Category: Quick Tips

Decor tip: Best colours to use with exposed brick

When my kids were 3 and 6 years old, we bought a house with exposed bricks almost everywhere inside. (Of course, that was many moons ago…and so out of fashion then) There were bricks everywhere…and not the nice Industrial ones.  To me it felt dark, unfinished and cold. Also, my kids literally hurt themselves running down the passage and scraping their arms and knees against the wall by accident. So I spent a heap of money to have it all rendered. Those were the days before exposed brick was labelled as being “vintage, industrial and architectural.” I sometimes wonder if I would do it again today? I can just imagine how the current owners now spend a fortune to get the exposed brick back again!

Nowadays exposed brick is very popular.   Finally you now have an amazing exposed brick wall. Now you need to find out how to dress it perfectly. Exposed bricks are robust and strong. The room can quickly feel overpowered by a brick feature. Most times it is also in a house with strong architectural features. That’s why you need a strong colour to complement the brick and make the whole room feel balanced. The best colours to use with exposed brick are the three primary colours. Red, blue and yellow, but I also want to add green as an option. All four colours can stand on their own, are strong and easy to work with. Make sure you use them in a tone that is uplifting and bright.

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It is better to use strong and bright tones and not soft pastels or dark tones. Your furniture will compete with the brick and soft colours can disappear if not used correctly. Stay away from darker brown paints, except if you know what you are doing and feeling very confident! It is not impossible to work with the last, but a bit tricky.

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You can also use neutral tones as far as possible, and just add spots of colour to make it interesting.

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Sometimes the most basic colours, are the easiest to work with. This is also your chance to experiment with a bright and colourful sofa. It is important that you add a lot of textured finishes to soften the walls. Cushions, rugs, throws and art work should be used in layers. Read our previous blog to find some layering tips. If your room still feels “cold” in stead of cozy, it’s probably because you did not add enough soft furnishing.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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How’s your Dining Table Shaping Up?

Dinner time is usually a frenzy in our house, with kids on their way or arriving back from sport (sometimes half a team). Weekends are either spent with a small group of friends, just family, or large get togethers involving dancing around a table to the sound of Geronimo, kitted out in fancy dress.  Either way, I’m a firm believer of having a comfortable dining table suiting my family and guest’s needs.

SQUARE

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Square tables can be a bit tricky.  Although they can seat a fair number of guests, the table takes up more room than you think.  It also leaves a big empty space in the centre which makes conversation and passing food across the table rather difficult.  To soften the hard lines of the edges, consider adding upholstered chairs.  A lazy Susan in the centre, as well as a large centre piece to soften the look when the table is not in use, will benefit the overall look of the room.

OVAL

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The perfect shape for smaller spaces that has to double as thoroughfares.  The curved edges will help the general flow of traffic as no one needs to carefully walk around it to avoid sharp edges.  Because of the elongated shape, the oval table takes up less space than a square, seats more people comfortably and encourages a more intimate atmosphere.

ROUND

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This shape offers more flexible seating, as a six seater can usually accommodate 8 people – of course, the larger the diameter, the more people can be seated.  A more amiable atmosphere is created when all guests can see each other and dishes can comfortably be passed around. It is also great when you have younger kids and you need to park their prams or assist them, without bumping into the guest next to you with your elbows.

RECTANGULAR

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Rectangular tables can be squeezed into small spaces without dominating the room.  Even a very narrow table will be fine to use, as there will still be enough space in the centre for sharing dishes.  Remember to allow at least a metre of space around the table to move comfortably.  If you only need seating for a small family, consider the option of having an extendable table for when the masses come over.  Otherwise you’ll be left with a lot of empty seats, making it feel more like a boardroom than a dinner table.

If you’d like to know how to utilise a table as a kitchen bench, read our previous blog here.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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How to tidy your house ONCE, and never again!

Apparently there is a way of tidying your house only once, and never again. I saw this on a Facebook post of a group I am a member of, called The Hills District Mums. Girls were asking for advice on how to keep their homes tidy when it’s filled with kids and chaos and stuff and everyday life. A few people commented on how the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up” from Marie Kondo has changed their lives. I just laughed and poured myself another glass of red wine, because how on earth is it possible to tidy your home ONCE, and never again?

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Let me be honest, I did go out and buy the A5 sized little book. With a boring cover and no images anywhere in the book, I read it while I got my highlights done at the hairdresser. Oh bugger, I got hooked on page 5 and couldn’t wait to get home and try the Marie Kondo method of tidying your home!

Let me first explain: I hate cleaning my house. I hate tidying my house. I always thought this to be one and the same thing. Marie Kondo taught me how wrong I was. Tidy ONCE, and from now on I just need to clean regularly. Is there a difference? Yes!

I am not going to repeat the whole book. I just want to tell you that I definitely got inspired to do a few things:

  1. First purge my stuff – no organising yet (no sorting and new ways of storing yet, just throw away the nonsense and close the chaotic cupboard again) Very important, go through your whole house first, before you start sorting.
  2. Purge correctly: Don’t decide what you are willing to throw away. (could be only 30% of your stuff) Decide what you can’t live without (It is literally only 30% to 40% of your stuff. Just keep this and chuck the rest) Difficult? Don’t worry she tells you how to do this in the book.
  3. Only keep things that brings you joy. (Her exact words) That means get rid of all the stuff that you feel guilty of throwing away, but you don’t use. (Gifts, hand me downs, expensive things you don’t use, things that you might –probably won’t- need in the next 10 years. You have to. This is your last chance!)
  4. Never store things in containers. You hardly use it again. If it does not deserve to be stored in your cupboard where you regularly see and use is, purge it. This was hard, but I’m getting there! (Except for a few sentimental things…but only a few!)
  5. Throw out almost all your paperwork. If you can google it, throw it out. Follow Marie’s method of how to organise paperwork. It works! (Read the book)
  6. Get rid of 60% of your crap. Don’t feel guilty. Someone else might actually  need it more than you do. Give it to Salvo’s or sell it.
  7. New Golden rule: If you use something, put it back in it’s place within 10 minutes, then you never will have to tidy again. Only the stuff you used the last 10 minutes will not be packed away! Does it work? I have been trying this for the last two months. If it works for me, it can work for everyone!!!! I am a lazy self-confessed “leave everything in the counter” type of girl. Okay, ignore the playroom… but get a dedicated playroom!

I still have not worked my way around my whole house. (Sorry Marie Kondo, I know you said I am not allowed to stop before I finished purging, but I had to celebrate Christmas, New year and pretend I enjoy visiting the Gold Coast theme parks for a week with my kids.)

The thing that I struggle with the most, is getting rid of things that cost me a lot of money, but now I don’t need it, but I keep it “in case I might need it in the next ten years”. I am now finally in the state of mind that I realise that I already spent that money. It’s gone. I already felt guilty about the money for the last few years, and I am still not using the item. So now it’s time to stop feeling guilty and get on with my life. If I don’t see it in my house anymore, my shelves and emotions are now decluttered! Within a few days you can’t even remember what you threw away. You never saw it anyhow when it was hidden in the back of your cupboard!

My Marie Kondo journey is not finished yet, but I really recommend you to read the book. It fits in your handbag. Small, but powerful. Maybe you think it’s nonsense. Oh well, so be it. At least it will make you think! If it helps one person to sort out their life, I am happy! I have even inspired my husband. We have Council Cleanup in two weeks, and I have never seen him throw away so many things before. Last night he told me: “I am going to the garage. I have a meeting with Marie Kondo there. ”

Happy tidying (once only!) & purging!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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Best False Excuses for an untidy home!

People think my house is perfect because I am an Interior Designer…. NO!!! Sorry to disappoint you, but most of the time my house looks like I recently moved in. I feel under so much pressure to present this picture perfect home every time someone visits my house unexpectedly.  If you know me well, you would know that I would much rather drink a glass of wine on the terrace than sweeping the floors or dusting.

We live in a gated community, so from the moment that my guests ring the bell at the gate, until they arrive at my front door, it takes approximately 60 seconds. That’s not enough time to clean your house… (Not that I haven’t tried several times before!) So the next big thing is to hide the mess. Again, 60 seconds is just not enough time to hide it all. So finally I came to the conclusion that the best way to instantly clean your house, is to rather create false, believable excuses why it’s not clean. Here we go:

  1.  GET WELL SOON CARDS

If you don’t have any real ones, make your own with lovely $1 cards from your local news agency. A lovely little DIY project over a cup of coffee. When your doorbell rings, grab them out of the drawer and display them prominently for your guests to see. Don’t forget to imitate a cough and constantly rub tissues under your nose.

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2.  TEA TOWEL OVER THE SHOULDER

The old faithful one most of us know. Yep, grab a tea towel, drape it over your shoulder, and with a bottle of floor tiler in your one hand and liquid soap in the other, open the front door and say: “Oh sorry, it’s house cleaning day, but you’re welcome to come in.”  Elaborate on how you are moving things around, sorting out cupboards and cleaning. You might even sound like superwoman! You get bonus points if you have time to put on an apron too.

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3.  BANDAGE YOUR ARM

We all have a cupboard close to the front door. Keep a bandage and safety pin in there. Before you open the door, quickly bandage your hand. With practice it takes less than 20 seconds. With lots of practice, you can do both hands! What better excuse not to be able to clean house?

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4.  LEFTOVERS ON THE FLOOR

Let me warn you, this one is daring & a bit disgusting… Okay, so we all have those plates in the fridge with leftover food. The ones we should have thrown away yesterday. So if the doorbell rings, drop the plate (just the food!) close to the front door. When your guests open the door, tell them to stay as far away from your house as possible as one of the kids or the dog might have a virus. Someone in the house is nauseous…  Let me tell you, all your guests will scatter home and nobody needs to see the rest of your house! (I told you this one is a bit disgusting.)

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I guess you will now be either annoyed about these suggestions of false excuses, or very excited for all this inspiring information!

Come on, be honest, what are YOUR false excuses when you get unexpected guests and your house is very untidy?

Happy cleaning,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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How to Set the Mood with Colour

We’ve known for quite some time that, the way you introduce colour into a room, can have an effect on how you feel when walking into the room.  While red is the colour of danger and energy, blue is associated with depth, calm and stability.  Apparently, violet encourages deep contemplation, but in our house I forgo the purple and just use wine for those introspective moments.  We could go on and introduce the entire colour spectrum, but the moral of the story is, that a little care should be taken before going crazy with colour in your room.  Below are a few ideas on how to set the mood by using colour:

LIGHT AND BREEZY

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Soft pastels with equally soft furnishings will create the appearance of a fresh and relaxing mood.  The Pantone colour of the year for 2016, will work a treat in this setting and create an instant calming atmosphere.  Use a watered down pastel colour for the walls to create some more marshmallow softness in your interior.

WARM AND COSY

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Choose deep reds, browns, burnt oranges and muted yellows. Pair it with worn leather, warm timber and a glass of good red wine to get the party started.  These welcoming tones work a treat in living rooms or intimate dining rooms.

COOL AND REFRESHING

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Cooler colours, such as blues and greens evoke the sea, endless skies and breezy afternoons under a palm tree.  This sense of calmness is further enhanced by combining it with crisp white walls.  Perfect for when it heats up during the Summer months at that little dream house by the sea…

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

 

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How to mix & match dining room chairs

It’s fine if you’re just married, a little bit broke & desperate, and you accept any furniture from your grandmother, parents & siblings to fill your house. Nowadays,  “eclectic” & “vintage” is so popular & contemporary, that even if your wallet is a little empty, you can pretend that’s the look you’ve always wanted!

So today I just want to give you a few ideas on how to mix your dining room chairs to get the look you want. (Then you don’t have to ask your grandmother for tips!)

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vintage eclectic dining room chairs how to mix interior designers hills district sydney
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Good luck mixing & matching!

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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The Secret to a Grey Palette unlocked…

It might be the drabbest colour in the palette for some, but why then, has it become one of the most popular colours in today’s modern home?

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According to colour psychology, it could be  because grey gives us a sense of belonging, inclusion, and acceptance.  Unfortunately, if used incorrectly, it can wreak havoc in the most sensible of homes.

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The perfect gray can be quite elusive, especially when you’re standing in a paint store among a sea of samples—every hue starts looking like a dreary storm cloud.

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The one thing to remember when chasing that cloud is that grey has either a blue, green or purple undertone.  Magnify that hidden undertone by a lot (like your wall size) and you can imagine what effect it could have!  When putting together your room, keep the undertone in your grey wall colour in mind when selecting the rest of your furnishings.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Quick Décor Tip – Exterior paint

Quick tips, exterior paint colour rules
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We all love to have a home that will stand out and make an impact in our street.  To have a modern and sleek look, remember to stick to the Three Colour Rule:  Have one colour for walls, one for trim and one for accents.  These colours should all complement each other and match tonally.  If you’re still struggling and not finding help at the Bunnings counter, send us an email and we could do a full exterior colour consult with specification list for your painters.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Decor Tip: Best advice for a successful art wall

You have tried your best, but your art wall still looks terrible. Why can everyone else do it, but not you? Well, it is not as easy as one thinks! Instead of a lengthy lesson, we will just stick to one short tip today.

CHOOSE A HERO PIECE. This is the one that is bigger than the other art work so that you can focus on choosing everything else just to match one piece of art. If they all match one piece, then the rest should all work together. It helps if that piece is bigger than the rest, so that your focal colours and inspiration piece is accentuated in the hero piece of the room.

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In this image you can see the owner used the big black, white and yellow modern art work as inspiration. All the other prints and art works have either those colours or a modern painting that reflects the same style.

As easy as that!

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann

 

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Quick Décor Tip – Why Neutral isn’t Boring!

 

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Contrary to belief, neutral colours aren’t boring!  Starting with creamy neutrals, camel brown or caramels, you will have a base to add any colour to!  Try buttery yellows or a touch of teal with your base palette and see what a difference it makes.  Bringing in a few playful colours will add personality and heighten the sophisticated feel in your home.

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Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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