What does “getting it right” in the Interior Design of your family home mean? This summary will help.
We’ve spent 24 episodes diving into Interior Design Basics for your family home. In this episode, I wrap up the season, and share some extra tips and ideas for you as well.
Throughout this season, I also shared with you information about our online course, Interior Design 101.
It’s an amazing course, which contains the full versions of all of the interviews I conducted throughout this season, plus loads more helpful info.
What’s brilliant is that we’ve broken each of the interviews into each of the individual questions, so you can literally find exactly what you’re looking for very quickly.
There’s also a design layout video for both bathrooms and kitchens, and I’ll talk a little bit later about the taster quickstart course I created, called the Kitchen Design Challenge, as you may be curious about that too.
If you haven’t checked out Interior Design 101, be sure to do so. It’s a DIY, self-study course, so you can jump in, take your time to work through it, and then grab the template interiors schedule that’s in there, and start working away on your selections for your home.
Here’s your summary of the Interior Design Basics Podcast Season
Episode 1 was about using an interior designer, and why, when and how one may be useful in your project.
There’s often confusion about whether an interior designer is necessary, but anyone who has disappeared down the rabbit hole of researching their selections and trying to choose from 40 different floor tiles will most likely say, in hindsight, an Interior Designer would have been a handy professional to have on their team.
Of greatest concern can be the fact that the Interior Design industry is an unregulated one. This basically means that anyone can call themselves an Interior Designer with no qualifications or experience.
This can mean getting caught out with very little recourse, and given they’re helping you choose finishes and fixtures that will be permanently situated in your home, and that need to function and perform over the long-term, it’s super important to do your due diligence when hiring one.
My guest on this episode, Frances Cosway, Interior Designer and owner of White Pebble Interiors, recommended checking their credentials, their experience, their training and qualifications.
One area where an Interior Designer can be incredibly helpful is in scheduling all your interior selections, and preparing documentation for your interiors, especially wet areas like your bathrooms, laundry, and kitchen.
Having this properly documented enables you to get accurate prices and prevent getting caught out with budget blowouts during your build. Plus, it means you’ll have greater control over the outcome on site, rather than the builder making assumptions about things.
Many homeowners without this documentation find that the allowance in their contract isn’t sufficient only when they’re already in the process of construction, and have to adapt their plans or find the extra money. This can be avoided through the use of an Interior Designer and getting proper drawings done.
In Episode 2, Frances Cosway was back talking with me about the top myths we both hear about interior designers and interior design.
One of the big grey areas in Interior Design is fee structure, and so having frank conversations up front about how an Interior Designer charges you is essential. Do they charge a commission or markup fee on any of the items they source for you? What is included in their scope and what isn’t? What is their hourly rate for any work outside of scope?
Many homeowners use Interior Designers for far more than selections only, but using them as well for building design, construction management and even helping with structural changes, what insurance do they have, and how qualified are they to provide you with this support?
I’ve seen event planners become Interior Designers and then start to advise on things like pool fencing and building structure. These are areas with strict building codes, and liability if things go wrong, so be sure the professional you’re using is across the legal requirements. Don’t assume just because they’re doing it that they are.
Episode 3 kicked off our discussions about flooring, which we dived into a lot of detail across 5 episodes.
Frances shared with us that she believes your flooring choice should be your first and most important decision. This is for functionality, so you get a flooring solution that suits the type of home you have and the lifestyle it supports. And it’s also for aesthetics, as the colour and style of your flooring has such dominance in your interior scheme, that choosing it first will help you create a palette that works well together.
Frances and I spent time in following episodes talking about timber flooring, tile floors, and carpet. And I also had an episode with Jess Ausburn from Diagrind NSW where she gave us SO much great information about doing different types of concrete floors, and how to get a great result.
Episode 4 | Timber flooring for your new home or renovation
Episode 5 | Tiling: Types, terminology and things to know for your floors
Episode 6 | Choosing concrete as a floor for your future home
Episode 7 | How to Choose Carpet for your family home
And as a sidebar, Frances and I shared how we’d love to never see laminate floors used again, and why it’s such a terrible choice for flooring.
You can have durability and sustainability in your flooring choices, and you can choose an affordable, hard-wearing floor that isn’t a toxic, off-gassing material in your home.
Since we did that episode, I’ve been sharing it into Facebook groups where I see people asking about laminate flooring, so hopefully there’s a little less of it going into homes these days!
So, once we got through the flooring conversation, we dived into essentials of Kitchen Interior Design.
Firstly, we discussed the various components of a kitchen, and specifically the cupboards, kickplates, doors and drawers.
The joinery elements of your kitchen take a lot of punishment in the daily use of this space, and many homeowners don’t know the specifics to request when looking at how their carcasses, or cupboards themselves, are made.
They worry about the colour and finish of the drawers and doors, but may end up with sagging interior shelving, or drawer runners that stick over time. So, knowing how to choose and check these things for your kitchen is really important.
Frances and I also discussed benchtop materials, and how to think about your tapware and sink, plus we spoke about appliances as well.
The Kitchen is such an intensive area in lots of ways.
It absorbs a lot of your budget because of the intensity of joinery, appliances and other finishes and fixtures located in a relatively small area. It is an area in your home that gets used A LOT.
It’s also a space that not only functions as a cooking and food prep space, it also can be a casual dining area. It can be a homework or work-from-home space. It’s always where everyone gathers at a party.
And if your kitchen bench is anything like most homeowners, there’ll be a dumping ground at the end where things get dropped off, and eventually processed and relocated.
It gets a lot of attention in the design process, because homeowners often have collected ideas about how they want their kitchen to look and perform.
Everyone has different ideas based on how they use the space, whether they’re big cooks or not, if their kitchen is usually messy and they want the ability to tuck away that mess in their open plan living areas.
- How the kitchen is laid out,
- what is included in it,
- how it access natural light, and
- where it is situated in your home,
… all fundamentally impact its ability to be easy to use.
And then the dimensions, the arrangement of elements within it, and the materials and appliances you choose will make a big difference to its functionality, looks and durability.
I know the kitchen is often the first thing tackled in any renovation, and it’s often the whole reason to commence a renovation.
And in any project, it’s a big source of decision-making, focus and thinking.
So, if you’ve not seen it yet, I actually created a Kitchen Design Challenge. This is a quickstart online course which will teach you the practical formula to designing a stunning kitchen you’ll love spending time in … and that works for you and your family.
You get the Kitchen Design Challenge for free inside my online course, “Interior Design 101”, which I’ve been talking about throughout this season.
But you can also buy it on its own, so head here to learn more. There’s no expiry, so you can work through it at your own pace. It’s super affordable, easy to digest course that will make a huge difference to your kitchen design experience.
Now, Episode 10 has been one of the most popular and loved episodes, and provided some real a-ha moments for listeners.
In it, I spoke with Karen Haller, a Colour Psychologist, about how colour psychology can be used not only in your home’s interiors, but in your life, to help lift your mood, feel more connected with yourself, and create more authentic surroundings in your home.
Colour Psychology is one of those areas that has been chopped and sorted into quick how-to guides and ‘what colour are you’ quizzes. However, Karen has a different, more comprehensive approach. We talk about her incredible book, The Little Book of Colour, and the power of colour in our lives. I really loved that chat, so if you haven’t listened be sure to check out Episode 10.
Episode 11 was my conversation with Floss Kelly, one of the co-Founders of Australian online tile retailer, TileCloud.
This company has taken tile shopping to a whole new level, inspired by the world of online fashion retail, and the convenience it gives us to be able to shop for tiles from the comfort of our own homes.
Floss shared some great tips in that episode about choosing tiles – and tilers – so you get a great finish.
Tiles are not just for your bathrooms, and in a lot of the conversations I had across this season, we talked about being brave, choosing your own style, and finding opportunities in your home to really celebrate colours, textures, patterns and things that you love. And your tiling choice can be an area you do this.
One of the benefits of shopping with TileCloud is that the tiles they show online are the ones they have in stock now. So if you are worried about long lead-times and challenges with supply issues on your project, check out that episode and TileCloud.
In Episode 12, we were back talking about colour with Andrea Lucena-Orr, who is the Colour and Communications Manager for the Dulux Group.
Andrea heads up the Colour Forecasting Dulux carry out each year, and Dulux have done so for 21 years now.
Their 2020 Colour Forecast had the theme of Essence, and included 4 beautiful colour palettes which I really encourage you to check out online.
Dulux worked with Bree Leech, Creative Director for Dulux Colour Forecast, to style spaces and rooms to show how the colours can be used. It’s super exciting after so, so many years of monochromatic schemes and whites and greys, to be seeing colour embraced.
This can be such a personal choice, but if you’re someone who loves colour, Andrea shares ideas about using it, and how to be brave with it, even if you just want to dip your toe into it gradually.
In Episode 13, Frances was back, and she and I discussed bathrooms, and in particular, your shower screens, baths and fixtures.
Because we’d talked so much about tiles already, and then also about joinery in the kitchen episodes, this bathroom conversation is about some of those less-considered items in your bathroom.
I’m a big fan of a bath-in-hob over a freestanding bath … which may seem a little controversial, but I find they’re easier to clean around, and provide much needed edges to sit things on – be it kids’ bath toys or a glass of wine.
Of course, you can buy additional items for your freestanding bath to do the same thing, but I see many homeowners squeezing in a free-standing bath where there’s really not the space. In doing so, they’re creating nooks that will be difficult to reach, and collect mould and muck over the long term.
Check out the back-to-wall, and even 2 sided free-standing baths available as an alternative for tighter bathrooms if you’re really wanting that exposed bath look.
In Episode 14, I interviewed Clare Le Roy from The Little Design Corner.
Clare has an online course which teaches you how to use SketchUp, a fantastic tool for creating 3D models and floor plans for your home.
Clare shares in the interview how you can learn to use SketchUp, whether you’re a designer or a homeowner, and the amazing things you can do with it to test and explore ideas for your home.
I know many members of the UA Community like to have a high level of involvement in their projects, and a high level of ownership in the decision-making. And so to be able to create 3D models that give you the opportunity to play with and explore how the spaces in your home are functioning and feeling can be an awesome thing to do.
Clare’s course is a great way to learn, and we have a special page which features extracts from the interview and more information about the course.
Undercover Architect is an affiliate for Clare’s course, which means we receive a small commission if you join the course via our link. I’m very careful about what I endorse and affiliate for, knowing that it’s important to bring you only great products you can trust and depend on, so I don’t recommend anything that’s not fantastic!
Jumping forward to Episode 15, which brought us Daniela Santilli, who is Reece’s Marketing Leader for Bathrooms.
She’s been with Reece for almost 12 years, and I loved hearing all her wisdom and knowledge. She’s seen bathrooms become this space we seek refuge and luxury in, and Reece have done wonders to provide a huge amount of help online, as well as fantastic products to choose from.
Daniella took us through different material types, how to choose for function and performance, and thinking about the combination of different products to get the aesthetic result you want. It’s such a good episode, and I’m sure we’ll have Daniela back in the future, sharing more of her great insight.
The Interior Design 101 course includes more conversation with Daniela about tapware and how to balance budget with your dreams of a luxurious bathroom.
One of the things I see a lot of interior designers offer, and homeowners also try to do themselves, is to create a moodboard for their project. It’s a great way to collate together a holistic vision that shares some of the inspiration and ideas you’re drawn to for your home’s interior design, and starts to give ideas for your palette, materials and the finishes you want to pull together.
It’s often a starting point, and also a fantastic place to come back to when you hit decision overwhelm, or need to check your choices are going to work together according to your original vision.
And so, in Episode 16, Liz Hayward, Interior Designer and owner of Hayward & Co, outlined for us how to create your moodboard.
And then what to consider as you move through your project, and use it as a guide for your decisions and selections.
Liz is a big believer that great results can be achieved on almost any budget, and she has some great tips to help you use your moodboard process to then have confidence and clarity in your interior design choices.
In Episode 17, Frances came back and we discussed lighting, and then this was followed up with my interview in Episode 22 with Craig Thomas from Caribou Lighting in Brisbane.
Lighting design is an area often overlooked by many homeowners, who will then be making decisions during the construction of their home, often in a walk-around with their electrician and builder. Your electrician may have some great ideas about lighting for your home, but you are much better served by doing your lighting design during the design phase itself.
Looking at the floor plans, thinking about the furniture layout, working out the combinations of lighting in the various spaces and rooms in your home, and being intentional about the functionality and aesthetics of what you include. This way, it can be properly priced in your building contract, and any site walk-arounds are purely to check you’ve got things in the right place.
Check out both these episodes for specific lighting tips in areas of your homes, as well as lighting your landscaping and outdoor areas.
Episode 17 | Successful lighting for your home’s interiors
Episode 22 | Successful lighting design for your home with Craig Thomas, Caribou
In Episode 18, Frances and I talked about mistakes we often see homeowners make with their interior design.
Frankly, we’ve highlighted mistakes through a lot of these episodes to help you know what to avoid. One of the biggest mistakes is purely the underestimation of how many decisions you’ll have to make with your interiors.
Even if you’re working with a builder who packages this up, and has a set range of suppliers you work with so you’re only going to one showroom per product, looking at one range of products … you will still have a lot of decisions to make.
So know that now, and either by joining Interior Design 101, or by working your way through it yourself, start identifying what all those selections will involve, so you give yourself plenty of time to do it BEFORE you start construction.
And preferably, BEFORE you sign your contract so you know your contract sum includes the items you want, not just allowances.
This area alone can blow so many budgets, or cause so many disappointments, as you realise your contract doesn’t have sufficient allowances for the things you really wanted. Don’t delay your decision-making until the construction process.
Episode 19 brought us Josh Plautz from the Dulux Group.
Josh is the Interior Products Technical Manager for the Dulux Group, and we talked about the science of paint, and how to choose it so it actually performs.
Often we’re thinking so much about the colour when choosing paint, it’s not until actually dealing with a painter, or buying it yourself, that you come to realise there’s different gloss levels, different paints for different applications or materials, and a range of other things to consider.
Josh shared the way that they test their mould inhibiting paint, and we also talked about VOCs, which is a hot topic for those wanting low tox finishes.
Inside Interior Design 101, Josh goes into detail about their Renovation range, a product range you can use to repaint kitchen joinery, and cover tiles etc.
Don’t just leave the selection of your paint up to the painter that you hire. Do some research to understand the difference between brands and products so you get something that will give you good coverage, be easy to clean dirt and marks off, and wear well over time too.
Now, Episode 20 and Episode 21 were a two-part interview with Evan Montero from DIY Blinds.
This is an Australian-based business where you can order your window furnishings online, but you can also access personalised support as well. And due to the way the business is set up, their window furnishings are a lot more affordable.
Across both episodes, Evan shared a wealth of knowledge about curtains, roller blinds, plantation shutters and other window furnishings. We discussed how to incorporate specific features in the design phase that will mean your window furnishings are more integrated and look more high-end, even though it may not cost anymore. Infact, it may make things more affordable overall.
Don’t wait until you’ve moved in to think about your window furnishings. Again, like most of the things we’ve discussed, considering them as part of your design process which radically open up opportunities for what’s possible.
It’ll also help you build in any features to include them well, such as recessed pelmets or avoid simple mistakes like not covering light switches with your curtains. And it will help you budget for them appropriately as well.
Evan’s is offering members of Undercover Architect online courses a fantastic saving on DIY Blinds as well, so you can access that if you join any of Undercover Architect’s online programs, including “Interior Design 101”.
Lastly, Episode 23, and Episode 24, introduce us to the lovely Jessica Bellef, and her incredible expertise in interior styling.
As I said in those episodes, when I discovered Jess’s book “Individual: Inspiration for creating a home that is uniquely your own”, I thought I’d found the styling book I was always looking for.
Full of character, quirk, individuality and comfortable homes that literally embrace you, they authentically and honestly reflect the personalities, tastes and values of their occupants in a way that is so inspiring to see.
In the world of glossy magazines, cookie cutter interiors and step-by-step formulas to having a stylish home, Jess’s practical tips and insights into bringing life and personality into your own interiors is such a breath of fresh air.
And I think as we seek to create comfortable, welcoming homes that relax and restore us, being true to who we are and how that is reflected in the spaces around us, will mean we truly get to come home everyday.
I really encourage you to check out Jess’ book if you haven’t, and to follow her on instagram too. It’s seriously delightful.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
To learn more about the self-study, online program, Interior Design 101 >>> CLICK HERE