Archive: Nov 2013

  1. Ask the Expert: a cosy home

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    If you’d like to come home to a warmer, more inviting living room this winter, soft furnishings offer an easy way to adjust your look. We asked Sainsbury’s textile designer Louise Rynehart for her tips on giving this living room a new look inspired by the season.

    Simple swaps

    “To tone down this room’s floral, spring-like feel, I’d recommend swapping the current cushion for our squirrel version and opting for a vintage-inspired wall hanging. For a winter alternative to a vase of flowers, try making a centrepiece with weightier ornaments, such as this pillar candle holder.”

    Warming print

    “Plaid is perfect for the winter months, and it looks great mixed with other weaves and plaids – just right for layering up at this time of year. I love how it can come in different forms, from brushed cotton bedding and heavy woven cushions to beautifully cosy knitted pieces. I’d use contrasting textures in this room to build a snuggly seasonal look.”

    Character building

    “Layers of throws on the chair and sofa would bring some rugged character to this room, but if you wanted to transform the mood completely you could always paint a feature wall in a rich, deep colour – I’d suggest a charcoal grey, which would tie in with our Hedgerow theme.”

    Tip of the week:

    Throws not only look great on sofas, but can also be folded and draped across one end of a coffee table to soften hard lines.

    Louise’s top picks

    Hedgerow check throwHedgerow home cushionChunky herringbone throw

    Hedgerow check throw, £18;  Hedgerow home cushion, £12;  Chunky herringbone throw, £25

  2. All about … bedrooms

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    Bedrooms should be a sanctuary but can be more like a battlefield: whether you’re struggling to find space for all your clothes or simply fighting for your share of the duvet, there are plenty of things that can impact on your peace of mind. Get the layout and décor right, however, and you’re halfway to a great night’s sleep – here’s how.

    The right colours

    Colours can affect our mood, and many people find stimulating reds and yellows too much for the bedroom. This may not be true for everyone, however – slow risers might favour brighter spaces to give them the kickstart they need in the morning.

    Light and shade

    The right lighting can be very soothing and a candelabra adds a calming glow. However, don’t light candles when you’re drowsy – instead opt for a bedside lamp with a red shade for a rich, warm light.

    Switching off

    With emails and phone calls constantly coming through, having somewhere to literally ‘switch off’ has never been more important. The blue light emitted by mobile phone screens is said to affect sleep, so don’t use yours to check the time when you wake in the night – instead, try a bedside or wall clock.

    Clear that clutter

    A messy room means you’ll have a busy mind when you try to sleep – the sight of yet another undone chore will set your brain whirring. Invest in plenty of storage and get into a routine of tidying surfaces before you sleep, even if it means keeping one drawer free as a quick-fix ‘dumping’ space for late-night tidy-ups.

    Cosy up

    Of course, the heart of any bedroom is the bed itself so make sure yours is warm and inviting. Take inspiration from luxury hotels and neatly pile cushions and pillows on top of your bedspread, or create a snuggly sleeping space with layers or throws and blankets in complementary shades.

    Tip of the week:

    When it’s time to sleep, pop your cushions and extra throws in a chest at the foot of the bed, or slip them into sliding storage boxes underneath.

    Three key pieces

    Vintage effect alarm clockAntique floral printed bedspreadKnitted grey storage boxes (set of 2)

    Vintage effect alarm clock, £10; Antique floral printed bedspread, £35; Knitted grey storage boxes (set of 2), £25

  3. Get the look: Downton Abbey art deco

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    Get that glittering art deco look at home with metallic tones, embellished detail, bold colour contrasts and geometric patterns.

    Add a hint of luxury to your living space with our style tips inspired by the golden 20s:

    Bold colour statements

    Create a striking but simple colour contrast using black and gold for a dramatic, bold look. Use accessories such as cushions, picture frames, vases and candle holders.

    High gloss

    Highly polished woodwork with a lacquered, mirror-like finish will give your home a glamorous edge with theatrical flair.

    Metallics

    Add an instant hint of art deco style to a room with glitzy metallic tones. A clutch of picture frames in geometric shapes and shimmering shades is a great way to get the look.

    Luxurious textiles

    Make your bed the focal point of a 1920s makeover with a lavish black bedspread with gold embroidered detail. Pile it high with embellished cushions for a sumptuous, luxury feel.

    Deco designs

    Stamp some Great Gatsby style all over your coffee break with a set of art deco-inspired espresso cups. Edged with gold geometric designs that echo the patterns featured on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s newly re-released book covers, this set conjures up the golden 20s with every sip.

    Tip of the week:

    For a quick burst of 1920s style, fill a room with small art-deco-inspired items like picture frames, vases and trinket boxes.

    Three key pieces

    Home Collection Gold Rush Espresso SetBlack & gold wash frameBlack & Gold Embroidered Bedspread

    Home Collection Gold Rush Espresso Set, £15; Black & Gold Wash Frame, £9Black & Gold Embroidered Bedspread, £35

  4. Choosing a colour scheme

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    When it comes to updating a room, choosing a colour scheme is often the starting point, but it can also be tricky. We’ve asked Emma Mann, Head of Home Design at Sainsbury’s, for her tips on getting your colour scheme looking just right.

    Get inspired

    “Take time to gather colour inspiration – it might come from a piece of wallpaper, a favourite shirt, a photograph, or pages from magazines. Create a moodboard, or start a Pinterest board, until you find the colours you like.”

    Test your colours

    “Never buy paint colours based just on a paint chart. If you’re painting walls, always get a few tester pots and paint lengths of lining paper. Pin them to the wall for a few days, observing how the colour looks in different light.”

    Use a neutral base

    “If you’re prone to changing your mind, choose neutral shades and use accessories that can be easily replaced to inject colour. Pure white or even shades of grey can create a versatile, neutral backdrop.”

    Hedgerow bedroom

    Using accessories

    “It’s easy to inject colour through small, affordable items. Lampshades, a new throw or a couple of cushions can instantly update a room. Even enlarging and framing interesting family photographs can create a burst of colour.”

    Unify your look

    “Unify a colour scheme by choosing patterned soft furnishings or a piece of artwork that combines two or more colours. Then choose one ‘dominant’ colour from this for plain items such as vases, cushions or even flowers to ground the scheme.”

    Tip of the week:

    Use different shades of the same colour to accessorise a room space, for a coordinated but unified look.

  5. Get the look: Nordic Folk

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    Fresh and versatile, white walls and neutral floors are always a hit – but without the right accessories they can feel cold. Here we explain how a few carefully chosen items give the room above warmth and understated personality.

    Clever colour

    The insider trick here is the palette: an icy mix of greys and blues adds interest without being overpowering. As it’s the main piece of living room furniture, the sofa sets the tone: its light grey shade is repeated throughout.

    Themed accessories

    Pick your accessories from the same range as your sofa for a look that hangs together. Within a unifying colour scheme, accessories will create a smart, understated finish.

    Antique finish

    Use vintage pieces to create a cosy feel in a pared-back room. Accessories with an antique feel such as the distressed mirror and candelabra add extra warmth and detail.

    Folk design

    Crafting is all the rage, making the cross-stitch penguin cushion right on trend – not to mention super-cute! Like cushions, faux fur rugs or throws also bring in texture that offsets crisp lines.

    Natural materials

    Natural wood really helps to warm up a Nordic-inspired theme. We love the tripod floor lamp and the low nesting tables. A basket of chunky logs next to the fireplace adds a warmhearted touch to this cool living space.

    Tip of the week:

    This chic room looks best without clutter. A large white or natural wood box will keep day-to-day items tidied away.

    Three key pieces

    Distressed White LanternLife is Beautiful cushionNordic owl doorstop

    Distressed white lantern, £15Life is Beautiful cushion, £15; Nordic owl doorstop, £12

  6. How to hang pictures

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    We take more photos now than ever before. With digital filters and effects they can be turned into works of art in an instant, so why not share them the old-fashioned way too and hang your favourites on the wall?

    Here’s our guide to choosing the perfect picture and hanging it in just the right place.

    Location

    Whether you have a picture in mind already or an empty wall to tackle, think about how the image and the location will work together. You might want to see snaps of loved ones as you head out to work, for example.

    Room with a view

    Landscapes or art prints can work anywhere in the home, especially if the colours complement the décor. They’ll look especially impressive in rooms where the windows don’t afford much of a view.

    Focal points

    Hanging multiple images in a line is a great way to create a focal point, but it’s worth remembering that the eye is naturally drawn to faces, so try to include a person in at least one of the pictures.

    Practical tips

    Whatever you decide to do, whether you’re creating a cluster of photos or hanging a single, striking piece, it’s crucial to get them onto the wall correctly! We caught up with Simon Bailey of SB Builders, an expert in home and retail interiors, for his top tips:

    The wall

    What are you drilling into – is it masonry (brick or stone) or plasterboard? Find out and chose fixings accordingly, such as spiral plasterboard fittings that won’t come loose.

    The hole

    A common mistake is drilling too wide a hole into the wall, so make sure yours is a fraction narrower than your rawlplug (the plastic that holds the screw). You can make a hole bigger, but not smaller!

    The method

    For a strong fitting, insert the screw into the rawlplug and give it a couple of turns, then gently hammer into the wall. This is much more effective than putting the screw in afterwards as it is will prevent it twisting as you turn the screw.

    Of course, our own piece of advice is to make sure someone watches you put it up: without an observer to shout ‘left a bit, right a bit’, your picture will never hang straight. Happy hanging!

    Tip of the week:

    If you love taking photos of food, then naturally the kitchen is the perfect place for them. They’ll inspire you as you cook and whet your guests’ appetites!

    Three key pieces

    Black & gold wash frameHedgerow multi app tin frameTime for Champagne plaque

    Black & gold wash frame, £9; Hedgerow multi app tin frame, £30; Time for Champagne plaque, £5;

  7. Welcome to our new home and lifestyle blog!

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    If you love discovering inspirational new ways to update your home, eye-catching ideas and practical advice, you’ve come to the right place.

    Starting today, we’ll be blogging about easy and stylish ways to shape your home. Every week, we’ll have insider tips and advice from an expert panel of guest bloggers and interior design experts, including the talented team behind our new home and lifestyle collections.

    We’ll be bringing you tips such as how to create a crisp, winter room look and useful style advice: have you ever wondered how to inject some 1920s Downton Abbey glamour into your home? You’ll also find out how interiors experts start by getting the basics right, like choosing a colour palette, matching colours and using different shades.

    How to hang pictures

    We’ll also be offering practical advice, such as this handy guide to hanging pictures and a tip of the week. Our experts will also be on hand to solve your décor dilemmas in a regular series of posts responding to your comments and questions here on the blog.

    These ‘Ask the Expert’ posts will offer invaluable tips to help get your home looking fabulous. If you’ve got a problem you’d like us to solve, tell us about it by posting a comment below and we’ll get thinking!

    Whether you would like help with your own project or want to offer advice to another reader, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you.

    Watch this space for stylish inspiration, expert tips and brilliant products to turn your home into a space you love.