Bed Buying Guide

Finding the right bed isn't just crucial for your home decor, it’s your ticket to sweet dreams, good health and lazy Sundays spent under the duvet with a book and a cuppa.

If you're baffled by bed frames or dumbfounded by divans, you can clear things up with our simple bed buying guide. You’ll find fast facts on all the bedroom furniture you need and a handy bed dimensions guide designed to make sure you get a peaceful night's sleep.


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WHICH BED: DIVAN OR BEDSTEAD?
Hypnos mattress

While each design in our selection has its own aesthetic appeal, there are many different practical considerations to make. Here's a summary of our most popular bed options.

Divan

Divan beds are simple, streamlined block shapes without a head or footboard. They come in two or more sections for easy transportation which join together to sit side-by-side on your floor. Each style can be upholstered with your choice of fabric. Choose between extra-soft cushioned springs or firmer padding to support your chosen mattress.

Additionally, divans often come with a variety of different storage solutions, which makes them ideal if space is at a premium. Built-in storage options include a single end drawer, two-drawer or sliding four-drawer set-up, perfect for storing additional bedding.

Wooden bed frame

Divans typically come in one of three styles:

  • Platform edge: A frame consisting of a solid top and base offers firm support to the mattress placed on top of it.
  • Sprung edge: An open coil sprung layer covers the strong, durable surface. This option provides a softening effect to the mattress placed above.
  • True edge: A pocket spring or open coil that's fully sprung, allowing the mattress and base springs to mould to the body. This style can improve mattress durability.

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Black metal bed frame

Bedsteads

Also known as bed frames, these offer a more derative approach thanks to their headboard and footboard. Frames support the mattress with one of two different types of slats: sprung or static. Sprung slats are more responsive, while static slats offer firm support.

Bed frames come in a wide range of styles. The main materials you’ll see are metal, wood and upholstered outers. These all have their benefits, so it's worth making an informed choice.

  • Wooden bed frames have been crafted to give you durability, strength and an attractive finish to suit your bedroom. From natural pine and oak to brightly painted contemporary bedsteads, there are plenty of versatile options to go with your existing decor.
  • Metal bed frames are modern and will fit perfectly into a minimalist bedroom. They generate a sleek look and withhold wear and tear well over time, so make a good long-term choice.
  • Upholstered bed frames come in leather or fabric, and bring textural appeal to a room. Solid bold frames are a punchy block of colour, while button-back styles add warmth and texture.

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BED DIMENSIONS
Bed dimensions

Your bed and mattress are made to match up identically in size, so there shouldn't be any overlap or gaps where coins and socks can get lost. Consider the size of the room it will inhabit and how much wiggle room you need to sleep comfortably.

Here are the dimensions for each bed size from small single to super king:

  • Small single 75cm x 190cm (2'5" x 6'2")
  • Single 90cm x 190cm (3'0" x 6'2")
  • Small double 120cm x 190cm (4'0" x 6'2")
  • Double 135cm x 190cm (4'5" x 6'2")
  • Kingsize 150cm x 198cm (5'0" x 6'6")
  • Super King 150cm x 198cm (5'0" x 6'6")
TOP TIPS FOR BUYING A BED
Pale pink and neutral rustic bedroom

Try before you buy

Shop around and try out various options, making sure you mimic your natural sleeping positions to get the best idea of the right style for you.

Consider the whole package

Your divan or frame should work in conjunction with your mattress, pillows and bedding. The mattress is especially important as it needs to fit on your base, but it’s also worth considering whether your sheets and linen will suit your new bed.

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Take account of the bedroom

While you’re at it, consider whether your new addition will suit the bedroom itself. There’s the size to consider, but also the decor. Perhaps the new bed can be an excuse to redecorate?

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How to Make Jam

Are you considering trying your hand at making your own preserves or jams? There’s never been a better time to do so. Learning how to make jam can be undertaken at leisure as a relaxing and productive activity. With our guide (and the right utensils and gadgets) you’ll be able to concoct mouth-watering creations that will rival any shop-bought version. From the tastiest ingredients to how to sterilise jars, we’ve got you covered.

WHAT CAN YOU MAKE WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT?
Orange, raspberry and apricot labelled jam jars

Before you start looking for that perfect strawberry jam recipe, it helps to be clear what outcome you are aiming for so that you select the right technique and ingredients. The typical process of boiling sugar and crushed fruit produces jam, but if you’d like to end up with whole pieces of fruit suspended in syrup, then you need to find a recipe for preserves.

On the savoury side, fruits and vegetables that are seasoned always produce chutneys, while pickles are created when larger pieces have been preserved in a salt and vinegar solution.

WHAT KIND OF PRODUCE SHOULD I USE?
Birds-eye view shot of fresh fruit

Almost all types of fruit and vegetables can be used to make jam or preserves. It’s a great way to use extra produce that might otherwise end up languishing in the fridge. Where possible, working with what’s in season will ensure that you will always have an abundant supply to get started with.

There are a few guidelines that you can follow to increase your chances of success. When creating jams, opt for naturally sweet, slightly under-ripe fruits such as berries for a deliciously tart result. When preserving, fruits with a low water content – such as apples, cherries and pears – tend to achieve the best results.

WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
Cream stoneware pot on stove with kitchen utensils nearby

You will probably find that you already have knives and peelers for preparing your ingredients, as well as saucepans for the actual cooking. Depending on how much jam you plan to make, you’ll also need a selection of jars and a thermometer for measuring when your jam is ready to set.


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HOW CAN I PREPARE MY JARS?
Set of 3 retro floral print glass jars

As jams and preserves need to be poured into freshly sterilised jars, it’s a good idea to proceed with this step when you’re just about ready to begin. Sterilising your jars and lids is very important as it ensures that whatever you place in them won’t come into contact with bacteria and spoil quickly.

Not sure how to sterilise jars? Simply pop them in your dishwasher for a long, hot cycle, or place them in the oven for half an hour. Heat-sensitive parts can be boiled in water on your stove for a similar amount of time.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE JAM MAKING AND PRESERVING PROCESS?
Set of 3 clear glass Kilner jars

With your fruits prepared and your glass storage jars sterilised, you’re ready to begin making jam. While the exact process you follow will depend on your recipe, most people start by adding fruit to a saucepan along with granulated sugar, and any herbs and spices you want to add. This step is usually followed by mashing everything together to achieve the desired texture.

Next, you will heat the mixture until it sets. Once your thermometer has indicated that the correct temperature has been reached and maintained, you’ll be able to remove the mixture. After skimming any foam off the surface, you can pour it into your jars, before securing the lids tightly.

The process of preserving is similar. You'll likely blanch your ingredients in hot water to preserve their colour, before adding them to a sterilised jar along with a vinegar-and-brine or sugar solution and leaving a gap before sealing.


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HOW CAN I FIX ANY JAM-MAKING MISHAPS?
Various glass Kilner jars filled with preserves

It’s not uncommon for even seasoned cooks to run into challenges when making jam. Knowing about common pitfalls will help you to rectify them beforehand.

If your jam isn’t setting, you might not have used the correct amount of sugar. This problem is easy enough to remedy, as all you need to do is to return the mixture to heat and gradually add shop-bought pectin (the naturally occurring sugar that allows the jam to set) until the mixture begins to thicken.

If you can still see sugar granules, it means that the mixture didn’t boil long enough for them to dissolve. Does your jam look too cloudy? This usually indicates that the fruit used wasn’t ripe enough or needed to be strained to remove excess pulp. Again, returning it to the heat should sort both of these problems.

Now that you know the basics of how to make jam and preserves, you can begin creating delicious varieties. Whether you choose to keep the result or gift it to others, it’s sure to fly off your shelves.

Small Living Room Ideas

Decorating a small living room can be a challenge, but it's an exciting one. Having less space to work with presents an opportunity to be creative with colour, pattern and statement furniture, as bold choices have immediate impact and can help you to shape the rest of your décor. Of course, it's likely that you're looking to maximise square footage too, which calls for some clever solutions. Our design suggestions and styling tips will help you to take your small living room from compact and busy to elegant and bijou.

PAINT 'ZONES', NOT WALLS
Living room with black walls, palm tree and a sofa

Conventional wisdom says that you should use pale colours to maximise a small space. While this does work, you're likely to end up with a very bland room if you stick to white or anaemic pastel shades on every surface. Rather than covering the whole wall in one hue, create 'zones' which split the space in to sections according to its different uses – so, for example, a blush pink or warm orange framing a cosy reading nook.


Don't be afraid to add colour to woodwork, either. Make a statement by painting the door, skirting boards, window surround or fireplace in a bright hue. This eclectic look, especially eye-catching if your house has period features, allows you to use more intense tones without making the room feel overbearing.


Of course, there's nothing to stop you from painting your entire living room in one shade, if you so wish, and there are benefits to this. Paint colours tend to look different depending on natural light, creating certain 'moods' in rooms at different times of day. A lush green might offer jewel-like tones during the day and become a cosy forest hue at night, synchronising effortlessly with your energy levels and desire to feel cocooned. The effect tends to be amplified in a small space, so if you like your rooms to take on a particular mood, go for it.

DRAW THE EYE AND ADD HEIGHT WITH WALLPAPER
Striped blue and grey wall paper on wall and round with a blue chaise longue

As with paint, you can use wallpaper to create zones within your room, but our advice is to choose a feature wall and use it to draw the eye. Wallpaper has impact alone, but looks even better when used to bring attention to an interesting element of the space, like a beautiful window. Dress with furniture and accessories to enhance your stunning wall-sized piece of art.


A smart way to work with wallpaper in a petite space is to choose a vertical print. It doesn't need to be as regimented as vertical stripes, but a design with a general upward current will seem to elongate the distance between floor and ceiling. Consider the scale of the pattern carefully too. Tiny ditsy prints can suck the eye in and make a room feel smaller, so be bold and opt for something large. Luscious floral or botanical designs can be gloriously modern or have a certain vintage flair, depending on the style and how you choose to accessorise with furniture.


Bold abstract or geometric prints look chic in a simple two-colour design, drawing the eye and complementing the furniture and ornaments.


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WORK WITH THE SPACE
Living room with a lady lying on sofa and a shelf of photo frames

Great interior design makes use of a room's best features. Assess your living space and decide what the natural focal points are. Do you have a striking fireplace? A beautiful bay window? Accentuating these features, whether with paint, wallpaper or accessories, will not only make your room incredibly stylish, it'll also help to distract from the lack of space.


Similarly, decide what it is about your living room that makes the small square footage feel even smaller. Low ceilings with low hanging pendant lights can feel very heavy, for example. One option is to remove overhead lighting altogether and instead use several lamps dotted about to provide uplighting and a warm ambience. With the ceiling light removed, your space will feel immediately larger.


If you have wooden floors in your living room, don't be tempted to cover them with carpet. Floorboards will naturally elongate a space, and they're far easier to decorate around than a carpet which may clash with your desired wallpaper or colour scheme.


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CREATE FOUNDATIONS WITH FURNITURES
Living room with a dog on the sofa and frames hanging on the wall

When considering living room decor for a small space, furniture that is simple and lightweight could help the room to feel more spacious.


Dual purpose furniture is ideal for compact rooms. Seating or footstools that double as tables are versatile and great for making quick changes when guests come over. They'll take up less room than a chunky rectangular coffee table. If you can find items that also provide storage, space-stealing clutter can be whisked away without seeming to take up any more room.


A smart furniture layout will allow your carefully curated pieces to shine and look charmingly busy without feeling crowded. We suggest spacing the furniture like a sofa or table in each of the different zones of the room, then use accessories to add character and make the room flow effortlessly.


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HOME ACCESSORIES
Neutral room with long draping curtains

Soft furnishings and accessories can really improve a compact space. A small room will, of course, benefit from lots of natural light. Allow it to flow in by choosing lightweight curtains made from cotton or linen. Accentuate a tall ceiling (or create the illusion that you have one) by mounting the curtains well above the top of the window, and choose a floor length style for maximum impact.


Now that you've welcomed in the light, reflect it around the room with a strategically placed mirror. Hang a large one on a wall adjacent to the window for the best effect. Alternatively, you may want to draw attention to a focal point, like a fireplace, by hanging the mirror above it. Mirrors naturally make rooms feel more expansive, so regardless of location, your room will benefit.


It's not only curtains that you should hang high; placing shelves and picture frames higher up the wall again makes a room seem taller by drawing the eye upwards. Thinking vertically allows extra space for storage, keeping potential clutter away from ground level.


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Redesigning your living room with a couple of tricks and tips to maximise space will breathe fresh life into your home and allow you to make the most of what you've got.

Glassware Buying Guide

With so many types of glass available, it can be tricky to determine your crystal from your soda, however our buying guide makes the quest much easier. From champagne (or prosecco) flutes to a chalice for your favourite ale, we’ve got glassware covered; time to get the corks popping…

MATERIALS
Buying Guide Glassware Materials

Soda Glasses

Soda glasses are generally inexpensive, which makes them perfect for everyday use. They often come in a range of colours.

Crystal Glasses

Crystal is heavy and durable making it the perfect choice for high quality glasses.

Lead Crystal Glasses

Lead crystal has a higher index of refraction than normal glass and therefore it has more of a sparkle. Lead crystal is the clearest and heaviest of all glassware and is the ultimate in luxury dining.

WINE GLASSES
Buying Guide Glassware Wine Glasses

White Wine

White wine glasses are a narrower and smaller tulip, which allows chilled wines to maintain their temperature for longer. There is also less need to aerate the wine.

Red Wine

Red wine needs a wider, rounder bowl that allows the wine to breathe. This not only allows maximum exposure to the air, but also adds a note of drama to the table. This style of glass directs wine to the tip of the tongue.

Champagne Flutes

One of the most recognisable pieces of glassware is the narrow champagne flute or tulip. This prolongs the “bead” (bubbles) of sparkling wine and preserves its chill.

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SPECIAL OCCSAION GLASSES
Buying Guide Glassware Special Occasion

Cocktail Glasses

The ultimate party glass, a short cocktail is best served in a martini glass, whereas a long cocktail with high ratio of mixer to alcohol is served in a hiball.

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Shot Glasses

Designed for drinks with high alcohol content, these are meant to be enjoyed quickly or used as measurements. Perfect for spirits such as tequila and vodka.

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Spirit Glasses

Much like a wine glass, a snifter glass is formed especially for aged spirits. When you cup the bulb of the glass, it releases flavours with the warming effect.

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Beer and Cider Glasses

Just like wine, there are many different types of beer to suit different glasses. Choose a tall, slender glass for a lager, and a shorter, wider glass for bitter.

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Decanter

A wide bowled container that allows the wine to breathe, with a stopper to prevent spillages.

Carafe

A carafe is traditionally used as a container for liquids without design requirements that would affect the taste of the drink.

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GLASS CARE
Buying Guide Glassware Glass Care

Although many glasses can be put in the dishwasher, we recommend that you wash wine glasses by hand with mild dishwashing soap.

To avoid pressure on fragile rims, always store glasses the right way up.

Sofa Buying Guide

From corner to Chesterfield, loveseat to reclining, the right sofa for you is out there. Our range of sofas cater to a variety of tastes and requirements, but first you need to establish exactly what you’re looking for. Here are a few key considerations:


The floor and wall space available in your room


How your sofa will be used – frequently, rarely or perhaps to sleep overnight guests


Whether you need a firm, supportive sofa or prefer plump feather cushions


Which finish suits your lifestyle – suede and sticky fingers don’t mix well!


Our sofa buying guide takes the long work out of this process, helping you to decide which shape, style and material you want.

SOFA TYPES
Grey sofa range in living room

While each high-backed sofa and loveseat in our selection has its own aesthetic appeal, there are practical considerations between types of sofas as well. Here’s our summary of four favourite sofas:


High-back sofas

The extended back of a high-back sofa supports your upper back and neck, making this sofa extra comfortable and suited to those with back problems. The imposing shape of a high-back sofa is great for making a statement in large living rooms or neutral interior schemes.


Chaise longue

The chaise longue is an instantly recognisable shape that adds elegance to any room. Characterised by a long seat and one raised end, this design is half sofa and half chair. The chic chaise – traditionally finished in floral-print, textured upholstery – complements French-style and Victorian-inspired rooms.


Loveseats

The small and compact loveseat, also sweetly known as a ‘cuddler’, is perfect for small rooms or to sit alongside a full-sized sofa. There’s space for two to share, but it’s perfectly acceptable to keep the whole thing for yourself!


Corner sofas

Corner sofas are made for big rooms and big families. Nestled against the wall of a room, this style banishes ‘dead space’ in corners and maximises seat space. Modular designs can be moved easily and connected with extensions to form extra-large seating.

UPHOLSTERY
Love seat in living room

There are sofa materials on offer to fit just about any type of home. Choose from wipe-clean fabrics with stamina or soft-brushed suede finishes. We’ve summarised the pros and cons of the most popular options.


Fabrics

Fabric upholstery provides comfortable seating at a modest price. However, daily maintenance can be required to keep your sofa free from dust and stains.


Standard leather

Each piece upholstered in leather is unique. Leather develops a distinctive patina over time and can last up to fifteen years. Avoid placing it next to windows as direct sunlight can cause fading.


Aniline

The lack of a topcoat paint or insoluble pigments gives aniline leather its distinctive grainy surface. You’ll need to apply some kind of protective coating to make it resistant to stains.


Bi-cast

This leather finish is hardwearing and very easy to clean due to a protective polyurethane film bond.


Nubuck

Nubuck leather has a soft velvet-like surface, making it delicate on your skin. However, it’s susceptible to water damage and stains.


Suede

Although suede is notoriously difficult to maintain, its elegant soft-brushed finish makes it a popular choice.


Faux leather

This environmentally friendly option can be dyed virtually any colour, ideal for brightly colour schemes. With a smaller price tag than real leather, this easy-clean material suits first-time buyers.


Mixed materials

There are lots of combinations available but cotton blend and microfibre are the most common. The cotton blend has a coarse weave making it a hardwearing family favourite. Microfibre, on the other hand, is woven with different textured cloths for a softer feel and is easier to clean.

SOFA SHAPES
Off-white sofa

Each component of a sofa contributes to the overall impression, and it can be hard to make sense of all the different terms. We’ve explained each term below, so you know exactly what you’re getting. If you want maximum flexibility when choosing a sofa, take a look at our made-to-order sofa service.


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Backs and seats

  • Fixed: a firm back and seat cushion with no fluffing needed – creates a neat look.

  • Cushion: semi-fitted seat and back cushion – can be removed for plumping and cleaning.

  • Scatter: completely unattached so you can turn the cushions around, increasing their lifespan.


Arms

  • Scroll: this classic style features tightly piped and pleated fabric.

  • Flared: gracefully opens out at the top of the arm.

  • Howard: country-house style with casual, low arms.

  • Square: straight profile arms that come in a range of widths.


Legs and base

  • Turned leg: these finely detailed designs are created by turning wood on a lathe.

  • Sabre leg: flare outwards to create a curved sofa outline.

  • Glides with skirts: fitted feet that are covered by a tidy valance.

  • Tapered leg: also known as a stiletto, this leg is simple and unobtrusive.
SOFA FILLINGS
Black velvet chaise longue

  • Fibre-filled seats and cushions have a softer look to them, and should be fluffed up regularly to keep their shape.

  • Foam-filled sofas create firm and strong seating with added support. High-resilience foam will keep its shape for longer.

  • Pocket-sprung foam is made from individual springs wrapped in their own foam. They rebound after being sat on, so your sofa keeps its shape for longer.

  • Feather core or feather jacket foam gives sofa an extra-cosy feel. If you like to sleep on a soft mattress then you’ll enjoy feather-foam combination fillings.
SOFA CARE
Black leather sofa

Maintaining your sofa will keep it looking and feeling like new for longer. Here’s how to clean a sofa, and when:


Daily: plump up cushions and wipe down furnishings, using specially formulated products for metal parts.


Weekly: hoover under and around cushions to eliminate hidden dirt. Wiping over leather with care to lift any dirty residue is also a good idea.


Monthly: a deep clean should be performed using recommended products or a professional cleaning service.

Duvet, Pillow & Mattress Protector Buying Guide

 

 

There's more to a decent night's sleep than a comfortable mattress. Pick bedding that's perfectly suited to your sleep style.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT DUVET
Buying Guide Choose the Right Duvet

 

Before purchasing your duvet, there are two main points to consider - the duvet filling and the tog rating.

Tog ratings refer to a duvet's ability to trap warm air. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet.

Your choice of tog rating really depends upon your personal preferences and the temperature of your home. This tog rating chart will help you purchase the perfect duvet.

BG-Duvets Right Duvet
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WHICH DUVET FILLING?
Buying Guide Duvet Filling

 

There are two types of duvet fillings, natural and synthetic. Each of these has different qualities, so it really depends upon what is most important to you.

Natural*

Duvets with natural fillings are soft, comfortable and lightweight. A natural duvet is breathable, absorbing body moisture produced during your sleep and releasing it when you air the duvet. With its ability to trap warm air, it’s also known to keep the warmth more effectively than a synthetically filled duvet.

All House of Fraser natural duvets are filled with goose down or duck down and have 100% cotton cambric casing. This means they can last up to 10 years longer than synthetic filled duvets. However, these duvets require special care, as they tend not to be machine washable

* All feathers contained in House of Fraser products have been humanely sourced and are a by product of the food cycle.

Hungarian goose down
  • Finest natural filling
  • Soft and luxurious
  • Incredibly lightweight yet great comfort and warmth
  • Longer life span than other natural filled duvets
Goose down
  • Bigger clusters that trap more air and keep you warm
  • Lightweight
  • Great comfort
Duck down and feather
  • Provides warmth and great resilience
  • Excellent value for money


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Synthetic

From hollow fibre to spundown duvets, House of Fraser offers a great range of synthetic duvets. Synthetic duvets are easy to care for and are machine washable.

Spundown
  • Finest fibres which make the duvet lightweight
  • Provides same great warmth as other conventional duvets
  • Soft and luxurious
  • Excellent insulation properties
Microfibre and Microdown
  • Silky touch and lighter than duvets with down filling
  • Non-allergenic properties which makes it the ideal choice for the allergy sufferers
  • Great comfort
  • Durable

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PICK YOUR PILLOW SIZE
Buying Guide Pillow Size

 

Pillows can affect your posture and quality of sleep, as well as your allergies or asthma. Therefore, choosing the correct pillow is key to a good night sleep. Most of House of Fraser’s pillows have a outer cover casing and have a natural or a synthetic filling.

Top tip: extend the life of your pillows and ensure they keep their shape with regularly plumping.

Pillows come in different shapes and sizes. Here’s a chart of the wide range of pillows offered online and in store:

BG-Duvet pillow size
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WHICH PILLOW FILLING
Buying Guide Pillow Filling

 

Natural Pillow Fillings

Pillows made from duck and down mould snugly round the head and shoulders to ensure maximum comfort and support whilst sleeping.

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Synthetic Pillow Fillings

Made with synthetic fibres, these pillows are ideal for allergy sufferers. House of Fraser has a great range of hollow fibres, permafresh and spundown pillows to choose from.

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YOUR SLEEPING STYLE
Buying Guide Your Sleeping Style

 

Choosing your pillows can be a little more complicated. There are now many specialist pillows on the market that cater to different sleeping styles.

Soft pillow

Best suited if you sleep on your stomach.

Medium firm pillow

Ideal if you sleep on your back.

Firm pillow

Recommended if you sleep on your side, as this type of pillow supports your neck.

ADD MATTRESS AND PILLOW PROTECTORS
Buying Guide Mattress and Pillow Protectors

 

House of Fraser can help to keep your mattress and pillows fresh. Extend their life by protecting them from general soiling.

From waterproof mattress protectors to anti-allergy pillow protectors, discover our range of discreet, practical and affordable protectors.

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Small Bathroom Designs and Ideas

 

Living in a small space shouldn’t mean having to cramp your style. If your bathroom layout offers little in the way of extra room, there’s still plenty that you can do using its dimensions. Whether you’re making the most of a temporary rental or renovating your new forever home, our small bathroom ideas guide will show you how to use colour, décor and accessories to make even the most petite room look chic – with or without hammers, nails and DIY renovations.

 

CONSIDER YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Hanging light silver ball

 

Before you start brainstorming bathroom décor ideas, get a better sense of your what you have to work with by removing all of the items from your room. This will give you a clearer idea of your bathroom's shape, free from any obstructions. You'll be able to visualise how to maximise every inch of the precious space that you have – a must when you have a compact room. Don't forget to snap some handy pictures before you put your belongings back in. You can take these along with you when you're décor shopping to help you think about colour and space.


Lighting – both natural and artificial – is instrumental when working with a small bathroom. Harsh bright lights or low-hanging pendants will make the space feel smaller, while soft ceiling lights in pale colours are unobtrusive and elegant. If your bathroom gets a lot of natural light, choose minimalist lighting for the ceiling.


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CHOOSE YOUR WALLPAPER OR PAINT
White bath tub next to a hexagon marbled patterned wallpaper

 

You'll have heard that lighter colours tend to make a space seem bigger, but this doesn't mean that bold colour is out of the question. In fact, you can integrate bright bathroom colours by singling out a statement wall to be painted or covered with wallpaper. This also allows you to introduce a colour or pattern into your bathroom without overwhelming the entire space.


Wallpaper works especially well when you're dealing with awkwardly-shaped sections of wall, as it's a fantastic way to draw attention to characterful features of your room. You could opt for all-white tiling and highlight this section of the wall using an ornately patterned wallpaper. Don’t forget that your painted wall or wallpaper will need to be treated against water damage to preserve its appearance.


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SIZE YOUR STORAGE AND FIXTURES
Glass standing cabinet

 

The size, style and functionality of your bathroom elements can transform your room. For example, freestanding, floating or wall-mounted basins take up less space to the eye than built-in ones. Similarly, items with glass and mirrored finishes help to increase the perception of spaciousness by reflecting light.


Where possible, choose double duty storage items that have concealed sections for holding toiletries, washing and laundry baskets – in other words, items you’d like on hand but not necessarily in plain view. That way, your clutter is hidden away, leaving only the necessary items on show and ensuring that space isn't swallowed up by unattractive practical items.


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CONSIDER YOUR BATHROOM ACCESSORIES
Black glittered bathroom accessories

 

Once the larger elements are in place, it's time to accessorise. Take your cue from the colours, textures and patterns you've chosen for paint, wallpaper, tiling and bathroom fittings, and consider whether you want your accessories to complement or contrast. Done right, small spaces can carry off bold styling; if you've gone for quite a neutral palette so far, think about adding interest with brightly coloured accessories.


Making the best possible use of a small room's natural light will work in your favour. An ideal way to do this that doesn't take up space is to have light or neutral-coloured curtains or blinds custom-fitted to any windows in the room. This thoughtful extra step can make a massive difference. Again, remember to take into consideration whether your window coverings can withstand a warm and humid atmosphere.


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When the painting, tiling and styling is done, all that's left is for you to sit back and enjoy your handiwork – easy to do if your room design includes a bath! Whether you've gone for minimalist spa chic or the colourful, eclectic look, simply remember to keep clutter to a minimum and welcome in plenty of light to bring life to your small bathroom.

 

Cocktail Glasses Guide

Witnessing a cocktail come together can be magical: familiar ingredients blend and combine to create an alluring drink that delights the eye as well as the palate. With a little time, practice and bar tools and accessories you can build an armoury of techniques that'll have you whipping up any cocktail in no time.


Not sure which type of glass to use for which drink? Our cocktail glassware guide can assist you in selecting the perfect vehicle for every concoction – whether it’s shaken, built or stirred, straight up or on the rocks. Chin chin.

SHOT GLASSES
Shot glasses cocktail illustration

With the depth of one standard measuring unit, shot glasses are normally used to serve up concentrated liquor combinations –a perfect way to kick off or wind down your evening. Be warned: shot glasses tend to punch above their size when it comes to the intensity of the contents.


Use these petite glasses to measure out alcohol for other cocktails, or to serve up tasty shooters such as the Kamikaze or B-52.


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MARTINI GLASSES
Martini cocktail glasses illustration

Of all the cocktails glasses in the world, the martini glass is the most instantly recognisable. Its classic inverted triangle shape has been immortalised in film, most famously by James Bond and his preference for a martini that’s been ‘shaken, not stirred’.


While a traditional gin and vermouth mix pairs naturally with a martini glass, it can also be used for any short, mixed tipple. The elegant stem ensures that the contents won’t be warmed by contact with skin, while the shallow depth means it doesn’t need ice or a straw.


Preparing a Cosmopolitan, Manhattan or Sidecar? A martini glass is what you should reach for.

OLD FASHIONED GLASSES
Old fashioned cocktail glasses illustration

When you want to nurse a cocktail at leisure, opt for an Old Fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass. It is designed to hold large blocks of ice, so that anything poured into it is diffused and cooled before being consumed.


The Old Fashioned glass works well with longer drinks, and can be sipped out of or paired with a straw. It’s also a popular choice for serving up quality spirits such as whiskeys, bourbons and brandies.


Choose an old fashioned glass for classic drinks such as Negronis, Mint Juleps and, of course, Old Fashioneds.

HI BALL GLASSES
High ball cocktail glasses illustration

While the Hi Ball glass is sometimes called a Collins glass, it's actually a little shorter and slightly less narrow. It has a slim shape that helps to keep the contents cool and carbonated for longer by guiding the bubbles upwards. The term ‘Hi Ball’ refers to the family of cocktails that pair an alcoholic base with a non-alcoholic mixer. The extended depth of the glass lends itself well to fragrant, flavour-releasing ingredients such as leaves and spices.


So, what should you pour into a Hi Ball glass ? Any light cocktails containing plenty of ice and liquid, such as a Cuba Libre or a Dark & Stormy.


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HURRICANE GLASSES
Shot glasses cocktail illustration

If only a tropical treat of a cocktail will do, you’ll need a hurricane glass to make it with. This curvaceous glass is designed to show off colourful, fruity drinks with plenty of garnishes – umbrella decoration optional. The larger size of the hurricane is perfect for ‘granita’ cocktails made using crushed ice. It’s also the most likely to contain additions such as fruit chunks and flavourings.


Go with the hurricane glass when you’re planning on serving concoctions such as Pina Coladas or Zombies.

ENHANCE YOUR COCKTAIL EXPERIENCE
Cocktail shaker and strainer product image

Now that you know which glassware to use for each drink, take the following tips into consideration to help you prepare them like a professional:


  • To keep your cocktails cooler for longer, chill your glasses beforehand. Skip this step if you’re serving a carbonated mixer, as the cold will kill off the bubbles more quickly.

  • Making a Martini or an Old Fashioned? When garnishing these drinks with citrus peel, take care not to leave behind any white pith as this will give your drink a bitter flavour. Giving your twist a once-over with a sharp knife should do the trick.

  • Create perfectly smooth cocktails by straining each mixture twice to ensure every last particle is removed.

  • Want to garnish a classic Margarita with salt? Run a wedge of lime or lemon around the rim of the glass, and then carefully dip the margarita glass into a saucer of salt. If possible, opt for kosher salt over table salt: the large flakes will adhere to the edges better without immediately dissolving, standing out more visually.

  • If you want to use crystal clear ice cubes, boil the water and cool it twice before pouring it into your ice tray.

You don’t need to be an experienced bartender to whip up a cocktail worth raving about. With the right tools and cocktail glasses at your disposal you can give the best mixologists in the business a run for their money.


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Storage Ideas For Your Home

Mastering home organisation will go a long way towards keeping your household running smoothly and on schedule, no matter how demanding life gets. Having everything that you need available when and where you need it is a large part of this, and choosing efficient storage solutions is the first crucial step.

Our guide is full of clever storage ideas for spaces both small and big – with zero construction and installation necessary. By selecting the best choices for your home, you'll instantly eliminate unsightly clutter and create more visual space. Most importantly, you'll never again have to turn a room upside down trying to find an essential item.

KITCHEN STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Kitchen desktop with pots and pans

A smoothly run kitchen is rarely low on supplies, but this requires knowing when to stock up. Ensure you never run out of essential pantry items by putting a chalk- or memo board on the outside one of your kitchen storage units. By adding this to your cupboards you’ll be able to see what you’re out of at a glance without having to hunt through each section. Do the same for your fridge and never be caught without milk again.

To save time, think which utensils you end up reaching for when preparing food on a day-to-day basis. A useful storage solution for small spaces is to add a vertical pegboard to the areas behind your stove top and around your extractor fan. Attach well-spaced hooks to this pegboard so that you can hang up whisks or kitchen gadgets within easy access.


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BEDROOM STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Open jewellery box with jewellery on a floral duvet

Few of us would claim to have enough closet space – but what can you do when you want more space to hang clothing without a full-scale renovation of your bedroom? Think about the corners of your room. Installing a floating shelf here will give you valuable space to stack books or place gadgets when not in use. The underside of this shelf can support hooks or a rod added to it, instantly giving you an additional rack on which to hang jackets, dresses and blouses.


When surface and cupboard space is limited, it can be a struggle to store accessories, especially jewellery, in a way that's easily accessible and looks tidy. Choose a jewellery box with plush compartments that will keep any long chains from getting tangled, or a ring stand that allows you display your pieces in an ordered fashion.


If your bed lies flush against a wall, try adding a headboard that doubles as storage. Not only will this give you space on which to place things, but you can also integrate slim, horizontally sliding shelves inside of the headboard itself.


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KID'S BEDROOM STORAGE SOLUTIONS
A kids bedroom with a bunk bed and toys

For many parents, keeping the kids' bedroom clean is an ongoing battle. Introducing proper storage habits at a young age is a useful quality that will keep them organised throughout their lifetime. Easier said than done? It helps to offer a few fun storage options as an incentive to tidy.


Keep toys that are used daily tidy with a hanging basket system. Attach brightly coloured baskets to the bedroom door or wardrobe and play a game of throwing toys into them before bed each night. This will keep favourite toys from getting misplaced and protect you against painful barefoot-plastic toy injuries.


For large stuffed toys that won’t easily fit into a standard cupboard, pick up an unstructured laundry basket or bin: they're usually made of durable, child-friendly materials like canvas. Use acrylics to paint the outside like a house, rocket ship or whatever your child likes the idea of most. Voila, you've got a neat home for teddies that little ones will enjoy using.


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OFFICE STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Perspex letter holder

Many modern homes have an office or study that's used as a base from which to conduct business and take care of household administrative tasks. Smart storage for documents and books will help keep you organised in this regard.


When shelving space is scarce, keep important paperwork on hand by attaching wire clips directly to your walls using picture frame hooks. Your documents will stay visible, acting as a handy to-do list. Wire clips are also excellent for grouping and keeping your cables neat – crucial when you have a printer, laptop, chargers and other equipment in use all at once.


For a more substantial way to store books or documents, attach magazine holders to the underside of existing shelves – superglue will work fine as long as you don’t store your heaviest items here. Spruce them up by covering them in a wallpaper print matching the décor.


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BATHROOM STORAGE SOLUTIONS
Large glass bathroom cabinet with baskets and towels

With so many items such as towels and toothpaste needed within easy reach, good storage is essential for a bathroom to prevent it becoming cramped. It will also ensure personal toiletry items aren't in full view of visitors. Try curtaining off your under-sink area with a fabric that matches your walls for a private and pleasant-looking hideaway.


Take a look at your bathroom and make note of other spaces that could offer storage, such as the walls surrounding your shower and bathtub. It's well worth investing in customised shelving made to measure for your space. It'll provide much-needed space for keeping shampoos, soaps and shower gels; just take care to ensure that they can be reached by every member of the family but are high enough to avoid any nasty bumping accidents.


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Whether your home is spacious or cosy, smart storage will streamline your family life. We stock a wide range of products that will make organisation a breeze. All that's left for you to do is to pick your favourite colour and style.

Cookware Buying Guide

Cookware is a long term investment, with the best pans designed to last for decades. So it’s worth taking time to pick the perfect range for your cooking style, whether you’re starting from scratch or upgrading to the latest technology.

THE RIGHT PANS FOR YOUR HOB
Cookware Buying Guide The Right Pans for Your Hob

Before choosing new cookware, you’ll want to consider what will be suitable for your hob and the type of cooking you want to use it for.


Hob Types

Gas

A popular choice, gas hobs are usually lit with a built-in ignition and heat via a flame that’s instantly adjustable. Choosing the correct sized ring is important, for maximum heat distribution without waste.

Electric

Slightly less wasteful and more cost effective than gas, electric hobs are another popular choice, and heat flat based pans evenly. A good choice for those who prefer not to cook with the open flame of a gas hob or prefer more heat control.

Induction

Induction hobs are an increasingly popular choice. They heat quickly and efficiently with a magnetic induction coil, which heats the cookware but not the cooking surface. This means they require pans with an iron component.

Induction hobs are compatible with:

  • Cast Iron
  • Steel
  • Magnetised Stainless Steel
  • Ceramic

Pans made from copper or pure aluminium are only compatible if their bases are bonded with a magnetic metal.

Ceramic

Ceramic hobs are made from ceramic glass with an electric heating element underneath. Pans with a shiny bottom can interfere with the heating element and are not recommended for this type of hob.

Halogen

Halogen hobs are similar to ceramic hobs, but the heat is produced by a halogen lamp under the glass. Choose pans with thick bases, such as cast iron, as the heat comes in short, intense bursts.

Aga

Agas have solid hot plates that are usually made from cast iron and have a sealed electric element inside. Your cookware will need to withstand high temperatures, so pans with thick, flat bases are best.

ALUMINIUM
Cookware Buying Guide Aluminium

Aluminium pans conduct heat rapidly and evenly and are very lightweight and easy to handle. They’re dishwasher safe and suitable for all hob types, including induction.

As a softer metal, it’s not as durable as other materials, making aluminium cookware a great choice for beginners without the investment. Our Principle range has silicone stay cool handles and an added non-stick Teflon coating, making it resistant to scratching and staining.


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Cast Aluminium

Cast Aluminium is thicker and more porous than pressed aluminium, so it retains heat better but remains just as lightweight. It’s highly conductive too, meaning it heats up quickly and evenly but cools down just as fast when removed from the heat.

Our range has a non-stick ceramic coating, making it resistant to scratching and staining if cared for well. The casserole dishes in this range can also be used in the oven at up to 280C.


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Hard Anodised Aluminium

Hard Anodised Aluminium is aluminium cookware with a surface hardened by an electro-chemical process. It has a smooth, hard and non-reactive coating, meaning it is durable – up to twice as strong as stainless steel - and won’t rust or peel.

Cast Aluminium is thicker and more porous than pressed aluminium, so it retains heat better but remains just as lightweight. It’s highly conductive too, meaning it heats up quickly and evenly but cools down just as fast when removed from the heat.

Compatible with all hob types, our Excellence range is dishwasher safe and oven safe to 260C, and includes a Teflon non-stick coating. The stylish black finish has been expertly designed for those who appreciate the professional performance of hard anodised cookware.


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STAINLESS STEEL
Cookware Buying Guide Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a versatile and practical metal to cook with as it’s resistant to corrosion and warping and particularly non-reactive. It can be used with metal utensils, unlike aluminium or copper pans.

Stainless steel cookware is suitable for any hob and finished in an attractive polished look. It can struggle with uneven cooking, but the best stainless steel pans – including our Capri range – include a bonded base that ensures even heat transfer with no hotspots. Cooking with stainless steel requires a little oil or fat to be added to the pan first.

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COPPER
Cookware Buying Guide Copper

Copper Tri-Ply

Copper cookware is increasingly popular due to superior high conductivity and an attractive finish. It heats up incredibly quickly and cools down just as fast when taken off the heat, and because it’s so conductive, you can achieve precise temperatures and use much lower heat levels when cooking than with any other material.

The tri-ply system, with an aluminium core, stainless steel interior and solid copper outer is the perfect cookware combination, as the aluminium core provides even cooking and the stainless steel interior improves durability.

Copper pans are a premium choice, so a great option for those who cook frequently. Suitable for all hob types apart from induction, our Cucina range features a Teflon non-stick coating on milk, saute and 24cm frying pans, along with stainless steel lids.

Copper Base

Copper base pans have stainless steel bodies with a copper base that extends slightly up the sides of the pan, meaning it allows even heat distribution and reduced hot spots. These are suitable for all hob types apart from induction.

Our Radiance range has a 6mm brazed copper base, with a non-stick coating on the frying pan and milk pans.

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CAST IRON, CERAMIC AND STONEWARE
Cookware Buying Guide Cast Iron, Ceramic and Stoneware

Cast Iron

The main benefit of cast iron cookware is that it heats evenly to very high temperatures and retains the heat incredibly well, so the pans will continue to heat your food after you have taken them off the heat

Cast iron usually has an enamelled finish on the interior and exterior and often comes with a non-stick coating. It’s a great versatile choice as it’s suitable for all hob types including induction, and can be used on the hob, oven and grill.

It’s worth noting that it’s a heavier material and is not recommended for dishwasher use, however it’s easy to clean and resistant to staining. Our range is available in four striking colours.


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Ceramic

Ceramic cookware is a popular choice for ovenware, as it can survive being heated to high temperatures, but can also be used to store food in the refrigerator and freezer.

It comes in a variety of attractive colours, alongside cast iron and stoneware, so they’re a great oven-to-table serve ware option.

Ceramic pans may be less popular but provide even, quick cooking. Our range includes stainless steel induction plates making them suitable for all hob types.


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Stoneware

Stoneware is a very durable option with the heat retaining qualities of cast iron, and, like cast iron, will also require seasoning. It’s a very popular choice for baking, as it cooks evenly and does not require greasing.

Stoneware is a more premium option, and can be on the heavy side, however it will last for decades if well looked after so makes a fantastic investment. Cast iron, ceramic and stoneware pieces are always hand wash recommended.


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SKILLETS, GRIDDLE PANS AND FRYING
Cookware Buying Guide Skillets, Griddle Pans and Frying

Frying Pans and Skillets
Whether you’re looking for the best frying pans for pancakes or a grill pan for steak, think beyond pots and pans when it comes to kitting out your kitchen.
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Woks

A staple of the modern kitchen, a wok is a deep frying pan with rounded sides. Woks allow for quick frying at high heats as food is constantly stirred and moved from the bottom of the pan. This allows a small amount of oil to pool in the bottom of the wok, so less is needed. Traditionally used for stir frying, woks can also be used for deep frying and boiling.

Usually made of carbon steel, hard anodised aluminium or cast iron, woks often have a non-stick coating and are a popular option due to their versatility. They can also be used as attractive serving dishes for group meals.


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Grill or Griddle Pans

A grill pan - with characteristic ridges - is a fantastic addition to any kitchen; think roasted vegetables, steak and chicken breast with those satisfying charred marks. They’re also a great choice for those who prefer healthy cooking, as fat is able to flow off a piece of meat into the ridges, and no oil or fat is required for cooking.

Cast iron options heat evenly but can be quite heavy, whereas cast aluminium is more lightweight. Our ranges are oven proof up to 280C and include a pouring lip for easy separation of liquids.


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CASSEROLES AND STOCK POTS
Cookware Buying Guide Casseroles and Stock Pots

Casseroles and Stock Pots
A casserole pot is a must for slow cooking, one pot cooking and cooking in big batches. These are more substantial pots with a lid and two handles, which allows ease of transfer from oven to table. Enamelled cast iron is a particularly popular choice; it's durable, won't rust if left damp and can be used on the hob. This is a premium choice, so also consider ceramic, stoneware and stainless steel. It's worth thinking about an oval option if you will primarily be using it for joints of meat.

A stockpot is a tall cooking pot designed for stock, soups and sauces, but is also a great choice for cooking in large batches. The tall and narrow shape allows for minimum evaporation, which is ideal for cooking with large amounts of liquid. Popular material choices are hard anodised aluminium and stainless steel; a non-stick option may be a good investment, as you will struggle to fit a stock pot in a dishwasher.


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NON-STICK COATINGS
Cookware Buying Guide Non-Stick Coatings

A convenient and popular option often used for frying pans, a non-stick coating is a usually a polymer called PTFE, although properly seasoned cast iron will also have non-stick properties, as will anodised aluminium. Non-stick pans are easy to clean, and promote healthier cooking, as little or no oil or fat is needed to begin. It's not recommended to use metal utensils as they can damage the surface of the pan; metal scourers are certainly best avoided.


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WEIGHT AND CAPACITY
Cookware Buying Guide Weight and Capacity

We measure the diameter of all our pans across the top, so this is the measurement given. The following shows an approximate capacity in litres for each diameter.

14cm Milk Pan – 1.3L

16cm Saucepan – 1.6L

18cm Saucepan – 2.5L

20cm Saucepan – 3.6L

24cm Stockpot – 7.6L

Please note that each individual range has a different capacity, and this is a guide.

CARING FOR YOUR COOKWARE
Cookware Buying Guide Caring for Your Cookware

Give your cookware the treatment it deserves to ensure long lasting performance. Our buyers recommend:

  1. Always read the ‘before use’ instructions. New cookware will need washing before use, and some will also require seasoning.
  2. Avoid metal utensils unless you’re using stainless steel pans. The metal can damage the interiors of your pans, especially those with a non-stick coating. Also avoid using scouring pads or steel wool products when cleaning.
  3. Ensure pans are the same size or larger than the heating area. If the heating area is larger, the pan and handle may overheat and become damaged. This also wastes energy.
  4. Check if your cookware is dishwasher safe. Our range includes a mix of both dishwasher safe and hand wash only, so always check the care instructions.
  5. Leave cookware to cool before washing, as a hot pan in cold water can damage or warp the pan. For pans with stubborn food residue, leave to soak before washing.

Small Dining Room Ideas

While many believe the heart of the home is the kitchen, the dining room is where the pulse beats. It's the place where friends and family members gather not only to share a meal but also make joyful memories together. Make sure that you set the scene for every occasion with memorable dining room design and decoration.


For anyone entertaining dinner guests within a small space, we've put together these small dining room ideas to help you make your square footage work for you. Find out everything from how to pick the best dining tables for small spaces to choosing dining room wall décor that makes your room seem more spacious – no hammers and nails required.

STARTING WITH THE WALLS
Abstract landscape painting

Let's start with the walls. These are the blank canvas on which you develop your dining room decorating ideas. While it's commonly known that white can open up a space and make it seem larger than it is, any light neutral hue will do the same job and look more personal to your home – so choose something that suits your style preferences. Of course, you can also incorporate colour and patterns without going all-out. Picking a focal wall and painting it in a rich shade or adding a brightly patterned wallpaper lets you enjoy colour in a smaller dose.


Artwork can also feature in your small dining room. Select a single large statement piece that will form the centre of your room and give your space a theme. You can create a gallery wall comprised of several smaller framed art pieces that are all in keeping with the theme you've chosen.


Another way to create the illusion of more space in a smaller dining room area is with mirrors. Hang up a large mirror instead of a statement art piece to reflect light and the interior of the room back on itself, making it seem bigger.



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CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIGHTING
Minimal white dining room with hanging ceiling light over dining table

There's no easier way to create the illusion of more space than with your lighting. With free surfaces scarce, it's best to ensure your lighting comes from above instead of freestanding lamps that have cords and plugs. The ceiling height is also important, as you want to leave adequate room between the table and overhead lighting.


Instead of dramatic chandeliers (which can overwhelm a smaller space), choose simple lighting that is proportional to your table and chairs and in a similar style. Look to match colours and shapes in your furniture and lighting fixtures. As always, making a note of your room's dimensions is important and will ensure you make the perfect choice first time.



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PICKING YOUR DINNERWARE
Bowls and plates

In a smaller space, your choice of dining room table décor and dinnerware can have a practical impact. It's best to choose one excellent set that suits your style than buy several sets for different moods or occasions, taking up valuable storage space. Traditionally decorated homes are well suited to dinnerware sets in light, neutral shades. If you consider your style to be more eclectic you can also mix and match your dinnerware. For example, you can echo certain colours of the room in your glasses and others in your plates.


Where possible, opt for double-duty dishes and dinnerware that work for both casual and formal functions. When purchasing a prepackaged set of items, make sure you'll use everything that's included or opt for an open stock selection. Many sets come with items like soup bowls or whiskey glasses, but you're an enthusiast who frequently serves those things, save space by using standard bowls and glasses.



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ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Dinner table with food and flowers

When friends and family come over for food, keep the dining table clear of big dishes and serve up buffet-style, so everyone can see each other and eat without bumping elbows. As for refreshments, a portable drinks tray on wheels can be included and removed from the room when not needed.


As smaller rooms lend themselves well to intimate meals, work with this and not against it by keeping your table clear of large centrepieces that obstruct each person's view. The addition of a few tea lights in suitable holders, as well as matching table linen and place mat sets, will transform your table without taking up space.



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While you certainly don't need to have a perfectly decorated small dining room to pull off an entertaining evening soirée, taking the time to ensure that every element is working together in harmony will help set the tone for successful socialising.

Flowers Buying Guide

If you don't know your lilies from your lilacs, choosing flowers can be a daunting task – even more so if you're trying to keep them alive. If you need help choosing the right flowers for a special occasion, want to send a meaningful bouquet to a loved one or have to get an arrangement delivered the next day with ease, this guide is for you. We'll take you through the interesting world of flower language and suggest some suitable blossoms for different events. We'll also explain the best methods to keep your flowers looking fresh for longer. Finally, we'll explore the benefits of artificial flowers.

THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS
Vase with orange and white flowers

Over hundreds of years, flowers have come to possess specific meanings. You can say a lot with a carefully chosen bouquet by matching your flower choice to the occasion.


Valentine's Day: The clue's in the name of the forget-me-not flower. Pair a bunch with roses, violets and pansies for a memorable Valentine's bouquet.


For a special someone: Camellias come in a variety of colours with different meanings, including passion and faithfulness; they'll show your partner how much you love them.


Making an apology: Chrysanthemums have often been associated with revealing the truth, which might be suitable if you need to tell someone you're sorry.


Get well soon: The peaceful blue hues of irises and hydrangeas make them a popular choice to send to someone recovering from illness.


Moving house: Daffodils bloom in the spring, so they have connotations of new beginnings. A bunch of these flowers will definitely brighten up a friend's new living room.


Funerals: Lilies are an age-old symbol of devotion. They're traditionally used at funerals to show you're still thinking of the one who's passed on.


First dates: Lilacs are associated with youth and first love, while daisies represent innocence. Both are a perfect way to break the ice on a first date.

TYPES OF FLOWER ARRANGEMENT
Round vase with large white flowers

How you choose to arrange flowers is limited only by your imagination. However, there are a few common setups that you're likely to find online.


Hand-tied flowers

This is a collection of pre-arranged flowers, so you can pop them straight into a vase. They'll often be delivered with a water bubble at the bottom to keep them alive while in transit. The key is to give them fresh water as soon as they arrive.


Presentation bouquets

This option is ideal for the flower lover who likes to arrange their own way. These bouquets come in a flat-pack-style design ready to be set up at home. Some florists have perfected this technique so well that they can be posted through a letterbox.


Planted bowls

Arrangements planted in soil are wonderful gifts for any flower fan who likes to get green-fingered and attend to their gift for months to come. If you want to be really on-trend, seek out a succulent; they add a splash of colourful personality to any home or office.

HOW TO ARRANGE YOUR FLOWERS
Wide round vase with orchids

Here’s how to set up your arrangement after it arrives:


  • Clean the vase thoroughly to keep your plants healthy.

  • Trim off any leaves that will fall below the level of the water in your vase.

  • Cut the stems diagonally with a sharp knife or scissors. This will increase the water flow to the buds. Try not to use blunt instruments as this can damage the stems.

  • Place each stem into the vase as soon as you cut it.

  • Criss-cross the stems as you arrange them to provide more stability to the bouquet and achieve a professional look.

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CARING FOR YOUR FLOWERS
Close up of pink flower

There are plenty of old wives' tales floating around with recipes claiming to increase the lifespan of cut flowers, but not all of them work. A little sugar will pep up your plant’s energy levels, but it also encourages bacteria. Other people recommend a tiny dash of bleach to keep the water clean, but it's important to get the quantity exactly right. Bear in mind that it's a toxic product, so it's unsuitable for particularly delicate flowers.


Flower food is the best option, and most flower arrangements come supplied with a sachet or two. Just follow the instructions on the packet and replace the water every few days for happy and healthy blooms. Sadly, they won't last forever, but that gives you an excuse to try out new arrangements.

USING ARTIFICIAL FLOWERS
Watering can with artificial flowers

Realistic artificial flowers can be as beautiful as the real thing. Good quality options are hard to tell apart, and require absolutely no maintenance. All you have to do is find the best place to put them; try using them in a window display or as a centrepiece at your dining table. You can rely on them to look stunning time after time.


Keep some styrofoam padding close by if you need to add some extra support. It's worth noting that artificial flowers are still delicate and should be handled with care, as most are made from silk, parchment, velvet or latex. Gently clean the fabric flowers with a damp cloth to remove any dust.


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