Decorating is not a subject taught in school. For some it is an innate skill they can do with their eyes closed, for others they struggle significantly. Not everyone finds this a walk in the park. Many experienced decorators still get stumped by certain projects and need to refer to all sorts of resources to find a way to make it work. Keep in mind that you are decorating your home for you, that’s the ultimate goal – your overall happiness in your home. Don’t decorate for the sake of being ‘on-trend’ or for other people and wanting to impress your guests. It’s nice to create a space for friends to enjoy too but that shouldn’t be your driving factor. Embrace the imperfections along the way, it’s what gives your home life authenticity and character. Own your style wholeheartedly, if you aren’t honest with yourself about your style, you’ll forever feel like a guest in your own home. Now more than ever are we focusing on what we can do at home to make it more cosy, more inviting and more of an escape from the strange world we’ve found ourselves in in 2020.
Think about how you want to feel when you come home each day (when we’re allowed out again) and how your home supports you and the people who live in it. If you’re feeling burnt out at work, coming home to a cosy haven to escape is the perfect cure. You’re decorating for your own happiness.
It is totally fine to ignore certain things you have less control over or require a larger budget to tackle. You don’t have to do everything at once. Have patience and accept that things will change along the way. You’ll find treasures on your travels (when we can travel again that is!) that you’ll want to bring home and incorporate into your décor. Don’t deny yourself these little trinket treats because they’ll give your home life and character and will tell your story. Some of my favourite things in my home are items I’ve found in far flung places. I also purposely leave some surfaces free of things in the hopes of finding something cute the next time I travel. I don’t buy trinkets for the sake of having them on the fireplace mantel, I buy things that I’m drawn to and know I’ll love for a long time coming.
Approach your decorating and styling journey like you would a travelling journey, you know the end goal will be an awesome holiday but you don’t know the specifics of how it’ll all unfold. Looking for decorative items for your home is a similar process. We have access to so many different ways of purchasing homewares from online stores to retail shops near our homes to flea markets in the city of Prague. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to finish it immediately, let it take time and it will come together in a way that reflects you.
Extract adaptedfrom Keeping House, 2019. Purchase your copy here.
I think it’s pretty fair to say, we are all reflecting on what our homes mean to us at the moment and the important role it plays in our lives (now and when rona finally leaves us alone). The below is an extract from my second book Keeping House and I think it’s even more relevant now than it was when I wrote it last year.
Our homes are more than just a roof over our heads and a place to store our stuff – we all deserve to find the pleasure and enjoyment that comes with decorating our sacred spaces and then sharing them with others. Yet so many of us seem to put it off.
Do you hear yourself coming up with any of these excuses?
- But I’m just renting.
- But I’m living in my parents’ house.
- But this old hand-me-down furniture isn’t that bad, is it?
- But I’m so busy at the moment – I’ll get around to decorating next week, or next month, or maybe next year …
- But I’m waiting until I meet the right person – then we’ll create a home together.
- But I don’t intend on being here for long.
- But it will probably cost too much to decorate or entertain the way I want to.
- But I can’t have people over for dinner – I don’t have anywhere for them to sit …
- But I’ve got no taste.
- But I don’t really know where to start.
Yes, some of these are very valid reasons not to go out and spend a fortune on new furniture, especially if you intend on moving soon (or if you’ve lost your job or income has taken a beating with Covid-19). But there is one very obvious theme here that needs to be challenged: ‘I’m waiting for …’
So, dear reader, what are you waiting for?
Ditch the ‘one day’ mentality and start living in the present.
I challenge you to start thinking in a different way.
You can make simple changes to your existing space to make it feel more ‘you’, no matter what your home situation is. It doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Absolutely everyone can decorate a great room.
If you can alter your approach, you’ll realise this is your shot to start creating and working towards your ‘one day’. Life is constantly evolving and changing for everyone, but living in the moment allows you to be more engaged in your life. You’ll be more invested in turning your house into a home and inviting your friends and family over to enjoy it with you, and you’ll find you’re happier in your home because of the effort you’ve put into it. You don’t need to wait until you are in your forever home to create your own haven, and you don’t need to wait until everything is perfectly in place before you invite people over. You can achieve a meaningful home regardless of the situation you find yourself in.
More often than not, the reason we don’t start a project is because we don’t know where to start. It’s a pretty intimidating task when you think about it: fitting out an entire space to be a true reflection of your style and taste, showing off your decorating skills, and selecting practical pieces that will serve you and the other occupants of the home well. We all want to create a welcoming space for guests yet at the same time we worry they’ll pass judgement on our decorating choices, or the food and drinks we serve.
In the search for perfection we end up in a complete state of overwhelm, analysing every single detail but not actually making any decisions. It’s a vicious cycle!
Don’t lose sight of the goal: to create a home that is a reflection of you.
Use your own creativity. We all have it; we just need to tap into it.
What can you do to start creating a more inviting space?
Start with the little things. I work from home a lot (during normal times), I have a collection of things on my desk that make me happy while I sit there for hours designing houses. I have a small bowl that burns incense in it on and off during the day. I have a vase of flowers on the desk and I purchased a pretty lamp with a nice shade. None of these things are particularly expensive but they bring me joy and make sitting the same spot for hours enjoyable.
You can do similar things in your lounge room, add a little tray to your coffee table and add a candle, small bowl of crystals or found objects (feathers, pinecones or river rocks), a vase of flowers you pick from the garden (or pinch from the neighbours front yard). Adding a little bit of personalisation to the space doesn’t hurt either, we all have a photo frame we were gifted years ago lying around, print your favourite photo out and put it somewhere you’ll see it regularly to make you smile as you walk by.
Creating a home starts with the little things. What are you going to do today to make your home a little more ‘you’?
Extract from Keeping House Book, 2019. Purchase your copy here.
Well, haven’t things changed in the world of late.. I believe that in times of uncertainty we all need to band together. No one is immune from what is happening to our world right now and I wanted to find a way to be able to help guide my design community through the strange times ahead.
Free Online Summit for Creatives
Are you ready to find the opportunity amongst the new changes to our lives? Join me and a collection of my favourite experts to discuss how we can redefine our design businesses and thrive.
I’m hosting a series of 30 minute sessions each day next week to discuss a different topic relating to the new business landscape we’ve found ourselves in. See the line up below. I think you’ll agree, there’s some pretty amazing content there!! I’m also excited to see what everyone has to share.
1. Monday 30th March at 12pm
Emma Blomfield, Interior Stylist – How to Use This Time As An Opportunity Not A Setback
2. Tuesday 31st March at 3pm
Michelle Broadbent – Business Strategy Manager – Tips For Setting Your Business Up To Thrive
4. Thursday 2nd April at 10am
Loren Trlin – Business & Abundance Coach – Abundant Business Strategies During Challenging Times
5. Thursday 2nd April at 2pm
Dari Levy – How to Protect Yourself in Times of Uncertainty
6. Friday 3rd April at 9am
Kady O’Connell – How to Continue to Grow your Brand in Times of Uncertainty
How Do You Join?
There will be Q&A time with each expert so if you’d like to submit any questions in advance (in particular any legal questions for Dari) please email them to [email protected]. Otherwise, come armed with your questions to the live video.
Each video will be recorded so you can watch it later if you can’t make it to the live.
If you have any questions at all about the summit or you just need someone to talk to about what’s happening in the world right now, please reach out to me directly. We’re all in this together and we WILL come out the other side. Sooner rather than later.
Sending you lots of love and supportive vibes. See you in the Facebook group next Monday!!
Hosting events is my favourite thing to do. I theme most of my birthday parties, I throw parties for my friends and I get paid to throw parties for other people too. I was the girl at school who was always inviting people over for a ‘gathering’ and then when I finished school I actually ended up studying Events Management for a year at college before doing a 3 year Business Degree. I may have then gone on to start an interiors business but events have always followed me and I style events for a number of corporate clients.
So it came as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I wrote my second book with entertaining as the focus. I’m often asked by friends how I host events (relatively) stress-free and how can they replicate some of the things I do at my parties in their own homes… So here goes….
My Top 5 Tips To Focus on When Entertaining
This one had to come first! It’s my favourite thing to plan when researching party themes. I usually always create a Pinterest board when planning out a new event and flowers feature heavily throughout the Pinterest planning.
If you’re entertaining at home, do you have enough furniture to comfortably seat everyone or do you need to hire some furniture to suit? A quick Google search will give you hire company details so you can find furniture to suit your decor. If you’re entertaining in a different location, most will allow you to bring your own furniture and styling elements in with no additional charge.
Styling elements such as candles, dinnerware, cutlery and glassware are top of the list to get right. These elements help convey the overall theme of the party or event. As do items like napkins and other elements like signage for the bar or quirky styling elements on the table as decoration. Kmart is full of fun party props that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
If you have the budget, hiring a DJ with speakers and decks for the night is a GREAT way to get everyone up on the dancefloor after eating. I hosted a Halloween party at the end of last year and hired a DJ to take care of the music until well into the night. It was such a great decision as it meant no one was fighting to control the songs and guests could make requests to the DJ and he could add them to the playlists.
Alternatively, Spotify has plenty of cool mixes you can plug in and play without having to create your own playlist.
The venue you chose for your party is largely responsible for the overall vibe of your event. When I start working on an event from scratch, the venue is one of the first things to be decided before we even get to the decor and theming elements. Once you lock down your location you can go nuts on all the other fun things like flowers, styling, furniture etc. Many locations have furniture, cutlery, glassware and dinnerware included in their venue hire price which makes your life a lot easier too.
5. Food + Drinks
If there’s any areas you can’t get away with skimping on it’s the food and drink. Think about all the weddings you’ve attended over the years, chances are you’ll remember when the food was average and when the food was amazing. You may have forgotten all about the flowers on the table but you won’t forget if the alcohol service wasn’t up to scratch and the food was served cold!!
Spend time getting the menu right, whether you’re cooking at home or your selecting from a tasting menu for a wedding. If you’re serving the food yourself but asking guests to bring a plate make sure you tell them if there’s an overall theme so they can match the food to the theme. I love themed parties and there’s no point having a themed party if you aren’t going to also theme the food!
If you’d like to read more about hosting epic parties without stressing out, purchase a copy of my book Keeping House here.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you would know the world is in meltdown over the coronavirus outbreak with schools, businesses and institutions closing and recent travellers being forced into self quarantine for weeks. So, if we’re headed for a pandemic and forced into isolation, why not take the time now to make your house nice a cosy 😉
Here’s a few of my favourite things to do around the house to make it a cosy space, not just for my household to enjoy but also for guests when they come to stay (after the quarantining is over of course!)
7 Simple Ways to Cosy Up Your Space
- Throw rugs on the sofa
The days may still be warm but the evenings are starting to feel a little cooler. Add a couple of throw rugs to the sofa in colours that work with the rest of the colour palette in the room to snuggle under while watching TV.
- Feather inserts in all of your scatter cushions
One of my favourite hacks when styling is to swap out the polyester inserts that come standard with most decorative pillows. I always go up a size with the feather insert too as that means the cushion will keep it’s shape a lot longer and save you fluffing up the sofa cushions every five seconds.
- Rugs that go all the way under the sofa
I often walk into a client’s house and notice instantly that the rug they have in their lounge room is far too small for the room. Not only does a bigger rug help zone the room nicely and make the furniture look in proportion to the room but it also helps add to the cosy factor by ensuring you’re stepping off the sofa down onto a nice warn rug underfoot. The aim with your rug size is to have the front feet of your sofa to be sitting on the rug.
- Mood Lighting
Relying on downlights to light your room is fine but it doesn’t give you any flexibility to add to the mood or atmosphere. Floor lamps, table lamps and wall sconces are less harsh with their light direction so add a nice warm wash of light throughout the room. At night time in my house I only have the table lamp and floor lamp on and hardly ever turn the overhead lights on at all.
- Add Character
One of the most important elements in my job when working with new clients is capturing the essence of my clients personality and finding ways to inject that into their home. This is usually done by adding in some of their favourite memories, perhaps they bought some fabric on a trip to India so we make cushions out of the fabric. Or maybe they took some amazing photos of sunrises on their travels during university so we frame these and put them on display. Or it’s something they’ve inherited from a loved one and want to find a way to have it on display in their space that’s meaningful.
- Window Dressings
As you can see from above, most of these tips include soft furnishings so we can’t ignore the window treatments. Curtains are always my preference when selecting window dressings for clients. Obviously certain styles of windows or rooms dictate what treatment you opt for but in a bedroom or living room I always prefer to soften the walls with a linen or cotton textured curtain. These don’t need to be expensive. Stores like West Elm, Ikea and Pottery Barn have really lovely off the shelf curtain options. Always ensure you hang the rod either directly above the window casing or up near the ceiling if you can get curtains long enough to still sit flush with the floor. There’s nothing worse than seeing curtains finish 30cm’s before the floor (it’s like wearing jeans that are too short for you, no!!!)
- Doona Fluffing
When it comes to cozying up your bedroom space, new linen and doona inserts go a long way to cozifying (it’s totally a word) your room. Add a little throw rug to the end of the bed, not just for added warmth when it’s cool but also to add some texture and colour to the room when the bed is not in use. Upholstered bedheads are a great investment for cozying up your bedroom too. I rarely design a bedroom without them! Oh and don’t forget the second rule above, make sure your scatter cushions are feather filled so you have something with a bit more support behind you when reading in bed.
In my books Home and Keeping House, I talk a lot about how to make your bed but I thought I’d share my little bedroom formula to help you get your bedroom set up.
Below is a list of items I generally place on every bed I style. You can vary the sizes to suit your bed but this is generally a good place to start.
Ingredient List For Making Your Bed
1x Bed Head
1x Fitted Sheet
1x Flat Sheet
1x Doona Cover or Quilt
2x Standard Pillows
2x European Pillows (60 x 60cm)
2x Scatter Cushions (50 x 50cm)
1x Lumbar Cushion (35 x 60cm)
1x Throw Rug
When selecting the items above I always tell clients to purchase the best quality they can afford. I would steer clear of any poly cotton or “cotton rich” fabrics as these have a polyester blend and can cause you to sweat in the night as the material doesn’t breathe as easily as natural fibres do. Linen, cotton and flanellette are the best options when it comes to bed linen.
It’s important to vary the textures, colours and patterns when selecting the items in your ingredients list. This means making sure you have about 3-5 different colours and 2 or 3 different textures. That might mean you’ve got a nice woolly throw rug for winter time at the end of the bed, mixed in with beautiful white linen sheets and some velvety decorative cushions. Mixing up textures is the most important element if you wanted to keep a neutral looking bedroom. You need the differing textures like chunky knit throw rugs, soft washed cotton cushions and 100% linen bed sheets to keep the room looking interesting. Sticking to one texture like cotton only can make the room a little dull and boring.
Now when it comes to actually making the bed:
- Make the bed with the fitted sheet and flat sheet
- Fold the top of the flat sheet down and tuck in the sides
- Stuff the doona into the doona cover and place on top of the bed
- Put the two European pillows against the bedhead
- Place the standard pillows on top of the doona cover next to the European pillows
- Place the square scatter cushions in front of the standard pillows (evenly space them in front of each pillow)
- Put the lumbar cushion in front of the scatter cushions
- Casually toss the throw rug across the base of the bed
Once upon a time, interior design services were considered a luxury only the rich and famous could afford. My aim when I started out in business was to try and break down this barrier and create an interior design service that isn’t just for the multi-million dollar clients.
Here are a number of ways hiring an interior designer can actually save you money:
Save Your Sanity & Your Time
Finding the time each weekend to visit the furniture showrooms and shops is a real pain. It gets boring very quickly and stressful if you have the kids tagging along too. Hiring a designer means you get your weekends back and someone else can work out if this cushion goes with that rug which means those niggly 3am worries about your home disappear in an instant
Avoid Costly Mistakes
I’m willing to bet you have at some stage in your life walked into a store and thought “that armchair will work perfectly in our lounge room” only to get it home and realise it’s totally the wrong shape, size and colour for the room. Our job as interior designers is to assess all the decorating elements (you can read more about my five decorating elements in my book HOME). From there we then make sure that all the choices we make for your home are cohesive. That way, you just unpack the box and fall in love with your new armchair, not want to set it on fire!
Buy Once, Buy Well
I wrote more about this in my second book, Keeping House as it’s something I’m quite passionate about. In years gone by our grandparents and ancestors were gifted furniture for their weddings or invested in certain pieces that remained in the house until the day they die. And were then passed on to the next generation. I have inherited some beautiful pieces of furniture from both of my grandmothers that I have either repainted or reupholstered to suit my own home.
But, I often think when I’m purchasing on behalf of a client, “I wonder if this is something they would pass on to their children one day” and I tend to think in our disposable world we wouldn’t really do that like our ancestors would have. When I work with clients I have this in the back of my mind at all times. Is this piece going to last the distance? Are the bones of the piece of furniture good enough that if we were to reupholster them in the future they’d last? This way of thinking, albeit a more expensive outlay will actually save you money in the long run. Rather than buying new furniture each time you move house or each time something of lesser quality breaks.
Save You Money
A little known fact, interior designers can get you discounts! Yes, correct! We have access to a huge range of wholesale furniture, decor and soft furnishing suppliers that don’t deal with the general public. We have access to their wholesale prices too which means we can pass on some great savings to you when you purchase.
Save Your Marriage 😉
Ok so this one isn’t probably true but I often joke with my clients that I should add “Relationship Counsellor” to my business card. Often I will come in and meet with a couple who have spent the last two months arguing over the sofa fabric or bathroom tile selections only to never come to a conclusion. Consulting a third party is often the only solution. I present practical reasons as to why I’ve made certain choices and this generally helps both sides see why my choice is the right one.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU WERE FACING IN YOUR BUSINESS BEFORE JOINING THE MENTOR PROGRAM?
In my previous life, I was a Human Resources Consultant which followed by a long stint as a stay at home mum once my son was born. I was a serial renovator for several years during this period, before an opportunity presented itself to assist a local Real Estate Agent with presenting properties for sale. Basic consultations turned into even bigger projects and soon the Estate Agent decided I was far more skilled at styling bedrooms and choosing carpet and paint colours than he ever would be.
As the renovation projects increased in complexity, I decided to return to school and successfully obtained a Diploma in Interior Design & Decoration. The plan was to start my own business, but it soon became apparent that I really didn’t know how to do it, where to start & how to get it up off the ground.
There were indications along the way that I wasn’t really being taken seriously by some, as I didn’t have a website, my branding was far from adequate and I was operating without appropriate legal contracts in place to protect both myself, my trades and my clients. Basically, my business didn’t look professional enough to be taken seriously.
I was lacking confidence in pricing my services & understanding the professional value of my self-worth.
I felt overwhelmed with all the work that was ahead of me, which translated into procrastination on my behalf. I wasn’t sure how to prioritise all these tasks into workable chunks & I had no processes in place to address these gaps.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE THAT THE MENTOR PROGRAM WAS WHAT YOU NEEDED AT THIS CURRENT TIME IN YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
Through an internet search, I came across Emma’s website and some information on her Mentoring Program. I contacted her because she was offering a free consultation that allowed me to learn more about what her Program had to offer.
I felt an instant connection with Emma. She was happy to answer any questions I had, was friendly, informative, genuinely interested in what I had to say and came across as someone who really wanted to share her knowledge and make a difference to others.
How Emma communicated and built rapport with me on that day, has remained the same ever since. Joining Emma Blomfield’s Mentoring Program has proven to be one of the best business decisions I have made to date.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MENTOR PROGRAM?
- You must provide something unique that sets you apart from everyone else, regardless of whether that is a service, your approach, suppliers you work with, or your work ethic so that your potential clients can clearly differentiate you from your competitors.
- Have a very clear understanding of who your target market is, or at least who you want to go out and target. So that your business processes, practices, and systems can be structured to support these markets.
- Know and believe in your worth. Be confident when talking about your pricing, because you are worth it, and if you don’t believe it then no one else will.
- Make sure you are adequately insured for the work you do.
- Ensure that you have appropriate and up-to-date legal contracts in place to support the service that your business provides, including worst-case scenarios. Then you can sleep well at night knowing that you and your business are protected.
- Surround yourself with professionals (such as Accountants & Solicitors) that are keen to get to know your business well, value their relationship with you and reflect your business ethics, morals, and values. They are an important part of your team.
- A social media presence is important and it’s best to concentrate on 2 and do it well, rather than spend time on them all, and execute it poorly.
- Be committed to continued learning and self-improvement so that your business has the opportunity to flourish.
- Sharing your knowledge is powerful – it does not make you vulnerable.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO HAVE ACCESS TO GROUP COACHING OVER 4 WEEKS?
Fantastic! At your fingertips, you have a small group of wonderfully talented and creative individuals who have all come together for the sole purpose of sharing and learning. All it takes is a little bit of courage on day 1 of week 1, to introduce yourself and the rest is easy.
When you join the Mentoring Program, you join Emma’s Facebook support group. This adds another dimension of support which is accessible during the Program so that participants can share information with each other. The forum allows you to obtain feedback and opinions, advice etc on current business issues you may be facing or for just seeking assistance on some of the homework you have to complete each week. It helps build trust and form stronger relationships with those who are or have been, part of the Program in the past.
HOW IS YOUR BUSINESS DIFFERENT FROM BEFORE YOU STARTED THE MENTOR PROGRAM?
It’s been turned upside down on its head…in a good way! Ultimately, the program has given me the increased confidence to go out there and create a business I can be proud of. Before I participated in Emma’s Mentoring Program, my business sat on the sidelines, which I am very happy to say, is no longer.
My business (and I) have benefited from the expanded network I have now started to foster as a result of my increased confidence. I now have a dedicated Instagram Page and a LinkedIn profile with 500+ connections which have already led to several inquiries. I have also reached out to my local BNI chapter, which coincidentally has a strong property following, thus enabling me to add to my supplier and provider portfolio. This has translated into several successful introductions with potential work pending.
I have sourced an Accountant whose values and ethics are more aligned with my business and my way of thinking. Now, figures and spreadsheets aren’t anywhere near as confusing. She is someone who always has the time to answer my questions, no matter what they are. She gets me and I finally get her!
Emma recommended her Solicitor to me, who has proven to be an outstanding contributor and supporters of my business. She has taken the time to learn about what I do and the challenges I face so that she can provide me with watertight working contracts for my clients and trades. Her professional services were provided at a discounted rate as I was a participant in Emma’s Mentoring Program. This translated into significant savings, which was greatly appreciated when you consider the amount of money it costs to set up a business.
PLUS, It won’t be long before:
- My business will be successfully rebranded and will be aligned with the services I offer.
- My website will be up and running which will support me in having a much stronger social presence.
- I will have appropriate legal documentation to support my business activities.
- I have a fee structure that now recognises the skills, experience, and qualifications I bring to each project and appropriately rewards me for the services I perform.
WHO DO YOU THINK THE MENTOR PROGRAM IS PERFECT FOR?
- I think this program is flexible enough to cater to a broad professional dynamic in the design arena, whether you are an Interior Designer, Decorator, Stylist, Graphic Designer, Architect or other professionals in a related field.
- Those who are willing to share & support others & who have a genuine desire to grow their business & learn from others.
- Those who wish to turn their hobby into a business.
BOOK IN YOUR COMPLIMENTARY 1:1 DISCOVERY CALL WITH ME TODAY AND GET READY TO JOIN US FOR THE NEXT MENTOR PROGRAM KICKING OFF ON 24TH OCTOBER 2019
One of my most favourite rooms to design and decorate would have to be nurseries. The briefs from my clients are always waaay more creative and fun than lounge rooms and bedrooms for adults. Don’t get me wrong, I love designing those rooms too but there’s a bit more fun you can have with a nursery in terms of colours and patterns. Plus, everything is so teeny tiny and just so darn cute!!!!
Gender Neutral Nursery Styling
I first started working with this client earlier in the year when she was only a few months pregnant. She had a really clear idea of what she wanted the room to look like but struggled to find the right suppliers to execute it. Enter me! We met at her home and chatted for about what she wanted the room to feel like and showed me a couple of things she’d already purchased for the room too. After we met I got to work making up the below mood board, picking out all the specific items we discussed in our meeting.
Then once we were happy with the overall design (we made a few tweaks here and there), we started ordering the items. A few weeks before bub was due I popped out to visit for half a day and we unboxed everything, unwrapped all the cute linen and got to work making the room look beautiful!! This is the end result, a gorgeous gender neutral space full of texture and light. Three weeks after my visit I got a message to say a little baby boy now calls it home.
If you’d like help putting a nursery together, email me for a quote! [email protected]
Within days of touching down from Europe I had a call from Beds N Dreams asking me to pleeeease helllllp them with styling their Spring/Summer catalogue photoshoot. I got to work picking out 15 different looks for each of the beds we were going to be photographing. This prep work is the most important part of a photoshoot, it’s time consuming looking for every single item that will appear in the shoot but the Beds N Dreams team had access to a range of bed linen suppliers which made my life easier. I picked out all the linen, cushions, decor items, books, lighting and flowers and then pulled it all together over three days. Here’s a look at some of the final images we ended up with for their catalogue…
All furniture and linen by Beds N Dreams.
P.S. If you’d like a quote for stying, drop me an email! [email protected]
It’s not even spring yet but I feel as though I’m ready to declutter before the warmer months arrive! Are you like me, if your rooms are a mess you feel like everything is in a total shambles? I have some friends who don’t mind mess (I avoid going to their houses ;)) and other friends who spend their weekends obsessively cleaning their kitchens.
A few years ago my mum gave me a copy of Marie Kondo’s The Joy Of Tidying Up. I laughed and asked her why she was giving me a book about cleaning up when I was the neatest child she’d raised (don’t ask about my younger brothers…). But after reading the book I had a huge urge to unpack my entire wardrobe and turf 40% of it! It was therapeutic. It felt great. So from then on I became a little bit obsessive about decluttering.
Moving house is a great opportunity to do a huge clear out because you’re forced to see and touch every item you own before moving it into the next place. But what can we do outside of those times to keep on top of the mess?
Here are my top tips for decluttering your living space:
For most of us, storage, or lack of, is the reason why we’ve got so much “stuff” on display. If you can work out what you might need more of in the room, like storage baskets for small items or do you need a bigger storage system like a sideboard or buffet? Can you rework some of the furniture in the space, upsize your TV unit to a buffet so you get more storage in the TV Unit. Or add pull out baskets to your bookshelf to hide some of the items you need but aren’t necessarily nice to look at?
Alright, confession time, who’s going to put their hand up and admit they own too much!? Yeh, didn’t think you would confess to that but that’s okay, you can live in denial a little longer 😉 If you are brave enough to admit you may have a little addiction to ‘stuff’ then let’s find a way to work through this. Do a physical inventory check of what you own, start pondering other uses for them or if a big chuck out is an easy place to start.
Once you’ve worked out what to keep and what to chuck, go back through the ‘keep’ pile and work out the categories the items belong in. You might find that seeing it all lumped into categories means you can chuck more out too! Once you have the categories identified (decor, books, electronics, etc etc) you can then decide what storage systems will work better to house the ‘stuff’. It might mean you need a coffee table with a lower level for magazine storage, or it might mean you need a bookshelf to store your books. They don’t have to be expensive changes, re-working what you’ve got might be enough.
It’s totally normal to get overwhelmed in the decluttering process. Start with smaller areas first, don’t try and tackle the entire project in one hit. Break it into areas of the room, like the TV unit or the bookshelf and then work your way around the space. Give yourself a set goal so it does eventually get done. Maybe two Saturday afternoons in a row is all you need to get on top of things. Or set aside a whole day and sit down with your partner to tackle it together – a problem shared is a problem halved!!!
What are some of your decluttering tips and tricks?!
At my recent Business of Decorating Masterclass we had three marketing and branding specialists join the panel discussion. One of the most common topics to come up was around Instagram and how to make it work better for business. We all use it for collating inspiration and ideas but using it for business comes with a whole new set of rules.
I asked my publicist and marketing guru Alicia Penhorwood from Harper Collective Management to answer a few key questions about how to make instagram work better for you and your business.
Instagram for Interior Designers
- Is Instagram still a powerful tool to convert followers into clients?
The beauty of Instagram is that you can build connections with your dream clients and create a thriving platform to promote your brand without a huge investment. It’s also one of the first places a client will look at when thinking about working with you. This means that if your Instagram isn’t on it’s A-game that client might keep scrolling to find someone who is more aligned with them.
When it comes to converting clients on Instagram it’s a fine line between selling and adding value. You want to be enriching your followers lives more than you’re trying to sell to them. Otherwise it’s like trying to watch your favourite TV show with half an hour of ads in between.
A great place to start is to map out your content calendar for the month. If you’re wanting to book more initial design consultations, then you might look at incorporating a few posts around projects you’re working on. You could also show how you helped bring the clients vision to life from the first initial consultation to the end result. Then drop in a mention of having limited spaces available for initial consultations for the month and guide people on how to book.
- What do you see are the main benefits of using Instagram stories?
We can all relate to sitting on Instagram and just watching Instagram stories. This means that if you’re not using them, you’re missing out on a piece of the pie.
Instagram stories is the perfect way to welcome your audience behind the scenes and give them a glimpse into the process that goes into creating people’s dream homes. They also let you keep in touch with your audience without worrying about thinking of the perfect caption or maintaining a beautifully colour coordinated Instagram grid. Think of Instagram stories as a way to connect on a deeper level with your audience and maintain a relationship with them in between posts.
- Should I make sure the images I’m posting are really polished or can I share some behind the scenes stuff?
This depends on how you want to reflect your brand to your dream clients. Usually I would recommend keeping your Instagram grid filled with high-quality, polished images and then using your Instagram stories for those fun behind-the-scenes. However, if your brand is all about keeping it real, then 100% share that post of your overflowing candle collection. (Because you can never have too many candles right?). Remember to make sure all of your content is aligned with your content pillars, branding and marketing goals.
- Where do you see video assisting interior designers in building their following on Instagram?
Incorporating video into your content is such a beautiful way to connect with people more than you could through an image and copy. Especially for Interior Designers this is a really exciting way to bring potential clients into your projects and communicate to them exactly who you are and why you’re perfect for them in a way that is going to captivate their attention.
To keep it simple, we all follow Instagram accounts that inspire us in some way. So, when mapping out your video content think about your audience and what they would love to see.
You might like to incorporate styling how-tos or walk people through the design process that goes into making over a client’s master bedroom or share a day in life which shows off a bit of your personality.
- How often should I be posting?
There is so much pressure around how often people should be posting on social media that it takes the fun out of it. Start by asking how often you have time in your week to really dedicate yourself to crafting a post that takes your audience into consideration and gives you the time to respond to their comments. That way you are making sure you’re feeling inspired and connected to the essence of your brand when posting,
If that’s every three days then perfect, let’s start with that!
I’m a big believer that your vibe attracts your tribe. So, if you’re just putting out content for the sake of it, then people are going to sense that through your posts.
Instead if you’re organised, sharing thoughtful content and dedicated to really showing up for your audience then you’re going to build a buzzing community and attract the right types of people to your brand.
Quality over quantity wins every time and if you’re able to work out a social media strategy that fits in with your lifestyle and allows you to deliver consistent quality content then you’re nailing it!
What are some of your favourite instagram tricks?!