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.

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.