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This blog first appeared on the Cambridge Evening News website.

The August bank holiday is so often ear-marked as a time for home improvements and with this in mind, we have put together a collection of accessories from some of our favourite designers and shops that we hope will inspire you to make those small but effective changes to your home, so that if the big DIY project doesn’t materialise, at least you home will be looking new and improved!

Lighting

Changing your light fittings will make a huge difference to your home. Add lamps where you can and select pendant lights that are beautiful in a room as well as giving the right kind of light for the space.

 

Single glass shades with black fabric twisted flex and dark bronze ceiling rose in purple, smoked olive, sky blue and yellow ochre. £262 www.rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Rugs

A new rug will add colour, comfort and style to a room and is a great place to add colour or pattern or both. Keep the rug as large as possible and don’t be afraid to sit the sofas and chairs (or other furniture) on it.

Niki Jones Lattice Rug  Hand knotted in 100% New Zealand wool. Available in two colourways, shown here in Ash Grey and Chartreuse Green £1250 http://www.niki-jones.co.uk

Flowers

Fresh flowers are a lovely accessory in any room of the home and will bring a welcoming, well-loved feel to your home.. Try to pick flowers and vases that fit in with the style and colours of your home but most importantly, pick flowers you love!

WildGarden Bouquet in Jug. Forget Me Nots, Anemones and Rambling Clematis. £65 plus delivery www.wildatheart.com

Cushions

I am a very big fan of a cushion or two as I think they add luxurious finishing touch to a space, not to mention a splash of colour and pattern. Try to add a selection of different cushions and avoid over co-ordination of fabrics.

Vintage Daisies and Roses Cushion Cover Approximately 50cm x 50cm, envelope back fastening with chunky shell buttons. £57 www.paleandinteresting.com

Bed linen

A new set of bed linen will not only make your bedroom look ship shape but will also be a wonderful reason to get an early night when the bank holiday weekend is over. I think some colour or texture (or both) in your bedlinen ensures that the bed is the centrepiece of your room but if you prefer plain white, a bedthrow will do just as well.

Andrew Martin Arrowstripe Duvet Covers, Multi from John Lewis

£99 – £125 Duvet cover for the duvet cover www.johnlewis.com

Mirrors and pictures

I am always amazed at the difference that hanging pictures and mirrors make to a room – they not only personalise a space but they also draw the eye upwards from the furniture to make a room seem bigger. If you don’t have a great art collection (or even if you do), well framed family photos, mirrors, prints and wall hangings will dress your walls in style. Think carefully about where each should hanging considering the background (paint or wallpaper), the lighting and the height that each piece is hung.

Graham and Green Grand Daisy Mirror 97 diameter £395 www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Bath towels

A great way to get a bit of colour and luxury into the smallest room in the house is to splash out on some coloured towels. Remember to get a selection of sizes from little hand towels to big bath sheets and check to see if you need additional hooks or towel rails to save them from all being piled onto the towel warmer or radiator.

Designers Guild Saraille Lime Towels £5-£45 www.designersguild.com

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We all love Cabbages and Roses for their pink, light blue and soft red roses but their homewares style guide on their website shows how gorgeous their designs also look in black and smart neutrals. I was really blown away by their lovely and inspiring images and whilst once I had browsed through the whole style guide, there seemed to be quite a few things in my shopping basket. Viewers beware!

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Our new evening classes started last night at Angel and Blume (see more at www.interiordesigntalks.com) and as the subject of the first class was ‘Finding Your Style’, I chose ten of my favourite books to show a range of different interiors style to the group. These have been sitting on our meeting room table all day so I thought it was a good opportunity to share some all time Angel and Blume book favourites with you! Here are the first five, more to follow later……

 

Practically Minimal

Maggie Toy Published by Thames and Hudson ISBN 0-500-28370-2

Minimalism can be thought of as huge, bare white spaces but this book presents beautiful liveable pared down spaces that focus on light, textures and materials and it makes even an accessories junkie like me want to go home and have a good clear up. It is a truly inspiring book that presents elegant, comfortable spaces that are a triumph of form AND function and I would urge any of you that love the minimalist way of live to invest in this book – I love it and I am sure you will too.

 

Contemporary Chic

Rozemarijn de Witte Photography by Hotze Eisma

Published by Conran Octopus Limited ISBN 1-85029-925-0

I have owned this book for many years and I keep coming back to it for ideas. It is full of comfortable, relaxed, carefully thought through interiors that all have a contemporary slant but often in a period setting. I think it is a very useful book for most people undertaking a project and there are so many lovely images, there really is something for everyone.

 

Shoestring Chic

Gail Abbott with photography by Mark Scott

Published by Cico, ISBN-13:978-1588163097

Gail Abbott wrote this book from her heart and she lives and breathes the art of shabby, shoestring chic. This book is about restrained beauty, seaside influence, vintage Swedish, French antiques and understanding the style so thoroughly that pieces picked up from a charity shop, flea market or car boot sale, anywhere in the world, will look a million dollars when they installed at home.

 

Perfect English

Ros Byam Shaw with photography by Chris Tubbs

Published by Ryland Peters and Small ISBN 978-1-84597-344-5

For me, this book captures the heart of English decoration – it isn’t the perfect, beautiful decoration of Henrietta Spencer Churchill or Nina Campbell but the real look of an English home that has evolved over the years. It encompasses farmhouses, stately homes, townhouses and cottages so if you love a bit of home grown style, this book is more than worth a look.

 

 Dream Homes, 100 Inspirational Interiors (and More Dream Homes, 100  Inspirational interiors, same authors and publisher, ISBN -13: 978-1-8589-4377-0)

Andreas von Einsiedel and Johanna Thornycroft
Published by Merrell ISBN-13: 978-1-8589-4349-7

A friend of mine bought me this book a while ago and initially I thought it wouldn’t be one of my favourite as it is simply a collection of beautiful homes. However, I have to say that I have found so much inspiration for my project work and for my own home that too many pages have been torn out and a new copy has had to be purchased! A really good book if you are just starting to identify your own style and want a wide range to look at and if that still isn’t enough for you, there is the aptly titled follow-up, More Dream Homes!

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How pretty is this seaside-style blog post by The Paper Mulberry. When we received an email to let us know that The Paper Mulberry had used one of our images in a blog post we hopped over to take a look and what a discovery! This pretty blog is filled with evocative, dreamy moodboards of gorgeous interiors and pretty colour combinations. Click here to see the rest of the post and for full image credits. And extra points if you can spot the Angel + Blume image in the moodboard above.

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The Vintage Modern Home

As a big fan of all things Vintage I was thrilled when this lovely book landed on my desk last week. Written by Katherine Sorrell  it is packed with gorgeous images and practical tips. As the former Associate Editor of Homes & Gardens Katherine knows her stuff and has broken the book down into chapters that focus on broad subjects such as colour, pattern and texture.

The Vintage Modern Home

She starts the book by asking the reader to asses what they already have and to spend some time thinking about what look you can pull together from your existing possessions. A great piece of advice which we are all guilty of forgetting when rushing out to buy something new. The photos are varied and inspiring – I love this shabby chic dining room with its mix of vintage furniture and cheerful accessories.

the vintage modern home

How great is this casual arrangement of vintage signs and prints. And that fisherman’s lamp – gorgeous!

The Modern Vintage Home

There are ideas for every room in the house and there are enough images to fill two books. This kitchen image is lovely and light and airy. It is also a perfect example of the rest of the book which aims at encouraging readers to make the most of their own space and to create a cosy, comfortable home which reflects their lifestyle, without feeling like they have to live in a magazine-styled show home.

Click to buy The Vintage Modern Home.

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Uncover hidden gems and ensure your home stands out from the crowd. Victoria Harrison of the interior designers Angel + Blume lets you in on some trade secrets.

salvage vintage style salvage vintage style

 

Images: 1 from Decorating with Blue and White by Gail Abbott, photography Mark Scott, 2 Gail Abbott

If you’ve never been to a salvage yard you don’t know what you’re missing. Like a treasure hunt for grown-ups, at a good architectural salvage yard you can uncover all sorts of hidden gems, from Victorian fireplaces and Georgian chandeliers to door handles and stained glass. All these items and many more are out there just waiting for a bit of TLC and a new home. Here’s how to salvage a little bit of history… (more…)

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