Interior Design

  • Beautiful home decor, now and into the new year

    Posted on 5th January 2017 by Michelle.

    Seasonal decor and Christmas go hand in hand. We’ve all grown up with the magic of helping parents transform our houses into tinsel trimmed wonderlands that maintain the magic at home, throughout the festive season. Generation after generation, we make our homes extra special as the tradition is passed down.

    As strange a custom as it may seem to outsiders, we all bring a tree into our homes and cover it with our own choice of decoration, some modern, some timeless. It wouldn’t be Christmas without the decorations, would it?

    Post Christmas and following the tradition of Twelfth Night when the decorations need to be taken down and placed carefully into their respective boxes, a strange and unfamiliar emptiness falls upon our homes. How quickly we get used to holiday season colours and embellishments - the stark, undecorated rooms can seem empty and dull.

    The new year has always been a time to reflect and plan for change, so with Twelfth Night falling on the 5th of January, why not maintain some special decor and create a beautifully appointed window space with one of our automated blinds? There are colours and patterns to suit every room and all come with the added bonus of full automation - beauty and practicality all rolled into one.

    Stay in control of your light and shade and maintain a beautifully decorated home this Christmas and into the new year.

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with interior design, decor

  • What’s big in interior design for 2014

    Posted on 3rd February 2014 by Ben.

    At this time of year style magazines and industry commentators try to predict and dictate the essential design motifs that will be on trend for the year ahead. Pantone have already thrown its hat into the ring when it declared Radiant Orchid as its shade for 2014. But what other colours, patterns and textures are also set to be on everyone’s lips this year?


    Blue One of the few colours that many designers are agreeing will dominate in 2014 is blue. It’s an ideal accent colour for most rooms whether it’s a kitchen in shades of light blue or a bathroom with a navy blue feature wall. More muted shades of Teal and Turquoise will also lend a stylish feel to a living room or bedroom. Corduroy Upholstery It sounds like a strange one but corduroy covered furniture is set to be big this year. It’s a fabric that you’ll either love or hate, with its connotations of bad 70s flares and geography teachers, but thick, bold textures are making a comeback and a set of electric roman blinds in a complementary material would tie your living room together nicely.


    Silver and gold There’s a definite move towards opulence and fussy detail this year, not least in the trend for pairing silver and gold together. In most spaces this can easily be pulled out with silver ornaments and gilt-edged mirrors. But patterns like flock print or stripes on your soft furnishings and blinds will help complete the look. Blinging kitchens The fashion for bling has also found its way to the kitchen with a move to the opposite end of the spectrum from the modern, clean minimalist kitchen of previous years. This look consists of dark shades, mixed with classical motifs such as ornate cornices and bejewelled details such as crystal cupboard handles. It can come across very Victorian in style and can be topped off with a big crystal chandelier for good measure. Neo-classical decoration If any of the above doesn’t make you feel opulent enough then another recurring motif for 2014 is neo-classical sculpture, or to put it another way - big faux Grecian and Roman busts. Alongside all the other bling that’s in this year your home could end up looking very Versace and distinctly decadent.


    Honey-toned woods A far simpler trend for the New Year is for honey-toned woods. So instead of the vintage, rough or untreated wood of previous years beautifully amber-toned wood with a smooth lacquered veneer is now in. It brings an easy warmth to any communal space such as your dining room and ticks both the natural and the stylish boxes.

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with silver, trend, blue, interior design, kitchen, room

  • Art Deco: Getting Gatsby’s style

    Posted on 2nd June 2013 by Andy.


    The recent movie release of The Great Gatsby has reignited an interest for Art Deco, the style of art and architecture that emerged from France in the 1920's and flourished during the 30s and 40s. The Art Deco look is very Modernist, characterised by straight lines, engineered shapes and precise geometry. Here are a few simple tips for giving your home an Art Deco make over: Search antique fairs and second hand shops – Nothing beats the real thing and it’s very easy to find simple 1920s furniture for very little money. Typically furniture from this period has a lot of straight edges and very few embellishments. But a big piece, no matter how simple, can set the tone for the whole room. You should also be able to find items from the 20s and 30s like lamps, statuettes or even old cameras to give you a genuine retro look. Hang prints of classic Art Deco artwork – Reproduction London Underground or vintage movie posters are great for evoking the period, as many reflected the dominant aesthetics of the day. Alternatively this was a period when photography really took hold as an art form. Black and white prints of cityscapes or images by the surrealist Man Ray in simple black frames will really set the tone. The artist Tamara de Lempicka also created a lot of striking work around this time that mixes bold splashes of colour with hard edges. Use polished metals – Improved engineering made metal easier to use in furniture and decoration so tubular furniture and mirrored surfaces polished to a high shine will help create an opulent Gatsby look. Using metallic fabrics on cushions, throws and blinds tie these surfaces together and can create a sense of lightness and glamour. Be bold when choosing strong patterns - Decorate a room with wallpaper that uses two strong contrasting colours and geometric patterns, such as black and white triangles or zig zags. If you’re concerned about it being too overpowering or migraine inducing just use the pattern on an accent wall or on a large set of electric blinds, that way you can control how much the design dominates the space. Searching vintage clothing shops will help inspire you into what kind of patterns would work in your home, but remember the bolder the better.

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with art deco, Electric Blinds, furniture, the great gatsby

  • Pause for Thought!

    Posted on 9th January 2012 by Jules.

    Once all the frivolity of the festive season has died down, if you are anything like me, you will be sitting there thinking of all the New Years resolutions you will be making, and most likely breaking! If you have a busy life, as most of us do these days, then generally Christmas time is the only time of year we may be at home, allegedly relaxing!  Historically, it as this point we start to make plans for the year ahead, whether it is holidays or home improvements. If you have a home improvement project planned for 2012, then it is never too early to start contemplating the types of furniture and finishes you intend to incorporate.  As an Interior Designer, I see the same mistakes made time and time again, where Clients have not planned early enough in advance. When designing a lighting scheme, it is vital that you know what you will be lighting and where it will be positioned.  For instance, in a Dining Room, usually one would position the decorative and task lighting directly over the dining table, then the decorative and mood lighting positioned accordingly.  If little thought goes in to this aspect early on, the electrician will automatically position the lighting cable at first fix stage, in the centre of the ceiling.  The table may not require a central position once the storage and other furniture are included, so floor layouts play a huge part in design, even at first fix electrical stage. We encounter this kind of oversight on a daily basis at Controliss blinds.  Our 240v remote control blinds require a switched fuse spur to be installed remotely, from the window.  The feed from the spur then runs up to the top of the window reveal, for connection to the roller blind motor on installation.  The introduction of this fuse spur and feed should be done pre-plaster stage to avoid consequential damage by having to install retrospectively. If you have the facility within your project, it is well worth considering how you can conceal the roller tube and brackets.  Many of our customers, particularly Architects and Designers will make provision to recess the blind tubes within the ceiling recess, or within a stud wall cavity. If you are fitting our 240V electric blinds at a later stage in your project, we are able to offer a very stylish concealed headrail system, called a Contour Cassette system.  This system houses the roller blind, and conceals the fixings within, so the result is streamlined and sophisticated, the epitome of design finesse! Our customer service team are always available to offer advice on fabric choices and methods of integration. So if you are currently sitting back, full to the brim with turkey, contemplating your interior projects for 2012, spare a thought for not simply what you wish to achieve, but how!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, cassette, contour, control, electric, interior, remote, roller blind

  • Oh Christmas Tree!

    Posted on 19th December 2011 by Jules.

    Whilst I embrace the idea of the whole family participating in choosing the Christmas tree, and decorating it all together by the glow of the open fire; the reality in our house is very different! I see the Christmas tree as an extension of our homes Interior décor, why would I leave the decisions in terms of colour scheme and decoration to a seven year old? Not very festive I know, however, having followed a career in Interior Design for over fifteen years, I have a reputation to consider! I do try and decorate the tree whilst the children are otherwise engaged, or take the view that I should allow them a small amount of input, I can always reposition their bauble once they have left the room! By way of compensation, the children each have their own Christmas tree in their own bedrooms, far safer, away from public view where they can express their individuality to their hearts content! For those of you who take the whole business of decoration as seriously as I do, here’s how I go about decorating our tree. Initially I would suggest deciding on a colour scheme, ideally an extension of your existing interior scheme or possibly something that contrasts well with it. There are no hard and fast rules, sometimes it is nice to incorporate the latest ‘fashion shades’ but not if it is going to ‘fight’ with everything else you have. Christmas is a time for tradition (apart from external interference on the decoration front) the classic combinations of red and gold, black and gold, black and silver are always firm favourites. Just as in an interior scheme, if you opt to use more than 2 colours, then the proportions of those colours should be varied. For example if you choose, red, something like the rich red of our Oscuro Allure Roller blinds, Oscuro Midnight and brand new Oscuro Golden Toffee Roller blind fabric; then you would want perhaps 60% red, 25% gold and 15% black. Having decided on your colour scheme, accumulate your decorations from a variety of sources, so that they are not all the same, adding interest to the finished result. Think outside the box, it is possible to utilize materials as garlands from non-related sources, as Christmas decorations. For example floristry ribbons, rolls of organza as well as the usual tinsel have been used in our house previously, or even builders hessian tape when I was going through my contemporary rustic phase! In terms of illumination, you should have plenty of lights on the tree. As a guide there should be roughly 100 mini lights per foot of tree. The lights should go on before any other decoration, taking care to distribute them evenly through the branches. I opt for white lights, but as long as lights of a single colour are used, the effect remains sophisticated. Following the lighting, should be the garland, this should overlay the lighting cable where possible. For something different try using the garlands vertically rather than horizontally. If you are using ribbon, twist it as you move downwards with it, starting from the top. Next lay out the baubles you have in terms of colour and size. The larger baubles should be used at the bottom of the tree, with smaller ones closer to the top. You may like to cluster the baubles or distribute them evenly. If you would like to try something completely different, then having baubles of the same colour in varying shades creates a great effect if you fade the baubles from the lightest version of the colour at the top to the darkest version at the bottom. An example of this colour fade can be seen within our new collection of Controliss blackout Roller blinds; from the deepest Oscuro Artisan, through Country Tweed, Yellow Ochre, Acorn, Sunburst and Pyramid to the lightest Golden Toffee! A cost effective way to create impact, is to wire 3 or 5 smaller, less expensive baubles together (odd numbers work best). Loop some fuse wire, or floristry wire through the existing loops of the baubles, at different heights to create a cluster effect. On occasion I have not used any baubles at all, but have made oversized bows with metallic floristry ribbon and graduated the sizes from top to bottom. Inserting metallic spray painted wicker decorations within a theme, be it bells, angels, reindeer or even shoes, can also work well. Once the tree is beautifully decorated, the colour scheme can be extended to your gift-wrap and ribbons for a totally designer look. A few years ago, I wrapped all of the presents in brown paper, and colour coded them according to recipient with different coloured ribbons! A step too far you may think, but Christmas is about fun after all, so express yourself and create your own designer Christmas tree. If you are really lucky you might just find a beautiful Controliss remote control blind under the Tree for you!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with black, blackout, blinds, Christmas, controliss, gold, interior design, red, Remote Control, roller, roller blinds, Tree

  • All Work and No Play

    Posted on 18th October 2011 by Jules.

    As resident Interior Designer here at Controliss Blinds, I dutifully volunteered to attend the UK's premier Interior design Show a couple of weeks ago!  Obviously I would rather have stayed in the office, but somebody needed to go to Decorex 2011, held at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from 25-28th September, to take in all of the exciting new trends for the coming season! Decorex  is an exclusive interior design show for professionals and hails the annual pilgrimage for Retail Buyers, Interior Designers and Contractors alike. The Shows foyer was designed by renowned Interior designer Nicky Haslam; the theme was based around a mythological theatre set, and what a spectacular it was!  It was like a fantastical dreamland that merely alluded to the delights within!! There was such a broad spectrum of both inspirational and aspirational products being exhibited, but I was particularly taken with the lighting displays. One Company that particularly stood out for me was Serip, a Portugese company.  Their display of contemporary chandeliers was so dramatic, visitors were stopping to take photographs. Another stand that was particularly eye-catching was the Peneplope Batly Jewellery collection of lighting; giant, oversized illuminated pieces of jewellery, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, or was that just the champagne!! When I finally dragged myself out of Martin Hulberts Champagne Bar, (I was only there for research purposes!) I found my way in to the realms of Home Automation.  Now there is a topic at the forefront of design and technology.  I won't pretend to know all about it, but I do know that it is the way forward for all of us!  I think it will become as accessible and natural to us as the iPod is! Currently, many high-end projects incorporate Smart Home Technology; where a single 'operating system' such as Control 4, Lutron, Crestron, Rako and KNX controls multi media systems, lighting schemes, security and of course motorised blinds and curtain track operation.  It is an ongoing race to keep up to speed with this kind of technology, I am fortunate in that the Technical Support Team at Controliss can decipher all the jargon for me. At Controliss we have had remote control blinds for some time, both battery operated and 240V mains powered.  If you aren't aware already, we supply many different types of Remote Control options, from the simple Air 1 which is single channel remote control that can be programmed to control a number of roller blinds simultaneously as a group while for the ultimate in wireless control, with the benefit of advanced security features, we offer a programmable 7 day digital timer to operate individual, or groups of blinds at your chosen times of day, entirely automatically. The invaluable timer feature provides peace of mind, as it re-creates the illusion of occupancy in a vacant property. Our Controliss Technicians are now able to offer tailor-made solutions to ensure total integration of our motorised blinds and curtain tracks into any of the major home automation companies, which as a Designer is brilliant for me.  The more streamlined and automated, the various systems within a property have the potential to be,  the more our clients strive to incorporate them within their property, the possibilities are endless! Having extolled the virtues of technology, discretely integrating these wonderful systems and appliances can be trying to say the least!  My goodness, how much 'hardware' do we now have to accommodate, whilst still attempting to retain 'the look' within any given scheme! It is a constant challenge as an Interior Designer to conceal, sub-woofers, sky boxes, speakers and the like, but getting back to the Decorex Show, I came across an exhibitor presenting invisible speakers. Eureka!  I have seen them advertised, but have always doubted their sound quality and consequently dismissed them.  The Company exhibiting these revolutionary speakers was Kensington Home Technology, I have to say that I was impressed with their sound quality almost as much as their discretion, well worth considering! In terms of concealing the mechanism of our Controliss motorised blinds, there are several options worth mentioning.  There is no need to worry about where to install the motor, as the whisper quiet motors are already integrated within the blinds core tube. If you have the facility to introduce remote control blinds, it is even more impressive if the source is hidden, and the blind simply appears from a decorative pelmet which co-ordinates with the room scheme.  Even more impressive is if the ceiling is lowered or a stud wall cavity is created, the blind cassette then becomes totally invisible! Basically, we need not be intimidated by technology; as it is inherent in our lives today, whether we embrace it or not.  I suggest we trust in technology and enjoy the benefits and convenience of all that we can achieve with it. We should be mindful of the overall aesthetics of what we are creating, if it detracts from the 'wow' that is created by remote controlled devices, then it can't also be called beautiful!!

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    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, control, Decorex, designer, Home Automation, interior, Motorised Blinds, remote, technology

  • Zen Your Space With Natural Wood Blinds

    Posted on 18th June 2011 by Andy.

    If your house is anything like mine, with random artefacts left around, people’s clothes on the back of chairs and so on, it looks like a clutter, and unbeknown to you could be creating bad energy in the home. You might, however, be fully aware of bad energy it has already created in you, such as when your children haven't taken their stuff up to their rooms. Never fear, the power of Zen is here. The word 'Zen' originates from a word meaning "meditation" or "meditative state". A lot of us have such busy lives that we need to be able to return home to a place of calm and relaxation. Turning your home into a place of serene surroundings, suitable for your routine of meditating or unwinding, does not necessitate a major overhaul. If you have Controliss Remote Control Blinds on your windows, you can create a barricade between you and any outside distractions with one effortless push of a button. Let's start on the settings by reverting back to the basics, choose neutral colours, off whites, and natural muted versions of greens. Next, if you’re choosing furniture, choose pieces with low lines, made in natural materials. This means no fancy legs or frilling, just clean, modern lines. Try to choose furniture made from natural materials every time, and avoid man made plastic and steel, our collection of natural wood blinds are perfect here. Lighting does not need to be brash and harsh, but soft and calming. If you have places in a room with recesses in the walls or pieces of furniture which could be lit from underneath, take that step to create a relaxing ambiance. If your lighting is still in the obvious places, change the bulbs to a softer tone or choose a natural lampshade of rice paper. Allow as much natural light as possible into the home, it lifts your mood immediately. If you’re thinking about accessories, candles and plants are perfect, providing light along with that connection with nature. Choose bamboo shoots which grow quickly and are incredibly green and curly, these can create an interesting focal point. If you’re thinking about flooring, again choose natural materials such as stone or wood. After all, Zen is all about creating that calm and relaxed space in your home, connecting with nature, going back to basics and un-cluttering your life. Therefore, no matter how stressful your day is, when you come home, it’s a calm sanctuary. You can promote Zen anywhere, even at your office so I'm now off to add a few Zen touches to my office at Controliss Blinds...

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, controliss, furniture, home, natural, wood, wooden, zen

  • What Will You Add When You Use CAD?

    Posted on 12th June 2011 by Chris.

    If you're thinking about remodelling your home or even just an individual room, it is widely recommended that you have a floor plan drawn up before you make any drastic changes. In the past, whenever you wanted to make major changes to your rooms, such as, knocking some walls through or adding an extension and deciding where items like bookcases, tables, seating, maybe even window blinds will go; you would have had to take out a pencil, ruler and eraser to sketch your plan on graph paper in order to get an idea of how it will look. Or you could have enlisted a professional architect or engineer, who, for decades, have been using computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw up accurate floor plans. Early CAD programs were designed for professional, large scale projects and so would have been difficult for non-professionals to access and, not to mention, expensive if it was only to be used for a single house. Today, however, you can purchase and download software to your PC that is designed to be easy to use by anyone wanting to transform their home or rooms. These programs are available in the form of a CD-ROM or downloadable from a publisher's website, many of which will offer a free demo to give you a limited trial of the program to help you decide whether you want to purchase a full floor plan design suite. The advantage of using a CAD software package to plan your renovation, as opposed to on paper, is that the latest programs can all show a 2D and 3D model of your design and offer a choice of 1000s of furnishings, designs and textures to apply to the room. This presents the most ideal view of your ideas, and will let you play around with colours and styles, without implementing any physical changes to your actual house. Software developers offer various subscriptions for their design tools to allow customers to choose the version that will fulfil their needs without spending more for features that they will never need. For many simple projects, the free online programs, despite the limits placed on them, may suffice in creating a design for your space and choosing the best possible layout; without making any payments for a professional or a full design suite. For example, at, there is a version of their design product available that will allow you to create one plan without charge. Once you have established the style and colours you want for your interior, don't forget that Controliss blinds offers free samples of wood, roller, venetian and vertical blinds. While CAD software can be used to produce a wonderful overall virtual design, our free samples will allow you to get a genuine feel for the physical texture and properties of our materials. For instance, if you order a fabric sample, you can hold it up to the sun light to comprehend how it will look when the sun is shining through your windows, something no design program is currently capable of showing you.

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    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, CAD, controliss, design, home, interior, interior design, plan, window

  • Playing With Paint Effects

    Posted on 18th May 2011 by Andy.

    I stand back and admire my work. After 2 days of stripping the ancient wallpaper from the bedroom walls I’m proud. The only thing is, this is an Edwardian house, there is a lot of damage, the walls are original plaster and laths and there are so many holes, I’m not sure what everyone was up to over the decades but I think the general idea was to hide the mess under layers and layers of wallpaper. So, bare walls. I decide to fill the holes and cracks in the wall which will eventually become a “feature wall” with some beautiful elegant Edwardian Style Wallpaper. The rest of the walls will be painted with a natural colour, although it will show up every hole and mark, but apparently that’s not a problem. So I have a think and discover some amazing things you can do with paint to create effects on the walls and there are so many textures you can create, from something simple like sponging which is exactly as it says. Grab a natural sea sponge and daub it across your walls, it’s really simple and produces a wonderful effect, especially if you use different colours.

    Next is rag rolling which creates another fantastic effect, and there are two methods of doing this, by attaching rag to your actual paint roller or by physically rolling the rag up and down the wall by hand. Finally I discover some more intricate ways of decorating the walls using paint effects, for instance marbling which I feel would be somewhat over the top for the bedroom. The same goes for Dragging which give a wood grain effect, very clever but not what I’m looking for really. Stippling is another great effect which is subtle but really creates texture on the wall with a specialised brush dabbed all over in the wet paint, this could be a break through and what I’m looking for. I still can’t really decide on how the room should look but there are so many ways to create a fantastic look on walls colour and texture! I think it’s a trip to the local paint shop for me to think about colours before I start attacking the walls.

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with bedroom, colour, design, DIY, effects, interior design, paint

  • Retro Schemes

    Posted on 8th March 2011 by yasmin.

    If you are looking for a touch of retro inspiration for your home, then the retro designs and patterns of the 1960s and 1970s might just be to your liking. To celebrate all things bright and funky the retro look which combines funky patterns, eccentric colours and iconic pieces of space age furniture is all about fun times and funky living!

    Designed back in 1968 by the pioneering Finnish designer Eero Aarnio, the ball chair, otherwise referred to as the globe chair, is a superb example of Aarnio's create use of plastics and fiberglass in industrial design.  This iconic piece of furniture design oscillates between considered functionality and funky, space age design. The sphere shape of the chair presents an unconventional edge whereas the chair itself will add a touch of contemporary genius to any retro themed home. Turn your chosen room into a work of art with the use of a retro feature wall. The retro theme is all about colour and print and so to really adopt this funky look go for both and team with clashing colours on your linens and cushions, nothing was too loud or too bright in the 1960s and 1970s. If you want to stay with the retro theme, but don’t necessarily want too much colour on your walls, however, then the Superfresco City Scape wallpaper designed by Olivia White for Graham & Brown is just perfect. This wallpaper is a simple line drawing of a skyline which builds to work on three levels and although it is simple, put with other retro prints and colour schemes, this will look fabulously funky and very 1970s. To finish off your retro themed home look, go for brightly coloured electric roller blinds, a funky sound system and some great lighting and you will automatically find yourself back in the funky era of the 1960s and 1970s!

    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with chair, colour, design, funky, home, retro

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