Make your Home’s Exterior the envy of your street.

Choosing your home’s exterior colour scheme is a most critical decision!

Your choices will impact your home’s value. Why? Because how your home looks will determine those all-important first impressions, how well your home sits in the streetscape and even how well you get on with your neighbours, who may hate it, love it or worse still find it boring.

Good quality exterior paint lasts at least 10 to 15 years between repaints, so this is another reason to get your colour scheme right or you could be hating it for a very long time!

I’ve created three timeless exterior colour schemes that will look fabulous now and for a long time to come!

Light & Dark Neutrals

  • These are the classic black & white, charcoal & white, mid-grey and white, navy & white or a mix of these
  • As a colour combination it incorporates a shade of ‘white’, of which there are thousands to choose from
  • They work well with both rendered and timber homes and suit contemporary and classic architecture

Coastal and Cottage Colours

  • These are the pastels, often blues and greens combined with white, off-white or pale cream
  • To ensure they don’t tip over into twee, they have a touch of black in the shade of pastel that gives them a sophisticated, smoky edge – think French blue, eucalyptus green
  • As a colour combination, they’re ideal for ‘weatherboard’ homes, particularly if you have a passion for coastal or craftsman design
  • They also look at home on English or European country cottage style architecture

Natural Colours

  • If you love browns, grey-browns, taupe, beige, flax, etc then this is the colour scheme for you. These are the earthy neutrals
  • Contemporary homes do well by combining deeper shades and lighter tones of the same or contrasting colours in blocks of colour. They can also include some white, black & grey
  • For more classic homes, add a shade of ‘white’ to the trim
  • Natural timber goes well with this scheme too
Natural Colours Exterior Colour Scheme

If you’d like some professional help creating a fabulous exterior colour scheme, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment.

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Such an essential PC item and so many euphemisms! What am I talking about? The toilet, water closet, lavatory, loo, toot, of course! I want to address some of the terms used when you’re looking to buy a new toilet.

  • Even the cheapest toilet you can buy for your home will have a porcelain pan or bowl but you can still buy a plastic cistern (the upper section with the flush mechanism) if you are on a really tight budget. If you want to cover the plumbing pipe between the pan and cistern you can also get a plastic cover, often called a connector plate. See Caroma’s range of plastic connector cisterns as an example.
  • Dual flush is standard in many countries as it is water-saving. So if you have the option, choose this and do the environment a favour. You’ll save money on your water bill too.
  • Choose a pan or bowl that has clean lines, particularly on the sides – no nooks, screw hole indents or horizontal lips that will collect dust and other less appealing liquids from persons with a poor aim! 😉 See Fowler’s Seido as an example of clean lines.

Avoid these types of nooks and screw hole indents.

  • Decide between a visible cistern that is attached to the wall, and a concealed cistern that is installed within the wall. Concealed cisterns need a wall cavity, so are easiest to install in homes with stud walls. If your heart is set on a concealed cistern and your internal walls are made of brick or other masonry, you can (if you have the space) build a false wall made of timber and sheeting to achieve this. Finish the false wall with tiles, stone, paint or wallpaper as you would normally.

Concealed cistern behind false half wall.

  • These days most of us want at least a close-coupled cistern and pan so you can’t see the connecting plumbing. Note the cistern is attached to the wall but the pan has a gap behind it, between it and the wall. This is the case for all close-coupled toilets. The gap makes a great dust collector however they are less expensive than a wall-faced suite! See Kohler’s range of stylish close-coupled toilets.
  • Wall-faced toilet suites are the most popular. They are a complete or single unit that has no gap between the pan and the wall. Visually they have clean lines and practically because there are no gaps, are the easiest to keep clean. The shape is entirely up to your personal preference. Do you prefer curves or a more angular look, or a mix of curves and straight lines?

Wall-faced toilet suite on a false wall.

  • Are you wondering what rimless technology is all about? It’s fab! As there’s no lip around the top of the pan there won’t ever be any hidden ‘nasties’ to clean. It is relatively new technology so do your homework. See Enware’s link as an example.
  • How to choose between toilet seats? I’m going to be quite frank and tell you I have an issue with a lot of modern toilet seats. I do NOT want to see the top edge and rim of the toilet pan when the lid (not the seat) is lifted! What do I mean, you ask? On many modern toilet seats the lid wraps over the edge of the seat. It looks great when the lid is down but exposes the pan rim when lifted. The pan rim is not always pristine. If the lid sits flat to the seat there is no gap between the front edge of the seat and the rim of the pan. Of course it’s entirely your choice! 🙂 See the two examples below.

Two common types of toilet seat. On the left is the ‘wrap over the seat’ and on the right is the ‘flat to the seat’.

If you need a little extra help to ensure you get the perfect toilet for your home, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Bathing Beauties – the great bathtub story!

by Creative Style Interiors

If you dislike bathing the Middle/Dark Ages would have perfectly suited you. No-one bathed not even the aristocracy who instead doused themselves with perfume to cover the stench!

Thankfully we’ve moved on from this. We now have a lot of choices when it comes to bathing, including the shower. However this article is all about the bath. We now believe bathing is good for us, in so many ways. If you want to read more about why then click this link, but first read on to find out about the wonderful world of baths.

 Built-in Baths

The built-in bath was pioneered by Kohler in 1911 as being the most space efficient and this remains so today. From around the middle of the 20th Century they were what we visualised when talking about bathtubs.

Built into at least two walls and often three, the built-in has been modernised to a large extent by increasing the surface space around the bath to incorporate a tiled rim on as many sides as there is enough space. This creates room for the odd candle or glass of wine, as well as the soap and shampoo. 🙂 It is still very popular today.

Built-in bath with stone surround.

Freestanding Baths

The freestanding bath was originally unplumbed, being a simple metal tub that was filled by hand with hot water and then emptied by hand – a laborious process indeed! They were eventually plumbed and the most famous of its kind was the clawfoot bath, that you can still find both as an original (if you’re lucky) and as reproductions today.

In the 1920’s they went out of fashion in favour of the built-in but in recent years have made a huge comeback. They can be made of acrylic, porcelain enamelled iron or steel, timber and other metals such as copper and are larger than the ‘originals’. They are also more stylish, coming in a gorgeous array of shapes and sizes.

A funny and true story about the freestanding bath comes from Kohler, who in the late 1800’s made a freestanding tub of cast iron and sold it as a horse trough with four legs that could be converted to a bath by attaching the legs.

Freestanding baths do need more space around them, at least 200mm or 8inches at each end as well as the rear wall to allow for easy cleaning of the surrounding walls and floor.

A clawfoot and a contemporary freestanding bath.

Back to Wall Freestanding Baths

These are a recent addition to the world of baths. They use slightly less space than a fully freestanding tub as they are designed to attach to the rear wall only. They still need the same 20mm or 8inches at each end.

Back to wall freestanding bath. Images courtesy of Caroma

 

The Jacuzzi (or hot tub or spa bath)

The Jacuzzi was invented by Jacuzzi in 1968 as a therapeutic device for athletes and today most of us can enjoy the heat and bubbles in our very own hydrotherapy bath. Commonly a modern hydrotherapy bath has approximately 22 small jets positioned around the inner surface to give maximum effect to sore, tired muscles and relieve those aches and pains. They can be either built-in or freestanding.

A hydrotherapy spa bath. Image courtesy of The Round Bath Company, Australia

Ofuro – the Japanese bath

The Japanese bath or Ofuro is made of timber, often from traditional Japanese hinoki or of cedar. These baths are made for soaking not washing and definitely need to be plumbed to hot and cold water if you don’t have a hot spring handy for your water supply.

Japanese wooden bath. Image courtesy of The Japanese Bath Company.

In my opinion all baths should be taken when you have plenty of time on your hands. Add some of your favourite oils or a home-made bath bomb, relax and enjoy!

If you need a little extra help to ensure you get the perfect bathtub for your home, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Fabulous Fabric Trends in 2017!

by Creative Style Interiors

While there are some exciting new fabrics being developed for clothing, there’s not much happening in creating new fabrics specifically for drapery and upholstery. The types of fabrics available for drapery and upholstery have remained fairly static since the middle of last century.

They do however go in and out of fashion, particularly in terms of colour and pattern, so this blog is all about what’s on trend now!

Velvet

This luxurious fabric can be made from both natural fibres such as silk and cotton as well as synthetics such as polyester, which is much more durable and economical than its natural fibre counterparts. Quality synthetic velvets no longer have that cheap ‘sheen’ nor do they feel like they’ll make your hair stand on end with static electricity!

With a pile that can be either smooth or textured, velvet has been mainly associated with plain colours in a gorgeous array from light neutrals to rich blues, deep greens, shades of wine and berry, charcoals and of course, black. The latest trend however, coming out of Europe is seeing patterned velvets in oversized, bold prints. Velvet can be used for drapery and upholstery and brings an inherent sense of glamour to any room.

TIP: if your favourite design style is Luxe, classic or modern classic, then it should be one of your ‘go to’ fabrics.

Linen

Made from the fibres of the flax plant, I think linen is our favourite natural fibre at present. With the new softening techniques we love its relaxed yet elegant look with its fine weave and texture. Manufacturers of linen suggest it can be used in both drapery and upholstery as long as it has been rated for such usage.

TIP: before you buy linen always check the manufacturer’s recommended usage.

It looks great in plain neutrals, washed pastels as well as earthy tones and is currently available in all of these colourways. It is also being seen in floral and geometric patterns.

Linen is an ideal fabric for modern, modern classic, Hamptons, Scandinavian and modern country design styles.

Cotton

Like linen, cotton is a natural fibre made from the fruit (called a boll) of the cotton plant. It comes in a huge variety of weaves and textures – everything from light and floaty such as swiss cotton to heavy and stiff such as denim. Cotton is just as likely to be patterned as it is plain so it is used a lot in drapery but can also be used in upholstery in its heavier incarnations.

Patterned cottons in global or ethnic prints, painterly florals and geometrics of all kinds are on trend and are equally seen on windows and seating.

Cotton can be used with most design schemes, depending on the weave and pattern.

TIP: Natural fibres are more susceptible to UV damage from sunlight, shortening their lifespan. For this reason it is quite common to see a mix of natural and synthetic fibres woven together to create beautiful fabrics. They can still retain the look of the natural fibre but benefit from the durability of the synthetic, commonly polyester. Natural fibres can also shrink when cleaned as well as stretch and sag over time, so adding synthetics minimises these problems too.

Wool

Wool has made a recent comeback in upholstery fabrics, predominantly in block colours and smaller self patterns. It too can be mixed with a synthetic although wool on its own is quite durable. Some people are allergic to wool or simply don’t like the feel of it so this is something to bear in mind if considering a wool fabric for that sofa or chair.

TIP: While all wool has a tendecy to pill a bit, cheaper wool fabrics may pill badly and for a long time so make sure you ask for a sample cutting and give it a good rub together to see what happens.

Metallics

Incorporating a metallic thread into a fabric, often a sheer or using a fabric that has an overall metallic lustre is still on trend. From plains through to patterns, including stripes it seems we really do love a little bit of luxe! Anything shiny/sheeny also helps to add light to a space.

Perfect for contemporary, classic, modern classic and luxe design styles!

If you need a little extra help to ensure you get the perfect fabrics for your home, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Simple Solutions for a Shopping Faux Pas!

by Creative Style Interiors

So you’ve been shopping and purchased something new for your home. You loved it in the store when you decided to buy it, but now sitting there in your home it’s completely wrong! We’ve all had experiences like this but what can you do to recover an ‘unfortunate’ situation?

If it’s a smaller item such as a decorative accessory, or it has not been customised for you in some way, you may be able to return it, depending on the store’s returns policy. This is always worth checking out at the time of purchase.

For a larger item such as a dining table or sofa it really depends on what it is you got wrong. With furniture there are four main elements to consider before signing on the dotted line. They are:

  1. Size
  2. Scale or proportions
  3. Design style
  4. Colour

Unfortunately if your newly bought piece of furniture is too big or too small, or simply out of scale for the size of the room your only option may be to try it in another room and hope it works better there. Although this may not be possible if it’s for a room that has a specific purpose such as a table bought for a dining room.

Where you’ve got the design style wrong are there ways to tweak the look? Can you update it by adding loose covers on a sofa or dining chairs, for example? Or scatter cushions or a rug, or a beautiful table setting that complements the look you’re going for while drawing the eye away from the mismatched piece of furniture?

Of course the easiest element to adjust is colour! If the new piece of furniture doesn’t coordinate with the wall colour, and you’re a dab hand with a paint brush you can repaint the walls in a colour that suits. However you may love your existing colour scheme more than your new sofa or table, so what to do?

For timber furniture

  • Change the colour with paint or a stain.
  • If you are a DIYer there are a multitude of paint products, stains and finishes to choose from as long as you prepare the surface properly.
  • A product such as ESP (Easy Surface Preparation) ensures that paint adheres to most surfaces.
  • To change the colour of the stain on timber you’ll usually need to remove the old varnish and stain before you apply the new ones.
  • Employ a professional furniture restorer if you’re not a DIY expert.

For metal furniture

  • Try recolouring with paint, either by hand or by spraying. There are many types of paints and finishes that can be used on metal. Check out Porters Paints Liquid Iron and Duchess paints, for example.

For upholstered furniture

  • Purchase pre-made loose covers or for a more tailored look get an upholsterer to custom make them. This will be cheaper than fully upholstered.
  • Ensure your new fabric choices coordinate well with your colour scheme. Paint an A4 piece of cardboard with your colour scheme and take it with you when choosing the new fabrics.
  • Pull the colour scheme together by incorporating all the colours in scatter cushions. a throw and a rug or carpet.
  • You could consider a complete recover to solve your problem. However it is a major expense on top of your original purchase.

If you need a little extra help to ensure you get all the design elements right when next shopping for your home, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Is Pale Pink the New Neutral?

by Creative Style Interiors

There is no doubt we’re seeing a lot of pale pink in our stores at the moment on everything from scatter cushions to sofas but is it the new neutral, as some in the interior design industry have suggested?

Soooo versatile

Love it or hate it, pale pink is certainly versatile! It goes with many other colours – from neutrals such as greys, taupes, navy to many shades of blue, green and other reds. Think aqua, wedgwood blue, mint green, apple green, petrel blue, lilac, scarlet red to name just a few.

On my walls? Really?!

So if you’re going to use pale pink in your home does it work on the walls? Absolutely! It goes particularly well in Scandinavian design schemes or anywhere you want to create a soothing and potentially romantic feel. The Master bedroom done with walls in a pale and often smoky pink is perfect, as pink goes with most skin tones!

If you’re thinking pale pink might be too feminine for a living space, try adding charcoal, navy or black to the colour scheme and see how ‘grown-up’ it looks. However I would avoid using it in the kitchen and dining room as it doesn’t have the energy these social spaces typically demand.

Incorporating the warmth of timber into your pale pink colour scheme, whether it’s with lovely oak or blue gum floorboards, or with delightfully dark chocolate stained furniture, for example can also make any space feel more grounded and less ‘Wonderland’.

When a little pink is enough

If pink walls or a pink sofa are too much for you but you like the idea of experimenting with pale pink there’s lots to find in decorative accessories. Scatter cushions, thick textured throws, lamp bases and shades, vases. This list goes on.

If you need a little extra help choosing the perfect pale pink for your home’s décor, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

 

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4 Types of Fireplaces you should know about

by Creative Style Interiors

While we would recommend reverse cycle air conditioning with inverter technology as the most effective way to heat and cool your home, sometimes you just can’t go past the ambience and beauty a fireplace can offer. If you’re looking to add a fireplace into your home before the cold weather hits, now is the time to start… otherwise you’ll be getting your fireplace in spring!

Wood burning fireplaces

A traditional wood burning fireplace, whether open hearth or a closed combustion stove is what we usually think of when picturing a fireplace. Many older homes have these kinds of fireplace already installed.
Colonial, Victorian and Federation fireplaces were not so much open hearth wood burners as coal burners, although wood will obviously burn in the grate.

Most traditional open hearth fireplaces are made of stone or brick with a stone or timber mantle. They look, sound and smell the most ‘authentic’ with the crackling of burning wood, but can tend to lose a lot of heat up the chimney. There is a risk of flying embers as well as the smoke that is a pollution hazard, so use with caution.

Closed combustion stoves became popular during the 80’s and 90’s when country style was at its peak as the most popular design style. The newer models are very energy efficient and produce very little waste (ash) or pollution.

Gas burning fireplaces

Today’s gas fireplace usually has very realistic faux logs with ‘embers’, pebbles or glass fire crystals and are enclosed with a glass panel in front. They may have been retrofitted into an existing open hearth fireplace, be fan assisted for greater efficiency and light with piezzo ignition and a remote control.

Gas burning fireplaces are relatively economical to use, and cause less pollution than many wood burning varieties. The flue can be routed through an existing chimney or directly vented through the rear wall or ceiling. And for those of you who are concerned about coordinating with your décor (and you all should be!) they come in a range of styles to suit most homes.


Electric fireplaces

Modern electric fireplaces look far more realistic than they previously did. Who can forget the glowing plastic logs of the past?! With pebbles in the base of the unit they suit modern décor best, particularly since they simply hang on the wall like a TV screen (plug and play). They are fan assisted and don’t need any venting, making them a good solution where a gas flue is impossible.

 

 

Ethanol fireplaces

Ethanol-fueled fireplaces are under scrutiny in Australia for behaving in an unstable manner. If you have your heart set on a fireplace that burns ethanol, make sure you do plenty of research before buying. Portable ethanol fires such as the type that sits on your coffee or dining table have already been banned by four Australian states. Click here to read this recent article.


Brazier

A brazier or fire pit is a fabulous way to add ambience and warmth to your backyard! They are a simple wood-burning contraption that’s completely portable and available at Bunnings. This will keep your outdoor area user-friendly in the colder months.

 

 

If you need a little extra help choosing the perfect fireplace for your home’s décor, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Never underestimate the importance of your Front Entry! It welcomes you home, greets your family and friends and presents the face of your home to your neighbours and the ‘rest of the world’ – think what you can see from Google Street View!

The Front Entry, in creating those all-important first impressions tells an immediate, unspoken story about you and your home.

The dominant feature in any Front Entry is usually the entrance door so I wanted to give you some handy hints and advice when it comes to choosing your fabulous front door.

 

  • Ideally it should be made of solid timber, metal such as powdercoated aluminium or coloured fibreglass and may have tempered glass inserts. It needs to be strong and create a feeling of security. This is why an internal door is unsuitable, as it usually has a hollow core and can easily be damaged or destroyed with a good kick!

  • Feel like making a major first impression? Try a set of double doors, or a single door with one or two sidelights (glazed side panel). Add a highlight (glazed top panel) for that extra visual impact. An oversized pivot door with sidelights and highlights will really wow!
  • Many entrance doors regardless of the design style, have inset glazed panels. This is a great way to ensure you have some natural light coming into your Front Entry. However if you want to maintain a sense of privacy, stick with translucent rather than clear glass.
  • The standard entrance door size in Australia is 2040mm high x 820mm wide x 40mm thick (thicker than an internal door). In North America, the standard size is 6 ft, 8 inches high x  3 ft wide x 1 and 3/4 inches thick.
  • There are plenty of door suppliers selling oversized entrance doors in a limited number of sizes, if you love this look. See Hume Doors’ Savoy range, for an example. They can be oversized in width alone as well as oversized in both width and height. There are also joiners, such as Parkwood Doors that make both standard and non-standard sized doors so you can have exactly the size you want.

 

Your Front Entry door needs to suit your home’s architectural and design style.

 

Plain profile doors with or without glazing look best with contemporary architecture. See Hume Doors’ Newington range, as an example.

 

 

 

 

Routing, beading and beveled panels suit most styles of period architecture. See Corinthian Door’s Classic range, for example.

 

 

 

Architectural hardware such as rod & bar handles, lever handles, knobs and door knockers also come in a many and varied range of styles from the very modern to the very traditional. Choose these according to your home’s design style.

Apart from needing to complement your exterior colour scheme, if you are painting your entrance door I always recommend a high gloss enamel finish that clearly says “Here I am and welcome to my home!’

The colour of your door can be where you express some of your personality. For example, Feng Shui suggests a red door for luck or you may want to use your favourite colour of sunshine yellow, tangerine or bright blue. As long as it coordinates with your overall colour scheme, why not?

If your natural timber door is going to be stained and/or lacquered, choose a colour stain and gloss level to suit your home’s architecture. Matt or satin finishes look perfect with more contemporary architecture while a gloss finish can be beautiful on a period home.

If you need a little extra help creating the perfect front entry for your home, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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5 Home Décor Tips for the Cooler Months

by Creative Style Interiors

The seemingly endless summer had come to an end. We’re about to see the autumn colour our world with beautiful shades of gold, brown, auburn, red and burgundy as the trees prepare for the cooler months ahead. So too, should we prepare our homes for the cooler months with a few small touches.

While it’s lovely in summer to have your home looking and feeling light, bright and breezy, as we head towards winter it’s a great idea to add a few extra accessories to help your home feel warm, cosy and inviting. There’s a plethora of accessories to suit any budget and style, including rugs, cushions, throws, blankets and more. You don’t have to repaint the walls every season, just accessorise your home as you would with your clothing… it’s as simple as that!

Tip #1

Use your accessories to change your colour scheme to a more winter-friendly palette. It can be as simple as changing an aqua cushion to a teal one, as a colour change can have a huge impact on the visual warmth of a room. Choose richer, deeper shades such as wine, navy, plum, ochre and olive… colours with a warm undertone.

Tip #2

Put away the glass vases and serving ware and opt for ceramic and stone pieces instead. While the transparency of glass helps a room feel cool and open, a ceramic or stone piece has a ‘weightiness’ and often texture too, that creates a snug setting.

Tip #3

Add some scatter cushions in a luxurious and textural fabric. Nothing screams ‘cosy’ louder than a soft knit, shimmering velvet or a textured weave. Scatter cushions, and possibly a throw (think faux fur or knit) that feel fabulous to the touch, can be a gorgeous and often cost-effective update for your sofa, feature chair or bed – instantly warm and cocooning. All you have to do is change them over when you want a new look.

Tip #4

Include a rug to define the space. Even though we love our open plan living areas, a large open expanse that includes a kitchen and dining room can feel a little too cool without some definition. A floor rug adds colour, insulates, softens the appearance and establishes the boundary of a room. Defining the space helps create a cosier feeling and if you choose a rug with great warming colours, it will add visual warmth too!

Tip #5

There is something inherently warming about the flickering light of a flame, although not everyone has a fireplace to create that ‘toasty warm’ ambience. Why not simply light a candle with a warm scent such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger or sandalwood? Enjoy the lovely mood lighting from a few strategically placed candles while you snuggle up under that new knit throw. Just remember to extinguish the flame before you fall asleep!

 

If you need a little extra help updating your home décor for the new season, give Creative Style a call on 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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Romancing your boudoir with colour

by Creative Style Interiors

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In celebration of this romantic day, we thought we’d give our insider tips on the best colours for your bedroom.

There are two main areas people generally want to improve in their bedroom: Romance and sleep quality, and there are certain colours that will help.

Passion & Romance

Red is known as the colour of romance, followed closely by pink. Though red is exciting and passionate, it can be overly stimulating. For this reason you should use it sparingly in conjunction with light neutrals, or opt for muted tones to calm the space down.

Want to look good naked? Skin tones will help your complexion glow. Brown neutrals are fabulous for this reason, but if you want to personalise your bedroom by adding some colour you could include dusky pinks and smoky purples. According to Feng Shui, skin tones create energy similar to an embrace.

Deep Sleep

Everyone needs a good night’s sleep to be on top of your game, and colour can play a huge role in having the perfect night’s sleep. Avoid overly stimulating colours like red, yellow, orange and hot pink, and choose shades of calming blue, green and dark neutrals instead.

Redecorating? If you’re looking to create a new colour scheme for your bedroom (or any other room in your home), give Creative Style a call or text 0416 190 792 or email [email protected] to book an appointment with Jenny.

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