My Ultimate Before and After! (please scroll down)

This gorgeous dining room belongs to Melborne interior stylist and writer Heather Nette King.  

Eight Principles of Design.


Helllllo! Are words really necessary here?

In an otherwise neutral room that stunning royal blue table and chairs provides an unexpected pop of colour (I hate that phrase, but it's the best I can come up with at the moment - sorry!) without dominating what is essentially a simple, classic, space. It adds warmth, personality and character. It makes me smile. It says: someone interesting lives here - someone who doesn't take themselves too seriously.


The dining table certainly takes centre stage in this room - and that's not only down to it's bold colour. Heather has placed it in the centre of the room in front of that lovely old fireplace where its colour echoes the blue in the painting above it. The placement of interesting objects on the table (a trio), and on that little white cupboard in the corner add another layer of interest to the room.


It's all in that oil painting.

That combo of stitching and thickly slathered on oil paint.

"Alice and Shelley" by Edwina Lye and Brian Simmons.

The simple floral arrangements also provide texture, as do the objects displayed in the glass cloches and on the white cupboard. The black ribbon from which the mirror hangs also adds texture.


There's quite a bit of bling in this room - but it's not in your face. ..there's bling, but it's subtle.

Bling things: chandelier, mirror, vintage trophies, glass vases and cloches (inside one of the cloches,  is an gold tea set - definite, and absolutely gorgeous, bling!)


A couple of milky roses and a stem of blue Delphinium (I think?) in clear glass vases (are they old jars? or milk bottles?) add just enough life to the room and highlight the colours in that painting.


This room address its purpose well. The table is large, perfect for family dinners and much bigger gatherings. There is plenty of room for diners to move their chairs in and out without bumping into furniture or scraping against walls. It is bright and well lit. There is a cupboard for storage and the wooden floor boards are a practical choice for a dining room - no worries re red wine staining carpet etc.etc.


The sumptuous curves of the Brentwood chairs, carved legs of the dining table, old trophies, and rounded cloches, mimic the arch in the fireplace and add interest to the rectangular table, painting, cupboard, and vertical lines in the floor boards.


Although this room lacks pattern in the form of soft furnishings etc, I feel it is successfully provided by the rounded curves of those Brentwoods lined up around the table. If the lack of pattern was an issue (in this case for me it's not) it could easily be added.

Okey-dokey, so that's it.

I hope this is okay Justine (and anybody else who knows about these things!)

I just want to add (because I'm a bit skeptical about the linky thing working) that these images are all via The Design Files (a wonderful Australian blog). I think they were taken by the editor of TDF, Lucy Feagins, but I can't be sure because I don't see any reference to this on the blog.

2. Before Pics of Five Key Areas.


This old tool box is a temporary fix until we find a nice teaky mid-century number to take its place.

Needs work,no?

I'm looking forward to playing around with it - let's face it, ANYthing will be an improvement!

(we used to have a Noguchi knock-off in this room, but its glass top was a dust magnet so out it went!)


In a word, BLAH!

(the pooch and my sandals are my attempt to add a bit off 'real' to what is a really boring space - ha-ha!)

I might be good at hospital corners (thanks Mum!), but my styling sucks!

We are going to repaint this room (the grey I chose is all wrong - too much purple in it) and install a plywood headboard (the ply has been stacked in a corner of our bedroom for months!)


We have just bought this lovely vintage sideboard by Swedish designer Nils Jonsson, but the stuff (nice as it is) I've plonked atop it detracts from its loveliness. Unfortunately we are stuck with the t.v. (yuk!) . I am really keen to learn a few tips to make this look as good as it should.



Another stop-gap. I hate everything about this - its  horrible shape, chrome legs, micro-suede fabric, and mousey colour. Ewww! I have tried (and obviously failed) to make it look better. Help!!!


Mu husband has just built me this ply desk - those little shelves definitely need stylin!


 Now it's time to attack that coffee table! 

And here it is!

3. Coffee Table Before and After.

Firstly a before shot just to remind you of what I was working with:

And now (probably too many!) afters:


It was actually a bit tricky to arrange things on this old tool box as it opens on both sides - because of this the skinny piece of wood in the middle juts up. I know you can't see it in the pic, but it really was a bit of a balancing act. I know Justine used books to great effect in her class on coffee table styling, but they just looked wonky (a bit like a see-saw) when I placed them on mine so I resorted to using a few smaller ones and popping them on the tray where they were more stable.

The teak bowl and wooden plate it's resting on, is my version of a tray and catch-all. In it I have popped the remote and my knitting (which just happens to tie in very nicely with the colour of the throw rug on the couch - ha-ha!) I have left plenty of space for feet, coffee cups and wine glasses - not easy on a small table whilst trying to include all eight elements.


This is about as cluttered as I get!

What do you think? I have had so much fun styling this up. My first attempt was woeful (read embarrassing!). I found taking lots of pics made it much easier to (hopefully!) get it right.

 (and that I need to learn to use my camera properly - even though it is just a point and shoot!)

Overhead shot as requested:

Some details:


Signs of Life:

I think I've incorporated all the elements...I would love to hear what you think!

(I have no idea if I'm tackling this properly)

If you do take the time to leave me some feedback I will definitely check out your project too x

4.Console (we call them sideboards here!) Before and After.

I love our sideboard. It was designed by Nils Jonsson for Troeds (a Swedish furniture manufacturer in 1960). It is beautifully made and in lovely condition, and while it needed a spot of styling I didn't want to detract from its beauty by cluttering it up.

Here's what I did with it (getting rid of the ugly t.v. was the biggest and easiest improvement!)



I know the proportion of the shade to lamp is probably all wrong, but I like it.

Some detail:


I wish I could take better photos, my 'sidey' looks much better in the flesh - I'm really happy with it.

Syling the coffee table and sideboard has given this room so much more warmth and interest. Couch tomorrow and I can't wait!

Thanks for your comments too btw, they're much appreciated, keep 'em coming! (please)

NOTE: the little brass apple was a late find from an op-shop (thrift store) this arvo, which explains why it makes an appearance in only one photo. I felt it was a lovely finishing touch (there are brass/copppery lines running through our wallpaper)

5. Sofa,  After.

(please scroll up for before, thanks)

Getting rid of the fabric I had covering the cushions made a bigger change (to let's face it, what will always be an ugly sofa!) than I thought it would.

I tried lots of cushion combos...different colours, a solo cushion, and heaps of cushions - in the end I was happy with just three. The colours are mostly muted which suit the room, and the red in the lttle vintage bark cloth cushion picks up the red trim in the galah cushion, and the red lips in the Tretchikoff Chinese Girl print hanging on the wall behind it, which gives the room a bit of 'pop'!


A subtle but nice change I think.

I hope so anyway...

7. Bookcase Before and After.

Here it is before:

A mess!

And after:

I'm not entirely happy with this, but as nearly all of our books are in storage I had a limited colour palette to work with (which I found challenging) and these shelves (the only shelves we have) are a little on the narrow side for the books I've used.

While I do think it looks better after a spot of styling, I'm wondering if the balance is a little off, and whether  it looks a little on the dull side...I was hoping the yellow in the planter would brighten it up, but I'm not sure...

What do you think?

I don't mind constructive criticism, so feel free to be honest.

A few pics of details:

 8. Bed, Before and After.

(a few days late but we've been away...)

Here's a before:

It's cold, boring, anything but comfy looking, and part from our cute pooch, there's not alot going for it!

And here it is after a spot of stylin:

Ah, much better!

(at least, I think so...)

Changing to a darker sheet has made a huge difference (have another quick look at the before), as has the ply bedhead (only a temporary measure - just propped behind the bed for these photos - a more permanent arrangement will be in place soon...hopefully...ahem!)

We do not have bedside tables at the moment (our plan is to build them as part of our 'proper' bedhead), so I have made do with a vintage Bentwood chair which I painted charcoal - while it might not be entirely practical, it's better than nothing, and I think it works in the space, and adds a bit of character.

So, what do you think?

Is it a bed you'd like to snooze on?

As usual I appreciate and look forward to your feedback.

There are so many wonderful projects out there, I just wish I had time to look at them all!

I'll be back soon with my ultimate B & A.

p.s. just in case you're curious, the amazing modern macrame dreamcatcher was made by my lovely and clever friend, Pippa. You can find more of her work here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ouchflower?ref=em and here: http://ouchflower.bigcartel.com/.

I hope you don't mind me giving her a plug.

9. Ultimate Before and After Pics.

I couldn't choose...the sofa or the sideboard? the bed or the coffee table? Have another look, and you tell me.



I've really enjoyed this course, it's been fun, inspiring, and interesting too.

From now on I will always consider and apply the Eight Principles of Design whenever I'm stylin it. Thanks Justina. And a big thank you to YOU for looking at my projects, and for taking the time to comment x

This room looks so much better. I'm chuffed!

p.s. if you decide to run another class Justina, I'm IN!

p.p.s. just gotta get a better camera AND learn how to use it!




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