Archive for the ‘Interior ideas’ Category
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Could you bring a taste of the Aztec style into your home?
It’s not that hard to do. In fact, Aztec-inspired look is one of the current trends and, in terms of home decor, it uses strong geometric patterns, texture and bright colours.
So who were the Aztecs?
The Aztecs were a nomadic tribe, who settled in north Mexico in the 13th century. They had a sophisticated and intricate social, political, religious and commercial culture, and for two hundred years, they practically ruled central Mexico.
In the 15th century, the civilisation was overthrown and dispersed by the Spanish but elements of their culture continued – in fact, the words ‘chocolate’, ‘avocado’ and ‘tomato’ are of Aztec origin. Who knew?!
Art was central to Aztec culture, and took inspiration from two main sources – nature, and religion.
Common themes are jaguars, ducks, snakes, deer, jaguars and dogs, as well as plants and trees. Gods were also often depicted (sometimes as animals), as well as warriors in all their finery. Shapes were sharp and geometric, and colour was bold and bright, often clashing primaries such as blue and red.
How to use the Aztec style in your home
Achieving an Aztec-inspired look is all about colour, pattern and texture.
Choose a natural, neutral look on walls and ceilings, using materials such as wood, stone, rough plaster and paint in warm shades of grey, off white and sand.
Then, add blocks of bold, bright colour using rugs, lamps, chairs and cushions.
With colours and patterns this strong, it’s best to keep a neutral background and work with just a few statement pieces, otherwise the finished effect may give you a headache!
Here are our picks:
1. Aztec armchair, Lime Lace
Aztec print armchair, Lime Lace
This stylish Aztec armchair has been upholstered in natural jute with a contemporary geometric deep blue Aztec design, handwoven using the traditional skills of artisans in Rajasthan. Finished with brass stud detailing, it has hand turned legs from made from sustainable mango wood. This chair is ideal for adding texture and pattern – add a couple of plain, bright cushions to finish the look. £995 from Lime Lace.
2. Matrix MAX 23 Cuzzo Sienna rug, Kelaty
Aztec design rug, Kelaty
Make a statement with this bold, eye catching woollen rug, hand tufted in India. The bright colour and strong, geometric shape are perfect for creating an Aztec feel. This rug will work perfectly against a neutral floor such as natural wood. Available in different sizes, prices start at £142 from Kelaty.
3. Set of three woven baskets, House Doctor
Set of three woven geometric baskets, House Doctor
Dip your toe into the Aztec trend with this set of three geometric black and natural woven baskets with black handles.In three different sizes, they’ll find a range of uses around the home from waste paper baskets to laundry or log baskets. £48 for the set, available from rigby & mac.
4. Geometric luxe black and ivory throw, The French Bedroom Company
Geometric black and ivory throw, The French Bedroom Company
This blanket is a modern take on an ancient idea. With a strong, monochrome, geometric pattern, it will make a statement without taking over the room. It’s heavy weight and would drape nicely over a bed or sofa. Made from 100% cotton, it’s also machine washable. £99 from The French Bedroom Company.
5. Pop vase, Kelly Hoppen
Bright Pop vase, Kelly Hoppen
This vase from interior designer Kelly Hoppen combines a simple shape with a graphic design and bright colours. Use it to lift a dark corner of the room, or add a pop of colour to a monochrome design. £25, available from Kelly Hoppen.
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
For the last few months we’ve been working with the Wood Window Alliance to highlight the benefit of having wooden windows, as opposed to uVPC. Today we’re catching up with Andrea McLean, an ambassador for the company, to hear how she got into interior design.
How did you get into interior design?
It started out as a need rather than a vocation; I could only afford to live in places that needed doing up and redecorating. I didn’t have much money so I had to do it myself. So in my first flat I bought an end of line carpet off-cut and underlay and laid it myself. I painted the whole place, re-tiled the bathroom (I cut myself to shreds!), made pelmets for above the windows, and got a friend to help me lay new patio.
What are you currently working on?
I’m revamping my bedroom. It’s been a girly pale pink for 4 years, and its time for a change! I’m looking into painting my windows and having duo-colour – different colour on the outside to the inside. It always looks so chic.
Can you tell us a bit about your home?
I live in a medium sized home. I have kept things simple, lots of grey and white and natural colours. I like the look of New England style homes, with shabby chic, white washed colours and big beautiful wood windows to let in lots of light.
What’s your favourite feature about your home?
My American-style porch. It was the best money I’ve ever spent as it makes me happy every day. It’s a wide wooden veranda painted in pale grey with up-cycled wicker furniture. I love it. I’m a fan of natural products in the home and I will always incorporate wood over plastic. It looks so much more beautiful; you really can’t get better, which is why I’m working with the Wood Window Alliance.
Why do you think wood windows are special?
They finish it off like a pair of beautiful shoes complete a wonderful outfit. They can last twice as long as plastic alternatives and they are just stunning. I love that you can repaint them to match your interior design as and when you please.
How do you like to dress your windows?
I have white wooden shutters in every window. Some of my windows I’ve left with just the shutters, and others I’ve put curtains on poles over the top to finish the look. There is so much you can do with them, they’re incredibly versatile.
What are your tips for maximising light in the home?
Use light colours where possible, especially in areas with little natural light like the hall. It will make the room instantly bigger and brighter.
What design trends do you think are most popular this year?
Right now, festival chic, with its bright pops of colour, embroidery and beading. I love all of those quirky designs.
Have you got any styling tips for making a small space look bigger?
Keep it simple and get de-cluttering! Mess instantly makes somewhere look claustrophobic. Clever use of mirrors also works.
What are your interior design no-no’s?
The worst thing I’ve seen was a bathroom that the home owner had painted gloss black. Everything, the floor, walls and ceiling were badly painted, poorly applied gloss black. It also had these horrible plastic windows that looked so dirty. I was convinced it had spiders in every corner – my worst fear – I never went back in there again!
~ Andrea is an ambassador for the Wood Window Alliance, which is committed to enhancing homes with beautiful energy-saving windows that you can rely on. For more information, visit www.woodwindowalliance.com.
Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
If you’re a landlord, you’ll know that there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to how you present and market your property. Part of this, of course, is whether or not you furnish it – and if you do, in what way.
This special guest post provides some ideas on how to furnish your rental property so that it’s the perfect combination of functional, attractive and a wise investment on your part.
First – take a look at your rental property and consider its location
Have you bought a residential flat on a site (such as the kind developed by the First Urban Group) within commuting distance of a major city? In that case, it’s quite likely that your potential tenants are going to be young professionals.
On the other hand, if your rental property is a home in a suburban area with links to schools, shops and amenities, it might appeal to families, couples and students.
You’ll need to know who you’re marketing it to, as the demographic will determine how you furnish a property.
For instance, a young professional is probably going to want functional, modern furniture that looks the part: leather look sofas, white walls and a flat screen television are must-haves.
On the other hand, families might expect to see a cosy living area, adequate storage for all their belongings and a well-equipped kitchen.
Second – don’t spend too much money
Most tenants will be respectful of your furniture, but there’s always the risk that something will get broken, damaged or stolen.
In fact, just general wear and tear is to be expected, so invest in items that are robust enough for renters but not so expensive that it’ll cost you too much when things need replacing.
Shops like IKEA offer good quality furniture without breaking the bank, and they’ll also be modern enough in design to make your rental look attractive to a wide range of people.
Third – don’t add anything of sentimental value
Similarly to the point above, be mindful of the fact that you’ll be losing control over the contents of your rental property once you let it to tenants.
So, if there’s anything of sentimental value to you, remove it from the property before you let anyone move in. It could get lost or damaged, and while you’ll have home and contents insurance, your precious belongings are going to be priceless and impossible to replace.
Fourth – be open to change
With more and more people renting in the long term, landlords are going to need to be flexible about tenants needing more control over furniture.
Many tenants will want to make the property feel like their home if they’re staying for a long time, so be open-minded about swapping some of your furniture for theirs.
If your tenants ask to move their own sofa in, for example, consider storing yours in cheap self-storage until you’re able to find another permanent home for it.
Just be sure to update your inventory whenever you move furniture in or out of the property, ensuring that tenants stay responsible for keeping items in good repair.
(All images courtesy of Pixabay)
Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
Now that it’s the start of spring, a deep clean and rejig of the home is just the thing to give it a fresh feel. I find that a quick update of soft furnishings and the odd piece of furniture will also take my home from the gloom of winter into sunshine and spring.
MatalanDirect.com show us how to create an instant feeling of spring in your home, without having to turn to an expected colour – green. Learn how to wow your guests with a sophisticated and stylish home that defies the norm, as well as avoid a colour that can be tricky to pull off in interiors.
Don’t be afraid to add bright accents
Pictured right: Robin Day Polo Sled Chair – £89, Ardens Rug – £45
Take note from early spring’s pretty flowers and flashes of sunlight and incorporate them into the home. Introducing a brightly coloured chair to a neutral colour-scheme will instantly liven up your space for the coming months.
Give your home a seasonal wardrobe
You do it with your clothes, so why not your furnishings? Nothing makes a place feel fresher than swapping winter’s essential heavy throws and cushion covers for something lighter. If you don’t already do this, give it a try and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference that it makes.
Don’t let rain get you down
Pictured, right: Dylan 7 Light Pendant – £95
And as we’re in Britain, a drop of rain or two is the norm. However, why not learn to find some beauty in it? Introduce deeper, darker tones of greys, indigos and charcoal for a chic, moody touch. High shine, glossy and mirrored textures will create a sense of space, as well as mimic spring rain.
Embrace your surroundings
Not everyone lives in the countryside, or even close to greenery for that matter. But you can still bring outdoor-inspired elements into your home. Cool, earthy tones reminiscent of benches, paths and walls look great when paired with warmer, organic textures for a luxury take on the outdoors indoors trend.
Look towards the sky
Pictured, right: Sheepskin rug – £59, Grace Chair – £105
Spring isn’t all about bright blue skies and cloudless days, but that doesn’t make the colours we see any less beautiful. Make the most of dusty pink sunsets and washes of indigo, lilac or off-white by mimicking them with your curtains or blinds. This will attract attention to your window and the natural light pouring in, which will in turn, create an illusion of space.
Friday, March 4th, 2016
Living in a small home can be challenging but there are ways of maximising your house space through clever use of colour, storage and simple decluttering. Here are 10 tips to help you make the most of your options.
1. Keep it simple
Replace your curtains with blinds. Curtains look bulky and they can take up valuable space around the window area. Blinds are efficient, space saving and will give a room a clean and contemporary look.
2. Declutter your space
Those who inhabit small living spaces know that they can’t afford to be untidy. Get rid of any possessions that you don’t use, as these will cramp your living area.
3. Use plants to enhance your living space
Whether you have a pocket hanky size garden, or no garden at all, you can always create an illusion of extra space by placing potted plants on your window sills. Alternatively, you can train some roses or other climbing plants to frame your windows. Visit the Ashridge Nurseries website for inspiration.
4. Choose dual purpose furniture
Sofa beds and storage trunks that can double up as a table, are just two examples of furniture that can be put to very good use in a small home. As well as sleeping on the sofa, you can always store your sheets and towels in the built in space underneath. The trunk can act as a repository for computer games and other gadgets.
5. Create an optical illusion with paint
The design magazine House to Home suggests that the easiest way to maximise the space in your living room is to paint it in ‘soft pastel shades.’ This will ensure that the room looks inviting at all times. Don’t paint all the walls of a small room with dark colours unless you really do want to make the room seem even more cramped than it is.
6. Let in the light
A mirror hung on a wall near the window will maximise the amount of light that comes into your room, therefore making the space seem larger.
7. Enhance your recesses
Many older houses have a recess on either side of an old fireplace. Even though you may have opted for light colours for the rest of the room, try painting these alcoves in a darker shade to give your room more depth.
8. Be clever with storage
Very few houses are perfectly rectangular and many have odd spaces under the stairs or under the eaves of the roof. Design your storage to make use of these redundant alcoves. The website Homify has some great ideas about how to fit shelves into awkward areas.
9. Banish your bath
Baths can take up a lot of room. If you are trying to expand the space in your bathroom, install a shower – ensure you choose clear shower panels to maximise the room’s natural light.
10. Don’t crowd your rooms with furniture
Obviously, some pieces of furniture are essential. Too much furniture can make a room look overcrowded and full. Instead of investing in wardrobes and chests of drawers, use built in shelving and cupboards instead. Consider getting rid of your coffee table, it’s only an invitation for clutter. Try to only invest in furniture that will serve a purpose and enhance your minute living space.
-> Images courtesy of Pixabay
(This is a guest post)
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
Ever wished you could properly learn how to think like an interior designer? Or transform all your interior ideas into reality?
Thanks to KLC’s My Design School, you can learn the principles of good design and develop your own personal style with their Design Your Own Home course. What’s more, with their interactive online course, you can do so in your own time, from the comfort of your home.
The course focuses on helping you to design a room in your own home (not a bathroom or kitchen) and covers everything from colour and pattern, to planning your space, finding products and materials and lighting it correctly.
KLC have kindly given me the opportunity to try out the course and I’ve spent the last few weeks busily listening to podcasts, reading course material and taking part in some enjoyable course work.
The experienced tutor is excellent at what she does and you feel in safe hands. What’s more, you’re not alone, as there’s a very active group on Facebook where you can post your ideas, examples of work and chat to your tutor and fellow course mates.
The My Design School course runs for five weeks and I’m about halfway through at the moment. So far, it’s been fascinating. Each week day, there are course notes to read and download and webcasts to listen to in the secure online learning environment. You can log on and do so at your own pace and at whatever time of day suits you.
It’s not a course that involves having to formally hand in or have work marked, which helps take the pressure off a bit. But it does actively encourage you to do the suggested activities. In fact, you’ll get a lot more from it if you do. A lot of people taking the course upload and share their work in the private Facebook group, which adds another element to the learning process and often ignites lots of fascinating conversation.
It does help if you’re familiar with Facebook already and a basic knowledge of Pinterest would be useful to (although if not, you are guided through using it). KLC suggest that you need about eight hours a week to fully benefit from the course.
The next session of the home-based My Design School: Design Your Own Home course takes place in June 2016. If you’re interested in interior design and are serious about redecorating your own home, then it’s well worth taking the plunge and signing up.
For more details, follow @klcschool and @mydesignschool on Twitter.
(Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with KLC, but all views and opinions are my own).