Get Serious with Scandinavian Style

Source from Aestatestudio

A look that first became popular in the Scandinavian and Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in the mid-30s, this is a style which, like Modernism, embraces minimalism and simplicity. But it’s done in a very elegant fashion. You’ll understand exactly what we mean when you realise three of its famous founders were Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Verner Panton (all produced iconic accent chairs revered today).

A neutral colour scheme is key, usually white, with the odd splash of colour in the form of cushions or a painting. Another big tenet of this style is natural materials; the more from your immediate environment the better, especially woods, leather, wool and even fur (more likely faux fur these days) because Scandi style tends to be cosy – especially in winter with roaring wood fires and plenty of fairy lights.

Flooring tends to be either wide planks of reclaimed wood or concrete. There isn’t a lot of furniture but what there is tends to be functional and of high quality, usually simply but carefully-carved timber and designed in such a way to showcase the natural beauty of the wood.

Nothing in this design style is elaborate or overly-fussy – something that many busy homeowners these days will certainly appreciate.

An Introduction to Industrial Design/Loft Living

Loft Interior by Deniz Atli
Loft Interior by Deniz Atli, Source from Chaosgroup

Industrial design really came into its own with the transformation of old warehouses into homes. Along with the new fashion for urban loft living a new style of interiors was essential since current designs just wouldn’t adapt to those huge living spaces.

Furniture had to be large and chunky so that it wasn’t dwarfed by all that floor space and the high ceilings (which often had old wood beams). At the same time reclaimed wood, exposed pipe work and patchy brickwork – which nine times out of ten were part of the building anyhow – all became incorporated into this “stripped back” look. The result is a sense of “rawness” and an unfinished feel.

In terms of colour, the look is neutral with a few splashes of colour here and there in the form of artwork, a rug or cushions. The main materials are reclaimed wood and metal in all its forms – copper, steel, aluminium, bronze etc.

Pendant lamps in metallic are a large part of industrial design and are necessary to fill the gap between the high ceiling and the kitchen island.

This is a no-nonsense style where furniture and materials are repurposed where possible, resulting in a mix of vintage and contemporary. There are lots of nice relaxing clean lines – perfect for the busy urban executive returning home to the loft after a long day at the coalface – or rather, the office.

Sofa Innovation

A Beautiful Mind

Italian architect Alessandro Isola literally stumbled upon this very innovative idea. He was forever tripping over furled rugs in his home and came up with this fabulously creative sofa-cum-carpet idea.

The carpet transforms into a generous sofa, supported by a carbon fibre core. The core itself can also be used as a book or display shelf at the higher end of the sofa.

The incredible 'Stumble Upon Sofa' designed by Italian architect Alessandro Isola
The incredible ‘Stumble Upon Sofa’ designed by Italian architect Alessandro Isola


Fair’s Fair – What’s Hot Now

Things We Noticed at the Recent Trade Fairs That Look Like They’ll Trend Well

We’re always looking for new products and love seeing what’s out there at the trade fairs. Most recently, there is a big interest in recycled materials which is encouraging. There is also a trend for beach themed decor including driftwood pieces. The surprises were a return to glassware that would have been popular with our grandmothers. Sometimes referred to as nannyware, we saw Bohemian glassware at several stands. Chinese ceramic stools are also making an appearance plus the iconic hourglass is a hot decor piece.

Flashed overlay Bohemian glass.    Chinese ceramic stools.   Hourglass decor.
Flashed overlay Bohemian glass. Chinese ceramic stools. Hourglass decor.

Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere

By definition, inspiration is a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something.

Don’t you love being inspired by something that you glimpse quickly but has a profound effect on your imagination? If you are searching for fresh ideas for decorating or renovating, look beyond the obvious sources.


That impetus could be from a floral display you see at a wedding or other reception that defines a neutral palette and serene atmosphere for a room. It could be realised in quality artificial flowers or the form itself could motivate you to create a similar cascading effect in a room divider, shower screen, window treatment or curtains.

Sometimes the juxtaposition of two colours will surprise you and their unique combination will become the source for a whole new adventure in colour schemes.

Inspiring colour combos can come from nature, a scene on TV (such as the Countess of Grantham’s room in Downton Abbey) or two small dots of oil paint on a canvas at the art gallery.  Some of the best colour artists were Edouard Vuillard and Odilon Redon. They can be described as artist’s artists for their amazing use of colour. Look below to see some brilliant examples.

The outrageous colours used by Vuillard on the left and by Redon in the centre work beautifully together within each painting and offer some superb hues to experiment with. Sometimes the shapes and textures may be the motivation. The abstract by Barns-Graham could be reinvented as a floor plan for a room or garden or it could be used to represent the proportions for the decoration of a feature wall.

'Boulevard-of-Batignolles', Edouard Vuillard, 'Sunset', Odilon Redon and an abstract by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
‘Boulevard-of-Batignolles’, Edouard Vuillard, ‘Sunset’, Odilon Redon and an abstract by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham





What’s the Best Furniture for Home Entertainment?

The Basics

Home entertainment can be watching TV or movies on TV, gaming and listening to music. The bare minimum furniture you need for a room dedicated to entertainment are:

TV tvx 1

Whether you have a box unit or wall mounted flat screen, the TV is really the hearth and focus of most family homes. Wall mounting frees up a lot of space but any TV can be integrated into a functional storage unit. The biggest problem with Wii games and the ever-changing new technologies in audio-visual devices is the huge amount of requisite accessories we amass. This is especially true in an extended family situation when dad loves his old LPs and the kids are into Xbox one and Playstation 4.


twoStorage units can be sleek or more like a console or buffet shape, this depends on the style of your room and the look you want to achieve.

The main thing is being able to store all your equipment and accessories and hide the worst of the messy cables.

Corner TV units can be a great solution for small spaces or for when you want visual access from more than one room. The most important thing here is the final height of the TV screen. It should be at a comfortable viewing level, which means generally that your direct eyeline should be approximately a third of the way up the screen. There are also some great smaller solutions made for specific storage items such as DVD towers and racks.


 Make it comfy! A modular couch can be a good choice for an entertainment room because it can be reconfigured according to what you are doing and how many people are involved. The traditional sofa and pair of armchairs or recliners work very well too. The prime task is arranging the furniture to maximise your viewing and listening position as well as utilising the general space. Ottomans, especially those that include their own storage recesses, can be perfect seating choices for extra guests that drop by.

 Coffee Table

 Lastly, a must-have, provided you have the space for it, is a coffee table. Placed btween the couch and the TV unit, a coffee table provides you with a surface to put your drinks and snacks on. Look for a coffee table that can also store things you need close to hand like the remote controls, TV guide and magazines. With these basics you will create an ideal place to put your feet up and, relax and enjoy your toys without the clutter.




How to Equip Your Home Office

Think Outside the In Box

You don’t need to restrict yourself to office furniture choices. The important thing is to find exactly the style and size you want that also expresses your own inimitable uniqueness.

You will spend a lot of time in a home office so you must be very comfortable, not just in your chair but happy with the aesthetics of your surroundings.

Think about what you need to accomplish and how. Do you need to store and have access to paper files or is everything you work with electronic? Is there room to keep necessary supplies close at hand?

Do you work with any tools or accessories that will scratch your desk top? You might want a laminate or glass surface to work on. Find the right chair then match the table or desk to it so you can achieve the correct height for comfortable desk use.

There are lots of options for office storage.
There are lots of options for office storage.

Storage comes in as many varieties as you can think of.

Look at possibilities from the kitchen, garden, living room, bathroom… inspiration can come from anywhere.

Retro and industrial filing cabinets are great and they can delineate the space from the rest of your apartment but jars, boxes and canisters can also be adapted to keep things handy and tidy and at the same time add visual interest.

That visual interest will help to keep you stimulated and it will reflect your creativity, uniqueness and ability to think outside the preverbial box!



Things to know before buying a dining table

  1. First consider your lifestyle and your dining table use.

Casual or formal? Will the table be used for other functions other than dining? The majority of dining tables come at a fairly standard height of 76cm. You need to keep this in mind if you want to try looking for an unusual table not intended for dining. Apart from the different shapes that tables come in, there are some wonderful retro choices, refectory and trestle options.

2. Next consider what size is best for you.

How often do you entertain and for how many people? This will give you an idea of what size to choose from. There are some good sites that give excellent details about dimensions and seating numbers like House Plans Helper.

Generally for an average dinner party of 6 people, you are looking at:

  • 122cm diameter for a round table
  • 122-152cm for a square table
  • 79x152cm to 91x183cm for a rectangular table

Depending on the space you have, you have options of round, oval, square and rectangular. The most flexible choice is an extension table, either square or rectangular, that can be easily expanded in length to accommodate more guests when needed.

3. Choose a dining table material.

For casual dining you could go for an outdoor dining set in wicker with a tempered glass top. The glass top is very practical and easy to clean. Marble is another excellent table top surface. If you are thinking about buying a wood table, be prepared for some simple but necessary upkeep. You will need to wipe the surfaces down with an oil-based furniture polish every six months and using coasters and placemats will minimise staining and scratching.

So go classical wood or contemporary glass and metal and enjoy an entertaining lifestyle.

The Beauty of Barstools

Design suggestions how to create an inviting kitchen bar or home bar from scratch

It doesn’t necessarily take loads of space to set up a home bar or a kitchen nook or island area for casual drinks and snacks. A bar can be the viewing point for movies and TV shows and it can become the favourite family hub.

Natural wood has warmth and character.
Natural wood has warmth and character.

All you need is a surface bench or table top that you can belly up to. If you are starting from scratch, you might want to choose your stools first. The bar stool will determine the style and the height of your bar.

There are amazing barstools available ranging from cowhide and chrome to leather and plastic, retro to industrial. Just make sure the stool you choose is comfortable as well as attractive.

What really sets the scene and provides a bar with atmosphere is the lighting. The lighting should be cozy and flattering and  pendants are the perfect choice, especially as you can position them to exactly the best height above the bar or bench surface.

The fun part is selecting lighting that complements the barstool style.

These two elements, stool and lighting, will harmonise the look.

Retro colour is lively and fun.
Retro colour is lively and fun.

Choosing lights and stools first will make it easier for you to select the other necessary elements such as wall art, bench top material and glassware. Go with natural wood for a warm feel or opt for bright solid colours that create a friendly and fun atmosphere.

If kids will be using the stools as well as adults, look at gas-lift adjustable models and at swivel mechanisms if the stools will be in a tight space without a lot of room for maneuvering in and out.

Setting up a home bar increases your popularity ten-fold. It’s a great way to entertain friends with cocktails and the family with movie night and snacks.


Our Top Points on Choosing Kids Bedroom Furniture

The two most vital things to think about are:

  • Budget
  • Adaptability

    Bed with Trundle Incorporated into Wall Storage
    Bed with Trundle Incorporated into Wall Storage


Kids grow up fast. Consider the age of your kid and if a younger sibling can inherit the furniture when he or she outgrows it. There is plenty of excellent kids’ furniture out there online with low prices if you want to upgrade as your child grows, otherwise you may want to buy something flexible that can adapt to your kid’s changing needs.

The best solution to decorating children’s bedrooms in a modern and practical way is to put in bunk beds. Bunk modular sets can maximise space with built-in storage drawers, shelves and closets. They can create a whole environment with a bed, study desk and lots of fun features like ladders or steps.

Two variant ways to set up the same modular bunk.
Two variant ways to set up the same modular bunk.


There are bunks that can be reconfigured into two separate beds plus the double below-single above model can be a useful option for older kids with occasional sleepover friends sleeping on a pull out trundle. For the ultimate in hidden beds in a room that needs as much floor space as possible during the day, there exists a Murphy-style bunk unit – the beds fold up into the wall out of sight. Bedroom storage is always a premium, especially with all the kit and gear kids accumulate.

Another example of a versatile bunk modular system.
Another example of a versatile bunk modular system.