Styling your dining table: keep it simple

One thing I know is key to successful dining table styling is to keep it simple.  Unless you are a skilled stylist, too many colours, styles, complex centrepieces and crafty gimmicks found on Pinterest can get all too much.  I’ve found some lovely images (ahem… some on Pinterest) that I think are good examples to learn from.

The settings in the two images below have kept a muted and soft colour palette, introducing interest with layering and textured details.  The centrepiece sets the natural theme for the table and has been left on its own – not too fussy!  Light timber is echoed in the tableware and table itself.

Height can be cleverly introduced with sparse florals or twigs, like the beautiful magnolias below.  Guests will be able to see each other past this centrepiece.   Again, the colours are kept simple.

Any excuse to use your collections (as mentioned in my previous post… Styling your collections: the kookier the better!) can be very effective and add a personal touch, such as these vases, brought to life with fresh florals.  I think any setting deserves some sort of living feature, if not florals then fruit or vegetables can add a fresh element.

Finally, candles will add a warm finishing touch to any setting.  I love candelabras and candle sticks as they are romantic and entrancing as they burn down.  Tea lights are handy in adding a bit more light and sparkle.  There are some great safe candles out there which are battery operated and flicker continuously, a great option if you have flammable decorations nearby.  Just remember to dim the lights and enjoy everyone looking their best in a soft glow…

Styling your collections: the kookier the better!

I am a firm believer that happiness lies in the simple things.  It’s amazing how much joy a person can find collecting, organising and then just admiring whatever objects their heart desires.  I like to collect teapots, with best intentions to use them though I rarely do.  If you saw my balcony, you might say I collect (and obsessively grow) plants.  It doesn’t matter what you collect so long as it gives you a thrill – and the kookier the better I say!  Collections can be used to great effect in styling your home and showing your personality.

Imagine the person who owns this collection?  I bet the thought made you smile… even if in a slightly odd way.

Fornasetti plates look more like artwork here than a collection and is a good example of how a collection can be styled to really add something special to an interior.  The subtle monochrome palette, warmed up with timber, allows the artworks to take centre stage.

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This collection isn’t all the same object, but could be more of a theme like their favourite finds at a flea market.

A simple and inexpensive display such as this one can be made more interesting with some fresh flowers.

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I’ve been thinking of starting two new collections, pottery and hand held clocks!  What do you collect?

Styling your home office: get productive!

Today I’m dreaming of styling my own, perfect home office.  It will be filled with light, super organised and comfortable.  Here’s my styling advice to create a beautiful home office space.

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Comfort comes first

It’s really important to be comfortable in a home office, particularly if you work from home.  Probably the hardest part of styling your office will be finding a chair that not only looks great but is also ergonomically correct.  I recommend treating chairs as you would a new mattress purchase – don’t be afraid to try them out.  Sit in them for a while, right in the shop!

Further comfort can then be brought in with a cozy floor rug.  Keep in mind if you choose a chair with rollers, a shaggy rug won’t fair so well underneath.

Shed some light on the subject

Hopefully you are lucky enough to have your desk right near a window, letting the sunlight spill right through your space and enabling you to gaze out when tired eyes set in.  If not and for night time, an adjustable task lamp is essential.  Also consider the location of your screen to minimise glare.

A place for everything

Depending on what your space is used for, you will need a variety of storage.  Try getting creative with pinboards, where you can style your most inspirational images, swatches and important reminders.  Bookshelves and loose shelving are ideal for styling favourite objects amongst books and files.  Best not to have too much clutter though.

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The fun part

Once all of the essentials are in place, it’s time to style and have fun.  Hang art on the walls or stacked on shelves.  Put together a pleasing vignette and bring in some life with at least one indoor plant.  If you have a dedicated home office, it’s a great opportunity to wallpaper or paint the walls a feature colour.  Keep in mind that soft neutrals and the cooler colours, such as blue and green, tend to promote concentration.  Red and purple a renowned for being distracting.

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Styling your coffee table: fun and easy!

Styling a coffee table is a really enjoyable way to instantly transform a living room and display your favourite treasures.  With a few tried and tested tricks that I’ll share below, you’ll be able to update, rearrange and beautifully style not just your coffee table, but most other surfaces in your home!

Firstly, my golden rule above all else – it’s all about the layering.  

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Books

Stacks of books are a must for building height, adding colour and also imply a lot about the owner and their interests (so choose wisely!).  Neatly piled ‘coffee table’ books look great on their own, perhaps with an interesting object on top.  If your space needs a bit of character and edge, try sourcing some second hand vintage books, they are an incredibly cost effective tool in styling any space.

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Trays

Trays are perfect for grouping collections and acting as the base of a layer.  I look for trays that are a contrasting material or colour to the table, but also stay harmonious to the scheme.

Floral

I may be going off on a bit of an ‘ideal world’ tangent, but when you can, invest in or pick fresh floral arrangements, they will literally bring life and vibrancy to any table.  I promise you will feel so much happier every time you walk by.  A more long term option is an indoor plant.

Treasures

The objects that you pick up on holidays, receive as gifts, find in the park… anything that is special to you will personalise the scheme and add the perfect finishing touch.   I always like to have at least one organic object to soften the look, so this can be in place for in between floral arrangements.

One last thing, as Coco Chanel would say ‘Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off’.  This advice applies just as well to styling.  Goodluck!

Styling your entry: first impressions do count!

When a guest enters my home, I would like them to feel immediately warm and welcomed.  I would like the first impression not only to invite guests further in, but also hint at what is to come.  The entry to a home is often overlooked, however with some clever styling can become a real highlight to enjoy each day.

Flooring

As with any scheme, it’s often easiest to start from the floor up.  Floor rugs and runners are so versatile and come a multitude of colours, shapes, materials and styles to suit any entry.  Floor rugs will warm the space, reduce noise, suggest the style of the home, inject colour and if well placed, will direct they eye onwards to the main areas of the home.  I love durable grass weave and faded middle eastern rugs.

Walls

You can really have fun on the walls in this typically small space.  Play with the forbidden dark paint colours, break up the wall with panelling and even consider including the ceiling.  Mirror panelling is the perfect way to bounce light around and make the space double in size.  Mirror now comes in all sorts of finishes, from traditional silvered to endless antiqued effects.  Wallpapers can make a seriously stylish impact and cover damaged walls.  Try a light timber look wallpaper to cocoon the space and allow the horizontal planks to lead the eye, as suggested with the rug, onwards…

Furniture

If your space permits, a seat for taking off shoes and a quirky umbrella stand will be welcome additions.  A console creates the perfect surface for a vignette, perhaps with an artwork or mirror hung above.

Accessories

Hooks and shelves break up the wall and allow for an evolving style.  You can hang practical objects like hats and coats, or have more fun with any of your treasured objects.

Lighting

Your entry will need adequate lighting and there are many pendant lights, wall sconces, floor lamps and table lamp options available.  If you only use one, I think the best option is a feature pendant light, hung centred from the ceiling to create a general wash of light.

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