. I'll watch a Jamie Oliver programme to lust over his bread boards rather than his foccacia. Of course kitchen like this can be quite pricey, but seeing as I live right on the cusp on Epping Forest I thought why not give making our own tree trunk chopping board a go?
The back door to our house was needing a little bit of love. Its paint was peeling and it was just generally uninspiring. It also still had a bloody Christmas decoration on it which I had been meaning to take down in like forever. Instead of just giving it a new lick of paint, I decided to add a few more features to really jazz it up properly and give it a bit of 'wow-factor'.
Old homeware items can be given a totally new lease of life with a little bit of creativity. If you own an item that either you do not like anymore, or does not fit into your current decor scheme, look at it and think about how you could make it work with a little bit of DIY, rather than get rid of it or stick it in the loft.
I had a rather lovely chrome floor lamp that was in perfect working order; yet I am just so not into chrome these days, having fallen hard for gold and brass! Rather than replace it for something more my current style, I gave it an 'American Glamour' make over by spray painting the base and adding basic black ribbon to a plain white shade to give it a more sophisticated edge.
I can never seem to find place mats that I like. I'm not into the cork ones, or the weave ones, and I never like images or patterns on the plastic ones. I would rather have ones made from natural materials like marble or wood, but if you are looking for around 8-10 mats then it becomes pretty expensive for such a basic item.
I was recently reading a copy of Style At Home magazine, and they had an article on making your own planters from concrete. I didn't need any planters, but I thought why not try making place mats out of concrete? (I know, bit random, but that's just how my brain works). Concrete as a material is so cheap, so it was completely worth a try, but in all honestly it took me a lot of attempts to get this right. At first I attempted to make the mats out of your basic standard concrete, which failed as it took ages to set and constantly cracked once fully dry (it was hard not to add too much water to the mixture.) Next, I decided to use rapid setting concrete to speed up the process, but didn't really realise how fast rapid setting concrete set (clue: fast - especially in the heat we've been having). I destroyed a nice cake-mixing bowl trying to mix the concrete before I emptied it into the mould, which just set in the cake bowl instead. Eventually I worked out the best way to make the mats, and once I had that sussed it was pretty easy to make them all.
As August and September seem to be the full on wedding season, I thought I'd share a few wedding DIY's that I have done previously for my own wedding, and the wedding of my friends Jamie and Stacey last year. There is so much cost attached to a wedding, and it's easy to cut corners and make your wedding more personal by crafting certain elements. These decor ideas below can also be used at a party or any event you may be hosting.
Wedding favours and confetti are two things that people often don't bother with as it can be expensive for just a token part of the day. However, if you are anything like me, you'll think it's the little details like this that can take the style of a wedding to the next level. When I got married seven years ago I really wanted good favours on the day, but when I visited a wedding fair beforehand I was pretty aghast to see wedding favours selling for £2 - £3 per favour. My wedding theme was vintage and I made these vintage-style wedding favour boxes for around £20 in total for 75 people. If I'd have brought them at the wedding fair for 75 it would have set me back £150 - £200!
How much would you expect to pay for one garden bench made out of a beautiful thick piece of oak? £100? £200? We made four large garden benches that now seat 10 people in our garden for a minimal amount of money, although it was quite the effort. I have to say before I delve into this post that this piece of DIY was not easy! The wood is heavy and it was a joint effort of three people (me, my husband and my dad) to create them. However, if you have people to help and you are determined you can save yourself so much money creating bespoke beautiful outdoor benches yourself!
It all started when we moved into our new London 'burbs home with a gorgeous garden. Our previous Central London home only had a small piece of shaded garden, which you got to by going down some iron stairs, so we didn't use it much. On the list of things to get for the new house was 'garden furniture' as we did not have any. The previous owners of our current house had landscaped the front of the garden in their time living here, and had left four long pieces of left over sleeper wood in the back garden. This lovely wood was just sitting there untreated getting mouldy and eaten by woodworm, but it would be perfect to transform into garden seating.
As far as window treatments go, shutters are the clear winner for me. Curtains can look overly fussy and fade; blinds often look cheap and remind me of being in an office. Shutters can really block out the light, are easy to clean and should last you a lifetime. They also look GORGEOUS! If you have a period property or pretty sash windows, shutters will really compliment the windows detailing.
When we moved into our current home, I was hellbent on having shutters on the vast majority of the windows. We had solid, Victorian-style shutters fitted on a difficult hallway window in our old house, and they were literally one of my favourite things in that house. We got solid shutters installed again on the bedroom windows and the living room windows, but that really blew the budget. We left the bathroom window as it was, as it had a blind installed and that would do for the time-being.
A year and a half on, I was hating the bloody bathroom blind. It was this crummy brown blind that got so dusty, but was impossible to clean. It left awful watermarks, and I was petrified with the cord hangings around my toddler son as he loved to play with them. Our bathroom window is lovely in the afternoons as the sun streams in, so I would always pull it up out the way and out of sight. Trouble was it was too much hassle to keep putting down every time someone wanted the loo (and the bathroom faces the street!)