Get their look: Traditional yet modern living room

Traditional yet modern living roomcredit

This is a fairly traditional yet modern living room. It’s look is easily achievable as many of the fixtures and furnishings are available from the high street or retail park. A calm, neutral palette runs from one room to the next. Geometric patterned textiles provide interest and lift to the space.

  1. Large oval mirror
  2. Farrow&Ball Old White 4
  3. Brass and marble desk lamp
  4. Kensal console table by GillmoreSPACE
  5. Zinc: 4 seater sofa
  6. Zinc: pattern large footstool
  7. Zinc: pattern scatter cushion
  8. EKENÄSET armchair
  9. Cast Tec Verona carrara marble fire surround
  10. Cromwell small 16 inch solid fuel fire basket

Get their look: traditional yet modern living room | H is for Home

Updating your home style for the winter months

Winter exterior

A new season is upon us and with it comes the challenge of transforming the home. For a season with a reputation for being boring, winter is often viewed as a tricky month to bring into the home. The blues & greys usually associated with winter are cold and uninviting, but it is possible to emulate the warmth and cosiness and sparkle and glamour of winter. Here are two easy to do themes that are guaranteed to bring a touch of winter beauty and character into your home this Christmas without leaving you shivering.

Living room mantlepiece decorated for wintercredit

Winter wonderland

This winter theme is for those looking to inject a touch of class, sophistication and glamour into your home. It’s all about silver colours and sparkle, emulating the sparkle of the frost and the snow and capturing the sparkling beauty of the frosty winter months (not the cold, though!).

  1. The living room

Turn your living room into a winter wonderland by swapping your centre light for a beautiful chandelier. Get some gorgeous sparkly candle holders, light some scented candles and watch the light dance off the crystals. Silver scatter cushions with plenty of sparkles are great for creating a cosy, winter-themed sofa. Instead of bright lights this winter, use candles and lamps to create warmth.

  1. The bedroom

Snuggle into your very own winter wonderland. Swap drab boring furniture for beautiful mirrored furniture. There’s plenty of different styles to choose from – plain glass, or smoky coloured, depending on your style. Swap your bedspread for something glittering and beautiful. You don’t have to stick silvers and greys either; rich purples and royal reds also ooze winter sophistication. There are plenty of places to find bedspreads, including JD Williams.

Winter log cabin

Rustic log cabin

If you’d prefer a more home-made, cosy winter feel, the log-cabin theme is the one for you. It’s all about rustic colours, mismatched furniture, dim lights and rustic fashion.

  1. The living room

Swap heavy lights for lamps and candles to create a cosy, warm, rustic hue this winter. Snuggle up on a sofa that’s covered in comfy scatter cushions. There are plenty available this season in reds, greens and oranges – all with beautiful patchwork patterns or reindeer images. Nature themes are great for this time of year. The more handmade, the better. Drape a patchwork blanket over the sofa, ready to grab and snuggle underneath on those cold nights. Drape some multi-coloured lights across door frames and windowsills to capture the festivities of the season and add some much-needed colour and warmth to what would otherwise be a drab and cold winter.

  1. The bedroom

Carry on the theme of mismatched and rustic style into the bedroom by investing in a patchwork quilt, knitted throw and heavy curtains to block out the cold air. The best colours for the bedroom to instil warmth this season are reds and oranges. Candles and lamps create a beautifully warm and inviting glow. Christmas decorations are usually reserved for downstairs, but a couple of carefully draped strings of fairy lights will set off any bedroom. Swap modern furniture for antique pine to really create the feeling of a log cabin.

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How to introduce a taste of the exotic to your home

Eclectic bedroomcredit

Who doesn’t love travelling, seeing the world and learning about other cultures and customs? When you’ve arrived back home you may want to incorporate your exotic experiences into your home décor. Here are a few of our tips for doing just that.

Have faraway dreams

You may have returned home, back to your everyday lives, but you can always go to sleep and dream about your past adventures. Envelop yourself in beautiful, bohemian bedding like this duvet set pictured below from Vaulia.

Exotic duvet set available from Vaulia

Turn your bathroom into a tropical rainforest

The bathroom is where you go to wash away the stresses of the day and recharge your batteries. Fill the space with lush, architectural plants. Many exotic, tropical plants will thrive in a warm, damp bathroom environment – even where there’s little sunlight. Try growing ferns, orchids and small bamboos to create your own tropical rainforest.

Roll-top bath surrounded by tropical plantscredit

Wall to wall paradise

Wallpaper is a great way of updating the feel of a room. Bold, bright, sumptuous prints incorporating exotic birds, flowers, plants – and in this case – palm trees introduce an equatorial ambiance.

Palm tree print wallpapercredit

Map the world

We all have a wish list of places we’d like to visit before we die. Hang a large world map on your wall and stick pins into the countries & cities where you want to holiday. You could also attach snaps, postcards, ticket stubs and the like to the places you’ve already been as a reminder of past good times. We love the idea of this DIY project below where a string of fairy lights has been used to illuminate spots on a map where the maker has been.

DIY illuminated mapcredit

Art

This massive mural of Vladimir Tretchikoff’s ‘Lady from the Orient’ creates a striking, eastern vibe. Such a stunning addition needs plenty of space around it in order to appreciate it to full effect. Keep furnishings in muted colours and accessories to a minimum.

Wayne Hemingway in front of a huge mural of Tretchikoff's Lady from the Orientcredit

Display souvenirs from your travels

When you’ve visited exciting and far-flung destinations, a way of of keeping the memories of your trip alive is to bring back souvenirs. Anything from vernacular furniture items to unique trinkets & handicrafts, beach-combed finds to pieces of locally-made jewellery. Blow up, print, frame and display your favourite holiday photos. Having them in out plain sight feeds your wanderlust – you’ll be planning that next journey in no time!

Ethnic furniture finds with blown up photograph of an African girl in traditional dresscredit

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5 Staircase ideas for small spaces

Wooden staircase to a compact home officecredit

We live in a tall, 4-storey house so flights of stairs are integral to our daily lives. They needn’t just be a way to get up and down. Here are a few useful staircase ideas for small homes or simply to make the most of an often under-utilised area of the house.

Save on space

Black spiral staircase from Fontanot Shop

If the rooms in your house are on the compact side, remove the traditional stairway and replace it with a spiral staircase such as those available at Fontanot Shop. A spiral staircase has a much smaller footprint than most other types of stairways giving you extra, much needed floor space for furniture and appliances. They’re also architecturally interesting and can give real impact to a room.

Stair treads on a narrow staircasecredit

Another great tip to reduce a staircase footprint is to install stair treads instead of conventional steps in narrow, steep stairways such as up to loft conversions. You walk up them in just the same way and you’ll quickly get accustomed to their slightly unusual structure. In fact, your feet probably only use half of your own traditional staircase as it is!

Storage cupboards & drawers incorporated into a staircasecredit

Storage solutions

When you’re furnishing a small house it’s all about making the most of the limited space. If you don’t need something constantly to hand, store it away. The stairs are a handy but often overlooked storage area with cupboards or shelves easily installed – perfect for cleaning materials, toys, coats and wellies.

Bookshelf incorporated into a staircasecredit

They’re great for display too, with lots of potential to show off your books, photos or collections of glass and pottery.

Storage drawers incorporated into stairscredit

Actual in-stair drawers are a really ingenious way to store all manner of items depending on which rooms the stairs link – for example, folded clothes and shoes in the bedroom area… a superb use of otherwise dead space.

On-stairs box tidycredit

If your stairs are wide enough, get yourself one of those specially shaped baskets that are kept on the stairs. If you’re anything like us you’ll often have things sitting on the bottom stairs downstairs waiting for someone to take them to their rightful place somewhere upstairs. An on-stair basket is a much prettier and neater solution to random piles of ‘stuff’.

Living stairwaycredit

Get green fingered

Often, a small house means that there’s also a small garden on the outside. Expand your growing space by cultivating plants, flowers or even herbs and vegetables in the blank areas such as beside and under the stairs or along the handrail and on the newel post. Common sense dictates that safety be the foremost consideration; don’t put things in the way of getting up & down the stairs in one piece!

Gain an extra room

Home office installed under a staircasecredit

Fit a home office into the angled area under your stairs. There are no legal restrictions on the width of a stairway however, they’re usually between 600mm and 900mm wide – plenty deep enough to fit a desk with a chair that slides beneath.

Larder built into an under-stair areacredit

If that awkward under-stair area is in your kitchen, how about you put up some shelves along 3 sides? Voilà… you have yourself a new larder area!

Mezzanine bed platform above a wooden staircasecredit

If you’re lucky enough to have a home with tall ceilings, install a staircase and create a mezzanine where you can fit a platform sleeping or lounge area. Getting a bed up off the ground frees up  6ft x 3ft of floor space (or even a 6ft x 6ft area if you have a king size bed).

Decorated stair riserscredit

Express your artistic side

Paint, stencil or wallpaper the stair risers. It’s a funky, unique option that doesn’t cost too much or take that much time to achieve. And you can probably use bits & bobs of leftover decorating materials that you already have to hand.

As you can see, the under-stairs space really is full of potential. We hope we’ve given you some practical ideas so that it will be a general dumping ground no more!

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Essential items to include when designing your home office

All white home office

With the invention of internet and portable computers, working from home is becoming an ever more accessible and popular lifestyle choice. Whether you have decided to run your own business, having a baby or enjoy home comforts far too much, when deciding to work at home it is a good idea to set up a home office which will be your work zone. Below is a list of essential items which should be included when designing your home office.

Laptop, notebook & pen, mobile phone and coffee

Computer

Virtually all jobs which require an office environment will require a computer to write documents, access the internet and send emails to clients. A laptop is a good choice, because it will allow you to take the computer out with you if you need to meet clients etc. If you like working on a big screen but are short on cash, instead of splashing out on an expensive desktop computer, why not by a monitor screen which you can link to your laptop, doubling it up as a desktop computer.

Broadband speed test result | H is for Home

High speed internet connection

There is nothing worse than spending hours waiting for web pages to load or media to buffer. Not only can this be frustrating but it is also a huge waste of time which could be put to more effective use. When looking for an internet connection ideal for a home office, wireless, fiberoptik internet is a wise choice for that high speed connection which will allow you to use multiple devices simultaneously. This is ever more important if you have a large family with many people connected at once. Virgin media boasts being one of the fastest internet providers currently.

Ergonomic chair in a home officecredit

Ergonomic office chair and desk

If you are taking working from home seriously, it is likely you will be doing a good 9-5 or similar shift in the home office. Therefore, it is important that you have comfortable, ergonomic working conditions to work in, to increase comfort and reduce physical damage to your body through excessive straining over time. A good place to start is spending some cash on a good quality ergonomic office chair. This will prevent back strain and aches which develop from excessive straining. A large desk, tailored to your height will also prevent hunching which can be bad for posture over time and prevent the development of back problems as you age.

Storing office papers and pens

Organisation equipment

One of the most important tips when running a home office is to ensure it is tidy and organised. A messy environment can be both mentally and physically stressful. Not only will you waste precious time finding important documents and files in a heap of items, but a cluttered work place often leads to a cluttered mindset and therefore you may become less efficient in your job. It is therefore important to install lots of storage units within the office for different items. A few simple, cheap storage units you can buy are filing trays for all your important letters. Ring binders for all your important documents and an online storage account for all your important virtual documents. Dropbox is an online storage provider with a good reputation.

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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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