Nina 2

Rowlands Family Bedroom Makeover

Living in a period property can pose a few headaches when it comes to interior design as Annie Rowlands discovered when she wanted to turn a disused attic of her 18th Century farmhouse into an occasional bedroom for a teenage step-daughter which would also double as a welcoming guest bedroom.  Annie explains “The room was an awkward shape to start with, having a low window and sloping ceilings but when you add to that the fact that the floors, ceiling and walls are all uneven, it starts to get really tricky.”

Luckily for Annie, the furniture she chose from Utopia’s Bedroom Collection is very versatile. Although designed to be freestanding, it is also easy to create a fitted effect to suit a particular space or to compensate for any structural irregularities. Annie discovered a combination of doors and drawers which fitted the awkward alcove perfectly, making use of all the space as well as giving the room a neat, streamlined look.

Annie is also delighted with the stepped arrangement of drawer units that means the space underneath the low window isn’t wasted either.  With seven drawers in these units and a further two large drawers in the wardrobe configuration, there’s masses of storage space for all step-daughter Nina’s belongings.

An interior designer by profession, Annie had a clear idea of colours in mind from the outset, opting for a vibrant combination of teal and fuchsia pink that was not only perfect for a bright teenage colour scheme but also very inviting for a guest bedroom. It’s such a bold mixture of colour and pattern that it was important the furniture presented a neutral backdrop so Annie picked the simple Nadia doorstyle in classic English White with subtle Parchment 22mm framing. It’s a gentle combination teamed with the off-white carpet and one which works particularly well with the dramatic colours in the bedding and wallpaper.

Annie wanted the room to look feminine, young and fresh so there are pretty touches such as the crystal handles on the furniture which team up with the decorative touches on the ceiling light and beside lamps. The bedframe is a fabulous wrought iron centrepiece for the room which Annie bought years ago from Adrian Reynolds, a craftsman designer and metalsmith based in Ironbridge.

The overall effect is exactly as Annie planned. “Working with an older property is challenging but I found Utopia’s Bedroom Collection very versatile. There are so many sizes and options to choose from that we were able to plan the room very effectively making excellent use of all the available space. Nina is absolutely delighted with the room and we’re hoping that all that storage space will encourage her to keep it looking pristine for when we have guests.”


How To Give Your Bathroom A Celebrity Make-Over

Ever wondered how the other half lives?
Magazines are always showing us pictures of glamorous celebrity homes and luxurious lifestyles we could only dream of. But dream no more! It’s a lot easier than you think to transform your bathroom from simply a room to wash in, to a room of elegance and luxury… without the celebrity price tag! Here are our top tips for turning your own bathroom into one fit for a celeb.


Alter your lighting
Bathroom lights are often bright and clinical, showing up every last blemish when you look into the mirror. Opting for a slightly dimmer, more sexy lighting will make your bathroom feel a much more sensual space. Choosing between subtle or illuminating lighting has never been easier…


Make the most of your shower
Showering should be a rejuvenating experience. Often showers have too much or too little power in them, making you quickly hop in and out to get clean. But why shouldn’t showering feel like a special occasion? Making a simple change like getting a new shower head can make every shower you take into a treat.


Make the space into a work of art
Ornate, modern bathroom accessories like towel rails and glass shelves do give your bathroom that luxurious, fresh feel. Also, by arranging your opulent bathroom products artfully on your bathroom worktops, your bathroom will get that spa-like luxurious feeling.


The fluffier, the better
When it comes to towels, bath mats and bath robes, the fluffier the better! The fluffier they are, the more luxurious they look, instantly glamming up your bathroom, not to mention how smooth your skin will feel when you wrap yourself in a feathery towel!

Stylish handles
It is the finishing touches that make all the difference! From elegant bar handles to small boutique ones, adding custom handles to your washroom cupboards will definitely give the space a contemporary, suave look.


Add some seating
You wouldn’t see a glamorous celeb using the toilet as a seat to perch on when moisturising their legs – so why should you? If there is any spare space in your bathroom you should definitely add a stool or chair, it will instantly give your bathroom a luxurious, spa-like feel.

Appeal to all of the senses
Decorate the bathroom with scented candles, plants and even art work to give the space a touch of colour. Bathrooms don’t have to be clinical and white, add a splash of colour and jazz them up.


As your bathroom is the place to relax and unwind, make it the most tranquil and luxurious room in your house.

relax zone

#RelaxMonday – Creating A Relaxation Zone In Your Home

When you go to the spa, you’ll often find that there’s a relaxation room for you to use before and after your treatment. These rooms encourage you to lie back, relax and take some time to focus on nothing but yourself.

relax zone

Just because relaxation rooms are usually found in spas, it doesn’t mean you can’t have the same level of relaxation in your own home, too! Simply creating a relaxation space somewhere in your home is the key to the ultimate relaxation – create an area of comfort, solely dedicated to you.

To create your own relaxation area, begin by getting something really comfy to lounge on. If you’re tight on space, getting a plush bean bag is a great place to start, as it can be easily moved and stored away.

Make your relaxation space as relaxing as possible by putting it in an area where the lighting can be easily adjusted. Dimmed lighting is proven to help soothe the mind, so light the area by only using candles or lamps. According to research, blue lighting instantly helps to create an atmosphere of calm, so this is the best colour to choose if you’re getting a new lamp for your relaxation zone.

Having very little stimulus is the key to decompressing your mind and achieving total relaxation. This is why you should ban any kind of technology from your relaxation area – occupy your mind by listening to soothing music or reading. It has been proven that even as little as six minutes of reading is enough to help reduce stress and also aid a good night’s sleep, but steer clear of technology as it can give your mind too much to focus on.

Add some finishing touches to your relaxation space by working on all the senses; get a scented candle, incense sticks or a diffuser in your favourite scent. Also, for an authentic spa experience, try a face mask to cleanse your skin and get someone at home to give you a massage – you can easily find aromatherapy oils and massage tools to use at home.

When you’re feeling stressed out, dedicate some time to yourself in a designated relaxation zone. This is probably the simplest way to lift some weight off your shoulders and rejuvenate, particularly on a stressful Monday evening.


Which Kind Of Sleeper Are You?

When it comes to different types of sleeping patterns, there is more than just the early riser and the night owl. No matter how relaxing your room, research has found that every person fits into one of these sleep patterns. Which kind of sleeper are you?

  1. The “always tired”
    Do you feel lethargic all day long, even when you’ve had a great night’s sleep? If so, this may be you! If you are a sleepy head, though you may have had plenty of hours of sleep, scientists say that there is something disturbing you, but not disturbing you enough to fully wake you up.
    This could be for a number of reasons, from your bed being uncomfortable to your bedroom not having the right environment. Check that your room is a cool temperature, has the right feng shui and that your mattress is comfortable (neither too lumpy nor too hard.) This way you will ensure you are in the right environment for a good night’s sleep.
  2. The “high energetic”
    Are you the type of person who is always energetic, even though you have had 30 minutes less sleep than most other people? This lucky group of people has on average 7.5 hours a sleep a night and can still stay energetic all day long.sleeper
  3. The “early riser”
    Do you have high energy between 9am and 9pm? If so you are probably the type of person who prefers to go to sleep and wake up early rather than having late nights. But you may be trying to get more sleep than your body needs.
    It can be completely normal and natural for you to wake up at 5am but allow yourself a little bit of exposure to morning light to rise naturally and without worry.
  4. The “late riser”
    Are you most alert in the evenings and prefer to wake up late in the morning? You are likely to struggle to function early in the morning and need to sleep in late to feel fresh. If you are this kind of sleeper you’ve probably developed a sleep debt in the week and then make up for it at the weekend – this may cause you to struggle to wake on Monday morning.
    If this is you, you need to get yourself into a routine and synchronise your body clock. Limit yourself to only one or two late nights a week and if you’re struggling to sleep earlier try taking some time to wind down and relax in your bedroom.
  5. The thinker
    Do you think too much when it comes to bed time and can’t make your mind switch off? You need to re-associate your bed with sleep.
    The best way to do this is to set aside a period of time in the evening that is just for clearing your mind – this way your mind shouldn’t go into overdrive when you’re trying to get to sleep. If you write your problems and solutions down, this is a great way to clear the thoughts from your mind and get a good night’s sleep.sleeper1
  6. The “busy bee”
    Are you too tense to sleep some nights? If that is the case, you probably react to stress by tensing your muscles – increased muscle tension increases pressure from the awake system and prevents you from getting to sleep.
    Relaxing the muscles is easy; starting from your toes and working your way up, squeeze your muscles tightly and then relax them.
    Try not to affect your emotions close to bed time, watching a TV programme, reading a book or having an argument will make you think too much and you’ll struggle to sleep well.

    Which category do you fit in to? Improving your sleeping pattern couldn’t be easier, but getting yourself the perfect bedroom is a great place to start.


Some Things To Consider When Doing A Bedroom Re-Vamp

We all want our bedroom to be stylish yet comfortable, sexy yet relaxing. But it isn’t easy to combine all these things and make the bedroom our own unique relaxation space.

What are the main things to consider when you’re decorating your bedroom?

Colour schemes set a certain mood
Think about what kind of atmosphere you want in your bedroom when considering a colour scheme. Choosing darker colours will give your room a more sensual, moody feeling, whereas a white room with a statement colour wall will probably feel quite vibrant, light and airy.


Invest in some good-quality fabrics
Different fabrics will add character as well as comfort to your room. If you accessorise with various throws and cushions, you can change the look of your room by placing emphasis on different colours and fabrics – velvet can give your room a sexier vibe for example. Good quality bed linen is also a good investment for a comfortable night’s sleep.

Get yourself a great bed
Consider the measurements of your room and buy yourself the biggest bed that could feasibly fit. A bigger bed will give you more comfort and a better night’s sleep – you spend so many hours of the day in bed that it makes sense.


Attention to detail
Small details like a patterned feature wall and adding your own touches like photo collages or personal treasures will give your room a focus and theme. Also pay attention to your DIY work – little things like having good paintwork can really change your mood when you’re relaxing in your room.

Multi-functional furniture
Nobody likes a cluttered bedroom and by investing in some multi-functional furniture you will capitalise on space, too.  There are plenty of different styles of furniture you can choose from which will help keep your room clean and tidy.


Overall, comfort is key
A fluffy carpet as opposed to wooden flooring really makes the difference when you’re getting out of bed on an early morning. Consider which colours, decorations, fabrics and style will make your bedroom the most comfortable space for you.



A Brief History Of The Bathroom

Ever wondered why your bathroom is designed the way it is? Well, we’ve taken a journey back in time to show you where the modern day bathroom originates.

Surprisingly baths date back as far as 3000BC; however they were not developed with the intention of cleaning. People would often cleanse before entering a sacred space, which is what bathing rooms were used for. They were developed by the Romans and Greeks who recognised the importance of bathing as the heroes in literature (by Homer for example) were seen bathing in warm water to regain their strength.

Bathing was not only common in Italy and Greece, Roman baths were also found in Bath, England. This shows that the idea of bathing was a concept around the world.

The earliest bath as we know it dates back to 1700BC and is similar to the baths we know today not only in the way it looks, but also in the way its plumbing works.


In the Middle ages, medical-professionals advised people to clean their hands and faces daily, showing that people were beginning to understand the importance of personal hygiene. During this era it is also notable that soap was first developed. However bathing sites were still largely public and only the upper classes would have their own private bathrooms.

Public bath houses were frowned upon by the church as they were often fronts for brothels, religious people also believed they encouraged illicit sex. With the outbreak of the plague in the early 16th century, the use of public bathhouses diminished.


After the renaissance public bathing declined rapidly as people associated water with disease. At this time, private bathrooms were very much favoured – but could only be afforded by the upper classes – bathrooms as we know them began to be developed.

After a major outbreak of cholera in the late 17th century, it was discovered that when water is mixed with waste disease is spread quickly, because of this the authorities began piping in water from elsewhere.  There was then a massive abundance of water in the cities which people did not know what to do with. This led to the development of the first flushing toilet in 1775; the model invented then is still very much the same as the toilet we know today.


With the development of running water came the bathrooms as we know them today. Prior to this, washing, bathing and going to the toilet were all done in separate rooms (toilets were in outhouses, basins were in bedrooms and baths were portable to be heated in front of the fire.)

In 1900 bathrooms began to be common amongst the upper classes who transformed large rooms into bathrooms which had plenty of windows and space large enough to even exercise in.

Having a bath, toilet and basin all in one room meant that the plumbing system was more convenient for engineers. However, bathrooms were arguably unhygienic.


Then in 1940 came the prefabricated bathroom; this bathroom was bought all together in small pieces which could be easily transported through a house and then slotted into place. Although convenient, these bathrooms were often small and cramped; convenient at the expense of human comfort.

Since the beginning of the 20th century the design of bathrooms have been largely the same, with the toilet, shower, bath and basin all in one room. However, there are now a large variety of different designs and styles you can choose from to make your bathroom fit in perfectly with your home.


#RelaxMonday – Music To Help You Chill Out

Music is a great way to influence your mood – it can bring back old memories, evoke emotions and also make you want to dance. Music has even been proven to enhance the way your brain works, for example if children are exposed to classical music in the early stages of development, it can improve their IQ as they get older!

Music is also a great way to help you relax, here’s how:

Listen to some soothing classical
The type of music you listen to can hugely impact the way you feel. Choosing slower paced, classical music will really help you to unwind and relieve any feelings of stress. Did you know, some busy London tube stations play classical music throughout the tunnels?  They do this as a method of tackling crime by subconsciously slowing people down and making them feel calmer.

Try listening through headphones.
Listening to your soothing music through headphones has an instant nerve-soothing effect. Headphones work because they channel the music and relaxation into your mind – in fact this kind of music therapy is often used in hospitals before and after surgery.


Chopin harmonies can help reduce the sensation of distress and pain.
Add some of Chopin’s piano music to your relaxing playlist; the intricate embellishments and soothing harmonies are a great distraction if you’re suffering physically. If you can play the piano, having a go at a Chopin piece will definitely keep your mind occupied.


Mozart can aid your memory.
Mozart’s music uses a lot of mathematical sequences, thus listening to his music can lead to an improvement in the ability to mentally understand and manipulate mathematics and it can also improve your memory and spatial awareness. So it is clear that classical music has more benefits than simply soothing and relaxing.


Meditational music with a familiar melody.
Music can help slow down your mind which initiates the relaxation response. Choosing a familiar melody, preferably with no words, can easily aid self-meditation. For the best effect, listen to natural music such as the sound of waves crashing on a beach, water trickling, or wind blowing. The lack of complexities (like words) will help your mind achieve peace.


Listening to calming music will help clear your mind, relieve stress and in turn put a smile on your face. What’s your favourite relaxation music?