Ten Little Details that Bring a Room to Life

Have you ever caught yourself staring at a photo in an interior design magazine and admiring how amazing some rooms look? And have you tried decorating your own room in a similar manner? Was there something missing? You can do everything right, including the design style, colour palette and furnishing, but if you’ve missed all those little details that bring a room to life, you will never get an Architecture Digest-worthy space. Here’s your cheat-sheet for achieving that.

ARTWORK ON THE WALLS

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A room can’t be complete without art, but there is no uniform way or specific style to display art. Besides the usual paintings (abstract, impressionist, cubism, etc.), you can also go for alternative (and affordable) options, such as  kids’ artwork, framed wallpaper/fabric samples, silverware or keys in shadow boxes, framed old book pages, etc. Some of the best places to hang your art are above the sofa, over the mantel or on either side of the windows.

POWERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS

An art style of their own, photographs can drastically change a room’s appearance. Depending on your preference and the style of the room, you can use various family photos, or choose a specific theme (e.g. your favourite cities or windows, flowers, etc.) and use it for guidance.

GREENERY

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Want to bring a room to life? Then introduce life into it – it’s that simple. Greenery, branches and fresh flowers are an excellent means of adding dimensions to smaller places as well as enhancing larger ones. Consider strategically placing several larger plants (e.g. potted trees) or a group of smaller plants in different corners of a room.

A BOLD COLOUR

Adding a pop of colour to a room is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so why not use it? A neutral room can benefit from a brave colour choice introduced through various accessories (e.g. throw pillows, vases, tablecloths and other decorative elements).

MIRROR(S)

Mirrors don’t belong exclusively in bathrooms. If selected and placed well, they can be a style statement in any room. In small rooms especially, mirrors can reflect light and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you want to avoid that “bathroom-look” you can always go for custom mirrors that will enhance a particular design feature and serve as a signature piece.

BOOKS

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Of course, books are appreciated for much more than their aesthetic appeal as decorative elements, but we can’t deny that they sure make a positive impression when stacked on a coffee table or aligned on a bookshelf.

LAYERS

If you don’t want your room to look cold and soulless, you should include different textures. A knitted blanket, for example, is a nice addition to a leather sofa. And a cowhide rug will look amazing on a hardwood floor. Also consider a different kind of layering – layering the lighting.

LAMPS

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Speaking of layering the lighting solutions, lamps (table, floor and wall lamps) are a perfect way to add that extra layer that will introduce warmth and liveliness. Besides, if you choose an interesting design, you can kill two birds with one stone.

MEMORIES

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There is no better way to add life to a room than by including things from your own life. So, display your travel souvenirs, your grandma’s rocking chair and other personal items that carry a special meaning to you.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE 

Finally, be aware that interior design should be fun, so play with it for a while. For instance, you can hang empty frames instead of filling them with photos. Add a modern piece into a vintage room; design a reading nook in your bathroom…

These ten details will definitely bring your room closer to the ones you admire in design magazines and further from the empty, sterile, by-the-book look we often confuse with “proper design”.

Molly Milson

Classic Country vs Modern Country Design Style

Are you getting thoroughly confused with all the combinations of design styles today?  We’ve recently learnt about the powers of BOHO, touched on Hamptons and how this classy beach style differs from Coastal style.  To get our ducks in a row about another contemporary style, Country Style,  let’s put it under the magnifying glass to clear up confusion.  Here is the difference between Classic and Modern Country Style:

COLOUR PALETTE

Country Style Colour Palette

Classic country design primarily has a neutral palette with punctuations of faded pinks, watercolour blues, egg yolk yellow and forest greens.  Where the Modern palette envelopes itself in calming tones such as creamy whites, browns and greys, the classic palette turns on the true country charm by drawing inspiration from nature.

FURNITURE

Country Style Furniture

Focus is squarely on comfort when classic country comes to mind.  Relax in overstuffed armchairs and get extra comfortable in the eccentric design of a tufted chesterfield.   Although modern style sofas are sleeker with skinny, raised legs, the whimsicality of  country style isn’t lost when combined with mid century furniture, leather accessories or extraordinary, modern pieces made from solid timber.  If done right, your home with have a warm, rustic charm with all the conveniences of a modern home.

FABRIC PATTERN

Country Style Fabric Patterns

When thinking of classic country floral patterns always come to mind, combined with a bit of gingham, a touch of plaid and a tassel or trim here or there.  In Modern Country design the focus is more on textures and natural materials in neutral colours such as linen, wool and chunky knits.  Floral patterns, although in a more contemporary design, are kept to a minimum and are used when focus is needed on an accent chair or ottoman.

ACCESSORIES

Country Style Accessories

Classic country style usually brings back memories of my childhood and I’m sure many of you would fondly remember a timber framed landscape painting, ceramic collections in a pine cupboard or crystal candle holders or embroidered rugs, from their own childhood homes.  Although modern country design has a cleaner, more uncluttered look, antique or vintage elements are still on display.  Natural rugs made of wool, hemp or sisal, or the more eye catching cowhide, complete this more sophisticated side of country.

WALLS

Country Style Wall Colour

We’ve all heard the saying that grey is the new beige and not even Modern Country walls can escape this lovely neutral.  This is a strong contrast to the classic country look, where walls are usually wallpapered or stencilled in toile patterns.

So which style takes your fancy?  Still confused and in need of direction?  Click here or give us a buzz.

Cheerio ’til next time!

What is BOHO decor style really like?

What an absolute disaster! I am referring to the latest home reveal on the reality program “HOUSE RULES” that aired this week in Australia. The owners wanted a “BOHO” inspired home, but what the teams came up with made me shiver and pour an extra glass of wine. (Which is actually not a bad thing…) At the end of this Blog are a few photo’s of the contestants’ versions of BOHO.

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The BOHO style is very “unstructured and loose”, it most definitely has it’s own set of rules to make it work successfully. So if I was to design a BOHO room on this week’s reality show of House Rules, these are the rules I would have followed:

STYLE:

Opposite of minimalism, typically loved by world travellers or people with an arty twist or collectors flair. A cozy and friendly environment with someone that loves buying furniture you don’t typically buy at a mall.

FURNITURE:

A mix of old and new, weathered leather furniture, lots of cushions. Fun accessories will include ottomans, many indoor plants, macrame, books and soft lighting.

COLOUR:

Usually people who embrace colour, love textures and even try their hand at DIY projects. Lots of fabrics with bold patterns. Colours typically include browns, reds or orange.

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Even though the BOHO style is normally very colourful, the home owners in last week’s reality show wanted a black and white Boho style with splashes of pastel. Very interesting! I would have loved to design that! Here is an example of how I would have approached the black and white boho look: Lots of neutral textures with subtle accents of black to ground the design.

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However, here are how the contestants decorated the poor home owner’s house:

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Image from HOUSE RULES

Want to see two more?

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Image from HOUSE RULES

Happy BOHO weekend full of decorating! Soon we will share with you lots of interesting design styles. Including the weird new “steampunk”  style that was mentioned in House Rules this week. Do you know what it looks like?

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

Equestrian decor in the Hunter Valley – do not miss this shop!

What happened in the Hunter Valley? It has always been one of my favourite weekend break aways, and since my parents moved there (woohoo lucky me!) three years ago, we visit the Hunter Region often. For the past few years if feels as if there is a new shop or vineyard every weekend. The Hunter Valley is transforming big time! We found four new amazing spots just last weekend. Today I will share with you one that is a perfect combination of decor and wine tasting. Yes… when we walked into the cellar door of “The Dark Horse Winery”, the first equestrian inspired vineyard in the Hunter Valley, they offered us wine tasting but I told them I first want to browse through the decor shop. “No problem!” the guy responded. “Here’s a glass of wine while you’re browsing.” Yeah!! Now I don’t know if it was the wine or the decor, but I wanted to buy everything! And if you ever need a fire place, they even have an 8 hour digital fire on their website you can airplay on your TV! Here’s why we will go back to the Dark Horse Estate Winery soon:

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Website of DARK HORSE WINERY: Click here

It’s a lifestyle, not a decor style.

Lately we saw a hint of “Equestrian Decor” hitting the decor scene. Imagine fields of green, the fresh smell of the country side, (not what you think… I mean the trees, plants and fresh air), the sound of horses in the background, children climbing trees, fire places and adults drinking wine and eating cheese overlooking stables, mountains & vineyards. This is a perfect setting, even if you’re not a huge horse fan. We are not suggesting you just have horse cushions and rustic timber and saddles on display. We are more leaning towards the clean, neutral themed decor with hints of “wealth and success”. A bit of country “bling”. The holiday of the rich and famous… but transformed in an everyday way to enjoy. It’s more a lifestyle, than decor style.  Are you totally confused? Let’s have a look at the cellar door of Dark Horse Vineyard:

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If you love art work of horses, we have great suppliers where we can help you choose art work. There are different sizes available and different frames to choose from. We can have it custom made for you.  Let us know if you’re interested and we can advise on the best choice for your room. You can even email us a photo of your room to info@vanillaslatedesigns.com.au and we can choose an Equestrian Art work for you! Here are just a few:

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If you have been following our blog for the last two years, you’ll know that we are also huge vino fans. The Dark Horse Estate WInery covers both! Make sure you pop in here for decor and wine the next time you visit the Hunter Valley. They are located at 386 Wilderness Road, Lovedale.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

*Please note: Vanilla Slate Designs gains no financial payment for this post. We just do it for fun and sharing with our loyal readers.

*Art work: Images above from Designer Boy Collection & Urban Road

 

 

 

How to Arrange Furniture in your Home

We bet you loved your house when you first decorated. Everything must have seemed new, exciting and well-planned. And what about today? Aren’t you just sick and tired of that old armchair always standing beside the sofa, or the crowded console in the entryway? It would be so great if you could just overhaul the entire house, start all over again and reawaken that first-time-in-your-new home feeling. But what if you don’t have the time and money to tackle a major renovation right now? Would you believe us if we told you that you can change the appearance of your interior by simply moving your furniture around? Silly, right? Not so much, check out this guide and see for yourself.

MAKE ALL FURNITURE SERVE A PURPOSE

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This is especially important if you want to squeeze in some extra square footage. If you have an ottoman by the bed serving as nothing more than a decoration – turn it into a stylish coffee table. A console that holds only a flower vase can be turned into a photo display or a true mini-garden. It can also fill up the gap between the sofa and the wall, and thus make the space more functional.

MOVE ITEMS FROM ONE ROOM TO ANOTHER

If you need a quick change and you don’t have enough money to invest in new furniture, you can simply move some pieces from one room to another. When doing that, remember to first think about the room’s layout and combine the furniture in size, color and material. Don’t forget the furniture’s purpose, though. Of course, you won’t put a king size bed in the living room, but you can move the living room armchair in the bedroom, put a floor lamp next to it and create a comfy reading nook.

CHANGE FOCAL POINT

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If the TV is the current focal point of your living room, shake things up a bit by turning all the furniture towards an art piece, a window or some colorful bold item. Other focal points in the rest of the rooms in your home can be textured wall, patterned wallpaper, architectural feature, striking lighting fixture, etc.

BE MINDFUL OF THE INTERIOR DESIGN

When doing all this, you have to be careful not to disrupt the overall home design. Have a clear idea of what some space should look like before you start piling up a bunch of incoherent furniture, and stick to one prevailing style. You can visit different display homes in your neighbourhood. This will help you to decide what you want and do not want in your home and maybe you will find an inspiration.

BE CREATIVE WITH SMALLER ITEMS

Smaller furniture pieces, such as coffee tables, seating poufs, etc. allow easy moving, so you can move them around until you find a good place for them. Also, they’re great for when you want to update a room in a matter of five minutes.

CREATE ZONES

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It doesn’t matter if your room is small and cramped or large and sterile, it can still benefit from different comfy hubs. You can create a cozier look by simply introducing a small armchair or a nightstand and a stool. You can use area rugs to define different zones in a room.

CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE

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If your room seems flat and dull, why not change the perspective a bit? Forget the typical line-the-walls arrangement. Try placing all the furniture and accessories on the diagonal. It will make the space look more interesting and guide the gaze smoothly through the room. An off-center table can also be an interesting addition.

Do you believe us now? Just make sure that before you turn everything upside down, try to draw a layout or use a space planning online software, so that you see how some larger pieces will fit in relation to each other. Good luck!

Emma Joyce

Bench tops: Granite vs Engineered Stone

Confused? Most people are!

So you’ve designed your new kitchen layout, but all your friends and family have their opinions on whether you should use granite or engineered stone. Hopefully today we will answer a few questions for you.

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Difference between Granite & Engineered stone:

Granite is a natural product that comes from a quarry. Literally a pit in a mountain! So after digging up the stone, it will be sliced into slabs. Slabs from the same block will more or less look the same. Therefore slabs are all categorised & numbered to match them up in case you need more than one slab for your kitchen. There are hundreds of pits in the world, so granite differ from region to region, and even slab to slab. So if our clients prefer to use granite as a bench top, we always send them to a stone mason to choose their own slabs. Then there are no surprises when installation takes place and suddenly there is a vein or colour change one did not expect somewhere. As you can see on images below, with natural granite you can get the most amazing and unique veins. They also come in different sizes, so you might even be lucky and find a smaller off cut piece, perfect for your vanity in a bathroom.

Engineered stone (Caesarstone, Quantum Quartz and Smartstone) is a composite material made of crushed stone that is bound together by an adhesive, normally polymer resin. Every piece of stone can be exactly reproduced and that’s why we as designers can walk around with sample books and help clients choose colours. We know exactly what the stone will look like when installed.

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Cleaning

Granite is a natural, tough product and probably much easier to keep clean and use as you wish. If it chips, it can be fixed, but of course you can’t go back to Italy to find the same pit and exact match…

Engineered stone also requires little maintenance to keep clean. You can buy special products to keep it clean or just use water and a light detergent. It should withstand most normal households! It can also be fixed when chipped.

Price

Granite is a dearer product than Engineered stone. You can imagine that the labour costs to dig and transport them can be quite expensive. Stone is so heavy too, so transport is probably a nightmare on digging sites.

Engineered stone is manufactured in a factory where pricing and labour costs can be more controlled.

The most important advice is:

When you choose granite, make sure you visit the stone mason yourself and choose your own stone!

Even if you choose Engineered stone, it is sometimes useful to go to your local engineered stone supplier’s showroom and see what a full slab looks like. It’s not always easy to choose on a sample the size of your hand palm. It is such an important and expensive decision for your kitchen. Your bench top will cost you a few thousand dollars and it defines your kitchen. Why not spend at least one day in making sure you are happy with the look?

Remember, we design lots of kitchens for clients. We help you with possible layouts that suit your family life, budget & the style and design of the rest of your home. Then we arrange the quote and installation by reputable kitchen installers. We also help you choose the colours, finishes, tiles, taps etc to make your kitchen design look unique and give it the wow factor. So give us a call if you need help!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

Monochromatic is not shades of grey

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Never make this mistake again! We often find clients saying:”I want a monochromatic colour scheme”. What they mean, is actually a colour scheme with shades of grey. That is actually called “Achromatic.” A monochromatic scheme is a colour scheme with one colour, in many tones. However, this can be ANY colour. Green, yellow, blue or red. A monochromatic colour scheme therefore is not very popular, as most people don’t want only one colour in a room.

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Here are a few examples of a monochromatic colour scheme in blue and pink. See how that is the only colour used in each room, but in different tones to make it interesting. This scheme is most popular in blue.

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So next time your friends talk about monochromatic or grey colour schemes, pull out the word “achromatic” and impress them all!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

What goes with Tan Leather?

So you’ve purchased your big ticket item – that tan leather 3 seater sofa you’ve had you eye on for months.  It’s standing front and centre in your living room, but somehow, it still doesn’t feel like home.  Not to worry, all you need is to add a few things that would soften the edges and make your sofa seem as if it’s been there since you moved in.  So what would go with tan leather?

TEXTURES

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In design language, texture is “the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch”.   Of course, texture also has the power to enhance a space, just by noticing it, without physically touching it.  In general, smooth textures such as silk, provide a sleeker look and rougher textures like sisal, give a more informal, relaxed look.  Tan leather can successfully be paired with rattan, denim or linen, to create visual interest and a wonderfully informal and inviting atmosphere.  Add a glass of wine and balance will be restored to your life (if you have less than 3 glasses…)

LIGHT, NATURAL HUES

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The earthy warmth of tan leather goes perfectly with white and a muted colour palette such as light taupe, greys and off white.  Darker slate grey and the classic combination of black and white will always be versatile and timeless.  For a more soothing space, keep the tones nature inspired in softer colours and combine it with rattan baskets and roughly knitted blankets.

A POP OF COLOUR

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Colour is a mood creator, can reduce negative behaviour and increase or decrease blood pressure (dangerous at my age…)  If you’re a lover of colour, tan leather should be your “go to” furniture piece – it practically goes with anything!  It pairs particularly well with blue (try denim) or green, but if you’re more into energetic, romantic moods, go for a spot of red 😉  For those not too confident with colour, try different patterns and textures in no more than two colours.  Once you’ve found your mojo, go crazy.  To make the job of mixing patterns and colours in cushions even easier, read our blog on this fool proof way by clicking on the link.

TIMBER ELEMENTS

tan leather and timber
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Nothing invokes more ambience than combining leather and timber.  All you need is a few logs on the fire and you’ve got me settled into your home for ever… (maybe just for the winter).  This combination is also a great start to an industrial look, especially if you add some exposed brick and black steel elements such as a side table or window frames.

Still feel you need a few pointers?  We offer an hour consultation that will quickly guide you in the right direction.

Cheerio ’til next time!

We visit the newly designed Google Offices in Sydney

If you could imagine in your wildest dreams what your ultimate work environment should look like, what will it be? Also, let’s say you’re between the age of 20 and 30… That’s the average age of the employees at the Google offices in Sydney. We recently had the privilege of having a tour of the recently completed Google offices. In our wildest dreams we didn’t think that we would find the following there:

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There are more breakout spaces and fun areas than office space! Even when you first exit the elevators, it looks like you’re in a train carriage. The fun factor has started and you know you’re “in for a ride!”

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The colourful Google office is filled with laughter, people walking around chatting, playing games and having lunch. It almost feels like recess at a school yard. Every area has a different theme and all the offices, break out spaces and meeting rooms are individually designed up to the finest details.

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In the reception area there are scooters, hockey sticks and bicycles, to be used to entertain employees or guests while waiting for their “passes” to enter. We were still thinking whether we should play a game, but then our names were called and we started our tour.

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We were blown away by all the “employee entertainment”, where gaming is actually encouraged. There are many areas with permanent game areas and X-Boxes and top of the range games set up to enjoy. Can you believe it, even a mini movie theatre where you can watch movies in laid back recliner chairs. One can think: When do they work?? Interesting enough,  there are no official working hours. If you deliver, do your job, meet the deadlines, then you can work when you want to. Google also knows that if you have proper time for resting, reloading and bonding with your fellow employees, you will be much more productive the second you need to focus on your work again.

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There’s even a music room downstairs where employees can have jam sessions. All the games and music equipment are top quality, and supplied by Google. Great way to get rid of all your frustrations on a drum kit! There are many chill out corners too. There you can just read a book, or even sleep for a few hours if you’re tired. This is great when employees are working on a new project that needs them at the office for long hours. This is a well known “problem” for many companies in the IT-industry. Work hours are variable, inconsistent and unplanned. At Google you can rest and work at the office.

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They cater for everybody. Even batman and mermaids! There are also a designated area for kids of employees. If you need to bring your kid to work for a few hours or you’re working late and want them to visit, they are welcome to spend time in the games areas. There they can play with all the legos and electronics provided by Google.

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There are plenty of kitchen areas throughout all three floors. Every breakout area looks completely different. Best part of course, everything is for free! Coffee, breakfast, fruit and whatever lollies or cookies you can find in the drawers! No wonder the average employee gains 5kg in the first year. Although Google are very focused on providing healthy foods, most people over indulge when food are free!

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The meeting rooms all have themes. Most of them are designed by employees. They are mostly bright and busy. Perfect for the age and type of business Google is. Personally I will struggle to concentrate in these meeting rooms, especially the one with paint-splattered walls and Hazmat suits. Yes, there are work spaces too, but we were not allowed to take photos there due tot privacy regulations. Interestingly, most of the employees make use of standing desks.

Would you like such a working environment? How will you feel about the buzz, vibe and noise that are always around you? What do you have at your work place that you think is amazing? Being a successful global company, Google obviously has the financial backing and full time design teams to create these office designs. All the offices throughout the world have these funky and quirky themes.

I bet you will look at your office environment in a totally new way tomorrow! Don’t forget, if your office needs a quick facelift or a brand new design, we can also help you with that!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

 

Why you can’t go Wrong with White Bedlinen

I always get mesmerised by the number of beautifully patterned bedlinen available today.  There’s something for every style, taste and colour and it’s easy to just let go and buy a patterned duvet cover for each bedroom in your house!  Why then, am I trying to convince you to stick to heavenly white, when your heart shouts patterns, stripes and bold colours?

Let me state my case:

A LOOK THAT’S LESS CLUTTERED

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Your bed is the biggest piece of furniture in your room and takes up almost the entire space.  If this furniture piece is highly patterned and coloured, it will dominate the room.  There may be many reasons a person doesn’t get enough sleep in the bedroom; don’t let the wrong choice in bedlinen be one of them…

EASY TO ACCESSORISE AND UPDATE

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When shopping for bed linen and comparing white to boldly patterned options, the latter always seem like the more interesting choice.  I disagree!  White goes with anything and can be livened up with patterned European and scatter cushions.  Place a textured throw at the foot of your bed and your design will sing!  To upgrade the whole look of the space, just change the cushions.  This can be done seasonally, or whenever the mood requires a change.  It’s much cheaper purchasing playful scatter cushions and accessories, than an entire bed set to update your room.

EASY TO CLEAN

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I have two teenagers in the house that practicaly live in their beds.  They tend to eat, read and do homework in their bedrooms (Oh, and sleep – I almost forgot the most important one…)  On top of that, the dog also like to have a cuddle, so you can imagine that bleach plays a significant part in cleaning the bedlinen on a regular basis.  Luckily, white bedlinen can be cleaned within an inch of its’ life, so that crisp, clean look is usually only one wash away.

IT GOES WITH ANYTHING

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If you’re sharing a bed with a masculine significant other, I’m sure you’ve had a fair share of comments about floral prints and “too feminine” colours in the bedroom.  White will keep both of you happy, as it goes with anything, from floral European pillows, to roughly textured cushions and throws.  Not that any man would be too bothered with decorative cushions – mine only complains about there being too many…

So have I changed your mind?

Cheerio ’til next time!