Posts tagged ‘making a home’

June 2, 2010

making a home {rugs}

When living in a rental or even when you move into your first home the spaces can feel empty, dull and not you.  Restrictions on painting walls and DIY in rentals also make it difficult to make the place feel like a home. 

Rugs are a great way of making a room warm and welcoming while bringing a bit of your style to your rented accommodation.  Furthermore – in keeping with our idea of buying pieces now that you can then take with you when you eventually buy your own home – rugs are a good long-lasting investment.

Typically when one thinks of rugs you imagine them by the fireplace or in the bedroom, however they can actually be used to brighten up every room in the house. 

Check out some of these ideas for inspiration:

Living room

 House to home


House to home


Living Etc

The Decoritsa


Living Etc

Bar area (OK dreaming now … but maybe one day)

Bright Bizarre

Dining room

Next Online


House to home


House to home

Even… Outside!

House to home


May 30, 2010

happiness {Sunday breakfast}

Image House to Home

Have a great Sunday!

May 29, 2010

making a home {trays}

Whether living in rented accommodation or your own home the same issue always occurs as to what to do with the bits and bobs that we use everyday that aren´t particularly pretty or easy on the eye.  The answer is… trays.  A tray can make your toiletries, your coffee table, even your alcohol collection look organized.

Take a look at some of these examples:

A great way of storing TV remotes and other bits that clutter up your living room.

Ideal home magazine

All those creams, hair brushes, cotton wool and other bits that you use everyday and therefore need at hand.

House to Home

Magazines, photos and everything else that finds its way to the coffee table.

The Decorista

Plush Palate

Alcohol and mixers.

Southern Accents

Ugly washing up.

Plush Palate

The Decorista

As always I have had a look around the wonderful world of vintage and found the following great bargains:

$30 Etsy

$30 Etsy

£14.95 Ebay

Or if you are not a fan of vintage Ikea has a great collection:


If you have got a bit more money to spend this gorgeous hand-painted tray is worth the hit to the bank balance:

$350 The Well Appointed House

Happy organizing!

May 23, 2010

making a home {mix and match chairs}

When decorating a home one of the more costly pieces that we must invest in and one which will have a big influence on the overall look of the main living space is a set of dining table and chairs.  Matching dining table and chairs can be extremely expensive and the cheaper sets tend to look tacky and damage easily.

As an alternative to spending a small fortune on a brand new set I love the idea of mix and match chairs – they look great, add a bit a character and work out much cheaper.  All you need is a bit of imagination, some hard work and… voila.

Check out this dining room that I spotted on A Punch of Colour Blog:

You can easily get a similar look:

Firstly hunt down some old and battered chairs on sites such as Ebay or  I found this set for £5.50 on Ebay:

…and has a huge range of old chairs to offer:

Secondly, hire a sander.  You can do this online at sites such as where you can hire a multipurpose sander for £38 for an entire week:

Thirdly, find the right colour wood paint for you and get painting:

This Crown, non-drip satin paint is only £5.48 from Homebase.

Obviously you cannot just throw a load of different colours and chairs together and hope that they work.

Here are a few top tips on how to avoid making your dining room look like your local thrift store:

*Use just one colour to tie together various styles of chair

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis
Photo courtesy of Apartment therapy

* Stick to one group of colours or pick 3 colours and repeat them around the table.

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis

*If you have a set of chairs and a couple of odd ones, put the odd ones at the ends of the table:

Photo courtesy of A mad tea party with Alis

*Use matching cushions:

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs

*And finally, make sure the chairs are all roughly the same size:

Happy mix and matching!

May 20, 2010

great gifts {doorganizer}

If you have a birthday coming up or one of your friends is moving into a new house and you would like to get them something but don´t want to spend too much, this is a great little gift:

The DOORGANIZER this is one of those things that you don´t realise you can´t live without until you discover it!

I am always leaving myself little piles of thing that I must not forget and then end up forgetting because they are not in my path as I storm towards the door late for work!

You can get this great little gift for £9.95 from Pelican Pear

May 18, 2010

making a home {chests and trunks}

With the housing market in the state it is in and the impossibility of getting a mortgage without a 10% deposit the majority of us Twenty Somethings are still renting or …ah-hem… living with our parents.  In rental accommodation storage is always a problem and we are also restricted on hanging anything from the walls and/or decorating.  Rather than buying cheap, ugly,  ready pack furniture I think it is a good idea to start collecting quality pieces of furniture that we can then take with us when we finally buy our first home.  It will also make our rented room more homely and personal.  We here at Twentysomethingyears think that chests/trunks make a great investment piece.  They can sit beautifully at the end of our bed – a space that is normally left empty – and provide more storage AND surface space.

Take a look at some of these examples –


House to Home


If you shop around there are some fabulous chests to suit every budget and taste.

Here are a few of my favourites –

…this gorgeous vintage wartime chest sold for just £16.51 on Ebay

…and this huge vintage trunk was at £25.95 on Ebay at time of writing.

If you are not much of a vintage lover you can also get some good quality new chests and trunks –

…This handmade banana fibre chest is £39.99 from Ikea

…and this Opus Mango Trunk is £99 from Next

For those of us with a bit more cash to spend –

… I love this gorgeous Vintage white cedar blanket chest from Etsy for $450

…and this Quartersawn Oak bench, $499, also from Etsy

May 11, 2010

making a home {independent sustainability}

It isn´t until something happens to jeopardise the status quo that we realise how dependent we are on certain things.  Until our electricity goes out on a stormy night we forget how dependant we are on it to cook, keep warm and even do our homework.  Until our car breaks-down we forget how vital it is to our daily routine.  Until the ash cloud threw the whole air industry into chaos – and had reverberating effects on the tourist industry, the import and export industry, even the postal system – we had forgotten how dependant the running of the world economy is on air transportation.

In an insightful 2-part series journalist Heydon Prowse explores our reliance on technology and our therefore diminishing ability to do things for ourselves.  This is provoking a growing dependance on big companies and the state for example, when the government banned all flights from taking-off during the ash cloud we were powerless, we simply could not go anywhere.

The two individuals in this video would have no problem if we experience another fuel strike or a freak storm blows the entire National Grid!  Personally I think they could have picked examples that are more accessible to the general British public to prove that all of us can make changes to our lives to make us less dependant on the big-bods  but you get the idea!

This is the first in the two-part series.

For the second video check out the Guardian Environment section tomorrow.

May 10, 2010

good grub {brownies}

This is a fail-proof and delicious recipe for the old favourite – brownies!

It´s customizable too!

For 16 brownies –

You will need:

140g of baking chocolate

113g of unsalted butter (or margarine for a healthier alternative)

15g  (2 tablespoons) of cocoa powder

200g of granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3 large eggs

95g of normal flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

100g of your favourite chocolate bar (this is the customizable bit!)

This is how you do it:

(1) Preheat oven to 177 ºC (350º F).

(2) Using cling film wrapped over your hand rub some butter over a 20cm2 square baking tray.

(3) Melt the baking chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water stirring the chocolate occasionally (This is called a “bain marie”!).

(4) Once melted take the bowl containing the chocolate and butter out of the saucepan and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar.

(5) Whisk in the vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing each one in well before adding the next.

(6) Stir in the flour, salt and break up your favourite chocolate bar into different sizes chunks and add these too.

(7) Pour into the pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes – DO NOT OVERCOOK – check your brownie constantly after about 20 minutes!

(8) The brownie is done when a fork inserted into the centre comes out with a bit of batter and a few moist clumps.

(9) BE PATIENT – remove the brownie from the baking tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.

(10) Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.

This recipe is taken and adapted from the book Chocolate Bar by Matt Lewis and Alison Nelson.

May 10, 2010

making a home {including a bit of primitive in our urban lives}

Yesterday the fantastic writer Amanda Talbot posted an article on her Heart & Design blog about “Primitive Living”.  She writes that “…according to the Future Foundation 45% of 25-44 year-old’s feel the need to be closer to the countryside” and in my opinion the 55% that don´t simply haven´t yet realised their need to be closer to nature.

I grew up in the countryside so whenever I spend long periods of time in the city I start craving that connection with nature.  I miss waking up in the morning and hearing the birds tweeting rather than cars rushing by, I miss opening my window and seeing greenery rather than grey, I miss being able to leave my house in jogging bottoms and welly boots and walking for miles without seeing anyone.  Whether in the countryside or the city I always try to buy locally produced British food that does not come in 2 tons of packaging, not just because I realise the importance of buying locally, but also because having grown up on a fruit farm I know how much better produce tastes that has only travelled a few miles rather than 8000 miles.  It always amazed me how ignorant my flatmates who grew up in the city were to these commonsense ideas.

Luckily opinion and awareness is improving and people are starting to realise not only the importance of nature and preserving it, but also how good it can make one feel.  We have done a bit of research into how us Twenty Somethingers can add a little bit of “Primitive Living” to our Urban lives.  So here goes:

{Buy British} This is a small change that we can all make.  Rather than buying ready-packaged fruit and vegetables from supermarkets make a conscious effort to buy fruit and vegetables that are labelled with the British Flag and only select the amount that you need.  Ideally locate your local fruit and veg shop and only buy as you need.  Also try and buy what is in season; if you buy an apple in January it is either imported or has been grown in artificial conditions.  Click here for a table outlining the fruit and vegetable seasons.  You will be amazed at the difference in taste as well as how good it makes you feel supporting your local community.
{grow your own}  It doesn´t matter what, but growing some kind of plant (no puns here) will make you feel more connected with nature.  Also, plants help absorb the Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere so it will make your urban flat/house a healthier place to be.  It can be anything from a small herb garden for your windowsill – I found this great little set for £9.99 from Amazon

Image from the Amazon website

It will also make your home cooked food taste great!

If you´re feeling more ambitious the French Company BACSAC provides an “alternative solution to get round the constraints of the creation of a roof garden in town: difficulties of transportation, excessive weight, but also lack of choice of containers, most of which are often very expensive”.  Their varied collection means there is something for every home and space so if you´re looking to create your own vegetable plot but you live in a 50 m2 studio flat this is for you – and the prices are reasonable too:

Images courtesy of Botanique Editions and Jardin Chic websites.  Both stockists of the BACSAC products.

{weekend activities} There are all sorts of activities that you can do out in the countryside at the weekends that will get some fresh air in your lungs.

One of my favourite group activities is GO APE

Image courtesy of the GO APE website

Get a group of friends together and scale your local treetop course!

If you´re working on more of a budget simply go for a walk.  The Walking Routes website offers thousands of different routes for all abilities so get your boots on and get walking!

Hiring bikes is also a great way of seeing the countryside.  The Enjoy England website offers ideas for every region in the UK.

{primitive, vintage and handmade decor} Next time you are thinking of redecorating, rather than heading down to your local Ikea, think primitive, vintage and handmade.  As Amanda Talbot writes; “When we bring handmade into our homes the pieces speaks of the connection and love with which the object was made.  It can be sensual, full of sentiment and imperfect”.

A great website for buying handmade and vintage furniture and homeware is Etsy.  Etsy is a community of artists selling their homemade products.  You can find everything from furniture to jewellery to bags.  Here are a few of my Etsy picks:

Dureza Dining Table, $1,900

African Masks, $9.00

Bankoffee – Velvet and Burlap Coffee Sack Pillow, $50.00

All images courtesy of Etsy

These fantastic hessian cushions not only look great, but they are made from burlap sacks which were once used to transport green coffee beans all over the world, so you are recycling as well as redecorating!

So there you have it – a few simple ideas to help us Twenty Somethingers feel more connected to the nature.

May 5, 2010

politics {The General Election}

So tomorrow is the big day – and for many of you younger Twentysomethings this may be your first opportunity to vote!

So – who are you going to vote for and why?

If the answer is along the lines of “I don´t know” or “I´m not really bothered” or “it´s too confusing for me” or “they´re all the same” – then we beg you to please reconsider, do a bit of research and make the use of your right to vote tomorrow.

Millions of people have fought so hard for centuries for the right to vote and today´s young people are just throwing it back in their faces.  We Twentysomethings are the future and it is up to us to vote for the candidate we believe is the right person to lead us.

To help you clarify things a bit the BBC have created an excellent Guide where you will find a summary table of each of the main party´s plans for Constitutional Reform:

Where They Stand: Guide to party election policies

For more information and a more detailed manifesto of each of the parties, click on the link to their website:

The Conservative Party:  David Cameron

The Labour Party:  Gordon Brown

The Liberal Democrats:  Nick Clegg