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The Decorating Centre Blog

Help & advice for all your decorating needs

  • 6 Great Reasons to Use eicó Paints

    eico - environmentally friendly paints at The Decorating CentreA little while ago, we launched a new product line into our store – eicó paints from Scandinavia. This is a unique “carbon-positive” paint range that doesn't cost the earth - in every sense!

    There are several compelling reasons why you should consider using eicó paints. Take a look at some of them below...

    1. They really are environmentally-friendly

    Not only does eicó have one of the lowest VOC ratings of any paint sold in the UK, their whole manufacturing and production process is good for the environment too. eicó paints are manufactured in Scandinavia, using 100% geothermal and hydropower energy.

    2. eicó uses high quality paint formulas

    eicó paints won’t blister, crack or peel – and they retain colour very well - because they are made using 100% pure acrylic. Many competitor products compromise on the amount of acrylic in their paints because of the high costs associated with producing such a high quality formula. eicó’s unique manufacturing process means they can produce their paints cost effectively.

    3. These paints are better for your health

    Because eicó paints are non-toxic with very low VOCs, they have virtually no odour, so they can be used with confidence in children’s bedrooms and play areas. They are also APEO free which means they are the perfect choice for people who suffer from asthma or allergies. eicó paints are ideal for use in schools or hospitals too.

    eicó ZERO VOC Helmatt actually contains no VOCs whatsoever, making it a remarkable environmentally friendly decorating product.

    4. They’re durable and versatile

    eicó paints are designed to last. They are extremely durable and even washable – they can be washed up to 2000 times! What’s more, some finishes can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces, making eicó one of the most versatile paints in the UK today.

    5. You’ll get good value for money with eicó paints

    eicó provide high quality, environmentally friendly paints at reasonable prices, thanks to their efficient manufacturing process in Iceland and Sweden.

    6. There are plenty of paint colours to choose from

    eicó paints come in168 co-ordinated colours, which are available in every finish. There is also a 20,000 colour archive available and if by chance you can’t find the exact colour that you need in the eicó range, we can colour match for you.


    If you’re looking for a top quality yet environmentally friendly paint, eicó certainly ticks all the right boxes. They are one of the most ecologically and ethically sound paint manufacturers around at the moment and their decorating products are exceptional.

    To find out more about eicó paints and to browse colour samples and finishes, pop into our Wetherby store, or contact us for more details on 01937 580980.

    eicó paints at The Decorating Centre in Wetherby

    *All images courtesy of eicó

  • Help Prevent the Spread of Fire with Wallguard Systems (SYSTEXX + Opti Coatings)

    Opti Coatings at The Decorating Centre

    Following on from the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower in London on 14th June 2017, effective fire protection and prevention systems for buildings is understandably an important topic for discussion.

    In any building, it’s crucial to have active fire protection devices in place such as fire alarms and fire extinguishers. A passive fire protection system can work alongside these measures to further reduce the impact of fire, should the worst happen.

    A passive fire protection system helps to divide a building’s overall structure into smaller fire compartments through the use of fire-retardant walls, doors and floors.

    One such system is SYSTEXX + Opti Coatings by Wallguard Systems

    SYSTEXX is a fire-retardant wallcovering product, made from woven glass yarn fabric. It can be used on both walls and ceilings and meets the British Fire Standard (BS 476 part 6 & 7) – the highest and most stringent fire rating available.

    SYSTEXX fabrics don’t give off any toxic gases and they don’t create flaming debris. In addition, they produce virtually no smoke.

    It’s very quick and easy to apply SYSTEXX. It comes with Aqua Technology, meaning that you can simply moisten the fabric sheets and apply. Up to 25sqm can be applied per hour, reducing working time by 30% to 40%.

    Opti Coatings is Wallguard System’s specialist high performance paint range. When Opti Coatings are used in combination with SYSTEXX, this is a complete system that gives the very best fire protection available.

    There are a number of finishes available with Opti Coatings including:

    OPTIBACT – a water-borne resin based emulsion, containing a special anti-bacterial agent that reduces harmful bacteria. Its protective formula lasts for up to 10 years. Available in a matt or sheen finish, OPTIBACT is ideal for healthcare settings such as hospitals and dental surgeries as well as schools and nurseries.Opti Coatings at The Decorating Centre

    OPTIMATT – a highly durable water-borne emulsion which is ideal for spaces that receive high levels of human traffic. It’s washable and scrub resistant. This specialist coating works really well in areas of high humidity and in hospitals, schools, nurseries, hotels, gymnasiums etc.

    OPTISATIN  - this water-borne coating works brilliantly on interior woodwork in high traffic areas as it can be wiped clean easily and even lightly scrubbed. In addition, OPTISATIN provides a low odour, high opacity finish.

    OPTISHEEN – like OPTIMATT, this is a water-borne coating in a sheen finish that will withstand scrubbing and washing. OPTISHEEN has achieved a high grade on a scrub resistance and cleanability test, according to the BS EN ISO 11998 standard.

    In addition, OPTISHEEN works well when used on old painted surfaces and it can be used in areas of high humidity.

    Opti Coatings are available in a wide range of colours. As a complete system, they have each been tested and certified to the European Standards DIN EN 13823 B-s1, d0 which exceeds the UK BS 476 part 6 & 7 fire testing.

    The Wallguard System is now being used by Camden Council

    Several tower blocks in London that were deemed unsafe after what happened at Grenfell Tower have now been evacuated by Camden Council.

    As part of the new and urgent fire safety measures, SYSTEXX has been recently installed in Blashford Tower and it achieved a fire resistance higher than Class 0 when tested.

    A premier passive fire protection system like SYSTEXX + Opti Coatings can significantly reduce the spread and impact of fire in buildings, when used in accordance with fire protection devices and other fire prevention techniques, such as fire safety education.

    For more information on SYSTEXX and Opti Coatings, please contact Simon Brooke (Director at Wallguard Systems) on 07920 009021.

    Opti Coatings are available at The Decorating Centre in Wetherby, please call Simon Cooper (Managing Director) for more details or to check availability on 01937 580980.

    Opti Coatings at The Decorating Centre

    *Images courtesy of the manufacturer.

  • The Best Paints to Choose for Kids' Rooms


    There’s no doubt that the walls in kids' rooms are regularly put to the test. Finger marks, drawing pin holes and the remnants of blu-tack and sellotape are just some of the things that will eventually end up on those walls over time.

    It makes sense then, that when choosing a new paint for your child’s room, you should pick one that’s both cost effective and durable enough to be wiped down – or even scrubbed!

    Durability is of course an important consideration when decorating with the kids in mind – and so is safety.

    Why eco-friendly paints are a good choice for families

    Another crucial factor to consider when choosing paint for a kid’s room is whether the paint you intend to use will give off toxic fumes.

    Many conventional paints contain VOCs – hazardous gases given off as the paint dries, which often linger for some time afterwards. VOCs are harmful to the environment and can affect your health too. For more information about the dangers of VOCs, check out this article we published previously on our blog.

    Paints now have clear labelling on their packaging which states the level of VOCs contained within the product itself. As a general guide, any paint that has an odour is likely to contain VOCs and is therefore toxic to an extent.

    Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid toxic paints if you’re planning to paint a room where your child will play and sleep. The best route to go down is to look for a “child safe paint”.

    eicó paints – a leader in eco-friendly paints

    We’ve recently launched a new product line at The Decorating Centre, eicó paints, which are manufactured in Scandinavia.

    eicó offer a range of special “carbon positive” paints which aren’t widely available across the UK. All of their products have one of the lowest VOC ratings of any paint sold in the UK and are therefore ideal for kids' rooms.

    One of their products in particular (eicó ZERO VOC HELMATT) contains no VOCs whatsoever. This particular paint is water-based with virtually no odour.

    eicó’s mission is to offer paints that don’t the cost the earth – both in an environmental and a monetary sense! Their high quality paints are more affordable than you’d think.

    Little Greene’s child safe paint range

    We also stock paints from Little Greene, who offer a great range of environmentally-friendly paints too.

    Their Absolute Matt Emulsion, Intelligent Matt Emulsion and Intelligent Eggshell paints are all certified under the Toy Paint Regulations (BSEN 71-3:1995). They are completely safe for children so they can be used with confidence in kids' rooms – either on toys or to decorate walls, ceilings, skirting boards and doorframes.

    Little Greene’s Intelligent Eggshell also ticks the right boxes when it comes down to durability - it’s fully washable!


    When it comes to the little ones in our lives, giving them a safe place to play, sleep and live in is a priority. The paints we’ve mentioned in this article could do much to help with creating that environment.

    For more details on any of our decorating products, including Little Greene and eicó, do get in touch with us on 01937 580980!


    *Images © Hayley Hemmings.

  • New Product Line – eicó Paints

    eico paints at The Decorating Centre Wetherby

    We’re really pleased to announce a new product line at The Decorating Centre – an exciting and eco-friendly paint range – eicó paints from Scandinavia.

    This is a rather special “carbon-positive” paint range which isn’t widely available across the UK, so we’re very proud to be a stockist!

    eicó paints – they don’t cost our earth

    Not only do eicó paints have an extremely low VOC rating (in fact one of their paint types is ZERO VOC rated!), the whole production and transportation process is also environmentally-friendly too. eicó manufacture their paints in Iceland and Sweden, allowing them to use 100% geothermal or hydro-power energy for their production processes.

    eico - environmentally friendly paints at The Decorating Centre

    You’ve probably heard of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) before - you might want to read more about them in this post from our blog.

    VOCs are usually bad news. Most of them are harmful to the environment and can also be detrimental to your health too.  In particular, asthma or allergy sufferers can find such conditions worsening when being exposed to high rated VOCs.

    eicó paints formula and finishes

    eicó paints consist of 100% pure acrylic. This means that their paints don’t crack or peel and retain their colour very well. It’s possible to use certain types of the same paint on both interior and exterior surfaces – how’s that for blessed simplicity?

    eicó paints can be used on a range of surfaces including interior walls, ceilings and primed structural steel and exterior masonry, render, cement and concrete. You can also use eicó paints on primed woodwork, lining paper and glass fibre surfaces. Ask in store for more details on how eicó paints can be used.

    These paints come in an extensive range of 168 colours and if you can’t find the exact colour you need, we can offer a colour matching service for you.

    Take a look at these six finishes to choose from as follows:

    eicó ZERO VOC Helmatt

    As the name describes, this is a ZERO VOC paint, meaning that no harmful VOCs are used whatsoever. It’s a high quality, water-based matt paint that’s both durable and washable. It has virtually no-odour and is APEO free (good for allergy and asthma suffers to know).

    It’s designed for interior use and is popular with hospitals, schools and for children’s bedrooms and playrooms. Its non-toxic formula is also ideal of course for anyone who has respiratory problems.

    eicó Environmentally Friendly Alterior Matt

    This is one of their paint types that you can use for both interior and exterior decorating. Water-based, this particular paint is ideal for masonry as it resists dirt and stands up to weathering very well. The VOC rating on this paint is <0.74% - extremely low.

    eicó Flat Eggshell

    A lovely finishing paint for woodwork, metals and walls. It dries to a modern semi-matt finish. Many Eggshell paints in general have high VOCs; eicó’s version however is rated low at <5.5%.

    eicó Alterior Eggshell, Satin and Gloss finishes

    A waterborne paint that be used internally and externally on walls, ceilings, roof tiles, woodwork, rendered plaster and more. It has hardly any odour and is APEO free.

    eico - environmentally friendly paints at The Decorating Centre

    With eicó, high quality doesn’t mean high prices

    eicó’s mission is to offer the most comprehensive range of environmentally-friendly and ethically sound paints currently available in the UK – without asking you to break the bank to buy them.

    Indeed, eicó’s unique manufacturing process means that they are able to produce exceptional quality paints at affordable prices!

    Ready to find out more about eicó? Call us on 01937 580980 with any questions about this product line or pop into our Wetherby store for details.

    eico paints at The Decorating Centre in Wetherby All images courtesy of eicó.
  • The Benefits of Using Environmentally Friendly Paints


    As well as being safer for the world around us, there’s another very good reason why you should consider using environmentally friendly paints when decorating... they’re much better for your health too.

    To explain why this is the case, we need to look closely at Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and how they are used in paints.

    What are VOCs?

    You’ve probably heard of them before – many products contain them, such as fuel, household cleaners, air fresheners, synthetic carpets and the solvents which are added to decorative paints. Basically, anything that has an odour or scent is likely to contain VOCs.

    Most man-made VOCs are harmful to the environment. VOCs are the hazardous gases that are emitted from some solids or liquids. In paints for example, these are the fumes given off when it turns from liquid to solid (as it dries).

    How VOCs can affect your health

    Unsurprisingly, VOCs can be really bad for your health as well as the environment. People who suffer with asthma or allergies can find their conditions aggravated if they come into contact with high rated VOCs.

    Exposure to high rated VOCs can cause headaches and irritation in the eyes, nose and throat. Certain VOCs can cause liver and lung damage and some are even carcinogenic, meaning that they can cause cancer.

    VOCs in paints

    The VOCs in paint don’t just go away in a day or so. They can linger around for weeks, silently decreasing the quality of indoor air. With that said, sourcing paint that is rated as low VOC is an important consideration today for many people, especially those with children or those who suffer from health problems.

    Tackling VOCs is of course a critical goal for all paint manufacturers too. UK legislation on the use of VOCs is based on the EU directive 2004/42/EC, which imposes a limit on the amount of VOCs in decorative materials (paints, primers, adhesives etc).

    Decorating products, such as paints, are now clearly labelled to show the percentage amount of VOCs that they contain.

    Environmentally friendly paints at The Decorating Centre

    Many of the decorative paints available in our store contain low VOCs. For example, we stock Johnstone’s Trade ecological paints which are rated as low VOC Content (0.3 – 7.99%). Johnstone’s paints are renowned for being high quality, offering great coverage and ease when applying them.

    We’re also a stockist for Little Greene paints, all of which are environmentally friendly. Many of their paints are water-based to give a quick drying (child-safe) finish. And unlike some other paint manufacturers, Little Greene’s oil-based paints contain naturally occurring vegetable oils instead of hazardous solvents.

    A new range of eco friendly paints – coming soon!

    What’s more, we’re almost ready to offer a new environmentally friendly product line at The Decorating Centre! It’s a brand that’s really in a league of its own when it comes to affordable, ethically produced, low VOC rated paints.

    Watch this space for more details about this exciting launch!


    *Images owned by Hayley Hemmings.

  • How to Decorate a Large Room

    LG Bark - Heath LG Bark - Heath. © Little Greene

    Having a large room in your home isn’t always the enviable space you’d think it would be. Although small rooms can be tricky to decorate, big rooms actually come with their own set of decorating challenges too!

    Small rooms can usually be made cosy with a little decoration and a clever selection of furnishings. But a bit more thought needs to go into a large room to get the same effect; otherwise the room can end up feeling sparse, empty and cold.

    We’ve put together a few tips you can use below:

    1. Position furniture strategically

    Furniture is best placed away from the walls in a large room. Large sofas work well in the centre of the room, with a large rug underneath to help separate floor spaces and draw the eye to the main seating area.

    Avoid making your large room look like your local DFS store, by filling it full of sofas and furniture. Choose a good large sofa or two by all means, but there’s no need for overkill.

    With that said, a couple of occasional chairs can also look great scattered about the room, next to a sideboard or table for example.

    If you have a lot of books, consider making one wall a library with bookshelves! This can make a great feature in a room and help create a cosy atmosphere too. Fill other walls with pictures or canvases to break up dead wall space.

    2. Room dividers can help break up a large space

    Set up a nice screen to help divide the space into different areas. For example, you can create a cosy reading corner behind a screen, with a chaise longue, some fluffy cushions and warm lighting.

    3. Use large plants

    Tall potted plants look great in large spaces. They allow a little natural colour into the room and take up vertical and ground space without making the room feel cluttered.

    4. Add colour

    As a general rule of thumb, light and bright paint colours tend to make a room feel more spacious, whilst darker colours absorb light giving the illusion of a smaller, cosier space. We love Royal Navy 257 (below) by Little Greene. They do a range of deep colours too - check them out here.

    Royal Navy 257

    Don’t be afraid to go dark in a large room. There are better methods than others to get the most out of dark paint colours though - check out these excellent tips for using dark paint from Mad About the House, an award-winning interior design blog.

    5. Consider two-tone walls

    Divide wall colours horizontally to break up the space further and effectively “shorten” the walls. Use darker colours at the bottom to draw the eye lower down, rather than upwards towards high ceilings.

    6. Don’t forget about lighting!

    The right lighting can really do wonders for a large room. Rather than using bright spotlights in the ceiling, use low dangling pendant lights and warm lamps in different areas. A mix of floor and table lights will help take up a bit more space too!

    We hope you found this post helpful if you're planning to decorate a large room. We're always happy to share our decorating tips and advice with you. If you're passing Wetherby anytime soon, why not pop into our store and talk to our team about your next project?

    Please take a minute to share this post online with your social media followers!

    Image courtesy of Unsplash. Text overlay added. Image courtesy of Unsplash (Sarah Dorweiler). Used under Creative Commons Zero license. Text overlay added.
  • Why Are Some Paints Pricier Than Others?


    Ever wondered why there’s sometimes such a big difference in price when it comes to the same type of paint? Surely a tin of paint is just... well, a tin of paint, right?

    Wrong! The reason some paints are pricier than others is all to do with the magic formula that they’re made up of.

    What are paints made up of?

    Paints are made up of three main elements; pigments, solvents and binders (resins). Pigments are particles that give the paint its colour and the binder acts as a sort of glue, sticking the pigment particles together and allowing paint to stick to a surface. The solvent is the element that thins down the pigment and binder into a liquid form.

    That’s the science part of how paint works, but how does the varying price factor come into it? Well, as a general rule, you can expect value range paints to contain larger pigment particles and more solvents, thus diluting the overall formula, meaning more coats are needed.

    High quality paints, such as the range from Johnstone’s or Little Greene, are more expensive because they contain higher quality formulas to ensure that the paint is easier to apply and that it will go further, so you won’t need too many coats.

    Johnstone's Flat Matt - great quality paint at The Decorating Centre

    Cheap paints can mean more work for you

    Cheaper paints can end up being a false economy - you might not get a great finish. You’ve probably experienced this yourself: you decide to go for a value tin of paint to save money, but you end up buying twice as much, because it turns out that the cheap paint has about as much covering power as a threadbare net curtain.

    That’s not to say though that cheap paint isn't useful and shouldn't be purchased. After all, not every surface in the home needs to have a fantastic finish. If you’re painting the inside of the utility closet or garage, it might not need to look perfect, so you may as well try to save some money by going for budget paint.

    In addition, not all cheaper brands of paint should be tarred with the same brush. For example, Leyland Trade offer a great range of good quality, affordable paints.

    However, paying a little bit more for a tin of paint for the rooms that matter to you could actually save you time and money in the long-run. That's because you might not need to apply as many coats as you would with a value paint product and you'll get a better finish.

    As the saying goes, you get what you pay for!

    We hope you found this article helpful. For more decorating tips and advice, why not check out this section of our blog before you go?


    *Manufacturer's product images used above.

  • How to Pick the Right Neutral Colour for Your Room

    How to pick the right neutral paint colour for your room blog

    Thinking of painting a room in a neutral colour? The trouble is, which one?

    There are an abundance of neutral paint colours out there and what's more, different tones can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. In this post, we'll explain how to use neutrals to leave your room looking anything but bland.

    Neutrals are great if you want to create a timeless look that will last. The first thing you'll need to consider is whether you want the space you're decorating to appear warm or cool, light or dark.

    Warm neutrals

    Neutral colours that have an undertone of yellow or red, can help a room to feel warm. "Rolling Fog" is a beautiful warm beige colour from Little Greene. Paired with white accent colours, this room looks relaxing and comforting - just the right effect for a bathroom.

    Little Greene Bathroom_Rolling Fog

    Below is "French Grey" from Little Greene - grey can actually be a warm shade as well as cool. Grey shades look great with wooden flooring and beige colours too for an overall warm, relaxing effect. Grey can sometimes make a room look cooler than expected however, depending on how much natural light the room gets.

    Little Greene Living Room_French Grey

    Cool neutrals and white

    Cool neutrals are generally calming colours; they are good to use if you'd like your room to feel modern and tranquil. If you decide to use cool greys, or neutrals with a bluish undertone, make sure to use a few bolder or brighter accessories in your room to create a little balance. Try patterned cushions or brass furnishings to add texture and interest to a calming backdrop.

    White shades can look very fresh and help to lift a room. These also have different undertones too. Generally, if you have a north-facing room that perhaps doesn't get much natural light, you should go for whites with a yellow undertone to help the light reflect around the room. For south-facing rooms, you should be able to get away with cooler shades of white.

    Take a look at these cool neutrals and white shades below from Little Greene.

    106 - Gauze


    81 - Clockface

    129 - Shirting

    Dark neutrals

    Black and grey are classed as dark neutrals and they can be really exciting colours to use if you want to add depth in a room. The bathroom below uses Little Greene's "Jack Black", which looks fantastic against the stark white windows and wooden floor.

    Use dark shades like this to make a feature of one wall, or to create a cosy atmosphere in spaces where you like to chill out, such as the living room.

    Little Greene Bathroom_Jack Black


    We hope this post goes some way in helping you to pick the right neutral colour for your room. You may find it helpful to consider the fabric pieces in your room first before choosing your paint colour. It's much easier to match a paint to fabric than the other way around!

    Are you a fan of neutrals? What shades do you like best?

    How to pick the right neutral paint colour for your room pin

    *Images © Hayley Hemmings

  • How to Achieve a Timeless Decorating Style


    Unless you’ve got money to burn, decorating your home is something that you’ll want to do well – and in a timeless fashion – so that your hard work will stand the test of time. In this post, we’ll explore some ways to achieve a timeless decorating style, that will survive changing interior design trends, room by room.

    The Kitchen

    Tired trend: Orange-coloured pine kitchens were big in the 1990s, along with traditional shaker style units. They looked great back then, but these days, too much pine in the kitchen looks dated.

    Make it timeless: Shaker style kitchens can look classic and modern, simply by painting the cupboards. Using white paint for the units is a great colour to use as white kitchens never go out of fashion. In many homes, the kitchen is one of smallest (and cluttered) rooms in a house and white works very well to open up such spaces.

    Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint is a good choice for kitchen cupboards. It can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, plaster, plastic, stone or brick.

    The Bathroom

    Tired trend: Remember the avocado bathroom suite? They were really popular in the 1970s but nowadays, they give people the urge to rip them out pronto.

    Make it timeless: Having a coloured bathroom suite at all is risky when it comes to interior trends. Stick with a white bathroom suite and you can’t go far wrong. If you can, purchase a stand-alone bath tub. They’re classic yet modern and look great in any style of home.

    If you want to inject a bit of colour into your bathroom, do so with the walls or floor instead. Bathrooms are prone to condensation, so to ensure long-lasting paintwork, you might want to prepare your surfaces with Johnstone’s Stop Mould first.

    The Bedroom

    Tired trend: Frilly florals were on the scene in the 1980s and 1990s, adorning bedrooms (and living rooms) everywhere. Florals are great, but back then it was common to see floral wallpaper, floral borders, floral curtains and floral bedlinen, all in the same room.

    Make it timeless: Florals are still very pretty to use when decorating bedrooms. But use them as a feature to avoid overkill. Take a look at this article for how vintage florals can be used to create timeless interiors.

    Our range of Little Green London II Wallpapers has lots of beautiful floral designs that work really well in the bedroom too.

    The Living Room

    Tired trend: In the 1980s, some living rooms featured a brick fireplace surround / shelf that stretched all the way across one wall. Handy if you want to put your cup of tea down somewhere, but it was also an ugly eyesore too.

    Make it timeless: If you have a brick fireplace and it isn’t really in keeping with your home’s style, trying painting it in a colour that complements your living room. White is a good choice, as you can make a feature of the brickwork, without having it overpower the room.

    If you don’t have a fireplace, it’s still a good idea to have a focal point in the living room. Create a feature wall using a bolder paint colour or use stripes, as they seem to stand the test of time.

    Little Greene Intelligent Matt Emulsion can be used on woodwork and metal as well as plaster. It’s environmentally-friendly and completely washable too.

    The Entrance / Hallway

    Tired trend: Wood panelling was a trend that started in the 1960s (and apparently is making a comeback, although how long for remains to be seen). In its heyday, big wooden square panels covered walls from floor to ceiling and tongue and groove panels frequented the hallway... or the side of the bath.

    Make it timeless: If you do have wood panelling and you don’t want to rip it out, try painting it in a fresh neutral colour to bring it up-to-date. Or try one of these makeovers instead.

    Carpets aren’t practical for hallways and can look dated, so replace with quality wood flooring, or better still, make the most of the original floor if you own a character property.

    If you have a timber floor, you can protect it and bring out the natural beauty in the woodgrain with Treatex Hardwax Oil.


    Before you go, just cast your mind back to this interior trend that warrants a cringe or two: Artex ceilings. They weren’t limited to just one room; they could appear all over a house.

    Even if you didn’t mind looking at that lumpy, bumping coating, there were health concerns to think of. Older Artex could sometimes contain asbestos! Check out this article if you have Artex in your home and want to remove it.

    So what constitutes a timeless decorating style then? Well, a timeless look is one that’s adaptable, quietly understated and made up of quality elements, including furniture and furnishings that are designed to last.

    To achieve a timeless look, you’ll need to keep your decor classic and avoid fad trends that are only good for the here and now.

    Can you think of any more tired trends to avoid?


    *Images © Hayley Hemmings

  • 5 Ways to Make Christmas Less Stressful


    Christmas... it’s a lovely time of year that most people look forward to. But at the same time, the run up to Christmas Day can cause even more stress than if Santa had a broken sleigh on Christmas Eve!

    There’s the Christmas present shopping mountain to climb. There’s the turkey to remember to order. Not to mention the card-writing, gift-wrapping and traditional wrestling-of-the-Christmas-tree to tackle. And on top of all that, you’ll need to make sure you know what the plans are for Christmas Day – and if you’re entertaining – getting ready for all that goes with hosting.

    It’s no wonder that Christmas is deemed as the sixth most stressful life event, up there with the likes of divorce, changing jobs and moving house! Well, if you’re already reaching for the Kalms, maybe you can make the run up to Christmas a little easier by following our 5 stress-busting tips below...

    1. Plan and buy your Christmas gifts ahead of time

    Don’t be that person frantically doing the last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. You’ll be entering a battlefield and you’re bound to walk away with scars. Maybe not physical ones, but mental ones that could haunt you for a long time.

    Decide what you’re going to buy for friends and family ahead of time. That way you’re more likely to choose something that they actually want, rather than giving in to impulse buys at the last minute. Even better, do your Christmas shopping online. Stick to your budget and earn yourself a few rewards by going through cashback sites like Top Cashback first. You deserve it.

    2. Write your Christmas cards in small batches

    If your Christmas card list is as long as war and peace and you know you’ll have to set aside several hours to tackle it, procrastination may be getting the better of you.

    The best thing to do with any insurmountable task is to separate it down into smaller ones. Start now if you haven’t already and allow time for writing a small batch of cards per day. Stock up on stamps so you can post them whenever you pass the post box and another job will be off your “to-do” list before you know it.

    3. Get your home ready in plenty of time

    Everyone wants their home to look nice at Christmas time, but before you stock up on a new Christmas tree and all the trimmings, see what you can salvage from last year first.

    Why not make some decorations totally unique by giving them a new lease of life with Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Spray Paint? You can also create some festive furniture with spray paint; check out this great tutorial over at Rust-Oleum.

    Christmas is about more than just decorations though. Create just the right ambience by getting the lighting perfect and using Christmas scented candles to get you in the mood for all that mulled wine and Christmas pud.

    If you can, try to get your home completely ready for Christmas Day the week before Christmas. That way, you’ll have time to appreciate your Christmas decor in advance and hopefully have time to relax into the Christmas spirit.

    4. Consider plans for on Christmas Day itself

    If you’re hosting Christmas this year, make sure you know when people will be arriving and where you’ll be putting them up if they’re staying over.

    If you know that your loveable but sharp-tongued aunt gets wound up by your teenage nephew, sort out the seating arrangements so that they won’t be sitting together for Christmas dinner. Just make it a little easier for yourself on the day.

    Also, think about your escape plan, particularly if you have a few awkward guests or if you’re heading over to someone else’s house for Christmas.

    You might not want or need to escape but if you do, think about at what point might be appropriate to retire to the comfort of your sofa, and what you’ll say. Then you can get back to your own Christmas celebrations where you can really relax and let your hair down a little!

    5. Enjoy the holiday!

    Christmas is supposed to be your holiday too, even if you only get a couple of days off work. So take some time for yourself and try to enjoy the festive season without worrying too much about all the things you need to do to make Christmas great for those around you.

    At the end of the day, it won’t matter if Christmas dinner is an hour late, or you miss someone off your Christmas card list or even if you forget someone’s gift. If ever there's a time for understanding, Christmas time is it.


    Christmas is a special time of year and it’s a time that can bring people closer together. We often put too much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas absolutely perfect for those around us, when we really don’t need to. So, just enjoy the festiveness of the season and do what you can – no more than that!

    We hope you have a relaxing Christmas, from us all at The Decorating Centre!


    *Image credit: Hayley Hemmings

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