Neale Whitaker is a high-profile Australian design expert and television personality. His advice is sought by home lovers across the country so who better to discuss current styling trends.
Whilst I’m not a trend-led designer, it’s always valuable to keep up-to-date with trends that may help clients make informed decisions. Neale Whitaker is a leading voice, and eye, when it comes to interior design. He’s recently visited trade show, Maison et Objet in Paris, one of the premier interior design events in Europe.
He has returned with information on trends shaping the design industry. He says sustainability is big among the primary players along with small-scale living multi-functionality and ‘bricolage’. This is an interesting trend which mixes styles and eras, shapes and textures for truly original interiors. Apart from functionality, above all else, home interiors must be authentic.
Neale Whitaker Throws Away Trends
Funny that we’re talking about trends and Neale’s first piece of advice is throw away the trend book. A man after my own heart. Neale says that one of the first considerations of interior design in your home is your own emotions. I totally agree. One of the first questions I ask my clients is “What drew you to this house?” and I often discuss with them how they ‘feel’ and to trust their instincts.
“People often don’t consider how a space makes them feel,” says Neale. “It’s easy to open a catalogue and simply pick out a theme to replicate, but if your space doesn’t suit that theme, it simply won’t feel right. Your home is yours, so make it your own. Merge trends, and don’t be afraid to mix and match styles within your room.” Neale suggests you go slowly and take confidence in your own taste and style.
What Is Bricolage?
To this end, Neale Whitaker brings back from Europe the trend of bricolage. Whilst sustainability is a macro trend, it’s not going away anytime soon, he says bricolage is a micro trend. Micro trends tend to be about shapes and styles including current themes such as those that are artisan made. These may include using natural fibres including jute, rattan and wicker or global-nomad influences such as Asia and the Middle East.
“Most of the current trends are quite neutral,” suggests Neale. “These can be easily added into existing decor themes, like the inclusion of a rattan-backed chair, or a group of ceramic vessels, similar in shape or colours. My favourite interiors are always the ones that blend different tones, different styles, different colours, different periods.”
Maximise Natural Light + Add Warmth
In addition to the interior design styles you favour, maximising natural light will open up spaces and elevate the mood. I will always find ways to maximise the natural light in a room. However, finishing a room usually requires window treatments. Neale Whitaker is also an Ambassador for Luxaflex® so he knows how impacting window dressings can be.
“The Luxaflex® LumiShade® is a great option in terms of a classic window covering. They combine the versatility of a vertical blind with the elegant appeal of a soft window furnishing. This lets light in whilst balancing style, durability and practicality, he says.”
Another fave for Neale Whitaker is the Luxaflex® Pirouette® Shadings. He says they are perfect when adding warmth and seeking a soft finish. They are seamless blend of blind and sheers allowing a warm light but also privacy. Their shutter-like effect is very on-trend with delicate folds appearing to float above the window allowing light to filter through.
Lamps. of course, are wonderful for softly illuminating spaces. Use rugs and soft furnishings to also create warmth, layer with art you love, personal photographs, books and mementos. Your personal items tell your story, add depth and personalise your home.
Trust Your Instincts
This is important advice from Neale Whitaker and one area of interior design I share with all my clients. It’s YOUR home, YOU live there. Therefore your home, and sanctuary, must reflect you, your loves, your lifestyle, your travels. Imbue your home with spirit, personality, fun and surprises. Mix things up a little. If you love it, then you’ll love living with it.
Designing for the Future
I am often asked for timeless or classic interior design. However, unless you live in a museum nothing is truly timeless. (OK, maybe Hamptons style is, haha). In our modern era, design and technology go hand-in-hand. There is a growing emphasis on sustainability and smart homes. Modern renovations and home building will incorporate smart design and technology that contributes to homes being energy efficient.
“The Luxaflex® Duette® Architella® Shades have an innovative honeycomb design with cell-within-a-cell construction, for example, that helps reduce heat loss in winter and keeps the home cooler in summer. They can reduce your heating costs by up to 43%, making them the most energy efficient window coverings on the Australian market,” advises Neale Whitaker.
Trends will come and go, authenticity will remain. What will also remain are genuinely useful, functional and design-worthy elements that enhance your lifestyle.
 Savings are based on the installation of fully-recessed, reveal-mounted Duette Architella Shades with 20mm blockout fabric in an average home in Sydney, compared with the House Energy Rating standard of Holland Blinds from AccuRate, in that home. These calculations have been modelled by an independent third party. Savings will vary based on the window type and installation.
Everyone is loving Hamptons style, the cool and clever beach-style reputed to have started in Maine, USA, in the beachside Hamptons area. There’s much to love about Hamptons style even if you don’t live by the beach.
Hamptons style is perfect for coastal areas, perhaps nowhere as much as in Queensland. The colour and style of classic Hamptons design can be showcased in suburbs with traditional character and heritage. However, the cool grey, crisp white and calming beige tones are more at home by the beach.
New home builders are now embracing the charm of Hamptons style with clients more frequently asking for this type of design. Certainly in my work in interior design and renovation, I am often asked for a ‘Hamptons with a Twist’ aesthetic. Of course, one of the classic features of a Hamptons home is weatherboard cladding. Whilst it can be quite ornate in the USA, for the Australian market a more refined and less adorned cladding is required.
Australia’s Own Hamptons Style
James Hardie has released cladding and decking perfectly designed for the Hamptons style with an Australian twist. Cladding is a staple of the Hamptons home. However, traditional weatherboard can be difficult to maintain and prone to degradation over time.
The James Hardie Linea Weatherboards are easy to install, are resistant to warping, flaking and damage caused by moisture or fire. So in our Australian climate, these Hampton style approved weatherboards look better for longer and are easier to maintain. Constructed from thick fibre cement, this cladding creates a deep, defined shadow similar to the texture of traditional shingles used in the USA.
Hamptons Style Isn’t Just About Cladding
To continue the Hamptons look, use Linea Weatherboards for other features such as planter boxes and feature walls. This creates a sense of continuity, which is important for any decor or design project.
Australians love their indoor-outdoor living so Hamptons style is perfect for this type of living. Many home owners are opening up the back of their homes with bi-fold and stacker doors leading to an al fresco area. Whether you have a pergola or pool area, HardieDeck creates a seamless floor out to the garden working in harmony with a Hamptons aesthetic.
HardieDeck is an attractive decking option. It’s also environmentally durable reducing the high maintenance often required by a traditional timber deck. The ideal choice for coastal living, HardieDeck is made from premium fibre cement making it resistant to most coastal elements.
Coastal Colours Give Hamptons Style A Calm Quality
Traditional Hamptons homes draw upon the colours of the environment – blue seas, cream foam, beige sands, white clouds – you get the picture. In my work, there are two dominating colour palettes – grey based or beige based. Add blues, greens, and whites to suit your taste. Plus a little black to toughen things up.Being beach side inspired, you’ll see textures including jute, linen, cotton and wool plus trims in nautical inspired textures such as rope.
Remember the exterior cladding? Well it can also be used for interior feature walls. Hamptons style evokes the beach. So interior feature walls in a weatherboard can mimic beach side fencing and railings. Use Linea Weatherboard for feature walls in virtually any room to create interest and inject texture.
Kitchens and bathrooms are also calm spaces often decorated in white with marble countertops and slim black accents. White areas are also perfect for chrome, brushed nickel, black or gold tapware or cabinet handles. Don’t be afraid to mix metals. For example, black cabinet handles with gold-trimmed pendant lights. Or brushed nickel cabinet handles with black tapware.
So whether you are building a new home or planning to renovate, the Hamptons style re-engineered for the Australian environment is a popular choice. If you live by the beach, add more blues. If you live in the hills, add more green. Create a clam sanctuary for you and your family. The Hamptons popularity will live on because it’s classic and timeless… in your own way.
It’s a new disease so Coronavirus cleaning is also something new to consider. I’ve researched current facts to bring you the cleaning advice that works best to kill the virus.
Apparently, COVID-19 can live on some surfaces for up to 16 hours. Some research also suggests Coronavirus can live longer, up to three days, on surfaces including metal, glass and plastic. So regular Coronavirus cleaning in your home and office is definitely required.
Whilst this is a new virus, *experts assume that what works against other coronaviruses will work against this one, SARS-CoV-2 know as COVID-19. This advice assumes that no-one in your home or office has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Coronavirus Cleaning (which is really disinfecting)
Some people prefer to use natural products for cleaning. However, vinegar, vodka, tea tree oil and other natural products are NOT recommended. Experts recommend using products that contain alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or bleach for cleaning. The reason is to kill the pathogens behind COVID-19.
Typically, we are better at cleaning than disinfecting and the DISINFECTION part of Coronavirus cleaning is crucial.
Coronavirus Cleaning Time Frame
It is recommended that you leave any cleaning solution on a surface long enough to kill the virus. So don’t spray and immediately wipe. How long you leave the solution on a surface depends on the cleaning product.
For example, using water diluted bleach needs more time than an alcohol based solution. A mix of bleach and water – four teaspoons in 500ml – is good but use the mixture within 24 hrs.
Whereas dilutable or off-the-shelf products need three to ten minutes. Read the instructions and try to keep the solution on the surface for as long as possible.
Coronavirus Cleaning Products
Using bleach on applicable household surfaces requires 10 minutes of exposure, or more. However, children’s non-porous plastic toys should be immersed in bleach for 30-seconds. DO NOT mix bleach with ammonia as it will cause dangerous gases.
Undiluted isopropyl or rubbing alcohol with 70% alcohol or more will kill the virus in about 30 seconds. Hydrogen peroxide is known to kill Rhinovirus which is a stronger virus than COVID-19 so a straight 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide should kill Coronavirus as well.
In general, most disinfectant wipes (NOT baby wipes) need a contact time of two to five minutes. Whilst the packet may say “kills 99.9% of bacteria in 15 seconds” we’re not dealing with regular bacteria. You’ll need to leave the disinfectant wipe solution on surfaces for three minutes or longer.
What Should I Be Cleaning?
Give items and surfaces the are regularly touched the Coronavirus cleaning regime on a daily basis. So door handles, bench tops, light switches, tables, toilets, tapware, computer keyboards, TV remotes, mobile phones, etc should be a focus.
Is a Quick Hand Wash OK for Coronavirus Cleaning?
Soap and water is very useful for cleaning hands and household surfaces because physical agitation will work. What you need to know is that the Coronavirus is contained in what virologists called an ‘envelope’. However, to ‘tear open’ the ‘envelope’ you need to actively scrub your hands, or a surface, for 20-seconds or more. Please teach children how to do this correctly.
Be vigilant. If you’ve been to the supermarket or other places, consider what you’ve touched. Then consider what you touch in your car – steering wheel, seatbelt latches, indicators, handles, touch screens even baby seats – and when you get home. Clean accordingly. I now keep a packet of disinfectant wipes in my car.
Words of Wisdom
And please remember, if we view ourselves as besieged victims who need to go into hiding, then we will cultivate fear and hoarding. If we view ourselves as a community working hard to protect the most vulnerable among us, then we will cultivate courage and helping others. Mindset matters. Courtesy of Len Niehoff via Twitter @LenNiehoff
*Source: www.weforum.org quoting Siobain Duffy, Associate Professor of Ecology at Rutgers University.
Interior painting is an easy way to change your home décor. From a weekend project to something more elaborate, the possibilities are endless. So you’ll love these expert paint tips
Introducing surprising interior painting elements and rich colour in unexpected places make me clap my hands with joy. Modern paint colours and finishes provide endless creativity for your walls, floor, furniture and accessories.
Eight Interior Painting Tricks to Try
If you plan to try something different with paint, then check out these expert tip and tricks.
Make Doors and Windows Appear Bigger – use the same paint colour on your door and window frames that you use on the walls. If you need a little extra interior painting decoration, paint a thin line in a different colour. This is also a technique to use with architectural features you may wish to hide or reveal.
Dare To Use Gloss on Ceilings – dare to be different
and bounce light around your room by painting your ceiling in a full gloss paint. This is my favourite tip
and it lightens a room during the day and is glamorous at night… especially
when using lit candles.
Create Depth – by painting your
window surrounds in a contrasting colour to the window frame and walls, you’ll
create a luscious depth in the room.
Subtly Distinguish Top and Bottom – use full gloss paint for the bottom half of your wall and a satin or eggshell paint for the upper half in the same colour. Not only will this make the bottom part of the wall more durable but it will create a magical decorative effect.
Interior Painting Made Easy With Chalk Paint
EXPERT TIP: I love Autentico Paints which are now available in Australia. Jane Brereton from Plain Jane Furniture in Adelaide, has sensibly brought these gorgeous paints and finishes into Australia. Jane is showing home renovators and furniture recyclers how to be creative with paints. I can highly recommend you check out Autentico Paints and Plain Jane Furniture.
Paint A New Bedhead – cheap and very cheerful, paint a bedhead shape directly onto the wall. This is a very stylish and inexpensive way to make a statement. If you feel clever, you can even give the illusion of deep buttoning or stripes or suede or metallic by choosing a specialty Autentico paint finish.
Decorate Cupboard Interiors – use paint or fabulous wallpaper to decorate the back of cupboards or the back wall of open shelves. Look for dramatic colours and patterns or use metallic wallpaper to great effect, such as for the back wall of a drinks cupboard.
Interior Painting + Wallpaper Make A Great Combination
EXPERT TIP:I love, use and recommend the wonderful range of murals and wallpapers from Fancify. Natalie Hogan will help you with a wide range of papers for children, teenagers, adults, families, singles and everyone else. You can even use your own photo for a bespoke mural that fits perfectly the dimensions of your wall. Tell Natalie that Penelope from Plush sent you.
Have A Wild Floor – let you imagination go wild by painting interior concrete or floorboards in a geometric pattern, stripes or even use a stencil to create floral designs or impacting motifs.
Don’t Forget The Staircase – paint the spindles on your staircase in a deeper, different or contrasting colour to the rest of the staircase. This is a very popular trend overseas and can make a lovely feature of your hallway and stairs.
When it comes to building a new home or home renovations, paint is an exciting element. Use the tips above to create unique interior design statements on walls, floors and furniture.
When it comes to room decorating ideas, most people want to know how to make a space appear either bigger or smaller. That’s the way of the world so I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for you.
Successful decorating often revolves around trying to trick the eye. This includes visually manipulating the size of rooms and to hide architectural features or perceived defects. Whilst room decoration ideas may be endless, so is an interior designer’s bag of tricks, including for renovations.
Two of the most common misconceptions are that dark colours make a space appear small and that light colours will make a space appear more spacious. In almost every home, owners will be trying to maximise the light and space in their rooms. However, painting everything white is not the answer. So what IS the answer? Here are some of my expert room decorating ideas to help you (or just contact me, haha)
Six Top Room Decorating Ideas To Help You
Use these tried and true room decorating ideas to help you make the most of your small or big space. Remember, part of successful interior design is tricking the eye. No, it’s not cheating… it’s sensible, and we ALL do it. So give it a go?
Using Light Colours In A Small Room:
Light colours can create a calming environment but also have the effect of being bland if not executed properly. To prevent this, use tonal and white-on-white textures and patterns.
In a small room, the walls are closer together so neutral colours will show unexpected or unwanted undertones. Therefore, speak with your local paint shop about the correct undertones and paint qualities for your specific room.
If you favour using white and neutrals in a small room, ensure you add texture – whicker lampshades, knotty wool throws, a sheepskin rug, blonde wood accents – for example. This will elevate the room from cold and sterile to va va voom.
Using Light Colours In A Big Room:
In big rooms with lots of natural light, keep the palette light and airy. Neutrals in warm white and stone colours will add depth softening expansive wall spaces. This will help negate a clinical feel to a big light room.
As with most room decorating ideas, think about your use of texture. A big room may lend itself to large floor cushions for extra seating. So make them textural to add interest. Perhaps you could use a dramatic fabric for the window treatments and have them hang from ceiling to floor. How luxurious!
Using Dark Colours In A Small Room:
Embrace using dark colours in small rooms as you can achieve great depth and interest. Please don’t worry that your small room will appear smaller. Dark colours recede and blur the lines of the walls. You can also create moody intimacy in a dark room, which may appeal to your senses too. Don’t think ‘Dark’ think ‘Moody’ and then go bold.
For the best results, DON’T use a white or contrasting trim on dark walls and the room will appear smaller. Instead, use the same colour on every surface. This blurs the lines between walls and ceiling giving a magical quality. When it comes to room decorating ideas, this can be one of my faves for the right room.
Using Dark Colours In A Big Room:
Create intimacy by using dark colours in a big room, especially one with less natural light. Moody, dark blues, greens, reds, and charcoals can be used very effectively. If you have a room on the dark side of your house or one that is only used in the evenings, do consider moving to the dark side.
If you do need to make the space feel smaller, paint trims in a contrasting colour to define the space. This is almost the best of both worlds. In a warehouse or industrial space, you may find you have too much floor area. So a contrasting trim will pull it in a little.
Using Wallpaper in A Small Room:
I love using wallpaper because there are literally thousands, tens of thousands, of beautiful and dramatic options. Rethink wallpaper. It’s no longer hard to remove – in fact, some options are designed to be temporary, such as images for a child’s bedroom – and you can have bespoke murals installed to fit your wall exactly.
Wallpaper is definitely one of my passionate room decorating ideas. In a small room, choose bold wallpaper with a big pattern. Not only will your small room look more interesting, it will also look bigger. A small pattern will have the opposite effect, making a small room appear even smaller.
Using Wallpaper in A Big Room:
Proportion and correct choice are key here. Celebrate the size of a big room with an oversized motif. Alternatively, create more intimacy with a smaller pattern. Using a dado rail with wallpaper above and the same main hue in paint below is also the perfect way to handle large spaces.
Other options include wallpapering ALL the room, wallpapering a feature wall, and wallpapering the ceiling. This can be a very dramatic choice or be a way to add character and pattern if the room doesn’t have adequate wall space. For example, a room with very big windows and/or a fireplace and lots of doors.
These are some of my fave room decorating ideas to add personality and flavour to whatever size room you have. If you need more interior design and renovation help, please feel free to contact me at any time. It’s my pleasure to help you love where you live
Architectural tenets are those areas that support the planning and philosophy of architectural design. These tenets will help you to have a more comfortable and functional home that supports your individual lifestyle. So what are these tenets?
When I was in high school, I studied technical drawing for two years with a view to being an architect. I have computer designed over 300 houses, and love architecture, however interior design was always my true passion. Even now, Plush Design Interiors designs home extensions and undertakes complex renovations. However, architectural practice and tenets are of great interest and do affect my work as an Interior Designer.
Some people may think that an Interior Designer simply chooses wall colours, fiddles with fabric and throws cushions around. Well, many of us do but that’s only one small part of creating beautiful spaces. Interior designers must consider five important architectural tenets BEFORE embarking on a design project.
1. The Space
One room can appear different from another through manipulation of the space. Any room must be a quality space that best functions in relation to YOUR family and lifestyle. How will the space be used and by whom? What activities will take place? What architectural features are part of the space?
I will consider the space and all its dimensions – vertical, horizontal and diagonal – and how the space will ‘work’ before other considerations. For example, does the space need a picture window, a door, a wall removed or a wall put in place. It’s true – form follows function with architectural tenets. My expertise will help you to identify how best to utilize the space and make it work for you.
2. The View
To maximize good views and minimise bad views is a key consideration. No one wants to look out to a brick wall. Other considerations are how much privacy may be required, how secure and protected the room feels, and if you want to see who is approaching but for them not to see you.
Many people miss this important element because they may assume that ‘the view is the view’ and not much can be done about it. However, good views can be maximized for great enjoyment. Similarly, bad views can be disguised and minimized with a variety of good design ideas. Remediation will also enhance your enjoyment of the space… and the view.
3. The Air
Cross-ventilation and the movement of air is very important. Heating and cooling affects your enjoyment of your home, and your budget. Houses that are more narrow and rectangular are easier to cool with fewer ‘dead spots’ of air. Whereas houses that are fatter and squarer are harder to cool with more ‘dead spots’ of air.
The air flow in your home is one of the important architectural tenets with which I can help you. Heating and cooling are one thing. However air extraction – say from a kitchen or bathroom – is important as is the flow of fresh air. Part of any interior design plan should include looking at these aspects.
4. The Light
As an interior designer, I will see how much natural light comes into a room, the arc of the sun and the lighting needs of the room. The positioning of the room in the house and on the block is also highly relevant.
There are three types of lighting – Ambient (sometimes called general lighting), Task and Accent – each of which has a different purpose. A study will require different lighting from a kitchen, a dining room or an open plan living room, for example. Ambient lighting is that used generally. Task lighting, as the name suggests, is for tasks such as reading, studying, cooking etc. And Ambient lighting is mood lighting so may include strip lighting, wall scones, and other soft lighting,
5. The Sound
Often forgotten, sound is an area that really does impact the livability of a home. Is the home next to a railway line? Are there timber floors that clatter and echo? Will children need to sleep while adults entertain friends? Will children playing need to be heard from another room? The acoustic properties of a home can be manipulated and remedied with acoustic panels, fabric, books, rugs, etc.
To truly live in a home that you love, an interior designer will consider these five architectural tenets before they begin to think about redecorating.
I’d Love To Help You Create A Dream Home
Whether you are building a new home or extensively renovating the home you have, Plush Design Interiors can help. From concept and design to demolition, renovation and handover, I’ll be with you every step of the way.
I work with a high-quality building company that will provide a detailed, fixed-price quote. Your new home or renovation could be closer than you think. Please feel free to contact me for a no-obligation chat. Please see what my clients say in their testimonials. I’d love to help you create a dream home.
When I say ‘faux flowers’ do you immediately think of cheap plastic roses with dust ingrained in them? Take that horrid thought out of your mind.
Because in 2020, faux flowers, and trending floral stems, are better than ever. Follow these simple tips and your fabulous faux flowers will look real… no-one will know (and I won’t tell).
Having fresh flowers in any home
adds beauty, a touch of nature and often fragrance. However, if you can’t pick
them from your garden, it can be expensive to regularly have fresh flowers in
your home. Consequently, the range of faux flowers and floral stems now available
is a great alternative. To ensure your faux flowers look real, use these five
Know What Faux Flowers To Buy
If you know what a flower is
supposed to look like, then you’ll likely spot a faux flower over a real one.
So, it’s a good idea to purchase faux versions of the flowers and branches you
really love. I have three favourite flowers – orchids, peonies and hydrangeas –
and a favourite floral stem – cherry blossom.
However, there is a broad
range including lavender, magnolia, roses, tropical flowers, tulips, mixed
garden flowers and Australian natives. Available also are ‘fantasy florals’
including pod stems, floral stems, cut flowers and blooms. The fantasy florals
add interesting décor elements a variety of pinks, blues, reds, blacks, greys,
silver and gold.
Always Buy Quality
To ensure your blooms and stems look as real as possible, purchase the best quality you can afford. I suggest opting for a smaller bunch of flowers for a coffee table, bathroom counter or bedroom dresser if you have a small flower budget. It’s better to have something smaller but of higher quality than a big display that looks cheap. My go-to is Florabelle. For wholesale pricing, please contact me.
Combine Faux With Real
Trick the eye by combining your faux flowers with real blooms or stems. You can do this in two ways. One is to mix real and faux in the same vase. The other is to place real and faux close together in different vases. This styling tip will help your budget go further and create more opportunity for having blooms in your home. It is also true for faux and real indoor plotted plants such as fiddle leaf trees and mother-in-law’s tongue.
Don’t Be Afraid To Trim
Whilst you may not wish to ‘fiddle’
too much with your newly purchased faux flowers, trimming some of the leaves may
make a display look more real. You may also wish to trim the length of stems to
suit your vase.
Use Beautiful Vases + Vessels
Faux flowers will always look more beautiful, and real, when placed in pretty vessels including ginger jars and the many different vases available. And, because they are faux, you can arrange and rearrange them to suit your mood and change vases and vessels to suit your décor.
A luxury living room will be different for every person. What makes something luxurious for one will not necessarily be shared by another.
So the idea of a luxury living room depends on the perception of the home lover. Additionally, the word ‘luxury’ may be different for each person. Depending on the style of home you want, your idea of luxury could be contemporary, rustic, traditional, futuristic – almost anything.
However, when it comes to designing your own luxury living room, there are key features that are shared by every elegant and luxurious room. Deliciously, you can incorporate these key features to create your own luxury room without the price tag.
The Window Treatments:
Bring a luxurious feel to your living space with heavier drapes that hang above the top of the window and to the floor. Even if the window does not reach the floor, ensure your drapes do. There is nothing more luxurious than stunning drapes that touch the floor.
The Wall Art:
I always encourage my clients to choose wall art to which they are drawn. Pieces of art, including wall art, sculptures or installation art can add a very luxurious feel to a room when well-chosen. Don’t be concerned about buying a ‘name’ artist or whether the piece matches the cushions. Hang or install art and sculptures that you love. Simple.
Create a luxurious focal point in your living space by using a beautiful rug that is the right size and pattern for the space. Rugs anchor and delineate a space when used in front of a fireplace or under the sofa and coffee table. It’s very important to choose a rug that’s the right size. You won’t create a luxurious looking living space when the feature rug is too big or too small. It must be perfect.
Similar to a rug, dramatic lighting such as a chandelier will provide a luxurious focal point of your living space. Not all chandeliers are large and dripping in crystals. The style of your space must be considered. There are now many chandelier options including mid-century modern arm chandeliers that will create a stunning focal point.
Styling centerpieces are now very much part of interior design. Whether you arrange items of varying height on a fireplace mantelpiece or on a tray for the coffee table, display vignettes suggests luxury and thought. Use candles, fresh or faux flowers, succulents, objects and books. Use your creativity and change seasonally.
Create vignettes or table decor by organising objects in a delineated space, such as on a tray or table runner. Mirror bottom trays reflect glass, crystal, flowers and other objects such as a silver animal. I have mirror bottom trays in living rooms, the guest bedroom, bathroom and in my dressing room. I use items specific to those rooms including beautiful room diffusers and highly scented essential oil Tilley soaps in the bathroom.
Another excellent item to add to vignettes, especially if you use flowers, is battery-powered candles. The new candles have a wick that moves simulating real fire-light. They come in a variety of sizes and my guests are always surprised that they are not real candles.
In creating your luxury living room decor, it’s important the the style reflects your tastes and lifestyle. For example, if you have small children running around then choose more child-friendly objects to display on coffee tables.
The final element in creating luxury living room decor is to not have too many social points. Don’t cram all the ideas listed above into one room. Pick a dynamic and single focal point – such as a rug or chandelier – and then par back on the other luxury inducing items.
As with all interior design advice, it’s YOUR home and your lifestyle so stay true to what you love and how you live your life.
Maybe you haven’t given too much consideration to choosing the right dining table. After all, a table is a fairly standard piece of furniture, right? Flat top, several legs, what’s to choose?
There is a lot to choose, as it happens. Not simply for eating, the right dining table is an important element in the interior design of your home. Whether you have a formal dining room, an open plan kitchen hub or a small dining nook, choosing the right table is a good investment.
The Right Dining Table Should Have The Style You Want
Before you start looking, have a good idea of the style of dining table you want. For example, are you after something traditional and formal or something industrial and edgy. As a guide;
Traditional: dark timber with turned
or carved legs
Industrial: utilitarian feel with a
combination of metal and weathered wood
Contemporary: sleek and simple in a
modern timber with a glass top of metal base
Transitional: traditional materials
but with a casual or relaxed feel
Farmhouse: solid in time-worn
timber or with hand-carved details or antique patterns
The Shape Is More Important Than You May Think
Whilst rectangular dining tables are very popular they are not always the right solution for a space. When choosing a dining table think about how you entertain. Are large platters placed in the middle of the table? Are dishes passed over the table? Can items be easily reached?
The right dining table must be right for your needs, not simply a design statement (unless you never eat at your dining table).
round and oval tables no-one is sitting at the end and conversations can be
more inclusive, especially with six people or fewer. These table bases also
take up less room and can fit more easily into a small or awkward space.
tables can offer the best of both worlds but do require a generous space to
move around the table and chairs.
out how far in you can push the chairs and how much leg or thigh room is
between the chair and the table.
What About The Right Dining Table Size?
The size of your right dining table will be very much based on the size of your dining area. Keep in mind the balance and proportion of the room with adequate space for chairs to be pushed out and for people to circulate.
a drop-leaf or extendable table for more flexibility and bear in mind that
table heights can be different between styles and age. Most modern tables are
about 76cm high so consider this when you are choosing chairs.
Hardwoods such as gum, blackbutt, oak, walnut and mahogany will always be stronger and more durable than engineered timbers and MDF. Salvaged wood is great to hide marks, scuffs and spills. Concrete is a popular table top surface that is very durable and glass is a good choice for small spaces.
I use and recommend Reality Furniture at Newton who can design and build a bespoke dining table – interior or exterior – that will be amazing!
Don’t just think about the right dining table. Think also about the lighting above the table and the rug underneath. Look at your room in its entirety, not just the individual elements.
Need More Help?
I will spend the day with you, planning your interior or outdoor living, visiting shops, looking at options and buying items with savings off RRP. Yes, you can hire a Designer for A Day. Please see my ‘Services‘ area for more information or contact me on 0421 043 505 or email@example.com
There is one important decor trick most people neglect when it comes to interior design. How can one little imperative make all the decor difference? You’ll be surprised when I tell you…
We live in a country where people love their homes, and their gardens. For such a bunch people who love their indoor-outdoor living, it’s surprising that one important decor trick seems to get missed.
Many people who contact an interior designer, do so because they need expert advice and a stylish eye. Bringing on a professional designer will help make a home more functional, livable, modern and chic.
When I start working with clients, I look at the functionality of the space including the use of the room, the air flow, natural light, sound design and, importantly, the view.
Yes, this is the one important decor trick that most people neglect, miss or ignore completely!
The view! Whilst you may not have million-dollar views, you can create a better view within your own home. Consider your home – when you move around the rooms, what views do you see? Which rooms have the best views? Which rooms need help?
The view from your window is the one important decor trick most people miss. Because they usually don’t consider it unless it’s a big picture window.
It’s not all about big windows and sprawling bi-folds either. Perhaps you have small bedroom windows or windows with views on to something ugly… like the neighbour’s fence.
Here are five ways to embrace a single important decor trick you can use TODAY. These tips will help you to maximise good views and disguise bad ones.
Bring the Outdoors In
Keep connected with the outside environment by positioning furniture to take in outdoor views. Place a chair for reading near a window. Position a dining table, sofa or bed to see some kind of outside space.
Your home is not meant to be a solitary space even if you live alone. Favourably impact your mental well-being and sense of human contact by opening up the views you DO have.
Hang trailing plants around the windows if you don’t have much outdoor space. For example, add a ledge above the window frame so plants can trail down beautifully.
Add colourful pots of succulents or other virtually indestructible indoor plants. Greenery and living plants inside will help keep you connected to nature… which is very healthy. Health and well-being in our homes is very much supported by this important decor trick
Expose As Much Glass As You Can
Enable curtains and blinds to be completely drawn back from the window frames.
This means either no window treatments OR extending the curtain rods beyond the window frame so drapes can be pulled back from the window. Expose as much glass as possible when the curtains are open.
Crop and Frame
Think of your windows as the frame to an artwork. What can
you see through the window? How can you maximize the view? For example, a
window may capture trailing roses growing on an outdoor wall. However, cropping
will eliminate the view of your neighbour’s ugly air-conditioning unit.
This is also why you should invest in quality outdoor
furniture. If you don’t have a proper view, create a beautiful outdoor setting
that will be seen from the windows. Add plants atop the table, candles and
gorgeous seating cushions.
Paint It Charcoal
I am constantly recommending to my clients that they paint a garden shed, fence or back garden wall in a dark charcoal. Dulux ‘Domino’ is a fave of mine and works beautifully with Colourbond ‘Monument’.
Dark colours recede so dark charcoal is a perfect colour to blend with residential flora and trees. So if you have an ugly shed or fence when you look thorough a window, paint it dark charcoal.
Another popular trend, and important decor trick, is to paint windows in a dark charcoal. The dark colour works to blend the view and the window frame making the window less obvious when looking outside.
In fact, I have just had the windows in my own home painted in ‘Domino’ both inside and out. They look amazing.
Avoid cream and green because they don’t blend as well as a dark colour. AND it makes the space seem bigger… and not in a good way!
Light It Up
Adding solar powered fairy lights to trees and shrubs means you still have a delightful view when it’s dark. The result is that night time is the optimum time to enjoy your views, even if you have create one yourself.
An important decor trick is to take the focus away from un-slightly views to fairy lights and a gentle ambience.
Want More Expert Tips? Why not view more of the great advice offered by Plush Design Interiors in our Expert Design Tips section. Articles are added regularly and seek to provide you with information you can use immediately. Because when you love where you live, you want it to be better and better, right?
Plush Design Interiors is an Adelaide based interior design, outdoor living and home additions design company. We specialise in residential interior design, especially in the Adelaide Hills around Stirling, Crafers, Aldgate and surrounds.
The right sofa choice depends on variables such as budget, quality, size and shape of the room, and comfort factor. Every household is different, so how can you choose the right sofa for you and your family?
Your choice of the right sofa depends on several factors including your lifestyle, the purpose of the sofa, the people using the sofa, the room décor and the size of the room.
However, there are some good rules to follow when it comes to choosing a sofa for any room and any purpose.
The Right Sofa Shape
You have many choices including 2-seater, 3-seater, low back, high back, chaise, modular sofa and more. The shape of your sofa depends on the size and shape of the room. A large modular will be difficult in a small room or a room with lots of doors.
Choose a sofa that is of a shape and size to comfortably fit the room. In a small space choose a sofa with legs to give the illusion of more space. Ideally, when you walk into a room you don’t want to see the back of a couch, (unless this is an interior design option) so measure well.
The Right Sofa Frame
buy a sofa with the best quality frame you can afford. Check the frame
construction. Is it hardwood or pine? Are the joints screwed, glued or
dowelled? The better the frame the longer it will last.
The Right Sofa Cushions + Springs
It is a personal preference whether you want a soft or a firm sofa. However, like the frame, better quality springs will ensure the longevity of your sofa. Buy for comfort, support and durability.
Cushions should retain their shape when you sit down and not collapse upon impact.
The Right Sofa Material
Family sofas should be covered in tough fabric such as leather – easy to clean and requires only a little effort to maintain. Textured fabrics are good to hide spills and marks if you have small children.
Scatter cushions and throw rugs can also hide marks. And always Scotch Guard your sofa before use.
The Right Sofa Heights (backs + arms)
Whilst low-back sofas can look cool and modern, they may not give you the back support required. So the height and style if your sofa is, again, a personal decision.
However, bear in mind the purpose of the sofa – a gorgeous decoration in the foyer or a hard-working sofa in the media room? Choose a sofa with the back and arm height required for long term sitting, and not decoration, if that’s its purpose.
The Right Sofa Price
Always buy the best you can afford, especially if you want to have it for a long time. There are plenty of cheap sofas around but you’ll likely have to replace it again in just a few years.
Expect to pay at least $2,000 for a good quality two or three-seater sofa up to $10,000 or more for a spectacular designer sofa that will last a lifetime.
A functional kitchen is much better than a stylish one, BELIEVE ME. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have both. Meld style AND function for your best kitchen yet.
Kitchens are one area that must be incredibly functional. If you can’t work easily in a space, find everything you need and be cool under cooking pressure then you may not have a functional kitchen.
When re-designing your kitchen floor plan and/or renovating, always keep in mind how YOU use your kitchen. When I discuss with my clients their new kitchen, I ask them to disregard what they think about kitchens in general and focus on their use of the kitchen.
A Functional Kitchen Depends on How YOU Use It
Families will use a kitchen differently from singles, for example. People who love to cook will have different needs from people who virtually only use the microwave.
Positioning of appliances can be a highly personal area depending on preference and usage. Some people like the cook top in the centre island, some like a sink and others prefer neither.
If you want a kitchen merely for show and using the microwave, then your use of the space will be different from someone who loves to cook and entertain for family and guests. It’s important to have a space that functions well rather than simply a good-looking kitchen.
What Special Needs Do You Have?
In an open plan space, do you want to hide dirty dishes in a Butler’s Pantry? Will you have people eating at the counter or do you prefer sitting at a table? Do you need a drawer for your vast collection of spices close to the cooktop, or can they be relegated to the pantry?
What special storage or cooking equipment will you need? Do you bake and roll pastry so often you need a marble counter top? Your functional kitchen is specific to you.
How Many People Will Use The Kitchen?
There are as many ways to create a functional kitchen as there are people. So when renovating, consider how many people will use the space at one time. Think about the traffic flow and easy access to the pantry, fridge and appliances.
Natural light is usually a bonus, however think about whether you have too much or too little. Can you make design changes to accommodate this?
Are you someone who likes to have things on display? Or do you prefer seamless cupboards with all appliances integrated and hidden?
Get The Floor Plan Right First
There are generally no right or wrong answers if you’re honest about how YOU use your kitchen. However, get the floor plan right FIRST and then turn your attention to colours and surfaces.
If you get caught up deciding on colours and surfaces you’ll miss important decisions for your most functional kitchen. get the floor plan and flow right FIRST because you’re other decisions will flow from that.
Renovation advice is always best taken from people who have ACTUALLY renovated. As an interior designer, I help home lovers renovate all the time. So you can imagine I’ve learnt a few things along the way.
If you have read my earlier blog post on ‘Pre-Renovation Planning‘ you’ll know the important elements to consider when planning your renovation. So this renovation advice follows on from that post.
Once the pre-renovation basics are taken care of, you can plan the interior design. It is important to plan the interior design before you start renovating because it’s not all throw cushions and bed linens.
Why Take Renovation Advice From An Interior Designer?
Working with an interior designer isn’t just about choosing fabrics and positioning the sofa. Far from it, in fact.
At the time of planning to renovate, you’ll be dealing with Council approvals, contractors and suppliers. This is the ideal time to get an interior designer on board who can help you with floor plans, lighting, surfaces, flooring, colours and selections. These are all things you shouldn’t change once the re-building has begun.
Select all the finishes, fixtures and materials before getting quotes. In this way, it will be easier for contractors to quote more accurately saving you money down the track. This is renovation advice you need to know.
Did you know that most interior designers can recommend builders and other tradies with whom they work regularly? Plush Design Interiors does not take kick-backs or commissions from the trades we use. Therefore, we can work with your tradies or recommend our own.
An interior designer will help you select everything you require to get accurate quotes from other trades. Further, they can also negotiate discounts from retailers or gain better wholesale pricing for you.
Look to Your Home’s Architecture for Clues
There is so much inspiration for interior design that some people become paralysed with indecision. Consider the style of your home and decide on a theme before you start.
Is there a stunning stone fireplace, fabulous wooden floors or surprising windows? Which architectural features can you enhance? Again, an interior designer will help to clarify the design direction for your home. Their renovation advice will give you a result that reflects YOU not them.
See some of the ‘Testimonials‘ for Plush Design Interiors to see what other people have said about this.
Consider Your Lifestyle
How you live your life is a very important part of interior design. If you have small children or a dog that runs amok you’ll probably want to reconsider those white linen sofas. Be honest about how you live your life so your home can be functional as well as stylish. Choose surfaces, fabrics and flooring that reflect your lifestyle.
Plush Design Interiors LOVES The Textile and Design Company for super cool outdoor fabrics and knock-out sun umbrellas that are straight out of Hollywood. Divine!
Don’t be afraid to use outdoor fabrics and patio
paint indoors if you need tougher solutions. Modern fabrics and paints can be
tough but beautiful. Outdoor fabrics include soft and resilient velvets that
are virtually child-proof and weather resistant.
In looking at the floor plan, locate power points
wherever you think you’ll need a plug and away from water sources. A lighting
plan prior to your build will be of great benefit to your electrician. So
follow this renovation advice to save you money and heartache.
Choose the Right Lighting
overlooked when renovating, lighting is a very important aspect. How much
natural light does your home enjoy? Should you install skylights? Lighting also
influences the way walls and ceilings are finished because lights cast shadows
or enhance areas.
Colours will look different under different lighting conditions – pendant lights versus wall scones, for example. Given you are renovating, get renovation advice on how to integrate lighting into the architecture.
Flexible track lighting is also increasingly popular. These moveable fittings have a come along way since ‘back in the day’ and are now beautifully designed as well as highly functional.
Remember the Landscaping
Make landscaping part of your plan. This will help with budgeting but may also relate to the colour and material choices you make.
For example, when considering the flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. For a seamless look, choose the same or very similar flooring options that flow between spaces. This may become a landscape issue when creating entertaining spaces adjacent to the home.
Further, when it comes to choosing plants and shrubs, ensure nothing is planted that will block natural light from entering a room.
Are you seeking ways to introduce colour to your home? This can be a scary experience for novice renovators or redecorators. However, why not create a more unique home by using colour like a pro. Here’s how.
There is a revolution on the way. Interior designers are encouraging their clients to be bold and embrace colour. YES, we want you to introduce colour to your home.
If you read interior design magazines, you will have noticed the plethora of white, black, grey, charcoal and wood grain décor around. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Homeowners love the neutral and often minimalist décor of contemporary homes.
However, I am also constantly asked about how to introduce colour. People are confused about colour so the default position is neutral – white, beige, grey being the predominant hues.
To Introduce Colour Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Colourful
There is a difference between ‘colour’ and ‘colourful’. Some people embrace a riot of colours with clashing prints, bold colours that are opposite on the colour wheel and have a maximalist aesthetic. That’s fine for confident decorators and unique artists. However, it’s possible to add colour without feeling like you live in Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory.
When advising clients on their décor, I look at the walls, floors and ceilings first. These tend to be in neutral palette territory except for the occasional dramatic wall. When deciding upon the colours of your walls, floors and ceiling, it’s important to consider how much natural light comes into the space.
Rooms on the cold side of the house should be painted in warmer colours. Whereas rooms with lots of natural sunlight can be painted in cooler colours. Please also bear in mind that there will be furniture, rugs, window treatments, art works and accessories in the room. These elements are all inter-related.
Should I Add Colour With A Feature Wall?
By all means, choose a neutral tone you love and run with it. The trick is to add colour and texture so the room isn’t cold and clinical. Could you add a feature wall in a deeper tone of the same colour or choose a fabulous wallpaper?
Some of my clients fear that a feature wall will turn their home into a ‘show home’ while others embrace that idea. Personally, I love a good feature wall. A feature wall should be the first wall you see when you enter a room but unencumbered with doors and windows. The bigger the free space the better.
However, a feature wall could also be somewhere surprising, like under the stairs. Paint colour is one thing, but adding wallpaper will elevate your home to another realm. I LOVE wallpaper because there is endless choice. Plus, modern wallpapers are much easier to apply and remove than ever before.
How To Introduce Colour in Furnishings + Accessories
I generally suggest clients choose a non-patterned fabric, or leather, for the bigger furniture like sofas. Add colour with textured, patterned and clashing colours in cushions, throws, lampshades and window treatments.
A rug will anchor furniture and define space. However, a rug is not viewed at eye level; it’s on the floor. So choose a bold and/or patterned rug to add personality and texture to your space.
Add colour, interest and surprise with art works on the wall or a dramatic floor lamp. Perhaps paint a piece of old furniture and add coloured handles or bright upholstery.
Small Space Colour Bursts
spaces respond well to dramatic colour bursts. So if you have a small toilet or
powder room, consider a bold paint or wallpaper. Bring to life space under the
stairs or a pantry door by painting them in a bold glossy colour. Red perhaps?
The great thing about paint is that it’s easy to replace if you really don’t like it. However, you’ll probably love bursts of colour and texture by choosing at least one surprising cushion or an outrageous art print.
Once upon a time, bedrooms were really only a destination for sleeping or changing clothes. Therefore, they usually weren’t the sunniest rooms or the rooms with the best views. However, over time they have become far more personal spaces.
Whether it’s a parent’s retreat, teenage hang-out or a play & study zone, bedrooms have evolved. Living spaces may still occupy the sunniest spaces with the best views. However, any bedroom must still be a healthy area given how much time is spent in them.
There are two types of bedrooms – those for adults and those for children. Adult spaces are generally spaces in which you invest money for a long-lasting effect. Whereas children’s spaces can be more flexible as children growup fast and their tastes change.
Once you have allocated superior spaces to living areas, the master bedroom is next on the hierarchy. Given the master suite is usually occupied by the people who pay the household bills, their needs are paramount.
The positioning of a master bedroom in relation to other areas is important. If there are small children in the home, then a master bedroom may need to be positioned close to them.
However, if children are older and more independent, then a parent’s retreat away from them and the family living space may be preferable.
Further, a master bedroom should generally be situated away from the main living spaces especially if you have teenagers. This helps with noise control as well as privacy.
I generally advise not to spend too much money in children’s bedrooms, apart from a high quality mattress, as their needs and tastes change quickly.
Children over the age of about five should be included in the selection of the décor for their bedroom. After you buy a high-quality mattress, consider what other furniture and storage is required.
This will change as a child gets older, so I usually suggest not going overboard with expensive items. Older kids may require a sofa and coffee table to create an ‘adult’ chill-out zone.
Wherever possible, don’t position bedrooms next to the front door. Consider noise and light control when positioning rooms that require quiet at night. Also consider the servicing of bedrooms in relation to the toilet and bathroom.
Good planning will often see an ensuite and main bathroom share a wall. This also creates a natural buffer between the master suite and the children’s bedrooms.
Your lifestyle is a major factor in planning your own home. Consider the space, how it’s used and its relationship to other rooms, noise, heating, cooling and light. Above all, love where you live.