Antiques, Art and Vintage Textiles – unique and sustainable home furnishings

Some things are more sustainable than others due to their production process and the materials required. But the most sustainable choice of all for home decoration is vintage and antique. Buying something that already exists creates zero carbon footprint, and some items have had several owners, so have been re-cycled many times.

Last week I visited The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park, where the great and the good showcase vintage treasures. When you’re looking for something really special – this is a good place to start. Here are some of my favourite finds….

Dee Zammit  has a shop in Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, with a beautiful collection of interesting lights and furniture.

Dee Zammit has a shop in Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, with a beautiful collection of interesting lights and furniture.

Fiona McDonald  in Fulham is great for elegant mid century design

Fiona McDonald in Fulham is great for elegant mid century design

Joshua Lumley , based in Ashford, Kent, always has the most beautiful rugs in exquisite colours and patterns.

Joshua Lumley, based in Ashford, Kent, always has the most beautiful rugs in exquisite colours and patterns.

This lovely blue velvet sofa is comfortable, cocooning and classy.£1950 from  Nadin & Macintosh , Sherborne, Dorset.

This lovely blue velvet sofa is comfortable, cocooning and classy.£1950 from Nadin & Macintosh, Sherborne, Dorset.

This lovely stone lady, £2,800 is from  Troix Garcons , in Marylebone’s Antique hot spot, Church Street.  

This lovely stone lady, £2,800 is from Troix Garcons, in Marylebone’s Antique hot spot, Church Street.  

Globe £2,600  Troix Garcons

Globe £2,600 Troix Garcons

I wish I had a wall big enough for this huge round mirror from  Dean Antiques  in Tetbury, (the antique lovers paradise in the Cotswolds).

I wish I had a wall big enough for this huge round mirror from Dean Antiques in Tetbury, (the antique lovers paradise in the Cotswolds).

BrownRigg  in Tetbury always have an interesting selection of gorgeous things. Antique lamps from £800.

BrownRigg in Tetbury always have an interesting selection of gorgeous things. Antique lamps from £800.

If you’re looking for contemporary art –  RAW Editions  have an amazing collection. This Julian Opie is for sale at £6,750

If you’re looking for contemporary art – RAW Editions have an amazing collection. This Julian Opie is for sale at £6,750

My personal favourite in the show – by Sven Bertil Barntsson 1952. £1250 from  Saunders Fine Art  in Charlotte St, London W1.

My personal favourite in the show – by Sven Bertil Barntsson 1952. £1250 from Saunders Fine Art in Charlotte St, London W1.

Six Sustainable flooring options

The first thing to think about when starting any building or renovations work, is the floor. It can’t be changed as easily as the colour of the walls, or the curtains, and it has a huge impact on the room, so it’s important to get it right.

1. Restoring

Consider keeping the existing floor to avoid environmental impact and depleting resources. It will probably save you a lot of money too.

For some lucky people who have beautiful old floorboards, this is a no-brainer. A light sand and a few repairs will bring them back to life and what’s not to like about old wooden floorboards?

If there are damaged boards that need replacing, it’s usually possible to buy reclaimed floorboards to match if you sand and stain / varnish them all together. It’s worth doing a test first to make sure the replacement doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Look for eco friendly non-toxic products (there will be more info about this in a future blog).

These missing tiles could easily be replaced with similar or complementary different designs.

These missing tiles could easily be replaced with similar or complementary different designs.

Old floor tiles can also be cleaned and polished, and often it’s possible to find replacements to match any that are cracked. If you can’t find the same tiles, consider using complementary plain or patterned designs for a random effect. This can give a room heaps of character and save a lot of labour and money.

Another option is to mix tiles and floorboards together.

Another option is to mix tiles and floorboards together.

If, on the other hand, your floor has no hope for restoration and you need new flooring, then there are many sustainable options available. I will go into more detail in future blog posts, but here is a summary to give you the idea. Please sign up to my blog (below) to get an email when the next part is published.

2. Reclaimed floorboards

This is the obvious and probably easiest choice, as reclaimed boards are widely available now and old wood always has more character than new. Use a company that prepare the boards ready to lay and that give clear information about how to look after them.

If you decide you need new floorboards, make sure they are FSC approved (from sustainable sources).

reclaimed oak floorboards  nicolehood.co.uk

reclaimed oak floorboards nicolehood.co.uk

3. Ceramic tiles

Ceramic stone, earthenware and porcelain are all natural materials, derived from the earth, and will biodegrade, so are a good sustainable choice. Where they lose points is in the heating process required to fire the kilns, but many ceramicists claim that in larger studios and in industrial pottery production, there are heat recovery systems in place which provide energy for hot water and heating in the building.

There are also chemicals used in the glazes, but gradually companies are moving towards less toxic options and there are now many non-toxic glazes available. So overall ceramic tiles are a good sustainable choice if these considerations are minimised. It’s worth asking the supplier about this before you buy.

stone look, marble look and concrete look tiles from  ecofriendlytiles

stone look, marble look and concrete look tiles from ecofriendlytiles

4. Cork

Cork flooring is manufactured from the bark of cork oak trees and comes in a variety of styles. No trees are destroyed in the environmentally friendly manufacturing process. The cork bark can be harvested every 9 years, and the cork oak trees are known to live more than 300 years.

Cork is warm and comfortable to walk on, sound absorbing, waterproof, strong, long lasting, easy to clean, anti allergenic and a natural insect repellent! Sounds perfect!

The natural finish of this cork floor is beautiful but most cork floors have a lacquer on top to protect from staining. 

The natural finish of this cork floor is beautiful but most cork floors have a lacquer on top to protect from staining. 

5. Micro Concrete

Micro concrete is a thin 2mm layer of concrete that can be plastered over existing surfaces and is strong, heat resistant and crack resistant. It can give a new life to an old floor and is a very economical solution.

Micro concrete is more sustainable than ripping out floors and replacing them, and the amount of concrete used to cover them is very small, because it is only 2mm thick. You can cover an area of 6-8sqm with only 10kg of concrete. It comes in kit form with primer, pigment, sealer and wax. It is applied like plaster and there are a variety of colours. There are some handy videos showing you how to use it on design concrete's website.

micro concrete walls and floor by  design concrete

micro concrete walls and floor by design concrete

6. Bamboo

Bamboo is a natural vegetation that grows to maturity in three to five years, (far less than the twenty years trees can take), without the need for fertilizers, pesticides or much water. Bamboo also spreads easily with little or no care. In addition, a bamboo grove releases some 35 percent more oxygen into the air than a similar-sized stand of trees, and it matures (and can be replanted) within seven years (compared to 30-50 years for a stand of trees), helping to improve soil conditions and prevent erosion along the way.

It is as strong as wood, and is available in many colours and a variety of grains and finishes. However, the production process can make this a less sustainable choice if natural base adhesives are not used, so it’s important to buy from a company that can answer questions on this. But overall it is a good strong sustainable alternative to wood.

rustic bamboo flooring from  lumber liquidators

rustic bamboo flooring from lumber liquidators

There is so much to write on this subject that I am dividing it into sections. Next week I will go into more detail about what is available under the various sections. Please subscribe to my blog below if you’d like to receive an email telling you when the next blog is published.

What is sustainable design and how can I tell if something is sustainable?

When researching for interior design, it’s not easy to source sustainable options for fabrics, flooring, furniture, lighting etc. They do exist but they are difficult to find and you have to wade through a lot of weird stuff to get to the gems.

I’m using this blog to share my sustainable discoveries, and to show that there are plenty of stylish options for interiors, if you know where to look.

The  Masaya Lounge Chair  is handmade using sustainably harvested tropical hardwood. The barley leather is cut, dyed and hand-wrapped by local artisans and 100 trees are planted for every chair sold. 1055 Euros from  Yume .

The Masaya Lounge Chair is handmade using sustainably harvested tropical hardwood. The barley leather is cut, dyed and hand-wrapped by local artisans and 100 trees are planted for every chair sold. 1055 Euros from Yume.

Most of us are feeling worried and helpless about climate change. We’d like to live more sustainably but it’s almost impossible because our economy has been designed to do the opposite – to grow wealth by taking more and more of the earths resources, without replacing them or repairing the damage caused.

Things are gradually changing, for example - re-cycling is becoming part of everyday life, and now the spotlight is strong on plastic waste, so hopefully progress will be made to clean up our oceans. But these seem like small gestures while we still need to buy so much new stuff every week.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were shops, supermarkets, furniture stores etc, where everything in them was sustainable, stylish, and the same price as normal products. Surely most of us would shop at these places if we had the option. That day will have to come, and the sooner the better. Climate change is not going away, and sustainability is the only answer. One day, sustainable goods will be considered the new ‘quality’ - made to last or be recycled, and responsibly produced. We are a long way off from this, but we can bring it nearer by trying, where possible, to buy sustainable products.

There is a general feeling that if you can’t live by example, then you’re better off keeping quiet and trying to ignore it – to avoid being labelled a hypocrite. But doing something is much better than doing nothing, and there are more and more companies now who are introducing sustainable working methods and making beautiful products in a more responsible way. If we can support these companies and makers by choosing to buy their products rather than non-sustainable options, then we are helping to make a difference.

IKEA’s sustainable KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts  made from recycled plastic bottles

IKEA’s sustainable KUNGSBACKA kitchen fronts made from recycled plastic bottles

For example, organic cotton production creates much lower soil erosion, less water use and uses less energy, as opposed to conventional cotton growers. We all have so much cotton in our lives – not only clothes, but bed linen, towels etc (around 30% of global textile production is cotton) – so the more people that choose sustainable fabrics the better.

Beautiful organic cotton bed linen is available from  West Elm

Beautiful organic cotton bed linen is available from West Elm

Sustainable checklist

Sustainability is a complex subject which is hard to get to grips with. It’s not so much a matter of whether a product is sustainable or not, but whether it is more sustainable than other options. The more consumers that opt for sustainable products, the more companies will want to compete in this market, and standards will rise. 

Here is a list of things that make a product more sustainable and less damaging to the planet. It will be hard to find a company that is doing all of these things, but if they are doing one, two or more, then they deserve credit and support:-

- recycled materials / can it be re-cycled?

The ‘Cradle to Cradle’ concept, explained by author William McDonough, encourages not only using recycled materials, but to make products that are able to be re-cycled again at the end of their use. This will create a circular economy where resources can be used again and again, as opposed to the current linear economy where resources are used then discarded, causing them to deplete.

The textiles industry is successfully developing fabrics made from fruit peel, fishing nets, plastic bottles and coffee fibre, to name just a few.

IKEA have developed bioplastic bags ISTAD, that are now made mostly of a renewable material from the sugarcane industry, which they say is expected to save about 75,000 barrels of oil yearly, will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and contribute to a transformation of the plastic industry.

- biodegradable?

Natural materials can be composted, avoiding more landfill which releases toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases

 

- organic / non toxic production?

Using natural resources and minimizing chemical usage

dyeworks.co.uk  source and use antique french hemp and English and Irish linen and dye with natural dyes

dyeworks.co.uk source and use antique french hemp and English and Irish linen and dye with natural dyes

- locally sourced / transportation by ship rather than plane?

Transporting goods uses a vast amount of energy, so the less distance travelled the better, particularly if the product is heavy, as this means more fuel use. Planes use considerably more energy than any other form of transportation.

 

- low energy use?

Some methods of production are much lower in energy use eg natural fibres (organic cotton, wool, organic silk) – compared to standard production methods

 

- low wastage?

Many companies are now finding ways to minimise the waste produced, and are also using the waste product to make a new product, for example, there are new textiles being developed using cotton scraps and sustainable wood scraps. Vegan leather – which is surprisingly tactile, is now available made from mushroom skin.

And fruit skin (eg orange peel) is also being used to make leather and silk.

Orange Fiber  produce fabrics from orange peel

Orange Fiber produce fabrics from orange peel

- social responsibility and animal welfare?

Last but not least, an important issue for sustainable practice is ensuring all workers receive a fair wage and safe working conditions, and that all animals are humanely treated

Six stylish sustainable chairs

It’s hard to know where to find cool sustainable furniture and whether to believe it’s as good as it claims to be. ‘Greenwash’ is the term used for products that ride on the environmental bandwagon when they’ve only made a token gesture to be green. However, it’s very difficult for any company to claim their product is 100% sustainable, but there are a lot of people who are making big efforts to produce beautiful products, using the bare minimum of resources and energy.

Below is my selection of the most sustainable, stylish chairs I’ve been able to find this week, all available to buy in the UK. Please send me your own discoveries and I will try to feature them on a future blog.  

The Arbor Dining chair by Tom Raffield , is made from sustainable oak and upholstered in wool from one of the last remaining vertical woollen mills in Britain. £645

The Arbor Dining chair by Tom Raffield, is made from sustainable oak and upholstered in wool from one of the last remaining vertical woollen mills in Britain. £645

Each Tom Raffield product is hand-made by a skilled set of craftsmen, in their woodland workshop in Cornwall, and individually finished “with the care and attention of a fine piece of art”. Sustainability is a vital factor in their production process and they aim “to be the solution to the throw-away culture that is omni-present in many of our lives”.

In sharing the belief that every piece must be beautiful in form and practical in function, they utilise the traditional craft of steam-bending wood in the most incredible way, to create amazing furniture that is not cheap, but is made to last and will look stunning in any environment.

Holworth dining chair by Benchmark  in sustainable oak or walnut £495 – available with or without arms

Holworth dining chair by Benchmark in sustainable oak or walnut £495 – available with or without arms

Benchmark was founded by Terence Conran and Sean Sutcliffe in1985, to be "a celebration of the material that Benchmark is inextricably associated with: wood. Beautiful, expertly-selected, hand-crafted wood that is sustainably sourced". These are investment pieces whose prices reflect the quality of the materials used, as well as the skill that goes into making them - furniture that has lasting value and will be kept and passed on to future generations.

As well as using only sustainable timbers, the company prioritises on energy conservation, and they make every effort to develop the business in a responsible and sustainable way.

Benchmark products are made to order – another sustainable factor as nothing is made that doesn’t sell. All it takes is a little patience, to wait up to 8 weeks for delivery. But delayed gratification can be a good discipline and some things are worth waiting for. 

The Boundary Carver, designed by Terence Conran for Benchmark, is made in sustainable oak or walnut. First designed for the Boundary Restaurant in Shoreditch. You can provide your own fabric for upholstery.

Of course these beautiful examples are not within everyone’s budgets, so here are some more affordable options:

Teak Dining Chair £120 / Elm Cross Back Dining Chair £215 both made from reclaimed timber, from  The Sustainable Furniture Company , for a modern rustic style

Teak Dining Chair £120 / Elm Cross Back Dining Chair £215 both made from reclaimed timber, from The Sustainable Furniture Company, for a modern rustic style

Ikea Odger chair  £65, designed by Swedish studio Form Us With Love. 30% sustainable wood and at least 55% of its remaining materials is recycled plastic.

Ikea Odger chair £65, designed by Swedish studio Form Us With Love. 30% sustainable wood and at least 55% of its remaining materials is recycled plastic.

Last but not least, IKEA say they want to have a positive impact on people and the planet. They are switching their entire lighting range to energy-efficient LED and sourcing all of the cotton used in their products from more sustainable sources. 

They are also working towards 100% renewable energy - producing as much as they consume in their operations - and sourcing all wood from more sustainable sources by 2020. Since 2009, the IKEA Group has committed to invest EUR 2.1 billion in purchasing their own wind and solar power generation equipment.

This is an initiative that some may say does not go far enough. But many companies are not even trying, so buying from companies like these, that are trying, must surely be a step in the right direction.

And I hope I’ve shown that there’s no need to compromise on style. 

Stylish sustainable rugs

If you’re buying a new rug for your home, consider reducing your carbon footprint by buying a sustainable rug. The textiles industry is a massive contributor to carbon emissions – every year 80% of textiles bought end up in landfill. So it makes sense to buy materials that can be composted or are made from recycled materials.

Natural materials such as wool and hemp are biodegradable, so a good choice:

Coban Rugs   and runners are made from untreated natural goat hair which has been combed, spun, woven and then washed. Available in a range of lovely natural shades and hues of black, white, grey and brown.

Coban Rugs and runners are made from untreated natural goat hair which has been combed, spun, woven and then washed. Available in a range of lovely natural shades and hues of black, white, grey and brown.

Oceans OCE04 Turquoise Rug 100% wool from £119, from  Modern Rugs , who have a huge choice of eco rugs and a large variety of colours.

Oceans OCE04 Turquoise Rug 100% wool from £119, from Modern Rugs, who have a huge choice of eco rugs and a large variety of colours.

Calvin Klein Kerala – Chocolate Rugs CKS03 . Made from the agave plant, eco-friendly sisal fibres. Also from Modern Rugs.

Calvin Klein Kerala – Chocolate Rugs CKS03. Made from the agave plant, eco-friendly sisal fibres. Also from Modern Rugs.

There are also some amazing rugs available now made from re-cycled plastic, and they are very reasonably priced. It’s great that these companies are getting plastic bottles out of our oceans and making them into something suprisingly beautiful, soft and practical. Worldwide we now use a million plastic bottles a minute – that certainly isn’t sustainable

Herringbone Rug by  Weaver Green  from £40

Herringbone Rug by Weaver Green from £40

Weaver Green textiles look and feel like wool but are waterproof, mould resistant, easy to clean and hard wearing. With great environmentally friendly credentials these rugs are made by skilled adults, who are paid fairly and enjoy comfortable and fair working conditions, using weaving houses endorsed and inspected by Good Weave. GoodWeave is a charity that works to stop child labour in the carpet and rug industry in countries such as India and Nepal.

Weaver Green will take back your rugs to re-cycle when you have finished with them, so this truly is a 'cradle to cradle' product, where the end of its life is considered an important stage in the re-cycling process.  

Dove Grey Juno Rug from  Weaver Green

Dove Grey Juno Rug from Weaver Green

Another interesting sustainable textile for rugs is Tencel, made from raw wood pulp. It is amazingly soft and luxurious and also very durable.

Durin rug by  Stark carpets

Durin rug by Stark carpets

Ted Baker - 58908 Cosmoz Teal Rugs  | Modern Rugs From £499. These matt and high gloss finish axminster-woven rugs are made from a New Wool and Tencel mix. This eco-friendly fibre has a look and feel very similar to silk, whilst being very durable.

Ted Baker - 58908 Cosmoz Teal Rugs | Modern Rugs From £499. These matt and high gloss finish axminster-woven rugs are made from a New Wool and Tencel mix. This eco-friendly fibre has a look and feel very similar to silk, whilst being very durable.

It’s hard for sustainable producers to compete with non-sustainable companies who manufacture on a larger scale. If we all try to buy more sustainable products when possible, then eventually production would increase, prices would come down, and more people could afford these products.

Sustainable gifts for Christmas

It’s mid-November and the shops are full of Christmas stuff and, I’m sorry, but I’m not excited. As usual, I’m getting stressed about what to get for everyone, AND depressed about what a big waste it all is. All that new stuff we have to buy, knowing that many of the gifts we give will not be needed or wanted, and will inevitably end up in land fill.

I’m not claiming to be a squeaky-clean green – I drive cars and go on planes, and I buy stuff I need (and some stuff I don’t need), but Christmas is the one time of year when we all feel obliged to buy so many things that have been made using resources the earth is running out of, for people who don’t need any more stuff.

But there is a way to change this – if we buy sustainable gifts…

    Dressing Gown / Robe Hand Block Printed on Organic Cotton   £45    https://www.etsy.com/uk

 

Dressing Gown / Robe Hand Block Printed on Organic Cotton £45

https://www.etsy.com/uk

I hope with this blog to prove that sustainability can be stylish as well as good for the planet. The most obvious sources for sustainable presents are second-hand shops, antique shops and charity shops. These sell treasures that are already made, that are no longer needed by their previous owners, so they are the perfect recycled gifts. Just search google to find the best options near to where you live or work.

There are now many companies making cool products for people who want to be stylish without causing harm. 

EcoAlf make beautiful bags from recycled fishing nets and plastic bottles. The fabric is pleasingly luxurious to touch, but strong too.

EcoAlf  'OSLO' WATERPROOF BACKPACK BRONZE. Also available in black. On sale at the  Design Museum  for £100.

EcoAlf 'OSLO' WATERPROOF BACKPACK BRONZE. Also available in black. On sale at the Design Museum for £100.

Loopy Ewes make beautiful sustainable textile products for the home that can be traced from design through production, right back to the flock of sheep that graze the Cotswolds countryside.

Loopy Ewes

Loopy Ewes

Beautiful sustainable ceramics by Rebecca Proctor. Hand-thrown stoneware vase, Cornish clay, nuka glaze, natural ashing £75.   Modern Craft Workshop

Beautiful sustainable ceramics by Rebecca Proctor. Hand-thrown stoneware vase, Cornish clay, nuka glaze, natural ashing £75. Modern Craft Workshop

People Tree

A well-established online shop for sustainable and fair-trade fashion. You will find a large range of gift ideas from clothing and accessories to jewellery and nightwear. Each product has a story about where it’s made and who by. And prices are surprisingly reasonable.   

A delicate ring, £9.60, and Multi Ring Earrings - brass and silver-plated copper, £12.80. Both made by artisans at Bombolulu, a fair trade social business in Kenya that creates beautiful handmade jewellery and provides opportunities for people who have physical disabilities. Available on from  People Tree

A delicate ring, £9.60, and Multi Ring Earrings - brass and silver-plated copper, £12.80. Both made by artisans at Bombolulu, a fair trade social business in Kenya that creates beautiful handmade jewellery and provides opportunities for people who have physical disabilities. Available on from People Tree

Patagonia is an established outdoor clothing brand whose mission is to make the best products using business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis

Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket, £170. This rugged insulated jacket is built for hard work in the open air. Made of tough, comfortable and highly abrasion-resistant industrial hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton canvas. Also available in black.  Patagonia .

Men’s Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Ranch Jacket, £170. This rugged insulated jacket is built for hard work in the open air. Made of tough, comfortable and highly abrasion-resistant industrial hemp, recycled polyester and organic cotton canvas. Also available in black. Patagonia.

The stainless steel classic 18oz water bottle is good for short hikes, trips around town and a perfect big kid water bottle. Small enough to fit in a handbag or backpack and easy to clip with the included BPA-free cap.  Patagonia .

The stainless steel classic 18oz water bottle is good for short hikes, trips around town and a perfect big kid water bottle. Small enough to fit in a handbag or backpack and easy to clip with the included BPA-free cap. Patagonia.

The midsized workhorse rucksack, £110, in the Black Hole® collection is perfect for organising your daily commute and rugged enough to haul around the globe. There are many more bags to choose from on the Patagonia website.  Patagonia

The midsized workhorse rucksack, £110, in the Black Hole® collection is perfect for organising your daily commute and rugged enough to haul around the globe. There are many more bags to choose from on the Patagonia website. Patagonia

Cotton is the most damaging textile to the environment and we in the west buy loads of it. Organic cotton is vastly more sustainable than standard cotton, uses much less water and no pesticides. So if you can possibly buy organic instead, you are making a big difference.

John Lewis sell quite a few organic cotton products including t-shirts, underwear, baby clothes and bed linen.

flannel lined kids jeans from  Frugi Organic , John Lewis £34

flannel lined kids jeans from Frugi Organic, John Lewis £34

Abalon candle.png
Abalon Porcelain black and grey Candle, organic lavender + ecosoya wax, £50.See other options on the website.

Oxfam’s online shop not only sells second-hand donations, many of which would make good presents, but they also partner with sustainable suppliers who put people before profit, and produce quality products with the emphasis on small-scale production and sustainable materials. So you get the added bonus of not only buying sustainable gifts, but your money is going to charity too!

Faith In Nature Coconut Gift Pack £12.99. Containing organic coconut oil:  Shower Gel 250ml, Hand Wash 300ml, Body Lotion 150ml from  Oxfam's online shop

Faith In Nature Coconut Gift Pack £12.99. Containing organic coconut oil:

Shower Gel 250ml, Hand Wash 300ml, Body Lotion 150ml from Oxfam's online shop

Not all the products mentioned here are 100% sustainable, but it is the top priority of the companies that make them, so they are a lot MORE sustainable than most. The money we spend on sustainable products is an investment that will support these companies that are trying to reduce environmental damage.

And that’s a lovely gift to give everyone this Christmas.

7 ways to brighten up your home this winter

Now the summer hols are over, we’ll all be spending more time indoors, so this is a good time to think about how to make our homes extra stylish and welcoming….

1. Colourful cushions in gorgeous fabrics can transform a space and it’s easy to move them if you want to change the look. If you see some fabric you love, just buy a metre and make one cushion – or many fabric retailers can arrange for cushions to be made for you. You can also use dress fabric for cushions as it doesn’t have to be hard-wearing.

Pure wool cushion by handweaver   Rebecca Connolly

Pure wool cushion by handweaver Rebecca Connolly

Hand printed cushion by   David Qian

Hand printed cushion by David Qian

2. A new rug or runner is a good way to add a layer of comfort and colour:-

Roger Oates   new rugs and runners in delicious colours to spice up a hallway

Roger Oates new rugs and runners in delicious colours to spice up a hallway

Bespoke handmade rugs by   Elizabeth Ashard   are produced by Tibetan weavers in Kathmandu

Bespoke handmade rugs by Elizabeth Ashard are produced by Tibetan weavers in Kathmandu

3. Wallcoverings can give such personality to a room - a plain wall with beautiful paper gives soul and depth to a space. An added benefit is it can cover up cracks, bumps and blemishes, and it doesn’t need to be refreshed as often as paint.

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David Qian s  handmade wallpapers (above) are absolutely stunning. You can just cover one wall to give real character to a room. A luxe alternative to paint.

David Qians handmade wallpapers (above) are absolutely stunning. You can just cover one wall to give real character to a room. A luxe alternative to paint.

Ailanto  ’s new collection of fabrics and wallpapers are fresh and unusual.

Ailanto’s new collection of fabrics and wallpapers are fresh and unusual.

The Paint + Paper Library   have some exciting new narrative wallpaper designs

The Paint + Paper Library have some exciting new narrative wallpaper designs

This beautiful textured wallpaper by   Brian Yates   is a good way to give a room, a wall or an alcove depth and texture

This beautiful textured wallpaper by Brian Yates is a good way to give a room, a wall or an alcove depth and texture

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These amazing abstract plaster frescoes by   Aster Muro   are big and beautiful – bespoke commissions start at £400sq metre. Or if you’re on a tight budget, you could try DIY – use different size rollers to build up layers of colour.

These amazing abstract plaster frescoes by Aster Muro are big and beautiful – bespoke commissions start at £400sq metre. Or if you’re on a tight budget, you could try DIY – use different size rollers to build up layers of colour.

Walnut furniture by  Yoson Furniture Design Co ltd  (based in china) has beautiful lines and fine craftmanship

Walnut furniture by Yoson Furniture Design Co ltd (based in china) has beautiful lines and fine craftmanship

Groovy seating by   Jetclass   to add a bit of glam to your home

Groovy seating by Jetclass to add a bit of glam to your home

Room for two in this great rocking chair by   Baines & Fricker

Room for two in this great rocking chair by Baines & Fricker

6. Lighting is so easily forgotten but essential for atmosphere and to highlight your favourite pieces. There are so many lovely lights around this year, here are a few of my faves:

Vega pendants by   Baroncelli

Vega pendants by Baroncelli

Original BTC   lamp                          Vega table lamp by   Baroncelli

Original BTC lamp                          Vega table lamp by Baroncelli

7. And thinking ahead for next spring, Architectural Heritage’s new sculptural planters are beautiful, with heavenly flower displays:-

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Another idea you could try yourself with a reclaimed tub or container. Plant your bulbs before the frost sets in!