Create an Inviting Open-plan Space

Australians are a casual bunch, so it’s not surprising that we love open-plan homes so much. This informal style of living with fewer walls and maximum light perfectly suits our appreciation for an indoor/outdoor lifestyle. One of the downsides of an open-plan home is it can feel cavernous if not furnished or decorated well. The question is, how do you design an open-plan home so that it feels warm and inviting?

Define ‘zones’ with furniture

An open-plan space without clearly defined areas is confusing to navigate and use. Despite the absence of walls for blocking off spaces, you can still create ‘zones’ in other ways. Furniture and its placement heavily influence how a space is perceived and functions. The backs of sofas and couches can form an organic divide between the living area and the kitchen. If you are worried about the back of the sofa being unsightly, dress it up with a console table. Similarly, use backless bookshelves or screens to divide an open-plan space into different areas. This will provide a visual stop and create a sense of intimacy without defeating the purpose of open-plan living.

Add a rug

Another way to create zones is by introducing an area rug. The rug defines the size of the zone and also helps to tie all the furniture together. Make sure to place furniture on or bordering the area rug to show that it belongs to the same zone.

Soften lighting

Open-plan homes often have plenty of natural light pouring in during the day, but to make the space feel cosy at night, invest in some soft ambient lighting. Lighting that is too cool or bright will make your space feel harsh and cold. A warmer light that disperses evenly throughout the space will make your home feel much more inviting.

Texturise

Appeal to the tactile senses by adding furniture or decor objects made from natural or upholstered materials to counterbalance the clean, sharp modernity of open plan design. Objects like a velvety suede armchair, a reclaimed wood side-table, or hand-woven straw baskets will make the space feel much more lived-in.

Foster community

When entertaining guests, you want spots which facilitate conversation. Have enough comfortable seating so everyone can gather together to make the most of the communal space. Make socialising a priority by ensuring seating is close enough together so people don’t have to shout at each other to be heard.

Follow these tips and you can create an open-plan home that makes the most of the space without missing out on that cosy, homey feeling.

Visit an Andersens store near you for more ideas and help with your interiors.

Transitioning Between Floors in the Home

In most homes, different types of flooring are used throughout to show a change in zone or area. The challenge lies in making these flooring transitions flow. Follow the advice of Lauren Pearse from Rylo Interiors to transition from one type of floor covering to another in a way that feels natural and looks good.

Complementary flooring colours

Colour

Lauren’s first suggestion is to choose floor coverings in colours that work well together. A common underlying hue to all the flooring in your home ensures the eye isn’t immediately drawn to the change.

Thresholds

Change in flooring elevation at stairs

Sometimes, there isn’t an obvious spot to transition between floor coverings. However, doorways or narrow openings from one room to another make for natural-feeling transition points as they usually designate the start of new room.

Elevation

Even a slight change in floor elevation can be a good opportunity for a flooring transition. Using a change in elevation as a transition point also enables you to install two types of flooring in the same area without it being too jarring. To do this effectively, choose floor coverings that contrast gently in either tone or texture.

What not to do

Now you know what to do, but it also pays to know mistakes to avoid when transitioning between floors. The first pitfall of flooring transitions is choosing high-contrast floors. This goes against the goal of creating a transition that flows. It also has the unfortunate effect of making spaces feel smaller. Secondly, Lauren says not use too many types of floor coverings on each level. Consistency in the flooring goes a long way in encouraging the eye to take in the space as a whole rather than scrutinising all the changes between floor coverings. Lastly, try to avoid using transition strips. If you can get the two floor types to butt together seamlessly, this will reinforce the sense of cohesion and flow.

Visit an Andersens store near you for more ideas and help with your interiors.

Seasonal Considerations When Decorating

There’s nothing like a few cold nights in a row to remind us that we do get our fair share of winter chill in Australia. The indoor/outdoor living experience has come to represent an intrinsic part of the Australian homeowner’s dream, however the recent brisk mornings remind us that our homes need to be built for all seasons. With that in mind, we have put together some considerations to bear in mind when decorating to ensure that your home is comfortable year-round.

Window Coverings

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Over 40% of the heat in the home is lost through windows, meaning it’s advantageous to have multiple options to deal with all weather conditions. Insulated cellular shades are the most effective insulators of all available window covering options, whereas roman shades can be raised or lowered during summer to suit the mood. Alternatively, having a drapery set up with different fabric and colour drapes available (white-plastic backings in summer, conventional draperies in winter) allows flexibility when it comes to dealing with the seasons.

Hard Floor Coverings

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With some small, smart tweaks you can warm your house in winter without the excessive drain on power and your wallet. Around 10% of heat loss in the home happens through the floor and, while it may be impractical to carpet every room of the house, having winter rugs available to provide additional insulation in living areas can make the world of difference when it comes to keeping your family warm and comfortable.

The Joy of Plants

joyofplantsdecorating

Winter is the season where our cultural desire for outdoor living is suppressed by gusty winds and chilly evenings. Finding some low maintenance plants to keep around the home can help bridge the gap between summer and winter, and between indoors and outdoors. Succulents are always an easy option for those lacking a green thumb. Native plants are a great choice for the winter season as the majority of our native flora aren’t deciduous, meaning they won’t lose their leaves in winter. Additionally, a bunch of flowers bought every week at the farmers market can bring a sunny disposition to the dreariest of corners.

Textures, Layers & Lighting

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Your fabric selection echoes the opulence of winter, with velvet, wool, cashmere and (faux) fur being the options of choice to channel warmth and texture into a room. Throw rugs, cushions, sheepskins, floor rugs and heavy curtains all bring an element of cosiness to a room and you’ll have all creature comforts within arm’s reach. Use the lack of natural light as an opportunity to create atmosphere with different kinds of lighting. Try lamps, candles and look for bulbs with warmer tones for overhead lighting to give a warmer overall cast to a room.

If you’d like to know more about how best to floor your small space, visit an Andersens showroom near you and talk to one of our friendly team members for expert advice.

Consistent Style on a Budget

When renovating or remodeling a home, budget is always a primary concern. Often, budgets can restrict our design decisions or force us to choose low-cost options. Lauren Pearse from Rylo Interiors believes that you don’t have to let this compromise your desired look for your home. She thinks it is possible to maintain a consistent style throughout your home as long as you learn to be a bit crafty with your spending.

Queenslander home

One opportunity for keeping your costs low is in your window frames. Oftentimes, older homes will have timber window frames which can be reused. Lauren likes to maintain the timber detailing in living spaces. Window coverings are often open in these areas, meaning the window frames can be seen and the classic aesthetic appeal of timber frames can be appreciated. For rooms like bedrooms and bathrooms that aren’t usually street-facing, Lauren advises that this is a good opportunity to cut back on costs by using budget-friendly aluminium window frames.

Aluminium window frame

Another area where you can watch your budget is bathrooms and kitchens. These rooms can eat up a lot of your funds, but there are still ways you can prevent overspending. Many heritage style homes feature custom joinery that has been built to last. In these instances, you can often get away with simply resurfacing the joinery or refreshing it with new doors or drawers. If you do find the joinery is beyond saving, look to flat-pack ready-made cabinetry for a cost-effective solution. There are now a wide range of quality, adjustable and affordable options available to you – just make sure you select a style that suits the look you’re after. Another way of keeping within budget when redoing the bathroom or kitchen is to make sure you don’t reposition anything that is connected to plumbing. This will require the services of a plumber, and in turn, a great deal more money and time. When tiling your bathrooms, you can save money by not tiling all the way to the ceiling. This style of tiling is particularly suitable for older style homes and will help to keep your costs in check.

Refresh old bathroom or kitchen joinery

Lauren is a firm believer in buying once and buying well. Her advice to her clients is that “even if you don’t have the budget to finish the space with all the furniture and accessories straight away, have your look sorted”. Knowing what look you’d like to achieve for your space and what furniture you’d like to place inside it means that even if it takes you some time to bring all the elements together, the end result will be consistent. Having a plan for the furniture you want in place first will also help you to define your colour palette. For example, you can lift a colour from a rug or sofa to use in your palette and tie your space together.

Lounge room in a Hamptons style

Keep these tips in mind and you can design a space on budget without having to sacrifice style. Know where to spend and save and you’ll still be able to achieve your dream home.

Visit an Andersens store near you for more ideas and help with your interiors.