The top tips of Australia’s designer of the year

admin | 杭州桑拿
4 Dec 2018

The Tailored Interior: Greg Natale’s new book. The Tailored Interior: Greg Natale’s new book.

The Tailored Interior: Greg Natale’s new book.

Which white paints are the warmest?

Are there simple ways to pep up a bland or empty-looking room and what are the fail-safe rules for prettying up your pad?

In his new book, The Tailored Interior, Greg Natale, Belle’s Interior Designer of the Year two years running, offers some of his top tips.


Natale tends to use a low-sheen finish paint, which he says is easy to wipe clean.

He prefers that it contain a drop of black “which eliminates the ‘blue’ tinge that can cause whites to appear cold and unwelcoming”.

His favourites include Popcorn by Porter’s Paints, Super White by Benjamin More, Ammonite by Farrow & Ball and House White by Resene.


“A rug is a great way to visually create different ‘zones’ in open-plan living spaces, softly delineating areas while focusing the furniture around it,” Natale explains.

He suggests textured rugs on a patterned floor or, if you have a plain floor, suggests using a rug to play with colours or prints.

A rug should always be proportionate to the furniture, he says, an if you’re using one underneath the dining table it should be 60 centimetres wider than the table on all sides.

“If you’re in doubt, get a bigger rug and place your furniture on top of it.”


This is where rugs, artworks, cushions and even wallpaper can inject colour, warmth and break up a blank canvas of a room.

“A punch of pattern may be needed to create visual tension,” Natale says, adding that if things aren’t tying together, “you may be lacking one key factor (colour, pattern, shape) that will draw the whole together.”

When it comes to accessorising, be careful not to overclutter, Natale says.

“On a coffee table, try a simple spray of flowers in a glass vase, a statement book and a few objects in different materials (such as ceramic and metallic). Stand back, take a good look at how your pieces work together, and keep editing until it feels right.


Natale suggests choosing no more than two neutrals and two hues. But don’t start with them.

“They should be among your last considerations when choosing elements for a room,” he advises. “Begin with all the major pieces in neutrals before you think about wall treatments, throws, cushions and rugs.”

Speaking of neutrals, he advises against buying a sofa with a pattern on it. “The piece is so large that a bold pattern will dominate the room, making the task of tying together everything around it extremely difficult.

“Good sofas are expensive and, as colour and pattern trends come and go, you don’t want to buy a new one regularly.”

Natale’s top-five tips for a small space

1. Reduce the size of furniture but not necessarily the amount – your room should still have all the key elements that make it a warm, livable space. For example, in a living room try a narrow sofa, chairs with lower arms and two small side tables instead of one coffee table.

2. Get your furniture off the floor and up on legs – doing this with a sofa in the living room or a bench in the kitchen will make the piece look as if it’s floating and visually open the surrounding space.

3. Use mirrors to capture more light and reflect an outside view or one of another room, and you will optically double the space.

4. Storage is vital for getting clutter out of the way, but even the storage itself can work overtime when it comes to visual trickery. Cabinetry that doubles as walls or blends into the walls is a good way to maximise limited space.

5. Combat low ceilings by using small, unobtrusive downlights rather than pendants. Consider removing the cornices to make the wall and ceiling space blend and appear more extensive, which helps lift the eye up without interruption.

The top-five mistakes when doing up a space

1. Starting with a colour scheme in mind before considering what the space’s layout will be and then getting stuck with a colour that doesn’t work in that space. I always recommend considering colour as a tool that adds balance or contrast, and one that should be addressed later in the design plan.

2. Buying big pieces, such as sofas in bold colours or patterns: these will dominate a room and make it difficult to coordinate with everything else. I like to keep larger pieces neutral and save the bold statements for smaller pieces and soft furnishings.

3. Not buying enough furniture so that a room looks empty and unwelcoming. I think people err on the conservative side and forget that furniture can be ornamental as well as functional, helping to give a room that important full, finished look.

4. Rushing out to buy everything at once. It’s much better to take your time and see how pieces look in a room. Each piece should relate to the next so that you end up with a dynamic, cohesive whole.

5. Underestimating the power of accessories and forgetting to budget for them! It may be the last stage of decorating and design but it’s so important to add those vital and personal finishing touches. Budget-wise, I recommend planning for 10 per cent of what you spend on furniture.

Comments are closed.