Ask Alex Finding your creative voice
Discovering your creative voice is as simple as trying a few new things, thinking outside the box and having fun with your space
I love following your colour adventures on social media and I noticed how you use pink in very clever and subtle ways. I never even thought I liked pink but you have really changed my mind about this colour. I want to be able to use it in my home without it being too girly – do you have any suggestions to get me started?
Emma Clyde, Wellington
I won’t lie: I do love a touch of pink in my interiors. It’s such a sympathetic and versatile shade that easily complements other colours, as well as giving a space a sense of warmth. It has more depth than white and can be used as a neutral or a complementary colour to cooler shades such as grey, blue and green. I recently added a beautiful blush shade to a charcoal, black and white bedroom and it was the perfect colour to offset the palette.
Pink is the colour of happiness and carries light-hearted connotations that remind us of the carefree days of childhood, thereby creating a soothing effect. It is also associated with good health and contentment (for instance, to be “tickled pink”). In interiors, pink creates a sense of comfort and calm.
Dulux recently released more than 120 new pinks that will get your creative juices flowing, from barely-there blushes such as ‘Tokaanu’ and ‘Parihaka’ to dirty pinks like ‘Point England’ and ‘Otautau’, and more intense pinks like ‘Techno Pink’ and ‘Vivian Street’.
If you are a little hesitant, start with pink touches such as a feature wall behind the bed, in the laundry or in a smaller space. Painting skirtings or the edge of a door could be just enough pink for you to decide if you like it or not. If painting seems too extreme, try adding homeware such as cushions, pillowcases, throws and artwork. Baby pink = baby steps!
Lastly, just do it – it’s a very intuitive thing to listen to how a colour makes you feel, and finding your own colour voice is half the battle. Hello Alex
We have a large den area that we have recently added to a garage renovation. We have run out of money for furniture at this point (it’s a huge space) but are hoping you might have some ideas for a stopgap until we can afford a large sofa unit. Our kids range in age from nine to 16 so it really needs to accommodate them. The Wilson family, Ashburton Lucky kids! This sounds like a fun space to fit out. Right, let’s get our budget hats on and come up with some ideas for how you can complete this room without breaking the bank.
+ First, figure out what money you can spend on this space – knowing your budget is crucial for any interior design project because it dictates what price range you will be focusing on. For this scenario, I’m aiming for the lower end.
+ Map out the room and work out how the space will be organised. This is especially important in large spaces that can be divided into zones. Grab some graph paper and make a scale diagram of the space. When options present themselves, you can sketch them out to see if they fit into your plan.
+ Once you know what you need, you can spend time searching. Focus on sale items, secondhand shops and preloved websites. Local Facebook pages are ideal if you don’t want to pay for freight as shipping can make a cheap piece of furniture a lot more expensive. The key is to make sure you are
100 percent sure an item will fit the space. Don’t forget to check it will fit through the door, too!
+ If the perfect item does not present itself, use a mix of pieces but create cohesion by covering them with complementary throws and covers.
+ Use alternatives to hard furniture and fill the room with beanbags, floor cushions, hanging chairs and beds. These could even double as extra sleeping space next time you have guests to stay.
+ The trick is to get creative. If you have any handy people available, maybe you can make some sofa bases out of pallets and top them with re-covered mattresses? Have fun with the space, try some new things and think outside the box.
mug cushion duvet cover 4
1 JS Ceramics half-dipped in pink sand, $32, from Tea Pea. 2 Kip & Co velvet pea in peach sorbet, $90, from Alex & Corban. Flax linen in rosewood, $250, from Alex & Corban. New Zealand sheepskin throw in Malaga, $269, from Allium.