*This is paid collaboration with DFS
Someone left a comment on my recent house tour for the US site Apartment Therapy saying that my house wasn’t dramatic or bold or avant-garde enough. They wanted to see darker colours, brighter colours and more statement pieces. But the thing is, that’s just not me and I definitely won’t apologise for that. And you know what makes the best design? Not following trends or what other people think looks good or what you’ve seen in a magazine but what makes you feel happy. I would dread coming home to a house filled with dark colours and pattern and loads of stuff even though I can totally appreciate how all of those things can be absolutely beautiful in someone else’s house. And that is why my bedroom is the calmest, most neutral and most clutter free room in the house – I need peaceful and tranquil decor in order to feel those things myself.
Last month I was lucky enough to be invited up to Derbyshire to visit the DFS‘ Bridge Mills design studio in Long Eaton and celebrate their 50th anniversary as well as having a go at upholstering my own chair. I have decided to move the clothes rail in my bedroom (a temporary clothes storage measure until we can afford built in cupboards) into our spare room as it looks ugly (I do not have a beautifully curated selection of clothes!) and it makes the room look cluttered and unfinished. Therefore, we have a bare alcove and the perfect place to put a new chair, which will make the whole room feel even more tranquil. And I have to say I am so pleased with the result and how well my beautiful New Lark Tub chair turned out. I mean, look at those crisp pleats! Ok, I may have got some – or a lot – of help from one of the wonderful upholsterers who has worked at DFS for thirty odd years (thank you, Russ!) but still, I’m going to claim some of the glory.
And that is the thing about DFS, it truly is a British company from the roots up and employs families who have worked there for decades. They have a huge amount to celebrate in their 50th year including being the market leader by a country mile (fun fact – 1 in 4 of us have a DFS sofa in our homes!), maintaining three upholstery factories and two woodmills across the UK, providing a large amount of work to the communities in those areas as well as investing in the future generations with upholstery apprenticeships every year. Until my visit, I had no idea that every DFS sofa is hand-made to order, many here in the UK; the only part of the process that has been mechanised is the pattern cutting. It was amazing on the day to watch the seamstresses and upholsters at work and to give it a go myself. It was great to meet the DFS design team And not only do they do all the making but DFS has a team and chat to them about the design process and the amazing variety of sofas that they create, based on trends and fabrics they source from all over the world and at international design shows. We even got a sneak peek at some future designs including my favourite, the Joules Patterdale, which is brand new and can be bought online and in store now!
My New Lark Tub chair is absolutely perfect for my bedroom as it’s very comfortable but small enough for this room as well as being low enough to put socks and shoes on easily. I chose the Cream Brushed Plain fabric that is so incredibly soft and it works perfectly with my School House White walls. As I said, I’m not interested in anything dramatic or contrasting in this room as all these neutrals (I’ll show you more of the bedroom tomorrow in another blog post) make me feel so calm and relaxed and they work together so well. When the late afternoon sun hits this room and comes in through the linen curtains I can not tell you how lovely it is especially now I have somewhere so nice to sit. I didn’t replace a chair in here, so I don’t have one to get rid of, but if you do, another amazing thing I learnt about DFS is that they have established a sofa recycling partnership with The British Heart Foundation. They offer DFS customers the option to have their old sofa removed and if suitable, to be sold in one of BHF’s Furniture and Electrical stores up and down the UK, with the proceeds going to BHF. The scheme began in 2012 and has raised £20m so far. Can you believe that? So many more companies need to start establishing schemes like this one.
I’m thrilled with my new bedroom chair and how much more tranquil it has made the room feel. I also had a really wonderful time with the DFS team learning a bit about upholstery and a huge amount about the proud history of this British company. I really hope that they continue to support so many families across Derbyshire for fifty more years to come at least and continue to make such brilliant quality (and such comfy) sofas. I hope you like this new corner of my bedroom even though it’s not very avant-garde – ha!