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Interior design

Interior tips to transform your home

Laura Peppas

If you’ve ever walked into an interiors store with a clear purpose before suddenly becoming completely overwhelmed and leaving empty handed, you’re not alone.

Shopping for the home can be a daunting experience: when there’s so many different textures, designs and fabrics to choose from, how do you know if they’ll look any good once they’re in your own space?

Sometimes all you need is a little nudge in the right direction, and luckily help is on its way. On Saturday 25 June, experts from Sydney’s International School of Colour and Design will host an interiors workshop at Canberra Outlet Centre, where they will share their home styling tips and trends, including how to decorate on a budget and find key pieces to suit your lifestyle. There will also be a Q & A at the end of the session, and guests will receive a free style bag to take home.

Canberra-based interior stylist Anna Ciaccia is working with Canberra Outlet Centre to offer interior inspiration for customers. Ahead of the workshop, we grilled Anna for a few of her top tips.

Draw inspiration from the city you live in

Canberra’s cool, dry weather is the perfect opportunity to embrace warm, deep hues and wood elements. “When it’s cold outside, it’s nice to come home to a warm space, and you can create that through your interior styling,” says Anna. “Hues such as maroons, burgundy and shades of purple create a sense of warmth beautifully and are classic colours which will age well.” If you don’t feel like committing, switch it up with the seasons using low-cost accessories such as pillows and throws from stores like Adairs, Provincial Home Living or Early Settler. “Canberra has such beautiful colours as we have the full four seasons, so for instance you can use burnt orange or red pillows or throws in autumn, replicating those beautiful leaves, while in summer you can switch it up and go for blue, turquoise or cream.”

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Cushions and throws from Adairs. Photo: Instagram

Light up your space

Being creative with lighting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform a room, says Anna. “I’m a big believer in lighting, because it really sets the mood,” she says. “You can opt for lamps or pendant lighting for your living area, or task lighting over dining room tables or under counter slight strips. I also think with ceiling lights and lamps, you can add a bit of personality and places like Pottery Barn have a great range out there at the moment.”

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Pottery Barn. Photo: Instagram

Work your way up

Although it can be tempting to purchase all your furniture in the one go if you love the in-store display, it’s more realistic to start with larger items such as sofas and dining tables and be guided from them, says Anna. “If you get everything in the one go, it can look really staged and overly put together. You should work towards dressing those larger items such as your sofa and then get your artwork and other accessories. Your room will then look more lived in and homey, rather than straight from the showroom.”

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Couch from Freedom. Photo: Instagram.

Who says neutral has to be boring?

When in doubt, a neutral backdrop will last the test of time, says Anna. “A neutral backdrop is the most cost-effective option because it doesn’t date and you can really play it up with accessories to inject colour into the space,” she says. “Neutral doesn’t have to be white – for instance with sofas you can opt for nice beiges, chocolates or blacks, which can take your space to a more sophisticated level. Stores like Freedom have a great range of neutral couches, while Provincial Home Living has some great pieces too. I’ve been seeing a lot of lounges in heavy blues or turquoises at the moment, but you have to ask yourself ‘will I like that colour next year?’ Sometimes if you like the shade of the moment, it’s better to buy it in a cheaper item such as a cushion or coaster instead.”

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Provincial Home Living. Photo: Instagram

What’s old is new again

Anna is a big believer in repurposing furniture, which is not only cost effective but an easy way to revamp your living space. “You’d be surprised, but moving furniture that you’ve already got in one space to a different space can completely change the whole look of your home,” says Anna. “Even changing the fabric on a chair can make a massive difference. If you’re someone who likes to reinvent your own furniture after a while, it pays to spend a bit extra on something well-made, to last you in the long run if you do want to get it re-upholstered.”

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A chair from Early Settler. Photo: Instagram

the essentials

What: Interiors Workshop with International School of Colour and Design
When: Two sessions; 11am and 12.30pm on Saturday, 25 June 2016
Where: Canberra Outlet Centre, 337 Canberra Ave, Fyshwick (workshops will be held outside Caffe Cherry Beans)
How much: Free
Bookings: Bookings essential – please email [email protected] to reserve your place.

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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