Hi everyone, it’s Nicole here reporting once again from my sunny little cove in Chiang Mai. With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been feeling reflective and thinking back on my travels this year. I’ve experienced lots of new cultures over the past 12 months but some of the best experiences were those that I always had on my doorstep.
Before coming to Thailand, I stopped off in Europe for a quick layover to explore Paris, Bruges and Ghent. It’s always lovely to be a bit closer to home and, strangely enough, I do miss the cooler weather when I’m gone! One of the most striking things, though, about Europe in comparison to Latin America, is the difference in home design trends.
So, if you’re in the process of decorating and are looking for some design tips that will help you achieve a cosy and glamorous look, keep reading for my favourite aspects of the European aesthetic.
After months of enjoying candy hues in Latin America, it was a huge contrast to get back to Europe where warm tones reign supreme. Although some buildings have pale and muted facades, I noticed much more of a trend towards deep reds and warm browns.
This seemed to be the same for both interiors and exteriors. Even though the weather was much cooler than I’d been used to, everywhere felt cosy thanks to this smart use of warm tones. If your house doesn’t receive much natural light or if you want to make a large room feel more intimate, a warm colour scheme is a fail-proof way to achieve this.
The second step to a cosier home is warm lighting. Walking along the cool streets of Paris and Belgium, every shop looked enticing thanks to the cosy light pouring out of them. (Although, the chocolate in the windows in Belgium probably played a huge part in this, too!)
To create cosy lighting in your home, a selection of lamps is much more soothing than a big bright light. We suggest using a mix of floor lamps, table lamps and wall lamps for maximum results - but don’t forget to add in some candles, too!
It seems that no matter where you go in the world, flowers are always a prime design component! We might all have our own different cultures and tastes, but we can’t deny how much a bunch of flowers can brighten up a home!
In Belgium, I noticed that almost every home had flower baskets outside the windows. This cute detail is a nice way to add a touch of colour to your exterior without going to the drastic extreme of painting your house magenta pink!
Bonus Flower Points: Hanging Flowers!
If you really want to out-do yourself on the flower front, why not try some hanging flowers? You might remember that when I was in Guatemala, I noticed some tropical flowers hanging from the ceiling in a restaurant. I thought this was a lovely idea and was pleasantly surprised to see that it’s crossed the Atlantic, too!
In the cute café in Bruges pictured above, I noticed these roses hanging from the ceiling. This gave a cosy and romantic vibe to the whole café which is why it’s now one of the most popular proposal spots in one of Northern Europe’s most romantic cities! Plus, since these are faux roses, you don’t need to worry about cleaning fallen petals or stabbing yourself with thorns.
You might not want this look in every room of your house but, I think you’ll agree that it’d be cute in a bedroom or conservatory. You could even change it up by using light pink roses or lavender to match a sweet, pastel colour scheme.
Mosaic tiles can add a creative and unique touch to your home design. In Paris, I noticed that most of the design was focused on intricate details and mosaic tiles featured heavily in this.
Most of the mosaic tiling that I saw was on the floor, rather than on the walls, like I’d seen in Latin America. Having mosaic tiles in the kitchen or bathroom can subtly add some decoration to a plain and muted room. Especially if you stick to a muted colour scheme like these tiles I spotted in The Louvre!
Flashes of Grandeur
As well as their love for intricate design, another thing that Parisians seem to love is flashes of grandeur! From the sparkling travertine stone of Sacre Couer to the gold-leaf statues around the Grand Palais, so many of Paris’ most famous monuments are oozing wealth and glamour. You might think that you’ll never reach this level of splendour in your own home, but it doesn’t mean you can’t fake it!
Fabrics like fur and glass paired with sparkling metallic tones can make any home look grand, even on the smallest of budgets. One of the most stereotypically grand home furnishings is the chandelier and this is something that you can now pick up on the high street! As well as this, the rise of popularity in metallic paints allows you to transform a charity shop mirror into a magnificent feature piece. And, to really turn up the cosiness factor, a sheepskin rug or couch throw will look uber glam in any room of the house!
If you want to add some cosiness and glamour to your home, these European design tips will help you achieve the look you desire. If you do try any of them out, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment and let us know how they go!
And, until next time, I hope everyone has a relaxing time over the festive period and a wonderful New Year!