Perfect presents from Pretty Pieces

Mother’s Day and Wedding season are right around the corner and here at Design Essentials we are so lucky to have a brand new stockist bringing in the most perfect presents and gifts for the upcoming months. Tina is the proud owner of Tina’s Pretty Pieces, who are a local design company based in Essex who invest their time into making the perfect personalised gift for any occasion, for anyone. Whether it’s a vintage wedding piece or a retro addition to your home, every design comes to life with all of your personal details making it as special and unique as the occasion it celebrates and Tina truly presents this in every single aspect of her work.

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Every customer has the chance to design their bespoke piece with their own choice of wording, colour and decorative detailing and along with the colour matching service, their creation will make a stunning centrepiece in any decor or colour scheme, which can all be done instore and now online on our website as well. Instore we will talk first hand to you about your choices and variations making sure you get exactly what you want, helping you wherever you may need it.

A gift will always mean more if its personalised, bearing the special date of a wedding or the details of a new baby’s arrival and with the large range of products that we now have instore we are sure that we have something just right for any occasion.

My favourite item from the collection, that I absolutely love at the moment, are the family trees. With a variety of colours, themes and finishes the tree really can be made unique for that one of a kind couple.

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The family tree featured is handpainted in a beautiful mix on neutral tones to compliment any home decor. The trees coming in neutral (top) prices from £125 and natural (bottom)priced at £115  but also a much wider colour palette to find that perfect match. Come instore to have a look!

An amazing way to congratulate a couple on their wedding anniversary this year is to include their whole family. A total of 25 names can be added to the family tree, these names are smaller and compliment extended  families as well. Names can have  polka dotted leaves, diamanté detailing added to make it extra special only for a small cost as well.

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The collection is so extensive with a specific wedding collection now instore as well, so we are sure that we will have something to match your needs this wedding season. Pop instore to have a look and if you have any question let us know and we will be sure to help. Leave a comment or find us at:

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Tina’s Pretty Pieces: Design Essentials chats to Tina

Here at Design Essentials we are so excited to introduce Tina as one of our new stockists instore and online. Tina specialises in personalised family trees and wedding gifts. Her handmade bespoke creations, can be personalised to match colours, names and designed to match your home to be the perfect gift. I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Tina and ask her some questions about herself and her art. What really shone through was how passionate Tina is about her work and how much thought goes into each individual piece. Tina is such a bubbly and enchanting woman who’s products reflect her personality perfectly. Her work as you will see fits well with Design Essentials, we can’t wait for you to see her work and we hope that you’re half as excited as we are!

What inspires your work?

My work has been and always will be inspired by my family. My first family tree creation still sits pride of place on my lounge wall with all our names together. I want to create happiness and that for me is seeing the names of the ones I love all together. Creating a piece with the details of the ones we hold in our hearts is my favourite thing.

Is there an element of art that you enjoy the most?

Colour!! I love to bring wood alive with colour, subtle tones or vibrant shocks, I love them all.

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What has been the work that you are most proud of?

It has to be my family trees. They bring so much joy when received. A tree I had painted gold for a golden wedding anniversary gift. This tree had 25 names on it and was for a nan and grandad who had created such a much loved family who adored them.

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What is your most important artists’ tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

Music and coffee!!

What’s the best and worst thing about being an artist? 

The best thing is no restrictions in what I can create, I love the freedom to indulge my creativity. The worst is that I am over critical and only my favourite pieces are ever seen.

Just to indulge me, your favourite Take That member?

Robbie!! Can I have Robbie? lol

Favourite drink

Vanilla latte all day long


Thank you so much to Tina for giving up her time to talk us, we are so excited to have her gorgeous products now instore for all our lovely customers to see.

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Neon is live on the website

Following my last blog all about how neon is the next biggest trend and on its way on to our shelves, I am so excited to finally announce that it is finally in store at Design Essentials and live on our website as of today!

At Design Essentials we pride ourselves on having a vast and diverse range available from instore and now online.

Here are a few of my favourite signs and neon  lights that are all online now!

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The best part is that all our signs can be personalised for that perfect match.  From uplifting words to vibrant shapes, our lights are designed in the UK and crafted in a durable and environmentally friendly material that, unlike traditional glass neon, is safe for the home; perfectly fit for your home environment. To find out more about our neon click on the photos or visit the neon section of our website here.

One of the best ranges that we have in is the bespoke name which are all handcrafted to enable you to have your own neon sign just how you want it. There are 2 options with our bespoke lights. Your neon can either be white or coloured when not in use. There is a choice of 12 colours, all available to view in store. Prices range from £200-300 depending on the number of letters used: Olivia (6 letters) is £249 to order online but come see us or call us in store to see and hear about our offers.


Do pop in and see us to hear about the endless possibilities that are available with these stunning new ranges.  You can reach us Tuesday’s to Saturdays in store from 10-5, email us on or call us at 01799 522417 during the working hours to find out more or ask us any questions. We can’t wait to see you all!


Neon arrives at Design Essentials!


Here at Design Essentials Neon has arrived. With trends changing all the time its hard to know what to buy and what not to, but we have it right again with this one; neon is looking huge for 2017 with celebrities and art galleries both posting as the number one hot top pick. Especially in art, neon installations have been the craze recently. Social media of course not far behind with documenting this, Instagram, Tumblr and VSCO have all been hopping on the band wagon with this as well. Check out the interior magazines and you will see it in many featured homes.  Here are some of my favourite photos from these sites ;




Here in the shop, at Design Essentials, they come in a range of 14 colours and are able to be completely personalised. They start at £200 and will be sure to add that wow factor to any room. From a simple design to a personalised name we are able to do almost any design to make sure that it’s perfect for you.



This neon cloud is now in store so make sure to pop in and see it for yourself.


If splashing the cash isn’t so much your thing you are in luck, as we have also just got in a range of neon lights from The Little Lovely Company for only £65 and still add that wow factor to any room. Here are some of the ones we have in store:

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I love looking at new and upcoming trends, and when I saw how big neon had got already in the media I knew that it wouldn’t take long for it to reach the shelves of  cutting edge shops like Design Essentials and make it’s way into our homes in no time at all. Make sure to keep an eye out for this huge trend in 2017 and grab yours first here at Design Essentials. For January we are offering the bespoke hearts and stars for £156 .

Conatct us on 01799 522417 to discuss further or simply pop into the shop.


10 Downing Street

We often have exciting weeks at Design Essentials but this one was especially notable. Our very own Wendy Howell made her way down to London for the Small Business Saturday’s event at 10 Downing Street last Thursday.


A quick selfie at the Penney’s the hairdresser and she was ready to go. The bobble hat did of course make an appearance at 10 Downing Street, tying the  whole outfit together!

Small Biz Saturday 100 focuses on getting all kinds of small businesses to get involved, so know that whether they’re are a family business, local shop, online business, wholesaler, business service or small manufacturer, Small Business Saturday is supporting all of them!

Wendy has worked so hard over the past few years to really give back to the community and all her hard work has really paid off. Design Essentials and all of Saffron Walden could have been better represented by anyone else and on behalf of Design Essentials I couldn’t be more proud.


During the day Wendy had the chance to meet all the other Small Business Saturday participants, great for networking and leaning about all the wonderful independent businesses around the UK. She also got to meet Margot James, Minister of Small businesses, industry and enterprise.

We have been featured in the Saffron Walden reporter where Wendy said: “It was also inspiring to learn how the other small businesses also supported one another. It’s not easy being a small business, it’s incredibly tough, and after four years of establishing Design Essentials, to be recognised in such a way was a very proud moment.” To read the full article click here.

Also Michelle Ovens, campaign director for Small Business Saturday, said: “We aim to showcase the level of diversity, innovation and talent that is active within our small business sector and persuade people to get out and support their friends, neighbours and family members and reinforce local communities and economies.”


An amazing day all round, such a privilege to take part!


A huge thank you to all our wonderful friends

A huge thank you to all our wonderful friends

This week, here at Design Essentials, we have had the best time and its all thanks to so many people and businesses in Saffron Walden so a huge thank you to all our wonderful friends.



On Thursday we had our Christmas all day shopping event, where we enjoyed everyones company with mulled wine from Joseph Barnes and amazing nibbles from Chris Chisnalls and Connies tea shop.

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The highlight of the evening had to be all the money we raised for Support 4 Sight through our raffle. Over £195 was raised and so many lovely donations were made to the raffle. To name a few, Beauty Box, Sweatroom Beauty, Petrus, Biceicletta, Mirage Beauty, Jiminy Snippets; and thats not even half! Without your generous donations we simply wouldn’t be able to do it.



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The final few days

With the final few days of voting, we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has helped us in the Great British High Street competition over the last couple of weeks. If you haven’t already voted make sure to do so here before the voting closes on the 18th of November:

A special thanks to all the businesses in Saffron Walden who have helped us along, Cheddar Vine, Chisnalls, Blue, Michelle Thompson, Jacks Outdoors, Riccios, Joseph Barnes Wine and Bicicletta to name only a few


Make sure to watch our promotional video for the competition, made by the very talented Urban Picnic, here:

Saffron Walden has so much to offer so make sure to check out the Tourist information centre and website here:


Lovely Lightboxes

It’s coming up to christmas and are you in need of that perfect gift? Here at Design Essentials we’ve got just the thing. We have such a large selection of  lovely lightboxes, in store and now online too!

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My personal new favourites are the coloured wooden lightboxes, they are a small but cute size and available in pastel blue and pink. Perfect for friends, siblings and the always hard to buy for, parents.

Of course we still have all the other classic light boxes in, including the large and the small magnetic one. The sizes range all the way from the small magnetic, small, medium and large, all coming with 85 letters in the box.

If you’re an actor or just into your movies we also have just the right gift for you.


Our clapperboard is only £30 and can be written on as many times as you want. Can be charged up and taken out with you and also perfect for events too.

If thats not quite your style and you would prefer something a little more classic then our original lightbox is the one for you.

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At only £22, this is such a lovely gift to say an extra thank you. Again with 85 letters you can be as creative as you want but if you want to go that step further you can also purchase and extra symbol and letter pack, with different and diverse symbols on it, for only £10; this would make a great stocking filler!

I hope you love our light boxes as much as me and make sure to come in store to ask any questions about them, I’ll be more then happy to help!

Great British High street of the year Finalist!

Such exciting times in Saffron Walden but especially here at Design Essentials as we are one of the Great British High street of the year Finalists! A few weeks ago Wendy was nominated as the best store manager for an independent shop in Saffron Walden and of course as no surprise, she’s gone straight into the finals!


As a town Saffron Walden has been a hub of attention recently, just this Friday gone Saffron Walden was featured in The Sunday Times and quoted as a “charming, supremely English medieval market town”. Read the full article here. We also have been in the local newspaper recently, read about us below.


Alongside the great success of the town we also have a more personal celebration going on at the shop. With Wendy’s achievements we really want to make the most of her efforts and win our category, hopefully getting even more recognition for the whole of Saffron Walden. Make sure to vote for her EVERY DAY here.


The Great British High Street organisation strive to recognise and celebrate local achievements to restore national pride in our high streets and support the formation of a local business-led partnership for every high street where you operate. Here at Design Essentials we couldn’t agree more and hope all the businesses in Saffron Walden feel the same way about making our high street the best it can be.

We are so excited to be a part of this scheme and really could use as many of your votes as possible to win the independent shop award. We have tried so hard with our new collection and work closely beside other local shops to create a friendly shopping environment. We are open on Sundays and hope to get even more businesses to open with us so you can get that extra day of shopping in on the run up to Christmas.

Don’t forget to vote for us everyday up until the 18th of November!

London Design Festival 100% ‘High Lights’ by Kelly Simes

London Design Festival 100% ‘High Lights’ by Kelly Simes, interior architect, designer and stylist, and founder of Simes & Simes Ltd, a design and interiors company specialising in creating interesting and unique interiors for private residential clients, property developers and the commercial sector.


100% Design is the UK’s design and interiors event which forms the commercial cornerstone of the annual London Design Festival running September 17th to 25th.

London is currently awash with over 400 vibrant design based events spanning art installations in the form of ‘Colourful Crossings’ where an artist in collaboration with Transport for London creates a piece of artwork in place of a zebra crossing, to discussions about the future of design in our environment through installations, pop-up restaurants and large scale sculptures at Somerset House.

This diverse programme sets out to celebrate and promote London as the international design capital of the world and this year I returned to 100% design at Olympia to soak up the dynamic and buzzing atmosphere of both well-established designers and manufacturers of furniture, flooring and lighting and emerging new talent showcasing their products.

Whilst 100% Design is a trade event it is open to the public on Saturday 24th September from 10.00 until 18.00.

‘High Lights’

The top 3 highlights from my visit this year were all in the lighting category. There is a strong offering with designs ranging from delicate bone china pendants to the heavier industrial styles which continues to grow as a trend in lighting design and is now filtering down to the high street.

The simple yet stunning display of Ebb & Flow’s blown glass pendant lights with their exquisite fragile beauty really stood out. These unique pieces from Denmark which combine British and Nordic style and craft traditions can be found in Saffron Walden at Design Essentials.


One new product that particularly caught my eye was the Coolicon® Shade. This is the ubiquitous pendant light shade first patented and produced in 1933 and used across the London Underground in offices, workshops and back rooms and became de rigour for factories, workshops, mills and farm buildings in Britain during the industrialisation of the 1930s. Its popularity grew through the 1940’s when it could be found in Churchill’s War Room kitchen, and in the 50’s in hospital wards and offices. Today these lights remain a sought after esign classic, but Coolicon® Lighting has finally put the shades back into production. Made in England from spun steel with enamelled gloss finishes accentuating the classic simple lines and industrial design, they are a fine example of the perfect synergy between form and function. Taken one step further, as part of their collection, Coolicon® have combined the revival of their iconic pendant with one of the most visible, brilliant and enduring pieces of design and branding; the 1933 London Underground map which is printed onto the bright white enamel interior of the shade adding a unique and contemporary dimension to the iconic original, creating a statement product.


My 3rd lighting favourite is Dowsing and Reynolds, a young Leeds based company specialising in filament bulbs, light fitting components and a vast range of fabric cables. As an end user of their products, I can personally vouch for the quality and breadth of their range and their highly creative and personal approach to branding and packaging which makes them stand out from the competition. This passionate attention to detail expresses the company’s pride and confidence in their products and services and makes for such an enjoyable experience from choosing items to receiving their beautifully presented box containing brown paper vintage style printed bags, luggage labels and humorous instructions.