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  • Black and white home office ideas

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    These striking black and white offices have been styled by House Doctor to show off some its newest home office products, but it highlights many great ideas for styling monochrome workspaces. I've added some of my favourite workspace styling tips below.

     

    House Doctor desk accessories

    How to style a black and white home office

    1. I love an inspiration or moodboard of any type. The large noticeboard uses washi tape and small bulldog clips like these gold foldback clips to arrange a collection of inspirational black and white images. Even when I worked in a corporate environment I added a little washi tape here or there to tape financial calendars to the wall! In the below photo the noticeboard adds brightness and texture to an otherwise dark space and can be easily refreshed when you're bored of the images! 

    2. A half-painted wall, contrasting shelves or shelf brackets, or in this case a white floor, can help break up the space. Dark walls may look better in styled photographs that they do in real life - dark walls work best in a bright room. An all-dark room may feel a little oppressive. If you can position your desk near a window, it will be a much more productive space. If you're using a black and white theme only, I prefer the walls and desk to be the same colour. Bear in mind the white might not be white enough for your needs if you want it to multitask as a flat-lay background - I've had a few white Ikea trestle tops which haven't quite worked for that purpose.

    Black and white home office ideas

     {Similar to above: smaller letter board}

    Black and white home office

    Black and white inspiration wallgiant bulldog clip

    {Above: giant bulldog clipstailor scissors.}

    black and white home decorating ideas

    {Above: white wire basket, grey wire basket}

    3. A black and white workspace can look a little stark so you might want to introduce some of the following colours and textures which can make it more interesting;

    - grey

    - wooden accessories (the chair above works well) - a light wood such as birch can look great with dark walls, as well as a distressed trestle table, or a sleek modern walnut desk.

    - brown paper

    - gold and brass

    - neon pink

    Below are a few ideas of accessories which work well in a monochrome environment:

     black and white home office accessories

     

    How I decorate my home office

    Although I love the idea of a sleek, modern home office, I'm not much of a minimalist. I've moved offices a few times recently but I tend to repeat the same themes everywhere. These work as decorating ideas for a black and white home office but also in any workspace! I hope to share some photos of my latest space soon.

    1. Add some seasonality

    I like to walk around my area with a secret pair of flower scissors and snip the occasional overhanging flower or even pretty weeds from my local common. I love to tape seasonal dried flowers to the wall or to my pegboard, or make a garland from leaves or dried hydrangeas to add a bit of texture and mark the seasons, and bring in a bit of nature inside. I usually have a few half-dead houseplants or succulents on the go - and would love them to thrive - but I'm really quite attached of the bits of dried roses and dead weeds I've taped to the wall.

    2. Surround myself with inspirational words

    The above office shows a large letter board (find a similar smaller letter board here) and I like to switch over to a different inspirational quote each month. Which are your favourite inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs? 


    3. Monitor my goals

    I'm using a weekly bullet journal to plan out weekly tasks and keep myself accountable. Normally this is more focused on personal goals (going to the gym, having no-spend days) as work patterns can be harder to predict, but as these are integrated into my work day I like to see this clearly displayed in front of me. I tape it onto my pegboard and take great satisfaction in colouring in those little squares (or not) at the end of each day!

    4. Keep things I use often in easy reach

    I like to have everything on hand (even my clothes are on an open rail) so I always have scissors, pens, rolls of washi tape, a cutting board, a scalpel, paintbrushes and watercolours on display in a variety of vintage jars and ceramic yoghurt pots. 

    5. Surround myself with things which are beautiful

    In this dull, midsummer week, I've been lighting summer-scented candles to whisk myself away to the Italian coast. Small details like pretty matches make it a nicer ritual.  I'll also have a little glass teapot to encourage healthy herbal tea habits! I often work in the early evening and don't have brilliant overhead lighting so I also have a stylish but cheap desk lamp I bought from Argos.

    How have you personalised your space?

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    You might also like:

    Behind the scenes at Papermash HQ

    Letter board love

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    Find more home office inspiration on my home office Pinterest board.

  • Blognic London 2017

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    Blognic London 2017
  • 3 easy age gift wrapping ideas

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    It's no secret that I like to gift wrap but I do generally stick to plain brown paper, usually recycled from a delivery. Still, I like to make a parcel a little bit special and today I'm sharing a few very easy gift wrapping ideas which celebrate the birthday age! Some people are extremely sensitive about their age (in my case it is two youngish male friends who steadfastly refuse to tell me their age) so if it's not a landmark celebration, you might want to be sure they'll appreciate it! In my opinion we should celebrate every birthday as in ten years we'll look back and think we were so young! I can remember very little of significance from when I was 30, because it was so long ago, but I meet people with so much anxiety around a big birthday - some as young as 30 even starting to think about Botox!

    Anyway, if you have a friend who's having a significant birthday or who you know makes so secret of the fact, I'm sure they will love the personal touch of any of the below gift wrapping ideas.

    1. Photograph number landmarks and print the photos 

    Polaroid gift wrap

    I've been saving this for ages - it's a photograph of a table outside an Italian ice-cream cafe near Clapham Common bandstand. Just waiting for the 41 year old friend with a summer birthday so I can roll this one out! There's lot of easy services to print your Instagrams or iphone photos. I printed this from the Printic app a few years ago, and it arrived from France within a few days and in a very stylish orange envelope. I've also used Social Print Studio and found their quality also to be good (thicker than Printic, which is nice for a gift tag, though you'll need to order a larger quantity.) 

    If you spot an appropriate number while you're out and about, you can easily photograph it and save it for an appropriate birthday! Can anyone suggest a number-themed hashtag on Instagram to give us some ideas of where to go and be snap-happy? Or if you know any good London number spots, please share the location in the comments!

    (Tape: similar glitter tape here.)

    2. Look out for vintage ephemera

    I bought the below old price labels at Chiswick car boot sale in West London, which had (at least the time I went) a stall with all kinds of vintage ephemera and paper. Even if I someday become a minimalist (a change I've seen happen to many as they've gotten older) I expect I'll keep picking up these bits, which make great photo props and it's a bonus if they fit a birthday too! One of my joys is having the time to rummage through my ephemera box of old French comics, sewing patterns, shorthand books and numerous other bits of paper long forgotten by their original owner, but much loved by me. Usually, after a few years have passed, I might consider cutting them up even though it seems like a little bit of a sacrilege!

    For the below I'm waiting for a 42 year old - and unless I'm totally confident of my present-picking abilities, maybe one who's given me a list! (I'm all about the list, by the way.)

    Easy age gift wrapping ideasAlso used:

    Black washi tape

    Black and white bakers twine

    age gift wrap

    3. Decorate with vintage stamps

    Postage stamp gift wrappingpostage stamp gift wrap

    I love decorating with old stamps and always have some in my craft stash. I used to work across the street from Stanley Gibbons in London, and I loved to pop in at lunchtime and to the other traditional stamp shops on the Strand. I'm not sure how many people from my publishing company were using their lunch hour for such pursuits but I loved the history, the specialised nature of it and the clientele. Who exactly is shopping in there? I'm not sure I've ever met a stamp collector in real life but I can see the appeal. Please reveal yourself in the comments if that's you! For crafting and essential gift wrap kit you can buy inexpensive bulk packs in places like WH Smith, who stock lots of designs including these bird stamps. You may have to trawl through your pack a bit to find countries which have age-appropriate currency (see my Polish and Vietnamese stamps below - their stamps come in denominations of 30 and 40 - bonus!) 

    Vintage postage stamps gift wrap

    Which is your favourite? I'd love to hear any ideas you might have! If you have some brown paper and washi tape, there are so many possibilities!

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    Other gift wrapping ideas you might like:

    Wrapping with sheet music

    Sew your own paper gift bags

    Liberty print gift wrap

    Gift wrapping supplies from here.

  • Why I use a mid year diary

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    I've been using a mid year diary for many years, and these Rifle Paper Co planners sell well every year so I know that many others do too. I don't use one to plan my social life (I have a small handbag diary), and am definitely not a major long-term goal setter, but I've found it really useful to use one for my business. Here's a couple of reasons why I've found the mid year diary habit a useful tool for Papermash.

    academic year planner

    {Above: Rifle Paper Co lively floral planner.}

    It's easy to understand why people follow the academic year pattern simply because it's something they've been used to since school, and even more so if they work in an educational environment. However, I've had lots of finance jobs (I'm an accountant) and have been used to working in large corporate environments with financial years which end in September. I always associate September / October with new starts and initiatives - the perfect time for back to school stationery! When I'm already planning a budget based on the fiscal year 2017/2018, it's easy to associate myself with 2018 when we're still in 2017. Occasionally I've even signed a cheque with the wrong year!

    Rifle Paper Co 2018 planner

    {Above: Rifle Paper Co floral foil planner.}

    I like to use a Rifle Paper Co mid year diary to plan my social and press content.  I'm not a brilliant advance planner for anything else (my Myers Briggs profile can attest to that! - borderline INT but extremely P, in case you're interested!) so I find it works well to have a diary which easily forces me to think a little further ahead and think outside the calendar year. It's easy in the rush from July onwards to concentrate all my efforts on Christmas,a predictably busy time of the year, and then find come December that I've made no effort whatsoever to secure any press for January to March. I can't always pull it off at the last minute as many magazines work at least 3 months ahead. I find that a diary which runs from August onwards prompts me to think about these key periods just at the period I could be completely consumed with planning for Christmas, even though January can be one of my busiest months of the year!

    mid year diary

    {Above: Rifle Paper Co herb garden planner.}

    These Rifle Paper Co 2017 2018 planners also help me to follow up Christmas contacts in the following year.  I can make notes in the latter half of 2017 as to when journalists usually style their Christmas shoots and shopping pages (there's a wide variety depending on the magazine) and as the diary is for 17 months (from August 2017 - December 2018) I can add a note in the same month in 2018 to remind me to contact key people at the right time so it's neither too early or too late. It does take a little juggling as I start a new diary each August (I don't massively see the benefit of a 17 month diary apart from the reason above) but I just concentrate on copying those key contacts over. As I have had these diaries since May I can still plan way in advance and there isn't too much overlap.

    Of course you don't need a paper diary to plan ahead further than the end of the year but it works for me.

    If you have a specific reason for using a mid-year or academic year diary, and it's not because of schoolday habits, I'd love to know why! And if you are a person who has a five year plan (a totally foreign concept to me) I'd love to know if that has helped you push your dreams forward?

    All the 2017 2018 diaries above are available here. I have some other notepads and planners I use to manage my business on a weekly basis (some digital tools too), which I'll share another time! I'll have to plan that into my diary ;)

    ---

    Why should I buy a Rifle Paper Co planner?

    1. The quality is excellent. One of the reasons I stock a wide range of Rifle Paper Co products is that their quality is consistently good. In the 7 or so years I've been stocking their products, I've had to return at most 1 or 2 items. With an online shop, quality is particularly important as you can't see the item in real life. With Rifle Paper Co I don't have any concerns - I can stock something without seeing a sample and know the paper quality, for example, will be good.

    2. You're a planner addict and you'll appreciate and cherish it! Some friends were looking at my website recently and they couldn't believe how expensive a planner is. These people are not my target customer! Our planners are comparable or not much more expensive than other designer brands such as Kate Spade if you work out the price-per-use (one of my favourite excuses in life!)

    3. You're a stationery lover and you appreciate the finer details! Here's some of our favourites:

    - All of the planners have a spiral binding (the smaller ones have an outside covered binding) so they lie flat.

    - They have a little pocket in the back with a ruler feature, handy for storing receipts.

    - Each week has an inspirational quote. This is my absolutely favourite feature. Here's a sample of a few you'll find inside:

    "Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul." - Henry Ward Beecher

    "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." - Auguste Rodin

    "A book gives knowledge, but it is life that gives understanding." - Hebrew proverb.

    Why shouldn't I buy a Rifle Paper Co planner?

    1. You're fussy about UK bank holidays. Rifle Paper Co is a US brand, so it lists US bank holidays only. I think we only have a few bank holidays that are UK-specific so I'm able to keep track but you might want to write these in.

    2. You want to fit it in your handbag. For organising my own social life, I use a slim handbag diary. These planners are a little chunky -  the spine on the standard planners is approx. 30cm. I don't want to carry it around all day.

    3. You won't use a 17-month planner. I've explained above how I use a 17-month diary for my business but I have to admit I don't totally see the point of it for everyone - you might be better waiting for the Rifle 12-month diary which follows a normal calendar year.

  • Letter board ideas

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    I've loved seeing our letter boards pop up on Instagram around the UK and Europe, with its fun and inspiring quotes and interesting surroundings.

    These beautiful quotes in their lush green setting are from UK blogger Jeska of Lobster and Swan. We love her Instagram feed and have been reading her blog since the very early days. She's one of the most talented stylists we know and I'm so happy to see our letter board in this happy green environment (my plants don't thrive for long). 

    Letter board

    letter board uk

    The letter board has also been popping up in Austria, in the home of blogger Lily of Stilles Bunt. She shares stories of family living in her bright, white home. Can you spot our citrus floral recipe tin? I love her quirky coffee quotes and family mantras.

    Stilles Bunt

    Stilles Bunt kitchen

    Retro letter board

    I love seeing how you style our products - please tag us on Instagram @papermashuk so we can spot them! You can buy your very own letter board right here.

  • Liberty print washi tape

    Comment

    I love the patterns on this Liberty print washi tape (now discontinued.) I created a couple of easy gift wrapping ideas using a patchwork design and also a flower design created with my trusty scalpel. I hope they give you some inspiration for spring!

    I've also rounded up 10 easy-to-copy washi tape wrapping ideas I've tried out over the years. If you sign up to our mailing list, you'll receive our free PDF with ideas that I guarantee will inspire you!

    Liberty print gift wrapping

    Meri Meri Liberty print

    Liberty print washi tape

    We've used these items in the above:

    - Pink and white bakers twine 

    Check out our range of patterned washi tapes here.

    Sign up for our free PDF here.

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     You might like these previous gift wrapping ideas:

    - Sew your own paper gift bags

    - Christmas carol gift wrapping ideas

    Christmas wrapping ideas

  • Valentines washi tape postcards

    Comment

    For Valentines Day, I wanted to combine a few of my favourite things; washi tape, vintage postcards, and a bit of stitching on paper! 

    Stitched washi tape postcards

    I like to root around at car boot sales for old black and white postcards, but for these I used our Paris postcards (they aren't too thick, so they're good for machine stitching) and washi tape from our neon and bright colours sets. I thought Paris would be perfect for a romantic theme! 

    Valentines postcards

    I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to trace a heart to stitch around.

    I used a few different stitches, including plain and zig zag stitches. It's easy to stitch through washi tape as it's very papery in texture.

    Paris postcards

     

    It was so much fun experimenting, and they'll make a great gift topper or even a little artwork to frame!

    See more of our paper stitching here:

    Sew your own paper gift bags

    Star advent calendar.

  • Make wrap mingle

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    We had such a great day a few weekends ago at the #makewrapmingle afternoon we hosted with Zeena Shah. It was a crafting bonanza, with gift wrapping demonstrations from Geraldine from Little Big Bell, confetti crackers, secret envelope making and lots more! We also had lots of stunning hair braids and waves courtesy of Prettly.

    Papermill Studios London

  • Sew your own paper gift bags

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    Make your own wrapping paper
  • Carol music wrapping paper

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    I love all types of ephemera, and went a little crazy buying old Christmas carols books on Ebay recently. I've used different pages to wrap parcels in lots of different ways. You can photocopy the pages to extend them a bit longer but I love the yellowed quality and feel of the original paper.

    Music wrapping paper

    sheet music wrapping paper

    Items used above: silver glitter parcel stickers / lowercase stamps / mistletoe stamps / black ink.

    music note wrapping paper

    Items used above: Black and white bakers twine / glitter letter stickers / jingle bells / gold glitter stars.

    Items used above: Jute twine / brown strung tags / gold star stickers / metallic tape set / copper fairy lights.

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    You might also like:

    - 3 easy age gift wrapping ideas

    - Liberty print washi tape

    - Sew your own paper gift bags

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