I am quite drawn to pink this year, probably because it has made a bit of a comeback in the world of interiors. It is surprising how good it looks; soft, sophisticated and still giving a space a lot of personality. I also came across this amazing stair runner made out of (pink!) kilim rugs. Kilims are an all time – timeless – favourite of mine (and also of many Instagram followers it seems, as my post of this picture had a record amount of likes!), so I will definitely keep the idea in mind if I ever get asked to revamp a hallway/stairway. I also included some nice chairs. Because…legs…and shape. Yum! What have you been inspired by this week?
Do you hang out at Pinterest a lot, pinning images of beautiful, eclectic rooms and wondering if you are ever going to be able to recreate something similar? Where do people find all these perfect vintage pieces of furniture and objects? How do they put it all together?
Here are 5 Tips to Decorate with Vintage:
- Buy what you love.
Your home should be pleasing to your eye. You have to live there. If you don’t love your decor, you will not feel comfortable in your own home. If you love those crazy antlers or that old travel trunk, use them!
- Don’t be afraid to mix wood tones.
Many people think that if they own one piece of oak furniture, the rest has to match. But wood is just a colour. Vintage furniture that was meant to last was made of wood. Check for tones in the wood grain that may be complimentary to one another.
- Be patient. Shop often.
My furniture did not come home with me in one weekend. That’s one of the luxuries of buying new – you can get a catalog looking living room in one shopping trip. But in order to achieve decor with character, you may have to be patient for the right piece to come along. Check your local vintage traders, charity shops, flea market, Gumtree and Ebay, often.
- Mix it up.
True design comes from mixing unexpected elements, colours, and textures. With vintage furniture, you run the risk of looking like you live in a time warp – same goes for vintage clothing. Don’t be afraid to mix decades, vintage and modern, and shapes. A very ornate antique cabinet can look amazing when given pride of place against a fresh white wall, next to a fairly inexpensive standard lamp from Ikea.
- Don’t be afraid to re-purpose.
The goal of decorating with vintage is two fold – owning quality constructed pieces and creating a unique, eclectic look. If you happen to find a fabulous dressing table, but have no room or need for one, try re-purposing it without the mirror as a storage sideboard or desk in the living room. A double door antique wardrobe could turn into a fabulous kitchen pantry with new shelves top to bottom, and painted in a vibrant blue.
How do you style with vintage? Do you find it easy or do you have difficulty creating a ‘together’ look?
You want to throw all the toys out of the window you say? Momma, I hear you. I remember the days, before having kids, when my husband and I would look at each other in horror after visiting a bomb site at a friend’s house. “I can’t believe the state of their house. Honestly, the amount of plastic toys…surely they could tidy up, right? If we ever have a family, I will never have so much junk.” *laughs hysterically*
Yeah. I have a three-year old and a five-year old now. Boys. They have a a lot of stuff: toys, clothes, sticks. Pants and socks everywhere. And I ain’t got a lot of time. Or energy. You get the picture. Things get messy sometimes. Oh sure, I do try. I buy nice storage boxes (which subsequently get turned into mini bath tubs for toy cars – or used as helmets in superhero dress-up games) and then it stays tidy for a while. A day maybe. One day, when I am old and the boys have flown the nest, my house shall be clutter-free. Until then, I shall give them a warm, loving home while I browse Pinterest and Instagram and dream of stylish, tidy rooms.
Here are some examples of kids rooms that just look great and probably are more stylish than your own bedroom. (I also bet no kid was allowed in them before the photo shoot was over and done with. I would love to see what they look like on a daily basis – ha!). Do you have kids rooms at home that you’d love to show off? How do you handle the clutter? Do let me know!
If you have ever visited markets abroad, especially with a strong folklore tradition, you know you’re likely to find some gorgeous woven or embroidered textiles. Rugs, blankets, stacks of fabric. I have come back with suitcases full, from the souks in Marrakesh and the markets in Ecuador. You can often get carried away, blinded by the bold colours and beautiful patterns. Once home, you end up wondering what to do with all that fabric. Mine ended up neatly folded away in the wardrobe for years waiting patiently to be put to use. Sounds familiar?
I thought I’d gather some ideas today for things to do with textiles from exotic markets, so they will hopefully take pride of place in your home from now on. Because they are ideal to give any room the Wow factor and a good splash of personality. And more importantly, they will take you back to the wonderful places where you found them… Show them off!
1. Frame them
This is a great idea for any smaller bit of fabric (or even wallpaper!) you love and want to show off. Hang them in a group and create a gallery of your favourite textiles.
2. Throw them on your bed
Layer, layer, layer. Those large rugs and blankets look fabulous spread over your bed, and keep your warm too. Don’t be afraid to use different patterns and colours. Combine them to create a lovely bohemian feel.
3. Make cushions. And then make some more.
A pretty obvious one, but cushions are a great way of using your souvenir – or any found or vintage – textiles. Also great to use outdoors on the patio or veranda in summer to bring back that holiday feeling.
4. Hang ’em up
Larger pieces of fabric or rugs can be put up as wall hangings behind your bed, above the sofa or in hallways. They make a great statement. Add a rod to the top to prevent sagging.
Last but not least, there are some amazing examples of oriental kilims and other folklore fabrics used as upholstery on chairs and ottomans. It seems a shame to cut up your nice fabrics, but at least this way they will get used and admired for many years.
Like what you see? All image sources and more ideas can be found in my Textiles Pinterest board.
When choosing a kitchen, most people nowadays will play safe and buy a white one. Bright white, off white or cream. Either sleek and contemporary or a shaker style to create a more traditional look. A super expensive one or a cheaper version from Ikea. This is then usually combined with some neutral, grey or cream tiles, a slate floor and some rustic natural wood shelving and furniture. Nothing wrong with that, it’ll look fab for years to come. But how about stepping away from the white and throwing in some colour? A wall in a bright colour, a bright yellow vintage cabinet, colourful mosaic tiles or a mixed bag of old painted chairs. Colourful accessories like pendant lights, large framed posters and things like kettles and toasters in bold colours are great too for contrast. Be brave! You don’t want your kitchen to look like everyone else’s, do you?
A feature wall with colourful, patterned wallpaper can make a bold statement in a dining room or kitchen. Imagine the room with just a white wall…not quite the same, right?
Bold contemporary, graphic artwork can also add some real style to your kitchen-diner. It combines well with white furniture and a white washed floor.
Not strictly a white kitchen, but too gorgeous not to share. Fabulous choice of colour.
Adding sliding (barn) doors to a kitchen can also add a difference to a room. How about adding one to an alcove you use as a store cupboard/pantry? Turn it into a blackboard for a real eye catching element.
Want to see more eclectic and colourful kitchens? All images and more can be found on my Pinterest board.
Oh, I can drool over pictures of bathrooms on Pinterest, as I’m sure many of you do as well. We had our own bathroom redone two years ago and we went for something quite simple and timeless ourselves. Still, I can’t help going Oh! and Ah! when flicking though images of bathrooms with a lot more wow factor, eclectic touches and uniqueness to them. I love Moroccan tiles, colourful mosaics, the look of a sleek modern bathroom in combination with more rustic looking copper pipework and wooden accessories such as ladders and stools. It’s the combination of different textures and materials that really makes a bathroom stand out. Are you ready for some inspiration? ‘Course you are.
Want to see more eclectic bathrooms? Have a look on my Pinterest board.
I recently had the great opportunity to work with some lovely clients in Aberdeen, who asked me for help with the redesign of their living room in a ground floor Victorian apartment in the city centre. A beautiful living room is must be said; with the characteristic high ceilings, giant window, wooden floor boards and a fire place. The couple wasn’t keen on the current white walls in the living room and also generally struggled a bit creating a look that felt ‘together’. They clearly liked darker colour schemes, with a deep blue dining room already beautifully decorated, featuring some nice vintage mahogany furniture. The living room was next.
- Art deco style accessories / furniture
- Darker, moody colours for the walls
- Woodwork (window and skirtings to be painted)
- Mahogany or similar warmer tone natural wooden furniture
- A new wooden floor
- Metallic silver/grey wallpaper on chimney breast to stay
- Black/gold lampshades to be used that were bought already
For their living room I came up with a scheme that tied in nicely with the moody blue dining room next door, but was still providing a contrast. Green. The walls were to be green! With their love for art deco, gold accents and deep, dark colours, we started to gather ideas on this Pinterest board to get a better feel for where the design was going.
I then came up with this mood board:
As the couple wanted their walls to be green (did I say green?), rather than blue-green, I chose to step away from the original art deco colour scheme a little and suggest Farrow and Ball ‘Green Smoke‘. This timeless colour goes very well with metallics so would make a good match with the art deco accessories and any vintage furniture that would be bought. For the woodwork I suggested an off black, which may proof to dark, but certainly adds to the drama in the room!
I love chesterfield sofas, both vintage tan leather ones and modern versions that nowadays can be found in many stores, covered in any fabric. I felt a graphite grey or dusty blue linen would go well with the scheme, especially on top of a lighter coloured rug, to ‘lift’ the dark scheme a little. Some gold yellow accent cushions and foot stool also add a bit of interest. The black with gold lamp shades were already bought by the client and waiting to be used, so I incorporated them in the scheme, combining them with vintage mahogany standard lamps. The chandelier I selected may not be the one they eventually go for, but something along those lines would look stunning in my opinion!
The existing living room currently has no book shelves around the chimney breast, so I felt including built in bookcases with cupboards at the bottom would be a great use of space and adding a sophisticated bit of storage, for any dvds and other bits and bobs you may not like to have on display. A very large painting above the chesterfield would add an amazing final touch. Très chic, this room!
As a give-away price on Facebook last year I offered to create a free design for someone’s room of choice and I was delighted to be asked to come up with ideas for a living room in a wonderful old house Laurencekirk. High ceilings, lots of character – and a very inspiring interior already. The owners, artists and musicians, had already decorated their home in a fabulously creative way, colourful and full of vintage finds, including a vintage radio collection and a 1960s record player. I found it quite a challenge to add to this! Probably the most eclectic room I have done so far, I decided to mainly focus on storage and making the room look a bit more ‘together’, using the pieces that were already there. I also wanted to change the wall colour to give the room a bit more wow factor without losing the wonderful bohemian vibe that was present in the house.
- Colours: duck egg/teal and red (‘vintage rockabilly’)
- Shelving in the alcoves around existing fireplace.
- New sofa, table and possible accessories.
- Storage for kids toys and books.
- Piano, rug and fireplace artwork are staying.
Have a look at the Pinterest board and what I came up with: Pinterest board
The budget was very low, more like next to nothing, so I had put my upcycling and second-hand buying hat on and do my best to come up with cost-effective solutions. As their old Ikea sofa was really on its way out, I managed to source a gorgeous vintage leather chesterfield sofa in the process for an absolute bargain, which is now taking pride of place in the room. The shelving in the alcoves are going to be scaffold planks. The walls in the design are painted a duck-egg/teal blue and on the wall at the far end I imagined a nice red floral wallpaper, as a contrast with some heavy blue velvet curtains. A wooden crate on wheels holds toys, with a soft sheepskin rug to play on and a couple of knitted pouffes as additional seating, that can be moved around the room. A slim drawer unit fits in between the piano and the sofa for additional storage and to put a plant or table lamp on. The artwork above the sofa could include a changing exhibition of kids drawings, framed vintage fabrics, photographs or prints.
Choosing a rug can be quite tricky. There are so many nice ones in a million different colours and styles. Plus, when they are large they have a big influence on the style and feel of your room, so it is important to think about the look you ultimately want to achieve. I am currently very much in love with the vintage oriental, or Persian, ones and I was lucky enough to find a giant red one for little pennies on Gumtree last year, including the worn patches for added ‘character’! I have gathered some great images for you below of fabulous oriental rugs and how to use them in your interior. Enjoy!
A beautiful rich oriental rug is looking great in a bright bedroom. Wonderful blue ombre curtains too.
The nice thing about traditional rugs is that they go quite well in a contemporary setting, combined with other vintage pieces but also in front of a modern sofa on your living room floor. Very versatile and timeless, making it a good investment.
Don’t forget your hallway! A colourful runner can make a great statement. This should also be not too expensive as they are a lot smaller. A good place to find vintage rugs is your local auction house. Just browse their online catalogue and see what is coming up.
A way to add a pop of colour to a bright room with lots of whites is to add a vintage red rug. Goes very well with the Eames chairs too.
A vintage rug and a velvet sofa. You don’t need much more to create a beautiful, cosy room.
I also love faded blues and indigo patterns right now. If you are not really into the traditional reds, try and find an ‘overdyed’ rug in a blue or green shade. Great if you combine it with natural wood, greys and whites for a calmer look.
Kilim rugs are another traditional type of wool rug from the middle east, usually with geometrical patterns or stripes, but instead of the Persian rugs shown above kilims are flat woven. They come in fabulous colours and can really give your room a stylish boost if your looking to brighten up the space. A lot of high street shops now sell kilims in both traditional patterns and contemporary styles, including John Lewis, West elm and Ikea.
You can also try sourcing gorgeous vintage kilims on Etsy or other online stores such as kilim.com
On my travels through the Netherlands this month I popped into my friend Frederiek’s house in the tiny village of Huizinge, north Groningen, who lives there with her partner Wimer and their three-year old son Teun. Huizinge is a beautiful characterful village surrounded by endless flat green fields and far horizons. Frederiek and Wimer recently bought one of the old houses and brought it right up to date with a gorgeous interior full of vintage finds, contemporary art, minimalist touches and plenty of house plants.
Although the house inside doesn’t look anything like it originally was, Frederiek and Wimer didn’t have to do a lot of structural work to the building themselves when they bought it. “We bought the house casco (Dutch for a ‘shell’ building ed.), so it was mainly the inside that still needed to be finished. That way we were able to make the interior just the way we wanted which was great because we were looking for a blank canvas to work with”, Frederiek says. As a result the house is now much more suitable for modern living. The small rooms in the front of the house were originally living room and storage but are now the two bedrooms and the old animal barn got converted into a spacious and very bright kitchen-dining room.
The couple, who both work in the creative sector, have a keen eye for finding design on a shoestring budget and were lucky enough to salvage the large globe lights from a building in Groningen that was about to be demolished. Other vintage finds are the mid century dining chairs, sofa and armchair and the beautiful old tall glazed cabinet that came out of a cafe. Teun’s nursery is an eclectic collection of heirloom furniture from Frederiek’s family.
Despite the huge transformation there are still many original features which give the house a lot of character, such as the old barn windows, wooden doors and beams, now all painted in a fresh duck egg blue and warm greys. The seamless minimalist grey Egaline floor was poured throughout the house and forms a nice contrast. This type of floor is normally only used as under flooring but when mixed slightly different and coated it works well as a finished product too. Oh, and it is highly practical – what else would you expect from the Dutch?
A glass fronted extension looking out onto the garden and adjoining fields forms their bright ‘sitting room with a view’ including a wood burning stove, wall to wall book shelves and plenty of space for little Teun to play.
Their drive to make the house their own doesn’t stop here though. Having only moved in last December the energetic couple is already working on their next design project: the garden studio / guestroom. No doubt this will look just as stunning as the rest. I can’t wait to see it!