I always wondered when I would start caring about cushions, throws and matching plates. Well guys, I think I’m finally there. I thought it came with age but actually I guess it just comes with having your own space… which is usually linked to being a bit older. Ok, enough of going around in circles.
After 2 years of renting a room in a shared house, Jack & I finally moved into our own flat in May. That house was a bit of a nightmare with rats, mould, weird neighbours etc (but my housemates were babes), but I was pretty sad to leave it – my first home in London. As soon as we signed for the flat, everything changed… no, it really did. I lost my stable job and I decided to try freelance design, all whilst thinking ‘How am I going to pay for this rather expensive flat?’
We’ve been in our little flat almost 4 months now and I’m so glad we moved; I don’t think I could have Freelanced from that tiny room. Furnishing and making it our own on a budget has been a challenge, but luckily I’ve always been thrifty! In real life, I’ve been harping on about how I wanted to show people that Graphic Design is more than a print on a wall, and how having a Graphic eye can translate into interior styling too. I thought it was about time I put my money where my mouth is and showed you around my little piece of London:
P.S. I’ve also curated a little shop of similar items/in the style of at the bottom if you’re inspired to do a little bit of shopping 🙂
Creatives have a lot of
stuff books and paper samples. Luckily IKEA have our backs with the perfect unit to store all of it in – so easy and versatile. Look at that little shelf of colour matched books (and a flat warming plant from the lovely Emma) – Jack said to me this morning; ‘You’ve been curating the shelves again.’ I hadn’t actually, and I think it’s looking quite messy at the moment, but without realising I’ve created my own little exhibition/display. Where else am I supposed to show off my succulent shaped candle (which we can NEVER light), stone letters from the Comedy Carpet and a declaration about swearing lovingly cross stitched by my friend Jess?
Also for an injection of colour on our white walls we’ve got some bright and colourful artwork – a beautiful fluoro orange seaside rock print by Steven Wilson for Unlimited (a super cool artsy shop in Brighton that I vlogged) and the other is a DIY of 2 promo posters from the Under The Same Sun exhibition at the South London Gallery that I stuck together. If that’s not creative, I don’t know what is…
Are you sitting comfortably?
With our flat coming unfurnished, we knew that our first proper grown-up purchase would have to be a sofa. Jack probably won’t appreciate me telling this story but it has to be done.
After a few weeks of watching TV on garden furniture, we’d narrowed it down and headed to (our favourite place) IKEA to finally purchase a sofa. We walked straight to the sofa section, confirmed it was the one we wanted and ordered it within 10 mins of the store opening. On our way out of the store we passed Bargain Corner and being the bargain hunter that I am, even though there’s never anything decent in there, I had to have a look. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the exact sofa we had just ordered sitting there with 40% off. I looked at Jack and Jack looked at me, hoping that I wouldn’t say it… ‘Can we return the other sofa and get this one instead?’ – yes, I said it. 40% OFF THOUGH – that’s almost half price!
To cut a long story (from discovering the Bargain Corner sofa, it was 3 hours until we headed home) short… the IKEA staff weren’t very helpful, we had to dismantle a sofa with no instructions and people still trying to look at it as if we weren’t busy dismantling it, Jack didn’t really want to do it, we had to get it to customer services to wrap it (which took like an hour, and then we were told we still needed to dismantle it further before they could accept it) and then return the first sofa before it got loaded on a lorry to be delivered to our flat.
That sofa almost broke us! Luckily it turned up the next day and it went back together fine. I think Jack has more of an attachment to that sofa than he would like to admit…
Et voila! I added some mustard yellow graphic print cushions from IKEA for a pop of colour and everyone’s happy. Originally I had my heart set on some different cushions (which I Instagrammed here) but Jack said the eyes creeped him out, so I had to let go of that dream…
To mop up the tears, I popped these mini cacti into the trolley because how can you say no to mini cacti!? The black and white striped rug is also an IKEA compromise because I originally wanted to buy the massive triangle one, but then I realised it was basically the size of our entire flat… stripes are classic anyway, right? Other additions for the coffee table (which I realise looks super tidy in these photos but I’ve cleverly cropped out all of the magazines etc stacked underneath it) include this giant charcoal candle from Laura Ashley and a cute little tray with a Graphic print from Cordello Home (included in one of my Creative Blogger Mail videos a while back)
I love quirky frames and ways of displaying art, and I these two are a welcome distraction from the radiator. It’s not the first time I’ve declared my love for clipboards, and I actually said in one of my Papergang unboxing videos (here at 4.11 onwards incase you’re interested): ‘Imagine if you had a massive one and you could display a big print on it…’ Well, I found one in IKEA for £6 and now I wish that I’d bought more! The fluorescent orange acrylic frame is a beauty which I snapped up in the Oliver Bonas sale probably a year ago now. I had been eyeing them up for ages so as soon as I saw it sitting all alone with a discount sticker, I knew it had to be mine – it was fate.
And the prints… well they both have stories too! The typewriter (which Jaye said offended her because the keys aren’t correct) is a pull out poster from a zine I won at Uni called Imagine That – it fits with the colour scheme. You might recognise the little bird on a paint brush from a workshop I went to at Print Club London with Farrow & Ball. Printed by my fair hand, I just like the simplicity of it.. and Jack did too so in the frame it hopped.
Let there be light
It’s SO dark in our flat (no, I’m not being a blogger diva, it really is) so extra lighting is pretty important. We’re lucky if we get sunshine on the floor for an hour (which is why I just HAD to include that photo of the light shining onto the grid shelving), and as I’m now freelancing from home it’s been quite hard to adjust to. One of the first things we bought for the flat was this standing lamp from Habitat. Looking back now, it was pretty pricey but we had a voucher and I guess we were just super excited to be moving into our own place so I’ll let us off.
Looking up, for some reason there are two lights in our main living area (I mean, I’m not complaining because we need all the light we can get!). On an early trip to IKEA Jack picked them out (he has a thing about being able to put things together… furniture, lights… he’s pretty handy to have around!) and I wasn’t too sure about them at first because they’re quite big, however I’ve warmed to them now. I think they’re quite a statement, which is probably what we needed being that there are two, and they’ve been the first thing that visitors have commented on as soon as they walked in.
Where the magic happens
I’m talking about my desk of course, cheeky! As I’m now working Freelance, my desk is super important. It’s where I spend most of my day and so it needs to set the right atmosphere to help me be productive. Some people need a blank space to work without distraction but I like to have inspiration around me, so I pin cool design things/things that spark memories to this large cork board which I’ve had since I was a little. What can you see on the board? Photobooth pics, gig tickets, wristbands and lanyards from events, a typographic print by Angela Whittaker, homemade rosettes and my Legoland driving license… because you never know when you might need it.
Other decorations on/around my desk include a signed Anthony Burrill screen print, some storage boxes from IKEA, a mug of pens, a terrarium with 2 little cacti inside (it used to be 3) and lots of paper for writing lists/notes on. Oh yes, I’m a list maker – it’s how I make it through the day! There’s just something so therapeutic about crossing out something once you’ve finished it.
Hey good lookin’, whatchya got cooking?
In all honesty, I’ve never been much of a cook; I love to eat food, but I’m not so great at the bit before that. But what I can get on board with is pretty looking things and a matchy matchy colour palette…
Blue. I’m not sure what I’m going to use these little fishy dishes (from Laura Ashley) for, but aren’t they just the cutest!?
So my table laying game could do with some work – it’s not like that IKEA workshop I vlogged where we had all of those amazing IKEA props to hand! But at least all of our plates match now, accompanied by a few accessories from Laura Ashley (the blue pot, table mats and coasters) and Oliver Bonas (the rabbit salt & pepper shakers). Eventually the plan is to give the table and chairs (kindly donated to us from Jack’s Uncle) a bit of a DIY make over… we’ve got the paint, we just need to book it in the calendar!
And last but not least; when your fridge is inside a cupboard what are you going to do with all of those fridge magnets? Put them in a drawer and never look at them again! I’ve got the washi tape out and abstractly displayed some polaroid style photos of Jack & I looking all cute, well apart from the halloween one where he’s got a bullet hole in his head… but anyway! They come in a little box from Cheerz and if you wanted to order your own then you can get a £4 discount using my code: NATNUX 🙂
And I think that’s enough for now. Our bedroom is pretty boring at the moment and nobody wants to see my toilet, do they? Hope you enjoyed that little tour of some of the designy details I’ve injected into our flat. Yes, most of it is IKEA and real interior designers will turn their nose up at that, but when you’re on a budget it’s a good way to stretch your money. HOW did young couples afford to furnish a flat before IKEA existed? Anyway, for me it’s not about how much money you spend – it’s what you do with it. I have to live with it, and I like it 🙂 Home Design Home. And if you fancy shopping my flat ‘style’ then I’ve curated a little shop of similar things/ things I like – ENJOY:
What do you think about my idea of Graphic Design translating into Homeware? I’d love to know your thoughts, especially if you share my enthusiasm for giant clipboards 🙂