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.

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