Moving into a new house often comes with a litany of expenses, but upgrading the interior design and bringing your new space to life, doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
People often view the renovation process as a ‘start from scratch’ project. But this concept isn’t always feasible and financially responsible for people who are on a tighter budget. Tom & I wanted to work with the existing foundations, but infuse our own individual accents. I relied on my 7 “go to” design hacks to infuse calm, glamour and some fresh creativity to help make our new house, our home.
1) A neutral colour palette
Earthy, neutral colour schemes work seamlessly with most tones. Think of the neutral colour palette akin to the interior design version of a timeless capsule wardrobe. A solid foundation, provides the perfect canvas to mix and match designs easily, without having to constantly splurge on new purchases. Many pieces in my new home have been transported from my previous abode, including my dining table, bar stool, arm chair and coffee table. They’re classic items that effortlessly adapt to different surroundings, owing to their calm colours.
2) Reupholster Furniture
Including furniture and household items that have been passed down from generation to generation definitely gives the house a cosy, warm atmosphere. But sometimes, it isn’t always that practical because the fabric can become dishevelled overtime. But here’s a great tip: instead of replacing it with a brand new item, you can get your furniture reupholstered for a fraction of the price. I brought some linen and plan on reupholstering a ‘family heirloom’ sofa soon!
3) The Second Hand Economy
I searched the second-hand economy to reduce expenses and scored a second hand sofa on Gumtree, that was 70% off its initial retail price, and it was in mint condition! For Apple, I purchased a vintage Christian Lacroix blanket from a kid’s recycling clothing website, called Retitled. Apple’s bed linen is from a girlfriend’s old bed and so are some of the prints! Most of her toys are hand me downs from Rocco’s or my girlfriends! Reusing older items not only saves you money, but also reduces landfill and aligns with my aim to live a more conscious, zero-waste life.
4) Adding natural features and elements.
Bringing in the outdoor elements into our home evokes a sense of depth. Try adding some gorgeous plants, cuttings, flowers or even driftwood. I decided to invest in an orchid, jade plant, and even a palm tree from Mark The Florist. These plants are gorgeous, but stand the test of time and don’t require much maintenance to thrive. I also purchased succulents, which are very durable in Australian weather and architecturally interesting. For me, it is well worth the investment, as they last longer than supermarket bought flowers. For instance, my orchids can last 3 months. Other natural elements that add sophistication include barnacles and corals. I often browse Simply Shells for some striking and ethically sourced pieces.
Beyond the indoors, I also infused some lush green foliage into the outdoor patio. I worked with Mark The Florist, who is also a landscape designer by trade! We conceptualised the idea of creating a serene oasis, an antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life. The white and green palette emanates this coastal chic aesthetic and is truly a salve for the anxious soul. The white lounge is from Coco Republic and has proven to be very durable. The colour has never faded and the structure has survived some harsh elements. Quality investment is crucial – buy once and use for a lifetime!
5) Lighting & Candles
Lighting up candles at the end of a stressful day brings me a serenity akin to meditating whilst sipping on green juices or herbal teas. But candles themselves add a tranquil zen feel and they don’t have to be expensive to look chic. Some of my favourite candles include Mark The Florist, Lumira and Wild Alchemy. Again, all Australian businesses.
But it’s not just candles! Playing around with the lighting can completely alter the vibe of your house. We carved out a wine storage from an empty wall and the lighting emanating from above makes the area look like another art piece! Candlelit lighting, always creates a gorgeous glow.
6) Use paintings to punctuate blank walls
I love white walls, they add more space and provide that unbeatable feeling of cleanliness and light. Yet sometimes a slew of blank walls can feel empty. To jazz up the vibe and add some character, I hang paintings, prints and photographs. Visuals tell fascinating stories and hold powerful meanings, giving the house more dimension!
It’s important for me to support Australian artists, so when I spotted a stunning painting in my local gallery, I contacted the artist, Matthew Graham Johnson, and requested a custom design! I also love Dina Broadhurst, a Sydney based photographer; her photography looks so high-fashion and glamorous, like it was lifted straight out of Vogue. In line with my love for monochromatic schemes, I display a series of visuals from the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition. These images were given away for free at the end of the exhibition, bargain!
7) Styling with crystals
Strategically placed crystals, imbues an ethereal energy to the house. I love embedding raw elements into the house and creating a fusion of spiritual softness and city chic. It can be easy for our homes to be draped in clutter, but crystals are the perfect antidotes to cut through the noise and add some elegance. I positioned large crystals on stacked books, around sculptures, in small bowls or even in contrasting fair trade baskets. They complement the oceanic touches I’ve included such as corals, shells. My favourite crystals come from The Simple Collection and Spiritus Stones, both Australian owned small businesses that produces dreamy, sustainably sourced crystals.
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is Channel 9’s exclusive ‘money expert’, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.