Rugs instantly take a room from cold to cosy, adding warmth and texture but also style – think of them as ‘art for your floor’, transforming an expanse of blank space into something fabulous and interesting.
When choosing a rug you can go one of two ways – make it the focus of the room with a rug that’s colourful and graphic, or go for a more neutral colour that blends in with the room’s colour palette for sense of calm.
If you want colour energy, then do make sure you tie the shade of the rug in with the rest of the room using accessories such as cushions and vases.
- Sierra rug
- Knitted cushions (available in store)
With pattern, think scale – in a small room, stick to a pattern with small repeats which will not overwhelm it and make the room look larger.
Use a rug to play with texture – contrast smooth leather with a shaggy pile; if your sofa is textured, then choose a smoother look for the floor.
Our spike rug is definitely shaggy pile…
…Or try the Lancet rug for a smoother style.
Cowhide is a hot trend right now, and just the thing for adding a casual-cool feel to a room.
If your bedroom makes you feel stressed instead of soothed it’s time to think ‘makeover’! But bedroom bliss doesn’t have to mean a complete overhaul – just a few small touches are enough to create a bedroom that looks great but also makes you feel good.
Start by giving your bed that luxe boutique hotel look. Invest in some plump new pillows if yours are looking a little thin and go for two on each side of the bed for an indulgent feel. Then add some new bed linen, flinging on a gorgeous throw or bedspread as a finishing touch. A stylish duvet set also works, and a bold pattern will instantly give your room character.
And remember, cushions aren’t just for sofas – two or three on your bed is a fast way of injecting colour or pattern, and even a neutral scheme will get a lift from some graphic texture. Place them in front of the pillows, with both the pillows and the cushions sitting vertically.
If the side of your bed is a jumbled mess, tame it with a pair of bedside tables. Choose a style that comes with drawers for extra storage potential or go for a more relaxed mood with a stool or even a dining chair.
Top tip: the tables should be about the same height or just a little lower as the top of your mattress so it’s easy and comfortable to reach. Keep it stylish with a fab table light, and a sculptural vase that looks good on its own or with flowers.
A rug gives your toes a cosy start to the morning and even if you have carpet, help make the room feel more inviting. Put down a small rug on either side of your bed or a large one placed so it extends from one side of the bed to the other and also beyond the end of the bed.
Finally, don’t forget your walls. Paint an accent wall or add some decals for an instant hit of pattern. Hang cool artwork, either one statement painting, above the wall for example, or group smaller ones together for a cool wall feature – just make sure they have a similar colour theme so they work together. You can also add sparkle and glamour with a decorative mirror. Ideally, place it where the light falls on it as the mirror will reflect the light around the room and make it feel brighter.
Now all you need is a good book!
Good food may be the first requirement of a decent restaurant, but interesting interior design comes a close second. Eating out ought to be an experience after all; a feast for all the senses. And just as the food should inspire customers with its innovation and originality, so too should the décor. Few get it right but those that do – such as these London beauties – have the potential to set future trends.
Maximalism rules at Berner’s Tavern, the Jason Atherton run restaurant at Ian Schrager’s latest UK hotel, London Edition. Given that this place boasts what must be one of the capital’s most ornately decorated ceilings, the obvious choice for the walls would be to leave them plain. But when did Schrager ever do the obvious? Instead, he has chosen to cover every centimetre with a gilt-framed painting. And it looks fabulous.
Images courtesy of Nikolas Koenig
Rocking the Art Deco ocean liner look – as befits a restaurant set in Warren Platner’s 1978 building Sea Container’s House – is Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel. Designed by the ever-cool Tom Dixon, this sumptuous space is visible proof that lavender leather banquettes and golden-chartreuse velour chairs really do work with vivid pea green walls. Particularly when mixed with plenty of metallic accents.
Images courtesy of Dandelyan
sketch is one of London’s trendiest hangouts and has led the way in big, bold, bonkers style ever since it first opened in 2002. The Gallery is currently playing host to 239 original drawings by David Shrigley which could have been hung on quiet, white walls but have instead been set against a backdrop, designed by India Mahdavi, that’s as sweet and pink as a Fondant Fancy. If you thought monochromatic schemes were a bit sombre, think again.
Images courtesy of sketch
Designers don’t come much hipper than Lee Broom, so if you’re looking for a heads up on the next big interior trend, take a look at Old Tom and English. A private members club in Soho, the Broom-designed interior is a contemporary take on the relaxed elegance of home entertaining 1960’s style. Think mid-century cabinets, plush red carpet and plenty of marble carved into geometric forms.
Images courtesy of Old Tom and English
Designed by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, Holborn-based Scarfes Bar, is a lesson in timeless, contemporary elegance. Old hints of colour, striking features such as show-stopping, aged copper pendant lights and a spectacular bespoke fireplace, provide a backdrop for the custom-made furniture and vintage treasures. No detail has been overlooked – even the leather and cloth bound books which line the bookshelves have been specially selected by an antique dealer based in Portobello. Grown up, comfortable and completely unique, this is a bar to spend time in. Lots of time.
Images courtesy of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio. Photography by James McDonald
In our third and final Small Spaces feature, we explore life living in a trailer home.
Transformed by contemporary design, trailer homes have become one of the leading solutions for the first time buyer. Macy tells us her story, giving us a tour of her immaculate, contemporary, family trailer home.
To find out more about Macy’s trailer home read her blog, MiniMotives.
In part-two of our small spaces special, Carli introduces us to life as a narrow boat owner.
With a network of over 2,000 miles of rivers and canals flowing throughout the UK, a narrow boat home is an excellent alternative to the more conventional bricks and mortar. Carli discusses how to create your very own floating home whilst giving tips to maximize the available space.
For more of Carli’s narrow boat adventures, read her blog, A Narrow Escape.
On Monday, in the final part of our small spaces three-part feature, we will hear from Macy based in Idaho, USA. She introduces us to the modern day trailer home lifestyle. Trailer homes are very much an up and coming concept which is quickly spreading to the UK.
In our three-part blog special, we take a closer look into how some determined first time buyers have managed to find an affordable way in which to escape the rental market. Their creative initiatives have allowed them to rise above the soaring property prices which see a vast majority of first time buyers locked out from ever being able to secure a place on the property ladder.
Today, we hear from Amber as she tells us about creating a home within a shipping container, transforming a blank canvas into an inviting, cosy home.
For more DIY and design tips from Amber, you can follow her progress on her blog, XtraCrafty.
In our next instalment on Saturday, we meet Carli as she invites us on-board her gorgeous narrow boat home, Albion. She will be giving us an insight into life on the water and living small.
So you’ve decided that you want to move in together? Congratulations! But now comes the really hard bit – coming up with a design style for your shared pad. It can be seriously tricky combining two looks and two sets of furniture and accessories. What if you’re a minimalist who loves white, white, and more white but your partner’s ideal design is leopard print meets hot pink. How do you handle things if you really hate the tatty old armchair he swears he can’t live without but which you think belongs in the tip? And what if your girlfriend’s collection of vintage vases makes you think granny-not-so-chic?
Are you the driving force behind minimalist white interiors?
Well, before you start swapping keys, you need to do some groundwork. First take an inventory of all your stuff. Go through what each of you has and decide what can go. If an item doesn’t have sentimental value and if your partner has a better/newer one, then it’s off to the local charity shop with it (yes, really!). And be prepared to lose the items your partner can’t stand – living together is all about compromise so you might as well start now!
Once the clear out is done, next up is finding a look that works for both of you. Using images from magazines and Pinterest create a mood board of furniture, accessories and colours. It’s a fast way of figuring out what you both like and dislike, from the colour scheme to a design aesthetic – simply pin up and take down items until you’re both happy with what’s there (this is when you can ditch the leopard print and pink combo and add some warmth to white walls).
- Easel floor lamp – black
- Salzburg electric reclining leather sofa
- Circular stacking tables – dark oak
If you’re struggling to fuse feminine and masculine, check out mid-century modern style – its relaxed shapes are incredibly versatile and work with both. Eclectic, with a mix of styles and eras, is another look that could work when combining furniture – a modern dining table with retro-style chairs is a big design trend, or layer your rugs for a boho vibe (you could even fling a throw over the tatty old armchair).
- Dip dining chair – stone
- Doodle rug medium – blue
- Faro three seater sofa – light grey
- Eiffel dining chair with black metal legs
- Xena glass dining table
Also think about having small areas that can reflect your personality – the bedside table (there’s no design rule that says they need to match) or a small display area in the living room.
- Triplo square swivel coffee table – walnut
- Decorative wooden bull sculpture
- Goatskin cushion
- Clay vase
Once you know what style your home will be, you can get onto the fun bit of shopping together for the extra things that you need to complete your home. But don’t just stick to the functional stuff. Focus on an interest that you both really love – music, books, watching box sets of Game of Thrones – and buy something special to reflect it. It will, hopefully, become a new treasured possession for you both.
What do you get when you take the industrial look and add a luxe twist? The trend that is urban chic.
It’s a sophisticated casual-cool style that can be found in the decor of a number of hot new boutique hotels and across the glossy pages of interior magazines.
Featuring exposed brick walls, concrete floors and raw metal, updated with soft texture and graphic pattern, urban chic is warmer and more versatile than the roughness of pure industrial – making it perfect for fusing a traditional home with 21st century living or making a modern property more interesting.
So how do you do it?
Think accent walls that give rough texture – exposed brickwork that reveals the warmth of the brick, or painted but with the imperfections left to show through. Distressed wood is also very urban chic – clad walls with reclaimed wood, or simply apply wood-effect wallpaper.
Concrete, whether the material or the colour, also features strongly. Polished concrete creates a beautifully smooth floor; a sideboard in concrete grey gives a room chic elegance.
Metal is a must – go for industrial style lighting such as lamps with tripod legs and shades in wire or black metal. Stash books on shelving that mixes stainless steel with wood or high-gloss lacquer.
With all these hard materials, touch-me textures are key for giving urban chic its luxurious and liveable feel. Sofas and chairs in soft leather and comfy fabrics anchor a room, and rugs in bold patterns, such as this season’s geometrics, instantly add warmth. Animal hides with their irregular shapes and patterns give an eclectic touch to a space; then there’s ultra-sensuous sheepskin, on the floor or casually flung across a dining chair.
Add bold forms – boxy sofas but also round armchairs for curves that break up straight lines. Introduce shots of colour with accent chairs and through accessories such as cushions and vases, as well as abstract art on the wall.
Accessorise, too, with graphics, in particular words and numbers – hang up a print, paste on a sticker or prop a decorative ampersand on a mantelpiece; go over-sized or combine them with neon or lightbulbs for stand-out signage that adds a pop of acid brights.
I’m a big fan of autumn. For a start, it comes with few expectations for glorious Mediterranean weather – so it can’t disappoint – and on an interiors level, the trends the season sparks are perfectly suited to the UK’s climate. In summer, we have to think bright and white, a theme that sits uneasily with the grey and soggy reality of a British August. Autumn looks, on the other hand, are always about muted colours and cosy textures that both reflect and provide a refuge from the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
This autumn’s key trends are soft-edged furniture, muddy pastels (think blush pink, mustard, olive and teal), metallic finishes and graphic prints. Homes should never be fashion statements, but adding a few new, high fashion pieces as the seasons change is a great way to keep a space looking fresh and contemporary. The good thing about autumn 2015’s hottest looks is that are they unlikely to fight with your existing décor, allowing you to acknowledge the new season’s style without looking like a slavish fashionista.
Here are my top tips:
Invest in a piece of on-trend furniture
Big ticket items like sofas should be classically proportioned (add a blush pink throw or a heap of cushions bearing geometric patterns to bring it bang up to date), but a smaller piece, such as an occasional chair or side table in the latest finish or shape, will immediately fashion-up your living space.
Embrace the colours of the season
Nothing refreshes a room quite like a new coat of paint. I would urge you to cover all four walls in your favourite muddy pastel (I am going for mole), but if you do opt for a feature wall, make sure you choose a shade strong enough to be a proper feature. Alternatively, try painting the doors, floorboards or a piece of furniture instead.
Accessories are also a good way to add colour. Try cushions, throws, and a cluster of vases, or even a picture with pops of blush.
Introduce a key material.
Metallic surfaces continue to be a big thing this season, so grab yourself some not-quite-gleaming metal objects, or work in some warm but industrial style lighting.
- Mesh three pendant light copper
- Triple shade pendant black and copper
- Giant shade tripod
- Cappa triple pendant light
Work in some prints.
Autumn 2015 is all about graphic patterns. Less is more with this look, so stick to a single statement rug, a bold lampshade or a collection of printed ceramics artfully arranged on the mantelpiece.
Spectre, the 24th film about the thrilling adventures of James Bond, opens in cinemas across the UK on 26th October. Now Mr Bond is a very stylish spy, so alongside all the high-adrenalin action, snazzy cars and super smart gadgets, I am hoping to see some seriously sleek interiors. The series has form on the design front thanks to the extraordinary, futuristic backdrops production designer Ken Adam created in the sixties and seventies. Designers Syd Cain, Peter Lamont and Dennis Gassner followed, designing scene-stealing sets ranging from an Octopus-themed bedroom to a submersible lair. I’m crossing my fingers that Spectre delivers, but in the meantime, here are my top five Bond interiors.
Rumpus Room, Goldfinger 1964. Designed by Ken Adam
Bond’s arch enemy Auric Goldfinger (his name is a swipe at the modernist architect Erno Goldfinger in retaliation for the latter’s Willow Road housing project) may have been unpleasant, but he knew a thing or two about mid-century modernism. His tack room is split level, boasts a monumental stainless steel fireplace, Eames chairs and some very lovely textural contrasts (think wood panelling against exposed stone walls).
Elrod House, Diamonds are Forever, 1971. Designed by Ken Adam
Willard Whyte’s penthouse is probably the greatest Bond interior of all time. A real house (it was built in 1968 by the architect John Lautner), it features vast retracting glass walls, sweeping expanses of concrete, an internal rock face and lots of streamlined circular furniture that still looks utterly contemporary 44 years on.
- Firenze leather three seater sofa
- Round adjustable glass side table
- Triplo round swivel coffee table
Stromberg’s Lair, The Spy who Loved Me, 1977. Designed by Ken Adam
Another villain with a lair to die for. The office space in Stromberg’s submersible HQ not only has round windows with views of the deep ocean, but contains a computer station so smoothly curved that could have been designed by Zaha Hadid.
Octopussy’s Bedroom, Octopussy, 1983. Designed by Peter Lamont
Space age chic is all very well, but sometimes a little bling is called for. Especially in 1983. The sculpted bronze octopus bed takes centre stage, while gilded details on the arches and walls continue the metallic theme.
Bond’s Bedroom, Quantum of Solace, 2012. Designed by Dennis Gassner
And finally an interior belonging to 007 himself. Set in the Grand Hotel, Bolivia, this suite of rooms with its monochrome simplicity, symmetrical furniture placement and quiet good taste is a manifestation of sleek Italian chic at its best.