How To: Small Spaces

Working with small spaces really brings out your inner creative. Here are a few clever ideas I like for decorating small spaces. Please share yours too in the comments below!

*/ Choose a light colour palette

Avoid dark hues that absorb light and constrict your space. Light colours do wonders for opening things up and creating a bright and airy feel. Soft light shades are your friend!

*/ Think multi-purpose

Get creative with storage! Think ladder chairs, sofa beds and multi-purpose rooms. Want to create a bit more privacy? Try using storage shelves or curtains to divide one room in two.

*/ Use every inch

Do you have a small space between two rooms or two cupboards (or a random small space anywhere really)? Try creating a study/office nook. Run out of storage space? Use the walls!

Living room:

Tip 1: Use small side tables instead of a coffee table. Being able to move them around will make things feel less cramped.

Tip 2: Incorporate floor-to-ceiling curtains. They create the illusion of higher ceilings by drawing the eyes up. This can also be achieved with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves or vertically oriented wall paper; anything that extends the walls to include the ceiling.


Try: Open storage cupboards.

And if you can, extend the kitchen space outside!


Must do: Add a mirror! This is one of the easiest (and best) tricks. Adding a full-length mirror visually expands a space by reflecting light instantly making a room feel more spacious.


Tip: Narrow wall shelves are great for storing bathroom essentials and will eliminate clutter from around the sink.

Images via Pinterest by House and Garden; Russian Creators for Style Caster; Home Designing; Inside Out; Trelawny Vermont-Davis for West Elm Blog; Zwart & Koper; Decoist; Treeium; Sonya Barker for At Home with the Barkers; eatwell 101; Jenna Sue Design Co.; MMK for Architecture and Design.

xx Jess

– the refinery –


Mixing Patterns, Like a Pro!

If you follow the refinery on Instagram you’ll know my style is very minimal and monochrome. I do like a splash of colour, but I’ve never really been daring enough to delve too far into mixed prints.

So in the spirit of broadening my horizons, and perhaps helping others who’ve been holding back from jumping in the deep end too, I’ve done a bit of research and here’s a few tips to incorporate mixed patterns into your spaces…

Let me know what you think!

1. Use multiple scales/pattern sizes

Too many small and tight prints can confuse the eye.

2. Build on one bold pattern

For example a bold rug or feature wall.

elle decor

3. Incorporate solids

This will soften prints, especially white and other light neutrals.

4. Use complementary colours

For example bright orange stripes and pink leopard… just kidding, none of that please.

better homes

5. Don’t over coordinate

No matchy-matchy!

Images via Pinterest by Sarah for Life on Virginia Street; My Ideal Home; Anthropologie; Apartment Therapy; Skona Hem; Amber Kaplan via Style Caster; Eclectically Vintage; Sors.; Mix and Chic; Elle Decor; Better Homes and Gardens; Seventy Nine Ideas; Domino via PopSugar

xx Jess

– the refinery –

Deck the Halls: Holiday Season Styling

It’s that time of year again. Out come the trees and ornaments and lights and ribbons and tinsel and nativity scenes and CD’s of carols and… oh goodness. So overwhelming.

Instead of letting holiday decorating add to the stress of the season, here are some low key decorating ideas that will bring joy to your home.

Unless of course OTT is your thing… then you do you!

Images via Pinterest by Chic California; Liz Marie Blog; Sarah for a beach cottage; Kate for Digs Digs; Danielle de Lange for The Style Files; Stockholm Vitt; Bohemian Ruby; Home Art Blog; My Home Ideas.

Happy holidays!

xx Jess

– the refinery –


Trending: Cork

As you may have noticed, cork is BIG news in interiors at the moment. What was once a somewhat overlooked sustainable material is now featuring in everything from decor magazines to this seasons newest furniture collections.

This year there has been a continued focus on functional, practical design incorporating more natural materials and themes. Designers and home owners alike are increasingly looking for materials that have less of an impact on the environment. This surge in popularity for sustainable living has placed cork, among other materials that are recycled, recyclable, or come from renewable sources, back under the spotlight.

Cork’s unique texture, functionality, and versatility are what caught my eye, but the material has a multitude of features, some of which are quite unique.

So, why cork?

  • Anti-static – resistant to dust and toxin absorption (great for those with allergies!)
  • Antimicrobial and water-resistant – combats mold and mildew
  • Sound absorbing
  • Fire resistant
  • 100% natural
  • Environmentally friendly – bark is harvested every 9 years as opposed to cutting down the whole tree
  • Lightweight and buoyant
  • Natural insulation
  • Recyclable

Cork Inspo…

Images via Pinterest by Michel Arnaud for Apartment Therapy; SupurbCook; midcenturyjo for Desire to Inspire; Coco Lapine Design; Tina Hellberg via Agent Bauer for Elle Decoration; Adria Goula for de zeen magazine; Muriel Alvarez for decocrush; Binti Home Blog; Flickr

As always, please let me know any thoughts, criticisms, insights etc 🙂

xx Jess

– the refinery –

P.S. If you have a chance, take a look at the Sinnerlig Collection released earlier this year by Ikea in collaboration with London designer Ilse Crawford. The collection launched a range of cork and natural-fibre homeware products, SO divine!

Cork Flooring: Benefits and Disadvantages of Cork Flooring
Unstoppable Advantages of Cork for the Home

2015 Spring Styling Inspo

If you’re like me and your wardrobe gets a refresh every season, then you’ll probably agree so too should our interiors… right?!

If you’re looking to change things up in the transition to summer, here are a few of this years spring/summer trends to get your styling juices flowing.


Think cool, rustic, and natural. Hints of the classic nautical style are always welcome, but this season’s coastal trend embraces more soft sand and sky colours – warm beiges, seaside blues, and cool greys. Go for an ‘organic’ look with materials and textures – weathered and exposed surfaces, and a lot of light!

Images via Pinterest by Beautifully Seaside; Luciane at Home Bunch; Lexington via Decoholic; Pottery Barn; Fiona Galbraith for Inside Out via Dust Jacket.

Classic White

The minimalistic white on white trend is my ultimate fave style all year round!
Make sure not to give off a sterilised vibe with too many cold hues. Instead mix shades of white with an abundance of texture, soft greys, and splashes of contrasting colours. To add some warmth incorporate some wood pieces, animal print or metallics. Adding little touches make all the difference too – try fresh flowers and foliage, coloured candles, or textured throws.

Images via Pinterest by Elisabeth Heier for Bo Bedre; mitt vita hus; Coco and Mingo; Decoholic; Residence Style; Paulina Arcklin for The Style Files


It seems the pineapple craze that has been floating around for the last year or so is here to stay! Anything goes with this trend – bright florals to tropical birds – it’s all about creating an eclectic and edgy look. Embrace blocks of bold prints and bright colours, and you’ll be good to go.
Think dark, moss-greens and emeralds lifted with accents of sunny yellows and splashes of terracotta. Other colours to try include coral, mango, flamingo pink, bright blues, and tangerine orange.

Images via Pinterest by Victoria Baker for Temple and Webster; Oly for Lonny; Jen Bishop for Interiors Addict; Land of Cool; Centsational Girl; Kim for desire to inspire;


MARBLE! … need I say more?
Also think stone, sand, exposed concrete and ceramics, or simply try some mineral tones.

Images via Pinterest by Daniela Mac Adden via Arch Daily; Simona Ganea for homedit; The WoW Style; Breakfast at Zara’s; Molitli Interiurmakers via belgian pearls; Kristin Adam;

Bright & Bold

Summer brights. Geometric patterns. Embrace loud accents that will instantly freshen a space. This season don’t limit yourself to smaller items, create modern depth with larger pieces such as a statement chair or coffee table.

Images via Pinterest by Kim for desire to inspire; Things Bright; Ellens Album; Hannah Blackmore Photography; Brittany Ambridge via domino

Soft Pastels

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of pastels, but this is one trend not easily shaken. From the runway to our living rooms, pastels are here to stay. In the interest of remaining unbiased however, I thought it best to explore the trend further and I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised! The colours are relaxing and uniquely modern – a simple way of making a space homely and welcoming.
Instead of baby hues, think blush, dusty pinks, buttery yellows, soft peaches, and air blues. Try mixing with darker coloured hard surfaces (e.g. hardwood floors or rich cherry wood panelling) for the perfect balance of masculine and feminine.

Images via Pinterest by Erin Ever After; T.D.C; Caroline Williamson for Design Milk; vtwonen; Forest Glover Design; Sarah Stacey for Sarah Stacey Design


Metals are no longer just used to create an industrial feel. This season anything goes! From wallpaper to appliances… to taps, handles, lighting fixtures, picture and mirror frames, plant pots, fabrics, and even furniture.
I’m personally crushing on all things copper. But… who am I kidding, I love all metallics! Top of the list: gold, chrome, zinc, brass, and stainless steel.

Images by Pinterest by Caroline WIlliamson for Design Milk; Versastyle; Yashraj Shukla for DezignUp; Dust Jacket; T.D.C; Unknown for Lauren Conrad Blog

My first interior styling post, done and dusted! Yay.

Do you have a spring/summer trend you’d like to share? An idea for another post? Or any general feedback?? If so, please leave a comment below 🙂 I would love to hear from you!


– the refinery –

Welcome to the refinery.

New Picture

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but just … haven’t?

I’ve always believed I would never allow myself to make absurd excuses for not pursuing my passions. Well, I have been… and I’ve noticed my to-do list is becoming uncomfortably long!

Of course I turned to a higher power for guidance…
Coco Chanel –
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”

So I’m making a door. This is my door.

Welcome to the refinery!

I’m Jess, a long time lover of interior styling, using this blog to turn my interior design obsession into styling inspiration. the refinery is all about sharing passion, exploring latest trends, and building on what inspires you to make your own mark.

Any thoughts and ideas you have are more than welcome. I’m a first time blogger so I would love to hear from you! Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send through an email.


Find the refinery on Instagram @therefinery_concepts

Images by Home-Dzine; MintedThe Neo-Trad.