As most people with kids will attest, decorating a home comes with its own new considerations once little ones enter the picture. Everything from sticky fingers being wiped down on the couch to trying to grab everything in sight means that you have to take these things into account with your colour scheme, your furniture and home decors. Of course, having older children gives you a little more freedom to decorate as you wish but when it comes to younger kids, this is what I’ve learned…
Go for durable fabrics
We have a couch made from a durable earthy toned fabric and the pillows are made from quite a similar material so this helps to avoid the couch looking worse for wear. When it comes to the furniture in our home everything is quite neutral and quite durable so I always consider those things when I’m buying anything for the house.
Invest in baskets
I never used to have baskets around the house but now I love them as they’re great for storing (or hiding!) things like toys and pillows in a hurry. This is a lifesaver when guests pop around unexpectedly and I need to quickly tidy the house.
Do a big edit of ornaments
I still like having decorative bits and pieces around the house but I’ve done a big edit so I only have the pieces I really love dotted around our home. This makes it easier to keep track of them as the girls are quite curious and love picking things up and playing with them.
I like to do a tight edit of ornaments but find gallery walls to be a great way to liven up a space, but is out of the way from little hands
Choose neutral kids’ furniture
We live in an apartment so the kids’ space is our space so I feel like the kids’ stuff has to blend in with our stuff. I find children’s furniture can be really bright which tends to stick out a lot so we try to get furniture that is neutral so we’ll get white or blonde wood rather than bold colours such as reds, blues or greens.
Think like a kid
Ultimately kids will be kids so you have to take that into account whenever you’re buying/arranging anything in the home. So look around your home and see it from their eyes. For example I would position delicate things somewhere that’s a little more out of the way and not right in the middle of where the girls tend to play a lot. Now that the girls are older it’s a little bit easier, but it’s always important to think about what things are made of because for example something made of glass is definitely more prone to breakage than something made of wood.
Prints are the kind of thing that can mask dirt or stains really well. So if you’re worried about little fingers getting food all over a pristine cushion, consider something like a check or a ikat print or an equally as busy pattern to disguise any marks. It works a treat.
An organised closet really is a sight to behold. When shoes are all neatly lined up, shirts folded and divided into neat piles, everything from blouses and dresses all perfectly hung up into distinct categories it brings a noticeable feeling of satisfaction. It also makes getting dressed SO much easier. I’ve tried to implement an organisation system in my own wardrobe for this very reason. And whilst it admittedly does take a little daily tidying up, it also means I don’t have to do a huge clean up a few weeks down the track when all my clothes are threatening to take over our entire bedroom. If you want to make things stress-free on the sartorial front it’s time to do an overhaul of your wardrobe and turn it into a space that’s Pinterest-worthy and one that you’ll be happy to stare at every single day.
Whilst colour coding is extremely handy as a sorting tool you could also try another method which is to divide everything into different categories. This means grouping all your skirts together, your t-shirts together, your jeans together and so forth. With a closet divided into distinct areas you’ll find it easier to find what you’re looking for.
If you own multiple pairs of jeans it can be hard to keep track of them all so this year, organise them from lightest wash to darkest wash. If you’ve got the space, hang them up so you can avoid wrinkling them and thus have them ready to go at a moment’s notice.
You could just throw everything into your wardrobe and hope for the best or you could take a few minutes to fold your clothes and put them away in perfect piles like a boutique would. By categorising into piles you make things doubly easier for yourself as you can immediately see what you’re looking for. Also this is the best way to store things that stretch such as woollen jumpers and tees which may stretch if hung up.
Nothing says you’ve got your style sorted like staring into a wardrobe with matching hangers. Bin the old mismatched hangers you may have been using (wire especially as they can ruin the shape of clothes) and get wooden or slim velvet ones. The former looks amazing all lined up and is gentle on clothes whilst the latter allows you to fit more into your wardrobe as they take up less space, plus it has a bit of grip so you avoid things like silk blouses slipping off constantly.
If you store most of your things in drawers, instead of piling them up on top of each other, put them away vertically so you can see everything as opposed to just what’s on top. You’ll be amazed at how much more wear you’ll get out of everything simply by being able to see what you own.
Whether you’ve watched a hefty dose of home renovation shows and suddenly want to refresh a room, or you’ve just had enough of looking at a particular problem area, revamping your home can be exciting but also a bit daunting at the same time. Where do you start? What should you keep and what should you change? And how can you do it without totally blowing your budget?
That’s where interior designers Katrina Garrett and Millie Alison of The Design Paddock come in. Experts in both residential and commercial projects, they have extensive experience in reworking a space and giving it a fresh new spin. And here, they share their tips on how to re-do a space to achieve maximum impact on a budget.
Pick up a paintbrush
“Paint is one of the easiest ways to make a huge transformation to your home. When considering paint, look to places such as your front door, the exterior, the entry hallway, get rid of feature walls and look to something more neutral that can make the spaces feel larger, particularly in your main living areas. It’s obvious why people are drawn to the neutral tones as they are so timeless and work with varied furnishings.”
“Look to your kitchen and bathroom joinery, there are so many paint options out there now for tiles, benchtops, laminate and more. A fresh coat of paint can make a massive change to these areas, particularly if they are dated and need a facelift.”
“Paint doesn’t just apply to the home, look at painting some furniture pieces inside or even your old outdoor pots, there are endless ways with paint. You can even paint your roof if it’s looking shabby.”
Focus on details
“These details in the home that get used daily and most of the time are somewhat forgotten about, but when updated to something more durable and consistent with the style of your home, can make a massive difference.”
“We find that a lot of older homes tend to have inconsistencies in their door hardware, particularly noticeable when down a hallway. Look to changing to something the same that allows the home to have “flow”. This doesn’t just apply to doors, look at changing your hardware in bedroom robes, the kitchen, laundry and bathroom.”
Dress an empty wall
“Sometimes all your home needs is a reshuffle. Look closely at some of your walls and where might be an opportunity to decorate.”
“Find free art! We are actually the biggest fan of hats, not only wearing them, but decorating with them. Hats are always something that people seem to hang onto forever, they might be tucked up at the back of your laundry coat hooks.”
“Try bringing them out and clustering them on a wall over a console. They not only look great but bring a sense of a ‘story’ from a collection.”
“Print out some new photos, black and white photos framed in a feature wall always look sophisticated.”
Let the light In
“There are honestly endless window furnishing options out there and we feel that they are just a beautiful piece to finish off a space. Their softness, texture and warmth can instantly make a home feel “homey”. We love to specify sheer curtains in living spaces for their floaty aesthetic and a feature roman blind for bedrooms. A block-out is always great for the colder climates.”
“Bring in more natural light. You might find yourself in an older home with large verandahs or an overgrown garden. Look at ways that might increase the natural lighting in the home. It might even be a case of replacing some full panel doors to be half glass or adding in some skylights.”
“Look at updating your light fittings. Commonly some rooms can offer little light or can be placed simply in the wrong location. Look at incorporating varied lighting styles; combine table lamps, floor lamps, dimmable downlights and pendants; these can all provide different levels of lighting for different times of the day offering the home some ambience and an all-round cosy feeling space.”
Revive soft furnishings
“Old, tired patterns and fabrics can date the space. Whilst high-end specialty fabrics are in the designer’s toolbox, there are plenty of handsome and budget-friendly fabrics available. Quality doesn’t always mean big name fabrics. Replacing accent cushions on the sofa, consider getting slipcovers made for existing furniture that is in good condition and you’re not ready to part with. This will give the room an instant lift with the added benefits of being able to throw the covers in the wash.”
“Try repurposing ready-made natural linen curtains from [a store such as] Pottery Barn that don’t cost an arm and a leg and adding a fun and sophisticated trim. Get an upholsterer to sew the trim along the side seams for added depth and detail. They will look completely custom!”
“Looking to add interest to a featureless room? Try adding paneling to the walls! We are a big fan of Hardie Groove – durable fibre cement VJ sheet panels. Not only does this provide sophistication uniformity to a room but it’s also a cost-effective solution for the home. We love using this in kitchens, bathrooms (excluding showers) and laundries as you can paint it your own colour, they offer a range of styles and they won’t shrink or swell with moisture.”
I’m on holiday in Port Douglas this week so I replaced my usual winter gear for one of my favourite types of clothing: resortwear! It’s warm where we are staying so it gave me the perfect reason to pull out some new additions to my wardrobe, including some great swimwear and cover-ups. I love dressing for balmy weather as outfits feel so relaxed, yet they can easily be glammed up with the right accessories. I’m quite partial to doing a bit of beach glam as it’s such a fun way to mix and match some of my favourite pieces. Here’s what I wore this week… on location.
One of the things I’ve been using as a staple look this week is a swimsuit or bodysuit paired with easy, relaxed separates. These white pants are so fresh and perfect for balmy weather. I paired it with my trusty Loewe basket bag, because if you can’t wear a basket bag on a beach holiday then when can you? I finished off the look with a chunky gold necklace and sunnies as the final touch.
I always pack a wrap like this whenever I’m doing a beach holiday as it’s great to wear as a skirt, and also something to throw on after a swim. Bondi Born always do really practical, yet elegant separates that are made for a holiday destination such as far north Queensland. I paired them with my fave Ray Bans and trusty white Gucci sandals.
We were heading out to dinner so I wanted to glam it up a bit. This cami is such a great piece as it’s so lightweight that it barely takes up any room in my suitcase, but it’s also just the thing to elevate a pair of linen pants. The pearl straps are just delightful and such a fun touch to this outfit.
I absolutely love this set by Venroy. It’s super comfy and the contrasting thin and thick stripes achieve an interesting effect that give this look some personality. They’re also perfect worn on separately and worked back with other pieces so I can double the use of them while I’m up here.
Loving this textured swimsuit by Monday Swimwear. It’s a great colour and I like the ribbed effect as it adds a layer of interest to this ensemble. I paired this with my Bondi Born wrap, and this printed Aje bucket hat. These Karen Walker sunglasses have been a fun addition to my sunnies collection, they’re an interesting shape and I love the geometric silhouette as an accent piece.
See? What did I tell you about these shorts? I paired this with a one shoulder swimsuit for a glam look for the day and proved I did some great strategic packing. I always make sure that any pieces I bring when I travel can be worked back with other items I’m packing and turned into a variety of different looks. Topped off with my fave basket bag and sandals, I can’t think of a better tropical look.
Candles aplenty at the Jo Malone “Just Because” dinner I hosted earlier this year
If there’s one thing my house is never without it’s a beautifully scented candle. I love having one burning in the background as there’s something quite luxurious about a gorgeous fragrance filling up your home (note: this is why I always have one burning when I have visitors over). A candle also adds warmth to any space which makes it a simple way to decorate a room. There’s no shortage of wonderful candles out there. And there’s definitely one to suit every taste and budget.
Check out some of my top picks below…
Tip: Candles usually come poured into a perfectly re-usable glass or metal jar so when you’ve used one up be sure to repurpose its home; you can use it for everything from a makeup brush holder to a vase.
To clean out the jar simply pop it in the freezer so the wax hardens. Once frozen take it out and scrape out the excess wax and wick which should leave you with an empty jar. If you’re removing the label, using a hairdryer, blast hot air over the jar to melt the glue, peel off the label then run it under hot water to clean off the sticky residue.
Mother’s Day is always such a special occasion in our household, and I always like to get together with my family to honour my mum and celebrate the wonderful mother she is. One way we like to do that is to enjoy a delicious breakfast together. Our preferred menu? Pancakes and waffles and lots of it.
I always like to dress the table for the occasion and add some simple design flourishes that will turn Sunday breakfast into something befitting Mother’s Day. I usually choose to do something pared back yet impactful, because I don’t really want to spend the entire morning fussing around with setting the table. That said, I’ve found there are some easy, but striking decorations that will really set the mood.
Just add flowers
I don’t think a table is ever really set without some gorgeous blooms to add a splash of colour. And the thing with flowers is, you can go in so many different directions, from bright and vibrant, to understated and classic. I personally like to embrace a lot of striking hues as I think it really lifts the scene, and turns a table at home into something special.
Add a delicious scent
Whenever I’m entertaining I always have candles burning as I find it’s such an effective way to create a great atmosphere, and makes any space so warming and inviting. Scent is such a powerful thing and for events, it’s always great to add a scented candle as it will instantly transport you to that time and place whenever you smell it again. This year, I’m embracing this beautiful limited edition Glasshouse Candle aptly titled, An Ode to Women, as Mother’s Day is a lovely reminder of the beautiful women in my life, from my mum, to my gorgeous daughters.
Keep it simple
Any good design is about keeping things simple, with a tight edit of beautiful things, and that includes setting a table. I went for simple tableware as I didn’t want it to overwhelm. I don’t think you can really ever go wrong with crisp white plates, linen napkins and placemats and interesting design details, like wooden napkin rings. It all works together to create a mood that’s sophisticated and elegant, yet is still comfortable enough that people feel welcomed and at home.
Generously portion serving plates
Don’t neglect your plating! Part of setting a nice table is to ensure that the food is celebrated. I usually like to keep platters or plates piled high as I think it looks more inviting. Creating that abundant effect is always a critical part of setting a table that has people wanting to sit and enjoy themselves.
Layer your table
I think it’s all about working with different layers when it comes to setting a photogenic table. Consider the base, which includes things like placemats, cutlery, tableware and glassware. Then consider what goes on top, from napkins to serving platters, then look to the decorative touches. This includes things like a delicious scented candle, to assorted florals in a range of different colours.
This post was produced in collaboration with Glasshouse Candles
I’m lucky to come across a lot of beautiful things in my job, and as a result I’m always finding new additions for my wish list. This month I’ve been in equal parts house and wardrobe shopping mode. I’ve been looking for new decorative pieces for our home post-reno, just small things that can really help transform our space. While on the fashion front, I’ve been searching for new updates to add to my autumn wardrobe. And in my travels, I’m lucky to have managed to find a few pieces that fit the bill. Here’s what’s currently on my radar.
This cute structured bag is just the thing to add a fresh touch to the more moodier tones I’ll no doubt be wearing throughout autumn and winter. The size is perfect as I’ll be able to carry all my essentials without it being too cumbersome, and I love the chain strap which adds a layer of elevated elegance to the overall design.
This is currently sold out but I’m waiting patiently for new stock to arrive. This ceramic fruit stand is made in Puglia in Italy, and the colours and design remind me of many of my favourite holidays in Italy. I’m planning for it to be a stylish reminder of more Italian soujourns that will hopefully be on the horizon in the not so distant future.
I’ve been looking for a trench to get me through the next few months and I immediately fell in love with the design of this Camilla and Marc number. It’s the perfect length/shape to work back with my winter wardrobe and the colour is just right. I can’t wait to snap this one up as it’s definitely going to fill a gap in my wardrobe.
Big or small, home renovations can be daunting. It’s such a period of upheaval that you want to make sure that you are well equipped to deal with what’s ahead. We recently underwent a home renovation at our apartment, tackling our living spaces and giving it a more updated, modern feel. While it wasn’t our entire place, it was still a big project to tackle and it required having a good plan to take us through the few months of being in reno mode. Having now gone through it firsthand, here are some of my biggest tips.
Work out what you want to achieve
For our reno, we knew we wanted an updated look and also to create more living space, and also to make better use of the areas we spent a lot of time in as a family. Having a clear idea of your vision is important to keeping the project on track.
Work out the main areas you want to update
I would have loved to have done our kitchen and living rooms and additional bits and pieces throughout our place, but for us, we decided to just focus (and put all our budget) on the living/dining and balcony area as that is the place where we spend most of our time as a family.
If you are not great at interiors and/or dont have the time to devote to searching for the right pieces, I highly recommend a stylist if you can fit that into your budget. We used an interior stylist and while they do charge a fee, you get industry rates for your purchases which can save a lot if you intend on buying lots of new pieces. Also our stylist really helped us work out exactly what we needed and helped us find cheaper options of what we liked if we couldn’t afford the exact look.
Ask yourself if it’s your forever home
We knew that we wouldn’t be in our apartment forever so we opted not to do any built-ins. All our new cupboards and furniture can be taken with us. We would have loved a built-in TV unit and a built-in BBQ area but we left it and it ended up saving us a lot.
Don’t underestimate the impact of light cosmetic updates
It’s amazing how much new paint and carpet can lift a place. Sometimes you can work with what you have and not have to tear down walls or completely demolish a space—you can lift a space simply by just adding new soft furnishings.
Make the timings work for you
For minimal disruption I highly recommend planning around your calendar to ensure you’re not in the midst of a demo at inopportune times. For example we pushed back our reno so new carpet and paint could be done when we were away for school holidays and then the we booked in our furniture install when the kids were back at school so they weren’t waiting around all day every day.
What are some of your tips when it comes to surviving a reno?
I know most of us would be missing overseas travel after so long without it. I definitely am! We always like to go away on family holidays and are lucky to be able to jet off to different spots yearly, so we’re looking forward to being able to go away just as soon as we’re allowed. In the meantime, I think it’s always nice to tap into that holiday feeling at home. In lieu of being able to jet off on a plane, here are some things you can do to help ease those feelings of wanderlust.
A scented candle
Scent is such a powerful thing—I know for me, a particular perfume or even just a certain dish cooking in the kitchen can bring memories flooding back. So if you are craving that holiday feeling, why not light a candle with a scent that brings you back to a favourite getaway, or even one that you’re looking forward to.
Watch a film set in an exotic location
Let a movie take you away, even if it’s just for a few hours. Film is such a vivid way to escape the every day and the best thing is you can head off to all corners of the globe without ever leaving the comfort of your couch.
Order in the cuisine of the next place you want to visit
Italy holds a special place in my heart, so whenever I am enjoying any Italian food I always feel transported back to my fave holidays there. So I think a great way to have something to look forward to is to order a meal (or cook one!) from the country of the next place you want to visit. Enjoy the flavours and really savour it and remind yourself that one day hopefully very soon, you’ll be eating an authentic meal locally.
Read a travel-themed book
There are so many travel tomes out there, from Eat Pray Love, to Into the Wild and On The Road, there’s nothing quite like embracing a good novel and allowing it to take you somewhere far, far away.
Have a themed dinner party
Why not invite some friends around and have a dinner party themed to a particular travel destination? Whether it’s a Parisian themed soiree, a Mexican fiesta or an amazing sushi spread, this is a way to let food take you on a vacation for an evening.
Plan a travel TV binge
When you’re in binge watching mode, tune into a great travel TV program. There’s nothing like an episode of a travel themed show, whether it’s an Anthony Bourdain series or chef David Chang traversing the globe in Ugly Delicious, to help you soothe those travel pangs.
Play the long game and really take the time to learn a new language to prepare for your next big holiday. There are so many online programs, apps or even good ol’ fashioned books to help you learn a new language. It’s such a great way to truly immerse yourself in the experience of visiting a new country by being able to speak the local dialect.
Do something you always do on holiday
Is there something that you always do when you’re on a getaway? Whether it’s hitting up the spa for a treatment or ordering room service and relaxing in a bathrobe, tap into holiday you and indulge in a little vacation behaviour.
Plan your next trip
I am already dreaming of what our next holiday will entail. I can’t wait to be able to jump on a plane and end up somewhere far away. So, it’s been great to check out some dreamy locations and hotels to help us start planning what our itinerary would be. It’s definitely given me something to look forward to and is a great way to help deal with those travel pangs.
What have you been doing to ease the longing for overseas travel?
I can be found at Sydney’s Balmoral Beach most days in summer and it’s one of my favourite ways to spend a day out with my family. And while a great beach day is fun, having two kids in tow also means that I need to be prepared with a well-stocked beach bag.
I like to be prepared for lazing about on the sand, but also for wherever the day may take us so it means I always have a few key things on hand at all times. Here’s what I often take with me…
A big tote
I always carry a nice roomy tote to the beach as it’s perfect for throwing everyone’s things in it. There are so many gorgeous beach bags out now whether it’s made of canvas or straw so shop around and find one that perfectly suits your lifestyle.
The bigger the better! I like a nice, big fluffy beach towel. I always need to be able to spread out my things and I like being able to lay down without having my feet hanging off into the sand so space is a necessity.
I usually opt for a pair that has larger lenses so I can be guaranteed extra coverage throughout the day. I’m quite militant about wearing sunglasses to protect my eyes in summer so I always invest in the best quality I can.
Believe it or not I bring three different kinds! One for the body, one specifically for the face and a kids’ sunscreen for the girls.
Lipgloss with SPF
I like a multitasking lip gloss with a built in SPF. The sun can be quite dehydrating so I like one that I can use as a moisturiser but can protect me at the same time.
A wide brimmed hat is a necessity
A wide brimmed hat
I am all about protecting my face from the sun’s rays so I definitely always pack a wide brimmed hat in my beach tote. A beautiful straw hat is my go-to.
Plain one piece or bikini
My swimsuits tend to be in plain block colours a lot of the time as I’m not really into wearing too many prints. I go for navy as it’s classic but I’ve also got swimmers in black, khaki and cream.
I’m a watch girl so I always wear a watch to the beach. The only mandatory is that it be waterproof. There are so many great, inexpensive watches out there now so I’ve found some great options that will survive a day in the sun.
I like to take a pair of sandals that I can slip on and off quite easily. I hate having to deal with multiple straps when I know I’ll have to be in and out of them the whole day.
I always bring a cover up of some sort so I can pop it on really quickly if I need to grab lunch or a drink for the girls. I like anything lightweight (linen is good!), airy and really uncomplicated – I just need to be able to take it on and off quite easily.