Category Archives: Kitchens

The benefits of a flatpack kitchen

flatpack-kitchenWhen it comes to buying a new kitchen, to what extent are you prepared to do it yourself? If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of a rigid kitchen v a flatpack kitchen, the latter might be an easier option than you think!

There are many myths around flatpack kitchens, such as them being of a lesser quality than pre-assembled kitchens and not giving the professional finish you expect. But these misconceptions just aren’t true, and buying a flatpack kitchen can be a fabulous way of getting the bespoke kitchen you want at a price you can afford!

A recent blog post from our sister company Flatpack Kitchens Direct listed some of the benefits of buying a flatpack kitchen. You can read the whole post here or take a look at our synopsis, which sorts out the flatpack facts from the kitchen fiction!

The benefits of a flatpack kitchen include:

  • A cheaper price tag, which means you get more for your money
  • The same quality as rigid kitchens. It’s the material they are made from that counts, not how they are delivered
  • Easier storage until you’re ready to install your new kitchen
  • Easier to fit around pipework and other features
  • With many kitchen retailers, you will be able change your order after it’s been processed. You’re less likely to be able to with a bespoke kitchen

flatpack-kitchenWhen installing your new flatpack kitchen, read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly, even if you’re an experienced fitter. Kitchen technology and materials are changing all the time, and the fittings might contain some quirks you haven’t seen before!

Even if you don’t consider yourself up to the task of fitting a new kitchen, flatpack cabinets are not to be discounted. You can buy a flatpack kitchen anyway and use the savings you make to pay a professional to do the job for you!


Make a date with DIY this spring!


Regular readers might remember our January round-up of home, garden and building show dates for your diary. With the show season now well underway, it’s time for Part II – so here are the must-visit events in April, May and June!

The Gadget Show Live, NEC, Birmingham

Now in its seventh year, the Gadget Show is the perfect way to round off the Easter holidays! With the chance to see, try and buy the latest in cutting edge technology, this event showcases the best of British innovation, as well as staging gaming tournaments and talks and shows in the Super Theatre.

April 7-12, adults £25, children (5-12) £20,

The RHS Flower Show, Cardiff

Spring will well and truly bloom at Wales’ premier flower show, with gardening tips from Royal Horticultural Society experts, exciting family activities and, of course, thousands of plants! Talks and demos will take place in the theatre, whilst the show will be split into three main themed areas – plants, people and places. The RHS Flower Show takes place in Bute Park, just outside the walls of Cardiff’s historic castle and with the largest number of ‘champion’ trees in any public park in the UK.

April 17-19, RHS members, £7.50, public £8.50 (two under-16s free with every paying adult),

The Cornwall Home & Lifestyle Show, Wadebridge

Cornwall’s only home, garden and living exhibition, at the Royal Cornwall Showground, brings together the best products and services in interiors, homeware, gardens and architecture. The 150+ exhibitors include renewable energy firms, letting agents and food and drinks vendors, and there’ll also be a health and wellbeing zone. And, if you book online in advance, it’s free!

May 2-3, free in advance or £3 per person or £5 per couple on the door (children free),

Grand Designs Live, ExCel Centre, London

The show of the year for fans of the long-running C4 series (not to mention presenter Kevin McCloud!), this huge event has it all. The interiors hall has inspiration from every room in the house, from essential kitchens and bathrooms to luxury games room. In the Grand Village, visitors can take in unique and innovative architecture and see the latest in eco-friendly design, whilst experts, celebrities and real life Grand Designs case studies will share their experiences in the Grand Theatre.

May 2-10, from £12 (under-15s free),

All Energy Exhibition & Conference, SECC, Glasgow

After 14 years in Aberdeen, the UK’s largest renewables show for professionals is moving to Glasgow during the city’s Green Year. Featuring more than 450 suppliers and with more than 400 high-profile speakers, the exhibition includes a Sustainable Cities Zone, a number of conference theatres, a Meet the Buyers ‘share fair’, where developers will explain what they look for during their tendering processes, and an Energy Storage Visitor Trail. And don’t miss the Low Carbon Transport Zone, where visitors looking for personal or company vehicles can take a ride in a number of display cars.

May 6-7, free to register in advance,

The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, SECC, Glasgow

The second of seven Homebuilding Shows throughout the UK in 2015, this Glasgow date comes hot on the heels of the All Energy Exhibition and in the same venue. It’s an essential date for anyone planning to create their dream home, either from scratch or by remodelling or extending an existing property. A one-stop shop of ideas and advice, this show includes inspiration for gardens and has experts from Homebuilding and Renovating magazine ready to answer your questions.

May 16-17, from £8 in advance,

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea, London

garden-showThe RHS staged its first ‘Great Spring Show’ in Kensington in 1862, before moving to Chelsea in the early 20th century. Since then, this world-renowned show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital has become the place for horticulturalists to exhibit, with displays becoming increasingly inventive year on year. 2015 marks the return of award-winning designer Jo Thompson, who is creating a romantic retreat inspired by the writing room of author Vita Sackville-West. Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, will also create a garden, whilst the RHS Discovery Zone in the Great Pavilion is a great place to head to with children. They can even turn astro-biologists courtesy of ‘Rocket Science’, a project with the UK Space Agency encouraging youngsters to plant rocket seeds that have been to the International Space Station!

May 19-23, from £24 for non-RHS members,

Salvo Fair, Henley-on-Thames

This outdoor show at Fawley Hill is a mecca for homeowners with an eye for all things vintage. The UK’s largest architectural salvage fair, it’s a treasure trove of home and garden antiques, industrial products, upcycled goods, reclaimed material and retro items. New for 2015 is ‘Tiny Salvaged Spaces’, an exhibition of summerhouses, wagons and shepherds’ huts. Note that Friday, June 26 is trade day.

June 27-28, £8 in advance or £9 on the day, or £29/£32 for a family ticket,,_architectural_salvage_and_reclaimed_materials_fair_in_Henley_on_Thames.html

Main image courtesy of the Homebuilding & Renovation Show 

Eight Easter ideas if you love DIY!


If you’re planning a spot of DIY during the Easter break, you’re not alone! Home improvement stores are gearing up for one of the busiest trading periods of the year, with the Easter holiday traditionally signalling the start of DIY season.

And this year, according to Retail Week, more people than ever are preparing to do it themselves. A recent survey revealed that 67% of consumers plan to carry out improvement projects at home, compared to 59% last year. Almost two thirds intend to buy the right equipment and do the work themselves, whilst 28% will call in a professional.

Easter can be a good time to take stock after a busy winter, so if you have a few days off work and want to get started, here are some ideas:

1. Glossing over things

Winter can be tough on any home, especially if you had a houseful of guests at Christmas or months of muddy boots trampling over your floors! Skirting boards and banisters can quickly become grubby in high-footfall areas, so it might be time to get out the gloss. Obviously you’ll need to buy paint and brushes, and don’t forget sandpaper, masking tape and floor covers if you want to do the job properly!

2. Kitchen comforts

You might need more than an Easter weekend to install a new kitchen, but you can certainly start planning! Now is a good time to measure up for new cabinets and decide how to configure that all-important kitchen triangle of cooker, sink and fridge. If the carcasses of existing cupboards are in good condition, you could simply buy replacement doors, or just buy new handles and accessories for a fresh look!

3. Switch on to style

sockets-switchesRedecorating a room is hard work, so it’s easy to overlook the small details. But expensive new wallpaper and gleaming paintwork can be badly let down if you just screw back in old, plastic sockets and switches afterwards. Take a tour of your home and find out which fittings have seen better days. Light switches and socket plates have come a long way and are now available in chrome, satin, pewter, vintage brass, mocha, pillar box red and pretty pastels, to name but a few! But remember that electrics can be dangerous, so if you’re unsure about how to fit a switch or socket, book an electrician.

4. The green, green grass of home

Given your lawn that first cut of spring yet? The sunny weather forecast for Easter could be a good chance to dust down the lawnmower and spruce up the garden. Don’t be tempted to cut it too short to start with, but do plan to mow every week, or at least once a fortnight, from now on. Look for patchy areas in need of sprinkling with grass seed and buy a good quality lawn feed to use regularly.

5. Garden bulbs (light bulbs, that is!)

Attractive lighting is no longer solely for indoors! With the evenings warming up and barbecue season about to begin, early April is a good time to install outdoor lighting. If you need strong lighting, there are lots of floodlights, outdoor LEDs and traditional lantern-style lights on the market. To create a romantic or cosy setting, opt for twinkling fairy lights or lanterns strung between plant pots or along garden trellis.

6. Leader of the (flat) pack

We all dread it, but sometimes self-assembling furniture is the only way to get the bookcase or cabinet of your dreams. Unfortunately, flat-pack instructions can be sparse, to say the least, and many a DIY-er has been left with a wonky wardrobe or a dodgy desk – and a puzzling pile of leftover screws. Luckily, these days the internet is awash with handy video guides, so do some research first and think positive – at least you’ll have somewhere to store your Easter eggs once those shelves are up!

7. As good as new

These days, re-decorating is just as much about upcycling old items as it is about buying new. It can take patience and time, but the results can be a treasured showpiece that will keep guests talking for years to come. The key lies in the preparation, so take a look at our handy guide to repainting wooden furniture or pop along to your library for books on re-covering chair cushions. Or just spend the Easter weekend mooching around the nearest antiques market instead!

8. Eggs-tra, eggs-tra!

easter-chicksNo home makeover is complete without the right decorations… we’re talking Easter decorations, of course! Go for family favourites such as painted eggshells in a pretty basket or make a seasonal wreath for the front door with spring flowers. Then all that’s left is to sit down with the Easter eggs for some DIY of a different kind… digest it yourself, of course!