Now that we can have friends and family over, it might be an idea to transform your living space from a temporary laundry room, TV crash pad or home office, back into the chic, comfortable and boast-worthy lounge it once was.
Particularly as, for many of us, interiors have become more of a priority than ever before this past year. So, you might well have a whole host of new furniture, houseplants and coffee table books you’d like to show off!
Don’t let mess detract from the excitement surrounding their debut. From the windows to the floors, here’s how to get organised and make your sitting room sparkle…
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, it’s time for a declutter. Get a charity bag and start sorting your old gold into categorised piles, for example, books in one, throws and cushions in another.
You can donate books to Better World Book and Oxfam bookshops, as well as some other charity shops. Dogs Trust will gladly accept throws, cushions and stuffed toys, meanwhile, RSPCA will take your old CDs and DVDs. The Reuse Network takes anything from pre-loved furniture and bric-a-brac, to paint. If your items have too much wear and tear, make sure to recycle and dispose of them correctly.
Your leftover bits and bobs can easily spill out of drawers and clog up bookcases if you don’t store them properly. So, de-stress your living space by tidying them away inside a neat line of snazzy baskets instead. Hiding away your spare throws, magazines, DVDs and all those cables that you just haven’t got around to sorting yet will immediately make for a clearer and calmer living room.
Ideally, you should wash your curtains every few years, whatever their fabric.
First, remove all hooks and curtain weights, and loosen the heading tape. Let down the hem if the fabric is likely to shrink slightly and, then, vacuum from top to bottom with the upholstery tool. Shake to remove extra dust. “For more delicate fabrics, like velvet, start by brushing or vacuuming to remove dust and blot any stains in the direction of the pile with a soft cloth, taking care to allow as little moisture as possible to touch the curtains as this can distort the fabric”, says expert from Love 2 Laundry.
If the care label, insists on dry-clean only, don’t risk it. But if the care label states you can wash the curtains and the lining fabric, soak in cold water and wash carefully, according to the type of fabric. If hand-washing, make sure the detergent is thoroughly dissolved before immersing the curtains. Do not rub or wring. Rinse thoroughly. Squeeze out as much water as possible, or use a short low-speed washing machine spin. If machine-washing, use a program for delicates. Allow curtains to dry naturally, by laying them out as flat as possible. Then hang them while slightly damp so they drop to the right length.
“You may also want to consider using a steamer or the steam setting on a standard iron to remove creases and avoid puckering as your curtains dry, particularly along the edges.” Expert, Love 2 Laundry.
GHI tip: Dust and clean curtain tracks, windows and sills before putting the curtains back.
No matter how much you give them the once over, dust easily gathers in Venetian blinds, across mantlepieces, throughout bookshelves, on the TV, everywhere! To get rid of the dust, use a cloth or feather duster to brush debris away. Reach niggly spots with a cotton wool bud, toothpick, stiff bristled paint brush, a long-handled duster or your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment.
For dusty lampshades, wipe with a lint roller or an old pair of tights, cut off at the knee. Pop your arm into the foot and use it as a static-free dust grabber! Use an empty, clean squeezy bottle to blast air into the corners of picture frames and mirrors to push out dust.
Don’t let a grubby mirror dim your sitting room’s shine! Remove stubborn stains by wiping your mirror with a little rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth. Next, spray your mirror with a glass cleaner (or make your own solution using one part distilled white vinegar to nine parts water) and use a microfibre cloth to wipe. Work from edge to edge and then top to bottom, never use a circular motion.
To check your mirror is clean and streak-free, trying moving around the room to look at it from different angles. Any smears or fingermarks can be removed by buffing it with a little white vinegar and paper towels for a sparkling, smear-free finish.
Before your next series binge, freshen up your TV screen up! Switch off your TV to start, as it’s much easier to see the grime on a black screen. Some TVs will come with a microfibre cloth included in the box. If your doesn’t, we recommend buying E-Cloth Glass & Polishing Cloths. Again, wipe in a circular motion to remove dust and smudges. Be careful not to press too hard to avoid doing any damage.
If the dirt on your TV is more than a light smudge, consider using a screen cleaning spray – never use traditional cleaning products on your TV screen. You could also use screen cleaning wipes, but always double-check what your manufacturer’s cleaning advice is first.
To save you time on clearing muck from a fresh and newly-cleaned living room floor, make sure to dust your radiator first.
Sweep the outside with a slightly damp dusting mitt or cloth, then, dislodge dust from the abyss inside using the flexible Microfibre Radiator Brush. A long-handled duster will also do the job nicely. Vacuum or dustpan up all dirt. Leave it shining with some multi-purpose spray.
Coffee or red wine splattered carpets spoiling your living room aesthetic? Try Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover. Simply use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but remember that it’s always best to target stains quickly. Otherwise, select a carpet shampoo that includes a protector, such as Scotchgard – this will add a stain protector to the fibres. For badly stained areas, you might want to use a pre-treatment to help shift the stain from beneath before lifting it with a carpet cleaner.
Make sure you vacuum the edges of your carpet and under radiators with the crevice tool. This will help to prevent black lines forming around the skirting board. Try to use a HEPA (high efficiency particle air) vacuum cleaner, we rate the Numatic James, to prevent circulating dust mites around the room.
For the best results, buy a carpet cleaning machine.
GHI tip: To remove carpet indents, simply rub an ice cube over the affected area.
Even the most gorgeous living rooms can be easily flawed by a sticky underfoot experience. Sealed floors only need to be swept and damp-mopped – avoid using too much water. Unsealed and waxed floors should be swept regularly and occasionally repolished. Use wax sparingly, as any excess will leave a tacky residue and attract dirt, and buff well.
For laminate floors, vacuum, dust or wipe with a lightly dampened mop. Never soak them or use soap-based detergents, as they can leave a dull film on the floor. To avoid a slip and slide, bar all wax polish and never varnish a waxed floor.
Spruce up sofas
By now, your sofas have probably become a county of crumbs. Get your brush and crevice tools or hand-held vacuum cleaners at the ready to suck up the debris from the side of the sofa. Next, remove any pet hairs with a lint roller or by wearing rubber gloves and running your hands over the upholstery.
Upsetting stains getting the better of you? Try a stain remover, such as Vanish Oxi Action Carpet and Upholstery Powerspray. Then, wash or dry-clean loose covers according to the fabric type. If covers cannot be removed, have them dry cleaned by a member of the Textile Services Association.
If you have a leather sofa, remove all-over grime by wiping it with a soft, damp cloth. Occasionally, apply leather hide food or saddle soap to prevent the leather from drying out and to protect against stains. Leathermaster offers a great range of cleaning and protection products.
GHI tip: Turn removable cushions weekly to ensure even wear, and plump them back into shape at the end of an evening’s sitting.
Charming coffee tables
No matter how many coasters you have, there will always be someone who plonks their steaming hot cup of tea, coffee, or condensation-covered cold drink directly on your prized coffee table. If the watermark is less than two days old, set a hairdryer to warm (not hot) and direct it at the marked area, move it around so the heat doesn’t damage the wood and as the moisture gradually evaporates, the mark should disappear.
For smooth lacquered or varnished surfaces, use a proprietary ring remover product, such as Liberon Ring Remover or Guardsman Ring and Mark Remover Cloth. Alternatively, grab the mayonnaise! Cover the mark with a generous smear and leave for several hours or overnight. Wipe off with a clean cloth.
Bothersome blisters in the veneer? Flatten them with a thick cotton tea towel and, then, hold a hot iron on the cloth for a minute or two to reactivate the glue. This may need to be done more than once.
A well-ordered shelf full of beautifully bound books and trinkets will make any living room pop.
Empty all the shelves in front of you and organise the objects into piles. To ensure that the shelves don’t look cluttered, start with books, either stood upright or laid flat and stacked. There are different approaches you can take— alphabetising your books or arranging them by author is very logical , for example, whereas grouping them by colour can make a decorative statement.
For the neatest option, sort the books by height. Remember when you stack horizontally, use about three books and place an object on top of the stack. When you are going vertically, use fun book ends to add some decor accents.
If you’ve paid any attention to lockdown interior trends, by now, you’ll have a houseplant or two. As a plant parent, it’s key to regularly check them for common critters, such as mealybugs, aphids and scale insects.
If you notice bugs on your plant, pinch them off straight away to prevent an infestation. If your house plant is overrun, move it away from other plants and dab the bugs with alcohol-soaked cotton buds to kill them.For serious infestations, fill a spray bottle (mister) with warm water and a small amount of liquid soap and spray the plant liberally before wiping off with a damp cloth.
Sick of scented candles?
Try an essential oil diffuser instead! An easy and typically inexpensive way to promote relaxation, better sleep and aromatherapy, essential oil diffusers are a sitting room must-have. To save your from any homework, the GHI have found you the best essential oil diffusers out there. You can thank us later.
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