Decorating a staircase on a budget

Decorating a staircase on a budget

Hello my lovely readers, how are you all doing?

I’m still full of my chest infection – boo. Chocolate seems to do the opposite of help, frustratingly!

Today, however, I had one of those days where I just had to do something. Just Anything. Being the extrovert that I am and being locked up in the house for a few days doesn’t do me a lot of good.

So today for some reason Husband wielded a hammer (those who know him will know this is NOT natural behaviour for Husband!) and it inspired me to sort out our staircase!

As our budget is currently very tight, I have plenty of ideas of how to re-design our staircase with new carpets and beautiful paintwork and new bannisters and suchlike, but no money to action it with. Especially before Christmas every single penny seems to be going towards getting presents or cards or food preparations, am I right?

I’m really pleased with my result, it didn’t take long at all!

1. Print a load of 6×4 photos

This can often be done cheaply. I got an amazing deal for photos on Snapfish last year, with a massive amount of free prints (huzzah!) as long as I paid the postage. The photo quality is fab, too.

2. Buy a load of clip frames

Last year I managed to get an insane discount on the ones from Dunelm during their Christmas sale – I think they were only 50p each or something like that, so definitely keep your eyes peeled.

Dunelm clip frames

Dunelm clip frames

3. Decide on a location on the staircase wall for your pictures

I chose the wall climbing the staircase as it was such a massive blank canvas and already had a picture of Husband and I. It’s one of my most favourite photos of us, taken at my sister’s wedding where I was a bridesmaid (this is taken shortly before my hair pops out of the beautiful style the hairdresser had made – damn hair!) and I don’t even think either Husband or I can remember it being taken. I just love how happy and relaxed we both look – it’s us, well and truly. Our wedding photos are beautiful too, of course, but I feel they’re a little more staged. And, more to the point, I don’t look like me at all in them. Sometimes a good thing 😉

Us

Us

4. Grab a pencil, ruler and a spirit level and come up with a strategic pattern placement on the staircase wall for the pictures

Word of warning – I did attempt putting them in a block so nicely next to each other. But with only a pencil and no spirit level or ruler I did it by sight alone. Not ideal for beginners but it worked out fine for me.

5. Put the pictures up, admire your handiwork and go “aaahhh…”

What I love about this pattern is:

  • It shows off Husband, myself, The Blue Thing and the Stepkids. As much as we do try to make them feel included when they come to stay, they are in their teenage years now so may be anxious about their place in our family. I hope that this wall will help reassure them that they are very much loved and part of us.
  • It’s grown around Husband and I. We are still centre stage, but the kids are a wonderful addition to that.
  • It’s organic. What I mean by that is – any additions are easily made in the future. Should we have another photoshoot like we did for TBT’s first Christmas (where the majority of the photos come from) we can easily add them in new frames and just keep building the wall. I’d love to have the whole staircase covered in photos one day!
Finished product

Finished product

Dont we all look amazing?

Don’t we all look amazing?

Have you done something similar? Share your views/ideas in the comments below, I’d love to hear your feedback!

Sx

Chalk paint with Annie Sloan range

Chalk paint with Annie Sloan range

Morning! Hope you’re all having splendiferous weekends? I’ve been all run down with a stinking cold that’s now spread to my chest. Joy.

So I’ll try keeping this relatively short and sweet today!

I do have lots of exciting posts coming up in the future, featuring Great Interior Design Challenge content.. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, definitely do so, otherwise you might miss out on some seriously exciting Christmas treats :)

When I went to see a darling friend of mine yesterday, she confessed (like many in her position) that since she’d moved into her house with her little family in the summer, they hadn’t done much to the house except getting key pieces of furniture, and depended on hand-me-downs as much as possible.

That – I congratulate.

In my opinion, there is absolutely no point in getting yourself on the property ladder having finally saved up all the insane amount of money required for a deposit in this day and age (even just 5% of a 6-digit number is still a small fortune!) and then putting yourself in debt through the mortgage which is a 25 year + commitment to pay off, and then ending up spending another small fortune on furniture. Especially since the furniture may not even be the Perfect Piece, but just something to fill the space..

My darling friend P has collected a load of pine furniture and hand-me-downs for the time being, and they’re ideal for what’s needed. But, of course, P and her family love colour. They are definitely people that you’d expect to have a slightly psychadelic feel to their home with celebration of colour everywhere. So how can this be achieved?

Let me remind you all of the wonders of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint

There’s a massive range of colours for anyone to go CRAZY with!

But – how do I use it?

It’s simple:

1. Get your delightful tin and give it a good shake

This ensures that all the dyes mix wonderfully within the tin so you don’t have to stir it forever. Seeing as the pots are “only” 1 litre each, too, it’s not too heavy.

Annie Sloan paint tins

My weapons of choice – Annie Sloan paint tins in Country Grey and Paris Grey

2. Open the tin and pour an amount over to a bucket or cup

Personally I use a cup. But when I went to Wet Paint’s workshop in February Laura and Jax had provided little buckets. Use whatever you like – the paint is water-soluble so afterwards you can just give whatever you’re using a good clean. Probably wouldn’t use my finest china for this, but you get the jist.

Paint brushes in a cup

Paint brushes in a cup

3. Pour in a little water and stir well

This is a great trick – diluting the paint in your cup/bucket helps it last longer and makes it easier to apply onto the furniture. Keep about 80/20 ratio of paint/water – any further watering-down can make the paint change effect so it’s more of a lime-wash rather than a full covering.

4. Ensure your furniture you’re about to paint is clean and dry

If needs be, give it a wash with sugar soap to get rid of any dirt, and brush it down with a spare paintbrush or something just to get rid of the dust.

3 chairs

The Chairs – BEFORE

See how dark the chairs are in the photo above? And they’re shiny with polish, too.

5. Paint away!

Enjoy the process – remember to use about 2-3 coats of the paint (or until there seems to be an even cover!) Through furniture painting you can make any room look really nicely coordinated even if you may have mismatched furniture.

Here’s two of the same chairs featured before – the paint sticks like glue to any surface, so you don’t have to sand it – as long as it’s been given a good clean it’s ready to be painted and it’ll stick!

Annie Sloan paint

Two chairs – AFTER painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

It’s such a forgiving paint – washes away with just water, and you can paint on top of it again and again if you’re not happy with the first colour.

6. Seal it

Seal it with Annie Sloan wax, either in original or dark wax for that slightly aged finish.

So go on, enjoy! What have you got to lose?

Some other examples of what I’ve painted in the past:

Dresser before

Dresser before

Mirror after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Mirror after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Stool after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

Stool after being painted with Annie Sloan Country Grey

How to design an inspiration scheme board

How to design an inspiration scheme board

Evening all!

Hope you’re all doing marvellously?

For tonight’s blog post I thought I’d share the idea behind coming up with a scheme in the first place – it’s all very well me showing you my schemes completed and the furnishings that will be involved, but unless you know how I see the process from beginning to end, how are you possibly meant to be able to do it for yourself?

Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that as an interior designer I can help with all kinds of design aspect, from designing your scheme to sourcing furniture and fabrics, all the way through to arranging contractors to do the hard work of transforming the space. Click here to find out more about the services I offer, or click here to contact me directly about any questions you have. There’s no such thing as a stupid question!

1. What are the key words for the space?

Do you want the room to be cosy, or light and airy? Modern and contemporary, or traditional and classic? Do you prefer more masculine or feminine touches? It’s only through asking yourself what exactly it is you want, and what you are about (forget what fashion is telling you for a moment) that you can then establish what your main key words for the space will be.

2. Design a concept board based on the keywords

For example, for my latest work the bedroom concept board is this:

Bedroom concept: Glamour, luxury, warmth and comfort, relaxation, texture

Bedroom concept:
Glamour, luxury, warmth and comfort, relaxation, texture

But, you may be asking, how do you decide on the images?

If you take a look at my Pinterest site you can see how I decide; I simply think of items that would represent glamour to me, so the high heels are a sign of glamour and luxury (as is the white orchid), the knitted blankets represent warmth and comfort (can you imagine anything nicer than snuggling under one of them in front of the fire on a dreary winter’s day?), relaxation for me is a beach holiday (hence the feet in the sand) and the texture was a combination of the beach and knitted blankets.

3. Begin sourcing

By “Sourcing” I mean research the items you’re after, from floor to ceiling. Paint, fabrics, furniture styles, you name it! Again, I’m a great lover of Pinterest and have an extension pack on my Chrome web browser that allows me to “pin” any image I see on a website back to my boards I’m working on to keep them all organised.

Pinterest boardBut how can I put it together as a complete scheme board?

I simply print out the images, and add them to any collection of images I’ve already found in magazines or brochures.

Samples galore

Samples galore

Selection of images and finishes for different rooms

Scheme images that I decided not to use

Selecting the perfect armchair to go with the informal sofa is important

…as is choosing the right foot stoolfor the overall effect of the room

So far so good, right?

What you may find is that you end up with duplicated images. Fear not! Personally, I see this as a positive – you’re clearly drawn to that particular design, so stick with it. But try to only use ONE image, instead of three in my case :)

Coffee table

4. Complete the scheme

Put together all the images, textures, fabrics, furniture and any other samples you may have onto a board – I try to use A3 size as it’s normally the right size for a space. For my project however I’ll be using a fair few boards as I’m going to be doing slightly different effects around the rooms, including the kitchen/diner/lounge open living area.

[caption id="attachment_2910" align="alignnone" width="3264"] Scheme board for informal living room

 

Scheme board for formal living area

That, my dear reader, is it!

You may wish to edit down the images once you mount them beautifully onto card, but right there you can see a scheme starting to take place.

The process is meant to be creative, slightly messy (organised chaos, anyone?) but most of all, enjoyable and inspiring! So enjoy it!

S x

5 ways to transform a Boys’ bedroom

5 ways to transform a Boys’ bedroom

Evening all!

Tonight as you’ll be reading this I’ll be doing the second thing this week which lies outside of my comfort zone – meeting with a blog specialist called Jo who runs Stir Up Media – hopefully she’ll be coming up with oodles of advice for a brighter blogging future!

So you may wonder what the first thing outside of the comfort zone was? I was on the radio again, dear readers! If you’re interested in having a listen, see this link and skip to hour 2-3; let me know what you think, if you had a chance to listen in!

Today I wanted to share with you my top 5 ways to transform a Boys’ room – this is something I shall be doing shortly as my stepson and TBT currently share a room which has white walls, white wardrobes, pine furniture and is just a bit of a mish-mash throughout!

Bedroom currently

Bedroom currently

Obviously when stepson comes to stay his bed has the bed made and everything, I’m not that evil as a stepmother who doesn’t let him sleep with bedding! But as you can clearly see, there’s a difference between the boys’ interests and ages. In a society with never-ending increases in house prices I have decided to take on the challenge of trying to do up their room without spending very much money (because, let’s face it, who has any money spare now, especially before Christmas??)

TBT is currently into planes, space, planets- you know it! Stepson is a little more tricky; reaching his teenage years on his next birthday I want his side of the room to be as blank a canvas as possible, so he can grow into his own person without feeling he’s got to follow a path we’ve laid down for him. It also needs to be adaptable, so if he chooses to update his style it can be changed easily with a few key pieces.

So, let’s begin!

1. Paint and wallpaper

…Are you surprised? Of course I’m going to ask for the walls to be changed!

The plan is to have wallpaper on the wall above TBT’s bed which isn’t that big really, so I would get away with doing a pretty extravagant purchase on this one, mostly because I love the paper myself!

Spitfires Wallpaper by Paperboy

Spitfires Wallpaper by Paperboy

I’ve stuck with a neutral wallpaper colour so as to not limit the creativity and potential of changing the colour at the drop of a hat – you’ll see why later..

For stepson’s side of the room, the plan is to have “his” wall in this:

Elephant's Breath by Farrow and Ball

Elephant’s Breath by Farrow and Ball

The rest of the walls will remain white, just to give an element of personality for each side of the room.

2. Rug

Now, in an ideal world I would be saying “rip up the carpet and display the floorboards!” or “Invest in a new carpet to cover the room!” but that’s more as a long-term project and can’t be done overnight. Instead:

Adum round rug by IKEA

Adum round rug by IKEA

This would be great to place in the room to break up all the square/rectangular units and provides soft flooring underfoot for when the boys play in the room.

3. Chalkboard paint area

Now, I’m not 100% certain where this is going to go – I’m tempted to stick it on the wardrobe door! The main reason for doing this is obviously for TBT’s benefit, but also would give stepson an area that he can decorate whenever he so chooses and colour/not colour as much as he’d like.

Our visit to the local A&E department in August gave me the inspiration

Our visit to the local A&E department in August gave me the inspiration

Aldi often have deals on homewares, and pots of chalkboard paint is one of them – £4.99 for a tin isn’t bad?

4. Curtains

The room currently has a Velux blind and a very simple curtain that doesn’t really keep the light out very easily (not great for the summer months/daytime naps!) so I’m working with a sexy little black bin bag covering the window itself – mm-mm-mm! Gotta love it, right?

The plan is to find a fabric that I like for the two boys, and get a customised Velux blind for the one window (I’m not touching those with a barge pole!) and the other I shall attempt to make my own roman blind for, using a kit through Terry’s Fabrics:

Roman blind kit through Terry's fabrics

Roman blind kit through Terry’s fabrics

5. Bedding

For TBT I’ve got enough to tide us over for a little while, at least until next year or so, so that’s not a priority. What I am looking to get, though, is bedding for Stepson – I’ve found a couple of options that I think would work well:

Argos Grey single bedding

Argos blue single bedding

Argos blue single bedding

 

 

 

As the bedding is only priced at £8.49 per set, I figure I could do a mix and match – grey pillow case with a blue duvet cover, perhaps?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So – what do you think? Would these work well for you? What colours would you go for, if any? Or perhaps you’d stay with neutrals?

Let me know – I always love to hear the feedback from you guys

S x

Rustic & relaxed – Autumn comfort in interior design

Rustic & relaxed – Autumn comfort in interior design

Hellooooo my lovelies! Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend, nice and relaxed.
Mine has been a leeeeettle bit hectic, and just to prove I don’t pre-write my posts, I’m only able to send something for you to read now..

Recently I’ve started to work on my KLC course once more, and I’m starting to get my scheme together for my latest project; it’s a 2-bedroom 1930s flat for a professional couple who work and play hard, don’t have children and enjoy entertaining. You may recall me publishing this post recently with concept boards; it was while working on the concept boards for the flat that I came up with the idea of the blog post. In case you didn’t see them before, these are my concepts for the flat:

Bathroom Concept Board - light, textured and sense of space

Bathroom Concept Board – light, textured and sense of space

Living Room concept board - light, textured, relaxed

Living Room concept board – light, textured, relaxed

Bedroom concept: Glamour, luxury, warmth and comfort, relaxation, texture

Bedroom concept:
Glamour, luxury, warmth and comfort, relaxation, texture

As you can clearly see, there’s a lot of natural fabrics, neutral colours and a little bit of glitz and glamour to it, too. I’m toying with the idea of creating a very unique scheme in this project that can’t really be pigeonholed into one or another category, and I’ll keep you posted on that..

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some beautiful accessories I’ve come across in my sourcing recently for the perfect rustic and relaxed feel, full of comfort. Enjoy!

Nordic House knitted pouffe

Nordic House knitted pouffe

Nordic House knitted rug

Nordic House knitted rug

Nordic House knitted pouffe

Nordic House knitted pouffe

Loaf.com pouffe

Loaf.com pouffe

Kelly Hoppen throw

Kelly Hoppen throw

Nordic house mini pinecones

Nordic house mini pinecones

Nordic House cable knit cushion

Nordic House cable knit cushion