Let there be LIGHT

Let there be LIGHT

            Lighting in our homes is essential – so we can see what we are doing – & when we have the wrong type of light, it really makes a difference! So what types of lighting do we need in our homes & what difference does that make to how we use the rooms?

You should have three type of light in each room





NATURAL light is sunlight. It doesn’t have to stream in, but a fresh sunlight brightens any interior, it cleans out dust & bugs & freshens the air. This is a clean light, making the colours in the room look correct.

Natural light is also FREE! People tend to forget that artificial lighting costs in electricity & globes. Natural is best.

TASK lighting is so you can effectively use the space without tripping or running into things. This is enough illumination where you need it. For most rooms, one standard bayonet cap or a couple of downlights are enough. For kitchen bench areas or study desks, you need more planned light on your workspace. A lamp for a reading space is also TASK.

AMBIENT lighting is the mood. This is lamps or feature lighting that is all about style. This helps to change the way you use a room, or feel about a room. This is ideal when entertaining, late at night or when you’re not well. Ambient is softer & tends to give a glow.

In a good room, all of these work in harmony. It allows you to alter the space how you choose & set the mood for the room.

Planning Lighting

As lighting is mostly fixed, it is a good idea to have dimmers so you can set the level of illumination. Make sure you have sets of downlights switched separately so you don’t have to turn on all your downlights on at once, otherwise it could look like a new car showroom. Too much light can be an eyesore & bleach all the soul out of your home.

If you have higher ceilings you may want a pendant light to bring the illumination down to the living area rather than lighting the empty space above. They can also be a fantastic feature for chosen areas.

You do need to consider where you need to access the lights from, such as the right side of the door, switched to two points or bedside lamps that you turn off when in bed. This makes life a million times easier.

A few bright thoughts go a long way to making sure you love your home to the max!


For other great free Interior Design tips –

How to get the Industrial Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-get-the-industrial-style/

What is Contemporary Design? – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/what-is-contemporary-design/

Heating your home this winter –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-heat-your-home-this-winter/

Environmental Design – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/environmental-design/

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/low-sheen-gloss-satin-what-does-it-all-mean/

How to get the Scandinavian Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/scandi-style/

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

Renovating For Sale

Renovating For Sale

Property styling is a booming business for jazzing up homes for sale. This is placing contemporary furniture & decorator items in the house to up the interest in the home & hopefully the sale value.

But what if your home needs more than just décor?

What if the interior paint colours are well-past their use-by-date & the kitchen or bathroom have seen better days?

You don’t want to do a large renovation as you are still planning on selling, so what is most important to focus on to get the best bang for your buck?

Renovating for sale can add tens of thousands of dollars to the sale of your home, but you need to be smart about where to focus your energy.

Do nothing structural.

Unless you have to, of course. If your house is stable just dated looking, keep the budget to cosmetic changes only.

Ask people who don’t live there.

You are blind to the possibilities as you live in the home. Ask a friend over, talk to your real estate agent or hire an Interior Designer for a one-off consult to give ideas on what are the best bang-for-your-buck areas to focus on. This may be a fresh, lighter coat of paint, new flooring, changing the lighting fixtures or replacing the window furnishings.

This can also be a great ‘letting go’ process as you alter the home so it isn’t ‘yours’ anymore. You can start thinking about it more as a financial decision than a personal change.

Budget – let’s crunch the numbers

It’s best not to spend more than 5% of your home valuation on the renovation. So a $300,000 house can spend up to $15,000. Of course, if there are serious structural issues, these may blow that estimate. But for a 5% value, you can do a massive amount. This won’t be replacing the whole kitchen, but painting the cabinets & changing the handles can be done. Or a large rug to hide unappealing flooring & a feature wall colour to draw your attention away. This is where someone with a bit of renovating experience can give rough pricing ideas to keep you on track.

Clean up & fix it.

So many people live with a To-Do-List that never gets done. Fixing that leaking tap, touch up paint on the door, replacing the globes & cleaning the blinds. These are really simple things you can do in a day to make a huge difference. But if you find it hard to do these things, many Handyman business are happy to run through the list for you – which may be more cost effective than stressing about it!

And then… Decorate.

This is styling it for sale. Removing the old furniture & décor, adding fresh new items. This process may change the layout of your furniture from how you have always had it but make a massive difference to the way the room works. If you need more styling hints on this see the blog post –http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/interior-design-tips/

The overall change may be invigorating & really get you excited about not only the extra profit at the sale, but also how you can decorate your new home. The new decorator items could set the stage for your life moving forward -as well as the extra profit at sale!


For other free Interior Design Tips click the links

Having an older home – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/a-grandma-of-a-home/

Storage for Older Homes – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/storage-for-older-homes/

Wallpaper is back – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/wallpaper-is-back/

Colour Proportions in your home – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/colour-proportions/

Heating your home this Winter –http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/tips-on-heating-your-home-in-winter/

Renovation Procrastination – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/6-years-of-procrastinating/

Current Colour Trends – GREY

Current Colour Trends – GREY

We’ve all heard the strange & strangely popular paint colour names that stick in your head… Clotted Cream, Hog Bristle & the golden oldie of Mission Brown. But with so many thousands of colours out there on offer, which ones are the most ‘on trend’ for modern homes?

For the answer we’ve got to go grey.

Grey is in.

Personally I think it’s because we’re living in the technological age. Remember those old movies depicting ‘the future’, with everyone all living in grey rooms with tailored grey clothing & stern looks on their faces. Well the future is now, where we can connect to anyone across the world in an instant, & so we’re living in the world of grey. But before you get upset by the uncaring nature grey can have, the new palette is soft, warm & inviting. Many people love the freshness of a clean grey. This is one in between black & white, sounds simple…right?

Each brand has its own favoured greys, for Dulux it is Grey Pebble & Beige Royal, for Taubmans it is Satellite & Amenity, & Haymes has Greyology 1-7 depending on your level of depth. But what it all comes down to is the undertones.

However when you start looking at grey paint colours you will notice that they usually throw a blue, green or brown tone as well as being grey. This is similar to all your black clothing, black just isn’t black enough!

So what undertone of grey do you choose???

When choosing greys for your home, take the time to look at the surrounding hues in your room. Do you have timber flooring? Is the carpet a warm colour? What is the splashback colour? Interior Design is working all of these in together to a harmonious theme, & that is what you need to do.

If there is timber in the rooms, then a grey-brown is better (greige – otherwise known as grey-beige). If you have slate flooring, then perhaps a green tinge is desired. But if you are decorating a room that is predominately black & white, then a clean grey would work well. It is all about styling with what you have to make sure if all flows together.

How do I know which grey is which?

Place the paint cards together. You will usually see which ones have coloured undertones. But wait!! Don’t just discount them straight away. You really have to see them against all your finishes at home to see if they blend with your colour scheme. It is amazing how different they look at home than in the paint store.

Grey is best if matched with a white trim colour. This highlights the shade chosen & makes it appear fresher. This is also quite a modern touch to add a white skirting & architrave. If you want a stark white, then the whiteness of untinted paint would suffice, but for a little bit of softness Dulux’s Natural White or Lexicon are great clean options.

Grey is also classed as a ‘neutral’ tone which means that you can add almost any décor colour & make it pop. It can also be a great base colour for Scandinavian, Hamptons, Industrial, Vintage, Modern & Classical styles.

That’s just some of the many, many reasons we’re all loving grey.


Get all the information you need with these free Interior Design posts –

Colour Psychology in your Home – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/colour-psychology/

Decorating Open Plan Living Spaces – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/planning-open-plan-living-spaces/

The Hamptons Style – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/the-hamptons-style/

Budget Kitchen Makeover – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/budget-kitchen-makeover/

Proportion Design Principles – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/design-principles-my-favourite-proportion/

Lighting your Home – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/let-there-be-light/

Asking for help

Asking for help

Flicking through another magazine, we can’t seem to stop ourselves drooling over all the home images. They all look so perfectly styled & decorated. And then we look at our own homes….

Let’s face it, you may need more than just a Stylist to cast an eye over your Interiors to bring them up to ideal. But who do you need?

Here’s a quick breakdown of professionals to help you get the right advice for what your home requires.

Property Stylist – Works with Décor & Furniture to make your existing home look great for the house sale.

Colour Consultant – Matches colours for the interiors & exteriors to ensure they all work well in harmony. This is usually with paint, but also can include fabrics & finishes.

Interior Decorator – These people work with colours, décor, furniture & window furnishings to make a home look more appealing. These are usually still the items you can take with you when you move out.

Interior Designer – This includes all of the above, as well as being able to work layouts, move walls, recommend fixed finishes like kitchen cabinetry or flooring choices.

Building Designer – These people are trained to work with the design of the building’s structure. They can accurately determine if walls can be removed, if additions can be made to the home & work with function as well as energy efficient measures. They can also be known as Draftspersons & these people submit plans for council approval.

Architect – Architects are heavily trained to deal with the structure of buildings according to Australian codes & are registered as Architects with their Australian State board. They do similar works to Building Designers & can work more extensively on larger projects.

Builders – These are the people who can do the work. Builders can be varied, but they all need to be licenced in the state they are working in.

Important Note All of these professionals are people.

Their skills vary significantly & some can be very proficient in multiple fields that they are not specifically qualified for. For example, you may get a Builder who can draw plans for council approval, or a Colour Consultant who is also good with bathroom design. It all comes down to the individual & their personal preference & skillsets.

When choosing a professional – research them first.

Ask for references, see homes they have done, scour through their websites or ask for previous works. This way you can see what they are capable of, what their style is & if it suits you.

But most of all, make sure you are comfortable with them. These are the people who will be helping you through, what can be, a tough process.


Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Renovating or building can be a large job that you may not be qualified for or comfortable doing on your own.

Luckily, you don’t have to.

For other free Interior Design Tips click the links

Storage for Older Homes – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/storage-for-older-homes/

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

The latest design trend PLANTS – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/latest-decor-fascination-plants/

Advertise your Office – http://www.interiordesigneralbury.com.au/advertise-your-office/

Flat Pack – Some Assembly Required

Flat Pack – Some Assembly Required

It seems no matter what you buy nowdays, there is always ‘some assembly required’. Those words alone are enough to send most of us into a state of fear & frustration.

But no fear!

Flat pack can be troublesome, but these quick tips may help you breeze through this time with ease.

Tips for flat pack items

Unpack it all

Start by unpacking ALL the pieces. Check that you have everything first, & then dispose of the packaging straight away.

If the product is damaged & a return to the store is necessary, they usually don’t require the box it came in – especially if it is already assembled.

But this is important as it clears the space. During the assembly process you don’t need to be fighting boxes, polystyrene or plastic bags. It makes the assembly cleaner & easier.

Checking the contents allows you to also get to know your pieces & possibly organise them as you unpack to make the process more seamless.

Read the instructions

I know this sounds so basic – but the majority of people skim through the instructions – like reading the last page of the book first. They don’t pay attention to the details of images, or information given in the order it needs to be done in.

Take your time

This is the most important part. Put on a television show, some good music or a podcast. Make your area a comfortable space that you are happy to spend time in while assembling.

Most people are in a hurry. They buy pieces of furniture & are desperate to have it assembled to use it. It’s best to see the assembly as part of the process – like the journey not the destination. This will allow your mind to focus on the details of the moment – not how you’re going to use if afterwards.

Assemble in location

Flat pack is usually required for larger pieces which cannot be stored or transported easily due to size or weight. This means it will be painful to move after assembled.

Assemble in the room it will live in. This will make set up much easier.

Do it right

Look at your largest piece of furniture in the room right now.

How long have you had it?

Most people don’t replace large or bulky pieces regularly, so it’s best to get it right. This will ensure that it will be as strong as required.

Left overs

‘I’ve followed the instructions but have left over pieces’

What to do – freak out!!!

No, just kidding. Take it as a courtesy. The furniture supplier has given you extra pieces just in case you lost or damaged a piece. It is quite common to have a few screws left over.

If the piece is not functioning properly & you have left over pieces, it would be best to go back through the instructions to make sure you didn’t miss a step.

At the end

Kick back & have a piece of chocolate.

You have just mastered something that many people loathe & stuff up. Enjoy your piece & decorate.

But keep the allen-key & instructions as you may need to take it apart to move it to another room or house.



Free Interior Design posts –

Colour Psychology in your Home – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/colour-psychology/

The Hamptons Style – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/the-hamptons-style/

Proportion Design Principles – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/design-principles-my-favourite-proportion/

Lighting your Home – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/let-there-be-light/

How to get the Most out of your Interior Designer – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/5-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-interior-designer/

Colour Psychology

Colour Psychology


We all have a favourite colour. As children we are asked what our favourite colour is.

In some ways we feel like this may define us as people, but what do each of them mean?

When decorating our homes, we tend to gravitate to certain hues & shades to feel comfortable & relaxed. But we can’t help but wonder… is there a better colour scheme for me?

Let’s explore what psychology each main colour has. Each colour tends to have good & bad sides, which makes our love for colour quite interesting!


POSITIVES – It’s the shortest wavelength in the spectrum so it demands attention & is the first to be seen. This is why they use it for Stop Signs, Don’t Walk & Warning Labels. It stands for Love, Passion, Affection, Life, Energy, Strength. Red is the ‘go get em’ colour, dress in red & you are vibrant, strong & confident. Red stands for luck & prosperity in China & India.

NEGATIVES – Anger, Aggression, Rage, Violence, Blood, War, Terror, Financial Failure (being in the red).

It is known to physically raise blood pressure & increase heart rate. It can also induce the fight or flight mechanism. It increases your metabolism, making you feel like you can eat more. Best not in the kitchen if you want to lose weight.

It is a very energetic colour, while being warm. So it is best to keep it in small doses if you have hyperactive children or a heart problem. As it is very attention grabbing it can dominate a room quickly.


Orange is a mixture colour which usually pulls from the energy of red & the fun of yellow. However it does have some specific feeling of it’s own.

POSITIVES – Orange is warm, comfortable passionate, sensual, fun & cheerful. It is motivating, enthusiastic, & attention grabbing. It is a balancing colour & can still stimulate the appetite like red.

NEGATIVES – Frustration, superficial, insincere, lack of maturity or intellectual values, over-bearing, self-indulgent & rude.

That all depends on the shade of orange. Orange is a colour which is fleeting in design, & does gravitate to eras, such as the 1970’s retro. It is an edible colour, so great in Kitchens.


POSITIVES – Happiness, life, warmth, vitality. It signifies communication, enlightenment & cheerfulness. It is joy & optimism, sunshine & friendliness

NEGATIVES – Irrationality, jealousy, anxiety, depression, fear, deception & cowardice. People who love yellow can be emotionally fragile & anxious.

It can give increased mental activity – which is great for clear thought at work – but in overload, hurts. There was a study done a while ago, putting people in a room entirely of bright yellow – & they snapped to the point of self harm.

Again for Interiors, Yellow should be used sparingly. It is tied to the country kitchens of the 90’s, & recently in modern design when teamed with grey. Also hard to read when against white!


POSITIVES – Derived from nature, promotes harmony, relaxation, balance, restfulness & peace. It tends to give you a clearer sense between right & wrong & is logical. It is a sign of growth in both nature & income or wealth. It is the colour of freshness & life. And green means GO.

NEGATIVES – Depression, dullness & over-possession.

Overall the psychology of green is particularly positive, but green can be quite a depressing colour for a home. The right shades need to be used so that it doesn’t appear dull & old.

You tend to see green run throughout the ages with different variations. Mint green in the 50’s, lime in the 70’s, teal or jade are current, with forest green coming back in at times.


POSITIVES – Loyalty, trust, dependability, reliable & responsible. (Probably why many businesses & health fields use blue). It is calm, relaxing, soothing & is one of the most liked colours in the world. Strong blues give clear thought & lighter blues give mental focus. It improves productivity.

NEGATIVES – It can be seen as distant, cold, uncaring, or unfriendly when used in larger quantities.

Physically, blue tends to relax & de-stress people, unlike red which heightens the heart rate. It is not an edible colour so not ideal for the kitchen or crockery. It’s ties to water make it good for bathrooms or laundry’s.


POSITIVES – Commonly seen as a spiritual colour. Combining the energy or red & the stability of blue. It is known for imagination, magic, mystery, courage, loyalty, luxury & for the wealthy. This is due to the purple pigments being more costly back in ancient times.

NEGATIVES – Introspection, distraction, suppression. When overloaded it can look cheap & scream decadence.

Vibrant purples do scream, so they need to be used carefully in large amounts. Lavender tones are closer related to neutral browns or blues with the feeling of relaxation.


POSITIVES – Compassion, tenderness, romance & unconditional love. It is caring, nurturing, soft & feminine. It is sensitive & is a sign of hope. The nurturing & soothing nature of pinks are used in prison to calm inmates.

NEGATIVES – Lack of power, immaturity, physical weakness, inhibition & emotionally stunted.

Large quantities of pink can look overdone & aged. Bright or vibrant pinks can be seen as troubled, unsteady & boisterous (like a teenage girl). These need to be used in smaller quantities.


POSITIVES – Nature based & is in most designs due to timber. It is a colour of structure, security, protection & constant support (like your morning coffee!) It symbolises warmth & can be sophisticated.

NEGATIVES – It is a safe colour, so it can seem boring, dull & reserved. Lacks humour, personality & can be heavy.

Brown tones go with almost every colour, however you need to choose the right undertone for your palette. Grey based browns tend to show sophistication, while spicy & warm tones bring warmth & a rustic feel.


POSITIVES – Grey can enhance creativity, unobtrusive, neutral & stylish. It can look sophisticated & sleek. It is also associated with steel, making it perfect for styles like Industrial.

NEGATIVES – Dull, cold, lack confidence, lack personality, is depressive, suppressive & can cause fear.

Grey is the colour of the future & technology. That may be the reason it is popular now in our progressively technological world. And possibly why it was in vogue in the 1980’s as well with their technological boom.

It is more of a city colour, due to all their concrete buildings, whereas country areas have more brown tones. As a neutral it matches almost all colours, making it a great base colour. It can be off white, or charcoal, which helps with toning down these intense colours.


POSITIVES – Timeless, glamorous, sophistication & style. It exudes elegance, substance & class. It promotes control, protectiveness, seriousness & contrast. Black is timeless & powerful, A Black Tie event is a high class event. Black is used for Business Men/Women, Priests (protectiveness), and is slimming. To be In The Black for business is to be making money & black can be sleek & stylish.

NEGATIVES – Mystery, darkness, evilness, death, depression, reclusiveness, negativity & sadness. It is the colour of the Grim Reaper, a black hole of despair, the black dog of depression.

In homes, usually use it sparingly. Black is heavy & can easily dominate. Usually charcoals are a safer bet. A builder once told me that there will be a little bit of black & white in every design – & he’s been pretty spot on.


POSITIVES – Purity, innocence & peace. It is the colour of new beginnings, such as a white canvas to start with, & gives fresh ideas. White is balanced & simple. It is a great colour for cleanliness & hygienic spaces. White is great for reflecting light, it gives a feeling of openness & air & is a great base colour for others to be seen by. White is great for those hygienic spaces like Kitchens & bathrooms. It also makes these typically smaller rooms look larger.

NEGATIVES – Isolation, loneliness & emptiness. It looks sterile, cold, unfriendly, elitist & can be abrasive if too stark.

When using an off-white for your walls in a house, crisp it up with stark white trims to highlight the colour of the walls. And once again – hard to read!

Colour Psychology is used fiercely in Marketing. It’s all about ways to sell to you, without you being aware. If you don’t believe me… just take a trip to a shopping centre or look at a few logos, like take away foods in red & yellow.

The same concept can be used in your home to say what you want with your interiors. Do you want a serene space? A light & fresh interior, or a moody, intimate feeling. Once you know what feeling you would like to promote, you can work a colour palette from there.

It is a great idea to research what style you are after. This could be Industrial, The Hamptons, Classical, Country, Post-Modern, Art Deco… and the list goes on. Once you have an idea of what styles or eras you like, you will realise that there is a colour palette for that style. For example, Scandinavian is based in a light colour palette or whites & off-whites, mixed with blonde timbers & the feeling of space. This makes colour matching much easier!

Also keep in mind that colour is not only paint. Colour is brought in with décor, furniture & functional life items like chopping boards or tooth brush holders. Every item in a room has the potential to agree or disagree with your colour palette. So make sure you scrutinise each piece. This doesn’t mean you have to replace it if it doesn’t fit, maybe just repurpose or find a way to highlight it in your scheme.

Have fun with colour!

It is the easiest & most dominate alteration that you can make to a home, with the best part being… you can easily replace or fix a colour if it is not right.


what is YOUR favourite colour??



References used to formulate this colour psychology blog – Resene Colour Choices Chart, https://coschedule.com/blog/color-psychology-marketing/, https://www.colorpsychology.org/green


Keep on reading with these Interior Design Blog Posts –

The Hamptons Style – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/the-hamptons-style/

Lighting your Home – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/let-there-be-light/

How to get the Most out of your Interior Designer – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/5-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-interior-designer/

Budget Kitchen Makeover – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/budget-kitchen-makeover/

Decorating Open Plan Living Spaces – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/planning-open-plan-living-spaces/

What is Contemporary Design?

What is Contemporary Design?

Contemporary is a design word that is thrown around a lot, but what does it mean?

Contemporary Style & Modern are two styles that are commonly thought to be the same, but are very different. Contemporary is what is in vogue right now. It is a fluid style as it is a mixture of what is in fashion. The term was used quite commonly during the 90’s which was when Modern was prominent – explaining the confusion!

Modern is straight lines, open spaces, glossy surfaces with a minimalist look.

Whereas currently in 2017, Contemporary has rounded edges from Art Deco & Scandinavian, a softer colour palette from the Scandi & French Provincial styles, the class of The Hamptons, as well as hardy finishes & rustic textures from Industrial.

Scandi design shows a light, airy feeling with furniture that have higher legs, pops of soft colour & textured rugs or throws. Industrial has beat-around the edges textures, vintage signage & strong metal frames. The Hamptons style is elegance with sophisticated neutral colour palettes teamed with well made & maintained classical pieces. French Provincial is a softer design with shabby-chic furniture, large metal framed clocks & weathered timbers. And Art Deco is quite a geometric designer look which has contrast to give emphasis.

With Contemporary it is pretty easy to shop for as it is what is in the store at the moment. However at lot of people have trouble collating the Contemporary style as it can look eclectic, mismatched & cluttered. This is where you have to use design elements & colour matching knowledge to pull it together.

Get the look –

  • Shop trend stores for what’s in now
  • Get to know the other styles so you can effectively mix & match
  • Balance the elements with colour or finishes. If you have timber in one area, match it with another across the room for balance
  • Ensure that you think about texture & pattern as well as colour.
  • Play with decorator items. It’s hard to be Contemporary with the fixed elements your home. Have a simple overall style for your home & add Contemporary items to it.

For other great free Interior Design tips –

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

How to get the Industrial Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-get-the-industrial-style/

Environmental Design – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/environmental-design/

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/low-sheen-gloss-satin-what-does-it-all-mean/


5 Tips to get the most out of your Interior Designer

5 Tips to get the most out of your Interior Designer

You may have considered hiring an Interior Designer, but you wonder if it’s value for money. You know that they are probably competent at what they do, but will they really help the way you want them to?

Follow these 5 simple tips to make sure you get the most out of your consultation with a Designer.

1.Be Honest

I know it sounds pretty simple, but so many are timid, ashamed of their homes or clean up before the Designer arrives. Don’t do that. They are there to see how you live – the mess & all – as they may have great ideas on how to fix that. Don’t feel like a Designer is judging you for your home. People live in all different ways, & it’s your home. They are there to help you not judge you

2. Know what you want

“If I knew what I wanted I wouldn’t need a Designer”. I heard you say that in your head! I’m referring to the basics. Do you want the walls to be beige, or grey or green? Do you want blinds or curtains? The specifics are what Interior Designers help with, & you need to have a basic vision of what you want. Scroll through Pintrest, rip pages out of magazines & take photos of Display Homes. Have something to work with first – it saves a tonne of time during your consultancy & ensures you get what you want!

3. Give them a call

You can usually tell in a quick conversation if they are comfortable & confident with what you need. For example, if you are planning a full kitchen renovation, & they don’t ask if you are wanting laminate or stone bench tops, they may not know much in the kitchen field. And if you’re not sure, ask. “Are you good with curtain fabrics, do you have access to wallpaper, can you do scaled drawings of my bathroom?” Their answers should let you know if they are the one for you.

4. Research them

Most people now days have a website, Facebook page, Instagram, etc. so it’s easy to get information. Get a feel for the Designer, does their website make sense, does it show styles like your own, are there testimonials? And then don’t be afraid to ask around. People in the industry may know them & their work, so ask your local paint store, flooring shop or lighting place. However, listen to the stories carefully, their personal bias may alter your perception of a decent consultant.

5. You’re not getting married!

Just remember that it isn’t the end of the world. If you’re not happy with their advice or selections, ask them if they would be happy to revise it for you. If not, just chock it up to a learning curve & move on. You’re not married to them, you don’t have to stick with them. However I would recommend that you give them the opportunity to fix it if you aren’t happy. We’re all human & we all want it to work.


Just remember that hiring an Interior Decorator, Designer or Colour Consultant can be one of the most cost effective decisions you make when renovating & building. These are people who spend their days floating between all different elements & finishes of homes, so they know how it all fits together. It can really make a daunting project be a load of fun again.


Houses divide black & white

Keep reading with more free Interior Design posts –

Feng Shui Principles – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/feng-shui-principles-true-or-foohy/

The Hamptons Style – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/the-hamptons-style/

Decorating Open Plan Living Spaces – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/planning-open-plan-living-spaces/

What First Impressions is Your Business Making? – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/what-first-impressions-is-your-business-making/

Feng Shui Principles – TRUE or FOOHY?

Feng Shui Principles – TRUE or FOOHY?

We’ve all heard of the Chinese practice of Feng Shui in helping us have more harmonious homes, but do we believe in it?

According to Wikipedia, less than a third of China’s population still believes in the practice of Feng Shui for their everyday lives. It has become more of a superstitious set of rules that don’t seem to gel well with modern day environments. But is it something worth paying attention to?


Feng Shui is a philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment, with the words Feng Shui literally translating to “wind-water” in English. The concept is to arrange your life, house, business & family around the principles to ensure good luck & prosperity. The Western purposes of Feng Shui tend to centre around the home & Interior Decorating to make our living spaces more relaxing.

So the question becomes, true or false, do I believe in the benefits of Feng Shui?….   TRUE!

Now before you think I’m a lunatic that is adopting a new religion, I want to state that many of the (albeit very simplified) principles of Feng Shui do make sense. I find that they can help to create a more functional home, & in my time as an Interior Designer I have used many of the ideas to help my clients achieve a nicer looking &, more importantly, nicer feeling home.

Feng Shui is centred around the idea of good ‘Chi’. Chi is otherwise known as energy. They talk about it as if it were the wind that flows through life. Now even scientists will tell you that all elements in our world are made up of energy, including air or wind. This energy can affect us physically & mentally just by being surrounded in it. Feng Shui is about utilising good Chi & minimising bad or stagnant Chi to make a more harmonious environment for us to live in. So what are these principles or ideas that may help you achieve more peace & prosperity at home, I hear you ask? Well some of the many simplified ideas are as follows, courtesy of ChicTip.com.

Help my home Feng Shui!

JE Lounge

Front of the House – This is where it starts as this is the area in which Chi enters the home. If you house is positioned directly at the end of a street with cars facing your front door, this fast-pased energy can hurtle through your entryway & rush into the home. A sweeping garden bed, or a tree to block or disperse the intense energy is best. You want a relaxed, free-flowing feel for the entry of your home as this sets the stage for the rest of the Chi. So keep front door clutter to minimum, keep your plants neat & not too spikey & make it easy to enter, not having to step over items or duck under a beam.


De-clutter Every Room – Clutter is where energy cannot flow properly. This is how it becomes stagnant & damaging to our thinking. Most of the time if we have clutter it is because the items don’t belong & because we haven’t done something. This means that every area of clutter is a big troubled ‘to do list’ which just adds more stress & less time to relax. It’s okay to have ‘stuff’ in our lives, but our ‘stuff’ needs an organised home, not just piles of unfinished projects. (See, I told you some of this makes perfect sense!)


Furniture Positioning – This also makes sense but furniture is to be placed in a room so that you can move freely in the space while still using the pieces. However I have been amazed by how many people get this one wrong! I have been to plenty of beautiful homes where the furniture is blocking the walkways & you can’t open sideboards or cupboards as many other things are in the way. Think about how you use your space, where do you walk, what do you want to look at (television), can I still reach what I need to (coffee table, lamp) or if I had the windows open would the air be able to flow all the way around the furniture? After all of these are answered, then you can arrange the furniture.


Keep Work & Rest Areas Separate – It is best if you have a home office to have a closing door. We all know that a home based business can steal many more hours out of your day than planned, so make sure you can close the door & walk away at the end of your working day. This will allow your head to relax. Also try not to do work on the laptop or notebook in front of the tv in the lounge room. This doesn’t do favours to either the work or the relaxation. For those tired mothers out there, try to find a room in the house where children aren’t allowed to go. One of my clients has the ‘Good Room’ in her house that children aren’t allowed in. This room has the lovely white carpet, nicer white upholstered furniture & the fancy liquor cabinet. This is her piece of heaven & time away from her job as a mother, but still with glass doors to look out over the kids in the family room.


3Maintenance is Key – A broken item has broken Chi. Its functionality is limited & it becomes a source of angst. A leaking tap is said to represent your money going down the drain, a broken door handle can muddle the Chi for the whole room. Fix it. It makes sense. Write a list & every month pick an item or two that you will complete to keep your home up to scratch. Also avoid sharp corners or edges. Try to round corners or place circular items in modern houses to take the sharpness off the minimalist interiors. Consider rounded arms on chairs or cone shaped pendant lights rather than the boxy alternatives to give a softer flow.


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – This is my favourite. Mirrors are very powerful in Feng Shui. They are said to double what is reflected in them. In China, older feuding neighbours place mirrors along the boundaries of their homes to reflect back any negative energy from next door. However in Australia, we just build bigger fences. Mirrors are a powerful tool as they can accentuate what is reflected in them. A dinner table can look twice as big with twice as many guests, or a small room can look bigger with mirrors. If there is a dark room, a mirror can reflect light creating a better glow. However be careful with not reflecting light straight back out the window or making a glare spot in the room. Also don’t hang mirrors in a way that ‘cuts’ a persons’ head off when looking into it or shattered or tiled mirrors that can make the reflected image disjointed. And be careful not to accentuate cluttered or messy areas by doubling it with a badly positioned mirror.


Living with Plants & Pets – Life is important. I even prefer having a spider of two around the house because it means that the house is liveable, not toxic. Indoor plants help to filter the air to make it clean for us to breathe. You don’t need to add an entire conservatory, but maybe just one or two small potted varieties. There are even plenty like succulents that may not need much light or water. They are also a lovely visual addition to bring a pop of colour, or to bring the outdoors inside. Another pop of colour is bowls of fruit especially citrus. This is meant to promote good luck. Pets are also great Feng Shui. Their loving, fun energy filters through the home, as long as their toys don’t clutter up the walkways & they don’t leave ‘puddles’ in the corners. A relaxed, happy pet brings happiness to the whole home & those in it. Fish, especially goldfish, also symbolise prosperity & the water they are in promotes harmony.


Water Features – There was a big push a decade back to have a water feature in your home. All those people out there with curious pets have realised it may not be practical & floating cat hair isn’t attractive either. However the premise was that flowing water promotes harmony & relaxation. That may be true but in my experience, it also encourages the need to go to the toilet.


Colour – Colour can make all the difference to an interior & each colour has it’s own meaning & history. Red is a lucky colour in China & yellow shows power. However to keep a more Zen attitude, relaxing neutral tones are preferred. So a warm neutral colour palette with accents of greens tend to give the best serene presence. Whites can be fresh & clean but be sure not to have a stark, clinical look for the home. Soften them with yellow or soft brown undertones.


Not too Sharp – Modern houses can be quite rigid. Lots of straight lines & sharp edges. It’s best to soften a home with rounded corners & circular objects. Even if this is just choosing a new sofa with a slight curve on the arms rather than a block edge, it’s amazing the difference it makes. If you already have your furniture & still need to soften, add decorator items with rounded edges or a throw over blocky pieces. A curved vase, with soft peace lilies in it, or a statue, mortar & pestle in the kitchen, a pillar candle or circular cushions. There are plenty of options.


Make it work for you!!

So when you are decorating or buying a new piece for the home, consider the impact of what it will do to the room more than just looking good. Think about what areas of your home you don’t like & is it because they are cluttered or there are too many sharp edges in that area?

There are reasons for why these spaces do or don’t work, & you don’t have to go barefoot & sprout eastern philosophy to make your point. I find that Feng Shui is just a different way to look at the issue. And this may be the way that you find the resolution so you are happy & content in your own home.



Images by Mysteree Designs & the following sites:



For other great free Interior Design tips –

The Top Interior Design Elements – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/the-top-interior-design-elements/

How to get the Industrial Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-get-the-industrial-style/

Environmental Design – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/environmental-design/

Sheen Levels with Paint or Cabinetry –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/low-sheen-gloss-satin-what-does-it-all-mean/

What is Contemporary Design? – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/what-is-contemporary-design/

Heating your home this winter –http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/how-to-heat-your-home-this-winter/

How to get the Scandinavian Look – http://www.onlineinteriordesigner.com.au/scandi-style/



Budget Kitchen Makeover

Budget Kitchen Makeover

Do you have an old kitchen & want to jazz it up at a minimal cost? Budget renovations can be done if you plan them correctly. And they are even better if you can do the work yourself!

Have I got your attention yet? Well if not, how about I tell you that

this kitchen makeover

That’s a much better price than over $10,000 for a new kitchen. So how was it done? Time for a breakdown.

Splashback Tiles –prep1

Sandpaper 60Grit – $3

Coverstain Undercoat – $35

Satin Enamel Paint 1 Litre – $35prep2

(Cloud Cream Bristol)

Walls –

Low Sheen Acrylic Paint 4 Litres – $69

(Sedona Clay Bristol)prep3

Trims –

Same Satin Enamel used as Splashback Tiles

Benchtop –

Penetrol Undercoat 330ml – $25

Satin Enamel Paint 4 Litres – $75 Plenty left over

(Muddled Puddle Bristol)

Cabinetry –

Same Penetrol as Benchtop

Gloss Enamel Paint 4 Litres – $75 Plenty left over

(Almond Bristol)before

Handles –

Painted in Silver White Knight – $10

Total – $327.00


Splashback Tiles

The original tiles were a Mission Brown square tile that were so dark it make the bench area look like a black hole. It just needed to be lightened overall, so I started with a good clean & a sand. It would be best to use a sturdy, rough sandpaper. The idea is to remove any built up issues on the tiles as well as roughing up the top of the tiles to give better adhesion for the undercoat.During

Coverstain is a strong, oil based undercoat that sticks to most finishes, including brushes, rollers & you, so be careful & use drop sheets. Even though you can clean up your utensils with turps, it’s best just to toss them out after Coverstain. One coat of this undercoat will give adhesion ready for the top coats.

Satin Enamel is a top coat finish that can be tinted to most colours. This means you can match the rest of your home’s colour scheme or go bright or bold. This requires two top coats, 24 hours apart to ensure that the paint ha dried properly. Enamel means, wash up with turps, so it is a much more durable & washable finish, but it does smell during painting.

Walls After

This is a simple case of washing down the walls & two coats of water based paint. Once again this can be tinted to any colour & it is best to leave 24 hours between coats. It washes up in water to make it easier & the smell is much less.


These just needed a light sand, wipe down & two top coats of satin enamel. I used the same paint as the splashback to keep consistency.

Bench top

The benchtop needed to go! You have to love the 70’s for their flair for colour, however this kitchen needed to ditch the yellow/orange laminate bench top. This was surprisingly easier than I thought. This took a good clean & then a coat of Penetrol. This is clear solution that makes paint stick to other surfaces. This had to be left untouched for 12 hours before the first coat of enamel paint was added. 24 hours later the second coat was added, & 24 hours after that all the items were added back on. This ensured that the paint was properly dried to give the strongest finish.

Cabinetryafter stove

The cabinetry was very similar to the bench top. It took a coat of the Penetrol clear solution & two top coats of the enamel. These cabinets were a stained timber with a clear coat over the top. A good clean & very light sand was all that was required. You can take the doors off the carcass & paint them flat in a shed or garage to keep the smell of the enamel away, however with an old kitchen like this, I chose to leave the doors on while painting which can make it tricky to do the edges. But two coats later, the difference was jaw-dropping.


To finish off the look, I kept the same plastic handles that originally had a timber look & painted them in a silver finish. This gives the look of the current stainless steel without the price tag of over $10 per handle (with 22 handles that would have blown the budget).


Overall, a massive change for a minimal price

But let’s get to the honest stuff. The pricing list includes the paint, but no accessories. You will need some paint brushes, drop sheets & turps. Luckily no appliances needed to be replaced to allow this renovation to happen. Also the cabinetry carcass may be old, but in good condition so there was no need for a new base cabinet.

The painted finish on the splashback, benchtop & cabinetry is an enamel. This is a durable finish but it can be scratched, chipped or scuffed with rough handling. There has only been one little chip in the benchtop paint since completion due to an oven pot being dropped on it. This was an easy touch up fix with a dab of the enamel paint in that spot, & wait 24 hours for that spot to dry. Painting these finishes will give the ‘make-over’ you want, however the shelf life of the finish depends on use. For a moderately careless cook, like myself, the kitchen may have a few scratches in two or so years. So consider the painted make-over as a stop gap measure to eventually overhauling the entire kitchen cabinetry.


But trust me, you can make a huge & workable difference with only a few hundred dollars & some elbow grease… if you’re up for it! Or maybe you’re lucky & just need to tackle one section of the kitchen. Either way, it just takes a couple of simple steps & you could have a fresh new look in just a weekend!



Get all the information you need with these free Interior Design posts –

What First Impressions is Your Business Making? – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/what-first-impressions-is-your-business-making/

DIY Renovating – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/diy-renovating/

Current Interior Design Colour Trends – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/current-colour-trends-grey/

What is Contemporary Design ? – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/what-is-contemporary-design/

How to get the Most out of your Interior Designer – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/5-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-interior-designer/

Proportion Design Principles – http://www.mystereedesigns.com.au/design-principles-my-favourite-proportion/