How to Let More Light into Your Home

As the scorching weather starts to tail off into an orange-hued autumn, we’re guaranteed to start noticing a dimmer natural light – both out in the open and inside our homes. The clouds prefer to cover the sky during the end of summer and we’ll probably even see a few more downpours, too. Unless this strange heatwave decides to stick around for another few months, the darker, colder months are hot on our tails. So, it’s about time we get prepared: how can we let more light into our homes? And what features will brighten up a dark room?

First, assess your home

Start by taking a walk around your home. Really try to get a sense for the atmosphere of each room – how does it make you feel? Is it opened-up or closed-off? Often, you’ll find that areas with more natural light feel more welcoming and enticing. However, sometimes there’s nothing nicer than a cosier, candle-lit room. But to fight off those winter blues, we need to make the most of natural light as much as we can! Make a note of anywhere that benefits from a good amount of light and any rooms that are problem areas.

Create an illusion using accessories

Shiny surfaces are your best friend when you want to open up a space. Placing mirrors opposite windows can help to reflect natural light around the room. But that’s not all… we’re talking about anything shiny, from chandeliers and gold doorknobs to metallic appliances and silver candlesticks. We especially love brass lettering decor that can add a touch of style but also brighten the place up. All of these things contribute to more impressive light reflection, and ultimately a brighter room.

Glass furniture gives you an advantage

The more solid furniture you’ve got, the more light will be sucked in. This is especially true if you have a lot of dark-coloured furniture and accessories. So, it’s a no-brainer that glass furniture like coffee tables and cabinets can really help to brighten a space up and continue that reflection illusion we spoke about earlier! If you can afford to invest in a glass coffee table or something similar, you’ll definitely notice the difference.

Change up your colour scheme

If a dark room is really becoming a problem for you, consider the colours in there. Are the walls painted navy or red? Is the furniture heavy, clunky and dark? Remember, dark colours don’t help a dark room. And to make matters worse, whilst absorbing any natural light, they also make a room appear smaller and more cramped. To open up a space and lighten things up, try changing the wall colours to a more neutral shade like cream, white or beige. Light greys and pastel colours work well too, if that’s your thing. Lighter coloured woods like beech, maple and pine instead of mahogany and walnut can add extra brightness to your home.

How do you like to add more light to a room?

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic! Join in the conversation over on our social media – you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Alternatively, find yourself lost in interior inspiration via our Pinterest feed!

How to Choose Your Brick When Building a House

Planning a house build can be stressful but it’s also extremely exciting. After all, how often do you get the chance to create your home in exactly the perfect way for you? In today’s blog post, we’re going to be focusing on an element of the self-build process that is often overlooked and rarely talked about outside the industry. However, we think it’s important to discuss this topic, so you feel as informed as possible. Yep, that’s right, we’re talking about the brick choice.

More specifically, we’re going to give you all our top tips for choosing the correct brick in the planning stages of your build. After all, you’ll be living with this decision for many years to come. So, it’s more important than anything else to get this selection right. You can change up a kitchen or replace your curtains… but you can’t replace your brick. What’s more, you might end up selling this house on at some point so bear this in mind when choosing anything ‘out-there’.

Our top tips for choosing a brick

Start your planning early

It’s always better to prepare early on when you’re building a house. But this is especially true for choosing a brick. This is simply because your build cannot begin without a brick in place! Decisions like the colour of your kitchen or the flooring you’ll have can come much later. It is also worth considering the local area where you’re building. Are you required to use a particular type of stone? Some places, like Bath, are strict on requirements.

Get inspiration

You can find inspiration absolutely anywhere. From driving around to looking on Pinterest, you’re sure to find a few examples of brick that you love. Make a moodboard, either digitally or physically, to get an idea of the kind of styles you like. It’ll be much easier to pick when you’ve already seen lots of choices in the flesh.

Consider all angles

Use your architectural drawings as your reference when thinking about how your brick is going to look. Make sure you consider all the angles of your new home – how do you want each wall to look? Using your drawings as a starting point will ensure you don’t get carried away and forget about the real project at hand.

Decide on a colour

There are so many colours to choose from when deciding on a brick. From red to grey, brown to white, yellow tones to a mixture of everything, the world really is your oyster. You might already have a natural preference, which is fine. But make sure you base your final decision on research and evidence – from photographs you’ve seen to your new home’s surrounding area.

What kind of look are you going for?

Here, you must ask some important questions. This is all about getting the style right. Do you want a distressed look or a polished look? Old-world style or contemporary crisp look? There are many things to think about here. You should also consider mortar style – dark, light, thick, thin, the choices are endless! Ultimately, you need to ensure that your vision ties together nicely and will give your home the look you desire.

The finishing touches and accents

Carefully select finishing touches like stone and exterior trim. Of course, you must make sure your choices highlight and accents the brick you have chosen. Do you want the stone to stand out or blend in with the brick? Remember, you have to live with this decision for (hopefully) a long time! Don’t just choose something based on how pretty the sample looks, try to see the brick in situ, along with any accents you like. And of course, don’t forget about your window frames! They must match your brick as they can be difficult and costly to change in the future.

Have multiple options!

You should definitely consider another option or two, as a back-up. You’ll have to have your brick approved as part of your planning permission. If your first choice doesn’t pass, you might end up disappointed

Prices can vary

It’s important to understand that brick prices can vary a lot depending on the style and manufacturer. If you are on a budget, you may wish to shop around for the best value – but don’t skimp on quality or style as you may come to regret the decision further down the line. You should fully understand the costs of your choices and the implications they may have.

If you feel like you need some more information on this topic, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We offer free, impartial advice on any part of the self-build process and would be happy to assist you.

Maintaining Your Garden During the Heatwave: Tips & Advice

Happy July! Summer is now well underway… and so is this heatwave! Since this sweltering weather began, Scotland has recorded its highest temperature ever and the South of England had the driest June on record. And that’s not all. Unfortunately, with the beautiful sunshine and heat comes some drastic consequences. Field fires have been breaking out across the UK, putting enormous strain on the fire services around the country. This heatwave has taught us one thing if anything: high temperatures can be pleasant but they can also be extremely dangerous!

So, in today’s blog post, we’re going to look into the best ways to protect your own patch of nature – the garden. It’s easy to kick back and relax when the sun is beaming down but it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your gardening.

Tips and advice to keep your garden fresh and vibrant

During summer, and especially a heatwave, there’s nothing nicer than being able to sit out in your garden. And if you’ve kept up maintenance then things are going to be a lot more enjoyable! Here are our top tips for beating that heatwave intensity and allowing your garden to flourish:

Keep your grass slightly longer

Reduce your mowing time and leave the grass a little bit longer during the heatwave. The longer leaves will create extra shade and keep more moisture in the soil. Not only that, but your garden will feel cooler too.

Add extra moisture to your borders

During an increase in temperature, your garden will need all the moisture it can get. It’s a good idea to add some bark or compost to your borders over the next couple of weeks.

Give potted plants more shade

Your delicate plants in pots will need a lot more shade. Yes, we know this sounds strange – they often need more sun! But too much of anything isn’t good for anyone, especially your precious potted plants.

Time your watering sessions well

It’s very important to water your plants and lawn in the morning or evening. Don’t water them at the hottest point in the middle of the day; it’ll trick them into thinking they’ll get moisture around this time.

Rethink your fertilisers

Be careful with your fertilisers. An increase in temperature can prevent soil from absorbing all the nutrients in a fertiliser so invest in one that works better in hotter weather!

Weeding is crucial

Make sure you stay on top of your weeding. Weeds can drain nutrients and moisture from the plants in your garden, so you should get rid of them as soon as possible. After all, it’s always easier to dig up younger weeds.

Know the warning signs of a damaged plant!

Watch out for yellowing plants or droopy leaves, these are often the first signs that a plant is dehydrated and damaged. Take immediate action to avoid brown, broken leaves that could be beyond repair.

How do you keep your garden fresh and maintained during a heatwave?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the heatwave and how your garden is being looked after. Join in the conversation on our social platforms – follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page. You can also find inspiration for your garden on our Pinterest boards…