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Five top tips on how to update your living room

 

After years of enduring magnolia and off-white walls in your rented properties, you may find yourself overwhelmed with choice whilst deciding how to update your new living room.  It may seem like a daunting task, but we have compiled some simple yet effective tips that can help:

Discover new lighting
table lamp ikea

Different types of lighting can have a huge impact on the mood of the room.  Light that is too harsh and bright could make the room feel clinical and cold, whereas softer lighting will create a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for cosy nights in.  A well lit room can be achieved easily by using lower watt bulbs, installing a dimmer, or strategically placing lamps to benefit the levels of light your room receives throughout the day.

You can find a wide range of affordable yet stylish lamps perfect for any modern living room in high street retailers such as Next, or John Lewis.

Paint in wonderful white

Choosing whitwhite walls e paint to redecorate with may not seem like a drastic change to your living room, but this classic look will never go out of style.   To  avoid a sterile feel to the room, make sure you use different textures in your room to give it a more homely feel, such as cushions or t  throws.

You could also choose a colour pallet to accent your room with, making future changes to the room more practical to deal with over the years.

 Writing on the wall

Personalising your living space has never been easier with a range of decorative wall quotes, words and letters to choose from.  Add words and  images to your wall using artistic vinyl graphics, or frame an inspirational or humorous quote to hang as a centre piece.  Online retailers such as Not  on the High Street or Etsy have some fabulous designs which can instantly transform your surroundings.

Change the dynamics

Change the dynamics of your room by moving around your furniture to create more space and making the most of the changing light conditions throughout the year.  You can also do this by changing the position of your radiator or removing a door to create more options whilst deciding where to place your furniture.

Go green plant

Add a splash of colour to your living room whilst also improving your mind and health, by introducing house plants and flowers.  This will create a fresh and natural feel to your room, instantly changing the atmosphere and bringing life to your home.

 

 

 

 

Image Credits: FlickrIkea

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Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

It’s your home, and everyone loves the personal touch that decorating brings to your room. This summer, it’s all about the style statement, so don’t whimper out and opt for bland colours, take one of these striking colour palates and incorporate it into your home.

Black and White

It might seem like a simple and classic combination, however done right, the black and white palette adds real depth to a room, especially when utilised with a modern and contemporary twist. From incorporating the style into the wall decoration with a striped design, to adding furniture and decorations that complement the style perfectly, you have a whole heap of options when it comes to this colour palette. Here are some of our favourite room additions with this colour scheme.

Black and White Chevron Rug – Urban Outfitters, £69.

Chevron Lampshade In Black – Not On The High Street, £30

Bossenden Wall Clock – House Of Fraser, £40

Coastal Cool

With the sun baking down, and the mild breeze providing a refreshing cool as it calmly blows over the garden and into your home, you can be forgiven for allowing your mind to wander with daydreams of a beached coastline, with radiant heat beaming down and the cool ocean waves whipping at your toes as you stroll over the perfect white sands. It sounds idyllic, but for most of us, the majority of our summer will be spent at home, so now is the perfect time to implement those elements of coastal cool into your house. It gives your rooms a light, breezy feel and with cool vibrant colours, it provides plenty of energy. Colours to incorporate are vast, but mainly focus on aquatic blues and greens, sandy yellows and natural browns.

MissPrint Home Dashes Cushion – John Lewis, £28

Wooden Frame Tealight Holder – Laura Ashley, £22

The Ascot Rug – The Rug Seller, £75-£359

European Clean

In the summer, there’s not colour that emphasises the warmth quite like a clean crisp white. We see it time and time again in the world of sashion, expecially in the summer. Be it in a light and airy linen shirt for a man, or a striking dress or jeans on a woman, white is a colour that really comes into its own in the warmer months. Although it might not be the most practical of solutions, the colour will provide a refreshing and fresh feel. Use white as a neutral backdrop, and then accessorize with statement complimentary pieces in your favourite colors, or create a monochromatic design by enveloping the room in an all-white palette. Mix and match with tones from the coastal cool selection, to add a real touch of summer to your rooms.

Knitted Pouffe – Etsy, £65

Baby Betty Vases – Brissi, £24

 

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Kate Hobbs, who has a passion for home interiors and trends.

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Autumn additions on a budget

Autumn additions on a budget

With the summer now over, and the dark autumn nights drawing in, it’s the perfect time to cosy up in your living room and keep warm. Throughout summer, your home will undoubtedly have taken on an open and airy feel, however as the cold of winter approaches, it’s time to turn up the heating, light the fires and go for comfort, as well as style. If you’re after some great autumn additions for your home, here are our top picks.

Huntingtower Tweed Footstool

Autumn styles are all about getting earthy with your colours. Tweed is always a popular option as the colder months roll in, and whether you’re looking at fashion, or home style, tweed is a great option. If you’re trying to add an element of comfort and cosiness to your living room, this Footstool, available at NotOnTheHighStreet is a great option. Adding extra seating for when you entertain, or easily used as a pouffe, this stylish and smart addition will aid in bringing a closer feel to your home. Adding an element of cosiness is always tough, however by adding this to any unused middle ground in your room, it will help to pull your space together.

Candles

With a lack of warmth and a feeling of darkness, evenings throughout the autumn and winter can bring on a feeling of gloominess. If you’re looking to inject a feeling of warmth and fragrance into the air, candles are a favoured option by many. Play around with colours and scents to turn your place from a dull winter home into one with a truly radiant ambiance. In addition, why not try housing your candles in fun and quirky designs? Lanterns are one popular accessory for the home, and with more creative options than ever, you’ll be able to customise the scent, and look of your home.

Rugs

With colder weather, adding a rug to commonly occupied areas is a smart choice. Areas such as your living room or hallway can sometimes lack character, however to provide a more homely and cosy environment over autumn, incorporating a trendy rug is a great option. When it comes to selecting items, it’s always important to take into account the layout and style of your existing room. A cosy feel throughout autumn and winter is good, however there is a fine line between getting it right, and your room ending up cramped. Make sure your new rug pulls elements of your room together, and isn’t just chosen and thrown down without considering the flow of the space as a whole. Remember, more doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially when it comes to furnishing and accessorising.  

Have you already made a start on your autumn accesorising? We always love to hear your ideas, so make sure you drop us a comment below!

Image credit: CC via Prospect Park Alliance

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Hottest summer styles: The mineral trend
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Hottest summer styles: The mineral trend

Many thanks to Suzanne Yates, from Graham & Brown, for the creation of her article exclusively for First Home News and her expert insight into the top trends of this summer. With a rich history dating back to 1946, Graham & Brown have built a reputation as a leading design house and manufacturer.

Invite Mother Nature into your home this season by embracing the mineral trend. Curate all the beauty of the outside world and bring it indoors to promote a calming and tranquil atmosphere. Exploring different patterns and texture allows you to follow the same trend, whilst creating a completely different feel in each room.

Lounge

  • Take note of the wondrous elements of nature that we often pass by. How many times have you thought about how beautiful the structure of a leaf is? The Glade wallpaper from Graham & Brown takes the intricate composition of a maple leaf, turning it into a beautiful motif that would be perfect for a feature wall in your living room.
  •  The key to using these statement patterns is to use a neutral tone. Greys, beige and white all allow light to reflect across your room, opening up the space and creating a relaxed atmosphere. These shades also replicate the colours of the mineral trend.
  • On your next outing, collect natural trinkets to decorate your living space. Bracken, dried flowers and pebbles can bring literal sense to the mineral trend, whilst helping you to experiment with natural textures.
  • You can also experiment with textures by choosing furniture made from natural material, such as wood and contrasting its rustic feel with unexpected chunky knitted throws or plump cushions.
  • Remember to think of all five senses when working on your next interior project. Texture is a big part of design that many people mistakenly overlook.
  • Wall art can add a quirky touch to your living space and add some personality to your room. These metal birds offer a great talking point, whilst sticking to the mineral trend. A simple twist to prints and canvas, this metal art brings the room to life whilst sticking to the mineral trend.

Picture2Kitchen

  • Consider bringing the outside indoors literally by potting a miniature fresh herb garden. The scent of fresh basil, coriander and mint will fill your home with a natural aroma which cannot be replicated with a synthetic air freshener. Edible plants are easy to tend to and take care of and enhance your culinary exploits.
  •  Wooden crockery and cutlery will bring a humble rustic vibe to your kitchen. This simple touch allows us to take advantage of natural patterns. The swirly grain of each unique piece takes us away from the uniform style of modern interiors.

Garden

  • Blur the lines between your home and the outdoors by decorating your garden with outdoor lighting and furniture. Fairy lights bring an eco-friendly, effective touch to give the illusion of an expanding space.
  •  Break down physical and visual barriers that cut off the outdoors and the indoors. You can do this by using the same flooring outdoors and indoors. The continuous pattern flows from your kitchen to your garden, removing the immediate threshold which separates the two.

Picture3

Children’s play room

  • Creating an environment to stimulate your child’s imagination is crucial to their upbringing. Although simple and chic, the mineral trend can also be used to add an outdoor theme to a child’s playroom or bedroom.
  • Perhaps this grey tree patterned wallpaper could be used to create an enchanted forest theme. What better way to implement the mineral trend by combining it with the magic of classic fairy tales?
  • You can be much more adventurous when decorating a children’s playroom, so let your imagination run wild. What may be a feature wall in your living room, could adorn all four walls in a play room.
  • Stick to charcoal, grey and taupe colours, but add contrasting flashes of bright green. This offers a lively take on bringing the outdoors in, which would be perfect for a playroom.
  • Taking your cue from nature allows you to create an ethereal atmosphere that transports you away from the trappings of modern life. The mineral trend implores you to get outside and feel inspired by the world around you. Bring yourself back to your roots with raw elements of nature around your home to evoke a tranquil setting made just for you.

 

Feature image courtesy of Graham Brown

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Conservatory customisation for the summer
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Conservatory customisation for the summer

They’re a great home addition all year round, allowing you to truly feel the elements of your garden whilst being within the comfort of your home, however in the summer, a conservatory really comes into its own. A haven in which you can enjoy the radiant sunshine, catch a cool breeze as it drifts through open patio doors and retire to when the night draws in, conservatories are the ideal summer home addition. Making sure your conservatory is summer ready isn’t a big deal, however adding a few seasonal touches will allow the room to be the perfect area for summer entertaining.

Furniture

A conservatory provides an entirely different feel from any other room in the house. Something that looks perfect in the living room is highly unlikely to sit well in a conservatory, especially when considering large furnishing items such as sofas and coffee tables. When it comes to these items in the conservatory, nothing does it better than wicker. The natural feel of the wood, combined with the shapes, comfy cushions and style just work in the light filled, summery feeling area.

Colour

The concept of utilising season-right colours can be applied to any room in the house, however it’s vitally important that through the summer months, you get it spot on in your conservatory. Whilst you might not have considered the impact your colour scheme through the winter, when the area wasn’t getting much use, once the temperatures rise and the sun comes out, the colour scheme is a crucial aspect of the home. It is useful to keep white or cream as your base colour which you can then accessorize around depending on your preference. Light shades are ideal for summer, allowing the room to stay cooler even when the glaring sun is out.

Keep it natural

Whilst it’s an extension of your home, a conservatory should also be seen as a transitional area from house to garden. Incorporate elements of nature into your conservatory which will help to aid the room’s purpose as an indoor/outdoor living space. On warm summer days in the garden, or evenings entertaining guests, it’s great to open the double patio doors from a conservatory or orangery and allow guests to move freely from garden to home. Integrate natural elements such as plants and flowers in the room in a more predominant way than you would in any other area of your house. The warmer nature of the room means greenery will thrive, and they also serve a practical purpose too, purifying the air and removing toxins, as well as adding a new depth to the room.

Decor

The light and airy feel of a transitional conservatory space means you can truly get expressive with your wall and sill decorations. This is an element of furnishing where you can really hit home the feeling that your conservatory is an extension of your garden, as well as being an extension of your home. Incorporating natural elements into the decor can be a great way to do this, wood and natural stone look great in a conservatory, to try to utilise these materials when it comes to furniture and accessories.

 

Are you the proud owner of a conservatory or orangery in your home? We’d love to hear your top decorating tips, so make sure you tell us your favourite summer updates in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: David Paul Ohmer via Compfight cc

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Five tips for a summer revamp
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Five tips for a summer revamp

Giving your home a summery feel without having a complete overall and redecoration can be tough, however it is possible to encapsulate that feel of the summer in just a few easy steps. If you’re looking for those perfect soft furnishing updates for the summer, here are our top five picks.

Seating

Dark colours for a sofa are undeniably practical, however when the summer comes round, these darker shades aren’t great at generating a light and airy feel to your room. If a new suite isn’t an option, throws and pillows are an easy way to add a summery dimension to your room, whilst not blowing a budget on a new three piece suite. If that simply doesn’t cut it, why not get inventive. Some cushions can be transformed with a slipcover to give an entirely new look. the chances are that your living area will have a more practical and hard wearing sofa, however in areas like a summer conservatory or orangery, seating options should be selected with summer in mind. If you’ve got the wicker and cream seating combination in the conservatory and want to entertain, make the most of this room instead.

View

Nothing adds more to the summer feel of a room than the view. Whether it’s from a big patio door opening out onto your garden, or a simple window allowing the sun into the room, bringing the outside elements into your home plays a huge role in developing a warm and airy feel to the room. Make sure your view outside is un-obscured, and if it isn’t exactly something you want to showcase, make an effort and get to work on your garden and outdoor decorations. Greenery is always one garden element perfect for utilisation through the summer, both outdoor and indoor. Flowers, plants, and other greenery are perfect conservatory items, and can nicely fill those empty window ledges.

Garden

If you’ve put in the work to transform your garden from an overgrown winter nightmare into a trim summer haven, then you have every right to showcase it to your home. In order to host and entertain outdoors, turn your patio area into an extension of your home. Perfect for hosting dinner parties which allow people to mingle from the inside to out, an outdoor dining table will help you bring the summer to your home in style. Whether it’s something wooden you’re after to fit in with decking, or something contemporary like this to sit on a paved area, introducing an outdoor entertaining area can help lure visitors from the living room, out into your new garden.

Colour scheme

It’s the simplest and easiest way to give a room a completely new feel, so grab your brush and head to the Dulux website and scout out your ideal summer colour. It might seem like a big job, but giving your walls a quick coat of paint is a relatively straight forward task. Light, bright and airy are the key features of a summer home, so opting for a crisp white, ocean blue or similar summery tone is a great way to transform a room. If you’re after colour ideas, here are our best summer selections.

Is your home a summer haven? If so, what quick tips and touch ups would you recommend for bringing those long summer days into your home? Be sure to let us know below.
Photo Credit: WanderingtheWorld (www.ChrisFord.com) via Compfight cc

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Making the most of a holiday at home
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Making the most of a holiday at home

Being a new homeowner is expensive, and unfortunately that may mean cutting out the holiday that you desperately want. It might seem like a poor compromise, but in order to combat the home buying cost, you may need to have a holiday right in your own house… a staycation. Here are a few tips to help you get started for a week off work at home, or even a simple weekend of relaxation.

Frame of Mind

Be sure to act the same as you would on holiday; so stop watching the news and TV in general, stop going on the Internet to check up on Facebook, even stop using your phone. Being in the right frame of mind will help you relax and enjoy your time off more. Remember that this is a break from your hectic life and you don’t need to think about every day problems. Instead, read a book or invite people round for a social gathering. Do the things that you’re always too busy to do. Remove all clutter from the rooms, especially the bathroom. You don’t even have to sort it all out, just shove it in a drawer and forget about it for the weekend. Out of sight, out of mind definitely rings true here.

Staycation Setting

Make your home into your holiday paradise. If you love the beach then put out seashells, deck chairs and parasols. If you love the countryside then put out water fountains, decorative pine cones and scented plants such as lavender. Use new colour schemes to feel like you’re abroad or in a hotel. Candles are also a nice touch, especially outside. If you have a big enough garden, move some furniture around and bring the inside to the outside; put down a rug, bring out cushions and blankets, even bring tables outside if you’re struggling with garden furniture. A fire pit is perfect to sit around and feel like you’re on holiday so if you have one then light it up and relax in the heat.

Things To Do

Cutting out TV and Internet might leave you thinking that you’ll have nothing to do over your well deserved break, but that’s not true. Invite your friends round and spend the day having a barbecue outside with your newly moved garden furniture. If your fire pit is alight then roast some marshmallows and enjoy s’mores for dessert. Try eating food you wouldn’t normally try and if you have no interest in cooking, have it delivered so you don’t have to leave your holiday cocoon. Eat different food every day to maintain the foreign food experience. Another option is to have a spa day. Soak in a relaxing, scented bubble bath with candles and music.

 

It might not sound ideal, but having a mini-break at home is a great way to recharge your batteries and take a break from your everyday hectic life. If you’re interested in getting onto the property market, simple tricks like enjoying some time off at home instead of abroad can be a great intuitive money saver. For those looking to make that first move and become a first time home owner, check out the services of Keepmoat, over at their website.  
Photo Credit: StevenM_61 via Compfight cc

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10 ways to get your summer garden on a budget
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10 ways to get your summer garden on a budget

When it comes to decorating your garden in time for summer, how much you spend can spark quite a bit of a debate. While you’re obviously eager to make the most of every last bit of sunshine by basking in your beautiful garden, it’s also inevitable that the great British summer will be over before you know it and therefore it’s probably not worth breaking the bank for.

That being said, when the sun does decide to show, there’s nothing better than organising a BBQ or cocktails with friends and family, knowing that you have a lovely garden to sit out in. Bearing that in mind, we’ve put together a list of 10 summer budget buys that can help to spruce up your garden and get it summer ready, without having to break the bank.

1. Statement pieces are a great way to add a feature to your garden without having to spend a lot of money, so a large ornament or statue can often work perfectly. This bronze decorative garden sphere is the perfect way to add contemporary style to your garden and is a bargain at only £14.99.

2. If you’re looking for something to help give your table a bit of wow factor then this solar powered mosaic table lamp is just the thing; both stylish and practical.

3. When having friends over for a summer BBQ, it’s great to have something fun to dress up your garden. These fun lights can help to keep the party running from day, well into the night.

4. When it comes to seating, these heritage bistro chairs are the perfect addition to your garden.  Light and easy to fold, they’re ideal for storing away when the sun does decide to disappear.

5. Lanterns have become one of the latest décor trends, with a wide range now available for the garden.  They are great way of adding a decorative piece to your garden, whilst also adding to the ambience. Don’t forget to purchase some candles too.

6. Who can resist these dragonfly solar lights? They scream summer and instantly add a burst of colour to your garden.

7. This garden wall sign can help to add an air of shabby chic to your garden, and at only £3.00 is a serious must-have style upgrade.

8. Sticking to the theme of shabby chic, this watering can makes for the perfect garden feature. Our tip would be to use it as a garden planter and once filled with beautiful flowers it will make for the perfect table centre piece.

9. Cushions are a great way to add a splash of colour and are an instant style upgrade for your garden. What’s great about these is that you can use them inside too.

10. Finally, we all dream of summer nights where we can stay outside chatting and catching up with friends but the reality of it is that it often gets too chilly. However, now thanks to this bargain fire pit at only £39, you can make the most of your evenings sitting outside around the fire.

Thanks to these top 10 budget buys you’ll have all of the neighbours talking about how fabulous your summer garden is; while you can relax knowing that if it rains…it’s OK to go inside!

 

Photo Credit: Naughty Architect via Compfight cc

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Revamp your room with spring colours

Revamp your room with spring colours

With March now well underway and the weather beginning to brighten up, our thoughts are all dominated by the seasonal progression into spring. As much as we’d all love to carry out a spring makeover to give our rooms a summery feel, it isn’t always feasible. One great way to provide your room with a new feel whilst not being overly costly is to give the walls a new lick of paint, so if you’re wanting to incorporate springs hottest colours, use these colours for your new coat of paint.

Cayenne

Named as the ‘it’ colour for spring 2014 by the colour experts at Pantone, this shade of red is likely one you’ll see incorporated in all aspects of life, from the hottest fashion trends to everyday high street products. It might be a bold colour, but adding it into a room provides a real statement. If you find the pinkish red to be a bit garish for a feature wall, then incorporating it into a light and airy room through incorporation on cushions and throws can add a real punch.

Violet Tulip

The perfect spring shade comes in the form of violet tulip as this light and bright colour works well in kitchen and bathroom areas, along with also being implementable in the bedroom. When winter comes to an end, and your flowers begin their journey from sapling to fully grown, it’s a great time to begin implementing summer garden colours into your decor. This shade of violet is very similar to the shades seen in both lavender and hydrangea plants, so bring the colour indoors and add a bit of summer flair into your room.

Dazzling Blue

One clear theme of spring 2014’s ‘it’ colours are that many are off variant shades of blue. Perfect for bringing an impactful splash of colour to painted walls, adding a feature of dazzling blue can add another depth to your room. When decorating, many opt to use neutral cream and beige shades, and whilst this keeps the room naturally light, adding one feature wall to your room can give it a whole new energetic feel.

Celosia Orange

Breaking away from the shades of blue, Celosia Orange is a vibrant shade you’ll be seeing a lot of as spring and summer progress this year. Giving off a warm feel, the shade works great as an accessorising colour. You’d probably steer clear of opting for celosia coloured carpets, but incorporating the shade in accessories provides a spark of sunlight and bright exuberance to your room. It works best in light rooms, so accessorise the bedroom or living areas with the colour to add a splash of energy to the area.

Photo Credit: lucia and mapp via Compfight cc

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The best winter cushions
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The best winter cushions

Winter is here, and whilst that means that we’ll spend most of our time confined to the home, it also means there is plenty of opportunity to cosy up on the sofa with cushions and throws, warm ourselves up and enjoy some quality time. Whether you love cushions for decoration on a sofa or bed, or surround yourself with them for added warmth, take a look at our favourite winter cushions.

Marks and Spencer Argyle cushion

With a classic midnight blue colour and white trim, this Argyle cushion is the perfect option for creating a festive sofa. With a snowflake pattern it instantly gives off a Christmassy feel. Available in a choice of four colours, you shouldn’t have much trouble picking out a style that fits your room perfectly, so make sure you check out the natural, duck egg and grey variations. A mid-market option at £15.

Laura Ashley Weeping Willow cushion

At £22.50, this stylish Laura Ashley cushion allows you to ‘bring the beauty of nature indoors’ this winter time. The weeping willow design juxtaposes the warmth of your living room with the biting cold of the British winter.  Available in a subtle ‘sable’ shade the cushion is decorated with stylised weeping willows and charming perching birds.

Debenhams Red Leaf cushion

Coming with an earthy beige base colour, this offering from Debenhams is patterned with a red leaf design. The incorporation of red in the cushion provides a warming feel to your room and sits well with light shade sofas, settees and chairs. Available online and at high-street stores, this £13 option is highly durable.

Next Floral Poetry Mauve cushion

Florally printed, the Next Poetry Mauve cushion is reasonably priced for a budget at £14. Neutral with a beige and cream style, these cushions will seamlessly fit in with most living room designs, or can match up well with light coloured bedding if you’re looking to accessorise in the bedroom. Soft to the touch and possessing a high quality feel, these cushions will provide real comfort throughout the cold months.

John Lewis Percy Penguin Cushion

If a light comedic feel is what you need to brighten up your room, then John Lewis have a whole range of themed Christmas animal cushions, the pick of which being this Percy Penguin red cushion. If you have children, this option will become an immediate favourite, and can even be used humorously to bring a smile and laugh to the face of your house guests. At just £10, make Percy a permanent fixture of your Christmases for years to come.

Photo Credit: Bustle & Sew via Compfight cc

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