Sponsored: Dark and dramatic autumn table setting

Dark and dramatic autumn table setting with cutlery and plates from Wayfair | H is for Home

It’s the first of September in a couple of days – and that means the meteorological start of autumn. As the evenings draw in, our minds turn to cosy nights indoors, warm blankets, wood-burning stoves, candles and fairy lights. And, of course, equally important – good hearty food and perhaps a glass of red wine or two. It’s the perfect time to invite family or friends over for an evening feast – an opportunity to celebrate the harvest season and all of nature’s bounty.

Nothing will suit the occasion more than a dark and dramatic autumn table setting! A black or dark grey tablecloth is the ideal backdrop – decorated and accessorised with antique brass candlesticks, feathers, fossils, pine cones, leaves, berries and fruit. Whatever you feel adds to the interest and drama for a special meal.

We’ve recently received some lovely tableware from Wayfair that is perfect for creating just the right style and atmosphere.

Gold coloured cutlery set from Viners with black linen napkin | H is for Home

First, is this gorgeous burnished gold cutlery set by Viners. It’s titanium coated stainless steel and has a real feel of luxury and opulence. It’s just perfect for that celebratory meal – and we loved it combined with the other metallic tones that we incorporated into the table setting through candlesticks, ribbon and other trimmings. On a practical level, the coating creates exceptionally hard cutlery that is ten times more resistant to scratching than untreated stainless steel. It also helps prevent corrosion, rust and tarnishing.

Black & white Seltmann Weiden porcelain dinner plates with black linen napkin | H is for Home

The luxurious quality continues with the porcelain china dinner plates by Seltmann Weiden. There’s a crisp white central presentation area with an organic, flowing black border which frames the food like a picture. Again, absolutely perfect for creating the dramatic table setting. As with the cutlery, these don’t fail when it comes to practicality either – the plates have a scratch resistant surface, are dishwasher safe, oven safe and microwave safe.

Two lovely items that we’ll be able to enjoy year after year.

Dark and dramatic autumn table setting with cutlery and plates from Wayfair | H is for Home

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3 ways to add a rustic feel to any new home

3 Ways to add a rustic feel to any new home | H is for Home

Rustic home designs are very on trend – they have a relaxing quality and make you feel closer to nature. If you’re trying to create a rustic interior look, then think about natural materials like exposed stone walls, wood and wicker. Also incorporating earthy colour tones like browns, greens, creams, rusts and so on. If you’re looking for a rustic design but you’re a little unsure of where to start, then continue reading to discover tips for adding this feel to your home.

Rustic wooden desk

Add wood

If you have access to wooden pallets, there are many ways that they can be incorporated into rustic home décor. They’re inexpensive and yet have the perfect look and feel required. You can transform wood pallets into bed frames, tables or benches. Or perhaps use them to create a kitchen shelving or wine racks. They can be left rough hewn – or sanded, lime washed and stained whatever colour you like. If you’re looking for an even bigger project, you can attach large expanses of the wooden slats directly to the wall. The resulting clap-board effect will add texture and visual interest to a space.

Rustic wooden rafters and stone wall

Add stone to the interior or exterior

Stone is very adaptable and can be used for many purposes. It’s certainly got rustic appeal. It can be used both inside or outside – in the form of tiles or larger block pieces.

You can use interlocking paving stones for a patio, path or retaining wall. Pavers are extremely durable and come in a variety of finishes – various shades of grey, brown, green, and cream – even yellows and orange. Stone can also be used to create an outdoor barbecues or fire pits. If you’re thinking about adding a kitchen island, consider using stone to make it. It can be built to the exact size and shape required, the stone adding a elemental simplicity to the overall look. Stone kitchen worktops can continue the flow of the material if desired. Or, if you’re looking to add a naturalistic touch to a bathroom, try creating a natural stone feature wall or splashback – or perhaps an archway to frame and accent the bathtub itself.

 

Rustic interior decorated in natural colours

Natural hues

You can give any room an unfussy, neutral feel by adding earthy tones. Use paint colours like walnut, mustard, and spring green in combination with creams and whites. However, if you don’t want to go as far as painting, simply add some furniture with natural coverings. For example, a wooden chair with brown, rust or Hessian coloured upholstery can add country charm. Accessorise with accent pillows on other furnishings to create a warm, homely feel. Shop at flea-markets and second-hand shops to find a few pieces that add the all important vintage touch to your interior. Rugs can also quickly add a rustic look without making any permanent changes to your home. Seagrass, coir and bamboo matting are also recommended options. The colour and texture are perfect for this look.

Whatever the vision is for your home use the above suggestions to get started on your rustic makeover.

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Your guide to creating your teen-aged son’s dream bedroom

Mondrian-style teenage boy's bedroomcredit

Every teenage boy goes through the same phase: occasionally surly, sulky and sarcastic. So, if you need to redecorate his room, what can you do? You might not get much of a response from him – or anything useful anyway. You could try to second-guess what he wants, or take his comments at face value. You could try to push him into helping you, but that isn’t likely to end well. Likewise, if you haven’t told him you’re redecorating, and you want to do it as a surprise, then you need to know what to do without his help. Either way, you can learn how to create the right look for a teenage boy’s bedroom by following these tips.

Teenage boy's blue camouflage decorated bedroomcredit

The colour scheme

For a maturing young adult, you need to think about moving away from any childish colours or shades. No more bright palettes or TV show-themed wallpaper. Instead, opt for sophisticated tones, like navy, greys and light browns. These muted colours won’t ever offend your son and will give an air of coolness and calm. You can try adding some brighter shades, picking them out in subtle decorations or in soft furnishings – but don’t overdo it.

Storage in a teenage boy's bedroomcredit

The furniture

Now is the time to say goodbye to cramped single beds or bunk beds. As a growing boy, he’ll both need and want a queen or king-sized bed. Choosing furniture in rich wood will ramp up the sophistication levels – as will opting for sets that match, or are at least made from the same material. Depending on your son’s style, you could add in statement pieces, like an antique chair or solid desk. Think about your son’s lifestyle: would he want something like a desk in his room? Or would he prefer a cabinet for his TV and video games console? Is he more likely to hang clothes up in a wardrobe, or fold them up into a chest? Think about how you can enhance his lifestyle, then put it into practice.

Teenager playing video games in his bedroom

The lighting

Keep up with the theme of smart, sleek and sophisticated by installing contemporary, modern lighting. If you can buy LED recessed lighting, you’ll be able to cover his ceiling in spotlights, instead of using feminine lampshades. Incorporating a feature like a dimmer switch is a good idea, especially if your son enjoys watching movies or playing video games – sometimes the glare from bright lights can be off-putting.

Teen-aged boy's bedroom with basketball memorabilia on the wallcredit

The accessories

Now for the finishing touches. Depending on the area you live in, and what the climate is like, you might want to add to any bedding with a decorated quilt or throw. If you choose to have bare floors or wood laminate, a rug might be a nice touch. Likewise, try adding a few framed photographs or pieces of artwork; are there any special posters you can get hold of? Sports memorabilia? Find a few things that will appeal to your son’s interests and get them framed. Little things like wire tidies for his computer and any consoles will neaten the look up. Plus, adding a slow-release air freshener or scent will keep the room smelling fresh for a while to come.

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5 ways to (almost) instantly perk up your décor

Vintage décor in a sitting roomcredit

Ever feel like you’d like to give your home a jump-start in the style stakes but think it would take too long or be too costly? Here are five cheap, quick and easy ways to (almost) instantly perk up your décor.

Jug of flowers on a table

Buy some flowers

Plants and flowers are an inexpensive and easy way to change the look and feel of a space. Fresh flowers add colour and fragrance to a room. Check out the large range of bouquets you could display. They can also be used to soften hard surfaces such as concrete and stone – and bring nature indoors which is a useful tool in uniting interior and exterior living – a strong current trend in home design. The containers that you put your flowers in also offer opportunity, whether it be traditional vases or jugs, or perhaps experimenting with colourful vintage tins and bottles.

Grey and white feature wall decorated with triangles

Make a feature wall

Wallpaper, paint, stencils and decals are all possible ways to create a feature wall. All of these options can be completed in a couple of hours and offer dramatic results. A feature wall allows the introduction of bold colours and strong patterns without over-powering a space.

Fairy lights inside a fireplace | H is for Home

Update the lighting

A string of fairy lights gives a magical feel to the room; drape them over a mantlepiece, hang them from the ceiling or bundle them inside a fireplace. Set them to twinkle mode to imitate the flickering of a real fire.
Installing up and down-lighters can quickly change the focus of a room. They can be used to avert the eyes from less attractive corners onto strong features.
Old fashioned filament light bulbs are really popular at the moment. They radiate a soft, warm glow or candle-like flicker; a quick and easy way to enhance the mood of a room.

Handmade woollen throw over a leather sofa | H is for Home

Add soft furnishings

Soft furnishings such as cushions, rugs and throws can bring an instant shot of colour to a room – and can be very successful in adding highlight tones to neutral colour schemes. They introduce softness, texture and warmth too – perfect for that comfortable, cosy retreat.

Oil painting above a fireplace | H is for Home

Hang some art

Display prints, posters or paintings easily – it just takes a hammer, nail and a bit of string or wire. There’s no end of possible sources – inherited pieces, vintage market finds or online bargains! You could frame your children’s artwork – you never know, they may become a world famous artist when they grown up!
You don’t even have to go to all the effort of hanging it on the wall – art can often look great propped against a wall – or sitting on on a shelf or an easel.

If you’ve done any of these – or have any other ideas about adding a burst of freshness to your home – tell us all about it below.

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Get your home ready for summer

Summer still life

Springtime is usually seen as the season to give your home an overhaul, but for us, this part of the year is merely the precursor to the most inspirational season of all – summer. Whereas spring is the time to get things tidy and to give your home a thorough cleaning, summer presents the opportunity to create an entirely new design on the clear canvas of a newly spring-cleaned home.

Paint cards, piantbrush and paint roller

Sometimes, all it takes is a new coat of paint on walls, doors and ceilings to completely refresh the look of your home, and we love any opportunity that allows us to go wild with different colours and shades. The summer palette is all about light, breezy hues which relate to the colours we’re currently seeing during the sunnier days of the year. Create a continuous stream of light which carries through the windows and into your living room, bedroom; and, in fact, any other room in your home by painting walls in a sunshine yellow. If you prefer the textures and patterns wallpapers can provide, opt for lighter shades with intricate patterns rather than papers with huge block designs. The more delicate the design, the more summery the feel.

Light-filled bedroom

It’s long been known that natural sunlight is a fantastic mood enhancer, and so you should ensure you make the most of summer’s lighter, brighter days by ensuring your bedroom captures as much natural light as possible. Swap heavy curtains that served their purpose during the winter for lighter, translucent drapes to maximise the amount of sunlight that enters the room. Treat yourself to brand spanking new furniture and take a look at the Bedstar range of wooden beds in white which will bring a fresh summery look to your bedroom. White furniture will really brighten up the room, so look out for wardrobes and drawers in a glossy white finish to complete your bedroom in a contemporary, seasonal style.

Bottles of herbs with tomatoes

Adorning your home with blooming house plants is a fantastic way of having a constant reminder that summer’s here, even on the not-so sunny days. Select colours and species that make your heart sing, and of course, ones that match your carefully considered colour scheme. Decorate your kitchen windowsill with herb pots to add fragrance to the room and extra flavour to your cooking. Plants are extremely versatile in that they can perk up any room in the home, and you should feel free to mix and match the types of plants you place around your home. Pet owners should be aware that some plants are toxic to animals, so do research which ones are safe to be around your little critters.

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Tips for transforming your home on a tight budget

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Eclectic loft apartmentcredit

Renovating a home is a lot cheaper than moving to a new one. You can spend as much or as little as you like to refresh old rooms or even add new ones, but if you don’t have a lot of spare cash, you need to look at strategies to achieve the maximum effect for as little as possible. Luckily there are lots of cool ways to do this.

Budget renovation projects can include this desk and shelves made from wooden cratescredit

How much can you afford to spend?

Before you begin, do an honest appraisal of your budget. It is pointless starting a project and then running out of cash halfway through. Work out what you can afford to spend and then do some cost calculations. After all, there is no point looking at expensive materials and furniture if you can’t afford to buy them. That would be torture!

Little girl painting a wall redcredit

Cheap labour

Labour is often a significant part of any renovation or building project. Say, for example, you’re intending to fit a new kitchen. Kitchen cupboards are not always terribly expensive. Indeed, it’s possible to pick up relatively cheap ones if you have the time and energy to shop around. However, the cost of fitting a kitchen can be very expensive, so there’s plenty of money to be saved by using cheap labour.

Cheap labour isn’t always to be recommended, but if you have friends or family who can do the job and are willing to help you out, enlist their services. Offer to cook them a meal or organise a BBQ to feed everyone at the end of the job. You can hire specialist tools such as Lincoln plasma welders from local hire shops, so no long-term investment in equipment is necessary.

Chair and table made from upcycled palletscredit

Inexpensive materials

Some materials will need to be bought new: timber, plaster, electrical components, etc. Other items can be picked up cheaply second-hand. Furniture is a good example of this. Why buy new when you can find good quality vintage pieces?

Look online for cheap or free materials for your project. Old pallets are a good source of wood for furniture projects, so ask local businesses if they have any going spare. If you need a bag of plaster or cement, see if a local builder has any half-used bags he no longer needs, or check Gumtree or eBay for unwanted extras left over from other people’s renovation projects. It’s amazing what you can find if you go out of your way to look!

Chest of drawers decoupaged with mapscredit

Make do & mend

Don’t buy new when you can give something old a makeover. We are all too quick to throw away items of unwanted furniture in favour of new pieces from high street shops. New is nice, but if you don’t have much money it makes sense to restore an older piece of furniture and give it a shabby chic makeover instead.

Budget renovation projects can be fun, but always adhere to health and safety guidelines. And if you need to hire tools to get your renovation project up and running, check out what’s available at Welding Outfitter.

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