As the days are getting shorter and the sun sets earlier in the evening, you might be looking for ways to make your home brighter and lighter. Here are some easy tips for filling your home with light and making your spaces look more sunny and spacious…

Lighten up on furniture

Dark furniture can suck the light out of the brightest rooms. Go for lighter wood tones, or white furniture to make a room feel so much lighter and more spacious. You don’t need to rush out and replace everything you own – why not just add a lick of white paint to your furniture? You’ll see an instant difference.

Give your windows space

Keep the space around your windows clear! Don’t clutter up windowsills with ornaments or put large plants in front of windows. Apart from the obvious (less light getting in through the window in the first place) cluttered windows can create a more cramped feeling in a room and make it look darker than it is.

Go mirror mad

Mirrors serve two great functions: they make a room look bigger by creating an optical illusion of space, and they bounce light around the room, making it look instantly brighter. Adding a large mirror opposite a window or door will really lift the mood of your room.

Get colourful with rugs

Colourful rugs, or even just colourful cushions, can really jazz up a room and make it look brighter. Rugs with bold patterns have the added benefit of hiding small stains and pet hairs too.

More matte

It might seem counter-intuitive, but matte paint on walls can actually make rooms look more light-filled. This is because too much glare from gloss paint will reflect light in odd directions, tricking the eye into thinking the room is more cramped and less bright. The same goes for furnishings and flooring.

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It’s the final of the Great British Bake Off tonight! We’re very excited (are you rooting for Rahul, Ruby or Kim Joy?) And so we’re getting into the spirit with this run down of our favourite bakeries across Hackney. The area has become synonymous with foodies over the past few years and is fast becoming the place to be for tasty treats. Especially when it comes to bakeries. It feels like you can’t turn a corner without walking into an amazing independent bakery – there’s sourdough and croissant’s as far as the eye can see. Cycle there down Regents Canal or walk from Bethnal Green station in ten minutes to work up an appetite then stop at one of these spots for a cake, pastry and a great coffee too.

Pavillion Bakery

With cafes in Victoria Park, Columbia Road, Broadway Market and even Newquay, it feels a bit like Pavillion are taking over. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular. Taking inspiration from Sri Lankan roots, you’ll find spiced variations on baked classics, such as turmeric and cardamon buns and a 100% vegetarian menu in their kitchen in Victoria Park. Amazing sourdough loaves fly off the shelves daily and when it’s gone it’s gone. What’s more, Pavillion pride themselves on staff satisfaction and are a Living Wage employer – so they’re sharing the dough in more ways than one.

Bread Station

The Bread Station, nestled in one of the railway arches along from London Fields station is inspired by traditional Danish baking techniques, including cold rising their bread dough – a slower proving technique which adds more flavour to the bread. They’re open for breakfast and lunch daily, serving great sandwiches, pastries and Caravan coffee – they also have an eat all you like toast bar with toast and spreads.

Victoria Yum

 

The creative bakers at Victoria Yum describe their bakery as “bedsit small”. Based out of a tiny venue in London Fields they still manage to produce amazing layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies and more 7 days a week. They also specialise in ‘free-from’ cakes including amazing vegan and gluten free creations. For special occasions (or not) you can order online too.

Yeast Bakery

Specialisation is often the mark of a great kitchen. Yeast started out with the aim of making the perfect croissant, and nothing else. They used only the best possible ingredients (including French butter from Normandy) to create their butter croissants, pain au chocolat and almond croissants out of their bakery near Broadway Market. And once they’d succeeded in their mission they expanded to lotsof other baked sweet treats and breads.

The Dusty Knuckle

Coming from humble beginnings in a shipping container in Hackney, Max and his childhood friend Rebecca have raised their brainchild the Dusty Knuckle through sheer hard work and determination. Just this year, they opened a permanent cafe in Dalston, serving breakfasts and lunches six days a week. Everything at the Dusty Knuckle is made in-house, including the bread for their incredible sandwiches. They also host baking classes in their little kitchen (and point out that their kitchen is a great place to learn the basics, because it’s probably smaller than your own).

Check out our properties in Hackney HERE 

As the literary saying goes “books do furnish a room” and it’s so true. We love the way a great book collection can make a house into a home and can add style and panache to your living spaces.

Here are some ways you can transform your beaten up paperbacks, chunky dictionaries and cookbooks into ornamental essentials.

Make a statement shelving wall

Add an amazing amount of storage space to your home, and prevent your living area from getting too cluttered by dedicating a whole wall to storage. You can use the shelving for books as well as an entertainment system, plants and candles. The interesting aesthetic of statement shelving will also draw the eye through the room, helping to make the room appear more spacious.

Create a rainbow bookcase

Organise your books by colour to create a stylish and tidy bookcase. This is a great way to make even scruffy paperbacks look like a style statement.

Have a cosy reading nook

Don’t have spacious open plan rooms that would suit large scale shelving? Not a problem. Create dedicated library areas in smaller rooms by tucking shelves into corners and adding a comfy chair of two.

Get some quirky book ends

What better way to transform your books into ornamental must-haves than by adding some stylish and unusual book ends. You can get some really nice ones from a number of high street homewares stores. The example pictured is from Anthropologie. You can also buy some really unusual book ends (including ones that double up as planters or lights) from online marketplace Etsy.

Don’t forget about coffee table books

Coffee table books can be a great talking point and add a hint of sophistication to your home, artfully arranged they can act like a kind of centre piece to your living area. Just don’t pile them too high!

Floating bookcases are a great space saver

Floating bookcases, which fix only to the wall, free up floor space and give more options, which is especially handy in smaller rooms. Fix floating bookshelves above seating or beds to optimise space and you can always add more later if you need more storage.

Watch this space for more interior design and home improvement tips or read another post HERE 

It seems like summer is officially on its way out, but don’t despair. Autumn is the time of cosy jumpers, hot chocolate, and curling up for a serious Netflix binge. It’s also a great time for making home improvements (because let’s face it, you’ll probably be hanging out at home a bit more). Here are some top tips to make your home your favourite place to be this Autumn…

Warm up your lighting

Make your living space cosy with filament light bulbs that emit a softer, warmer light. These bulbs can be bought in most good hardware stores and large home improvement shops as well as online from loads of independent retailers. They aren’t very expensive and they last a really long time. Or, you could get some fairy lights and string them around your windows, sofa or side tables for a snug glow (they’re not just for Christmas, honest!)

Autumnal wreaths

Impress your neighbours with a bright autumnal wreath. You can buy them pre-made in flower markets and from homewares shops, but why not get crafty one afternoon and create your own. There are even wreath making workshops in London, such as this one that includes tea and snacks.

Add a little sparkle

Bronze and gold interiors are really in this autumn. Go all out with throw cushions or tableware or just add a hint of sparkle with bronze or gold candle holders or place mats. This year all the major homewares shops from Ikea to John Lewis have a great selection of sparkly things for your home.

Fall furs

Add a bit of Nordic style to your home with fur blankets, throws and cushions. Make your home study a bit more comfy or make your living room a Hygge dream. But be warned, you might never want to leave the house again.

Go rustic

Rustic simplicity can be incorporated into your home in lots of different ways whether through simple wooden furniture or cast iron or clay kitchenware. The great thing about rustic homewares is they look great even in minimalist homes, creating a cool contrast. Give it a try.

Watch this space for more home and garden tips and tricks this autumn and winter.

We love amazing homewares. There’s nothing quite like having a home to call your own and being able to find fun, unusual and beautiful things to fill it with. In London, we’re so lucky to have so many talented independent makers who produce unique items: things you genuinely can’t find anywhere else. Here are a few of our favourites…

Hokolo

Hokolo, led by designer Jen Taylor, is all about bright and bold patterns and colours. Hokolo’s fun designs include stackable ceramic mugs, throw cushions and crockery as well as furniture and fabrics. And they sell gift cards, just saying.

20 Seventh Letter

April Christopher first got into print design while studying at Nottingham Trent University. Now based in London, her brand 20Seventh Letter is all about style and luxury. All materials are sourced in the UK and April’s unique prints are all made in London. Her homeware products range from cushions to wall paper, but she also makes little luxuries too including cute coin purses and make-up bags.

Olive Jennings

We love the simple functional Scandi-inspired designs of Olive Jennings. As well as durable furniture, such as this side table made from plywood and metal, she also works with concrete to make industrial styled beautiful small homewares including coasters and hanging planters.

London Cloth Company

The London Cloth Company is London’s first micro-mill. They make high quality materials created on restored shuttle looms from the 1870s. Most of their work is bespoke but they offer a small range of blankets and wool by the meter on their website. And if you’re on a bit of a budget (or just looking for a little house warming gift for somebody) they also sell mugs featuring prints of some of their classic wool blends.

The Botanical Boys


The Botanical Boys are Ben and Darren, who got into terrariums big time after moving into a garden flat in East London in 2009. They transformed the dilapidated garden of the flat into a thing of beauty – gaining attention from national newspapers along the way. Now, they create gardens on a mini-scale: terrariums, which mean anyone can enjoy plants in their house whether they have outside space or not. As well as selling complete terrariums on their website, they also run workshops so you can learn how to do it yourself.

The London Refinery

Lucy Heale uses all natural essential oils and soy wax to make luxurious candles inspired by moods. Scent blends including ‘Inspire’ and ‘Relax’ are available in different sizes. Based out of Ealing, everything at the London Refinery is hand made and they run candle making workshops around East London – you can even hire them for private events.

Being veggie or vegan can be tricky when it comes to picking a restaurant, especially if you’re with your meat-eating friends. But East London is an absolute cornucopia of meat-free venues. From bottomless vegan brunch to vegetarian burger feasts, hop on the overground to Hackney or get a bus to Shoreditch and you’ll be in veggie heaven. Here’s our list of some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in East London…

The Field, London Fields

Tucked away in a railway arch opposite Netil House, The Field is inspired by “casual plant based eating”. It’s a vegan restaurant, mostly, but there’s a catch. They also serve meat. The overwhelmingly vegan menu can be supplemented by meaty, eggy or cheesy extras for an additional cost. But with such incredible dishes as Killer Tomatoes, Roasted cauliflower with vegetable jus and caramelised yeast and deserts like Sweetcorn custard tart with lions mane, who needs extras? Vegans can take their determinedly meat-eating friends and show them what vegan cooking really has to offer. And don’t miss bottomless brunch at weekends – two courses and bottomless prosecco and/or mimosa for £35pp

The Gallery Cafe, Bethnal Green

Well known among locals, you’ll find The Gallery Cafe on Old Ford Road next door to York Hall. A cosy casual cafe, busy with freelancers on their laptops on weekdays and families enjoying the large back garden at weekends. The cafe is exclusively vegan and serves top quality coffee from local roasteries. As the name suggests the Gallery Cafe is a gallery too. Art works for sale are on display from exciting London artists and several evenings a month the cafe comes alive with a variety of events from live music to book clubs and film screenings.

Mildred’s, Dalston

Mildred’s has a very colourful history. Established in Soho in 1988, founders Diane Thomas and Jane Muir readily admit their ambition to open an exclusively vegetarian restaurant was risky. But the risk paid off and today they have no fewer than four restaurants across London. Mildred’s in Dalston is bright and light, with outdoor seating and chilled vibes – it’s a great way to step away from the hustle and bustle. From brunch to dinner you can choose from an abundance of vegetarian and vegan dishes including burgers, currys, small plates and a great selection of vegan deserts.

Redemption, Shoreditch


Redemption in Shoreditch serves up a various vegan offering from brunch-happy pancakes to healthy protein packed plant-based burgers. Their weekend day menu mixes up the usual brunch classics and spans breakfast to lunch – early risers can go for a smoothie bowl or party animals can rock up for energy boosting pasta or a restorative salad, all from 10am. The evening menu features creative vegan dishes such as pulled barbecued jackfruit, watermelon and thai cucumber salad and a great selection of deserts completely free of animal ingredients.

Biff’s Jack Shack

Aside from having one of the catchiest names on this list, Biff’s Jack Shack serves pretty mean vegan food. They’re on a mission to make vegan friendly junk food and show the world that veganism isn’t all kale and chia seeds. The shack pitches up at markets across London, including Broadway Market every Saturday, to serve hungry people burgers and fried “chicken” all made from jackfruit – a savory fruit from South East Asia that Biff says has a uniquely meaty texture.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional pub or a secret cocktail club, Angel has more to offer than you might expect. Away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Shoreditch or the City, Angel has loads of great bars and restaurants, whatever your style…

Gallipoli

Gallipoli offers a Turkish and Mediterranean menu and has a cosy family-run mood, with hanging lanterns and mismatched framed prints all over the walls. They know how to bring the party too, offering belly dancing performances for birthdays, hen dos and other special occasions alongside a special party menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, their lunch offer isn’t to be missed if you work nearby. Turkish Tuesdays, anyone?

John Salt

A chilled cocktail bar open late, John Salt has the look and feel of a 90s loft apartment with events to match; play Mario Kart on Retro Gaming Night and inflict your guilty pleasure tunes on your mates on Bring Your Own Vinyl night, all while tucking into chicken wings, onion rings and juicy burgers (veggie and vegan options too). Their cocktail menu offers all the classics alongside some more unusual creations, such as Wasabi Kick and the Juicy ‘Dillemma’.

Ladybird

Opposite Islington Green on Upper Street, Ladybird is a speakeasy featuring four separate rooms and bookable bar booths for special occasions. You’ll find a long cocktail list, including sharing pitchers, sours and prosecco by the glass. Happy hour runs Sunday – Friday 5pm – 9pm, making the Ladybird a great choice for either a big party or a cocktail before dinner.

Oldroyd

Self-titled restaurant Oldroyd is the brainchild of former Polpo top-dog Tom Oldroyd. The daily changing menu draws its focus and inspiration from seasonal British ingredients given a European twist, with dishes such as beef tartare with smoked eel mayo, cuttlefish with squid ink bortolli beans and sides including grilled sweetcorn with lavender butter. Oldroyd is at 344 Upper Street.

Vivo

Looking for that summer sun trap to catch some rays with a glass of wine? Vivo’s the place for you. Beautiful Italian food in a casual setting, Vivo also has a deli counter. Catch up with friends for a cocktail, a light bite, lazy dinner or lunch on the go at this gem of Upper Street – find it at 57/58.

Prawn on the Lawn

Prawn on the Lawn is something of an institution in Islington. A fishmonger and seafood bar, for sea food lovers it shouldn’t be missed. The menu includes small hot and cold plates, to be enjoyed with a glass of something from the brilliantly paired wine list. For bigger groups (or bigger appetites) there’s also platters including crab and lobster and whole fish by the kg. The menu changes daily, dependent on the catch, so you know it’s seriously fresh.

Milennial pink has been a popular shade in home decor for quite some time now, ever since Pantone samed Rose Quartz their colour of the year in 2016. Since then, rose gold hit us in a big way, and this evolved into a more subdued, blush colour that has been dubbed ‘milennial pink’. And now it’s everywhere. It’s a perfect shade for interior design, as it mixes well with neutral colours like grey and white.

Of course, completely redecorating your home can be time consuming and expensive, so if you want to just dip your toes into this trend, here are some subtle ways you can inject the colour into your home decor.

Make your sofa blush

Adding cushions or throws to a light coloured sofa is a fast and easy way to give it an upgrade.

Give your succulents a new home

Succulents are another huge craze that hit interior design a while back, and have stuck around ever since. The colour combination of the dark green and pale pink is a perfect contrast, and will add a youthful vibe to the room. Plus, succulents are an inexpensive and low-maintenance plant  – they last a long time, and don’t need regular watering.

Accessorize

Adding a few pink accessories in the kitchen can make a big difference, especially if they’re kept on display. Swap tired and dirty pots, pans, utensils and mugs for some new pink ones for an instant upgrade.

Add a feature wall

Milennial pink is the perfect shade for a feature wall as it’s not too bold to go out of fashion quickly, or clash with any other colours in the room. If you’re looking for a way to make a lasting impact on the room without taking a big risk, this will completely transform it.

Beef up your bedding

Similar to the cushions and throws in the living room, easy upgrades can be made in the bedroom simply by switching up your bedding. The bed is obviously the focal point of the bedroom, so any changes made here will make an instant impact. Switch to a pale, blush pink duvet cover and accessorise with white and grey cushions (bonus milennial points for geometric patterns).

Accent tiles

Perfect for either the bathroom or the kitchen are accent tiles. Brighten up the splashback area of your worktop with some milennial pink tiles, or maybe add a feature section behind the bathtub.

Small rooms are usually seen as a bit of an interior design nightmare, with not enough space to fulfill their decorating potential. This doesn’t have to be the case though; small rooms can still look stylish and spacious, with just a few tweaks. Here are our top tips for maximising space…

Pale colours

Lighter colours will open up a space, and make it seem a lot brighter. The best colour to go for is therefore white, but soft pastels will also help create the effect.

Paint the ceiling

One of the key ways to make a space look bigger is to attract attention upwards. Painting the ceiling a different colour or applying wallpaper will draw the eye upwards, giving a feeling of more height.

Hidden storage

Of course, it’s important to declutter (even if you aren’t trying to maximise your space). Hidden storage spaces like hollow coffee tables are key – keeping things out of view will free up more space in the room, making it appear less cramped.

Avoid heavy curtains

And if possible, make them the same colour as the walls so that it all blends together seamlessly. The best option is blinds, as these can be neatly rolled up out of the way during the day.

No rugs

Floor space is essential – rugs tie a room together, which is great for bigger rooms that need to feel more cosy. For smaller rooms however, rugs should generally be avoided.

Mount the TV

If it’s a living room that you’re trying to enlarge, putting the TV on the wall will free up some crucial floor space and create a sleeker effect.

Spread the light

Consider having a few different small light sources dotted around the room, instead of one large overhead light. One big overhead light creates a top-down effect, and highlights the centre of the room – which makes it seem smaller. Spreading the light out will illuminate the whole room, therefore making it seem more spacious.

Furniture with exposed legs

Exposed legs create a gap between the furniture and the floor. Creating gaps = creating space.

Get away from the wall

In the same vein, keep some furniture (e.g sofas) away from the wall slightly. The gap effect will make everything seem a lot less crammed in.

Less is more

The fewer items of furniture you have in the room, the better. Opt for larger but fewer items, instead of lots of little decorations.

Floor to ceiling shelves

As mentioned previously, one of the key ways to make a room look bigger is to draw the eye upwards. Floor to ceiling shelves will elongate the room, and if the contents are neatly organised, it will give an overall minimalist effect.

Keep some furniture low down

The rest of the furniture, however, should stay lower to the ground. Keeping furniture lower down allows for more exposed wall space.

Clear furniture

Glass or lucite furniture don’t take up too much visual space, and give an overall de-cluttered and contemporary effect.

Ditch the door

A bit of a bold move, but if it’s a communal room that you’re decorating (e.g a living room), removing the door altogether and creating an archway will open it up a lot more.

And of course, mirrors

We couldn’t forget the age old effect to making a room look bigger – mirrors. Reflections create more light and the illusion of a bigger space.

 

Your hallway is the first thing you and visitors will see when you enter the house – so it’s important to get it right. Make guests feel warm and welcome with our ten top tips for jazzing up the space.

Make an impact

Dividing up your wall with a band of colour will add interest to the hallway, especially if it’s a strong contrast. Tip: paint the skirting board the same colour for both a smoother look, and to reduce the appearance of scuff marks.

Raise the temperature

If you’re struggling to decide on a paint colour, opt for a warmer shade that will make guests (and you!) feel instantly at home. Don’t go for anything too bright or garish, or it might be a bit overwhelming.

Clutter control

Hallways often become cluttered, being used as a dumping ground for shoes, coats, and umbrellas etc. Opt for some clever storage to make sure this area stays neat and tidy – seating with cushions both looks inviting, and is practical for shoe changing.

Put your best foot forward

As this is the part of the house that gets the most footfall, it’s important to invest in some strong flooring that won’t wear too easily. Tiles are the best option as they can be cleaned easily (think muddy walks and wellies, and you’ll instantly remove the carpet). Wood-effect porcelain tiles will give you the rustic, homely feeling of having wood flooring with the ease of tiles.

Add a runner

Draw the focus upstairs and add a bit more interest to the staircase with a central runner (it’s also great for covering any scuff marks).

Flower power

Seasonal flowers are a great way to set the tone and make your home feel clean, fresh, and colourful.

Mirror, mirror

As hallways can be quite narrow and dark, mirrors are a great way to open up the space, with their light-reflecting surface adding a bit of brightness and making the room seem bigger. Of course, it’s also handy for last-minute appearance checks before you leave the house!

Be scent-sational

There’s nothing worse than entering a house and being hit with a bad smell. For the ultimate first impression, make sure your home is smelling sweet and pop a reed diffuser on the cabinet.