What you should know about Styling with Cushions

I am an absolute sucker for a beautiful cushion.  Going to a home ware store and leaving without something soft and decorative in tow, is like sheer torture and I would usually go back the next day to rectify my mistake. If this is the way you operate, it’s pretty easy to end up with a colourful mess on your couch or bed.  To avoid these haphazard compulsive purchases, I’ve put together a few pointers on how to coordinate your arrangement of cushions in a more structured way.


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Choose your cushion colours by referencing something else in the room.  The room will have a more cohesive flair if repetition of colour is used, whether it is something large, like your rug, wall, or something small like a decorative item or lamp.  A simple palette of no more than three colours will be more effective than a whole rainbow.


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Your cushion collection need not be the same shape and size.  The most effective arrangements are those that combine different combinations with even a round one thrown in.  It’s easy to go overboard if you’re a cushion lover like me!  Remember to allow some space to sit comfortably on your sofa.  For an informal look, place a larger one in the back and layer smaller ones to the front.


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Be adventurous and mix floral motives with bold graphic patterns, but make sure that you have another cushion that would match in either colour or pattern.  If using large, medium and small patterns together, make sure that they share a similar palette.  To separate and highlight different patterns, as well as creating a spot where your eye can rest, place a few solid or neutral cushions in your arrangement.


TEXTURED cushions
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If using a simple palette like a monochromatic colour scheme, create some interest by throwing in textures such as waffle weave, faux fur and chunky knits.

Of course, if you’re short on cushions and love a vintage, retro, quirky look, view the Vanilla Slate Designs Sisterhood range at our online store.

Cheerio ’til next time!



Combining His and Her Furniture to create your Style

So the two of you are taking the next step and decided it’s high time to put up house together.  He likes his leather chairs in front of his big screen tv, and she likes her floral accent chairs with pastel cushions.  Sounds like a divorce in the making, but how can we get around spending a fortune on lawyers before moving in together had even begun?

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When we think of masculine décor, leather and animal hides, bulky furniture, dark colours, metal like copper and straight or angular lines come to mind.

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Feminine décor usually refer to light colours, elegant, curvy shapes, a bit of bling like gold, and delicate patterns.

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Combining the items so that both parties are happy, might take a bit of practise and a wrestle or two.  I would like to suggest the following for a long and happy cohabitation:

  1. Keep communication lines open and be willing to compromise on a few things.
  2. Go shopping together for new items, but narrow choices down to only a few things to keep confusion to a minimum.
  3. Don’t go too pastel or frilly.  Stick to neutral colours and natural elements that would work with anything.
  4. Present an idea as a whole and give each other a bit of time to get used to it before shooting it down.
  5. You will get away with quite a bit if you let him think it was his idea 😉
  6. Give him a man cave and the rest of the house will be yours to decorate as you please (kidding!)
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For those of you who still fondly remember the movie “When Harry met Sally”, I leave you with a video about a quarrel about a coffee table.  This will make you realise how frustrating setting up house together can be.


Cheerio ’til next time!


Tenant Tips: Our 6 Best Ideas for Street Appeal

We all heard of “street appeal”. What if you live in a rental property where you prefer not to  spend money to change the look of your house or to add personality? When friends visit your home… What is the first thing you say? “Excuse my home, it is just a rental property.”

Even though you rent, you should still add personality to your front door. Every time you come home, you should “feel home” when you enter your rental property. But how?



What can you display at your front door so that visitors know YOU live here? Do you collect cats or artwork or love travelling or fancy bonsai trees? Use whatever tickles your fancy. Think what items people will recognise and say: “Yes, this must be their home!” Think of something personal, display it and make sure no one can steal it…

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Many homes have porches at their front door. Instead of having 20 pairs of shoes and umbrellas lying there, add a pretty bench with colourful outdoor cushions that will create a certain style for your home and show off your personality.  This is very inviting and instantly gives a homely feeling.

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You can take it with you to your next home, it is inexpensive and will put your visitors in an instant happy mood. If that doesn’t help, you will have to consider inviting other friends.

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While you’re not spending a lot of money on your rental property for maintenance etc, you can use this time to gradually buy quality items that you can take with you every time you move. You can add a whole garden with different size and colour pots. This way you can give your entrance door a formal or informal look, a modern or vintage look, or even just add colour to a boring rental front door.

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This is not a fixture, so you can place your beautiful and interesting temporary letterbox in your front garden, to jazz up your street appeal. You can even make your own one or buy a cheap one and decorate it! See the time in your rental home as “your time to be creative & adventurous!”

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Many houses’ street numbers are not easily visible. Be brave and make your own one! You can really add personality by making them stand out and showing your personality. Be bold, make the number huge! An oversized number in a playful colour will surely make a statement. You can temporarily fix it to any external wall.

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To style your home, means adding your personality, and not creating perfection.

Do not clutter your Entrance Door or porch. This is where guests get their first impression of your style. You should decorate this area BEFORE you decorate your home inside!


Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

Get rid of your head board now!

Why? This could be the single item that stands in your way of getting the look in your bedroom you always wanted, but never seems to get right. Okay, I am not talking to those of you that already have the perfect bedroom ..

Whether it is something you bought impulsively on the internet or you shop around for the perfect one for three months, your head board is normally the main focal point of your bedroom. Don’t be skimpy and leave it for last. No use having an awesome linen set, but you bump your head against the wall each night. If the budget is tight, you can even make one! (Read our previous blog for some tips)


  1. FIRST choose the style you want, that match the rest of your furniture
  2. SECOND choose the height of the head board your room can afford
  3. THIRD choose the colour – because this is easy to change if needed (fabric or stain)

Today’s blog post is not a lesson about design styles, but to show you how a specific head board can actually influence the mood and style of a room. In the end all factors like linen, cushions, lamps etc will bring your room together, but a head board is BOLD, and can not be hidden or forgotten! So get rid of your existing one if it does not complement your style.



It can work in a Vintage, Eclectic, Shabby Chic or Retro Bedroom. It begs for natural elements and a relaxed atmosphere. Mix and match and forget about impressing guests with a stiff hotel look.

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Do you always want to keep up with the latest “what’s hot and what’s not”, then you are probably already an Interiors addict and know that these fabric head boards are now the latest talking point. Are you quirky & colourful? Be careful that your art work don’t clash with your head board though…

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Very popular in children’s bedrooms, but also in your main bedroom if you are a real “girly-girl”. Do you want the feminine look? The rattan also complements the beach/nautical look very well. It is important to stay away from a busy wallpaper when you have this head board.

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A staggered head board always makes that extra bit of a statement. It can go any way: Art Deco, French or Modern. I love the styling in this room. Even though it is a busy wallpaper and a staggered head board, the colours blend seamlessly. Definitely asks for a few opulent accessories.

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This is so popular lately! It complements many styles, like Vintage, Scandinavian or Contemporary. It literally gives you a natural and neutral blank canvas to dress your room in many different styles.

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Do you love clean, modern lines? Do you want to give your room that “Hotel Feeling?” This oversized fabric head board is a good example of how your head board literally becomes art work. Your room needs to be big, and so does your bed. Aim for King Size! And don’t even consider this style if you are the clutter queen…

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Just to prove that we do think of our male readers too! Nothing says “masculine” like a leather head board. This will work well with a Vintage or Industrial inspired room like in the picture. Add those neutral layers with cushions and linen, and your room is done! It will go well with your man cave next door.

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Don’t think as this style to be too formal. Yes, it looks fabulous in a Hampton’s styled home, but it is just as comfortable in the Nautical or Modern style.

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When the budget is low, but the romance is high (yes, we’ve all been there!), there’s not always enough money to style your room like you want to. So why not get crafty and make something funky that’s a talking point! Washi tape, permanent markers, polaroid photos or even magazine cut-outs can make a pretty good head board.

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So go on now, have a critical look at your head board that you have now. Does it go with the rest of your furniture in your room? Maybe you have been combining lots of different cushions, colours and lamps but just don’t get the style of the bedroom right? Now go back to your head board and use it as a starting point. Or else, chuck it out, and get a new one!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann

How to Prepare your Home Before a Renovation Begins

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Due to sudden illness, I ended up in hospital during my first bathroom renovation at our current home.  Needless to say, I was miserably unprepared and, after two weeks, returned home to find the bathroom completely gutted, with not a single item (not even a toilet) selected or purchased for the new bathroom.  I’ve learnt a few things during this process and will be ready for the major renovation taking place at my home in a few months’ time.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare your home for a smoother transition.

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In my home, I have stuff for in case I go skiing, stuff for in case I receive lots of flowers, stuff for in case VHS players come back into fashion, stuff for in case I have grandkids one day, stuff for in case I want to make fresh pasta (ha ha ha)  and stuff for in case I need to use my home as a wedding venue.  You get the idea, if you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will!  Get rid of that ridiculous egg poacher and device for pipping olives and move on!  Hire a storage facility for all your larger items, or move it into the garage if it’s big enough.


Think about what you do every day, especially when you’re running a household with school aged kids.  You will need a place to prepare snacks and school lunches, cook lunch/dinner, a place to put kids in a naughty corner, clean dishes and don’t forget about the endless piles of washing.  Set up an area, whether it’s in the garage, undercover entertainment area or lounge room, where you can go about your daily routines without too much interference.  Pack plastic containers on wheels with all the bare essentials you will need for each activity.   If you are doing a kitchen reno, learn to love your BBQ and you might also want to consider freezing a few meals to save on the take-aways.

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Do you really want extra sports uniforms to wash and coming home after dark and then start cooking dinner?  It might only take 3-6 weeks to complete your kitchen or floors, so missing a few after hour activities will not be the end of the world.


Make use of whatever technology has to offer.  Shop for groceries online, or get that little party dress you’ve had your eye on delivered at your door for the big housewarming party!


A worksite is filled with discarded nails, sharp tools and heavy equipment.  Make sure that your kids understand that it’s not suitable to be playing cowboys and crooks on a work site – a game of doctor and nurse will be more appropriate (of course, if they are over 13 and the neighbour’s kids are around, you might want to reconsider this particular game).


Let all your friends and neighbours know about your renovation plans.  You’ll find they will be very happy to help out if you get stuck picking up the kids, or might even kindly drop a meal at your door.


It’s hard to keep your belongings under wraps during a renovation.  Make sure all your valuables are locked away and alarm systems in place if your home is left unsecure, especially if you’re replacing a roof, doors or windows.


Find out what time your builders will start in the morning.  They might not appreciate the saucy minx coming downstairs in her best flannelette pj’s and cotton weave robe or even accidentally catching you in the shower.  Make sure you have a designated private area where builders will not be allowed to enter (unless they are extremely handsome and you’re not married).


Pets are very susceptible to loud noises and changes in their environment.  Doors will most probably be left open and gates unlocked during the renovation, so best to have doggy go for a play date or safely stay in a kennel.


Living on a building site will push everyone’s patience to the limits.  Make sure that you’ve left some room in the budget to take a break in a cabin somewhere far far away in the woods.

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All problems solved – how about that!  Now that the theoretical part is done, let’s put it to practice.  To find out if you should stay or go during a renovation, visit our renovating tips tab.

Cheerio ’til next time!


Ten things you didn’t know about me – Lyndie

Eriana and I decided to take turns and share a few personal things about our human selves (not internet/email/FB/Instagram and the like) that only our closest friends and family know.  So here goes…

1.  At school, I considered myself as one of the “cool” kids, because my fringe was peroxided, I wore a huge army jacket, mismatched boots at times (not by accident), a feather earring in one ear and “snow washed” jeans I made myself, with bleach.  How little did I know back then…

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2.  I earned my nickname Bles, (“baldy” in English) at school, because of the copious amounts of hair on my head.  My friends, family and even teachers called me by this name.

3.  If I paid more attention in class while studying, I would have been an excellent office administrator today.  Phew, so glad another vocation found me!

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4.  I’ve slept on a bale of hay in Israel, in a treehouse in Oludinez, in the desert in Egypt, on a roof in Kusadasi, in a cave in Cappadocia; and in jail in Stratford upon Avon – but only for one night (long story, and not nearly as sinister as you might think).  Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I like my sleep and can do it anywhere.

5.  While travelling, my swimmers resembled something my Grandmother would be more comfortable in.  Wish I had them today.

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6.  As a young backpacker living in London, I shared a 3 and a half bedroom house with 21 people – it had only one bathroom.  Today, I share a bathroom with one person and it’s already too many (bathroom is very small, I might add…)

7.  I stole my brother’s best friend and married him.  Water under the bridge… We are talking again.

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8.  I’ve fallen off a moped, a horse, a camel and been chased by an ostrich while riding a motorbike.  I was dead sober on all occasions.

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9.  Before I had kids, I fearlessly bungee jumped off Victoria Falls, white water rafted down the Zambezi and hitch hiked through Zimbabwe.  Today, heights petrify me and I can’t ski because I’m scared of going too fast.  That’s also my excuse for not taking up running as a sport.

10. Even though I’ve seen a bit of the world and had wonderful experiences, I consider my most precious moments, the ones I spend with my family and close friends.

Cheerio ’til next time!


Minion Yellow – Now an official Pantone Colour!

I was a little bit surprised, but love this name for a colour! Pantone has developed and named a colour after a movie character! Say welcome to Minion Yellow, from the movie ” Despicable Me”.

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Let me first clarify: “What is this Pantone-thing we talk of some times?”

It is an International standardised system for matching colours, mostly used in specifying printing inks. This way you can specify a specific colour for a project and everyone world-wide will know what code to use to generate the exact same colour. Recently we wrote a blog about this year’s Pantone colour of the year: Masala. (A colour we don’t particularly like…)

However, I am sure there will now be many new children’s rooms with Minion Yellow as an accent colour. The wall in this room is just amazing:

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So if you want to make sure you have the same exciting yellow throughout your home, give Minion Yellow a go!

Happy painting & decorating,

eriana bredenhann


Renovation Dilemma: Do I move out or stay put?

I have gone through three full-on home renovations over the last 10 years. All 3 times I stayed in my house while chaos unfolded around me. Was it a wise decision? Okay, I must admit, we could hardly afford the renovations and therefore, we could not move out to stay somewhere else. I always thought that I would rather spend that extra money on better finishes than renting another space for a few months! Was it really worth it though?

Stay put or move out? Are you ready for the mess?

There are so many factors that will influence your decision, but today I will give you a few tips to help you decide. Before you make any decision, remember, like the most things in life, MONEY is always the biggest issue. If you have plenty, move out! If you have an extremely tight budget, stay put. As easy as pie! There you have it, you don’t even have to read the rest of the post! For those of you that fall in the middle…. read on! I am not going to bore you with lengthy discussions of pro’s and cons. Here is my list of issues. Short & sweet!

Renovation tips should I move out

Remember to think about the time of year you do your renovation. It is much easier to stay put during the summer, as your kids can run outside and you all have more freedom to roam around. During the winter it is not fun to be squashed into a small room with your family.

If you can not afford to move into a hotel or rental home for a few weeks, it is a good idea to at least budget for one week away from the construction site. Just to be surrounded by clean bedding and a dust free sofa. Plan this week to overlap with your kitchen renovation or when you replace your flooring.

Good luck!

eriana bredenhann


8 Ways to display your art – no tools required!

Our first ever rental property had generous, thick double brick walls and double sided tape stuck to it like chewing gum to a park bench.  To remove it again, was just a question of pulling the picture off the wall and removing the sticky bits with warm soapy water.  Little did we know, when moving into our next rental property, that plasterboard and double sided tape were best avoided!  My first attempt at removing my pictures, left me with half the wall still stuck to my picture!  Needless to say, we didn’t succeed in getting our entire bond back…

So, to save you some money when renting, I’ve put together a few ideas on how to display your arty bits without damaging the walls.

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art on floor
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Large pieces of art layered on the floor create a stunning visual effect.  Even ceramic floor tiles can be pulled into the mix for extra texture!

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Washi tape is available in a range of colours and patterns and can  create a playfully artistic effect against a wall.  Use it around your pictures as a pretty border – the sky is the limit, as  it’s very easy to remove!

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Display colourful art pieces on a mantel piece or bookshelf with a few ornaments for visual impact.

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The humble peg board will offer you a bounty of options to play with!  Use it in the study as a visual display for daily inspiration, or as a way to brighten up your entry way.

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A few black and white prints on hangers will be the talking point for guests.  All you need is a few removable wall hooks, wire hangers and bulldog clips, how easy!

art on low shelf
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A low shelf with a display of colourful art prints will brighten up your grumpy teenager’s bedroom.

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To get some cheer into an all white kitchen, try utilising the splashback as your art gallery.  A bowl of colourful fruit and some potted colour will complete the homely atmosphere.

Now you don’t have any excuse for a drab looking rental property!

Cheerio ’til next time!


We visit Azul Home in Castle Hill

We decided that, every month, we would like to share some of our discoveries with you, whether it’s a tucked away home ware store, or a cosy coffee shop we happened to find by chance.  This week, I found Azul home and can’t wait to share it with you.

It’s funny how we always tend to hit the shopping centres when trying to find that something special for a corner in our homes to make it more interesting or welcoming.  Sometimes we forget about the smaller retailers, because we find them difficult to park at or think that they are out of the way.

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I’ve driven past Azul Home many times and always promised myself to pop in to see what they have to offer.   Parking was easy, it’s just outside the Piazza at Castle Towers in Old Northern Rd, Castle Hill. If you park at the shopping centre’s cinema parking, you will be close enough.


I walk in and discover a shop smelling of sandalwood and vanilla and décor placed in a way to entice passers-by to enter and delight in its interior.  Each item is thoughtfully displayed to create a warm atmosphere, colours combined to create a lovely unity.

B & W Tree Prints

Angela, who is a local mum from the Kenthurst area, has been here for the past 18 months and won best new small business award last year.  I can understand why!


This is the perfect place to hunt for a special birthday gift for a loved one, or just to browse around in endlessly.  Luckily the shop is open 7 days a week, so pop in any time during office hours.

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Light fitting

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Angela can’t wait for you to come browse, so visit Azul home at 270a Old Northern Road, Castle Hill when you have a chance.   Phone them at 02-96592400 or email at info@azulhome.com.au.  Make sure to have a look at their Facebook page for updates on the arrival of new stock.

Phew, shopping is hard work – might just go for a quick coffee while I’m here 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!