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Place three cushions on each bed, hang pendants in the dining room and use dramatic cabinetry in the kitchen … |

Place three cushions on each bed, hang pendants in the dining room and use dramatic cabinetry in the kitchen …

When it comes to sprucing up your home, many homeowners find it difficult to know where to start, what to buy and how much to spend. 

But there are a number of simple and timeless tweaks you can make to completely transform each room and add thousands to the value of your home.


Australian interior designer and property stylist, Justine Wilson, from Vault Interiors, says there are countless easy tricks to making over a space that will stay on trend for years to come – from using wallpaper in the dining room to playing with a stunning grey palette in the bathroom.

Here, FEMAIL speaks to Justine about her top tips for tweaking each room in the home and her advice for ‘renovating for profit’. 

DINING ROOM: ‘DRAMA QUEEN’ 

Top timeless tip for the dining room

Palm Springs inspired palm tree wallpaper paired with white wainscoting is on trend, but has been popular since colonial style interiors.

Wallpaper varies from $80 – $300 a roll depending on the brand and quality. Porters have a great range as do Annandale Paint and Wallpaper.

One of the most easy to apply tricks for the dining room is using overhead pendants. 

‘There are so many glam and affordable pendant light options, or you can opt for an over scale pendant for super impact,’ Justine said.  

‘Metallic lighting fixtures are on trend and always draw the eye, or you can hang a cluster of different size pendants. Even try mixing up the style for an eclectic and unique look; think rattan, powder coated and exposed bulbs all working together in visual harmony.’

Because we spend less time in the dining room, Justine says we can afford to go ‘over the top’ with styling and introduce feature walls or wallpaper. 

Dining room: ‘There are so many glam and affordable pendant light options, or you can opt for an over scale pendant for super impact,’ Justine said, adding that ‘metallic lighting fixtures are on trend and always draw the eye’

‘Both are easy to do, painting is very simple and on trend wallpaper textures like grass cloth are perfect because they never date and have been adding a top end look to spaces for over 50 years,’ Justine said. 

‘Installing wainscoting is another great look. It gives your room instant architecture! The trend is to paint the wooden paneling white, grey or black and then introduce funky wallpaper or a bolder feature colour in the above wall section, creating drama through contrast.

‘Wainscoting is an easy DIY project if you’re handy and the wood moulding is inexpensive from Bunnings. For a builder to install budget can range upwards of $500 depending on room size and the detail wood paneling you require.’

Dining room: To add value to a living or dining room space, try connecting the zones if possible. People gravitate towards open plan living and combing the two areas by removing walls can really add to the feeling of light, function space

LOUNGE ROOM: ‘BE BOLD’

Match cushions to your artworks  

Cushions are around $30 – $40 a piece, try Temple and Webster.

Nice artworks can be found at Urban Road starting from $150 depending on the size required.

When it comes to the lounge room, Justine says it’s all about block and layered colours, pastel tones and cushions. 

‘You can achieve big impact by layering colours. Pick a colour tone that brings the outdoors in, or one that you love, and repeat that colour across art accessories and cushions. This will achieve visual consistency overall,’ Justine said. 

Block colours can also be used to draw the eye and make a space feel warm and inviting. Hot tones right now are Scandi pastel tones in soft pinks, charcoals and light blues with a real woolen or textured feel.

Living room: When it comes to the lounge room, Justine says it’s all about block and layered colours, pastel tones and cushions

Living room: ‘You can achieve big impact by layering colours. Pick a colour tone that brings the outdoors in, or one that you love, and repeat that colour across art accessories and cushions. This will achieve visual consistency overall,’ Justine said

‘Or, why not go glam inspired colours such as burgundy, burnt orange, cobalt and emerald. These are rich deep tones that look stunning in velvets.’

Justine also recommends matching the tone of the cushions to a feature artwork for a very tailored scheme.  

‘A stylist trick is to pull a full scheme from a nice colourful piece of art or a print. Adding these elements to your living space will transform the feeling and is easy to update as season change,’ she said.  

Living room: Justine also recommends matching the tone of the cushions to a feature artwork for a very tailored scheme

Living room: ‘A stylist trick is to pull a full scheme from a nice colourful piece of art or a print. Adding these elements to your living space will transform the feeling and is easy to update as season change,’ she said

BEDROOM: ‘DRESS FOR THE OCCASION’ 

Jazz up the space with a headboard 

For a store bought one, they range from $600 up to $1500 depending on detail of headboard and style. There are plenty of options at bednest

As we spend a great deal of time in the bedroom, it’s important to keep it feeling snug, stylish and visually pleasing. 

Cushions play a huge role in this, with Justine suggesting we scatter cushions in a group of three on the bed. 

‘You can mix up the colours or get three tonal ones. It’s nice to match the colours with the throw. Use throws at the foot of the bed, you can layer two or three in varying sizes on the bed in the cooler months. Your bedroom will look extra snug!’ She said. 

Bedroom’ ‘You can mix up the cushion colours or get three tonal ones. It’s nice to match the colours with the throw. Use throws at the foot of the bed, you can layer two or three in varying sizes on the bed in the cooler months,’ Justine said

The area above the bed is also important, with wallpaper, artworks or a nice mirror a perfect addition to the space.

Another simple yet hugely effective addition to any bedroom is a headboard. 

‘Headboards are an easy DIY project if you get the right size MDF cut from Bunnings and select the fabric you want from Spotlight – then all you need is a staple gun and some glue and instant glamour,’ Justine said. 

‘A headboard will finish a room and I suggest keeping it neutral, taupe, charcoal grey or linen, then the feature cushions and throw can be the punch of colour! This makes it easy to swap up seasonally and you can mix and match contrasting colours anytime of the year for a fresh vibe.’ 

Bedroom: The area above the bed is also important, with wallpaper, artworks or a nice mirror a perfect addition to the space

Bedroom: Wallpaper, shelving and mirrors are also great ways to spruce up the space 

BATHROOM: ‘A LUXE EDGE’

Introduce accent colours with towels  

I have always loved missoni towels shop at Top3 by design

These can be changed according to your mood or the seasons easily too! 

According to Justine, the bathroom is should be a modern, luxe space with lots of metallics, marble and neutral colours. 

For a timeless glam pop, use metallic accessories such as scented candles, gold bowls for soaps or beautiful hanging feature lighting pendants,’ she said. 

‘Remember, adding a luxe edge is not over the top but has big impact. Kmart has the best range of inexpensive metallic accessories. 

‘Consider updating your tap ware to matt black, gold or rose gold tape ware for an on trend statement feature. 

Bathroom: According to Justine, the bathroom is should be a modern, luxe space with lots of metallics, marble and neutral colours

‘Also introduce accent colours with the bath towels and flowers, which help add decadence and luxury to the space, whilst also creating a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.’

Coloured natural materials like marble are also recommended for the bathroom as they will always give the space an upmarket and glamorous feeling. 

‘Just quietly, green marble is making a big comeback. This will be the most expensive addition, but marble is really timeless and will always add value,’ Justine said. 

‘Also consider wood grain laminate or veneer for your joinery cabinetry. This is a subtle way to introduce colour and it can be inexpensive just to update the doors, rather than install new cabinetry.’

Bathroom: Coloured natural materials like marble are also recommended for the bathroom as they will always give the space an upmarket and glamorous feeling

KITCHEN: ‘ALL ABOUT ACCESSORIES’

Embrace colourful accessories in the kitchen 

Remember that colour accents can be introduced through funky appliances like Smeg fridges, Kitchen Aid mixers, Delongi kettles and toasters.

Try appliances online for affordable options and a great range .

For potential resale appeal and overall longevity, Justine suggests going with more neutral tones for counter selections and bench tops. 

‘You can play with deeper colours for the cabinetry dramatic visual contrast (especially if you are looking at polytec or laminex with beautiful wood look finishes,’ Justine said. 

‘You can always change out cabinetry doors in the future easily enough (if you get sick of the colouring) where as the stone counter is more expensive to remove or update down the track (especially if you have under mount sinks and integrated appliances). 

‘If the task of swapping out cabinetry doors is too big for you, another option is to simply paint them with white knight laminate paint, or just update the hardware. Bunnings has many handles and I’m a big fan of gold or brass at the moment, which has made a comeback and has always been fun and different.’

According to Justine, the colour in the kitchen should come from the accessories.  

Kitchen: For potential resale appeal and overall longevity, Justine suggests going with more neutral tones for counter selections and bench tops

Kitchen: ‘You can play with deeper colours for the cabinetry dramatic visual contrast (especially if you are looking at polytec or laminex with beautiful wood look finishes,’ Justine said

OUTDOORS: ‘AN EXTENSION OF INDOORS’

Style the outside area with an outdoor rug 

Outdoor rugs are very affordable and range from $200 for a 2x3m size. Try AU Rugs. Much cheaper than re-sanding a deck or putting in new outdoor pavers but will give you an instant uplift.

Outdoor areas are often neglected, with many forgetting to utilise them in favour of indoor furnishings – but this is a big mistake. 

‘Outdoor zones such as balconies, courtyards, gardens or decks should be used as an extension of the inside living spaces,’ Justine said. 

‘Add seating with a pop of accent colour via accessories cushions or outdoor rugs.

Another great tip for outdoor spaces is creating a large feature pot plant. 

‘Go bold with your accent colour and consider a large orange or blue glazed pot with a large palm or yucca plant,’ Justine said. 

‘They make a great visual feature and nice pots can be found anywhere from $50 at Kmart up to a few hundred for a hand glazed number.’ 

Outdoors: ‘Outdoor zones such as balconies, courtyards, gardens or decks should be used as an extension of the inside living spaces,’ Justine said

Outdoors: ‘Go bold with your accent colour and consider a large orange or blue glazed pot with a large palm or yucca plant,’ Justine said

FACADE: ‘MAKE AN IMPRESSION’

Update your door knob 

I prefer gloss paint and updating the door handles with fun over scale brass knobs – an easy cheap update. 

Try early settler for hardware.

This is the first thing people see when they arrive at your home, and first impressions count for a lot – especially when your home is on the market.  

In addition to a fresh coat of paint, Justine recommends making any repairs and creating a clear pathway.  

‘Ensure you repair any outside damage such as broken fencing, guttering or outdoors lights. A definitive path to the front door is key to the flow of the home,’ she said. 

Facade: ‘Ensure you repair any outside damage such as broken fencing, guttering or outdoors lights. A definitive path to the front door is key to the flow of the home,’ Justine said

‘If you don’t have a pathway, create one with stepping-stones or hedges or white pebbles inexpensive and found at Bunnings.’

Feature plants, accessories and a bold door colour are also advised. 

‘Add a few low maintenance feature plants such as succulents or introduce pops of colour through bright hanging baskets, fill any empty garden beds with mulch or wood chips and replace any dried up grass with fresh lawn,’ Justine said. 

‘To finalise the look, paint your front door a bold colour, have fun and make your home stand out! Set the tone for your stylish and colourful interiors by painting your front door yellow, blue, orange or hot pink. It’s a classic trick that has been embraced in English terrace houses and will certainly add instant character to your home. 

MULTIFUNCTION SPACES 

Get a smaller desk 

Desks don’t have to be large! 

Consider using hall table or console; these are the perfect size for a laptop and won’t feel too heavy. 

A nice console can be around $200 upwards, try Interiors Online for desks and consoles and find a nice desk chair at glicks

Sunrooms, studies and guest rooms should all serve as multifunction spaces in the home. 

‘Rethink existing dual-purpose zones – a sunroom could become an office zone and sitting area by just adding a desk and nice occasional chair,’ Justine said. 

‘A guest bedroom could have a fold out sofa bed and a desk and chair, instead of one large bed. This means the room will not only feel larger, but will also be utilised more often.

I also love the ghost chairs, which are about $100, never go out of date and look fab with a faux fur throw on top!’ 

Justine has over ten years of experience in the field, ranging from set design, custom interior design, property styling and photography styling. Justine started Vault Interiors in 2010.

Study: ‘Rethink existing dual-purpose zones – a sunroom could become an office zone and sitting area by just adding a desk and nice occasional chair,’ Justine said

Justine’s top tips on ‘renovating for profit’ 

Justine has over ten years of experience in the field

Justine has over ten years of experience in the field

BATHROOM 

* A complete bathroom renovation will set you back on average between $15,000-20,000 depending on the size of the bathroom and the quality of finishes you opt for.

*If you go the whole hog, think about using large-scale tiles, freestanding bathtubs and waterfall showerheads for a designer look. 

* A grey colour palette paired with natural stone is on trend. Spraying old bathroom tiles white is also an affordable way to spruce up your space. These quick tricks will set you back closer to the $3,000 mark. 

LIVING AND DINING ROOM 

* To add value to a living or dining room space, try connecting the zones if possible. People gravitate towards open plan living and combing the two areas by removing walls can really add to the feeling of light, function space.

* Costing will depend on the structure of the existing property, if you require a support beam this can set you back anywhere from $30,000 -$50,000 depending on the scale of your renovation and how much you adapt the current floor plan. 

* For a quick makeover consider painting all the current walls white and installing floating timber floors. This will be less costly than a full renovation, but will give any home a modern feel.

STUDY

* The key to making profit from a study is to add ample storage and function. Think inbuilt bookshelves and a floating desk system. 

* Make sure that there are ample power, data points and task lighting is also important. 

* Nice joinery will set you back anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000 depending on the material (laminate or polyurethane or solid wood). Think about extending your kitchen or wardrobe joinery to create a study nook either off the kitchen or in a bedroom.

KITCHEN 

*Kitchens sell houses, so choosing to renovate your kitchen can be a wise decision. If renovating for profit, opt for mid range appliances and stone counters the majority of people will be looking for both. 

* Cupboards can be laminate if on a budget or custom polyurethane for a more designer edge. Most buyers prefer neutral tones in kitchen design so think white/greys and avoid bold colours as it can be too taste specific.

* A quality mid range kitchen will usually cost around $20,000. If at all possible try to incorporate a kitchen island (which may mean removing walls) it will be money well spent and will create the open plan scenario buyers like. 

FACADE

* Street appeal is very important and making sure the front of your home looks well maintained is key to creating a good impression. Consider painting the facade prior to sale. Colourbond has some great exterior colours.

* Fix any issues such as damaged fencing, guttering or broken outdoor lights. Having a definite path to the front door is key and often overlooked.

*  If you don’t have a path, create one with stepping-stones or hedges and woodchip. It may cost anywhere from a few thousand to $5,000 to get the front of your property right – but is money well spent. 

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