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Minute makeovers: There’s still time to refresh your home decor before Christmas

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Makeovers in minutes: There’s still time to give your home a facelift before Christmas visitors arrive

  • December is no time to start a big renovation project
  • However, there are plenty of quick-fix solutions to spruce up your home
  • Here are seven top tips to give your space a quick new look 










December is no time to start big interiors projects. 

But if you are pining to give your home a facelift before visitors descend, we have the answers on some of the best quick-fix solutions.

Here are seven top tips for a new look, pronto.

Arty: A gallery wall can add interest to hallways, stairwells, living rooms, or bedrooms, fast

Arty: A gallery wall can add interest to hallways, stairwells, living rooms, or bedrooms, fast

Pile on the paint

With today’s improved technology, paint dries faster, so you won’t need to vacate a room for days on end. 

Designer Andrew Martin’s paint collection is touch-dry in just 20 minutes and can be recoated after an hour.

So whether you plan to paint a whole room or just a feature wall, you can start after breakfast and be done by the school run — if not before. 

The paint is 100 per cent water based and virtually odour free. When choosing colours, there are 114 shades inspired by travel and adventure. 

Among daring darks, there’s Mendoza Malbec and Japanese Kimono. If you’re inclined to go neutral, there’s Maasai Mist and Sussex Flint. From £31.

K.D. Loves has launched a collection of 'roompack' wicker hampers filled with matching pieces

K.D. Loves has launched a collection of ‘roompack’ wicker hampers filled with matching pieces

Ace accessories 

To brighten a drab room in a day, update your accessories. Instead of agonising over the right mix of colour and design, buy a ready-made bundle of accessories that complement one another.

K.D. Loves has created such a solution and launched a collection of ‘roompack’ wicker hampers filled with matching pieces. 

Its Salthouse roompack includes a fuchsia and orange marmalade lamp, fuchsia throw, two fuschia-striped cushions and two orange velvet cushions. Priced from £1,200.

Kitchen update

New door and drawer handles breathe new life into chests of drawers, sideboards, kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Try the Adeline knotted handle in gold (£18, Anthropologie) or the Mother of Pearl brass handle. 

If you feel like splashing out, head to Buster + Punch for some slick designs such as the gunmetal pull bar (£42).

If you want to add colour and personality, try brightly painted ceramic knobs (from £8, Anthropologie).

Instant gallery

A gallery wall is a carefully curated display of photographs or prints arranged on a wall using photo frames. 

It’s the perfect way to add interest to hallways, stairwells, living rooms, or bedrooms, fast. Instead of spending hours spacing out each frame, buy a set.

At The White Company, each photo frame is numbered with a sticker that matches up to two printed templates to choose between. 

The guidelines mean you just need to align each frame (from £180).

If you’d prefer wall art to family photos, try the set of 12 Dera framed abstract prints at Oka (£395) or the Eva Watts Tropical Leaves framed prints (£140, John Lewis).

Speedy sofas

Need a new sofa fast? Plenty of brands offer ready-made sofas that you can have delivered within a few days.

At Sofa Workshop, its website promises that all in-stock sofas will be delivered within five to ten days of your order. 

And at Snug, all sofas are guaranteed to be delivered before Christmas. Crucially, they can be assembled in minutes and don’t require any tools.

Sumptuous bedding

With your bed as the focal point of a bedroom, it’s a good place to start for a fresh look.

Classic white sheets are always a crowd-pleaser. Try 600 thread count cotton bedding from Soak & Sleep (from £25).

Top with a luxurious quilt for a layer of indulgence. Oliver Bonas’s pink and green quilted velvet bedspread is a favourite (£125).

What your home needs is… fancy flutes 

Oka has a £60 set of four champagne flutes in sapphire blue

Oka has a £60 set of four champagne flutes in sapphire blue

Does champagne taste best drunk from a tall, narrow flute, or a broad-rimmed shallow coupe? 

It’s a bitterly divided issue which may never be satisfactorily agreed upon.

But, either way, your home needs some of these glasses to raise a toast to better times — be that a Pol Roger, award-winning Aldi or a prosecco.

If you want to splash out, Oka has a £60 set of four in sapphire blue while Waterford offers the Marquis Markham, a cut-glass style (£70 for four). 

The coupe’s design is claimed to have been inspired by the breasts of Marie Antoinette, but was, in fact, created more than a century before her birth.

Wolf & Badger has a £79 set of six, hand-engraved with a Victorian pattern.

Liberty has £27.50 set of two in smoked grey with a gold rim . If you fear breakages at a lively celebration, the Anyday set of four from John Lewis costs £15.

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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What you need to know about having a home swimming pool

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This summer, it’s not just sales of rosé wine and ice cream that have rocketed during the heatwave. Interest in swimming pools has also surged.

‘This sweltering summer has undoubtedly inspired people to install swimming pools,’ says Sallie Leslie-Golding of the Swimming Pool and Allied Trade Association (SPATA). 

‘There are now 270,000 in-ground pools in the UK, with about 65 per cent of them in the southern half of the country.’

There is something incredibly glamorous about a Hockney-blue pool. But how does the reality match up to the imagery?

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

Refreshing: Church House in Potterne, Wiltshire, is on sale for £1.95m. Interest in swimming pools has surged with the hot weather

‘It’s been wonderful to be able to take a swim at the end of a long day,’ says Felicity Cooper, 55, who in 2006 installed a 12m x 6m pool outside her country house in Potterne, near Devizes, Wiltshire. 

‘It has also been great for the children, Lily and Ryan, who learnt to swim here.’

Felicity stresses the importance of finding the right setting for a new pool. 

She ensured hers was west-facing to catch the evening sun; then she went to the trouble of digging out a mini-amphitheatre so that the displaced earth formed a windbreak around the pool itself.

‘The pool is the optimum distance from the house, being not so near that it detracts from the garden and not so far away that anyone in trouble would not be heard by those inside.

‘It is far from trees so few leaves blow into the water and, with the children in mind, it has a top quality safety cover. Felicity’s six-bedroom Jacobean stone house standing in 1.7 acres is for sale for £1.95 million.

Opinions vary as to whether an outdoor pool helps or hinders a house sale. Some think that the hassle of maintenance may be off-putting to buyers. However, the property buying agent, Jonathan Harington, disagrees.

‘I have had many clients come to me with a pool on their wishlist of luxuries,’ he says. ‘But I have never had anyone say they wouldn’t buy a house because of the pool. If they felt strongly they could easily fill it in anyway.’

Yet owning a swimming pool is an expensive hobby. An above-ground pool — like a giant paddling pool — costs from £1,500 to £15,000. These pools may not quite cut it in terms of glamour, but their lower water capacity means maintenance costs are more reasonable.

For those looking at a more substantial in-ground pool, one with a liner finish of PVC will cost about £75,000. A concrete pool, finished with mosaic tiles, marbled plaster or paint will be about £125,000.

Larger projects can easily cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

You may opt for an infinity pool — a pool designed with an edge that gives the illusion that the water is overflowing. 

Those who want to improve their fitness may have a counter current device installed; the equivalent of swimming on a treadmill.

Many pool owners are interested in sustainability and heating the pool with solar panels is popular, as are covers that help heat retention.

Maintaining an outdoor swimming pool is expensive. The cost of heating and chemicals has increased so buyers should budget for at least £8 to £10 a day, dependent on the weather, according to SPATA.

Anyone fancying a workout in their own home may be interested in Ivy Cottage, Grendon, Northamptonshire.

Outside, the four-bedroom cottage is a 10m x 5m pool neatly positioned in the north-west corner to catch the sun.

‘After swimming in the pool, you could go running, riding or cycling on the countless trails nearby,’ says Ian Denton, of Jackson Stops. ‘It’s a lifestyle amenity in your own garden.’ Ivy Cottage is for sale for £825,000.

On the market… splash out 

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Radisson launches new resort in Greece

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Radisson Hotel Group has launched its latest Greek resort in Skiathos. Skiathos, the westernmost of the Sporades islands, is known for its stunning coastline of more than 60 beaches with soft sand and clear blue waters, as well as sea caves, impressive rock formations, and hiking trails on the tree-covered hills along the north shore made famous as the location for the filming of Mamma Mia. The island’s Byzantine churches and monasteries, Venetian-style Bourtzi fortress, and Papadiamantis House with its typical architecture are important parts of the island’s rich history.

 

The resort’s 84 rooms and suites are decorated in a modern, minimalist style, and most of them offer views of the hotel pool or the sea. Private balconies or terraces are available in select rooms, and the resort’s biggest suites feature private whirlpools for ultimate privacy and relaxation. The resort is ideally suited for weddings with its own on-site orthodox chapel and versatile outdoor pool area that offers receptions with stunning views. The main all-day dining restaurant celebrates Greek and Mediterranean flavors on its lunch and dinner menus. The poolside bar offers breakfast treats and late-night snacks as well as a wide selection of drinks and an extensive wine list. For guests looking to keep up their fitness routine, a well-equipped gym is available.

 

“We are excited to offer our guests a fantastic resort experience on the beautiful island of Skiathos, as we continue to expand our Greek resort portfolio. Radisson Resort Plaza Skiathos allows guests to switch off and relax surrounded by stunning natural beauty,” said Yilmaz Yildirimlar, Area Senior Vice President at Radisson Hotel Group.

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