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

 

 

 

Ikea love (part 2): Upcycling

If brand new Ikea doesn’t float your boat, then how about making something you really want with the help of a little upcycling? Below are some of my favourite ikea hacks that I’ve come across, click on the images for the full tutorials:

Expedit hack

Expedit hack

Add some depth and interest to the Expedit with a wood veneer like above. Alternatively you could just add a backboard – paint it with a bright colour or cover it in a floral fabric.

 

Lack hack

Lack

Add some texture to a lack table like above, or change the legs as below. So many options!

 

Lack hack

Lack

 

Floral nightstand

Floral nightstand

This is probably my favourite, as it’s so different from the original and so unique! It’s definitely my floral find of the week. There are so many Liberty fabrics available that if these colours don’t suit, you’d be sure to find an alternative for that floral fix.

Picture frame hack

Picture frame

A simple way to add some colour is with picture frames. If you can’t find the colour you’re after, buy some Ribba frames in different sizes and paint them yourself. Keep them all the same colour and mix up the sizes or keep the sizes identical and paint with a range of shades.

Desk Hack

Desk Hack

Add some elegance with some gold leaf or gold spray paint – easy!

Desk hack

Desk hack

 

There are of course plenty of other ideas if these aren’t what you had in mind:

Change the handles. This is easy and cheap and requires no messy painting.

Repaint the top. Whether it’s a coffee table, desk, dining table or chest, repainting just the top could provide that lift you need.

Stencilling. If you want some detail instead of block colours, you could just stencil over what you already have.

I’m always interested in finding out more so do let me know if you’ve come across any others!

Ikea (part 1): Investment vs statement

Further to my post a couple of days ago about designing on a budget, whether you’re looking for an investment or a statement piece you can still find this in Ikea. Whilst a whole Ikea home may not be right up your street, they’ve got such a great collection that there’s bound to be a few classics that take your fancy – whatever you’re after. Here are a few of my favourites:

Stockholm sofa

Stockholm in Grey

Stockhom sofa

Stockholm in Green

I love the grey Stockholm as a more long lasting colour. The endless possibilities for colour palette are amazing if you’re not yet setting up a home for life. You could mix it with some pastels for a cool, calm and feminine look. Add some darker greys, black and white for a more masculine approach and even some pops of neon for the wow factor. The green is amazing, but you’d need to use this confidently to make this work. It’s a bit more expensive than the grey and wouldn’t go with quite such a variety of tones, however if you’ve got butterflies then I’d suggest to invest!

Selje side table

Selje

Selje side table

Selje

The Selje is equally as cool. The design is simple and modern and I think the white version is elegant and sleek. For something more fun and chirpy, go for the blue.

Draggan trolley

Draggan

Draggan trolley

Draggan

The Draggan trolley is an excellent space saver. If you’ve got the extra room but don’t want a permanent fixture then this is a fab addition. For something unobtrusive and light go for the silver. If you still need some extra ‘oomph’, go for the red.

Hjalmaren

Hjalmaren

Wallshelf

Wallshelf

Ok, so maybe I’m cheating with these as they’re not quite the same. However it’s still the same idea. The Hjalmaren is a fresh, modern storage piece which in white can be dressed up and taken over by whatever you’re wanting to display. The wall shelf from the new collection however is just as much a part of the display as whatever you’ll be putting on it.

Godmorgon

Godmorgon

Godmorgon

Godmorgon

For a bit of bathroom elegance,  the Godmorgon is great. White is always a hit in a bathroom for that clean feeling and you could always brighten it up with a colourful splashback or some intricate tiles. Alternatively, if you want to make a statement with the furniture then go for the turquoise and keep the rest white. They also come in grey, walnut and red.

Cabinet

Cabinet

Red cabinet

Cabinet

I love the white cabinet here as a statement piece in itself, but if you still want more then the red is even more eye catching.

Expedit

Expedit

Expedit

Expedit

Lastly, the Expedit is a great storage piece. There’s a range of sizes and colours available so it really depends if you want to keep that storage hidden or make it an integral feature of your room. For a fresh contemporary look go for the white that’ll blend into the background. Hang some frames above it and you’ve got yourself a lovely little space. Go for a brighter colour if you want to make it stand out. This neon pink would look fab in a room of white and greys.

For my next post, I’m going to be looking at some amazing Ikea hacks and upcycling projects I’ve found. Stay with me!

Design on a budget

If you’ve got the ambition and interest in making your space your own, then there’s plenty of cheaper alternatives to the expensive schemes you’ve been pinning. Just be prepared to put in a bit of hard-work or time in making sure you use your funds wisely.

Invest in longevity rather than fashionable pieces that you’ll soon be having second thoughts about. Spend money on adaptable items that can be easily be spruced up from time to time, with new cushions and accessories. Look how different this Karlstad sofa can look in different settings.

There’s also some great websites that’ll help you bring life to your ikea classics. Have a look at Bemz if you’re wanting to re-cover.

Make the most of what you already have. Incorporate it into a new scheme, whether this involves upholstery, repainting, a new use or trying it in a new position. I recently tried my hand at upcycling a plain, unpainted wooden table. I didn’t get round to taking a ‘before’ picture, but here’s my ‘after’:

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I found the tissue paper from Paperchase and used some pink gloss paint I already had, so all in all a pretty cheap makeover.

Take notice of the details. Good design isn’t about flamboyant ‘in your face’ pieces, it’s about small moments that make your ideas work. This could be spatially when thinking about the layout or visually improving even the most forgotten spaces. How about reorganising your pictures to make a picture wall?

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Art doesn’t have to be expensive. These are a few I’ve collected whilst travelling and a couple are just hilarious games of consequences I’ve had with my friends that I’ve framed to keep as a momento.

Another detail I love is painted door edges. A great way to bring something a little unexpected to your space and could be done with minimal time and expense.

Lastly, take your time. Design is an on going process that needs to be adaptable as your needs and lifestyle changes. Don’t try and buy everything at once as you’ll end up with some impulse purchases. If you’re starting from scratch, work out what you need immediately and add other things as you go, once you’ve established what is missing.

Spring Loving

It’s official. Summer is on it’s way. With the onset of British summertime and Easter in a couple of weeks, we can finally banish the Winter blues and make some room for a touch of Spring cheer. Here are a few of my favourite recent discoveries to really put a spring in your step.

Sian Ellin Wallpaper

Sian Ellin Wallpaper

This amazing wallpaper is sure to brighten up any dusty corner that needs some love.

Spring Cushions

Spring Cushions

If you’re looking for something more subtle, then how about a cushion or two?

Brick Vases

Brick vases

What better way to show off your new spring look by showing off your garden favourites in some original brick vases?

Ball chairs

Ball chairs

These ball chairs by XLBOOM work just as well outside as inside and would make a fab edition to any inbetween space. They come in a huge array of colours and would be guaranteed to spice up even the most grey days!

yellow foldaway table

Yellow foldaway table

 

If you’re looking for some summer love in your outdoor space, then why not go for a super bright table such as this? There are plenty more equally as bold colours available from madeindesign.com  but my favourite is this yellow.

Garden table

Garden table

 

Less attention seeking but equally as perfect is this mint green table from Oliver Bonas.

Tolix chair

Tolix chair

 Back to chairs and I really don’t think you can ever go wrong with a Tolix. Their classic design and huge set of colours mean you’ll always find a scheme that they work with.

Birdcage lamp

Birdcage lamp

 

Lastly, I have loved these birdcage lamps since I first came across them at the beginning of my career. Each cage is different and I’ve seen them in such a huge variety of spaces – from formal dining rooms, to fun children’s bedrooms, to guest toilets! With their spring charm I just had to include them in this post!

I love rugs

Whilst rugs aren’t necessarily the first thing you’re thinking of when redesigning a space, I think they’re a brilliant way to finish a room and tie everything together. Whether you’re looking to spruce up an existing space or are designing from a-fresh, they’re an easy solution to unobtrusively bring that little something extra. They add something that other, more central pieces of furniture just can’t without becoming the centre of attention. Here are a few of my favourites!

 

Chevron rug

Chevron rug

 

I do have a thing for chevrons, but if you can’t face taking over a room with a whole wall, then how about a more subtle rug? I love the turquoise and it’s a great way to also add a pop of colour.

Multicolour chevron rug

Multicolour triangle rug

I’ve previously featured a wallpaper version of this pattern in my Wallpaper post, so imagine my excitement when I came across the matching rug! Whilst I’m not usually into matching and I wouldn’t recommend it in the same room, it could be a fabulous way to link two rooms together. Maybe a children’s bedroom and a playroom?

Alexander Mcqueen Hummingbird Ivory

Alexander Mcqueen Hummingbird Ivory

How charming are these birds? A beautiful addition to a low key living room, whether you’re looking to brighten up some neutrals or add some delight to a darker theme.

Confetti flora rug

Confetti flora rug

For something more feminine but equally as colourful then maybe this Confetti flora rug from Anthropologie could do the trick?

 

blue geometric

Blue Geometric

 

If you’ve already got the colour and just want to add some depth, then I love all the geometric rugs and patterns on sale at the moment. I’d match this one from The Rug Company with a fairly neutral grey colour scheme with some pops of yellow?

 

Plantation rug company

Plantation rug company

 

I adore this piece. I think it’d be an amazing feature rug and what a fantastic array of colours to use in the rest of the room. A dark blue sofa surrounded by neutral grey walls? You could even go really dark and add a black accent wall. Who said blue and black can’t be mixed? You can break this rule at Heals or head over to Bouf for the equally charming circular version.

Circular Scope Rug

Circular Scope Rug

 

If you’ve already got the colour and are looking for a less formal rug to finish, then a black and white circle rug would be ideal. I love this one by CB2 not least because of how adaptable it could be. It’d work equally well in a more serious setting or even with some fresh pastels.

 

Stamp Rug

Stamp rug

Why not really challenge the rules and hang a rug on the wall? This postage stamp rug at notonthehighstreet.com looks equally good on the floor and comes in a variety of colours.

 

Felt rugs

Felt rugs

Lastly, these wool rugs would be a great addition to any kid’s space. They come in a variety of colours and sizes so could be exactly what you’re looking for!

Wallpaper me!

Along with rugs and artwork, wallpaper has become another slight obsession of mine. Whether it’s to make a feature wall, to bring more colour into the room, tie existing colours together, use as a backdrop to some otherwise plain shelves or just add some extra depth, I think it’s a fabulous way to just add that something extra to your space. See below for a few of my favourites!

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Birdsong WallpaperI absolutely adore this paper. It’s got so many colours in it yet still remains intricate and isn’t too overwhelming. I’d love to use this as the backdrop to a photo feature, bringing that feminine edge to an otherwise minimal space.Image

For me, this chevron design would be great in a study or an office space. It’s got that serious look about it, but the yellow just brings something fresh and fun to brighten it up and make it more exciting.

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Love these triangles! I can’t decide how big a wall you could get away with putting them on or if they’d make your brain frazzle a little if on too large a space. I think they’re a brilliant way to tie some colours together though and could be used as a backdrop to some shelves or even along a larger wall up to half height, with one of the colours used to finish the top half of the wall.

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How cute are these spoons! I’d easily get carried away with this stunning paper and want to use it everywhere. My first thought was in a kitchen, then a dining room as they’d surely provide a talking point! They’ve also got that childlike feel to them and would look great in a playroom or in a kids bedroom. I’ve come across some other great papers by this studio so do have a look on my Pinterest for more.

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Burlesque

Ok, so you’d have to pretty daring to use this in a whole room however if you’ve got a playful side I think this could brighten up a cloakroom or a guest toilet and lead to some great conversations! Even on the inside of a wardrobe or in a dressing room if you really wanted to keep it out of sight.

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Cloakroom

This is one of my favourites if only I had the space to use it. I think it’d work really well in a hallway or a cloakroom as a border and would be great to provide some continuity along a corridor. What with the different colours involved it’d be fairly easy to tie into most schemes.

 There’s so many more amazing wallpapers out there, which I WILL find. Watch this space and keep an eye on my Pinterest boards for more ideas to come!