Category Archives: Ideas

What colour to paint…a tired foot stool.

IMG_3719I admit it. I’m a messy painter. I’m also impatient and really don’t want to put down dust sheets or wear overalls.

At 9.37pm yesterday I decided it was time to repaint my kitchen, so I grabbed my favourite brush and got going. No one apart from me would know I repainted it because it is nearly the same colour as it was before. I know and that’s all that matters.

The thing is, because I’m a messy painter, I dripped a bit on the floor. When I noticed I wiped it up with my finger but by that point I’d already trodden in it and left several other spots around the room. I sighed and put my hand on my forehead leaving another spot, wiped that off with the other hand…you can see where this is going.

The silver lining to my unintentionally decorated floor and face is that I was reminded of a foot stool I saw in Milan, covered in what appears to be finger prints of a similar colour to my kitchen.

What an easy way to update something plain you have grown bored with!

It is almost impossible to go wrong with a pattern like this as it is completely random and each finger print a different shape so there is no pressure or tiresome measuring to be done!

Bring out your inner child and get finger painting!


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What colour to paint…my sister’s artwork.

photo 2I have 1 sister, Chloe.

She is two years my junior and infinitely more attractive than me.

This used to be okay because I could draw and make things.

Then one day, at the ripe age of 25, completely out of the blue, she presents me with a handmade birthday card. I was confused. I make the cards and fulfil any drawing needs my family have – what was she doing?

Turns out her lack of confidence, skill and training meant she hit that naive childlike drawing style on the head, except she wasn’t doing it to be ironic she was doing it because that’s the only way she can.

To my delight (and, in a way, disappointment) the card (above) she gave me was one of the best I’ve ever had. A simple portrait of us both.

I framed it immediately. I had to select a plain and dark frame to balance the black outline with the copper  (so very now!) edge emphasising the yellow and orange pencil.

Being the ultimate little sister, instead of boasting about her new found skill she began to treat me like a mentor; asking me what the best pen was or what it was she should draw next. I still don’t know whether she did this to protect my pride or whether she genuinely wanted to know but either way it has resulted in the most commented upon pieces of art in my house.

photo 1

Above is the frame everyone who visits wants to steal – I asked her to draw me some animals on yellow luggage tags and then mounted them on to positive petrol greeny blue card. I think it really demonstrates how colour can enhance and show-off your favourite things as well as allow me to feel I had a tiny involvement?!

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What colour to paint…a bamboo hut.

DSC_0085This image makes me feel warm.

The rich honey glow from the herringbone woven panels, the quiet craft giving a gentle sketched feel, the worn paint work on the simple mint fan.

After a long day travelling to Laos the view of the ceiling from my bed, in my own bamboo hut, was just what I needed. Comforting and nourishing colours.

Rising from the bed however,  you are presented with primary red (and therefore energising) metal furniture:

DSC_0083Move from the furniture to the floor and you have a vivid cobalt blue vinyl.

Unbeknownst to the owner, these patterns, items and materials could have easily made an appearance at this year’s Milan Furniture fair but in this context were purely for function. Colour and design were given little consideration (this is a fact – I asked the owner) but somehow the very basic primary and natural colours echoed the primitive, basic shapes of the furniture and simplicity of the patterns giving the impression it had been carefully thought out.

What can we take from this to use in our homes? If you want to use many colours harmoniously in your home you should make sure each one has the same weight, i.e. if you use dark red and want a blue you should use a dark blue, a green with a pastel yellow should be a pastel green. Using colours in this way retains the flow through your home. The eye is naturally drawn to points of contrast, so limiting the contrast by sticking to the same level/weight of colour gives your home more balance and is therefore a more tranquil place to live.


One final message from the wonderful hospitable lady who made me a cup of rose hip tea from scratch…

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What colour to paint…wedding seating.

ombreweddingchair.jpg.image.W8N4E539S806w300.originalSource: As seen at

Whilst researching something entirely unrelated today I stumbled upon a selection of ideas for wedding seating.

It was the colour that caught my eye but the ideas themselves are a really clever way of injecting life into an interior. The beauty being the temporary nature of it; with the ideas above and below you can use ribbon or fabric in whatever colour takes your fancy. When you’re bored you can easily remove and use to wrap all your Christmas presents!!

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martha.jpg.image.W0N88E360S448w300.originalSource: As seen at

I love rope so immediately loved this concept by association BUT I would definitely paint those chairs navy to maximize the nautical look – you could even paint the rope too!

This is a wedding in a stable. Yep a stable. The photography and styling are making me jealous of the horses. I like the simple use of the blues and oranges to add warmth and sparkle to an otherwise generally industrious environment.

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Think we all need to visit a haberdashery….

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What colour to paint…stationery.

presentandcorrect1If you like design the chances are you’re obsessed with stationery, just like the graphic designers behind stationery company Present and Correct. I stumbled upon their website ( by accident but now think it must have been destiny.


Their beautifully curated collection uses a mixture of retro ice cream tones, primaries and darks combined with natural wood and metal – swoon. Use their palettes to inspire your home office, or any room for that matter! oldlabels5c

I think I have probably spent rather too much time and money looking at this website but here’s one last tiny pic!
present and correct 3






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What colour to paint…pylons.

DSC_0530I love shapes.

These pylons, although generally regarded as an eyesore, look great in silhouette. Their graphic, definite structure is perfectly juxtaposed against the natural quiet strength of the mountain backdrop.

So taken with this photo I decided to recreate in silk screen format. The mountains look just like torn sheets of paper so I used some newspaper to reproduce the shapes and the pylons gave me a chance to get out my much loved rotring pen and ruler! To re-emphasise the structure of the pylons I printed on to a massive sheet of graph paper.


The very slight change in colour with each layer of the landscape is actually a brilliant way to decorate. It works with all colours but currently is especially fashionable with whites. The more you layer them the more depth it gives the overall scheme. Don’t restrict yourself to walls and woodwork; get ceilings, furniture, floors and ornaments involved!


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June 2, 2013 · 9:15 am

What colour to paint…fork handles.

IMG_3888Unless you live in an opaque bubble you can’t have missed the current lust for all things dip dyed. I will pull together a full piece on this over the next few weeks but in the mean time I wanted to leave you with this gem I discovered in the Lambrate district of Milan- tenderly and naturally dyed wood. Simply left upright in dye, this pale matt wood looks super smart with the polished silver hardware. The soft whimsical colours are instantly calming and give a unique twist to this quietly special set of cutlery.


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What colour to paint…a bistro chair.

chair1After being randomly inundated with bistro chairs I thought it about time to paint one. These particular chairs have seen a revival of late and are popping up all over the place in every colour and finish , so if you don’t want to shell out for the Conran gloss version why not have a go yourself?!

In line with the current trend for all things indigo I’ve gone for a classic matt navy and ever in a rush I decided not to prepare the surface.

For future reference: This was stupid.

Paint needs something to ‘key’ to, so I now (from experience) recommend sanding back to remove varnish, grease and dirt, then priming before adding two coats of wonderful colour.



Boom! Check out my navy makeover………..with patches of missing paint due to my impatience.

Me thinks it might be time to try out a quick version of yarn bombing (see recent posts) to hide my mistake!



And as my grandma used to say… et voila!




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What colour to paint…plates.

IMG_3512I love a good ceramic.

I think it might stem from the vast collection of plates my Grandmother hung on the walls of her house. I don’t remember liking them at the time but I was definitely intrigued by them.

This fine specimen is from Anthropologie

The designer’s use of complementary greens and blues with an intentionally colourless bird mean all our focus falls to the glorious rich red of the background foliage. This perfectly illustrates how you can use colour to direct attention to the treasures in your home. You want your red velvet sofa to shine? Put it with green. You need an orange clock to pop? Put it with blue. The trick is to pick colours that appear opposite each other on the colour wheel. If you’re in doubt double check here:


As we’re on plates I can’t deny you the pleasure of the latest addition to my ceramic collection. How this ended up in a charity shop I will never know but the elation I felt when I came upon it was like waking up and realising it’s the weekend not a work day. Yipee!

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What colour to paint…tree trunks.



Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? If not, the above is a great example of a tree that has be ‘yarn bombed’.

This was on display at Maison et Objet in Paris but it is believed the act of guerrilla knitting public property started in the Netherlands nearly 10 years ago. Using left over wool, artists knit and or crochet around objects – could be anything from a park bench to a tank – and leave for the public to enjoy. The colours and patterns never cease to inspire and are a great way to add a bit of personality to otherwise mundane furniture. The effect can be achieved with paint so non-knitters are not exempt!

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