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“I don’t like our throwaway culture” – designer Orla Keily speaks out

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Design

Designer Orla Kiely is most recognised for her simple and repetitive floral print which has adorned the likes of tote bags, clothing, and home furnishings for around the last 15 years. 

Dublin born Orla began her career designing hats, which after branching out to bags and accessories also lead her into the world of interior design.  Her retro designs lend themselves perfectly to the Scandinavian style which is hugely popular today.

“Modernism had a huge impact on Kiely, 52. “Growing up in the late 60s and 70s I was very aware of modernism. And as a student in the 80s (in Dublin and London) I was always hunting out modernist vintage, and of course the Scandinavian look.” Rosie Millard from the Radio Times.

 

Orla Kiely expressed that although her designs are featured on numerous products, she hopes people who buy her items will keep them forever.  This philosophy of keeping and looking after the things we buy is something that resonates with Orla “I don’t like our throwaway culture. It’s very sad when you see sofas chucked out on the front doorstep. I love things that last. My mother would have re-covered a sofa. When I grew up, it was always about giving things a new lift. I like that.” . 

This way of thinking is one that we hope will catch on soon, as the latest figures show that around 672,000 tonnes of furniture is thrown away each year, with currently only 17% being recycled.  These figures seem even more shocking when we take into consideration the amount of CO2 needed to produce new pieces of furniture and thus the increasing strain on the planet. (See our infographic for more information)

It’s great to hear people of the design industry with the same philosophy as ours and we are lucky enough to even have one of Orla Kiely’s designs in our Prestige Collection.  Our Amari fabric shown below in Graphite colourway can be made into loose covers or used to reupholster a tired piece of furniture.

If you would like to give a beloved item of furniture a new lease of life then why not speak to one of expert Home Consultants by contacting us today  for a FREE no obligation quotation.

If you fancied seeing how strong your own furniture pricing skills are, then why not have a go at our higher or lower quiz? Let's see if you can spot the furniture bargains!

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How Well Do You Know Your TV Sofas? Find Out By Taking The Quiz!

Published by Joanna Whitworth in

Producing a hit television show is about more than just casting a bunch of great actors to read from a knock-out script. What’s equally important is creating a set and building a unique surrounding that will make a lasting, memorable impression on the viewer. This includes everything from how a mirror should hang, how many chairs are placed around a kitchen table, and of course, the strategic placement of the all important centre of the home – the sofa!

Did you know that, in the Will and Grace apartment, set designers were so committed to creating authenticity that the pieces of mail that sat on the coffee table would be addressed to the characters who lived in that apartment!? It’s a prime example of how crucial set design can be to the making, and success, of a TV sitcom – and the sofa, of course, is no exception.

We spend hours on our sofas, watching people on TV, sat on their sofa. It’s perhaps the most loved, and iconic piece of furniture on the box – chat shows, sitcoms, and drama series’, they all have them. So just how many would you be able to recognise?

TV-lovers – take our quiz to spot which TV programme these famous sofas (and admitedly, a few chairs) are from! 

 

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Pantone Colour of the Year 2016

Every year Pantone will release what they believe to be the colour that will best represent the world for the upcoming 12 months. For 2016, Pantone have done something different; they have selected two official colours.

Their chosen colours are Rose Quartz & Serenity and are designed to be used together to create a balance and a soft and tranquil tone.

Here is how Pantone describe these colours:

“Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”

 

How to use these colours in the home

These pastel shades feel fresh and uplifting compared to 2015’s colour of the year – Marsala, which was an earthy wine tone.

Rose Quartz and Serenity work well in the home, especially when used in accessories or accents.  As these colours are designed to balance each other we suggest trying to use equal amounts of each.  Too much pink and the overall look may be too sickly sweet; too much blue may be too cool. 

Image courtesy of Pantone Instagram

These colours when combined together create a soft retro feel, which would work particularly well with Scandinavian style furniture.

Rose Quartz and Serenity will not be for everyone but will definitely add some fun and freshness to a colour scheme.  What do you think of these colours?  Comment below and tell us whether you’ll be incorporating these colours into your home this year… 

If you fancied seeing how strong your own furniture pricing skills are, then why not have a go at our higher or lower quiz? Let's see if you can spot the furniture bargains!

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5 ways to make your house smell like Christmas!

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Christmas

One of the most memorable things about this time of year is the smells we associate with it. Whether that be fresh pine, cinnamon, clementine or vanilla, you can be sure that when that familiar smell is around it will take you straight back to your childhood and your favourite festive memories. Here are a few ways to induce those much-loved yuletide aromas!

1. Festive Simmer Pots

Simmer pots are simple to make and will create a warming welcome for guests over the festive period.  This pot from Half Baked Harvest uses spices, tangerines, and cranberries; you can tailor your pots with your favourite ingredients and scents.

 

2. Roasted Chestnuts

So good even Nat King Cole couldn’t help singing about them! The smell of roasting chestnuts is sure to get your guests’ taste buds tingling so it may be worth buying a few extra as I’m sure these will be in high demand.  We love this simple recipe from The Framed Table.

 

3. Mulled Wine

Nothing quite says Christmas like a warming cup of mulled wine.  Most fruits are perfect for adding to mulled wine so you can be as inventive as you like with the recipe (although this one from the Taste Food Blog is particularly good).  If wines not your thing, why not try spiced apple juice or cider?

 

4. Homemade Orange Candles

This idea is slightly trickier than the others and will take a little bit of practice to perfect, but once you do theses cute little candles are really effective for creating both a lovely ambience and a gorgeous smell.  For any that fail along the way, simply follow Delia Creates advice and add a tea light to the centre instead to create a similar effect!

 

5. Homemade Garlands

This is a great activity to do on a cold winter’s day and even better if you have children around to keep entertained.  This tutorial from 5 Orange Potatoes uses cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg to create these pomanders as well as some sweet little ‘acorns’ to hang on the tree.

 

Every family has their own traditions at Christmas and trying some of these ideas could be a great way to start some new ones!  If you have any great ideas on how to make your home smell like Christmas please share with us in a comment below… 

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The Best DIY Christmas Activities

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Christmas, decor

Christmas is an exciting time of the year, however after all the frenetic parties and shopping it can be quite nice to sit, relax, and do something creative. With this mind we’ve put together some great festive DIY activities for you to relax with. 

Make your own snow globe

This DIY Mason jar snow globe is one of the prettiest we’ve found on Pinterest, and would make a great gift or decoration for the mantelpiece.  Find the guide on how to make this on Simple Craves & Olive Oil.  Once you have mastered this why not make a few in various sizes to create a real centrepiece for your Christmas dinner table?

  

Gold tipped Paper Feathers

We love how sophisticated these feather gift decorations are, and they would certainly make your gifts more memorable.  Lia Griffith has a PDF you can print out to assist you to create your own.

 

Make your place settings

We found these sweet and effective Christmas candy cane name holders on Fun with Holiday Crafts.  To create these inexpensive holders all you’ll need is Candy canes, ribbon, a hot glue gun, and cards printed with your guests name in a font of your choice.

 

Make your own wreath

This DIY wreath is so inventive and will help to use up all those left over bits of wrapping paper.  Pinterest is filled with ideas on how to create your own and we love this one! Its delicate nature means it will probably be best kept indoors for your guests to admire.  To see the full step-by-step guide head to Centsational Girl

 

Build a gingerbread house

There’s something really satisfying about building and decorating your own gingerbread house. To bake your own house take a look at the queen of baking - Mary Berry’s recipe here, however if baking is not your thing, don’t worry you can pick up sets of premade pieces and ready-made icing easily. We love the winter wonderland theme of the house below which we found on Biscuiteers.

 

Activities such as these are a great way to get into the festive spirit and can also create a welcome break from the busy weeks around Christmas.

We hope you find these suggestions useful and from everyone at Plumbs, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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DIY Gifts your friends and family will love this Christmas

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Christmas, diy, gifts

Struggling to think of gifts to buy for friends and family?  Then why not get crafty and create your own!  We’ve searched blog tutorials and Pinterest boards for the best DIY gift ideas this Christmas.

Chalkboard Cheese Stone

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a tempting cheese board.  This DIY gift is perfect for crafty beginners as it’s quick and easy to make, and your recipient will love it since they’ll be able to put it to use straight away!  All you need to make this is a slate tile, chalk paint, and a foam brush.  See the step-by-step guide on frankieheartsfashion.com

Mason Jar Cocktail Gifts

If you know someone who loves a tipple during the festive period, then why not treat them to their favourite cocktail in a jar? This quirky gift is simple to make and can be personalised to suit.  Find the full guide on how to create these on somethingturquoise

 

Peppermint Cocoa Christmas Ornaments

These ornaments are not only pretty to look at, they contain the ingredients for a deliciously indulgent hot chocolate, too. Once you’ve mastered this recipe why not tweak it to create more inventive flavours? You can add a touch of cayenne and cinnamon to make a Mexican hot chocolate, or a touch of rocksalt and some caramels for that crowd-pleasing salted caramel taste. Just remember to make extra as you may want to keep these baubles for yourself! Find out how to make them on lecremedelacrumb.

DIY Wood Coasters

These wooden coasters are perfect for the party season, and the design can be as simple or as elaborate as you dare to stencil! We found these pretty ones on the3thavenue.  You should be able to pick up a set of plain wooden coasters on eBay for under £5.

 

DIY Gold Letter Mugs

Pinterest is filled with great ideas on making your own personalised mugs, and we love these simple gold and white ones from pinegateroad.  If you prefer bolder designs you could swap the gold for a brighter tone, or how about swapping the initial for the lyrics to your giftee’s favourite Christmas song?

 

What’s great about all these gifts is you can put real thought and imagination into them and you can be sure your gift will be both unique and much appreciated. We hope we’ve inspired you to be creative with your presents this year, and you can always find more ideas on our Pinterest board.

Are you planning on making any of your gifts this year?  Share your ideas with us below…

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Make yourself a Christmas home…

The Christmas season is upon us and the shops and town centres are a buzz with lights and decorations.

New Call-to-actionUnless you’re the kind to put up their decorations immediately after Bonfire Night (or earlier!) you may now be turning your mind to decorating your home for the festivities.

To Theme or Not To Theme…that is the question!

It has become increasingly fashionable over the years to have a Christmas theme that you can carry through your tree, decorations, lights, gift wrap and cards. The theme can be chosen to suit your own personal style or to suit your home. Here are some of our favourites!

Theme 1: The Traditional Christmas

If a Traditional Christmas is your way of celebrating there are lots of ways you can decorate your home. The key colours for this theme are red, green and gold; think warm and classic. You can even personalise this theme with elements like tartan.

Image courtesy of: Lushhome.com

John Lewis has some particularly lovely baubles and accessories to suit this look:

 

 

Theme 2: Dreaming of a White Christmas

In contrast, if your home is more modern then the style you might choose is a contemporary, minimalist look. The colours here are white and silver, with the overall look being clean and crisp.

Image courtesy of: regalgr.com 

In order to get this Narnia-like décor, look out for white and detailed accessories such as these below…

 

Theme 3: Bejewelled Tones

If white is not for you, why not try a more opulent theme where the colours are jewel shades, gold and black? This look is sophisticated and luxurious.

Image courtesy of: archzine.fr 

4. Theme 4: A Winter Woodland

Maybe you’re an outdoorsy person and want to bring nature indoors for your theme. A great way to achieve this is to create a rustic woodland theme by using add creature elements and earthy tones. To complement the look you can use reds and golds with fruits and berries.

Image courtesy of: fourgenerationsoneroof.com 

Theme 5: Festive Fun

Another option is to make your decorations as fun as the season itself. Choose brighter colours and mix patterns to create a fun eclectic vibe.

  

Image courtesy of: Christmas-light-source.com

The children will have a great time helping out with this idea; they can even make their own decorations of characters to suit.

Whatever theme you choose, enjoy the process. By involving your family it can become one of your Christmas traditions each and every year…

Merry Christmas!

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Home inspiration: the colours of autumn

Autumn is considered one of the more beautiful times of the year, and as we welcome in the new season we tend to rethink our tastes and preferences.  Out go the flip-flops and shorts to make room for boots and thick coats.  The same feelings often apply in our homes, as we begin to crave a warm cosy space to curl up in front of the fire. 

Nature is a great source of inspiration when looking for new colours to update our homes, and autumn is full of warm and inviting tones.

Autumn Colour Palette 1: Brown & Golds

  

These colours are the classic colours of autumn.  Caramel and Auburn coloured leaves litter the forest floor.  To use these rich brown tones in your home, it’s best to add a fresher colour to lighten the overall feel of the room.  We love the flash of yellow-gold of the leaves before they turn but the green of the trees will work equally as well. 

 

Autumn Colour Palette 2: Teal & Burnt Orange 

The vibrant teal sky works perfectly with the burnt orange colour of the leaves in this image. This teal shade could easily be used to add interest to a colour scheme of warm brown and orange tones.  The odd accessories in this cool blue/green hue such as a vase or scatter cushion will make the look feel much fresher and modern.

 

This is just a small selection of the colours nature has to inspire us.  Why not take a camera on a brisk walk and create your own colour palette?

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Trend Alert: All Mapped Out!

Maps are no longer confined to office walls and the boot of your car.  You can use them anywhere from lamp shades, kitchenware and even on upholstery to give your home a sophisticated and worldly feel.

Ways to incorporate the map design trend into your home

Maps are a great way to add a touch of nostalgia to your room.  You could try choosing maps of your favourite countries, or somewhere you’d love to visit one day in the future.  There are many sites online where you can customize accessories (such as the clock and mug below) with places that are special to you and your family.  If you’re feeling creative you could also try making your own feature wall; take a look at our Pinterest board for more inspiration!

Here are some of my favourite ways to incorporate maps into interior design…

What do you think of the map trend? Leave a comment to let us know your favourite way to use it in your home!

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Feeling Blue: 4 Stylish Ways to Use Blue in Your Home

Blue skies may have made way for short greyish days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy this versatile colour in our homes all year round.

Whether your home is traditional or contemporary, there is always a shade of blue to add richness and elegance to your colour scheme.  From deep inky blues to bright and bold cobalt shades, we’ll help you incorporate this colour into your home…

Stripes & Checks

Blue is a colour that lends itself well to a nautical theme, in particularly when used in stripes and checks.  It’s best to choose mid-tone blues to keep the look fresh and pair with lots of crisp white to ensure a clean grown-up feel.

Moody Walls

A deep dark indigo wall will add instant atmosphere to almost any room.  Dark wood floors and furniture will help create a warm and inviting feel.

Statement Furniture

One or two bright pieces of furniture can freshen the overall feel of a room and also add a touch of personality. If you’re not sure about investing in a strong coloured piece of furniture you can use throws or loose covers to create the same look which can be easily changed at any point in the future. We’ve teamed our striking Hampton loose furniture covers in Navy with soft cream and beige scatter cushions.

 

Mixing Different Shades

Don’t be afraid to play with different shades of blue in your colour schemes; by balancing light and dark shades of the same colour you can create a layered feel.  

These are just a small selection of the ways you can incorporate this versatile colour into your colour palette – if you have any more interesting tips with blue why not comment below!

If you’ve been inspired to add a touch of blue to your home, contact us today to discuss your options with one of our expert Home Consultants.

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