Friday 11 March 2011

Areaz - Designer Chic for the Home

When I was approached and asked to review the Areaz website, I headed off for a look with absolutely no idea of what to expect. My first impression was minimalist chic - it's uncluttered and uses muted tones so it's like the website version of a white settee and cream carpet. Funnily enough, as I scrolled down the page, that's exactly the photo that appeared ! Hmmm it's nice, but only in someone else's house unfortunately ! It wouldn't work in our home, with three kids under ten and two dogs !

But off to investigate further. The company statement on the homepage sends out a clear message : "The Secret of Style is knowing where to shop. Our online showroom offers original, bold and beautiful furniture designs by some of the world's most sought-after designers. Browse our gallery, and discover elegant, trendsetting furniture that gives pleasure and adds style to your space. Style is Simple. With our easy-to-use website, style has never been so easy to acquire. The Areaz online showroom let's you browse thousands of bold, sophisticated pieces - all in one place. Think of us as your personal shopper, bringing together hundreds of eye-catching, beautiful designs and arranging them by area and product for ease of shopping. Trust Us - and Bring Style Home. We're devoted to contemporary furniture design, and offer timeless pieces guaranteed to look good, no matter how fashion changes. But it's not all about looks. Our furniture is scrutinised, not only for quality of design and aesthetic appeal, but workmanship and build. So you can trust the longevity and designer credentials of all our pieces. Trust us, and bring style home."

OK, time for some virtual retail therapy. Let's see what leaps out at me. I have to admit, I was quite taken by some of the designer mirrors, mainly because they have some really unique designs. They have some really different styles to appeal to all tastes, both traditional and quirky. I could see the round Egypt Wall Mirror, framed by tiny pyramids, in our dining room and the funky but strangely-named Bungalow Mirror (the one with all the little round mirrors and chrome) would look great in our bedroom or even the kids' bedrooms.

 I also feel strangely drawn to these very swish Kolonaki floor mirrors, which would look very snazzy in the lounge - although I wouldn't fancy constantly cleaning off little handprints and doggy-noseprints !

A lot has been made of the fact that we should all make a concerted effort to get the whole family back to the dining table eating meals together, so I decided to go and look at what they have in that department. Now, I thought designer dining tables would definitely be out of my price range but I really love this stylish black and chrome table that has a reasonable £357 price tag. The glass top is available in white, black, beige or silk screen glass and you can choose between chrome or aluminium so you can go for a real custom-design to fit in with your colour scheme. I love the fact that it looks very elegant but also hardwearing and easy to clean, which is obviously essential in a family environment.

I was intrigued by the name Flos and went off to find out more. Flos is an Italian company that is said to have "created lighting that has surpassed utility and breached aesthetic ground", using innovative materials and technology. Expecting the unexpected, I went off to have a look.

The first design that caught my eye was this Once In The Blue Suspension Lamp. It looks exactly like the Chinese paper globe lampshade I had in my bedroom in the eighties ! Awww that made me feel very nostalgic. I definitely don't remember mine having a £1593 price tag though !

Some of the other designs are really striking, especially the one that uses a golden pistol as a lamp base. I bet nobody else you know has got one of those in their homes ! Another one I really like looks like a strange cross between a Portuguese Man of War and a squashed chef's hat !

I started off this review saying that I couldn't really imagine buying designer furniture and accessories for a house filled with messy-fingered children. But then I discovered their kids' section and couldn't stop going oooh ! They have some brilliant ideas that I have never seen anywhere else and that I know Sophie, Juliette and Pierre would absolutely love. And I'm sure even the grown-ups would play on them too. (I certainly would !)
My absolute oh-my-god-that-is-so-cool award goes to this flying carpet - a rug on a rocking base that gives you the sensation of being on a flying carpet. How cool is that ?! I've never seen anything like that before and it's such a fabulous idea ! I also love the My House Curtain/Tablecloth (which reminds me of happy childhood hours hiding under a blanket draped over the table !) and the brilliant play cave. Wonderful ideas and very funky designs.

This is high-end, quality furniture and accessories so it unfortunately often comes with a high-end price tag. However, there is a clearance area where you may find yourself a bargain. There's also currently a no-purchase-necessary competition where you can win a trip to Milan, but you'll have to be very quick as the draw takes place on the 17th March.

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(sponsored - but nevertheless totally honest ! - post)

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