Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cambridge’ Category

Art can be an intimidating business. It shouldn’t be because the purpose of art is primarily about pure delight for the eyes of the beholder but I do understand the home lovers’ dilemma when it comes to what to hang on your walls. In the back of most people’s minds, and I include in this even the most confident of us, is ‘what are other people going to make of the pictures on my walls?’. I’m not going to tackle the enormous subject of how to select your art here (although I am gearing up to this topic so watch this space) but what I am going to talk about now is the incredibly good news which is that, and I really mean this, how you present and hang your art is almost, indeed dare I say as important, as the art you choose.

image-4

These lovely simple botanical drawings make a huge impact hung in a group and against the backdrop of Fired Earth’s delicious South Bank paint colour. The clever addition of the bench and cushions picks up the colours in the paintings and visually anchors the artwork.

 

When I hang art for clients, which is a task I love because it makes such a difference to how an interior looks, the first thing I ask them to do is to get all the art they have out (and this should incorporate everything – original paintings of worth or not, prints, framed posters, family pictures, sculpture, home-made craft projects and so on) so that we can look at it and discuss what they actually like and what they are less keen on but may have a good reason (or not) for keeping. In this exercise I am primarily interested in noting what their most loved pieces are which should be displayed in key areas (master bedroom, entrance hall, main living room – wherever a household spends time) and what is less loved but can find a home in a lesser used area of a house (cloakroom, guest bedroom, back entrance hall). Once we have had this frank conversation, which is not always easy, I then start to think about where to place artwork in the home.

It helps to bear in mind that artwork does not have to match an interior scheme, in fact I like a picture to bring something different and eye-catching to the look of a room, but it does have to look comfortable in the space, not overpowering everything else or being overwhelmed itself.

I often feel rather shame faced when I visit the fabulous Fitzwilliam Museum because I tend to head for the first floor galleries which I love and as I try hard to concentrate on the artwork I find my mind pondering exactly what colour the wall behind the great masterpiece is and examining the way the lighting has been achieved. I know I am supposed to be looking at the artwork, but actually it is the whole experience of those rooms that makes me love the galleries and whilst the rooms are certainly not pretending to be domestic interiors, I find the combination of the artwork with the rich background colours, the dark wood flooring, the lighting and the occasional pieces of furniture is what makes me very happy. The moral of the story is that an interior is a collage of many elements and if you get the balance right, the effect is glorious; out of balance and beautiful things suddenly can’t come to life in the way that you want them to.

image-1

Putting a treasured painting in a master bedroom ensures it is regularly seen and enjoyed.

When you have got an idea of where you want your pictures to live, the art of hanging them well starts with checking the space around the piece – they need enough space to be seen and to shine on their own merit but also some reference to other furnishings or pictures. For example, a piece of furniture under a picture usually helps to visually anchor the artwork – you need to leave enough space between the furniture and the picture to allow some accessories on the surface, the picture should not hang so low that accessories obscure the picture and not so high that it is hanging in mid-air with no reference to the things below it at all. The best way to hang pictures is to get someone (one or more people depending on the size of the work) to hold the picture in place and then get them to go higher, lower, right a bit, left a bit until you find the place that the picture looks comfortable and hopefully before the holder’s arms start shaking and a row beings to brew. I generally find that pictures are hung too high – go as low as you dare and try to remember that being able to see the painting comfortably, even when you are sitting down, is also an important part of the exercise.

I cannot emphasise how important framing is and this decision includes whether to frame or not, as certainly not all artwork needs framing. Spend time, effort and money (as necessary) on making the absolute best of your artworks by considering how best to present them. A clever framer is a very good friend of the interior designer and I always make sure that I ask the advice of my framer as a starting point, who will generally consider the right approach to make the best of the picture, but then I may add an opinion on the look that we are creating in the interior. We tend to agree somewhere between the two which should ensure that the final approach adds to both the artwork and the interior.

image-3

This very favourite painting is displayed in full view in a well used space

Moving pictures around is a surprisingly effective way of giving your home a bit of an update. I would like to say that I do this regularly but realistically it only really happens when I buy a new picture and move current ones around to accommodate it, but I am always surprised at the impact that a picture’s surroundings has on how the artwork itself is perceived. I recently acquired a lovely bright yellow velvet occasional chair which has found a very happy home in the corner of my bedroom. Interestingly three people who visit the house regularly asked, on completely separate occasions, whether the picture above it was new. In fact the picture has been there for quite a while and features quite a strong dash of yellow and I can only assume that the new chair combined with the painting draws the eye to the corner of the room more than before. Whatever it was, it is interesting that even a small change around can suddenly bring artwork, and it surroundings, to life.

Much as I love to see beautiful photography in an interior, which should be hung with the same consideration and principles as your other artwork, I also like to see personal photographs in a home as they so instantly individualise a space. These will probably not be the beautiful specimens that the great photographers produce and so need to be handled accordingly. Groups of photos (either in standing frames or wall hung) can be a good way to display images of family, holiday or a general hotchpotch of memories and should be thought of as an explosion of emotion, rather than a focus on one particular shot. A group of photos can also be added to and changed as life moves forward, which keeps your display up to date. Don’t feel you have to include every image, or record every event, or heaven forbid, have a photo of every family member (although you may have to swap pictures in on critical occasions so as not to cause a family dispute) – personal photos in your home are not an absolute record of your life, but an accessory that should lift your heart when you glance at them.

image-2

This delightful tiny artwork is given a great presence by using a large mount with a simple frame and
being hung on a dark painted wall

Lighting is crucial for artwork (indeed for interiors generally and is a huge topic in itself). Think about what light you need for your artwork in daylight (which might still include artificial lighting) and what you need at night. You don’t have to only consider the traditional picture light – a light from the ceiling or a floor-standing uplighter can work really well too. Just as lighting art well is important for enjoying the work, shielding it from the sunlight is important for preservation purposes and should also be considered carefully.

Finally, I wish to joyfully dismiss the idea that you can’t hang pictures on wallpaper. You can and you should. Wallpaper is a splendid backdrop to your pictures, you will just need to be careful that the wallpaper doesn’t overpower the art either in terms of colour or pattern or both, it should be a backdrop so ensure that your art, not your wallpaper, is the star.

I have realised whilst I have been writing this piece that there really are a multitude of considerations when hanging artwork so what I say to you is don’t be overwhelmed by the task – get your picture hooks and hammer out and have a go. Unless you are wildly wrong, in which case you will have to get a pot of paint out, the new position for the picture will cover the first (and subsequent) hanging attempts and if you live with your efforts for a few days, you will soon know whether you got it right or not. I have rarely seen an interior that doesn’t benefit from having artwork on the walls so be brave and get those pictures hung.

This post appeared in the July edition of Cambridge Magazine

Read Full Post »

Inviting to look at and still room to sit comfortably. Chair, cushion and delectable fabrics all from Vanessa Arbuthnott.

There is a battle raging in our households and it concerns the quite intense emotions elicited by the humble cushion. Many sane, sensible and fair minded couples that I visit in my capacity as their interior designer can quickly lapse into not only passionate opinions but also surprisingly petty bickering when the subject of cushions is mentioned. I am going to horribly generalise now so please forgive me if you don’t fit into my unsubstantiated gender stereotyping, but seems to me that it tends to be us girls that love cushions and it’s the boys who really don’t.

My investigations into anti-cushion behaviour have found some recurrent themes. The first and most virulent relates mainly to cushions on the bed. “Where do they go at night?” the boys cry “we have to throw them on the floor”. Ok, I understand, they need a place to go when they are taken off the bed and the floor is not it. A simple solution would be a chair, window seat or ottoman at the end of the bed that they could reside on over-night.

The second complaint is normally about the number of cushions on the sofa. “We can’t even sit down without taking some of them off and throwing them on the floor” (are you seeing the ‘throwing them on the floor’ pattern emerging?). It’s a valid point, you need to be able to sit on your sofa, but this very rarely means you can’t have any cushions on it at all. Really, have you felt the comfort a cushion offers?!

Even I have to admit (and on a personal level you may have guessed that I am an extreme cushion lover) that the purpose of cushions in adornment. Some comfort for sure but primarily adornment and is there anything wrong with that? The key really, as with all things interior related, is the balance of style and functionality. A contemporary muted minimalist space will be spoilt by brightly coloured highly patterned cushions but will be enhanced by a limited number of plain cushions adding a layer of texture and comfort. Similarly a room that is verging on the bland can be hugely improved with a burst of colour, pattern, texture and a visual hit of inviting comfort.

Cushions do have an advantage that they are easier and cheaper to purchase than larger items such as a sofa or carpet. However, this does not mean that you should not take the time and effort in choosing your cushions, or that you should opt for cheap if you are not sure. A ‘make-do’ cushion is a waste of money as it is highly likely that you will want to replace it almost as soon as you get it home. If you buy a cushion you really love you may well have it for life so it represents much better value for money whatever it costs.

Contemporary cushions from Andrew Martin bring colour and comfort to a grey scheme.

Fortunately, there is now a very good selection of ready-made cushions available on the market. One tip I would give you when looking for off the shelf cushions is to find a fabric or accessories company that you really like and see what cushions they have on offer. I find that high street store cushions are often incredibly middle of the road and quite depressing because of it, whereas a company that isn’t trying to offer all styles to all people can be a lot more inventive. For example, Chelsea Textiles (www.chelseatextiles.com) have a wonderful range of cushions for those of a more traditional bent and Andrew Martin (www.andrewmartin.co.uk) have lush designs on offer for those of a more contemporary sensitivity.

If you do go down the route of having cushions made (and I warn you now, it is an additive business), you have a world of opportunity at your fingertips. Key decisions include size and shape, fabric obviously but you might want to use a couple of different fabrics, say one on the back and a different one on the front, or a different fabric as a side or decorative panel, and then of course there are trimmings. Trimmings are the interior addicts’ sweeties and are a joyful business to pick and often are what makes the cushion special. The key with having cushions made (and actually any bespoke item) is to find the right craftsperson and make good friends with them. As with many needlework tasks, cushion making sounds very simple but to get it right is always more complicated that you think. You need to find a soft furnishings maker who knows what they are doing, will listen to what you want and has a good level of patience. Thinking through the design before starting is vital and no detail should be overlooked, as cushion disappointment is not pretty.

As I write, I suspect that those amongst us who have yet to realise the true worth of the cushion may be feeling slightly light-headed, if not enraged, by my encouragement for spending hard earned cash on the decorative end of the soft furnishings palette. I would say sorry but I wouldn’t mean it so what I will do is to send a grovelling apology to any man who really does appreciate a cushion. That said, I do believe it is thanks to the female of the species that the cushion thrives. Without us the boys would all be sitting slightly uncomfortably on their sofas wondering why their rooms look just a tiny bit bland.

This article first appeared in Cambridge Magazine, April 2017

Read Full Post »

The downstairs loo is often the smallest room in any given house; tucked away by the front door or under the stairs, it’s all too often a space that goes a little neglected. Due to the general size of downstairs bathrooms, there is sometimes a hesitancy when it comes to decorating, with people believing that a small space cannot take on a heavy design scheme. However, I believe that the downstairs loo is the perfect place get a little creative when decorating it. Since you don’t tend to spend an excessive amount of time in the area, it can afford to be designed in a dramatic and exciting way. Once you have your basics, a toilet and sink, you can really begin to play around with the scheme, creating your own little paradise that you get to visit a few times a day.

To make a big statement in a small space you must first be decisive about which direction you want to take. Big features can look amazing but include too many and the space may become a little claustrophobic; here are a few ideas to get your thinking about how you could best design your downstairs loo.

When you have guests over for an evening, often the cloakroom will be the only bathroom they see, so creating a show stopping space will really make a strong design statement. Adding a patterned wallpaper to your loo can be a great way to give the space its own sense of character. On a recent project we decorated a client’s downstairs bathroom with this fun Manuel Canovas wallpaper, L’envol, which really gave a bland space a bit of impact.

‘Manuel Canovas L’envol Wallpaper’

There are so many styles you can opt for when it comes to choosing a wallpaper with flare for your loo. I’m head over heels for this flamingo print from 17 Patterns in pink. It’s a fantastically designed pattern that will look amazing in a downstairs loo, really giving the space a strong, bold look without being overbearing.

‘Flamingo in Pink Wallpaper’ from 17 Patterns

If you’re general aesthetic is more traditional, but still vibrant and colourful, a charming design like this Secret Garden pattern from Juliet Travers in midnight blue will help create a sweet but dramatic effect in the small space. The enchanting pattern teamed with the perfect lighting will create a fairy-tale like space.

‘Secret Garden Wallpaper’ from Juliet Travers

If you have the advantage of additional floor space on your side, a few plants strategically placed will really transform the place. If you have a few different surface heights, for example the floor a countertop and maybe some shelving, building your own small jungle of plants in different varieties and sizes will give a depth to your space, making a strong statement. When it comes to plants, of course it depends on your preference, but I believe more is more, and an overflow of bohemian style succulents, cacti’s and tropical pieces will really create an impact as opposed to one, lonely plant. If you’re short on sunlight, a quality faux plant can look just a good as the real thing, plus if you’re opting for a plant of the spikey variety there’s no chance of a painful accident! Abigail Ahern does some of the best artificial plants and flowers around, I love this array of cactus; they’ll really help to build up your plant portfolio.

‘Artificial Plant Selection’ from Abigail Ahern

A lack of floor or surface space shouldn’t deter you from adding some foliage to your bathroom. This wall garden from Rockett St George is a great example of how you can really get creative with plants in your home, and in your loo. Vertical gardens are a fantastic and innovative way of using your space selectively but still keeping a fresh and current aesthetic. You can buy a readymade one, real or faux, or if you want a project, creating you own one is the perfect way to include everything you want to and design with you own vision.

‘Faux Vertical Garden’ from Rockett St George

Sometime the downstairs loos is fitted into a rather tight space in the home, which might make you think that there is only room for the bare necessities, but you can always create more space with the use of carefully planned shelving. The trick is, in a small space making sure you put up your shelves somewhere where you won’t be knocking into. Once you have this figured out you can pick a shelf that matches your style and begin to fill it with a mix of ornamental and usual items, creating the perfect design balance. These industrial style shelves from Cox & Cox are sweet; their light design means that they won’t feel like they take up more room than they actually do, and the open nature of them makes them ideal for carrying objects of various heights and sizes.

‘Industrial Wood and Metal Shelves’ from Cox & Cox

Another shelving design I love is from Anthropologie, although these are slightly less functional then your conventional pieces, they are so pretty they’d make the perfect design feature. Often you find downstairs loos located under the stairs, these shelves would look lovely ascending in size order up a sloping wall.

‘Bloomland Shelving’ from Anthropologie

Whenever I think about inspirational bathrooms, I always think back to the beautiful image of the bathroom in Malpalquet House in East London, which I wrote a blog on some time ago. The bathroom wall was covered in pictures, frames and crucifixes, which overall created a beautiful effect.

‘Bathroom in Malpalquet House’

While you may not be able to squeeze all of this into you downstairs loo, you can certainly create something that’ll make an impact. If you have a generous amount of clear wall space, you can start to make you own mural of photo frames, prints, painting, mirrors and anything else you can think of. You may want to go down the nostalgia route and use family photos, or pick out arty prints, or even just create a miscellaneous haven. I love these Kiko frames from Nkuku, they come in a range of sizes so you can mix and match and find the perfect fit for your chosen display pieces. Unlike conventional frames, you can change what you want to go in the Kiko frame with ease and swap out or add in items as you find them. A downstairs loo wall covered in the frames will make a beautiful, comforting statement.

‘Kiko Frame’ from Nkuku

Using mirrors, in varying sizes and styles is also a good way to create an impact, and also provide a functional aspect to your bathroom. These hanging portrait mirrors from Nkuku are great to add to a collection of mirrors; with some being flatter, some more elaborate and some smaller or larger. A wall covered in mirrors or frames will automatically create an eye-catching feature in a small space.

‘Vintage Portrait Mirror’ from Nkuku

The downstairs loo is often a forgotten about space, or somewhere thought as only a functional room, but there are so many ways to great creative in a small space. It’s an area that you can confidently show off your style and really begin to design an area that’s a fun space.

Read Full Post »

In light of Mother’s Day coming up, and any other occasion where you need a thoughtful gift, opting for something from the homeware department can go a lot further than just a scented candle. Buying gifts for the home can be a great way to give something that’s long lasting, sentimental and unique. Whether it’s a house warming present, a birthday or holiday, or just something to show someone you care, a thoughtful home accessory can be the perfect gesture.

There are two ways you can look at it when it comes to gifting home accessories to a close friend or family member; adding to their already existing theme of pieces and ornaments, or giving them something a little outside their comfort zone, something they wouldn’t ever get themselves. When giving homewares there is a chance to get creative, have a little fun and give a touching present.

Typically, when it comes to the big touches in a home, the owner will want to make that call on their own, so when giving homeware as a gift it’s all about the small, but special touches. This sweet blackbird tea towel from Angel & Boho is an ideal gift; the adorable print takes away the functionality aspect of the gift, making it a great addition to a kitchen, to be displayed as a bohemian design feature.

‘Blackbird Tea Towel’ from Angel & Boho

Sticking to the bird theme, a simple way to add some life to a garden is with a bird feeder. This rustic piece from Catesby’s is the perfect way to decorate a garden and entice from real birds as well. The piece is great for adding a little charm to an individual tree or a small garden or balcony area.

‘Hanging Bird Feeder’ from Catesby’s

The great thing about giving or receiving homeware as presents is that it’s an opportunity to get an item that you might not be able to justify getting for yourself. Buying something fun, with perhaps just a hint of kitsch that makes a fabulous finishing touch to a home. I love these pin-up candlestick holders from Ark, ideal for putting a smile on someone’s face and lighting up an area of the home, perhaps a table or dresser, giving the space a bit of humour and life.

‘Show Girl Candlesticks’ from Ark

As with many people my age, I’m just being to start a collection of homeware pieces that I’ll (hopefully) treasure forever, so receiving items that I can add to this assembly of ornaments is a great way to give the collection some diversity and give myself new ideas about what I like. Pieces like these multi-coloured candle holders from Habitat are quite a particular style, but if you have someone you know will love them, or someone you think can take on the challenge then they’re a great, creative gift that goes a step further than the typical candle themed gift.

‘Odela Multi-Coloured Ceramic Candleholder’ from Habitat

My mother has always had a love for flowers and nature, whether it’s in the garden or in the home, so giving her pots and vases has always been a sure-fire way of getting her something she likes (and will use), whilst still being able to get her something with an unexpected design or style. This speckled jug from Catesby’s is a versatile piece that can be used as its primary function, or as a vase. It would make a great accompaniment for some fresh spring Daffodils, with the electric blue and yellow contrasting perfectly.

‘Speckle Ware Jug’ from Catesby’s

For more of a rustic feel, these antique French pots from Baileys would make amazing gifts, for vases, planters or just ornaments. The individual nature of them means that you can give a few in an array of shapes, styles and colours.

‘Old French Poitiers Pottery’ from Baileys

If you have a friend, or maybe a son or daughter who has recently bought their first home, or renting their first grown up flat, they may need a few things to help get them started. Whilst a lot of necessities can be bought from places like Ikea, buying some pieces that can give the home a few special touches can make great presents, especially if it’s for someone who can’t justify getting it for themselves. A simple bowl like this one from French Connection is a great starter piece for those finding their style footing. It’ll look great against some simple chinaware sets and begin to add some character to a home.

‘Green Stone Bowl’ from French Connection

On the contrary, if you know this person has quite an experimental kind of style, and is always keen to try new things and be surprised, an item like this flamboyant tray from Porcupine Rocks is not only a fantastic gift, but also full of flair, making it a real statement piece.

‘Shine Shine Tiger Tray’ from Porcupine Rocks

Finally, if you’re searching for a gift for someone that already has it all, then something frivolous and fun may be just the ticket. This lollipop holder from Jonathan Adler ticks all the boxes if you’re looking for a present with a sense of humour, individuality and a hint of madness. It makes the perfect addition to an already fruitful collection of eclectic ornaments.

‘Mohawk Lollipop Holder’ from Jonathan Adler

Buying gifts for loved ones is a great way to express your appreciation from them, and give them something they’ll love. Deciding to give them homeware means choosing something that they can treasure forever, giving sentiment to their home and help add to the collection of wonderful items. Whether it’s an antique item, something a little outside of their comfort zone, something sweet or an item that encourages them to walk on the wild side of interior design, there is so much fun to be had with picking out gifts, you’ll just have to refrain from keeping them all yourself!

Read Full Post »

Whenever Lizzie Ibbotson, our Osborne & Little rep comes in to show us the new collections it’s always a wonderful trip to a world of fantasy and magic. Osborne & Little have completely nailed their latest collection, Enchanted Gardens, with beautiful patterns, designs and some fantastic colourways, it’s a collection to covet. So take a look at some truly enchanting designs.

‘Meadow’

Meadow is a vibrant pattern is a modern take on the typical floral themed fabrics. The array of wild flowers, including some lively poppies, really stand out of against the navy background. It’s a strong look that must be met with some hefty confidence, but it’s a great choice for making an impact in a room.

‘Aviary’

The Aviary pattern gives you a geometric feel, these colourful birds on a structural web are a great way to add some colour and fun to a contemporary room. If typical florals and natural motifs aren’t really your thing, adding a contemporary element can help to eliminate the factors that you’re not so keen on.

‘Woodland Sheer’

When it comes to sheers, you’ll typically find some beautiful white or off-white colours that’ll look elegant whilst giving your room some substance, but at the same time maintaining the light. Osborne & Little have taken this one step further, keeping the cool and sophisticated sheer qualities but adding a dash of colour into the mix with some fun leafy shapes.

One of my favourites from the collection is Rain Forest; it’s the combination of vivid colours, intriguing patterns and the overall striped effect that really create a concise, contemporary and glamorous effect. The only problem you’ll have with this fabric is choosing between the two colourways; the first, a green leafed pattern with almost neon indigo flowers, and the second a beautiful combination of purple and yellow.

‘Rain Forest’

Hanging Gardens is an adorable fabric that’s perfect for a feminine, sweet interior. The pattern consists of all the wonderful planters, baskets and birdcages you might imagine in your dream conservatory. The painterly style gives the whole look a soft and charming feel, giving it some interesting character. It’ll look gorgeous framing a window or doorway to the outside, especially blowing gracefully in the breeze.

‘Hanging Garden’

One of my favourite flowers, the Rhododendron, is captured beautifully in one of the fabric patterns in this collection. The gentle trellis-like formation makes a sophisticated structural look without being too heavy. The pattern is perfect for giving a little life to a conservative setting. The flowers have a charming traditional feel, but the dabbled background gives a little touch of contemporariness to the look, making perfect for adding florals to a period home without it looking dated.

‘Rhodara’

For a chinoiserie style, but with a twist of modern colours, the Japanese Garden pattern is just the ticket. The busy yet delicate design will give a room a new lease of life, and is a design that can be introduced in to a multitude of interior themes; including contemporary, bohemian, retro or traditional. A great feature of a chinoiserie style pattern is that it integrates the old with the new, and the fun with the elegant.

‘Japanese Gardens’

A new lighter touch has been given to an old favourite from the Pasha collection, the Tulipan. The teal, blush pink and faded orange tones of the detailing, gives the intricate pattern a softer feel, making it a more diverse fabric. There is also a certain modern neon-ness to the pattern which gives it an unique, contemporary, floral look.

‘Tulipan’

Lastly, for something full of quirk, fun and just a hint of quaintness, the Curio pattern. From a distance, there’s a grid-like formation but upon closer inspection, you see a whole world of curiosities. Squirrels and owls that have found themselves bouncing around crockery and shells overall making a sweet, joyful pattern. It would make a perfect kitchen or bathroom blind, giving additional warmth.

‘Curio’

If you love adding a touch or romance, character, fantasy and charm into your interior, this collection is your new best friend. From contemporary to traditional, there’s something to suit everyone, and all sorts of ways to have fun and get creative with the Enchanted Gardens collection.

Read Full Post »

As with all colours, there are hundreds of shades in the yellow family, and sometimes the thought of using the bolder, brighter shades can be intimidating due to their strong look. But if you’re looking for an alternative to the neutral, or darker palettes that are around these days, yellow may be the perfect colour for you, especially if you want to show off a strong, confident style in your interiors. Though the colour has always been popular in the design world, in recent years yellow interiors, furniture and accessories have been making quite an impact, especially in those brighter shades. There are lots of exciting ways to incorporate yellow into your home, that can really showcase a particular style; whether it’s contemporary, glamorous, bohemian, traditional, or a combination. Adding a dash of yellow could be the way to bring a refreshing, exciting look to your home.

Using a bright yellow on the walls of your home may be a touch overwhelming if you’re a yellow novice, but if you’re already a fan, it’s a fantastic way to create a statement. The trick is finding your perfect shade to suit your home, and choosing the right complementary accents to create a well-rounded, flawless look. To keep your wall looking fresh opt for a rich shade that won’t shy away into the background. For a contemporary look, I love the dramatic but playful nature of Farrow & Ball’s Babouche shade.

‘Babouche’ from Farrow & Ball

And if you’re in need of a more traditional shade, the Sudbury Yellow has an elegant and regal nature that will give a room a strong sense of character, without overshadowing any other wonderful features you may want to put in there.

‘Sudbury Yellow’ from Farrow & Ball

Another way to add yellow into the core foundations of the home’s design scheme is with some creative tiling. Fired Earth always have a strong collection of interesting colours and patterns, and some of their yellow tiles are to die for. For a bold, exciting look, these vibrant mustard coloured tiles are the perfect background against a crisp, white bathroom set. There’s a combination of luxuriousness and quirkiness about the colour that creates an overall refreshing look.

‘Carnival Oro’ from Fired Earth

If a solid block colour is a little too much for your taste, or your home, going for something a little sweeter and more minimal might do the trick. This Atlas design by Neisha Crosland for Fired Earth has a rustic, farmhouse vibe, but with a little exotic twist to keep things interesting. It’s an ideal design if you want to have a traditional looking kitchen, but with a touch artistic individuality to it.

‘Atlas by Neisha Crosland’ from Fired Earth

To make an interesting statement in your home, you don’t just have to save yellow for the larger features, in fact adding small accents of the colour to a room can give it some vitality, or reinvent an interior without changing too much. Contemporary interiors are often neutral walls with the inclusion of furniture pieces in modern wood types, and adding a dash of yellow into the mix can create an up-to-date look without taking away the original essence of the room. Margaret Howell created some fantastic designs for Anglepoise, and though I’d happily have any of the three colours in my home, the Yellow Ochre edition is stunning.

‘Type 75 Desk Lamp by Margret Howell in Yellow Ochre’ from Anglepoise

This chair with a yellow seat from Gubi is rather special, it’s an ultra-contemporary design that’ll look gracious and cool in a modern home. The design also comes with a white seat, so you could mix-match the two colours around the dining table, or save the yellow for the head of the table to give the whole look a pop of colour.

‘Mategot Nagasaki Chair’ from Gubi

A striking yellow rug can really transform a room in one fell swoop, to keep things feeling light and not making the room look too dense, a patterned rug is a great way to add some yellow without swamping the room. The Sellarsbrook design created by Suzanna Sharp for The Rug Company, has a sophisticated geometric pattern that adds a timeless depth to the rug.

‘Sellarsbrook in Yellow by Suzanne Sharp’ from The Rug Company

This rich, crisp yellow velvet sofa really packs a punch, that’ll give your living room some vivacious character. The chesterfield design is given an alternative look, creating a piece that can be mixed into both contemporary and traditional interiors.

‘Balmoral 2 Seater Sofa in Varese Velvet Alchemilla fabric’ from Heal’s

For a sweet touch to a traditional bedroom, these rustic, French style bedside tables in a dusty yellow could be a great way to frame a bed in a similar style. The piece from Out There Interiors has some fetching ironwork detailing, which will give a room some extra style in a simple way.

‘Two Drawer Beside in Yellow’ from Out There Interiors

These lemony plates and dishes from Habitat are a refreshing way to give your dining table an updated look, the ombre effect means that they aren’t too outlandish, and will gently show off the zesty colour. Place them on a blue tablecloth or next to some coloured glassware for a really stylish look.

‘Atkinson 12 Piece Yellow Dinnerware Set’ from Habitat

Lastly, this gorgeous glass pendant from Rockett St George is an absolute beauty! The moody yellow shade combined with the irregular shape gives the whole look an understated, glamourous feel. This pendant would be the perfect addition to a dark, moody room, giving it that hint of colour it needs to keep it from looking drab and dingy.

‘Hand Blown Glass Pendant Lighting in Yellow Ochre by Curiousa & Curiousa’ from Rockett St George

Though it can be quite a daring and brave decision to add a bold shade of yellow into your interior (and may take a little more persuading for some), it’s a decision that will result in some fabulous and sophisticated homes! Whether you’re already in love with colour, or prefer your interiors more neutral, you’ll see how diverse a colour like yellow can be and how easily it will suit all kinds of styles.

Read Full Post »

Since today is Valentine’s Day, whether you’re celebrating or not, it always gets you just thinking about romance, and if you’re an interior designer, romantic interiors. I tend to have quite a soft spot for romantic interiors, there’s just something about them that is warm and welcoming, and since there are so many ways to incorporate the theme of romance into a room, it doesn’t just have to be your typical stuff. Alternative romantic interiors can offer you a liveable style, one with underlying tones of romance, one that serenades you in a softer tone, instead of outspoken and outlandish stylings. I’ve pulled together some ideas that will enable you to get the ball rolling if you want to turn your home into a laidback, romantic dreamland.

When it comes to decorating your walls in a romantic style, as with any style theme there are different directions you can choose to take. You may want to keep your walls neutral, to make way for other eye-catching pieces in the room, but if you’re feeling the more is more vibe for your romantic interior, a wallpaper with a pattern may be the way to go. A new collection from Harlequin, Standing Ovation, has some wonderful floral and nature designs that are perfect for creating your alternative romantic interior. The painterly style of the Floreale design and its overgrown and slightly wild floral pattern that gives it a little individuality against some other floral wallpapers out there. The bold colourways and the mixture of peonies foxgloves will give your walls a lease of life.

‘Floreale wallpaper’ from Harlequin

If your room can’t quite handle a print this big, or you’re drawn to a pattern that’s more subtle, the Persico design from the same collection is a rather sweet option. The sporadic arrangement of the British birds gives the design a distinctive character that avoids repetitive nature of patterned wallpaper. This is the perfect style to choose if you want something to transition comfortably between a neutral and a pattern, it’ll look graceful on your walls and allow for other big character items in the room.

‘Persico wallpaper’ from Harlequin

There’s no piece of furniture that fits better for a romantic interior than a big, comfy loveseat, I mean it’s even in the name! Loaf have some amazing loveseats in their collection at the moment, all in different styles to suit your taste, a particular favourite of mine is the Butterbump design. Its structure is fairly traditional, with its deep buttoned back and overall style, but you can still confidently put it into a contemporary setting by choosing a modern colour to upholster it in, like this Winter Sky in a soft velvet. It’ll keep the loveseat looking fresh and allow it to complement a magnitude of accent colours.

‘Butterbump Loveseat in Winter Sky clever velvet’ from Loaf

While some people might dream of a big diamond ring on Valentine’s Day, I’d be rather satisfied with a few of these cushions from Lime Lace. The diamond print is an alternative way to add some glamour to an interior and can also be used to toughen up a feminine sofa, or bring a sense of modernity to a more traditional piece. They are also a prime example of how a romantic interior needn’t follow the bohemian or traditional guidelines and if you love a modern, contemporary interior there are all sorts of way to add a little romantic and fun to the scheme.

‘Manhattan Chase Cushions by Camine Lake’ from Lime Lace

Another charming find from Lime Lace is this rather innovative pendant light. A chandelier instinctively feels romantic, but whether you don’t have the space (or the budget) to accommodate one, or it’s not really your style there’s always an alternative option, like this fab pendant, which features a little chandelier on the inside. They will make a great addition to an interior if you’re looking for that individual boost, or fun talking point, and perfectly incorporate the old with the new. A group arranged at slightly varying heights to create a central lighting piece will look fantastic, possibly better than having an actual chandelier!

‘King Edison Chandelier Pendant by Young and Battagalia’ from Lime Lace

Hanging things from your ceiling, not only frees up some floor space, but also gives the illusion of a lofty, dreamy area with floating accessories that draw your eye to different levels in the room, creating a fuller, more bountiful interior. These birdcage plant holders from Angel & Boho are wonderful. Make it the home for a viney, flowing plant and you’ll create your own little tropical rainforest in the corner of your room as your plants become romantically overgrown and intertwined with the bars of the cage.

‘Hanging Birdcage Plant Holders’ from Angel & Boho

For some lighter, smaller touches to your room to give it a romantic atmosphere, adding some trusted home accessories will always do the trick. A romantic interior will only ever be enhanced by the addition of candles and candleholders. These ombre candle from Lime Lace in an assortment of colours will stand out against the typical white candles, they add a sense of modernity to the traditional romantic interior and can either be used to tone down or up their holders. Below they are paired with some antiqued holders, and the contrasting blend creates an interesting effect.

‘Set of 4 Dip Dyed Candles’ from Lime Lace

Using metallic materials in your interior can help to make a romantic atmosphere, light will bounce off the surfaces giving a room a warm and inviting feeling. Having an arrangement of vases and pots for flowers, real or faux, will also make for a romantic setup in your home. I really like the combination of these gold and copper vases from The Estate Yard, their coarse geometric patterns give them a modern edge, while their metallic colours lets them settle into the romantic scheme.

‘Mixture of Copper and Gold Vases’ from The Estate Yard

If you’re keen for something a little darker and moodier, these black forest vases from Abigail Ahern will bring all the romantic drama you need. Pair them with rich golds and bronzes for a glamourous, romantic effect and with a pop of green from a few plants to really finish off the look.

‘Black Forest Vases’ from Abigail Ahern

There’s something about romantic interiors, be it traditional, feminine, contemporary, bohemian or a beautiful combination, which always seems to grab my attention. A romantic interior allows you to create your very own dreamland, a place to escape the ordinary and the mundane, making it your perfect Valentine’s Day location.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »