6 Reasons Why an Interior Designer Saves You Money

According to trend expert Li Edelkoort, our homes and the way we live in them are becoming increasingly important. The idea of the home as a haven away from the daily onslaught of modern life is more prominent than ever. We are more prone to entertaining at home and spending time at home than before. Most people feel that they are not able to afford a professional to help them make the most of their home. But what if I told you that a having an interior designer saves you money while creating a beautiful home environment?

All the pressures of beautiful homes in magazines, home tours on blogs and makeover shows on TV can make you feel that you lack in some way. Everyone has their strengths, and for an interior designer, that is being able to visualise a space and bring it to its full potential. Even if you do know how to put a colour scheme and textiles together and have a natural feel for the right layout, you can still benefit from having a trained eye assess your home.

how an interior designer saves you money

Before we go into how an interior designer saves you money, let’s first look at how a designer charges you for their services.

Let me start by saying that there are no hard and fast rules on this. While every country’s interior design governing body gives guidelines on reasonable rates, it doesn’t mean that designers have to apply them. Some celebrity designers may charge a fortune only to go to a client’s house and give a few ideas, but not all designers have quite reached that level of fame yet.

Most designers will work in one of four ways:

  • Hourly rate

If the project is quite small and requires a few minor adjustments and some technical drawings, your designer might charge you an hourly rate. This can range from R400ph – R1,200ph or more, depending on their level of skill and availability.

Why an interior designer saves you money

  • Project fee

When there is little or no procurement involved in a project, your designer might suggest a project fee related to a fixed scope. This might be something like layout and services drawings and specs for your kitchen and bathroom, and overseeing the installation or project management. The designer will then quote a flat rate for the work to be done. There is no real guideline on how much this should be, but it is usually related to how much time they think they will need to spend on getting it done.

  • Percentage of Project Cost

If the project involves a lot of procurement, then your designer will likely propose a percentage fee for purchases. There can be a lot of back-and-forths when it comes to choosing curtains and upholstery fabrics, paint and finishes, which means a lot of time spent. The designer gets a discount on most purchases (see notes below) and will charge you either the retail price plus a handling fee or the discounted price plus a handling fee. The exact details of this can be discussed on appointment.

  • A Smorgas Board of all of these

As I said, there are no hard and fast rules! Many designers prefer a combination of all of these: an initial fee for concept and design, a project cost fee for procurement and project management, and an hourly rate for anything that falls outside of the original scope. It is best to be very clear with your designer when you start the project, and also to have a clear contract that stipulates everything that forms part of the project. A clearly defined scope and fee structure will help to protect you both.

So now that you know how a designer will charge, let’s look at how an interior designer saves you money!

1) A designer can help you to avoid costly mistakes

You know that sinking feeling when that GORGEOUS sofa in the showroom arrives at home, and it can’t fit through the door? Or that imported carpet is laid down in the living room and what you thought is soft coral is actually bright orange? There you go. Avoid that sinking feeling with an interior designer that saves you money.

2) The Technical Details Get Taken Care of

A designer’s value is not only relevant to the furniture and its placement in a room. The correct electrical layout and plumbing positioning is also crucial in getting the most out of your home. A trained designer understands the technical jargon of the contractors on a job site. This makes them a valuable asset on your project. They will help you to think through the uses of the room to create the optimal layout for all components involved. That way you won’t have an extension cord to power a table lamp from the other side of the room!

how an interior designer saves you money

3) Discounted services and materials

One of the surest ways an interior designer saves you money is with a designer’s discount. This is a special rate that most specialist retailers of homeware, fabric, and related services offer to designers as an incentive to specify them on their projects. The discounts can range from 5 – 50%, depending on the retailer. Some designers do open invoicing. This is where they charge the client their discounted rate, plus a handling fee of between 8 – 13%. I go into more detail on that below. Designers can also be registered as contractors with hardware stores, enabling them to purchase building materials at a reduced rate.

So, by paying someone to help you source goods for your home, you actually pay less. Clever, isn’t it?

room makeover

4) The Latest and the Greatest

This might not seem like a cost-saving, but designers are regularly invited to trade-only product launches and events. This allows them to be at the forefront of new advances and technology in their field. Therefore, you won’t ever have something installed only to find that a better version is about to render yours obsolete next month.

how an interior designer saves you money

5) Time is – TOTALLY – money

Everyone wants more time and more money. The amount of time a designer can spend on a project is staggering. It can take days to put together a concept and a layout and do the detail design and technical drawings. Then they still have to find that perfect sofa, get the right fabrics, and try out different paint swatches. They also communicate with contractors and suppliers and spend their time with you to bring your vision to life. So, the interior designer saves you money and the time that you would have spent doing all of that.

6) Pre-Qualified Contractors

A designer is only as good as their last project, so it is in their best interest to only use contractors, tradesmen, and artisans that they trust. By allowing them to use and manage their own list of professionals you are set up for a beautiful result.

summer christmas tree

I hope that this has shed some light on the myth that interior designers are expensive. Your home is an investment. The right interior designer saves you money while helping you create a financial and lifestyle asset. Contact me here to find out more about our interior design services, whether for a single room or an entire home!

PS: the gorgeous feature image was taken at  Woodbender‘s new showroom in Strand. Just one of the many suppliers we LOVE to work with! g

How to Make a Luxury Tent for the Best Camping Magic

Do you like camping? I never did, until I realised dirt and dust don’t have to form an integral part of the experience. Camping can be relaxing, peaceful and even luxurious. If you want to up your camping game, then all you need to do is learn how to make a luxury tent, and that’s easy. Read on for the how-to! 

A luxury tent, like a good potjie, can do wonders for your mind, just so you know. But first, let’s find out what a luxury tent is.

What is a luxury tent?

A luxury tent is a tent that has the comforts a bedroom is likely to have. Plush bedding, electricity and bedside tables are among the items you can find in a luxury tent. These tents are often made from canvas material and have a bell or a-frame shape. Luxury tents form part of the glamping (glamorous camping) experience.

Scroll down to find out which spots made it to the top 6 luxury camping destinations in South Africa!

how to make a luxury tent the different luxury tent shapes

Hey Pioneer

Here are the essentials of a luxury tent

 

Rugs & Tarp for Happy Feet

how to make a luxury tent - the basics

Hey Pioneer

Second only to the tent structure is a sturdy and clean underfoot base. Comfortable area rugs line luxury tent floors. The contrast in texture underfoot adds a touch of hotel luxury to camping. Jute rugs are perfect for a natural approach to glamping, while Persian runners or even faux fur throws add a surprisingly welcome contrast to the immediate outdoors.

Many luxury tents are constructed onto existing platforms, like a wooden deck. But, whether set on a deck or the ground, all luxury tents need quality tarps. The tarp acts as a protective waterproof layer between the tent and the earth, this way the luxury tent won’t get damaged or wet.

 

Super Bed

how to make a luxury tent for glamping with bedding

Culture Trip

A soft bed is a must. White linen is a frequent feature in luxury tents, and they channel a boutique hotel atmosphere. A soft duvet, plenty of pillows and texture-rich throws make outdoor dreaming easy. Contrast is everywhere when it comes to glamping. So, get inspiration from your favourite luxury tents. Stick to white bedding and add colour through accessories.

 

Space to Move in

how to make a luxury tent in nature

Tanda Tula

Large luxury tents resemble the luxurious one-room living of chic studio apartments. More space also means more creature comforts like a small but stylish dresser or even a tub. Finally, cramped camping is a thing of the past. Standing up straight certainly has never felt as fabulous as it does in a luxury tent.

 

Lovely Lounging Area

how to make a luxury tent lounging area

The House that Lars Built

What makes a luxury tent luxurious is not just what’s inside. Therefore an outdoor sitting or lounging nook is essential to the ultimate camping experience. Patterned picnic blankets with colourful poofs can create a magical and relaxing area, perfect after a long day of outdoor adventures.

 

Ambient Lights

how to make a luxury tent with lanterns

Cherry Glamping

Not liking camping due to darkness at night is not a valid excuse anymore. Many campsites do have electricity, with lamps inside the luxury tent and outer pathways are often lit too. All the light can make it feel as safe as indoor camping. Lighting can vary from designer pendant lamps to modest bedside lights. Choose lantern lights for an authentic feel or contemporary pendant lights to up the contrast factor.

 

Luxury Tent Dining

how to make a luxury tent table

The Lion and the Lady

The details that are in and around a tent matter when you’re luxury camping. A pretty tablescape complete with tablecloth, chic camping crockery and cutlery refines camping even more. Dining on a picnic blanket is an excellent alternative if you don’t have a table. For instance, trays make awesome table-islands and add freedom to al fresco dining.

Whatever you choose to eat, be sure to pack a few goodies into your cycling backpacks to keep your tummy happy on the next hike or mountain track!

 

How to create your luxury tent in 5 steps

You can glam up your camping in a budget-friendly manner. So, whether you’re sprucing up your two-person tent or setting up a luxury tent in your backyard here’s what you’ll need:

how to make a luxury tent on a budget

Yurie

1. Lay down a tarp and rug

A tarpaulin is essential for your tent’s well-being in the unpredictable wild. Once set up you can place a rug inside your tent and a mat just outside the tent’s entrance.

2. Set up your tent

You need a tent, any tent you own, as a basis. Clean off any dirt at least a day before camping, to ensure it dries properly. Planning camping in your garden? If it’s all clear skies for the foreseeable future (check your weather app), use a mosquito net as your luxury tent’s shell.

3.  Make a bed

Soft bedding, a mattress (or camping equivalent), pillows and scatter cushions make a luxury tent luxurious.

4.  Create a seating area

Make sure to get comfy seats. Spruce up camping chairs with beautiful throws and small scatter cushions. And don’t forget a table: fold-ups, make-shift surfaces and trays all count. Just be sure to add a pretty touch like flowers and colourful snack bowls.  

5. Add ambient light

Invest in camping lamps, battery operated or solar powered lanterns are ideal. You can string one up inside the tent, or place one atop box on each side of your bed. Battery-operated fairy lights are even better. And don’t forget to add lights outside the tent.

If you want to camp in a luxury tent, check out our top 10 Luxury Tents in South Africa!

Top Luxury Tents in South Africa for Camping
  1. Hey Pioneer 2. Hillsnek Safaris 3. Sanbona 4. Kwafubesi 5. Tanda Tula 6. Cherry Glamping

Now you’re ready, relax and light a fire for a lekker braai!

Happy Camping!

Our Favourite Spring Fabrics to Brighten Up Your Home

We absolutely adore spring in South Africa! Sunny days, weekends outdoors and tapas are a few of top reasons why. The beautiful weather also means we can indulge in fabrics light-as-air and pattern-crazy! Here are our favourite fabrics from local businesses making waves in the interior world.

 

India Ink

Latest Collection from India Ink

Travel to India with exotic textiles from India Ink. Owner Jane Middleton personally travels to India and hand picks her textiles after long scouting sessions. Expect to find colourful kanthas, intricately patterned rugs, and light cotton throws to complement your interior. Pattern and bold colours dominate the boutique catalogue, and their summer range is no exception. Paisley, indigo batik and teal accent stripes are trending under their hottest new items.

Hertex

Hertex scatter cushions with green velvet and botanical leaves

Scatter Cushions from Hertex

Aimed to help you “find beauty in the everyday”, family-owned Hertex is one of the most covetable textile brands in the country. Whether you’re looking for bold and bright or subdued elegance, these textiles are sure to please. Their newest additions include Cyclades, an island-inspired range with distressed blues and sandy tones, and Colourwheel dedicated to the colours of the rainbow – 40 to be exact! But we just can’t get enough of their colourful range Awakening. The bright and cheerful prints are perfectly equipped for summer as the range consists of light linen and viscose blends. Hertex also offers exclusive fabrics in their couture section which features textiles that reflect international trends and are available for a limited time only.

A bonus is their new home décor brand, Haus that has all you need for the rest of the home.

Home Fabrics

home fabrics scatter cushion details with bright colours on material

Scatter Cushions from Home Fabrics

Home Fabrics is another powerhouse in the South African fabric world. Their extensive fabric library will have something for even the most fastidious of homemakers. A commitment to a greener planet gives customers an extensive collection of Oeke-Tex® certified fabrics that do not contain harmful substances and are environmentally safe and sustainable.

The latest collection is focussed on geometric and botanical motifs. Designers Guild Casablanca is just that; bold geometric patterns with an intrinsic floral aesthetic. The softness of Lauziere is perfect for flowy, romantic curtains. But best of all is the FibreGuard collection: this fabric enables easy living with its stain-free technology. Ronaldo and Nolita are both excellent options with vast colour ranges from bright to neutral that can update an entire home. For those interested in a velvet spring, Touch Stone has a velvety goodness without the stress of ruining the fabric.

La Perle

Printed Runners by La Perle

Perfect for when you want a specific print or pattern but can’t find it anywhere. La Perle has extensive experience in large format printing and now specialise in textile printing as well. Print anything from aprons and wallpaper to your preferred fabric. We love that you can personalise fabric on basically anything, which means gift ideas can come easily this year!

The Mill Fabric

the mill fabrics African inspired textiles with colourful motifs

Fabric by The Mill Fabrics

Once you enter The Mill Fabrics website you’re welcomed with “striving to create new trends”, and that is what they do. Their most recent collection, Lagos is a vibrant homage to the African city; filled with bold colours and pattern native to Africa with a touch of a colonial aesthetic. These eclectic pieces are a must in any traveller’s or otherwise cheerful home. The Lagos range is an absolute delight with names like “Cinnamon”, “Ditzy” and “Just Enjoy” beckoning you to create a fun and lively space. The Mill Fabrics specialises in custom designed and branded fabrics, woven or embroidered to the customer’s requirements. Mass produced products are avoided to give a fresh face to design.

Halogen International

Halogen International geometric scatter cushions and fabrics for outdoors and spring fabrics

Outdoor Collection from Halogen International

Springtime would be at a loss were it not for sprightly outdoor textiles. Halogen’s outdoor collection is made up of natural motifs with blues, greys and green as primary colours. These patterns are in complete harmony with the outdoors as they do not compete with nature. The designs complement the outdoors in their simplicity. Simply Linen is perfect for spring and summer because of its airy feel and lovely texture.

Black Fabrics

spring fabrics in south Africa black fabrics Mediterranean dining room

Textiles from Black Fabrics

One of the most exotic collections, Black Fabrics, prides themselves in finding beautiful textiles around the globe as well as creating their own. The Lotus from the Asian Batik range is delicate and floral without being overpowering. Spice Route alludes to another world with Persian and Moroccan inspired motifs. The Tropics is reminiscent of structured botany, with geometric patterns in earthy hues.

South Africa has more than enough beautiful textiles to go around; you only need to know where to look! These fabric houses are great places to start any interior journey. Let us know if you have a favourite that we have overlooked; we’d love to hear more about them!

 

If you need a little help putting your home together, contact us for online design help today!

 

Happy Homemaking!

 

Keep the Heat High and the Electricity Bill Low!

Did you know that you lose an awful lot of heat through your windows? Especially here in South Africa, where double glazing is not very common. Luckily, you don’t have to go through the trouble of replacing your window – you can keep the chill outside of your home this winter by covering the windows with energy-efficient window treatments!

Cosy Curtains

Curtains are a great way of keeping the heat inside while leaving your windows looking elegant and stylish.  Stick to thick, heavyweight, tightly-woven textiles to provide a dense barrier against the cold outdoor air.  Velvet, denim, suede and tapestry are great examples of thick, insulating fabrics.  Hanging curtains in layers is an energy-efficient way of keeping the heat in, while still leaving your windows looking stylish.

PRO TIP: Hanging your curtains wider than the window frame and having them cascade to the floor will seal up small spaces around the edges where heat could escape.

Keep Warm with Honeycomb Blinds

Honeycomb blinds, also known as Cellular Shades are the best and most energy-efficient window coverings you can buy. They use a series of cell pockets to trap air around your windows, keeping your rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  The cells use a unique design shape similar to a honeycomb. Also, the more layers of honeycomb material you have, the more insulation the shades will provide.

Keep Warm with Roman Blinds

Roman blinds can make for inexpensive insulating covering for windows. They are simply cloth window coverings consisting of several sandwiched layers of fabric. They cover your windows when extended and can be pulled up and out of the way using a system of string and loops.

Whatever your window treatment preference, Finishing Touches will help you save on energy consumption by supplying the best quality made-to-measure blinds and curtains.

Happy Snuggles!

How to Do The Tropical Trend for Grown-Ups

I love botanical prints and leafy greens – both on my plate and in my home. The tropical trend has been going for a while now, but I am a bit over the pink flamingoes, and banana-leaf scatters. That’s not all that this trend is about, however! Here’s my take on the Tropical Trend for Grown Ups, with a get-the-look shopping list and all!

Oversized with Velvety Coral

Kim Macumber Interiors via Cottage & Bungalow

This image screams gorgeous beaches and pina coladas! The large-scale wallpaper print is the hero of this room, with everything else carefully selected around it. The gold furniture and accents add a sophisticated touch to an otherwise light-hearted look, and the soft coral accessories contrast beautifully with the lush greenery.

PRO TIP: keep your floor finish in mind as well: sisal, coir and seagrass rugs add the perfect final touch to your tropical vibe.

Take It Literally

large leaves in vase on table

Turbulences Deco

Even if you have an otherwise minimalist or Scandi interior, add some large green leaves to celebrate the trend. Large banana and delicious monster leaves, as well as strelitzias, are on sale at most large retailers and florists now. So, even if you are not lucky enough to have them in the garden, you can still have them on the table. The amazing thing about leaves like these is that they last for months! Just make sure that you give them fresh water every week.

SIDE NOTE: see how the theme is subtly emphasised in the print on the wall? Clever, isn’t it!?

Go Blue

Decoholic

It may sound counterintuitive when you think of tropical green, but topaz offsets green stunningly! Use rich topaz paint on walls to support green prints, or in upholstery pieces and furniture. Topaz pops especially when set against white, so trim architectural features in white to get the most out of this colour.

Jotun

Another colour that gently mutes the deep green of the tropics is pale teal. This works especially well in a bedroom, creating a calming atmosphere conducive to rest and relaxation. Add subtle tropical touches with prints and plants, and keep the rest of the palette neutral with grey, olive and sandy colours.

Accessorize Boldly

Fashion for lunch

A tropical look is not only in printed flora; it is also represented by colour. Brilliant emerald green embodies the look, and should be used with reckless abandon! Create a statement with lush accessories in rich fabrics like velvet, set against a blank canvass. Choose gold accent pieces and keep the rest of the colours in the room to a minimum for maximum effect.

Get The Tropical Look With Some Local Shopping

SHOPPING TROPICAL LOOK FOR GROWN UPS

1. PARADISO RUG – HERTEX HAUS  //  2. SLUB TASSEL SCATTER – MRPHOME  //  3. OPEN WEAVE SEAGRASS BASKET – WEYLANDTS  //  4. HANGING ALOE KOKIDAMA – MRPHOME  //  5. INDIGI FRACTURE ARMCHAIR – ELEVEN PAST  //  6. VELVET PUNCH FABRIC IN BOLSHOI TURTLE – HOME FABRICS //  7. ALOHA IN MONSTER GREEN – GRALAN FABRICS  //  8. REGENCY VELVET CHAIR – MRHOME  //  ASHFORD TROPICS WALLPAPER – HERTEX

 

If you’re still unsure about how to put this look together for yourself, try our design service and let us do it for you!

5 South African Online Furniture Stores for local Home Shopping

We live in an age where a great many weird and wonderful things are bought online every day. Why anyone would want to buy dehydrated water or cobra whiskey is beyond us, but we do understand the need to get your virtual hands on furniture that you can bring back to the real world. Luckily for interior lovers, buying all things home is getting easier and comes with an agreeable price tag (insert squeal of excitement).

You do not have to roam the urban plains of South Africa in search of that perfect couch ever again! Now you can find a unique piece perfect for your home today and sit on it tomorrow. Amazing! And (big plus!) you’ll be supporting South African entrepreneurs, helping the local economy and minimizing the environmental impact of shipping. If you need more reasons why buying local is lekker, find them here… Intrigued? Then read on!

HERE ARE 5 LOCAL ONLINE STORES TO HELP YOU DECORATE YOUR HOME FROM HOME!

 

#Basis Furniture

Batman & Robin Occasional from Basis Furniture

Once you enter the online store of Basis Furniture the theme rings clear; back to basics. The focus of Basis Furniture is refined furniture that forms the backbone of a home. Thanks to strong trading ties and ditching the classic retail space, brothers Ross and Kyle Wilson are able to import beautiful and often unique pieces to their online store without inflating the price tag. Fortunately for those in Cape Town, Basis Furniture showroom is based in Diep River and the public is welcome to pop in for a peep at their elegant assembly. Expect to find modern and sophisticated chairs, sofas, benches and coffee tables. For those of you a bit further away head to their online store for the full collection.

If you love interiors from East Asia and you’re looking for great Indonesian design there isn’t much in South Africa, but don’t despair! Kohe Design is a Bali furniture supplier that ships directly to wherever you are, which means you can have your own piece of Indonesia in precious SA too!

 

#2 Knus

Versameling van Laaie from Knus

Knus, the Godfather of locally handcrafted products, is an expansive online store showcasing the best of South African design. Careful thought and consideration go into every piece that Knus chooses to showcase. Here intimate detail and creative expression come together to form quality furniture demanding attention. We love the playful product names like Harmony Bench and Dikbuikige Kas, literally meaning “paunchy cupboard”.  If you’re starting from scratch, Knus has everything you need; from furniture to towels to wallpaper!

 

#3 Elsje Designs

Himmeli 2 by Elsje Designs

This boutique interior design studio, snuggled in the heart of the Cape Winelands, furnish their clients with delicate limited edition designs. Elsje Designs has its origin in the event industry, specifically the wedding industry, which is evident in the fairy-like quality of their designs. Their pieces are beautifully feminine and will be a lovely addition to any home. They still provide on-trend décor to events, so if you’re planning an event be sure to contact them for a quote. Elsje Designs is firmly rooted in graphic design and offer art prints, distinct home décor as well as corporate branding and stationary. Designs can be personalised to client-specific requirements. Here you’ll find the finishing touches that will add a touch of awesome your home.

 

#4 Popstrukt

Creme Bedsite Table by Popstrukt

Popstrukt came about when founders, Michelle and Adriaan Louw, were on the hunt for affordable furniture for their new home. They realised there was a big problem when it came to quality and accessibility of interior design. Lucky for us this realisation culminated in an inviting online platform that caters to all homeowners. The sleek and chic furniture come flatpacked, which means these pieces are easy to pack up and go wherever you are going. This is just one of the innovative ways Popstrukt is making “good design affordable”. Head over to their online store; they even have a bundle section where you can buy more for less!

 

#5 Fun my world

Mini Giraffe Lamp by Fun My World

Reviving the playful side of life! Fun My World, run by creator Nicole Lindsey, aims to deflate serious interiors by reintroducing fun to homes. The collection consists predominantly of quirky lighting and gift products. All products are made from solid wood and treated with raw linseed oil, and are fully sustainable. If you want a customized product or alternative design contact them directly, and the industrious forces behind Fun My World will have it done in no time. Like what you hear? Head over to their online store at Hello Pretty for more. If you’re a lover of weekend market finds, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Fun My World at craft markets in and around Cape Town.

 

We hope you love these useful local online products as much as we do. Remember that if you want a magnificently designed home there is always a way to make it happen, no matter the budget.

Happy shopping!

7 playful interiors that don’t take themselves too seriously

When Did Interior Design Become Such A Serious Business? I remember a time when it was fun to move my room around. Or when I convinced my parents that I wanted to sponge-paint my room in bright azure (thanks mom and dad for the freedom!). I even painted a floral pattern on calico and used it to make a quilt for my bed. I loved design so much that I made a career out of it. But as it happens with these things, work took over, and deadlines and details killed the creativity. Interesting that. And it’s not just me, I know of many designers with the same dilemma. Where did it all go wrong then? When did interior design become so serious that we lost the joy and passion that drove us to become designers in the first place? This month, I want to focus on design that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Playful design, fun design – quirky and interesting interiors that have been put together with love. Because that’s ultimately what interior design is all about: the love of interior spaces.

Here are 8 playful interiors to inspire you to let go of the seriousness and have some fun with your home!

 

#1: The Den Bed

Domino 

This is any child’s dream – a bed and a den all in one! Not all playful interiors are for children, but this one is such a fantastic example of a space made with love and creativity in mind. Love the wallpaper on the side and the giraffe. Because everyone needs a giraffe 😉

 

#2: Tassels and Baubles and all things Cool

Design Hunter

A fabulously quirky house in Marrickville. How cool is the tassel and pom-pom curtain?!? Love the gallery wall as well. In a space that was designed with a clean, modern aesthetic, the splashes of pink create a happy and inviting wall.

#3: Mexitile

I know that Mexican-inspired tiles are hardly new, but if that is what you love, then I say go for it! These are tile stickers, but you could of course also paint, stencil or stamp your existing tiles to add personality and fun.

And while you’re at it, have some cake!

 

#4: The Curated Collection

Apartment Therapy

Lots of interesting things here: heavy textures in the carpets and scatters, candles, interesting sculptures and bright books and paintings. Looks like a great space to spend the day!

 

#5: Add Some Details

Apartment Therapy

LOVE this green bedside cabinet! See how they added some gold touches to the ceiling trim to make it tie in with the rest of the finishes in the room? And the bold combination of prints is awesome. What a vibrant and energetic room!

 

#6: Play Full Scale and Volume

Apartment Therapy

The mid-century architecture, super high ceilings and abundance of natural light softens the bright colours, large designs and bold patterns. The mismatched lights add a wonderfully playful element to the collection of prints.

 

#7: A Wall and A Horse

Rachel Whiting via Daily Mail

Another cool room working with a strong pattern, but this time on the walls. And a carousel horse. If you can get your hands on one, then you have to display it!

 

#8: Play With Paint

This is still one of our most popular projects. Create a fun and fabulous wall with syringes and paint – click here for the post!

I look forward to sharing some more playful projects and ideas with you – in the meantime, have a look at our fun DIY projects!

Happy Playing!

How to put together an interior design concept

One of the most significant challenges when starting a new interior project is getting the concept right. But where do you even start?! Use this handy step-by-step guide to put together a concept that looks good and works for your budget – without breaking a sweat!

Lets first look at what a concept is and why you need one.

An interior concept is the thought process or plan behind a room. Designers don’t just walk into a room and start throwing things around without a plan. There’s always something behind the look, and that is where your concept comes in.

A concept can be

a) a theme – tropical, ocean, stripes and florals

b) a look – vintage, period, midcentury, French, English cottage, minimalist, Scandinavian

c) a mood – laid-back, romantic, formal, playful

It could even be a combination of things, like a laid-back tropical vibe with mid-century touches 😉

Your concept will become your guide; it will help to create a cohesive design that works. You can of course also have a concept for your entire home, although I’ve never been able to stick to 1 thing throughout.

4 STEPS TO CREATING AN INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT

#1// What do you want?

Easier asked than answered, the first thing you have to determine is what you need the space to be. If it is a living room for example, how many seats do you need? What are your storage requirements? Are there any specific tasks or activities in the room like reading or gaming or movie night? Do you need a small coffee table or a large one? Do you need side tables and lamps? Whether you need new things or are reusing existing ones, list everything so that you can get a clear overview of the items required in the room.

#2// Be Inspired

Pinterest is a fantastic tool for grouping images. Don’t think about it too much, just pin anything that you like and pretty soon you’ll start to see a theme forming. Here’s my Pinterest board for a playroom that I’m the process of doing. I want to bring a travel vibe into the room, so I did a search for “travel inspired kids rooms” and started to pin away! The images gave me a great idea to do an oversized map on the wall and to use our old international currency as wall art. Love the globe-ideas too.

 

#3// Put things where you can see them together on a mood board.

Now that you have a few ideas it’s time to build a mood board. A mood board is a great way to get a visual of what a room will look like.  It doesn’t necessarily contain the actual items that you’re going to use, but it represents the look and feel of what you’re going to create. If you have things that you want to include, like an heirloom rug or vintage sofa, take pictures of it and include it on your board. You can also find images of new items that you like. Here’s a mood board that I put together for the playroom. Some things are existing, and others are ideas for new things that I think could work. You can either do it old-school with actual images and card stock or a pin board, or you can create a virtual one with an app like Roomstyler or software like Photoshop.

The great thing about using a mood board is that you will be able to start getting an idea of what the room will look like. Even if it’s not the actual items, at least you’ll see colours, textures, and combinations. You’ll also quickly see what is NOT going to work, so don’t skip this step! The other advantage is that you can source an image as inspiration from anywhere, even if you can’t afford it, and then look for something similar that fits into your budget. Save the image on your phone or take a picture of your mood board so that you can carry a copy with you and use for reference.

#4// THEN, start putting together the actual items.

The mood board serves as a roadmap for the design while a layout gives you guidelines for sizes and shapes of items. Whenever you want to buy something, put it next to the mood board and see if it’s going to work with the concept that you’ve created.

But before you buy anything, you’ll need to create a layout! A layout is essential as it will show you what you will be able to achieve in the space, without having to move heavy and bulky furniture items around. I’ll cover layout in a follow-up post, so make sure that you subscribe so you don’t miss it.

My playroom makeover is a project that I’ve been working on for a while, so I am really excited to share the big reveal with you in the coming weeks. I hope that this post has given you some insight into how designers do it and that you will start to build your home’s concepts with creative confidence.

Happy conceptualising!

Taking a long hard look at curtain hardware

Window dressing can make a massive impact on a home: it frames the windows and adds softness, colour, texture and pattern to a room. But window dressing does not only consist of curtains: the curtain poles have a huge impact on the overall look as well. There is a large variety of curtain poles, tracks and finials available and knowing what to choose, can be a daunting task. Let’s break curtain hardware down for you!

curtain hardware basics

Twofold Interiors

Poles

Curtain poles are perfect for both formal and informal rooms. They can be used with rings or with eyelet curtains that slide directly onto the pole. Curtain pole thicknesses vary from 16mm all the way to 93mm so that you can create a variety of looks.

Finishes include brass, chrome, pewter, dark and light woods, solid painted colours, beaten copper and cast iron.

curtain rail basics

You also get clip-on poles that look like a pole, but that has a track installed behind it. This is great when you want to use curtains without rings. The Alumina range by Finishing Touches has a track integrated into the pole itself, making it even simpler.

Finials

Finials are the bits that you fit onto the end of a curtain pole. Finial styles are practically endless: metals, glass, acrylic, wood. And they are fashioned into all kinds of designs and shapes to suit different styles of décor.

curtain rail basics

Brackets

A curtain pole will usually have a matching bracket, so there isn’t much to worry about here. If however, you want to hang a double layer of window dressing, like a sheer and a dress curtain, then you will need to choose your curtain pole based on the bracket.

There are lightweight cup brackets for 16mm poles, up to heavy-duty brackets for the thicker poles. For poles longer than 1.2m or heavy curtains like those with blackout lining, you will need to install a central bracket as well to prevent the pole from sagging. Ask your sales assistant to suggest the most appropriate one for your needs.

Also, consider whether your curtain pole will be installed on a back or a side wall. Not all poles have the option of end brackets, so if you require them, you will have to choose your bracket first.

Pelmet Pole

providence cottage

I have written about pelmet poles before, but they really are a great invention. It has the look of a wooden pelmet, with the functionality of a double track. They come in a variety of finishes to match the room.

Extendable & Telescopic Poles

curtain hardware basics

Fitted with spring-rods, these are perfect for when you have a bit of a space constraint and want to install a curtain inside the window recess. Extendable rods are perfect for non-standard window widths, and they don’t need to be cut down to fit.

curtain hardware basics

Serena & Lily

Happy Decorating!

This post is sponsored by Finishing Touches.

What is the best way to mix prints like a pro in your home?

When I think of mixing prints, I am reminded of the heyday of florals and stripes in the 90’s. Everything was pink, peach, and pale blue with touches of burgundy for a formal setting and splashes of soft turquoise to keep things light. Although terribly outdated now, this laid the foundation for many interior brands who kept building on that to bring you an abundance of patterns thrown together in a very structured but seemingly random way. I struggle to mix patterns in fashion – I have to have a particularly good self-esteem day to pull it off. But in interior design, I throw patterns together with reckless abandon! Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you want to mix prints like a pro in your home. Use it as a guide, and then throw all caution to the wind. Play a little this spring -what’s the worst that could happen?

1// seek inspiration

There are few places I go to for my patternal inspiration (yes, I just made up that word – but it works!).

  1. Missoni

Missoni Home Emme Collection

The mother and father of textile prints, this family-built design house is synonymous with mixing things up. I wrote about Madame Rosita Missoni’s talk at the Design Indaba Conference 2 years ago and was so inspired by this matriarch’s fierce passion for pattern. Here’s a designer that is truly fearless!

2. Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley Living Wall

I started my career with this amazing brand, and will forever love their homeware! They have been throwing together prints since post WWII, and doing so fabulously. Their online catalog has some serious pattern eye-candy! And while they are quite traditional, they do also have amazing contemporary ranges.

3. Anthropologie

Anthropologie Medina-printed Rivona Chair

It’s no secret that I have a huge design crush on Anthropologie. They have this way of doing a crazy mix of colour and prints and making it all work.

2// find a common thread

Voutsa for Anthropologie

Whether you choose a colour, a scale, a pattern, or a texture, as long as there is something tying everything together, it will work! Maybe everything has some botanical element in it, or there is a touch of blue in all of them. It could also be that you have a large painting, rug or wallpaper that is the unifying element in all of it.

3// play with layers

Liberty For Anthropologie Feather Bloom Shams

Start with an item and build from there: this will usually be a big piece, like a carpet, or curtains. Then gradually layer on top of that. A bedroom also offers ample opportunity to play with different layers of pattern. Use curtains, or a duvet cover or quilt, as the starting point. Then add a different print with pillows, followed by accessories like a throw or a scatter.

4// vary the scale

Anthropologie Edlyn Sofa

If everything is the same scale, things can get pretty hectic, pretty quickly. Have large patterns mixed with small patterns and dense prints with more spacious prints. White space or negative space is also very important here: there has to be some quiet in all the busyness to give your eyes a rest!

5// jump out of your comfort zone

Old Brand New

Unless you plan to redo all the walls with an imported wallpaper and have floor to ceiling curtains made, the risk in throwing prints together is actually quite small. There is no right or wrong: as with anything in your home, if you can live with it and it makes you happy, then it works! Buy a few cushions to start with, and see if they work together in your current living room. If they don’t, you can always take them back 😉

Happy decorating!