Sep 14

Clean Your House in Less Than an Hour

Cleaning the house doesn’t have to be a boring, in fact with the addition of some tunes and the right tools/products anyone can clean their house in under an hour easily. As it is freshers week we thought we would create a visual guide to cleaning to ensure the newest students keep out of trouble with the landlords and their parents. Student Cleaning

Aug 14

Working At Home: Making Your Home Office Productive

Image 2

Summer is nearing its end and we all must refocus our attention towards work. Children returning to school must now open up their exercise books and their parents really should send that email. With telecommunications now at the centre of many businesses, we now often have the choice to work from home. In the first three months of 2014 it was estimated nearly 14% of the workforce were working from home. Even if we don’t decide to, we may bring work home out of hours or run a blog or webpage. The need for a work space that allows us to work from home is vital.

1. Make it an officeImage 3 This is your home so you probably won’t opt for the full time secretary and vending machine but you must create an environment separate from the rest of the house. You don’t have to spend the earth but invest in a nice chair so you’re comfortable and a whiteboard so you keep track of ideas and schedules. A pot plant would be nice too.

2. OrganiseImage 4

The most basic and perhaps most vital of steps is to keep things organised. Again, the beauty of a home office is that it is your space and you should decide how to organise things, you may not need a seven foot filing cabinet but try to keep your work tidy and easily accessible. Scrabbling for a report through piles of children’s drawings and newspapers doesn’t scream professionalism.

3. Set RulesImage 1

Set working hours for yourself and try not to break them. A survey from 2013 showed that around one in seven Londoners spent between one and two hours on non-work related sites each day. When you are working. Make sure everyone at home knows. If this is nine to five, then stick to it, if you only have an hour after you get home from your office job then put a note up on the door to remind everyone. If your child needs to do their homework in the office then make sure they adhere to the rules too, there’s nothing worse than a chatty colleague/child when you really need to get some work done.

4. PrioritiseImage 5

Without a manager or superior immediately available you have to prioritise your time, which tasks are most urgent and which can wait. Make a ‘to do’ list each morning and check up on each aim throughout the day. If you complete a task give yourself a reward.

5. Enjoy the Freedom

Having made all of these points it might be worth disregarding all of them at some point. You probably wouldn’t have decided to work at home if you didn’t want to mold your own environment so enjoy being flexible. You can probably afford to take that ten minutes extra for your lunch every once in a while.

Image 6

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27694938

2. http://www.canadalife.co.uk/media/32428/motivationproductivitypr.pdf


Aug 14

Curtain Pole Hacks

We have dived deep into the depths of Pinterest and Instagram to bring to you the 14 of most creative and of course interesting curtain poles hacks on the web. We’re all familiar with the use of the everyday curtain pole but for those frugal folks a curtain pole can be used in more than just the traditional ways as you you will see in the photos below.

Should you have any hacks that you would like to share on the blog please do leave a comment and we would be more than happy to add them into the post and share it on our Twitter and Facebook page.

Curtain Poles Paper Scroll

Source: pinterest.com/pin/344243965238385601/


Source: traditionalhome.com/design/bedrooms/decorating-ideas-beautiful-neutral-bedrooms

ribbon curtain poles

Source: etsy.com/uk/listing/83638474/

Duvet Curtains

Source: blog.studiopebbles.com

no doors hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/242068548695096831/

camping hacks

Source: pinterest.com/pin/194569646374897393/

sink hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/113504853081762880/

garden plant pot

Source: theownerbuildernetwork.co/easy-diy-projects/diy-garden-projects/diy-shoe-storage-vertical-planter/


Source: pinterest.com/pin/100768110387673258/

shower hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/131871095313907638/

art hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/288793394828788755/

fashion hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/214835844699408101/

cushion hack

Source: 1001pallets.com/2013/04/creative-pallet-corner-idea/

hide hack

Source: athoughtfulplaceblog.com

Jul 14

My DIY Confession- Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!

How many of us have spent our evenings and weekends hopelessly attempting to finally put together that flat-pack cabinet for the bedroom, or somehow get that shelf up on the wall? Unfortunately not all of us have the know-how to make every DIY project perfect, but here at Poles Direct we believe we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

What we’re looking for from you

Poles Direct are looking for bloggers from a wide range of backgrounds to confess to their DIY disasters.

We want you to write a confession detailing how and why you failed to complete a home-based DIY project properly. We then want you to take a photo of your failed DIY project with your confession in plain sight and upload it onto your blog for your followers and the whole world to see, with the title, ‘My DIY Confession.


What’s in it for you?

The winning entrant will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and two lucky runners up will get to select a new set of blinds for their homes!

Not only will you get the chance to win some great prizes but you also get the chance to talk about something different and hopefully make a few people smile and feel better about their own failed DIY and decorating projects.

How to get Involved…

 Create a blog post and add the title “My DIY Confession.

Take a photo of a written or printed confession detailing why you failed the project (what’s wrong with it) next to your failed project.

Upload the photo to your blog and add it into your post.

Give your readers the background to the DIY fail.

Include a do-follow hyperlink to Polesdirect.com in the following or similar text:

“This is my entry for my DIY confession to Polesdirect.com’s ‘Changing Attitudes and Values DIY Blogger Challenge.’Publish the post and share it via twitter – be sure to include the hashtag #DIYconfession – don’t be afraid to post your confession on twitter as well!

Once you have blogged and tweeted drop me an email with the link to your entry.

Once the deadline passes (August the 31st), the winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

Best failed project

Best excuse

Most hilarious fail


Remember to send your completed entries to:

Sean McMahon


Good luck!

Jun 14

When Thieves Go Window Shopping: A Guide to Student Security

It’s summer, and A level students are pouring out of schools and colleges across the UK. For those heading to university, this could be their final summer of freedom. But when summer winds up and Freshers’ Week begins, they’ll receive a barrage of counsel from concerned parents and earnest lecturers alike. It’s true that your bedding needs to be washed, and it’s important that you buy the requisite textbooks (even if they bankrupt you), but one freshers fundamental that often falls by the wayside is home security.

The National Union of Students (NUS) recently estimated that 90% of student burglaries are caused by insecure doors and windows. A large proportion of these burglaries are entirely avoidable, and so we have put together this cheap and easy guide to house security.


The facts

Student houses and halls of residence are often located in high-crime areas. Whilst this makes rent more affordable, it means students are targets for opportunistic burglars – with a startling one in three students falling victim to crime during their time at university. Student houses are easy targets for the following reasons:

  • Occupants are often in class or asleep during the daytime;
  • Similarly, occupants are often out until the early hours;
  • Houses are likely to contain portable electronics such as laptops and consoles;
  • Cost-cutting landlords may use the cheapest and bare minimum of locks;
  • Student houses are rarely equipped with alarm systems;
  • Bedrooms are often located downstairs, meaning quick access to belongings.

How can students deter theft?

Choose carefully: If you haven’t already chosen your accommodation, opt for a place with sturdy locks, doors and windows. Deadbolts and Yale-style nightlatches (the kind that automatically lock when the door is closed – see picture below) provide an extra layer of security. Double-glazed PVCU windows and doors provide the best security, but if doors or windows are wooden then check for rot and loose fittings.

Make a pact: Twice as many private renters fall victim to burglary as those in halls, so make a pact with housemates to ensure that everyone is on board. It only takes one sloppy housemate to leave your house open to thieves.

Lock up: Thieves rely on students being careless, with propped-open windows and unlocked back doors providing the simplest routes of entry for spur-of-the-moment burglaries. For this reason, it is important to keep windows and doors locked at all times unless absolutely necessary for ventilation.

Cover it up: The simplest and cheapest precaution is ensuring windows are kept covered by curtains or blinds when rooms are not in use. By preventing would-be thieves from being able to see into the house, “chancers” will be unable to see valuables on display. Ensure small items such as cash and car keys are kept in a designated safe place.


Insurance: The average cost of a student burglary is £900. Insurance is a cheaper alternative. At the very least, consider cover for big-ticket items such as bikes, laptops and TVs.

UV pens and serial numbers: Use an ultraviolet pen to mark your stuff with your address. Most student unions stock them but they’re often given out for free at Freshers’ Week, so keep an eye out for the police stall. Keep note of the makes, models and serial numbers of your valuables so that police can return them to you in the unlikely event that they are recovered.

Safety first: If you suspect a break-in, stay out of the house and call the police. If burglary is obvious – for example a broken window – then 999 should be used in case the offender is still on the scene. If you are unsure, call the 101 non-emergency number and ask for advice.

Home for the holidays: If you can’t take valuables with you during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, arrange for them to be held in secure storage (simply do an online search for ‘online student storage’) or leave them with a friend.

Recommended reading:

Interview with a former burglar on what makes a house vulnerable

NUS advice on securing your property

May 14

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps

The re-designing and decorating of a room is something we all think about but, often, it can be hard to envisage what will work well in the space or what colour would fit best with what we already own. Luckily there are thousands of useful tools to aid us on our DIY journey , available at the touch of a button.

So, whether you’re planning a new project, measuring for new bay window curtain poles, renovating your loft or redecorating your kitchen, we’ve rounded up some of the best home interior design and decorating apps to help you plan and complete your next DIY home improvements with ease.

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps


Digital Dimensions (£5.99)


Udecore  (Free)


Homestyler (Free)


Colorchange (£0.69)


 myPANTONE (£6.99)


Sun Seeker (£3.79)


Craftgawker (Free)


Home DIY with Craig Phillips (Free)


iHandy Carpenter (£1.49)


Houzz Interior Design Ideas (Free)


Apr 14

Attitudes & Values: A Visual Guide to DIY

The UK has a historic passion for home improvement. Whether this is redoing dated décor, piecing together a bookcase or building a new birdhouse from scratch, Brits love getting stuck into home DIY home improvement projects.

One of the reasons us Brits have become so passionate about doing DIY is that we want our homes to not only look fantastic but to also increase in value. Through recent economic uncertainty many  - thus seeing the love affair with DIY flourish.

Here at Poles Direct we often have customers purchasing new curtain poles and accessories for a room they have just updated. Since many of you will be diving into a DIY project this year we thought we would give you an idea of what the UK’s attitudes and values were towards home improvement:

Attitudes & Values -  A Visual Guide to DIY in the UK

 Key Statistics

Men’s attitudes towards DIY:

  • 90% of men are happy to use a power tool
  • 77% of men will finish any DIY jobs that they’ve started
  • 70% of men aged 25 to 33 years are happy to undertake DIY projects in the home

DIY is no longer the sole domain for men only:

  • 25% of women aged 25 to 33 years would do any DIY work themselves
  • 62% of women would finish any DIY projects they started
  • 49% of women are happy to use a power tool

Statistically, Britain is still a nation of DIY lovers:

  • 59% of people are happy to take on any DIY projects themselves
  • 33% of people have spent £500 or more on DIY

DIY injuries and disasters

  • More than 200,000 people end up in hospital each year from DIY accidents
  • 80,000 people have open wound injuries
  • 25,000 people break one or more bones in their bodies
  • 17,000 people complain of sprains or strains

Mar 14

Proud to support the Prince of Wales Hospice

Here at Poles Direct we’re very proud of our Yorkshire roots and are always on the lookout for ways to support good causes in the area. The Prince Of Wales Hospice are one local charity we have been working closely with recently, helping them fit-out several vital rooms with new window coverings.
Gemma and blinds 2

The Hospice based in Pontefract, cares for patients with a wide range of life-limiting illnesses with the majority of our patients returning home after their symptoms have been managed – as well as supporting patients family and friends.

The PWH care for local people within the ‘Five Towns’ community, offering round-the-clock care 365 days a year. The Hospice offers a variety of services to help families through difficult times. They even have an in-care unit, a day therapy suite and offer support to carers. They help nearly 1,000 local people of all ages each year.
photo 4

Recently they’ve been working with Roundabout, a youth housing charity that provides a range of support for young, homeless people, in and around Sheffield. Who Wooden Blinds Direct have recently supported with another donation of window coverings.

The Hospice have used the window coverings to replace old worn out blinds in their reception area and also had window coverings put up in their newly refurnishing their rehab room which officially opened at the beginning of March.

Amanda Darley, Facilities Manager at The Prince of Wales Hospice was delighted to receive blinds donated by us for several key areas within the hospice and said,

“The window coverings, donated by Poles Direct, have been installed in our new Rehabilitation Room, the reception area, clinical office spaces and staff dining room . They’ve certainly made a difference and I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the staff and patients at the Hospice. We’re very grateful to Interior Goods Direct Group for their kind donation.”

“The support of companies who provide us with gifts in kind, funding through sponsorship, match funding of their employees fundraising efforts or other resources is extremely important to us. It costs more than £6000 a day for us to provide the care and support to patients and their families at a time when they need it most. ”

The staff at the PWH were kind enough to send us over some pictures of their staff alongside our donations:
photo 1

photo 3tht

To find out more about The Prince of Wales Hospice work and the ways in which you can help, please visit their website by clicking on the logo, below!


Feb 14

Decorating & House-Work: The Calorie Killers

The average British home-owner spends more than 16 hours a week cleaning their home – that’s the equivalent of 2 hours and 23 minutes a day!

So ditch the gym membership and pull out the feather duster – cleaning and decorating your home can be just as beneficial as jumping on the treadmill. You’ll never have to feel guilty about missing a workout again as research suggests you can burn as many calories around the house, undertaking the most common cleaning and decorating jobs, as you can in the gym.

Housework is a cheaper and more productive way to burn loads of calories, so find out what you can do around your home and how it compares to working-out at the gym:

Decorating & House Work - Calorie Killer

You can add the infographic to your own site by coping the code below:

<a href=”http://www.polesdirect.com/blog/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://i1363.photobucket.com/albums/r710/polesprolesdirect/DecoratingampHouseWork-CalorieKiller_zps773d62a4.png” border=”0″ alt=”Decorating &amp; House-Work: The Calorie Killer photo DecoratingampHouseWork-CalorieKiller_zps773d62a4.png”/></a>

Jan 14

Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculator

Here at Poles Direct we know that many of you will purchase new curtain poles and rails before or during a redecoration project. We also know that many home-owners begin their projects without calculating an estimate of the amount of materials they will need as well as how much the project may cost.

Our simple Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculators help you figure out exactly how much paint, wallpaper or tiles you will need to buy to finish your project, as well as providing an estimate of the materials’ cost. Click on the image below to get started:

Room Decorating Cost and Quantity Calculator IMG

This year UK consumers are estimated to spend over £27 billion on home improvements, maintenance and repairs. Experts predict that 2014 will see more people than ever investing their own time and money into home renovations and decoration projects – with an estimated sixty per cent of home improvement work costing £1,000 and sixty-seven per cent of maintenance and repair costing less than £500.

Before you begin your project make sure you watch some of these video guides so that you know the best techniques to follow and how you can avoid those common costly pitfalls:

How to Hang Wallpaper

How to Paint a Wall Using a Roller

How to Tile a Wall