How to create cool kids rooms (without the clutter)

You want to throw all the toys out of the window you say? Momma, I hear you. I remember the days, before having kids, when my husband and I would look at each other in horror after visiting a bomb site at a friend’s house. “I can’t believe the state of their house. Honestly, the amount of plastic toys…surely they could tidy up, right? If we ever have a family, I will never have so much junk.” *laughs hysterically*

Yeah. I have a three-year old and a five-year old now. Boys. They have a a lot of stuff: toys, clothes, sticks. Pants and socks everywhere. And I ain’t got a lot of time. Or energy. You get the picture. Things get messy sometimes. Oh sure, I do try. I buy nice storage boxes (which subsequently get turned into mini bath tubs for toy cars – or used as helmets in superhero dress-up games) and then it stays tidy for a while. A day maybe. One day, when I am old and the boys have flown the nest, my house shall be clutter-free. Until then, I shall give them a warm, loving home while I browse Pinterest and Instagram and dream of stylish, tidy rooms.

Here are some examples of kids rooms that just look great and probably are more stylish than your own bedroom. (I also bet no kid was allowed in them before the photo shoot was over and done with. I would love to see what they look like on a daily basis – ha!). Do you have kids rooms at home that you’d love to show off? How do you handle the clutter? Do let me know!

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A gorgeous room in blue, mustard and natural wood via The Boo and the Boy

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I want a swing in my room. How lovely is this? Via Style me Pretty

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Sweet. It even has a little plant on the bedside table. I love the midcentury modern lamp too. Great eclectic room for older girls. Via The Boo and the Boy

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Lots of cuteness here in this vintage style bedroom. The Boo and the Boy

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Gorgeous wallpaper used in this room. Oh, how I wish to be a kid again! Via Fawn & Forest

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Simple, but stylish and a bed on a budget. Buk & Nola

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Who says kids rooms have to be in pastel colours? Add some ‘oomph’ with black and mustard yellow. And bears, you need bears. Via The Boo and the Boy

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Add some serious wow factor with a mural like that! My Domaine

Five creative ways to show off folklore textiles in your home

If you have ever visited markets abroad, especially with a strong folklore tradition, you know you’re likely to find some gorgeous woven or embroidered textiles. Rugs, blankets, stacks of fabric. I have come back with suitcases full, from the souks in Marrakesh and the markets in Ecuador. You can often get carried away, blinded by the bold colours and beautiful patterns. Once home, you end up wondering what to do with all that fabric. Mine ended up neatly folded away in the wardrobe for years waiting patiently to be put to use. Sounds familiar?

I thought I’d gather some ideas today for things to do with textiles from exotic markets, so they will hopefully take pride of place in your home from now on. Because they are ideal to give any room the Wow factor and a good splash of personality. And more importantly, they will take you back to the wonderful places where you found them… Show them off!

1. Frame them

This is a great idea for any smaller bit of fabric (or even wallpaper!) you love and want to show off. Hang them in a group and create a gallery of your favourite textiles.




2. Throw them on your bed

Layer, layer, layer. Those large rugs and blankets look fabulous spread over your bed, and keep your warm too. Don’t be afraid to use different patterns and colours. Combine them to create a lovely bohemian feel.





3. Make cushions. And then make some more.

A pretty obvious one, but cushions are a great way of using your souvenir – or any found or vintage – textiles. Also great to use outdoors on the patio or veranda in summer to bring back that holiday feeling.

4. Hang ’em up
Larger pieces of fabric or rugs can be put up as wall hangings behind your bed, above the sofa or in hallways. They make a great statement. Add a rod to the top to prevent sagging.



5. Upholstery

Last but not least, there are some amazing examples of oriental kilims and other folklore fabrics used as upholstery on chairs and ottomans. It seems a shame to cut up your nice fabrics, but at least this way they will get used and admired for many years.


Like what you see? All image sources and more ideas can be found in my Textiles Pinterest board.

Creating stylish, eclectic kitchens with colour

When choosing a kitchen, most people nowadays will play safe and buy a white one. Bright white, off white or cream. Either sleek and contemporary or a shaker style to create a more traditional look. A super expensive one or a cheaper version from Ikea. This is then usually combined with some neutral, grey or cream tiles, a slate floor and some rustic natural wood shelving and furniture. Nothing wrong with that, it’ll look fab for years to come. But how about stepping away from the white and throwing in some colour? A wall in a bright colour, a bright yellow vintage cabinet, colourful mosaic tiles or a mixed bag of old painted chairs. Colourful accessories like pendant lights, large framed posters and things like kettles and toasters in bold colours are great too for contrast. Be brave! You don’t want your kitchen to look like everyone else’s, do you?

A feature wall with colourful, patterned wallpaper can make a bold statement in a dining room or kitchen. Imagine the room with just a white wall…not quite the same, right?

Bold contemporary, graphic artwork can also add some real style to your kitchen-diner. It combines well with white furniture and a white washed floor.

Not strictly a white kitchen, but too gorgeous not to share. Fabulous choice of colour. 

Adding sliding (barn) doors to a kitchen can also add a difference to a room. How about adding one to an alcove you use as a store cupboard/pantry? Turn it into a blackboard for a real eye catching element. 


Another example of bold wallpaper and accent colours in a great space.


Want to see more eclectic and colourful kitchens? All images and more can be found on my Pinterest board. 

Eclectic bathrooms: blue mosaic tiling, copper pipes and vintage accessories

Oh, I can drool over pictures of bathrooms on Pinterest, as I’m sure many of you do as well. We had our own bathroom redone two years ago and we went for something quite simple and timeless ourselves. Still, I can’t help going Oh! and Ah! when flicking though images of bathrooms with a lot more wow factor, eclectic touches and uniqueness to them. I love Moroccan tiles, colourful mosaics, the look of a sleek modern bathroom in combination with more rustic looking copper pipework and wooden accessories such as ladders and stools. It’s the combination of different textures and materials that really makes a bathroom stand out. Are you ready for some inspiration? ‘Course you are.

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Wonderful simple, yet striking combination of blues, greys and different tiles. Nice copper hardware too.  Image source

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More lovely blue tiles! Without them the room would look much like any other grey bathroom, but the pattern and colour give it a great backdrop. Image source

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I really love how this looks, but knowing from experience that these mid-century sideboards are often not solid wood throughout and very prone to water marks, I would put an extra (glass? marble?) top on it before installing a basin. Great colour combo though. Image source 

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A very dramatic looking bathroom with the black tiles and the large traditional sink. I love how they create contrast by combining this with a concrete floor and an oriental rug. Image source

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Who says that traditional and contemporary don’t go together? Wonderful combo of painted panelled walls, mediterranean tiles, a freestanding bath and a walk-in shower. Minimal in an eclectic way! Image source

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I don’t know about you, but I really love the indoor plant trend that’s been around for a while now. It just makes everything, well, greener. Dream away in your tropical bathroom wile soaking in that gorgeous deep freestanding tub… Image source

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Oh my word, those tiles, that walk-in shower. I bet the rest of the house is a dream too. I love how they have very sleek, minimalist built in cupboards on the left, which make a good contrast with the vintage features.  Image source

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How about this striking, unusual bathroom scheme? Monochrome meets a splash of red. Great use of large patterns and smaller tiles and a very useful and good looking storage niche. Image source

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Need I say more? Just wow. Image source

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What a fabulous bold colour scheme and patterns going on here. Amazing also what a pink scarf (or towel) and a pot of dark blue paint can do to give your bathroom or toilet a quick update. Image source


Want to see more eclectic bathrooms? Have a look on my Pinterest board.


 

How to create a dark dramatic living room

Design project

I recently had the great opportunity to work with some lovely clients in Aberdeen, who asked me for help with the redesign of their living room in a ground floor Victorian apartment in the city centre. A beautiful living room is must be said; with the characteristic high ceilings, giant window, wooden floor boards and a fire place. The couple wasn’t keen on the current white walls in the living room and also generally struggled a bit creating a look that felt ‘together’. They clearly liked darker colour schemes, with a deep blue dining room already beautifully decorated, featuring some nice vintage mahogany furniture. The living room was next.

Specs:

  • Art deco style accessories / furniture
  • Darker, moody colours for the walls
  • Woodwork (window and skirtings to be painted)
  • Mahogany or similar warmer tone natural wooden furniture
  • A new wooden floor
  • Metallic silver/grey wallpaper on chimney breast to stay
  • Black/gold lampshades to be used that were bought already

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For their living room I came up with a scheme that tied in nicely with the moody blue dining room next door, but was still providing a contrast. Green. The walls were to be green! With their love for art deco, gold accents and deep, dark colours, we started to gather ideas on this Pinterest board to get a better feel for where the design was going.

I then came up with this mood board:

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As the couple wanted their walls to be green (did I say green?), rather than blue-green, I chose to step away from the original art deco colour scheme a little and suggest Farrow and Ball ‘Green Smoke‘. This timeless colour goes very well with metallics so would make a good match with the art deco accessories and any vintage furniture that would be bought. For the woodwork I suggested an off black, which may proof to dark, but certainly adds to the drama in the room!

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I love chesterfield sofas, both vintage tan leather ones and modern versions that nowadays can be found in many stores, covered in any fabric. I felt a graphite grey or dusty blue linen would go well with the scheme, especially on top of a lighter coloured rug, to ‘lift’ the dark scheme a little. Some gold yellow accent cushions and foot stool also add a bit of interest. The black with gold lamp shades were already bought by the client and waiting to be used, so I incorporated them in the scheme, combining them with vintage mahogany standard lamps. The chandelier I selected may not be the one they eventually go for, but something along those lines would look stunning in my opinion!

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The existing living room currently has no book shelves around the chimney breast, so I felt including built in bookcases with cupboards at the bottom would be a great use of space and adding a sophisticated bit of storage, for any dvds and other bits and bobs you may not like to have on display. A very large painting above the chesterfield would add an amazing final touch. Très chic, this room!

Rockabilly on a budget

Design project

As a give-away price on Facebook last year I offered to create a free design for someone’s room of choice and I was delighted to be asked to come up with ideas for a living room in a wonderful old house Laurencekirk. High ceilings, lots of character – and a very inspiring interior already. The owners, artists and musicians, had already decorated their home in a fabulously creative way, colourful and full of vintage finds, including a vintage radio collection and a 1960s record player. I found it quite a challenge to add to this! Probably the most eclectic room I have done so far, I decided to mainly focus on storage and making the room look a bit more ‘together’, using the pieces that were already there. I also wanted to change the wall colour to give the room a bit more wow factor without losing the wonderful bohemian vibe that was present in the house.

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Specs:

  • Colours: duck egg/teal and red (‘vintage rockabilly’)
  • Shelving in the alcoves around existing fireplace.
  • New sofa, table and possible accessories.
  • Storage for kids toys and books.
  • Piano, rug and fireplace artwork are staying.

Have a look at the Pinterest board and what I came up with: Pinterest board

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The budget was very low, more like next to nothing, so I had put my upcycling and second-hand buying hat on and do my best to come up with cost-effective solutions. As their old Ikea sofa was really on its way out, I managed to source a gorgeous vintage leather chesterfield sofa in the process for an absolute bargain, which is now taking pride of place in the room. The shelving in the alcoves are going to be scaffold planks. The walls in the design are painted a duck-egg/teal blue and on the wall at the far end I imagined a nice red floral wallpaper, as a contrast with some heavy blue velvet curtains. A wooden crate on wheels holds toys, with a soft sheepskin rug to play on and a couple of knitted pouffes as additional seating, that can be moved around the room. A slim drawer unit fits in between the piano and the sofa for additional storage and to put a plant or table lamp on. The artwork above the sofa could include a changing exhibition of kids drawings, framed vintage fabrics, photographs or prints.

 

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Oriental rug roundup. From fab to faded

Choosing a rug can be quite tricky. There are so many nice ones in a million different colours and styles. Plus, when they are large they have a big influence on the style and feel of your room, so it is important to think about the look you ultimately want to achieve. I am currently very much in love with the vintage oriental, or Persian, ones and I was lucky enough to find a giant red one for little pennies on Gumtree last year, including the worn patches for added ‘character’! I have gathered some great images for you below of fabulous oriental rugs and how to use them in your interior. Enjoy!

A beautiful rich oriental rug is looking great in a bright bedroom. Wonderful blue ombre curtains too.

The nice thing about traditional rugs is that they go quite well in a contemporary setting, combined with other vintage pieces but also in front of a modern sofa on your living room floor. Very versatile and timeless, making it a good investment.

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image: my Domaine

Don’t forget your hallway! A colourful runner can make a great statement. This should also be not too expensive as they are a lot smaller. A good place to find vintage rugs is your local auction house. Just browse their online catalogue and see what is coming up.

A way to add a pop of colour to a bright room with lots of whites is to add a vintage red rug. Goes very well with the Eames chairs too.

A vintage rug and a velvet sofa. You don’t need much more to create a beautiful, cosy room.

I also love faded blues and indigo patterns right now. If you are not really into the traditional reds, try and find an ‘overdyed’ rug in a blue or green shade. Great if you combine it with natural wood, greys and whites for a calmer look.

Kilim rugs are another traditional type of wool rug from the middle east, usually with geometrical patterns or stripes, but instead of the Persian rugs shown above kilims are flat woven. They come in fabulous colours and can really give your room a stylish boost if your looking to brighten up the space. A lot of high street shops now sell kilims in both traditional patterns and contemporary styles, including John Lewis, West elm and Ikea.
You can also try sourcing gorgeous vintage kilims on Etsy or other online stores such as kilim.com

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A modern style kilim by John Lewis

House tour: a small converted farmhouse in the Netherlands

On my travels through the Netherlands this month I popped into my friend Frederiek’s house in the tiny village of Huizinge, north Groningen, who lives there with her partner Wimer and their three-year old son Teun. Huizinge is a beautiful characterful village surrounded by endless flat green fields and far horizons. Frederiek and Wimer recently bought one of the old houses and brought it right up to date with a gorgeous interior full of vintage finds, contemporary art, minimalist touches and plenty of house plants.

Although the house inside doesn’t look anything like it originally was, Frederiek and Wimer didn’t have to do a lot of structural work to the building themselves when they bought it. “We bought the house casco (Dutch for a ‘shell’ building ed.), so it was mainly the inside that still needed to be finished. That way we were able to make the interior just the way we wanted which was great because we were looking for a blank canvas to work with”, Frederiek says. As a result the house is now much more suitable for modern living. The small rooms in the front of the house were originally living room and storage but are now the two bedrooms and the old animal barn got converted into a spacious and very bright kitchen-dining room.

Frederiek (here pictured with my husband)

The couple, who both work in the creative sector, have a keen eye for finding design on a shoestring budget and were lucky enough to salvage the large globe lights from a building in Groningen that was about to be demolished. Other vintage finds are the mid century dining chairs, sofa and armchair and the beautiful old tall glazed cabinet that came out of a cafe. Teun’s nursery is an eclectic collection of heirloom furniture from Frederiek’s family.



Despite the huge transformation there are still many original features which give the house a lot of character, such as the old barn windows, wooden doors and beams, now all painted in a fresh duck egg blue and warm greys. The seamless minimalist grey Egaline floor was poured throughout the house and forms a nice contrast. This type of floor is normally only used as under flooring but when mixed slightly different and coated it works well as a finished product too. Oh, and it is highly practical – what else would you expect from the Dutch?

A glass fronted extension looking out onto the garden and adjoining fields forms their bright ‘sitting room with a view’ including a wood burning stove, wall to wall book shelves and plenty of space for little Teun to play.

Their drive to make the house their own doesn’t stop here though. Having only moved in last December the energetic couple is already working on their next design project: the garden studio / guestroom. No doubt this will look just as stunning as the rest. I can’t wait to see it!

What inspired me this week: bohemian meets mid-century

I am currently working with a lovely family on the redesign of their living room in a new built home near Aberdeen. A wonderful project as they asked me to combine the mid-century modern and scandinavian style with a touch of bohemian. Right up my street, I love it! Needless to say I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest, finding plenty of inspiration. Here are some of the most beautiful images I gathered on my board this week. If anything, they show that mid-century modern or Scandinavian decor doesn’t have to mean minimalist at all.

If you want Nina’s Apartment to restyle your home, please find out more details here.

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Five easy ways to create a bohemian interior

Five ways to create a bohemian interior

Bohemian style is all about indulgence, decoration, oversized drapes, large house plants, and plentiful soft furnishings. Add the exotic furniture and souvenirs from travels far away and you get the picture. Romantic escapism, day dreaming, artistic flair and heaps of personality and soul. Few things are new, most are found, inherited or collected, lots reused and re-purposed.
I am probably too much of a mid century modern fan to go all floral and decorative in my own house, but I do have a weakness for the more exotic interiors and love taking ideas and inspiration from them. If you’re a monochrome kind of person, look away now, because here are my top five tips for getting the bohemian vibe going in your own home!

1. The Peacock chair

Decorative, feminine, exotic…the peacock chair is a true essential in a bohemian home. Surround it by lush plants in your sun room, drape your scarves on it next to your dressing table in the bedroom or create a cosy little corner with plenty of books, cushions and textiles.

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The Peacock chair, here combined with a shaggy rug, floor cushions, cactus plants, rattan accessories and a vintage swivel chair. Img: Moon to Moon

Vintage peacock chair
Could you recreate this private little jungle in your sun room? Image Sarah Kaye

2. Textiles

Do you love traveling to exotic places? Ever been to Marrakesh or Ecuador? I bet you came back with some pretty throws in your suitcase. Use them! Drape them over the sofa, hang them on the wall. Other essential textile items are rugs, shaggy or oriental ones, ideally slightly worn. Floor cushions are also great to add some bohemian style to your room. Click here for some pretty vintage rugs available in our shop right now.

Bohemian bedroom
A rug draped over the bed? Why not. And hang those guitars up in case you feel like serenading your loved one in the morning. Image Magic Dream Life

Layered rugs in bohemian home
Totally my style, mid century minimalist furniture combined with oriental kilim rugs. Love it. Image Sfgirlbybay

Bohemian textiles on a corner sofa with fig leave plant
Who needs matching cushions anyway? Great mix of textures and patterns going on here. Image The Jungalow

3. House plants

House plants are great to add a bit of bohemian style to your room, the larger the better! Hang them suspended from the ceiling in macrame hangers or just place them on the floor in a big ceramic planter or old tin or brass pot. Did you know plants clean the air in your house, making your living space extra healthy? Better than any artificial air purifier. Here’s some more useful info I shared on the blog earlier.

House plant in bohemian interior
Great combination of a large houseplant in an old brass pot, a vintage chest, natural wooden flooring, colourful art and layered textiles on the sofa. Image Pinterest


4. Vintage, antiques and curious collections

Love going to flea markets? Collecting weird and wonderful items? Show them off! Group your vintage finds to create little collections and displays, on a shelf on the wall, a table or in the window. We have some cool decorative vintage finds in stock too, so have a browse if you like. Lanterns are great to collect and display together, both inside and outside – because why stop indoors? Create a magical bohemian corner in your garden, on your balcony or decking. Oh and get that peacock chair out when it’s sunny!

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Oooh…this makes me long for summer. Gorgeous lanterns. Image Residence Style

 
ceramic collection in black vintage dresser
Ceramics and crockery! Mix and match, collect beautiful ‘orphan teacups’, bring back decorative bowls and dishes from your holidays abroad, find fabulous plates in the charity shop. They will look fab all together in your vintage kitchen dresser. Image via Life is in Everyhting Beautiful / Tumblr


bohemian interior glass bottles
Group fresh green leaves and a single pink rose in vintage bottles together against a dark painted wall. Image via Bloglovin

5. Art. Lots of it. And books. Lots of books.

I have a weakness for art, whether it is big oil paintings, graphic design, prints, black and white photography or sculpture. I LOVE art and when I see something that catches my eye and ‘speaks’ to me – I have to buy it. Well, if it is within budget that is… You’d be surprised though how often you may find something that would look great in your collection that isn’t expensive. A little bronze sculpture at a yard sale, a vintage oil painting in a charity shop or a cool film poster at an auction. You really don’t need to fork out thousands to buy original art by famous names to get a great collection going. Just do it. Try also going around exhibitions in your local area to discover artists in your own community whose work may be more affordable than you think. Or how about framing some of your children’s drawings to add to the mix? Or an illustrated page from an old book? To get the bohemian vibe going, group your framed art on a wall to create a colourful eye catching gallery. Lean them against a wall, overlapping even, or arrange them on a shelf if you like changing them around every now and then.

Bohemian art collection with mid century chair and books
Old paintings, framed prints, stacks of books, vintage furniture and oriental rugs. Oh…and that mid century chair…what a gorgeous mix. Image Lonny
Floral paintings gallery wall
These are the type of paintings you could easily come across at flea markets or charity shops. Group similar ones to create a colourful ‘themed’ wall. Image Happy Loves Rosie
Framed plants and curiosities
Not into paintings? Frame your plants and dried flowers! Collections are all about reflecting your own personality, so be creative and think outside the box. Image Our Southern Home

Inspired? Have fun giving your own interior the bohemian touch. And remember:

Bohemian quote