Weird and wonderful upcycled furniture ideas

June 29th, 2015

If you go down to the Old Cinema today, you’re sure of a big surprise – well, if you look at their upcycled section, at least.

If you love the idea of creating upcycled furniture, but lack the time to it, then buying an already upcycled item is most definitely not cheating.

The Old Cinema London specialises in antique, vintage and retro products and can always be guaranteed to hold some surprises. In amongst their upcycled range today, we’ve spotted these beauties – all distinctive and quirky in their own way and made from some unusual materials:

Contemporary upcycled home furniture ideas

1. Bet you’ve not seen many mirrors like this, have you? It’s made been converted from an old NYC taxi door!

2. This fab table is ideal to use as a coffee table. It’s made from industrial steel and inlaid with a colourful yardstick top.

3. Would you believe that this upcycled chair has been made from none other than seat belts?

4. Why not light up your home with a gorgeous green bottle chandelier, made from glass and old iron.

5. Another unusual chair to pep up your home seating, this time made out of an old Q8 oil drum, by Faye Vermaak

6. An old retro sideboard has been brought back to life with a striking black and white design

7. Moveable storage is always useful (especially when it’s full and heavy!) and this upcycled steel cabinet on wheels looks great with its funky star design.

Fab Friday Bargains: Funky furniture, stylish storage and unusual home buys

June 26th, 2015

Home and furniture sale bargain buys

Oh my, all these home beauties are currently sporting some rather fab discounts, so they’re definitely worth of making our Fab Friday Bargains list this week!

1. Set of two blue hexagonal shelf units with a leaf design – now £39.20 (was £49) from Lisa Angel Homeware and Gifts

2. Shelfie wooden shelf and bike rack – now £188 (was £235) from Griffin and Sinclair

3. Flower design steel kitchen or bathroom cupboard – now £62.30 (was £89) from The Original Metal Box Company

4. Steel wire mesh noticeboard – now £35.25 (was £47) from Oakdene Designs

5. Tall boulder display unit, in various colours, made to order – now £1276 (was £1595) from Coucoumanou

6. Let’s stay home rug – now £76 (was £95) from Bodie and Fou

7. Petal shape curved side table in a choice of colours – now £132 (was £165) from Curvalinea

8. Low loop design cabinet, made to order – now £1196 (was £1495) from Coucoumanou

9. Metal Dutch design cabinet, in a choice of three colours – now £98.40 (was £164) from The Original Metal Box Company

Set Your World on Flowers: 40 days of flowering garden plants

June 25th, 2015

40 days of flowering plants

Whether you’ve got a garden, patio, deck, balcony or simply a small backyard, I’m sure you’ll agree that being able to look out at some colourful flowers helps brighten up the space.

If you’re strapped for time or don’t have remotely green fingers, then don’t panic – there’s an easy solution to hand!

Set Your World on Flowers has come up with a great concept so that everyone can enjoy fresh looking flowers outside throughout the summer. They’ve grown selected varieties of flowers with a ‘secret formula’ (so secret that we can’t tell you what it is) so that the flowers will stay bold, beautiful and in bloom for at least 40 days – all you need to do is water them.

Given the unpredictability of the British weather, that’s quite a claim….so they sent us some to try out and put to the test.

Here’s what they looked like when they arrived:

Blooming floral plants made easy

As you can see, they arrived in a riot of colour, with gorgeous pink and purple flowers and lots of healthy green looking leaves. Although a lot of the flowers were blooming away happily already, there were still lots of buds waiting to open, which was encouraging to see.

So the plants have been outside on our patio ever since, in wind, rain and sun. They’ve survived being accidentally blown over when it got rather windy , being baked in the sun and occasionally going without water after someone (ahem…) forgot to water them.

A month on, here’s how they’re looking today:

Fresh Design garden flowering plant review

Still blooming, hooray! I adore both of the pink ones, they’ve got lovely subtleties of colour and they’re looking gorgeous. The dark purple flowers provides a striking contrast and are an ideal colour combination.

Of course some flowers have gone over, petals have fallen off – that’s only to be expected from a natural plant, you can’t control it’s growth completely without doing more to it – but all things considered, they’re still looking really good.

The Set Your World on Flowers products are currently available exclusively from selected Waitrose stores.

Find out more at, or check them out on Twitter and Instagram

(Disclaimer: We received these plants for review, but all views and opinions are our own).


Stylish city shower curtains and more from Men’s Society

June 25th, 2015

Shower curtains bathroom accessories for men

The Men’s Society specialises in stylish gifts for men, but we reckon partners, wives and other halves will appreciate most of these shower curtains too. Who wouldn’t want to shower with a fab city view like these thrown in?

What’s more, you could save yourself some cash too, as all of the shower curtains are currently in the sale, most reduced by 25%.

1. Venice city shower curtain – reduced by 25%

2. Apothecary canvas shower curtain – reduced by 20%

3. Paris city shower curtain – 25% off

4. London Underground shower curtain – 25% off

5. New York city shower curtain – 25% off

6. Barber shop shower curtain – 25% off

Common guest bedroom dilemmas and how to solve them

June 24th, 2015

Having space for guests, friends and family to stay in your home is useful, but creating a designated guest bedroom isn’t always easy, especially in a small property with limited space. But there are ways around it!

Here are three common guest bedroom dilemmas, along with practical ideas for how to solve them and create a bedroom area that your guests will love.

Dilemma: No spare room

(Image source)

Not having a spare room may seem like the ultimate problem, but there are ways around it. A designated guest room purely used for that purpose is great in an ideal world, but in reality a lot of people have to make the best use of the space they have.

Solution: Multi-purpose furniture such as sofa beds are an ideal solution for helping easily transform the purpose of a room. It could be used as a study or play room most of the time, then whipped into shape as a guest room when required.

Alternatively, you could partition off half or part of a room when required to create a guest area. There are lots of decorative room screen dividers available and you could always make them pay their way by hiding clutter behind them at other times!

Dilemma: Low budget

(Image source)

If you’re strapped for cash and wondering how you’re going to afford to create a guest bedroom, then it’s time to go back to basics. What’s the key thing any guests would appreciate?

Solution: A comfy bed is likely to be high on their priority list, so use the bulk of your budget on investing in a decent bed.

Look out for stylish second-hand bed frames in your area on eBay or Gumtree and buy a new mattress for it – there are plenty of good deals to be found at retailers like Tesco.

If you like the idea of having a double bed, but can’t run to buying one at the moment, then there are other options available, such as single beds which have an additional pull out bed tucked away underneath them. That way you get two beds, but have the added bonus of being able to put one out of sight when it’s not in use.

Brighten up the walls of the room with some colourful wall art, or have some of your favourite photos printed out and framed. Dress the bed with fresh clean bedding and a few cosy cushions.

Dilemma: Lack of storage

(Image source)

A spare room often ends up doubling up as a useful storage area (or a dumping ground) for other things, like children’s toys, winter clothes, spare bedding or Christmas decorations.

It’s not ideal for any house guests to be surrounded by random piles of items and doesn’t feel particularly welcoming. Neither is it great for them if they’ve got nowhere to put their overnight bag or hang up any clothes.

Solution: Beds that have built in storage are a brilliant solution, as you can hide away all your clutter in drawers under the bed, or even in a space under the base of the bed. No-one need know any of it is there (well, perhaps unless they try and move the bed!), but it’s still all easy to access when you need it.

If there’s a wardrobe in the room, try and clear a bit of space for your guests to use. Otherwise, put up a wall mounted coat rack with several hooks or invest in a coat stand, so they’ve got somewhere to hang clothing if they wish.

Potted glory: The Fresh Design guide to container gardening

June 23rd, 2015

No matter how big your outside space, growing plants in containers is a great way to add some interest and colour. It also helps keep a small space looking clean and simple, as all the plants are raised off the ground level.

You can grow almost anything in a pot, from herbs and bedding plants to vegetables and fruit. Trailing plants such as Lobelia often have more impact when planted in a tall pot rather than in beds and create a wonderful splash of colour during the summer months.

Choosing containers for your plants

Create a structured, architectural look by using large containers such as old stone or iron troughs, or pots of an interesting or unusual shape.

Larger pots will give you more planting options, and anything you choose should ideally be frostproof and have drainage holes. Match the style of container to the plant, as well.

Bright perennials look good against terracotta or stone, glazed pots suit camellias and Japanese maples while taller, more structural plants such as box and privet look good in half barrels or wooden or metal pots.

Scour architectural salvage yards or even car boot sales for unusual planters.

Look for unusual containers to make an impact. Image: Pixabay


If you’re planting an eye-catching display for the summer, fill pots with multi-purpose compost. For very deep pots, put a few large stones in the bottom to encourage drainage.

If you’re planting something long term such as shrubs or herbs, use a soil-based compost which won’t dry out as quickly. If your pots are going to be standing in full sun, such as on a balcony or patio, mix some water-retaining crystals into the compost. When watered, these will swell up keeping the plant damp for longer.

You could also cover the top of the pot with clay ‘pearls’ or gravel, which will help keep the soil moist and to prevent weeds. If your pot will be standing on a hard surface, raise it up on clay feet or bricks to help drainage.

Different sizes and shades of pot make a visual impact. Image: Pixabay

Watering and feeding

Pots are relatively easy to look after, but are vulnerable to drying out. Check them every day during the summer, twice a day in hot weather. Water in the morning and evening, taking care to water the compost rather than the plants themselves.

Fill the container to the brim and let it drain through, then fill a second time so that the compost is evenly moistened. Keep an eye on drainage holes to make sure they don’t become blocked, as most plants dislike sitting in a pool of water.

Throughout the growing season (April to early September), feed plants once a week with a general purpose liquid feed.

Re-potting your plants

 One disadvantage of growing plants in containers is that eventually the roots fill all the available space and become pot bound. At this stage, the plant will stop flourishing and will need to be re-potted.

Choose a container that’s at least a third bigger than the old one, and ease the plant out of the old pot, trying not to damage the root structure. Keep the old compost, and add a third more new compost.

Pots add interest to the smallest space or corner. Image: Pixabay

Frost protection

At the end of the summer, vulnerable perennials such as bay trees, citrus trees or geraniums need to be moved under cover or protected with bubble wrap. Keep the outside pots slightly raised off the ground to keep them out of water, and check them regularly.

Pot plants

Plants particularly suitable for growing in containers include herbs, hostas (which are far easier to protect from slug damage if potted, try putting a copper band round the pot), strawberries, lavender, fushias, fruit bushes such as blackcurrants and even vegetables such as broad beans, peas and salad leaves. Mixing pots containing vegetables with those containing flowers will produce an eye-catching display all summer long.

By Sara Walker

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