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How to create your own patio garden in a small space

Published by Joanna Whitworth in Design, garden, patio

Spring has officially sprung and now is the perfect time to think about that outdoor space that is often neglected in the colder months..

In small gardens we often believe there are a lot less options when it comes to creating an inviting and interesting space. Granted, installing large water features or football pitch size expanses of grass aren't going to be an option, but there are still lots of ways you can give your tiny yard or garden that wow factor.  We've put together a list of some of the best ways to you can update your space.

Plants and flowers

Unless you have a lot of free time, it's best to keep patio gardens relatively low maintenance.  I would suggest choosing hardy plants that can survive in pots. Plant pots are great for small areas as they give you the option to move them around when you need the space.  Your local garden centre will be able to suggest the best hard wearing plants to suit.

Creating a place to eat

One of the big pluses of an outdoor space is being able to take advantage of the nice weather (however short lived), and nothing quite says summer more than enjoying a meal with a cool drink in the evening sun. If you have a small yard, one of the best ways to create an eating area is to use bistro style furniture (which can be easily folded away when not in use).  The quaint style will help create that 'Parisian' look which suits small spaces.


One of my favourite things to add to a garden to change the ambience is lighting.  Lighting is not only practical but it can help you get the most out of your outdoor space.  A few perfectly placed tea lights or some fairy lights will create a much more cosy and inviting space.

Adding colour

One way to add your personality to your small garden space to add a splash of colour.  Typically in a garden this is done with a mix of flowers and plants, but this isn't always practical in more bijoux spaces.  Instead you could get creative with the colour of the walls, furniture, or plant pots like these below

Although not all of these ideas will suit everyone's garden space, they are a simple start that will hopefully inspire you to become more creative when thinking about how to use the limited space in your outdoor area.

Do you plan to have an overhaul this season? Let us know your plans in the comment section below…


How to create a subtle themed room: Seaside Sophistication

Themed rooms have been around for what seems like forever, and the one that seems most popular is the seaside retreat.  It can be difficult to create a themed look without it looking contrite, so we've put together the best examples of subtle seaside themed rooms to help you create your own.

This look is very paired back, with just a few simple accessories giving a nod to the theme.  The fresh white loose covers give a less formal feel to the overall look, and are a great base for the bright blue striped scatter cushions.

This look is all about the accessories.  The white orchids and muted colour scheme create a sense of calming sophistication, whilst the sea grass rug and starfish art bring nature inside. A touch of colour is brought in through the soft blue scatter cushions.

This is a modern take on a coastal themed room, and again we see a colour palette of muted creams, and greys. The wood burner is the focal point in this room, creating a cosy welcoming environment. The seaside element is brought in through the statement boat and white washed floorboards

Themed rooms aren't always seen as the height of interior design, however with a little careful consideration and planning you can create a look that not only evokes a sense of your favourite beach destination as well as being sophisticated.

If you need any help updating your room, then contact Plumbs today for a FREE no obligation quotation from one of our expert Home Consultants.


“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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Make Our House Your Home

Last we week headed down to Channel 4 in London for the ‘Make Our House Your Home’ conference.  At the event we heard great insight into the relationships we have with our homes, and we also heard from renovation expert Sarah Beeny.

In the first section of the conference we were shown some interviews from couples across the UK, talking about their homes and design inspiration.  Many used sites like Instagram and Pinterest when looking for new and exciting ideas.  They explained that even though they follow trends, they still want their homes to be individual. 

Sarah Beeny interview

Sarah was asked about her career in property and how started out in TV.  She explained that she was already a property developer and fell into her first presenting role on TV by accident.  She went on to speak about her experience and the most common mistakes she’d seen people make over the years, the biggest being underestimating how much things will cost and how long a project can take.

Sarah was asked why she thought property programmes were so popular with the British public. She believes that after our families and friends they are the most important things in our lives, so it makes sense for us to want to make the best out of them.

The interview went on to the subject of her thoughts for the future. Her predictions were based on reducing the amount of energy we will use, and that we look for ways to cut down on the amount of cheaper made products we buy.  “Use less > Buy less”.  So instead of decorating every couple of years we may decide to keep our decors for a little longer and update the quality furniture we already have to try and reduce our carbon footprint.  This idea of is one we at Plumbs feel quite strongly about, we've saved many sofas from the scrapheap over the years.

Mark Cochrane (Strategy Director, MediaCom)

In the final part we saw the newest products on the market for the ‘Connected Home’.  These products all focused around being connected with each other and being able to control them using an app.

Some of the products that stood out were:


Famous Furniture of the Silver Screen

Have you ever been totally captivated by a film and felt transported to the time in which it’s set? No doubt you have, but it won’t just be high-calibre acting which has made this possible – the set and props will have played their part too.

While celebrities may be the ones winning the awards at the Oscars, they’re not the only cast members worthy of recognition. For those interested in famous furniture of the silver screen, here’s our rundown of some of the biggest stars from films through the ages.

Barcelona Chair from Casino Royale (2006)

Simple, elegant and stylish, the Barcelona chair has become synonymous with class over the years, making it the perfect addition to M’s flat in Casino Royale. The chair has been described as a cross between a folding chair and a throne – a good analogy of this practical, yet chic, piece of furniture.

                     Image courtesy of Memado Movie Blog 

Get the Look

Although the classic Barcelona chair is often upholstered in black or white leather, M’s chairs appear to be covered in a light brown suede material. Many people feel suede makes for a more homely, comfortable alterative to leather, but some feel using different fabrics can compromise the overall look. Regardless of what fabric type you go for, try and steer clear of patterns when attempting to recreate this look – it will take away from the simplicity of the design.

So there you have it – it’s not just the actors that are the starts of stage and screen. And with the wide range of reupholstery options and fabric choices out there, you can even recreate some of your favourite pieces of film furniture in your own home!


Tub style chair from The Great Gatsby (2013)

Full of pomp and flapper-generation glitz, The Great Gatsby was celebrated in cinema for its bold and beautiful portrayal of this classic novel set in the 1920s. Ornate furniture was a key feature and something you’ll see a lot of throughout the scenes. A particular favourite of ours is this striped tub style chair.

                      Image courtesy of Pure Inspiration

Get the look

To get the look yourself, chair reupholstery is a great option. Plumbs’ extensive choice of fabrics is sure to give you the look you crave with stripped patterns always a favourite.

For something as glamorous as the screen version, look for an ornately decorated chair with a wooden frame and decorative engravings.


Regal throne from Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Tim Burton’s take on this classic tale of fantasy and intrigue was a hit for many viewers and certainly paid close attention to costume and set. One of the standout triumphs of the film was this throne for the ruthless Queen of Hearts.

                                        Image courtesy of Alice in Wonderland on Deviant Art                         

Get the look

For this high-backed chair, you’ll need to reupholster existing furniture in a deep, red material. You’ll want something fairly thick with a soft and luxurious feel and may also want to consider a heart pattern to echo the heart-shaped back on the chair. Gold detailing is a must for any embroidery and can look particularly effective for accents such as piping.


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