Turning my blank canvas home office into a cosy writing corner

Turning my blank canvas home office into a cosy writing corner

While the renovation to our Kitchen Diner has been happening I've been locking myself away in my teeny uninspiring office trying to stay sane. So, I thought I would use the #BlankCanvas opportunity to get some ideas for how I could temporarily spruce up my home office until I've got more time to sort it out properly, calling on the Julian Charles' in-house designers and my instagram friends for advice. Come see my updates!

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Can you actually bring country decoration to a modern home??

Can you actually bring country decoration to a modern home??

Can you really mix modern and country home decoration looks and how far is too far? I wanted to share some ways you can bring Modern Farmhouse charm to a home in a really effortless way if you are considering channeling the easy-cosy humble home look and need some ideas and don't want it ending up looking too twee. Have a read!

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15 ways to affordably take your bedroom from summer to autumn

15 ways to affordably take your bedroom from summer to autumn

Whilst I'll miss all the sun, BBQs, prancing around the house in vest tops and shorts and all the al fresco G&Ts Summer brings, there's part of me that's looking forward to getting home and decorating our house ready for the Autumn. Here's 15 budget ways I'm turning my bedroom from crisp to cosy. 

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The No. 1 place for lighting inspiration if you're renovating

The No. 1 place for lighting inspiration if you're renovating

I'm not kidding guys, I was awake until 1am (!) last night looking for the specific dining room light as the electrics are all going in next week. I started my internet search at 8pm! That's 5 hours wasted trying to find a bloody light shade that if you looked at, is so generic. What's actually wrong with me?? Do you get this too? I think I've found something to help...

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The key trends to get a modern farmhouse vibe in a guest bedroom

The key trends to get a modern farmhouse vibe in a guest bedroom

Guys I've been doing my home decoration research this week! I want a traditional, lived in, cosy modern farmhouse style in the guest bedroom when it's finished and I've been researching some key trends to incorporate into the room to make sure I achieve this kinda look. I'm sharing them here in case you too have a love for Modern Farm Charm interiors and need some inspiration to bring a rustic edge to your guest bedroom or master bedroom. 

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3 guaranteed beautiful ways to style your mantelpiece [ideal for renters]

A mantelpiece is usually the heart of the home. It's your one opportunity to wow people when they enter the room, so if you get it wrong, or don't bother with it at all, it's a mega missed chance. 

The beauty of having a mantelpiece or fireplace which I'll go into below, is the versatility you have. Nothing has to stay the same and you can change it with some simple foliage or flowers to reflect every time of year. Winter garlands for Christmas, twigs and orange leaved branches for autumn, or a vase of peonies in late Spring. 

Below I'm sharing 3 foolproof ways you can make your mantelpiece stun people, all ideas are renter friendly too... bonus!


I'd say if you've just moved in, or if you're new to decorating and aren't as brave as you'd like to be (nothing to be ashamed of, we all have to start somewhere!) this style is a fantastic place to start. 

Choose 1 piece of large artwork that will:

a) be a talking point when people enter the room
b) be something linked to your lifestyle, background or personality
c) tie in or set the colour scheme for the room

Make sure your art work is roughly 3/4s of the width of your mantelpiece so it will anchor the fireplace and won't look too small and pathetic.

If you're renting, use 3D Command strips for nail free hanging. 

If you're strapped for cash (large works of art can be bloody expensive!) try buying the right size canvas for the wall and choose your favourite print wallpaper to paste over it and create your own work of art.

Then, add depth to the look with candlesticks, vases or trinkets that will soften up the harsh edges of the frame. 


Haven wallpaper by Feathr
120 x 100 blank canvas
Roller + tray set for pasting
Wallpaper paste


For the more experimental decorator, and ideal for people that want a new look on their mantelpiece with a more eclectic vibe, lean various sized artwork in front of each other.  

Some styling tips, to avoid your mantel looking too cluttered:

  • Begin with 1 or 2 pieces of art that add vertical height as staple pieces
  • Avoid too much redundant white space by making sure the staple art you're choosing is large enough for the mantelpiece
  • Next add square or rectangular wide pieces of art that's roughly half the vertical height of your staple piece
  • Finally, go wild on smaller pieces (stick to odd numbers, 3 or 5) and maybe introduce a circular frame or object to soften the edges


Print from Unlimited, Brighton
Art by Martin O'Neill and Unlimited Brighton
Frames in various sizes from Ikea


If you're lucky enough to have a period chandelier in your living room, this look would complete the room. A gilt or wooden ornate mirror that's large enough to fit the mantelpiece end to end gives a traditional feel without having to think too much about styling. 

The mirrors reflective elements mean that if you're in a rented flat with limited space, it'll open it up and make the room feel bigger.

I'd add traditional props with this if it's too simple for your taste. Think classic clocks, candelabras and thick garlands representative of each season. 


Mahogany framed mantelpiece mirror from Oak furniture
Gold spray paint to give the mirror a gilt effect
Newgate mantelpiece clock from Amara
Any of these looks are great, but I think the biggest tip to point out is... don't go for art or objects too small! It will look and feel a bit pathetic. You want grand and statement!

That's it. Hope you enjoyed my styling tips. 

Next post: The easy cost effective way to bring an eclectic vibe to your living room  ››

Main styled images found on McGrath2, Houzz, Savoy Home Blog, and Overmantels

The easy (cost effective) way to bring an eclectic vibe to your living room

Eclectic living room looks ››
Rug: Oliver Bonas, Candle: Home Sense, Frame: Oliver Bonas, Mustard cushions: Arlo + Jacob, Charcoal cushions: Oliver Bonas, Patterned cushions: DesignRaaga

I love my chesterfield sofa. 

But for the last couple of months it's looked a bit too, I don't know, traditional?

Sometimes I love the traditional vibe. Sometimes I want it to feel a bit more modern. Sometimes I just want colour.

It's the age old problem when decorating a space - you don't want to decorate it so much that you can't change it when you're bored. I decided to take an eclectic direction styling my sofa as it captures the colour elements I've wanted and it's easy for me to swap around when I want a different vibe. 
With little to no cash, I had to get creative. So I've shared a few simple tips to bring an eclectic vibe to any space on a budget.

Eclectic living room looks ››

1. Use accessories from other rooms

Cushions, small rugs and props that currently have homes in other parts of your house can be brought into the space you're wanting to style. Look for eclectic bits and pieces that you may have stashed away somewhere, or rehome an item from the bedroom to the living room to give it a new lease of life. Accessories are always an investment when shopping as they're easily moved, stored and swapped around when your mood wants something different. 

2. Layer rugs you already own

Layering rugs is really on trend at the mo, and so easily achieved as long as you have a mix of rugs in your home that could potentially sit well together. I've taken a textured mink sheepskin rug from Oliver Bonas and layered it over our Persian rug from Wayfair for a cosy look. 

3. Make use of furniture... even if it's not furniture :)

Neil's got this lovely Marshall Amp that usually just sits in the corner of our living room. I really like the retro, eclectic look they have so yes - you guessed it - I claimed it as my own to stand in place of a side table we have yet to own. If you want a side table and don't have the funds to buy one (like me) try and get creative using stacks of books, stacks of magazines, a stool, a chair etc etc and don't just look around one room for the items... look all around your home and in charity shops.
Eclectic living room looks ››
Geometric coloured cushion: DesignRaaga, Monochrome patterned cushion: DesignRaaga

4. Eclectic means anything goes, so mix and match cushions or make new cushion covers for next to nothing

I absolutely adore my collection of cushions. I'll go as far to say it's not really a collection any more, it's more a problem. I have tonnes that sit under my bed (I can't find any better storage, any tips?) and my habit of buying them means they're all representative of different interior looks I've longed for in the past - that is, none of them match. Are you the same? Good news is this totally works for eclectic vibes. Get your old cushions out and stack them together even in the don't all look the same. Or recover your cushions in mustard and patterned fabrics. 

Just some punchy tips for you there. You might also fancy reading 11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel ››

Knock 'em dead with your eclectic styling,

Fi xoxo

An interior brand I love: Artfinder

I'm on a mission to introduce you to some of the UK's cutest interior stockists. Whether you're an interior stylist, budding interior assistant or just love finding home decoration sites to spruce up your home, keep an eye on this feature.

I'm working hard to collect a little black book with a list of favourite shops, so that for ANY interior look you want to achieve, all that's needed is a glance through my little black book to know where you'll find the goods to create your dream rooms. 

Last time I shared with you a brand with a lovely "sharing is caring" ethos.

This week let me introduce a brand I'm turning to, to populate my home with (fairly) affordable art from independent artists - authentic art.

 Since moving into my own place, I've noticed that one of the trickiest parts of decoration, making  a house a home, is finding affordable art that speaks to you.  I despise art work that's mass-produced. Not in a poncey "art expert" kinda way. Not at all! It's  more the thought of canvases sold in Primark that seem to people, to be the only affordable option for them - and everyone has the same! I hate that. 

You'll see  in my "How to create a gallery wall" post that I try to source art work that has deeper meaning other than just suiting a room.  We have a very sweet quote I love, taken from Lord of the rings. Mine and Neil's fave film. 

Whatever you choose to hang on your walls should be sentimental  + meaningful to you. Whether it's a quote that inspires you, an illustration you love, or fond photographs and family memories. 

That's why I wanted to share Artfinder with you.

It's like an Etsy for art work. It's a place that champions the talents of  local artists from  97 different countries across the world, so you are sure to find something unique, affordable and meaningful to the places you've been to , lived in and love. 

My family are all from the Emerald Isle and I've been wanting to bring in concepts of my celtic heritage to my home. I've been spending a lot of time on the Artfinder website to discover new and emerging Irish artists, and scenes from Sligo + Mayo, where we spent many a family holiday, and have found some stunning paintings in different colour schemes available for me to get hold of. The above is a painting by Lesley Birch and I've pulled in colours and fabrics to fit how I'd scheme the room around it. I'd use Sligo Oatmeal fabric from Ulster Weavers (I love the herringbone, tartan, celtic feel) to complement the look. 

Artfinder also have  a whole array of Brighton artists (this city has a huge art scene I was surprised at a simple search flagging up over 10 pages, whereas Ireland had much fewer!) . Tania Rutland is one to watch for moody and atmospheric works, but there are lots of sketchy  illustrative styles for a more modern look too. 

I urge you to have a look around the Artfinder website for places that mean a lot to you. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the art work you'll find from even the most remote places. 

What sort of  art do you love inside  your home? Are you on the market for things to hang on your walls?

Fi xoxo


A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

If you saw my bedroom makeover post, you'll have seen that I've created a mini gallery wall in the centre of one of our alcoves. It was originally so dull, check out the before shots and you'll see. I needed a way to personalise the space, fast as I'm really impatient when it comes to decorating, and this totally worked and came in way under budget.

I wanted to share with you how simple it is to design something like this. You don't need to be a design guru, you don't need loads of money, and you don't necessarily need to be that handy either. If you can knock a nail into a wall, creating a gallery wall is so doable, and it's a great way to see a room come to life, fast. 

How did I do it? It required minimal amount of planning, which I'll talk you through now. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

1. Decide where you want a gallery wall feature in your home

Before I did anything else, I had a think about where a gallery wall would look best in my home. I actually chose several places, but I've began by doing this one mini-gallery to get the ball rolling. Spaces that work particularly well are:

- Above sofas, anchoring a large piece of furniture drawing the eye up

- Trickling up stair ways, making use of redundant hallway space for a homely feel

- Above console tables or chests of drawers, to balance a look.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

2. Choose a colour scheme for either the frames or the artwork you're planning to hang

So many "How to create a gallery wall" guides forget to mention this crucial factor. If you want a cohesive look, you need to consider the colours that will occupy the space. 

Take my gallery wall for example. Our bedroom colour scheme is greys, whites and violet shades. I wanted a clean look as opposed to an eclectic vibe, so chose plain white frames to sit on our freshly painted grey wall (Valspar, Summer Grey in case you were wondering).

Think about what your gallery wall is sitting above. If it's large pieces of brown furniture, like a console or a Chesterfield sofa, how can you tie in warm shades for a cohesive look? This could be achieved by mixing and matching gold antique frames or opting for brown frames mixed with several white frames. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

3. Measure the wall area of space you're working with and calculate the number of frames you might need (you can be sloppy with this, anything goes)

Once you've decided on a colour scheme for the frames, think about how many frames you'll need for it to look balanced. If it's a small space like mine, limit yourself to 3 or 4 or do the whole wall. If it's a larger space above a wide piece of furniture, measure the width and height you want your gallery wall to stretch across and make a note of this when you're looking for frames and art. Note, you can always start with 4 pieces and collect art work through the years and also note, that you don't have to have a gallery wall EXACTLY symmetrical. Part of the charm is misplacing objects and frames to form a collection. 

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

4. Next, the fun part, choose art / photos you love... and strongly consider any contrasting shapes you can add too

A few things to consider when you're populating your gallery wall:

- what sort of art work will look good with your space? Abstract art suits modern looks, traditional pieces work well in period properties or on textured walls like brick.

- is there any art work I currently own that would look good framed? If you have children, give them a pot of paint in an accent colour that works and ask them to finger paint a simple pattern for you to frame. Is there a CD cover you love that would look cool in a teeny frame? Be inventive and you'll save yourself lots of money when sourcing art work.

- am I choosing art that fits within my colour scheme? Choosing shades that work together or accent colours that pop in several of the images you choose will all contribute to a more cohesive end result. Yellows or navy blues work particularly well as accent shades in gallery walls. 

- what can I add that will bring a different shape aside from square/rectangle frames? Stag heads and taxidermy are your best friend here. I saw a gorge white stag head that I want to buy for when I expand and design the whole wall as a gallery corner. You could also opt for mirrors, clocks or round frames to switch up the designs. 

- order any art you're buying online (I'd highly recommend Old English Prints where I got my images from, also Artfinder have some unique budget friendly designs) and when it all arrives, put it together on the floor to see how it looks. Send anything back that doesn't work, and keep whatever does. Don't settle for things you don't love. You'll be looking at this for years to come. 

5. Source frames on the cheap

You simply NEED to get down to your local charity shop and pic up every reasonably priced frame you can find. Who cares about the print inside them, this will all be changed. 

Look for intricate detailing, play around with spray paints and chalk paints for more rustic looks. You don't have to buy everything brand new, it will cost you a fortune. 

Alternatively, if like me you're going for a minimalist frame look, get on Amazon or Ikea. Simple white frames start at about £2.50+

Once you've framed all your art, it's time to get hanging.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall
A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall
A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

6. Create a template to play around with frame layouts (without damaging your walls)

I suggest using cardboard to cut exactly around every single one of your frames or objects you're hanging, making a small hole where the nail or hook needs to be. For any fancy shapes you're adding, like my art deco mirror, cut roughly around the shape so you can get a feel for the space it will take up. 

Using white tack (NOT masking tape, it can pull off painted surfaces) pin up and play around with layouts. You're aiming to create balance whilst fitting all of your frames into the space evenly. 

Take your time with this and try out all different options. If you need help there are plenty of preset layouts you can copy on pinterest. Check out my wall art board for more inspiration and templates you can follow. 

Follow Fifi McGee's board wall art ideas on Pinterest.

7. Once you know where everything's going, use your template to start hanging

Using the small holes you made earlier as a guide, take a suitable nail and hammer through the cardboard in the exact spot. Always ensure you've checked for cables behind the wall you're hammering with a handy detector first. We bought one from Homebase (they're fairly cheap and you'll use it in every home you own).

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

8. Remove the cardboard templates, hang each frame in place and voile!

Your new gallery wall is ready for you to style, photograph and share with family and friends on facebook or whatsapp! Tell the world about your simple interior creations.

A step by step guide to creating a mini (or large) gallery wall

Did you like this post? Then you'll love this. I've created a free downloadable interior class to help you define your unique home decor style.

Head over here

to read all about it and start changing your space to suit your personality.

images //  2 / 3 / 4 / 6

How to explore and define your unique interior style (with my free worksheet)

Explore your unique interior style free class ››

Design skills or no design skills - you can create a home you (and your family) love

There, I said it. 

Whether you're a confident decorator or not, you have the ability to put together furniture, colours and home accessories that match, showing off your passions and personality, to create a space free from clutter that will make you happy. 

I've written a class to help you define the style that will make your home look like a show room - and feel like a home

You'll learn:

- Where to start if you're thinking about redecorating
- How you can inject soul into any room (with the lowest budget ever)
- Why your passions are so important to think about when decorating
- How to create a space that speaks volumes about you as a couple and/or family (and still makes visitors go "wow")

Say goodbye to ikea arguments, this class will help you come up with a clear vision for happier decoration projects.

And guess what? You don't need a hefty budget to do this either. 

Download the interior class for FREE here, and prepare to explore your inner interior goddess.

Image credit: Cranmore Home