Add a Touch of Blue

How do you give a much-used room a facelift or change the vibe when you don’t feel in the mood to decorate? Right now, interior designers will tell you to add a touch of blue.

Bright blues or acqua teamed with white can add an instant vibe of breezy seaside to a room. But it’s the deeper blues, and most especially indigo, that are currently all the rage. Why? Because deep blue brings calm, peace, and a sense of relaxation – something that offsets our busy lives.

Add a Touch of Blue | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine

Adding blue is very much a trend where less is more. There’s no need to reach for a paintbrush or go shopping for new carpets. Indigo shades add a tranquil feel when used sparingly, so they’re a fabulous colour for accessories.

Blue bedding and a blue arm chair, or even a stylish alarm clock can quieten a corner of your bedroom.

A few new mugs and plates bring that same quiet feeling into your kitchen or, teamed with place mats, a tablecloth, or a decorative bowl or two, into your dining room.

A blue rug or a deep blue throw on your favourite chair will give your mind a moment’s rest. And if you feel seriously in need of Zen in your life, then why not look for a large canvas print to display in your hallway or living room?

Add a touch of blue  | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

If you explore the shops right now, you’ll find more than just a touch of blue. Cushions, throws, lampshades, jars, rugs, vases, even barstools and coffeetables are available in the coveted hue. It’s clear that, at the end of the school holidays and still caught up in a long hot summer, this trend had really caught the imagination.

The choice of deep blue furnishings and accessories is so extensive that adding a touch of blue to your home is a joy for everyone. If you’re visiting our Banbury or Bicester store this weekend, then why not check out our blue fabric dining chairs, our canvas prints or our selection of rugs. You may find one that will add just that missing touch of blue to your home along with a touch of Zen.

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Emergency Chairs? Right This Way!

Emergency KittensWe’ve all heard of emergency kittens, the patented internet remedy for anyone who needs cheering up. There are loads of emergency kitten pics out there, and very nice they are, too, but what are emergency chairs?

For most people, emergency chairs are plastic, folding, or stackable chairs you pull up to the dinner table when you have more guests than you have dining room chairs.
It’s estimated that, in Britain, we use over 4 million emergency chairs on Christmas day… and most of them are not at all comfortable or even the right height!

Emergency chairs can be as basic as you want them to be, but we think plastic garden chairs should stay in the garden, while you offer your guests stylish, comfortable chairs that will place them at the right height at the dining table and let them enjoy their Christmas or celebration dinner in peace.

For us, emergency chairs aren’t just for Christmas. Neither are they chairs you only need for a few hours each time there’s a large family celebration. Emergency chairs can be placed strategically around your home wherever you think they might be useful. And what could be more useful than a place to sit. A comfy seat next to a bookcase filled with old favourites to aid relaxed browsing. A stylish chair on a landing, or a sturdy chair in a corner of the hall to have somewhere to sit to don and remove your shoes.

There’s usually a huge rush in the last few weeks before Christmas of people going out to buy extra chairs as if there’s not enough to do already with planning the festivities, cooking, freezing, and getting all the presents sorted.

But you don’t need to wait that long.

Neither do you need to settle for uncomfortable plastic chairs or stand in line for the fold-up version.

Instead, you can visit our Bicester store right now and browse our huge selection of single chairs.

We have solid wood chairs in a range of designs, chairs with leather-padded seats, and fabric covered chairs in a variety of colours, styles, and fabrics.

And right now, all our emergency chairs can be had for £19 a piece.

So why not get a gorgeous comfortable chair to cheer up a corner of your home and double as a much-appreciated emergency chair come the next big family dinner? All without drama or the need for emergency kittens to cheer you up.

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The Magic of Baskets: Ideas for Using Baskets Around Your Home

As a furniture retailer, we’re admittedly dotty about storage. But even if we weren’t, we’d love using baskets. Mostly because they’re versatile, they look smart, and they fit simply everywhere. There’s a basket for every room of your home, and a basket for every storage dilemma you will ever come across. That’s because baskets are one of the first kinds of storage humans invented and they’ve stayed with us ever since. So, baskets have really seen it all and probably stored it all, too.

If you abhor clutter you don’t need to get rid of all your favourite knickknacks. All you need is a stack of baskets and most of your clutter problems will be stowed neatly away. Baskets are the ultimate make-order-from-chaos tool areound the home. And if the only basket you’ve used so far is the wheeled supermarket variety, then follow us as we take you on a tour of how and where baskets may come in handy around your home…

Whether you need a smart way to store toys, the larger kitchen utensils, barbecue equipment, lunch boxes and sandwich wrappers, or even magazines… baskets are your friend. If you want to be extra tidy, they can live on a shelf in your kitchen cupboard and welcome you with serene orderliness when you open the door.


Bathrooms are notorious for collecting clutter. Bottles of shampoo and conditioner, body wash and bath foam, moisturiser and makeup, not to mention stacks of hair accessories. Sort all the mess into a handful of baskets, though, and your bathroom will look like something out of a spa brochure. You could even allocate each member of your family their very own basket of goodies…

Another prime clutter collecting space is, of course, the bedside table. Many of us bring our workday to bed with us, along with books we want to read, jewellery we need to store, calendars and notebooks to update, and electronics to charge and use. Add a light, a glass of water and your bedside table will not be restful Zen space. Relocate all the bits and bobs into a smart basket, and your bedroom will look as if you’ve spent hours tidying.

One area where many might be familiar with using baskets is … the laundry basket. These baskets can swallow A LOT of clutter. Which means they come in handy for other things besides laundry. Like toys, for example. Or shoes. Or even paperwork.

Ideas for Using Baskets: Basket Storage

Cats and dogs love baskets, too, which is why you’ll find many people using baskets as cat and dog beds.

We stock sideboards that offer baskets alongside the traditional drawers and cupboard space, ideal for table linen and napkins.

Baskets, neatly placed into shelving units, make great room dividers. They fit under coffeetables to store newspapers or knitting or computer games. A small basket could be the home for all the family’s remote controls.

And yes, we could go on for a while longer… but we’re sure we’ve convinced you that using baskets around your home is a real no-brainer. And while baskets may be one of the oldest types of storage around, they also fit in neatly with our busy, detail-laden lifestyles. And there’s really no higher praise than that…

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Space-saving Furniture? Step right this way!

Step into your very first apartment or house and you’re bound to marvel at how much space you have. Add some furniture and all your belongings, and a couple of years down the road it doesn’t seem like that at all. Suddenly, you live in a shoe box and wish you had more space. That’s where we come in, because space-saving furniture isn’t a new thing.

Just as we stock furniture ranges that are designed for big old houses with huge rooms and can seat a whole tribe for lunch without breaking a sweat, we also offer space-saving furniture that’s been designed with smaller apartments and tiny cottages in mind.

Space-saving furniture isn’t all about footprint either. Clever use of space and functionality are just as important. Here are a few of our favourites:

Extendable Dining Tables

Space-saving furniture: Extendable Dining Tables from A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterYour dining table. Center of your dining room or kitchen. It sure takes up a lot of room, but… you have to have somewhere to eat, right? And you need one that’s big enough to seat your family and your parents and siblings, right?

This typical new-home-owner dilemma can be solved with an extendable dining table, which is happy with a smaller corner on a normal day, but can accommodate family and guests on feast days and holidays.

Extending dining tables aren’t all one size either, whether folded or extended, so you can choose the one that will give you the best functionality for the available space.


Corner Furniture

Space-saving furniture: Vancouver Oak Corner Display CabinetCorners aren’t precisely a waste, but in many homes they’re certainly underused. Taking a look at corner furniture may give you a few ideas for freeing up space in your living room or hallway.

A tall corner storage cabinet can banish unsightly shoe clutter from your hallway. Corners are great spaces for a coat rack, especially when your hallway is narrow.

In your living room, corners can host TV or Hifi units safely out of the way of the main traffic zones. And even your home office, often the smallest room in the house, can benefit from a space-saving corner desk.


Underbed Storage

Space-saving Furniture: Avon underbed storage, ideal for small bedrooms | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Nobody likes a cluttered bedroom, but not everyone has that perfectly airy, calm Zen space to look forward to at the end of a long day. It’s more often the case of “how can I fit another chest of drawers to store…”

If this is a dilemma you recognise, then maybe it’s time to investigate underbed storage options. Build in drawers like the ones shown, or even flat storage boxes pushed under a standard bed can take bulky items like winter clothes, spare quilts and extra bedding to leave your bedroom looking much less cluttered and much more Zen without having to invest in yet another chest of drawers.


Storage Seating

Hallway storage ideas | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterIts very nature makes multi-function furniture a space saver. The combination most often found is seating combined with storage. Storage benches are eternal favourites whether in the hallway or the kitchen.

Ottomans and sofas with built-in underseat storage are equally well-liked and often used, as are blanket boxes.

And even storage pouffes and similar kinds of casual seating are often chosen because they’re not just comfortable to lounge on, but can pack away their weight in clutter.

So, if you feel your home is spacially challenged take a fresh look at your furniture and make sure you really make the best use of its space-saving potential. Or come talk to us. We’d be delighted to help!

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How to Furnish Awkwardly Shaped Rooms

A perfect home takes time to create and some rooms are easier to furnish than others. Some of us are blessed with a bare canvas of walls that form right angles and straight lines. But anyone living in an old house will know that straight walls and square corners cannot be taken for granted. Bedrooms and living rooms come in all kinds of shapes,  including awkward ones.

So what if the space you want to furnish is an attic with romantically sloping ceilings and tiny alcoves? The important thing with awkwardly shaped rooms is to maximise the potential of the space that you do have. Hidden and multi-functional storage is the key to combating those structural abnormalities that you just don’t know what to do with. Life is awkward enough, decorating and furnishing doesn’t have to be!

The dreaded little box room is a cheeky way for estate agents to sell you what is apparently a three bedroom house. We all know that four walls and a window doesn’t really constitute a fully operational bedroom. These rooms are usually saved for the little ones in the family on the basis that they haven’t had as much chance to accumulate as much clutter as Mum and Dad. This is fine until they begin to have so many toys you can’t see the bed for the board games.

Here are some ideas to help store their toys and save your sanity: house their dressing up gear in some under-bed storage, or pile their puzzles up in overhead cupboards. Turn a blanket box from storage into a storage-and-seating combo by simply adding a cushion and blanket to the top. Or use it to create a extra-functional reading nook in an alcove.We all dream of winning the lottery and building them a playroom that puts Hamleys to shame, but until then we can help you fake it until you make it.

Small, irregular shaped living rooms can be tricky to furnish as well. If your front room doubles up as your dining room or place to entertain, de-cluttering is the key. If you’re not a naturally tidy person, fear not, deep blanket boxes can easily hide a multitude of sins in this room, too. Coffee tables with built in storage can look after all those magazines that you never get round to reading, and tall chest of drawers can hide away all those peksy bills that keep on coming.

It doesn’t matter how much room you have to play with, it’s what you do with it that counts.With any living room, there’s always room for a strategically placed mirror. This is such an easy way to automatically make the room appear larger, as it will draw the eye outwards, elongating the space.

Whatever your furnishing conundrum, we can solve it – guaranteed.

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How To Create The Perfect Kids Bedroom

When you are a parent, sleep can become a pretty elusive commodity, both for you and the offspring. You may be able to cope with a few disturbed nights, but you don’t want your kids to have to struggle. How can you create the perfect kids bedroom that lulls them off into a deep, and most importantly full night’s sleep every night?

The perfect kids bedroom needs to be cosy, comfortable and – most importantly – personalised. Little ones love to be made to feel special and if their bedroom is full of all of their favourite things then there’s a good chance that the bedtime battle will become a thing of the past.

Ideas for the perfect kids bedroom | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Whether it’s a specific decor theme, their name in lights or a superhero nightlight that will make your child’s bedroom into the paradise of their dreams, decorating a kids bedroom is a lot of fun. Animal lovers might fall asleep a little easier when surrounded by all their favourite creatures on the walls, or your little princess might feel at ease in her very own fairytale dream.

Your child’s bedroom may need to double up as a playroom during the day as well. If this is the case it’s important that you are able to quickly and easy tidy all of their toys away at the end of the day. This way you can create a clear distinction between play time and bed time. There’s nothing worse than a child who won’t go to sleep at the end of a long day. Every little thing you can do to make heading off into the land of nod easier is going to make for a happy child and parent alike.

Creating the perfect kids bedroom | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Lighting is also important in your child’s bedroom. Of course every child is different and it can be quite tricky to strike the balance between just light enough to be comfortable to read and play by, yet not too bright that it’s over stimulating.  Overhead and reading lights for daytime can be complementd by softer hued night lights.  Especially since they come in the shapes of many fabulous beasts or favourite film and TV characters. For younger children you can buy speciality light bulbs which double up as both a night light and normal overhead bulb at the flick of a switch.

A child’s bedroom is  an important room in the home. Your little one is precious, as is a good night’s sleep for the whole family. There’s nothing nicer than tucking your little bundle in at the end of the day and watching them fall asleep peacefully into a blissful night of wonderful dreams. Whether or not they stay asleep all night is another ball game entirely, but every little helps!

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A Home Office That Simplifies Your Life

Working from home is tough. There are so many distractions and staying motivated all day long can be a lot harder than you think. A home office that is both inviting and functional can be just the thing you need to simplify your home working life.

We all know that we should work to live and not live to work, but it’s all too true that sometimes the daily grind can make you feel as though work is all you do. Life is too short not to have a great work and life balance and particularly when you work from home, the lines can get blurred very easily.

The saying goes that you’ll never work a day in your life if you love what you do. Working from home definitely has its fair share of pros and cons but one excellent perk of being your own boss is that you get to kit out your work space exactly how you want it.

Home office decor ideas | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

The perfect home office is one that is laid out to be as functional as possible, while completely personalised to you and full of reminders of all the things that keep you motivated and happy. It doesn’t matter if you have a whole room as your home office or you’ve just carved out a corner somewhere for you to get your work done, the best home office is one that works for you.

Whether your line of work is creative or high tech, you are at your most productive when you feel relaxed and free from stress inducing mess and clutter. The only things you should be able to see in your work space are the essential items that you need to be able to work and maybe a few strategically placed photographs or inspirational posters or items.

Home office decor ideas | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Clean, fresh colour schemes are amazingly calming in a home office. Crisp whites, classic greys, soothing greens, and calming mocha colours are the ideal hues for creativity and productivity. Colour can have a huge affect on your mood which will obviously have an even bigger effect on your work day. Start each day right with a home office that is everything you need to be able to succeed at whatever it is that you do from within the four walls of your home.

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Introducing: a new place for a furniture bargain!

The clearance area in our Bicester store – the place where you can find end of line pieces, samples and display items – has been a firm customer favourite ever since we set it up. It’s a good place to find a furniture bargain, especially if you’re after a one off or a way to furnish a room in a hurry and on a budget.

And since it’s summer, which is the time when we’re re-arranging all our furniture ready for new collections arriving in the autumn…. we’ve decided to set up another clearance area. This time, in our Banbury store. Last weekend saw our first trial run, with lots of great deals available along with free delivery to all addresses in Oxfordshire.

Our Banbury clearance area has both pine and oak furniture in a range of finishes. And there are plenty of pieces to choose from. Need a wardrobe? We have various sizes. Need a new dining table and smart dining room chairs? We’ve got that covered, too.  There are chests of drawers, coffee tables, sideboards, shoe cabinets and corner cupboards…. all at fantastic low clearance prices.

These deals are only available instore and only while stocks last.  Your next chance to bag yourself a fantastic furniture bargain is this weekend – both in the Bicester and the new Banbury clearance area – so why not visit your nearest store and take a look?

We’ll be delighted to show you around!

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How To Arrange Your Bedroom For A Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep has a huge impact on every aspect of our lives. Our bodies need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to be able to rest and repair properly. Too little or poor quality sleep can affect everything from cognitive function to our immune systems. So, getting enough time in dream land really is important. If you’re struggling to get the kind of sleep you need, then your bedroom could be at fault. Try these few simple changes and see if they help.

arrange your bedroomEven if you don’t think you have a sleep problem, there’s a lot to be said for improving your quality of shut eye every night. The easiest way to do this is to arrange your bedroom with sleep in mind. It’s not just your bed that can contribute to a good night’s rest, but the colour, lighting, and scents in the room can also make a big difference to those precious hours of shut eye each night.

The colour scheme in your bedroom should be one that you absolutely love. It pays to spend a bit of extra time carefully selecting paint and wallpaper colours or patterns so that you feel as though you are retreating to a lovely relaxing sleep space every single night. It sounds so simple but we all love to be surrounded by the things we love. Creating a personal oasis could be just the thing you need for an extra spring in your step come morning time. Soft muted colours are the best for promoting sleep, particularly blues. Sky or ocean blue are the best shades for a truly relaxing and comforting sleep space.

Romantic bedroom decor ideas | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

All of the senses need to be catered for in the perfect bedroom. Once you have the ideal visual effects in place it’s time to also think about the sounds, smells and textiles in the room. White noise is ideal for shutting out any household noise that might disturb you from an otherwise peaceful slumber. Sounds from nature such as ocean waves, forest birds or whale noises are very effective sleep aids and are a great deal more calming than the traffic and chatter from the world below. Sounds from the street such as car horns and sirens will over stimulate your brain even without you realising, whereas sounds from nature will have the opposite effect of creating a sense of peace and quiet in your mind.

Scents such as lavender and jasmine are said to have relaxing and soothing qualities. A few drops of each on each pillow might be just the thing you need to enable you to wake up refreshed each morning. The pillows, cushions and throws that you use on your bed can also offer a great deal of comfort. A little extra luxury isn’t just pure decadence, it’s a much needed boost to your quality of sleep and your quality of life. We all need a good night’s sleep, it’s the perfect tonic for almost any challenge or problem that life may throw at you. Having the bedroom of your dreams to come home to every night certainly can’t be a bad thing!

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Show Your Spare Room Some Love This Summer

The spare room is often the forgotten room that becomes a mishmash of odds and ends that don’t really go anywhere else. Nobody really thinks about the spare room until you remember you invited some friends round to stay for the weekend and have to find somewhere to hide all the clutter that has somehow accumulated there.

It’s so much hassle to have to scramble around at the last minute trying to create a comfortable sleeping space for your guests when the last thing you want to do is let your guests feel like an afterthought when they come to stay.

creating a comfortable spare room | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine

Create a wonderfully inviting spare room that makes them feel as though they are spending the night in a luxury hotel. Time spent with family and friends is something to look forward to and with a few simple touches, a night at your place can feel like a mini spa break for your guests.

Beds can take up a lot of room and in a space that needs to be multi functional such as the guest room, a sofa bed or pull out futon can be a lifesaver. With more storage space to hand it’s more likely that you will be able to keep your spare room looking as fresh, bright and clean as a hotel. You really don’t have to do much to transform your spare room from chaotic to calming. Just as in a hotel room, less is definitely more when it comes to creating a sense of luxury and comfort.

The same minimalist approach works well with the decor of the room. A plain colour scheme works really well in spare rooms as a neutral colour palette will suit everybody’s taste and make each and every guest who stays with you feel right at home. Keeping the decor simple is also a really effective way to ensure the room is inviting and not overbearing. A few quality decorations such as a decorative mirror and simple artwork on the wall is all you need to style up your spare room.

Being a guest in somebody else’s home can sometimes be quite a nice break. Make your guests feel as though they are at a home from home with some thoughtful finishing touches to your spare room such as a vase of fresh flowers, a jar of sweets on the nightstand and some fresh, crisp, white linen ready and waiting for them on the guest bed. The aim is to make your guests feel as though they have spent the night in perfect luxury, so much so that they may never want to leave!

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