There is always a way to glam up a room on a small budget and crystal or faux crystal chandeliers’ are an ideal way to create that extra bit luxury on a winters day. They are ideal for bedrooms, the lounge or dining area, if you are feeling a little more extravagant you could even think about the bathroom adorning a touch of opulence.
As with all things, chandeliers’ have a variety of budgets, but you could also make your own, by using your current lightshade and attaching crystals so they hang from the bottom and sparkle when the lights are on. Very easy to do and you can pick the crystals up from online auctions or jewellery making sites.
You could even spruce up your tired bedside lamps with crystals, there is such a variety for you to choose from you could even match your colour scheme. Some are available for you to stick directly to cloth, while others come with pre-drilled holes for you to sew or use a fine wire to attach the stones. The end result will be an original design, suited to you and will give that extra bit of sparkle over the dreary months of winter.
When it comes to styling shelves I have OCD – obsessing over different ways to create eye-catching vignettes. I may change the flower arrangement one week to find it throws off the whole atmosphere, the balance is wrong so back to the beginning we go. It may sound obsessive but it’s the components that go into creating a fab little vignette (books, candles, art) etc that gives a room its character. The conundrum is how to stamp your very own personality into a room strategically and cleverly in order that it brings you joy.
Couple of top tips if you have books on your shelves stack them both vertically and horizontally as this will add visual interest and create a rhythmic pattern. Embellish with flair add ceramics and objects with intrigue – for example in the store we have the most fabulous porcelain cockatoos and parrots – super sweet on a shelf or bookcase. Play with the scale and put such objects next to smaller or large items for an added dose of surprise. And you all know about colour right it perks up everything and anything – I shall say no more.
Have you ever wanted to live the open plan life, well it is easier than you think, but before you start to knock down walls and getting friendly with your sledgehammer, there are a few points to think through.
Get some advice from a building surveyor, as the last thing you want to do is take a wall out that is holding up the floor above. Generally if the wall continues upwards to the next floor it is probably a structural wall, this means you need to get the professionals in. But before you get this wall removed you have to obtain approval from building regulations and they will check on the progress at varying stages. The good news is if it is not structural you don’t need to get any permission, you can just get rid of it.
Remember about electrics and plumbing located in the wall, you’ll need to think about where you are going to relocate these to and you also need to take into account your plastering skills, as once the wall comes down, plaster damage will occur to the adjoining ceiling and walls.
It can be easy to live the open plan lifestyle but it does take a little thought and repair work afterwards, but it will create so much more space and light a little bit of upheaval is worth the effort.
One of the rooms that often times if not always threatens the overall look and feel of a home is the home office. With more and more people working from home in spare rooms, bijou nooks or trying to intergrate home offices into day to day living spaces it can feel a bit of a challenge. However fear not there are a number of tricks of the trade that us designers use to turn such spaces from being ordinary to extraordinary.
Home office furniture is often times ugly (think desks, chairs, lamps, filing cabinets and so on) so I would recommend thinking outside of the box. For example my desk in my studio at home is an old ornately carved Georgian
table which I picked up at a flea market for a song and have sprayed glossy teal. Rather than partnering it with a horrible office chair i have coupled it with a super sweet retro one that looks funky and creates an interesting
Heaped on my desk are little piles of books where little posies and scented candles hang out together along with a a fabulous vintage Italian lamp. It softens the look. Next up, house scanners and printers behind doors (in bookcases or cupboards) or plonk on sufaces and then accessorise around to distract the eye. Finally add warmth, layer rugs across floors, heap throws over chairs and add cushions. Cosy comfort coupled with functional practicality is the name of the game.
I am on a mission to update floors (they take up almost one sixth of an interior space) and more often than not are neglected, neutral, and monotonous.
A fabulous way to inject colour into your floors is to add rugs (even if your floors are already carpeted). Think ornate Moroccan, Persian something colourful and patterned as often times chairs and sofas are covered in solid hues and patterns break up the formality. Rugs adds warmth and cosiness to any space no matter how grand or small, act as a fab focal point and are one of the easiest ways to update, revitalize and add drama. A few more pointers if you are using more than one rug in the same area make sure they are not the same size not only does it cut your room in half visually its so so boring. Also I suggest mixing them up in my basement a woollen zebra rug hangs out with a floral circular number from Anthropologie which is butting up against a kelim. Multi layered, multi coloured none of them match but they all make beautiful sense.
I am designing the smallest space on earth at the moment its literally a travelling wagon where dining, living, sleeping and washing all take place in the most bijou of spaces. Which got me to thinking about how easy it is to utilise every available wall space so that it multi tasks but also looks incredibly beautiful. In my very humble opinion people stop decorating too early on so often walls are left unadorned and bare. Think about installing shelves and then layering with stuff not only will it enliven your wall its practical too. A top tip to make simple cheap as chips shelves look way more gallery esq is to box them out with MDF to fatten them up – hence they look way more bespoke. If you paint out the same colour as your walls the objects on the shelves will be the star of the show which is exactly what we want. Old vintage letters found in flea markets and auction houses are all the trend and can be made from anything wood, bakelite, zinc and so on and add instant whimsy and fun to plain old walls. Another favourite trick of mine is to spray paint in the glossiest of hues old flea market found cupboards in the brightest of hues to give them a rock n roll vibe.
To me interiors should look and feel well travelled, laid back with a kind of low key luxury and you only get that vibe when you start adding stuff. Line the walls with shelves, spray paint the odd vintage find and wham bam magic starts to happen and you will have yourself a very fabulous home.
Wallpaper seems to be getting even quirkier and for those who like a bold statement in their room, you will be spoilt for choice with the latest offerings. There are prints for the kitchen featuring pots and pans in a monochrome colour, very kitsch. Or a teacup design for those who love their morning brew.
If there is a budding model in the family then there are silhouettes of posing models, ideal for a teenage girl’s bedroom, not forgetting the classic toile.
What is great about these wallpapers is any room can be given that designer touch and our modular bedroom furniture would sit very comfortably against these backgrounds.
We all want more space, even if we have oodles of it we want rooms to appear bigger and grander than they really are. There are some tricks of the trade that can make even the weeniest of spaces appear larger. First tip, move furniture away from walls as shoving furniture against walls aka doctors waiting room looks and feels so suburban. The plan is to trick the eye so it can’t automatically read the size of the space. Don’t be afraid to push things into the centre. In my own pad you have to meander around all sorts of stuff to get to a seat but it creates a path of exploration, helps generate movement and (designer lingo) flow.
Next up vary the scale – scale is the most under-used tool in the decorating basket but its powers are transformative. I have designed my outdoor terrace to appear like another room. Extra large out door chairs (black of course) sit alongside bijou occasional tables all presided over by a life-size cruelty free moose which doubles up as a light. Teeny pieces sit next to super sized pieces, which in turn creates a far more interesting perspective than if everything were one boring size.
I have a bit of a problem with hallways and other such similar transitional spaces as often times they are the neglected, over looked and very dull. The key I’m thinking is not to treat them like a passage way and do all the things you would do in a normal room. Layer the lighting, think chandeliers, sidelights, wall lights you know the thing. Your hallway sets the tone for the rest of your pad so it’s important to make it as wow as possible. Shelves are fab – the Ikea lacquered ones are genius (they double up as storage). If you layer such a shelf with artwork, mirrors and lighting it will create a super interesting tone and totally up your style ratings.
Being a high traffic area of course flooring needs to be sturdy as it needs to stand up to a lot of foot traffic. That said it doesn’t need to feel boring both Anthropolgie and Habitat have some fabulous rugs that will add instant flair to your lair.
Shorter days mean more hours spent at home so why not make it magical and glamorous.
Lighting and oodles of it is the easiest way to create a sultrey hang out – lots of low level lighting, coupled with fairy lights and candles, shout park avenue fabulousness like nothing else I know. Texture and whoomping up high voltage contrasts of skiny, smooth and slubby surfaces also ups the style ratings.
If you want a space that tantalises, seduces and thrills then layer different textures together. Imagine slubby throws juxtaposed with metallic cushions sitting alongside a softly woven rug. Heaven!