Tartan? Check!

Tartan? Check!

22nd September 2016

Trend alert! This season’s love affair with tartan and plaid checks every home stylist’s box.

Tartan, plaid, checks… call it what you will, this instantly recognisable fabric is set to be taking centre stage in our homes this autumn and winter. As with many interiors trends, it began on the catwalks of the autumn/winter 2016/17 fashion shows, with designers such as Isabel Marant, Dolce & Gabbana, Victoria Beckham and the British grande dame of tartan Vivienne Westwood sending their models on their plaid-clad way in super-stylish belted coats, sharply tailored dresses and vibrant trouser suits.

fashion show

Why go mad for plaid?

If you fancy a home-style highland fling with this on-trend fabric, now’s the perfect time to get started. Whether you’re after a heritage-led look or something more contemporary, tartan ticks all the boxes.

Firstly, there’s a vast range of colours and patterns to choose from, ranging from the more traditional blue, green and red weaves (try our Clan Quiz, below, to see how many classic patterns you can recognise) right through to modern interpretations of the design in subtle pastels and dynamic brights.

And secondly, plaid taps in to our enduring love affair with all things artisan and handcrafted. With a history dating back hundreds of years (the oldest recorded tartan – the Falkirk – is third century), tartan is a wonderfully tactile fabric, ideal for autumn and winter homes style, as it’s comforting and nostalgic in equal measures.

5 ways to get checks appeal

From carpets to wallpaper, sofas to ceilings, here are five stylish ways to tart-an up your home.

1 Scene-stealing ceilings

A tartan-wallpapered ceiling certainly makes a statement, You probably won’t want to go as far (or as blue) as this checktastic room we found on interior designer Scot Meacham Wood’s Tartan Scot blog, but you can’t deny it’s perfect for this Scottish Lodge look.

Tartan ceiling 1

2 Fab floors

A plaid carpet adds instant warmth and colour to a room, while tartan on the stairs creates a real wow hall – we love the autumnal berry tones in this image from tartancarpets.co.uk. If you don’t want to go full-on flooring, then a checked rug over a plain carpet will work wonders.

Tartan stairs 2

3 Wow walls

Tartan wallpaper is ideal for a feature wall in an otherwise pared-back setting, or for max impact, try decorating a smaller room in your home (the hallway, a downstairs loo, or a box room) in floor-to-ceiling checks in rich tones, such as this bathroom beauty we found at vignettedesign.net.


4 Super seating

Tartan furnishings used to conjure up images of stuffy hotels or old-fashioned gentlemen’s clubs… but not any more. Pick your palette well and a plaid sofa or statement chair can instantly catapult a room from frumpy to fab. Just remember to pair busy fabrics with calmer backdrops – neutrals work wonderfully – or pick a rich, deep shade, such as blue or green, for delicious contrast. Choose sofas and chairs in tactile wool or tweed fabrics to really up the luxe stakes. Here are three of our autumn faves…


A comfy statement the Gower Plaid large sofa lochleven_wc_gowerplaid_grey_view1

A statement chair Loch Leven wing chair 


The cuddler Moray check sofa 

5 Add some accessories

You don’t have to stick to just one check so feel free to mix plaids with herringbones, houndstooths and other tartan-inclined fabrics (just keep with similar tones and shades). Add interest to your sofa with woodland-themed cushions and cosy woollen throws, and don’t forget the footstool – essential for those winter nights in front of the fire while you’re sipping a wee dram!

acc tart

Do you know your tartan?

Tartan has a long and ‘checkered’ history, so why not take our fun quiz to see how many of these plaid patterns you can recognise? We’ve given you a little clue to help with each…  the answers are at the end of the quiz, so no peeking or we’ll send Braveheart to take your freedom!

1 Brand of soup made famous by Andy Warhol


2 He was old… and he had a farm


3 His brother Patrick was on the Starship Enterprise


4 Did awfully well in the tennis at Wimbledon this year


5 Braveheart’s real name… no, not Mel Gibson!



1 Campbell 2 Macdonald 3 Stewart 4 Murray 5 Wallace

For more autumn/winter style inspiration, including lots more on how to get cosy with tartan, check out our new Style Sourcebook, online now

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What to look for in a statement chair

What to look for in a statement chair

22nd September 2016

Practical, versatile and superbly stylish, an accent chair adds wow to any space in your home.

Any space, small or large, upstairs or down, can benefit from the addition of an accent – or statement – chair. They’re the most versatile pieces of furniture in your home, looking great wherever you place them, and ready to leap (well, be pulled) into action when you need additional seating, at Christmas, say, when you’ve got lots of friends and family visiting.

The great thing about statement chairs is that they work literally anywhere, so if you’re short of space in the living room and can’t see how you can squeeze one in, why not pop one in the kitchen, or the hall, your bedroom, or the kids’ room (perfect for story time)… even the bathroom makes a perfect home for the perfect chair.

And don’t be afraid to mix things up when choosing your accent chair – it’s meant to be a statement piece, so the bolder the better, we say. It’s all about creating a centrepiece that sets off the rest of your décor, so if you’ve got a traditionally styled room, jazz it up with an ultra-modern chair in a bright shade or loud pattern to bring your home style bang up to date. If you veer more towards the contemporary in your decorating style, then a classic wing-back leather chair or a velvet button-back will add a corner of nostalgic calm, perfect for curling up with a good book and a glass of something delicious!

Choosing your accent chair

Statement chairs come in all shapes and sizes, and in a variety of fabrics, colours and patterns – giving you a world of style to choose from. So here’s our guide to the different types of accent chair out there, so you can find the perfect fit for you and your lifestyle…


The dictionary definition of armchair is ‘a large, comfortable chair with side supports for a person’s arms’ hence the name, arm-chair! With these statement pieces, more is definitely more so go for one in a bright colour or unforgettable pattern for a real show-stopper. This Voyage chair ticks all the boxes (comfy, well padded, stylish and functional), and it would be fab in the corner of a kitchen or in the bay window of a bedroom.


Club chair

These chairs used to grace the rooms of gentlemen’s clubs in the 19th century. As you might expect from a seat that housed posher bottoms, they are supremely comfortable, well-cushioned, with a low back, and wide arms just made for resting on while holding a snifter of brandy! Wonderful in any fabric, but best served in rich brown leather, the Liberty club chair is a classic example that would look stunning in an entrance hallway or a corner of a living room.


Chaise longue

The chaise longue – or daybed, in the vernacular – dates back to Ancient Rome (yes, Cleopatra probably did recline on one, eating grapes fed to her by Mark Anthony!). In these modern times, we don’t tend to lie around quite so much, but there’s no denying that a chaise in a vibrant print makes a wow statement in any room – and they don’t come more statement-y or vibrant than this beauty. You can see why we named it Shout! For max impact, place your chaise in an unusual setting, such as the bathroom or an upstairs hallway.

DFS_PINKS_ED_2_SS15_A_low res resize

Slipper chair

Originally the chair of choice for ladies’ bedrooms back in the 18th century (the lack of arms and the low legs made it easy for them to sit down in their voluminous dresses), slipper chairs are the perfect solution when you’re short on space as their narrow shape takes up much less room than a normal armchair. The sleek lines of the slipper means it can take bold prints and patterns without overpowering the rest of your room, so go for bold with something like the bright butterflies of this Gloss accent chair. Its compact size means it’s the perfect seat for a nook or alcove.


Wing chair

The wing chair is the archetypal fireside chair. Dating back hundreds of years, this is a deep, well-upholstered chair with classic protruding wings that were designed to keep draughts off your neck and back. Like many traditional chairs, wing chairs have developed over the years and, as well as the signature leather finish, they now come in an array of modern patterns and luxe fabrics, such as the Quant, with its striking patchwork finish and classic turned, low legs. A grand chair likes this demands a grand setting, so place it prominently in a hall or at the foot of the stairs.


For more autumn/winter style inspiration, including lots more on how to be individual with your choice of accent chair, check out our new Style Sourcebook, online now.

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6 ways to get your cosy on

6 ways to get your cosy on

12th September 2016
Baby it’s (getting) cold outside, so pop on the fire, get comfy on the sofa and test-drive some of our winter-proofed ways to have fun as the nights draw in. Sofa-loafing just got serious…

When it’s cold and dark outside, there’s nowhere better to be than in your own home in front of a roaring fire. To help you make the most of the long nights ahead, we’ve come up with six top ideas guaranteed to get your cosy on – all you’ll need is a comfy sofa or two, and some willing family and friends. Get ready for some fireside living…

1 Settle in for a TV marathon

Get the wine or beer cooling, pop your snacks in a bowl and crash back on the sofa to indulge your TV habit, big time. According to Netflix (and they should know) the shows for autumn/winter 2016 that no TV should be without include:

  • The Get Down Baz Lurhmann’s hip-hop masterpiece set in 1970s New York
  • The Crown Yup, a series about the early years on the throne of our very own QE2
  • Stranger Things What do you mean, you haven’t seen it yet?? Winona Ryder stars in this horror-sci-fi crossover – a must-watch for those cold, dark nights (axe optional!)

Stranger Things - Netflix

Stranger Things - Netflix

2 Bored? Get out the board games

From classics like Cluedo and Monopoly to the new games on the block such as Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, a games night is always a winner with adults and kids alike.

games night

3 Home-style happy hour

Working on the principle that’s it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, whip up a jug of something deliciously boozy (non-alcoholic versions acceptable too) and invite the girls round for some classy cocktails. Check out liquor.com for inspiration – we particularly fancy this pretty-as-a-picture strawberry daiquiri made from rum, lime juice, sugar syrup and strawberries. 


Or maybe you fancy something deliciously sweet? There is nothing better than a mug of hot chocolate on a wintery evening. We love the idea of setting up a 'Hot Chocolate Bar' in your living room - complete with the family favourite toppers to make it a super sweet treat! Pen & Paper Flowers have created the perfect step by step guide to everything chocolate and we LOVE it!

Pen & Paper Flowers - Hot Chocolate Bar

Pen & Paper Flowers - Hot Chocolate Bar

4 Set up a slideshow of your holiday pics

Tired of squinting to see your holiday pics on your smartphone or tablet? Then why not hook up your device to your TV (check out techlicious.com for how to do this) then settle back on the sofa and bore your friends in glorious 50-inch technicolour! 

5 Family movie night

Grab the popcorn, the kids and the remote (cos it’s a long way to the TV, right?), snuggle together under a blanket or throw and press play on their favourite film… they’ll love it, and you’ll have earned your parent-of-the-year stripes!


6 Host a sofa slipper supper

The ultimate casual dinner party, it’s called a slipper supper because your friends or neighbours come round for dinner in their, wait for it… slippers, and each bring a dish with them. So no dressing for dinner, and only one course to prepare as the host. Win-win, we say.

Sofa-loving grub

Here are a few of our favourite ‘one-pot wonder’ recipes, perfect for eating on your lap while curled up on the sofa…

  • Spectacular Spanish chicken with chorizo – courtesy of the ever-tasty Nigella Lawson
  • Cowboy-style chilli con carne – with thanks to the king of the kitchen Jamie Oliver
  • Ridiculously good roasted veg risotto – from the bake-off queen herself, Mary Berry

Jamie chili

Head to our Autumn/Winter e-zine for the latest living room inspiration guaranteed to warm up your season: click here.

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