Of course, whatever furniture and furnishing you choose for your place is entirely up to you. But since you ask, here are nine – er, enhancements that your home can probably do without…
Now, there’s nothing wrong with understated colours, and as a base to your overall decorating scheme, they can be a positive winner. But – top-to-toe off-white can be as bland as tofu. Naturally, a few simple pops of colour will work wonders, but if anything but neutrals gives you nightmares, try these décor tricks instead. Warm up your whites with timber flooring, furniture or shelving; give them an interesting edge with glass and metallic accessories; and add some texture – think linen fabric, shag-pile rugs or chunky wool knits. There – delectable, not dull.
The bewildering choice of many a landlord and new home builder, cheap vertical blinds should be reserved for super-basic office fitouts and dental waiting rooms… and maybe not even those. They’re outdated dust-gatherers, and random sections seem to have a mysterious habit of dropping off. Much better to opt for a chic, understated roller blind or sumptuous swathes of curtain fabric (choose sheers for a lighter look) – both can be a budget buy if you shop around. Try Ikea and Spotlight.
Your living room is as much a personal space as it is a place to entertain visitors and as such it should reflect your own style, not feel as though you have walked into a furniture showroom, pointed to a room set and told the happy salesperson that you’ll have the lot. Pick your big ticket items first – the Koala sofa has slightly Scandi-esque, classic lines and comes in two colours, grey and navy, that will work back with numerous modern schemes. Then layer up with smaller pieces, keeping to a similar palette or style so the whole look has a certain amount of cohesion without looking matchy-matchy. Bear in mind that you don’t have to shop the whole room at once – taking the time to find pieces you love will really stamp your personality on the space.
On the other hand, a whole selection of uncoordinated plates and glasses can look like a hot mess. There’s a real skill in making the eclectic look work on your dining table, and the answer lies in – as with your furniture – a certain amount of cohesion. Try symmetry – for instance, the same settings opposite each other, even if they differ from the ones next to them – or alternating just two sets of china. A similar colour scheme can always help unify a mass of mismatched items, and if all else fails, opt for a white tablecloth, white napkins and a central arrangement of white flowers as a focal point. See! Back to unity.
Over bright lights
Of course, there are some areas in your home where you need good illumination, such as task lighting in the kitchen, where you’re dealing with sharp knives and hot pots, in the wardrobe so you can identify colours easily, or a lamp for a reading corner. What you don’t need is maximum wattage simply EVERYWHERE. Instead of a ceiling runway of downlights, look at mixing and matching your lighting so that you have pools of soft illumination in different zones – think sconces, table lamps and dramatic central pendants or chandeliers.
Seriously, people, you spend roughly a third of your life in bed, so why settle for scratchy fabric? A set or two of soft and silky sheets is an investment worth making. Natural fibres are the best bet – they are breathable to help keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer – but not all natural-fabric sheets are created equal; depending on the weave, even some cotton sheets can feel quite rough to the touch. Koala’s sheets are constructed using a twill weave for a lush, silky feel, and as they’re made from sustainably grown eucalyptus fibre, they’ve got a feelgood factor on more than one level. That should help you sleep at night.
OK, this doesn’t apply to all mementoes gathered on your travels. After all, there are gems to be found in every country in the world, from Indian textiles and Japanese ceramics to Italian leather and British tea. However, before you whip out the credit card, you should ask yourself whether that set of humorous fridge magnets, hand-painted Moldovian shot glasses or dish bearing the legend “A present from [fill in city name here]” will take pride of place among the family photos or end up gathering dust in the attic until your next Secondhand Saturday.
An overworked theme
If you’re lucky enough to have a country bolt-hole or a beachside cottage, the temptation is often to decorate accordingly. Be aware, though, with a surfeit of straw bales and rusting old farm tools strategically positioned around your home, or a shells-with-everything approach to styling, you can have too much of a good thing.
Bin the blu-tack AT ONCE. If your poster/photo/print/children’s drawing is worthy of hanging on your wall, please give it a little dignity and put it in a frame. Try Kmart and Temple & Webster for a wide range of ready-mades, or if you’re willing to splash the cash a bit, consider turning to the professionals. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to transform a cheap artwork or poster with a proper mat and well-chosen frame.
To buy the Koala Sofa or Koala All Season Twill, just click here!
About the writer
Jane Parbury spent several years devising, crafting and editing the features in Home Beautiful magazine, both in print and online, before making a South Coast sea change and embarking on a freelance career. With wide experience as an editor and content producer for homes and lifestyle publications both in Australia and the UK, she lives and breathes all things interiors.