A-Z of Fresh Ideas for Your Home: Part Three (M-R)
A-Z of Fresh Ideas for Your Home: Part Three (M-R)
To help you discover interior trends and styles for your next decorating project, we're compiling an A-Z of Fresh Ideas for Your Home. We've already covered letters A-L in parts one and two. Now, in part three, we're tackling M-R. Let's get started...
M is for Metro Tiles
Metro tiles have been a prominent interior trend for some time now and it's a style that isn't going anywhere. The design originates from the London Underground system, where these famous brick-shaped tiles line the walls. They were installed in the 1920's and each station has its own unique combination of colours, so that passengers can recognise when it's time to get off the train. Now, nearly one hundred years later, metro tiles dominate British bathrooms and kitchens. Why? Because metro tiles are sleek, stylish and versatile. They're also affordable, and easy to install - with several layouts you can choose from, such as a striking Herringbone pattern.
Here at Walls and Floors, we have the largest selection of metro tile colours in the UK, with over 30 options. For a refreshed appearance, choose classic white - this will enable you to create a blank canvas backdrop in your room, which you can then accessorize to. To show off some personality, choose your favourite colour - this will inject a little of you into your wall areas. If you're choosing a bright colour and you don't want to overwhelm a room, you could always stick to a single accent wall or block, and surround it with lighter metro colours (see above).
N is for Nautical
Also known as 'Shanty Chic,' the Nautical trend is perfect for those amongst you who love the coast, or maritime culture. The idea of inviting nautical elements into our home is to ferry us away to the seaside - and to the ocean - the serene blues, the gentle bobbing of waves, the calming song of a dolphin. In other words, it creates a relaxing ambience that reminds us of holidaying, or of simply being by the sea. So why not create your own sea-faring beack shack in your bathroom this season?
The two main colours are white and blue, which we associate with the pinstripe uniforms of Navy sailors. These two colours are often used in equal parts to create the backdrop of a room, and then nautical accessories, such as boat ornaments, lighthouse lamps, framed starfish, seashells and lifebelts are used to pepper the room, and to help enforce the theme.
For a white floor tile with plenty of sea-faring charm, try white wood effect tiles. They're printed to look like old, antique shipping crates - ideal for creating a defined floor area in a nautical-themed bathroom or kitchen. For a blue wall tile that's full of texture and character, and all the bubbling, churning spirit of the seven seas, try these Azul Patchwork Mosaic Effect Tiles. Each tile consists of a grid of 25 different textured patterns.
O is for Optical Illusions
When it comes to decorating, there are certain steps you can take to change the perception of a room when a person enters it. For example, if you have a small, windowless room which comes across as poky and a bit dark and gloomy, the introduction of a large mirror, or mirror tiles, will add the appearance of depth to the room, and will also help to bounce the light around - making a room seem brighter.
Another fantastic tip for making a small room, such as a bedroom, seem larger is to paint the furniture the same colour as the wall behind it. This will help it blend into the background - rather than being a bulky obstacle in the foreground - and this will increase the visual size of the room.
Always keep your ceiling lighter than your walls. This will create the illusion of a higher ceiling - which, again, will help to make your room seem that little bit less poky.
Alternatively, if you have a large, open place space that feels fairly impersonal and airy, and you want to make it seem smaller (more cosy and comfortable), then there are tips and tricks you can use, too. For one thing, choose characterful flooring - flooring that is full with lines, or with detailing of some sort. A plain carpet can make a floor space seem endless and undefinitive. Choose tiles with plenty of character, just as these Estrellar Wood Effect Tiles:
Filling a room with accessories will also help to break up the visual space. A stylish ottoman in the centre of a room is a fantastic choice. It's not as airy as a coffee table (with all that space beneath the legs). An ottoman is a good, solid block - and it'll take a good, solid chunk out of your over-spaceous room.
Lighting is also a major factor in how large or small a room appears. The more light you have, the more the space in the room is illuminated. Thus, add some ambient lighting to certain areas of your room - so at night time, these areas are the only parts that are lit. The rest of the open space will fall into darkness and will cease to exist. There are some incredibly stylish ambient lighting options available on the market - such as these Starkey pendant bulbs from Made.com.
P is for Pure
When it comes to decorating a room that has suffered from the same date décor for years, one of the best things you can do is to strip out all the colour. Have a bright white walls for a pure, refreshed, rejuvenated feeling. This creates a blank canvas you can then accessorise to. White is not a colour. It is a tone. It is void of all colour by its very definition. Therefore, white can never clash with any colour. That's why white is such a popular choice for a background. Ask any interior stylist and they'll tell you - if you want a sure-fire background you can't go wrong with, choose white.
You then add the colour and the personality into your room through the choosing of your accessories. Want a red theme? Pop into Dunelm. Buy a red rug, some red cushions, a red throw, some red coasters to scatter over your coffee table, a red vase and some plastic low-maintenance red-headed flowers. And voilà, there you have it - an easy red theme that doesn't clash with your background for less than £50. So then, in six months time, when the summer arrives and you want a cooler colour scheme you can unwind to in the evenings, it's no biggie. You simply sell the accessories, or stash them away in the attic, and buy a blue set from Dunelm. No decorating, because the white background you installed six months earlier goes perfectly with blue, too.
The pure white look isn't plain or boring - it's simply a clever, practical solution to decorating - with the adding benefit of making a room that was previously cursed with drab, dated wallpaper or cladding feel refreshed, revived and rejuvenated. The pure look is a great decorating choice. It gives your walls and floors a clean, fresh finish and, when tiles are used, it's a cheap, long-lasting option.
Q is for Quick fixes around your home
Here are some simple solutions to common decor and day-to-day problems you might experience around your home. Firstly, if you have a bland and unexciting kitchen area that you want to freshen up, a quick fix would be to install a splashback. A splashback is an easily wipeable surface that stands behind a cooker or sink, and it's a very simple yet very effective way of injecting personality and character into a kitchen area. It's often the first thing a person notices when they walk into a kitchen, because it acts as a focal point. Commonly, screens of glass or aluminium are used as splashbacks - but they can be pretty dear, and they're a little uncreative. The best thing to use is tiles!
Got a chipped tile? Tiles are usually pretty robust but, if you catch the corners with something heavy, occassionally they can chip. If it's a white tile, you won't notice the chip as much, as the material underneath is white, too. However, if you have boldly coloured tiles, the chip will show up more, because it will appear as a fleck of white amid a surround of colour. But fear not! There's a quick and easy solution for covering over chipped tiles. Open up your female friend's make-up box, and take out a bottle of nail polish (or go to the shop and buy a matching shade). Paint a little nail polish (of the right shade) onto the chip, and voila - perfect coverage! It should last a few weeks but if it fades or flakes away, simply reapply.
R is for Rustic
The rustic look has become a lot more prominent over the last five years. Why? Because it takes us back to holidays we enjoyed in log cabins, or in rural country cottages. The rustic look is thick with that wholesome, back-to-nature type feeling, and it's good for us. It makes us feel more relaxed and at ease in our homes, and it gives our interiors real charm and character. The rich wood effects and stones help us feel at one with nature, and they fill our walls and floors with texture, detail and interest. It's also full of warm colours - ideal for creating a cosy nook out of our living areas, bedrooms, kitchens or bathrooms.
To create your own rustic look, you'll need to invite some natural materials into your home - some rich woods and stones. Go down to your local second hand store and pick up some old, bulky pine furniture. A coffee table, or a dining table with a set of chairs. No cosy log cabin or country cottage is complete without a sturdy rustic wooden table.
When it comes to the floor, you'll want to choose either natural stone or stone effect tiles. Here at Walls and Floors, we have plenty of both. Natural stone is more expensive and it requires treatment and maintenance, whilst stone effect tiles are every bit as realistic as the real thing, but they don't require any ongoing maintenance - you lay them, and that's that. These Beige Relic Stone Effect Tiles are a good option:
If the real deal is an absolute must for you, then you could try our Natural Limestone Tiles. Alternatively, you might like to go for a wood effect floor option. Again, bare floorboards are a traditional option - but they require regular treatment and sanding, and they often splinter along the edges of the planks. Wood effect tiles are a much nicer alternative. They also come in a variety of styles, whilst your floorboards are limited to just the one.
Once you've got your floor and your table in place, it's time to turn your attention to those walls. As you'll notice in the image above, some country cottages have a wall of stunning masonry brick. If you like in a new build semi-detached in Luton, your living room might not have that. But fear not - you can create the brick wall effect with the introduction of Serpentine Stone Effect Tiles! Each tile contains 18 faux brick pieces, in a wonderful masonry stone design; allowing you to create your own rustic wall in no time at all!
So there you have it - the next instalment of our colossal compiling of an A-Z of Fresh Ideas for Your Home. We covered the vintage appeal of metro tiles - taken straight from the 1920's underground system in London. We covered the sea-faring, maritime charm of the nautical 'shanty chic' décor trend. We covered ways in which decorative trickery and optical illusions can both increase and decrease the visual volume of a room. We covered the appeal of choosing pure white tones as the backdrop for your decorating project. We looked at some handy quick fixes to use throughout your home. And, finally, we looked at the rustic decor trend - and how to create your own cosy cottage nook.