How to refresh your wardrobe

Sorting out my wardrobe has been on my to do list for as long as I can remember. I did a major clear out of clothes last year using the Konmari method and I have been meaning to organise the space for ages without the masses of unworn clothes kicking about. One of the main tips of the Konmari method is to store as many of your clothes as possible in drawers so my wardrobe should be lovely and clear but I just didn’t get round to finishing the job off. Whilst at Homesense the other day I spotted some great clothes hangers, a basket and a full length mirror that I knew would be perfect to spur me on to get the wardrobe done.  So, what does one do on a beautiful sunny bank holiday morning at the crack of dawn? A wardrobe makeover, of course!

I have never bought a brand new wardrobe and when I moved into this flat over seven years ago I had no budget left for one. Instead I bought two old cupboards for about £40 from eBay, changed the knobs and painted the exterior and they look fine. However, not being purpose built wardrobes and pretty old the interior leaves a bit to be desired as you can see…

wardrobe makeover refresh for the autumn

So, here are my top tips for re-organising and refreshing an old wardrobe…

1. Paint the interior

My wardrobes are heavy wood, which makes the inside very dark. This makes seeing my clothes extra difficult and the overall effect is that of a big black hole. Therefore, the first thing I did was to paint the interior a light colour so everything becomes that bit more visible.

2. New hangers

You may think that beautiful luxe padded or wooden hangers are the ideal option but actually the slimmer your hangers are the better in order to create as much space as possible. However, no one wants horrible wire hangers, even though they are most space efficient, as they get so tangled and misshapen. I found these brilliant hangers at Homesense – I love the storage department there – that are both slim, sturdy and fabric covered so they glide along the rail with no scraping. Perfect.

Flex covered hangers from Homesense.

3. Sort hangers by colour according to type of clothing

The Konmari method advises to hang different types of clothes together i.e. all dresses together etc. Buy different coloured hangers and hang all dresses on one colour hanger, all tops on another and so on. This helps to keep your clothes organised and super easy to find.

3. Sorting hangers by colour makes it even easier to find items of clothing.

4. Hang mirror on back of wardrobe door

I don’t have space in my bedroom to hang a full length mirror so the back of the wardrobe door is the perfect place for it.

5. Clear bottom of wardrobe

A good rule to stick by is not to have anything in your wardrobe that can’t be worn i.e. my suitcase that I was stashing there had to go! However, it is tempting to dump lots of stuff in the bottom of a wardrobe so a basket seems like a good option as it can be pulled out so you can find what you need – whether it be shoes, scarves, bags – and loads of stuff won’t get lost at the back of the cupboard.

So there you go…brighter, more accessible and better organised.

Knowing the inside of a cupboard is organised brings such a sense of calm to a room, don’t you think? Or is that just me?!

What does the inside of your wardrobe look like? Is it all serene from the outside and chaotic inside? Give some of my tips a go and let me know if they make a difference.

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Homesense.

Summer dining inspiration with Robert Welch

Hurrah for summer and the sun! Bring on the heat wave, I say! I can’t wait to get up on our roof terrace for long, lazy lunches with friends this weekend and next week. In fact, our apartment block is taking part in the Big Lunch on Sunday so very much looking forward to that.

Released just in time for the sun, and the perfect accessories for a bit of alfresco dining now that summer is here, Hidcote, Kingham and Bourton, each taking their name from a local Cotswold village, are the three latest cutlery patterns from my favourite cutlery designers Robert Welch. Now, I would obviously prefer to be in the Cotswolds in this weather but I will have to make do with our London roof top and this gorgeous new cutlery. I would love to show you the three new designs and a bit of summer dining inspiration.

Bourton cutlery is the most rustic of the three designs so I have paired it with rough wood, linen, handmade unglazed ceramics and a bit of lavender to bring a summery feel to this table. This cutlery feels so lovely in the hand and is weighted perfectly (so it doesn’t do that annoying thing of slipping down onto your plate or falling out of a bowl – especially handy when taking plates of food in and out for alfresco dining.).

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

I have teamed the Kingham design with a soft pink tablecloth (tablecloths are so useful for eating outside as they can cover up old tired outdoor tables that have taken a battering during the winter months). Dusty and blush pinks don’t seem to  be losing their popularity just yet so it works well with the contemporary feel of this elegant cutlery. Keep it simple with some seasonal pink flowers and let the quality of the cutlery shine.

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

Hidcote cutlery is inspired by natural forms and for some reason the beautiful shape of the handles reminds me of sea horses. Therefore, I went for a coastal theme for this place setting pairing blue and white with enamelware – a bit beach-hutty, if you know what I mean – and scattered sea shells. Oh, to be eating breakfast by the sea right now!

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

Summer dining with Robert Welch | Apartment Apothecary

The lovely folks over at Robert Welch are offering my readers a £25 discount off any orders over £100 you make, using the code GIFT25. A quality set of cutlery is always a great investment for yourself or would make a wonderful gift for friends or as a wedding present.

I hope everyone manages to get out and enjoy the sun over the next few days. Enjoy!

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Robert Welch.

Using vintage finds to create a botanical theme in my bedroom

With the change of season I always get restless at home and want to change things around. However, with a new baby there just isn’t the time to make any big changes so a few little tweaks here and there to brighten up each room will have to do for now. I have spent a lot of time over the last few months in our bedroom, especially whilst feeding Mimi or pinned underneath her whilst she sleeps. I have had hours and hours to look around the room and obsess over little things that need rearranging or sprucing up but I haven’t had the chance to do anything about it until now…

I have been challenged, along with a few other bloggers, to update my bedroom and you can see a few of the ideas over on the Bensons for Beds blog. My challenge was to add a botanical feel to my bedroom using vintage finds; I love both of these things so combining the two sounded like a perfect way to refresh my room for spring/summer. Here’s what I came up with…

1. Botanical display

A lovely way of bringing the outdoors in to your bedroom is to use vintage bottles for plant cuttings. I love the smell of Geranium leaves so I cut stems from the plant in my garden and pop them in bottles of water. They grow roots in the water and eventually flower – just change the water regularly and make sure they have lots of light. Display them with single flower stems and it’s a really cheap and easy way to have fresh flowers in your bedroom on a regular basis and they look extra pretty in vintage bottles.

2. Personalise vintage finds

When you go out vintage hunting don’t dismiss floral bits because they look too chintzy or old fashioned, like this floral framed mirror that was originally a dark mahogany wood. All you need to do is get a bit of paint out and choose a colour to match your room. I painted this sweet mirror white and it nows fits in to my room perfectly and subtlety adds to the botanical theme.

3. Family heirlooms

This was my great grandmother’s quilt and is well over a hundred years old and one of my most treasured possessions. It is always worthwhile checking whether you already own something that will fit in with the theme you have chosen. A vintage floral quilt is the perfect way to add a botanical feel to a bedroom and they are just so, so pretty.

4. Peg rail

I have lots of hooks in my bedroom to avoid the dreaded ‘wardrobe chair’ – you know, the chair where you dump worn clothes that aren’t quite ready for the laundry – but it’s nice to clear a set to play with different style ideas. Here I have hung a botanical illustration from a vintage book (it’s really easy to find beautiful vintage botanical books with coloured illustrations and you can remove the coloured plates without spoiling the book and then frame them for your bedroom), a floral dressing gown (or maybe your favourite floral dress?) and a pretty posy of flowers in a jar to add to the botanical theme in my room.

5. Repurpose vintage crockery

A brilliant way of displaying fresh flowers or plants is to use vintage jugs or bowls. Buy a mix of flowers – a few stems of each – as well as lots of foliage to create a natural looking bouquet and a vintage jug will make them look even better. Vintage bowls or tea cups are also a lovely thing to use for indoor plants instead of stashing them in a cupboard not being used or seen.

6. Hanging planter

If you are short of space in your bedroom and there is nowhere to place a pot plant try making a hanging planter. Buy a vintage enamel jelly mould and punch three holes through the lip at equally spaced points. Attach three chains, all the same length, through the three holes. Screw a cup hook into the ceiling and hang the chains onto it. Buy a trailing plant like this ‘String of Pearls’ for the hanging planter and add a few pebbles at the bottom of the planter so that water can drain away.

So, there you go, a few easy ways to bring a botanical feel to your bedroom. Throughout May there will be lots more ideas for updating your bedroom over on the Bensons for Beds Instagram account where I will also be doing an Instagram takeover. If you are feeling inspired take a snap of your bedroom style on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #SpringStyle, to be in with a chance of winning a prize to help you do a mini bedroom makeover. Read the full terms and conditions and more details here.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

Katy x

*This is a collaborative post with Bensons for Beds.

IKEA Bekvam spice rack hacks

Whenever I go to Ikea I always seem to leave with a couple of Bekvam spice racks as there are so many ways in which one can use them. If you saw my post this week about transforming our home office into a nursery you will know that things are being shifted around here – again! We’ve had to change a few things in the hallway to make room for a pram so we’ve lost the hallway table and the table has moved into a corner of the nursery for me to work from (it’s actually a vintage school desk). Therefore, I’ve been looking for easy storage solutions for the hallway for letters and keys and I also need somewhere to store notebooks and stationery next to my desk. I have had a look on Pinterest and found some really great ways to use the spice racks that will help me solve these specific issues, as well as a few other ideas to use in the nursery for displaying books, toys and hanging clothes.

So, here is some inspiration for ways to use these cheap little racks that you may find helpful too…

Bekvam spice rack IKEA hacks | Apartment Apothecary

I had never thought of mounting the rack upside down but it works brilliantly as a way to hang things from the rung across the rack. Image via @calivintage on Instagram.

Bekvam spice rack IKEA hacks | Apartment Apothecary

I am definitely going to put up a couple of racks next to my desk to store stationery and notebooks as the desk is so small I can store anything on the table. Image via Bondville.

Bekvam spice rack IKEA hacks | Apartment Apothecary

I love the idea of displaying lovely children’s books in the racks. Image via Petite Vintage Interiors.

Bekvam spice rack IKEA hacks | Apartment Apothecary

What about adding hooks to the rack to hang keys or jewellery. The racks are also great for storing nail varnishes and toiletries in a bathroom. So many possibilities.

I’m off to Ikea this weekend so I may have to pick up a few more spice racks…

Katy x

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them

I’ve always said that lighting is one of the most important things to get right in your home but also one of the things that people struggle with most. All too often I go into rooms that are badly lit and no matter how beautifully decorated the room is, no matter how comfortable or welcoming, if the lighting is wrong it will ruin the entire room and make it an unpleasant place to be.

Generally, I have achieved good lighting in my flat but there are five areas that need a bit of attention and I have called in the help of the experts at John Cullen Lighting to give me a bit of guidance. Hopefully, you will find their advice useful too…

Problem one: Dressing table

Me: What would be the best way of lighting my dressing table?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Dressing table lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: You could consider backlighting the mirror with a linear LED like Contour HD24 for an even glow. This would involve mounting the mirror slightly off the wall with a smaller timber frame, and then attaching the Contour to the back of the mirror facing towards the wall. It creates a lovely soft wash of light and will illuminate your face with minimal shadows. If you can’t chase new wiring, consider linking this to a plug and locally switching from a 13 amp socket.

As standard, a downlight and a table lamp are a great way of lighting a dressing table area. The downlight should be tilted to angle towards the mirror and bounce the light back onto your face, whilst the table lamp gives a more even glow of light to help reduce shadows. Make sure your lamp has a lovely pale shade in soft fabrics to help maximise the light. Or use pendants in frosted glass for a real decorative wow factor, as well as a good even light to your face.

Problem two: Hallway

Me: We currently have spotlights in the hallway, which are very practical but they can be quite harsh. Is there a way of creating softer lighting that feels more welcoming when guests arrive into our hallway, especially at this time of year as we begin the festive period?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Hallway lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Consider adding mobiles to soften the overall spotlights. This one from Skandium adds a real architectural note, whilst the antennae create exciting shadows and reflections on the walls.

Firstly the simplest solution is to change the switch to a dimmer so that you can set the right tone for the rest of the house from the front door. This will also enable you to soften the overall brightness for more mood and atmosphere. You could also swap your downlights for directional spotlights and wash the walls with light rather than the floor. The feeling of moving along a run way will be instantly softened and help highlight areas of interest to a visitor, rather than the floor. For example you could tilt a downlight to the blackboard door to add a focus to the hall.

It may also be possible to add glassware below or relatively near your downlights, so the light reflects through the glass creating wonderful shadows and reflections over the walls.

Problem three: Converting home office to nursery

Me: We are in the middle of converting our home office into a nursery so the lighting needs to be completely changed and I am getting rid of the main pendant light over the desk. How can I create soft lighting in the nursery, especially considering that I will need to do night feeds in there and I won’t want too much light as that will wake up both me and baby?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Home office lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Coffers (where the central part of the ceiling is raised up, and a small outer sections remains lower) give an excellent atmospheric light source. With a linear LED tape such as our Contour HD24, giving an even wash to the ceiling, you are spared all focussed downlights and therefore an almost glare-free light. Having this dimmed would allow for a very soft light which shouldn’t keep you or the baby too alert when feeding during the night.

Having a light source at low level is the best way to avoid a light source disturbing you. Fittings recessed into the walls at skirting height, or using a linear LED under a piece of furniture, keeps brightness away from the eyes. LEDs are also pretty much heat free, so there would be no issues once baby starts crawling!

Problem four: Open shelving in kitchen

Me: I recently added open shelves to our kitchen and removed the wall cupboards that had spotlights attached to the underside to illuminate the kitchen worktop. Can you recommend a way I can light the shelves and the worktops? There are currently spotlights on the ceiling.

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Kitchen open shelving lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: Spotlights in the ceiling will help with the general light in the space, but won’t do much to help with task lighting the worktops. Although you’ve removed the wall cupboards, it is possible mount Under Cupboard Lights under your shelves for a task light source. You could use an Eyelid or Flat version, and if you didn’t want to see the lights, perhaps add an ‘L’ section of metal at the front of the shelf to hide them from view.

Our linear Contour LED strip also work well under shelves. They can be hidden in a similar way to the under cupboard lights with a downstand at the front of the shelf, or recessed into the shelf using a metal profile.

You could also consider uplighting from the same shelf that you underlight, for a boost of general light and a dramatic back-lit look to items on the top shelf.

Problem five: Dining table

Me: We have a ceramic pendant light hanging over our dining table. Can you recommend the perfect bulb to create a soft light whilst we eat?

Five common lighting problems and how to solve them | Dining table lighting | Apartment Apothecary

Solution: We are all a little bit in love with LED Squirrel lamps at the moment. They come in all shapes and sizes, with Edison screw and bayonet options, and are a really beautiful option now that standard GLS lamps have been discontinued. In essence they stretch the standard coiled filament out until and layer the stretched filament in longer and broken lines, for a lovely and relatively glare free glow. A good make is to buy them from Tala.


Thank you so much to the team of lighting experts at John Cullen Lighting. Such brilliant suggestions and I can really visualise how everything you have advised will make a massive difference.

What lighting issues do you have?

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with John Cullen Lighting.

**All images of my home by Katharine Peachey (except dressing table image). All other images by John Cullen Lighting.