Win a luxurious woollen throw with Sofas by Saxon!

Winter throw to win

Now winter is closing in, for the latest issue of HomeFocus we have teamed up with Sofas by Saxon and are giving one lucky reader the chance to win a genuine wool throw worth £130! This stunning throw is woven from 100% British wool, resulting a sumptuously soft blanket that will keep you warm and cosy all winter long.

The classic shade you see here is called Herringbone Thistle, an elegantly understated beige with a subtle touch of lavender. We’re confident that this gorgeous throw will look good in almost any home, especially when draped over a couch or armchair. It measures 170cm x 145cm, so it’s the perfect size for snuggling up on the sofa on those chilly winter evenings.

Exploring Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes

Photo of new home example of available on shared ownership scheme or help to buy schemes in UK

Have you ever heard the words “shared ownership”, or “Help to Buy” but always wondered exactly what people were talking about?

The world of affordable home ownership might seem like a complex one, particularly for first-time buyers, but here at HomeFocus we strive to cut through the jargon and tell you exactly what you need to know.

Thanks to the sky-high prices of homes and houses nationwide, people right across the country are being priced out of the open market, and add that to the extortionate cost of renting, it’s no wonder that people are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.

However, there are affordable home ownership schemes in place to help you buy your own home - and the key word there is affordable.

How to create the perfect kitchen in your forever home

Create the perfect kitchen

Far from being the hidden-away workspaces that they once were, modern kitchens are, in many ways, the hub of the home. These days, we spend a lot of time in our kitchens, and only a small fraction of that is actually used for cooking, so you'll want yours to look perfect. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to designing your kitchen, but we're going to walk you through the steps you should consider if you want to create a space that resonates with you.

It all starts with a plan

Help to Buy explained by mortgage experts Rhodes Advisory

Rhodes Advisory founder Lee Rhodes

Lee Rhodes is a mortgage and insurance advisor and the founder of Rhodes Advisory. With over 13 years of experience in financial services, he has this year helped clients raise over £7m in mortgages. Here, he has some advice about Help to Buy for first time buyers…

Getting on the property ladder isn’t easy these days, especially for first time buyers with fairly small deposits or those who do not have any or much equity built up in property that can be used as a deposit for an onward purchase. The good news is that the UK government are keen on stimulating the housing market and want to help people get that foot onto or up the ladder.

3 on-trend bathroom styles for 2019

Industrial Bathroom

Will 2019 be the year you finally get round to renovating your bathroom? Perhaps you have a cloakroom that needs a little TLC or an ensuite that is looking hopelessly out of date?

When you start out on your bathroom planning journey, it can often be difficult to see the wood for the trees. There are so many ways in which you can gain inspiration, from online sources such as Pinterest, to home interest magazines. It can often be hard to figure out just what kind of look you want to achieve.

The good news is, help is at hand. In this blog post, we’ll be taking a look at three contemporary but very different bathroom styles, to help you easily achieve that on-trend bathroom you’ve been dreaming of.

Winter saviours for the home

Saviours for the home

After a long and often strenuous day at work, the safe and cosy haven that is home, is the most appealing and welcoming atmosphere, especially in the winter months. The cold and frosty weather is not only here, but here for the long haul, and with that, so is the tendency to want to stay inside for as long as is humanly possible. Ensuring that your space is as cosy and heat effective as possible is paramount, with that here are the absolute must have items for the home, that will quickly become your winter saviours: 

Heated Towel Rails

Popular Luton Development Willow Grove Successfully Sold Out

Luton Development, Willow Grove

David Wilson Homes’ Luton development Willow Grove has successfully sold out due to popular demand.  David Wilson Homes North Thames' new homes at Willow Grove in Luton

The sought-after development, located on Clinton Avenue, features a collection of three, four and five bedroom homes that tailors to the needs of a range of different buyers. 

Willow Grove is a beautiful development located in Stopsley that is perfectly situated for the best of both town and country living. The centre of Luton is just a few miles away with all the amenities needed for modern lifestyles, while the open parklands of Barton Hills National Nature Reserve are a short drive away.

'Tis The Season For Scrubbing and Tidying

Woman cleaning & tidying house

New research reveals 63% of UK consumers admit they miss out on family time because they begin tidying the house at least a week before the big day, with 37% tidying between 10 and 18 days in advance of Christmas Day

It’s the season to be jolly, but the stress experienced in the lead up to having the ‘perfect’ Christmas can leave many UK families feeling more frazzled than festive. New research from leading kitchen roll brand Regina has uncovered that well over half of those surveyed (69%) admit they do at least twice the amount of housework than normal just to please visiting guests at Christmas.

Mrs Hinch v. The #GrinchArmy in the battle for a greener Christmas

Mother & daughter cleaning up for Christmas

If the popularity of online sensation Mrs Hinch is anything to go by, cleaning could fast become the nation’s favourite pastime. And with Christmas coming up, now is the perfect time to get scrubbing for a sparking home this season.

But as it’s also the period for peace on Earth, ethical cleaning company Bio-D has produced a list of eco-friendly tips to prepare for the festivities and be kind to the environment at the same time.

They’ve teamed-up with interior influencers to inspire their own Hinch-style army, dubbed the ‘#GrinchArmy’ to reflect their green credentials.

Lloyd Atkin, Managing Director of Bio-D, said: “At Bio-D, we believe a clean home shouldn’t cost the Earth in any sense.

How to get the best mortgage

Applying for a mortgage - front doors

Ruban Selvanayagam and James Durr are founders of Property Solvers, a quick house buying company and express estate agency operating across the UK. Here, they offer advice on honing your mortgage application skills… 

How do you know if the mortgage you're about to secure is the cheapest available? 

With 100's lenders to choose from, all with different rates and terms, trying to find the best mortgage can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. 

Below are some quick tips on finding a good deal as a first-time buyer...

Install and control your home security the ‘smart’ way

Install and control your home security the ‘smart’ way

We’re now well and truly in the run up to Christmas, and odds are you’re planning a trip away and more nights out at festive parties. 

With the ONS reporting a rise in burglary related offences to over 666,000 this year, it’s incredibly important that you’re also thinking about how to keep your home safe while you’re out enjoying the festive period. 

Thousands Use Help To Buy In Bedfordshire To Buy New Homes

Bedfordshire Help To Buy New Homes

A government initiative is helping thousands of families in Bedfordshire to get on to the housing ladder. New figures released by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) reveal that a total of 4,707 homebuyers in the county used the Help to Buy scheme since it was launched five years ago.

Within the county, the districts which made the best use of the scheme were Bedford (2,000) and Central Bedfordshire (2,419). 

Tadpole Garden Village, from £252,000 for 80%

Tadpole Garden Village home

David Wilson Homes has opened the doors to a brand-new show home at its popular development in Swindon. Park Viewat Tadpole Garden Village is the latest phase of the five-star housebuilder’s development in Swindon and features a range of three, four and five bedroom homes off William Morris Way.

Now potential residents have the chance to explore a new show home in the form of the Leighfield style home.

Central Heating – Controlled Properly Can Save You Money and Improve Your Health 

Cat lying on a central heating controlled radiator

It’s that time of year again. The months are getting considerably colder as we plough through autumn and winter is just around the corner. Candles and warm lighting are no longer fooling us into believing it’s warmer than it is, meaning that more and more of us are reaching towards the thermostat to indulge in a bath of warm air. However, we ought to be careful how soon and how often we’re reaching for our heating systems. Indeed, professionals advise the general public to be restrictive with their heating to prevent inflicting health related issues on themselves and costly energy bills.

Three Story Properties To Please The Whole Family In Milton Keynes

Children's room in Milton Keynes

Leading Buckinghamshire developer David Wilson Homes South Midlands has revealed how its three storey properties at Eagles’ Rest, Milton Keynes are able to accommodate the whole family, keeping everyone happy in a move to a new home.

Providing generous living spaces for family members of all ages, the Fen Street development has a magnificent selection of three storey homes available. Eager house hunters in Milton Keynes are being encouraged to consider the benefits of three storey living.

Jason Hearn, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes South Midlands, said: “The three storey properties at our Eagle’s Rest development have been expertly designed to meet the demands of modern living and are perfectly suited to accommodate growing families.

Think you’ll never afford that house deposit?

Using a piggy bank to save for a house deposit

Think you’ll never afford that house deposit? A side hustle doesn’t need to be part-time job 

The average house deposit in 2017, for first-time buyers outside of London, was £26,2241. This is up 108% in comparison to ten years ago1. With the average income of first-time buyers having only increased by almost 17% over the same period, it can often feel like an uphill struggle to save enough for a dream home in today’s world. So it’s not a surprise the average age of first-time buyers has increased too, giving longer to piggy bank those extra pounds.  But it is do-able, even if you aren’t an extreme saver like these three:

How to Save Energy in Your Home This Winter

Energy saving homes

British Gas recently announced they’re increasing their prices by 4%, and with winter fast approaching, homes across the UK will soon be turning on their heating to battle the cold.  While this increase in gas and electricity usage leads to larger bills in the winter, there are ways in which you can save energy (and in turn, money). Here, home experts Birlea outline 10 small ways you can save energy in your home this winter, which will help to reduce those dreaded bills.

Invest in a Smart Thermostat

Brits will be more careful than ever with their heating this winter

Brits warm home

Over five million Brits will wait until the temperature dips to zero degrees or lower before switching on their heating this winter, according to new research.  

Anglian Home Improvements carried out the research alongside the launch of its new Hot Property campaign, which is aimed at helping homeowners identify where the heat in their home may escape from. The home improvements company partnered with a thermographer-qualified drone specialist to take heat sensitive images of six different properties ranging from Grade II listed homes to new build properties. The images illustrate the most common areas residents lose heat from in their homes, which tend to be windows, doors, chimneys and roofs.

Getting On The Property Ladder Prioritised Above Having Children

Alexandra Gorn Furniture - Getting On The Property Ladder

Bucket list favourites including buying a house, travelling and getting married are now more of a priority to British couples than starting a family, a new study has found. In a survey of 1,003 British adults, carried out by etailer Furniture123.co.uk, 67% said that getting onto the property ladder was their number one priority for adult life and that they wanted a place to call their own before planning to start a family.

63% or respondents said they wanted to see more of the world before committing to children.

Top Tips for Creating an Elegant Christmas Bedroom

Elegant festive bedroom

Beautifully decorating your home is all part of getting into the Christmas spirit. While many of us spend hours decorating the entrance hallway, living room, dining room and even kitchen with sparkly ornaments and fairy lights, the bedroom can sometimes slip under the festive radar. But fear not, there’s plenty of time to ensure this isn’t the case for 2019! A festively decorated bedroom will make sure you wake up to plenty of holiday cheer, throughout each morning of December. 

 

Decorating Children's bedrooms for Christmas: The Do's and Don'ts of Decorations

Decorations in bedroom

Christmas is arguably the most magical time of the year, especially for Children. Christmas songs, writing letters to Santa and gift lists, all help to build the excitement in the run up to Christmas (not that they need it!). Have you ever thought of spending the time give their bedrooms a festive makeover? Taking some time from your busy schedule and helping your little ones to decorate their bedroom is almost guaranteed to bring instant happiness. To get you started, Room To Grow have shared their do’s and don’ts for Christmas decorations:

Do...

Winter styling tips for your new home

Cosy winter styling of home

Matt Deighton is the Managing Director of Sofas by Saxon, a manufacturer of luxury sofas and soft furnishing accessories. Here, he shares his winter styling tips on how you can give your new home a cosy style overhaul just in time for winter.

If you’re looking forward to spending your first winter in your new home, you’ll want to make sure your décor is cosy and inviting. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing four simple but effective winter styling tips that will add warmth and comfort to your home, while still looking perfectly modern and on-trend.

 

Add statement velvet furnishings

Get festive with Bloc Blinds unique swappable Christmas blinds

Festive Blinds

For those looking for an interesting way to accessorise their home this year, why not opt for one of Bloc Blinds special swappable roller blind systems? This clever invention has elevated the humble roller blind to the latest way to keep up with trends and key calendar dates as the company’s unique Fabric Changer system empowers homeowners everywhere to be bang-up-to-date by simply hooking-on and hooking-off patterns in line with the season.