Want to know the latest bathroom trends? This week we've been to KBB (that's Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms bi-annual show) so take a look at our finds.
The BIG news is that coloured bathroom suites are back! Oh yes, there was barely a white suite in sight. Pastel colours were winning through with a curious trend for browns too.
A matte finish is now the go to trend, so you'll be seeing this a contemporary twist everywhere soon, on coloured baths, tiles, furniture, taps.......
Finally, yes finally we're seeing the bathroom industry making steps towards more ecologically sound spaces with natural, renewable and recycled materials coming through,
Here are some of our highlights and do get in touch if you need help with your dream bathroom
We're not sure about the dark brown loo though.
Do you like the idea of having help from an interior designer to transform your property but your not sure how the process works or even if your budget will allow it? Then read on to find out how we and other designers, work and how we can help you.
- You only need help with one room -
This is fine, some larger companies may only take on whole house projects, but small to medium companies are happy to take on single room projects as they can be slotted in-between larger projects and have a faster turnaround.
- Services and costs -
Interior designers can help with every element of a re-furb but here are the main services you'll come across and likely need:
The smallest service is a Colour Consultation which can cost between £110-£190 per room. It's a great starter to re-inventing a room and will give you the confidence to use amazingly effective colours which you wouldn't have dared use on your own.
The next service is Design which normally consists of a visit from a designer to take your brief and measure the space(s). From there the designer can produce a plan and a design which should include a colour scheme and indicative furniture ideas and instruction for the design. We even give you guidance on more complicated kitchen and bathroom design. From here you can more confidently choose, to purchase and implement some or all of the recommendations. Prices start from £750 a room.
Should you be short on time or have no clue where to start when ordering sofas or calculating how many M2 of tiles you need, this service can be a god-send especially when it costs you no more that the retail price (RP) of an item. Let me explain: most interior designers (including us) obtain Trade discounts from thousands of gorgeous shops. For our services we may only charge the RP to you but buy at the the Trade price and then retain the difference as our fee. Effectively you pay no more than if you'd walked into the shop and purchased the item yourself, but without any of the hassle and often costly guesswork.
If you're really short of time and don't know what to do, to co-ordinate a refurbishment, then Project Management is for you. Project Management (PM) can be one just one meeting with the builder or decorator to relay the design and make sure that it's carried out properly, to being on site at regular intervals to oversee that everything is happening as per the brief and budget. Most interior designers will charge you an hourly rate between £70-£190 per hour dependant on the size of the firm, the complexity of the project and the experience of the designer (we charge around £90).
- How to start -
You may have thought long and hard about what you'd like or have no idea at all - this does not matter. I recommend calling first to discuss your project/utter terror at prospect of re-furbishing. Just a phonecall will undoubtedly reinvigorate your desire to get started and give you a clear idea of your next step. At The Open Plan we offer a free* 30 minute face-to-face meeting at the property to discuss your needs and to answer any questions you may have about our services. So do get in touch by phone or email
*dependant on distance from our offices
Does your home need a speedy and stylish, Christmas makeover? Does it exude Festive Hygge? What is Festive Hygge? Read on for our easy to implement top tips on how to ready your pad for a cosy and gorgeous Christmas.
At our North London headquarters we've been putting on our Interior Designer, Xmas hats and:
1. Lusciously layering
Raid the linen cupboards for cushions, sheepskins, blankets and table runners to pop and drape seductively, over beds, sofas, chairs and tables for seasonal snug-ness, just like the Scandinavians do. Adding layers and textures gives a luxurious warmth and inviting feel to any hosting space.
2. Celebrating Assymentry
When adding decorations to a mantlepiece, occasional table, window or quite frankly anywhere, there's a magic rule of three (or uneven numbers). A stylists most loved trick is to go for three of anything. This could be a trio of candles, an uneven grouping of very different Christmas icons but in the same colour group or cushions thoughtfully arranged on your sofa in threes, fives or sevens
3. Loving Fresh Foliage
When it comes to a proper Hygge home, plastic decs are a big no no. Instead get yourselves to your nearest wild space, park or florist and snap up some stems and lengths of "The Holly and the Ivy" some cheeky mistletoe and a natural wreath of spruce, pine cones and dried fruits. Deck your halls and sitting rooms with boughs and natural, healthy happiness.
4. Getting Flaming Festive
Light is best when it's natural so turn down the LEDs and light some candles. Better still light lots of candles, better still light some plant based (soy) candles with natural winter fragrances = Instant Christmassy feels all 'round. We're absolutely loving these most stylish and ethical candles from Farmacy
5. Showcasing Jewel Tones
Get your reds and greens on but also your teals, mustards and indigos. Go deep and dark on walls, cushion covers, sofas, decorations, throws, table runners and all the trimmings. Outside may be grey (or white if we're lucky) so the ultimate Christmas interior should be, in contrast, a rich and colourful feast for the eyes.
6. Hanging Paper Decorations
No longer will plastic tinsel adorn our homes and office. This year we're all over the communal paper chain making, cutting festive silhouettes and snowflake modelling or simply get some amazing paper decorations here www.papersnowflake.co.uk
7. Toasting Good Lighting
The Hygge way with light is to turn it down low and have several sources. Look for opportunities to place lamps (floor, table or wall) or white fairy lights around a room to create cosy pockets of light and reading nooks instead of one large overhead light source.
8. Warming our Souls
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Sounds good hey? If you have one, light it up! Nothing welcomes your guests from the cold outdoors like an enchanting, roaring fire. It also invites warm conversation and a perfect opportunity for Christmas cocktails.
9. Having Cosy Toes
Clear, minimal flooring might look fantastic in the warmer months but when you're hunkering down and want to create a more sumptuous feeling room, get yourself a rug. Natural materials are best as they're kinder on the environment and sensual underfoot. It's definitely cold outside so lets dress the house up accordingly.
10. Smelling a Lot Like Christmas
Great interior design should be a triumph across the senses, except maybe for taste, unless that's good taste we're talking - Ho Ho Ho. Throw some aromatic pinecones on that fire you've just lit and for the rest of the rooms, here are our favourite Winter smells (also loved by *Wallpaper's Tyler Brûlée) which will leave your house smelling like a romantic and Christmassy woodland retreat.
Then, come the new year when you're looking to make some more permanent changes in your home we'd love to hear from you and offer our assistance 020 7281 3601
Until then we'd like to wish you all a
VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS
STYLISH NEW YEAR!
We've been so busy lately that we didn't even have time to brag about our nomination for Best Interior Designer Blog - again - Yay Us!
So here's our badge of honour to prove it and A massive thank you to all of our readers and of course, Amara X
At The Open Plan we're worried about the environment, very worried and we want to tread more lightly on this planet. So, rather than jack it all in to go live off-grid we've been looking into what we can do to be more environmentally friendly, whilst still creating practical and good looking homes.
Here's our brief guide to some new materials that are finding their way into the mainstream of home interior design.
Sounds pretty artificial, but this silky, eco warrior is actually made from wood. The wood comes from sustainable sources and is fabricated to become a breathable and biodegradable fabric which was pioneered in Grimsby. Flooring made from Tencel has a lovely sheen and a silk/velvet feel without animal cruelty or emitting harmful plastic gasses. Check labels on items such as carpets, rugs, mattresses and bedding for guilt-free comfort.
Taking only 8-10 weeks to become fully grown from shoot, absorbing up to 62 tons of carbon a year and producing 35% more oxygen than trees, this humble material is becoming more prevalent in the UK. It's perfect as cheaper, cruelty free alternative to silk and on the flipped, a gorgeous hard flooring too. As with all of the materials listed here it's biodegradable too meaning that at the end of it's life you can happily place it into landfill knowing that it will return naturally to the earth unlike the trillions of metres of plastic laminate flooring that now exists on the planet.
Want some curtains with a beautifully natural patina and a heavy Hygge look? Then try Hemp. Approved by Jeremy Corbyn's son who's recently opened a Hemp only shop in north London, it's also affordable, soft and hard wearing. Unlike cotton, hemp needs little or no insecticides, no herbicides and produces a better quality fibre when grown organically while creating three times as much fibre, making it more environmentally friendly. Derived from fast growing Cannabis plants, this wonder plant seems to be able to do anything.
Other Materials to consider
Recycled Plastic - Soft or hard and spotted recently in rugs, bedding and worktops
Flax/Linen - A traditional and classic soft fabric for bedding, cushions and window dressing
Organic Fair-trade Cotton - Get it curtains, cushions, and duvet sets
Wool - Classically used for upholstery, carpets and curtains, a huggable, hypoallergenic and natural material
Sisal, Rush, Coir and Jute - Hard wearing, with tactile textures and Hygge inducing, naturally calm colours
Stone - If it has to be stone; sourced locally in Western Europe (most stone comes all the way from China nowadays), you can future-proof a beautiful bathroom, kitchen or hallway. Alternatively go one-step better and opt for reclaimed stone
Glass - Always choose this over petrochemical (AKA plastic) materials such as resin and perspex for tables and home accessories
Metal - For items that will last many lifetimes and can then be melted down to be used again in another form. For an even smaller environmental impact go for vintage.
One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog