Tag: decorating tips

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.

ARTWORK ON THE WALLS

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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.

POWERFUL PHOTOGRAPHS

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.

GREENERY

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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.

A BOLD COLOUR

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).

MIRROR(S)

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.

BOOKS

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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.

LAYERS

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.

LAMPS

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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.

MEMORIES

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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.

AN ELEMENT OF SURPRISE 

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 goes with Tan Leather?

So you’ve purchased your big ticket item – that tan leather 3 seater sofa you’ve had you eye on for months.  It’s standing front and centre in your living room, but somehow, it still doesn’t feel like home.  Not to worry, all you need is to add a few things that would soften the edges and make your sofa seem as if it’s been there since you moved in.  So what would go with tan leather?

TEXTURES

tan leather textures
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In design language, texture is “the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch”.   Of course, texture also has the power to enhance a space, just by noticing it, without physically touching it.  In general, smooth textures such as silk, provide a sleeker look and rougher textures like sisal, give a more informal, relaxed look.  Tan leather can successfully be paired with rattan, denim or linen, to create visual interest and a wonderfully informal and inviting atmosphere.  Add a glass of wine and balance will be restored to your life (if you have less than 3 glasses…)

LIGHT, NATURAL HUES

tan leather black and white
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The earthy warmth of tan leather goes perfectly with white and a muted colour palette such as light taupe, greys and off white.  Darker slate grey and the classic combination of black and white will always be versatile and timeless.  For a more soothing space, keep the tones nature inspired in softer colours and combine it with rattan baskets and roughly knitted blankets.

A POP OF COLOUR

tan leather pop of colour
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Colour is a mood creator, can reduce negative behaviour and increase or decrease blood pressure (dangerous at my age…)  If you’re a lover of colour, tan leather should be your “go to” furniture piece – it practically goes with anything!  It pairs particularly well with blue (try denim) or green, but if you’re more into energetic, romantic moods, go for a spot of red 😉  For those not too confident with colour, try different patterns and textures in no more than two colours.  Once you’ve found your mojo, go crazy.  To make the job of mixing patterns and colours in cushions even easier, read our blog on this fool proof way by clicking on the link.

TIMBER ELEMENTS

tan leather and timber
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Nothing invokes more ambience than combining leather and timber.  All you need is a few logs on the fire and you’ve got me settled into your home for ever… (maybe just for the winter).  This combination is also a great start to an industrial look, especially if you add some exposed brick and black steel elements such as a side table or window frames.

Still feel you need a few pointers?  We offer an hour consultation that will quickly guide you in the right direction.

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Why you can’t go Wrong with White Bedlinen

I always get mesmerised by the number of beautifully patterned bedlinen available today.  There’s something for every style, taste and colour and it’s easy to just let go and buy a patterned duvet cover for each bedroom in your house!  Why then, am I trying to convince you to stick to heavenly white, when your heart shouts patterns, stripes and bold colours?

Let me state my case:

A LOOK THAT’S LESS CLUTTERED

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Your bed is the biggest piece of furniture in your room and takes up almost the entire space.  If this furniture piece is highly patterned and coloured, it will dominate the room.  There may be many reasons a person doesn’t get enough sleep in the bedroom; don’t let the wrong choice in bedlinen be one of them…

EASY TO ACCESSORISE AND UPDATE

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When shopping for bed linen and comparing white to boldly patterned options, the latter always seem like the more interesting choice.  I disagree!  White goes with anything and can be livened up with patterned European and scatter cushions.  Place a textured throw at the foot of your bed and your design will sing!  To upgrade the whole look of the space, just change the cushions.  This can be done seasonally, or whenever the mood requires a change.  It’s much cheaper purchasing playful scatter cushions and accessories, than an entire bed set to update your room.

EASY TO CLEAN

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I have two teenagers in the house that practicaly live in their beds.  They tend to eat, read and do homework in their bedrooms (Oh, and sleep – I almost forgot the most important one…)  On top of that, the dog also like to have a cuddle, so you can imagine that bleach plays a significant part in cleaning the bedlinen on a regular basis.  Luckily, white bedlinen can be cleaned within an inch of its’ life, so that crisp, clean look is usually only one wash away.

IT GOES WITH ANYTHING

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If you’re sharing a bed with a masculine significant other, I’m sure you’ve had a fair share of comments about floral prints and “too feminine” colours in the bedroom.  White will keep both of you happy, as it goes with anything, from floral European pillows, to roughly textured cushions and throws.  Not that any man would be too bothered with decorative cushions – mine only complains about there being too many…

So have I changed your mind?

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Which Floor Suits what Style of Kitchen?

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

POLISHED CONCRETE

Polished Concrete

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

TIMBER FLOORING

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

CERAMIC TILE

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

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

Cheerio ’til next time!

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

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

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

ART

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

RUGS

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

LIGHTING

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

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

SOFAS

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

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

Cheerio til next time!

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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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LYNDIE’S RENOVATION: Final photos

Vanilla Slate Designs Renovation in Cherrybrook

It’s time for the big reveal at last!  With careful planning, thoughtful design and working with a great builder (Thank you Daniel and Team :)), we’ve managed to improve the liveability, as well as add value to our home in Cherrybrook.  To maintain continuity, our builder made sure that the new extension blends seamlessly with our existing home by using the same materials.  The finishes of our interior spaces portray a Modern Country/Colonial character and fits the exterior style of our home.  The way each room flows into each other, makes entertaining a breeze and a relaxed atmosphere is present as soon as you enter our home (which immediately dissipates when greeted by Chloe, our rescue dog).  We can’t be happier with the end result.

TV Room before renovation

 

TV room renovation

 

Entertainment area extension

 

Pergola Area Renovation

 

Jetmaster Fireplace

 

Entertainment Area Extension

 

Backyard renovation

 

Garden view new extension

 

Before extension renovation

 

After Photos renovation

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow the links below:

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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Find your Inner Interior Designer and Start Decorating

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Decorating your home according to your own tastes and style is a must if you want to feel truly at home and relaxed.  Diving into your own personality and sensibility is the key to pinpointing your inner interior designer and surfacing it.  Therefore, don’t feel pressured about anything and allow yourself some time and research in order to reach the peak of your inspiration and creativity when it comes to home décor.

ADEQUATE LIGHTING SOLUTION

lighting
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Every room deserves its own lighting style.  In that respect, there’s no need to limit yourself to only a few lighting styles and options.  Also, these days you don’t have to sacrifice functionality over the looks and vice versa, when it comes to lighting.  You can easily check out some creative picks for lighting online and find even more than you hoped for.  In general, don’t underestimate the power of light for your interior décor.  It can make the whole home a lot warmer, brighter and pleasant to be in.

SEARCH FOR INSPIRATION

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The best thing about modern age is that you don’t have to do everything yourself.  There are magazines on interior design that could help you find your perfect style for décor.  Websites such as Pinterest, are teaming with ideas and pictures that can motivate you to reorganize, repurpose and utilize many different things and items that you thought useless.

CAREFUL WITH COLOURS

Colours can always make the space warmer and more pleasant, but if you want to change the whole colour scheme of your décor, you should think it through first.  If you’re set on changing everything, from your furniture and accessories colour to wall paint and/or wallpaper, you can make a big change like this, work.  But, if you only want to play with the colours of your decorative details or repaint the walls, keep it relatively simple and make sure that the new colours won’t clash with the old scheme beforehand.

STATEMENT PIECES

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Nothing can make the interior more unique and decorative than statement pieces.  You might not think that you’re ready for this step, but be brave and at least try one statement piece in your décor.  It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.  There has to be something that you found very appealing while looking through the magazines and blogs, but your own comfort zone prevents you from acting on it.  Taking a step forward is very important in both your life and home décor, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

BEAUTIFUL AND EFFICIENT LAYOUT

When you start decorating, the process itself can sometimes become overwhelming.  This is especially true for various accessories that you find likeable.  But remember, too many bits and bobs scattered around your rooms can create a lot of mess and, in that way, cause the impression of chaos and clutter.  Therefore, don’t go overboard with accessories.  Strategically placed details will make the home shine from the inside but you still need to achieve the effiency and functionality of the room layout.

TRENDS NOT A MUST

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If you find that the current interior design trends are not all to your liking, do not feel pressured to use them as your own home décor.  If you happen to love the contemporary home design trends, that’s great!  But the most important thing about the look of your place is to represent your own self.  And if modern design trends simpoly do not cut it in this respect, feel free to skip them.

Decorating your home, picking out different designs and accessories, choosing colours and all that jazz should be a fun and engaging process that soothes your soul and mind.  That being said, you don’t have to rush things.  Take it slowly, at your own pace.  If you force the task before you, you might end up with a result you don’t like.

xx Emma Joyce

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Lyndie’s Renovation: A NEW ROOM TAKES SHAPE

 

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We’re not newbies at realising the potential health benefits of outdoor living.  Although this was not our first consideration before deciding to extend and enclose our entertainment area, it certainly helped in ticking more boxes in the pro’s than con’s list.  This room would enhance our lifestyle by becoming a dining, living and entertainment room all in one.  We wanted the design to be an extension of our home, opening up to the outdoors with new pool and merging indoor living areas with outdoor areas effortlessly.  We had to do it right, first time around.  Of course, the trick to designing that perfect outdoor room is to make it complement your existing home, to have it blend in architecturally, as well as selecting finishes that would tie in with the indoor rooms.   The exterior part needs the same consideration, selecting roofing material that would match the existing roofing structure, face brick matching existing brick, as well as considering the pitch of the new roof.

Proposed plan for renovation

 

renovation changes

As you can see, our dog still can’t miss any of the action and can’t wait for this project to come to an end…  Nevertheless, she’s doing a great job overseeing the build 🙂

renovation tv room

Before: This door to our tv room will be replaced by bifold doors and the corners of the room will be squared.  We’ll remove the existing roof, as this is the only way we could effectively create a unified look with the new roof of the new entertainment area.  The other option was to leave the roof as is and build a new sloped roof onto the new extension.  Only trouble was, this could only be done by creating a box gutter, which collect a lot of water and could cause problems in the long run.

tv room door

Construction: The timber structure for the new roof is up and foundation ready to be tiled.  The tv room has been squared and steel support installed for the bifold doors.

renovation new wall

Before: It’s time for the wall of the new extension to be built.  This wall will house a fireplace and connect to the old formal dining room.  The cavity, that used to be the formal dining room window, is now ready for a bifold door that would eventually lead to the new bar.

new wall progress

Construction: I considered the design of the fireplace very carefully, as this would be an eye catching feature in the new entertainment area.   I wanted the fireplace at table height, so that it can be seen from across the room, including the dining area.  I also wanted a cavity on either side of the fireplace to store firewood, while simultaneously benefiting from the rustic charm of raw timber.  I wanted the design not only to be practical, but to fit the overall personality and style of the house.

renovation new fireplace

Well, now you’re getting the idea!  We’re finally ready to tile and render, install the new bifolds and share some great before and after photos!  Hang in there, we’re almost done…

If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow these links:

Before & 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Outdoor entertaining on an IKEA budget – yes you can!

Is your budget low, but you need to redo that outdoor entertainment area before your family and friends arrive to celebrate the holiday season with you? Fear no more, as I’ve gathered a few items from IKEA to show you how to quickly uplift your outdoor entertainment area on a low budget. (No, IKEA did not sponsor this post… I wish!)

decor tips, outdoor entertainment area, ikea, styling with ikea, how to decorate your deck, sale ikea, how to entertain low budget

I know how disappointed and disgusted I feel when I walk around my outdoor area every November. The winter and rain is slowly disappearing, but I can not say the same about the cobwebs, dust and leaves around my BBQ area and timber deck. Of course, retail shopping is always the answer!

decor tips, outdoor entertainment area, ikea, styling with ikea, how to decorate your deck, sale ikea, how to entertain low budget

 

decor tips, outdoor entertainment area, ikea, styling with ikea, how to decorate your deck, sale ikea, how to entertain low budget

It’s important to start with the “bones” and make sure your furniture creates a great backdrop. Stick with the same colour timber as far as possible, and make sure all the cushions, sails and timber can be used outdoors.

decor tips, outdoor entertainment area, ikea, styling with ikea, how to decorate your deck, sale ikea, how to entertain low budget

decor tips, outdoor entertainment area, ikea, styling with ikea, how to decorate your deck, sale ikea, how to entertain low budget

Don’t forget the final touches! The way you decorate your outdoor table immediately sets the mood. It can be fresh and organic, or romantic and rustic. IKEA has a great range of affordable outdoor accessories. You will be able to chop and change and create different moods for many weekends! See it as a challenge and create different settings on a budget!

Happy outdoor entertaining!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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