Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

Tag Archives: Ikea hack

motologo (white) I am honoured to have been picked by Motorola UK to be one of their industry experts at their Moto Design school launched today in London.

As I couldn’t make the physical pop up event, I have produced content here and on social media to run alongside it.

Hope you will enjoy the design hacks I have prepared below.

I have decided to show you how I would inject a bright and happy style into a home with a few simple steps, on a low budget.

Moto fireplace black This is my fireplace at home. It is not usually this pared down, but for the purpose of this post, all things colourful were removed.

Here’s what I did:  Paper -Bunting-from-recycled-wrapping-paper-DIY-for-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell I have injected colour instantly by creating these paper buntings, recycled from leftover gift wrap.

It’s really simple to make, all you have to do is fold the paper to create equal rectangular creases. Then cut out lengthwise two rows and fold them together. Using the creases as guide, cut out triangles of equal size. The base of the triangle being where the fold is. Wrap each triangle around some string and glue together. Colourful-bunting-made-by-Little-Big-Bell A bright injection of colour don’t you think?

I have also placed a freshly cut Hydrangea from my garden into the vase and styled with two postcards.

Being a lover of colour, I couldn’t just leave it at that. So here’s what I did: Embroidery-hoops-colourful-DIY-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell I bought some relatively inexpensive embroidery hoops and inserted some of my leftover colourful fabric into the frames. Simple-DIY-style-with-embroidery-hoops-decor-feature-photo-and-styling-Little-Big-Bell The hoops were then grouped together to create a colourful vignette on one corner of the mantelpiece. How-to-style-a-fireplace-with-DIYs-colourful-styling-and-photo-by-Little-Big-Bell-Littlebigbell Here’s the finished look. Colourful at a budget.  Colourful-fireplace-by-Little-Big-Bell What do you think? Accent-colours-to-shelf-Little-Big-Bell Next, is the creation of this colourful shelf.

I bought a pair of relatively inexpensive ledge shelving from |kea in white. I didn’t want the white of the shelving to melt into the neutrality of the background, so decided to paint the front a bright yellow accent colour.

I usually style with colour instinctively and dare I say, I’ve never used the colour wheel. But for those who want some guidance on the best colour combinations, then do take a look at my post here about the colour wheel.

Here’s a possible trick for you. Find a colourful object or print that you find aesthetically pleasing, extract the colour palette and use it as a template for your decorating.

Analysing in retrospect, I can see that my styling has a similar colour palette to talented Rachel of Pencil shavings studio’s print, which I have placed as the centrepiece on the wall.

How-to-style-a-shelf-Little-Big-Bell When styling a shelf, there are some important steps to follow:

1. Always vary the heights of the objects you are using but in relative proportion to one another. In other words, don’t place a towering high object next to a mini accessory, otherwise the flow of the decor will become lost.

2. Another important factor is to vary the texture of the objects you are using. Here, you can see me using the shiny surface of a plate, the rough texture of paper in the card and wood, both coloured and natural.

3. If you are using small objects to decorate, don’t leave the wall between the shelves bare. Tie the two shelves together with prints that pull the colour palette together.

Colour-at-home-Little-Big-Bell Love how the yellow accent colour makes everything else pop with vibrancy.

Moto-Design-school-styling-a-chair-Little-Big-Bell Here’s the third tutorial:

Upcycle a second hand chair with a coat of chalk paint. This chair was painted for me by my friend Louisa of Westegg interiors, but you can do similar by yourself at home.

The wonderful thing about chalk paint is that you can apply it direct to furniture without having to do any major preparation to the surface . Finish off with buffing on some wax, and then polishing with a dry cloth to protect.

The chair is such a versatile piece of furniture. For those who have limited space, the chair could be used as a side table.

Here’s 3 fail safe ways to style up your chair:

1. Use books with pretty coloured spines. You can use the colour wheel again if you need guidance on colours that sit harmoniously together. Pile them up in order of size.

2. Ensure one of the decorative accessory has the same colour as the book to draw the collection together.

3. Always add a ‘green’ element, like a small potted plant.

4. Make sure at least one of your decorative accessories sit vertical to the books. The effect is lost if it is low lying and horizontal only.

Styling-lessons-Little-Big-Bell Here, I have tied together the elements of ombre shades, in the pot and plate. Moto-Design-school-easy-styling-tips-Little-Big-Bell Adding a bit of texture such as the wrapped cord around the plant pot adds visual interest. Upcycled-painted-wine-box-Moto-Design-school-Little-Big-Bell Here’s another cool and easy DIY I came up with. It’s an upcycled wooden wine case carrier, made into a shelf for display.

I got hold of some free sample paints to create this two colour effect.

Just tape around where you want the divide to be, paint one section, let it dry and remove tape.

Then carefully apply another length of tape over the painted border. I use washi tape, so it doesn’t peel the paint off. Paint on the second colour, let it dry, remove tape and all done! Using the handle strap of the wine case, the box shelf can then be hung on the wall.

So, what do you think?  Moto-Design-school-DIY-hack-Little-Big-Bell Here’s DIY number 6 on a limited budget. Creating a pop of colour on your desk.

I bought an inexpensive cardboard photo frame from Cass Art and using brightly coloured Duck tape, I created this colourful frame. It only took a minimum of 10 minutes to do and adds instant happy colour to your space. Fabric-paint-placemat-Little-Big-Bell Final DIY! Make colourful polka dot placemats for the home. This is a really simple one to do. All you need is white cotton fabric, cut to equal rectangular shapes.

Get a round wooden ink stamper or just use any round object. Paint on some fabric paint and get stamping. You can see me in action on Instagram doing this.

Let it dry. Then cover with a light cloth and iron over with a warm iron to set the paint. The placemats can be washed in the washing machine with no issues of ink running after that. I used Dylon fabric paint.

Colourful-placemat-DIY-hack-Little-Big-Bell I have styled the placemats with my new Marimekko dinner set. Isn’t it cool that the plate and mug colours matched the placemat?

Goodness! As I’m writing this I have just realised how much of a creative overdrive I’ve been in, whilst preparing these design hacks.

Hope you have all enjoyed the DIYs, if you do try these out at home, do tag me on Instagram @littlebigbell and @motorola_uk to show us and use the hashtag #motodesignschool.

Happy day!

( All DIYS, design hacks, styling and photography are by Geraldine Tan of Little Big Bell. The Moto Design school is a sponsored event).

Painted-pastel-egg-cups-DIY-by-Little-Big-Bell This weekend has been both colourful and busy.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by both the The Joy of plants, part of the Flower Council of Holland and Red Magazine to style a kitchen in an event to showcase the Happy Life Trend.

The event was designed to show consumers how inspirational and versatile houseplants can look in the home.

The Happy Life trend is all about taking a lighter approach to life and let go of the old world with all its rules and expectations.

I spent the weekend before the event painting egg cups in the Happy Life palette, to use for the kitchen table that I was due to style.

Colourful-table-styling-the-happy-life-trend-Little-Big-Bell Here is the table. The Happy Life is a room that is cheery and colourful, where everyone is welcome, and where the sun always seem to shine.

Pastel-table-styling-Little-Big-Bell Shapes are unexpected, childlike in their simplicity, reminiscent of a box of building blocks. Soft pastels are combined with bright accent colours, preventing sharp geometric shapes from appearing cool and impassive.

Colourful-table-styling-Little-Big-Bell The room is decorated such that a party could spontaneously break out at any moment. Smooth ceramics and glass are intertwined with playful patterns. Polka dots and confetti like cake or candy.

Sugary pastels are mixed with burnt caramel browns, like cookies and chocolate.

Those mint green linen placemats are from Designer’s Guild.

Pastel-chairs-Little-Big-Bell Mismatched wooden chairs were upcycled with a coat of chalk paint.

These were created by my friend Louisa Blackmore of West Egg interiors.

Westegg-painted-pink-chair-for-Little-Big-Bell Absolutely adore this candy pink chair against that caramel brown rose – the Happy Life palette.


What do you think? Does this table with its wave of colour, patterns and shapes reflect the joy and optimism of the brief?

Painted-wooden-kitchen-utensils-DIY-by-Little-Big-Bell  As well as painting egg cups in the required palette, I decided to decorate some wooden utensils and pots for the bright botanicals that are due to be displayed.

Colour-dipped-wooden-spoons-DIY-Little-Big-Bell These were easy to create, just use washi or masking tape to section off and paint with acrylics, peel off tape, then seal with decopatch glue.

The-Happy-Life-trend-joy-of-plants-red-magazine-Little-Big-Bell  Here is the Happy Life kitchen cabinet that I styled. Forget rules and expectations, why should cabinet doors be closed when hiding behind them are colourful rays of sunshine?

Why limit kitchen cabinets and surfaces to plates and mugs, decorate with books and accessories. If you have a cabinet that gets the sun, place your potted brights in there too.

Here I have decorated with Narcissus, Gerberas, Sunflowers and Kalanchoe.

Other beautiful Happy Life flowers you can use are Hibiscus and Guzmanias.


Happy-Life-trend-colourful-kitchen-Little-Big-Bell The painted egg cups were filled with Asparagus plant shoots and peppered throughout the table that I styled. That orange striped Prism cushion is by Kangan Arora and can be bought from Future and Found.

Ikea-hack-the-happy-life-trend-by-So-Klara-for-Little-Big-Bell As part of my mood board, I decided to have Ikea step stools upcycled in the trend’s colour palette. The stools were created for me by my talented friend Klara of So Klara.

Ikea-hack-step-stool-the-happy-life-trend-Little-Big-Bell The perfect stepping stools for the kitchen with their individual decorative styles, with the added bonus of being able to be used as plant display stands.

Plant-display-DIY-by-So-Klara-for-Little-Big-Bell Klara spray painted the stools in white, three coats I was told. She then painted them in acrylics. I am so loving the hints of chocolate mixed with pastels and brights.

Colourful-pot-DIY-Little-Big-Bell As well as styling the kitchen, I ran DIY workshops for 2 days at the event. I decided to upcycle pots with decorative effects. Here were some that I have created.

You can start by spray painting old terracotta pots in bright hues.

Colourful-flower-pots-DIY-Little-Big-Bell I then painted the pots in contrasting bands of colour, using acrylics followed by sealant.

Colourful-kitchen-plants-Little-Big-Bell I also demonstrated the technique of gold foiling at the workshop. Making simple geometric shapes on pots that instantly lifted the look. The gold foil shapes look great contrasted with the colour banded pots.

The Gold leaf technique is simple. Use washi tape to make your triangle, apply gilding paste, making sure you overlap paste over part of the tape edges and base of the pot. Leave to set for 15 mins, then apply the gold leaf sheet. Smooth over creases using a soft but broad brush and then tear out the tape. To protect, you can apply a thin layer of the gilding paste on top.

The purple houseplant above is Campanula, also part of the Happy Life trend.

Upcycle-pots-Littlle-Big-Bell Here are more images of what others have created. There was also a spray painting workshop on bottles at the event.

Geometric-shapes-on-pots-Little-Big-Bell As well as using sheets of gold foil leaf to decorate, gold foil paint can also be used to create your own desired patterns.

Hope you’ve enjoyed viewing how I have pulled together the Happy Life trend for the kitchen, playing with colours, shapes and happy botanicals.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

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