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With the CEO of Woolworths saying the company has effectively been serving 50 million people in recent weeks—i.e., double our population—chances are you are one of many Australians who find themselves with a pantry which is a bit more chokkas than normal. (Mine certainly is.)

Fortunately, it finally seems like people are starting to calm down with their stockpiling. But now we’ve all got so much stuff, where exactly do we put it? It’s not easy to suddenly have to find a home for 36 litres of long-life milk, 7kg of crushed tomatoes, entire boxes of tins of pet food, and everything else!

Still, we must try. The trick is to look beyond the kitchen. Here are three options:

 

1. The chest of drawers

There’s no better way to create intimacy in the bedroom than by filling your chest of drawers with red kidney beans, after all!

In my bedroom, for example, I’ve got a Newport Chest. With a metre of width, half that of depth, and enough height to rival many elderly Italian women, it certainly meets all my storage needs. In fact, I have excess: as you can see, my third drawer is a bit of a nothing drawer at the moment, only holding some spare coat hangers and my swimming gear:

But these drawers are huge. I did some calculations, and if I filled this drawer to the brim I could fit… 16x 1L cartons of long-life milk and 24x 420g tins of beans. That’s a lot of beans!

Just arrange it like this and you’ll maximise the amount of space you can fill in that drawer.

But I probably wouldn’t recommend putting that much stuff in just one drawer. The drawer will probably be able to handle it, but it will be incredibly heavy to try to pull out.

 

2. The desk

Given half the population seems to be working from home now, there’s a good chance you're in that situation. If so, you’ve probably spent some time reorganising your desk (or buying a new one) to help you bunker in for the next five or six months at home.

Desk drawers are usually high-value real estate. That’s because many of us need a lot of stuff when we’re working (including, very necessarily, highlighters and sticky tabs in lots of different colours), and we need somewhere to put it all. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and when you’ve bought one too many bags of coffee beans… well, you’ve just gotta make do.

For example, I have a Newport Desk (which you can’t get anymore, but is very similar to the one we make for our Tuscan range).  As you can see, my top drawer is a bit of a mess:

But, with some clever reorganisation, I found I could fit… 1x 1kg bag of coffee beans, 2x 1L cartons of long-life milk, 2x 400g tins of cannellini beans, and 10x 130g tins of baked beans! If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is.

This pic doesn’t even show the drawer filled to the brim. But again, be careful not too make it too heavy!

 

3. The bookcase

Okay, if you’re resorting to storing stuff in a bookcase then I really do feel sorry for you. To have so much stuff that you have to put your chickpeas on display is a little bit sad, but hey, no-one’s being judgy here.

I’ve got a Tuscan Slim Bookcase. Being tall and lanky like me, it fits really nicely in the corner of one of my rooms. Normally it houses things like, you know, books, but for this exercise I cleared one of my shelves to see what I can fit.

It turns out that one shelf—and to reiterate, this is a slim bookcase—can fit… and 16x 1L cartons of long-life milk, 3x 200g bags of hemp seeds tucked behind them, and 4x 750mL bottles of wine on top, with room to spare.  And given it isn't a drawer, you don’t have to worry about heavy lifting.

If you’re feeling a little embarrassed about having to stockpile things on a bookshelf, don't worry: you can put sophisticated things in front of all that stuff to help you feel better about yourself.

See, now you’re just hip and with it. Right?

Happy bunkering!

Bunker life: How to use random bits of furniture as an extended pantry

Everyone seems to have a coffee table, but how many people really get it right?

In this blog, we demystify the process of choosing coffee tables so that you can furnish your living room perfectly every time. Just follow these four easy steps:

Step 1: Consider seriously whether you actually need a coffee table.

Just because some or even most people find a coffee table useful doesn’t mean that it’ll be useful for you in your circumstances. This is especially the case in smaller homes or hybridised, adaptable rooms. Could you use a smaller side table instead? Or maybe an ottoman would be better?

If you already have a coffee table, ask yourself this: is there anything, really, that is wrong with the coffee table? Or are you just bored of it? If the table is still in good or fixable condition but you can’t stand the sight of it in your home anymore, do your best to divert it from landfill—try donating it to friends, family, or a local community shelter in need. Alternatively, you could try selling it on marketplaces like Gumtree and Facebook to try to recover some money for it, even if it isn’t much. But if your table is irreparably damaged, don’t offload your problem to someone else. Dispose of your table responsibly!

 

Step 2: Know your measurements.

Many of us have visited some place which has a coffee table so big that that it’s just plain awkward to try to get around the sofa. Even if it is the cosiest-looking room in the world, this basic oversight can really kill the vibe.

Not having a comfortable amount of space cleared between sofas and a coffee table is even worse when you’re trying to manoeuvre a pram or walking frame in someone’s house, or if you’re just having a worse-than-usual day with sciatica or arthritis.

Hence, the ‘clearance rule’ exists: 45cm is the ideal amount of space to allow for people to walk around your coffee table and sofas/chairs. (You’ll need to allow more for prams or people with disabilities. And on this point, make sure you think into the future about people in your home who may, at some point, have a pram or disability or otherwise have difficulty getting around.)

You also need to consider the width of the coffee table. The rule of thumb is that a coffee table two-thirds the width of the sofa adjacent to it is most pleasing to the eye, but of course if you’re fitting a table against a two-seater and a three-seater then you might find yourself struggling to find something exactly right (unless you buy something custom-made). So don’t take this rule of thumb too strictly; just make sure you know your measurements so you’ll have a rough idea of what might work and what probably won’t.

More important than the width of the coffee table is its height. There’s no leeway here: it needs to be as level as possible with the seat cushion(s) on your chair or sofa. Higher or lower will be surprisingly awkward; though, a coffee table which is a few centimetres lower than your sofa won’t be hugely disturbing.

For example, we used to make our Byron cross leg coffee table quite high—too high for many customers, in fact. While reducing the height of a timber coffee table isn’t the most difficult DIY project in the world, we realised that most people would benefit from a shorter coffee. Now, the table is level with the seat cushions of most sofas. Everybody’s happy!

 

Step 3: Go through the aesthetic considerations.

Once you’ve sorted the practicalities, you should think carefully about the style of the coffee table. (Though, of course, it’s often the case that we’re drawn to the look of a coffee table first and then see if it’s compatible with our measurements!)

Now before you even think about whether the coffee table before you will go with your furniture style, pay attention to its weight. This isn’t just about its physical weight as a matter of science (which you’ll need to know depending on how manoeuvrable you want the table to be), but how “heavy” it looks aesthetically. A good rule of thumb is to match heavy coffee tables (often resembling big blocks) with lighter-looking sofas (e.g. those with high and thin legs, thin arms, etc) and match heavier-looking sofas (those with short or no legs, thicker arms, etc) with light coffee tables (usually with smaller proportions, thinner legs, plenty of open space underneath the table top, etc). Generally, we find people have more difficulty matching the chunkier coffee tables with their sofas, so it’s usually safer going for a lighter coffee table and a heavier sofa. There are usually more options for this combination, too.

The effect of having plenty of space underneath this coffee table is not just to balance the heavier looking sofa; it really helps to open up the whole room, too.

Now think about how your coffee table will go with the other furniture in your living room or the furniture in your home more generally. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but here are some tips:

  • Remember to look at the floors. If you’re buying a timber table and you have floorboards, be careful not to try to match the tones too closely. Complementary colours work well. Or, even better, lay a thickly textured rug between the table and the floor (see the example above above) to create a nice contrast and a soft surface underfoot for you and your guests.
  • If you can, it’s always a good idea to furnish your home using the same one or two furniture collections. Look out for ‘families’ of collections which share certain finishes or hardware, like our Newport and Tuscan ranges.
  • Alternatively—and as this is a good idea if your existing furniture collection isn’t produced anymore—consider going for a statement coffee table. Statements are tricky, mostly because many of us are afraid to be too radical about it. But it really is important to be open-minded: consider something which a completely different material, texture, colour, and style, but still follow the guidelines above as to proportions and weightiness. Doing so will mean your coffee table is truly a ‘statement’ without looking awkward or ‘wrong’.
  • Finally, don’t underestimate the power of texture in a room. Texture can not only make or break a furniture style; it can change someone’s impression of you, especially if they’re visiting your home for the first time. One texture we love is reclaimed timber: not only is it great for your wallet and the environment, it’s one of those materials that will always help a home feel more relaxed, no matter how much you polish it. And there’s nothing Australians love to do more than relax!

 

Step 4: Look beyond what’s in front of you.

There’s always more to a product than meets the eye. Although most of us have practically no idea how the products we use are made, many of us are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that some supply chains are rife with abuse of workers and nature.

If this is something which concerns you, then when you’re shopping for your coffee table, make sure the manufacturer is transparent about how the table was made.

Certifications can make this task very easy, though it’s always worth a quick Google search to see what the certificate actually represents and whether there are any controversies about the certification program (some are less rigorous than others). For example, our Vietnam factory—where we design and make most of the coffee tables we sell—has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) since 2018. This certificate comprises both forestry itself, as well as the chain of supply that leads to the lovely timber furniture in our stores and your homes.

 

Boy, that was a long blog! But if you made it all the way through, congratulations: you are now have the knowledge to find a new coffee table which will suit you and your home for many years to come.

How to Pick a Coffee Table in Four Easy Steps

So, you’ve just moved out. Or you’re just about to move out. Or still, you’ve moved out of a place where furniture was provided for you and now you’re thinking about setting up your own space for the first time. While the advice of friends and family can help—and is often vital—it is not super helpful when five people give you fifteen conflicting pieces of advice. Do you “just drive around and grab furniture people have left out”, or “buy all your furniture really cheaply and on sale, because you’re going to replace it soon when you have more money anyway”, or do you “make do with not much at the start but spend a couple of years filling your home with high-quality, meaningful furniture and décor”?

Here’s where we come in. As experts in home decoration, we’ve helped many people looking to furnish or re-furnish their homes for the first time. In doing so, we’ve also become expert in helping people ignore (a lot of) bad advice and focus on furnishing and decorating their homes systematically and meaningfully.

In this blog, we collate our best tips into one easy-to-follow method. It takes just eight steps…

 

1. Essentials first

If you take furnishing your home on a shoestring budget to the extreme, you’ll soon figure out there’s only really one thing you need to get you started when you’ve moved into your first home: a domestic espresso machine comfy sofa. The sofa will be seen by people and can function as a (temporary) bed. Sit on the sofa with cushion on your lap as a makeshift dining table (which is surprisingly comfy and effective—just be careful not to splash your food all over the upholstery!).

Pro tip: you’ll be a lot more comfy if you’re sleeping on a three-seater rather than a two-seater!

With all that said, if you’re moving out with some savings (or gift or loan, or better still another person), your life will be much more comfortable if you’re also got something equivalent to a dining set (be it a table or chairs, or even just a couple of breakfast stools against your kitchen bench) and a bed. Anything else can come later.

On another practical note, you should also make a habit of having all your important life documents in the one place. A filing cabinet is good for that, but if you’ve just moved out this piece of furniture may not be a priority for you. (Chances are you don’t have much in the way of life docs anyway; so many of these are digitised these days.)

 

2. Relax!

If you’ve just moved out, it is not wise to expect to have your home furnished in six weeks, or even six months.

Take the time to measure your spaces and see what will work. Pick a few favourites and then be patient to wait for the sales (they come inevitably these days).

A common tip people give to others moving out is to furnish room by room. But this doesn’t really make sense when people who visit or inhabit your home are going to be seeing parts of many rooms at a time. As such, it makes a lot more sense (to me at least) to furnish and decorate the high-traffic areas first, then the low-traffic areas. You’ll want the communal components of the living room, dining room, bathroom and perhaps the entryway sorted, and then you can sort out the rest.

Food is great for an entry table. It’s a cheap, delicious, and multi-functional bit of décor that will instantly make your home feel more inviting! Just make sure you replace it every day or so.

 

3. Yes, it is worth waiting longer and buying better

If you buy cheap and poorly made furniture (also known as ‘fast furniture’) now, chances are you’ll be replacing it sooner than you would like. This can become a real problem for big, important pieces like the bed frame.

And sure, if you need a bed right now and you just don’t have cash for the perfect bed frame, mattress, and pillow(s), you’ve just got to get something now. But unless you’re in this position, it really is worth waiting to buy a higher-quality bed frame and then buying a mattress separately. You might have to replace the mattress every few decades, but a well-built bed frame taken care of can last a lifetime.

 

4. While you’re waiting, have a think about what furniture style resonates with you

A trend might be stylish, but an everlasting style is sustainable.

So how do you figure out what might resonate with you as an everlasting style? Well, think about styles which have caught your eye before. Think about your family heritage and if any furniture styles come out of that. Walk around all sorts of places: from pubs to contemporary art museums; from your friend’s trashed apartment to your grandparents’ farm; and so on. If you’re lucky enough to be in the position to do so, travel (you need the holiday anyway)—especially to regions with furniture styles you know you like.

How about a Viking-inspired feasting room overlooking a Norwegian fjord? Just casually...

It’s also worth talking to people and reading blogs to get more of an idea of the possibilities. Things are a lot more fluid than they used to be and you may find the traditional segregation of rooms and living experiences (dining in one room, sleeping in another, cooking in another, studying and working in another, etc.) does not suit you or your lifestyle.

Oh, and you’ll also want to get an idea of what NOT to do when furnishing your home!

 

5. Add personality, one piece at a time

When it comes to showing personality through interior design, few things are more apt than wall art. Same goes for the coffee table book. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, consider buying from a local artist—this will give you a unique conversation starter.

Also think about the lighting in your home. While you may not be in a position to change some of the fundamentals (e.g. skylights and overhead lighting), think about how lighting might affect your home.

Also have a think about what’s underfoot. If you’ve got ugly, stained carpets, for example, consider investing in a lovely rug you can take with you wherever you live and put under all sorts of furniture in your home.

 

6. Remember your values and make it meaningful

If you couldn’t care less about furniture, that’s fine. But if you care about the planet, or you care about locally made goods, or you think you’re a bit handy and want to save money with a bit of elbow grease, then you can apply those values to home decoration to make it a bit more meaningful to you.

 

7. Think long term

Don’t buy pieces that only work well in the home you’re moving into—no matter how much you love them! Unless you’re moving into the home you expect to have for life, your wallet will be happier if you consider furniture which is likely to be adaptable to many different homes in future.

A typical case we see come up is the renting couple wanting a 12-seater dining table or a modular lounge because they’ve currently got a huge dining and/or living space. Those big furniture items might be fun and great now, but could be really limiting when the lease expires, potentially resulting in those items needing to sold prematurely and at a significant loss.

Another typical case is the person who is really into one furniture style because it can be pulled off in their current space spectacularly. If you live in a renovated and gentrified warehouse, for example, it can be really tempting to go hardcore industrial! But how well will this work in a newly built apartment you might move into next year?

Finally, avoid buying statement pieces unless the “statement” is something which represents an enduring part of your personality. If you love the country or country life, for example, a custom-made wing chair with cowgrain fabric could be the perfect statement…

 

8. Accept help and ask for it

Swallow your pride and accept (useful and non-self-serving) help from your family and friends. If your older siblings have an old bed frame sitting in the garage, it’s good social practice and good for your budget to treat the offer seriously have a look at the bed frame. Though when doing so, always inspect what’s being offered: if your friends and family are just exploiting your situation to relieve themselves of their waste problems, you may end up facing the costly task of disposing defective and perhaps even rotting furniture (for example, if the timber is rotting).

Also, if you’ve got an occasion coming up (such as a birthday, Christmas, etc.), then ask for furniture or décor! My sister, for example, has been waiting for a long time to replace her coffee table with its broken leg. People in my family have just combined to buy her the exact coffee table she wants—happy birthday, Sis!

 

To conclude, just remember one thing: it takes years to settle into living independently. But by approaching how you furnish and decorate your home systematically and meaningfully, you can make the transition a lot easier. Your first place will feel like home in no time!

8 steps to furnishing and decorating your first home

Are you sick of your desk being a mess? Well, as they say, prevention is better than cure. If you’re looking for ways to end desk messiness forever, read on for six of our best tips to keep your desk well-organised for good!

 

1. Let’s start with the biggest tip: Minimise tech, maximise space

“What,” I hear you ask, “you mean it’s not always better to have three monitors, special dials, fifteen digital pens, a subwoofer, and whatever else?”

Don’t get me wrong: tech isn’t bad. (It’s especially good if you’ve got a hands-on digital job, like graphic design.) But, funnily enough, it’s not always the best for you in your situation to load yourself with tech—despite what the tech companies which stand to profit might say!

Setting big computer monitors, towers, speakers, etc, on your desk will make your workspace feel crowded. If you add to that a telephone, personal phone, tablet, digital assistant, and whatever else, it’s so easy for your desk to become all tech and nothing else. Even if your job is 100% computer-based, having so much around you is likely to crowd out your mind and your ability work in different ways.

Try reducing what you “need”. If you don’t really need to work with three screens, but try reducing it to two or even just one. If it’s a realistic move for you to make, you could even try eliminating the computer altogether—something worth considering if you have a very small desk. You won’t know yourself with all the space you have!

Also, if you’ve got some extras you only need every now and then (such as computer speakers, docks for special devices, or the extra monitor), try keeping them away from your desk in storage, preferably in a different room.

 

2. If you have a computer, make sure you position it properly

To get this right, all you need is to cross-reference your current workspace with a simple diagram, like the one below published by WorkSafe Queensland. If you want the nitty gritty detail on the ergonomics of computer workstations (which is where this diagram comes from), check out their guide here.

 

3. Décor is fine, keep it to a minimum

What’s this, a home decoration company telling you not to buy loads of home décor?

Well, not quite. We’re just as obsessed with décor as the next home decorating fanatic; we just don’t think it should be clogging your desk.

Photo frames are the classic culprit—you don’t need fifteen photos of your new cat! But, a photo of your family or friends which makes you smile—or, if you’re running a business, which might spark amiable conversation with your clients—may be just what you need to help you get through those crucial moments of the working day.

Alternatively, if you still want lots of photos but none of the clutter, try a multi-frame.

 

4. Learn to file

Documents here, documents there, documents where you never thought documents could find themselves before—working in a busy office can be a real mess, even in the digital age!

Luckily, the filing cabinet is here to help. Slotted under your desk or elsewhere unobtrusively in your office, this humble piece of furniture will save precious hours you could be spending building, drafting, brainstorming, socialising, negotiating, calculating, or doing whatever else you need to do to keep the income going (or even doing nothing).

And the good news is, neither filing nor your filing cabinet have to be boring! Keep reading here to find out more.

 

5. Keep it clean

A clean desk does something truly sensational to the brain (though, apparently, messy desks can have benefits too). It helps you declutter your thought processes and is correlated with healthy eating and generous behaviour (yep, seriously!).

This is even more essential if you run a business. Though, as a businessperson, there’s a very fine line: a messy desk will make you look like a slob who can’t get anything done, but a desk which tidied and polished to the extreme will make you look like you never have anything else to do! (Another reason why we love reclaimed timber: you can polish it to look clean, but never to the point of it looking sterile.)

In this process, cleaning your furniture is just the beginning. Look at the entire room: does the floor need vacuuming? Are there cobwebs hanging from the ceiling? Is there sticky dust clinging onto your fans?

Once you’ve finished tidying, it’s good to get in the habit of keeping things tidy as you go. A simple trick is to bundle your computer cords together (or abandon them altogether and go wireless, if possible). You can buy special ties made for the purpose, but personally I prefer to use old rubber bands. The small, fat ones are best, like the ones grocers use to hold bundles of veggies together.

 

6. Final tip: Add some greenery!

If you've read our other blogs, this tip should come as no surprise. Greenery has been proven time and again to reduce indoor air pollution by up to one-quarter per medium-sized plant, and it improves your mental health. (And if you're happier, you'll be in the mood to tidy more often, right?)

Pro tip: make sure you choose plants you are willing to take care of. If you're the sort of person who doesn't even have to think to water their plants every day or as needed, then you can choose practically any indoor plant. But if you're new to all of this and/or you're the sort of person who only remembers to water a plant once every few weeks, then you need something hardy. (Hint: go for succulents!)

We also sell a range of artificial flowers, fruit, and foliage for those out there whose thumbs don’t have even the slightest tinge of green. These are also handy if you’re interested in artistic takes on flowers, fruit, and foliage, rather than replicas of the real things.

Six tips for organising your desk like a pro

People who know me well know I have a very sharp sense of smell. As such, I have strong associations between smells and memories. A whiff of a perfume or the scent of a cake baking not only reminds me of particular people or locations, but very particular and detailed memories—some lasting an extended period of time.

But it doesn’t take a weirdo like me for scents to be important. Indeed, most people will remember if you’re “that friend” who has a house which always smell like dog or mildewy towels.

If you’re looking to ensure you and your guests have a pleasant experience every time they walk through your door, read on to find out how to make your home smell good forever—seriously!

 

Firstly, be aware of things which people find smelly.

These usually emanate from the kitchen, but not always. There are a few classic culprits we all know about—red meat, seafood which isn’t fresh, burnt toast, certain spices, rockmelon which is going off—but also remember that used kitty litter, dirty clothes, and unwashed humans can be super pongy too.

You don’t have to eliminate all of these scents—indeed, if we eliminated everything from our diets which has been “proven” to make rooms (or people) smell bad, no-one would have anything to eat! But it’s important to be aware of these scents and be ready to respond quickly should you get a whiff of them in your home.

 

Secondly, don’t forget the power of fresh air.

There’s nothing like a strong breeze to clear a room of scents, pleasant or otherwise. You might even bring in a lovely smell from the great outdoors, like the first blooms of spring or petrichor. Indeed, I’ve heard a fancy-pants interior design lecturer talk a lot about the importance of a scented garden for a nice-smelling home—all it takes is to position pots of flowering plants like gardenias outside your doors and windows.

In lieu of fresh air—for example, if you live close to livestock, in the middle of a capital city, or if your country is on fire for four months—try a high-quality air purifier to clear your space, or at least a scent-neutralising candle. It’s more work, but it’s better than fish or cigarette smoke.

 

Thirdly, make sure you know your scent associations.

Some scents are directly associated with personalities: for example, fruity scents with fruity people, and sweet scents for sweet people.

Others have been associated with gender. Woods, tobacco, and strong spices, for example, are associated with masculinity. Florals, textiles, and many finer food fragrances are associated with femininity.

Others still don’t have a strong association at all and work well for many kinds of people. Fresh and earthy scents, like campfire and the sea breeze, are the most common of this type.

But these are just presumptions. Whether you buy into any of it is up to you, but you should be aware that at least some of your guests might. Some manly men may feel offended if their man cave smells like roses and geraniums!

 

Fourthly, start early and let the scent develop.

Start at least half an hour before visitors arrive, if not an hour. This will give time for the ‘throw’ of a candle to develop and fill all the nooks and crannies of your home.

If you want to make the process as fast as possible, close all windows and doors to the outside. Use draught excluders if necessary. If your guests will only be using certain parts of the house—your living and dining areas, for example—consider closing the doors to your other rooms to help keep the fragrance to one room.

If you’ve left it late, you could try burning multiple candles. However, the risk carried by this method is that your room will become incredibly heady and possibly downright unpleasant to inhabit. The better option, we think, is to go for a matching or complementary room spray. This will quickly scent a small area without making it pungent—just make sure you use it sparingly!

 

Fifthly, think beyond the candle.

Candles are great—as are oil burners, which are functionally similar. But if you want a home which smells good forever then you’ll need to use them in conjunction with other products.

The first product you should look at is the reed diffuser. These are subtler than candles but they last a lot longer. There’s also no way of “turning them off”, at least not without tampering with the effectiveness of the diffuser. But this means the diffuser is releasing fragrance constantly, which is perfect if you always want your home to have a lovely scent.

You can also create a similar effect with scented décor. We sell some by Angel Aromatics, like this gorgeous set with balsa wood balls. You can refresh the fragrance with essential oils or home sprays, or you can let the fragrance fade and keep the balls as interesting bits of décor.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a quick refresh—or you suddenly need to prepare for guests you weren’t expecting—a room spray is the perfect option.

But then there’s the best option of them all: cooking. Any cooking will do. Remember: if you’re cooking for your guests, you don’t need a scent going at the same time. So don’t be afraid to blow out your candle once you start baking! You’ll just leave your guests hungry and happy.

 

Finally, don’t be afraid to mix scents to creative something more distinctive.

Jessica Matlin at Cosmopolitan suggests that the best way to create a distinctive home fragrance is to combine masculine and feminine scents. You could also mix scents of different characters, like sweet and spicy, citrusy and woody, and so on. Or you could have scents of the same character which complement each other. It’s totally up to you.

There are practically endless scent combinations and a lot of different ways you can create a home fragrance, so don’t be afraid to be creative and make mistakes. Try having different candles in the same room, different candles in different rooms, diffusers in one area and candles in another, home sprays in one area and sweet-smelling décor in another, and so on. You could even add fresh flowers to the mix!

Oh, and when you have a favourite fragrance, don’t be tempted to use it in the toilet! It’ll totally spoil it for you. Trust me; I’ve had experience with this!

 

P.S. Something to remember: a house which smells good can make you money!

Layering fragrances in your home (using a combination of candles, reed diffusers, room sprays, etc) will not only help it smell lovely; it can even make you money!

If you run a business from your home, an office which is scented pleasantly and distinctively will help your clients take a liking to you and generate sales.

If you’re selling or leasing a property, it’s a simple matter of common sense that a nice-smelling home will be more appealing to potential buyers or tenants. It doesn’t even have to something “artificial” like a candle—baking bread and brewing coffee are quick and easy ways to make a house smell good. Plus, you get a reward at the end!

Here’s how you make your home smell good forever

Here’s a rapid-fire blog for you: four reasons why your candle—no matter how pretty—should be stored in a candle holder

 

1. You protect the candle from draughts, fans, air conditioners, errant children, and naughty pets.

2. You protect the area around the handle from the effects of heat and potentially soot (depending on the candle and how you've lit it).

3. Candle holders change how light radiates from the flame, often making it more spectacular.

4. Candle holders develop the look of your home, complementing your furniture style while adding cosiness and sophistication to the room.

Either way, make sure you’re making the most of your scented candle

Four Reasons Why You Should Have A Candle Holder

The dresser is a vital furniture item in the bedroom, providing much-needed storage space while creating an area for you to add a touch of personal style.

But by the time you add a jewellery box, your favourite photos, candles, bits and pieces from your travels, and whatever else, dressers can become a mess. Other times, you just get sick of how the dresser looks and feel it needs a refresh. Whatever your reason, we’ve prepared this quick and easy guide to help you refresh your dresser in no time!

Start by removing everything from the dresser (including anything underneath).

This will give you a clear idea of exactly how much stuff you have while providing a blank canvas for you to start thinking of new creative directions.

Dispose of anything you don’t love, want, or need.

This includes not just décor, but the clothing and accessories you might keep in your dresser. Try to donate where possible!

The rationale for this is straightforward: having less stuff means more gaps, helping you declutter the space while identifying key areas where some new décor could go well. But don’t go overboard!

Also remember that this is a dresser; the stuff in your dresser should only be that which you might need in a bedroom. Everyone’s needs are different: one person’s sock drawer might be another person’s favourite DVD drawer. Try to move non-essential items like hobby collections to other parts of the house.

Now, make sure your dresser is properly cleaned.

With everything cleared in and around the area, now is the perfect time to clean and nourish your dresser. Remember to vacuum underneath and tighten the screws holding various bits and pieces together.

Pro tip: if you have the time, take this opportunity to clear and clean other furniture in your house too, especially timber pieces like bedsides, desks, bookcases, buffets, hutches, and so on. This will also help you declutter and give you ideas of how your items could be moved between rooms.

Take the time to do some research.

With a clean space, you’ll now be in the perfect mindset to start afresh with your dresser.

The first thing to think about is how you use your dresser, as well as how you might want your dresser to be used in future. For example, a dresser purely for storage now might be transformed into something like a vanity, with a mirror, jewellery boxes, perfumes, and make-up. Or you might want your dresser to become a mini exhibition, displaying bits and bobs from your travels and your favourite artistic pieces. Consider also the option of clearing the décor altogether, radically decluttering your room and focusing instead on storage.

If you’re looking for ideas, there are plenty of places to look. You might try (for example):

Before you get too excited, start by putting back in anything which must go in your dresser.

Now’s not the time for décor, but for things like socks and undies which need a home in your dresser and may not fit elsewhere. (It’s boring, I know, but you need to go in order of priority!)

Now let loose with the décor!

But, again, do it in priority. Start with the functional pieces and larger items, such as mirrors, lamps, wall art, indoor plants, and storage trays. Then go for the details: candles, photo frames, greenery, ceramics, and so on.

Always remember: don’t go overboard! Less is always more when it comes to home decoration, including in eclectic/maximalist homes.

 

P.S. Don’t forget about the drawer knobs!

Changing drawer knobs is easy, cheap, and makes a big difference to how your dresser looks. They come in a whole range of styles, from a clear contemporary knob to pewter, rustic knobs, and everything in between. Check them out in-store or online!

How to Refresh Your Dresser

There is a fine line between an eclectic home and a cluttered home. While eclectic (or ‘maximalist’) homes are filled to the brim with a wide range of furniture and décor, cluttered homes are filled to the brim with furniture, décor, piles of washing, and junk which can lead to frustration, procrastination, and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. (This isn’t a hunch; it’s just science.)

Unfortunately, even the best intentions can result in clutter. If you’re interested in creating an eclectic vibe, here are our top tips to ensure your home stays uncluttered:

 

Firstly, make sure your house is clean.

At least half the time a home feels cluttered the cause is simply untidiness. And don’t worry, we’re all untidy in some way or another: leaving washed (or worse, unwashed) clothes in a heap on the fabric chair, not being bothered to dust cobwebs, not vacuuming the floor frequently, or not doing the dishes every day. But making the effort to keep your home clean and tidy will not only bring the most out of your eclectic interiors, it will also be better for your health.

 

Secondly, ensure your décor is organised thematically.

Anarchy might be a fun idea when you’re a disillusioned university student, but when you’re a disillusioned adult it’s just exhausting. Placing homewares ad hoc may be convenient at the time—seeing as you’re not having to think too hard about what you’re doing with the piece and why—but doing so will confuse your guests and detract from your vibe.

Instead, go for thematically arranged eclecticism. For travel bugs, organising rooms according to your trips can be great (a road trip room, an outback holiday room, a big international city room [think Paris, London, NYC, etc], a local room, and so on). You could try different colour palettes too. Or, you could organise your room by furniture style: for example, you may have a mid-century living room, country-style dining room, contemporary entryway, and so on.

 

Thirdly, don’t cram too much into the space.

It’s tempting to keep filling a room with more and more stuff as you see it in-store and online. You often see it in grandparents’ homes: the curtains have to be floral, the sofas have to be upholstered with different florals, the wallpaper has to be “jazzy”, every bowl and plate has to be on display, and so on.

But all rooms have a limit; plus, such mindless consumption is totally not environmentally friendly. You’ll probably get a gut feeling when there’s too much in your room, but if you’re unsure then invite one of your friends over and ask for their opinion. Make sure you invite someone who’s not afraid to be honest!

 

Fourthly, keep editing your collections.

Maximalist interiors really benefit from one of the precepts of minimalist design: keep only that which you love. If something is only there to fill a space, then ditch it. If you’ve fallen out of love with something you’ve bought on your travels, then don’t feel obliged to keep it.

Editing your collections takes time, but the decluttering effect will make your efforts 100% worthwhile.

 

Finally, remember your storage solutions!

Sometimes we just have so much stuff, or such a variety of stuff, that we don’t know where to put it all. And we don’t always want to ditch it, either. If you find yourself in this position, the best option is to find some clever storage solutions. Try under-bed storage drawers, cute lowboys, and stackable cubes and crates to maximise your space.

 

This blog topic was suggested by Tracey Lynch in our My Family Home Facebook group. Check it out!

Eclectic versus Cluttered: How to Style Maximalist Interiors without Overdoing It

If you've got rooms in your house which rarely receive good sunlight, never fear: there are ways to stop them looking like cold, dark, miserable caves (including when it’s overcast outside!).

The secret? Use warm tones. And don’t worry, you can keep your favourite accent colours. Here's how:

1. Paint your walls and ceilings using beiges, creams, and warm greys.

2. Hang a mirror on the most sunlit wall; the mirror will reflect light into the darkest corners of your room.

3. Cover drab-looking floors with something textured and gold-toned, like one of our jute rugs.

4. For a focal point, choose bright, summery wall art.

5. Use warm white light globes only.

6. Consider mood lighting and artful filaments like those you see in the hipster cafés.

7. Soft (faux) woollen or fur décor, like throw rugs and cushions, will keep your guests and your room feeling cosy.

8. Control the temperature of your room. Air conditioning is great, but weatherproofing is the most effective.

9. Choose reclaimed timber furniture and consider your materials carefully. Remember: glossy finishes may make your room feel cold, hard, and on-edge.

10. Add one or more accent colours which you find appealing or are on-trend for a finishing touch of personal style.

Follow these tips and your room will be feeling warmer in no time!

10 Tips for Maximising Warmth in Any Room of the House

As professional home decorating fanatics, we love homewares of all shapes and sizes. And although we’re not supposed to play favourites, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit mirrors hold a special place in our hearts. Not only can a single mirror brighten a room significantly (especially positioned opposite a window), it can also make it appear larger—without the pricey home renovations!

Here are two easy rules of thumb for making your mirrors more magnificant in your family spaces.

The first rule of thumb is to hang mirrors (and artwork) 150 centimetres from the floor to the centre of the mirror.

This is a good way to ensure that people standing in front of the mirror or walking past it can see themselves.It’s also important to make sure that the width of the mirror is smaller than the width of furniture positioned below it. How much smaller? Well, a mirror that’s two-thirds the size of the piece of furniture below it (or a little bit wider) will look fabulous almost every time.

Second rule of thumb: make sure you know what your mirror is holding onto!

Most of our beautiful mirrors can be hung either portrait or landscape style with the aid of a two-part rail on the back. But you don't want to invest in a mirror just to see it fall and smash because you were too hasty putting it up. So, you should make sure you know what you're hanging the mirror on. We’ve even made instructional videos to give you a step-by-step guide to hanging mirrors on both masonry and plasterboard walls.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: How to Choose and Hang Mirrors in Your Home

I have to confess that I get a real kick out of selling lounges.

I love to guide my customers through the selection process to ensure that the finished product exceeds their expectations. That the fabric, style, comfort level and price all fit their requirements. At 1825 interiors, we specialise in custom-made lounges which are manufactured right here in Australia. However, we also have a range of ready-made sofas in store. Ready-made sofas come at a great price, which make them ideal for the family room or beach house, but there’s little or no choice of fabric and they have a shorter warranty. We tend to buy our ready-made couches in neutral fabrics so that they will blend in with our customers’ existing décor.

 

There’s actually a lot to consider before you buy a lounge. And, as it is a big investment, it’s worth thinking about a few things first:

  • Consider the room where the lounge will live. Is it formal or casual? How much use will it get? Do you have small children or pets? Think about whether pet hair will adhere to/be visible on your chosen fabric. Does it have to work in with an existing colour scheme? These points will help you to narrow down your fabric choices. 
  • Are your family members tall or short? This will determine the depth of the sofa style you select. Being a shorty, I can’t buy a sofa that’s too deep or I won’t be able to bend my legs. But my husband is tall, so we had to reach a compromise. How you like to sit on your sofa will also determine the depth. Do you always sit with your legs tucked under you? If so, a deep sofa style is the answer, even if you are short. 
  • The shape and height of the arms is also important. Although it can make a fabulous statement, a larger arm increases the overall size of a sofa, so make sure it will fit your living area. If you like to lie down and have a snooze on your lounge, then a rounded arm is definitely a more comfortable option than a square arm. 
  • A short back looks stylish and is popular on contemporary lounges, but a higher back will give your neck and shoulders support. 
  • Custom-made lounges come with different seating choices. Dunlop Enduro foam is great for those of you who have difficulty getting out of a chair as it is quite firm. Dunlop Luxura foam is our most popular seating choice as it combines the resilience of a foam core with a comfort layer on either side. Feather & polyester fill gives your lounge a casual, ‘squishy’ look (it really lends itself to a slip cover too) and should be topped up approximately once a year. But if you’re the sort of person who likes a smooth, neat look then feather & polyester isn’t for you! 
  • Fixed or slip cover? Any custom-made lounge can have a fixed cover. The point of a slip cover, however, is that it can be taken off and washed. So, if you opt for a slip cover then you must select a washable fabric.

 

Once you’ve decided on how you want your lounge to function, it’s time to work on the look.

Although I find it easy to help customers with fabric choices, I have to say that I agonized over my own! We have a service at 1825 where you can choose up to six Warwick fabrics and they’ll send out samples to your home. That way you can see your fabric in different lights and with your existing decor. I even had my kitten sleep on my fabric samples! Knowing the endless combinations of utterly gorgeous fabrics available, I found it difficult to decide but now I’m very happy with the finished product.

If you want some pattern, be it on the sofa itself or as a scatter cushion, start by choosing the patterned fabric, rather than the plain, first. Once you have selected a pattern, it is quite easy to decide on a complementary plain fabric. I find the most popular option with our customers is to have a neutral plain fabric as the main lounge fabric and then introduce a pattern for scatter cushions, an ottoman, and maybe a feature chair. Piping in a contrasting fabric is also a nice touch. By limiting the patterned fabric to inexpensive items like cushions and an ottoman, you can change the look of your living area by replacing these further down the track without blowing the budget.

Your new lounge should be vacuumed regularly, and the cushions fluffed. For peace of mind, we offer fabric protection for a small additional cost at the time of purchase. You can also spot clean with Warwick Halo cleaner. With practically endless combinations of fabric, style and comfort choices, our custom-made service gives you the freedom to create very own unique lounge—one that will suit every member of the family!

Tips for Selecting a New Sofa

Country style decorating is cosy and casual. It’s a look that never goes out of fashion because it sits outside of fashion.

In this blog we’ll discuss how to achieve a timeless country style look for your home.

Firstly, you need solid timber furniture

Solid timber furniture, especially reclaimed timber, adds the authenticity and cosiness country style interiors are so well known for. Mix and match warm honey tones with ivory for a fresh appeal or maintain the same tone throughout for a homespun look.

Timeless pieces can include timber dining tables with straight or turned legs, a buffet & hutch, and breakfast stools for the kitchen.

In the living room, combine a solid timber coffee table, display cabinet and TV unit, and choose a reclaimed, solid pine desk for the study nook.

Or, make a bedroom feel homier by choosing a fabric bedframe and timber bedsides with vintage handles.

Then, you need a country style colour scheme

White and cream tones never go out of fashion. So, if you’re after longevity, start with a neutral backdrop. That doesn't mean you have to forget about colour—if you love pastel tones, for example, try blending soft aqua, blue and yellow into the scheme, with curtains, rugs, cushions and accessories.

Patterns also tend to define the colour scheme of a country style home, so try juxtaposing stripes, checks, spots and florals in similar hues for a farmhouse effect.

Add some collectibles

You’ll never tire of your own unique style, and accessorising with a country flavour lets you characterise your space while enhancing your country furniture. The odd vintage piece you've thrifted or inherited will definitely help set the mood. Old glassware, enamel jugs and bowls, bottles, crockery and handmade items also complement the timeless feel. Meanwhile, vases of fresh flowers or dried sprigs in baskets add colour, and floor and table lamps provide soft lighting that fits with the relaxed nature of country style decorating.

Finally, consider adding family photos in mismatched frames on walls, buffets or sofa tables to personalise your home.

Open plan living

In the past, country style decorating has had a reputation for being cluttered. However, the modern take on it is to maintain a spacious feel. Open-plan living is a practical way for busy families to make the most of their home, so keep room separation to a minimum, don’t overcrowd furniture, and resist the urge to cover every surface with accessories.

Lastly, don't be afraid to inject a splash of modern chic via state of the art kitchen appliances, lighting, timber framed mirrors or artwork. That way, your country style design will still be trending well into the future!

A Modern Take on Country Style Decorating

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