Interior design is the finishing touch on your new home. But tackling it on your own can be overwhelming! After all, between selecting furniture, comparing paint swatches, and choosing art pieces, there are hundreds of design decisions that go into styling your space.
So, we’ve consulted Rosie Blockley from La Belle Maison Interiors for her “insider” interior design tips on how to decorate a home you adore.
As an experienced interior designer with a career spanning two decades, including a stint in the fashion industry, Rosie regularly works with Landmark Homes Tauranga. She collaborates with clients to decorate their spaces in a range of interior design styles from traditional to eclectic to pared-back minimalism, and recently lent her creative eye to design the beautiful Landmark Homes Whakatane’s Coastlands showhome.
If you want to decorate a space that feels put-together and need tips for making wiser design decisions – you’re in for a treat!
Gather your Inspiration
Pinterest and Instagram are rich grounds for interior design inspiration!
“I spend every spare minute of my day and night on Pinterest for inspiration which never fails to deliver!” laughs Rosie. “I also love to read Architecture magazines every month, and of course our very own NZ House and Garden – an all-time favourite!”
Focus on one area at a time – but buy your items all together
“If you’re updating an existing space, stick to one area at a time, and complete it fully. Don’t purchase items one by one, if you can avoid it, as you will end up without a cohesive look and many regrets,” says Rosie.
Instead, plan carefully, sort your desired look for the space, and set a budget. “Once you’ve identified what’s on your wish list, then it’s all about bringing that to fruition within your budget,” says Rosie. “Which is exactly what we do with our Landmark clients.”
Some of Rosie’s favourite places to shop – CC Interiors, Citta Design, Boheme Home, Sarsfield Brooke, antique stores or flea markets, and you can find some treasures on Trade Me too. (“I bought a beautiful solid brass light fitting for $100 on Trade Me, and it was my best purchase yet!” smiles Rosie.)
Add some difference with art
One of the biggest misconceptions Rosie sees is the idea that art needs to be very ‘samey’ throughout the house.
“Art only needs to match the room it’s in,” Rosie explains. “I encourage my clients to go wild. Your art pieces can vary wildly throughout your home.” Her best advice – Select something that makes you smile! You can shop for art prints in many places besides prestigious art galleries – including chain stores and online shops like Papier HQ.
You can also style art walls with family photographs in a layered format – but always try to match the colour of the frames for a cohesive look.
Treat wallpaper like another piece of art
Wallpapers are offered in abundance by designers and paint stores, so like art, select something that makes you smile. After all, wallpaper is just a larger art form of your favourite painting. However, if it’s bright and colourful, consider having it cover only one wall as opposed to the whole area. Monochromatic colours – often seen in modern interior design – are more suited to larger areas.
If your budget is limited focus on the core three
Generally, this would be your bathroom, kitchen, and lounge.
“Real estate professionals always say that when it comes to resale, kitchens and bathrooms rule. And I agree. These can be the most exciting rooms in the house, but also the most expensive, and so the greatest of consideration and planning here is essential.”
“Employ the professional opinion of an interior designer if you can afford to do so, as this will save you so many costly mistakes in the long run,” explains Rosie. “The lounge/living areas are next on my list of important rooms, as this is where many of us relax after long working days.”
Use trends in moderation
If you’re seeking longevity from your home, keep it timeless.
“Trends come and go and usually have a very short lifespan. Most clients tend to want longevity and value for money – so I don’t recommend travelling a trendy path unless your heart is set on it, and it’s a style element you already love.”
“I only ever work with trends if I believe the client has the personality and lifestyle to connect with them. If it’s for fabrics and cushions, that’s not so extreme, as you can easily replace them without a huge investment,” adds Rosie.
“I usually have one rule here: if it is a very expensive part of the design, don’t be tempted to go on-trend as it will date. Textured tiles and mosaics are trendy at the moment, for example, don’t fall into the trap that a tile is so textured and three-dimensional that you lose sight of how you will clean it! And know that with a trend, chances are you may get over it very quickly.”
Invest in your sofa – even if it’s custom – you’ll never regret it
Sofas are an integral design part of your lounge and must bring you the utmost of comfort.
Custom-making should be a consideration here if your budget can stretch to it, because you can incorporate your fabrics of choice into the overall design, and the height and width can be adjusted according to the shape and size of your room to create exactly the settee you’re looking for.
You can even reupholster your chair to update it at a later date, so see your sofa as a long-term investment. Especially if you’re building and decorating your “forever home”.
Rug up (and don’t forget drapery!)
Beautiful rugs with colour and texture are always a well-loved addition to any room, making it feel more homely, warm and inviting to the eye. And stunning drapes are an essential for both heat retention and to finalise the ambience.
One final tip that doesn’t fit into a precise category but bears mentioning.
Don’t shy away from older pieces! You can add heirlooms into the mix in every room, creating a beautiful mish mash of old and new, and giving your home a pop of personality and character that can be lost with all-new furniture.
See Rosie’s latest Landmark Homes project here