Daily Life


Style your home like an expert

Home is where the heart is and that's why creating a nest can sometimes be hard to get right.

Interior designer Shannon Fricke says we can't always change the wrapping of a building but we do have control over the look and feel of what goes on inside its four walls.

Fricke, the author of the practical styling guide How to Decorate, shares her tips to living somewhere that reflects you.


Having a dedicated work space is an important first step because it frees your mind, says Fricke, who lives in the Byron Bay Hinterland.

"As soon as you step into that work space it allows you to focus and I think any creative pursuit requires a certain degree of focus," she tells AAP.


When designing interiors, she says we need to connect with our creative vision, and a work space helps us do this.

"It is very important to find your space and to shape it in a way that's actually just going to inspire you to work, that's the bottom line."

If you find you always have too many ideas and don't know where to start, edit through them. Work out what is possible to do at that point in time, says Fricke, and categorise those ideas.


When you're generating a lot of ideas about styling your home they can become messy in your head, says Fricke. To help determine which ideas to make reality she suggests creating a mood board.

It's a wonderful way, she says, to edit through ideas and see them in real life.

To create a mood board you bring together all of the colours, fabrics and ideas that inspire you. A mood board can also take any form.

"I find a pin board works really well for me because I can chop and change it really quickly," says Fricke.

"Other people like to be much more organised so they'll create a file.

"It really is just about seeing your ideas in front of you and then deciding from that point whether they're any good."


Wallpaper doesn't simply apply to the '60s anymore; it is seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Finding a balance between choosing a design that won't date though can be difficult.

The key with all design, says Fricke, is to tap into what moves you.

"What you really, really love rather than simply following what's fashionable at that particular time," she says.

"It's difficult because we're constantly bombarded with new things and what's exciting."

Do research and unearth your style, she suggests, before making a final decision.

You also don't need a large wall to use wallpaper. Fricke's only rule is to avoid half walls or walls that beams interrupt.

"The one thing I always say with wallpaper is it needs to be on a complete wall."

She even suggests applying it to discreet spots around the home.

"Wallpaper hidden inside your linen cupboard doors adds an element of surprise and a flash of colour," Fricke writes in How to Decorate.

"Wallpaper on your pantry shelves or inside cutlery drawers is a quiet way of utilising colour and pattern without them overwhelming the whole room."


It is almost like colour is alive, says Fricke, who believes people are scared of it because our available palette is so vast.

"The key with colour is to develop an understanding of it, a little bit like you would develop a relationship with a human," she adds.

We need to understand, she says, that every colour has a mood, which effects us. It's important too, to look at how colour works in your space and how light changes it.

Fricke explains the moods of colours and says red is full of energy like a party animal, green gives us room to breathe, blue is relaxing and yellow is happy.


For those of us with children, finding fabrics that withstand grubby, sticky fingers is often important.

To avoid disappointment, Fricke advice is to pick furnishings in fabrics that are washable and durable.

"And look, preferably not a massive investment either because what's going to happen with your sofas when you've got small children is they're going to get filthy and you end up building a resentment towards the money that you've spent on something that's just going to wear and tear."

She suggests picking strong cottons, pre-shrunk linens, or loose lounge covers. As for colour, play it safe with beiges as they'll cover smudges to some degree.

Just because you have children though doesn't mean your home has to look boring. Throw in colour with cushions, Fricke says, or with one chair that is upholstered in an exciting pattern, that's washable, of course.

* How to Decorate by Shannon Fricke is published by Lantern, rrp $39.95.



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