Fab Friday Bargains: Homeware and furniture sale buys

July 15th, 2016


Furnish your home for less, by buying homeware and furniture in the sales

With the summer sales in full swing, and many reducing things even further, there are some good buys to be had in terms of homeware and furniture.

Here are some of the top buys we’ve spotted in the sales this week.

Top row, from left to right: 

Pale jade Coco chair – now £320 (was £575) from Oliver Bonas

Umbra Stack large two tier dish drainer rack – now £19.99 (was £34.95) fromLakeland

Iris twist glass lamp base – now £30 (was £60) at John Lewis


Middle row, from left to right:

Ship and whale bookends – now £9 (was £19.50) from M&S

Bread ‘n’ Flutter set of four chicken design side plates – now £14.95 (was £36.95) from Joules

Hadley striped bedding set – now from £14 at M&S


Bottom row, from left to right:

J by Jasper Conran designer stainless steel wine cooler – now £16.80 (was £24) at Debenhams

Studio drinks trolley – now £135 (was £275) at Oliver Bonas

Ro Palm orangery stool – now £96 (was £160) at Oliver Bonas

Pastel walls: My Secret Garden wallpaper by Majvillan

July 13th, 2016

Gorgeous pastel wallpaper designs, from the My Secret Garden collection by Swedish company Majivillan.

Love decor in soft shades of pastel? This wallpaper collection by Swedish company, Majvillan, could be perfect for you!

The My Secret Garden collection of wallpaper is designed by Charlotta Sandberg and features a range of designs. From whimsical birds and cute deer, to trailing florals, geometric patterns and stylised damask, there’s something in here to appeal to a variety of design tastes.

Sweet cotton trailing blooms wallpaper by Swedish company Majvillan

Each design is available in a range of colour combinations. The Sweet Cotton design looks lovely in soft blue.

Alice grey geometric design wallpaper from Majvillan

The Alice geometric print is a great contemporary design and works really well in soft grey.

Tomoko pink wallpaper by Majvillan would work well in a kid's bedroom

The designs are suitable for a range of uses. The pink and orange Tomoko, for example, is a fresh and bright print that could be effectively used to decorate the walls in a child’s bedroom.

Lovely yellow Estelle design Swedish wallpaper from Majvillan

And the cheery yellow of the Estelle print would be an ideal welcoming colour to have on the wall in a hall or entrance way.

The My Secret Garden wallpaper collection is in stock at Wallpaper Direct.




Fresh Design Guide: Industrial style interior design

July 11th, 2016

Ideal for modern, open plan living spaces or for adding a contemporary twist, the industrial interior design look is all about clever exposure of raw building materials.

The look works by mixing different styles and textures, and juxtaposing sleek with unfinished.

You can ‘go the whole hog’ with exposed pipework, brick walls and concrete floors, or just add some key industrial-inspired pieces to your existing décor.

Retain original features

If you live in a building that’s been converted from another use, such as a factory or mill, then this look is custom made for you.

If you’ve inherited any original features like heating pipes and ducts, brickwork or original doorways, then showcase them rather than hiding them. This not only helps preserve the building’s identity but creates a unique, clean look that’s perfect for modern living.

That doesn’t mean you have to keep every original element, but retaining a few key features will help to create the look.

Exposed pipes can make a ceiling look fussy, so keep paintwork to a plain, pale colour to help them stand out without dominating.

Leave areas of exposed brickwork to help create the look. Image: Pixabay

Source metal doors and windows

Doors and windows with metal fittings will help to create an industrial look.

Look for original office doors at reclamation yards that have metal ‘kick strips’ at the bottom, plain stainless steel handles and push plates; plus windows with metal latches.

If you can’t find anything suitable, keep doors as plain as possible and add your own push plates and handles for a clean look.

Opt for raw industrial floors

The industrial look is all about raw materials, so for floors concentrate on wood, stone, polished concrete or tiles. Keep colours neutral, for example paint concrete floors grey and add colour with bright cotton rugs.

These vintage office chairs are full of character and add an industrial note to a domestic setting. Image: Pixabay

Find industrial style furniture

If you don’t live in an original industrial building, you can still create the look as much or as little as you want to.

For furniture, there are two options, both eco-friendly!

You can ‘re-purpose’ original office and industrial items such as filing cabinets, desks, desk lamps and shelving units.

Look for the best quality you can find, and avoid cheap modern items – vintage office furniture from the 1950s and 1960s is often beautifully made and looks good when mixed with other pieces in a domestic setting.

Re-purpose industrial furniture for your home. Image: Pixabay

Alternatively, seek out artisans who make new items from industrial materials.

For example, cushions made from old flour sacks, tables made from cable reels or bookshelves made with old scaffolding poles will all help to create an industrial look and feel.

Many manufacturers also make pieces that are ‘industrial inspired’ – in particular, chairs, tables and bar stools.

Choose functional lighting

Lighting should look functional rather than decorative, so to keep the effect from being too harsh use lamps rather than too much overhead lighting. Original or reproduction enamel hanging lights are ideal for areas where you need more light, such as kitchens.

Get the industrial look in your home

Keen to create the industrial look in your home? There are plenty of places where you can find excellent examples of industrial style furniture and decor.

Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Industrial metal wall storage, Vincent and Barn

Reproduction industrial wall cabinets, £110

This reproduction industrial style wall unit with a lacquered metal finish looks like it’s straight out of a factory locker room. It’s ideal for a busy family life, as a few knocks and scratches will actually improve it! £110 from Vincent and Barn.

2. Industrial grey coffee table, Alexander & Pearl

Lovely Industrial style coffee table, £280

An industrial chic coffee table featuring a wooden trestle style base with grey painted rectangular resin table top which would look great in any loft-style setting. Was £325 now £280 from Alexander & Pearl.

3. Industrial pendant light in copper,

Gorgeous copper Industrial pendant light, from £130

Perfect for adding a vintage note, this industrial-style light comes in a choice of nine colours and three sizes. Ideal for installing above a dining table or kitchen counter, it’s handmade from metal and costs from £130 from

4. Industrial metal storage unit, Primrose & Plum

Useful industrial style metal wall storage unit that would work in so many rooms.

This industrial style metal wall unit is so versatile. Use it in a study to store your desk essentials and memos, keep it in your hallway as somewhere to pop keys or umbrellas, or use it in your kitchen. It’s only £45 from Primrose & Plum.

5. Concrete design wallpaper, Lime Lace

Very realistic looking concrete design wallpaper

Want to create authentic looking wall features? Concrete design wallpaper is the perfect option. This one is by Dutch designer Piet Boon and looks very realistic. £199 from Lime Lace.

6. Industrial pipe hook, Industrial By Design

Unusual handmade industrial style coat hook or jewellery hanger

Lovingly made to order, these industrial steel pipe hooks are perfect for hanging coats and scarves on, or using as a nifty jewellery hanger. They can even custom make them to your own specifications. £29 from Industrial By Design.


Fab Friday Bargains: Top sale picks from Plumo

July 8th, 2016

A fab selection of home buys from Plumo, including a gorgeous velvet striped chair

Plumo is always a good place to find stylish, quirky and eclectic home ideas. Now is a good time for a browse, as their sale is currently on.

Here are some of our top picks:

1. Luxurious padded velvet stripe chair

2. Set of four linen and cotton cutlery design napkins

3. Turning earth terracotta pots with a geometric crackle glaze

4. Wooden paradise salad servers with silver pineapple finials

5. Geometric patterned earthenware designed in Denmark by Day Birger & Mikkelson

6. Resin whale design bookends

7. Fairtrade natural cotton rug with pale grey geometric designs and vintage patchwork

British design classics: Blue and white striped Cornishware

July 6th, 2016

Gorgeous blue and white classic stripe Cornishware cake stand from John Lewis

You might not have known what this distinctive blue and white striped pottery was called, but the chances are your grandparents or parents owned some.

Known as ‘Cornishware’, it was launched in the 1920s and remained immensely popular into the 1950s, 60s and 70s. It fell out of favour as being old-fashioned, but now it’s back in vogue again with its retro feel and clean lines.

Cornishware history

The history of Cornishware goes back as far as 1864. The pottery of T.G.Green was founded by Thomas Goodwin Green, who (rumour has it) bought an existing factory while on his honeymoon, despite having no experience of the business!

Cornishware was first produced in 1924. Although the pottery has never been produced in Cornwall, the pattern reminded an employee of the blue skies and white-crested waves of that region and so the range got its name. Cornish clay was also used in the production.

The pattern became an instant success, and the iconic stripes appeared in contemporary adverts and illustrations all over the country, making it a familiar sight.

The famous Cornishware pattern became an instant success in the 1920s.

Unfortunately, the original workshop in Stoke on Trent couldn’t compete with modern product methods, and closed in 2007.

But fortunately, a team of Cornishware enthusiasts banded together to save the brand – hooray!

You can still buy a full range today, and for the first time it’s also available in red stripes as well as the iconic blue.

Pieces of vintage Cornishware often turn up in charity shops and auctions, and prices range from a few pounds to several hundred. Genuine pieces of pottery will carry the Cornishware stamp underneath.

Pieces of genuine Cornishware carry a backstamp, such as this example from 2012. Photo: Libby Norman

You can buy a full range of Cornishware online from T G Green, with prices starting at around £12 for a mug. Alternatively, you can visit John Lewis to buy online or in person.

Part of the appeal of Cornishware is the timeless stripes and bright, cheerful blue that match any decor or colourscheme. We’ve picked some complementary products to help you create a fresh, retro feel.

Cornish Ware paint No 48, Designers Guild

Cornish Ware No 48 paint, Designers Guild

Endlessly cheerful, reminiscent of the famous pottery, this would make a lovely feature wall in a kitchen. Available in four finishes: matt emulsion, water-based eggshell, oil-based eggshell and floor paint. Prices start at £5 for a sample pot from Designers Guild.

Scattered anchor paper napkins, Seasalt Cornwall

Blue and white nautical napkins from Seasalt Cornwall

A pack of 20  lovely paper napkins, in a unique prints inspired by Cornwall, these make a perfect foil to Cornishware mugs for afternoon tea. £3.50 for the pack from Seasalt Cornwall.

Short coffee cup in blue stripe, Decorator’s Notebook

Short coffee cup, Decorator’s Notebook

If you prefer a more eclectic look, mix a few of these stripy mugs in with your Cornishware. They’re just the right size to fit under most coffee machines, and you can choose from a range of glaze colours. Each cup is individually hand thrown by fair trade partners in India. £8.95 each, coming soon from Decorator’s Notebook.

Uka stripe bowl in blue, Nkuku

Blue and white Uka bowl, Nkuku

This elegant Uka stripe bowl is handmade from stoneware, and each one is painted by hand with this pretty stripe pattern inspired by traditional Japanese designs. Great for soups, cereals or as small decorative storage bowls. £12.95 each, available in different colours from Nkuku.

Bistro napkins in blue, Ville et Campagne

Blue and white bistro napkins, Ville et Campagne

Add a fresh feel to a summer dining table with these generously sized (50cm x 50cm) bistro napkins. Available in a choice of five colours, including blue stripe, they’re made from pure cotton and cost £22 for a set of four from Ville et Campagne.


How to get the perfect balance of heat in your conservatory

June 30th, 2016

Use blinds and shutters to control the temperature in a conservatory

A conservatory can be a great addition to your home, both in terms of adding extra value and providing you with additional space. Whilst many people love the warmth of a sunny conservatory in the summer, ironically they can also get too hot and stuffy on very warm days! But help is at hand…

If you’re looking for the perfect way to balance the temperature of your conservatory all year round, then the right blinds could be your answer.

Blinds and shutters are available in a variety of different forms and there are some excellent options available to help control the temperature in a conservatory. Some can even help dull noise too – a bonus if you’re near a busy road – and having blinds can help reduce fading on furniture, flooring or wallpaper from constant exposure to the sun.

Fancy trying blinds? Here’s the lowdown on some of the popular options available.

Duette® blinds

Conservatory design idea featuring Thomas Sanderson Duette blinds

A popular choice for modern and contemporary conservatories are Duette® blinds. These nifty blinds are cleverly designed to help you gain a constant temperature all year round – not just in the summer.

What’s more, they look good too. Unlike traditional blinds, Duette® blinds are made with a honeycomb structure. The side of the blinds that comes into contact with the window has a special coating added to it that helps improve their energy efficiency even more.

Studies have shown that these blinds:

  • Reflect up to 78% of the warmth from the sun
  • Block up to 99% of UV rays, so reduce furniture or wallpaper from fading
  • Retain heat by up to 46%
  • Help reduce energy bills by up to 25%


Control the temperature in your conservatory with window shutters

The French are onto a good thing with their love of shutters! They’re a great way to keep a conservatory cool in the summer, yet warm in the winter, and they look super sleek and stylish.

They’re particularly popular at the moment and can be an effective way to reduce both heat and glare in your conservatory in the summer, but still help the room feel cosy in the winter.

The LifeTime shutter from Thomas Sanderson is made from lightweight uPVC and are guaranteed not to distort, crack, fade or chip. They’re so sure of their durability that they come with a 25 year guarantee.

Roof blinds

Fresh and modern conservatory with Duette blinds

If it’s the heat coming in through the top of your conservatory that’s a particular problem, then roof blinds are a good option.

Different forms of roof blinds are available, including pleated blinds with Solartex or Duette® blinds.

The Solartex blinds are designed with non-metallic backing, so they let the light in, but help prevent unwanted glare. They’re operated easily with the use of a telescopic pole and the pleats are designed so that they lie flat in the roof and give a fresh and clean look.

Choosing a conservatory blind company

Transform your conservatory into a room you can use day and night

Getting the look right, as well as the function, is something that’s often a key priority. You want the right style of blinds or window coverings to fit with your décor, and ideally something that won’t date or go out of fashion quickly.

For a professional finish, it’s a good idea to opt for a company who’ll fit the blinds for you too. It saves an enormous amount of hassle, especially if you’re not a fan of DIY, and ensures that your windows are measured by an expert in the first place.

Companies such as Thomas Sanderson offer a free measure and fit, as well as a design service. Their products are all handcrafted and individually made to fit your windows.

It’s not necessarily the cheapest company to buy from, but they’ve been a leading light in the industry for around 25 years and it can pay to opt for a quality service. What’s more, you don’t have to have one type of blinds or shutters – you can opt for both or a mix of several different types. They’ll help you asses what will work best for your needs.

For more ideas on making your conservatory a room you can use all year round, check out the tips in this helpful video:

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)

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