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Category: Minimalism

  1. How to create a warm and welcoming dining room

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    Buying a home with a dining area was really important to me when we purchased our first home as a family.  When I was younger we never had a dining table that me, my mum and sister could all sit together at.  My mum was a young single mum and we lived in a small flat with a dinky kitchen.  She managed to squeeze a small blue square table in front of the kitchen cupboard so me and my sister could eat properly at a table.  My mum either stood at the kitchen side or ate in the living room.  At Christmas the table would be pulled out and we’d all somehow manage to squeeze around it for Christmas lunch without being able to move anywhere else in the kitchen at all!  Of course this situation was very different to mine now as we had no money back then and had to make do living in a small space, but it did make buying a home with enough space for eating together more important to me.  In this blog post I will share how to create a warm and welcoming dining area sharing what we’ve done and things I’d like to do.

    HOW TO CREATE A WARM AND WELCOMING DINING ROOM

    Whilst the artex certainly adds texture to our room, I despise it!  It is on our list of things to sort.

    Ideally I would have chosen a house with a kitchen-diner, but we ended up with a living room-diner.  Our home also has a converted garage so that space is the perfect long length for a dining room, but does anyone actually have a separate dining room nowadays?  Instead we use the garage as my office and the kids’ playroom.  It could be used as a dining room though if a future buyer wanted a separate diner.  I did think about this when I titled this blog post and perhaps ‘dining area’ would be more appropriate with modern house layouts!

    Anyway, we ended up with a living room diner which definitely helps to create a warm and welcoming dining area as the living area itself is cosy.  We have a log burner, fabric sofas and a large wool rug.  The walls are white which creates a light and airy space, but the floors, blinds and shelving is all oak so this brings in warmth and cosiness. 

    The dining area itself is something we only started focussing on last year.  Originally we had a four seater table from our old smaller home, but we were struggling with space with four of us at the table and especially when we had guests.  We bought a larger second hand upcycled farmhouse table from eBay, used our existing rustic look wooden chairs and bought a matching bench to go along one side.  The natural wood stops our white room from being too stark, giving the room a more homely feel.  The rustic table is also perfect for us as we don’t mind it becoming a little more damaged and worn as it just adds to its charm.

    To add more texture and create an even more snug environment I’d suggest adding some textiles to the dining space.  A rug under the table and chairs upon a hard floor would look great.  A table cloth, fabric place settings or a table runner.  I really did want to add a rug to ours, but with two small children my husband rightly thought it would be a bad idea considering the amount of food and drink that is currently dropped on the floor!  Perhaps when they are older.  We did have chair cushions which is another great recommendation to make wooden seating more comfortable and less bare, but ours just got too ruined with messy children and messy food!

    How to create a warm and welcoming dining room - furnish your home

    If you don’t have children(or they are not as messy as mine) then this dining set from Furnish Your Home will create a super comfortable, warm and welcoming setting with the warmth of the wood and comfy soft fabric seating.

    Lighting is also important to create the right ambience.  We found some white rattan lampshades to keep with the white wall theme and Ben, my husband who is handy with DIY, hung these as two low level pendant lights above the table.  The low lighting directly on the table helps to create a warm atmosphere.  We also installed a dimmer switch so we can change the mood depending on the type of meal – bright with the kids, but romantic if it’s just the two of us.  A tip is to not hang the lighting too low.  Ben and I are both quite tall and we kept hitting our head on the lights when standing.  We’ve had to lift them up a couple of times and I think we’ve finally found the right height for us.  If we had a deeper table then we’d hang them much lower.

    How to create a warm and welcoming dining room - furnish your home rose gol

    Whilst we opted for natural rattan effect lampshades in the end, we spent a long time debating over whether to choose copper or rose gold pendant lighting  such as these from Furnish Your Home which will add reflective colour creating a warm ambiance.

    Décor is of course a personal choice and I like to opt for a minimal style.  I had two large canvases printed with photos of the children taken by Jelly Baby Photography with brown and pink tones which not only add a family feel to the area, but some warmness too.  I have a white star on the wall which reminds me of Christmas decorations, so again another fuzzy feeling inside and also a plant to bring nature into the room as well as purify the air.

    In the day our dining area is filled with natural light from a south facing window so it’s spacious, light and airy, yet still welcoming.  In the evening or on a dark afternoon we turn the lights on and the feeling is totally different as the pendant lighting creates a glow over the table giving a cosier feel.

    Related blog posts

    6 easy ways to decorate a dining room

    The dos and don’ts of dining room decor

    How to create a contemporary kitchen design

    How to create the kitchen of your dreams

    How to place pendant lighting all around the home

    Using a contemporary lamp to create cosiness

    How to create a warm and welcoming dining room

    Collaboration

  2. How to shop more ethically and sustainably for clothing

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    In a previous blog post I looked at 13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothing without sending them to landfill.  I was shocked after reading 300,000 tonnes of clothing went to landfill in 2016 when they all cold have been repurposed, reused or recycled.  So now you know what to do when your clothes are worn out or unwanted, but perhaps you are wondering how to shop more sustainably or ethically for your clothes in the first place.  This is something that is quite new to me too and naturally feels like the next chapter for me to explore in my healthy living and living more sustainably journey.  Over the past few years I have changed all beauty and household products to natural where possible, changed all the food that we can to organic, become more conscious about plastic use and the amount of landfill waste in our home and made several other changes which you can read in my blog post 15 eco-friendly things I do on a regular basis.

    In this blog post I am going to explore some of the ways you can shop more consciously for your clothing:

    Fair Wear Foundation

    The fair Wear Foundation is a non-profit organisation that seeks to improve working conditions in 11 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.  They keep track of the changes the companies implement to ensure workplace conditions are improved.  They help to ensure there is no child labour, a fair wage is paid, conditions are safe and work hours are reasonable as well as setting many other fair working standards.  They currently have 80 companies signed up which represent over 120 brands including, for example, engelbert strauss who are a German workwear company who also sell amazing all weather protective kids footwear, perfect for outdoor loving families.  Simply go to the FWF website and search the brands that are signed up.  You can check out their reports and be sure that these brands are working with the FWF to improve labour conditions where the clothes are produced.

    How to shop more ethically and sustainably for clothing

    Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 

    Organic cotton

    Chemical pesticides and fertilisers are so destructive to the planet, wildlife, our water supply and our own health.  We are a living experiment for the routine use of these chemicals and I’m sure all their devastating health consequences are not yet fully known.  We know we are suffering from soil erosion which is having an impact on food production and its mineral content is reducing.  The best way to make a stand against chemical farming is to choose organic instead.  Yes you can choose to eat organic food, but you can also choose to buy organic clothing which is made from organic cotton.  This is much kinder to the environment and in my experience the clothes are of a higher standard, softer and last longer.

    Sustainable brands

    Buying sustainably doesn’t always mean giving up the brands you love.  Even popular High Street brands such as ASOS, H&M and Urban Outfitters have green, conscious and upcycled ranges.  You can still shop in some of the stores you love whilst making a more planet friendly choice.  Before shopping with a brand have a look in the footer of their website to see if they have any information on their sustainability efforts.  Just dig a little deeper before choosing a brand to make sure they are taking responsibility for their clothing production and to ensure their vision aligns with yours.

    Buy second hand

    So many people give away perfectly wearable items to charity stores or even sell them on eBay.  Perhaps the fit was not right for them, they’ve not worn as much as intended or they have worn the item but no longer require it.  Either way, there are plenty of second hand clothing items for you to snap up!  Buying second hand is cheaper than buying a brand new item, plus it prevents the planet damaging production of a new item for you.  If you buy from charity shops you are also supporting a worthwhile cause.  It’s also exciting to rummage through rails in thrift stores as you’ll never know what you’ll find.

    Opt for a capsule wardrobe

    Far too many of us have far too many clothes in the first place.  There’s no need for this over consumption and throwaway fashion culture that we have been used to.  I’ve been working on reducing my capsule wardrobe to around 50 pieces of clothing only.  Count your clothes and you may be surprised at how many you own in total.  By starting a capsule wardrobe you will automatically become more conscious when clothes shopping as you’ll need to ensure the piece can mix’n’match with several of your other clothing items, as well as ensuring it’s a staple piece that you’ll wear time and time again.  I saw an article once say to follow the rule of 30 – if you won’t wear it at least 30 times then don’t buy it.  I’d like to disagree.  I think 30 is still too little and you should go for a rule of 100 at least!  I have several items of clothing I have had for several years and work them on a weekly basis, if not a few times per week.  This is what we should all be striving for to drastically reduce the unnecessary clothing production, pollution and waste.  We need to get it out of our heads that we can’t be seen in the same outfit more than once and this is something the celebrity world needs to adopt and encourage.

    Hopefully we can all start to make a change in the way clothing is produced and instead choose recycled, organic and repurposed clothing as our first choice.

    Related blog posts

    7 ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle
    3 Important Reasons to Choose Organic (other than your personal health)
    13 eco-friendly ways to start saving money in the kitchen
    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)

     How to shop more ethically and sustainably for clothing

  3. How my bedroom décor describes my personality

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    My bedroom is still a work in progress, but since moving into my first owned home just over four years ago, I finally feel like it’s starting to come together.  The room is by no means perfect with a window that goes right up to one wall and so is severely off centre (who designs these things?), plus it has no ensuite which is something that I really did want when looking for a home, but nevertheless it is a decent large double with plenty of space for me and Ben, even with a king size bed.  In this blog post I'm going to take a look at my bedroom decor and how they reflect my lifestyle choices and personality.

    How my bedroom décor describes my personality

    Minimalism

    The plenty of space is probably helped by the fact I am very minimal.  I’d say ‘we’ are very minimal, but I do fear I have just forced Ben to be this way!  I’ve not just latched on to this minimalism trend that I see everywhere, but for me it has been an obsession of mine for years.  It’s the desire to live with only exactly what I use and need.  Almost every day I am listing items on eBay, popping things in a charity bag and reorganising cupboards whilst ridding them of things we haven’t used in a while.  Ben, my husband, always jokes around saying things like ‘oh look, I haven’t used this for a whole day, better get rid of it!’

    I’m not that extreme, but my way of living probably is a little extreme to people who value things, treasure items for their memories and like a house filled with stuff.  I’m the opposite.  I like my home to be filled with only what I really need and mostly things I use.  I have minimal décor, mostly plants, mirrors and some family photos.  This theme extends through the whole house and not just the bedroom. 

    Art work

    There’s a large canvas in our bedroom and a large canvas above our fireplace downstairs.  I also have a couple of fabric wall hangings; one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  That’s pretty much it for wall art in my home.  I love having just one central piece that the eyes have to be drawn to.  I like it to be a beautiful powerful piece that reflects something of myself.  The large canvas in the bedroom has a very boho feel and is calming.  Though I’m not always calm with the daily stresses of motherhood and running a business full time, I aspire to be.  One day I will be at peace and calm.  I think this is also a part of the minimalistic life for me.  I always feel once all the clutter and junk has gone from my life it will also go from my head.  As there are less things to think about there will be more space for calm and happiness.

    Handmade reclaimed wood wardrobe

    The wardrobe is handmade by my husband from reclaimed pallet wood.  He’s a keen DIYer and woodworker who has just started making his own pieces of furniture.  The wardrobe was a work in progress for around a year and is nearly finished.  It’s not that it took one year to create, but rather he made the frame and then didn’t finish it for ages, despite my constant nagging!  Now it’s almost complete and totally useable.  The left hand side of the wardrobe is a rugged mix of unfinished pallet wood.  The doors have been sanded, smoothed and stained.  It’s a work of art to me and is the perfect representation of my husband’s love for wood and a new chapter in his life of getting to create things he is passionate about.  It utilises the space so well going from floor to ceiling and we have half the wardrobe each.  I don’t even fill up half the wardrobe as you’ll not be surprised to hear my wardrobe is minimal too, sort of a capsule wardrobe.  I probably take up a quarter to a third of the wardrobe with hanging clothes and I’m certain I can reduce this even more.  Another personal mission!

    Bed covers

    Our current bed covers are a light greyish purple colour and were just something cheap to replace some greyed white covers.  At first I fully embraced the white walls and white bed covers theme, but as we wash our laundry using very eco-friendly methods with no detergent, it just wasn’t powerful enough to keep our whites so white and so I decided to go back to a coloured cover.   I love white walls for the simplicity, cleanliness and feeling of space.  I’m certainly a clean and tidy person.  I like to have space and hate to be surrounded with things, whether that’s things in my home or too many people at a busy event.  I like to have space in all situations.  One thing that drives me insane is when people are too close in queues or too close to my car in theirs.  I feel like I can’t breathe.  Personal space is important to me.

    Another benefit of having white walls is being able to change the accent colour in a room so easily.  I was able to easily switch my bed covers from white to a light colour instead.  I am also tempted to go bold with the bed covers.  I just love the Paradise duvet cover set from Julian Charles.  It would look amazing against our white walls with the natural wood and plants.

    Plant love

    My item of choice for décor nowadays is plants.  It never used to be, but over the past few years I’ve found them to create such a calming environment by bringing nature indoors as well as purifying the air.  I have a hanging plant in the corner which is called Devil’s Ivy.  It’s a snip I took from a much larger one I have in the living room and this one is slowly growing and sprouting new leaves all the time, particularly when I remember to water it!  On the opposite wall (not photographed) we have a smallish rubber plant which should grow tall eventually. 

    The colours

    White, green, blue (teal and turquoise) and natural wood are the ultimate theme in my bedroom and throughout the rest of the home, aside from the children’s bedrooms.  These colours represent my love for a clean and tidy home, a love of spaciousness, my passion for natural living and following a wholefood plant based diet and they allow me to grow and develop without being stuck to one bold colourway.  That’s exactly how I feel my life and personality are too.  They are evolving, growing and developing every day especially as I have a thirst for learning more about healthy living and strive to become a better person.

    Related blog posts:

    Why every woman should create a capsule wardrobe
    Home: Why Less Is More
    7 Ways to Achieve a Modern, Minimalist Look For Your Living Room
    My minimal inspiring blogging workspace corner

    How my bedroom décor describes my personality