Showing posts from 2007

Learn About Styles and Periods for Interior Decorating

Finally I have started a website about styles and periods!

It is new so bear with me, only a few decorating styles and period decoration topics available now, but more coming. So if you are interested in Victorian, Edwardian, Gothic or Georgian periods we have that covered, also Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Shaker Styles.

This is a good website for getting background history on the evolution of interior decorating. You can learn about what influenced the periods, who were the major designers and what were the key features of the style or period.

We already have loads of information on the history of furniture at, so if you haven't visited that already then you can from this website.

Learning history of design is very important as an interior designer, as I always say, because it is always true, you just never stop learning in this profession. As I research for these articles, I find myself saying "oh, really, I never knew that is where that came from", or &q…

What is Contemporary Interior Design Style?

I frequently get people saying that they want their home to be contemporary style. What does that mean? I struggle for the right answer.

Modern?... recent, characteristic of the present or the immediate past, contemporary.
Modernism?....the search for new forms of expression involving a deliberate break from the past.
Minimalism?...a design characterized by simplicity of form and arrangement.

Contemporary design or decoration literally means that it is happening now, it is existing, living now, reflecting today's design or fashion trends, modern.

So how do you find out what is contemporary?

By investigation. I have observed that what is for sale in the exclusive expensive interior design stores and depicted in the latest design magazines and purchased by an exclusive few today is usually the current trend, by the time all the other stores have seen it, copied it, and mass produced it, it is then contemporary to everyone else, whilst the true trend following people will be out there sea…

Find out how much you know about Interior Decorating.

Find out how much you know about interior Decorating.

Test yourself on interior decoration.

For those of you who have completed's free ecourse on interior decorating, finally a test that reviews the information covered in the ecourse.

For those of you who haven't done the ecourse, give it a go anyway, then sign on for the ecourse and try the test again at the end and see how much you have improved!

So the test is here

and the free ecourse is here

Have fun testing yourself!

Who Else Wants an Easy Way to Find Interior Design and Decorating Tips?

We have a service that provides daily emailed interior design and decorating tips, some of you are taking advantage of this.

Who else wants to fine tune their design skills?

Simply visit Daily Design Tips and you can subscribe to receive them too!

For those of you who are adverse to handing out your email address! We have now started adding these daily tips to a blog.


So you can go and visit at your leisure and keep your inbox free!

Here it is .............. interior decorating tips

Don't forget the new pink interior design product store.

Bye for now, off to work on special treats for loyal members!

What's Pink and New?

No this is not a kid's joke, it's a quick note about a new service that we have started at

For so long I have wanted to make the website pink! But, I know there are loads of men out there that just wouldn't feel right visiting a pink website about interior decorating!

So a compromise, a pink shop!

A pink what?

A pink shop!

Well, an online shop (or store as you guys say in the USA!) I have been quietly selecting products that I think look great and are affordable and have grouped them into easy to find categories.

I don't have a huge amount yet, as careful shopping and recommending does take time, (and I'm loving every minute of it!) but I will keep adding to it when I find more quality interior decorating products.

Enough suspense, where do you find it?

Right here interior design products

Take a look and bookmark it for the future, especially because Christmas is near. I am about to set up a category for seasonal decorating, so I will let you know when …

Spread the word, is definately global!

Yes, help us spread the word about interior decorating and design to the world!

We are so global that I cannot list all the 207 countries that we have readers from, but I will try a few and you can see if you know where they are. San Marino, Tuvalu, Palau, Burudni, Christmas Island, Faroe Islands, Anquilla, Mali, Guyana, Slovenia, Qatar, New Zealand (no just joking - we're sure you know where we are!) We used to put a pin on the world map, but we need a bigger map, and it is like doing homework finding some of these countries. We think it is fantastic that everyone, everywhere wants to learn more about interior design.
We thought that we could introduce more people to our wonderful website so we have had some home pages translated into a few languages to see if we can attract even more readers. So if you know of anyone that speaks Chinese, Arabic, or Spanish and wants to learn about interior design, then send them to the following pages, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish to introduce the…

Bureaucracy Creates Safe Environments

Ok, I have taken a bit of a battering about my last article on bureaucracy killing design creativity. I apologize. Perhaps New Zealand is just overloaded with bureaucrats, and after all we do live in an earthquake zone so our building standards do have to be very high.
Anyway I was having a bad day.
I did learn quite a bit from the feedback that I received though, and that was that some of you would love more rules and regulations in your countries that are just developing. I have traveled widely but not in a professional capacity, I haven't delved into local rules and regulations of the countries that I have visited. You are more than welcome to have your say by posting a comment at the end of this article and enlighten us on how your building and design processes work.
It can take 3 to 4 months to get a building consent here. As I mentioned in my last article there are so many boxes to tick now and the drawings and details that need to go into every aspect of the documentation fo…

Is Bureaucracy Killing Design Creativity?

Is Bureaucracy Killing Design Creativity?

Yes, most definitely!

Do you know how many government acts, local body acts and planning acts we have to look up before we even start to put pen to paper? So many that I can't list them all, and that is in a small town like Christchurch, New Zealand. We have rules and regulations to cover everything right down to the latest one I recently found out and that was about how close you can plant a tree away from a swimming pool fence!

This is getting a little paranoid, next we will be having to put a roof over the pool in case a small child decides to hang glide out the window or use hot air balloons to get over the fence. I can't believe how crazy the laws have become. I have little children and I never let them out of my sight around water, don't get me wrong, fencing pools is a great idea, but at some point we have to take responsibility for our own actions. We have streams and rivers meandering all the way through our picturesque town …

How to Stay One Step Ahead of Other Designers and Get More Business

How do you stay on top of your profession?

How do you make yourself the interior designer that everyone wants to use?


Yes, with education and constantly learning you can be the best informed designer on the block!

So what? How does this make me the best designer?

Word of mouth.

If you can solve all your clients problems, and stripped backed to basics, that is generally what we do as a designer, resolve issues in a positive manner. Then your happy client will brag about their wonderful designer who knew about everything they asked. Had an answer for every question and was fully abreast with all the new products available, in touch with the latest trends and a good communicator and facilitator with contractors and providing documentation.

Clients love to brag, lets face it, they have usually just forked out thousands of dollars to make changes in their lives, then they will want everyone to know about it! "Come and visit, we'll cook dinner for you in our new kitchen with …

When Do You Buy Cheap Furniture?

I hear you cringe at this question!

But I know that there is a mass of cheap imitations of designer furniture about, and that everyone is buying it!

Is it a good investment?


Then why buy?

It is fashionable, and a lot of people have a "use it then lose it!" philosophy to their lives.

A terrible way to be in today's world when we are all trying to be more energy efficient, environmentally friendly and reduce our waste output.

It is down right irresponsible!

So what should we be doing?

I always think that spending as much as you can afford on good quality furniture (among other things) is the best way to go. The products usually last for a very long time, if they do suffer some wear and tear, it is usually cost effective to have them repaired and you still are able to resell them to someone else who appreciates good quality furniture if you end up tiring of the design.

This doesn't mean that you can't reimage or makeover your home frequently, you can, you just don't ha…

Fun with Fabric and Interiors

The great thing about fabric is that it is such a versatile product. You can upholster chairs, hang panels, drape swags, draw curtains, frame pieces, glue it to the wall and make a cushion cover with it! All in one room if you like!

Fabric is fun and you can change the look of a room in an instant but adding a fabric. Be it subtle with a textured neutral or dramatic with a bold pattern, fabrics can change the style of a room inexpensively.

You can change the look for the seasons, for children or visitors, for now or for marketing your home for sale. There are so many ways to use fabric.

The bedroom is a good example, the bedspread, comforter, dooner or duvet - whatever you call your bedding, can be changed to create different moods.

We have white textured duvet covers for spring and summer, providing a cool and crisp feel, open and the bedroom looks larger, then for winter we have rich gold duvets which provide a sense of warmth and make the room feel cosier. (Plus it shows less muddy cat…

Trouble with Fast TV Interior Design Turnaround

I don't get much of a chance to watch TV, but I do hear a lot of people talking about interior design and decorating makeover programs. They tell me it is so glamorous and looks like so much fun! How amazing the designers are and can change a room with so little money in such a short time!!

So I have watched a few and I don't know about you, but I would like to visit the TV makeover rooms a week or even a month later to see what is still standing.

The speed and the shortcuts they take are not conducive to good design. Imagine what a loss to us all it the Pantheon, in Athens, had been whipped up with a glue gun in one hour!! It would definitely not still be here today. Probably not really a good example but you can see where I am coming from.

Successful design and decoration comes from good planning, having a realistic budget, and using professional qualified contractors. Then your interior design or decorating project will stand the test of time!

These TV programs set unrealistic …

The Real but Managable Behind the Scenes Side of Design - Bad Debt

Those two words that make your hair stand on end!

Bad Debt.

This is what happens at the end of your job, when you have done all the work, the client has the finished product, a lovely home or new office. Throughout the design and construction time you have been their best friend, held their hand (so to speak) the whole way through the process, answered phone calls at crazy times - thanks modern technology, and literally bent over backwards to make sure they have a top class job and in the most professional way you know how.

Then, you send out your invoice, often at a reduced fee because you undervalue your time and don't think that you can really charge them for all the phone calls and extra hand holding meetings. Here is the first mistake! If you don't charge enough the client will not value your time and expertise. You need to charge at least market rate and don't give anything away, you are only cheating yourself.

Then the client that has been the hotline to your phone for…

Choosing Fabrics That You Like

I can't believe it, a designer of my experience cannot pick fabrics for her own house!

I went looking today to find drapery fabrics to use in our home. We have lived with cream thermal curtain linings for 4 years now, apart from Pooh Bear curtains in my daughter's room, and it really is time for some action! I know, how could I put up with it as a designer, well, they just sort of blended in with the walls and being a busy person, they just grew on you.

Daily I see fabrics and I think, "oh, that's gorgeous, I love that and this fabric would look perfect in my living room, fantastic texture, brilliant colors etc, etc". Then when I do decide to go out and find fabrics for my home, do you think I see anything that takes my fancy? NO! What a pain. My daughter came with me, she took about 30 seconds to find what she wanted, fairies of course, but she did have a small dilemma between pink or lilac, of course pink won! I think she is sleeping with the hanger as I write! N…

Crazy Cushions on Window Seat

I have recently stayed in this wonderful home on a lakefront surrounded by mountains, and idyllic retreat, apart from the cushions. The house was once a bed and breakfast ( a boutique type of hotel), the bedrooms are all the same with all the same decoration - makes life easier when you need to replace the sheets or bed coverings I suppose! These were in mocha brown tones by the way, just to set the mood of the room! Then to my surprise on top of a tan micro suede window seat cover were about 12 cushions. The ranged in color from white with a black floral motif, to plain lime green. I will talk about the others in between later.
I was asked to comment on the decor and I said that the cushions are refreshing. That was being kind! The room was simple there was no sense of anyone that lived there, the bed had no bed head, there was simple dark stained pine furniture - side tables and a set of drawers the built in timber was pale rimu. There was nothing in the book shelves on lonely pictur…

Make your Kitchen Efficient, Keep it Organized

After spending a week in a holiday house and trying to cook using someone else's kitchen, I just about went bananas! I then realized why I like cook in my own kitchen, because I know where everything is and I can find it in an instant. It makes my life easy, from preparing meals to putting away the dishes, everything in my kitchen has a home. This way when you need it it will always be there.
How do you do this? You need to prioritize your kitchen. Sit down and think about what you use all the time and put that in a place that is readily accessible. If you make tea and coffee frequently, then keep your coffee, tea and sugar in good looking jars and keep them on the bench beside your kettle or a shelf nearby. Ensure that the cups and mugs are in a cupboard close. You would be surprised how much you walk around in your kitchen taking things out and putting them back into cupboards, drawers and the refrigerator. This is great if you are working on a count your steps training diet with…