How to Reinvent the Side Table

Room Service Interiors.

This dressing table once belonged to the client’s grandmother, and has been reinvented as a bedside table.

By reinventing side tables you can add the unexpected and put your own personal stamp on a room.  Forget about matching pairs, think beyond boring and ordinary.  Really all you need is a flat surface next to your sofa, armchair or bed that is about 600mm off the floor- correct?  Would a milk pail (milk gone, turned upside down!), a rustic wooden chest, or a trunk that was left to you by your Great Aunt Edith, do the trick?  Have a go as these ideas will all add interest and an unexpected touch to your room. Plus it will make it individually yours – no store bought things here!  Add your own interesting combination of lamps, drinks, books and you will not only bring new life to an older piece and your room, but you will preserve your chosen ‘table’ at the same time.

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A small table reinvented as a bedside table, carries on the nautical theme of a child’s bedroom.

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A cane chest reinvented as a bedside table, adds texture, provides a landing surface for accessories, and has much needed storage within.

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A vintage table painted and then topped with a mirror to spruce it up, adds glamour and texture as well as surface reflection.

So get creative with side tables – go around your house and see what could be reused to add character and interest to your scheme.  You will not only add your own personal style, but also the unexpected.  (And your house will not look like any one else’s!   Perfect.)

For help with reinventing side tables feel free to get in touch with Room Service Interiors.

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Letting go of Perfection

Today included a visit to a client’s house which had the most beautiful rugs, colour scheme, perfect paintwork, satin drapes, gorgeous dark glossy floor, designer  furniture- you’re getting the picture?  It was just perfect!   There wasn’t a hair out of place – well, anything out of place.  No scuff marks on the walls. Wasn’t quite sure why we were there really, but then it clicked why. It was too perfect, and the client knew it.  It felt like a fancy hotel room that had just been super cleaned. It was formal, shiny, stilted and stiff.  It was hard to feel at ease within the rooms-there was no personality, no soul. And these poor people (well not so poor, actually) had spent a small fortune to get this imperfect perfection.   Hmmm.  There is a fine line between “dressing”  a room  and making it so perfect that it is uncomfortable to be in.

Perfect rooms are as irritating as perfect people.  The best interior designers create rooms that look interesting and relaxed; used, lived in. There should be an element of surprise or quirkiness, something somewhere that is a bit risque.  It just takes the room to another level and makes you think – “Huh, why have they done that?”  You don’t want to decorate in a mad or crazy way, but just add a piece that is a little out of context. Add a chair in a crazy colour, a quirky lamp base.

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For example the bed should look neat and smoothed, cushions plump and arranged, but with a look of nonchalance.  The bed should also look deeply comfortable and welcoming. Not stiff and upright and uptight. To be successful your bedroom needs to be a little uncontrived and never too pristine to put your feet up.  (But not on the pearly white cover with shoes on). You can see the difference between the photographs of the bedrooms in this post.  They all beautiful, but one is a little more stiff and upright, and not so relaxed as the others. Can you work out which bedroom is not so relaxing? (Hint – everything is mitchy-matchy, Laura Ashley)

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So, let go of having every last thing absolutely perfect and everything in its exact place.  Relax a little, scrunch your hair do up a bit, (or let it down.) Use texture,add another cushion that doesn’t quite match, un-straighten the rug and even leave the towel on the floor.  Make it look like you actually enjoy living there.  Relax! Let go of being perfect. That way you’ll sleep better. 

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If you would like help letting go of Interior perfection we’d love to help.  You will find us here.

Kid’s Zones at Home

If you talk to your kids about redecorating the rumpus or their own rooms, you will in all likelihood be told “You are so last century, Mum”  Tech-savy kids these days want a Media Room, yes, ca-ching$, ca-ching$, but it will grow with them and they will use it for a number of years.  Be warned though: all their friends will want to be at your place so there will be noise, smells and mess.  However, it is better they are home at yours than being goodness knows where isn’t it?

So, they will want a computer, big-screen television, and games console.  Maybe even a tennis table or a pool table if you have room.  They require something to layabout on, because that is what they do.  The space needs to be bullet proof and practical.  It’s also room to do schoolwork, play games, rough-house, read, daydream, visit with friends and stockpile toys.  You can make it themed as well, but you will need to have the preceding items in there first! ( You can get them to work off their half of the cost and your half could be a combined Christmas or Birthday present for each item.)  For security reasons try to make it a shared space like a rumpus or home office- so the computer is there and not tucked away in their bedrooms.  The shared space is a good place for the TV too as  kids need technology ‘downtime’ these days, and the bedroom should remain just that.  Clever storage is also a must also you can stash away consoles and games when the big kids (parents) actually get to use the space. Baskets and draws on wheels and castors can be popped away in cupboards.  All the above is also useful to remember for their bedrooms as well.

Themes?  Well, you can create themes around where you have travelled – it is a good to use all that memorabilia and can make for a fun space.  Or perhaps junior is interested in cricket, rugby or music.  So create a “Room of Fame” and put framed prints of their favourite heroes up on the walls.  The owner of this bedroom below was a young man you adored cricket so we had some cricket nets made as bed ends and a storage unit to make him feel like he was always at batting practice.  (He is still playing at 21 years, so I guess it worked!)

Angela's Clients 0063Don’t spend too much money on the shared space or bedrooms as they simply do not care, but let your imagination go, and have something cool.  Paint it in an amazing colour or let the accessories do the work.  Do not get too hung up about it going with the rest of the house as you will have to shut the door when visitors come anyway – because the “floordrobe” is put to better use than the wardrobe!  They also grow up and grow out of themes really quickly.

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This bedroom was done inexpensively with duvets, flags, and bunting around the edge of it.  The boat in the corner was found on the beach and dragged home. The lifebuoy was also found on a wharf, and inexpensive pictures all carried on the theme.  Chains, ropes and anchors where bought at the local DIY store.  Not too much expense, just time and imagination required.  We then made the theme a little more grown up by repainting a very dark moody adolescent blue.  A bit more man cave. Still used the same accessories and storage, but changed the duvet covers and got rid of the flags. The kids have left now, but the cat is still here!  

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The other room had an African Explorer theme which stood the test of time and used up Egyptian art, African artefacts mixed in with a zebra print on bed cushions and antique desk and chair.  Here at the Hutton House they have become adult rooms now, complete with Queen sized beds and we are working on getting rid of the accumulated clutter of 20 years.  (Yes the timer is set on Wednesdays for one hour if you want to join in!) We are aspiring for a rumpus space that looks more like the one below…..

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Via Barbara Fiorito
http://pinterest.com/bcmf/

For more ideas and inspiration have a look at these Related Articles:

http://houseofbliss.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=kids+rooms

http://nordicdesign.ca/blog/lovely-kids-room-inspiration/#.UhLXbpJmhw8

 

Mixing it Up Style-Wise

Over the weekend we were lucky enough to visit a Mediterranean styled house on the shores of Lake Rotorua.  Superb views over a misty lake made us realise (yet again) what a gorgeous place New Zealand really is.  Could have actually been Lake Como in Italy which I guess is where the Mediterranean styled house came from.  Inside was luxurious and comfortable, styled with antiques, original fittings from a 1920’s house.  All good so far, but then the elephants started popping up, then the tigers on the cushions, then the leopards in the pictures, more elephants peeking around the corner of the terrace outside our room and the African animal themed sheer curtains. Somehow that didn’t work…..how does African relate to Mediterranean to New Zealand?  Short answer, It doesn’t.

What had happened here is that they had added too many themes/styles into the mix. Mediterranean styled on the exterior is very common here, and again that is all good, but inside it didn’t really relate with the African animal thing. 1920’s antiques and decoration does, as that relates to the original and hints at our past.  More appropriate would’ve been to continue the Mediterranean style and add more antiques-Mediterranean style so the place had a cohesive whole. Something like this would have been ideal:

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Doing Double Duty

We are always short on space and rooms aren’t we?  (Though if you have been cleaning up and sorting, you may have a bit more by now!) However, have you thought about have a room being dual purpose?  For example, a guest room could be turned into a home office or a sewing/craft room in between times.  A Dining Room, could perhaps do double duty as an office or a library.  Both of these rooms need to be warm and cocooning, not to mention interesting, so the decorating scheme would fit either way.  It is also possible to put a corner of a room to a different use – for instance a desk area in the corner of a lounge, or in a hallway.  Bookshelves can make a hallway really interesting.

Here is another interior by Ilse Crawford, in which a ‘kitchen’ wall has been put to great use as a bookshelf.  The table then does double duty as a desk. How clever.

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And what a great idea pictured below where a pull out bed actually looks like a display cabinet. Clever again.

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Then there is this innovative idea that you could use for a home office-bedroom double duty…or maybe for the room at the bottom of the garden!  How simple is this?  So, you can have more guests to stay and get more space for yourself at the same time.  Perfect!

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Elements in Common

If you decorate all of your rooms individually, in different colours and styles, you will end up with a series of boxes inside a bigger box, that do not relate to each other.  Somehow the place feels small, disjointed and unsettling.  The solution is to add some elements in common throughout  eg  the same skirtings, architraves, window surrounds, ceilings, door hardware, flooring.  It also helps to have a few pieces true to the original style of a house so it links back.  This helps to create flow and a cohesive whole to the interior and thus the feeling of space.  And we all want that don’t we?
Another trick is to use the  same accent colour or colours in different ways through out the house.
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For example you may have decided on using Greys throughout the house, so choose your accent colour eg acid yellow and then use it in different ways in each room – yellow sofa in the lounge, vintage dresser in the dining room, continued with a cushion on master bed, bright yellow towels in downstairs loo, sunny yellow wallpaper in the entrance hall.  Got the picture of how you add elements in common?   Below are some pictures to give you some inspiration and help along the way, based on the family room & description above.
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Dress Up the Boudoir

Yesterday we talked about small, dark rooms and bedooms.  Which leads to today’s topic – Making the Bed a focal point.  That is why it is called a “Bed-room”, no?  We have seen a lot of bedrooms that unfortunately look like a flat where you are ‘dossing down’!

So, Dress up the boudoir.  Make the bed the focal point,and make it, well, inviting.  Again it is all about adding layers. If you can afford it – add a bed head, even custom made are not too expensive. Paint or paper the wall paper behind in an accent colour. Add 2 to 3 Euro pillows at back, two regular ones, accent cushion(s) at front.  Coordinating bed cover or duvet with a throw or quilt at the end to finish it off. Not too hard huh? Again mix and match & break up existing bed linen sets putting different pieces in another room.   This will help to create flow to the other bedrooms in the house and give them all a sense of belonging to each other.

The deep diamond buttoned headboard by Room Service Interiors was the starting point below LHS.   Next the bed was dressed in quilts, pillows and linen by Anami Textiles who do unique one-off designs that help you to create wonderful beds.  The ‘recipe’ above was used with Euros across the back, with pillows in front, and then an accent cushion to brighten things up and pull the whole lot together.

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If you do not have a headboard then think about hanging some art work behind the bed as a starting point for your scheme.  On the RHS note how the colour in the painting has been used on the Euro pillows & links to the privacy screen across the window.  The linen used is relatively simple – all cream, but then a large woollen throw is added on the bottom for wonderful textural contrast.  The trunk at the end is  the full stop at the end of the bed.  The chandelier adds a glamorous, unexpected twist.

A good additional layer is to place an end ottoman, trunk or bench at the bottom of the bed as the finish it off, provide linen storage, and seating. And yes, it is another layer.

Bedside tables do not need to be matching, a chest of drawers can do double duty as do side tables and even chairs.  It is always great to then add table lamps for bedtime reading and creating a soft,warm light  rather than the glaring central pendant.  We have even been known to add a chandelier to a dark corner to provide an unexpected accent to a bedroom.

Back on Monday with some ideas on how to add texture and tone to your interiors.  In the meantime we will be updating the look of our blog – it is a little too heavy in the banner and not quite how we want it, hmmm, maybe we’re perfectionists?