The Australian lifestyle has gained lustre globally.
Australia has managed to create an original and instantly recognizable bright, instagrammable and mellow lifestyle over the past decade. Our love of summer and the outdoors means we take a more relaxed, casual approach to design with houses that are easy to live in. Australia’s location in the distant Pacific is often cited as the cause for its design success. There is a liberation from being closer to the east than the northern hemisphere. Our beautiful continent is unhindered by centuries-old design traditions, with a philosophy behind this lifestyle, that it is more about living than about designing. Real homes where you can live properly. Natural and luxurious all at once. That, however, does not fully explain the shift to an invitingly global design vibe that is pushing boundaries and what is going so right in Australian design…
This bright picture of Australian design – is relatively new. Our interiors and lifestyle have gained lustre with the arrival of social media, where Australia’s lifestyle and a new breed of young designers is viewed and drooled over by the rest of the world. You won’t be able to resist our simple and sophisticated version of living well all day long. We have veered in different and interesting directions with a new generation of designers, shifting design gears, upending a formal, eurocentric scene, and embracing what’s on our doorstep. Our design reputation has been transformed. It is enough to make you wonder why people would live anywhere else, but there are plenty of ideas you can use, wherever you live. Read more about Australian style in Melissa’s latest coffee table book.
Our houses reflect Australia’s beautiful climate, love for wide-open spaces, and an unshakable belief that our lives should be connected to the landscape.
Australian Style is Heavily Anchored in Lifestyle
Australian style is all about effortless interiors and pieces that can be dressed up or down. We have such an incredible outdoor lifestyle so it makes sense that our culture likes to design houses and gardens in a way that is chic and effortless. The uncomplicated, undemanding yet beautiful designs fit easily into our busy lives, thoughtfully made using the best natural materials: with big, comfortable sofas; wicker seating, stone or timber floors and big rugs.
We are fundamentally relaxed and unpretentious folk, but we want to surround ourselves with quality and authenticity. This ethos is reflected in contemporary Australian architecture and interiors.
This new innovative Australian design style features bright mashups of looks that are healthy, sophisticated and natural, that even the most hardened design junkie lover may not be able to resist.
It’s a British-Mediterranean-Asian vernacular that echoes the work of designers Tamsin Johnson, Anna Spiro and Lucy Montgomery.
Over the past decade, Australia’s design reputation has transformed. From colonization, which formally began in 1788, the flavour had been heavy with Britishism like country house chintzes, brown furniture and tradition. In the 80s and 90s, there was heavy use of contemporary Italian furniture – it was the most popular look in interiors if you glance at high-end magazines of the time. The Australian design revolution meant upending a formal, Eurocentric decorating scene, embracing fresh and local looks, and incorporating the best of global design traditions. Read more, ’12 Predictions For A Happy Home, 2022.’
That lifestyle has gained lustre with the arrival of social media, where Australia’s easy lifestyle culture is viewed and drooled over by the rest of the world. It’s enough to make you wonder why people could live anywhere else. Australia’s Covid playbook points to a lifestyle trait that Australians displayed from the country’s top designers to the most basic homes, trust, in nature and views and their local environment, but especially in one another and their community.
We are fundamentally relaxed and unpretentious folk, but we want to surround ourselves with quality, authenticity and connectedness.
This ethos is reflected in contemporary Australian architecture, and interiors. The uncomplicated, undemanding yet beautiful designs fit easily into our lives, thoughtfully made using the best natural materials: with big, comfortable sofas; wicker seating, stone or timber floors and big rugs. Read more, ‘The Top Interior Design Trends for 2022.’
Australian style is all about effortless interiors and pieces that can be dressed up or down. We have such an incredible outdoor lifestyle so it makes sense that our culture likes to design houses and gardens in a way that is chic and effortless.
How our easy, breezy style has taken a turn for the better.
Australians masse bunches of rosemary, magnolia, and laurel leaves with other clippings from the garden on our tables and inside our homes to make everything look fresh. Without the baggage of traditional horticulture, we have a freewheeling approach that is admired by people working in the same field in places like England and America.
Australians also know how to exploit their own visual opportunities.
Cool Down With Water
Many Australian gardens are not complete without a pond, fountain or pool to make the most of our outdoor experience.
Add an Awning
It is typical to have a shaded terrace, covered in ivy or jasmine, to protect us from the sun. We have a lot of winds here, and if you are protected from the sun, the wind will cool you down and make it comfortable to spend time outdoors in the hottest months. Sails in suitably earthy or white tones are also a common sight on the roof terraces of Australian homes, where they provide protection from the harsh sun and also create a beautiful ambience, especially above low day beds scattered with cushions. Read more, ‘Awnings 101: Eight of The Best.’
Awnings, canopies, and pergolas constructed of natural materials such as wood or bamboo are popular weather-resistant choices to support the weight of vines.
Light a Fire
At night, fire pits will make your guests gather and linger. For larger spaces, a few fires can create maximum impact when combined with strategically placed lanterns. Use them to light a path and define areas or to illuminate cosy nooks.
Soften the Edges
Comfortable seating areas that encourage long, relaxing days and evenings outdoors are almost an art form in Australia and speak volumes about the casual, cultural importance of relaxed hosting and atmospheric entertaining. Read more, ‘The Big Picture Home Designs Taking Off Right Now.’
Perfume the Air
Australia is famous for its native plants such as eucalyptus as well as the oils made from them. Native flowers and fauna are also an important component of many gardens in the country too, where they fill the air with their intoxicating scent at night.
Pile on the Texture
Natural surfaces such as wood, stone and metal are key in hot climates like Australia where they create tactile backdrops across floors, walls and other surfaces.
A Love of the Outdoors
There can be no underestimating the importance of a home’s relationship to its environment in Australia, and its vistas are our greatest asset. The heady, full-on physical experience of a home is to be had only when you maximize its interaction with its setting. Read more, ‘Key Outdoor Trends To Make The Most of Your Garden All Year Round.’
There’s something about connecting with nature that makes the daily minutiae dissolve.
Play with Colour
Under the intense Australian sun, rich colours can hold their own.
A love of Nature
With our homes working harder than ever before, our interiors are increasingly open to the outdoors to connect with nature. Forging a strong sense of place is fundamental to Australians’ happiness, health, and well-being.
Australians know how to make the most of the outdoors, the landscape, and views. What is visible through the doors and windows is vital for us, to expand the sense of space and blur the line between indoors and out. With the aid of natural light and vistas, you can make even a tiny place feel as big as the great outdoors.
Houses where there always seems to be a fresh breeze will make you feel happy, confident, and as though you can endure almost anything.
People need more space – but not necessarily indoors. Australians find it more palatable to inhabit city dwellings if they can do some of their living elsewhere. Australian gardens have spaces to relax, cook, eat, swim and entertain outdoors. Read more, ‘How To Create An Outdoor Room.’
The idea is to blur boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces so that home and garden are connected seamlessly.
Pare down the Palette
A simple scheme with a limited number of tones will make maintenance easier. Start with a strong backdrop design, and you can always go back later and add more items if you want. Read more, ‘Favroutie Paints: Happiness-Inducing Colours.
Keep it real
Choose natural fabrics over synthetics, authentic old furniture over reproductions, and a cane laundry basket over a plastic one.
Australian style is about opting for humble materials like hemp, rattan, cane, and jute which can have a huge impact on a space without feeling trendy or overdone.
Australians tend to be realistic about the way they live; there’s no point in making everyone’s life miserable by choosing cream silk in a house full of children and dogs. When it comes to easy living, they focus on simple pleasures that bring joy to daily life and know that the chicest thing of all is to be true to themselves. *Lead image: Inside the home of the master of Merivale, Justin Hemmes. Photographed by Prue Ruscoe.