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Home & Decor Advice

. Below are tips and advice written by us or submitted by yourselves! Choose the subject you need advice about and click to read. To send us you advice or contact us about anything you need, click here.

Financial Budget Planning
  • A budget is important for a healthy relationship - do not spend more than you can afford as lack of money can actually stress you! What matters most is enjoying each other's company and setting up home at your own pace, together.

  • Before planning the set-up of your home, always start off by deciding on your budget, and how much you are willing to spend on individual things, for example, how much money to spend on the bathroom etc... Yes you will probably go a bit over, but at least you will have an idea.

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Buying a Property
  • Set out a budget before planning to purchase a property and check with the Bank how much you will be able to borrow. You will need to take ID documents and proof of how much you earn. The Bank will always ask for your pay to be directed to an accout with them before considering your application for a loan.

  • Buying a shell form house gives you the advantage of being able to choose to transform the house with less hassle and cost then buying it furnished and completely re-doing it.

  • Always choose a property which is worth buying and includes the tastes of both of you!

  • If buying a finished property make sure to go round the propery well and analyse any expenses required.  Sometimes it is more worth buying a shell property than a finished one with all the expenses involved in re-doing it completely.

  • If buying a top floor flat, it is a good idea to buy one which is served by a lift.

  • Its better to  buy a property in a location were its value increases.

  • Buying property directly from the owner can save money.
  • When buying a groundfloor house always check for signs of damp on the walls.  Check whether the tar line had been covered by the floor tiles.  If yes, save money by removing very carefully the tiles next to the walls, apply tar and re-lay the same tiles.

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Contracted Work and Estimates (Stimi w Xoghol)
  • You should have a written contract with anyone who does work for you, no matter what you decide on the price... Make sure that you have a copy that is signed by the person doing the work. Include the price you agreed on, the date when work is to be started and by when you agree it should be finished. This serves as price protection and also as a proper work schedule. Anyone not honoring the pricing or the schedule is in 'breach of contract' which is a serious issue governed by law.

  • Even if only for an estimate, when you meet people to give you estimates for different things such as gypsum or the laying of tiles, always write the conditions of the work on a paper and make them sign it. Cases have happened when 2 parties agree on a price and the conditions of work, but then the agreed conditions and quality of work are not met or more money is asked for. By having everything done in writing and signed by the involved parties this problem should be avoided.

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Planning your Points
  • Plan, plan, plan! Sit down and imagine what each room will be like and how you will use it. Then go round your parents homes and see how things are used. This may sound obvious but will turn out to be very useful. This is a big job but worth your while. Once the place is ready you will not be happy about moving plugs etc.....

  • Plan for electrical and water points, and also remember phone, tv, intercom, internet (if you will have an intranet cable system not wireless). Perhaps emergency lights hidden above units in the kitchen and speaker points for your surround speaker setup in the living room. In this manner you will prepare the pipes for them too and avoid a ugly wires clipped to the walls.

  • Remember to consult with those who have most experience. Discuss with your electrician and plumber where to put points of all kinds, and speciality shops if you plan to go that step further e.g. sound shops for best place to put points for speakers.

  • In general, more is better when choosing how many electrical outlets to be placed in the property. This is a physical investment in property value and in comfort once you start living there.

  • All electrical plugs points where possible should be double. They will come handful eventually and it is only a little extra work and cost.

  • Where will phone and TV cable wires enter your house? Plan for a point that spans from outside to inside and from then on into each room of your house.

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Water Planning
  • Ask the plumber to use wide pipes from the main up to the taps, indifferent if you are going to install a pressure pump or not. This will help water pressure/flow and minimise the risk of bursting pipes.
  • If the property you are buying is not newly built, always check how the old the plumbing system is, as this might need replacing
  • When doing the water pipes, try to reduce the number of pipes under the tiles, since many people are having problems with them lately, even when they used the most well-known brand. If you have problems in the pipes, you may have to break many of the tiles, resulting in a lot of work and extra money to fork out. You can try to avoid this problem by putting the taps on the wall where there is a shaft, for example, so that you'd just have to remove a small part of tiles.

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Doors and Windows
  • Double glazing is a good idea for all windows and large glass panels in outside doors! There is surprisingly less difference in price than you may think between single and double glazed. It is a wise investment adding physical value to your property. Double glazing decreases noise pollution (traffic, music, neighbours noise from outside) and giving you more privacy as less can be heard from outside. Obviously you also benefit from better insulation spending less to heat your home in Winter and cool it in Summer.

  • Plan which way your door will need to open. Usually a door opens in such a way as to allow entry to the bigger part of the room.

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Flooring - Tiles & Skirting
  • When choosing tiles consider the following. Use, Colour, Shape, Shine and Durability. Will you use them Indoor or Outdoor? Will they be rectangular, square or anything else? Will they be Shiny, Semi-Matt, or Matt? What material will you be going for, will it chip easily, will it stain?

  • If you always want a clean-looking floor and have the time to wash it frequently, go for shiny or semi-matt tiles. Remember you have to wash it a lot more that the matt tiles as dirt or dust will be show immediately. On the other hand if you do not have time to wash the floor often, go for matt tiles that are not dark as dust barely shows on such tiles.

  • When choosing indoor tiles, think about tiles that go with any type of furniture as furniture can be changed but tiles are more difficult to change.

  • Outdoor tiles, especially front garden ones, should be guaranteed non-slip tiles to avoid accidents when watering the front garden or in the event of rain.

  • If you want skirting, can you order skirting with the tiles or will you have to use the tiles themselves or invent something to go with them such as wood or marble?

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Furnishing your Place
  • Very few people have enough money to finish their home completely before the wedding. The most important rooms are the bathrooms especially the main, the kichen and perhaps the main bedroom. If the second bathroom/ensuite is not finished, try to have the tiling done to remove all the dust. Similarly if you plan to have a gypsum ceiling at least pain the bare ceiling to remove dust. Other rooms & things can be done eventually when you will have saved enough.

  • Being practical and useful is more important than looking good! Take time to try and balance both out. For example, a billiard table may look good but is it taking the space of a dining table?

  • Plan ample space for storage. Once you get married and start to live in your home it is incredible how much of it you require!

  • Always look out to make sure you buy quality items. What is the use of having comfortable and pretty furniture, appliances tiles etc if they don't serve you well? After all the hassle of arranging the house the last thing one would want is to be faced with extra hassle and costs due to breakages. So keep an eye on quality.

  • In general, avoid buying furniture according to the current fashion since ideas and styles change rapidly and could lead to having something which is in fashion at the time being which ends up out of fashion very quickly.

  • When installing built-in furniture, always leave a few centimetres between the furniture and the walls.  This will allow air to circulate and prevent mould.  It can be easily covered by the fronts and tops while the insides be slightly shorter.

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Interior Design
  • A colour scheme in a room is the trick of all the house decoration.

  • Many couples agree that it is better to shop around for curtains before you paint the walls as it is usually very difficult to find the curtains that match the wall paint.

  • Choose colours that go well together.

  • The kitchen tends to be the most important room at our homes since we spend so much of our time in it. It should be well lit, airy and with a good lay out. 

  • It is better to have spacious rooms, rather than too many rooms in your home.

  • Walls in light colours make the place look brighter and bigger.

  • Living rooms require attention when planning and decorating so that when we relax after a day's work, the ambience is welcoming, and relaxing. Pay special care when choosing the curtain material, frames and the sofa of course!

  • Plan the design and colour scheme before you start buying this and that. Random and impulse buying would make it difficult to create a designer look with stylish, unique, matching and most of all a welcoming atmosphere. In this case the hint is Think Ahead!

  • Think about the style that you plan for your home i.e: modern, contemporary modern, classic..... it is very important that you choose things that fall within that criteria. Remember that you do not have to be traditional. For example a modern room can easily have a very classic in it to render a very nice and elegant view or a rustic kitchen have boast mordern stainless steel appliances.

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General Tips & Advice
  • As a couple you should plan, buy and decide everything together.

  • At the shop, always explain clearly how you wish things to be and carefully consider what the salesperson tells you. He/she has experience but the choice is always yours - you will be the one living there.

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