Being an interior decorator and a magazine editor I hope I have my finger on the button when it comes to trends and styles of decorating. Well, at least I hope so!

Fashions change of course. You only have to look at coffee table books from ten years ago to realise this, and economic issues and changing values all contribute to altering our perceptions of ‘good taste’ but here is a tongue in cheek look at the 5 of the most popular interior design styles today.

Paul Craig for Heart Home magazine (issue 4)

Shabby chic

Shabby chic is a very pretty look which usually incorporates all-white interior walls, ceilings and floors, which are then complemented by vintage or distressed furniture pieces, linen fabrics and country style accessories. Pastels are often used to bring a more feminine touch to the look. Whether genuine antiques are used or not, shabby chic is all about combining the old-fashioned, with a relaxed and supremely comfortable interior.

Tina Fussell for Heart Home magazine (issue 8)

Scandinavian style

Scandinavian style also uses an abundance of white as a backdrop but there the similarity to Shabby Chic ends. Furniture can also be painted but it is much less fussy and is often of wood in its natural state. Windows are often left bare to let in as much light as possible and painted floorboards are the norm. It is altogether a more pared down approach to interior decoration.

Patrick Butler-Maddon for Heart Home magazine (issue 1)


The contemporary look is all about muted colour schemes and luxury fabrics. Furniture is carefully selected for its clean design and sharp corners. A few accent pieces are used throughout the home for visual appeal, from large, statement lamps in the living room, to sleek and stylish power showers in the bathroom. Check out the contemporary lighting from Foundry and buy power showers from Mira to really get the contemporary effect.

James Balston for Heart Home magazine (issue 5)

New York

You’ll get a real sense of the big city with this style. It suits open plan, warehouse-style apartments, where industrial elements contrast sharply with the modern furniture. Bare brick, metal, concrete and raw plaster can all be in evidence and often all together.

Penny Wincer for Heart Home magazine (issue 7)


This is the style for you maximalists out there. There are no rules. Floral wallpaper can be mixed with clashing colours and flea market finds. Mid-century modern furniture can be mixed with modern lighting and family heirlooms. It takes courage and a certain amount of flair to pull off this look but the results are often full of personality and energy.

In reality we often adopt a mixture of these styles for our own homes but which style speaks to you the most?

Pastels for Tea

April 16th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (2 Comments)

Are you entertaining at Easter my lovelies? If you are anything like me you have left all preparations until the last-minute, but having friends and family over at this time of year is all about informality. As long as the table looks pretty and there are eggs for the children to hunt, who cares if the lamb takes a bit longer to cook than anticipated, and the cake didn’t quite rise in the middle.

OCHRE AND OCRE Ledbury (soft duck egg and grey stripe) Table Linen and Napkins (1)

All you really need to make the table pretty is a freshly ironed tablecloth, a vase of flowers and some mis-matched china. Paper lanterns are optional.

Tablecloth and napkins are from Ochre & Ocre

OCHRE AND OCRE Ledbury (soft duck egg and grey stripe) Table Linen

Some coordinating ribbon and some tea-lights turn the ordinary into a party and simple milk bottles make very effective bud vases.

And you still have time to pop down to your local Ikea to stock up on some pastel plates and bowls!

ikea pastels

Just add eggs.

Ikea image via

And just to keep the mood light, I couldn’t resist this bunny egg cup from Decorum.

decorum easter bunny egg cups

Have a lovely Easter all!

I love bookshelves in a room. They add a homely touch, introduce interest, and tell so much about the owner. But sometimes they can be just a bit overwhelming, don’t you think?

Enter stage left, the low-level bookcase.

unknown source

Low level bookshelves can wrap around a room without making it look like a library or even worse an office. Not only do they provide space for books of course, but they are also a handy surface for all those other bits and pieces we want to display in our homes. And at just the right height. And even better, you can use the space above for artwork which pulls together the entire room. Just think how many hours of pleasure you could have styling (and re-styling) your possessions. Or is that just me?


Position a chair close to the bookshelves and you even have a handy surface to place a cup or glass. I love the image above as it demonstrates how you can use baskets to store all those messy small items and how you don’t have to hang art when you have a shelf at this height. You can just prop the frames up and change them around whenever the mood takes you. Or is that me again?


And they don’t have to be messy either. Just see how this considered arrangement continues the colour scheme of the rest of the room (you’ll have to trust me on this) and even the floor has been put to good use. Without the bookshelf above placing things on the floor just looks lazy but here it is part of the whole arrangement.

I rest my case.

Image sources: 1 Unknown 2 sfgirlbybay 3 Stylizimo

Oliver Bonas Summer Sunshine

April 14th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Gardens - (2 Comments)

Well the sun has certainly come out my lovelies, and although it isn’t quite warm enough yet for sunning, it always pays to plan ahead.

So, if you are planning a boho vibe in the garden this summer, look no further than Oliver Bonas. In fact who needs sun when the garden is as colourful as a mexican poncho.

Oliver Bonas SS 14 [1]

If I had a tree that swinging seat would be mine. Or hang it from a pergola maybe? If you don’t have a pergola, most gardens, or even balconies have room for the table and pretty little chairs. Just add cushions and candles and you can have your own little fiesta.

Oliver Bonas SS 14 [2]

And that Carman chair is just made for napping.

Pass the tequila.

It’s not often that you come across a home that you could just move into without changing a thing. This loft apartment in Portland, Australia just happens to be one of them for me.  The interior was designed by Jessica Helgerson and it has maintained its original warehouse heritage but with an abundance of exotic eclectic elements, Moroccan rugs, heavy linens and a smattering of mid-century pieces.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 1

 Well let’s break it down shall we? Painting a ceiling black is a very brave move but here it works because of the height and because it is, after all a space with an industrial past. It helps to make a large open plan space cosy. The Moroccan rug warms up that polished concrete (again, so right in a loft space) floor and the wrap around seating and the bookshelves turn this seating area into a very social space. Don’t you just want to get up and wander over to those shelves and have a browse?

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 2

Where to put the TV is a problem for us all and I like how it is positioned just above this floating sideboard as if it were just another piece in the collection of books, candles and souvenirs. The sideboard too is interesting. Something more modern here would have looked out-of-place but this design using wood and metal blends well with all of the other elements in the room. And have I mentioned that huge chunk of wooden coffee table? So beautiful.

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 3

 The kitchen again marries that industrial edge with raw materials and glamorous sophistication. The white tiles are my all time favourites and see that chandelier? I’ve just hung one very similar in my sitting room at home. And the chairs? They are vintage Eames DKW leather chairs and I want them!

An Australian Loft via Est Magazine 4

And last but not least for me, the bedroom. Restrained and tasteful. A felt rug instead of a headboard adds drama, pattern and colour whilst the bedside table is simplicity itself.

When can I move in?

More images via Est Magazine

Photographs by Lincoln Barbour

The second of our new monthly editions of Heart Home magazine is out today my lovelies.

Heart Home magazine - Issue 11 - April 2014 - 1I have to say that those monthly deadlines instead of quarterly do suddenly creep up on you but we’re now getting into the swing of it and we hope that you like your monthly dose.

As we are now well into spring, this issue of course is full of colour and the usual affordable inspiration. We ourselves were thoroughly inspired by the home of Jay and Jade, founders of Out of the Dark. Not only are they committed to salvaging unwanted furniture, they also help to turn around lives. And their home was full of colour and life. You can see more from page 11.

Heart Home magazine - Issue 11 - April 2014 - Out of the Dark FeatureWe also have a fabulous feature by the very talented Caroline Davis on how to bring botanicals into the home this season, using vintage items that you can pick up for a song or you may even have lying around the home.

Heart Home magazine - Issue 11 - April 2014 - Spring Botanicals FeatureAnd of course, much more.


I have to admit that since moving house I’ve changed from a bath person to a shower person. It’s the proximity of the en-suite (which only has a shower) that has done it I guess. But there’s still a lot to be said for a long soak in the bath. It’s the ultimate in relaxation for me. There’s something about taking the time to run the bath, fill it with bubbles and just forget everything else for half an hour. Add a glass of wine, some favourite bath products, some candles and soft music and who needs a spa?

Homes and Gardens mag

Of course a view is an absolute bonus. I don’t think you would get me out of this room! It’s also a very good example of how practical doesn’t have to be clinical. The floor is a sensible choice for a bathroom and the vanity has lots of storage in those drawers but how pretty is that chandelier and mirror? Image via Homes and Gardens.

Heart Home mag

Another bonus is a fireplace. This is the home of Abigail Ahern from the March issue of Heart Home magazine and we just loved the candelabra too.

Elle Decor

Another cosy room from Elle Decor. I love how it’s furnished like any other room in a house with framed prints and a decorated fireplace.

Heart Home mag 2

Something else for the wishlist is a bathroom with room for an armchair. Imagine friendly conversations with a loved one while you soak. Again, from Heart Home magazine.

Do you have a place to soak?

A Basket Case

April 8th, 2014 | Posted by deardesigner in Interior Design - (1 Comments)

Is there no end to the usefulness of baskets?

Best in natural materials or wirework they have so many uses around the home. Use them in the kitchen to store everything from vegetables to cutlery, in the bathroom to hold toiletries and spare loo rolls, in the sitting room to squirrel away magazines and extra cushions, the list is endless.

And not only that, they usually come in twos or threes that fit inside one another when not in use.

Here’s a few of the best looking around at the moment.

A Basket Case 1

1 Marks & Spencer 2 House of Fraser 3 Mobius Living 4 Loaf 5 Dunnes Stores 6 House Envy.

A Basket Case 2

7 and 8 Sainsburys Home 9 Marquis and Dawe 10 Nordic House 11 Boutique Provencale 12 The Contemporary Home.

So much to love in M&S this spring.


Team green walls with a metal console table, a nature inspired table lamp and black framed prints for a very smart and welcoming hall. Add books and lots of house plants to bring it all alive. I love the vase full of leaves instead of flowers. Simple, yet so effective.


Team blue walls with a white glossy floor and understated furniture and accessories. Warm it up with a textured rug and soft upholstered furniture. It’s an uncomplicated but sophisticated look.


Team yellow walls this time with a geometric print and interestingly shaped pedestal tables. The splashes of white in the lampshade, vase and armchair print keep the look contemporary and young. The textured rug adds yet more interest.


I love the shape of this bookcase and the way the red pendants pop against the white walls. An office or workspace decorated in this way would be uplifting and wouldn’t be distracting.

All items from the M&S Spring, Summer ranges.


Fans of Marimekko designs will love the new wallpapers and wall panels available at Gallerie Wallcoverings.

Marimekko Wall Panels from Galerie Wallcoverings

The wall panels are my favourites. Just like enormous works of art. Because lets face it, Marimekko patterns are not for the faint hearted and sometimes less is more. But having said that, the design above is fabulous especially against all of the white and wood elements. A garden in the dining room without the hassle of watering.

And there is more…

Marimekko Wall Panels from Galerie Wallcoverings 1

The wallpapers are just a little bit more subtle. My favourites…

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings 2

Green is so fresh. I love this.

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings 3

And the blue is so calming. I love this too.

And there’s more…

Marimekko Wallpapers from Galerie Wallcoverings

Which is your favourite?

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