Interior design magazine

It's our Interior Design Magazine!

The hottest interior design ideas, fab finds for the home and the latest in interiors trends. We're always looking for new finds, designers to feature or anything else lovely for the home, so if you've seen something gorgeous and would like it featured in our interior design magazine, please get in touch!

Quick Shop: Floor Lamps

by Aimie Longhorn on August 02, 2011  |  0 comments
floor lamp
Our range of quirky and cool floor lamps

Bring a touch of ambience to your room with a quirky and stylish floor lamp

Whether it’s extra warmth in the winter or vibrancy in the summer, the right floor lamp provides an excellent focal point for your room. Ranging from ultra cool to understated and subtly stylish, make sure you bring light into your life and most importantly, your interior.

To create a dramatic and striking feel, go for something bold to illuminate and impress or subtle to create a welcoming glow.

(Clockwise from left) Eichholtz Shipper Floor Lamp, £840, from Occa Home, King Floor Lamp, £750, from Utility, Tom Dixon Mirror Ball Floor Lamp, £127.50, from Utility, Bamboo Floor Lamp, £135, from Puji, Moooi Emperor Floor Lamp, £1,051, from Occa Home, Loco Clear Glass Drop Floor Lamp, £269.50, from Heal’s.

Quick Shop: Dining Room Chairs

by Aimie Longhorn on August 01, 2011  |  0 comments
dining chair
Our range of modern and stylish Dining Chairs

Give your dining area a makeover with a range of stylish dining chairs

You can’t rely on the English weather this summer to dine alfresco, so make sure you dine in style with our most elegant and luxurious dining chairs.

The best part? If you don’t fancy having a complete makeover, changing your dining chairs provides a quick, cost effective solution to update any dining table and is a must for impressing guests! So make sure you indulge this summer for your ultimate dining experience.

(Clockwise from left) Sophie Pink Leather Dining Chair, £130, from Love Your Home For Less, Purple Velvet Medan Dining Chair, £180, from The Pole House, Marcel Dining Chair, £63, from Habitat, Zach Dining Chair, £136, from Habitat, Calligaris Easy Leather Dining Chair, £183, from Heal’s, Belgravia Silver Dining Chair, £195, from Sweetpea and Willow

Danish Design Centre

by Meg Lucas on July 29, 2011  |  0 comments
furnish
Danish Design Centre Café

This week Furnish.co.uk goes international with a visit to the Danish Design Centre to soak up some Scandinavian inspiration.

In a rather inconspicuous location on Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard in Copenhagen is a tribute to the wonderful, and occasionally weird, designs that have come out of Denmark in the last six decades. Famous for its Danish Design School, Copenhagen has been something of a design hub for decades, and the exhibitions at the Danish Design Centre give some clues as to why.

Running until 2013, ‘Denmark by Design’ shows the development of Danish design from 1945 until 2010, illustrating the focus of design decade by decade. The exhibition looks at the prevailing trends throughout the decades and their impact on designers’ solutions and expressions, as well as questioning what constitutes Danish design and examining how it has become an integrated part of our everyday lives and our mindset.

furnish
Modern classics designed in Denmark

On display are some icons of Scandinavian design, such as mid-century chairs like Hans J. Wegner’s ‘The Chair’. These designs are instantly recognisable in their original forms but also in their significant influence upon the designs and tastes of the 21st Century.

If all that timeless design wasn’t enough, there are two other exhibitions running that examine human interaction with design. Until February 2012, you can find ‘Challenge Society – designing the simple solutions to a complex future’ on the ground floor of the Design Centre.

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What good design is to one visitor to the Design Centre.

After stopping for a coffee and cinnamon pastry (a must!) we headed to the upper floor of the Design Centre, which is housing ‘Challenge Waste – RE_ACT RE_IMAGINE RE_DESIGN’, an exhibition about waste until the end of August 2011. Full of rather shocking and harrowing infographics, the exhibition looks at the problem, and contributing human behaviours, of waste and the effect they are having upon the earth and oceans.

Whilst the exhibition showcases the challenges of handling waste, and potential design solutions to future waste problems; we came away feeling even more passionately that thoughtfully designed and quality products are a worthwhile investment, both financially and environmentally. To help you on your way, we’ve selected a few of the best Scandinavian inspired products to be found on Furnish.co.uk.

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Quick Shop: Wardrobes

by Sarah Green on July 25, 2011  |  0 comments
wardrobe
Our pick of wardrobes.

Keep your bedroom clutter free with one of our favourite wardrobes.

Wardrobes tend to be overlooked as furniture that’s more functional than beautiful. But with one of these gorgeous designs, this timeless, storage unit will become a centre piece in a bedroom. Whether it is used to hang fancy frocks or somewhere to store your treasured shoes, a wardrobe is essential bedroom kit. So why not experiment with something far more exquisite than your standard cupboard and make your entrance to Narnia that little more exciting!

(Clockwise from top) Provencal 2-door mirrored Armoire from The French Bedroom Company, £1,095, Georgian 3 door Wardrobe from Sweetpea and Willow, £1,015, Avignon Double Armoire from Sweetpea and Willow, £1,425, Cleopatra Mirrored Wardrobe from Lover’s Lounge, £630, Ming Oriental Large Black Lacquered Wardrobe from Alexander and Pear, £995, Coast Wardrobe Oak by Samuel Chan from Heal’s, £1,995.

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Quick Shop: Console Tables

by Aimie Longhorn on July 24, 2011  |  0 comments
console table
Our selection of Console Tables

Enhance the entrance to your home by making a statement in your hallway with an elegant console table

Hallways are often an overlooked area of the home but as it’s the first space guests will see it’s important to create a good first impression. Whether your style is classic and cosy or modern and sleek, Console tables provide necessary storage to keep your hallway clutter free and looking it’s best.

Adding an oversized mirror is a great finishing touch, not only can you check yourself out before you leave the house and it will instantly make a small hallway feel larger and brighter.

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Yale Key Rack from Graham & Green

by Mica Kelly on July 03, 2011  |  1 comment
coat racks and stand
Yale Key Rack, £19.95, from Graham & Green

Keep your keys safe with this Yale Key Rack from Graham & Green. £19.95

Whether you live with someone who can never find their keys or you are the key-loser yourself, we think you’ll agree there’s little more frustrating that a lost set.

It always seems to happen just as you’re leaving home, and despite hunting high and low and tearing your rooms apart one by one, you’ll swear blind that when you find them that’s “definitely” not where you left them.

Well, now that can be a thing of the past thanks to this rather nifty Yale Key Rack from Graham & Green.

An exact replica, albeit a bigger one, of a Yale door key, this rack will make sure people safely deposit their keys on arrival.

Of course we can’t promise you no more lost keys but it might help.

This week’s pick of the interiors blogs - July 02

by Meg Lucas on July 02, 2011  |  0 comments
furnish
Artemis’ quirky shed on Junkaholique

Here’s our pick of the blogs that have had us hooked this week.

Whilst not strictly about interiors, Junkaholique is treasure trove of inspiration and it’s all too easy to find that a whole hour has past whilst you’ve been absorbed in this lovely blog.

Artemis and Nao are jewellery designers living in London with a love for flea markets and car boot fairs. Reinventing ‘junk’, they are testament to the DIY spirit and every nook and cranny of both their home and studio appears to have a thoughtful and very personal touch.

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Daniel’s thrifted and rejuvenated Bertoia Diamond chair on Manhattan Nest.

Manhattan Nest documents the numerous DIY projects undertaken by blogger Daniel Kanter whilst setting up his new apartment in New York. Check out Daniel’s bedstead, self-upholstered with an army surplus blanket for a stylish utility look. Accompanying the numerous envy-inducing photos is Daniel’s delightfully witty and deft writing.

Not only does Daniel have fabulous taste but he also has a keen eye for a bargain, so Manhattan Nest is a great blog to visit when you need practical information for stylish design on a budget.

furnish
Colourful inspiration: Polly Wreford photography on French by Design

The charming blog, French by Design, is written by Si, who describes herself as ‘a French girl’ with ‘a passion for Scandinavian design and industrial era vintage finds’. However even if you’re not a huge Scandi-industrial fan, this blog has something for everyone.

Si offers beautiful themed moodboards curated from across the web, trend alerts, house tours - oh and the occasional droll quote to help get you through the week!

As always, get in touch if you want us to feature your blog next time round.

Tea and a chat with Rothschild & Bickers

by Catherine Gregg on June 27, 2011  |  0 comments
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Mark in action in the workshop

Furnish visits the London Glassworks for tea with Rothschild & Bickers

On an unassuming industrial estate in North London something quite magical is afoot. Unit 15 houses one of the last glassworks in the UK, and is home to Rothschild & Bickers. Known for their sophisticated and opulent glass lighting, Victoria Rothschild and Mark Bickers invited us in for mug of tea and a snoop around. After sharing a studio at the Royal College of Art and working together on bespoke commissions, the pair decided to create their own range of signature pieces. Produced in batches, each shade is skilfully free blown and hand-finished. ‘Everything we do is hand-made’, says Vicki. Moulds are used to shape the surface of the molten glass, which is then blown out and modelled to create the form. The process is almost hypnotic to watch, and Mark underlines the level of concentration needed to get it right: ‘you have to keep focussed, and you can’t just stop half-way through; because the glass won’t’.

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The delicate Flora Pendant in steel

A lot of experimentation goes into the design process and a love of making as well as a respect for their material shines through on our visit. ‘We could never be paper-based designers’, says Mark: ‘it’s not that we render something on the computer and send it off to be made into a mould; we tweak, we edit as we go along.’ ‘We blow something we like the shape of’, says Vicki, ‘and then we’ll re-make it and change it a little bit. That’s what I love about the hand-made part of it. Being able to have the thing in front of you and knock another one out if you don’t like the first.’ Once the final form is decided, ‘you’ve then got the challenge of being able to reproduce it in batches by hand’.

Many of the designs are worked up with a particular interior in mind. The clean lines of the architectural Tiered Light would complement an elegant Art Deco style interior for example. Yet, while the lights often reference historical styles – the Tassel Light evoking Victorian grandeur or the Arts & Crafts style Flora Pendant – they’re never slavish imitations. ‘We’re always quite subtle about how we take elements from the past, whether it’s the fringing or the metalwork, they’re always touches’, says Mark. Likewise, while they might be designed towards a particular style of interior, the lights stand alone as decorative objects and could be put almost anywhere, says Mark, ‘either complementing or contrasting with what else is going on’. It’s the effect of the material as much as the form that contributes to the lights’ decorative appeal. ‘A lot of ours cast either colour or pattern’, says Mark, ‘so the effect is much bigger than the pendant itself’.

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The opulent Tassel Light in grey

The heritage of glassblowing in England and the traditional skills involved in handmade glass production are central to Rothschild & Bickers’ work. ‘We’re using skills that might otherwise be lost’ says Vicki. ‘We did a lot of research on different shapes and forms and how people made things’. The moulds used for the different surface finishes and the techniques of blowing and finishing would have been the same in Victorian factories. It’s looking back at these older manufacturing methods that contributes to Rothschild & Bickers distinctive style and that Vicki sees as helping to set their work apart from modern mass-produced glassware. It’s a labour intensive process that results in astonishingly beautiful pieces with all the natural variation that marks them as handmade.

Rothschild & Bickers will be showcasing some new pieces at 100% Design in September and a bigger website is due to be launched within the next year. To find out more and order online, visit rothschildbickers.com. And if you fancy having a go at glassblowing, the London Glassworks offers one-day courses.

Focus on Pattern: Paisley

by Meg Lucas on June 26, 2011  |  0 comments
jug
Paisley Jug, £16, Brissi.

A rich history and unisex appeal; this week we focus on paisley.

There’s something about paisley; that botanical teardrop-shaped design is instantly recognisable. The whole pattern is infused with a rich history, from ancient Persia to dapper British gents, lending it a familiar yet mysterious appeal. Whilst it is often found on silk scarves and ties, don’t let paisley be confined to attire. This classic print is popping up everywhere and makes a pretty addition to any home.

Fabric

Paisley can be found in both woven and printed forms, so there is plenty of choice when it comes to fabric. Liberty has a fantastic collection of paisley fabrics to choose from, such as the more traditional, archive Bourton print, which was produced on dress fabrics in the 1960s. Alternatively try Liberty’s Mark print, a vibrant contemporary take on paisley, which is perfect for introducing the pattern into a relaxed living room or children’s bedroom.

OKA stocks a range of products in a beautiful Indian-inspired wool paisley fabric available in Peacock Blue and Rust Red. The subtler blue version is available as an elegant set of cotton-lined curtains, making it super simple to bring a hint paisley into a drawing room or bedroom. For a flexible, folky take on the pattern, throw OKA’s Reversible Paisley Throw over a solid coloured sofa or armchair.

Furniture

Paisley risks looking a little too psychedelic on large pieces of furniture, so take inspiration from this stunning Horchow Paisley Settee and have a loveseat or armchair upholstered in a bold paisley print for a contemporary interpretation of the paisley pattern.

The historical characteristics of paisley are offset by clean, modern lines in this one-off Paisley Armchair from Lockwood Design. Upholstered with glamorous woven gold paisley fabric on tubular steel legs, it would look fantastic in a contemporary bedroom.

cushion
Cream & Taupe Paisley Cushion, £15, Primrose & Plum.

Flooring

Avoid the hotel lobby feel by steering clear of paisley patterned carpets, instead try layering pre-existing neutral carpets or floorboards with a contemporary paisley rug. We love the bold colours of this Paul Smith Paisley Aubergine Rug, which is made to order.

For a softer mix of colour, try this Brink and Campman Kodari Paisley Rug. Hand knotted in Nepal it is available in 5 rectangular sizes or alternatively can be created to a custom size, making it ideal for awkward sized spaces.

Wallpaper

Like most bold patterns, paisley wallcoverings are best confined to smaller spaces such as alcoves or feature walls. However we love the unexpected visual impact of ceilings wallpapered with paisley. Whilst it’s a bold move, this is a great way to introduce pattern to wall space and perfect for achieving more proportion in high ceilinged rooms. Just ensure you choose wall paper with a pale coloured base to avoid making your space feel heavy.

bowl
Large Bone China Bowl, £55, Designed in England.

Accessories

We love the use of paisley in the Off the Wall Paisley Flower vase and bowl collection from Designed in England. Making a refreshing change from polka dotted or striped tableware, the collection was designed to celebrate the wallcoverings of Cole & Son and the use of oranges and browns gives the whole collection a delightful retro appeal. Shortlisted for the Homes and Gardens award, each piece is part of a limited collection of just 250 units per style – so be quick!

Sofas and beds look fantastic scattered with a coordinating mixture of solid coloured and paisley cushions; we love this Cream & Taupe Paisley Cushion from Primrose & Plum. Embroidered with taupe stitching and silver beading with a fluffy feather pad, this cushion is a luxurious take on paisley.

These cute set of 4 Fairtrade Paisley Boxes from Plumo are perfect as gift boxes or to store knick knacks and jewellery. With embroidered lids and opulent jewel colours they lend an exotic, well-travelled look to your dressing table.

So whether you want traditional and masculine or opulent and exotic, paisley could be just the thing.

Focus on Pattern: Damask

by Meg Lucas on June 19, 2011  |  0 comments
wallpaper
Barneby Gates Deer Damask Wallpaper, £75, Rockett St George

Achieve modern opulence with our guide to making damask work in your home

Damask fabric was named after Syria’s capital, Damascus, where it originated in the early middle ages. However by the fourteenth century damask had spread across Western Europe and became synonymous with luxury though its popularity in the royal courts of Europe. Since then damask has been reinterpreted into all kinds of linens, furniture and even wallpaper, making it an easy way to bring a touch of opulence to your home.

Fabric

Traditionally a woven fabric, it’s not hard to find damask fabrics in all incarnations around the home. John Lewis stocks a beautifully tactile Veneto Damask Fabric that is suitable for curtains, bedcovers and upholstery. Available in a range of colours, we think the Citrine option is perfect to lend a zesty and modern twist to traditional damask.

Alternatively, try transforming your bedroom with a damask duvet cover. This Damask Jacquard bed linen from John Lewis features a weave of leaves, scrolls and flowers in muted brown tones making it a tranquil and understated option. Better still the cotton is fully organic and certified in accordance with international Fairtrade standards, so you can rest even easier.

Furniture

Furniture upholstered with damask fabrics offers a very regal feel to the room, but can sometimes feel a bit formal. Avoid this by introducing one bold damask upholstered piece alongside plainer, solid colours. Make an impact in an otherwise pared down room with this Gold Gilt Damask Nursing Armchair from The Orchard. Offset the opulent greens and golds with muted neutrals for a more contemporary feel in a living room or bedroom.

Alternatively this Versailles Foot End from The French Bedroom Company, upholstered in a French silk damask, is an elegant yet useful piece. Try positioning it at the foot of the bed or under a window as somewhere stylish to sit when dressing in the morning.

bed linen
Damask Jacquard Oxford Pillowcase, £20, John Lewis

Flooring

The floor is the perfect place to start when introducing damask to your home. Try a doormat rejuvenated in a bold damask prints such as this coconut fibre Black & White damask Print Doormat from Mollie & Fred.

For greater impact, a large damask print rug looks striking against plain wood floorboards. The rich plum colours of this large, wool rich Damask Rug from Habitat would lend an opulent feel to any living space.

Wallpaper

There are a whole host of options when it comes to damask wallpaper but some designs can sometimes feel a little imposing and formal. Instead try a contemporary twist on the traditional for a fresh and quirky appeal. The Barneby Gates Deer Damask Wallpaper from Rockett St George, blends a vibrant duck egg blue background with an antique gold stag skull and thistle damask style pattern.

For a smaller wall space, such as an alcove or chimney breast try this Ribbon Damask Paper Lace-Embossed Vinyl Wallcovering from Occa Home. Created in collaboration with Timorous Beasties, the wallcovering is inspired by vintage 1920’s cotton lace fabric, combining two patterns in one.

placemat
Deco Damask Place Mat, £2.80, John Lewis

Accessories

For an opulent finishing touch in your home, or just a simple way to introduce the pattern try adding some damask accessories. The Dizzy Lamp Damask from Decolight features a modern trumpet shaped lamp base with a hand-made black silk damask shade. For an even more contemporary take on the damask pattern, try the inntermost acid damask shade from A White Room. Designed by Timorous Beasties, the shade features a pink/red interior, meaning the white cotton outer diffuses the damask print giving it a thoroughly fresh appeal. The lampshade is also highly versatile as the three available sizes can be hung as a pendant or mounted on lamp bases.

Table linens are true to the roots of damask fabric as a luxurious weave and are certain to add glamour to any place setting. The Deco Damask Napkin from John Lewis feature a classic damask design and are a perfect accompaniment to crisp linens and sparkling tableware. Soft furnishings are also a fantastic way to introduce the pattern. Add a little luxury and colour to the bathroom with the Lime/Steel Monaco Damask Towels from John Lewis. Alternatively scatter the sofa with damask cushions, such as the Osborne & Little Radnor Damask Cushion from Heal’s, which is made from pure silk in a vibrant purple pattern.

Damask patterns needn’t be limited to their traditional capacity; they can provide a sumptuous feel to just about any contemporary space. What’s more there so many ways to introduce damask, whether wallpapering a feature wall or opting for something less permanent, such as bed linen, there is an option for just about all tastes and budgets. So, don’t be afraid to bring this beautiful pattern into your home!

Quick Shop: Storage Jars

by Mica Kelly on June 13, 2011  |  0 comments
storage container
Keep your kitchen in check with our favourite storage jars

Keep your kitchen clutter free with our pick of the best storage jars around

Everyone knows it’s important to be tidy in the kitchen; whether you’re a semi-pro cook or just someone who needs to keep their tea and coffee in check, we’ve put together our pick of the best storage jars.

From classic white and vintage polka dots to retro patterns guaranteed to give your kitchen a touch of swinging 60s style, there really is something for everyone.

Use them to store everything from tea and coffee to flour and pasta to make sure your kitchen remains clutter free and everything is close at hand.

From top: Alessi Gianni Storage Jar, £10.50, Utility; Retro Storage Container, £12.50, Soulful Toaster; Cammeo Jar, from £15, 95% Danish; Ceramic Round Storage Jar, £10, Occa Home; Small Domestic Goddess Storage Jar, £14.95; Orla Kiely Multi Stem Small Storage Jar, £20, Utility

Quick Shop: Wine Racks

by Mica Kelly on June 10, 2011  |  0 comments
wine rack
Our selection of the best wine racks around

Check out our selection of the best wine racks around

Unless you live in a mansion and have room for a wine cellar, you’re going to need a good quality wine rack. Personally, a bottle of wine rarely lasts long enough to get it in one at Furnish HQ but if you’re more restrained than us, we’ve put together a selection of the best around.

From wall-mounted sleek and FSC wood designs to a quirky cactus design to give your dining room a touch of the Wild West, we’ve got it all.

Now all you need is a decent bottle or six of plonk, a couple of wine glasses and a corkscrew and you can start the weekend countdown.

From top: Wall Mounted Wine Rack, £20, Utility; Cork Wine Rack, £35, Habitat; FSC Wooden Wine Rack, £95, John Lewis; Cactus Wine Rack by J-Me, £86, Pelican Pear; Stack Em Up Wine Rack, £95, Sweetpea & Willow; Umbra Grape Vine Wine Rack, £20, Red Candy

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Trend Watch: Oriental

by Meg Lucas on May 30, 2011  |  1 comment
furnish
Dries Van Noten, Spring/Summer 2011, www.elle.com

Infuse your home with Eastern influence by channelling the Oriental trend.

Forget gaudy combinations of red and gold often associated with questionable Chinese restaurants; these days the Oriental trend draws influence from a range of sources to give stylish and workable interiors inspiration. Comprising Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean traditions, amongst others, Asian style has been identifiable as an influence of Western décor for centuries. The ball and claw foot, for example, was inspired by a Chinese motif, and small touches like this are ideal for adding subtle Oriental references to your home.

Asian design has a heavy focus on texture and is often either smooth and shiny, for example lacquered wood, or highly tactile like bamboo, raw silk, paper and jute. This striking set of Rectangular Lacquer Boxes from OKA make a perfect Oriental inspired storage solution, and are a great contrast against rougher textures and muted colours. Plus red is the colour of good luck and happiness in China!

Cushions are perfect for adding an Eastern feel to a bedroom or living room. Opt for luxurious silks hand printed using traditional techniques for an opulent feel, such as Clarrisa Hulse’s Potentilla Chilli and Zinc Silk Cushion from Heal’s. Alternatively try this ginkgo leaf inspired Florence Broadhurst Japanese Floral Cushion from John Lewis.

Whilst sumptuous silks may not be appropriate for the floor, there are plenty of Asian inspired rugs. This Calvin Klein Lustre Wash Rug from John Lewis, has a special lustre wash that gives it an subtle patina reminiscent of Oriental watercolours, and is handcrafted from soft New Zealand lambswool.

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Cube Side Table, £350, Orchid Furniture.

Orchid Furniture is a fantastic place to look for Eastern inspired contemporary furniture. They stock a wide range of dark wood furniture with simple lines and an uncluttered appearance, such as this Bedside Cabinet, constructed from mid-brow American walnut for an elegant appearance. Another contemporary take on the Oriental trend comes in the form of the Vitra Butterfly Stool from Utility. Designed by Sori Yanagi, the Butterfly Stool blends Eastern shapes with the plywood shaping technique developed by Charles and Ray Eames and comes in two finishes – Maple plywood or Palisander plywood.

Whilst black and red are synonymous with Oriental décor, the look can be achieved more subtly through the use of neutrals and muted Asian inspired paint colours, such as jade greens and bluish greys. These colours provide a more modern feel and create striking contrast against dark wood or lacquered furniture. Screens elaborately painted with Chinese inspired scenes are another way to bring Eastern inspiration to wall spaces, but a more minimalist effect can be achieved with this Cocostick Screen from Puji. Beautiful as well as functional, it can be used as a room divider or to add interest to a drab corner of the room.

cushion
Sapporo Cushion, £35, ALSO Home.

Perhaps the easiest way to add an Oriental feel to your home is through accessories. Lanterns are synonymous with Eastern culture, but this Chinoiserie Lampshade from OKA, hand painted with antiqued Chinese scenes on a dark background, is an understated way to channel the trend in just about any setting. Alternatively opt for traditional Oriental materials, with contemporary functional uses, such as this Bamboo Hang On Magnetic Memo Board from Heal’s. Tea is an ancient Eastern tradition, so naturally kitchenware is also an ideal way to add some Oriental influence. Japanese porcelain has been imported into Europe for centuries, much of which came from Arita/Imari, in Nagasaki. We love this Small Japanese Porcelain Teapot and Set of 4 Japanese Porcelain Tea Cups, from Lemonlu London. This range of porcelain comes from nearby Hasami and the designs are taken from Edo-Komon, elaborately dyed kimono fabric.

With any luck this selection of Eastern influenced products will have provided some ideas about how the Oriental trend can be worked into your home in a subtle and stylish way. So even if you don’t have a luxury holiday to Asia booked this summer, you can still be surrounded by the opulent simplicity of Oriental décor in your own home.

Buyers Guide to Wallpaper

by Mica Kelly on May 23, 2011  |  1 comment
wallpaper
Barneby Gates Deer Damask Wallpaper, £75, Rockett St George

Brighten up your walls with this fabulous guide to using wallpaper in your home.

Planning

Before you begin to wallpaper, it is important that you take accurate measurements of the walls you want to paper to work out how much you will need. It’s also a good idea to check that the batch numbers or codes on each role are the same, as there can be slight variations in shades and patterns depending on the time of manufacturing.

Once you’re ready to begin make sure that all furniture is removed from the room, of course this is not always possible but it will make your job a lot easier when manoeuvring on a ladder, and spread dustsheets over the floor to protect them. If you are wallpapering the ceiling then it is also advisable to remove any light fittings which might cause an obstacle. Finally, if there is existing wallpaper on your walls then this must be removed using warm water and a scraping knife to strip the wallpaper away; alternatively, buy or hire a steamer which will do most of the hard work for you! If there are any holes on the surface of the wall then use some plaster filler to create a smooth surface.

Installing it

Learning to wallpaper can seem like a daunting task but if you perfect the skill of hanging then you can create a professional finish easily, without the cost of hiring in an expert to do the work for you. To work out how long you should cut each piece of wallpaper, measure the height of your wall and then add on four or five extra inches. This way you can neatly trim the bottom of the wallpaper as it reaches the skirting board for tidy finish. Mix your wallpaper paste following the manufacturer’s instructions and coat the strips of paper evenly and generously to prevent peeling; you will need a pasting table to do this.

Carefully fold the piece of wallpaper, concertina style, to make it easier to handle when hanging up. Generally, it is best to hang the first piece in the corner of a room where joining seams will be less noticeable. Hang the paper from the top of the wall and use a paste brush from the centre of the piece towards the edge to prevent bubbles from forming. Don’t rush; if you have soaked the wallpaper well then there is plenty of time to work on each piece and prevent mistakes. Repeat this process, considering that you will need to match the pattern with the previous piece depending on your choice of wallpaper.

wallpaper
Westwood wallpaper, £128.17, BODIE and FOU

Pattern

Wallpaper is a quick and easy way of adding pattern into your home, and with so many patterns, colours and textures to choose from there is sure to be something for everyone’s tastes. This gorgeously luxurious damask wallpaper from Barneby Gates, uses a gold stag skull and thistle pattern on a duck egg blue background for a contemporary twist on the traditional damask style pattern. Similarly, this stunning westwood wallpaper from Bodie and Fou uses a baroque inspired serpentine design with a colourful punk inspired twist.

Patterned wallpaper is also a great idea for children, as it can add some real excitement to their bedroom. 95% Danish have some great options that are extremely durable with a wipe clean surface; perfect for sticky fingers!

wallpaper
Family Tree Wallpaper, £59, Rose & Grey

Using two wallpapers together

By mixing and matching two wallpapers within the same room it is possible to create a range of stunning effects; if you’re feeling brave then mix two clashing patterns for a bold statement, or if you prefer a more subtle finish then choose a daring print for one key wall and a wallpaper with a smaller intricate pattern to complement.

This striking tree print wallpaper from Rose & Grey has a wonderfully quirky feel that would look great hung on a feature wall with a plain or embossed wallpaper to complement it. If you prefer a more retro inspired look to your interiors then why not try clashing two bold prints. This kitsch floral wallpaper from Rose & Grey takes its inspiration from the print of a vintage fabric, and the mustard yellow base harks back to the 1960’s. Clash with another floral print, or another bold colour like this retro turquoise wallpaper from Oliver Bonas.

Wallpaper is an incredibly versatile and stylish way of updating your home and creating an impact. Although the techniques needed for a professional finish are often perceived as being fiddly and, let’s face it, a bit too much like hard work; our handy tips should help to take the hassle out of hanging and have you wallpapering like a pro in no time!

Interview: Annick L Petersen

by Mica Kelly on May 22, 2011  |  0 comments
rug
Circular rug with stitched writing, price on request, alp.

We interview interior architect, designer and owner of Alp, Annick L Petersen.

Swiss born interior architect, Annick L Petersen, runs design studio Alp from her base in London. Having worked in residential, hotel and furniture design for more than 15 years, Annick now designs a contemporary range of furniture and accessories that combine functionality and classic style as well as offering a full interior design service.

We caught up with Annick to find out the inspiration behind Alp, and what’s next for the studio…

What made you decide to create the brand and what was your first design?

It started when I was looking for a coffee table for our living room and couldn’t find what I was looking for, so decided to design one and my husband and I built it. It was the rectangle coffee table with storage for remote controls and magazines.

Where do you take influence from when designing your range?

I mainly design for myself, create furniture, lighting, rugs, etc that I would like to have in my home. I also love Indian design and patterns. I have recently visited Rajasthan and the architecture of forts and Maharaja’s palaces were the most beautiful. The intricate marble or wood carvings, patterns, fabric and colours were just amazing. I get inspired by these patterns for my cushion designs at the moment.

Do your Swiss roots have a part to play in the functional and contemporary style of the range?

I am not sure if it is due to my Swiss roots, but I do like simple lines for furniture and if possible some sort of storage. I suppose the Villa Le Lac by Le Corbusier and Jeanneret in Vevey where I grew up was an early influence for me as I visited it a few times. It is a small and simple house that Le Corbusier built for his parents in 1924.

coffee table
Coffee table with 2 drawers and 1 box storage, price on request, alp.

You use fairly ornate prints on your soft furnishings. How do you feel this works within the simplicity of the Alp range?

I love intricate patterns and calligraphy for small items like cushions. I think it gives a good balance with the simple lines of the rest of the range. It is good to mix different styles together.

How does Alp fit in with today’s style obsession with shabby chic furnishing, and a more is more approach to accessorising?

Alp has a wide range of cushions, with new designs coming soon inspired by my trip to India.

What draws you to contemporary/minimal interior design?

It is peaceful on the eye and the mind and you don’t tire of it. I enjoy simple lines in interiors but also mixed with different styles. I don’t think it should all be minimal as it would create quite a sterile environment.

Where does your passion for interior design come from?

I wanted to do something creative from a young age, hesitating between graphic design and interior design. I loved the idea of creating new spaces and making people happy in their environment, being at home, work or travelling.

What do you enjoy about designing interiors for other people’s homes?

You have to listen to your client’s needs and then suggest ideas, which they might not have thought of. When the project is done, seeing your client enjoying their new environment, is very satisfying.

What is your thought process when creating a space for others?

Take into consideration all your clients’ needs and requests and then come up with a solution that will satisfy them and yourself too.

mirror
Mirror, price on request, alp.

How do you work with your clients to ensure you are creating a space they will enjoy?

It is a close relationship between the client and myself with a lot of meetings and discussions.

Do you prefer designing your product range or designing interiors?

I really enjoy doing both, they both bring me a lot of fulfilment.

What current home interior trends are you inspired by?/What is your favourite home furnishing brand?

I really enjoy the mixture of natural wood finish and lacquer finish as used in my console tables and I have a new product coming up soon following that style. I like Tom Dixon’s work, we have his Jack Light, which I still love after all these years. He is always coming up with interesting new designs and materials. I also like the Bouroullec brothers, we have their Algue which has a great 3 dimensional texture. Their designs have beautiful shapes.

What is your personal style at home?

At home, I have a mixture of my pieces, a few designer items, some finds from our travels and markets, some pieces from my grandparents house in Switzerland, so it is very relevant to me and my family.

How would you sum up the Alp style?

The alp style is contemporary, elegant and functional with a bit of fun.

What plans do you have to develop the brand in future?

We have just opened a showroom in Camden, which is great to view the alp range. I am working on new projects for furniture, rugs, soft furnishing, which should be ready soon.

You can find out more about Alp, including the range and Annick’s services, by visiting www.alp-design.co.uk.

Trend Watch: Folk

by Mica Kelly on May 17, 2011  |  0 comments
furnish
Anna Sui, Spring/Summer 2011, www.redonline.co.uk

Get your home ready for festival season with a touch of folk.

With Summer feeling like its already arrived, it’s time to dig out those ditsy floral print dresses, dishevelled denim waistcoats and cosy fringed ponchos ready for festival season! But, if spending the weekend up to your knees in mud and sleeping in a damp tent isn’t your idea of fun then worry not as this trend can work just as well in your home. Think fringed throws, embroidered rugs and colourful lanterns for adding that touch of folk to your interior.

Look for throws in deep autumnal colours to scatter across armchairs, or drape at the foot of the bed, to create a laid back bohemian feel. This gorgeous paisley throw from OKA uses lovely rustic colours for a vintage inspired finish, and it’s made from 100% wool; perfect for snuggling under when the summer nights turn chilly!

This lovely lambswool folk blanket from Primrose & Plum also follows the vintage theme with the lovely border detail inspired by traditional Swedish carvings. In keeping with the eco-friendly folk ethos, the blanket has also been responsibly sourced and produced with care for the environment by not using any harsh pesticides or harmful chemicals.

throw
Ultimate Paisley Throw, £149, OKA

Stripped floorboards work really well within the home when creating a folk inspired look, but it’s lovely to introduce some colour to your flooring with the addition of a rug. This quirky ribbon rug from Plumo is made from woven recycled ribbon strips for a beautiful mix of colours, and has lovely tassel detailing along the edge for a real arts and crafts feel. Plumo can also customise rugs to your specific colour preferences.

OKA is a great brand to consider if you are looking for a high quality rug with an antique feel, as they have a great range of colours and styles available. This cimkent rug from OKA is made from 100% wool for long lasting quality, and the deep earthy red colour gives it a timeless quality that is sure to look stunning in any setting.

Mixing and matching different colours and textures is the best way to create an authentic folk feel in your home. If you have selected a fairly rich colour palette for your rugs and throws then a great way of lifting the trend is to add a colourful selection of cushions. These mexican bird cushions from Plumo are beautifully bright, using lovely embroidered patterns of birds and flowers with colourful fringing and tassels for a lovely handcrafted feel.

Choosing cushions with embroidered patterns really helps to add a vintage feel to your soft furnishings, and helps to make your home feel unique. The bright colours of this embroidered folk cushion really add a contemporary twist to the style, and contrasts beautifully with the very traditional pattern of the stitched detail.

outdoor lighting
Little lanterns (2 assorted), £17.95, Plumo

Don’t forget accessories for adding the perfect finishing touches to this trend. Candles and lanterns are the perfect folk accessory as they help to recreate the warm glow of a bonfire inside your living room. These Fairtrade painted lanterns from Plumo come in an assortment of gorgeous colours with a variety of pretty floral detailing. Add tealights and dot them around your home, or even in the garden for your own mini festival! This candle lantern from Habitat is another great lighting option, and uses a wire frame wrapped in recycled magazine paper for an unusual design feature.

Finally, we couldn’t resist taking a look at this stunning pitcher and mug duo from Plumo, which would add an authentically rustic feel to your kitchen. The red clay tableware is made by local artisans using traditional methods, and is glazed in traditional Romanian folk patterns; a genuine touch of folk.

Hopefully, this fabulous selection of products has provided you with the inspiration to mix and match the accessories in your home this season for a wonderfully authentic take on the folk trend; and with a few cosy throws and some twinkling lanterns you can enjoy watching the festival coverage from the comfort of your sofa!

Buyer's Guide to outdoor lighting

by Mica Kelly on May 11, 2011  |  0 comments
outdoor lighting
Rusty Metal Hurricane Lamp, £24.95, Nordic House

Illuminate your outside space with this handy guide to the best outdoor lighting

When adding the finishing touches to our interiors, lighting is one of the most important considerations. Most of us will spend hours choosing the perfect light fittings, finding gorgeous lamps to fill dark corners and adding cosy candles to the dinner table. Yet, many people completely forget about lighting one of the most important areas of the home; the outside space. Whether you have acres of land or just a tiny balcony making sure your outdoor space is given the treatment it deserves.

Planning

It is really important to plan properly for new lighting additions to your outdoor space to ensure that you create a unique living area that is accessible after dark. Safety-wise, consider which areas it is crucial to light well; stairs and pathways may benefit from some brighter lighting options, for instance. When it comes to more decorative lighting think about what sort of atmosphere you wish to create; colourful fairy lights are perfect for creating a fun sociable atmosphere, whilst lanterns will help to create a much more intimate feel. Most importantly, ensure that all lighting is waterproof, and any additions which are not low voltage should be installed by a qualified electrician.

Candle lighting

Adding a few candle lit lanterns and pretty tea lights to your garden is the quickest and most effective way of creating a warm and cosy area for relaxing in. These hurricane lamps from Nordic House have a gorgeous rustic finish which means they will look as if they’ve been in your garden for years! Lamps and lanterns are particularly versatile as they can be used as a lovely table centre piece, when dining al fresco, hung from hooks on the patio for effective mood lighting or scattered across decking and pathways for a pretty night time twinkle.

These bamboo lanterns from Garden Trading are perfect for recreating a relaxing holiday atmosphere. The lantern sits on top of a long pole which can be pushed into the lawn or flowerbeds for a quirky way to light your garden.

outdoor lighting
Barn Large Clay Outdoor Wall Light, £52, Heal's

Wall-mounted lighting

Wall lights are a great option if you have limited outside space, as well as being an ideal way to illuminate your porch or the area immediately outside your door. Based on a traditional stable lamp this outdoor wall light from Heal’s would be perfect for lighting an outdoor eating area, and can also be used inside as a porch light or over the back door.

This contemporary style aluminium wall light from Heal’s uses a unique circular design with a glass and aluminium finish, for a sleek and modern addition to the garden.

Path lighting

If you have a path in your garden, or leading to your outside space, it is important to provide some lighting in this are to ensure that you and your guests can move about the space easily and without any risks. However unlike deck lighting, which is usually bedded into the floor, there are plenty of free standing options available for lighting your path which means you can really make a feature of it.

These completely unique tulip lights from Garden Beet will provide a giant pop of colour to your outdoor space, and would look absolutely stunning positioned along a dark pathway. Although they are slightly on the pricey side the tulip lights are a great way of injecting colour into a space that perhaps doesn’t have the luxury of flowerbeds or a lawn, and will certainly make your outside space a real talking point.

These tall oil lamps from Nordic Home, are a touch more subtle in their slate colour scheme but will certainly still make an impact on your path. Available in two sizes, depending on your space requirements, these lamps will look striking in any garden; and with the long lasting nature of oil burning, you can have fun outside for the whole night.

furnish
Tulip Light, £499, Garden Beet

Solar lighting

For the eco-conscious amongst you, it might be important to consider the ways to light your outside space using solar or eco-friendly lighting options; and as well as being good for the environment it can often be up to 80% cheaper to run than traditional lighting methods. Solar lights require no electricity as they use specially designed batteries which stores energy from the sun in order to automatically provide soft lighting after dark. There are solar lighting options available at all good DIY stores, such as Homebase but it is important that you position lights in a sunny spot to ensure they acquire enough energy to run in the evening.

There are plenty of great outdoor lighting options to choose from no matter what kind of outside space you have, meaning you can utilise every nook and cranny to make your garden a cosy and intimate, or colourful and sociable, place to be. So dust off those fairy lights and get ready to enjoy the long summer evenings in your new living space!

Quick Shop: Bookcases

by Meg Lucas on May 10, 2011  |  0 comments
bookcase
Have a look at our pick of the best bookcases

Take a look at our library of the best bookcases

I can’t think of anything in the home that gives away the owner’s personality quite as much as their book collection. It’s certainly the first thing my eyes drift to when I’m at a friend’s house - but then I am a self confessed bibliophile. So as well as agonising about what your books are saying about you, make an equally good impression with a well-considered bookcase.

Alongside storing, organising and displaying your tomes and curios, many bookcases are even more multipurpose - try one that is accessible from both sides for a perfect room divider to break up open plan spaces.

Clockwise from left: Missouri Low Shelving Unit, £439, from fashion4home, Reedy Bookcase, £2,262, from Utility, Henry Low Bookcase, £495, from Puji, Edith Shelving Unit by Kay + Stemmer, £320-£400, from Heal’s, Kartell Modular Bookshelf, £864, from A White Room, Bric A Brac Oak Shelving Unit, £1,295, from Heal’s, Hinged Low Shelving Unit by Leonhard Pfeifer, £495, from Heal’s, Chateau Small Open Bookcase, £230, from The Orchard, Shoreditch Industrial Narrow Bookcase on Wheels, £495, from Alexander and Pearl.

Tall Jute Baskets from Also Home

by Alexandra Thomas on May 10, 2011  |  0 comments
baskets and container
Tall Jute Baskets, from £38, from Also Home

Make sure you're clutter free with these Tall Jute Baskets from Also Home. From £38

As regular readers will know, I have a slight obsession with keeping my flat clutter free. Possibly because I have ridiculous amounts of stuff1 which I refuse to get rid of – which means I am constantly on the hunt for storage ideas.

My new favourites are these Tall Jute Baskets from Also Home.

Made from renewable jute, these baskets are also Fairtrade and extremely handy. Available in two sizes, small and large, they’re perfect for stashing away everything from clean washing and bed linen to towels and magazines.

Much more attractive than plastic boxes, they also have useful carry handles which means they can easily be moved from room to room.

baskets and container
Tall Jute Basket, from £38, from @alsohome

Focus on Pattern: Retro

by Mica Kelly on May 08, 2011  |  0 comments
bed linen
Orla Kiely Stripe Petal Duvet Covers, £60, John Lewis

Step back in time with our guide to making retro patterns work in your home.

Seek inspiration from the past when choosing patterns for your home for a touch of cosy nostalgia or a quirky twist on contemporary design. Think pretty polka dots for a hint of 1950’s kitsch, psychedelic floral prints for a funky 1960’s inspired interior or bold blocks of colour for a touch of 1970’s glamour. Whatever your decade of choice, we’ll show you how to turn the clock back to create a timeless home that you’re sure to love forever.

Fabric

A funky duvet cover can transform your bed into a dramatic style statement, and the 1960’s seem to be the go-to era for eye catching designs. Orla Kiely is a name synonymous with contemporary pattern design, but her fun floral prints undoubtedly take influence from the wonderful swinging Sixties. This Orla Kiely duvet cover from John Lewis uses a monochrome base with a bold and colourful daisy print for the perfect way to freshen up a dull bedroom.

Continuing with a similar style, a pattern made with one boldly repeated print, this retro elephant bedding from Hunkydory Home will look gorgeous in a child’s bedroom; the bold red and pink elephants and swirling floral pattern are sure to brighten up early school mornings.

Furniture

Choose one bold stunning piece of retro furniture to set against more contemporary pieces, for a quirky take on pattern rather than creating an exact replica of homes from a bygone era. This gorgeous upholstered chair from Graham & Green uses an iconic 1950’s chair design with an almost 1970’s inspired colourful fabric to create a funky statement piece that transcends decades.

For a fun flashback to the 1960’s, this globe chair from Lover’s Lounge is a fantastic replica of the iconic 1960’s design by acclaimed designer Eero Aarnio, and is the perfect place to curl up and relax after all that disco dancing.

For a more subtle take on retro design, this home desk from Utility has been created to replicate the shape of a classic ladies desk, but with retro design features for a contemporary update. The sleek chrome legs and colourful compartment separators contrasts beautifully with the classic walnut frame; this would make a welcome addition to any home office.

chair
50's Suzani Fabric Upholstered Chair, £495, Graham & Green

Flooring

Take inspiration from the 1980’s craze for slogans, by adding a bold doormat to your entrance. This retro doormat from Utility uses a natural background with the word ‘HOME’ boldly printed across it for a dramatic welcome home.

If you prefer to take the more colourful approach when decorating your floorboards then get hippy chic with this colourful love rug from The Plantation Rug Company. With bold colours and swirling paisley prints this rug is sure to bring the vibrant festival feeling into your home

Wallpaper

Update your walls with some boldly patterned wallpaper that will transform your home into a stylish retro pad. This stunning fifi wallpaper from John Lewis is a replica of an original 1950’s Sanderson print with a cute design depicting the hourglass silhouette of the era, pioneered by Christian Dior; this is definitely one for a fashion obsessive!

If music’s more your thing, then this cassette print wallpaper from BODIE and FOU uses hand drawn designs for a truly retro style that will create a cool and quirky statement wall for your teenagers.

wallpaper
Sanderson Fifi Wallpaper, £29, John Lewis

Accessories

Add the perfect finishing touches to your home with some cool retro accessories. Wake up in style with this classic alarm clock from Bloomsbury that uses the traditional bell top design for a stunning way to start the day.

Brighten up your kitchen with these gorgeous polka dot tins from Lover’s Lounge will keep your tea and coffee fresh while adding a touch of kitsch to your worktops.

If you prefer your kitchen accessories to be more chic, then you’re sure to love this sophisticated 1940’s glass bowl from Serendipity Street. It’s gorgeous cut glass detail means it’s sure to make a real statement on your dining table.

Retro patterns are a hugely versatile way of introducing print to the home, as style varies so widely across the decades. Choose an era that you love and add statement pieces of furniture and hints of pattern from this time for a quick and stylish way of updating your contemporary interior. For braver individuals, why not try mixing matching styles and patterns from across the years for a wonderfully quirky way of making a bold impact in your home. However you decide to turn back the time in your home, have fun experimenting!