How to Add Wow! to Your Bedroom

Design Advise and Inspiration for your bedroom
Design Advise and Inspiration for your bedroom
Design advise and inspiration for your bedroom.

Does your bedroom resemble a walk-in wardrobe? Is the decor O.K. but the room looks ‘tired’ and dysfunctional? Does your bedroom look like this…..?

A disorganised bedroom requiring love and attention
A bedroom in much need of love and attention in all areas.

Your bedroom should be a refuge at the end of a busy day, somewhere peaceful with the feel good factor to help relax and induce sleep. It should also make you feel good in the morning, all are psychological factors in our subconsciousness and effect health and sleep.

The most important item is your bed, well, your mattress to be precise. You must ensure that it is giving you the correct lumbar support. Always try out the mattress before purchasing.

As your bed is probably the largest item of furniture in the room, it is the obvious focal point. Your eyes will naturally be drawn to the bed. Make it look inviting and gorgeous. A statement headboard can be just the thing you need to add the ‘Wow’ factor to your bedroom.

This is why here at Sarah Maidment Interiors, we are excited to launch our very own range of bespoke headboards. Our headboards are available in a range of sizes to suit either standard bed sizes, or made to measure. They can be wall or bed mounted if you have a divan bed.

 

Whether covered in a plain fabric with studs, or upholstered in a fabulous fabric to compliment your decor, our exclusive design will certainly ‘pack a punch’.

We custom make every order, so if you’re looking for a ‘designer’ headboard with extra height, a specific design or fabric of your choosing, then we will be more than happy to accommodate. The possibilities are endless! https://sminteriors.co.uk/Bespoke_Headboards_Bedheads.html

 

The cheapest way to achieve a boost  is with some new bedding. Some prefer plain and white bedding only; they choose to dress the bed by adding a throw or blanket and perhaps some cushions. I rarely add more than two cushions personally, otherwise they get thrown across the room by my husband. He finds the cushions irritating. You cannot please everyone!

If you are the sort of person who loves patterns and prints, just be careful to ensure that the colour and design compliment your existing colour scheme. If you’re planning to decorate the whole room, an eye-catching duvet cover can serve as a staring point for your new bedroom decor scheme.

 

Storage

There’s rarely enough storage for clothes in a bedroom, given the changeable climate of the U.K.

A large number of homes have free standing wardrobes, but built-in ones offer clever storage facilities and make better use of available space. Interior wardrobe lighting is important too, whether wired in LED sensor strip lights or self adhesive sensor lights. It does help find what your looking for! A ‘wash’ of lighting in the exterior creates ambience.

Built in wardrobes with external lighting
Built in wardrobes makes good use of all space. By ohinteriors.co.uk

Chests of Drawers provide great storage and can also double as a bedside cabinet if space allows – just ensure that the height of the chest of drawers is the correct height to your bed. This rule applies to bedside cabinets and tables too; you need to be able to easily access your morning tea, or water without spillage. These do not have to be matching. Add interest with different tables or drawers.

 

A vintage trunk, basket or ottoman at the foot of the bed is great for storing bedding and spare linens and frees up space in an airing cupboard. Ottoman beds are an ideal choice if space is tight for items not required on a frequent basis. A bedroom chair is useful, but all too often hidden under a pile of discarded clothes!

 

Lighting is crucial to get right. A bedroom requires several layers of light intended for different moods and uses. A good over head light is needed for cleaning ( and perhaps rummaging in your wardrobe if you don’t have internal lighting). A dimmer pendant light offers flexibility to add a softer light when required.

Bedroom lighting shown in layers.
Example of layered lighting in a bedroom. By lissyparker.com

Bedside tables and cabinet lamps add textural or patterned interest with the shade, which introduces another element into your rooms decor.  Ensure the base of the lampshade is at least shoulder height when sitting in bed to enable reading. A separate wall mounted reading light could be added too, such as an angle poise lamp which offers greater flexibility.

 

 

Good lighting on a dressing table to reflect light onto your face for make up application and hair drying is essential. This could be a dimmer light or nice lamp, whichever is your preference.

Flooring is a very personal choice.  Whether a fitted carpet, wooden floor boards or tiles;  rugs add both a luxury element and anchor the room.  One way to achieve this is by using small rugs placed each side of the bed, or one large rug placed centrally under the bed to add another decorative dimension and interest to your bedroom.

 

And so to bed….zzzzz

Adding Character to Your Home

Adding Character to your home using vintage and antiques
Create a home which tells your story

Inject your personality, style and soul into your home and garden, not by sourcing everything from one high street shop. Your home will end up looking like a show home, far too contrived and bland. Whether you’re preferred taste is Retro, Shabby Chic, Vintage, Industrial, contemporary or even a mixture of styles creating an eclectic, individual home. By mixing it up a bit you’re creating a home which reflects you, and enhances your home. Take time to enjoy gathering ‘loved’ items. Homes and gardens evolve over time.

Selection of elecltic Interiors for every room
Eclectic interior ideas

If you’re looking for an unusual or particular item of furniture, lighting or accessories to add personality to your home or garden by visiting local vintage shops, such as The Vintage Vagabond or Home and Colonial in Berkhamsted, and Emporiums. The Fleetville and Hitchin emporiums are home to many small traders, as well as  Station Mill Antique, The  Old Flight House and the Three Wise Monkeys ( formally at The Saddlery, St Albans, now at a smaller venue at Woodside Farm, Slip End and the images shown here are of the previous premises). Packed with unusual items. Some will revoke memories of childhood ( scary, as some of us realize that we, too are vintage!). A monthly Antique and Vintage Street Market is held once a month in St Albans, which is definitely worth a visit.

 

 

A few pieces of furniture have been ‘upcycled’ into bespoke one-off  items, which could transform a room. Images show pieces by Carmel of Piece Unique and by me Sarah Maidment Interiors. We both take commissions  if you have your own item of furniture which you’d like customising.

 

 

You will also find Kelim rugs, cushions, and  stools and chairs upholstered in gorgeous Kelim rugs from Rug Addiction https://www.rugaddiction.co.uk/ . Other chairs re-upholstered, homemade cushions and artwork to grace your walls.

Kelim rugs, cushions and upholstered furniture
An array of Kelim rugs, cushions and upholstered furniture by Rug Addiction

If vintage clothing is your passion, Little Viking  https://www.littlevikingvintage.com have an array of dresses, jackets, shoes and bags for all. ‘Oh Sew Vintage’ for handmade dresses for all occasions.

 

 

You will also find every conceivable Doc Martin design boot you could ever wish for.

Selection of Doc Martin Boots, vintage heaters and lamp
Doc Martin boots, vintage heaters and lighting

Vintage books, comics, and  postcards can be found for collectors and unusual hand-made jewellery by local artisans.

 

 

Modern works of art and photography adorn the walls. This stunning picture of Nelson Mandela (below) taken by the photographer Greg Bartley would look amazing gracing the wall of a large room.

 

Limited edition framed photograph of Nelson Mandela by Greg Bartley
Visually stunning photograph of Nelson Mandela by Greg Bartley

IMG_6804Come and say ‘hello’ and meet Colin the resident ‘horse’ .

Fake horse called Colin
Colin, a reminder of the barns former life as a saddlery and stables

Tour de France – Let’s Start with Yellow

Yellow abounds as the colour of the overall lead cyclist ( Maillot Jaune) the Tour de France, which starts on 5th in Leeds. Dotted along the routes over Yorkshire are brightly painted yellow bicycles. The first stage of the race finishes in Harrogate on 5th July. Betty’s of Harrogate the famous tea room has launched a new range of biscuits especially for the occasion.  http://www.bettys.co.uk/bettys_harrogate.aspx  An old tree in Montpellier, just a short walk  from Betty’s, has been carved with cyclists to mark the momentous event. Whilst at Rudding Park http://www.ruddingpark.co.uk/ a hotel just outside Harrogate, my delicious cappuccino  was decorated with chocolate sprinkles forming two cyclists on top!

Sunny, bright yellow which reminds us of summer, sunflowers and buttercups in meadows.  Or if in France sunflowers, an inspiration to Provence decor. A warm golden yellow such as ‘Mister David’ by Little Greene Paint Company http://www.littlegreene.com/mister-david or Babouche from Farrow and Ball http://www.farrow-ball.com/babouche/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100223 are ideal mixed with burgundy and red furnishings for a rich, opulent look. Lovely for a sitting room.  Or mix with dark grey for a smart contemporary vibe. Great for using in North facing rooms which do not receive much sunshine or natural daylight, but looks just as stunning in a south aspect room. Yellow can be sophisticated teamed with dark mahogany. If yellow walls are too much, try covering a sofa or armchairs with in a mustard yellow velvet to add an element of surprise in your decor. Change your lampshades, or paint the insides with a specialist gold paint which will really reflect the gold yellow hues of the room. http://www.designsponge.com/2012/05/diy-project-silver-leafed-lampshade.html

Cooler citris yellows being more of an acidic lemon such as ‘Pale Hound’ http://www.farrow-ball.com/pale-hound/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100071 or ‘Yellow Cake’ http://www.farrow-ball.com/yellowcake/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100279 are best used in rooms with lots of warm natural light, facing south or west to prevent appearing too cool. Paler citrus yellows look good when mixed with Duck Egg Blue and light greys creating a soft mood.  This combination is often used in kitchens and bedrooms.

Add punches of yellow in accessories, glazed pots, rugs, cushions and bedcovers. Hang paintings or prints with yellows to created a cohesive look. Paint a few wooden dining chairs  or even your front door in a bold yellow to add an accent and element of surprise.

Continuing with the Tour de France topic, I have found a  witty way on Pinterest where someone has adapted an old bicycle into a wash basin.

Specialist cyclist cafe’s have sprung up all over the country as the sport has increased in popularity over the past few years, due to  Team Sky’s recent successes in the Tour de France and Olympics. These cafe’s are a great place to stop for refreshment, meet other people and carry out repairs. Often these cafe’s are decorated with cycling paraphernalia. See the top  U.K. cafe’s as recommended by ‘Cake My Ride’  I love the name, and sounds like my sort of bike ride!  http://www.cakemyride.co.uk/20_best_bike_shop_cafes.html or The Guardian.  http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/mar/12/top-10-cycling-cafes-uk

Please note that images other than my own are from Pinterest.

Cover Story

One of the simplest and easiest ways to give a living room a light summer feel is to change the cushions and or chair covers. The choice of cushions available is endless. From richly textured weaves, monogrammed, digitally printed, or woven. There is a current trend for jewel coloured velvet cushions, but personally, I will be adding these in the Autumn to create a warm luxurious living room. For now, I long for bright sunny days with visions of the sea side, a coastal feel, perhaps a touch of country nature.

However, my condumdrum is that I already own lots of cushions and don’t really want to buy more, just because the colour’s are too dark for the summer. This would mean me cramming my existing cushions into dustbin bags and storing them under the bed or in the attic until needed again. No, I just want to change the cushion covers. I do not want to spend a lot, as this is a quick fix for the summer.

There is a plethora of ready made cushion covers available from the High Street and online. H&M Home http://tablet.hm.com/gb/subdepartment/HOME?Nr=4294925259, has a great selection, and  John Lewis   http://www.johnlewis.com/search/cushion-covers?_requestid=6831546, and Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/search?q=cushion+uk for individually made covers. Despite the availability of choice, if you cannot cannot find exactly what your looking for at a price you want to pay, be  inspired by the designs, and  make your own cushion covers. Remnant boxes of fabrics and roll ends can be sourced quite cheaply, and are perfect for cushion covers. Don’t despair if you are not ‘A Sewing Bee’ and can’t put in a zip, by folding the fabric, similar to that of a pillow case, or envelope (only make a larger flap otherwise the cushion pad will come out of the cover), and stitch together. There is bound to be a You-tube film on this technique! However this link may be of help http://www.cushionsandmore.com/overlap-opening.html

Sofa’s and chairs perhaps are a greater challenge to brighten for the summer months. You could buy  throws to put over the chairs, and spend the summer straightening and tucking them in to keep tidy, or have loose covers made. With the price of a strong upholstery fabric and the labour costs, you may think I might as well buy a new chair or sofa. However, having two different looks created by your summer and winter covers, you have two different looks for the price of one. If your present sofa or chairs are sturdy and comfortable, why get rid of them?

Pictures from Pinterest, Etsy, and John Lewis

One Man’s Rubbish is Another Man’s Treasure

Restoring re-using recycling of interior items and glossary of terminology explained
The importance of re-using, restoring and recycling of interior items and a glossary of terminology explained.

Photo http://www.agentofstyle.com/2013/12/09/a-decorative-garden-of-eden-cressida-bells-christmas-open-studio/

During the last few years there has been a growing popularity in old furniture, some of which used to be classed as old junk, suddenly became trendy to purchase one persons cast offs and either renovate or make something else from it. It is now socially acceptable without the fear of being branded an eco warrior, hard-up (you can’t afford new) or a bo-ho hippy. Thank goodness for that.

Since the 1970’s I have enjoyed delving into people’s skips, visiting junk shops and auctions to acquire pieces of furniture. I have been grateful too, for other peoples cast offs, although I think they were glad to be rid of it, most of which I still own and enjoy. The hours spent repairing, stripping, waxing  or painting, transforming a tired and neglected item into something wonderful has been rewarding, and my home is an eclectic mix of antique, vintage, retro, salvage and a little ‘shabby chic’ thrown in too. I don’t think I have any ‘utility’ pieces at the moment!

However, when items of furniture are restored, up-cycled, re-cycled, re-purposed, per-loved of whatever terminology you use, how are the categories defined?

Terminology

Antique – Furniture which is 100 years old and older.

Vintage – Apparently,  this is anything older than 20 years old. Or maybe classed as ‘Vintage 1920 or 30’s’ stating the decade in which it was produced.

Utility – Furniture produced in the U.K. during and just after World War Two, which was made to cope with shortages of raw materials.

Salvage – Saved goods from damage or destruction, often restored or made into other useful items (re-purposed).

Shabby Chic–  Items often heavily painted through the years, with many layers showing through time worn areas. Items of furniture are painted and distressed to achieve this appearance.

Retro – Of a certain style in the recent past. This term of classification is somewhat blurred with the vintage classification. Retro to me is 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, or  80’s, a certain style of furniture of that particular decade.  But if ‘vintage’ is classed as anything over 20 years old, then I’m at a loss.

I have recently read scathing remarks from pretentious ( and very successful) people who have slated ‘those who purchase wormy junk finds and just slap paint on them and call the ‘shabby chic’ has no place in our home.’ Items which are repaired, restored, re-used and re-loved is a good thing. It takes a lot of time, skill and work to breathe new life from a once discarded item into something you love. Each piece of furniture is different, and whether  painted, distressed, hand embellished, or used decoupage to decorate it, the item will be unique, a bespoke one off. Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell were two of the first people I know of, who not only painted their furniture, but also the doors and walls of their home ‘Charleston’. There are also local small businesses who will restore furniture on your behalf, tailored to your individual preference.

Vintage oak dressing table with carved detailing limed finish
A solid oak dressing table with carved detailing. Vintage 1930′ or 40’s

Beat the January Blues

Being the twelfth day of Christmas, like most people, I took down my Christmas decorations and packed them away in boxes to be stored in the loft until December.  Surfaces were dusted, the pine needles and debris from the ivy and greenery I had trailed by way of decoration, now dried to a crisp were vacuumed up. The furniture was put back to it’s original position, which had been moved to accommodate the tree. The rain began to fall yet again and everything looked, well gloomy and bare. No fairy lights to brighten the rooms, no majestic tree, no cards from family and friends with warm greetings, only the lone Poinsettia sitting on a table (which amazingly was still going strong)  left to brighten the home. The Christmas cheer had gone.

A friend called round, who had been doing the same job as me, told me that she had popped into a supermarket and bought herself a bouquet of flowers to cheer both herself and her sitting room up. She also admitted that she had left her fairy lights strung around her dresser to switch on when she felt in need of cheer during the year. Well some people like to have fairy lights hung permanently in their bedroom as decoration. My friend also vowed to burn scented candles around the house all year, and not just at Christmas. Sometimes, all it takes is the small things.

Now devoid all the Christmas trimmings, one occasionally realizes how shabby (in an un-chic sort of way) and dull their home looks and embark on painting and decorating projects. If your financial hangover from Christmas is prohibitive to start any major home improvements, just try re-arranging your furniture layout. I recommend that you measure both your room and furniture dimensions and draw a floor plan prior to trying to lift that heavy sofa into a space where it will not fit, however hard you try. Other ways to cheer you and your room is to hang new artwork or paintings, or replace cushion covers. New duvet covers and towels are quick ways too to add  ‘punch’ into your home. The sales are on and there are great bargains and discounts to be bagged. If an item of furniture you are hankering after is not the bargain you had hoped for, think about learning a new skill of re-covering that old chair yourself, or paint an out dated piece of furniture in an accent colour. (An accent colour is a colour which contrasts and lift a rooms colour scheme, i.e. red, pink, blue, green, yellow in a mainly taupe coloured room). Some people decide that it is time to move home instead.

Spare a thought for all those unfortunate people whose homes were flooded and without power during Christmas and the New Year, due to the storms that thrashed the U.K. Now, they have major home improvements to embark upon, once that is, the insurance companies have completed all the ‘red tape.’

I borrowed a book from the Library

Even the simplest of changes like swapping an armchair can make all the difference in a room. If, like me, you have acquired an old armchair with a worn or dated cover and keep a throw over it in an effort to a conceal shabby chair, which constantly ruckles with use, spoiling the rest of the room, it is time to take action. I debated with the idea of buying a brand new chair, or or recovering my existing chair, which was very comfortable and sound. I found a superb new chair which would have been perfect, but the £995.00 price tag wasn’t so perfect, so decided to up-cycle my existing chair. I received a few quotes, which were fair, but with Christmas coming and wanting the chair by Christmas I opted to recover the chair myself. Well it can’t be that difficult can it? Mmmm….

I have basic sewing skills and a sewing machine, I also had a lot of fabric salvaged from my dining room curtains when I moved house I could re-use. I borrowed a book from the library, followed the basic instructions. First though, I unpicked the existing cover to use as a template for cutting my fabric. It is extremely advisable to take photo’s whilst stripping, (Ooh!) to refer to when putting on your fabric, as believe me, you will forget! I also made notes on the order the pieces had to be put on, otherwise you may well end up having to remove pieces already fixed in place.

Armed with my book from the Library of instructions and basic tools – a staple gun, staples, magnetic tack hammer and curved needles ( all available online) and lots of muscle, I began on the chair. Of course professional upholsterers can do the job in double quick time , that’s their job, and will charge accordingly, but with basic tools you can do it yourself. Make sure the fabric is suitable for the intended job, it has to be strong and durable e.g cotton, linen, wool and velvet etc. The fabric should also be appropriate to the style an character of the chair. Consider the scale of the pattern, is it appropriate to the size of the room and blend in with existing furnishings. There is a trend at present whereby one chair has lots of different fabrics on it, creating a ‘patchwork’ effect. This is great fun, and way of using up odds and ends of fabric, but do ensure that these fabrics mix together in some way, like a key colour. Also remember the nap of the fabric, otherwise if using a fabric like velvet, you could end up with one arm appearing darker or lighter than the rest of the chair. If this happened on both arms, well it would look like you intended this effect!

The hardest parts are pulling the fabric tight enough whilst securing the fabric to the wooden frame and the hand sewing of the cording if you use this. The finished result is a totally ‘new’ chair, and looks amazing and you did it yourself!