Archive for the ‘Decorating’ Category

How to choose an interior designer for your home decorating project

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Does your home need a little updating? It could be time to think about using an interior designer.

Many people are put off using a designer because of the cost, but if you end up with a result that you love and couldn’t have achieved yourself, it can be a good investment and even add value to your home.

A good interior designer should also be happy to stick to a pre-determined budget, and to tell you at the start if they don’t consider it practical. Some designers will even consider a low budget a challenge!

Whatever level you start at, you’ll be investing several hundred pounds at least, so it’s well worth putting some time into thinking what you want beforehand.

Here are our top tips for how to choose the perfect interior designer for you and your home.

Before you start

  • How much do you want to be involved? Will you be asking the designer to run every detail past you, or are you happy to give them a brief and some general guidelines then leave them to it? Will you be asking them to source anything, or will you do that yourself?
  • Do you need a full design service, or just a little advice about colours and resources?
  • How quickly do you need to see results?
  • What is your budget, and what are you prepared to compromise on?
  • Do you have any ideas of your own? If so, prepare them in as much detail as possible with fabric swatches, photographs and paint colours to bring them to life.
  • Who will manage the project – you, the designer or a third party?
  • Who is the space being designed for (i.e. you, the whole family, a child), and what will it be used for?
  • Are there existing features you’d like to hide or highlight, or would otherwise like incorporating into the finished look?
  • Are you interested in environmentally friendly options?
  • What’s your personal style? For example, do you prefer traditional over contemporary? Cosy over minimalist?

Collect together any ideas about colour schemes and put together mood boards of what you like and dislike

Finding the right interior designer

The relationship with an interior designer, who comes into your home and has to understand your lifestyle, can be quite intimate so it’s vital to find someone you get on with. A good place to start is personal recommendation, or by seeing examples of someone’s work.

Accreditation with the British Institute of Interior Design means that the designer has met the only available national professional standard for interior design, and you can look on the website to find professionals in your area.

Many designers offer a free initial consultation, so you can ‘meet and greet’ until you find someone you’d like to work with.

Designers should be able to show you sketches or computer mock ups of how the finished room should look

What to ask an interior designer

To help you establish whether you’ve found the right person for your project, the following checklist of questions may be helpful:

  • Could I see photographs of previous projects? (This will help give you a feel for whether your own project is of a similar scope, and whether you like their professional style.) If they have other clients locally, ask if you’d be able to go and look at some of them.
  • Do you have contractors that you work with regularly? (Most designers will have their own team of contractors they’re happy to work with, which will save you sourcing your own.)
  • Are you insured? (All reputable designers will be insured and will be happy to show you certification.)
  • What’s your availability? (Good designers will often be in demand).
  • What timescale would you be working to? (It’s important to know from the outset how long the project is likely to take).

Lighting is a crucial part of any look, and a designer can advise you how to create the right atmosphere

Interior designer fees

Some designers charge a flat hourly rate, while others will charge a percentage of the value of the job, so make sure you’re clear about fees beforehand. Check whether additional costs such as VAT or materials are included or not.

Ask for a firm schedule with milestones, and check whether penalty fees will apply in the event of serious delays.

Get the lowdown on how to choose an interior designer - the questions to ask and what to look for.

Denim Drift: Dulux paint Colour of the Year 2017

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Inviting kitchen area painted with Dulux paint in Denim Drift, Cobalt Night and Borrowed Blue

Each year, various organisations pick out their predicted Colour of the Year. Dulux has just announced theirs as the gorgeous Denim Drift – a lovely blue-grey colour.

It’s a shade that will work in a variety of decor schemes, from kitchens and living rooms, to kids rooms and studies.

Contemporary living and dining room painted in Denim Drift, Borrowed Blue, Earl Blue and Sash Blue Dulux paint

In addition, Dulux have developed a beautiful tonal colour palette specifically to complement the Colour of the Year, featuring a spectrum of blues and complimentary blue-hued tones:

Blue colour palette that complements Dulux's Denim Drift paint colour

The colours complement each other so well and there are shades of blue included that are soft and soothing, as well as more dramatic and moody – something for everyone.

We particularly love how they’ve been used in this kid’s bedroom – what a cosy nook that looks!

Doesn't this look like a fab kid's room? It's pained using Denim Drift, Sash Blue, Cornflower Bunch and Marine Waters Dulux paint

Here’s what Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux, has to say about using the colour ideas in your decor projects. “Creating a blue colour scheme is successful when you choose shades that work beautifully together.

This year the Colour of the Year, Denim Drift, has been teamed with a palette of blues which give you the confidence to get it right every time. There are ten blues within the palette, five of them, including Denim Drift, are muted and atmospheric and the remaining five are cleaner, brighter hues that pack more of a punch.

The whole collection has been designed to be used in combination across different elements of an interior from the walls to the furniture, furnishings and accessories.  You can turn the visual impact up with the brighter blues and down with the muted blues to suit the style and personality of a room and can be sure that none of them will ever look out of place.”

Gorgeous study painted with Indigo Shade, Denim Drift and Clock Face blue paints by Dulux

So, do you think you’ll be incorporating Denim Drift or any of the other blue hues into your decorating projects in the coming year?

Off the wall: How to choose and use wall coverings

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

If you’re planning some home improvements, adding a coat of paint or some new wallpaper is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give a room a facelift. These days, though, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wall coverings. Here’s a guide to some of the options available.

Feature walls

Sepia bookcase wallpaper

Make a statement by using a feature wallpaper on one wall, such as this trompe d’oeil sepia bookcase print, produced in the UK by Mineheart.

Papering just one feature wall is much easier than tackling a whole room, and means you can change the character of the space quickly and easily. This paper is printed on to 300 gram fabric-backed textured paper and costs £70 for a 250cm by 50cm roll from IN-SPACES.

Texture effect wallpaper

Scrapwood wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek

If you like the look of stone or wood cladding, but don’t have the budget for the real thing, you can now buy printed wallpaper in almost any finish from planks and industrial concrete to stone, brick and rustic logs.

We like this Scrapwood design by Dutch designers Piet Hein Eek, featuring a photographic print of reclaimed wood cladding.  It has no pattern repeat so it’s very easy to apply. £199 for a 48.7cm x 9m roll from The Orchard.

Self-adhesive wall panels

‘Calm blue waters’ self-adhesive wall panel

If DIY isn’t your thing, you can use self-adhesive panels to achieve a simple yet dramatic effect, fast. We like this ‘calm blue waters’ view, available in two different lengths and various panel combinations.

If you make a mess of putting it up, you can even take it down and start again or move it to another wall. Prices start from £35 per panel, from IN-SPACES.


Using fabric on the walls can really transform a room, adding a touch of opulence. It’s not as robust as paint or paper, so is best used in rooms with a lower volume of traffic such as dining rooms.

If you choose a washable fabric, you should be able to remove any marks by sponging. Delicate fabrics such as silk will need to be mounted onto a lightweight wooden frame, screwed to the wall. More heavy duty fabrics like fun fur or even artificial grass can hung from a wooden batten and stapled or glued into place at the sides.

Wall stickers

Children’s butterfly and dragonfly wall stickers

Another easy way to add interest is to paint a wall a neutral colour then add wall stickers or decals, such as these pretty butterflies and dragonflies which look great used in kid’s rooms.

There’s a huge range of wall stickers available, from children’s fairytale castles to silhouettes of the Eiffel Tower, and many can be re-positioned and moved around if you want to change the effect. They couldn’t be easier to apply – just slap them on the wall! Prices for these butterflies start at £20 from Koko Kids.


Scrabble wall tiles

Tiles are normally used in kitchens and bathrooms, but also work well as a feature wall in other rooms. T

hey make a very hard wearing and durable wall covering, and can be a good choice for rooms with a lot of traffic such as hallways and boot rooms. To avoid a clinical look, use patterned, textured or brightly-coloured tiles, either interspersed with plain ones or on their own.

We like these Scrabble tiles, £4.95 each from Walls and Floors – they’d be ideal for spelling out ‘COATS’ above a hallway coat rack, for example.


Paint can be one of the most cost effective ways of changing the look of a room, and modern colours and finishes mean you’ll be spoilt for choice.

To choose a colour, try your sample pot in various different spots around the room to see it in different lights, and check at different times of day as well.


How to add colour and space to any home

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Gorgeous living room with fuschia pink accessories.

Are you struggling with adding colour to your home or creating the right amount of functional space? Today’s guest post has some ideas for helping you solve both these common issues.

For any home to work for those residing in it, the colour needs to be right as well as the layout to maximise the space. If you’re revamping your home or trying to add some finishing touches and are keen to make it feel spacious and colourful, here are four tips to keep in mind.

How to add colour

You definitely don’t need to strip walls or buy new furniture when it comes to adding some fun colour to your home. Here are a few simple ways of making things a little brighter.

 1. Get the paintbrush out

A feature wall is a good idea for any room and can be used to create a striking effect. Paint a mint green wall in your kitchen or a pretty purple in the living room and instantly enjoy the resulting extra colour in your space.

If you don’t want to create a feature wall, add colour in other places. For example, you could paint door frames, the inside of cupboards or shelves in appealing colours.

2. Focus on finishing touches

Swapping plain door handles for brightly coloured ones and kitchen accessories on the worktops for bolder shades are also easy ways of introducing colour to the home.

Cushion covers, blankets resting on the back of sofas and rugs can all be collected in bright colours and used to tie a room together.

How to add space

Creating more space is something that needs to be tackled carefully. Storage is important in any home but there are savvy ways of creating more room, here are a few.

3. De-clutter

Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to go through each room in your home and discern what you need and what can go.

You can donate items to the local charity shop, sell them on eBay for a little extra cash or even put them in a storage unit if they’re a sentimental item or you think you might need them in the future. People don’t think to use storage units temporarily but they can be a quick fix solution and are located everywhere from Farnham to Glasgow.

 4. Find better ways of using space

That nook under the stairs would be a great spot for a desk and chair perhaps or you could grab some under the bed storage boxes and create more room in your cupboard by using them for bedding.

Think about the space you use now – just by rearranging a cupboard and introducing some storage baskets to shelves you could better utilise it and therefore create more room.

Adding colour to your home is such a simple task and while it might require some DIY skills on your part in some cases, it can usually be done with minimal stress and expense. Choose colours that reflect you and work for each room. Plus, when it comes to creating more space, where possible try to use what you already have in new ways and see if it could be more effective.

(Image courtesy of Heart Home magazine)

How to Brighten Up Your Home on a Budget

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Spring is almost upon us – hurrah! And with warming weather and longer days you might fancy sprucing up your living space. But how do you do it when you don’t have tons of money to spare? Here’s how to brighten up your home on a budget…

Paint the walls white

Paint your walls white to brighten up a space and add light

White paint is cheap, forgiving and easy to apply, which makes it a great option for brightening up your home on a budget.

Consider the quality of light you have in your home, and pick your preferred ‘tone’ of white accordingly (grey skies and British weather can make some tones of white appear cold and clinical once they’re on the wall).

White walls will maximise the amount of light bounced around the room, brightening up your home in one simple swoop – here’s a great example.

Bring in new plants

Use plants to brighten up your home cheaply and easily

Liven up a limp corner of the room with lush, fresh greenery. Why not head over to Bakker Spalding Garden Co and check out the flower bulbs on offer?

Your favourite flowers will create a cheerful, colourful feature in your home and will literally breathe new life into rooms that need a little pick me up.

Green fingered decorators might prefer to plant bulbs in the garden first, picking the blossoms throughout spring and summer, but it’s just as easy to pick some indoor bulbs or houseplants suitable for growing on your windowsill.

Add a splash of colour to your upholstery

Brighten up a room on a budget by adding colourful cushions and soft furnishings

You might not feel so confident painting a wall zesty orange, or adding pop art to every inch of empty space, but it’s easy (and less commitment) to brighten up your home by changing the upholstery or soft furnishings.

Switch your fur and wool blankets for lighter alternatives: fun, eye catching prints will look great in your lounge, and neutral, plain materials will look fresh and ethereal in your bedroom.

While you’re at it, consider adding brightly coloured cushions and rugs to add a sense of joy de vivre – just be sure to pick a colour scheme you’re happy with to create a cohesive look.

Use reflective materials

Use metallics, such as gold, brass, copper or silver, in your home decor and accessories

You might not realise it until you really look, but choosing reflective materials can brighten up a space.

Opt for glass, brass, metal, copper, clear plastic, and anything you can polish - these surfaces will bounce light around and subtly brighten the space.

Be clever with your lighting

Clever lighting choices can add even more light into a room

If you want to brighten rooms within your home, a ceiling fixture with a glass shade will reflect and amplify light.

Install lights on the walls to enhance the feeling of space in the areas you want to illuminate (overhead lighting alone tends to leave areas of the room in darkness).

However, don’t forget to use light to ‘cosy up’ areas for night time: a low wattage bulb or lights with shades designed to absorb a little light will make an area feel warm and relaxing, which is particularly important for relaxation areas.

Place dimmer lights close to floor level or beside structural features to brighten up your home in a gentle, calming manner.

(Images courtesy of Pixabay)

Get the winter blues: Decorating with deep blue and indigo

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Deep midnight blue colours such as indigo and inky-blue purples help to turn a home into a calming haven.

Did you know…?

Before synthetic dyes, the deep blue colour was made from a plant called indigofera tinctoria,  grown mostly in Asia. It was time consuming to prepare, as the leaves needed to be soaked in water and fermeted to convent the natural enzymes to dye, and expensive to import to Europe.

Wearing deep purple or dark blue clothing was therefore the provenance of the rich, and in the times of Elizabeth I the wearing of it was dictated by a law called the Sumptuary Law.

How to use indigo blue in your home

When used in the home, notes of indigo look particularly good when paired with neutral colours such as creams and greys.

Relax on a day bed piled high with soft indigo blue design cushions

(Image credit)

Pile cushions of slightly different shades together for a luxurious, layered look, or position a dark indigo rug on a blond wood floor or pale carpet.

Pop textured bedspreads onto beds, add indigo cups and plates to the kitchen shelf or start small with an eye-catching indigo vase, perfect for displaying crisp white flowers.

Play it safe and keep indigo as an accent colour, or make a big bold statement with dark indigo paint!

Bold and beautiful deep indigo blue bedroom decor scheme

(Image source)

Accessorizing your home with indigo blue

Here are a few of our favourite accessories:

Marina indigo and white geometric rug, IN SPACES

Pretty, practical and ethical, who could ask for more? This lovely rug is are made using fair trade principles from premium quality recycled plastic straws which are tightly woven together to offer strength and softness. Being plastic, moisture will have no effect on the mat and it will not attract mildew. It’s also fully washable, just shake or hose off for easy cleaning. 180cm x 270cm, £120 from IN SPACES.

Indigo drop mug, Decorator’s notebook

This pretty indigo drop mug is moulded from smooth earthenware clay and carefully handpainted at a fair trade pottery in Vietnam using traditional techniques. The rim is painted both inside and out with a timeless blue and white droplet design. Other items available in the range. £9.95 from Decorator’s notebook.

Handglazed indigo ceramic vases, Mia Fleur

We love these indigo ceramic vases for their richness of colour and intriguing shapes. Available in a choice of bud vase or tall vase, you could display the two together for maximum effect. As they’re handglazed, each one is slightly different. Prices start at £28 from Mia Fleur.

Indigo cushions,

Direct sellers MADE, who sell the work of designers directly to consumers, have a range of indigo cushions on offer to help you build up your collection. We like the Moroccan-inspired Ponoma, £20, bold, bohemian and made from 100% cotton. It’s beautifully handcrafted by a factory in India and has a removable cover and Berber-style pom-poms on each corner.

We also like the Bark cushion, £25, a heavily textural design in woven cotton that will be at home in virtually any setting, from contemporary to classic, and the digital print Zap cushion, £17, in indigo blur, a great finishing touch for modern decors.

Indigo lamp, Anna Jacobs

This is a beautifully crafted lamp designed by Anna Jacobs and hand made in high quality crystal glass near the North Norfolk coast in England with a handmade cotton lampshade. The clear base is filled with indigo flex, and when illuminated it makes a strong style statement. Available in different sizes, prices start at £119 from Anna Jacobs.

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