Despite being a little dark in the winter this room has such a calm feel to it. The transformation has been very gradual and my main aim was to add a bit of warmth and depth to it, which all started when we ripped out the carpet to reveal some beautiful originally floor boards that were surprisingly in pretty good nick!
They needed a good sand down, a bit of filler in places and all the carpet nails removed. We then primed and painted it in a slight off white tone using Eico Antique white paint, which we have since used on all the windows in the house as it has been amazingly durable so far...
Removing the carpet revealed a fireplace hearth, which we painted white at the time, I didn't think much of it until I finally decided to fully revamp the room last month, which had cracks everywhere, it was high time for a good lick of paint. I got a bit carried away on the patch test front as wanted to introduce some colour, but found all the ones I tested were too cool for this north facing room. Going to the Farrow and Ball new colour launch, got me obsessed with the gorgeous new Sulking Room pink colour, but again the tone was not right on the walls. In the end we decided on Little Green Slaked Lime Deep (Intelligent Matt Emulsion). It has a gorgeous earthy tone to it I would describe the colour as a moss like grey/green colour that gives off a really warm feel and works beautifully with blacks and sulking room pink, which I was determined to use as a colour pop somewhere in the room.
On removing the mirror where the hearth is, I found the wall was crying out for a focal point and that's when I started searching online for Victorian cast iron fireplaces, after a little hunt I found one on Gumtree £40, it was beautiful and close to home, I couldn't believe my luck! It arrived a little rusty and broken in some places, but other than that in a very good condition. Knocking the initial a hole in the wall was a tad nail biting, but luckily after the first layer of bricks a hole was revealed and it fitted like a glove. It wont be a working fireplace it is purely decorative to bring back some of the rooms initial character. To add a bit of contrast I decided to paint it in the colour we used downstairs on our conservatory windows. This is basically a mix I created using the Ash and Midnight blue of Fusion Mineral Paints in equal parts, it creates a beautiful blue toned dark grey colour, similar to the Farrow and Ball Railings. This paint doesn't need much prep, just a quick sand down on the wood/metal surface and it can be applied very easily, once dry it has a beautiful matt finish.
A lot of the furniture we already had in the room looked pretty worn down and tired, but was still perfectly functional, so I decided to up-cycle as much as possible, whilst making it more in keeping with the new colour scheme. This was my queue to finally use a bit of Sulking Room Pink (Estate Eggshell) of which the two side tables had the pleasure, I also added new brass handles. I was on a roll and also decided to up-cycle the chest and mirror in the black/grey and a little end of bed bench we were using in another room. With new handles and a fresh coat of paint these pieces now look completely different! I got the handles for the chest at Dowsing and Reynolds and the small ones on the side table from Amazon Home.
The divan bed was transformed through adding a headboard (Tikamoon), the whole room has a bit of 1930's feel to it with the new colour scheme, so I went for a rattan style and painted the wood surround in my little paint mix.
I am aware that I might be repeating myself here, but it really is amazing how a lick of paint can transform a room especially if you are on a budget. This room is now so cosy and inviting, just changing the colour palate adding a pops of pink and some cosy soft furnishing has given it so much more character and the main vocal point the fireplace, looks like it was always meant to be!
Find The Style
Walking into my home a few years was a very different experience to now, the walls were bare, bar the very odd piece of art. Family photos and pictures were only seen on shelves, picture rails and consoles, however over the last two years I have discovered a love for wall hangings and gallery walls, which are now ever expanding across the entire house.
The most recent area was the hallway, which is still in progress. I have had a lot of questions on how I planned this wall, which actually came about quite organically. I initially picked a few family pictures I wanted up on the walls ordered up some frames to fit these from Made.com and started hanging them. I placed 3 on the landing and then worked all the rest around these. I didn't want it to look too structured so mixed the sizes and added the odd white frame and random splash of colour. I have gradually filled it further with a few more prints and love mixing text among pictures. I think the key is not to rush, take your time building it up, so you see what you love on the walls as you walk past and not just something that fills a gap. As you can see mine isn't finished yet, there are still a few gaps...
The most recent picture I hung was actually spontaneously placed, new for me, as most of my hangings are more grouped or structured. I love this effect of randomly filling a space without worrying about measurements or symmetry, this really works if you have something with graduated heights below, the chest and chair really frame the picture making it blend in seamlessly with the rest of the room.
Unlike the hallway the gallery wall in our lounge took a lot more time to put up, endless measuring was involved to create a grid like wall. But the actual planning was easier as all the frames are the same size and style framing pictures of the family. We created this with a view that it would eventually extend across the whole width of the wall, with further images being added over the years as the family grows up. I got these frames from The White Company and all my photos are printed at Sim Lab.
You can't go wrong with a group of 3! They look great above a bed or fireplace drawing your attention to a focal point in the room and adding more interest. Its always nice mixing these up a bit whether it be colour or a varied theme.
I love layering on shelves/ledges and picture rails are a great way to pop and update family photos. I like mixing up the frames on these, different sizes and styles some layered in front of each other. Some people are very strict about mixing colour with black and white, but I actually like mixing the two, it makes the colours pop out and the black and white look more striking.
Though sometimes you just cant beat a large single picture on its very own wall to give that instant statement.
Where I like to get frames: Ikea, The White Company, GLTC, One.World, Made.com, Brissi and John Lewis
Imagery: a mix of family photos and prints
What I hang with: Usually using picture nails and hooks and sometimes I use command strips for smaller frames.
Where I like to get prints: Cherylrawlings, Junie Poonie, The Little Jones, Will Makes Things, Daisy & Bump, Belle and Boo, Desenio and Slaymyprint,
I had a few little patch tests on these window panes for at least 2 months before I decided to take the plunge and go dark. The conservatory in our house is such a beautiful feature, however the white paint was very tired and needed some serious TLC, so it was a choice between a fresh coat of white, a pale grey tone or a significant leap to black where the change would be difficult to reverse. I have always loved the more industrial look of Crittall windows and as this space is very traditional, I felt going dark would give it a more up-to-date feel while simultaneously accentuating the classic design of the doors.
The dark won my heart in the end. I wanted the finish to be as matt as possible - to get that Crittall window feel – so the paint choice was extremely important. A friend of mine had recently been raving about Fusion Mineral Paint as it doesn't mark up and is easy to clean (unusual for a matt finish), however the colours were either too dark or or very blue. Eventually, I did a little tester using sample pots of the Navy and Ash Black and mixing them up in equal measures. This created a beautiful dark blue/grey tone, very similar to Farrow and Ball railings, just a tad darker. I found the perfect colour!
- The paint colours mixed together equal measures - Before
The window frames were all sanded down then painted with 3 coats of the Fusion mix, no primer or sealer were needed, this paint is amazingly smooth to apply and a little goes a long way, I had bought a total of 12 paint pots, as they look small and I only ended up using 6 of them. The instant change in this room was unbelievable, it immediately framed the garden drawing the greenery inside and creating a sense of fluidity.
Originally I was going to paint the pillars dark too, but then decided in order to compliment the glass ceiling they needed to be light, so opted for Farrow and Ball ‘Wevet’ instead, along with the rest of the wood work and walls in this room. The dark paint did mark up a little initially with dust and a few tiny chips in some places, which at first was a concern, but a paint specialist confirmed that unlike other paints it takes a few weeks to harden and once it does will be stronger than normal paints. Four months later and this appears to be correct.
This colour change is even possible on uPVC as discovered by my instagram pal Jess, thehoppyhome.co.uk. When Jess saw the finished result on my page, she did a similar paint over in her uPVC conservatory. Firstly, she primed all the frames with two coats of ‘Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer-Sealer' then followed with a coat of 'Johnstone’s Trade Eggshell' colour matched to the Farrow & Ball Railings for a similar effect. The result was amazing!
I am a great believer that a lick of paint can completely enhance a space and this room says it all. At night, it does feel a little vast, absorbing into the dark with no defined colour to differentiate the two. However, during the day it emphasises the greenery beyond, beautifully framing the garden while seamlessly blending in with the greens. Unexpectedly, the effect is a lot more subtle than the white, yet still offers a gorgeous contrast between the inside and outside of the house. The transformation is dramatic and I love it, proving it sometimes pays dividends to take a risk and experiment.
With a house full of pets and children, a question friends often ask me, is how despite the inevitable bits lying here and there and everywhere, can a room look stylish? Firstly, I try to avoid anything too bright/plastic and garish for the kids at home, obviously we have a few items of this very description, but when not being played with they tend to be hidden away in the most subtle baskets/toy storage I can find. I love a challenge and to think outside the box in regard to the way I style the clutter in our home. Whether it's about accessorising, storage solutions, a splash of colour or up-cycling , I try and maximise every existing item that is visible to the eye so the house looks its very best. This is achieved through clutter being styled or completely hidden!
I love the above baskets with pom poms for the children's areas in the house. They add an instant splash of colour, hide all the toys when not being played with and look stylish at the same time, I found these on Etsy who have lots of different colour options. I used fruit storage units below these from Cox & Cox, they are great to store all the little bits such as lego, wood blocks and puzzles. Wall stickers are amazing at making a dead space instantly look more characterful, I got this rabbit from Bell & Boo. Little details such as flowers, ball lights and neon lighting also add an element of fun to a space and I love having picture rails along the walls in family areas with family pics, though I have to admit I am very behind on updating these as the kids get older...
Storageboxes are a decluttering must, stacked neatly along with book racks and sectioned magazine storage. Canvas baskets are ideal for throwing the soft toys in at the end of the day and the above (along with the Teepee) are from Wildire Teepees. I usually keep the walls quite neutral in these areas, so the fun colours and patterns can speak for themselves. Chalk paint on certain walls is great to avoid writing anywhere else, these two areas are painted in Eico Chalk Paint, they have loads of colours to choose from, this is a lovely blue toned grey that the kids can draw on to their hearts content.
The more stylish clutter, a mixture of sentimental items, plants, books, candles and photos, are arranged on shelves around the house (the above two photos were featured in a Rockmystyle blog). This provides a homely and lived in feel, however, keeping them contained to specific areas allows other spaces to beclutter free creating a sense of equilibrium.
It’s not just the kids’ areas that have baskets, they are literally everywhere around the house. Whether containing umbrellas by the door, loo rolls in the bathroom or dirty laundry, there is always a basket to hide a multitude of clutter creators. Plants look wonderful when popped in them too - John Lewis, Cox & Cox, TK Max and OlliElla always have a great selection to pick from.
A splash of colour on the inside of doors not only adds a fun focal point to any room but also distracts from the clutter. Hooks on the inside are always a useful way to hang special items that would usually be discarded into a basket or on the floor. Decorating the walls with pretty shelves and toys also helps avoid too much chaos on the floor and I love stacking suitcases on top of each other as they’re ideal for storing puzzles, books and Lego.
The above doors are painted in Farrow and Ball Nancy Blushes (pink) and Babouche (yellow)
Desk storage has suddenly become a necessity for my 5-year-old daughter. I made this desk using an Ikea work top cut down to size along with two of the Eket range units either side, adding pretty handles for a colour splash. The vibrant shelves are again Ikea spice racks that I painted. I always keep nice simple gift boxes such as those from The White Company, JoJo Maman, Bebe and Jo Malone as they’re great for storing little bits.
I tend to put pin boards up on hidden walls that we walk past regularly but are not a focal point in the house, such as outside the downstairs loo. These are great to pin memories, things to do and reminders. Cute hooks on the children's walls are also very handy to hang pretty outfits that are usually hidden away in the wardrobe.
I hope this helps give a little insight on how I style the clutter. The bottom line is that certain clutter can work if presented correctly, you don't have to be minimal to have a clutter free home, it’s about the right storage and making it appealing to the eye. There’s so much more to share so I can’t wait to post my next blog for you!
We were very lucky to inherit a beautiful master bathroom with the house. It has a dreamy roll-top bath, which had been on my wish list for many years and the layout is brilliant, however floor to ceiling was literally the same off white tone making it look pretty bland despite the nice features. There was no depth and all the character seemed lost within the sea of beige. If I had the budget I would have put down new patterned tiles and replaced the sink unit for something more characterful, but this wasn't the case, so I decided to revamp it through a dramatic colour change.
I started by giving the bath a good rub down and then painting it in Farrow and Ball Black & Blue (Estate Eggshell, 3 coats) to tie in with the sink unit, all the walls had a good lick of F&B Oval Room Blue (Estate Emulsion), which instantly refreshed the room with it's beautiful cool blue/green tones. I have found this particular blue really compliments dark colours such as black. As extra storage I have an Ikea Hemnes single cabinet to the side of the shower, I also painted this in FB Black & Blue and switched the handle, it now looks like a completely different unit!
The spot lights above the sink were replaced with hanging lights from Cox and Cox (placed within IP regulations) to soften the unit and I have also added a few plants to this room, they always seem to thrive in bathrooms due to the water/steam. This is now one of my favourite rooms in the house, a little sanctuary to retreat for a peaceful bath in the evenings, I no longer dream of patterned tiles, as it works just the way it is, and it just goes to show what a transformation simply picking up the paint brush can make.
Welcome to her ever so girly haven...
When moving into our house 3 years ago, this room was mainly just used for sleeping as my daughter was still in her cot at the time, so initially it had a quick lick of white paint, balloon wallpaper put on a feature wall with fitted shelves over it, alongside a new floor and radiators, which were also updated throughout the house. Other than that I left it pretty neutral and dressed it with fun pretty accessories and toys.
This is what it was like for a while before the recent updates
However this year my daughter has started use the room a lot more. She loves going to her room to read, draw and play, so I decided to update it a bit to suit her age, by adding a fun bunk bed alongside a new desk. I created a wall to wall desk space under the shelves using Ikea units and adding a cut to size white worktop, making it look more interesting with some fun colourful handles. I used some spice racks as shelves behind this and painted them up in bright colours using old sample pots. The new bed is a fun house frame bunk bed that I have painted pink, I have created a cosy snug area full of cushions at the bottom and the top is where she sleeps. The whole room has also had a refresh with a lick of paint in Little Greene French Grey and I have added some pretty metallic gold stars to the wall by her bed.
I found the bed on Etsy, its sold by a seller called SilverElk. We are really happy with it, its a very sturdy wood frame. The idea is that she will sleep at the top and the bottom area with be a fun snug area she can read and hang out it which will double up for sleep overs in a few years time. We painted it up in Farrow and Ball Nancy Blushes to match the inside of her door which is also that pink.
After a lot of patch testing we settled on Little Greene French Grey Mid for the walls as it goes so well with the Nancy Blushes Pink and I added some beautiful metallic wall stickers stars to the walls beside her bedside by Nutmeg Wallart Stickers and some garland of coloured lights by Cotton Ball Lights. I also found a gorgeous selection of cushions from H&M Home which I added to ones we already had for a fun snug area at the bottom.
The desk area: To create this I used a plain white Ikea work top cut down to size and two of the Ikea Eket range cabinets on which I then fixed the work top. The reason I chose the Eket cabinets is the they are only 35cm deep which worked perfectly for this set which I didn't want to stick out too much.
I found some really cute handles to pop on one of the Eket cabinets these were also an Etsy find sold by The Leather Handle Company and painted up three spice wracks from Ikea using old sample pots to go above the desk. The colours used were Little Greene Yellow: Mister David Green: Aquamarine Deep and Pink: Little Piggy by Fusion mineral paints.
And here it is all finished... Ooh and I also painted the chair, another Ikea purchase, using some remaining Farrow and Ball Babouche Yellow paint.
The pink door has stayed and this wall has had a few fun items which were originally above her bed added to it alongside these colourful GLTC wall houses. I must update that number 4, haha...
She is so delighted with her new room and loves hanging out in it a lot more now, especially when she has friends over.
After I had my first child I worked in floristry for a while, it took off quite quickly, as I started doing displays for lots of previous clients in the public relations world, which is what I used to do before having children. I still style the odd event now and then, but what I love most is having flowers around the house.
How could I resist when One.World approached me to create some summer floral vibes in my own home using their stunning vases!
I have kept the styles quite simple, so it's easy to replicate and even managed to use some fresh flowers from the garden.
A rustic country garden look, using a simple mix of white stock and small roses in the beautiful Birkdale Squat Vase.
I have really got into using trays to add a bit of interest to the centre of a coffee table lately, using the vase above you can create a completely different look by simply popping it on a beautiful mirror tray with candle sticks, tea lights and a little glass cloche over a rose head.
A summer posy in the gorgeous Goodwood vase. So pleased to have been able to pick some beautiful fresh Alliums straight from the garden for this little bunch.
This Sudbury vase is so elegant, all it needs is a few sprigs of tall stems such as Larkspur flowers and you have a beautiful display on your hands!
The Birkdale urn full of roses, so classic and elegant. I used preserved roses to make this one as they last ages so you can keep it on display for years to come...
How gorgeous are these two vases! The silver Claymore vase simply styled with some large artificial dried agapanthus stems and the Albany ribbed bowl filled with peonies and a mixed selection of buds and foliage from the garden. I have recently started to use herbs such as mint and rosemary within my foliage, it makes the whole display smell divine.
and finally I do love a flower cluster on the dining room table. Mixing vases of all shapes and sizes with varied displays gives such a gorgeous focal point to a room and adds depth and interest to a table.
All the above vases, candleholders, mirrored tray & votives are from www.one.world
A bit late with this one, but here's a few of my favourite squares from February. Lots of pink in the house this month with Valentines day and the branch that keeps on giving did the trick adorned with some pink pompoms and fans. So pleased with the new wall paper in the downstairs loo and our gallery wall on the stairway is coming along nicely too.
This room has a door leading into the house from a side entrance and is a laundry room too. It initially had folding slide doors, which were a nightmare as they kept getting in the way, defeating the purpose of a side door! I didn't touch this room initially as wasn't sure what to do with it, it is quite narrow and also houses the boiler. I kept wondering whether to knock down the wall and pinch some space from the downstairs loo, but liked the size of that room, so didn't want to change it. Then I just decided to make the most of the space by making it work, through putting in as many storage options as possible into the small space at the same time as giving it a boot room style makeover. I created extra storage by extending the coat hooks across the full length of the room and the shelving above goes all the way across too and over the door. The mini bench with an opening top houses plenty of the kids shoes, umbrellas and bags.
After the old frame and tiles were taken out, we started with the floor. I found these beautiful tiles at The Cement Tile Shop.
Next the new unit frames were built on one side a large cupboard to conceal the boiler and a unit to house the washing machine, tumble dryer, storage and sink. The other side is tongue and grove with coat hooks along the entire wall with shelves above and a small bench for additional storage.
Once all was in place it had a base coat applied and then was painted in Little Greene Basalt Blue (a black toned blue) I love a matt finish, so I went for the Matt Emulsion, which on its own would mark up terribly, but with a coat of Decorators Varnish (dead matt finish) retains the matt look and doesn't mark up at all.
I found the wall tiles at Tops Tiles. They are slightly mottled in appearance which I love and I decided to go for a Herringbone design for the wall above the counter top, finished with dark grey grouting.
and then for the little details...
The cast iron brackets were an Ebay find and I used old scaffolding boards with a varnish on top for the shelves. The hooks are by Jim Lawrence and the hanging lights I found at OIive and Fox. Round door knobs are by Buster and Punch and the long ones are from Simply Door Handles and finally the tap is from Olif.
We initially painted this room an off white when we moved in, but over time it was crying out for colour, however I wanted something light. After painting a few items pink around the house, I managed to convince my husband pink was the best option, as its colourful, warm and light, everything we wanted this room to be.
The above photo is by Rockmystyle from our house tour
Below is how the room looked when we bought the house, along with the colour change, we had wood flooring put down, new radiators and we also widening the chimney breast, could be positioned in front of it.
Farrow and Ball Pink Ground on the walls and Hague Blue on the chest.
I also decided to revamp the dull brownish chest we already had in the room, we painted it blue and added new brass handles.
It has transformed the room into a warm inviting space that I would love to hang out in, if I had the time... I never felt that way when it was more neutral. This colour gives off such a comforting cosy feel!
I have got a little carried away with Christmas decor this year, my four year old daughter is so excited by Christmas, its not hard to get caught up in all the excitement too, though I do love a bit of festive decor, so any excuse really...
The wreath is up on our newly blushed door, I am so happy I went for this pink in the end, it adds such a nice warmth to the entrance hall. I made this wreath from scratch with moss and wire as a base and built it up from there. It is quite simple this year, usually I add ribbon dried oranges etc
With an 18 week old puppy and a 2 year old in the house, the christmas tree needed to be in a room that could be shut off. It is usually always in this room, so instead I got a branch from the garden and hung it from the ceiling with some pretty baubles and snowflakes. I have had so many compliments on this and as it is unreachable no damage can be done!
I really struggled to find a garland that would go up the full length of the stairs, so had to use three in the end, luckily I got a good black Friday deal on these and any excuse to get honeycomb balls out, I had these already and love the colour pop against the black bannisters...
This style wreath was a first for me, I love all the scandi style ones that are out there at the moment, so decided to make my own and a few extra as Christmas gifts too. This is made out of preserved flowers and foliage, so should last a few years. Its always so nice to get back into a bit of floristry with my www.harpersbloom.co.uk this time of year! I set up Harpers Bloom a few years ago, but it has been taking a bit of a back seat lately, as my focus has been on interiors.
and finally the tree, which unfortunately has already had a few casualties! All glass has had to moved a fair bit higher up...
The blue room is starting to look festive and full of sparkle, just waiting for the tree... I couldn't resist putting these beautiful illuminated boubles, trees, stars and hearts out a few days early this year, to get us all in into the Christmas spirit. There is nothing more magical than lighting for children at Christmas, my daughter and sons little faces when they saw these...
I have always loved decorating mirrors, as the reflection doubles up your decor giving a striking layered effect especially when ilumintated. The picture below only has one heart and two trees, but it gives the illusion of six.
These Christmas shapes from one.world are all battery operated, which is amazing, no wires in sight. Last year I had a couple of similar stars that needed a socket and it was a nightmare trying to find a place to hang them without the endless lead making a prominent feature.
Now to get that fire roaring and think about the rest of the house and the Christmas tree, which has to be in this room too, so it can be shut off now and then from the puppy and my 20 month toddler, who would both have a field day if they got their hands on it! The rest of the decor in this house will need to have height.
I love the month of December and the warmth and cosiness it brings to all interiors you can't beat a bit of sparkle...
Style the Clutter
Interiors By Leoma Harper
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'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'