Apartment Life – Make the Most of a Balcony

Not everyone has a garden and, let’s be honest, not everyone wants one – just keeping on top of your home’s inside can be enough work without managing the outside.  But if you live in a flat or apartment you might have a balcony or a small amount of private outside space, so here are our top tips for low-maintenance, good-looking balcony projects.

1. Sit Down

If your balcony is used for everything from storage, to clothes drying, furniture may not seem like a practical choice, but if you are dragging out your kitchen stools every time you want some fresh air, think about some foldable furniture that can be stored against the wall when you need the space for something else.

2. Look Down

If your balcony has the oh-so-common grey concrete floor, you could add a bit of personality by adding some decent flooring.  There are so many options that could suit your outside space.  Decking won’t be your first thought as it’s too big and chunky for a wee balony, but you can get decking tiles which look awesome.  Or classic tiles for a ‘chilling on my holidays’ kind of feel.  If your balcony is more exposed and decking or tiles would get slippery, how about artificial grass?! 

3. Calm Down

Make your balcony a place to relax morning and night with some lighting.  Choose something that suits you – coloured or plain; a string of LED skull lights or some candles in lanterns.  Just because it’s outside doesn’t mean you should skimp on the homeware to add personality make it feel like your own space.

4. Brighten Up

Add some colour in a theme that you like whatever suits your home.  Bring it into the balcony with plant pots, cushions, tiles, accessories and prints on the wall.

How to make your home rock in December (if you don’t celebrate Christmas)

Just because the fat man in the red suit won’t be shimmying down your chimney doesn’t mean you don’t want to get your home looking awesome over December.  So whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Winter Solstice, FSM day, New Years or just the fact that another year is done – we’ve got tips to help your home rock this season.

1. Bring in some nature

Pinecones, evergreen branches, holly, – get some scissors or a big ass knife and collect some of that gorgeous greenery to bring indoors.  Fill glass bowls, vases, and whatever else looks empty up with some nature and you’ll enjoy the seasonal feeling without having to be outside where it’s cold and there are people.

2. Get cool with icy statements

Icicles, snowflakes, and shades of white, blue and silver are a great choice and are not affiliated with religion or festivals of any kind. Get ornaments, pictures, decorations, whatever you like the look of and make the design your own – there are no rules.

3. Candles, lights and incense

The dark nights are perfect for cosy evenings in by candlelight, and there are some fantastic wintery scents that you can fill your home with at the same time.  If you have pets and kids, go for battery-operated flameless candles to get the look without the fire-risk.

4. All the Blankets

So you can look at it in one of two ways – either “it’s too expensive to put the heating on so I have to cover my bed and sofa in blankets”, or “it’s cold so let’s get close under all of these amazingly cosy blankets…”  Let’s take the positive option, throw loads of mismatched blankets everywhere, make a fort and watch Jaws – why Jaws?  Because no one ruins it by claiming that it’s a f*cking Christmas movie.

How do you celebrate December in your house when you don’t worship Santa?  Tell us in the comments…

How to clear the decks before you deck the halls

Christmas, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Hanukkah, Omisoka, Las Posadas, Solstice…whatever you celebrate at this time of year, the chances are that your home starts to feel a bit overcrowded with all of the extra stuff that piles in.  So before you deck the halls or whatever, it’s a good time to clear out the clutter and make space for all that extra shit.  So here are the Home That Rocks’ team’s tips for it not taking you all year.

1. Be realistic

Unless you’re best mates with Marie Kondo, or you have two full, uninterrupted weeks to organise your whole home (and who in the name of Thor would voluntarily do that?) don’t go emptying everything into the middle of your living room and organising it by how it sparks your joy.  Instead, just pick the most important areas, or ones that will make the most impact on your life, and start there.

Good places to start are standard dumping grounds like lofts, sheds, garages, backs of wardrobes, and hall cupboards.  Basically if you don’t know what is even in there anymore, start there.  Kitchen cupboards and wardrobes in general are usually crying for a clear out, so they also make great areas to focus on.

2. Get some boxes

Start off by setting out a few boxes, earmarked for different things in the room you are clearing out; one box for the bin, one for recycling, one for donating, and one for things that should really live somewhere else.  If there is likely to be a lot of paperwork unearthed from wherever you are clearing out, another box to put it all in can be helpful.  That means you can stick on Netflix later and sort through all the bits of paper rather than getting lost in filing as you go.

3. Be a hardass

It is easy to become emotional when it comes to clearing out, and holding onto things that mean a lot is pretty much one of the best things about having your own home!  You can keep what you like, and no one should tell you otherwise, but if you are serious about decluttering, try and be strict with yourself.  If something has been lying broken for years while you’ve been meaning to fix it…maybe it’s time to pass it on.  Or if you have 8 boxes full of precious finger-paintings by your nephew…maybe you could cut it down to 5 boxes and save yourself some room.

4. Clean it out

Once the clutter is gone, get your rubber gloves on and scrub the hell out of it.  You’ve spent the time sorting everything, don’t half-ass the job by putting your organised things back on a dirty shelf.

5. Put it back together

You’ve sorted it, got rid of the massive spider you briefly considered just giving the room over to, now it’s time to put everything away.  Be prepared for this being the worst part.  It’s like a basket of clean washing, it just wants to live where it is, but you need to put your adult pants on and put the things back in some sort of order that makes sense.

That’s it chief, job done, time to detangle the strings of lights and get jolly with Holly…or whoever. 

How to Light your Home

Right, that’s it, we can’t deny it any longer…Summer is over.  Autumn is here, and the days are getting darker.  We’re putting lights on earlier and earlier every day, which makes it a great time to look at the lights in our homes and figure out if they need an update.  Lighting has an amazing power to transform the energy and atmosphere of a space.  Stadium style overhead spotlights don’t feel romantic or cosy, the same way that a candlelit room doesn’t feel right for a productive work meeting.  So how do you choose the right lighting for your rooms?

This could be a really short article, as the answer is ‘it depends’!  From ceiling lights to table lamps, there is no tried and tested rule that will work for everyone, and definitely no rule that will work for every room.  Kitchens need bright lights so you can see what you’re cooking; wherever you get ready in the morning can benefit from ‘daylight’ style lighting so you look the same outside the house as you do inside; and you will sleep better if your bedroom has some calming, softer lights – but that’s about it when it comes to rules!  So let’s leave the function of the lights up to you, and look at how to make a statement with your lighting.

Firstly, don’t stop at a ceiling light.  The bland, unidirectional overhead light in a room doesn’t allow you to change the feeling and environment of a room.  Tip one is to install a dimmer switch if your light fitting allows for it to help prevent the ‘big light’ effect!

If you can’t install dimmer switches, consider lamp fittings with multiple bulbs that you can angle to suit your room.  Or choose a lamp shade that diffuses light, like rattan or woven shades, which will stop a single bulb from feeling so glaring.

You can also make sure you include table lamps or floor lamps in your rooms.  As well as allowing you to switch off from the glare of an overhead light, lamps let you create little areas of light around your room.  You can even move them around your room (or home!) to where you need them most at any time.  Wall lights are a great choice for kitchens and hallways where you need to make sure a big, sometimes awkward-shaped space is lit equally throughout.

Candles, fairy lights, daylight lamps – the options are endless when it comes to lighting your home, so do what suits you.  I have a string of skull-shaped battery-operated lights hanging in my kitchen and they make me happy – choose lighting that makes your house feel like your home, and that’s all that matters.

How to decorate a rented home

If you are a private renter, it’s likely that your landlord won’t allow you to make permanent changes to the property you are living in.  The fact that you are currently on a home interiors website probably means that you would like to put your mark on a property – so how do you strike the balance between getting your deposit back and adding your personality to the space?  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Big Rugs

Most rented properties are decorated in a neutral colour scheme – that was probably a big appeal when you were choosing it!  Somewhere that was inoffensive that your stuff would look good in.  Now you’re in it means looking at the same bland carpets, or laminate flooring in every room.  A rug is a great choice to banish the boring and inject a whole lot of colour and pattern in one go.

2. Stunning Lights

Light fixtures are designed to be temporary.  You don’t just need to stick with lampshades, you can throw up a chandelier or something equally striking and make a big feature out of the centre of your ceiling.  When it’s time to move, take it back down and put up the original again.

3. Clever Wallpaper

Removable wallpaper was hard to find and eye-wateringly expensive even a few years ago – now it’s so easy to find and is popular among homeowners and renters!  Put it up without any messy adhesive, and pull it off without damaging the walls when you are ready to move on.

4. Lots of Layers

Even if your rented property is already furnished, you can still liven it up and add some personality by adding layers everywhere you can.  Cushions, throws, plants, pictures (with removable hanging hooks), curtains, and knick-knacks will turn a rented pad into a cosy home.  Mix textures and colours to create that really comforting feel.

Have you transformed your rented home without risking your deposit?  Let us know how and tell us the tips we missed!

Embrace the Dark Side

Traditional rules of interior design look to create a space that is comforting and homely, light and spacious and ultimately, timeless. So, one colour that does not immediately spring to mind when it comes to redecorating is: black.  Stereotypically, many will think that only goths decorate their rooms with an abundance of black – but let’s face it, the kind of people who want a black room probably couldn’t care less about stereotypes! Black is a fantastic colour to add to your home, as the great Morticia Addams said “Black is such a happy colour, darling” – Who can argue with that?


It has always been believed that black or darker colours make a room feel smaller or cramped – akin to a dungeon maybe. That doesn’t have to be the case – in fact, black can accentuate features in your room; bring a feeling of luxury, sophistication, romance and drama, and believe it or not, space!

Now, we are not saying that you must adorn every aspect of your room with black, but it is ideal to add it to any room to further accentuate colours or drawing your eye to a focal point.


It’s a popular belief that white is the best for adding light and space to a room, and black will make a room feel smaller or cramped, when in fact it is the colour infinite space! Painting your walls black will not increase feelings of claustrophobia, in fact, the use of darker colours on a wall, can hide the edges and corners of a room and add a feeling of vastness. Besides, too much white can feel clinical.  

White does have its place within a black room, mainly on the ceiling. This can create the illusion of a higher ceiling by drawing the eye upwards. Or switch around and have a black ceiling with white walls – just as dramatic. If doing this, make sure that you choose a matte paint.


If you feel that you are not ready to fully embrace your inner Morticia, then there are several ways of incorporating black into your home:

  • PICTURE FRAMES– frame your photos or works of art in black frames; or hang them up on a black wall – art displays on a black background can really make them pop. Galleries often paint their walls black in order to draw more attention to the pictures on them.
  • FRAME YOUR DOORS – framing need not be exclusive to photos and art think about painting a door frame or window in black.


Adding black furniture to your home can be both elegant and dramatic (besides a sofa) a very popular Swedish furniture shop have a black bookcase in their range that is both stylish and affordable. Or, if you are not keen on purchasing the black version, how about painting the inside of another bookcase black.

Painting furniture black is ideal for anyone who do not fancy buying new furniture. There are a range of chalk paints available for an upcycling project.

If having black furniture is still too ambitious then you can take even smaller steps by adding black accessories: cushions, throws, lamp shades, rugs or ornaments.

Do not fear black – it is a timeless colour. If you feel like this is the time to embrace your dark side, head over to our shop and see what black pieces you can add to your home.

Gothic Gardening

When we think of the term Goth, it tends to conjure images of black clothing, white faces, and abundance of eyeliner; we think of death, the macabre, the supernatural. It does not tend to be associated with gardening. Bright coloured flowers and plants don’t really match the gothic style – but that does not mean they can’t be fun.


The goth garden is not a modern invention, in fact, gothic gardening began in the Victorian era; almost like a type of theme park, where deathly and morbid imagery was used to create to attract visitors – akin to an outdoor horror film. Goth gardens of the past did focus a lot on death, but nowadays a gothic garden can be magical and include fantastical elements, like fairies and other creatures.


It is common to see gardens follow a uniform pattern – lots of straight lines and rows, and symmetry. Whereas goth tends to favour more natural lines and twisting patterns. Refrain from pruning or deadheading your plants – the faded, withered look of flowers will accentuate the feeling of death.


You will be correct in thinking that a gothic garden will not heavily feature flowers like daffodils, daisies and pastel-coloured roses. Generally, the flora for a gothic garden should favour the dark side. Flowers like black roses and Iris’; black velvet petunias; bat plants and midnight hyacinths; or the ever-stunning black calla lilies. No need to limit yourself to flowers, there are plants and bushes that have a dark foliage too: castor oil plants, smoke bush, dark-leaved elder and the very appropriately named Ravenswing. Carnivorous plants tend to have a spooky aura like the popular Venus fly traps or pitcher plants. Plants that have unusual shapes or textures are also ideal: Ferns, cobra lilies, lady’s slipper orchids, skunk cabbage, Dracula orchids or Spanish moss – perfect for creating a draping effect.

But the plants you choose need not always follow the dark side or want to eat you – think of flowers that have a history of being used in all manners of witchcraft, spells or medicinal purposes attached to them like dandelions, blackberries, willow, camomile. Create a gothic herb garden full of sage and cinnamon basil (a herb with darker leaves), and If growing food is definitely your thing, you can introduce black tomatoes.

Not all flowers appreciate being out in the sun – night blooming flowers prefer to appear after dark, like evening primrose, moonflower or Queen of the Night.


Gothic gardens are not all about the plants, it can provide the opportunity to have some fun with ornaments. When is the best time to go goth garden ornament shopping? Halloween of course. This is the perfect time to pick up any decorations for your garden; the shops are usually full of spooky objects like skulls, witches, ghosts etc.,

Choose stone ornaments, as they are perfect for growing moss, giving a decrepit feel reminiscent to that of a cemetery. Like stone, all natural materials are favoured for a gothic garden, including wood and marble.


Don’t be fooled into thinking that gothic gardens are exclusively about death and nightmares, they can be charming and enchanting too, especially if you have children. Include elements of magic and mythical creatures like fairies, trolls, a dragon or two – have fun with folklore!

Check out the garden category on our website for any additions to your gothic garden.


When we talk about board games we think of Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo etc., asking any lurking spirits questions generally does not spring to mind – ever had a party and decided it was time to talk to the dead just for a laugh? Yup, us neither but this is the story of the Ouija Board: a popular pastime or parlour game of the 19th century. Nowadays, the Ouija board has a much darker association, but its origins were more innocent.

Ouija board consisted of a wooden or plastic board decorated with the alphabet, numbers 0-9, and the words ‘YES’ and ‘NO’; a planchette, either a heart or teardrop shape piece that was then moved across the board. The object being: participants sitting around the Ouija would all touch the planchette and then ask the ‘spirits’ questions. Depending on if there was a ‘spirit’ the planchette would then move around the board to spell out the answer. It was originally believed that the name Ouija was formed from the word YES in French and German (Oui and Ja). Although it is now believed that it was the first word that the board spelled during a demonstration with investors trying to secure a patent for the board; they asked what the board wanted to be called. A demonstration that the patent officer won’t forget in a hurry.

Spiritualism was becoming popular in America in the 19th century, especially after stories about the Fox Sisters of Upstate New York who would claim that they could communicate with the dead. This idea of talking to spirits was very appealing; during a period where life expectancy was far lower than that it is today, (averaging around 50 years) child mortality was common; childbirth was killing women; and of course, war – seances and Ouija boards provided many with solace or reassurance that their loved ones were still close by. Soon, speaking with the dead became an acceptable past-time.

Aside from entertaining at parties or providing comfort to the bereaved; Ouija has had more practical uses in the past:  police officers have used the board to help catch murders; or the murderers have used it as an excuse for their crime. There has even been a case of spirit, contacted through the board, been left a considerable amount of money in a will!

More recently the Ouija board can thank Hollywood for its association with the occult. The iconic horror film ‘The Exorcist’ shows the young girl, Regan asking a Ouija board questions which then ultimately led to her becoming possessed by a demon; the rest is history. What was once an innocent party game, favourable among even the strictest Christians, has now become taboo and demonised; even petitions for it to be banned! However, this new controversy surrounding Ouija did not harm sales of the boards -in fact, the added element of danger increased them!

With all this talk of spirits and talking to the dead, it is no surprise that science has tried to get involved in figuring out how exactly the Ouija board works. Again, no surprise that they do not believe that it is ghosts – instead, they believe that any movement or communication related to the board, is all linked to our subconscious. If like us you enjoy a bit of Ouija, head over to our online shop and check out our Ouija inspired products.

Why you should never be afraid of being yourself in your home

Our homes are our havens. Our safe spaces to retreat to when things are starting to feel like they are getting on top of us. Modern life can be chaotic and stressful; therefore, it is important to have a home that can help to wash your stress away and de-escalate any anxious feelings. A home where we can just be ourselves. That is why when it comes to decorating, we should think about our moods and how we want the room to make us feel.


It is common knowledge that colour can affect people’s moods: red is associated with love and on the flip side, anger – in other words, it is a very passionate colour. Blue and green tend to be associated with feelings of calmness; yellow for happiness and joy; whereas black is often thought of as the colour of death, but can invoke feelings of power, sexuality and drama. Adding colour to your home can transform it instantly, but before you start painting, think about what mood you want to set for your room. If you have a space that lacks natural light, vibrant and lighter shades of colour work well. Darker colours can create feelings of cosiness, and for the smaller spaces, warmer tones work particularly well.


Minimalism is ideal for smaller spaces. It can create a feeling of calm – but it can also appear as being very impersonal. Putting your items on display, rather than hiding them, can create a more inviting and cosier atmosphere.


Every room in your home has a different purpose, and that needs to be considered. Living rooms tend to be spaces for relaxing; kitchens are most often than not a social hub; and home offices tend not to help with productiveness if they make you feel cosy and want to take a nap.


Plants are a wonderful way of transforming your home – whether you crave to create a tropical paradise or seek the serenity and calm of the forest. There are various ways to bring the outdoors into your rooms:

  • Plants – fill your home with them! Bring the outdoors, inside. Check where your plants will happiest before you settle them in. Those that require a lot of sun will be ideal for a window ledge or a conservatory. Plants that thrive in humidity can be perfect for a bathroom.
  • Décor –  if maybe you love plants but don’t have the best track record for keeping them alive, there are other ways of filling your home with nature. Wallpaper with flowers or leaves are perfect and can create a stunning focal point within any room. Or even paint your space with various shades of green.


There is plenty of information out there to give you guidance on how to decorate your home: what colours are in season; the shape of the furniture; ways to hang your art and photos etc., But no matter how ‘on trend’ the advice may be, it may not reflect you or your personality.

  • Photos – Show off the people you love the most; the holidays that you have taken; fill the walls with memories.
  • Memorabilia – Keep and display little details that have contributed to your story so far: a boarding pass (or passes) to places you have travelled; a ticket from a gig or cinema – any event that made an impact to your life.
  • Hobbies – Maybe you love painting or taking photographs, or are a dab hand potter – use your home like a small exhibition of your favourite work
  • Posters – These are no longer reserved for teenagers to fill up the space on their bedroom walls – us adults can still get in on the poster action and hang them anywhere in our home. Buy posters based your favourite films or TV shows; bands that you like, from their tours – maybe from a gig that you attended. Frame them or suspend them from clips – whatever takes your fancy.

If you are in need of any inspiration, or something a bit unusual- check out our online shop and find that item that screams, you!

Creative Ways of Using Paint and Wallpaper in your Home

From time to time, we tend to develop an itch that needs scratching: the decorating itch. We get fed up with looking at the same old room, with the same old colours and furniture, and yearn for something fresh and new! But rather than stick with the usual fresh paint or paper job, here are some ideas that can make your home far from boring.


Paint is a go to when it comes to decorating your home – it’s a quick and easy way of really transforming your home. Plus, if you realise you don’t like it, then it takes no time at all to change it. No wonder it is a popular method. But who says that you must paint all four walls the same? Who says you must paint the whole wall?! Paint is so versatile that it presents the perfect opportunity to release your inner artist:

COLOUR BLOCKING – This can be perfect to inject a touch of character into your room. Pick contrasting colours or different shades on top of white or similar neutral tones and have fun. This can also be ideal for adding character to a modern build home, which can lack some features seen in older properties. Paint vibrant archways or your own dado rails

STENCILS – If you had the idea that you wanted to wallpaper your walls, yet struggle to find a design to your liking – why not try a stencil?  Have a look online for stencil designs, or even make your own!

FOCAL POINT – Make an eye-catching display by painting large designs above your bed to create an elaborate headboard effect or contrasting colours and patterns above your fireplace or mantel – Nobody will be able to look away!

MURAL – Feel like releasing your inner Banksy or Leonardo Da Vinci? Why not have a go at painting a mural. Keep it simple and use masking tape to create geometric shapes and paint into different hues. Or, depending on your level of ambition, you could attempt ‘The Creation of Adam’.

CEILINGS – Who said that all ceilings must be white? How dull?! Recreate the night in your living room or bedroom with navy or black – you could even add some stars! How about red? Both daring and cosy.

FLOOR – Liven up floorboards with colour! Or paint your own pattern. Make sure to varnish the floor afterwards to protect your design. No need to stop at the floor – continue it up the wall too.

OMBRE – Use different shades and colours to create a relaxing ombre or watercolour effect. Use blues to give a feeling of being near the sea or oranges and yellows and for a sunrise or sunset glow.


Wallpaper can be a nightmare; some patterns from the past can be borderline traumatising. But, bold patterns have come back in fashion, and there is no denying that they can make a statement. Like paint, wallpaper does not need to be straight forward paste and slap on the wall along with saying a prayer that it will line up. There are plenty of fun and creative ways to experiment with wallpaper.

NATURE – If you love plants but maybe you’re not the best at keeping them alive, consider bringing the outdoors inside with a wallpaper pattern adorned with fabulous foliage. Nowadays there are an abundance of wallpapers with tropical plants, forest scenes, cactus, and various flowers.

FRAME IT – Ok, this may sound a bit odd, but there are so many beautiful patterns on the market, why not showcase them like works of art? Use samples and frame them. Pick different patterns or different colours of the same pattern and make a display.

MURALS (AGAIN) – If patterns are not your style, then then opt for a mural instead. Add mountain scenery, dense forest, the beach, geographic locations or even some contemporary art to your home – maybe a Michelangelo….

THE BATHROOM – when you talk about wallpaper, the bathroom is not the first room that springs to mind – but why not? However, make sure that your paper is not a splash zone.

USE SMALLER SPACES – wallpaper can make a big statement, even in a small space. Add a striking design in the space behind open shelves, in archways and alcoves, and in bookshelves.

USE YOUR ILLUSION – Always wanted to have a home library or have a stone wall, but not able to have the real thing? Wallpaper to the rescue – there are designs available that can bring those ideas to light.

UPCYCLE – we are familiar with painting old furniture to give it a new lease of life, but wallpaper can be just as effective for transforming tired looking pieces. This is better with furniture that have straight lines rather than curves.