Family friendly interior design

Recently I contributed to an article on Stuff Homed all about how to create a kid friendly home.  It is certainly a passion of mine to create homes that families love to live in and my style of interior design tends to be family focused.  Meaning the kids and the parents both love it!   I have definitely taught my kids to respect our home and the furnishings in it and think this is really important.   We have also created spaces that work for us as family that we all love.  Here are some of my top tips for creating a family home that you all love!  Storage, A dedicated play space, kids involvement and thinking about your families lifestyle are my top tips for coming up with family friendly interior design solutions.  

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The Wallpaper Revival (again)

One of the products I'm happiest to see these days is wallpaper.  While some might think of wallpaper as a relic from the past, when done correctly it can be a super stylish way to add another layer to a room.   I'm starting to see and use wallpaper more and more, and I love the texture, color and pattern it can instantly bring to a room.  Whether it is a subtle small scale print or a big pattern that is almost a work of art, there are sooo many options out there that finding the perfect paper for a room is a challenge I love to be faced with! 

Wallpaper can be such a fantastic way to add some impact to an entry way, or bathroom, it makes a great feature wall in the bedroom or can warm up a living room.  There really isn't anywhere that you can't use wallpaper (we have wallpaper in our tiny under the stairs guest toilet - its such a nice surprise every time you open the door).  It can be completely daunting to even think about starting to search through wall paper books - and many of these designer papers are only available through design professionals - so if want to add some interest with wallpaper and don't know where to start please get in touch :) 

Here are some of my favourite examples from my lovely suppliers 

Cole & Sons Flamingos are so versatile - nursery, guest room, or bathroom! 

Cole & Sons Flamingos are so versatile - nursery, guest room, or bathroom! 

Another colour way of Cole & Sons Flamingos - so sophisticated in this guest room. 

Another colour way of Cole & Sons Flamingos - so sophisticated in this guest room. 

I love the Lohko range from Scion - gorgeous colour ways in available in both bold and subtle prints

I love the Lohko range from Scion - gorgeous colour ways in available in both bold and subtle prints

The latest range from Swedish based company Eco is mindblowingly beautiful - very subtle and delicate with prints from this gorgeous petal design to the look of woven paper and overlaid tiles.  Stunning 

The latest range from Swedish based company Eco is mindblowingly beautiful - very subtle and delicate with prints from this gorgeous petal design to the look of woven paper and overlaid tiles.  Stunning 

Doesn't this actually look like layers of paper tiles!? 

Doesn't this actually look like layers of paper tiles!? 

Linen by Boras Tapeter comes in a huge range of colours and has a very subtle linen look - giving you a simple look but more depth than a flat coat of paint would. 

Linen by Boras Tapeter comes in a huge range of colours and has a very subtle linen look - giving you a simple look but more depth than a flat coat of paint would. 

One of my favourite small scale prints.  This design in the Lohko range from Scion comes in some gorgeous colours and from across a room looks like a  single colour but up close you can see the detail - I also love that its slightly geometric but also organic looking.  

One of my favourite small scale prints.  This design in the Lohko range from Scion comes in some gorgeous colours and from across a room looks like a  single colour but up close you can see the detail - I also love that its slightly geometric but also organic looking.  

Window Treatments

Window Treatments can be one of the biggest expenses when decorating your home and you're going to live with them for a long time, maybe even through another redecoration.  

So it pay to make sure that you are working with professionals who will consider all the details.    Here are some of my tips for getting it right first time.  

Gorgeous fabric from the James Dunlop Contemporary Collection 

Gorgeous fabric from the James Dunlop Contemporary Collection 

Fabric

There are so so many options around, its overwhelming for even those of us in the trade.   An interior designer will make sure that you avoid that overwhelming feeling, and don't just pick something safe or something that 'will do' to get the decision made.  We will make suggestions that take into account the look that you are going for and the overall scheme of the room.  The fabric content needs to be considered especially if sun is an issue  - and lets face it here in NZ sun is almost always an issue.  Make sure you get it right first time and that the fabric chosen for your drapes or blinds is enhancing your overall interior design scheme, and isn't just something that 'will do'.  

Beautiful fabric from James Dunlop

Beautiful fabric from James Dunlop

There are also many different lining options these days.  You don't have to settle for a thick, heavy, coated lining in white.  Soft drape linings are available in many different colours and weights and they can really change the look of your window treatments depending on what you decide.  Make sure you get the right advice on the best lining for each situation.  

Contemporary Single Pleat Full Length Drapes on a recessed track.  Photo: Houzz 

Contemporary Single Pleat Full Length Drapes on a recessed track.  Photo: Houzz 

Pleat type 

If you want a sleek, modern look with an efficient stack you can't go past an inverted pleat.  A wave top is also a really lovely contemporary look.  For extra fullness a triple (or french) pleat is the way to go.   If budget is an issue use a single pleat to use less fabric.  

Contemporary inverted pleat linen curtains on a feature rod mix nicely with the more traditional elements of the room.  Photo: Pret A Vivre

Contemporary inverted pleat linen curtains on a feature rod mix nicely with the more traditional elements of the room.  Photo: Pret A Vivre

Length

Think of your curtains as a pair or trousers - too short and they just look ridiculous.  My rule of thumb is that touching the floor is always best.  Breaking the floor, meaning you have an extra 10-20mm creating a fold is ideal.  You also want to allow for any movement, many fabrics absorb moisture and can shrink up in certain months so in this case too long is always going to look better than too short.  It is also best for insulation to make sure that you don't have any gaps at the top or bottom of your drapes.  I love it when there are also practical reasons for a decision that looks best as well!  

Photo: Bloglovin

Photo: Bloglovin

Even if your windows are half height your curtains should go to the floor.  It looks a million times better, or if you want to save space then go for a roman blind on these windows.  It's perfectly acceptable to mix romans and drapes in the same room, you can even make this a feature and use different but coordinating fabrics.    

Gorgeous coordinating fabrics from Warwick. 

Gorgeous coordinating fabrics from Warwick. 

Get the track right

Make sure your track is long enough that your drapes can stack against the wall and not in the window - so you can maximise views and light.   Consider going for a double track to give you flexibility with light filtering layers. 

Photo: Elle Denmark 

Photo: Elle Denmark 

Take your track as high as you can! To accentuate high ceilings taking the track to the ceiling can look amazing.  Equally if you have low ceilings, taking your track higher will give the effect of raising them and increasing the sense of height.  As a minimum I like to mount tracks at least 250mm above the top of the window where possible.  Unless you are going for a feature track, make sure it blends in.  You can have tracks custom painted to suit your walls.  So if you have black walls, go for a black track.  

Think outside the box

It's perfectly acceptable to change your window treatments throughout the house to suit the room and the windows.  Equally its perfectly acceptable to avoid drapes altogether and go for roller blinds, shutters, wooden venetians or roman blinds.   An interior designer can help determine the window treatment style that will work best for your home and your look.  

Bold Stripes work well in this fun playroom. Photo Dress My Nest 

Bold Stripes work well in this fun playroom. Photo Dress My Nest 

I have had some amazing results with roller blinds lately.  A lot of my clients are putting them in their contemporary living spaces.  They don't want the clutter or bulkiness of fabric drapes and even the most expensive and top quality roller blinds are affordable.  I work with SP Blinds and their rollers are top quality, their service is amazing and my clients have been absolutely loving them (and coming back to put them in more rooms they love them so much).  We can even install them with your building management system to give you full automation option.  They can also look beautiful softened with a sheer drape over the top as well.   

SP Blinds.  Duo Blinds give different options for block out or light filtering.  

SP Blinds.  Duo Blinds give different options for block out or light filtering.  

Choosing Paint Colours

One of my goals when I started Dress My Nest was to blog every week ... hahaha .... that was before I had real clients!  I took most of January off (well I staged two homes and had a couple of client meetings but it was mostly a lovely long break in the sun with my gorgeous girls) ... I was so excited to get back into in on the 1st of Feb!! Well, I forgot that when your juggling kids and work even the best laid plans can get thrown out the window -  we have had two weeks of illness in my house! Yes sick kids and sick Mama - the worst!  So I'm starting the 2016 today and wanted to blog about something very exciting that is happening today - but I jumped onto my website and found a blog post from NOVEMBER that I hadn't even published yet, so I'll finish that one first and then blog about the other exciting news next week - two blog posts in a week, crazy!!   My actual new goal is to try and blog once a month.  Watch this space.  In the meantime here are my thoughts regarding choosing paint colours (one of my favourite tasks)...  

I’ve been obsessed with paint colours since we renovated our first house, a tiny railway cottage, some 14 years ago.  Back then we hired a colour consultant who suggested half tea on the walls, double tea on the doors and quarter tea on the ceilings – the early 2000’s were the age of beige!  Quarter Tea is still a popular choice for walls, but in the last year the top two ‘colours’ in New Zealand have been whites.  In the US, Benjamin Moore have just announced their ‘colour’ of 2016 and surprise surprise it’s white!  I love love love white walls but this is a trend that might not be for everyone.  If the starkness of white is a bit too harsh for you, a pale grey or greige (grey / beige) neutral could be a lovely choice, especially with some fresh white trim.  Or, there are plenty of warm whites that give you the freshness of a white interior without it seeming cold or harsh at all.  

If choosing a colour scheme for your home is overwhelming my first piece of advice is to start a pinterest board.  Be warned though once you get started it can be addictive!  Find some boards to follow and prepare to be inspired.  Once you start pinning you can have a look back through your board and have a look at the trends emerging – you might be surprised by what you are attracted to and you will get a great insight into the look that you are trying to achieve in your own home. 

Don’t try and choose a paint colour at the paint shop – take some samples home and have a look at them in your own space, with your own décor and window treatments, in different lights.  Pay attention to the undertones - if you’re choosing a neutral colour does it have a pink, yellow, green or blue base? 

Don’t be afraid to have different colours in different rooms.  Colours work differently depending on the natural light, the direction of the light and the furnishings of the room.   When we moved into our house it was freshly painted in ... yes you guessed it Quarter Tea!! Argh that colour is haunting me!!  I don't mind it sooo much in the rooms that are flooded with northerly light, but in some of the shadier parts of our home, ugh it could definitely look better.  So we have been slowly repainting each room in ... yes you guessed it WHITE!  We have mainly used Resene Black White but have mixed this up with Dulux St Claire in our master bedroom which is lovely and crisp with a definite grey tinge.  We have also added a few paint features - its so easy and adds personality to the space.  

How you use the room and who uses the room should also have an influence on your colour choice.  It is however, a good idea to ensure that your colour scheme flows and that you don’t feel like you are moving house when you enter a different room.  We have lots of white paired with almost black walls in our lounge, a yellow stripe in our office, a pink stripe in our bedroom and a very slightly different pink triangle in Annabelles room.  So all the rooms are unique but they do look like they belong to the same family.  I am choosing colours for our family bathroom at the moment and we are going to do the bottom two thirds of the wall a colour and the top third & ceiling white - I'm trying REALLY hard to choose something other than another shade of pink!  I have been visiting my clients homes recently that I have specified the paint colours for and am loving the pale blues and aquas used in some of their rooms so I may just have to use them myself! 

Use the resources available to you.  Paint charts will often list complementary colours.  Dulux has just released their colour trends for 2016 with four distinct palettes that also provide a great starting point. 

Dress My Nest provides a colour consultancy service and I love to design colour schemes.  If choosing paint colours is daunting or you need some inspiration -  give me a call, I’d love to have a chat.  Using a professional who deals with paint colours every day in different rooms and different houses will save you making costly mistakes. Most importantly it will give you the confidence you need to get your renovation projects completed.