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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Embrace your Dented Walls and Scruffy Furniture

27 Jun

One very obvious look for a Mediterranean house is the use of lots of wrought iron both inside and out, but unless you live in California or indeed the Mediterranean, fancy wrought iron bars at the windows, whilst they may seem appealing in the current era of household theft and are ideal for keeping unwanted intruders out, will look ridiculous in the U.K.

decorative curtains

Swags and Tails offer a Timeless Elegance Anywhere

Curtains on this type of window are often rather decorative to draw the eye away from the metal bars, which can give the feeling to the overseas visitor that you are being “detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure”. Swags and Tails are still used quite extensively for a more formal look, but usually dressed from a wooden curtain pole.

Plain wooden curtain poles can be jazzed up a bit still using a simple curtain treatment such as a skirted heading, but with the use of a matching fringe edging the skirt and possibly matching curtain holdbacks.

Curtain pelmets with decorative fringe

The Art of Interior Design is to Carry a Theme or Colour Effortlessly

Wrought iron or black painted curtain poles are a great way to introduce this kind of look and will compliment the Moorish lights and accessories.

And with todays innovative design ideas, you will not be restricted to a Shepards Crook or Fleur de Lys finial.

black curtain poles

There is sure to be a Finial Shape to Tempt the Most Discerning

Arches, alcoves and niches also feature highly in this style of home and can make a useful space or feature design detail out of the smallest of areas. This often rather fanciful decor can be used to make a fun feature out of perhaps the cupboard under the stairs that used to house the vacuum cleaner, paint tins and cleaning “stuff”. Painted in a contrasting colour to the hallway, a small wash basin, perhaps a loo where the slope of the stairs makes standing impossible and an exotic Moorish ceiling light will make an invaluable addition to the house, with not too much expense.

Work around the natural light levels of the room. If it is dark, then warm it up with a lovely yellow stucco effect wall finish and if the room is already light and bright, then embrace it and go for white. This could be a great look for your home if your walls are badly plastered, chipped or dented – the distressed look. Special paint effects such as sponging or dragging with a colour wash will turn a disastrous wall into one with a rather aged attractive finish, the play of light over the different surfaces offering an appropriately textured finish. A miss-match of old furniture is also perfectly acceptable, but unify them with some common feature such as matching cushions or throws.

As with all decor decisions, more is not necessarily better.

Careful Thought to What Matches

And What Looks a Jumbled Mess Is Important

Don’t despair, if your heart is set on this type of decor but the finances are a little stretched at the moment, then simply changing your window treatments perhaps to a pair of curtains or a new roller blind will inject a little sunshine into the room – the rest can come later !!!!

sunny coloured roller blind

Light and Bright Colours are Ideal – Avoid Muddy Clouded Colours

There are many Spanish-style chandeliers and secondary lighting readily available and in most home furnishing departments and shops there is always an absolute abundance of Moorish style lanterns and candle holders featuring quatrefoil cut outs which will always be guaranteed to add a sense of romance – particularly relevant in dining rooms and bedrooms.

Moorish Themed Lights and Accessories Can Cross the Bounderies between Modern and Traditional

Choose your accessories wisely and a theme can be set merely by your choice of artwork and ornaments – lighting also of course plays a large part in setting the scene.

Themed Artwork can Take you There

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

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

Keep it Simple

17 Jun

Wooden curtain poles and plain wooden blinds are the obvious choice for a rustic type of Mediterranean decor and the simpler the better.

dark wood curtain poles

Dark Wooden Curtain Poles Look Particularly Outstanding in a Room with Beamed Ceilings

Dark wood colours will also look more authentic, the light pine coloured poles being more akin to an English Country Cottage look and they can also be used to create a more original type of headboard, just a couple of cushion pads with tab tops posted on the pole is all it takes – fancy upholstered headboards would have been a definate no in this style of decor.

An ideal pole for this situation is the Rolls Woodline Curtain Pole

dark wood stained curtain pole

Rolls Woodline Curtain Pole

Some windows have a decorative finish painted around outer edge, so clearly curtains would not be appropriate.

wooden blinds

Decorative Window Surrounds

Apart from this sandy colour which is still widely used, the original paint colour being made from the sandy pigment in the soil, a deep blue is also a very traditional colour to paint around the window surround, the colour said to deter flies and mosquitoes – personally I would rather not take any chances and fit a fly screen.

A wooden blind, ideally in a similar colour to the window frame can be used as fitting wooden shutters to a house in the U.K. would be totally out of place.

A wooden venetian blind such as the Redwood  blind is ideal

dark wooden blind

Metal or Wooden Venetian Blinds

but if the window dimensions are rather tight, you may prefer to fit a Metal Venetian Blind as the slats of these blinds are finer so the blind will pleat up tighter than a wooden blind, leaving more of the window opening exposed.

wood effect metal venetian blind

They Come in Any Colour You Like – But Go Natural Wood Finish for an Authentic Look

Metal Venetian blinds are available in a huge selection of colours, but to keep with the theme, go for a natural wood finish.

In sunny climes with all this happening outside the window, its also clearly on view from the inside.

An Explosion of Colour at the Windows All Summer Long

but you could be forgiven with our weather for introducing a similar effect from the inside looking out with brightly coloured floral curtains or blinds.

Introduce a Sunny Summer Feel to the Room No Matter What the Weather Outside

floral roman blinds

Brightly Coloured Blinds will Quickly and Easily Introduce a Relaxed Summer Ambience

This look is also attractive for bedrooms where you can afford to go floral with a total disregard for the rest of the decor in the house.

floral co-ordinating decor

Matching Floral Curtains, Cushions and Accessories are Perfectly Acceptable in a Bedroom without being considered OTT (over the top)

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

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

Take Home More than just your Holiday Snaps

9 Jun

The most delightful thing about Mediterranean living is the weather…

So if you want to take home with you more than just the memory of wall to wall sunshine, then why not introduce some Mediterranean decor to your home.

The level of natural light in the Med is more intense, so combined with the white walls of the interior and exterior of the houses, bright colours, particularly for the curtains and blinds are the norm.

There are several blinds, particularly the brightly coloured roman and roller blinds in blues and yellows that really evoke holiday memories of sunny skys and will instantly give a lift to any decor. Bright yellow blinds always blend well with wooden furniture and flooring and a trip to the local market before you leave will give you the chance to buy some of the brightly coloured pottery and ceramics so typical of the area.

roller blinds for kitchens

Bring Your Kitchen to Life with this Striking Yellow Roller blind

Personally I think this look is particularly good for kitchens and bathrooms which can take the slightly cluttered feel of the Mediterranean decor, but living areas and bedrooms in our northern homes need the warming influence of pastels and earthy colours to feel cosy during the long winter months and often the long wet summer days.

bathroom roller blinds

What Better Way to Cheer up a Boring Bathroom Than with a Fun Roller Blind

The seashell print on the blind above provides a good excuse for a trip to the beach to collect some shells and perhaps a bit of drift wood so you can strategically place a sponge and some soaps in a group to follow the theme through, an attractive decorative addition at little expense.

If you want to use a plain natural coloured blind or you are working around a not very colourful existing blind, then you can achieve the same affect by painting the walls a typical Mediterranean colour, but remember our more subdued daylight may dull the intensity of the paint, making the finish less striking. The level of natural light in a room also will need to be considered before painting the walls in strong colours, particularly shades of blue – a north facing room being the classic for avoiding cold colours particularly in a bathroom.

bathroom blinds

Mediterranean Decor is Not the Place for Minimalism

Open plan living space is often quite normal in this style of decor, so whilst it may be quite cluttered, the decor also has openness about it to allow for the movement of air. Curtains are often used as room dividers, closed perhaps during the winter months for warmth and open in the summer offering the opportunity for the continuation of the floor covering out onto the terrace or patio which also adds dimension to a room. Again this is fine for warm climates, especially as the flooring is usually tiles. Unfortunately our first frost of winter would wreck the tiles outside, particularly if they are the clay tiles, so typical of this area.

dark wood curtain poles

The Patio and Garden will feel part of the Room with the Continual Run of Matching Floor Tiles

Pink for Girls and Blue for Boys or is it ????.

21 May

Playing safe and going white or lemon for the nursery is a thing of the past as if only to get the colour choice for the nursery correct, we can ask the sex of the baby.

transparent roller blind

“Playing Safe” for the New Arrival

Plain white blinds, curtains and curtain poles are all readily available, but as children love bright colours, I do think it rather a shame to have such a bland nursery.

Fun Nursery Prints for Any Eventuality

There are plenty of childrens blinds or brightly coloured plain blinds such as venetian blinds, curtains and bedding to make a nursery fun for any baby.

Decorating the nursery is your chance to really have fun as anything will work, especially as the vast array of multi coloured soft toys showered on the new baby will bring a chaos of colour to whatever colour theme you have planned.

Stereotyping colours into gender preferences is not a current trend, but interestingly the pigeonholing of colours such as pink for girls and blue for boys has only been since the mid 20th century.

pink girls curtains

Contrast Headings for Curtains Allows for a Band of Colour to Theme Through the Rest of the Decor

This bright pink and lilac bedroom is definately for the girls …….

roller blinds for bedrooms and bathrooms

This Smart Roller Blind will Grow with the Baby – It’s All a Question of Accessories and Age Group of the Toys.

And this smart blue for a boy roller blind will not embarrass an older boy, but will suit a baby too.

Before that pink was for boys as it was a dilution of red, which was thought to be a masculine colour and blue for girls as it was a pretty delicate colour also associated in the Western world with the purity of the Virgin Mary.

Serious amounts of money is clearly spent on marketing research, targeting children and for that matter, all of us with colours relating to product types, hence for example the sea of pink packaging in the girls section of the toy shop.

nursery blackout roller blinds

Blackout Roller Blinds are often Essential for Everyone getting a Good Nights Sleep

Blackout blinds are becoming an important consideration when planning your nursery or revamping your child’s bedroom as they will give you total control over the level of daylight in the room, often a prerequisite for daytime naps. Everyone, no matter how small, will find it difficult to settle for a lunchtime nap with the sun blazing through the window. Also in the modern techno world, often even the tiniest little fingers are used to operating a tablet and may need a slightly lower level of daylight to see the screen to its best advantage.

wooden curtain pole

A Simple Plain White Wooden Curtain Pole is all the is Needed to Dress the Nursery Curtains – overly fussy poles will compete with the Rest of the Decor

If you are feeling very creative now’s your chance to get stuck in. There are wooden curtain poles available that are left untreated, so you can customise your curtain pole to match the wall colourings.

paint your own curtain pole

An Unfinished Wooden Curtain Pole will allow you to Get A Perfect Match with the Walls.

I used to love the vast choice you could get with wallpaper borders. They allowed you to bring the walls together with the window treatments and as an Interior Designer were ideal for View Homes where the simple addition of a border would take the plainess from the walls, often a problem in an unfurnished unit.

Borders are slowly making a comeback, adding in the case of a nursery a fun finish to the walls without the effort of wallpapering.

wallpaper borders

A Playful Border will Instantly Add Fun to Any Decor

And while you have the paint pot out, why not get the sewing machine out, make a few cushions and dress up the dollys to match the blinds – just give us a ring and we can supply you with the fabric to match your blinds.

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

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

Masculine verses Feminine decors.

14 May

Should it be blinds in Autumn and Winter colours….

modern curtains

Mixing a slightly “Old Fashioned Look” with A Contemporary Decor Gives a Comfortable Feel Inviting You to Linger Longer

 leather furniture and wooden floors ???

modern roman blind

This Modern Grey Roman Blind Contributes to the Masculine Feel of the Decor

Or should it be curtains and blinds in Spring and Summer colours, cosy neutral coloured furniture and carpets –

neutral coloured furniture

A Living Room with a Sense of Drama

It could be just a question of gender preferences.

It’s well known particularly amongst professional people that if you ask 10 different people the same question you will get 10 different answers. The same applies to interior decor, you may think there is hardly a difference between masculine and feminine ideas on a perfect decor if both parties basically like the same colours and style of decor, but from my experience, you would be very wrong.

Modern men often seem to have a preference for autumn and winter colours, seemingly to prefer solid, functional furniture and furnishings. Deep colours such as burgundy, rust and terracotta often based around a decor with plenty of black included, with heavily textured fabrics and feature walls in bold colours or bold patterned wallpaper which seemingly introduces a quality of strength to the home.

Window blinds such as roller, vertical or venetian blinds are often the favoured choice in a masculine decor, the formal lines of the blind very much in keeping with the more minimal, no nonsense look.  

See through blinds

Blinds with a View – Modern Blinds Made From a Transparent Fabric Offer Privacy, Style and Light Control Without Blocking the View

Vertical blinds as above will always make a perfect finish for a masculine brief, along with black and white photography or indeed black and white anything especially large screen tvs and computer “stuff”.

contemporary bedroom

The Black and White Image Creates a Stunning Visual Distraction

Most women strive not only to look beautiful, but also to feel beautiful. Luxurious fabrics such as velvet, damask and silk are not even on most men’s radar screen.  Women seem to favour the spring and summer colours, their soft freshness better fitting the more romantic detailing preferred by women.

It really does matter to us that things co-ordinate wherever possible, even if it’s just the candles and cushions, with tender floral designs often with a nostalgic traditional feel being particularly popular for a feminine bedroom decor.

pinch pleat curtains

This Stunning Bedroom Decor is a Haven of Period Feminine Charm

Interlined curtains with decorative headings will possibly call a curtain pole to complete the ensemble which is where something such as the Byron and Byron Florentina Wooden curtain pole will make a stunning partner.

hand finished wooden curtain pole

Made to the Highest Standards in the U.K.

In a partnership men seem mostly to give the woman a free hand in the bedroom, gracefully accepting defeat, but for the main areas such as the kitchen and living room, a compromise needs to be reached.

If you live in a traditional country cottage opr period home, then dramatic pink florals, even if its just a roman blind with matching cushions as above, can still be the order of the day without affronting the male occupants pride, especially if the furniture is pine or antique, talking of which, if you are furnishing a traditional home, then go to the local auction rooms first, you will be in for a surprise. A lot of people do not want all that “old stuff” anymore, the modern home being minimal with Ikea furniture or similar fitting the bill perfectly. You can buy beautiful furniture at the auctions for the same price or often less than current prices for new furniture.

Incidentally this is not a criticism of the modern decor, I personally prefer the openness created by modern furniture, especially by glass topped tables, but as we live in an old barn, happily we can mix modern furniture with “hand me downs” from my Great Grandmothers house, which not only gives a comforting feeling of belonging, but also compliments the style and period of the barn.

pink roller blind

Blinds can be Elaborate, Elegant, Striking or Plain – Its all a Question of Choice.

Today blinds are available in an infinitesimal choice of colours and styles, with many also having special properties to help to control the temperature and levels of light in the room, so you can be sure a compromise can be reached, maybe a few floral cushions and a pretty blind will suffice.

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

Tel: 0845 4650101 International Calls: 00441243 586660

Email: info@polesandblinds.com

Take the Leap from Safe Neutrals to Imaginative Brights and Black

7 May

Winter colours especially as curtains and blinds give you an opportunity to catch everyones attention with a palette of receding and advancing colours. Punctuations of brightness in the stunning black and white decor below are offered by a particularly vibrant orange and the reflective surface of the tiled floor gives a very contemporary, not to mention light and airy finish to the room.

red home accessories

Highlights of Bright Colours have the Capacity to Transform a Neutral Decor

Metal curtain poles such as the Rolls Neo will perfectly match the look and feel of this room –

modern metal curtain tracks

Modern Metal Curtain Poles In Special Metal Effect Finishes

 but there is a new very trendy form of curtain track available which is especially suited to a modern decor …. the Byron and Byron polmet.

Modern curtain tracks

Your Curtains will be Influenced by the Shape and Type of Curtain Pole or Track

This innovative curtain track makes a design statement in its own right, the black mirrored effect of the surface being given an extra dimension by the bevelled edge of the track. Any form of curtain heading, but especially double pinch pleat or pencil pleat will suit this modern track, but make sure that when you measure for the curtains you measure for them to hang just below the track or the clean horizontal look of the track will be broken.

It is often better to hang the track or curtain pole before making or ordering readymade curtains or worse still having expensive made to measure curtains and finding they are the wrong length. Curtains that are too long can usually have the curtain hook position lowered which will obviously lift the curtains higher to slightly compensate, but this may well cause the curtain heading to foul the curtain pole or track. Curtains that are too short stand out for all the wrong reasons and to most people are as offensive as trousers that are too short.

Curtain tracks are now readily available in various colours and Aluminium tracks such as the Fineline metal curtain track are also very easy to fit around tricky bay windows as they can be bent by hand.

metal curtain track

Ideal for Straight or Bay windows

A black feature wall makes the perfect setting for a collage of art work, the pictures looking richer and the details more defined.

feature wall colours

A Black Feature Wall will Highlight the Colours of the Artwork as well as Marry Them Together to Form a Group

Black furniture or as in the case of this stunning bath are perfectly matched to white or off-white walls, although to my mind a black and white decor definitely has more masculine overtones, whereas grey and white being softer is by definition, more of a feminine looking decor.

black bath

Stunning, but to my mind the Simple Clean Lines of the Bath and Bathroom needs the imput of a Warming Winter Primary Colour

But before you steam ahead with copious amounts of black and deep earthy primaries make sure the room has adequate space and light to be able to cope with these colours or the room will look depressing and overpowering.

modern blinds

Metal Venetian Blinds are Particularly Good as a Medium for Introducing Just Enough Vibrant Colouring to Blend with Brightly Coloured Home Accessories.

 I was once asked to re-do a show house that an “interior designer” had supposedly done. It was a complete disaster because clearly the designer loved terracotta and had themed the whole scheme around it, not bothering to first look out of the window of the living room, which is after all almost the first place a potential buyer looks.

The show house was completely overshadowed by large, protected trees and was built in red brick which would not normally be noticed from the inside. This particular house however backed on to the garages of the new estate, the view from the living room window therefore being dominated by red brick. With the garden being virtually only 2 metres square this was clearly an issue that need to be considered.

Everything in terracotta including the curtains, three piece suite and cushions had to go; all that remained in terracotta were a few candles and a splash of terracotta in the paintings. I went neutral to lighten the load of the wall and lift the dismal mood of the room created by the shade of the trees and included plenty of lighting of course.

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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