Pessimists will have you believe that design and architecture is all about trends, having money and showing off. But good design can be so much more than aesthetics. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money, it can withstand fads and last the distance. Well-thought-out design can work for you, make your home more liveable, more enjoyable to be in, save you time, money and even be better than your health. Here are our thoughts on how design can positively impact your home life.
Cushions tick a lot of boxes in interior decoration. Want a new look without spending a lot of money? Cushions. Want to bring texture, colour or pattern
into a room? Cushions. Sofa or chair not 100% comfortable? Add a cushion. While it all seems simple, with so many to choose from, it can be difficult
to make a decision! We’ve pulled together our favourite tips to make the selection process a little easier.
Consider where the cushion will sit in a practical sense. An armchair may benefit from a rectangular, lumber style cushion while a deep-seated sofa could use some bulkier cushions to sink in to. The size of the cushion is important. Ensure it’s not too big that it takes over the sofa, or too long to sit nicely on an armchair. It’s great to have a combination of sizes and shapes on a sofa. Try a grouping of a medium-sized square cushion, a smaller square and a round or rectangular style for contrast.
We also asked Trudie Cox of Eadie Lifestyle (she’s a cushion expert!) what her hot tips were.
"Cushions can inexpensively transform the overall look of a room. We change our wardrobe for the seasons, why not take a leave out of the European way of living, and do the same for your home? I love making a living or bedroom space light and fresh for Spring/Summer by introducing soft colour palettes and light fabrics in natural fibres. When the cooler months are upon us, mixing things up with pops of strong colour, or introducing bold textures in a monochromatic colour scheme, can add warmth and cosiness to our living spaces".
Even the most boring of cushions looks better with a good insert. Sometimes that’s all that is required- a swap over of cheap, synthetic inserts with a feather or combination version. They feel and look fuller, plusher and inviting. While they may cost a few dollars more, it’s well worth the investment.
Whether you aiming for a monochromatic, minimalist style home or a bohemian, country or eclectic interior, contrast is important. This can be found by contrasting shape or size (as mentioned above), contrasting colour, pattern, material or details (trims, embroidery, beading etc.). Contrast provides visual stimulation and interest. A Hamptons-styled, neutral palette can still benefit from using various textures, such as linen cushions pared back with a knitted style for example. A more vivacious home could find a floral teamed with a stripe and a plain coloured cushions- all on the same sofa! Subtler contrasts provide a chic, minimal or formal appearance, while a more obvious contrast brings fun, energy and charm. As Trudie mentions, not everything has to stay the same either.
“The Eadie range offers various Linens and Velvets in more than 23 striking colours. Most Importantly, have some fun with it! Unleash your creativity - it doesn't have to be permanent and can add vibrancy and a fresh new look to your favourite space."
Grouping of odd numbers works particularly well in decorating and styling. There’s something about the way it feels complete and effortless which has professionals always reaching for the third cushion. Mind you- only do this where the space allows it, such as a master bed or a sofa! One corner of a sofa can be a happy home for three cushions. Try to contrast size, shape, texture or colour here. Start with the largest at the back and work to the smallest at the front. That way you can see all of your beautiful cushions in one glance.
Investing in some well-made, classic cushions can form the basis for more spontaneous purchases which are more seasonal or trend based. For example, finding a simple, linen cushion in a colour which works with your sofa will always work with colourful or fun options down the track. Focus on the quality, with beautiful, sturdy fabrics and colours which will not date, such as greys, flax and oat variations.
Accessories encompass a large range of items, from cushions to lamps, vases, candles, sculptural objects and beyond. They are the small elements which give insight into the occupant of the home. What colours and styles do they like? Where have they travelled and what interests them? They can be fashion items which are easily changed as the season’s pass, or they can be carefully collected over years and years. Even if you reside in a completely minimal home, a few curated objects will complete the space. Below are some of our tips for sourcing and arranging accessories at home.
If selecting accessories makes you a bit nervous, try to find a theme, a colour or style that interest you. For example, if you love a Hamptons style home, collect accessories with a natural colour palette with hints of blue. Add items made from rope, polished stones, baskets, lanterns and white-washed timber vessels. If you have some existing accessories, ask yourself what you love about them. Is it the pattern? Is it the fact that it’s on-trend/ contemporary/ rustic? This will give you hints as to what aesthetically interests you and sets a palette. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration too. Finding a “goal” image is a good starting place to build on your home- with touches of your own personality too of course!
Some of the most successful homes are filled with objects that mean something to the occupant. They tell stories of their life, their travels, interests and, family. They may not be the newest, the shiniest or the trendiest pieces, but they move beyond this. These items may consist of gifts, photos, inherited pieces, travel mementos and special items purchased to celebrate an important time. Try not to hide these things in cupboards and bring them out for all to see. Mix store-bought pieces with something your child made, a collection of pinecones or an inexpensive piece bought in a marketplace on the other side of the world.
There is much beauty to be found in nature, that doesn’t have to cost a thing. A beautiful bowl filled with river pebbles is a gorgeous, tactile arrangement. Or large leaves and stems brought in from the garden to fill a simple glass vase. Elements of nature add depth, colour and texture to a space and can be changed easily and without a visit to a homewares store. Fruit and vegetables also work well in kitchens and meal areas. Pops of colour through citrus fruits or a pile of green apples. Wintery displays of pumpkins on a kitchen bench is an edible delight too.
If you feel accessories are unnecessary or ostentatious, try to find objects which are beautiful but practical too. There are great utensils, desk items, and bathroom objects which make for beautiful displays but can also be used each day. Baskets for books, candles for their scent and interesting books are also props which can not only look great but have an important use as well.
There is something magical about the number three. Try it yourself with an arrangement of three objects on your coffee table or bedside. A tray on a coffee table, for example, looks complete when layered with two other items, such as a thick, hard covered book and a poesy of flowers. Or three cushions on a sofa. It just feels “right”. On hall console, try a lamp, a vase and a small, low dish. In a bathroom, a gorgeous soap, a timber brush and a shell or piece of coral group together nicely. If you’re more of a maximalist, keep with the odd numbers, five being another excellent combination.
When grouping accessories, try not to be too coordinated. Don’t be afraid to combine different textures, shapes and colours. Materiality matters too. Try layering objects made from varying materials, such as timber, marble and leather. Or, glass, ceramics and timber. This allows for each individual item to be observed on its own merit, standing out from one another. With this said, there can be beauty found in arrangements of similar items, such as a collection of candlesticks or trinket boxes. Even here though, various heights, shapes and sizes will add the final touch within the vignette.
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 via [www.imgrum.org/tag/ambientesconestilo]
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
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?
Image by FlooringXtra featuring Satara Product, the Lakes Lounge Chair
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.
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]
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.