This and That

Real life is not as perfectly curated according to trends as Instagram or Pinterest would make us believe, and most spaces that people live in combine elements from multiple periods, styles, places and influences. 

As time goes on our taste also evolves, new pieces are purchased according to the latest trend (Kinsfolk anyone?!) or inherited, and most often this becomes all a bit overwhelming on how to combine all these elements and bring it all together.

So here are a few tips on navigating mixing old and new furniture and decor pieces for your home.

  1. Limit your colour palette

The easiest way to ensure your space will look coherent, even if it features a variety of styles, is to limit the colour palette.

This image shows how the rose gold/ pink hue is repeated from the flooring to server to chair and how the interior looks cohesive even tho the items are completely contrasting.
  1. Add contemporary art

Or vice versa. One of the easiest ways to start is to add contemporary art where classical furniture prevails, or a traditional artwork in a mostly contemporary space. This clash between 2 styles is easy to achieve and it always makes a striking statement.

period detailing with very contemporary art completely contrast
a mainly contemporary interior with a very traditional art piece creating total drama! love it!
  1. The power of repetition

Repetition works wonders in design. Even if your interior has a mix of different styles, it will always look more polished if similar patterns, textures or items are repeated.  

This interior shows a mix of styles – Boho, natural and mid-century yet the plants repeated 3 times create unity within the interior. Note the colour brown is also repeated which also creates cohesiveness.

4. Chose a stand out feature.  

It always helps to build  a space around a key feature, for example a wow light fitting. Take direction from that key item or element and build the rest of the space around it. Whether it is using similar materials or colour or shapes.

The room is decorated around the light fitting. round shapes are repeated in the table, the rug and ceiling rose, and even tho these are all elements from different design eras it works.

5. Do your research

Lastly educate yourself. Its easy to throw bits and pieces of furniture together but the space really does become curated and thoughtful when you know the style of the item and time in design history. ie. using an art deco styled table with a velvet sofa. Knowing how the items co-exist in terms of design history will help tie in other elements and colours and textures. Google will be your friend :)

In this image the wallpaper is very deco, and the mirror is gold – a colour associated with deco. That creates unity despite the mix and match of other styles and elements

At the moment there is a huge trend towards “mid-century modern style” with light fittings particulary nodding to this period. This style dates back to the 1950’s and yet it is complementing contemporary minimalist interiors of today. 

Don’t be afraid or overwhelmed of mixing styles, it definitely tells a story and makes a home unique and unequivocally yours.

Gallery Wall DIY

Now this is fab DIY for lockdown to really transform an interior with using what you have at home. Transform a bare wall into a gallery wall by showing off a curated collection of paintings, prints or photographs in stylish frames.

Gallery walls do so much for an interior – they infuse some pattern and colour into a space as well as being one of the best ways to personalise an interior.

Here are a few tips to turn your wall decor dreams into reality:

  1. Curate your collection

There are no cardinal rules when it comes to gallery walls, choose what you like.  If you are not sure where to start, choose something you like to look at. There is really no wrong way to choose art.

Some people build up a collection over time and add to it as they go on, this a wonderful idea in adding items from travels or memories as the years go on.

An approach that I would suggest for lockdown is to use art, photographs or prints that you already have in your home in different areas or rooms in your house, and ‘rehome’ them to create a new gallery wall collection thus transforming a space with a new look.

  1. Do a trial run 

Before hanging the gallery wall, do a trial run.  The easiest way is to arrange the pieces on the floor before making any holes.  Move them around until you find the right flow. I have done a step by step gallery wall myself before, read here for more tips and photos of each step. 

read my other blog post for step by step photos

3. Balance

Always start in the centre and work out from there. To maintain balance, try adhering to the following ratio: follow every extra large piece with two large, two medium and three small ones to fill in the gaps.

some template examples.

4. Spacing

Hang the frames at eye level ( approx 160cm from the floor finish) or 10—15cm above furniture. The optimal distance between frames is about about 5 cms. Your frames can be different materials or designs ( I definitely encourage this) but by keeping the spacing between the frames constant, it creates continuity and even the most eclectic collection will come together.  

5. Styling

If you have a more contemporary or minimalist interior, try a linear or grid arrangement for a more sophisticated look. 

For a more relaxed look, an eclectric arrangement is the way to go, try mixing and matching frame shapes. ( rectangular, oval, circular)

Top Tip : To achieve a very cohesive and put together look I would suggest a common colour or central concept to tie all the elements together. 

If you are needing to add a piece to your gallery wall take a look at online store Knus, They have some great options ( only available after lockdown) but perhaps you can accommodate for it anyway. Also a lovely time to incorporate all your kids artwork that you have been doing during quarantine.

Makeover your Coffee Table

In a perfect world, we would all have immaculately styled coffee tables. In reality they usually are scattered with a selection of remotes, children’s toys and last months magazines!

Whilst you are on lockdown and wondering what you can do to switch up your living area, why not give your coffee table a makeover?

Before you start styling, the first tip would be to consider how you use your coffee table. Do you use it as a surface for your cup of tea while watching Netflix? Do you love to play board games?  Do you spend a lot of time reading magazines and books in your living room?  The best coffee tables may look beautiful, but they are not functional if they do not serve the purpose for who is using it.

  • Start with a plant. This can be a plant or a sculptural succulent or small aloe. A larger arrangement can really create a bit of drama. Branches are also great ( Think orchid, eucalyptus) Dried flowers are definitely having their moment and would look amazing too.
  • Organise with trays. Use trays or boxes to keep your essentials organised. This could include remotes, matches for your scented candle, coasters, or any other small items.
  • Stack your books. You have definitely seen this all over Instagram and Pinterest! Keep it simple and minimalist and display only a collection of your favourite coffee table books.
  • Layer layer layer.  Display items that are different heights ( ie vases, candle holder) and stack items on top of others. ie. a scented candle on top of a stack of books. This allows for a much more dynamic arrangement.
  • Interesting items. While we tend to save mementos or souvenirs for console tables or bookshelves, the interesting objects have more of an impact where people congregate so don’t be afraid of mixing in some special items that have a story to tell.
  • Repetition is key. Repetition is a known trick of the trade. (read more about it HERE) Use this to your advantage and display a collection or grouping of similar items. eg. 3 round bowls.
  • Play with scale. A mistake that a lot of people make is too much of items that are similar in size. Breaking up a coffee table surface with something larger can do wonders for the overall feel of the room.

With regard to the different shaped coffee tables out there, the same tips would apply. Just take note tho that with a round coffee table too many square or rectangular objects tend to look off so always compliment it with rounder shaped items.

Good luck with your coffee table makeover and tag #lockdownhometips and Styleast if you do decide to do a little transformation.

The Most Inexpensive Way to Transform an Interior

Scatter cushions will never go out of style. They add softness and layers to space, and are an affordable way to inject a bit of pattern and texture in a room.   If you are wanting to transform a room, the most affordable way is to change your scatters.

You can’t run out to the shops to buy some new cushions or order some beautiful fabrics to update your look right now, but what I can give you is a bit of advice on how to style your scatters,  which perhaps you can play around with at home with what you have, and of course some inspiration of fabrics and scatters I am crushing on for your post lockdown ‘wishlist’

1.First things first, use feather inserts. They might be a bit pricier than a standard fill insert, but they add an ultra-luxe look that you can’t beat. The scatters will sit better, are more comfortable and are easy to plump up, whereas standard fill scatters will deflate over time and lose their appeal.

Image by Wunders

2. Layer textures. Don’t be afraid to combine multiple textures from velvet to silk, linen to a chunky knit. Combining heavier textures with lighter ones will create visual interest and add to the visual appeal of a space.

  Top tip: Even if the colour of the scatters is all the same, make sure you mix it up with textures. 

Even if they are the same colour, play with texture

3. Vary cushion size. The scatters you chose don’t all have to be the same size. I am a big fan of a much larger scatter ( at least 650x650mm)  for a sofa or on a bed, and then bring in a smaller sized or shaped one to contrast.  A favourite scatter arrangement is known as the 2-2-1. Basically it comprises of the following : two solid colour large scatters, complimented two smaller textural or patterned scatters, positioned in front of the larger ones. This is finished of with a rectangular one with similar tones as the larger solid ones. 

the 2-2-1 principle applied
Image by Liberty Interiors

4. Shape up. A bed is the perfect place to mix around with cushion shapes. Rectangular, square, round or other shapes ( think kids rooms) all add interest, and using them in different sizes looks better too.  A layout for scatters on a bed that I really like is 2 squares with a longer rectangular in front.

image by Liberty Interiors

5. How many it too many? Work in odd numbers. Groups of three or five cushions are much more visually appealing than if they are grouped in even numbers. Also try grouping the cushions to one side of the sofa instead of arranging them symmetrically. 

Top tip : For a 3 seater sofa I would use 5 scatters.

Also just to note, for a very minimalist interior less is definitely more, so I wouldn’t do large amounts of scatters. Keep it simple but striking.

6. Play with pattern. Pattern on pattern is very on-trend.  If you are worried about mixing patterns be a bit brave as it will really pay off. When working with patterns and plains, one of the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements is to alternate them. Start with 2 fabrics which compliment each other (say a plain and patterned one in similar colours ways) Beginning at both ends of the sofa, layer one on top of the other towards the middle, alternating as you go between the 2 styles. Obviously you can add your own spin to this and introduce a third texture or pattern for some added flair. 

Image by HausbyHertex

A good look for a contemporary interior is to colour block. On a neutral sofa, introduce scatters in plain bold colours with no pattern. The interest here lies in different coloured scatters as opposed to the pattern. 

There really are no cast iron rules, except: do not place a cushion on the diagonal. Like Ever!

Some scatters and fabrics I am currently loving:

Scene collection by Villa Nova, Bokeh colour Tuscan is a personal fav of mine. 

Bokeh on the Scatters, Scene on the Sofa.
Image by Villa Nova

Terra Nova by St Leger and Viney. The textures are exquisite! I am using some of these in #cognachousebystyleast which is due for installation a few weeks after lockdown.

Epsilon design by Scion Fabrics. Gorgeous for a bedroom…

The Strangers in Paradise collection by Hertex Fabrics ( it was released towards the end of last year, so it’s not brand new, but some of the prints I still really love). They have recently released an Outdoor Velvet range which is full of dreamy colours perfect for scatters in outdoor living rooms.

Konodo by Hertex Fabrics
Image by Hertex Fabrics

My list could go on – there are just  so many gorgeous fabrics available and new ranges always been released so options are endless and we are spoilt for choice!

Hope the above tips have helped. Don’t underestimate the power of the humble scatter and how it can refresh an old sofa, change up your style and completely transform a space, very inexpensively. And if you do decide to move around your scatters at home for a new look, please tag me on Instagram , I would love to see!

Tips on How to turn your home into a haven

What a world we are currently living in, quarantined by law to our homes by a global pandemic. All this time in our houses really highlights the meaning of ‘home’ . Whether you live in a studio apartment or a 4-bedroomed house, home should be a place of refuge, a shelter from stress and chaos – now more than ever. Today I will be kicking off my #lockdownhometips blog series with some tips on how to turn your home into a haven – your sanctuary.  

‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hue-gah’ in case you were wondering) is a Danish and Norwegian name for a mood of coziness, the idea of warmth.  Adding cosy touches to your home so that you feel more serene in your environment is ‘hygge’. And below are just a few ideas I want to share with you on how to achieve the feeling of ‘hygge’ or tranquility in the home.

(if you want to read more on Hygge, check out http://hyggehouse.com/hygge – there are lots of actions one can do to achieve this feeling.

  1. De-clutter

We are 14 days into our lockdown, so I am sure you have already watched Marie Kondo on Netflix and have had a good clean out. First things first is to de-clutter your space, as when your home is overflowing with stuff, it feels more like a storage unit than sanctuary. An ordered home always seems relaxing, and even a space filled with the most on-trend pieces won’t feel like a refuge if it’s cluttered and messy.

2. Move your furniture around

When I was a little girl I loved nothing more than changing my bedroom layout around; (space planning started young!) waking up with my bed in a new place was like a fresh start. 

I know not everyone is a big fan of change, but if you are open to it, changing the furniture layout in a room really switches things up and creates a brand new experience of the space. Sure, some rooms are pretty locked in to their ‘ideal’  floor plans ( like a kitchen and dining room) but for bedrooms, living rooms, outdoor rooms and family rooms the options are endless and so transformative.   Set aside an hour or so and move some items around, I guarantee not only a change in obviously how your room looks or potentially functions but mostly how uplifting and fresh it feels.

3. Bring plants indoors

Some well-placed greenery can not only brighten a space but also purify the air and they’re also helpful in creating a more relaxing, restful ambiance in any room. We know that spending time in nature is linked to reduced stress level and tension relief. Whats more, in 2008, Dutch researchers found that hospital patients with indoor plants in their rooms reported lower stress levels than patients without them.   I know a trip to the local nursery is not a possibility right now, but if you have a garden, see what plants you can pot and move indoors? Fill vases with fresh flowers and foliage.

ADD PLANTS – POTTED OR IN VASES

4. Conceal Work

Some of us are working from home, and for some that means your dining room table.  As someone who has worked on and off  from home for the last 5 years whilst raising my little girls, I really understand the difficulties that comes with working from home and will do a whole blog post in the next few weeks on creating home work spaces. But the best tip I could give you if your desk is part of a large open plan room, is to be sure to hide your computer at the end of the day to give yourself a mental rest. The same goes for any paperwork you haven’t addressed yet. When working hours are over, put it away so your home switches to being a calming haven instead.

5. Introduce Some Scent

Turning your home into a space that soothes and nurtures can be as much about how it smells as how it looks. Scent can help us unwind and may carry associations of places we love and bring back fond memories. My absolute fav is to burn scented candles ( Jo Malone obsessed!) and essential oil. My favourite essential oil has to be the Weylandts Classic Blend. Cant get enough of it and highly recommend you pre-order it so you can get some when lockdown is over.

SCENTED CANDLES, HOME FRAGRANCES AND ESSENTIAL OILS ARE MY GO-TO

6. Get the Lighting Right

Good lighting can lift the mood of a room and help it function better. Get it right, and any space can feel like a welcoming oasis. ( I am so passionate about good lighting, read more about it here) Add floor lamps and table lamps (a mix of sources) for a layered effect and be sure to add plenty of soft mood lighting like candles and fairy lights. It will soften your mood and help you feel more relaxed.

DIFFERENT SOURCES OF LIGHTING IS KEY

7. Comfort Is key

As we transition into Autumn and the evenings are chillier, now is the perfect time to bring out all your blankets and throws.  Blankets and throws can’t help but appear inviting. They transform a sofa from somewhere to sit into a wonderful place to snuggle. Invite children, dogs or your partner under your blanket too, then forget about everything else as you cozy up together.   Lots of scatters adds to the coziness.   I will be sharing more more about how to style your cushions and give them a bit of an update later this week so stay tuned!

Please follow the hashtag on Instagram (find us at Styleast_01) or keep checking back here on my blog for new posts. It has been a good 2 years since I last wrote a blog post, (feeling a bit rusty!) but I really hope to share some valuable advice and transformative ideas while we are all sitting in our homes wondering what we can do to them with all this time on our hands.

Please also comment on this post of DM me any topics you would love to read more about.