Scandinavian design, commonly known as Scandi is derived from the Nordic countries.
Small pops of shiny bright colours also adorn the style. The furniture is light & airy with higher legs & rounded edges.
The flooring is bleached, wide timber planks, & subtle texture is added with throws in natural fibres or furs for that added warmth in the colder months.
It is spacious, light & airy. It has decoration but is not cluttered. Each piece has a place.
It is mostly timeless in it’s look, it would only need an update of decorator items to keep fresh.
In Australia it is linked to Ikea as their furniture saw the first real influences of it in our country.
How to get the look –
- White based colour palette
- Timbers are bleached & wide planks. Can be rustic looking but better if clean & smooth. Matt or Satin finished – not gloss
- Simple or light window furnishings. Soft flowy sheers keep the sense of openness & air. Otherwise, simple, unobtrusive blinds in white.
- Furniture with rounded edges. Edges are softened but in the design of the piece. Furniture is understated & designer looking.
- Soft colour palette. Additional colours tend to be in small doses or the pastel palette giving a washed look. Light grey tones are common.
- An overall feeling of space & air. This is a combination of the white on white colour scheme, as well as the ‘off the floor’ furniture & minimalist decoration.
- Minimal decoration. Each piece of furniture is the size it needs to be not overstated. Decoration is functional, but designer looking to be interesting in it’s own right.
Scandi is easy to do right now as that is what is in vogue. Head to any homewares stores to see these bleached timbers & soft colours. It is a designer winter warming look, so great for the winter months to stay warm & even better for summer to keep your interior cool!
What is CONTEMPORARY Design?
Most people mix Contemporary & Modern, as both words came into the Interior Design vocabulary for the everyman at about the same time. However they are very different.
Modern design refers to architecturally designed spaces, with sleek, straight lines, plenty of gloss & a minimalist feeling.
Whereas Contemporary Design is what is in vogue now. This makes it fluid & ever changing.
Currently, Scandinavian styles, Industrial design & now Tribal are becoming the main stream trends, so these elements are all seen in Contemporary homes. The simplicity & structural nature of Modern continues to be seen, but Minimalism is out. Contemporary now includes bleached timber legs on high raised furniture & white based colour schemes like Scandi, teamed with exposed beams or metal lighting fixtures from Industrial, while still having sleek, straight lines from Modern. Rattan baskets or textured rugs stick to the Tribal with Bohemian styled patterns.
Contemporary is a much easier style to replicate in your home than many others as it is purely a mixture of pieces. This means you can pick your favourite elements from each style & incorporate them into your palette. When you get tired of it, or one elements becomes out of vogue, you can update or replace those pieces without having to change the whole design.
Contemporary is also what is currently seen in décor stores, which makes it easy to shop for.
One of the concerns with Contemporary are that it is hard to always keep up with the current trends. This is where it may be better to invest in larger pieces, such as expensive furniture or an all-over colour scheme, in a simplistic style which can outlast the current trends. This may mean a light overall selection & updating the decorator items & cushions as the trends change.
The other issue with adding multiple elements into a room is making sure that they all work well together, especially when they are a combination of different styles. This is where it is best to think about the room. If the colours balance, what you want to draw your attention to, & if that combination of pieces gives the overall feeling or flow that you desire.
The best part about Contemporary is it is always fresh. It may have parts of the old, but with a new way to look at it. Which means your old items could gain a new lease of life & look brand new.
Low Sheen, Gloss, Satin…. What does it all mean???
If you’ve ever painted, renovated or built a home, you would have heard the terms like Flat / Matt, Low Sheen, Eggshell, Gloss & Satin. But what does that mean?
For example, you may have just rendered the outside of your home. The beautiful render finish looks like stone. This is Matt. The shine is very low & it looks flat, so if you are painting over the top, you would want Matt, not shiny. This is the same for raw timbers, exposed brick & heavily worn items. If you are working towards an Industrial, French Provincial, Naturalist or Shabby Chic look, these have much flatter textures.
However, if you love ultra modern, clean lines & slick-looking furniture, then a high-gloss look is desired. Gloss grabs your attention as light reflects off it, whereas matt, flat & low sheen recede into the background.
We all want to make it easier to clean our houses & the sheen level can really assist with this! The glossier the finish, the more durable & easier to clean. However, be aware that gloss finishes tend to show wipe & mop marks easily as any imperfection can be seen when the light reflects off it. This also means that if you are painting an item in high-gloss which is beat around the edges, this will highlight those imperfections.
Flat or Matt finishes are not easily washable, but does have great hiding power. This is why it is used for ceilings in houses, to better disguise ceiling joins in the plasterwork as the ceiling is barely cleaned in a house. Low Sheen, Satin & Gloss lie in between the two extremes.
Standard finishes in houses
Ceilings – FLAT/MATT (not washable but hides marks)
Walls – LOW SHEEN/EGGSHELL (washable but hiding power)
Kitchen & Bathroom Walls – can be LOW SHEEN or SATIN/SEMI-GLOSS
Trims & Doors – SATIN/SEMI-GLOSS, GLOSS, HIGH GLOSS
Cabinetry – SATIN/SEMI-GLOSS, GLOSS, HIGH GLOSS
Bathroom Ceilings – LOW SHEEN (so it is washable if you get mould or splashes)
Glossy finishes are more like a mirror, they reflect light. This may help with a small bathroom or darker space to help bring shine into the room. But as stated above, gloss does show imperfections & cleaning issues. High gloss cabinetry in a kitchen may show every fingerprint & breadcrumb. Satin or Semi-gloss is the alternative. This still has a sheen, just not as distinct as the gloss. Satin remains durable & also suits more design styles which are understated, such as Scandi or Country.
How to tell the difference
Most products will state their sheen levels on the label, but even easier – just look at it. Is it shiny? Is it dull? This is not just for paint colours, this also applies to laminate samples, flooring, fabrics & even tap ware. You can have a combination of sheen levels in a home, just consider where is best to use them. What would you like to draw attention to? What is the style you are after? And how do you plan to clean it?
Once you have an understanding of what look you are after & what you would like to feature, the sheen level of the finishes just falls into place.
How to get the Industrial Style
The Industrial style comes from the warehouse district. This rustic, beat-around-the-edges look was brought in with people renovating warehouse lofts in cities to make urban housing but keeping the warehouse charm. It has a modern-sleek & minimalist appearance in many aspects as the warehouse life isn’t full of decoration. But the finishes used give the decoration.
The modern addition to this style is the use of shiny copper.
This can also be described as the Urban Style especially when more refined with sleek lines.
To get this look –
- Have a beat around the edges look, the Industrial style is not polished
- Expose finishes, take ceiling out to expose beams, show plumbing pipes, strip paint back or have worn timbers
- Add metal, lighting, stools, coffee table
- Add concrete or exposed brick. This could be concrete tiles, a side table, lights, concrete benchtop. Exposed brick wallpaper.
- Rustic timbers. The more rustic it is the more industrial it looks. The sleeker the timber the more Urban Design it looks.
- Fabric is kept to a minimum, but if you are adding make them textured fabrics. These are to look heavy duty, like hessian sacks. Or rustic leather.
- Pops of block colour. Colour is mostly neutral, pops of colour were used in warehouses. Bright colours which are beat around the edges of more muted, dusky tints.
The top Interior Design Elements
To help you design & decorate your home!
Would you believe that there is a science behind Interior Design? These elements help you put a room together like a Pro. Some of this may come naturally for you, but there may have been an element you are missing which makes all the difference.
Colour gives a massive difference to a room. It can tie it to styles or eras, can bring warmth, give a cooler feeling, be vibrant or dull, or be very bold with contrast.
This refers to the opposites in a room that highlight both. Such as black & white, but can easily be used with contrasting shapes, textures, lighting conditions, sizes & design styles.
Light is essential for design so we can see what we are doing in a room. It’s best to have three types of light in each room, being Natural, Task & Ambient. Lighting can bring texture, shape, proportion, contrast & rhythm to a room, as well as patterns.
Find a friend. Balance refers to repeating elements in the room to bring it all togerher. You can balance colours, textured, shapes, finishes or styles.
SCALE & PROPORTION
This is oversizing an item for emphasis, or under sizing to draw attention to another element. This is great for creating feature pieces, or highlighting other parts of the room. You can use scale to make small rooms look bigger with smaller items in it, or large rooms look smaller with larger proportioned pieces.
This is the focal point or feature of the room. It is what you want to draw peoples’ attention to. This can be done with art, architectural features, colour, texture, shape, proportion & lighting.
Texture is everywhere, whether it be rustic & rough, soft & silky or sleek & straight. It can be brought in with finishes like wood or stone, & can give patterns.
The attention is in the detail. It is the difference between a good & a stunning finish. This can be piping on a cushion, shadow lines on kitchen cabinetry or metal trimming on furniture. It is the strawberry on the top.
UNITY & VARIETY
Unity is the same thing, variety is different things. This brings the both together with similar colours, shapes, finishes & textures. It is a way to assemble a set with collection of items. So find a unifying theme, like all white vases, candles or sculptures with the variety being the different shapes or sizes.
RHYTHM / VISUAL INERTIA
Rhythm is repetition to draw your eye through a space. This can be done with colours, shapes, lighting, balance & proportion. Visual Inertia is similar, with the rhythm of the items making the illusion of movement, like zebra stripes in a group.
A well designed room considers all these elements which creates a balanced, interesting space. And sometimes all it takes is a small candle on the side table to tie it all together. Designing can be technical but also loads of fun!
We are the land of droughts & flooding rains, & our temperatures all around the country can be intense. Houses can be little hot boxes or freezing cold in winter, so what can you do to make your home more comfortable?
Most people now days would just say – turn on the split system aircon, but with the rising cost of power bills & our terrible reliance on electricity, that isn’t always a viable option either. This is where Passive Solar Design comes in. This is the way to align your home depending on the angle of the sun to make a huge difference to the interior temperature.
- Living Rooms or Patios on the North facing side
- Bathrooms & Laundries to the South
- Bedrooms to the East unless you have a shift worker
- Have no windows on the West side unless they can be shaded in summer
- Have wide eaves to give shade on the windows & walls in summer
- Deciduous trees to shade in summer & let light in for winter
- Thermal mass flooring inside for winter
But when you have an existing home, you don’t get to change these, so what do you do?? Here’s some of the best tips for saving on power & better heating & cooling your home.
- Update electrical appliances & use low energy globes. There are a few good incentives & schemes to help with this.
- Look into solar or renewable energies, including solar hot water
- Insulate!!! This includes inside wall cavities, ceiling & underfloor.
- Double glaze windows, but if you can’t do that….
- Window furnishings on inside & out. This cuts heat/cold from getting into the house, & insulates the inside preventing you choice of artificial heating/cooling from getting out.
- Add plantings or obstructions outside the house. A deciduous tree will shade in summer & let light in for winter. A thicker hedge closer to the house will help insulate the walls. Shade structures outside can cut the strong sun massively from hitting your home.
- Have a lighter coloured roof. Dark colours absorb heat.
- Add a vent on your roof to let heat out of your ceiling cavity.
- Turn off appliances when not in use. Use natural light, take shorter showers, use energy efficient devices, put on a jumper & socks.
- Recycle wherever possible. Try to repurpose items rather than replacing them & throwing the old one to the tip
These things may seem pretty much like common sense, but it is amazing how uncommon common sense is now days. Back in our grandparents day, this is what they did. But our lives are different now. We are living in a time when air conditioners are a standard in every home & we all have at least 50 electronic devises that we use regularly. We have become so dependant on electricity that we feel like we have to pay – so why not be smart & make that amount cheaper. Not only will your bank balance love these changes, but your home will be more comfortable to live in.