Apartment living is becoming more and more popular in the suburbs of Melbourne and I see more apartments being built in areas close to me like Eltham and Doncaster. A lot of my clients who are moving into apartments are downsizing because their children have left home and the low maintenance of an apartment and the closeness to the main shops is beneficial to them. These clients usually want to start fresh with mostly all new furniture. This makes sense considering they have usually had their furniture for quite a long time and because an apartment is usually smaller than their previous home they don’t need a lot of things to fill it up. I thought it would be a good idea for me to share my tips for decorating an apartment and getting the most out of your space.
Storage is really important when your space is limited so when you are choosing furniture make sure it has storage so you can use every space possible in your apartment. Beds can have drawers underneath for extra storage space in your bedroom and coffee tables with drawers and shelves are great for family rooms. Ottomans that open up are also great for extra storage and they can also be used for extra seating when you entertain.
Use a buffet for under a television
I don’t like the look of tv units that are really low because I think they look out of proportion so I usually choose a nice buffet instead for a piece of furniture under the tv. This also gives you more storage and I think the tv is better to watch at this level. If you require a Foxtel box etc this can be stored in the buffet and a hole can be drilled in the back of the cupboard for the wires to reach the power. (Buffets are usually 80-90cm high)
Tip: Extension Tables
Extension tables are perfect for apartments because on a daily basis they can be kept small and made larger when you want to entertain.
Choose furniture that can be converted into something else:
Furniture that can be changed so that it has a different function is ideal for apartments. Sofa beds are a great idea so you have the flexibility for guests to stay over with out a spare room.
Built in storage:
Creating built in storage in your home that is specifically made for you and how you live is the ultimate in a small apartment because you can take advantage of every bit of space. In this home office we designed the cabinetry to have lots of drawers and shelves.
Art: Use your vertical space to hang art that you love.
In a smaller space you don’t have many walls to hang art so don’t be afraid to hang art that takes up the whole wall because this gives it more impact in your room. See examples below
Mirrors: Use mirrors to make the space appear bigger
I like to use really large mirrors in rooms that are small because they help reflect the room and make it look larger. In this lounge room below I chose this very large mirror above the couch and it’s perfect to reflect the outside view and make the room look larger.
The photo below shows an arched mirror that I used in an open plan kitchen – dining – family room in my Essendon project. I love using these mirrors because they look like another window and they definitely open up the space and make it feel bigger.
Rugs – Use rugs to define each space
Many apartments have open plan living like this kitchen – dining – family room below: Adding a rug to the living area is a great way to define the space into sections.
I hope you are inspired to create a beautiful home you will love. Andrea xxx
If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace with a mantel then here are my tips on how to style it.
Tip 1. Lean photos or prints against the wall for a relaxed vibe.
I have photos of my family that I have framed in different sizes leaning on my mantel. It is very important that each frame be a different size to the frame next to it, otherwise it doesn’t look right. Angles should be created from the top corner of each frame to the next one as shown in the example below. I love to change my photos to black & white for a timeless look and I generally choose simple frames that are either black, white or a light timber. When choosing a frame make sure it has a mat board because this makes the photos look so much better and they also make the overall frame larger than the original photo.
Tip 2. Start with art or photos and then layer other objects in front.
All objects should be a different height to the objects beside them and the frames at the back of them. I love adding candle holders that are tall and skinny, small decorative boxes and flowers. On my mantel I also have a large antique clock in the middle and then I have layered items around it.
Tip 3. Add some flowers or foliage.
Foliage in a large vase can create a focal point for your mantel and then you can style around it. In the below photo I added some colourful hydrangeas in purple and green that help to add some colour and texture to the mantel.
Tip 4. Add a mirror
Mirrors are perfect for above a mantel because they are large and they help reflect light around the room. This beautiful mirror below became a focal point in this family room and I love the elegant detail it has. I kept the rest of the styling very simple because it’s all about the mirror.
Tip 5. Add large objects to create the wow factor.
If you have a high ceiling in the area then it is really beautiful to add large prints and objects to create impact. Here I chose some large black & white prints in simple black frames and a large vase of eucalyptus foliage.
I hope you are inspired to style your mantel and create a home you love, Andrea xxx
If you would like to start 2019 with an update in your home, weather it is a small change or a whole room design then I hope you can get inspired by my 5 Top Interior Design Tips.
Design Tip 1 – Change your Feature Lights
Lighting can make a huge difference to your home so changing this is a great way to create a fresh new look. Most homes now have down lights in most of the home so if you have any feature lights above your kitchen bench or in a lounge room or entrance then changing these can instantly update your home. In this home renovation we added a Hampton style long carriage light above the table and some gorgeous beaded chandeliers above the island bench.
I love these timber beaded chandeliers because they add warmth and they create a more casual look. Most of my clients want to create a home that is elegant but more casual than the homes we used to live in so these lights are perfect.
Design Tip 2 – Add Wicker to your home
Adding wicker is another way to give your home a more casual look that suits our modern life style. I absolutely love wicker accessories like this side table and tray because it also adds texture to the room and looks welcoming. Wicker is also timeless so it won’t date quickly as its a natural material so I think it will always look good.
Design Tip 3 – Add Wainscotting to an entrance or room
Add wainscotting or trim to a room is a very cost effective way to add architectural detail and this is why I love it so much. We added it in our lounge room and it is my favourite thing in the room because for the cost it makes the biggest difference. Don’t be afraid because it’s also very easy to do. You need some skirting board (upside down) for the top part and trim to make the boxes and it can be glued and nailed onto your plaster. I like to paint the wainscotting part white and then have contrast with the wall colour because its the most effective.
Design Tip 4 – Add Furniture with storage
I want my homes to be an absolute pleasure to live in for my clients so for busy families that means lots of storage. In the entrance I think it is very important to have somewhere to put your keys, shoes, hats and all those other bits a pieces that seem to hang around and make homes untidy. In this entrance we chose a beautiful rustic console with 3 drawers and a large wicker trunk so this family can keep their home tidy.
Design Tip 5 – Add ottomans
I love ottomans!!! They really are one of my favourite things because they are a great way to add more seating to your room for when you need it and I think they help fill out the space near a coffee table. In nearly every design I do I have 2 ottomans near the coffee table like in the photo above and below.
I really hope you are inspired to create a home you absolutely love living in because you deserve it. I would love to know if you do get inspired and if so what you do in your home.
A lot of the furniture and accessories are available on our online shop so check it out if you want anything for your home..
I hope you have an awesome 2019 xx Andrea