How to make a house a home: interiors trends A/W 15

Take the chill out of winter by warming up your home with some simple, stylish updates. From indigo blues to statement lighting, this season it’s all about making your home indulgently cosy.


Susie Watson Designs

Susie Watson Designs

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There’s nothing better than coming home to a warm, inviting haven when the temperatures begin to drip. This autumn, there’s a definite leaning towards indulgence mixed with cosiness, with rich velvets, soft faux furs and silk textiles adding a touch of luxury. Contrast different textures by using mix-matched cushions, throws and rugs.

Susie Watson, founder of Cambridge-based Susie Watson Designs (01223 367527,, which specialises in handmade products for the home, gives her advice: “Creating a cosy haven in your home is all about mixing colour and texture, and can be achieved without spending a fortune. Combine warm tones of red, burnt orange and even hot pink into your scheme, in soft silks, velvets and wools, to create a really warm, homely feel. If you invest in one thing then a Shetland Wool throw in beautiful colours is the perfect instant update to a favourite sofa or chair.’

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Primary-coloured sofas and chairs, like those available at Italian-furnishing brand Arper (above) (020 7253 0009, and makers of bespoke English Furniture I &JL Brown (below) (020 7736 4141,, will give a pop of colour to a room, not to mention some cheer on gloomy days. Mix in a classic piece of furniture by an iconic design brand for instant fashion brownie-points.

IJLB Stubbs Chair - Blue Stubbs Chair £1650 plus fabric Coral Fabric Cushion £85 Orange Enamel Side Table £195 Laurel Leaf Lamp £185 IJLB

British furniture brand Ercol ( was launched in 1920 and its pieces are still widely coveted today. Creative director Rachel Galbraith gives her view on what is currently in vogue: “Today’s home environment is a collection of beautifully crafted, considered pieces, that inspire your individual heritage and aesthetic.  This season’s trend draws on visual style notes from past classics through a contemporary interpretation. Rocca with its deep buttoning and sumptuous fabric selection embodies the opulence and heritage of past eras. Aluetta’s graceful arms and crafted natural oak legs highlighted with a statement chair draw on a contemporary aesthetic for today’s lifestyle.”


Ian White, owner of Cambridge-based Shaw Spencer Furniture Warehouse (above) (01638 744201,, also adds: “One of the most important factors in choosing furniture for a home is not only practical considerations but also making sure a piece adds some personality to your room. We all want a cosy haven to retreat to at the end of the day. We offer characterful dressers and inviting sleigh beds that are ideal for achieving this.”

Marilyn Throw, Cream Marilyn Throw, Grey 01

Pile on soft furnishings, such as fur throws, available at Shimu (above) (01274 610961, and The French Bedroom Company (01444 415430, for added cosiness.

The French Bedroom Company

The French Bedroom Company (and below)

Ice Queen Throw Rectangular (RS)

Cambridge-based home-lifestyle store Catesby’s (01223 355444, is a treasure trove of luxury accessories for the home. Neil Honor, owner, comments: “We pride ourselves on our curated collection of beautiful, useful and original items for the home and garden. Sourced from around the world, you’ll find elegant tableware, timeless furnishings, rare decorative objects and a range of everyday necessities. We believe that your home should be a tranquil, relaxing retreat from the outside world, and we strive to find pieces (and makers) with a story to tell, creating things that you’ll enjoy for years to come. You can create a uniquely inviting environment by mastering the art of layering, using different textures in a room: fold a soft Alpaca throw over an old armchair, add a linen cushion with a contrasting print, store your magazines in rustic baskets and inject character with a vintage-style hexagonal mirror. Let the things around you become part of your story.”

Oval Willow Baskets - from £35

Catesby’s (and below)

Herringbone Baby Alpaca Blanket - £149

Soft carpets add warmth underfoot. While a luxury, statement rug, such as the new range available at Harlequin (0845 123 6815, can be a beautiful focal point.

Harlequin Rugs

Harlequin Rugs

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“Carpet is perfect to create a cosy living space. The texture of wool underfoot coupled with a warm colour or welcoming pattern makes it a great way to build a comfortable and inviting décor scheme,” says Natalie Littlehales, consumer marketing manager at British carpet manufacturer Brintons (0800 505 055,



For more of a mid-way point between carpets and wood flooring, however, sisal is a good practical choice. Adam Robertson, managing director at Urbane Living 
(020 7138 3838,, says: “Sisal provides the perfect hardwearing floor covering that is able to take the wear and tear that goes with living in a modern family home. Sisal carpets ooze rustic character and, with an array of shades available, from soft gold to husky brown hues, they create the perfect welcoming look for a country home.”

Urbane Living

Urbane Living





While geometric prints are still going strong, there’s now a definite hexagon and honeycomb presence emerging in tiling, furniture design and fabrics. For an elegant and sophisticated finish, tile walls and floors in the same repeat honeycomb design in simple white or black contrast. You can also create a standout floor with contrasting coloured tiles, such as those available at luxury tile brand Bisazza (

Fired Earth

Fired Earth


Fired Earth’s (01223 300941, senior tile category manager ,Caroline Gow, adds her expertise: “Hexagon-shaped tiles are perfectly in keeping with the trend for using geometric pattern throughout the home. Tiles such as Fired Earth’s Handmade Classic Terracotta Hexagons offer a contemporary take on a classic material, giving floors a fresh, modern look. Hexagonal marble or glass mosaics are ideal for adding beautifully subtle decorative detail to walls and floors but if you’re looking to create bold geometric effects, think about using bands of contrasting hexagonal mosaics to add really dramatic lines and angles to a room. Use hexagonal tiles to give a traditional monochrome scheme a contemporary, eye-catching finish that brings this classic look right up-to-date.”

When it comes to fabrics, less is more, but the style comes into its own with patchwork style quilts and bedspreads for beds. For an immediate update to a living space, invest in curtains and pillows in bold mustards, clarets and blues with a smaller version of the honeycomb or hexagonal design.

Barker & Barker

Barker & Barker

Amelia Lime

Janet Dixon, chief designer at interior design house Barker & Barker (01223 733730, agrees: “Hexagonal designs have been used for decorative items for thousands of years and are about to make a comeback incorporating bright bold colours. Dress rooms with intricate hexagonal tiled patterned cushions or curtains to create a statement hallway or bathroom or add accent hexagonal side tables in a living room or conservatory.

A quilted bedspread using pre-cut hexagonal fabric swatches is a great way of incorporating hexagonal or trellis patterns to homes and would make a stunning addition to any bedroom or living space.”

Wallpapering a statement wall or just the alcoves either side of a fireplace is another easy way to update a room. The polygon ‘hive’ style feels modern yet organic, giving a timeless feel.



Jim Carlile, managing director at Ely-based Reeds Furniture and Bed Centre (01353 669754,, comments: “Homemakers want a place that is inviting, warm and stylish. At Reeds we pride ourselves on being able to give a personalised approach to our service. I’d advise anyone to invest in a few pieces of good quality furniture, which will last for years to come. Choose classic items that you really love so you’ll want to keep them. Then add fun and character with accessories. Cushions, throws, rugs and good lighting will all add to the ambiance of a room. Keep your palette to two-three colour-ways so it doesn’t look too fussy. The new fashion for hexagonal prints gives a sophisticated and on-trend twist. You can simply refer to it by papering a statement wall or by adding in a few cushions or rug.”


Banish the winter blues by updating with blue: this time around, though, we’re talking deep indigos, midnight blues and inky shades for a striking colour scheme. This colour palette is the next step on from the recent charcoal and grey trend, with deep blues giving an added richness and drama, and working well with pale pinks and bright yellow.

Cook's Blue Hall Stiffkey Blue Room Stiffkey Blue

Josephine Rance, marketing director, at colour experts Farrow & Ball (01223 367771,, gives her take: “The strength of using deep blues, like Farrow & Ball’s Stiffkey Blue or Hague Blue, creates a fashionable dramatic interior, contemporary and relaxed, so it’s perfect for use in both urban and country settings. Use it in isolation in small spaces, with Hardwick White on the ceilings to create a moody feel that reminds us of slightly brooding, squally seas and skies. Or it can be used in a more light-hearted fashion on a feature wall in combination with on trend colours Pink Ground or Setting Plaster. These beautifully easy colours feel faded and natural and are the perfect antidote to compliment the intense colour of the darker blues.”

Lakeland Paints

Lakeland Paints

Ecos Chalk Clock

Packed with rich, autumnal tones, Lakeland Paints (01524 852371, new collection for the winter season is the perfect antidote to a cold, grey day. Inspired by myths, legends, nature and traditional nordic shades, the collection brings together an eclectic palette of bold autumnal tones and playful, romantic accents.

Ian West, colour stylist at Lakeland Paints, gives his insight: “The passion for inky blues is an emerging trend and one that will grow in the New Year. One of Lakeland’s own inky blues – Creek – is perfect as an accent or feature wall in a living area, or for a bold bathroom makeover. Dark dramatic blues like Teal work extraordinarily well with pure whites and creams – think Santorini villages. It is a strong blue that is robust enough to hold its own in any setting – north or south facing, indoors or out without any hint of coldness and being such a rich shade of blue/violet will add warmth and cosiness as well as drama.”



Chesterfield Large in Ross Pastiche (RS) Boxer Corner and Bliss (LR)

Deep blue is also a colour that works particularly well for upholstered furniture – think sumptuous inky velvet sofas as seen at Delcor (020 7352 5551, While an accent piece of furniture, such as a sideboard or cabinet, in cobalt blue looks fresh, modern and striking in an all-white white room. Painted dark blue kitchen cabinetry, available at Cambridge-based John Lewis of Hungerford (01223 305480,, is also worth considering – a versatile and thoroughly modern choice.

JLH Pure Wood and Painted

John Lewis of Hungerford

John Lewis of Hungerford


The statement light fixture is a must-have for the modern home. Like a piece of art, it is a sculptural focal point and comes in many forms

Lladró - Giselle Arabesque and Belle De Nuit Chandelier Lladró - Lithophane Chandelier Lladró - Fairy Lighting and Round Mirror

Lladro’s (0800 015 2413, pretty pastel-coloured glass chandeliers and white fairy wall lighting, for instance, give a feminine touch and will contrast well in a minimalist scheme (above).

Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt’s ( modern glass chandeliers, meanwhile, draw inspiration from the old and primitive as well as new and modern art, with each piece built with great attention to subtle detail and proportion. At Bert Frank (020 7164 6482, clean lines and new metals are the order of the day, with a range that gives impact and style.

Bert Frank

Bert Frank

Simon Wallis-Smith, director at lighting experts Fritz Fryer (01989 567416, gives his advice on getting it right: “The best locations to really splash out on a feature light or chandelier are the hallway, stairwell or over a dining table.  Over a dining table hang your chandelier so that the bottom is around 70cm from the table.  This looks stunning and means you can get away with a larger fitting than normal as you don’t need to walk underneath. Hallways and stairwells often benefit from additional ceiling height and lighting can be used, in much the same way as a piece of artwork, to make a design or architectural statement. In these locations the right lighting will be a real feature.”

Industrial Cluster Lamp 01

Fritz Fryer

Adding her viewpoint, Jenny Hurren, owner of Out There Interiors (020 8099 7443,, says: “Don’t forget the lighting when you’re planning your room make-over. A statement light is the ideal way to add that final flourish to your signature style. Like the industrial look? Opt for a dark metal Maginti Inspection Light. Want to add a dash of colour to a kitchen’s white palette? Go for a vibrant contrast with a large ‘colour-pop’ pendant lamp. Have a period property? Then why not consider a subtle and sophisticated Maurice Table Lamp, reminiscent of the Art Deco period.”

Out There Interiors

Out There Interiors

Maginti Pendant


Urbane Living

Urbane Living

Monsoon Mosaic Wallpaper 4

Whether it’s intricate fretwork or lacquered furniture, interiors evoking Middle Eastern design have long been in vogue. This season, inspiration is in the form of oriental wallpapers, such as the naturally woven and shimmering gold versions at Urbane Living (020 7138 3838,



Renowned for handcrafted luxurious furnishings, Aztaro’s (020 8908 6328, rich textiles also give a nod to the east and an added touch of intrigue to a room’s scheme. The brand’s Paisley Collection builds on the history of the motif it is named after, which originated in Persia in 221AD. The collection of silk dupion cushions and accessories give a haute bohemian feel, with the fabric woven on a hand and foot shuttle loom by expert weavers with modern appliqué.

The French Bedroom Company

The French Bedroom Company

Add in pretty lanterns, like the Casbah range at The French Bedroom Company (01444 415430,, and beautiful lacquered furniture from The Nine Schools (0117 332 3673,, manufacturer of oriental collections, for an opulent look.

The Nine Schools

The Nine Schools

Having the last word, Patrick Rawson, founder and director at The Nine Schools (0117 332 3673, says: “Luxury is back! Following the recession, interiors are now seeing a dramatic increase in opulence, as both trends and designers look towards a more indulgent future. Inspired by traditional designs, our handcrafted wooden furniture features exquisite gold leaf edging, capturing the true essence and history behind sumptuous oriental design. The colourful Painted Butterfly collection, for instance, features detailed Chinese designs and symbols that demonstrate a number of oriental philosophies including, happiness, wealth, fertility and strength. The Oyster Grey and statement Black Gloss ranges combine Chinese teachings, such as Feng Shui, with current colour trends, creating stunning pieces of furniture that are perfect for the style-conscious homeowner.”

Summer loving: turn up the heat

I’ve been busy testing lots of lovely new products (well, someone has to do it!) that are just perfect for when the sun comes out. Here are a few of my faves:

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Vichy’s new Normaderm BB Clear is just the thing for troubled skin. No one wants to wear too much coverage in the summer, with foundations and powders feeling too heavy, especially if you have blemishes. Vichy has come up with the ideal solution – a BB Cream that both conceals and reduces the appearance of imperfections. Vichy’s Normaderm range targets blemishes skin and the latest launch is formulated with highly concentrated salicylic acid and mineral pigments so it is actually doing some good as well as making you look good. The BB cream hydrates and controls shine and gives an even-looking result. It is available in two shades – Light and Medium and has a light, featherweight texture, enriched with Vichy Thermal Spa Water. One of my new ‘essentials’. £16,

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On the subject of blemishes, which incidentally is a growing problem with older women, this little gem is a real lifesaver. I’ve tried skincare with silver in before (Cor Moisturiser) and was really impressed. This Silver Serum from Skin Shop works on the premise that there are good bacteria which can help prevent and rid the skin of acne and blemishes (created by bad bacteria). It contains a patented form of silver called MicroSilver which kills bad bacteria, while letting good skin flora flourish and multiply. Most skin-care treatments kill all skin bacteria so ridding the skin of spots but also leaving the skin dry and flaky. This can cause premature ageing.

Silver Serum remains active on the skin for several hours after applying, so skin is protected for up to eight hours. I’ve been using this for a few weeks and I can honestly say it has worked wonders on a few problem areas – and is now one of my ‘must-haves’. £12.95,

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Great for taking away on your hols for a quick spa session are these face masks by Anatomicals. Targeting problems skin, signs of stress and oily complexions the three variations come in travel-friendly packs and work within just 10 minutes on the skin. Available is a deep cleansing, clarifying mud mask, a mattifying face mask to reduce shine and a calming, anti-stress face mask. 99p each,

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There’s nothing better than achieving sparkling clean skin after a day in the heat. Elemental Herbology‘s new launch Vital Cleanse gives you just that. The facial cleanser resurfaces skin with its potent Vitamin C ingredient. Manuka honey, papaya, green tea and calendula helps to give a calm, smooth complexion, while jojoba wax beads, organic sea buckthorn oil and essential oils of grapefruit, mandarin and geranium deep clean, stimulate cell turnover and dramatically improve the texture, radiance and vitality of the skin. You massage it into damps skin and simply rinse off. Skin looks truly gorge. £29,

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Launched to hydrate sun-parched skin is Neom‘s lovely Daily Boost Face, Body and Hair Oil. Perfect as a multi-tasker, it works to improve the condition of skin, hair and scalp. Containing nourishing safflower, jojoba (both rich in vitamins A and E) as well as essential oils of wild mint and mandarin, it nourishes and hydrates and imparts the brand’s signature uplifting scent (called Make You Happy Great Day). Light enough to use on the hair for taming frizz or for hydrating dried out ends it can also be used on limbs to enhance a tan and as a facial oil. Massage in, breathe in and smile. £32,

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Finally is the surprise new launch from broadcaster Kate Humble. Boosting green credentials, the new Humble eco-friendly collection of products are natural and biodegradable (great play on her name, too). The collection of products come in two floral fragrances – Sweet Pea and Verbena (my fave) and Rose and Frankincense. I’ve tried the Intense Hand Cream, which is very nice indeed, sinking in quickly and leaving hands silky smooth. The collections have been inspired by Kate’s love of the countryside and her farm in Monmouthshire. One to watch. £8,

Skin deep – No Makeup Skincare


I’m really impressed with this new range of makeup-meets-skincare, courtesy of Dr Perricone, better known for his scientific skincare range. The No Makeup Skincare collection fuses skincare and make-up and has been designed with his anti-ageing skincare technology at its heart. Made up of a foundation, bronzer, blush, mascara, concealer and lipstick, the collection of luxe goodies has been devised to address the loss of youthful colour which occurs with age due to loss of pigment.


The products have all been designed to give the skin a natural glow and a healthy flush as well as tapping into the latest beauty buzz-word: sculpting. The breakthrough formulations in the range give the appearance of youth and can also be built up to achieve a sculpted look.

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The No Concealer Concealer, £29, is a fab multi-tasker. It can be dotted under the eye to do away with dark circles – it sinks in like a dream – and it can also be used as an eye primer and blemish cover. It contains Vitamin C Ester to highlight the skin and fad away dark circles and areas. It has a creamy consistency and blends really nicely into the skin as well as giving great coverage.

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Another favourite is the No Mascara Mascara, £25. This is actually a two-in-one lash treatment and mascara. Laden with goodies which define and give thicker lashes, the mascara actually feels like it is doing good on the eyelashes (unlike some which just feel heavy and ‘claggy’). It also gives light colour, which can be built up as you wish, and feels silky and soft on the lashes. It’s making me glow.

Turn off the lights

There’s nothing like a scented candle to brighten your day or night (in more ways than one). I’m a huge fan of heritage brands – like the french label Cire Trudon – and so was thrilled to come across my latest finds – both of which have a wonderful, wealth of history behind them.

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The Dublin-based, artisan candle-maker Rathbornes has been pouring wax since 1488, even before Columbus discovered America, and is officially the oldest candle brand in the world. The hand-poured candles are infused with essential oils and are of the highest quality, scenting the home for hours with indulgent fragrances.

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The latest collection is called Beyond The Pale, which refers to an Irish saying meaning beyond the city, or the wilds of the countryside, and is made up of six scents inspired by the romance of the Irish landscape.

I’ve plumped for the Wild Mint, Watercress & Thyme – as I love clean, fresh scents for the home. Needless to say this is invigorating and purifying. Inspired by aromatic herb gardens, it contains mint, lemon, eucalyptus, camphor, rosemary, thyme and ginger to conjure up your own wild garden indoors.

Travel size as shown here, £16, from (website launches on 1 September 2015).

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Next up is the brand, Charles Farris. Dating back to 1845, it is a veritable youngster compared to Rathbornes but nevertheless calls upon its Victorian heritage using the same traditional methods to create luxury, slow-burning candles for the modern day.

Having gained the Royal Seal of Approval when the label launched pillar candles to some of Britain’s most majestic churches – such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, it is now better known for its luxury candles for the  home, which are housed in artisan glass.

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The range of seven scents and reed diffusers are indicated by simple Roman Numerals on their case (rather than their names) and are created in conjunction with master blenders. The seven fragrances are inspired by the UK’s history, with III Rubus, shown here, evoking berry picking from country hedgerows. It uses aromatic bay, blackberry, freesia and herbs to conjure up a rich, heady scent. Both are literally a breath of fresh air.

Candles, £30, from

Footsteps in the sand: Havaianas in Halkidiki

It was truly wonderful to completely relax and get away from the stresses of everyday life recently. My chosen destination: Greece. Despite the economic crisis – or perhaps because of it – the country is welcoming tourists with open arms. My choice was a new luxury opening (yes, there are still some places managing to open despite the hard times) in Halkidiki. Ikos Olivia has a ‘pre-paid luxury’ concept. In other words, it is all-inclusive but done with oodles of style and substance.

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Cuisine is of gastronomic standards across all restaurants (and there are quite a few including Ouzo for Greek food, Fusco for Italian, Anaya which is Asian, Provence for French). There is room service and a dine out option also available as well as the open-all-day Flavors, which offers an expansive Mediterranean buffet.

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Decor here is boutique-style – gorgeous chandeliers for side-lamps beside the beds, navy blue padded headboards, Anne Semonin amenities and luxury bedding. Attention to detail was second to none.

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We were lucky enough to stay in a variety of rooms – the Family Junior Suite, the Deluxe One Bedroom Bungalow Suite and the standout Deluxe One Bedroom Bungalow Suite with Private Pool. You can guess which one was our favourite!

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Just as lovely were the grounds – 22 acres of manicured lawns, tropical flowers and olive trees – the perfect place for me to showcase my new Havaianas. A long-term fan, Havaianas for me are the perfect combination of style and substance – just like Ikos Olivia. They are practical yet cool-looking, especially the new ‘Thins’ shown below in a lovely pink-purple combo with popping lime green soles.

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Another highlight of Ikos Olivia is the Anne Semonin Spa in which I treated myself to a signature facial (images top below). A real treat with beautiful decor. The hotel also has a private beach with a host of watersports on offer (also included in the pre-paid fee): from kayaking to diving, pedalo-boating to windsurfing. Factor in the mini theatre, sports facilities and four swimming pools and this became my ultimate holiday in the sun.

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Flip and flopping in the sun…

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One of the best holidays we’ve had…

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Book Ikos Olivia here and make sure you take your Havaianas

Sunuva shines in Greece

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Perfect for protecting my boys in the blazing temperatures that is Greece in July were Sunuva’s UV swimwear. We’ve just returned from a glorious holiday at Ikos Olivia in Halkidiki. The sun shone, the surroundings were glam and the kids were happy to splash around in their stylish get-up.

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Ideal for all ages (my boys are eight and 13), Sunuva’s designs incorporate cool skater logos, skulls and stars in neon colours. The quick-dry rash vests are UPF 50+ and keep the young ones fully protected when they are playing in the sun. The fabrics feel soft and of excellent quality (they are sourced from Italy) and block out more the 97% of the sun’s harmful rays. Breathable, comfortable to wear and stylish to look at, it’s no wonder the brand has a celebrity following including Victoria Beckham, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, whose kids have been spotted in Sunuva.

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The UV swim shorts also come in a range of bright, fun prints. Perfect for boys – like mine – who want to make a splash on the beach! The UPF 50+ fabric ensures they stay safe, as well as stylish in the sun.

Ikos Olivia was the ideal place to showcase this gorgeous swimwear. The glam new opening has a pre-paid luxury ethos (in other words a modern-day version of all-inclusive). But forget dodgy drinks and plastic wrist-bands, Ikos Olivia is super-sophisticated: top-end restaurants offering urban-style gastronomy, chic bedrooms and manicured grounds are what makes this resort stand apart from the others, not to mention the wide choice of activities on offer.

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Located on  the Gulf of Toroneos in Halkidiki, the contemporary beach-front resort is found in 22 acres of grounds. Ancient olive trees, fragrant firs and herb gardens provide shade and atmosphere, while manicured lawns lead you down to the white sands and twinkling waters of the Aegean. It’s chic and family-friendly: so very now.

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Buy your Sunuva swimwear here and book your escape to Ikos Olivia here.

Interiors style: Young at heart

Whether it is a room to spark their imaginations or a private teenage den, the younger members of our families deserve a unique space to call their own. Here are the latest design ideas to create a practical room to stand the test of time.


Pirate and transport themes are all very well, but for something a little different for boys look at the new urban-style themes that are emerging for room décor.

Choose funky wallpapers for statement walls. Bricks, aged wooden planks and map designs are age-proof and work equally well for young boys as well as older ages, giving their rooms the ‘cool’ factor.

Galerie Wallpaper

Galerie Wallpaper

Roz Mannock, owner of The Paint and Paper Emporium in Cambridge (01223 506136, comments: “At the moment, the urban look is very popular for boys. Galerie Wallcoverings has a great selection of designs, such as bricks, wheel cogs, trees and world maps, which are all great for a statement wall in a boy’s room. I’ve also been advising on Scion‘s geometrics and seagull prints, which are bright and lively and are great alternatives to the usual jungle or under-the-sea designs.” Kids (Lifestyle Image) Mini Stroller Bench Oak Yellow Rodnik Shark Fin Chair £449 FRONT

A nod to an industrial theme, but with a fun twist, is also currently on trend. Adaptable metal bedsteads, like the Dulwich style available from the new kids’ range by (03442 571 888;, are robust and practical.’s version is also available as a day bed and comes with a matching trundle – essential for sleepovers – and is a good sturdy choice for boys.

Ruth Wassermann, design manager at, gives her insight: “As a mum I know that finding stylish and affordable furniture for kids is tough; it’s either pastels, pine or something super cheap that lasts one year. We wanted to bridge that gap with modern pieces that not only last but mean design-savvy parents can finally have the same amount of fun decorating their kids’ rooms as they do the rest of the house.”

Newgate Aqua Blue Pantry Clock_£ Newgate Clock_£ Newgate Hot Pink Pantry Clock_£

Add in bright clocks, such as Newgate’s primary-coloured rubberized versions from Daisy Park (01769 579077,, and hexagonal shelves, available from Next (0333 777 8000; to complete the look.

John Lewis RED5 Balloon Dog Light £15

Ample storage and room to study are essential considerations but by adding in quirky accessories, these practical areas can be easily livened up. Seek out the chirpy range of robot and dog lights by RED5 available at John Lewis (01223 361 292, While home emporium Out There Interiors (0208 0997 443, is also a fantastic source for unusual items for children’s rooms.

trexie Bonamy playroom1_aw15

“Sparking their creative juices early is key to a child’s development. Help this process along by providing an area, which is just for them – their own chair for reading in is ideal,” says Out There Interiors owner Jenny Hurren. “A blackboard to draw on will encourage their fine motor skills plus ensure that your wall don’t get drawn upon! Remember to inject a sense of fun into the room- a rabbit on a scooter rug, oversized button hooks or a set of ‘textual’ boxes – stops a palette from becoming bland.  Finally a T-Rex Skull is ideal for the young adventurer/explorer in the household and will probably appeal to the ‘young at heart’ in the household as well.”


Crucial to creating a comfortable room is choosing the right bed.’s (0345 400 2222, Kandahar single bed comes with storage and can be ordered in a range of fabrics, such as those inspired by Quentin Blake illustrations. A cabin or mid-sleeper style of bed, like those available at Great Little Trading Co (GLTC) (0344 848 6000,, offers extra space for smaller rooms.

Darwin single bed cloud grey and Butterfly linen lifestyle 2 Large Eden Playtable

“The most important thing to consider is choosing the right bed,” says Tracey Thomas, head of buying and merchandising at GLTC. “A bunk bed offers a spare bed option, which is invaluable for sleepovers. A cabin or mid-sleeper offers extra storage or even a desk, which will prove to be essential for all the toys that inevitably accumulate. While a high sleeper is appropriate for older children who need all of the above.

“Try a toddler bed for very small children; they are low to the ground and have high sides to reassure your child. Also make sure the mattress is soft enough; due to their lighter weight kids tend to sleep more comfortably on less firm mattresses. Bedding should be pure cotton: children cannot regulate their heat as efficiently as older children and adults, so to stop getting hot and bothered in bed you need to opt for cool, breathable cotton.

GLTC, Lounger Bean Bag, Bean Bag Chair and Pyramid Bean Bag

“As they get older sleepovers will become increasingly frequent,” she continues. “If you have a bunk bed you’re already one step ahead, but if not then you could opt for an under-bed truckle or a spare bed such as GLTC’s Bed In a Bag; they’re easily stored away when not in use, but require no inflation so you can just roll them out as you need them.”


When it comes to girl’s rooms, there are many alternatives to the swathes of pink-coloured accessories that are widely targeted at young females.

“For unusual wallpaper, L’Envol designs by Manuel Canovas, for Colefax and Fowler, are ideal. They feature hot air balloons in lime greens, pinks and turquoises,” advises Roz Mannock at The Paint and Paper Emporium in Cambridge (01223 506136, “They are pretty enough for a girl’s room but not too saccharine.”

Sweetpea and Willow

Sweetpea and Willow

Lockley Pouffe- Large Venice Side Table

Mirrored furniture matched against a sumptuous white padded headboard, like those available at Sweetpea and Willow (0345 257 2627,, are ideal for older girls looking for a grown-up theme.

Dash and Albert

Dash and Albert

Trimaran Stripe Charcoal Indoor Outdoor Pouffe_£250

Alternatively, blend neutrals with bright pops of colour for a contemporary look. Bright rugs, cushions and pouffes like those at Dash and Albert ( work well with a neutral colour scheme. While the cheerful patterns on Becky and Lolo’s (01420 544055, bed linens mean that you can simply change your colour palette when wash-day comes around.

Children's 100% Cotton Percale Duvet Cover Sets- Captain Ahoy

Becky and Lolo

Children's 100% Cotton Percale Duvet Cover Sets - Owls

“We are seeing a move away from the usual primary colours in kids’ rooms to using Scandinavian-inspired softer and neutral colour palettes,” says interior designer Nicky Parkin, owner of Luku Home (020 8943 3683,, which stocks a wide range of whimsical wallpapers. “Pastel colours are very much on trend at the moment along with individual more sophisticated designs in wallpapers and fabrics.”

Luku Home

Luku Home

Animal Parade Wallpaper in White on Mint Green Lifestyle_£

Urbane Living’s (020 7138 38 38, wallpaper cut-outs, meanwhile, are clever alternatives to wallpapering a whole wall and are ideal for introducing colour into a room.


Urbane Living

Adam Robertson, owner of Urbane Living, says “Many parents struggle when it comes to decorating their children’s room. Our wallpaper silhouette range is perfect for allowing parents to adapt the same sense of style as they would when decorating the rest of their home without compromising their own taste. After all, no-one wants to be left with a fully themed room that’s suddenly no longer their child’s ‘thing’.”

Talking of which, it’s advisable to include your child in the planning of a new scheme, but essential to not get too carried away with childish whims.



GLTC - Townhouse Wall Shelves

Tracey Thomas, at GLTC (0344 848 6000,, agrees: “Given that your child’s tastes may change with the wind, it’s wise to stick to two or three main colours; you can then achieve a unique look with accent colours and designs here and there. Don’t get carried away with things that can’t be replaced easily for a quick update. Also, do remember that kids’ bedrooms need to be warm and welcoming; they also need to reflect the personality and interests of your child, not you! With a little thought kids bedrooms can be places of play, relaxation, learning and, hopefully, sleep.”

She continues: “It’s a good idea for children to be involved in the planning of their bedroom – it’s their space after all. But to avoid arguments (and decisions they’ll come to regret when they’re older) it’s helpful to choose two or three things that you’re happy with first, then leave the final choice to them. This way they get to have a say, but you’ll be happy too.”

For girls who want a feminine, fantastical look to their rooms, choose a simple, white wood bed frame and then dress it with pretty linens, that way when tastes change you won’t have laid out a large investment. Visit Belfast Beds based in Cambridge for a wide range of children’s bed styles (01223 411311, For a cosy feel, choose thick carpets in pastel shades. If you have a little girl who likes her arts and crafts, then opt for a hard-wood floor for a more practical choice. Both types of flooring are available at Carpet Mill (01223 316866, also in Cambridge.

Hibou Home

Hibou Home

Hibou Home_Teepees wallpaper_Indigo & White_HH01001_a

Emma Lycett, founder and director at Hibou Home (01892 511867,, which offers a stylish range of muted wallpapers and fabrics, gives her advice on creating a magical girl’s room: “Choose timeless, classic designs inspired by nature that will evoke happy childhood memories and transform bedrooms into a magical lair that children will love. Charming wallpapers featuring delightful woodland animals and forest folk will conjure up visions of their countryside surroundings and bring the outdoors in to homes. Create a harmonious interior look with a soothing and fresh colour palette of duck egg blues, stone greys and mint greens that not only draw on the colours of nature but will also create the perfect backdrop in little one’s nurseries and bedrooms.”

Sandberg Wallpapers

Sandberg Wallpapers

11_Engla-Elliot 12_Engla-Elliot 13_Engla-Elliot

Hanna Wendelbo-Hansson, creative director at Swedish interior brand Sandberg (, suggests taking inspiration from fairy tales: “Faraway lands and mystical kingdoms are a lovely starting point to create a sprinkling of magic in your young child’s room. Hanging canopies is the simplest way of doing this and let the children’s imaginations invent the rest. Layer different patterns together to create a gently invigorating space for your young ones to spend time.”


When it comes to the teenage years, it’s all about giving them their own space and privacy without compromising on style.

Luku Home

Luku Home

Portraits Wallpaper_£70_lukuhome.com_2 Flower Girls Wallpaper in Calmm Grey_£ Fireworks Personalised Table Lamp_£

“For teenage rooms the choice is so much more varied than ever,” says Nicky Parkin at Luku Home (020 8943 3683, “Using interesting lighting from hanging pendants to fairy lights can really give their room that designer edge.  Having a seating area is great for teenagers when they have their friends over. Beans bags and colourful small sofas are an economical and fun way to achieve this.  Place a funky contemporary rug in the room to add a little extra style.”

Lujo Beanbags

Lujo Beanbags

Ambient Lounge (0844 579 1112, supplies design-savvy beanbag furniture, such as the shell-like Acoustic style and the Avatar Home Cinema Lounger, ideal for teens who want to chill out with friends, watch movies or play computer games.



Pink Slim Cabinet 5

Storage is also key for keeping rooms in ship-shape order. For something a little more grown-up than the usual children’s storage solutions, seek out quirky cabinets. Shimu’s (0800 088 6800, brightly lacquered Chinese cupboards add a sophisticated touch to any room, while the Buddy Larder from Lilly Loray (01788 486 001, is a versatile option.

Lily Loray

Lily Loray

Bryony Disbury, founder and designer at Lilly Loray, comments: “Lilly Loray’s Buddy Larder is a great addition to any children’s playroom or den because it’s so versatile with a multitude of uses. Teenagers, in particular, always need a helping hand keeping things tidy in their bedroom and the Buddy Larder does just that by adding a touch of style. It can be used as a desk, clothes cabinet, DVD cabinet, music station and/or library. What’s great is the teenager can be creative in using it so making it unique to them.”

Sure to get you in the good books of style-conscious teenagers is choosing funky options for the boring essentials. Instead of curtains, for example, opt instead for shutters, such as the solid type available at California Shutters (0800 195 0196; and paint then in vibrant tones for a youthful feel.

Chrissie Harper, operations manager at California Shutters, gives her tips: “Full Height Solid Style shutters are a stylish solution and also a practical one for keeping the light out. Keeping the shutters closed will block out all light in the evening, whilst during the day you can open them fully to clear the window allowing daylight light in.”

The Radiator Centre

The Radiator Centre

Another idea is to swap the bog-standard radiator for a contemporary version, like The Play model at The Radiator Centre (01727 840344, As well as giving a hipness to a room’s scheme, director Nick Duggan points out that it might also be a practical choice: “The Play sits in The Radiator Centre’s efficiency range of radiators. While producing unparalleled levels of heat from its Low-H20 heat exchange it also offers a low surface temperature for the more safety conscious. The fun, painted MDF panels with pencil proof grille, integrated TRV controls and hidden valves make it an ideal radiator that could sit in a young person’s room and not go out of fashion.”


With teenagers becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tastes, it is advisable to include them in all decisions in their room decor. Top of the list is to choose a bed that will stand the test of time.

Button and Sprung

Button and Sprung

Adam Black, co- founder of Button & Sprung (0333 320 1801,, makers of hand-made beds and mattresses, suggests: “Be bold with your fabric choice, bright colours and patterns are great for a teenager’s room as they can inject a bit of personality and fun into the scheme. If you choose a patterned fabric you must consider how the design repeats and the style of the headboard you’re after. For complicated prints it is best to keep the headboard design simple, and opt for a plain style, as button backs will distort the pattern and limit your fabric choices.”

Far_Far_Away_17 Harlequin_AllAboutMe!_19_ER Harlequin_AllAboutMe!_02_ER

Claire Vallis, design director at Harlequin (0845 123 6815, gives her say: “Create teenage kid’s rooms with a funky vibe using bold blocks of colours with a hint of rebel black. Best not to adorn the walls in their favourite fashion of the moment, as teenagers have been known to change their minds frequently. Instead, choose generic but trendy motifs that will stand the test of time and can be mixed in with their current interests and tastes.”



Dunelm Kids Cowboys and Indians Bedding Set

Seek out affordable accessories, furniture and bed linens at stores such as Dunelm (0345 165 6565, and, which stocks teen-friendly Piggy Bags and sofa beds – ideal for when friends stay over.

Finally, for those who really want their own space, why not invest in a purpose-built garden room. Stacia Greenaway, director at Cambridge Timber Buildings, (01353 667268, suggests a space away from the house could be the ultimate den for teens: “We work with clients to devise the best space that fits in with their family needs,” she says. “And an increasing number of people are using their gardens as extensions of the home. For older teenagers who crave their own space and privacy, a modern garden room can be the ideal solution. It can be set up as a den, a games room or even a study for those who need some independence away from mum and dad.”