Once more, with meaning

Decorator with the mostest, Emma Blomfield
Decorator with the mostest, Emma Blomfield. All images by Lisa Zhu of And A Day Photography.

Emma Blomfield knows a thing or million about decorating homes. A stylist, decorator and homewares buyer, she’s also the co-founder of The Decorating School, which equips Sydney-siders and beyond with the know-how to make their homes reflect their personality and lifestyle as well as looking schmick. In between paint jobs and cushion fights, we caught up with Emma to hear about how she approaches a brief, and the most important thing you need to keep in mind to make a room ‘work’. Hint: it’s got something to do with the title…

Design-spo: The Surry Hills Terrace

This terrace house was shared by three women in their mid-twenties who all worked very long hours each day but needed a colourful and bright home to come back to in the evenings. The goal with this project was to use as much pattern and personality as possible. When I turned up one day, one of the girls had used washi tape to write on the wall and create that amazing piece of art in the living room. It had to stay!
Images from a redecorated apartment in Surry Hills
Images from a redecorated apartment in Surry Hills
Images from a redecorated apartment in Surry Hills

Don’t learn to live with it

Your home is your sanctuary, your haven and your escape. It serves so many purposes for us yet so often we neglect it and ignore certain elements of our homes. It might be that you’re mentally preparing for a renovation so expending any energy on decorating is bottom of the list, or perhaps you’re so overwhelmed by the thought of spending time re-decorating that it’s easier to bury your head in the sand… You stop inviting friends over, you turn the TV on at night and focus on the screen rather than anything else in the room around you, or you are out the door at any chance you get during your downtime so you don’t have to stare at the peeling paint on the ceiling that needs re-doing. Let’s not even mention the 13 year old sofa that your toddler has kindly mashed his banana into…

We all have that friend whose home is a beautiful breath of fresh air. We love hanging out at her place and exploring all of the interesting pieces she has placed around the house, but when it comes to re-creating this ourselves it seems like an impossible task. Walking into a home and feeling as if you are home is such a powerful feeling. It’s one we all strive for, yet often don’t put enough time aside to actually achieve it.

I’m here to show you that creating a meaningful, welcoming and real home isn’t an impossible task. With some forethought, and careful planning one weekend you can achieve so many things.

Design-spo II: The Rushcutter’s Bay apartment

This apartment belongs to a young professional couple who took great pride in the appearance of their home. It was important to them to incorporate a number of their favourite pieces, like the small tray that doubles as a bar cart so when entertaining the room can be multi-functional for them.
Pictures of a redecorated apartment in Rushcutters Bay
Pictures of a redecorated apartment in Rushcutters Bay

Emma’s top tips to creating a meaningful home

1. What’s your goal?

When we first sit down to really think about re-decorating, it’s important to have an end goal in mind. Just like saving for a house or getting fit, it helps to have a goal to work towards. Perhaps your goal is to have the house looking presentable to host Christmas dinner. Or your goal is to host a girl’s night for you and your closest girlfriends to enjoy a night of cheese and wine. Whatever your goal may be, write it down and stick it somewhere like the fridge so you keep seeing it over and over. It’ll keep you accountable!

2. Assess your needs & wants

So often I see clients jumping into a design project without having considered how the space will actually be used. To create a meaningful home, we must consider the different uses people have for the space. You will use your living room very differently to your 16 year old son, so it’s important to be aware of all the different needs and wants of each person who uses the space.

3. Buy what you love

Buying items because they are appearing in magazines each week isn’t the way to a meaningful home. Buying items that you fall in love with on the spot in a shop or while away on a family trip will mean so much more to you once placed in your home.  If you’ve got a meaningful story behind something in your home you’ll find a way to make it work among the other items you already own.

4. Keep, chuck, re-home

We all become a little complacent from time to time with items in our homes, but every now and then the mess and chaos gets on top of us and a spring clean is in order. Approach a spring clean with these three words – KEEP, CHUCK, RE-HOME. Wander around your home and ruthlessly label all items (physically on a post it note or mentally, whatever works for you) and decide then and there what deserves to stay in your home, what can go in the bin and what could be re-homed to another room or to charity.

5. Make practical purchases

I don’t know anyone who can’t put their hand up to say they’ve bought something in a store only to get it home and realise it was a terrible choice. For example, you fall in love with a beautiful white throw rug for your sofa. While that would be fine if you lived in a museum or never drank red wine or ate chocolate in your living room, if you have kids, or like me consume way too much chocolate on the couch at night, anything white is a terrible idea. Buyer’s remorse is avoidable! Go back to step 2, assess your needs and wants, if you need a new rug, but you’ve got an 18 month old who’s crawling around on the floor and playing with toys then you’ll need a soft one, not a hard sisal weave rug. A little forethought goes a long way in the long run.

Happy decorating!


Design-spo III: The Palm Beach apartment

This unit is by the seaside so finding inspiration for this one wasn’t tricky. The main goal for this client was to bring elements of the iconic Palm Beach indoors while also being practical. We even went so far as to frame maps of the area to really amp up the Palm Beach concept!

Pictures of a redecorated apartment in Palm Beach Pictures of a redecorated apartment in Palm Beach Pictures of a redecorated apartment in Palm Beach

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