When it comes to transforming a house into a home, interior design expert and TV personality Neale Whitaker, certainly knows a thing or two.
Neale, pictured in his own home, says he has four fundamental rules when it comes to interior design. To transform a house into your own personal castle, you absolutely have to consider colour, light, functionality and mood.
When it comes to decorating, colour has a profound influence on our mood. The ‘60/30/10’ rule is a useful place to start when planning a colour scheme, especially for an open-plan environment.
“The rule means using approximate percentages of colour to create balance,” says Neale. “For example, using 60% of neutral or white, adding 30% of toning shades and finally a 10% flourish of contrasting colour.”
This creates an even palette and avoids stark colour clashes. Another simple rule is that blue-based colours will work best with cool whites, while red-based colours work with warmer whites. Neale recommends experimenting with colour in smaller areas first before committing to larger spaces.
“Neutrals don’t sit on the colour wheel, but they have hints of colours that do and these should be considered when mixing neutrals and colours,” he explains. “Find out where stronger colours sit on the colour wheel and this will determine whether you opt for cool or warm neutrals.”
A key colour trend for the coming year is warm, earthy and spicy tones. These include pale beige, biscuit and parchment shades vying with whites and greys as a backdrop to rich colours like bark, olive and ochre. They have a subtle intensity that can be incorporated in spaces to create a cosy vibe.
Correct lighting is fundamental to how spaces function and how we react to them. According to Neale, there are three types of lighting to consider in the home: general lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.
“General lighting is a light source such as downlights or pendants that are used to illuminate a space from a functional perspective,” says Neale. “Task lighting is used for specific tasks such as reading, desk work, crafts and can have an aesthetic value… accent lighting creates ambience.”
However, more recent lighting trends to hit the market include natural light control and skylights. Australia luckily has extraordinary natural light, and harnessing this can actually improve the livability of our homes.
“A recent popular trend is using sheer curtains in conjunction with blinds,” Neale says. “It’s a combination that feels perfect for our light and our climate, and it can also add depth and interest to a room.”
To create this clever combination of sheers and window coverings, Neale suggests using window coverings such as Luxaflex’s Pirouette Shadings or Duette Shades for the base layer of the window. For the finishing layer, he recommends using Luxaflex Curtains, which give homeowners the opportunity to expand their design options.
Controlling natural light with the sheers plus window covering combination also comes with the perks of privacy, insulation and energy efficiency.
The quality of your life inside your home really depends not only on comfort but also how functional and useful it can be. With the pandemic shifting our relationship with our homes, most of us are spending more time at home than ever before.
“Considering your priorities and what you need to live well and comfortably is crucial to sticking to a budget and creating a functional living and working space,” says Neale.
Kitchens and bathrooms are important focal points of our homes but also the most likely to be personalised. When redecorating spaces of function such as kitchens and bathrooms, it’s important to consider current trends and question if they will impact functionality in years to come.
Creating the mood of your home is what makes it unique and individual. The three most popular interior design styles in Australia are Hamptons, Scandinavian and Contemporary. Identifying the characteristics of these looks can help you decide where you are stylistically, and how you can create mood in your own home.
“Identify a general style that appeals to you and then layer it with your personal choices,” says Neale. “Don’t be afraid to mix styles and eras.”
It’s important to remember to style your home not only to your aesthetic appeal but to your comfort. The most impactful ways of adding mood and personality to your home are art and books. However, Millenials and Gen Z tend to opt for house plants which are also a great way to add depth, texture, and personality to your home.
“Make art choices independent to what is happening elsewhere in your home and go with what you love.”
After all, your home is for your comfort, pleasure, and happy place.