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Home Design Tips from an Interior Designer

This week, interior designer Wendy Elers shares her top tips for creating your own style at home, and not being a slave to the trends.

Top Design Tip

I’m a big believer in incorporating all of the five elements - fire, earth, metal, wood and water - in a way that they all play off each other.  In this case, the concrete floor and the dark stone-like kitchen benchtop (earth), are offset nicely by the white walls (metal) and windows, mirrors and other reflective surfaces (water) which are complemented by the cedar walls and solid oak peninsular (wood) while the lighting (fire) adds flickers of warmth and interest.  Combining all these natural organic elements and textures makes the place feel complete, so when people walk in they think “I could live here.”

Tips for using colour

You simply can’t go wrong with neutrals - play colour up with the use of accessories, wall hangings, floor coverings and fittings.  It’s much simpler to update accessories than to repaint the house!

Creating impact on a budget

I’m pleased to see a growing preference towards quality, shifting away from the very consumer-driven approach that’s been so pervasive over the last decade.  My advice is to invest in a few quality pieces - such as a decent couch that isn’t going to fall apart and need replacing in three years - and mix it up with some recycled chairs you picked up at the second-hand store and re-covered.  It doesn’t all have to be matchy matchy.

Current design trends

I’ve just come back from Australia and can report that neutrals are as strong as ever.  
In the past few years we’ve been using cooler shades, but now the trend seems to be turning towards warmer tones.  Rather than brightly coloured feature walls, textured wall papers in earthy colours are making an appearance, creating subtle but gorgeous layers.

Favourite place to pick up interesting pieces

You can pick up some real gems on Trade Me or in second hand and vintage stores.  They might need a lick of paint or new covers, but with a bit of elbow grease and creativity, you’ll have something that’s uniquely yours and will probably last longer than some things you buy brand new.

Deciding what 'look' is right for your home

I always tell people to follow their heart and stay true to themselves.  If something is pleasing to you then go for it.  Buy things you like or will be useful for you.

Tips for creating timeless looks

Don’t be a slave to the trends, make it about you and not what’s in fashion now. Mix up the styles, have fun, own it!

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  • Design and Advice