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.
When you need home renovation preparation advice then ask a professional. It’s people like me who work in this area and we’ve probably seen everything. So when it comes to home renovation prep, here’s my two bobs worth.
one of my favourite sentences… “We are renovating and need your help”. My eyes
light up and a wave of excitement washes over me. Often, however, the person
speaking those words is as confused and terrified as I am delighted.
Whilst most people want to live in a home they love, watching renovation shows can make things appear a lot more seamless than they are in reality. If you are planning for a renovation, or even some major redecorating, there are home renovation preparation items to consider BEFORE you even think about interior design.
Home Renovation Preparation: Your First Priority
embarking on any renovation or major redecorating project, ensure the
essentials are in great condition. Check your plumbing, electrical circuits and
roofing. It is imperative to fix any issues, such as water leaks, rising damp
or faulty old wiring, before you start. Fixing any issues now will save costly
repairs in the future.
Have a Clear Vision
Your budget will blow out if you start making changes to the design after your renovation has commenced. Be very clear about the design before works begin. This is an important home renovation preparation tip.
Write a brief that clearly explains your vision, your budget, timeframes, what will remain IN the house and what needs to come OUT. Have a clear colour palette to use through your home for a cohesive look.
A detailed brief can be referred to later if you need to make a decision.
Maximise the Positives
Always consider important elements of the home including natural light sources, air flow, views from windows, and noise control before you start making interior design decisions. The functionality of your home is the priority over gorgeous fabrics and divine furniture.
Required approvals will be easier to achieve if you know the rules and can provide rationale for your design decisions. If necessary, tweak your design to fit the required rules.
All the best home renovation preparation in the world won’t help you if you can’t get Council approval. In some States and Territories, illegal renovations may inhibit you from selling your home.
Ensure your renovation plans include easy access for trades and delivery of big items. Can trades access the rear of your property from the outside? Can vehicles park on-site? What is required to ensure easy access and minimise the impact on your existing home… and your neighbours.
Renovating for Profit
If you are renovating to sell, research property sales in the area. Adjust your budget, and be strict with spending, so you do NOT over-capitalise, that you cover all costs and you make a profit. Include often forgotten fees such as skip hire, dump fees and a contingency of at least 10% of the total budget.
Budget for Interior Design:
Self-serving? Well, no. Budgeting for interior design isn’t necessarily about hiring Adelaide’s best interior designer (although it could, haha). No, it’s more about YOU than me.
It’s important that you provide a budget for furniture, fabrics, lighting, art works and accessories. These are all part of the renovation process not an afterthought.
Children’s bedrooms are just about the most fun spaces to decorate. You can get frivolous, colourful, playful and take risks. However, one of the biggest mistakes some people make in decorating a child’s bedroom is to design a space for the age the child is now.
Children grow quickly with their tastes and needs changing quickly too. So when you plan a bedroom space allow for flexibility and the opportunity for a child to grow and change.
Woo Hoo, see lots of gorgeous creative and colourful space for babies and children on our Kid’s Bedrooms Pinterest board.
Having said that, it’s also very important to involve children in the design and decoration of their own room. It teaches them an important lesson – that they can control the look and feel of their environment.
Children tend to have more respect for a room they have helped design. So have some fun with your children creating mood boards for their rooms.
Children’s Bedrooms Should Be Wild + Free
Children don’t impose parameters on themselves that we adults tend to develop over the years. Let children think about colour, texture, pattern. This gives them the opportunity to be involved while you still have control over ensuring the space can grow with the child.
If they choose an outrageously coloured cushion or ridiculous wall art then what’s the harm? These items can always be replaced when they grow out of them.
One word of caution, DON’T paint walls in very strong colours such as red and orange. Bedrooms are still places of rest so strong and hot colours are not conducive to sleep and relaxation. Strong colours may also bring out aggressive tendencies in some children.
Children’s Bedrooms Are For Play Too
If possible, allow a child to have a big bedroom so they can play in there as much as possible. It minimizes toy clutter in the living room and avoids the ‘lego in the foot’ scenario.
In some households, children will share a room so delineation of space is important. This can be done with rugs, different coloured bedding or a different picture above the bed. Bunk beds are great to create more useable floor space.
This can be important when a study desk is required. However, no child under the age of six should be given the top bunk.
Children’s Bedrooms Need A ‘Show-Off’ Area
Provide a display area where your child can show off their favourite items. Tall shelving should be fixed to the wall and access easy enough for a child to control.
Remember, a child’s bedroom is a separate place in the house where they can show their own personality. It’s the one room where they can really express themselves. Let them freely decorate and control this important space.
The perfect bedroom is no longer a place in which to merely sleep. The humble bedroom has morphed into one of the most important private spaces in a home.
The modern perfect bedroom now reflects the personalities and lifestyles of the occupants. Even guest bedrooms are not spared from chic options, creature comforts and bursts of style.
New Rule #1: Consider the
What can you see from the window? Which rooms are adjacent? Are there
privacy or noise issues? How does the air flow through the room? Are there any
interesting architectural features? Does the room have good natural light?
Depending on the answers to these questions, your perfect bedroom design decisions may take a different direction from what you may have first envisaged.
New Rule #2: Function before
The functionality of your bedroom must work FIRST. You could have the most stylish bedroom in the world. However, if it doesn’t perform the function of a bedroom you will soon be frustrated and dissatisfied.
For example, you may love sheer curtains but if they don’t provide the privacy you require then they are not functional. OR, if your home is near a railway line or noisy neighbours then maybe double-glazing IS an option worth considering.
Measure spaces for all furniture, rugs and wall art; DON’T wing it. I recently redesigned a master suite for clients when it became obvious their architectural plans would not fit a Queen-size bed. True story.
New Rule #3: Layering is the
Start with the biggest items first; floor, walls and ceiling. Decide on a neutral colour palette in whites, taupes, greys or a pastel – cool blues and greens or warm pinks. Then co-ordinate your bedding. This provides the biggest opportunity for impact in terms of colour and texture.
The new rules love a mixture of tones and textures with linen, cotton,
faux fur, velvet, patterns and block colours being mixed with different sized
pillows and cushions. Don’t match; MIX… on the bed at least.
If you don’t want a colourful bed then opt for accessories, such as cushions and throws, with lots of texture but a narrow colour palette – for example, all white, all beige, all cream, all grey.
Amp up the style with knotty wool, tassels, self-patterning and embossed fabrics. High-quality bed and plush accessories add interest without overcrowding the room.
It may seem odd that I’m writing about having a real or authentic home. I mean, it’s YOUR home so it’s totally authentic, right? So why do homeowners hire an interior designer?
Many people hire a decorator or interior designer for different reasons. Often they have no time to do it themselves, even though they want an authentic home that’s personal to them.
However the most common reason for hiring an interior designer is because most people don’t trust their own instincts and ideas. Of course, I don’t want to do myself out of a job because I LOVE what I do.
However, I also discuss with my clients the importance of having a home THEY love. It’s not my role to tell clients what to do. Moreover, my role is to interpret what a client wants in the most functional and stylish ways. And maybe break a few design rules along the way.
Getting Your Authentic Home
The atmosphere or feeling of a room is very important. In addition, this translates to the style and theme of the whole house.
For example, it would seem a little strange to have a minimalist living space but a kitchen that is rustic country or Hamptons inspired.. Instead, aim for interiors, and exteriors, that convey YOUR loves and lifestyle.
Tapping Into Your Neighbourhood
In order to create a real or authentic home, pay attention to the architecture of your home both inside and outside. Take photos of your home, its garden and your immediate neighbourhood.
Walk around your neighbourhood to take in the ‘flavour’ of where you live. Make notes that describe how you feel about what you are seeing. It’s very likely you purchased the home because of the style it’s style, the land and views, or the neighbourhood.
Can you take some of those exterior concepts indoors? This will create another level of authenticity in your home.
Authentic Homes Live
Don’t be afraid to mix styles. For example, if you live in a heritage home don’t feel you have to be a slave to the period. You can acknowledge the heritage whilst creating your own wonderful juxtaposition of styles.
This not only creates a personality-filled home but it’s also very authentic to your loves and lifestyles. As always, love where you live.
One of the hardest interior design elements with which homeowners grapple is in the area of colour. Most people don’t want to live with a riot of colour.
However, most people don’t want to live with cool and boring interiors either. So where is the balance? Right here.
See some unexpected colour combinations that will excite and inspire you on our Colour Combo Pinterest board
#1 The 60/30/10
As a guide for beginners, divide your colours into 60%
primary or dominant colour, 30% a secondary colour and 10% an accent color.
This enables you to use colour without a room appearing unbalanced.
Tap in to the emotional connection you have with a
space. Cool colours are calming and warm colours are more active. What colours
truly appeal to you? Find a connection and be confident with your choices.
Colours for Vibrancy
These are the colours opposite each other on a colour wheel – yellow + purple, red + green, blue + orange – they are strong yet they work together.
So if you love one, try bringing in the other one but at different levels – one dominant and the other secondary. Use black as the accent colour to tone it all down.
These are good neighbours on the colour wheel. They
are similar so they look good together providing a cohesive and casual feel.
They can be bold or pastel, thing yellow with green or blue with violet. You
choose the intensity.
Small room? Choose a bright colour and paint the floor
and walls in the same colour. The connection between wall and floor is blurred
giving the illusion of a bigger space.
Cool colours recede and warm colours come towards you.
To make a small room seem bigger, use cool colours. To make a large room feel
cosier, use warm colours.
#7 Add Black
When using bright or bold colours, black will inject
some sophistication. When using pastel colours, black will stop a room feeling
too childish (unless it’s a child’s room)
#8 Warm Up /
Create warmth with red, orange and yellow (although
not too much in a bedroom) and cool a room down with greens and blues to create
a fresh palette.
#9 Neutrals Are
You can create impact with neutrals but they don’t
have to be white and beige. Consider warm golds, rich caramels, and relaxing
pastels in green, pink, blue, mint and grey.
Use colours from your past as inspiration. Live with what you love. Embrace colour that’s meaningful.
Grab HEAPS of cool ideas with colour and paint on our Pinterest board dedicated to Paint .
Home styling tips don’t require a renovation or hours spent with an interior designer. Whilst interior designers have an expert eye and can save you from making expensive mistakes, with a few styling tips you can personalize any room.
You could say that ‘styling’ is the art of arranging of objects so they are pleasing to the eye. A home should never be ‘perfect’. A home should be relaxed, stylish, surprising, entertaining.
So having items off-centre or injecting a surprising colour is a fun way to showcase your personality. The home styling tips shown here are not exhaustive but they are easy to execute.
Home Styling Tips for Your Living Room:
– if you have different table lamps then keep the side
tables uniform to show cohesion
– inject curves into an angular room with rug patterns, a round ottoman, or a curved arm to a chair
– if you have matching furniture then mix up the colours and
patterns in the cushions
– use a rug to ‘ground’ the conversation area
– inject a bold colour even in a small way, such as a vase
or the trim on a cushion
Home Styling Tips for Your Bedroom
– keep the bedroom restful but personality packed
– use fun and quirky items that have no place in another room. This is your private space so let your hair down
– have a calming tonal palette but use pattern and texture
to liven things up
– in a small bedroom don’t use large-scale fabric prints as they will make the room feel smaller
– fresh flowers are never out of place in a bedroom
Home Styling Tips for Your Kitchen
– have a beautiful tray laid with a jug of lemon and mint
infused water and gorgeous glasses
– add the warmth of wood, natural fibres and ceramics to a
black and white kitchen
– place your stylish soap dispenser and hand cream on a hand
thrown pottery plate
– create a vignette using an upright wooden chopping board,
a mix of fruits, a plate stand, artisan bread and interesting old cutlery
– buy a fabulous copper pot and display it on the cooktop