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
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. com.au). “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 (porta.com.au). “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. com.au). “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.