Romantic Fireplaces for Valentines Day

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Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and we all know what that means – time to put some effort into figuring out how best to make your partner swoon.

This will usually mean expensive nights out, be it to restaurants, cinemas, or somewhere more personal to the pair of you. But what if you don’t want to spend the earth on something fleeting? Is the excuse of “It’s Valentine’s Day” really strong enough to spend hundreds on one night out? Well here at Superior Fireplaces, we can offer an alternative. Why not treat yourself to one of our romantic fireplaces!

Infinity 880BF

Infinity 880BF

We’re starting off bold with the Infinity 880BF from Infinity. It is gas fueled fireplace with a glass frontage, that means you get uncompromised views of its flames. Sitting low inside a large brick inset, it draws people into sit around it. So why not throw the picnic blanket you were going to take out in-front of it, and enjoy your homemade meal right there? Certainly saves going out into the chilly February air!

Aura Prestige

Aura Black

Floor units not your style? Don’t have the room for a mantle piece. Don’t fret, you can still install a romantic new addition to your house. Hole in the Wall fireplaces represent the cutting edge of fireplace design, and the Aura Prestige is a fine example of the breed. Manufacturers Legend Fireplaces have made a sleek fireplace, that will go a long way to lending some class to your evening. Ideal to sit above the dining room table as you sit down to eat.



Of course, gas isn’t the only way you can go. They may lack the flames, but electric fireplaces more than make up for it with their style. Take the Chevalier electric stove for example. It may seem an unusual combination, but it provides the traditional styling of a stove without the need to buy logs and firelighters. If you want a night lying on the couch plowing through your rom-coms together, this Dimplex product can sit in the darkened room, pumping out heat and light without you having to get up to put in more fuel.

The Beaumont


But when it comes to the traditional idea of a romantic fire, very little can beat an iconic wood burning stove. The Beaumont by Chesney’s is a stylish, modern take on the idea, sure to impress long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Snuggle up under a blanket, open a bottle of wine, and watch the wood slowly burn away under the dancing flames.

Best of all, these are events you’ll enjoy only on Valentine’s Day. No, with these fireplaces, your money will stretch much, much further. You could have sorted out your plans for the next 5 Valentine’s Days! No need to thank us!.

What Does an Interior Designer Do

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Your home is your castle. It, therefore, stands to reason that there’s a whole industry dedicated to ensuring we decorate and furnish our abodes in the best possible way.


Some people prefer to do this themselves, but if the thought of designing the interior of your home singlehandedly fills you with dread, or if you fear you don’t have the creative mindset required to make your home a stunning place to relax, work and entertain, you’ll need help.

Thankfully, interior designers are relatively easy to come by these days and the best can turn even the humblest of abodes into beautiful castles fit for kings and queens.

This blog post is designed for anyone who’s considering hiring an interior designer but hasn’t had prior experience dealing with someone from that trade.

What does an interior designer do?

Interior designers work with their clients (be they businesses or homeowners) to create rooms and spaces that are aesthetically pleasing.

They’re capable of marrying good looks to functionality, which is why the best interior designers will ensure your house looks fantastic, without making it an impractical space in which to live.

The rooms interior designers create are as varied as the types of client they work with. They range from simple indoor spaces, to vast lobbies and entire mansions.

However, for most of us, an interior designer will be tasked with turning a modest home into something far more spectacular.

But, what does an interior designer do beyond the obvious stuff? Well, good interior designers also have safety at the forefront of their mind, and will ensure the elements they add to your home are in the best interests of your family’s wellbeing.

Most interior designers will spend a great deal of time with you during the planning phase. They’ll want to hear about your likes, dislikes, and the way in which you’d like to see the house flourish.

Plans will then be drawn up, along with mood boards and suggested sources of inspiration. Once you’re happy with the theme, choice of colours and any additional building work or furnishings required, the interior designer will work with trades to ensure the job is completed as envisioned.

How much does it cost to hire an interior designer?

Before seeking quotes for interior design, it’s sensible to work out a budget.


Like anything relating to home renovation, you’ll have a finite amount of cash you’ll want to spend, and it’s vital you take time to assess the affordability of the project.

Draw up a realistic budget, but maintain a bit of headroom. Projects rarely go one-hundred percent to plan and some extra expense relating to unforeseen issues or mid-project design changes will almost certainly be needed.

With your budget in hand, you can start the process of finding an interior designer (see below).

But, what should you expect, price-wise? If you’ve tried to search for interior design fees online, you’ll no doubt have discovered that it’s a pretty tricky task, because few people in this industry will advertise their rates.

This is usually because they’ll quote on a per-job basis. The price you pay will be entirely dependent on what it is you want undertaking, how long it’ll take and the types of material and furnishings you desire.

The cost of your interior design will also be determined by some other factors, such as the designer’s expertise, their experience and exactly how hands-on you’ll need them to be after the design process is complete.

Although not guaranteed, there are three potential ways an interior designer will charge you:

1) Fixed. This is where the designer will multiply the estimated time required by their hourly (or daily) rate. It’s a good way for you to budget, as you’ll have a solid figure to work from, but there will probably be some caveats relating to work outside the agreed project.

2) Time taken. Another common method for charging, this is where you’ll agree an hourly rate with the interior designer with a rough estimation of how long it’ll take. As a result, you may pay in stages throughout the project, and the bill might be more (or less) than you expect at the end. Expect to pay anywhere between £50 to £150 per hour.

3) Room-by-room. If your project is relatively small and straightforward, some interior designers might suggest that you pay them a fixed fee per room. Expect to pay anywhere between £300-£500 per room, depending on the size.

Good interior designers should be prepared to negotiate – particularly if the project is of a significant size. Make sure you shop around, too, and avoid opting for the first person you find (no matter how nice they seem!).

How to find a good interior designer

Before you hit the internet and start searching for your interior designer, there’s some homework you need to do.

Start by noting down answers to the following questions:

What exactly do you want doing, room-by-room?

How long do you expect the job to take? Must it be done by a certain date?

Are you open to input from others?

How much do you want to be involved personally in the creative process?

How much do you want to be involved in any research relating to furnishings?

Are you a visual person, or do you prefer to get your hands on stuff? Will you be happy enough be shown concepts or would you rather see things ‘in the flesh’?

How directly do you want the interior designer to be involved during any building work that results from their designs?

Once you have answers to the above, you can confidently approach the market and provide any prospective interior designers with everything they’ll need to both assess their suitability for the job and provide you with a relevant, fair price.

There’s a few ways to find an interior designer. You can start by researching online. Our advice would be to look locally, in order to avoid paying through the nose for people to travel and meet you at your home.

The interior designers worth investing in will be those with attractive websites and plenty of genuine customer testimonials (if possible, ask to speak to their past customers to make your own judgement).

It’s also worth speaking to people in the trade. If, for example, you know of a builder or architect (either in the family, or who has done good work for you in the past), they may have a contact you can speak to, and there’s nothing quite like personal recommendations.

Just remember to get more than one quote. Three or four is a good base from which to work and will give you a broad scope of potential suitors.

How long does the interior design process take?

This depends entirely on the size of the job in question, your budget and the competencies of the interior designer.

From the outset, it’s sensible to ask this question of your shortlisted interior designers. How long do they think it’ll take? If they’re experienced, they should be able to give you a pretty reliable estimate.


Interior design will typically take a few weeks to bottom out all of the details, but it can be quicker if the project is small. The key here is to not rush it, because interior design is something you really don’t want to get wrong.

You’ll be living with the results of your interior designer’s hard work for many years. So, enjoy the process, but use our tips above to ensure you’re left with something you love deeply.

How to pick space-saving furniture for your living room

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Not everyone is blessed with a huge living room. Yet, alongside the kitchen, it’s usually the most occupied room in a home. So, if you’ve only got a small or modest sized living room in which to relax and entertain, you need to make the best use of the space you have available.


In this blog, we’re going to offer five ways you can pick the right space-saving furniture for your living room.

1. Don’t neglect shelving

In a world of minimalist, contemporary home design it might be tempting to keep your living room as clutter free as possible by installing as little shelving as possible.

In reality, if you don’t have any shelves on which to put stuff, clutter will inevitably begin to accumulate elsewhere – either on the coffee table, the floor or on the arm rest of every chair.

Shelves remain a brilliant way to increase the amount of space in your living room. Stack them as high as you like, and you’ll suddenly find you have far more space to store your things and far more space in which to enjoy the room itself.

2. Opt for multipurpose furniture

Transformer-like furniture that can effortlessly combine function with design and comfort is a brilliant way to save space in your living room.

For instance, an armchair with integrated storage underneath, or a stool that doubles up as a side table will instantly reduce the amount of stuff you need in the room.

3. Mount the TV

As thin and flat as TVs have become, they’re still pretty large devices, and if you’ve recently bought a 48” monster to fill your evenings with cinema-like entertainment, there’s one tried-and-tested installation technique you can rely on to save space.

If the room allows, mount your TV on the wall. It may not seem like it, but the mere process of moving it from a table top to the wall behind and losing it’s legs has a significant effect on the space you’ll have to play with.


If you’ve got a smart TV and don’t have any form of set-top box, you could even possibly lose the stand or table on which the TV originally sat, thus saving yet more space.

4. Don’t go with floor lamps

Providing you have adequate lighting overhead (ideally, dimmable, in order to make things as relaxing as possible), floor lamps are best dispensed with in living rooms where space is at a premium.

Such lamps usually hang in the way of something, and the bases will often require a fair amount of space in order to be placed conveniently.

For objects that might look relatively small and insignificant, floor lamps can be one of the worst space-hoggers in a small living room.

5. Mount photos rather than place them on surfaces

Is your living room full of lovely, memorable photos? Most usually are, but far too many people make the mistake of placing every photograph in a large frame and then on a surface.

Every time you place something on a surface, that’s another surface that will take up valuable room. Instead, mount photos on the wall. Go mad if you want to, and create a feature wall that proudly displays every photo you cherish.

Final thoughts

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to start saving space in your living room. There’s lots more you can do, but the above tips will make a huge difference with very little effort or expense.

5 genius kitchen design decisions

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Unless you’re a seasoned kitchen designer, choosing the right layout, style and decor for one of the most important rooms in your home in rather difficult. There are just so many options to choose from these days. Do you go contemporary? Traditional? What about the paint colour? And should you really invest in an island rather than a dining room table?


In this post, we’re going to look at five brilliant kitchen design decisions that you simply can’t overlook.

1. Make room for that island

Go on, go for it!

A breakfast bar or island – whatever you choose to name it – will become a focal point of the kitchen. It’s somewhere you can eat, work and sit while your partner or friend whip’s up dinner. In fact, you’ll probably find it ends up being one of the most used surfaces in the whole home.

2. Go for hardwood floors

There’s a bit of expense involved in this, granted, but think about how much traffic your kitchen floor is exposed to. It also takes a fair battering from dropped food and drinks spillages. If you opt for cheap laminate or tiles, you’ll regret it once their initial sheen begins to fade and become tarnished. Hardwood, by contrast, will last forever and any ‘weathering’ will only add to its beauty.

3. Go for a pale colour palette

When choosing paint for your kitchen, opt for light colours. Shades of white, while perhaps a little clinical for many people, will actually keep the room nice and neutral.


Remember – unless you really have a desire for the walls to make a statement, you want them to fade effortlessly into the background and not detract from the design of the kitchen. Let your countertops and choice of cabinet design do the talking; the surrounding walls should do nothing more than compliment the rest of the room.

4. Go farmhouse for your sink

Unfortunately, the humble sink often takes second fiddle to lots of kitchen design choices. Be honest – if you think back to previous kitchens you’ve had installed, there’s a strong chance the choice of sink was made quickly and with little thought.

In reality, the sink should be a statement that is also more than capable of being highly practical. Room elements of that nature are hard to come by, but if you opt for a farmhouse-style sink, it’ll beat any contemporary option hands down. The latter will usually look great, of course, but be highly impractical.

5. Include plenty of storage

As we’ve just noted, genius kitchen design requires a solid grasp of the practical elements, and when it comes to storage, you need to get a bit creative.


You’ll have cupboard space, sure, but why not include storage elsewhere? With so many pieces of furniture now featuring integral storage and the option of using walls to house cubbyholes, the possibilities are endless. Consider pull-out pantries, too – these will make brilliant use of what may simply end up a standard end-of-counter drawer and will ensure you have less clutter elsewhere.

Wrapping up

Some of the above design choices might seem obvious, but that’s usually where genius lies. Simplicity will set your kitchen apart from those which try too hard. Use our tips above, and you’ll create a simply fabulous place in which to eat, entertain, work and live.

How to convince yourself to decorate the spare room this weekend

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Ugh – the thought of getting up early on Saturday morning to buy new brushes, paint, masking tape and dust sheets.

All that mess, frustration and time devoted to doing something which feels like a job. That’s not what weekends are for, is it?

Actually, if you have an interior project that needs completing in your home, undertaking it yourself this weekend could be one of the best things you do with your time off work, but if you remain unconvinced, we’ve got five reasons you should stop short of hiring a professional:

1. It’ll save you money if you do it yourself

Let’s get one thing straight – decorating firms aren’t cheap. They’re brilliant at what they do, but as a result, you’ll have to hand over a fair portion of your hard-earned money.


That’s money you could spend on yourself or on other areas of the house that really need the input of a pro (for example, any building work). If you undertake the painting and wallpapering yourself (we’re all capable of it), the only outlay you’ll have is on materials.

2. You’ll grow to love your home more

Working on your own house gives you a far greater appreciation for it.


You’ll get to know every nook and cranny, find areas and tiny features you didn’t know existed and have the chance to make it better – much better. You’ll feel more connected to your home than ever before.

3. It’s a great bonding exercise

If you’re undertaking the decorating with someone else, it’s a great way to bond.


OK, you’ll occasionally fall out, but that’s all part of the bonding process! It might be a friend, family member or your significant other – whoever it is, you should find that you have a good chuckle, the odd healthy disagreement and, overall, work on something of which you can both be immensely proud.

4. You’ll really earn that glass of wine and takeaway

It’s customary for most people to indulge a little at the weekend, and whatever your preferred tipple and naughty treat may be, you’ll really earn it after a full day’s decorating.


DIY is hard work, and as anyone in the trade will testify, you finish each day aching yet satisfied that you’ve given your all. And what better way to celebrate that feeling than indulge oneself? You’ve earned it, after all!

5. Every time you walk into the room, it’ll fill you with pride

There’s nothing quite like walking into a room that you’ve decorated yourself.


Every time you look at the wall paint, cutting in and areas you know were once pock-marked with plaster damage but are now silky-smooth, you’ll be able to say “I did that”. It’s particularly nice when people visit and tell you how wonderful your home is, because you can reply with “yep, we did it ourselves”. Have we convinced you to don an old pair of clothes and get those paintbrushes out? Thought so. You won’t regret it.

How to pick the right curtains for your room

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They’re usually the things you open first in the morning and draw last at night, but do you give your curtains much more thought than that? Curtains play a huge role in home decor and the general ambiance of a room. Despite this, and given the limited interaction you’ll have with them each day, curtains are often chosen as a last minute addition to a room.


This results in a choice that may not best accentuate the decor, or – worse – spoil your hard work invested in making the room exactly how you like it. Consider this blog post a mini guide to picking the right curtains for your room. Let’s show them some much-deserved love!

Made-to-measure curtains

Bespoke curtains aren’t cheap, but they enable you to buy something that is entirely unique and perfect tuned to the room in which they’ll be hung. If your budget can stretch to made-to-measure curtains, remember that you can choose the material, colour, pattern and style. Just be careful not to go overboard and pay attention to the recommendations made by the supplier – they know their stuff.

When choosing a maker, try and opt for one that has been recommended by someone else. Once you’ve specified your curtains and had them made, there’s no going back, so you want to be sure you’re in safe hands.

Ready-made curtains

Most of us will opt for ready-made curtains based on their availability, cost and the ease with which they can be purchased.

curtains diy

If your budget is relatively low or you have a tight timescale (for example, you’re preparing the house for sale), make your measurements and head to a store that supplies ready-made curtains. Just bear in mind that you may not find your exact size, so you’ll have to choose whether or not you want them to fall short or long.  If the fit is some way off, consider finding a track or pole that best suits the closest curtain size you can find.

Consider the curtain headings

A curtain heading is the way in which it attaches to the pole or track and will impact the way it looks – big time.

Here’s the most common curtain headings you can choose from:


Unfussy, contemporary and with an even pleat, eyelets are a common and great choice for most curtain styles.

French pleats:

Sometimes known as ‘pinch pleats’, these are a little pricier due to the labour required to make them, but they offer a more tailored finish that might be worth the investment.

Pencil pleats:

Narrow pleats formed in neat folds and less structured than the above. They work particularly well in home offices and bedrooms.

And finally… To blackout or not?

The lining of your curtains is vitally important and something that’s easy to overlook. Before you place an order, make sure this is your last task. You could go for standard lining, but depending on the window being covered and weather or not you have blinds behind, it may let in too much light.

curtains light

For this reason, you should always consider blackout linings, because they’ll do a smart job at blocking out light during those early mornings. You’ll pay more, but those lie-ins will almost certainly make it worthwhile!

How to kit out the perfect home office

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With more people than ever choosing to work from home or setup businesses that force the conversion of a spare bedroom into a workspace, the home office is becoming a popular renovation.


But how do you create an office at home that enables you to get on with your work undistracted yet not detract from what is still a place of rest and relaxation?

Fear not, for we’ve got eight tips that will help you kit out the perfect home office.

1. Pick the best desk and chair you can afford

You’ll spend a great deal of time sitting at your desk, therefore it makes sense to spend some money on two of the most important aspects of a home office.

The chair should adequately support your back and feel comfortable for long periods, and the desk should be strong, sturdy and contain just the right amount of storage space to keep everything tidy.

2. Add some greenery

Don’t forget to add a plant or two to your home office. The presence of greenery can lighten your mood, freshen up the room and prevent it from feeling like a soulless office.

3. Create a boundary (if required)

If your home office doubles as a room that’s used for another purpose (for example, your bedroom), make sure you create a boundary.

That might simply be investing in a desk that enables you to shut away everything contained within it at night, or a physical boundary between your bed and the office space – whatever it is, it’s a vital element if you’re to avoid work becoming all encompassing.

4. Keep an area for stock

You don’t want to run out of the essentials in your home office, and just as you can turn to stock cupboards in traditional offices for new pens, ink cartridges and notebooks, you need to be able to do the same at home.

Set aside a dedicated area in which you can store life’s work essentials.

5. Add a music source

You don’t have to blast out your favourite albums constantly (unless that helps you become productive, of course), but the ability to occasionally pop on the local radio to replace the background hum of traffic or your boiler will be a welcome respite.

6. Choose just the right amount of technology

Thankfully, the digital age we now find ourselves in has reduced our reliance on countless pieces of IT equipment and boxes of software discs. And that means you can create an ultra tidy office.


We are living in the age of Cloud services and for a simple home office there will usually be no need for much IT equipment. For many, that might simply be a laptop and tablet.

Keep your digital domain simple and free from devices you’ll only use once in a blue moon.

7. Encourage natural light

We’ll take a guess that the room you’re intending to use as a home office has a window of some sort, therefore no matter how big or small it is, make sure you allow in as much natural light as possible.

Natural light is energising and healthy. It’ll brighten up your work space and your mood, so – open those curtains wide!

Have we inspired you to make your home office a place in which you can get serious work done in comfortable surroundings?

5 Unexpected Costs of Home Improvement

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When remodelling your home, the concept of cost vs. value is one that should remain at the forefront of your mind. There are some modifications that can potentially deliver an impressive ROI on your investment, while there remain others that cost far more than they are worth.

The issue of cost is particularly complex, as there are a number of hidden and subsidiary charges that may be required when completing home improvement projects. Recognising these is key, as it helps you set a realistic budget and manage your financial expectations.


With this in mind, we have prepared five unexpected costs that you should prepare for when completing general home-improvement projects. These include:  

1. Skips and Waste Disposal

While general household trash can be discarded through bin bags, you are likely to create large amounts of industrial waste (such as bricks and concrete) when undertaking larger projects.

This will need to be disposed of through a skip, which can be hired through a builder’s merchant. They can be purchased in various sizes, although an average, six-yard builder’s skip will set you back around £200. This is a sizeable cost by itself, but it can become extremely challenging when you have to invest in multiples.

You will therefore need to create a contingency for an estimated number of skips, depending on the nature of the work that intend to undertake.

2. VAT (Value Added Tax)

If you have ever purchased building supplies or materials, you will know that prices are sometimes displayed without the addition of VAT. This can create issues for those undertaking their first remodelling project, of course, as it can cause them to underestimate costs across the board.

The current VAT rate for goods and services in the UK is 20%, and this will applied to all single qualifying purchases. You may therefore need to factor this in when budgeting, while checking with suppliers to confirm whether or note their listed post includes VAT if you are in any doubt.

It is crucial that you confirm this as soon as possible, you may not receive a formal invoice from suppliers until after a transaction has been completed.

3. Subsidiary Items

While this may sound like a vague reference, it is one that can have a significant bearing on the cost of your home remodelling projects.

Subsidiary items can include any purchases that play a supportive role in completing projects, and they are all too easy to overlook during the financial planning stage.

If you are tiling your bathroom, for example, you will focus the majority of your time costing the purchase of individual tiles. This task cannot be completed without adhesive or grout, however, and these items will add significantly to your budget depending on the size of the space in question.

The same principle will also need to be applied to specialist equipment, which you may need to hire when undertaking certain tasks. Hire costs must therefore be included in the budget, and estimated in instances where you are unsure.

4. Building Regulations Compliance

There may come a time when you decide to increase the size of your property, by adding a single-storey extension that is less than three metres in length at the back of your home. This, along with the removal or repositioning of interior walls will have a direct impact on the structural integrity of your property, meaning that you will need to comply with existing building regulations at various stages of the process.

Building regs compliance can be secured through your local council, who will schedule several visits from a qualified surveyor for a fee in the region of £500 (this will vary depending on your precise location). This ensures that the work you are having done is both compliant and safe, while it also provides you with a certificate that guarantees the integrity of your extension over a sustained period of time.

home improvement

So, if you are having work of this nature done, you will need to factor this cost into your budget from the outset. If you are having additional structural works done, you will also need to outlay additional funds as specialist surveyors will need to be secured depending on the nature of the project.


How to pick a colour scheme for a house

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The best home colour schemes are those that aren’t immediately obvious.

colour palette

Think about the number of times you’ve walked into someone’s house and thought “wow – this is lovely”. At first, you won’t be able to put your finger on the main reason why; the furniture is very nice, the layout well considered and everything just feels right.

Chances are, the colour scheme is one of the main reasons you’ll have taken an instant liking to the house in question. Get this vital element right, and your own home will have the exact same effect on its visitors.

Unfortunately, picking the right colour scheme for a house is tricky. There are now literally thousands of colour ‘families’ to choose from, and opting for the one that best accentuates your rooms is a challenge if you’re not an interior designer by trade.

However, there are some clever strategies you can lean on to ease the process, and we’d like to summarise them for you:

1. Note the visibility of one room from another

Your house may be made up of individual rooms, but each one will offer a window into the next, therefore its important to walk through your house and make notes of which rooms you can see from the space you’re standing in.

Beyond the obvious adjoining rooms, you might be able to see quite a bit further; for example, the kitchen and diner might be visible from the living room.

From these notes, you can begin to form your entire house’s colour palette, so keep them close by.

2. Go for the biggest room first

The biggest, most centrally-located room is the room to start on.


It will most likely be your kitchen or living room, but whichever space you deem the ‘king’ of the house, choose a soft, neutral hue from which you can build out the rest of the colour palette.

Don’t be afraid to opt for white, either – you simply can’t go wrong with it!

3. …Or try the one where you want the boldest colour

If you have a bold colour scheme in mind, rather than going for the biggest room, go for the space where you want it to feature most prominently.

This could be anywhere – you bathroom, for example. From that bold colour choice, you can gradually filter it down throughout the rest of the house with different hues (see next tip).

4. Create a palette from the sam hue

By now, you should have a main colour from which to work, so you can start the fun process of building a palette from shades of its hue.

As previously noted, there are a colossal number of paint colours now available, so you’ll be spoilt for choice. The trick is to stay within that hue and opt for slightly darker or lighter versions as you make your way around each room. In doing so, you’ll create a colour scheme that is perfectly matched.

5. Try working on upstairs and downstairs rooms separately

There’s nothing wrong with working from two separate colour schemes; one for upstairs, another for downstairs.

If your house has true separation between floors and you want to create a different ambiance within each, this is a great tactic.

6. Plan for seasonal changes

Remember – colour schemes are seasonal, and as the seasons change, you might find that certain hues clash with what’s going on outside the house.

Woman Painting Wall

Interior design trends change all the time and what’s popular this season may feel outdated very soon. For example, using dark colours in small spaces used to be rather unpopular (as it make space look smaller) however recent trends in bathroom décor see growing popularity of dark and moody colours.

For this reason, unless you have that bold base colour in mind, it really does pay to go neutral, or, if you’re really up for it, plan to change the paint scheme every couple of years in order to experiment with the way each one interacts with the passing seasons.

That’s it!

See? Choosing the right colour scheme for your house isn’t as difficult as we first made out, is it?

Use our tips above, and you’ll soon build a palette for your own home that will make it a simply wonderful place to live and visit. 

Need more inspiration? Below are some interesting articles on the subject.

Living room colour schemes brimming with character. –

Colour of the year 2017  –


The evolution of Electric fires / The rise fall and rise again of electric fires

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Although the concept of generating heat via electric power has been around since the early 1900’s, Electric fires which mimic a “real flame” have been a regular feature in homes across the globe since the 1980’s. Electric fires provide many advantages over their gas fired or solid fuel counterparts; low maintenance, easy to install, portable and efficient, it is easy to see why it is still a popular choice for home owners till this day.

Heating via electric power can come many guises, we still have traditional methods such as oil heaters whereby an electric element heats the oil within a radiator style unit. These units are convenient and portable however they do not offer much in terms of style. The oil within the heater can also take some time to initially warm up and cool down when closing the unit off, so they are not very practical for instant heat at the flick of a switch that is offered by fan assisted electric heaters.

Fan assisted heaters simply work by passing the air generated by a spinning fan through a heating element which then produces the hot air. The heating element begins to glow rapidly giving you a fast and convenient source of heat at the flick of a button. This effective technology has been around since the 1950’s and most if not all modern electric fires on the market today still use this technology. From stand alone fan only units which are again practical but offer no style to units which look like real fires and stoves, the heating element is still fundamentally the same.

So, if the heating element hasn’t evolved much over the years where has all the development in electric fires gone? The answer is in the flame effect…

Most electric fires will generally operate on two main settings, flame effect only or flame effect + heat. Research has shown that most users will tend to use the flame effect only “most of the time” with the heating turned on to supplement the primary heating source for the home. Taking centre stage of the living area, the psychological effective of seeing a real fire flame coupled with the low cost of running the unit on the flame only option makes this the most popular operation so development has been primarily focused on this area of the electric fire.

We were first introduced to a “real” flame effect in the early 1980’s with the use of a spinner. A spinner is basically a small circular piece of tin which has sections cut through, it balances on a small pin which helps it to spin once the heat generated from the bulb beneath begins to warm up.

Illustration of a metal spinner and the resulting flame effect.

The bulb may be coloured or have a coloured film (orange, red or green) inserted in between. The flickering flame effect is produced when the coloured light passes through the rotating spinner and fuel bed and reflects on to the black surface above. This was ground breaking for its time and many retailers struggled to keep up with early demand.

The evolution of Electric fires : The rise fall and rise again of electric fires

Fast forward ten years and the next generation of electric fires saw the introduction of the ribbon effect. Although spinners are now completely phased out, many manufacturers still use the ribbon method in various ways for their fires. Again the light from a bulb is pushed up through a fuel bed of coals, logs or pebbles and toward a set of fire coloured ribbons which are shaped and arranged in a flame like structure behind a dark transparent Perspex screen. The ribbons then move behind the screen in a flame like way and different methods to make the ribbons “dance” have been used to great effect.

With most electric fires offering no more than 2kw of what is essentially hot air, it cannot really be considered as an effective source of primary heating. With the rise in popularity of the natural gas fire and developments in modern flueless gas fire technology the electric fire industry has carved out its niche in offering the unique selling point of having a flame effect without the heat. Central heating systems are now common place in most homes so the fireplace is no longer required as a source of heat but firmly remains the centre piece of the home.

The evolution of Electric fires - The rise fall and rise again of electric fires

Demand for electric fires had levelled out during the 2000’s as they struggled to keep up with their very realistic looking gas fired counter parts. However one of these manufacturers Dimplex has developed and released their patented technology called Optimyst. This technology moves away from the traditional two dimensional flame effective offered by the spinner and ribbon technology, a new method of sending rays of light through steam generated from water (yes you may be thinking water and electric is not a good idea) has taken the industry by storm.

Dimplex has a long history in the electric fires market with an impressive portfolio of innovative products which have placed it as a market leader in both sales and product development.
The Optimyst technology works by heating filtered water in a small tank hidden under the fuel bed which then produce flame like steam, fire coloured light from LED’s is then beamed through this steam and the results are a very realistic impression of a three dimensional naked flame.

The evolution of Electric fires - The rise fall and rise again of electric fires

The steam also produces what looks like smoke emanating from burning embers with some fires even offering a sound option where you can choose to hear things like a roaring flame to a gentle crackling of burning logs . We have seen this technology effectively used in inset fires, stoves, baskets and modern wall hung units across the Dimplex product range as well as being offered to selected partners for their proprietary units.

A more detailed description can be found in an earlier blog post here:
This advancement in technology has certainly breathed new life in to the electric fire market and demand has again began to rise for electric fires with almost every retail showroom having this on display in some form or another. Demand has also surged from industry as well as home owners with many designers choosing to use these units in public spaces within hotels and restaurants because they offer a safe alternative to a naked gas flame without compromise on style and appearance.

We have a wide range of electric fires on display including Dimplex Optimyst and Dimplex Optiflame (Dimplex ribbon technology) in various traditional and modern fireplace settings for you to choose from. Our expert team of fireplace specialist take a consultative approach and are at hand to offer you the best advice with choosing the right product, installation and maintenance.