Tag: Decor Tips

In what ORDER do I choose new lighting?

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


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

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

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

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

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

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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Five Things to know about COLONIAL Style

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


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


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


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


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


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

Cheerio ’til next time!


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How to create a Kitchen you will Enjoy Cooking in

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


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


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


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

Emma Joyce

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Ten Little Details that Bring a Room to Life

Have you ever caught yourself staring at a photo in an interior design magazine and admiring how amazing some rooms look? And have you tried decorating your own room in a similar manner? Was there something missing? You can do everything right, including the design style, colour palette and furnishing, but if you’ve missed all those little details that bring a room to life, you will never get an Architecture Digest-worthy space. Here’s your cheat-sheet for achieving that.


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A room can’t be complete without art, but there is no uniform way or specific style to display art. Besides the usual paintings (abstract, impressionist, cubism, etc.), you can also go for alternative (and affordable) options, such as  kids’ artwork, framed wallpaper/fabric samples, silverware or keys in shadow boxes, framed old book pages, etc. Some of the best places to hang your art are above the sofa, over the mantel or on either side of the windows.


An art style of their own, photographs can drastically change a room’s appearance. Depending on your preference and the style of the room, you can use various family photos, or choose a specific theme (e.g. your favourite cities or windows, flowers, etc.) and use it for guidance.


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Want to bring a room to life? Then introduce life into it – it’s that simple. Greenery, branches and fresh flowers are an excellent means of adding dimensions to smaller places as well as enhancing larger ones. Consider strategically placing several larger plants (e.g. potted trees) or a group of smaller plants in different corners of a room.


Adding a pop of colour to a room is one of the oldest tricks in the book, so why not use it? A neutral room can benefit from a brave colour choice introduced through various accessories (e.g. throw pillows, vases, tablecloths and other decorative elements).


Mirrors don’t belong exclusively in bathrooms. If selected and placed well, they can be a style statement in any room. In small rooms especially, mirrors can reflect light and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you want to avoid that “bathroom-look” you can always go for custom mirrors that will enhance a particular design feature and serve as a signature piece.


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Of course, books are appreciated for much more than their aesthetic appeal as decorative elements, but we can’t deny that they sure make a positive impression when stacked on a coffee table or aligned on a bookshelf.


If you don’t want your room to look cold and soulless, you should include different textures. A knitted blanket, for example, is a nice addition to a leather sofa. And a cowhide rug will look amazing on a hardwood floor. Also consider a different kind of layering – layering the lighting.


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Speaking of layering the lighting solutions, lamps (table, floor and wall lamps) are a perfect way to add that extra layer that will introduce warmth and liveliness. Besides, if you choose an interesting design, you can kill two birds with one stone.


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There is no better way to add life to a room than by including things from your own life. So, display your travel souvenirs, your grandma’s rocking chair and other personal items that carry a special meaning to you.


Finally, be aware that interior design should be fun, so play with it for a while. For instance, you can hang empty frames instead of filling them with photos. Add a modern piece into a vintage room; design a reading nook in your bathroom…

These ten details will definitely bring your room closer to the ones you admire in design magazines and further from the empty, sterile, by-the-book look we often confuse with “proper design”.

Molly Milson

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What is BOHO decor style really like?

What an absolute disaster! I am referring to the latest home reveal on the reality program “HOUSE RULES” that aired this week in Australia. The owners wanted a “BOHO” inspired home, but what the teams came up with made me shiver and pour an extra glass of wine. (Which is actually not a bad thing…) At the end of this Blog are a few photo’s of the contestants’ versions of BOHO.

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The BOHO style is very “unstructured and loose”, it most definitely has it’s own set of rules to make it work successfully. So if I was to design a BOHO room on this week’s reality show of House Rules, these are the rules I would have followed:


Opposite of minimalism, typically loved by world travellers or people with an arty twist or collectors flair. A cozy and friendly environment with someone that loves buying furniture you don’t typically buy at a mall.


A mix of old and new, weathered leather furniture, lots of cushions. Fun accessories will include ottomans, many indoor plants, macrame, books and soft lighting.


Usually people who embrace colour, love textures and even try their hand at DIY projects. Lots of fabrics with bold patterns. Colours typically include browns, reds or orange.

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Even though the BOHO style is normally very colourful, the home owners in last week’s reality show wanted a black and white Boho style with splashes of pastel. Very interesting! I would have loved to design that! Here is an example of how I would have approached the black and white boho look: Lots of neutral textures with subtle accents of black to ground the design.

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

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Image from HOUSE RULES

Want to see two more?

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Image from HOUSE RULES

Happy BOHO weekend full of decorating! Soon we will share with you lots of interesting design styles. Including the weird new “steampunk”  style that was mentioned in House Rules this week. Do you know what it looks like?

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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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!


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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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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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.




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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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:


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.


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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!


Stick to style colour
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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.


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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.


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 on Earth do I need a Rug on top of my Carpet?

Carpet has been used as flooring for thousands of years and is installed to provide warmth for cold feet, reduce sound and add colour and decoration to a room.  It helps a room to stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  So now I ask you… why does my interior designer want me to put a rug on top of it?


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Interior designers consider the principles of design to create a well-rounded room.  No, you don’t need to be good at Maths to figure it out, but most of the time it’s based on feelings and common sense 🙂  Not only do they want to create balance in your room, but they need to think about the atmosphere (we’re not talking about oxygen here), consider the scale in the room and ways to apply textures and colour to get you the desired result.  The first reason for putting a rug on top of your brand new carpet, is to create a zone for a space.  This is especially important in today’s open living style homes  To give an example:  If your living room is next to your dining room or kitchen, a rug placement under your coffee table and sofas will define that space as separate and create a zone for an activity in that area.  Having a rug has the added benefit of grounding your furniture so that it doesn’t appear as if it’s floating.


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Placing a rug on the floor is the perfect opportunity to add patterns and colour.  By adding these, the interest in your room is heightened immediately and the effect can be very appealing.  Always make sure that your rug complements the carpet, so that they look married to each other and not out of place.  It also need to tie in with your colour palette, whether you decide on a neutral or coloured rug.


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Textures work in mysterious ways.  It has the tendency to create comfort, dampen noise and give a room visual depth.  Not many people consider textures carefully before making their selections for a space.   The reason for this could be because they don’t realise the potential of adding textures to their design.  Jute, wicker, animal skin or shag rugs can turn a one dimensional space onto a comforting, warm and inviting cocoon, ready for guests to relax and enjoy.

Our next blog will be about how to get rid of guests that enjoy being in your home too much (only kidding!)

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Lyndie’s Renovation: The Sausage Sizzle


Lyndie's renovation

What better way to end a renovation project than with a sausage sizzle.  The team has almost become like part of the family, so we just had to thank them by leaving them with a full tummy at the end of the project.  The guys had been amazing and an absolute pleasure to work with.

To see the entire project, check out the links below:

The new extension, Final Photos, New Extension:  Revealing the exterior, Lyndie’s Renovation: The end is in SightBefore & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

Lyndie's renovation - the team

REnovation plans

Lyndie's renovaton - first fire

At the end of a long day, we’re lighting the fire for the first time and sitting down with a well deserved drink.  Plastic garden chairs might not be as comfortable as a sofa, but it’s better than nothing 🙂   Can’t wait to move the furniture back in and start the decorating process…

Making dream home happen

If you’re planning a renovation, you’re going to spend a fortune – be sure to do it right the first time.  You know where to find us!

Cheerio ’til next time!

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The Hottest Trends in Window Furnishings Right Now


Windows are a key achor point in setting the tone of your space.  These seemingly innocuous panes of glass are one of the first things people notice when entering a room and as such, they deserve the right complementary treatments.

Whether you want to turn your windows into an eye-catching statement feature or are looking to subtly spruce up the whole ambience of your space, here are the top window treatment trends home dwellers are currently loving.



If you’re looking to revamp your windows but want to invest in something timeless, roller blinds in neutral shades are your best option.  Not only are these ideally versatile, but the current surge in minimalistic design gives them added bonus points.  Crisp whites and simple greys are massive winners right now, and with DIY Online Blinds’ nifty Dulux colour match range of fabrics, customers can easily choose the best neutral shades to match their wall paint.

While it’s stylish to keep colours simple, many people are opting to inject a dose of personality into their roller blinds by choosing interesting textures.  Our Australian-made Serengetti collection has proven to be a top seller, encompassing an intricate, slightly-chunky texture that adds that nice touch of flair.



The idea of pairing a fabric wrapped valance with roller blinds is gaining a lot of traction in the market at the moment.  Customers are either pairing with the same colour/fabric as their blinds, or choosing something entirely different or mix and match.  (The image below shows a Dakota Quartz Sunscreen blind with a Metroshade White fabric wrapped valance).  This style offers a really clean and streamlined look, proving that the smallest details can make all the difference.



This might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but trust me, it works.  Double roller blinds are always going to be popular thanks to their dual functionality, but many customers are now choosing to take a new twist on the way they hang these window furnishings.  Rather than opting for either a recess fit or a face fit, it’s becoming increasingly on-trend to recess fit a sunscreen roller blind followed by face fitting a blockout roller blind on top to provide better light coverage.  Herein, residents are able to gain greater control over light saturation in a more compact set-up than a standard bulky double roller blind, plus they have the option of adding a valance (fabric-wrapped, if so desired).



Emanating strong vibes of nostalgia, plantation shutters are making a fierce comeback right now.  Traditionally used as a feature in the renovation of period houses in Australia, many residents are now fitting their new homes and modern interiors entirely with plantation shutters.  At DIY Online Blinds, we offer custom Australian-made shutters which can be delivered to your door in just four weeks.



Many residents are also becoming much more conscious of energy consideration in modern home-decorating, opting to furnish their windows with treatments like honeycomb blinds.  These advanced blinds drastically reduce the transfer of heat through windows, thereby cutting down on the need to get that split system cranking during warm summer days or chilly winter nights.  While predominantly chosen for their energy-efficiency, honeycomb blinds also harbour a stylish, contemporary look and boast a slim-line design, making them suitable for almost any window in the home.

Visit www.diyonlineblinds.com.au for more window treatment inspiration.

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