How to make your own stuff stylish

Ever feel like you have too much of the wrong stuff to make your space look stylish?

Nothing matches and your not sure how to make everything fit in with your current ideas?

Magazine stylists get to start from scratch or have a multitude of choices to fix things just right for a photo. Styling a space thats easy to live in is considerably harder. You need to include most of what you have and then insert your family, friends and pets into the picture, not to mention the reality of keeping it clean and tidy.

I am with you! I have been given gifts over the years and bought myself pieces that I shake my head at now. That’s life, the reality they don’t show you in the glossy magazine pics!

I will let you in on one of my secrets……the trick is to find a way to justify your mix. Sometimes this is easier said than done but hear me out. More than belonging to a ‘style’ your space needs to have a storyline. The best interiors are always eclectic anyhow because the cleverness required to combine styles harmoniously is what makes a room truly unique.

For example, I had quite the ‘snow chalet’ look going on at home this Winter and now that the weather is warming up I am transitioning into more of a tribal/indoor jungle feel. It is amazing how many accessories still work regardless of my change of head space. The faux fur and animal hides still work as does the rattan arm chair and deer antlers. Add an abundance of indoor plants and some feathers and the change is as good as a holiday! (Almost.) Sometimes its surprising when you list the different characters in your story how many of them can cross over. Have I lost you?

Another example, you may have amassed a series of soft furnishings in bold colours, ended up with furniture in different timber tones and then moved on to harbour a love of all things industrial, typography and metallics. Add to this the global items collected on your travels and a love of music and you have New Orleans playing the leading role in your story. The city is colourful. Its also a mix of European styles especially French that is filled with graphic posters, lights and artwork enticing the music lover in you to come sit at the bar.

You get me? Either make a list of what you want or what you have and go from there.

My New Orleans list looks like this:

Saturated colour, wrought iron, shutters, gilded mirror frames, brass trumpets, cool Jazz bars, voodoo, historic timber furniture, shop display cabinets, wallpaper, posters and street art, chandeliers and candles. Draping plants like Spanish moss, Oak trees, quilts and monograms, pillars, arches, corbels and lanterns. Sort through what you have that fits the storyline and use the tale as a guide for anything new you buy. You don’t need it all and I am betting you will be surprised at how much difference it makes when your pieces have a purpose…………

New Orleans Moodboard

All images via Pinterest

Find a story that suits your stuff! It can be done and yes, sometimes you have to move some stuff into storage until you need it again for your next change of heart, however, it also gives you an excuse to go shopping for new and exclusive features for your current adventure :)


Lessons in Layering

Layering is the secret to styling an amazing space. The elements you choose to add to a space are what inject interest and depth. Layers are the details that define your style. Your surroundings play a large part in establishing your mood and you can easily create the vibe you want your for your home with a few simple layers. I promise you, there are very few decorating dilemmas that cannot be solved with some paint, well placed curtains, a rug or two, scatter cushions or a strategically placed art arrangement!

There is no better interior design style than Bohemian to use as an example for layering. Who can resist a space layered with carefree comfort? Relaxing, slouchy and generally colourful, done well, Boho is the perfect lesson in layering. It is the interior equivalent to tousled hair; seemingly effortless, a beautiful mess, untroubled and artful.

Boho was born of making do with what you have and regardless of whether or not you love the look it can be used to inspire layering your own way. The key elements to learn from include:

Layered rugs. Don’t be afraid to overlap multiple mats strewn casually across the floor. Its when we try to follow the rug rules laid down by the wealthy designers that we throw up our hands in frustration and decide its all too hard. Mix it up and throw down some floor pillows or bean bags for lounging about. Perfectly upholstered furniture is expensive. Having comfy cushions that can be scattered about creates a fun, casual vibe.

Layered rugs and wicker furniture create a relaxed Boho vibe

Colour and texture are key elements for creating a fun space

Scatter some cushions around the floor for your next informal gathering

Pattern is a powerful way to add style to a space and Boho uses it in bucket loads. If it frightens you, introduce it in smaller quantities. I promise you will fall in love with the effect. A room void of pattern is bland. Texture is always a must and not difficult to achieve when you have layers of soft furnishings. Wicker furniture is often used by the free spirited and artistic not only for its texture but because it is less expensive than solid timber or similar. Recycled timber adds a rawness like nothing else can, think old doors as coffee table tops or crates and pallets. Or bring new life to a tired piece with a coat of paint. Rough and ready is fine. All that is left to do is bring in the outdoors in multitudes with house plants and stack up the books. No Boho space is complete without loads of books. They have the power to completely change the feel of a room all on their own…….

Pattern and texture add intrigue and depth.

Layer patterned soft furnishings and inject a bit of Boho into your room

No Boho space is complete without a stack of books

All images via Pinterest

Boho style is all about layering but the secret to an amazing room lies in the story of the person that created the space. So if casual and fun is your thing then using these basic ideas should help you recognise what might be missing from yours. Want more help creating your special space then contact me!


Style your Space with Statement Pieces

Been styling your space but feel as though its just missing that special something to make it shine? The secret is often a stand out statement piece or focal point (or three). The hero of the room or the place your eye is originally drawn to when you enter. A room reads best when you have something that says “surprise”!

Statement pieces can keep a minimalist space from being boring, or glue a maximalist space together and opinions vary on how many statement pieces you should include in one room. I would say it depends entirely on the style you are trying to achieve along with the size of the room. You have the option to guide the eye around a room with several statement pieces or anchor it with one. Its completely up to you.

The most important factor though, is that your statement pieces reflect you. Your personality, your travels, interests or dreams. This is the biggest secret to making your space special! Be confident and search out something that makes you smile. Not sure of your own style? Find out how to identify it here.

The styling of US brand anthropologie usually makes me grin. This company seeks out and retails unique and inspirational items for women. I like unique. It excites me so much more than following trends. These images from anthropologie provide perfect examples of how to incorporate statement pieces into your home.

anthropologie uses colour to create a statement

Colour has to be the simplest way to create a statement. Whether it be on the walls, a piece of furniture or layers of soft furnishings. Colour is powerful!

anthropologie uses pattern to draw focus

Using pattern as your statement piece is another fun way to draw the eye. Here it is echoed around the room using the cushion and lamp. I wonder if the horse was a deliberate or accidental inclusion?! Told you they make me grin!

anthropologie uses collections to create a focal point

Collections can work as the focal point when they have a common element like style, shape or colour. How quirky is that pineapple shaped pendant? And such a fun way to make a statement!

anthropologie use oversized lighting to make a statement

Oversized anything will make a statement. Lighting, artwork, furniture…….

anthropologie using three statement pieces to make this shot magical

This magical shot is a perfect example of how three statement pieces can work in a one room.

anthropologie using unique wall art as a statement piece

And of course artwork will almost always become a statement piece simply because art is designed to be looked at. Just remember something unique or unusual will have a bigger impact than something expected.

Introducing a statement piece or three provides a way to dramatically change the look of a room. And there are loads of ways you can DIY something to be more of a statement piece so you don’t always have to spend a tonne of money to make something stand out. Steal some ideas from a previous post on inexpensive wall art, or my pinterest board Paint finishes. Hang that chandelier a little bit lower, display a collection of your favourite pieces or buy a giant indoor plant.

Go on, you can thank me later because this tip is a game changer. Post your pics on Instagram tagged with #specialsomethingstatement so I can see!!


Express Yourself at Home with Vignettes

Its finally Springtime and if you’re like me and get bored easily, then its the perfect excuse for a makeover! And if you’re not feeling up to a major overhaul then changing up your vignettes is the easiest (and most fun) way of seeing in a new season.

Vignette is just a fancy way of saying a group of stuff arranged for display. You already do it without realising. It is how you arrange items on a bookshelf or coffee table. A vignette is you collecting beautiful pieces to tell a story about what you love while adding instant personality to your space!

Styling a clever display is a creative and decorative pursuit which means it rarely comes together first time. Don’t be discouraged, enjoy the process! Wait for a sunny day, crank up your favourite tunes, throw open the windows, find a flat surface and play……

The Essentials:

Shop your house and garden first because you are going to need an anchor or dominant piece. Something that makes you smile and you want to have on display.

Then you will need height. A lamp, vase of flowers or branches, photography or something sculptural, anything tall.

Add books. Books are more than just books, they add colour, texture, pattern and scale. Layer them up and stack stuff on top.

Use smaller accessories to balance out the arrangement. At this stage try and limit the colour palette so not everything is fighting for attention. Small boxes, baskets or similar are perfect for storing ugly bits if your vignette is somewhere like a coffee or side table that requires practical but not pretty items like tv remotes.

Odd numbers are a great rule of thumb unless creating a symmetrical arrangement and varying textures is a must. Texture provides contrast and is easiest to introduce with a natural element which for me is often the favourite piece.

The view and edit part is the hardest. This is where you add more or pair back, leave the room, bite your thumb nail, squint your eyes and pull your hair. The best advice I can give you here is to follow your instincts. Check the composition and if its still not working check to see if you have a common thread like colour, subject or style. Sometimes taking a quick photo and studying the pic can reveal something different.

Style a vignette with the everyday things you have at home.

Light and bright vignette ideas to steal.

Anchor a vignette with items you love.

Remember, your vignettes don’t need to be too contrived or cost loads of money. Use a bottle of wine for height or a glass of water if your display is located somewhere that you need one. Everyday items are beautiful too; salt and pepper shakers, a stack of your favourite bowls, magazines, fruit and photos. You don’t want to create a display home, you want points of interest that visitors ask about and stuff that makes you smile……

Find a common thread for your vignette, style, colour or  subject.

All images via Pinterest

Happy Spring everyone!! And if you don’t want to miss a post you could follow my blog with Bloglovin