Learned on the job: mixing furnishings

As with any profession, there are some things that can only be learned on the job.  From my experience, getting that first job in Interior Design is no easy task.  I’d like to share some really vital tips in my next few posts that seem to be missing out there…

Mixing Furnishings

Successfully mixing furnishings is not an easy task and is something that Interior Designers will spend some time on, carefully considering their best options.  This is where reality TV shows are misleading – it’s not about a day of tearing through retail stores and making snap decisions, ending in bringing home half the showroom!

Image

http://sageatelier.files.wordpress.com/
This room really is an eclectic mix and is successful in relating each piece. The timbers are all harmonious in their tone, but not an exact match. The black and white zebra print is carried across from the floor to the sofa upholstery, even cleverly again in the black and white print on the wall. Colours are brought in on cushions, art and accessories that all seem to have a ‘friend’ somewhere else in the room.

Wether you are following a theme or putting together an eclectic mix, the pieces need to ‘talk to each other’.  There will need to be something that visually relates all of the furnishings.  Ask yourself, how does the colour of this chair (or texture, finish, pattern, shape, scale etc) sit with the colour of this side table?  Do they complement and bring out the best of each other?  Or do they clash and fight with each other?

Image

http://www.annerobin.com
Placing artworks in a french hang is fantastic practice at relating odd furnishings. These artworks appear random at first, but they all have colours that relate to other colours not far away. Framing is kept quite light in colour and thickness. The fabric on the sofa and cushions relate back to the artworks. See the geometric black and white artwork with the sofa? And the green leafy artwork with the cushion?

Furnishings don’t have to match and I think are better when they don’t.  Relating is more about linking one piece to another.  As an example, imagine a soft linen sofa placed on a sisal floor rug – both are natural tactile materials that will sit well together.  The same linen sofa placed on a graphic and bold synthetic floor rug… not so much.  Look for relations in style, texture, fabric, colour and shape.

Image

http://www.flodeau.com
The chairs are painted in different colours, but if you look closely you will see that these colours are taken from the wallpaper and are of similar intensity. The curving shape of the chairs is also reflected in the shape of the trees in the wallpaper.

Belle Editor-in-chief Neale Whitaker articulates my point well in a recent article– ‘Interior design becomes about balance and harmony – just because it’s free form doesn’t mean it’s a clash. There is a harmony and discipline to it.’

Styling your coffee table: fun and easy!

Styling a coffee table is a really enjoyable way to instantly transform a living room and display your favourite treasures.  With a few tried and tested tricks that I’ll share below, you’ll be able to update, rearrange and beautifully style not just your coffee table, but most other surfaces in your home!

Firstly, my golden rule above all else – it’s all about the layering.  

  • Image

    source unknown

Books

Stacks of books are a must for building height, adding colour and also imply a lot about the owner and their interests (so choose wisely!).  Neatly piled ‘coffee table’ books look great on their own, perhaps with an interesting object on top.  If your space needs a bit of character and edge, try sourcing some second hand vintage books, they are an incredibly cost effective tool in styling any space.

Image

burlapandlaceblog.blogspot.com.au

Trays

Trays are perfect for grouping collections and acting as the base of a layer.  I look for trays that are a contrasting material or colour to the table, but also stay harmonious to the scheme.

Floral

I may be going off on a bit of an ‘ideal world’ tangent, but when you can, invest in or pick fresh floral arrangements, they will literally bring life and vibrancy to any table.  I promise you will feel so much happier every time you walk by.  A more long term option is an indoor plant.

Treasures

The objects that you pick up on holidays, receive as gifts, find in the park… anything that is special to you will personalise the scheme and add the perfect finishing touch.   I always like to have at least one organic object to soften the look, so this can be in place for in between floral arrangements.

One last thing, as Coco Chanel would say ‘Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off’.  This advice applies just as well to styling.  Goodluck!

Having it all: A Designer’s Dilemma

Like a plumber with a leaking tap, a designer’s hardest job is their own home.  Honestly, we make our most difficult clients look like a breeze in comparison.  Personally, when it comes to my own home (which is currently rented, adding to the dilemmas), I am faced with such indecision that I end up doing nothing at all.  You see, I see so many beautiful homes, furnishings, textiles, styles, trends and every colour in between – how can I possibly choose?  How can I commit to a style, when I know I’m keeping my eyes open in case something better comes along?

I think I have found the answer.  I CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I can, really.  And I’ve found evidence, in Jessica Helgerson’s latest interior.  Here’s my checklist of my dream home – all found in the images attached.

* Neutral palette of whites and timbers, a must for all big purchases (just incase I change my mind again….)

* Moody grey / charcoal walls (ala Abigail Ahern)

* Light and airy space (a must)

* Australian / Scandi / Japanese style (in that order, mostly Aussie)

Local artisan: Sixhands

Today I was lucky enough to be re-introduced to local textile and wallpaper artisans Sixhands.  Australian owned, designed and made with a commitment to sustainable practices, Sixhands was founded in 2006 by three women – Alecia Jensen, Anna Harves and Brianna Pike.  I first learned of Sixhands a few years ago whilst sitting in traffic in Redfern, I used to peer in to the studio window and thought it all looked rather exciting, but never quite made it in there!  How fabulous now, that their designs be draped in front of me at a fabric showing.

What excites me most about Sixhands is that the designs are so versatile, all distinctly and proudly Australian in style.  From vivacious prints to monotone graphics to subtle neutrals, I am in overdrive plotting out where I can use them next.  I’d love to see Lorikeet Tequila Sunrise birds flying down my hallway walls!

See my favourites below;