Features: May '15

Editors Choice: Our favourite wardrobes

by Alexandra Thomas on May 29, 2015
wardrobe
Hanoi Slim Black Lacquer Oriental Wardrobe

Keep your glad rags organised beautifully with our pick of the best wardrobes around.

Wardrobes are essential bedroom kit, that’s if you don’t like your clothes covering the floor, chair, bed, etc, and being the stylish lot we know you to be, we’re guessing you don’t.

Before you get stuck into choosing one on its style credentials, consider what your practical needs are first. For example, if you haven’t got room for a separate chest of drawers, then a design that incorporates drawers is a must. Or do you own lots of long dresses which you need to keep pristine? Then one with a high hanging rail will stop them from draping on the floor.

We’ve chosen our favourite three and given you the lowdown on each of them, so all you have to do now is pick the one that’s right for you.

The Slimline One

Being short on space doesn’t mean having to compromise on style, and this Hanoi Slim Black Lacquer Oriental Wardrobe (see above) ticks the boxes both for looks and for practicality. Its slimline profile means you can squeeze it into even the tightest of spaces without having it dominate your bedroom.

Made from solid wood, it’s been finished with an understated black lacquer complemented with subtle brass handles, which makes it a fantastic option for a sophisticated oriental style boudoir.

Inside there’s a generous hanging rail for clothes as well as two shelves, one which can be removed to give you more height for shoes and boots should you need it.

Also available in a white lacquer finish, this sleek and stylish wardrobe is part of a wider bedroom collection which includes a chest of drawers, console/dressing table and mirror.

The Guest Bedroom One

Guest bedrooms often lack one crucial piece of bedroom furniture - a wardrobe! How many times have you stayed with a friend or family member and found yourself desperately searching for somewhere to hang your clothes, or felt guilty that your own visitors have had to live out of their suitcase?

This Industrial Open Wardrobe by Out There Interiors is the perfect model for a guest bedroom. Narrow in dimension, it will easily slot into even the tightest of alcoves and the smallest of spare bedrooms.

wardrobe
Industrial Open Wardrobe

Ideal for those who want to inject a bit of industrial style into their scheme, this open-fronted wardrobe is reminiscent of changing room lockers – but in a good way.

There’s plenty of room for guests to hang their clothes on the rail, and two shelves - one perfect for jumpers and tops, and the other for shoes - which means it really is the only piece of furniture you need in your spare room.

The Versatile One

As wardrobes go, this one is a bit of a beast, and is the next best thing if you don’t have space for a walk-in wardrobe.

Made from solid wood, this timeless piece is probably best suited to a classic scheme but could work well in a more contemporary bedroom when teamed with vibrant punches of colour.

wardrobe
Viborg Painted Mahogany Double Wardrobe with Drawers

Style aside, this wardrobe will be an utter godsend if you have lots of clothes to store.

With an generous interior, there’s plenty of space for even the bulkiest of winter coats and jumpers so you needn’t worry about having to find somewhere else for out of season clothes.

Split into hanging rail space and shelves means there’s tons of room for hung or folded items, while the two bottom drawers can be used to stash tops and underwear.

Our guide to storage

by Alexandra Thomas on May 23, 2015
bookcases shelf
Bloomingville Wooden Bookcase

Get your clutter sorted with our handy guide to storage for every room in the home.

No one likes a messy home but keeping it neat and tidy can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you are short of space or don’t have the right storage. Our handy guide shows you how to make the most of your space to keep it clutter free from the living room to the hallway.

Living Room

Shelving units or bookcases are essential for keeping books in an ordered fashion, while a sturdy magazine rack will keep your papers and favourite monthlies neatly stored.

If you’re lucky enough to have a real wood fire or stove, invest in a large basket to keep your logs and kindling neatly stored yet close at hand.

Those who are short on space, or who want their storage to work harder, should look for clever dual-purpose pieces. These include coffee tables with hidden storage or footstools whose lids lift up to reveal space to stash everything from out-of-season throws and cushions to magazines and paperwork.

coffee table
Stateroom Trunk Coffee Table

Dining Room

A decent sideboard is an essential piece of dining room kit, especially if you entertain a lot. As well as providing surface space to display favourite accessories, it will help to keep your formal china and cutlery separate from your everyday dining items, and give you more room in the kitchen.

If you don’t have room for a floor standing design, opt for a wall-hung version, which is a great alternative and will still provide you with ample storage space.

Kitchen

Most kitchens have lots of cupboards and drawers, which are great for keeping all manner of clutter neatly tidied away. Make your cupboard space work even harder by placing items that you only use occasionally at the back of the cupboard and everyday items at the front. Open shelves work equally as well to stash plates and serving dishes as well as non-perishable food stuffs.

If you don’t have cupboard space for fruit and vegetables, consider opting for a freestanding vegetable rack. And when it comes to utensils, if you’re short on drawer space, look for pretty pots and holders which can keep everything near to hand, and keep knives safely stored in a drawer or within a worktop knife block.

Hallway

If you have the room, a console table is a hallway must-have for keeping post and other hallway paraphernalia neat and tidy. If your hallway is narrow (as most are), a deep wall-mounted shelf is a good alternative to a traditional console table. To ensure coats, jackets, hats and scarves are kept neatly in check, install strong coat hooks along one wall and add baskets or shoe racks to keep the area clutter free.

baskets and container
Wooden Ladder with Baskets

Bedroom

Supplementing essential bedroom storage such as wardrobes and chests of drawers is a great idea to keep your boudoir looking neat and tidy. If you have space under your bed invest in specially designed boxes and crates, which can be pushed under to store out-of-season clothing and bed linen.

If you get fed up with your necklaces getting tangled in dressing table drawers, make a feature of them by using a pretty row of hooks and displaying them on a plain wall. If space is limited, look for multi-functional furniture such as bedside tables with drawers and shelves or tallboys that incorporate mirrors so you won’t need an separate dressing table.

Bathroom

Often one of the smallest rooms in the home, it can be hard to keep bathrooms free of clutter. If you’re short of floor space, wall hung storage is a great solution. Whether you opt for closed cabinets or open shelves, try making the most of your space by utilising the area over the basin to keep all your lotions and potions neatly stored.

Finding room for towels can be a nightmare especially if you don’t have an airing cupboard; to solve this problem, try keeping your neatly rolled towels in check by storing them in cube shelves. Finally, over-the-door hooks provide the perfect place for stashing bathrobes and towels, which are in regular use.

Clever ways with walls

by Alexandra Thomas on May 19, 2015
wallpaper
Scrapwood Wallpaper Design 16

We show you some great ways to breathe new life into your old walls.

Walls really don’t need to be boring - so, if you’re finding yourself reaching for the old fail-safe white paint again, stop and read on to find our tops tips for livening them up.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s only for the past decade or so that covering your walls in paper has been back in vogue. Papering a whole room in a small-scale pattern won’t feel suffocating, but if you’re brave with your decorating you can choose to go the whole hog and use a bold pattern. Alternatively, consider papering alcoves or behind bookshelves, and paint the rest of your space in a complementary colour.

Framing wallpaper is also a good option and doesn't involve having to commit paper to wall permanently, making it the perfect choice for those living in rented properties. Simply frame off-cuts of patterned wallpaper in varying designs but in the same colourway, place in plain frames and display on a wall in a random fashion.

Wall Stickers

Wall stickers offer a great alternative to wallpaper, and are relatively fuss free to use. They come in a myriad of designs, colours and themes. In fact there are so many available, the hardest part is deciding which design to go for!

wall sticker
Large Plum Blossom Wall Sticker

If you have a large plain wall, bring it to life with a mural wall sticker, which will create a strong focal point, while inspirational quote wall stickers are great for home offices or anywhere you need a bit of encouragement.

Paint

The 1980s gave us rag rolling, stencilling and stippling but paint effects, thank heavens, have moved on. Today’s styles are far bolder and fresher but work equally as well in both contemporary and classic spaces.

Stripes are a popular choice and work well in rooms throughout the home. As a rule of thumb, horizontal stripes will make a space appear larger while vertical stripes will create a feeling of increased height. To achieve this look, a good quality masking tape is an essential piece of kit. Use it to mask how wide you want your stripes to be, and paint over the exposed part of the wall in your chosen colour(s). Once you've finished painting, you then need to carefully remove the masking tape to avoid causing any damage to the base colour or your stripes.

Artwork

Artwork is such a personal choice that we wouldn’t dream of telling you what to choose, but whether you opt for original prints, reproductions or posters or even your own designs, walls are instantly lifted with a piece or two of artwork.

furnish
Girl With A Pearl Bubble

Creating impressive displays using a selection of prints isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Simply choose your prints or photographs, select a collection of different style frames in the same or similar hues and frame your artwork. Then lay the frames out on the floor until you're happy with your display, take a quick picture and replicate the layout on the wall. Voila, you have an art display worthy of a gallery and a newly refreshed wall.

Decorative Tape

Forget using them to wrap up presents, decorative tapes are big news when it comes to interiors and are perfect for applying to walls, especially for those looking for a temporary solution.

There’s a plethora of designs and colours available, which work well for both contemporary and classic schemes so the only thing you have to worry about is what works for you.

Use scissors to cut your tape to size for a polished look or carefully tear them for a more rustic look; then apply them to create decorative focal points on walls or use them to frame pictures or prints.

Editors Choice: Our favourite coffee tables

by Alexandra Thomas on May 14, 2015
coffee table
Vintage Oval Coffee Table

Finish off your living room perfectly with our pick of the best coffee tables.

Coffee tables are an essential bit of kit for a living room; not only do they provide the perfect spot for, well, your cups of coffee, they can also be a handy place to store the TV remote, display your favourite magazines and, if you really like showing off, house your favourite design books.

We’ve picked three of our favourites to review and give you the lowdown, so all you have to do now is choose which is right for you.

The Retro One

Mid-century inspired furniture has been the big hitter these last few years and continues to be a strong trend. Alexander and Pearl has a great collection, giving you the look without having to endlessly trawl flea markets and auctions houses.

Amid their collection is this lovely Vintage Oval Coffee Table (see above) which screams 1950s Mad Men style effortlessly. Made from solid American White Oak, the table has a generous sized top, which provides plenty of room for all your living room essentials.

There’s no added storage space with this table, so you’ll have to be super strict on the clutter but it's bound to become a piece of furniture you’ll treasure for years to come.

The One With Storage

Living rooms are meant to be just that - for living. No one wants to live in a show home or a museum, but keeping your living space clutter free can be tricky.

This Manhattan Loft Square Table by Viva Lagoon ticks all the boxes; it’s both stylish and practical, and will help you keep everything neatly stashed away.

coffee table
Manhattan Loft Square Coffee Table

Underneath, there’s a generous, sleek but stylish slatted solid French oak shelf which is perfect for stashing your books, mags and TV remotes. While up top, this understated table has been finished with a concrete resin top, which adds a distinctly industrial feel.

As well as being good looking, there’s plenty of room to display your favourite books, house a cuppa while you have a natter with friends and there’s even space to display a vase full of fresh blooms if you wish.

The Super Cool One

We love clever, innovative furniture here at Furnish and we have a whole host of it, but this Lounge Table by Naken Interiors is one of the cleverest pieces we’ve seen for a long time.

Resembling something from a 1960s sci-fi series, this seriously cool table is perfect for those looking for something a little different when it comes to decorating the home.

coffee table
Lounge Table

Available in a range of sizes, this ultra cool coffee table has built in LED lights, which gently illuminate the top of the table. Finished with a stainless steel curvaceous base, this table is ideal for creating a strong style statement and looks great when teamed with sleek contemporary furniture.

Looks aside, this table is super practical too, with plenty of room on top to house all your living room essentials while the elegant shaped based won’t take up too much precious floor space.

Colour combination: Yellow/grey

by Alexandra Thomas on May 12, 2015
furnish
Large Horseshoe Arch Cushion

Colour combinations can be tricky, but yellow and grey is a match made in heaven.

There are probably hundreds of scientific reasons why yellow and grey go together so well, involving contrast, balance, tone, etc. but the simple fact is that no matter what shades you use, they work together brilliantly. They seem to work in any room in the house from the bedroom and the kitchen to the living room and hallway and, to top it all, this colour combination suits both classic and contemporary schemes.

Whether you choose a dark charcoal and neon pop or a subtle primrose and dove grey, our handy guide shows you to how to make it work in your home.

Furniture

Having a favourite piece of furniture re-upholstered in a yellow or grey or combined fabric is a great way to incorporate this colour team into your home. Make sure you check that your chosen fabric can be used for re-upholstering and enlist the services of a experienced upholsterer to carry out the work.

Alternatively, there’s a huge range of yellow or grey furniture available which can combine to create a truly striking scheme.

chests of drawer
Vintage Yellow French Chest Of Drawers

Options such as a grey sofa with a glossy, yellow side table or armchair, painted grey dining table with painted yellow dining chairs, or a yellow upholstered bed with grey bedside tables all also work well with the colours reversed.

Walls

Yellow and grey wallpaper is the easiest way to inject this colour combination onto your walls and there’s a plethora of both classic and contemporary designs available.

Similarly, using paint on your walls is an easy and extremely effective way to incorporate the colours into your scheme. When it comes to ideas with paint, the list is almost endless but painting the walls in grey and the woodwork in yellow creates a striking effect, as does using masking tape to create alternating wide stripes in the two colours. If you favour one colour over the other, use that to create a bold statement by painting a chimney breast or alcoves to create a focal point.

Floors

Grey flooring is far more forgiving than yellow, so it’s best to use flooring designs in the darker colour. That doesn’t mean you can’t highlight and accent with details - a yellow rug on top of a dark grey carpet can create a striking look and provide a much-needed pop of colour.

rug
Louis De Poortere Vintage Multi Rug - Yellow

If you’d rather avoid using carpet, painting floorboards grey and combining with a yellow painted trim or skirting board looks equally impressive. Make sure you use paint intended for floors to get a really professional finish, and avoid choosing high traffic areas such as hallways and kitchens.

Textiles

When it comes to choosing window treatments, a combination of yellow and grey works well all-year round. Try layering the colours at your window by choosing a blind in either colour and complementing with curtains in the other.

Other ways to use textiles to incorporate this colour duo into your home include using yellow cushions on a grey armchair or sofa, using a grey throw to cosy up yellow bed linen or adding pops of colour to a bathroom by storing towels in both colours on a towel ladder.

Accessories

If an all yellow and grey scheme isn’t for you and you prefer white walls but still want to add this great colour combo into your scheme, using accessories is a simple and effective way to achieve this.

Try grouping together yellow and grey ornaments on a white mantelpiece to add colour and interest, or brighten your walls by painting varying sizes and styles of photoframes with yellow and grey paint to create an eclectic gallery effect.

When it comes to the dining table, layering plates and bowls in the two colours is simple yet striking, and looks particularly effective when used on top of a white table cloth or plain wooden tabletop.

How to style your home for summer

by Alexandra Thomas on May 11, 2015
wallpaper
Isabelle floral wallpaper

Hints and tips on how to get your home ready for summer.

A new season offers the perfect excuse to update your home interior and add some summertime touches. Here are some great tips and ideas to give your home a fresh look.

Wallpaper

While we’re not suggesting you re-paper your entire home, choosing to refresh the wallpaper in a bedroom or living space will give your home a much needed summer boost. Look for light colours and patterns, which you can use with complementary paints and other furnishings to create a cohesive look.

If you don’t want to wallpaper your walls, why not try papering the inside of a cupboard or lining a bookcase or display unit to freshen up your furniture. Using new wallpaper needn’t be a permanent choice either; try framing off-cuts of patterned wallpaper in similar hues, framing them and creating an interesting and eclectic display that can be changed with the seasons.

Paint

Changing your wall colour is a great way to ring in the new season. Don’t feel you have to stick to traditional colours, but opting for a sophisticated pastel or bright shade will help inject some of the new season into your home. As with wallpaper, paint isn’t just for walls so why not revamp a tired piece of furniture with a lick of paint or give some old accessories a new look by spray-painting them.

While paint effects such as stippling and colourwashing may well belong in the 90s, consider using tape to mask off areas and create stripes or geometric patterns which is a great way to update a wooden table top or blanket box.

Floors

Flooring can be expensive to replace so if you don’t want to rip up your carpet or hardwood flooring, consider using rugs in soft shades and materials to give your floors a lighter feel.

rug
Grey dandelion rug

If your wooden floorboards have seen better days, painting them in a neutral colourway is a perfect way to celebrate the new season and help increase the feeling of light and space.

Make sure you use a professional floor paint to avoid chipping. If your floorboards are in good condition, whitewashing them will give them a nautical feel.

Window treatments

Summertime is the perfect time to ditch heavy window treatments and go for something much lighter. Blinds are a good option as you can control the amount of light you let in, while curtains should ideally be light cottons or voiles in neutral colours and patterns to make the most of the extra daylight.

Shutters work well too, but be sure to go for ones which have been painted in light colours and can be adjusted. For rooms where you want extra privacy such as the bathroom but don’t want to cut out any extra light, consider using window film, which is available in a range of patterns and styles.

Bed linen

Summer means it’s time to get rid of all those heavy throws, quilts and cushions and lighten up your bed linen. Look for natural, breathable materials such as cottons and linens when it comes to duvet covers and pillowcases, and choose light colours such as sophisticated neutrals and subtle nudes.

bed linen
Hanoi Daisy bed linen

It’s time to put your velvet and woolen cushions away too and instead opt for lighter materials and patterns to give your bed a lighter look that’s still super comfortable. And don’t forget to change your duvet too; all those months with a high tog will be a distant memory as soon as the temperatures start to get higher.

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Our guide to the perfect home office

by Alexandra Thomas on May 08, 2015
desk
Stack Wooden Desk

Create a productive yet pleasing space for the perfect home office.

Whether you work from home or just want somewhere stylish to sort out your paper work, our handy guide shows you how to create the ideal home office.

The desk

There’s a plethora of desks available in a huge range of styles, so the first choice you need to make is whether you want something classic or contemporary, simple or funky. Once you’ve decided on the style, it’s time to think about size. Make sure you carefully measure the room you’re going to use for your home office as it’s important you have space for all the other furniture you’re going to need.

Next think about the surface area; with monitor and keyboard (if you have a desktop computer), accessories and storage trays all jostling for room, you need to ensure you have enough space. Also consider whether you want a desk with drawers, they can be handy and provide extra storage but can also limit under desk space and provide a tempting place to hoard clutter.

The chair

The most important thing to consider when choosing your chair is comfort especially if you’re going to spend a lot of time sitting in it.

Choosing one with wheels means you’ll be able to easily manoeuvre around the room, and opting for one which can be adjusted height wise means you can get one that’s just right for you.

When it comes to style, that’s purely down to personal choice but adding a bright or leather chair offers the perfect way to add some interest and a pop of colour to your scheme.

office chair
High Back Office Chair

Storage

Plenty of storage in a home office is essential, especially if you’re using a small room. A sturdy filing cabinet is a good idea - be sure to choose one that can be locked if you need to store confidential paperwork. If you don’t want to take up lots of floor space, consider wall shelves or wall-hung storage units as an alternative.

Magazine files and storage boxes are a must for keeping paperwork, magazines, documents and other bits and bobs neat and tidy. House near your desk or on shelving units and make sure they’re labelled so you can see what's in them at a glance.

Lighting

Getting the lighting right is essential, especially if you’re going to be burning the midnight oil! If your room doesn’t have a window, opt for a central light with a bulb that mimics natural daylight. When it comes to desk lamps, there’s a huge range of styles to choose from but it’s well worth choosing one that’s adjustable so you can direct the light just where you need it.

table and bedside lamp
Pia Wood and Chrome Table Lamp

Accessories

This is the fun part! The best thing about having a home office, especially one which you work from on a daily basis, is that it doesn’t have to look like your usual run-of-the-mill office.

Brighten up the walls by choosing a fun colour or patterned wallpaper, and add favourite artwork, not forgetting to add an interesting calendar so you can keep track of your important dates and appointments.

Resist the usual desk accessories and instead choose pretty or unusual vases, ceramic tumblers or mugs to house your pens and pencils while paperclips, rubber bands and the like can be housed in vintage trays and dishes. Finally, a throw on the back of your chair is a good idea so you can keep cosy when working late.

How to spruce up a rented home

by Alexandra Thomas on May 05, 2015
wall sticker
Wall stickers are a great way to decorate your walls

Update your rented space with minimum fuss and cost.

More and more people are renting these days, but living somewhere that’s not strictly your own doesn’t mean you can’t make it feel like home. Our guide shows you how to transform your space from boring magnolia to a home you’re proud to show off.

Walls

While some landlords will let you paint the walls (if you ask nicely) quite a few won’t allow it. But all is not lost as there are lots of ways to transform your walls without ever reaching for a paintbrush.

Wall stickers are a great choice and can be applied and removed with minimum fuss. Whether you choose to opt for a whole wall mural or transform a small section of one of your walls, they instantly breathe new life into a scheme.

If you’re smitten with wallpaper but it’s strictly banned, framing it is a good way to incorporate it into your scheme. Look out for off-cuts of your favourite designs in complementary colours, frame them in charity shop frames in varying shapes and sizes, and you will have created your very own piece of artwork.

Rugs

Rented properties have a history of having either really dull or really hideous carpet.

Using rugs not only makes a space feels more cosy, but they’re great at hiding a multitude of carpet sins such as red wine stains and threadbare patches.

rug
A gorgeous rug makes a room feel more cosy

Fun and funky rugs work really well and provide the perfect basis for a room’s colour scheme. To pull your look together, pick accessories such as cushions and throws in accent colours from the rug.

Great for the living room and bedroom, a cheerful runner will also instantly improve a dull hallway. However, think carefully about what colour rugs you choose to use where. A pale rug is fine for the bedroom but is a no-no in high traffic areas such as living rooms and hallways. For these areas choose a patterned design or perhaps a dark colour.

Art Work

Prints and posters offer an ideal solution to brightening up a scheme. Whether you opt for a huge canvas or a series of smaller, complementary prints, it’s the perfect way to spruce up a boring wall and really add some personality to your scheme.

If you’re short on cash and are feeling creative, using favourite snaps of places, friends and family is a great alternative. Montage frames allow you to display a multitude of pictures in one handy frame or if you’re feeling imaginative, you could try creating your own eclectic display using different shaped frames.

Accessories

From cushions to candlesticks, a well chosen, well-placed accessory can make all the difference to making somewhere feel like home.

If your sofa comes with your house or flat, then a couple of throws and cushions will give it a fresh look and make it extra comfy. Choose two or three complementary colours or stick to using varying shades of the same colour to create a real statement.

Mantelpieces and sideboards are perfect for displaying your favourite vases, photo frames, candles and other trinkets. Copy a well-known interior designers’ trick and group items in threes to create a really stylish look.

candle
Candles give a lovely glow to any room

And if all else fails, plants and vases full of colourful blooms work well. A bunch of fresh flowers each week needn’t break the bank so long as you choose ones that are in season.

Finally, a clock is not only practical but can brighten up a plain wall in a flash. To create a bold statement, go as large as you dare and if you favour the retro look a gold starburst clock looks particularly impressive.