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.

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.