The charm of contrast: secrets of designer chic

Colours that look even more vibrant against smooth white surfaces, or monochrome accents contrasting with real wood veneer for a striking impact? Whatever delights your eye and floats your design boat, Jali can help.

Jali bespoke wall unit So, once you’ve decided on the kind of furniture you want, and have measured up and started designing, don’t forget that all-important finish. You’ll be living with the results of your efforts for years to come (our products are of very high quality) so it’s worth spending some time getting it right.

Style is such a personal thing, but there are a few tried-and-trusted design tips that can really help, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the advice that is now so readily available. Clever use of contrast is one I particularly like. For example, pale and pristine (above) is a great background for a mix of colours and textures. It’s understated and doesn’t draw attention to itself, but it has its own quiet charm…

detail of Jali bespoke dresser in walnut real wood veneer On the other hand, wood veneers, as shown on the left, have their own unique patterning and glow, so less tends to be more when it comes to adding accessories.

Keeping it simple stops the eye getting totally confused. It lets everything breathe and have its own space.

The last thing you want in any interior is a messy, confused jumble of shapes, surfaces and colours. Now, don’t get me wrong; this does not mean a sterile, rigid approach to decorating that banishes individuality and quirkiness. Yuk.

But a careful and pared-back selection of the items you put on a striking piece of furniture like the one above really enhances the natural beauty of the wood. It also allows one to  complement the other. For instance, the contrast of the shine of the glazed ceramics and the matte surface of the wood, as well as the colour contrast, allows each element to get its own fair share of attention.

Often these differences are quite subtle, but they all make their mark, often in ways that don’t register very obviously. But, overall, these contrasts can make all the difference between a room that feels good to be in, and one that feels unsettling and not very welcoming.

So next time you jump onto the Jali Designer, try out the possibilities it offers. Priming or real wood veneers are available at the click of a button. Or if you would like us to provide a professional topcoating service before your furniture leaves our workshop, ring us on 01227 833333 for more details. As they say, the devil is definitely in the detail!


Life on the shelf – sleek, chic and serene

Who said the bookshelf was dead? I know someone did, and not that long ago at that. Presumably it was one of the ‘experts’ who predicted that ‘real’ books would soon be defunct – overtaken by digital reading devices and seen merely as quaint reminders of Ye Olden Days.

Jali real oak veneer shelvingWell, that hasn’t happened. And in any case, we use shelves for far more than books alone. Open any colour supplement, interiors magazine or catalogue from a major high-street store or supermarket. There they are: carefully chosen, colour-coordinated objects displayed, on shelves, to convey individuality, quirkiness and the impression that real people live in these rooms. And the lovely things they are trying to sell us, obviously.

But real ‘real people’ have, in my experience, far more interesting and colourful stuff, just begging to be shown off on sleek, gorgeous Jali shelving. It could be anything: vintage handbags (me); vinyl records (long-cherished or newly-pressed); old cameras; family photos; tin toys, DVDs, even books. Or an eclectic mix based on size, colour, place of origin… In fact, whatever delights, interests and pleases you. It’s your home, not a magazine makeover or celebrity crib. So surround yourself with what you love.

Jali bespoke radiator cabinet – customer photoAnd it’s not just Flexi shelves and bookcases that have shelving sewn up. Don’t forget there’s a built-in shelf in every Jali radiator cover – it’s part of the design! This is especially useful in hallways, as shown the customer photo, left.

It also means the wall above the cabinet is then ideal for hanging mirrors, paintings and prints.

They won’t dry out or warp, as the clever design of our cabinets means the heat is pushed out into the room, not up the wall, and the substantial 30 or 18mm shelf adds another layer of protection. Plus space for some other pretty pieces. Or keys, gloves, letters or shopping lists…

It all helps to make life more organised, chic and enjoyable. But feeling serene when you solve your storage problems is all part of the Jali effect. Our products are designed to look beautiful, match or complement your interiors and give years of practical, durable service.

So come on, let’s get our favourite things out and enjoy them. With the help of Jali, let’s really make our homes our own, and live, long and proudly, on the shelf….


Paint it pretty, for a perfect finish…

In a world of mass-produced, standard-issue furniture, Jali products stand out for all the right reasons. And you can make them even more distinctive with our expert paint finishes in a wide range of colours, from demure to dynamic.

Of course you can ask us to prime your furniture and then paint it yourself. But if you’d like us to do all the hard work, first design and save your piece(s) on the Jali website, then contact us for full details of the Jali paint shades and to get a quotation.

Jali paint shadesBefore we chose our final range of 24 shades (above), I tried all the shortlisted paint samples against our real wood veneers, in oak and walnut, to make sure they looked good together. As the combination of ultra-smooth, painted surfaces and the natural patterns and hues of real wood is so effective and popular, we wanted to be sure that all the possible colour matches would be great ones.

Jali blue bespoke dresserOur paints, which have a 30% sheen, are specially chosen for quality of application, finish and durability.

But in years to come, if you fancy a change of colour scheme, you can paint your cherished piece again, knowing that your furniture will look just as glorious in another shade, and will enjoy another lease of life.

And with the explosion of colours, textures and custom finishes that we’ve seen in the paint world in recent years, there really are no limits to the effects and the impact that painted furniture can have.

If you start with high-quality furniture to begin with, you know you can look forward to many enjoyable years of ringing the changes on the home front. And all for the cost of a few pots of paint – it’s amazing what you can do when you put your hand to it…


Storage that’s romantic AND practical!


white Jali dresserAh, dark, velvety red roses! Yes, we’re a romantic bunch at Jali. Any excuse and we’re ready with the flowers, the fizz and the favourite restaurant table.

Now before we all get carried away, I’ve never believed in the idea of ‘soulmates’. We are all individuals, and believing the opposite can lead to the wearing of matching jumpers – and much, much worse. (More mature readers will remember Howard and Hilda, and shudder. Younger ones will find the evidence here; please use this information responsibly.)

white Jali dresserTolerance of a partner’s fads and foibles can go a long way in creating a harmonious household. So a well-judged gift of some stylish storage, customised to suit a loved one’s hobbies or collections, is our top tip for a truly thoughtful and yes, romantic, Valentine’s gesture.

Jali customised cupboardWhether you create a large dresser with storage space, as in the example on the left, or a stand-alone cupboard, bookcase or some Flexi shelving, you can customise your products so they fit your space, and needs, exactly.

(Or the needs of your loved one, obviously. To do this, it’s a good idea to get their ideas and input. Mind-reading is an overrated skill, in our humble opinion.)

The same goes for our brilliant wardrobes; these can even be designed to go round corners if required. For fashion addicts, there is nothing more wonderful than having space and to spare for copious collections of frocks, bags, skirts and shoes.

Recent events in my own family have convinced me, if I needed convincing, that kindness is the essential element in our relations with each other. Recognising the need we all have for a space in which we can keep treasured things is a big part of that. And it acknowledges the right we all have for our own interests and ideas to be respected. For me, it’s an aspect of one of the words the Greeks have for love: agape, which I’ve always understood as meaning “to want the best for other people, to make them happy and fulfilled”.

Given that, I’d like the Valentine’s effect to extend to everyone, partnered-up or not. So let’s go to it – and there’s absolutely nothing to stop you designing and buying one for yourself, is there? Thought not – race you to the Jali shopping trolley!