DIY Window Treatments that go Beyond Curtains

Windows are an essential element in any room. They let light into your living room, open up your kitchen and bring cheerful sunshine into your bedroom. Adding even small and simple treatments can make windows look bigger, turn them into eye-catching features and help you make a statement in any room.

curtains

Of course, curtains and blinds are a great way to soften up a room and frame windows. They can add texture, warmth and colour to a room and when you choose the right style, can help add to the theme of your home.

 

But, your window treatment options go way beyond curtains. In just one afternoon you can create some stunning treatments that take your window, and the entire room, to a whole new level.

 

Add Moulding

 

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One of the easiest ways to update your windows is to add some moulding. You can choose moulding that matches some that is already in the room or just go with a complementary style.

 

Wide moulding will make the windows look taller and will add a classy touch to the room. On the other hand, smaller, more casual moulding is great for homes with a modern or relaxed style.

 

You can do this yourself by picking up some moulding from your hardware store. Measure carefully, cut it to size and then paint it to match the room. When the paint is dry, use a brad nailer or electric screwdriver to install the pieces.

 

Paint the Frames to Pop

 

 For some added colour and interest, paint the moulding, frames or the space just inside the window a different colour than the one on the walls. Use a similar colour or just a different shade of the colour that is on the wall for a calm look with some simple contrast.

 

Or, go bold and use a bright or contrasting colour to make a statement and for added interest. Choose a colour that is already in the room, but isn’t already on the walls, so that it matches your decor.

 

When you do this, be sure to use painter’s tape to prevent paint splatters on the windows, latches and anywhere else you don’t want it.

 

Make the Windowsill Something More

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If you have a narrow windowsill, make it more substantial by adding a painted board. Cut the board to size, sand it with an orbital sander and then give it a good coat of paint. Use some nails, or other strong adhesive, to attach the board to the existing windowsill.

 

If you want, you can add some thin moulding to make the board look built in or so it blends in with existing moulding. This is the perfect place for small plants, trinkets, vases or a collection.

 

 

Install Garden Shelves

 

 

Garden shelves in windows are beautiful in the kitchen and are a great place for potted plants, small vases and even a small herb garden. To make this kind of shelf, finish some boards with paint or stain. Then, you can either attach them directly to the window frame or add some brackets that you can lay the shelves on top of.

 

To make this work, add just a few shelves to the window. You don’t want to make the space look crowded or block the sunlight or the view. Just a few shelves can make a statement and make it easier to add some plants where they will thrive.

 

 

 

 

Add an Overhead Shelf

 

Another way to add a shelf to your window is to install one right above it. This is a great look if you have tall ceilings and works well in kitchens, libraries and offices. Again, use a sander and some paint or stain to finish a board so it matches the room. Then, hang the shelf using brackets or by attaching it directly to the wall.

 

Now you can use it to store books, dishes, collections or conversation pieces. Make this shelf stand out by painting it a different colour. For example, if the wall behind it is blue, paint the shelf white or stain it a darker colour. This adds contrast and draws attention to the windows.

 

 

Create Faux Windowpanes

 

Windowpanes bring a traditional, classic look to any home. But, even if your windows aren’t made up of individual panes, you can easily add some. Use very thin moulding or strips of wood to divide a window into sections that look like panes.

 

Paint or stain the wood first and then be careful only to attach them to the window frame. This way you can remove them later if you decide to go for another look and you won’t damage your windows.

 

This treatment is great for a window in a door, kitchen or bathroom and can even be applied to just one part of the window for a unique look.

 

 

Design some Privacy

 

Windows in doors and bathrooms can let in a lot of sunlight and make the space feel bigger, but can leave us feeling like we’re lacking in privacy.

 

You can purchase some window film at a hardware store and then use a utility knife to cut it to size. Then, apply it to the window so that it has a fogged look, giving you some privacy without having to hang curtains.

 

Get creative and think outside the box with this project. For example, you could apply the film to just part of the window or even cut out a pattern, like diamonds or a checkered pattern to combine style and privacy.

 

 

Build Indoor Shutters

 

We normally think of shutters as an outside accessory, but they can be a beautiful addition inside too. These work best for very large windows, large rooms or rooms with tall ceilings where they won’t make a room feel too full.

 

You can build your own or purchase unfinished shutters. Paint or stain them to match your room and then install them with hinges so you can easily shut them for some privacy and open them to let the sun in. If you are doing this in several rooms, hire a paint spray system to make your job quick and easy.

 

Adding treatments and features to windows draws attention to them and lets you add more style and personality to a room. Use these tips to update your windows and give your home a whole new look.

 

 

To find out how we can help you make your windows look immaculate please go to www.hss.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best and worst of DIY

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No matter how much you love DIY you’re bound to have some favourite jobs and some you would rather not do at all. We’ve been out asking DIYers what their favourite tasks are and the conclusions are pretty interesting. There doesn’t seem to be one loved task and one most hated chore, everyone seems to have different favourites, as you’ll see from the comments we collected when we asked… “What are your favourite and most disliked DIY jobs?”

 

My favourite DIY job is tiling. I especially love laying terracotta floor tiles, they always looks so good and they’re quite forgiving being so rustic looking. Least favourite… erm… actually, putting up pictures, because it should be such a simple job but I can never get them straight.”

 

 “Painting walls I enjoy, I love the results and it’s easy to do. Worst is the glossing. I hate doing skirting boards, gloss paint is so sticky and it takes forever to dry and doing skirting boards gives me back ache.”

 

“Well, I like doing something new, a bit of a challenge. I get a bit bored doing the same things over and over again. Decorating can get a bit boring. I like making things, built in cupboards, that sort of thing.”

 

“I’m a bit of a beginner when it comes to DIY so I like jobs that are easy! I get a bit scared sometimes and feel out of my depth but I’m learning.”

 

“I don’t mind most jobs. I’m not very good at tiling, but sister does it for a living, so if I need tiling doing I rope her in.”

 

Anything that needs me to design things or come up with ideas I hate. If someone draws me a picture or something then fine, but don’t tell me you want something building without giving me clear instructions or you’ll end up with something completely different from what you actually wanted. Can you tell I’m talking from experience here? Yes, my wife wanted one of those arbours, with the seat in? Well what she ended up with she has nicknamed ‘The Monstrosity’. So you can see why I’m not keen on that type of job. I’m stick to fixing things and painting walls!”

 

I like to mend things, to fix something without having to pay out for a professional. I don’t like jobs where you have to keep leaving it for something or other to set or dry. I like to get on and get a job done. I don’t like waiting around.”

 

“If it saves me money then I’ll do it myself, I can’t say I really enjoy it. I have other things I’d rather be doing, but I will do what I can.”

 

“I don’t really mind what I do really. I just do whatever needs doing. After a long week in the office the change of pace is nice. I don’t have to talk to people – I can just get on and do something practical. It’s relaxing in a way, a change of pace for me.”

 

To find out how we can help you fulfil your DIY dreams please visit www.hss.com

 

 

 

The Best Light for the Job: How to Choose Lighting

Whether you need to light up an office, home, garage, workspace, construction site or warehouse, choosing the right lighting is important. Of course, lighting adds to the feeling and design of a room, helping you draw attention to its best features. But, more importantly, lighting makes it possible to get a job done right.

Stand Floodlights HSS Hire

Stand Floodlights / Image Courtesy of HSS Hire

With the right lighting you can see your tools, equipment, computer screen or anything else you need that makes it possible for you to work safely and effectively. With all the options out there, how do you choose the right one? Here are a few common situations that require the perfect lighting and the types of light you should choose.

Moving Between Spaces

For any task that requires you to move between spaces in dim areas, go with a hand light. These lights are small, compact and light weight so you can easily take them with you and even hold one in your hand while you work with the other.

Hand lights make it possible for you to see your way and to avoid tripping over equipment or tools, which can be very dangerous. Keeping a few of these next to your garage or warehouse door is a great way to make sure you or your employees will stay safe.

Illuminating Dark Nooks

Hand lights are also ideal for illuminating dark nooks while working. They are great for working under car hoods, using computer equipment, inspecting tools and equipment, brightening up a closet or storage room and getting a closer look at anything that is in shadows.

These are also great to keep on hand even in areas that are generally well lit. For example, your warehouse may have adequate lighting, but it may be hard for your employees to inspect equipment up close due to shadows and positioning. Solve this problem with a set of hand lights.

Lighting a Perimeter or Pathway

If you need to light up a perimeter or pathway, festoon lights are your answer. These LED lights are small but powerful and can make it safe for people to walk along a pathway or identify the edge of a space.

Festoon lights are ideal outside and can be used for anything from construction sites to events. These lights come in large sets so you can easily light up a large area. They emit a glare-free light, making them perfect for situations where you want to light up a space without making it hard for people to use it.

Adding Light and Safety to a Garden

Festoon lights are also an excellent option for the garden. They can add dimension and interest to your yard and can help you highlight certain areas. You could add them under trees, along a pathway, around your deck or patio or even throughout your flowerbeds to make them look more professional and polished.

Adding lights to your garden can also make the area safer. Keeping the outside of your home lit up can deter burglars and make it easier for people to find their way around, limiting the risk of tripping or stepping on something dangerous.

Just one of the features that makes these lights perfect for the garden is that most models do not emit heat, making them safe to use around plants, grass and mulch. Use these lights every day or just for special occasions.

Brightening a Large Workspace

For larger spaces that require a lot of bright light, especially for working, go with halogen lights. These lights are very bright and come with large stands that you can adjust for height. Halogen lights put out a lot of light, so you can easily light up a workspace or warehouse that requires excellent lighting for detailed jobs.

Halogen lights are also great for outdoor, garden or construction projects, since they can light up an area at night extremely well. Consider hiring a few of these lights if your space is extremely large so you can place them around the area and adjust the height and angles to achieve optimal lighting.

Lighting Warehouse Aisles and Spaces

For lighting smaller areas, like aisles and spaces in a warehouse, you’ll need magnetic halogen lights. These lights are very versatile and can be used on any magnetic surface, like polls, pillars, shelving units and even doors. While these lights are small and mobile, they are still extremely powerful and let off a lot of light.

Magnetic halogen lights are also a good fit for home projects where you will be working in the garage. You can easily attach these lights where needed so you can see car parts, tools, construction equipment, wood projects and gardening projects.

Bringing Extra Light for Detailed Tasks

Even in spaces that have a lot of light, sometimes you need a little extra light. For this, use a floor light. These mobile tools can be carried around and then set up on the floor where extra light is needed. They are quick and easy to set up and are sturdy enough that you won’t worry about knocking them over while you work.

These lights usually have a reflector that helps make the light even brighter and a handle for easy gripping. A good model will also have a very tough body so it can withstand bumps and drops and will even have an anti-shock base for added protection.

Floor lights are also great for projects in the home, like painting and remodelling and can be used in the garage too. They are compact enough to be stored and moved easily, but tough enough to withstand virtually any environment and situation.

Choosing the right light for the job not only makes your project easier, but makes it safer. When you can easily see your way around equipment or outdoor features and when you have enough lighting to be able to see and manipulate tools and equipment, you can avoid accidents and injuries. Don’t put up with dim conditions or unsafe surroundings during your next project. Hire the right lamp for the job and make everything easier and safer.

To browse HSS Hire’s extensive collection of lighting solutions for hire, please visit our website: www.hss.com/c/1014473/Lighting.html

10 Things You Can Do for Your Garden During the Winter

Image Courtesy of HSS Hire

Image Courtesy of HSS Hire

The cold weather doesn’t have to mean an end to gardening for the year; in fact, there are lots of things you can do for your garden to make it a usable space and to prepare it for the spring. One of the secrets to working in your garden is to find projects that don’t involve plant life. Winter isn’t conducive to many plants, so you’ll need to find ways to enhance and beatify the space without relying on greenery and flowers.

Repair and Repaint Fences, Decks, Benches and other Features

Before the snow comes you can make repairs to fences, decks and other outdoor features. Now is also a good time to re-stain these things or give them a fresh coat of paint. Not only is it a convenient time for this, but these things often stand out more in the winter when plant life is dormant, so a fresh finish can go a long way.

Lay a Stone Path

Use stepping stones, flag stones or bricks to lay a winding stone path through your garden. If you want, you can even make a path that goes from the front of your home to the back or that connects things like patios, decks and other outdoor living spaces.

To do this, use a brush cutter to cut down plants wherever you want the path to be. Then, dig up plant life and enough soil to install the stones, either as individuals or for the entire path, depending on your design and finish by laying the stones.

You can also read an older blog post by HSS Hire on how to make your own unique stepping stones: http://blog.hss.com/make-your-own-unique-stepping-stones/. All you’ll need in this case is to hire a cement mixer: http://www.hss.com/c/1014433/Concrete-Mixing.html.

Install a Fire Pit or Barbecue Grill

What is more cozy than sitting around a warm fire on a crisp fall or winter night? You can build your own fire pit by digging a hole and then using bricks, cinder blocks or stones to contain the fire. There are also a variety of fire pits and outdoor stoves you can purchase that not only add warmth but have beautiful features that add style.

You don’t have to stop grilling in the winter. In fact, the smell of a hot dinner on the barbecue grill can make for the perfect winter night, so now is a great time to add a barbecue to your garden.

Build a Patio

Have you always wanted a patio? Now is a great time to build one! You can use any material you want, from stone to brick or even wood to build a patio behind your home. A patio with furniture and lighting can become an outdoor living space you will use all year.

Add Retaining Walls and Garden Borders

Winter is a great time to add retaining walls and garden borders to your yard. While the plants are trimmed and dormant, you can easily access the areas around them where you can build decorative and functional walls.

Install Outdoor Lighting and Heating

Outdoor lighting brings warmth and comfort during the winter and a touch of charm in the summer. There are all kinds of outdoor lighting options you can use so be creative and install a combination of styles. For example, you can use hanging lights and lanterns on your deck and garden lights to line pathways or highlight parts of your garden.

You can also arrange candles throughout your garden or on your deck or patio. When you spend time outside at dusk, the candles’ flicker will add a special ambience and scented candles can make up for a lack of flowers during the cold months.

Don’t forget the heating! When it’s cold outside, you’ll want to be able to keep warm with an outdoor patio heater. These units are designed to keep outdoor areas warm, so you can gather in the garden or enjoy a barbecue even when it’s chilly outside. You can browse HSS Hire’s wide collection of patio heaters here: http://www.hss.com/c/1014447/Direct-Fuel-Heaters.html.

Arrange Artistic Planters

While you may not be able to grow lush plants and colourful flowers during the winter, arranging beautiful planters can add colour and interest to your garden while it’s cold out. When arranged strategically, planters can define spaces so you can make your garden more comfortable and unique. Then, when spring comes, you can fill the planters with any kind of plant you want.

Set Up Yard Decorations

Yard decorations can add shape and colour to your garden while plants may be dull and dormant. Look for things like decorative stones, bird baths and even sculptures. These things can make a big impact, especially during the winter, and bring something new to your garden next summer.

Hang Bird Feeders

Even though it’s winter, you can still attract birds to your garden! In fact, many birds are more likely to visit bird feeders during the winter months because fresh berries, seeds and plants are harder to come by. Think outside the box and use some unique bird feeders and don’t be afraid to use more than one. Scatter bird feeders around the garden to add some character or hang them in groups for a more collected look and to create a focal point.

Arrange Outdoor Furniture

Outdoor furniture like chairs, sofas, tables and rocking chairs can prevent your garden or patio from becoming an empty space over the winter. Coordinate colours and styles and look for pillows and table decorations that are designed to be used outside. Adding furniture to your garden will give the whole space extra style and make it more usable.

Winter is also a good time to remove dead plants, clear debris and to use a leaf blower to remove leaves and a hedge trimmer to clean up the shrubs. Keeping your garden looking sharp during the winter will make it more attractive and functional and will also make things easier when it’s time to prepare it for planting in the spring. TO browse HSS’s wide range of gardening equipment, please click here.

You may not think it’s possible to work on your garden during the winter, but with these tips you can make it a comfortable space you will use all year.

10 Home Renovation Tips That Will Blow Your Mind

Home Renovation Tips

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net / KROMKRATHOG

With the stagnant housing market many home owners have been looking to improve, rather than move. Even if you have lived in your home for many years, there’s always at least one aspect that made you fall in love with it. So, if it doesn’t make sense financially to move house, why not remember what features you loved about your house in the first place and either enhance these or create something fantastic and new?

Whether you are planning a simple makeover in one or two rooms or a major facelift, here are our top tips for renovating your home. Just don’t forget to do your research first, to set a budget and to hire a skip where you can throw any debris and litter for the duration of the renovation. You also need to consider what you can do to improve the quality and saleability of your home if you do decide to pack up and move on in future. Happy decorating!

1.       Redevelop the exterior

First impressions of your home can make a massive difference, both to visitors and to the way you feel about it as you walk up the driveway. Repointing the brickwork, repairing broken, clogged up guttering and repainting your front door and windowsills are easy jobs which won’t cost the earth, although you will need to hire some scaffolding to get the job done safely and thoroughly.  Tackling structural problems, such as loose roof tiles or dealing with damp, before they get too bad, can also help keep your house in good working order.

2.       Build an extension

Adding an extension to your home could provide you with the extra space you need without having to move. An extension could also add extra value to your home depending on the quality and size of it. You need to think about how you want to use your home. If you have a new baby to consider, why not think about adding a double-storey extension to create an extra bedroom? Or if you have a tiny kitchen why not create a downstairs extension to add a dining area? A conservatory is also a good idea if you would like an extra living room or family room. Just don’t forget to consult your local council’s planning department for approval first.

3.       Convert the loft

Most loft spaces are cluttered with Christmas decorations, spare suitcases, boxes of books and family heirlooms, trinkets and memories. But the space could also be used for something much more fantastic with a bit of imagination. If the rafters and floorboards are strong enough, and the space is large enough, you could consider transforming the space into an extra bedroom, a children’s play room or an office. A skylight would also allow natural sunshine to flood into the room, creating a lovely place to play or study.

4.       Update your kitchen

The kitchen is often considered the heart of every home with youngsters doing their homework on the kitchen table, family breakfasts and dinners as well as dinner parties and celebrations. Revamping your kitchen is also the easiest way to add value to your home. If you are planning a complete overhaul the secret is to choose a style which compliments the rest of your home – wooden cupboard doors and quirky accessories look good in older properties compared to contemporary, more high-tech white goods and furnishings which look good in modern homes.

You can also update your kitchen more cheaply by choosing to replace the cupboard doors, paint the walls, replace cracked tiles, flooring and worktops as well as adding a new kitchen table and soft furnishings such as dinner plates, coffee mugs and kettle and toaster accessories.

5.       Revamp your bathroom

No one likes to use an outdated old bathroom with rusty taps and a powerless shower which trickles out lukewarm water! Wouldn’t it be lovely to take a luxurious bath in beautiful, minimal surroundings with fluffy robes and towels and soft lighting? Just like revamping your kitchen, a new bathroom should complement the overall style of your home. It can also be stylish as well as functional.

Unless you are a competent plumber or are an ambitious amateur then you will need to employ a professional to carry out the work for you but fitting a new bath or sink, re-grouting tiles and adding sealant isn’t as difficult as you might think. Fitting an en suite bathroom to an existing large bedroom or adjoining your kitchen will also add some value to your home and free up time and space for a busy household fighting to get their time in front of the bathroom mirror.

6.       Make your home more environmentally friendly

Improving the cavity and loft insulation in your home will help make your house more eco-friendly as well as cut your energy bills. You could also consider investing in solar energy or look around the inside of your home for ways of saving energy cheaply. For example, you could swap all your light bulbs for energy saving varieties or set up a compost bin at the end of your garden.

Instead of buying new furniture you could also consider buying salvaged or vintage items and revamping them with a lick of pain or varnish.  This will ensure your home is interesting and unique rather than a copy-cat of what’s available in mainstream high street stores.

7.       Redecorating

If you can’t afford a new bathroom or kitchen, then arming yourself with a paintbrush and developing your creative flair is the next best thing. You could revamp your living room with some new wallpaper, although you can cut costs by combining paint and wallpaper and just having one accent wallpapered.

You could also try repainting your walls with a neutral colour and using a stencil to add a touch of character. You don’t even need to have an artistic flair as stencilling couldn’t be easier. You could use a spray paint canister instead of traditional paint and a paintbrush. Or for a less permanent way of jazzing up a children’s room why not use wall stickers instead?

If you love the idea of wallpaper but can’t afford it, then you could always try using a paint effect. For example, you could use masking tape to segment the wall before painting striking strips in your favourite colours. You could also use a sponge or brush to create a unique texture on your walls.

8.       Replace old carpets

Old, pattered carpets can really date you home and although replacing them can be expensive, it’s a good investment and an easy way to make your home feel fresh and new. There’s plenty of weaves, colours and patterns to choose form but selecting something neutral and timeless will enable you to change the décor in your home much more easily in future.

9.       Introduce clever storage solutions

We’re all guilty of squeezing the Hoover, ironing board and piles of boxes in the spare cupboard, hiding shoes under the bed and overloading the garage with bikes and sports equipment. But by investing in some clever storage you can make your home feel less cluttered and spacious.

If you wardrobe is bursting with your fashionable finds why not purchase a built-in wardrobe with lots of drawers and compartments to store you shoes and handbags? Or you could transform the space under your stairs into a mini book shelf and reading area. Some simple shelves can keep your books and household documents in order and colourful plastic boxes can help inspire your children to clean up their toys once they have finished playing with them.

10.   Make your garden glorious

Gardens either make a great or a terrible first impression. If you front lawn is like a scene from the Secret Garden before Mary and Dickon have got their hands on it then you need to think about de-weeding your flower beds, cutting back the bushes and planting some beautiful blooms, shrubs and trees to make your surroundings look more attractive. You don’t need to spend a fortune, you just need to have some good ideas and to maintain it regularly.

It’s also a great way of extending your home and providing an extra space to enjoy family activities. If you love cycling or surfing, why not add a shed to securely store you sports equipment in? Or if you have children you could create a fun-filled play area with swings and a sand pit. Or if you love entertaining, why not add a patio and an awning so you can have barbecues and parties in summer? If you are green-fingered then why not develop a vegetable patch in your garden so you can help stock up your fridge with home-grown goodies as well as making your garden look bountiful?

There are many more things you can do to make your home look as good as new – or just to update its dated decor. For more information, how-to guides or to hire tools and equipment online, please visit our website – hss.com.