13 horrifically good Halloween hacks

13 horrifically good Halloween hacks

24th October 2016

Halloween tips and tricks to make your party the talk of the ghost town

With Halloween lurking around the corner, here are some ghoulishly good all-hallows hacks guaranteed to make your party guests scream… with delight!

So you’re planning a Halloween party? Or maybe a spooky night in with the family.. and you are looking for ways to make yours the talk of the ghost town! We’ve trawled the world wide (spider’s) web to find stunning – and frankly scary – ways to help you get your freak on. Stand by for spooktacular ideas for food, drinks, decorations and more…

Grim garden ideas

Three Halloween hacks to scare the pants off trick or treaters.

Glowing eyes

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Hide these easy-to-make demon eyes (glow sticks and loo roll centres!) in the bushes to really creep the little critters out. Instructions here.

We’ve got our Halloween eyes on you!

We’ve got our Halloween eyes on you!

Driller thriller pumpkins

Not good with a knife? Then drill your pumpkins into shape this Halloween. Here’s how.

Drill pumpkins

Witchy welcome mat

Amazing what you can do with a pair of stripy tights!  Find out how to flatten your own witch here.

We're not in Kansas anymore!

We're not in Kansas anymore!

Super-scary Halloween party styling tips

Three little touches that pack a petrifying punch.

Sssss…slithery place mats

This Halloween table decoration is a proper nest of vipers (and really ssss…simple to make too). Full instructions here.

Snake table runner

Spooky forest table

Don’t want to decorate your whole house for Halloween? Then pile all the petrifying onto one wicked table for max effect. We love this magical monochrome manifestation.

This ain’t no teddy bears’ picnic.

This ain’t no teddy bears’ picnic.

Vampire teeth napkin rings

Your guests can always Count (Dracula) on you to set a shockingly stylish table, so sink your fangs into this idea…

Vampire teeth napkin rings

Creepy cocktails

Three terrifying tipples to tempt your guests this Halloween.

Green ‘Batini’

Wicked (well it is green!) mint-laden homemade lemonade infused with vodka. Elphaba face-paint optional! Recipe here.

Green battini

Black Widow

Black vodka. Red cranberry juice. And a maraschino cherry, of course! Recipe here.

A cocktail as black as a witch’s heart

A cocktail as black as a witch’s heart

Kids’ Boo-Nilla Shake

The scary ghost faces are actually melted chocolate! Yummy stuff from Martha Stewart. Recipe here.

Ghost shakes

Freakily frightening food

Four so-bad-they’re-good Halloween party food favourites.

Tombstone taco dip

Less Halloween and more Mexican Diá de Muertos, this is your salsa, guacamole and more in one grim graveyard. Recipe here.

Dig in with this devilish dip

Dig in with this devilish dip

Roasted pumpkin soup

Keep the vampires away by serving your guests pumpkin soup laden with garlic. Downside? Edward Cullen won’t be on your guest list (but we’re Team Jacob anyway). Recipe here.

Pumpkintastic, garlicky gorgeousness

Pumpkintastic, garlicky gorgeousness

Mini mummy sausage rolls

Wrap hotdogs in strips of puff pastry for a spooky twist on sausage rolls. The oozing ketchup ‘blood’ adds a gory touch that kids will love. Recipe here.

Hotdog mummy

 

Poison toffee apples

Watch out, Snow White. No Prince Charming can save you once you’ve bitten into one of these black-as-night toffee apples. Recipe here.

Black magic – Halloween toffee apples with attitude

Black magic – Halloween toffee apples with attitude

Happy Halloween from everyone at DFS!

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8 ways to cosy up your home for winter

8 ways to cosy up your home for winter

19th October 2016

Pretty and practical tips to make your home a winter haven

With wintry weather on its way, now’s the perfect time to think about turning your home in to a warm, snuggly haven of comfort and joy.

We bet you’ve already bought your winter coat, gloves and boots to cope with whatever Mother Nature throws at you this winter… but what about getting your home ready to face the colder, darker days ahead? Here are 8 seasonal style tips that will add the snug to your cosy winter home.  

1 Rug up

The fashionistas’ winter watchword is ‘layering’ and this goes for your home too. Stone or wood floors that looked (and felt) über cool in summer will benefit from a soft rug or two being thrown over them in winter. Try a sheepskin rug by your bed, a dhurrie-style rug over wooden boards, or spice up your lounge with a large, fluffy number like the Spirit rug from Dwell in a gorgeous jewel-tone.

Rugs add instant cosy winter home style

Rugs add instant cosy winter home style

2 Bump up the cushions

For max snuggle, you need lots of cushions in a variety of tones, textures and sizes. Go for a combo of velvet, faux fur and chunky knits – gorgeous, tactile fabrics that really come in to their own in winter.

You can never have too many cushions

You can never have too many cushions

3 Throw on a throw

Throws are the winter homemaker’s BFF. They’re warm, cosy and, from a style perspective, a speedy way to transform a room when draped over sofas, chairs and beds. The colour? Whites and greys keep it Scandi-stylish, while earth tones of olive green and rich terracotta (like the Turin throw) are bang on trend for this season. We ❤ the warmth and texture of fur throws!

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4 Add some winter fragrance

Wood fires evoke an instant sense of winter, but if you don’t have a fireplace, there are lots of smoky scented candles that work their aroma-therapy (we love Diptyque’s Feu de Bois). Other classic winter-scented candles include pine, sandalwood and clove. This Moroccan-inspired Circles candle holder from Dwell casts beautiful shadows, enhancing the feelings of winter cosy.

Candles are a quick way to add the cosy to your winter home style

Candles are a quick way to add the cosy to your winter home style

5 Rearrange the furniture

Up the cosy factor in your living room by having a seasonal switch-around and rearranging the furniture. Move sofas and chairs away from the walls – try grouping them around a central rug, maybe, or turn them to face the fireplace (if you have one). Immediately the room will feel snugger, warmer and more nest-like. The Country Living Gower is the perfect seat for snuggling on this season!

Group furniture around the fireplace for instant cosy

Group furniture around the fireplace for instant cosy

6 Come dine with me

Even dining rooms can do with a bit of a winter home style makeover. Pop coloured slipcovers over dining chairs for added wow and warmth. Slip a textured rug under the dining table for guests’ feet to sink into (as we’ve done with the Canova extending dining table), and swap electric lights for flickering candles – a feast for your eyes indeed.

Create a modern dining space with high gloss

Create a modern dining space with high gloss

7 lighting

When it’s dark outside, getting the interior lighting is mega important. Ditch the central ceiling fixture (too harsh) and plump for pools of warmer light instead – uplighters in dim corners, floor lamps placed behind sofas and chairs to cast an ambient glow (we love this Peso light, from Dwell), table lamps strategically situated for reading or working, and bundles of fairy lights in unused fireplaces or in vases to add twinkle where it’s needed – will all make your rooms feel cosy and comforting.

Peso lamp ÔÇô-áDwell

8 Mirror image

Make the most of what natural light there is in winter by reflecting it around the room with a large mirror. It’ll brighten up any space and make the room look bigger too.

Dwell mirror

For more autumn/winter style inspiration, including more on fireside living and getting cosy for winter, check out our new Style Sourcebook, online now

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Luxe: a brief history of velvet

Luxe: a brief history of velvet

7th October 2016

Favoured by the rich, renowned and, of course, royal, velvet has the luxe factor we’re all looking for this winter. Here’s a quick romp through the heritage of this most luxurious fabric

We’ve said it before – and we’ll no doubt say it again – if you want to keep ahead of the Joneses in the home style stakes, look no further than what’s trending on the catwalks of the major fashion shows. This year’s ‘it’ fabric – as showcased by Prada, Christopher Kane and Giorgio Armani among many (many!) others – is soft, tactile, luscious and luxe velvet. But what is velvet and why is it so darn gorgeous and covetable?

From left: Prada, Christopher Kane and Giorgio Armani for autumn-winter 2016

From left: Prada, Christopher Kane and Giorgio Armani for autumn-winter 2016

Velvet 101

A few fast facts about this fab fabric…

1 You might be surprised to learn that velvet isn’t actually a material, it’s a weaving technique creating a soft, dense pile that covers the base cloth, forming the sumptuous plush surface we all know and love.

2 Velvet can be made from any type of material – traditionally, silk was used but with pure silk velvet costing hundreds of pounds a metre, it’s more usual nowadays to find it woven from silk blend, cotton, linen, wool, mohair or synthetic fibres such as viscose.

3 There are many types of velvet, including:

  • Crushed – produced by twisting the fabric while it’s wet so the nap is pressed in different directions
  • Pile-on-pile – ultra-luxe version of velvet, where piles of differing lengths are used to create pattern
  • Nacre – a pearlescent, shimmery velvet
  • Devoré aka burnout velvet, where areas of the pile are dissolved to leave a raised pattern

Divine devoré

Divine devoré

4 Many people think velvet and velour are the same thing… but they’d be wrong! Velvet is woven (see fact 1, above!) while velour is knitted.

The royal treatment

Velvet has been a favourite of the rich and famous since it first burst upon the clothing scene. Because of its high price point, it was an easy way to display wealth and power to the common people. The fabric quickly gained the royal seal of approval and was the material of choice for robes of state – Good Queen Bess was particularly fond of the fabric (especially when embellished with lots and lots of gold!).

Elizabeth I as portrayed by Nicholas Hilliard in 1585

Elizabeth I as portrayed by Nicholas Hilliard in 1585

A fabric as old as time

Examples of velvet have been found dating back to the Ancient Egyptians, with Cairo being a production hotspot around 2000BCE. The technique then travelled along the Silk Road (appropriate as silk was the core material for velvet back then) to Europe from the 12th to the 18th centuries – it was around this time that velvet started being used for upholstery, curtains and wallpaper in addition to clothing. Once the Industrial Revolution dawned, the fabric became much cheaper to produce and more widely available. The link to wealth and status continued, though, with velvet being the go-to material for glamorous garments (just ask the Dowager Countess of Grantham!).

Dame Maggie Smith rocking the velvet look, Downton Abbey, ITV.com

Dame Maggie Smith rocking the velvet look, Downton Abbey, ITV.com

Bring a touch of velvet to your home

If you fancy jumping on the velvet underground, then a statement sofa in this luxury finish certainly ticks all the style boxes. Here are just three of our DFS faves…

Catherine the great

Feminine and elegant, the Catherine sofa has classic lines and comes in five perfectly pretty colours

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Make mine a Bailey

With its beautiful button back, the Bailey sofa will make its presence felt in any room

bailey_3a_baileyvelvet_dahliared_view1

Shine like the star you are

Plush, squishy and velvet soft, the Shine sofa definitely has the wow factor

shine_3apb_krystal_steelandebonycombination_view1

For more autumn/winter style inspiration, including more on sensuous velvet, check out our new Style Sourcebook, online now.

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