There are plenty of design reasons to use mirrors. They make a space feel bigger, they bounce light around, and just like a piece of art they can be used to make a room more visually interesting.
Let’s be honest though, there is one real function when it comes to mirrors. They’re for checking yourself out. I’m talking about that backward glance at your bum as you walk out the door, that knowing look you give yourself when you’re having a great hair day, and that general “hey you” feeling when you catch a glance at yourself as you swagger past a mirror. Listen, if no one else is going to compliment you on a given day, walk past a mirror and give yourself one!
Mirrors are having a moment right now. Large round mirrors in particular. I am loving the shape and size of what’s currently available with retailers. While I’m embracing the round mirror, I’ve always been a fan of large rectangular floor mirrors too. They make a statement in a room and really do achieve all that light bouncing and opening up of a space. My living room is long and narrow which has brought its challenges with styling. I’ve recently used a full length floor mirror to open up the room and it is working a treat.
Mirrors can of course be used anywhere, but I’m inclined to divide them into functional and decorative uses. Mirrors in bathrooms and bedrooms have a tendency to be functional (which is NOT an excuse to let them look anything less than fabulous!), while mirrors in living rooms and entrance halls have a tendency to be more decorative. Wherever you decide to put them, they all offer an opportunity for you to flatter yourself, so I say go put one in every room.
I’ve rounded up some inspiration for using mirrors in entrance halls, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms, along with some shopping suggestions this week. Feast your eyes and think about where you can incorporate one into your home. Then get your swagger ON!
I’m fast-forwarding to December today. There is a sullen mood in LA and there is Thanksgiving to come before Christmas, but I am fast-forwarding to December. If ever I needed some Frank Sinatra singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ it is this week. So I am going there. With haste.
I have favourite things I like to do in the run up to Christmas and decorating the tree is one of them. I love it. It’s like some sort of first date that develops into a love affair over a December (ok, sometimes November) evening, accompanied by red wine and a festive soundtrack in the background. I’ll be getting creative with my decorating this year because I don’t have room for a tree. But for those of you who do have the space, here are some tips on how to make your tree gorgeous.
Decorating your tree is a layering process. Get each layer right, and you’ll end up with a beautiful full tree. It starts with lights. My choice is always white lights, and lots of them. I use four to five sets of lights on my Christmas tree. You will curse, and swear, and have to walk away every now and then when you’re putting them on, but I promise it will make your tree look magical at night. I’m talking taking each individual branch and threading the lights through them. I know, it’s tedious, but worth it.
Next use your garland and what I call your base decorations (simple shaped decorations) to build out the first layer of your colour scheme. I’ve gone for a metalic and blush base with pops of burgundy and black for this post. The garland comes first. I’ve used anything from ready made garlands, to wide ribbon, to pieces of fabric as a garland. Get creative with what you use. Start from the top, and bring the garland in a spiral shape all the way down your tree.
When your garland is in place, start layering your base decorations. I cover the tree with LOTS of these. It’s the foundation for making your tree look full. You can always take some off later, but more is better here.
Stand away from your tree when that’s done and you should see a great foundation ready for adding accent decorations. This is where I like to go big with the size of decorations and add lots of texture. Don’t limit yourself to Christmas tree decorations here. Silk flowers are brilliant to use, especially ones with large heads, like hydrangeas. Keep an eye out during the year for these (they’re not necessarily seasonal), especially if you’re keeping away from traditional colour schemes.
The tree should be looking full and textured now. The final step to make the tree look complete is to add some contrasting colour. This will make the tree pop. I’ve gone with two strong colours, black and burgundy, to contrast the shimmering metallic and blush background I’ve used. Place these decorations in a zig-zag shape down the tree. Finally, I’ve added some *sparkle* for the top of the tree to complete this non-traditional festive look.
I don’t go too over the top after the Christmas tree, but I do like to decorate the mantelpiece. Simply place two or three Ferm Living candle holder strings along the mantelpiece (I would prefer to have these in white – spray painting is an option here). Dot a selection of Skandinavisk Jul Christmas candles, Crate & Barrel snowflake porcelain candle holders and some of the West Elm blush metallic ball ornaments we used previously amongst them. This is a festive look, yet some of these pieces can be incorporated into your living space once the Christmas decorations have been put away. (On a side note I have a big thing for the Skandinavisk brand at the moment. I have their Ö (Island) candle burning in my apartment. Beautiful packaging and a lovely narrative behind this brand – check them out.)
It is trivial to be talking about decorating Christmas trees this week. I know it is. The most inspiring thing about the US presidential election has unfortunately been Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. She spoke such dignified words at a time of defeat. I will be taking one of her closing messages with me into 2017 to light me up. “I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will — and hopefully sooner than we might think right now”.
Now, go get all the white lights you can find folks.
Whether you’re someone who loves your face against a cold pillow, or someone who sets an electric blanket to that perfect temperature, your bed, and its surrounds, is your sleeping haven. But do you ever look around and think you really want to freshen things up in the bedroom (ahem!), but you don’t fancy spending the weekend painting the walls or parting with your bedroom furniture?
Well this week I’m looking at some very simple bedding ideas that will help you achieve that change without going anywhere near a paintbrush. It’s the equivalent of getting a new winter coat or a haircut. A mini makeover of sorts, with instant gratification.
First up is texture. If you think your bed looks drab, or lacking a bit of pizzazz, think about adding some texture with a throw or decorative cushion. This bohemian bedroom uses a combination of mohair and sheepskin. Foxford Wollen Mills is an Irish company with a wonderful collection of mohair throws in vibrant colours (they ship internationally), and Serena & Lilly also have beautiful options. You’ll find sheepskin throws everywhere from IKEA to West Elm.
I also had to show you this gorgeous green velvet throw I came across. It’s from a Swedish company called Linum and is magnificent. Nothing says winter cosy quite like a rich green velvet throw.
Next it’s back to the colour topic from last week, but this time I’m suggesting you consider a monochrome theme. Pare back on the number of colours you use in your bedding and instead use lots of tones, shades and tints of a single colour. If you choose to go with this idea you’re going to need your fitted sheet and pillowcases in your base colour. Zara Home and Parachute offer lots of options to help you get started with your colour choice.
If finding the right textured accessories or pulling together bedding that fits a monochrome colour scheme still sounds like too much work, here is the easiest option. Get bold with the print on your duvet cover and pillowcases. This jungle print from H&M and medallion print from Urban Outfitters (on sale!) were two favourites I found. You might also like this gem from West Elm if you prefer an abstract print.
And that’s it. Three very simple ideas to give your bed a new look for AW16. Ironically, I’m now off to my sleep haven. It’s Sunday night. It’s bedtime. It’s lights out. Sweet dreams.
I buy flowers every week, usually when I do my grocery shopping. They are one of my staples, like eggs and red wine. A balanced grocery shop right there. But until recently I had never taken the plant plunge. I have now dived in, head first, and deep. Living near Rolling Greens, a botanical retail haven, gave me the final push to get started. I’ve passed by their door too often to not be inspired.
I had two strategies for buying plants. The first failed miserably, the second worked.
Here’s my failed strategy. Don’t do this. I see some nice potted plants at a flea market. I pull three together, same pot size, contrasting colours and shapes. Do I like how this looks? Yes. Plants bought. Fast forward two weeks and the plants are looking less than healthy, sad even. I get into a conversation at a nursery about these plants and it turns out that the first one needs to be inside, the second needs to be outside in the sun, and the third needs to be outside in the shade. My plant trio is no more.
The strategy that did work was a far more common sense approach. I went to my local nursery XO-TX Tropico and gave them details of where I wanted to put my plants. I have a bathroom with no windows, that gets no natural light at all. What are my choices? I have a living room that gets three hours of strong sun in the morning and then goes into shade. What are my choices? Simple! People working in nurseries know their stuff, take FULL advantage of that knowledge. I went with a Chinese Evergreen and Bella Palm for the bathroom, and a Dragon Tree and Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa) for the living room. Get guidance on what can survive in your living space, choose a variety of leaf shape, height and colour for interest, and let the plants do their thing.
The options for plant pots are endless but I’m recommending IKEA for simplicity and affordability. Team some of their textured pots with their white Kardemumma series and you’re done.
I already had variety in height with my living room plants, but if yours are all the same height, consider using some plant stands to keep it interesting. I really like these linear plant stands from Anthropologie and this chevron stand from West Elm.
There was one last thing I wanted to do with plants. Inspired by the airy interior of Butcher’s Daughter on Abbot Kinney in LA, I really wanted to get hanging plants into the mix. I got some brass geometric shapes at my local flea market, and put some air plants in them. They are now hanging in the bedroom. You can get similar ones on Etsy. A lot of people say take plants out of a bedroom at night, but I’m completely ignoring that because they are bringing far too much visual pleasure. One faux-pas did happen with my air plants. I sprayed one with window cleaner instead of water. Really. Two spray bottles, both with a clear liquid – easy mistake right?! It’s still hanging there in all its glory thankfully. But potentially dying on the inside.
I have totally embraced plants now. They’re inexpensive, add great depth to a room, have varying texture and colour for you to play with, are air purifying, easier to care for than pets, and bring life to a space. I’m not quite at the naming and talking to them stage, but they’re here to stay. I’d love to hear about any of your plant and plant pot finds, along with any advice for keeping plants alive. I’m good on the not spraying plants with window cleaner though, that one I’ve figured out!