What Are The Most Important Things to Look For In An Interior Designer in Sydney?
Committing to hiring an interior designer is a bit like going on a blind date? What will happen once you open up the doors to your home for this stranger to re-arrange and re-design?! A good interior designer doesn’t take the responsibility of decorating or designing someone’s most personal space lightly. We know the level of trust between client and designer needs to be really strong in order to guarantee a beautiful outcome for the client. There’s plenty of interior designers in Sydney but how do you decide which one is right for you and your project?
We recommend a three pronged approach to determining which designer is the designer for you.. Review their portfolio of previous work, their service offering and their client communication.
Who you choose to work with needs to have a solid amount of experience in the industry to know which furniture suppliers to use, what painters/floor sanders/plumbers etc are the most reliable and how to keep a project on budget and on time.
It also helps to review their testimonials and Google Reviews to see what previous clients have said about working with them. It’s important homework to do on your designer before committing.
Sydney Interior Design Services
If you’re looking to hire an interior designer or interior decorator in Sydney, we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you to consider…
Interior Designer Portfolio Review
Our portfolio showcases a wide range of homes we’ve decorated across Sydney. The images in our portfolio are often referenced by our clients as inspiration for their projects. We ask our clients when we start working with them some of the following questions:
- What do you like most about our portfolio?
- What drew you to working with us?
- What styles/colours most resonate with you?
What should you ask yourself when reviewing a designers portfolio?
- How adventurous are you with colour?
- Can you clearly articulate what you do and don’t like?
- What services does the interior design studio offer and do they fit my needs?
Here’s a look at some of our top projects for Sydney Interior Design…
Annandale Family Home
We worked with this Sydney based interior design client to fit out his home with furniture for him to enjoy with his two young children. The house overlooks a lovely lush green garden so our colour palette inspiration for inside actually came from the outdoors. We re-worked some furniture pieces so that the layout worked better for family living and weekend entertaining. We also upgraded the master bedroom suite to a nice sophisticated space for our client to relax in each night once the kids were asleep. We love the natural timber tones combined with soft upholstered pieces reflective of the green tree tops outside.
Click here to see more images of this charming family home.
Cammeray Family Home
Click here to see more images of this lovely bright family home on Sydney’s lower north shore.
How we work with our interior design clients in Sydney…
Our studio, based in Sydney’s leafy north shore of Mosman, is headed up by principle interior designer, Emma Blomfield. Emma’s philosophy behind her interior design studio in Sydney is to create an an affordable and practical interior design service offering. We meet with clients within a 25km radius of Sydney city. We also collaborate with clients outside of this area via Zoom.
Our focus is on how to give the client exactly what they want without breaking the bank. We work with our clients to create spaces that focus on clever storage, beautiful colour palettes, warm welcoming feelings and more. We love to collaborate with our clients rather than dictate the entire look and feel without input.
Our decorating and design process always starts with an initial consultation to discuss the project in more depth with our client. We use this consult as an opportunity to take photos and measurements as well as brainstorm initial interior design concepts. From there our team comes up with the preliminary concepts, start sourcing specific furniture pieces to suit each room of the house and start documenting it all together in a moodboard to present to the client for approval. Once we’ve designed the spaces we get to work ordering the products from our trade only suppliers (passing on our trade discounts where possible) and arranging delivery of these beautiful new items. When we have all items in place, our team visits to style up a storm and leave the home looking like it’s ready for a magazine photoshoot or open inspection for sale! It’s an amazing experience watching the transformation of a space from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. You can read more about our interior design services here.
Our website design process is the same regardless of location – we are content first which means we develop the words, strategy, and user experience before any website graphic design is implemented on the browser. This will all be based on the creative brief that we develop together, which sets out your online goals, ideal client, target market, and the online journey you want to create for your business. We then develop wireframes, then desktop website design, the responsive design (for mobile phone and tablet) then launch. You can read more about our website design process here.
All our design packages are built to a client’s need – we do not fill templates, we respond to a client’s business goals and build digital solutions that aim to meet those goals. We’ve built websites for a wide range of businesses based in Hobart from bookkeepers to coaches, ecommerce and services.
Ready to work with us?
Contact us to tell us more about your project! We’d love to help bring your Pinterest board of home inspiration to life to create a home you’re truly proud of.
Interior Design Contact Form
Two rare opportunities to join our boutique interior design studio in Mosman!
JOB ROLE: Mid-Level Designer
Our team is growing and changing and we have availability for a new exciting roles within our team.
Who we are: A small but mighty interior design team. We live life in the fast lane and have a lot of fun doing so! We work on a HUGE variety of projects from small studio refurbishments through to large scale office renovations in the commercial design space. We all love our jobs and the industry that we work in so we’re looking for a very special person to join the fun!
MID-LEVEL INTERIOR DESIGNER
Are you an experienced and qualified mid-level interior designer with residential experience?
Daily Tasks Include
- Lead our project team to ensure projects run to tight deadlines
- Be responsible for managing the design development of client projects from concept to completion.
- Develop conceptual sketches of floor plan layouts
- Select furnishings, fixtures and equipment
- Manage delivery of client projects through to completion
- Client liaising
Skills & Experience
- Must love interiors to the point of obsession like we do!
- Excellent communication and organisational skills
- Proficient in SketchUp or AutoCad and able to read & interpret construction drawings.
- Must be a self motivated team player
- Confident meeting clients and attending site visits
- Manage multiple projects and clients simultaneously
- Must be obsessive about attention to detail
This role would suit someone keen to step into an autonomous role without being overseen at every turn. You will be responsible for delivering projects to a very high standard and enjoy working to very tight deadlines. We are a small business and operate at lightening speed. This is not a slow paced role, you will find yourself working across a huge range of projects and you’ll need to be comfortable being nimble and thinking on your feet.
We will accept full or part time for the right person. This role will be based in our studio in Mosman. Fridays are optional work from home days.
Please send through a cover letter, CV and examples of your work to email@example.com. Please only apply if you meet the criteria listed. This is not a junior position, we do require proof of experience for the role.
How much does it cost to furnish a room?
Talking about money makes most people squirm a little bit but it’s a really important part of the decorating and design process for us with our clients. If you’ve not furnished a full house before or if it’s been a number of years since you last did it, you probably (rightly) haven’t a clue how much money you need to set aside to execute the entire decorating process. But that’s totally fine and we expect that when we first start working with clients so prepare for this conversation in advance. We have a number of tools and spreadsheets we share with clients to work out a realistic budget for them so that when it comes time for us to start selecting products for their rooms we aren’t going for the most expensive items we can possibly find.
Here are a few helpful tips for you:
Do It In Stages
Most people do the decorating in phases. Some clients want to execute the whole lot in one go and if their budget allows for this then go for it. If not, work to a larger plan but take it in stages. For example, if you have the budget to get started on some of your larger ticket items like sofas, coffee table, art and dining table but you want to wait and save a bit before doing the other bits and pieces like cushions, rug, side tables and lamps then that’s a-okay! Good rooms take time and we are firm believers that the more time you have available to you for the decorating process, the more personalised your end result will be because you aren’t buying based on lead times and stock availability just to get the room furnished.
Make A Shopping List
If you’re working with an interior designer, it’s helpful to have thought about the specific pieces you really want in each room. That way when you first meet with your designer you can brief them on exactly the way you use the room and how furniture will impact the way you use the room. This list also then helps you start allocating some numbers against each item…
Cost It Up
Once you’ve worked out the specific pieces you need for the room, start doing a bit or research online to see what the average price points of those items are. Sites like Temple & Webster, Zanui, Freedom, Ikea, Oz Design Furniture and even Coco Republic if your budget stretches are a good place to start to asses differing price points per item. Create your own spreadsheet tallying each of the items in your list to get a realistic budget amount you’ll need to aim for if you want to be able to purchase every single item on the list. Don’t forget to include quantities of each item or you’ll end up short changing yourself when it comes time to buying five cushions instead of just one!
Don’t get caught out by not budgeting for things like freight, installation costs, unpacking and rubbish removal fees. They aren’t fun costs but they are important costs that you often can’t avoid when ordering large pieces of furniture. And trust us, you’ll want to pay the extra fees to have the delivery guys unpack, install and remove the rubbish. Ain’t nobody got time for that!!
Interior designers are able to access trade or wholesale pricing for a huge range of furniture and homewares stores so often your designer will be able to pass on their discount to you saving you between 10-40% off the recommended retail price. If you’re furnishing an entire house then using a designer is a no brainer with the mega savings you’ll be able to make! Just make sure you’ve done your homework first and you’re realistic about your budget so you aren’t wasting your designers time when they’re sourcing the pieces for you. You typically pay a designer by the hour to source products for you so if you actually want to spend a bit less on certain pieces, tell your designer that. It takes about the same amount of time to source a cheap and cheerful product as it does a high end one so it won’t matter too much to your designer what your actual budget is.
Budgeting Designers Fees
Add your designer/decorators fees to your budget too so you have an overall idea of what you’ll need to budget to get started. If you’d like to know more about how much a designer or decorator costs to hire, feel free to check out my FAQs with a budget breakdown or get in touch and I can send you a quote!
Here’s a bedroom example to give you a full budget breakdown:
- Queen Bedhead – $599
- 2x Bedside Tables – $559 ea
- 2x Bedside Lamps – $189 ea
- Rug – $679
- 2x Cushions – $69.99 ea
- Throw Rug – $99.99
- Queen Quilt Cover – $299.99
- Queen Sheet Set – $245
- Pendant Light – $459
- Framed Artwork – $355
TOTAL BUDGET: $4,372.96 (Plus freight, install, unpack and rubbish removal if you opt for it)
That doesn’t include the mattress, window treatments, wallpaper, wardrobes or other bits and pieces specific to whoever is living in the room so you can see how the costs add up really quickly. Especially if you’re costing out an entire home.
Want an estimate of how much it’ll cost to furnish your room? Send us some more info about your house to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in this form for a FREE budget estimate!
How to create an insta-worthy home!
It’s easy to get caught in the Instagram scroll while sitting on the couch in front of the TV and looking around your home and wondering why your place doesn’t look like the houses you’re seeing on your screen. Never fear, there’s plenty of tips you can implement at home (and on a budget!!) to make your house insta-worthy.
It’s all about being flexible and creative while coming back to practicality. When putting a home together I follow a few strict rules like working out what the specific needs and wants are of each of the people inhabiting the home. Then from there I establish what kind of a risk the homeowners/renters are willing to take when it comes to colour, pattern, texture and of course budget. Once the plan has been set in motion it’s about making sure the selection of specific products comes back to the needs and wants of each person in the home. If the kids are using the lounge room in the day it needs to be practical and useful for the kids, but come night time if the lounge room turns into a dinner spot for Mum & Dad with a bit of TV watching then the room needs to function for this purpose too!!
Creating a beautiful space doesn’t always mean you need to start from scratch or spend thousands to make it happen. Often it’s about looking subjectively at your space and reassessing everything in the room. Pretend you’re inspecting the house for the first time to buy it. What can you get rid of that is no longer serving a proper purpose for the family? Then start making a list of what you’d like to change and head to the shops to start researching some purchases. Keep form and function top of mind, not just how pretty something looks. That way you’ll be investing in the right pieces for your home without any regrets.
For more tips and tricks on creating an insta-worthy home, click here to watch the video and read more about creating a beautiful space on a budget.
There’s no denying keeping everyone at home for an extended period of time has meant we’ve all looked a little more inward of late. As I’ve been visiting clients and working on their homes I’ve certainly noticed changes in the past 12 months when it comes to the way we design and decorate homes. Social distancing, mandatory mask wearing and restrictions on capacities in venues has meant we’re suddenly asking a lot more of our homes and how they function. For some, they’ve always paid close attention to the way their family uses their home, for others it’s been a steep learning curve to rework their existing space to suit the changing needs of their family post Covid-19.
Changing home trends since Covid-19
I thought I’d write a little summary of some of the trends I’ve seen, some may stay for good, others may go but one thing is for certain, we’ve all found a new appreciation for the space we call home no matter how big or small it may be.
Working From Home
Ok so I’m starting with a very obvious one but it’s been interesting to see how people responded to this a year ago vs today. Often my clients would ask for a space to work from home pre-Covid days but now with so many big businesses offering more flexible working arrangements than ever before it’s become a big focus for my clients. The size of your home or room will have an obvious impact on where you set up a work from home station but what I’ve noticed when planning floor plans for clients who are renovating or building new homes is that the work from home space is now finding a completely dedicated room rather than just a nook or add on to a kitchen space. Often we’d jam a desk into a guest room to allow for a WFH space. Now we’re focusing on custom built joinery to provide large desk space for both working parents or couples to be able to comfortably work in the same room without stepping on each others toes. Or allowing for study space for high school aged children. We’ve also seen an increase in requests for dedicated study spaces or home offices when people are inspecting new homes to buy. So while the working from home thing is hardly a new trend, it’s certainly upped the ante when it comes to the space people are creating when working from home.
Formal Dining Rooms
Remember formal dining rooms? We spent most of the early 2000’s turning them into media rooms but now we’re seeing a come back for formal dining spaces in homes. For a while there I think many people forgot what it was like eating as a family at the same time at the dinner table and when stuck at home for months on end in 2020 there were far less distractions to take you out of the house of an evening which meant more and more dinners were had together in the same spot each night. A lot of my clients are now asking for formal dining spaces to be reinstated where we once would have removed them. I think this is one of the most positive things to have come from what was an all round shocking year for everyone and hope it lasts well into the future.
Most homes built in the past 20 years have had a huge focus on open plan living, since Covid hit and everyone found themselves working, studying, eating meals and entertaining the family in the same space it’s become apparent that having one massive open space with no doors to close for privacy or to listen in on Zoom calls to be rather frustrating. So we’re installing smart zoning into open plan spaces to allow for flexibility. So if Mum’s running a zoom meeting from the dining table while the teenager is laying out an art assignment on the rug in the lounge room neither will be distracted by the other.
With restrictions on numbers of people allowed into venues and just the change from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) changing to FOGO (Fear Of Going Out) we’ve found ourselves with a dilemma of where to entertain when you do want to invite some friends over. Aussies are lucky in that we aren’t as affected by the changes of seasons like our friends in the Northern Hemisphere so there’s only really a couple of months a year we aren’t able to entertain friends in outdoor spaces (and I know many clients who have purpose built outdoor spaces that can be used all year round). Many of my clients have been upgrading or updating their outdoor furniture with a focus on entertaining friends on weekends or having a space to eat as a family during the warmer months of an evening.
I’d love to know what you’ve noticed around the house about the way you live since our lives have been forever changed by Covid-19.
Love Emma x
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@example.com. 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.
If you’d like more information about how my decorating services work, click across to this page. Or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.