Autumn time is my favourite in terms of seasonal fruits and vegetables and it just makes me want to stay at home, making chutneys, jams and pies. Here is some country home style inspiration to get you feeling as rustic and homely as I feel!

End of the month again (how does the time fly?) and time to share again my lovely 'random likes'. It appears as though our design taste this month is still veering towards the Scandinavian minimal rustic look. Lots of homely character and diy-esque details. Enjoy. :)

Colour blocking, or using one, bold colour in a substantial area of a room to create a feature is a popular trend at the moment. There are many ways to apply this trend, from painting doors or choosing all the furniture in one colour, to dividing the walls vertically or horizontally and applying colour in unconventional ways. Personally I love the idea of just painting the doors and door frames in one colour.

I love getting involved with interiors styling for a photo shoot when we have completed the project. As we work with mainly residential clients, many of whom wish to bring their own furniture or are moving from another property to their new home, we find that it is easier to style and shoot a house before the client has moved in. Therefore, we have to be careful to add enough 'life' and personality to a shoot so that the property looks lived in and not cold or empty. I love when animals, particularly dogs (being man's best friend) are used in shoots as they really add that sense of a 'lived in' home.

Autumn always get's me in the mood for rustic and country design. I love the idea of a countryside manor home with a hallway or designated boot room for hanging up your oilcloth jacket, brolly and tweed cap... and somewhere to pop your hunter wellies, of course!

I know we have posted quite a lot about metro tiles at the moment, which is not something that I would have expected even this time last year. The popularity of these classic tiles has really flourished this year within the residential market. With so many colours and finishes available, from gloss to matt to crackle glazed, it's not difficult to achieve a unique look every time. My favourite applications are modern in a 'rustic scandinavian' way - a very popular trend at the moment.

We have recently come across a new website that we just LOVE for home interiors inspiration at affordable prices. Have you ever seen something in a shop that you just love but then you see the price tag and are disappointed that the item is above your budget? Maybe you think 'I will be sure to come back in a few weeks to see if I could get it in the sale'.

Personally, I do this all the time. In fact, I email myself links and set reminders on when to check on the availability of an item or when a sale has started, if I could get the item for a bit less. The problem is sometimes I forget or the item has already gone on sale and been snapped up by someone else!

What LoveSales have created is an extremely useful shopping tool for people with a passion for design and style, who are savvy about their spending. Have a look at this humorous cartoon explanation of how the website works (and how it can do wonders for your relationship, too, it seems)!

From their Press Release:

LoveSales launches the latest evolution in the online sales aggregation space, offering a fully responsive digital tool designed to make discounted online shopping a more immersive and interactive experience than ever before.

The site is a culmination of three years' technical development of a dynamic database tracking price movements and sales anouncements from leading retailers. This allows LoveSales to offer a full service in online sales aggregation, including user-driven price drop alerts as well as a completely personalised daily updates on the latest sales from top brands across the LoveSales network and beyond.

Unique Features include:

  • A daily handpicked selection of the very best sale items identified across the hundreds of LoveSales brand partners known as the 'Sales Feed'
  • An email alert feature ensuring users are the first to know every time a 'Favourite' brand launches a sale
  • A 'Latest Sales' feed offering a central place to browse all brands that currently have sale activity, favourite or not
  • A personal wish list feature, allowing users to 'Pin' items from any website to their 'LoveSales List', tagging each with an alert feature to ensure users are alerted when product drop in price or go on sale
  • A Pinterest style 'My List' means items from any brand or website will be organised i none place. Users can create collections of items and organise products based on items, outfits or personal occasions
  • A fully responsive retail experience, offering a desktop browser button as well as add by email or paste product link product adding mechanisms for when browsing on mobile
  • LoveSales is 100% free and easy to use. The personalisation features and wish list elements require users to either sign up via email or alternatively using Facebook.

The brand was only launched in May 2014 so it is a brand new website and a truly innovative idea.

We have given the website a quick go and we can honestly say that we love it so far! We have downloaded both the desktop button and it works well on mobiles too, although the mobile app is not yet available.

As a brief overview on how to use the site, the first thing to do is to add the 'Love Sales Button' to your internet browser tool bar. Just drag the button to your browser to install - it works just like the Pinterest 'Pin it' button. When you see an item that you like when browsing furniture shops online, simply click the Love Sales button to add it to your List. When the item goes on sale, the website will track your products and alert you instantly, so you never miss an offer!

Another good point about the website is that there is no limit to the number of items you can follow, so you could be shopping at all your favourite furniture stores, even on the go (and for us as designers it's great because we can search for our clients, too)!

Basically, the website is like the Pinterst of shopping and just as addictive! What more could a price-savvy home designer ask for?

When it comes to choosing floor finishes, there are so many options, from carpets to wooden floors to tiles. Although some finishes seem like no-brainers (I do wonder about 70's british homes where carpets were installed in bathrooms), a lot of the choice comes down to personal preference.

In terms of what materials to use in different rooms, many people consider tiles to be a traditional and low-maintenance option for kitchens while carpets have always been the go-to option for bedrooms, certainly in the UK. However, today tastes are changing and fitting wooden floors throughout is becoming a more and more popular way to decorate, especially with open plan designs.

Wood is a sustainable, renewable and natural material so not only is it green, but wooden floors are longer-lasting and can be refinished or sanded down many times to freshen the look, compared to carpets which collect dust, are more high maintenance to upkeep and do not last as long.
If you prefer the feel of something warm under your feet in the morning, why not consider an engineered wooden floor and install underfloor heating to achieve this effect?

Many people are concerned that wooden floors in kitchens could get more stained than tiles. Although there is logic to this theory, treated and well maintained floors (and homes that are kept tidy and cleaned regularly) do not stain even in the kitchen area. Of course it's again down to personal preference.

Wooden floors alone offer a lot of versatility, from imitation laminates (the budget option) to engineered wooden floors to solid hardwood floors. Laminate floors are not recommended unless your reason for choosing is simply the budget, as the look and feel just does not compare to real or engineered floors. Engineered wooden floors are a great choice nowadays as they offer to look of real wood but with the stability of an engineered bottom layer (usually plywood or something similar) - they are great to use with under floor heating as they don't move or shrink/expand like solid wood floors and the engineered layer also means the costs are much lower in comparison to solid wood floors. At the top of the range is the solid wood floors, which are the most natural looking and the most hardwearing / long lasting option. With a vast range of colours, finishes and 'types' of wood (oak being the most common, to more specific types such as walnut or mahogany).

A beautiful timber floor isn't just an investment in your property, it's an investment in your home and family. Whether it be a modern home with a contemporary feel, or something more warm and traditional, there are solutions available that will add value to both your property and your life. Companies like French Forest Floors have very informative websites that will help you to make a more informed decision about the kind of floor you need.

Here are some questions and answers to some common queries that people ask French Forest Floors:

Q: Which wood is best for my floor?
A: Our range of solid wood floors includes five types of floorboards, each with their own specific characteristics. This means it helps to have an idea of the final look you want to achieve then take a look at the individual appearances of each type. For example, if you are looking for a classic, traditional feel, then our Solid Oak floors are probably best for you, but if you wanted a more modern feel then our Columbia range may be better. For a more exclusive look then our Walnut wood floors are for you as we are the only manufacturer to stock them. Although it is not only the appearance that matters, some of our flooring is much harder wearing than others. We have really strong Solid White Ash Nouveau floors which are particularly suited to high traffic areas due to their bounce and durability. We also have our Ardennes Oak bonded floorboards for a classic look with significant strength.

Q: How do I care for my floor after fitting?
A: Wooden floors are great for any home, although they require a little TLC to keep them looking as great as possible for as long as possible. We recommend regular sweeping and vacuuming to prevent grit and dirt from scratching the surface of the wood, this can be helped with a doormat at every entrance. It is also advisable to fix felt pads to the bottom of table and chair legs to prevent dents and scratches from heavy furniture and from lots of movement. Try to avoid dragging furniture across your floor, if you need to move objects use an old rug in the wrong way up to move items easily and with minimal damage. Cleaning is important for wooden floors, any spillages should be cleaned up immediate to prevent staining. It is also advisable to occasionally clean your floor with a mild soap based product to keep it looking great.

Q: Will my floor change over time?
A: As the wood ages, the colour will tone down and any really obvious differences in colour in the early stages will be less noticeable. This is to do with the type of finish and how much direct sunlight the flooring is exposed to.

Q: Are pets bad for wooden floors?
A: If you choose a wooden floor that is hard enough, pet claws shouldn't be a problem. If you are worried then consider choosing a floor that is similar in colour to that of your pet's fur, so loose hairs don't stand out too much. Any pet waste should be cleaned quickly and only with a mild soap if possible, to prevent stripping any topcoats from the floor. In order to be double safe, we recommend keeping your pet's nails trim and perhaps even using some kind of claw covers.

More information from French Forest Floors

Floral patterns are probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea (certainly more female oriented than male) but personally I love a touch of floral, either in some soft furnishings, a feature wallpaper or even just some decorative elements. Here are some floral interiors to inspire.