When we got married we used photo frames for our table names. Alongside this, I seem to have collected a ridiculous number of the things over the years so I decided last week to create a feature gallery wall to spruce up my hallway.
A gallery wall not only creates a great focal point, it also gives you an excuse to frame all of those photos you love but that aren’t quite professional or staged enough to warrant a place on the mantelpiece alone. It’s a doddle to do and all you need is a handful of nails and a hammer (don’t even mention it to the Mister – queue “I’ll go and get the drill”). Alongside your frames it’s a good idea to include some other decorative pieces to add a little more interest and break up the images – I had some large typography pieces around the house which I incorporated.
There are also some great online resources and blogs that offer free printable downloads such as littlegoldpixel.com, which are great if you don’t want every picture in your gallery to be a photograph.
I started by laying out all of the frames on the floor in front of the hall wall to get an idea of how wide and tall I wanted the gallery to be. I admit that I felt like my mother a little bit here, obsessing over which pieces looked best where, but it’s worth spending some time until you get a layout that you’re happy with. I then took a photo of the layout so that I could replicate it on the wall. Starting by nailing the highest frame onto the wall, I then worked my way out until I got the finished gallery. Definitely an easy and cost-effective way to make a great feature in your home!
I’ve been banging on about how much I disliked our kitchen ever since we moved into our house this February. The whole house needed a complete refurbishment and, to be fair, we’ve done a pretty good job so far, completing the majority of the house to our taste within the first six months. But upon finding out I was pregnant we decided that the kitchen would have to wait since it’s by far the biggest project to take on and the biggest expense…
However, when my maternity leave began a couple of weeks back I decided that I could use this time to give the kitchen a bit of a makeover…If I’m honest, I was only planning to paint the tiles in the first instance and replace the lights. And then I decided that it wouldn’t be too much trouble to give the walls a lick of paint before I got slightly (very) obsessed and – to the groans and concerned protests of friends and family (“now is the time you should be resting”) thought it would be a great idea to tackle the units (since “what’s the point in me going to all that effort if the cupboards still look shit?”)
I’d opted for a plain white Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint to freshen up the tiles and Dulux Egyption Cotton emulsion for the walls. I wasn’t overly confident about the Ronseal tile paint – I attempted to paint our garden fence last year with their pressurised sprayer and learnt the hard way that their products certainly do not always do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. However this brand seems to have completely monopolised the shelves in the likes of B&Q and Homebase so I decided to give them another chance.
The results were pretty good to be fair. The tiles did need two coats and the finish is slightly linear in places where you can see the brush strokes, but it looks like they’re supposed to be like that (or so I tell myself!)
Two coats of tile paint, and two coats of emulsion on the walls later, the kitchen did look much better to me, but I could tell that hardly anyone else noticed. There were just so many brown units in the way… I needed to do the cupboards.
Mr M insisted that my efforts were the equivalent of me trying to polish a turd and thought painting the units was one step too far, but he came to realise that you can’t get in between a pregnant woman and her cupboard paint…
Again, I opted for Ronseal since they were the only brand that was in stock in the colour that I wanted. Anyway, I needed to get home in time to paint as much as I could before Mr M got home so there could be no going back. Sneaky.
I didn’t bother sanding the melamine units, but used Sugar Soap to remove all of the dirt and grime which I’d seen done on a YouTube video. I’d never used Sugar Soap before and to say that I was amazed is an understatement – it’s so easy to use and literally makes cleaning a doddle (I’ve since used it on the ceramic floor too with great results).
I finished it off with some blackboard paint and added this typography with a chalkboard pen to create a bit of a feature.
The final results are well worth a couple of weeks of graft to get a kitchen which feels much more like my own – even if it will be ripped out in 12 months!
Now, how do I get Mr M to change that worktop?
Having a nursery to decorate provides a great opportunity to unleash your inner child and get creative – animals, clouds, jungles, hot air balloons – anything goes!
There are thousands of wall art stickers available to buy online from the likes of Etsy, notonthehighstreet, Amazon and Ebay etc, but after looking at these for a while I decided that I could create something much more personal and at a fraction of the price by painting a design myself (when else do you get the chance to draw on walls?)
So I took myself off to my local Wilkos store (any excuse) where I picked up a couple of emulsion tester pots for £1 each in colours Cupcake and Cosy Grey. These are the perfect size (I only needed one of each) and there’s a great vibrant colour range to choose from.
There are loads of design ideas online to take inspiration from if, like me, you’re not the naturally artistic type who can draw from imagination. I chose a tree design which doesn’t require a huge amount of perfection – you can stick branches and leaves anywhere and nobody will know if it’s not how you intended it to look!
Anyway, £2 and three rather enjoyable hours later, the nursery feels much more colourful – hopefully the little one will approve!