6 Simple and Minimal Ways to Style Your Home

Minimalist living. Have you tried it? I have seen lot of bloggers and social media influencers pop up lately who talk about minimalist living. We all own too much, don’t we? It is suffocating. And where on earth do you leave all the stuff? I would love a house with less clutter myself. One day. Today on the blog have blogger and stylist Lisa Ramirez of  Casa de Rami (www.casaderami.com) sharing some ideas with us. She’s done it. She’s cleared the clutter and feels so much better for it! How did she do it?

minimalist living. scandinavian white kitchen
Image: Pixelbay

 


Lisa Ramirez Casa de Rami
Lisa from Casa de Rami

Lisa: I went through a major transition of ridding my home of all the unnecessary, so my family could live a more minimal life. This new way of living helped me realize that I was in fact over cluttering my home. I owned too many items that no longer served a purpose or fit in with my own style. Much of it was sadly the result of overbuying when my husband and I purchased our first house a couple of years back. Back then we felt the need to have to fill every room to the brim. But after downsizing to a smaller space, I learned that it’s not about how much you have, but what you have, and how you style it to serve multiple purposes.

From overbuying to downsizing

Styling your home in a way that makes you never want to leave is the number one goal for most of us. Displaying items and decor that speak to our personality and make us happy instead of feeling overwhelmed. Having a space that welcomes and comforts us, and doesn’t make us want to turn around and walk right back out. Those are the goals. But where do you draw the line between over doing it and getting it just right? In a society that constantly screams “More, more, more!”, how do you keep the balance between minimal & straight up too much. Here are some of the things I did to create a more minimalist home.


1.Clear out the clutter

This can be a fun process! Letting go of physical items is freeing. The more you toss, the more you gain. Make a plan and get going! Go through cupboards, closets, the basement. If you’re a family of four, you probably don’t need twenty plus coffee mugs, right? Pick through them, get rid of the ones that are chipped or broken and keep the good ones. Same for dishes, bowls, silverware. If you haven’t used an item in over six months, do you really need it?

Minimalist living. White kitchen
Having a minimal amount of serving ware allows you to be able to display it nicely on an open shelf or glass cupboard. Image: instagram.com/mariloubiz/

 


Go through your drawers, donate clothes that no longer fit you, and toss the ones that are too broken or stained to fix. Same for shoes, and accessories you no longer use or care for. And if you share your home have others do the same. If your kids are too young to decide, do it for them, ESPECIALLY when it comes to their mountain of toys! The more you clear out, the less you have to maintain and clean up. After the clutter is gone, you’ll be left with a new found appreciation for what you DO have – all of which serves a purpose, and you’re more than happy to keep and display in your home.


2. A place + purpose for everything

Now that you’ve cleared out the clutter, you should be left with only that which you truly need, and those unique + special items you love. Display them and use them. Everything should have a spot it calls home. Whether you want to display them on a shelf or keep in a cabinet, choose a proper place for each every single item.

Minimalist living. Clear the clutter
Clear jars aren’t only stylish, but just as functional. Image: instagram.com/lorewilbert


3. Display what you love + what makes you happy 

This part should be easy seeing as how you should only be left with items + decor that you love & enjoy. Display it all proudly. Style it with other items that pair well and create a cohesive balance. You want it to not only look good, but to also create a vibe of simplicity & calm.

Minimalist bedroom hygge
From the sweet message above the nightstand, to the stylish hats on the wall. It’s all being displayed in a way that says “these are some of my favorite things”. Image: instagram.com/cynthia_harper_


4. Take your time sourcing new items

After your big clutter purge, you may realize that you’re left with almost zero to no decor items. That’s OK! That’s actually a really good thing. That means you never really cared for what was in your home, and now you can start building a collection of items that will create the character and space your style speaks to. But try not to buy it all at once. Sometimes when we try and do this either at one particular store or online, we get easily overwhelmed because of all the choices that are out there. Take. Your. Time. You don’t need to fill your space in record speed. It’s not a race, but a journey. Pick out pieces little by little. Think it over, and you’ll see that your efforts will create the space of your dreams!

Minimalist boho living. The bedroom
Everything seen here has taken well over a year to source and put together. Our bedroom is finally coming together because we took our time to decorate and style it based only on what we truly love and makes us happy. Image: @casaderami


5. Cohesiveness is key

Creating an environment that has balance & simplicity is the perfect way to harmonize a space. Pieces that blend well in terms of color, style, texture & pattern help unify a room and bring it to life.

Minimalist interior design tips
From the bright whites & neutral tones, to the pops of dark blended with wood & greenery. It all creates a wonderful cohesive vibe. Image: instagram.com/cynthia_harper_


6. It’s all in the details

Details are what tell the story of your home. A picture of your family, an inherited heirloom sitting on the mantel, a worn out dresser that’s been given a hardware upgrade – it all speaks and lives in your home. This goes back to displaying only that which you love and makes you happy. You want to be able to look around your home, and have guests look around too and think, there’s a beautiful story to be told here.

Make it cozy, make it warm, make it inviting, make it yours.

 

Minimalist interior style tips
At a glance, there’s a majestic sense of history in this room. From the old fashion piano, to the vintage candlesticks on the mantel. Your home should tell a story. Image: instagram.com/mariloubiz/

For more inspiration from Casa de Rami:

www.casaderami.com
www.instagram.com/casaderami
www.facebook.com/casaderamiinteriors
www.pinterest.com/casaderamiblog
www.twitter.com/casaderami

Fresh flowers: five different ways to display them in your home

Who doesn’t love a vase filled with fresh flowers on the table? Perhaps it is in my Dutch blood, coming from the land of tulips, but a colourful, fragrant bouquet is one of the little things in life that makes me truly happy. You could buy a bouquet from the shop and put it straight in a vase at home, but  try and be a bit more creative when arranging flowers and make your bouquet go further. Not a fan of colourful flowers? Choose greenery from the garden! Here are Five different ways to display fresh flowers in your home.


1. Use vintage finds for flower arranging

Who says flowers need to be in a glass vase? Think outside the box (or vase!) when arranging flowers and try an old tin bucket, milk jug, or anything else that looks pretty and can hold water without leaking. Perfect to add that eclectic, bohemian touch and  vintage flair to your interior.

flower display in a vintage tin bucket
Image: Pinterest
Pink blossom in a tin bucket French farmhouse
Image: Bloglovin
wild garden bouquet flowers in a vintage jug
Image: Pinterest

2. alternative flower arranging: Oversized branches in a glass vase

For some quick and easy statement pieces in your decor, try putting a large leafy branch in a large glass bottle or vase. Maybe you have some great shrubs or plants in your garden that need pruning anyway, or just buy one or two beautiful big branches from the flower shop. Usually branches like these last a good few weeks too, which is another great thing about them.

oversized branches in glass vase as focal decor piece
Image: Starfish Cottage
arranging flowers with oversized branches in a glass vase
Image: Pinterest

3. Hang ’em up high: arrange flowers in tiny bottles

Got a collection of little bottles? Any will do, go through your bathroom cabinet or use small lemonade bottles and start arranging flowers in an original way. Even small jars can be used, such as jam or mustard jars. You may want to do a little hunt down charity shops and flea markets to add to your display. Use metal wire or twine to wrap around the bottle necks and secure them to a hoop or a wooden branch suspended from the ceiling or window frame. Fill them with a bit of water and place small single flowers in them. How unusual, but pretty!

Arranging flowers in a Bohemian way with vintage hanging bottles
Image: That’s Chic
arranging flowers with a minimalst flower display in hanging bottles
Image: Kate Young Design

4. arranging flowers by Taking the bouquet apart

I often do this when some of the flowers in my bouquet are old and gone, I take those out and rearrange the ones that are still looking fresh. You can also cut them a bit shorter to make them fit in a different vase – or display them in a group of different size bottles, jugs and vases, together on a tray or table. Ideas for arranging flowers are endless.

arranging monochrome flowers in glass bottles
Image: Flowerona
arranging flowers in groups of vases and bottles
Image: Apartment Therapy
arranging flowers in vintage glass bottles
Image: Pinterest

 


5. arranging flowers the minimalist way: Monochrome bouquets for simplicity

Don’t like bold and vibrant colours with lots of different types of flowers? Keep it simple and go for monochrome. Pick a bunch of white roses or tulips, with a little bit of greenery if you want. A perfect, classic and sophisticated way of arranging flowers.

monochrome flower bouquets
Image: Flowerona
monochrome bouquet in mason jar
Image: My Winter garden

How to decorate with confidence. Eight interior design tips

When people ask me about my interior design style, I usually say ‘eclectic’. In any of my projects, or even during the time when I was buying and selling vintage, all I ever did was follow my intuition and try things out. I don’t follow a certain style, or even trend, I just pick what I love and usually immediately see if it works well together. You can’t help including things that are trendy sometimes because some pieces that are ‘in vogue’ are actually very beautiful and you know you will still love them even when the trend has passed.

bonus tip

Go with your instinct. If it speaks to you, especially when you have thought about it for a few days, get it.

Today I am sharing some tips to help you in your own interior design projects. Next time you are redecorating your living room, or in fact any room, try and follow these steps. They may help you see things differently and choose a colour scheme, furniture and accessories with confidence.

Eight free professional interior design tips


interior design tip #1: Start a Pinterest board

This is a no brainer really and I am sure most of you are doing this already. Create a dedicated board on Pinterest and gather images of rooms you like, furniture you like, colour schemes and images that inspire you and ‘fit’ within the look you are thinking of. While pinning your favourites, think about the function of the room too: are you going to spend time in it during the day or mainly in the evening? Which family members will be using it most? Does it need a play area, a library, a desk? Will it have a TV in it and where would it go?

Style board on Pinterest for interior design
When collecting images for a style board, think about the paint colours, accent colours, types of furniture, different textures and also images you like that may give inspiration for a style or colour scheme.

 


Once you have built a bit of a collection, stand back and look at it as a whole to see if you can see a cohesive style. Is there a certain colour that is dominant? This might become your wall colour or accent colour in textiles or upholstery. Are there certain patterns or textures you pinned in more than one image? Then this is another element you can use, when choosing perhaps wallpaper or accessories.

Delete any images that you feel are just too different from the rest, as this helps you narrowing it down. You can always save the image in another board, for future projects and ideas. As you do this (fun!) exercise over the space of a few weeks, you will slowly see a cohesive style board emerging, which can serve as a very helpful guide when choosing colours, furniture and accessories for your redecoration project.


interior design tip #2: Look at the features of the room

When it comes to styling living rooms, I always start by looking at the features of the space. I try and picture it without anything in it. What is the light like? Are there any focal points like fire places or alcoves? Are the ceilings high or is it a cosy room with small windows? It is a good idea to measure up the space and draw it out to scale on a sheet of paper with written dimensions of walls, windows and doors. This helps you choose the right size furniture later on.

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Drawing your room to scale on a piece of paper is a useful  exercise to help you plan. Write the dimensions along the walls and bring it along with you on your shopping trips, so you know when a sofa or sideboard actually fits in the space you have in mind for them. Cutting out little miniature piece of furniture (to scale) can help you picture the room, while moving them around on the plan to see what they look like in different places.


interior design tip #3: What to do with the flooring

Next you look another very important permanent element: the flooring. What is the flooring like? Is it staying? Depending on the ideas on your Pinterest board (and budget) you may choose to replace old carpet with wood flooring, paint your old floor boards or leave it as it is and work with rugs later on. Carpets can add a lot of warmth to a room, especially in old houses or if the floor boards on their own are just too draughty.

Natural floor boards and a grey interior with fire place
If you have nice old floor boards, show them off! Sand them, stain them or paint them white. A rug will add warmth.


interior design tip #4: Walls and woodwork: wallpaper or paint?

Next up are the walls and woodwork around the room including windows, skirtings and doors. If you are going for the ‘Scandinavian’ bright look, keep it simple and choose different shades of white as a calm background for your more colourful furniture. If you are thinking of a more traditional or ‘cottage/farmhouse’ style, you may want to look at darker, moodier colours such as deep blue, sage green or dark grey for the walls, creating a cosy sitting room for the evening. It may feel scary to go dark, but you’ll probably be surprised with how good it looks.

Moody paint colours and blue walls with artwork and grey sofa
A deep blue colour for the walls will make a small room feel cosy and great for snuggling up in during the evenings. Add contrast by choosing a white for the woodwork and picture frames, combined with blue-white throw cushions as accessories.
Scandinavian living room with white walls, grey sofa and danish furniture
For a modern, Scandinavian look, choose light wall colours and neutral flooring as a basis to form the perfect backdrop to show off your nice furniture and more colourful accessories or artwork.

 


Whatever paint ideas you have collected on your Pinterest board, it is a good idea to get some tester pots first as you may change your mind when seeing colours in the actual light of your room. Woodwork can also look beautiful just stripped and waxed if you live in a period house, or go for a contrasting colour to make a modern statement. If you go for wallpaper, most people choose to use a bold pattern on just one wall as a feature, rather than plastering it on all four.

Blue patterned wallpaper with bronze accessories and white floorboards
Wallpaper on all four walls can become a bit overpowering, but use it on just one or two and it makes a beautiful statement. This blue patterned wallpaper makes a lovely contrast with the white window frame and the circular pattern is similar to the cushions on the sofa. See also how the bronze accent colour is repeated in the accessories.


interior design tip #5: Lighting

Lighting is super important in interior design and needs proper attention. On your drawn outline of the room mark where you think you will need light. Where are you going to sit and read? What aspects need a spotlight (pictures, a bookcase)? Is a central ceiling pendant light necessary or can you just go for standard lamps, wall fitted lamps and table lamps to light the room in the evening? Perhaps consider putting in a dimmer for a ceiling light to change the mood of the room.

When choosing lighting, don’t buy lamps that are all very busy or different in style and pattern, but perhaps go for a standard and a table lamp with matching shades combined with some stylish wall mounted lamps. Or have one heavily patterned shade combined with more minimalist lighting. Also look at what type of bulb you are using in each lamp: white light creates a cool, contemporary atmosphere while yellow light gives off a warmer glow.

blue grey room with industrial lighting and wood burning stove
Lighting doesn’t all have to match or be of the same ‘series’. In this room the lights do all have the same warm yellow light (bulb) and are fairly plain in design. Instead of the simple white shade on the standard lamp, a patterned shade in the blue and grey tones would also have made a good combination.


interior design tip #6: Furniture

You may want to start from scratch if the budget allows or you just want to make a clean break. The likelihood is that you probably have some things you want to keep, so it is a good idea to photograph them to include them on your Pinterest board to see them in the mix. Then it is important to make a shopping list, not the least because you likely want to know what it is all going to cost.

Invest wisely

Invest wisely and think long term. It may be better to spend a bit more on a quality sofa than splash out on that super stylish vintage drinks cabinet you have spotted but are unlikely to use on a daily basis – although, I know, sometimes you just gotta have something. Shop around and mix and match. Don’t be afraid to buy your brand new sofa at a high street store, then combine it with an upcycled vintage coffee table and compliment it all with a set of cheap plain bookcases from Ikea. Your house is not a show home, make sure it is you and that your style shines through.

Eclectic living room with burnt orange and vintage furniture
Don’t be afraid to mix styles. If it speaks to you, it is meaningful and will still be liked in the future. This room shows the unusual combination of a sleek midcentury sofa with a chesterfield, a vintage cabinet, a modern glass coffee table, traditional table lamps and a Persian rug. But it works! The orange of the sofa comes back in the velvet cushions on the chesterfield as well as the in the rug and the very large artworks. Eclectic but very stylish!

 


how much furniture?

How much furniture should you get? Less is more, you can always add something if you feel there is something missing. Just don’t cram a huge corner sofa into a small front room. Keep it airy, make sure there is still room to move. A 2-seater sofa and two matching midcentury modern armchairs on either side of a low table may be a good solution if you want to create a good ‘conversation space’ in a lounge. When it comes to upholstery, a safe bet is a quality lasting plain wool fabric or leather for the sofa. A grey herringbone is a timeless choice, and so is tan leather. Armchairs can add colour and contrast or even go for patterns to jazz it up.

grey sofa with two matching blue armchairs in a white living room
This calm living room combines a plain grey linen sofa with two matching midcentury armchairs. The blue upholstery creates interest and a bold contrast against the otherwise neutral interior. Imagine them being grey and you would have a much more boring effect. The warm wood tones also go very well with the dark fabric.


interior design tip #7: Soft furnishings

Curtains, blinds and rugs. What does the room need? Plain grey or off white full length linen curtains are always a lovely choice, and go with both modern and traditional styles. Combine it with painted wooden venetian blinds or a patterned linen roman blind for some sophisticated layering.

When it comes to a rug (if you have wood flooring), choose a bolder pattern if your furniture is muted and calm in colour and texture. If there is already a lot going on in your upholstery or colours and patterns on the wall perhaps, select a large natural wool rug in a light colour as a base.

layered window treatment
These large windows lend themselves well for some layered window treatment. This room shows a nice light patterned full length curtain combined with a mustard yellow roman blind. The fabrics are repeated in some throw cushions.


interior design tip #8: Accessories

Finally, accessories. Pictures, mirrors, cushions, vases, clocks, baskets, etc. Cushions are a good way to start. Combine contrasting colours, different patterns and textures. As long as they all fit in more or less with your image collection on the Pinterest board, they will add welcome interest.

>> General cushion pairing formula:

TEXTURE + LARGE SCALE PATTERN + SMALL SCALE PATTERN + LUMBAR

 

Cushion pairing example
Combine a plain coloured velvet texture with a large patterned monochrome cushion. Add a lumbar shaped one and perhaps a fourth cushion combining the orange and black and white, but in a smaller pattern.

 


When it comes to choosing artwork, don’t be afraid to get a big frame. A large painting or photograph can make a great statement in a room. They also look good over a sofa or sideboard. Alternatively a gallery wall can add a lot of interest and a great opportunity to show off family photos. Maybe even show off your collection of fabrics.

play around and learn what works

Play around with placing accessories like vases and other loose objects. Does it look good where you placed it? What composition have you created, is there a good balance? Use other things as well to create interest such as some of your favourite books, found objects like shells or a rock and don’t forget plants! Plants literally add live to a room (as long as you keep them alive of course).

mustard yellow velvet sofa with indoor plants
Buy some large indoor plants to add life and atmosphere to your living room. Imagine this room without the plants, it would look pretty plain.


Good luck!

I hope this list is helpful in guiding you, whatever room you may tackle. What do you find most difficult in your redecorating projects?

How to decorate a rental (without losing your deposit)

Anyone who has ever tried to decorate a rental apartment or house knows it is quite a challenge to make it completely to your taste. Not too bad if you’re only going to live there briefly, but if you are planning to stay longer term, then what do you do? Today I am sharing some great ideas on how to decorate a rental without making your landlord go mad.

HOW TO DECORATE YOUR RENTALWITHOUT LOSING YOUR DEPOSIT


from magnolia to magnificent

Rules about decorating rentals vary per country, as in the Netherlands, where most rentals are unfurnished, it is usually OK to paint walls. You are usually allowed to change other things around the house, as long as it’s put back to what it was before. If it is improving the place somehow you may be able to negotiate a discount on a month’s rent. Laying new flooring for example.

In Britain I have seen that many rentals are furnished and have magnolia (ugh) walls and often are a bit trickier to make you feel at home. In Spain, where we recently moved to, we were lucky to find a house that was unfurnished, which again is not always the case – many rentals are full of other people’s stuff. Unfurnished meant that at least all our own furniture could move in too. But how much can you change in terms of wall colours….hanging pictures, the look of the kitchen and bathroom?

Here are a few tips and ideas on how to jazz up that rental without losing your deposit!


Removable wallpaper to decorate your rental

I have not tried this, but I have heard these wallpapers are as easy to put up as they are to take back down again. Doesn’t this wall look amazing? The shop Betapet on Etsy sells a fantastic collection of self adhesive wallpapers in a wide range of patterns and prints, from subtle geometrics to bold florals.

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Tile decals to decorate your rental

Nothing worse than ugly dated tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, to clash with any nice modern kitchenware or towels you may own. There are many companies nowadays selling tile stickers, self adhesive and easy to stick on and take back off. HomeArtStickers on Etsy has hundreds of different stickers for both floor and wall tiles, so take your pick.

floortiles.jpg

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Curtains…and using fabric as wall covering

Don’t like the curtains in your rental? Fold them up nicely and store them away. Replace them with your own. Job done. But have you ever thought about using fabric as wall covering? Yes! Attaching fabric to the wall can be done in a variety of renter-friendly ways: staple gun, upholstery tacks, upholstery strips, liquid starch and some drawing pins to name a few. When it is time to move out, simply remove the fabric and take it with you. Check out this blog by Sincerely, Sara D, where you can find a handy tutorial on how to DIY a fabric wall.

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decorate your rental with Washi tape

I have seen this done on Pinterest and I love how versatile this stuff is. You can decorate virtually anything with washi tape and it doesn’t leave any damage. Create a confetti wall, a chevron pattern, words, lines, mountain shapes, the options are endless. Decorate walls, but don’t forget the doors, the edges of shelves, the back of cupboards or create ‘picture frames’ with the tape. In kids rooms you can really go to town with this stuff. How about a house? Or a road? Or a bear? With the geometric trend still going strong, your rental flat will look very modern in a flash. To find washi tape try your favourite stationary shop for some or order them in sets from Etsy.

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kidsroomwashi.png

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Change the light shades in your rental

You probably thought of this one yourself, but if not, go and change out your light shades. We arrived in an unfurnished house in Spain, which meant bare wires hanging from the ceiling, so we have to do even more than just changing out a shade (!), but mostly you’ll find dusty old shades or other light fittings that are easily replaceable while you are living there. A nice shade can really set the mood for a room, so pick wisely to make an impact. Try Artisanti for some elegant, quality lighting.


decorate your rental: Cover the floor

Cream carpet? Ugly tiles? Invest in a nice big rug to cover that up. Check Kukoon for some regular offers and free delivery in the UK.

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Self adhesive picture hooks

You may find a few conveniently placed screws in the walls of your rental already, in which case, just hang up your framed artwork straight away. If not, and the landlord doesn’t want you to add any more holes to the walls, try heavy duty self adhesive hooks. There are plenty available from Amazon.

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Happy rental decorating!

 

 

Prepare your house for selling: 7 tips to style your home

We have just put our house on the market and that meant we had to make it look great for potential buyers. To prepare your house for selling means a lot of decluttering. I cleared out little by little for months, which is quite a nice thing to do believe it or not. The letting go of stuff, the minimising, the emptying out, it is all rather therapeutic.

Our house, which we redecorated top to bottom, remodeled and upgraded over the past ten years, is up for sale. I thought I’d share some tips to help you prepare your house for selling if you happen to be in the same position. We ended up taking all furniture with us to our next home already, so the house is currently empty. At least the photos for the advertisement were done before, to give viewers a good idea of what the house can look like when furnished. Here’s what we did.


How do you prepare your house for selling?

1. Pretend to be a viewer

To get a better idea of what work needs to be done to prepare your house for selling, have a walk through. Pretend to be a potential buyer. Come in through the front door. What do you see? Is there anything that catches your eye? What do you like and what annoys you? Take a note pad and scribble your comments while wandering from room to room. Once you’re done, make the changes. A good idea is to ask a friend or neighbour to come in with a fresh pair of eyes and give some honest feedback – sometimes you don’t see things yourself when you’ve been so busy doing all the work.

Prepare your house for selling. Styling tips for your home
All shoes, bags, jackets neatly stored away in the hallway, nothing on the stairs. Mail and paperwork sorted out and cleared from the landing spaces.

2. Put the toys away

When you prepare your house for selling, you’d better clear all Lego away. Put those action figures in the cupboard and drag toy cars from under the sofa. You may have a busy family and all the junk that comes with it but no one needs to see that. It’s tricky to keep the house tidy all the time when you still live in it, but try to clear stuff away at least for the photos. Have a few nice big storage baskets handy for when viewings are booked and you quickly need to clear the decks.

Prepare your house for selling. Styling tips for your home
Books and toys stored on the shelves, in baskets or put away in drawers for the time being. Bed made up neatly with a neutral cream woolen blanket on top, with added throw cushions. I also added three new pictures above the bed, replacing the more personal ones.

3. Clear away your own clutter

How many vases do you need in your window? How many picture frames or knick knacks? If you want to keep them, put them in a box under the bed or in the cupboard for now. Spaces look better with clean lines and clear surfaces. It doesn’t need to look like a house that’s not loved or lived in, but viewers may see themselves living in your house better when the shelves are not full of personal items and family photos. You’ve got to pack them anyway at some point anyway, right?

Prepare your housee for selling. Styling tips for your home
The kitchen never looked so tidy! All clutter put away, with just a few items remaining on the worktop. Jars tidied, some fresh fruit in the bowl. And don’t forget to polish that cooker hood!

4. Store excess furniture

You may have needed that extra armchair, comfy foot stool or side table in the lounge because it worked for you and your family, but the room will look bigger and tidier if you only leave the necessary pieces in. A sofa, an armchair or maybe two if space allows, a coffee table, perhaps a sideboard or lamp table, that should be sufficient. Store extra furniture in the garage or shed for the time being.

Prepare your house for selling. Styling tips for your home
I took out some excess furniture such as a chair which I used to put my clothes on at night. It makes the room look a lot neater and more spacious. Books tidied, lamps straightened, curtains open. A nice throw can make a real difference to the bed.

5. Buy some new throw cushions or blankets

You may already have lovely pretty soft furnishings all over the house, but perhaps the cushions on the sofa have seen better days and the blanket on the bed is your dog’s favourite. Buying a few fresh new cushions and blankets for your living room or bedrooms will freshen up the look and will add colour and interest to the spaces. They don’t need to be expensive, try your local supermarket, Ikea or other affordable high street stores for some quick updates.

Prepare your house for selling. Styling tips for your home

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6. place Fresh flowers and house plants

A house looks cared for when there are fresh flowers on the kitchen table and leafy plants around the house. A bit of greenery can do miracles for a room.

7. Tidy up the garden – or dig out some summer pictures

Our garden is large and it was winter when the photographer came around. Not great for pictures. Dead plants, snowy patches, no leafy trees. We still tidied up the garden furniture and potted plants and cleared away any stray toys from the lawn. We also found some photos of the garden in summertime. This helps viewers get a better idea of what the garden looks like in its full glory when the sun is out.

Prepare your house for selling. Styling tips
If you are selling in the winter months, a photo of your garden taken on a nice day last year may help give the buyer a better idea of what the garden looks like in summer.

Bonus tip: use baby wipes to get marks off walls!

Before you get the pain brush out to redecorate the walls when all of a sudden you spot all those marks and hand prints, sometimes all it needs is a baby wipe and some elbow grease to get rid of them or at least make them less visible. If all else fails, by all means go over it with the emulsion, but I tell you, just give it a try 😉

Have you tried any particular thing to sell your house?

For anyone interested in finding out more about our house, please visit www.aspc.co.uk for more pictures, the full details and to book viewings.


 

Transform a farmhouse kitchen with skylights

Last year I had the pleasure work with a family in Aberdeenshire who were looking to update the kitchen in their 18th century farmhouse. I made the suggestion to transform their farmhouse kitchen with skylights.

The house was lovely and old located in beautiful countryside, but when I arrived, I immediately felt claustrophobic. The kitchen was a very dark space, with low ceilings and small windows, which was probably OK for slightly shorter owners a few centuries ago, but not for 21st century people of 5ft 8″. So before taking out my notebook and discuss any colour schemes and styles, the first question I asked my client was:”What’s in the roof space? Can we break through and add some skylights?” I could literally see their eyes light up.


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Opening up the roof with skylights can make a difference of day and night – literally. Imagine the lack of light in this example, if it wasn’t for the large windows in the ceiling. Image: Hege in France

the kitchen as the heart of the home

Now, while they went off to find a builder and get some quotes, I put my design hat on and came up with some ideas. They wanted a livable, modern space that would function as the centre of the house – for meals, homework and reading the paper. They wanted light, neutral and timeless colours, nothing too ‘trendy’, but also not something “boring and too grey or beige”; a room that would be unique and enjoyable for years to come.  Oh, and it needed a big, chunky farmhouse table!

Mood board for farmhouse kitchen makeover

Mood board in mustard and grey to transform a farmhouse kitchen with skylights


Grey and mustard colour scheme for a scandinavian look

I chose grey as basic colour, but added mustard yellow as accent colour in the style board (who doesn’t love that combo?), and rustic natural wood to go with the farmhouse theme. They already had original slate flagstone tiles on the floor which is a great original feature and will make a great contrast with the contemporary white kitchen they were going to order.

transform a farmhouse kitchen with skylights


The craquele glaze pastel/grey tiles are ones we selected for our own kitchen a few years back and are just a great choice if you like the metro tile look, but are looking for a softer, less industrial style.

I would add some Scandi’ style pieces such as a clock, pendant ‘barn’ lights, a patterned blind and contemporary dining chairs to bring the farmhouse look up to date. The large rustic table and some vintage pieces add uniqueness to the room. The skylights would likely be on one side of the kitchen (near the windows and patio door), to leave space for storage in the attic.

transform a farmhouse kitchen with skylights

transform a farmhouse kitchen with skylights

 


My clients were pleased with my suggestions and I can’t wait to catch up with them to see if the roof lights are in and how much difference it has made so far. What do you think?

Product review: Mad Men rug by Louis de Poortere

Today I am reviewing the Mad Men rug by Louis de Poortere. Louis de Poortere is a Belgian company that’s been around since 1929 and is still doing all their design and manufacturing in Belgium.

Now a rug is probably one of the most important elements in room design. It’s a pretty dominant feature, so you have to have a good idea of what you want for the room. Is the rest of the room busy with patterns and colours? Then opt for a calmer, plain rug. In a calm colour palette and little going on in terms of patterns on walls and furniture, you can go to town in choosing a rug with some more eye catching designs.

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Midcentury feel

This particular rug caught my eye, not the least because of being part of the Mad Men Collection, which in itself makes it a rather cool rug of course. If any of you has watched the Mad Men series on Netflix, you will have spotted the amazing midcentury furniture that featured in it.

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Scene from the series Mad Men, featuring the most amazing midcentury interiors.

Abstract design

The design of the Mad Men rug is edgy, abstract like a work of art and the colours are a soft, moody black with a sophisticated copper. Louis de Poortere says about this design on their website: “Here we find an indication of pain and disorder, of the rifts and big changes like Women’s Liberation, Vietnam, and May 68 but also of the creative energy of action painting in the late sixties.” Now, that is a lot to live up to if you are a rug! Great description though, showing the amount of thought that has gone into the design.

The Mad Men rug: distressed areas and a vintage look

Being a big midcentury modern fan, I love the design, which goes well with my interior and has “multiple layers of texture and distressed areas to give a true vintage look”. I normally prefer authentic vintage rather than something that is pretending to be old, but this rug is so beautifully made that I am persuaded. The natural material of the Mad Men rug is a mix of a velvet like cotton chenille and pure new wool, which gives it a super soft feel. The colour changes depending of the light. During the day it looks more like a cooler black, while at night it warms up and has hues of indigo blue.

Mad Men rug Louis de Poortere

Styling a room with the mad men rug

Before the rug arrived, my living room was still in ‘summer mode’, with bright patterned cushions and colourful accents all around the room. As soon as I saw the dark Mad Men rug I knew I’d have to change the colour scheme to something more seasonal. Based on the colours of the rug, I went for a more monochrome palette, with black and white cushions (and a copper/burnt orange velvet one) and a sheepskin rug on the sofa. The tan leather chair by Scottish designer Hugh Parsons picks up the copper in the rug and so does our trusted walnut coffee table. I hunted around the house for more muted artwork and I added my copper wire lantern that I still had in storage from last winter. Perfect to get back out for this season.

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Monochrome combined with copper accents

Other accessories that make a nice match with the rug are a 1957 black vintage US trailer plate, an original black screen print by Scottish designer and adult colouring book giant Joanna Basford and a green glass demijohn vase I picked up an in a charity shop once. House plants make any room look good.

The Mad Men rug has completely transformed my living room and I like it. Giving it sophistication, warmth and interest. We’re ready for winter.

monochrome combined with copper accents

Mad Men rug Louis de Poortere

Find your local stockist of Louis de Poortere on their website www.louisdepoortere.be/find-store

Guest room makeover

If you are lucky enough to have a ‘spare’ room you may, like me, once have had grand plans of it doing this beautiful boutique guest room makeover. You know, with soft hand towels neatly folded on the bed with a cute bit of hotel soap on top. Fresh flowers, some carefully selected books…slippers even. Yes? No, I didn’t get there either.

guest room ideas

Somehow over the months, years even, laundry ends up drying in the room, subsequently dumped on the bed in a pile waiting to be be ironed. A desk with a computer arrives. And the junk and boxes of stuff just increase. Stuff you have no idea where to put, but you don’t want to throw out yet, so – oh heck – you just chuck in the spare room to “sort out later”. And then one day, it looks a bit like this:

guest room ideas

And this:

guest room ideas
Not much happiness going on here.

Or even this:

guest room ideas
Spare room? Spare shelves.


The guest room makeover

Time for some hardcore tidying to get this guest room makeover on the road! There is only so much ‘let’s just shut the door and ignore it’ I can take. Besides that, my mum will be staying soon, so I’d better give her a bed. After my friend kindly offered to take my children to the indoor play-barn for the afternoon (she deserves a medal…indoor play-barns…the stuff of nightmares), I had time to wizz around the room and give it a quick makeover.

2.5 hours later it looked like this:

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Still no folded hand towels and miniature soap on the pillows (hey, it’s a sofa bed!), but it’s looking like a usable space again. Multifunctional and pleasant. Now let’s keep the junk out.

What do you think?

 

Creating stylish, eclectic kitchens with colour

Today I am showing you some ideals for colourful, eclectic kitchens. 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.

step away from the white: eclectic kitchens are here

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?

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Create a feature wall with bold wallpaper in kitchens

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?

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contemporary artwork in kitchens

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.

eclectic kitchens


sliding barn doors in kitchens

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.

eclectic kitchens

Another example of bold wallpaper and accent colours in a great space.

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Want to see more eclectic and colourful kitchens? All images and more can be found on my Pinterest board. 

Rockabilly on a budget: room makeover

rockabilly interior design

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, Scotland. They fancied some ‘rockabilly interior design’!

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. The room featured 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!

room makeover ideas


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 ideas came up with: Pinterest board

fifties colour scheme


low budget, grand plans

The budget was very low, more like next to nothing, so I had put my upcycling and second-hand buying hat on. I really pulled out all the stops 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. This is now taking pride of place in the room. The shelving in the alcoves are going to be scaffold planks.

Duck egg blue with red accents

To add to the rockabilly interior design style, I chose a duck-egg/teal blue for the walls. 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 beside it to play on. A couple of knitted pouffes function 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.

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