Whether you are a homemaker or an interior designer, have a huge house or a teeny weeny apartment, a bottomless budget or a pittance, these interior decorating tips, tricks and style rules will have your pad looking totally schmick …
Darren Palmer is best known for his stylish and classic interiors, his gig as a judge on Channel 9’s The Block, and as a regular contributor to some of Australia’s best home and design magazines. And now, he’s added author to his list. Get inspired with his stellar interior decorating advice, beautiful illustrations and styling tips from his own design projects with his new book, Easy Luxury, and these decorating tricks….
Describe your personal interior decorating style.
“I love all things from nature. Colours, materials and textures from nature feature constantly and heavily in my work. I don’t think you can get much better than the balance and contrast that nature achieves from vibrant florals to gentle textures like wood or hide. Stone, leather, woven natural fibres are all go-tos in terms of my aesthetic. I’d describe my style as comfortable, natural, friendly but refined and considered. I put a lot of effort into making effortless looking interiors – homes for people rather than showrooms or design museums.”
What 3 things should home owners consider when revamping their rooms?
1. “Always consider what you can and should spend to get the best result. The best result doesn’t mean just the cheapest or most expensive, it means creating the best value in your efforts for the correct amount of expenditure. That equation is different from area to area and project to project. The safest way to get a gauge of what to spend and what you stand to reap as a reward is to compare your home’s value in its current state to the value of properties in the same area that are the same size and amenity, that have been improved to the level you’d like to achieve. By misusing the current value from your proposed new value, then misusing holding costs like mortgage repayments, levies and fees, you will be left with a figure that will inform you of how much you can spend before you overcapitalise. This should be your first consideration and constraint to work to.”
2. “Consider how the space needs to work. For example, look at what you need the space to do, who it needs to do it for, what they need specifically from the space, the tasks required to be done in that space, what is stopping the space from functioning at its best level currently and what you need to do to correct the problems. Once you have those questions answered you know what the priorities will be in your improvements.”
3. “Mood. How do you want the space to feel to you, the people that use the space and the people that visit the space? The mood will dictate things like colour, materials palette and inclusions. Another tip would be to get clear on all of the items you intend to use in the space before you buy anything. Gather references of each proposed inclusion by taking photos or sourcing online, and then look at all the pieces together before you buy a single one of them, so you can be sure they all work together and tie into a coherent and considered look. Failing to do this will limit your chances of a beautiful result.”
Trends versus Classics. What’s your thoughts?
“Trends are useful if you don’t know what you want to do. You can see what others are doing and apply that to your own home, but I prefer always to do what feels right, something classic that will stand the test of time and be enduring, as trends come and go. Trends are relevant mostly to keep abreast of what is new to the market in terms of products, materials and interesting new releases to be included in projects, but adhering to a hard and fast new design fad will leave you running the risk of having your interiors go out of style more swiftly.”
Apartment Interiors. Any Advice?
“Storage is paramount. Finding a place to put everything will save you the mess and clutter on a daily basis that diminishes your sense of space. Also, keep things off the floor – built in entertainment units that are wall hung, for example, rather than heavy looking pieces of furniture, will give you more visible floor space creating an increased feeling of room. Mirrors and mirrored walls are the best thing to give the visual illusion of space. Used in considered ways you can get a large amount of impact from mirrored surfaces or full walls.”
Your Number 1 Decorating Rule?
“Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
Best Advice for Novice Home Decorators?
“Create a space that suits you and your lifestyle. Focus first on the function and let form follow, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Just work out what is going to suit you and your family best, understand the fundamentals of good design and make appropriate decisions based on them and then forge ahead. If you don’t know what the fundamentals of good design are, my new book Easy Luxury goes through them step-by-step from finding a gem with good bones to decorating your home and everything in between.”
Easy Luxury is available from all good bookstores. Images from Easy Luxury by Darren Palmer published by Murdoch Books.