Our living rooms are such visual representations of the the way we live - as well they should be! Ideally they should be a balance between aesthetics and function. We all collect different pieces of furniture along the journey of life and it's very normal to discover we are surrounded by a mismatch of colours and styles that don't always work well together. I'm all for eclecticity (I'm pretty sure that's not actually a word) but choose your favourite pieces and use them as a starting point. Ditch the odd strays that clash with your theme. And do the same with the colour scheme. Decide on a limited colour palette that works with the room and then edit all the cushions, art and soft furnishings to work with that palette. When it comes to cushions you can clash as many patterns and styles as you like- as long as they are connected by the colours.
It's such a cliche but it's so true that kitchens are the heart of the home. It is here that we nourish and create (in varying degrees) masterpieces for family and friends and smash out baked beans on toast with avocado on time poor nights. And the kitchen bench is everything from a homework station for kids to a therapy bar (wine fixes everything) for girlfriends. Storage is your best friend in the kitchen. The more you can hide away in cupboards rather than display on bench tops, the better. Think about editing your collection of appliances. If you haven't used the Sunbeam Popcorn Maker in the last seven years, maybe it's time to let it go. And then you've made space for some lovely, and often inexpensive, display pieces. Mint do some beautiful coloured bowls and platters. Freedom have a great range of coloured canisters that are practical and look great. And a simple trick to displaying fruit is to separate them into different bowls. Otto can eat his own bodyweight in tomatoes so we have a large bowl on the kitchen bench filled with an array of different coloured and sized tomatoes. The lemons and limes also have their own home as do the apples.
Bathrooms have a tendency to be a sad display of wet towels and over-squeezed toothpaste tubes with no lid. And the way I see it, there's no way around this - lived properly, life is messy. So make those soggy towels beautiful ones! Adairs do some fabulous and inexpensive coloured towels. Kip and Co do a beautiful range too. And my pale pink towels are from Ikea. Again, stick to a colour theme so it's not all over the shop. And hide the messy toothbrushes in a lovely ceramic canister. Another favourite trick of mine is to buy some beautiful liquid hand soaps (my bathrooms look like an add for Aesop) and then just refill them with Homebrand soap when they run out. Yeah, yeah, so your hands won't smell of mandarin rind but your bathroom will look gorgeous.
Bedrooms are relatively easy to make look good. I like to start with a white canvas of clean white linen and add colour with a few beautiful cushions and a throw. Most blokes don't see the point in cushions but they are such a simple and inexpensive contribution to a great looking bed! Look for a variation in the size and shape of the cushions but keep the colours consistent. And when selecting linen, I like to use quilted doona covers because unlike their Egyptian, 3 million thread count friends, they never need ironing.
Kid's rooms are a great opportunity to play with colour and have some fun. But before you get started, have a clear idea of how you want the room to look. Keep it simple and don't be tempted to use every adorable decal/wallpaper/paint idea you've ever seen.
When it comes to courtyards and gardens, think about how you want to use the space. An outdoor dining setting can be a great investment to outdoor living and entertaining family and friends. And if you have the space, an outdoor sofa can look stunning with some bright cushions and accessories, while also being a practical spot to hang out and read the weekend papers. And make your outdoor space green! Ask your local nursery for advice on what plants will work well in your sunny/shady spots. Add pots to balconies, garden beds to courtyards and a design and purpose to rambling backyards.