Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Decorating the Outdoor Room

The outdoor room is becoming the quintessential addition to the Australian home. A multipurpose, undercover spot to enjoy some quiet reading, catching up with friends or even watching some TV, the outdoor room has the advantage of the fresh, natural breeze while still being protected from the elements.

Decorating an outdoor room is much like decorating an indoor room. Create a theme and decorate with furniture, soft furnishings, art and plants.

Lindy Evans from Windemere Interiors says an outdoor room is a great opportunity to create a super stylish or bright and cheerful space. "You don't have to play it safe when it comes to decorating an outdoor room," says Lindy, "start with a neutral base and accessorise with colourful cushions, rugs, mirrors and wall art for a funky look."

There are lots of products for outdoor rooms and it's recommended to use furniture specifically made for the outdoors. Polyurthene furniture wears well outdoors, but if you use timber, ensure it's treated and protected regularly.

Soft furnishings designed for the outdoors are useful too, to get longer wear out of your decoration. Outdoor rugs and cushions are made from weatherproof, easy to clean materials designed to weather the elements.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wall Art

Wall art can play many roles in the interior design of a space. It can be the finishing piece to compliment an already furnished room or the inspirational focal piece, around which the rest of the interior is designed.

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to wall art. Canvases, framed prints, photographs, paintings, fabrics and objects, just to name a few.

By beginning a room space using "art as inspiration", aspects of the artwork, such as two or three colours or textures, can be used throughout the rest of the room. This works beautifully for large, impact pieces.

When using wall art as a finishing piece, consider the theme and colours of the space and use aspects of this in the artwork, without overwhelming the rest of the room. This may be a beautiful canvas with tinges of red and blue to match the soft furnishings or driftwood to match a beach theme in the room.

Hanging wall art is an art form in itself and there are professionals that can do the job for you. Edam Triffet from Windemere Interiors says if hanging art in your home is a DIY job, then have someone make sure you have someone help you. "The top of the frame should be at eye level. People tend to hang artwork too high. It's always best to have someone else hold it for you while you stand back and decide, or create cutouts with paper and tape them on the wall before you commit to hammering in nails," said Edam.

Despite being called "wall" art, it doesn't necessarily have to hang on a wall. It could sit on top of a sideboard, or on an easel as a showpiece.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Blissful Bedrooms

We spend almost half our life in bed. It's the place for rest, relaxation and to recharge the batteries so you want to make it as blissful as possible.

Edam Triffet from Windemere Interiors says colour is the most important aspect when it comes to creating a blissful bedroom. "Ensure the colour in your bedroom is restful and not too stimulating. Blues are considered calming while reds and purples incite passion. The vibrancy of the colour and not the colour itself is the key factor, so while yellow is considered a stimulating colour, a pale lemon would be much more tranquil than a canary yellow," says Edam. A safe option is to use neutral colours such as cream and taupe, and use accent colours in soft furnishings such as cushions and quilt covers.

Lighting is also an important factor in the bedroom, particularly if you are a light sleeper. Ensure you have good control over both natural lighting and electric lighting. Dimmer switches for main lighting will give you great control over the general lighting of the room, or consider using lamps for subtle ambient lighting and function lighting such as reading.

To control natural lighting, the latest technique is to have a double curtain track, with a blockout fabric at the back and sheer fabric at the front. This gives you the option for full blockout if you are trying to sleep, or the sheer curtains durig the day to allow some light in but still maintain privacy.

Edam's top tip for a blissful bedroom is not to skimp on linen and matresses. "You spend almost half your life in bed so quality sheets and a good matress are an investment."

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Study Nooks

Study nooks are becoming increasingly popular and can make great use of otherwise unused space. Under stairs, in hallways and on landings are just a few clever places for them.

Increasingly though, study nooks are created as an important part of the overall design, sometimes replacing full size studies by clever use of cabinetry.

Study nooks have become very popular as the laptop replaces the PC. With the compact size of laptops, the space needed to house them has become smaller so a nook is a sufficient size space," she said, "built in cabinetry will also maximise the use of the smaller space.

When designing a study nook, it's important to consider storage, lighting and power. Designing storage for books, files, stationary and electronic items like printers will keep the area neat and tidy. Built in cabinetry such as shelving, filing cabinets, bins and drawers, particularly if it's built to the ceiling and the floor will provide maximum storage.

Lighting is a very important aspect of a study nook and should be considered in the design stage. Lighting can be built into shelving to keep cords out of the way and even if you use desk lamps, ensure there are powerpoints, ethernet ports and phone points.

All this will keep your study nook practical and functional and looking neat and tidy, or doors can perhaps hide the all the mess away.