Looking after your floorboards should start from the moment they are installed at your home. Keeping your floor looking healthy, clean and like brand new, the process of maintaining is as easy as applying a finishing layer of oil on to your boards and ensuring that appropriate cleaning products are used.
Ecora, longstanding experts in both high-end and affordable floorboards as well as being the home to a wide range of home accessories, give expert advice on the best way to look after your flooring to keep it looking as good as brand new.
The following is a breakdown of things to consider:
Wooden floor finishes
In line with our ethos to promote sustainable and natural products we tend to recommend natural oil for maintaining your floor. Usually, those oils tend to be based on vegetable oils and natural waxes, they penetrate through the wood for long-lasting protection, while also preserving its beauty and elasticity.
Oak Hampstead Grey (from £88.85)
Protect the surface of your floor
The simplest way to maintain your floor is to keep it clean and prevent objects from scratching it. Whether it’s the dog or large furniture, rugs are extremely handy when preventing abrasion, and can also add extra chic to your humble abode. Doormats at entryways help to prevent sand, grit, oils, dirt and other abrasive or staining materials from making its way into your home and potentially damaging the floor. To avoid scratches when re-arranging furniture use protective pads on objects such as chairs or tables or anything that is placed directly on the floor’s surface.
An appropriate cleaning regime
Make sure you ask for a specific type of mop and cleaning solution that is compatible for your floor. It is recommended not to use high street general purpose floor cleaners that may contain salts and bleaches that will impair the finish of your wooden floor. Frequent vacuuming is always good to draw household dust away safely but it’s best to vacuum along the grain if possible and be aware of potential damage if dragging a wheeled vacuum cleaner.
Oak Waterside White (from £74.55)
Keeping the correct humidity
Hardwood flooring reacts to changes in the environment so it is important to ensure that environmental conditions are maintained with a temperature of 18°- 24°C (65°-75°F) and humidity at 35 - 55% at all times. Excessive humidity, moisture, heat, or dry conditions can result in cupping or splitting of boards, gapping between boards and/or other problems resulting from exposure to improper environmental conditions, which are usually not covered by the product warranty.
Hardwood flooring will undergo a natural change in colour over time. The degree of colour change varies by species; it is recommended that you do not place area rugs and large furniture items on a new wooden floor for at least two months following installation to ensure a uniform change. After that, periodic re-arrangement of furniture and area rugs will help ensure natural even change.
Oak Hampstead Brown Chevron (from £139.85)
Some people would say that keeping your home clean and tidy is the key to peace and happiness, while some think that it is solely down to the fengshui. Others would argue that even the simplest aspects of a home, like colour schemes, textures and small home accessories could create the best meditative living space.
Claire Bloom, Ecora’s in-house interior designer, says, “The modern home is now being renovated and decorated with a sense of cohesion, sustainability and serenity”.
She continues, “One of the most effective ways to find inner peace, is to be in an environment that evokes a sense of tranquility and calmness to the five senses."
We asked Claire what her key elements are in making a meditative space for your home:
Bringing nature in – plants and flowers
Having plants in your home is the cheapest, simplest way to improve, not only the tranquility of your home, but also the flow of air circulation in your humble abode. Plants are nature’s first air purifier, and the different hues and tones of green bring a feel of freshness and calmness, as well promoting a sense of healing. Hanging planters are a great way to elevate your greenery to all heights of your home, while indoor tree plants can compliment your furniture, and small succulents make gorgeous decorations on your windowsill.
Elemental themes – natural stone, woods, woven products
On the idea of bringing nature into your home, materials like stone and natural woods have the ability to create a luxurious natural look, while endorsing sustainability and eco-living. For example, having stones and pebbles in your bathroom can give a deeper, earthier dimension to the space while also lowering your stress levels. The same goes for wood - having wood in your home mimics the effect of being in the outdoors with Mother Nature, and usually in its line of production, the finishing effects of wood tend to reflect natural light very well, giving the illusion of more open space and bringing nature’s glorious appeal indoors.
Evoking your senses – colour and smells
It is a known fact that colours can evoke emotions, for example red is associated with passion and anger, yellow is mellow and happy, and white is total purity and even coldness in some circumstances. For the best meditative ambiences in your home, violet is a colour known to evoke and increase your spiritual awareness, and it has association with time, space and the galaxy. Green, which can easily be decorated by using plants, can evoke feelings of balance, refreshment and peace. Blue, which is also apparently the world’s favourite colour, is often associated with the sky and the sea, and can invoke emotions of clearness, calmness and serenity.
Sense of space, flow, circulation – storage options, open spaces
The most basic way of creating a more peaceful space is, of course, to make space. Homes that are messy and more than likely to reflect the messy and unorganized mindset in any person, which is why people often feel that they need to clean their homes regularly. In fact, people who ‘declutter’ are able to organise their minds by removing attachments to physical objects, and to focus more on the details of physical life and the beauty of nature around. Even if you are finding it hard to get rid of your things, being able to organise your home by putting them neatly into storage, or even ensuring you have a spacious walkway from room to room can encourage structure and control of your own living space. Stressed is the last thing you need to be in your humble abode!
Natural illumination – vases, mirrors, lanterns
The rays of the suns are filled with so many benefits, such as giving plants life, powering us with solar energy, and ultimately illuminating a beautiful world through our eyes. Not only does natural light perform better for our eyes in comparison to artificial light, it also improves our concentration levels and stimulates our happy emotions – but the most amazing thing is that natural light apparently has the ability to increase our healing process. To encourage natural light, you could clear obstructions from your windows and place reflective home accessories like glass vases, mirrors and even light-toned floorboards in your home. Candles are another way to create a reflective and peaceful mood in your home instantly developing a softer light that relaxes and soothes. A candle can also transform a room through its scent such as lavender or rose.
Our top selling products for a meditative space:
- What inspired you to become a ceramicist?
For me it was a natural progression to evolve from painting and illustration to using clay as another medium, and ultimately painting on ceramics. Ceramics are like another canvas for me. The excitement of waiting to see what will come out of the kiln is quite addictive – it's like magic! I love textures, decoration and detail, and this practise lends itself so well to all these elements. Translating my love of textiles and fashion into a ceramic piece is so much fun, and I feel that it adds an unexpected quality to the piece.
- What would you say is your style in ceramics?
My ceramics are inspired by such a variety of things. I love colour and decoration and try and bring that into the work. There's also a strong element of nostalgia in my work, a vintage feel so to speak. At the same time, there's humour and a little tongue in cheek!
- What would you say is your style identity in general?
Eclectic for sure - Busby Berkeley Musicals, Mexican and Spanish motifs, botany, vintage fabrics, couture, the mountains of Corsica, Chinese paper-cuts, ruffles on skirts, lingerie, lace, crochet, embroidery, costume jewellery - these are all things that inspire my work.
My background is a mix of fine art and fashion, and I find inspiration in the smallest detail to the biggest event. This all translates into my work, how I dress and how I dress my home.
- What are your must-have accessories in your home, not ceramics?
Anything that combines fun with function is always a winner combination in my opinion. Cushions that brighten up a sofa are a great accessory. You can really go wild with a cushion because it's such an easy thing to change when you get bored of it, yet it's impact is strong. I'd say the same goes for interesting paintings and art on the walls. Lamps are my other favourite, as they create such atmosphere with their design and also with their lighting.
- Can you foresee any trends in accessories for A/W17?
There has been a serious interest in craft over the last few years. I think that's great and as an artist / maker, it's nice to be supported and appreciated for the craftsmanship and time it takes in making a piece of work. I think this will continue as we also show more appreciation for one-off pieces for the home – a nice alternative to high street shopping.
Noa's plates are now available in store, each reduced from £85 now £68.
Claire Bloom is an interior designer providing a bespoke service to property developers and is a resident designer to Ecora, the hospitality industry and private clients. In this interview, she offers us a glimpse of her design inspiration and what's on her wishlist….
What inspired you to go into Interior design?
I have always been interested in creating houses and homes. This started from a child; as soon as I could pick up a toy I was making it a house. I used to create the most elaborate dolls houses and would happily play for hours at this. The interior environment has just always fascinated me. It’s really quite innate and my parents were never quite sure where it came from.
What would you say is your style identity?
My style identity has changed a lot over the years, and I’m forever evolving. My interest in interiors incorporates not only what is in fashion, but also historical interior design. I would say own personal style is rather boho luxe, a mix of quirky colour, antiques (mostly French or Italian) combined with a dash mid century glam, so pretty eclectic. I think a common trait amongst designers is that we are collectors, always building the inspiration bank.
What is your favourite home accessory?
My favourite home accessory would be my hall console and mirror. I use this area as my ‘at home moodboard’ and it continually changes with the seasons and trends. I change up the flower display, add plants, pictures, and vases on a continual basis depending on my mood or my colour obsession of the moment.
How important is flooring for a home? Are there any particular floorboards on your wish list?
When I’m designing any interior, flooring is the first thing on my list. It sets the tone for the whole scheme. If you have a good quality floor it’s going to make the rest of furnishings look expensive. I would rather splurge on flooring and save on other design features.
My flooring wish-list dream would be white washed parquet. I live in London in a traditional town house, and this type of flooring looks absolutely beautiful in this setting.
If there was any character in the world (not an interior stylist) that could decorate your home – who would you choose?
If I could choose a character to design my home it would be Josephine Baker. She embodied the glamour of the 30s Jazz age and had an interior style to match her flamboyant persona. She bought and restored a Chateau Des Milandes in the Dordogne using an elaborate art deco style with no expense spared!