There are many components to creating a comfortable and welcoming space; proportioning space to objects, and objects to space, is one of the most important ones. This is because the way we relate to a room determines how comfortable we feel in it. Getting the balance right between furniture/surfaces and the space that the objects occupy is the key to ensuring a room does not appear either too crowded or too cold and unwelcoming.
Key Point: The thing to remember when decorating small spaces is: the trick is not to reduce the number of objects (to the point of reducing the room to an un-livable space with no function), but rather to reduce the scale of the objects in order to give the impression/illusion of more space than there actually is! There are numerous ways of achieving this effect and reaching the perfect balance; the two key things to pay attention to are the furniture and wall/ceiling ornaments.
What to do about furniture:
To achieve the appearance of more space than there actually is, create space for the placement of more objects, and allow for freer movement in a small room, consider getting:
- Couches and chairs that are narrow, low, and have thin arms.
- Tall, raised furniture that lets you see the portion of the floor directly under it.
- Round, rather than square or rectangular, tables that allow for more movement around them.
- 2 or 3 small coffee/side tables rather than 1 large one.
What to do about the walls and ceilings:
Achieve the impression of higher ceilings, longer walls, and a create a less oppressive atmosphere with:
- Optical tricks; for example concealing cabinets and using more mirrors.
- Wallpaper: subtle, light colours and patterns can create more space, but even bold long horizontal lines can create an elongated effect!
- Unobtrusive downlights.
- The removal of cornices that can soften the wall-ceiling transition.
Key Point: Many people are afraid of over-decorating or placing too many objects and furniture in a large room and they decide instead to keep the room simple – this common mistake often results in large spaces reminiscent of airport lounges and large, cold, and official waiting rooms. Furniture can also have an aesthetic purpose, it doesn’t only have to be present for purely practical/functional purposes. Filling a room with aesthetically pleasing furniture and ornaments on walls and ceilings can help you turn a large, unwelcoming space into a cosy, warm room!
What to do about furniture:
Create a cosier, warmer atmosphere using furniture with the addition of:
- Large modular couches
- Coffee tables, side tables, sofa tables.
- Large armchairs that create strong silhouettes.
- Extra pieces of furniture that can serve aesthetic rather than functional purposes such as: étagères, consoles, etc.
- Separated areas for specific activities, for example a reading corner with a bookshelf and armchair.
What to do about walls and ceilings:
Walls and ceilings can be adorned with various forms of functional yet aesthetically pleasing ornaments, for example:
- Picture rails
- Bookshelves with displays
- Pendant lights
- Wallpaper with various patterns, or a slightly darker/warmer paint that can help soften the atmosphere of a room
- Large artwork, or many little clusters of artwork, or a combination of both.
No matter the size of the room you’re working with, it’s always possible to create a pleasing environment, and the above tips can help you do just that!
How To Correctly Build Your Own Bali Hut
Bali Huts are often seen on tropical resort islands. They are beautiful and a great escape from the hot sun during the day as well as being a great place to enjoy a glass of wine with a loved one at night.
Sounds amazing, right?
You can buy a premade Bali Hut or you can don your power tools and take on this DIY project.
To correctly build your own Bali hut you will need the following:
- Electric drill with screw bits
- Electric saw or hand saw
- Staple gun
- Chalk String
- 2 tall ladders
- 3” long galvanized deck screws
- Roofing nails
- Heavy duty staples
- 3” metal L-brackets
- Thatching material for the roof
- 1”x 1” furring strips
- 2”x 4” treated lumber
- 2”x 6” treated lumber
- 8” x 8” treated lumber posts
The amount of these materials will depend on the size of your Balinese Huts so do you calculations so you know how much to have of each item before you start your project.
Decide if you want your Bali Hut to be a simple standing structure with posts and a roof or if you want a deck and steps.
Have a drawing of your Bali Hut. Walk the area that you want your Bali Hut. Once you determine that there is plenty of space by using the exterior dimensions, make sure the ground is flat, level and free of debris.
- Use your chalk string to clearly mark where your hut will be using your design measurements.
- Put a stake into each corner where your posts will be. Dig the holes for the posts, set the posts, and make sure they are level. Backfill the posts and stabilize them with 2”x 4” on either side.
- Cut four 2”x 6” sections of lumber according to the external distance of your posts. Note: The lumber for the sides will butt up against the other lumber posts while the front and back lumber should extend past your posts by about 2”.
- Make sure to secure the back piece by screwing it in place first, then moving to the sides before completing the front.
- Cut two 6” pieces of the 2”x 6” lumber and screw them all together to form a box.
- Take 4 pieces of the 2”x 6” lumber and make 45 degree angle cuts.
- Take your two latters and put them in the center of your Bali hut. Place one of the 2”x 6” lumber pieces on the corner post and lift the other end to the top of the latter in the center. Have someone complete those same steps on the other side. Screw a wood block between the two 2”x 6” lumber pieces and screw into place.
- Repeat these steps with the other corners.
- Attach your metal L-brackets to every post and joint and secure them in place with screws.
Your roof support is complete.
- Begin to cut your 2”x 4” into 8 sections about 2 feet long each. Make 45 degree cuts on one end only.
- Create a brace on both sides of the roof support by placing two at an angle in-between the corners of the roof supports. Screw all this into place to support it.
- Next, you will need a 2”x 4” center support on both sides of the hut and secure to the 2” x6” lumber and the center block with screws. This will be the support for your thatch.
- Leaving 10” in-between furring strips, nail them across the roof supports.
- Cut your thatch to match the length of your roof and staple in place.
There you go, a Bali Hut completed in one weekend.
My last remaining piece of advice with building your Bali Hut is like any DIY projects, make sure you have everything you need and placed out before you begin your project.
Would you build your own Bali Hut or buy one already done for you?
If you don’t want to go through the fuss and technical difficulty of building your own gazebo, Aarons Outdoor Living have a range of gazebo kits that you you can buy and build yourself – or use one of their professional contractors to do it for you. View the complete range at aaronsoutdoor.com.au/gazebos and pick one that suits the size and shape of your backyard.
Here is a video of the guys at Aarons putting together a bali hut – they make it look so easy!!
You don’t need the help of expensive professional interior designers to brighten up your home for the summer! These quick 20 tips will show you just how easy it is to do this on your own!
Tips for the Indoors
- Create a brighter bedroom – This can be as easy as purchasing a set of vibrant new linens, summer throws, pillow cases, etc.!
- Create a brighter bathroom – Adding bright new towels in the season’s trendiest colours (blue, yellow, aqua, etc.) can go a long way to creating a livelier atmosphere in your bathroom! Matching your shower curtains and bath mat to the towels could also add a lovely, personal touch!
- Paint your walls – If you can do this yourself, painting your walls is one of the cheapest ways to freshen up your home! Choose your colours and designs carefully to fit in with the rest of your home décor!
- Add flowers – Different flowers can look fabulous in various settings, and they can add colour to any room. Choose flowers carefully,
- Add some artwork – Pastel prints are a popular trend this season, but any form of artwork, depending on the style of your home, can have a great effect! You can find different artwork in various galleries, or frame some of your own or your children’s works of art!
- Replace your cushion covers – Matching your cushions to your rug, carpet or curtains, is an affordable option that helps to create a theme and/or colour scheme in your home. There are endless options of colours and patterns that you could use for this.
- Add a basket – Putting a plant in a basket is a great way of making a plant stand out more in a room. It’s a great way to spice up the look of a plant and to create a warm, friendly environment.
- Add curtains – Curtains, unlike plain blinds, can soften the feel of a room, as well as provide shade from the sun and heat. They also protect your furniture from fading!
- Add some colour through window dressings – Curtains can also be a great way to introduce more colour into your home. You can choose from a variety of colours and patterns that will best suit your existing colour scheme and style.
- Add one strong colour for a dramatic effect – If you’re afraid of making drastic colour changes that will be difficult to fix if you end up disappointed with the results, a great way to add colour in a quick, simple, yet bold way is to add small items with dramatic, strong colours. This is especially effective in rooms otherwise missing strong hues. You can do this with bright cushion covers, bright linens, etc.
Create a seamless outdoor-indoor transition:
- Add mirrors – Hanging up mirrors in places where they are able to reflect the outdoors/garden/plants/sky is a great way to brighten up a room and make it seem more spacious; it is also a great way to bring some of the outdoors inside!
- Match the outside of your home with its interior design – To create a natural flow between the indoors and outdoors of your home, select items that match with your interior design to put on your porch and/or balcony. An outdoor rug or welcome mat that matches the colour combinations inside is a great way to do this!
- Match the inside of your home with its outdoor environment – Get inspired by what you see outside your windows! Pink cushions on the couch can draw attention to any pink flowers visible from the window. If you don’t have any plants outside, use various shades of blue to match your home with the sky; or use colours like green that are normally associated with the outdoors.
- 1 Add a plant to your house décor – Plants have a way of fitting in to almost any interior design; they add texture, colour, and a lively atmosphere to any home. Choosing the right plant for you may depend on the size of the plant you want, maintenance costs, and the care required to keep it healthy.
- Add flowers – Different flowers can look fabulous in various settings, and they can add colour to any room. Choose flowers carefully, keeping in mind the colour scheme and style of your home.
- Pots with herbs and fragrants – These can add a lovely green touch to your home, as well as a pleasant scent! The terracotta pots usually used in holding herbs can be decorated in many different ways, adding a hand-made, personal, warm touch to your home.
Tips for the Outdoors
- De-clutter: Spring cleaning, de-cluttering and creating a cleaner space outdoors is the first step to creating a pleasant environment that can later be improved with additions of various other features.
- Clear up the pavement: Although this is a simple and relatively easy step, it makes a huge difference! Freshening up your pavement by filling the gaps with white sand can create a cleaner, newer looking effect.
- Add some plants: Brighten up your home’s exterior with the addition of different plants and flowers. Vertical gardens are a big trend this year, and pots to mount on walls outside are easily available and easy to use!
- Add some DIY furniture: Summer is the perfect time to host outdoor social events. Create more flexibility for seating arrangements with the addition of some outdoor furniture. There are many DIY furniture options to choose from online that are relatively simple and serve both functional and aesthetic purposes!
- Add some appropriate lighting: Hot summer nights mean having a meal outdoors is not necessarily restricted to parties and social events! Making sure you have appropriate lighting is crucial – you want to ensure everyone can see each other and the food! Lanterns and candles can help to create a soft, intimate atmosphere!
These easy-to-follow tips will make all the difference in your home décor and atmosphere this summer!
Many of us practice meditation and read self-help books on how to lead calmer, more peaceful lives; but we rarely think about how our surroundings can affect our moods, productivity levels and general well-being.
Because we spend significant amounts of time in our homes, it’s important to consider the atmospheres we create and how they influence our lives.
Thinking of our homes as not just walls and furniture, but more as our own personal sanctuaries, is the first step to achieving a zen environment. In more practical terms, this involves thinking about how different layouts, colours, textures and amounts of light can affect our well-being.
Here are some important factors to keep in mind when creating zen atmospheres in your homes:
- Your home can be a part of the daily solar/lunar cycle:
Making sure your home reflects and encourages the natural lighting patterns of the daily solar-lunar cycle. This can be done by simply drawing back the curtains/blinds/shutters every morning, letting in the light, and keeping an appropriate lighting during the night, to encourage healthier daily patterns. Letting in fresh air can also help you keep a clear mind and increase your productivity levels. The benefits of this can be seen especially in sufferers of the Seasonal Affective Disorder, who experience seasonal depression (too varying degrees) with changes in amounts of light.
- Your home can have a clear, flowing pulse:
One of the key principles of Feng Shui is to encourage the free flow of energy throughout the house. You don’t have to subscribe to Feng Shui ideals in order to understand the annoyance of having to navigate your movements between inappropriately placed furniture, or the frustration of looking for objects in rooms full of inconveniently placed cabinets, etc. Making sure that your daily movements are not disturbed can help decrease feelings of claustrophobia, and unblock physical, as well as emotional, passages and barriers.
- Your home can be a warm and welcoming sanctuary:
There’s no denying that there is a stylish and modern effect to cool steel, cold tiles and concrete on a house. These effects however, decrease the warm and welcoming atmosphere that many of us crave and hope to create. By adding a few warmer colours and textures to our homes, we can make them seem friendlier and warmer. This can be done by adding wooden textures to floors, walls, and furniture. Softer colours and textures on furniture like couches and beds can also go a long way to achieve this purpose.
- Your home can be reminiscent of a holiday-like environment:
We often feel relaxed and calm when we’re on holiday; these feelings do not have to be restricted to a few short periods during the year! Re-create some of your favourite holiday environments by adding light blues and greens, and warm island-like colours to help you create an environment reminiscent of islands and warmer, calmer times!
- Your home can be a peaceful haven:
Creating a calm and quiet environment isn’t always easy (especially when children are involved), but it is not impossible! Having dimmable lights and soft/calm music in the background can help to start the day in a calm way, and help end it in a zen and relaxed manner. Having spaces designated to “quiet time” (for example a chair, couch, or corner) can also help individuals get some quiet time without having to leave the house, or retreat to their rooms.
- Your home can be adjustable to various settings and circumstances:
Lighting plays a big role in your home’s ability to adjust to different situations. Dimmable lights can ensure that you can have both the maximum amounts of light necessary to stay alert and productive, as well as allow you to slowly recede into a more peaceful state that prepares you (and your children) for a natural, easy transition into sleep – this can help improve sleeping patterns. You can also create more “flattering” and welcoming lighting by avoiding overhead lights that can create harsh and unforgiving shadows!
- Your home can encourage clear thinking:
According to the principles of Feng Shui, clutter represents stagnant energy that decreases our quality of life. De-cluttering our homes can help de-clutter our minds, leaving room for more productive, positive thoughts. Unnecessary clutter also makes for a messy and busy environment; removing unnecessary objects can help create a calmer atmosphere.
- Your home can tell a story:
When decorating, think about what each room represents to you, or what story you would like the room to tell. While thought-provoking artwork with vibrant colours might do well in a living room where you entertain guests, the same piece may be inappropriate for a bedroom where lighter, warmer colours might prove more beneficial to creating the calm and peaceful atmosphere. The placement of objects matters too, think carefully before placing a mirror for example too high, or too low!
Using a combination of the above steps can help us achieve the perfect zen environment in our homes, to match with and compliment the calmness we try to achieve in our minds!
The latest trends in interior design can give us inspiration for re-designing our homes. Following a trend doesn’t mean trying to be like everyone else – we can use trends as a form of inspiration and apply them to our homes in our own, unique ways.
- Blue –
No matter the shade, blue is making a big comeback this year. From bed linens to couch cushions, blue can be used to work with many other colours – all you need to do is look out at the sky and nature and see for yourself which combinations could work for you!
- Dawn/Dusk Palette –
This combination of muted neutrals, soft pinks, browns, smoky greys and blues work well with the Australian climate and fit in fabulously with Australian nature. They work well with a variety of textures and will look amazing on any wall, cushion or piece of furniture.
- Marsala: the Pantone colour of the year –
If the above palette isn’t exactly your style, warm shades such as Marsala may do the trick for you. Other deep neutral hues such as Olive Green work well with Marsala and can add a strong accent to any room!
- Floral prints –
Although this continues to be a yearly trend, this year, a loose, water-colour floral print is the way to go. This can work well in combination with objects of solid colours from the same palette.
- Gold –
This can be used as a metallic colour on many objects, but can also function as a material. From sink taps to picture frames, gold can make a great addition to rooms with bold colours and already exiting silver, steel, and metallic fixtures.
- Minerals –
Handmade stone, ceramic, marble, or sand homeware are a popular addition to any room in the house, from bathrooms to living rooms. You can apply this trend to various items: bowls, vases, artworks, etc.
- Animal hide –
This is a continuing trend, but will be seen in many more variants and objects than in previous years. It isn’t restricted to rugs; cushions, throw blankets, as well as artwork will see a rise in the use of cow (and other animal) hides.
- Embellished edges –
This year there’s a real interest for items with a handmade feel to them. Weaving, knotting and quilting have become popular on cushions, blankets, etc., and the most popular items tend to have embellished edges.
- Wallpaper –
Plain, white/beige walls are being replaced with statement wallpaper that allows for more colour, more texture, and more self-expression! If you’re unwilling to cover a whole wall, wall decals are available in many different varieties and can be used to spice up a room!
- The artists’ palette –
Water colour prints, paint splatters, blobs and abstract design are once again in style. Items such as cushions, linens, curtains, etc. with various patterns, could help many upcoming artists interested in DIY make a name for themselves!
- Layering patterns, textures and styles –
Carefully mixing and matching different textures, styles and patterns is a rising new trend. Mixing woods, metals, floral prints, velvets and leather, can produce an interesting, unique result when done well!
- Mid-century modern –
This is a throwback to the modern designs of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Vintage pieces such as lamps, cushions, plates and clocks will make lovely additions to homes of various styles.
- White on white –
This continuing trend of minimalism creates a calm environment and a fresh feel. Layering different textures (woods and metals) in rooms in this style, can add an interesting and unique touch.
We hope this list of trends inspires you to try out new, interesting, unique combinations of styles and designs that will liven and brighten up your homes this year!