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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.

How to Style- Statement Colour

Following on from last week’s blog, this week we are looking at how to add a statement pop of colour into our interiors. Using one bold colour is a great way to add interest and character into a space, and by sticking to just one colour, it adds to a room without making it look too OTT. We explore some great ways to add in crazy colours and still get the perfect, stylish interiors.

If you can find a colour that you really like, then try out a few pieces that match up well to add some colour in. I can appreciate that committing to a colourful carpet is a little bit crazy and probably won’t give you the look you’re after, but a runner carpet on the stairs may just work. Team it with some small accessories such as lamps, pots or vases and you have a wonderfully harmonious entrance room with a splash of colour to welcome your quests into your home. As long as you keep the rest of the space relatively neutral you can’t really go wrong. You could even add in a small printed rug to jazz it up a little bit more.

I am always up for a little DIY project and if you are too then whip out your paint brush and some bright paint and get creative! Painting small elements in your home can add a unique and interesting look and the more colourful the paint, the more eye-catching these elements will be. Try painting the risers on steps, maybe not a whole staircase but if you have 2 or 3 steps or a raised platform in your home then give this a go. Other great things to try painting are the insides of your bookcases, shelves, door frames or even radiators. And the best thing about trying this out is, if you don’t like it simply paint over it and its gone. Easy peasy.

Now I mention this in a lot of my blogs, but throws, cushions and artwork really are great ways to add colour into your spaces without spending too much and they are super easy to swap and change as your tastes and the trends change. If you want your bedroom or living room to be mainly neutral then get yourself some throw cushions in your favourite colour and you have easy, instant brightness. If you can’t afford to splash out on posh art, look online for colourful prints or even reach for the paint and have a go at creating something yourself. This is a great way to add colour and interest and brighten up your bare walls, and frames or art can be hung in any and every room in the house.

Another easy way you can add in that little pop of colour is to modify small parts of your furniture. Dipped furniture is a trend that seems to be cropping up all over the place recently. Take legs of chairs or even tables that are a neutral or plain colour and ‘dip’ them into colourful paint to create a unique, funky look. I’m sure people don’t really dip their furniture into big pots of paint and instead measure out where they want to paint so it’s symmetrical on each side, but you never know. If you’re not feeling brave enough to throw your furniture into a pot of paint then why not try coloured tape? It gives the same look and effect but without the commitment. If you don’t like it, you change your mind, or you maybe just want to try a new colour, taking off tape is a lot easier than trying to remove paint.

If you can pick a colour that you know you love and won’t get sick of, then why not go big and splash out on a colourful, statement furniture piece. If you keep the rest of your palette neutral, then you’re not limited to what colour you can try out. A colourful piece of furniture is sure to make a statement and be a conversation starter when you have guests visiting. You can then even team it with small accessories in the same colour to bring the whole look together so that the bold colour doesn’t look too out of place. And, if the colour is one that you love then you can rest assured that you’ll love it for years to come.

Again, if you don’t want to go big on new pieces or start painting your expensive furniture, there are lots of other ways to add in some colour. Wall art is always a striking way to add some interest into a space. Whether you want to do a whole mural or even just some small subtle touches there are loads of things you can do. You can drip paint, splash it, use tape to create lines, use stencils and spray paint, anything goes. Design is very expressive, so go bold and do what you think looks good and if you use your favourite colours you’re sure to love it. If you don’t? Just paint over it and have another go!

Why not give a colourful area rug a go? More affordable than new furniture and they usually take up a larger space too to spread a beautiful, bright colour out. Rugs are a must in an interior, as I’m sure we all know, so why not go big and choose one in a bold colour to mix in with a neutral interior. Fabrics are a great way to add in colour and the more vibrant the better in my opinion!

I’m hoping that you’re all going to go away now and add some wonderful statement colours into your homes. And as ever, I hope I have given you the inspiration to do so.

Until next time!

Neutrals Don’t Have to be Boring

A lot of people are under the impression that neutral colours are boring. From clothing to furniture, a lot of us shy away from those neutrals because of a fear of looking too dull. But neutrals don’t have to be boring and they can actually be a great way to decorate your home easily be able to change with the seasons and trends.

Texture is a very important thing when it comes to decorating with neutral shades. Using a range of different textures adds a lot of interest where you may be lacking in colour. Easy tricks like adding in rugs, throws and textured cushions are a simple way of adding instant texture to any space. Wicker baskets and smaller accessories are also a quick and easy way to add in texture and bring the whole look of the space together.

Now if you’re not big on colour but still feel like you need a little added something in your space, pastels are a great solution. They can add in more interest without totally standing out against the neutral tones of your colour scheme. They blend in nicely and there are lots of ways to showcase pastel colours. From bedsheets and cushions to art work, there are some really great choices in the pastel colour palette to give you the perfect accent in your neutral rooms.

There are so many so-called neutral shades that it can be hard to know which one to choose. So why not go with a variety? No room sticks to one single shade so experiment with neutral tones in your space. Start with a white canvas and play with shades of grey mixed with tan tones to achieve a more well rounded look. These colours can really complement each other well if you get them just right, so try them out and see what you can create.

Metallic gold accessories can really top off a neutral interior space. It brings with it a little added extra luxury and, combined with luxurious fabrics, can really inject a touch a glamour into your home. Look for lamps and side tables to try out this look, or even smaller items such as vases, trinkets and trays can work really well to add a subtle touch of gold. If you really like the metallic look, maybe even splash out on some beaded cushions to add to your sofas or beds!

Wood accessories are a great way to wrap up a neutral colour palette. Go for a brown wood that is on the same spectrum as your neutral colours and you’re onto a winner with this one. It gives the illusion of adding colour without actually straying away from your initial colour palette. Even using different shades of wood can add depth and dimension without adding in any actual colour. Grab yourself a wooden side table and a fabulous potted plant and you’ve instantly added a little extra something to your otherwise conventional interior space.

Black and white is an age-old trend, and using it in an interior works just as well to create a beautiful monochrome space. Done well, it can create a wonderful, minimalistic, scandi style interior. Starting with a bright base is important as it keeps the room open and ready to contrast any black/dark accessories. Just because you are using black, doesn’t mean the space has to be dark and moody. Opt for light rugs, soft furnishings and accessories to place on or next to your black surfaces to bring the whole look together. When looking for black furniture, go minimal. Tables with thin legs, narrow framed mirrors and picture frames and shelving that isn’t too heavy. This will again create this look without making it far too dark!

And that’s it; how to make sure that your neutral spaces aren’t boring. There are so many small changes that really make all the difference and bring your space into a whole new look.

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!

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!

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!