Interior Design

How To Create The Perfect Home Office

It’s becoming increasingly common to work from home. Whether you are a blogger, a graphic designer, or any other profession that doesn’t necessarily require you to sit in a cubicle all day, working from home can be great as it allows you flexibility.

It also means you have to be extra organised and take care of simple things like ordering stationery yourself. You don’t want your work to interfere with your home as a place of relaxation though, so having a proper workspace at home really helps to keep the two separate.

RELATED: Interior Design Trend: Modern Wallpaper

Interiors expert Jen Bishop knows a thing or two about the perfect workspace as she not only writes about interior design for a living, but she also does so from her home office. Jen let us in on her top tips on how to create the perfect home office and also told us a bit about her own workspace:

Measure up

To get the most out of your office area, ensure the style and size of your furniture suits the room. Corner desks work well in small spaces, whereas a wall to wall desk may be better suited to a larger or narrow room. Make the most of under desk space with storage options like mobile filing drawers and pedestals.

Give yourself space

Maintain spatial awareness when setting up your desk space – you don’t want to be cramped up facing a wall day in day out. If possible, face a window that offers a long-distant view. This will give your eyes the opportunity to shift focus away from the screen, which is necessary at least every 30 minutes. You’ll find that this simple exercise will boost both your concentration and mood.

Kick it to the side

A sideboard can be a fantastic storage option, while looking great. They also provide benchtop space for desk lamps or the perfect spot for a wireless printer. These act as great ‘work stations’ which encourage intermittent exercise.

Lighten up

Have a variety of lighting sources available for your work space – we draw energy from our surroundings. A window offering natural light and fresh air is ideal however a desk lamp can be useful for task lighting, especially in the late afternoons or mornings (depending on which direction your window faces).

Remove tangled cords

Wireless tech will free up desk space, reduce messy cables and increase overall efficiency. Think cordless for your phone, keyboard, mouse – almost anything can be wireless these days!

Maintain a ‘to-do list’

Set up a white board in your office to create a visual and updateable to-do-list. Alternatively, make the most of the calendar app on your smartphone or tablet, by linking it to your mailbox diary – enabling you to receive deadline reminders and on-the-go notifications.

What does colour say about you?

Choose a colour scheme for your workspace that balances your mood and energy. Vibrant colours are known to invigorate and inspire, whereas pastels tend to be calming and encourage concentration. If you’re a minimalist, opt for monochrome – for you, less is probably more.

Layer the colour palette

It really comes down to the rule of three – pick two contrasting colours and one base neutral such as white, black and blonde timber, or white, aqua and pink. Only use small touches of the most prominent colour. For example, pair your white desk and chair with aqua and hot pink accessories – it will make the hot pink ‘pop’ without being overbearing.

Add some life

Greenery or flowers helps to create a fresh atmosphere in any space and can be particularly motivating in the workspace, which has a tendency of becoming stuffy and stale.

Don’t overdo it

While it’s important to have an inspiring workspace that speaks to your personal style, it’s just as important not to overdo it and create something that’s ‘too busy’ on the eye. Try applying the ‘Coco Chanel Decorating Mantra’ where you style your workspace, then remove one thing. This might help with any unnecessary clutter!

How To Create The Perfect Home Office

Thanks, Jen! After reading all your amazing tips for creating a workspace I am curious to hear about your own! What does your workspace look like?

My home office is right at the end of the house with doors out onto the deck. I’ve tried to keep it really simple and feminine without being girly in a cliché way. The colour scheme is white and gold with gold confetti spots on the walls. I recently had to make this room work double duty as a spare bedroom which was challenging, but because of the colour scheme it seems to work quite well! One of the best things about working for myself and from home is having more control over the aesthetics of my work environment. I try to keep it tidy and sparse, because if I filled it full of too many things I loved, I’d get distracted!

How often do you redecorate or change the look of your workspace?

I haven’t redecorated my office since moving into our home a year ago, which is a good sign it’s working. Other rooms get changed a lot more often! I am constantly inspired and finding a new favourite focal piece or trend.

Is there anything that absolutely doesn’t belong on your work desk?

Clutter! I hate clutter and multi-coloured ‘stuff’ that doesn’t match, it makes me feel itchy! I like to have everything hidden away which is why storage is so crucial in an office space. I recently partnered with Officeworks to help others enjoy the benefits of having an organised workspace –create a place for everything, and then make sure everything is in place!

What are the trending colours for spring/summer 2015/16?

The latest Dulux colour forecast which is literally just out claims we will all be embracing earthy greens and, shock horror, browns! We shall see…

Interior Design Trends For Autumn

Redecorate your home with some of the seasons hottest interior design trends for the colder months of the year.

It’s time to bring out the blankets, fluffy cushions and thick rugs to combat the colder temperatures, and make your house look good at the same time.

RELATED: How To Start Your Own Terrarium

Faux fur

Who doesn’t love a little faux fur in their home? Whether you decide to incorporate a blanket, cushion, rug or throw, the possibilities are endless with this signature autumnal trend.

If you do decide on a rug, make sure to place some non-stick layers underneath so it doesn’t move out of place.

Interior Design Trends For Autumn


Warm, woody candles are a must-have for the autumn-winter season. Keep them away from a window so they can burn evenly, and remember to trim them before lighting. Soy-based candles require little to no maintenance, and the glass can also be used to store the essentials after it’s been cleaned.

They also help to set the warm and cozy ambience that we all want to achieve during the colder seasons.

Interior Design Trends For Autumn


A low-maintenance way to bring some greenery into your home is with a terrarium. These are small groups of plants (mostly cactus and succulents), which last forever only need to be watered sparingly.

Keep them in direct sunlight (on a window sill) for best results.

Interior Design Trends For Autumn

Wall hangings

Creating your own art hanging is as easy as stapling your favourite piece of fabric onto a canvas.

Ikea and other craft stores sell fabrics by the metre, and you can easily come up with a creative piece for every room of the house. They are also more homely than a traditional painting.

Interior Design Trends For Autumn

Timber chairs

Nail that Scandinavian style by incorporating some timber tables and chairs into your living room or study. You can then accessorise them with faux fur throws which look and feel so luxurious.

Interior Design Trends For Autumn

Images via Poppy Talk, Only Deco Love, Gritty Pretty, Erika Brechtel, Lamb and Blonde, Tumblr

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Spice up your home with one of the hottest interior design trends, mixed metals. Not only are they really easy to find at your price range, but they look amazing in almost any room of the house.

To get the creative juices flowing, we have hand-picked some of our favourite mixed metal products for then entire home below.

RELATED: Jonathan Adler Interior Design Profile


A metal shelf is a fantastic way to inject a bit of colour into your bedroom, study or even living room. It’s a piece of furniture that you can keep forever, and even looks better with a bit of wear and tear!

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Zanui The A Metal Wall Shelf, $199.95


If you’re thinking about changing the style of your outdoor/patio area, then a lantern is a must-have for the summer season. The light from the candle also creates a unique pattern which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Ikea Gottgora Lantern, $14.99


Photo frames are one of the easiest ways to liven up your bookshelf. They look amazing when you’ve got a few in different shapes and sizes, plus they always come in handy!

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Witchery Home Small OCRF Silver Frame, $9.95


Shower storage is completely underrated; where else would you store your favourite shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, and combs?

This is one of our all-time favourites since it won’t rust and looks amazing with all tiles.

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Bed Bath N Table 3 Tier Shower Caddy, $24.95


Where would we be without a good chair? While it might feel a little uncomfortable at first, these chairs look amazing in photographs.

Opt for a trendy shade of rose gold to bring some lift into your dining room.

Interior Design Trend: Mixed Metals

Elio Dining Chair in Rose Gold, $220

Image via Tory Burch

10 Tips To Save You An Incredible Amount Of Space

Anyone who has lived in a small apartment or house will understand the problems of trying to create extra space within your living environment. Many older houses don’t have built in cupboards, so you’ll have to discover some novel ways of storing your belongings. Here are 10 ideas that will help you.

1. Use a storage facility

If you have nowhere in your home to keep your ‘stuff,’ then this might be the time to consider an alternative storage option. Ready Steady Store is a useful facility where you can keep your belongings safely and free up some space in your home.

2. Kitchens collect clutter

However large your kitchen, it’s still very easy to run out of space. According to The Daily Mail, a New York couple got around this problem by hanging their pots and pans from the ceiling, thus freeing up room in the cupboards and units.

3. Use your under stairs space

The strange shaped space under a conventional flight of stairs is frequently under used. The blog UKTV advises that with some clever carpentry, you could always install some custom made units that will fit snugly into this space and hold your books, plants and other paraphernalia.

4. Stair drawers are innovative

You could always convert your staircase into an additional storage space. Some designers suggest that a wooden staircase can be used as an additional set of drawers with the help of an expert carpenter. You don’t have to convert the whole flight, perhaps just the bottom two steps, and use them for stashing shoes or cumbersome household tools.

5. Sofa beds are always useful

If you live in a one-room open plan apartment, then a sofa bed is always useful. You can store your linen and towels in the base of the sofa, and pull out the mattress at night for sleeping.

6. Use your walls for storage

If you have a contemporary flat screen TV, then hang it on the wall. Leaving your TV on its stand will only make your living room look more cluttered and it does take up a lot of room.

7. Build a sleeping platform above your living area

Apartments with high ceilings are wonderful. See if you can create a mezzanine-sleeping platform over your living area. A stepladder that can be put away during the day can be used for climbing to your bed, and you’ll have created a stylish solution to your lack of conventional space.

8. Build shelves around your windows

In most homes, the area surrounding windows is left bare, but if space is at a premium, then why not erect some shelves in this area, where you can store books, ornaments or anything else that you can think of?

9. Use the area under the bed for storage

Kids always come accompanied by clutter. If you invest in bunk beds for your children, then you’ll be able to use the area under the bed for toy storage. You can also buy a trunk and use that for heavy winter clothes.

10. Use sliding panels instead of doors

Doors can take up a lot of room. If you install sliding panels as room dividers, then you’ll have gained a few extra feet throughout your home.

BMID In LA: Taking Inspiration From Where You Sleep

When ever I find myself in LA, my must do is touring the latest boutique hotel interiors. This is where designers can push the boundaries to create unique environments to draw the hip crowds, especially when your in a city with the population and cache of LA. Taking these cues can help inspire you in creating your own spaces and, more importantly, show you how it is possible to make an interior relevant to its exterior without making it a restoration.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

Our first stop was the beautiful new Palli House Property in Santa Monica. The spectacular Moorish-influenced, Mediterranean revival architecture has been retained and enhanced. Designed to be more a exclusive club-residence for the guests with opulent, unobtrusive service. The lobby has deep teal walls with stencilled exposed beamed ceilings. It’s full of vintage furniture and contemporary pieces with a wink to the past; then layered with a myriad of decorative objects including, my favourites, taxidermy and porcelain animals. The rooms are more like small apartments with kitchens and sitting rooms that contain a masterful blend of furnishings and fabrics. Toiles, florals, plaids and velvets are all at home here. A must do for an extended stay in Santa Monica.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decoratingNext stop, Downtown LA. This area is full of beautiful architecture that has been long neglected. Downtown is now pumping. The Hotel de jour is ACE Hotel, Downtown LA. Situated in the historic United Artist building, this is a renovation that highlights the existing architecture and, at the same time, creates a visual platform for the artists involved in designing the interior.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

Having only opened this year, it is the place to introduce yourself to the hip crowd at the fab restaurant and pumping roof top pool bar. I love the cleverly inserted art pieces throughout the common spaces. The back wall of the lobby desk is clad in wool and a sketch artist has been commissioned to do intricate pencil sketches intermediately around the walls and ceilings in the public areas. A collection of the old chains and pulleys from the buildings original days as a theatre have been used to make a cool installation above the pool bar. Love it, but this is not a place to find seclusion and quiet.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating


interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

Our final stop for this trip was the LINE Hotel in Korea-town. This mid-century building had had some connection to the old train line, hence the name. Now this is a creative use of materials by the first time hotel designer Sean Kibb. He has definitely played upon the theme of the original structure with travertine floors and exposed concrete walls. Like the ACE, artists have been commissioned to incorporate interior elements that are more like art instillations. Behind the lobby desk that is clad in burgundy coloured metal, is a beautiful sculptural piece made from recycled plastic bottles.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

The lobby furniture, predominately formed from a mauve stained wood veneer with matching velvet upholstery, resembles a mountain landscape that meanders around the space. Punctuated with hessian covered arm chairs with orange piping and, perhaps the most creative use of materials of all, a ceiling made of decoupaged T-shirts painted in accent colours. Also love the gold balloon installation above the bar, where you must order the house drink called the penicillin. Delicious!

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating


interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

Like all the latest venues, this hotel also has the mandatory pool deck, restaurant and bar. I love the concept for the restaurant. There is some alfresco dining and the rest of the seating is in a glass house like structure; ready for all weather conditions. The styling is casual / industrial. The rooms follow the theme of raw industrial meets mid century with a killer floor to ceiling view over the hollywood hills. Furniture in the rooms is either mid-century or custom designed with a definite deconstructed style. This hotel is like nothing else you will see and will definitely open your eyes to creative uses of materials. Be inspired.

interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating


interior design, LA, Los Angeles, Brett Mikan, Brett Mickan Interior Design, interiors, decorating

An Even Bigger Apple: BMID In NYC

In 2007, while on a trip to New York, a friend booked dinner at a hot new restaurant in an up and coming area of the city; the Bowery. “Now make sure the cab drops you right at the door”, she said, as the area was a little salubrious. Well no longer, the Bowery is now another hot spot on the ever changing island of Manhattan. Once the home of the down and out, the Lower East Side is now full of restaurants, bars, funky new hotels and residences.





A recommendation from another friend, this one in the hotel industry, had us based on our most recent trip to New York at the fabulous Hotel Ludlow, right in the thick of the Bowery; so new that the restaurant is still under construction. This pumping new spot, frequented by many in the arts industry, looks like it could have been an old bank or boutique department store in years gone by, but in fact it’s all new construction, with beautiful wood panelled walls, exposed beams and mosaic marble tiled floors. The furniture and lighting is a fab mix of custom, contemporary pieces and funky vintage. A cool eclectic sound track full of remixed retro music, makes the public spaces a delight to spend time in. The rooms have a perfect mix of Bowery vintage and contemporary luxury, with larger suites including potted garden balconies. Obviously I enjoyed my week here.



The neighbourhood is full of casual dining restaurants and bars, many with an industrial chic aesthetic. The clothes boutiques are another sign that this is a hot area; definitely a district made to wonder and explore. I loved the name of a bar a block from the hotel. It has a neon sign “No Fun”. With the “No” never being switched on. Love it.



Now that there doesn’t seem to be a bad area to live in Manhattan, some of the once questionable areas in the boroughs have also come into there own. None more so than Brooklyn, that includes the centre of the hipster universe, Williamsburg. This once industrial area has gone into hyperdrive as warehouses and small commercial buildings are developed into restaurants, hotels, stores and residences. This is the place for cool little boutiques, vintage markets and easy market style food. A visit to “Smorgasburg” is a must, with small stands selling an array of delicious home made food and drinks. The lobster roll is delicious. The “It” place to stay is the Wythe Hotel; it includes a fantastic restaurant on the ground floor and a sky bar on the 6th floor, with a killer view of Manhattan. Dress funky casual and prepare to hang with the uber cool.



The areas of Brooklyn heights and Park Slope are full of beautiful architecture from the late 1800s, most predominately the “Brownstones”. Spectacular rows of ornate terrace homes grace tree lined streets. It’s a quick subway ride into Manhattan, so these neighbourhoods are perfect for family homes. We have the great pleasure of working on one of these homes for our clients who have relocated from Sydney. This visit was our first site inspection and we were delighted with the incredible potential this grand old home provides, with 12 foot ceilings, marble fireplaces, ornate plaster work and concealed shuttered multi paned windows. The look for this home is NY loft meets Brooklyn funky with a gallery edge. A beautiful space with great clients, a perfect mix. This city never fails to inspire.





By Brett Mickan, a Sydney-based interior designer specialising in high-end residential design at Brett Mickan Interior Design

Australian Design A Winner In The Big Apple

The spotlight is on Australian design after Melbourne-based Adam Cornish won the prestigious 2014 New York Design Awards last week. Adam’s Trinity bowl designed for Italian based company Alessi, received first prize in the homewares category, putting Australian design back on the global map. The Trinity bowl was born from self-initiated research into lightweight structure of the Nautilus shell.

Adam says:

“Each year the Nautilus adds an extra chamber to its shell, a process that eventually forms a beautiful spiralled structure that is strong yet very light in weight. My aim was to create a hybrid product that was not only visually inspired by nature, but also a product that uses the inherent logic of nature.”

In conjunction with New York Design Week held last month, Adam is among top leading industry experts selected to showcase his designs through the “Alessi Research Lab’ initiative, as part of the WantedDesign 2014 exhibition. The workshop displayed a selection of projects that highlight a specific topic and the related research developed around it; ranging from research in the working of metal wire by Pauline Deltour, LED lighting by Giovanni Alessi Anghini through to nature observation based design by Adam Cornish. 

The Trinity bowl is available from selected David Jones stores and Alessi online.

New York, design, homewares, kitchen, designer, Adam Cornish

Interior Trends For Winter 2014

After studying design, colour and finishes around the globe, Dulux predicts 2014 winter interiors will feature deep and decadent hues, perfect for adding warmth during the colder months. The warm and earthy palette to ward off the winter chill includes moody browns, violets, greys and dusty pinks offset with a spark of colour or metallic tones.

Artist Geoffrey Carran said home decorators could draw inspiration from expressive, decorative periods such as Deco, Baroque and Renaissance, choosing a contrast between dark backgrounds and illuminated highlights. Popular wall colours for Winter are likely to be Dulux Double Bass and Dulux Laylock, with accents in Dulux colours such as Moroccan Leather, Cosmic Aura and Stellar Glow Design Metallic.

Mr Curran says:

“It’s natural to want to hibernate in the Winter and this season will bring about contrast of warm and cool colours. Bring a sense of solidarity and balance to your space by contrasting a gorgeous metallic hue, such as Dulux Stellar Glow, with a contrasting deep charcoal brown, such as Dulux Double Bass.

“Then pile on some luscious, textured textiles with a blend of patterns and surround yourself with your favourite things to create an escape from the bleak weather outside.”

Dulux’s colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr says:

“Be brave in your choice… Try painting your architraves or skirting boards in different colours or add a touch of metallic. And always remember that a little ignition of colour helps to liven up your space on a dull and gloomy day.”

colour palette, colours, interior design, interiors, living room, renovations

Take A Look Inside Cameron Diaz’s Gorgeous NYC Apartment

Cameron Diaz has opened the doors to her New York apartment, inspired by her “innately sexy” personality – and let’s just say, we have major home envy. Take a look at these gorgeous photos…

The living room with its warm, neutral palette

The actress and her celebrity interior decorator Kelly Wearstler show off her two-bedroom, 222-square-metre West Village prewar apartment in the latest issue of ELLE Decor, and they haven’t scrimped on the luxury.

Main bedroom

Diaz, 41, describes her New York home, which she’s owned for several years, as “a bit like living in a silk-lined jewellery box.”

The apartment might not be big but every detail has been given the A-list treatment, with drawers lined in raw black silk, interiors of closets covered in custom wallpaper or bursts of vivid paint and plenty of bling.

Decadent main bathroom

“I blame my love of sparkly, shiny things on my Cuban roots,” says Diaz.

From the bedroom with its cool grey tones, to the bathroom gilded in gold and bronze, Wearstler says her celebrity client was very hands-on.

“Cameron taught me to be more sensitive to the hand of fabrics and textiles. She was so involved in every step…[she] has excellent taste and understands how colours work together and why quality pieces make rooms special.”


Home is definitely where the heart is for Diaz. “I’m surrounded by things that mean something to me. That’s what a home is.”

Guest bedroom

Cameron will next be seen playing Miss Hannigan in the upcoming remake of Annie.

Guest bathroom

What do you think of Cameron Diaz’s New York apartment? Which room is your favourite?