Practicality Vs impeccability

You may have realised by now that I’m a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to practicality. Of course I’m a lover of items in the home which look great, but they also have to do their job just as well, and coffee tables are no exception.

The style, shape, size and colour all need to be considered when choosing what to home in your sitting room, but first and foremost the practicality of the table should definitely be studied. A table may be striking and have the ‘WOW’ factor, but it’s no good if it can’t hold your cuppa, or that all important glass of wine!

I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to look out for when it’s time to make the choice…

Why will you use your coffee table? Aside from the usual, what will be different about YOUR coffee table, what would you like it to do? Some tables are abstract, loud and crying out to be the centre of attention, whereas others are simply there to complement the other furniture and be more of a ‘blender’.

The material of the table is also important, as this depends on the theme and style of your room. Traditional rooms require the table to match this, so anything wooden based will look fab. If you have an ultra-modern, retro feel to your room, then plastic, funky, colourful tables are perfect. It’s simply about recognising your style and choosing appropriately.

coff table 3

The design links to this idea, as again this hinges on the style of your room. You don’t want it to look odd, so really take time to consider your choices, think about the here and now, but also the future; you want the furniture to be an investment.

Colour is obviously a huge factor to consider; again it’s the natural vs eccentric, traditional vs modern debate. The style you’ve chosen for your room means you are limited in one sense, but in other ways not, there are hundreds of colours in a particular style to choose from.

coff table 4

Next, take your time to think about the size of the coffee table; will it be the main feature of the room, or will it, as mentioned previously, be a ‘blender’? Also, have a think about the size of the room, whether you have lots of space or things are a little cramped, choose the table accordingly.

So there we have a few tips that will help with deciding the fate of your living room. Remember that all coffee tables look lovely with coffee table books or a little general styling; if you need any extra help with this, please give me a shout. I love a cuppa and I love talking homes.

coff table 2

Say goodbye to salmon!

It seemed appropriate to spend a little time talking about camping this month. Summer is here, and if you’re not jetting off to Egypt or the south of France to lounge by the pool all day in 35 degrees heat, my guess is you’re a real English soul who loves a spot of camping!

I love camping, but for as long as I can remember caravans have had the same old fashioned and dated interiors. Salmons, peaches and mustard greens cover the walls and furniture, giving the place an eery feel, rather than the welcoming, excitable feel you expect on the first day of your holiday.

trad

We spend hours, months, even years deliberating over our home interiors; I’d say that for many this is an ongoing thing; something is never quite right. The need to feel comfortable, safe and cosy can last a lifetime, so why do we settle for second best on holiday? Why are we happy to chill out amongst stained salmon sofas and peach bathroom interiors?

Ugly surroundings can have a real impact on our mood. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy the holiday; and isn’t that what getting away from home for two weeks is all about?

I’m surprised that caravan interiors haven’t evolved yet; interior design is a fast paced industry, trends, colours and attitudes constantly change, it’s exciting and liberating!

Yet the majority of caravans still offer the same structure and colours, and, to be honest, it’s not particularly inspiring.

Camping styles are a little different; over recent years we’ve seen the term ‘glamping’ grow and grow, sparking a new craze in making an outdoors holiday a little more interesting. Shepherds huts, pods, and vintage caravans are only a few lodgings which will make your holiday experience one to remember.

shep huts

glamp

And that’s exactly it, holidays should be memorable. Whether you’re camping in England or abroad, have a think about what you expect from your holiday and choose your accommodation wisely.

glamp1

Happy camping!

Relax, recuperate and redesign

Sleep is a chance to really relax and unwind; I absolutely love the feeling of wrapping myself into a cosy cocoon after a long, hard day and drifting off into ‘dreamworld’. But for some, the luxury of sleep isn’t always as it should be, as they toss and turn and struggle to travel into their unconsciousness.

We spend a third of our lives asleep, so it’s really important to grasp the concept and do everything we can to help our bodies relax, repair and recover. And believe it or not, furnishing and decorating your bedroom is the first place to start; there are all sorts of tricks to enhance your sleeping experience. Let’s delve into the world of snoozing and look at a few ideas that can really boost the bedroom R&R…

Firstly, try to avoid harsh, sharp colours in the bedroom as these can be very distracting and make it difficult for the body and mind to wind down. Think about soft and gentle colours such as nudes, greys, lilacs and whites; these are calming colours that will create a warm and relaxed feeling, and therefore help you to have a comfortable night’s sleep.

bedroom style

All the senses should be considered when designing your bedroom, but in particular I’d try to focus on your sense of smell. Incorporate smells that you love and make you feel relaxed; the worst thing to do is place smells in your room that irritate your nose, simply because they are fashionable at the time. Lavender, vanilla and jasmine are great, sensual smells that are recognised sleep enhancers. Treat yourself to a nice candle, or incense sticks that will give the room a nice smell and feel.

smells for bedroom

On to the bedding; this is an interesting one as this is completely based on personal preference, and rightly so! Make sure you choose bedding that you love, as it will be encasing your body within it for at least 8 hours. The look, style and feel should represent everything you love in your bedding, so whether this is plain and simple or fancy patterns, it should be right for YOU. The more attractive it is to you, the more enticing sleep is.

bedding 1

bedding 3

My last blog talked about storage space, and I’d just like to revisit this idea a little here; unrelated sleep items that are on show in your room can be a real distraction and don’t allow your mind and body to relax and unwind. Items such as laptops, phone, iPads, laundry and even food and drink are unnecessary when trying to sleep. Look at storage options to remove these from sight when you decide to settle down and catch some zzzzzs.

bed storage

Lighting can be a major issue with regards to designing your bedroom and interrupting your sleep pattern. Sunlight is absolutely great during the day, but it can be a very disruptive influence in the early hours of the morning, waking the body up before it’s due to naturally or artificially (alarm clock!). The ideal solution is to invest in some black out blinds or curtains, which will create a pitch black effect and really keep the room in total darkness; the best thing for a wonderful, uninterrupted good night’s sleep.

All of the above are a few tips that help with ensuring you sleep comfortably, soundly and effortlessly. A soothing hot drink before bed will also help too!

Does your sofa suit YOU?

Sofa, couch, settee, we all call them something a little different…but they all do the same job, and that’s creating a comfy and cosy space for you to relax and unwind.

Now choosing the right sofa can be a lot more difficult than you imagine, believe me. The style, shape, colour, design, feel and price are only a few factors that need to be considered. Have you thought about what the sofa will be used for? Or how often it will be used? This may sound picky, but your sofa will become a long term investment and feature within your home, it’s important for your own peace of mind, (and bank balance!) to get this right.

Consider the size of your room and then the size of the sofa; think about how much space you have to play with and whether you’d like the sofa to be the main feature in the room, or simply blend in with the other furniture. Rounder sofas are a good option if you want to provide a focal point and make the sofa the main statement in the room. Simple or L shape designs are perfect if you want the sofa to blend in. Also, have a think about how many sofas you’d like to incorporate into the room, they’re don’t always have to match exactly, as long as they complement each other nicely, I think that’s all that matters. There are also some lovely pieces of furniture such as armchairs, or an ottoman that can replace a sofa; these are particularly good if you don’t have much room.

contemporary modern sofa

The design; this is the best part! Now is the time to add character, and show some personality within your living space. Again, think about the space you have and how obvious you want the sofa to be. The design and colour should match the theme of the room as a whole, so whether you have a traditional, modern, eccentric or retro feel, the sofa you choose should continue this look.

retro sofa

A little tip when choosing the pattern and colour; remember that fashions are continuously changing, and something that looks amazing right now, may not look so good in a few years’ time. Instead, why not consider cushions and throws to spice it up! These are much cheaper and simpler to change according to the seasonal fashion trends.

glamour sofa

And last but not least, consider how you will use your sofa? There are a numbers of different ways to use your sofa; studying, relaxing, reading, watching TV, lying down, sitting up; whatever the reason, make sure you invest in one which will suit your needs.

vintage sofa

This sofa, couch, or settee, will play a huge role in your life, whether you realise it or not, so choosing the best one is worth spending a little time deliberating over.

I hope this has helped with one of life’s major decisions; please feel free to get in touch if you’d like any further advice and tips. I love talking sofas, designs, colours and anything else relating to the wonderful place we call home!

Four ways to bring your walls to life

Creating character in your home is essential to ensuring that it is YOUR home, in every way possible. Little touches that show your personality, or give a flicker of your charm to outsiders are great for sprucing up your living space and giving it that ‘wow’ factor.

I’ve been having a think about unusual wall fittings and features; walls look great as a blank canvas, but they also look great when filled with interesting, quirky ideas.

Here are four ideas that particularly caught my eye. I hope you like them and that they spur you on to have a think about your walls and what you can do…

1. Newspaper! Yes I know they’re traditionally meant to be read and possibly used in the odd paper mache creation, but it also works wonders for funky wall displays. The texture and black and white effect looks great on the wall. An interesting idea that really allows your artistic flair to shine, give it a go!

newspaper

2. This is one for the music lovers, I’ve seen this a few times in lots of variations and it certainly leaves an impression. Hanging musical instruments on the wall allows you to showcase your talents, but also to express your personality, and give guests an insight into what you’re all about. If you’re a collector, display your old and new instruments, the vintage against modern idea will look fab.

instrument

3. Hats are great to hang on the wall if they suit the theme of the room. Flat caps are great for country homes, snap backs for a bachelor pad, or straw hats for a summer holiday home; whatever your theme, don’t be afraid to try accessories that reflect who you are as a person.

hats

4. Mirrors, great for the ‘selfie’ generation out there! Create a gallery wall of mirrors, they’re a very striking feature, and there are some absolutely beautiful mirrors to showcase. If you’re a fan of interesting shapes and have the space, have a play around with mirrors; you’ll be surprised at their fascinating effect.

mirrors

Store it away!

I thought we could talk about bathroom storage this month, as it’s not something we’ve touched on as yet. I absolutely hate clutter. It’s a small pet hate of mine; it’s distracting and devalues a room that should scream beauty and perfection.

The bathroom is the easiest place to obtain clutter; unsightly multi coloured shampoo bottles, deodorants and face creams are okay if they are in gorgeous, attractive packages, but this simply suggests hundreds of pounds?
For many homeowners, these products will represent Herbal Essences, Nivea or Dove amongst others; great products but the packaging doesn’t quite match the colour scheme of the bathroom; instead of blending in, they become the main point of focus in the room. Surely, there must be a solution to camouflage these necessities?

Of course there is, and it’s something I’m particularly excited about! There are numerous storage options to consider, from traditional wall cupboards to quirky, fun tricks to liven things up.

Rather than trying to disguise a wall cabinet, why not make a feature of it. They are great for storage use, so make the most of their versatility and try to incorporate them into the room.

bathroom 4

Storage boxes are another great way to tidy things up a little. Minimalise what you have on show with trendy, wicker boxes or even clear plastic boxes. These are neat looking and they’re almost certain to match the room, whatever your colour scheme; an ideal way to keep the bathroom essentials but hide away the distracting bottles.

bathroom 2

Introduce glass jars; these suit every bathroom style, colour and theme! A different idea as the products can still be seen (so choose carefully what you pop inside), but a good way to tidy up; the clutter becomes almost non-existent.

bathroom 3

Now it’s time for my favourite bathroom storage idea, quirky accessories! Can you think of anything random and creative to enhance your bathroom? Have a go, there are some fun ideas out there, here’s one to get you started…

bathroom 5

5 ways to freshen things up a little this Spring…

After months of cold grey weather, the sun is finally beginning to shine and make its mark on our day. The air feels fresher and though it may still be quite nippy, we’re heading towards the summer months quicker than any of us can imagine.

I love the designs and furnishings that the better weather brings, things become lighter, brighter and somewhat more ‘springy’!

So if you’re looking to freshen things up a little this Spring, then take a look at my top 5 ways to make your home stand out and really enhance the beautiful season we’re about to enter.

1. Firstly, it’s important to soften things up a little; use delicate colours and soft fabrics to show the friendlier, more pleasant season. Think of ‘mother nature’, she’s everywhere we look so it’s the perfect time to bring her indoors and use her in the home.

mother nature

2. Fresh flowers are a lovely bonus at this time of year; choose a colour scheme that suits your home and incorporate these in different rooms. Random bursts of fresh flowers create a happy feeling and whether you realise it or not, they’ll have a significant effect on your mood as you rush out of the door each morning.

fresh flowers

3. I love quirky accessories! I think they add character and personality to any room; spring is a good opportunity to try something new. If it doesn’t work, simply get rid and try something else.

quirky interiors

4. Light up your life this spring by incorporating candles into your home. There are some great scents around at this time of year, so it’s a good idea to put away the candles from the winter, and replace them with fresher, natural smells. Believe me; it will have a lovely, mesmerising effect on your living space.

candles

5. And finally, it’s all about adding colour; while this may be the case all year round, spring provides a good opportunity to paint over the dark walls which were great for winter, but no so great for the summer season. Forget about natural colours, think about turquoises, lilacs, yellows; happy colours if you will. Now is the time to grab a brush and give it a go; cheap and easy but very effective.

light paint walls

So there you have it, some simple yet easy tips to freshen up your home. And if you do it now, you’ll have plenty of time to sit back, relax and enjoy your handy work.

Country versus City

As the sun begins to shine and the lighter nights commence, it got me thinking about living spaces and the differences between living in the country and living in the city. The two may seem worlds apart, but just how far apart are they in terms of interior design?

I think the first thing to consider is lifestyle; does your home reflect your way of life, and personal preferences? Every home I’ve ever been in has entirely different furnishings and little ‘bits’ that reflect the homeowners moods and personalities.

I wanted to delve into the country Vs city debate, and take a look at how the interior styling of each, mirror the attitudes of the person living there.

Country homes are all about comfort; they’re cosy and casual, perfectly representing the lifestyle and ease of those that set up home in the beautiful countryside.

The fresh air, scenic landscapes and laidback surroundings really help to nurture the interior décor. Inviting nature indoors creates a warm, cosy atmosphere inside the house; I’ve always been a fan of bringing the outdoors in and done well, it can have a great effect.

And if privacy isn’t an issue, then big, open windows are definitely something to consider. Leave the windows uncovered, enjoy the view and take in the outdoors if you’re lucky enough to live in a country home.
Now, when it comes to living in the city there tends to be a different outlook and way of life, which is represented in their interior design within the home.

city flat

Take a city centre apartment for example, the type of person living here will most probably lead a busy, bustling lifestyle. Their flat is their living space, but also somewhere for friends and family to convene.

Open plan living spaces are popular in the city; they’re spacious, inviting and sociable. Perhaps there’s a link here to country homes; both represent spacious, airy spaces, but for different reasons. The key is to furnish and decorate these to suit your mood and means.

While your flat may be small, there are a few handy tricks that you can do to make the most of your living space. Lighten things up a little, making the flooring a lighter colour will really enhance and make the space you have seem much larger; it will give the room an airy feel, perfect as we enter the Spring/Summer season.
Another simple tip is to keep the worktops, tables and desks clutter free, this allows the focus to be on other aspects of the room.

City flats tend to vividly represent the personality of the homeowner; an artist may hand paint the walls, or the living room may represent an office for a businessman who works long hours; whatever your lifestyle, knowingly or not your living space tends to speak volumes about the type of person you are.

Be sure to style your home exactly as you desire.

Which colours work best?

Choosing the correct colour scheme for your home is an absolute must, and while this may sound simple, it’s actually much more difficult than you might imagine.

The primary colours are the first thing to consider, then you’ll move onto the secondary, then it’s the accent and even clashing colours. Don’t forget about colours which suit your mood and personality, or hot and cold colours to make your space cosier or lighter.

It can be a daunting experience for an untrained homeowner, so here are a few useful tips that you may like to consider…

Mixing hot and cold colours is useful when you want to create a mood, or make your space feel cosier or lighter. Too much of one or the other can have a negative effect, creating an almost awkward, uncomfortable atmosphere.

Neutral colours are extremely easy to work with, as they’re versatile and go nicely together. The colours can be layered and mixed and matched. All the colours are great independently and don’t try to dominate each other.

Accent colours are great in my eyes; they’re a clever little device to add small amounts of colour to a room. Small splashes of bright, bold colours in the form of cushions, vases or throws. Perfect if you’re scared of experimenting too much with strong colours.

Be careful with clashing colours; used correctly they look super! But used incorrectly and you could have a problem.
All in all, colours are great and are meant to be used to express mood and personality; I’ve even read that they help to improve your mental wellbeing, which is an added bonus!

But remember, colour is deeply personal, so what you may love, others may hate. Don’t be offended, it’s just different styles suit different people.

We’re all unique and I think it’s great when this is reflected throughout the home.

Out with the old and in with the new?

Hello everyone

I can’t believe we’re nearly into March and Spring is just around the corner; it doesn’t seem two minutes since I was wishing you a Happy New Year and telling you about my Christmas festivities!

I love this time of year, it’s so much brighter and inspiring don’t you think? I love the longer days, the clear blue skies, the green grass and the colourful, vibrant flowers.

I find that people tend to come out of their shells at this time of year too; interior design wise that is. The old saying ‘it’s time for a Spring clean’ really does come to life, as people decide they want something new within their homes, to reflect their sudden change in mood.

But throwing out the old and replacing it with new isn’t always the best option, and that’s where Happy Interiors come in.

Ever heard of upcycling? I absolutely love it and I’m sure you will too!

Upcycling is about taking the furniture you already have, and simply recreating or enhancing it to meet your current needs.

Take an old mahogany bookcase that might dominate your front room for example; you may think it’s ugly, out of date and a huge inconvenience, but we think it’s the perfect piece of furniture to upcycle. A creative, quirky and fun way to reintroduce the items of furniture you hate, sparking a new found love for them.

The first thing to do when upcycling an item of furniture is to pick the colour carefully; there needs to be one principal colour and another underneath, the two should complement each other nicely.

It’s also important to prepare the furniture before you start any work on it. So sand it down if needed, get rid of any old flaky paint and check for woodworms… Gross, but they do exist!

Experiment with different brush strokes too, this will create texture on the furniture. There’s a whole variety of different effects to play with including swirling and stippling, so simply choose your favourite.

And don’t forget to sandpaper over the areas you want to expose, to reveal the colour underneath. Just a little, you can always add more.

But don’t worry too much about all of this, as we’re experts in the art of upcycling; all you have to do is hand over your piece of furniture, tell us its story and a little information about how you’d like it to look.

We think you’ll be amazed at the transformation and glad you didn’t throw it out!

Make your house a home…

It’s often easy to go shopping and fall in love with everything you see. You can’t resist the big traditional armchair, the antique, oak finished table, or the quirky, bright cushions; so you pop it on the credit card and without realising, your living room has become a catalogue of your favourite ‘odds and sods’.

And while some may love this approach, others prefer to make a plan well in advance about how they’d like their space to look; and this is where I can help.

The most important question to ask yourself seems obvious; what do you want from your living space?

Some prefer their space to be family orientated; a cosy place to relax in front of the fire, eat in front of the TV, and play board games or iron; whereas others prefer their space to be somewhere to entertain guests. Whatever your preference, this is the starting point to creating a beautiful living area that is tailored towards your needs.

Anyone with a small living space should be very selective about what they put where, as there needs to be a balance between making the room feel spacious and the urge to squeeze as much furniture into the room as possible.

Mirrors and wallpaper are a great way of enhancing your living space – one tip is to position the mirror opposite a window, making it seem like there is an extra window.

High ceilings are an absolute bonus in my eyes, so if you’re lucky enough to have them, make the most of them! The key is to make your guests look up; perhaps to witness an eye-catching light fitting, and this way the room will appear much larger.

And don’t forget to pick a colour scheme from the outset… this is crucial to creating the exact setting you want from your living space, and every other decision you make will be based on this.

Pick wisely and make your house a home!

What’s hot and what’s not?

Hello and Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas break and spent some quality time with your nearest and dearest. Mine was frantic as usual; it flies by far too quickly doesn’t it?

However, the break did give me a chance to research and get my head around what’s hot and what’s not in 2015. I found some pleasant surprises and a real sense of excitement and interest at the cool stuff on offer… so come on, let’s take a peek!

Texture combinations are set to be HUGE, with an emphasis on the fusions of textures, styles and colours. Don’t be afraid to be different, mix and match, it’s a way of showcasing your own personality within your home. Take the colour orange and mix it with lilac; see what happens, you may be pleasantly surprised!
Mixing of metals within the home is also popular this year, creating a riskier, more stylish look; not too much, just simple, subtle pops of colour which will add depth and ambience to any room.

Another favourite in the industry is the continuing use of copper, a classic, versatile colour that is popular with architects and can create a raw, almost industrial feel. The metal also has the ability to change a mood and atmosphere instantly; the reflective quality of copper means when the light hits it, it can bounce around the room creating a warm glow.

Now it’s time to talk about one of my favourite topics, which is the colour of the year; I love that this changes year upon year, as it appeals to a wider audience. Sometimes you may hate the colour, but other times you may love it! This year it’s all about Marsala, which is a burgundy colour and one that I’m particularly enthusiastic about. It will look great with a variety of different metals, and for me, it has a real hearty, cosy element surrounding it. It’s described as a colour to enrich the mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. I’m excited to see the Marsala year, are you?

And finally, the link between interior design and fashion continues to grow and is something to look out for over the next few years. The two complement each other well, and designers in both enjoy playing and experimenting with materials. So keep an eye on the latest fashions, and what your favourite shop is selling; it could feature in your living room in the not so distant future!

So now we’ve discussed the trends for this season, it’s time to go and explore. And for those of you who are unsure if your ideas will work, or haven’t got the confidence to home those risky metals, don’t be afraid to come and talk through your options with me.

Let’s sit down with a cuppa and chat about how we can incorporate this year’s trends into your beautiful home.