How do I find my Decorating Direction?

I’m in a bit of a dilemma… we’re doing a renovation and our home will be undergoing some major surgery!  Our peeling, laminated kitchen cabinets will be gone, the laminated black benchtop will be replaced with stone.  The modular lounge suite with large bite marks, (thanks to our ridgeback that has since found another home) will be reupholstered.  Our existing tile floor will be replaced with solid timber and a new bar area will keep everyone sane.  So you will probably ask, where is the dilemma?  Well, as you know by now, I have a tendency to pick up furniture off the street and shop at the scrapyard, so how will my council pick up furniture, tie in with the look of our more modern, newly renovated home?  How do I find my new style and keep the house from looking like it’s going through an “identity crisis?”  To assist in getting the new style streamlined, I’ll be asking myself the following questions:


design style green and blue
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Before you take desperate measures and get rid of everything, ask yourself if there are colours, or items you’ve loved since childhood.  I’ve always been a farm girl at heart, so in my case, I’ve always loved the look of weathered timber or finding a spot in the house for a dead branch (to my husband’s dismay).  I also love the ocean and find Royal blue and deep greens deeply soothing.  I also tend to combine crisp white ornaments with items that look quirky or banged up and old.


design style cosy living room
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After a day’s work spending time on public transport or on the road, we want to feel like home is a relaxing port of call, a place of rest.   A “place of rest” can be different for each person.  For some it may be clean lines, a few ornaments, no clutter, shiny white floor tiles and strong lines.  For others it may very well be lots of cushions, an abundance of patterns, a lick in the face by the family dog and a stack of books on a vintage hall table.  All of these items convey a mood in one’s home and should be considered carefully before purchasing an array of new items that wouldn’t fit the mood that you really want.


design style, coastal shelf display
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We all collect items through our lifetime, whether it’s something you fall in love with at a flea market, an item you purchased in Paris on your honeymoon or a mask you picked up during your travels through Africa.  When you take a photo of all the items you don’t want to part with, you’ll be left will everything you love.  You’ll see that a particular theme will start to develop and this will most likely be the right direction for you design style.


We tend to hold on to furniture items because it’s practical, or your mum gave it to you because she had no room for it, maybe it was a gift, or if it can stand just fine on only 3 legs, we’ll fix it over the weekend.  Use your imagination and think of what you would buy if there was no limit to what you could spend.  Think about the style of furniture for that perfect room and how you would complete the look with cushions and ornaments.  If your imagination takes you to upholstered accent chairs with cabriole legs, a white armoire and glass chandelier, your style will probably lean towards French Provincial.


design style bright feature wall
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In the same way that we should determine what we love, we should also be very sure about what we don’t like.   I know that I don’t like shiny, black surfaces, bright accent wall colours, or synthetic looking leather.  When you know these things, it will very quickly steer you in the right direction and help you discard the styles you don’t feel comfortable with.

Once you’ve documented your likes and dislikes and made a list of items you already have, collected some images from magazines and started a Pinterest board, you’ll be more confident in the knowledge of which style you’re heading for.  Of course, if you’re still in the dark, we’re happy to help!

While quizzes are fun, they probably won’t identify your true decorating style and may leave you more confused.  According to the one below, my style is “Coastal”, but my true style has a bit of Modern Country thrown in.  Style is a bit more complicated than a quick questionnaire, but if you want to have a bit of fun, follow the link below… it could be completely off the mark!

Houzz Quizz

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

Don’t be scared of the most important mirror in your home

I don’t like frameless mirrors in a bathroom. To me it feels like a missed opportunity. I do agree that sometimes, because of the modern design of certain bathrooms it might be the best solution. Unfortunately many people see the mirror just for it’s functional value and not as a focal point or a design statement. The best place to be wild and adventurous (yes, those are emotions that good design brings out in me!) is your powder room. Show your guests you have personality. Make them wonder what the rest of your house looks like and make them think: Wow, I wish I could see the rest of the bathrooms in this house! Bathrooms are expensive and a lot of the cost goes into expensive taps, tiles or basins. Don’t forget that mirrors could be cheaper and easy to replace when you’re ready for a new feature in your bathroom, without having to rip out the tiles.

Here are a few examples how mirrors can instantly add to the design style of your bathroom and become the focal point and hero of your room. Take the challenge and decide for yourself if the rooms below would change/have less impact if the mirrors were removed and replaced by frameless, safe, square bathroom mirrors?

powder room, mirror, powder room mirror, bathroom mirror, renovating bathroom, design styles, french, provincial bathroom

These French and Provincial mirrors definitely add to the overall character of the bathrooms. I love the fact they they are almost oversized too.

powder room, mirror, powder room mirror, bathroom mirror, renovating bathroom, design styles, industrial bathroom, country bathroom

If you replace the mirrors above with ordinary mirrors, these bathroom will loose their character. In fact, by changing the mirrors you might even change the total design style of each one.

powder room, mirror, powder room mirror, bathroom mirror, renovating bathroom, design styles, art deco bathroom, bling bathroom

The Art Deco Style is known for it’s interesting, strong mirrors. These mirrors are almost like artworks themselves. Well, the “bling” bathroom, not really my taste. I definitely don’t want to see even more of my after-baby figure at once.

powder room, mirror, powder room mirror, bathroom mirror, renovating bathroom, design styles, scandinavian modern

Scandinavian & Modern styles are known for their simplicity. Do not confuse this for simple… Look how these “ordinary” mirrors do add to the feeling of the bathrooms, because they are still strong statements in their own right.

So be wild and adventurous and take a critical look at your existing bathroom mirrors. Is there any way you can update them and totally transform your bathroom this way?

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney




Two-Tone Kitchens: Still in fashion nor not?

In recent years many clients have chosen two-tone kitchens. This means two or more colours are paired together when choosing your kitchen cupboards.  Although many are excited to try something different than the usual, most are still concerned that it is just a phase that will pass and soon two tone kitchens will be out of fashion. Although none of us can predict the future, it is common knowledge that unusual or trendy features do sometimes get overused and eventually old-fashioned because everyone can remember “what era it was in fashion”. So should you do it or not?

two tone kitchens yes or no

Like all interior finishes, as long as you choose timeless combinations, it will last a long time. Today I will show you how I think one can choose two tone kitchens, but still stick to Interior Design guidelines to make it long lasting and successful. Nobody wants to replace their kitchen every 5 years! (Or should I say “should”? Of course we will if we can!)


A neutral palette will not easily go out of fashion ever and is easy on the eye. So if you don’t go overboard and stick to combinations of tones of black, white, timber or greys, it should work for years. Larger kitchens are better candidates for two tones than smaller kitchens. A small kitchen can quickly look very busy and looses it’s clean and modern look if there are “too much going on”.

two tone kitchens, yes or no, kitchen renovation, black and white kitchen
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Two tones look better if it is grouped together. For example: Bottom vs top cupboards, island vs back cupboards etc. It looks less busy than mixing colours and textures in the same block. In the image below you will see how dark timber and white doors are combined in the same row under the window. This makes the kitchen look very busy. Even the island is two toned. In the end it is a personal choice, and I am just giving my opinion!

two tone kitchens, yes or no, kitchen renovation,
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It’s hard to go wrong with white and timber. A classic, neutral combination that meets seamlessly. I have used this in my own Kitchen Renovation recently.

two tone kitchens, yes or no, kitchen renovation, timber and white kitchen, scandanavian kitchen, nordic kitchen desiign
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Yes, we all adore the copper phase at the moment. We find that most of our clients always want to use teals or blues in their home when they decorate. However, be careful to choose any colour that tends to be a fashion statement or that’s a bit overpowering. It will dominate your living space, as most of us have open living areas lately. These bold colours will also restrict you in what colours you can use in the rest of your home, as the kitchen is fixed and it costs a lot of money to change.

two tone kitchens, yes or no, kitchen renovation, copper kitchen, modern kitchen, black and timber kitchen
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Certain design styles absolutely begs for your kitchen to have certain colours, but added softly and with great taste. Good examples are country, french, beach and provincial styles. By adding some soft tones in greys, mint or blues, you can complement the style in the rest of your home and add warmth to your kitchen. Especially when you use the shaker style doors and a painted effect on the cupboard doors. It should not be overpowering and you must have the right combination of cupboards and flooring too.

two tone kitchens, yes or no, kitchen renovation, country kitchen, french provincial kitchen, green mint kitchen
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With so many kitchens now having a free standing island in the middle of the kitchen, this is a great way to accentuate your island bench top. By adding a splash of colour to the cupboards or panels of your island bench, you can add a lot of quirkiness to your kitchen’s design. Also, if you want to change it in the future, you only need to upgrade your island bench and not the rest of your kitchen as well.

blue island kitchen, kitchen renovations, interior designers sydney hills districit
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With so many images available on the internet, Pinterest and Instagram, it is easy to get confused on what can work and what not. Don’t be overwhelmed. Gather as many images as you can, and see if you can find the trend in what images you like the most. Be sure you also match the flooring, as that can totally change the look of your kitchen.

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney





Lyndie’s Ensuite Bathroom Makeover

Our suburb, Cherrybrook, was mostly rural land until around 1959, when it was subdivided and became the first project home village in Sydney. The original bushland was bulldozed, and exhibition homes were built and landscaped.  For this reason, most of the homes here look fairly similar and main bedrooms come with your standard walk in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom.

Our home was built in the 90’s and we’ve only recently started modernising our living spaces.  The bathrooms all reflected that lovely 90’s look including gold framed showers, peach toned tiles and a wobbly toilet to boot (which was no fault of the builders)!

Ensuite bathroom before

We originated in South Africa and were raised on maize meal, sunshine and meat.  For this reason, most of us are fairly large boned and require a bit more room to move.  Our bathroom could not fit 2 (large boned) people at the same time and the position of the toilet did not contribute to comfortable moments on the throne.  The same was to be said for the walk-in wardrobe – we had plenty of storage, but the U-shaped layout wasn’t very practical for our bone structure.

Blog, Lyndie's ensuite bathroom plans

We decided to remove the wall between the walk-in robe and ensuite bathroom and turn the entire area into a large bathroom.  So what to do about a wardrobe and storage space?  Where will we put our snorkelling gear (which we only used once), our duffel bags, suitcases, rucksacks, sports bags (it sounds like we travel a lot, but we don’t…) clothes and shoes?  We decided to create a built-in wardrobe in the bathroom cavity with an access door from the bedroom.  I’ll address the rest of the bedroom storage in my next blog about the main bedroom.  We installed a shower screen, which left us with a huge area for a wall hung vanity, ample knee space in front of the toilet, as well as a nice big shower.

Ensuite bathroom marble and timber inspiration

I love the combination of marble, timber and crisp white.  A modern look with a Provincial twist will be the style I’ll be carrying throughout the house.  I used a hexagon marble tile from Beaumont Tiles as feature wall in the shower and they kindly suggested a light grey grout to define the edges.

Bathroom view from Bedroom to Bathroom

After a bit of brainstorming with Eriana, we decided that, by carrying the grey floor tile up to the wall, it will create a more dramatic backdrop for the white and timber wall hung vanity.  The rest of the bathroom was tiled in large white tiles in a satin finish.  Great decision, don’t you think?

grey bathroom floor and wall tiles


Timber top Vanity grey tiled wall

I decided on a mirrored cabinet to match the timber topped vanity, as it would create more storage.  I love top mounted basins, as it fits the look I’m going for. As in the other bathrooms, I’ve stuck to hardware in a Provincial range.

Keep your eyes peeled for my main bedroom blog!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera


As you know by now, I have a tendency to make impulse purchases at the scrapyard (or any place I can find an awesome one off piece) without thinking it through thoroughly.  This is how we ended up with the most gigantic timber display shelf (over 3.5m long), a dent in the roof of our ute, and a closed off door that previously led to the guest bathroom from the kitchen.

Let me explain:  The only way we could have a wall long enough to fit this hutch/shelf in the kitchen, was to patch up the door leading to the ensuite bathroom and guest bedroom downstairs.  Luckily, we still have another access door, but now our party guests need to walk through the guest bedroom to get to the loo.  Yes, my husband and I are still very happily married thank you for asking…

So here are my tips on working with this new layout:


bathroom sign
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Seeing that I’m over 40 (I know, very hard to believe), the first thing I do when visiting someone’s house, is to check out the location of the facilities.  It has to be close enough to reach within seconds and I don’t necessarily want to make an announcement before I go try and find it.  To make guests feel at ease, use a bathroom sign on the bedroom door.  This way they’ll know they’ll eventually end up in a bathroom, even though they’re walking through the bedroom.


My guest bedroom can instantly become a storage space when not occupied for some time.  Make sure your guests have an unobstructed path to the toilet, as most of them would not have rock climbing experience.


bathroom through bedroom
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The bedroom your guests will be walking through, should be clean and tidy, functioning as a bedroom (not a storage facility) and the bed made and styled as if it’s a 5 Star Hotel.  A tidy and clean bathroom with plenty of toilet paper, room deodoriser and a bin provided goes without saying.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera


When is the best time to renovate?

When is it the right time to renovate? Does it depend on how long you’ve lived in your home, your budget or your future plans? This answer is different for every home owner. Today we want to give you some pointers to take into consideration when making this important decision.


You are now all excited about your first home. To save a bit of money you bought a “renovation project”. (Of course it was advertised by the estate agent as “needs some TLC”…) Now it’s time to decide how to spend that extra bit of money to make it your own. STOP RIGHT HERE! Only about 5% of renovations of first time home buyers are successful if they renovate within the first year. Why? Making good renovation decisions take experience. If you are a first time home buyer, we always recommend clients to first live in your home for at least six months before you start planning your renovation. You will have a much better spatial awareness of how you actually use your home and what features are missing what you desperately need to add.

first time home owners should i renovate now or later


Nine months. Actually 8 months since you first find out you’re pregnant. And yes, we all know the last two months you’re the size of an elephant with the mobility of a hippopotamus. That literally gives you 6 months to really project manage a renovation before baby arrives. Take into consideration your fluctuating hormones and constant short term memory loss (believe me!), the worst thing to add to this package is a renovation project. If you just want to update a bathroom or kitchen, it might be manageable. Even a new paint job, flooring or moving a wall or window can be orderly timed and finalised. If you need any council plans which involves drafting, engineers, certifiers or council approval, rather pitch a tent in the dessert and stay there for a few months. That will be a much more enjoyable experience. You don’t want to hurry renovation decisions and later be devastated because you spent your money unwisely. Take it one “building process” (read baby) at a time. Even the first few months after baby is born, is stressful. Why add noise and dust to the equation. I am talking out of experience…


I’m with you, just do it! Nobody needs a bathroom that constantly leaks from upstairs down into your kitchen. Been there, done that. Every time my daughter pulled the plug of her bath, I had to run to the kitchen and hold a bucket mid-air to prevent water dripping on my kitchen shelves. Another big problem is infestations. You don’t want to be invaded or overrun by pests. If part of your home needs a semi-demolition to fix this problem, save enough money as quickly as possible and get the renovation done. These can cause other long term problems which eventually cost you even more.  If you’re a first time home buyer, and expecting a baby and you realise you have infestation problems… well I have no idea what you should do! Run away to the closest hotel and hibernate for a year.


Renovation projects can start from $10,000 and end up to be up to $500,000 or more. Every family knows their own budget. Don’t forget that there are many costs before you even write the first cheque to your builder. You will need a drafter to draw plans for Council. (This is a few thousand dollars, depending on the size of your renovation) You might need an engineer to assist with structural issues. (Another few hundred or thousand dollars). You need to pay a certifier or council to submit your plans and get it approved. (Mmmm… another few hundred dollars) Sometimes you need to demolish existing structures, also at an additional cost. There are always a few hidden or unprepared expenses too. Your builder can suddenly report to you that there are asbestos in your walls or roof. (Another few thousand dollars to have this removed by a specialised team). Okay, I wasn’t intending to scare you, just to warn you that you should always add another 20% to your budget for unforeseen expenses. If you don’t need it in the end, you can have beautiful new furniture and an awesome house warming party!

budget for renovation project should i renovate now or later

Remember that you can ask your mortgage broker to assist you to apply for additional finance or to refinance your home. Some people play it safe and first save all the money for their renovation. This is the ideal situation, but sometimes this means that you never get to the stage where you can commit to your renovation.

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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.


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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.


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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.


blog dining table 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.


blog dining table long
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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

Lyndie’s Kids’ Bathroom Makeover

My children’s bathroom was so far out of fashion it was almost back in again!  The tiles had lovely peach tones with a gorgeous gold framed shower and vanity mirror.  To complete the look, the profile on the vanity doors catapulted me into another era and the towel rail also had a very special gold finish which unceremoniously fell to the floor every time we removed a towel.

Blog, Kids Bathroom vanity

Don’t get me wrong, I adore items from yesteryear that add character to a modern interior.  A touch of Provincial has always been a favourite and I’m never one to shy away from the warmth of rustic timber combined with crisp white in a Modern Country style.  Unfortunately, peach tiles combined with gold framed showers have yet to warm the cockles of my heart 🙂

Kids bathroom Inspiration Moodboard

So this is how I jazzed it up a bit… As this would be the only bathroom big enough to house a bath tub, I decided on a large freestanding bath to fit the country look and feel.  I fell in love with the grey toned timber look ceramic tiles at a recent visit to Beaumont Tiles and I selected a top mounted basin for the bathroom cabinet.

White country style vanity

In search of a new vanity, I realised that this item alone could easily blow the budget!  Luckily, I found a lovely timber cabinet for $400 at Knots Pine, which I painted a crisp white and finished in polyurethane.  I replaced the very ugly handles with something modern and stained the top to tie in with the floor tiles, then applied a coat of polyurethane for water resistance.

Provincial style taps

To complete the look, I decided on the Bastow Provincial range from Tradelink, as it ties in with the rest of the bathroom.  A niche in the wall next to the bath ensures that shampoos, candles,bath bubbles and my wine glass are within easy reach.  To add a sleeker look, we installed a frameless shower, a big improvement from the gold framed one!

Bathroom Renovation After

The laundry basket was a lucky kerbside clean up find.  One morning early, Eriana called me to inform me of this discovery in her neighbourhood.  She also threatened that if I didn’t take it, then she would!   As I’m such a good friend, I immediately found a spot for it in my home 🙂

If you’re thinking of a bathroom renovation and not sure where to start, email us for a price list or book an initial consultation.  We promise we won’t bite!  Our blogs about how to run a smooth bathroom renovation  and ideas on subway tile layouts, will get you started on your bathroom make over.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

Four decor items I don’t like anymore

Yes, I get sucked into trends too. Trends come and go. So it’s good to recognise when you just like something because everyone else do, or if it’s really something you want to buy for your home. Today I will share with you four items that I realised I didn’t like at all any more! (I hope I don’t get into trouble for this today…)


copper baskets decorating tips trends out of fashion
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When they first came out, I loved them. Then all the big chain stores started to stock them in mass, and to me they lost their spark. Now everyone has a copper basket in their laundry, bathroom and play rooms. Too many for me around…



marble clock decorating tips trends out of fashion
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Same issue here: Everywhere it’s just marble… marble… marble… My biggest problem is, you can never read the time properly. I hate clocks without numbers! It makes me tipsy…



typographic cushions decorating tips trends out of fashion
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I also have a few of these cushions on my deck outside… Luckily they are a bit mouldy and that gives me a good excuse to replace them! Just like all the words saying “LOVE” , “HOME”, “EAT” you usually find in kitchens,  I’m not a fan. I do like the canvasses with messages, but prefer those messages not to be on my cushions.


deer canvas scandanavian decorating tips trends out of fashion
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The poor deer has been overplayed when Scandi fever hit the world. With all the cheap canvas imitations in the big chain stores, I rather save my money for true art works or quirky unusual canvasses. I think the bottom line is, when the chain stores overproduce a certain style, it no longer becomes a designer item, but just an ordinary room filler.

What did you buy and now regret?

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


Lyndie’s Laundry Make Over

My laundry was in pretty bad shape.  We first rented this home for 4 years before deciding to purchase it about 7 years ago.  As it is with most laundries in rental properties, we only had the bare basics; an inset sink with small cupboard underneath and a washing machine.  We bought a large freestanding laundry cupboard which took up a huge chunk of space, and a practical laundry basket without any personality whatsoever.

Laundry Make Over Requirements

Luckily, when you live in your home for a while, you know what your needs are and how you want your workspaces to flow.  I knew that I needed a place to store pool towels, shelving for easily accessible pegs and washing powder, as well as an area for hanging damp clothes or clothes that had just been ironed.  A new benchtop would also come in handy when folding is required and a space to store endless cleaning products is always a big plus.   I needed cupboards/shelving for sliding in tubs with individual family members’ folded clothing, because in my perfect dream world, each person would be putting away their folded clothing into their own cupboards (haha, it’s my dream world and I’m sticking to it!)

Laundry Mood Board

The list goes on… Not only did I want this space to be functional, but also easy on the eye.  It usually takes me about 4 days to  convince myself that doing the laundry will benefit myself and my family.  If it looks pretty, it might only take 2 days, who knows.  In my house, the laundry room can become a stressful space, so I decided on the colour combination of grey and yellow for a calming atmosphere.  I painted my walls grey and added a splash of yellow in my ironing board cover, which is mounted against the wall.

Laundry shelving for pegs

I didn’t want to splash out on a stone benchtop, as our kitchen renovation is coming up soon and I would rather splurge there. To tie in with our new kitchen, I decided on white shaker style doors in a satin polyurethane finish.

Laundry Tap and Succulent

For a bit of playfulness, I put in a pretty mosaic splashback and a succulent in a colourful canvas bag to make the laundry experience a tad more joyful.

Laundry Ironing Board Hooks

My hooks are from Bunnings (for an earth shattering $7,00!) and my yellow welcoming greeting from Target.

Lyndie's laundry renovation

Voila, there you have it!  I would still like to put in black and white retro vinyl flooring to complete the look, but that can wait until the kitchen is finished.  It’s made a huge difference in my life.  I have a place for everything and doing the laundry is less of a chore than it used to be.

I would love to hear about how you’ve improved your laundry experience, so drop us a line with a few photos.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera