The No. 1 place for lighting inspiration if you're renovating

The No. 1 place for lighting inspiration if you're renovating

I'm not kidding guys, I was awake until 1am (!) last night looking for the specific dining room light as the electrics are all going in next week. I started my internet search at 8pm! That's 5 hours wasted trying to find a bloody light shade that if you looked at, is so generic. What's actually wrong with me?? Do you get this too? I think I've found something to help...

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Finally making our bedroom lighting more 'wow' | Bedroom makeover update

Ok so the bedroom is slowly but surely looking like how I want it. If you want to see before + after shots, head on over here. I also did a little step by step guide to creating a gallery wall for the less confident decorator.

We got the whole bedroom re-skimmed with plaster, sealed it all, gave it some fresh colours, and now I'm sorting finishing touches. We're slowly making progress, we still have a way to go but it feels good :)

The lighting has been on my list of things to change since FOREVER. When we moved in I was glad of the previous owner leaving all of the light shades and window dressings - it's meant we've had more time to think about what we want to replace things with, but in the same breath it's slowed down my progress as it's never been a priority to make changes.

With the help of family run lighting specialists (who I will now forever look to when considering lighting fixtures and changes) Dowsing & Reynolds, we had a pretty seamless switch over from our plain white plastic light fixture to this shiny new copper cage pendant. 

Dowsing & Reynolds gave me the freedom to create my own bespoke light. From the colour of the ceiling rose, the material, length and colour of the cable to the shade, bulb holder and light bulb, you can customise a light to suit any space and fit it all as soon as it arrives without too much technical expertise (err, well, if you have a new build property that is). 

I'll tell you a bit about how everything arrives and how we went about assembling it, but for a full on DIY post, I recommend checking out Kimberly's blog Swoon Worthy where I stole inspiration and where I spend most of my spare waking hours these days (thanks Kimberly!)

Above is the basic kit you need for installing and hanging a light of this style. I chose all of mine on the Dowsing + Reynolds site, working to a copper theme with dark grey fabric cable, and a gorgeous vintage lightbulb. I asked Neil (he has no prior electrician experience) if he could remove our current fittings and install the whole light fitting and ceiling rose. It turned out very doable (he is pretty trustworthy with this sort of thing, and can turn his hand to anything although he'll probably disagree if he read this) until we reached a problem that only an experts mind could fix.

As we live in a flat built in the late 1800s, our wiring behind the ceiling rose had just 2 wires not the standard 3, so we had to get a sparky in to rewire and fit it for us. She did an excellent job at a really low cost (£25). It's one thing to bear in mind if you're thinking of doing a DIY job. In a new build, or in houses post 1920s I'd imagine it would be fairly simple. But for the sake of £25, we felt a lot safer having an expert come in to take over. And a huge high five was in order at the fact our electrician was a woman. What a legend.

Dowsing & Reynolds provide all the necessary screws, wall plugs and instructions to do this yourself but it's useful to have a cable stripper or stanley knife to cut the cable to the length you want it, and as I already mentioned, previous experience is better than none at all so if you do know electricians that don't mind doing small jobs, I'd ask them before you try it yourself.

Also one last thing - always remember to switch your power of at the fusebox before fiddling with any lighting or electrics. 

I can't wait to start plotting ideas for our living room now. I think something a little cosier in line with our traditional feel we have going on in the living room might work. I'm sure I'll find a tonne of ideas on the Dowsing & Reynolds website. 

Next on my list is to change those disgusting blinds!


How to choose the right lighting in your bedroom

I shared a house tour not long ago in collaboration with Direct blinds, and discussed how I'm in the process of makeover plans for our bedroom. This is how it looks right now. Light and airy, but no real focal point. We can definitely make better use of the space. It looks small in the photo, but it's a fairly decent sized room if I stepped back 3 paces when taking the photo. 
I'm pulling together colour schemes as a starting point, and will talk more about that in an upcoming post, but right now I thought I'd discuss more about lighting. It can make or break a room and there's a few ways I'm being sure to make the most of the space with the light we choose, sticking with the period of the home too. It's a Victorian terraced flat. 
A few things to think about when considering lighting during a makeover big or small:
Begin your plans assessing the natural light available in the room

What size is the room, how big are the windows and where are they positioned? If your room is south facing, your windows may need heavier fabrics to block sun or if, like me, you want to introduce more natural light into a west or north facing room during the day you might be better to opt for voile fabrics that don't deter from the little light you do get. 
Next, think about what your main lighting system is like and the atmosphere it creates
We have a regular 60W ceiling light that is slow to 'warm up' and very bright when it's been left on for a long time. I want an easily adjustable system that allows me to have a bright bulb when I need it, and a darker cosy feel when I don't want harsh light.

The solution? A dimmer switch. Easy to fit and solves all of my problems. If you're decorating a child's bedroom and want a more even spread of light throughout the room, I'd consider spotlights and adding a dimmer switch to alter the brightness. For us, spot lights are a little too modern for the traditional look I want to achieve so a dimmer switch instead of the conventional on/off light is perfect for our needs. 
Consider the type of lighting you want and need, from a functional point of view

If you spend a lot of time reading in bed, bedside lights or bedside table lamps are a must. I particularly like the symmetrical appeal having matching bedside lamps can achieve. You can really bring a room together with matching lamps in the right colour scheme. 
If you spend a lot of time getting ready, built in wardrobe lights will save a lot of time looking for the right outfits. Similarly if you have a dressing table or mirror where you put make up on, invest in quality lighting there too. 
Our bedroom isn't usually used for getting ready - I usually do make up in the bathroom, and I don't spend a lot of time choosing clothes so for me, that level of lighting wouldn't get the most value. I do however, read every night, and my room is crying out for a lamp at arm level. See how high the lamp I have is? Over head lighting or low beside table lamps would mean I don't have to get out of bed to turn the light off. These Tiffany lamps are very traditional and would look great with the right antique furniture by my bedside.

Include optional atmospheric lights

These are the kind that you wouldn't use all the time, but create a different look to the room when in company or you're using the space for something different. Occasionally I'll work on my laptop in the evenings in my room, or I'll have a friend over for drinks and we'll hang out in my room discussing outfits whilst getting ready for a night out. Optional atmospheric lighting works great for these moments. Ideas could be to dot wooden floor lamps in different corners of the room, or candles along the window sill. Stringed lighting over a bed or mirror also has an optional atmospheric feel. I plan to hang string lights across our bed frame and dot candles on shelving i want to fit inside the alcoves. 
Don't be afraid to be daring with design choices when it comes to lamps and shades. 
If you get it right, the pay off is so much more. Get it wrong, and you can just change it! Simple as that. I've been looking at copper pendant lights as I think the shades bring a modern touch without being too different to the traditional features of the room. Funktionalley offer lighting that would really transform a room so it's worth looking there for ideas. 
I'll let you know how the plans go. Next week I'll write more about the colour schemes we've chosen and tips for you to choose the right colours for your space too.
Follow me for updates :)
Photo credits // Main image, copyright of Fifi McGee // Others sourced on Pinterest 

Spotlight on... FOLDS (& epic Interior tips from Founder Emma Gurner)

Pssst. It's a new feature around these parts. Getting your hands on unique interior finds, whether as a gift or to give your home the wow factor, can be tough to come by with all this crazy competition in the online world. High street stores are an option, but never provide that real unique gem that people instantly compliment.

I'm on a mission to introduce to my readers some of the chicest online interior stores out there, the stores that aren't on the highstreet, that will provide you with go-to outlets for lovely things for your home, christmas gifts or simply somewhere to click for inspiration.

This week, I'm introducing FOLDS and chat to their delightful Style Director Emma Gurner :)

Interior: Cushions & cosiness

Fluffy cushions, Folds

Online interior boutiques that have a strong focus on your lifestyle tick boxes for me. When you visit a site where page after page is stocked with beautiful collections you can work into your home and the way you live, browsing accessories that are easily styled and are sure to be loved, that's what I look for when shopping online for interior bits, and Folds thrive in this. With designs sourced from all around the world, there's a strong mix of patterns, textures and products on offer to suit every lifestyle. 

Whether you're looking for cosy layers this winter, or detailed patterns to add a focal point to your rooms, Folds' cushion offerings in particular catch my eye on every visit. Remember I told you about my cushion obsession? Well, Folds are experts in sourcing intricate detailed, geometric & cosy designs to fit your lifestyle and look. Just check out the stunning watercolour-esque  hand ilustrated Sky Siouki prints

Interior: Cushions & cosiness, winter interior looks

Whilst items might not seem cheap from the outset, once you meet the designers, hear about their intricate approach and all the hours gone in to crafting you the perfect cushion to suit your room, you realise what a bargain they are. And what a stunning gift they would make. 

With the chilly Christmas around the corner, Neil & I are loving thick knits, heavy fur and herringbone for ultra cosy times, and when 2 of Folds' sumptuous fluffy pillows arrived on our doorstep, packed with warm duck feathers, we couldn't wait to chill out with them on our Chesterfield. 

Interior: cushions & cosiness, folds winter interior looks

But of course, textiles aren't the only things Folds excel at sourcing. They sell some of the quirkiest lamps and lighting, for that sought after 'industrial chic' look. I simply LOVE this simple iron table lamp, that would look great with a quad loop lightbulb. As well as their strong collection of quirky furniture sourced from all across the globe.

I was delighted that Emma Gurner, Folds' Style Director and interior design consultant took the time to answer a few of my burning questions about her love for homeware. I was so inspired by Emma's (and her business partner Suzi's) approach in building their business, and the passion that drives their decisions. 

Here she is :)...

Interior: cushions & cosiness, folds winter interior looks

Hi Emma! Tell us a little bit more about you and your passion for all things interior

My passion for all things interior began about 15 years ago when I landed a job working at BBC Good Homes magazine. My career continued as an interior stylist from then onwards. Now 15 years and 2 children later, I felt it was time to begin my own company and so Folds was born!

How did you come to start your own online store?

I met my business partner Suzi through our children at nursery. With her knowledge of running a business and my creative input we were able to begin our exciting new venture. The website came about after almost a year of private sales and market research. Despite having a low budget we were able to build our own website using a template and are slowly adding to the website as our business grows.

What's your most loved interior possession?

My most loved interior possession is my copper unit. I designed it myself and painstakingly treated copper sheeting to give it a weathered look. The unit provides a wow factor to the space as well as being a very practical piece of furniture!

What tips would you give for readers just starting out in decorating their home?

I think pinterest is a wonderful tool now available to collect images that you love and to create mood boards. It is a great starting point for getting inspired.

What's your favourite home look this season? 

I love feature lighting and the multi-arm pendant lights are big news at the moment! Like this Five light adjustable pendant, £230. 

If you haven't yet paid Folds a visit, I strongly urge you to take a peek at the collections and start a house-piration pinterest board right away! 

Also follow Emma's journey with Folds on her twitter (she has just got the most adorable little puppy, I can't keep my eyes off her tweets!) 

How to enhance your home with simple lighting

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

I've gone and dedicated a whole pinterest board solely to lighting ideas around the home. For me, lighting is such a crucial aspect in interior design to get right. It instantly sets the mood of your home and it can give you a creative outlet to experiment with different looks, knowing that if you do anything wrong it's easily fixed.

Experimenting with lighting can drastically change a room from calm, cosy and romantic, to energising and vibrant. And that's just from opening the curtains. 

I've come up with a few tips to accentuate light in all different spaces. These are just a few things I'll be thinking about when I come to move in a few weeks time. Oh and there's an absolutely FANTASTIC giveaway courtesy of the beautiful Alison at Home online interior shop. I've honestly never been so jealous. I want to keep it all for myself.

First up here's some tips for lighting your space....

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

Hang mirrors to introduce an illusion of natural light - Great tip for those living in darker houses or basement flats. Focus on hanging mirrors opposite windows so that they let the natural light bounce both sides of the room. If you're living in rented accommodation and are a little reluctant to drilling walls, go for smaller dressing table mirrors resting against walls. I adore this Alison at Home Hartnell Bevelled Edge Mirror on this trestle table. It's really nice to play around with various heights if you're going for more than one in the room. 

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

For smaller windows, opt for sheer materials - If you aren't blessed with humongous windows the length and width of walls, make the most of the light you do have by hanging sheer curtains. Go for fabrics like voile or muslin, that will naturally let the light flood through and depending on what colour you choose, reds/oranges will add more warmth to the room.

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

Quirky candle holders are a win when you're entertaining - Apart from the obvious 'oh LOVE the candle holder, where's this from?' chat you're sure to conjure up (everyone loves a bit of candlestick compliments), lighting candles are a nice way to let guests know you've gone to a tiny bit of effort and sets a really welcoming tone. This fabulous owl candle stand is such a great focal point on a large table or mantelpiece. 

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

Dot 'task lighting' accents around the home - Task lighting is the light you need to do a specific job, bedside lamps for reading, desk lights etc. Dotting all sorts of lamps, uplights, downlights, candles and lanterns across your house, gives a really nice insight into how you use the space, adding lots of character and texture to your home. A personal fave of mine are 'reading corners'. I love armchairs placed next to floor lamps with lots of blankets to provide the perfect spot to read or sit on your laptop.

This leads me on very nicely to what you've all been waiting for...

Win your very own Colonial Tripod Lamp (worth £175!)

How to enhance your home with simple lighting (and WIN a tripod floorlamp worth £175!) ››

Alison at Home have been insanely generous and are offering my readers the chance to win one of their eclectic Colonial Tripod Floor Lamps from the Heritage collection, worth £175! 

The giveaway is open to UK residents only. The very lucky winner will be announced on the 31st May 2014 12am and the prize will be delivered to your door a week after. Just in time for sprucing your home up after a spring clean :)

To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog on bloglovin and like my page on facebook, filling in the rafflecopter below.

A winner will be drawn and I will check for proof of entry. If that person has entered without following or tweeting I will choose another winner.

There's lots of bonus entries on there too, so fill your boots and good luck! I'll just go crawl into my envious cave.....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you're based in or around London, be sure to check out Alison at Home's pop up concession at House of Fraser on Oxford Street from May 12th!