Stylish so­lu­tions to all your de­sign dilem­mas

Each is­sue, we’ll find stylish so­lu­tions to all your dec­o­rat­ing and de­sign dilem­mas from those in the know

Inside Out (Australia) - - Contents - Send us your ques­tions via Face­book or In­sta­gram, or email

de­signer tip Dark tex­tured fabric hides a mul­ti­tude of sins – as does a wellplaced cush­ion!

QI need an over­head fan in the din­ing room. How can I work in a nice light­ing plan around that? Jenni, via Face­book When de­sign­ing your light­ing plan, you should fo­cus on lay­er­ing the light­ing sources to in­clude am­bi­ent light – ideal for gen­eral il­lu­mi­na­tion – plus ac­cent light­ing for fo­cal points and scenic light­ing for dec­o­ra­tive ef­fects. To avoid light flick­er­ing, which can hap­pen with tra­di­tional down­lights and a fan, con­sider ver­ti­cal il­lu­mi­na­tion us­ing spe­cially de­signed wall wash­ers to cre­ate a beau­ti­ful cast of light. Then add a com­bi­na­tion of lamps for ac­cent light­ing, ei­ther a fea­ture floor lamp or a ta­ble lamp placed on fur­ni­ture or shelv­ing, mixed into a vi­gnette of care­fully se­lected ac­ces­sories.

QWould you rec­om­mend fabric or leather as a bet­ter choice for my new sofa, tak­ing into ac­count small kids? Theresa, via email “Both fabric and leather so­fas are great choices, pro­vided you’re pre­pared to pro­tect and main­tain them,” says Alex Butta, in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor at Free­dom (free­dom. “Cor­rected-grain leather is a durable op­tion for fam­i­lies with kids, as it offf­fers pro­tec­tion against marks and is eas­ily cleaned. Full-grain leather wears beau­ti­fully over time but bears ev­i­dence of ev­ery scratch. Fabric so­fas in a medium-to-dark shade or with a tex­tu­ral fin­ish are rec­om­mended for an ac­tive fam­ily as they con­ceal mi­nor stains and can be spot-cleaned. Opt for a man-made blend, such as polyester, as they are in­cred­i­bly hard-wear­ing.”

QHow can my side­board sit flflush against the skirt­ing board? Should I have skirt­ing on the built-in cab­i­netry ei­ther side of my fire­place? Kirsty, via In­sta­gram “Skirt­ing is an at­trac­tive way to cover the wall-to-floor join,” says Colin McKenzie, prod­uct man­ager at Porta ( “Most fur­ni­ture rests against the skirt­ing, so there’s a gap be­tween the wall and side­board. To avoid this, choose a de­sign with an ex­tended top to bridge the gap. For built-in cup­boards, skirt­ings can be re­moved to al­low the unit to fit snugly against the wall. It’s not usual to run skirt­ing boards in front of cab­i­netry, but you can en­sure the kicker at the bot­tom of the cab­i­netry is the same height as the skirt­ing for a co­he­sive look.”

QI love the look of ver­ti­cal shiplap cladding – can I use it in­ter­nally? Do you have any tips on in­stal­la­tion? Sam, via Face­book “The shiplap look is of­ten used in clas­sic Amer­i­can homes and works well in Aus­tralia for a coastal or Hamp­tons-style home,” says Steve Pisani, na­tional builder busi­ness man­ager at James Hardie (scyon. “One of the quick­est and eas­i­est ways to get the look is to use a cladding board like Axon, which can be at­tached di­rectly to the frame or be ap­plied to walls – a good tip is to use a nail with a tiny pin­head so when you paint it, you won’t see the nail. These boards are wa­ter- and rot-re­sis­tant, so they’re per­fect for wet ar­eas like the bath­room (ex­cept in the im­me­di­ate shower area) or laun­dry. They come primed, sealed and ready to paint.”

Lisa Koehler is the in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor on our ren­o­va­tion spe­cial­ists Panel (for more on the Panel, turn to page 130). Here, she ex­plains fan-ready light­ing.

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