Month: March 2015

Waxing lyrical about the glory of grey…

Grey paint. If you think that painting your walls this colour would render them dull and lifeless and you’d never use it, read on. If you love it as much as I do, read on too, as this post is all about the glory of grey paint. Grey is gorgeous. It’s more modern than cream, and the colour itself can have hints of blue or green, or earthy tones that stop it looking cold if that’s your concern. Pale grey looks crisp, fresh and clean, whereas deep grey is dramatic and impressive yet deeply cosy. Combine both dark and light shades in a room scheme and add accent colours for individuality – grey can cope with pretty much anything you throw at it because it’s such a beautiful backdrop. When choosing what shade to use in your home I appreciate the rows and rows of colour cards and tester pots can be daunting. To avoid the stress, there’s a one-stop-shop for any shade of grey you could want (and I bet you’ll fall in love with a few you weren’t …

DIY drilling tips – get that job done today!

Drilling holes in a wall is a necessary job for many DIY tasks and not difficult if you follow the right steps. I thought I’d post a few tips I hope you’ll find useful to make it an easier and more successful job. The most important thing before you drill into a wall is to check there aren’t any pipes or wires hidden below the surface – if you drill into these a quick DIY job could turn into a potentially dangerous nightmare. Run a wire/pipe detector (there are lots on the market but this is the one I use) over the area where you plan to drill and it will beep if there’s metal below marking a place NOT to drill. Wear safety goggles too to protect from any flying debris. Top drilling tips for general DIY jobs around the home: 1. Choose the right wall plug for your walls – use a plastic plug that will grip the wall (something like this) in solid (brick, concrete or stone) walls. You need something different for …

Room makeover – incredible DIY kitchen revamp you can do yourself

    I’ve been doing room makeovers for years, but this kitchen is still one of my favourite designs – it featured in “Your Home” magazine which has fantastic features like this every month. It’s not only a truly amazing transformation, but it’s special because almost all the changes that were made could be done by a competent DIYer, (the only  of tradesmen expense was a plumber to change the tap) so costs were kept right down. This shows what you can do without ripping the entire kitchen out and starting again – I’m a great believer that you can do masses yourself if you take your time and you’ll get such a sense of achievement when finished. This kitchen as you can see from the shot below, was dated and ugly and the family wanted something fresh and new. Although at first look you’d think it all needed to go, on closer inspection the worktops, flooring and kitchen carcasses were in good condition, and ripping them out would be expensive and pointless. To do this transformation in your own …

Beautiful vinyl floors? Yes, really!

When you mention vinyl flooring, people often have a negative reaction, with thoughts of ugly, cheap-looking slabs of plastic that are best left in the 1970s. That was true then, but now things couldn’t be more different. Modern vinyl floors are thick and so soft and squishy underfoot, far warmer to walk on than tiles, and if you drop something it has a chance of remaining intact. It’s quick to lay (don’t attempt yourself though unless you know what you’re doing as one wrong cut can ruin the whole piece), easy to clean and comes in some really lovely finishes. As well as those more traditional ones that look like wood and tiles, modern versions also resemble concrete or stone, and there’s lots of fab funky patterns with raised circles, stripes or squiggles too. The manufacturing and printing process is now so good that these vinyls really do look amazing, I promise. I have styled lots of shoots for Leoline and Avenue floors (see lots here and a few below) and I’ve seen and felt the products personally so I’m not writing this blind! One in particular was …

White ceramics are always right

If you need a display that’s beautiful, timeless, understated and just oh-so-right, go white. White china when grouped together especially on a shelf, or in a glass fronted cabinet will always look good. Keep your eyes open for nice pieces in charity shops, car boot sales and the like and pick things up as you see them because an eclectic mis-matched group looks charming. My collection is displayed in this gorgeous dresser by Jali. They make wonderful furniture – more on them soon because they need a post (or two) of their own.

Ever considered coloured grout?

    Most tile grout is white, but have you considered something different? White metro tiles like these lovely ones from British Ceramic Tile are just what you want – classic, shiny and gorgeous and would look great in any setting but the brick style design would be lost if the grout matched. BCT asked me to create a rather unusual shot that makes you look again at a white tiles so I added eye-catching turquoise grout which outlines the glossy tiles beautifully and is far more fun than boring old white, don’t you think? Another gorgeous version is to use deep charcoal grey which gives a crisp and modern finish (oh and won’t show dirt either – bonus!) Lovely 🙂 

Brilliant plaster to get you organised

Piles of paperwork are an irritation for many of us – mine tend to pile up at the end of the kitchen worktop until I am forced to deal with it.  Imagine having a big area – a whole wall – that would work like a giant magnet memo board where everything is visible and reachable. This is now possible with the very clever new magnetic plaster by British Gypsum – simply have a skim put over current plaster (or on new plasterboard of course) and paint or wallpaper on top so it looks the same as all the other walls. Use magnets to hold paperwork, or kids drawings, or anything you like in place. It would also be wonderful as an easy-to-update photo wall by printing out Instagram pics and changing them whenever the whim takes you. This is the image I created for British Gypsum of a way of using their plaster in a home office setting. Oh so pretty in on-trend pastels – I hope you like it! Image by Lizzie Orme

Today’s styling tip – make your own wall art

Choosing what pictures to put on your walls can be really tricky – and sometimes expensive. Framing a fun tea towel is an unusual and fab way to add colour and character to your walls for around £15. Grab a Saxnas frame for £4 from IKEA as it’s the perfect  size, and a funky tea towel and off you go. Iron the towel using some spray starch (this will help it sit flat in the frame) and hang on the wall. One of my favourite sites is To Dry For as they have a great range perfect for framing. Here’s a gorgeously cheerful family-friendly living room makeover I designed and styled that was featured in “Your Home” magazine, where framed tea towels look wonderful above the sofa. Photo by Lizzie Orme

Paint stuff without owning a brush

Ever used spray paint? No? Well you should! It’s quick and results are great with no visible brushstrokes. Although there’s a relatively limited range of colours, my two favourite brands (Plasti-kote and Rustoleum) have some great colours as well as fab metallics so you can get some on-trend copper accessories in no time. Pick things up cheaply from charity shops and spray. A can goes a long way and the basic rules are to work outdoors, wear a mask (it’s stinky stuff) and do several thin coats rather than a thick one that can leave dribbles – wipe hands with a baby wipe quickly otherwise it’s hard to remove. Though I do warn you, it’s addictive and you’ll end up walking round your house wondering what else you can paint. For starters, here are some projects I’ve done for “Style At Home” magazine (check out the Upcycle feature I do every month for more ideas) and “Your Home” magazine. The lovely pics, as usual by Lizzie Orme