Neale Whi­taker:

His on­line bi­og­ra­phy might say oth­er­wise, but he ad­mits to dis­or­derly con­duct.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING -

Too many cush­ions, throws and over-the-top flo­ral ar­range­ments in bath­rooms are Neale’s pet dis­likes. He lives by the mantra ‘less is more’.” So reads my bio on The Block web­site. OK, let’s talk.

I could just close my front door and hope no­body vis­its for the next few years. Or – be­ing the hon­est, up­stand­ing chap that I am – I could sim­ply con­fess. I have clut­ter. There are 100 works of art on the walls of my home (I’ve just counted them) and 22 shelves groan­ing be­neath the weight of hun­dreds of books. That’s not count­ing the ver­tig­i­nous free­stand­ing piles that have taken on sculp­tural forms. And no, I don’t colour code the spines, since you ask. Two small so­fas share 12 cush­ions in my liv­ing room and up­stairs in the bed­room it’s a sim­i­lar tale. Dam­mit, we even have bol­sters to bal­last the cush­ions.

But as with good and bad fats, there’s good and bad clut­ter. Books, photos and art are all the things that bring a home alive. The best ad­vice I can of­fer would-be clut­ter­ers is to keep the pal­ette neu­tral and hold back on pat­tern. Make space for mir­rors amid the art­works and bal­ance clut­ter with clean. My liv­ing room might be crowded with mem­o­ries but my kitchen is light-filled and min­i­mal.

I love that my on­line bio spec­i­fies that I dis­like over-the-top plant life in bath­rooms, as that al­lows the odd cac­tus or suc­cu­lent – which is per­fectly

ac­cept­able, though mind the spikes. I ac­tu­ally de­test OTT flo­ral ar­range­ments any­where (other than na­ture), but I smiled when I read that com­ment. There have been some real doozies in my 10 sea­sons of The Block, but I think it was some par­tic­u­larly scratchy this­tles in one bath­room and a sus­pended macramé bas­ket of fo­liage in an­other that earned me my anti-green rep­u­ta­tion.

And when it comes to throws, I’m guilty as charged. Throws bring chaos to order. Can I tell you how many be­d­rooms and liv­ing rooms I’ve judged over the years that have been ru­ined by the lazy toss of a throw? I would rather see an un­made bed. But if you’re de­ter­mined to throw, then at least limit it to one per room and think about fold­ing it neatly over the arm of a favourite chair. You’ll be amazed by how much bet­ter – and calmer – it looks. Now don’t get me started on slo­gan mugs… Neale Whi­taker is ed­i­tor-in-chief of Vogue Liv­ing.

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