Styling your entry: first impressions do count!

When a guest enters my home, I would like them to feel immediately warm and welcomed.  I would like the first impression not only to invite guests further in, but also hint at what is to come.  The entry to a home is often overlooked, however with some clever styling can become a real highlight to enjoy each day.

Flooring

As with any scheme, it’s often easiest to start from the floor up.  Floor rugs and runners are so versatile and come a multitude of colours, shapes, materials and styles to suit any entry.  Floor rugs will warm the space, reduce noise, suggest the style of the home, inject colour and if well placed, will direct they eye onwards to the main areas of the home.  I love durable grass weave and faded middle eastern rugs.

Walls

You can really have fun on the walls in this typically small space.  Play with the forbidden dark paint colours, break up the wall with panelling and even consider including the ceiling.  Mirror panelling is the perfect way to bounce light around and make the space double in size.  Mirror now comes in all sorts of finishes, from traditional silvered to endless antiqued effects.  Wallpapers can make a seriously stylish impact and cover damaged walls.  Try a light timber look wallpaper to cocoon the space and allow the horizontal planks to lead the eye, as suggested with the rug, onwards…

Furniture

If your space permits, a seat for taking off shoes and a quirky umbrella stand will be welcome additions.  A console creates the perfect surface for a vignette, perhaps with an artwork or mirror hung above.

Accessories

Hooks and shelves break up the wall and allow for an evolving style.  You can hang practical objects like hats and coats, or have more fun with any of your treasured objects.

Lighting

Your entry will need adequate lighting and there are many pendant lights, wall sconces, floor lamps and table lamp options available.  If you only use one, I think the best option is a feature pendant light, hung centred from the ceiling to create a general wash of light.

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Liven up your interior with indoor plants.

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The luscious green foliage of an indoor plant is so beautiful and versatile I think it’s an absolute essential for any interior.  A well placed plant can add the pop of colour you’ve been looking for, confidently trusting mother nature’s palette of greens to sit in harmony with any colour scheme.  The shape, colour and scale can be chosen to soften the look an interior and brighten up a dead space.

Another great benefit of indoor plants is that they improve air quality.  With so many voc’s swirling around in our homes today, how nice to think that this simple addition will cleverly filter out nasties like formaldehyde and xylene, not just a pretty face!

There are a few practicalities to keep in mind when selecting and caring for your new addition.

Which plant?

Now please, I’m not talking grandma’s cascading fern hanging from the corner in her pink tiled bathroom.  Like anything, if you’re going to do it, do it properly – think large in scale, wether that be with height or big bold leaves.  Consider the light in your home, a helpful tip is that the darker leaves need less light, this is because they photosynthesise more easily than lighter, coloured and varied leaves.

My favourites are …

Fiddle Leaf Fig – great for height and scale

Philodendrons – beautiful, big, deep green leaves

Schefflera – oval shaped glossy leaves

Bromeliad – will add a real punch of colour

Zanzibar gem – A newbie to the indoor plant scene, a fresh new look

Make it easy for yourself.

A trick I learnt from planting in pots outside applies inside, don’t plant them directly in a big heavy pot.  Select your pot to suit the colour scheme of your interior then place the plant in, still in its plastic pot, making sure the pot is big enough to hide the plastic.  This will make the plant easy to move, hold water in and insulate better than a pourous pot will and even act as a saucer underneath the plant.

Does it come with a care label?

I keep the label that the plant comes with because often it has some great care advice that I can refer back to such as watering frequency and fertiliser requirements.

Here are some other useful tips;

  • I find that when I pick off the dead leaves and flowers, particularly on geraniums, it encourages new growth.
  • Your big leaved friends will also enjoy a wipe down with a damp cloth, an equal mix of water and milk will do wonders.
  • Look out for insects which tend to appear when the plant is suffering a bit of neglect.  Remove the bugs first and if they persist you may need to spray.  I’d research a natural home remedy first before visiting the nursery.
  • Be aware of temperature changes that may affect plant, like direct summer sun and heating / cooling appliances.

I hope you enjoy your indoor plants and they bring many years of beauty, serenity and clean air!

Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets + Philosphers

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I recently read a sweet little book on one of my favourite topics called Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets + Philosphers.  Leonard Koren, the author, has really done his research and explains the concept of Wabi Sabi in an easy to understand, slightly poetic way.  I read the whole book one sunny afternoon!

“Wabi-sabi resolved my artistic dilemma about how to create beautiful things without getting caught up in the dispiriting materialism that usually surrounds creative acts.”

“Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things.”

The Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi is something that I try to consider in my every day life and I really believe the ideals lead to a happier and more fulfilled existence.  It can be a challenge to define, but put simply Wabi Sabi encourages one to see the beauty in the imperfect.  As a designer, I see my fair share of the most beautiful products on offer.  Whilst this is a pleasure that I truly enjoy, I am very aware of over consumerism and really don’t like to see waste of items due to trends coming and going.

To design an interior scheme with Wabi Sabi ideals, first ensure the space is clutter free, clean and simple.  Ideally, handmade furnishings using honest, natural materials such as timber, stone, paper, natural fibres and clay (pottery) showcase nature and the ageing process.  Objects should not have any ‘status’ or make a statement of over importance.  Though it may not be realistic to live entirely in this manner, Wabi Sabi can be implemented in small ways and even the awareness can really will make a big difference to the way we live.