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Making Visual Sense of It

6 Nov

When moving house or going for a total make-over, starting again with a blank canvas can be really exciting and is your opportunity to bring together your relationship with you, your family, how you wish to live and your belongings.

Which way to Go and What to Do ???

interior design

Which – Why – How ???

                        

Most homes are basically living rooms downstairs and bedrooms upstairs.  Although the ground floor living rooms are adjacent to each other, they have clearly defined functions and can be decorated to create the relevant atmosphere and to reflect the purpose of the room.

Dedicating a room to a specific task such as a dining room that is only ever going to be a dining room is a luxury most modern homes can ill afford, but if you enjoy entertaining or indeed cooking and prefer the family to sit down together, spend quality time together and appreciate your efforts, then a separate dining room is well worth the sacrifice of space.

roamn blind in a bay window

The Stunning Bay Window is Fitted with a Roman Blind in Keeping With The Black and White Furniture and Accessories.

The colouring of more a modern looking dining room can be cool, chic and understated – and for a more traditional look, the warm colours are better suited.

modern living room and dining area

Open Plan Interiors Need Not Be Restricted to Modern Homes – This Traditional Setting Looks Every Bit the Part

For a greater feeling of space which nowadays is what most people strive for in their living areas, a very large hammer will be required to knock down a few walls. I can remember as a child pre the “internet sensation”, the first thing my father did as did many others when moving house was to knock down the wall between the lounge and dining room. A great success unless it was the weekend when everyone was at home and he hogged the television with wall to wall sport and there was no getting away from it – no retreating with a lap top to a remote corner of the house.

That trend quickly passed as everyone realised that individuals needed their own space. It is back again however with a vengeance as you can now immerse yourself with your smart phone or computer if the main television has been commandeered by the alpha whoever.

wooden venetian blinds

This Fabulous Open Plan Area is Sectioned with a Double Sided Feature Fire Panel

Space should be enjoyed for what it is, so if you are a hoarder, then this look is not for you unless you can bring yourself to have plenty of storage then store it and do not overload every available surface with your treasures.

navy roller blinds

Tidiness is Also a Bit of a Requisite for this Style of Interior – the Stylish Minimalism of this Modern Living Room is Somewhat Overshadowed by Piles of Magazines and Old Coffee Cups

In order to create a unified scheme you will need to make sure that continuity of decoration and atmosphere flows through the various areas. They will however need some kind of minimal demarcation even if it is just a large piece of furniture or a screen to section off the various areas or acoustically and psychologically one large undefined area may be a little harsh.

For a really successful open-plan scheme you will need to balance the two contrasting elements in the space, horizontal lines which are more relaxing and vertical lines which are more formal – they both are equally important but need to work in harmony. The horizontal lines of the venetian blinds of the scheme above flow with the top of the room dividing screen and the straight backs for the furniture, whereas the vertical lines are bought into play by the upward lines of the spiral stairs and edges of the room divider. This screen incidentally is a wonderful asset to the room as it can be moved to create more room when the dining area is in use, or likewise more space when the living room is the main area.

Different wallpaper or paint is a great way to create a divide between the areas, the space will still flow if you get the colours of the paint or wallpaper to co-ordinate.

wooden polished floor

This Beautifully Polished Wood Floor Unites the Separate Areas and Also Brings Into Play the Vertical and Horizontal Elements in the Room According to Where You Are in the Room

The wallpaper used for the feature wall of the dining area is strongly vertical picking up the flow of the lines of the wooden floor boards – had the floor boards run in the other direction, then to maintain harmony a wallpaper or window treatment favouring the horizontall line would have been a better choice.

vertical curtains and horizontal wallpaper

This Stunning Decor Suits All Aspects of the Room

Wherever you stand in this open-plan space, the aspect ratio is correct. The flow of the lines of the wooden flooring looking towards the window covering is vertical as is the design detail of the curtains, whereas looking towards the dining area, the wallpaper is horizontal to mirror the direction of the floor boards.

For all your Curtains, Poles and Blinds

Tel: 0845 4650101 International: 00441243 586660    Email:info@polesandblinds.com

It’s Just an Illusion

5 Oct

Although the phrase trompe-l’œil has its origin in the Baroque period, when perspective illusionism was at its height –

Fake domed ceiling

It’s Just an Illusion

a fabulous this example of this being painted by Andrea Pozzo in 1703 on a low vaulted church ceiling to give it the impression of an awe inspiring domed ceiling, the use of trompe-l’œil dates back much further. It was and still is often used in murals with fine examples of this being found in ruins from Greek and Roman times such as in Pompeii.

A typical trompe-l’œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room. This art form is still used today particularly by stage set designers and requires a keen eye for perspective as well as a large helping of imagination.

In our own small way in our home decor, the clever use of colours even if it is just the window treatment, will alter the dimensions of a room, light cool colours such as blues and greens make an area feel light and spacious whereas dark warm colours such as browns and reds make a room feel cosy and intimate.

The horizontal slats of a venetian blind will give width to a window

kitchen blinds

Venetian Blinds Look Stunning Looking Out as Well as Looking In

and the vertical slats of a vertical blind will give height to a window.

bay window blind

A Vertical Blind Can Fit both in a Bay Window or a Straight Window.

The same principal applies to curtain fabrics, wallpapers, upholstery and rugs, so check the overall design of the pattern to ensure that the detail is influenced in the same direction or in the direction you are trying to emphasize or it will become a muddle.

modern patterned wallpaper

Designs at Opposite Ends of the Spectrum Attract as long as they have the Same Directional Overtones.

Colours are highly personal so while you may wish to steer away conventional colours, they have been time honoured and tested – a dab of colour from a pot of tester paint is a completely different story to a whole room. If in doubt just paint a feature wall in your chosen colour and see what the reaction from the rest of the household is like before you steam ahead with the whole room.

We are more inclined to be happy on a sunny day and more likely to be sad on a dull day, so bear this in mind also when you are choosing the colours for your scheme and this is every bit as important when choosing new blinds or curtains as it is for a complete redesign of a room.

kitchen roller blind

Sunny Warm Colours Lift the Mood of a Room

If you are decorating a whole house from scratch, then use the hallways and landing as a transitional buffer zone, leading you from one colour to the next. Keeping the same colour flooring throughout will also help to allow a free flowing feeling throughout the house.

Windows with a special view will also need careful consideration.  Views of the sea for instance will be stunning on a bright summer’s day and can take the visual impact of a modern decor based perhaps on silver and steel, but the windows will definitely need a touch of warmth for the winter or on a dismal dreary summer’s day as the sea and sky can also quickly also become cold and uninviting.

curtains and matching cushions on a neutral bedding

A Bold Highlight Colour on a Grey Background Looks Absolutely Stunning

There are plenty of colours that are adaptable and can go “cool” or “warm” just by being punctuated by a cool or warm colour.

One of the most successful combinations in my opinion and is one that I often use is silver and steel. It is basically a grey decor where a strong red or blue for example, used with extreme care with just perhaps a splash of the feature colour in a blind and accessorised with a few relevant coloured cushions scattered about and a piece of artwork with a highlight of the main colouring.

Grey colours or indeed non colours are the current stand-in for creams and will give a spacious feel with a touch of interest to even the smallest of interiors.

In this digital era it is so easy to “capture the moment” and have it framed professionally by your local picture framing shop for what is usually the same price as a standard picture in a retail shop.

When dressing a show home, I usually visit the local framing shop and ask if they can recommend a local photographer who may have some images that can be mounted to add some relevance to the decor. My current favourite is in a show home I have just finished which has fabulous views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight which is where this photo was taken by Sally Armstrong.

Round the Island Yacht Race

Framed in a Modern Chrome Frame – How Fabulous

Even the most avid couch potato could not help but be inspired by images such as this decorating their living room walls.

Trompe-l’œil

20 Sep

There are many Trompe-l’œil ideas and indeed items available for the modern home as it is a great means of providing decorative impact. This French term is used for imagery, imitation and the use of colours or paintings to trick the eye into seeing an optical illusion to create often more depth or height to a room or just to blatantly copy the real thing if the real thing is not suitable for the purpose, prohibitively expensive or socially unacceptable, a great example of this being the use of faux suede and leather for furniture and blinds.

modern stone walls

Today you can buy anything from a wallpaper depicting floor to ceiling bookshelves full of books, to  stunning murals of the Manhattan skyline or a palm lined beach in the Caribbean and the quality of faux fur, leather and suede makes it virtually impossible to tell the difference from the real thing. The use of contrasting light and dark colours in your decor will certainly visually increase the dimensions of a room, but will need careful planning as colour has the ability to induce feeling of joy or gloom, making you feel “at home” or feel like bolting for the door.

Why not take the leap and change the entire look and feel of your home, it makes a great alternative to moving. There are so many possibilities available to you especially if you use modern innovative materials such as the special finishes which will enable you to use concrete to imitate stone, not only for the floors but also for the walls, or sections of wood paneling to mirror your wooden flooring. Take care though, too much can be an overkill and you could end up feeling like you are living in a log cabin, or worse still a cave.

Stone has been around for millions of years so enjoy it –the smooth surface and varied colour tones are restful on the eye making it a highly desirable finish for many kinds of surfaces, really having been built to last – and what a decorative detail it makes. Modern methods of mining make real stone, slate and granite within many peoples budgets, but watch out for wee foreign beasties lurking such as the lady the other day who captured one of the worlds deadliest snakes with her salad tongs that had been stowed away on the ship that had imported the slates from India.

modern stone feature wall finishes

A State-of-the Art Entertainment System.

A statement wall or even just a fireplace makes the perfect spot to embrace modern technology with style. A state of the art entertainment system is now so often the main focal point of the room, so embrace it but try to ensure it tastefully blends with other details in the room such as with this fabulous concrete feature chimney. I thoroughly recommend the involvement of a specialist fireplace company for this kind of project before installing your new HD smart flat screen in case all is not well and you cook the tv.

Keep this type of on trend decor to the minimum with bearly there window treatments such as a neutral coloured venetian blind

neutral vertical blind

A Vertical Blind Creates an Appealing Mellow Hue of Light when used during the day and Complete Privacy at night

metallic finished venetian blind

A Modern Metallic Venetian Blind Blends the Right Control of Light with the Right Innovative Look for a Modern Home

dark wooden venetian blind

The Natural Wood Finish of this Venetian Blind makes a perfect backdrop for a Modern Minimal Decor

Thankfully in the modern world we have moved on from particularly the Victorian passion for killing animals for display. I cannot think of anything more unsettling when settling down for a relaxing evening in front of the telly than to have a dead tiger complete with its head flattened out on the floor snarling at you.

I can remember as a very small child visiting an ancient Uncle who proudly showed me his prize possessions which were an ashtray made from a Gorillas hand and an umbrella stand made from the foot and leg of an elephant – can you imagine the horrific impression it made on me and I definitely avoid buying anything furry from China.

Contact Poles and Blinds – For all your curtain, curtain poles and window blinds.

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

Customise Your Home

2 Sep

Purity and simple styling is often associated with an Asian decor and as the windows of a room usually take up a substantial part of the wall or walls, then curtains or blinds made from an Oriental themed fabric design will quickly infuse the room with this style of decor.

asian style blinds and bedding

A Cool, Calm and Collected Bedroom Decor

Neutrals are very well suited to this look and can be dressed up or down accordingly.

Vintage romanticism or the Country cottage look is completely at opposite ends of the design spectrum to the chic minimalism of this style of decor.

curtains and blinds in an asian style of fabric

Curtains and Roman Blinds in Matching Fabrics.

Black and/or red fabrics are always popular, the warmth of the red mixing well with the mystique of the black, but if you are going for a floral fabric, then make sure it is relevant to the look, a garland of roses tied up with ribbons for example would be a definite no.

Our roman blinds will be available this autumn in a range of matching curtains, either with pencil pleat, pinch pleat or eyelet headings. This will open a whole new gambit of inspirational ideas for your windows, being especially significant in rooms that have windows of varying sizes or perhaps a window with a south facing aspect that could benefit from having a layered window treatment to help with controlling the heat and light levels in the room.

The crisp formality of a pencil pleat heading will be best suited for an Asian style of decor, the eyelet heading, although very chic, is better suited to a modern western style of home and the pinch pleat heading again is too formal and indeed too western.

circular mirrors are very typical in an asian decor

A Large Circular Mirror On A Feature Wall is very Synonymous with an Asain Style of Decor

Various other colours are making their way into this decorative style, but usually they are bold colours working away from light coloured wall finishes with of course black being introduced wherever applicable.

cream roman blinds

Modern Living room with a Free Flow of Movement

Wooden venetian or bamboo blinds are great for spa styled bathrooms, but are perhaps only suitable for small windows in a bedroom or living room – a large window will call for something a bit more impressive.

voile curtains

Sheer Panels for the Looks used with Various Types of Window Blinds for the Mechanics

A spa inspired bathroom is bliss to the senses but to benefit fully from this style of bathroom in your home, you will need almost guaranteed seclusion – there is no point wafting away with flickering candle light and luxury bath oils only to be brought back to life by a raucous yell from the kids in the kitchen.

relaxing bathroom decor

A Spa Styled Bathroom will Relax the Senses

A few well chosen items such as lava stones or some bamboo canes in a bathroom will add character and a bit of mystique to the natural look which this style of decor is renowned for, but in a living room you can afford to make more of a statement with a large piece of artwork or ornaments. Keep any floral decorations to twiggy or bamboo types of arrangements, orchids for example are great and they are readily available in very realistic looking artificial versions.

Asian Decor

15 Aug

Fabulous Silks are the Epitome of Asian Decor – Ideal for Curtains, Blinds and Bedding

This style can be achieved very easily, maybe with just a woodweave blind and an orchid in the bedroom or a wooden venetian blind, an ornament of Buddha and an arrangement of bamboo plants in the bathroom; it’s just a question of degrees.

oriental decor

Asian Decor-Simplicity by Design

I think personally that in the West a hint of Asia, perhaps with your furniture placed in a feng shui arrangement with Zen spaces, related decorative art and modern furniture with the merest suggestion of the Orient is stunning in a modern home, but sometimes people can get carried away with the theme and it becomes a total jumble of collectables which is not at all in keeping with the minimal theme which is so important with this style of decor.

Chinese home accessories

Characteristic Simplicity With a Few Well Chosen Accessories Will Tastefully Complement The Look

Neutral coloured walls, but definitely not white, will set your decor off to perfection, particularly if you accompany it with dark wood flooring and patterned rugs.

Japanese, Chinese and Thai influences traditionally paved the way for our attraction for this style of decor, but now it is also being influenced by many Eastern cultures, the whole look mainly drawing inspiration from history and nature. Dark woods, red, brown and of course black are the dominant colours, with minimal simplicity being the ultimate goal.

asian style decor

This Fabulous Minimal Look is Ideal for a Modern Home

Solid black or dark brown furniture is the epitome of Asian decor, but as this style of decor is so well suited to the contemporary minimal look, it has evolved a trendy chic style of its own, modern but with an exotic Asian feel about it.

contemporary furniture

A Stunning Mix of Classical Oriental with Modern Formality

Wood or bamboo blinds were the usual choice for window decorations so if you wish to try to emulate the look, then there are plenty of types and colours of blinds to choose from, especially in the rich hard wood colourings of the tropics. Textured and silk curtain fabrics were also widely used and the same still applies.

woodweave blinds

An All White Decor Instantly Gains Humanity with a Simple Orchid and a Touch of Contrast – No Matter How Small

Curtain tracks work well with curtains made from wafty sheers and muslins as well as more conventional curtaining,  creating a perfect balance of unencumbered elegance.

bendable curtain tracks

Curtain Tracks Give a More Informal Look to Your Curtain Arrangement.

Swathes of light muslin or silk fabric draped around a modern four poster bed or a curtain pole will capture the exotic theme, but keep the pole simple so the fabric and its drapes will be the main feature of the window dressing.

Although being  more widespread nearer the tropics, it  is a testament to when it would have been unthinkable to go to bed without the protection of a mosquito net. This brings to mind a friend who stayed in a luxury garden style hotel in Thailand who sensibly called reception when an unfamiliar bulge appeared in the roof canopy of the bed – it turned out to be a Cobra which had also settled down for the night.

Small rooms such as a home office or bathroom lend themselves well to this elegant yet minimal style of decor.  Dark wood furniture will overpower a small room, so open shelves and furniture in glass, metal and light wood will be perfectly acceptable, it’s just a question of maintaining the relevent styling.

wooden window blinds

White Window Blinds Increases the Sense of Space and the Flow of Natural Light

Contact Poles and Blinds – For all your curtain poles and window blinds.

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

The Scandinavian Style Opened the Door

4 Aug

A modern decor seems to exude a sense of calm even in the busiest of city apartments with the use of light both natural and artificial being the key to success by helping to create a feeling of openness and therefore space. This style of decor is based predominantly on blinds for the windows and chalky white or soft grey palettes for the walls and furnishings. This style of decor blends beautifully with classic surroundings as well as a modern town or rural home.

white roller blinds

Bring In the Modernist Materials – Glass, Metal, Stone and Tiled Floors

It all began with the arrival of Ikea  to the U.K.in 1987 which started the march into modernism,  but it wasn’t until the mid-90s that the company really started to make an impression on the look of our home interiors. In the early days Ikea apparently ran a very high-profile advertising campaign called “Chuck out your chintz” which opened the way for the contemporary look with the key note being immaculate and minimal (tidy) with everything having its place and that means out of sight so plenty of drawers and cupboards were and still are essential.

white leather upholstery

Bright Blues and Greens are a popular Scandinavian colour as they will brighten the short winter days.

Out went the polished mahogany and yew furniture, reproduction or otherwise and in came fibreboard (MDF), metal and glass. Fibreboard furniture is easy to keep clean and comes in various shades of natural wood colouring, white and black, but the jury is still out as to whether it is carcinogen to humans.  MDF furniture is however very environmentally friendly as it is mostly made from recycled wood and also from sustainable forests. Manufacturers have now begun to eliminate the use of formaldehyde which is the toxic binding agent which was one of the main toxic worries.

modern bedroom furniture

MDF Furniture is Relatively Cheap yet Can Achieve Very Striking Effects

Certain types of homes and loft apartments in particular really look good with this style of decor as the exposed rafters or beams can be left exposed and stained in a light pine colour so synonymous with the Scandinavian look. Simple vertical blinds may well be the answer to dressing odd shaped windows especially if they are large and south facing as the modern materials used for making blinds often have special properties that include heat and light resistance.

vertical blinds

Scandinavian Influences such as the Light Pine Wood Finish ensures the Effect is Light and Gives a Clean Lined Finish Coupled with the Vertical Blind

Individual rooms such as a teenager’s bedroom will absorb this style very well particularly as their rooms are usually full of computers, games consols, games etc., that will need a place to be stored in the unlikely event of a “tidy up”

There are all sorts of subtle ways you can add interest to an otherwise bland decor such as in a kitchen or bathroom that has plain white or neutral coloured tiles, by introducing grey or brown grout as this will really make the tiles stand out adding a tab of interest without spoiling the chic minimalism by making it fussy and overpowering.

white roller blind

A Combination of White and Metal will instantly Create a Sense of Order

Roller blinds particularly suit the slick streamlined finish of the Scandinavian look.

modern bedroom furniture

A Well Balanced Scheme flows through the elements with a vibrant colour being only used for Accessories or Art

This style of decor looks great punctuated with a few punchy Asian accessories – more about that in the next blog, but always be aware of the wise old saying “the devil is in the detail”.

Worth mentioning is the fact that in spite of obviously achieving great wealth, the Swedish founder of Ikea is apparently notoriously thrifty, still using public transport complete with his pensioners discount card and flying economy class. The company motto incidentally is “Happiness is not reaching your goal. Happiness is being on the way”  which is quite inspirational and I personally think that if you are as happy as you can be with your home, then happiness in the rest of your life will not be far behind.

French Connection

7 Jul

Modern French decor is often a combination of tradition elegance and modern minimalism.

French decor can take a mix of types and periods of furniture without looking disjointed

Grey and white walls and minimal curtains or blinds and Cabriole legged Louis XV style furniture for me is the epitome of a French decor and the great attraction of this type of design is that it will add a touch of glamour to modern efficiency making even the most ugly computer recede into relative obscurity.

There are many ways to give a French flavour without having to change too much and the quickest and easiest way is to introduce a Toile fabric into the room, but take care that depending on the degree of toile print used that there is not too many other design details in the room. It is very much a standalone type of fabric due to the intricate detailing, but definitely does not need to be confined to the windows.

The Toile design is the most easily recognisable of all French designs and therefore most associated with the “French Look”

Toile fabric design is available in everything from a pair of oven gloves to a complete bedroom but whatever colour toile you go for, traditionally it needs to remain the same colour throughout the scheme, combined with plains either in a matching primary colour or a complimentary neutral colouring.

As for the walls, brightly coloured curtains, bedding and blinds are more easily integrated into a neutral background, but in the case of a Toile, one feature wall is acceptable in a matching wallpaper, with stunning results.

The liberal use of Chunky Cushions and Large Statement Ornaments make very much a Continental Statement.

Comfortable chunky traditional seating is a must with lots of large yet simple ornaments grouped in a table or mantel scape. Perhaps a trip across the channel to a French flea market could be a good source for your accessories as us Brits are often a little more conservative with our ornamental displays.

This delightful furniture Says it All

A large armoire wardrobe or cupboard and an oversized decorative mirror will also give a French feel – but shop carefully as the French style of furniture is making a comeback, being reproduced, often rather badly which can cheapen the look, moving the room from having a sophisticated elegance to having a gaudy overdone feel. 

metal curtain pole

A Sizeable Room with a High Ceiling can take a Large Statement Light

  

Choose what is to be the main detail and in this case, it is clearly the intricate detailing of the light, so keep the curtains simple, perhaps complimenting the metal finish of the light with a similarly coloured metal or wooden curtain pole.

Cameron Fuller Curtain Pole

Box pleat headings on curtains will give an informal feel especially if the fabric is a natural linen or a softly textured neutral fabric and there are plenty of metal or wooden curtain poles that can be decorative in their own right such as the Cameron Fuller curtain pole, without stealing the limelight. 

Blinds are relatively popular in France, but of course it is very common to have shutters at the windows which are shut fast often quite early in the evening giving the feeling as you drive through a French village that everyone has gone to Mars.

 

Contact Poles and Blinds – For all your curtain poles and window blinds.

 

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

 

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

 

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