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Making a home beautiful: An expert’s (easy) advice

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Jen Bishop is an expert in all things beautiful, and she’ll be appearing at Chatswood Chase in March! In her nursery talk she will guide you on how to design a stylish and safe nursery, plus choose a theme that means something to you and your bub. Here she shares her tips on how much you should REALLY spend on a makeover and reveals the trends she is happy to see the back of!

What do you say to people who say they have ‘no sense of style’?

It’s true that not everyone has that knack for creating a lovely looking home, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want one or wouldn’t benefit from having their home a little more styled or interesting. In these cases, get a little professional input. There are loads of free online resources these days (like my blog!) where you can pick up tips, and many homewares stores offer free interior design services (like west elm and Pottery Barn at Chatswood Chase) for normal, everyday people. Once you get started, you’ll find you’re spending your money on cushions over shoes before you know it!

Jen Bishop will guide you on designing a stylish and safe nursery with a meaningful theme

What’s the one mistake people make when it comes to interiors?

Rushing! You can’t find everything you need in one weekend or even in one shop, and if you try to, it’ll probably go wrong and you’ll have wasted money. Patience is key!

How much do you have to spend to achieve a lovely home?

That’s really up to you but as the old saying goes, you can’t buy style! You are just as likely to create something gorgeous on a budget as you are something awful that costs a fortune! What’s important is how it makes you feel. Our houses and apartments are our sanctuaries and we should feel happy to come home to them.

What are some of your budget-friendly hacks for a low-effort, high-impact makeover?

Paint is your best friend here! There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to make an impact; even more of an impact if it’s a bold colour, but it doesn’t have to be. Even a new coat of white paint can make a room look fresher, cleaner and more modern. A large rug will always make a big difference. Save money by choosing something synthetic rather than wool, for example. As a bonus, these are much more family and pet-friendly.

Can you tell us a little about current trends? What are your favourites?

We’re seeing people being a bit bolder in kitchens and bathrooms with darker and bolder colours. Think matte black kitchens and navy or emerald green vanities. I love this. We’re also seeing Art Deco and resort-inspired style as big trends. And the colour green is going nowhere!

What trends have you been happy to see the end of?

I’ve probably had enough of blush pink and grey and marble! I mean, they’re inoffensive and easy to live with, but the homewares market has been a bit oversaturated with this palette. I love seeing people experimenting with something a bit different or bolder. Or even great neutrals with lots of texture for interest.

How would you describe your personal style?

Classic, with pops of colour and brass accents.

Building a business from scratch, was there a lesson you learned the hard way? What was it?

My biggest business motto is “work hard and be nice”- and those two things will get you a very long way! I’ve learned to trust my gut because whenever I’ve had a niggle about something being a bad idea or someone being challenging to work with, I’ve always been proven right! Now, when I get that feeling, I remind myself to say no, even if that means turning down money. Being your own boss means you get to choose who you work and align yourself with.

Have you got any insights about using social media for business?

Social media is a huge part of my business as a full-time blogger and I’d agree, most businesses can make great use of it. My biggest advice is to be consistent and real and not to overthink it. Remember to offer your followers something genuinely useful as well as just trying to sell to them.

Do you prefer a curated feed or something more chaotic? Why?

My feed has never, and will never, be perfect, and I’m always being told by people that they love that. It’s a real mix of beautiful interior shots teasing what’s on the blog, mixed with pictures of my boys, my own home and whatever I’m doing at the weekend. I must say I love other people’s perfect, colour-coordinated feeds though! Instagram can be a nice little break from reality. It really depends what your business and brand is.

What accounts do you follow for Insta-inspo [Note: You can follow Jen at @interiorsaddict]?

I love following overseas accounts for something a bit different.

I enjoy:

In Australia, I love following:

What can we expect from the Design Talks series? 

In the nursery talk I’ll be running you through how to design a stylish and safe nursery and decide on a theme that’s not too cliched. I’ll tell you what you actually need and what you don’t and how to make this room easy to grow with your child. In the second talk, I’ll be focusing on something many of my readers tell me they struggle with: how to pull a whole look together. So when you have the sofas and the rug, how do you add to that and make everything work together? How can you create a look that’s cosy, unique, warm, interesting and reflects who lives there.

The Essential Details

  • Where: Level One at Chatswood Chase Sydney, 345 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
  • When: 11am, Tuesdays in March
  • Cost: $15 (includes a gift bag valued at over $25).
  • Bookings essential via the website
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