How to paint a dated traditional wooden kitchen

So I was tidying up the other day and stumbled across some photos of when my husband and I first moved into our house nine years ago. Our house is a detached 1930s granite house in an Aberdeenshire village. It has a kitchen extension built by the previous owners. The decor at the time was very dated throughout the house; terracotta walls, mahogany woodwork, pine staircase, green carpets and a traditional maple shaker kitchen. But the kitchen was solid wood, good quality, made locally and as moving house is expensive enough as it is we decided to try and live with it. We lived with it for six years! Today I will show you the before, the interim and the after.

So this how we found it. Oucha. Yellow walls and orange wood. But a good cooker!

Below: looking into the kitchen extension from the main house (the garden was also a little over grown, look at the windows! And what on earth are those light shades?). Excuse the poor quality picture – it is a picture taken of a print.

I thought about a colour scheme to somehow tone down the yellowness of the room and decided on steel blue-grey for the walls to combine better with the natural wood. We replaced the cheap sticky vinyl flooring with (also pretty affordable and very practical) dark slate look laminate, which is in fact still our flooring today. I painted over the 1990s yellow floral tiles with some grey tile paint and ordered some colourful tile stickers online. We also replaced the wooden door knobs with brushed steel ones and stuck a chalkboard sheet on the cupboard door. Oh yes, and that silly breakfast table went of course.

Here is the interim phase! Slightly better than it was.

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Below: the dining area. Looking pretty neat, I think, and much fresher in greys than yellow. (Those wishbone chairs? I sold those…I know, aren’t they nice?)

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We must have grown rather fond of our silly old kitchen, because six years later, when we decided to change things again, we amazingly still didn’t rip it out. We just hate waste and rather ‘upcycle’ something. The kitchen worked fine for us, so why not just update it a bit more? We also felt sorry for the kitchen – we are such a sad bunch! After all, it wasn’t her fault that she had gone out of fashion, was it?

So we took off the wall hung cabinets and another unit on the other side, painted the ones left, spent some money on a fancy big fridge, a freestanding dresser, oak shelving, new tiles and a slate worktop.

Of course, I would be lying if I said it all happened as by magic overnight. For a while I seriously doubted our decision. The dust, the disruption…trying to keep a baby out of the mess. You get the picture.

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In the end it must have taken us a good few weeks to paint the cabinets, organise tradesmen and redecorate. But the result was worth the effort. Hello contemporary country kitchen!

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So how do you paint an old wooden kitchen?

1. Prep & prime

You really don’t have to go and strip the cabinet doors before painting. Giving it a good sand to create a key – is key. Then wash off the dust with sugar soap and get the primer out. This doesn’t need to go on too neatly, but the bigger your brush strokes are, the harder to sand them smooth afterwards. Buy good quality soft brushes and do the brush strokes in the same direction. With the shaker style doors you will also have the beveled edges and corners to deal with. It worked well for me to first do the inside (lower) square in one direction (making sure to take away any surplus paint from the corners with the tip of my brush), and then the middle panel and outside frame. Once it is dry, use fine sandpaper to create a nice smooth base for your gloss (or eggshell). You may need more than one coat of primer, and remember to sand in between coats and wipe off the dust.

2. Top coat

For the final colour we chose Farrow and Ball Off White eggshell (water based), used on the cabinets on the right. A nice colour that looks neither white nor cream and sometimes even a bit grey depending on the light. For the ones on the left we decided to get that same colour mixed up as an oil based paint at a decorator’s trade centre (Crown). Why? Because it really makes a difference! Now, three years later the water based paint is starting to show some wear, whereas the oil based paint is still perfect. It maybe isn’t the most eco friendly paint to use but for a high traffic area like a kitchen you really don’t want flaking paint after a year or so. Oil based paint is good to work with, goes on smoothly, but takes longer to dry and can still feel a bit sticky for days while it is hardening. So don’t touch it! And don’t try and sand it when it is not hard yet. I must admit I did not sand in between the top coats, as the paint stuck fine and I was scared to ruin the previous finish. It worked ok.

For a more detailed how-to you can find plenty tutorials online including this one

3. Hardware and other upgrades

We reused most of the brushed steel knobs and handles we put on previously, which looked great on the newly painted cabinets.

Other alterations we made were moving the sink away from the window to create more work surface next to the cooker. Lethenty Cabinetmakers did an excellent job refitting the cabinets, placing a new worktop, tap and big cooker hood, steel splash back and the nice floating natural oak shelves.

Last but not least we had the wall above the work top covered in pastel coloured craqueled glaze metro style tiles and the room painted in a soft pale grey-white.

Do we still love it? Yes! The pretty slate work top proved a little bit sensitive to lemon stains and knocks…but hey, it is a work top after all so we just have to be careful. The kitchen overall feels lighter, brighter and more modern – but still very unique because of the choices we have made. We could have ripped it all out, but it feels so much better giving the kitchen a new lease of life. And we saved some money too. What we’ll do in the future? Oh, we are always full of ideas and no doubt there will be changes again in years to come. But the kitchen stays for now.

Below: a bit more of a ‘lived in’ and messy real-life picture after two years! (and oh, look, we also broke through to the lounge in the meantime! But that dusty episode I will leave for a future post…)

 

We’re at the Scottish Home Show!


As part of the rebranding and promotion of Nina’s Apartment’s  Interior Design services we are at the Scottish Home Show this month, at the AECC in Aberdeen. It is on from today until Sunday 25th of September 10am-5pm. Architects, designers, kitchens, bathrooms, retailers and builders all under one roof. Great!

Here are a few snap shots of the stand!

Oriental rug roundup. Over-dyed, kilims and faded vintage rugs.

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!

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image: www.smittenstudioonline.com

A beautiful rich oriental rug is looking great in a bright bedroom. Wonderful blue ombre curtains too.

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image: www.turbulences-deco.fr

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.

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image: my Domaine

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.

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image: joannagoddard.blogspot.com

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.

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Image: light and dwell

A vintage rug and a velvet sofa. You don’t need much more to create a beautiful, cosy room.

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image: domainehome.com

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.

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image: London House rugs

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

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Image: Red Magazine
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A modern style kilim by John Lewis

House tour: a small converted farmhouse in the Netherlands

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.

Frederiek (here pictured with my husband)

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!

Midcentury modern furniture in a Victorian house – styling tips

A lot of people believe that midcentury furniture doesn’t suit an our older style house. I don’t think this is true. I believe that the clean, simple design of midcentury furniture suits most properties, whatever the age of the house and no matter whether you live in the city or countryside. The highly decorative features of Victorian properties, like ceiling roses, high skirting boards and tall windows create an excellent backdrop and contrast to show off your sleek, timeless midcentury modern design.

MIDCENTURY MODERN FURNITURE IN A VICTORIAN HOUSE


What is midcentury modern furniture?

Midcentury modern furniture and the Scandinavian minimalist look has been on trend for quite a while now. For good reasons too! The clean, fresh designs of a teak Danish sideboard or the monochrome graphic 1960s patterns in lots of textiles and other home accessories are simply beautiful. What is Midcentury modern furniture?

Mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, graphic design, product design, architecture, and urban development from about 1945 to 1975. It started just before the Second World War but became particularly popular in the 1950s and 60s in the Nordic countries, but also in England and the US. Scandinavian architects were very influential at this time, their style known for clean simplicity and integration with nature. Designers like Arne Jacobsen and Charles and Ray Eames produced their most famous classics here, including the iconic Ant chair and the Eames chairs, of which are now millions in reproduction.

Browse vintage Midcentury armchairs on Etsy

midcentury modern furniture set in victorian cottage
Image: The Vintage Cabin

Light, connection with nature and large windows have always very important features in midcentury modern architecture. Victorian architecture is different in almost every sense, but the usually large windows are a feature that is similar. The light and connection with a garden for example can be utilised well. Use them to your advantage and make midcentury modern furniture work well in your historic home.

mid century modern furniture in victorian house
This beautiful Victorian apartment in Manchester features many midcentury modern pieces. They all look fabulous combined with the high ceilings and architectural features. A nice combination form the minimalist teak wall unit, the heritage colour green, herringbone floor and the oversized drapes. Very stylish. Image via Seeds and Stitches

Create contrast with midcentury modern furniture and victorian features

If you happen to live in an old house with lots of character, a minimalist, understated piece of furniture forms a nice contrast. It will compliment the features of the house rather than compete with it. Likewise, a Victorian property with high ceilings forms a perfect back drop to show off the clean lines of a mid century modern armchair or sideboard. Please don’t feel you have to compromise on style, just because you think a country cottage doesn’t go with a 1960s sofa. Think outside the box! Be brave and mix it up, you might surprise yourself.

Decor ideas

To match the minimalist look of the midcentury modern furniture, you may want to choose to keep the room decor quite simple. Choose floor length curtains to dress windows, but without patterns. Keep the walls plain, but instead use abstract art and framed prints to jazz things up. Keep the floorboards bare, rather than using carpet. Use vintage rugs instead.

Browse vintage rugs on Etsy


mid century armchair and bookcase in georgian house
 

This is a bright Georgian house in Islington, London. The old shutters, decorative ceiling and original fireplace create a nice contrast with the midcentury modern style furniture. The design of the armchair and bookcase are very 1950s. The blonde wood floor boards are typical in Scandinavian homes. The standard lamp in orange adds a lovely pop colour. Image via Design Milk

orange retro lamp above a mid century dining table in cottage
Image via Desire to Inspire
 

Browse unique midcentury modern furniture and design on Etsy

In this little dining room inside a Victorian or similar age cottage, the midcentury modern furniture looks great. The old floor boards, bright orange retro pendant light and bookcase all combine very well and  create a lovely space. The retro style is not overpowering, there is not much clutter and all is in balance. You can try this look in any country cottage.


 
Small danish teak mid century sideboard in swedish house
Image via Desire to Inspire

Do you live in a small cottage or apartment? If your living room just isn’t very big, try and find a smaller midcentury modern sideboard. Keep the room light and bright. You can also combine it with  some vintage finds and a statement armchair for an eclectic, Scandi look.

Browse vintage midcentury lamps on Etsy

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links that I receive a small commission for at no cost to you. I only ever recommend products that I love and would use myself also. You can read my full affiliate disclosure in my disclosure policy.

What inspired me this week: bohemian meets mid-century

I am currently working with a lovely family on the redesign of their living room in a new built home near Aberdeen. A wonderful project as they asked me to combine the mid-century modern and scandinavian style with a touch of bohemian. Right up my street, I love it! Needless to say I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest, finding plenty of inspiration. Here are some of the most beautiful images I gathered on my board this week. If anything, they show that mid-century modern or Scandinavian decor doesn’t have to mean minimalist at all.

If you want Nina’s Apartment to restyle your home, please find out more details here.

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Gorgeous colours, mixing exotic rugs with modern sofas

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Nice big hanging plant next to a mid century sideboard and pottery lamp base.

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Great vintage textiles and a natural wooden table. Lovely.

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I can’t get enough of oriental rugs! fabulous colour combination here with the blue sofa, white flooring and monochrome accents.

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Gorgeous Danish chair with a South American textile cushion and Moroccan pouffe.

Five easy ways to get the bohemian eclectic look for your home

Five ways to create a bohemian interior

Bohemian style is all about indulgence, decoration, oversized drapes, large house plants, and plentiful soft furnishings. Add the exotic furniture and souvenirs from travels far away and you get the picture. Romantic escapism, day dreaming, artistic flair and heaps of personality and soul. Few things are new, most are found, inherited or collected, lots reused and re-purposed.
I am probably too much of a mid century modern fan to go all floral and decorative in my own house, but I do have a weakness for the more exotic interiors and love taking ideas and inspiration from them. If you’re a monochrome kind of person, look away now, because here are my top five tips for getting the bohemian vibe going in your own home!

1. The Peacock chair

Decorative, feminine, exotic…the peacock chair is a true essential in a bohemian home. Surround it by lush plants in your sun room, drape your scarves on it next to your dressing table in the bedroom or create a cosy little corner with plenty of books, cushions and textiles.

peacock chair in bohemian interior
The Peacock chair, here combined with a shaggy rug, floor cushions, cactus plants, rattan accessories and a vintage swivel chair. Img: Moon to Moon

Vintage peacock chair
Could you recreate this private little jungle in your sun room? Image Sarah Kaye

2. Textiles

Do you love traveling to exotic places? Ever been to Marrakesh or Ecuador? I bet you came back with some pretty throws in your suitcase. Use them! Drape them over the sofa, hang them on the wall. Other essential textile items are rugs, shaggy or oriental ones, ideally slightly worn. Floor cushions are also great to add some bohemian style to your room. Click here for some pretty vintage rugs available in our shop right now.

Bohemian bedroom
A rug draped over the bed? Why not. And hang those guitars up in case you feel like serenading your loved one in the morning. Image Magic Dream Life

Layered rugs in bohemian home
Totally my style, mid century minimalist furniture combined with oriental kilim rugs. Love it. Image Sfgirlbybay

Bohemian textiles on a corner sofa with fig leave plant
Who needs matching cushions anyway? Great mix of textures and patterns going on here. Image The Jungalow

3. House plants

House plants are great to add a bit of bohemian style to your room, the larger the better! Hang them suspended from the ceiling in macrame hangers or just place them on the floor in a big ceramic planter or old tin or brass pot. Did you know plants clean the air in your house, making your living space extra healthy? Better than any artificial air purifier. Here’s some more useful info I shared on the blog earlier.

House plant in bohemian interior
Great combination of a large houseplant in an old brass pot, a vintage chest, natural wooden flooring, colourful art and layered textiles on the sofa. Image Pinterest


4. Vintage, antiques and curious collections

Love going to flea markets? Collecting weird and wonderful items? Show them off! Group your vintage finds to create little collections and displays, on a shelf on the wall, a table or in the window. We have some cool decorative vintage finds in stock too, so have a browse if you like. Lanterns are great to collect and display together, both inside and outside – because why stop indoors? Create a magical bohemian corner in your garden, on your balcony or decking. Oh and get that peacock chair out when it’s sunny!

moroccan lanterns on a veranda at the seaside
Oooh…this makes me long for summer. Gorgeous lanterns. Image Residence Style

 
ceramic collection in black vintage dresser
Ceramics and crockery! Mix and match, collect beautiful ‘orphan teacups’, bring back decorative bowls and dishes from your holidays abroad, find fabulous plates in the charity shop. They will look fab all together in your vintage kitchen dresser. Image via Life is in Everyhting Beautiful / Tumblr


bohemian interior glass bottles
Group fresh green leaves and a single pink rose in vintage bottles together against a dark painted wall. Image via Bloglovin

5. Art. Lots of it. And books. Lots of books.

I have a weakness for art, whether it is big oil paintings, graphic design, prints, black and white photography or sculpture. I LOVE art and when I see something that catches my eye and ‘speaks’ to me – I have to buy it. Well, if it is within budget that is… You’d be surprised though how often you may find something that would look great in your collection that isn’t expensive. A little bronze sculpture at a yard sale, a vintage oil painting in a charity shop or a cool film poster at an auction. You really don’t need to fork out thousands to buy original art by famous names to get a great collection going. Just do it. Try also going around exhibitions in your local area to discover artists in your own community whose work may be more affordable than you think. Or how about framing some of your children’s drawings to add to the mix? Or an illustrated page from an old book? To get the bohemian vibe going, group your framed art on a wall to create a colourful eye catching gallery. Lean them against a wall, overlapping even, or arrange them on a shelf if you like changing them around every now and then.

Bohemian art collection with mid century chair and books
Old paintings, framed prints, stacks of books, vintage furniture and oriental rugs. Oh…and that mid century chair…what a gorgeous mix. Image Lonny
Floral paintings gallery wall
These are the type of paintings you could easily come across at flea markets or charity shops. Group similar ones to create a colourful ‘themed’ wall. Image Happy Loves Rosie
Framed plants and curiosities
Not into paintings? Frame your plants and dried flowers! Collections are all about reflecting your own personality, so be creative and think outside the box. Image Our Southern Home

Inspired? Have fun giving your own interior the bohemian touch. And remember:

Bohemian quote

Five easy ways to create a Bohemian decor

Five easy ways to create a bohemian decor with vintage and house plants


Bohemian decor is all about indulgence, decoration, oversized drapes, large house plants, and plentiful soft furnishings. Add the exotic furniture and souvenirs from travels far away and you get the picture.

Romantic escapism, day dreaming, artistic flair and heaps of personality and soul. Few things are new, most are found, inherited or collected, lots reused and re-purposed. I am probably too much of a mid-century modern fan to go all floral and decorative in my own house, but I do have a weakness for the more exotic interiors and love taking ideas and inspiration from them.But did you know bohemian and mid-century styles go surprisingly well together? I wrote all about this in another blog post here.

If you’re a monochrome kind of person, look away now, because here are my top five tips for getting the bohemian vibe going in your own home!


Create a bohemian decor #1: The Peacock chair

Decorative, feminine, exotic…love it or hate it, the peacock chair is a true essential in a bohemian home. Surround it by lush plants in your sun room, drape your scarves on it next to your dressing table in the bedroom or create a cosy little corner with plenty of books, cushions and textiles. They also look amazing outdoors in summer on your terrace in the garden.

peacock chair in bohemian interior


The Peacock chair, here combined with a shaggy rug, floor cushions, cactus plants, rattan accessories and a vintage swivel chair. Img: Moon to Moon

Vintage peacock chair



Could you recreate this private little jungle in your sun room? Image Sarah Kaye


Create a bohemian decor #2: layer your textiles

Do you love traveling to exotic places? Ever been to Marrakesh or Ecuador? I bet you came back with some pretty throws in your suitcase. Use them! Drape them over the sofa, hang them on the wall. Other essential textile items are rugs, shaggy or oriental ones, ideally slightly worn. Check Etsy for some amazing Floor cushions, great for adding some bohemian style to your room.

boho living room ideas
Beautiful Morroccan floor cushion from Etsy
Boho bedroom ideas



A rug draped over the bed? Why not. And hang those guitars up in case you feel like serenading your loved one in the morning. Image Magic Dream Life

boho living room ideas
Totally my style, mid century minimalist furniture combined with oriental kilim rugs. Love it. Image Sfgirlbybay

boho living room ideas


Who needs matching cushions anyway? Great mix of textures and patterns going on here. Image The Jungalow

boho living room ideas

Create a bohemian decor #3: house plants

House plants are great to add a bit of bohemian style to your room, the larger the better! Hang them suspended from the ceiling in macrame hangers or just place them on the floor in a big ceramic planter or old tin or brass pot. Did you know plants clean the air in your house, making your living space extra healthy? Better than any artificial air purifier. Here’s some more useful info I shared on the blog earlier.


boho living room ideas


Great combination of a large houseplant in an old brass pot, a vintage chest, natural wooden flooring, colourful art and layered textiles on the sofa. Image Pinterest

boho living room ideas

Create a bohemian decor #4: add vintage finds

Love going to flea markets? Collecting weird and wonderful items? Show them off! Vintage finds are ideal items for creating that bohemian vibe in your interior. Group your vintage finds to create little collections and displays, on a shelf on the wall, a table or in the window. Lanterns are great to collect and display together, both inside and outside – because why stop indoors? Create a magical bohemian corner in your garden, on your balcony or decking. Oh and get that peacock chair out when it’s sunny!

boho living room ideas
boho living room ideas
boho living room ideas


Oooh…this makes me long for summer. Gorgeous lanterns. Image Residence Style

Ceramics and crockery! Mix and match, collect beautiful ‘orphan teacups’, bring back decorative bowls and dishes from your holidays abroad, find fabulous plates in the charity shop. They will look fab all together in your vintage kitchen dresser. Image via Life is in Everyhting Beautiful / Tumblr


Group fresh green leaves and a single pink rose in vintage bottles together against a dark painted wall. Image via Bloglovin


Get a bohemian decor #5. Art. Lots of it. And books. Lots of books.

I have a weakness for art, whether it is big oil paintings, graphic design, prints, black and white photography or sculpture. I LOVE art and when I see something that catches my eye and ‘speaks’ to me, and is within budget  – I have to buy it. You’d be surprised how often you may find original art that isn’t expensive. A little bronze sculpture at a yard sale, a vintage oil painting in a charity shop or a cool film poster at an auction. You really don’t need to fork out thousands to buy original art by famous names to get a great collection going. Just do it.

Try also going around exhibitions in your local area to discover artists in your own community whose work may be more affordable than you think. Or how about framing some of your children’s drawings to add to the mix? Or an illustrated page from an old book? To get the bohemian vibe going, group your framed art on a wall to create a colourful eye catching gallery. Lean them against a wall, overlapping even, or arrange them on a shelf if you like changing them around every now and then.

boho living room ideas


Old paintings, framed prints, stacks of books, vintage furniture and oriental rugs. Oh…and that mid century chair…what a gorgeous mix. Image Lonny


boho living room ideas



These are the type of paintings you could easily come across at flea markets or charity shops. Group similar ones to create a colourful ‘themed’ wall. Image Happy Loves Rosie

boho living room ideas



Not into paintings? Frame your plants and dried flowers! Collections are all about reflecting your own personality, so be creative and think outside the box. Image Our Southern Home



boho living room ideas

Inspired? Have fun giving your own interior the bohemian touch. And remember:

House tour: a mini tour around Nina’s own home

I love interior design, I love styling, my house is never finished. My style? I mix it up. A lot of customers ask if my house looks like my shop, full of vintage. Well, not quite! Of course we own some lovely mid-century furniture and quirky stuff, but I also have two little boys who like to run around with superhero swords and get their sticky fingers everywhere, so nothing can be too valuable and precious really. So I would call my style colourful, practical and vintage-meets-now. After all, I strongly believe that vintage furniture and decor should be functional rather than just to look at and not touch.

Built in bookcase, open plan living, wooden flooring, pappelina rug

We turned a 1960s dressing table into a small sideboard by taking off the mirror. A bunch of Ikea Billy bookcases got the ‘built in’ look by a local joiner (who also put in some awesome sliding pocket doors! NB: please ignore the absence of skirting boards, we’re on it!). A mid-century tea trolley makes a handy side table next to the sofa. A retro teak bookcase is now a great storage for my CD collection.

Last year we invested in a beautiful handmade wood and leather armchair by young Scottish designer Hugh Parsons.  Oh, and we LOVE art. We’re running out of wall space! I also collect mid-century ceramics, which are dotted all around the house. West German, Bitossi, Swedish pottery, I can’t get enough of it.

My interior often changes, but the style stays mainly the same. Being a vintage trader does help finding some cool things for your home, that’s for sure!

handmade wooden chair, grey wall, built in bookcase, wooden floor, oriental rug

Bitossi style lampbase with oatmeal linen shade

Easy care house plants and how to keep them alive

I love house plants. I think it must be a bit of a Dutch thing, as they seem to be far more popular in The Netherlands than over in the UK. Drive down any Dutch street and you’ll find most windows full of flowers and plants. Luckily bringing the outdoors indoors and surrounding yourself with greenery is very on trend this year, so I decided to dedicate a blog post to it.

Sanseviera

The trusted Sansevieria, easy to grow and healthy for your house.

My grandmother used to have the greenest fingers ever and had wonderful lush plants all around the living room. I inherited her ‘sansevieria’ or snake plant after she past away, which amazingly survived my student years in my small bed sit, and I am pleased to say it is still alive – and thriving – now living with my sister. She re-potted it into a larger pot and it has grown much since. The plant must be well over thirty years old now as it appears in many childhood photographs. Strong little fella.


Air purifying plants

Another amazing bit of knowledge? Sansevierias improve indoor air quality. This plant is one of the best for filtering out formaldehyde (ugh!), which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Put one in your bathroom — it’ll thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions while helping filter out air pollutants. Who knew. Here are some other low maintenance plants with amazing air cleaning properties:
  • Peace Lily (Spathifyllum)
  • Rubber plant (Ficus elastica)
  • English ivy
  • Aloe vera
  • Heartleaf philondendron
  • Spider plant

snake plant in bedroom
Img: My Domaine
Green fingers, me? I don’t really have green fingers, or at least I have never put much time and effort into learning about plants and how to keep them healthy. I think I am probably not alone on this one when I say I am always a little scared to buy a house plant as they usually die. You too? Well, here are some more useful tips and advice from around the net on how to care for house plants, as well as how to make them look uber stylish in your interior.

 

hard to kill house plant list

 


A lot of these plants have kind of ‘fatty’ leaves, which means they are forgiving when you accidentily forget to water them. If you are short of space, succulents are an example of this type of plant, looking very cute and pretty and small containers or cups lines up on a shelf.

succulents in teacups
A cute way to upcycle those vintage teacups! Plant a succulent in them. Img: Brit + Co
 

 


Terrarium 

Another great idea if you are looking for low maintenance house plants is to buy a ‘terrarium’: basically a glass bowl with succulents and other draught tolerant plants, nicely arranged like a kind of ‘mini garden’. We are currently stocking some by The Potting Shed. Have a look here.

terrarium with succulents
Terrarium by The Potting Shed


Fiddle Leaf fig

The fiddle leave fig plant or ficus lyrata keeps popping up in all of my favourite images on Pinterest just now, so I want to share some tips with you on how to care for one at home. I own one and mine has started to show some brown spots and edges, so I am definitely going to try some of the advice mentioned here. Important tip: clean the leaves, as they get very dusty! Wiping them down with a mixture of water and milk apparently works wonders.
mid century interior with house plants
Gorgeous sideboard surrounded by the fiddle leaf fig and other plants. Img Topista
 
fiddle leaf fig

The beautiful fiddle leaf fig tree. Img: Angi Welsch


Plants and a mid century table
Who says plants need a window? As long as they get the right amount of light, you can place them anywhere. Img: Blood and Champagne
 

bathroom with plants
Plants in the bathroom look great and help purifying the air img: Design*Sponge

 


Hanging gardens

 
Love the hanging gardens look that is very trendy right now? You can hang any plant of course, but some are more suitable if you want to have them trailing down from their pot, such as the spider plant or ivy. If you fancy having a go at DIY-ing your own macrame planter, click here.
hanging plants in boutique Wilderness Amsterdam
Boutique Wilderness in Amsterdam img Lili in Wonderland
 

 

If all else fails, buy a cactus!

Still too scared to buy a plant with leaves? You could of course go down the artificial route, but not sure if having a plastic plant in your bathroom will have the same air purifying properties as a real one! There’s always the option to buy a cactus. Looking cool, and surviving on very, very little.

cacti in a nice interior with blue chair
Image: Bloglovin