Thursday, 30 August 2012

Home Restyler's Style at Home magazine shots

What a strange feeling! I walked into WH Smiths (a UK high street newsagent) yesterday & saw myself on the cover of Style at Home amongst all the magazines I love and regularly read...Grand Designs, Elle Decor, English Home...

Inside is a feature (about six pages!) on my home with lots of extra tips, hints and advice for readers to recreate my look. And true to the Home Restyler ethos, it's all about achieving it affordably, hooray!

If you're interested in a proper read why not go and buy a copy, only £1.99! For more inspiration and affordable tips for a stylish home you can also check out Style at Home magazine on facebook here.

Here are a few style shots from the day of the shoot. Ironically, I exchanged on the sale of this house yesterday too!

Cosy reading corner in the living room

Ric rac to add a pop of colour to a runner

Grey, teal & yellow contrasting with dark furniture

Funky white & bright kitchen

Heidi's colourful & co-ordinated play room

Little bedside touches

My working space! (I've got a fab new office chair since this shot though!)

My favourite restyled piece - my sewing ottoman

Monochrome & boxy

Using every bit of space for storage in the hall

For loads more tips, hints & inspiration to help you style your home affordably why not follow Home Restyler on facebook, twitter or pinterest and keep coming back here too :)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to decorate & style your rented home

I thought I’d be topical and relate today’s post to my current living situation. What with an increasing proportion of us renting and not owning the space we live in, I thought I’d share with you my tips on how you can decorate your rented home on a budget whilst maintaining a harmonious relationship with your landlord.

We recently moved into a rented house, which we plan to live in until we find ‘the one’. Those of you who know me personally will probably laugh at the idea of me finding ‘the one’ as since getting together with my husband 10 years ago we have moved house as many times. Some may call it fickle but I call it practice. It has allowed me to experiment, make mistakes and play about with colours, patterns and styles. Not that I will ever commit to any particular design but I have learned many lessons that I hope ‘the one’ will benefit from. Sorry, I digress...

The one before 'the one'!

When moving into a new home you want to put your stamp on it, make it your own. Living in rented accommodation can feel limiting, you think all you can do is put your furniture in and get on with the look that already exists within the property. But no.... here are a few ideas for making someone else’s house your own home.

1. Decorate your walls

Some landlords are relaxed and will let you bang nails in walls to hang frames, mirrors and decorations as long as you make good at the end of your tenancy. Others however are not. If, like me, you are forever having crushes on new wallpapers then fear not, either take a decent size sample from your local stockist or buy a roll and insert it into picture frames. You could just have one or gather a collection of them. Then hang them with picture nails (if you are allowed) or prop them up against walls either on the floor or on sideboards and tables. You get the look without making it a permanent feature, plus you get to use them again.

Another fab way to brighten up plain walls is to use removable decals. 

I used these funky stickers in my last house - they didn’t cost much, were easy to put up and remove and add a fab splash of colour to a plain wall. I love the Olivia headboard by Mina Javid, which at £55 would be quirky way to add the look of a headboard to your rented bedroom.

Looks can be deceiving! Olivia headboard, Supernice

Note: don’t whatever you do mount anything on the wall with selotape or blu-tack! It doesn’t matter what it says on the pack selotape always rips off paint and blu-tack leaves greasy marks. Try white or sticky tack that has been specifically designed to not stain walls.

2. Personalise existing furniture

Soft furnishings are the easiest way to make-over existing furniture if it isn’t to your liking. If you don’t want to spend much creating a new look then keep your eye open for bargains on the likes of Achica, Dalani and also eBay as well as in the sales. I was recently chuffed to bits when I found some gorgeous grey and white Bronte merino lambswool cushions and throws at less than half price at Achica. I am still waiting for the delivery but having coveted them for quite some time I know when I get them I will love them *smile*. 

Beautiful merino lambswool cushions & throws, Bronte @ Pure Luxuries

Have you moved into furnished accommodation that has been kitted out with IKEA furniture? If so, fear not because if any sofas or chairs look like they've had better days, then you can easily get a new custom designed replacement covers to suit your tastes from specialist cover maker Bemz. The company was set up by Lesley Pennington several years ago because she loved IKEA furniture but wanted to out her own creative stamp on it and now you can do the same. You select the item you want to buy a cover for, choose your fabric et voila, problem solved. Genius!

3. Hang your own curtains

As much as I love our new rented cottage and the way it has been simply decorated, I am not enamoured with the burnt orange and red trailing leaf patterned roman blinds in the kitchen and living room - not my cup of tea at all. So I’m going to replace them, why not. Window dressings are easy to replace and when you move out easy to re-hang what was there before (just make sure you store them well so they don’t get damaged or dirty). Scout about for ready made treatments at the likes of Dunelm Mill, Next or other high street retailers and online suppliers, use your own existing curtains and customise them to fit (try adding a width of co-ordinating fabric along the bottom or top to increase the drop or simply fold back and stitch to shorten them). I am going to have some new ones made...any excuse to have a play with a new fabric! I’ve chosen this Scion fabric and when we do find ‘the one’ I’ll get them adjusted to fit windows in the new place. 

Scion Melinki Rosehip in steel, chalk & pewter

Becky, my super talented curtain making partner ( is also going to make up some co-ordinating cushions to add to the mix. Ok, so I will have to spend money getting the blinds and cushions made but I can take them with me when we move again. Some things are worth investing in!

4. Make it soft underfoot

Generally speaking flooring in rented properties has been chosen to be hardwearing and to disguise marks and as a result is neither luxurious nor your preferred choice. On the plus side the colour of it does tend to be neutral so get yourself some rugs and layer it up. Once you have your own furniture in place, position a large rug on the floor. It will add warmth, hide unsightly marks and can be taken with you when your tenancy ends.  I recently used this gorgeous rug in a photo shoot, it was just so scrummy and sumptuous when walking on it barefoot, I had to share it with you, believe me toes seriously love being squidged about in it!

Jessica (named after the rabbit!) pure wool loop rug, Naken Interiors

5. Put your stamp on it with decorative accessories & lighting

Styling your home with some gorgeous vases and objets adds an instant personal touch. No doubt you will already have plenty of pretty things, but if you are looking for inspiration check out the following;

Curioser & curioser! Vintage Alice clock, Rose & Grey

Fancy a cuppa?! Large Pop mugs made in England, Pedlars

I've just bought these, baubles aren't just for Christmas! - I'll post a photo of how I style them in my new home soon...

Dew drop baubles, nkuku
Funky metal trunks - colourful & practical, Rose & Grey
Lighting is an integral and important part of creating your right look within the home and something you can easily change in a rented house. Add light to dark corners with your own table lamps, replace any dingy old pendants with funky lampshades (supply Quincy Lampshades with some fabric you adore & Ruth will make you a bespoke lampshade - a great cost-effective way of getting the look you want) and fill the place with candles, oh I love candles, they add a touch of warmth, ambience and cosiness to the home even if it's not your 'forever home'.

Also, at the moment you can find great some fantastic bargains at the following websites thanks to the end of season sales;

6. Freshen up with gorgeous scents & flowers

It's often the simplest touch that makes the biggest difference. Just by infusing the house with fresh fragrances, especially invigorating citrusy smells you can easily wipe out any lingering smells made by previous tenants. True Grace candles and diffusers are just to die for, choose by season, collection or scent and prepare your senses to be overcome. Honestly, I haven't even lit my Jasmine Tea bowl candle yet and the whole downstairs of my house smells heavenly!  Of course, freshly cut stems as well as potted plants and flowers add colour and fragrance to a room so why not forgo your regular coffee for a few days and spend what you have saved on fresh flowers?

Finally,  if you really want to make a big difference, it could be worth asking your landlord if you could redecorate the house / apartment. Sometimes landlords are simply too busy to to do it themselves so they may well appreciate you doing the job for them. Agree with them a colour scheme and discuss your plan with them. They may even pay for the paint. You never know, because if you don't ask you won't get!

Once I have some 'after' photos of my new pad...we literally only got the last box through the front door last night...I'll share them with you and your feedback and thoughts will be entirely welcome.

For now, I need a rest and a cup of tea. There appears to be an open packet of choc chip cookies staring at me, I think they're saying "eat me"... nom...

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Doing it your way

Hello, long time no see...after two weeks of being able to do nigh on nothing, I am recovering and well on the way to being me again yay. So, I still can't lift much or twist about, drive or clean (damn!) I am feeling so much more alive.

We are moving house this weekend and I've been feeling terribly guilty because I've not been able to help packing, instead I've just sat there pointing and directing my brilliant husband whilst he does all the hard graft. This will be our tenth house move since we got together ten years ago and he has moved us each and every time - he is an absolute star - but I think this may well be the last time he agrees to not using a removal company! Despite the fact that we live life minimally with no clutter it is amazing how stuff just adds up when it comes to packing. This brings me on to what I want to talk about today: finding your own style & decorating your own way.

What does a/w 2012/13 hold in store..? Trend Bible

I was reading an interiors article recently, which was all about the new autumn / winter 2012 interiors trends and it questioned the reader as to what their style of preference is. This got me thinking and it brought various questions about how we style our homes into my head;

Do I have to choose just one style & stick with it?

As humans we are in a constant state of evolution and by this I mean our tastes are forever developing and changing. What we like one year may change the following year. How we feel about a look in one house may not be how we feel about it in another. As a serial house-mover, the way I have decorated each house has always been different. The overall appearance has always been one of clear surfaces, open spaces and fuss free styling but never have I been rigid about a specific look. How could it, I seem to love so many different designs and styles that I can never make a decision!...

So, can I mix & match?

If you read any of the interiors magazines like Ideal Home or House Beautiful etc, they are full of brilliant, inspiring and affordable ideas. However the way they break it down, is to categorise interiors into neat little boxes. I appreciate in terms of publishing, it makes segmenting the magazine much easier but I fear it has created a narrow minded approach to interior decorating. Let me demonstrate by showing you a 'typical' room for each category;



 Shabby Chic






What has happened is that phrases like 'vintage' and 'coastal' have been used to categorise and pigeonhole certain looks, making them so contrived that they no longer look real. This categorisation has destroyed, what say maybe 5-10 years ago, was more laid back, less definable and much more unique. I am not criticising what one could call a 'making interior decorating more accessible and affordable campaign' that has taken place of since the mid-late 90's (think about just how many home improvement magazines, television shows and websites that are available nowadays) because I think it is all brilliant and hey Home Restyler is part of that movement. However, what I think is that a natural balance needs to be re-established.

So fight the desire to fit yourself neatly into one box and 'think outside that box' and create your own style...

Can I trust my own decorating instincts?

Of course you can! There is absolutely no one right way of decorating your home. Yes there are some fundamental rules that help create a cohesive overall look (more on that another day) but after that it's up to you baby, go with what you love and what makes you smile. The way you style your home is personal to you and needs to work with the way you choose to live your life. I created an easy to follow process to help you create a look that works for you (here). This process will give you the confidence to trust your gut and go with what you feel is a fab look.

But how can I successfully mix and match without creating a right old hotchpotch?

"If you love it, buy it". If you feel strongly about a painting, a chair, a vase or a fabric, it's because it suits YOU. Something about it makes you happy, so how can it be wrong. I have to enter a caveat at this point... not everyone has what you could call 'good taste' but who are we to judge. Some like neutral, easy to live with interiors a la Kelly Hoppen, some like loud, bold statement interiors a la Abigail Ahern. These two varying approaches won't mix, they just don't marry up BUT who says you can't live in a minimalist, contemporary design-led new build and hang antique paintings, drink out of dainty tea sets or place an up-cycled, vibrantly distress painted bombe chest in it's hallway? You can mix modern and retro or 'vintage' and 'coastal' together, it just comes down to having the confidence to doing your research and trusting your instincts.

Love it or loathe it. Abigail Ahern lighting.
At the end of the day, you are the one who has to live in your house. You are the one who has to love it. You are the one who wants to feel inspired, alive and happy in it. Creating a home that is based on looks and styles that you have copied straight out of magazines or catalogues may well be co-ordinated and cohesive but do they really reflect you and your personality? Don't be prescribed to or dictated by what you read, instead use these resources for inspiration, get ideas from them, create your style file and then make your home your own. And if you 'd like some more personal help to bring out your own style then why not get in touch, Home Restyler is always happy to help *smile*.