From Editorial

Embracing a Feminine Shabby Chic Style

Source from Decoist

A warm, feminine style which is also referred to as country cottage or French Antique, Shabby Chic has a rather romantic air. It’s all about blushing pink shades, roses and a certain simplicity in the sense that any vases, mirrors and chairs tend to be vintage rather than new. Because of this they have a trademark distressed look (whether genuine or applied).

The colour scheme with this look is neutral whites, beiges, creams and pale pastels such as blue, green, yellow and pink. There are plenty of florals, with fussy frills and polka dots encouraged (it’s a feminine style, after all). A great proponent of the shabby chic style is the designer Cath Kidson.

Fancy candlesticks, ornately framed mirrors, pitchers with wild flowers placed on a dressing table – these are all shabby chic accessories. In terms of furniture, reclaimed wood – often painted white – is popular and so too is the odd Louis IV reproduction chair with chipped paint. Sofas tend to be covered in throws and cushions (it’s all about comfort but without the elegance of Scandinavian style).

Wicker, linen and natural cotton, as well as the more glamorous velvet are favourite Shabby Chic materials from which to fashion tablecloths, curtains, cushions and other matching accessories.

This is a style that’s perfect for a female-led interior, but one which men can find a bit questionable at times.

Get Serious with Scandinavian Style

Source from Aestatestudio

A look that first became popular in the Scandinavian and Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in the mid-30s, this is a style which, like Modernism, embraces minimalism and simplicity. But it’s done in a very elegant fashion. You’ll understand exactly what we mean when you realise three of its famous founders were Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner and Verner Panton (all produced iconic accent chairs revered today).

A neutral colour scheme is key, usually white, with the odd splash of colour in the form of cushions or a painting. Another big tenet of this style is natural materials; the more from your immediate environment the better, especially woods, leather, wool and even fur (more likely faux fur these days) because Scandi style tends to be cosy – especially in winter with roaring wood fires and plenty of fairy lights.

Flooring tends to be either wide planks of reclaimed wood or concrete. There isn’t a lot of furniture but what there is tends to be functional and of high quality, usually simply but carefully-carved timber and designed in such a way to showcase the natural beauty of the wood.

Nothing in this design style is elaborate or overly-fussy – something that many busy homeowners these days will certainly appreciate.

An Introduction to Industrial Design/Loft Living

Loft Interior by Deniz Atli
Loft Interior by Deniz Atli, Source from Chaosgroup

Industrial design really came into its own with the transformation of old warehouses into homes. Along with the new fashion for urban loft living a new style of interiors was essential since current designs just wouldn’t adapt to those huge living spaces.

Furniture had to be large and chunky so that it wasn’t dwarfed by all that floor space and the high ceilings (which often had old wood beams). At the same time reclaimed wood, exposed pipe work and patchy brickwork – which nine times out of ten were part of the building anyhow – all became incorporated into this “stripped back” look. The result is a sense of “rawness” and an unfinished feel.

In terms of colour, the look is neutral with a few splashes of colour here and there in the form of artwork, a rug or cushions. The main materials are reclaimed wood and metal in all its forms – copper, steel, aluminium, bronze etc.

Pendant lamps in metallic are a large part of industrial design and are necessary to fill the gap between the high ceiling and the kitchen island.

This is a no-nonsense style where furniture and materials are repurposed where possible, resulting in a mix of vintage and contemporary. There are lots of nice relaxing clean lines – perfect for the busy urban executive returning home to the loft after a long day at the coalface – or rather, the office.

Sofa Innovation

A Beautiful Mind

Italian architect Alessandro Isola literally stumbled upon this very innovative idea. He was forever tripping over furled rugs in his home and came up with this fabulously creative sofa-cum-carpet idea.

The carpet transforms into a generous sofa, supported by a carbon fibre core. The core itself can also be used as a book or display shelf at the higher end of the sofa.

The incredible 'Stumble Upon Sofa' designed by Italian architect Alessandro Isola
The incredible ‘Stumble Upon Sofa’ designed by Italian architect Alessandro Isola

 

Fair’s Fair – What’s Hot Now

Things We Noticed at the Recent Trade Fairs That Look Like They’ll Trend Well

We’re always looking for new products and love seeing what’s out there at the trade fairs. Most recently, there is a big interest in recycled materials which is encouraging. There is also a trend for beach themed decor including driftwood pieces. The surprises were a return to glassware that would have been popular with our grandmothers. Sometimes referred to as nannyware, we saw Bohemian glassware at several stands. Chinese ceramic stools are also making an appearance plus the iconic hourglass is a hot decor piece.

Flashed overlay Bohemian glass.    Chinese ceramic stools.   Hourglass decor.
Flashed overlay Bohemian glass. Chinese ceramic stools. Hourglass decor.

Inspiration Can Come from Anywhere

By definition, inspiration is a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something.

Don’t you love being inspired by something that you glimpse quickly but has a profound effect on your imagination? If you are searching for fresh ideas for decorating or renovating, look beyond the obvious sources.

easter-lilies-altar-backdrop

That impetus could be from a floral display you see at a wedding or other reception that defines a neutral palette and serene atmosphere for a room. It could be realised in quality artificial flowers or the form itself could motivate you to create a similar cascading effect in a room divider, shower screen, window treatment or curtains.

Sometimes the juxtaposition of two colours will surprise you and their unique combination will become the source for a whole new adventure in colour schemes.

Inspiring colour combos can come from nature, a scene on TV (such as the Countess of Grantham’s room in Downton Abbey) or two small dots of oil paint on a canvas at the art gallery.  Some of the best colour artists were Edouard Vuillard and Odilon Redon. They can be described as artist’s artists for their amazing use of colour. Look below to see some brilliant examples.

The outrageous colours used by Vuillard on the left and by Redon in the centre work beautifully together within each painting and offer some superb hues to experiment with. Sometimes the shapes and textures may be the motivation. The abstract by Barns-Graham could be reinvented as a floor plan for a room or garden or it could be used to represent the proportions for the decoration of a feature wall.

'Boulevard-of-Batignolles', Edouard Vuillard, 'Sunset', Odilon Redon and an abstract by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
‘Boulevard-of-Batignolles’, Edouard Vuillard, ‘Sunset’, Odilon Redon and an abstract by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham

 

 

 

 

Hello! Introducing the LivingStyles.com.au Blog

Hi and welcome to the blog site of LivingStyles.com.au. As an online retailer of furniture and homewares, we have access to a lot of creative people, valuable industry information and new trends and we want to share it all with you!

LivingStyles has been running for two years and we’ve already been favoured with the prestigious 2014 Australian Small Business Champion Award. It’s great to receive acknowledgment and know we’re on the right track. We have great plans for the future. We will be expanding our Australian-made and recycled product ranges and reaching out to our customers in ever more interactive ways.

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We source the most comprehensive range of designer products including lighting, rugs and branded kitchenware and we get a lot of interest from interior designers so we thought a blog would be a great way to exchange ideas and provide a platform for discussion with professionals and amateur design lovers alike.

We will post about exciting new products, ideas and tips. With your comments and wisdom, let’s make this the most vibrant, practical and ever-evolving blog ever!