Turning my blank canvas home office into a cosy writing corner

Turning my blank canvas home office into a cosy writing corner

While the renovation to our Kitchen Diner has been happening I've been locking myself away in my teeny uninspiring office trying to stay sane. So, I thought I would use the #BlankCanvas opportunity to get some ideas for how I could temporarily spruce up my home office until I've got more time to sort it out properly, calling on the Julian Charles' in-house designers and my instagram friends for advice. Come see my updates!

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Say hello to my new rug! What do you think?

Darlings of Chelsea bedroom grey and white rug

Remember a little while back I shared my bedroom mood board with you?

On it was a really lovely grey and white rug. I want a minimalist boho look in my room, and although we're not near achieving that just yet, I wanted to update you on a new rug I've chosen for the room keeping this theme in mind.

It's from Darlings of Chelsea. If you follow me on Instagram or twitter you'll have seen me squealing like a little girl when it arrived last month. 

Now it's all snug as a bug and resting nicely under our bed, I thought I'd shoot some quick pics for you. Don't judge, the room still has a lot of work to be done to it decoratively! 

Darlings of Chelsea bedroom grey and white rug

I don't think I could have made a better choice though. I'm absolutely delighted with it. Darlings of Chelsea have some really fabulous patterned rugs that aren't too bold - exactly what I love in rugs. I wanted something fitting with our grey and white colour scheme, that added texture to the room visually without it being too in your face. 

It was a pretty hard choice from the Darlings of Chelsea offering. They are renowned for their fantastic quality sofas but their rugs are every bit as gorgeous. Take a look at the rugs I initially shortlisted:

Darlings of Chelsea bedroom grey and white rugs
For various reasons (like the fair isle grey feeling too Christmassy, the Cleo Cement too large a print for the room and the Annabelle grey a close contender but didn't make the cut) I opted for the Diamond Platinum in 183 x 274cm. I probably could have gone the size bigger but I always go against the "rules of rug sizes" in interior styling, preferring to show off wooden floors with smaller sizes. 

I've got to say, that if like me you've had wooden flooring in your bedroom and always lusted after carpet for ultimate cosiness, the next best thing is putting down a good quality rug. It's made the room feel warmer, cosier and even sound nicer where there might previously have been an echo.

The makeover is no way near finished (will it ever be?) but it's feeling like a much nicer room to be in than when we first moved in. 

Next on the agenda:

- A new lamp for our bedside table (our previous one smashed so this is a temporary replacement)
- A matching dresser to the bedside table (or I might paint the one we have so it's less cream and more white)
- A new blind (coming very soon, woop woop)
- Putting up a curtain pole for some voile curtains to hang
- Nicer bits and pieces to style my dresser and bedside table, I'm thinking copper themed to match our new bedroom light fixture 
- Tidying up those unsightly wires with some skirting board hooks

What do you think? Which Darlings of Chelsea rug would you have picked?\

Fiona xoxo

The easy (cost effective) way to bring an eclectic vibe to your living room

Eclectic living room looks ››
Rug: Oliver Bonas, Candle: Home Sense, Frame: Oliver Bonas, Mustard cushions: Arlo + Jacob, Charcoal cushions: Oliver Bonas, Patterned cushions: DesignRaaga

I love my chesterfield sofa. 

But for the last couple of months it's looked a bit too, I don't know, traditional?

Sometimes I love the traditional vibe. Sometimes I want it to feel a bit more modern. Sometimes I just want colour.

It's the age old problem when decorating a space - you don't want to decorate it so much that you can't change it when you're bored. I decided to take an eclectic direction styling my sofa as it captures the colour elements I've wanted and it's easy for me to swap around when I want a different vibe. 
With little to no cash, I had to get creative. So I've shared a few simple tips to bring an eclectic vibe to any space on a budget.

Eclectic living room looks ››

1. Use accessories from other rooms

Cushions, small rugs and props that currently have homes in other parts of your house can be brought into the space you're wanting to style. Look for eclectic bits and pieces that you may have stashed away somewhere, or rehome an item from the bedroom to the living room to give it a new lease of life. Accessories are always an investment when shopping as they're easily moved, stored and swapped around when your mood wants something different. 

2. Layer rugs you already own

Layering rugs is really on trend at the mo, and so easily achieved as long as you have a mix of rugs in your home that could potentially sit well together. I've taken a textured mink sheepskin rug from Oliver Bonas and layered it over our Persian rug from Wayfair for a cosy look. 

3. Make use of furniture... even if it's not furniture :)

Neil's got this lovely Marshall Amp that usually just sits in the corner of our living room. I really like the retro, eclectic look they have so yes - you guessed it - I claimed it as my own to stand in place of a side table we have yet to own. If you want a side table and don't have the funds to buy one (like me) try and get creative using stacks of books, stacks of magazines, a stool, a chair etc etc and don't just look around one room for the items... look all around your home and in charity shops.
Eclectic living room looks ››
Geometric coloured cushion: DesignRaaga, Monochrome patterned cushion: DesignRaaga

4. Eclectic means anything goes, so mix and match cushions or make new cushion covers for next to nothing

I absolutely adore my collection of cushions. I'll go as far to say it's not really a collection any more, it's more a problem. I have tonnes that sit under my bed (I can't find any better storage, any tips?) and my habit of buying them means they're all representative of different interior looks I've longed for in the past - that is, none of them match. Are you the same? Good news is this totally works for eclectic vibes. Get your old cushions out and stack them together even in the don't all look the same. Or recover your cushions in mustard and patterned fabrics. 

Just some punchy tips for you there. You might also fancy reading 11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel ››

Knock 'em dead with your eclectic styling,

Fi xoxo

My bedroom mini-makeover (before + after)

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

A quick update from me folks. We've spent our bank holiday weekend making our bedroom look pretty :) 

This time last year my home was shared on the Direct Blinds blog. Whilst it was always fairly nice and character-filled, we'd only just moved in so naturally I had a whole list of improvements to make. 

My bedroom needing a fresh look was one, but it seemed to take FOREVER to make progress. It's only now I can see it taking shape. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

As you can just about see from the image above we used to have Farrow + Ball's Eating room red in the alcoves (the same colour as our living room) which the previous owner painted. 

Red bedrooms kind of disgust me, haha! so as soon as we gave the bedroom a fresh lick of grey and white paint I saw instant results. The room looked cleaner and I finally had a blank canvas to work with. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

We had the whole room re-plastered to prep for a much smoother, tidier paint finish. Above is how our bedroom looked for a solid 2 weeks. Dust everywhere, clothes piled up in our hallway, it was hell but worth every minute. Our walls are absolutely spotless now, no lumps and bumps from years of bangs and scratches moving furniture and hanging frames badly had scarred them with. 

I'll tell you what, plaster work was always something I never noticed as a renter, but as a home owner I'm completely sold what an improvement and investment it is. 

It took about 3 days to dry fully then we gave it a wash with white paint + water to seal it in, waited for it to dry then did 2 coats of Valspar's paints. Summer Grey matt for the alcoves and summer grey satin for the skirting boards, window and back of the door + frame, with Tidy White in matt across all of the other walls.

This paint was a dream to work with on top of the new plaster as you can imagine, but I'd used Valspar (in Smitten) on my mum's bedroom walls which need replastering and it still gave excellent coverage. A little goes a long way no matter what condition your walls are in. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

Until this weekend, we were left with something a little like this ^. Nice paint work, new bedside table from Ikea, but there were wires everywhere and nothing hanging on the walls. It didn't feel like it had a 'scheme' or personality to it. 

I'd been putting off hanging things on the walls because I was petrified of ruining the plaster work we'd shelled out £400 for, until I just thought to myself, it's worth the risk. If we make a hole, we can fix + repaint it, and luckily Neil took full charge and worked his magic on it. I'd be dangerous behind a drill, so left it to the expert.

From then I began by gathering together some ideas for wall hangings. I found that beautiful mini art deco mirror from Oliver Bonas for only £10 and knew it had to be mine. I saw it looking great as part of a gallery wall. 

Now I was originally going to do a feature gallery wall on the chimney breast in the centre of the room but decided for a more subtle mini-gallery, framing prints from my favourite company at the mo - Old English Prints

I bought some cheap frames from amazon, played around with layout and got my assistant Neil to do his thing hanging it all. 

A little bit of interior styling later, and here we are today. I'm really liking the direction the room is taking. 

Bedroom mini makeover (before and after photos)

It's not finished yet, I still need to refit a light, find a gorgeous blind + curtains to suit the room, and I'm in desperate need of a new wardrobe. I'm also wanting to work the new trend of layering rugs, so might keep my eye out for a new hide to sit under the sheepskin. 

But finally I feel like progress is being made! :)

What do you think? Are you currently redecorating too or have plans to?

I have a new interior class you should download (it's totally free) and will help you release your interior goddess... I'd love you to check it out.

Where's everything from? ›› drawers - ikea, rug - the forest + co, lamp - next, art deco mirror - oliver bonas (sold out but similar here), prints - old english prints company, frames - amazon, faux flowers - ikea, vase - ikea

3 ways to style a lamp: Part 1 (& amazing Loaf giveaway)

Loaf lamp, living room ideas for the home ››
Je suis in love with this little lamp.

His name is Gaston, and he can be purchased from one of my all time favourite home decor & furniture sites, Loaf.

I love the industrial-chic look he brings to our living room; his skeletal structure mixes really well with soft blankets and washes of grey, and the copper rust effect of his shade adds elements of warmth. 

Loaf lamp, living room ideas for the home ››

You might be wondering why the title of this post says '3 ways' when all you can see is 1, right? 

Here's the story. 

When Gaston first arrived in the post, I had absolutely no idea where to put him. I fell in love with him, like I do much of the Loaf site, at first click, and knew he had to be mine before I knew where he'd live in my home. 

I unwrapped him, popped him here, there and everywhere around the flat and just couldn't - and still can't - decide where he should sit permanently, he just looked beautiful everywhere.

Loaf lamp, living room ideas for the home ››

It got me thinking.

Should the things we buy for our home remain in the one place for years on end? 

I've decided to trial something. I'm going to switch Gaston's home around every season, styling him up in different parts of the flat, showing you guys how he looks and hopefully give you inspiration to have a switch around too. 

Will you join me?

Here's Gaston looking gorgeous beside our sofa, part 1. Come back in Winter to see him styled by our bed :)

Loaf lamp, living room ideas for the home ››

Loaf lamp, living room ideas for the home ››

Lamps give a 'complete' look to a room. If you're all moved in and feel as if your house still has that 'just moved in' look to it, think about ways you can dress up shelves, tables and stools with lamps and good use of light. 

Loaf have some really unique, industrial lamps at reasonable prices. My current faves aside from the handsome Gaston pictured, is the Loco floorlamp (which I wrote about in this post), the Domeo desk lamp, and Gilbert, Gaston's more androgynous brother.

Gosh, if I could kit my house out with just one home brand, it would be loaf. 

One can dream, right?

And guess what? 

Come autumn 2015, Loaf will no longer solely trade online.... *drumroll please* they're opening up a brand new Loaf Shack in Battersea, London. The press release with words from Charlie, Loaf's founder, got me very excited for snugsville.... grab a cuppa and read all about it here

I hope you have a house warming, Loafers!

Before you shoot off, get your entry in. 

The wonderful team at Loaf would like to give one of you lucky readers a £50 voucher to spend with them online. 

All you have to do is follow my blog on bloglovin' and enter via the rafflecopter below. There's lots more bonus entries to be had too, so get stuck in. 

The winner will be announced on 31st August 2015, you'll get an email from us if you've been picked. Please note that Loaf only deliver to the UK.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photography all copyright of me // dark grey cushions c/o Urbanara // yellow piped geometric cushions c/o Tesco (only £3 each!) // cactus & vase from ikea // lamp c/o Loaf // Mirror, Oliver Bonas

The single most effective way you can add colour to a kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Folks, I seem to never take photos for my blog in our kitchen unless I'm baking or when I want a wooden backdrop (our worktops are oak). 

I think it's because we don't have so much colour in the room. Everything is cream, white or sage green, which has a pretty 'country-chic' kind of vibe, but it never inspires me to take photos in there. Let's just say it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. Know what I mean?

I came across Ulster Weavers website a short while ago. They stock the most colourful, vibrant kitchen accessories and linens that add instant personality to a blank canvas. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I knew I didn't want to go down the route of painting to change the colour scheme in the room, so i thought why not add vibrant accessories to bring the space to life?

And guess what - it worked. 

Their Emily kitchen range really caught my eye. It's a sorta vintage take on hawaiian print and I thought the colours really worked in the room. They provide a very striking look to complement the wishy-washy colours I already have. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

I urge you to take a look at Ulster Weavers' collections, all of their prints are hand made in the UK with some of the designs commissioned by artist Kelly Hall who is based just a skip and a hop away from Brighton, drawing all her vintage designs in her studio in Lewes. 

The one lesson I'll take from this, is that you certainly don't need to throw all your energy to repainting a kitchen to add colour to it, just invest in some striking kitchenware and you'll feel inspired again. 

The single most effective way you can add colour to your kitchen

Visit ulsterweavers.com and check out the range of fabrics they have to suit every kitchen.

Emily styled apron, £18
Emily double glove, £13 

Home tour | A sneak peek inside our humble abode

Home tour | A chirpy Brighton flat with a country edge

Interior friends!

My flat in Hove has just got a big feature on Direct Blinds' blog. If you fancy a look inside room-by-room, head on over to read their 'Inside my Home' feature for a nosey. 

Be sure to let me know what ideas you've had on decorating the place. We're in need of lots of inspiration (particularly for the bedroom) and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for having me Direct Blinds :)

Credits: Photography all mine, post written in collaboration with Direct Blinds