Tag: Interior Design

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:

1.  TRUNKS AND FURNITURE THAT CAN COLLAPSE

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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.

2.  LIGHTWEIGHT ECLECTIC FABRICS

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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.

3.  BRING IN THE TROPICS

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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!

4.  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.

5.  A JUNGLE FIT FOR TARZAN

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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.

1.  MAKE YOUR WORK AREA

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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.

2. COUNT ON NUMEROUS COOKS

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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.

3.  STIMULATING ENVIRONMENT

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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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How to Arrange Furniture in your Home

We bet you loved your house when you first decorated. Everything must have seemed new, exciting and well-planned. And what about today? Aren’t you just sick and tired of that old armchair always standing beside the sofa, or the crowded console in the entryway? It would be so great if you could just overhaul the entire house, start all over again and reawaken that first-time-in-your-new home feeling. But what if you don’t have the time and money to tackle a major renovation right now? Would you believe us if we told you that you can change the appearance of your interior by simply moving your furniture around? Silly, right? Not so much, check out this guide and see for yourself.

MAKE ALL FURNITURE SERVE A PURPOSE

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This is especially important if you want to squeeze in some extra square footage. If you have an ottoman by the bed serving as nothing more than a decoration – turn it into a stylish coffee table. A console that holds only a flower vase can be turned into a photo display or a true mini-garden. It can also fill up the gap between the sofa and the wall, and thus make the space more functional.

MOVE ITEMS FROM ONE ROOM TO ANOTHER

If you need a quick change and you don’t have enough money to invest in new furniture, you can simply move some pieces from one room to another. When doing that, remember to first think about the room’s layout and combine the furniture in size, color and material. Don’t forget the furniture’s purpose, though. Of course, you won’t put a king size bed in the living room, but you can move the living room armchair in the bedroom, put a floor lamp next to it and create a comfy reading nook.

CHANGE FOCAL POINT

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If the TV is the current focal point of your living room, shake things up a bit by turning all the furniture towards an art piece, a window or some colorful bold item. Other focal points in the rest of the rooms in your home can be textured wall, patterned wallpaper, architectural feature, striking lighting fixture, etc.

BE MINDFUL OF THE INTERIOR DESIGN

When doing all this, you have to be careful not to disrupt the overall home design. Have a clear idea of what some space should look like before you start piling up a bunch of incoherent furniture, and stick to one prevailing style. You can visit different display homes in your neighbourhood. This will help you to decide what you want and do not want in your home and maybe you will find an inspiration.

BE CREATIVE WITH SMALLER ITEMS

Smaller furniture pieces, such as coffee tables, seating poufs, etc. allow easy moving, so you can move them around until you find a good place for them. Also, they’re great for when you want to update a room in a matter of five minutes.

CREATE ZONES

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It doesn’t matter if your room is small and cramped or large and sterile, it can still benefit from different comfy hubs. You can create a cozier look by simply introducing a small armchair or a nightstand and a stool. You can use area rugs to define different zones in a room.

CHANGE THE PERSPECTIVE

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If your room seems flat and dull, why not change the perspective a bit? Forget the typical line-the-walls arrangement. Try placing all the furniture and accessories on the diagonal. It will make the space look more interesting and guide the gaze smoothly through the room. An off-center table can also be an interesting addition.

Do you believe us now? Just make sure that before you turn everything upside down, try to draw a layout or use a space planning online software, so that you see how some larger pieces will fit in relation to each other. Good luck!

Emma Joyce

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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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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

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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 in Cherrybrook – Concreting the Pool

 

Renovation in Cherrybrook

Although pools don’t usually give you a good return on investment, it must surely be on the list of every Australian’s Dream Backyard.   Cherrybrook, in NSW, can get as hot as hell in summer, so we decided to go all the way and put in a concrete pool.  The entertaining area extension will have a view over the new pool area, so we thought we’d better not skimp on the size.  To fit the budget, we chucked the water feature and splurged on heating and nice pavers.  Heating would prolong our swimming season by at least 3 months, so now we can get the most out of this new expensive toy 🙂  If you’ve missed the beginning of the pool installation, follow the links below:

Digging the Pool, Pool Progress

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The excavation is finished and now ready for the framework.  The frame is built with corrugated iron, steel and a timber frame to contain and shape the concrete.

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The stairs are shaped and smoothed, ready to be tiled after the curing process.

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Finally, the pool is ready for our first “pool party”.  All it needs is a few weeks of curing for the concrete to harden.  It also needs a good hose down every day, to ensure that the concrete doesn’t crack.  We’re now ready for tiling, but first, we need to start the demolition work to make room for the new home extension’s foundation.  More on this next week.

If you’ve missed the renovation to the interior of our home, have a look at 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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

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Lyndie’s Home Renovation: Digging the Pool

Lyndies renovation, the pool

Our kids are getting bigger and more likely to enjoy hours of fun in a pool, rather than a game of backyard ball games.  Although equally enjoyable, we think the neighbours got tired of our son climbing over their fence collecting balls that had been kicked into their yard.  Our backyard isn’t big, so putting in a 4m x 8m pool was interesting and will take up most of the yard.  We had to consider many technical elements such as boundary restrictions, access for excavation and working around the causeway and sewer line at the back of our property.

The pool plan

Although we had a lot to consider, we wanted to design it well to enhance our family lifestyle, see returns on our property value and do this without having a head of grey hair at the end of the process.

Pool excavator

 

Back yard pool digging

As you can see, we had a lot of greenery in the form of hedging, shrubs and small trees that needed to be removed before we could start digging the pool.  Luckily, (after we got one that fitted past the side of the house) this piece of machinery did most of the backbreaking work, without anyone breaking into a sweat (says me watching them from the kitchen sipping a cup of tea…)

shrub and hedge removal

 

hedge removal

We can start seeing some progress and getting a good idea of the size of the area.  The shrubs wasted a huge amount of space and blocked our view into the distance.  On top of that, we can now see the line of the causeway.  At this stage, we’re almost ready for the Water Board to peg out the position of the sewer line before digging begins.

pool excavation

I still can’t believe how a little digger like this can dig a 4×8 hole, almost 2m deep in just a couple of days.  Next time, we’ll get to the concreting bit.

To follow the renovation of the interior of our home, just click on the links below:

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.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Lyndie’s Formal Lounge Renovation – THE REVEAL

 

Lyndie's renovation first page reveal

I believe an awesome living room should leave people happier than when they first entered the space.  It should have an arrangement of furniture that would encourage conversation, reflects your personality and not be cluttered with pieces you no longer love.

Formal Lounge Before

In my previous blog about our lounge room renovation, you’ll see what our vision was for this area, as well as where we found inspiration for the decorating style.  Our lounge room desperately needed new flooring and an update in accessories.  We also wanted to create better flow from the entry and did that by removing the pillars and nib walls.  Most of the old furnishings in this room will be used in the new entertainment area extension.

Formal Lounge After

The colour scheme throughout the house was inspired by a painting by Karen Tabak, which we purchased at the Kings Art Show last year.  We decided to purchase sofas in a lighter colour, as the room needed a light and fresh palette.   There’s a large possibility that these sofas will be covered in plastic sheets before our red wine drinking friends arrive.  Some of them (you know who you are), might just be banned from the area entirely… 🙂

marble coffee table accent chair

No living room is complete without a few decorative items to make it feel homely.  I stuck to the colour palette and added a few quirky bits to complete the picture.  It was love at first sight when I spotted the slatted accent chair, which works perfectly with the Modern Country/Colonial theme.

removal of pillars in lounge room

The feeling of openness was finally achieved by removing the decorative pillars and low nib walls.  The view from the lounge room to the entry is now unobstructed and creates a better flow through this space.

View from Formal lounge to entry

Formal Lounge Renovation

Formal Lounge Renovation After

New timber flooring was installed throughout the first level and lends a wonderful warmth to the interior.  The pewter side tables were purchased in Berry in the Southern Highlands on a recent holiday and the table lamps we found on another scavenger hunt in a small town a number of years ago.

White sofa Abstract Painting

If you’re struggling to find your style direction or need help putting a room together, book a consultation today!  If you’d like to see how we renovated the other rooms in our home, follow the links below:

Before & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Does size really matter? How to Pick the Right Side Table

So you’ve just purchased your gorgeous new sofa and can’t wait to finish your room with side tables, a rug and coffee table.  Luckily, side tables are easy, they don’t really matter as they’re tucked away to the side of the sofa and one can hardly see them… WHAT?!  Come again?  OK, all jokes aside… Finding the perfect side table requires patience, quite a few shopping hours (preferably without your husband), sometimes a few tears and lots of planning.  Side tables are part of your overall room design and you have to make sure that  they don’t distract from your focal point.  They should also be practical and not conflict with the rest of your room design.  Although side tables never get the glory, they whisper of a homeowner that pays attention to little details to create a comfortable, inviting space for guests.

Let me give you a few guidelines to help in your search:

HEIGHT

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A side table works best when it’s at the same height as the arm of the sofa it’s next to, or no lower than about 10 centimetres below that.  A standard sofa arm is aroud 60cm high, so aim for a table about that height, or a couple of centimetres lower.  If you can’t find a table you like within your target height range, then rather go for  shorter rather than taller.  Side tables that are taller, look awkward and make for an uncomfortable journey for your arm from sofa to table.

WIDTH

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Think about what you would like to place on your side table.  You’ll probably want some soft lighting in the form of a table lamp, you might want to put a book down just before your nanna nap, or most probably a drink if you’re visiting my house.  Side table widths vary greatly, but look for something that would be substantial enough to carry a few items.  Aything smaller that 45cm would be impractical and not in balance with the size of your sofa and coffee table.

FINISH

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There are some beaufitful side tables available today in any style you can imagine.  Matching side tables to your coffee table is fine, but it could create a yawn worthy experience.  This is your chance to create some interesting effects in your living room. Why not go for a metal and marble combination, or steel frame and timber top.  Wire mesh or woven material can add another layer of texture, or you may even find that an interesting, art deco inspired bling table can add a touch of sophistication that had been lacking in the room.

SHAPE

In general, lounge rooms have a lot of rectangular shapes.  They’re found in the frames of art works, the rug, the shape of the sofa, as well as most coffee tables.  Adding round side tables is a no fail way to soften the overall look of your lounge room.

STYLE

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Your side tables do not need to match the coffee table.  I know it’s probably the easier option to just go out and buy the whole set (especially when shopping with your husband and you want the experience to be over and done with :)) It’s important to carefully consider each piece, as they will impact the room differently.  If you want to have harmony and balance with a touch of “WOW”, take a little time with your shopping, even if it means leaving hubby at home.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Where do Paint Names come from?

Why do you think paint names allow you to conjure up images of calm green forest retreats, a melting strawberry sorbet on a blistering Summer’s day or the stillness of a cool aqua ocean?  While perusing paint samples, would you feel inspired in the same way if samples were called slimy gum blue, disguised yellow, paper packaging beige, fax ink black, or begrimed pink?

Paint companies are very clever and know that paint names are powerful… they have the ability to evoke images and moods in customers and they would even ruthlessly go straight for the taste buds!

Although naming paint to inspire a mood seems like a simple process, it can be painstakingly slow.  Usually, the paint colour is developed first and the name is picked from a large database.  Of course, they have to be extra careful that the name they choose has never been used by a competitor, as this could create confusion with the consumer.  On top of that, once a particular colour has been named, it can only be associated with that unique shade.  Even after it’s been discontinued, the “recipe” and name needs to be reserved, just in case a historical house painted in that colour burns down and needs to be reapplied.

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Paint namers draw inspiration from global events, the media (what’s Kim Kardashian wearing these days?!) science or fashion influences, before entering paint names into the database.  Some paint companies choose names that would fit a particular nation, like Australia.  They would refer to the colour of the landscape (“Red Earth”), street names, famous landmarks, textures (“Hog Bristle”) or botanicals (“Green Bark”) of that country.  The same is to be said of paint companies based in England – paint names could be influenced by the weather, having more referrals to the fading light, the misty landscapes and drizzle.

paint colour misty landscape
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Paint names can be funny, dramatic or intriguing, so it could easily stick in a client’s mind (I’m not sure what Dulux thought when they named a colour “Remote Control”, as it only evokes verbal fights and tantrums in my house..)  In most cases, the paint name has the most influence on the popularity of the colour.  Farrow & Ball wins the quirky name battle with names such as Dead Salmon, Elephant Breath and Arsenic, being amongst the most outrageous.

Care needs to be taken before trying out names that would go for the tastebuds.  The colour of Broccoli might make an awesome feature wall this season, but putting the name to the colour, could be quite off putting for most customers.  “Jungle Book Green” or connotations to velvet would fare much better and avoid bringing back memories of being force fed.  Being a bit of a pushover, getting me to buy a paint colour would be as easy as putting the word chocolate, marguerita or sorbet into the name 🙂

To test your paint name knowledge, I’ve put together a quiz to see who’s done their homework in the paint isle.

Put the number next to the matching paint name:

paint colour quiz

Hindsight, Shepherds Warning, Birthday King, Self Destruct, Crazy and Fun and Games

The answers will be in our weekly newsletter this Friday.  Click here to subscribe.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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