The Abode

The Abode’s top 10 design tips for 2016

26 February 2016 15:53

Candle lit roomYou don’t have to move houses to make a new home and the new year is a perfect time to plan your interior transformation. Here’s the Abode top design tips for 2016.

Don’t be afraid – be bold

Given that house prices are continuing to climb, increasing numbers of people are opting to invest in refurbishing their current home rather than moving house. One of the big benefits of this is it gives you a chance to really pursue what you want. If you’re staying for the longer term, don’t obsess over keeping the place neutral in order to flip your property in the future. Have a real think about how your interior spaces can reflect your personality – while a 1920s speakeasy living room may not be everyone’s cup of tea, if it’s your style, go for it.

Pinterest/Instagram can be your guide

Pinterest is laden with top quality designers who can inspire you (including one rather excellent account you can find here) and you can use it to create a concept board. Instagram, on the other hand, can give you more ‘real’ interiors, making it easier to imagine how ideas work in practice. Find some designers or bloggers you love and follow them religiously.

Eden project

Do you have a spare corner that looks a little bare? Wondering what to do with that extra bit of shelf space? It’s time to turn your home into a mini-Kew gardens. Aside from the cliché that it’s good to learn to look after something, having plants in your house has been proven to improve concentration and happiness.

Turn out the lights

It’s 2016, and you need to ditch the ceiling lights. Candles and lamps create a more pleasant, softer ambiance rather than bathing your home in an excess of candescence.

Fire place in living room


This may stray into typical New Year’s advice territory, but it’s time you ditched some of the unnecessary knick knacks and ornaments. The Abode balks at recycling the adage ‘a cluttered room is a cluttered mind’, but it remains a great advocate of internal order to soothe the soul. Reducing your junk content should also make finding your keys first thing in the morning that bit easier.

While on that subject, storage

Benjamin Franklin had it right: ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’ Although interior design was not one of his many occupations, his philosophy on order is a must for any home. Acquiring some good quality storage is an easy way to really improve the quality of your life. Why not hire a carpenter to install some bespoke built in wardrobes or shelving units? You’ll be amazing at how much better you feel once you have the ability to stash stuff out the way.

If you’re going to invest in something, make it a dinner table

As the real centre piece to your house, it pays to invest in a high quality dinner table. You’ll feel obliged to skip the TV dinners and compelled to start cooking proper meals (therefore helping realise two different New Year’s resolutions.) Plus, you get to impress your friends as a dinner party host par excellence.

Heated floors and walls

Heated floors have been all the rage for a while now but a big innovation that is starting to prove popular is heated walls. It’s not applicable to all homes and not all builders with have the tools to do it, but if you can pull it off, it’s a big game changer.


Time to stock-up! You can (almost) never have too many.

Keep it seasonal

Try not to think of your internal spaces as being fixed in their appearance – take inspiration from nature and the seasons. In the winter, you want a decidedly cosy aesthetic, with throws and warm lights galore. Summer time lends itself to a more airy, sparse feel. Picking out the colours of the season is an even better way of keeping your home refreshed and interesting.

More than a place to cook

16 September 2015 12:34

Is it just me, or do you find yourself spending more and more time in and around your kitchen? It seems to me that the modern kitchen is becoming more of a hangout location for families that are far too often engrossed in their own worlds. Unless you are living in a château with a live-in cook, it is one of the most important rooms to get right when designing a home. This applies to smaller flats and houses that often have open plan kitchens that lead into living rooms, as well as the larger homes that can accommodate those rooms separately. Family dinners, drinks parties, home office; the modern kitchen is used for more differing functions than any other room in the house. Let’s take a look at a couple of top kitchens that remained stylish while having great functionality.

Island kitchenThis stylish gem has a wonderfully rugged feel to it but the complementary reds and browns mix with the stone work to make it just as homely. Stone tile floors are a great addition to some kitchens and they require little upkeep or cleaning. The high seating for the island also provides you with an informal eating location that can be a blessing for those who struggle to get their family round a table, all at once.

The light yellows work extremely well with the lightly coloured wood in this spacious design. Island counters are almost considered a must-have when there’s this much space. Islands have the distinct ability to break up a room without losing that capacious feel.

Sure, your average person doesn't have this much room to work with. However, the natural light floods into this almost palatial kitchen in an enchanting way and this can absolutely be replicated on a much smaller scale. By placing your kitchen next to you garden and installing plenty of windows and some glass doors, as

many people do, you can exploit the summer sun. Also, the light tones combined with the natural light give this room a palpable vibrancy.

To get some help designing the kitchen of your dreams, why not use our ‘Find a Builder’ service to get in touch with a top quality local construction firm in your area.

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