Monday 7 May 2012

Make your home extraordinary - top tips and a competition

For their latest advertising campaign, Aviva searched the nation to find the UK’s most extraordinary homeowners to celebrate the nation’s passion for home renovation and the extreme lengths people go to in order to revamp their living spaces. Amongst those, they found a stingray breeder who converted the whole of his basement into an impressive domestic aquarium, a family who converted their back garden into a four-storey Pirate’s den and a lady who converted her modern day home to make it look like it came directly from the Victorian era !
If you want to see the videos, you can view all eight clips on Aviva’s YouTube channel here:  
Inspired by the stars of the latest campaign, Aviva has launched a Facebook competition to celebrate those across the nation who go above and beyond to celebrate their love for their home. The Extraordinary Homes Facebook competition offers homeowners around the country the chance to win a home renovations prize of £5,000 by submitting a photo or short video and description of their home improvements which demonstrates their own love for their home.
The competition will be judged by Aviva’s Extraordinary Homes ambassador and competition judge, Craig Phillips. As part of Craig’s involvement, he has come up with some exclusive tips and tricks on how to make your house extraordinary without costing the earth.

You have until the start of June to enter the competition so his tips may give you some pointers. If you enter, feel free to share your entries - I'd love to see what you've done to your houses !


Top 5 tips on how to make your house extraordinary without costing the earth
By Craig Phillips, Aviva’s Extraordinary Homes ambassador and competition judge
1. Clever use of mirrors - Mirrors can make a world of difference to any room if set in the right place. They can make it feel larger in size and much brighter, creating a whole new atmosphere.
If you have a very small room, covering a wall with large plain mirror, preferably one with no frame automatically gives the impression the room is a lot larger than it really is. These can be purchased from any good glazing supplier and can be cut down to suit. All you will need is a good grab adhesive to apply to the back and fix it straight onto the plaster.
2. Draw in the light - Hallways are renowned for being dark due to the limited amount of natural light. One of my top tips that I use in my own home is to use long thin mirrors to draw in natural lighting into the corridors. The trick is to position a torch where you have placed the first mirror, reflect it down the hall way to see where the light lands. This will create a zig zag effect causing the natural light to continue down the hallway.
3. Create a feature wall - Patterned wall paper is a great way to inject some colour into a once plain room. By only wallpapering one wall, you can really splash the cash and go for quality and buy one that you really love. To be extra thrifty, you can use the ends of the paper that haven’t been used and put them into picture frames to hang on the plain walls.
4. Back tile your kitchen walls- Splash back tiling in your kitchen is a great way of changing the look of the kitchen, as well as making the area more hygienic. Just place three or four tiles high along the top of the surfaces to create the effect. There is such a great range available now, my favourite being black gloss ceramic tiles. Just remember, if you’re using black tiles, use a black grout as well!
Another idea for splash back tiling is to make a collage of photographs on the wall, and cover with clear Perspex. The Perspex will need to be around 6MM thick – however you will need to consider heat resistant Perspex for around the oven area. This is a great way to personalise your kitchen area with fond memories.
5. Get creative in kids bedrooms - A great idea for children’s bedrooms is to paint a small area with magnetic/chalk board paint. It will not only make a great feature for their room, but it will be a good way to encourage them to learn, by using it to help them with their sums or spelling.
A great way to make the kid's room more exciting is to create a stepping stone effect. Lay green carpet to give the impression of grass, then using patterned vinyl, I'd recommend a stone effect, and cut to form stepping stones. Place these from the door to the bed, wardrobe, desk or anywhere you want the path to go. Once you're happy, cut the carpet to the exact size of the stones and stick them down using double sided carpet tape.
If you’ve done something extraordinary and wonderful to your own home, Aviva want to hear about it! Simply submit a photo or short video and description, which will be judged by Craig, for your chance to win the £5,000 prize. Go to Facebook and search for “Aviva Extraordinary Homes” to enter their competition. 

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