Simple Interior Design Tips

When we're working with our Bibby + Brady interior clients, there are some basic tips and tricks that we use again and again. It seems many Kiwis own black leather sofas. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but they can dominate a room with their heaviness. If that is the case, cushions and throws are your best friend.

Layering throws, sheepskins and cushions will help to soften your dark sofa, as well as adding great texture.

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If there was one item of furniture I would recommend you invest in and don't scrimp on, it's your sofa (and your bed). You spend a lot of time on it, so you want it to be comfy, and you want it to last. With a more expensive sofa you're paying for quality - instead of foam cushions, which will wear out more quickly, you get feather and down cushions. A cheap sofa may have a plywood frame stapled together that just won't last as long as one made from hardwood and held together with glue and dowels, or tongue-and-groove joints. Effectively you will have to replace a cheap sofa a lot quicker than a quality sofa, so my argument is that in the end you're saving money.

We often look to use a light neutral coloured sofa in our interiors. If you do invest in a quality sofa, a neutral colour will not date and works with so many different looks. A new selection of cushions will transform it when you're ready for a change.

But, of course, we do love our colour at Bibby + Brady. This stunning soft pink sofa with wooden buttons is a winner. It's still quite a neutral tone, adding lovely warmth, and would work in a quiet Scandi room just as well as a more colourful space. It's also available in grey if you prefer.

If you do want to be a bit more dramatic and sophisticated, you can't go past this divine blue velvet sofa with elegant brass legs. It's a darker colour, but the velvet fabric means it's softer than leather. All four of these sofas are available to purchase through us at Bibby + Brady, contact me for more details.

Another of our favourite tips is to take your curtains right up to the ceiling. It will create the illusion of height, and will add instant sophistication.

Often people will hang their curtains just above the window, but you can see from the pic below what a difference it can make hanging them as high as possible.  It's an optical illusion, the window on the right looks bigger when in fact they are both the same size. As well as the height, make sure your tracks are wide enough so that when you pull the curtains back you're getting maximum light. This also makes your window look larger, and we all love natural light in our homes.

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My final tip for this post has to be about vignettes - my favourite thing in the home. A good vignette will tell a story, as well as make a room look beautifully styled, lived in and loved. The most basic thing to know when you're creating a vignette is to use different heights, shapes and textures.

Lamps, flowers and foliage are great for adding height to your vignette. Books are brilliant for grounding smaller objects. As well as books and vases, use more unusual or quirky pieces to express your personality - a camera, a spool of cotton... whatever makes you happy.

Don't just layer from the base upwards, you should also layer from front to back to add depth. Artwork hung or propped up on the wall behind is the best way to do this. Nature always adds amazing life and texture to a display. Sometimes the most beautiful is the most simple, like some branches in a jar.

Remember the space underneath. If it's a console table you can place a basket or a small stool below it. Some side tables have a lower shelf great for a stack of books topped with a bowl or dish. I love the repetition of orange in this vignette (below), it draws your eye up and down over the entire scene.

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These are just three tips to help create a stylish home, there are many more. If you want help with your home or workspace, we're here for you. You can send us photos of the area/s you want our advice and we can put together individual tips and tricks especially for you. Of course we can also help you source and purchase the perfect pieces for your home too, be it furniture, fabric, art or homewares. Drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.

My Colours for 2016

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2016 is off to a cracker start for you. I spent a week or so over at our family lake house and I really enjoyed the lack of wifi, and just good ole fashion 'chilling out'. But I'm back home now and really excited about what this year will bring. I have exciting plans for my home and for the growth of my business, Bibby + Brady (with Dael Brady), and look forward to sharing it all with you.

In 2016 I continue to (and will always) love white interiors layered with colour, pattern and texture. Shibori, denim and a contemporary take on tartan are favourites of mine. Zhush up your occasional chair by reupholstering the back cushion only in a gorgeous fabric.

This year I will also be embracing lots of dark walls - think glamorous not gloomy. Layer on warm wood tones, peachy pinks, and shots of brass and copper. Blue is definitely the new black. We use it a lot with our clients and I hope to bring you some of our examples in the near future.

Texture will never go out of fashion and I love the use of panelling on walls to add subtle texture and interest. There are so many fabulous examples that I think I'll have to do a whole seperate blog post to showcase my faves.

Mexico, India and Morocco have the most influence on my style and they do colour so well.

In 1956 fashion editor Diana Vreeland declared that "pink is the navy of India". I absolutely adore hot pink teamed with their slightly muddier tones of cobalt and aqua. The patina of those walls is divine!

If you're not ready to embrace that kind of colour into your home, don't feel you have to go black, white or beige. Try soft grey, dusky pinks and lilacs, chalky whites and mustard.

What ever you do in 2016, make sure it's "you"! Forget fads and trends, it's all about creating the best possible home for you. Somewhere you will be happy, somewhere you look forward to returning to, a place you love.

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Light & Bright

Do you favour a light and neutral palette, or a bright and colourful one? I'm naturally drawn to colour and pattern, but also love an abundance of neutral texture.

A black wall adds weight to a neutral bedroom, and a splash of green sets the scene for a tropical bedroom.

It's hard to go wrong with a classic white kitchen, and a hint of wood or brass brings some warmth and texture. White cabinetry also looks amazing alongside some vivid colour.

A tan leather sofa works well with whites, creams and black; and a yellow velvet sofa sits happily in front of a colourful bookshelf full of fun.

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