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.

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.

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.

Master Bedrooms and Children’s Space Considerations

Master Bedrooms and Children’s Space Considerations

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.

Is your bedroom the best it can be? 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 grow-up fast and their tastes change.

Master Bedrooms

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.

Children’s Spaces

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.

You may also like to read the article on ‘Planning Children’s Bedrooms‘ on this blog

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.

Bedroom Positioning

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.

Planning Children’s Bedrooms for Longevity + Fun

Planning Children’s Bedrooms for Longevity + Fun

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 decorating 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 space 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.

Dinosaur wallpaper from The Tiny Garden

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 New Rules for Planning the Perfect Bedroom

The New Rules for Planning the Perfect Bedroom

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 location.

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 ‘Funk’tion

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 way

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.

Bedroom accessories courtesy of one of our interior design partners, West Elm

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.

New Rule #4: Create a focal point

Draw the eye to something unique and spectacular. This could be a dramatic bedhead, rug, artwork or chandelier.

As many Adelaide Hills readers live in heritage homes, a fireplace is a natural focal point whereby an impacting artwork can be hung above.

For more beautiful bedroom inspiration see Plush Bedrooms on Pinterest.

The Ten Commandments of Colour

The Ten Commandments of Colour

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. So live with the ten commandments of colour instead.

Most people don’t want to live with cool and boring interiors either. So where is the balance? Right here with the ten commandments of colour.

See some unexpected colour combinations that will excite and inspire you on our Colour Combo Pinterest board

#1 The 60/30/10 Rule

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.

#2 Embrace Emotions

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. The ten commandments of colour are rules that probably shouldn’t be broken.

#3 Complementary 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.

Plush Design Interiors

#4 Analogous Colours

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.

#5 Bright Colours

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. This is a very useful one of the ten commandments of colour.

#6 Colour Combinations

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.

Image courtesy of Jessie Prince and The Designory

#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 / Cool Down

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 Good Too

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.

Plush Design Interiors

#10 Memories

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 . Love livig with colour by remembering the ten commandments of colour.

Home Styling Tips With Easy Ideas for Every Room

Home Styling Tips With Easy Ideas for Every Room

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. You may have noticed than many celebrity stylists and interior designers, view home styling as the final process is creating a beautiful home.

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

Plush Design Interiors

– 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

– use small art works to create interest in unexpected places

Home Styling Tips for Your Dining Room

– use large leafy branches in a table centre display instead of flowers

– tall sculptural plants help to move your eye around the room

– use a fabulous drinks cart to display decanters, glasses, premium liquor and cocktail paraphernalia

Plush Design Interiors works with West Elm as one of our valued suppliers

– display art works and signs that relate to eating and drinking

– use wooden pizza paddles on display with wooden trays and cutting boards

– in winter, place a couple of sheepskin rugs or mohair throws casually over a couple of dining chairs