The most important part of creating a home is considering how it should feel, says interior designer Lauren Li of Sisällä Interior Design. She suggests focusing on a concept first, and how a space can meet your needs, before even considering colour schemes and finishes. “Paint colour is often the very last thing that is chosen,” Lauren says. “There are so many other constraints in a project and, since there are almost an infinite amount of paint colours, it’s left until last.” When she is at that final stage, Lauren often uses Dulux Natural White. “It’s fresh, contemporary and versatile, and it’s not too creamy,” she says. And although white is renowned for its space-enhancing qualities, it’s not Lauren’s go-to wall colour in all cases. “White can be the worst colour to use in some spaces, especially in a small dark room where it can look drab and depressing,” she explains. “Embrace the cosiness and paint every wall a gorgeous colour. When one colour is used on the walls and combined with other similar tones, the space can feel calm and harmonious.” An example of this is the studio’s own retail showroom, The Apartment by Sisällä, where each room has been painted a different colour. “It makes the space feel amazing to spend time in,” says Lauren. To help her clients get comfortable with colour, Lauren paints up large A1-sized boards. “I’ll move them around the space to determine the wall colour, which also helps my clients visualise how the colour will look in the space.” She also advises that you consider the overall effect you want to create in your home. “We recently used a custom-made dark green by Porter’s Paints in the kitchen space at The Apartment that feels calm and serene.” When it comes to choosing artwork, Lauren’s biggest tip is to mix original work with prints. “By combining higherpriced original pieces with limited-edition prints, the whole display is elevated,” she says. How you display your art can alter the mood of a zone, too. “A salon hang gives a casual and exciting feel. I like salon hangs that aren’t too contrived, that feel like they can keep being added to. I also like using a ledge and layering pieces along it. It’s a great way to swap out artwork without making holes in the wall.” Otherwise, consider using rugs and fabric to add interest and texture to a room. Bouclé is one of Lauren’s favourites, especially Bridget, a linen and wool blend from French fabric house Pierre Frey. She also recommends a new range of textiles by Melbourne designer Annie Coop. “The designs are fresh and playful yet sophisticated.” 0408 838 138; sisalla.com.au
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT Lauren Li shows how colour can set the mood, where a custom colour from Porter’s Paints contrasts with the black fireplace and Stick series wall light, from $717, from LAAL. The artwork is by Eleanor Louise Butt is available from The Apartment by Sisällä; Hat pendant, $910, and watering can, $59, from The Apartment by Sisällä; in this home, built by Mode Projects and decorated by Sisällä, is another artwork by Eleanor Louise Butt from The Apartment by Sisällä. The &Tradition Catch chair sits next to a Nudo hand-woven rug from Halcyon Lake. For stockist details, see page 135.