Terra cotta – the two Italian words literally mean ‘baked earth’ – and it’s the grounded earthiness of this hard-wearing clay that has seen it transcend centuries to remain in style.

With matte and satine finishes already taking over from shiny metallics, we’re calling it: Terracotta is ready to shake off its ‘70s and ‘80s associations to stage a genuine comeback – not that it ever reallyleft us.

Here are four new, and not so new, ideas for incorporating the storied, textured finishes of terraccotta into your home.

1. The modern take

Terracotta may have started out in the terraces of Italian palazzos and the kitchens of rustic French farmhouses, but that’s not to say it looks out of place in a contemporary context.

UK designer Nick Fraser makes striking geometric pendant lights from the most traditional material you can muster – terracotta. Using 3D-printing technology to achieve a crisp, clean finish, the assymetrical forms are then slip cast, hand finished and glazed.

A modern use of a natural and traditional material. Picture: Nick Fraser Design

Fraser’s preference for the natural material comes from a desire to challenge our perception of its use – “the asymmetrical multi-faceted designs catch the light and shade beautifully on the two contrasting surface textures,” he says.

2. Keep it classic

Bounded in earthiness; freshened up with whiteness. Picture: Juan Baraja / Yellowtrace

The ‘80s may not quite be considered a classic era in design yet, but enough time has passed for some of those lingering styles to swing back into fashion – and the terracotta tile is one of them.

Terracotta-tiled flooring in this Madrid kitchen is brought up to date with crisp white joinery and details, which balances out the rusticity of the earth-toned floor.

TIP: Terracotta can be porous, so protect your tiles from moisture with a high-quality sealant to ensure they don’t get damaged.

3. All potted up

Yup, you can pick them up from Bunnings for less than $10, making terracotta pots your cheapest entry-level ticket into the look.

For a slightly more upgraded design element, we love these handmade terracotta planters, built specifically for macramé hangers. They’d look great hung inside or outdoors, imbuing a balcony or indoor terrace with natural, earthy vibes.

A retro relic, modern style. Picture: HandAndGlovesStore / Etsy

4. Take it outside

Natural stone pavers – while they can be pricey – are the best way to elevate your patio or outdoor terrace beyond its simple brick-paved or concrete past. Terracotta tiles, with their ‘been there for years’ look and intriguing variations in texture, can be a fantastic choice for high-traffic outdoor spaces.

This suburban oasis in Melbourne uses Antico Luce terracotta pavers from Eco Outdoor, which have been handcrafted and kiln-fired using traditional techniques to achieve that lived-in look.

TIP: Continue the same tile from your outdoor space into your home to offer a seamless blend between the internal living spaces and the garden.

Source: realestate.com.au

Living small may be all the rage but claustrophobic
spaces are not.

So how do you make your less-than-large living area feel comfortably spacious?

We consulted the experts. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Only keep the essentials

We’re all guilty of holding onto unneccessary stuff, so if your living room is feeling tight, it’s time to rid yourself of the junk.

Just make sure the room still reflects ‘you’ – as you’ll be the one living there.

Temple and Webster styled lounge room

Editing your collections will help you claim back some space. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Jonathon Fleming, Allira Bell / Temple and Webster

2. Avoid bulky pieces

It’s a no brainer that in a small room, furniture needs to breathe.

No matter how much you love that chunky Chesterfield, look to slimline pieces to furnish the space.

“Thanks to Scandinavian design, slim, mid-century furniture design is on trend,” says Ross Clayton, founder of Vast Furniture and Homewares. “Use those athletic lines to keep it airy.”

3. Measure twice before you buy

Remember, when it comes to furniture, it always looks smaller in the showroom.

It’s a common mistake to buy furniture that’s too big for a space. People will try and squeeze in an eight-person dining table into a tiny apartment.

“If in doubt use the old cardboard mock-up on the floor,” Clayton says. “It’s really about being honest with yourself and the limitations of the room.”

4. Go for symmetry

Fact: A balanced room is technically more beautiful and is therefore more sympathetic to smaller spaces.

Try placing a lamp and a plant stand of similar heights on either side of the room, a lounge in between, cushions on either side of the lounge and a rug in the middle.

You don’t want it to look like a showroom, but this can be a good place to start before you add flavour with more decorative pieces.

5. Choose white & light

Chapter one of home decorating 101: Paint all the walls white and only use light timber. The space will feel instantly smaller, says Clayton.

“Or, you can buck the trend, throw out the gauntlet and bring on the light pastel!”

Vast Furniture

Light and low is the way to go. Picture: Vast Furniture and Homewares

Cherie Barber, founder of Renovating for Profit, says dark and warm colours advance, where as light and cool colours recede.

“That means a dark colour will tend to close in a small space, especially if it gets no natural light,” Barber says.

“It doesn’t mean you have to go for stark, clinical white. Any light neutral colour will help make a space look bigger.”

6. Easy does it

Small rooms feel a lot smaller when you can’t access them easily.

“Creating obstructions or a clumsy flow of traffic is a sure way to throw away valuable space,” Barber says.

“Don’t forget the space a swinging door can take up, so think about a sliding or cantilevered door.”

7. Go surround with your sound

Small rooms have awesome acoustics, so introduce hidden Bluetooth speakers that don’t take up any space.

“Music adds that extra dimension to create a sanctuary,” Clayton says. “The smaller the room, the better. Surround sound can create a feeling of space.”

8. Add a picture rail… & pictures

Any opportunity to draw the eye upwards will detract from the size of the room.

“Try hanging a picture or painting of an outdoor landscape – a panoramic beach or bush shot can trick the eye into thinking about faraway places,” Clayton says.

Temple and Webster styled lounge room

Decorate with low contrast colour palettes. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling Allira Bell / Temple and Webster

9. Invisible(-ish) furniture

Lightweight and durable, rattan furniture is easy to shift around the room – and thanks to baby boomer trend forecasters, it’s cool again.

Best of all though, it’s partially invisible in a room.

Clayton explains: “For very small rooms, nothing beats rattan furniture. Because it’s not upholstered, you can see right through it. In the furniture game we call it 80% air.”

10. Bring in the Triffids

When creating the illusion of space, consider where there’s lots of it? You got it – the great outdoors.

Filling your tiny space with plants may seem counter-productive, but it can help blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors, Clayton says.

11. Multi-purpose furniture

Temple and Webster styled lounge room

Multi-purpose furniture earns its position in your living room by working overtime. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Jonathan Fleming, Allira Bell / Temple and Webster

Jessica Bellef, head of styling at Temple and Webster, recommends choosing furniture that serves more than one purpose for small living spaces.

“Choose furniture that’s multi-purpose – for instance a bench seat where you can pull the top off and you’ve got a nice hideaway space,” she says. “Or a coffee table with shelves or drawers in it.”

12. Monochrome rooms

It’s not for the fainthearted, but decorating with the same colour is a sure-fire way to add space and dimension to a small room.

“It’s a bit more adventurous but visually it makes the room open up more than a high contrast scheme. For example, the deep jewel tones and shades of berry purple that are trending can make a striking statement,” Bellef says.

13. Mirror, mirror

Another tried-and-tested method to make a room appear larger is to fool the eye with mirrors.

“Play around with full-length mirrors,” suggests Bellef. “Try a free-standing mirror that leans against the wall to elongate the height of the room, too.”

Temple and Webster styled lounge room

Why stop at mirrors? Try mirrored furniture. Picture: Natalie Hunfalvay. Styling: Jonathan Fleming, Allira Bell / Temple and Webster

14. Try feature lighting

Again, focus on drawing the eye upward with feature lighting.

A pendant light, for example, can force people’s attention away from eye-level and give a real sense of the entire room.

15. Less but bigger

Guess what? Big is not always bad in a small room.

“It’s good to have compact furniture but it’s more important to scale it down. One big couch will work better that two smaller couches,” Bellef says.

The same goes for artwork. “One large piece of art will make a bigger statement in a small space.”

16. Make use of vertical space

Low on storage? Go up.

“Use your wall space smartly,” says Bellef. “Floating storage and shelves will take your storage upwards.”


After a house and a car – if you’re lucky enough to own your own – big-ticket appliances are one of the most expensive purchases you’re ever going to make in life.

Not only that, household appliances account for about one third of the energy consumption in the average Australian home, so there’s a lot more at stake than just the look and feel of your kitchen – although we’d argue that’s important, too.

We spoke to a couple of experts in the industry to help us overcome the daunting task of finding the right fridge and/or washing machine.

Choosing a washing machine or fridge can be a daunting task. Picture: Nikole Ramsay / E&S

1. Go for quality

Fancy fridges and whizz-bang washing machines might not seem like a wise idea, but neither is dipping too far towards the other end of the price scale.

“A well made, well engineered washing machine or fridge will last 15 years or more. Meanwhile, a cheap appliance may save you money initially, but you’ll end up needing to replace it every four years,” says David Woollcott, CEO of Winning Appliances.

2. Always check the energy rating

Today there’s no excuses for buying products that use excessive amounts of water or electricity. “Most households should consider products with a four-star product rating,” says David.

A product with a four-star rating will be more efficient to run. Picture: Nikole Ramsay / E&S

3. Work out the costs to run it

It’s important to do your due diligence in working out the running costs of your machines – and energy ratings will help you do this.

“The yellow and red stickers on the front of your appliances provide information on the energy efficiency of a product,” says Rob Sinclair, co-managing director of E&S Trading.

“The labels display two key figures: Energy consumption (kilowatts per year) and energy efficiency (in stars). The more stars, the more savings, and it differs across washing machines compared to fridges. But don’t hang too much on it, as the difference in running costs between one machine and the next based on a year’s use might boil down to the cost of a coffee.”

4. Weigh up the size

Whitegoods are not only a big investment – they’re just plain big.

Analysing the size you require really comes down to the requirements of the household, the space you have and in the case of fridges, it also should be based on your shopping habits, Rob says.

“If you’re a couple or a young family, you’d be safe to opt for a 400-500L fridge, whereas if you have a family of growing teenage boys you’d need to look in the 500-700L territory,” he says.

The size of your fridge is dependent on the capabilities of your kitchen. Picture: Nikole Ramsay / E&S

5. What are your specific needs?

Households operate differently in terms of how often the shopping and washing is done, and what kind of produce is bought. Take into consideration the below:


“Consider how often you shop; if you’re a once-a-week shopper or you buy fresh [produce] each day from the market. If you shop once a week, there are brands of fridges, including the Liebherr, that have a storage compartment called ‘BioFresh’ to control temperature and humidity and therefore prolong the life of fruit and veggies. Then there’s the Sub Zero fridge which controls humidity and removes ethylene gas (produced by some fruit and vegetables), to ensure your fruit and veggies last even longer,” Rob says.

A Sub Zero fridge will make sure food lasts longer. Picture: Nikole Ramsay / E&S

Washing machines

“Similarly with washing machines/dryers you need to consider how many people are in your household and your family’s lifestyle. An active family who play sport will require a larger machine than say a couple,” says Rob. “If there’s a new baby in the home, you’ll all of sudden be doing a lot more washing. As a guide though, a couple and an average family typically use a 6-7kg washing machine, while a bigger family of five or more kids may need an 8kg machine.”

6. Try before you buy

You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, so paying a visit to a retailer that can actively demonstrate new technologies and product features is absolutely necessary.

“You need to be able to experience the products live and talk through your requirements personally,” adds David.

Rob adds, “If there’s certain platters or dishes you want to store in your fridge, I encourage people to bring them in, so you can accurately choose the fridge with the best dimensions to suit.”

Integrated fridges are designed to blend in with the kitchen cupboards. Picture: Nikole Ramsay / E&S

7. Choose a design that fits

Once you’ve ticked off all the practical considerations, it pays to pick a model that’s actually going to fit in with the style of your home.

After all, you’re going to have to look at it pretty much everyday.

This French door fridge has plenty of room for large platters. Picture: Martina Gemmola / E&S

Here are some different styles and designs to consider:


  • Top mount – What you probably grew up with, where the freezer sits at the top and the fridge at the bottom.
  • Bottom mount – Opposite to top mount, where the fridge part sits at the top. These can be better for the back, because you can place most-used refrigerated items at eye-level.
  • French door – A spacious refrigerator section at the top with two doors that swing outwards and a freezer section at the base. “French door fridges are popular with large families and for good reason,” says Rob. “The extra wide width of the fridge makes it ideal for storing wide platters, pots and more. For households that love food, entertaining or shopping in bulk, French door models are simply the way to go.”
  • Side-by-side – A vertical freezer and fridge running side by side to each other in the one unit.
  • Integrated – When cabinetry panels on the front of the fridge match to integrate with the kitchen cabinetry.
  • Freezer separate – For those who love to cook in bulk and freeze, a separate freezer could be a way to accommodate the extra containers of frozen food.

With all fridges, there are a range of colours and finishes to choose from – white is obviously the standard, but most models do come in stainless steel, platinum and matte black finishes.

Washing machines

  • Top load – Offer slightly faster cycles and require less crouching to remove clothes.
  • Front load – Usually more energy-efficient and can offer gentler and more thorough wash cycles. Can take up less room than a top-loader and allow for storage above, making them an ideal option for smaller spaces.

Front loaders allow for more storage, or a dryer, to be placed above. Picture: Martina Gemmola / E&S

8. Avoid gimmicks

“Connected appliances and wifi capable fridges are in their infancy,” David says. “Even though they may seem appealing, you may want to hold off until the true benefits are clear.”


Once upon a time sofa beds were considered the unstylish cousin to more glam-looking couches; they were often rickety old things and a little dodgy – particularly for your back.

These days, those old things have disappeared and in their place are a slew of stylish couches that convert into comfy-as sofa beds. They’re practical, pretty and make perfect sense in a small living room.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for lovely looking sofa beds to add to your space – whether it be a living room, studio or spare room in your apartment.

Ikea white sofa bed

Sofa beds are the most practical piece of indoor furniture to make best use of a small living room. Picture: Ikea

1. Da Vinci sofa bed

Made with pine legs and a solid hardwood frame, minimalist lovers will enjoy this pared-back sofa bed that works well in any space. The grey-hued upholstery is totally on trend.

Price: $899

Where to buy: Early Settler

early settler sofa bed

The grey hue in this sofa bed means you can easily style it with cushions. Picture: Early Settler

2. Ikea Ps Lovas sofa bed

Ideal for apartment dwellers or those with small living rooms, this two-seat sofa bed will make having friends to stay that much easier. It’s simple yet firm, but the best bit about this bed is you can buy different covers, including white, red or black and white, to refresh your space in a flash if you like.

Price: $649

Where to buy: Ikea

Ikea black and white sofa bed

An excuse to stay the night: The Ps Lovas sofa bed. Picture: Ikea

3. Ash Hearne sofa bed

This modern sofa bed would work well in your study/spare room. If guests are regularly coming to stay, or you have international family visiting for a month, you can keep it styled up without it impacting your home decorating. And when you’re using it just as a couch, add a couple of throw cushions and faux fur and voila – style central!

Price: $949

Where to buy: Temple and Webster

Temple and Webster sofa bed blue

Keen to save cash on an expensive bed frame in your spare room? Then keep this sofa bed styled up permanently. Picture: Temple & Webster

4. Marley three-seater fabric sofa bed with storage chaise

What we love most about the Marley three-seater sofa bed is the fact it boasts loads of hidden storage under the chaise. #Winning. You can order the fabric in a range of colours, too.

Price: POA

Where to buy: Harvey Norman

Harvey Norman sofa bed

Keep your living room clutter-free with extra storage under this sofa bed. Picture: Harvey Norman

5. Three-seater faux linen sofa bed

Sofa beds don’t come much more stylish than this good-looker. Thick, easy-to-care-for cushioning means it’s super comfy when used both as a couch and when converted into a sofa bed. We’re lusting hard after the light grey upholstery, too.

Price: $369

Where to buy: Temple and Webster

Temple and Webster sofa bed grey

Timber-frame legs and light grey fabric make this sofa bed a stylish winner in our eyes. Picture: Temple & Webster

Got friends or relatives coming to stay this weekend? Learn how to pimp your sofa bed using these cool decorating and style tricks from Cat from Simplify Me.

Source: realestate.com.au

Creating a high-end look for your home can be tricky. Especially if you have champagne tastes on a lemonade budget.

Don’t fret: You don’t have to take out a personal loan or sell your first-born child to get a sophisticated look at home. It just comes down to a few key design choices and decor considerations.

Today, I’m lifting the lid on my secrets to creating luxe looks for less, in a zone we tend to spend the most time in: The living and dining room. So put your credit card down and let’s do this.

Dining table & chairs

Opt for a dining table with some visual weight to it. Thicker legs, a chunkier top, and in a finish/material that demonstrates that some craftsmanship has taken place, like visible wood grain or bevelled edges.

Dining room table chairs wood furniture

Find a table with some weight to it. Picture: Getty

Avoid any tables that have a shiny veneer. It screams cheap, cheap, cheap. In fact, avoid white timber tables altogether. They’re not refined enough and will bring down the look of the dining room. A marble or stained glass dining table is a winner here.

Dining chairs that are sculptural and have presence is what you’re looking for. Cheap plastics and slip-covers are out. Anything with an interesting shape or fluid lines is a winner. Again, it’s about seeing some obvious craftsmanship or at least the notion that it’s been through a design process.

You don’t want chairs that completely tuck under the table and won’t be seen. A circular back with high arms is a good idea. They need room to sit out a bit from the table and breathe.

Sofas & armchairs

In a sophisticated living room, the sofa should feature clean lines. That means puffy arms are out, circular shapes are a no-no, and anything with too many embellishments like stitching is out too. Recliners are the devil’s work and need not be looked at.

lounge dining room

A lounge room should embrace clean lines. Picture: Getty

A sophisticated room is all about space, so look to sofas elevated off the ground on legs. When it comes to armchairs, have yours in a contrasting material to your sofa.

Leather sling chairs and steel mesh chairs are on trend at the moment. Generally these chairs are more for show than they are for comfort, so try to choose something that feels like a piece of art in its own right.

Coffee & side tables

Don’t select a coffee or side table that matches your dining table. It should feel different but still speak stylistically to the other furniture in the space.

If your dining table is wood, opt for a marble or glass coffee table. A glass-top table with brass or stainless steel legs would be a great idea, or a marble coffee table with steel legs would also work.

Ensure the size of your coffee table doesn’t take up the entire room. If the space feels cramped, it instantly loses its sense of sophistication. Less is more, so ensure you leave plenty of room around the table.

Finishing touches

A sophisticated room is void of knick knacks. Every piece of decor fills up a space and has purpose. The pieces should also feel special and carefully considered.

Feature wall colour green

Some well-chosen items bring life to the space. Picture: Getty

On a dining table, for example, place one oversized vase or vessel and put flowers in it, as opposed to squeezing three smaller vases or vessels together.

The same goes for coffee tables. Place a stack of design books, a sculptural paper weight and a vase of flowers (or a plant) and you’re done. Don’t over-stock any surface with small items. Any clutter is a no-no.

Material choices

It goes without saying, in any sophisticated space, it’s all about the materials you choose. In your furniture and decor selections, ensure they feature a combination of marble, brass, solid timber, glass, velvet, linens, slate, leather and onyx.

If you approach your living and dining room with the above rules in mind, I’m certain you’ll be able to pull off a high-end look that feels sophisticated without trying too hard… and keeping that lemonade budget in check.


There’s just something about holding a book in your hands.

You know, the classics that you’ve read a hundred times. The ones with the dog-eared pages and underlined nuggets of wisdom that never fail to draw you back in for another read. The books you read at 18 and 38 and 58, which you continue to love, and that reveal new interpretations as you travel through life’s experiences.

With all the smart devices, touch screens and one-click ebook delivery options out there today, it’s totally plausible that books might have been doomed to suffer the fate of the VCR, but printed books have still managed to hold their appeal.

Since books aren’t really going anywhere, we still need a place to house them, which might mean it’s time to revamp that old bookshelf – or, better yet, buy a gorgeous new one. For this, Designbx offers a few nuggets of wisdom to help your bookcase shine.

styled living room

A bookshelf houses invaluable stories, objects and memories. Picture: Temple and Webster. Styling by Allira Bell, Photography by Denise Braki

Avoid the look of clutter

We know it’s tempting to cram every book you own into your overstuffed bookshelf. We’ve all been there! But a good bookcase lends itself to showcasing other visual items and creates the perception that you’re well-read and well-travelled.

Not every shelf has to have books on it. Reserve a few shelves for sculptural objects and art to allow the bookcase to breathe a little.

West Elm bookshelf

Reserve a few shelves for sculptural objects and art. Picture: West Elm

Go horizontal

Remember, not all books need to go vertical. In fact, it’s preferable to switch things up a bit. If you have a few books that are too tall to fit vertically, consider stacking them horizontally with a few other books and add a sculpted piece or a candle on top.

Adding in framed artwork and photographs is another design trick that adds depth and interest to create a curated look.

Carmen Hui home

A bookshelf dotted with mementos. Picture: Tamara Graham

Colour code

If you love a pared-back palette, your bookcase could be a great place to splash a bit of colour.

Grouping your books by their spine hue helps to create a more cohesive look.

You can add more colour here, too. If there’s some bold or expensive wallpaper you’ve been coveting, the backs of the bookcase could be a great place to showcase it without breaking the bank or overwhelming your space.

colour coded bookshelf

Grouping your books by their spine hue helps to create a more cohesive look. Image: Getty

With these tips you can go ahead and curl up with your favourite page-turner knowing that your bookcase is the inviting focal point it deserves to be.


As the busy summer months slow down, it could be time to embrace your inner homebody.

So, how do we transition our home decor and styling as we shift from warm, fun-filled summer days to the cooler autumn months? Simple. All you need are a few small changes to increase the happy, cosy vibes around the home.

Jessica Bellef, head of styling at Temple and Webster, shares her top tips for trans-seasonal styling to take you from summer to autumn with ease.

1. Rework the floorplan

Decorating textures for Temple and Webster

A woven rattan chair or stool used as a sidetable is all you need to make a space feel more intimate. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Allira Bell

Autumn generally means more hours spent indoors, so it’s time to rethink how your floor space is being used – or underused.

You don’t want to add clutter, but if you’ve got the room, introducing another chair or a sidetable can close in a space – making it feel cosier.

“Bring in more seating or an ottoman to create those cosy nooks where we can hibernate in and read,” Bellef says.

2. Firepits

It really doesn’t get that cold in Australia – especially not in Autumn.

All you need to make your outdoor space more inviting is a funky firepit, decorated with plenty of lanterns and candles, says Bellef.

Don’t forget the collection of snug throws you can take outside to wrap around your legs and shoulders.

Textured cushions and throws, by Temple and Webster

Throws can be used inside and outside in front of the fire. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Adam Powell

3. Texture & tone

Back indoors, look to autumnal textures (such as wool and cashmere) and spicy tones (think rusty reds, mustard, ocra and cinnamon).

“Add these in through cushions, artwork or little sculptures for your shelves,” Bellef says.

“Add leather as well – try leather cushions. I think we will see a lot of leather, velvet and lots of tactile finishes.”

Amigos de Hoy rugs, by Temple and Webster

Welcome autumn in with spicy tones and warm textures. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Allira Bell

4. Light layering

Just as you’d update your wardrobe with the odd scarf or jacket, look to light layers to prep your home for the cold. Throws are key here – they can be whipped out when you need them and stashed away when the sun randomly reappears.

“I have a basket of throws and pillows next to my couch, so when we want to get cosy it’s all there in a neat little basket,” Bellef says. “Then you can walk away from the room and not feel as though it’s overwhelming. You can hide it all away when you don’t need to have it out.”

Winter Cabin by Temple and Webster

Add a woven basket in your lounge to keep throws within easy access. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Adam Powell

5. Warm up to metallics

Metallics can be a bit much in the summer months but come March, you can start to get away with this look as we begin to crave, not reject, warmth.

“Adding bits of brass, rose gold and bronze – the warmer metallics – through accessories such as lamps will add instant warmth,” Bellef says.

Try a brass lamp on a sideboard, for example. Just stay away from copper, she ensures us – it’s definitely out.

A touch of luxe, for Temple and Webster

Just a hint of metallic as we ease into autumn. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Allira Bell

6. A touch of luxe

Velvets and jewel tones were predicted to be hot this year, but it’s during the cooler months these rich and regal finishes will come into their own.

Borrow tokens from the look – a couple of velvet cushions in low-contrast palettes or an extra cobalt blanket on the bed – as we move cautiously into autumn.

Statement bedroom for Temple and Webster

Splashes of velvet in muted autumnal tones. Picture: Denise Braki. Styling: Allira Bell

7. Soft light & spicy scents

When it comes to creating warm and inviting spaces, candles are a stylist’s must-have prop and candles grouped together can create a gorgeous soft light in the gloomiest rooms.

Try small candles or tea lights in mason jars for a simple and effective centrepiece, and go for musky if opting for scented. Bellef suggests fig or more leathery, tobbaco scents.

Tip: Put your candles on a tray alongside some matches to make it easy for you to move them from room to room without adding to the clutter.

8. Let light in

Open the curtains wide – light really isn’t as easy to come by these days.

You can even try removing a window covering for a season to maximise light flow now the harsh summer glare is gone.

“Make the most of the light that is out there, which will also bring in as much heat as possible,” Bellef says.


There’s nothing like a trip to Nanna’s house to give you insight into the design trends that dominated the ’80s and ’90s.

What might surprise you is that Nan and Pop are back in vogue. You heard it here first; some of the big interior looks of decades gone by are making a comeback – and they’re being executed in new and interesting ways.

So before you write off your grandparents as totally outta-the-loop, let’s explore some of the most outdated trends that are set to be big once more (and how you can pull them off at home without them looking daggy).


Cork flooring was huge a few decades ago, and while it might not be back on-trend just yet, the cork feature wall certainly is.

Many of us grew up with a cork board in our bedroom. Some of you might still have some in your kitchen or workspace. But they’re babies compared to what the new trend is; cork en masse!

Covering an entire wall in cork – especially in an office – gives you a wall you can truly make your own; pinning all sorts of imagery, fabrics and mementos onto it.

You’ve gotta give this one a go.

cork wall

A whole wall covered in cork is the perfect backdrop for your photos, inspirations and mementos. Image: Pinterest

Floral wallpaper

Some of you are shrieking in horror at the mere thought of floral wallpaper, but it truly is back and it looks amazing.

The new way to display floral wallpaper is to look for less soft, feminine options, and veer toward more abstract, striking and even geometric versions. Varieties that don’t necessarily look like flowers on first viewing is what you want to go for.

Wallpapering just one wall is fine if you don’t have the confidence to cover the entire room.

floral wallpaper

The new way to display floral wallpaper is to make it bold. Picture: Home Edit


An entire setting of rattan furniture in a living room is giving me an anxiety-inducing flashback too, don’t worry. The good news is that rattan is indeed back, but it’s being introduced into a space as a feature rather than in every piece of furniture in the room.

A rattan armchair or two-seater is a great idea in a room with other wooden and fabric furniture in it. Think a home office, kids’ room, large hallway or entryway. It makes a statement all on its own and is at its best when used sparingly.

Rattan sprayed in black and white seems to be on the rise, too, which means all thoughts of the natural rattan your grandparents had can be abandoned.

ikea rattan chair vikitgt

A rattan armchair complements a room with other wooden and fabric furniture in it. Picture: Ikea

Wood panelling

Nothing says ‘lodge of the ’80s’ like tonnes and tonnes of wood panelling. It’s certainly garish now, and any designer or decorator who has to work with it usually sprays it white the first chance they get.

The good news is that wood panelling on walls is back in a huge way. It adds interest and texture to a space, is easy to apply, and works with a variety of interior design styles.

Coastal homes, industrial spaces, Scandi rooms, and even contemporary bungalows all suit wood panelling perfectly. It’s even coming through in a variety of colours – so pick your fave shade and go wild.

timber panelling

Wood panelling on walls adds interest and texture to a space. Picture: lulik.net

Coloured marble

White marble landed a few years back and we all lost our minds over it. While it’s still popular, coloured marble – especially deep blue and green tones – is becoming more prominent.

It’s going well beyond smaller homewares, too. Large-scale coloured marble in bathrooms is on the rise, so expect this trend to continue to pop up for a few years to come.

Of course, if you don’t want to execute coloured marble in such a permanent way, coloured marble coffee and side tables are popping up all over the place now. Grab one and rock the trend on a less intrusive scale.

marble bathroom

White marble is still popular – but coloured marble is catching up. Picture: freshhome.com


If colour’s your thing, you’re in luck. One of the hot new home trends for 2017 is jewel tones, so it’s time to get creative.

What kind of tones exactly? Think emerald green, sapphire blue, cobalt blue, ruby red and amethyst. And here’s the fun bit: You can mix and match to be as bold as you dare.

“Jewel tones are perhaps at their best when at least two colours are used together – like turquoise with red, bright orange with bright blue, or emerald green with hot pink,” shares Camilla Molders who runs her own boutique interior design and decoration studio.

bright orange couch jewel tones

Try contrasting two jewel tones against one another to make a bold statement. Styling: Camilla Molders Design. Picture: Martina Gemmola.

A good example of when contrasting colours are used well, says Molders, is the bar at the Garden State Hotel in Melbourne.

“The bar is painted a beautiful shade of turquoise with a green tiled wall behind and pops of red in the shelf and in the bottles. The colours are combined in a way that creates an instant atmosphere and gives personality to the space.”

The bar at Garden State Hotel. Picture: Garden State Hotel.

The bar at Garden State Hotel. Picture: Garden State Hotel.

Start with cushions

The thought of embracing bold, out-there colours can be daunting. If you’re seeking a softer way to try the trend, look to your cushions as a starting point.

“Colourful scatter cushions in beautiful fabrics can completely change the feel and design of a room,” says Molders. “Match some accessories to the colours in the cushions, or perhaps some artwork.

“The colour pops will work with your current style while giving it a more energised and refreshed feel.”

jewel tones in artwork

Feature jewel tones in artwork for a less daring pop of colour. Styling: Emma Blomfield. Picture: Lisa Zhu.

Think big

On the other hand, if you’re quite comfortable with colour and have been lingering for a new tone other than grey to be in vogue, then go all out.

In the words of Sydney-based stylist, interior decorator and buyer, Emma Blomfield: “Don’t be afraid to go big with jewel tones.”

“Commit to painting your walls these moody tones,” she suggests. “You might be surprised how much you like the drama they bring.”

“Or try reupholstering an armchair or bedhead – I’m loving the idea of sapphire-toned velvet on a quirky armchair.”


Reimagine your armchair in sapphire blue. Styling: Emma Blomfield. Picture: Lisa Zhu.

Plan carefully

While jewel colours are easy to live with in any room in the house, Molders says it’s important to take the room’s purpose into consideration when choosing which tones you’ll use.

“For example, in a bedroom I prefer more relaxing colours like blues and greens, rather than bold reds and oranges,” she says.

Source: realestate.com.au

As the last month of summer begins, the holidays may seem like a distant dream – but don’t despair.

You don’t need to be camping near the ocean, staying at a beach house, or be on holiday at a resort to feel relaxed.

There’s no reason why your home’s interior style can’t reflect the good times – even as the season changes.

Let summer linger with these eight tips to amp up the holiday vibes around your home.

1. Add tropical flowers

Missing the palm trees out your window?

A vase full of brightly coloured blooms will have to do – think hibiscus, frangipani and lots of greenery.

Some florists will stock specialist tropical foliage – Anthurium leaves, Dracaena and even different varieties of palm leaves.

Tropical flowers

Breathe holiday vibes into a space with tropical flowers.

2. Get inspired by new coffee table books

Nothing says ‘holidays’ like some inspirational reading.

A new coffee table book can be just the thing to encourage everyone to take some time out to recharge and reimagine.

Interior designer David Hicks’ first book, Intimate, is a good choice for home decorating fiends.

With photography by Ivan Terestchenko and Shannon McGrath, the design memoir takes a look at some of the grandest homes that Hicks has worked on – from architectural planning through to interior details and art curation.

3. Set up a reading nook

What’s a new book without a reading nook?

That empty space in your lounge/master bedroom/spare room is just crying out for a bit of summer styling.

All you need is a rug, two chairs and somewhere to place a cuppa. Greenery and framed artwork clustered together will help to delineate the space.

Reading nook

Cute and cosy. Picture: I Heart Bargains

4. Refresh your curtains

Summer is a time of fresh beginnings, so how can we translate this through our interiors? Think fresh, crisp, white curtains.

White or sheer curtains will encourage light and softness and lend a sense of airiness to your bedroom or living room.

If you’ve already got some, don’t underestimate the power of the washing machine to bring dusty curtains back to life.

5. Add nautical touches

Don’t forget about your deck just yet.

Even when autumn kicks in, balmy nights can still be a regular enough occurrence in Australia and outdoor furniture is an easy one to make over.

Try recreating the Hamptons look – it’s not going out of fashion anytime soon.

Try touches of white, red and blue in outdoor cushions, decorating with Chinese jars, and using linen tablecloths for al fresco eating.

3 Ginahgulla Road, Bellevue Hill, NSW 2023

Make the most of your deck while you can with Hamptons-inspired outdoor furniture. Picture: realestate.com.au/Buy

Read more: A lesson in Aussie Hamptons style

6. Buy a cool new fruit bowl or platter

A style fix that’s good enough to eat?

Scour your local op-shop for a big, 80s-style fruit platter and fill it up with piles upon piles of the best-looking, seasonal fruit you can find.

Not only will you be reminded to up your daily fructose levels, but your side-table will look better and brighter for it.

Try pomegranates, grapefruits, bananas and mangoes for pops of colour – and look no further than the pineapple for a show-stopping centrepiece.

7. Decorate with ice cream colours

A home filled with sorbet hues will have you switching into relaxation mode in no time.

Start with walls painted in a crisp white or dove grey and then pick fabrics and soft furnishings in shades of piña colada, watermelon and lemon.

soft furnishings

Keep ice cream on the mind when shopping for home decor. Picture: Three Birds Renovations

8. Consider a change of scenery

It sounds simple, but switching up your wall art can do wonders to revive a space.

Landscape photography is having a real moment right now, particularly scenes that evoke the desert tones we’re seeing everywhere.

If you fancy yourself a photographer, why not blow up one of your favourite holiday snaps to hang on the wall?

If you’re running low on Kodak moments, Melbourne photographer Kate Ballis takes extraordinary travel pictures, from the Cinque Terre to Palm Springs and everywhere in between.


Isn’t furniture shopping fun? There’s nothing better than bringing home a new rug, sofa or armchair.  

Before you hit the stores, though, you need to consider if your fave furniture is actually made of the right materials for your lifestyle. Failing to do this can be bad for your wallet (and more importantly – your sanity!).

So let’s explore some fabrics and materials to embrace and avoid depending on your situation at home.

Check out this awesome furniture company, Full Grown. It’s growing chairs from trees…

Embrace: Wool

You need a material that’s comfy and soft to the touch for your little ones, but you also want it to resist wear and tear (as well as potential stains). In this case, wool is your friend.

Be it on a couch or a rug, it’s a material that’s durable and easy to clean. Most wools also resist pilling and wrinkling, so couches and armchairs in this material will look good long-term too.


Little ones do well with furniture that features woollen material. Picture: West Elm

Avoid: Silk

You’re not likely to see a tonne of silk sofas on the market, but you are likely to see silk rugs about. Silk is not an easy material to clean; you’ll need to get it done professionally in most cases. With that in mind, it’s not the best material to pop under your kids as they crack out their morning tea.

Bonus tip: Why not try removable cotton slip cover couches? You can easily wash the covers when something is spilt, and they’re super comfy to sit on. 

Got pets?

Embrace: Microfibre

Microfibre sofas and armchairs are the bomb-diggity if you have dogs or cats. With the latter fur-babies, it’s great because their claws will find it hard to grip in and ruin the fabric. Microfibre is also a god when it comes to stains, spills, and removing animal fur. It’s an all-rounder and ticks many boxes in terms of how easy it is to live with.

Green Armchair

Microfibre armchairs are awesome if you have pets at home. Picture: Heatherly Design

Avoid: Rattan, wicker, woven materials

Now, I don’t want to get down on pets; I have two glorious cats of my own. But what I have learnt – the hard way – is that they love to grip onto woven materials (think jute baskets, rattan armchairs and woven rugs). They’ll easily tear the weaves loose and make your prized possession look horrendous.

Bonus tip: Harder materials (like metal dining chairs) are a good option because they can’t be clawed into. Or look for seats that have a wooden back but cushioned seat. Your pets can’t hang off them that way.

Got butter fingers?

Embrace: Leather

The leather couch is a friend to clumsy types. If you’ve been known to spill a few red wines in your time, leather is your bestie. It’s easy to clean because stains wipe right off (if you get on top of them quickly). It’s a tough and long-lasting material you can keep for years, too.

Some experts claim leather can last four times as long as a fabric sofa. The added bonus is that the more wear and tear it cops, the more charming it appears.

Antique Leather Couch

Leather couches are a dream if you’re a bit of a clutz as they’re super easy to clean. Picture: Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan

Avoid: Shags & sisal

Rugs made from sisal or long piles (like shags) are hard to clean because stains can get imbedded in the fibres. Cracking out the elbow grease can also be a hard task, and often stains become further embedded.

Bonus tip: If you’re a bit of a clutz, opt for a wool rug or even hide. They’re a far easier material to clean.

Hopefully this has given you something to think about when it comes to the types of fabrics and materials you should be looking for when shopping.


Nowhere to pot up plants or store all those sandpit toys? 

Gardens can get just as messy, if not more so, than the inside of our homes and for whatever reason we tend to be more lax about leaving them that way.

These practical outdoor storage solutions might be just what you need to organise all the random stuff that accumulates in your garden or backyard. It doesn’t hurt that they look super cute, too.

1. Buy: BBQ storage unit

Ikea BBQ storage cabinet

The Äpplarö / Klasen outdoor storage cabinet provides easy, moveable storage, $199. Picture: Ikea

The perfect mate to your barbecue, this Ikea storage cabinet is just what you need to store cooking utensils in, as well as plates and glasses for outdoor entertaining.

Made from durable acacia wood, it will last outdoors provided you protect it from the rain when you can and re-stain it once or twice a year. Easy.

2. DIY: Wooden storage rack

DIY wooden storage rack

This DIY wooden storage rack is a stylish addition to any outdoor room or garage. Picture: Bunnings

A little extra storage space is never a bad thing and this high-tier DIY wooden storage rack is the perfect solution to house all those extra bits and pieces you might not have room for inside: Kitchen appliances, extra soft drinks, beers and ciders, utensils and glasses.

Here it has been left raw but you can finish it any way you like. Note: This project does require the use of electric saws and drills so prior DIY experience is recommended.

3. Buy: In-built planter box bench

Oasis Bench Seat with Planter Boxes, from Kmart

When you don’t have room for a full garden oasis, you can create a mini one with the Oasis Bench Seat with Planter Boxes from Kmart, $45. Picture: Kmart

Just because space is tight and you don’t have room for big planter boxes or garden beds, it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice showcasing some eye-catching architectural plants.

This functional planter box and bench seat combination from Kmart, made from acacia wood, is ideal for displaying larger-growing natives, such as Gymea lilies or kangaroo paw, and creating a cosy nook on your deck, balcony or courtyard.

4. DIY: Potting bench

DIY potting bench

Build a DIY potting bench with just seven materials. Picture: Bunnings

If you love experimenting in the garden but can’t find a centralised space to work at, this could be the DIY project for you.

A handy workstation where you can pot plants and store seeds, tools, watering cans, hoses and other gardening gear, the Bunnings DIY potting bench makes finding the things you need to get work done around the garden super easy. Bonus – it comes on wheels!

5. Buy: Fancy store room

Merino Shepherd Huts

The Shepherd Hut Cubby is a perfect play spot for little ones and doubles as a fancy storage room. Priced from $2,595. Picture: Merino Shepherd Huts

Here’s the thing about cubbies: They actually make great storage spaces.

Kids’ toys, gardening supplies and whatever else you have making an eyesore of itself in your garden, can be tucked away in your cubby, provided it’s kid-safe.

The fully customisable fancy-pants cubbies from Merino Shepherd Huts are made from solid hardwood chassis with steel components and a turntable and draw bar for steering.

They sit on cast iron wheels, so you can transfer your hut around the garden as you see fit, or even take it out to use as a market pop-up stall.

6. Buy: Storage seating

Temple and Webster Tredor Trading Barossa Storage Box

The Barossa Storage Box bench by Tredor Trading offers plenty of outdoor storage, $319. Picture: Temple & Webster

Ideal for a balcony with limited space, this storage box makes for a fitting outdoor seating and storage solution.

It’s made from solid shorea hardwood grown in Malaysia and offers plenty of storage, as well as a comfy space to relax.

Pop on some outdoor bench cushions and Bob’s your uncle!

7. DIY: Storage bench

DIY outdoor storage bench

Hide garden eyesores with this DIY outdoor storage bench seat. Picture: Bunnings

If you want to save coin but still love the idea of a storage box to sit on, this DIY outdoor storage bench seat from Bunnings could be the answer.

Using only seven materials and tools most DIY nerds will have on hand already, the project takes nine steps and could be knocked over in an afternoon.

8. Buy: Wall panel

Ikea wall panel

The Äpplarö wall panel is just perfect for small balconies, $65. Picture: Ikea

In small spaces, you’ve got to make use of your vertical walls, or else items are inevitably going to end up on the ground.

On a balcony, turn a flat rendered wall into something useful with this handy timber-slatted wall panel. It can be used to hang everything from tools to hanging baskets filled with herbs or other plants. For $15 each, you can also purchase shelves separately to create even more storage.

9. DIY: Chalkboard cabinet

DIY chalkboard cabinet

The DIY upcycled chalkboard cabinet gives you somewhere to plan and store materials for your next project. Picture: Bunnings

Every DIYer needs somewhere to store his or her tools.

Make yourself this nifty addition to the garage by grabbing an old or unused cabinet (or picking one up from an op-shop) and giving it a good couple of coats of chalkboard paint, after cleaning with sugar soap, filling any holes and sanding.

Fix it to the wall to free up floor space, and voilà – you’re ready to get started on the next project!