Garden Trends for 2018

Industrial Style Metal Planter
Inspired by the threat of warmer weather and lighter evenings, March is the time that many people start looking into planning their garden optimistically ready for the upcoming Summer. With websites and garden centres full to the brim of different plants, garden furniture, paving stones and so on, it can be hard to know where to start so we’ve gathered together some of the trends for your outside areas ready to impress your friends and neighbours this year.      
  • Al Fresco All Night – there is nothing quite like eating outside, whether a picnic on the lawn or a more formal dinner, the fresh air makes everything just taste that little better and makes meal times much more of an event (as long as you don’t spend the whole time swatting pesky wasps away!). To take al fresco dining to that next level entirely, why not make the whole experience an outside one? Get bit of a posher Barbecue, or if you want to really impress, we love these pizza oven kits. When the lighting and temperature drops, bring in one of our industrial style firepits alongside plenty of rustic throws and blankets. For long-lasting garden furniture that makes an impact, have a look at our industrial dining tables and industrial bistro tables. Depending on the size of your garden and the amount of people you like to entertain, there are plenty of size and colour options to suit any garden or budget.
 
  • Wabi-Sabi – no, not the really hot pea things that make your nose fizz…this is the ancient Japanese art (much like our shou sugi-ban) of accepting the cycle of growth, decay and death. This is a winner for the lazy gardeners out there, and is about embracing the imperfections (my partner knows all about this!). So let the shrubs grow out and be replaced organically and naturally, and accept them for their imperfect, natural state.
  Industrial Style Dining Table  
  • The Pantone colour for 2018 is purple, and this should not be just used in your interior. Focus the colour across your plants with a mix of beautifully pungent lavender, clematis and catmint. If your fingers aren’t that green, bring purple into your garden with our purple chair cushions or get us to create a custom made purple table top for an industrial style dining or bistro table for you.
   
  • The trend for growing your own vegetables is getting even bigger, and with more of us not wanting to pay out for expensive vegetables in the supermarket that go against our sustainability values by being shrouded in plastic and flown in from other countries when out of season it makes sense to utilise on any space that you have available. Even the smallest garden can have potato bags or window boxes for herbs, and nothing tastes quite as good as your own, in-season, grown from seed veg. It’s a great way of getting exercise, the kids love being involved in the process and you’ll be set up nicely in case of a zombie apocalypse.
  aloe vera image
  • Being in a garden or outside always makes you feel that little bit healthier and optimistic about life, but the trend of healing is going to be big this year. Growing plants which have health benefits and can grow in this climate include aloe vera – simply cut the plant to release the gel to act as a treatment for burns, or as a moisturiser, lavender – sprinkle on pillows once dried to aid restful sleep, camomile – make into a tea to aid sleep and toothache and rosemary which can help your memory and digestion.  Have a look at this website for more information on how to grow them and use them in the best way.
 
  • With companies offering yoga to their staff and children taking part in mindfulness sessions in school, it’s not surprising that this trend has spilt over into the garden as well. Taking time for the moment, appreciating what you have and clearing your mind to notice what is around you are all good for the soul and general well-being, so much so that even the NHS is advocating it. In the garden this can be as simple as gathering your thoughts on your patio before dashing off to work, carrying out your sun salutations on your driveway (I had a neighbour who did this and she always looked really calm so it must work) or even just the simple act of gardening. Mary Berry CBE, President of the National Gardens Scheme, says: “I have long been aware of the therapeutic benefits of gardening and visiting gardens and how being outside in lovely surroundings, in the fresh air, is so good for our wellbeing.” Well, if it’s good enough for the queen of cakes….
   

Small Living Room Ideas

red dining table

We can all do with some small living room ideas as most of us don’t have Downton Abbey size rooms.

There sofas, side tables and rugs are placed around a room with care given to where antiques are going to be put or if one’s butler can navigate around them. In the real world cosy small living areas are of course more common than larger ones and so small living room layouts need to be optimised to prevent overcrowding and furniture claustrophobia. Space can however be filled cleverly, meaning that a room can feel airy and open even if your living room  space is at a premium.

It just takes a few clever ideas and arranging to make a perfect small living room layout.

  1. De-clutter! My general rule of thumb for small space living is that if it hasn’t been used in the past year, it’s probably not going to be used again (unless it’s the Christmas Decs still part of the living room interior design in April). Chucking away an treasured dust gatherer is a great way of not only making the area seem bigger, but also gives you less to clean. (whilst  implementing your new small room ideas it’s always worth checking before you throw away random stuff that turns out to a stone picked up on that first date, “but obviously means nothing to you”
  2. Use a colour palette that is light and neutral. Not necessarily Magnolia all the way, but going light on the colours like mushrooms, taupes and light egg blues. On the other hand other Hadley Mendolsohn over at House Beautiful says the opposite and to go for a darker colour though. https://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/living-family-rooms/g2310/small-living-room-decorating-ideas/
  3. Include mirrors in your wall decor – this will increase the natural light in your room and make it look more spacious (as well as being a basic for the vain). Gallery walls of mirrors look fantastic, help you cheat at cards and work really well as small living room decorating ideas.
  4. Move furniture away from the walls to create a feeling of space, and try to get furniture with legs which also helps. Any furniture that’s multi-purpose, such as an Ironfire coffee table that can be used for storage also) will help save space for that all important lego project.
  5. Be clever with your shelving – leave space on them (easy after your declutter as in point number 1), group the same coloured items together on them, and have the shelving high on the wall. All of these will help make your room feel more spacious. And can keep your copy of Fifty Shades of Grey away from curious children. Here’s a link to the flexible Ironfire shelving range
  6. Colour pop your ceiling – this is a bit of a brave one, and one that I have seen on a house viewing that actually had a studded ceiling – but painting the ceiling a darker colour than the walls can elongate the room, again increasing the feeling of being larger than it is.
  7. Leave your windows bare of curtains, or get them to match the walls. I have blinds up at my living room windows and don’t miss curtains at all, even preferring the more naked modern look. We have a small console table placed in the gap between our two windows which works well too.
  8. If you need a Table in the room? Consider a bistro or cafe table that has a central pedestal not four legs. They are much more efficient for seating people and can be pushed against a wall. Ironfire make them in a huge range of colours in different sizes.

And if all of these really don’t help, just go unconventional – who said you need sofas in a small living room anyway?

There’s lots of advice around, we’ve put some links to our Ironfire Industrial feel furniture and here’s some others who share or have other  small space living ideas!

https://www.idealhome.co.uk/living-room/living-room-ideas/small-living-room-ideas-87905

https://www.houzz.co.uk/photos/small-living-room-ideas-and-designs-phbr1-bp~t_10272~a_30-231

Good luck with your project!

Where to Buy Industrial Style Furniture

industrial style furniture
We sell industrial style furniture; anyone who has seen anything of our website or social media platforms will know that our range of coffee tables, console tables, dining tables, bistro tables, chairs and lighting fit into this category as if it was named for them. The industrial style theme is popular for many domestic and business interiors, having developed from the New York loft apartment trend, and is now seen across living rooms, dining rooms, restaurants and offices everywhere. It complements both rustic and modern interiors, and thanks to the strong metals and wooden materials used to produce it, can have a long life where it will stand up to the elements as well as constant use. If you are looking for your base range of furniture to fill up your home or commercial property, we have a great range for your on our site. For shopfitters and interior designers looking to fit out an industrial property which needs a bespoke colour or size, we can produce industrial lights, industrial tables and industrial racking or shelving to suit any branding. Likewise for your home interior. However, furniture is one thing, accessories are quite another! If you are looking to increase the industrial style decor in your home as a whole, here are some more ideas and where to buy industrial style bits and pieces to finish your interior off nicely!   A great website for inspiration is www.redcandy.co.uk. They offer ideas as well as a great range of complementary and striking pieces such as these…   industrial style clock industrial style wall trellis     Also worth looking at are websites such as Black Country Ironworks who produce a plethora of industrial style bits and pieces such as this cast iron cook book stand. industrial style furniture uk   And for really funky cushion covers to match your industrial style decor, Zazzle has some really interesting collections, including the option to take a plain white cushion and customise it with prints that you have found online. industrial style decor   So if you’re looking for the finishing touch to your industrial style decor and interior, I hope these ideas give you some inspiration! If you need any more ideas, have a look at our website where there are images of all of our products, or give us a call on 01985 878795 if you want to talk through options.      

Mothering Sunday Release Servants and Child Labour

Shou Sugi Ban
Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent and the day from which we release our servants and child labour from their mundane tasks to let them visit their mothering church while picking wild flowers for their own mother on the way there….ahhh we remember the 1700’s well and fondly before a time of taking half an hour to pick the right card (Mum takes offence if the words inside aren’t just right), having to book a table for a Sunday lunch well before the end of January to save yourself cooking (I’m a mother too you know!) and having an inner turmoil over whether flowers are a bit too run of the mill for a gift. Mothers are special for the majority of people (to my children at the moment it’s more embarrassing than special but we’re supposed to be, right?) and without argument need some kind of day to be recognised, as a break from the endless drudgery of night feeds, school runs, taxi runs and child minding duties depending on what stage of childhood your little ones are at. For the Next Star Mums competition, the celebration is for Mums who are special for various reasons that break away from the run of the mill mum-reliability. One of the competition nominees, for example, is Lisa Wells, a local mum from Frome who is raising money relentlessly while fighting cancer to ensure her daughters can be looked after once she has died. (More info on Lisa here). The competition has however come under vicious scrutiny for the lack of diversity across its judging panel which consists of white, slim, middle class women (I wasn’t asked on a pure chubbiness factor). I think though that the arguments surrounding the judging panel, while relevant, have actually overlooked the main factor of the competition. Rather than awarding “Mum of the Year” accolades to celebrities such as one of last years winners, reality TV star Amy Childs, these awards are looking at “real” mums who don’t have a sunny holiday every 2 months, a personal chef, waxer, shopper….I could go on. These are REAL mums who don’t ask for accolades, just simply get on with it – and for these nominees, it is in the face of difficulties. For the celebrity mums, the money they have will alleviate many of the pressures of every day life that most of us worry about, yet the pressures that they feel themselves will be of a different angle in which they can be publicly criticised for the way that they live their lives. So why does anyone feel the need to pit women against each other, when everyone is trying their best to do their best for the children, whether tiny or grown up, in their care? Celebrity, unknown, rich or poor, all Mothers should be celebrated on the same level – which is why we think that all of the mothers in the Next Star Mum awards should be equal winners. And not just them. All of us. Don’t wait for your children to buy you gifts to thank you for doing what you do as a matter of course. Treat yourself – whether flowers, chocolates, a massage or an industrial style coffee table (sorry!). And make the day about the wild flowers that your children have picked as a symbol of appreciation for everything that you do.

The Home Bar for the Antisocial

Less and less people are visiting pubs and bars in the evenings now (data source: me, I moonlight as a barmaid) due to the rising costs of alcohol and possibly the current weather situation (snow. I didn’t want to mention it but it’s relevant right now). Having friends round for food and drink is one of my favourite things to do, keeping social events in-house means a cheaper evening as well as not having to worry about getting home, for me anyway! However, a sticky coffee table or worktop is never a good look, so impressing guests with a well put-together mini-bar as seen on Madmen and anyone else who has kept their house 1950’s style has to be the way forward. It doesn’t have to be an expensive minesweep of the alcohol aisle in your supermarket though – so here are our tips on how to impress your guests before they have drunk too many of your homemade cocktails!  
  • Alcohol. Don’t waste money on random spirits that taste of the 1990’s and are going to end up being swigged out of the bottle come 2am. Stick to the basics of good quality Vodka (Cosmopolitans), Gin (Martinis), Rum (dark, white or spiced, or all 3!) and Tequila (Margarita). From these you have the basis for a LOT of cocktails, plus anyone who drinks shorts or shots will likely be drinking one of these. From here, you can build up your collection in the future based on which cocktails you want to serve, and which of your friends are holding onto their teenage tastebuds! (Taboo and lemonade anyone!)
 
  • Mixers. Standard selection – fat cola, thin cola, lemonade and juices! But don’t forget to stock good quality tonic water for the ever-popular G&Ts (Fentimans won this taste test), and soda. If you want to really impress, you can get an old style soda syphon which is also handy for squirting at any overly loud guests!
 
  • Garnishes. Often missed but can add that extra special touch to a drink! Obviously fresh lemon and lime slices, but different brands of gin will work well with different garnishes, so if you have a Hendricks drinker for example, make sure you have cucumber for their drink. Salt is required for the rims of cocktail glasses and tequila slammers; olives for a martini; ice as no-one likes a warm drink, and if you’re serving Babycham then you need maraschino cherries on a stick!
 
  • Glasses. Highballs, martini, rocks…these are probably the main basis for your drinkers, and the aesthetics of a drink are always improved if they’re served in something a bit nicer than a chipped Father Christmas mug!
 
  • Equipment. Nice cocktail shakers, strainers and ice-buckets can be found in lots of online shops and save you stirring your drink with teaspoons….Also worth investing in a nice cocktail book for ideas and inspiration, although there are also lots of apps you can download to help you with how much to add to what. If you do decide to have straws, try to get eco-friendly ones, such as these from eco-strawz.
 
  • Storage. From the information above, you can see that you can add as much or as little as you want to your home bar, which obviously then will help you decide how large or small to go with your storage of it all. Which is where we come in! (I know, you were waiting for the IronFire link to this blog post!). Our industrial style console tables come in 21 sizes so are suitable for any space whether you are intending to stock only 2 gins, or a full range to rival any gin bar. And if you want to go full pelt, with wines, lagers, the lot, have a look at our racking. Newly developed, we can make multiple configurations for a commercial bar space (this isn’t a recommendation for you to start selling your cocktails to your neighbours – I’m pretty sure you need a licence for this) or a larger home bar.
 
  • Nuts. No bar is complete without bowls of nuts, crisps or similar to soak up the alcohol slightly! I know this may be a bit of a wasted effort, but at least they provide a small amount of sustenance for the barperson!
  Never again will your drinks evenings be full of flat cola and cocktails that fail to impress, enjoy, and don’t forget my invite!

Living and Lounging in a Sitting Room

Living room furniture
 

How to design the perfect place to relax

Living and Lounging in a Sitting Room

 
Mine is a living room, my Mum’s is a lounge and my Nan’s was always a sitting room. If you’re being literal all three are right as that’s what you do in them
– live, sit and lounge. Well, more of the latter in our case!
 
For us, the living room is the heart of my family home. It’s where the communal television watching (arguing), homework doing (arguing) and board gaming (arguing) takes place. It’s a regular hive of activity and you’re seldom alone which is why I love mine so much.
I even turn and give it a wistful loving glance when I go up to bed. Thats if it’s left tidy with plumped cushions and neatly drawn curtains of course!
 
Calm and neutral colours are the key for my living room.
Perhaps that’s an unconscious desire to balance out the daily mayhem. I like lots of subtle complementary browns on the walls, furniture, floor and curtains.
Of course this isn’t for everyone though. I get my colour hit from the palette of rest of my home. but if you’re undecided and trying to discover your own perfect style, here are a few tips on how to do it…
 

Colour

As mentioned, subtle isn’t for everyone and I like a neutral base. Bright coloured furniture can be great fun but you need to be brave to commit to it!
If you want more of a lively environment but don’t want to go overboard go for a colour “pop” wall. Remember that paint is easy to change and pretty cheap. So, you decide that your flamingo pink highlight wall is now a bit too out there for you? Change it, it’s not a costly decision that you need to be be stuck with!
 

Rugs

I purchased mine in the first place as damage limitation for our “tea on our knee” evenings.
It was ages before we could remove the piles of books we had to lay to train the edges not to curl up and trip us.
But once they were gone I realised how well it completed the room.
Whatever colour, textile or pattern you choose, ensure that a rug is not too small as it will unbalance a whole room.
 

Wall Decor

I maintain a gallery wall in my living room. It has an antique mirror inherited from my Nan, photos of my children and stars from Cox and Cox.
Gallery Wall
I’ve also put extracts from Bookishly. up among other bits I’ve collected.
These tell a story for me and about me that I love.
This may be too much for some, but don’t leave your walls blank as it can kill the personality of a room. Whether your taste is abstract, Picasso or an Ikea skyline print, show it on your walls!

                                                                                                                 Lighting

I have two Lamps in my room. The first is a Tiffany floor standing lamp for ambience. The other is a basic, but pretty, raffia pendant from Dunelm for everyday, lighting. Chandeliers, colour, spotlights…anything goes as long as you feel comfortable. Make sure though, that you consider task lighting next to chairs for reading.
Als,o think about accent lighting to pick up wall decor or fireplaces. Finally consider your general lighting (usually the big one in the middle!).

Furniture

Start with the basics. Places for glasses and for arses (sorry) and be adaptable, without thinking “I MUST have a sofa and two chairs”.
Sofas come in so many configurations nowadays. I have a 3 seater sofa and a love seat in our bay window, especially for school bags and coats.
So, you don’t have to follow the 3-piece suite tradition. Co-ordinate or clash with materials but insist on stain resistant fabrics.
Otherwise you’ll be following your children round with a spray can of Vanish!
You can also brighten up neutral colours with eye-catching cushions. Coffee tables are great as centre pieces and for storage.
Ironfire industrial style coffee tables are great for interiors whether modern or rustic.
Finally, complete your redec with storage and media centres solutions. They’re great to hide all your random stuff in and pretend that you are a tidy person.
Our gorgeous console tables, (in many sizes and colours) can also add a finishing touch!

Summing it all up

If you just don’t know where to start, why not look at employing an interior designer?
It might surprise you to find that many are well within budget. Some will want to complete an entire room and do the shopping for you too.
There are others though, such as Joy Home Interiors, who will just create a mood board to get you going.
 
There is an important point is to remember about all this. It’s that whatever you do in your Sitting, Living, Lounge, Den, Girl cave or whatever you want to call it. Its’s there to bring you all together and have a great time – so make it all about you. Whatever your style!
                 

February 14th? Have we Missed Something?

Bistro Table Red Top - Red Cushion
Obviously today (Valentines in case you didn’t know) is a day for love – whether you receive a huge bouquet at work (11am and I’m still waiting, thank you text is composed and ready to send), or relish the handmade cards sent to you by your off-spring, of which the thought that has gone into can mean so much. ironfire stunning furniture table So here I am searching for angles for linking a furniture blog to Valentines day without being cheesy, predictable or trying just to sell you a table that we have painted the colour of love for you…not an easy task. Please bear in mind that we do make red tables, whether bistro for that romantic meal for two, dining for a larger love party or coffee for a more laid back evening of mutual appreciation but I’m sure that if you bought your significant other a table for Valentines, it probably wouldn’t be appreciated quite so much as a dozen red roses, chocolates or something more personal and special (note – check ring size before purchasing).   Valentines was romanticised thanks to Shakespeare and Chaucer. Which should be taken into mind when we see how so many of Shakespeare’s lovers meet their demise. We carry out all furniture design, manufacture and delivery within proper health and safety protocols so no early demises here. Likewise, daggers, cauldrons and poisons are also banned substances in the workshop. In the Middle Ages, girls and boys would pick a name from a hat to choose their Valentine, and this would be pinned to their arm for a week. This is the origin of the saying “wearing your heart on your sleeve”. In the IronFire office there are only two girls, so we would not want to have to spread ourselves so thinly in the name of fairness. We will therefore not be partaking in the wearing of our hearts on our sleeves but Kiran has brought everyone in Jammie Dodgers with hearts on if that counts? Andy from ironfire For the Romans, Valentines was a jolly old time in which they celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The dogs and the goats did not have such a jolly old time though, as they were sacrificed and then their skins were used to whip the Roman women with in the belief that it made them fertile. We don’t use any dog or goat products in the production of our furniture, in fact they are all 100% vegan. We also do not believe in whipping our workers for any reason; fertility, efficiency or otherwise. (He’s smiling underneath the mask). If you have not received any letters of love, don’t fancy being hit with a goat skin or sharing your crush with everyone on your sleeve, don’t despair. February the 13th is now known as Galentines day – a day to celebrate with your platonic girlfriends (you’ve missed that one this year unfortunately) or just hold on until tomorrow (February 15th) and treat yourself to some flowers on S.A.D (Single Awareness Day).   But here at IronFire, we’re just going to carry on eating our Jammie Dodgers before we all give up biscuits for lent a day late!        

Online furniture photography: Location, Location, Location

Living room furniture

Online furniture photography: it’s all about location

As an online furniture manufacturer, we know it’s hard to visualise how furniture can look in a home. We also believe that great photos of our furniture is a really useful tool for us. Striking images of our products are really important for our website but also for our social media. We also wanted to help our customers see what we do when we are designing and manufacturing our tables, chairs and other IronFire products.

Living room furniture - online furniture blog

yakisugi with green finish wood online furniture

A ‘hero shot’ involving as many of our products as possible has been a goal of ours for a while now.  We have however had to take several factors into consideration. Firstly, which products to include? Our range is so diverse that this has been a real learning curve for us!

Then we needed to consider in which context to photograph them. Our current favourite finish is using a Yakisugi process. This involves burning the wood to create a stunning finish, and has proved popular with customers.

At the same time another favourite is our rustic oak.  Rustic OAK It’s a safer option than our funky reds and blues but a true classic that’s popular with clients. It is a versatile option for any domestic or commercial setting of course.

With the colour sorted, we now needed a location.

As our furniture has an industrial theme, we wanted somewhere that fitted our style. In our heads we had visions of an exposed brick wall background. Sufficient space is also an issue, so sourcing the right location for photographing online furniture became our holy grail!

Lots of Googling ensued, but nothing was quite right…until we remembered Sam’s Kitchen in Frome! It’s an Edwardian building on Catherine Street. Downstairs there’s a busy bistro and cafe but upstairs..exposed brick walls, wooden floors and high ceilings.  There’s a huge window and so plenty of natural light and everything’s Hygge style and cosy with a log burner. We had hit the jackpot and the generous owner was up for letting us use it out of hours.

Usually a perfect spot to relax with one of Sam’s famous hot chocolates, Ironfire took over as they closed. We rapidly transformed the space, not only into an IronFire living room, but also into an IronFire dining room.

upstairs sams kitchen blog ground floor sams kitchen location blog sams kitchen entrance frome

 

Sam’s Kitchen in its natural state!

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On a (strictly business of course) research trip round the Pubs in Frome we had met up with Drew Gardner.

We were fascinated to discover a photographer with an extraordinary and quirky style. We just had to use his skills once we’d been up and seen his etchings (well, shared a pint or two) .

Our faith was repaid and Frome’s own Cecil B DeMille bowled us over. Thanks Drew! You can contact him here.

Our range of online furniture looked completely at home!

In fact it was exactly how we had envisioned a range shot looking  featuring as many of our products as possible. Not to mention the first outing of an IronFire bench, our newest design.

ironfire industrial online furniture

We can’t thank Sam enough for allowing us to use this space.

Sam and his team have since relocated and are now catering an event near you or from their beautiful Barn just outside Bath. Find all the contact details here  We know first-hand from being on our shoot just how welcoming they are, how relaxing they make things and how great their food is. In fact we can’t recommend them enough – from one local business to another  – Thanks for all the support!

How to Buy a Dining Table

Industrial Dining Table
A dining table can be the heart of the home; a place to gather to eat, drink and play games with family and friends whether lively and loud or reserved and polite. (No prizes for guessing which of these my get-togethers resemble!). Varying in size and shape, purchasing a dining table for these spaces can be quite an arduous decision which requires a lot of research and discussion, not to mention the fact that very rarely are dining tables an impulse buy simply due to the cost of purchasing one that is not what we call “fast furniture” (blog here). Bearing this in mind, we have put together some ideas to help you choose the right table for you, to make sure that you spend your money wisely on a piece of furniture that will serve you well for years to come….
  • For longevity, try to stay away from thick veneer and aim for real wood. Veneer will lift up over time and move away from the table, and a good ways of telling if the table is made of veneer is if visible seams can be seen. Real wood is always a better option, both for aesthetics and longevity.
  • Measure your room well – this may seem obvious but you need to take into account if the table will be living in the kitchen, dining or living room; if it is going to be in the way of general everyday traffic and therefore needs to be pushed against a wall, or if it will be permanent and therefore needs enough room to be able to negotiate around. As a general rule, if you leave around 50 inches of space between the back of the chairs and the wall, you should be ok!
  • Don’t discount outdoor materials – these can look rustic, be hardwearing as well as being fire and UV resistant. Maybe draw the line at a plastic picnic table though, unless your guests are really messy eaters!
  • It’s not likely that you’ll be in a position to be updating your dining table as often as other easily interchangeable interior pieces in your home, so see it as a key piece and try to spend as much as you are able on it with the view that it is a long term investment.
  • Do you have children? Lots of parties or events? Look at getting a glass protective top to give you even more life and usage out of it, which also saves you having to cover it with a tablecloth for protection.
  • Don’t be constrained by chairs – why stick to 8 of the same matching chairs when there are so many opportunities to change it up. Use a combination of different chairs with a variety of backs, colours, materials and arms, or even use a bench or two which can be super practical if you need to push these away to create more space, or fit more little bottoms onto!
  • Colour is a great way of injecting life into your living space, but bear in mind that trends change quickly. Use a classic colour such as red or green if you are sure you want colour, or just stick to a classic wood. Black however is a colour that never really goes out of fashion and will complement everything.
  • How many people do you need to allow for? As a rule, people will comfortably need 60cm each, or 70cm if the chairs have arms. Use this measurement to make sure you can fit everyone that you want around your table.
  • Dining Tables are large products. When you have decided on one, make sure that a home delivery option is available, as well as checking if you have to assemble the table yourself or this is also a service that the retailer offers.
There are lots of options out there, and whether you are looking for a table that works in your dining room as well as your garden, a unique industrial table that fits into a modern interior or a rustic hardwearing table for a kitchen, you certainly are spoilt for choice!  

New Year, New Interior?

Keeping on top of interior trends as they change on a seasonal and monthly basis is almost a full-time job in itself, but also something that gives great ideas and inspiration if decorating or updating decor in your home. Personally, I use a variety of well researched sources (good reason to spend hours on Instagram: I’m working, honestly!) to keep “in the loop” with the upcoming trends; from interior bloggers to online interior magazines, all of which provide great ideas as well as new places to look for products or just to give me serious home envy! (Most of which comes from seeing homes that do not have muddy footprints across the beautifully tiled kitchen floors, chocolate handprints on the Farrow and Ball painted walls or plump, succulent cushions that are placed perfectly on sofas and not being used as pugel sticks in a rework of Gladiators!). Kicking off 2018, some of the trends that I have seen being buzzed about include bright colour palettes (crayoned walls do not count apparently) against a neutral sage (if I squint hard enough, my bright green kitchen walls almost achieve this) and funky doors, both interior and exterior. Three of the trends that I like the most though are… The crush on velvet as an indulgent texture – something that brings full on glamour to even the most neutral of rooms simply by throwing (placing!) in a few cushions or even going as far as a luscious sofa. Have a look at lounje for some great velvet sofas and materials which just ask to be stroked.
Bed end by lounje
Velvet bed end by lounje
  Dark, Scandi inspired wood as the movement for natural products heads further away from the light oaks that have been filling homes as standard towards a moodier scheme. Achieve this with IronFire furniture by opting for one of our darker tabletops that have been burnt using our shou sugi-ban technique more than usual. (The beauty being with our tables that when the wooden palette trend inevitably changes again, we can update just the table top for you without having to replace the frame. Clever, no?)
grey
Darker burnt wood options for IronFire tabletops – see more here
  Industrial style metallics  – rather than the rose gold that has been everywhere recently, these have more of a brushed masculine effect and can be used in accessorising quite affectively, or did I mention that we now do a brushed chrome frame for our tables? Look at us being all 2018! new chrome bracket  

Simple Trends for Winter 2017

Winter can always seem so long drawn out and drab that redecorating, or at least revitalising, your interior at this time of year can be a great way of creating a snug and inviting home that almost hugs you when you come in. This Winter, there are many key trends that can not only help your home envelop you comfortably, but also that we feel will compliment our IronFire industrial style furniture in a juxtaposition of the materials and the colours. There are so many to mention that we have picked out just a couple of our key favourites, and all that’s left for you to do is take your IronFire table as a base and then build your winter haven around it.   Grey No, not the sky, but an choice for winter walls that veers away from the bright colours that may be expected. A grey wall does not have to be cold when the right colour is chosen – I have Farrow and Ball French Grey on my bedrooms walls which is an almost green grey that creates a calm environment. This would work well with the dark metal frames of our tables whether as a dressing table in a bedroom, or a console table in a hallway.   Grey Farrow and Ball French Gray   Plaid Straight from the Highlands of Scotland, the dark and warming colours of any plaid or check immediately create a cosiness that warms and cheers. For the more brave hearted (sorry) check an entire wall with a plaid wallpaper. For those a bit more reserved who just want a plaid splash, have a look at Totally Tartan who do a huge range of cushions as well as these great doorstops.   simple trends                   winter trends 2017   Dress Up Your Fire Log burners are all the rage at the moment, heating and creating a gorgeous ambience in the harshest of rooms. Dressed with a mantle or just in a hole in the wall, these are great focal points for a room and manage to be both practical as well as attractive. If you are lucky to have one, rather than using a standard log basket use a steel log and kindling holder to carry on that rustic industrial look alongside your fire.  This matching pair is from Bean Metal Works and can be brought via their Etsy shop.    winter furniture trends   Winter is a great time to really enjoy your home and make the most of it, so add these elements to your home and we’ll see you in the Spring when you emerge after your hibernation!    

The Fail Safe Way to Buy Furniture Online

Industrial style bistro table and chairs
With busy lives and local stores closing down almost daily meaning that shopping options are limited to large out of town shopping centres which can sometimes be an hour or so drive for those living rurally, more and more of us are turning to the internet to buy our furniture. Buying online though is not without risk. Furniture is rarely an impulse, cheap or small purchase – so if it doesn’t fit into your living room, doesn’t match your colour scheme or is of questionable quality, it’s not that easy just to repackage and drop into your local Post Office to return for a refund. As an online only furniture retailer, we understand that these issues, which can be easily missed when viewing a product on a small screen, can put people off of buying online. However, we are passionate about keeping prices low for our customers, and by staying online only we are able to keep our costs down and pass them on. Therefore, to overcome online furniture purchasing worries, we have put together a simple buying guide to ensure that you will be happy and secure when buying our industrial style furniture.  
  1. Do Your Research…From the retailers About page, you should be able to garner information about the retailer such as how and where they make the products, what style of products they sell and how easy it is to contact them. It’s also worth checking out their customer reviews; whether on their own website, their social media or on an online review site such as Trustpilot.
  2. Check out the Shipping Costs…While many retailers offer free delivery, this will actually be rolled into the price of the furniture. Have a look at who they use – if it’s a standard courier rather than delivering themselves, and if they actually deliver into the room of your choice or drop on the doorstep.
  3. Does the Store Match Your Style?…IronFire manufacture industrial style furniture. If your style is more painted oak, then we’re probably not the store for you! If you know that industrial style furniture is your thing, then the chances are that you will like what you see on our website, and that will then translate to you being satisfied with what you buy when it is delivered and in situ in your home.
  4. Look at Photos…Does the retailer offer multiple images of the product? Have a look at their social media sites as well to get other angles, other colour options, or maybe even to see images of the products in customers homes.
  5. Read the Description…If you want solid wood, avoid anything that is described as “veneer” or “composite”. This is an easy way to be caught out and ensure that you will not be happy with the product that you have purchased. Likewise, if being environmentally friendly is important to you, make sure that the wood being used by the company is sustainably sourced from an FSC approved supplier.
  6. Check your Measurements…Don’t assume that something will fit just because it looks like it will. Check heights, widths and lengths of products against the size of the space in which you want it to go. If you can’t find the details you want, or need to be doubly sure, then call the furniture retailer who should be more than happy to help you with any measurement queries.
  7. Double Check Colours…Sometimes images of the same colour can differ simply down to lighting or angle. If you like something but are not 100%sure, contact the company to get them to send you another image. Our colour range is so varied that we are asked to do this on many occasions and are more than happy to oblige.
  8. Make Sure you Shop From a Secure Site…Online identity theft is a growing concern that can not only clear your bank account but also waste a lot of time in trying to resolve. When buying from a website, make sure that the website address changes from http to https which indicates that a site is secure and you are safe to buy from it.
  9. Do You Have to Make it?…Finally, don’t forget to find out if your purchase is going to come fully assembled or flat packed. If you are expecting to come home to a dining table fully made and ready to eat at, it can be a bit of a shock to find yourself facing a pile of flat boxes, a screwdriver, and an evening arguing over the inevitable left over screw and where it goes!
  So in conclusion, although it may initially be a daunting prospect to make such a large purchase online, by taking into account the points that I have made and by using a company that is a ‘good’un’,  you could actually end up with a good quality piece of furniture that will last for years and has saved you money on buying from a bricks and mortar shop. Happy shopping!

Bonfire Party the IronFire Way

ironfire bonfire night industrial furniture
Bonfire Night is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated social nights of the year; steeped in traditions regarding the food you eat, the games you play and bringing neighbourhoods and friends together to set fire to things!   ironfire bonfire   Never a company to shy away from an excuse for a social experiment, here is our tried and tested guide to having an IronFire Bonfire Party…  
  1. A Huge Bonfire – an essential for a bonfire night party! Ours was built well in advance, away from buildings and anything flammable, and fully checked for wildlife before lighting. And here’s our tip with regards to the bonfire: they give off a lot more heat than you actually think they will, so get your guests to wear layers otherwise you may find yourself with a bunch of naked fire dancers on your hands.
  2. Guests – obviously if you are happy partying on your own then that’s fine also, but we have found that a team of people who get on well both in the office and workshop as well as they do in a field around a fire is a bonus for a party and gives you people to “oooooh” over the fireworks with.
  3. Lighters – thirty people, one hundred sparklers and one lighter…this doesn’t bode well for efficient sparkler lighting.  ironfire bonfire party
  4. Games – apple bobbing, spooky walks, eat the doughnut off of the washing line without touching it…all great ideas to keep the kids away from the wine, wash off the Halloween face paint and scare them into staying by your side all night so they don’t get caught up in the B&M spider web that is adorning the branches in the dark.
  5. Food – our amazing host provided meat chilli, veg chilli, jacket potatoes, pigs in blankets, the most amazing homemade guacamole…suitable for all coeliacs, vegans and fussy children who attended. If you don’t have the energy or will to be as good a host, then we suggest serving the food outside so no-one really knows what they are eating. (disclaimer: we don’t recommend this if you have guests with bona fide allergies). Ironfire Team Dinner
6. IronFire Furniture – this is an IronFire blog, of course I’m going to get it in here somewhere! A great big IronFire table that seated all of us in front of the fire, and an IronFire planter topped with an IronFire Firepit for the children to toast marshmallows on – the perfect end to an IronFire Bonfire party.   Ironfire Furniture and party   Ironfire Bornfire Party   If you need anymore help with planning a party and want to do it the IronFire way, or just want to bulk up your guest list, don’t hesitate to let us know! In the meantime, we’re off to plan the Christmas one…….    

An IronFire Halloween

The carving of pumpkins, decorated with scary faces or images linked to Halloween (or StarWars pictures if your street is anything like ours!) and lit up with candles are synonymous with the Halloween season. This is something that has grown massively in recent years in the United Kingdom compared to what it used to be and now sees the majority of homes with one of these carved vegetables sat on their doorstep or in their window. The practise of carving pumpkins originated in Ireland from an Irish folktale about ‘Stingy Jack’ and was originally carried out on large potatoes or turnips, only transferring to pumpkins when Irish immigrants took the tradition over to America. Now seen in huge displays in UK supermarkets, recent figures suggest that 2 in every 5 Britons buy a pumpkin in October (with 3 children who have very different ideas of what can generously be described as pumpkin art so requiring a pumpkin each, I am definitely included in these statistics). In the USA, the common practise is to use the flesh to produce dishes such as pumpkin pie once the carving has been complete thus making full use of the entire vegetable. In the UK however, we are less likely to do this and therefore waste an astonishing 18,000 tonnes of potentially edible pumpkin flesh every year! At IronFire, we believe in sustainability and making use of as much as we can – so after the carving of our pumpkins, we passed the flesh over to Kiran, the appointed IronFire chef, to do what she could with it….   Pumpkin Risotto INGREDIENTS 1 small pumpkin  (may only need half of the flesh) 1 small red onion 850mls vegetable stock 1 garlic clove 350g Arborio rice Salt & pepper Olive oil   METHOD Cut and deseed the pumpkin, drizzle with olive oil and roast in oven, 180 degC until soft and starting to brown.  In saucepan fry onion until soft, add garlic, salt & pepper.  Add rice and coat with juices in pan before adding 1/3 of stock, simmer and stir occasionally.  As liquid reduces, gradually add balance of stock. When most of the liquid has been absorbed add chucks of pumpkin and finish cooking until the rice is soft and the liquid fully absorbed.   With the spare roasted pumpkin, why not try using it in soup? In a large pan, fry an onion until soft, add a finely diced large carrot and cover with vegetable stock, simmer until carrot is soft.  Add remainder of pumpkin and cover again with stock, when warmed through blend until smooth.  
Kiran’s pumpkin soup on ironfire table
Kiran’s pumpkin soup
  See the image below for our risotto serving recommendation for Halloween parties! (Could also be used for serving the soup but we take no responsibility for any mess it may cause)  
ironfire halloween
Halloween Peppers

Hygge? Lagom? Why can’t we be both!

ironfire planters industrial style
2016 was Hygge, 2017 was Lagom…the influence of Nordic trends has made a massive impact on consumers and social media users and their ways of life – what they buy, where they buy it and in fact if they decide to buy it at all. The theory behind the Danish trend of Hygge – in the Oxford dictionary as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded a a defining characteristic of Danish culture)” is a warming sentiment. The Danish are considered to be some of the happiest people in the world and to be hyggeligt is to recognise and enjoy the present. Whether this is alone or with friends (or strangers if that makes you happy!), it is imperative that at that moment in time you feel contented and comfortable. The appreciation of this can be as simple as lighting a favourite candle to create ambience, or enjoying a social event – involving simple rituals in your life that take you away from the dullness of the everyday slog and give you a ready brek type internal glow. Hygge was a huge influence in 2016, but then in 2017 the Swedes took over the English obsession with Nordic phrases with Lagom. In contrast to Hygge which involves adding elements to your life to make you comfortable, Lagom is about concentrating on the essentials and paring back your life – putting balance and moderation into everything that you do. “Not too little, not too much, just enough” is one of the best ways to apply Lagom; and it is about life as a whole. Unfussy, sustainable and confident; living the Lagom way of life means having only what you need and appreciating what you have. There seems to be a belief that you can have a Hygge life, or you can have a Lagom life, but you can’t have both. Surely though, with these lifestyle trends, both of which advocate feelings of happiness in your surroundings, appreciation and contentedness, why not take the best elements of both and apply them to your lifestyle in a way that makes you happy? If Lagom is a way of life – using sustainable products and being frugal – then let us live this functional way of life and pepper it with Hygge moments to maintain a feeling of satisfaction when the minimalist living is getting too much (or not as the minimalist case may be)! Being very British and definitely not Scandinavian (apart from our website guru who is part Nordic and helps us pronounce “Hygge”), at IronFire we think that the best approach is to embrace your favourite principles of each to help you live a contented life that benefits both your happiness, and that of the people and planet around you. But what is next? With 2018 fast approaching, is another Nordic lifestyle trend on the pared back but cosy horizon? A feeling that you have no intentions of going out but are instead going to stay at home and get drunk in your underwear anyone? This is the definition of the Finnish word “Kalsarikännit”. We’re hoping that as we indulge more in it, it gets easier to say. Sounds to us like a great lifestyle trend and one that will be very popular (just make sure you recycle your bottles, wear underwear that is made of natural fibres and light a candle to make sure that you maintain Hygge and Lagom while doing it). So at IronFire, how do we use these trends – all of which we admire – in the production of our furniture? We use sustainable sources and local products in the manufacture of our tables and chairs, and guarantee longevity so that constant replacement is not an issue. Wood warm finishes in natural colours; tables that people just want to gather around, and our great prices and customer service that give you a feeling of comfort while purchasing and using our furniture. And our staff? We’re just over here indulging in Kalsarikännit while you decide which of our tabletops you want…..