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Top tips for styling your living and dining room

By Rachel Wallace

We put a lot of thought into paint colours, furniture and decor when styling our homes but one space we tend to overlook is the dining table.

While it generally enjoys pride of place in most households, the dining room is often seen as purely functional and something only used for special occasions.

Whether you’re styling your dining table for a party or everyday living, it can be difficult to imagine how to go about adding colour, texture and interest.

But interior decorator, design guru and The Block judge Shaynna Blaze has some simple tips for styling the most beautiful and in-trend dining table and room.

“If you’re trying to set your table every day like you would for a party, you’d be exhausted,” Shaynna told 9Entertainment.

“If you’re designing for every day, then you’re doing it for functionality, and you’re really looking for something that’s going to match the colour of the house. Whether you look at your placemats or your centrepiece or your candles, keep it simple every day,” she said.

“And then you can get creative during a party — it doesn’t need to match the decor of the house, but rather it becomes its own event. [For example] if you want moody, then you can stagger your candles, do over the top flowers or add fruits. That’s what you’re looking at with the difference of everyday designing versus party style.”

Shaynna loves a tablecloth for an outdoor barbecue. Carlotta + Gee Homeware. Photo: Supplied

As for tablecloths, they are still in style for entertaining but aren’t as common for regular meals.

“I love tablecloths for a really beautiful summer BBQ. When you’re outside, you’ve got a lot of timber everywhere, so you might want to dress that up a bit with some colour,” Shaynna explained.

“It depends on your table. If you want a formal dinner party, crisp white linen and a tablecloth is the way to go — it really goes a long way in elevating the ceiling. But in terms of the everyday, it seems to not be the thing anymore.”

As for the living room, styling is mostly about everyday living but you also want to be able to entertain friends and family in a comfortable space.

It can sometimes be tricky to style a couch beautifully and functionally. Photo: Caitilin Mills. Styling: Louella Boîtel-Gill

The most important element of that is usually the couch, but it can sometimes be tricky to style beautifully and functionally.

“A lot of the time when you’re staging for show, you have a lot of cushions on the couch, but every day you have about four cushions maximum — any more you need the right couch with depth that can take it,” Shaynna said.

“I love throws and cuddling up on the couch. You can either have throws hanging over the arm of the sofa, or have a basket on the side where you can store it. But I do go for functionality when you’re living there every day. Staging for sale is a whole different ball game.”

Shaynna says the right rug can change the look and feel of a room instantly. Photo: RT Edgar

But for most of us with a decorating budget, making an informed choice on just how much we’re spending on throws and cushions is important. So how can we best go about designing a modern luxe living room on a shoestring budget?

“Balance is the hardest thing, and it’s very hard to get right. It’s balance of colour and texture, and many people can forget the living room is actually a functional area, and you end up buying things that don’t match just for the sake of it,” Shaynna suggested.

“Sometimes all you need with extra styling are your rugs and cushions. Don’t fill areas just because there’s extra room. And I find vases are great vessels even without flowers — they add beautiful colour.

“I always find a great rug could change the impact of how your couch looks and how the rest of the room looks.”

Source: domain.com.au

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