Interior Design – how to make a house a home

On this page I’m going to share with you some tips I’ve learnt, things that I find useful and where you can find great pieces to make a house a home.


How to glam up a room that has a colour scheme you’re not used too

Recently moved and there’s this one room that has a colour scheme you wouldn’t usually choose?? Well we have! We were used to “white and magnolia” throughout the house and moving to a place that has a bold bathroom is a complete change and threw us a bit. Luckily for my parents I’m studying Interior Design. So I helped with a few ideas here and there.

I thought today I would write up this post on how to keep the colour scheme (unless it’s avocado coloured or something from the 1970’s….) and add key accessories and items to make your room go from “whoa, this is awful” to “wow, this is so chic & glam” and it doesn’t have to cost the earth either!

What colours we started with

Half black and half white – you may think that black and white is chic and yes it can be but when you live in a house for 25 years and it’s always been “magnolia and white” for that time – you gasp when you open the door (believe me!)

Here are a few pictures of the bathroom walls and close up’s of the detail on the tiles.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Black is a very dark colour and to have it halfway up the wall contrasting against the white 50 / 50 is a very bold move for a room especially in a bathroom as you want it to be a relaxing, calming room. However, this can easily be changed – do not fret and read on.

What accessories I used

When decorating your bathroom always try and use some of your own “body lotions, shower gels, candles etc” that match the current decor – that way you save money on splashing out on expensive ones to match or purchasing new ones. Luckily for me – I quite like The White Company bath sets and they are always white, so what ever your decor they will go with it! Hurrah!

Here is how I set it out in the bathroom to make it look as appealing and “hotel like” as I could.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Bring the outside in, lanterns are lovely inside the home as well as out, put tea lights in them and create a relaxed atmosphere in your bathroom.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Another way to “soften” it up is to add flowers – real ones would wilt in a second so, faux are the way to go! And they last for ever! They give it that extra touch (if you want to read more about faux flowers check out blog 2) you can go big or small either are great no matter what size room you have. There are so many places to purchase faux flowers – I’ve just purchased a lot from “The Artificial Flower Shop

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Candles too are wonderful in bathrooms – you can make a room look so different when you add a candle or two and in a bathroom why not light one and have a relaxing bath when you’ve jazzed up your room….

Essentials

Now essentials for bathrooms are towels. You would have thought either “black or white”  – no, I went for light grey to soften the room even more, but – I added sparkle! Who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle here and there….

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

These towels I purchased are a lovely shade of grey and come with crystals on them – “how fancy you may think and I bet it cost a fortune” well they didn’t, I found them in ASDA. Yes, you read that correctly.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

The added crystals on the towels do two jobs:

1: look pretty (always handy)

2: reflect light (this makes the room look less “bold” and makes it calm down)

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Finally

Here is a final picture of the whole bathroom with all accessories and extras in place for  you to get an idea of how I placed everything.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham


How to jazz up your rental accommodation 

Moving in general is a big hassle, but renting for a month is even worse! Believe me – I’m doing it. We’ve sold our house and living for a month in a rental until our house is ready. However, all my stuff (apart from essentials) is in storage so I have to make it as much a “home” as I can with a bed & mattress, a desk and some “chiffon” two tone supposed to be curtains….

Well, as you all know I have been attending my Interior Design Diploma course so I have added a few touches.

I know renting is on the increase as most people cannot afford to purchase a house so here is how to jazz up your rental with only a few pieces of your own.

Curtains

With the “glorious” chiffon curtains I wanted to make them and the room look much better. So here are some before and after photos of my bedroom for you to give you ideas for your own rooms.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

I did the other curtains around the apartment as my parents loved what I did so here is the curtain onto the balcony.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Desk arrangement

I purchased two fantastic pineapple tea light / candle holders from ASDA – two for under £10 – can’t say no to that really.

The best thing is that you can change the colour of the candle you want in the top whenever you want no matter what you colour scheme is silver goes with anything!

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

Have a look at this desk, now that I’ve added my Interior eye too it. It had nothing to on it when we arrived but I added a few things. It shows how only a few items can really make a difference.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

This picture of the corner of my desk really gives a nice vibe when you walk into the room. It looks “complete” and like home even though I’m renting which is such a good thing. It is an idea that you can take into your rented accommodation or home if you fancy it.

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Pic: Charlotte Botham

I hope you have enjoyed this post and that it helps when you move into your rented accommodation or even your home!


Making your home more relaxing

There are a one or two ways to make your home more relaxing and I’m here to help you make that happen. We all need that extra push into the right direction so I have 4 top tips for giving you that “ahhhh” feeling when you get home.

So relaxing tip number 1:

  • Candles & fragrance diffusers

Everyone loves candles in the house, I absolutely love them and wish that half the time they weren’t so damn expensive so I could actually light them instead of having them for “show” in my house. But when I do decide to burn my money I love The White Company ones especially “Seychelles” also Designers Guild candles are gorgeous ! They have a fabulous “Tulipani Bergamot & Gardenia” candle. One great thing to do with candles is to have different sized ones next to each other this makes it more interesting to look at.

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Pic: The White Company

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Pic: Designers Guild

Other great companies that sell wonderful candles are Jo Malone, Diptyque and Charles Farris.

It’s hard to style candles sometimes so here are two pictures of candles in living rooms to give you some inspiration. Don’t forget you can even hop down to look at Next’s or Asda and take a look at their fantastic home ranges. Just look at my pineapple candle holders – I have two of these and you can change whatever candle you want at the top!

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Inmyroom

According to The Melt Co. “Candles are scientifically proven to soothe us. The gentle, mesmerising quality of their light makes them a perfect aid for any relaxation routine. It’s a candle’s flame that helps to soothe our soul – reducing stress and increasing self-awareness. The soft illumination helps us to calm down and even achieve a meditative state. While all candles offer a sense of calm, a scented candle that complements your mood can make a world of difference.

Diffusers are so handy the scent they give off is so much stronger and bolder than most candles. I have found the best Diffuser scent EVER! believe me. When I went to rome (you can read about that in Blog 13) the hotel used the most wonderful scent throughout the whole hotel including each room, so we walked all the way to the shop and purchased two or three of these for our new house. Here is their website so you can have a look – Aqua Dell’elba the classic one that we bought is “Isola d’elba”

Depending on the size you purchase they can last between 3-6months which is really worth what you pay for them. It is also great that when you have been out for the day you come back into your home and it automatically smells fresh and gives a wonderful fragrance without doing a thing.

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Pic: Acqua Dell’Elba

Relaxing tip number 2:

  • Toss a few extra pillows onto the couch.

Having a few extra pillow on the sofa is always handy, they are nice to have to hold onto while chatting with friends, watching tv, listening to music or reading.

Here are two photos of sofas showing you which ones are 1) messy & un – appealing to the eye and 2) more relaxing & inviting. You can easily see which sofa is more relaxing and definatly more appealing.

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Pic 1

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Pic 2

If you don’t know how to arrange your cushions in your living room here is a great picture of “Sofa Styling”.

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Pic: Fashion Boulevard

Relaxing tip number 3:

  • Correct Lighting

Using the correct lighting in your home is so so important. Having natural light is also essential and having enough of it to keep you happy (even when it’s raining).

Lighting, it can be harsh and the easiest way to change this from just “on/off” is to use a dimmer switch – this can change our mood and make us relax even more. They are so handy and can be changed from bright light to darker light in the evening.

Lamps are so nice when we have the main light off, the mood is set and we all go “ahhh”, fairy lights give the same effect. Inside and outside the house don’t forget these work perfectly.

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Pic: Hometutu

Relaxing tip number 4:

  • Bring plants or fresh cut flowers into the room.

Flowers are wonderful – they cheer us up when we are down, they are bright and smell so so sweet as well. Having flowers in the home is such a lovely addition to have, they make fantastic centrepieces when you have people round or lovely on the mantle piece under a mirror.

According to Grower Direct Harvard University conducted a major study and they found out that flowers are a natural stress reliever. There were three main findings during this study:

Flowers feed compassion.
Study participants who lived with fresh cut flowers for less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others.

Flowers chase away anxieties, worries and the blues at home.
Overall, people in the study simply felt less negative after being around flowers at home for just a few days.
Participants most frequently placed flowers in their kitchens, dining rooms and living rooms, where they spend a lot of time at home. They reported wanting to see the blooms first thing in the morning.

Living with flowers can provide a boost of energy, happiness and enthusiasm at work.
Having flowers at home can have a positive carry-over impact on our mood at work, too. The study found that people were more likely to feel happier and have more enthusiasm and energy at work when flowers were in their home living environments.

So with this fantastic news go out and purchase your favourite flowers for your home, make it your own residential Kew Gardens.

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Pic: Terrys Fabrics

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

If you’re not sure about flowers and what to buy there is a great subscription service called “Bloom & Wild” who deliver beautiful flowers to your door (through your letterbox).

They also have come up with this great idea where you can purchase a 3 / 6  or 12 month floral subscription and they will pick the flowers to deliver so it’s like a little present and surprise to yourself each month! How fantastic!!

They don’t have the same flowers all year – they are seasonal which is a lovely idea and you get different flowers each month!

Enjoy relaxing in your home with these great tips!


4th July Picnic / Party Ideas

It’s that time of the year again – when the whole world goes all “U.S.A” and goes wild on 1 day; the American flag on everything, purchasing an actual flag or american themed picnic and party pieces.

So, why not join the party are friends over the pond and have some fun for once…. Grab your purse and have a 4th July hoe down and party on till the dawn. In this article I will show you how to bring America to where ever you are in the world.

Table Decorations

Here are some ideas for your patriotic picnic / party:

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

As we have some wonderful table settings in mind now, how about what to decorate the surrounding area with! Because it’s not just about the table decorations, people like to wander at a party and you want to make all of your home appealing to your friends and family, wherever they are.

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

Lastly, food – I know, we’re all about Interior design over here but I do love my food too and I’m sure you do too! So I thought I’d throw in one or two food ideas for your party, to show your friends that you are a dab hand at everything!!

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Pic: Pinterest

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Pic: Pinterest

Remember the three main colours: RED, WHITE, BLUE – do not deviate from these no matter how much you love other colours – If it’s nice weather do it outside but also make sure you have some things set up inside as a precaution.

If you can’t spend too much money on the event, napkins with the flag, balloons, and a flag or two will just do the trick for decorations – also, ask your friends to do a bring a share that always makes it more fun and takes the heat off you! You get more food and then you get more of a surprise for what’s coming!

Have fun and enjoy the weekend!


Coffee Table Styling

Everyone loves a good coffee table. But sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to style them. There are a few top tips about your coffee tables that you should know:

  • Don’t have them too high higher or too low!
  • Make sure you can fit a vase, tray and at least 4 cups
  • Don’t buy one too large or too small – be in proportion with the rest of the room

With regards to the three bullets above, you don’t want to be leaning down to the coffee table while sitting down so far that you fall onto the table! Make sure you can just move a little and place a coffee cup down or pic up a magazine.

Your coffee table is to be a focal point! You want to have nice things on it – when you go to purchase your table move items from the shop to make sure they fit and look good on it.

Don’t get a HUGE table in your room, double check the measurements and that you can walk round it from where your seats are placed. You don’t want to feel like you are stuck and just looking at a nicely styled table….

Here are some examples of well styled coffee tables for your living rooms:

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Make sure you examine every angle and sit looking at it from each side, you don’t want it to be “lop sided” and just to look good from one angle.

Move things around play around with different items and make sure you have items of different heights on their – having everything at one level is boring. Adding height gives another dimension.

Add different colours or bolder colours to items on your coffee table that make it stand out and will make your friends green with envy!

But lastly – have fun with the styling, be bold and let your creative side come out.


How to decorate a mantle piece

Decorating a mantle piece can be hard. It’s just a long piece of wood, metal or marble with no sides and everyone can see it – It’s right in the middle of the room. But, if decorated correctly it can be a wonderful focal point.

Here are some must have ideas for your fireplace mantle piece.

Stacked Logs

Whether you do or don’t use your fireplace to cosy up next to with a nice blanket and a cup of tea it doesn’t mean you don’t have to style it that way…
Stacked logs next to a polished white fireplace and matching mantle piece contrast brilliantly. That rustic country vibe, the strong dark wood contrasting with the colour of your living room or bedroom walls.
Have them pilled neatly next to the fireplace or stacked in a log rack or holder. These are very smart and just finis of the look next to your fireplace. For your mantlepiece add cream candles to give it height and place them in vases with sand at the bottom.
Maybe add a wooden framed mirror to even it out or even a rusty looking wooden mantle.

Get the look:

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Statement mirrors
Hang a big statement mirror above the mantlepiece if you choose a gold or silver one it gives of the feel of a Luxe interior. Make sure to have some contrasting colour flowers in a vase that match the mirror colour.
Place this underneath in the middle of the mantle, this brings it all together nicely whether in a black & white room or white & grey, you can also use some candle sticks at either end of the mantlepiece as long as it looks chic, you’ll be fine.

Get the look:

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Floral styling

If you have two vases of flowers make sure they are virtually a mirror image of each other. If you want to use just one vase be sure to make your arrangement is tall – give it height! Then counter it on the other side with some candles always an odd number – preferably three.
Make sure they are all different heights, one being the tallest, then then the other two are to be smaller then the first.

Get the look:

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Tropical BBQ Styling

Summer is on it’s way (well the shop’s are telling us it is)…. We are going mad for tropical trends – here is what you should have for your summer BBQ this year!

Bar Carts – they are coming back into fashion and to be honest I think it’s great – why go out!?? They are glamorous and fun and everyone would love to have one.

It’s so much better than walking round with just a bottle every now and again during your party so you don’t miss out! It keeps neat and in place so you don’t lose it  and you can be a trolly dolly!

Get the look:

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Here is how you should style your Bar Cart – don’t just pile things on there.

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BBQ – Tropical essentials 

We love the Pineapple trend and now the Watermelon is rolling up behind him here is how you can get the tropical look for your summer BBQ this year.

Get the look – Watermelon fairy lights (Primark) & Pineapple jug (Paperchase)

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Get the look – Pineapple tumblers (One Kings Lane) & Watermelon Picnic plates (Pinterest)

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Get the look – Watermelon serving plates (Etsy)

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Get the look – Pineapple glasses (Etsy)

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Your glasses and dinnerware at home is lovely but you want to update it for the latest trend –  Tropical.

Everyone will love this and be sure to pop round again to get ideas for their home – not just for your wonderful food.

The Bar Cart will make them jealous but that will wear off as you will be the hostess with the mostess and have the best BBQ this summer in town!


Wreaths

Most people think that having wreaths on doors is a Christmas / Advent decoration, but you can have them made with other floral decorations all year round. Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize strength, as evergreens last even throughout the harshest winters.

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You can create your own wreaths quite easily – you can purchase oasis foam wreaths online here – make sure you soak them in plenty of water before you add your decoration!!

Tonnes of greenery hides the oasis and also bulks it out a lot. Ivy is a good evergreen to add to your wreath as it lasts for so long, you can wrap it round the whole thing, it’s cheap and you can add it at the bottom so it drapes down. But you can use what ever you want and whatever you have in the garden (or local park / woodland area)

Make sure you cut down the your flowers before you put them in the wreath. Bright colours are great – they stand out so much and will really make your front door a talking point on the street.

If you’re not an expert in flower arranging don’t sweat it, go with what you feel is right and remember when you’re adding the flowers make sure that when they open they all look up! There are plenty of video’s on the internet to assist you  – so help is at hand.

If you don’t want to add fresh flowers, faux are great and if you don’t want to make your own at all – here are some lovely ones you can buy:

Waitrose – Mixed Rose

Etsy – Hydrangeas

Ebay – Faux meadow

Oka – Faux Succulent leaves

We would love to see what you do end up doing – remember send us your pics on twitter @BothamInteriors or on Instagram – CharlotteBothamInteriors

Remember – my 2nd blog on floral arrangements.

Enjoy x


Table Arrangements

As it is Easter it is nice to do a table arrangement but not too big.  A nice flower arrangement in the middle of the table is always lovely – or if it is a longer table some small ones (maybe three) are more suitable.

If your looking for something simple but the country cottage / rustic look – a sprig of rosemary on each table setting and a linen napkin (as shown below). Try including the rosemary into the flower arrangement – they work well with Daffodil’s and bluebells. Mint is also good – as you can smell it as well and it is so vibrant against both white and yellow napkins which we all bring out during spring.

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If you feel you can manage a little more – try buying a two bunches of flowers (different colours for colour blocking or two colours that work together) and placing one from each on each place setting and tying with a nice ribbon. Gingham ribbon at easter time is particularly good.


Magazines

Magazines that I love reading to learn more about interior design are; House & Garden and Homes & Gardens (very similar sounding I know). They are great magazines to find new ideas for your home and great articles on houses/gardens that have been updated. Elle decoration,  The World of Interiors and Traditional Home are also good ones. It is nice to have a look at quite a few to get an idea of different variations, rather than stick to the same one each month.

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Notes

Interior Design is everywhere – it is such an interesting subject to learn about. It’s not just buying the same colour cushions with the paint/wallpaper… Because of this it is so handy for aspiring interior designers to carry notebooks around with them all the time – you never know when you might see something that will catch your eye.

I’ve kicked myself the times when I have taken my notebook out of my bag, left it on my desk and not taken it out with me the next day. It’s all well and good having a smartphone to type notes on but I love a good old fashioned pen and paper!

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Home furnishings

There are so many home furnishing stores around I could spend days wandering around gathering ideas for different rooms in the house. Candles, faux flower stems, mirrors – there’s so much out there to be had!

My favourite stores that never let me down and continually have wonderful pieces are; Sia Home Fashion, House of Brissi, Balsam Hill, Georg Jensen, Anthropologie and obviously those lovely local shops / designers that hold one offs you’re not going to find anywhere else.

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Mirrors

I love a good mirror. They can do so much as well as tell you, you look pretty in the morning! They are a great source of light giving and making a small space feel even bigger. If you have a long narrow hallway put a tall mirror on the wall at the end, this will make the hallway seem wider and will make the previous room seem even longer than it is (this is great for when trying to sell your home). If you put a mirror on an opposite wall to any sized window this will reflect the light into the room so well and will be sure to brighten your day as well.

Mirrors work in any room, I love seeing a picture of a lovely shaped mirror reflecting a wall of vibrant wallpaper or reflecting fairy lights in a vase with the room lights turned down – such a great way to create lovely ambience.

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Check out my pinterest board (BothamInteriors) on Mirrors and how to style them into your home, whether it be big or small. Ideas can be gathered from anywhere.

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