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 Style- The Perfect Beauty Vanity

A beauty vanity is key in any woman’s home and in any interior design project. Whether it’s in your bedroom or dressing room, it’s key to have a lovely organised space to get ready in the mornings and evenings. You may have an extensive beauty collection or maybe just a few key pieces, either way it is important to have your products organised for you to access easily, why not even use your best items to display as accessories in your space. We take a look at some great beauty vanities and how to make the most out of them.

If your dressing room needs a vanity/dressing table then why not go for something simple and minimal. White will work well in any interior space but find a nice simple dressing table that will match the style of your room. A table with drawers will be perfect as it means you can tuck away all your make up so that your table doesn’t look cluttered when you’re not using it. You can then mount or stand a nice large mirror at the back of the table to do your make up in, team this with a smaller free-standing mirror for those close up needs. Then, depending on the size of your table, select some of your favourite items (maybe lipsticks in a stand) and have these on display just to add a bit of décor to your beauty table.

If you don’t have a dressing room or you’re a bit tight for space there are lots of things that you can try. Interior design is all about making the most of the space you’re working with. Why not set up a shelf with some drawers and a series of smaller shelves going up the wall to give you some more storage space. If you pair this with a small stool that can be tucked away under the shelves then you can be sure you won’t be taking up too much unnecessary space. Mount your mirror on the wall so you don’t take up any of the shelf space and store your favourite and most used items closest to you. This way you can have a beautiful vanity and a great space to get ready without taking up loads of space with a bulky vanity and chair to go with it.

On the other hand, if you do have lots of space, then make the most of it. The more makeup you have the more space you will need, so plan for that when choosing a vanity or makeup table. Go for something with more drawer space if you know you have a lot of items to store away. You can even find an unconventional table or desk to use as a vanity, just mount a mirror on the wall behind it and you’ve got exactly what you need. Then, if you want to make your table a statement piece in your space, try decorating with some trinkets or even a vase with flowers. Or even use the products you have to decorate. Maybe you have some products that came in a beautiful box or that have luxury packaging, these will be ideal when decorating a dressing table.

If the girly, neutral style isn’t for you then why not try something different. Try and choose items that will fit best with your space and your personal style. I love seeing quirky pieces in interiors, I think they are what makes interior design so special. Also, you don’t have to have gold everything to create a luxury space. Team together some unconventional pieces and see what you can come up with. Although you can purchase full vanity sets, it doesn’t mean you should. Find items that you like and that match your style and just team them together to make something that you love. As long as you have all the key elements, then you can create something new and unique that is perfect just for you. Interior design is all about experimenting and finding what is right for your own home.

Then you need to think about how you want to store your makeup. Organised makeup storage is key in a vanity table as it is important to know where all your products are, especially if you have a more extensive collection. It is also important to keep things organised for aesthetic reasons as the more organised your vanity is, the better it will look. There are loads of different make up storage solutions online that will help you organise your products either in drawers or to sit on top of your vanity. This will help you to sort your makeup and organise it just how you want it to be. This then can be used to decorate the top of your vanity too, as you can purchase some really beautiful makeup organisers.

If you don’t want to purchase make up organisers, or you just want to try some more unconventional storage options then you can always find things at home to use or purchase other items to store your makeup in. Small plant pots, cups or empty candle holders can be perfect for storing brushes or other makeup items especially if you want to use them for décor on your vanity. You can even try putting them into a tray along with your other favourite items to decorate the top of your vanity. This way you can keep these items in one place and easily move it all out the way if you need more space on your table.

I hope this has given you all some inspiration and ideas on how to create or make the most out of your vanities. Dressing tables can be a great way to show off your favourite products and to help you have a beautiful and organised space where you can get ready.

Until next time!

How To Style- Bookcases

When it comes to interior design, bookcases are key. Whether you have them in your living room, study or even your bedroom, it is important to make them look great. I love being able to show off my books (especially those that look great) so whether your collection is huge or is just home to a few treasures, here are a few ways to really make the most of your bookcase and show off all your favourite reads.

It has become a big trend to start decorating bookcases with much more than just books. Artwork, flowers and other accessories are starting to come into our bookcases to give them that little added extra something. Using unconventional items for bookends is a great way to try this out if you don’t have much space to add in new accessories. Small sculptures or even just decorative bookends are a great way to spruce up your bookcases. Using bookcases of different shapes and sizes are a great way to add in a bit of interest also. Try taking out shelves and moving them around if you can, to make the shelf sizes different. You can then add in taller books or photo frames into these larger sections. This will add a bit more interest and character to your bookcases as it makes the shelves appear differently in a way which is more eye catching.

If you don’t have a lot of books and your bookshelf is looking a bit too bare then try using it as an extra space to accessorise your interior. Laying books on their side and topping them with an ornament is a great way to take up a shelf space without needing lots of books. This will also make the most of height of your shelves by stacking items on top of one another. You can also include candles and other ornamental items in the spaces you have left over. It is also a nice idea to split up the shelves so they aren’t just long units and are shorter than usual shelves. This means that you can have books and other accessories on the same level without getting each element confused with the next. This will go a long way to make sure your bookcase looks tidy and formatted.

If you don’t have the wall space to put in a large bookcase then try and utilise the space that you already have. Built in bookcases are a great idea and you can fit them in much easier than a standard size bookcase. This means that you can fit them in wherever you may desire to make sure your books are in the perfect place in your home. You can even build bookcases in around windows or doors and make the most of the height of your rooms for book storage. Fill your books in and accessorise again. If your bookcases are tall then use the top shelves for your accessories and then keep your books lower down so that you can reach them with ease.

There are plenty of ways to accessorise your bookcases by why not take it one step further? By painting the inside of the shelves in your bookcase you can really bring the whole thing to life. You can also use different wallpapers to add colour, pattern and texture to your bookcases. This is a great way to add an interesting backdrop for all your books and accessories. It can also make your bookcase the statement feature in your space. Adding colour and/or pattern will make your bookcases really stand out against the rest of your furniture, just make sure that the colour or print that you choose doesn’t clash with your interior.

Why not take a modern twist on your bookcase and go for something more unconventional? Built-in bookcases don’t have to be ordinary or a standard style. Maybe go for something more architectural or something that works better with your interior, instead of just opting for what you can find in the stores. This will give you something that is much more unique and works perfectly with your space. You can then go ahead and style it however you like. Just by making it more interesting it will surely stand out so load it up with your favourite books and a few accessories and you’re good to go!

Another great idea- build a reading nook into your bookcase! You can’t get much better than a bookcase that gives you a place to read your books can you. Whether it’s tucked away in the corner of your room or spread out along an entire wall, a reading nook is a great idea. And if you keep fighting over who gets to use the nook, make it big enough for two or make sure you have some comfy seating nearby. Then, you can have stacks of books and even magazines in your bookcases and you can enjoy a read with other people too. When you come to style it, again think about height. You might want to stand up your favourite books or stack them up again to avoid them getting lost in amongst all the others, and to show the off in your space. You might want to add in some photo frames and other accessories. Then, jazz up your nook with comfy cushions, soft throws and even some lamps or overhead lighting.

Hoping I’ve given you lots of inspiration on how to make the most of your bookcases. Books are such a wonderful thing and I think it is so important to have a bookcase not only to house them but as a fab home feature!

Until next time.

Clerkenwell 2017- Highlights

Once again Clerkenwell became abuzz with activity as it hosted the annual Clerkenwell Design Week. The area in Central London is known as London’s Creative Heart – hosting more architects and creative businesses per square mile than anywhere else. Each year the event attracts students, designers and manufacturers from all over the UK to its eight exhibition spaces and over a hundred open showrooms scattered across the area. It offers a fantastic opportunity to meet the faces behind the product, and discover the thought process behind creating beautiful pieces of design.

 

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

The event oozes with style and inspiration – and of course Gracious Luxury were there!

Each of the eight exhibition spaces hosted collections of varying themes and focuses – including Design Fields for International contemporary design, Platform for up-and-coming design talent, Additions for small design pieces and accessories, Project for contract furniture, British Collection for home grown talent and finally Detail for luxury design.

The selection this year was as strong as ever, and the exhibitions had a real emphasis on user activity – displays were tactile, installations encouraged participation and the feel was dynamic and energised.

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

Amongst all of this activity, there were some shining stars of the show. Here are my top picks of Clerkenwell 2017:

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

Emma J Shipley

Possibly one of the most visually striking displays (located in Additions) was that of Emma J Shipley – a graphic artist based in London. Emma’s work harnesses the beauty of handcrafted design and each illustration is drawn by hand. The designs are whimsical – from mythological creatures, sea creatures, astrological imagery to special collaborations with Disney. The illustrations are printed onto luxury silk cushions, scarves, prints and accessories.

https://emmajshipley.com/

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

Lozi

Lozi, a London based company creates bespoke, modern furniture. Hosted in British Collection, the elegant woodwork is simple and clean in style. The smooth and beautifully crafted pieces utilise a neutral pallet; with oaks, beech, pine and white. The clean lines focus on wood grain and complex joins, which give texture and detail to every piece. We particularly enjoyed the bespoke kitchen collection and the soft, warm glow cast by the pine-veneered sunset lamp.

https://www.lozidesigns.com/

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

MannMade London

MannMade London is yet another fantastic British company, specialising in handcrafted, made to order pieces inspired by the urban surroundings of its home in Battersea, London. Their exhibition at the British Collection focused on the launch of their new Battersea Collection, featuring their Edna mirrors in silver or a stunning rose gold, the Rozel dressing table and the Northcote shelving unit. Each piece is made from steel, dyed Valchromat and solid Walnut or Ash. The dark colour pallet coupled with crisp lines create a minimal, functional and moody feel with a touch of glamour.

http://www.mannmadelondon.com/

Photos: Mitch Phillip Turner Photography

Graypants

One of the more unusual objects we saw at Clerkenwell was the flagship piece by Graypants – the Scraplight, at Icon House of Culture. The unusual light shade is full of texture in an earthy tone, and as you get closer to the piece you realise it is made up of laser-cut, recycled corrugated cardboard. Environmentally friendly, the light fittings make a statement and would suit spaces in both bold and neutral colour pallets.

https://www.graypants.com/ 

Photo: Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen sponsored Icon House of Culture this year, and took full advantage of the atmospheric space with light installations, leading to their BeoSound Shape speaker system. The wall-mounted speakers offer an attractive acoustic solution to any space, and the modular system allows for you to choose exactly how you want it arranged. The wool fabric coated panels are tactile and eye catching, giving you the opportunity to create a focal point in any room – both practical and stylish, with incredible sound.

https://www.bang-olufsen.com/en

Clerkenwell 2017 was a yet again a massive hit and fantastic experience for designers, creatives and those who appreciate the art of interior design. If you were unable to visit this year, I hope you were inspired by our selection of highlights. Don’t forget – Clerkenwell 2018 will soon be around the corner, don’t miss it!

BA Interior Design (Hons)- University of South Wales

https://samueljones.myportfolio.com