Transform Your Spare Room With a Little DIY This Year

it is a great idea to make space useful throughout the home

reclaiming unused room spaceThe New Year is the perfect time to get on with those DIY jobs you’ve been putting off – however big or small. This is because January is traditionally the time many of us review our finances and get our money in order following our festive season splurges.

Once you’ve switched your utilities to a cheaper provider or found a credit card with a lower rate of interest, you’ll be able to work out how much cash you’ve got left over to spend on DIY. Add this to your savings and you could have enough to transform a whole room or install some new furniture and fittings.  Redecorating a spare room could be a good job to get stuck into this year, especially if your children have recently left home. The numbers of people who live in your home can go up and down over the years as children are born, grow up and eventually fly the nest. And the time might have finally come to turn your son or daughter’s old bedroom into a guest suite.

Before you start this task, however, you should carry out proper planning. For a start, you’ll need to decide which furniture you’re keeping and which will be replaced. It’s probably a good idea to consult with your departed son or daughter to make sure they’ve got no use for it at their new place – or whether they want it kept for sentimental reasons. Next you should decide what you’re going to replace the old furniture with and colour schemes for the walls.If the room is to be set up as a guest room, then going neutral is often the best bet – think whites, greys and pastel shades.

Once you’ve taken a trip to your local DIY store, it’s time to set aside a weekend and get to work. It could be fun to involve the son or daughter whose room it was previously – allowing them to give their old stomping ground the proper send-off it deserves!

Energy Saving Begins With Boilers


Looking after the planet and keeping an eye on the purse strings are two trends which have become increasingly popular – and intertwined – in recent years.
Saving energy is one of the best ways to cut your household bills while doing your bit for the environment – but not everyone is clear on the best ways to reduce their usage by doing a little DIY or calling in the experts.

keep up maintenance on your boilerThere’s a multitude of ways you can make your home more energy efficient – and caring for your boiler is a good place to start.

Having a yearly service with a Gas Safe-registered technician is essential for making sure your boiler is running as efficiently as possible. It’s also important you get your boiler looked at for safety reasons – knackered old boilers can leak carbon monoxide, which can be lethal.

If your boiler is over 15 years old, you be thinking about buying a replacement – this can cut hundreds of pounds off your annual heating bill. When shopping around, look out for highly efficient gas condensing models, as these will help you make the biggest savings. Also don’t forget to insulate and lag your pipes, as this will help to boost your boiler’s efficiency.

However, looking after your boiler doesn’t begin and end with the equipment itself. For example, leaving clothes to dry on radiators will force your boiler to work harder, potentially reducing its lifespan. The same principle applies when covering radiators with curtains or furniture. For this reason, the layout of your room is important – try to place sofas and beds away from radiators to ensure you get the maximum circulation and benefit from their heat.

The way you live in your home can also have an effect on your energy usage – the key is to do as many things as possible to reduce the temperate and how often you need to put your heating on. Draught excluders are essential, while you should consider getting a thicker duvet during the winter rather than leaving the heat on high throughout the night.

Even just the way you use your curtains can have a significant effect on your energy usage – opening them in the day will allow sunlight to naturally heat the room. However, as soon as day turns to night and the dark and cold sets in, close your curtains to keep the heat in.

By carrying out a few simple DIY jobs and making a few targeted investments, you’ll soon be cutting your carbon emissions – and feeling the financial benefit as a result.

Don’t Be Left Gutted By a Guttering Gripe

get your gutters cleaned out

make sure waterflow is not inhibited by leaves and debrisDuring the winter, many of us rarely venture into our gardens, unless it’s to build a snowman. For this reason, we rarely get chance to have a look at our guttering during this part of the year, especially if we leave and return to our homes in darkness.

However, out of sight should never mean out of mind when it comes to your drainage system – and in fact they may need the most attention at this time of the year. Clogged gutters can cause water to backup in the house, leading to problems with damp or even wall and ceiling damage.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to set aside some time aside one weekend as winter sets in to give your guttering a going-over to ensure you don’t encourage any drainage disasters.

Autumn and winter brings more wet and cold weather – and plenty of leaves and other debris which can block guttering. Therefore, you should get in a routine of regularly going up to check that water can drain through the pipes.

This starts with getting out a ladder and climbing up to look at the outer part of your guttering. Make sure you’re wearing thick workman’s gloves, as you’ll need to manually remove anything which could block the pipes by hand. It’s a good idea to have your garden waste bin set up next to the ladder, where you can drop in any leaves or sludge as you go along. A stiff brush and trowel will come in useful for removing excess dirt.

To ensure the guttering is as clean and debris-free as possible, finish up by giving the pipes a good spray with the hosepipe, ensuring that the nozzle is set to the highest pressure possible for the best cleaning results.

If you think there’s a blockage downpipe, you may need to invest in some DIY tools to get the job done. One option is to use a wire coat hanger, which can fed into the pipe to loosen any trapped articles.

Some could decide that installing a gutter guard is the best way forward – this is a piece of wire mesh metal that can reduce the amount of debris that collects in your guttering. It’s important to note, however, that putting this onto your gutters won’t mean you never have to clean them again – it may just reduce how often you need to carry out this job.

If you fail to carry out these simple jobs, you can be left gutted if your Christmas money ends up being spent on putting a drainage disaster right – so make sure it’s pencilled into your DIY diary this winter.

Putting Up a Shelf: Some Handy Hints

installing a shelf

With floating shelves now all the range this is the chance to prove to your friends just what a dab hand at DIY you are – little do they need to know how easy it can be. Just follow these simple instructions and you’ll be clutter free and have the smartest shelf in town in no time (well probably about an hour!).

What you’ll need to put up a shelf

For this job you’ll need: a spirit level, a pencil, screwdriver, a drill, a hammer, and screws and fittings (although these will normally be provided with the shelf). For safety reasons it is also advised that you should wear safety goggles and use an AC electrical detector.

Fixing your shelf: Getting started

Firstly, safety is paramount. There is a risk of major electrical shocks from any drilling into walls. Reduce this risk by using an electrical detector – it will either make a noise or an LED will flash when passed over an electrical current. If a good electrician has been used in the wiring of the house then wires should only ever run horizontally or vertically straight from sockets and fittings but it is advisable to always check before starting the drilling.

Getting your shelves straight

level the shelf before affixing itOne of the easiest mistakes to make is to rush the job and end up with wonky shelves. This can be solved with a small amount of preparation time at the start. Place the shelf bracket on the wall in the desired position and mark under the bottom left and right corners – then check with a spirit level that the lines are dead straight. If not play around with it until you’re there. Once correct, the positions of the screws can now be marked on the wall. Make sure you rub out any previous pencil marks to avoid confusion!

Drilling your shelves brackets to the wall

You are now ready to drill. The drill bit used should be slightly smaller in diameter than the screws which will be used. It is a good idea to wear safety goggles when performing any drilling in order to protect from any flying debris. Start drilling slowly in a straight line into the wall. This should be repeated for all screw positions. Remember that plasterboard walls will require hollow wall anchors but if drilling into solid brick then rawl plugs are more appropriate.

Fixing the shelf to the wall

The shelf can now be fixed to the wall – simply attach to the screws in place in the wall and slide the shelf onto the clippings. It’s a good idea if you’re planning to place a heavy load on the shelf to fit butterfly / spring toggles – these will require a bigger hole being drilled. But be warned, these are so strong they can’t be removed from the wall once in place.

Tighten any screws or nails one by one – leaving them all slightly loose for one final tighten at the end.

Now all that’s left to do is pick out your favourite cds, books or dvds and give them pride of place before your friends arrive!