How to Add Charm to Your New Build Home

Moving to a new build or planning a large extension on your home? Check out these ideas for adding character to your “blank canvas”

Original article first published on Houzz – Helen Winter, Houzz Contributor

A brand-new house or extension is like having a lovely blank canvas on which to put your own design stamp. However, an empty room can be daunting, and it might be difficult to know where to start. Follow this guide for clever tips on how to get the most from your newly built space.


Pick a palette from a painting
If you plan to start from scratch, with new furniture and accessories, you’ll need a jumping-off point for your colour scheme and room design. A large piece of art can be a great starting point to pull a scheme together.

This evocative seascape is reflected by the sofa cushions and ikat rug to stunning effect. Find something you absolutely love, whether it’s a print or an investment piece, and create a mood board based on the key colours. Make sure you keep the scale of the artwork appropriate either to the size of the room or the piece of furniture above which it will be displayed.

 

Lay art beneath your feet
A beautiful rug can be almost like a painting on your floor. Whether you buy one off the peg or go down the bespoke route, it’s straightforward to then furnish and accessorise the room using the same colour scheme.

Don’t forget to add small doses of accent colours to avoid the space becoming too bland. The shots of dark wood in this room offset the blue, grey and white scheme.

Check out more rugs with beautiful designs

 

Exploit space in your walls
It’s a good idea to think about storage at the planning stage of a building project; there are lots of built-in options your architect or builder can help you with. Here, the recessed shelving is a neat and attractive use of space, and looks even better with the integrated lighting.

Niches like this are popular in bathrooms, and can be fitted fairly easily into any non-load-bearing wall. It can be messy and inconvenient to retrofit them, so it’s much better to plan them in early on.

Get your bearings
In which direction does your home face? This will be a huge consideration for planning the inside and outside flow. The orientation of a room’s windows will affect how you arrange the layout and which paint colours will work best.

Where the sun falls late on a balmy summer’s evening should be a consideration with patio doors, but also take note of prevailing winds – you don’t want your home to become a wind tunnel every time you open the doors.

 

Scale it up
Play with the scale of your new space. With a vaulted roof light like this, the oversized pendants balance the space above the dining table and look stunning day and night.

If you’re working with an architect, you’ll most likely see a 3D visualisation of your project. Be bold and listen to professional advice, as you might be surprised by how you can change the look and feel of your room.

 

Love your light
Design your lighting as soon as you have a floor plan. Work out where you’d like your task, ambient and decorative lighting to go, and decide what types of fittings you’d like. Discuss this with an electrician, who can advise you on all the options.

This is a golden opportunity to avoid the messy jobs of chasing in and pulling up floorboards and carpets, which you’ll have to do if you fit wall lights and dimmer sockets down the line.

Check out this beginner’s guide to lighting in layers


Breathe life into the garden

To give a new garden a kickstart, make sure you allocate a reasonable budget for mature planting and shrubbery. This will give a foundation of coverage early on. A professional landscaper should be able to advise on which plants will work best for your garden’s location and soil, and which varieties will really play to your home’s architectural strengths.

Factor in wiring for lighting, a hot tub, pond or water feature, which could add value to your home. These can be planned during the early stages, while the soft landscaping will need to be done after all the builders and tradespeople have left.

 

Gently break up the space
If your new space is open-plan, you might want to consider ways to break it up. An architect or designer will be able to create interesting room divisions and even offer flexible space with moving walls and room dividers.

Here, an open-plan space has been zoned by a row of long, narrow boards. The effect is simple yet stunning.

Explore more open plan kitchen areas

 

Big up a beautiful ceiling
A new build or renovation is a great opportunity to create a stunning ceiling. Instead of the usual plain option, you could go for a dropped ceiling, where a panel hangs below the original area. Alternatively, a coffered design features recessed areas.

Other choices include stepped ceilings, or ones featuring decorative plasterwork. An ornate ceiling can work just as well in an ultra-modern home as in a traditional one.

Future-proof your home
Both lighting and home automation technology have made huge advances in recent years, and are only going to get bigger and more exciting. You’ll be able to connect every electrical device in your home to a network and remotely control it from a central computer or tablet.

Research the options available and perhaps start with your TV and audio equipment, or look into how the technology can make your home more secure.

Moving home: 19 tips for settling in [infographic]

Once the moving vans have left the driveway and you’re all unpacked, what’s next? There are a few bits left to do; some fun activities, some things that might feel more like chores, but all important to help you settle in well. Here are 19 tips for a worry-free post-move:

 

Settling in tips


Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a call from us today.

 

Starter home appliance checklist [infographic]

Moving into your first home means purchasing a lot of appliances and accessories to ensure each room is fully functional. But even with careful planning, it can be easy to overlook a few things when shopping for your homeware essentials. Follow our checklist to make sure each room in your new home is well equipped for you and your visitors.

Starter home appliance checklist.png


Ready to move to your first home? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a call from us today.

6 sure-fire ways to lose your rental deposit

Moving into rented property normally means paying four to six weeks’ rent up front in the form of a deposit, as insurance against any issues at the end of your tenancy. Unfortunately, some landlords and letting agencies can be known to withhold part or all of your deposit for seemingly petty or even absurd reasons.

With a significant sum of money at stake, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your deposit. Here are six ways that inaction can lead to losing all or part of this investment:

Missing a rent payment

Any missed rent will be deducted from your deposit. If the amount you owe exceeds your deposit, you could even be taken to court. Don’t rely on paying cash-in-hand or remembering to transfer your rent each time it’s owed; set up a direct debit with your bank to ensure the full rental amount is payed every month without fail.

Not checking your inventory

Your landlord or letting agency should provide a list of furniture and features within the property when you move in, which you will be expected to sign. Before you do, read this inventory carefully and note anything that doesn’t match with what’s actually in the property. Also highlight any existing damage or wear-and-tear to ensure you don’t get charged for them upon leaving.

Forgetting to take photos

Another way to protect yourself against false damage claims is to take photos of any existing damage on the day you move in. Any photos taken on a smartphone or digital camera should be automatically time-stamped so you can prove they were taken before your tenancy began.

Neglecting to read the contact

Failing to give the contract your full attention is a risky move, as this will explain exactly what is expected of you regarding the return of your deposit. Make sure you read the entire contract carefully to reduce the chance of any nasty surprises when you move out.

Putting off highlighting issues

Notify your landlord or letting agency as soon as anything stops working or is accidentally damaged. If you put off letting them know, they are more likely to interpret the issue as deliberate damage on your part and deduct the cost of repair from your deposit.

Avoiding the cleaning

Unless the property is spotless at the end of your tenancy, cleaning costs may be deducted from your deposit. But waiting until the last week to do one big clean is a recipe for failure. Make an effort to clean your property regularly so you will have much less to do before you leave.


Ready to move into your rental? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a call from us today and ask about our professional cleaning service at the time of your move.

How to Create the Feeling of Home in a New Area

A big move can be a daunting experience, so make it easier for yourself with these helpful ideas

Original article first published on Houzz

Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

If you’ve ever made a big move, whether to a different county or a different country, you are probably familiar with that uprooted feeling that comes along with leaving everything known for something different and new. It can be exciting but also… terrifying. How do you build a life in a new place? When you’re wondering how to find the supermarket, navigate the tube and perhaps even learn a new language, having a warm, cosy, comfortable place where you can rest your head becomes even more important than usual. Making a home away from home is hard — get the ball rolling by trying out one or more of these ideas.

Set up a routine
When you arrive in a new place, whether it’s a different city or a different continent, a daily routine can help create a feeling of normalcy. Seek out a few spots in your local area – a café, bakery and newsagent, for instance – and visit them each day. Smile and say hello (or bonjour or ciao) to the shopkeeper, sip your coffee, eat breakfast and repeat. After a few days of this, you and the shopkeepers (and maybe a few other regulars) will get to recognise one another, making the greetings more familiar and perhaps warmer.

 

 

Shop and cook à la Julia Child
Channel Julia Child, who famously explored France, often solo, while her diplomat husband Paul Child was busy working. Although Julia must have stuck out in a sea of native Parisians, she fully embraced the experience by tapping into her passion for food — something people of all cultures understand. Give yourself a mission to explore the markets and local foods of whatever area you have moved to, whether that’s Paris or Edinburgh.

Learn more about where you are
It’s natural to feel out of sorts when you first arrive in a new place — but don’t let that discomfort turn to feeling judgmental or bitter about the differences between where you are now and where you used to live. Read books about the area and the culture. Sign up for a language course or join a conversation group. Cultivate an attitude of optimism and curiosity about your surroundings.

 

 

Create a sanctuary in your bedroom
Exploring a new city can be exhausting, especially if there are language differences involved. Give yourself the gift of an utterly safe and comforting place in which to land at the end of each day by making your bedroom the ultimate sanctuary. Soft lighting, lovely bedding, a scented candle, cosy slippers and perhaps a small radio or a phone dock so you can listen to your favourite music will help the space feel like home.

Discover tranquil bedroom ideas

 

 

Embrace the local coffee (or tea) break
From English teatime to the Swedish coffee-and-cake break known as fika, it seems nearly everywhere in the world has its own break-time tradition.

So wherever you are, do as the locals do. In Italy enjoy a shot of espresso taken in a single gulp while standing at the bar in the café, like the locals do on a quick break from work.

A small shift in the way you do things, even in your own home, such as taking afternoon tea rather than coffee, can be a gentle way to nudge yourself into a new culture.

 

 

Treat yourself to lots of fresh flowers and candles
A simple but highly effective way to make your new home feel cosy and welcoming is to go a little wild with candlelight and fresh flowers.

Cluster candles on trays, put one on your bedside table and line them up at the centre of your dining table.

Visit a flower stall or grocery store and treat yourself to fresh blooms once a week. When your mood needs bolstering, light all your candles, put on some lovely music and inhale the scent of the flowers gracing your space.

Check out how to display flowers

Connect online with people back home … but not too much
This is the digital age, after all – you might as well take advantage of it! Connect with friends and family through video calls and social media, if you like. But remember, connecting with long-distance loved ones should be a nice treat, not a substitute for getting out there and building a satisfying and interesting life in your new area.

 

 

Put personal treasures on display
Books, photos, artwork and other personal items become even more important when you’re in a new place.

Take an afternoon to display your things in your new place – hang up photos of friends and family, organise your bookshelves and put your favourite linen on the bed.

 

 

Reinvent your style … if you want to
You’re in a new place, and no one knows you yet. Why not take this as an opportunity to try out a new look? Edit your wardrobe, organise your wardrobe and go shopping. Besides, shopping is a great excuse to get out there and explore a new area.

 

 

Make a personal connection in the new place
Easier said than done, but well worth the effort. If you’re finding it hard to meet people, try seeking out a local group related to one of your passions or hobbies. Take a class, volunteer for a local charity or attend an event that sounds interesting. If you’ve moved to a new country, connect with the local expat community. If you’re a parent, seek out a play group to join. Once you’ve made one connection, it’s bound to lead to others.

 

 

Tend a garden
Planting something, even a potted garden on your balcony, makes a statement that this is a place you plan to stay in for a while.

If you love gardening but don’t have a garden of your own, see if there is a local community garden where you could get a small area to tend — it could also be a great way to connect with other like-minded people.

Get more garden inspiration

Collect moments of beauty
Of course, there are places we immediately think of as beautiful, but every place has its own charm. Grab your camera and head out on a daily walk, snapping pictures of the little things that catch your eye.

If you want to make it interesting, issue yourself a creative challenge – take photos of a single colour, or find the first letter of your name or a heart shape. The creative project will loosen you up, and you may end up with some frameworthy shots to boot!

Reignite your wanderlust
Plan a day trip to a region you’ve never explored. After the shock of being somewhere totally new, you may realise that the place you come back ‘home’ to feels exactly like that … home.

Make your home feel sweet, even if it is temporary
Those who move frequently, learn that home is where you make it. No matter how long you think you’ll be staying where you are, you might as well make it the best possible experience while it lasts.

Moving home advice: 2017 roundup [part 2]

(Click here for part 1.)

This year we’ve been sharing a wide range of tips and advice to help you make the most of your home move. Here’s part 2 of our 2017 roundup:

Moving in the UK

Going it alone: the pitfalls of DIY moves

When moving a small household locally, it can be tempting to hire a van and do everything yourself. At first this might seem like the cheaper option, but moving without expert help is risky and may end up costing you in other ways. Here are the main pitfalls of do-it-yourself moving.

Self-store v long-term storage: what’s best for me?

What’s the difference between the two main types of storage, self-store and long-term storage? What’s best for your living situation, and what are the benefits of each? Find out more.

How to prepare for moving out [10 tips]

Once you’ve booked your home move, there are a few things you can do around the house to make packing and moving out go extra smoothly. Follow these tips to prepare your home for the big day.

How to prepare for moving in [10 tips]

As well as preparing your old property for moving out, there are several things you can do in your new home to prepare for delivery of your belonging.

How to manage your time in moving limbo [infographic]

When moving home, there’s often a gap between the time you sign for your new property and when you actually move in. We call this ‘moving limbo’. And while this waiting period can seem like an eternity, there are plenty of ways to distract yourself and stay productive in preparation for move day.

Moving home at Christmas [12 top tips]

With presents to wrap, cards to write, decorations to hang and food to prepare, it’s easy to get a little tense during the festive season. But there’s no reason why your home move has to add to the pressure. Follow these 12 tips to ensure your Christmastime move goes without a hitch.

How to prepare your home for a child

Welcoming a child into your home is an exciting time, but most properties need a bit of work before they’re ready for little ones. Here’s how to prepare your home for a new arrival.

What to do before you move: 6 essentials [infographic]

While your removal company will take care of everything on the day, there are a few things to take care of beforehand to ensure your move goes without a hitch. Here are six pre-move essentials to make move day a breeze.

Moving overseas

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

If you are planning to live overseas, there are a few things to check off the list before you take the trip.

The most visa-friendly careers in New Zealand

One of the most popular destinations for UK expats, New Zealand offers a spectacular scenery, a high quality of living and a wealth of employment opportunities in key industries. To help you decide whether New Zealand holds the key to your next career move, we’ve listed the biggest job sectors of this beautiful island nation.

10 reasons to work abroad

As a working expat, little else will open so many doors, personally or professionally. Here are 10 great reasons to take a job overseas.

Emigrating to Spain: what you need to know [infographic]

Whether you’re emigrating for work, retirement, or just a change of scenery, there are a few things to arrange before making the move to Spain.

How to prevent the expat blues

There are many great reasons to move abroad. But like any major life decision, there are also potential downsides. Get ahead of these possible drawbacks by following our top tips to avoid the expat blues and make your overseas experience a positive one.

What plug? An expat guide to power outlets [infographic]

When moving abroad, most electricals are compatible between different countries, but only with the right plug. Stay ‘current’ and find out which adaptor you’ll need with our handy infographic.

Shipping goods to Australia: an expat guide

When planning what to move to Australia, you should be aware of the various taxes and duties applied to certain goods, as well as the accompanying paperwork that ensures the smooth transition of your belongings through customs. Find out more.

Canadian culture: a British expat guide [infographic]

As with any new environment, British expats in Canada will face a number of cultural differences that may jar at first, but over time will serve as a positive reminder of why you originally decided to emigrate. Find out more.

Emigrating to Australia: what you need to know [infographic]

With good wages, a high standard of living and a laid back culture, Australia is by far the most popular destination for British expats. Here’s what you need to know before making the move Down Under.

 


Looking to move home in 2018? Pickfords offers a wide range of domestic and international removal services for customer across the UK. Visit our website to find out more.

How to Turn Your Home into a Haven

Create a welcoming haven every time you open the front door with these tips for designing a home that makes you smile

Original article first published on Houzz

Amanda Pollard, Houzz Contributor

It’s where you come back to at the end of every day, and the first place you see in the morning, so it’s important that where you live brings you joy. Follow these inspiring ideas to spread a little happiness in your home.

 

 

Let in the sunshine
Nothing will lift your mood more than sunlight beaming in through your windows. So to ensure your home gets its full quota of rays, keep the glass clean and free from streaks and finger marks.

Of course, for the outside it’s best to call in a professional, but the insides are easy to clean yourself. Use a dry brush to sweep away dust from the frames, then sponge the glass with soapy water. Finally, remove the water by making ‘s’ shapes on the window with a squeegee. Windows need to be cleaned at least twice a year. Don’t think yours are dirty? Give them a clean and you’ll immediately notice the difference.

 

 

Promote a warm welcome
Ensure you feel good every time you come home by creating an inviting hallway. You’ll need some good storage for all your outdoor paraphernalia, so that the entrance is tidy as you enter. Include some hooks for your coats, a shoe rack and some baskets for scarves, gloves and umbrellas.

Freshen up the area by painting the walls and door. Here, everything has been kept white to make it feel really bright and airy. However, a bold colour would work just as well. The key is to choose a scheme that makes you happy. Add some mood-lifting extras such as flowers, a mirror, or a beautifully scented reed diffuser.

Essential style tricks to give you hallway a boost

 

 

Make your bed
A good day needs a cheery start, so one of the most positive things you can do at home is make your bed. By tidying your sleeping area when you wake up, you’ll begin your day on a good note. This simple act will make you feel super organised and ready for action.

Then later on, when you head sleepily up to bed, you’ll find a restful space to relax in.

Get a good night’s sleep
To make sure your sleep is even more restful, it’s best to be in a completely dark room. When it’s dark, our bodies produce more of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel tired. Light, on the other hand gives powerful cues to the brain that it’s time to wake up. To stop street lamps or early- morning sunlight poking in, put up blinds or curtains with a black-out lining.

Similarly, keep a low-wattage incandescent lamp on your bedside table to help you wind down before you go to sleep.

 

 

Bring in fresh flowers
A vase of beautiful flowers instantly cheers up a room, and lifts the mood of whoever is looking at it. By putting some flowers on your kitchen table you will connect with nature every time you come into the room.

Your choice of flowers can be anything from a huge mixed bouquet, to a simple seasonal sprig. Start in January with some early daffodils and hyacinths, then keep checking what’s around throughout the year. If you have some outside space, try growing flowers that you can cut. A great choice are pretty, fragranced sweet peas, which you have to cut every day to encourage growth.

Find beautiful vases for your flowers

 

Photo by Life on a Wall

Fill it with happy memories
Display things around your home that remind you of friends, family and places that you’ve visited. Put travel souvenirs where you can see them, to remind you of experiences, and to perhaps prompt you to make new plans.We all have hundreds of photos on our digital equipment nowadays, but we often forget to print them out. Put an evening aside to sort through them all, get a selection printed and plan a creative way to display them. The bright photo-collage on the back wall of this kitchen has really brought the room to life.

Discover dining room design inspiration

 

 

Share it with animals
Want to instantly de-stress after a long day? How about curling up on the sofa and stroking your pet. Studies have shown that the simple act of cuddling an animal releases the chemical oxytocin, which makes us feel calm.

The benefits don’t stop there though. By keeping a pet at home, you’ll have the opportunity to form a new relationship with another creature, and hopefully you’ll be rewarded by lots of fun and cuddles.

Do those quick fixes
Those troublesome household irks, such as leaky taps and broken door handles shouldn’t be ignored. Every time you come across something that needs fixing, you could find yourself irritated by it. So rather than putting these annoying jobs off, get stuck in instead.

A little effort will result in a well-run home with no tricky hindrances, and you’ll get a welcome feeling of accomplishment to boot.

 

 

Make a space for you
In a busy household it’s important to find a place to gather your thoughts and spend a few minutes by yourself. Being alone for a while will allow you to recharge, and get ready to face the world again.

If you can’t grab a whole room for yourself, a cosy corner will do fine. Here, the armchair is ideally located next to the fire, with an angled table lamp placed perfectly for reading.

If you have a hobby, such as crocheting or painting, create a designated space for it. Devise storage that will keep all your equipment to hand, so you can easily dip in and out whenever you have some spare time.

Connect with your neighbours
What really makes most of us happy are our relationships with other people. By making friends with your neighbours, you’ll be able to nurture those relationships every time you’re at home.

Make the effort to start a conversation every time you see your neighbours, offer to water their plants while they’re away and invite them round for a cuppa. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to turning your street into a real community.

Discover ways to nurture a happy neighbourhood

 

 

 

Make healthy eating easy
Encourage a positive lifestyle, by making sure healthy food is within reach. The most obvious way is to put a bowl of fruit on the table, but there are other things you can do.

Avoid last minute dinner decisions by displaying a meal planner in the kitchen, with nourishing options for the whole week. If you have children, get them involved by asking them to contribute their ideas.

Think up ways you can make it easy to choose a wholesome snack. Keep nuts and granola bars in tempting glass jars. If you’ve invested in a juicer or yoghurt maker, don’t let it languish in the cupboard. Make room for it on the worktop so you’ll be more inclined to use it.

What to do before you move abroad: 6 essentials [infographic]

Last week we looked at general tips for moving house, whether within the UK or further afield. If you are planning to live overseas, however, there are a few extra things to check off the list before you take the trip:

What to do before you move abroad.png


Ready for your move overseas? For a complete removal and storage service from the UK, including expert customs and travel advice, click here to contact Pickfords or call 0800 019 8557.

Moving home advice: 2017 roundup [part 1]

This year we’ve been sharing a wide range of tips and advice to help you make the most of your home move. Here’s part 1 of our 2017 roundup:

Moving in the UK

Protecting your home, whatever the weather

The only guarantee with British weather is that it’s unpredictable. Whether you’ve recently bought a new property or are looking to sell your current one, it’s important to protect against extreme conditions, which can cause damage to your home at any time. Here are our top tips for creating a weatherproof property. 

Bluffers’ guide to moving home [infographic]

To help you prepare for your move, our bluffer’s guide infographic takes you through the whole process, including what you need to do leading up to the day, and what to expect from your removal company. Click here to find out more.

I’m about to move: who needs to know?

When you move home, it’s important to let people know your new address so records can be updated and your post arrives to the right place. To help ensure you don’t miss anyone, we’ve outlined the main parties who will need to know your updated details ahead of moving day.

How to add value to your home

Eyeing the next rung on the property ladder? Simply putting your home on the market is unlikely to generate the capital you need to move up. Here are some adjustments you can make to increase the value of your property.

How to turn people off your home

In this volatile housing market, small changes can make a big difference to the saleability of your home. To maximise buyer interest in your property, here are a few things to avoid.

Moving overseas

Moving to Canada: what you need to know

Canada has long been a favourite destination for UK expats. As the second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of things to do and places to go. If you’re preparing for a move to The Great White North, here’s what to expect from the emigration process and expat life once you settle in.

What are the biggest job sectors in Australia?

We’ve listed Australia’s biggest job sectors to help you decide whether the UK’s most popular expat destination holds the key to your next career move. Find out more.

Top tips for buying property abroad

While navigating foreign real estate can be a daunting prospect, the best advice for buying a home can be applied to most international property markets. Discover how to secure the best overseas property, whatever your destination.

Moving to the USA: what you need to know

The US is a land of opportunity for many British expats. Whatever your reason for emigrating, what do you need to get to the US, and what can you expect on arrival?

How to fit in as an expat

Moving abroad is a great chance to enrich your career and your life, but optimising any expat experience means fitting in with the locals and becoming part of the culture. Read our top tips to help you integrate with your host county and make the most of your overseas opportunity.

Moving to China: what you need to know

One of the world’s largest economies, the People’s Republic of China is a popular destination for experienced professionals across a number of industries. If you’re looking for a new opportunity coupled with a unique cultural experience, what’s required to emigrate to the PRC, and what can you expect once posted there?


Looking to move home in 2018? Pickfords offers a wide range of domestic and international removal services for customer across the UK. Visit our website to find out more.

What to do before you move: 6 essentials [infographic]

With so much to consider when buying and selling properties, it’s easy to overlook the move day itself. While your removal company will take care of everything on the day, there are a few things to take care of beforehand to ensure your move goes without a hitch. Here are six pre-move essentials to make move day a breeze:

What to do before you move.png


Ready to move? Contact Pickfords for a free removals estimate, or request a callback today.