17 June 2014

Six tips to help you to think like a designer


Getting your interior space right is an important part of enjoying your home. Without the space working the way you want it to, you’ll feel on edge and ill at ease – the opposite of what your home should achieve – so SigmaLondon have some ideas to help you get what you want from your interior. But first of all you need to step back and look at your home dispassionately…

1. Analyse the Space.
Look around your home, the same way you did when you were buying it and identify the best features; the things you don’t like quite so much and the bits that are just plain nasty. Make a note of which way the room faces – does it get a lot of sun, or mostly shadow. Now look at how many electrical sockets it has – enough for your needs? Do a sketch floor plan and note the door swings and number of windows.

2. How is that Room Used?
Does the area assigned to a particular room offer enough space for the way it is used? Would it actually make more sense to change the room sequence around to take advantage of more or less light? For example a room that is used for watching television benefits from not having direct sunlight, but a kitchen without good lighting is hard to work in. Consider then, if moving the space around will give you a more flexible home and one that works with the natural features you already possess.

3. What is the Most Logical Layout?
Some properties simply don’t allow the flexibility to add an extension. In this situation you’ll need to be clever with how you use the space to really achieve what you want. Look at the current locations of the rooms and decide if it really makes sense to have a bedroom beside the reception room. Some rooms are better grouped together – that space would be better used as a kitchen or dining area – it keeps the ‘public’ spaces together and gives the bedroom a quieter location. Grouping bedrooms and bathrooms together is also practical because this type of zoning allows for a calm and sensitive handling of the more intimate spaces. It will also enable you to create a suite of rooms around your bedroom area.

4. Note the Position of the Services.
Kitchens and bathrooms need easy access to drainage – which generally runs down an exterior wall. As part of the process of considering the layout of your home, make sure you take note of this because any building work that involves reconfiguring the layout, will involve pipework being moved and this cost will only be practical if the structure of the building allows the work to be done easily.

5. Are the Rooms Overlooked?
Depending on the location of your house, some parts of it are likely to be overlooked by your neighbours. For the more public areas of your home, this is easily solved with window treatments or plantings that screen the room from view. Sometimes though a bedroom will end up in a location that is less secluded than you’d like – because that is the most logical place for it – and this highlights issues of privacy that using a window film for frosting the glass can solve. You’ll need to consider your views on this before you decide that this layout is right for you.

6. Check that the Furniture Fits!
Planning your interior space is like doing a puzzle, everything has to fit in its proper place before the job feels complete. If you allow your heart to dictate what you purchase, you’ll end up with a home that is overcrowded and not thought out. Never buy the furniture before you know how you want to use the space and always take the measurements with you when you go shopping – if something doesn't fit – don’t buy it. And keep in mind, if you live above the ground floor, how will you get the furniture into your home?

Getting your interior space right will allow you to relax within your home. It will feel welcoming and well planned. Sigma London believes that this is vital to any interior scheme and that you will benefit from the improvements you make – because your home should be your haven.

SigmaLondon – Interior designers in London. You can find them on Facebook.

23 May 2014

Transforming the dining room with chair cushions

via Decoist
It’s often the smallest of changes that get noticed. This is especially true in a dining room, where an entire room is otherwise based on few pieces of dining room furniture. The accents, accessories, and decorations all go a long way to change the feel of the room.

Chair cushions are often ignored and viewed as tacky, but they definitely have their place when done right. Chair cushions are not just the typical tie-knot cushions that hook to the seat and the back of the chair. Sometimes they just come in the form of padding for the seat. This works especially well with metal chairs, but it can be pulled off even if the chair is wooden, wicker, etc.

Right now you’re probably clueless as to how you can make this look stylish. Take a look on Pinterest to get an idea on the different chair cushion looks. This may help with understanding how dining chairs can have cushioning without seeming tacky. Of course, there are a few ‘bad’ designs in the bunch but that’s to be expected. You want to think of a way to incorporate cushions to your dining chairs while adding, not taking away, style and flare to the room.

How to Incorporate Dining Chair Cushions

You will have to use your imagination a bit to figure out what the best look would be for your particular dining set. It will depend on a number of factors such as the color, material, and even the tone of paint on your walls.

Complementary Chair Cushions

Of course, your dining room will already be stylishly themed. This gives you an advantage as you merely have to find a complementary color, such as the color of your wall paint, to use as the basis for the chair cushions. This allows you to maintain the current theme while adding an extra layer of depth to the room’s design. It also adds comfort for your family and guests.

Eccentric, Eye Grabbing Chair Cushions

You don’t always have to keep things calm. You can use the chair cushions as a way to capture attention in your dining room. This is a very good choice if you have a strong white them. The chair cushions can then be any color and have any pattern and they will get noticed. This doesn't take away from the theme of the room, but it can help set the tone.

Reupholstered Chair Cushions

Sometimes what’s holding back a dining room isn't the furniture, but the upholstering. Dining tables can be refinished and transformed to something incredible. The same can be accomplished with dining chairs by reupholstering their cushions. If you have chairs with cushions, it’s a good idea to consider whether reupholstering may improve the look of the chairs and the room as a whole. You can learn how to reupholster a dining chair online too, it’s not difficult at all!

What’s best for Your Dining Room?

This is a change that needs to be looked at on an individual basis. Take a look at your dining room and get a feel for what would work. You can then start looking online for ideas at websites that offer DIY chair cushion designs. This is a better idea than just buying pre-fabricated chair cushions as you have full control over the design of the cushions.

You don’t have to worry about making these changes either. You can print off the design and put it on your chair to get an idea for how it will blend with the room. When it’s on fabric, it’ll just look nicer. You can even find a short list of designs that catch your interest and compare them the same way before making your final decision.

22 May 2014

Making your house a home

via

Finding a new house to call your own can be, in one, simple word: challenging. Whether you’re moving to a new city, or just to a new neighbourhood, you want to be able to find a great place that you can grow in and add your own, personal touches to truly make your house a home. Finding your unique style and vision for your new home can be intimidating, but you will find yourself attracted to some pieces more than others, and this will help shape your niche.

If you’re still not sure what your ‘niche’ may be, or just starting at the first step of figuring out your ideal home d├ęcor, then check out some great suggestions on how to find your style below:

Find Your Colour

Think of the colours, stains, and finishes that really catch your eye, and which ones don’t really ‘tickle your fancy’. Some people prefer pine over oak, and nobody will hold that against you because it’s your home and you’re allowed to be picky. So, don’t feel pressured to settle on a colour or stain that you don’t really like but feel obliged to select because it goes with what’s already in your house, or that it is popular.

An example of a unique piece would be the Rustic Wooden Cabinet from Uniche Interior Furnishings, made out of pine with a soft, antique-looking stain to create a rustic look. You’ll want to find something that goes with almost everything, in case you decide to paint or move the item to another room.

Consider the Trends

Considering the current, and even past, trends is a crucial step in deciding which colours, stains, and finishes you like; if you are a big fan of the distressed look, then a piece with a rustic or antique look to it may just be the right furnishing to catch your eye. This could be a conversation piece, like Uniche’s Rustic Wooden Cabinet, or it could be something a bit smaller and less of a statement item.

As the rustic and antique trends have enjoyed a long life and are almost positive that they will never go out of style, there are also current fads that may not have the same effect and appeal in a few years that they have now. Home fads can echo life-spans of fads within the clothing and fashion world, so you might want to consider your style and tastes when it comes to fashion, too; are there certain articles of clothing that you won’t buy because you know that they are part of a short-lived fad? This kind of discretion can help you when picking out furniture and other home accessories.

Let There Be Light!

Lighting is a luxury that we often take for granted, but it is essential to fill our homes with bright, energizing, light to help us feel right at home. There are so many lampshades, lamps, fixtures - you name it – that are available to include in your new house, and, while finding lighting may seem like a breeze, it actually can be quite daunting.

You’ll want to ask yourself the following questions before shopping around for the perfect light fixture:

  • Which colour or finish do I want?
  • What style do I want?
  • Hanging, mounted, or standing?
  • What kind of light do I want? (e.g. white, yellow, or fluorescent)
  • Where am I going to put it?

Look for something special and different, as long as it fits within your own vision and sense of style. An example from Uniche Interior Furnishings is The Jali, a unique take on the traditional hanging lamp featuring hand-blown glass and antique-style chainmail without a strictly medieval theme. Light fixtures can also double as conversation pieces, and help to set the tone for any kitchen, dining room, or other room that you have big plans for.

Your home is your safe place and where you can express your personality and tastes through different pieces that really capture your own, personal style and preferences. Adding vintage, rustic, antique, or any other kinds of home furniture and fittings to help you express yourself can make all the difference between arriving at your house and truly coming home.

06 March 2014

Four ideas for making your kitchen into a more social space


Isn't it strange how a “great social space” is important to us when we move into a house, but then never seem to act on it to make it happen? It can be difficult to find the time for home improvements when there are so many other aspects of your life that are full on, but it can end up being worth it in the long run if you take the plunge.

Spring time provides a great inspiration for many people to get these jobs done for once and for all, so if you are also up for the challenge you will want to read the following ideas for making your kitchen into a more social space. Hopefully by the summer you will be able to invite your nearest and dearest over for barbecues, a jug of Pimms, and other fun in the sun...

Reorganise your kitchen layout

If you are adamant that you want to completely change your kitchen as it currently stands, you may want to look into reworking the layout. There are a number of possible benefits for this, the most significant being that you can create more areas to relax in. Whether this is a kitchen island to lean on, or a breakfast bar with some high stools, you could create something pretty special.

Think of going open plan

Of course, you may not feel that your space is not big enough for your ambitious plans. Luckily you may have a couple of options when it comes to looking for a solution. The first is to knock through to your living room or dining area to create an open plan kitchen that becomes part of the rest of the house. This means you can host guests without disappearing for significant chunks of time. The other option is to get a ground floor extension, if you have the space, permission and budget.

Create a comfortable seating area

Regardless of whether or not you choose to increase the footprint of your kitchen, you can still find ways of creating a seating area for your family, friends and other guests. It might be a good idea to have a look in the shops to see what is currently on offer; you might find that you want to replace your existing table and chairs for a set that is more ergonomic and comfortable over the course of an evening.

Include your outdoor space

If your kitchen leads to your garden, you might want to create a terrace or patio area right outside the back door. Have a look at Vevo bifold doors if you want an easy way for people to come in and out without too much congestion - they’re also pretty handy for bringing lots of natural light into the home. It could also be worth thinking about getting a decking area installed if you are a fan of barbecues and hot tubs; this could be the perfect place for relaxing during the warmer months, working in tandem with your kitchen.

25 January 2014

The silence of the lamps

Pardon the bad pun but if you keep reading it'll make sense.

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post about an Italian furniture studio I'd found on Twitter called CLAB4design. CLAB's still plugging away in Breschia and my now-friend Umberto Dattola's still at the helm and he's still creating beautiful work.

Umberto and I have kept in touch over the years and recently, he sent me some photos of his new collection of floor lamps.


In Italian, they're called Lampada Silente. That's Silent Lamp in English. In any language, they're simple, sculptural and absolutely beautiful.


He carves each of these lamps by himself, by hand.


The shades are made from thin sheets of poplar.


And the bases are made from linden.


The lamps are finished with an oil finish and the wood's left its natural color.


Each lamp is 190cm tall and can hold a standard lightbulb.


Silence Lamps are readily available in the EU and you can find out more information about EU sales on Umberto's website. Unfortunately, North Americans, Australians and the rest of the world are out of luck since CLAB4design doesn't have a distributor outside of the EU.

That wouldn't take much to remedy however. If you're interested in carrying the Silence Lamp or any of Umberto's other offerings, let me know and I'll put you in touch with him.