Combat the clutter

Storage in your home to achieve a calmer and welcoming space

I asked and you answered, very clearly.

“What do you need help with?”

“Storage” you replied.

So in a series of posts over the next few months I’m going to look at storage around the home. I will divide this up into sections so it can be methodical and focused on areas of your home with specifics for that space. I will hunt out the clever sites and bargains to be had. I will guide you through the process. And I will high five you (virtually) when you sort your storage, stand back and take a breath because it has made you love how you live (or at least helped with the clutter which feels like it is everywhere!).

The thing with storage is that you must realise it's got to be respected. It’s not a glorified black bag with endless space to continue stuffing these things that have no meaning or value to you. What you need first is a bin and recycling power.

So before you embrace storage, I urge you… declutter, lose the noose and get rid of all those things that are hanging around and have no place in your heart or your home. Then identify what’s left and lets get storing….

I’m going to look at storage for children in my first post and then on a fortnightly basis I’ll drop by with another room and more storage finds.

Enjoy and do drop me a line if you have any questions and queries on you storage challenges.

Part 1: Children’s storage

Doing it for the kids

Children bring joy to a home but they also bring a lot of stuff. From babies with their play mats and buggies, through to teenagers and gaming equipment, they require space and an abundance of storage to hold all of their bits and pieces.

See below my top 5 storage ideas for children around the home.

Built in and deep

These units built into a playroom are actually kitchen base units. The doors have been spray painted a specific colour that can easily be updated in years to come and the finish is matt to help conceal those pesky little finger prints which appear all to often on gloss finishes!

The depth of these units is 600mm so they go back a long way and confidently store many baskets of toys, Lego, craft boxes… it's a tardis!

The configuration of the doors means that the children can access the bottom units and adults can still use the top sections for additional things like nappies or upcoming birthday presents. By keeping them up high it also keeps them away from little hands that can’t yet reach that far!

Fitting the units across an entire wall leaves fewer gaps for dust and small toys to disappear into. It also creates a streamlined effect, which is very welcoming in the chaos of a child’s room. The units are fitted directly to the wall so they are very safe, which is paramount when looking at storage for children’s spaces.

I used DIY kitchens for these units and the doors are spray painted in Little Greene Paint Spearmint.

Ingenious shelving

 
 

A great way to achieve some useful storage in children’s spaces is with shelves. Think floating shelves, bookshelves, picture rails….but off the ground and on the wall.

As well as performing a useful function, if chosen carefully, these shelves can turn a very boring wall into a beacon of accessible activity for the kids.

These shelves can be bought at gltc.co.uk but it’s worth having a look through the GLTC website as they have many options of ledges and shelves depending on the style you are looking for.

House Shelves

 
 

Think a miniature dolls house, on the wall and again off the ground!

This theory can take on a life of its own. The kids can use it as a playhouse when they are younger and also store their precious treasure, as they get older.

Have a look at IKEA for a similar one to the image above.

Bed space

Under bed storage can be useful to store bulky and infrequently used items. I find it’s a great place to store the winter duvet in summertime or the extra guest pillows. This bed has two deep drawers, which pull out and hold the bulky items in our house. Find the base at John Lewis.

Storage with wheels

Having something, which your little one can pull behind them, gives the novelty of holding and keeping the toys within the box.

It offers an alternative to toys going everywhere This pull along is just big enough to hold a selection of toys to keep your child busy for a while and can then be pulled back to its original home at the end of playtime. Buy it at IKEA.

Another pull along option especially designed for books is the Mr. Bear cart from GLTC

Children’s storage online:

Hallway love

How to give your hallway the love and attention it deserves

It’s the first place your guests come into but usually the last place considered when decorating your home. Kitchens and bathrooms are lavished with attention, bedrooms and living rooms get lots of energy too but the poor hallway… You could call it the workhorse of the house.

Everybody trudges through, sometimes without a backward glance other times to leave some sodden shoes and bag on its floor, quick to move onto the kitchen or some other beautiful and cosy room of the home.

So, I’m taking a stand for hallways everywhere. I’m asking you to reconsider you relationship with your workhorse and give it a little polish to let it shine.

It’s the cover of your unopened book, make it interesting and give some excitement to its readers before they step inside! There are some really simple things you can do that won’t cost a fortune but will reinvent your hallway and give it great purpose. But before any interior design is applied, the first thing that’s so important to ensure is that your hallway is warm.

Crank up those radiators, say hello to draught excluders and thermal lined curtains. Adding warmth to this space will encourage you and others to see this area as a room with use and linger a little longer enjoying your surroundings.

Let light flow

 

As the first room in a home, hallways have a tendency to be a little darker. Usually longer and narrower than other spaces they aren’t blessed with a lot of natural light. So, allow every drop of natural light into this room. Keep all windows uncluttered, introduce glass doors to adjoining rooms, say hello to large mirrors to bounce light around the room and avoid heavy paint colours on the walls. Choose light colours for the walls, and check the light reflectance values of the paint. The higher the LRV is the less light it will absorb and therefore allow into the room.

Once the natural light is established, consider soft lighting to support this. Table lamps, spot lights, wall uplighters all help to create a cosy atmosphere once the sun goes down and darkness sets in. Try to avoid anything too fussy hanging down unless you have a very high ceiling to support it. Otherwise, it will add to a cluttered hallway and emphasise a narrow space.

Beautiful storage Big and small

Functional yes, your hall storage will need to take a lots of use however that does not mean it can’t be beautiful at the same time. When choosing your storage, consider what it is being used for and whether it is robust enough to withstand lots of traffic. Deep drawers or benches with built in storage work wonders to hide all those shoes.

Bashed metal hooks from Zara

Where possible hide the majority of bulky scarves and coats as they can take over a narrow space however, do allow your favourite pieces to make an appearance. Think characterful wall hooks, which are decoration in their own right. Besides making you smile each time you walk by they will also help soften an area and remind you to use your favourite pieces as you dash out of the house!

Don’t forget storage for the little bits and pieces. Consider a concierge plate for the top of your dresser or cupboard. Along with being functional, it is very beautiful to look at.

Create Interest

A really narrow internal hallway can benefit from a trompe-l’oeil effect.

These hallway panels were created for this tiny internal hall to extend the eye as far up as possible and the mirrored effect wallpaper gives an illusion of space. The reflective finish of the wallpaper helps to bounce the natural light from the bedroom window when the doors are left open.

The original terracotta tiles extend from the kitchen and add a playful juxtaposition against the elegant panelled wall.

Smell divine

Allow your hallway to envelope you in a cloud of welcoming scented notes. There’s so many ways to add a beautiful smell. Explore scented candles, diffusers even pot pourri to give a feeling of freshness to your hall.

Happiness from Neom is an all time favourite of mine once the spring time kicks in.

Another option is to use fresh flowers although if these prove to be too expensive consider the simplicity of a simple single leaf as fresh decoration.

I have fallen in love with the eucalyptus leaf and find reason to put it everywhere in the house at the moment. The hall is just perfect as it releases a delicate scent and lasts ages before needing to be replaced!

Good luck with polishing your hallway into a space that you will fall in love with every time you walk through your home.

Drop me a line and let me know how you get on.

Fiona x

Contemplating colour: Rethink Pink - Alternative palette for a girl's bedroom

What do you do when you have a new client (little girl) who tells you straight away that she does not want pink for her bedroom?

Don’t worry I said, let’s find you something that you’ll love.

The challenge is that in todays world yes there are lots of other colours and designs available but even for an experienced interior designer like myself, it’s not always easy to get your hands on them…unless you want pink that is!

Basically, my experience when looking in most high street shops is that pink is the default colour for little girls rooms.

Pale pink, hot pink, pink verging on purple, pastel pink…all pink though.

Google “girls bedroom designs” and what do you get?

Pink, pink and white, purple and pink and the new favourite, pink and grey.

Don’t get me wrong, if styled the right way pink can be very beautiful but this blog post is about an alternative to pink so that’s what I’m going to help you achieve.

This is not another way of saying you can have a white or cream room either…put your imagination hats on, were going on a bear hunt, sorry I mean were going on a style hunt.

If not pink, then what?

One of my favourite colours that work well from a young age through to teenagers is yellow. Pair it with a soft grey and you can really let loose when introducing the yellow tones.

This design began with a stripy dressing gown and traditional book collection, both items I wanted to display with confidence in the room.

 

How do I add the colour?

Some really simple and effective ways to introduce your chosen colours can be through accessories like mirrors or rugs.

I have found some really striking mirrors in Ikea recently and B&Q is certainly worth a visit for reasonably priced rugs, which look a lot more expensive than what I paid for them. Plus they are 100% wool so nice and soft for children to play on too.

By choosing solid colours add pattern through the texture. This rug has a geometric design, which gives interest to the room without overpowering any of the other elements.

Display books with covers in bright accent colours. I have to admit to keeping my favourite and best matched book covers on show and putting the others in a drawer.

Keep the duvet cover relatively neutral in colour however; add pops of colour by mismatching pillowcases or fitted sheets. By teasing with deep colours the effect can be very cohesive but remain relatively calm.

Strategically introduce pattern throughout the room in tones from your chosen design and colour.

I pioneered one Scion pattern in this room. I used it to cover the headboard, a reading stool and cushion. I had a tiny piece of fabric left so this little lady was lucky enough to have a miniature handbag made with the offcut. She loves to play pretend with it and the pattern works perfectly in the room.

Where can I find all these non-pink accessories?

The important thing is to keep out of the nursery areas of stores on the first instance. There are some really sweet pink accessories and the way they are merchandised will make your heart melt and find you in a situation whereby you are leaving with the accessories that have been merchandised and styled professionally and look wonderful. However, you are not displaying 20 pairs of pink cashmere socks and reams of pink bunting in your child’s bedroom so it won’t look the same when you get home, trust me I speak from experience!

 

Find a basket in your chosen colour and add various bits and pieces for the kids to play with

This height chart from GLTC has just the right tones to fit into most non pink bedrooms plus its fun to measure and record children as they grow

This wall house was an inexpensive find from Sainsburys. It is fixed to the wall close to the childs bed, providing her with lots of imaginary playtime and freeing up floor space.

These little finger puppets were a bargain from flying tiger. The children love playing with them before bathtime but there is always an agreement over who gets the giraffe?!

Below I have added some links for online and high street stores, which I have found really helpful when sourcing accessories.

  • www.dandelionden.com is a lovely website that sources individual baby and children’s accessories and furniture.
  • www.zarahome.com for some great pillowcases and fitted bed sheets
  • www.marksandspencer.com also have plenty of pillowcase and bed sheet colour options.
  • www.diy.com for great quality and keenly priced rugs
  • www.gltc.com have done some great development recently on introducing unisex colours and accessories to their range. Their site is worth a look and most of the time you can get 20% off so remember to use an online code!
  • Uk.flyingtiger.com are a great source of cheap and colourful accessories. Look online or in one of their shops located throughout the UK.
  • www.wallpaperdirect.com is a great source of inspiration for wallpapers. You can order two samples free of charge.

Good luck with your non-pink room, I’d love to hear how you get on!

Fiona x