From styling secrets and choosing a colour palette to where to shop for homewares, we asked the experts to share their top interior design tips.


Author and editorial director at online retailer Temple & Webster


Ms McCartney believes in seasonally appropriate decorating. “A change of season is as good an excuse as any to bring new pieces into the home to give your interior a shot of style, ” she said.


This winter, she is opting for a “low-key luxe” feel by integrating a few key decor items. “The first is an Icelandic sheepskin, ” she said. “I recently bought one in a pale blue/grey and it’s light enough to throw on a chair but textured and luxurious enough to add some winter warmth.”


The second is velvet cushions. “Something rich and moody with a hint of faded grandeur.”


Another way to update your decor this winter is to bring the outside in by creating a cluster of indoor plants with a mixture of containers. “The copper and leather harness planters by Lightly, available at Temple & Webster, are a great example of style meeting nature, ” Ms McCartney said.

Temple & Webster,



Design associate at online retailer Urban Couture


Whether redecorating, renovating or building, Ms David said that when approaching your interiors you should always begin with a blank canvas. “When you go back to zero you can build from there. Think white walls, ceilings and even white floors.”


She suggested injecting colour using pastels and bright accents. “Accessories will bring life into a room, ” she said. “Finally, layer with lots of different textures such as leather, fur and natural textiles, to bring visual warmth and a luxurious look as well as comfort to your space.”


Urban Couture,



Author, interior designer and stylist


Ms Fricke said her best advice was to become friends with colour. “Colour is everything in design and without some in-depth knowledge of the nuances of colour, your room runs the risk of being rather bitsy.”


Her rule of thumb for beginners is stick to a three-colour palette. “Make sure they belong to the same family — brights with brights, muted tones together.”


She also advised sticking to odd numbers when grouping decorator items. “When creating a vignette of knick-knacks always stick to odd numbers, such as three votives together. That’s unless you have a knock-out signature piece that can stand alone.”


Shannon Fricke,



Interior designer Kim Pearson


Recently named one of Australia’s top women in design by Australian House & Garden magazine, Ms Pearson suggests choosing pieces you love and building a collection around it.


“Nothing guarantees authenticity, longevity and integrity more than this, ” she said. “A bit like building a great wardrobe of clothing with key pieces, start curating a considered collection of furniture items, lighting, art, rugs and accessories.”


They needn’t be expensive but they should be pieces that speak to you. “One approach is to start by investing in a decent item of furniture or art or lighting in each room when starting out, then build on this, ” she said. “Really think about where you spend your money.”


A sofa with well-constructed, classic lines was one such piece. “Good fabric should last six to eight years before you need to think about recovering, ” she said. “Recovering isn’t always cheap but if you’ve invested in a great sofa in a timeless style, you’ll save thousands of dollars if it saves you having to go out and buy new all over again.”


To create mood in a room, Ms Pearson suggests engaging the senses with scent and sparkle.


“Add fresh flowers and a good quality scented candle, ” she said. “Install dimmers on all your light switches and add table and floor lamps to create opportunities for soft, warm lighting.”


She said to think outside the box when it came to lighting fixtures and fittings.


“Lighting provides the perfect chance to introduce something sculptural, colourful, even a bit wacky to a space. Think beyond the standard downlight and embrace the pendant.”


Kim Pearson Interior Designer,



Interior designer and director, Tailorhouse


Ms Burwash has worked with Perth builders on their display homes, where the finishing touches and feel of the home will help sell the design.


She said lighting was often overlooked but was essential to how a room felt. She likes to layer various sources of light. “Look at introducing floor, table or feature pendants that create mood lighting when switched on and are a feature accessory when turned off, ” she said.


Likewise with furnishing: Ms Burwash said layering various items such as fabrics, rugs, cushions and throws with different patterns and textures created interest and provided a personalised feel. “Adding wallpapers with a pattern or texture can give a room that finishing touch and a three-dimensional look.”





 Interior designer, Ambassador Home; owner Angove Street Collective


Mr Baker suggests keeping furniture on a human scale, especially when it comes to big items such as consoles and entertainment units.


“We’re lucky in WA to often have big homes with huge rooms, ” he said. “However, just because you have a very long hall, doesn’t mean your hall console has to be a mile long.”


Instead, Mr Baker suggested grouping items: “Combine your console or entertainment unit with a chair and a floor vase, for example, to add interest and different heights and forms.”


He also recommended choosing a colour scheme then drawing on the entire spectrum. “Use your full palette, including things from the full tonal range of black to white, ” he said. “Even an ivory scheme can use a black accent for contrast.”


Similarly, use a full range of materials from wood, glass and concrete to fabric and paint.


Angove Street Collective,



Former stars of The Block and owners of online retailer Alisa & Lysandra Collections


The twins, best known as the design queens from TV’s The Block, have turned their talents to interior decorating and their retail venture Alisa & Lysandra Collections.


“If you’re decorating a small space don’t be afraid to go big and bold, ” Alisa said.


Lysandra added that winter was the perfect time to add extra layers and textures to rooms with the addition of accessories. “It creates dimension and draws the eye to different areas.”


Alisa & Lysandra Collections,


Top shops


Karen McCartney loves mixing new with vintage and has a couple of Perth retailers she loves to visit. “For retro shopping I suggest Post Irving in Fremantle, ” she said. “I’m also drawn to Empire Homewares’ mix of ceramics, Missoni fabrics, Bonnie and Neil cushions and simple Asian-inspired furniture pieces.”


Shannon Fricke loves iconic brand Thonet for all styles of interiors. “I love their Bentwood chairs in all shapes and sizes — they are a design classic that embody both a feminine and masculine flavour, ” she said. Locally, Thonet is stocked at Katsui Design in Claremont, or visit


“Ruby Star Traders has great, quirky pieces with colour and patterning to love and online store BHLDN ( — part of the Anthropologie Group — is where I source all my little styling knick knacks, ” Ms Fricke said. Ruby Star Traders is distributed via Rosa Brown Agency in Subiaco.


Alisa and Lysandra Fraser say their favourite buys come from Jardan , which has stores throughout Australia. While they don’t have one in Perth, Jardan ships to WA for standard local delivery fees so that Perth clients pay no more than those in Melbourne or Sydney. Call (03) 8581 4988 or visit


© The West Australian

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