How to master the art of ‘maximalism arranging’

You know by now Im a self certified collector (some call it hoarder, I prefer collector!)

From the charity shop finds, to the beautiful bits I acquire whilst sourcing product for Melody Maison and WindsorBrowne , my house is fairly full to the brim, so what do I do with them?

Well, i love ‘arranging’  – so filling a surface with a collection, and arranging them,  just like flowers, only with objects. My taste is vast. From the ever-so-pretty to the downright quirky (and everything in between)

So how do you start arranging , and what should you do to stop it looking like a jumble sale stall! Heres my top tips,  from how to begin your hoard (I mean collection!) where to buy, and to how to assemble it

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One of quirky windsor browne style mantel piece collections – Hare from Dunelm

My Number 1 tip is :

Mix it up! – By all means pick a style, or a colour palette, but don’t shop for everything in one place. Visit car boot sales, eBay, charity shops (some of my most amazing finds are from these sort of places, and you get a double glow from owning something wonderful, but that only cost a few pounds , sometimes pence!) Then visit the vintage fairs, antiques markets and your favourite On-line and high street retailers as well as unusual boutique home wares shops so your collections are diverse and an interesting talking point ( I love telling stories of my nik-nak finds to anyone who will listen, from the beautiful mirror I found in a skip, to the jug I paid a £1 for that was worth £50!

 

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Pretty bits n bobs in my dining room

Tip number 2 :

Always buy with your heart, choose things that speak to you – usually with the words “if you don’t buy me today I wont be here tomorrow, and then you will be sad!”  Never buy just because you think the shape or colour is the missing thing, rather than just loving it yourself. I have bought plenty like this, and now I’ve learned to stop and think, ‘can I look at this every day for years and still love it?’ if the answer is Yes, great, you know what to do!

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There’s pretty much one of everything here! – Rabbit from Anthropologie

Tip number 3

Don’t be frightened of mixing colours and styles. If you are choosing with your heart then it will usually work. And if it doesn’t , start a new collection elsewhere! Interior design rules typically says choose no more than 3 colours, and stage things in groups of descending sizes….blah, blah, blah.  When choosing colour, I say pick 3, pick 7, pick 9, as long as they all speak to each other, or reference something else in the room, like a flower in a rug,  or a design on a cushion, go for it . This is not show home arranging this is maximalism!

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Simple colours & variety make my kitchen window have personality, but it’s still clean looking . Squirrel from Partylite

Tip number 4

So you’ve got past the colour thing, now what about themes. Themes are great for this sort of arranging, but don’t get carried away, a shelf with 42 teapots, or 64 cat ornaments may seem cute, but also might may make you look a bit crazy! so don’t go all one thing in one space (animal clutter is great btw, big fan, just remember to break it up around the house!) So for instance at the moment Ive got a thing for ornamental rocking and wooden horses, yes I have 3 mixed in with this arrangement, but the other 5 I own are scattered on other surfaces .

 

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Pretty shabby chic collection

Tip number 4

Don’t do too much symmetry. I too can appreciate  the show home look with a candelabra at either end, and 2 of everything all symmetrically arranged in descending sizes in between, but the maximalism look requires mashing it up. Put 2 of the same thing at either end, it works, but equally it may look just as good right next to each other

 

Tip number 5

Now , what to pick? Don’t be frightened to break ‘rules’ Pictures and mirrors aren’t just for walls, they look great lent up at the back of an arrangement. And vases aren’t just for flowers, fill them with feathers, or fairy lights or smaller collectables if its see-through. Yes throw away that rule book!

 

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Some very pretty clutter!

 

Tip number 6:

I like to move it, move it….and move it again! Once you are happy with the positioning or say 2 or 3 larger or important pieces, work all the other items around those, but it may take time. I sometimes move a surface around at least 5 or 6 times…and then I do it again! sometimes on a weekly basis till I’m happy or to allow a new treasure to be inserted somewhere (and to be totally honest,  I am a professional ‘faffer’ so I’m never going to be entirely happy , so one day every few months I will probably move it all around again!)

 

Tip number 7:

Finally, tip 7 is the maximalist big one – Invest in an ostrich feather duster! Sadly (i think tragically) the reason most people are averse to ‘ornamenting’ is the dust. I get it, it drives you crazy, but not only are ostrich feathers super delicate and light, so you can swish and poke them everywhere without risking breaking everything, they are also statically charged, so they will take the dust away with them , not just move it around.

So why not have a go, start by bringing a few of your favourite things together, and see what transpires. And if you are including any Melody Maison Or Windsor Browne gems in there, don’t forget to email me at customer services with pics, as we love to include customer pics on our inspiration pages

 

Till next time

Anna x

 

 

 

 

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How long should a girl spend in front of a mirror?

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Don’t worry, this  isn’t another make-up contouring blog, I was just pondering the fact that at Melody Maison, we sell as many mirrors, as we do all our other products added together!

Wow – Vanity? Or just home styling, So I decided to investigate…

I discovered from reading multiple articles that the average UK woman spends 55 minutes a day in front of the mirror. At first I couldn’t quite believe that’s the ‘average’  (so many must be spending a lot more!) but when I thought about it, I myself, whilst I might only do 20-30 minutes in front of my dressing table mirror a day (depending on whether its hair wash day or not!) how many other times during the day, do I ‘glance’ in the mirror. Its hard to keep count, but I think I clocked up an additional 14 times in one day!

Seems a lot doesn’t it, but I’m not vain, so I’m guessing I am the ‘average ‘ woman .

See if these checks you do too:

When you leave the loo (the skirt tucked in pants check) when you clean your teeth (the spinach check)  Just before you walk out the front door  (the ‘is it too warm for a jacket’ check) or at the pub ( the ‘did all my lipstick really come off from just eating some chips’ check)

So this explained why mirrors sell so well, small mirrors costing less than £10, we sell hundreds (teeth checker mirror?)

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A top selling mini heart mirror from Melody Maison
but the current big hit is the BIG mirror. The top to top, shoe to hair , I want to see the whole picture, mirror!

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The elise cheval mirror, so pretty
I walked round my house and counted no less than 32 mirrors! Sound strange, I also counted how many I use on at least a daily/weekly basis……9!

So Mirrors are clearly a decorative purchase for me, just like a picture, or an ornament , but with a practical use , even if it is occasionally!

Here’s some of my mirrors. As you may know by now I have eclectic taste, so whilst some of  my house is pretty, vintage and shabby chic, some is elegant and heritage antique style,  and some is dark, moody and quirky and this reflects (sorry, no pun intended!) in my mirror choices.

 

And which one do I use the most, well I narrowed it down to 1st , 2nd and third place

In Third place, the leaving the house mirror. This is a antique mantel mirror that hangs above the hall table (above top left) An eBay purchase, several years ago, I loved it because it was less than perfect – classy n’ shabby in equal measure. So the glass has foxed in many places, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve glued bits of frame back on!

In second place, is my ‘getting dressed’ mirror. Gold and glamorous,  on my landing just outside my dressing room, it’s the perfect proportion for a full-length check (I also love it because,  like all good friends, it tells me I’m thinner than I actually am! Some glass does seem to do that, not sure why, but who am I to argue!)

A Collection Of My Gold Home Accessories Large And Small
My Huge gold dressing Mirror on my landing, so elegant

 

Of course in top place is the faithful dressing table mirror – My dressing table is a shameful mess most of the time, hence the very small image on the top right above, if you look closely you will see it physically sigh from the pressure of relentlessly trying it’s best to make me look presentable! My dressing room, is a full on girly sanctuary, and my dressing table and mirror , a  60’s vintage classic, gets most of my attention. I use it for getting ready 7 days a week. The cute make up gets to live on the top –  Charlotte Tilbury is my current favourite, her make up is fabulous, but it mainly drew me to it because the packaging with rose gold highlights is just divine.

If you are looking for a dressing table mirror, large floor mirror, or a dinky                 ‘hows the smile’ mirror, of course Melody Maison is a market leader, but here’s another fabulous one I’m hankering after (mirror number 33??) This gold triple dressing table from Laura Ashley.  I’m thinking as its not too tall, this will be perfect for placing on top of a high chest of drawers or in my bathroom window

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Dressing table mirror from Laura Ashley

 

Just before I go, How much time do you spend in front of the mirror? There is no fit bit for measuring that, but if there was , would you be as surprised? Go on,  log your ‘mirror’ day, and as you look in one, dare you to say ….Darling you look fabulous!!

 

Till next time

Anna x

 

Fabulous Florals & how to use them in your home decor

Floral decor is a gorgeous trend that I personally am a massive fan of, in fact I didn’t realise quite how much, until I started to look to take pictures of my floral belongings and decor, and there was too much to include, I think Ive managed to settle on my favourites, and as you’ll see, I am a eclectic girl, from vintage blues , pinks and peaches, to dark and glamorous black and purple flora.

The oversized flower rug was a fairly recent purchase from Modern Rugs that i intended for my office at work, but looked too good in my spare bedroom, it never made it into work! And my love of vintage shown here clearly extends to all things flora, as these other purchases show.

One trend that seems to come and go in interiors,  but is currently back with a vengeance is floral wallpaper. In particular the bold and the brave oversized prints and dark coloured backgrounds.

Heres my personal favourite wallpaper. This one is a great use of an oversized print on a dark background, from ellie cashman designs – what an impact it makes in a small space like a cloakroom, especially with gold ostentatious taps and accessories.

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Stunning Bold floral wallpaper from Ellie Cashman designs

 

My own floral wallpaper in my dressing room is not as bold, but as I come to write this Im thinking the black and bold one would look fabulous in there. I will need to tire of this one first though. I inherited some  matching shot silk curtains 7 years go in the same shade of peach, and although sadly the curtains deteriorated in the sun so much, i had to bin them last year, the pelmet (and the paper) are still going strong!

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pretty floral wallpaper from Anna French

But if you dont want to go this bold, try a few cushions or a throw, and  you don’t have to look for far for floral inspiration, this bedroom shot by Ideal Home on  pintrest is a stunning neutral room, with just a few noticeable, but subtle pops of floral.

 

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Gorgeous floral cushions enhance this pale bedroom

 

take a peek at  Kate Forman for stunning subtle florals, expensive but forever fabrics, or if you want to spend wisely, Dunelm is perfect for floral cushions starting at just £18.

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Blue & pink floral bird cushions

I paid slightly more for these gorgeous teal & pink velvet ones from there Dorma collection, but they look and feel very high end (my doggies love them too, had to forcibly remove them to get this picture!)

 

And as always,  Melody Maison is a great source of all things floral, here’s just a small selection of my favourites, from pretty flora jugs to just add a bit of summer to a room scheme, to Mirrors and furnishings, hopefully you can see how bringing the outdoors inside, just got easier.

So, here’s hoping your flora ambitions are heightened after reading this, be it bold and dark, or pretty in pink,  give  bit of flower power to your interior design

How to use the colour Grey to best effect in your home

So many room colours fascinate me, for various reasons. Some for their calming powers, some for their vibrancy and some for the way they light up a room, but grey doesn’t fit into any of these categories as a colour, and yet it still manages to remain one of the top decoration colour trends

The daring will go for a dark grey, such as the farrow and ball colour Downpipe. With its blue-black undertones, it risks being hard looking, and yet is bold and enchanting and is a fabulous choice for walls and cabinetry.

Kitchen cabinetry in downpipe
Kitchen cabinetry painted in Farrow and Ball – Downpipe

 

And what about dark grey for walls….and the ceiling.                                                                In a bedroom it creates a dark and sinister look to some extent, but before you think  this ones for just the vampires, imagine how it wraps you up in a womb-like warmth after dark. I love it.

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Stunning dark grey bedroom

 

This wow hallway is stunning in mid grey. And with some funky and quirky bohemian accessories (I love the gold cranes and the gold mirror, but I’m not sure where I stand on bug art though!) I think as long as you have a plentiful light source in your hallway, why not be a bit bold with colour.

grey wall in a hallway
Mid grey wall in a hallway

 

But if these dark grey’s scare you , or you want more warmth to your grey, worry not, slightly warmer shades of grey are popular too. This is a shot from the recent furniture photo shoot we did at Melody Maison, where we used 2 shades, with brown undertones, to create warmth.

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Set in stone by valspar wall paint has a much warmer tone

‘set in stone’ is the top colour, and ‘ancient wonder’ is the darker colour,both by    Valspar at B&Q

Both would look good alone too. How great do they look with the French grey collection from Melody Maison?

 

Also, shown here with the Lyon range from Windsor Browne

The Lyon Range By Windsor Browne
The Lyon Range – By Windsor Browne

 

In my own home, I have 3 rooms decorated in grey, all 3 set totally different moods. I did not realise quite how many rooms I have that are grey until I came to write this article! (My other favoured room colour seems to be green incidentally, which tops grey with 4 rooms!)

My kitchen cabinetry, in Cornforth white and Downpipe, both from Farrow and Ball , they are a classic combination, of light and dark greys, and coupled with some silver and white accessories, it creates a cool traditional look

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

Kitchen cabinetry in Cornforth white and Downpipe by Farrow and Ball

 

I love my walking silver stag on the shelf, and all the silver coloured bits and bobs against a dark background. For similar accessories in silver that work well with dark back drops, what about the single angel wing from Melody Maison

Silver Angel wing ornament
Angelic!

or visit at home in the country for loads more silver stag ornamentation. They have everything from photo frames to wine coolers, perfect for the current trend of stags and countryside critters

Stag Wine glass, tray and decanter
Stags make great drinking buddies!

 

My bedroom, is a bit more of a Victorian floral vibe. I used a light-mid grey , this is   dulux  ‘goose down’ coupled with purples, pinks and greens , I love this colour combo so much , in particular the bedding,  which is from designers guild . With its dark grey background, and huge flowers in strong colours, its floral bedding on a grand scale.   They have an amazing bold collection of statement design bedding, and fabrics. The floral picture above the fire is from is also from Melody Maison

My Grey bedroom
My Grey bedroom

 

So,  if you are thinking of decorating, I hope I’ve inspired you to try a bit of grey in your life, as grey doesn’t have to mean dull!

 

 

Great ideas for how to decorate your home using Animals as a theme

Shabby, kitsch and quirky….

…are not the names of my pets!  (maybe they should be)  but rather what sums up my taste in interior décor

Currently I have a penchant for what I call ‘critter chic’   – that’s animals and birds in all shapes, styles and sizes, from parrots to peacocks and pooches to foxes. In fact animal décor is so in vogue at the moment, it is impossible to not find some new cutie or some vintage weird n wonky creature everywhere I go.

My own wall mounted stag
My own wall mounted stag

Every room in my home differs in style, but what ties them together is they are all crammed with bits n bobs n trinkets, including quite a few critter’s from our own Melody Maison and Windsor Browne stores

brass monkeys from www.windsorbrowne.co.uk
its brass monkeys out there! – £33.95 from http://www.windorbrowne.co.uk

My bedroom – My bedside table has a beautiful perched bird lamp I purchased some time ago from our Melody Maison showroom, and the pink trinket box with gold kingfisher is a recent purchase from next

My bedside table bird friends
My bedside table bird friends

My sitting room – has a botanical Victoriana theme, so I have managed to incorporate some elegant parrots, foxes and even a tortoise in here. My current favourite recent purchase is a gold framed ceramic parrot and cockatiel pair, from asda – Yes asda of all places – this could quite easily have appeared in a quirky high end boutique at 3 times the price, and I’d of probably still bought it, but at a bargain £8.00, I can imagine they wont be there for long.

cockatiel & parrot in gold frame
cockatiel & parrot in gold frame – pieces of 8, pieces of 8….pounds!

and  my other recent quirky purchase is a distressed gold tortoise bowl, from one of my favourite quirky designers, Abigail Aherne .

My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne
My gold tortoise sweetie dish by Abigail Aherne

So if you are looking to add some cute or quirky friends to your decor, go subtle and sweet with a small piece, like this cute piggy mirror from Melody Maison….

Freestanding Three Pigs Mirror
3 little vain pigs!

or go bold touch with this amazing wallpaper from wallpaperdirect, I love it!  I’m putting this on my future room décor wish list, possibly for my downstairs loo? I’ll keep you posted on that project in due course.

Amazing animal wallpaper
Wow! Gold framed animals on the walls?

And finally, even my bathroom doesn’t escape the animal magic! My bathroom is very vintage, and my cute ceramic kitsch dogs take pride of place in my wall mounted display cabinet which is full of stuff just like your Nana used to have… ‘Nana chic’ anyone?  All from boot sales, and vintage shops

My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!
My little bunch of Kitsch n vintage ceramic dogs …. Poodle power!

and I have managed to find someone who loves this look even more than I do, hey, why stop at 3 dogs! – This room shot was one I found on pintrest of someone’s room,  who clearly has a very similar love of vintage kitsch dog stuff.

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Vintage pooches collection AKA ‘Nana chic’

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this weeks blog, let me know what you think and about your animal passions.

Happy Bank holiday weekend all!

Anna Elkington

(oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering, my pet dog’s real names are Maggie, Archie and Ruby….warning cute dog picture alert!)

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My 3 naughty, but adorable pooches!

Top Trending colours this year

So Farrow & Ball (www.farrow-ball.com) have announced their top trending colours for 2017. My favourite is definitely:

Studio Green

I was delighted and excited to learn the colour I painted my own sitting room (with much nervousness as it is such a dark colour) just before Christmas was up there . However since the day the first coat was added, I’m in love! I asked everyone I knew to assess the 17 paint swatches on the wall , all in dark shades, and the general opinions were ‘are you mad’ and ‘oo,  wont it make the room dark’  Turns out yes I am a bit mad when it comes to colour, but better that than dull , and if it does make the room appear darker, its only for the good, as its so cosy. My lesson learned from this one 1. trust your instincts 2. do you really need peoples opinion, if the live in magnolia land? find someone who shares your style to help choose colours.

Studio Green
Studio Green Painted Room
Studio Green In My Own Sitting Room
Studio Green In My Own Sitting Room
Studio Green Living Room
Similar dark green shades that are stunning

t especially suits high ceilings, and rooms you hunker down in on an evening as it wraps you in warmth, but even if you don’t have a high ceiling, or you’re a little nervous about strong colours, try it on a feature wall, behind a shelf recess, or on a chimney breast. I promise you’ll be smitten like I was!

Similar shades to Studio Green can be achieved using Crown’s (www.crownpaint.co.uk) ‘Steam Engine Green’ or from Dulux’s (www.dulux.co.uk) ‘Heathland

Crown Paint - Steam Engine Painted Room
Crown Paint – Steam Engine Painted Room

So why not be bold, and add some dark, or rich colour, even in a small room like the downstairs loo, for warmth and character

 

All White

For the lighter option, they have also named ‘All white’ as a top choice for 2017, this is one of the closet shades to white you can get , with a bit of character thrown in and suits both neutral and calm interiors, as well as rooms where the art of furniture need to be allowed to take centre stage.

All White Painted Room
All White Painted Room

This is also a great colour for paintwork, if you don’t want the day glow white look, it has a clean look, but with a less brash glow. Perfect for windowsills, skirting, door frames, and painted floorboards

Set of 4 Lavender Pot Plants
All white Paintwork With lavender Plants
All White Sample Room
All White Floorboards in a Dining Room

 

So whether your planning a whole new room make over, or want to try a spot of colour somewhere, let me know what you think of these 2.

 

Addicted to interiors

Hello, My name is Anna Elkington and I’m a Addict!

 

As people who know me well will testify, I am a grade A ‘housey stuff’ person!

My home is very busy with trinkets, ornamentation and colour, vintage and new.

I’m afraid my need to fill surfaces is an addiction, which means I do spend a lot of time re-arranging, and adding more to collections.

 

I don’t collect or choose one thing or style of things, Id be in trouble if I had to, as some days I want quirky critters and strange dolls, and others, I want delicate vintage glassware and pretty flowers. Here are some of my collections; I guess I am what they politely call ‘eclectic’ in taste!

 

Sadly this addiction does not always always run to dusting it, so no prizes for dust and cobweb spotting – anyway I like to think they add to the theatre and ambience of a collection! (this is my excuse, you are welcome to use it also!)

 

Here’s just a small sample, let me know what you think, and what you love to group together, I will add more of my home later

My First project - be kind it was the 80s
My First project – be kind it was the 80s

 

The 90's Look
The 90’s Look

 

The Delicates
The Delicates