October 23, 2017


Take years off your room with a fresh lick of paint. Treat paint like make-up: colour is the quickest way of adding warmth and character to a space and it’s easy to change once you get bored. It can correct the dimensions of rooms and make them look taller, bigger, longer, whatever you want. It’s vital the paints you select tone with each other. The fail-safe designers palette is white, ecru, coffee, caramel, stone, khaki, and black they’re easy to live with, timeless and allow statement pieces of furniture to set it off.  


Scale things up. Every room, big and small, needs one hero piece to give it architectural weight. A huge mirror, a huge sofa or an oversized painting can make a room appear bigger. Even a small room will look great with a big bookcase or sofa, because it will give the room dimensions it doesn’t actually have. It’s all about the space around the piece, no the space it takes up. Make sure even small things are big: cushions and napkins should measure 50 to 60cm. Nothing less. Don’t do things by halves.  


Suitability is everything. If your room is the equivalent of a six-foot supermodel it can obviously wear something grander than a space that is natural petite. Both can look fabulous, but they need different objects that suit their proportions.  


The biggest decorating no-no is to over do lighting. You want your lights to flatter you and your rooms, and create atmosphere, not show up every wrinkle and stain. Choose lights that make everyone look beautiful- seductive even. Neon is only good for garages and storage rooms. Opt for mix: table lamps, low-level accent lighting, standard lights, picture lights and a few pendants.  


A few great accessories can overcome cheap furniture. They’re the little touches that make any space your home and make it look like you’ve spent a lot more than you actually have. Glamorous accessories can give an old room a fresh look. Invest in the classics and don’t feel guilty about spending more for cushions, lamps and vases (they are the sunglasses, handbags and heels of interiors). A great vase will make a $100 table look like a million dollars. And a classic lamp will last forever. The average size room needs atleast four lamps. Many people try to get away with a fewer lamps and higher wattage, but when it comes to watts, less is more. Lamps fitted with 25 watts make everything look inviting and draw attention to your collections.  

Marie-France Cohen’s house


If everything matches your rooms will look like a catalogue. A room needs a mix of textures, fabrics, colours, tones and patterns to give it life and interest. Even a touch of bad taste can help a room, because it makes it individual.  


Create different zones in a room: one for entertaining, one for watching television, reading, chatting, thinking and working. Don’t use too many single chairs, the room will seem unwelcoming and formal. Use a mix of sofas and armchairs, with plenty of upright and sprawling options to suit all occasions. Try a modern sofa, with a unique French-style armchair for sure-fire chic. And mix up different styles of chairs- all have their place if they are good examples. Don’t place too many sofas facing each others, it is too confrontational. Don’t put seating around the edge of a room, it will look like a doctors waiting room.  


Every room should have a focal point, it might be a painting, a fireplace, a rug. We need something to focus on; it encourages us to relax.  


Don’t forget mirrors are magic- an old trick that still works. A mirrored wall doubles the light, and the impression of space, in any room. Plus reflects views, adds sparkle and instantly double the objects you own. A mirrored wall will transform the poky into the palatial.   


Open everything up. With just one doorway, a room becomes a graveyard. Every room should have big door openings, as high as possible. Don’t think, we can’t do that. Just draw a hole in the wall in texta and do the rest with a sledgehammer. Then get a plasterer in to put some good architraves up, slap on some paint and watch your life improve.  

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