Eating, sleeping and entertaining. Your home’s main rooms are where you spend most of your time, so of course they get all the decorative TLC.
But spare a thought, too, for the smaller, less obvious areas such as your home office, laundry and storage.
A few simple ideas and a bit of attention can turn these little spaces into little rippers…
Home office or study nook
All you need is a dedicated area for a desk and a chair to create a working or study space. By a window is best (natural light is important), but failing that, add some plants and greenery. Think laterally as well: use a beautiful screen to partition off an area, or remove an under-stairs cupboard to utilise that cosy space.
“A home office can be as compact as a cupboard – there are many clever storage units on the market,” says Sydney interior designer and stylist Lara Hutton (larahutton.co). “An office needs to feel inviting and inspiring, so choose light colour elements to keep things visually calm. Keep it clutterfree, with beautiful storage items, boxes and folders in a favourite colour palette.
Your front door and entry hall are the gateway to your home, so think about how you want to present yourself to the world. “It’s the first impression statement, so I like this area to feel like a well-edited glimpse of the whole,” says Lara.
Consider the decor and style of furniture in your home, and choose one stand-out piece – a side table or cabinet – that distils your style and sets the tone. Keep things simple and take care not to overpower the space. “Aim for bright and spacious,” adds Lara. “Light colours and furniture elements will allow the area to be airy and welcoming; dark colours will close the space in.”
Bring the outside in with a balcony revamp. Potted plants and greenery, plus key furniture elements, can turn it into a peaceful sanctuary. “Let the space be an expression of the personality of the home, and keep the style consistent with its theme,” says Lara.
“Find a space-appropriate chair or seat; this could be a bench seat or even a hammock. It’s a good idea to have a side table within reach to place a cup or drink, too. Just use what space you have wisely.”
No outdoor space? Make the most of windows. Frame them with creepers and dot the sills with tiny potted plants. Painting the sills in an attractive colour will also draw the eye.
“The kitchen is a great place to express the style and personality of the house,” shares Lara. “Let the utensils and displays reflect the overall style.”
If you have attractive crockery and glassware, consider open shelving to show them off. You can also add individual touches such as ceramics displayed on a shelf, or groupings of curated botanic elements such as small pots of succulents.
“Group in threes,” advises Lara. “An odd number grouped together is always visually harmonious.”
Turn the most utilitarian room in your home into somewhere that works for you – and don’t be afraid of a playful splash of colour to liven things up. Space is usually at a premium, so consider ways to maximise it. Stack your front-loading washer and dryer, and look for compact storage solutions.
Roll-up and wall-mounted drying racks take up no floor space, while a folding table can itself fold down from the wall. “Just keep to the basics,” says Lara. “A clutter-free laundry with only the important elements is the best plan.”
Bedroom cupboards and storage space
Storage is vital, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box (or closet or chest). Have fun. Paint the inside of your wardrobe in a different colour from the rest of the room. Use open shelves to display (neatly!) folded stacks of T-shirts. If space is tight, consider under-bed roller storage.
Built-ins are common now, but a beautiful antique wardrobe can be the highlight of any room. In fact, if you have a spare room that you use mostly for storage, painting and lighting will give it its own character.
“There are so many creative and stylish alternatives for storage boxes to really maximise cupboard space,” shares Lara. “Fold clothes neatly to the spatial layout of drawers to maximise the amount you can fit in.”