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…

5 Classy Easter Decoration Ideas

It feels as if we have just taken down our Christmas lights, but Easter is right around the corner, so get out those bunnies, eggs, and anything pastel coloured. Or maybe don’t, as all those pinks, yellows, and greens can quickly make your home look like Barbie’s house. If you don’t want your place to look tacky, here are a few classy and easy Easter decoration tips:

RELATED: How To Have A Guilt-Free Easter


How genius is this door decoration? All you need is an old fashioned umbrella, a ribbon, and flowers of your choice (fake ones are fine). You might still have a hook on your door from the Christmas wreath, so why not make use of it and welcome your guests with this creative umbrella-turned-vase.

easter decoration twigs eggs

This makes for a great centrepiece and requires little effort. Take a big vase and fill it with Easter eggs in neutral colours. Then add large twigs or flowers of your choice.


This bunny shaped serviette is almost too cute to unfold and definitely prettier than paper napkins with tacky looking Easter bunnies on them. Get the folding instructions here and impress everyone.

easter egg gold

Easter without eggs is like Kim without Kanye, but instead of colouring them, spare the mess and opt for styrofoam eggs decorated with simple gold tacks that you might already have in your stationery drawer. They definitely look more expensive than they are.


This is for the slightly more arty people among us. Collect a few bottles and wrap them in linen, which can be spray painted with letters beforehand. Tie the necks of the bottles with some twine and put pretty flowers in these classy DIY vases.

Images via blissbloomblog.com, marthastewart.com, familyholiday.net, theinspiredroom.net, savittjagvetblogg.blogspot.it

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

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio Ideas

Upcycling is so in right now. It offers savvy home owners the opportunity to add character and charm to their home, while recycling and helping the environment. When it comes to creating unique, trendy and useful patio spaces, upcycling truly can’t be beaten. It allows you to be creative, resourceful and create a space that is uniquely you.

The 25 tips below are just some of the many ways you can create a trendy and usable patio.  Enjoy!

1. Recycled wood

You can use old wood to make tables, chairs and even benches and bars. The list is practically endless.

2. Bottle top candles

These can look fantastic and add an element of class. The quality and look comes down to the bottle tops that you choose.

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio IdeasImage via etsy.com

3. Turn old bricks into a vertical garden

Ok. This is actually a lot easier than it sounds. If you have old bricks lying around it can be a great way to upscale your patio and garden area. Don’t believe us? Look at the image below.

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio IdeasImage via theartofupcycling.com

4. Make furniture out of pallets

Pallet boxes and crates are cheap. What’s more, there are practically endless opportunities to make furniture out of them.

5. A TV aquarium

These can look fantastic on a patio. All you need is an old TV, glass and some silicon.

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio IdeasImage via viralnova.com

6. Old bathtubs make great furniture

While this may not sound like an obvious one, when you choose the right bath tub it can add a lot of character.

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio IdeasImage via tumble.com

7. The beer bottle garden wall

Had a few parties on your patio? Why not put those bottles to use. As you can see below, the outcome can be a great architectural feature that adds value to your outdoor living space.

25 Trendy Upcycled Patio IdeasImage via upcycledgardenstyle.blogspot.ie

8. Other uses for beer bottles

On the topic of beer bottles, they can also be used for a range of upcycling ideas such as candles, light features, and even broken up and made into a stain glass window. Endless opportunities.

9. Railway sleepers are your friend

Old railway sleepers can make excellent tables and flower beds for your patio.

10.  Skateboards

Skateboards can make excellent shelves for your patio and can even be used to make a cool kids table.

11.  Skis

As with skateboards, old skis can be used to make unique and trendy tables.

12.  Old bicycles

Old bicycles can make excellent flower pots. If you are throwing one out, see if you can utilize it near your patio.

13.  Chest of draws

If your patio is undercover, you can also use old chest of draws as a flower box. When painted in bright colours this can be a fantastic feature.

14.  Light globes

Old light globes can make fantastic candles. Simply put in a wick and fill them with oil.

15.  Old chairs

Don’t throw out your old chair. With some love and time, it can make a stunning architectural feature.

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio IdeasImage via macgyverisms.wonderhowto.com

16.  Old cars

Old cars don’t have to look like junk in your backyard. Add this feature to your patio, and your guests will be raving!

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio IdeasImage via theartofupcycling.com

17.  Old oil drums can also work

Here is an example of a refurbished oil drum that makes for a great seat.

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio Ideas

Image via theartofupcycling.com

18.   Toolboxes

Don’t throw out that old toolbox either. It can look fantastic with a miniature garden in it.

19.  Wine bottle wall lamps

These lamps are stylish and unique. Just make sure they are out of reach of children.

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio IdeasImage via blog.builddirect.com

20.  Old washing machine drums

The drum from a washing machine can make a great barbecue pit.

21.  Plastic bottles

Don’t throw out your old soda bottles. They can make a fantastic wall garden.

22.  Old tyres

Old tyres can also be used as flower beds. When they are painted they add a lot of value to your patio and garden.

23.  Toilets

Even a toilet can add value to your patio area! Don’t believe us? Look at the image below.

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio IdeasImage via multicoloredpieces.blogspot.com

24.  Cane furniture

Old cane furniture can be re-purposed and used outside.

25.  Cheap water feature

Use old and recycled products to create a cheap water feature.

25 Trendy Upcycling Patio IdeasImage via tinkerlab.com

As can be seen from the above 25 upcycling options, there are endless things you can do to improve your patio on the cheap. Use the above as a base, and see which ones will match in with your space. Here’s to your upcycling.

By Marcus Fulker, the Managing Director of Great Aussie Patios – Perth’s leading outdoor patio builders. Connect with Marcus on Google+ to discuss this article.

5 Famous Interior Designers Share Their Best Design Tips

Looking for interior decorating inspiration? We checked in with five famous interior designers to steal their secrets on creating a spectacular space.

1. Add life to a room
Mario Buatta knows the value of adding life to any type of room, so she opts for specific objects like live plants, books, baskets, and even quilts. Combine both vintage and modern pieces for an intriguing way of giving the room personality.


2. Use what speaks to you
Designer Nate Berkus recommends using objects in your home that speak to you, instead of just copying someone else’s style. It doesn’t have to be an heirloom or trendy accessory, but can simply be an item that you enjoy. He suggests trawling through flea markets and antique stores for one-of-a-kind finds. Also look for special pieces on your next holiday.


3. Use a grid
A grid can add a bold look to a room with artwork that hangs on the walls. “I like to hang multiple images in a tight grid, just shy of the length of the sofa, with equal margins at the top of the sofa and bottom of the ceiling moulding,” says designer Tom Stringer. This will add a eye-catching detail as well as balance to any room.


4. Add a decorative chair to each room
Designer Mariette Himes Gomez believes “every room needs at least one character chair for personality.” This offers a focal point to the space and can also make the room look more expensive.


5. Decorate with dimensional pillows
Jan Showers is known for her impeccable taste in mixing neutrals and colours in the chic homes that she designs. She recommends adding dimension to any couch or chair with pillows that pop and have interesting details.

What’s your interior design style? Tell us in the comments!