Chairish challenge: From White to Bright

November 25th, 2015

Accessories and furniture to brighten up a room

The lovely folks at Chairish recently challenged us to take one of their fab chairs and use it as a focus to turn a plain white room into a bright room.

We chose a pair of mid-century tufted robin’s egg chairs in a lovely shade of turquoise blue. Taking influence from the Fresh Design Blog colours, we’ve primarily added colour to the rest of the room through the use of bright pops of orange and turquoise blues.

The wallpaper is the Scion Taimi wallpaper in sulphur and tangerine, which would certainly add some bold colour to the wall. There’s a matching Scion Taimi cushion, along with a diagonal zig zag cushion in a punchy orange, and a lovely cosy plain wool throw to snuggle up under in a chair.

Furniture can be colourful too, as the Donald wood handcrafted chest of drawers and Hector wood coffee table prove. We like the way the wood matches the legs of the chairs.

The shelving unit, with its colourful patterns set into each of the shelves, ties in perfectly with our colour palette. And the room is finished off with a factory style pendant lamp to shine light across the room.

If you’ve not come across Chairish before, they’re a specialist site that allows design lovers to buy and sell vintage furniture, decor and other accessories. Their shop features curator-approved treasures and is packed with inspiring ideas to choose from.


Tandem wallpaper collection by Natasha Marshall

November 24th, 2015

Contemporary Tandem wallpaper collection by Natasha Marshall

I’ve recently discovered the Tandem collection of wallpaper designs by Natasha Marshall and love them.

These four designs are all available in a variety of colours and, between them, are soothing, calming, zesty and uplifting.

From left to right, top row to bottom:

The colourful and punchy Flip 

The geometric stem design of Shoot

The wavey vertical lines of Drift

The graphic floral Pompom

These designs and more from the Tandem collection are available to purchase from WallpaperDirect.


Five ways to create a Nordic Christmas style in your home

November 23rd, 2015

Fresh Design blog guide to creating a Nordic style Christmas

Love the effortless and cosy look of Nordic Christmas interior design style? With these five essential tips, you too could bring a sense of Nordic to your home this season.

1. Choose a colour palette

They key to a good Nordic interior is to get the colours right. A simple, muted colour palette of greys, whites and browns is ideal to start with. Mix it up with accessories in black or dark wood, or even try a few pastel shades. If you’ve got white walls, hanging anything colourful on the wall will be an ideal contrast and produce a pop of colour.

2.  Add textures

The muted colours of a Nordic style are given depth by the use of plenty of textures. Incorporate decorations with different textures, such as wood, wool, metal or felt. Make your room a winter haven with knitted poufs, fake fur rugs, wooden floors, cushions and cosy throws.

3. Focus on light

Whilst white and soft colours naturally help to make a room feel lighter, it’s also important to pay attention to light sources, especially as the days are shorter at this time of year. Well placed table lamps and floor lamps can be used to brighten up dark corners. Use decorative candles and tealight candle holders to add light to dark evenings and increase the cosy factor.

4. Incorporate nature

Elements of nature are a common occurrence in Nordic schemes and look fresh and inviting. Think bowls of fir cones, wooden birch tree candle holders, decorative twig branches and foliage displayed in vases.

5. Use metallics

Finally, add elements of metal to your room schemes. Tree decorations in shiny silver, fir cones dipped in copper and gold, copper pendant lights, silver metal candlesticks or golden vases. The metal will shine and glow in the light and look gorgeous at Christmas.

Nordic style home product ideas

Here are some winter and Christmas themed Nordic style product ideas that could help you achieve this look.

Nordic Christmas product ideas for your home

1. Indoor and outdoor light up birch tree cluster – £85 from Cox & Cox

2. Hanging twig star with natural pine cones – £19.95 from Graham & Green

3. Faux snowberry branch – £12.50 from Nordic House

4. Silver metal star tree decoration – £2.99 from Dunelm

5. Pre-lit snowy twig 4ft Christmas tree – £50 from John Lewis

6. Ben Rothery Henry stag cushion – £20 from John Lewis

7. Helsinki faux fur throw – £19.99 from Dunelm

8. Metal heart and reindeer decorations – £12.99 from Culture Vulture Direct

9. Silver starry votive candle holders – from £6.50 at Nordic House

Create your own message: cinema style lightbox light

November 22nd, 2015

A4 size DIY customisable cinema lightbox

These cinema-style lightboxes are great, not least as you can customise them and create your own saying.

This one, from The Little House Shop, is A4 in size and has three lines that you can fill with your favourite quote, message, memory or saying. Put your name in lights, share a special message, remember a date or light up your room with lines from a film, book or song – the choice is yours.

The lightboxes can be hung on a wall or stood on a shelf and they come complete with 85 letters and symbols for you to use. An additional set of special symbols can also be purchased.

The lightbox is perfect for using as a seasonal piece, with a Christmas-related message or saying. But when the decorations come down in January, you can change the message and use it somewhere else in your home.

The A4 lightbox is £39.95, but smaller sizes are available too.

Fresh scents: aromatherapy for your home

November 20th, 2015

November can be a difficult time of the year, with the summer firmly behind us and weeks still to go before Christmas and the countdown to spring. Sunshine can be in short supply, and it’s hard to get out in the fresh air with the days so short. Most of us spend much of our time indoors, and the grey, drizzly weather can be a bit demotivating.

Aromatherapy is the art of using plant extracts and oils materials to help heal and relax and adding an uplifting scent to your home can be surprisingly effective. Not only will scented oils help a shut-up winter home to smell fresh, they can also help to energise and motivate. Using summery floral oils will help re-capture the scent of summer, which other oils have specific properties. Here are our suggestions:

1. Rosemary: the sharp, distinctive scent of rosemary stimulates the brain, clears away winter cobwebs and will send you right back to the scent of the garden in high summer

2. Lemon and orange: Citrus oils have an uplifting effect and can help reduce stress. Plus, they make your house smell gorgeous!

3. Lavender: One of the best known and widely used essential oils, lavender is a great mood booster and has a relaxing effect. Perfect for use in the bathroom.

4. Thyme: The essential oil of thyme is another stress-easer. It’s ideal for use in the kitchen as, unlike floral oils, it doesn’t ‘fight’ with cooking smells.

How to use essential oils in your home

Essential oil varies greatly in quality, so always buy a reputable brand for the best results. Add a few drops of oil to an oil burner to release scents into your home.

Alternatively, if you have an AGA cooker you can put a few tablespoons of water and a few drops of oil into a little bowl and leave it at the back of the AGA to scent your kitchen – keep topping the water up, though, as it will evaporate quickly.

You can also use scented candles, an attractive and atmospheric way of releasing scents. Here are our picks:

1. Lemon and lime mojito flamingo candle, Lime Lace

Lemon and lime mojito candle, £12

The name of this candle alone will cheer you up! The aroma incorporates notes of freshly squeezed juicy lemons combined with warm orchids, infused with fresh lime with added notes of cool aldehydes, mandarin and grapefruit. The perfect mood booster. £12 from Lime Lace.

2. Eucalyptus candle, Sophie Allport

Eucalyptus candle, £20

This luxury candle is made using high quality mineral wax to achieve a long, clean and even burn for up to 40 hours.

Eucalyptus oil can help relieve headaches and calm nervous tension, but it’s an intense fragrance that some may find overpowering in the home. This candle will release a softer, more aromatic scent that will freshen and uplift without being too powerful. £20 from Sophie Allport.

3. Grapefruit triple wick candle, Skeem

Grapefruit candle, £29.95

This grapefruit zest three wick candle from Skeem’s Voyage collection bursts with delicious tangy and energising citrus notes.

It has an 80 hour burn time and features beautiful illustrations by 19th century explorers which were used to document the many species of insect and marine life discovered on their travels, sometimes layered with maps, charts, early postcards and other ephemera. £29.95 from Annabel James.

4. Bee Calm scented candle, Bee Fayre

Lavender and geranium candle, £8.50

This natural plant wax candle is made with essential oils of lavender and geranium to promote tranquility and harmony. It burns for approximately 25 hours and is made using sustainably sourced, natural ingredients. Bee Fayre donates 3% of profits to bee conservation projects across the country.  £8.50 from Berry Red.

By Sara Walker

Simple Spaces: Win a £50 voucher from luxury living experts OKA

November 18th, 2015

Design Simple Spaces with OKA furniture and homeware

Trying to transform your home into a minimalist masterpiece? There’s no need to bury your head in books about modernism and feng shui thinking. Simplicity is the only buzzword you need – it always sits at the heart of creating the most beautiful and ergonomic spaces in any home.

Whether you need to get that hectic desk space in order, or if your side tables and shelves are overburdened with clutter, luxury furniture house OK A have put together a four-point plan for simplifying your spaces – offering top tips on how to approach the sorting, shaping and styling of your home.

Excitingly, there’s also the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend on absolutely anything from OKA’s diverse range of furniture and homewares. From beautiful tables and chairs to the finest luxury homewares, this is your opportunity to save money on furnishing your refreshed space with craft and quality.

How to win

Focus on your side table, desk space or dining table and share a picture of your new simplified space using the hashtag #OKAsimplespaces on Twitter or Instagram for your chance to win.

The competition opens today – Wednesday 18th November – and will close on Wednesday 2nd December. The lucky winner will be announced on the OKA Blog the following week.

Good luck!

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