How to fit a bathroom sink

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Bathrooms, DIY Tips, Interior Design

You do not always need a plumber to fit a bathroom sink; it is a simple DIY job.

Remember to turn off the water supply before you start, you may be able to do this using isolator valves underneath the sink, otherwise you will have to turn off the entire water system at the main stopcock. First, remove the old sink, remembering to remove the taps if you plan to re-use them on the new sink.

Line up the sink against the wall and check it is level using a spirit level.

If you are not able to connect the water supply/waste pipes back to the sink trap directly, fit the tap connector and waste pipe parts to make the connections, ensuring a watertight seal around the new taps using the washers supplied. If possible, do this before you fit the sink to the wall or worktop; it will make your job easier later. 

Connect the overflow to the wastepipe before screwing the sink to the wall or placing it into the worktop. Finally, seal around the back lip of the sink with a waterproof sealant and tighten the joints on the flexible tap connectors with a spanner.

Make sure you do not tamper with any earth connections in the metal pipework; consult a qualified electrician if in any doubt.

Retro Kitchen Design Ideas

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Interior design is all the rage at the moment as people look to renovate their existing homes instead of moving, and one of the more popular choices is a retro inspired kitchen. There are many modern appliances that have been styled to make them look retro including kettles, fridges and ovens which means that you don’t have to give up your modern comforts for a retro design.

Research is key for making the perfect retro kitchen and it’s a good idea to search through magazines and retro websites to get some inspiration. Creating a scrapbook of the things you like including appliances, colour schemes and patterns is a good idea and once this is finished you can look at your existing kitchen and see which bits will fit and which will not.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

A breakfast bar – the breakfast bar is probably one of the most noticeable areas of any retro kitchen and is a great area for the whole family to enjoy. A high counter and brightly coloured stools is a great look, but if you don’t have enough room for a breakfast bar some retro chairs and a table will do just fine.

Checkerboard flooring – the staple of many 50’s American dinners was the checkerboard floor. Today you can get checkerboard tiles is almost any colour combination imaginable, but make sure that it fits in with the rest of the design. If you’re on a budget vinyl flooring is also available in a range of checkerboard patterns, it’s usually cheaper and easier to lay than tiles.

Retro colour schemes – bright colours is the name of the game here, red, turquoise, green and yellow are all great colours to use in a retro themed kitchen.

Kitchen appliances – as retro themed kitchens have become popular over the past few years manufacturers have been making their appliances with a more retro look. Kettles, toasters and kitchen aids are all great accessories but the number one appliance has to be the retro fridge. Fridges are available in a range of different styles and colours to suit any kitchen.

Kitchen cupboards – Again these should be brightly coloured to go with the theme of the kitchen. White cupboards with a brightly coloured cupboard door also work well.

A retro kitchen can make a big impact in a home and create a great focal point for the whole family.

A guide to floor coverings

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Choosing which type of flooring to lay in a specific room can be a daunting prospect given that there is a huge choice of different coverings to choose from. Here is a quick guide to floor coverings and their uses:


Carpets have been one of the most popular choices when it comes to flooring in the house and it also has many benefits. A carpet keeps the heat in, is soft on your feet and is simple to fit and replace. Carpet is relatively cheap and is available in a range of different colours and patterns, making it a great choice for bedrooms and living rooms.

The disadvantages to carpets are that they stain very easily (especially if the carpet is lightly coloured), they require a lot of upkeep including regular cleaning and vacuuming and tend to hold onto smells like pets. Carpets are not suitable from bathrooms or kitchens as these areas are more prone to damp conditions and spillages.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a great covering for kitchen and bathrooms and is available in a wide range of colours, patterns and even thicknesses depending on the application. It is easy to lay and clean, and will last for years under normal working conditions. Vinyl flooring is cheap and is a popular choice because it can be made to look like expensive tiles or wooden flooring.

The disadvantages of vinyl flooring is that the floor needs to be level before laying the vinyl as is shows off imperfections and can wear unevenly. It can also stain quite easily and can dent or scratch under certain conditions.

Tiled Flooring

Tiled flooring is usually confined to the kitchen and bathroom, much like vinyl flooring, but can be used in other rooms that have underfloor heating. Tiles are available in a range of different colours and materials to produce the desired effect and will last for a lifetime if installed correctly.

Tiles are expensive compared to other floor coverings and are harder to install and this type of flooring is quite unforgiving if you fall on it or drop something on it. Grout can also discolour after time meaning that it will have to be replaced which is another big job.

Wooden Flooring

Wooden floors have been really popular over the past decade or so as people opt for a luxurious floor covering. It is hard wearing and can be sanded down and refinished numerous times throughout its life.

Wooden floors are expensive, although laminate flooring is a cheaper option which looks similar to real wood. As wood is a natural product it can be prone to expanding and contracting throughout the year as the temperature changes, so gaps must be left around the edges of the room.

Sealing or varnishing the wood is time consuming and can take up to 24 hours to dry.

Alternative Shelving

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

There is an abundance of DIY shelf kits available for the practical home improvement enthusiast. The kits generally come with two wall brackets and a length of shelving, with a small plastic bag containing the raw plugs and screws that affix the shelves to brackets and to the wall. The more creative DIY enthusiast will see a potential shelf in many unlikely places.

Bookends are ‘L’ shaped, and although they usually appear on the top of a shelf (at the end of books), the metal ones in particular, are good for use as floating shelves. The difference between this type of shelf and an everyday shelf is that the books are stacked vertically on top of one another, and the bookend at the bottom is not visible. This gives the illusion that the books are floating.

Stacked Books

This clever DIY illusion is created by first affixing the bookend to the wall. Some bookends have holes in the metal, and these are perfect for screwing the bookends to the wall. Find the desired height for the shelf and make a small pencil mark on the wall. Then find the smallest spirit level in the toolbox, place it horizontally in the crook of the right angle of the bookend, and place on the wall. As soon as the spirit level is in bubble, the shelf will straighten. The next step is pencil marking the drill locations for the holes on the wall. Once the marks are made, drill the holes, fill with appropriate raw plugs, and fasten the bookend shelf into place. Make sure the screw heads overlap onto the bookend, to keep the shelf from falling off of the wall. It is important to gain more stability for the vertically stacked books. Open the cover of a suitably sized hardback, for the first book on the shelf, and hook this underneath the bookend.

Bedroom Paint Ideas

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Bedrooms, DIY Tips, Interior Design

Decorating a bedroom can give it a new lease of life and transform it from a drab room into a luxurious one. There are many considerations to take into account when choosing the colours for a bedroom, including the colour and style of existing furniture and fittings and who’s room it is i.e. master bedroom, kids bedroom etc.

The bedroom is supposed to be a place for relaxation so try not to put any bright or florescent paints on the wall that could detract from sleeping. A good idea is to have most of the room painted in neutral colours like beige or ivory and having a feature wall painted a different colour. A feature wall painted behind the head board will ensure a good night’s sleep but still add some much needed colour and personality to a room.

Painting a kid’s bedroom

Painting a kid’s bedroom can be a fun project for the whole family and it is important to ask them what they want for their room, whether it is their favourite colour or TV characters. A mural or funky pattern it a great idea for children’s bedrooms, but bear in mind that kids grow up fast, so choose something that they’ll enjoy for a while or you’ll be re-painting before you know it.

Painting furniture to match

If you are completely changing the colour scheme of the bedroom one option is to paint the furniture too. Make sure that you choose the right paint for each material such as wood paint for wooden furniture and metal paint for metal furniture.

The key for bedroom design is to experiment, buy sample paints and paint them on the wall before making your mind up. Sometimes your preferences will change or you might get some more inspiration from these samples.

A guide to putting up window blinds

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Interior Design

Blinds have become an increasingly popular window covering in recent years, as they are often cheaper to buy than curtains; there is more choice of styles, and they are easier to keep clean than having to wash bulky curtains every few months.

Often, blinds are a last minute choice once a room has been renovated, but after putting so much choice into choosing colour themes and furniture for your room, why rush into the last important finishing touches? There are a lot of choices when it comes to blinds – you could opt for roman or venetian blinds, roller or vertical blinds, all in lots of finishes and colour ranges.

Once you have made your choice, putting up the blind correctly is essential.  If you are not adept at DIY, employ a company to do the work for you.  Many offer a fitting service if you purchase the blinds from them.  If the blind is not correctly fitted and is loose it may fall down, or if it is off centre it can ruin the aesthetics of the room.

If you decide to fit a blind ensure that you have made precise measurements, and then cut the blind down to size if needed. Mark on the wall where you are going to drill the holes to fix the blind to the wall. Ensure that you are drilling into a solid wall with no wires or pipes behind. Using plastic wall plugs and the correct length screws, fix the blind’s fittings to the wall and fit the blind in place, checking afterwards that it is solidly attached.

When you are undertaking any DIY work, always ensure you wear eye protection – particularly when drilling – and if you need to climb a ladder ensure that it is properly balanced.

Conservatory blinds – what are the options?

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Home Improvements, Interior Design

With its large window space a conservatory can often be considered a difficult room for any type of curtains or blinds.  Many companies have recognised this problem and there are an increasing number of options available.

Some people have pleated blinds for the conservatory roof, while furnishing the vertical windows with Roman blinds, vertical blinds or even pleated blinds.  Experts suggest that a good quality conservatory blind can increase insulation, thereby keeping out the winter cold.  In the summer the blinds can restrict the amount of direct sunlight entering the room.  Roof blinds can cut down on the sun’s damaging UV rays and are seen by some commentators as being more essential than covering the side windows of the room.

A recognised fitter should install conservatory blinds.  The mechanism involved is complex and working in sloping roof spaces can sometimes be dangerous.  Also, some makes of conservatory blind are operated by a remote control so the fitter is the best person to ensure that the electrical controls are safe to use.

Vertical blinds are often the most cost effective method of covering the conservatory windows but they can be redolent of an office environment so it is important to choose the most stylish options from those manufacturers who have the greatest choice.  Some homeowners like to use wooden vertical blinds on their patio doors leading into their conservatory for great, added insulation.

Roller blinds can be used for the conservatory roof, but it is important to let your installer have all the relevant measurements before purchase to ensure that they will be able to satisfy your needs.  These blinds can be operated with either a remote control or manually.

Bringing old chairs back to life

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Interior Design

Most garages and attics are full of old items that stay untouched for years.  With a little imagination, many pieces of furniture can be brought back from the dead and given a new lease of life.

One of the simplest pieces of furniture to restore is a chair.  Old chairs sometimes have rotting legs, or ripped material on them.  If the basic structure of the chair is salvageable, however, there will be scope to restore it.  The chair needs to be solid enough to withstand new nails.  If it is not strong enough, it should be thrown away, not stored again.

In many cases, the only damage is cosmetic.  A quick wash, followed by some sanding and filing may be enough to fix up the grubby wood.  It can then be varnished, to bring back some shine, or even painted a new colour.  New covers for chairs can be made using inexpensive material and a sewing machine.

Restoring a chair does not need to take long.  A chair can be returned to its former glory in a matter of hours.

Refurbishing a room

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Most parents will be familiar with the moans from their offspring that they hate their bedroom and want something more sophisticated.  Usually a quick look at the latest bank statement will reveal that the family cannot afford the most stylish makeover on the planet.

An inexpensive method of updating your child’s room might be to invest in new soft furnishings.  Roller blinds or a Roman blinds might prove an invaluable aid in giving a room a whole new feel and style.  If you are considering repainting the room, make sure that the blind’s colours and design compliment the new walls. 

Another useful way of brightening the room is to invest in some new bedding, to your child’s taste of course.  It is no use buying them something that you think is superb but they won’t sleep in because it’s not cool or hasn’t got a Facebook seal of approval.  A lot of bedding companies also offer contrasting fabrics that can be used as roller blinds, which will upgrade the new-look and give the room a stylish finish.

Some roller blinds have different bands of alternating fabric, for example one row might be dark and the next row will allow light to permeate the fabric and come into the room.  Some blinds, if in a light or pastel colour can completely enhance a room and if the room is dark, these blinds make use of all available light, flooding the room with a soft glow of sunlight.

Bare boards? Preparing the way for a new floor

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

For those who are replacing a floor for the first time, enthusiasm pervades, and jobs such a lifting and moving the old carpet, tearing up gripper rods and sanding skirting boards all form part of the new, exciting and somewhat uncharted territory of home ownership.  Those on their second or third home may, however, find themselves more wary of what might be lurking under the carpet.

Where carpet is being replaced by hard flooring, it is important to prepare the room appropriately, well in advance of fitting the floor (or having it fitted).  For many homeowners this is one of the few times they actually get to see the bare boards, be they traditional wooden floor boards, or chip board.  It is, therefore, a good time to check their condition and replace or repair any that are damaged.

It can be the case, when carpets are removed, that gaps between skirting and floor boards, which have occurred as the building has settled over the years, become visible and that decorating over time has stopped at the edge of the carpet, leaving a ridge of paint, with very dirty woodwork underneath.

These will be hidden again by a new carpet, or thick planks of flooring, but tiling tends to be relatively thin, laminates vary and can be quite slim, and vinyl is, or course, only a few millimetres in depth.

To get a great result with slimmer floorings, attention to detail really pays off.  After sanding away any rough edges, fill gaps with decorator’s caulk.  This is an inexpensive product, which is, essentially, a flexible filler, and can be applied quickly with a gun (in a similar way to sealant), and smoothed with a spreader.  Once a flat finish is achieved this can be painted, and the results are stunning, even with flooring as thin as vinyl.