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The Arts and Crafts movement was instrumental in bringing good design to the masses during the industrial revolution. It was an alternative to the poorly made products people had been used to and allowed them to add good design to their homes for little money.

The key to the Arts and Crafts movement was simplicity. It often exposed the way things were made, showing off technique and design rather than covering it. Nature was an important source of inspiration too, with many designs being copied from the flora and fauna people found around them. The great British countryside was brought indoors for the first time.

Summer is always the designer’s favourite season, as it brings light and a fresh new set of design ideas. One of the recurring themes of summer design is bringing the outside in. There are a number of key ways that you can do this and it will usually really brighten up your living space and add a touch of natural design flair.

An argument has been raging in the world of interior design for some years. The schism happened over a debate about the merits of wooden floors over laminate, and both sides are equally passionate about their point of view. Neither side has backed down either, so there has been no cooling of tensions over the years.

Essentially, the argument is whether natural wooden floors are better than laminate. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which is why the argument is so hard to settle.

Proponents of real wooden floors say that the natural and warm feeling of natural wood floorboards cannot be matched or recreated by laminates. It’s true that there is something beautiful about restoring the floorboards that are integral to a house. Almost all houses of a certain vintage will have them - often lurking under carpets or vinyl flooring. With a bit of sanding (ok, a lot of sanding) and varnishing, you can restore them to their former glory.

Sometimes just painting block colours isn’t the most exciting option. A fresh coat of paint will go a long way to brightening up a room but flat colours can look a bit on the dull side. So why not experiment with a few paint techniques for walls and woodwork that might make things a little more interesting?

We’ve all seen property programmes where a buyer gets their hands on a period property and proceeds to rip out the existing period features and replace them with bland modern alternatives. Original floorboards and fireplaces are ripped up or plastered over. Ceiling rosettes and cornicing are torn down and woodwork glossed over. Watching it from your sofa, you can hardly bear to look.

We all understand the logic behind it. For most developers there is no room for sentiment. It’s all about the bottom line, so why spend money replacing and repairing cornicing and timber sash windows when you can rip them out and replace with modern materials for a fraction of the price? After all, if you’re renting out or selling, then it really makes no difference to you as a developer.

Most of us could do with an extra room or two in the house. No matter how big the house, it never seems to be quite big enough. The accumulated possessions of the average life always tend to grow until they are just too big to fit into all the allotted space.

When this happens there are three options. Firstly, you can move house, which seems like an extreme solution. Secondly, build an extension to your existing property. All very well if you have the necessary space. The last solution seems to make more sense. Most of us have a loft space that we’re not using to its full potential. Loft spaces are usually big enough to convert (although it’s a good idea to check with a builder or loft conversion specialist).

If you’re renovating a period property there are a few rules that you need to follow in order to achieve the best results. Period properties, when renovated appropriately can produce some stunning results. Get it wrong, however, and not only will it look odd but you could knock thousands off the value of the building.

The number of first-time buyers in London recently hit a five-year high, and if you are one of the scores of new homeowners in the capital proudly brandishing a set of keys to your first home then a world of decorating wonders awaits you.

From tidying up your jungle-like garden to restoring your home’s original wooden flooring, an array of renovation tasks both big and small will test your home ownership mettle, as well as giving you the satisfaction that your new home was definitely a labour of love.

Here are just a few decorating tips that first-time buyers may want to heed before they start knocking down partition walls:

We all know that our environment can affect the way we feel, from sunny weather helping to put a smile on our face to a cluttered office contributing to our sense of disorganisation. However, it now appears that we can actively impact the way we feel simply by getting our decorating hat on and applying the principles of neuroarchitecture.

Explaining how this works, Eve Edelstein, PhD, adjunct professor at the New School of Architecture & Design in San Diego and a research consultant to the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA), says: "The premise is to consider how each feature of the architectural environment influences certain brain processes such as those involved in stress, emotion, and memory."

Wooden beams can be one of the key character features in a period home and as a result can keeping them in good condition is essential. Here are just a few tips on how you can monitor and address issues relating to your wooden beams, as well as bring your beams up to date.

If you are considering investing in a second home, for either the occasional holiday getaway, or for a home you will equally divide your time in, finding the time and energy to tackle the renovation can be a challenge.

Here are just a few tips to help you through the process.

With yesterday marking the beginning of spring, and the clocks changing to go forward an hour this weekend, it is time to start planning for the warmer, summer months.

Introducing colour into your home can be a simple way to brighten up the look of your property, and this can be achieved while complementing the existing design scheme in your home. Here’s how:

Refurbishing your home can not only improve the look and feel of your property, but can also act to boost its value in some cases, as well as helping to ensure that your space is tailored to meet your needs and the needs of your family.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has recently called for the government to include tax cuts or subsidies on renovation and repair work in the forthcoming Budget announcement, to encourage homeowners to refurbish their existing properties.

While the idea of a thatched roof sounds ideal in theory, some homeowners may be concerned that a thatched roof may not be able to withstand the test of time, or the elements for that matter, and opt to play it safe with a traditional slate roof.

But with an estimated 60,000 thatched property owners in Britain, the appeal of thatched roofs is undeniable, and this brief guide reveals that thatched roofs may be more durable and easier to maintain than people think.

London boasts a vast wealth of properties, showcasing a number of different architectural styles from present and past eras.

There are few homeowners in the country who wouldn’t want to increase the value of their home, especially if they are considering putting their property on the market. However, many may be deterred by the prospect of investing money in their home, without getting immediate returns.

To quell those fears, here are just a few ways you can add more to your property for less:

Although recent figures showing that house prices soared by 0.9% in December may make some homeowners feel as though they can rest on their laurels when it comes to the sale of their period property, a great deal of care and attention is still need to show our homes off in their best possible light.

Research conducted by Woolwich showed that a range of factors can act to turn buyers off property, resulting in an estimated £3bn in lost property sales each year. Here are just a few:

Cottages can be well-preserved capsules of centuries gone by, with a chocolate box cottage remaining one of the ultimate rural idylls.

Restoring a ramshackle English country cottage is a labour of love for many would-be country dwellers, and can require oodles of time, research, and (invariably) money.

Here are just a few pointers for those looking to breathe life back into a traditional cottage:

Salvage and reclamation yards can be the perfect place to unearth some antique treasures at a fraction of the bought-as-new price.

Salvage yards house the building materials and contents from old houses and other buildings, and the range of items that fans of period property may come across include the following: fireplaces, tiles, stained glass, bricks, garden statues, lighting, furniture, radiators and doors.

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