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Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.

Minimising bathroom damp - a practical guide

Our homes expert gives you some practical advice on Dealing With Damp and condensation in the bathroom.

Q: I have a shower fitted, and even though the window is left open and sometimes the door too when showering, an awful stain has developed on the ceiling. I used the correct bathroom/kitchen paint, but it hasn't seemed to help! My question is: are there any tiles available that can be stuck to the ceiling to cover the staining?

A: It seems to me that your bathroom does not have appropriate ventilation. Before you tackle your ceiling, have an expert install an extractor fan which will take out the bulk of steam and condensation that forms each time you take a shower. And rather than tiling a ceiling (expensive and time-consuming), sort out the root of your damp and then protect again with the correct paint. Standard Kitchen & Bathroom paint might be okay for rooms with normal levels of steam, but you need a paint that's specially formulated for the job. International Paints provides a selection of products that deal with the problems of damp areas.

Once the cause of the damp is properly established, the right specialist paint can be selected to deal with the situation. Damp will create unsightly stains and can result in mould or fungal growth developing - hence the stains. First, make sure your ceiling has completely dried out by airing the room and not using it for a while if that is possible. If the plaster is severely damaged, have it replaced. Surfaces must be clean, with paint flakes or loose plaster removed and any new plaster should have had at least two weeks to dry.

The best paint for the job is International's Anti-Condensation Paint, £9.49 for 700ml. Condensation occurs when warm, moist air hits cold surfaces and is definitely worse where there isn't a good movement of air around or through a room. This paint contains tiny, hollow spheres which insulate the wall, creating a warmer surface and so stopping the condensation building up. Allow around four hours drying time and then overcoat with standard emulsion. For more information call 01480 484284 or visit International Paint.

Going Gothic!

You want to decorate your bedroom in a gothic style, but how can you carry the theme through without making the room look too small and dingy?

Q: What colour scheme and furniture should I use to create a gothic-style bedroom? I would like something quite dramatic but don't want my small bedroom to look too cramped or dark.

A: I'm afraid dark is the nature of the gothic look, but this is a theme that adds a touch of drama and mystery to a room rather than oppressing it. Choose rich, jewel colours to keep it vibrant and energised rather than going for the duller, darker gothic shades such as slate grey, bottle green and burgundy.

Go for either one colour on the walls and woodwork such as blood red, royal blue or emerald green, or use a contrasting colour on the woodwork for a grander look. Gold works brilliantly in gothic interiors, so add some gilt-edged flamboyant touches such as a gold stencil repeat (Fleur de Lys is a typical design) on walls and soft furnishings, add a large-scale mirror to bounce light around the room, and you could even add some traditional brass candlesticks.

Wrought iron works well too, so invest in an arched wrought iron headboard and wrought iron curtain pole with finials in the shape of balls or spears. At the window, hang heavy velvet curtains in a deep purple, red or gold and tie back with large, heavy gold tassels for theatrical effect. You could also decorate your walls with hand-printed trompe l'oeil borders inspired by 18th century gothic decoration, which you can purchase from a company called Ornamenta, available on (020) 7591 0077. The borders are supplied as cut-out individual pieces which will form a continuous border.

The arches can be hung from corner to corner, leaving a small gap between or overlapping so they fit exactly. The rosettes are then either pasted over the gap or so they overlap to create a continuous border. The Gothic Arch costs £21.76; Coronet Frieze, £16.93; Fleur de Lys, £6.06; Rosette, £6.06; Rope border, £11.71; Small Arbury border, £14.11; Large Arbury border, £20.06.

Plan4 Group - Consolidating information on the web

Home furnishings, home improvements, property refurbishment, property investing, buy to let, buy to sell, income from property, business opportunities, getting started, mortgages, finance, Solicitors, working from home, liability & all other home furnishing matters.

Please use our carefully selected featured links below to obtain information & quotes for all types of furnishings. This Article is FREE for anyone to use.


Quick links  to our FURNISHINGS guide -
furnishing buy to let  I   preparing a property
 viewing a property I  bedrooms for 5 year olds
 minimising bathroom damp  I  going gothic  
brightening a hallway

Furnishing Buy To Let Property

Furnishing your property can help you beat the other landlords in letting, especially if you have a lot of competition on your hands.

We present to you a case study by TCFS furniture

Case Study

I bought a one-bedroom property in central London and needed to let it right away. As it was unfurnished, it would have been impossible for me to let it. I only had a matter of days before I was to complete on my property.

I visited the TCFS showroom and was pleased to see the high quality furniture and fittings they used. TCFS provided me with an on site survey at no cost the following day. I received their written quotation and design scheme, which I compared with other competitors in the market. They not only offered the best price, they offered the best quality and service. Upon accepting the quotation, TCFS provided everything I required from all major furnishing pieces to bedding and cutlery. They were also able to install on the completion day. Through their numerous contacts in the industry, TCFS introduced me to a prospective tenant and the property was let right away for more than the rental price I asked for. P.B.

TCFS Client.


New simple to understand Planning Guide... "Puts dozens of strategies & risk assessments procedures that you should be completing BEFORE you present a scheme for formal Planning Approval in the UK."  (Order your 'ebook' today & find out how the 'Professional Planning Consultant' prepares a scheme for residential development PRIOR to formally submitting an extension scheme or full site redevelopment to the Planners!).

Obtaining Planning Permission for residential development in either extending your property or redeveloping the site for new dwellings needs careful presentation & a risk assessment prior to submitting for Planning Consent. A badly presented scheme to the Planning Department by the Novice home owner can lead to an Automatic Rejection & a Planning Refusal that could be hard to overturn. Our MAXIMUM BUILD Guide will assist you in assessing your sites potential & what areas you can exploit prior to submitting your scheme for Planning Permission.

click here to find out more about our guide 


People will often judge your property on first impressions - so make them count:

A nicely kept front garden and a well looked after front door make a good first impression

Be tidy: less clutter creates a feeling of more space

Have the carpets cleaned

Wash old paintwork with soda soap

Eradicate strong food or pet smells which can be off-putting. Visitors notice fresh smells, homely smells like coffee or bread

Make sure the kitchen and its appliances and the bathroom are clean

Cheer up tiles with a tile grout whitener

Clear the garage and put your car outside

Put away all valuables safely - just in case

Mirrors can help to make rooms look larger

Clean the loft or attic space

Keep a file of information for potential buyers on the upkeep of the property and on the local amenities, including:

Utility bills

Recent surveys

Any remaining work guarantees such as those for damp proofing, woodworm, roofs and other maintenance.

Land boundary information

Local newspapers and school and health information

ILocal information on things such as shopping, leisure activities and days out near the area.

The history of the house

Anything else your surveyor or estate agent may suggest


It might be love at first sight with the home you've just found, but let your head guide your heart. Here are some ways to make sure they both agree:

Visit the property at different times of the day: morning, afternoon and night

Get a list of what is important to you and tick things off for each property you view. You might want to rate each property and compare scores.

Walk or drive past the outside of the property before booking to see it. You often make a decision before walking through the door

Check the outside of the property carefully, looking for broken or missing tiles, breaks in guttering and environmental factors such as litter and noise

Ask to see any guarantees and bills (ask the agent in advance for the vendor to prepare these documents)

View the property with the vendor/agent and then on your own

Always ask to see the attic or loft space.Look over any flat roofs to check for water collecting

Check the plumbing by turning the taps on, flushing loos and seeing how long it takes for hot water to come through.


Young children need a space that doubles up as a warm, cosy bedroom by night and a spacious, uncluttered playroom by day. But, as Donna Hardie reveals, you don't necessarily need a large space to make it a fun space. More importantly, make sure their environment is bright, creative and fun; they'll enjoy it so much they'll never be under your feet again!

To compliment our Planning Guide we have also produced a UK specific Specification Manual solely aimed at the domestic/residential side of building.  Are you completing your own drawing plans for the Building Regulations as well? Why not obtain our 'Specification Manual' to assist you with obtaining Building Regulations Approval as well.  Alternatively you may have already secured Planning Approval & just need this document.

click here to find out more about our Specification Manual 

Q: I have got a small front bedroom where my five-year-old sleeps and plays. It is very dark in need of a revamp - something fresh and bright.

A: It's best to keep your child's room fresh, light and airy and to avoid anything too over the top, fussy or patterned on the walls and the floor. If you have too much going on in a small, tight space, clashing patterns will just add to the sense of confinement. Primary colours can be fun in a larger space, but heavy colour will almost certainly overwhelm a smaller room. If your child is a girl, pick two colours such as a powder pink (all young girls love pink!) and a soft, vanilla yellow and paint alternate walls in these pretty ice-cream shades.

If your child is a boy, swap the pink shade for a sky blue. If you would like to carpet the floor, keep it light - a cream or biscuit colour will go with anything. Then add a rug that coordinates with your colour scheme, this will create a cosy atmosphere. Bare floorboards are even more successful when it comes to creating an illusion of space.

Sand them down and wash them with diluted white emulsion paint or with solid white specialist floor paint. Add a sheepskin rug over the top for comfort. You need as much light as possible to come in through the window, so avoid any heavy drapes or curtains. Instead, add a cheap and cheerful white roller blind for privacy and layer some pretty voiles over the top. Cox & Cox have a fantastic variation on this theme - white organdie tab top curtains with pockets where your child can stash their favourite keepsakes.

They cost £24 for a pair; contact Cox & Cox on (0870) 442 4787 for more information. If space is really tight, keep all wall space free of clutter and instead add clever details to the back of the door, for example, use blackboard paint to create a practical memo board. If you're struggling for storage space, install shelving around the room just below the ceiling height for any items that aren't used daily. For everyday items that your child needs to get to, invest in clever storage solutions such as an under-the-bed storage trunk on castors. The single quilt cover set pictured is Hetty and costs £25 from Dorma, contact them on (0161) 251 4400 for more details.

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Schedule of Articles

property investing
property refurbishment
buying overseas property
moving house
home letting
buy to let
home improvements

top 10 celebrity areas
6 up & comming areas
5 signs that an area is up & comming
city types yearn for the country in town
your place in the sun
equity release
planning permissions & extensions
estate agents
rent or buy
buy to let
mortgage overpayment
mortgage endowments
mortgage protection
stamp duty
self build your home
electrical surveys
the cost of moving in
the perfect neighbourhood
council tax
house price league
good neighbours
stamp duty land tax
top 20 towns 2003
cut the cost of moving
interest rates
buying in scotland
dream homes
first time buyers
the worth of uk homes
bad estate agents
keeping up appearances
home improvements

Brightening a hallway

Bumping into the furniture in your dark hallway? Read on to find out about the solutions our homes expert Donna Hardie recommended for a UK Style viewer.

Q: I am painting my hallway and am stuck on what colour to use. It's quite a long hallway with no windows so it can be quite dark. I'm not that adventurous with colours and normally stick to basic ones, but I want my hallway to look great as it's the first thing people see when they come in. Do you have any suggestions? I would be grateful for all your ideas.

A: If you're after a vibrant colour then opt for a sunny yellow which never fails to make an impression in an entrance hall and would address the problem of lack of light. To be honest, hallways are best decorated in classic colours instead of funky brights which can draw in a cramped space and make it appear smaller. I'd go for something a little more classic and timeless. Stick to soft neutrals that will coordinate with any style of interior in the other rooms in your house, and of course will never date.

Soft, buttery creams or off-whites will give your hallway a warm, welcoming and homely glow. Decorate using paint and avoid fussy patterned wallpapers that will make the space appear smaller. If your hallway lacks architectural details, then consider replacing them - dado rails, picture rails, cornice and a decorative ceiling rose will instantly add interest and transform a plain corridor into a much grander entrance.

Maintain the grand drama of this classic theme by adding a stunning crystal chandelier if your ceiling is high enough. If you can afford it, opt for a real hardwood floor - a traditional choice that will add a touch of class to the scheme. Another option is a terracotta Victorian tiled floor with a patterned border running around it, or even more striking - a black and white chequerboard design. For warmth, invest in an ethnic Kilim runner that stretches the length of the hallway and adds a touch of colour.

Finally, art makes all the difference to an entrance, so use this space as a gallery to express your personality. If you have a collection of keys, hats, walking sticks, old advertising posters etc, show them off proudly. Or if you like a particular artist, make this a showcase for his or her work.

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