Have you ever wondered how professional designers manage to mix colours, textures, patterns, materials and styles yet still create rooms that you adore?
I often approach the home decor stores with a particular style in mind, walk through the doors and fall in love with EVERYTHING, then become overwhelmed and walk away with nothing. I am easily confused!
If you’d like to strip away that overwhelm and become confident and clear with your design choices, here are three secrets from style guru, Neale Whitaker, that you simply must know.
Jess, from team Ayden + Jess, confessed that she is scared of using colour when decorating as she’s afraid of overdoing it. I can relate to that.
Neale agreed that there are so many wonderful colours and patterns around at the moment but advised that they need to be used sparingly. Colours and patterns can polarize people come auction day so never use them on the walls.
Alternatively, when decorating with neutrals, don’t be afraid of layering up the different patterns and textures. Layering of neutrals can really make a big impact.
During the mentoring session, Neale asked Jess what she thought of a large piece of wall art in the showroom. She bravely admitted that it wasn’t to her personal taste.
According to Neale, “personal taste” is key to having art that works.
“Don’t base your room around a piece of art.”
Most people choose a piece of art and then style the room around it. Neale disagrees with this approach.
Matching your furniture, cushions and window dressings to an artwork creates a showroom feel which is not appealing in a home. Art CAN clash – often it works better when it does!
Always buy art that appeals to your personal taste. Choose pieces that you love and that speak to you for whatever reason. The artwork doesn’t need to match the room perfectly – it just needs to work with the room.
The most important thing to remember is that art should always be hung at eye level. And if in doubt, go bigger.
Neale’s advice when it comes to choosing your artwork is gold.
“Design the room, put everything you love in the room, then find the art. Don’t try and do it the other way around because you will tie yourself up in knots.”
“Superheroes” is the term Neale uses to describe these amazing large light shades from Spence & Lyda. Hero pieces are the pieces that the eye is drawn to as soon as you enter a room.
If you have too many things, then no one thing is allowed to breathe.
“Only ever have one hero piece in a room.”
Something big and imposing that is neutral enough can work with a whole lot of different styles.
You can make alot of impact by putting larger pieces in a small room. But if you choose a large impact light, everything else around it needs to be fairly “quiet”. Let that piece absolutely sing.
I loved the copper lights that were introduced in The Block Glasshouse and would love to use them as feature pieces. Neale has some great advice if you’re thinking of choosing copper lights for your home.
You have to treat copper in the same way that you would treat a colour, or a very strong pattern.
Use it in small amounts.
Something extra – rugs
So you’ve got your colours just right, a superhero light and some artwork that you love but there’s still something missing.
The room needs a rug. Don’t become overwhelmed with the choices. Decide on your pattern and style and take heed of Neale’s advice.
Neale Whitaker’s DIY shopping guide
Neale took Jess on a tour of some of his favourite home decor shops. Each one of them beautiful.
I have listed the shops for you below, along with Neale’s reasons for loving them, to provide insight into what the professional designers look for when purchasing their products.
- Jardan – everything is locally designed and made here in Australia. Colours are used subtly and injected stylishly into their products
- Spence and Lyda – offer a diversity of design and an amazing sense of colour
- De De Ce – demonstrate neutrals so beautifully
- Tom Dixon Lighting – copper lighting at its best
And always remember…
Less is more.
Over to you now…
What’s your process? Have you ever engaged an interior designer or do you prefer to DIY and learn from shows like The Block? Please share your experience in the comments below.