Going for Gold in Interior Design

After years of being eclipsed by chrome, silver and pewter, gold is making a comeback in interiors, and this trend may be helped in the UK with Team GB’s fantastic success at the London Olympic games this year!

Gold has a classic, rich and timeless appeal and is a great way to enliven a neutral scheme and comes into its own in soft evening candlelight, giving a warm, welcoming glow to a room. It is especially good to use it to create luxurious bedrooms, elegant sitting rooms and glamorous bathrooms that tend to be used more in the evenings than daytime.  Good colour combinations would be white and gold for classic elegance, black and gold for drama and decadence and amethyst and chocolate for opulence and luxury.  Look for design influences in baroque interiors, French Chateau style and Hollywood Regency.

Fabrics, wallpapers, accessories and gilded furniture are all great ways to introduce gold into an interior design scheme.

For ideas on how to bring Olympic Gold into your home contact Jane at www.sweetlimedesign.co.uk

A Strong Statement – Black and White Interior Design

ImageIn the world of interior design black and white do not really count as colours, they are viewed as neutral, and a black and white (or monochrome) interior design scheme is therefore the ultimate neutral palette.

It is a very strong statement look, but can work equally well in small or large spaces, giving smaller rooms an open feel and helping to give larger areas definition.  Proportionally, I believe that the smaller the space the less black should be used.

A black and white scheme adds opulence and drama, especially when used with metallic accents, but to stop it feeling too stark, textural elements such as fabrics, rugs and other accessories should be introduced to help make the room feel softer and more comfortable to live with.

Monochrome schemes are excellent for kitchens and hallways where clean lines help to give a sense of space and openess,but they can work equally well in master bedrooms where drama and glamour are important.






This is a classic combination, which has timeless elegance but can also be funky and modern all at the same time!

What’s New in Kitchen Design?

There is so much choice out there when it comes to kitchen design, and this week I thought I would look at the latest contemporary kitchen looks to find inspiration for new projects. Here are some of my favourite ideas.

The main colour for kitchens at the moment is white, white, white.  This provides a great practical basis for your kitchen as it is easy to keep clean and with the addition of handleless cupboards, the look is sleek and modern.  It can also be reproduced on a budget or at the top end of the price scale and still look great. It is important though to make sure it does not look cold and clinical, so to introduce character and texture, designers are using natural materials such as stone and wood.


This Kitchen designed by Antonio Citterio is a beautiful example, white glossy units contrasted with gorgeous marble splash backs and worktops for style and opulence.


If the white look is too much for you, another trend at the moment is for glossy doors in exotic woods such as zebrano.  Add white worktops and sleek steel appliances to keep it bright,  modern and practical.


Finally, if you live in a period home, or just find the contemporary look too much,  painted kitchens could be the answer for you.  They don’t have to look stuffy and old fashioned.  This example from Evitavonni incorporates a lovely, period style island painted in a soft shade of green combined with modern furnishings  which I think perfectly blends the old with the new. And how about that gorgeous chandelier for added wow factor?Image

Or for something more restrained, this kitchen from Plain English gives a restful backdrop to your cooking and eating, and would certainly give your home the ‘Country House’ feel.  The beauty of painted kitchens is they can be repainted at a later date if you would like a change and introduce a whole new ambience to your room.

For help with kitchen design, why not get in touch with Jane at Sweet Lime Interior Design? From colour schemes to complete design. www.sweetlimedesign.co.uk

Create a Beautiful Outdoor Room this Summer

Summer is finally with us and our thoughts turn to spending time outdoors, but this doesn’t mean we can’t be as stylish outdoors as we are inside.  Here are some of my ideas for designing a beautiful outdoor space to spend your summer days in:Image

  1. Theme your space – looks you could try are modern and minimal with a neutral palette,  Mediterranean using colourful,  bright textiles contrasted with blue or perhaps  a more rustic and recycled look.  Another approach is to theme your outside space to match with your interior design.
  2. Create zones for eating and lounging using screens, troughs and planters or contrasting paving materials such as terracotta, slate, sandstone on different levels.  Add interesting lighting, that will take the garden from day into night, ensuring you get maximum use of your outdoor space.
  3. There are so many choices these days for garden furniture.  Waterproof rattan furniture is becoming much more readily available now at reasonable prices, and makes a very comfortable and practical choice.  But if this is a bit too uniform for you, how about using battered old, reclaimed furniture and timber for a more natural and informal look?
  4. I love to hear the gentle sound of water in the garden, it gives a lovely, relaxing feel as well as reflecting light back.  Clever use of mirrors can help to make an enclosed area feel larger and more spacious.
  5. Outdoor cooking is as popular as ever, but the choice isn’t just limited to barbecues, functional, stainless steel outdoor kitchens are now available.  And to keep warm on cooler evenings you could have an outdoor fireplace installed, or just use a simple fire pit to enable you to sit out longer.
  6. For planting use box hedge and bay trees in stylish planters to provide cooling greenery, or a gazebo with climbing plants such as wisteria, honeysuckle and passion flower to provide shade and privacy.
  7. A stunning piece of sculpture will add a focal pointImage

The New Pantone Fashion Colours for Autumn 2012

The Pantone Institute have just released their new fashion colours for the Autumn and very lovely they are too!  Clothes fashion and interiors trends follow each other closely and I think this new palette has a lot to like for interior design as well as Haute Couture .

The colour of the year is Tangerine Tango, a vibrant shade of orange, which has been widely used all year, and has been very much in evidence at interiors exhibitions I have attended. It’s a bold shade, best used as an accent against neutral shades and looks lovely with French Roast and Honey Gold, also included in the palette. Here is a mood board I found that demonstrates this beautifully.

Another favourite colour this year has been yellow-green as seen in the palette as Bright Chartreuse, more normally seen as a spring colour, it also works well as an autumn colour again combined with French Roast for a scheme in a room facing a garden.  Here is another great moodboard showing this winning combination.

My final pick from the palette is the gorgeous Rose Smoke, I have just recently used this colour in a client’s bedroom to great effect.  It is a soft neutral with a hint of lilac to lift it and give warmth, for a calming feel. I also used deeper lilacs and metallic pewter accents for an elegant and sophisticated scheme.

For help with your interior design colour schemes, get in touch with Jane at Sweet Lime Interior Design www.sweetlimedesign.co.uk

A New Colour Scheme for Summer – White and Bright

Now summer is here, how about updating your rooms with a bright new colour scheme? White with splashes of bright colours is a simple scheme to pull off and works well in most rooms, but I think it is particularly good for home offices and kitchens.

ImageThis home office is great on several levels, it is a clever use of space in the home, squeezing a functional office into the corner of a room but also includes inspirational colour.  The lovely blue reminds me of the Mediterranean and makes it an uplifting space to be in, no falling asleep over your work here! This would be so simple to achieve, paint the walls brilliant white and choose a colour you love, that has happy memories to paint the shelves and cupboard doors, add some of your favourite things and you have a room to stimulate and inspire creative thoughts and ideas.Image

A white kitchen although a light and bright can be a little cold and uninviting. If it is a room used by a family I think it is a great idea to add some colour to make it a more fun place to be.  A glorious sunny yellow would be a lovely choice to make the room feel more inviting.  In this picture the room is mainly white, but an amazing piece of artwork and some accessories have been used to really bring it to life, and don’t those sunflowers look stunning?

For help with your interior colour schemes, give Jane at Sweet Lime Interior Design a call www.sweetlimedesign.co.uk

Boutique Photographic Studio – a case study

One of my recent projects was helping a client convert a tired office space into a boutique photographic studio.  The offices consisted of two large rooms and a kitchen/storage room.  My client neded one room to meet and greet his clients for introductory meetings and viewings and the other as a studio for photo shoots.

ImageI had to work within a tight budget and time scale and incorporate the existing green carpet which could not be replaced, into the scheme. Here is a before picture of the client meeting room, showing the carpet and magnolia walls.  There were large windows to dress and the room was pretty impersonal and featureless.

My brief was to convert the main office space into an inviting and comfortable room for the studio’s clients, with a design scheme that would appeal to the studios of mainly female clientele.  We decided on a funky vintage look which is very fashionable right now, and I designed a scheme within the budget but with enough wow factor to make the room much more interesting.   For the kitchen and storage space I sourced reasonably priced units from Ikea. The studio space was left more or less empty but with the addition of a glamorous mirrored dressing table and stool for those clients’ makeovers!

Here is an after photo of the newly designed meeting room.  We painted the walls white to lighten and brighten the room. The  gorgeous white chesterfieldImage sofa provides comfortable and stylish seating for clients and that all important wow factor.  The amazing wallpaper was from Osborne and Little and had that 70’s retro look but updated with fresh, modern colours.  The window drapes were simple voile panels which I decorated with a bobble trim to soften the windows but still let in plenty of light.


If you would like to find out more about this project there is a full case study on my website http://bit.ly/IQGkF2

My top tips for beautiful curtain design.

At the moment I am working on a fantastic project for a local client, and am designing curtains and blinds for 16 windows in their beautiful Edwardian home.  Dressing windows is a massive subject and one that we interior designers get completely carried away with! Here are my top tips for designing the perfect curtains for your home.

  • Spend as much as you can afford.  Clients are often surprised at how much curtains cost and they can be left to the last minute in a project, but I would say it is always worth allowing a good budget for the curtains. After all, they are one of the most visible things in a room and you want to make the right impression!
  • Consider having your new curtains interlined, it adds a lot to the look at a relatively small cost, and can take a pair of curtains from ordinary to fabulous.
  • Use the right heading for the right room.  Simple and elegant designs benefit from hand pinch pleated headings, which help the curtains to fall uniformly into place giving a beautiful back drop to the room.  Goblet headings are lovely in more traditional settings, and for that more modern, contemporary look eyelets have become very popular.
  • Choose your pole carefully, they can really enhance your design.  There are some  gorgeous products available now.   Make sure you use a pole diameter in proportion with the window and weight of fabric.  Sheer curtains and narrow windows look best with thin poles. Anything else needs a pole of at least 3cms diameter and for really big windows choose 6.7cm ones for that real impact.
  • A mix of curtains and blinds can look lovely, allowing for versatility in controlling light levels and enabling you to showcase some wonderful fabrics, making a great focal point for the room.

Social Media and Interior Design

I had an amazing surprise this week.  I opened up May’s copy of idfx Magazine, the leading interior design trade journal and found myself in it!  How I came to be there shows the power of social media.

I am an avid fan of twitter and was browsing through my tweets one day when I saw one from idfx Magazine who I follow, asking for any interior designers who use social media to come forward and share their experiences.  I tweeted back saying that I would like to comment, not realising that I would end up in the magazine!

Facebook, Twitter and Linked In are great ways to promote my business, keep in touch with other industry professionals and find wonderful new suppliers.  On a personal level I have ‘met’ some really interesting people from all around the world and have, on the whole, found it to be a very positive thing to be involved in.  It can be time consuming, you have to be quite disciplined in your approach to it, particularly in business, and you need to persevere, but I would encourage anyone to have a go.  My next project is Pinterest, so watch this space!

Follow me on Twitter @JaneSweetLime and  like me on Facebook on http://on.fb.me/HzmikP

Kitchen Refurbishment in a 1950’s Home

One of my clients had recently moved into a 1950’s house that needed completely updating, as part of my commission I was asked to style the newly fitted kitchen the client had chosen. I looked to the 1950’s for my inspiration to ensure a sympathetic period feel to the room whilst giving it a contemporary twist.

Mrs Kirby, the Client said:  “The kitchen was dark and unispriring and wasn’t a space we enjoyed living in. We feel the kitchen is the heart of the house as we enjoy entertaining and so wanted a space we enjoyed”

Here is a before picture, showing the existing  kitchen.

This is the kitchen after refurbishment showing the period style lighting and 1950’s black and red colour scheme.

Mrs Kirby had this to say about the project: …”Jane provided advice on the layout prior to the builders starting work and she gave us very good advice on the lighting. She found some really interesting lights which provide a great talking point and she made all the other suggestions such as colour schemes, light fittings, tiling and the flooring.”
You can see more pictures and read the full case study here http://bit.ly/HMZqLB