6 articles Tag design

Make Your Home a Little More Nordic

Make Your Home a Little More NordicThere’s been a huge trend for Scandi home styling for quit some time now, with hygge, lykke and fika all becoming part of our vocabulary in recent years. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, with the leaves starting to brown and jumpers coming out of the wardrobe, but it got me thinking about those Scandi trends and how we could make our home feel a little more Nordic, without making major changes. Here are some of the things I came up with:

Go White

You might not think of whte floors and walls when you think about being cosy, but actually, whiteness is a staple of Nordic home design, with many opting for clean white walls and adding in splashes of colour elsewhere. This is because they winter months are long and dark in Scandinavian countries and white walls reflect the light as much as possible. Light grey can also create a sense of cosy in a room, particularily if there is enough light in the home.

I Love Lamp

No Nordic home is complete without a lot of lamps. As above, the winter months can be really gloomy, especially as you go further North, with some places seeing no daylight for weeks on end. Creating a lighting scheme which can be bright when you want it to be, as well as being cosy and muted when you feel like it, is super important to get the Nordic feel.

All Natural

Scandinavians have a great appreciation for the outdoors and nature is reflected in much of their design choices. Décor, artwork and materials often represent the nature of the Nordic region. Wood is abundant in most Scandi homes adding a coziness that compliments and warms the usually white walls and light floors. You will often find sheepskins and reindeer pelts on chairs and floors as well as plants and flowers or even branches brought in from the outside.

A Splash of Fun

While you’ll find a lot of muted colours and sleek lines in Scandi design, there’s always a splash of colour and a hint of fun in there somewhere. Be it an accessory in a bright, wild colour or a set of cushions with a fun geometric print, it’s not all serious. Don’t be afraid to use clashing colours or oversized items like clocks and mirrors to make the room feel lively and vibrant.

Mix and Match

One thing you’ll notice about most Nordic rooms is that it’s not all matchy-matchy. You’ll find things make from wood, plastic, metals, fabric, all in a variety of colours and shapes. You’ll find ultra-modern furniture sitting alongside antiques and you’ll find hard surfaces and straight edges softened with fabrics and textiles. In Nordic homes it is not unusual to find and interesting mix of expensive classic pieces with more affordable designs – Scandinavians know the value of good design in their homes and will often save up for that one iconic piece that will give them great pleasure, rather than spending on smaller items which are ultimately disposable.

Sausage and BB Design Their Dream Home

It’s been pretty rainy and rubbish here for the last few days and after the madness of last week (Sausage turned 11 on Tuesday, so we’ve had playdates, sleepovers, shopping days as well as a barbecue at the weekend for our friends’ 40th) we’ve opted to spend some time chilling at home. You know what kids are like, though, and even chilling at home means finding pretty constant ways to entertain them, so I thought I’d ask them to tell me what their dream house would be like, and write about it here!

A Personal Lift

While brainstorming their ideas, both girls decided that their dream home would have bespoke passenger lifts – Sausage to transport her dozens of dogs and BB to get her pushchairs upstairs because she wants a dozen babies!  I can see my retirement years being spent doing a LOT of baby sitting and dog sitting…

Walk-In Wardrobe

Despite neither of my kids being massively girly girls, they both LOVE clothes, and another thing they agreed on (I can’t believe they’ve agreed on so much to be honest!). When Sausage mentioned that she wanted a massive walk-in wardrobe, BB decided that she definitely wanted one of those, too. They’d better both have good careers for all this stuff!

Conservatory

I’m not sure what it is about the women in our family, but we all love a conservatory. Maybe it’s the feeling that you’re sitting outside but manage to be warm and dry at the same time? Either way, both girls decided that a conservatory would be high on their list of demands when designing their dream house.

Theatre Room

In all honesty, we’re only just at a point where BB will sit still for long enough to watch a whole film. She’s okay at the cinema because she can’t get up and wander off but at home, it’s a struggle. However, she’s recently decided that she does like watching movies with us (even if we have to spend ten minutes convincing her beforehand!) and both girls agreed that a theatre room would be a great addition to their dream house.

Indoor Swimming Pool

They might not be overly keen on school swimming lessons (who likes being given two minutes to get your school uniform back on to your still-damp body?!) but both girls love being in the water. My dad kindly bought them a pool for the garden this summer and they’e had great fun using it so far, so they agreed that an indoor pool that they could use all year would be a must-have in their fantasy house.

What would your kids have in their dream house?

Creating a Proper Family Garden

We’ve lived in our current house for almost two years now and this year we’re planning to do a bit of a makeover in the back garden. It’s a pretty big space and is very basic, with a large lawn and a patio area, and it’s completely functional as-is, just a little uninspiring. We’re planning to live in this house for years to come so it stands to reason that we should be optimising the space that we have for us as a family. HouseBeautiful have written a great article about making the most of your garden and it’s got me thinking.

Borders

At the moment, our lawn is just one large, plain space, but we’ve been toying with the idea of edging all along one side and adding a flowery border. It would add some much needed colour to the space and would break up the huge expanse of green that the eye sees. We’re also big fans of anything that attracts bees so we’ll definitely be looking into what to plant for a bee-friendly garden.

Shelter

Given the fact that this is Essex and not Marbella, having a shelter in the garden would make it so much more usable because we wouldn’t be at the mercy of the unpredictable English weather. Oeco make a range of garden rooms which would provide us with an amazing outdoor space to allow us to be indoors and outdoors at the same time.

Lighting

Outdoor lighting is something that I get REALLY excited about (I know, I’m tragic) and I’m planning to get some solar powered string lights to give the garden a beautiful Midsummer Night’s Dream feel to it. Our current outdoor light is a fixed-point, motion sensor floodlight which is NOT conducive to relaxed evenings in the garden.

Furniture

Our current garden furniture consists of an old picnic bench which was left be the previous tenants and some plastic garden chairs which were passed on by my mother in law, The current stuff is okay, but it really doesn’t inspire you to spend any time sitting on it! What I’d really like is one of the outdoor sofa sets which would allow us to sit in the garden as a family, as well as enjoying a meal and having guests over too.

Design Touches

I think one of the things which makes our garden look totally plain is the complete lack of design touches, like pots or plants and ornaments. It’s my birthday in June and I’m hoping for vouchers for a garden centre so that I can buy some bits to make our garden look fabulous.

What have you done to make your garden a better space for your family?

Making Design Choices that Last

studleyOne of the things that Husband and I loved about the house we’re living in now is that our landlady is happy for us to decorate. As with most rental properties, obviously we have a “within reason” guideline, so painting the walls black is a no-no and we’re not permitted to make any major structural changes, but other than that we have fairly free reign. When you rent rather than own, it’s wise to make choices that will last, which means avoiding ‘trends‘ or things which will seem passe by the end of the year.

Obviously, as with clothes, if there’s a particular trend which is big at that time, there will be a LOT of that in the shops – remember a few years ago when metallic furniture was all the rage and it was nigh-on impossible to find a Welsh dresser which hadn’t been gilded?! For us, it’s all about finding balance – items of furniture which are high quality and classic in their design, so that they stand the test of time.

Another thing to consider is lighting – lighting can change the whole look of a room and is so easy to add to. Here’s that the interior design specialists from Baytree Interiors had to say about lighting:

“Strategically placed lighting is a simple yet effective way to change the ambience in a room with minimal effort. Pendant lights and chandeliers are a great choice when it comes to lighting, as are filament bulbs which provide a warm glow with a vintage look. With a range of different styles available from industrial to vintage and modern variants, pendant lights can suit any theme.”

As much as we’d love to re-decorate our houses every time the trends change, what’s far more practical is choosing a style which can be amended if your tastes change. Opting for furniture in neutral colours and classic shapes and then accenting them with cushions, place mats or storage inserts in different colours is a far more practical (and let’s face it, CHEAPER) way to freshen up the look of our homes.

It’s also a lot better for the environment to opt for furniture which has been well-made. Yes, going to a massive warehouse-style shop and picking up a bargain may seem great but that furniture rarely lasts longer than a year, will add to landfill once it’s thrown away and has probably used lots of carbon-heavy processes to be made. Choosing real wood furniture which has been made by craftspeople is by far the better choice.

The Dulux Kids’ Bedroom Project

One thing that Husband and I are really adamant about is that kids should be allowed to have opinions and preferences, and should be given the time and space to express themselves exactly as they’d like to. A few weeks ago, Sausage made a passing comment about how cool it would be if she was allowed to have pink hair and after a little bit of discussion between Husband and I we told her that we had no major objections…and then this happened:

Pink Hair, Don't Care!

It’s a dip-dye which means that it’s easy enough to trim the bottom few inches of her hair off once she’s back to the daily grind, and it’s made her feel really special and grown-up, being allowed to have such wacky hair!

By the same token, we think that kids should have a say in their surroundings too. I’m not talking about letting them choose the wallpaper for the living room, but their own bedroms should be a place where they feel a bit of ownership, which is why I love the new project by Dulux, getting kids involved in the design on of their rooms. The Dulux Kids’ Bedroom Summer Holiday Workbook is a downloadable .pdf which allows kids to gather and record their colour preferences, inspirations and input into the design of their own rooms, so that Mum and Dad can create a space which the kids feel truly connected to.

Dulux Kids Workbook

Dulux have conducted a load of research which shows that kids really value being part of the decorating process:

An overwhelming majority of kids (92%) would spend more time playing in their room and doing their homework if they have a say in how it’s decorated.

Research commissioned by leading paint brand Dulux found a whopping number of children value being part of the decorating process, with the majority saying it was the second most important thing they had ever done – even more important to them than their first day at school or losing their first tooth.

The study of 2,000 families shows that children also found decorating with their parents a really positive experience, with 65 per cent saying they felt happy and 58 per cent excited at the prospect of helping mum and dad.

Additionally, parents commented that decorating together helped to increase their child’s sense of ownership, pride and opportunity for creative expression. Some parents said it even ensured rooms were tidier, because they wanted to show it off to their friends and family.

Surprisingly, however, whilst an indisputable 92 per cent of parents believe that decorating their child’s room is important, the study found that only a QUARTER of parents actually consulted their kids or involved them in the process.

Dulux offers a whole range of paints which are perfect for decorating a kids’ room – Dulux’s Endurance+ range is the perfect paint for a kid’s bedroom makeover – it’s 20 times stronger than normal emulsion, so when you’re tackling sticky fingers and mucky paws it’s a great solution, allowing you to wipe away the stain and not the paint underneath, meaning your walls stay as fresh as the day you painted them!

We’ll definitely be using the Dulux workbook when we get around to decorating the girls’ room and I can’t wait to see what crazy ideas they come up with. They’re sharing a room at the moment but have very distinct little personalities, so there’s a good chance we’ll end up with a room completely split down the middle, with one colour on one side and a completely different colour on the other! We’ll be sure to share the results with you when it happens.

For more info on Dulux and their ranges, you can tweet them on Twitter using their handle, @DuluxUK plus the hashtag #KidsBedroom

Fat Face Launch Kids Competition to Celebrate 25 Years!

We’re big fans of Fat Face in the Mum’s the Word household, their clothes are funky and really high quality and are just a little bit different to what you’d find in your average high street store. This year is their 25th birthday and to celebrate, they’re inviting kids to design their own t-shirt. The winner will see their t-shirt design made for them and win a £100 Fat Face gift card.

Sausage is massively into art and design at the moment, so we’ll definitely be getting involved and sending our entry in. If you’re entering too, be sure to get it in by 14th April!

To enter, go to the Fat Face website or click on the poster above.

(Disclosure: We were compensated with vouchers to write this post, however we love Fat Face regardless of payment and will definitely be entering the competition!)