Friday 30 September 2016

How To Choose Art Like A Pro!

Art is an integral part of interior design. It is an ingenious way to add colour, depth, interest and panache to any interior.

A common mistake that a lot of us make is treat art like an afterthought. Instead of treating artwork as something to fill a blank wall or empty space with, it should be celebrated as the focal point in a room at par with wall colour, furniture and lighting.
[source: Creative Strokes]

When choosing art, there are a few guidelines to follow such as theme, colour, composition, scale, texture, harmony and unity and balance.

When choosing art consider the overall theme and style of your home or room.

Yes, you should buy what you love, and what speaks to you, but think about the style and design plan of the room which will to a certain extent dictate the type of artwork you choose. The artwork should be complementary to the room design and work cohesively with the overall style of your home.

For example, abstract art looks great in modern homes, classic landscapes or family portraits complement traditional home designs and modern pop art works well in contemporary and industrial settings.
Design tip:
When choosing to frame large size artwork in glass, choose anti-reflective glass or acrylic.

Art offers an instant colour palette. The size of the artwork will often dictate the colour scheme of the room, soft furnishings, decorative accents and even accessories. Picking colours from the artwork and using layers of that colour in the room creates fluidity and an overall complementary design.

Pairing a minimalist monochromatic painting with colourful accessories and rich furniture textures will make your overall design really spring to life. In contrast, a bold and vibrant painting in a neutral room will create an attractive focal point.
Design tip:
To make your artwork really stand out, think about installing appropriate lighting above or below it.

Think about the composition of the artwork and where it would fit in your home. Soothing paintings, prints and art are perfect for the bedroom whereas bright colours look great in the living or dining room.

Also think about grouping artwork to create an interesting gallery wall. Group oil paintings with posters, prints and mixed media objects to create greater impact and an unforgettable interior.
Design tip: 
Hanging smaller pieces of art slightly off-centre adds to the fluidity of the space and creates an eclectic design.

The scale and proportion of the artwork is of significant importance when choosing art for your home. The appropriate scale of the painting to the size of the room creates a harmonious and overall pleasing design. For example, a low-line sofa with a large scale art hung high above it will make a room with low ceilings seem more generous. Whereas, in a large open plan room, the right sized artwork will help create a focal point and lead the eye away from the rest of the open space.
Design tip:
Remember to hang your artwork at standing eye level to really appreciate it.

A simple room design can be instantly uplifted by the beautiful textural brush strokes of an oil painting. It appeals to our senses, both visual and tactile and also adds warmth to the room.
Design tip:
Large oil paintings look beautiful framed in shadow boxes with no glass or acrylic. 

Harmony and Unity
Art needs to complement the room design and style and create a charismatic focal point. It's purpose is to enhance, not to upstage or detract from a space. The idea here is to create a harmonious unity in the room design. In other words, all your artwork in the same space should look and feel as if they belong together. A unified design emphasises the overall theme and holds your design together both visually and conceptually.
Design tip:
An oversized artwork or an interesting gallery wall will add drama and bags of visual appeal to a small room.

Art makes a room design look and feel complete. If you have a large wall, think about hanging art in a series of three to balance the space and maintain unity in the room design. If there is a natural focal point in the room, like a large fireplace, placing an artwork on top of it will help balance the architectural feature.
Design tip:
If you are hanging artwork in the kitchen, remember to frame it behind glass or acrylic to protect it.

[source: Creative Strokes]

Following these simple guidelines will have you choosing art like a professional! However, it takes time and practice to build your confidence when picking out artwork. If you feel undecided or unsure, help is at hand in the form of free in-home consultations by Creative Strokes, an art boutique with a wide range of canvas oil paintings to suit any design, style or theme, to help you choose the right art for the right space in your home or office!

You can shop their original paintings online here.

Till next time...let art take centre stage!
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This post is sponsored by Creative Strokes. All artwork featured in the post is from Creative Strokes. Creative Strokes is an art boutique based in Victoria, Australia specialising in a wide range of customised and original oil paintings. Read more about them here and get in touch with them here
All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are completely mine. If you were inspired by this post, please feel free to share it with your friends and family and give us a shout on Instagram or Facebook!

Thursday 29 September 2016

Turn Your Yard Into A Secret Garden With These Stylish Tips!

Who doesn't want a little oasis in their backyard? A secret garden where you could lose yourself in the pages of a good book or find your zen while meditating in peace or entertain your friends and family away from prying eyes.

At the beginning of spring we had shared our tips on how to create a relaxing garden design. Today, our guest contributor Diana shares a her creative ideas that could help you turn your relaxing backyard into your very own secret garden.

Privacy is not something we have a lot of in our modern society. Even without Big Brother’s eye everywhere, we are constantly in touch with our friends and family via social networks. When you step into your backyard, even though you might like your neighbours, you don’t necessarily always want to strike up a conversation. Naturally, fences and tall brick walls will definitely do the trick, but there are some creative and subtle ways of providing your backyard with the privacy you need.

Privacy Screens 
Freestanding privacy screens, wooden slat partitions and pergolas that are partially enclosed can go a long way in providing you with privacy. Ordinary materials such as run-of-the-mill wooden fences or brick walls tend to be tedious and look purpose built. Instead of typical wood, opt for bamboo screens– this can add an exotic and organic feel to your garden. Box hedges and tall plants are great choices too, however if you are looking for something more decorative, opt for intricate metal screens that will also create a design feature in your garden. 

If you live in the city, chances are that there are other apartments, townhouses or buildings next door. Normal cover won’t do you much good here, seeing as how everybody from the first floor upwards will be able to sneak a peak into your yard. An arched trellis or a pergola is the perfect solution here. Using climbing vines, jasmine or ivy on the pergola roof are a great choice for privacy and also for creating an intimate and cosy space. 

Curtains are a great way to ensure privacy, because they are moveable. This, of course, means that you will be able to control when and where you want to hide from all those curious eyes. And this is easy to DIY with a few canvas drop cloths!

Outdoor fireplace
This is a fantastic architectural way of ensuring privacy in your back garden. Use arborvitae trees around your yard, install a tall fireplace and successfully hide your cool resting place from sight.
However, try not to block off your entire view – you are in a garden after all, you want to feel the privacy, but not completely isolated from the rest of your home. Jasmine and ivy can be a great addition, as well as a beautiful way to create a partitions between the 'public' and the 'private' parts of your backyard.

Incorporating simple things, such as waterproof shade sails, in your backyard or terrace creates shade on hot days and constant privacy from curious onlookers. Retractable shades are also great to create a private backyard. If you do not have the benefit of a huge yard, you can make do with your limited space, by focusing on items such as furniture with canopies, screens and umbrellas. 

Green Walls
Green walls are another great idea to go for. Creating a vertical garden will go a long way in adding to your privacy, but with a ton of style! Rustic containers or wooden crates planted with flowers, herbs or vegetables provide portability, colour, greenery, functionality and, most importantly – privacy.

As you can see, making your garden or terrace a private space is relatively easy with a few inventive and creative ideas. However, it is important to be respectful, subtle and neighbourly as well. Use these tips and enjoy your privacy in your very own outdoor secret garden!

Till next time...get outdoors and enjoy the weather!
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About the Author
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls, in love with interior design and DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.
If you found this post helpful, please share this post to show some love and give us a shout on Instagram or Facebook!


Monday 26 September 2016

Give Your Home an Exotic Upgrade with African Style!

A few weeks ago we took a look at tropical jungle prints that have become quite the style statement in many high end interiors and nine different ways to incorporate this popular design trend in your home.

Today, we are inspired by African designs and tribal art that never cease to amaze and stand out in monochromatic black and white or in an array of exotic colours. Currently, a lot of prominent interiors designers and stylists are applying conventional African tribal colours and patterns, natural textiles and textures in their design palette to create unique and opulent interiors. And this is a design trend that will only gain further popularity in 2017.

Lana, our guest author takes us on a journey on how to create an exotic African inspired interior with a few simple style tips.
[source: home by tribal]

A truly remarkable design style in the sphere of interior design comes in a form of exotic African designs, which never fails to dazzle us with its colourful features, bold textures, natural materials and distinctive art pieces. The traditional African design represents a complete contrast to the contemporary design of today’s western fashion and manages to bring an alluring tropical flair into our homes. 

This unique design is inspired by the rich biodiversity of the continent, fascinating flora and fauna and the magnificent cultural background has managed to create a somewhat unusual, but nevertheless extraordinary interior setting. For those willing to embrace the true essence of the African allure into their homes and capture the intriguing and artistic splendour of the Garden of Eden, make sure to introduce these elements in your next redecorating project.

Colour Speaks All Languages
Capture the blend of the African savannah and its lush forests by introducing a clever mixture of earthy tones and bright hues into your home. Create a stunning and picturesque setting which will resemble the enchanting African sunset by using sand colours, yellow, bright red and orange. Dark brown, black and even white and beige can serve as contrasting colours and will add depth to the space. Splashes of bold, vivid and bright hues in random places will manage to complete the whole image and give your home a warm and captivating appeal of the African continent.
[source: emily henderson]

Let Nature Be Your Texture
The use of natural elements around the home can help you achieve that exotic African charisma, as introducing these materials will create visual texture, one of the main aspects of this distinctive design. Texture can be added in various ways, from implementing tropical plants with their luscious foliage, using wooden and leather elements, but also faux fur and wool fabrics as coverings, rugs and even tapestries. Animal prints are one of the most distinctive features of the African design, so don’t hesitate to mix and layer different prints in the room.
[source: homey oh my]

Give Your Furniture a Dose of Personality
If you are willing to create a truly captivating ambience in your home, the best solution is to rely on raw wooden furniture pieces, which have the ability to transform your home into a true African sanctuary. When choosing the best type of wood, keep in mind that ebony and mahogany are by far the best options. Leather or tribal patterned upholstery will surely give your furniture the style it deserves, while you can always enrich your home by adding pieces made from wicker, drum‐inspired coffee tables or rustic stools that will create that bohemian, vintage look.
[source: designsponge]

Art Is the Only Way to Run Away Without Leaving Your Home
The unique visual culture of the African continent has inspired a lot of artistic creativity, making this territory a true artistic paradise. Artistic features are one of the main aspects in African design, and it is not uncommon to embellish your home with tribal sculptures, photographs, prints, statues and artefacts, but also large clay and wooden masks and various African inspired iconography. The beauty of African art is that it can be mixed and combined with different pieces seamlessly. Figurines, wall art installations and colourful paintings of the African domain captures the essence of its cultural roots.
[source: theia interiors]

Details Make the Design
There are a lot of different ways to embellish your home in an Africanised design style. Besides genuine African art, you can implement various elements that will make your home exude with this tropical splendour. Wallpapers are a great way to introduce a bit of excitement in the room, especially with floral motifs, jungle‐inspired patterns or motives of the African savannah. You can always opt for some abstract details and ornaments such as wicker baskets, colourful pillows or small cheap rugs inspired by animal prints or African inspired curtains and stylish window blinds. Framed African print textiles make amazing decorative pieces while specific plant life manages to capture the exotic tropical flair of the continent.
[source: loombrand]

The rich splendour of the African allure can create an outstanding ambience in your home, by introducing authentic pieces inspired by the African culture. This design allows you to experiment with colours, textures and art, and transform your home in a truly enchanting paradise. Capture the African magnetism with these simple tricks and allow yourself to indulge in the delight of this design.

Hope you found this post on giving your home a sophisticated and glamourous style upgrade with African and tribal design accents inspiring.

Do you love this design style? Have you incorporated exotic tribal decor in your home? Share with us in the comments below.

Till next time...
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About The Author 
Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor‐in‐ chief at Smooth Decorator. She loves to write about inspiring interiors and landscaping design. In her free time, Lana enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Style That Throw!

Everyone knows that a living room design is never really complete without a throw. Whether is it a thick woolly one, soft mohair throw, thin organic linen or a summer cotton crochet one, a throw is a necessity in every season. It's a great way to add pattern, colour and texture and not to mention a smart way to dress up your living room or tone it down.

There are a lots of ways to drape a for every season. But we've narrowed it down to 13 gorgeous and unique examples to help you pick a winning style for your home.

The Stylish Protector
If you have a white sofa and white walls, a colourful and patterned throw is the just the thing you need to brighten up the space. This style is great to showcase your throw as well as protect your lightly coloured sofa from small kids and pets.

The Furry Toss
Carefully toss a faux fur on the sofa and create a laid back yet gorgeous designer style! This works really well in minimalist spaces to give it texture and interest.

The Styled Waterfall
An unstructured but styled way of draping a throw adds heaps of careless free-spirited bohemian character! The cascading waterfall style of draping a throw looks especially great if you are photographing the room.

The Intentional Heap
This is an intentionally nonchalant way of draping a throw on the sofa. When the rest of the room is disciplined in terms of design and style, carelessly draping the throw can make the space more inviting, lived-in and warm.

The Neat Hang
Fold it up and drape it in a neat way on the sofa, ensuring a little bit of a hang to create interest.

In The Basket
If your sofa is full of gorgeous cushions, then the best place to style the rugs is in a beautiful storage basket. As an alternative to wire baskets, we are loving the organic 'Kouna' grass baskets from Anthology Home & Living.

Over the Arm
A very popular style, draping the throw over the arm of the lounge gives the room a structured design style. If your sofa is quite formal in design, then a throw over the arm helps to soften the look.

Styled Cascade
Over the back, drape it over the arm and leave a bit to hang to create a perfectly styled sofa! Finish off with a cushion to keep it casual yet pretty! A light summery crochet throw draped in a cascade truly makes the space. 
Back It Up
Drape the throw just over the back of the sofa to create a bright or soft backdrop for cushions and coordinated accessories in the living room.

On The Ottoman
If you have an ottoman in the living room, it is a great idea to mix it up and drape the throw over the ottoman instead of the sofa.

Group It Up
Gather up and group a throw with coordinated cushions in one corner of the sofa to create a comfortable and inviting huddle.

Perfunctory Style
Uber casual bordering on almost careless whimsy. This style helps to create a warm, relatable and care-free space in an otherwise meticulously styled environment.

Layer It On
Create lots and lots of layers with throws to achieve a warm and cosy environment! Mix it up with woollies, mohair and faux fur for tactile contrast and interest.

So there you have it...13 gorgeous and stylish ways of draping a throw in the living room. Which is more your style? Or do you have another style not featured in our collection here? Share with us...we'd love to know! 

Till next time...

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Wednesday 14 September 2016

Golden & Glamorous!

From historical Victorian designs to iconic Mid Century Modern styles to Contemporary interiors, gold has played a significant role in every design era. According to several style trend forecasts, gold will continue to be on trend in 2017, although moving away from the shiny polished look to a more aged, matte patina. Gold is a warm metal due to its yellow hue and imparts a cosy yet rich and luxurious look. Eye-catching gold accented furniture, eclectic gold cushions or just a few gilded frames and accessories can instantly dress up a corner or a room. To introduce gold into your home décor, here are a few How To tips.

Make a style statement
Gold can create a "wow" effect in a room with very little effort. A statement furniture piece upholstered in dark matte gold or gold-pattern wallpaper on a feature wall or a gold light fixture or pendant can instantly glam up a room.

Start small
If you're unsure of how much is too much gold and you are worried about going OTT, start small. Introduce a few gilded pieces in your décor and build it up as you go. Small accessories are easier to change and move around than bigger furniture pieces. Gilded ceramic plates, table ware, antique trays, photo frames or candlesticks are perfect to build up your confidence when decorating with this rich glimmering metal.

Mix n Match
You don't have to go all victorian to introduce gold into your home. Just like in fashion, gold goes with almost everything. Mixing and matching is the key to creating a special and interesting space. Mix contemporary features with aged gold accents to introduce a glamorous patina to your home design. A mid century modern gold-and-glass bar cart in a modern living space is a definite conversation starter! Hang an antique gilded mirror with contemporary art to create an interesting gallery wall. A gold leaf side table adds levity to a space and layering tactile textiles such as wool, suede, velvet, mohair, linen helps to create contrast with the metallic accents and softens the space.

Just like jewellery
Use gold accents just as you would for dressing up an outfit. Balance it out to create interest without  looking garish. Gold can glam up a dull space instantly like a small jewellery catching dish on the nightstand, a key dish in the foyer, a brass desk lamp in the study, gold dipped bulbs for the kitchen or gold taps in an all white bathroom.

It's all in the details
Small details like gold or brass drawer pulls on kitchen cabinets or wardrobe door handles can add a touch of elegance and luxury. A gold towel rack in the bathroom or a brass door knocker can make all the difference when paying attention to the small details in your interior design.

Check out our curated collection of fabulous examples of using gold accents and furniture and be inspired to go golden and glamorous in your home!

So much prettiness to look at! So are you inspired to add a little or a lot of luminous gold to your décor? Do you use gold accents when decorating? Share with us!

Till next time...
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