8 top tips to decorate a rental property (without annoying your landlord!)

Private rentals can be a little tricky when it comes to decorating it in the style that you want. Some landlords are quite easy about what you can do, while others may have a 28-page dossier about what you can’t do (no green walls, no drilling, no new flooring, etc!).

But don’t be put off by these strict regulations, you can still put your own stamp on it without losing your deposit! Chances are that you’re paying extortionate rent, so you need to make the most of your space.

Here are just some of the things you can do to make your rental feel like home…

Better check with your landlord first before painting the walls…especially black

Rugs makes a room cosy  If you’ve moved into a place that comes with horrid carpet or wooden flooring, soft rugs can add that cosy feel. There are plenty of colourful rugs available, like these geometric styles from MADE.com.

Holden Large Geometric Hand Tufted Wool Rug 160 x 230cm, Tonal Blue £299Ava Large Geometric Hand Tufted Wool Rug 160 x 230cm, Tonal Blue £299

If you’re going all hygge-style, I’m a big fan of sheepskin or faux fur rugs that can spruce up the area and feel really cosy. They can be a bit pricey, but I’ve bought a few small ones for less than £20 on Amazon.

Rugs are a nice touch
Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Sheepskin rugs and throws for those chilly nights

Soft furnishings Add colour to your sofa or chair with warm throws and large cushions – especially if it’s an old, battered one that came with the property! I absolutely love this colourful selection of throws on MADE.COM .

lounge - pexels-photo-298842
Colourful cushions brighten up a dull sofa
Love the furry cushion…

Statement lighting  You may not be able to do a great deal of DIY, but there are simple things you can change like the lighting and fixtures. Aim for striking ceiling pendants or lamps.

Light pendants don’t have to be boring

The use of soft lighting can change moods, and make a room feel more cosy. There are so many different styles on the market, from industrial to chandelier, you can choose one that suits you and make a statement.

Accessorise and more  If there’s one thing I’m obsessed with it’s home accessories. From lanterns and candle holders, to picture frames and clocks, it’s the little touches that can personalise a space.

Get creative with your accessories

It’s also a good way to get creative as there are no rules. Who says you can’t use a wooden crate for displaying magazines? Or a metal fruit basket for your books? If you’re stuck for inspiration, Pinterest has loads of great ideas.

Wall  artwork  If you’re tired of staring at the cold white walls, colourful art, photography or unique mirrors can bring warmth. If your landlord is likely to throw a fit over holes in the walls, there are picture hanging strips available that doesn’t involve drilling and leaves no marks (apparently). Just check on the weight requirements first before you end up creating more damage!

Clutter free storage  Modular open storage is another good way to display your things without having to drill any walls to put up shelves. It’s also a great way to minimise any clutter. Good ol’ IKEA is guaranteed to have modular units, and most of them are stackable to create even more space.

Modular units are great for displaying your favourite things

Paint old furniture new If you can’t paint the boring, white walls a different colour, you can still give your furniture a makeover. Whether it’s a coffee table, wooden chairs or even just painting the legs a bold colour, a new coat of paint will brighten up the space. Obviously this only applies if the furniture belongs to you and not the landlord!

Paint brushes@pixabay
Give old furniture a colourful makeover

Bring the outdoors in  If you live in a flat and don’t have access to a garden, why not bring the outdoors in? Huge botanicals, tropical plants and palms can be a nice feature. Just check on the specific conditions of the plant, as you don’t want to kill them off too soon!

Add some greenery into your space

If you don’t fancy looking after large plants, miniature succulents (they don’t need much water), or a floral display can also look fabulous on a shelf or sill.

Here are just some ideas to make your rental space homely? Do you have any others that may be useful to fellow renters?

Stock images from Pexels and Pixabay

In the house: Diane Hill, Interior Artist

Diane Hill is a talented artist specialising in amazing bespoke hand-painted interiors and decor (yes, everything she paints is by hand!) Her expertise in chinoiserie mural painting is inspired from Far-Eastern art and technique to beautifully adapt to modern interiors.

I can’t wait to find out how she has applied her creative flair to her family home and make it a unique style.

WHO LIVES HERE: Diane, husband Matt and their two children Bonnie and Rosie

LOCATION: Cheshunt, Hertfordshire

PROPERTY: A 1959 semi detached

Bonnie’s room


‘I started making detailed plans for the childrens wall murals. As the nursery is a box room I felt I could try to undertake a full chinoiserie room. The process of this room took an entire year! I painted in and out of Bonnie’s nap times and just took things very slowly.


I think the white display unit works as a great contrast against the wall mural for Bonnies array of books and toys. I handmade the curtains from silk dupion, and the tall childs measuring giraffe was found on the street by our friend, he was being thrown away. We look after him now!


This is Bonnies little play corner, and I love that basket against the wall mural! The lovely farm house play set is by Melissa and Doug.

Diane with baby Bonnie
Diane with baby Bonnie

The room is tiny, it is just over 2 meters wide, but by painting this chinoiserie with layers of bamboo then trees, it seems to have opened up the space. It feels as though you are looking into a garden.’

Rosie’s room 

‘This is Rosie’s own artwork of an apple and pear in gold leaf sat next to my hand painted cherry blossom mural. She also has her own plant that she is in charge of caring for!

IMG_9627dj new

IMG_9674dj new

Rosie displays all her favourite books and nick nacks on her extra wide chest of drawers from IKEA. The cherry blossom mural is soft and calm, which echoes her own personality.’

Living room

IMG_9501dj new

‘This is our everyday chill out zone! The wallpaper is based on terrazzo flooring from the 1950s. I hand-painted the pattern on and paired it with peach and gold, as an orange tone would work best with my teal sofa and fireplace.

IMG_9555dj new

The modern sofa was bought from DFS and is by French Connection, it is super cozy!

diane_hill_livingroom_11dj new

The alcove wall needs to look pretty because it is one of the first things people see when they walk into the room and the sofa faces that way too.  The chimney breast is the focal point of the room and my favourite. My husband wanted it removed but I fought to keep it. The room really needed a strong feature. I am completely in love with the strong vibrant teal colour, the contrast with the white works beautifully and this is one area of the home I cannot see myself ever changing.’



‘I am so proud of the staircase as I painted the stairs alternating black and white and installed the runner using a staple gun. One of my favourite sections of the home is our family and friends’ gallery wall, which our guests love to gaze and learn all about our family history.


The antique chest is so beautiful and I love it paired with the bright yellow wall. I bought this chest way before we’d moved into the house and stored it in my mums garage. Nothing beats a proper antique wooden unit, they were built to last!’


‘This room really was the most gruelling by far and although its not perfect, every tile was laid by our own hands as a labour of love! I love the Neisha Crossland Vinyl flooring and the contrast of the yellow black and grey.

diane_hill_bathroom_08 I had originally painted the bathroom in a more mustard yellow, but it bugged me as it wasn’t bright enough, so I repainted the lot within a week! My husband and I made this swing shelf from a scrap piece of wood.’


Master bedroom


‘We left our own bedroom very unfinished for so long but now we were so happy to finally have everything in place. The wall mural was painted by myself, the accents of black and gold balance out the pink and give a sophisticated feel. The design was inspired by all sorts of natural textures, of marble, concrete and plaster and is an abstract rendition of a mountain of rock.



The cute gold lamps are from very.co.uk and look great against my wall mural. We store lots of books and bits and bobs, so I hand-painted a black line across our ikea shelving to add a little contrast to the soft pink.’


If you have been house inspired (I certainly have), do check out more of Diane’s beautiful interior designs on: www.dianehill.co.uk 

View More: http://charlottehu.pass.us/diane





Photo credits: Diane Hill

Have you recently finished a home or room renovation/makeover? If you have and would like to share your masterpiece, I would love to hear from you. 




Festive gift guide for decor lovers

The festive season is here, and so begins the mad rush to the shops to find that ideal gift for your loved-one or family members. If you’re stuck for last-minute, home decor gifts, here are some of my favourites to spice up any space…or you can always treat yourself!

In a world of selfies and Instagram, it’s refreshing to see an actual photograph in a picture frame! Gone are the days of the boring and dull  frame, as there are more diverse designs to suit your style.

This gold leaf frame from Maison du Monde and acrylic and metal frame from westelm make eye-catching gifts for somebody’s shelf.

Maison du monde-frame
PALM Gold Leaf Photo Frame 10 x 15 cm
Acrylic and metal frame – £24.95 +

This FADO table lamp from IKEA is contemporary, mood lighting and works well for a cosy feel in any room.  I love the simple globe design, and they come in a yellow, green and pink shade.

FADO table lamp – IKEA £12
FADO table lamp – Pink

I love scented candles, and this year has been all about the ‘mandle’! In case you don’t know, they are candles designed for men.  Our friends, Magda and Trent Payne, launched their luxury candles Legna London.

Their collection of masculine fragrances are captured in three names: strength, unity and wisdom.  Not only do they make the entire house smell divine, but looks stylish on the mantel.

Legna London Mood Wisdom
Legna London candles for men – £40+

For those who are a fan of practical storage, this colourful unit from IKEA is ideal . The best thing is it’s versatile and space saving because each tray comes off to stack and form a table.

I would probably put this in a kids room or space in the living room to store small toys or those hundreds of LEGO pieces! But it can be placed anywhere to eliminate clutter!

IKEA PS 2014 storage table – £50

Buying textiles or prints as a gift can be very personal, and you’d need to know their style.  But for those who love vibrant prints, AMWA Designs have collaborated with luxury lamp makers The Bespoke Boutique to create a unique collection of Adinkra inspired lamps and lampshades.

Founded by another talented friend, Chrissa Amuah, her collection also includes bespoke soft furnishings, wallpaper and fashion.

Fusion Lamps
Fusion Lamps – AMWA Designs x The Bespoke Boutique
AMWA x BB IMG_2645
Fusion lamps – AMWA Designs x The Bespoke Boutique

One of my favourite home accessories are lanterns, tea light holders and vases. They always make neutral gifts, as they are smaller and less intrusive. These lanterns make nice accessories, and can work well in any room.

Maison du monde buddha
Buddha dish, Maison Du Monde, £35.99
faceted_lanterns_Westelm - £39
Faceted lanterns, westelm, £39
LULEA copper metal lantern, Maison du Monde H 16 cm, £20.39
luster-vases-westelm, £16+
Lustre Pillar Vases, westelm £17 +

These are just some decor ideas that will add some spice to your space.

So whether you celebrate or not, have a happy and restful festive season, and roll on the New Year. Happy Holidays!














Pop your colour: How to jazz up a dull space

Dare I say it, summer is well and truly over (well, what we saw of it!). It’s time to put away the flip-flops and shades and get out those autumnal scarves and hats. But just because it’s getting darker outside, doesn’t mean it has to be drab indoors.

On a recent trip to Lisbon, I was inspired by its colourful architecture, quirky boho-chic interiors and bright graffiti art. It’s amazing what a burst of colour can do. Like many, my home interior scheme is largely neutral with white, gold and wood tones. But it did inspire me to look at ways of introducing bold colours, without being too overwhelming.

Sky Bar, Lisboa
This colourful backdrop for this rooftop Sky Bar in Lisbon is far from an art installation…they’re actually the toilets!

So if you’re a colour novice like me, here are some simple tips from the experts (and my talented design pals) on how you can inject colour into neutral spaces.

Soft furnishings

If you already have an existing colour scheme, try and experiment with bright cushions, curtains and textiles.


AW Cushions Cameo
AW Cushions
Lipsy - Watercolour lily
Lipsy – Watercolour lily


They don’t have to match, but could be contrasting colours. “Add another layer to a scheme with different textures – a throw and a few cushions on a sofa, a rug in the hallway or super bright towels in a bathroom.” advises Delali Foli, award-nominated interior designer. “The key while increasing colour confidence is buying items you can move around your home, and if they don’t work in the intended area, you can try them out in another room.”


If you don’t want to go grand, you can add subtle touches here and there with vibrant ceramics, candle holders, vases, light pendants or other decorative features. Find ones that compliment the style of the space.

Brighten your home with accessories (pexels.com)

Wall art

If you have a neutral wall, use it as a blank canvas to display a colourful piece of artwork  or phography- then you can accessorise around it.”Prints, photography and posters are a great source of inspiration,” agrees Delali, “because the job of choosing the right colours has already been done. All you then have to do is find the right elements to work with it.”


Accent piece

You can also try one big statement piece, like a colourful table, dressers or an armchair.

Oslo Main FINAL small




Choose a piece of furniture with a body that you adore and highlight it with a bold colour, so that visitors and guests won’t be able to look away. “Think about the mood or vibe you want to create and work backwords from that.” says Chrissa Amuah, interior designer and founder of AMWA Designs. “Mediterranean colours tend to be colourful pastels. Fuchsia, teal, purple and sunburnt orange can be used to create a more exotic atmosphere. Minimalism always reverts back to whites, greys and natural wood tones.

Say it with flowers

I love placing tropical plants and flowers to add instant colour to my home. There’s something visually pleasing about nature, and great for bringing the outdoors in (when it’s frosty outside!). An eye-catching vase with bright flowers is a quick and easy way to dress a table or mantelpiece. “Think about how you want the room to feel,” suggets Delali, “what kind of atmosphere are you trying to create?”

Courtesy of Pexels.com
Courtesy of Pexels.com
Courtesy of Pixabay
Courtesy of Pixabay

If you’re not keen on real foliage, you can get some pretty authentic-looking faux florals now. They can be quite pricey, but they look just as striking.

Feature walls

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but feature walls are a fabulous way of adding bold colour. The good thing is, it’s literally only one wall or section in a room that will stand out. You can choose from paint, to geometric prints or to some innovative wallpaper murals.

Inspiration: crafthubs.com
Inspiration: pinterest.com
Courtesy of AMWA Designs: Wallpaper@www.amwadesigns.com
Courtesy of AMWA Designs: Wallpaper@www.amwadesigns.com



Before you hit the shops, make sure you have an idea of what colours/features you are after. Create a moodboard of favourite styles and colour hues and see how it all looks laid out. This way you can easily change elements until you’re happy with what you’ve got.  Pinterest and other interior design websites have plenty of colour inspiration.

Special thanks to:  Chrissa Amuah at AMWA Designs and Delali Foli at Decor by Delali




6 ways to bring the outdoors in

I’ve gone green this summer, and I don’t mean converting to a Hybrid car or turning vegan (heaven forbid!). I’m talking about styling with botanicals!

Whether it be lush tropical palms to miniature succulent plants, there’s something about the vibrant greens and browns that are calming, bringing a touch of nature indoors.

While plants have always been around (my mum has had more than Kew Gardens itself), the botanical theme in interiors has become more popular in recent years.

And it’s not just visually pleasing, but beneficial for your health too. ‘Each person should have between 5-10 hip-height and head-height plants to ensure maximum health,’ suggests interior designer Elizabeth Danon,  founder of EDIT.

‘You need plants for oxygen. If you’re feeling unwell or getting headaches, your environment may be to blame. Plants will naturally purify the air for you even if there isn’t any natural air circulation.’

Nowadays, you don’t even need a huge outdoor space or be a gardening expert to get your  dose. Many city dwellers  live in more compact spaces, or have a balcony (that often gets forgotten about), which can all benefit from plant power.

Going all botanical in Dublin

Here are some top tips for styling with botanicals…without even stepping outdoors.

Place your botanicals in the right spots

Living plants need the right spaces to thrive, and so it’s important to group them in suitable areas. Most people tend to have them either in their living rooms or kitchen window sill. ‘Based on the concept of having a certain amount of plants per person, placement depends more on sunlight and how often they need to be watered,’ suggests Elizabeth .

Image credit: Elizabeth Danon, EDIT

‘In a hallway, you may forget to water your plants. So places you don’t use that often would benefit from succulents and cactus’s which require little to no watering as they absorb moisture from the atmosphere.


If you don’t want a jungle in your home, unique pots and planters can make a big difference. They come in different shapes and materials to suit your individual style.

This eye-catching range of hanging and floor planters from WestElm, shows that you can make a bold statement without having to go large.

Modern Wood Leg Planter - Cylinder £89
Modern Wood Leg Planter – Cylinder £89 caption (west elm)
Hanging Metal Planters £49
Hanging Metal Planters £49 (west elm)

There are various styles available online or in home decor stores. You can easily incorporate into your existing interior style without having to change much.


Glass and geometric terrariums are a modern way to showcase plants, especially in small spaces. These are essentially mini greenhouses where you can house succulents or cacti plants that need very little water.

Wood + Glass Terrariums from £44(1)
Wood and Glass Terrariums from £44 (west elm)
Faceted Terrariums from £29
Faceted Terrariums from £29 (west elm)

These make fabulous centrepieces on a table, shelf or mantel, and much more creative than a boring old vase.

Soft furnishings

If caring for plants and flora are not really your thing, you can still reflect this style in   furnishings and accessories. From curtains/blinds, cushions to bed linen, bold floral designs can brighten up a space.


Akina Main FINAL small - kai fabrics
Akina – Kai Fabrics
Watercolour Lily FINAL small.LIPSY
Watercolour Lily by LIPSY
Ashton Cameo 2 FINAL small - ASHTON
Ashton Cameo by Ashley Wilde
Forever Spring EDN 01
Forever Spring Collection in Eau de Nil by iLiv

You can blend and contrast colours to create a serene atmosphere.

Faux florals

I’ve never been a fan of fake plants. They’ve always reminded me of those bric-a-brac shops as a kid, where they had  hideous, cheap plastic flowers wherever you turned!

But when my friend introduced me to a company specialising in life-like florals, I literally had to blink twice. They are a little pricey but look so authentic, it’s worth it – as long as you do your research to find a good range!

EDIT flyer
Image credit: Elizabeth Danon, EDIT

‘Faux flowers are great but faux plants are just a no no in my opinion,’ says Elizabeth, ‘they defy the entire point of having plants. I love to nurture and look after plants and help them survive.’

Remember that your fake florals still need care, so be sure to keep them well dusted, and if you have silicone leaves, just wipe with a damp cloth .

Botanical art and accessories

Botanical drawings and pictures can look elegant in gold or silver gilt frames. The  green palette works well with warm gold.

Bright large canvas pieces can also add colour to a room, along with pretty accessories.

Credit: Ed Robinson/OneRedEye
Botanical Fern Prints Sold in pairs. £75.00 for each pair (www.pastellane.co.uk)
Palm Leaf Catchalls from £29
Palm Leaf Catchalls from £29 (west elm)
‘Lovely breeze’ rocking bowl by Sakura Adachi for Alessi £85 each (Alessi.com)


What are your favourite botanical styles? Do you have any other useful tips for decorating with plants?



Elizabeth Danon Interior Therapy


Thanks to Elizabeth for her plant tips!

Elizabeth Danon is owner and director of Elizabeth Danon Interior Therapy (EDIT).

She has heavily researched the link between your environment and your physical and mental health.

To find out more head over to EDIT: http://elizabethdanon.co.uk/about/







7 tricks to give tired-looking furniture a spring facelift

Spring is in the air and I always feel the need to have a good declutter, and give the home a fresh facelift. If you’re like me, with an endless list of ideas yet thrifty on the purse, you can still make your old furnishings look brand new without having to throw anything out.

If your favourite armchair has seen better days  – and you’re not quite ready to part with it, all you need is a bit of creativity and some TLC. I’ve been inspired by some creative ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest, and have tried and tested most of them. Some have turned out fabulous  (others not so much!), but from wood-staining to stone tiling, here are some of my simple tips to give your space a facelift!

Get your brush on

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do. But while it all looks so quick and easy (so I thought), wood staining or repainting needs a LOT of patience and time. So don’t think you can just go in with your paintbrush and be done in minutes – the prep work can take much longer.

If you want to repaint wood, make sure you wipe and sand down to ensure a smooth surface –if it’s been lacquered (the slick and glossy layer), it may take longer as you’ll need a special remover before sanding.

Luckily our old table wasn’t lacquered so the sanding was pretty straightforward (pic below) but I did realise the importance of having a smooth surface while painting!

Don’t panic if the first coat of wood stain looks nothing like it says on the tin. I did three or four coats to get it to the right colour. With all the different types of paint (spray, chalk, etc) available – you can easily update wooden floors, doors and even kitchen cabinets.

Cover it up 

If you have sofas or chairs that are ‘oldies but goodies’, don’t be in a hurry to take them to the dump. You can get your battered furnishings upholstered to another fabric or style – which will still work out cheaper than buying new.

Upholstering can do the trick (pixabay.com)
Source: Pixabay.com

If you can’t be bothered with hassle (that’s me!) you can just buy removable slip on covers. They come in various sizes or you can order custom made ones. The benefit about slip on covers is you can throw them in the washing machine, and change the designs whenever you want!

In the frame

If you have stunning photographs collecting dust or tucked away somewhere on your computer, why not enlarge and frame them? Beautiful pictures on walls often look striking set in a nice frame, and draws the eye to it.

Don’t hide your photography

It could be anything from a framed painting or graphic to a favourite vinyl cover. A gallery style of framed images does wonders to a plain and boring wall.

Bring the outdoors in

Now I know this isn’t exactly upcycling, but decorating with natural elements and greenery really brightens up a space. I love the idea of using tropical plants and  palms like the chusan as decor features. If your space isn’t large enough for giant palms, you can get a few miniature plants to liven up a shelf or mantel.

The grand monaco hotel lobby in Venice is just that (1)
A tropical rainforest inside the charming hotel lobby we visited in Venice
Source: Pixabay.com

Refresh cushion covers

Unless your cushions have had all the plump flattened out, there’s no need to throw them away. If you want a bold makeover, you can just buy cushion covers separately.

There are plenty of vibrant styles and prints available to suit your room-style, as well as bed throws.


Vibrant cushion covers can give a lift                  Source: Pixabay.com

By adding contrasting patterns or colour to your soft furnishings, this can do well to refresh a room.

It’s handled

Changing old cabinet handles, drawer pulls or door knobs can update furnishings. We usually see them as functional things, but handles can be nice decorative accents. Whether you want vintage or contemporary, there are plenty in the shops to choose from.

Door handles are nice features

On the tiles

My latest obsession is stone and glass mosaic tiles as it’s very versatile. It’s not just for the bathroom or kitchen, tiles can be used to decorate almost anything. If you have a plain mirror, frame or featureless coffee table, stone or glass tiles can make striking borders and really make a statement.

Inspiration- stronggym.co
Inspiration from stronggym.co

All you need is wood glue and tiling grout or if it’s a simple job, you can buy self-adhesive tiles that just stick on, without the mess!

There are plenty of tutorials online if you get stuck for ideas. The main thing is you don’t have to break the bank to still get the wow factor.

What other  makeover ideas  have impressed you?

6 feature walls to transform any boring room

No matter how big or small your space is, feature walls are a perfect way to catch the eye and jazz up a dull room.

For those not familiar, it’s the one wall that’s showcased in a different style, colour or finish than the other walls in the room. It makes a statement, and if you’re thrifty like me, it’s more cost effective to decorate (just don’t botch it up!).

I’ve been on the hunt for creative styles to change our feature wall in the living room. We’ve had the same Moroccan-style wallpaper for nine years and it’s about time for a fabulous makeover.

But with so many styles out there, I’m stuck on which one to go for. Here are just some that’s made it to my shortlist…

Faux brick paper – If you’ve always liked the exposed brick idea but felt it only ever works in a loft-style apartment, don’t despair. Brick effect wallpaper can look just as authentic as the real deal, and can be used in any space/home to create that industrial look.

Inspiration: Dewtv.com

My faux brick obsession started a few years ago when we revamped our staircase wall. We wanted something slightly quirky that would stand out. So we went for a white brick wallpaper (which I put up myself!) and it transformed the space. It had a few people fooled into thinking they were real, but that’s the beauty of it.

Wood panelling – We would normally associate wood to flooring, but panelled walls are becoming the new ‘thing’. While some DIY fanatics go for actual wood pallets, I’d save the hassle and stick to wallpaper.

Inspiration: contemporist.com

There are different types of  wood effect paper available that look genuine, and create that rustic and cosy feel. Just don’t go overboard as it will start to look more Finnish sauna than rustic chic!

Stone tile – One of my favourites. Tiles are not just limited to the bathroom or kitchen, they can make stunning feature walls. From flat cut stone, slate to split face (3D stacked stone), it’s hard to go wrong with using natural materials in décor.

Inspiration: thehouseshop-com

Do look around for a reasonable price as stone tiles can be pretty expensive per sq. metre. If you’re buying online, some companies offer samples to send, so you can have a look and feel the texture before splashing out.

Block colour – If you’re a fan of bold colours, painted feature walls certainly pop out. With so many shades and types of paints, don’t just stick to the standard gloss. Matt emulsion or chalk-style paint can also give a striking look.

Inspiration: pinterest.com

Bold colours work well if the rest of your room is neutral, and can easily be re-painted whenever you want a change. Again, spot test your colours first before decorating the whole wall!

Geometric print – This trend of vivacious colour and pattern makes for a funky, fun-loving space. Once considered dated (my parents had psychedelic walls in the 80s), patterned feature walls are making a big comeback.

Inspiration: homeedit.com

If you’re naturally artistic (so not me), you can paint your own with stencils or simply buy a wallpaper that suits your style. Family or kids’ rooms could work well from this idea, and is a great focal point.

Mural – An imaginative and ‘dreamy’ idea, but only works if you choose the right mural for your space. Choose a scene that is effective but not so overbearing, making sure the other walls are neutral.  So if you have a small room avoid a dark, ‘busy’ backdrop – with darker walls – choose something light and airy to give the illusion of space.

Inspiration: freshome.com

Some companies can even customise your wall mural if you have a favourite photograph or image.  Popular ones tend to be the nature and abstract murals, and there are some beautiful designs for nurseries and rooms for children.


DO Choose a wall that needs showcasing or is a focal point (the tiny space inside an alcove doesn’t count…)

DON’T highlight walls with obvious flaws or lots of windows or doors, as they detract from the feature.

Which one is your favourite feature wall? Do you have any other creative ideas?

Are you making these interior design mistakes?

Moving house or doing a revamp can be an exciting time, but the prospect of decorating can seem a little daunting. With so many styles, fifty shades of magnolia and statement walls, the list is endless.

It’s so easy to get carried away with grand ideas, but if you don’t plan your vision properly, you’ll end up with a décor fail on your hands (I’ve been there!).

So here are just some of the most common interior mistakes we’ve all probably made at some point, and tips to avoid them.

The wrong size furniture for your space 

There’s nothing more terrible than furnishings that look out of proportion. The perfect sofa (barely squeezing through the front door), that takes over the entire room. Or the 4-foot-long coffee table that you keep knocking your legs on each time you walk around it!

When your sofa takes up the whole room…

Before you even start buying, check the right scale and proportions. How do you want to make the most of your space? If your room is too compact for a conventional dining table, try a round one instead. And if the sofa doesn’t fit snug against the wall go for a corner sofa to maximise space. The same goes for ‘too small’ furniture that looks tiny in a large living space.

…or maybe it’s time to ‘supersize’ it?

Beautiful pictures…hung up way too high 

Family photos or artwork is nice to admire, but not when you struggle to see it (I’m only 5’’2 I suppose). Hanging pictures too high up the wall is a common interiors mistake. According to designer Vern Yip, frames should be hung around 60 inches from the floor – which is average people’s eye level. So if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Pictures look so much better when you can see them

Buying everything from your favourite store

We all know someone whose home looks like it’s straight out of an IKEA or Habitat showroom. But the downside of doing a one-stop shop and buying matching sets is the space lacks character and personal taste. Mix and match furnishings or accessories from various places like independent retailers, vintage shops or even online. You want to be able to reflect your own style and not a carbon-copy of a magazine.

Add your own personal flair to your favourite designs

When you didn’t bring your measuring tape…but bought stuff anyway

Whether it’s finding the right shelving for a wall alcove, fitted wardrobes or a new bed, always measure up before you buy and never go into a shop and start ‘guess-timating’. You’ll only regret it later when that luxurious, king-sized bed you’ve had your eyes on stops right at the door (opps!). Not only will it save you from disappointment, but making those time-wasting customer service calls!

Measure up before you buy!

When you’re drowning in a sea of cushions

Soft furnishings and textures make rooms feel warm and cosy, but when these occupy almost the entire seating area  or bed then you have a problem. I’ve been to houses and have literally been swamped in a pile of jumbo throw pillows! Use them as accent decorations and don’t exaggerate with their numbers. Less is more after all!

Don’t get buried under pillows

That fabulous DIY project you thought looked easy to copy…but ended up being a flop

Have you ever watched a makeover programme and thought, ‘that’s so easy’? Well, it turns out that if you don’t plan and know what you’re doing – it’s really not. If ever in doubt, there are plenty of helpful tips and tutorials online.

Spot test first before a paint job

Preparation may be the ‘boring’ part but it will save you a lot of time in the long run. Like remembering to fill in the wall cracks before wallpapering, or to spot test paint before covering the whole room a sickly green (note: paint often looks lighter or darker on the wall than on the swatch.) You don’t want it to end up looking more drab than fab so avoid short-cuts!

Forgetting other types of light sources exist besides the ceiling light

You don’t have to stick to one source of light in the room. Think about what spaces you want to illuminate, and create layer lighting at different heights and angles. Warm lighting from floor lamps, wall lights, or table lamps can make a room feel more intimate and cosy. Avoid harsh fluorescent or white lights as they can make a space feel uninviting.

Different types of lighting can change the mood 

The ‘trendy’ statement piece that looked great in the magazine…but NOT in your home

So you’ve been shopping and spotted ‘that’ armchair with the wow factor that’s currently all the rage. Even the stars have it in their mansions (apparently). But a few months later, you realise that it actually doesn’t go well in your home at all!

The piece you wished you’d never set eyes on…

Trends come and go, so avoid impulse-buying when you see something that you like. It’s much better in the long run to opt for something timeless that suits you and will never go out of season.

When your ‘theme’ goes overboard

We all have our favourite styles and colour schemes that we want to reflect in our homes. But there is a danger of going completely overkill when buying every-single-item to co-ordinate with it. So a Moroccan theme doesn’t warrant 30 lanterns hanging everywhere and a ‘white room’ can feel so much warmer with splashes of colour here and there.

When the red and white spiral theme goes wrong

You can still stick to your favourite design without being too overwhelming. The idea is to make your space look tasteful and not tacky.

Are there any interior ‘fails’ that you’ve been guilty of?  Or what has been the worst one you’ve seen?



A touch of Asia: My oriental delights

I love picking up inspiration from my travels. From the architecture and interior design of restaurants and hotels to people’s homes.

Being half filipino, I’ve spent most of my  years travelling back and forth to the Philippines, admiring the wonderful traditional designs. The use of natural materials of bamboo, wood and capiz are beautifully handcrafted into home decor and are commonly used in south-east Asia.

I’ve tried to reflect these influences in our home accents, and here are some of my favourites.

Budhha wall art

I’m not a religious person, but I’ve always felt  if I had to choose a faith it would be buddhism. The philosophies and teachings are things I can relate to and apply in my life.

I came across this budhha wall hanging at a Thai arts stall in a London crafts market. There were so many to choose from but I just found this one striking. There was something calm and tranquil about it.

Buddha wood carving

The design is carved into solid wood that folds in the middle, giving it a 3D effect. Of course, you can choose to have it flush against the wall if you want to – it will still look just as striking.

I love how the vibrant golds and greens radiate warmth, especially when the sun hits it (when we ever do get sunshine!)

Budhha close-up.jpg

Bamboo candle holders

In the Philippines, bamboo furnishings and decor are everywhere and traditionally handcrafted. We picked up these candle holders on our last trip there from a store in Manila called Kultura.

Bamboo tealight holder

These tealight holders were crafted from a solid bamboo trunk with some decorative finishes added. A nice touch in our bright and airy dining area.


Bamboo candle holder

Silk cushions

I love searching  for  home accents online, and  you’ll be amazed at what  you can find abroad for a reasonable price. These elephant print, silk cushion covers came from Vietnam. It’s simple yet effective with the bold black and golds against a neutral colour.

Silk cushion covers
Elephants go marching in!

Asian-inspired vase

This may look like a strange goldfish bowl but it’s actually a vase. Asian styles usually have vivid and vibrant accent hues that stand out when placed in a neutral setting.

I saw this handmade, glazed ceramic vase in Debenhams eight years ago and thought it would make a lovely decorative feature in the lounge.


Asian-inspired vase


Rather than placing themed accents all in one room, dot them around the house to add  subtle touches.

My contemporary take on Far East style. Let me know what else you’d like to see.



Inspiration is everywhere. Which part of the world do you get your design inspiration from?

LEGO-inspired room ideas for a brick superfan

There can never be enough LEGO for my son. He has literally been obsessed from the beginning of time. Whether it’s Minecraft, Marvel Superheroes, Star Wars, Ninjago, the list is endless and I’ve lost count of the times my hubby and I have stepped on a rogue piece!

After our trip to the new LEGO store in London it gave me inspiration on how I could bring his love of the brick to life in his room with a few creative features.

Now I’m not a fan of character themed-bedrooms. I despise wall-to-wall colours, characters and ‘busy’ designs. It’s so easy to go overboard but the key is to keep it to a minimum.

Fun at the LEGO Store in Leicester Square, London

A few  creative or quirky  accents randomly placed are much more effective and easier on the eye.

I came across these fun décor ideas to make any kids bedroom look ‘awesome’ without breaking the bank.

3D wall art 

I just love the way these wall transfers quite literally just pop out of the wall. There are such a good range of LEGO characters available, you’d be spoilt for choice. It’s a removal self-adhesive vinyl but check as some are not suitable for matt/satin walls. The only downside is they are not reusable so make sure you’re happy with its location.

The good thing is, they are cheap and cheerful and can range from £7.99 upwards available on ebay or amazon.

Canvas or framed pictures

For those who don’t like to stick things on walls, (me!) this artwork looks effective and a nice touch. Movie posters can also be displayed inside a stylish frame.

LEGO storage

If your child is anything like mine, there can never be enough storage. I invested in these brick storage boxes that look great and a fun way to keep everything together. Just like LEGO, they come in different sizes and are able to stack on top of one another! They also have minifigure heads that add a nice touch to them. They are quite popular and sold in most high-street stores or online from £10 upwards depending on size.


Corey digging around

LEGO-style dresser

I first saw this idea in a homes magazine and thought it was so creative. Just upcycle your original chest by repainting the drawers in the colours of your choice and add on the knobs. This is so versatile you can even do this on a wardrobe, table and beside drawer. It’s really simple, just remove all old drawer handles, strip old paint by sanding to prepare it for new paint. Fill the holes from the drawer handle screws with a wood filler.

Inspiration from Pinterest

To make each drawer look like a brick, you will need to cut desired diameter dowel rods into about one inch thick pieces before screwing/gluing down. These circles will serve as your new ‘drawer pulls’ so make sure they are thick enough for your little one to grab hold off.

LEGO-inspired pillows/cushion

If you’re after soft furnishings, these pillows are a cosy and attractive feature. Just sew a pillow case in the fabric color of your choice, cover four foam rounds in the same fabric and then use textile glue to affix them to pillows or cushions.

Inspiration from homebnc.com

Play tables

Considering I spend most of my time picking up bricks that have fallen off tables, this is not only genuis and thrifty but practical for parents! It’s so easy to make. Just get an old small table and buy a few lego mats that will fit to size. Then use superglue to secure the mats down and there you have a brick-friendly table.

You can also do this on a section of wall in the room where kids can have fun sticking things on.

Inspiration from comfydwelling.com
Inspiration from goodideasforyou.com

Minifigure display frame

These are easy to find  online but if you’re thrifty like me,  it’s simple (and cheap) to make.  All you need is a sturdy frame of the size that you need. Remove the glass and get a piece of white card to use as the backdrop. Measure and mark up the width in between each minifigure, then stick on the brick or stand where the mark is.

Once it’s dry, you can just sit your minifigure on top of the brick and hang it up on the wall for all to see. You can choose to put back the glass or remove it and leave it open. I prefer the latter as it’s easy for my son to grab a minifigure when he wants. Plus your child can easily change the display characters whenever he wants.

Top tip:

There are loads more ideas on Pinterest. Don’t worry about spending too much cash on expensive merchandise as you can make most of the designs yourself. Have fun creating!

Going on a creative journey…LEGO store, London


Main image: LEGO bricks. Inspiration by Room Copenhagen