Book Review- IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors by Hans Blomquist

We’ve been stuck in a neutral colour rut for so long, how can I resist the lure of this book title In the Mood for Colour by Hans Blomquist, all time favourite interior stylist, art director recounting his story of colour, a major interest for me. To find all this rolled into one generous tome means well established books at the top of my long list have been bumped off in favour of this newbie.

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The book opens with A World Full of Colour, a lush mosaic of mainly polychrome images from around the world, in its format its very familiar to Instagram users. It is then divided into chapters, Dark, Pale, Natural, Soft and Bold. Each chapter is layered with a visual feast of colour images illustrating ways to bring colour into interiors. Running through both text and images the simple message about using colour in interiors is they are all ‘designed by nature’. Grow your confidence with colour by looking at the many ways nature successfully combines them. This is a personal account of his relationship with colour and his response to the different colours is engaging and effervescent particularly when he discusses how his mood responds to different colours.


The eclectic schemes showing ways of using colour are summed up with delightful names like Pistachio, Duck Egg and Faded Denim, hinting at a layered experience that engages all the senses. The double page spread, Rose, Powder, Petal, like a mood board, uses a variety of images, paint, fabrics and flowers, with the main image demonstrating how to layer them up confidently.


With its wealth of eye candy images, still lifes and dreamy compositions, it’s an invaluable tool for anyone wanting to find ways to launch into the colour zone and on their way to creating confident colourful interiors. In the Mood for Colour is now my go to for inspiration. I’ve worked on many rewarding projects where colour has been pivotal. As lead colour expert on an innovative government research project colour was used to show how environment affects childrens learning, further projects have been using colour to develop rooms for teanage cancer care as well as psychotherapists consulting rooms.

IN THE MOOD FOR COLOUR Perfect palettes for creative interiors

Hans Blomquist

Published by Ryland Peters & Small £19.99



Marbled Notebooks

These inexpensive books have had a makeover using a very simple but effective technique -marbling


You will need

Flat tray, large enough to fit the paper ,in which to do the marbling.

Marbling inks

Copper coloured Spray paint

Masking tape

Lolly or cocktail stick

Lots of newspaper

Kitchen roll


Instructions to marble paper

  1. Cover the work area with lots of newspaper. Fill the tray with 3cm of water.
  2. Prime the surface of the water by putting a drop of marbling ink onto the surface of the water. Wipe it away with some kitchen paper.
  3. Using the dropper bottle apply 1 or 2 drops of marbling ink onto the surface of the water. Either bow it or give it a quick stir with a stick or back of a paint brush.
  4. Place a piece of paper on top of the water and inks and then lift it off. The design will be on your paper.
  5. Leave the sheet to dry. You can try a second print but it will probably come out lighter than the first.
  6. Add more drops of ink and repeat steps 3 and 4
  7. Remove excess ink from the surface of the water with a scrap of paper.


Instructions to cover a book

  1. Open the book at about its middle and then lightly cover the spine with masking tape.
  2. In an open area spray the spine with copper spray paint. Leave to dry. Make sure, where it will be visable that the inside of the spine is also sprayed.
  3. When it is dry remove the masking tape.
  4. Cut the paper so it covers 1 side of the outside of the book, but leaving the spine showing, with an overlap of 4cm
  5. Fold to make it fit and cut away the corner. Repeat for the back of the book.
  6. Using PVA glue stick the marbled paper onto the front outside of the book and the over lap on the back of the covers. Repeat for the back of the book.

Tip Wear disposable latex gloves for the whole project, as it makes it much less mucky.


Handmade Christmas Stockings

Make these lovely recycled Christmas stockings from an old blanket or jumper and decorate with easy blanket stitch and pom poms

You will need

  • Old blanket or jumper
  • Scissors
  • Paper and pencil
  • Pins
  • Pinking shears
  • Tapestry needle
  • Caron Simply Soft yarn in Neon Orange, Neon Green, Neon Pink and Burgundy, £4.95 each
  • Cardboard
  1. Draw a boot shape onto paper and cut out. Fold your blanket or jumper in half, then pin on the paper pattern cut out using pinking shears.
  1. Sew the two boot shapes together around the edges, wrong sides together, using blanket stitch – and remember to leave the top unstitched. There are lots of YouTube videos that teach blanket stitch – don’t worry, it’s easy! Sew running stitch around the top of the boot on both sides.
  1. Make a plait from wool and fold it in half to make a hanging loop. Sew onto the top of the boot on the side with the heel. Make the pom poms (use two doughnut shapes of cardboard to do this, exactly like you remember as a kid!) and attach to the stocking with yarn as a final flourish.


Ladder Christmas Tree



We made our picture perfect tree out
of an old ladder with near-on zero prep, using a coat of chalk paint to cover ancient paint drips and to create a matte finish.


You will need-

  • Planed timber
  • Saw
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Crown Cloudburst matt emulsion paint, £11.99 for 2.5l, Maxwells DIY
  • Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker,  £11.36, Amazon
  • Paintbrush


1. Put up the ladder and decide how steep you want the sides of the tree to be; you might have to remove the retaining cord. Ours is quite broad as we wanted to max out on the display area.


2. To make the back leg shelf supports, cut batten from 2.5cm x 5cm planed timber.With the spirit level balanced on the front step, extend the level line and mark where to locate the support batten on the back legs with pencil. Screw the battens in place.


3. Our shelves projected 25cm beyond the edge of the step to give extra display space, but you could make yours shorter if you’d like. Decide on the length, then cut each shelf from planed wood. Screw in place on the front steps and back batten.
4. To make the chalk paint, mix 400ml Crown Cloudburst Matt Emulsion with 200ml Polyvine Chalk Paint Maker. Then, with a crosshatch strokes, paint the ladder Christmas tree and let dry before decorating.

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Marbled Cushions


Recently we found an ancient, well 1990’s Dylon leaflet about marbling on fabric and so intrigued were we that we decided to create a marbled cushion.

Traditionally marbling was done on paper and was achieved by floating oil colour on water or size. If you try and do this on fabric, the fabric feels hard and unpleasant.

Did a few experiments on different kinds of cloth and the ones that give the best colour and luminosity are Silk and Satin. We have used a heavy slipper satin for these cushions. For best results use a white or light coloured fabric.

You will need

Shallow plastic trough. This needs to be bigger than the pieces of fabric that you are going to float in it. The fabric needs to be large enough to fit over the cushion pad

Bucket or large jug


Fabric pieces. Satin or silk

Dylon fabric paints

Tool from one of the following: Knitting needle or a barbecue stick or toothpick

Roll of kitchen paper

Sewing machine





Fabric marker pen

Cushion pad we used a 29cm sq

Lots of newspaper to cover the work surfaces and access to a sink

Waterproof gloves





  1. Put on your gloves to protect your hands.

Whisk the wallpaper paste into water according to the manufacturers instructions, until it is the consistency of yoghurt. Pour into a shallow trough until it is almost full. Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes.


Tip: Whilst you are waiting for the paste to set, use the time to cut your fabric so it fits in the troughwith enough border to lift it in and out. Cover the work surface in newspaper.


  1. Apply drops of colour onto the surface of the paste and then use your tool to swirl them around. This can look pretty messy at this stage.
  2. Carefully lower a piece of fabric onto the paste surface. Leave for a few seconds for the paint to absorb, you may need to push it down with your fingers.
  3. Carefully lift off the fabric. It will be covered in paste as well as a pattern below the paste. Leave on a work top for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Wash off the paste from the fabric under running water. Leave to dry.
  5. When dry, iron the fabric o the back, using a hot setting for 1-2 minutes to set the colour.



Tip : To clean the paste between applications use a spatula to remove the surplus colour.


To make the cushion cover with an envelope back


  1. Measure the cushion and cut one piece of marbled fabric to that dimension for the cushion front. 29cm x 29cm (image 4)
  2. Cut two further pieces the width of the cushion cover by approximately 2/3 the length. (29x 20cm) For the cushion back.
  3. Turn under by 0.5cm and 0.5cm again and pin and then neaten with a running stitch along one 29cm side of each back piece of fabric . (image 6)
  4. With right sides facing, and neatened edges overlapping in the centre, pin the 2 backs onto the cushion front and sew round the edge. (image7)
  5. Turn the right way out and fit the cushion pad into the cushion (image 8 showing back of cushion)


Patterned Pouffe

We love the idea of making this pouffe from African batik style fabric. So wacky and at the same time the perfect item to lift the look of a staid room. You can pick up Batik in London in areas such as Tooting and Brixton and also in markets in the east of London and Paris.


You will need:

African batik fabrics available in London market stalls 2m

Orange fabric for the base 80cm

Calico 2m

Hook and loop tape 1packet

Water-soluble pen

Beanbag filling I large bag

Pins, needles and thread


Paper for pattern



The instructions for the outer and the calico inner bag are the same. We made the outer part first and then the inner. We used 1cm seam allowance throughout.

  1. Use the patterns to cut out all the pieces from the calico and the African Batik fabrics. We used the large motif that was perfect for the top of the pouffe. We decided to piece together lots of different designs to make the side. As the base is not seen, we used some plain orange fabric.

2. First make base with the hook and loop tape opening for the top fabric. On both base pieces turn the straight edge under by 1cm then turn again by 3cm. Sew down, then pin and sew strips of hook and loop tape along both sides.

3. Press the hook and loop tape edges together then machine sew the ends of the seams closed.

4. With right sides facing, using a 1cm seam allowance pin sew together the sidepieces.

5. Press the seams open open so you have a continuous smooth side panel.

6. With right sides facing, pin and sew the sides to first the top and then the base making a drum shape. Turn through the gap so it is right side facing out.

7. To make the liner, repeat the process with the calico. Put the calico liner inside the fabric cover,then fill with polystyrene beads.


Fold and mark the fabric for the top, base and sides into eighths. When you come to pin on the sides, match up the pen marks on the top and base.


Hook and loop tape, Water Soluble Pen

Beanbag Filling

Funky Deck Chair

Deck chairs with damaged seats are easy to source and replacing the fabric is straightforward. Make your own unique statement piece by putting together a new seat using scrap fabric.


You Will Need

·      Deckchair

·      Fabric and lace scraps

·      Firm fabric for reverse of seat

·      Dylon Dye

·      Trimming scraps

·      Scissors

Total price
£8.00 homestyle_maymakes1_8_N_052.tif

Step-by-step Instructions

1.    Erect the deckchair and mark the original seat fabric with the position of the top and bottom bar. Remove the fabric from the deckchair to use as a pattern for the backing fabric.

2.    Measure the length between the top and bottom bar markings on the fabric, add 3 cm for a 1.5cm seam allowance at each end. Measure the fabric width and add 3cm giving a seam allowance of 1.5 cm on both sides. Use the original fabric as a pattern for the backing fabric.

3.    Rub down the deckchair frame lightly using sand paper, then paint and varnish when dry.

4.    Round up all you scraps of velvet fabric and trim. Decide which fabrics and trim need dying, then dye in the washing machine following the manufacturers instructions. When the fabric is dry cut into strips and sew together to form the fabric for the seat, embellish with lengths of trim and lace.

5.    Right sides together sew the new seat fabric to the backing fabric. Turn right sides out, turn in the seam allowance at both ends, machine down. Sew channels on backing fabric, then position on chair using the doweling rods to secure.


·      Remove the strut supports from the frame before painting so they don’t get paint on them, when dry screw back in position

Wine Crate Shelf

Wine merchants are happy to part with these wooden crates for free or for a charitable donation. It only takes a lick of paint and bold geometric wallpaper to transform a discarded crate into a must have box shelf. We chose wallpaper from Harlequin, a roll will go a long way, there’s plenty left for covering lots of things like files, books and shelves.


You will need:

Wooden Wine box

Emulsion paint

Kaleidoscope wallpaper by Harlequin

PVA glue

Picture frame brackets Homebase

Paint brush


Screw Driver

Electric drill black and decker

Masonery screws



1.Paint the exterior of the box with emulsion paint.

2. Mix pva with a little water to the consistency of double cream and paint the inside of the box to seal. Leave to dry.

3.When dry measure and cut wall paper to size.

4.Paint the reverse of the paper pieces and insides of the box with let down pva

5. When dry, screw picture frame brackets to the side, then screw to the wall.


Geometric Table

Have yourself an enviable conversation piece coffee table by transforming a very ordinary coffee table with a new asymmetrical top and a lick of paint.


You Will Need

  • Lisabo £65 Ikea
  • 20mm MDF £5
  • Black and Decker electric jig saw and drill
  • Paint £2
  • Varnish £2
  • Wood filler £1
  • Screws £2

Total price


  1. Using the jig saw cut the table top over hang off the table. Draw the shape of the new table top on the MDF. Cut out with the jigsaw. Sand the edges of the table and MDF.
  2. Paint the MDF table top Caribbean dawn 2 and the legs Deep Fossil. Place the MDF table top on the table, drill through the new top into the old top then screw together.
  3. Fill screw holes with two part filler then sand and retouch paint. When dry paint the whole table with quick dry


This table gives lots of space for styling a table scape, we love the zingy saffron we chose, for a seasonal new look, change your styling accessories

HomeStyle magazine feature : Fabric CanvasMAY issue 2016 .Styling Amanda Russel & Juliet Bawden







Veg Crate Side Table

It is hard to believe this side table was once a humble veg box. We, turned it on end, added a shelf put some casters on its bottom and then as a finishing flourish we painted the edge of it luminous pink.Flourescant Veg Crate

You will need-

Vegetable crate

Valspar pink florescent paint £3.42 100ml


Some off cuts of wood

Wood dye £4.50

Set of 4 castors £7.14

White emulsion




Tape measure

Flourescant Veg Crate 2


Step by Step

  1. Measure the depth of the crate and cut 4 batons from your wood off cuts to this size.

2.Measure to halfway down the crate and screw on two of the batons. This is to hold the shelf.

3.Screw the other two batons onto the base of the crate, this is to hold the castors.

  1. Measure the width of the crate and cut lengths of wood to fit. We used three to make a shelf but it will depend on the width of your off cuts.
  2. Stain the wood and leave to dry.
  3. Screw the wooden slats, to create shelves, on to the batons
  4. Screw the castors onto the ends of the battons at the bottom of the crate.
  5. Paint the edge of the shelf batons and rim of crate white and leave to dry.
  6. Paint over the white with florescent paint.

Tips. If you can only get spray florescent paint and you only need to paint a small specific area, then spray into the lid of the can and apply the paint with a brush.