In what ORDER do I choose new lighting?

Which light first? Another very confusing question we get from clients. Today we will give you a brief overview on the order in which to choose your lights. Not focussing on style or colour, but just the order of importance to help you make the right decisions.

1.  UTILITY AREAS

Yes, you have to choose the boring ones first! They might not be the prettiest, but they are the ones you will switch on the most and they will help you in your daily tasks. Focus on what you will be doing in each room. For e.g. In the kitchen you might need lights over the benchtops, in the bathroom you need lights to be able to put on your make-up and brush your teeth. Most people install downlights in all their rooms. Do you also need dimmers? Where must the lights be switch on or off? Do you need two-way switches? Do you want wall lights or ceiling lights on your staircase? Once you have specified all of these, you will know how many room are left with spots for fancy focal lights.

How to choose lighting, decor tips australia, decor blog australia, interior designers hills district, functional lighting, electrical layout, renovation lighting

2.  KEY PIECES OF FURNITURE

Certain pieces of furniture need specific lighting options. The furniture will determine where the power points and lights will be installed. You have to think about your furniture placements when your electrician and/or builder is on site. For e.g.: Where will the dining room table be placed? What size will the table be?  It will probably need a pendant light. What size is your TV cabinet? Maybe you need strip lighting or lights in the cupboards behind glass doors. Decide where you will place your side tables in the living room, because you might need power points there for table lights. If you have are planning to place a coffee table, you will probably need a pendant light placed above the coffee table. Make sure in your bedrooms where the study nooks and bedside tables will be. You need lamps, pendant lights or USB ports. This list is endless, but the important thing is to go through each room, think about the where the key pieces of furniture will be placed, and make sure you have enough power points and that the size of each light suits the furniture piece it accentuates.

dining table light, wicker light, dining room wicker, country dining table, kitchen dining table, electrical plan

3.  ART WORK AND ORNAMENTS

Even though many clients don’t think about art work and ornaments during the building process, it is very important to think about where you might place feature items, to get the lighting specifications right. By now you know where all the utility lights and featured lights will be placed, so you can start making decisions about the art work. These lights should not be as prominent as those in point nr2. Think of where you might need this understated lights for e.g. in the hallway, foyer, inside cupboards, above key furnitue pieces like sofas or beds. They are not meant to be prominent as they should rather complement the art and ornaments in stead of the lighting being the feature piece.

How to choose lighting, decor tips australia, decor blog australia, interior designers hills district, functional lighting, electrical layout, renovation lighting

It is important to spend time on a proper electrical layout plan when renovating or decorating. This cost can be more than you expect, and a good electrician can easily cost a few thousand dollers to install your preferred new layout. (Then you haven’t even bought any lights yet!)

We usually include an electrical layout plan when we quote for Interior Design projects. We believe this will save the client money in the long run. It also forces the client to think and plan about the future decorating options even though the construction is still under way. Make sure your lighting planning is just as important as choosing your new flooring, wall colours or tiles.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

Five Things to know about COLONIAL Style

It’s a well known fact that the British Empire covered about one quarter of the world and British colonies and trading posts reached their peak around the 19th century. Being so far away from their homes, understandably, the British enjoyed having a few comforts around them. They brought some of their traditional furniture pieces and accessories with them, so their style intermingled with the local styles and materials. When this traditional style intermingled with the local landscape, it evolved to adapt to the different climate and practicality of every day life. What emerged was a style that had the elegance of a bygone era, but with a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.
Fortunately, you don’t need to set up a trading post in a far flung place to create this look at home. All you need to do is this:

1.  TRUNKS AND FURNITURE THAT CAN COLLAPSE

colonial textures
Image Source

If you think flat pack furniture originated at IKEA, you can’t be further from the truth. Our well-travelled British forefathers had to force furniture into pretty tight spaces, so collapsible writing tables, liquor cabinets (I want one) and folding mahogany chairs could easily be shipped off in a steamer trunk to another exotic destination. Luckily, these items are readily available as reproduction pieces at most furniture stores, so create a Colonial flair by using stacked vintage leather suitcases as a coffee table and a rattan folding table as side table.

2.  LIGHTWEIGHT ECLECTIC FABRICS

colonial fabric print
Image Source

This style asks for fabrics with interesting patterns such as paisleys, ikats, botanical or animal prints that had (seemingly) been collected from around the globe. Keep it simple by using only a couple of colours, but in durable, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen. Lightweight curtains in a light fabric that allows light to filter through will perfect the look.

3.  BRING IN THE TROPICS

colonial accessories
Image Source

To me, the tropics mean natural textures such as rattan and bamboo, carved accessories (yes, even in the shape of a pineapple) and some leather accents. To keep things a little more formal (or British, if we may), stick to dark timbers like mahogany, or furniture with turned legs or detail, like a romantic, four poster bed. Pair this with fine china, crystal and a few maps to look as if you’ve been globe-trotting for most of your life. Browse around your local Salvo’s or weekend markets to expand your collection. Don’t forget a telescope!

4.  CEILING FANS

colonial ceiling fans
Image Source

I can only imagine how the balmy atmosphere would have affected the British in their new setting. The flick of a switch on an air-conditioner was beyond their reach, so ceiling fans were the only means of staying cool. These are not only extremely practical, but lends a romantic atmosphere to an interior.

5.  A JUNGLE FIT FOR TARZAN

colonial indoor plants
Image Source

Whenever I go on holiday, I’m usually fascinated by the local plants and flowers. This is exactly why the Brits started bringing local ferns, palms and other tropical plants into their homes. A well placed palm can create height next to your sofa and add that breezy element to your newfound Colonial style.

Cheerio ’til next time!

 

How to create a Kitchen you will Enjoy Cooking in

To some people cooking is an arduous chore, to others, it is a passion. This mostly depends on things such as your disposition and your overall approach to this entire situation. While everyone can agree that like it or not, cooking is a useful skill to possess, a recent survey claims that 28 percent of all Americans can’t cook.
Unfortunately, this results in one of three ways A) having someone else cook for them, B) eating at restaurants or C) turning to junk food. Needless to say, the first one is impractical, the second is expensive and the less we say about the third option the better. Luckily, there is a way to trick yourself into enjoying the idea of cooking a bit more. We are of course talking about creating a highly stimulating kitchen that will encourage you to partake in such activities.

1.  MAKE YOUR WORK AREA

Image Source

The first thing you need to do in the kitchen is ensure that it is cooking-friendly. The last thing you want during the food preparation stage is to have to commute for more time than you actually spend preparing food. This being said, you need to make sure everything is at your hand. For starters, you need to have the access to all the cookware and utensils. In other words, make sure all your knives, spatulas and wooden spoons are within your reach in every moment.
Furthermore, have all the spices and ingredients you are about to use in a reachable spot. For this, some people prefer to use hanging containers, seeing how they can help you utilize the space on the wall and therefore use every inch of your kitchen properly. The most important item in your kitchen, however, is the trash bin. By not having one around, you might postpone throwing components and items you no longer need and therefore clutter your work area. In turn, this will make it both messier and less practical, which is definitely something you want to avoid.

2. COUNT ON NUMEROUS COOKS

Image Source

Some people prefer cooking in pairs, which is definitely something to take into consideration when designing the kitchen. First of all, it makes the entire process significantly easier, quicker and more fun. In fact, there are couples that consider this to be one of their favorite activity, the one that really brought them closer together. For this, you need to prepare and furnish your kitchen properly. This usually means getting two of everything.
Your countertop needs to be big enough for two and you need to have enough utensils and cookware for two people to use. More importantly, though, you may need to get more kitchen appliances. Of course, you won’t need two fridges, but what about two stoves? Well, first of all, such a thing would be quite expensive and second, it would require you to find a place for the second appliance as well. This problem, however, can be easily solved by getting additional cooktops instead.

3.  STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT

Image Source

Finally, shear practicality is not everything that matters in the kitchen and sometimes having the right visuals might have a significant impact on your cooking mood. For instance, there are some colors like yellow, orange and red that are known to increase one’s appetite. Using these colors in the design of your kitchen might act as an additional stimulant for an aspiring cook.
Furthermore, you might be tempted to add few stylish upgrades to your kitchen and therefore make it quite impressive for anyone who comes to visit. Some people do this with a cunning combination of metal and wooden elements in order to get the best of both worlds. Still, when designing a kitchen, you need to look past the appearance of a certain material and consider what kind of maintenance it requires, as well. We mentioned that the appearance of the kitchen may have an effect on your willingness to cook, but as you can see, it also changes your efficiency. By giving you an environment that is cook-friendly, more space for someone else to help you out or a place that inspires you with its design, you will get a completely unique cooking experience. This alone is a notion that is difficult to top.

Emma Joyce

5 Kitchen gadgets you haven’t thought of

Are you busy planning your new kitchen? There are so many new kitchen gadgets on the market, but they are all rather expensive. In the end you need to spend money where it may improve the way you use your kitchen within your daily routine.

Here are a few gadgets that are not necessarily new, but we’ve seen how they’ve really added value to clients’ kitchen design.

1.  PULL OUT SPICE RACK

There are many awkward little corners and gaps when a kitchen is in the design process. It’s always a good idea to use standard measurements as far as possible, but once in a while you end up with these little areas that are really messing with your design layout. So why not use them as fillers? We are talking about the very under rated pull out spice rack. We love using them on both sides of a stove, but also in between bigger cupboards to create symmetry or add interest. You can fill them with spices, cutting boards or oils.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack

2. PULL OUT WORK SURFACE

Sometimes the layout of the kitchen doesn’t allow a lot of bench top space. For those busy days in the kitchen you can always use an extra pull out work surface. It’s hidden when not needed, but will give you that extra bench top space for placing utensils or food while preparing dinner.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack, pull out shelf kitchen, coffee machine shelf

3.  BREAD CRUMB CATCHER

Yes, the brother of a pull out work surface. A great feature when you have (messy) kids that don’t know how to contain breadcrumbs! You can gather them during the day, and empty the tray at the end of the day.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack

4.  TABLET MOUNT

You don’t need special cupboards for this luxury, and it can be ordered online from various stores. Again, it saves you bench top space and prevent spilling your glass of wine over your tablet while preparing dinner. (Been there, done that!) You can now watch Netflix or follow a recipe without having to search for your tablet on the bench top.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack, tablet kitchen, ipad in kitchen

 5.  CORNER SWIVEL CUPBOARDS

Only if you have a galley kitchen you can escape those nasty corner cupboards. There are a few solutions on the market, and yes, they are all a bit expensive. They are well worth spending money on as you loose a lot of real estate when you have unused cupboards in your kitchen. This design is our favourite, when you don’t even realise it’s a corner cupboard.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack

We design and install at least one kitchen per month. There are many similarities between some kitchens, but in the end each client has their own style, different available layout space, a different budget and a unique way on how their family use the kitchen and living space areas. We work with the family’s needs as it is now, but we also think about what the family might need in 5 or 10 years from now. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it is expensive. If you get this wrong, you might feel disappointed about your whole renovation process. It’s important to look at the architecture and style of the rest of the house when designing a kitchen.

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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.

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor

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.

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor

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.

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor

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

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor
Image from HOUSE RULES

Want to see two more?

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor
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:

equestrian decor, equestrian art, hunter valley decor shop, hunter valley vineyard, hunter valley dark horse winery, dark horse vineyard hunter valley, interior designers hunter valley, best decor blog australia, decor tips horses, order art horses online

equestrian decor, equestrian art, hunter valley decor shop, hunter valley vineyard, hunter valley dark horse winery, dark horse vineyard hunter valley, interior designers hunter valley, best decor blog australia, decor tips horses, order art horses online

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:

equestrian decor, equestrian art, hunter valley decor shop, hunter valley vineyard, hunter valley dark horse winery, dark horse vineyard hunter valley, interior designers hunter valley, best decor blog australia, decor tips horses, order art horses online

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:

equestrian decor, equestrian art, hunter valley decor shop, hunter valley vineyard, hunter valley dark horse winery, dark horse vineyard hunter valley, interior designers hunter valley, best decor blog australia, decor tips horses, order art horses online

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

Image Source

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

Image Source

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

Image source

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

Image Source

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.

granite bench tops, engineered stone, what type of bench top, kitchen bench top choices, why engineered stone, granite better than engineered stone, how to clean caesarstone, interior designers hills district, best decor blog australia, kitchen designers hills district, vanilla slate designs

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.

granite bench tops, engineered stone, what type of bench top, kitchen bench top choices, why engineered stone, granite better than engineered stone, how to clean caesarstone, interior designers hills district, best decor blog australia, kitchen designers hills district, vanilla slate designs

granite bench tops, engineered stone, what type of bench top, kitchen bench top choices, why engineered stone, granite better than engineered stone, how to clean caesarstone, interior designers hills district, best decor blog australia, kitchen designers hills district, vanilla slate designs

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