If you are redecorating or doing up a new home, one area where you can really save your money rather than blow the budget is on the lighting. There are some incredible lighting pieces out there that look designer, but have a very pocket-friendly high street price tag. Since this blog is all about getting a designer look for less, I couldn't resist sharing my recent list of top budget floor lamp finds.
Blue is my favourite colour, and it is definitely my favourite colour to decorate with (see my new maximalist blue bedroom here, and my blue living room here). I spend a lot of time fawning over the blue pieces of furniture and home ware that I find, so I'm going to share a few of my current faves, available to buy now, on the blog:
This week I headed up north to the NEC in Birmingham to visit the Spring Fair, one of the UK’s largest trade show for home, interiors and gifting. Now I know these trade fairs tend to be big, but my god this place was massive. There were literally 20 large halls full of exhibitors and I had no idea where to even start to find the best products. So, it was lucky that interior designers and fellow bloggers 2LG were there to give me a tour of the best bits.
A large cabinet or a sideboard can be a tricky purchase. First of all, it has to be the right piece as it will be a large dominating piece of furniture that won't be interchangable from room to room like rugs or lighting can be. They also tend to be expensive, so it's crucial that you choose the right sideboard first time. The trouble is, Google 'sideboard' and you are presented with a lot of oak or pine monstrosities. There never appeared to be a lot of choice when it came to getting a well-designed sideboard, so often there is a reliance on picking up a vintage G-Plan on Ebay. Yet in the past year I've seen some amazing sideboards become available. Here is my pick of the ten best sideboards that you can purchase now, either online or in-store.
Holiday House London is two ginormous Maida Vale mansions, right next door to each other, which have been completely transformed inside, top-to-toe, by some of the worlds leading interior designers. The mansions act as showhouses for the elite designers, plus some of the best lifestyle brands, to showcase their product and talent. The houses are then opened up to the public, and all money raised goes towards the prevention and cure of breast cancer. You'll agree that this is an excellent idea and a very worthy cause, but I am going to be completely honest here - I had heard of Holiday House London, but it wasn't something that I thought I would be interested in. I totally wrote it off as a big rich fundraiser for big rich people to showcase the sort of interiors and design that decked out a Kensington pied-à-terre, or a home in upstate New York.
When interior-blogger pal and professional interiors stylist Maxine Brady from We Love Home recently visited my house to style it for a magazine photo shoot, it was so interesting to see how she personally styled my home. It is easy to fall into the trap of 'getting used to' our decor and home ware items - everything has a 'place' - so it is really helpful to have a fresh set of eyes come in and shake things up! I was amazed at how Maxine added a few new pieces, or styled things differently, and completely transformed the space I was so used to seeing everyday.
Have you seen the front cover of Living Etc magazine this month? It completely caught my eye as it features two beautiful statement red velvet bespoke chairs from The Sofa & Chair Company against a beautiful grey-blue wall (painted in Scree by Little Greene).
There are a lot of press releases that come into my inbox each day about new homeware collections, and even though I open them all, it really takes something amazing to grab my attention. Well, say a big, fat HELLO to one collection that did such a thing - the brand new Bangle collection by hand-blown glassware specialists LSA International.
Fashion houses and home ware have been intertwining for a good while now. Recently, there has been Henry Holland for Habitat, Matthew Williamson for Debenhams Home & Osbourne & Little, plus Paul Smith for Anglepoise. Now, high street fashion retailer Monsoon has teamed up with furniture retailer Multiyork for a selection of new fabric designs. This is actually the third time the two brands have collaborated together, meaning there is quite a catalogue of Monsoon’s signature fashion prints available as an upholstery fabric which can be used on a wide range of Multiyork sofas, footstools, furniture and armchairs. The collection for 2017 sees six new designs and up to forty-two colourways, with the main focus on soft hues of honey, duck egg blue and pink, to deeper shades of navy, charcoal and lavender.
It has only been in the past year that I have become aware of JD Williams. My first introduction was discovering a really great pendant light while trying to source one for a porch project that I was working on. The light was really well designed and incredible value for money, and I was super surprised to learn that it was actually by TV personality Lorraine Kelly as part of her collection for the brand. As it turns out, JD Williams is actually the UK's leading direct home shopping company, with a 6 million customer database, plus 3,500 employees.
So there are a couple of reasons as to why I decided to write this post. Obviously, I was lucky enough to have a few days break away in New York City last week (sans children), so I took the opportunity to fill the days absorbing as much interior inspo the city could throw at me. Yet secondly, before I visited I was trying to research where to go in NYC that had great interiors. There appeared to be no post or article that gave an overview of the best places to visit for decor drooling (unless I missed it?) The best I could find was a Time Out round up of all home decor stores (I visited all apart from two), and guides to things like the 'best places to visit with great NYC city views'. There was nothing that said "this place is all dark velvet and brass lights you must go if you love interiors!". Therefore, I'm going to do a little round up just incase you are about to visit the city and are craving some tops tips for beautiful hotel bars to visit, or a guide to some great home stores (and the ones not to bother visiting).
Dramatic pendant lighting hung over the dining table is an interior look that is both stylish and functional. A low-slung statement pendant light or two creates a real focal point as soon as you walk in the room. Positioned centrally above the dining table, or a few lights clustered together in a line the length of the table, really defines the rooms purpose.
It's my utmost belief that even the smallest space can be impeccably stylish. You do not need to own a mansion to create a glorious living space - which is lucky as apparently the average size of a family home in the UK has shrunk by two square metres over the past 10 years. If you rent, chances are that you are currently renting or have rented a flat in a converted property that was once a whole house? If you own your own place, let me guess that you shed a little tear when you saw the average cost of 'price per square metre' of a home in your area, and you had to purchase a smaller space than you had origionally intended?
Last week was the press preview for Tom Dixon's new collection for Autumn/Winter 2017. If you follow me on Instagram stories you'll know I attend a ton of press previews for new interior items - so what makes this one so special? The answer to that is that Tom Dixon is THE pioneer in design for the home. You know whatever he does everyone else will follow. What is seen at this collection will filter down to high street home ware a short while later. When he started doing his Oil Slick range, the following season there were oil slick bowls and vases and plates; and lets not even start on 'copper'. His round copper pendant lights indisputably started the trend for copper in interiors.
The guest room in our house has been somewhat neglected compared to the other rooms. The furniture that has been in there the past couple of years since we moved in was furniture from our old house that I didn't really like anymore. The sofa bed had seen better days and was on its last legs. This room has been on the re-do list for ages, but I was really struggling trying to decide what design would suit the room best.
A few weeks ago I visited Shoreditch Design Rooms as part of London Craft Week, where I got to see the trade of chair upholstering in full swing. What stuck me about upholstery is just how intricate it is, and how those who upholster chairs are really skilled artisans. Proper upholstery is defiantly not something that you can learn from a You Tube video and do with a glue gun! However, if you want to add your own touch to chairs in your home, like selecting the colour, fabric type (plus even the detail and texture of the fabric), HomePlaneur has the answer.
Wall lights seem to be a bit of a controversial issue - people either love them or hate them. For some, they are a stylish way to add lighting in a room. For others, wall lights are super-dated, and ceiling lights with floor & table lights for atmospheric lighting are preferred. For me personally, I love wall lights. The space-saving properties of them alone make them a winner in my book. By having a wall light as opposed to a lamp on my bedside table, I have more space for magazines / flowers / half-drunk cups of tea and so forth. I think they also can add a real feature to a wall, the same as an artwork or styled shelf can. A beautiful wall light will create a focal point.
Chelsea Flower Show 2017 begins on the 23rd of May. The annual flower show is always a highlight for me as I find it a huge source of inspiration. I do not visit it every year, but I always absorb myself in the TV coverage to find out what's the new 'it' flower for 2017, and who has designed the best show-garden.
A well designed room really comes down to the finishing touches. Those last pieces that pull the whole look together. If you do not add in finishing touches, a room will lack depth, texture, and that 'cosy' feeling will just be absent. I've therefore listed my top five finishing touches below for you that my home would just not be complete without!
If you have been witness to my Instagram Stories recently, you'll see that I have been redesigning and redecorating the home office that myself and my husband share. As previously mentioned, the home office that was once promised to my husband as solely his room when we brought this house, has now also been taken over by me with the launch of the blog! The home office therefore needed a complete overhaul to accommodate all his work stuff, plus all my blog and interior design bits (mainly consisting of paint charts from every paint brand know to (wo)mankind).
We have a small guest bedroom in the basement of our home with an en suite, which is basically my mums room as she stays every other week or so. When we moved in, the room was painted the same shade of magnolia every other room in the house was painted, so I gave it a couple of coats of Teresa's Green by Farrow & Ball. Even though I still love this paint colour, the room seems, well, so boring. When I go into the room it is completely uninspiring. It doesn't help that the furniture in the room is all 'left overs' taken from different rooms we brought with us from our old house. These are 'make do' items that the room needs functionally, but haven't been brought to complement the room, or the other items in it.
A little while ago my lovely friend Jenny from the award-winning Seasons In Colour blog got in touch and said "You're crafty, fancy a styling challenge in collaboration with the VITA copenhagen Silvia Mini Create?" Now the VITA copenhagen Silvia is quite iconic. The fanned 'leaves' create that globe artichoke effect that is unmistakably Danish in design. VITA copenhagen have manifested this design from it's original white form to also be available in a choice of metallics and a 'mini' version for table/floor lamps. The latest version is a DIY project, whereby the leaves are made from watercolour paper that can be drawn or painted on to create your very own lighting design.
Two fun facts to start with - did you know that Habitat is now part of the Sainsbury's group? Did you also know that it will now have mini stores within larger Sainsbury's supermarkets? No? Neither did I! As Habitat's products will now be more readily accessible to consumers, I was interested in what Creative Director Polly Dickens and her team had up their sleeve for Habitat SS17, so popped along to their press show at the Kings Road store this week.
This week I was lucky enough to attend the press shows for both Marks and Spencer and Next Home, to get a sneak-peek at their new furniture and homeware collections for Spring & Summer 2017. If you are a regular reader you'll know I love scouring the High Street for interior pieces that look designer, but come with a High Street price tag!
First up was M&S. When I saw the invite to the Marks and Spencer show I knew it was going to be good:
I am a complete sun worshipper, but uncomfortable summer nights all humid and sweaty with no air-con are definitely the worst thing about summer. That's why when Autumn kicks in it feels extra lovely to snuggle down all warm and cosy in your bed. Autumn is therefore the perfect time to update your duvet covers and pillow cases for snooze-season (or, if like me you have a small child, dream about being in your bed rather than it being a reality...) There are some pretty cool duvet cover designs out there at the moment, so I've picked my favorite reasonably priced bedlinen available to buy online right now....
If you rent unfurnished, or if you are just starting out in your first home, it can be a really daunting prospect buying all the furniture that you need. You can see why a lot of people go the flat-packed route so they don't plunge into the overdraft; but it is possible to get well made, individual pieces of furniture and homeware at a fraction of the cost. Unlike flat-pack, you will probably still love it in years to come, rather than chuck it out as soon as it needs replacing/you can afford something better.
This week I thought I would share my absolute top 5 tips for sourcing great furniture and homeware at really affordable prices. Unless there is something particular that I REALLY want from the high street, I will always try and source what I need from these five places first. I usually visit each place once or twice a fortnight to see what's new. I also get a total buzz from finding something amazing and unique that costs hardly anything! It's a feeling of being really lucky that it was you who found it, taking total pleasure in what you found, and having absolutely no guilt that it cost you most of your months wages!
Bathrooms, like kitchens, can often be bland, sterile areas of a home. They can also be expensive to change - so if you move in somewhere (rented or purchased) and it's all wipe clean tiles and the fittings are in good condition, it's likely you'll stick with what you've got for a good while. The thing with bathrooms is that ideally you want a bathroom that exudes glamour and luxury. A place to enjoy winding down (with a mag and a large glass of vino in the bath), or a space you enjoy getting ready for the day ahead in.
I've put together 7 easy, simple steps to create the feeling of a more glamorous, luxurious bathroom, with no plumbing or tiling required!
If you spend a lot of time at home, or if like me you are just an interiors junkie, you'll know that you'll constantly want to update your home so that it evolves and remains interesting and feeling fresh. Instead of an investment piece, you often want a cheap interiors fix that you can pick up on a lunch break, or on a quick shopping trip, that you can enjoy taking home without the guilt that you'll be paying it off the next few months on the credit card...
I love this sort of interiors shopping - browsing the cheaper end of the High Street and discovering a little gem that guests won't believe you got at that store, for that price! It also gives you a chance to experiment with trends or try something a little crazy, as it only cost a tenner. No postage fees, no waiting for a delivery, no umming and arrhhing over the price, just a quick bargain that will add a new dimension to your decor!
There are quite a few good bits about the High Street at the moment, so I thought I would share my top 15 pieces that are ALL under £15!
Whenever I read an interview with a interior designer that I love, the thing that I pick up most from them is that texture and layering are key when it comes to styling a room. Texture comes from using different fabrics- wool, velvet, sheepskin; and laying means dressing the room to be visually stimulating. The easiest way to add texture and layer your room is with the home furnishings, so we are talking cushions, rugs, throws, curtains and so on....
Cushions are amazing as they can change the dynamics of an interior scheme, but are completely non-committal. You know how you can wear a different style outfit each day depending on how you feel? Well cushions act like your sofas clothes - you can add and remove them depending on how you want your room to look that day. Cushions also provide the ideal opportunity to add a fabric/print that you love, but can't afford to add much of in your home (like getting a sofa re-upholstered in a House of Hackney print, or curtains made in Sanderson fabric, which can cost from £50-£100 a metre!) You can buy cut offs, samples and fat quarters on Ebay and at fabric warehouses of expensive fabrics and make your own cushions, which is EASY! Trust me - you don't have to own a sewing machine, you don't even have to be an expert sewer, it's literally all about sewing a few straight lines together....
Do you browse Instagram, Pinterest or interior magazines and ogle peoples rooms that they have painted a dark or a really bright colour? Are you wanting to experiment with these colours in your home, but need to dip your toe in first before making a big commitment? I'm a really big fan of strong colours - bright fushia pinks, inky blues, period greens, dark greys and deep teal colours are a favourite. Yet when it comes to painting a whole room this colour, like you may be, I'm hesitant! I think if it was just me on my own I'd take the plunge, but as the rest of the family have to live with it day in, day out, I just can't bring myself to experiment painting our sunny living room dark (for now, anyway.)
I've recently started painting furniture that I already own in paint colours that I love and want to feature in the house, but haven't yet plucked up the courage to paint the walls with. This is a win-win situation as i'm introducing pops of the colour into my interior scheme, saving money by only requiring a small amount of paint and updating existing furniture rather than replacing it.
If you have moved house and your old furniture doesn't look right in your new place; perhaps you have brought a new dining table and need your old wood chairs to match; imagine what your existing furniture could look like with in a whole new colour? Or, if you love bright orange, imagine what an orange chair could do to transform your space and make it a focal point? It's easy and budget friendly to update what you already own with paint!