In the last part of my five-part blog series Downsizing 101, I am going to talk about decorating from your heart – another topic in my upcoming downsizing workshop. If you have followed the first four steps in my framework to downsizing with style, you have reached the most fun part of downsizing and moving: decorating your new home.

After de-cluttering and finding your decorating style, you worked on your mood board with colours, textures and inspirational objects. Now, it is time to test your board in situ. You hopefully experienced a stress-less moving day with a floor plan prepared and clear instructions for your removalist where to place what (aka space planning). Your furniture found its place and with your boxes unpacked you can now work on decorating and embellishing your home.

In Downsize with Style, I have provided lots of decorating tips for smaller spaces from curating a bookshelf to defining your open-plan living space with area rugs and choosing the right lighting. The central principle to create a unique home is following your heart. Only buy things you love and display your favourite objects or collections. Mixing and matching is a good way to go: mix old with new, expensive items with bargains, colours with neutrals, squares with circles. Be courageous and mix styles, price points, textures and pieces from different origins and eras to create your unique interior. An eclectic style is far more interesting and personal than living in a house that looks like a display home.

Don’t worry; I am not trying to seduce you to clutter your home again; I rather encourage you to place things consciously to make your home personal. There is a fine line between dumping stuff unconsciously and placing things with intention.


Learn the art of styling vignettes, for example, and redecorate your home with confidence. Here are my seven tips for creating attention-grabbing displays – use this strategy for decorating a mantle, a console or coffee table, or your bookshelf.

1. Tell a Story with the Things You Love
Use what you have and things you love to create an interesting vignette. If you stick to that rule, your vignette will work and draw interest from your visitors.

2. Play with Height and Depth
Build a composition – similar to the composition of a painting – that helps the viewer to follow your ideas and guides them through your arrangement. Use objects of different height and size to make your display interesting. There is nothing more boring than a vignette where all objects are the same height!

3. Use Books and Flowers
Books and flowers have the most impact in styling. Build stacks of books and place an object on top of the books. Add fresh flowers, branches or a pot plant to create an organic look.

4. Integrate Art
Use a painting, photograph or a sculpture to make your display more interesting. Hide parts of your artwork behind other objects that sit in front. Use empty frames to showcase your favourite pieces. If you decorate a console or sideboard, lean larger works of art on the wall.

5. Work with Trays
You can’t have enough trays in your household. They are truly versatile and can be used in any (and I mean any!) room of your apartment. Place different objects on a tray and they look instantly organised and sorted. Use this method in your bathroom, kitchen, living area or study.

6. Use the Power of Colour
Work with colour! Either keep your vignette fairly neutral, and add splashes of your interior’s accent colour, or use one main colour throughout your entire display. This will link all your objects.

7. Trust Your Gut Feeling
And finally, trust your gut feeling! There are no wrong vignettes if you follow the tips above. A vignette is a very personal way of displaying your treasured objects and favourite things. Add and remove pieces and move your objects around until you are happy with your display. And a vignette is not a permanent thing, re-arrange and re-create as often as you wish.

Interested in learning more about decorating small spaces? Register for my upcoming workshop Downsizing 101 in Sydney on Saturday, 29 October 2016.

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