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!
Nature’s favourite colour, green works so well in interior design because it’s both reassuringly familiar and alluringly escapist.
Conjuring images of rolling hills, grassy meadows and mossy forest glades, green is an uplifting and soothing colour that evokes a sense of wellbeing. In religious and folkloric tradition, green symbolizes eternal life, renewal, and hope. Yet, negative associations of poison and decay, inexperience and envy, sickness and institutionalisation, sit alongside the positive associations of green with healing and safety, freshness and rejuvenation, purity and calm. It’s a question of choosing the right shade. When Johnny Cash sang ‘Forty Shades of Green’ he wasn’t far wrong: occupying more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye, there are more shades of green than any other spectral hue.
Historically, different periods have favoured different variations of green. The dark olive greens of Georgian estates spoke of hunting lodges and ancestral woods, while the Regency period moved towards a softer, more muted shade of sage. Victorian interiors featured dark and atmospheric forest green, while an emphasis on light and space in 20th century interior design brought with it paler shades of mint in the 1930s and hints of lime in the 1950s. The last few years have seen a return to the sage grey-greens of the Regency, and elegant duck egg blue-greens remain ever popular. However, if Pantone’s 2010 colour of year, a vivid shade of turquoise, is anything to go by, we’ll be seeing crisper and brighter shades of green springing up in the world of interiors.
Green is a balancing colour, invigorating yet restful to the eye, making it a calming agent and a particularly liveable colour in the home. When choosing a shade of green, think about the mood you want to create: rich and dramatic, uplifting and refreshing, or soothing and meditative. Greens with yellow undertones are generally warmer, while blue greens are more tranquil. Green is a particularly versatile colour in that different shades can be combined harmoniously with relative ease. Unlike other colours, and taking nature as a model, clean and dirty shades of green can be used together in one space. For a sea of greens to work in one room, just make sure that the undertone (either yellow or blue) is the same across each shade.
Fresh, crisp greens work particularly well with black and white as neutrals, while emerald green goes fabulously well with other jewel tones such as purple and sapphire blue. Grey, yellow and gold tones are also great with green and don’t let anyone tell you that ‘pink and green should never be seen’. Pea green and rose pink is a joyful pairing, and combines well with brown tones. But the colour that unites every shade of green - from the misty greys through duck egg and teal, to racing green, lime and apple – is navy. Tying together the enduring sage greens and duck eggs with the current trend for fresher and brighter greens, navy is definitely a colour to watch; use it as a neutral with any shade of green and it’ll give the look a contemporary edge.
Green can work in almost any space because of the huge variety of shades, but take extra care with bathrooms. Depending on your skin tone, covering the smallest room in the house with green can make you look pallid, which isn’t a good look when you’re getting ready to go out (unless it’s Halloween). A blue green rather than a yellow green is often more forgiving. As with any colour choice, always use tester pots in the corners of the room and judge the effect of variations in natural and artificial light. Introducing green through soft furnishings and accessories is a great way to harmonise a room scheme. It’s the central position of green on the colour spectrum that creates that sense of balance. Draw the eye with vivid accessories in a single shade of bright green, or create a varied landscape of different shades and textures with cushions and throws. A beautiful way to accessorise with green is with leafy plants. A variety of ferns in decorative pots bring a lovely finishing touch your home.
Breathe new life into your home and capture the essence of springtime with green.
Celebrate a true style icon with 55 Max and their range of printed products. From £120
It may sound clichéd but Breakfast At Tiffany's is one of one of my all-time favourite stories. I've seen the film and read the book (film first, then book) more times than I can remember and without fail it makes me cry every time.
A Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly print graced the wall in my dining room for ages until becoming inexplicably damaged and ever since I've been on the hunt for one I love.
Sure there are tonnes out there but instead of the ubiqiutous shot of her standing with a cigarette holder I've opted for this subtler Lunch on Fifth Avenue print from 55 Max.
It totally sums up Holly's vunerability as well as being super chic too.
And the great things about 55 Max is that their images can appear on almost everything from your standard print to wallpaper and roller blinds.
Although, I have a sneaky suspicion that "him indoors" will object to seeing Holly's face everywhere so it will just have to be the print for now...
Give your brekkie a retro twist with these 50s-inspired dishes from Plumo. From £8.95
One of the things I adore in life is vintage china and tableware. My passion is definitely designs from the 50s and 60s, you know the stuff your Nan probably had loads of, but chucked out in the 80s because she thought it was dated.
Lots of people seem to stumble across this sort of thing for 50p at car boot sales. I am not one of these people, so I'm going to invest in this delightful breakfast set from Plumo instead.
Designed by Lotta Odelius and made from porcelain, this beautifully patterned set consists of an extra large tea cup, breakfast bowls, plates and storage jars.
It's so beautiful that it's almost convinced me to have my weekday breakfasts at home rather than on the run.
Stay in style and go green by choosing some gorgeous wood furnishings that will give your home a long-lasting, natural look.
Wood inspires a naturally beautiful interior that exudes texture and will provide you with a long-lasting stylish look. Its inviting feel makes it an irresistible choice for anyone looking to give their home an eco-friendly makeover. It isn’t hard to bring this current trend into your home, whether you are redecorating a whole room or just looking for a stunning feature piece you can mix and match different tones of wood furniture or find decorative pieces to suit your personal style.
Furniture and storage
Wood furniture has a versatile look whether it is polished or rustic to suit either a modern or traditional style interior. There are some fabulous dark wood furnishings available from Lombok (lombok.co.uk) including the simplistic Malang writing desk and the rustic Tallboy chest of drawers. The darker stains found in teak or mahogany, for example, can be complimented with oranges and earthy paint colours to bring warmth and drama to a bedroom or living room.
Lighter wood tones such as oak and pine work well in living and dining areas to maintain a light and spacious feel. The pine Rustic open book shelves from Rose & Grey combine shelf storage with natural style; the wood markings are something to treasure as they make your furniture unique. Enhance your wood’s finish with wall colours and fabrics that will bring out the dominant hues in the stain.
Or bring a natural, Zen feel to your bathroom with a wooden bath from William Garvey that you can relax in at the end of a hard day’s work.
Solid wood flooring creates a natural warm ambience and it’s very long lasting, although it must be installed by a professional. Despite needing a larger budget to complete this look, in the long run it is an excellent investment for its authenticity and durable beauty which improves with age. Engineered wood flooring is more resistant to moisture changes. Pre-finished wood gives you a wide range of choice of finishes and styles. Alternatively, laminate flooring does not use real wood but imitates the look, and it is a popular choice because it is affordable for those with a lower budget and it is easy to lay and fit. The disadvantage with this type of wood is that it will not be as durable as natural wood and they won’t feel as warm underfoot. For specialist floors try 1926 Trading Co. Ltd.
Bamboo is a lightweight sustainable material used for furniture that makes it easy to rearrange and it will give a room a calm and modern feel. However, it is most commonly used for flooring because it’s an eco-friendly resource that is not only strong but durable too. Check out Urbane Living’s bamboo flooring or for more ideas try Moso bamboo surfaces.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match with wood types and styles because this is very much in vogue this season. Interior designers are encouraging us to mix the old with the new and to embrace the beautiful natural appearance of wood.
Choose accessories that aren’t permanent fixtures, for example, a large piece like the solid mahogany Limed screen from The French Bedroom Company. Wooden screens or dividers give a stunning chateau-chic impression that will suit any lavish boudoir.
Try a few statement pieces to lift your interior, for example, vases or picture frames are great for adding a personal touch. Accessorising with wood doesn’t have to be expensive; John Lewis supply vases in different shapes and sizes to make your home flourish with texture. If you have a small bathroom, try a wooden framed mirror such as the handmade Faux driftwood mirror from Pebbles to Sand to bring a washed-up beach look.
For an inspiring pendant lighting to illuminate your interior, try Tom Raffield’s Ribbon pendant from MARK Product (available in ash or walnut), for a unique sustainable wood design that has a contemporary and stylish allure.
Another week’s rolled by, adding three new writers to our blog roll.
First up this week is Australian interior designer Shannon Fricke. Shannon started her eponymous blog as a photo scrapbook for all of us in need of a bit of decorating inspiration and it definitely does the trick. You’ll always find something worth squirreling away, whether it’s a great colour combination, a beautiful wallpaper pattern or a whole room scheme. Shannon runs decorating workshops in her hometown of Bangalow (love the name), and the blog makes me think a whole day in the air might actually be worth it.
Next up is the fabulous Please Sir. It’s the work of textile designer and flea market aficionado, Diana Martini, whose eye for style and grasp of design makes this blog a delight to read. It’s an eclectic and uplifting blog, chock full of interesting bits and pieces. Whether she’s waxing on about a vintage find or an artist she’s just discovered, Diana’s well-informed posts and charming writing style will keep you coming back for more. And if you love mid-century style, it’s definitely one to watch.
Lastly this week, it’s Traci French with Bliss. And it’s a blissful read. There’s plenty of interiors inspiration to keep you going on here, and even more so since Traci started remodelling her own home. She’s got an engaging writing style and shares the discoveries of her wandering eye with fabulous photographs. Traci’s weekly ‘I heart…’ posts are great for virtual window-shopping and she’s always got a new designer/architect/artist up her sleeve; a blissful blog indeed.
As always, get in touch if you want us to feature your blog next time round.
Be bold and brave with this Orange Harlem sofa from Oliver Bonas. £1,550
From reading my fab finds, you probably know by now that I'm a neutrals girl when it comes to furnishing my home. Indeed visitors are often surprised that given my interiors addiction my home is decorated in various shades of off white rather than a multitude of brights.
But even I have the desire now and again to splash out on something completely out of character.
Which is why I surprised myself by falling for this bright orange Harlem sofa from Oliver Bonas.
And boy is it bright but nonetheless stunning. I adore its gently curved arms and button-back detailing and think it would look gorgeous as a real statement piece in a super contemporary, white room.
There's even a matching footstool to complete the look.
However, for those among you who "just don't do colour" then never fear as the sofa is also available in black.
Cheer up your little ones room with this funky bed linen from byGraziela. £56
It has to be said that shopping for little ones interiors can be a bit tricky.
If you don't want their bedrooms covered in Disney prints and gender-specific blue and pink then until recently you were to put it not so mildly, pretty much stuffed.
Which is why it's great when you come across companies such as byGraziela.
Their prints are rich and stylish with a childish innocence but definitely not too cute and perfect for adding a style injection to even the smallest of people's rooms.
We love their funky use of colour and pattern and top of our list is this Train-design bedding.
Compromising of a duvet cover and pillowcase in 100% cotton which means you don't have to worry about putting anything nasty against your little ones skin.
Bring a hint of the Mediterranean to your home with the new collection from Compagnie de Provence.
The Marseille-based soap and skincare brand Compagnie de Provence has been a cult staple in French kitchens and bathrooms for the past twenty years. Now, you have the opportunity to bring these luxurious scents into your home.
Compagnie de Provence offer a pure graphic design and all of their products are based on a philosophy that is respectful of the environment and of the individual alike. They endeavour to maintain a contemporary appeal by using natural and authentic materials. The company also blends traditional manufacturing, local ingredients and a contemporary aesthetic to give their customers the best from their product.
The ‘Mediterranee’ fragrance collection includes a candle, hand cream, shower gel, foam bath, liquid soap and body lotion. The company claims that the Pantone Process blue typography of the design “reflects the dazzling sunlight bouncing off white limestone onto the Mediterranean sea.” They combine the art of colour with the essence of the product to create a simple yet effective design.
Scents which evoke fresh sea breezes and carry subtle tones of lilies and cyclamen with a hint of musk and vanilla will bring a relaxing aroma to your bathroom.
All products are available from www.lifestylebazaar.com or you can call 020 7739 9427 for more information.
Less is most definitely more when letting animal prints loose in your home.
Interior designers have answered the call of the wild and animal prints are a fierce trend for 2010. Prowling the catwalks for some time, leopard, zebra and tiger prints show no signs of fading from view; in fact it’s looking more like a stampede. But there’s a fine line between style and sleaze. Allowed to run riot, a profusion of animal prints will have your living room looking like Peter Stringfellow’s bachelor pad. So tame the beast and introduce these graphic prints as accent pieces to add visual drama and dynamism to your space, without swamping it. A monochrome zebra print rug in a whitewashed room makes a sophisticated statement; leave it to speak for itself.
The sensual appeal of animal prints in texture, colour and pattern is what makes these pieces work in the home as striking accents. Engage the senses with different textural effects and team animal print accents with simple furnishings and block colour. Used in small doses, the graphic patterning of animal furs and skins in their natural colourings will lend an air of luxury and elegance to your scheme, while animal prints in bright colours make a playful addition to a plain interior. From wallpaper to ottomans, accessories and soft furnishings, almost any interiors product you can imagine has had the animal print treatment this season, and designers have introduced giraffe print to the usual mix of zebra, leopard, cheetah and tiger. As long as you go for only one or two pieces per room, you won’t get bitten.
Transcending fashion, cowhide floor coverings have timeless appeal, adding textural interest, visual impact and a sense of understated luxury to both period and modern room settings. No two hides have the same patterning meaning you have a unique piece and an investment to treasure. Used on the floor, draped across the back of a sofa or over a bed, cowhides are versatile and extremely hardwearing: a stylish and sustainable approach to the animal print trend. Combining an exotic animal print with the enduring elegance of monochrome, zebra printed cowhides are a stylish choice. Used in isolation, cowhide footstools, ottomans and cushions add just a touch of animal print to a room without overpowering it. London Cows has a small giraffe print cowhide footstool that’d be perfect in an otherwise understated scheme. Sweetpea & Willow’s Corbusier-inspired cowhide Rodeo Recliner in brown and white, and Hide Armchair in black and white are great choices for simple modern settings.
But you don’t have to go for the real thing to create an elegant look with animal prints. Occa Home’s Zebra cushion in soft velvet is available in beige and cream, brown and black or grey and black. The restrained colour palette and bold print creates an impression of understated glamour. Pair with a plain block-coloured sofa and other cushions with textural detailing in varying sizes. In a simple colour palette of grey and silver (zebra) and gold and silver (leopard), the Aura sequin cushion range from Heal’s is another clever balancing act. Catching the light with a subtle shimmer these cushions are perfect paired with white bed linen. Depicting a cheetah lounging amid oversized and stylised foliage, the Sininen wall hanging from Sheerhome is a great alternative to animal print soft furnishings and looks fabulous against off-white walls. At nearly a metre square it’s a high-impact piece, but the muted colourings of browns, creams and greens on a black background make it a stylish and sophisticated way to introduce animal print to your scheme.
The striking graphic qualities of animal prints, especially in monochrome, have enduring appeal for designers. Chosen carefully, animal prints will engage the senses and bring energy and elegance to your home.
Let your tiles do the talking with this quirky Rubbish Without You tile from Kiss Her. £21 each
While I could champion plain, white tiles until the cows come home I can't help but look at the ones in my bathroom and kitchen and sometimes wish they had a bit of oomph.
You know, something a little bit different, a bit of pizazz.
Well, the good news is I have found just the thing to ease my tiling woes and it comes in the form of these rather cute Rubbish Without You tiles from Kiss Her.
Kiss Her is a fab little online boutique (that luckily for us is now on Furnish.co.uk) and stocks a whole host of fabulous tiles which are perfect for pepping up dull walls.
Available in Red and Black, the Rubbish Without You tiles read "life would be rubbish without you".
Ideal for giving your walls a boost of pattern, colour and sentiment - try using one or two to add interest to plain white tiles.
Alternatively, you could use one as a pot stand in the kitchen or simply give to a loved one as a present.
Sit back and relax in style with this Tim tub chair from Sofa Workshop. Was £543 now £437
In my humble opinion, the tub chair is a piece of furniture no home should be without.
Classic, timeless and stylish, the tub chair has a multitude of uses and never dates.
Use it as a bedroom chair, as an alternative to an armchair, the perfect place to sit in a hall or try it in a home office for when you need to get away from your desk.
The Tim tub chair from kings of upholstery Sofa Workshop is the perfect choice. Perfectly formed, its deep seat means you can sit back and relax without slouching (your Mum would be pleased!)
Upholstered in cosy chenille, Tim is available in an gorgeous palette of shades including a zesty green, vibrant magenta and subtle grey.
A right now you can get over £100 off but be quick, they won't be around forever...
Bring a spectrum of light into your home with everything from traditional table lamps to contemporary feature lighting.
When it comes to lighting there are plenty of choices to suit every budget and style. The most successfully lit homes have a combination of practical and atmospheric light. Choosing your lighting doesn’t have to be a chore because there are many styles and designs to use in the home.
Table lamps are a traditional and reliable form of lighting that can serve decorative as well as practical purposes. Graham and Green supply table lighting to suit all types of interior style, for example if you want to give your home office a retro look try the Task Table lamp which is made from chromed metal and inspired by an early 1930’s design. Or choose the colourful Slant table lamps which are a fun and quirky idea for a children’s bedroom. Lamps provide a softer, less intense light in your bedroom or living area which creates a relaxing mood. The Paris Antique table lamp from Puji has a gorgeous green glass base which gives it a natural beauty that would bring a subtle yet elegant look to any modern living room.
Floor lamps offer the perfect way to brighten up a gloomy corner or alcove. Usually slim and tall, this option is perfect for those who are short of space. From antique brass to modern metal bases, floor lamps or standard lamps as they are also known are available in a variety of designs. The Scala Floor Lamp from Brissi will surely make a statement in both contemporary and traditional interiors and you can choose from a variety of lampshades including a pale grey and damask print. Alternatively, an arched floor lamp is extremely versatile because its curved arm can be adjusted to illuminate different parts of a room, and they also come in many different shapes and sizes. The Belleville arch floor lamp is an example of how these types of lamps can be simply used to fill an empty corner or they can be positioned over a bed or a chair to provide excellent task lighting. Place two matching floor lamps on either side of a bed or sofa to complete the look of your room.
Pendants & ceiling lights
Pendant lighting looks great in dining areas and if you have an open plan living area you can use a row of pendants to separate two rooms. Create this effect with Kathleen Hill’s Star Light from Rockett St George (available from Furnish). Pendants are also great for kitchen islands. in hallways or above desks because they can be combined with other types of lighting. The Victo 4250 lights are like hanging pieces of art designed by interior architect Seppo Koho; these would create a perfect romantic ambience in any bedroom.
Chandeliers are best placed in an extravagant hallway or above a dining table because they are the ultimate statement of grandeur and magnificence to leave your guests in awe. They do not provide a huge amount of light however so it’s wise to invest in other lighting too. The Round crystal chandelier from Sweetpea & Willow has an array of crystals that will reflect glimmering light around your room. Or for a fantastic range of elegant crystal chandeliers check out the Chandelier and Mirror Company.
The bathroom is probably one of the last places you think of when deciding on lighting for your home, but we all spend enough time in the bathroom to realise that it is important to get the right balance of light and to ensure that it’s safe too. Mirror lighting needs to be flattering so go for something bright but not glaring; most vanity fixtures are linear so go for something like the Padova light from Heal’s is ideal when placed on the wall above your mirror. A ceiling fixture in your bathroom will provide you will general lighting for the whole room, but for setting a relaxing ambience to enjoy your soak in the bath try the ultra-modern Arezzo light, also from Heal’s, to give the impression of gentle candle light.
The current climate has given lighting design the challenge to create something that is both stylish and eco-friendly. By 2011 traditional bulbs are going to be replaced by compact florescent lamps (CFL’s) most commonly known as energy-saving bulbs. These will screw into standard lamp sockets and the benefits are that they can be applied nearly anywhere that incandescent lights are used. Use specific dimmable CFL’s for lights that use a dimmer switch; using a regular CFL with a dimmer can shorten the bulbs lifespan.
As always interior design is all about being unique and we all want to see something that’s a bit different; I love the Jeeves & Woosters pendant lights from Graham & Green that are based on iconic British hats because they mix traditional designs and give them a new, fresh look. Or for a design completely driven by its eco-credentials, the eccentric Sticky Lamp by Droog from Leigh Harmer can be stuck to doors, walls or ceilings for an innovative way of lighting a room.
Incandescent bulbs are commonly used in lamps and other types of lighting because they are inexpensive; widely available, and they are great for ambience lighting. Halogen bulbs emit an extremely bright light which makes them perfect for spots and downlights, and they are best used for task lighting. They are brighter and longer lasting than incandescent bulbs; however they produce a lot more heat so it’s recommended that you keep them away from curtains.
For a selection of different types of bulbs to suit your needs go to B&Q (www.diy.com). And for more information and advice on the choosing the right bulbs have a look at www.doityourself.com.
We hope this guide has shed some light on where to start with choosing the right lighting for you and your home.
Another week, another three great blogs.
First up is interior designer Brooke Giannetti’s Velvet & Linen. Brooke owns Giannetti Home, a treasure trove of a shop stuffed with vintage pieces and architectural antiques. The main reason I love this blog is looking at the photos of her amazing finds and how they’re displayed. Brooke’s got a roving eye and real flair for interesting vintage and antique pieces, which she uses in her interior design projects. Not only that, she has a descriptive talent for writing about the pieces she loves. A feast for the eyes, this blog’s a constant source of inspiration and style ideas.
Despite the name, My Notting Hill is actually brought to you from Washington DC (which I was pleased to find out because I’m afflicted by an irrational loathing of West London). This blogger is happy for you tag along on her shopping trips and these are some of my favourite posts because it’s window-shopping without the fear of spending. Most of the photographs on here are hers, which makes the blog intriguing and personal. As you follow vicariously in her footsteps, you’ll be peeking at hotel rooms, interiors shops, and her own and her friends’ homes; just the thing for nosy parkers like me.
Finally this week, a flying visit to Canada to stop off in Vancouver with interior designer Patricia Grey. Patricia Grey Inc is an insider’s guide to what’s hot in the world of interior design. It’s fabulous blog, covering colour trends, great new products, decorating ideas, interviews, and interesting design books. The writing and the photographs are great, and there’s always something interesting on here whether you’re looking for advice or inspiration. But steer clear of the post on Patricia’s holiday in Mexico; it’s enough to make you sick with envy.
Again and as always, get in touch if you’d like us to feature your blog next time.
Get a stylish night's sleep with the Twilight Four Poster Bed from Sweetpea & Willow. Was £1,163 Now £975
If you're in the market for a new bed then I may have found just the thing for you.
The Twilight Four Poster Bed from Sweetpea & Willow is more than just a bed however, it's a work of art.
Recently featured in Period Living and The Sunday Times, this bed screams classic design.
Crafted from mahogany, the bed has four scrolled posts which gives it a decadent feel. You can almost imagine the princess and her pea feeling right at home in this.
A perfect choice whatever your style (we think this bed would look great as a statement piece in a parred down bedroom) this bed is sure to be a favourite piece of furniture for years to come.
And if you're sitting there lusting after it in secret but thinking you can't afford it, the good news is Sweetpea & Willow have included it in their summer sale which means it's now £975 down from £1,163 saving you £188 to splash out on some gorgeous bed linen.
Revamp your décor with a splash of paint.
The surface preparation might be a bore, but in this weather you won’t be watching it dry for long. There are few things more satisfying than a freshly painted room, but with our 10 ways, there are plenty more options with paint. Time to get the overalls out.
1. Feature Wall
A feature wall is a great paint option, particularly if you want to go for bold colour. It’ll lift the room, add drama and create a natural focal point. Use a paler shade of the same colour on the other walls, or complementary wallpaper, to make sure your scheme ties together. Accent walls are particularly appropriate in modern homes and open plan spaces. Use the feature wall to zone your space, for example if your dining room flows into your living room. An accent wall will add life to a stairwell and a sense of drama used behind the bed. Colour-blocking is also a huge trend at the moment in both fashion and interiors. Get the look at home with a bold feature wall teamed with accessories in the same colour or sofas and chairs in a contrasting block colour.
2. Painting Furniture
As long as it’s not a 20th century icon, a beautiful 17th century cabinet or some such wondrous antique, painting furniture can be a great way to revive an old piece or change it to fit in with a new decorative scheme. And if you’re into the shabby chic, relaxed coastal look, then this could be the thing for you. Equally a flea-market find might be brought into the 21st century with a splash of shocking pink gloss. Painting furniture for kids’ rooms, and getting them involved, is a great way to add personality to their rooms. Think about where you want the piece to go and have some fun with it. If the piece has been painted before, sand off old or flaking paint, going with the grain of the wood. If it’s unpainted, use a knotting solution to seal any knots and apply a wood primer. For your topcoat, a water-based acrylic paint is less messy, environmentally friendly, and available in matt, gloss and eggshell finishes.
3. Blackboard Paint
Blackboard paint is now widely available and it’s a playful, versatile medium. Use it in the kitchen for shopping lists, the hallway for reminders, home offices for to-do lists, or kids’ rooms just for fun. Magnetic blackboard paint allows you to add photographs, postcards or anything else that takes your fancy. Blackboard paint adds personality and dynamism to a space, with scrawls and doodles providing an evolving record of family life. Make a bold statement in a light-filled kitchen or studio workspace with an entire wall in blackboard paint, or use it in small doses in panels or on cupboards and drawers to mark the contents. IIf your child’s room is on the small side, blackboard paint looks wonderful on toy boxes or painted in cloud shapes on the wall with bright blue raindrops and a sun peeping out of the top.
4. Floor Paint
Make a feature of your floorboards with paint. The Little Greene Paint Company has beautiful soft sheen floor paint in the full range of colours, from neutrals to brights and everything in between. Farrow & Ball has eggshell finish floor paint, also available in the complete colour range. Painting the floor will transform your room, so it’s important to think carefully about the colour, taking into account the amount of light in the room, and use tester pots. Durable and hardwearing, floor paint is suitable for almost anywhere in the house, and can be a great way to brighten up kids’ bedrooms, hallways and kitchens.
Stencils have moved on from the sponged horrors of the 90s. But, that being said, there’s a fine line between style and vile when it comes to using and choosing stencils. A great way to create a focal point, or a feature wall, it’s best to use stencils as accents. For kids’ rooms they’re great fun, especially to jazz up furniture and toy boxes. The Stencil Library has a huge range to choose from, including Alice in Wonderland, character stencils for children, animal prints, Art Deco patterns, and classical architectural motifs. The Stencil Studio also has a useful ‘How To’ guide, and even stocks Banksy-style stencils, if you want to jump on that bandwagon.
6. Combining Matt and Gloss finishes
Combining a chalky matt paint on the walls with a high gloss for skirting and windows creates a crisp finish. Whichever colour you choose for the walls ensure that the gloss trim colour provides enough of a contrast. With rich wall colours a creamier trim colour, rather than bright white, will be more flattering. If you want to go for a coloured trim, rather than a neutral, choose a lighter or darker shade of the same colour as the walls, to create contrast. For a really dramatic effect, use full gloss on the walls or ceiling, using a matt finish for the trim.
7. Painting Tiles
Painting over tired or nasty looking tiles is a good way to revive your bathroom or kitchen on a tight budget. Any painting job requires surface preparation, but with tiles this is absolutely crucial. The surface must be spotlessly clean in order for the paint to adhere properly. Wash the tiles with sugar soap and rinse clean to remove any residue. Use a hand-held orbital sander with fine grit paper to lightly scuff the tile glaze and wash again to remove dust. A primer such as Ronseal’s One Coat Tile Primer will prevent the topcoat paint from pealing. When applying paint, use a small gloss roller to avoid brush marks and apply several thin coats to build up adhesion in layers. Specialist tile paint is available in a limited colour range, but any latex or oil based paint is suitable for the job.
8. Using Tester Pots on Canvases
Create art that fits in with your room scheme using tester pots on canvases. Having no artistic skill, I think I’d stick to letting the kids do it. Messing around with a few pots of paint and a canvas sounds like fun, but it can be a hit and miss affair when it comes to interior design. Short of taking an Art Foundation course, there are two options for the artistically challenged. Spontaneous and simple figurative pictures can add a lively element to a room. But abstract work is more forgiving. For example, Rothko-esque fields of colour, or Pollock-style splatters, painted on several canvases can look great in a drab hallway or open plan space.
9. Paint Effects
With a roll of low-tack masking tape you can create all sorts of geometric patterns with paint. Use vertical stripes to give the illusion of higher ceilings or horizontal stripes to add width. For a subtle stripe, use two different tones of the same colour, or make a bold statement with two or more contrasting colours in varying widths. Creating a pattern with paint is a great way to create a feature wall behind your bed, brighten up a playroom or add some drama to a hallway. Whatever pattern you want to go for, and especially with spots and circles, mark it out in pencil first. With stripes, use a spirit level to make sure your lines are straight.
10. Revamping Garden Furniture
Revive a rusty patio set or a tired wooden bench with paint. With metal furniture, wash down with hot soapy water and remove any rust or flaking paint with a wire brush and coarse sandpaper. Use an anti-rust primer and paint, such as Plasti-Kote’s Metal Primer and Super Spray Paint. Really easy to apply, Super Spray Paint is available in a huge range of colours. For wooden furniture, sand the item along the grain until smooth and then use a primer, such as Cuprinol’s clear Wood Preserver. Cuprinol’s Garden Shades and Ronseal’s Woodland Trust Colours will give tired wood a new lease of life.
Get your overalls on and have some fun with paint.
Keep you and your home cool with this Propello desk fan from Black+Blum. Was £79 now £71.10
With this heatwave (friends from Australia recently commented it's not a heatwave, it's what summer should be!) it seems everyone is doing their utmost to keep cool.
While that's near on impossible on the Northern line, it certainly is at home thanks to fans. But, if like me, you've found that your local DIY store has been massacred of all keeping cool products then help is at hand.
And it comes in the shape of the Propello desk fan from Black+Blum.
Another example of design genius from Dan Black and Martin Blum. the Propello has rubber blades and is, so they claim, virtually silent making it the perfect for desk fan for when you're hard at work but also melting slightly in the heat.
Best of all, you can stay cool and save some pennies as the Propello is now priced at £71.10 (usual price £79) which leaves more than enough for 99 when the ice cream man comes calling.http://furnish.co.uk/items/-propello
Earn your stripes with a contemporary and chic take on a classic style.
Whether you are looking to update your wardrobe or your décor, it seems that fashion and interior designers simply cannot resist the reliable, classic style of stripes. Catwalk fashion has been dominated by Parisian chic whilst interior design has been inspired by this geometric print for fabrics, carpets, wallpaper and furniture.
Use stripes on your wall to enhance the shape and size of your room; horizontal stripes running along the midpoint of a wall extend and elongate a smaller room, and lighter cooler tones will make a space seem larger. Hang Stripey Wallpaper from Flock Your Wall or Gradient Wallpaper from Graham and Brown vertically or horizontally to give a contemporary look to any room. Using vertical stripes in moderation will make a low ceiling feel higher; an overload of pattern will crowd a room therefore making it seem more enclosed. A feature wall behind a bed or surrounding a fireplace, for example, will help break up the pattern. Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen’s Mosaic Stripe from Graham and Brown, interprets stripes in a unique way that adds interest to the design.
Painting stripes are a simple design that will add depth and interest, but you will need to do a bit of preparation in terms of measuring and taping to get your stripes aligned. For helpful hints and tips try doityourself.com.
Put a bounce in your step with soft and luxurious stripy carpet; if you are carpeting all over then you can elongate a room and create a vibrant look. Try the Mississippi or Tiffany collections in 100% wool from Crucial Trading for comfort and durability. Jazz up your stairs with a vertical stripe runner that will draw your eye. Brintons offer many stylish runners that will work brilliantly on hardwood stair floorings, and it will also help draw the eye into your home. Paul Smith has inspired and popularised stripes in interiors; his Stripe rug from The Rug Company combines striking colour and texture to really liven up a room.
Stripes are best used in moderation so if you choose to make your furniture a feature in your room then avoid stripes on your walls, instead you can use subtle accessorise to repeat the pattern elsewhere. For a stripy feature piece try the Vertical Stripe Chest of Drawers from Bassett which is given a contemporary and chic look with its bold black and fruitwood stripes on cherry veneer. The Hampton velvet stripe chair from Sheer Home has a stripy fabric that comes in a choice of five colourways to suit your colour scheme. Or to add a nautical touch to your child’s bedroom use the Small Blue Striped Chair Wisteria which would be perfect for a sailor theme.
If you want to update your furnishings and bring some Parisian chic into your home, then you can choose from a selection of Striped fabrics from Tinsmiths or check out Ian Mankin’s natural and organic fabrics, which are all ideal for upholstering.
Upholstery, cushions and throws can be updated with a simple stripe. The classic pinstripe doesn’t just look great on suits; in fact it can achieve a suave, masculine look and it will bring clean, straight lines to a bedroom. The Woven Linen Stripe Bed Linen has a fresh, nautical feel with its pure whites and deep blue tones. For a more feminine touch, mix in some florals to give a warm and playful style. Or try Frilled Edge Cushions from Graham and Green to add some summer style to your garden or dining chairs or your sofa. The Catrine Stripe tablecloth from Sally Bourne Interiors use multi-coloured stripes which will allow you to introduce lots of colour into your living or dining area.
Bring out the best of the playful and optimistic feel of stripes by using rainbow colours.
Grab a bargain on a classic piece of design with money off this Eames DSR at Utility. Was £192 now £153.60
One of my favourite ever quotes comes from one of the gurus of design William Morris. He said, and I quote, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".
Very wise man Mr Morris and I couldn't agree with him more.
Which is why I squealed with delight when I saw that Utility are offering a great discount on the classic Eames DSR chair.
An fine example of what Charles and Ray were best at, the DSR combines engineering with style and being both beautiful and useful, it fits Mr Morris' mantra perfectly.
Best of all, this stunning piece of furniture now has over £30 off meaning you can afford to splash out and treat yourself to one without having to send a begging letter to the bank.
Jazz up your storage with these colourful trunks from Graham & Green. £119
I've made no secret about just how much I love everything Graham & Green do. If money were no object, I would grab my purse and shopping list and hot foot it to their nearest store to buy the lot.
Lucky for you lot, Graham & Green are having an amazing summer sale and we have got the inside info.
Top of my wish list is a couple of these fabulous metal storage trunks.
Available in Hot Pink or White, they are big enough without being intrusive and are super stylish too. But that's not all, oh no. They also come complete with a folk-inspired seat cushion (surely one of the hottest trends around) which turns them into a comfy seat.
Use them anywhere from bedroom to home office to stash away unsightly belongings and your home will soon be clutter free.
Introducing the hottest designers of the moment.
Designer-maker Selina Rose creates fashion-forward textiles, homewares and bespoke surfaces using renewable and biodegradable wool felt: ‘If I were to sum up my style I would describe it as bold, colourful, tactile, natural, simple yet sophisticated.’ Turning heads in the international design world, Selina’s received a raft of awards and nominations including the Arts Council’s grant for the arts, Homes and Gardens Classic Design awards in 2007 and Craft Central’s Bright Ideas award in 2008. Launching an exclusive collection for Heal’s in 2009, you can find Selina’s felt furnishings at www.selinarose.co.uk.
A fresh approach to a familiar material, Selina’s innovative cutwork designs harness new technology while referencing natural forms and architectural geometries. These highly original, beguiling surfaces are suitable for a multitude of interior applications including rugs, throws and runners, acoustic wall panels, window treatments, room dividers, lighting and upholstery. Manufactured entirely in the UK, Selina’s high-impact designs are coloured using environmentally friendly dyes in her own distinctive colour palette of rich jewel tones and vivid brights, paired with soft pastels, greys and black. Breaking away from traditional woven textiles, these pierced felt surfaces create a visually striking, modern aesthetic celebrating the timeless appeal of plant forms, geometric motifs and meticulous craft. Visual drama in colour and pattern is united with the enticing tactility of cut and folded felt. Rugs, throws and table runners feature poetic botanical patterns, such as the enchanting rose petal and foliate Bloom design. Contemporary felt room dividers and window panels allow light to pass through the intricate cutwork creating a play of shadows and animating interior space.
New for 2010, Selina’s Connect panels feature layers of contrasting coloured felt with circular incisions revealing a geometric grid pattern of colourful dots. A unique interpretation of the colour-blocking trend in interior design, Connect demonstrates Selina’s innovative fashion-conscious approach. Another new addition, the stylised Oli pattern is inspired by the winged propeller-like structure of sycamore seedpods. Combining both botanical and geometric forms in one textile, the Oli design exemplifies Selina’s simple yet sophisticated aesthetic. This new cutwork pattern features on rugs, throws and coordinating coasters in a choice of 14 vibrant colours. The hugely popular Flutterby cushions are also given a 2010 makeover in three additional colourways: lime, hot pink and orange. Partial cuts are made in the top layer of felt, folded to reveal a contrasting coloured felt behind and creating a three-dimensional textured surface. The same origami-inspired Cut + Fold technique is used on Selina’s fabulous Scale stool, a statement piece reminiscent of Christopher Kane’s Spring-Summer 2009 catwalk collection, which secured his rising-star status in the world of fashion. Made to order in your chosen colourway, the semi-circular scales fan out around the stool to reveal the layer of felt beneath.
Best known for her botanical cutwork rugs, throws and runners, this exceptional Cut + Fold technique has elevated Selina’s felt surfaces to a new level of design innovation.
‘My ‘Cut + Fold’ range of felt surfaces can be used for acoustic paneling, blinds, screens, room dividers and upholstery. I wanted to create something new and innovative for the contract interiors market. Following on from the success of my cut-out, fretwork style felt designs I was experimenting in the studio with concepts inspired by traditional origami. I wanted to create a 3 dimensional surface using the felt playing on its paper-like qualities, for example the way it cuts without fraying, you can fold, pleat and manipulate it into shape. I developed a technique of making partial cuts into the surface and folding shapes back to create advent calendar style flaps or windows revealing contrasting coloured felts behind. I launched the collection at 100% Design 2009 and it was really well received and designs such as Scale, Faceted and Flutterby now adorn the walls and windows of luxury hotels, offices and residential interiors.’
The Cut + Fold technique caught the eye of international design and engineering firm Arup, which commissioned Selina to create bespoke acoustic felt panelling and window treatments for its new London Headquarters in Fitzrovia. The architectural qualities of Selina’s Cut + Fold surfaces are a perfect match for this innovative design firm, leading the field in structural engineering since its Modernist projects of the 1930s. Across 200 linear metres, spanning two buildings and 17 rooms, Selina produced 150 bespoke Cut + Fold panels in her geometric Faceted, Arrows and Scale designs, featuring grey on blue and grey on yellow felt layers. Functional, tactile and visually interesting, the acoustic panels absorb and reduce reverberant noise, making them ideal for music rooms, studios and playrooms at home.
Including the Scale stool and Cut + Fold felts, Selina’s new collection will be on show at 100% Design in Earls Court Arena, 23rd-26th September 2010, stand H12. Visit www.selinarose.co.uk for more information on bespoke services and to buy online.