Our team share their favourite Christmas traditions

Close up of white box with red ribbon with cookies
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here at Modish Living HQ! This year may be a little different to others, but that’s not stopping us from getting into the festive spirit. We asked some of the team to share their favourite memories and traditions with you to help spread the seasonal joy..!



Christmas is really busy for me as we have three birthdays in December as well- one on boxing day! My favourite tradition is putting up the last of the decorations on my dad’s birthday, which is on 20th December. We like to change the decorations up every year – we’re all really crafty and we tend to make our own. This year, we’re going for a silver and white origami theme, with wild mistletoe from the garden.

Three images of white paper origami Christmas baubles


I love the build up to Christmas more than the day itself and my all time favourite tradition is decorating the Christmas tree. We always do this together with my children and pick an afternoon over a weekend, preferably a Sunday. We’ll have a traditional Christmas movie on in the background and we open a tin of Celebrations or Roses and warm some mince pies. As well as the tree, we have a lovely fireplace and old rustic coffee table, which we always decorate with candles and other Christmas ornaments. This year I’m planning on foraging for lots of greenery and berries to weave amongst the scented candles. Whilst the deccies are going up, we’ll have a roast in the oven, filling the house with its comforting and delicious smell, and we’ll sit around our wooden dining table to eat once the tree is finished.

Traditional decorated Christmas tree next to large stone fireplace with open fire

Hellen and Chris

Christmas is a time for us to switch off, recharge and enjoy time with family and friends. Our Christmas traditions are a mix of old and new, much like our reclaimed wood furniture. On Christmas Eve if we’re in Norway (Hellen is Norwegian), we’ll ski and have a special Nordic supper and open presents with family. If we’re home in the UK, we still have a celebration on Christmas Eve, but we will open our presents on Christmas Day. A new tradition we enjoy is to walk along the seafront on Christmas Day morning with our dogs, Masey and Dave, together with whoever we have staying with us. We’re so lucky to live near the sea and it’s a lovely way to start the day. Once home, Hellen will beautifully decorate our reclaimed wood industrial dining table and we’ll have a late and long lunch of traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings.

Brighton Pier and beach in the snow with person walking on the pebbles


I’m super into Christmas. My golden rule is the decorations don’t go up until December (even in lockdown!). Once December hits, there’s a Christmas explosion in my home! As my partner is Norwegian we celebrate on both the 24th and 25th December, and last year we spent it in Norway, which was amazing. Sledging, cooking dough over an open fire and loads of wonderful food! Something my parents did and now we have started to do is have a real tree. There’s something about the smell that just screams Christmas. A tradition I miss from when I was younger is table presents. My grandparents had a large reclaimed wood dining table and would put a homemade cardboard snowman on it which they hand filled with small presents, one for each person at the table.

Wooden sledge stuck in snow with snow covered pine trees and blue sky


When I was younger we lived in Germany – my favorite Christmas tradition was going to one of their world famous Christmas markets. We would get all wrapped up and go with some friends and spend a few hours walking around and taking in the atmosphere, sights, smells and sounds. After this outing we would go back with our friends and enjoy a Christmassy evening at their house – the highlight of this was the bottom shelf of the large sideboard they had in their living room – it was always brimming with traditional German treats – it was a bit like being able to choose anything you wanted from a sweet shop. To this day I still love all the German traditional Christmas treats that are now much more available

Christmas market scene with large lit up Christmas tree and fairy lights


House Tour: A chic home brings modern farmhouse style to Wales

grey fabric sofa and rustic coffee table for

modern farmhouse living room with rustic coffee table with pale blue fabric sofa

When we want a hit of modern farmhouse inspiration we often find ourselves scrolling through Instagram to lust over some of the home interiors in our feed. One account we always come back to is Cwmrhys Cottage – a beautifully renovated Victorian cottage situated in the small village of Lampeter in West Wales and a fine example of modern farmhouse chic, complete with rustic furniture and natural materials.

bedroom with cream fabric headboard and upholstered bench at foot of bed

It was love at first sight for Dominique and her partner Shaun when they saw the rundown cottage, complete with stunning countryside views and genuine period features. After buying the cottage at auction, they spent the next two years completely renovating the property to create an exquisite home that is a vision of modern farmhouse style. We caught up with Dominique to ask her about the renovation, her style and how a mix of classic and rustic furniture helped create an effortlessly characterful and chic home.

House at a glance

Who lives here: Dominique and Shaun with their two ‘fur babies’, Auror, a Golden Retriever and Kiara, a Cocker Spaniel.

Type of property: Traditional detached Welsh cottage, West Wales

Size: 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms

The renovation

modern farmhouse kitchen with island and fabric bar stools

“We renovated the property from top to bottom, completely gutting and stripping it back to its internal walls and reconfiguring the entire layout, along with adding a double-story extension. As well as the view and location, what we loved most about the cottage were the period features, so we were thrilled when we discovered some beautiful original stone walls after we had stripped it all back. We sandblasted and repointed them and now they’re one of our favourite features of the house. We’re still ticking off our renovation to-do list and we have lots of plans, including a porch/boot room and a second extension for another living room.” Dominique

Dominique’s favourite room – the living room

It was Dominique’s mission to open up the downstairs space to create a large, light and inviting living area. She knocked three rooms into one large area and used the two stone fireplaces at each end of the space to create different zones in the open space. We love the beautiful rustic coffee table that is the perfect centerpiece for the room and complements the original large inglenook stone fireplace. The large jute rug with a dark grey border that sits under the rustic wood coffee table brings an instant French farmhouse flair, whilst the sofa naturally separates the room. At the other end of the room, Dominique and Shaun created a cosy reading corner by building a bookcase under the stairs and adding a lovely upholstered armchair next to the wood burner in the smaller stone fireplace for a spot to sit and read next to the fire.

fabric chesterfield sofa next to open fireplace with wood burner

grey fabric sofa and rustic coffee table

“My partner Shaun is a carpenter so we were lucky that he managed to do all the work himself apart from electrics and plumbing. My department was the interiors so I had full creative control over that. I’ve always loved interiors – it’s definitely a passion of mine and I love country rustic styles and mixing old with new.” Dominique

black crittal internal doors next to grey fabric armchair

Colour scheme

When it comes to colour, Dominique has chosen a neutral scheme for the living room and kitchen/diner areas to allow the beauty of the grey stone walls to take centre stage. Pops of colour and contrasting black accents have been added using hardware, soft furnishings and accessories, but overall the look is muted and classic.

Upstairs, the master bedroom features a paneled wall painted in a rich royal blue that complements the fabric headboard and white bed side table, whilst in the guest bedroom, Dominique picked a pale green for the paneled wall behind the king size bed.

light green painted panelled wall with white bedroom side table


Images courtesy of Dominique @cottagerenovationcwmrhys

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How to style a bookshelf – expert tips from Desenio

wooden bookcase with black ornaments

wooden bookcase with ornaments and prints

You have a beautiful rustic bookcase, but what do you put on it? The obvious answer is, books, right? Not so fast! There’s a lot more to styling a bookcase than you may initially think. According to the team at Desenio, the Scandi-loving wall art specialist that offers affordable art for stylish interiors, your bookcase is a stage to express your creativity and flaunt your own personal style. Cram it full of books and it will look cluttered and disorganised, but with some clever styling tricks, it can become a wonderful focal point in a room. We asked the experts at Desenio for some ideas on how to transform a bookcase into a well-styled display cabinet showcasing framed prints and accessories, as well as books. See some great tips below.

5 Ways for styling your bookcase

1. Pick your style

To create a display that reflects you, the first thing is to figure out what your design style is. Are you a maximalist or a minimalist? Do you love bright colours or prefer a neutral blend of shades? The good news is there are no rules. The style of prints you choose to arrange on your wooden display cabinet depends on your own personal taste, but if you’re not sure, opting for neutral or monochrome graphic prints or something abstract is a safe bet.

organising layout of framed prints for how to style a bookcase with frames blog

2. Go for frames in various sizes

By choosing framed prints in a variety of sizes you can really flex your creative muscles! It’s worth measuring between the shelves to double-check the space, but generally, the majority of bookcases allow for frames sized 40x50cm. To create a stylish display, add in some 30x40cm and 21x30cm frames of prints that work together.

3. Layer-up frames

You’ve picked a variety of different-sized frames, now you need to know how best to display them. Framed prints form the backbone of a stylish bookcase, whether that’s a wooden display shelf or industrial style shelving, but you want to avoid them being one-dimensional. The trick here is to layer and overlap them slightly to add intrigue and contrast. Put the tallest frames at the back – if there is a back to the bookcase, lean the frames against it – and the smaller ones in front to create an eye-catching display. Try to avoid using too many or the shelf will look cluttered – three on a standard-sized shelf is usually adequate.

layer of frames on a wooden bookcase

4. Make it personal

When styling your bookcase, it’s important to include personal objects to make it truly work. These could be sentimental objects you have picked up over the years, photos of a memorable holiday or of your loved ones, candles, vases or other treasured ornaments – maybe even your favourite hardback book. If they make you happy every time you look at them, then they’re worth putting up on display.

industrial bookcase with white and black vases

5. Look at it from a distance

Once you’ve curated your display the best way to admire your efforts is to take a step back and look at it from a distance. Think about the overall balance of your creation taking into account the colours and positioning of the frames and ornaments. The trick to successful styling is finding balance, whether that’s with a bookshelf, coffee table or wooden sideboard. Check if the size, scale and contrast work together. You want to make sure that the objects on display feel balanced without being too symmetrical.

Discover beautiful art for your bookshelf at Desenio and shop our rustic bookcase collection at Modish Living.

All images Desenio.

Read more

For more ideas and home inspiration, explore our Our Friends feature blogs, including tips on how to work with pattern with Prestigious Textiles or ways to bring character to a new build with Instagram influencer @av.home.

Pro tips to style a sideboard by interior stylist, Kate Hill

mango wood sideboard with gold accessories and thumbnail print of Kate Hill

rustic oak sideboard with four cupboards and metal handles

How often do you look at homes in a magazine or online and think, “I wish I could style my furniture like that?” There’s a skill to making reclaimed or rustic furniture look fabulous in a home and professional interior stylist, set dresser and scenic artist, Kate Hill, has mastered that art.

The beauty of a wooden sideboard is not to be underestimated, and the same applies to any type of furniture with a surface area. Whether you have a rustic sideboard that is deep and long, a rustic console table or even an industrial coffee table with reclaimed wood and black steel, they offer the perfect stage to make a statement and add personality to a room.

Here, Kate shares with us some of her styling secrets that will help you create an effortless look every time.

Kate’s furniture styling secrets

Play with heights and layers

The trick here is to create a grouping of accessories in a variety of colours, textures and shapes that complement and contrast with each other. It can be one group across the entire surface or smaller separate ones. An easy recipe for dressing a wooden sideboard, console or side table is to choose three colours – say green, grey and terracotta. Choose items in different shapes and heights for each colour. Make your choice in different textures too – say glass, ceramic and metal. When you lay the items out on the surface, you are looking to spread out the colours amongst each other and because you have chosen them in different heights, shapes and textures, it will automatically create an interesting display.

display of vases and print on reclaimed wood sideboard

Books and Magazines

I sometimes buy a book purely for the beauty or colour of its front cover and use it to add interest to a coffee table. Stacks of books and magazines are also a great prop to add height to a surface that you want to dress creatively, but they should be colour-coordinated with your room. Neutral or muted colours that blend and don’t stand out work really well together. Green, white, grey and black are all good staple colours. Stack some of the books and place an object, such as a bowl, small plant or candle on top.

Trays and baskets

These are great for creating a home to display collections of objects such as candles or small plants. A wood or metal tray, plate or shallow bowl filled with candles always looks elegant and stylish on a reclaimed wood sideboard. You could add mini succulents, crystals and other treasured objects too.

oak sideboard with square panelled front and green accessories

Green Glassware

I love green glassware! It looks great with any style of furniture, but especially with rustic and reclaimed wood furniture. Choose plain or ribbed green glass and play with different heights; you’ll see how it gives the room a fresh lift. It also looks stylish combined with white and clear vases and glassware too.

close up of reclaimed wood sideboard with plant pots


Whether you prefer real or fake, plants…and more specifically trailing plants, will soften hard edges. They are the finishing touch that add natural colour and organic shapes to bring a room alive. Dried flowers and leaves in oversized vases are another trick for adding interesting texture and shapes to the space.

A bit about Kate

Interior stylist Kate Hill

Kate has worked as an interior stylist and writer for 20 years, creating room transformations for magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Ideal Home and House Beautiful. In recent years she has also become a set dresser, transforming venues for events and parties, including the BAFTA awards dinner and Royal Ascot. She also styles for the TV show, Interior Design Masters. Check out @katehillstylist for more inspiration from Kate.

House tour: A rustic beach cottage in Cornwall

Sarah Jane of Just a Little Build at Leat House in Cornwall

Leat House cottage in Cornwall

This slice of Cornish history embodies the very essence of coastal living, with original flagstone floors and thick local slate walls, the light and airy interior creates a cottage that’s picture-perfect from inside out.

Step inside

Set on a cobbled lane down to the sea in the tiny hamlet of Port Gaverne on Cornwall’s North Coast, Leat House is a wonderful 200-year-old coastal cottage and handiwork of the talented dynamo, Sarah-Jane, creator of Just a Little Build and Instagram account @justalittlebuild. With stunning uninterrupted views of the beach, sea and sheltered rugged cliffs, Sarah-Jane has turned this four-bedroom, two living room, dining room and two bathroom holiday cottage into a wonderfully welcoming space that feels fresh and modern whilst retaining the cottage’s original charm. Rustic furniture complement the painted panelled walls, original flagstone floors and neutral-toned interiors to create a space where visitors can surrender to the call of the sea and let the salty relaxed vibe get under their skin.

Living room at Leat House in Cornwall

Living Areas

Brimming with Cornish character, Leat House has two living spaces both of which strike the perfect balance between bright coastal style and a sense of cosiness. A stylish neutral palette runs through both rooms on the walls and windows with subtle accents of pattern, texture and colour bringing warmth to the spaces. The thick original flagstone floor in the more casual of the two rooms is softened by a natural jute rug and a squid ink blue velvet sofa, whilst in the more formal reception room, Sarah-Jane opted for a light carpeted floor and muted rug. A mixture of blue velvet and light tan leather sofas allows for the delightful large bay window with views of the bay to take centre stage in this room, whilst rustic furniture such as a rustic coffee table adds natural texture.

Living room in Leat House Cornwall

Living room of Leat House in Cornwall

Dining room and kitchen

kitchen of Leat House in Cornwall

Sarah-Jane continues the neutral tones with soft blue and grey accents in the kitchen and dining areas. The beautiful rustic dining table and grey painted wooden dining chairs with spindle back sit comfortably on the flagstone floor, whilst a blue wooden dresser with metal detailing gives a classic country cottage mood, not to mention handy storage. In the kitchen, the neutral colour scheme extends to the painted cupboards, we love the Aga and the small painted breakfast table with rustic stools and built-in seating in the bay window – the ideal sunny spot for a morning coffee whilst looking out to the sea. Blue furnishings and plants bring added colour and a contemporary feel to the room.

rustic dining table in Leat House Cornwall

rustic dining table and close up of hanging pendant lights at Leat House Cornwall


The relaxed coastal vibe and muted colour scheme continue upstairs in the four bedrooms. Rustic influences include exposed wooden beams and painted wood panelling on accent walls throughout, together with furniture, such as a wooden bench at the end of the king-size bed in the master bedroom (perfect for perching to admire the magnificent views of the crashing Atlantic waves from the window), a rustic chest of drawers and painted wooden chest of drawers. All bedrooms are good sized doubles, with two benefiting from zip and link beds, making them ideal for family sharing rooms.

Bedrooms at Leat House in Cornwall

Master bedroom at Leat House Cornwall

If you’d like to stay at Leat House, check out the website leathouse.com for more information and check prices and availability.

Loved this?

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, check out more from Our Friends to discover tips and inspiration to create a home you love, including Maxine Brady’s insta-worthy home and a house tour around a modern farmhouse retreat.

Get creative – meet the founders of Cornish Milk Paints

Meet the founders of Cornwish Milk Paints

Founders of Cornish Milk Mineral Paints

If you love upcycling your rustic furniture, you are going to fall head over heels for our latest new find. We love discovering independent businesses that are doing amazing things in the world of homes and interiors and even more so when they are flying the eco-friendly flag and helping us create stylish homes that are kind to our planet. Our latest favourite find is Cornish Milk Mineral Paints, a fantastic family business in Cornwall that makes water-based, non-toxic, non-solvent, non-chemical (that’s a lot of ‘non’) environmentally friendly paint with a lower than low VOC content. Created using organic earth pigments sourced from the UK and available in a gorgeous curation of colours that capture the true essence of Cornwall, the paints can be used on most surfaces, but are perfect when it comes to upcycling dining, living room or bedroom furniture.

We spoke with Reece and Joe, founders of Cornish Milk Mineral Paints to find out more….

First things first, what is milk mineral paint and does it contain actual milk?

No, there are no cows involved in creating our paints! Cornish Milk Mineral Paint is a water-based decorative paint that we created because we both loved using milk paints on our own upcycling projects. Upcycling furniture has always been a passion of ours and we wanted to make a mineral-based paint formula that had the same smooth and matt finish you get with milk paint, but without the fuss of having to mix a powder and water.

Cornish milk mineral paints in yellow

And where does the Cornish part come in?

It’s our home and it’s always been a dream of ours to have our own decorative paint collection ever since we started painting our furniture about ten years ago. After our upcycling hobby grew into a business and we started a family, we began to put the foundations in place for Cornish Mineral Milk paints. We knew from day one that our collection would be Cornish-inspired and reflect our beautiful home. We had great fun as a family exploring the pretty fishing villages and towns along the Cornish coast as inspiration for shades and names.

How do you make your paints?

We value the traditional way of paint making, not only because it produces the best results, but from an environmental perspective, it’s better too. All of our paints are made, poured and labelled by hand and then packaged by us before being shipped to our stockists and customers all over the world. By making and pouring our paints by hand, we have reduced our C02 emissions by 75%, compared to a normal machine operated factory.

All our Cornish colours are made with 100% real powdered earth pigments and contain zero synthetic dyes or stains. Our pigments guarantee a flawless finish with a superior richness to the colour.

Cornish Milk Mineral paints blue with paintbrush

What makes your paints ideal for painting furniture?

Our paints can be applied to almost any surface whether that’s on furniture, walls or exteriors, and the superior coverage makes it the perfect formula for upcycling. They offer exceptional coverage, outstanding adhesion and no visible brush strokes making it super easy to bring an old piece of reclaimed wood furniture back to life. Our unique formula ensures brush strokes disappear and after seven days of curing, the formula hardens leaving you with a smooth and matt finish every time. It’s also self-sealing, so no waxing or topcoat is required, saving you time and money and because it gives such a fabulous coverage and finish, you only need to apply one or two coats.

What tips can you give to get the best finish when upcycling furniture?

Preparation is key. Cornish Milk Mineral Paint is easy to apply and can be used on natural wood, varnish or over old paint, but to achieve the best finish, you should give your piece of rustic furniture a good clean. We couldn’t find a natural one that worked, so we created our own! Bioclean is a unique 100% plant-based and biodegradable furniture cleaner that removes dirt, grease and grime with no solvents or chemicals and is the perfect first step to painting furniture. Once it’s clean give your furniture a light sanding so that the paint has a surface to grip onto and you’re pretty much good to go.

Tell us what’s new?

We have collaborated with our official stockist, Jacked Junk, to create two very special limited edition Cornish Milk Mineral colours to raise awareness for Autism and raise money for The National Autistic Society. Seahorse and Coral are two beautiful and vibrant Spring/Summer 2022 colours that we hope will inspire our customers to get creative! The colours were hand chosen and named by Jack, who is 13 and has autism. Jack’s goal is to own his own Jacked Junk shop, employing other autistic people in the business. 10% of all proceeds from each tin sold will go directly to the National Autistic Society and we hope it will help raise awareness of autism.

Coral and blue Cornish Milk Mineral painted paddles and pots

Find out more about Cornish Milk Mineral Paints or for some upcycling inspiration visit @cornishmilkmineralpaint.

If you liked this….

Check-out the Our Friends series to discover pro tips and gorgeous homes to inspire, including How to do pattern with Prestigious Textiles and stepping inside interior stylist, Maxine Brady’s, chic Brighton home.

Meet Loma-Ann Marks, Editor-in-Chief of Reclaim

Loma-Ann Marks

Loma-Ann Marks, editor of Reclaim magazine

One of our favourite times of the month here at Modish Living is when our Reclaim magazine arrives. This treasure trove of all things reclaimed, upcycled and vintage shows just how wonderful reclaimed wood furniture can look in our homes with inspiration and advice from interior designers and master craftspeople. We had the honour of speaking with Managing Editor, Loma-Ann Marks, to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes at our much-loved magazine.

Hi, Loma-Ann. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a bit about you? Have you always wanted to work in magazines?

I have always loved magazines, and actually did four weeks of work experience at Smash Hits* when I was 15 [for any readers under the age of 30, Smash Hits was an iconic British pop music magazine for teens]. But I came back to them in a roundabout way, via writing theatre and dance reviews, then working on national newspapers, freelancing for brands, starting my own arts and culture website and now Reclaim.

What’s does a typical day as the Editor of Reclaim look like?

Well, I’m also managing editor, plus I oversee our socials and advertising so no two days are the same. My priority though is the print version of the magazine and I spend a lot of time commissioning features and liaising with writers and photographers, forward planning the issues, setting up partnerships and checking copy and images when they come in. We’re a small team and I work closely with our designer, sub and contributing editor.

We’re big fans of the magazine and particularly loved the January 2022 issue featuring @sophie-mumford-interiors home and your decorating trends. Do you have a favourite issue?

I have two. We did a complete re-design at the end of 2018, and for the launch of the new look I put together a cover shoot, featuring Jay Blades, Sonali Shah, Jo Wood, James Gooch and Sara Morel. I approached them specifically as each represents one of Reclaim’s five pillars: upcycling, salvage, vintage, antiques and eco. Plus they look beautiful together; always good for a cover!

front covers of Reclaim magazine

My other favourite was the May 2020 issue, created during lockdown. Everything was so worrying, but the positive I felt at the time, and wanted Reclaim to reflect, was that people were pulling together and helping each other. I added ‘Soft Power’ as the main coverline as it not only suited the gorgeous feminine home we featured on the cover, but is what we were all showing. Lots of the content already planned had to pivot to everyone’s new circumstances, and we covered everything from virtual stores to updating your home office and I’m proud of what we achieved.

What is it about reclaimed, sustainable and upcycled furniture that makes it so popular?

Because everyone is much more aware of how important it is to live sustainably. Reclaim has always reflected eco, reclaimed and upcycled furniture – now the mainstream has cottoned on. Also, upcycling is very creative, it’s cost-effective and the finished piece is unique.

With this desire to live more sustainably, how do you think reclaimed wood furniture and eco-interiors will evolve?

It will become even more mainstream, and larger brands will have to catch up and be clear about the provenance and supply chains of their pieces. Also, indie brands will become ever more popular as people buy into one-off, carefully made and curated ranges with a personal service.

reclaimed wood sideboard with barn style doors

What should people look for when buying reclaimed, vintage or rustic furniture?

Quality – most older pieces are very well made, as are new pieces using reclaimed materials, but it’s important to check that vintage furniture isn’t riddled with woodworm or immovable stains; or that reclaimed wood furniture has been properly treated, sanded and hasn’t got any splinters.

Is your home full of beautiful reclaimed and vintage pieces?

It’s a mixture of old and new, but the new tends to come from independent makers or brands. I’ve always loved vintage homewares, clothes and finding one-off, unusual pieces – my mum always said if something stands still for too long I’d put an old lace doily on it.

Do you have a favourite room in your home?

Currently my bedroom, which I completely redecorated during lockdown.

We love a bedroom makeover. Tell us more…

It’s very calm, pink and green, with two oversized prints by Swedish photographer, Dan Isaac Wallin, whose work is very dreamy and feels quite spiritual. The space also has a gallery of mirrors, fairy lights and a dresser that I gold-leafed – it catches the afternoon light and early evening light, which makes it very pretty.

artwork by Dan IsaacPhoto by: Dan Isaac Wallin / danisaacwallin.com / @danisaacwallin

What would be your dream property?

A Georgian mansion with wisteria in the garden.

white house with purple wisteria

Aside from your family, what three things would you save if our home was on fire?

A box of letters from my mum, my favourite ceramic swan from my dad and as many of my books as I could carry.

We think we already know the answer to this, but would you rather have a large master bedroom suite or a large home office?

Master suite, 100%. Relaxing is more important than work!!

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Make your home beautiful with flowers

Woman arranging flowers for make your home beautiful with flowers

lady arranging flowers on a rustic dining table

If you love rustic furniture and cottagecore interiors you may already be familiar with the gorgeous Instagram account @grove_cottage_. With a passion for flowers, Naomi has transformed the 200-year-old cottage set in a conservation area in a Buckinghamshire village into a wonderful English country rustic haven bursting with beautiful blooms and plants both inside and out. We caught up with Naomi to talk about her love of flowers and how to use them to create a stunning and welcoming home.

How to decorate your home with flowers by Naomi @grove_cottage_

I love the way fresh flowers and plants in my home make me feel, especially in the winter when the garden is dormant. They have a positive psychological effect on my mood and mental wellbeing which can immediately be felt once they are placed around the house. We know how good it makes us feel when we are walking in the countryside or enjoying green spaces in the city, and the same such emotions can be achieved from having real plants and flowers in your home.

springer spaniel dog next to large displays of flowers for make your home beautiful with flowers blog

Creating a beautiful display

I am no floral expect but my passion and inspiration come from nature, and how plants and flowers naturally grow in the wild. Relaxed, informal displays that reflect the countryside around us, perfect if you want to create a cosy cottagecore aesthetic. Keep it simple by using three core elements: balance, proportion and scale, with long stems in the centre, greenery around the edges to soften the look and shorter blooms to fill the gaps. It is always advisable to regularly step back from your display to visually review from a distance, the same way you would a painting.

“Keep it simple by using three core elements: balance, proportion and scale”

Keep it seasonal

I always have real plants in the house, but fresh floral arrangements are dependent on the seasons. In the summer, I will regularly pick flowers from my cottage garden to create simple, laid-back displays. Whilst in the winter, I will forage in the hedgerows and fields for dried, wildflowers and mix them with bought blooms from local farm shops or market florists.

dog and solid wood dining table with stone vase and flowers

Whatever the season, it is all about bringing the outside in. During the summer months, it is so rewarding to create natural floral displays from flowers and plants I have grown in the garden. In the colder months, there is nothing better than going for a long walk in the countryside to forage for dried plants. Mixing these with seasonal flowers bought from a farm shop or market florist helps to support the local community.

Best rooms to display flowers

rustic dining table with wooden dining chairs and large vases of flowers

You can create displays in any room, corner, nook or cranny. Large plants always sit proudly in both the dining room and my living room, enjoying the corners of these two rooms, whilst fresh flowers thrive well in our kitchen on our rustic dining table where natural light streams in through the vaulted glass ceiling. The kitchen windowsill is home to potted plants and herbs and my senses are awakened in the morning by fresh flowers on my chest of drawers in the bedroom. I also make use of the tops of our rustic sideboard with a large display or a collection of smaller vases on a wooden tray.

wooden chest of drawers with dog and jug of flowers

Favourite flower combinations

In the summer, it is all about seasonal flowers picked from the garden mixed with fresh foliage. A combination of climbing and wild roses of soft pink and cream hues creates the perfect natural display for any spot in the house. I might go as far as saying I am slightly obsessed with roses, as my cottage garden in the summer is abundant with their prettiness.

rustic cottage front door with pink climbing roses for make your home beautiful with flowers blog

Autumn and winter are all about foraging for wild plants during the changing colours of nature. Hawthorn, rose hips and grasses add beautiful textures, whilst hydrangeas picked from the garden and dried provide a pleasing array of beautiful blooms. Around the festive period ivy and holly with berries, mixed with dried thistles and eucalyptus, again adds texture and depth to floral displays.

Size matters: the perfect vase

vases on flowers on solid wood tables

The most important thing to remember when choosing the perfect vase is size does matter! The general rule of thumb is stems should be no more than one and a half to two times the height of the vase. The beauty of long-stemmed flowers complements a tall, slender vase to give the display height, whilst curvaceous vases, with a wider bottom and narrower neck, suit shorter plants with rounder and bigger heads. Bud vases or jam jars are the perfect choice for displaying a single stem or smaller blooms.

To discover Naomi’s gorgeous style and home follow her @grove_cottage_. All images courtesy of @grove_cottage_.

Check out more from the Our Friends blog series for rustic inspiration and home interior ideas….

Decluttering tips from professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn

Vicky Silverthorn of You Need a Vicky

woman clearing rustic wood desk of paper

As much as most of us don’t choose to clutter our living space, it’s an inevitable part of home life and all too often life gets in the way of keeping it the calm space you worked so hard to create. From that pile of papers on the corner of the work surface to a wooden chest of drawers full of unworn clothes and other odds and ends, there always seems to be ‘stuff’ staring at us no matter how hard we try to stay tidy. If you’ve attempted to get on top of the mess and to declutter only to create more work and stress, you may have come to the conclusion that it just isn’t for you. However, according to professional organiser, Vicky Silverthorn, of You Need a Vicky, decluttering isn’t rocket science, it’s simply a matter of mindset and organisation. Far from being the preserve of obsessive tidiers only, Vicky shares with us her pro Decluttering Tips of how to declutter without having to follow strict rules and make it a way of life….

Decluttering Tips for an organised home with Vicky Silverthorn

Vicky Silverthorn of You Need a Vicky

1. Live with less

One of the easiest changes you can make is to switch your mindset to enjoying to live with less. Life for many of us is frantic and already full, we don’t need more ‘stuff’ to busy our minds. The less belongings you have, the less you have to be responsible for and the easier it is to manage your belongings. You don’t have to follow strict rules, such as ‘if you haven’t worn an item for over a year, chuck-it’, to be good at decluttering; we don’t need more pressure! We’re all individual and live our lives differently, so there can’t be one rule-book that works for all. I believe once you get to grips with the concept of living with less, you will automatically be more selective with what you want in your home.

“being organised starts at home; if your home is in shape, other elements of your life will follow.” Vicky Silverthorn

2. Hold on to the things that are special

Many people think that decluttering includes ridding yourself and your home of everything that is special or holds precious memories. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you enjoy living a minimalist lifestyle, clutter is unlikely to be a problem for you, but for many of us, surrounding ourselves with reminders of those we love or happy times is what makes our house a home. By reassessing your belongings and moving some on, you will discover which items are genuinely most precious to you and give them pride of place on your shelves or wooden sideboard. Rather than be lost amongst other items, the important things are able to shine through and you will notice them more. It comes back to the notion of living with less. When we have less we value those special mementos more and this brings us greater appreciation and happiness.

wooden sideboard with middle door open

3. Look at your room differently

Once you have embraced the idea of living a less cluttered life and start seeing the benefits, you will enter a different mindset that makes it almost second nature. I really believe you don’t have to follow a strict formula and should do what works for you, think more guidelines than rules. My clients often tell me they no longer feel the need to have a dedicated declutter day as they naturally move on belongings they no longer want or need as they go. They view a room differently and as such, decluttering becomes a natural way of life.

“Ask yourself ‘can I live without it?’ – this is the most powerful question to ask yourself.” Vicky Silverthorn

4. Find friendly ways to restore order

One of my most important decluttering tips is to think of being tidy and ordered as a friend, rather than a foe. We all too often see order and restoring order as a chore and an unwelcome necessity. Being organised will work for you, not against you. Having order in the home, and your life, is not something that will add to your workload continuously. Give everything a home and get into the simple habit of putting things back where they belong, even if that takes you an extra 20 seconds – it will save you time in the long run.

woman tidying white wooden bookshelf

About Vicky Silverthorn

Being organised is something that comes naturally to Vicky. After ten years working as a PA for professional footballers, pro golfers and eventually the musician, Lily Allen, Vicky set up her own business, You Need A Vicky, to help people declutter and organise their homes. Vicky and her team share a passion for organisation to improve your life for the better and with their decluttering tips have helped people from all walks of life organise their homes and to declutter their spaces. To find out more visit www.youneedavicky.com.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, check out more from Our Friends to discover tips and inspiration to create a home you love, including Key Wallpaper Trends from wallpaper designers Feathr and How to get an Insta-worthy Home with interior stylist, Maxine Brady.