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How do I add warmth to my home?


It’s that time of year: the sky is filled with beautiful low light and frosts and cobwebs mist the air. It makes me feel I have to change my interior to reflect the weather outside and I don’t mean getting out drab colours. We all need to inject some light and life into our interiors at this time of year.

If you are thinking of redecorating in time for Christmas, you need to get your skates on. If you want to order new furniture, a sofa or bed for instance, then you only have a short window before the major retailers will close their books to orders. No one likes to let a customer down at this time of year so they have a cut off point for orders to prevent disappointment. Independent retails can often be more flexible than the major high street names so do check when their last order dates are.

To create a feeling of warmth you need to layer textures and fabrics in your interior. If you have a leather sofa then add cushions in different fabrics, wool and chenille etc to create movement. A throw placed over the arm of a chair can create a comforting look and can inject a new colour to the room. Use this as a starting point for injecting colour into an otherwise bland interior. Pick up on the colour within accessories and perhaps lighting too. It’s quite fashionable to have coloured shades on lamps at the moment and I think these look best if you choose drum shades – the ones with the perfectly straight sides, just like a drum. These now come with alternative metallic colours on the inside which adds light.

A room can also be altered dramatically by smell, temperature and lighting. It is amazing how easily you can alter the ambience of a room by introducing minor details like scented candles, repositioning lamps or adding a mirror to reflect lamp light back in to the room. And the addition of a dimmer switch to your main lighting can have a huge transformation.

I have a love of mixing contemporary styles and furnishings with antiques. For me this style of decorating allows the interior to reflect the age of the property while bringing it up to date with modern life. I don’t believe there is a secret to blending different styles within an interior, but you have to do it with confidence. There is no doubting that some of us are better at it than others but if you buy what you like you will invariably find somewhere to put it that works.

If you have a building project, interior or garden and landscaping project which you need help with or ideas for, then please give me a ring: Alison 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I work on interior design and garden design projects in Stamford, Lincolnshire, Oakham, Uppingham, Rutland, Oundle, Market Harborough and Northamptonshire  as well as further afield. I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.



How to add the finishing touches to a room

Adding the finishing touches to a room makes all the difference as I’m about to explain.

If the devil really is in the detail then interior and garden design are devil’s work! I’m a demon when it comes to getting things just right. I don’t go around re fluffing cushions every hour, I have a life and it’s just impractical, but I do like the details to be right. And it’s when it comes to finishing a room that I think details matter.

So often you run out of steam before you have added those finishing touches. Try to stay focussed and remember that a tiny bit of effort late on can really make your room sing. If you can tie the colour theme for your room to your accessories as well as your curtains or window dressing then the whole room works better.

Add a vase in a colour which picks up on the main colour of the curtain or chair fabric and it will draw the eye and pull the whole look together. This is true in the garden too, where repeat planting of the same species within a border draws the eye and makes the whole look more settled. I call these things the full stops. They’re the areas that your eye is drawn to and then stops at before moving on to take in the rest of the room or garden.

One of the easiest ways to finish a room is with a collection of contrasting cushions. Try to pick out one of the main colours within the room, from the carpet, walls, wallpaper or curtains. Contrast this with another colour which works equally well within the room and is present in smaller touches.

You might simply opt for a plain square cushion, but if you want to do something special think about a contrasting piped edge or a braid. An oblong cushion works well against the side of a sofa rather than at the back and box cushions are very popular at the moment as they give you the opportunity to use a contrasting fabric on the edges too.

Whatever you decide, be bold and enjoy the moment.

If you’re thinking of developing your home or garden this year and need a little help or guidance then please give me a call – I’m happy to come out to your home and offer advice and support from a single pair of curtains to the whole house and garden. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973 843020.

I will design a garden to complement the architecture of your home and choose the right landscaping materials to complement it. If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.



How do I make my home sell?

Having a good interior layout and good interior design is key to ensuring that your house is at the top of any potential buyer’s mind. We are all aware of the rule of keeping to a neutral colour scheme and to tidy up – but if you go too neutral you are at risk of making it bland and forgettable, too colourful and you risk putting potential buyers off.

Ensure a neautral interior has enough interest so that it isn’t bland

The colours of your walls are the single most important factor when presenting your home to potential buyers. People are generally not good at visualising the potential of a room. Even a single wall painted a bizarre colour can be a stumbling block so for most houses neutral colours are safest. However don’t shy away from creating some interest and style – just avoid too much drama! Try using wall paper with large bold prints but keep it to one wall and use a complimentary paint colour to pull it all together.

Use wallpaper ona feature wall tocreate a striking image which prospective purchasers will remember (for all the right reasons).

To make rooms appear larger paint skirting boards and woodwork the same colour. If you have the luxury of large rooms, painting skirting and architraves darker and walls lighter will make them less cavernous and more homely.

Add colour accents with paintings and soft furnishings. Scatter cushions and throws are a good way of harmonising a scheme. Your soft furnishings should all be in the same colour palette with different textures to add depth. You can also try adding pattern, but sparingly, and always in the same hues. If in doubt, leave it out.

If you know the layout of a room is currently unworkable then change it – even if this means you can’t use it for the purpose you originally planned it. The next potential owner may have a different use for it anyway.

Cluttered spaces scream ‘too small’ to potential buyers. Your furniture should be in proportion to the room size. A large sofa in a small cottage will dominate the room making buyers feel hemmed in. If you can’t change it, then covering it with a light coloured textured fabric will go a long way to reducing its impact. If you need more seating use small side chairs which will give the room a sense of space and practicality.

In a small room using small pieces of furniture which won’t overwhelm

Cleaning may not be your everyday priority but dirty, tatty kitchens and bathrooms are a big turn-off. A day spent spring cleaning is time well spent. Remember you are selling a lifestyle and no one wants to buy into a home that feels unloved and uncared for.

Unfortunately everyone’s taste differs, but when it comes to selling your house put aside your personal preferences. Remember less is more and minimise the number of decorative objects on display.

Don’t overlook lighting either. As we come into winter it is even more important and a few well placed lamps and warm shades in light bulbs can go a long way to brightening a home. 

If you feel you need some expert advice then do get in touch. I undertake consultations in your  home or garden to discuss home décor, paint schemes, window treatments and whole room interior design or garden design projects. Tel: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.


How do I work with an interior Designer?

As the weather turns cooler our thoughts naturally turn to our homes and making them cosy for the winter. Working with an interior designer can help you transform your home  and build your confidence in using colour and pattern.

Whether you have a large or small home you want it to look right for you. Working with a designer does not have to be a costly or scary event. I work with clients in large and small houses to help them transform them into the homes they have always wanted. The process can often save them money in the long term as they decorate once and live with the results for years to come, perhaps adding a new piece every few years to keep the look updated.

If you are frustrated with endless searching for the right fabric or wallpaper and paint colours and overwhelmed with the enormous choice, then allow me to make a handpicked selection for you. I will complement the style of your existing rooms and the architecture of your home and provide a few choice pieces which will bring the whole look together.

I love to mix contemporary styles and furnishings with antiques. If you want your interior to be timeless, and yet up to date in terms of current colour trends and styles, let me take the strain away from you and find the pieces for you. I will present a personalised range for you to choose from which complements your own furniture and furnishings.  Decorating in this way allows the interior to reflect your life and the way you live.

With my help and professional expertise you will make the right decisions and transform rooms into classic interiors full of timeless elegance. This is particularly evident in my kitchen designs where you want to feel relaxed and comfortable but for the practicality of cooking to work for you and your family too.  In this way a home looks lived in despite the decorator only having completed the project last week.

I will understand what you are looking for, the quality and standard you expect and deliver a personal choice for you. This might be a mood board specifically designed for your room incorporating the colour scheme, all fabrics, furniture and lighting with samples of each. These help you capture the entire look of a room so that whether I project manage its implementation or you take it on yourself you have all references to hand.

I will blend the different styles of your current interior using existing pieces and supplementing with custom made pieces or by reupholstering your cherished items.

Show me what you’d like changing using my initial consultation meeting at a cost of just £100. Telephone to book an appointment now:  01572 747318 or 07973 843020

or email me: alison@alisonhutchinsondesign.co.uk

How should I decorate my small room?

If you are at a loss as to how to decorate a small room in your house, read on. I have some simple tips which will help transform your interior space.

In a small room you need to concentrate on furniture placement and decorating.

Lift furniture off the floor to make rooms appear larger

It’s all about keeping good proportions within the room so lift things off the floor and create several heights: floor level; waist level and above your head, for a sense of depth. This is critical to ensure the space looks open and light.

Keep tidy!Clearing clutter always helps to make a room look larger. Make sure everything that is not decorating your room is stored away.

Co-ordinate colours in a small room to open up the space

In kitchens and living rooms use furniture with doors to hide the bits and pieces that do not add to your room’s relaxed feel. 

Think tall. Ensure curtains go to the floor, this draws the eye from the floor all the way to the ceiling and helps make a room taller.

Dress windows with roman blinds or curtains to the floor to add height to a small room

If you have a radiator under a window and don’t want to block heat in the winter use a double rail with curtains to draw and dress curtains to the floor, or opt for a roman blind and floor length curtains.

Less is more! Do not use small accessories or too many – a few larger pieces give balance and make the room volumes look taller and bigger.

Use light. Central lighting can take up too much space and create shadows around the edge of the room. Use up-lighters to create volume above eye level and add side lamps to create mood.

Mirror Mirror on the wall.  Mirrors add visual space and fools the eye into making a room feel light and larger. Place mirrors behind lamps for added reflections. And use reflective surfaces on furniture too – Venetian glass furniture has seen a revival in recent years and is now competitively priced.

Mirrors and good lighting help make a room appear larger

BIG or small furniture?Make sure your furniture doesn’t dwarf your room: think about its scale. One large piece can work well but if you clutter the room you will make it appear smaller. Try to choose pieces that don’t go right to the floor but are on legs or wall mounted to create added space. Allow for different heights in your furniture to work the floor level, waist level and above the head space too.

Use dainty pieces of furniture in small rooms to make the room appear more spacious

I believe that every space can be comfortable, relaxed and beautiful without you feeling pressured to be perfect.  I would love to help you achieve your beautiful home. If I can help with a home or garden project please give me a call. Alison: 01572 747318 or 07973843020.