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?

Did you know we publish a seasonal digital magazine? Plush Homes is a 100-page guide on renovation and styling for home lovers. Sign-up now and never miss an issue. Plush Homes will teach you how to work with tradies, start DIY projects, be inspired with real renovations, where to shop, designer interviews, new products and more. If you are a renovator, re-decorator or home lover then Plush Homes is for you.

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.

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.

Home Renovation Preparation Advice

Home Renovation Preparation Advice

When you need home renovation preparation advice then ask a professional. It’s people like me who work in this area and we’ve probably seen everything. So when it comes to home renovation prep, here’s my two bobs worth.

It’s one of my favourite sentences… “We are renovating and need your help”. My eyes light up and a wave of excitement washes over me. Often, however, the person speaking those words is as confused and terrified as I am delighted.

Whilst most people want to live in a home they love, watching renovation shows can make things appear a lot more seamless than they are in reality. If you are planning for a renovation, or even some major redecorating, there are home renovation preparation items to consider BEFORE you even think about interior design.

View of a kitchen with blue cabinets from the viewpoint of the living space which has cream sofas

Home Renovation Preparation: Your First Priority

Before embarking on any renovation or major redecorating project, ensure the essentials are in great condition. Check your plumbing, electrical circuits and roofing. It is imperative to fix any issues, such as water leaks, rising damp or faulty old wiring, before you start. Fixing any issues now will save costly repairs in the future.

Have a Clear Vision

Your budget will blow out if you start making changes to the design after your renovation has commenced. Be very clear about the design before works begin. This is an important home renovation preparation tip.

Write a brief that clearly explains your vision, your budget, timeframes, what will remain IN the house and what needs to come OUT. Have a clear colour palette to use through your home for a cohesive look.

A detailed brief can be referred to later if you need to make a decision.

bedroom with ruby red wall and green bedding

Maximise the Positives

Always consider important elements of the home including natural light sources, air flow, views from windows, and noise control before you start making interior design decisions. The functionality of your home is the priority over gorgeous fabrics and divine furniture.

Fast-Track Approvals

Required approvals will be easier to achieve if you know the rules and can provide rationale for your design decisions. If necessary, tweak your design to fit the required rules.

All the best home renovation preparation in the world won’t help you if you can’t get Council approval. In some States and Territories, illegal renovations may inhibit you from selling your home.

white kitchen with marble centre island and black pendant lights

Tradie Access

Ensure your renovation plans include easy access for trades and delivery of big items. Can trades access the rear of your property from the outside? Can vehicles park on-site? What is required to ensure easy access and minimise the impact on your existing home… and your neighbours.

Renovating for Profit

If you are renovating to sell, research property sales in the area. Adjust your budget, and be strict with spending, so you do NOT over-capitalise, that you cover all costs and you make a profit. Include often forgotten fees such as skip hire, dump fees and a contingency of at least 15% of the total budget.

mid-century style beige sofa with autumn toned velvet cushions and yellow vase

Budget for Interior Design:

Self-serving? Well, no. Budgeting for interior design isn’t necessarily about hiring Adelaide’s best interior designer (although it could, haha). No, it’s more about YOU than me.

It’s important that you provide a budget for furniture, fabrics, lighting, art works and accessories. These are all part of the renovation process not an afterthought.

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.

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