Great Outdoor Spaces For Summer

With summer now upon us we all spend more and more time in our gardens or outdoor spaces, so it is important for these spaces to look great and be functional. Also, during the summer months we all tend to have guests over and entertain more so it is key to have a great outside space to entertain in. Whether your outside space is small or large, there is always a way to make the most of it and turn it into something amazing.

Your outdoor space should reflect your personal style and your tastes, the rustic style can work great in an outdoor space. Rustic style tables and chairs are a great idea to create the perfect outdoor seating and dining area. Having different seating options creates a great look indoors and out, try using a selection of chairs and benches to make sure your outdoor space looks more interesting. This way you can also move these around to different areas in your garden or courtyard and they won’t look out of place. If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in canopy, or if you can build one in yourself, then make sure you consider your lighting in these areas. If you can, try and wire in lighting and hang some pendant lights or sconces in this space. It is also important to decorate your dining table just as if it were your normal dining table. Opt for some more colourful dining accessories and include vases with some seasonal flowers or greenery in, just to tie the whole look together.

Again, if you’re lucky enough to have a built-in canopy then you should definitely embrace it. Try hanging fairy lights from the top of your canopy so that you can enjoy your outside space during the day and at night. So, when those summer barbeques turn into late nights, you can still enjoy the warm summer evenings. It is also a nice idea to have a range of different seating areas in your outdoor space. Although it is great to have a large outdoor dining area, it is useful to also have a smaller seating area for when there are less people or just as a nice spot to enjoy a coffee on a warm summer morning. If you are working with a tiled or patio space, then try incorporating in some potted plants to give the space some more colour. You can have large pots on the floor and smaller pots on shelves or even hanging up from the wall or a canopy.

Maybe you have a small outdoor area or a courtyard instead of a garden, but you can still create something really special for your outside space. If you have a smaller area then try not to add too much furniture to save on ground space when it comes to entertaining. It is a good idea to have some open doors onto your courtyard so that your guests can spill out onto the outside space. If you do want some seating, then try and include a small table & chairs and/or a small bench tucked away at the side the courtyard. This way, when you’re not entertaining, you have a quiet spot to sit outside and the perfect place to have a sunny breakfast or an evening drink whilst you watch the sun go down. With a smaller space, you may also want to create a look which is a lot more modern; if you have decking or a patio courtyard for instance then this will be really easy to do. With a courtyard, you will need to try and inject some greenery as usually you won’t have a grass area or many plants. You can decorate with potted plants in large, modern pots to tie the whole look together.

If you have a larger space, it is good to have a covered area as an addition to you space. During the summer months, it is ideal to have a covered area in your garden so you have a space to cool down and get some shade on those really hot days. You can also combine styles just like you can indoors, that’s what’s great about interior design. Mixing rustic accessories and natural elements with modern pieces can create a really on-trend outdoor look. Again, overhead lights, soft furnishings, potted plants, tables, chairs and other accessories will bring an outdoor look together and create a really affective outside space. Outdoor rugs or titled flooring can also be a great look in your outdoor space, this will add some different texture and colour too.

If you live in the UK like me, you’ll know that beautiful sunny days can turn into rather chilly nights. Because of this, it is key to have some items on deck to keep you warm when you want to enjoy those summer nights. Comfy cushions and blankets are a great thing to stack up on your outdoor seating for your guests and yourself when it gets a bit nippy at night. Another great element to have in your outdoor space is a fire pit or patio heater. This will again keep you warm when the sun goes down and will even create a central point on your patio. You can even have a built-in fire pit with built-in seating surrounding it, this will give you a great chill out zone for the summer and give your guests a focused area to sit around in the evenings.

Small gardens, courtyards or balconies are much more intimate and can be trickier to know how to decorate. Again, try to limit your furniture so you don’t take up too much space and make your outdoor area too cluttered. There are lots of things you can do in a small space to make it look great without taking up too much room. Try and accommodate seating options for a few people and a table where you can set down drinks and place accessories. If you are worried about not having any shaded space, try a large umbrella or a fabric canopy that you can hang across your courtyard to give you some shaded space. As always, you will want some lighting for your space for evening/night time, so fairy lights and lanterns are a great addition to a small space. These can be hung up on walls or hung over the top of your space and they won’t take up any space on the floor or on top of your tables. Hanging plants is also a great way free up space on your floors, if you don’t have flower beds then always go for potted plants or buy huge plant pots and plant a range of smaller flowers in one pot. This is a great alternative when you don’t have any other space for planting. You can also include accessories such as candles and holders, throw cushions and vases, etc.

Plants and flowers are a great way to add colour to your garden or outdoor space, but there are other ways to incorporate more unconventional colours too. Tiling works great in a garden space and you can create a great seating area that is different to a conventional patio area. You can then match any colourful tiling with your accessories; thrown cushions, blankets and pots are a great way to do this. It is also a good idea to try and accessorise with items that match your natural colour palette. Try and reflect the greens, browns and neutral colours in these, think wooden tables and wicker baskets. Again, go for large potted plants on a patio/tiled surface to keep the garden look harmonious throughout.

If you are someone who entertains often and likes to entertain in your garden, then it is key to have plenty of seating options. Aside from having a dining space, it’s a great idea to have secondary spaces to sit when you want to relax or have a drink, or for when you have guests over and need extra seating. If you are struggling for seating space for these events, get yourself some fold way deck chairs that can be stored away for when you don’t need then. Then for even more seating space, grab yourself some outdoor blankets or rugs and some large garden cushions for floor seating space for when your guests want to just chill out in the sunshine.

There are so many great things you can do in an outdoor space and many elements in this blog can be merged to create the perfect garden space. I hope this has given you some inspiration for your outdoor spaces to make the most of them this summer.

Until next time!

How to Create the Ideal Playroom

Hi Everyone!

Recently, we were set the challenge by a new client to create a nursery and playroom and it got us thinking. Instead of just making this a beautiful room for them to play and grow in, why don’t we make sure that these soon-to-be parents are able to give their precious little bundle the best learning experience and opportunities.

All babies are born ready, able and eager to learn! However, their development isn’t an automatic process, so it’s up to us grown-ups to help them to start their own journey. It is vital for us all to remember that all children, even siblings, will grow and develop at their own rate and pace. This obviously makes it tricky for us to know where to start.

In the UK, we have non-statutory guidance material called ETFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). This is aimed mostly at those who work with young children and helps them to monitor and asses their progress. So, what a great place for us parents to look for help and inspiration. This material goes into to an amazing amount of detail and not all of it is applicable to what we are currently working on but if you want to check it out you can find it here.

So, what we did was to take from this document and adapt it to suit the needs of the client and their home environment. We found that designing the playroom to have separate ‘zones’ with age appropriate activities in each was a great place to start. This was the best way to provide these little ones with everything they needed.

The first element of the playroom should include a space for youngsters to read. This zone could house a book stand with a range of exciting and engaging books at a range of different stages to accommodate for your child’s reading level. This space could also be teamed with a comfortable area for them to sit, lay or lounge whilst they enjoy a good read. Make the space exciting and colourful to encourage them to visit that zone often.

Now onto the play zone! The most important thing to start with is a great storage area for all your little ones’ toys. There is nothing worse for us parents than having a messy cluttered play space, so storage is very important. Separate toys into boxes which are clearly labelled to make the process of tidying up that little bit easier. You may also want to include some kind of ‘play station’. This could be a playhouse, toy kitchen or work bench where your little one can have fun and play for hours.

It is also very important to include a small table and chairs in its own little zone. This means you have a great space to be used for snack times, arts and crafts or even just to sit and play. It also offers parents that space to be able to sit down with their children to work or play.

It’s handy to have a separate storage area, stored away from children’s reach where arts and crafts materials can be stored. This helps to keep everything in order and helps make sure you’re fully stocked up on everything you need for your little ones to get creative. Most importantly, it helps prevent little hands getting a hold of things that can cause huge messes when unsupervised.

As we were set the task to create a playroom by our client, we have used this knowledge to our advantage and created a great space perfect for a child that we wanted to share with you. The floor plan shows all the key zones needed for the ideal playroom layout which I have explained and makes the most of the space we were working with. If you want to see the progress of this project, you can follow our social media accounts to see concepts, mood boards and much more over the next few weeks.

Thank you for reading and I hope this blog has made you as excited for this new project as we are!

Interior Design Trends for 2017- Part 2

Last week we brought you the first part of ‘Interior Design Trends for 2017’ and now, we bring you even more great trends for this year. There’s definitely something for everyone so if you didn’t fancy any of the trends in the last blog, you’re sure to find some in this one!

Deconstructed Luxe

The clue is in the name for this one. Using natural materials to create an amazing, on-trend look. This includes the increasing popular exposed brick look along with plaster and concrete finishes on walls and floors, metals, cork, woods and clay. Combining a few of these raw materials can create a great rustic/industrial look which is very popular right now. A lot of restaurants and bars have started to incorporate these trends into their interiors but these looks are starting to show up in homes also which I think is great.

Marvellous Marble

Marble has been seen all over the place for many years. But, now it is becoming increasing popular. From the classic marble floor tile, to marble faux wall finishes, it has become a very diverse material for interiors. Explore marble wall murals, colourful marble and, if you search it on Pinterest, marble pretty much everything! I’m definitely a lover of marble and if you don’t fancy tiling your entire kitchen in marble, why not try out some accessories? Every market seems to be untouched by the trend right now, you can even get marble look carpets! Maybe you fancy that maybe you don’t, all I know is that we’ll be seeing lots of this trend in 2017.

Multi-Functional Furniture

Now if you’re tight for space, or you like furniture to tuck out of the way when you’re not using it, then you’ll love this one. Multi-functional furniture is becoming increasingly popular and with more and more new innovative ideas coming out all the time, I can see why. Fold-out tables that turn into mirror or picture frames, sofas that turn into chairs and then back again, the classic extendable table and even height adjustable tables are just a few great examples of this up and coming trend. Whether you want a piece which works as more than one thing, or something that folds away completely (like the classic old Murphy Bed) you’re guaranteed to find something to suit your needs.

Blue Hues

Blue is for sure my absolute favourite colour, so this trend really excites me. This year navy is the new black and French blue is making an appearance too. The great thing about blue is that it can be very versatile, it goes well with most colour schemes so it’s easy to add a hit of blue into any space. And why not go big and rework the whole colour scheme to match your new bold, blue walls! As mentioned in part 1 of this blog, velvet is a big trend for this year and blue is a colour which looks amazing in velvet. Try blue accessories and furniture or even blue artwork to try out this trend if you’re not keen on the idea of painting your walls with such a bold colour. Also blue is great as it lends to a space without making it feels small!

Techie Furniture

In the past few years, and this year especially, we have been seeing LOADS of new technology cropping up all over the place. Personally, I’m not massively into gadgets and tech accessories but some of what I have seen in the past few months has been pretty impressive. One great new product are the new voice-activated home assistants, like Google Home. These are great and not only are they super helpful, but they look great too and come in a whole range of different colours. Another popular trend is tech that is integrated into furniture. This can range from phone chargers built into bedside tables or light stands, to upholstered speakers like the classic Linn speaker upholstered in Timorous Beasties fabric (shown above). This trend is very exciting and I’m certain we will be seeing a lot more of this over the next few years.

Bring the Outdoors in

If you read my blog ‘How to Decorate with Florals’ then you’ll know that I love having fresh flowers in my home. But it doesn’t stop there. Indoor plants are another great way to bring the outdoors in and bring a little life into your home. You might opt for a huge potted plant if you’re feeling adventurous or maybe you go for a tiny terrarium, either way it’s sure to add some more character into your space. With green being all the range this year this is a great way to incorporate two trends in one and explore natures colour palette. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with beautiful surrounding views you can even put in a large window to incorporate the outside colours into your space. I suppose if you don’t feel like doing major construction work on your property you could always just grab yourself a cute little cactus and stick it on your desk instead.

I hope this has inspired you all and helped you explore the interior design trend for this year. As always, please feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think or if you’ve tried any of these trends out yourselves tell us how they worked for you!

Until next time!

How To Decorate With Florals

With spring now officially making an appearance, I know I’m not the only one looking forward to seeing the beautiful spring colours and foliage cropping up everywhere. So, why don’t more of us bring the spring inside our homes instead of just admiring it in the outdoors? I know that a lot of people associate florals inside the home with the Granny’s old curtains, but it can be much more than that. Have a look at these beautiful and on trend ways to incorporate florals and bring the spring time into your homes.

The best thing about spring for me is flowers. The beautiful colour combinations are certainly inspiring and that can be translated into our interiors. A great way to inject some floral fun into a space is through the walls. There are so many beautiful wallpapers and wall coverings out there now that there is easily something for everyone. Floral walls don’t have to be boring, go for colour and something beautiful. Try something with branches and birds and butterflies worked into it. And for those of you who don’t think that florals are ‘manly’ enough, try darker colours and damask patterns instead.

Fancy bringing your bathroom alive? Don’t settle for something plain, try out a feature wall in your bathroom. This tile wall is a perfect example of this. Try beautiful colours and patterns or even go for mosaic style patterns for your tiling instead. And if its florals you want, opt for a hexagon tile pattern on your walls or floors and use a range of colours to give the illusion of flowers.

Be bold- go big and bright and colourful. Wall murals are an interesting way to add colour and character to any space without the repetitive patterns that a lot of wallpapers have. Another great thing about them is that they’re individual to you and your space so you won’t be seeing your mural anywhere else. Not only that but they are a great way to bring a room alive and it definitely draws the eye. So if it’s that bold look you’re going for murals are the perfect solution.

Now, if you don’t fancy coating your walls in large, colourful flowers there’s lots of things you can do to brighten up your walls instead. Artwork is always a scintillating way to add interest to a space, try adding florals in this way. Big or small it will be sure to add colour in where you need it. Art doesn’t have to be expensive and if you’re on a budget there’s a few things you can do. Look for artist prints which work out less expensive or look for young up and coming artists who tend to sell small scale works and prints online. Grab yourself a simple frame and let the art do the talking. Or, if you’re feeling really creative give it a go yourself! Dust off that old watercolour palette and pick up a brush and see what you can create.

Now I’m definitely partial to a throw cushion (or twelve) and I think they are a great way to add colour and pattern into our living spaces and bedrooms. The best thing about throws and cushions is that you can change them whenever you want. Maybe you want your bright floral patterns for the spring and summer months but something darker and cosier for the winter time. Cushions make this easy. They can change with the seasons and trends and don’t mean you have to splash out your hard earned money on larger pieces if you know you change your mind too often!

If throws and cushions aren’t your thing or you don’t like battling with hundreds of pillows before getting into bed at night, then work with your sheets instead. If you’re like me you probably have a few different bed sets that you can swap and change depending on how you’re feeling or what time of year it is. Spring/summer is an ideal time to bring this into effect. Look for bright floral bedding that can be changed with seasons and moods. However, if you’re not into bright colours or it clashes with your interior, try smaller floral patterns in muted colours or spring pastels and even try a black or grey floral pattern.

If flowers are your thing and you’re loving the floral/spring trends then combine this with your furniture choices. Upholstered chairs can be used in any interior in any colour, style and fabric. Little floral (or printed) chairs like this one are a terrific way to add a bit of character to an otherwise plain space. It can also make a large statement with a small piece of furniture. And if there isn’t anything out there on the market that you like, why not take an existing piece and have it reupholstered. That way you take a piece you know you like and choose exactly what fabric and print goes onto it.

If you aren’t into bold prints and bright colours then opt for something a little subtler. Try cushions with smaller florals or paler colours and team them with plain pastel coloured throws and other cushions for a more muted spring time look. Take the florals to the windows also. Long drapes or curtains with elegant floral patterns are a great way to inject a touch of spring time into your space. So even if it doesn’t look like spring out the window, it certainly will inside!

Now for possibly the greatest and most simple way to add a touch of spring to your interiors. Bring spring indoors with beautiful flowers and plants. Best of all, fresh cut flowers are only temporary so you won’t have time to stop liking how they look in your space. In addition to this, you can also explore a range of colours, shapes, heights and best of all fragrances with all the different options you have to choose from. I love having fresh flowers in my home, I feel it gives an added fresh and homely feel in any room. And if you’re too busy to be buying fresh flowers every week, you can even go for faux flowers either sculpted in a vase or in a vase of your choice to add a bit of colour.

Hopefully now you’re all as excited for the spring and summer months on their way as I am. And I hope I’ve inspired you to be adventurous with florals in your own interior spaces.

Until next time!

How to Style- Statement Furniture

Recently, I’ve been seeing lots of interiors which are neutral toned and very ‘safe’ in terms of design. I think it’s a shame that people aren’t more adventurous with their interiors. If you like it, then buy it! Don’t shy away from bold, exciting pieces- use them in your spaces and embrace them. So, here are a few ideas of how to incorporate statement pieces into your interior spaces.

Luxury furniture and fabrics.

Clan Milano- Cortes

Why not start off small? Go for a small side table or a stool just to add a small accent to your space. Go for something bright, in a luxurious fabric, and even experiment with a bold pattern. These stools and side tables from Clan Milano are a perfect idea if you want to add a little injection of interest to your space. The side tables may be a small addition but with their shiny brass components and coloured marble tops, they certainly do stand out.

Boca do Lobo- Venice Mirror

If you don’t fancy splashing out on statement furniture, why not opt for a simpler option like a mirror. Mirrors make a great addition to any room and are perfect for reflecting other elements in your rooms. I think the bigger the better when it comes to mirrors. Go for something that stands out; mirrors with detailing or interesting borders are great for any space. The Venice Mirror from Boca do Lobo is a great example of this. It’s big and bold, but is entirely made from glass so it is a great way to make a statement without messing with the colour scheme.

Cappellini- Embryo Chair

I have always been a lover of bright colours. So, when it comes to choosing furniture, colourful, quirky pieces like these really excite me. I love the thought of having a piece in my home that has that real ‘wow’ factor when people see it. That’s what statement furniture means to me- pieces that people ask you about when they see them, things that are interesting to the eye and those elements that really bag a great response. These chairs from Cappellini are no exception. The perfect way to add some interest to your living area and have your visitors saying ‘wow’.

Splinter Works- Hammock Bath

No need to leave the bathroom out; take your statement pieces to any room you want to. This Hammock Bath is the perfect way to change things up in your bathroom and add a bit of glamour. Instead of having a clinical looking bathroom, bring in some excitement with interesting tilling and lighting as well. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, Splinter Works also make the Hammock Bath gilded in 24 Carat Gold! Now that’s what I call making a statement.

Jimmie Martin- Never Sleep Alone

Maybe you don’t feel like going bold in your shared spaces, but that shouldn’t stop you transforming your bedroom. Try an interesting head board for your bed or some bright furniture choices to really bring your bedroom alive. Brighten up the space with bold, bright colours to contrast an otherwise neutral room. A piece like the one pictured above is a great example of this, it is harmonious with the look of the room but definitely draws the eye. I am all for adding a key piece of interest to a space and this is a brilliant, quirky way to do it for sure.

Serip- CT3368/70

If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can go really big. Lighting is a fabulous way to create interest. Halls and entryways are a brilliant place to really showcase some amazing lighting solutions. These spaces are the first thing people will see when they enter your home so why not make a great first impression. A chandelier is a great way to add a bit of glitz and glamour to any space. Why not try and extended chandelier or pendant light hanging through a spiral staircase. Not only does it provide lighting for your hallway and upstairs landing, but it creates a beautiful, eye-catching feature when using your stairs. This one from Serip is truly spectacular and really plays on the traditional chandelier to create something completely different. The perfect lighting statement.

Verner Panton- Living Tower

Now, the design world comes out with some pretty fantastic things and it certainly doesn’t stop when it comes to furniture. With so many fun, quirky and downright mad things on the market these days, why would you want to go for something plain? From bright colours you wouldn’t think of displaying in your home, to pieces that you can’t even believe are meant to be furniture, there is so much out there. The Living Tower by Verner Panton showcases exactly this. An ideal statement that not only serves as a piece of furniture but as a piece of art in itself also.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to add fantastic statement pieces in your homes and add a little more interest. After all, we all want that ‘wow’ moment when people come to visit us don’t we?

Until next time!

Creating The Perfect Mood Board

Being a creative thinker/processor, I thought the topic of the blog today might be visually yummy & a guide for you budding Interior designers on the purpose of a mood board: which are used in a variety of design disciplines and how it can help you confidently create a space that works in terms of colour & styles.

A mood board is a collection of images which reflect the style, feel and look of an interior. This is the first stage of the design process, defining our ideas about the space, and later working as a guide for design development. Below are a collection of mood boards which represent various kinds of styles:

An analogous palette of colours that harmonize and sit beautifully together in any interior.

A feminine palette creating a visual language which translates vintage peach with a monochromatic and natural base.

    Gorgeous naturals and textures sit beautifully together.

Fun and pops of colour work fabulous together as all have the same tone of white added to the pure hue.

Vintage pastels which tonally compliment as illustrated in this vintage board.

A masculine palette, illustrating the smoky and woody tones for a space.

The elements that can be explored in the mood board include inspirational images, colour palettes, furniture, textures, and the overall look and feel of the interior.

A mood board is extremely useful for establishing the aesthetic feel before going into more detail with material sourcing or even furniture sourcing, as we don’t want to waste valuable time putting finishes and furniture together when the aesthetics are disjointed. It’s a fun stage yet crucial to ‘get it right’ as the elements put on the board do show how the space will feel once you get to that stage.

 My advice is, research thoroughly and enjoy yourself as this will shine through in your interior space.

Interior Design Rules- Part 1

In recent months, we have been seeing more and more people looking for interior design help and advice. We have been trawling the internet on platforms such as Twitter and Houzz to find the things that people struggle with when it comes to their interiors. So, we have now devised a list of interior design rules to live by in case you wanted to give it a go without the help of an interior designer.

Balance

Balance is the delivery of the visual weight of design elements, for example colours, volumes, lines, textures and is grouped into these three categories:

Symmetry– where both sides, divided by a line or point, have identical visual weight. The result is often formal, absolute, conventional, ordered, prestigious and powerful. Symmetry looks great especially in a bedroom or living space, if you want your space to look clean and organised then using symmetry is a great way to achieve this look. When it comes to the bedroom symmetry is easy; match up your cushions and throws, choose matching bedside tables and lamps to tie it all together.

A-symmetry– where different objects achieve equal eye attraction or equal visual weight. The result is often informal, different, unceremonious, open, uninhibited and inviting. Achieve this by using contrasting furniture, accessories and sizes. Try using completely different striking arm chairs around your living space or having a range of different lighting around a room. This will create a less balanced look but will add interest to your interior spaces.

Radial – where all visual elements are focused around a central point and spread outwards. A great way to try this out is in the living room. Try selecting an interesting centre piece like a coffee table, perhaps in a contrasting colour, and focus the layout of the room around that piece.

Pattern

Pattern is produced when similar parts including lines, shapes, forms, textures, tones or colours are used repeatedly, creating a logical, coherent and visual structure. This term in Interior Design is often used in relation to floor and wall finishes, for example wall coverings or carpet design; or soft furnishings for example window dressings. Adding pattern is a great way to add character and interest to any space. You can be adventurous and go for bold wallcoverings, patterned tiling or patterned rugs. If not why not try incorporating pattern into your interiors with soft furnishings, lampshades or accessories.

Contrast

Contrast is the occurrence of opposing elements such as complementary colours, rough and smooth textures, small and large sizes; and horizontal and vertical directions. Contrast is the variety, difference or alteration between elements which effectively creates emphasis in design. A great place to start when adding contrast into your interiors is with colour, don’t be afraid to mix it up and use a range of different colours which contrast each other nicely. Size is also an easy way to add contrasting element to any space, use a range of small and large pieces of furniture or accessories as this will add depth and interest.

Dominance

Dominance is the centre of interest or focal point. It is the area that first attracts attention. There is a hierarchy or importance between various elements within a design. Successful relationships between elements can create interest and counteract confusion and monotony. Adding a focal point can really bring interest into a space. Why not try a striking piece of artwork or a wall mural as these are both great ways to draw the eye and create an essential point of interest.

We hope that these design rules have given you some inspiration for your homes and solved any design dilemmas you may have. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming in a few weeks time. If you have any interior design related questions or problems, please leave them in the comments below and we will be sure to answer them in one of our blogs soon.

Thanks again for reading!