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New Design Businesses - Making the Most of Online Platforms

Satara Sales - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Navigating the world of social media may seem daunting, time consuming or a waste of time. If done properly, it’s none of the above. Having an online presence is of course, not 100% essential for a new or established design business. But it can certainly can lead to new clients and allows you to connect with your audience. Particularly as a new business, it’s worth creating a social media strategy to leverage your name in a saturated marketplace.

Have a clear idea of your social media intention

Before you start madly posting, writing and pining on social media, consider who your audience is and what the intention of the interaction will be. Are you trying to gain new business leads and contacts? Are you hoping to connect with your existing clients? Or, are you wanting to communicate your look and aesthetic to the broader community? Perhaps it’s all of the above! Knowing this will help you focus on the right platforms and select the appropriate imagery.

Once your intention is considered, think next about what the demographic is of the client you have or a trying to attract. Images directed to a youthful, trend-orientated design sensibility are not going to attract the high-end, discerning client. In turn, images which seem unattainable to the “everyday” person could push your potential young family client away from your social media handles. What type of visuals/ information do your dream clients want to see?


Be consistent

While life can get very busy (particularly if you’re running your own business!), making time for social media regularly is very important for retention of followers, engaging with comments and feedback and generally being part of the online community. Consider social media as a business tool, not just something to do on the weekend when you’re on the couch.

Once you have decided what is realistic for you, such as one blog post a week or three Instagram posts a week, be consistent with this. There’s great planning technology for most platforms to upload several posts in advance and schedule them in. If you have some down time or a quiet period, take the time to get organised. Write a spare blog post to have up your sleeve. Take photos of a completed project or find an additional five images for the days you’re so busy you feel you don’t have the time. Schedule a weekly time to organise your social media if you think you won’t be consistent in your management of the platforms.

Image style and quality must be of a high standard. Always.

Interior design is a visual business, as you know! Clients are coming to you for your specific skills in all things aesthetically pleasing. Your images should reflect this. Ensure all images are of a very high quality, not grainy, blurry or with terrible composition. Some images will take a few times to get “right”.

If your project is something you’re particularly proud of, it’s worth getting a professional photographer in to record this. Their images will be worth the effort and expense. Images should also be consistent in style or vibe, reflecting your personal taste and work. Use similar formatting or filters if using Instagram for example.

Connect and engage with the community

On all platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook or a blog, there is generally a place for your readers/ followers to share, like, comment or engage in some way. They may ask questions, make a positive comment or show their appreciation. It’s important to acknowledge this and respond in turn. A simple “thanks!” is all it takes. In turn, take the time to look at other people’s blogs or feeds and connect with them. If you’re using Instagram for example, try to comment on other’s work a few times a week.

While many of these platforms are very visual, they are also a time to communicate your ideas, personality and style in a written sense. Be careful with what you write and consider if it’s reflective of your ethos while still being professional. Find your online “voice”. Is it factual or are you a story teller? Make the most of hashtags on your images and blog posts. This is an excellent way to connect with others who may not ever knew your business existed. See what hashtags are used commonly in relation to your business and use them on every post. Perhaps add one unique hashtag which links back directly to you or your business, such as #angietompsondesign or #angietompsonstyle for example.

Analyse the statistics of your activity and followers

Social media is so much more than just posting pretty pictures. You need to understand what your followers like and what they’re engaging in so you can do more of this to retain their loyalty. Do you get more traction if you post at a certain time of the day or day of the week? Did one image or article get a lot more feedback or “likes” than all the others? This data is golden. Use it to your advantage to grow your followers even further.

Textural Moodboard- Turning Inspiration into Real-life Palettes

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

You may have heard of the Danish term “hygge” which is the design world’s current obsession. Loosely translated to comfort, or cosy, the word holds great meaning to the Danish people (and the Norwegians too, who share the words same meaning). For them, the idea of being comfortable, enjoying life’s simple pleasures and creating this atmosphere within their homes is so important. They achieve this through the use of candles, soft furnishings, slow cooking, reading, woollen socks…. You catch the drift. A key element of hygge is texture. Consider the Scandinavian homes you may have seen in magazines. Soft wools, raw timbers, baskets, knitted throws and reindeer hides are plentiful. In the pursuit of hygge, including various textures in your home is just one of the many benefits.

While texture may bring the visual and literal idea of comfort into the room, it’s also a celebration of true materiality. Texture is not just wool or felt, it comes in different forms. The beauty of timber and its innate characteristics are seen. Rope, woven materials from nature, leather and linens also add to the story. While glossy finishes, metals and flat surfaces are a texture in their own right, they are cool and need balancing with rawer materials if you’re trying to achieve a warm and homely look. Textural palettes suit all homes, even those which are cutting edge contemporary, it’s just a matter of how you apply this palette to fit within the style you’re aiming for.

Coastal homes work well with a highly textural palette, as do rural properties. They reflect the outdoors and the natural location of the property. By adding rope, woven materials, sisal rugs, linen drapes or upholstery and timbers, you are instantly creating a casual, eclectic and inviting space. These textures sit back with either a neutrals palette (such as all white) for a fresh look, or rich colours for a statelier and formal feel. Teamed with accessories, this is the perfect textural interior. Think: baskets of timber, pinecones or magazines, woven lamp shades, drift wood, linen or velvet cushions and other finds from nature.

More contemporary and clean-lined homes can also benefit from the textural palette. Even the most modern home can have a feature of timber (be it in joinery or a stand-alone piece of furniture) or cow hide rug. In some ways, the inclusion of texture needs to be considered more carefully in these spaces. Each item is sculptural and will be observed individually. An occasional chair is a great place to bring this piece to the contemporary interior. Try one which has elements of woven material, timbers or leather. All homes, no matter how minimal, see value from the warmth that texture brings. It is a home after all!

There are a great deal of places to find inspiration for your textural palette. Seeing the materials together is helpful to form a guide when choosing finishes and furniture. Create a flatlay to refer back to, like the ones which can be seen here. Note that they have variation in their texture. There are layers of softness, rawness and contrasting elements. Layering of texture creates balance and visual interest. Once you’re happy with your flatlay, you can allocate each of the materials to an actual finish, furniture item or accessory in your home. Some may be large, such as timber floors, while others will be small, such as a linen cushion. Keep coming back to the board to ensure you have each of the materials ticked off in the interior.

Textural combinations that are unexpected form beautiful points of interest in the home. Think outside the square and know there are no real “rules” as such. Team felt and leather, rope and timber or metal with timber. Find balance however and for every cool material, try to counter this with some warmth.

Nature is one of the greatest forms of inspiration and the provider of so much textural warmth for our homes. This doesn’t just have to be large items as well, like a dining table or kitchen joinery. Adding plants, flowers, beach-walk finds and anything else from the environment can be the way to include the warmth without the expense of a whole home overhaul. If you’re working within a budget, try other smaller accessories or furniture pieces. A timber tray on your coffee table, some new linen cushions or woven candle holders. These are items which will never date, as timeless as it comes when talking interiors.

Don’t forget to start with the flatlay or moodboard. Always an anchor point to refer back to if you get a little lost.

Trend Forecasting - Sustainability Matters

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Trend forecasters have seen sustainability as a hot topic for some time now, citing a more global awareness and education of the issue as one of the key factors. We see it as more than a trend though, more as a responsibility of our company in the broader design industry. Luckily, there are so many beautiful materials and design options available for specifiers and customers! 

Many of the trends explore concepts of finding beauty in natural materials and celebrating imperfections which can be found in older materials and furniture. Even giving a second life to much-loved items. These ideas are helpful in contributing to a more environmentally friendly home and a clearer conscious for all involved. It also pushes the design industry to create new ways of thinking about manufacturing, quality, longevity and materials. It’s a win-win for the environment, the designer and the end-user.

So how can you implement these considered designs and materials into your own home?

Buy Once, Buy Well

As the adage goes, buy once, buy well certainly rings true when it comes to furniture and interior design products. While it may seem difficult to budget for such items, in the long run it makes sense to make an investment with the best you can afford. Quality products, materials and warranties mean that you will be replacing your items less frequently therefore it can make financial sense as well as lessening waste and landfill. Good quality furniture and materials are also worth refurbishing down the track too, another win for the environment.

Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring Satara's Bukawu Daybed

Natural, Sustainable Materials

What is considered sustainable and what’s not can be quite a difficult area to navigate, with so many brands and designers claiming their product (in all consumer areas, not just interiors!) is sustainable. There are so many wonderful options which cause minimum impact on the environment, such as natural materials which grow and can be replenished quickly, such as bamboo, rattan, willow and other grasses. Other materials may be reclaimed and given a second life, such as recycled timbers which are a beautiful addition to any home. New technology is also pushing the boundaries and HDPE plastics are being used in outdoor furniture. This special type of plastic is not only hard wearing but recyclable too.

Design by Martin J Scott Design featuring Satara's Roxanne Lounge Chairs

Something Old, Given New Life

The next time you’re considering throwing something out, ask yourself if there’s a way to refurbish the piece before dismissing it. Re-upholstery and restoring timber products are a great place to start. Even if you still want that gorgeous new armchair, perhaps the old one can be covered in a beautiful new fabric and find a home elsewhere! In turn, there are so many places to find unwanted furniture which can become a great weekend project involving paint and a staple gun.

Image via [www.juxtoposition.com]

A Whole Lifecycle Considered

It’s easy to forget about products once we no longer have a need for them. Even good quality pieces can come to an end. But then what? Natural materials and HDPE like those mentioned above are excellent examples of this. They’re able to return to nature or given a new, different life. It’s our responsibility to consider the WHOLE lifecycle of a product, not just while it’s in our homes.

“Half House” by Atticus & Milo. Photo by Shannon Mcgrath

The Bigger Picture

Sustainability is multifaceted and complex. There’s the materials, the manufacturing and technologies. But there’s also the communities which are involved at the very core of furniture and other products production. Who’s making it and how are traditional skills maintained? Most reputable companies who import or manufacture products will have this information on hand- if they’re committed to the bigger picture.

Photo by Michael Mauney

The Future

There are some brilliant minds and visionaries out there and the future is looking bright. At a recent trend forecasting seminar, we saw all sorts of fascinating things, from a chair made of leaves to furniture made from trash and even tiles made from recycled television sets! The future of design is exciting for those who want to take the leap…

Simon Kern’s Beleaf Chair, made from fallen leaves

Kitchen Styling – Add Personality to a Functional Space

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

It really doesn’t matter if you live in a band new home with a generous kitchen or reside in a small rental apartment with a less-than-ideal kitchen space, you can still make this room a reflection of your style and taste. Finding that balance between adding personality while remaining practical in such a functional space is key. Form follows function as the old adage goes, which remains true here. Consider the following tips for making the kitchen a space that you want to be in.

Add Furniture

If you have the space, include a small breakfast nook or some barstools. These additions create atmosphere in the kitchen by bringing family and friends closer to the cooking action. Ensure the barstool sits neatly under the island bench and allows enough space for legs to be comfortable underneath. Timbers, cork, metals and woven materials are hardy and easy to clean. They will likely bring contrast to the kitchen materials too, softening stones and laminates. Consider the height of the back rest, you may not wish to have them too high, therefore possibly blocking a view into the next room or outdoors. Breakfast nooks are a sweet addition to the kitchen but require a little more space. Small, round tables work well with chairs that are made from materials that can withstand daily use.

Image by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the New York Kitchen Stools

Make Useful Accessories a Centrepiece

While the majority of cooking and kitchen items can be relatively unsightly, there are a some which can be used as beautiful accessories. Depending on the style you’re going for, get some of the following items out of the cupboard and onto the kitchen surfaces.

Contemporary Kitchen

  • Designer pieces like a kettle or toaster
  • A sleek stainless-steel jug
  • A marble or metal utensil holder
  • Small collections of ceramic plates, vessels or cups
  • Canisters made from ceramics, glass or metal
  • Cook books, but only the nice ones!
  • Chopping boards made from timber or stone

Image via [www.amberinteriordesign.com]

Classic Kitchen

  • Stacks of mismatched plates or glasses
  • Ceramic jugs to hold utensils
  • Stove top kettle
  • A Kitchen Aid or similar
  • Vintage kitchen scales and colanders
  • Mixing bowls and beautiful serving platters as a fruit bowl
  • Again, cook books work well here too
  • Chopping boards made from timber or stone

Image by Brigid Arnott, Stylist Vanessa Colyer Tay via [www.homelife.com.au]

The Island Bench Feature

If you’re blessed with an Island bench, you may be left wondering what to do with such a large surface. Layering works well, so start with a tray or platter. Contrast it to the bench top. Woven materials look beautiful against stone and add warmth while a dark stone tray against white bench tops packs a punch. Timber trays or bowls pretty much work on any bench top! Once you have selected your base, layer with other objects, such as a vase of flowers, a sculptural vessel, a bowl, a designer candle or some seasonal fruit. Groups of three always look good.

If you’re attempting a more minimal look, chose well designed objects that can stand alone well. Try a recycled timber bowl of lemons or a stainless-steel vase with bare branches or autumn leaves.

Styling by Justine Hugh-Jones

Art in Kitchens

Bare walls in kitchens can be rare, with storage filling most spare spaces. Even with loads of storage, modern homes tend to be open plan in this area, meaning less wall space. If you do have a spare wall (lucky you!) art could be the perfect way to accessorise the space. Large clocks are a great addition to a kitchen on a practical and decorative level, while a small collection of black and white photos or oil paintings can also create the feature you’re after. Be mindful of kitchen spills, oil splatters and other hazards in the kitchen. You may not want to place a wildly expensive artwork in the firing line.

Image by Michelle Adams

Plants and Foliage

The simplest of kitchens can be transformed instantly with a floral arrangement or the addition of plants. Of you have open shelves in your kitchen, place an indoor plant or two here layered with beautiful cookbooks or a candle. Talk to an expert at your local nursery for some ideas regarding suitable plants for your home. Pop them in gorgeous planters in materials such as woven rattans, gold or timber. Succulents or herbs in pots also work well placed on the bench if you don’t have shelves. Foliage can be extravagant or minimal. Bare branches, olive sprigs and leaves offer a sculptural and inexpensive look while flowers can add colour or a softer look. Change the water often and select in-season flowers to get more longevity on your floral purchases.

Have fun! Remember, you can really change the look and feel of the kitchen with only a few small additions.

Image by Martina Gemmola, Stlist Ruth Welsby

Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - Using Colour (Part 3)

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

An issue with modern design in my opinion, is the oversized, expansive open plan living areas. The excitement about opening up our living spaces, combining kitchen, living and dining areas in the hope of creating a relaxed environment, often leaves us with these large cold rooms that in reality do not promote intimacy or comfort. Some of you may love this feeling of expansiveness, however if like me you want to add a sense of intimacy, choose darker colours that work to close a room in. To instantly add atmosphere, add muted, spicy tones of brown, orange, yellow, red and purple. The darker versions from the cooler colour palette of blue and green will work however they won’t create the warmth that an oversized room requires. Add strength not only to the wall colour but also through the furnishings. Making a larger space more intimate is as much about placement of furniture as it is about colour, so create vignette areas throughout the middle of the space rather than attaching your pieces to the walls. Use strong colours that will give the effect of a reduction of dead space. Oversized rugs on the floor in intense shades give your furnishings a strong foundation.

There is a certain seriousness that comes with unearthing your sense of style, however don’t be too stressed about the process. Colour is supposed to be fun and the process of infusing colour into your home should inspire us. Use your intuition to guide you through your colour choices that set you on the path to creating an individual space, unique to your own sense of style. Rich tones of mustard carry all the positive attributes of yellow but have an air of sophistication. Work back with black, chocolate and cream for the most luxurious aesthetic, perfect for a lounge room or bedroom.

 

Image by Satara, featuring The Anna Lounge Chair & Lynette Mustard Cushion 50x50

Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - Using Colour (Part 2)

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

If your room is dark for most of the day, your aim will be to maximise the light that is available to you. In this case you need to use colours that reflect any available light. Painting the walls white is most obvious, but be careful which shade of white you use as a bluey white can leave an already cold, dark room feeling icy. Use a warmer shade of white, that is, one infused with a touch of yellow to add a little warmth to the room. This then creates a simple backdrop for a décor of pale linen furnishings in fresh shades of aqua, turquoise, yellow or green. If your space is flooded with natural light you’ll need to tone it down, so avoid white at all costs. White is a reflective colour and a bright room painted white will be filled with glaring light, leaving you squinting. Stick to deeper colours that absorb the light, this applies to everything from the window treatments to sofa covers. Choose cooler colours in shades of blue and green, consider tones of red, orange and yellow if you need to warm the space even further. Orange is such a fun colour however it doesn’t have to be overbearing. You can turn the intensity up or down. Bright oranges will draw your focus, whereas an earthier Terracotta can work harmoniously with other elements in a room.

The colour you use in a small room won’t actually increase the available floor space it will however give the illusion that it has. In a small space colour works as a kind of mirage, it tricks the eye into thinking one thing when the reality is a much different story. If you want to make a small room appear larger, the key is to keep the colours pale. Add to the expansiveness by painting the ceiling white to give the room a sense of height. Cover floorboards in a white paint or lime wash to maximise the effect, if you prefer natural wood, choose timbers in a washed-out tone. If the room has carpet, choose a lighter shade. The going paler in smaller rooms rule works not only for the paint colours on the walls but also for furnishings. Lighter tones for your sofa, flooring and bed linen will keep the mood of the space upbeat. Ensure the fabric textures are light and breezy as heavy weight fabrics work to close a room in. Who says white has to be bland? Prevent white from looking clinical Use white as a canvas, then overlay with rich, natural tones to create warmth and depth. White can be successfully coupled with almost any colour from the spectrum. Combine it with brights (berry, aqua, lemon, orange, apple & lime) for an uplifting playful effect.


Image 1 by FlooringXtra featuring Satara Products [Aslak Sofa, Eden Cage Coffee Table, Sundial Dining Table etc.]

Image 2 by Satara via [www.satara.com.au] Featuring the Boomerang Coffee Table, Boomerang Kitchen Stools & Nordic Side Table

Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - Using Colour (Part 1)

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

 

Defining colours and decorating with them is a rewarding experience once you realise what can be achieved using simple shades. Explaining our responses to colour is about an emotional reaction as it is an exact science. There is something special about the personal and mysterious connection between colour and our emotions. We live with colour every day and yet it can be so intimidating. So why does the commitment to colour, especially at home, demand such an act of courage?

The question of context is crucial in choosing the colours that both move you and fit within your environment. Is your home period, modern, rustic or urban? If so you may like to consider a palette that enhances that particular period. An easy way to create colour flow is to use lighter and darker shades of the same colour throughout your home. Colour is a universal language, it stimulates emotions, shapes cultures and forms the background of our world. Quite simply, colour can influence mood, create atmosphere and lift spirits. Seeing colour, using it and surrounding yourself with a personal palette that works for you produces a calming backdrop for daily life. I think of colour as one of my greatest indulgences.


Image by FlooringXtra featuring Satara Product, the Lakes Lounge Chair

 

Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - Hanging Art

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

A great rule when hanging pictures is always hang your artwork at 145cm on centre. Meaning the middle of your artwork is always at 145cm. 145cm represents the average human eye height and is often used as a standard in galleries and museums.

A big mistake people often make is to hang artwork too high. Artwork should “talk” or connect to the other elements such as furniture, rugs and lighting. Hanging artwork and photos lower than usual will also give the impression of taller ceilings.

When hanging artwork relative to furniture or fireplace, position the bottom edge of the framed art 20-25cm above the sofa or mantle, again this ensures that the artwork connects with the furniture piece.

A “Gallery Wall” of pictures is a great way to create impact especially on a larger wall. Hanging pictures and photographs together can require practice to achieve an overall balance. You may like to position the grouping on the floor first moving pieces and seeing what works best together before committing to holes in walls. Again, think of your gallery as one picture and hang your centre piece first at 145cm then surround them with the rest of the group.

Image via [www.cutypaste.com/tag/minimalista]

Useful tips on how to create a visually pleasing interior give us great broad-brush strokes to help us design beautifully balanced spaces. At the end of the day your home should be your sanctuary, a place to unwind, escape and recharge. It should reflect you and all that is important to you. Surround yourself with the things that you love and express yourself honestly and you will, no matter what your surrounds, create the most nurturing home for yourself.

Image via [www.paperblog.fr/6256036/envie-de-changer-la-decoration-de-votre-salon]

 

​ Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - Furniture Arrangement & Lighting

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Furniture Arrangement

When it comes to arranging a room, trial and error is part of the process. Knowing a few tips and tricks might just help you get your room looking more spacious and functional, a lot quicker.



  • Consider the main purpose of the room and how many people will use it. This will help you prioritise your furniture selection.
  • Find a focal point in the room, such as a fireplace, large window or TV. Arrange furniture around this feature to give the room structure.
  • Think where the larger pieces of furniture i.e. sofas, beds fit into the room. Begin planning with these and work smaller pieces around them.
  • A symmetrical layout will give rooms a formal feel whereas asymmetrical arrangements will give a more casual feeling. This is particularly relevant in dining rooms.
  • Think where foot traffic passes through a room. Keep furniture from blocking windows and room entrances. This is especially important in a room with two doors. Keep paths clear of obstacles, direct traffic around seating and not through it.
  • Place coffee tables, side tables and lamps within easy reach of sitting areas.
  • Position furniture 3-4 inches from the wall as leaving space creates the illusion a wall is further away than it actually is. Add a narrow console table if the gap is big enough.
  • Take advantage of glass tables, their transparency will give the room an airy feel.


Lighting

Lighting is one of the most overlooked, yet important elements of good design. Just as you carefully choose your décor, so should you spend time considering the style of lighting you want in your home as it has a direct influence on your mood. Think about the overall effect you’re trying to create. Your lighting must also be functional, flexible and compliment the way you live and work at home.

Try to create three different layers of lighting ambient, task and accent. Too many people make the mistake of expecting one type of lighting to do it all. Ambient lighting is intended to create a uniform light level throughout a space, think ceiling mounted when a person steps into a rooms and flicks on the switch. Task lighting targets particular areas and is intended to illuminate a specific function, under counter lights may illuminate a kitchen bench for preparing food, floor or table lamps for reading areas or home office.

Accent lighting is intended to highlight different objects such as artwork, plants or water features. Often used to highlight outdoors and gardens accent recess or track lighting is often used with adjustable fittings that allow light to be focused precisely.

 

 

Creating a Visually Pleasing Interior - The 60/30/10 Rule

Colleen Johnston - Thursday, April 19, 2018

One of the most satisfying areas of an Interior Stylist’s role, is helping homeowners prepare their homes for sale. The brief is simple; to create a visually pleasing interior to increase the appeal of the property to potential buyers. Homeowners are often so impressed with the finished product they’re left asking why they didn’t think to employ a professional stylist for themselves sooner.

To make the most of your home just follow a few simple decorating rules and you won’t be in a hurry to leave your comfy nest anytime soon.

Have you ever walked through a home where every room features a different colour, and by the time you walk through the entire home you feel like you’ve visited the circus? Individuality in rooms doesn’t have to be as dramatic as featuring a different colour, in fact choosing a coordinating palette of colours for the entire home at one time will help rooms flow visually and won’t feel so jarring.

The 60/30/10 rule states that a well decorated space should consist of 3 different colours; A dominant colour which should cover around 60% i.e. walls, flooring etc. Start with a paler more neutral base. A secondary colour which takes up around 30% of the space and is usually used for furniture and finally a bolder accent colour at 10% used in smaller décor items.


 


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