7 Tips To Help You Decorate Like a Stylist

7 Tips To Help You Decorate Like a Stylist

Do you feel like your home needs something but can’t quiet put your finger on it. When it comes to adding some wow factor or even just giving a room a finished look it can be overwhelming and difficult to work out exactly what it needs. Here are some interior designer tips I can share

Em Henderson in her book Styling says “styling just means giving a space a sense of a personality”. I couldn’t agree more.

Here are my seven tips for what you can do right now without a stylist to help create a more cohesive and polished look that suits your style.

1. Give your living room furniture breathing space.


One of the easiest quick styling fixes is to rearranging your furniture. So many homes have all of their living room furniture hard up against the walls. If you look at some of the most beautiful rooms in magazine or by designers, the living room furniture is floating in the room.  Its important to give your furniture breathing space.

By simply moving the lounge off the wall by 30cm it can change the feel of the room.  This is not always the rule if you have a super small space but try to arrange the furniture so it looks likes it is in conversation with the other pieces. Obviously not bookcases etc but definitely for seating.

2. Always use feather inserts for decorative cushions.


If you have ever wondered why cushions in magazines or on display are puffy and beautiful and your recent purchase looks more like a pancake now it lives in your home?

Most of the time the cushions you purchase in a retail store have synthetic filling.  In a short period of time by laying on these, it will cause your pillow to look flat. Its all to do with the insert. The secret is to swap your insert with a feather filled one and just like magic no matter how squished they get, a gentle shake and reshape will get them light and fluffy again.

I buy all my duck feather inserts at Ikea for only $8 each (FJÄDRAR 50x50 size). They come in all sorts of sizes and once you have enough you can insert them into any cushion you buy.

3. Hang your artwork or framed images at the right height.



One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when hanging artwork or images is that they hang them super high. The correct hight for any image hung on the wall is the have the middle of the picture about the average persons eye height.

In the image above you can see where the artwork is hung in relation to a dining table. In the two images below, the bottom of the artwork should be sitting about a head higher than the sofa. It is always a lot lower than you think.



4. Shop your own home.



Friends who visit our home are always saying, “I like your new…….”  when actually it’s furniture or accessories I have had for years and years but used to be in another room. I shop my own home.  I am always moving things around and trying new looks.  Lamps are on high rotation around my home as are cushions and artwork. Best of all its fun and free. Take a fresh look at the homewares and furniture you have in other rooms or even in storage and repurpose into another room.


5. Learn to mix high / low end pieces as well as old & new.



There are now a lot of options in buying house stuff and many fabulous items that are on point for price and can be sourced from Target, Kmart or even the Reject shop.  Its about creating interest and balance with items you buy and things you already have.  If you purchase a new modern metal cube for your coffee table, sit it next to an old wooden bowl or something that has history.  Trendy pieces can be overdone so remember. just one or two key pieces on display is just right.

6. Choose the right size rug for the living room.



The right rug can help to balance out many of the elements in a room. It can provide colour, contrast or even texture to a space. The size of the rug is what most people don’t get quiet right.

A large rug will look good if placed right in the room. It should look like your seating area is sitting on your rug. If you can’t find a rug big enough in the style you like buy two or 3 and sew them together.

7. Always use ideas from magazines, Pinterest and blogs



If you feel you ran out of ideas. You can always go back to inspiration posts from Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Study pictures of coffee tables to see how they stack books and add trays, see how they place cushions etc.

 You do not have to reinvent anything, if you see a look you love try it. There are ideas you can find by simply walking in the mall or shopping for new plates in the home section.

Images: 1/via pinterest   2/  Highgate House  3/via pinterest 4/Ikea 5/ Kara Rosalund 6/ Pinterest 7/ Decoholic 8/ Stylizmo 9/ andersonandgrant.com 10/ Decorpad  11/ TheEverygirl
An amazing butlers pantry

An amazing butlers pantry

A beautiful kitchen that I really liked is featured in the latest online issue of Trends Magazine. {this magazine has a special place in my heart as I worked there for many years}.

This kitchen has generous proportions and the architect Stephen Akehurst has taken a fresh approach to incorporating a butlers pantry and delivered this stunning design.

A wall had been placed in the middle of the kitchen to create two zones.  From this angle it looks like a standard kitchen with the rangehood and cooker centered.  But take a closer look and you can see behind the wall is a walk through butlers pantry.

This is fabulous…. I spy 2 dishwashers and another sink. What a great place stack all your plates after entertaining as no one can see the mess, love it! Also love those pantry cupboard doors with what looks like a metal mesh insert.

In the pic to the right, that has to be a beautiful large french door fridge/freezer hiding under that custom made cabinetry.  Oh its kitchen design heaven.

The lighting is a key to this amazing space.  There are 5 windows in the kitchen not including the large dining area ones.  I love that this kitchen has been designed around these, most kitchen are lucky to have one window.

 The lighting on the overhead cabinets is another way to create such a beautiful, light and airy space.

Note the paneled ceilings and stunning hardware. So much to love….10 out of 10 for functionality and style, this kitchen is going straight into my top 5.

House of the Week # 6

Greg Natale is one of my favourite designers who creates elegant, bold and glamorous interiors.  Greg is a Sydney based interior designer and has a Hollywood Regency sort of style (or call it new regency). The Iife house is absolutely stunning Sydney townhouse.

I would say Greg’s signature colour is black and he uses it to perfection. When you look at all these images, black is the feature colour, yet this house remains light , bright & airy. That is what I love about his style, he just makes things work and tends to throw the rule book out the window.

This informal seating area works well in this small walk through space.  The rug is divine and I think it is from Greg’s own designer collections.

Love this shot, so fresh and is a great example of using all different types of objects and eras to decorate your home.

A beautiful black kitchen. There is plenty of natural light in this space and also the flooring and ceiling bookend the cabinets with light.  The custom designed cabinetry pattern on the pantry is fab.

The splash back looks like pressed metal , but I think they are tiles.  They look fantastic and add glamour and texture.

Continuing the black theme in the outdoor area.

Oh yes sweet & stylish…what fabulous baby room. So perfectly simple.  Love the detailing on the curtains and the blue Arne Jacobsen egg chair

A shot of pink in the master bedroom with another Greg Natale rug.  Colour works well with black especially when you throw in a good dose of white to balance.

Hope you enjoyed this bold and beautiful house of the week.

House of the Week # 5

A hundred year old home in Oregon USA that was given an amazing renovation to make it fresh and contemporary for a young family.  Jessica Helgerson was the interior designer and this renovation won the 2011 Pacific Northwest Design Award for Best Residential Project Under $400,000.

I quite simply LOVE LOVE LOVE this home. For fear of repeating my “love this” “how fabulous” etc I will just make note of all the amazing design features.

Marble subway tile has been used more for a feature than just a splashback.  This kitchen would be in my top 5 of all time. It had generous proportions, lots of natural light, shaker style cabinetry, white with touch of grey and fantastic light pendants.

Looking at the kitchen from another angle, these glass door cabinets serve as a room divider into the dining area.  How clever and stylish and they go all the way to the ceiling.  It gives the kitchen a light airy feel and is a great place to keep glassware.

Round tables not that common, but this one is a perfect fit for this dining room.  A dark charcoal on the walls continues the grey concept.  Different strengths of what might be the same colour throughout the house.

This room shows how modern contemporary pieces { like the light pendant and sofa} can work perfectly with traditional {armoire} & classic style {the rest of the room}.  Bravo Jessica Helgerson for a stunning collection of styles that makes this room unique and oh so very stylish.

The living room takes on a more modern vibe.  The Eero Saarinen Womb Chair {here in red} is one of my all time favourite pieces of furniture. It is so comfortable and the cream one is on my wish list.

This laundry on a landing looks great, but I have a few ???? about this.  Where is the sink? Is this the main washing area? What happens when laundry piles up {as it does with a young family} and where is your ironing board etc? Anyway the cabinetry is stunning.

The powder room is elegant and has made great use of a small space.  The grey in a lovely soft tone and the wall scones bring a luxury touch to the space.

The bathroom a fantastic window treatment that is waterproof and great hexagon floor tile.

For more images please visit Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Hope you enjoyed this fabulous home.

A family home & stylish homewares

 A family home on the NSW Central Coast that is simplified, unpretentious and gives a nod to classic beach side design.This home is a fabulous example of a stylish livable space. The owners of this home are Sammy & Roy who undertook a large cosmetic renovation and the results are fab. This home is featured in this months issue of Home Beautiful.

This deck area has embraced a more outdoor living room vibe, with a great natural woven rug. The large white sheer curtains can be drawn to make the room cosy or keep out the sun in high summer.  Curtains are a great way to add colour or softness to your deck area. Easy to take down and wash as well.

{apologies for the less than crisp images, I had to scan these ones}

One of my biggest mistakes when we built our new kitchen was to forget to create a space for the microwave…duh. I still don’t have a good place for it and it has to sit on the kitchen bench.  Always take into account, microwaves, rubbish and recycling areas when designing your kitchen.

A well designed simple kitchen.

I love the wood paneled ceiling painted white.  Because the height of this room was lower than the rest of the house the owners came up with a great solution to still be able to have a chandelier.  They hung it off the side of the bed in the corner of the room – very clever.

Sammy has an online shop with a range of fabulous homewares that she has made.  Her office features her materials and inspirations. Check out her gorgeous homewares here.

Loving the white linen bunting she has that is threaded on natural jute you can see up on her verandah.

Sweet little cubby hole to use for display, while the rest of the under stair area has been used for loads of draws to store bit & pieces.

I love this little girls rooms because it does NOT have candy pink painted on the wall.  I always try to get clients to pick the lightest shade possible for pink or purple for their daughters room.  Let the colour flow from the fabric, furniture & decorations.

Wow this cushion goes straight on my wish list.  Fab colour combination and take on the classic Union Jack.

Sammy Jo also has a great selection of kids bunting, bags and decorations.

If any of you have been crafty and created some bunting for your home, send me a pic as I would love to see it.

Painted Floors

Painted floors is a new DIY trend that’s emerging these days.   Wooden floors are no longer limited to stains and limewashing. Many of you have in the past 15 years ripped up carpet in an older home to reveal floorboards which were then given a clear varnish.

If your looking to add a whole new look to your home this is it.  Its not a weekend job, you need time to prep and paint with maximum drying time between coats but the results can be fabulous.

Tobi Fairley


  You can play with colour, patterns, striped, chevron etc.  I really love the look of contrasting wood with paint. I do love the clean lines of stripes and I imagine that the process of the actual painting would be easier too.

I love the power of paint, its ability to transform a space never ceases to amaze me.

via Decor Pad


I have seen many amazing designs  for painted floors that I would love to share with you, so I will collect them all and write another post very soon.

Southern Living


Would you consider painting your floors? Have you ever thought to paint your ceilings? Read this post on Painted Ceilings for more inspiration on adding colour in unexpected places.

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