Tag: vanilla slate designs

What do Guests Notice First about your Home?

Let’s be realistic, most of us don’t keep our homes tidy 100% of the time.  We stress and fuss for hours before friends come over, very aware of any specks of dust or an unclean dish.  Today, I want to put your mind at ease, as friends notice different things to what you may think.  Here they are:

THE SMELL FACTOR

what guests notice blog candle
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You may have become “nose blind” to the smell of your dog, the garlic prawns you cooked the night before and the cupboard full of sweaty sneakers in your entry way, but your guests have not!  Make sure you close cuboard doors with offensive items and light a lovely smelling candle well before they arrive.

DRINKS ANYONE?

bar cart mirror
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Although all friends might not demand a mojito as soon as they enter the door, make sure you have the basics ready to soothe parched mouths.  Red and white wine, a few beers, a vodka chaser (my friends, not yours) and some soft drinks (for nobody I know) will settle even the most demanding of guests.

FRESH FLOWERS

what guest notice fresh flowers
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Nothing beats a vase of fresh flowers or a potted plant to detract from dust at your home.  A pretty orchid is a great investment as it lasts for months if you look after it well (the fake ones even longer… 🙂

LACK OF CLUTTER

Your guests will (hopefully!) not run their finger along skirting boards or look under your sofas.  What they will notice, is dirty dishes in your living room, jackets draped over sofas and magazines or books strewn over a coffee table.  Your visitors will not poke around uninvited through your home, so chuck all clutter into a room that can lock and throw away the key for the time being!  I’ve been known to hide dirty dishes in the oven (a special trick I learnt from my mother) and embrace the space in the garage.  My car hasn’t slept in it for months 🙂

TIDY BATHROOM

Your friends will need to use the bathroom while in your home, so make sure it’s tidy, clean and has enough toilet paper.  It should have a deodorising spray, as well as a privacy lock.  No one likes to cut off in mid stream when surprised in the bathroom.

ORGANISED ENTRY WAY

what guests notice organised entry
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It’s enevitable that you’ll have piles of shoes (especially when you have kids), sport bags, umbrellas, mail, keys, etc in your entry way.  If you don’t have a hall table with drawers or a shoe cupboard, find a good hiding spot (even if it’s under a bed) for everything, before guests arrive.  Create a space for guest to leave their umbrellas, jackets or shoes (which is not under the bed with all your stuff) when they enter the house.

Happy tidying!

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

Side tables 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

side table size display
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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

side 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

side table shape
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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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What’s the cost of Council plans for my existing house?

Be warned, because this item most clients never know to include in their budget when they plan a renovation! It’s a sensitive issue as clients budget for new house plans drawn by the drafter, but don’t always realise they also need detailed drafted plans of their existing home before any new plans can be drawn. These plans of their existing house, are called “Measured Drawings.”

This step of Measured Drawings is so important, as we can’t design a new renovation if we do not have the on scale plans of the existing house. We draw these plans on AutoCAD software and provide them to the client in PDF form. Then we are ready for Step Two: To design and draw your new renovation or extension!


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“Please design our new renovation & draw all the plans necessary for Council Approval.”

2. BEFORE WE START

When we submit your new plans to Council with the detail of your new project, Council also requests plans of your existing house before any new renovations can be approved. This way Council can see exactly how many squares you add (it determines the submissions cost) and Council can see if your existing house will be able to carry the new renovations. These drawings, are known as “Measured Drawings.”

4. THE COST

The cost of these Measured Drawings include the drafter’s visit to your home to measure the whole existing house, as well as the hours spent on drawing. Yes, sometimes a client does have existing plans, but they are only in a printed version and not always exactly as the house was built/changed over the past few years. The cost of measured drawings are calculated per square metre, and they are less expensive to draw than additions/renovations with complicated new detail. Depending on the size of your home, the cost of an average four bedroom home is about $800 to $1,000 dollars to draw the existing plans.

5. EXAMPLES

Here are a few examples of Measured Drawings we have recently completed for clients.

Blog Measured drawing Tierney

 

 drawings for council, measured drawings, council approval plans, da approval, cdc approval, drafter sydney, drafter hills district, interior designers castle hill

If you you need Council Plans and you are unsure about this process, feel free to contact us.

Eriana & Lyndie

Note: Our Council Plans are drawn in collaboration with our drafter, Ronel, from Mi-Dzign.

 

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Design Project: Style my Melbourne Unit to Rent Out

We love all our projects, some are more challenging than others but all are equally interesting.  This one was certainly challenging, but only because of the distance it was located from our office.  Luckily, we had a floor plan to work with, as well as photos of each room the client had taken on her last visit to Melbourne.


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“Our client has an investment property in the heart of Melbourne which they intended to rent out.  They needed assistance to refurbish and style the unit to suit a professional person, as well as suit the Art Deco exterior style of the building.”

In addition to that:

  • The carpet needed to be replaced in a colour that would tie in with the timber flooring in the kitchen
  • The unit needed a fresh coat of paint applied by qualified professionals
  • The blinds had to be refitted
  • Some of the existing furniture pieces had to be painted and reused
  • New furniture with a modern Art Deco appeal needed to be sourced to fit the style of the building
  • Some existing prints had to be modernised by reframing, as well as additional artworks sourced and installed
  • Bedding, furniture, lamps, rugs and a few accessories needed to be sourced to create a lived in feeling to the unit.

2. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

We had very limited time to source all trades people and furniture pieces, as the estate agent had a set date to take photos for their website.  In addition to that, the owners lived in Sydney.  The carpet installation, painters and furniture delivery had to be organised for a specific weekend to coincide with the owners’ presence in Melbourne.  Over that weekend, the carpet installation, furniture delivery and painting of the unit had to take place.

3. BEFORE PHOTOS

Before Photos, Melbourne Unit


4. OUR SOLUTIONS

Art Deco shopping list

We went on a local shopping expedition with the client to ensure that all soft furnishings and accessories matched the colour palette throughout the unit.  These were then transported to Melbourne by car.  We supplied our client with a shopping list for lighting and smaller accessories from furniture stores such as Domayne and Freedom, so that these final touches could be purchased in Melbourne.  We arranged all furniture deliveries, carpet installation, painting and window covering installation from Sydney and she organised a very handy husband to hang the prints and paint the furniture.  All of this occurred without us ever having visited the unit.

5. MOOD BOARDS

Art deco styling, bedroom

art deco styling, Living Room

We gave the client several options for all her rooms, with a colour palette that matched the paintings in her lounge room.  This way, we could use the colours throughout the unit for a cohesive look.  The furniture pieces we sourced were modern with an art deco flair.  We decided on a look that would suit either a male or female professional person, so items that were too “girly” or “blingy”, were ditched during the planning phase.

6. AFTER PHOTOS

Blog Melbourne unit After Photos

 

As interior designers, we supply our clients with a design concept for an entire room, which include layout options, shopping lists, quotes for trades and a full colour palette.  If clients need us to implement the design, or project manage a renovation, we will always give that as an option at an additional cost.  In this case, flight tickets and accommodation would have been an additional cost on top of our hourly rate, so the client decided to implement the design herself. She was extremely happy with the result, as she had adequate guidance to complete the design.


Long distance interior design is only possible when we have images of each room, as well as an updated floor plan with all measurements included.

 

Eriana & Lyndie

 

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Design Project: How to select finishes for your brand new home – chosen from a “Home World Village”

One of the most overwhelming steps in building a home, is to select the finishes. This means flooring, tiles, kitchens etc. After you’ve finally chosen your dream home at the Home Village Display, you need to make an appointment with the Home Builder to choose your finishes. This is a full day appointment where you have a few hours to decide what the inside of your home will look like for the next 20 years. Scary? Of course! By the time you have this meeting, you should have done all your homework and know exactly what you want. Yeah right… We have many clients that ask us to assist them to create a design concept and colour palette for their newly built homes they choose at a Home World Village. We take into consideration their existing furniture and lifestyle to make decisions. Today we will show you how we are involved in this process, by telling you more about our last project that involved this service.


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“We chose our floor plan and signed all the contracts, but in three weeks from now is our meeting with the Home Builder’s Design Consultant to choose and sign off our finishes. We are unsure if our colours and if our options will work together and need someone to help us create a colour palette for the whole house before our final meeting with the Home Builder Consultant.”

2. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

  • We had to meet the client at the Kellyville Home World Village so we could walk through their “new home” with them
  • We had to choose finishes from the range of tiles, paint, stone and cupboards that are supplied by the Builder

3. BEFORE PHOTOS

Our client chose the “Soul 39” Home from MOJO Homes and we met them at the Kellyville Home Village. This home has a great layout. Very spacious and focused on entertaining. We did not only walk through the already built display home, but we could also prepare for the meeting in advance due to  MOJO Homes’ 3D online videos where you can “walk through your new home.” It’s amazing, and you should check it out at this link: SOUL 39 HOME by MOJO HOMES. (And no, we don’t get sponsored by MOJO Homes for this post!)

masterton homes, mojo homes, home builders, choose finishes, 3d home walk through, soul 39
Mojo Homes: Soul 39

4. OUR SOLUTIONS

  • We asked our clients to share with us their style with a shared Pinterest board and photos of their existing furniture. They also brought a list of questions on their design/decor problems.
  • We met the client at the display home, with bags full of samples of stone, flooring etc to make decisions on the spot.
  • Client booked out ‘n Half Day Block with us, where we had uninterrupted access to the display home for 4 to 5 hours.
  • We went through every room and discussed finishes, possible layouts, tile layout patterns, window covering options etc.

5. MOOD BOARDS

This is a hands on meeting, so we just “take over” the dining room table in the display home, spread out all the samples and have a mini workshop right there. (Don’t eat the display, the bread and fruit are fake…!)

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, home village, home builders, finishes select, how to choose tiles, interior designer sydney, home village


Clients find these meetings very valuable as there’s no pressure yet to choose and sign off any finishes. They can discuss details and decor and direct  the meeting towards the problem areas they want to solve. One meeting is usually enough to gain confidence and settle on a colour palette. They also have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding their home decor. Clients enjoy the kitchen layout the most as we ask them practical questions of everyday tasks, which they never thought about before. It’s also nice to help them to add a few WOW factors to their home in an affordable way. A building project is hard work and tiresome. Sometimes clients just need someone else to add a twist of fun and advice. That’s our job!

If you are planning on building a new home, we are there to help!

Eriana & Lyndie

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Design Project: Fill my empty house in two weeks!

We recently had a project where our clients suddenly had to move out of their property into a new home with only two weeks’ notice. They had to leave all their furniture behind for the new owners and had only two weeks to fill a whole new house! Of course it didn’t help that she was eight months pregnant, working full time, with another two little ones to look after. So our help was needed to save the day!


1. CLIENT BRIEF

“We need to move into our new property within two weeks, but we have no furniture to take with us. Our budget is limited because we need all the furniture at once, for a four bedroom house, so please source at affordable shops, but give us a colourful and contemporary look. We would like to see a design for each room, with a detailed shopping list so we can order most of the items online.”

2. SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

  • Two week time limit (which included delivery time!)
  • Online shopping as far as possible

3. BEFORE PHOTOS

Well, not many before photos as the house was empty! We did have to measure the whole house to source the exact sizes of furniture needed. We also had to take into consideration the existing colours of the wall paint (which we could change) and existing window coverings (which we could not change).

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, before project


4. OUR SOLUTIONS

  • Time: Finish all mood boards in three days to give enough time for client approval & arranging delivery
  • Furniture: Source products from online stores & affordable stores like IKEA that does deliver. (Wow, did we have a lot of flatpacks to put together…!)  Also get a few accent pieces from Freedom, Urban Road & Armadillo Rugs
  • Delivery: Focus on shops that do sell floor stock, e.g. OZ Design
  • Wall paint: Arrange for a painter to repaint some of the brown and minty green feature walls (yes, minty green!)

5. MOOD BOARDS

Here are a few of the mood boards we created for the client that fit her brief.  This enabled her to pick a suitable style and look for her new rooms.

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, baby room, nursery

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, living rooms, freedom furniture

moodboard, style board, before photo, home styling, design project, baby room, nursery, boys rooms, jet lamp, race coar room, ikea rugs

6. AFTER PHOTOS

Unfortunately we haven’t had the opportunity to go back to take the “after” photos, but here are a few things that we did do, as part of our design package:

  • The entrance hall and staircase were previously painted in a dark brown colour, so we suggested and arranged a painter to paint it a bright white to complement the contemporary style the client was looking for.
  • The kitchen was previously painted in a minty green colour, which we also had repainted in a neutral palette.
  • Due to work obligations our clients could not visit the shops themselves. For all the furniture that were not online, we went to the shops, picked out the furniture and then the shop owners called the client to arrange for credit card payments by phone. (Thank you Freedom, OZ Design, Euro lighting, Harvey Norman, The Good Guys & Domayne for your assistance here)
  • We even selected all the Kitchen Appliances on behalf of the client (From kettle, coffee machine, toaster, washing machine, microwave etc)
  • We arranged for an electrician to replace the old pendant lights with new modern lights.

We had to work to an extreme time constraint, and we needed a week of rest and a few bottles of wine afterwards! This is a good example of where the design brief had to be quick and decision making took place in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately a huge flatpack from IKEA fell on Eriana’s one foot, and then her foot turned blue for a few weeks!  In the end the clock won and we couldn’t get everything delivered within the two week limit, so we needed at least another week for the project to be finalised. We still feel this was a huge job done, in a very short time. Will we do it again? No! Not in two weeks! At least three to four weeks.

Eriana & Lyndie

 

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Lyndie’s Main Bedroom Make-Over

Our main bedroom is a great size and has ample space for a King Size bed, as well as bed side tables and even a hall table tucked up against the wall (along with lots of clutter and a sleepy dog; my apologies 🙂  Unfortunately, the ensuite bathroom and walk in wardrobe were rather cramped and certainly only meant to be occupied by one person at a time.  To see how I accomplished extra space in the ensuite bathroom, read my blog: Lyndie’s ensuite bathroom makeover.

Main Bedroom Before

After sacrificing our walk-in wardrobe to become part of a very large bathroom, we realised that we had to create a solution for storing clothing, suitcases and the like. We have a window on either side of the bed, so this limited our ability to create a built-in wardrobe on that side of the room.  Luckily, we had an additional cavity where the walk-in wardrobe used to be, that wouldn’t interfere with the size of the bathroom.  This instantly became a linen cupboard, so I’m super keen on that extra storage!

Main Bedroom Renovation

The adjoining room is a rumpus room, where the kids watch telly and play computer games.  We decided to “steal” space there, as they would probably not even notice!  In order to do this, we moved the wall next to our bed by 600mm into the rumpus.  We then created a cavity in which we installed a built-in wardrobe.  The rumpus room is now 600mm smaller and our room can have a built-in wardrobe!

Main Bedroom Inspiration

I’ve never made a secret of my love for the ocean, so I wanted to give our bedroom a very informal look with a coastal twist.  A palette of light blue combined with crisp white would certain make me want to spend some quality time in bed. In Winter, dark grey bedding combined with caramel accents and softer, washed out greys will make a great alternative to the lightness of our Summer bedding.  The satin white cupboard doors in shaker style go perfectly with this style, as well as complementing the rest of the house.

Built in wardrobe shaker doors

Main bedroom After

Main Bedroom Timber Headboard

Main Bedroom Shaker Doors

Of course, the room could do with a few extra bits like new bedside lamps and tables, but I’ll gradually work towards that in the next few months.

If you need some guidance in changing the layout of any space or room, give us a call.

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.

paint colour name vintage fashion
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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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Coffee in Baroque Barn Style – Ouland Royale

Last year I was lucky enough to spend a wonderful 2 weeks in South Africa to share a very special occasion with my family; my sister’s 40th birthday!  We were spoiled for choice dining at wine bars in picturesque settings, snacking at divine coffee shops and brunching at locations extremely diverse in character and style.

timber & glass antique front door

 

One such location still sticks in my mind, as the setting and atmosphere was like nothing I’ve come across in my hometown of Sydney.   In a city with coffee shops and restaurants decorated in the ever popular rustic industrial style, this particular restaurant hit me like a breath of fresh air on a cold winter’s day.

Floral accents & painted timber

Claw feet bath and rustic wall

Ouland Royale is a huge Barogue Barn built by Wilja Reitz and her team on her family farm just outside of Plettenberg Bay in South Africa.  Wilja is an interior artist and created a unique venue, filled with spectacular French Baroque furniture pieces which she had collected and restored herself.

 

Baroque style love seat

French Baroque mirrors fill the walls and the luxurious upholstered chairs lend luxury and old world charm fit for Kings.  The hearty, double sided fireplace warms the interior and create an euphoric ambience, letting guests relax into the glamour of yesteryear.

Fireplace with floral cushions

 

Double sided fireplace and leather armchairs

Fascinators, made by the owner, are placed on the antique pieces dotted along the walls and add a surprising theatrical element.

Fascinators and french styling

The vintage style tables, leather suitcases, crockery and dining chairs, combined with the luxury of baroque furniture, give the interior a more cosy and approachable atmosphere, in step with the hospitality of this country environment.

Antique bicycle, love seat

Baroque style hall table, antique mirror

For those of you who would like to replicate this ornate and extravagantly theatrical look in your home, look for gilded, framed mirrors, dark ornately carved furniture, luxurious textiles rich in colour with large patterns, sparkly chandeliers and generous servings of gold accents.

 

sleepy cat, piano stool

To complete the look, don’t forget to add a sleepy cat on a piano stool.

Good luck!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Move over Chrome, Black is having a Moment…

Black taps are here to stay and give a design edge to contemporary interiors such as modern, rustic and industrial.  Using black tapware is a great way to incorporate black in a subtle way while making a more demure design statement than black cabinetry. Black can be masculine, but also subtle and sophisticated if mixed with the right materials.  It marries equally well with chrome, white, as well as timber and copper.

While there aren’t many rules when choosing the finish of your tapware in your kitchen, we still want to end up with a cohesive and harmonious look.  To get the most out of your black tap, here are a few tips to put your mind at ease:

black tap black grout
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There’s no need to match your black tap to your sink, so using a stainless steel sink is fine, especially if it’s under mounted.  It’s more important to have a contrasting backdrop behind the black tap, as this will create the “wow” factor,  Try white subway tiles with dark grout, as this will be an eye catching statement, without being over powering.

black taps marble background
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If you crave a classic, but show-stopping combination, try black taps with a neutral backdrop, such as marble or highly glossed white tiles.  This can effortlessly become a very sophisticated centre piece without trying too hard.

black taps black handles
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Pairing black and white is a contemporary, classic look that will never go out of style.  If you’re afraid of going too dark with cabinetry, match your black taps to black cabinet handles instead.  This way the accent of black flows throughout the kitchen, without overpowering the space.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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