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January 27th  
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If you love Brideshead Revisited and wish you lived on the set of Downton Abbey, then English country house style is for you.

You may not have access to 44 bedrooms (think of all the dusting!), a library or a butler called Jeeves, but you can introduce elements of this traditional, timeless style into almost any interior.

It’s a relaxed, thrown-together look, with styles and patterns mixed together and classic pieces of furniture interposed with modern pieces.  Here’s how to do it.

The look

Fabrics on cushions and curtains should be chintz, large floral patterns, muted stripes, checks or tartans. Don’t go for anything too bright or garish, and avoid geometric patterns. If you choose plain curtains and soft furnishings, mix up the textures with velvet, silk and wool. Stick to one main colour palette, such as blue and grey, to prevent the finished look from being too busy.

Walls should either be plain and painted a neutral colour, or wall papered (choose a pattern with a large motif). A plethora of pattern – chintz, checks, muted stripes – and strong carpets, soften the eighteenth century paneling, which is painted a shade between duck egg blue and watery green – darker below the dado rail and lighter above. Pictures are perfectly hung. Large imposing portraits on the walls; and small charming watercolours in tight groups around the fireplace.

Country house style living room interior decor scheme

Accessories are an essential part of the decor, and should be eclectic (giving the impression your family has been collecting them for years!). Trawl antique shops and salvage fairs for china, botanical prints, old landscape paintings, candlesticks and stags’ heads (if you don’t fancy the real thing, there are some excellent and quirky alternatives made from wool, wood or pretty much anything you can think of). Add in a few modern pieces such as picture frames to emphasise your personality. Set vases full of fresh flowers on polished wood tables.

Don’t be too formal with pictures. Group smaller pictures together around another feature such as a fireplace, and position larger artwork by itself. Mixing sizes and shapes will help give the room a lived-in air.

Steer away from harsh overhead lighting, and choose mood lighting. Table lamps with heavy china bases and silk shades will look the part.

Ideally, floors should be bare stained boards covered with rugs. If you have to go with carpet, choose a neutral colour such as grey or oatmeal.

Essential English country house style picks

Keen to get going and create an English country house style in your home? Here are our top picks to help you get the perfect look.

Grey wall mounted stag’s head, Melody Maison

Stag’s head, £16.95 from Melody Maison

A great budget option, this grey stag’s head is just £16.95 from Melody Maison.

Glencoe stags’ head wall hooks, Artisanti

Stags’ head hooks, £40 from Artisanti

Hang your wax jackets and tweed caps on this stylish set of three stags’ head hooks, £40 from Artisanti. They’re made from solid brass, and look just as good when not in use.

Camel Stewart tartan cushion, Annabel James

Stewart tartan cushion, £44.95 from Annabel James

A Merino lambswool cushion in traditional Camel Stewart tartan design in natural shades with button and fringe detail, this comes complete with a feather filled cushion. £44.95, available from Annabel James. Matching throw also available.

Glass vase, House Doctor

Glass vase, £6.50 by House Doctor

Fill this simple clear glass vase with wild flowers or a garden bouquet. Mix it with other vases in different sizes, shapes and materials for a visually appealing effect.£6.50, available from Idyll Home.

Smoky silver ceramic candlesticks, live laugh love

Silver candlesticks, £14.95 from live laugh love

These simple, stylish, silver pillar ceramic candle sticks will enhance your mantlepiece, windowsill or side table. £14.95, available from live laugh love. In two different heights, they’ll help create a casual, relaxed effect.

 

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January 24th  
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Now that that children have gone back to school, it’s time to tackle the chaos that’s been wreaked over the Christmas holidays! If your child’s room is looking a little worse for wear, think about investing in some new furniture to smarten it up this year.

New chairs and desks are a must-have for school homework, and means all the clutter can be kept in one place. A new desk and chair could even encourage your child to enjoy doing their homework! Here are our top ten picks.

1. Industrial desk, Vincent and Barn

Sure to find favour with the most super-cool teenager, this industrial-style, compact desk has plenty of storage. Made from metal with a galvanised, lacquered and painted metal finish, it’ll stand up to plenty to less-than-careful treatment. It costs £365 from Vincent and Barn.

2. Children’s white desk and chair, The White Lighthouse

A very small, neat desk with a matching stool, this is ideal for a first desk for children aged 3 to 9 . The desk top lifts open for storage of paper, pens and pencil. With measurements of 57cm h x 55cm w x 48cm deep and a sturdy construction, it will last them until they move up to an adult-sized desk. £65, available from The White Lighthouse.

3. Oak mini stroller desk in yellow, MADE

Based on the original adult-sized design, the Stroller Desk has a sleek, Scandi look. Designer Steuart Padwick has reduced the scale for 10-13 year-olds, but it still has the sleek tapered legs and Bauhaus-style handles of the parent version. The pop of colour on the legs and drawers make it bright and fun, and the legs are solid oak while the desk top is veneered in oak. £229, available from MADE.

4. Qubix industrial desk, MY Furniture

Part of the Qubix collection, inspired by early 20th industrial and institutional design, this desk is made from solid oak and steel. Ideal for smaller rooms as the open construction gives a feeling of space, it’s been inspired by  vintage British school desks. Complete with pen rests, two drawers and quirky flip-up lid – providing plenty of space to store and easily access possessions. £249 from MY Furniture.

5. Quill desk, Loaf

If you don’t have room for a desk, this bureau/pull out writing desk could be the answer for occasional use. It’s a chest of drawers with a pull down top, so you don’t compromise on storage space but have a temporary writing surface. Handmade from solid reclaimed fir recovered from old buildings with vintage-style bronze handles, it costs £695 from Loaf.

6. Milligan retro multi drawer desk, Atkin and Thyme

To fit in with a traditional decor, how about this Milligan retro five drawer desk with an eclectic mix of iron, bone and cut glass handles? It would make an eye catching centrepiece for any home or work office. Made from sustainable mango hardwood, it’s the perfect size for a desktop or laptop computer and won’t take up too much space. £399 from Atkin and Thyme.

7. Keira office chair, MADE

This office chair has a quirky side – upholstered in pale grey fabric, the copper base adds a touch of glamour. Designed to support your arms and back while working, the sleek minimal lines mean it will fit into any decor. £149, available from MADE.

8. Alice stool in grey, Rose in April

Using a stool that can be completely concealed under the desk when not in use is a great space-saver. This Alice stool with contrast colours of neon yellow and cement grey is made from beech wood with water based paint and finish and costs £60 from Sisters Guild.

9. Alexus desk, Sweetpea and Willow

For budding architects or style queens, this Alexus desk will give them a great start in lide. The eye-catching silver drawer handles and geometric legs give the classic wood a contemporary twist.  £546 from Sweetpea and Willow.

 10. Star white wooden chair, Kids’ Concept

This hand made wooden white chair  is both sturdy and practical. A great accessory in a nursery or bedroom, and just the right height for younger children, it costs £49 from Kids’ Concept.

 

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January 9th  
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Bohemian decor is bright, artistic and full of colour, pattern and texture. If sleek, contemporary, minimalist interiors leave you cold, then Bohemian style is definitely more ‘maximalist’.

We all know someone with the ability to throw clashing colours and styles together and create an enviable result, and that’s what Bohemian style is all about. The great thing about this decor is that there aren’t any design ‘rules’ – the best way to throw it together it to take pieces that you love, preferably that tell stories of different experiences or places you’ve been on your travels.

How to find and develop your own Bohemian style

To find your own Bohemian style, first think about the things you love.

Are you a beachcomber? Do you love long autumn walks? What about travelling – what are you favourite places to go? What experiences did you have there? Gather together things that mean something to you, and incorporate them into the decor.

For example, a favourite dress or pair of jeans that’s linked with something important in your life can be reinvented as patches in a quilt, a cushion cover or even part of a pair of curtains. This style is all about unexpected juxtapositions, so don’t be afraid to go a little off piste. Remember, if you love everything you’ve chosen then that’s the only criteria for including it – be brave!

Mixing styles up like this creates a carefree, relaxed attitude, and a decor that’s full of talking points and culture. Colour schemes aren’t chosen but evolve – lots of rich, earthy tones like orange and brown mixed with jewel tones like purple and blue will create a warm, den-like atmosphere.

To save it all looking too busy, keep carpets and floors a plain colour (plain waxed or painted floorboards work well), and pile them with coloured rugs. In a similar way, paint walls a plain colour to act as a showcase for your collections of art. Choose a warm tone like soft grey, and steer away from plain white which it too stark. Use soft furnishings like throws and rugs not only in the conventional ways, but also hung from the walls, draped over lamps and as table cloths.

How to choose Boho fabrics and furniture

When choosing fabrics, look at texture as well as colour and pattern. Very textured fabrics like hessian and chenille will mix well with satin, silk and velvet.

Furniture, vintage is key. Each piece should tell a story – whether it’s the wardrobe your grandparents bought when they got married, or the table you found at an auction rooms and brought home tied to the roof of your car.

Search vintage fairs, junk shops, small ads and online auction sites for pieces with a bit of history, and then sand, wax, repair, paint and refurbishment them until they become yours.

Accessorise with Boho finds

Look for accessories with a Moroccan or Indian feel, and don’t stick to one colour or type of material – mix wood with leather, cotton with wool and stone with textiles. It all sounds a bit chaotic, but the finished result is unconventional but cosy and welcoming.

When it comes to accessories, more is definitely more. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites:

Paradurah printed duvet cover, La Redoute

This lively duvet cover is oozing with boho style. It costs from £29 at La Redoute.

Kantha quilt made from vintage sari, Decorator’s Notebook

Kantha quilt made from vintage saris, £175

Each one of these quilts, £175, is hand stitched from vintage saris, so each one is different. For a selection, visit Decorator’s Notebook.

Set of four large Bohemian bowls, Berry Red

Set of four Bohemian bowls, £48

In mix and match assorted patterns, these bowls are ideal for everything from pasta to cereal.  £48 for four from Berry Red.

Aurora round velvet chair, MiaFleur

Aurora round velvet chair, £525

This chair has a sturdy frame wrapped in raffia with angular iron legs with a brass finish and a soft, cotton velvet buttoned cushion. £525, available from MiaFleur.

Set of four ombre boho Mason jars, Etsy

Add instant boho charm to a room with these handpainted accessories

For instant boho charm, this set of four ombre handpainted Mason jars are the perfect accessories to add to a room. They’re £40 at Etsy.

Ivonette table lamp, The Chandelier and Mirror Company

Ivonette table lamp, £79

A traditional table lamp with a classic tapered shade upholstered with a rich regal burgundy fabric and fringing. £79 from The Chandelier and Mirror Company.

Magellan mirror, PIB Home

Magellan mirror £35

This small round mirror has a slightly distressed frame for a vintage feel. £35 from PIB Home.

By Sara Walker

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December 21st  
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Whether you’re into pop or classical, music is a part of all our everyday lives. If you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves music or just fancy adding a little tune-related twist to your home decor, then look no further. We’ve chosen our top ten picks, all with a subtle music theme, ideal for adding individuality.

1. Set of four Secret Music coasters, Moody Monday

The distinctive contemporary design of these coasters is inspired by the parts from an old double keyboard organ. Part of the Secret Music collection, they’d make an ideal gift for a music lover and are a lovely, subtle way of introducing a musical ….ahem….note into your decor. £24 for a set of four, available from IN-SPACES.

2. Vintage music table confetti sprinkles, Widlflower Favours

What a gorgeous idea! 200 pieces of vintage music table confetti sprinkles hand-cut from real vintage music sheets, with each heart measuring 2.5 cm. Perfect for weddings, they’d also be ideal for summer or birthday parties. £2.99 from Wildflower Favours.

3. Love and music collage, Jane Wilson

ursFor something really special, what about this beautiful  collage by UK-based artist Jane Wilson? Created from vintage music manuscripts dating back to the 1800s, it’s a perfect present for a friend…or for yourself. Measuring 25 × 25 × 4.5 cm, it’s sold frame and signed for £65 from Artfinder.

4. Personalised Top 20 chart print, Betsy Benn Designs

Everyone has a list of their all time favourite songs, so this print is really personal. You could choose your favourite 20 tracks of all time, or even a wedding or birthday playlist. It costs from £35 unframed from Betsy Benn Designs, available from Not on the High Street.

5. Secret Music cushion, Moody Monday

From the Secret Music collection comes this ‘Dance!’ cushion, handmade in Edinburgh. The contemporary hand printed design was inspired by an abandoned double organ keyboard. Available in different colours and a choice of duck feather or microfibre pads, it costs £60 from IN-SPACES.

6. Orlando metal loop sculpture, Artisanti

This raw silver finish ornamental metal sculpture is made from an entwined metal ribbon reminiscent of a musical clef symbol. The textured, shiny aluminium finish catches and reflects the light, so place it near a lamp or candle for maximum impact. £204, available from Artisanti.

7. Personalised guitar chopping board, Getting Personal

If you know someone who fancies themselves as a bit of a rock god, then this chopping board could be just the thing. In the shape of a guitar, it has ‘The World’s Greatest’ engraved across it in a variety of fonts, and you can personalise it with a name. With a hole at the top of the fret board, it can be hung on the wall as a focal piece when it’s not in use. £24.99, available from Getting Personal.

8. Beechwood guitar salad servers, Kikkerland

Very much in the same vein are these brilliant guitar salad servers, made from beechwood. They’re heat resistant and safe to use on non-stick cookware, so you can use them as wooden spoons too. They’re ideal for rocking out at the barbecue. £16, available from Kikkerland.

9. Attache record player in brown, GPO Retro

How cool is this portable record player? This suitcase-style, vintage inspired model has built-in speakers and a USB port to connect with a MP3 player or smartphone, so you have all the benefits of modern technology in a vintage-style case that wouldn’t look out of place in a period home. Oh yes – and you can play vinyl records on it as well! £89.95, available from GPO Retro.

10. Personalised ‘Our Song’ vinyl record cushion, The Drifting Bear

This faux suede cushion displays your favourite song on a vinyl record, personalised with your names and a special date. Prices start at £35 for the cover only, or you can add a microfibre or duck feather pad for an extra charge. Available from The Drifting Bear.

 

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December 17th  
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Deck the halls – or at least the dining table – with these lovely seasonal placemats. The Christmas table always takes centre stage during the festive season, so make sure it looks its best – you can leave these placemats in situ while the decorations are up to add a festive feel.

If you think that having placemats you only use for four weeks a year is a bit extravagant, we’ve also included some plainer options that you can use all year round – dress them up at Christmas with holly sprigs, gold paper stars or ribbon.

 

1. Copper placemats, Mia Fleur

With their deliciously, hand beaten finish these copper placemats take centre stage and glam up the dining table. They have a rubber backing to protect your surfaces and are made from aluminium with a copper dye coating. £40 for a set of two, available from MiaFleur.

2. Pure linen placemats, Tolly McRae

For a classic look this Christmas, try these pure linen placemats in a range of muted shades. Choose from dove grey, rosewood, charcoal, pure white or natural, and accessorise with lots of silver and crystal. £24 each, available from Tolly McRae.

3. Ruusunen placemat, Vallila

In bright, festive colours, this fabric placemat from leading Finnish home accessories brand Vallila would also work well for a New Year party. Adds a splash of colour to plain table. £7.90 each, available from Vallila.

4. Shards placemat, Beyond the Fridge

If you’re in love with the trend geometrical shapes then this is for you. Made  in Somerset, these mats have a textured, heat-resistant surface for extra grip and are backed with a layer of cork. Available in other colours and designs, £12 each from Beyond the Fridge.

5. Slate placemats, Garden Trading

Looking for a stylish yet simple dining table set, perfect for dressing up for Christmas or down for everyday? This set of four slate coasters and four placemats is durable and heat resistant – you can even write guests’ names on them in chalk! £24.50 for the set, available from Garden Trading.

6. Holly placemat, Beyond the Fridge

Ok, it’s only once a year – so let’s go all out for Christmas! These durable, cork-backed mats, £12 each,  are easy to clean and will cheer up the festive table year after year. Matching coasters also available, all from Beyond the Fridge.

7. Robin and mistletoe placemats, Sophie Allport

If you prefer a more understated seasonal style, this set of four ‘Robin & Mistletoe’ placemats feature some plump red breasted robins on a grey background. Practical and stylish for everyday use, the set costs £27 from Sophie Allport. Matching coasters also available.

8. Winter woodland placemats. KitchenCraft

Get into the Christmas spirit with this set of four laminated and cork backed placemats, £9.99, perfect for enjoying your Christmas meal. Matching coasters also available. See the KitchenCraft website for details.

9. Set of two beaded silver placemats, Creative Tops

These table mats are beautifully made with silver glass beads. Hand made with a silk backing, these mats will add a touch of hand-crafted luxury to dining arrangements. £20 for a set of two, see the Creative Tops website for stockists.

10. Festive family Christmas placemat, Dotcomgiftshop

Ideal for younger guests are these Festive Family placemats, practical and wipeclean with a festive design. £3.95 each, available from Dotcomgiftshop.
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December 8th  
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Ideal for those hard-to-buy-for people, these subscription gifts will keep on giving every month of the year. From bird seed to nature lovers to gourmet parcels, there’s something for everyone here.

Stuck for a gift idea? How about a subscription box? There's a brilliant choice of options available. Click through for the top 10!

1. Birdseed subscription box, Boxwild

Birdseed subscription, Boxwild

This gift box contains three specially blended, seasonal seed mixes to attract a range of birds into your garden. Each month the team at Boxwild select seasonal blends to give your birds optimal nutrition for the season, and donate 50p from each box sold to Wildlife Charities in the UK to support the wonderful work they do. £12.50 a month (can be cancelled at any time), available from Boxwild.

2. 12 month subscription to Cake Masters magazine, The Craft Channel

Cake Masters magazine subscription, The Craft Channel

Know someone who’s hot stuff in the kitchen? Flex their baking muscles (and possibly get some ‘thank you’ cakes, you never know!) with this 12 month subscription to Cake Masters magazine. £38 including delivery, available from The Craft Channel.

3. Three month chocolate tasting club, Hotel Chocolat

Chocolate lovers subscription, Hotel Chocolat

Receive a different box of exclusive new chocolate recipes every four weeks for three months. Subscription packs are sent out by post and allow the lucky recipient to become a Tasting Club Member. £60 for three months, available from Hotel Chocolat.

4. Monthly coffee subscription, Em and Nick’s

Monthly coffee subscription, Em and Nick’s

Indulge the coffee lover in your life with this range of speciality coffees, available as whole bean or ground for espresso and aeropress dark.  Available for around £10 per month from Em and Nick’s.

5. Three month plant subscription, geo-fleur

Plant lovers’ subscription, geo-fleur

Plant Post Club is a plant subscription service brought to you by East London plant specialists geo-fleur. Subscribers receive a monthly surprise package of plants or plant related accessories. £60 for three months, available from geo-fleur.

6.Three month cookery book subscription gift, The Beautiful Book Company

Cookery book subscription, The Beautiful Book Company

A cookery book a month, picked especially and delivered gift wrapped. A truly personalised gift, the subscription is tailored to the recipient. £59.99 for three months, available from The Beautiful Book Company.

7. One month subscription to the Cake Slice Club, The Cake Nest

Subscription to the Cake Slice Club, The Cake Nest

We all deserve a bit of what we fancy so sign someone special up for our weekly Cake Slice Club and they’ll receive a beautifully packaged and truly delicious handmade cake every week for a month. Wheat free options available too. £30 for one month, available from The Cake Nest.

8. One month stationery lovers’ gift subscription, Honey Tree Publishing

Stationery lovers’ subscription, HoneyTree Publishing

If you know someone who’s a fan of beautiful stationery and design, then treat them to this gift from HoneyTreePost which delivers a selection of beautifully crafted stationery to their door. £15 for one month, available from Honey Tree Publishing.

9. Monthly haberdashery craft box subscription, Pocket and Pin

Haberdashery subscription box, Pocket and Pin

Ideal for keen crafters is this collection of craft supplies delivered to the door.  Habdash Boxes are designed to inspire rather than instruct, and include items such as a fat quarter of premium 100% cotton fabric, eight mini sheets of 30% wool felt, three metres of ribbons/trims, a selection of buttons and a mini spool with thread and needle. Priced around £12.50 per month, available from Pocket and Pin.

10. Six month letterbox fresh flower subscription, Bloom and Wild

Fresh flowers subscription, Bloom and Wild

What a lovely idea to cheer up the winter months! Delight your friends and family with the gift of fresh flowers, delivered straight through their letterbox once a month for six months. £115 for six months’ subscription, available from Bloom and Wild.

 

 

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