Benham master bedroom

Design tips & trends

5 ways to create a home

Soak in the wisdom of seasoned home decorator Natalie Walton, the celebrated author of This Is Home: The Art of Simple Living. Here, she shares five tips for transforming a house into a place you’re proud and happy to call home.

Words Sonya Gellert
Interview with Natalie Walton, Interior Designer

    Places that feel most like a home are the ones where the owners have a strong sense of style. That sounds simple, yet we live in a world that is saturated with ideas and inspiration. To distil all the visual noise into a place that is uniquely our own takes self-awareness. Those who have a strong sense of self are not trying to be someone else or replicate a look. We develop our sense of style when we focus on our personal values – what we believe in. Do you like to celebrate natural materials? Sustainable design? High- engineered products? Technology? Your values will guide you with the decisions you make about your home. You can develop your own sense of style by being true to yourself and your journey. This is about telling your story through your home – featuring the pieces you’ve collected on your travels, the books you’ve been given as gifts, the art that reminds you of a special anniversary or time in your life, for example.

Ellwood entry
Feature pieces you've collected on your travels, books you love or art that reminds you of special moments in your life. Above: The Ellwood entry on display now at HomeWorld Warnervale.

    We live in a world that glorifies being busy, yet it often feels as though we are simply spending time in motion, rather than being productive. When we understand what’s important to us, and prioritise our needs, we can create a space in which we enjoy spending our time. Perhaps it’s a room where we want to make improvements, or work we would enjoy doing in the garden. It can be easy to get swept up in what everyone else is doing and how others are spending their lives. But it’s important to focus on what makes us happy – if that is saying no to an invitation because you want to spend the evening at home having a quiet night, don’t feel guilty about it, and just enjoy.
    One of the biggest challenges that owners face when creating their new home is how they will navigate through all the decisions that have to be made – from paint colours to finishes, to how it will all come together. It’s important to remember that we can’t look after our home – and all the decorating-related decisions – if we aren’t looking after ourselves and focusing on what we value in a living space. We need to ensure we are creating a home where we can feel well rested, so we can then feel good about our decisions. If you are stuck on a choice you need to make, take a walk, give your mind a rest, and come back to it later or the next morning. Sleep, and a little relaxation, can help us solve most problems.
    In our hyper-connected lives, it’s important to retain contact with the natural world. We also need respite from the working day, which is why we should include natural elements in our home – such as materials and plants. These small details make a significant difference to our wellbeing. We need to get in touch with how we feel when we engage with different materials. How do we feel when we walk barefoot on a natural rug in comparison with one made of synthetic materials? These ideas are often overlooked when it comes to creating a home but they are a huge part of how we experience a space, and what can bring us happiness every day. 

Grace study
Incorporate natural elements such as materials and plants. Above: The Grace study on display now at HomeWorld Leppington.

    How can we create a place we truly love? Choose decorative pieces that have meaning and tell your story. To create a beautiful home, we need to allow breathing space around some of our favourite objects. Put them on show and enjoy them every day. We might want to put one of our favourite flowers on display, or some clippings from the garden. If we want to make a feature of it, put them in a space where they can be appreciated and there aren’t lots of other distractions.

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