Decoration, Decorative Features, Garden Design, Indoor, Make over

Painting furniture is a great way to add your own personality to your furniture. But it can be a daunting task if you’re not used to it; we’ve all had the worry of “what if I make it look worse?”. So we’ve compiled some basic tips and ideas to help guide you in the right direction so you can enjoy the process and have some success with painting your furniture. We’ve also got some decorative ideas to help get you thinking on how to make any furniture item your own.   

Prepare your furniture for painting

  1. Always give your furniture a clean before painting. Make sure it’s free from dust by going over it with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth before you start.
  2. Some items of furniture may come already varnished or treated in which case you may need to sand them before you can paint. For wooden furniture, a standard sandpaper will work fine but for metal items, you may need to purchase some special sandpaper.
  3. If there are areas of the furniture you wish to remain paint-free, cover these with masking tape or a special painters tape from a DIY store.

Prepare to paint

Paint choice 

Once prepared you can begin painting your furniture. The paint that you use will be dependent on the material you’re are painting so its best to consult your local DIY store to select the right kind. They will usually divide their paint shelves into sections for materials like wood and metal. 

Brushes

It’s a good idea to have a number of different brushes when painting. You can use larger brushes for covering smooth surfaces and use smaller brushes for getting in and around little details. Any patterns or designs that you wish to paint on top of the furniture will likely be best achieved with the smallest brush. You should feel free to experiment however and see the effects of different brush sizes, shapes and materials have on your furniture.

Start painting

When painting your furniture its best to take things slowly. Work systematically doing one section at a time and take the time to slowly cover the furniture in a smooth coat of paint. This will guarantee you a much neater finish than just throwing paint on quickly. If you’re using spray paints you can apply the same principles; start off with just a light layer of paint and slowly build it up to full coverage.  

Finish up 

Once your furniture is painted and dry you can leave it as it is or cover with a protective varnish. Applying varnish is probably a good extra step to take if your furniture will be outside a lot as it will protect your work from adverse weather. You should bear in mind that a varnish may adjust the final look of your furniture; it may make the overall look much darker or washed out, so it’s best to check this beforehand and buy paint that will work well with your chosen varnish. 

Decorative Ideas

Using tape

Tape can be used to block out parts of your furniture to achieve a certain design. Simply wrapping a strip of tape around the foot of a table leg before painting over it, for example, can give a simple line that will make your table look unique and special to you. You can experiment with blocking parts of your furniture off with tape to add simple line designs to anything. 

Colour blocking

This is a really easy way to make any item of furniture look personalised. Divide your furniture into sections and paint each section a corresponding colour. A chest of drawers, for example, you may wish to paint the outer casing one colour, the draws another colour and the drawer handles another colour. This gives you a colour boost whilst ensuring you still maintain a sense of continuity.  

Use a colour palette generator 

The web has lots of generators that can make you a colour palette for use in your designs or furniture upcycling. Our favourite is https://coolors.co/ You can even upload a favourite photo and extract a colour scheme from that.

Add other materials

Mixing materials is a great way to add a unique stamp on your furniture. Mixing natural materials like wood with some metal features like handles can really make your furniture stand out.

Paint on a design/use a stencil 

All you need is a printer and a craft knife and you can easily create a stencil from any image or pattern that you find online. This is a great way to get a consistent design on your furniture without having to rely on freehanding your designs. 

Blog Series, Clocks, Decoration, Decorative Features, Garden Design, Gary, How To, Outdoor Living, Planters, Water Features

A well designed outdoor space can be just as satisfying as a new kitchen or cosy living room, but getting a complete look can be difficult when decorating outside. You can easily redesign a space with a few simple changes, without having to hard landscape or make changes to the structure of the garden., We’ve pulled together three classic garden designs to inspire you to recreate your space with minimal effort.

Moroccan Riad 

The Riad has been a feature of Moroccan architecture since the Roman era. Typically a riad is a small tiled courtyard dotted with large plants and a pool of water of a fountain in the middle. It’s a space to relax and escape the trials of the day, and it’s an easy look to achieve in a few simple steps. 

  • Choose the right colours – the backbone of the RIad is vibrant, but cool colours. Combinations of white, blue and terracotta should form the backbone of your space, with some splashes of yellow and turquoise to tie the look together
  • Keep it symmetrical – these gardens are a mixture of a personal oasis and formal garden, keep it as symmetrical as you can to achieve an authentic, and impressive look
  • Make use of rugs – this is a space to relax and entertain in comfort. Traditionally, soft furnishings like rugs or cushions are dotted around the space to soften it.
  • Pick the right plants – space-filling plants that give off strong perfumed scents are the key to getting this kind of space right, lavender and rose bushes mixed in with olive trees and ornamental grasses would be a great selection for the authentic feel.
    Shop the look : 

We’ve put together a selection of accessories that we think would be the great jumping-off point to creating your own Riad garden. This combination of planter, water feature, rug, and chiminea all compliment each other well and could be enhanced with Moroccan style stool

 

Italian Riviera 

 

The tightly packed villages, stone facades and well-manicured gardens of the riviera were the inspiration for some of the finest artists of the renaissance and the ideals of the enlightenment still shine through in their design today. These gardens are refined, elegant and relaxing. They’re also deceptively easy to create: 

  • Make the air smell of citrus – Sicily and the Italian coast are known for their lemons and oranges as much as they are for their tranquillity. Plant a few lemon trees in containers to get the look and smell of a summer on the shores of the coast of Genoa 
  • Select tough plants –  this area of Italy is known for the muted green colours of its plants. Rosemary, Cistus, and myrtle are great options to plant in containers alongside olive trees and pink climbing roses to get that refined look 
  • Don’t overlook statues –  evoke Italy’s romantic and classical history by adding some statuary to the garden. A few well-placed statues amongst your plants really create the look of a formal garden on the grounds of a large manor
  • Build the space around a pergola – shaded areas and canopies are a staple of Mediterranean garden design. If you can why not fill the centre of your garden with a pergola wrapped in wisteria that brings that grand touch to your design 

Shop the look : 

Our version of this classic garden design brings together all the classic elements of statuary, large planters, citrus trees and ornate wall decoration together to create that classic cool style. We’ve chosen to shade our garden with a sail shade rather than a pergola to make this design achievable in any space. 

Spanish Garden

Spain is the number one holiday destination for the British, so why not bring that feel and style into your garden.  A Spanish garden is a place to eat, entertain and relax with friends. The look is simple to achieve and can be made to work year-round if done correctly: 

  • Plant to impress – flowering vines and climbing roses are must-haves for the authentic look. Train them to climb a wall, fence or pergola and you’re off to a great start. For added fragrance, plant jasmine, oranges and  scented heirloom roses to complete the effect
  • Create a shaded space – the siesta is an important part of any day, and if you can it should always be done in the garden. Put a small shaded area into your space with a pergola or sail shade, hook up a hammock, and you’re ready for your midday nap. 
  • Combine the old and the new –  Spain has one of the oldest cultures in Europe, and the old country villages that dot its countryside are familiar to anyone who has visited. Capture this traditional look by adding aged or distressed pieces into your garden. 
  • Make use of railings – small window boxes edged in cast-iron railings are a common sight in rural Spain. You can emulate this look with something as simple as a wall display or potholder planted with Chrinodendrons or Euphorbia’s  

Shop the look : 

Our take on the Spanish garden combines a hammock with a bistro set and lemon tree to create a relaxing space for you and your friends to chat and relax. The nautical mirror brings a distressed wood effect that really ties the scheme together. 

 

These are just a few ideas on simple ways to improve your outdoor space. We’d love to see what you’ve done with your space on Instagram or Facebook

 


Images Courtesy of:

 

Ruth, S | Gill, L | Rosemary, B | Rachel, E | Diane, R | Trisha, S | MR Evans

Gardening, Grow Your Own, Planting, Vegetables

August is a month of transition, it is the midpoint between summer and autumn, the days get noticeably shorter and leaves will start to drop. This is a month of change in the allotment too where most of your work will be prep for winter and next years planting. 

Harvesting 

Harvest beetroot

  • Aubergine
  • Curly kale
  • Beetroot
  • Cabbages
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Courgettes and marrows
  • Cucumber
  • French beans 
  • Globe Artichoke
  • Kohl Rabi
  • Onion
  • Pepper 
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Runner beans
  • Salad leaves and lettuces
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onion
  • Swede
  • Sweetcorn
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato
  • Turnip 

Sowing 

sow

  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower 
  • Chickory 
  • Endives
  • Japanese onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • lettuces
  • Spinach 
  • Spring cabbage
  • Spring onions 
  • Sprouting Broccoli 
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips
  • Winter radish

Planting 

  • Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Marrow
  • Overwintering cabbages 
  • Pumpkin 
  • Squashes 

General Jobs 

  • If you’re growing aubergines pinch out the growing tip once they have 5 or 6 fruits
  • Cut back herbs to encourage a new flush of leaves that you can harvest before the frost
  • Continue to feed tomato plants with a tomato fertiliser
  •  Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic
  •  Keep birds and squirrels off your berries with netting 
  • Tidy up strawberry plants

Pests and Diseases 

Aphids  – spraying your brassicas with diluted washing up liquid will deter them from landing on your crops. You can buy insecticides if you prefer, including a fatty acid soap to spray on the plants.

Carrot fly –   a particular problem between May and September when female flies lay their eggs the best defence to cover plants with horticultural fleece or place two-foot-high barriers around the plants.

Cabbage root fly– attacking the roots of brassicas, these flies can cause a lot of damage to your plants. Female flies lay the eggs on the surface of the soil next to the stem of the plant. Place a piece of carpet (or cardboard or fleece) around the base of the plant to create a collar, this will stop the flies from laying their eggs on the soil. 

Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Plants, Wildlife

August is usually the hottest month of the year, so your main focus should be keeping your garden watered and your pond and water features topped up. There is also some prep work to do for the arrival of .autumn, and you should continue some of your maintenance from last month.

General 

Top up birdbaths, ponds and water features – June is one of the hottest months of the year so you need to check your birdbaths and ponds regularly to make sure they don’t go dry.

Keep the garden watered – your garden is going to dry out quickly in the heat this month, keep everything evenly watered to stop your garden going yellow and wilting.

Keep on top of Algae growth –  strong sunlight creates the perfect environment for algae growth in ponds or water features. Remove it as you see it in ponds, and add wildlife-friendly weed control into water features.

Trim conifers and other garden hedges – this is the time of year when growth can get a bit out of control, so now is the best time to trim in order to keep an even shape. Just make sure that you check the hedge for birds nests first.

Think about which plants you would like for next springit might seem a bit early, but now is the time to get thinking about next year, and if you want to be ready for autumn planting it’s best to start ordering now.

Plants

  • Tidy up fallen leaves and flowers to discourage disease.
  • Mow wildflower meadows to help scatter the seeds.
  •  Cut back faded perennials to keep borders tidy.
  • Keep on top of weeds 
  • Prune all summer flowering shrubs 
  •  Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering 

Wildlife 

Put out food for hedgehogs – hoglets should be emerging from their birth nests this month so to give them a helping hand as they start to explore the world you can leave out water and meat-based dog or cat food (ideally chicken) on a plate or in a hedgehog feeder.

Plant low growing plants around ponds – this is the time of year where baby frogs should be emerging from ponds, and you can help them hide from predators or shelter from the sun by planting low growing plants or allowing the lawn to grow near the edge of your pond.

Sow wildlife-friendly biennials – planting flowers like foxgloves, forget-me-nots and hollyhock is a great way to attract pollinators to your garden. By sowing now you are ensuring a source of food that’ll last longer into the year, giving them a better chance to survive the winter.