Transform Your Home! Tips from Australian House & Garden’s Janet James and No Chintz’s Chrissie Jeffery!
Whether you’re a novice or a creative genius, we’ve uncovered some brilliant new ways to dress your living areas and bedrooms with a selection of super stylish fabrics. And it’s much easier than you might think…
Meet Janet James, Style Director for Australian House & Garden magazine, and Chrissie Jeffery, Creative Director for No Chintz fabric stores and Stitches Soft Furnishings. Together, these interior gurus have more than 50 years’ experience in home decorating and trends. The creative duo recently teamed up for the Home Food and Wine Weekend, along with Lindsey Marsh from Husqvarna Viking, and revealed the latest trends in fabrics and soft furnishings, and more importantly, the key to successfully transforming your home. Scissors at the ready, because here’s their tips…
‘The Magic of Fabrics’ tips at the Home Food and Wine Weekend (below). From left. Lindsey Marsh from Husqvarna Viking demonstrates how easy it is to create the designer look at home with the Opal 670 sewing machine with the hostess with the most-ess Nicky Buckley, Janet James, Style Director of Australian House & Garden Magazine and No Chintz’s Creative Director Chrissie Jeffery. Photography by Wil Horner.
Tip #1 You can transform a simple apartment into a palace with the right fabrics
Never one to shy away from fabrics or soft furnishings, Chrissie Jeffrey’s ‘temporary’ apartment looked so stylish after decorating it, that Australian House & Garden magazine ran a story on it in recently. “Chrissie moved into this apartment as a stop-gap between houses, and, working in the industry, she couldn’t help herself of course and splashed a bit of fabric around to make it a little more comfortable,” explains Janet. “She created a wow apartment with a few simple dressings.”
Tip #2 Make it comfortable and add cushions!
If you like to lounge around, make your space super comfy and inviting for a few afternoon zzz’s. “Chrissie placed a daybed in a bay window and layered it with cushions,” explains Janet. “My tip? Always place the biggest cushions to the back, with the longer skinnier shapes at the front. A bolster midway gives the cushions something to sit against without collapsing.”
Chrissie bought the rug first, then matched all the fabrics to its warm tones. “She dressed the windows – the ceiling was 3.5m high, which is just stunning, and you can see a gorgeous patchwork pattern using big square blocks of colour,” explains Janet. “This is a really effective treatment for a window.”
Tip #3 Make your dining room an appetizing place to eat!
“The Dining room curtains are navy linen with a wide, white velvet edging to connect them to the artwork and the walls,” explains Janet. “It’s good to have curtains that have a touch of the wall colour. The Biedermeier dining chairs are upholstered in blue and aqua tones to lighten the mood.”
Tip #4 Get ample beauty sleep, with a beautiful bedroom…
Chrissie knows what she likes and doesn’t like in her slumber sanctuary. She explains that her first step to creating a gorgeous room was to create thick curtains and put on a red header. “I don’t like patterns in bedrooms unless they are really beautiful, special prints,” explains Chrissie. “If I use pattern it will be a bedhead or a window seat. With bedheads, I like a shade darker than the wall. It should contrast to give the bed a focus.”
Tip #5 Take risks with fabrics!
Chrissie’s motto? “Sometimes you need to embrace risk to find an unexpected bonus,” she advises. “It doesn’t matter if you get it wrong. Sometimes we have to hold back from making a room too perfect, as it can become soul-less. I like it when people haven’t followed fashion but have gone with their own tastes. Be brave, take risks and experiment with fabric. In the beginning, try small things such as cushions.”
Tip #6 Don’t limit your decorating to curtains, quilts and cushions.
Janet is a big fan of breathing new life into old furniture pieces. “If you’ve got a bit of know-how – and are willing to have a try, reupholstering a favourite piece of furniture or even a roadside find can be a great way to create some wow in a room.”
Tip #7 If you aren’t confident in fabric selection, call in the pro’s (the No Chintz team!)
If you thought it was important to get your fabrics right, you are… right. That goes for choosing the correct weight and textiles chair seats that will house your buttocks, to curtains so they hang beautifully and keep light out, and warmth in, and sofa cushions and covers that will be used to sleep on (you do want a luxuriously soft fabric against your face, don’t you?). As Chrissie says, “Choosing the right fabric for the right job is vital. It is the difference between success and unhappiness.” But don’t panic if you don’t know your awnings from your linens, the No Chintz team are experts and can help with advice on anything fabric and soft furnishing related! Pop into one of our stores for advice, or enlist the No Chintz Home Decorating service, where our experts come to your home and can totally revamp your rooms.
Tip #8 Even newbies can have fun and express themselves through interior fabrics
That’s right, everyone has to start somewhere. Leonardo didn’t paint the Mona Lisa on his first brush stroke! And what better place to experiment with your creativity and express your personality than through small soft furnishings? Chrissie’s suggestion? “Start with cushions or lampshades.” A beautiful print, classic damask or bold fabric can really help you see the light and fun that fabric can inject into your world.
Tip #9 Patterned fabrics for drapery can be a major room draw card
According to Chrissie, most patterned curtain fabrics are designed to look good when hanging. But there are some that work better than others. “The only fabrics we never put too much fullness into are Marimekko (who tend to produce oversized prints) or big contemporary prints,” Chrissie explains. “To make a statement using fabrics without creating a clash, Chrissie says it’s a matter of balance. “Balance between how many prints are in the room as well as artwork, rugs and other pieces.” If you are unsure, speak to one of the No Chintz decorating experts.
Tip #10 Go wild with big prints
According to Janet, large scale prints are very popular with textile designers at the moment. So how can you use in your home? “They look wonderful on single armchairs or centered on a big cushion,” Janet suggests.
Tip #11 Create interest by varying your colour palette
Janet says this simple trick is key to creating interest and depth. “To create depth in a palette, try layering fabric and paint colours rather than matching exact shades – venturing either side of the colour palette will deepen the overall effect.” Chrissie agrees, adding, “one of the worst things you can do is match all the colours to the same colour balance, for example, all the whites with the same whites,” she explains. “Colours look best when they mimic nature, with variations up and down from the colour. Often people feel that their room doesn’t look as good as they expected, but it is because they have matched the colour exactly, from the carpets and the walls to the upholstery. You would never see that in nature. I see this a lot and you really do need to shake things up.”