So shall we talk about how I totally jinxed the weather in my last post? It felt like I’d only just typed the words ‘spring is here’ before the clouds went dark and we had days of torrential rain and bitter cold again. I’m almost scared to even say anything about the fact that the sun is peeking out from the clouds today. In fact, no, I’m not going to utter another word on the matter, just in case.
When spring is here but the weather isn’t yet playing ball and you’re stuck indoors on your Easter weekend there’s two things I’m happiest doing. The first is setting myself on a spring cleaning mission; de-cluttering, revamping and DIY’ing rooms in the flat until my surroundings are fresher, cleaner, more minimal and generally a happy place. The second is curling up in one of those happy places with a cup of tea, a good book and a mind that’s more than ready to relax.
So when Next offered me the chance to do both of these things in one fell swoop I was all but ready with a paintbrush and a new set of curtains in seconds. Turns out I’m not alone in this sudden DIY motivation. Apparently the Easter weekend is one of the most popular times for DIY projects, which is exactly what I told GB when we decided to tackle a flat pack desk on Friday night (yes one DIY project was not enough for me, I have also decided to revamp my home office at the same time – more on that soon).
I’ve been a fan of Next’s home-ware collection for a long time. A few years back I got to visit their Camberley Home and Garden store on the day it opened and was totally blown away by all of the amazing pieces they had, everything from carpets and sofas to lamps and bedding. I had no idea their range was so big! Since then we’ve slowly added quite a few Next pieces into our home, from a gorgeous marbled effect glass lamp in our living room (which you see above in it’s new place) to the amazing Egyptian cotton bed sheets we treated ourselves to this year. The quality is always great and they offer all of the trends you could wish for.
My New Reading Nook
Chair, Rug, Throw and cushion – c/o Next Home | Curtains – George at Asda | Lamp – Next | Basket and flower vase – carboot sales | Mug – Anthropologie
As part of an Easter styling challenge, Next sent me one of their gorgeous Carter chairs, which for your information is just about the cutest/comfiest/most adorable little arm chair I’ve ever come across, and for only £199 I think it’s a bit of a steal. I chose the charcoal grey shade as I’m really into grey interiors at the moment, but the teal is also gorgeous if you’ve got a bolder colour scheme to play with. As soon as it arrived, a reading nook seemed like the true calling of this chair and I couldn’t wait to create a little hideaway in one of the unused corners of our living room.
Space is our biggest issue in our rented London flat. It’s amazing how many things you accumulate over the course of a few years but over time we’ve majorly outgrown the space we have and as such are trying to cram everything from a living space to a dining room, to a home office and more into our one sitting room. Storage is also a permanent problem, one which I’m sure anyone who lives in London can sympathise with, so overall we have to be really creative with the space we have. I’ll admit that at first I wasn’t sure we’d fit any more furniture into our living room (we already have a three seater sofabed, a two seater sofa, a wooden bench we bought for our wedding but can’t part with, a footstool and a beanbag all crammed in to the front of the room) but actually when I got to work de-cluttering a little I realised that the back of the room (which houses my desk and a dining table we rarely sit at) was, for the most part, un-used space and as such had turned into a bit of dumping ground for the things we didn’t have a place for. GB bought me a book on decorating small spaces for my birthday and reading it has really inspired me to make more use of the little corners and untapped walls which we do have.
Seeing as I was planning a home office shake up anyway, I decided to switch up the layout at the back of the room to make way for both a desk space, and a relaxing reading nook in the corner. Even though the desk part isn’t quite finished, I’m already envisioning that my new home office, come studio space, is going to be my favourite place to be on an evening. The reading nook is a true haven, even though it’s a tiny space in the large room. It also makes my working environment feel much more inviting, somewhere I could easily welcome others in to for a coffee or just somewhere comfortable to sit and brainstorm ideas, write to-do lists and simply take time out with a cuppa, when I’ve been sitting at my desk too long.
It took a bit of work to revamp the previously dark and dingy corner space. The back wall actually used to be a pretty awful peachy/brown colour which for some reason our landlords had thought was a good idea four years ago. We’d been putting up with it all this time but finally the thought of my gorgeous grey chair having to sit against a peach wall was too much and after a quick email to check it was ok with them, I took the plunge and got my paint brush out to make it white. I also decided to invest in some new curtains (again something that’s been on the to-do list for a while but took the chair to make happen) and picked up these chevron grey curtains from George at Asda. I’d been inspired by Jen, who shared a pic of her West Elm chevron curtains in her bedroom recently and so I hunted the web for something similar. The George ones were a steal so I couldn’t resist kitting both windows out.
A gorgeous monochrome wool rug made the corner feel much cosier, and also covered up the beige carpet I have a bit of a vengeance against (carpets are one thing not so easy to change in rented accommodation so rugs are your saviour). Our framed wedding photos were hung on the wall and that grey lamp re-homed in this corner for the time being. The basket was a carboot find for the wedding but doubles up as a handy coffee table/storage unit and I piled up some of my favourite fashion books as a makeshift side table. Then all that was left was for the chair to sit pride of place and suddenly the corner almost felt complete.
I’m actually tempted to buy another of the chairs so that GB and I can each have one, and I imagine them sitting either side of a cosy fireplace with our own pile of books next to us. That’s all hypothetical for now though as we live in a tiny one bed flat in London where space for two arm chairs and the chance of a working fireplace is non- existent. One can dream though, and hopefully in the near future we’ll have more space for such dreams. For now, I’m pretty happy for the reading corner to be all mine and as such kitted it out as a bit of a girly haven complete with a gorgeous pink check throw (pink and grey make my heart sing) and alphabet cushion (we actually already have the J and S versions of these cushions on our bed so if that’s not reason enough to have two matching arm chairs I don’t know what is!).
As soon as it all came together, I knew clearing the space out and spending some time revamping it was the right thing to do, even if it did mean getting rid of a lot of the belongings that had previously lived there and giving up our dining table for now. Each morning, I make myself a cup of tea and plonk myself in this spot while checking emails, doing social media and making a plan for the day and it’s glorious! And in the evenings, GB and I are fighting over who gets to sit in the reading corner, so clearly my girly influences haven’t affected his love of the chair either.
It just goes to show that even if you don’t have a lot of space, with a little creativity you can utilise it to create something lovely in your home. I’d love to hear if you guys have any other tips for making the most of small spaces in your home? Or if you have a reading corner of your own?