Australians have always tended toward a specific sort of cultural cringe across most aspects of our lives, and our interiors are no exception. Not content with looking locally for inspiration, Europe and America have long provided us with style cues but it’s something that is changing as the country matures and we cement our own unique Australian aesthetic.
“I think overall, Australians love an ‘uncontrived’ style — interiors that are relaxed, casual, forgiving and authentic, rather than formal and perfect. It’s one of the many things I love about this incredible country of ours!” says interior stylist Tess Beagley of Minted Interiors. Tess is also quick to stress that the casual nature of our interior spaces stems not only from our environment but the way we look at the world too. “Our interiors reflect our love of the outdoors, our hard working laid back attitudes, our light heartedness and our high regard for not taking ourselves too seriously.”
It’s something that Phoebe Bell of homewares brand Sage and Clare agrees with. “Australian style is laid back, unfussy and I think quite adventurous in many ways. We have a crisp light here, unlike anywhere else in the world, and a climate that lends itself to open indoor spaces. With these quintessentially Australian attributes, our interiors can carry colour, pattern and a certain playfulness that gives us our unique design aesthetic,” says Phoebe.
And there’s no doubt that the climate and natural environment feature strongly in the modern Australian design aesthetic. “As Australians, we take our design cues from our lifestyle, climate, outlook on life and our surrounding environments. This often translates into free flowing indoor/outdoor spaces flooded with natural light, high quality yet casual furniture and playful pops of colour. Australian art and decor usually speaks of our natural environments — the sea with bohemian trends, the land with natural materials like timber, linen, rattan and hemp — native botanical prints, as well as the resurgence of marble and indoor plants,” says Tess.
“We’re a young country, compared to most, so we’re not tied down by tradition like I see in other parts of the world. Our homes tend to be true reflections of the people within them and there’s a freedom of expression and openness to a certain level of quirkiness that is individual to Australia,” says Phoebe.
As for looking overseas for inspiration, both Tess and Phoebe admit it’s impossible not to but it’s a process that ultimately results in an original aesthetic regardless. “The world is such a big creative melting pot of inspiration and design ideas now that it’s hard not to be influenced by trends. I do think we put our own bent on things though and overseas trends are given the ‘Aussie treatment’ to bring them into line with our lifestyle and aesthetic here,” says Phoebe.
Photography: Carrie Young Photography | Styling: Minted Interiors