Category Archives: Interior Design Tutorials

Fireplace update

Fireplace update

Keeping the idea of light in the fireplace

The fireplace is so important in a room, not only as the main focal point but also as a place that garners respect and adulation. After all we need to have warmth and light to live our lives – never underestimate the instinctive draw of the fireplace. In the living room makeover, the fireplace was sadly lacking in living flame. Although the owner had decorated it with accents of red and brown to tie it in to the rug, it wasn’t especially cosy or inviting.

The plan was for a rather lovely log burner to warm up the chilly winter months inside. After much catalogue browsing and showroom visiting, a suitable model was chosen.

Then began the process of installation. Not for the faint-hearted! The chimney was first investigated and luckily after inspection it was found to need nothing more than a good sweep. It’s very important to check the chimney. More often than not if it’s not been used it will need a new liner. When the fire surround was pulled away from the wall, the fire cavity was deemed to be just the kind of space that a log burner could occupy. However there were several bricks on the arch which were in a rather crumbly state. The brickie that was employed to rebuild the arch and make good the walls instated brand new pink bricks!! Being aVictorian house the effect was very incongruous with the other bricks. But, with advice from a friend, the owner rubbed in several handfuls of soot and hey presto – new to old in less than 10 minutes.


The new fireplace with logburner

The new log burner complements the theme of the room – cosy, warm-coloured and natural – a perfect choice.

A log basket and candle decorate and enhance the fireplace.


The fireplace is now life-affirming! Somewhere to snuggle up beside and feel comforted by. Just in time for winter!

Revitalise Your Living Room

Many of us these days lead very busy lives and there isn’t the time to spend on designing our homes. The main living area has many functions – entertainment space, workspace, play space for children as well as an area to relax or socialise with family and friends. It has to work very hard indeed. It’s no wonder that it sometimes gets a little tired-looking.

But with careful consideration and a free weekend, you can revitalise your living room and create an environment which serves your needs and gives back to you that wonderful feeling of being ‘at home’.

Living Room in need of revitalising

Living Room in need of revitalising

The living room shown here was used for many different functions by the owner. She had a very heavy work/family balance which meant that there was little time to think about decoration. Working from home part time, entertaining friends and relatives, relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music and providing a suitable living space for two teenage boys were just a few of the functions which the room needed to fulfil.

The first consideration were the items of furniture and furnishings in the room. There was a large off-white leather sofa and another rattan style sofa which had to be accommodated. The owner wanted to keep these in the room as well as an oak chest which had a lovely rich grain. She also liked an ethnic patterned rug. All other things could be replaced or relocated somewhere else.

So, after some careful thought and much browsing of magazines, it was decided to reflect some of the colours in the rug and chest in the wall colour and fabric choice and to work around the keywords, “ethnic” and “cosy”. A light yellow was chosen for three walls with a richer, darker tone for the fireplace wall. The wooden floor was to have a dark stain treatment and gorgeous orangey striped curtains were selected for the two windows. The overall colour scheme was warm and harmonious.

The layout of furniture was of prime importance. If the keyword, “cosy” was to be implemented, the seating had to encourage sociability and yet still be functional. It was decided to place the two sofas at a right angle to each other so that they faced the TV and the fireplace. Placing the wooden chest between them as a coffee table linked them together.

It was essential to have a work area in the room, so the existing computer desk was discarded for a smarter, wooden desk which could be placed along the wall nearest to the door and behind the sofa, which meant it didn’t dominate the room but was easy to access.

To accessorise the scheme and provide some soft ambient light, three lamps were chosen; a floor lamp, a table lamp and a ceiling lightshade. They all had curvy, rounded shapes with interesting textures. The floor lamp was to stand against the curved architectural feature wall, enhancing the shape. A large mirror with a rattan style frame was to be purchased to hang on the chimney breast and a new log burner was earmarked for the future.

The painting took an intense weekend of work but looked amazing when finished. The yellow warmed up the space, reflecting the sun’s rays as it moved around the room from one window in the morning to the other window in the late afternoon. The dark-stained floor gave a rich, earthy feel and complimented the wooden chest.

When the other items were displayed and the furniture arranged in its new place, the room felt like a completely different space. She hadn’t realised it before but the room had had an unsettling atmosphere where she had never felt content. She now finds that the room is working for her in a very positive way, allowing her to relax or work or entertain with confidence.

A smarter, wooden desk could be placed behind the sofa

A smarter, wooden desk could be placed behind the sofa, which meant it didn’t dominate the room but was easy to access.

The overall colour scheme was warm and harmonious

The overall colour scheme was warm and harmonious

Three lamps were chosen with curvy, rounded shapes

To accessorise the scheme and provide some soft ambient light, three lamps were chosen with curvy, rounded shapes and interesting textures.