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.
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.
Home entertainment can be watching TV or movies on TV, gaming and listening to music. The bare minimum furniture you need for a room dedicated to entertainment are:
Whether you have a box unit or wall mounted flat screen, the TV is really the hearth and focus of most family homes. Wall mounting frees up a lot of space but any TV can be integrated into a functional storage unit. The biggest problem with Wii games and the ever-changing new technologies in audio-visual devices is the huge amount of requisite accessories we amass. This is especially true in an extended family situation when dad loves his old LPs and the kids are into Xbox one and Playstation 4.
Storage units can be sleek or more like a console or buffet shape, this depends on the style of your room and the look you want to achieve.
The main thing is being able to store all your equipment and accessories and hide the worst of the messy cables.
Corner TV units can be a great solution for small spaces or for when you want visual access from more than one room. The most important thing here is the final height of the TV screen. It should be at a comfortable viewing level, which means generally that your direct eyeline should be approximately a third of the way up the screen. There are also some great smaller solutions made for specific storage items such as DVD towers and racks.
Make it comfy! A modular couch can be a good choice for an entertainment room because it can be reconfigured according to what you are doing and how many people are involved. The traditional sofa and pair of armchairs or recliners work very well too. The prime task is arranging the furniture to maximise your viewing and listening position as well as utilising the general space. Ottomans, especially those that include their own storage recesses, can be perfect seating choices for extra guests that drop by.
Lastly, a must-have, provided you have the space for it, is a coffee table. Placed btween the couch and the TV unit, a coffee table provides you with a surface to put your drinks and snacks on. Look for a coffee table that can also store things you need close to hand like the remote controls, TV guide and magazines. With these basics you will create an ideal place to put your feet up and, relax and enjoy your toys without the clutter.
You don’t need to restrict yourself to office furniture choices. The important thing is to find exactly the style and size you want that also expresses your own inimitable uniqueness.
You will spend a lot of time in a home office so you must be very comfortable, not just in your chair but happy with the aesthetics of your surroundings.
Think about what you need to accomplish and how. Do you need to store and have access to paper files or is everything you work with electronic? Is there room to keep necessary supplies close at hand?
Do you work with any tools or accessories that will scratch your desk top? You might want a laminate or glass surface to work on. Find the right chair then match the table or desk to it so you can achieve the correct height for comfortable desk use.
Storage comes in as many varieties as you can think of.
Look at possibilities from the kitchen, garden, living room, bathroom… inspiration can come from anywhere.
Retro and industrial filing cabinets are great and they can delineate the space from the rest of your apartment but jars, boxes and canisters can also be adapted to keep things handy and tidy and at the same time add visual interest.
That visual interest will help to keep you stimulated and it will reflect your creativity, uniqueness and ability to think outside the preverbial box!
First consider your lifestyle and your dining table use.
Casual or formal? Will the table be used for other functions other than dining? The majority of dining tables come at a fairly standard height of 76cm. You need to keep this in mind if you want to try looking for an unusual table not intended for dining. Apart from the different shapes that tables come in, there are some wonderful retro choices, refectory and trestle options.
2. Next consider what size is best for you.
How often do you entertain and for how many people? This will give you an idea of what size to choose from. There are some good sites that give excellent details about dimensions and seating numbers like House Plans Helper.
Generally for an average dinner party of 6 people, you are looking at:
122cm diameter for a round table
122-152cm for a square table
79x152cm to 91x183cm for a rectangular table
Depending on the space you have, you have options of round, oval, square and rectangular. The most flexible choice is an extension table, either square or rectangular, that can be easily expanded in length to accommodate more guests when needed.
3. Choose a dining table material.
For casual dining you could go for an outdoor dining set in wicker with a tempered glass top. The glass top is very practical and easy to clean. Marble is another excellent table top surface. If you are thinking about buying a wood table, be prepared for some simple but necessary upkeep. You will need to wipe the surfaces down with an oil-based furniture polish every six months and using coasters and placemats will minimise staining and scratching.
So go classical wood or contemporary glass and metal and enjoy an entertaining lifestyle.
Design suggestions how to create an inviting kitchen bar or home bar from scratch
It doesn’t necessarily take loads of space to set up a home bar or a kitchen nook or island area for casual drinks and snacks. A bar can be the viewing point for movies and TV shows and it can become the favourite family hub.
All you need is a surface bench or table top that you can belly up to. If you are starting from scratch, you might want to choose your stools first. The bar stool will determine the style and the height of your bar.
There are amazing barstools available ranging from cowhide and chrome to leather and plastic, retro to industrial. Just make sure the stool you choose is comfortable as well as attractive.
What really sets the scene and provides a bar with atmosphere is the lighting. The lighting should be cozy and flattering and pendants are the perfect choice, especially as you can position them to exactly the best height above the bar or bench surface.
The fun part is selecting lighting that complements the barstool style.
These two elements, stool and lighting, will harmonise the look.
Choosing lights and stools first will make it easier for you to select the other necessary elements such as wall art, bench top material and glassware. Go with natural wood for a warm feel or opt for bright solid colours that create a friendly and fun atmosphere.
If kids will be using the stools as well as adults, look at gas-lift adjustable models and at swivel mechanisms if the stools will be in a tight space without a lot of room for maneuvering in and out.
Setting up a home bar increases your popularity ten-fold. It’s a great way to entertain friends with cocktails and the family with movie night and snacks.
Kids grow up fast. Consider the age of your kid and if a younger sibling can inherit the furniture when he or she outgrows it. There is plenty of excellent kids’ furniture out there online with low prices if you want to upgrade as your child grows, otherwise you may want to buy something flexible that can adapt to your kid’s changing needs.
The best solution to decorating children’s bedrooms in a modern and practical way is to put in bunk beds. Bunk modular sets can maximise space with built-in storage drawers, shelves and closets. They can create a whole environment with a bed, study desk and lots of fun features like ladders or steps.
There are bunks that can be reconfigured into two separate beds plus the double below-single above model can be a useful option for older kids with occasional sleepover friends sleeping on a pull out trundle. For the ultimate in hidden beds in a room that needs as much floor space as possible during the day, there exists a Murphy-style bunk unit – the beds fold up into the wall out of sight. Bedroom storage is always a premium, especially with all the kit and gear kids accumulate.
How do you choose decor that matches the rug, the furniture and the lighting? The first suggestion is to look for elements from the same manufacturer. Furnishings are usually produced in seasonal ranges with strong designer input. For example, you can check the online campaigns that we have to introduce new products. The campaigns are selected by theme, material, style or some other uniting design factor.
The modern chinoiserie patterns and colours of the mirror, lantern and stool above, are good examples of harmonious design style.
To include more balance in the room, pick up one of the colours and add smaller decor elements to match. In this instance, the less dominant turquoise colour would be perfect for a ceramic Buddha figurine like that on the left that also has an oriental theme or wall art like the prints on the right.
The glaze of the figurine and the delicacy of the prints also add textural balance juxtaposed with the fabrics and rustic metal finish above. Colourful furnishings usually look best against a solid wall hue like pear, yellow or a neutral tone.
Every colour has a psychological value and a particular association for each individual. Colour is a powerful decorating tool that can change the perceived shape and size of furnishings and the actual room itself.
A good tip is to start by choosing the furniture, rug and other elements that aren’t available in as many colours as the wall paint. Think about the primary function of the room. Colours can be described as active, passive or neutral. Light colours can make a room seem larger and brighter while dark colours can create more intimacy.
It is very much a choice for the individual but here are some general colour associations:
RED – dramatic
YELLOW – cheerful
ORANGE – energetic
BLUE – calm
GREEN – fresh, restful
PURPLE – rich
BROWN – comfort
PINK – romantic
Warm tones – red, yellow, orange, brown and beige – can look great in the living room and entrance hall.
Cool tones – blue, purple and green – can be a perfect choice for the bedroom and bathroom.
Accents in black, grey, cream or white highlight your stronger colour choices.
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.
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!