Thinking Differently – What An Interior Designer Does

Thinking Differently – What An Interior Designer Does

Thinking differently is one of the main reasons why interior designers are engaged. Passionate designers do think differently and can cast a whole new perspective over your renovation or redecorating. Here’s how.

There is nothing more personal than designing a home for someone else. However that doesn’t mean an interior designer imposes their personal likes and dislikes. At least it shouldn’t otherwise choose another designer. Thinking differently is an important skill good interior designers develop early. I mean, who wants ‘same-same’. Individuality is far more exciting to live with than what everyone else has.

When you engage an interior designer, I’m sure you are looking for results you feel you can’t achieve on your own. Maybe you’re not used to thinking differently because you don’t have the time or inclination for interior design. Perhaps you think an interior designer will create a show home where you’ll be too afraid to sit on the beautiful custom furniture.

Your Home, Your Way

The job of an interior designer is to interpret what you want in the best possible way. Your home, your way – with functionality, style, creativity and fun. Yes FUN! In thinking differently a good interior designer will also find ways to surprise and delight. It could be a quirky wallpaper, an unexpected art work, a hero light fitting, or smaller decor items that take the viewer by surprise.

In this article, we will also discuss how you can create a truly authentic home. Because living in a home that’s authentic is important. You don’t want your friends (or yourself) wondering who lives in your home because it DOESN’T reflect you and your loves.

So work with an interior designer who embraces you and your lifestyle. Not someone who wants to strip your home bare. Even when working with a ‘blank canvas’ an interior designer will create a home that reflects YOU not them.

Thinking Differently with Fresh Eyes

An interior designer has the ability to cast fresh eyes on your home. They have different perspectives largely due to being exposed to myriad design challenges and solutions. However, what’s most important to an interior designer is the lives, loves and lifestyles of those who occupy the home they will be re-designing.

Therefore, the questioning from an interior designer should be quite personal. And if they don’t ask you enough questions, then maybe they are not the right interior designer (or building designer or architect) for you.

Questions should revolve around your likes and preferences, who lives in the home, how spaces are used, at what times of the day, what you like and dislike about the home, what attracted you to the home, etc.

Working with an interior designer is a two-way street. How you want to love in your home and how you want to FEEL in your home are vital to the process. Thinking differently will help a designer to understand what you want. However it’s also how designers create exciting and liveable spaces.

Designers See Through Walls

Most often, a space to be renovated is not completely bare. There will be obstacles including built-in furniture, kitchen counter tops, cupboards and walk-in pantries, wardrobes, walls to removed, floor and window coverings, furniture and architectural details. Designers must see through these obstacles and design for what WILL be there.

Interior design can be complex in its simplicity. Interior Designer, Vincente Wolf, described it as “… a bit like a choir, with all the voices singing different parts. Yet when you hear them, they sound like one voice. The separate elements blend in perfect harmony”.

Vincente Wolf

Thus, many modern rooms may look quite simple on the surface. Yet when you investigate further the individual elements you realise that something on its own may appear quite ordinary. Yet when it’s used in conjunction with all the OTHER elements in a space, the result is warm, cohesive and beautiful.

For example, I designed a master suite which was elegant and neutral which looked almost entirely creamy beige. Yet there were 14 different textures and surfaces in that room including silk, linen, velvet, cotton, wallpaper, fabrics, metal, marble, painted wood, and glass. The owners love that room and described it as having the feeling of a six-star hotel. It was deceptively complex and an example of thinking differently.

What Is ‘Timeless Decor’ Really?

I have often heard people say they want something ‘timeless’. However, real timeless décor is authentic. It is a mix of contemporary and period furniture, new and existing pieces. Don’t be afraid to take items away if they don’t work or feel right. Stand back, view the space. Does it still ‘work’ without that piece you just took out? Thinking differently achieves exciting results. Boil it down to its very essence. Allow the room to ‘breathe’ and don’t have furniture clinging to walls. This actually creates a sense of more space, not less.

Choose things you love. See how different patterns, fabrics and textures work in the various rooms of your home. The natural light will be different so the effect will be differ from room to room. Be true to your authentic self and your home will be authentic, timeless, beautiful and warm.

Want More?

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Best Decorating Tips with Easy Ideas to Steal

Best Decorating Tips with Easy Ideas to Steal

Our best decorating tips will give you lots of new ideas to style and redecorate your home. And the best part… most tips are DIY.

When home lovers start to redecorate their homes, many wish to undertake much of the work themselves. Others don’t have the time or inclination. However, if you’re one that LOVES to roll up your sleeves and lavish your creativity our best decorating tips are for you. Otherwise use an expert interior designer.

Steal Our Best Decorating Tips

– hang ceiling to floor drapes to create drama and provide relief from drafts

– fake a carpet runner up wooden stairs by painting a wide central band with a black border using glossy paint

– use stencils to paint patterns and florals on a wooden floor

– paint one wall in a bold colour and hang a dramatic art work or ornate framed mirror

– wallpaper or paint the wall behind book shelves for instant luxury and dramatic interest

– instead of painting cupboards black, try a dark blue or indigo with gold or rose gold hardware. Fabulous!

– choose an outrageously bold fabric for a single arm chair. You will LOVE the uniqueness this will create

– throw a coloured sheepskin rug on the bed, not the floor

Don’t Be Afraid of Dark Colours

don’t be afraid of dark colours, even black. If a room is dark anyway with little natural light, a dark colour will create cosiness. Add pops of bright or moody colour and ambient lighting

– paint wooden floors in Black Japan paired with bright white walls and ceiling

– if you have a freestanding bath, hang sheer fabric to the floor around the bath. Use a wide ribbon in a generous length to tie back

– organize bar clutter on a retro drinks cart. Place mixed bottles of spirits, fancy glasses, and an ice bucket mixed with a book on making cocktails, swizel sticks and a bowl of lemons

when arranging books, don’t place via size. Instead, arrange those with similarly coloured spines together for an artistic effect

Patterned carpet in decorative living room interior with painting above couch. Real photo

Don’t Be Matchy-Matchy

– instead of having matching bar stools, choose the same chair style and upholster in different colours of the same fabric. This applies to dining chairs too. Alternatively, choose a single colour and upholster chairs in different hues from dark to light. Beautiful upholstery will make a huge difference to the style of your home

– spray paint a concrete garden statue in a bright colour and place inside

MY TOP TIP: Don’t seek perfection. The best homes are those that are perfectly imperfect. Live with what you love… discard what doesn’t make your heart sing

Want More Best Decorating Tips?

Read our great post on home styling with easy ideas for every room.

How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

How To Successfully Nail An Open Plan Home

An open plan home is the modern design approach for the smart use of space. However, large spaces can be difficult to contain and decorate. For space AND intimacy, follow these essential tips.

An open plan home is a powerful design statement being spacious with a timeless aesthetic. Boasting freedom of movement, modern homes are now highly social spaces whereby the kitchen is no longer isolated.

As interior designers and renovators, the single biggest area of our work is designing an open plan home with a luxurious kitchen. This space is always connected to a casual dining and living area that flows outdoors via bi-fold or stacker doors. This creates seamless indoor-outdoor living perfect for the Australian lifestyle.

Whilst undeniably aesthetic in nature, there are certain rules to consider for the successful interior design of an open floor plan home.

An Open Plan Home Makes Multiple Rooms into One

In an existing home, it’s common to combine two or more smaller rooms into one spacious kitchen-living combo. Did you know this can have numerous benefits for your psychological well-being?

#1 Benefit: There is a sense of freedom when walls and doors are removed. The removal of these ‘obstacles’ creates a calmness which is highly beneficial.

#2 Benefit: Removing walls will let in more natural light to saturate an expansive interior. Natural light is one of the key architectural tenets that help create a beautiful home.

Are you concerned about noise levels, kitchen aromas, or the lack of privacy? All these issues can be addressed with the smart use of ventilation, textures and layering, and medium-rise furniture.

Retain Structural Integrity

When designing an open plan home, never compromise the structural integrity of the existing building. Always seek advice from a Master Builder to ensure load-bearing walls and other weak points are identified. Load-bearing walls can be removed but must be strengthened with suitable beams, ceiling joists or columns.

Create A Focal Point In Your Open Plan Home

Include a focal point to draw the eye to a hero feature in an open plan space. Great ideas for a focal point include a stone fireplace, an oversized window, or cathedral ceilings. Every room should have some type of focal point. However, in an open plan home, it’s also a way to create intimacy. Because furniture and fixtures can be created around a focal point.

For example, having well-considered furniture styled around a fireplace creates a delineated conversation area. This keeps the space open but also creates a more intimate environment.

Decorating an open plan home can be difficult for the novice decorator. However, consider having a suitable interior designer engaged even before the building stage. Why? Because a qualified interior designer will be able to analyse the proposed floor plan, identify ways to maximise the space, design joinery AND decorate the finished space.

An interior designer will use furniture, lighting, colour, texture, and accessories to fully decorate an open concept space. They will do this in such a way that the space feels intimate not cavernous.

Keep A Unified Theme

Open concept homes must be cohesive especially when areas are delineated with furniture, architectural features, colour and rugs. The last thing you want is a cavernous space with all the furniture hugging the walls. You can still have unique spaces with an open-plan floor plan, just keep the colour palette and theme consistent.

Easily delineate spaces with some interior design tricks. For example, define the dining area by placing a large rug under the dining table and chairs.

How To Define An Area

Define a living area with sofa and chairs in an L-shape, a C-shape, or opposite each other with a rug and coffee table in between. Use console tables at the back of sofas to add some height with lamps, books, and other objects. Therefore, creating visually exciting ways to add energy to your interiors.

Unify spaces by using a similar colour palette – either several shades of the same colour or up to three colours using the 60/30/10 rule. 60% is the primary colour; 30% is the secondary colour; 10% is the accent colour.

Designed by Plush Design Interiors. Kitchen with lowered ceiling area. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography

Use architectural features, such as a low dividing wall, a pair of columns, a bulkhead or rustic beams to acknowledge the difference between spaces. A bulkhead in the kitchen may be lower than the ceiling in the living room, for example. In the image above, designed by Plush Design Interiors, the lowered ceiling delineates the kitchen area in an open plan home. Image by Claudine Burgess Photography.

Open Plan Home Ideas for Other Spaces

Comfortable living spaces aren’t the only areas suitable for an open concept. As more home owners create their own retreat, an open concept bedroom with walk-in robe and bathroom is popular. A free-standing wall hiding a walk-in robe behind has become more common than a walk-in robe with a door, for example.

Bathrooms that are freely seen from the bedroom can maximise the space and natural light beautifully. However, always ensure the toilet is not easily seen from the bedroom area.

I love open concept living. Using a few simple tricks your open plan home can be as warm and luxurious as you wish.

Create An Inspiring Home Office

Create An Inspiring Home Office

Now more than ever, an inspiring home office is on the minds of many business-people. Working from home has become the norm as we battle COVID, restrictions and lockdowns. How will you create yours?

Even before COVID, South Australia was known for having the greatest percentage of small business owners in Australia. Therefore, a functional and inspiring home office is often required regardless of whether that business is run from home full-time or not.

So, whilst this space needs to function well, it can also be stylish and comfortable. I mean, why not? For example, a client of ours is a mad AFL Collingwood fan AND mad about pink. So we decorated her inspiring home office space with black and white striped wallpaper including a bold hot-pink neon sign above the desk that read ‘Boss Babe’. She LOVED it!

An inspiring home office that’s truly functional is totally achievable. Follow these easy designer tips to create a beautiful space that will make you productive and profitable.

The Inspiring Home Office Space

Many a spare bedroom has been turned into a home office, or attic space or even part of the garage. However, tiny spaces can also be used as a home office, even a cupboard. If you have a big enough flat surface and shelf space for your needs, you could create room in surprising places. Add a super cool chair in a bright colour, a charming lamp and co-ordinated storage boxes on shelves to make even the smallest space inspiring.

Of course, if you have more space than a cupboard, think about how much space you realistically need. Perhaps you only work with a laptop. Or perhaps you work with large format items or an array of products. Consider your flat work space as well as storage. I love open shelving to display all my interior design and architecture books. However, I also have cupboards to store all the less-then-glam stuff too.

Handling Clutter

Be realistic about how much space you need and ensure you can keep it tidy and organised. This is where storage containers come into their own. Whether it’s hanging files, ring binders or a multitude of small items, ensure you can store them away on a shelf, in a drawer or under your desk.

The most important part of handling clutter and storage is easy access to what you need, when you need it. Decorative boxes on your desktop, small vases to hold pens, or desk drawers for everyday items. Keep your workspace relatively clutter-free but ensure everything you need is close at hand.

Functional (and chic) Furniture

The old desk in my inspiring home office was formerly our dining room table. It was wooden with turned legs and had a great deal of work surface given it used to seat six people. Trestle tables are popular, having an industrial chic vibe. Small spaces may require a glass top table so you can see through it (thus giving the illusion of more space).

Don’t limit yourself to ‘office’ furniture. Think of something with a flat surface that may suit you… and it may already be in your shed. Similarly, an antique credenza or a bedroom dresser could provide you with all the storage you need.

The Inspiring Home Office Inspiration

Regardless of the size of your home office, have things in there that inspire you. This includes visually pleasing items on the wall, tactile items such as luxurious cushions and throws, inject colour with a great rug, or hang a fabulous chandelier in the space.

Play music, light scented candles, have pictures of your kids, place a bed for your dog… inspiring your home office should be a functional space that also exudes YOUR personality with items you love. Never underestimate the power of an inspiring home office. It may be where your best work is done.

Header Image by Platform 5 Architects

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal Renders Are Changing the Game for Renovators

PhotoReal renders have become a game changer for interior designers and home renovators. Going beyond 3D imagery, this technology helps homeowners to become more engaged with their project.

From taking out a wall to adding an extension, photoreal renders are hot! Because they enable renovators to see how changes will look before demolition. Additionally, they enable an interior designer to showcase different ideas for the same space.

Think about your renovation. You’ve probably been clipping ideas from Pinterest and Instagram. Maybe you have a Houzz account and have been saving images in an ideas book there. However, your renovation is personal to you and your lifestyle. How do you know that an idea you see will work for you? An interior designer has a good eye but is also used to viewing many different spaces. Yes, we can see through walls. Well, almost. We need to be able to visualize concepts and final results. However, new technology does help us to help you.

3D Imagery versus Photoreal Renders

There is a difference between 3D imagery and photoreal renders. For example, one of my earlier clients wanted a two-way fireplace in her new living room extension. However, she was unsure how the rooms would work with a fireplace in the centre. She also wanted an existing laundry and toilet re-designed as a guest bedroom. That room would have access from the new living space. Would that work? Moreover, she wanted to know if a current wine storage wall in the kitchen could be re-designed as a small butler’s pantry. Could this be done by encroaching some space from the current dining area?

I was able to manipulate the 2D floor plan to show her what the space could look like. However, that’s a bird’s eye view. So, I was also able to use a 3D imagery program to show her the space populated with furniture. Just not HER furniture. However, it did give her an excellent idea of what the open plan renovation could look like.

Staying Ahead for Better Results

Interior designers, architects and builders must stay modern by utilizing the design tools available. When I created the 3D imagery above, I was pretty happy with the results. After all, the purpose was to help my clients make important decisions about their renovations. Now photoreal renders and fly-through videos are the icing on the design cake.

Kitchen + joinery design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Many clients have an idea of what they want for a better functioning and more stylish home. Nevertheless, they can’t visualize the design solution. 3D imagery has been a fantastically useful tool. However, it comes with limitations. For example, in some 3D imagery programs you can not ‘import’ the exact accessories. Furniture is shown as a ‘place-holder’ – a similar image, say, a white sofa. It’s not the exact article. Nor is wallpaper, joinery design and other important elements.

This is where photoreal renders area a game changer. Sure, it’s an additional design fee. However, if you’re renovating several spaces, it’s worth it to see the results before you demolish. Taking out a wall? How will that effect the traffic flow, natural light and views within your home?

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

Taking Photoreal Renders To The Next Level

Spacial planning, joinery design, natural light, views, privacy and noise control are all integral to interior design. When we design spaces, we take all this into consideration. So photoreal renders will show you what views will be seen from a renovation. Renders can also show how natural light will be cast in a room at certain times of the day. Alternatively, a clever renderer, like Maria Georgiou, can show different lighting ideas. For example, the strip lighting that was integral to the masculine and moody wine tasting room I designed.

Joinery + interior design by Plush Design Interiors. Render by Maria Georgiou

As the name suggests, photoreal renders have a photographic quality. You may see images on Pinterest and Instagram without realising they are photoreal renders. This technology can be used to represent any interior or exterior space.

When it comes to your costly and important renovation, floor plans are only one design element. You’ll also need 2D elevations of joinery design, 3D sketches of design concepts, mood boards and selections list. To understand more about what we do at Plush Design Interiors, please view our Flip Book.

Tips for Creating A More Luxurious Bedroom

Tips for Creating A More Luxurious Bedroom

A more luxurious bedroom may not make you sleep better, but it will make you feel better about being awake. A luxury bedroom is only a few designer tips away.

Intimate and highly personal, your bedroom is the perfect sanctuary for luxurious and relaxing touches. However, a more luxurious bedroom should be personal, restful and functional. No matter the size of your bedroom, try these interior designer tips for a luxe look.

A More Luxurious Bedroom Starts With the Walls

Whether it’s paint or wallpaper, select a wall covering that makes you feel calm and secure. Soft and neutral tones induce restfulness – a pastel in blue, pink, yellow, mauve, green – or natural tones in beige, cream, sage, sea foam, honey – pale and neutral selections that come from nature.

Paint your ceiling in a warm white paint or in the wall paint in half or quarter strength. Paint trims and doors in a warm white or a gloss version of the wall colour. Alternatively, use a half or quarter strength gloss of the wall paint. This will give you a cohesive look but with subtle colour changes in the room.

Wallpaper can easily add a luxe vibe to any bedroom. A subtle stripe or light floral in cream or gold will add instant luxury. Importantly, don’t be afraid of wallpaper, it’s really beautiful. Enjoy a more luxurious bedroom with a wallpaper feature wall. Alternatively, paper the whole room in a small print or subtle texture. Glam!

Create A Hero Piece

Choose a hero or centerpiece for your bedroom. Invest in a glorious rug that can be treated as an heirloom and handed down to another generation. Subtle watercolour patterns are usually timeless and restful. They have an ability to be flexibly used with different decor over the years.

John Lewis and Partners

OR, choose a dramatic bedhead! For example, a large antique French mirror with a divine patina. Alternatively, something bold in velvet will create a beautiful and luxurious bedroom focus. Luxury doesn’t have to be expensive. However, if you have the budget for an heirloom or dramatic piece – rug, bedhead, chandelier, modern art work – then you won’t regret it, if you LOVE it.

Go Faux

Consider a faux-fur throw, good quality velvet, a replica designer lamp or even spray-painting a cheap mirror frame in gold. When you mix expensive with cheaper items or use luxe faux textures – such as marble, velvet, silk, linen, wood-look, gold – you’ll achieve a more luxurious bedroom look on a budget.

Nearly Natural

Faux flowers are another beautiful way to add colour, texture, femininity and a luxury feel. After all, a house full of fresh flowers is highly luxurious. To create a more luxurious bedroom, choose high-quality faux flowers and have place them on a dressing table or side table.

Mix Colours

Using different depths of colour in the same family or those that are adjacent on the colour wheel, you can create restful décor. For example, cream and gold in different textures. Don’t be afraid to mix pastels and have an array of cushions and pillows in mint, pale peach, baby pink, light mauve and lavender mixed with navy blue and charcoal. Always have different fabrics – velvet, cotton, linen, brocade, knits – to add texture and interest.

Neale Whitaker Talks New Styling Trends

Neale Whitaker Talks New Styling Trends

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%[1], 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.


[1] [1]  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.

Hamptons Style Done the Australian Way

Hamptons Style Done the Australian Way

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.

Building project by Coral Homes

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.

Coronavirus Cleaning for Your Home and Office

Coronavirus Cleaning for Your Home and Office

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.

Anything Else?

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 Tips To Transform Your Home

Interior Painting Tips To Transform Your Home

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.

Room Decorating Ideas for Small Versus Big

Room Decorating Ideas for Small Versus Big

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.

Image courtesy of Victoria Highfill Interior Design

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.

Image courtesy of James Thomas Interiors

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.

Image courtesy of Ann Lowengart Interiors

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

Five Architectural Tenets That Come Before Interior Design

Five Architectural Tenets That Come Before Interior Design

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.

Plush Design Interiors

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.

Faux Flowers Styled To Look Real

Faux Flowers Styled To Look Real

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 simple tips.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

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.

Plush Design Interiors

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.

Decor Gold Designs

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.

Luxury Living Room Key Features

Luxury Living Room Key Features

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.

Image courtesy of RLH Studio


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.

Image courtesy of Applegate Tran Interiors


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.

Image courtesy of Ann Lowengart Interiors


The Rug:

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.

Image courtesy of James Said


The Lighting:

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.


The Vignette:

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.

Plush Design Interiors


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.