Category: Decorating Tips

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

 

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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

tan leather 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!

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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

 

 

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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!

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Which Floor Suits what Style of Kitchen?

As if selecting a new floor for your kitchen isn’t hard enough, you have to keep in mind the size of the tile, width of the floor plank, how it will withstand spills and marks, and the end result or mood you want to achieve.  Today, we’ll touch on the 3 most popular finishes and which style of kitchen would work best with them.

POLISHED CONCRETE

Polished Concrete

Polished concrete is the material of choice for many new homes and gives a contemporary feel to a space.  It’s a great accompaniment to industrial style kitchens, but the grey undertones could easily look too cold and uninviting for the area that’s meant to be the heart of the home.  Luckily, this can be remedied by bringing in rich tones to balance out the cool greys.  Timber cabinetry or even small touches of natural elements such as wooden spoons, cutting boards or timber stools can chase away the sterility of the cold hardness of a concrete floor.  To impart a more industrial edge, try an exposed brick wall to entirely steal the show!  Combine this with black taps and appliances and you have a winner.

TIMBER FLOORING

You’d think that pairing timber flooring with timber cabinets, would have the same cringe worthy effect as denim on denim (and even that’s back in fashion big time!)  The beauty of timber flooring is that you could go as sleek and modern, or as traditional as you like.  Timber flooring has a timeless elegance that would go with anything and can be moulded into any style that takes your fancy.  If you want to combine timber cabinets with your timber floor, make sure that the timber tones don’t clash.  If you prefer darker timber cabinets, use the darkest shade in your timber floor as contrast.  Another way to reach visual panache (sounds fancy, doesn’t it) is to combine your timber floor with white or black cabinets and a marble look benchtop.  This combination would suit the more classic styles like Modern Country, Hamptons or even a Beachy look perfectly.  Add a bowl of fruit and fresh flowers and your design is complete!

CERAMIC TILE

Tiled floors give you freedom in a sense that other flooring finishes could never achieve.  Options in shape, size, colour and patterns are limitless and because of it’s ability to mimic other surfaces such as concrete or timber, the visual effect they can create are endless. You can create any design tile you like.  If you’re all about drama, apply patterned or coloured tiles.  Just take special care with your splashback when you have a screamer of a floor.  Dim the splashback down with neutral or white patterned tiles, rather than adding another colour.  Alternatively, if you’re more of a traditional girl, there’s nothing wrong with the more understated tile varieties, which can also pack a punch if used correctly.

If this stage of your renovation is still doing your head in, you might need a visit to a tile or timber floor specialist with us!  You know where to find us 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Tips for a successful teenage study nook

Teenagers know everything. Right? Unfortunately they still need to study even though they might think they’re so clever… When they reach Year 11, the amount of school work suddenly increases a lot and just lying on your bed with your laptop will not help them finish those assignments in time. They need more space and a place to actually work, but still feel like they’re having fun. Is that possible? Of course it is!

1.  GET THE BEAT ON

My kids always have music on while they do homework. Mostly with headphones on, but sometimes they even sit at the dining room table with my SONO’s system providing the background music. With the right music, they can be relaxed and still feel connected to “their stuff”. So make sure there are bluetooth or wifi speakers available and that they will be allowed to listen to their music in peace. (Of course they also use the music to make sure they can’t hear you calling them to unpack the dishwasher or take the bins out)

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2. STORAGE

Make sure they have a spot to leave stuff. Books, notepads, files and stationery. We all know teenagers are not the most organised or tidy creatures in the world. Make sure their study nook is not just a desk stuck in a corner. Give them a few shelves or a notice board too.

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3. MAKE IT PERSONAL

You want them to spend some time studying, right? So let them feel like it’s “their” space. They should have a say in how it is decorated. Maybe a mirror, nice art work or photos of friends.

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4. GET A GOOD CHAIR

Their body’s are still growing and they need good support. Don’t give them the leftover chair that doesn’t fit anywhere. Get a proper desk chair with good support. Then they won’t mind spending time sitting there.  My son once picked up an office chair on council pick-up. It did not look great anymore, but it was the most comfortable chair in our home for three years!

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Happy decorating! This is a fun project to do.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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Quick solutions for tech free zones in your home

I know we blame the new millennium kids for being on their screens constantly, but I am secretly just as guilty as them. Facebook, Pinterest & Instagram is a constant, never-ending flow of information and most of us have FOMO. (Fear of missing out… for those not so tech-savvy!) My son has even recently started an album on his Iphone where he takes photos of us using our phones “unnecessarily” in public places. In today’s busy life we feel like standing in a queue in a shop, or waiting for food at take-away restaurants, even waiting in the car for kids at school or sitting in a waiting room, is a total waste of time and we would rather be on our phones. We never switch off! So here are a few tips or reminders on how to create easy, quick, cheap tech free zones or tech-free hours in your home. Maybe you can just pick one for this weekend, and at least make one change!

 1. CREATE ONE SMALL OUTDOOR SPOT

Let’s be honest, none of us have the time to spend hours in the backyard. It takes me about 3 hours just to get one part of our backyard ready before people come over for a BBQ. So why not create one spot just for yourself? It should not be more than 4 sq meters. Just a chair. One spot you can quickly clean and go sit down with a cup of tea, a glass of wine or a book. NO tech. Just stare at the garden… Think about life and not all the spider webs, leaves and dirt in the rest of the garden.

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2. CLEAR THAT DINING ROOM TABLE

Is yours a dumping site? Yep, we all know the feeling. We have seen the weirdest uses for dining room tables in our job. We might get sued if we publish those photos, so we’d rather not! Unfortunately this means families spend less and less time together having meals. Make it work, even if you have to dump everything in a box just before dinner. Or give everyone 5 minutes to put their stuff somewhere else before you eat. Eventually they will dump it somewhere else (next problem I know!) because they don’t want to clear the table every night before dinner.  Make sure you eat together as a family at least once a day. No technology allowed. Even if it’s just half an hour, you will be amazed how much you learn from each other again! And mum, if the dining room table is full of YOUR paperwork, make sure you set a good example for your kids and make a plan to get more organised.

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3. CENTRALISE YOUR CHARGING STATION

Finding USB cables in our house is always a big fight. So you can solve two problems at once by getting a central charging station. Don’t allow charging any other place in the house. Place the charging station in such an uncomfortable position that no-one can be able to be “plugged in” and be comfortable on a sofa at the same time. Make it a rule that when you charge your phone or tablet, you have to do something else. Yes, teenagers will get used to being in a different room than their phone.

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 4.  GET YOUR “FAMILY TIME” ZONE READY IN AN INSTANT

If having a family games night sounds like too much planning ahead or finding stuff you’re not sure where it is, you must get your act together and get organised! How? Sort out all the board games you have, chuck away the ones everyone hates anyhow, save about four and then also go buy one new exciting game. (It costs less than taking everyone to a movie!)  Store these “ready to use” games in your living room, easy to access. Also get a basket where everyone in your house has to put books or magazines they love or are busy reading. (At least they will now also be able to always know where it is!) When it’s games or family tech free night, grab the basket or board games and you’re ready to roll.  Remember to switch off the TV and  rather put on some music. With Spotify and AppleMusic you have no excuse to have an instant DJ in the house. The living room becomes your tech-free zone for an hour or two.

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As you can see, a little planning and a few small changes can make a big difference. To start is always the hardest. This weekend, pick one of these tips and see if you can make it work for your family.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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How to Create a Cohesive Look in your Home

With all the beautiful furniture and decorating items available today, it’s sometimes hard to stick to just one decorating style or loving just one type of furniture style.  Here’s some good news, YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  Do you want your home to end up looking like a furniture catalogue or display home?  No thank you!  For a style that reflects YOU, incorporating objects from your travels, your childhood or nature, is closer to the new style you’re striving for.  You need to be brave enough to add your personality and create your own unique style by blending your own experiences and display them throughout your home.  Have a look at a previous blog on how to find your decorating direction.

This is what you do:

TAKE STOCK OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Walk through your home and take note of what you currently own.  Are there pieces that stand out, or are there a few you only purchased to fill an empty space?  If you’ve gathered a few things from overseas, did you have a few favourite cities?  Which would you love to return to?  Take note of the textures, colours and style of each item you’ve collected, as this will be the base of your new, unique style.  Remove everyting you don’t have a connection to.

GATHER INFORMATION

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Start a board on Pinterest or Houzz and gather images of your dream rooms.  Tear images out of your favourite magazines and display them on your wall.  A common thread will soon start to appear, whether in the way of architectural details, patterns, or a prominent colour.  You could even realise you’re gravitating towards a more rustic theme, or perhaps something more bohemian?  It’s also quite natural to have a couple of favourite styles and, if they’re true to your personality, they need to be embraced and encouraged!

TIME FOR COLOURING IN

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Now that you have a good idea of a style that you could call your own, you need to choose a colour scheme.  Colour is probably the most powerful decorating tool, as it’s not only very personal, but it creates moods within us that could quite easily be spoiled if done incorrectly.  For a more in depth look on creating mood with colour, click here.  Don’t get side tracked by Pantone’s colour of the year, but rather look at your inspiration boards when selecting your colours:  Are there any prominent colours that call to you?  Those are the ones that will form the base of your new colour scheme.  You’ll need three base colours, to avoid a serious yawn fest out of boredom.  One colour will go on the walls, one for an accent such as an occasional chair or sofa, and a third for accessories such as cushions and vases, etc.  If you only want a single colour, use it in different shades and tones, to make things more interesting.

JAZZ IT UP

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This is where playtime starts!  If your style is leaning towards the rustic side, use rustic timber trays, potted succelents, leather ottomans or side tables with steel legs.  The same goes for a more sophisticated theme:  Add more glamorous touches like a mirrored tray, glitzy vases, pretty flowers and a scented candle.  You get the idea… These combined accessories will enhance and polish your newly created style.

NOW STICK TO IT!

The hardest part is over!  Now that you’ve found the style that reflects your personality, stick to it!  Don’t get side tracked by the new “scandustrial” style that’s all the rage in magazines, if your newly created style is more “rustic/nostalgic”.  Your goal is to have a cohesive look, so don’t fall for what you’ve seen on the latest episode of THE BLOCK if it doesn’t fit your new look.

Well done and good luck,

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Why we don’t do e-decorating

Nowadays everything is online. You can even get online interior designers! You just email a few photos of your room and someone emails you back a list of furniture choices for your space. For busy clients or people living remotely, this is definitely an option. Well, this is not what we do.

 My dad once told me: “Not everybody can be your client. You have to decide who they are, and focus on them.”

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So here’s why we don’t like to be online interior designers:

1.  We like the personal contact with clients

  • We like sharing jokes and chatting about their daily activities. This way we get to know them and can assist them better in creating a personal design.

2.  Photographs alone do not give you a good enough indication of a client’s style and home

  • It’s only by walking through their whole house that you can define their style, see what other items you can also use in the design and understand a bit more about their daily routines and how they utilise all the spaces in their home.

3.  Clients don’t always know what they’re after

  • They could tell you online they want the French Provincial style, but when you visit their home and have time to ask many questions, you might realise they are actually after a French Country style. There are many confusing terminology in design and many facts can get lost in translation by only communicating via email or Skype.

4. We want to help the client make all their rooms work together

  • We might still only work in one room, but we can make suggestions on how to pull the design through to other rooms in their home, by using their existing furniture or add a few accessories. We can even advise the client on how to swop around a few rooms to give a better spatial layout for their home. This won’t be possible if you only work online.

5. We are designers not online shop assistants

  • For clients that are time poor and they are in need of specific furniture, e-decorating might be the answer. Our team doesn’t only help with decorating issues like choosing cushions and furniture etc, but we also focus on how each room works together with all the other rooms in the house. Each project includes a few personal design meetings before any shopping trip kicks off.

Many times clients invite us to do one room, then a few months later another few rooms, and then a few years later a whole new renovation when they move house or get a big fat bonus. For us each interior design client is a potential long term professional relationship. Working with someone’s budget and in their personal space at home, is a privilege and we feel proud to be trusted with their dreams.

So next time when you want to replace your furniture, we can help you with a “real life” shopping trip to our very own suppliers, or we can come to your home and create your dream space.

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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Proportion and Scale: Things we Tend to buy too Small or too Big

Proportion and scale are the most important design principles to achieve great design.  The formula dates to ancient Greece and is called the “golden ration”.  In mathemateical terms, this magic number is 1.618.  This number is achieved by recurring relationship between blah blah yawn… Apologies, but I’ve almost nodded off typing the word maths.  In simpler terms, scale is the size of things and proportion is the relationship between them.  Phew, that could have taken hours (for me to understand!)

This magic number is a ratio that appears in nature, in music, architecture and art.  For some reason, something in our DNA finds this proportion the most comfortable and we instinctively know when things aren’t placed as they’re supposed to.  Something’s ringing a bell, right?  This is what happens when you’ve envisaged your dream room, but after you’ve made all your purchases, the room doesn’t turn out the way you’ve imagined it in your mind.  The reasons could be very simple.  The proportion and scale of a few of your items, could be out of whack!  Here are a few things we tend to buy too small:

ART

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Nothing looks skimpier than a tiny piece of art on a big wall.  I’d go as far as to say that the wall is probably better left completely bare.  Luckily, the size of your art is easy to calculate and has another mathematical equation attached to it (yawn…)  In general, artwork should cover about 3/4 of the wall it’s on.  The magic number for this is .57.  If your wall is about 3m in width, multiply that by .57 to get the area your art should cover (in this case it’s 1.7m).  So, a large print of about 1m x 1.5m should do the trick, but you could also do a gallery wall of smaller prints to cover the same area.

RUGS

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It’s tempting to buy a smaller rug, as the next size up usually costs a few $100 more!  Instead of trying to save a few dollars and go for the smaller size, I’d suggest waiting until you can afford the larger rug.  Your rug should hopefully reach under the front legs of your sofa, as well as under your accent chairs.  It looks pretty bare and unwelcoming when you have a tiny rug that only your coffee table  fit onto.

LIGHTING

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A large pendant is a great opportunity to bring balance and character to a dining table.  Unfortunately, we tend to purchase table and pendant lamps too small and it can ruin the effect we’re trying to create.  The golden rule here is that the lamps should be tall enough that the bottom of the shade is at seated eye level.  A pendant light should be big enough to visually balance the surface below it, but it’s equally important to hang it at the right level.

And finally, here is what you’re buying too big:

SOFAS

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Being from South Africa originally, we tend to steer towards big, chunky leather sofas we can sink into in front of the fire in the evenings.  Nothing wrong with that scenario, but if your room can’t justify a big sofa, don’t buy it!  You should have enough room for movement around the sides to avoid feeling cramped and claustrophobic.  If you’re worried about entertaining a large number of guests, there are other ways to accommodate them without squashing too big furniture pieces into a small room.

Of course, if you suffer from an untrained eye when shopping, you could always take us with you! Read here how you can do this.

Cheerio til next time!

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