Other Decor & Design Archives | The Home Design School

Category Archives for Other Decor & Design


OK, look, I know, I know. Some of you might think I’m being a bit miserly writing about unwanted Christmas gifts right before Christmas. It’s hardly in the Christmas spirit, and we should all be grateful for what we receive, right?

Well, let’s get real. I’m sure that at one time or another, we’ve all been bought a gift that we didn’t appreciate. We may have appreciated the sentiment and the thought that went into it, but the gift itself? Uh, no thanks.

The Dilemma

The problem is this. Your well meaning relative or friend loves you enough to buy you a present. They have taken time and care to select it for you, and they think you’re going to love it. 

But what do you do if their taste is different to yours? Who knows what is lurking in those shiny presents under the tree!

You face the difficult choice of being stuck with an item you dislike, forever adorning your home, or you risk offending your loved one if you get rid of it. What a dilemma.

(Tip for everyone: always buy something disposable for your home decor lover- cut flowers for example- but never EVER buy something they then have to display for ever after. Do you want to give someone else the dilemma I’ve mentioned above? No! Check out my Christmas gift guide for the home lover here for some better gift ideas).

How to Deal with Unwanted Gifts

The best way to handle this is of course is to make those expectations clear up front. If you know they are wanting to buy you something, see if you can head it off at the pass. “Please could I have <INSERT voucher/ flowers/ chocolates/ a meal/ experience/some babysitting/ a donation to charity> for Christmas?” usually does the trick.

But if you haven’t done this, and you’re already lumbered with said gift, you have one of the following ways to deal with it.

1. Suck it up

Display the item for all to see, and have a home full of someone else’s taste. But at least you haven’t offended them, right? Hmmm… Sadly, this is what most of us tend to do because the fear of upsetting someone is greater than the dread of living with something we don’t like. Crazy when you think about it.

2. Display it just when they visit

Oh this is exhausting. Always having to think about who gave you what, and where it is stored. And what if they pop by unexpectedly? Not the best option, but an option, nonetheless. 

3. Display it somewhere less obvious

This is the option I tend to take most often. Unless the gift is really hideous (see 3 and 4 below) I try to make space for the item in a room that I don’t care so much about. It’s not an ideal solution though, as you still end up with someone else’s taste in your home.

3. Refuse the gift

Now this one seriously takes some guts, and I’m not sure that many people are brave enough to do this (is this just a British thing?). Explain gently that, whilst you really appreciate the sentiment, it’s not to your taste, and you would prefer that they re-gift it to someone who would appreciate it better. Then put your tin hat on and duck. Yes, this is cringe worthy, but on the bright side, it will ensure that this never happens again! If you are receiving unwanted gifts year after year, it may be time to bite the bullet and take this approach.

4. Accept the gift, thank them and then donate it to charity

This feels a little bit duplicitous, but I bet there are lots of people who prefer to do this. For some of us, we will store it away for a few months before feeling that it’s been an acceptable amount of time to get rid. The more ruthless of us will head straight to the charity shop as soon as they open after Christmas. This option allows you to avoid offending your loved one, and raises money for charity too. This might make you feel a little less guilty.

5. Put the gift away somewhere

Storing an unwanted gift (perhaps in the loft or a cupboard) is a common strategy. It means that we don’t have to deal with the eyesore, and we hope that the fact it is never on display may give the buyer a big hint. You may get lucky with this approach, but equally you may not, and you may be faced with the same dilemma this time next year.

So, how do you deal with unwanted gifts? Come and join us in our free Facebook group to tell us about any unwanted gifts you’ve had, and how you dealt with them.

Until next time x

Main Image Source: John Lewis



Christmas Interior Design

A few years ago, I had redecorated our living room to include lots of pale pinky- purples. I had replaced curtains, soft furnishings and even bought a lovely dusty pink-purple loveseat from Sofa.com

I was really pleased with the look, until it came to getting out our Christmas decorations. I love our Christmas decorations, and I have lovingly added to them year after year, increasing my carefully curated collection. I have items from all around the world, and many of them have unique and special memories for me.

So when I got the box of decorations out, the last thing I expected to feel was disappointment. As I looked at my carefully wrapped rows of baubles and ornaments, I realised that they were going to clash terribly with my purple and pink decor. 

Now I know that for many people, they wouldn’t care, but for me, having clashing decorations is a no-no. I just can’t do it.

So back in their box they went, and I traipsed off to the shops to replace all of my decorations with pinks, silvers and lilac decorations, straight off the shelf with a heavy heart.

Once I got to the shops, however, I realised that it didn’t cost as much as I thought it would to replace most of my Christmas decorations. Of course, they weren’t lovingly picked over a lifetime, and they had no sentimental value, but they were pretty and – most importantly – they matched my decor.

Fast forward a few years, and I now have a much more neutral, pared down scheme in my living room with soft creams and greys. The pinks and soft purples are a thing of the past and against my new neutral backdrop, I can happily bring out my beautiful red ornaments once again t have pride of place. 

If you are in a quandry this year about which colours to choose, or you just fancy a refresh, check out the top colour trends doing to rounds this year.

1. Traditional Red and Green

 Laura Ashley Laura Ashley

As always, red and green is a classic Christmas combination, and this year is no exception. Select a few red ornaments to hang on the tree, and wrap presents underneath in neutral paper with red bows. Choose gold metallics to complement the red, and hang tartan bows for that country classic look.

2. Scandi Inspired Red and White

 Homebase Christmas Tree Homebase Christmas Tree

A red and white colour combination brings a fresh take on the traditional red and green and lends a scandi vibe to your Christmas. Use a white flocked tree and stick to these two colours for a clean look.

3. Let it Snow!

 Marks and Spencer Marks and Spencer

You can’t get more wintry than an all-white scheme at Christmas. Install a white tree, and bring in white and silver baubles for a snowscape in your living room. Warm things up a little with black or wooden furniture, to stop the room from feeling too cold.

4. Warm Metallics

 Homesense Homesense

Over recent years there has been a real trend towards using warm metallics like gold, copper and brass, and this is now creeping into our Christmas decor too. Look out for lanterns, decorative stars and baubles in these colours, and complement them with pinecones. Choose a tree to help display them against an all green backdrop. 

5. Peacock Blue and Purple

 Poundland Poundland

If you’re into a more vibrant look, then go to town with a strong marriage of purple and peacock- blue. Dress your tree with angel wings and contrasting baubles, and ramp up the bling with gold metallics elsewhere in the room.

Once you’ve settled on your Christmas look, come and share your decorating efforts in our Facebook group.

Until next time x

Main Image Source: John Lewis

5 of The Best Outdoor Christmas Lights

Outdoor Christmas Lights

Now that the clocks have gone back, the dark winter nights can seem to go on for a long time, especially if you are leaving the house in the morning and coming home at night in the dark. 

But rather than just sulking our way through these dark months, let’s brighten up our outdoor space by choosing some great outdoor lights to welcome us home at night.

1: Create a  Canopy of Lights

 A canopy of Christmas lights by  Lights 4 Fun  A canopy of Christmas lights by Lights 4 Fun

Suspend a netting of outdoor fairy lights above the entrance to your front door to create a warm and welcoming walkway into your home. Set the lights on a timer, so that when you arrive home, it’s all been done for you. Who wouldn’t like to come home to this warm welcome?!

2. Line Your Pathway with Lights

 Luna Moon Outdoor Lights by  Babatude  Luna Moon Outdoor Lights by Babatude

Line up a row of different sized outdoor lights along the pathway to your front door. Use storm lanterns with battery operated tea lights, or for something more impressive, check out these luna lights from Babatude. 

3. Wind fairy lights into trees and topiary

 Battery opertated fairy lights from  Lights 4 Fun  Battery opertated fairy lights from Lights 4 Fun

Wind a string of fairy lights into topiary trees or plants and place them either side of your front door, or dot them around the garden. Choose weather proof, battery operated lights for a no-fuss solution. Green wired lights help them blend into the background during the day. 

4. Suspend a Chandelier (or Four)

 Starburst Lights by Lights 4 Fun Starburst Lights by Lights 4 Fun

Veer away from traditional Christmas lighting by hanging a surprising quartet of starburst chandeliers outside your home. With twinkling settings, these are sure to welcome you home in style.

5. Go to Town With an Outdoor Grotto

 A range of Christmas Lights from  Wilkinson  A range of Christmas Lights from Wilkinson

If you have little ones at home, or you just love the magic of Christmas, why not create a cosy grotto outside. Attach string lighting around your log store or shed, hang fairy lights from trees, and if you feel like pushing the boat out, throw in a woodland animal or stag head for good measure!

How will you be lighting your home for Christmas? Come and join us in our free Facebook group and share your lighting ideas for Christmas.


Textured stone walls

When we think about texture, we are thinking about the experience of snuggling under blankets, or the softness of a sofa, or the coolness of a marble worktop or the sturdy weight of a rustic table. It’s a tactile experience. It’s about touch

But although texture is about how surfaces feel, we firstly experience texture in a room by what we see. We ‘feel’ the texture with our eyes, way before the hands-on, tactile experience happens. It’s a bit like salivating over a delicious looking meal that we’ve never even tasted before.

Successful texture in a room comes from having a mixture of different textures together, and layering them in a contrasting way. Think smooth with rough, soft with hard, polished against rustic.

Bringing texture into your home has so many benefits: It stops your room from being bland, it adds another dimension, it cushions unwanted sound, and stops echoes, and it brings a feeling of warmth and cosiness.

“Texture within monotone or neutral rooms is an absolute must. It stops plainer rooms from being one-dimensional.”

— Kate Hatherell- The Home Design School

So let’s take a look at the different ways you can bring texture into your home.

1. Wall coverings

  Herringbone patterned walls bring a strong textural element to the largest space in the room. Keep the rest of the decor simple to avoid overwhelm.     Image via  B&Q   Herringbone patterned walls bring a strong textural element to the largest space in the room. Keep the rest of the decor simple to avoid overwhelm.  Image via B&Q

The biggest surface area in any room is the walls, and there are so many ways to introduce texture into the room. 

If you are lucky enough to have internal stone or exposed brick walls (see main blog image above) , then you already have all the texture you need. But if you have a plainer interior, you can create similar effects with stone cladding, or even brick effect wallpaper. 

Walls can also be clad in rustic style shiplap, or dressed with more formal wainscoting or beadboard

If you don’t want such a permanent change, clever use of wall decor can bring much needed texture in. A gallery wall, or clever wall displays may be all you need. (Click >>here<< for more ideas) 

These beautiful feather wall hangings from Mia Fleur bring warmth, texture and contrast to this dark wall.

2. Floor Coverings

  Painted hard wood floorboards contrast with the texture of the deep pile rug. Beni rug from  Loaf.com   Painted hard wood floorboards contrast with the texture of the deep pile rug. Beni rug from Loaf.com

The second largest space in your room will be the floor. If you already have carpeted floors then you already have a soft texture, but consider layering longer pile rugs over shorter pile carpet for an even more sumptuous look and feel. Be sure to use carpet tape to stop the rug slipping. 

Hard flooring such as wood can have a beautiful texture of its own, such as herringbone for example, and this can be enhanced by putting a rug with a contrasting texture on top. Consider harder fabrics such as sisal, jute and hessian for a more industrial feel, but softer rugs such as faux animal skin or sheepskin provide real contrast of texture and ‘cosy up’ the space.  

3. Furniture

 Aurelie drawers by  Loaf.com  Aurelie drawers by Loaf.com

When choosing furniture for your space, consider the finishes that you already have in your room, and think about the contrast you can bring in.

The rustic finish on these wooden drawers for example, contrasts with the well painted wainscoting behind. It is this juxtaposition of textures which keeps the interior looking interesting. 

Consider rustic or limewashed wood against painted wood, plastic against antique, industrial against pretty. 

4. Textiles

 Layering textiles is a quick and easy way to bring a huge variety of texture into your home. Bed textiles from  Next . Layering textiles is a quick and easy way to bring a huge variety of texture into your home. Bed textiles from Next .

One of the quickest ways to introduce texture into your room is through soft furnishings. Not only are cushions, curtains and throws very tactile, but they also bring acoustic cushioning to your room too. 

The options here really are endless; choose fabrics in cotton, wool, silk, chenille, velvet and sheepskin. The key is to mix the different fabrics together. Put a silk banner around a linen cushion for example, or place a felt cushion next to knitted. Throw a sheepskin rug over a velvet sofa.

5. Accessories:

  A variety of different shaped accessories with contrasting finishes adds texture to a scheme. Accessories via  Harvey Norman .  A variety of different shaped accessories with contrasting finishes adds texture to a scheme. Accessories via Harvey Norman .

The most inexpensive way of bringing texture to a room is through the accessories you scatter throughout the space. There is a whole variety of objects you can put into your decor, from shop bought to foraged! Think woven baskets, smooth glass, shells, faux coral, metallic objects, felt or knitted baskets. Again, the secret to getting the texture right is to mix it up, layer it in. 

Of course, how you bring texture into a room will also depend upon the look and feel of the room you are trying to create. If you are looking for a laid back and cosy room, you’ll be including copious soft furnishings with knitted and woollen finishes, whereas if you are creating a glam vibe, you’ll be including lots of glass and metallics, with perhaps faux animal skin or silk fabrics. Whatever your look, there’s a way to bring texture and dimension into your home. 

And if you’re not sure what your personal home décor style is, why not try out my fun FREE quiz below?

Until next time x

Main Image Source: featuring Armadillo Rugs Collection by Hunting for George



When it comes to creating our ideal home décor, we start with a vision of how we want our home to look. For some of us this is a feeling, or a mood we want to create, and for others, it is a clear design board, containing ALL of the details of the room (go you!). 

But sometimes, in the execution of those plans, something goes wrong. We fail to create the look we want, the plan doesn’t come together as we had envisaged.

Why is this?

Often it is because we hold onto items that we already have in our homes, and we don’t replace them when we come to create our new decor.

Even though they don’t fit in with our design plans.

Even though we might not actually like them! 

So what’s going on here?

Perhaps it’s an item from your past, perhaps something that you had around you in childhood, and so you feel nostalgic about it.

Perhaps it’s an item that was gifted to you, and so you feel guilt if you were to get rid of it. Or you’re worried you’re being ungrateful. Or you worry that the person who gave it to you will notice it’s missing and be angry with you.

Perhaps it’s an item that is in perfectly good working order and it is wasteful for you to get rid of it.

Or perhaps- most strongly- it’s an item that was inherited from a close relative, and you feel as though by holding onto it, you hold onto a piece of them in some way.

I totally get all of these things. I understand. 

“Possessions come with powerful associations, and we (wrongly) assign greater importance to ‘things’ than we should. ”

— Kate Hatherell, The Home Design School

Possessions can hold so much power that we try to make them fit into our room schemes, even though they really don’t go. It’s like a little blind spot that we have; human beings are remarkably good at seeing what they want to see, rather than seeing what is in front of them. We ‘make it fit’ even though it really doesn’t. 

In order to move past this, in order to get the home you really want, you have to accept that these items don’t fit in with your design plan. Not only this, but they are stopping you from having the home you want. 

Like Disney’s Queen Elsa, we need to learn to “Let It Go!” when it comes to our possessions, if they are stopping us from having the home we want.

So, what’s the solution?

It’s all very well to say, “Let It Go!” but how do we do that?

Firstly, recognise that it’s not about the stuff itself; we are all perfectly capable of heading to the tip or the charity shop.

It’s the stuff in our heads, the stuff in our hearts. The emotional stuff. The (dare I say it) baggage that we carry around.

How do we move past those mental blockers we hold to rid ourselves of the possessions that are getting in our way?

Let’s see if we can get practical with some solutions…

1. Get clear on your vision

Start with the end in mind. Be super clear about how you want your home to look. Although a ‘feeling’ or a ‘mood’ is a great place to start, the more you firm up and crystallise the look you are going for, the easier it is for you to see where your current possessions fit, and where they do not.

Create Pinterest boards, scrap books or concept and mood boards of the exact look you are trying to achieve.

Write a description of how you want the space to feel, and what you need to include (and exclude) to get that look, and become super focused on how you want the end product to be.

At this point, remember that you don’t have to get rid of anything, you are just dreaming. So this is a safe step. Be honest about your dream, and don’t focus on what you currently have.

2. Future Cast your Dream

Future what? Future casting is about envisaging how you want the future to look in all it’s glorious detail. Creating a vision of the future is a really powerful tool to help get your mind in the right place for change.

Write a description of how your space will look, and how you will feel, once you achieve the vision you created in the previous step. How will life be different once you have achieved the home you want?

So now onto the actual possessions themselves…

3. How to Let Go of an Unwanted Gift

Someone has generously given you something for your home, which they clearly love, and they love you enough to give it to you. The trouble is? Their taste is different to yours, and now you are stuck with an item you dislike, forever adorning your shelves, or you risk offending them if you get rid of it. What a dilemma.

(Tip for everyone: never EVER buy someone something for their home. Buy something disposable- cut flowers for example- but never EVER something they then have to display. Do you want to give someone else the dilemma I’ve mentioned above?)

The best way to handle this is of course is to make those expectations clear up front. Please could I have <INSERT: voucher/ flowers/ chocolates/ a meal/ an experience/some babysitting/ a donation to charity> for my birthday.

 Set expectations beforehand if you can! Set expectations beforehand if you can!

But if you haven’t done this, and you’re already lumbered with said gift, you need to get your mindset in the right place so that you can get rid of it. 

Firstly, know that most people won’t even notice if something is missing. We are so focused on ourselves, that we think other people are as wrapped up in the minutiae of our lives as we are. They’re not. They may not even notice.

Secondly, if the person knew that you disliked it, they would be mortified to know that are displaying something you dislike. Stop being so awkward and get rid. And if they do question you? Be honest! I really appreciated the gesture but it’s not quite to my taste. 

Thirdly. Own your space. You all tell me how important your home is. You tell me it is your sanctuary. Your safe space. So in this space, it is your choice to have what you want in there. Are you really going to let someone else dictate how your home looks? Really?

And finally. Stop worrying about what others think. Going to offend Great Aunt Maud if you jettison her floral china vase? Well okay. That’s a shame. But she’ll get over it. Or she won’t. Either way, it’s your home. Have what you want in it.

4. How to Let Go of Stuff that’s Not Broken

For many of us, we were brought up with a ‘waste not want not’ approach to life. We were told to eat up everything on our plates, to ‘make do and mend’.

Throwing out all of our unwanted stuff was just wasteful.

Whether you are a post war baby, conditioned not to waste, or you are simply worried about the environmental impact of the disposable mentality we have, getting rid of unwanted possessions doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Whatever it is that you have in your home that you don’t like, you can still get rid. There will always be someone who wants what no longer works for you.

The success of auction sites like Ebay, and local recycling sites like Freecycle show that there is a roaring trade in ‘preloved’ items. Charity shops are always looking out for unwanted furniture. It really is true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

— Anon

Why hang onto something that is cluttering up your life, that you don’t really like or no longer have a use for? You are denying somebody else the pleasure of having your preloved possessions. Get rid, and get yourself something you love.

5. How to Let Go of Sentimental Stuff

Without question, the hardest thing to let go of is the sentimental stuff. The stuff you inherited from a relative no longer with us, the memorabilia from childhood. This is tough.

We confuse our sentimentality about the person or time in our lives with the possessions that were there at the same time. It’s almost as though holding on to the item will keep the person or the time closer to you.

But of course, the truth is, that it’s the memory you need to hold on to, not the item itself. I love this quotation from the Minimalists

“I am not my stuff; we are more than our possessions.
Our memories are within us, not within our things.
Holding on to stuff imprisons us; letting go is freeing.”

— The Minimalists

It’s not that holding onto sentimental items is wrong. It’s only wrong if it gets in the way of the lifestyle and home that we want to have. 

Keeping 4500 CDs or VHS tapes in a rack because you have fond memories of the films and music is not going to help you achieve the clean-lined scandi look you’re after. Keeping granny’s vintage embroidered napkins isn’t going to work in the glam luxe pad you’re trying to create. Let it go.

Go back to step one, and check the sentimental item against your vision board for your home. Does it fit? Does it go with your design scheme? 

If it doesn’t, then check your future cast from step two. This item is now stopping you from realising that dream. Surely, that’s not what your relative would have wanted? Surely your younger self would not want you trapped in this way?

Marie Kondo (the queen of decluttering), tells you to thank the item for it’s usefulness and then choose to let it go. Let it go and be thankful that the item will now serve someone else, bring someone else pleasure, or simply thank it for giving you pleasure in the past. 

Whatever items you have in your home, which are stopping you from creating the home of your dreams, take stock, and see whether you can overcome some of these blockers for yourself. 

Declutter. Live lighter. 

Until next time x



Declutter living room

It’s that time of year again when the daffodils are in full bloom, the weak sun is gaining strength and everything starts to feel well.. just better. At long last, winter is well and truly over!

I know that there will be people nodding along with me when I say that I always get an overwhelming urge to have a good old declutter and clean of my house at this time of the year. It’s not called a ‘Spring Clean’ for nothing! 

There is something lovely about casting off the warmth and snug of the winter blankets and comforters, throwing open the windows and filling the house with vases of fresh spring flowers. 

If you’ve been hibernating all winter though, decluttering your home and preparing it for Spring can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t need to be. Here are my top tips to help you get your home looking ship-shape and Spring-ready in no time.

1. Prepare Yourself.

Before you even pick up a duster, make sure that you have everything you need to get your home cleared. Get sufficient boxes for your needs; I suggest a box for items going to charity, one for recycling, and one for the tip. Make sure that the charity shops and recycling centres are open on the days that you are clearing out so that you can get the clutter right out of your home once you are done. 

2. Start in one area only.

Don’t try to tackle the whole house at once. Choose just one room, and within that room just one cupboard or shelf and begin there. Commit to finishing that area in its entirety before moving onto anywhere else. 

3. Set the timer

We start off decluttering in a state of enthusiasm, imagining well folded clothes, clear floors and minimalist shelving but after working on an area for a few hours you can easily lose motivation and give up. Using the ‘Pomodoro’ technique can help you to get past these motivation blockers.

The what technique? The Podomoro technique is simply a way to block out period of time to keep you focussed on a task. Simply set an alarm for a small amount of time (between 19 and 25 minutes is about right) and commit to tidying and clearing until the alarm goes off. Once the timer goes off, you can decide to call it a day, or you can commit to doing another round of 19 minutes. This gives you clear, targeted periods of intense work, but also the option to stop once you’ve had enough. 

4. Remove everything

Yes, that’s right: Everything. Take every item off of the shelf, remove everything from your closet. This ensures that you are making conscious decisions about what you are going to keep, and what you are going to rid yourself of. Anything that you put back has to be something that you are making an intentional decision about. Maria Kondo tells us that we should only keep objects which ‘spark joy’. If it’s not useful, and you don’t love it, it’s time for it to go. 

5. Pare down your Clothing

Look, I know that you loved those bright red hot pants and when you lose a stone, they will look great again. But the truth is that keeping old clothing like this is just clutter masquerading as something you think you need to keep. Weed out clothes that you haven’t worn for 12 months, clothes that don’t fit and clothes that just don’t ‘spark joy’ (see above). And when you lose that stone? Wouldn’t you rather treat yourself to something new? Get rid of those hot pants now!

Make extra room in your closet for seasonal Spring clothing by packaging up your chunky winter knits and vacuum packing them before storing them under a bed. 

6. Get on top of your paperwork

Ugh, we all know the clutter that is caused by piles of paperwork and magazines. Use one of your 19 minute slots to commit to removing one pile of papers. There are very few documents that need to be kept in hard copy format these days, so unless it’s something like a birth certificate or the deeds of your house, photograph or scan the paperwork and store it in an electronic folder, and then shred and recycle the paper. 

7. Stop Hoarding

Seriously. You do not need 3 different phone chargers, 8 tins of chopped tomatoes and those cut off pieces of wood “just in case”. Those “just in case” items are holding you back from having a home that you love. Purge, and stop hoarding once and for all. 

8. Source Sufficient Storage

A quick caveat here: getting sufficient storage isn’t an excuse for you to keep the cr*p that you should have been purging in the steps above. As William Morris once said, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. Outside of that, chuck it!

However, once you’ve whittled everything down to just those things that you really do need and want to keep, it makes everything a lot tidier if you have somewhere specific to store it all. A place for everything and everything in its place is your mantra here. So firstly identify what causes your clutter: Clothing? Get another set of drawers. Batteries and Lightbulbs? Get a box specifically for that purpose. Paperwork? Get a filing cabinet and/or in-tray.

Don’t forget to make use of the storage you already have. Wasted spaces like on top of wardrobes or under beds are great places to store items which are not needed on a daily basis. 

9. Get Cleaning!

And finally… get cleaning! Always start at the top of a room (so dust around the ceiling for cobwebs first) and then work your way down, finishing with the floors. 

With all of that done, time to reward yourself with a nice bunch of Spring flowers, or even polishing off the kids’ leftover Easter eggs. Go on… I said you could 😉

Come and join us over in our Facebook group to let us know about your Spring cleaning and decluttering efforts.  



Cohesive home decor living room

I have a little confession to make… I spend quite a significant amount of my time walking around show homes on a Sunday afternoon, just so that I can check out the interior design. Anyone else ‘fess up to that one too? I know it’s naughty because I have zero intention of buying the house, and so essentially I’m wasting the agent’s time, but I just can’t help myself. Surely I can’t be alone in that?

As I wander around show homes, I’m always impressed by how cohesive the homes look. Every room seems to have something about it, which makes it feel as though it makes sense as part of the rest of the home. It feels… cohesive.

Many of our own homes just don’t feel like this: they feel unfinished or we have a mish-mash of items and rooms that don’t really go together. Each room feels disjointed, and we wonder what these show homes have that our own homes lack.

Well, as you will know by now, I’m an analytical kind of gal, which is how I work out which elements of design work and why, and that’s how I’m able to share this knowledge with you. 

So in all of my moochings around show homes, what have I learned? What is it about show homes that look so great? Why do they always look so finished, so perfect and so cohesive? And (most importantly) what are you doing wrong in your home, and how can you get this cohesive look too? 

If you’re anything like most people, you’ll be making the following mistakes:

The Mistakes You Make

Mistake #1: You tackle one room one at a time. One month you’ll decorate the living room, the next you’ll turn your attention to the bedroom.

Mistake #2: You buy decor that takes your fancy when you’re out shopping. (Wait a minute, this is a mistake? Oh yes, read on…)

Mistake #3: You choose a new colour for each room because you are worried about being boring.


How to Fix It!

So now we know where we’re going wrong, what is the right way to go about it? How do you bring cohesion to your home?

1. Start with a whole home plan

No show home (or properly designed home) has ever been created by decorating one room at a time, and seeing how it goes. Professional show-home designers create a whole-home plan, which shows the colours, fabrics and finishes which will be used in each room within the whole home.

There are many advantages to this approach: it means that when you are selecting your colours, your furniture, your soft furnishings and accessories, you are limited to what you can include. This might not sound like a good idea, but in fact, it actually makes it easier to shop once you restrict the options. Rather than just buying whatever takes your fancy, your purchases in the future must fit in with your whole home plan.

The images below are part of a whole home plan, created by one of my students, Lynn, during my course, Design Your Home Like a Pro. Although each room has different fabrics, paints, furniture and accessories, they all look cohesive. Each room looks as though it belongs to the rest of the home. What a great job she did, don’t you think? 

So does this mean that you have to decorate your whole home at once? No! (Unless of course you want to). It means that you come up with a plan for your whole home, and every time you come to decorate a room, or even buy a cushion or an ornament, you check your whole home plan first to make sure that the look is cohesive with the rest of your décor. 

It’s a bit like creating a master plan for your home; your own personal home branding. Create a master mood board for your home before decorating another thing in your home!

 (check out my favourite mood board tool here).

2. Consider Sight Lines

To make sure that your rooms flow from one into the other, consider how much of each room you can see from adjoining rooms, and make sure that the flooring, colour scheme and fabrics flow well between them. This is especially true of entrance halls. If you can see several rooms from your entrance hall, you need to make sure that the rooms are cohesive with the décor of the entrance, as well as with each other. 

3. Hit on a Consistent Design Style

If you want your home to look cohesive, avoid experimenting with different styles in different rooms. It’s no good going Scandi in the bedroom, Country in the kitchen and Glam in the living room. That’s the fast route to having a home which looks like jumbled mess with a mish-mash of items that just don’t go together, even if you quite like the individual rooms. Research your style tastes for your home and stick to them!

4. Choose a Whole House Colour Palette

Say wha…?! Yes, that’s right. Professional interior designers know that having a consistent colour scheme throughout your house creates cohesion and unity. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to paint every wall the same colour in your home; it means that you use colour consistently throughout your home. Look at how the colours grey, aqua, yellow and pink are used in this David Wilson show home below:

Images courtesy of David Wilson Homes, with permission

The images are from one show home. Each room is decorated in the same palette of mostly grey, white and aqua, with accents of yellow and pink. In some rooms (such as the child’s bedroom) all of the colours are used, whereas in other rooms (such as the lower bedroom) just two of the colours have been used along with the neutrals, black and white. Notice also that the aqua colour is a stronger shade in some rooms than others (the curtains in the living room and blinds in the upper bedroom are almost teal, for example, contrasted with the light aqua in the bathroom).

The colours don’t have to be identical; but by using similar colours in different ways, each room looks as though it belongs in the same home. A cohesive “home brand” has been created. Never let it be said again that a whole-home colour palette is boring!

In next week’s post, I’ll show you how to pull a whole home colour palette together; watch this space!

5. Unite Fabrics and Patterns Across your Home

In the same way that you need to unify colours across a home, make sure that you consider the fabrics and patterns that you use too. Collect swatches of all the fabrics you will use in your home, and lay them side by side to see how they work together. For tips on matching fabric patterns, check out this post here.

6. Have Consistent Flooring

If you have a mix of tiles, wood and carpet across your rooms, this will give a disjointed look. Having dark mahogany floorboards in one room, leading into terracotta tiles in the next and carpet in another room is going to create chaos to the eye. This doesn’t mean that you have to have exactly the same flooring throughout your home (although this helps) but you should consider the colour and the lightness/darkness of the flooring. So choose a pale wood with a pale carpet and pale tiles, or all darks. Mixing and matching just leads to a dizzy impression, especially if the sight lines mean that the different finishes can be seen from other rooms. 

So let’s get going. What do you need to fix in your home? How cohesive are the different rooms? Download the checklist below and then see what you can do to make your home look more ‘branded’ and unified. Let me know in the comments below. 


Until next time x

Images courtesy of David Wilson Homes, with permission


Guest bedroom decor

3d rendering. a luxury modern style bedroom.

When friends pop round for coffee, they usually stay for an hour or two, and they spend more time talking to you than noticing what is going on with your home décor. But when those guests are here to stay for a longer stretch, they have time to notice in more detail, how your home looks. Create the perfect guest bedroom, and make your guests feel right at home with these 10 easy to achieve tips. 

1. Neutralise & De-personalise

If you are starting from scratch with your guest bedroom, think calm, relaxing, sanctuary. Keep your colour palette neutral, and bring in interest with textures and soft furnishings. Whether you are starting from scratch or using existing décor, remove as many personal items as possible from the room. Feeling as though you have been shoe-horned in amongst someone else’s clutter is never a welcoming first impression to give.

2. Check your Layout and Storage

Plan your layout so that guests can get from the door to the bed easily, and make sure that you include enough storage for them to be able to unpack their cases. If you aren’t able to provide a whole wardrobe and chest of drawers, then at least clear out a drawer or two so that your guests have somewhere to store their clothing, and keep surfaces clear for their smaller possessions. 

3. Plan for Privacy

One of my pet hates when going to someone else’s house is not having locks on the bedroom and bathroom doors. Test the door to your guest bedroom and bathroom, and make sure that they close properly. Make sure that the locks function correctly, and that there is no chance of your guests getting locked in. If it doesn’t work, put fixing it at the top of your priority list.

4. Provide Bedside Tables (Nightstands)

If possible, put a nightstand either side of the bed with a light on it. Your guests will not be familiar with the layout of the room, so being able to see where they are going, from light switch to bed, is essential in an unfamiliar house, especially at night. If nightstands are outside of your budget, try covering a wooden box with fabric for an impromptu bedside table. 

And if you want to leave the most special touch for your guests, why not print out this welcome guest poem and leave it on the nightstand. 

5. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before!

Before your guests arrive, schedule in enough time to give their room a thorough deep clean. Start at the top of the room and dust the ceiling and walls for cobwebs. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth and vacuum or mop the flooring thoroughly. 

6. Test your Mattress

Having the right sort of bed can make or break your trip away. If you haven’t changed your mattress for a while, you will have no idea whether it will be too hard or too soft. Try sleeping in your guest room for a night to test out the mattress a few weeks before they arrive. The mattress should be firm, but with some give in it. If it isn’t right, it might be time to invest in a new one. There’s nothing worse than a bad night’s sleep, after all. 

7. Layer Bedding

Goose Feather & Down Duvet, Pillows & Mattress Protector Source: www.loaf.com

Make your guests as comfortable as possible by having an abundance of mattress toppers, duvets and pillows. Think ‘sinking into a cloud’ and you’ll do well. Duvets and pillows absorb a lot of bugs and nasties, so either have your bedding professionally cleaned, or think about investing in new. Keep extra blankets near the bed for those guests who feel the cold more than others.

8. Install some hooks

Guests will arrive with coats, dressings gowns, bags and more. Installing a few hooks on the back of doors means that they can keep their clothing and clutter tidy, and out of the way. 

9. Stack a bale of towels

Nothing says ‘cared for’ more than leaving a bale of fluffy white towels on the bed, for the guests’ use. Leave them piled up on the bed; one stack for each guest.

Royal Turkish Towels. Source: http://www.christy.co.uk/bathroom/towels/royal-turkish.html

10. Kit out a tray or basket with handy items

Leave a tray on a side table in the room filled with handy items: a box of tissues, an alarm clock, and a water pitcher or carafe with a clean glass. If you have a guest bathroom, check that this is fully stocked with soap and toilet paper too, and ensure there is a waste paper bin handy. If you want to be a bit more fancy, leave a small basket of toiletries too with a “help yourself” message.

Or if you want to leave an extra special touch, why not print out this ‘Welcome Guest’ poem, pop it in a frame, and leave it on their bedside table? What a great welcome!


Once your guest bedroom is ready to go, you can sit back, breath a sigh of relief and, enjoy the most important part of having guests to stay: the fun and friendship!

Until next time x


If you’re tired of your same old Christmas decorations, why not try something different this year? Let’s take a look at three looks which are hitting the high street at the moment.


Source 1

This muted, understated look is the height of Scandi- charm. Created by using hues of grey, white and silver with a splash of green, this look is inspired by the woodland. Use matt metals like zinc, and natural materials like pinecones and white-washed wood. Include a drop of colour with natural greenery like eucalyptus and fir.


2. A touch of glamour

Source 2

If you want a more opulent, dramatic look, layering metallic upon metallic gives a glamorous feel to your Christmas décor. Think copper, bronze and gold, shiny finishes and luxurious fabrics such as velvet and silk. 



Source 3

If you want to step right away from tradition, or perhaps you have little ones at home with a penchant for Princesses Elsa and Anna, this winter wonderland will be right up your street. Use icy blues. cool silvers and piercing whites to bring this look into your home. You can soften the look by adding soft, coppery pinks and muted greys too. Think delicate glassware and soft faux fur throws. 


If you fancy trying one of these out, (or even if you’re sticking to your traditional decs this year) why not head on over to our Facebook group to share your Christmas décor schemes?

Image Sources:

Source 1 & 2: Wyevale Garden Centres, http://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/christmas

Source 3: Poundland’s Winter Wonderland, http://www.poundland.co.uk/christmas-cracked


hygge for winter

Now that the clocks have gone back, and the dark nights are drawing in, it’s time to prepare our homes for winter. Although we are used to long winters here the UK, there is no-one quite as prepared for this season as the folk of Scandanavia, who experience even colder winters and longer, darker nights.  

The Danish have a delightful way of combating this wintriness with a concept called Hygge (pronounced “Hue-gah”). We don’t have a direct translation for Hygge in English, but it is all about that feeling of comfort when you are in from the cold and dark, snuggled up and enjoying good company with friends. Hot chocolate, fur blankets and bed socks all fall into the category of hygge. 

Today we’re going to take a frosted leaf out of the Danes’ book, and see what we can do to hygge-up our homes for the winter. So grab yourself a hot cuppa (or a nice mulled cider if you have one) and find out how to achieve a cosy, snug den for the winter:



Top of the list for creating a Danish-style hygge home is candles. The Danes go crazy for candles, in fact around 74% of them light a candle at least once a week, with nearly 30% of the population lighting them every day. Imagine that! Candles don’t have to be expensive, so stock up on a collection of pure white candles, and place them on a mirrored tray or plate for even more glow.  


Source 1 |  Source 2

Blankets are not only great for warmth, but they can also soften an interior design scheme and make it feel more cosy. Choose soft furnishings in quilted and fur finishes for extra snug factor, and layer them on top of one another for added sumptuousness. 



A fire can be a big investment in your home, but there is nothing that says ‘home’ more than the crackling of logs in a fire. Go for an open fire for a traditional look, or for a wider variety of styles, look for a good quality log burner. 



If you are lucky enough to have room, create a hyggerkrog, a little nook, in your home. Find a window seat, an alcove or even a small corner of a room to create your den: somewhere to shut yourself away from the world, snuggle in and enjoy a good book. Layer soft furnishings, such as blankets, cushions and throws for the ultimate snuggle corner. 



Eating out in Denmark can be expensive, and the Danes often prefer to socialise at home, especially during the cold winter months. Nothing beats hjemmehygge (home hygge) when it comes to meeting with friends. A long table with bench seating ensures that you can fit everyone in. Bring in chairs from other rooms too. Mismatched seating brings a charm of its own, so avoid being too match-matchy with your table arrangement. 

The Danes have a laid-back, casual approach to their home decor. Soft greys, muted blues and barely-there creams dominate the subtle colour palettes, whilst natural materials, layering of soft furnishings, and simple design rule. If you fancy bringing a  bit of Scandi- charm into your home this winter, help yourself to the supplier list of Scandinavian inspired suppliers below, and hygge-up your home this winter.


Main Image Source