Sarah Maddox runs the wonderful Magnolia House Bed and Breakfast. If you are ever planning a trip to sunny Brighton, the San-Fran of the South East, Magnolia House is a gorgeous oasis to return to after a day perusing the fabulous, quirky shops of the North Laines. This was her guest room before she decided to transform it into a holidaymaker’s haven:
Unprepossessing, to say the least. Tired bedlinen is never exciting, and that office chair and shelf of files would guarantee traumatic flashbacks for anyone who had come to escape that soul-sucking treadmill that is the world of work. But this makeover just shows what a difference a few small tweaks can make to the feel of a room:
A fresh coat of paint brings light into this south-facing bedroom, while a pillowy-soft new duvet and bedlinen just call out to be dived into:
A plush new rug in a neutral shade adds a luxurious finishing touch and a treat for bare feet that have just stepped out of bed:
But the biggest difference comes from turning that corner-office into a welcoming breakfast-area. Files have given way to flowers, wicker storage and space for toiletries and that horrid swivel chair has been replaced by simple seating and a space for tea for two. This inspires me to make the kind of simple changes that take a space from sad to glad overnight.
More than any other item of furniture, a comfortable sofa is essential for harmonious entertaining. Whether friends drop round for a pot of mint tea, or require a spot for a post-prandial game of scrabble, cosy and abundant lounging space is at the heart of a welcoming home. But sofas do not come cheap: shop at any high-street store and you could end up spending hundreds, or more likely thousands, finding the right one. So what is a girl on a budget to do? For years I made do with a solitary, three-seater sofa, which meant that friends and family were forced to sit in a serried rank, whilst the unluckiest were relegated to hard, straight-backed dining chairs. And then it struck me: what could feel more luxuriously exotic than a Moroccan-inspired seating area? Something along the lines of this sumputuous makeshift settle photographed by Maryam from My Marrakesh, source of plentiful inspiration for North African-style interiors:
The beauty of this solution is that because the wall becomes the backrest, any number of things can be recycled or re-used to make the base: a low table will do the job, as in the Pondicherry bench from Maisons du Monde:
Photographer Ashley Campbell even used simple wooden pallets to make this marvellous daybed, which was featured on the wonderful design*sponge:
To make my own Eastern-inspired lounging area (below and top), I used an ancient camp-bed covered with an old chenille curtain and massed cushions piled against the wall. I love the way the rich textures and colours of the fabrics stand out against the flat charcoal wall with its gilt mirror. Just perfect for an afternoon tea party, no? Chic, recycled and practically free: what’s not to love?
Hello internet and welcome to Paper Flowers, a space for all things stylish in the home and wardrobe, with a thrifty, ethical twist. I hope you will join me in my musings about life, fashion and interiors. I’m a girl with a tight budget, but I’m a firm believer that thrifty living doesn’t have to mean compromising on style. Like most people, I want to do my bit for the environment, and a little bit more when I can. I’m convinced that this doesn’t have to mean living in sackcloth and ashes and decorating with hand-flung hemp in shades of sludge. I will be featuring projects, makeovers, reviews and peeks through the keyhole of real people’s homes. This is cheap, ethical style that is sexy, desirable and fun. This is style for a new planet!