Finally, we have a picture in our living room

It's been quite a while now since we finished the decorating in our living room. We knew the wall above the sofa needed some artwork but I was struggling to find something that i) matched the new decor and colours, ii) didn't offend either of us and iii) was in our price range. It's quite a big space too, and I wanted a single picture there as having a series of pictures that we'd struggle not quite manage to hang level would have done my head in. I'm a detail person remember.  

Finding something that we both liked, or rather that neither of us found that offensive and something that wasn't totally detached from us was hard though. I've looked at numerous art sites and in many picture galleries and shops, never finding The One.  

In the end I didn't find it at all. MOH did. I think in desperation to get something on the plain wall he'd also started to do research. And what d'you know, John Lewis came up trumps. 

So after thinking about it for a while we ordered it. It arrived and I unpacked it:


The next job was to hang it. And that was more complicated than it should have been. I was surprised that the picture didn't come with wire or a cord to hang it from, but no matter we had some wire somewhere...

The wire was found, but it wasn't sturdy enough for the picture - who knew they came with weight limits? Heavier duty wire was sourced and bought, and a video on how to secure the wire was watched and followed. Holes were drilled and screws screwed in. It was time to hang the picture...

What? What just snapped? Oh that'll be the heavy duty wire... Thankfully it snapped while we were wrestling it onto the screws, and while we still had hold of the picture. Phew. It seems the heavy duty wire wasn't up for the job.  

A week later and I've now bought some cord instead of the wire. It's attached and looks a lot more solid and reliable. So we tried again. And this time we had success. The picture is on the wall, and it's stayed there. Phew.  


The verdict

  • I think it looks OK, I don't find it offensive but nor do I think it's overly personal for a living room and I'll quite happily look at this everyday. 

  • It reminds me of a trip to York we took a few years back; of the lanes with The Minster in the distance  

  • It reminds MOH of somewhere but he's not sure where. Which is better than I expected, I thought he'd say it's just splodgy lines... Although personally I just think he's glad to have got a picture on the wall!

Updated: June 2015

We've had the picture on the wall for about two months now and I'm really happy with it - it looks as if it's always been there.  The added bonus is when I'm in the open-plan kitchen it acts like a mirror and I can get a glimpse of what's going on outside, which is no bad thing!

Home Etc

Room Sets at the Ideal Home Show

I loved the idea of these Room Sets put together by Ideal Home Magazine to show off this season's design and style trends and the best of Britain's creativity. And while I was happy to wait for MOH to arrive before wandering around the Show Homes, I decided to head over and take a peek at these before that. They're all laid out on a single level too which made it easy to wander between the rooms, I'd loved to have been able to take a closer look but looking in was almost as good. And for each room there was an A4 sheet giving all the details of wall colours through to the accessories used, which now looking back after everything's settled is very useful, and a poster alongside each room giving tips on how to get the look.

There were five room sets with each covering the main rooms we all have, or have elements of. So let's get started.

1. Indigo & Earth Living Room

To get this look:

  • Paint walls in a deep blue or earthy brown
  • Include timber to warm up the dark wall colour and add a natural touch
  • Choose muted shades for furniture
  • Add polished metal accessories to add interest and avoid the room looking overly dark.

My view:

I liked the overall look of this room with its cosy, snug feel. It's definitely one you'd want to snuggle up in on a cold day.  The highlights for me were:

  • This gorgeous side table by Multiyork
  • The starburst mirror (shown above), also by Multiyork

But I was less keen on the molecular looking ceiling light and the textured table lamp in the foreground of the top shot - I'm not sure why, but I can imagine it would be a nightmare to dust!

2. Copper & Clay Bedroom

How to get this look:

  • Choose a warming clay pink colour for a feature wall and the lower wall sections, using a powdery pink colour for the upper sections.
  • Add a neutral toned floor covering
  • Add warmth with copper accessories and zig-zag patterns for interest and fun.

My view:

I was less keen on this room as I'm not a huge fan of copper. I think would be good for a teenage girl wanting a more grown-up bedroom.  My highlights were

  • the yellow and white zig-zag chair from Flock.
  • the shelves for pictures.

I can't see this ever being a look I'd go for but I think that's partly because of the colour and the furniture - I like Danish furniture but not the Ercol styles, I think they're just a bit too 1970s for me. And I know some of you will be thinking they're a design classic, but not me.

3. Sand & Stone Bathroom

How to get this look:

  • Choose a simple white bathroom suite 
  • Paint the walls in beach-coloured neutrals, the idea of these colours are sea-foam white, sandy beige and pebble grey
  • Add pale timber effect floor coverings for a driftwood feel
  • Add some luxury with marble accessories and beach-style accessories.

My view:

I wasn't keen on this room either and I didn't get that the colours were beach-y until I read the poster - I can see it more now, but to me the walls look more like mountains than a beach.

I think a white bathroom suite is always a wise choice - although I seem to be on a bit of a personal mission to rid the world of avocado (and other coloured) suites as almost every house I've moved into has had one! Note the past tense there.  Although I didn't like the overall look of the room, there were a couple of things I did like:

  • the inset shelves around the bath - great if you can build these into your room
  • the shelf by the sink, not only great for ornaments but also for toiletries too.

4. Slate & Leaf Dining Room

How to get this look:

  • Use a dramatic charcoal colour on the walls
  • Paint the door in a vivid green so it stands out
  • Add a dark wood flooring to give an almost tropical feel
  • Include some rich wooden furniture
  • Add green throughout the room in prints and accessories and of course greenery,

My view:

This was very much my favourite room set; I loved how dramatic it was, and how vibrant too. It may be that I'm tuned into Dining Room's at the moment (remember how I fell in love with that Danish table and chairs?) but I was a big fan of this room.

Of course it won't go in my house - we have an open plan kitchen/diner and lounge, but that doesn't stop me loving it! My highlights were:

  • The mix and match chairs - that's definitely something I want to replicate alongside a wooden table
  • The boldness of the black and green
  • The group of terrariums set in one corner on the floor.

5. Basalt & Rose Quartz Kitchen

How to get this look:

  • Start with a high-gloss kitchen in a pale colour
  • Add darker wood effect flooring
  • Paint walls and woodwork in a gentle rose quartz and soft greys
  • Keep appliances chrome or steel and add a striking splashback
  • Add black wood and clay accessories for natural texture.

My view:

I'm a fan of high-gloss kitchens, and the advice we had was always look at them close up - if you can see an orange peel texture (or similar to cellulite) then it's not as good a quality as the salesperson is telling you, and ask for a price reduction!

We weren't convinced and spent a fair bit of time staring close-up at many kitchen units before we bought ours, and once you start to look you can see a difference. Trust me. Ours is champagne, which is really a fancy name for a kind of grey with sparkly bits in.

I also liked:

  • the wall of high gloss cupboards, but I'm not sure I'd put a TV in the middle of them - an inbuilt coffee machine would be much more useful!
  • the pendant lights over the island, but I think that's my Dining Room bent coming out again as I'm looking at those for above our replacement table too!

So five room sets, each bringing its own inspiration - whether it's all or part of the room, what's your favourite?

Ideal Home Show: Inspiration overload

As you'll have seen from my Show Gardens at the Ideal Home Show post this year I've been along to the Ideal Home Show for the first time in may years. Before going I planned to share posts on some garden bits and some house bits and I was totally unprepared for the onslaught of inspiration that I'd get in a relatively short amount of time.  So as I sat reviewing and editing my photos this week, I've revised how and what I'm going to share with you into a few more posts than I originally planned. That means the posts for the next few days will have an Ideal Home Show slant.

Today's post is a little photo-heavy but it's also a reminder of just how much and how varied the stands at the Show are; plus it's a way of me keeping a little part of them as even if I'd bought everything I liked there I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have wanted (or been able) to carry it around all day! Or in truth, been able to afford it.

I love this chest and it's imperfect finish, MOH doesn't. I like how it looks lived in, he wants to give it a good rub down and repaint it... Sadly I've got nowhere to put it so while I like it, it's not something that's ever going to be a realistic purchase, well not right now anyway...

I also like the eclectic mix of frames, pictures and mirrors in the next few pictures. The glass frame memory keepers are a great idea and something I've looked at before. And while I like this, and I do want a picture wall in our study the one I have in mind is a little bit more coordinated, as I want black and white pictures in black frames - which I think will give a different look entirely.

Artwork is something I struggle with though. I'm fine with collecting pictures, memories and our photographs for the black and white picture wall I mentioned above, but I want something more than this in our main living room so I was keeping an eye out for anything that grabbed me.  I saw lots of lovely prints - including the cow one, but nothing that I'd want to hang on our living room wall and look at every day.

Although since the Ideal Home Show I have made progress in the "Art for the Living Room Wall Department" - well when I say I, I mean the Royal I, and MOH has spotted an abstract picture that doesn't offend me and looks as if it will be a good match for the style and colours of our living room.  I'm waiting for that to be delivered so let's hope it works out.

Throughout the whole show you were bombarded with colour - from the jewel-like lights above to the various knobs on show, see below. I thought this was an ingenious way to display the knobs but also looked very pretty and would pretty any piece of plain furniture - who says you just have to add two functional knobs, why not add more?

I was very taken with these candles, the wax is like little polystyrene balls and you add the wick to the top. Their burning time is much extended apparently and I think they also look effective alongside some roses and in a wooden box. If I had a coffee table (which we don't and it's not something we're getting mostly because I'd walk into it everyday and because I don't think it suits our living room) then this would definitely be on there. Don't get me wrong in the right space a coffee table is absolutely the thing to have, but I don't think it'd work here and would quickly collect all of our other junk!

At this next stand I was like a butterfly high on nectar, flitting from one display to the next and not working out which I liked best. Which was a shame really as this was a stand that I could have bought quite a bit from, but because there was so much choice and so much to choose from in the end I walked away, after quite a few longing looks and perhaps a few strokes of the wooden things.  Soon though I might be brave enough to look them up online!

I like things to have a place and for them to be in that place. MOH if he's reading this is probably rolling around the floor laughing at this as he thinks I'm messy (I don't always agree!) I like things to be in their own space, but am happy with higgledy piggledy-ness so having a system like this of boxes on a wall - aptly named Box On A Box - would be perfect for me. They're something I'm going to investigate for our spare room, where I want to store my shoes and MOH wants to store his records to see if something like this would work for us (and our price range).

In the garden section I discovered these patterned numbers and letters, if only I could think of a use for them then I know I'd be happy with them. I still haven't but aren't they pretty?

In fact in the garden section I was drawn more to metal objects, the lamps below would look great on the patio with candles in - hmm there's an idea, we've been thinking about how to get more light on our patio - ideally we wanted something solar powered, but I'm sure I could work something out.

And how useful would this camper van cooler be? Whether it's for beer, fizz or soft drinks, it's a fun way to keep drinks cool and slightly more stylish than a garden trug or dustbin. Water features too were plentiful and this stand had just about every type you could imagine and probably more.

I love the silver ball type, and one day in one garden I'll have one. So far the only water features I've managed in my garden's has been a leaky bird bath and a plastic crate which has filled up over winter! I'm sure I can do better than those.

And this would be the water feature to end all water features, although I'm not sure I'd want the maintenance that comes with them. But I think every hot tub should have a rubber duck having seen them bob along, and around and around here!

So as I said at the start, inspiration overload - and there's still the show homes and the room sets to come. But not today, as I'm off out into the garden to do some more pottering about...