Tag: vanilla slate designs

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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5 Kitchen gadgets you haven’t thought of

Are you busy planning your new kitchen? There are so many new kitchen gadgets on the market, but they are all rather expensive. In the end you need to spend money where it may improve the way you use your kitchen within your daily routine.

Here are a few gadgets that are not necessarily new, but we’ve seen how they’ve really added value to clients’ kitchen design.

1.  PULL OUT SPICE RACK

There are many awkward little corners and gaps when a kitchen is in the design process. It’s always a good idea to use standard measurements as far as possible, but once in a while you end up with these little areas that are really messing with your design layout. So why not use them as fillers? We are talking about the very under rated pull out spice rack. We love using them on both sides of a stove, but also in between bigger cupboards to create symmetry or add interest. You can fill them with spices, cutting boards or oils.

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2. PULL OUT WORK SURFACE

Sometimes the layout of the kitchen doesn’t allow a lot of bench top space. For those busy days in the kitchen you can always use an extra pull out work surface. It’s hidden when not needed, but will give you that extra bench top space for placing utensils or food while preparing dinner.

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3.  BREAD CRUMB CATCHER

Yes, the brother of a pull out work surface. A great feature when you have (messy) kids that don’t know how to contain breadcrumbs! You can gather them during the day, and empty the tray at the end of the day.

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4.  TABLET MOUNT

You don’t need special cupboards for this luxury, and it can be ordered online from various stores. Again, it saves you bench top space and prevent spilling your glass of wine over your tablet while preparing dinner. (Been there, done that!) You can now watch Netflix or follow a recipe without having to search for your tablet on the bench top.

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 5.  CORNER SWIVEL CUPBOARDS

Only if you have a galley kitchen you can escape those nasty corner cupboards. There are a few solutions on the market, and yes, they are all a bit expensive. They are well worth spending money on as you loose a lot of real estate when you have unused cupboards in your kitchen. This design is our favourite, when you don’t even realise it’s a corner cupboard.

vanilla slate designs, interior designer hills district, sydney, kitchen designers, new kitchen gadgets, kitchen layout, spice rack

We design and install at least one kitchen per month. There are many similarities between some kitchens, but in the end each client has their own style, different available layout space, a different budget and a unique way on how their family use the kitchen and living space areas. We work with the family’s needs as it is now, but we also think about what the family might need in 5 or 10 years from now. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it is expensive. If you get this wrong, you might feel disappointed about your whole renovation process. It’s important to look at the architecture and style of the rest of the house when designing a kitchen.

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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Ten Little Details that Bring a Room to Life

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

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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Classic Country vs Modern Country Design Style

Are you getting thoroughly confused with all the combinations of design styles today?  We’ve recently learnt about the powers of BOHO, touched on Hamptons and how this classy beach style differs from Coastal style.  To get our ducks in a row about another contemporary style, Country Style,  let’s put it under the magnifying glass to clear up confusion.  Here is the difference between Classic and Modern Country Style:

COLOUR PALETTE

Country Style Colour Palette

Classic country design primarily has a neutral palette with punctuations of faded pinks, watercolour blues, egg yolk yellow and forest greens.  Where the Modern palette envelopes itself in calming tones such as creamy whites, browns and greys, the classic palette turns on the true country charm by drawing inspiration from nature.

FURNITURE

Country Style Furniture

Focus is squarely on comfort when classic country comes to mind.  Relax in overstuffed armchairs and get extra comfortable in the eccentric design of a tufted chesterfield.   Although modern style sofas are sleeker with skinny, raised legs, the whimsicality of  country style isn’t lost when combined with mid century furniture, leather accessories or extraordinary, modern pieces made from solid timber.  If done right, your home with have a warm, rustic charm with all the conveniences of a modern home.

FABRIC PATTERN

Country Style Fabric Patterns

When thinking of classic country floral patterns always come to mind, combined with a bit of gingham, a touch of plaid and a tassel or trim here or there.  In Modern Country design the focus is more on textures and natural materials in neutral colours such as linen, wool and chunky knits.  Floral patterns, although in a more contemporary design, are kept to a minimum and are used when focus is needed on an accent chair or ottoman.

ACCESSORIES

Country Style Accessories

Classic country style usually brings back memories of my childhood and I’m sure many of you would fondly remember a timber framed landscape painting, ceramic collections in a pine cupboard or crystal candle holders or embroidered rugs, from their own childhood homes.  Although modern country design has a cleaner, more uncluttered look, antique or vintage elements are still on display.  Natural rugs made of wool, hemp or sisal, or the more eye catching cowhide, complete this more sophisticated side of country.

WALLS

Country Style Wall Colour

We’ve all heard the saying that grey is the new beige and not even Modern Country walls can escape this lovely neutral.  This is a strong contrast to the classic country look, where walls are usually wallpapered or stencilled in toile patterns.

So which style takes your fancy?  Still confused and in need of direction?  Click here or give us a buzz.

Cheerio ’til next time!

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What is BOHO decor style really like?

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

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

STYLE:

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

FURNITURE:

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

COLOUR:

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

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

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

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Image from HOUSE RULES

Want to see two more?

boho decor style, boho design, house rules after photos, house rules boho, black and white boho, vanilla slate designs, best decor blog australia, decor tips, textures decor
Image from HOUSE RULES

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

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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How to Create a Cohesive Look in your Home

With all the beautiful furniture and decorating items available today, it’s sometimes hard to stick to just one decorating style or loving just one type of furniture style.  Here’s some good news, YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  Do you want your home to end up looking like a furniture catalogue or display home?  No thank you!  For a style that reflects YOU, incorporating objects from your travels, your childhood or nature, is closer to the new style you’re striving for.  You need to be brave enough to add your personality and create your own unique style by blending your own experiences and display them throughout your home.  Have a look at a previous blog on how to find your decorating direction.

This is what you do:

TAKE STOCK OF WHAT YOU HAVE

Walk through your home and take note of what you currently own.  Are there pieces that stand out, or are there a few you only purchased to fill an empty space?  If you’ve gathered a few things from overseas, did you have a few favourite cities?  Which would you love to return to?  Take note of the textures, colours and style of each item you’ve collected, as this will be the base of your new, unique style.  Remove everyting you don’t have a connection to.

GATHER INFORMATION

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Start a board on Pinterest or Houzz and gather images of your dream rooms.  Tear images out of your favourite magazines and display them on your wall.  A common thread will soon start to appear, whether in the way of architectural details, patterns, or a prominent colour.  You could even realise you’re gravitating towards a more rustic theme, or perhaps something more bohemian?  It’s also quite natural to have a couple of favourite styles and, if they’re true to your personality, they need to be embraced and encouraged!

TIME FOR COLOURING IN

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Now that you have a good idea of a style that you could call your own, you need to choose a colour scheme.  Colour is probably the most powerful decorating tool, as it’s not only very personal, but it creates moods within us that could quite easily be spoiled if done incorrectly.  For a more in depth look on creating mood with colour, click here.  Don’t get side tracked by Pantone’s colour of the year, but rather look at your inspiration boards when selecting your colours:  Are there any prominent colours that call to you?  Those are the ones that will form the base of your new colour scheme.  You’ll need three base colours, to avoid a serious yawn fest out of boredom.  One colour will go on the walls, one for an accent such as an occasional chair or sofa, and a third for accessories such as cushions and vases, etc.  If you only want a single colour, use it in different shades and tones, to make things more interesting.

JAZZ IT UP

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This is where playtime starts!  If your style is leaning towards the rustic side, use rustic timber trays, potted succelents, leather ottomans or side tables with steel legs.  The same goes for a more sophisticated theme:  Add more glamorous touches like a mirrored tray, glitzy vases, pretty flowers and a scented candle.  You get the idea… These combined accessories will enhance and polish your newly created style.

NOW STICK TO IT!

The hardest part is over!  Now that you’ve found the style that reflects your personality, stick to it!  Don’t get side tracked by the new “scandustrial” style that’s all the rage in magazines, if your newly created style is more “rustic/nostalgic”.  Your goal is to have a cohesive look, so don’t fall for what you’ve seen on the latest episode of THE BLOCK if it doesn’t fit your new look.

Well done and good luck,

Cheerio ’til next time!

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