7 Clever Ways To Create Space In Your Home

In an ideal world, you’d live in a massive house with more space than you know what to do with. But for most people, that’s not a reality. House prices are on the rise and most people can’t afford the space that they’d like. It’s a real struggle when you’re in a house that’s too small but usually, there is a solution. Often, it’s not that the floor space in the house itself is too small, the problem is with the way that you’re using that space. That means there are certain things you can do to increase the floor space and make the house feel larger without having to move into a bigger, more expensive place. If your home is starting to feel cramped and you want to open it up a bit more, here are some simple ways you can do it.


Clear Out Some Stuff


Before you start making any other changes around the house, you should have a look at the stuff you’ve got in there and consider clearing some of it out. Kids have an amazing ability to generate mess and when you’ve got a big family, the house will soon fill up with old toys and games and other things that you don’t really need anymore. It’ll slowly creep up on you until one day, you look around and it feels like there isn’t a single bit of space left in the house anywhere. The natural reaction is to think that your house isn’t big enough but, more often than not, you’ve just got too much junk in there. Even if it isn’t taking up floor space, having clutter everywhere makes the house feel a lot smaller than it is.


If you can start to declutter areas of the house, you’ll have a lot more free storage for the things that you do need. That gives you a good opportunity to have a reorganise and free up some space around the house. You’d be surprised just how much difference it can make. If you’ve let things get on top of you, decluttering might be a bit of a daunting task. The best way to do it is take it one room at a time. Look at every item in turn and ask yourself when the last time you used it was. If it’s been a while, you probably don’t need it anymore. You’ve got to be ruthless when you’re having a clearout, otherwise, you’re never going to get anywhere.


Take Out The Furniture

Obviously, the furniture is the thing that takes up most of the room in your house. I’m not suggesting you just live in a house without any furniture, but removing it from a room can give you a better idea of how you’re using the space. When you remove all of the furniture from the room and look at it while it’s empty, you get a better idea of what you could be doing with it. Then you can start putting things back in and try organising it in different ways. If you’ve built up the furniture and swapped things out over the years, you’re probably not using the space in the most efficient way possible. Emptying the room will also help you to identify any fixtures that are taking up too much space. Radiators are a common one; if you swap out your normal radiators with column ones like these ones on https://www.onlyradiators.co.uk, you’ll give yourself a lot more space. When you start putting the furniture back in, you might also identify certain pieces that take up way too much room. If you replace these with something a bit smaller, you can give yourself a lot more floor space.


Hidden Storage


As well as thinking about how you organise your furniture, you should think about how efficient the furniture itself is. There are so many great pieces of furniture that double up as storage units and it can save you a whole lot of space. For example, swap out your normal coffee table for an ottoman that has storage inside, or switch dining room chairs for a bench with storage inside. That way, you can get rid of some of the other storage that you had in the room before, essentially swapping 2 pieces of furniture for 1 and doubling the amount of free space you’ve got in the room.


Foldaway Furniture


If you’ve got pieces of furniture that you only use occasionally, you’re wasting a lot of space with them. For example, if you’ve got a dining table with 6 chairs but there are only 4 of you in the family, those 2 extra chairs are a waste of space. But you still want to have them there so you’ve got enough seats when guests come over. Foldaway furniture is a great solution here. You can put those 2 chairs away somewhere when you’re not using them and open up a lot more space. Fold down dining tables are great too; when you’re not eating you can half the size of the table and give yourself more room, then open it up when it comes to mealtimes.


Room Conversions


If those simple changes don’t open up enough space you might have to do something a bit more drastic. Building a whole new extension is an option but that’s going to be incredibly expensive and you’ll have to deal with planning permission and all of the upheaval of building. You’re much better off looking at room conversions first. Most people use the loft in their house to store the Christmas decorations and a load of other junk that they don’t really need. That’s a real waste of space because it can be a whole new room. Loft conversions don’t come cheap but they’re nowhere near as expensive as a new extension. Visit https://www.homebuilding.co.uk for a handy beginners guide to loft conversions. They add a lot of value to the house so it’s worth doing. You can borrow money against the house to pay for it and you’ll get the money back when the value of the house increases.


As well as the loft, you should also consider converting the garage. If you use it for parking then you might not want to but so many people just use it as storage for junk and park in the driveway. If you’re the same, you’re much better off making it into another room in the house.


Move Walls


The layout of the furniture in individual rooms is important, but what about the layout of the rooms themselves? This is a big problem in older houses that were set up for a different way of living. If the rooms in your house aren’t sized according to their use, you’re probably wasting space. For example, you might have a huge bathroom next door to a smaller living area. If you can move the walls and take a bit of the excess space from the bathroom and add it to the living area instead, you’ll have a lot more room. Taking out walls and making 2 smaller rooms into one larger one is another great way of adding space. People often like to do this with their kitchen and dining room because you can turn 2 fairly cramped rooms into one open plan living space.


You can also do it the other way and add walls in. If a space is a lot larger than it needs to be, adding a wall and breaking it up so you can use it as 2 different rooms is a more efficient use of that space. Putting up and taking down walls is a pretty disruptive job and it can be quite expensive but you can completely transform your house by doing it. If you want a cheaper option, use screens to break up a larger room and get more use out of it.


Add A Basement


Building an extension on the side of the house that adds to its footprint requires planning permission which you might not be able to get. But you shouldn’t need to get permission if you just want to add a basement to the house. It’s a great way of adding a whole load of new space to the house without having to eat into your garden. Check out https://www.idealhome.co.uk for some great examples of what you can do. Only some houses are suitable for a basement so you’ll have to check whether the earth underneath the house is right and make sure that the water table isn’t too high. Digging out a basement is obviously going to disrupt your home life and you’ll have to move out for a while so, before you make any decisions, think about whether you’re prepared to do that or not. Remember, adding a basement will add value to the house as well so think of the cost as an investment that you’ll get back when you eventually come to sell the house.


Living in a house that’s too small for your family is tough. But the good news is, you can make these changes around the house to open up more space and make the place a lot more comfortable for you and your family.

This is a collaborative post.

Signs your home needs some TLC

Does your home need a makeover? Do you feel bored and uninspired with your surroundings? Have you stopped enjoying living in your the property you were once so excited to purchase and call your home? If so, it is time to make some changes! With that being said, continue reading to discover some clear signs that your home is in desperate needs of a bit of TLC.


Your carpets are old and tatty – There is only one place to begin, and this is with old and dated carpets. If your carpets look dull and dirty, no matter how regularly you clean them, this is a clear sign that they are beyond saving and that you need to make some updates to your property. Why not look to a more modern style that is easy to maintain? You can find some good examples of this by looking at the solid wood flooring by Factory Direct Flooring. Such wood floors look incredibly stylish and they are very easy to maintain. Plus, you can always add a rug during the winter if you want to keep that little bit of softness and cosiness.


Dramatic window treatments – In recent times, we have moved to more transitional styles. This means that dramatic window treatments, for example, heavy drapery and sweeping valances, are a thing of the past. Instead, look for panel designs that have no pleating or at least only little amounts. Simple blinds are shades are also recommended.


Builder-grade lighting – If you do not know what this term means, think those big round, builder-grade glass fixtures that snuck their way into properties in alarming numbers! Are you guilty of having these lights dotted all around your home? If so, you need to make some changes. Luckily, there are so many affordable and amazing lighting options available today. This includes semi-flush mount and flush mount fixtures that will enhance your property rather than acting as a hindrance.


Outdated hardware – Aside from the two points that have already been mentioned, outdated hardware is another indicator that your home has been neglected for quite some time now. While there is no denying that brass is back in fashion, this does not excuse those high-shine, bright fixtures that are still found in properties today. If you want to go down the metallic route, make sure you look for brass fixtures that are antiqued or brushed for a more current look.


So there you have it: some of the clear indicators that your home is in desperate need of some TLC. If you have noticed any of the signs that have been mentioned above, it is definitely time to make some changes to your property. Use the suggestions that have been discussed above to give your home the makeover that it deserves. You will find that you fall in love with your home all over again.

This is a collaborative post.

Invite Your Guests To Stay Over

When was the last time you invited friends to stay for a night?

If you don’t remember, it means that it was probably too long ago. More often than not, friends and relatives meet for a meal or an afternoon tea in town. While this habit helps to keep in touch — besides it can be entertaining to spend an afternoon in town — it doesn’t provide the social environment necessary to develop your bond. Indeed, in a restaurant or coffee shop, you know that your time around the table is limited. Once you’ve consumed your meal or drink, the group separates, and each drives back home. As Britons spend between one and two hours in restaurants, the benefit of face-to-face conversations is almost non-existent. Most people today talk longer on the phone or via social media. Unfortunately, humans are social creatures who build connections through face-to-face discussions. In other words, the more you see your friends for a coffee in town, the less you get to know each other. It’s time to rediscover the pleasure of inviting people to spend a night at your home.


Why should you invite guests?

The habit to invite guests to stay over is dying out. More often than not, when friends or relatives come to visit, they only stay for a meal. As a result, your bond with distant relatives gradually disappears – even Facebook can’t replace face-to-face time! But when you have children, it’s important to build a solid social circle for your family. First of all, everybody needs to socialise. Since distance isn’t an obstacle anymore, you can invite people you lie but rarely see to come and visit. Additionally, from a family perspective, meeting a variety of people encourages your children to make friends in different places – they are less likely to feel isolated at school. Additionally, living far away isn’t an excuse anymore to stop being friend with someone!


Prepare the guest bedroom

If you’ve had to crash at someone’s house in the past, you’re probably familiar with the experience of sleeping on a hard sofa in the middle of the living room, or a mattress into the study. The reason why you want to create a guest bedroom is that making your guests feel at ease is a priority. Getting to bed should be a comfortable and pleasant experience, regardless of where you are. Consequently, a room that offers privacy, inspiring decor and relaxation invites your guests to sleep. You can have a look for ambiance lighting solutions too – too often, bedrooms use aggressive, white light, while you need a dim effect to relax.


Should they have an en-suite?

In a family house, it’s important to consider the needs and privacy of everyone. After all, you don’t want your guests to queue in front of the bathroom, but you don’t want either your partner to be late to work because your guests took too long to get ready in the morning. So, if you’re planning to use your guest bedroom a lot, it might be worth considering the addition of a small en-suite bathroom. The essentials in your en-suite will depend on how much room is available, as well as your budget. You may not want to add a new bathtub, for instance. But you can give your guests a private room with a vanity cabinet and a bathroom – Drench is an excellent address – as well as a toilet unit. If you get enough space, a shower can be a nice addition.

Get a guest closet

You’ll find it helpful to create a separate space in your closet for guests linen and towels. Indeed, if you have pets, it can be difficult to keep hair off your bed, for instance. Pet hair can remain entangled into the fibres even after washing. Out of consideration for guests who might suffer from allergies, it can be useful to have a guest closet. Additionally, this can let you establish a decor for your guests where elements complement each other.


Breakfast essentials

Last, but not least, you might want to invest in a few cupboard essentials to make sure your guests have something to eat in the morning. You can prepare a tray in the evening with everything they need to make a cup of tea or coffee and have a slice of toast. This can make your life easier if your guests get up before you! In the long term, having something ready can save you a lot of stress and trouble. As a rule of the thumb, tea or coffee, bread, butter and jam, milk and a pack of sugar-free cereals are all you need to satisfy most guests.

Renew with the habit of previous generations to invite friends and relatives to stay over! You’ll find that you can establish deeper and stronger bonds with the people who matter in your life when you see them more often.


This is a collaborative post.

Before she starts school…

Yesterday I bought Jasmine’s school uniform and as I watched the cashier zap each item of clothing across the till and fold them up neatly in front of me, the realisation that my baby is starting school, very soon, hit me hard. More than it did when we got the letter through, telling us which school she was going to. And more than when we went to visit the school itself for J’s ‘taster days’. It was buying the white polo tops and little grey pinafore dresses that really gave me a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye (and not just because of the expense of it all!)

I feel like I’m trying to strike a balance between cramming as much into these last few weeks of summer as possible (whilst she’s still mine, all mine) and giving her time to rest and prepare for the changes that are coming our way.

We decided to keep J in preschool (x 3 mornings a week) right up until the end of August to keep her in the routine that she’s used to. Also, being 100% honest here, I’m not sure how I’d cope with both girls by myself full-time as they fight almost constantly and it truly wears me down.

Getting out of the house is usually the best thing for us. It’s stops the girls squabbling (as much) and I generally find it easier to parent when we’re out and about (just don’t ask me about our disastrous swimming trip earlier this week).

With all of that in mind, and the fact, that J will not be doing full-time school hours until the first week of October. I’ve been thinking about some of the things we’d like to do over the coming few weeks – a sort of ‘before school to-do list’ if you will.

Go to the beach

We’re very lucky to have a massive, free to use, sandpit in our local town centre during the summer holidays. We spend several hours there a week and the girls love it. But nothing quite beats the real thing – the beach! I’d love to cram in a couple of beach days before the end of the summer – probably Brean or Weston-super-mare (which are our local-ish beaches) or perhaps a trip across the bridge to Wales and Barry Island!

Visit Monkey World (Poole)

Monkey World has been on our to-do list for ages. Stephen and I visited there quite a few times pre-kids (and even considered getting married there at one point!) but we’ve yet to take the girls. If we get up and go early enough, the trip is totally do-able in a day so we’re hoping to go later this month when Stephen has booked off some of his annual leave.

Join in with Clifton College’s ‘forest discovery day’

On Saturday 8th September, Clifton College are running a free forest discovery day for toddlers/preschoolers and their parents. There will be den building, marshmallow toasting and mudpie making – oh my! I booked my two littles onto it as soon as I heard about it as I just know it’ll be right up their street (or should I say, tree?!) We’ll be there in our wellies and waterproofs and if you’re local to Bristol and would like to be there too, head here: https://www.cliftoncollege.com/events/2018/september/free-forest-discovery-day/ to find out more!

A family bike-ride

J’s had her bike for a while now, and other than the occasional jaunt around the block with it, she never much rides it anywhere else other than in the back garden. I’d love to dust off mine and Stephen’s bikes (which have been sat in the garage since we moved here over a year ago) and go for a family bike ride. I bought a toddler seat, from a friend, to attach to my bike for E to ride in, I just haven’t gotten around to attaching it yet! Our local cycle path goes all the way to Bath and whilst I can’t see us getting that far, it’ll still be fun to ride together as a family and see how far we do get!

Visit Grimsbury Farm

There’s a fair few community farms in and around Bristol but I hadn’t heard of Grimsbury Farm until recently when my Childminder friend, Sarah, told me about it (she knows all the good local places to take kids!) I only passed my driving test last month and I’m slowly growing in confidence enough to take the girls out for day trips, driving a little further each time. Grimsbury farm is about 20 minutes away by car and I’m planning to pack a picnic and take the girls for a visit in the next week or two. Watch this space!

Is there anything in particular you’re planning with your pre-schooler before they start school?

Jenna xx

This is a collaborative post.


How to dress up your walls

Leaving your walls bare is one of the top decorating mistakes which you should avoid when you are trying to create a ‘homey’ environment. Thankfully, there are plenty of creative solutions out there which allow you to dress up your walls and make them look more interesting. So, here are a few ideas which will provide you with a bit of inspiration.


Hang Artwork


One of the more obvious solutions which you can put into practice is to hang some artwork. Ultimately, this is one of the best ways of showing off your individual personality. Take your time to choose something special such as the collection available from Laura Ashley wall art by Rattan & Lighting Company. Choose a size which is appropriate for the wall space you have available. Too large will be overly dominant, whereas pieces which are too small are in danger of being swallowed up.


Use Bold Colours


Rather than only choosing regular white and beige walls, you could aim to be a little more creative – especially if you have an apartment or house with high walls. If you don’t want to go for entirely bold colours, it is easy enough to paint a single accent wall to give your room a sense of definition. And if you want to keep with the standardised wall colours, you could always choose some bold colours in the artwork that you choose to hang.


Experiment with Textiles


If you feel like being a little more daring and innovative, you could always experiment with some different types of textiles on your walls. So, why not try hanging some different fabrics to give the room a more layered effect. This is a great design technique to try during the winter months to give the room a greater feeling of warmth and cosiness.


Build a Bookcase


How about building a floor to ceiling bookcase complete with a library ladder to access your collection? This is an idea which creates both an interesting and sophisticated to your interior. If you are not a big reader, you could always put up some staggered wooden shelving to display, artwork, pottery, a collection or souvenirs.


Create Shelves

Shelves provide a nice way of breaking up walls into some clearer sections, which provides a sense of architectural intrigue in an otherwise dull area. If you live in an area which is likely to suffer from earthquakes or violent storms, it is worth building your shelves with a front-lip area to stop items from falling forward or slipping off.


These are just five of the possibilities which you can put into practice to make your walls just a little bit more interesting. And you don’t have to use these ideas in isolation of one another. You can mix and match to create the type of effects which suit your individual sense of style. And since many of these solutions are simple, you always have the option of changing when you like.


This is a collaborative post.