Archive for the ‘Decorating’ Category

Fresh Design colour: Cobalt blue home decor ideas

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Fresh Design cobalt blue decorating ideas

What does cobalt blue mean to you? For us, it’s the colour of deep blue seas and clear blue skies. It evokes happy memories of warm days and summer vacations. It’s a colour that can be warming, yet soothing, enveloping you in a feeling of comfort.

Comfort is always a good feeling to have in your home. The colour can be used in a variety of ways and works as a interior decor theme for many rooms. Typically, blue is often used in bathrooms, but it can be a soothing shade for a bedroom too. Team blue with a soft cream for a balanced, calming and contemporary look.

To get you started, here are some ideas for using shades of cobalt blue in your decor. From rich wall paint and stunning wallpaper, to wall tiles, rugs and decorative accessories.

1. Water Street blue paint, £30 from Graham and Brown

2. Cobalt blue ocean cushion, £20.98 from Etsy

3. Blue handmade wool rug, £950 from Heal’s

4. Memory lane destination framed crossword print, £49.95 from The Poetry Studio

5. Designers Guild Savine wallpaper in cobalt blue, £83 per roll from Wallpaper Direct

6. KitchenAid stand mixer in cobalt blue, reduced to £386.10 (was £429) at House of Fraser

7. Jan Constantine blue iPad case, £40 from Lisa Angel Homeware and Gifts

8. Rina cobalt blue tiles, £30 per box from Topps Tiles

9. Cobalt blue mohair-blend throw, £99 fromLiberty

10. Linen union grasshopper tea towel, £8.50 from Warbeck & Cox

11. LSA Cirro flared vase in cobalt blue, £40 from John Lewis

12. Inspiro Coupe plates, £18 each from Sarah Taylor

How to add colour to a wall using wall accents

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

How to use wall accents in your interior design decor

We all know that a fresh lick of colourful paint or a new wallpaper design can transform the walls in your home, but if it’s not possible to decorate a room, for example if you’re in rented accommodation, how can you spruce up your walls?

One way is to focus on using wall accents. Accents can help add colour, interest and focus to a wall, but without requiring major amounts of DIY or expense to achieve.

For example, the metal feathers (top left) are actually coat hooks, but make a really funky wall decoration. Use them individually, or grouped together, as hooks or simply for aesthetic pleasure. They’re £9.95 from The Little Boys Room.

We love wall stickers and if you want to create visual impact on a wall, then a design like the space invaders wall sticker set (middle) certainly does the trick. You can arrange them how you wish and eyes will definitely get drawn to that wall! They’re £24.99 from Bouf.

Use a wall vase, such as the dot wall vases (top right), to create a 3D effect on a wall. As well as being decorative, you can also add a flower stem or two, giving an extra creative element. They’re £20 from Deservedly-So.

Another wall sticker favourite is the Big Little Ben working clock wall sticker (bottom left). This wall decal stands out from others as it’s also a functioning wall clock, so you get more for your money. The bright colours all work well against plain white or natural walls and the stickers are easy to apply (and should also be easy to remove). They’re £85 from Funky Little Darlings.

You can never go wrong with hanging pictures on a wall. For an on trend, colourful geometric design, check out the honeycomb design giclee print (bottom right), £21 from Violet May.

Expert DIY Advice: Top 10 Tips For Tiling Like A Pro

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Kitchen and bathroom tiles from Crown Tiles

Tiling your bathroom, kitchen or utility room walls can seem like a daunting DIY disaster waiting to happen. In reality, it’s nothing that should give you bathroom-themed nightmares. All that’s required for a truly professional finish is a bit of patience and these essential tips.

1. Check Your Tiles

Rule number one – always order more tiles than you think you need. Buying 10% extra is usually a good guide as it gives you enough spare tiles for cutting, allows you to account for shade variations and gives you spare tiles for the future.

2. Mix Your Adhesive Well

Make sure you add your adhesive powder to the water and not the other way round so as to avoid lumps, and to maintain your ideal consistency. When mixing, always ensure you use clean cold water as dirty or warm water can affect setting times.

3. Dry The Wall

Your freshly-mixed adhesive will struggle to work on a wet or damp wall, so make sure it’s well and truly dry before you start applying the adhesive. If your walls are made of porous materials, such as plasterboard, then you’ll need to apply a sealant before.

4. Measure Your Wall Space

A seemingly obvious tip, and something you should have done before you ordered your tiles, but preparation is absolutely paramount to that perfect job that you’ll be happy with. You should measure your wall space once more before starting.

5. Ensure Tiles Are Straight

To ensure that your tiles are applied evenly and straight, you’ll need to use wooden battens as a guide. Starting from the centre of the wall, and one tile from the floor, fix your battens to the wall and use a spirit level to ensure they are straight.

6. Start Tiling

Apply your mixed adhesive to the wall to the thickness detailed on the packaging using a notched spreader, covering an area of no bigger than 1m2 at any one time.  Apply your tiles with a firm, twisting motion to ensure full and even contact with the adhesive on the wall.

7. Clean Tools & Tiles

While you tend to leave at least 24 hours for your adhesive to dry before applying grouting and sealer, it starts to dry a lot quicker than that and tiling a wall is not something that you’ll breeze through in a couple of hours.

8. Shaped Tiles Last

Shaped tiles can be one of the more complicated aspects of tiling your wall, so it’s best to leave it until last. Whether you need straight cuts for simple corner pieces or more complicated shapes, such as working around pipe work, care needs to be taken so you don’t crack or shatter tiles when cutting them.

9. Wait 24 Hours Before Grouting

Some surfaces may take closer for 36 hours for the adhesive to dry, but allowing 24 hours is a good guide minimum before grouting.

10. Regularly Apply Sealer

Applying a waterproof sealer to your grouting every six months, starting from when your grouting is dry, is vital for avoiding any damp issues and extending the life of your tiling and grout.

***This guest article was written by Tom McShane on behalf of Crown Tiles ***


The perfect merge between old and new

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Improve your home with double glazing

Older buildings have a certain character, but modern buildings can easily provoke the WOW factor. It’s no wonder then that it’s the buildings which merge the old with the new that create original yet mesmerising architecture. The old incorporates grace and grandeur whilst the new incorporates functionality and contemporary style.

Merging the old and new can create amazing designs but you can’t just rush on in there without thinking it through properly. It’s far too easy to ruin a perfectly wonderful old building by not thinking the concept through thoroughly. For some old buildings, adding clean lines, geometric shapes and modern materials just doesn’t work, so if you’re thinking of a renovation how can you ensure you get the perfect mix?

Choose the right era of old

Old buildings can be categorised into eras and from the offset you can imagine whether or not modern architecture will complement or ruin the design of an old building. Edwardian properties are generally a no go unless it’s a renovation to restore a property to its former glory, sprucing up the paint work, reinforcing the woodwork and changing the old single panes to double glazing windows. On the other hand Victorian properties tend to offer a base that complements the addition of modern materials including glass and exposed metal.

Have confidence in your design

An old building with only a hint of modern design can end up looking out of place. If you’re going to update an old building you need the conviction to approach it with confidence. Take the time to plan and don’t do things by halves, have faith in your design ideas and follow them through until the end. There’s nothing worse than a semi-completed renovation that stays unfinished for years.

Do your research

Whether you’re planning your own renovation or having an architect design it for you, research is the key to getting it right. Start collecting images of the buildings you like, put together mood boards with materials, the internet is a great resource to search designs from across the world. Always make sure you go and see a similar construction in the ‘flesh’ as photographs can sometimes depict an altogether different image.

***This is a guest post***

Redecorating Your Home: Initial Planning Tips

Thursday, October 18th, 2012
Painting your home

Redecorating your home

If you’re planning to redecorate your home in the near future, it’s important to have a plan set out, not only for a design but also which manufacturers you want to use, and how much you want to spend.

We’ve put together some tips for the main rooms in your home, to help you get started.


Start looking at colour swatches for each room, and consider how you want it to look – a matte effect usually looks better in a living room, but many people still like the gloss effect for a more classic look.

Decide which items and ornaments you want to keep, as you may find you can build up a theme based on pieces you already have.

If you’re having a painter and decorator in to do it, it’s especially useful to have a colour sheet and even a colour palette prepared, as they may be able to give you some more design ideas based on that.


Important from a design point of view, your choice of material for areas like the bathroom cupboards or bedroom furniture is vital.

A good wooden bed will generally see you in far better stead than a metal one, for example, but make sure you test your options for comfort and creakiness!

Showrooms are always a good way to check the materials you might want to consider, as are other people’s reviews – forums like this are a good place to start.

Ensure that what you pick up is durable enough to withstand daily use by the whole family. In particular, always check that the backs of cupboards and drawers are made from a solid, hardy material, not particleboard, as this can break almost instantly.


Your choice of manufacturer is especially important in the kitchen, as you’ll want to be sure that you get the very best appliances that you can.

Again, the best way is to take a look around showrooms and do some heavy research for the best brands. Kitchens Kitchens, for example, is a blog dedicated to different reviews and news, definitely worth checking out.

When looking out for any furniture always look at reviews about delivery and customer service, too, as chances are you’ll be dealing with these companies for a while!

As a final tip, we recommend you keep as close to your original budget as you possibly can. It’s tempting to splash out, but set a realistic amount before you start, and you’ll already be well on your way to your dream home without any surprise costs!

***This post is in association with Wren Kitchens***

3 Of The Best London Themed Wallpapers

Monday, July 30th, 2012

With all eyes on London as host of the 2012 Olympic Games, here are three of the best London city themed wallpapers.

1. Albany London Life wallpaper

Iconic images of London

London Life wallpaper

Albany’s London Life wallpaper features some of the iconic images of London and sporting activities in a fun and quirky manner.

The hand drawn wallpaper has a lot of detail in it and the images are red, blue and yellow on a white background. It’s a lovely way of decorating your home and celebrating all the best bits of London, such as Big Ben, the Tower of London, red telephone boxes, black cabs and rowing down the Thames.

The London Life wallpaper is available for £28 per roll from Wallpaper Direct.

2. Graham and Brown Londinium wallpaper

Images of London cityscape wallpaper

Londinium wallpaper

There’s an extraordinary amount of detail included in this cityscape style Londinium wallpaper.

London’s best known landmarks, buildings and attractions lie cheek by jowl across the paper, producing a stunning decorative effect on the wall.

A 10m roll of the Londinium wallpaper costs £25 from Graham and Brown.

3. Brewer’s Coloroll London text wallpaper

Contemporary graphic London wallpaper

London text wallpaper

This bold red, white and blue wallpaper from Coloroll celebrates the best of London in text format.

From Chelsea and Victoria, to Greenwich, Hyde Park and Soho, this graphic wallpaper is a feast for the eyes, as as it reminds you of all the places and locations London is famous for.

One 10m roll of the London text wallpaper costs £8.99 from Wallpaper Direct.

Miss Print Saplings wallpaper design

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Miss Print contemporary wall coverings MissPrint contemporary wall covering

Miss Print specialises in producing contemporary wall coverings, fabrics and other interior products and one of the designs we’re particularly fond is Saplings.

Their designs are hand drawn and take influence from nature, and that’s especially the case with Saplings, which is a characteristic leaf stem design.

Contemporary designer wallcovering Contemporary metallic wallpaper wallcovering ideas

The Saplings wallpaper is available in a choice of six different colours and it’s amazing how different each one of them looks – the deep turquoise blue and gold stem design is great for creating a bold, statement wall, whereas the sunflower yellow and white is quite retro in style. The pink and white wallpaper design has a playful feel to it and the metallic gold on white helps add a reflective and glam look to a room.

Whilst some of the papers are matt, others have a metallic or pearlescent finish, which helps add shine, texture and and interest to the wall.

Heal’s has the Saplings wallpaper range available, plus other MissPrint designs.

Miss Print designer lampshadeContemporary designer lampshade

If you love the design, then there are also matching drum lampshades available too, in a classic slate grey or a uplifting sunflower yellow, both made from silk.

40 Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Larger

Monday, June 6th, 2011
Round wall feature mirror from John Lewis

Sahara mirror from John Lewis

Are you fed up with small rooms that seem cramped and cluttered, or find yourself wishing a room was larger? If you’re keen to make better use of the space you have available and use small rooms to the best of their ability, re-decorating may be the answer.

By applying a few basic decorating tips and tricks, you can make a small room seem larger and more spacious than it really is.

Here are 40 practical ways to make a small room in your home feel larger. Many of the tips are simple, inexpensive and relatively easy to achieve, so you’ve got no excuses for neglecting a small room ever again!

1. Remove all clutter from the room. This is not simply a matter of keeping it clean, but decorating it so that there is plenty of open space in the room. Avoid filling the shelves and limit the number of accessories and knick-knacks that you display to a few special objects (you can always rotate them and change them regularly if you wish).

2. Keep the decor simple. Patterns, prints, furniture, and other elements should be kept as simple as possible. Busy patterns and prints will make things seem more cluttered, which makes the room feel smaller.

3. Use light colours. Colour can be the most important tool available to help create a look of space. Lighter colours will make the walls appear farther away, while dark colours will make the walls appear closer. If you are looking at fabrics or wallpaper, make sure that you pick one that has a lighter background instead of one with a dark background.

4. Use cool colours instead of warm ones. Cool colours like blue and green will make spaces seem bigger because they recede and make your eyes think that they are farther away. Warm colours like red and orange will do the opposite. They advance and seem closer, which is why warning signs are always red, yellow, or orange.

5. Use a monochromatic colour scheme. A monochromatic colour scheme does not mean a boring room where everything is the same colour. Variety is created by using different shades and textures throughout the room.

6. Avoid contrasting colours. Colours that blend create the appearance of a larger space. Having a brightly coloured element can overwhelm a room and make everything else seem smaller in comparison.

7. Paint the trim and moulding a shade lighter than the walls. This is actually a 3D effect that fools your eye into thinking that the wall is further back. Lighter objects appear closer than shadowed objects. By making the wall a darker shade of the trim, your eye will think that the wall is shadowed and must be farther away than the trim.

8. Paint the floor the same colour as the ceiling. As the ceiling is usually lighter than the walls, it is another way to make the walls seem shadowed and further away.

9. Avoid using area rugs. They will break up the room into sections and make it seem smaller. If you feel that rugs are needed, choose ones that are the same colour as the floor.

10. Choose oversized tiles. This suggestion goes along with keeping patterns simple. Larger tiles will minimize the pattern on the floor. Choosing rectified porcelain tiles is also a good idea because they can be placed closer together, which will minimize any grout lines. Rectified porcelain tiles have a more consistent size to them than regular porcelain tiles.

11. Lay tiles diagonally. Diagonal tiles will lead the eye away and makes the space appear larger.

12. Use the same flooring in adjacent rooms. This will help give continuity to the space.

13. Add light to the room. Dark corners fade out and shrink the room. Lighter rooms naturally feel larger. If you bring more light into the room, it will feel more spacious.

14. Add a reflective ceiling. Reflective surfaces such as mirrors and tin will add light to a room and brighten it up.

15. Use high-gloss paint on the ceiling. High-gloss paint will reflect any available light resulting in a more spacious feeling to the room.

16. Add a skylight. A skylight will add about five times more light than a window.

17. Use sconce lights and torchiere (also known as torchère or torchier) lamps. These will bounce light off the ceiling and illuminate them. Ceilings are one of the first elements to go dark at night, which will make the room seem to close down on you.

18. Change your ceiling fixtures. Most standard ceiling fixtures cast harsh light that will add shadows. Make sure your fixtures do not hang down too far, which will make the ceiling feel closer.

19. Create a lid effect by carrying your ceiling colour down onto the walls about twelve inches. This gives the illusion that the ceiling is higher than it really is.

20. Paint clouds or a similar type of mural on the wall or ceiling. It is a great way to make them seem to disappear and works well in small children’s rooms or a nursery.

21. Add a vertical-striped pattern to the walls. This does not always have to be done with wallpaper. Painting will give you a better result because you can widen the stripes, which will lessen the pattern, and use different shades of the same colour, which will lessen the contrast.

22. Install crown molding over the windows and doors - it will give the illusion that they are taller.

23. Use molding or wallpaper borders to frame the ceiling. This technique does not always have to be on the walls. You can also apply them directly to the ceiling, which will make the walls seem taller.

24. Add a few wall mirrors. Strategically place the mirrors next to lights and across from windows so they can reflect the light.

25. Hang your pictures two or three inches above eye level. This will draw the eye upward.

26. Use vertical pictures and stack artwork higher on the wall to add a sense of height to the room. Find pictures that incorporate vertical elements into them such as lighthouses, trees, buildings, etc.

27. Use horizontal pictures to widen a narrow wall. If the room is rectangular, place a couple of pictures that incorporate horizontal elements on the narrow walls to widen the wall. Beach and mountain scenes are good at doing this. For maximum effect, use more than one.

28. Replace multiple pictures with one larger one. This goes back to keeping things simple and avoiding contrast. If you must use multiple pictures, make sure they have similar frames and use frames that are the same colour or a similar colour as the wall.

29. Minimize curtains by choosing lighter fabrics that do not contrast with the walls. Filmy, gauzy fabrics will allow more natural light into the room and ensure that the curtains do not break up the room. If possible, try not using any curtains at all or choosing ones that have a vertically striped fabric.

30. Hang the curtains higher on the wall to create the illusion of a higher ceiling. You could also add a colourful valance to help bring the eye upward.

31. Choose furniture that has clean and simple lines. Modern or contemporary furniture is usually better than Victorian-style furniture because it has a simpler design.

32. Avoid oversized or over-stuffed furniture. The furniture should be in scale with the room and not overwhelm it.

33. Pick furniture that has exposed legs and open arms. They allow the light to filter underneath making the entire room brighter. In addition, the room seems larger when there is more floor space visible.

34. Use a few larger pieces of furniture instead of several smaller pieces. For example, have a sofa and one chair instead of a love seat and two chairs.

35. Choose furniture that is multi-functional. They will allow you to have fewer pieces in the room and generally make better use of space.

36. Place large furniture at an angle. It might seem contradictory, but placing the furniture at an angle will draw the eye diagonally across the room, which is the longest distance in the room. It also frees up more wall space and you can use the space behind it to hide clutter.

37. Use glass tables and cover existing tabletops with glass. A glass table has a more open feel to it. Covering existing wood tabletops with glass will also help reflect light while protecting the wooden surface.

38. Arrange furniture against the wall in order to create more open space. You should also avoid blocking views from windows and doors whenever possible.

39. Make good use of vertical space by choosing taller pieces for storage. Taller bookcases and cabinets will draw the eye upward. It also provides you ample storage without taking up valuable floor space.

40. Do not use open shelves to store your electronic equipment. Purchase an entertainment unit that has doors to hide your television and stereo. This will help the space look tidier and reduce the clutter.

Graham and Brown My Wall wallpaper jewels

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Be creative with your wall designs Add sparkling gems and jewels to your decorating

Decorating your home should be all about making your own mark on it. It’s great to be creative and add your own special touches and designs, be it through colour, home accessories, paint or wallpaper. If you’ve not been able to afford the more expensive roll of wallpaper that you would have liked, or fancy adding extra interest to the wallpaper you’ve got, then why not have a go at using these My Wall wallpaper jewels from Graham and Brown!

The wallpaper jewels are a fantastic collection of art and craft products designed to be used to customise your walls, rooms and other interior surfaces. Used with wallpaper, they bring life to the design on your wall, enabling you to add extra dimension and a touch of sparkle. As you can see above, they work well with flower designs, but would be equally good with any wallpaper design that you’d like to jazz up a bit. You can also use them on other surfaces too, so you can have a lot of fun finding appropriate places to put them.

The wallpaper jewels come in a selection of different styles, designs and colours, from teardrops and hearts, to mixed sets of stones and mini stones. You can use as much as you’d like, or as little, but it’s a great way of adding more sparkle and zing and helping your decor become extra special.

The jewels and stones are £7 per pack from Graham and Brown.

Easy home decorating with Tempaper wallpaper

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010


Have you ever fancied re-decorating a room, but are unsure what to do? Perhaps you really like the look of wallpaper, but aren’t sure if it’s a design you want on your walls on a long-term basis? Or maybe you love the idea of wallpaper, but can’t face the hassle of putting it up?

Well, now there’s an answer to all these issues, with the arrival of Tempaper.

Created by NYC set directors who’ve transformed themselves into wallpaper designers, they recognised the need for easy-to-apply wall decorations. They’ve created this great range of Tempapers, which are extra long rolls of printed wallpaper. Instead of having to faff around with wallpaper glue and pasting tables, this clever vinyl wallpaper comes with a self-adhesive backing.

It’s easy to put up without major hassle, but it’s also easy to remove again if you change your mind. If you do want to remove it, it can be reapplied again – on the same wall, or elsewhere in your home.

Tempaper is available in a selection of designs, including Blue Silhouette (blue background with a white twig design), Pink Damask, Black Damask and Blue Alto.

All the designs are available to purchase in the UK from Urban Outfitters.

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