5 Things to Consider When Creating a Hardworking Home Office

It’s a discussion we keep having over and over: what makes a hardworking home office? It’s a little different for everyone, of course. Some of us run a business from home, others need a quiet space to study, and others yet want to craft or just keep the household paperwork organised.

There are probably as many definitions of a hardworking home office as there are people setting one up, but… there are also things they all have in common. Or should have. Clean, comfortable, ergonomic, bright and inspirational are all good terms to keep in mind when designing your workspace, along with these five things we believe are vital.

A Dedicated Workstation

Hidden Office from our Mobel Oak collectionWhether it’s an all-singing all-dancing desk with built-in computer trays and cable management, or an old kitchen table set in a corner, having a workstation is the first step to your very own hardworking home office.

The height should let you work comfortably, and there should be enough room for whatever you’re using to do your work, whether it’s a laptop, a bunch of files or a drawing board. Leaving a corner for your coffee mug would be a good idea, too.

Comfortable Seating

Again, seating is a very personal choice. Whatever you pick – office chair, kitchen chair, kneeling chair, or even a giant exercise ball – it should be comfortable and support your back. Especially if you’re likely to spend hours on a computer.

Task Lighting

Mood lighting is fun in the bedroom. But a home office is a place where work is being done, so don’t skimp on good, bright task lighting. Not only will it help you see what you’re doing, it will also help you feel less tired after a long day’s work.

Storage

A little help for you back to school preparations | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterWorking in a messy office, with files piled here and there and having to spend ages trying to find something will not help you feel efficient and accomplished.

A workspace that’s too messy might even send you hurrying to work in the kitchen!

But a lot of the bigger mess is easily fixed, even if your home office space is much smaller than you would like.

Our bookcases come in a range of sizes from tall to short and wide to narrow. We stock corner cabinets that will let you make the most of the space you have available. Pot cupboards are great for storing stacks of files, and small filing cabinets can easily fit under a desk or table. So just because your home office is tiny doesn’t mean it has to be messy!

Accessories

The best home office is one you  don’t want to leave at the end of the day and can’t wait to get into in the mornings. And one way to achieve that feat is to make your office uniquely yours.

Your workspace should inspire you. So there’s nothing wrong with choosing a wall colour you like, a poster, painting or photograph that speaks to you to hang over your desk or to place that chunk of rock you brought back from Cornwall and that reminds you of the perfect holiday right where you can see it. Having a plant on your desk or even in the room, can make you feel better – some house plants have hidden talents in cleaning the air!

Add a rug that makes you smile, a notice board that reminds you of good times with friends, a big squashy pillow to stuff in your back, a scented candle or a few leaves you’ve collected on your walk that morning. Accessories don’t have to be large to make a large impact on your mood.

5 Things to Help you Create a Hardworking Home Office | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Whatever space you can turn into your very own hardworking home office, make sure it’s a space you’ll enjoy working in. Make it yours, make it as bright as appeals to you, make it comfortable, well lit, and tidy… and add accessories that will inspire your work.

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The Magic of Bedside Tables: Decluttering for a Great Night’s Sleep!

The magic of bedside tables: decluttering for a good night's sleep! | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester | image credit: humoto abrianto from unsplash.comHave you ever woken up exhausted and feeling as if you’ve not slept at all? It’s a horrible feeling. And never mind how much coffee you’ll use to combat it, chances are good that the whole day will be a struggle. There are many reasons you may have slept badly: stress, a late dinner that disagreed with you, excess noise, a worn-out mattress, a book you couldn’t put down until late, problems at work, or – surprisingly – clutter.  Bedroom clutter, to be precise.

Bedroom decor trends change yearly. Colours, textures and accessories that are all the rage one year are barely looked at the next. Then, of course, there’s functionality, space and storage to consider, and – most important of all – personal style.

Very few people would be happy sleeping in a bare white room furnished with just a bed, a rug and some curtains – however Zen it might be. Your bedrooms is your sanctuary, and you want to be able to relax when you finally make it to bed at night.

The magic of bedside tables | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterSo how do you square that need with the fact that the chances of hours of undisturbed leep are higher the less clutter surrounds you when you close your eyes?

Fairly easily, actually.

By removing items that stimulate your minds into wakefulness from your line of sight, be they books, games, papers, or electronics. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read in bed, or listen to music, or finish the evening with a sudoku puzzle. You can do all of these things, but then… before turning off the light… just place those items out of sight.

There’s a reason bedside tables are one of our best-selling products. They provide storage space for items you usually keep around your bed, giving you the chance to get a good night’s rest in a clutter-free space.

How to Create a Dreamy Bedroom | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterAnd since bedside tables come in a multitude of configurations, you’re bound to find one that will suit your way of spending the last hour before going to sleep.

For the naturally tidy: a minimalist bedside table will offer just enough space for a light, an alarm clock, or a house plant.

For the readers: a bedside table with shelf provides space to stack books out of your line of sight, so you can sleep without your mind continuing to ponder who killed Aunt Agatha’s poodle or whether the dashing pirate managed to rescue his beloved.

For the gamesters and newshounds: a bedside table with drawers will let you store your phone and tablet out of sight. Most important, that, since electronic devices are high on the list of items that will disrupt your sleeping patterns. If you can’t bear to ban the electronics from your bedroom entirely, then a closed drawer is a good compromise.

With such a huge variety of bedside tables and nightstands available, you’re bound to find one that will help you keep your sleeping space peaceful and clutterfree. And if you’d like some advice on which might be suit, then why not visit our Banbury or Bicester stores and talk to our friendly staff?

We’re always delighted to help.

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Getting the Best from This Year’s Autumn Colour Trends

How we decorate our homes is an ever changing story. Trends come and go. Some are timeless. Some last years. And some are all the rage for a short while – remember avocado bathroom suites? – and gone when the season ends.

Fortunately, not every item in our homes needs to conform to the latest trends in home decor, or even the latest hot colour trends. It’s quite acceptable to mix and match. Furniture – especially the larger pieces – is often bought with a long-term view, as are carpets, bespoke window treatments, and sofas. Many furniture designs are largely timeless, providing a backdrop of style that you can layer and build on.

Soft furnishings, and to some extent, wall colours, are the real trendy pieces. They’re easy to change with the seasons and right now, the trendy love deep, rich berry and woodland colours. Plum and damson shades like the ones found on DesignSeeds’ fabulous Instagram page add depth and warmth to any room. Think cushions and blankets, and even wall colour if you’re inclined to get the paintbrush out.

Russets, browns and deep greens also join the trend, more woodland inspiration for you to draw on. Think bark, mushrooms, and tree trunks and you’ll realise that this year’s hottest autumn colour trend is not just about colour. It’s just as much about texture. Layering rugs, different fabrics, furs and chunky knits, and adding wooden or wrought iron decor pieces will bring your style choices right up to date.

Autumn Colour Trends: Woodland tones | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine

Autum colour trends tend to be about prolonging the sense of summer, or about adding a distinctive feel of cosiness and warmth. This autumn, it’s all about cosy. And solid wood furniture makes a fabulous base for anything autumnal.

Adopting the trend doesn’t mean you have to go rustic. Deep greens and berry tones work equally well if you’re after a sophisticated look, whether you add a distressed copper centrepiece to your dining room, invest in damson table linen or find a cosy, mushroom-coloured knit blanket, you’ll be right there with this autumn’s hottest trend.

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Dashing Dining Sets

It’s that time of year where many of us turn our thoughts to long dinners with friends and family. Recipe books are consulted for warming stews, casseroles and pies. The roasting trays are dusted off… and a new dining table ends up as the first item on the shopping list!

Whether you’ve just moved house or finally moved into your first own pad, for most of us a dining table is one of our furniture essentials. Somewhere to enjoy the day’s first cup of tea or coffee. Somewhere for the kids to do their homework. Somewhere to bring friends and family together.

Even the smallest flat needs a dining table, so visiting our Bicester or Banbury store to check out our newest collections of dashing dining sets is time well spent.

If you’ve not visited us in a while, we urge you to do so now, because we’ve just taken delivery of some very fine and stylish dining sets.

Dashing Dining Sets from our new Mango Collection | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Our new Mango furniture collection is practically walking out the door, and no wonder given the looks and versatility of these pieces. The trestle-style tables and benches are very much on trend and look stunning whether your dining room has a rustic feel or a modern style. Team with a full set of dining chairs, or match with dining chairs and a bench for a more space-saving combination.

If you’d rather add a touch of exotic luxury, then our Sheesham Rosewood Jali dining sets might be the pieces for you. Intricately detailed and in a stunning colour, these are dining sets to make a statement in any formal dining room.

Dashing Dining Sets from our Sheesham Rosewood Jali Collection | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

And you don’t need a huge, formal dining space to enjoy our Jali dining furniture. A small square table with two matching chairs is just the thing to make your first romantic meal in your brand-new home a huge success…

If you’re still balancing your dinner on your lap while wishing you had a dining table handy, then why not visit our Banbury or Bicester stores. We’d be delighted to show off old favourites as well as our newest pieces!

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Coffee Table Styles

Coffee tables are the workhorses in our living rooms. They’re great parking spaces for coffee mugs, mobile phones, and even feet. They’re a handy surface for your little ones to play on. They can play host to magazines and books. They can even keep your living room clutter-free while looking stylish doing so. Given all that, it’s not surprising that when you come to buy a new one, you have many different coffee table styles to choose from.

So what should you consider before buying a new coffee table?

Coffee Table Styles from A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Purpose

Because there are oodles of coffee table styles, knowing what you want yours for is a must. If hiding clutter is a concern, then a coffee table with storage  might be useful. Coffee tables with shelves are handy if you want to keep magazines and books tidy. Coffee tables with drawers or storage baskets can keep irregular-sized clutter at bay.

If you want useful little display surfaces dotted around the room, then a nest of tables may be the answer. And if you want a coffee table that can double as a children’s workspace, then  you’ll want a coffee table with a smooth surface, or there’ll be tears at colouring time!

 

Sheesham Rosewood Coffee Tables from a World of Oak A Touch of PineSize

Size is another important consideration – and one reason coffee tables are sometimes returned to the store and exchanged for one more suitable.  It’s easy to get wrong.

Mark out your chosen space so you can see how the table fits with the rest of the room and be sure to allow a sufficient gap all around your coffee table, so people can sit comfortably. There’s nothing worse than barking your shin every time you reach for your teacup.

Style

Choosing the style, colour scheme and finish is the fun part of coffee table buying. Because despite everything we want our coffee tables to do, we want them to look stylish while they do it.  Fortunately, there are literally scores of coffee table styles, so the chances that you’ll find something that’s perfect for your home are very high.

In our store you can find coffee table styles from sleek and contemporary, to traditional and even exotic. They come in pine or oak, rosewood or mango, oiled, waxed or polished, and even painted in a range of delectable shades.

All you have to do is choose the right style for your home! 🙂

BespOak Hereford Slate Oak and Blue Black Coffee Table | A World of Oak A Touch of PIne Banbury and Bicester

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New in Store: our new Jali Furniture Collection!

Sheesham Rosewood Coffee Tables from a World of Oak A Touch of PineBrand new in store this autumn, our beautiful Jali furniture collection will find its fans amongst those of us who love unusual, innovative storage solutions and furniture that’s just not like everybody else’s.

Rosewood is a dense material that is prized for its beautiful colours. Shades stretch from pale pink to deep burgundy and brown and show rich veining.

Rosewoods tend to be strong and heavy, polish beautifully, and can be used to produce musical instruments – such as guitar fret boards and recorders – all kinds of furniture, and even luxury flooring.  Our Jali furniture pieces are made from solid Sheesham Indian Rosewood and finished with metalwork doors and wrought iron handles.

Sheesham Rosewood Circular Drawer Sets from A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterRight now, we offer coffee tables in a range of sizes, beautiful trunks and storage boxes, and unusual circular drawers sets.

Storage doesn’t come more stylish than this.

From trunks you’ll have to fight your teenagers for to drawer columns that fit into corners or hallways without absorbing too much floor space, this is a furniture collection for enthusiasts.

Rosewood furniture is different from the oak and pine furniture we’ve all grown up with and are used to seeing. It adds a touch of something special to a room, an eclectic vibe that fits with many current colour schemes. If you’re an aficionado of the global nomad trend, then you’ll see right away how well our rosewood furniture fits with woven blankets, knitted cushions and innovative metal accessories.

And if you’ve never considered adding a touch of the orient to you home? Check out our Jali collection anyway. You may find that you’re so bowled over by its looks and style that you’ll take a piece home anyway.

 

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New in Store – our brand-new Mango Furniture Collection!

This is one of the most exciting times of the year for us. Not because school has started again, but because it’s the time when our new furniture collections are beginning to arrive and we have the chance to shout about what’s new in store. It’s a bit like Christmas come early and, of course, we love to share the good news with you. So what can you expect to see in our stores over the next few weeks?

Our new Mango Collection

This furniture, made from solid mango wood, comes in two distinct styles.

  • A very modern cubic style in a light natural finish that lets the wood grain shine through. Pieces in this style have a unique, very flexible design that will add a touch of flair to your living and dining rooms!
  • A chunky, rustic style with a slightly distressed finish and iron-forged cushion knob handles that offers furniture in a more traditional design. This style offers furniture for all rooms in your home, and the bedroom furniture has proven especially popular since we took delivery.

The first items arrived in the last couple of weeks and have proven very popular with customers who visited the store since then. If you like to furnish your home with pieces that are solidly made, but look just that little bit out of the ordinary, then we recommend you check out our Mango furniture collection, which is new in store now!

 

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5 Signs That You Need A New Mattress

A well-build oak or pine bedstead can last you well over a dozen years. What doesn’t last quite as long is your mattress. A good mattress compresses to cradle and support you while you sleep and then relaxes and bounces back during the day. But over time, even the best mattress loses its springiness and begins to sag. That’s when it’s time for a new mattress, since a worn out one is not helping you get a good night’s rest.

Turning and flipping your mattress regularly will prolong its life, as will using a mattress topper, but even with all this help there comes a time when you need a new mattress.

How do you know when that time is? Here are five signs to look out for.

5 Signs You May Need a New Mattress | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and Bicester

Your mattress is visibly sagging

This one is easy to spot whether you’re using a flat sheet or a fitted one. If there are dents and dips in your freshly made up mattress, it may be time to think of a new one, since the core of your mattress  clearly isn’t recovering its shape back to where it should be. If you lie down and feel as if you’re sliding into a form, or settling into a hammock… then you’ll know you’re lying on a tired mattress.

You wake up tired

One problem with sleeping on a mattress that’s past its best is that you really won’t get a good night’s sleep. You’ll twist and turn trying to get comfortable, whether you’re aware of it or not. And you wake up as if you’ve been fighting all night… which you have, in a manner of speaking. Not getting a good night’s rest can seriously affect your work and home life as well as your emotional wellbeing, so it’s important to take note.

You wake up with aches and pains

Your mattress is meant to support your body while you rest. But if your mattress is worn, your body may not get the support it needs. If you wake up with an aching neck and sore hips, if you struggle to straighten your back or your knees… and if all these aches and pains improve during the day, only to recur the next morning – then your mattress is to blame.

You wake up with a blocked nose or sore throat

Like waking up with aches and pains and blaming it on your activities of the day before, you may wake up with a blocked nose or sore throat and simple blame it on hayfever, pollen, or general pollution. But, you know, it might actually be your mattress that’s to blame.

If allergies seem worse first thing in the morning, or overnight, then it may be time for a new mattress. However careful you are with washing mattress covers and bedding, vacuuming your mattress, and choosing mattresses made from materials like latex or memory foam which are resistant to dust mites – they’ll move in eventually and they’ll make you suffer.

​​​​​​​You’ve had your mattress for more than seven years

Most of us can’t remember how long we’ve had our current mattress – except for the smart cookies who write the delivery date on the mattress label! If you check how long you’ve had yours, you might be surprised. It’s recommended that you replace your mattress roughly every seven years, but even that’s not a hard and fast rule. If you’ve changed your weight a lot (either up or down!) in the last few years, your mattress may be struggling to support your body properly. A cheaper mattress might not be as resilient as a more expensive one. Most of all, though, mattress technology has moved on more advanced materials are now available. This is especially true for memory foam, which was an amazing novelty a few years back. Early memory foam layers were often far too thin and apt to wear out quickly, while the rest of the mattress was still perfectly fine.

Bed shopping is fun – and we’ll be glad to help you out. But don’t forget shopping for a new mattress at intervals. It’s ever so important for a good night’s sleep. And we have a range of good quality mattresses in store, so if you want to try one out… just ask!

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A Little Help with your Back to School Preparations

Summer holidays always seem to pass so quickly. One day you wonder what to pack for the perfect picnic and then, before you know it, it’s time to think about going back to school. You’re ironing school uniforms, labelling exercise books, socks and PE gear, and sorting through reading projects.

For many of us, September is a month for change, and not just because the lazy summer days are coming to an end and autumn’s on the way. Going back to school is the time to make a fresh start, whether your youngest is starting secondary school, your eldest is heading off to uni, or you’re planning to take a few evening courses yourself.

One thing many customers look for when they visit our stores at the end of summer is furniture suitable for a study or home office. So today, we thought we give you a little run-down on how we can help make the back to school transition much more seamless.

Desks

Hidden Office from our Mobel Oak collectionWhether you’re using a paper pad and pencil, an ipad, or a laptop, you can work on any flat surface.

So why should you look at buying a proper desk? Two reasons.

One, a desk tends to have more than just a surface to write on. Even our slim-line ipad desk has drawers where you can store a mouse, cables, chargers, and USB sticks, and our larger desks have drawers and well-designed spaces that help keep your office neat, organised, and clutter free.

The second reason for choosing a desk is psychological. Having a dedicated workspace will get you much faster into a productive mindset than sitting in your dining or living room. Just as stepping away from your desk will help you relax once the work is done.

Bookcases and Filing Cabinets

A little help for you back to school preparations | A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterNo workspace is complete without storage and bookcases and filing cabinets are high on most people’s list.

We stock bookcases and filing cabinets in a variety of sizes, so bring us your measurements and we’re bound to be able to help.

And while you’re in the store, don’t forget to check out our clearance area for bargains. We often have ex-display pieces, end-of-line items, or samples that will work very well if you’re furnishing your first dedicated workspace.

Accessories

Offices need storage, but you want them to be enticing too. And that’s easily achieved with accessories that fit around your personality.

Check out our selection of baskets, which are an excellent compromise between style and storage facility. Make yourself smile with a quirky vintage sign. Or even cheer up your chosen work area with a colourful storage pouffe or a cosy rug.

Whatever you need in your new study or home office, we can help you make the back to school transition painless. Just ask…

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Why decorate with vintage signs?

Why decorate with vintage signs? A World of Oak A Touch of Pine Banbury and BicesterShabby chic, farmhouse, and vintage designs have been hot trends for quite a few years now, and their popularity shows no sign of waning. Along with functional, but distressed-looking furniture, wall art like clocks, old-style advertising and vintage signs are being sought out and picked up by many of us. It’s a trend that some people get immediately, while others need to work to make sense of it.

And while there are plenty of bric-a-brac shops offering all manner of well-aged items and distressed paint jobs now cover dining chairs as easily as bedside tables and wardrobes, there’s always been a special place in people’s minds for advertising posters, signs, and other vintage accessories.

So why would you hang an old tin sign advertising baked beans on your kitchen wall or declare yourself a Gin Palace to everyone who steps through your front door? It might make sense if you’re a local pub or coffee shop, but in your home?

The reason why people decorate with vintage signs are as individual as the signs themselves.

Maybe the sign reminds you of a favourite food, or a favourite place. Maybe it’s the sign for a street you know well, or celebrates a sports team you support. Maybe it makes you smile. Or maybe you always wanted a kitchen clock that proclaimed it ‘wine time’ or extolled the virtue of cupcakes.

Vintage signs and old-style clocks add a touch of quirkiness to a kitchen, dining  room, or hallway… spaces that are often more functional than stylish. They’re a declaration of things you enjoy, and they have just as much meaning as that jar of seashells you’ve brought back from your seaside holiday or the incense sticks on the sidetable.

Old-style clocks aren’t just decorative, either. They tell the time as well as remind us of times gone by whether you like the austere, angular Art Deco style or a slightly more whimsical farmhouse design.

Accessories for a Vintage Kitchen | Calendar Clock

The other nice thing about vintage signs is that they’re instant conversation pieces. They bring a room to life and pull a design together and – in many cases – you only need a single piece in a room to give it that final, finished look.

You can, of course, trail antique shops, flea markets or car boot sales to find the vintage signs you’d like to display in your home. Or, if the actual age of the sign doesn’t matter as much as the design itself and the look it gives to your home, and you’re happy to display a replica… then why not visit one of our stores. We have an interesting selection of clocks, vintage signs and decorative signs that will bring a real smile to your face…

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