Features: Design ideas

10 essential tips and myths about wooden furniture

by Lisa Hill on July 08, 2015
sideboards display cabinet
Is this cabinet solid wood, veneer, laminate or something else? And does it really matter?

Solid wood, veneers and laminates - our expert guide on what to look out for and what to avoid.

Wood is wood - right? Wrong. There are solid woods, veneers and laminates, each with their own options, looks, characteristics, durability and price ranges. Our guide will arm you with some expert technical and practical knowledge about wood and wooden furniture, dispel some of the myths and show you how to make the right choices for your home.

Solid wood

We often hear people say that they'd only buy solid wood furniture because anything else would be a compromise. But if that were true, how come we see all those TV adverts for solid oak furniture at low prices? If oak is such a premium product, how is that possible?

The truth is that it’s not the furniture being solid wood that makes it high quality; that's largely irrelevant. It’s the fact that solid wood is a material that lends itself to being crafted, and where expert craftsmanship is combined with a high quality wood, the resulting furniture can be fabulous. But where low quality wood is used alongside mass-manufacturing, the result is something less impressive.

The quality of timber, size of 'staves', number of knots and construction processes all play a key part in what you end up with.

1) Myth: Solid wood is the premium choice for wooden furniture

It’s true that solid wood pieces such as dining tables stand the test of time, and cared for correctly can be used for years to come. It’s also true that antique and vintage pieces are typically constructed from this, and hold a certain authentic charm.

However, solid wood can be prone to warping and cracking over time, especially if used in moist areas such as near a bathroom or kitchen, or if poorly constructed, sealed or maintained. It’s not uncommon for low quality cabinets to end up with doors that don’t quite close properly or for joins to open up into cracks.

Of course, if you're after a more rustic look, then this works to your advantage because minor cracks and blemishes within the furniture can add to its charm.

2) Tip: Check your staves

A ‘stave’ is a name for a strip of solid wood, typically 20-50mm wide and the full thickness of your worktop, drawer front or cabinet side. Because trees don’t come in the shape of dining tables or worktops, furniture is typically made by taking ‘staves’ of wood and joining them together side-by-side. You can normally see this by looking at the furniture; you’ll see these strips as a pattern in the finish, much like floorboards.

(Be careful not to confuse staves with veneer strips. Staves are chunks of wood, whereas a veneer is a thin slice of wood on an MDF or plywood base. Veneer strips will be much larger than staves.)

The wider and longer the stave, the better the furniture will generally look because it seems more like a solid uninterrupted piece. Larger staves normally equate to more expensive furniture because cutting wider and longer staves from a tree results in more wastage than smaller staves. Conversely, furniture made with small staves may end up looking more like a jigsaw and is cheaper because staves can be made from much more of the tree with less wastage.

So check the stave size on any solid wood furniture or worktops you’re looking to buy. If you don’t mind smaller staves - or perhaps you particularly like the look - you can pick up something at a good price. And where furniture is painted, rustic or has a darker stain, the size of the staves may not bother you.

Can you see the staves? They're the horizontal strips of wood on the doors.

3) Tip: Check your knots

The general rule is that the fewer the knots, the more expensive the wood, hence the more expensive the furniture. That’s because much of the tree timber contains knots, so there’s a lot of wastage in using only ‘clean’ timber. So, as with stave size, make sure you check the knot content before buying any furniture advertised as solid wood. Cheaper furniture will typically be more knotty. Of course, if you’re looking for a rustic look, then knots work well.

Despite the above, remember that the highest end and most expensive furniture typically IS solid wood because it’s meticulously crafted by hand rather than processed by machine.


A veneer is a thin slice of real wood. Veneers are produced in several different ways that determine how the wood grain pattern appears. Some veneer types are cut from the tree trunk using a rotary action - much like unravelling a roll of kitchen towel - to produce a wide continuous veneer sheet. Others are sliced straight from the tree into uniform thin strips and then glued together side-by-side to form larger sheets. This often involves 'book matching' when each alternate strip is flipped to make it appear that the veneer has a continuous pattern.

Veneered furniture typically uses a base of MDF or plywood, which is then topped with a 0.6-1mm thick veneer. Veneer is more flexible than solid wood, which means it can be used to create everything from curved furniture to being used on ceilings to create a retro, cabin-style home.

Veneer also allows for a ‘burr’ finish, which is where a particular tree has grown in an abnormal way resulting in stunning patterns in the grain that are sliced to form the veneer. Burr veneers are often seen on more traditional furniture with a high gloss finish, but are also in vogue on ultra-modern furniture such as the door fronts of a top-end kitchen.

4) Myth: Veneer is not real wood

Many people confuse veneer and laminate and assume that veneers aren’t real wood. That’s not true. A walnut veneer is real walnut.

5) Myth: MDF is bad

MDF has a poor reputation largely because (1) it’s often confused with chipboard, and (2) it is often thought to be a compromise over using solid wood. The truth is that MDF is an engineered highly stable product that doesn’t warp, expand or contract over time. So it (or its HDF cousin) is perfect as a base for veneers or paint and it’s used heavily by high-end modern furniture designers. And it’s not a compromise; it often is the best product for the job due to its stability and good surface for bonding.

There will always be people who claim that MDF is used to make only low quality furniture, but the truth is that, like solid wood, there's both high quality and low quality MDF furniture. It's not the use of MDF that makes it bad.

chests of drawer
This Tom Schneider curved cabinet is made using veneer on a plywood base. The veneer on the drawer fronts is 'book matched' such that the grain appears to flow from drawer to drawer.

The main limitation of MDF in furniture design is that it usually comes in flat sheets. That’s fine if the furniture being made has flat sides, but it doesn’t work for curved furniture. Curved furniture will use plywood instead of MDF because plywood (which is thin layers of wood glued together with their grains at right angles) is also very stable but can be bent into different shapes.

A disadvantage of veneered furniture is that it can be less durable than other finishes and more difficult to repair. If you accidentally damage a veneered table such that the damage goes through the veneer (which is often under 1mm thick), the MDF or plywood base will be exposed which can look poor. And because veneer is real wood, it’s relatively soft compared with laminate and so it’s not too difficult to take a chunk out of it by accident, especially out of corners.

Similarly, if the veneer gets something spilt on it such that there’s a permanent stain, it can’t always be sanded down and re-finished because you’ll most likely sand straight through the veneer.


6) Tip: Consider the furniture’s use before choosing a veneer.

If the item is likely to get regular abuse (e.g. a table top) or risk being damaged (e.g. by young children), then a veneer may not be the best option, and something in a solid wood may be more appropriate.

7) Tip: Ensure your furniture uses an MDF or plywood base beneath the veneer rather than chipboard.

Furniture that uses chipboard as the base will be low quality. Chipboard is cheap and damages easily and so, when combined with a wood veneer that is also relatively soft, you end up with furniture that will damage and deteriorate quickly and easily. If you are working to a limited budget, then a chipboard base will certainly keep the price down, but don’t expect your furniture to stay in pristine condition for very long.

8) Tip: Check the veneer grain and how it is ‘matched’.

Veneers are typically made by slicing the tree trunk into strips and then gluing the strips side-by-side. If these strips are badly matched, then one part of your furniture may have a very different grain to another part and this can look a little odd. The more expensive the veneered furniture, the more effort that is likely to be put into ensuring a well matched veneer is used.


Often used in flooring, worktops and flat-pack cabinets to imitate a wood finish, laminate consists of several layers, the top one of which is a photographic image of the desired finish. Laminate offers a cheaper option which is easy to clean and can be a good choice if you have a busy home with young children.

9) Tip: Try not to fake it with laminate.

Laminate has its place in a modern home given the multitude of colours and patterns that are available. So don’t be afraid to use laminate honestly to provide funky or single colour furniture that cannot be otherwise achieved. But it's best to avoid furniture that uses laminate to fake a different material such as wood as it tends to look pretty bad.

The only exception here is, confusingly, "laminate veneers". This is where a real wood veneer is laminated to give both the appearance of a natural wood grain with the durability of a laminate finish.

Combining and matching different woods

The wood you choose comes down to personal choice and style, but one thing we’re regularly asked is how to be sure that a new item of wooden furniture won’t clash with an existing one. So we’ll attempt to explain.

10) Myth: Walnut is a dark wood and oak comes in colours from light to dark

Walnut is actually a light purplish wood and oak has definite tones of yellow. Admittedly, there are various species of each but these don’t particularly affect the darkness of the raw timber.

The myth of wood colours is due to the fact that walnut ‘stains’ are typically dark and oak stains come in various different darknesses. The result is that people think this is a property of the wood, but it’s not. This is important because it means that you can’t assume that one walnut item will necessarily match another, because the colour is almost entirely determined by the stain used and not the wood itself.

And one for luck...

11) Tip: Avoid limiting yourself to mixing furniture ranges of the same wood

There’s a temptation that if you already have several items of a certain wood in a room, that you supplement them with more of the same wood. Design-wise, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this, however, an alternative approach is to contrast woods. Wenge is a great wood for this as it normally comes with a very dark brown stain, close to black. So wenge works well with walnut or oak as there’s no chance of clashing. It also works well to mix wooden furniture items with other non-wooden furniture, such as fabric or metal, or with a single colour such as white.

Editors Choice: Our favourite wardrobes

by Alexandra Thomas on May 29, 2015
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.

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.

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.

Clever ways with walls

by Alexandra Thomas on May 19, 2015
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 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.


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 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.

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.

How to style your home for summer

by Alexandra Thomas on May 11, 2015
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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

Shop the look...

Garden furniture reviewed

by Alexandra Thomas on April 29, 2015
garden table
Italian Essence Reclaimed Teak Garden Dining Table and Chairs Set

Get your garden ready for summer with our pick of outdoor furniture.

While the Great British Summer usually comes and goes in the blink of an eye, getting your garden ready now so you can make the most of it when the sun does appear is essential. Here we've chosen three different options and given you the lowdown so you can choose the one that's right for you and your space.

Great for entertaining

The Italian Essence Reclaimed Teak Garden Dining Table and Chairs Set by Viva Lagoon is the perfect choice if you have a large family or plan on doing a lot of entertaining this summer. It is a great investment buy as it’s both sturdy and super stylish, and is available in a choice of four, six or eight chairs, so that you can choose the exact seating configuration to suit your needs.

Made from reclaimed teak and aluminium, the generous teak tabletop sits on a sleek aluminium frame. The all-white chairs, meanwhile, are understated yet stylish and beautifully complement the table. Crafted from all-weather Textilene, they can be left outdoors even when the weather takes a turn for the worse meaning you don’t have to worry about finding room to store them.

Top style tips: Brighten things up with patterned, colourful melamine plates and bowls, acrylic glasses and a funky oilcloth tablecloth, or keep it sleek and sophisticated with white linen napkins, elegant glass tea light holders and contemporary white china.

Great for relaxing

Garden furniture used to be a simple choice between iron, wood and plastic, and most sets consisted only of a dining table and chairs. However, garden lounge furniture has been increasingly popular and is great for those who want to relax.

If you’re a fan of comfort and want to create an outdoor living room, then look no further than this Shawna Two Seater Rattan Sofa Set by Out There Interiors, which beautifully mimics living room furniture but for your outside space.

garden chair
Shawna Two Seater Rattan Sofa Set

Perfect for relaxing on a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon with the papers, this comprises a sofa, two armchairs and a coffee table. This furniture set is crafted from all-weather synthetic rattan with generous cushions which have been made from shower-proof fabric so you won’t have to make a mad dash for it with them should the heavens open.

Top style tips: Ideal for a decadent, al fresco afternoon tea, choose pretty, vintage style floral tableware and lace trimmed napkins to complete the look and of course, don’t forget the cakes!

The clever one

We love clever furniture here at Furnish and you don’t get outdoor furniture much cleverer than this Garden Trough Dining Table by The Orchard.

Simple and understated, this chunky and substantial set is made from Canadian Yellow Pine and is finished with a clear, protective varnish. While matching benches are also available, if you want to create an eclectic look try teaming the table with brightly coloured, metal chairs and stools.

garden table
Garden Trough Dining Table

But what’s really special about this table is the sunken zinc trough which sits neatly in the middle of the table. Great for growing herbs in, this clever trough can also act as an ice bucket; simply fill with ice and use it to keep soft and alcoholic drinks nicely cool – perfect if you can’t be bothered to keep heading indoors to visit the fridge.

Top style tips: When not in use as an ice bucket, keep small colourful potted plants in the trough to add colour and interest or use to house pillar candles to create a special effect when dining al fresco in the evening.

Guide to creating the perfect kid's room

by Alexandra Thomas on March 23, 2015
Wall Sticker Penguin Family by JasmineWay

With our handy guide, decorating your kid's room is as easy as ABC.

Decorating your little one’s room needn’t be a chore. In fact, with our handy guide of what and what not to do, it’s as easy as ABC.


Making sure walls are bright and interesting should discourage little people from grabbing the nearest marker and decorating the walls themselves! There’s a huge range of child-friendly wallpapers available to instantly brighten a scheme, or you could opt for wall stickers, which are much easier to install than wallpaper, and are easy to change and replace.

When it comes to paint, look for those which are washable and scrubbable so you can keep your paintwork looking as good as new even after attacks from sticky little fingers.


A child’s room needs plenty of storage for clothes, books and toys. Choose furniture which will grow with your little one, for example a wardrobe with moveable clothes rails that can be adjusted as your child grows.

Amelie Childrens Oak Double Wardrobe with Drawers by Oak & Ash Furniture

The bed is all-important so opt for sturdy designs which can withstand rough and tumble; a truckle bed is a good option if your child often has friends over to stay, while a design that incorporates a desk or seating area is a good choice for older children.

If you don’t have room for a traditional desk, look for those that can be folded away or are wall-hung to save on space and make the room work harder.

When it comes to storage, look for boxes which can be stacked so they don’t take up valuable floor space. Clear boxes are a great idea as they allow you to see the contents at a glance but, if seeing your clutter puts you off, try wooden boxes which have chalkboard labels allowing you to scribble their contents on the side.


Flooring for a child’s room is a bit of a Catch 22; on one hand you want it to be comfortable in case of any falling little knees but it also needs to be easy to clean. Rubber flooring is a good option as it’s soft enough to feel comfortable yet extremely easy to clean.

If you choose to have carpet, go for dark, bright colours or patterned options which can hide a multitude of sins, avoiding anything with a deep pile which can make cleaning tricky. Natural flooring such as sisal and coir may be a bit too rough underfoot for a child’s bedroom and doesn’t lend itself to be played on. If you opt for wooden or laminate flooring, remember to add a brightly coloured, patterned rug for increased comfort.


Choosing accessories for your child’s room can be extremely enjoyable, especially if you get them involved too. If they’re old enough, work with them to create moodboards of how they would like their room to look and choose accessories together.

Decorative animal head - Mister Elephant by BODIE and FOU

Prints and framed posters offer a good way to brighten up a wall while patterned and colourful cushions and throws are great for adding interest to plain bed linen.

When it comes to window treatments, black out blinds are a must particularly during the lighter months while window film can be a good option for maintaining privacy while still allowing in light.


Lighting is important in a little one's room and you should consider various types of light sources. Create a statement with your central light fitting by choosing a decorative pendant shade (there is a plethora of child-friendly designs available) and complement with a bedside table lamp.

Look for designs which offer a soft glow and can be left on during the night to comfort very young children. For older children, a desk lamp is an essential piece of kit; look out for ones which can be adjusted easily so your child can position the light just where they need it.

Shop the look...

Guide to lighting your home

by Alexandra Thomas on February 24, 2015
Guide to Lighting

We show you how to get your lighting scheme spot on and ensure you’re never left in the dark.

When creating a successful interior scheme, one of the key ingredients is getting your lighting right. Whether you have huge amounts of natural light in your home or not, creating an inviting, liveable, interesting and stylish scheme depends a lot, if not entirely, on getting your lighting right.

Here we show you how you can use different lighting sources to create perfect schemes throughout the home.

The Living Room

Your living room offers the perfect opportunity to use a multitude of light sources and, indeed, you should try to do so, as each of them can be used to create different atmospheres.

A central light is a good starting point and, if room allows, choose one that creates real impact and acts as a focal point for the room. Having this connected to a dimmer switch is ideal as it allows you to control the amount to suit your mood.

Table lamps are a must in a living room, and can instantly brighten up dimly lit corners, which is especially useful in the darker months. If you like reading in your living room, a curved floor lamp, such as this Large Chrome Arch Floor Lamp by Out There Interiors is a great option. Position it next to a comfy armchair and you have the perfect reading spot in which to relax.

Large Chrome Arch Floor Lamp

The Dining Room

When it comes to lighting, having a central light carefully positioned over your dining table is a must. Choosing one that can be raised and lowered is a good option, so you can create a more intimate atmosphere when needed.

If you would prefer not to have one single light, a row of pendants such as these Beso One Light Pendant in Bronze by Fields of Blue work equally well and displaying them at varying heights will add interest and create a focal point.

As with the living room, a dimmer switch is a great idea for any dining space, allowing you to alter your lighting to suit the occasion.

The Bedroom

Lighting in a bedroom needs to cater for many different situations from reading in bed to applying makeup.

A central light is a good call for general everyday use and allows you to create a focal point in the room. If you don’t have room for bedside tables, then wall-mounted lights such as these Leitmotiv Buck Grey Wall Lights by Viva Lagoon are a good alternative for reading in bed.

Adding a task lamp to your dressing table, much as you would in a home office, is a good idea. Choose one that allows you to direct the light to exactly where you need to for maximum effect.

Leitmotiv Buck Grey Wall Lights

The Kitchen

Here again, a central light is a good starting place in the kitchen. If you have a dining table within your kitchen, placing a ceiling light above this is essential to ensure you have enough light for comfortable dining.

Under cupboard lights are a good idea. One a practical level, they provide pools of light while you’re preparing food but can also be used to create a more intimate atmosphere for in-kitchen dining.

The Hallway

Hallways can often be narrow and dark, which means having the right light sources is essential.

A combination of a central pendant together with wall lights will ensure your hallway is lit correctly and create a welcoming glow.

If you have room for a console table, make sure you add a table lamp which, when placed near a window or the door, will create a warming atmosphere.

And while not strictly speaking in the hallway, an outside light installed near the door is both inviting and safety conscious.

The Bathroom

Lights used inside bathrooms need to follow a strict IP rating code. As a rule of thumb, the lower IP rating a light has, the nearer it can be used to a water source, e.g. lights with a IP rating of 1 can be used nearer a bath than those with an IP rating of 2.

Central lights work best when encased which prevents them being damaged by steam and condensation, while an illuminated mirror is an useful bit of kit allowing you to kill two birds with one stone.

However, it’s choosing your bulbs correctly which is really important in the bathroom - as many don’t have windows you want to replicate natural daylight as far as possible so it may be worth taking time to experiment with bulbs until you find the ones which suit you.

Trend Watch: Super Stripes

by Alexandra Thomas on February 01, 2015
Our favourite striped home accessories

Give your home a smart look with our favourite striped buys.

Stripes are always in vogue when it comes to fashion and are a perennial favourite for interiors too.

Whether you opt for wide, dramatic monochrome or sweet candy colours, stripes work well in every room in the home from the bathroom to hallway, and suit every style from classic to contemporary.

If you have the space, this beautiful Ergo Retro Striped Button-Back Cream Chair by Alexander & Pearl is the perfect choice for a bedroom, while this Carved Wood Table Lamp with Striped Shade by Out There Interiors with its stylish woven shade will be a welcome addition to any living room.

This smart Black Stripe Chopping Board by Naken Interiors is essential kit for stylish cooks, while this Stripe Moroccan Silk Throw by Rocomara is great for keeping warm on chilly early spring evenings.

Shop the look...

Trend Watch: Industrial

by Alexandra Thomas on January 25, 2015
Our favourite industrial-style items

Bring some factory chic to your home with our pick of the best industrial-style products around.

When it comes to interiors, the industrial trend shows no sign of abating.

I, for one, love it! There’s something about bringing bashed-up, factory-style pieces into the home that just works. It shouldn’t but it most definitely does.

From lighting to furniture, accessories to wallpaper, it’s easy to inject this look into your home.

If you work from home, this Brooklyn Finest Industrial Desk With Drawers by Alexander and Pearl is a real statement piece perfect for a home office and, with 3 drawers, it’s practical too.

Lighting is a huge part of this trend, and whether it’s original or reproduction you’re after, there’s an amazing choice available. We like this Small Industrial Pendant in Lacquered Steel by Viva Lagoon. Taking inspiration from mid-century factory lighting, it would look fantastic in the kitchen or dining room.

Finally, what to do with your walls? The answer is splash out on Piet Boon’s Concrete Wallpaper (CON-06 shown here) by BODIE and FOU. It doesn’t come cheap but looks great and is perfect for completing the factory-cum-warehouse look.

Editors Choice: Console Tables

by Alexandra Thomas on January 17, 2015
console table
Some of our favourite console tables

Keep your hallway tidy with our pick of the best console tables around.

A console table is an essential piece of hallway kit. A place to stash keys, post and other hallway paraphernalia, and here at Furnish we have all shapes and sizes to suit every space and style of home.

Working just as well in the bedroom as in the hallway, this Mirrored Tray Console Table by The French Bedroom Company is both stylish and practical. While those who need to be savvy with space will love this Small Black And Silver Console Table by Out There Interiors which is just 90cm wide and 40cm deep.

Meanwhile, if you prefer an oriental style, we have this Classic Chinese Console Table in Oyster Grey by The Nine Schools or the Asian Contemporary Small Console by Shimu to choose from, both of which should fit the bill perfectly.

Colour watch: Primary colours

by Alexandra Thomas on June 23, 2014
Furnishing with primary colours

With primary colours making a comeback this year, here’s how to inject some brights into your scheme.

Red, blue and yellow, more commonly known as the primary colours, are coming back in a big way.

While neutrals and neons are still around, we have seen a re-emergence of these colours that remind us of, well funnily enough, primary school.

Those who use these bold, beautiful and unapologetic shades fall in two camps; those who embrace them with wanton abandonment as if in homage to Mondrian and those, like me, who prefer subtle pops of colour. Both approaches can work very well.

Here at Furnish, we have a great selection of primary-coloured home interiors to choose from including furniture, accessories and even wallpaper.

The fearless will love this striking, showstopping Pop Yellow Chandelier by The French Bedroom Company which certainly creates a statement wherever it is used, as well as this great looking Bongo Bar Stool in Red by Furniturepod.

Meanwhile, design junkies will be unable to resist this classic Blue Panton Flower Pot Pendant, while those into funky, unusual artwork will love this Juju Hat in Yellow, both by Design My World.

Colour Watch: Hot Pink and Teal

by Alexandra Thomas on May 24, 2014
Some gorgeous hot pink and teal pieces

Be bold and brave with the daring combination of teal and hot pink.

Not for the faint hearted, this week’s colour combination takes its inspiration from bold and beautiful Designers Guild fabrics which started firmly putting colour-phobes in their place many moons ago.

A daring pairing, these striking colours just seem to work together, particularly when teamed with a neutral backdrop. Here at Furnish, we have lots of gorgeous items in these colours from furniture to accessories to really make your scheme pop with colour.

For the brave, a piece of teal furniture will instantly lift your room and we have some great pieces available. This Bedside Teal and Silver Cabinet by Shimu offers just enough Eastern style without being too over the top, while the Vintage Teal Armchair by Alexander and Pearl is a must for retro lovers.

When it comes to this colour combination, it’s important to go for the boldest shade of pink you can bear – that way it really pops against the teal. For a bold bedroom, try adding this Passion Pink Full Length Mirror by The French Bedroom Company or breathe life into a tired, plain wall with this Butterfly Clock in Fuchsia by Red Candy.

Colour Watch: Yellow and Grey

by Alexandra Thomas on May 10, 2014
Some gorgeous yellow and grey pieces

Let us show you how to make this classic colour combination work in your home.

Grey and yellow go together like strawberries and cream, and this classic colour combination has had something of a renaissance in recent years, working well in both classic and contemporary schemes.

Whether you opt for pale or bright shades, you’ll create a stunning, timeless scheme using this dramatic palette.

We have some gorgeous yellow and grey items here at Furnish, from furniture to accessories to get you started.

If you’re looking for some striking lighting this Fifty Shades Chandelier by The French Bedroom Company works well in both living spaces and bedrooms, while the Loopy-Lu in Yellow by Loopy-lu will stand out wherever it’s used.

And if you’re looking to update your furniture, this simple yet ever so stylish Sommerville Yellow Linen Armchair by Alexander and Pearl is just waiting to be accessorised with this Skinny Laminx Leaves Cushion Cover in Grey from Design My World.

Editors Choice: Colourful Cushions

by Alexandra Thomas on April 12, 2014
Some of our gorgeous colourful cushions

Choose one of our vibrant cushions to give your home a lift for the new season.

If you want to give your home a new look without breaking the budget and with minimal fuss, cushions are the perfect solution.

Whether you're looking to breathe life into an old chair or sofa, or simply want to jazz up your bedroom, we have a huge selection available, and here are some of our faves, all full of bright and beautiful colour.

Floral fans will struggle to resist either this fabulous Trippy Granny Cushion by The French Bedroom Company which will add a feminine touch without being too girly, or this Ellen Hand-embroidered Cushion by ALSO Home which combines gorgeous shades of grey and green.

Meanwhile, those looking to create real impact need look no further than the Jan Constantine Red Admiral Cushion by Out There Interiors or the Mosaic pattern pink cushion by JasmineWay, both ideal for adding a striking finishing touch to any room.

Shop the Trend: Florals

by Alexandra Thomas on April 06, 2014
Pick your faves from these floral goodies

It's time to bring the outside in with these gorgeous floral home accessories.

Now that spring has sprung, it’s time to blow away the cobwebs and inject some floral style into the home. And we have a fantastic mix just perfect for bringing the outside in.

Our floral pieces are great for instantly cheering up any interior and will give your home a much needed touch of spring.

For those who want to add pattern and colour to a sofa or chair, this Gypsy Blue Cushion by Artstar is super funky and the perfect choice. Meanwhile those who want to introduce some subtle lighting to their hallway or living area will love this Floral Tea Caddy Lamp by Shimu.

And if you really want to create maximum impact, how about this Romany Love Seat by The French Bedroom Company.

Shop the Trend: Monochrome home accessories

by Alexandra Thomas on March 23, 2014
Some favourite monochrome accessories

This combo never dates so embrace these black and white favourites.

Just as in fashion, there’s always a place for monochrome within the home. Whether you opt for a stylish graphic rug or simple soft furnishings, this colour pairing doesn’t date and suits both contemporary and classic schemes.

To create a real style statement in your living room, this BLGAB04 Cowhide Rug by London Cows is the perfect piece while this Diamantini Star Clock by Red Candy is guaranteed to add interest to the plainest of walls.

Meanwhile, if graphic prints are your thing, then you’ll love this Bridget Riley-inspired Black Dots Spiral Print which comes courtesy of those clever folk at Duffy London and the stylish Swarm Cushion by Adam Slade by The French Bedroom Company which will add a touch of monochrome glamour to any sofa or chair.

Shop the look...

Editors Choice: Table Lamps

by Alexandra Thomas on January 26, 2014
table lamp
Our pick of gorgeous table lamps

Brighten up gloomy evenings with our eclectic pick of table lamps.

We’re longing for spring to arrive here at Furnish, but while the dark, long evenings are still with us, we thought it was a good idea to have a round up of some of our favourite table lamps.

Great for every room in the house, from the bedroom to the study, we have a fabulous selection for every taste.

For those who like their lighting with beautiful curves, you will struggle to beat the Medusa Black Aluminum Desk/Table Lamp by Furniture for Home, while for a desk or a side table the Leitmotiv Barefoot Table Lamp by Dutch by Design is a great choice.

And if you want to add real impact to your hallway or living room, then you need look no further than this cute, kitsch Petit Bouledogue Table Lamp by The French Bedroom Company.

Editors Choice: Wall Art

by Alexandra Thomas on December 15, 2013
wall art
A selection of gorgeous prints.

Treat yourself to the perfect print with our fantastic selection of wall art.

Everyone likes to have some artwork in their lives and, here at Furnish, we have some fantastic prints and pictures to decorate your home.

If you like your art a little bit edgy, you'll love this eclectic Defaced Duchess print from The French Bedroom Company while this beautifully sketched Flying Pig Print from Lifestylebazaar will look great in a kid's room.

Meanwhile, if you're more into nature and literature, then you can kill two birds with one stone with this pretty Vintage Style Book Watercolour Butterfly Print from Burford Trading.

(Each of these would also make a perfect gift and many items can still be delivered before Christmas. Check the individual product listings for more information.)

Shop the look...

Shop the Trend: Stags

by Alexandra Thomas on September 09, 2013
A selection of accessories featuring stags

Give your home a regal touch with our pick of the best stag homewares.

Unless you’ve been living in a bubble for the last few years, you can’t have failed to notice that stags are a massive trend when it comes to interiors.

Everything from cushions to rugs has been embellished with these majestic creatures, while faux stag heads have become the hero product in every interiors collection from high street to designer.

It’s easy to incorporate this look into your home whether you want to go classic or contemporary. Our favourite pieces include the Anorak – Kissing Stags Set of 3 Tins from Amara Living, which brings this quirky look to your kitchen and the Stag Head Coat Hook from OKA which will add a majestic touch to any hallway.

Clockwise from top left: Anorak – Kissing Stags Set of 3 Tins from Amara Living, £14; My Deer Looking Glass from The French Bedroom Company, from £145; Daddy Deer Mug from Oliver Bonas, £7.50; Stag Head Coat Hook from OKA, £35; Handmade cushion on natural fabrics – green deer cameo from Chocolate Creative, £48; Wall Decor Plywood Stag Head Trophy Deer from Design 55, £25.

Our interiors blog of the week - Designers Voyce

by Alexandra Thomas on July 01, 2013
Fuksas for Zonca's Candy collection via "Euroluce 2013" post at Designers Voyce

This week we check out the latest trends at the fabulous Designers Voyce blog.

Some say that the death of the printed magazine is imminent; to be honest, they’ve been saying it for the last decade. Here at Furnish HQ, we’re not sure whether that’s true or not, but what we do know is that interior design blogs are on the rise. That’s why we bring you a weekly round-up of our favourites.

This week sees us call in on Jenny Voyce and her fabulous blog Designers Voyce.

London-based Jenny certainly has had one of those careers that make others passionate about design a little bit green around the gills. From having worked as a buyer for Liberty to working on the redevelopment of the shops at the Southbank Centre, Jenny’s certainly been a busy bee.

So, it’s great she can find the time to keep us up to date with the latest design news and inspiration from across the globe. As well as blogging about food, style, and people and places.

Lladró Belle de Nuit chandelier via "Lladró 60th Anniversary" post at Designers Voyce

We loved this post on Lladró, the famous Spanish porcelain manufacturers who are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.

To highlight this momentous occasion, Jenny has highlighted their fantastic new lighting collection which includes everything from nature-inspired hanging lamps to a chandelier Liberace would have been proud to own.

pendant light
Lladró Foresta hanging light via "Lladró 60th Anniversary" post at Designers Voyce

Remember, if you want to see your blog crowned our Interiors blog of the week, you need to let us know about it, so drop us a line and tell us why it deserves to join the Furnish blog hall of fame!