Bedroom makeover

Bedroom moodboard

Our bedroom had been crying out for some TLC ever since we moved in, and we have finally managed to give it a little makeover and make it a more serene space. For a simple makeover, this has taken an awfully long time because all new purchases, even the paint, were only made during sales. Tightened belts and all that.

Here is the estate agent’s photo and a ‘before’ photo of the chimney breast:

Before - Estate Agent photo
Textured walls painted in a dull peachy beige colour, alcoves in brown, fireplace ruined with silver paint… not attractive!

A few years ago, I’d won a competition for a sizeable voucher to spend at Living It Up so that was my trigger for purchasing one of their gorgeous beds for an amazing bargain. This bed is my favourite thing in my home, but the dull brown walls did absolutely nothing for it…

Before
Shortly after we moved in… our lovely bed looking a bit sad in these unattractive surroundings

The first obvious thing was to change the wall colour, and we opted for a pale warm grey – Dulux Pebble Shore. I think in some settings, this colour can look greige/taupe but in our bedroom it shows up as a soft warm grey. It always amazes me what a difference paint makes to a space. The grey instantly made the room feel lovely and calm. Even the textured walls look less noticeable now.

Bedroom chimney wall - Arty Home.jpg
‘I’m a cloud stealer’ art print by HappyMelvin on Society6 // ‘Lost Vase’ by House Doctor in Blue/Gold // Mini metal plant pot from H&M // Blue geometric plant pot from TKMaxx (no longer sold) // Chair – vintage // Bluebell cushion from Imogen Heath
Bedroom - afternoon light
The afternoon light in here is beautiful when the sun shines. Then the cloud stealer print really comes into its own! ✨

I found a gorgeous Liberty fabric at M is for Make but they only had the last half meter of it left. I bagged it before it totally sold out, and used it to sew a cover for my bolster cushion.

Bolster
Totally in love with this Liberty Manning fabric! 😍

We’re keeping the IKEA MALM bedside drawers that the previous owners left us with because we find them very useful for storage, and also because I don’t want to buy anything now that may have to be replaced after our house extension is done in a few years’ time as this room size is likely to change.

The curtain pole was replaced by a burnished brass one that I snagged for less than £20 in a bank holiday sale. The dark grey blackout curtains were from a previous home which thankfully fit our window really well. I just had to alter the drop on them.

I had a black Scandi lamp which I was a bit bored of, but spray painting it gold (I used Montana Gold – Gold Chrome) made me love it again and it is now sitting very pretty on the bedside table!

Finally, I added a bedspread and chunky knit throw to finish the bed.

Throw.JPG
Charcoal bedspread from La Redoute // Platinum basketweave throw from West Elm

Can’t get enough of the gorgeous texture of this throw! 😍

I’ll add more greenery and art over time, and a rug when I find the right one at the right price, but for now I’m so pleased with how the vibe of the room has totally changed with just a few changes. The reduction in baby paraphernalia that was cluttering up our room also helps. 😃

Bedroom makeover - Arty Home


Affordable art: Textiles as art

Filling your home with lovely art shouldn’t cost you a fortune, so I’m running this Affordable Art series where I talk about economical ways to personalise your walls. The first post in the series was about Art Calendars, and for this second post, I’m talking about using textiles as art.

FABRIC
Have you seen a pretty fabric you love but can’t think of where to use it in your home? Hang it on your wall!

Marimekko fabric as art
A painterly Marimekko fabric turned into hanging art by Anu from Nalle’s House
Framed fabric.jpg
@michellematangi on Instagram framed this stunning fabric for her bedroom
St Frank fabrics as art gallery.jpg
A gallery of beautiful framed fabrics is such a great alternative to prints! Image: St Frank

TEA TOWELS
Many tea towels have fantastic arty designs and really feel too gorgeous to wipe dishes with. Considering that a tea towel is usually priced between £8-£12, that is incredible value for a great sized piece of art. You can usually use economical standard sized frames: either 50x70cm or A1 size with a custom mount, or make an easy hanging kit with wooden dowels and string.

There are countless designs of tea towels with themes of kitchen art, bar art, typography, bold graphics, animals, dinosaurs, sea life, humour, romance, maps, architecture, gardening, icons of the past or present… the list is endless! So if there’s a room in your home where you want seriously affordable art, look for tea towels! If the same design is available as a print on art paper, it’ll definitely be a lot more expensive! I’d get the tea towel :-).

Framed Tea Towels by Bianca French For Pineapple
How chic do these framed graphic tea towels look as part of a black and white gallery in the living room of Bianca of French for Pineapple?

SCARVES
The intro in this magazine article says it all really –

Framed scarf from Martha Stewart Living.jpg
Image: Martha Stewart Living

If you’ve inherited a gorgeous vintage scarf, or scored a pretty one in a charity shop, or even nabbed one with a modern painterly or bold graphic design in a sale, it might just be the perfect accessory for your wall… if you don’t plan to wear it, that is.

Framed scarf - bedroom.jpg
Image: The Design Chaser
Framed orange Hermes scarf above bar
Image: Elements of Style

Have you used a textile as art? Or framed anything else that’s unexpected? I’d love to hear your ideas!


10 of the most easygoing houseplants

10 easygoing hard to kill plants

It’s undeniable how much life, movement and energy houseplants bring to an interior, not to mention their excellent air purifying properties. We all want them in our homes but many people are turning to faux plants because they don’t know what plants to get that they won’t end up killing.

There are lots of posts flying around the blogosphere about easy houseplants that are apparently hard to kill. It amuses me when many of these articles list plants like English ivy and fiddle leaf fig. This winter my English ivy bit the dust despite not being totally neglected. So unfortunately for me, it is killable. And I often come across a distressed conversation about fiddle leaf figs dropping leaves, so they definitely aren’t easy. Some articles even list maidenhair ferns – ha! I’ve honestly never come across a bigger diva of a plant. If you’re not misting it every few hours and pretty much serenading it, it’ll probably die on you.

I class a plant as easy only if it can happily survive in a dry centrally-heated home during the dark months of winter with just occasional watering. This post is an actual-experience roundup of reeeeally easygoing plants that have survived a couple of winters in my home with very little care. These plants are content in a range of light conditions. They are also relatively easy and cheap to obtain, so there’s no fear of being much out of pocket if the worst should happen, although with these plants, that can only happen if you drown them. Nothing kills a plant faster than overwatering.

1.  Zamioculcas zamifolia (ZZ plant / Zanzibar Gem)

zz-plant
One of my two ZZ plants

The ZZ plant, for me, is most handsome plant on this list, and the easiest. It’s an upright plant with gorgeous glossy leaves that almost look fake! It’s fine in any light away from direct sunlight – I have one in a corner that gets bright indirect light [image above] and another in a very shady corner. The one in the lighter location gets more growth but the one in shade is still fine, it just grows slower. The ZZ plant likes it very dry: this winter I’ve watered mine just twice. Once would probably have been enough. In the warmer months I water it approximately once every 6-8 weeks… depending on when I remember. This plant is so chilled out it really doesn’t care. Do not water it if the soil is even remotely damp. The only reason not to have it in your home is if you have pets or kids who may try to eat it as it is toxic if ingested.

2.  Aspidistra elatior (Cast Iron plant)

Cast iron plant
@thedesignchaser’s desk holding a large cast iron plant

This magnificent plant can survive conditions that most indoor plants would die in, hence the name Cast Iron plant. It prefers bright indirect light but also grows well in low light areas and is not fussy about regular water either. Keep it away from direct sunlight so you don’t scorch the leaves. Overwatering and repotting too often can cause problems for this plant, so it’s perfect for neglectful indoor gardeners. Just leave it alone for the most part! The bigger it is, the better it looks, but it grows very slowly so if you find one that’s a good size for a good price, snap it up!

3.  Sansevieria (Snake plant or Mother-in-law’s tongue)

Snake plants
@houseplantjournal’s enviable snake plant collection

The snake plant is nicknamed Mother-in-law’s Tongue, because it’s virtually unkillable :-). Well, you can kill it if you overwater it. Snake plants are succulents and like it dry. I tend to water mine approximately monthly in summer and very rarely in winter. Snake plants come in many different varieties as displayed in the image above by Darryl Cheng of @houseplantjournal. They prefer bright indirect light but are content in shady corners too. If you’re keeping yours in a shady spot, you’ll need to water it even less because it is not able to use up excess moisture as much as if it were in brighter location. Remember to water the soil and not the leaves because if water is left in the leaf rosette it can lead to rot. They really don’t like being wet!

4.  Chamaedorea elegans (Parlour palm)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Parlour palm: pretty and delicate-looking but really quite tough!

For such a pretty plant, the parlour palm is remarkably tough and easy to look after. It is happy anywhere away from direct sunlight (although a very dark location is not recommended) and tolerates dry air well. I only water it when the soil feels dry. If you have the inclination to mist plants, this one will enjoy the attention, but I rarely mist mine and it has been absolutely fine.

5.  Philodendron scandens (Heartleaf philodendron)

Philodendron Scandens
@lapalomasuzarte’s trailing heartleaf Philodendron

This easy to keep plant has beautiful deep green heart-shaped leaves that trail down (great for shelves!) or can climb up a moss pole. They’re happy anywhere away from direct sunlight, although could get a bit scraggly in very low light. Pinch out the stems to encourage bushy growth. The soil needs to be left to dry out before watering during winter, but it will appreciate slightly moist soil and monthly feeding during the growing seasons of spring and summer.

6.  Chlorophytum comosum (Spider plant)

Spider plant
A very healthy looking spider plant in the gorgeous home of @artynads

The spider plant can be kept in almost any position away from direct sunlight, except the darkest of corners. If it gets pale and droopy, it definitely needs a drink, so it’s easy to judge when it needs water. It’s a smashing plant for a hanging basket or shelf where the leaves and stems can grow freely.

7.  Haworthia Fasciata / Haworthia Attenuata (Zebra cactus / Zebra plant)

Haworthia-Zebra-Plant
Zebra Haworthia – a striking little succulent. Image from The Plant Recipe Book by Baylor Chapman; photography by Paige Green.

Isn’t this just the cutest little succulent? I love its zebra stripes! It’ll be happy in bright to medium light and is very tolerant to underwatering, but will succumb quickly to rotting if overwatered, so only water when the soil feels dry.

8.  Aloe vera

Aloe Vera houseplant
Aloe vera – low maintenance, gorgeously structured and useful. Image credit: Room for Tuesday

The Aloe vera is also called the First Aid plant because the gel in its leaves is renowned for its healing properties – a great plant to have in the home. Place it in a bright spot out of direct sunlight and water it when the soil feels dry. Easy peasy.

9.  Ceropegia woodii (String of hearts)

Ceropegia Woodii
Ceropegia woodii, or string of hearts. Image credit: Sprout London

This trailing succulent vine has the loveliest little heart shaped leaves, hence the name String of hearts. This charming plant is happy in bright light or medium shade and needs very little care. It hates being overwatered (notice the running theme?) so only water it when the soil feels dry.

10.  Monstera deliciosa (Swiss cheese plant)

Monstera deliciosa
My monstera deliciosa is very happy in my bright living room

The Swiss cheese plant is an absolute stunner but needs a fair bit of space in a room. It’s so popular that much of the current interiors botanical trend is modelled on the gorgeous shape of its leaves. This is a fast growing plant that makes a big impact, and can be pruned to keep it looking tidy. It has aerial roots which I gently push into the soil but you can leave them be if you prefer. I have it in bright indirect light and water it when the soil feels dry, with occasional feeding during growing seasons.

So these are the 10 plants that I find to be low maintenance in my home. If you want to explore even more plants, I have the following on my wishlist which I hear are all easy-care: Rubber plant, Peace lily, Chinese evergreen, Kentia palm, and String of pearls.

A few pointers to keep in mind for happy plants:

  • Plant them in pots with good drainage. About 10 minutes after watering them, if there is any excess water in the saucer or catch pot, discard it. Do not leave them soaking in water.
  • Good appropriate potting soil will really help your plants. I have found IKEA use very heavy soil that stays wet for ages so any plants I buy from there are promptly repotted when I get them home.
  • For many plants, allow the soil to dry before the next watering.
  • As far as possible, keep your plants away from radiators or draughts.
  • Most plants should to be kept away from direct sunlight to avoid scorched leaves.
  • Read up about your plants to understand the care (soil, light, water, plant feed, humidity and repotting) that they need and also to check their toxicity if you have kids or pets. Websites such as www.guide-to-houseplants.com and www.houseplantsexpert.com are great for such information.
  • Finally, even though they tolerate a fair bit of neglect, don’t leave them to gather dust. Show them some love by occasionally wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth or showering them to keep them looking gorgeous.