Renovating Tips

Neale Whitaker shares key tips to room styling

When it comes to styling a room, interior design expert, TV personality and Luxaflex Brand Ambassador, Neale Whitaker, certainly knows a thing or two.

Recently visiting the bi-annual interior design trade show, Maison & Objet, Paris, one of the most important interior design events in Europe, Neale found the exhibition reinforced big-picture trends shaping the industry, with primary players being sustainability, multi-functionality within smaller-scale living and bricolage – a trend towards mixing styles and eras, shapes and textures for truly unique interiors.

2021 Trends

“I approach trends as macro and micro,” says Neale. “Macro are those around for extended periods of time, with no view of going anywhere anytime soon, like sustainability. Alternatively, micro trends are more like shapes, the styles – the things that come and go more quickly. Bricolage would fall under micro trends, as would other current themes like artisan-made, natural fibres including rattan, jute and wicker, and global-nomad with influences of the Middle East and Asia.”

However, ironically, Neale’s first piece of advice when it comes to styling is to throw away the trend book. “I live my life by that line,” he said. “When it comes to the home, it’s always good to know what the trends are and why they are, but I do believe your home is all about you.” On this, Neale notes that, one of the first considerations to be made in your home is your emotions.

How does it make you Feel?

“People often don’t consider how a space makes them feel,” says Neale. “It’s easy to open a catalogue and simply pick out a theme to replicate, but if your space doesn’t suit that theme, it simply won’t feel right. Your home is yours, so make it your own. Merge trends, and don’t be afraid to mix and match styles within your room.” Neale suggests you go slowly and take confidence in your own taste and style.

“Most of the current trends are quite neutral, and can be easily added into existing decor themes, like the inclusion of a rattan-backed chair, or a group of ceramic vessels, similar in shape or colours. My favourite interiors are always the ones that blend different styles, different tones, different periods, different colours.”

Open up spaces by maximising natural light. Neale notes this will instantly elevate a mood, and when completed with the right window dressing, can have a big impact on the way a room looks and feels. “The Luxaflex® LumiShade® is a great option in terms of a classic window covering, combining the versatility of a vertical blind with the elegant appeal of a soft window furnishing. This lets light in whilst balancing style, durability and practicality, he says.”

Adding Warmth

A bright room with lots of light is the perfect starting point to creating warmth in a home. “Luxaflex® Pirouette® Shadings are a perfect choice for a soft finish,” says Neale. “They seamlessly blend sheers with blinds to create a warm light that allows for privacy without compromising on the warmth of the natural outdoor light.”

Classically simple, the delicate folds appear to float above the window, allowing light to filter through, or to be completely closed. “Their shutter-like effect is very on-trend with today’s interiors. Plus, the brand is Australian made, which I am a big supporter of.”

Neale notes layering to be another key factor in creating warmth in the home. “Aside from lamps, which are wonderful for illuminating spaces softly, and using rugs and soft furnishings to create warmth, layering art that you love, your personal photographs, mementos, books – the things that tell your story will add depth and turn a house into a home.”

Trust your instinct

Neale’s stand out piece of advice, however, is to trust your instincts and remember that rules are meant to be broken. ‘I’m a great believer in creating homes with spirit, soul and individuality, and that, to me, is as important as comfort and functionality. Don’t be afraid to mix things up a little and remember that things you love are more important than things that are on trend.’

When it comes to designing a room to withstand the future, Neale predicts design and technology to become inextricably linked. “There will be a growing emphasis on sustainability, incorporating products into your home that contribute to energy efficiency and regulate home temperatures,” he says. “The Luxaflex® Duette® Architella® Shades have an innovative honeycomb design with cell-within-a-cell construction, for example, that helps reduce heat loss in winter and keeps the home cooler in summer. They can reduce your heating costs by up to 43%, making them the most energy efficient window coverings on the Australian market.

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Source: Luxaflex® Window Fashions