Why you need art in your home (and shouldn’t be scared of choosing it)

front foor in lilac with yellow chest of drawers and ls lowry art

AD – This blog post has been kindly paid for by King and McGaw but all opinions and words are, as always, my own.

Art on the walls really does make a house a home. It’s the finishing touch so to speak, and leaving all your walls empty can make your home feel stark and unfriendly.

You don’t need to install gallery walls on every inch of your home, but a few collections of art here and there will really bring your rooms to life and give them a beautiful and unique personality (which you can change up relatively easily as and when the mood takes you).

Displaying art on the walls is also a fabulous way of bringing rented accommodation to life or for injecting colour into a neutral scheme. It can be a great conversation starter when you have friends round, it can make you chuckle, marvel, daydream, think, become pensive, nostalgic or even inspired. Art is a multi-faceted accessory in your home and shouldn’t just be an after-thought.

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How to use tile stickers

Naff. That was the first thought in my mind when I came across tile stickers.

But then we moved to this house with a lime green kitchen and my opinion began to change. I knew we needed to come up with a quick and cheap solution so we could transform it (or at the very least, make it ‘liveable’) before all the major building works began.

You can find tile stickers on eBay and Amazon, but after heaps of searching, we personally struck gold with moonwallstickers.com. It’s an unassuming website, with limited and rather uninspiring social media activity but, my oh my, some of the tile stickers on there are gorgeous! (This is NOT an ad by the way!) There are also multiple size options available for every design making it compatible with the tiles you already have.

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A quick budget kitchen makeover

After a long drawn out moving process, which had many setbacks along the way, we were absolutely itching to crack on with the renovation as soon as the keys were in our hands. We plan to extend the kitchen and utility room one day, so whilst we’ve invested in replastering and new electrics in the rest of the house, this temporary makeover was always going to be about being simple, quick and super cheap. We just needed to make it liveable for 3 years or so.

The only proplem there is…

There was lime green EVERYWHERE.

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Limepaint – what went wrong and why I won’t be using it again

Limepaint or limewash is a natural eco-friendly paint which, when applied with a brush, creates a beautiful textured finish and thanks to modern companies like Bauwerk Colour and Kalkliter, comes in a wide range of stunning colours. So why did it all go so wrong?

I have loved the look for awhile, whether it be in Moroccan décor or in more contemporary settings and I felt this paint might just be the ‘piece de resistance’ needed in our bedroom. I like the calming nature of an all-white bedroom but felt by injecting some texture it would help give it depth and interest.

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Our small family home: A full house tour

Our New Front Door: Before And After

The time has finally come to say goodbye to our first home, our beautiful little Victorian mid-terrace house with the yellow door. We have had so many wonderful memories here, including bringing our youngest daughter home at just 6 hours old, hosting parties, working together on DIY projects, watching both our children learn to walk and talk, and, of course, I am very grateful to have been able to call it ours. However, it is almost two years to the day that we decided to move on so, honestly? My heart has not been here for a while. It has been with the other three houses we’ve tried to buy along the way, it has been dreaming of driveways and downstairs toilets and space for dishwashers. We were completely content with our situation, but as soon as our head was turned by something different, I’m ashamed to say our patience for the little niggles mentioned above started to wear thin. Family life grew and two active children (potentially more one day?) require more than a couple with a baby who doesn’t move.

And so, to sign off our adventure in this home on the blog, I have curated a mammoth house tour for you full of all the juiciest before and after shots! We have learnt so much from the renovation – we made a lot of mistakes and compromised more than we would have liked to due to budget (we spent approx. £6500 in total for the whole house) but overall we have both really enjoyed the process. I hope you like it!

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#ourkidslivehere: A new family and interiors Instagram hashtag challenge

Interior and Family Hashtag Challenge

Do you love stylish interiors but also have kids? Do you know they can actually be compatible together?!

Sometimes it’s just a case of seeing how others do it, to inspire you to do the same. What hacks do they use? How do they make the shared room for the kids work both practically and aesthetically? Where the heck do they put all the ugly toys?!

That’s why Coral Atkinson (@coral.atkinson, founder and creator behind the beautiful Velveteen Babies) and I (@theottohouse), have decided to start a new hashtag challenge which we hope will encourage people to share, and be inspired by, stylish and creatively decorated homes which have our family lives at the centre. Our homes may not always look straight out of a magazine but they do have life to the fullest enjoying every inch of them. You will be able to find all this inspiration under the hashtag #ourkidslivehere and you can add your own pictures to the feed too by popping the hashtag in the caption underneath your picture. We would love you to feel free to include your kids in these pictures if you like, but without them is totally fine too (we don’t want anyone ‘styling’ their kids into a shot just for Instagram!) We will share our favourites on our Instagram stories and, at the end of each month, our favourite picture will win an amazing prize from an incredible independent interiors based brand! So, be sure to follow both our accounts so you don’t miss out on the news including which fabulous prizes we have coming up!

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Top 20 Toddler and Cotbed Duvet Bedlinen Sets

Stylish toddler and cot bed duvet cover sets

Recently a friend asked me for recommendations on where to find reasonably priced but tasteful toddler or cot bed sized bedlinen. It’s a question I’ve been asked before, and from my own experience looking for bedlinen for our girls, I knew it would be a challenge to answer! I opened up the question on my Instagram stories and was absolutely overwhelmed with responses from you all agreeing that there really isn’t much out there under £30… many people even made their own duvet covers as they couldn’t find anything which tickled their fancy.

If you take away one thing from this blog post though, I would suggest you find your bedlinen set(s) at the same time as choosing your duvet. Toddler or cot bed sizes vary greatly from one store to another and I feel it is harder to find nice bedding that will fit in with your style or scheme, than it is to find a duvet insert of that size, so to increase the amount of choice you have, choose the bedlinen set first.

So I went on a very long trawl across the internet and found twenty sets that I really like. I’ve split them into a budget category and an investment category. I hope it helps!

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How to buy furniture at auction like a pro

How to buy furniture at auction like a pro

Following on from my blog post last week about what to expect when buying furniture at auctions, here are some very important tips you should know before embarking on your bargain shopping spree at your local auction house…

Measure up! I have a little notebook I take around with me everywhere with all the important dimensions of our home in.  You never know what you’re gonna find on that day, so although you might go in thinking, I need a desk that is ‘xyz’, you may get there and find a gorgeous mirror and end up wondering what the heck is the distance between ‘abc’ instead.  I asked, Catherine Hockley, director of our local auction house, Andrew Smith & Son, to share some tips on finding something that is the right fit for you: “Our salerooms are very large and so some items look small in them – always bring a tape measure, or borrow one from us, and make sure that the item you are bidding on will fit through your door or up your stairs.”

She also goes on to say, “Check the condition well before you buy, for wobbly legs or sticking drawers etc.  Most things can be easily mended, but make sure it is within your capabilities or you will end up paying for restoration.”

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11 steps to buying furniture at a real-life auction

11 steps to buying furniture at a real-life auction

After my popular post last week about how we’ve furnished our home on a budget, I’ve had so many questions about all the auction bargains we’ve collected over the years that I thought it necessary to write up a little guide so that you can start buying amazingly priced, but beautiful, good-quality furniture for your homes too.  In a poll created on my Instagram stories, 87% of you shared you have never bought anything at auction which shows it is a massively underused tool amongst our generation.  Despite the gracious words of my husband… “as long as they don’t all start coming to our one and bidding against us for the good stuff”, I’ve decided to utilise that old cliché of ‘sharing is caring’… so here are the basic steps for how it works logistically which I hope will give you the confidence to explore this option further…

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How to furnish your home on a low or non-existent budget

How to furnish your home on a low or non-existent budget

Does anyone else love those kinda interior articles where they pick an expensive ‘investment piece’ and then source a budget option that is often very similar?  I love it when magazines and bloggers try to make their content accessible to people like us who have a realistic budget and can’t blow the families’ winter shoes and coat budget on a new lamp.

Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated though, because even the ‘budget option’ makes my debit card quiver with anxiety, which, all things considered, is a bit unfair on the author really.  Everything is relative and they can’t please everyone.  I’m sure spending £179 on a coffee table IS a budget option for someone, and, in a similar vein, when I suggest spending £40 on a coffee table as a bargain, others may disagree with me too.

With that in mind though, I’d love to let you know about some of our own resources for spending less money as well as sharing a few of our mistakes so you can learn from them…

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