Tag: interior designers hills district sydney

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.


colonial fabric print
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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.


colonial accessories
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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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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.


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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.


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.


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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.


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.


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.


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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.


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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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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?


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…)


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.


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.


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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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!)

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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!

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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.

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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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Lyndie’s Home Renovation: THE NEW EXTENSION

lyndie's home renovation blog

We love our suburb of Cherrybrook – our home is in a quiet cul-de-sac, we’re close to schools, shops and in 2019, we’ll have a train station about a block away!  After extensive homework, we came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to spruce up our almost 20 year old home, build an extension and put in a pool, rather than move to a home close by with similar amenities.  If you’ve missed out on where it all started, follow the link:  Lyndie’s home renovation: First Phase.

lyndie's home renovation plans

lyndie's home renovation demolition

After weeks of staring at a big hole in the ground, the pool has been concreted and will take a bit of time to cure before tiling begins.  The time has arrived to demolish the pergola, remove the roof of the TV room and prepare the site to pour the slab for the new extension.

lyndie's home renovation demolition complete

After a few hours, the job is done!  My dog has the tendency to photobomb and it’s pretty difficult to find any photos without her in it. Luckily she’s pretty photogenic, so I don’t mind too much.  So this is what the backyard looks like without the pergola – a little bit desolate and bare…  The new slab will connect with the pool and stretch from the TV room all the way to the end of the house.  This is where a new wall will be built that would house a fireplace, but more on that later.

lyndie's home renovation foundation preparation

A structure of timber and steel is built to hold and shape the concrete and additional piering was needed to hold the concrete in place and support the new structure.

lyndie's home renovation, pouring slab

We’re finally getting there… the foundation is ready, at the correct level and ready for the rest of the work to begin.

lyndie's home renovation pool party

At this stage, you might think that it will be months before social get togethers can commence.  You’re completely wrong!  We had a pool party just after the concrete was poured!  No swimming took place, but dancing in an empty pool is much safer anyway…

If you’ve missed any of my previous blogs about our renovation, 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, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal.

You know where to find us if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with your own renovation.  Not only do we work with great builders, but we can draw up plans, get it passed through your local council and assist with all finishes and layouts.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Big news: Latest trend to hit decor stores soon… graphic grids

Are you also curious to find out what the next new phase in decorating is going to be? Copper and marble and chevrons have been here a while, so what’s the next big thing? A new playful backdrop is soon to arrive in our stores…

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The minimalistic black and white grid has recently popped up in famous fashion, decor and stationery trends around the world. It has already been introduced in coffee mugs, canisters and table linen. However, it is slowly becoming more of a trendsetter and used boldly in fixed decor design elements too. Are you wondering  where you might use it in your own home?

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It is an easy pattern to fall in love with, as many people already love the typical white subway tile. When the subway tiles were first used with black grout, many people were shocked. Now every decor magazine has kitchens and bathrooms with white subway tiles and black grout. The typical rectangular square will soon be moving into a new “square era.” At the latest 2016 London Design Festival, this black and white graphic pattern was used in many different exhibitions as a backdrop or identified as a new design trend.

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The question is always: How will this trend enter my own home? Where will I use it in my home? What will the shops sell?

Well, we will definitely see some black and white grid tiling in kitchens and bathrooms. Decor items like baskets, scatter cushions and bed linen will also be favourites among home owners and trendy decorators.

I’ve actually had black and white grid patterned bed linen on my bed for the last three years! Now that I was thinking of getting something new and fresh for this summer, now the trend is changing… bugger!

Happy shopping and watch out for the new trends and impress your friends for being up to date! You’re welcome 🙂

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney




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Fail proof method to choose perfect cushions for your sofa

After today, you never have to worry again how to choose cushions for your sofa. I will show you 4 fail proof steps to follow.

Yes, you still need to be able to decide if the colours match, but you can even ask the shop assistant or your know-it-all friend to help you with that. However,  the process on choosing them will now be your strong point. (And you might even sound very design savvy in the shop…) After the four steps, I will show you two examples on how to do it!

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Start with the cushion you first fell in love with and definitely want on your sofa. Yes, it has to match the tonal colours of your home, but I’m sure you already use the same tone you love throughout your home. These two cushions should be friends. They must have the same colour tones. You probably won’t put them next to each other every day, so don’t think they look “too busy” together. You will add other cushions with them, to make it all work together.


In other words, if your main cushions have geometric patterns, or circles, or squares, try to add a cushion that also has something with that pattern. It is important not to overdo it. This cushion’s pattern should be lighter, softer and less dramatic. (When you look at the examples below, you will understand exactly what I mean!)  This cushion should not be colourful, but very toned down, so that the pattern can be the hero.


Now pull out at least two colours from your main cushions. Do not focus on the bright colours, but try to work with the background or lighter colours. Your main cushions are already the feature, you do not want your plain colours to overpower them and make the cushion display too busy. I normally stick to greys, black, linen or soft pastels.


Your last cushion must be the one with “personality”. Go for something with texture (e.g. ribbed or buttoned) or find a different shaped or size cushion. This will break the “same-same” look of your cushion display.

Now let’s look at two examples:

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Most of the cushions are from: ADAIRS & AURA HOME

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You can follow this method with any style, colour or trend. This is not the only correct way, but it will definitely help those that feel overwhelmed and stuck and don’t know where to start. Sometimes it’s just important to follow a fool proof process. Now it’s just for you to make sure that you do try and choose the colours wisely! Luckily most shops stock cushions that do work well together. You might find that it will be easier if you buy the cushions for step 1 and 2 at the same shop. For step 3 and 4 you can become more adventurous!

Let us know if these steps helped you!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

To view cushion prices and availability, visit: ADAIRS & AURA HOME



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How to decorate a room with multiple windows and doors

We all have that awkward room that we just have no idea on how to place our furniture. Today I will give you a few tips on how to decorate a living space where you have so many windows and doors, that it makes it very difficult to know where to place your furniture. Too many windows and doors mean that you don’t have enough walls to place your sofas and chairs against. It also makes a room feel very busy and the decision on where to hang your art work, is also tricky.


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Sometimes it’s not only windows and doors, but it could also be a radiator or fireplace. If the room’s size allows it, move all your furniture towards the middle of the room. This will open up the areas around the obstacles and create a cozy conversation space in the middle of the room. This means you can now arrange the furniture as you want, without taking into consideration the placement of the windows and doors.


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A rug will anchor the space in the middle and pull your attention away from the doors and windows. The rug will now define how the furniture will be arranged, and the space will be less awkward. The good thing is that a rug immediately adds coziness and warmth to the room too.



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Use the symmetrical placement of sofas or chairs to counteract the unevenness and chaos of misplaced windows or doors. Symmetry creates order and will draw your attention to the middle of the room, away from the walls, doors and windows.



If you have multiple windows and doors, keep all the walls in the room the same colour and lean towards a light, fresh and neutral palette. It will make the centered furniture placement stand out, and make the room feel less busy.



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Stay away form tassels and busy patterns. I think you get the idea by now… Less detail to accentuate the number of windows and doors. More focus on the furniture. Keep the wall areas as neutral and simple as possible.

Let us know if you have any other awkward rooms you want us to address. You’re welcome to email us a photo and we might give you some advice!

Happy decorating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

We’ve learnt that clients get frustrated if we answer: “It depends on what finishes you use and the the size of your bathroom.” (Even though it is true!) This is one of the questions we get asked the most!

So today we will give you a better breakdown on how to budget for your bathroom renovation.

We divide it into three categories:

  • The face-lift ($5,000+)
  • The standard bathroom replacement ($15,000+)
  • The luxury bathroom ($25,000+)

1. THE FACE-LIFT ($5,000+)

If you renovate to sell, or you renovate because your bathroom is falling apart but your budget is very low, the face-lift option is for you. This will not be your dream bathroom, but rather a working and less old fashioned bathroom.

To save money, you need to keep the plumbing (positions of taps and toilet included) in the same place. Don’t change the layout of the bathroom at all! Do not buy feature tiles, as they are expensive.  Focus on a cheaper tile, but still choose something interesting and on trend. To save costs, do not tile all the way to the ceiling. (We hate to recommend this, but it will save you a lot of money on tiles and labour) Get a quote to resurface your bathroom if possible. Check out Resurfacing Australia’s website for ideas. Shop around on e-bay for vanities, toilets and taps. If you project manage this yourself, you can save a lot of money!

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This is the minimum amount we always prepare our clients to budget for a bathroom. If you want to have a bathroom that is on trend, new and will have a WOW factor, you need to budget for more than just a face-lift bathroom. This option is for people who want to enjoy their new bathroom for many years to come.

We don’t do face-lift bathrooms for clients, but we do design and project manage many bathroom installations in the standard bathroom category. Clients must be willing to buy quality taps, a new toilet and a new bath. Old fashioned shower screens are replaced by frame-less screens. Many times we twist the bathroom layout too, so the client is willing to add a few hundred dollars to change the bathroom layout slightly. In a standard bathroom you can still not splurge and buy the top of the range products, but you will be able to create a beautiful new quality modern bathroom that will add value to your home.

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3.  LUXURY BATHROOM ($25,000+)

It is very important that you do not over capitalise your home. You can not spend $40,000 on a bathroom if your house does not fall in a price category to suit this expense. If you are unsure on how much you should spend, chat to your estate agent or interior designer. If, however, you are lucky enough to build your dream bathroom, you might easily spend between $25,000 to $40,000. The trick is to choose what items you should splurge on. If you save on some items, you can keep the budget affordable. The labour cost does not change much between the standard and luxury bathroom. It is the finishes that break your budget! Good spatial planning, choosing quality finishes and good styling are the keys for the luxury bathroom.  If you are planning to spend this amount on a bathroom, it might be good to get an expert’s opinion and design advise. It won’t cost an arm an a leg to pay for an interior designer’s professional help, but at least you know the $30,000 you spend on your bathroom will have a WOW factor and be the envy of your neighbourhood.

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Always get more than one quotation. We always get at least two quotations from a bathroom installer, and relevant tradies and tile shops. Planning your bathroom will be the key to saving money. And most important, STICK TO YOUR BUDGET!!!! No, you don’t need the fancy tiles you can’t afford!

If you missed the story on how Lyndie renovated her bathroom, read her previous blog about her own en-suite bathroom renovation.   With marble tiles, luxury provincial taps, heated towel rails and a beautiful timber vanity, she added a few extras to a standard bathroom, to create a more luxurious look without breaking the bank.

Happy decorating!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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