Tag Archives: design

5 Hot Ikea hacks

No one likes to admit they go to Ikea for their furniture, even though we all do. Now, savvy shoppers are pimping their Ikea pieces to create bespoke designs at bargain prices

There’s no need to be embarrassed about buying furnishing your flat from Ikea – no one need ever know with these clever Ikea hacks that will transform the identikit items into unique, hand-crafted furniture. There are even entire websites and companies dedicated to transforming Ikea basics into brilliant bespoke furniture for a fraction of the cost. In fact, even the Swedish giant is now encouraging shoppers to customise their kit with specialist wood paints, fabric, paper and new handles. Try these hacks out for size..

image056

Personalise with a fine pine canvas
Ikea is famous for its wooden furniture, especially solid pine, which is easy to paint, stain, collage and customise. The Tarva range of untreated pine drawers have been deliberately designed to be a blank canvas.
“Both the simple design and the untreated wood are typical for the Scandinavian furniture tradition,” say designers Knut Hagberg and Marianne Hagberg. “And because you can stain or paint TARVA without further treatment, the design becomes a collaboration between us and the person who decorates it”.
Here the Tarva six drawer chest, £125, has been painted with Ikea’s own Behandla glazing paint, 375ml, £4.20, which comes in a range of colours.

20150914-232301.jpg

Updated door handles

This Malm chest of drawers (£49) is an Ikea staple, but add some handles and it takes on a fresh new look.

Take a selection of stones – the ones here are flint and chalk (which already had natural holes in it – that are between five and 10 centimetres in size. Glue around the middle of the stone with a glue gun, wrap twine or rattan cord twice around the glue and leave a good length of twine at either end to attach them to the drawers. Thread twine through the holes in the chalk stones.

20150914-232253.jpg

Decide where you want to put your handles and drill two holes for each handle, 2cm apart.

Then thread the ends of each cord from your handles through the holes and tie them together on the inside of the drawer.

20150914-232243.jpg

Relax in a reading nook

Take three Ikea Lack side tables (£25 each) and put them together to create a bench, then measure the top to work out what size your seating pad should be – leave some space at the end if you want a surface to put down a cup of tea or books.

Cut a piece of foam to fit the bench, then choose your covering fabric and cut it out with and extra 5cm in length and width than you need. Fold the fabric in half, right side in, and sew the length and one of the short sides, leaving 1cm seam allowance. Turn the cover the right side out and cover the foam, then fold the corners of the open end and stitch it closed. Then place it on the bench and accessorize it with books, cushions, and a tray. See how to do it at www.hestershandmadehome.com

IKEA belt shelf 1

A hanging book shelf

This on-trend leather and wood shelf looks reassuringly expensive, but blogger Ronja Lotte made it for just a couple of pounds. Using and Ivar (£4) shelf board (which she cut down to her desired size) and an old leather belt, the whole thing cost less than the price of a book.

First saw the shelf down to the size you want (cutting off the ends to create a neat edge), then paint the shelf. If you have two identical belts to hang at either end you’ll get the best finish, but you can also cut one wide belt in half. Cut or drill a hole at each end of the belt, about 4cm from the end, then hang it from the wall. Find her project and others on www.ikeahackers.net

ikea+hack+web

Create a four-poster bed

Serial hacker, Hester Van Overbeek’s latest book Furniture Hacks (£14.99, Cico Books) features this striking contemporary four-poster bed with an integrated shelf and storage, which looks as though it could have cost ten times the £165 price tag of the original Malm double bed that it is made from.

It’s a bit more of a DIY project as you’ll need to build the four upright posts and top beams, but it only costs a few pounds for the wood and paint (it’s worth painting the existing bed and the new posts so that it all matches) and a bit of elbow grease.

For the full lowdown visit Hester’s blog.

3 Instant Ikea Hacks

Don’t like DIY? Then get a professional to do it for you…

Superfront

Swedish design experts who take Ikea kitchens and cabinets and customise the colour, doors, tops, legs and handles, to create spectacular furniture that is still cheaper than buying bespoke. www.superfront.com

Pretty Pegs

It’s amazing what a difference small details can make. These replaceable wooden furniture legs add instant personality and panache to your regular Ikea sofa, bed, table or sideboard. www.prettypegs.com

 Mykea

These graphic and photographic patterns stick onto Ikea furniture to create a completely different look, that’s easy to create and to change when you get bored. www.thisismykea.com

ALISON TYLER

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 23.14.29

 

 

 

 

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Interiors: revamp your bathroom

… without replacing your bath suite!

Replacing a bathroom is a costly business, but you can transform the room you’ve got without changing the suite, for a fraction of the time and cost with these simple tips and tricks…

John Lewis, Lindsey Lang Leaf Cotton Towels, Grey, from £3.50 - £36 2

1 Change your towels

If your bathroom features plain, greying white towels or faded block colours, then inject some life into your room by updating them – it’s the easiest way to keep up with the latest bathroom trends. Right now, it’s all about a return to graphic patterns and expensive-looking textured towels with jacquard patterns or fringed edging. Try Lindsay Lang’s bold leaf towel range for John Lewis (from £3.50) or their Scandi-inspired Coastal Nordic Scene towels from £3 (www.johnlewis.com). We love House of Fraser’s bobble-trim hand towels (£10, www.houseoffraser.co.uk) and Sainsbury’s fringe stripe bath towel (£10, www.sainsburys.co.uk).

John Lewis Coastal Nordic Scene Towels, Slate, Slate John Lewis, from £3

2 Replace the taps and radiators

You can make a basic bath look modern and sleek in seconds with a simple change of the taps. Bathstore’s angular Blade deck mounted bath and shower mixer (£299, www.bathstore.com) looks contemporary without being so fashion-conscious that it would date quickly. Meanwhile, the Bensham bath and basin taps (from £99) will create some classic character in a soulless, bland bathroom.

Swapping your radiator for a heated towel rail is much easier than you’d think as it doesn’t require any additional wiring or plumbing, but they look so effective, as well as creating an efficient and stylish space to store the towels that you are currently using. You can spend as little at £59.99 for a modern white or chrome rail from Homebase (www.homebase.co.uk), or several hundred on a luxurious traditional-looking, ball-jointed chunky towel rails in brass and chrome from C.P Hart (from £887, www.cphartshop.co.uk).

John Lewis Medina Soap Dish, £12 John Lewis Medina Toothbrush Holder, £12 John Lewis, Medina Soap Pump, £16

3 Paint the tiles…

Literally. Instead of re-tiling the walls, use dedicated tile paint for an instant effect. Try Ronseal One Coat Satin Tile Paint (£19.98, www.diy.com) in Granite, a mid-grey stone shade, for a contemporary update that’s waterproof and mould-resistant. Best of all you don’t need to use a primer and the paint dries in two hours, so it’s a quick and easy trick to try out.

Camden_Blue image002

If you’re up for a bigger job, replacing the floor with patterned tiles will create a modern, directional look – Topp’s Tiles Victorian-inspired geometric Grosvenor tiles in monochrome shade (£59.60 per square metre, www.toppstiles.co.uk) add a stylish air, while their encaustic effect blue Camden Floral Lys tiles (£24.99 per square metre) look like they could have come from the much more expensive Fired Earth.

jars

4 Window dressing

Get rid of grotty, mildew-y fabric blinds or outdated curtains and replace them with easy-to-clean wooden shutters. “For bathrooms, where you want privacy but do not want to lose light, tier on tier shutters offer the perfect solution. With separately adjustable top and bottom panels you can open either section or open the slats to create the perfect alignment for your room. Alternatively cafe style shutters work well by covering only the lower section of your window, offering a balance between light and privacy,” explains Chrissie Harper, Operations Manager at California Shutters.

Their blue Classic Poplar wood shutters (from £177 per square metre, www.californiashutters.co.uk) add a pop of colour and look clean and contemporary – they’re perfect for a beachy, nautical-style bathroom, too.

hof baskets

5 Sort your storage

Adding new bathroom accessories, such as storage jars, laundry baskets and a towel ladder, will instantly organise your space and give it some personality. For vintage style with an industrial edge, head to House of Fraser for their Linea Maritime glass storage jars (from £12); go for a global traveller look at John Lewis (Medina soap pump, £16, and toothbrush jar £12); or add some dipped rustic woven baskets from House of Fraser or M&S.

Wooden Towel Ladder, £99.00, OKA

You can pick up a ladder shelving unit from M&S (£129, www.marksandspencer.com) in a range of colours, including a bright blue, which will clear your clutter away, while Oka has a wooden towel ladder for £99 (www.okadirect.com).

Step Ladder Shelving Unit £129

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 19 May

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Take inspiration from the warm desert hues of sun-baked reds, dusty ochres and burnt oranges, throw in a bit of Native American pattern, add a cactus and you’ve nailed this season’s hottest look faster than you can say Spaghetti Western

 

Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39
Tesco Arizona Dining Table £399 Arizona Dining Bench £199 Arizona Console Table £249 Marseille Metal Dining Chairs Sulphur Yellow and Silver £39

 

George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher
George Home SS15 Desert Hanging feather dreamcatcher

Hanging Feather Dream catcher £5, www.george.com

Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12
Very Cactus Scape Cushion £12

Cactus Cushion, £12, www.very.co.uk

Habitat Altivo bowl
Habitat Altivo bowl

Alvito green and white patterned terracotta bowl, £25, www.habitat.co.uk

West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set
West Elm Embroidered Star Duvet set

Embroidered star bed linen, £19-£119; Geo tile pillowcase, £29; Emmerson bed, £999; Reclaimed wood and lacquer bedside table, £299; Prism wool rug, from £99.95.  All from www.westelm.co.uk

Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa
Abigail Ahern Wild Bill sofa

Wild Bill two-seat sofa, £2000, www.abigailahern.com

Ikea set of three cacti
Ikea set of three cacti

Set of three cacti in pots, £4.50, Ikea, www.ikea.com

Graham and Green White Resin antlers
Graham and Green White Resin antlers

Roebuck antlers on shield, £60, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Tesco House Rules Cushion £10

House Rules cushion, £10, www.tesco.com

Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase
Conran shop Medium Cactus Vase

Medium cactus vase, £36, The Conran Shop, www.conranshop.co.uk

Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate;  Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle
Tesco Direct Idaho Large Sofa Leather Antique Chocolate; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle

Idaho Large Sofa, Leather Antique Chocolate £949; Lausanne Armchair Leather Antique Saddle £399; Lausanne Armchair Horizontal Patchwork Brick £299; Arizona Coffee Table £199, Arizona Console Table £249; Arizona Side Table £129, Multi Bean Rug 120x170cm £120; Indiana Glass Ombre Table Amber Lamp £49; Green Bottle Vase Large £15; Chunky Knit Multi Reds Throw £25; Contrast Piped Yellow Cushion £8; Watercolour Stripe Cushion £8; Contrast Piped Green Cushion £8; Cactus Print Cushion £8. All from www.tesco.com

 

Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie
Mahout Lifestyle, Multi-Coloured Symmetrical Cotton, Dhurrie

Multi-coloured symmetrical cotton rug, £285, www.mahoutlifestyle.com

George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion
George Home SS15 Desert Tufted arrow cushion

Tufted Arrow Cushion, £15, www.george.com

Graham and green picture frame
Graham and green picture frame

Painted bone picture frame, £12, www.grahamandgreen.co.uk

Habitat ZADAR horse objet black
Habitat ZADAR horse objet black

Zadar black facteted horse object, £18, www.habitat.co.uk

George Home Desert Bedroom
George Home Desert Bedroom

Desert Ikat double duvet set, £12; Ikat Cushion, £8; Tufted Arrow Cushion, £12; Copper Lantern, £10; Wood and Copper Effect Desk Lamp, £20. All from George Home at ASDA, www.george.com

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 5 May 15

 

 

 

 

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How to… create a gallery wall

Don’t leave your photos languishing on your phone or laptop, create a fab focus wall of framed images and art that you can treasure – it only takes a couple of hours, perfect for a Bank Holiday weekend project!

Personal photos, favourite artwork and memorable treasures, from children’s drawings to concert tickets or a nostalgic football programme, can say so much about your personality and will breathe life into your home, when framed and hung on the walls.

A gallery wall of frames looks really effective and is easier to do than you might think. All you need is some paper and a pencil, a tape measure, hammer and spirit level, and an hour or two to get it right. 

One of the most common questions I get asked about gallery walls is ‘should all of my picture frames match?’,” says Kim Findlay, Frames and Wall Art Buyer for Habitat.

“Ultimately it is down to individual taste. Artwork in matching frames looks clean but for a more eclectic look, experimenting with mixing and matching styles and colours can be fun. If you’re unsure about which look to go for, consider the content of the frames. If the artwork or photography shares a similar style, matching frames work well. If you’re displaying different styles and mediums of artwork together, individual frames can be chosen based on what you’re putting inside them. This leads quite naturally to a mix-and-match style.”

The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100
The White Company: Fine memories frame, 15 aperture £150; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Wide wooden frames: 6 aperture £75, 12 aperture £100

 

How to create a picture wall 

1 – Don’t be afraid to mix things up: choose mismatching sizes and colours of frames for an eclectic feel, for instance, and don’t just create a geometric square pattern – a collage of frames can look much more interesting.

2 – Do think about making your pictures work as a group, still. Try theming the images – perhaps all family or holiday shots – or choosing all black and white shots to create a harmonious look. Or perhaps choose lots of shapes of frame but all in one colour.

3 – Don’t just start banging holes in the walls. Instead, lay the frames out on the floor in the arrangement that you are planning, spacing them around 10cm apart from one another. Keep moving things around until you are happy with the way it looks, then draw around each of the frames on paper and cut out paper templates, marking an “x” on each one where the nail should go.

4 – Do take time to get it right. Stick your paper templates on to the wall, following your design, making sure the centre of your arrangement sits at eye level. Use a spirit level and plumb line to check that they are all straight. Tweak your design if necessary. When you’re completely satisfied, nail into the crosses on the templates and then remove the paper. Hang your frames.

Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams
Ben de Lisi frame from Debenhams

5 – Do cheat. If you’re really struggling, you can now buy frames that create an instant picture wall. Try the 10-frame arrangement by Ben de Lisi from Debenhams (£45), The White Company’s Fine Memories wooden frame (£150) that holds 15 photos or buy Habitat’s 20-aperture mount (£15) in black or white that fits into a 60x80cm frame.

 

TIP: Photographs and prints tend to wrinkle if directly in contact with glass, so place them behind a mount to prevent them touching it. Tape them to the top of the back of the mount (using masking tape) so that the print then ‘hangs’ in the frame and it can expand and contract with humidity.

 

TYPES OF ARRANGEMENTS

Ikea art and frames
Artwork and frames from Ikea

A gallery wall

Make a group of frames to create a focal point, above a sofa, fireplace or in a hallway. Choose a collage of mixed frames, a square or rectangle of equally-sized frames, or a row of frames – you can use different sizes here but keep them all centred so that there’s an imaginary equator running through the middle.

The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5x7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5x7 £25, 4x6 £20, 8x10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5x7 £50
The White Company: Lacquer frame, 4 aperture 5×7 £50; Fine Wooden frames: 5×7 £25, 4×6 £20, 8×10 £35; Slim wooden photo frame, 9 aperture £70; Triple white wooden frame 5×7 £50

Table and picture rail groups

Here, all of your frames sit on the same base level, so it is really important to mix of up the sizes and shapes of the frames to keep things interesting. Layer them up in front of one another to create a textured, 3D, look, like this one above, from The White Company.

Stairs

A picture wall going up stairs can look really effective – the key to nailing the look is to start from the middle frame and work outwards, using the top and bottom of the central frame as a guide to work up/down the wall.

ALISON TYLER

This article first appeared in Metro on 28 April 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 18.20.58

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Restaurant review: The Ethicurean

We were driving down to Wiltshire on Friday, minus the children, with an hour or three to spare. We were hungry. “Is there anywhere that we could stop about an hour from here,” asked my husband optimistically somewhere between Worcester and Gloucester trundling down the M5.

I scoured the map. We didn’t really want to drive in to Bristol as we were heading south-east of there, to explore the Somerset/Wiltshire borders. And then I remembered I’d been wanting to try The Ethicurean for a while. But where was it? Not quite in Bristol.

A Google search and phone call later we were booked in to this ethical, hyper-local, sustainable restaurant that sits in a walled garden south of Bristol. I say restaurant, but  The Ethicurean is really a ramshackle greenhouse and shed, stuck to one corner of the Barley Wood Walled Garden. If that makes it sound scruffy, then you shouldn’t go. But if you love the romantic notion of sitting in the orangery of the very garden that the produce on your plate was grown in, and to hell with a bit of damp on the walls, or the wonky mis-matched tables and chairs, then this is the place for you.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

As a gardener, an interiors addict and a greedy appetite for food, I was in heaven! Looking out, sipping cider from apples grown in the orchard, you could imagine Peter Rabbit might pop up at any moment and steal an organic carrot.

But, romance aside, the aims of this place are in credible. Virtually all of the food comes from the garden or is foraged locally, so menus are created each day according to what’s on offer. I was worried that we were visiting at possibly the worst time of the year – the winter season over, nothing would be growing for spring yet, apart from the earliest wild garlic and maybe some nettles and rhubarb.

The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)
The Ethicurean (photo by Jason Ingram)

I needn’t have been. They pickle and preserve what they can, so the beetroot starter with strained goats cheese was divine. They also make their own cider from the apples and even their own vermouth to go in the Negronis. Our other starter – cider and cheddar Welsh rarebit – did not disappoint. The cider and cheese had been cooked and turned in to a thick fondue, then spread on the doorstep slab of home-baked bread and grilled into submission. A sharp salad of winter leaves and pickled carrot in place of tomatoes, cut through the rich rarebit to clean the palette.

Our mains were even better – considering the chefs were cooking in a shed the size of, well, a shed, this was a miracle. My pork belly was pressed to squeeze out some of the fat and served with chipotle crackling, more beetroot, pickled apple slices and deep, forest green kale. The husband’s bavette was succulent and stylishly presented. We may have been in a garden but there was no heavy-handed presentation, the finesse of the food and it’s delectable flavours were matched by the delicate presentation.

The Ethicurean
The Ethicurean

Pudding? Sticky toffee apple pudding! It could have had more sauce – as the husband pointed out, it isn’t hard to whip up – but it was moist and treacly without being stodgy or heavy. All in all, we were bowled over.

The only thing we couldn’t understand on this sunny, blustery spring Friday lunchtime, was why it wasn’t packed out? People of Bristol, what are you doing?! Perhaps you’re already too spoiled for choice by great, ethical, locally-sourced eateries…

The Ethicurean cookbook
The Ethicurean cookbook

ALISON TYLER

Bathe away

I love this shot from the latest H & M campaign – it taps into so many key trends right now, from the rough luxe walls to the rustic hewn wooden stool and the industrial style shelves.

And if that wasn’t enough it’s even got the dreamy beach-chic shower curtain (with a hazy photo filter) and vintage-inspired laundry basket. Get me to the high street now!

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Why I can’t resist hotel bathroom goodies

What do you check out first at a hotel? The view from your room? The myriad of TV channels, the mini bar, or the bounce factor of the bed? Me, I’m straight into the bathroom to stake out the toiletries – and then, if they’re any good, they will be straight into my bag.

I hide them and then wait for the bathroom to be re-stocked either at turndown or when the room is cleaned the next morning, and then I repeat the process until I’ve gathered a hoard that I can only just squeeze into my burgeoning bag. I don’t think I’ve had to pay for shampoo for years and I’ve never needed to buy body lotion (really, who does? It’s a product that I’m sure people only bother with when it’s on offer for free in hotel rooms!).

The excitement of finding some really amazing products – C.O Bigelow at the Bowery hotel; Bamford products at Limewood; Pen and Ink at the Hoxton Holborn and Bramley at The Pig – is way more thrilling than a freestanding bath or a four-poster the size of a London studio flat.

My husband hates it: “isn’t our bathroom full of stolen hotel stuff already?” he’ll protest. “But we’ve paid for this in our room rate – it’s ours!” I insist. He’s right though, we have enough mini White Company bottles to open our own shop.

But why stop there. There’s almost always an individually wrapped Scottish shortbread biscuit taken from a hotel room languishing in the bottom of my handbag, I literally never buy pens and pencils. Slippers? Of course. Fruit, nail files, shower caps and even flannels have all made it into my luggage.

From Paris I took an especially nice corkscrew, in Morocco I came home with a full-length djellaba and a pair of leather slippers from the riad I was staying at, and a friend of mine smuggled a woollen Nina Campbell blanket from a country hotel in Devon that we stayed at because she loved it so much (and then later had to deny it when the hotel called to enquire of its whereabouts).

While towels and linen are the most commonly stolen items from hotel rooms, hotel managers complain that everything from kettles (suddenly just taking the Nespresso pods doesn’t seem so bad, after all) to batteries are considered fair game by light-fingered guests. One manager at a five-star luxury hotel once told me that they were considering replacing their swanky Bang and Olufsen TVs because so many remote controls, at £235 a pop, were being nicked.

Perhaps most ironically, the tenth most stolen hotel item is the bedside bible – I’d never stoop so low. But you’ve got to admire those sinners that are so brazen.

ALISON TYLER

This article appeared in Metro on  2 March 2015

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