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October 31st  

Living room style decor ideas

Most of us would probably like a bit more space in our homes. Unfortunately, this is not always practical as we only have limited space available to work with. However, there are a number of ways that the illusion of space can be created with a few changes to your décor, and most of these can be easily implemented and won’t break the bank.

1. Use colours wisely

Monochromatic colours are the best choice if you want to make your space seem bigger. This type of colour scheme allows the eye to travel around the room easily and this will help create the impression of space. Slight differences in shading can be used to highlight certain areas of the room without creating blocks of colour that will make the room seem smaller.

2.  Make good use of glass

Glass can make spaces look bigger because it allows you to see the whole space. Examples of where glass can be used include glass doors as they do not create a barrier between rooms in the same way that a wooden door does. The use of glass balustrades in place of a banister will also have the same effect, especially if glass clamps are used to secure these balustrades in place. This can make the space that separates the upstairs and downstairs seem more open.

3. Look at mirrors and lighting

If a room is light then it will look bigger – using lighting in the right way can help you achieve this effect. Rather than having all the lighting on the ceiling, consider using wall lights or table lamps. This will limit the amount of shadows that are created and will ensure that the room looks light and airy. Hanging mirrors can reflect this light, as well as any natural light that enters the room, and this will also make the space appear larger.

 4.  Choose the right furniture

If you want to make a space look bigger then you should avoid furniture that is too solid and heavy. The space will look more open if the furniture is raised off the ground. Choose furniture units, sofas and chairs that have legs that lift them from the floor. It is also a good idea to choose light wood and fabric for your furniture. Colours that are too bright or too dark will draw the eye towards them and make the room appear smaller.

 5.  Don’t break up the flooring

If the type of flooring changes as you move from room to room, this can break up the space and make it appear smaller. Having the same type of flooring that flows throughout one level of your home can create the illusion of one big space which will help make every room appear bigger. This can be particularly effective if you have rooms that are open plan, such as the kitchen and dining room.

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***This is a guest post***

October 21st  

How to bring the 1940s style into your cosy home

If you love all things forties style, then check out this stunning 1940s mirror.

The mirror has a gorgeous vintage feel to it and we love the swirl effects around the frame, that make it ooze with charm. The frame has a gold pattina effect, with  a bevelled edge mirror at its centre.

We love it (can you tell?!). It’s new in at Graham and Green.

October 16th  

October isn’t always the most cheerful of months. With children going back to school, the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, it seems a long time since summer and a longer time until Christmas.

Cheer up your household with a Hallowe’en party for your children and their friends, and don’t forget to plan some themed games such as apple bobbing,  treasure hunt for spooky prizes or ‘pin the tail on the black cat’.

A great ice breaker is ‘dress the mummy’, where children split into two teams and wrap their chosen ‘mummy’ in bandages made from toilet roll. The winner is the team that wraps either most quickly or most convincingly.

Here are our top ten choices to help your party get off to a great start.

1. Wooden Halloween garland, The Contemporary Home

Wooden Halloween garland

Make sure everyone knows where the party is by hanging this wooden garland above the front door or party room. In chunky wood with bright and cheerful illustrated letters including a cat, snake, pumpkin and a pair of pointy witch boots, it’s perfect for setting the scene. £9, available from The Contemporary Home.

2. Halloween paper cups, Poundland

Halloween paper party cups

Part of a range that includes plates and bowls, these Halloween-themed paper cups are great value at 40 for £1 and will help you keep the clearing up to a minimum after the party. For more information and stockists, visit the Poundland website.

3. Halloween milk chocolate pumpkins, Ellie Ellie

Chocolate pumpkin treats

These cute little seasonal treats are perfect for serving up as games prizes or after the party meal, and come in a resealable jar with lid on the off-chance there are any left over. £9.50, available from Ellie Ellie.

4. Bat-shaped shortcake biscuits, Tesco’s

Scrummy bat biscuits

Seriously moreish, these bat-shaped biscuits will lend a suitably spooky edge to your celebrations. For added atmosphere, serve with red or black napkins. £1.75, available from selected Tesco stores around Halloween time.

5. Halloween cookie cutters, Poundland

Bake your own Halloween biscuits

Alternatively, have some pre-event fun by making your own Halloween biscuits, with this set of five cookie cutters, £1 from Poundland. Use a standard shortbread recipe, then decorate the finished biscuits to your heart’s content with coloured icing and licorice or silver balls for eyes.

6. Ceramic pumpkin candle holders, Gisela Graham

Pumpkin tealight holders

If, like us, you find carving real pumpkins a bit fraught and are always worried your children might end up with fewer thumbs than they started with, take the easy option with this set of three ceramic tealight holders by Gisela Graham. Reusable year after year, they’re perfect for hanging outside your house or in a window, and they’re less mess too. £20 for three from The Contemporary Home.

7. Halloween cake cases, Wilton

Printed cupcake cases

Make your own fairy cakes with these printed cake cases, and decorate the finished cakes with green and red icing or spider designs. For an easy ‘eyeball’ design, cut out circles of white fondant icing and stick them to the cake with a blob of glace icing. Add another, smaller, coloured circle for the iris then add a ‘pupil’ made from black fondant icing or licorice. Draw on bloodshot ‘veins’ with a red food colouring pen for a spooky effect. Cake cakes cost £3 for 72, available from John Lewis.

8. Halloween cake stand, Littlewoods

Halloween cake stand

Display your homemade goodies to best effect on this three tier cake stand, £5 from Littlewoods. It holds up to 24 fairy cakes, and will provide a centrepiece for your party table.

9. Ghost napkins, Tiger stores

Boo! Give guests a fright with these ghost napkins

Finish off your scary decor in style with these ghost napkins, featuring a friendly ghost guaranteed not to be too frightening for younger guests! £1 for a pack of 20, visit the Tiger stores website for more information and stockists.

10. Halloween tinsel, Marks & Spencer

Halloween pumpkin tinsel

Help your party sparkle and shine with this Halloween tinsel, £4 from Marks & Spencer. Use it to decorate the room or table, or drape around your guests to help them get into the mood.

 

October 8th  

As the poet Keats said in his poem ‘To Autumn’, it’s the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. To celebrate this year’s bumper harvest of blackberries, apples, pears and plums, we’re bringing the fruit theme into the whole house with our pick of the top ten autumn-fruit-inspired accessories.

1.Pear sideplate in candyfloss, Orla Keilly

Usher in autumn eating in style with this pear plate

This melamine retro pear print sideplate is part of a range, and comes in two colourways, candyfloss and peppermint. Hardwearing and dishwasher safe, it comes £8 from Berry Red.

2. Green pear mug, Lotte Kühlhorn for Koloni Stockholm

This clean, simple design will complement any decor

A retro design with a contemporary twist, Lotte’s Kuhlhorn’s bold, simplepear mug is sure to make you smile. Available in a range of colours and designs,  it’s made from fine bone china and costs £9.50 from The Scandinavian Shop.

3. Handpainted pears cushion, Edwina Cooper Designs

This lovely cushion is available in a range of other designs

This beautiful and unique hand painted pears cushion looks good enough to eat. Individually painted with fabric paints, the picture is a little different every time. The painting is on a grey ground inset into a soft cream cotton surround, and the cushion costs £49 from Edwina Cooper Designs.

4. Mylands paint in plum tree

A lovely rich shade, perfect for a cosy home

This popular interior shade is similar to freshly picked plums, and comes in a range of finishes including emulsion, eggshell and gloss. Use it on a feature wall, or to give an old chair a new lease of life. Prices start at £3.95 for a sample pot, available from Mylands Paint.

5. Branagh large ottoman in plum, MADE

Unwind in style with this footstool

This ottoman is designed and made in Britain, and is upholstered in plum fabric for an opulent feel. Perfect for putting your feet up after a hard day or using as an occasional seat, it measures 103cm wide by 103cm long by 41cm high, and costs £299 from MADE.

6. Blackberry placemat, Jean Tori

This vibrant mat will cheer up any mealtime

We love this colourful placemat, from the imagination and humorous vision of British artist Jean Tori. It features a wagtail eating blackberries for breakfast surrounded by lupins and peony bushes and bordered by a lake, cypresses and fruit trees. The mats are handmade in England from cork-backed eucalyptus hardboard with a laminate surface and matt finish and cost £34 for a set of four from In-Spaces.

7. Pink apples cushion cover, Free Spirit Designs

A cushion cover appliqued with pretty pink and pale blue paisley apples against oyster-coloured linen. The apples have been appliqued using a straight stitch to leave a  frayed edge for rustic look. Each cushion cover is handmade and costs £41.50 from Free Spirit Designs; cushion pads available on request.

8. Pear-shaped bark bowl, My Gift Tree

This bark bowl is also available in heart or peanut shapes

This unusual bowl would look great sitting on a kitchen table to hold small items such as keys, pens and other bits and bobs. Alternatively, fill it with walnuts or hazelnuts to make a display. £19.99, available from My Gift Tree.

9. Linear stem cushion in apple, Orla Keily

An eye-catching cushion in a simple, classic design

Add Orla Kiely’s signature style to your home with this linear stem cushion in fresh apple green. It’s available in five colourways: sunflower, duck egg, slate blue, red, chocolate and apple, and costs £40 from Amara.

10. Red apple pin cushion, Vintage Crafts

This pincushion is practical as well as cute.

Unleash your inner Martha Stewart with this cute pin cushion, £3.95 from Dot Com Gift Shop, ready for dark nights and winter sewing sprees.

October 7th  

How much storage has your home got? If your home is not naturally blessed with an abundance of cupboards or shelving, or standard furniture doesn’t fit due to low ceilings or awkward corners, then having bespoke fitted furniture to suit your requirements might be an option worth exploring. Here are some ideas for built in storage options throughout the home.

Living room storage

The living room is likely to be a place where you go to rest, relax, unwind and entertain. Having an organised room is likely to be preferable to one where you can’t move for clutter, have a teetering pile of DVDs on the floor or where children’s toys are scattered everywhere.

Cosy living room storage ideas

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If you’ve got books, CDs or DVDs to store, and decorative ornaments and pictures that you’d like to have on display, then fitted shelving can be a good option. If you have a fireplace with alcoves either side, then it lends itself wonderfully to becoming a space that can be developed into storage.

How to create living room storage

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If you have a bay window, then think about the possibility of having a window seat built in with added storage underneath. This could be great for hiding children’s toys.

Bedroom storage

When it comes to a bedroom, one of the key requirements for storage is likely to be somewhere to comfortably store all your clothes and shoes (and maybe handbags, ahem).

Fitted bedroom storage ideas

A built in wardrobe can help maximise the space you have available, whilst also providing hidden storage. It’s amazing what a difference it can make to a room when all your clutter is contained. Companies, such as Urban Wardrobes, specialise in creating wardrobes and bespoke furniture for your home.

Urban bedroom office furniture

In addition, if you have a bedroom or guest room that also doubles up as a study, you could opt for a clever wardrobe design like this that incorporates both space for clothing and an area that opens up to reveal a desk.

Bathroom storage

If your bathroom is small, then it’s important to make the most of the space available and provide storage where you can. Fitted bathroom storage can be good, as everything can be given its place, without compromising on space. By choosing colours carefully, you can also maximise the feeling of space in a room. White, for example, can make rooms feel bigger and adding mirrors can be effective too.

White shaker fitted bathroom storage

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Fitted drawers and wall units provide space for essential toiletries, drawers can be used for facecloths and cupboards for storing cleaning equipment in. For en suites or tiny attic bathrooms you can even get ranges that are half the standard width, yet still provide some vital storage space.

***This is a collaborative post***
October 2nd  

How to choose an home office chair

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Working from home is an increasingly popular options and more people are setting up dedicated work spaces in their homes. But it’s easy to underestimate the importance of good quality seating for your home office. You may assume that a standard desk chair will do fine, but if you’re using it for long periods of time it won’t necessarily be good for your health or wellbeing. In fact, poor posture from inappropriate seating can contribute to a range of musculoskeletal problems and leave you with pain and discomfort.

If you’re on the lookout for a chair for your home office, it’s worth bearing in mind the following top tips.

Consider usage

The first thing you’ll need to think about when you’re buying seating is how much usage it will get. If your chair will be used for only short periods of time, you don’t need to be quite as fastidious in terms of specifications.

On the other hand, if you need to sit at your work station for a long stretch of time, it’s really important that you get an ergonomically sound and comfortable chair. Luckily, there are now plenty of products to choose from. By heading online, you can take your pick from the array of items offered by companies such as Furniture At Work™.

Height adjustment

Height adjustment features are helpful. You want to be able to sit with your feet resting comfortably on the floor, with your thighs supported and parallel to the floor. Sitting either too high or too low can cause discomfort.

Back support

You should also pay attention to the back support offered by chairs. Ideally, you want to invest in products with a height-adjustable backrest that is cushioned and provides lumbar (lower back) support.

Research suggests that the best position for the back while seated is slightly reclined at 100 to 110 degrees. Also, bear in mind that it’s now possible to buy chairs with adjustable tension settings that enable you to increase or decrease tilt resistance.

Armrests

When it comes to armrests, aim for versions that are both adjustable and cushioned. These provide maximum comfort. The armrests should allow the forearm to rest at a 90 degree angle and they should support the elbow.

However, if you think armrests may get in the way of certain tasks, it’s wise to buy chairs with removable versions.

Fabric

There are lots of different fabrics to choose from, but breathable materials tend to be the most comfortable. This is particularly true in summertime when temperatures rise.

Plenty of space

Another feature to look out for when purchasing a home office chair is how much space they offer.  For optimal comfort, you should aim for versions that provide at least an inch of space around the hips and thighs on each side.

The seat should also curve down slightly at the front edge. This helps to prevent the edge from coming into contact with the back of your knees.

Well worth the investment

Although a good quality office seat will set you back more than a cheap chair, this will prove to be money well spent. It can improve your wellbeing and make working at home a comfortable experience. Plus, superior seating can stand the test of time, meaning you shouldn’t need to replace it for a good while.

***This is a guest post***

September 30th  

We’ll miss summer – but we’re loving autumn too. Hearty casseroles, homemade cakes and puddings, chestnuts, scuffling our feet through the autumn leaves and going for long walks on clear, crisp mornings are all just round the corner. We’re getting ourselves in the autumn mood with these leaves-inspired home accessories.

1. Linen cushion with red leaf design, Nutmeg and Sage

Striking design in autumn colours.

This cream linen cushion has a red wool felt leaf design finished with a crocheted border in a steel blue cotton yarn, and is also available in natural and steel blue. The strong, rich colours are perfect for adding a cosy finishing touch to chairs and sofas this autumn. £76, available from Nutmeg and Sage.

2. Autumn oak table lamp, Nick James/Hunkydory Home

Autumn colours and retro design make this lamp different.

We love this unusual retro lamp, handcrafted in north east England. The drum lampshade, handmade by Hunkydory Home, is paired with a hand crafted solid oak lamp base by Nick James, a furniture designer based in Newcastle. £85, available from Hunkydory Home.

3. Autumn leaves cushion cover, Free Spirit Designs

This cushion perfectly captures the movement and colours of autumn leaves

The leaf shapes on this cushion cover are hand-appliqued using a Michael Miller fabric with a postcard print. Stitching outlines the leaves in a variety of autumnal colours and these are echoed in the embroidered ‘wind swirl’ detailing. Not supplied with a cushion pad. £45.50, available from Free Spirit Design.

4. Seeded plantable leaves, Wildflower Favours

These ‘leaves’ would make a great biodegradable alternative to confetti.

This is a great idea. This pack of 75 leaves in orange-red, gold and green in three different sizes is perfect for an autumn wedding, and when planted in compost the seeds embedded in the leaves will grow into a selection of flowers, including  poppy, spurred snapdragon, catchfly, English daisy, evening primrose, gold yarrow, Roman chamomile, tussock bellflower, foxglove, fringed sagewort, white yarrow, red yarrow, monkeyflower and creeping thyme. £4.99 per pack, available from Wildflower Favours.

5. Scattered leaves doormat, Beyond the Fridge

Leave the real leaves firmly outside with this doormat.

This scattered leaves design doormat, £32, is designed by Amanda McIvor for Beyond the Fridge, and will protect wood and laminate floors and carpets from damage and dirt. Made from high quality, low profile, non slip nitrile rubber it has super absorbent tufts to trap moisture and dirt and is machine washable at 40 degrees.

6. Arbour harbour plate, Elizabeth Dunker

Cheer up a grey, drizzly day with this quirky plate

A 100% porcelain plate, decorated with a border of autumn leaves and a little smiley face to cheer up your afternoon tea. Dishwasher safe, it measures 22cm in diameter and costs £18 from Quince Living.

7. Chestnut leaf napkins, Nancy Straughan

Chic and understated, these napkins will see constant use.

A set of two organic linen napkins featuring a graphic ‘chestnut leaf’ design with a natural print in rich brown on crisp white cloth. They’re designed and made by young designer Nancy Straughan, who scans textured elements such as pebbles, leaves and bark to create eye-catching digital images. Her designs are printed in Britain onto organic linen, using eco-friendly inks. The napkins cost £18 for a set of two, available from Decorator’s Notebook.

8. Autumnal Mondrian rug, Frith rugs

Warm colours and strong stripes are the perfect partnership

This rug has been inspired by the work of the Dutch artist Mondrian, and would suit any decor. Creative and bold thanks to its use of dramatic design which is sure to become the focal point of any room. Available as a runner and circular rug, prices range from £99.00 for a 1.68m x 1.07m sized rug up to £449.00 for a 3.30m x 2.36m rug. Available from Frith Rugs.

9. Falling leaf storage bag, Berry Red

Store unseasonable clothes and bedding in this pretty and practical bag.

Perfect for storing bedding, clothes and laundry or for use as a toy or boot tidy, this practical bag is made from recycled plastic bottles and measures 28cm by 48cm. £5, available from Berry Red.

10. Autumnal mohair throws, Bronte

Soft, warm throws for cuddling up by the fireside

These gorgeous Bronte mohair throws are the exact colour of autumn leaves, and are perfect for snuggling up on cooler days. Made from light yet durable mohair from the fleece of the Angora goat, they cost £79.95 each from Annabel James and are available in four different colours.

By Sara Walker

September 26th  

Home to the TV, sofa and comfortable chairs, the living room is usually the place in the home that we spend the most time in, especially after a long, hard day.

In many houses, the living room is also one of the main socialising spaces, hosting family get-togethers, parties and cosy nights in.

Giving your living room the care, attention and love that it deserves is therefore a must, and if your lounge is in need of a little TLC, now’s the perfect time to give it a makeover and transform your interior forever.

1. Victorian

Living room style ideas

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This classic, elegant style is easy to replicate and rarely goes out of fashion. If you live in a period property, achieving the perfect Victorian look will be even easier; however you can add elements of the style no matter which era your home is from.

Antique standing lamps, fireplaces, paintings and wooden floorboards will all help you to create the classic Victorian look. Rich wall colours like dark greens, reds and blues will also add to the finished result.

2. Boho chic

Boho chic living room style for a cosy home

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If you’ve collected your furnishings and accessories over a few years, creating a boho chic look should be easy.

Simply place your mismatched furniture in the room however you like it and voila. Avoid cluttering the space as this will detract from the boho-style and try to use good quality fabric sofas and chairs to ensure a high end finish.

3. Country cottage

Cosy country cottage living room

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Perfect for cosy homes and bijou properties, the country cottage look is a British classic.

Though less formal than a Victorian style living room, a country cottage lounge should still have a fireplace, or at least a wood burning stove. Use lighter colours on the walls to make the space feel larger during the day and help bounce light around the room.

4. Minimalist

Minmalist living room

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Though probably not the best choice for those having small children, a minimalist look can be very effective in city homes, modern properties and bachelor pads.

To achieve the perfect minimalist look, stick to whites, greys and blacks with just a few splashes of colour in your living room.

Whether you choose to transform your entire home, give your living room a complete makeover or simply take a few design ideas and give your interior a bit of TLC, there are plenty of effective, attractive and stylish ways to create the living room you’ve always wanted.

 

September 20th  

If you want to update a room with a new theme or a new selection of accessories, but need to stick to a budget, then heading to the high street is definitely the way to go to save money.

Many high street retailers have newly launched collections and with a few select purchases, you can inject a much needed update into a room.

If you love the timeless feel of pastels, with their soft tones and gentle air of calmness, then Wilkinson’s have a nice collection called Barely There which focuses on soft, bleached out shades of pinks, greens, blues and creams.

Barely there pastel home style idea from Cosy Home

With the exception of one item, all of the pieces featured here cost £8 or under, which seems pretty good to us:

1. Pom pom cushion, £7

2. Meadow stems in medicine bottle, £8

3. Barely wall art, £20

4. Ballet shoes canvas, £6

5. Ditsy floral cushion, £7

6. Ditsy floral door stop, £6

7. Set of two bird ornaments, £5

8. Rose cushion, £7

We think it’s a great collection for a cosy home update. Do you agree?

September 17th  

Antique china plate designs

If you love antique plates, but don’t have enough spare cash to buy them or enough space in which to house them, then how about this for an alternative?!

This decorative cotton tea towel is illustrated with antique plate designs from the art collections at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The tea towel could be used for its intended purpose of aiding you with drying up your dishes, or you could re-purpose it and hang it on your wall, framed or unframed.

Either way, this is one collection of antique plates that you don’t have to be fearful of accidentally breaking! Get yours from Bonnie & Bell.

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