Most common decorating questions asked and answered

When you’re styling a new space, there are so many ways you can approach the design. You want to add your own personality and play around with current trends, but you also want it to be classic and timeless. Even after months of thoughtful planning, it can still be a minefield of questions and intense decision-making. We’re frequently quizzed on these topics, from ‘What’s the best white paint colour’ to ‘What size rug should I use’, and they are all incredibly valid questions. Here’s a list of the most common questions we’re asked.

29 October 2021

Kathryn Trentini

29th October 2021

‘Here’s my favourite white paint colour, what I think about mixing timbers and how to find the right piece of art for your home’ – Kathryn.

I have to admit that it’s sometimes hard to remember back to before I was an interior designer and what it felt like to have more questions than answers when it came to styling and decorating. One of the things I agonised over for months was choosing the perfect white. I went through so many paint chips and sample pots it was heartbreaking. Here are my top white paint colours so that you don’t have to be in agony like I was! My top picks do come with a disclaimer – I’m located in Australia so these colours work for our location. Read on though, because I have a couple of tricks you can use to make sure your white works regardless of where you’re located.

My all time favourite white is Dulux Whisper White due to its high LRV (light reflective value) provides that wonderful peaceful experience for those in the space. For a more crisp white, I tend towards Dulux Vivid White whilst Dulux Natural White gives a much warmer experience. In order to get the right white for your home, however, it’s important that you grab some A4 sized paint chips from your supplier. You’ll want to view the paint in various lights, both natural and artificial, as well as throughout the day and under a variety of weather conditions. It sounds tedious but it’s worth the exercise to get the right paint colour the first time.

Another question I can I mix different types of timbers. The answer is yes, as long as you have three types. The timbers can be either within the design or decorating elements to the space. By this I mean, you could have timber beams, timber flooring and timber stools. Two of these elements comprise the built environment whilst the third is decorating. You can see a great example of this in practice in the Annandale House.

Quite often, homeowners fall in love with something that we as designers would call trends. So, how do you incorporate trends without going overboard? Use items that are on trend in a seasonal manner, so those items that you’ll only use at particular times of the year. Great decorative items such as throw rugs or cushions are perfect to play around with anything that’s now. Don’t spend too much money and always donate once you’re done with them.

Shopping for furniture is hard work! Trawling through websites, pounding the pavement or visiting numerous showrooms is so time consuming. So, is it OK to buy everything from the one store? A home that has a furniture package can lack personality so no matter where you source your furniture from, it’s really important to add some pieces from alternative suppliers. You can do this through either retaining something from your current pieces or you could add in a second-hand or vintage element. If you’re still not sure how everything is going to work together take some time and put together a quick board to visualise the space.

One of the most common problems I see as an interior designer is the size of area rugs. They’re too small! So, what happens if your area rug is too small? If you can upgrade to a larger one then do so. Otherwise, make sure that at least the front legs of the furniture sits on the rug and if you need to, bring your furniture closer together. Remember, not all furniture needs to sit against the wall! 

Apart from what’s the best white paint colour, I think one of the hardest questions to answer is How do I choose the right artwork for my home? Choosing art is subjective and no matter what I think as a designer, it’s ultimately the home owner who ends up choosing the pieces that hang in their home. The process of choosing art can take time. A good starting point is to find and follow instagram accounts whether that be the artist themselves or galleries who represent them. Or, find some good blogs that introduces you to a variety of artists. Trust that you’ll find the right piece at just the right time. If you’re looking for a piece but you’re really not that fussed what it is, you might consider taking lead from the existing colour palette in the space.

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