Category Archives: DIY

How to… install a stair runner

The Dash & Albert Rug Co.


The kitchen might be the heart of the home but it’s the hall that creates the first impression! If your entrance looks a little tired but you need to do your DIY on a budget, a stair runner can create the right welcome without the cost of carpeting the entire hall and landing. So here’s how to fit one!


What you need:

Air staple gun

Utility knife

Metre stick

Tape measure


Stair rods

Stair pads


What you need to know:

The horizontal section of each stair – where you step – is called the TREAD.

The vertical section of each stair is called the RISER.


How to measure up:

To measure the length of the runner:

  • Multiply the number of treads by the depth of one tread
  • Multiply the number of risers by the depth of one riser
  • Add the two measurements together
  • Add three inches per stair
  • Add surplus to account for error

To measure the width, simply measure the width of one tread and subtract the amount of wood you would like on show either side (about four inches of stair either side is standard but it could be more on a wide staircase!).


Note that these instructions apply to straight stairs. Kite or winder (corner) stairs are a much trickier task and our advice would be to call in a professional carpet fitter.


  1. Sweep the stairs clean and remove any old nails or tacks.
  1. Lay a stair pad on each tread.
  1. Draw a straight line half an inch from the end of the runner and, using your metre stick and knife, cut the carpet to ensure a clean, straight edge.
  1. Measure the width of your stair tread with your tape measure and halve to find the centre point. Mark the centre of each tread with a pencil. Then measure the width of the stair runner and divide in half also, to find its centre.
  1. Place the runner on the top stair, leaving enough to cover the uppermost riser as well as the tread. Smooth out any air pockets and creases and, with the staple gun, tack the runner to the top of the riser, stapling every few inches along.
  1. Allow the runner to drop to the bottom of the staircase in line with each riser and tread. Loosely attach the stair rods by drilling holes in the stairs for the rod screws and loosely screwing in place.
  1. Staple the runner in place along the upper of each riser, just under the nose of the tread above. Remove the loosely screwed rod of that stair and tack the carpet again at the point where the riser meets the tread. Put the rod back in place, screwing it tightly into position.

8. At the bottom, trim any excess carpet and attach the runner along the bottom of the lowest riser.

Seven steps to a brilliant bathroom

diy-bathroomWith news that nearly two thirds of us have not renovated our bathroom in the last five years, is it time your smallest room had a refit?

A recent survey from Shower Selector found that:

  • 31% of Brits have not decorated or renovated their bathroom in over five years
  • 18% are in the middle of a bathroom renovation
  • 16% last renovated their bathroom between two and five years ago
  • 11% of UK homeowners updated their bathroom between just six months and a year ago

So, with that in mind, here are our seven simple steps to the bathroom of your dreams:

  1. Work out your budget. A new bathroom needn’t be expensive, but it depends on where you shop and how much of the work you are prepared to do yourself. Get quotes from online and in-store bathroom shops and don’t forget to factor in delivery and labour costs. If you’re not confident about plumbing but handy at decorating, you can hire contractors to install the bathroom then save money by doing the tiling and painting yourself.
  1. Plan ahead. Work out how long the job will take and how you are going to manage whilst it’s being done – particularly if you don’t have another loo! Check and double check measurements and factor in extra time (and budget) for unforeseen problems that might be uncovered along the way.
  1. Grand designs. Having a stylish bathroom is not all about buying the latest trends – in fact, often, just the opposite is true. When designing your refit, consider the age and style of your home, as well as your family’s size and lifestyle. Freestanding baths can look fantastically elegant in the right setting but would a fitted suite work better? Factor in existing wiring and plumbing and consider whether it can be moved or whether you’ll just to have to work with the current layout. Lastly, think about resale value in case you move. You might think those purple tiles and glitzy chandelier are the epitome of good taste but potential buyers might not agree!
  1. Walls and floors. Waterproof walls and floors are a must, and there’s a lot of choice on the market to suit all budgets. Marble, ceramic or granite tiles look stunning and are highly durable, but vinyl floor tiles can look just as effective at a much smaller cost. Remember that the flooring needs to be slip-resistant or, at the very least, buy a selection of high-quality, non-slip mats! Choose specific bathroom paint over standard versions as it features moisture and steam protection – and is even available in marble effect these days!
  1. bathroom-lightingRight lighting. Bathroom lighting needs to strike a fine balance between creating a calming atmosphere for a relaxing bath whilst providing the right light to allow you to shave or put on make up! Consider a feature ceiling light or downlights to create the right mood, with cabinet strip lights or a mirror light to carry out those close-ups. Due to the presence of water in the bathroom, lighting must meet a minimum IP rating, depending on its location, to reduce the risk of electric shock. Here’s a handy guide to bathroom ‘zones’ and IP ratings applying to each.
  1. Ventilation. Good ventilation in a bathroom is essential to reduce condensation and eliminate smells. If the bathroom is in a new extension to your home, the Government’s planning portal says that it should have a mechanical extraction fan, but many homeowners also choose to install them in existing bathrooms. Some fans have timers, which are good for saving energy, whilst you can also buy high-powered inline fans with built-in LED lights.
  1. Accessorize. Once the refit is complete, all that’s left is to accessorize and, if your bathroom was done on a budget, this is where you can really glam it up! From shower curtains and bathmats to toothbrush caddies and loo roll holders, here’s your chance to ‘splash’ out on the small details!

Five ways to get the Scandi look

Scandi LookIf you’ve been admiring the cool, calm and collected look, that is all things Scandinavian – then there is no better time than Spring to inject some clean, Nordic inspired lines into your living space.

There are some key design tips which we can take from this simple style. From plenty of light to pale wood, organic materials to muted tones, there are a multitude of ways you can make this look work in your home.

Let the light in

Scandi Look WindowsNot featuring much in in the way of curtains or window drapes, the Scandi look aims lets in as much light as possible. While some may bolt at the idea of losing a trusty pair of curtains, there are ways to maximise the amount of light that you let in through a window. Hanging them a few inches higher and wider than usual, will allow more of the fabric to sit against the wall, as opposed to the window. Using thinner fabric for blinds will stop you blocking the light from seeping through, and still allow you to keep your nosy neighbours out!

Mirrors are great for bouncing light around a room. Position mirrors strategically opposite windows, and use reflective flooring like a wood laminate or floorboards to achieve the same effect.

Candlelight can add a calming atmosphere both inside and out. Bare bulb lighting is also a popular Scandinavian trend. Use stark bulbs on a flex, or diffuse the light through neutral light shades.

Add wood

Wood LightingA huge characteristic of Scandinavian design is wood. Be it floors, walls or furniture, the use of natural materials allows you to bring the outside in. Rustic wooden tones ooze elegance and make a cozy and inviting living space. Add a characteristic bench or stool, or go the whole hog and panel the walls.

Scandi LightUse a (predominantly) white palette

Fresh, clean, modern – white is the way forward when it comes to achieving the calm and peaceful nature synonymous with this style. Whitewashed walls are common, and adding accents of black to create a monochrome palette is stereotypical of the Scandi style. You don’t have to limit yourself though. Throw in pastels to add charm and colour.

Declutter like never before!

Minimal is the only way to create a ‘clean’ look. If you loathe hiding your clutter, then you will naturally find this harder to achieve than some. Take note, accessories must be functional and unpretentious or heirlooms with a history.

Keep it natural

Alongside wood, don’t be afraid to throw wool, sheepskin, plants and branches into the mix. Varying natural textures adds a certain ‘organic’ homeliness to the look. A wood burner can only add to the charm.