Affordable Scandi style with Harley and Lola

I dream one day of living in a large, open space with tons of natural light and minimal furniture – living the Scandi dream, if you like. There are two teeny tiny problems with this dream: 1) How on earth does one find said space in London?  2) Scandi furniture can be insanely expensive so how can I have the space and the stylish look without being on Britain’s rich list?

Well, I have found a solution to the second problem in the form of Harley & Lola’s modern vintage collection that they’ve launched this season. The collection is full of really beautiful Scandinavian furniture that is surprisingly affordable but looks very, very expensive (and perfect for my dream home!). Gorgeous light grains, elegant legs – it is ALL about the legs, people! – simple design and neutral colours all combine to create a spacious, bright, modern look but one with character and style. Dreamy. The thing I love most about Scandi design is the way each piece is designed to make the most of the natural light; it can flow around the room under and through the pieces as nothing is too ‘blocky’, or has filled in sides or backs and everything has legs. This is what makes all the difference. Take a look at these beautiful pieces to see what I mean…

Scandi style interiors | Scandi furniture | Preparing for Autumn with Harley and Lola | Apartment Apothecary

Wycombe bed – this would look amazing in any room and even though it is a very large piece it would never dominate or feel heavy due to the light grain of the wood, simple base and beautifully designed headboard.

Scandi style interiors | Scandi furniture | Preparing for Autumn with Harley and Lola | Apartment Apothecary

Dining table and dining bench – I love dining benches as they are so much more versatile compared to dining chairs and the informality appeals to me.

Scandi style interiors | Scandi furniture | Preparing for Autumn with Harley and Lola | Apartment Apothecary

Stockholm sofa – vintage Danish sofas cost a fortune so this model is such a brilliant discovery as it has all the style but not the price tag of the originals. Obviously, you wouldn’t want this as your only sofa but as an additional seat it would work so, so well alongside a bigger, squishier sofa like this one. It would add extra seating to a living room as well as a dose of character. There is also a matching vintage style armchair that is just as gorgeous.

I think one of the problems people have when faced with this minimal look is that they feel it lacks warmth, colour and that cosy feeling of other styles, especially at this time of year as the weather gets colder, darker and wetter. However, there are lots of ways to remedy this so don’t be put off.

The neutral palette of these pieces is the perfect base for layering colours with textiles like cushion, throws, blankets and rugs. For example, the dining bench above would be wonderful with sheepskins on it, which would soften the hard wooden surface and make them so inviting. Similarly, adding extra throws to the bed and a wool rug, like this Moroccan rug, would instantly add warmth and don’t forget to change back to your winter duvet soon. Lots of different textures will work so well with the wooden furniture and help to create the perfect Autumnal haven at home and a sense of ‘Hygge’. Adding a knitted blanket, or a chunky knitted pouffe is the perfect way to transition from the summer months. Think of this furniture as the perfect neutrals that are waiting to be slotted into your home and made to feel as minimal or as cosy as you want them to be.

Decorative accessories like books, magazines, flowers and plants all help to fill a room with character. At this time of year dried flowers work really well as well as lots of baskets full of extra throws for evenings on the sofa or weekend lie-ins. Adding touches of black, whether in a lamp, mirror or picture frames also helps to add contrast with the light, bright nature of the Scandi style as well as helping to make a space feel more Autumnal. Candles and soft lighting are really important at this time of year, too, and will really help to create a mellow and welcoming tone in any room. I don’t think a home should be the same throughout the year so spend a bit of time preparing for the change of seasons.

Scandi style interiors | Scandi furniture | Preparing for Autumn with Harley and Lola | Apartment Apothecary

Wycombe coffee table – don’t make the mistake of getting a huge block of a coffee table just because it has loads of storage. This will stop the light flowing in your living room and make it feel heavy. Instead choose a table like this one that has lovely legs and a light surface and think about using the walls for storage.

Scandi style interiors | Scandi furniture | Preparing for Autumn with Harley and Lola | Apartment Apothecary

Open display shelving unit – a display unit like this one is the perfect way to add character to a room as it allows you to show off your favourite things, which will make it a point of interest in the room and help to soften the minimalist look if that scares you a bit!

There are lots more lovely pieces over at Harley & Lola so do check them out and I hope some of these tips are helpful and that you like my best picks! Enjoy getting cosy this Autumn and maybe picking a few new additions for your home.

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Harley & Lola.


Living with a dog: tips for keeping your house clean

My flat used to be immaculate. We moved in when it was brand new and the walls, floors, skirting boards were all perfect and the flat smelled fresh and clean. I’ve always been a clean and tidy person so it remained that way for the first three years. Today, with our beautiful, wonderful three year old golden retriever in tow things are looking a bit rough around the edges. When Otto first arrived it completely freaked me out how much we had to change in the flat to accommodate him and how much mess he made – I suddenly lost all control!

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

I had to wake him up to try to take photos – he was not having any of it.

Over the last three years I have gradually picked up tips and methods to keep our flat looking (and smelling) pretty dog-free despite the ginormous 40kg dog that lives here and gets treated like a prince – ha! So, if you are struggling with maintaining the look and feel of your home due to too much dogginess, hopefully these tips will help you too…

1. Match your decor to the colour of the dog

You might think me mad but this is an important consideration. Our dog is white and therefore, if everything in our house was dark coloured the hair would show up really badly. Having a white floor and white bedlinen, for instance, means that the hair is far less noticeable. When my mum’s black dog used to come and stay it was the complete opposite and the floor and bed looked a state!

2. Brush your dog everyday

The best way to limit dog hair in your home is to brush them everyday, which I usually do in the park. This will really help to keep your home dog hair free as possible (with a golden retriever this is our main battle).

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

Dog bed from Kind For Dogs.

3. Dog towels

Otto is a puddle seeker and a mud lover. During the wetter months of the year the battle to keep him out of mud holes is a futile one. He’ll roll and bathe in that mud until he is completely black from head to toe. Therefore, it is essential to have a steady supply of dog towels that we store in a box in the hallway cupboard. If we don’t put him in the bath immediately after our walks, we’ve trained him to lie down on one of the towels and sleep after his walk until the mud has dried. We can then brush it out.

4. Dog bed

We think it’s a good idea to invest in a really good bed that not only looks good in your home but can be easily washed. We also don’t encourage Otto to use his bed until bedtime. It’s much better if he lies on a dog towel during the day as this way he doesn’t get his bed all mucky and it stays as fresh as possible. After all, it’s much easier to chuck a towel in the wash than the whole bed. Try to get a bed that fits with the decor in your home and won’t stand out like a sore thumb.

I love this bed that was kindly sent to us by Finnish company, Kind For Dogs, who specialise in Nordic inspired design for dogs – right up my street. The bed is made of 100% thick cotton and the Anthracite colour of the bed I chose works perfectly in our flat (they have beds made in other stylish fabrics too – I really like this one). The cover is washable and the whole bed feels extremely sturdy and well made and won’t fall apart in seconds like that last one we bought. Otto loves it! Never before have we found a bed that is big enough for him to stretch out in whilst having a bumper cushion all the way round to help make him feel snug and cosy.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

Otto absolutely loves a big bed as he likes to stretch out completely when he sleeps.

5. Sofa

If, like us, you allow your dog on the sofa I would always recommend a wool sofa. The wool repels dirt and grease and covers up stains so well and it won’t snag if it gets caught by claws. It is the best! It’s also a good idea to have a basket of dog throws next to the sofa and bed for those times that the dog is a bit mucky so that they can still come up but you have something to protect the furniture.

6. Rubber gloves

Our wool sofa is amazing in terms of not showing up dog dirt and wear and tear but it does attract dog hair. A really simple way to get rid of it if you can’t be bothered to hoover is to use a rubber glove – it works like magic.

7. Lint roller

We have a lint roller sitting on our hallway table next to the front door. It’s always useful to be able to grab it at the last minute before you walk out of the door, especially if you are wearing black (and guests appreciate it too).


A dog bed with sides is a must for this boy as he has to have his chin propped up at all times – do other people’s dog do this too?

8. Swiffer

We have a swiffer to help keep on top of collecting dog hair off the floor. It can be more effective (and less hassle) than a hoover as it doesn’t blow hair around the room. I’m also very tempted by a cordless hoover but I have no idea whether these are worth it – anyone have one?

9. Jute rugs

Jute rugs are amazing; they are so hard wearing under big paws and long claws and they show up no dirt and don’t attract hair. You need them everywhere!

10. Toy basket

Choose a lovely basket to store dog toys so they are not strewn around the place the whole time. We have a very aesthetically pleasing fair trade basket and it does its job perfectly and isn’t an eyesore.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

11. Neckerchief

So, you will only need one of these if your dog is a complete slobber chops like ours. It comes in very handy to wipe away slobber, especially when guests come who don’t want a big drooling chin planted on their best frock the moment they sit down. Oh, Otto.

So, there you go. These are the things I have picked up over the last few years to keep my home looking as nice as possible whilst allowing Otto every freedom – trust me, he is one spoilt dog and my decor has never come first.

Katy & Otto x

P.S. Lots of chicken was used in the taking of these photographs. However, as you can see from his face, he was not best impressed that his afternoon nap was disturbed by me and a camera.

P.P.S. Do check out Kind For Dogs for more Nordic inspired dog accessories – it’s rare to find stylish dog stuff so it’s been a real treat discovering this company.

Living with dogs | Tips for keeping your home clean with dogs | Beautiful dog bed | Apartment Apothecary

And this is what happens when I stop pestering him to pose for photos!

Technology that you don’t have to hide

Cables, wires, big black screens, enormous TV’s – the stuff of nightmares. Ugly technology just spoils a room: it looks horrible, takes up huge amounts of space, not to mention the miles of cables that seem to snake around the place in a menacing way. But we can’t do without it, right? Most people, in fact, want their whole living room to be designed around the placement of the TV.

The exciting news is that tech is changing and products are becoming smaller, wireless and designed with form in mind, not just function. Hurrah! Finally a tech revolution that I can get behind. At this year’s London Design Festival, Sony launched two such pieces and I’d like to tell you a bit about them as I’ve been trying out one of them at home and I saw the other in action at Design Junction last week.


I have told you before about the ongoing argument Jules and I have had since we moved in together based on the fact that he thinks it’s acceptable to have four foot high laminate wooden speakers that are basically the same size as two young children and because you have to place them in different parts of the room there are cables trailing all over the shop. Not ok, Jules, not ok. After six years I have finally won the war and the speakers have left the building and I am delighted to have replaced them with Sony’s new glass sound speaker. It is portable and wireless to connect from my smart phone very easily using Bluetooth, it is very small and sleek and made of organic glass that gives it great sound quality.

The speaker can follow us around the house as and when we need it and doesn’t look out of place whether in my living room, on the kitchen shelves or on my bedside table. It feels like I’ve been released from cables and it’s so nice to be able to listen to music with great sound quality in any room of the house, not just the living room.


The speaker has a soft glowing light that you can turn on or off.

The second product launched by Sony is their portable ultra short throw projector. I haven’t been lucky enough to try this in my own home but I did see it in full action at Design Junction and it is UH-mazing! I honestly would get rid of our big ugly TV and replace it with this projector if I had my own.

Sony portable ultra short throw projector | Beautiful technology for the home | Apartment Apothecary

The projector is portable, wireless, teeny tiny and it can display anything you like, wherever you like. The most amazing thing about this design is it’s ultra short throw; it can be positioned right next to the surface you want to project on to so none of the faffing around with clearing a direct line of sight to the surface or mounting it from the ceiling etc. It can project a 22 to 80 inch image onto walls, tables or even a pad of paper and the image can be anything from a clock to one of your favourite views, a moving image, a TV show or a movie. The possibilities are endless. I WANT ONE!

Sony portable ultra short throw projector | Beautiful technology for the home | Apartment Apothecary

Design Junction 2016 | Sony glass sound speaker and ultra short throw projector | Beautiful technology for the home | Apartment Apothecary

It’s rare that technology can launch at a design show and not stick out like a sore thumb but Sony have struck the perfect balance between form and function and I hope this marks the beginning of more beautifully designed products that I won’t need to hide. Let’s hope the six year long argument with Jules about ugly tech is our last.

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Sony.

A first time buyer’s guide to kitting out a bedroom

I’ve been working with a client recently to help them furnish their very first home and it has reminded me of what a minefield it can be trying to figure out what you need, what to prioritise and where you can get away with cutting back.

Therefore, I have decided to put together a ‘first time buyer’s guide’ for those of you struggling with the same issues. When you move to a new home there are two pieces of furniture that you can’t really be without – a bed and a sofa. I have decided to focus on the bedroom today with a little help from Happy Beds because it’s a good idea to priortise this room as you can’t get by without proper sleep.

So, here are my tips for kitting out your first bedroom…

1. Don’t buy everything at once

I think it’s really important not to buy every single item you will need for the room before you move in. Rooms that grow organically over time feel and look better so as long as you have the basics, the decorative accessories can come later.

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via The D Pages

2. Bedroom essentials

This is a list of essentials that every good bedroom needs:

Bed frame, mattress, bedding, bedlinen, bedside light, bedside table, clothes storage, full length mirror. All the rest can wait until you are ready to complete the room.

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via Style Pages

3. Know your room’s dimensions

When you shop for your room it is really important that you always have the exact dimensions of the room on hand so that you can make informed choices as and when you need to. This will speed up the process and give you piece of mind that everything you order will fit.

4. Go Kingsize

If space allows going kingsize from the start will save you money in the long run, even if you really don’t need such a big bed. If you think there may be the chance of starting a relationship or having kids in the future I promise you you will want a king size bed. If you only start off with a double, making the transition to a king size will cost so much more than just a new bed frame as you will need to replace the mattress and the bedding too.

5. Choosing the right mattress

Quality mattresses are incredibly important as they can be the biggest factor on how well you sleep. Buying your first mattress can be tricky as there are different options and it’s difficult to decipher what is what. To put it in basic terms, open sprung mattresses are most affordable as the springs are made of one long piece of metal. They are very light but they can be less responsive to your body. However, I have found that adding a memory foam mattress topper to an open sprung mattress makes it a great affordable option. Pocket sprung mattresses are more luxurious with thousands of individual springs housed in their own fabric pockets. This makes them more responsive, which can be better for couples sharing a bed. Memory foam mattresses are generally more expensive than open sprung ones but can be less than pocket spring mattresses. They mould to the shape of your body taking pressure off joints but that feeling of ‘closeness’ isn’t for everyone. Whichever mattress you go for remember that it will need to be replaced after about eight years. Here’s a more detailed mattress buying guide.

6. Think about how you use your bed

When choosing your first bed frame you need to think about how you will use it. Are you the type of person who lounges around in bed on weekends? Do you enjoy sitting up in bed to read at night or in the mornings? Think about the way you use your bed as this will dictate the type of headboard you should go for, for example, a solid upholstered headboard is perfect for those of us who enjoy sitting up in bed (I like this upholstered bed, don’t you?). I know vintage wrought iron bed frames look beautiful but have you ever tried sitting up against one? Also, if you toss and turn at night a rickety old bed frame isn’t a great option as it can make a lot of noise. Quality beds will last longer and give you a better night’s sleep.

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via Ciao Bella!

If your bed is positioned in front of an uneven wall or a window then you should probably avoid a divan base with no headboard. Leaning up against a radiator like below wouldn’ be too comfy…

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via The Cozy Space

7. Consider storage when choosing a bed

When choosing the style of bed frame you want consider whether you will need extra storage. If so, go for a divan base with inbuilt drawers or a bed that lifts up to reveal hidden storage. If you know you can cope without this extra storage always try to go with a bed with feet as this will allow the light to travel around the room and will make the room feel brighter and bigger.

8. Bedding

There are many areas you can scrimp on around the home and you’ll never be worse off for it. However, bedding is not one of those things! You need to invest in at least two sets of really good quality bedlinen (one to go on the bed whilst the other is being washed) in either 100% cotton or linen. Good quality bedlinen will last, look better and most importantly feel better so splash out. Poor quality bedlinen is a false economy as you will need to replace it so regularly. The same goes for the quality of your duvet and pillows.

9. Invest in window treatments

Another area not to scrimp on is the window treatments in your bedroom. The amount of light that comes into a bedroom can drastically affect the quality of your sleep so you need to make sure that your windows are properly covered and you have well fitted blinds, curtains or shutters. Make sure you order these before you move in so that they can go up at the windows immediately so your first night of sleep isn’t ruined.

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via est living

10. Go neutral

When it comes to decor my advice would be to go neutral to start off with. It is much easier to build on a neutral room scheme in the long term once you have settled into your home and have more time to pay attention to the details.

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Image via A Quiet Style

If you are about to move in to your first home I hope this is helpful and enjoy – it is such an exciting time!

First time buyer's guide to kitting out a bedroom | Apartment Apothecary

Katy x

*This post was written in collaboration with Happy Beds.


Top 10 storage tips

I know it’s only been a few months since I declared my decluttering mission to be over but I have to admit that I *may* be back on it. The problem we have is that our lovely home office, filled to the brim with craft materials, stationery, books and props has got to go – I know, I know! We will need to convert the room to a nursery in a few months time because even though we will have the baby in our room for the first few months we have nowhere else in our flat to store baby stuff and we want a guest bed back in that room so that family can come and stay (to help!). At the end of the day, my office has been a luxury and I will definitely be able to cope without it.

However, I don’t want to get rid of all my office ‘stuff’ so I am starting to think about different storage methods as well as traps I shouldn’t fall into. Here are my top tips…

1) Don’t store things under furniture

I’m always at risk of stuffing everything I own under my bed but if at all possible try your best not to do this. If you have a bed, sofa or cupboard that is raised off the floor on legs you should always try not to store things underneath them as this will block out light and instead of light from your windows being able to travel freely around a room it will be adsorbed by all the nasty clutter.

2) Make good use of doors

The back of a door in a room or the inside of a cupboard door is invaluable space to store things. Make as much use of them as possible. I have a set of hooks on the back of every door in our flat and because we always have the doors open you can’t even see what is stored on them. We also have a shoe organiser on the back of our hallway cupboard, our ironing board on the inside of another hallway storage cupboard door and every single kitchen cupboard has storage for pan lids, cleaning materials, foil and cling film or food. This hanging organiser would be perfect for some of my craft materials and could hang on the back of a door and will keep everything organised and easily accessible.

Top 10 storage tips | Apartment Apothecary

Hanging organiser from Clas Ohlson

3) Store smaller items in boxes/baskets on shelves

I have so many little bits and bobs in my office and the best way of storing those is in boxes or baskets that I can neatly store on shelving. I always add tags or labels so that I know exactly what is in each box, which makes it easier to grab stuff when I need it.

Wooden boxes and wire baskets from Clas Ohlson


4) Store similar things together

I think this is really helpful rule and easy enough to follow. Don’t create storage boxes full of random bits and bobs that you’ve just thrown together; plan what needs to be stored and group things together in a thoughtful way. This will enable you to access your stuff much more easily.

5) Transparent storage boxes

There are always going to be a few things (ok, maybe more than a few) that you want to keep but you don’t need regular access to. I like to store these things in transparent storage boxes that go in our large hallway cupboard. Being transparent means I can glance at them and know what is in each one and that way I don’t forget about things.

Storage boxes from Clas Ohlson

6) High shelves

I love a high shelf (I’ve written about them before here) and we have them above most doors in our flat. They don’t encroach on the space, they can provide a large amount of storage in otherwise wasted space and they are so easy to put up and cheap.

7) Baskets

I LOVE a basket or ten and they are perfect for every room, every landing, passageway or corner that I can get them into to help collect those extra things that need a home – blankets, magazines, shoes, slippers, bags.

Bamboo baskets and black baskets from Clas Ohlson

8) Organise your drawers

Inserts to help make the most of the storage space in drawers are a godsend and make a massive difference.

Top 10 storage tips | Apartment Apothecary

Drawers inserts from Clas Ohlson

9) Vacuum pack clothes and linens

There will definitely be a bit of vacuum packing going on around here as I need to make space in wardrobes so out of season clothes and spare bedlinen/duvets will need to make way. The added bonus of vacuum storage bags is that they keep clothes and linens protected from dust, damp and moths.

Top 10 storage tips | Apartment Apothecary

Vacuum storage bag from Clas Ohlson

10) Use wall space

It’s all about using wall space rather than floor space. The more floor space you can free up the bigger and more spacious your home will feel. Don’t go overboard but do take a good look around and see if there are walls that could be working harder for you.

Top 10 storage tips | Apartment Apothecary

Storage hook from Clas Ohlson

I hope some of these tips may help you if you’re struggling with space. I’ll let you know how I get on when I start the job in a couple of months.

Katy x


*This post was written in collaboration with my blog sponsor for this month Clas Ohlson