If you’ve been dreaming of a cosy stone cottage in the countryside, where you can release your inner Jane Eyre and define a new pace of life, this article is for you. A lot of people dream of leaving behind the grey urban landscape of the town to start a fresh and slow-paced life in the countryside. Unfortunately, for many, the dream never comes true. Admittedly, not every career lets you choose a peaceful lifestyle where you can open the curtains in the morning to watch the birds flying from branch to branch in your garden. But, if you can indeed leave the crowded and polluted city air for the countryside, you need some guidance to build the perfect rustic cottage lifestyle.
#1. The long and winding hunt
First things first, you need to be realistic. Most people spend years exploring the real estate market before discovering their future home sweet home. So, hunting for the perfect home can take some time, and it’s something you need to be prepared for. Even though it can be easy to describe homeownership as a love story, in reality, if you want to find the right property for your needs you need to pragmatic about it. Take your feelings out of the hunt; it’s the best way to succeed! For a start, needless to say, that there is a big difference between browsing the market and looking with intent to buy. You need to be in a position to make an offer when you find your gem. Otherwise, nobody is going to take you seriously.
#2. The necessary improvements
Most countryside properties are likely to be old. So the first thing you need to know when you visit your future home is where renovation work is required and how much it is likely to cost you. You should at least organise two viewings of the property, and one of these should be recorded for future analysis. This will be your starting point to define the kind of renovation you want to do and whether the house is worth your efforts. Most old homes will need rewiring, replacing the central heating, the roof and eventual leaks in the structure as a basic rule. Then other costs come on top, such as repairing the original features or replacing them and finally considering extensions and structural changes.
#3. A touch of old grandeur
The best part of making your countryside property a true rustic place is to create the decor that works for you. Here’s a hint: If you’ve only lived in modern urban flats, it’s time to check paintings of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. You can leave your beloved IKEA furniture behind when you move in; you will need items that bring back the grandeur of the past. Check The Chair People for the ultimate dining experience, with exquisite upholstered chairs that seem to come out of a painting. You can enhance the feeling with a real wood table – it’s there’s any antique fair in your area, that’s where you want to start! Finally, add the last touch with rustic paint colours. Deep and warm red and mossy green are great choices for a living room, for instance.
#4. The quintessential Victorian garden
An old house deserves a quirky and elegant garden. If you’re working with a small garden area, the typical cottage garden with kitchen herbs, fragrant flowers and the romantic bench to drink your afternoon tea can do the trick. But for large surfaces, you should give a go a recreating a Victorian landscape, which is ultimately a glorified version of the small cottage decor. The lawn is an essential element of your garden and serves, with trees, to divide the space. You will need to shape adult trees in pleasing designs, preferably maximising the passage of the direct light. Flowers and plants are organised along the paths, the window boxes, and even the water if you can install a pond.
#5. Not everything has to be rustic
Finally, last but not least piece of advice, a rustic home doesn’t mean that everything inside has to be old. In fact, while you can play with antique furniture, you also need to look for modern appliances and comfort. The kitchen area, for instance, needs to provide the necessary control and usability of modern kitchens, even if you choose to maintain a rustic decor. If you worry about the clash of styles, you can turn to fake vintage appliances, such as Smeg fridges for instance.
Your rustic countryside home is the perfect combination of smart modern strategies and comfort with the charm of old values and historic past.
When we first buy our homes, we see them as two things. At the forefront of our mind is to have a home that we feel comfortable with, one that reflects our desires. The other is as an investment. Surely you would like your property to go up in value, so you buy in a logistically well-off area. You make sure the materials are not only modern but strong and of good quality. Realising the amenities are going to affect the percentage the price rises means you’re planning for the future. Local schools, doctor surgeries and grocery stores are all factored into your buy. Arriving at a moment when you also register the fact that you're there are parts of your home you rarely visit can also help your future. It may be because your children have all grown and moved out or even gone to university. Other unfortunate circumstances like losing your partner will also leave parts of your home empty. Whatever the reason may be, you can actually make money using those empty spaces; rather, letter someone else uses them. In the current climate of the housing market, it's clear to see that the population is growing at a faster rate than new homes are being built. This gives you an advantage as even a small room is attractive to the right person.
Off road parking
Almost every residential property build in the modern era has some kind of capacity for a vehicle. A very own parking spot that allows at least one vehicle to be parked off the road. Safe and much more secure, this is something that is much desired in the property market and easily adds five-digit increases in asking prices. If you’re garage or driveway is not being utilised you can offer it to someone else for a lease. Be wary however as setting too stringent rules of what can be parked and or stored in the garage is going to make it difficult for you to enter into the higher-priced market. Prepare the garage as if you were the one going to lease the space out. Make sure all the rubbish is cleaned away. Get all the grungy gunk out of the corners and at the sides of the walls. This will usually consist of leaves, grit, mud and dirt that’s been mixed with rainwater. As garage spaces are very often used as places to do DIY, have a look around for any potential hazards. Pick up nails, screws and other sharp objects that could cause a puncture. If the place looks almost as good as new, it will go to some justification as for your asking price. Clearly set out your monthly rental fee with a level-headed approach. You are leasing a residential space so factor this in and don’t charge commercial prices. However to support your case, get the space surveyed and be given a professional price standard to help you get noticed.
The empty room upstairs
Homes are more than just complex reiterations of shelters; they’re our personal hovels too. A room that isn’t being used is like throwing money down the drain. It might not feel like it, but regarding an investment, you’re not getting total use of the product you paid for. Even governments and local authorities would advise you not to let space in your home go to waste. Where there’s a will, there’s a way for money to be made. If you have an empty bedroom and don’t mind sharing your house with a tenant, you could make a healthy earning every month. It sounds like a tricky situation because you’ll be living with someone whom you’re not familiar with. Therefore it's not wise to use a standard box contract. Personalising the agreement gives you the ability to mould it around your needs and red lines. What you need is a basis template such as in a tenancy agreement word format. This will supply you with a blueprint that can then be made into a unique contract stipulating the exact details you set. Although this is just an outline, it's still a perfectly legal binding contract that must be adhered by both parties.
Many small businesses are strapped for cash, as you can imagine. Usually, they’re made up of young, talented and hungry individuals. Their ethos for getting things done is pretty much ‘wherever, whenever’. This kind of mentality is almost a given if you want to make it in the business world where there is fierce and relentless competition. As office spaces in the traditional sense are going to be costly, if there are alternatives, startups will take them. Not using your lounge or a downstairs room at all? This type of room can be rented out as office space to small businesses looking for something affordable and on a consistent basis. Just like any other office space, you can set the rules of the lease. To give the prospects of your free space being taken up despite it being in a home, open up a raft of options. Allow the business wanting to lease, the freedom to bring in their own equipment and furniture. The way to go around the fact that they’re working out of somebody else’s home is to create the illusion they’re not. You could even supply the furniture yourself such as professional office chairs, large tables, a whiteboard nails to a wall, plants in the corners, table lamps etc.
You never know who could find your empty garage to be a sanctuary for their vehicle. It could be someone with a vintage car who needs a place to park it as they do the restoration. On the other hand, it could be someone that lives just a few doors down from you but doesn’t have the privilege of their own driveway or garage. Empty rooms are like burning money. You bought the home and not using a part of it is purely wasteful. If you don’t mind sharing your home with someone, and for the right fee, of course, leasing it out can provide you with a healthy bit of money each month. Don’t forget that some of the world’s largest companies were first started in someone’s basement. One of your downstairs room can be the springboard for a startup business who need an office space to conduct its daily activities.
Most of us think of our home as our sanctuary; as the one place, we can go to where we are guaranteed to be safe and free to relax and let our hair down. Unfortunately, many of us are living in homes that are much less safe than we think they and hope they would be. It’s quite alarming, but a large proportion of homes in this country at home have numerous hidden dangers lurking around the corner. Could yours be one of them? Here’s how to find out:
Do You Have a Burglar Alarm?
Does your home have a burglar alarm? You might think you live in a safe neighbourhood, and maybe you do, but anyone can be targeted by thieves, so if you don’t have a burglar alarm, then you could be putting yourself at risk.
Are Your Fire Alarms Working?
I’m going to assume that you actually have fire alarms in your home - if you don’t make that a priority - but do they actually work? When was the last time you checked them? If you can’t even remember, then do it now and if you find that they aren’t working, get new ones, have your landlord do so, or if your system is more complex, get AEL fire alarm servicing in to do the job for you. It’s so easy to be trapped by fire when you’re sleeping if you don’t have working alarms, and that is, I’m sure you’ll agree, something that no one ever wants to go through.
Has Your Boiler Been Serviced Recently?
Boilers can be pretty dangerous if they aren’t in good condition and they aren’t working properly. That is why landlords must have them serviced by a company like British Gas at least once every 12 months. If you own your home, however, you may have let this slide. If that’s the case, it might be time to change that by having it looked at. Doing so is even more important if you’ve noticed it behaving oddly or you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms recently. Carbon Monoxide is a killer - don’t let it get to you.
Is There Mould in Your Home?
If you notice that mould has sprung up in your home, and especially if that mould is black, you could be at risk of developing problems with your breathing, or if you have asthma and allergies, it could make those worse - in some extreme cases, it could even be a killer, So., a swift resolution is very much the order of the day.
Are Your Trees Overgrown?
If you have trees that are close to your property, and they have branches that are overgrown, especially if those branches are particularly large, it’s a good idea to cut them back because all it takes is one particularly strong gust of wind to have that tree fall on your property or come through your window and potentially injure you. You might think it unlikely, but it is better safe than sorry.
Make these checks and do any work that’s needed for a home that’s immediately safer.
Most of the decisions we make at home say something about us. Most notably, the decor we choose is influenced by who we are as people. If your home doesn’t reflect your personality, you’ll spend your time there feeling out of place and ill at ease. Instead, most of us approach interior design with the idea that more personality is better. While that may be true, there is one small issue with focusing on the inside of your home. Only the people you invite inside will be able to see it. Don’t you want your house to be a representation of you to the outside world as well? If yes, it’s time to think about what your exterior says about you. Given that it greets the world, your front door is most important of all. This is the most noticeable thing on any home exterior, and it sends the loudest message about you. But, what’s your front door saying?
For some, style is a life choice. Such people thrive on sound design and stunning pieces. And, often, style focuses on a less is more approach. Designs like minimalism and industrial are top of the trend pile. If you want your home to send this message about you, it’s possible to have a lot of fun with your front door. For the most part, you want to focus on materials here. Something like these aluminium entrance doors would work perfectly. They’re sleek, sharp, and incorporate industrial materials. Equally, something such as a windowless wooden option, or a front door made of bamboo could work well. These all give a space-age vibe which is sure to show style is your domain.
Lucky for you, showing creativity in design isn’t difficult. And, your front door is no different. The most straightforward way to spread this message is to paint your door a vibrant colour. The majority of houses keep things reasonably standard here. But, some people go all out with yellow or pink options which stand out from the crowd. To take things further, you could even incorporate a stained glass window. Again, this is a sure nod to creativity. The colours of your glass could be the ideal way to complement that bright door.
If you’re aiming for a more traditional vibe, then your job may be a little easier. In this instance, think back to doors used in period properties. Most often, these are made of solid woods. They’re also traditionally more substantial than a typical door would be. You could do a little research and invest in a recreation of your favourite designs. Or, you could go all out and see if you can find the authentic thing at an auction. While doors like these aren’t often taken from their properties, you could strike lucky here. And, what says traditional better than a real piece of household history? You can be sure everyone will know what you’re about with one of these in place.
Picture the scene. Two people are having a conversation, they don't like their careers but are scared to push the boat and chase their dream jobs, because they don't have any experience in those sectors. They are talking as if they have been confined to a life sentence in a role they loat, it's sad to hear, but there are millions of people across the world who find themselves in this horrible prison, and are having the exact same talk right now. Yet, more often than not, every career comes with transferable skills. It might be that you’re stuck in a sales assistant job and want to become a personal trainer, or maybe you’ve been staring at a website that says something like become a letting agent here but you’re scared to because you’ve never done anything other than knock on doors trying to palm off plumbing equipment. Whatever it is, chances are you have the kind of transferable skills that will make this dream a reality; you have everything you need to make your self-improvement ambitions attainable, here's how.
1. The Importance Of Transferable Skills
You’ll be amazed at how incredibly valuable these kinds of skills are to an employer and that’s because most transferable skills are soft skills, the sort of things that make you a good fit in a team. Sure, you may be looking at a job description that mentions technical skills you haven’t acquired, but the emphasis on these is getting less and less and that’s because skills like this can be taught - personality can’t, and that’s what transferable skills influences most. They help potential employers understand what you will bring to a role other than the obvious things; it helps them understand what extra value they will be getting for their money.
2. Transferable Skills Employers Love
There isn’t enough paper in the world to write a complete list of transferable skills that employers love, but there are still plenty to write home about and we’re 100% sure you’ll have more than one, two or three of these in your locker. They’re things like leadership skills, motivational skills, good time-management, being able to prioritise and delegate, listen and communicate, perform analysis and do research. Once you know which of these you possess, it just becomes a matter of which ones will carry the most weight when looking at a job description. The good news is, most employers love explicitly stating what they want from a person, including softer skills. So, read what they want and put forward the transferable skills you have for them to put a tick next to.
3. Using Them On Your Resume
Everyone has an arsenal of transferable skills they can call on. The tricky part is knowing how to display them on your resume when applying for your dream job or career. Our advice: sell yourself in the best light by choosing the skills you can go into deeper detail about; the ones you can demonstrate you have. The reason for this is quite simple when you think about it: saying you’re a good leader is one thing, but it won’t set you apart from the crowd. But demonstrating a time when you were a good leader will. It could be something you did at your current job or something you did outside of work; so long as it backs up your claim you’ll find it working in your favour. Basically, instead of saying. “Yeah, I’m a good leader”, try saying, “I’m an excellent leader, something I discovered when I led a group of seven people on a three-day hike of Kilimanjaro for charity.” A huge part of self-improvement is just self-belief. That’s all. That’s the first step.
If you wake up every morning dreading yet another day living in your humble abode as it's bursting at the seams, you really need to rectify your space issues. While you might assume that you need to sell up and ship out to a larger property, the space you need may well have been under your nose the entire time. Finding usable square footage can be tricky especially when you can’t see the wood for the overflowing trees of storage. Take a look at these ideas for space making inspiration.
Many people choose to go up to the third level of their home and extend into their attic space. Whereas before it may have been a haven for all of your unwanted junk, the Christmas tree and the odd suitcase or two, you can turn this ample square footage into an extra room. Instead of leaving the loft area simply boarded and languishing under tonnes of your uncherished items, think about creating a fully insulated and usable new room or two. By eating up some space on the floor below, you can create a new staircase leading to a new master bedroom complete with ensuite. If your brood is expanding, it makes sense to add another sleeping quarters to your pad. Going up is ideal if you’re considering adding another bedroom as your house will maintain its natural flow.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a cellar, you can line, board and insulate this room to create a large open plan space. You may choose to use it as a simple storeroom to declutter your living space, set up a large playroom for the kids or even move your kitchen into the basement area. Many homes now choose to reconfigure their homes to suit their lifestyle. Adding square footage not only improves your quality of life as a family, but you will also be adding value to your home when it is time to sell up and move on.
Some people choose to extend out when they are considering the addition of usable square footage to their humble abode. This doesn’t mean you have to add an entire new wing to your three-bed semi. You could add a great conservatory to act as a dining space coming off your open plan kitchen. This more spacious way of living means your internal accommodation will back onto your garden. In the summer months, you can partake in a spot of al fresco dining, enjoy having friends around for summer soirees and relish having an uncluttered downstairs area.
If your budget allows, you may want to venture outwards and build a whole new double height extension. This could give you a new reception room alongside a new bedroom increasing both your upstairs and downstairs living quarters. With a games room, snug or cinema space downstairs, you’re adding a touch of luxury to your humble dwelling, increasing its value and giving it the wow factor. Don’t assume that you need to sell up in the quest for square footage. Think outside the box and see if your much-loved home can give you the extra living space you require.
Too much clutter in your home can be an eyesore. Containing some of this clutter can make your home feel more organised and less cramped. Here are just a few creative storage methods for keeping clutter under control.
Storage solutions can be given a dual purpose in many cases. Many modern designer sideboards can be used as a funky desk or a TV stand. Other storage solutions such as ottomans meanwhile can double up as footstools. There are even beds out there with storage space beneath and sofas with drawers and compartments. This could be a great space-saving solution.
Use the room’s height
Many people don’t take full advantage of a room’s height. A book shelf tower going up to the ceiling might require you to use a step ladder to get to the top, but it could also use up less floor space in the process. There may even be ways of storing item vertically in ways that you hadn’t considered. Using racks you can store a bicycle vertically against a wall using up less floor space. There are also fold-away dining tables out there that can be stored upright in a cupboard like an ironing board.
Use the space under the stairs
Many of us with staircases tend to neglect the space underneath. By knocking through the wall on the other side, this space may have the potential to be turned into a walk-in wardrobe. Alternatively, you could turn the space into drawers.
Use alcoves and small spaces
Cubby holes and alcoves in oddly shaped rooms are perfect places to fit shelves or a cupboard. If you’ve got an armchair in the corner of a room, you may even have space behind for a storage tower.
Store loose items in mason jars
Many of us store coffee, teabags and sugar in jars for easy access, but there are many other loose household items that can be stored this way. Separate mason jars could be used in the bathroom for storing toothbrushes, razors, cosmetics and brushes. They can alternatively be used for storing pasta and cereal in a rustic way. You could even use one in the living room for storing remotes.
Hang items on a pegboard
Pegboards are another stylish storage solution. These can look great in the garage for hanging DIY tools in an organised manner. However, a pegboard could also be used by the front door for hanging keys and car chargers and last minute items you need. It could even be a creative place for hanging stationary above a desk or somewhere for displaying jewellery.
Hang metal utensils using magnets
Magnetic strips can also be hung on a wall to creatively hang certain items. Magnets are popular in kitchens for hanging knives, freeing up countertop space by not requiring a knife block. However, magnets could also be used to store metal DIY tools and even metal bathroom utensils like tweezers and nail clippers.
Pet owners hate the idea of moving because of the impact it can have on the animal. Plenty of people, and rightly so, focus on how the dog or cat will react when it arrives at its new home. Although it’s imperative to make them feel at home, they have to get to the new property first. As silly as it sounds, moving them from A to B isn’t a piece of cake. They scratch, they growl, and they flat out hate being a cage for a lengthy period. If you have to transport pets to a new property, below are four tips you may want to consider.
Putting the cage in the back seat and keeping an eye on proceedings feels right. At least if anything goes wrong you’re on hand to help. Anyway, aren’t pet and house removal services a waste of money? The answer is a flat out no. For starters, house removals may agree to take a pet as long as they are comfortable. The best companies complete a survey before they say yes or no. Secondly, pet transportation firms should have all the equipment to make the journey as hassle-free as possible. Usually, expert help is worth the extra costs.
Before a journey, long or short, it’s savvy to ask a medical professional to perform a routine check-up. At first glance, the family pooch may look as if he is in perfect health, but a problem could bubble under the surface. And, there’s no way to tell until the issue raises its head or a vet gives him the once over. Even if there seems to be no need, opt to be safe rather than sorry. Book an appointment about a week or two in advance and ask the vet for any advice that may come in handy.
Pets hate journeys because they are unfamiliar. How many times have you taken a cat on a two-hour car ride? On the whole, the answer will be hardly ever, so it’s no wonder felines freak out in the back of a Ford Escort. One way to ease them into the journey is to try and do a dry run before the big day. All you have to do is recreate the environment and set off on a medium drive. Watch out for any problems and try and spot when they begin to feel agitated and prickly.
Humans need them, and animals are no different. Sometimes, a dog or a cat just needs to get out of a vehicle and stretch its legs and go to the bathroom. It’s tempting to complete the journey in one stint, yet it causes problems. Instead, stop every hour or two and make sure your pet is doing okay. Give it some water, let it run around for a while, and then get back behind the wheel. You’ll benefit as much as your pet.
How do you plan on moving your pet(s) without falling into the regular traps?
We all wish for a bigger home, for more space to store everything, an extra guest bedroom or another bathroom. But not many people have the luxury of just moving to a bigger place. Luckily, there are things that you can do within your home to help you to give the illusion of having a bigger home than you actually do - without creating a load of clutter somewhere else. Most of the time, creating more space does mean being strict on clutter - so be prepared to have a clear out or two.
First of all, you're going to need to have a clear out of your home. Make piles of things and donate whatever you haven't used over the last year. And that applies for more than just clothes too - If you haven't used that ukulele in the last twelve months then donate it. You will find things that are an exception to the twelve month rule - like suitcases and items kept for the memories. But these are things that can be put into storage, either in your loft, garage, or in an external storage unit if you don't have either of the former options.
Developing some storage space that fits your home and maximises your living space is always going to be a great thing. Creative storage might just mean installing so shelving units into your garage, but it might also mean looking into maximising unused space in the house. Building a shelving unit, with or without doors, under the stairs is a great way to store shoes, winter accessories, and coats. Maximise kitchen space with dividers and folders to separate pan kids, baking trays and chopping boards. Invest in some command strips and you'll easily be able to create extra shelving with a standing folder underneath your cabinets.
If you do have the money, then why not look into having an extension on the house- over the garage or a two floor extension to the side or rear? A home extension isn't a small job, and one that you will need outside help with. Use a design company, like Guy Phoenix, who have good recommendations, and a construction company who have the same. Often you will find that basic extensions can be designed and created by the same team. Set a budget and let the team know it, so that they can work within those parameters.
Rather than sticking to traditional, central lights that cut the corners of any room, look into spotlights for maximum lighting. Cutting out the corners of the room makes it feel a lot smaller than it really is - so by introducing spot lighting, you open up the whole space. You can also create this illusion with lamps rather than whole new lighting.
To create the illusion of a bigger room, use a rug instead of carpets. You can use the rug trick over a neutral coloured carpets if you prefer too. Choose a large area rug that fills the space. But ensure that the rug ends about half a meter away from the walls. This glimpse of floorboards or contrasting carpet is what creates the illusion by drawing the eye and tricking it into thinking there space has grown a little.
Our bedrooms are our own little sanctuaries. We all know how hard it is to drag ourselves out of bed in the morning, and how desperate we are to get back to it at the end of every day. But do you ever feel like your bedroom is crying out for a bit of a redesign? The interiors are old, the furniture is outdated, and there just seems like so much more that can be done. If you have Instagram, you’ll know how truly amazing some of the bedroom interior designs are. But we don’t all have the budgets that some of the Insta famouses do, so we’ve put together a few bedroom redesign ideas to help make the whole process easier for you.
The Most Important Part
There’s no point talking about the bedroom without talking about the most important part, the bed. Your bed should be your most prized possession, the one you find so hard to leave in the morning, the thing you think is the most comfiest thing in the world. But the truth is, your whole bed is probably more outdated than it needs to be. They recommend changing your mattress every 10 years, but as the years creep on, you’ll notice little lumps and springs appear that you never thought would. The comfier your mattress, the better night sleep you’re going to have. Companies such as Choose Mattress have such a wide variety to choose from depending on what you like. Some people prefer the more firm mattresses, some prefer the light and airy ones. Then you need to think about the bedframe. There’s so many different varieties! Preferably, you want one that is going to have a bit of handy storage space underneath, and one that has a comfy headboard behind it. Wooden headboards do look nice, but they’re just a tad uncomfy if you’re sitting up in bed to read. Try and get a padded one to support and cushion your head.
Colour schemes are again, mostly down to personal preference. But if we can give you any advice, it is to make sure you’re not being too bold. One we know you’re going to love, and one you’re most likely going to have seen plastered all over Instagram, is the black, grey and white look. Grey carpets to start, you definitely don’t want white, especially if it is a girls room! Makeup disasters would definitely occur. Then you want to make your walls as white and bright as possible. Bedroom furniture should also be a mixture of white and grey. For example, you could have a white dressing table, with a black or grey stool underneath. Grey lush bedding to finish the look will make the room amazing. Use grey lighting fixtures and curtains and you’re onto a winner!
Finally, utilising the space you have is really important. Try not to clutter your room with more furniture than it needs, and throw away anything that might be old and not used. Use the space that can be created underneath your bed, and make sure you get a sufficient enough sized dressing table. Even having a nice little bedside table with a few draws for socks and pants will help to declutter things a little.
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.