Help! – A short guide to decorating

So you’ve decided you want to redecorate, but where do you start? I’ve put together a few handy thoughts to help get the ball rolling and to hopefully ensure you make the right decisions, saving you time and expensive mistakes.

Why? In order to get the right result, you need to work out why you want to change what’s there and what you’re not happy with. Is it too small/impractical? Are you bored of the colour scheme? Regretting that choice of fabric? Maybe you’ve simply outgrown the room and need to reorganise?

Make a list. I’m a list fan. I have endless lists which I guess I use as a form of brainstorming. List all of your ideas so that you can then go through them afterwards to work out how to process them and make them into your dream design.

Ask Questions. How many people use the space? How do you use it? What do you need to store? What furniture do you think you need? If you had that would you use it? What’s your budget? Can you do any of the work yourself? Will you actually do this work? Can you use any of the existing furniture? Do you have any other furniture around the house that you could incorporate? If you live with anybody else, how do they use the room? Do you have children/animals? Will your design withstand their use?

Window shop. Don’t buy anything just yet – wait until you can get it to work with the rest of your space! Pinterest is a great way to start getting ideas together. Save things you like even if you can’t see how you’d use it right away. You never know what direction your design may suddenly take.

Make a moodboard. Like your virtual board on Pinterest, start creating a physical board consisting of fabric samples and paint colours you like. It’s important to look at the samples in the room you’re actually redecorating. Don’t test the paint directly on the wall, paint a piece of card and then test it all around the room as you’ll want to see what it’s like in the different light conditions.

Design. Once you’ve worked out what you need and the kind of style you’re after, get designing! A simple floor plan is the best way to start. Try and draw the room from a birds eye view and include all of the doors, windows and any main features that can’t be changed. Take the main measurements, photocopy the page and get drawing! Think about the biggest pieces of furniture first. Where will they fit and what do they need to face/be near to? The first stage of designing is all about trial and error. Don’t be afraid that things won’t work, it’s much better to experiment with this on paper rather than once the decorating has begun! Test your ideas and keep going until you’ve got a layout that you’re happy with. Then go back to your list and see if you’ve missed anything.

Mix it up. Now comes the difficult bit. Mix your layout and moodboards together to try and get to your finished design! Personally, I start with the layout and then try and incorporate the furniture I like in the fabrics that I’ve chosen. Keep tabs on the cost – it’s very easy for the budget to spiral out of control before the decorating has even begun!

Edesign. If you get stuck with the designing and visualising, then think about employing some online design help. At Design Eyes we want to help customers visualise their designs before you go ahead with big projects. Our costs are lower than a normal interior designer as we leave a lot of the work to you. We’re not here to project manage but we’re here to show you your ideas before you make expensive decisions. We want to help you make your ideas work and love showing clients their designs in 3D so they can really get a grip of what their room’s going to feel like! Get in touch for more information: laura@designeyes.co.uk

Bathroom 3D Plan

Bathroom 3D Plan

Make a plan. Before you get started, plan as much as you can. This isn’t a promise that decorating projects always stick to this plan, but if you know what needs doing and when, it’ll be a lot less stressful. Make timelines of how processes fit together. If you’re employing professionals, find out what needs doing first – there’s no point getting the tiler in if the plumbing’s not been finished or if the tiles haven’t been delivered. Before making things final, double check the availability of items. Don’t plan your whole design around one piece of furniture only to find it’s discontinued by the time you come to order!

Check your prices. This includes furniture, labour and everything in between. Get quotes in writing so that if things change dramatically you’ve got evidence of what was agreed. Make sure you know what’s included – remember to think about delivery costs for larger items and any extras that labourers may need to include. If you don’t understand something ask – you need to know exactly what you’re paying for and what else you’ll need to buy!

Get decorating!! Once you know what you want there’s no better time to get started!! Get the builders in or that paintbrush out and get going.

Don’t stress. Things won’t go to plan but don’t let this get you down. Decorating can be stressful but if you’ve planned enough it’ll be ok. You’ll have a backup option if one of your tiles smash. You can wait an extra week for those made to measure curtains. Keep your lists handy so you can check things off as they’re done and when you come to the end you’ll realise it’s all been worth it!

Enjoy! And start planning your next project….

If this all seems a bit overwhelming then please do get in touch! At Design Eyes we’re currently offering a free consultation service. This is perfect if you can’t work out what you’re looking for or if you don’t know where to start. It also means you can run your ideas past us before committing – all completely for free! We’re happy to help further too, but let’s have that consultation first so we know how we can help!

Free Interior Design Consultation

Free Interior Design Consultation

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Kitchens: budget vs designer

Kitchens can easily be one of the more expensive rooms to renovate. They’re also the heart of the home and so it’s important to make sure it’s done well, at least to make slaving over the stove a little more bearable. Whilst I would love a top of the range designer kitchen, I’ve come across some nice cheaper alternatives recently. My personal taste would be some super sleek clean lines, in a high gloss white finish and I’ve found all of the below in a reasonable price range. What do you think?

Ikea Kitchen

Ikea Moody White Kitchen

Ikea red kitchen

Ikea red kitchen

Homebase Sanvito White

Homebase Sanvito White

Hygena Sanvito White kitchen

Tesco white kitchen

Tesco White Kitchen

Tesco Meribel Kitchen

Laura Ashley Islington Cotton White Cotton Kitchen

Laura Ashley Islington Cotton White Kitchen

Islington Cotton White Kitchen

Denver Black Kitchen

Denver Black Kitchen

Denver Black Kitchen

Integra Astral Grey Kitchen

Integra Astral Grey Kitchen

Magnet

 

 

 

Clever Kitchens

If you spend as much time as me trying to organise your kitchen, then you may find some of the following clever ideas useful. Living in a small space means every nook and cranny counts and making my kitchen as practical as Ikea is a dream.

Off the counter storage

Off the counter storage

Keep as much as you can off the worktop for a clean, clutter free look. Not only will it look amazing, but it’ll also be so much easier to clean and manage. It’s also a great way to use otherwise empty space!

hidden storage

Hidden storage

Use all available space. These drawers are a great way to use this forgotten space underneath kitchen cabinets. Whether it’s for animal food or cleaning products, everything needs a home!

Tea?

Tea?

A great way of clearing clutter is to keep appliances hidden away. I love the idea of this tea station. There’s something very English about it keeping itself to itself, yet remaining available at the drop of a hat.

multifunctional kitchen

Multifunctional

Whilst this idea may not actually be that practical, I like the idea that the layout changes along with the functionality. Realistically, the stools may not hold too much weight however the idea that the table can be put away when not in use would really aide anybody struggling with space.

Wall storage

Wall storage

Put stuff on the walls! As long as the surfaces are clutter free and easy to clean, what’s wrong with hanging stuff up on the walls? It’ll allow you to save storage space and make a feature out of your beautiful utensils.

Organised drawers

Organised drawers

Keep everything organised and give everything a place. No matter how little space you have, make sure that it’s well structured so you can use it to its full potential. Throw out anything you don’t need to make room for the important stuff. I love these shelf dividers. It means you can’t just cram away and you have to be truly selective.

Shelves on a shelf

Shelves on a shelf

These fold up shelves are amazing. I have some myself and they’ve pretty much doubled the cupboard storage. There’s hardly anything that you need the full height of the cupboard shelves for and it’s such a simple solution!

I’m still on the lookout as my kitchen is in desperate need of a revamp, but wanted to share my findings so far. Eager to hear of any new ideas!

Design Classics: Retro chairs

My absolute favourite chair of the 20th century, has to be the Tolix. The industrial style shines through in the huge variety of colours it’s currently available in and I can really see how it became so popular – and remains so. It first came on the market in 1934 when practicality, easy maintenance and value for money were all of great importance. It’s lightness and the ability to be stacked means it was used across the world in schools, offices, factories and cafes. One day, I’d love a large dining table with a set of these chairs surrounding it, all in different colours. Find out where to get yours here.

Tolix Chair

Toilx Chair

Kartell is another iconic brand that I’d love to have in my home one day. After 60 years on the market, they’ve really developed their unique style with a number of easily recognisable pieces. The Phillippe Starck Louis Ghost Chair, which again is available in a variety of colours is another item on my ever-growing wishlist. Although transparent, the touch of colour would be a great way to add some subtle variance in tone to any scheme. Made out of polycarbonate in a single mold, it’s a great contemporary take on the classic Louis XV style. Visit the website here.

Kartell Louis Ghost

Kartell Louis Ghost

Charles and Ray Eames are one of the biggest design couples of the 20th century, known for their contributions to art, architecture, furniture design, graphic design, manufacturing and photography. They’ve amassed a huge range of chair designs over the years however my favourite has to be the rocking chair below, available at The Conran Shop.

Eames Rocking Chair

Eames Rocking Chair

The Panton Chair was conceived by Verner Panton in 1960 and was the first chair to be completely manufactured from one single piece of plastic. It’s adapted well over the years and due to it’s easily recognisable shape has become an iconic design of the last century, making it’s large pricetag something of non importance to any design fanatic.

Classic Panton Chair

Classic Panton Chair

I couldn’t do a piece on classic chairs without including the Egg Chair by Arne Jacobsen. There have been many varieties and copy cat versions of this over the years, but here’s a glimpse of the original. With a hefty pricetag it really suits the big office exec I imagine would be using this behind an equally as grand desk. See your nearest store here.

Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair

Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair

Last but not least, how about the Tulip Chair by Eero Saarinen. In his effort to simplify existing designs, the architect-designer said he wanted to ‘get rid of the slum of legs’. He certainly acheived this and the outcome was a sleek, effortless design oozing style and comfort.

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair

Eero Saarinen Tulip Chair

There are a certainly plenty more classic designs still on the market today, which at some point I will look into further. Watch this space!

Beautiful Bedrooms – My Essentials

Getting the design of your bedroom right is key to a happy home. It’s one of the most personal rooms in the house, which guests will rarely venture into unless invited. A good night’s sleep is vital to a healthy life so making sure your room is comfortable, cosy, stress-free and exactly as you want it surely has to be a priority when designing your home! Here are the key things that are important to me in my own bedroom:

White bedroom

White bedroom

1. Keeping it clutter free. I adore the basic design here. Don’t get me wrong, realistically I couldn’t actually live like this. Where would I put all my shoes? When I have that luxury dressing room however, maybe I’ll be able to get away with only a bed in the bedroom!

bright and breezy bedroom

Bright and breezy

2. Colour – Personally, I like to keep the main colours fairly neutral so that it can then be jazzed up with some good bedding and then restyled with every sheet wash. If you do want to add more colour, keep it simple. Avoid having too much going on; clutter free room = clutter free mind.

Clever floor

Clever floor

3. Keep things off the floor. To help with the clutter free aesthetic, keep things off the floor – especially if you’ve got a bedroom floor to die for! I love the hanging vase here – it adds detail to the room without taking up valuable floor space, leaving you less inclined to keep things in their places!

Bedroom storage

Bedroom storage

4. Make space for storage. If you’re unable to lead a clutter free life like me, then at least own up to this and give yourself enough storage. If it’s well designed and catered for, then you can disguise the amount you really have and continue to live in denial! I love this storage wall – there really is so much stuff within these shelves but having it all in one place as one part of the room really helps to make it appear smaller and keeps it from imposing.

Symmetrical bedroom

Centred bedroom

5. Keep the room symmetrical. Not necessarily all of it, but for me the bed has to be centred along a wall with two identical bedside tables either side to make any kind of sense.

Bedroom rug

Bedroom rug

6. Pay attention to the floor. I prefer carpet in a bedroom for a warm, cosy feeling. If that’s not possible however, just adding a rug will add almost as much. It’ll help to centre the bed and make it the key feature. It can also be a way to add some subtle pattern or colour.

Bedroom headboard

Bedroom headboard

Interesting Headboard

Interesting headboard

7. Add some headboard interest. This doesn’t have to be an actual headboard – it could be a collection of frames above the bed, an interesting piece of abstract art or some fun wallpaper. I think it just helps to define the purpose of the room and draws attention to the most important piece of furniture.

Bedroom storae

Bedroom storage

8. Storage. Lastly, making sure everything has a place (and putting it there) is the last necessity to a stress free sleep. Whilst I can admit that I’m not always the tidiest, I still spend hours making sure everything I own has a home and trying to work out the best way of storing all of the ‘essentials’. Take a look at this guide from Better Homes and Gardens for some handy hints and tips.

 

One can never have too many pairs of shoes..

So the dream is to one day have a whole room dedicated to shoes – a bit like Mariah Carey’s shoe storage below. Failing that, a walk in wardrobe would do just fine. Unfortunately small space living means I can’t quite justify that use of space just yet and finding the perfect solution to my never ending collection is proving a constant battle.

Shoe Storage

Mariah Carey Shoe Closet

I love the idea of having my shoes on display, but finding a way to do this without making the room seem cluttered always seems to be my main challenge. I also need them to be accessible – a bad habit of mine is leaving an ever-growing pile of flats by the front door. I automatically take my shoes off as soon as I get in, but then the effort of taking an extra trip upstairs to put them in their place just doesn’t happen as much as it should. I therefore need something small and practical by the front door and something a bit more substantial to house the rest of the family upstairs. Here are a few of my favourites below, ranging from mini DIY projects to ready made bits of practical furniture.

DIY shoe storage

DIY shoe storage

 

Contemporary Shoe Storage

Contemporary Shoe Storage

DIY shoe storage

DIY shoe storage

Ottoman shoe storage

Ottoman shoe storage

STÄLL Ikea shoe storage

STÄLL shoe storage cabinet

TRONES shoe storage Ikea

TRONES shoe storage

Drawer shoe storage

Drawer shoe storage

Hanging shoe storage

Hanging Shoe Storage

Closet Shoe Storage

Closet Shoe Storage

Hanging shoe storage

Hanging shoe storage

Under the bed shoe storage

Under the bed shoe storage

1. Subtle and simple DIY entryway shoe organiser by Emily Henderson

2. Contemporary shoe storage found on Houzz.

3. DIY shoe storage from not martha. Almost like a full blown shelf but saves a bit of space and is a little bit clever.

4. Why not combine a bench with some storage? It’s a great way to keep your shoes accessible but hidden and out of the way. Find this at Skymail.

5.  Ikea have a great few nifty shoe storage solutions for small spaces. Although they’re actual bits of furniture, they’re still narrow so wouldn’t be too imposing and could also be used as great console/entrance tables. Check out the STÄLL and TRONES ranges from Ikea.

6.  I found this image on Houzz. If you’ve got spare drawer then it’s a fab way to keep them out of the way.

7. Another space saving trick is to use the back of your doors. There’s a million different varieties of this classic hanging shoe storage, but you can find this one at Ikea.

8. If space is really tight, then make sure you incorporate essential storage into every piece of storage you have. Take this hanging rail from Habitat for example – the shelves are a great way to use otherwise empty space and keep your essentials off the ground.

9. Again, if you do already have the hanging space then these widely available fabric hanging shoe storage are a fab way to make the most of it.

10. Lastly, make use of the space underneath your bed. When I first went bed shopping, I found it infuriating how hard it was to find a decently priced bed with adequate space to put my own drawers underneath. I find this my most useful storage – whilst it may have become my go-to home for anything that doesn’t really have it’s own place, it’s great because it all remains hidden. I like to keep as much of my wardrobe hanging as possible, as choosing an outfit is way easier when it’s all in front of me (and I hate folding). The drawers under the bed therefore remain free for my shoes – until I have that dream dressing room that is!

 

 

 

 

 

London’s calling

I rarely set out to buy ‘art’, but I find I usually end up buying pieces on my travels. After spending a couple of years in Australia, I realised recently that my house is starting to seem a bit like a shrine to the places down under! I’ve therefore been on the lookout for a good London print to really represent who I am and help balance it out a little. I need a little bit of help deciding though!

Michael Tompsett - London Street Map

Michael Tompsett – London Street Map

Bronagh Kennedy

Bronagh Kennedy – London Eye

Dutches

Dutches

Lucy Loves This - London Print

Lucy Loves This – London

Emma Hardicker

Emma Hardicker

Senecio - Iconic London

Senecio – Iconic London

Sarah Copson - London Transport

Sarah Copson – London Transport

Brough and Ready - London for Lovers

Brough and Ready – London for Lovers

London Skyline

London Skyline

 

London Typographic Print

London Typographic Print

London Underground Retro

London Underground Retro

John Lewis Interiors

After my the popularity of my recent post on Ikea: Investment vs Statement recently, I thought it was time to look at another popular highstreet store and what it has to offer. Being it’s 150th birthday John Lewis was the lucky culprit. For me, John Lewis isn’t necessarily the first thing I place I’d go when looking for original, quirky, designer items but it is often associated with quality, practical and trustworthy design. I have a thing against matching furniture (especially solid wood) so I set out on a mission to create 3 different living room moodboards that I’d be happy to live in – avoiding anything too matching and too many things that have been seen before.

Johnlewismoodboard1

I’m in love with this wallpaper – it’s so detailed yet subtle due to the simple one colour. You could use it in a range of colour schemes but I’ve chosen to stick with the pastels here. I’ve mixed it with some gorgeous round tables and a bookshelf and console which are part of the Mira collection. The sofa is made to measure; you can select from a large range of shapes and then specify your fabric – amazing!

Johnlewismoodboard2

I’ve kept this design fairly basic, bring colour into the room with this Pashmina rug and Turner print. Artwork is a great way to bring personality and colour into a room and can also be an inspiring starting point for your ideas.

Johnlewismoodboard3

For my last design, I went for a more masculine feel. If you’ve ready any other posts of mine, you’ll see that I also have a bit of an obsession with grey – hence the choice in sofa. I’ve also featured this chevron wallpaper on a previous wallpaper post and again, can’t get enough of it!

Interior Gardens

Are you looking to spend time outside but haven’t got a garden or are still waiting for the weather to improve? There’s plenty of lovely vases around at the moment so you can still bring the outside in – it’s a lot less effort than a real garden and even without the flowers these would make fabulous additions to any room. What do you think?

Hanging Vase

Porcelain hanging vase

Yellow Vase

Yellow Vase

 

http://www.madeindesign.co.uk/prod-biblio-tek-book-end-vase-by-seletti-ref10478.html

Bookshelf vase

 

Wall vase

Wall Vase

 

Isabelle Abramson Vase

Isabelle Abramson

Wall Vase

Wall Vase

Wall Vase

Wall Vase

Animal Vase

Animal Vase

 

Metal Vase

Metal Vase

 

Coloured vase

Coloured Vase

London Brick Vase

London Brick Vase

Silver Zara Vase

Silver vase