Cut- price Christmas: how to stretch your gift- giving budget – and save enough to spoil yourself as well The weekly homes and interiors column that brings you the best that money can buy, for not very much money at all
By Alison Cork
Alison Cork is a writer and broadcaster specialising in property. She is founder of www. homesand bargains. co. uk, the website that shows where to fi nd top quality home products at hugely discounted prices, and also www. thetradesmens directory. co. uk the website of recommended tradesmen. If you can recommend a bargain or good tradesperson, email her at [email protected]isoncork. com
Boasting a very comprehensive website and brochure, Exeter-based Original Style has a fabulous range of travertine, limestone, marble and glass tiles at about half the price of their upmarket high street competitors in the major cities. Items include some stunning metal mosaics in stainless steel and brushed satin fi nish, along with more traditional Italian stones. Unusually, all the stone is stocked in the large out-oftown warehouse, which means that orders can be fulfilled within a week and equally important, the quality of the stone is top-notch. Falcon Road, Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter, EX2 7LF. Call 01392 473000 www.originalstyle. com.
Best DIY buys
With spring comes DIY, but before you trot off to the “sheds” (superstores), get hold of a copy of DIY Essentials, a catalogue of more than 30,000 home improvement products available for home delivery. Also online, the range features abrasives, fi xings, shelving, architectural ironmongery and a range of hinges and handles that are about 50 per cent cheaper than in the big stores. Delivery available nationwide within fi ve to seven days. Call 01623 871758. www.diyessentials. com.
Seeing the light
For wooden Venetian blinds at up to 75 per cent discount, look at www.discountblind centre.co.uk
or visit one of its five London outlets. You can buy a blind here for £59, which would cost £196 on the high street. Specialists in their fi eld, they also do similar deals on Velux roof windows and American plantation shutters. 139 Munster Road, London SW6 (020 7736 4473).
I have recently come across an interesting website called www. furnishthatroom.co. uk. Operating only via the internet, it has managed to create a really sleek portfolio of unusual and affordable furniture - a sort of capsule collection for people a bit stuck for inspiration and money. Goods include rugs,
The www.heatandplumb.com website sells heating and plumbing products direct to the public at trade prices. With more than 14,000 product ranges, it has a vast array of boilers, sanitary ware, gas fires, showers and much more — all products are branded, from manufacturers such as Ideal Standard, Valliant and Armitage Shanks. Delivery is free and within five working days. Call 0845 226 2222. lighting, soft furnishings a furniture. Also on offer is silver and bronze service, they put together whole ro flats for would-be landlord level of fi nish depending u budget. Many items are ab and all are carefully chose 0870 458 6170.
For wonderful cotton and linen sheets, duvet covers and blankets, visit www.thelinenpress.co.uk
and its sister discount company www.thebigbackbedroom.co. uk, where all the old stock and ends of lines from The Linen Press are sold at heavily discounted prices. Typically, a linen throw 170cm x 240cm can be had for £45, down from £150, and a double duvet cover for £22, down from £58. You can also visit The Big Back Bedroom factory shop at Hartley, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. There is also a free swatch service by post to aid colour matching (01768 372777).
Up the gumtree
For an excellent way to clear your house of clutter or furnish a property on the cheap, take a look at Gumtree.com’s Freebies and Swapshop sections. I have been told that people have decorated their entire homes through Gumtree.com. For the person giving the item away, it’s free to post the ad and an infinitely better solution than paying the council to take furniture away and clog up landfi ll sites. And if you are the recipient, the deal is normally that you would have to collect the item. Most of the items are in London and the South-East. www.gumtree. com.
Time for beds Give me some space
Always wanted a proper dining room but never had the space? Need your sitting room to double as a working area? Then take a look at the Mascotte from One Deko, a coffee table that opens out into a full-sized dining table at the touch of a button.
Cleverly concealed, the button can raise or lower the table to seven different heights, and with the top extended the coffee table becomes a dining table for six people. The elegant, Italian-made Mascotte is manufactured from solid wood and quality wood veneer, and is available in beech, cherry, light walnut or wenge.
Normally retailing at £595, it is being offered to Telegraph readers at just £495 (plus £50 delivery anywhere in the UK) — simply mention this offer. Please note that the Mascotte table is made by hand, so allow six weeks for delivery. Call 020 7375 3289 (open seven days a week) or visit www.onedeko.co.uk. There is a warehouse in north London that sells a huge range of discounted beds. Beds Ltd, based in a converted church warehouse in West Kensington, boasts 12,000 sq ft of divans, bed frames, wooden, upholstered, metal and any other type of bed you might covet. Operating since 1968, it sells double divans and mattresses from £179. Any bed on the shop fl oor can be delivered immediately, and, astonishingly, it can make a bespoke bed in 36 hours. Beds Ltd, 220 North End Road, London W14 (020 7385 7711) www.beds.ltd. uk.
Light stuff: furnishthatroom’s lamps and furniture