pumpkin vase full of flowers

Interior Guide to Halloween

pumpkin vase full of flowers

Credit: Tara Abed

Halloween is a great opportunity to play around with the design and decoration of your home without committing to any long-term changes. It’s also one of the chances you have through the year to get really creative and to break some boundaries that would normally raise a few eyebrows. But as fun as decorating for the spooky season can be, it can also come with some strings attached that people often tend to ignore.

Play with What You Already Have

You probably already have various opportunities around the house that can be leveraged for Halloween decorations without even realizing it. A lot can be done with pre-existing furniture and decorations without changing the current setup too much. Wallpapers can add a lot to the atmosphere of a room, and with a little creativity you might be able to play on the existing images to create a new scene. Take a special look at your lighting too. If you have any adjustable lights, you can easily shift the tone of the aesthetics in your home with just a few small changes. Proper lighting can add a lot to that perfect spooky atmosphere!

Use the Opportunity to Experiment

This is also a great chance to try out some new ideas that you might have had in your head but were never brave enough to attempt. After all, you’re doing everything with the idea that it’s temporary and will be taken down once the holiday is over. So, use the opportunity to throw in some extra changes that don’t necessarily have to do with Halloween, but are rather ideas you want to iterate on. Worst case scenario, you’ll only have to deal with them until Halloween is over, and then you’ll know exactly what works and what doesn’t – and why.

Take Advantage of After-season Sales for Next Year

Many merchants love Halloween because it gives them a chance to sell a number of niche products at marked-up prices. There are various things that sell like hot cakes during October, mostly revolving around small decorative items for the home, and of course, candies. But what people often tend to ignore is the sale craze that comes after that. When Halloween is over, those merchants usually have a lot of leftover stock that they are rushing to get rid of. And that’s a great opportunity to stock up on decorations for next year. As long as you’re investing in items that aren’t going to degrade over the next twelve months, you can get some amazing deals.

This is a great chance to review the decoration of your home and try out some new things. It can also be a surprisingly good venue for creative expression if you have a knack for home decoration. And the earlier you start planning, the easier it’s going to get over time. Just make sure that you approach any riskier changes in a way that they can be easily undone later. Decorating for Halloween and enjoying the holiday itself can be great, but some tend to forget about the clean-up that follows after.

Credit: Tara Abed

kitchen dining area

How to Pivot Your Space

For many people, 2020 has been the year they were forced to work remotely from their home. With so many businesses shuttered either temporarily or indefinitely, employees have had to create new office space at home, with short notice and probably not much vision. If you’ve come to the realisation that this will be a more long-term reality for you – working from home – then it’s probably worth putting some time, effort, and planning into your office space so that it works in a more effective way.

Here we’ll take a look at how you can pivot your space, in particular your dining room. We’ll give you tips and ideas on how a dining room can act as the perfect office during the day, and then back to a dining room at night or on the weekends.

Choose a Comfortable Dining Set

In order for your home office space to be comfortable you need to have a comfortable dining set that will play double duty. It needs to give you ample space to spread out during your working hours, and feature a chair that is comfortable and supportive, and it needs to also serve as the perfect dining table for you and your guests.

stylish brown chair and table

Take a look at this set. As you can see the table itself is very modern, streamlined, and understated acting as a perfect complement to the decor, but you can see it would also give more than enough space as your work station during the day. Pivoting from one use to the next is simple with a set like this.

kitchen dining area

Ensure You Have Enough Storage Space

In order to pivot a space you also need to be able to clear away any signs that the space was used for another purpose. For example, shoving all your files and computer to the edge of the table is not pivoting, and you won’t get that true sense of multi-purpose space.

What this means is that you need enough storage space to pack up your gear at the end of your workday and turn your office back into a dining room. Keep in mind storage doesn’t have to look like typical office storage space, you can get creative with your solutions so that it blends better into the décor of that room.

modular dining room table

Use a Tri-Fold Privacy Screen

If you have other people at home with you during the day and you’re finding that you’re struggling for privacy, a privacy screen could work out perfect. These folding screens can act as décor when not in use, and also provide that practical solution that you are so desperately in need of. Because you can fold them and move them around the room, they aren’t a permanent fixture you have to worry about.

Your Dining Room Can Easily Work as Two Rooms

By following these simple tips, you’ll find that it’s very easy to pivot from home office space during the day, to a fully functional and stylish dining room in the evenings.

stylish dining room

outdoor dining room space

Maximising A Small Outdoor Space

outdoor dining room space

Outdoor space is something many people long for, that private space to call your own. Having your own slice of nature that you don’t have to share with others can really drive a person’s home property purchase or rental decision. So what happens if you are lucky to have found a home with outdoor space but the space itself is quite small? It could be a small terrace, a balcony, a small garden, or even a patio. How can you maximise it so you get the most use and enjoyment out of it?

Here we’ve put together a few basic and specific design steps you can follow that will make it possible for you to really make the most of your outdoor space, and even have it feel bigger than it actually is.

Choose Furniture that Fits the Space
The first tip is to ensure you’re picking furniture that fits the space. All too often homeowners can get lost in the aesthetic of a particular piece not thinking how it will work in terms of size. If you have a small space then you will likely want to veer away from the typical oversized outdoor furniture that is popular and trendy.

Instead opt for streamlined and minimal pieces, such as these.

shalini misra arranging flowers in garden

As you can see the emphasis is placed on the decor rather than the actual furniture pieces, which are kept small and basic.

Opt for a Vertical Garden
If you don't have a lot of ground space to work with but you're itching for your own garden, a vertical garden or flower wall can be the perfect solution. These styles of gardens use vertical space rather than horizontal, making them ideal for small spaces. Popular plants to grow on outside walls include climbing bushes and flowers, and think about things like ivy.

shalini misra watching her plants growing taller
Just make sure that when shopping for plants you also give thought to your light/shade conditions as this will determine which plants work best for you.
And if a garden wall isn't possible either, you can always go the route of potted plants.

Decor Will Help to Set the Stage
Now just because your outdoor space may be on the small side doesn't mean you should skip out on decor. In fact decor is an excellent way to make a small space feel more cohesive and well thought out. Some of the most popular décor items include throw pillows, blankets, table décor like candles and lanterns, dishes, and more.
terraced garden table
Use an Outdoor Rug as an Anchor
Another trick is to use an outdoor rug to define and anchor the space. You can also choose a pattern that plays tricks on the eyes and actually makes the space look bigger. Just be sure it is in fact suited for outdoor use so that it doesn’t end up getting ruined.

A Small Space that Feels Big
Using these tips will not only help you to maximise your outdoor space, but it will help create the illusion of space and style.

shalini misra designing

How To Become An Interior Designer

Anyone who is considering interior designing as a career option should already know and understand that this is a highly competitive field. Here are a few useful guidelines that should be able to make it easier for budding interior designers to get a foothold in the marketplace.


shalini misra interior designer sketching her vision

Beginning as an Interior Designer: Skills Over Experience

Experience in any professional field is invaluable and that holds true for interior design as well. However, unlike most of the other, regular fields, interior design is highly reliant on one’s artistic mastery and sense of aesthetics. This means that a talented interior designer, even if he/she is new to the field, could within a very short amount of time overshadow more experienced designers with less skill.

The innate and practiced skills we are talking about can be divided into the following categories for a better understanding of what the job requires most.

  • Artistic, creative talent is by far the most important skill that every aspiring interior designer should possess; learn to sketch what you envision
  • The ability to use software applications and digitize (2D & 3D) your visions via the likes of AutoCAD, Photoshop, and Mydoma Studio, for example, is essential
  • You need to know how to keep track of interior design trends, market demands, target audiences, etc.

gaining experience from interior designer

Qualifications and Training

Technically, you may or may not need a specific education and training in interior design to get started, but practically, that’s a bad idea! An aspiring interior designer should first work under a more senior interior designer, or at a popular interior design firm, to gain the experience required. In order to launch your own business, you must gain some insight into how the business side of things work first. Before you are able to get such a job, however, here’s a small list of qualifications that are preferred by the top interior design firms in the UK.

  • At least a bachelor’s degree in interior design, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or the Council for Interior Design
  • Supplemental certifications in digital 2D and 3D design

Additional qualifications might be required, depending on the kind of jobs the designer wishes to undertake.

shalini misra interior design portfolio

Create an Impressive Portfolio

If you wish to get the best jobs or launch your own business as an independent interior designer, you need to have an impressive portfolio. An interior designer’s portfolio consists of photos, videos, sketches, 2D and 3D models, and everything else that aids in professionally showcasing their best projects. When you are just starting out, getting that portfolio can be difficult. This is why new interior designers will often choose to do their initial few projects at a fraction of what they should charge.

Despite what it may seem like at times, becoming a successful interior designer is not impossible. Depending on factors such as your location, qualifications, skills, connections, and everything else that matters in this field of work, you may have to struggle more or less than others for sure. However, as long as you persevere, interior designing still remains a lucrative career option for talented and creative individuals.

luxury office bookcase & shelving

10 Ways To Create A Luxury Office Design

statement ceiling chandelier

1. If your office is in a period building make the most of the architectural and period features. Painting them in a colour that contrasts with your walls and ceiling makes them stand out. Enhance these features with a statement chandelier or pendant. The contrast will look beautiful and draw any visitor’s eyes towards the ceiling to admire the whole space.

luxury table lamp

2. Avoid standard office lighting. Opt for lighting you would see in a restaurant or home such as pendants and chandeliers combined with table lights, wall lights, niche and bookshelf lighting and some spots. The overuse of spots will create a more standard commercial look which, in a luxury office, is best avoided.

luxury office bookcase & shelving

3. Include a few feature pieces of furniture such as a beautiful bookcase or shelving divider between spaces with books, accessories and plants dotted about. If it's a divider, don't overcrowd it with items so you can still see through it and keep the sense of flow between the spaces.

executive office chairs with luxurious upholstery

4. For each desk use executive office chairs with luxurious upholstery. Not only will the soft to touch upholstery be extremely comfortable it creates an expensive look. Velvets, especially textured ones, are a good option.

small tables and moveable seating for the office

5. Invest in beautiful reception furniture that sets the scene for the rest of the office space and creates a wow factor for the first impression. Not only will it be comfortable for your visitors but it will look stylish too. A cluster of small tables and moveable seating, as shown with the ottoman in this photo, are practical as well for allowing large groups to sit together and to keep separate if you are seating individuals only.

door handles on office cupboard units

6. Use interesting door handles, especially on cupboard units such as in the kitchen, to elevate the look. Detail is very important and architectural hardware detailing such as well-chosen handles and light switches can change the look and feel of an interior when options with beautiful metal finishes, such as brass here, are used rather than standard finishes.

timber flooring in an interesting pattern with marble inlays or borders and brass trims

7. If you can change the flooring, use timber flooring in an interesting pattern with marble inlays or borders and brass trims for an extra luxurious touch. Combining chevron patterned timber flooring with antique bronze trims in two widths and a marble border is a smart luxe look for an office.

statement textured wallpaper

8. Use wallpaper rather than paint in certain key areas to add texture to the walls and enrich the surfaces. Statement wallpaper in the reception area behind the reception desk is a good spot for this. Another way to add texture and layers of luxury is by adding panelling with wallpaper applied within it. It is a simple way to create a beautiful and luxurious look. For low budgets timber or marble effect wallpaper can create an instant luxury look.


9. Use curtains (solid and sheer) where appropriate rather than blinds, especially slatted blinds which are a stereotypical office look. This is more of a plush residential look and really adds to the look and feel.

marble topped cupboard with antique bronze grille & round lamp

10. Make modern amenities discreet by incorporating grilles and vents into furniture in a finish that blends with the materials or in a metal such as antique brass. In this marble topped cupboard we installed A/C and inserted an antique bronze grille on the top which is discreet as the colour blends with the marble. It is practical, stylish and inconspicuous.

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shalini misra north london house living room

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