Current Issues, How To, Indoor, Indoor Plants

 

 With 40% of office workers expecting to remain working from home in 2021 the need to make our homes more suitable for this new way of working is important for our wellbeing and productivity. Creating an effective working environment in the home that doesn’t get in the way of the rest of your life can be a challenge, but it’s one that can be overcome in any home in a few simple steps. Here are our top tips for setting up a successful home office. 

Pick a Place With Natural Light 

 

Your space needs to be bright enough to see what you’re doing, but not too bright that it’s distracting. Setting up your workspace near a source of natural light is a great option, it increases productivity and is an effective way of boosting your mood. 

But don’t forget lamps –  towards the end of the year your working hours will likely be longer than the time the sun is out in full, and if you work in the evening or early morning your contact with natural light will be smaller. A great way to overcome this is to put a lamp near your workspace. A floor-standing lamp that is placed a bit away from your works station is the best option, but if you are on a budget or don’t have space, a table lamp or your room’s main light will work well enough. If you can, choose a cool-white bulb as they keep you more alert for longer whilst warmer lights can make you feel more sleepy. 

Separate The Space 

Creating a distinction between home and work is important for your mental health and well being. Your leisure and family time needs to be just that, and it is far too easy to want to check emails and take calls when your computer is on your sofa or in the bedroom. For those of us with a spare room, a dedicated home office is the best option, but for those with a busy family home or a small flat, this can be a bit more difficult. The number one rule should be to keep your home office as far away from the busiest part of the home as possible. If you have a busy, kitchen set up in the living room or vice versa. Try to find somewhere where you can physically separate, but a quiet corner will do just as well.

But I like background noise – a lot of people have grown used to the bustle of a busy office and need it to focus. The temptation can be to turn on the TV and have it running in the background, but this can be fatal to your productivity. We are more easily distracted by visual things, so if you need background noise consider a radio instead. 

Add Houseplants

Houseplants, especially air-purifying ones are an important addition to your home working space. They bring all the benefits of a garden indoors and with climbing and tall plants available they are a viable option for all sized spaces. Houseplants also:

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase productivity
  3. Make the place more attractive 
  4. Clean the air and reduce noise

Even one or two plants can improve your space. Find a houseplant that works for you and enjoy a better environment.

Get a Good Chair

Back pain and bad posture will affect concentration, blood pressure and general health. The chair you sit on for 40 hours a week is very important to your life overall. A good office chair should offer back support, be comfortable and be high enough to put your feet flat on the floor whilst sitting

Take Breaks 

47% of employees have reported a decrease in breaks taken during the workday. When you’re home already it can feel unnecessary to take time out to recharge and relax, but a whole day of uninterrupted work will most likely lead to less productivity and an increase to stress. Take the time out to make a hot drink and relax.      

We’d love to see how your working from home. Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

 

Celebrations And Holidays, Christmas, Decoration, Indoor

Your choice of tree is one of the most important decisions you will make at Christmas, It will be the centrepiece of your home for the festive season so getting the right one is important. This guide will help you choose the perfect tree for you and your home.

Artificial or Real?

A real tree is a traditional choice for many, but they may not be practical for all homes and lifestyles. A good quality artificial tree is a good alternative to a real tree in some homes. When making this choice consider:  

Real trees: 

  • Traditional smell and look 
  • Use less plastic 
  • Are grown in environmentally friendly ways 
  • Can be recycled after use 
  • Drop needles so may not be suitable for small children and pets
  • Can carry allergens
  • Can be difficult to transport

You can shop our full range of real Christmas trees here

Artificial trees

  • Reusable – saving money in the long term 
  • Easy to assemble and store 
  • No dropped needles
  • Carry no allergens
  • Take up space
  • Made of plastic
  • Can become damaged if not stored correctly 

You can shop our full range of artificial Christmas trees here

Environmental impact

Artificial Christmas trees are often seen as the environmentally-friendly option. However, this is not always the case. Most artificial trees are made of plastic, not all of them can be recycled and most will end up in a landfill. You can find trees made from recycled plastic, and if you maintain the tree well it may last for years, which will have a net benefit.  Real trees can be easily recycled and provide a boost to local ecology when grown. They can also be grown in soil that is unsuitable for other crops and for each acre, provide enough oxygen for 18 people every day. Each tree will also absorb around 1 tonne of carbon in its life. 

Species of Christmas Tree

Like all plants, there are a few species of Christmas tree. Each one brings something different and plays a different role in your home

Nordmann Fir

The most popular Christmas tree. Has a pyramid shape made of defined layers of straight twig-like branches. The glossy dark needles have a thick, waxy coating which makes them softer to the touch; better for households with children or pets. These trees don’t shed needles as often as other varieties, making them a great lower-maintenance option.

View Our Range Of Nordman Fir Trees

Norway Spruce

More commonly used in eastern Europe, the Norway spruce has a rounder shape with a pointed top. The foliage is a bit thicker and the branches point at a slight upward angle which makes them better for decorating with heavier decorations.  The short green needles can be spiky, so it may not be the best option for families with young children or pets. They may also shed more if your home is particularly warm.

View Our Full Range Of Norway Spruce Trees

Fraser Fir

Named after the botanist John Fraser, his pyramid-shaped tree has strong upward-turning branches which are great for holding decorations. It has a pleasant scent and good needle retention, making it a great addition to your home. The dark green, flattened needles have a silvery underside.

christmas tree buying guide

View Our Full Range Of Fraser Fir Trees

Cut Quality

Christmas trees have different grades of cut, which affects the look of the tree and the price point.

Premium Cut

Also known as 1st grade, premium cut trees tend to be bushy with medium to high-density foliage. They are very symmetrical and have up to only one industry-recognised cosmetic flaw, which is not usually a concern to customers.

Standard Cut

Standard cut, or 2nd grade, trees are still healthy and satisfactory to customers, but are less symmetrical and have two or more industry-recognised cosmetic flaws.  These trees tend to be around 30% cheaper than their premium counterparts.

Other Considerations

Before buying a Christmas tree, there are other things you should consider:

  • Allergens: according to Haymax, one-third of the UK population suffers from an increase in itchy skin and cold-like symptoms, known as “Christmas Tree Syndrome”. If someone in your household is allergic to Christmas trees, an artificial tree could be a better option.
  • Size: make sure to measure the height of the room of the tree is going to be based in before you buy, and factor in the size of the tree stand to make sure it fits!
  • Fire safety: if you choose a real Christmas tree, keep it away from direct contact with a heat source, such as a fireplace or heat vent. If you are using fairy lights, make sure to switch them off when you are not at home or buy lights with a timer so they are off when you are asleep. 
  • Buy online: sometimes buying your tree online is the best opinion. If you don’t live near or have access to a farm and want a good quality tree delivered to your door within 24 hours then it might be perfect for you. We have an extensive range of real Christmas trees this year, all cut and wrapped in order, to ensure they reach you in the best quality.

Alice at PrimroseAlice works in the Primrose copywriting team. She spends her days here writing gardening product descriptions and cracking blog posts.

Outside work, Alice is writing a fiction novel and runs her own blog. She also enjoys travel, good food, and tarot reading.

See all of Alice’s posts.

 

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. 

Decoration, Decorative Features, Gary, Indoor, Planters, Scott, Water Features

One in eight British homes has  no access to a garden or private outdoor space. Being outdoors is great for both your mental and overall health. So, how do you get all the benefit of having a garden when you don’t have one? Here are some of our top tips for bringing the outside in.

Add More Houseplants 

Bringing the outside in

This is a quick and easy way to liven up your space. Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes and colours and a good combination of succulents, trailing and upright plants will have an immediate effect on bringing a space to life. You can easily find a plant suitable for every room in your house and when compared to outdoor plants, houseplants can be easier to look after.  Combine this with some pots that match your decor and you have an easy win.

Grow Herbs 

Herbs On Windowsill

If you want to grow plants that are a bit more functional then herbs are a great place to start. Not only do they live longer indoors, but they can be used to add new flavours to your cooking. They also look great and if you plant thyme or rosemary will add some great scents into your home. 

Be Creative with Planters 

You don’t just need to limit yourself to terracotta pots, and there are loads of options you can use to make the plants in your house a design feature. 

Wall Mounted 

Taking your plants off the floor or tabletop is a great way to add green without taking up a lot of space. There are lots of varieties available from simple glass vases to trellis-style planters and they come in all styles and designs. These planters can be used to house all kinds of plants, but look particularly great when used with succulents.  

Hanging

Wall-mounted planters might not be an option if you are renting, but if you still want to add a green feature to your space then consider a hanging planter instead. These planters can usually just be attached with a D-ring and don’t cause any damage. These are a great option for trailing house plants like the devil’s ivy or a monkey leaf monstera.

Balcony Planters

A balcony planter or is a great option if you want outdoor only plants and you have a small or Juliette balcony. These planters are easy to install and either just hook onto the railing or slot over the top. This is a perfect way to grow herbs if you have limited space or bring the smell of some traditional flowers into your house. 

Make Use Of Mirrors

Using mirrors to make space seem larger is a cornerstone of interior design. They bring more light into the home to make it feel fresher and more inviting. Placing mirrors where they can reflect greenery is a great way for making your space feel bigger, fresher and more vibrant. It’s also a great way to work with a limited plant budget; you can double up for the price of a single mirror!

Install A Water Feature

tabletop water feature

The sound of running water is incredibly relaxing and water features don’t have to be limited to your outdoor space. In fact, having running water inside has a host of benefits:

  • Relaxing sound to make a calm atmosphere
  • Better circulation of air in your home
  • Help tackle any noise pollution from the outside

Not having a garden doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature and the benefits that the natural world brings. These tips are just the start – we’d love to see what you’ve done to bring the outside in on social media:  Instagram, Twitter or Facebook