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11 interior styling tips for the creative homeowner

How do you turn a house into a home? We invited Deepti Chadda, creative director at Big Blue Trunk, a local brand that offers interior styling services as well as upcycling workshops, to share with us her tips on styling a home — whether you have just moved into it or have lived in the space for many years. 

Include items that tell your story

Select your favourite art pieces, travel finds and mementos to display. Frame the handwritten poem your kid gave you and display it above the piano, or put up a small wedding photo on an accent table in the living room. Do not display everything and anything, though, or it will appear cluttered or something out of a hoarder’s room.

Designed by Box.ID.

Include a gallery wall

A gallery wall is today’s feature wall, but much more fun, individual and easy to do. Every gallery wall is different because its a personal selection of art, memorable events, travels, and relationships. Here's how:

  1. Choose the wall you will feature
  2. Select items that represent where you come from, what you value, your passions, and who inspires you.
  3. Spice things up with macrame plant hangers, fabric hoop art, neon signs and clocks.
  4. Once you’ve got a good selection of art, plan the layout and do a mock up if possible. Happy with the way it’s looking? Go ahead and put it up on your wall!

Learn from nature 

interior design and styling tip big blue trunkLucy Tiffney is an award winning design studio that sells large-scale, bold murals and beautiful wallpapers.

Nature will never go out of style and terrariums, green walls and potted plants can instantly make a space come alive. However, our little plant friends do require daily care and take time and attention to maintain. A less fussy way of going green is bringing in botanical prints in the form of artwork, soft furnishings, botanical themed furniture or wallpaper -- just like this home in Commonwealth! Try Lucy Tiffney wallpaper (pictured).  

Mix styles and colours

Eclectic interiors are replacing the matchy-matchy concept. We are seeing more juxtapositions such as modern interiors with a vintage statement piece, or calm cool colours with a pop of neon. Be brave — get that white and pink Beni Ouarain Moroccan rug, a marble coffee table with rose gold legs, a vintage typewriter and that deep blue velvet couch. You can also do mismatched sofa and armchair combinations.

Upcycle it 

interior design and styling tip annie sloan singapore

If you have a well-loved piece of furniture that doesn't fit with your decor anymore or a precious antique piece that’s too dark for our tropical climate and could do with a makeover, revitalise it with a little bit of paint and ornaments. I’ve upcycled everything from furniture to light fixtures, plant pots, bird cages, toys — the list is endless!

Big Blue Trunk offers a range of creative workshops that teach participants how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax to upcycle furniture & decorative objects.

Bling it on with metallic accents

interior design and styling tip metallic accents singaporeA chair painted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Gilding Waxes.

Metallic accents are all the rage. Pantone even highlighted it as an up-and-coming trend last year. However, be sparing in how you use metallics; light fixtures, metallic highlights on art, shimmering fabrics, and small ornaments are all easy and delicate ways of adding a bit of sparkle to any room. These 12 homes pulled off the metallic look perfectly.

Check out Annie Sloan’s Metallic Gilding Waxes, which is perfect if you want to hand-paint furniture, fabric or ornaments. It is available in warm gold, bright gold, copper, dark silver and bright silver. You can even use them with Lisboa Stencil, from Royal Design Studios, to create gilded shapes, lines and designs.

Add a touch of whimsy

Whimsical styling is all about adding a touch of the unexpected to your decor. Throw caution to the wind for a moment and let your inner child free! Start by collecting things that make you smile or objects that bring happy memories. I can think of a pink flamingo head, bird cages filled with twinkling lights, a spruced up vintage typewriter, and juju hats. Think about how you will place these objects in the room, keeping in mind the functional design and shape of the space.

Mirror, mirror on the wall 

interior design and styling tip singapore mirrorsImage: Urban Outfitters

Mirrors are beautiful, eclectic pieces that make your space seem brighter and lighter. They come in so many shapes, finishes, frames and sizes and are super fun to play with. I’m currently loving foxed, mottled and antiqued mirrors with all their mystery and intrigue. The other thing with mirrors is that they don’t always need to be practical - if you love it, get it!

Dress those floors

Use a rug as an anchor point in your space to tie in your furniture, art and lighting. Scale, size, colour and texture are the four things to consider when selecting a rug. For a grand effect, go for a wall to wall rug and place all your furniture on top of it. For a more eclectic look, layer your rugs and use different shapes and sizes. A rug is a great way to introduce texture and colour to your space. The most important tip I have is to treat your rug as an investment. Be practical, get a rug that’s high quality and fits your needs, something that will last you for years to come.

how to suse rugs, interior design and styling tip singapore Living DNA's store has rugs in various shapes and materials!

Get the lighting right

Lighting is everything! It is the most impactful element in any space and can immediately set the mood. Home & Decor senior writer and new homeoner, Domenica Tan, went shopping for lighting and wrote a guide for it.

However, the rule of thumb is to take advantage of whatever natural light you have in your space. Instead of heavy curtains, go for thin gauzy materials that allow filtered light into your room even when drawn. Next, add as much soft lighting as you can —- table lamps, candle votives, lanterns, bird cages with fairy lights, neon light signs….not only do these balance out ceiling lights, but they also add a softer more romantic touch to a room. And finally, if you’re a bit eclectic like me, use your lighting fixtures to make a statement as art pieces, or to add that metallic shine to your space!

how to style your home singaporeUpcycled furniture by Big Blue Trunk

The power of negative space

A fermata in music, the lull before a storm, an eloquent pause in a speech — an absence can make a lasting impression. The concept of negative space in interior design is just that — it is breathing space. It frames the objects you use to decorate your room, and gives them the space to shine. So, resist the urge to fill each and every wall and surface of your space. Embrace blankness and allow it to frame the objects that you want eyes to focus on.

One way to assess this is to take a step back and view your room from where it’s most frequently looked at, then start an elimination exercise. Move things around, or remove something that isn’t really needed and see if it helps you achieve a more harmonious visual effect. Sometimes it’s not about what you include, but what you choose to leave out.

This story was written by Deepti Chadda of Big Blue Trunk, with additional reporting by Eliza H.

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