Find Inspiration

Get weekly updates on the latest interior design trends from our experts at Plumbs

Be inspired by the RHS Autumn Flower Show

Flower Shows are often associated with the summer months, but if you have green fingers there’s still time to see the best of what nature has to offer at this year’s Shades of Autumn Show.

Taking place on the 22nd-23rd October at the RHS Horticultural Halls, Westminster, this show is the perfect time to get some inspiration for your garden or even your home.  Being unveiled at the RHS Show are 5 specialist nurseries that have been selected as they break the traditional mould and inspire creativity. So we thought we’d take a look at 5 floral fabrics that break conventions and motivate bold creative statements in the home.

Royal Romance brings florals into your home in a stylish and sophisticated way.  It can be used to match both traditional and modern decors, as the flowers are large scale and placed on contemporary colourways, such as Mocha and Rich Gold.

 

 

 

This Olympos Ottoman fabric in Cranberry is perfect if you want to avoid chintz style florals.  The fabric is in a damask style yet still has a sophisticated leaf pattern running through it.  The colours of gold and cranberry are very autumnul and it has been paired with our complementing Olympus Agra design, and plain coloured scatter cushions.

 

Country Deco in Gunmetal is another of our fabrics that breaks the traditional cast.  The two-tone grey colourway is poles apart from multi-coloured and chintz style florals.  To give this look a real modern edge pair it with a bold colour such as vivid mustard.

 

Venetian and Venetian Stripe are the perfect fabric to make a striking impression.  The seasonal Claret and Gold colourway is brought to life with a velvet – feel pattern.  This new fabric looks great on either traditonal or modern furniture and paired with muted brass and silver accessories.

 

Bukhara is a beautiful embroidered Prestige, floral design, shown here in curtains.  This fabric works with a range of contrasting contemporary fabrics you wouldn’t normally associate with a floral pattern, such as our Lindow and Zari fabrics and also modern style spotted and patterned scatters in complementing colours.

 

For more information on The RHS London Shades of Autumn Show go to www.rhs.org.uk or if you would like some help and advise for adding floral touches to your home contact Plumbs today.

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Keeping The Summer Alive


For most of us we've enjoyed our summer holidays on the beach and are looking to beat those post-holiday blues.  Keeping the holiday spirit alive is not always an easy task when the temperature is dropping and the suns isn't shining, but if you would like to inject some zest into your home then why not take inspiration from the looks below.



This look has taken inspiration from the beach by using shells, twigs and washed wood.  The natural colour palette of orange, greens and browns helps create a sense of calm and tranquil.


Curtains



This look uses yellow and gold tones to create an air of opulence when used with grey and black accessories.  The Francesca Gold Fabric hangs from floor to ceiling and frames the window beautifully and it is sure to brighten any room.


Accessories


These looks are about simple key pieces like a cream sofa and flooring or walls brought to life with bold citrus accents and accessories such as cushions, curtains, wall art and throws.  If you struggle for natural light these accessories below can help brighten a dark space, but just remember not to clutter the space, as this could make it feel even smaller.   You can also remind yourself of those long walks in the countryside by bringing some outdoor influences in, using plants and wild flowers without great expense.





  1. Green Flowers - aliexpress.com

  2. Wall Art - etsy.com

  3. Lighting - Ikea

  4. Plumbs Scatter cushion - ‘Perdita - Ochre’

  5. Yankee Candle - Yankeecandle.co.uk

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Open Plan Decorating Ideas

Open plan living isn't just for twenty-something Manhattanites with more money than sense. After all, it was pioneered by architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright; his 'Prairie Houses' are known as the first example of open plan interiors. He favoured minimalist styles, long windows and low roofs; many modern interpretations follow his style, excepting that they favour high ceilings.

Dividing the Room

There are so many options for dividing up a room. Chic folding screens will give a room an Oriental or vintage theme depending on the style; and they can be bought everywhere nowadays - even budget shops like Wilkinsons stock surprisingly beautiful floral styles.

The other main option is using furniture to partition off mini 'living spaces'; for example a three piece suite to create a small living room area, or creating a PlayStation area for teenage grandchildren with a circle of beanbags.

Using colourful curtains to screen a window seat is excellent use of space, and makes for an elegant reading nook. This works particularly well with bay windows. These Sophia curtains, in rouge, are a bold and attractive trim for a neutral, open plan room.

The best idea is to keep the centre neutral, and accentuate with touches of vibrant colour at the edges of your open plan area. Textured neutrals, and brightly coloured accents, give a room life without making it look small or dark.

If your sofa is a deep or bold colour, remember you needn't buy new; instead, why not purchase some loose covers, and transform your furniture into an exquisite, yet subtle masterpiece? The woven, linen look of this Hampstead Ivory upholstery fabric is tasteful and hardwearing, as well as being machine washable.

Materials

Consider the materials you use in your open plan home very carefully. Luxurious, yet raw and unpolished is the look to aim for. The walls could be unfinished brick; the struts exposed and wooden. Floors should be tiled in Welsh slate, or else with floorboards that have had the barest polish. Re-upholster your furniture in natural yet tactile fabrics; think sheepskins, linen, woven cotton.

Remember, if you want to create a Frank Lloyd Wright style Prairie House, Plumbs can offer you a free, no obligation home consultation, where we can measure your curtains and sofa, so we can help you create the perfect open plan paradise.

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5 Tasteful Terracotta Trappings

Used throughout history in sculpture and friezes due to its malleable, decorative properties, Terracotta has been a popular material for everyone from Ancient Greek figurine carvers, to Victorian tile merchants. The colour evokes Mediterranean cafes, amphora and stucco; a warm, peaceful hue which is perfect for both summer and autumn.

Terracotta Loose Covers

 

This beautiful sofa fabric, known as Maddison Trellis, is a soft, earthy terracotta, with a subtle pattern reminiscent of tiles. These exquisite decra loose covers are easy to care for (and machine washable!) as well as being neatly tailored specifically for your furniture. Accessorise with soft white cushions – and why not re-upholster your ottoman to match?

Terracotta Plant Pots

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lamentables/5652815995/

Terracotta (the earthenware, not the colour) is most often used in plant pots, to give crimson, gold or saffron coloured flowers a home, and a hint of Mediterranean charm. The planters are designed to be chic, but in an unassuming, unpretentious way. They showcase so-called wildflowers particularly well, as well as trailing plants and fragrant herbs such as thyme (originally cultivated in the Mediterranean area).

Terracotta Curtains

These elegant Terracotta curtains feature a raised floral pattern, in a breathable, cotton rich fabric. They are made to measure, with blind hems, mitred corners and weighted skirts to ensure a perfect drape.  Why not pair these opulent drapes with a mosaic side table, an inlaid lamp and a set of intricately carved bowls, for a taste of Marrakech under the blue grey skies of Britain.

Terracotta Blinds

Sleep can be difficult in warmer weather. These terracotta roman blinds, in an elegant stripe, will help keep the glare and the early morning sun out of your eyes. They can stand alone, or be paired with matching or contrasting curtains. These chic shades will keep insomnia at bay and keep you both happy and cool.

Hanging Terracotta Lamps

Suitable for interior or exterior use (and would be lovely in a summer house) these hanging lights incorporate both candle lanterns and traditional light bulbs. The delicate carvings in the terracotta provide an enchanting juxtaposition to the 'heaviness' of terracotta as a sculpting material, making them a delightful living room accessory this summer.

If you want to incorporate more terracotta into your home, contact Plumbs today for a free no obligation home visit, and get made to measure curtains, roman blinds or loose covers today!

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Transform Your Lounge in an Afternoon

Summer is the perfect season to brighten and refresh your home's décor. However it's also the time when many of us want to be outdoors in the sunshine – not hanging curtains and sweeping the pantry! Fortunately you can completely transform your lounge in the space of a Bank Holiday afternoon – with sofa covers, scatter cushions and even some easy-to-hang curtains.

Loose Covers


Sofa and suite covers are an absolute lifesaver for the decorator in a hurry. Regardless of the size or shape of your furniture, you can get attractive and professional stretchy loose covers designed and sewn to fit your sofa perfectly. Simply book a no obligation sofa cover consultation, and get your covers measured and fitted. When they arrive (delivered for free!), you can simply pop them on, and voila! Washable, perfectly fitting covers for your stunning 'new' sofa.

Eyelet Curtains

 

Getting a pair of beautiful, custom made curtains made is a worthwhile investment, especially if you have bay windows or another unusual shape. Eyelet curtains are the easiest kind to hang once they are made; simply 'thread' the curtain pole through the eyelets, replace on top of the struts and affix. They can be easily accessorised with braided, twisted or silken curtain ties, or simply left loose for an attractive, carefree look.

Scatter Cushions

Cushions are one of the easiest ways to transform a space; you can have them made in the same fabric as your curtains, for example, and create a matching look, or opt for a bold contrast. All you need do with these versatile accessories is arrange them prettily; adorning a sofa, placed on the ground for an al fresco air, or brightening a window seat.

If you want to transform your lounge in an afternoon, let us do the preparation for you – all you need to do is get in touch for custom made stretch loose covers, bespoke curtains and a selection of scatter cushions made to your specifications. Contact us today on 0800 019 0505!

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July's Top Five Special Offers

Thanks to the recession, we're all looking for a good deal, but that doesn't have to mean sacrificing your sense of style. There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself and your home looking its best. Here at Plumbs, we're glad to help out, with new special offers every month. We're offering fantastic deals on half price curtains, loose covers, blinds and re-upholstery, and here are July's top five specials.

1)     50% off Suite Covers in 'Catherine's Garden' + £50 in FREE Accessories!



Bring a fresh bouquet of flowers into your home with these gorgeous 'Catherine's Garden' suite covers, now 50% off and coupled with £50 worth of FREE accessories. These half price suite covers can be applied to any kind of furniture and are fully machine washable. Show here in the Ruby colour-way, you can also have matching curtains made up for a fully co-ordinated look.

2)     50% off 'Gemma' Curtains



These curtains in 'Gemma' are now at half price, and are available in 15 colours. 'Gemma' is a versatile, unadorned design that is perfect for either a minimalist home, or combined with other colours and patterns for a more eclectic look. Shown he re in a rich turquoise, in a pencil pleat. Simply contact a Plumbs consultant today for a free, no obligation quote.

3)     3 for 2 Re-Upholstery with 'Mayfair Stripe'



Have 2 pieces of furniture reupholstered in 'Mayfair Stripe' fabric and get a third item reupholstered FREE! Pictured here in a classic duck egg blue, this beautiful, bold stripe is available in six colours, including an antique gold hue.  The price of re-upholstery will depend on your furniture - with the cheapest item re-upholstered for free.

4)     30% off Roman Blinds in 'Woodland'



These beautiful roman blinds in the attractive 'Woodland' fabric are 30% off and come in five exquisite colour-ways and are the perfect window dressing. Why not match them with a pair of 'Gemma' curtains (at 50% off)? Turquoise and pink make a beautiful combination, especially for a fresh, colourful lounge or pretty bedroom. There are matching accessories available in this fabric, so why not decorate your window seat with co-ordinating scatter cushions?

5)     40% off 'Mandalay' Sofa Covers + £50 Free Accessories!



We're offering 40% off 'Mandalay' sofa covers, along with £50 worth of FREE accessories! The fabric pictured is an especial favourite; a rich, creamy ivory, woven with an intricate gold edged design. There are another thirteen colours available, all luxurious, opulent colours; champagne, burgundy, midnight blue. The fabric is an easy to care for 'superweave', fully washable and designed not to shrink or crease.


If you want to take advantage of any of our amazing special offers, just get in touch today for a free no obligation quote, and give your home a fresh new look for less!

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Summer Chateau Chic

Want a room that is sweet, soft and delicate as whipped lavender cream? The rich details of French, 18 th century style, composed of light, delicate colours, accentuated by gold or silver patterns, make for a delightfully opulent summer look. The subtle pastel hues so typical of the period are prevented from being insipid by the contrasting textures or metallic designs, which often reflect nature. This look is very chic; playful, bright yet rather polished. It's perfect if your front room is high ceilinged and benefits from plenty of light.


To start, re-upholster your chaise longue in a luxurious vanilla cream, with the archetypal foliage pattern of the era executed in a soft, textured velvet – try our beautiful Eleganza fabric. Next, heavy, rough silk drapes in the same hue as the sofa's pattern, and sweet metallic cream swirls.  Tie them with a braided silk golden tie, embellished with semi-precious tiger's eye beads. An elegant pouffe in matching or similar fabric can finish your selection of furniture.


Why not pair your new curtains and upholstery with a vintage bird cage? Or else buy a cheap reproduction and use a plastic based spray paint to match it with the rest of your décor – a matte, duck egg blue would work perfectly. It's better to be a little matchy matchy with this look; keep décor and accessories in the same colour, or style – or keep accessories very neutral, or better yet, metallic.


Picture via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3A-_Bugia_candlestick_-.jpg


Candlesticks are another hot accessory, and surprisingly lovely ones are available everywhere – even mass emporiums like Ikea – bargain central for home wares. You have to wade through the brittle off white dinner plates and cheap waffle tea towels, but once there you'll find exquisite lamps, beautifully cosy throws, armfuls o0f scented tea lights for a pound and affordable accessories which are absolutely ideal if you like to customise your home (if need ideas, check out Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart or A Beautiful Mess, for easy yet 'grown-up' DIY projects).

So if you want to explore your inner Marie Antoinette, get in touch and we can give you a free no obligation quote for new upholstery.

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Oriental Nights

One of the latest trends in the world of interior design has a distinctly oriental flavour.   Don't worry, we aren't suggesting wind chimes, dragon patterned drapes, or katana swords wired onto your living room walls.  This is a mature, sophisticated riff on the patterns and colours of the Orient, based on rich dyes and intricate designs that took talented craftsmen centuries to perfect.

Designer Carmen Marc Volvo once explained his love of Pantone's Poppy Red as "a reflection of the Oriental influence on interior design", a love which is currently experiencing a careful resurgence in chic homes across Britain.

Oriental Adventures

These Elana Lipstick curtains, in pink and gold, are a bold centrepiece for any room, drawing on the colour pink, a summer favourite. The gold references the costly embroidery typical in many an Oriental home. Here the curtains are paired with black, gold, and a beautiful matching plant in the same bright hue. Pink is a beautiful colour, however it may be challenging for some when it's this bright, especially in a main room.

Oriental Escape

You can channel the oriental trend in a more subtle way by upholstering an elegant easy chair with this delicious, kimono silk inspired fabric. It retains the exquisite patterning of the Orient in a less bold but still beautiful colourway. Pair this delightfully subtle chair with genuine – or high quality reproductions – of antiques from Japanese history. You can buy these from Etsy or Ebay, but do check how long they've been trading and their feedback to avoid being ripped off. Or else consider purchasing some vintage oriental fabric and making your own.

The Orient Express

For a quick, yet no less exciting nod to the Oriental trend, why not try these dining chair covers in Mandalay's red fabric? China has a long association with red dyes, exploiting the properties of the madder root, and safflower, to achieve beautifully rich hues. These loose covers, in a rich red, accented by the golden foliage and swirls so typical of oriental affluence, will give instant life to a neutral and pedestrian living room. Pair with soft golden accessories and a burnished copper lampshade for an exotic yet elegant look.

Remember, Plumbs offer free, no obligation advice in your own home, and a chance to browse fabric samples at your leisure. If your furniture needs a new look, and you want a bespoke, high quality solution, contact us today!

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How Does Plumbs make 1000 different covers orders every week

It’s not often that you get the chance to use the word ‘unique’ and get away without being accused of exaggeration. But Plumbs of Preston claims the right to be described this way.

Although there are plenty of local and even regional companies in the market, Plumbs is the only manufacturer of fitted furniture covers to offer a nationwide service. Each week about 25km of material is converted into more than 1000 made to measure loose covers for armchairs and sofas.

Started some 45 years ago and still owned by the Plumb family, this Lancashire factory has over 300 staff on the payroll. But this is only part of the story as there are another 150 self employed consultants who deal with customers in their homes. Consultants show customers fabric samples and photographs demonstrating the different fabrics on offer and generally giving advice on the available options. After agreement is reached, the consultant measures up, sends in the details and will ultimately fit the products once complete and shipped.

With over 1000 orders a week to process and at least 200 designs and colourways to contend with, it follows that holding stock of raw material is hardly practical. Instead, Plumbs uses its experience to forecast the likely demand for each fabric and colour alternative which it then passes on to its four major and 16 minor suppliers. It takes around four to six weeks to process an order, from the moment measurements come in from the consultant to the point of delivery. The first stage of the process is to check the measurements and set up the documentation. During this time we expect the material to be delivered from the supplier just in time to go straight onto the Lectra cutter.

In a process still very much dependent on skilled sewing machine operators, of whom the factory employs more than 70 plus a few other machinists installing zips and making-up valances, there is a limit to how much automation is possible. But over the years Plumbs has invested heavily in state-of-the-art automatic cutters from the French manufacturer, Lectra - machines that even ten years ago had a £100,000 price tag. “We have worked closely with Lectra for 15 years,” said production director Arthur Diamond, “and now have seven of their cutters. Because each order is unique, every job has to be cut single ply, but even so our productivity in this area has risen enormously.”

It’s not as simple as saying the Lectra machines have made a four-fold improvement in productivity as savings at the cutter need to be offset with time spent in the firm’s drawing office working on CAD systems to feed the cutters with digital data. But, overall costs and training timescales are down, plus, by using a computer to arrange the numerous pattern pieces on the fabric, maximum material utilisation is being achieved.

One of the biggest problems Plumbs has is appealing to a younger market. When they think of Plumbs loose covers, many people think of the brown knitted stretch fabric on granny’s favourite chair. However, with the continuous development of polyester knitted fabrics, a high quality cover with little stretch is now available with all of the easy-care benefits and they still account for 50 per cent of sales. But nowadays there is much more interest from the market in cotton fabrics which has seen the Traditional Cotton brand grow enormously.

For those customers who want a tighter fit from their covers, but without going all the way to re-upholstery, Plumbs is busy building a network of what it calls ‘technical designers’. So far there are 155 of these independent re-upholstery specialists who receive firm orders, generated in the normal way, but who make the covers to much tighter tolerances. Rather than have the field consultant measure up, details are passed to the technical designer who takes his own measurements.

There is an increasing demand for full re-upholstery which Plumbs now offer as a service throughout the United Kingdom.

Plumbs has a terrific reputation, as a completely dependable, friendly, family run business. An obvious extension to the loose cover range are curtains; not the imported, ready made variety, but rather a top of the range product complete with a full design and fitting service. Currently, curtains such as these account for around twelve per cent of the total sales which includes our internet curtain ordering service.

The life of an order in the Plumbs factory can be seen here 

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Spring Cleaning can help prevent allergies in your home

Published by Emma Day in Curtains, loose covers
Most allergy sufferers dread spring as it is the time of year when allergies begin their torment, however many don't realise that allergies in srping can be triggered by the poor quality of the air in their homes instead of the usual demon, pollen. It is very difficult to get away from pollen but it is very easy to clean out the bad air from your home.

There are a number of kits you can use to test your home for all types of allergy triggers, such as; molds, dust mites and pet dander etc. You may find that a specific type of trigger in your home is the reason for one of many allergies.

Below are some tips on how you help remove some of these triggers that can cause these allergies:

1. Use air purifiers in rooms where most of your time is spent. It is best to use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arrest) system as they can remove up to 99.97% of microscopic air pollutants, there are many to chose from ranging from £25 to over £100, you can find some by searching "HEPA air purifiers" on Google.

2. Vacuum all carpets, flooring, furniture, curtains and anywhere dust can collect at least once a week. This will remove many pollen spores, dust and other allergens, again a HEPA vacuuum cleaner is best but any vacumm is better than none.

3. Using washable loose covers for you sofa, chairs and cushions is a great way to get rid of dust mite eggs that would otherwise build up in the fixed upholstery.

4. Shower and wash your hair every night before you go to bed. People often bring pollen and other seasonal allergens into their homes on their clothes and their hair. Use shower filters that remove chlorine and other chemicals too.

5. Keep pets off of your bed and out of your bedroom. Sorry, this is a small price to pay for allergy relief. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from allergens. So tempt your pets to sleep elsewhere.

6. Wash all bedding in 140-degree hot water at least twice weekly to eliminate dust mites, pet allergens and pollen. Use dust mite covers for your mattresses, pillows and comforters to further protect yourself and your family from dust mites.

For more information of Asthma & Allegies please visit the below sites:

http://www.aafa.org/
http://www.sleepworkplay.com

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