Monthly Archives: November 2011

Enrol before July 2012 and you can still get funding!

If you are thinking about becoming an interior design student, I’m sure you’ll be aware that enrolment fees are going up in 2012, but what you might not know is that if you enrol and start a course with the National Design Academy before July 2012, the entire course will still be part funded by the government.  The NDA offers courses through online distance learning, and as you can choose your own start date you don’t need to wait until the fees increase at the start of the next academic year!

Fees will never be this low again, so if you are still undecided whether to take up the reins and become a student, now is a good time to give it some serious consideration.

The National Design Academy is holding its last open day for the year on Thursday 1st December, and going along is a great way to find out exactly what you can expect from studying at the UK’s leading distance learning Interior Design school.

During the open day you can learn about every single aspect of NDA’s qualifications; from Diploma level right through to BA (Hons). They also cover their new specialist courses in Heritage Interior Design, Retail Design and Design for Outdoor Living.

They will also talk you through the application process, explain the payments and grants procedure, look at the assessment programme, showcase previous students work and go through every other detail you need to know. Course tutors will be on hand to meet you and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

The open day starts at 9.45am until 1pm. For more information and to book a space visit:

If you can’t make it on thursday the next open day will be on Saturday 28 January, and if you need more food for thought read these five reasons why you should study with the National Design Academy.

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Inspiring exhibition

A retrospective exhibition of work by renowned artist/sculptor Anish Kapoor is now on display at Nottingham Castle, so if you are interested in contemporary architecture and art that influences modern interior design (and happen to live in Nottingham) then you should go and check it out!

Anish Kapoor is famous for his enigmatic sculptural forms that permeate physical and psychological space, his inventiveness and versatility have resulted in works ranging from enormous mirrored organic shapes to vibrantly coloured powder sculptures, with much more in-between. His sensual and beguiling sculptures are created using a range of materials including pigment, stone, polished stainless steel and wax.

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Called Flashback, the exhibition is on now until 11th March 2012. For more information visit the Nottingham Castle website.  To view the latest works by Anish visit his website:

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

When I think of winter at home I can’t help but imagine romantic images of huddling around  an open fire. But unless you still have a chimney in your house, imagining is as far as you can go. The look of an open fire is the most appealing part for me, as in practice they are terrible at actually heating a room.

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With a wood burning/multifuel stove people can now have the best of both worlds: a beautiful glowing fire and effective heating. With their rising popularity a whole range of exciting contemporary designs are now available that could surely become the focal point in any modern home over the coming cold, dark nights.

Two manufacturers that really stand out with their contemporary take on the stove are UK based Charnwood and Austrian company Astroflamm, whose products you can see pictured.

Another sure ‘fire’ way to lose heat from a home is through inadequate insulation, but without getting into the ins and outs of cavity walls and lofts, or rather in and out of cavity walls and lofts, a great way to add some warmth to a room is with an insulating wall hanging.

It’s a bit like putting a rug on the wall, actually it’s exactly like putting a rug on the wall, which sounds extremely tricky but doesn’t have to be. You can get wall rug hangers, but if you’re feeling creative you could build a frame and stretch the wall rug over it, then attach the frame to the wall. Another method is to attach a wooden board to the wall and cover it in velcro, then stitch velcro on to the rugs underside – hey presto interchangeable wall coverings.

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Baby, it’s cold outside

Despite the Indian Summer experienced in much of England this autumn, I am afraid to say that winter’s icy grasp is beginning to take hold. But don’t let the cold, dark nights get you down, take some inspiration from the autumnal palette and think of all those opportunities to create warm and cosy interiors.

A good place to start when thinking about increasing the heat in a home is to replace those light summery curtains or blinds with long, thick, multi layered fabric that will help to insulate and prevent drafts, but also naturally create a feeling of warmth through its colour and texture.

A study by the Glasgow Caledonian University in 2008 showed that a pair of thick curtains reduces heat loss through a single pane window by 14% and the combination of double glazing and curtains by a huge 66%.

Winter curtains are usually made up of at least two layers. The face fabric (chosen for its colour/pattern) and back lining layer, which can be made of plain, thermal or a blackout cotton material. A plain lining will offer small amounts of thermal insulation but primarily help the curtains to hang nicely and protect the face fabric from sunlight damage.  A thermal lining is a coated cotton lining that will provide more insulation.  A blackout lining will prevent the most heat loss of the three but also prevents any light from passing through the curtain material; ideal for bedrooms where ambient street lights might disturb a good sleep.

For the ultimate insulation however, a three layer curtain is required. These curtains have an extra cotton wool like interlining layer sandwiched between the front and back layers – I’m sweating just thinking about it.

But it’s not just curtains that can help keep in the heat. For a more minimalist alternative, energy saving blinds can be used. There are a wide variety available, ranging from roller blinds made with a metallic fibre woven into the fabric, to clever honeycomb designs that trap warm pockets of air.

Regardless of which window treatment best suits you or your clients, being able to create your own curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings is a very useful skill that can add value and save money.  For an affordable and flexible place to learn how to create your own soft furnishings, you need look no further than with the National Design Academy’s Diploma in Professional Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings course. For more information,  have a look at the website

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Allow myself to introduce…myself.

As the new editor of The Design Hub I can hardly contain my excitement! Will somebody please pinch me, or at least poke me on Facebook.

If you love design as much as I do, then you’d be this happy too, I actually get to research and write about the amazing world of cutting edge design, which is cool; if I was younger I’d say it was WAY cool.

This blog has built up quite a reputation for itself over the last year, and It’s not surprising really with the team visiting and reporting on most of the major interior design events around the UK, and with our close links to the National Design Academy we also get to report on the latest trends and technologies being incorporated into homes, restaurants, bars, offices, gardens, airports, universities; in fact any space where humans tend to hang out.

If you are new to The Design Hub, hi! it’s great to have you here. I hope I’ve given you a good idea of what you can expect to find here and that you’ll visit us again soon. To make sure you don’t miss out on any of our new posts we have an RSS feed which you can subscribe to; I don’t know what RSS stands for either, but it does mean you’ll hear about anything we post as soon as we post it, simply click the ‘RSS – Posts’ button in the left hand menu. While I’m on the subject you can also follow us on twitter – you’ll never need to miss the latest news on interior design again.

So with all this digital media we really are only a click or a tap of the screen away, so don’t be shy; read our posts and leave us a comment, re-tweet us, like us and send us to your friends.

It’s nice to meet you.

Pete Morris

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