Ways to create a sociable kitchen.

I have committed a major blog fail!!!! The main thing you should do when being a blogger is….actually blog! Keep you lovely readers up to date, informed and excited about interiors!  But then I went and got a new job! Very exciting news as its at a kitchen designers, who quite frankly, design DREAM kitchens! I absolutely love it, but it has meant that my little blog and my Scout Styling work was slightly put on the back burner for a while.  I have been doing their social media, marketing and events, along with learning lots about kitchen design. It is fun, but very hard to fully commit to two social media accounts and websites! I am lucky though, as it will allow me to keep up to date with the latest interiors news, products, materials and trends, and also still allow me to work on my Scout Styling ‘room in a box’ designs.

alnocera2

The ALNO Cera available at Bradbury’s of Exeter – check out our website and follow our Facebook page for more info and fabulous pictures of dream kitchens.

Seeing as I am now learning about kitchen design, I thought I would write a piece about Kitchens, and more specifically, how to make your kitchen more sociable. Gone are the days when the kitchen was just a place to cook dinner, a small room at the back of the house purely for the preparation of food, cut off from the rest of the home and the family. Now, our kitchens are sociable spaces, the hub of the home, and quite often, the main entertaining and living space.

homeware designs (2)

The trend for open plan living is definitely not slowing down and is set to grow in 2017 as more and more people are choosing not to move, but to stay put and extend their homes to create large open plan kitchen and living spaces, with bi-fold doors, roof lanterns and kitchen islands being the most popular alterations. The idea of zoning your areas, for cooking, dining and living is increasing in popularity; so rather than one large open space, more families are realising that having separate areas to allow you to escape the mess and noise is a good idea!

A large island. A kitchen island is perfect for creating unity, while also allowing you to zone your areas. In a large, open plan room, it divides the preparing and cooking area from the dining and living area, but it also brings people around it to eat, read, chat and have a cup of coffee. Add lots of storage, some statement stools and a large pendant light, and you’ve created a real focal point for the room.

ALNO contemporary kitchen islands

Bi-fold doors.   ‘Bringing the outside in’ is another growing trend, as people create extensions that have whole walls made of glass and allow you to fling open the bi-fold doors, and have unspoiled views and access to the garden, almost as one continuous space. This is great for creating social unity as it allows you to interact with family or guests in the garden whilst you are in the kitchen without any division.

mg_p1_bifold

Sofas. If you have the space, a sofa or pair of sofas opposite each other, is a great addition to a kitchen. It allows a cosy, snug area for people to relax in whist someone is cooking, or to retire to with a glass of wine after a meal. If you choose a bright colour or a chesterfield, then you are also creating a focal point and much needed interest to a neutral colour scheme. A comfy place to sit will always bring people into the kitchen.

Music. Music will always bring people together and it one of the best ways to add life and atmosphere to a room. You could create a small music corner with an old record player and comfy old armchair where people can sit and thumb through your record collection, or you could install the latest state of the art wireless sound system, either way, its a great way to make a sociable space. At a party, music will always allow people to congregate in the kitchen and family will have fun Saturday afternoon dancing in the kitchen; we can often be found circling the table doing embarrassing moves to the Kinks!

Outside Styling. Seeing as the sunshine seems to have arrived, it is a great excuse to take the kitchen outside and create a comfy, stylish outdoor dining area. Throw a rug down, take some large cushions out, maybe even a small sofa, light some candles and style your outside space as you would your indoor space. Hang some festoon lighting and colourful pom poms in the trees and invite everyone round to enjoy the warm evenings.

outdoor styling

This image by Lisa Dawson Styling is a gorgeous and fun way to do outdoor socialising and entertaining, and if you don’t already follow her Instagram, take a look as its packed full of great inspiration and her blog is always a great read!

I’m thinking of running a competition in the next few weeks to win one of my Scout Styling room designs in a box, so will keep you all updated on that soon!

 

 

Advertisements

Spring Update – simple ways to rejuvenate your interiors.

Spring is in the air, the daff’s are in full bloom and stuffing our faces full of chocolate eggs is just around the corner. If you’re looking to add a bit of Spring freshness to your interior decor, here’s a round up of quick ways to bring the outside in and liven up your interiors.

  1. Botanical prints.

Adding a few botanical prints is a good way to add a fresh look, and the botanical trend is still very current so there are lots of lovely print out there, such as these lovely ones from Etsy.

img_2535-1
2. Soft Furnishings.

One of my favourite things is to climb into a freshly made bed with brand new bedcovers and this is a very simple way to get ready for spring. This bedding from White Company is so elegant and has added interest with the Pom Poms which I am seeing everywhere in interiors right now and love the quirky aspect they add.

Also check out @cushionsatthemanor on Instagram as they do some of the loveliest (and affordable) Pom Pom cushions I’ve seen!

3. Fresh Flowers.

Adding fresh flowers in beautiful vase’s all around the house is another relatively cheap and quick way to add colour and life into our interiors. Tulips and Daffodils are classic spring flowers and are so bright and cheerful, especially against a white or grey colour scheme.

4. Storage.

No spring clean is gonna happen until you have your storage sorted. I’m of the mindset that if you can’t see it, it’s not there. I have drawers all around the house shoved full of shit! But as long as it’s hidden and things look pretty, I’m good!

img_2531-1

These belly baskets are great for filling with toys or general bits and bobs, and the dipped white effect gives a cool, contemporary edge.

5. Think about your layout.

Ever since I was a child I would move my bedroom furniture around every few months, and I still, to the annoyance of my family, do it now. Finn will get in from school and notice that a new wall has been painted grey, a sofa has moved or a rug has vanished, only to find it pop up in a different room. A room re-fresh instantly gives a new feeling to your interiors and it is totally free to do. Quite often you will find this new layout works better for your lifestyle and the way you use the room. Every few months is a bit extreme I admit, but once in a while, it can work wonders. Grab a pen and paper, draw a rough sketch of the room and play about with new ideas of how the room could work differently and go for it.

img_2527

 

Living Room Revamp – Indigo room scheme.

Starting a decorating project with a blank canvas is brilliant, but can be a little daunting. You want to put your own stamp and personality on the room and you have numerous options, which can make it hard to visualise the finished look.

Here’s how to create a room scheme and revamp your living room to reflect your tastes…

img_2355

The best way to start any project is to plan. Gather your thoughts and pull a style together by creating a Pinterest board of all the images you love, or, my favourite thing to do is cut out pictures from magazines to create a mood board. Eventually you will see a cohesive look coming through and your preference for a colour scheme and style will emerge.

This mood board uses deep indigo colours alongside more neutral putty shades and then adds depth with texture through the wicker baskets, blankets and natural materials in the accessories.

Once you have a scheme worked out, you need to think about your layout and practical aspects such as storage, lighting and where you’re going to put your cup of coffee!

TIP: Try to include three sources of lighting in the room to create atmosphere and bounce the light around the room, especially if it doesn’t get much daylight.

img_2308BEFORE: Photo from Saleboards brochure.

Paint is the easiest way to create impact and a relatively cheap way to transform a room. My first job was to get a strong inky blue/grey on the fireplace wall and because the room can be quite dark, I offset this with a paler shade of grey on the remaining walls.

To add interest and personality to the room try to mix materials together. A stone mirror, wicker toy storage and decorative heart sit nicely alongside silver and marble candlesticks.

TIP: Group together picture frames and ornaments in odd numbers, so 3 or 5, to create impact and avoid things looking twee.

Put your stamp on the room with your photos, prints, and even favourite records and create unity by framing them all in the same colour and style frames, I used RIBBA frames from Ikea.

TIP: Frame unusual and interesting wrapping paper for a cheap and quick way to create artwork. Paperchase has an excellent collection, I love this china plate design.

img_2311

I added in the shades of putty in a new T.V unit and in the cushions and curtains.

TIP: Curtains to the floor can add some softness to a strong colour scheme. Make sure your curtain pole sits as close to the ceiling as possible and extends at least 15cm each side of your window frame; this allows maximum light into the room and will make your windows appear bigger. 

Eventually we want to put a log burner in, but for now, seeing as I’m poor, I am putting up with with the old gas fire. I used Old English White chalk paint to lighten up the wood surround and at some point I will change the fireplace tiles to my dream Moroccan tiles that are so popular at the moment.


I will keep you posted on the log burner progress. There is still so much to do, but as a little update, it has made us feel much more like ourselves in our new home. I hope you enjoyed our little living room revamp tour and have picked up a few tricks, and now, tomorrow is my birthday so I’m off to eat cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sofa Bed inspiration your guests will swoon over…

Are you looking for new sofa bed ideas and inspiration that tick all your boxes? It’s harder than you may think. Our new house doesn’t have a spare room, so being miles from home meant that we needed a really good quality sofa bed in the hopes that lots of family and friends would come and visit us for a little holiday by the sea.

On our list of sofa bed must haves was:

  • Comfort
  • Style/look
  • Sturdiness
  • Good mattress
  • Quick to set up and put down.

Here are my top sofa beds that we looked at and then finally the one that we chose – mainly because we are lazy and it takes seconds to set up!

7 Sofa beds for a swoon worthy look
7 sofa beds worthy of your guest room

  1. The Halston from an absolute fav of mine, made.com – Art Deco and fabulous.
  2. Opera from DFS – Classic and gorgeous.
  3. Kota at Habitat – funky and modern.
  4. Rhys from DFS – a stylish bit of mid century modern.
  5. The Carrick at sofa.com – pricey but perfect.
  6. The cloud from loaf.com – squishy and literally like sleeping on a cloud.
  7. Fling from DFS – the lazy girls sofa bed – exactly what I needed!

Sofa beds are a great space saving and practical solution to not having a spare room. You do need to be wary of cheap ones though because your forking out money on something that isn’t going to last and you will probably have to replace in a few years. I LOVE Ikea but we did buy a small, cheap sofa bed three years ago that everybody dreads sleeping on because of a chunk of wood that sticks in your back!

The Fling is great because it comes with a really thick, comfy mattress and you don’t need to remove cushions to set it up, you just pull a tab and the whole thing pops up, and it’s designed for regular use which is perfect for us.

So there you have it. Hopefully we get my family queuing at the door! Let me know in the comments below if you’re looking for the perfect sofa bed or if you have found yours and where you got it from, I’d love to see pics.  xxx

Don’t put the big light on!!!

Ways to make your house feel like a home.

The word on everyone’s lips (If we could say it properly) – Hygge!  Its the latest craze in Interiors here in the UK and has always been a way of life in Denmark. Whilst being a craze, the actual values rooted in Hygge are ones that create warmth, calm and a welcoming atmosphere, and that is something we could all use in our lives.

Growing up in a family that always created a welcoming, homely vibe for visitors, I thought I’d look back and see how I was always made to feel ‘at home’ and then give you easy ways for you to create this feeling in your own home, because its not all about material things and having a ‘show home’ perfect look. Interiors are often about putting together an atmosphere; a feeling of being at home.

Coffee cup and blanket, living room

We had a home where visitors did not have to take their shoes off, they felt like they could go and make themselves a drink, and put their feet up on the sofa without feeling uncomfortable and this is something I have carried through to my own home. I have a large family of Aunties who have always instilled in myself, my sister and our cousins, the art of creating a warm and cosy atmosphere at home, and we all know the importance of what we call ‘not putting on the big light’!

I’ve recently read ‘Hygge – The Danish Art of Happiness’, by Marie Tourell Soderberg and suddenly it all made sense – it basically means finding happiness in the little things. If you haven’t already read it, then go get it. Hygge is popping up all over the place, it’s a huge subject – far too deep for me to go into here, but we are told that “A Hyggelig home embraces you and comforts you. It meets you with an uplifting atmosphere and a feeling of belonging” This totally speaks to me about my home growing up. Its about a feeling, and how your home makes others feel in the space. Jakob Nyholm Jessen sums it up perfectly in saying that his home is inspired by The Hobbit; “Their homes were described as secure bases, with soft armchairs, round windows and large storehouses filled with gifts from friends. Not at all grand.”  

Here are some simple ways for you to create a cosy, welcoming vibe in your home…

Candles –  Candles, candles and more candles – who doesn’t love a candle, I can’t stop saying candle and now it doesn’t even sound like a real word!! But seriously, they give a warm, romantic glow and immediately give off a relaxing feel. Candles are a very cost effective way to add atmosphere. It doesn’t have to be Yankee, a few simple tea lights in a little holder or lantern can give you the look you want.

Candles, cosy living room decor

Lighting – TURN OFF THE BIG LIGHT! Overhead lighting gives a cold and stark feel to a room and can be very unflattering as it casts the light down, not up. Obviously there will be times when you need an over head light for work or chopping the veg, but there’s no need to have it on in an evening when you’re snuggling on the sofa watching T.V or chatting with friends over a coffee.

Another great way to add warmth is with string lights – these are my new addition from Cable and Cotton – thanks mum! You can get them in all different colours, so can mix and match them to go with your room scheme.

Cable an Cotton string ball lights

Textures and materials – Natural materials such as wool, stone and wood, along with piles of cushions and blankets give a relaxed, understated look to any room, they easily add interest, texture and colour. Soft furnishings are great for those of you who love a neutral scheme, to add some bold pattern without going too wild. They are great for cosying up in an evening – I am under my blanket every night!!

img_1570

Little Touches – A large part of giving off a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere is how you act in your own home. Growing up we always had music playing; this can be a great way to relax people and make it clear to guests that your home is their home. Put your feet up, chill with a coffee and they will feel able to do the same. Having recently read our Hygge book, my lovely sister in law added a kettle, mugs and a bowl of chocolates to her guest room and her friends always feel like its a home away from home.

Coffee in bed

What little touches do you add to make your friends and family feel at home? It doesn’t take much but can go along way…..Have a happy, hyggelig time!!

 

Create a cool Batman bedroom for boys (or kickass girls)

Finn has turned 5 and decided he needs a more grown up bedroom…i:e he wants Batman EVERYWHERE! Needing to find a way to keep him happy but also to make sure the room stays in keeping with the rest of the house (basically grey!!) and not bring in clashing colours, I went on the hunt for ways to do Batman, but with style!

Bedding
I had trouble finding any cool bedding under £60 but eventually came across this great set from Aliexpress.com for a lot less. It’s an American site, but they shipped them over here very promptly!

img_1614

Wall Art 

Next I painted these canvasses using the same paint colours that I used on the walls.

You can get similar ones online if you don’t fancy trying your hand at creating your own.

You can also create a Gotham city-scape complete with Bat signal on the wall. Don’t panic! This was more simple that you may expect and you will easily be able to recreate it with just some paint, (I used Dulux ‘Just Walnut’ and ‘Warm pewter’) a brush and the all important frog tape! (Plain old masking tape isn’t going to do here as I find the paint always bleeds through.)

5 steps to create Gotham city wall art

 

 

#1  Using your Frog tape, make some rectangular shapes to create your buildings.

img_1502

#2 Make these rectangular shapes a bit more interesting by adding the odd triangle to create different shaped roofs.

img_1505

#3 Using your darker grey paint, fill in your buildings.

TIP…Peel off the frog tape sooner rather than later as this needs to be done when the paint is still slightly wet to avoid peeling off any paint.

img_1506

#4 Using a small artists paint brush, use your white paint to add squares which will create your windows. These can be all different sizes and in random order. This bit is little trickier as you will need a steady hand.  I did use the frog tape to create squares for the larger windows.

img_1511-1

#5 You can go one step further if you’re feeling really brave and use your frog tape to create the bat signal lines coming from one of the buildings. I then traced a bat sign from a Batman poster Finn has and painted it on the wall, but this really does require a steady hand. You can get wall stickers or stencils that would do the job too.

Batman bedroom

Finish styling the room with some fairy lights, cosy blankets and their favourite teddies and you will have a fun and cosy room that they can’t wait to go to bed in!

…And I almost got away without having any cartoon Batman figures…but you have to compromise in life I guess!
img_1586

Let me know in the comments below how your kids rooms are decorated, if you had to compromise to get what you and your child both wanted or even if you plan to paint your own Gotham city on your childs wall… Go for it!!

 

 

 

2017 up and coming trends (and how to use them in your home)

2017 brings all new interior trends to watch out for and you will start seeing them in the glossy mags and all over Instagram. You may like aspects of the latest looks but not want to invest in totally redecorating your space or feel confident enough to really go crazy trend wise. That’s ok. That’s good. Trends are so fleeting, it’s probably best not to follow them by the letter but to take parts of them that you love and that fit in with your style and home. That way your look will be timeless and you won’t have to keep changing and replacing things.

So…what are the forecast trends for 2017 I hear you shout?!

Here’s a round up of my favourites and how to bring them into your space:

Greenery… Being Pantone colour of the year, of course we are going to see fresh, bright green pops of colour creeping into all aspects of design. It’s a bright and happy colour but quite strong, so rather than smothering all of your walls in it, I would bring in this trend by having lots of beautiful flowers and plants around and also choose one key piece to, as Pantone put it ‘reinvigorate’ and ‘rejuvenate’ your look. Go green for 2017!

Lime green ottoman. Made.com
This Green ottoman from Made.com is a great piece in a classic style that also gives you a bright, fun and trend worthy colour!

Feeling Blue… Strong and moody dark blue’s have been growing steadily in interiors for a while now and a personal favourite of mine. Moving away from greys (although I am still obsessed with my beloved grey) I love the warm and edgy vibe that indigo, navy and Prussian blue can give. They make a space look current whilst still creating atmosphere. However, 2017 is going to see brighter, jewel like blues creeping into our homes, and these can add a more glamorous and sophisticated look.

 

1.House of Fraser oversized blue cushion

2. Moroccan tile cobalt blue cushion

3. Blue throw by London blankets

Cushions and throws are a great way to quickly and cheaply update a living space. These blues have great impact, and you can swap or change up the look when you need to. Blue works well with a lot of other colours as well, so you can add in accents of mustard yellow, corals or orange if you want more interest, or you can keep it all blue for a serene and cool look.

Artisans…  Home made and DIY crafting projects are very popular but 2017 will see more skilled artisan products gaining popularity with a lot of people preferring to shop for high quality products that will stand the test of time and stay with them through their lives. People are becoming increasingly aware of the environment and like to use craftspeople with sustainable products.

1. Handmade ceramic planter

2.Handmade porcelain bowl

3.Handmade ceramic mug

Natural materials like ceramics, porcelain, wood and stone give a real quality feel to a home and if used along side more modern materials and colours, they can make a scheme look really cool. These items from Not on the High Street are a lovely way to incorporate artisan, wonderfully made products but without huge expense, and who doesn’t love a bit of new kitchenware!!

Glamour and Opulence …  If you love a really sophisticated and luxurious interior, there are lots of products and room schemes that go all out on the glamour! Copper accents have been used for a while now and are a great way to add a touch of class to a look but 2017 is set to see this trend sore with the addition of lots of reflective and mirrored surfaces, gorgeous velvets and brass and marble materials being used for anything from kitchen surfaces to clocks and lamps.

 

 

  1. Harlequin wallpaper
  2. Ivy side table – brass and antiqued mirror
  3. Handmade gold lined lampshade 
  4. Habitat copper vase

These pieces are an easy way to incorporate this trend into your living space without spending a huge amount of money and they really create a slick scheme and look more expensive than they actually are. However, if you need a stand out, wow factor statement piece, this lush, dark green velvet armchair with brass frame from made.com is going to give you just that! A little more expensive compared to using accessories to create your trend worthy interiors but this design is timeless and never going to go out of fashion, so there’s an excuse for you!


Grass cotton velvet armchair

These are just some of my favourite looks and styles coming up in 2017 and obviously you should take trends with a pinch of salt and always go with what you love for your home.

I would love to hear about the trends that you are looking forward to this year and how you plan to use them in your homes?
xx

 

*I have not been paid or sent products for this post, these are my own opinions and just items that I love and would use in my home.