Ten Interior Design Tips Using Mirrors in Your Home

Ten interior design tips using mirrors in your home
How to enhance light, display and create the illusion of space

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’, is often quoted in jest. However, ‘never a truer word is spoken in jest’. So apart from using mirrors to check your spots (if a teenager), broccoli stuck between your teeth, shaving and make up application, which to be fair are necessary to daily life, let’s explore the possibilities.

 

 

  1. Use as a Focal Point. Hang one large or over sized statement mirror above a fireplace or behind a bed. (Please ensure its securely anchored to the wall capable to hold the weight). This will add impact to your room.

 

 

2. Use as a Display. Use a collection of mirrors with different frames and sizes and hang on one wall. This really does make a lovely display wall and a change from artwork.

 

 

 

3. Group Together. If you have two, three or five ( general rule of thumb is ratios of odd numbers, but a matching pair does work too) of the same style mirror, even possibly different sizes: these can be hung above an item of furniture such as a chest of drawers or console table to ‘anchor’ them. With the addition of a table lamp to reflect the light, and some well chosen ornaments you will create a lovely vignette.

Lamps placed in front of large mirrors creates a vingnette
Lamps placed in front of mirrors look stunning at night.

4. Light Reflection. This is a well known and loved interior design trick to add light to a poorly lit room from a window. Place the mirror on the opposite or adjacent wall to the window to reflect the light into the room.

 

 

 

5. Image Reflection. To visually help create the illusion of space, hang a mirror to reflect an outside view back into the room (only if its a good view mind,) or from an opposite wall in the room. This will help highlight the rooms best features.

6. Frames. Consider choosing interesting frames in a variety of shapes and sizes. Or you could choose frames with all the same colour. All will add interest and individuality to your decor.

 

 

7. Style. The frame will reflect ( sorry!) the style and look of the mirror, modern, antique, contemporary, traditional etc. So ensure that the style chosen will compliment your existing rooms decor.

8. Size Matters. Ensure you know where you want to hang the mirror, with approximate dimensions before purchasing. However, should you expectantly fall in love with a mirror whilst out, try thinking of at least one other place you could hang the mirror, to avoid a disappointing investment.

Colour washed mirror glass
Stunning paint washed mirror from Anthropologie.com

9. Mirrored Doors. Often used on wardrobe doors,  useful space saving and full length uses. Great for small walk in wardrobes to create the illusion of space, and ‘visually creating a sense of space’. Personally, if at all possible I would avoid hanging these opposite my bed. I wouldn’t particularly like to see myself sitting in bed. I also understand that it’s bad Feng Shui.

 

 

 

10. Mirrored Frames. Art work, paintings and photographs can look very effective framed with mirrored glass. These could be used as an alternative to mirrors for display purposes.

 

Set of pictures framed with mirror frames
Mirrored Picture Frames

Guide to Lighting with Lamps

Advice and guidance on lighting with lamps whether upgrading present lighting or buying new
Advice and guidance on lighting with lamps whether upgrading present lighting or buying new
Lamp lighting is crucial to create the right ambience in rooms.

 

As the clocks go back and our days grow darker, good lighting is essential. Not only for task lighting ( cleaning, cooking and reading etc.) but for creating a warm and comfortable ambience. Lighting is a huge topic, but in this guide I will advise on lamps. No living space should be without a lamp.

Before considering buying new table or standard lamps, make the most of what you’ve got already.

  1. Try changing the bulbs. It maybe that you need a bulb with a higher or lower wattage or Lumins,  or a different shape or make. For example a large globe light will give a better quality of light than a standard bulb.
  2. 70 watt/230 volt clear energy saving bulb is equivalent to a 100 watt standard incandescent bulb. This type is dimmerble and provides good colour to shades.
  3. 18 watt/230 volt compact florescent bulb gives a greyer and flatter light than that of a standard energy saving bulb. Although equivalent to a 100 watt bulb, it does not appear to be as bright as a 70 watt energy saving bulb.
  4. 7 watt/230 volt LED classic shaped bulb is equivalent to a 25 watt incandescent bulb. Most of the light will travel upwards in the lamp and sometimes a ‘cold’ light is produced, so buy a ‘warm’ LED bulb.
  5. Use the maximum wattage a shade will allow, as a brighter one may singe or discolour the shade.
  6. A frosted or pearl bulb provides a softer more shadow free light.

 

 

Changing your shades will update your room and can improve and change the light. The shape, colour, size, material and lining are all key to the shades look and use. Images by Design Bump and Apartment Therapy.

 

  1. Light coloured shades in silk, parchment and paper will cast a cool light as the bulb transmits colour from the shade.
  2. A cream coloured silk pleated coolie shade is a popular choice, but doesn’t always hide the light source or add anything to the room.
  3. Dark colours will add drama and a atmospheric mood.
  4. A lined shade will soften the light source. Unlined shades tend to allow hot spots of light to show through the shade. If this happens you can paint the inside of the shade in gold or silver paint, which gives a warm glow to the room. Alternatively, choose a contrasting colour which picks up another colour in your room, for example red or green.
  5. Always opt for fewer lamps with larger shades for impact.

Above images by Thelampshade’s web blog and SugarCube.

Lampshade to base ratio guide
Ensure the shade size suits the base
Lampshade to base ratio guide
Ensure your lampshade is the correct size to the base. Images by Oka

Shade Shapes and Sizes

  1. Coolie or Empire is the most common shape of shade. A sloped coolie pushes most of the light downwards. Because of this, choose the biggest shade you can to provide useful light.
Oversized coolie or empire shade and base
Maximum light where it’s needed with a coolie shade
Oversized coolie shade and lampbase
Add impact with an oversized coolie lampshade and base

2. Drum – A drum shaped shade, deep or shallow, allows light to travel upwards and downwards, adding to ambient light and task lighting below. This shape of shade is also good for showing the fabric or design of the shade.

Burlap drum shaped lampshdes
Drum shaped lampshades made from burlap from The Pottery Barn

3. Oval – The deep slim oval shape performs in a similar way to the drum, and is suitable for smaller spaces.

Oval shaped lampshade on contemporary base by Obus
Oval shaped lampsde ideal fro smaller spaces by Obus

4. Cylinder – An elegant and contemporary shape, especially if mounted on a candlestick lamp base.

Cylindrical shaped lampshde and base
Cylindrical lampshde and base. Image atgstores.com

5. Conical – This is usually seen on small candlestick lamps and provides narrow pockets of downward light.

Example of conical shade directing light downwards
Conical shaped shade directs light downwards Image sminteriors.co.uk

6. Square or Tapered Square – A square shade instantly updates a room. It gives both upwards and downwards light and looks great in a corner of a room. It gives a far better light than a conical shape.

Square shaped lampshades on a console table
Square shaped shades directs light upwards and downwards. Image by homestrendy.com

7. Rectangle or Tapered Rectangle – This shape also gives both upwards and downwards light, and gives a room a modern look. Useful on a bar or side table.

Contemporary table lamp by John Cullen Lighting
Contemporary shade and base. The light is directed both upwards and downwards by John Cullen Lighting.

It’s worth experimenting with different shapes, sizes and colours of shades to compare the differences it can make. The shade needs to be appropriate to the amount and type of light you want it to achieve, it’s purpose and height and width of the base. The more open the shade, the more light you will get. Shadow is just as important as the light in a good interior to prevent a ‘flat’ ambience.

Lamps should be fit for their intended purpose of course, whether for reading in a chair, where a floor standing or standard lamp is useful,  bedside lamps or sitting on a bedside cabinet.

Modern standard lamp for a reading corner.
A modern standard lamp is perfect for a reading corner. Image by DevaDesigns.co.uk
Table lampshade and Base ideal for reading corner
Light bounces downwards to where you need it. Image Google.co.uk
Classic Sitting Room with orange he
The colour of the shade picks up colours elsewhere in the room. Image Kit Kemp

 

Deck The Halls -Christmas Decorating Ideas

A welcoming Christmas entrance hall
A welcoming Christmas entrance hall
A Christmas welcome

 

 

 

Deck the halls with boughs of holly…. as the Christmas Carol says; a tradition which goes back to medieval times and continues today. Either combined with ivy, fir, cinnamon sticks and baubles are made into garlands, hung from stair banisters’ and fireplaces or simply draped over pictures and mirrors.

 

Wreaths – Traditionally hung on front doors, but look equally as festive hung on a wall inside, perhaps in place of a picture during Christmas. A simple willow wreath or zinc with lights will brighten a dark corner.

Focal Points

The Christmas Tree is usually the focal point in a room, especially if you don’t have a fireplace – but do measure the size you require prior to purchasing; trees have a knack of looking smaller in a shop than in your sitting room!

Decorating your tree is personal preference of course, and can lead to disagreements on occasion.  Sometimes people have two trees to avoid differences of opinion!  Choosing  from traditional, contemporary, Nordic, and Vintage themes.  The choice of decorations available is endless, so too are the choice of lights. Your tree should reflect your personality and creative ability, however just ensure that it complements the rooms’ surroundings rather than compete with it, to do both justice.

Fireplaces and Hearths – With traditional fireplace with a mantle and surround the choices are limitless. Greenery, candles, cones, ornaments. Again, choose decorations, colours and design which complement the fire surround and your room to create an overall cohesive design.

A faux fireplace decorated for Christmas
A faux fireplace decorated for Christmas
A stunning arrangement of lights candles and stars
A simple arrangement of lights candles and stars is easy to do.
A collection of a woodland theme on a hearth for Christmas
A collection on a theme looks festive
Candles in a hearth to imitate a real fire
Candles replace the glow of a real fire to great effect
Candles and greenery for an effective hearth arrangement
Simple greenery with candles which will reflect in the mirror
Countrystyle hearth and decor
Countrystyle hearth and decoration wwwwhitecompany.com

It’s advisable to have a faux garland near a wood burner or multi fuel stove, due to the heat output, if you want your ‘greenery’ to look fresh for the Christmas period. Led lights woven through and baubles can be added to enhance your garland. Or have a garland made from dried fruit and foliage. Keep the look simple with piles of logs for a rustic appeal.

A faux garland for a multi fuel stove works best
It’s advisable to use a faux garland near a stove. House to Home.com

Floral displays as table centre pieces, again with candles look stunning. However, ensure the arrangement is not too tall to block out the person sitting opposite (you may find this a bonus though!) and is easily removed if requiring the space for serving dishes. A floral display on occasional tables looks stunning too, but if time is at a premium or not your thing, try grouping three of the same plants together for effect like Poinsettia or Hellebores’ ( Christmas Rose).

Exteriors – You’ve all seen the extravagant light displays some homes have at Christmas, sometimes complete with a Santa on the roof! If your taste is somewhat less flamboyant (I know mine is) then less can be more. Fairy lights hung around the front porch or small trees by the door give a warm festive welcome. If locating a suitable electrical point is difficult, place lanterns outside with LED tea lights or candles instead. A wreath or a simple bunch of evergreen tied with a festive bow hung on the door.

Christmas front entrance idea
A festive front entrance from House to Home
An evergreen Christmas door wreath
An evergreen wreath always makes a Christmas
Greenery in urn with lantern and sculpture
An unusual compilation of greenery, lantern and sculpture prettypinktulips.com
Rusted star lanterns from Cox and Cox
Rusted star lanterns from Cox and Cox

Whatever your Christmas  decorating choice – let your personality and ideas shine.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas.

Images fairytaillightsandfun.com royal collection.org.uk http://www.busybeestudio.co.uk next.co.uk iheartshabbychic.com sarahgordonhome.co.uk  Sarah Raven sjarmerendejul.blogspot.com inspirationsdeco.blogspot.fr

Renovation Restoration a 1930’s House – Come On Baby Light My Fire

image
Image from Bloglovin

 

Several months of trying to get the multi-fuel installers back to the house to complete the outside flue resulted in two ‘no shows’. They twice failed to turn up without contacting us; and once turned, up and then left after ten minutes explaining that they couldn’t do the job as our tower was not tall enough. I did wonder why they hadn’t bought their own tower or ladder with them to enable them to do the job.  I eventually managed to speak to them, and they explained that it would be best if we found someone else to finish the job. I had been dumped!

This posed two options, we either find another approved installer so we can get our HETAS certificate, which may be difficult because they hadn’t installed the first part of the multi-fuel stove, and may not want to certify someone else’s work.  Also they would be wary of us, as they would wonder why the installer had refused to return to finish the job. This I couldn’t explain. The other option would be to have the flue installed without a certificate and ask Building Control to come and inspect it and hopefully issue the certificate. However, if it failed the Building Control inspection which company would we return to rectify installation problems? We also had to get our flue returned from the original installers which was purchased by us months ago. Luckily, we found a great company who were prepared to complete the installation of the outside flue, (reclaimed from the original company) and issue a certificate. Interestingly they only needed a ladder to finish the job!

image
The outside flue, now completed

 

The utility and boot room floors have now been laid with tiles resembling wooden floor boards. These are very popular at the moment and the choice of colours, textures and meterage costs are numerous. We purchased our tiles from a local tile merchant Acorn Tiles. They take time in planning the layout prior to laying, but makes the actual laying a lot easier, especially if using fast set adhesive. I have used grey grout to blend with the tiles. Fired Earth  http://www.firedearth.com/tiles/range/newlyn/mode/grid  also have a selection, and are surprisingly close in price of Topps Tiles, which one would imagine being cheaper.

The back splash has also been tiled with ‘subway’ or ‘metro’ tiles laid in brick style and grey grout used in between.

The wooden and glass partitions were fixed in place without the safety glass, and have been stained along with the wooden beading for fixing the glass for ease of application. The glass was then fixed in place, fixing holes filled and a light sanding all over. The partitions then had another coat of stain applied. Despite not being metal ‘Crittal’ style as originally planned, we got a great result at a fraction of the cost.

After much research we finally chose the engineered wood flooring. It’s a light oak veneer with a matt lacquered finish. The company, Posh Flooring  https://www.poshflooring.co.uk/engineered-wood-flooring/oak  were very helpful, efficient and offered advice on the underlay and installation. Delivery was two to three days and the wood had to be laid flat for at least a week prior to laying to acclimatise. Due to the amount needed, we ordered half what was  required and sufficient for two rooms for ease of laying and space. A vapour barrier is laid down first on the floor and then the wood laid on top. Some flooring systems are clicked together and others are glued. It is important to leave a 10mm gap around the edges of the room to allow for expansion. The wood will expand and contract, and if you don’t leave a gap the floor will buckle and in some cases need relaying. This gap will be hidden by skirting boards, or if a retro fit by wooden beading.

 

 

 

 

 

Renovation and Restoration of a 1930’s House (18) House & Garden

Colour Palate Mood Board

 

Colour Palate Mood Board
Colour Palate Mood Board

The first floor has now been finished, apart from the wardrobes waiting to be fitted, and carpets laid. Laying the carpets will be the final job, as most of the ground floor is laid with concrete, which creates copious amounts of dust, which is walked everywhere.

The main building contractors have finished their work, and moved onto other jobs. It was very quiet at the house most days, unless the electrician, tilers or plumbers arrived to work on smaller outstanding jobs.

My mother, sadly passed away in August. Although expected, it  is a very sad and difficult time, with lots to do and sort out. Hence, work on the house has been intermittent.

The garden continued to grow, the lawn and lots of weeds in the beds. We managed to keep the grass down, but the weeds not. We should have laid black plastic over the borders when freshly dug with the digger weeks ago, to keep the weeds at bay. This would’ve saved hours of back breaking digging later. Someone told me their story when faced with an over grown garden, they decided to save on the digging and sprayed the whole area with weed killer. They didn’t realize that weed killer also kills plants and takes a long time for the ground to recover. They now have to dig out the existing earth and replace with new top soil.

I had a master plan for the border planting, lots of clipped bay and box trees, lavender, alliums and white hydrangers. This idea changed dramatically when I saw the price of plants and shrubs at local Nurseries and garden centres. Having two large borders measuring 3 m x  6.5 m in the rear and a front boarder to fill, and the cost of purchasing the more mature specimens to add impact, was not an option. I did consider more turf and less border, however, this was too much of a compromise to the design. This problem could have been eleviated had the garden clearance people not been so earnest, and cut back mature specimens instead of removing them!

I chanced upon end of season plant sales in local DIY and garden centres, some of which were half price or less, so spent several days filling my car with bargain perennial plants and shrubs. I selected plants which were complimentary or toning in colour, and offered different textures ( a mood board for the garden) and bought several of the same plants to group together, again to add impact. I also chose according to the aspect the plant preferred, shady, full sun etc. but did not buy a soil sample testing kit to find out if the soil was acidic or alkali as advised by a nurseryman. I guessed it was more acidic due to the Azelia and Rhododendron which had once been prolific in the garden, but alas now gone. The images below, I have used as inspiration, unfortunately this is not what my present garden looks like- but am working on it.

The terrace is now full of plants waiting to be planted, but was faced with two big borders to clear of weeds first. It was a daunting prospect. We covered one border with black plastic, which we hoped would begin to kill some of the weeds, whilst  we worked on the other bed. New top soil had been put down, but underneath lurked bricks, stones and various builders rubbish and deep rooted weeds. It was back breaking work, and could only be done in stages. Well rotted compost should have been added and then dug well in, prior to planting, and Gardener’s World would’ve  been disappointed in us, but they have a team of strong people to do this for them! As a compromise I put compost at the roots of the plants whilst planting and watered in. In such a large garden, the plants look a little lost, with large gaps in between them. This is to allow for growing space. I have to be patient. Gardens mature and evolve over time. The electrician has laid armoured cable to lights which will high-light some of the retained mature trees and focal points in one bed (achieved by a large pot with a tall shrub for impact). These lights have yet to be connected, but will add another dimension to the garden.

The front border had to be attacked with a pick axe (not by me I hasten to add) because it was so dry and compacted. This needless to say was also full of bricks, blocks and stones needing to be removed. A retaining border was made from sleepers and bolted together. Some daffodil bulbs have been put in between the newly planted shrubs and plants.

Tiles have now been laid of the floor on the entrance hall with an area left for a sunken foot mat. The cloakroom floor has also been tiled, which enables us to finish installing the basin and loo. The original cast iron cistern has been stripped and spray painted and placed in situ. I think it looks great.

Sourcing suitable engineered wooden flooring has been difficult. Samples, which looked fine on web sites, when arrive, are either too dark or too shiny, so they can resemble laminate. Other considerations are the depth of the top wood veneer, and of course price. Large DIY stores had disappointingly little choice, and in some cases were more expensive than smaller specialist suppliers. We’re still searching.

Engineered wood flooring samples
Engineered wood flooring samples

We are still trying to confirm a date with the multi- fuel  burner installers to return to complete the outside flue. Because they were so busy, they installed the internal flue and stove some months ago so we could continue with building the hearth and internal works. It was agreed to contact them to complete the job when less busy. Clearly, they’re still busy, and despite numerous texts and messages are too busy to reply.

The partitions and doors have arrived, and the carpenter has fitted them. Although needing staining , then glass fitting, they look great.

The wooden partitions in the workshop
The partitions in the workshop

 

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.

White Room

‘White Room’ by Cream, The White Album by The Beatles or  ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Pocal Harum were popular songs and album in the 60’s. Indeed decorating with white (along with more psychedelia) was also popular in the 60’s. The songs are still played on the radio, and white is still a perennial favourite used in our homes. White is very versatile, sitting well in contemporary, modern or traditional schemes. As summer approaches we often long for a new freshness in our homes. Throw open doors and windows and let the light in. We long for a brighter (if not sunnier) interior. If lots of bright colour on your walls is not to your taste, or  you are feeling bold enough to splash on a  coat of orange emulsion,  you opt for the safe ‘I’m just going to paint all the walls white’ option. Which white  would that be? Brilliant white, off white, barley white? The list of names and shades of white run into the hundreds.

Choosing the right white White like all other colour changes with natural and artificial light. White also takes on different hues, depending what it sits next to. Think about the aspect of the room, if facing north it will have a colder light, so choose a shade of white with red or yellow based undertones  like Farrow and Balls ‘Pointing’ or ‘White Tie’. Or try Little Greene Paint Company, they have a plethora of whites in all  Likewise a sunnier southern aspect will receive a warmer light, so a white and grey tones in it will not make the room appear cold. Farrow and Balls  ‘Strong White’ or ‘Wevet’.  You can paint the walls in one white and choose toning shades of white for the ceiling, cornices and woodwork creating a calm graduated colour scheme.

The secret of decorating with white so as not to look too clinical, bland or cold is to add texture into the scheme. Instead of heavy, lined curtains at the windows, try hanging a sheer fabric like voile or muslin to filter the light. Many materials have delicate designs woven into the fabric. This may have to be accompanied with a black out blind in a bedroom if you you want to block out street lighting and very early morning sunshine pouring in (if you window faces east).

Fresh, white bedding always brightens a bedroom and looks smart. Team it with a contrasting colour for the bedhead or a white headboard with texture such as a distressed limed wood in white.

White carpets are not a practical choice if you have children,  teenagers or a dog  living in your home. These must be saved for master bedrooms or guest rooms, unless you want to be constantly cleaning the carpet and getting stressed. White ceramic, porcelain or granite floor tiles are easier to keep clean, but will of course show the dirt. White floor paint is another option on floor boards or ‘lime wash’ them to add texture and interest. How to lime wash floors yourself – http://www.woodandbeyond.com/blog/what-is-lime-washed-wood-flooring/

White wall tiles in a bathroom, kitchen or utility room do not need to look clinical, if arranged in different patterns or different shapes and sizes. There is something luxurious about a pile of  white, clean, fluffy towels folded neatly in a bathroom. The opposite effect is of course when they have been discarded in a wet heap on the floor!

The living room decorated in white can take on many guises. It can be accompanied  with glass chandeliers, mirrors, an off white textured rug and formal furniture to create a classic, sophisticated room, or a more relaxed country vibe with rough painted distressed wooden furniture and knitted throws. Or create a Gustavian ambiance with grey based whites of painted furniture.

A dining table set with white china, lit by candle light looks special. White china also displays food well. Collections of white china and ornaments displayed on dressers or shelves look stunning in a ‘white room’, especially if  well lit with directional lighting or lamps.

So opting for white need not be boring, clinical or safe, if used well. All pictures from Pinterest

A Home for Everything

Built in shelving display
Calming blue and attractive display of your possessions

If you’re having to self isolate, concerned about finances, working from home in an uncertain future it may help to focus on your home. After all, more time than ever is going to spent there. What can you do to improve your surroundings, with little cost, now you may have the time to do all those jobs you never got around to. To feel you have control over something in your life, clear out the clutter, clean, repair, making the most of what you already have, in readiness to move forward when life improves. It could be just the therapy you need.

Toilet roll storage idea
Clever idea for toilet roll storage, if you managed to get any!

 

Spring is a good time of the year to have a good clear out, sort out and clean. A ‘tidyish’ house is calming, easier to clean and helps the space appear larger. I say ‘tidyish’ because if you have a family you do not want to make everyone’s lives a misery by being anal about it, it’s a home too, but isn’t it a joy and surprise to find something (like scissors and sticky tape) where they are supposed to be, without wasting time and energy hunting for it, only to find it in some obscure place. Continue reading “A Home for Everything”

Hall, Stairs and Landings

Hall, stairs and landings are often overlooked and viewed as busy thoroughfares, as a means to get from one room to another or out of the house. These areas are often small, cramped or resemble little more than corridors. The hall is the first impression visitors receive when entering the home and an organized, welcoming space sets the tone for the rest of the home.

Storage – before you even consider wall colour, remember the hall needs to provide instant, accessible organized storage for the items you discard as soon as you walk in through the front door, coats, shoes, keys and umbrellas. The space available will obviously dictate your options of course. If there is room, a built in cloaks cupboard is ideal with a shoe rack. This will hide all the clobber. Failing that, a simple coat hook for everyday wear and visitors coats will suffice. Do not overload the rack as this looks untidy and obstructs the thoroughfare. A shoe rack can be placed below the coat rack, which  will contain shoes which have been kicked off and abandoned in the middle of the hall. A bench with storage  will also provide somewhere to sit down to pull on boots and provide much needed storage for hats and gloves etc. An umbrella stand is useful, and there are some lovely tall pots available which will do the job. A table for keys and mail, however small is useful, or perhaps a slimline shelf if space is at a premium. You may have room for a chest of drawers or armoire providing extra storage for over spill from bedrooms or linen storage. Built in slim line shelves for books or baskets filled with items needed from time to time.

Flooring – Hall floors need to be robust to cope with outdoor footwear. Whatever you choose make sure you have a good foot mat to take off the worst of dirt and grime. Hardwearing floor tiles are easy to clean in a pale neutral colour help the space feel bigger and if laying new, ask your tiler to drop the door mat into the tiles. This prevents the foot mat sliding around the hall. Carpet on stairs and landings is still a popular choice, avoiding the excess noise of feet clumping up and down the stairs. Choose a very hardwearing woven carpet preferably with a high wool content to cope with the heavy traffic, and in a colour to blend with the hall flooring. This gives an illusion of space and merges the spaces together for a cohesive look.

Lighting – This needs to be welcoming and not over powering. The lighting needs to be bright on the stairs for safety reasons, but not so bright it flattens any interesting shadows. Create atmosphere with table lamps, wall lights and add a large decorative pendant light.

Mirrors and lighting have been used to light and add interest to the stair well.
Mirrors and lighting have been used to light and add interest to the stair well.

Fabrics and Colour’s – Hall, stairs and landings need to link with other rooms harmoniously, so colour’s and patterns shouldn’t  be too bold. To disguise the ‘corridor’ effect try painting the doors the same colour as the walls. Use a good quality, spongeable, durable paint which will withstand the wear and tear. Add colour and interest with a runner or rug and a blind or curtains.

Accessories – Well chosen accessories make the functional space feel lived in. Pictures or a framed photograph gallery displayed together, or a clock. Use mirrors to reflect the light and create a feeling of space. Mirrors are also good for the last minute face and hair check before going out of the front door. A vase of flowers or a plant too add finishing touches.

Is It Curtains For You?

When choosing window treatments for a room consider the rooms use, the shape and size of the window and the view from it.

If you have an unpleasant view or are overlooked and have the need for privacy consider:

Wooden Shutters – Choose from those with adjustable slats allowing you to control the amount of light and privacy required. These are available in many colour’s to fit in with your room colour scheme. They are quite expensive, but look great and will last for many years. Uses – any room including conservatories. Intricately carved wooden shutters with bi-fold hinges, enabling them to adjust to your preferences.

Window Film – Is a quick and economical way to gain privacy without blocking out too much light.It is an obscure film which is stuck directly to the glass and is available in patterned options too. Uses – any room.

Venetian Blinds – A practical solution at a reasonable cost. Uses – any room.

Stained Glass – A beautiful stained glass panel allows light to filter through, creating privacy and a focal point. Uses – front doors, cloakroom, bathrooms, hall, stairs or landings.

Cafe Curtain – Made from light weight sheer fabric, which is hung from a pole across the centre of a window. This looks good only if you have a window with a central bar.

Mirror – If natural day light is available from other sources in the room, a mirror which looks like a window can be hung in front of the window obscuring the view. The mirror will reflect the light from other windows in the room.

Room with a View – If you are lucky enough to have a room with a view, bring the view into the room. use simple window dressing with curtains made from light weight or sheer fabric, which infuse the light into the room. If the need for darkness i.e. bedrooms, a black out roller or Roman blind can be added in the recess for night use.

Large Windows – Floor to ceiling curtains make a huge statement to a room, and can be expensive due to the meterage required. Adding a border of fabric in colour’s to match the rooms decor  onto less expensive plain curtain fabric cleverly pulls the scheme together. Braids and trimmings can be used in the same way. Coloured or patterned lining used for plain curtains adds an element of surprise.

Choosing the Style – As well as creating a certain ‘look’, curtains can produce optical illusions, so that the dimensions of the window, even the room can appear to be altered.

Make a Window Look Wider – Extend the track or rod beyond the window frame. This means the curtains don,t overlap the windows when they are pulled back, and lets maximum light in.

Disguising Architectural Irregularities – Treat different shapes and sizes of windows and doors in the same way. If necessary have an entire wall covered with fabric when the curtains are drawn across.

Reducing the Height of a Window – Use a shaped pelmet or valance. This always looks elegant. The deeper the pelmet or ornate the valance, the grander the effect.

Reducing the Width of a Window – Use tie backs and join the curtains at the top in the middle.

To Make a Small Window Look Bigger – Improve the proportions by mounting Cafe curtains which are mounted wider than the window.

Maximize Light on a Dormer Window – Use a right angled, U-shaped track or rod so curtains can be kept clear of the window, even when drawn back.

To Enhance a Beautiful Window – Do not obscure it. if you are lucky enough to have a window which is architecturally pleasing, emphasize it’s shape. Over an arched window use a curved pelmet. For a simpler solution use a rod which is wide enough to clear the window by day.

Setting the Style Decor – Remember as a general rule, full length curtains look elegant and often formal. Sill length curtains look more informal.