Instantly Add Style to Any Room

Sometimes the simplest of touches can make all the difference. We’ve scoured the web to find some of the easiest styling ideas that you can easily replicate at home.

Create a Theme

Liven up a living space by adding accessories of the same colours / patterns / lines / materials throughout the room. This could be done by adding a colourful fleece to your bed, adding lamps or vases with colours from the fleece, and using the same material to make a matching cushion; or echoing the asian style of a cherry blossom wallpaper with framed chinese art.

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[Top: Hilltops condominium]

Switch up your Lights

It’s amazing what light fixtures can do to a space. Don’t forsake an area just because it’s small, dark or apparently hidden away. Creative lighting can make even the dingiest of spaces hospitable.

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[Top: A walk-in wardrobe/study area featured in Square Rooms Magazine, Nov 2012]

Statement Pieces

Use bold pieces like the rug below and a floor to ceiling mirror to make a small space look big.

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Colour Therapy

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The difficulty with colours is that they’re so changeable. Depending on the time of day, the materials they’re used on, and what thye’re matched with – a colour can take on a completely different personalitiy and feel. With so many shades and tones to choose from sticking to finding the right colour theme can be particularly challenging.

I recently came across a nifty site which was like going for colour counselling. Design Seeds is a site all about colour. With swatches based on inspiration photos, the site offers a bit of clarity and focus to one’s colour choices – great for getting inspiration.

I especially like the “find palettes you love” tool.

Awesome Offices

There have been tons of bloggers advocating the idea that creative environments help boost creativity in people. If the mere sight of the Apple logo is enough to set our minds on a lateral thinking path as they would have you believe, imagine what an entire office – filled with poignant primers of how creative you are – could do for you, the employee, as you go about your daily toil. Are we really such products of our environment?

Well hey I’d like to think so! (Even if it’s just because I’d love to work in one of these incredible offices!) Problem is..some of these are so creative, you wonder if anyone can stop finding creative uses for their time at work.

Below: It was such a thrill to get an inside look into the offices at Etsy on Laughing Squid – many thanks to Scott Beale for posting these. Which kind sympathetic soul knitted wool warmers for the air conditioning vents?!

Below: Pixar’s offices house many toys and paintings from their animations and has surreal living room/offices which look like ice-fishing cabins/greenhouse garages. Images via The Roxor, Best House Interior,

Below: It’s a circus at Ogilvy & Mather’s Guangzhou office. Images via The Cool Hunter.

Below: Just the way I like them – some functional yet unconventional creative agency offices featured on This Ain’t No Disco (it’s where we work).

Finnish communications agency Trust Creative Society adopted an open floor plan that resembles a cosy restaurant – complete with kitchen and dining area – rather than the traditional office layout. It really looks like they’re working in a cafe – round the clock refreshments and perfect for discussions.

American communications agency Big Giant has a professional yet homely vibe with warm wood textures, carpets and sofas. Toy-adorned shelves in the rest areas encourage play and brainstorming.

Below: Of course, couldn’t do a post about creative work spaces without including a mention of Google’s notoriously smashing offices. Images via The Concept Times and here.

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Seen at the Singapore Biennale 2011

The third Singapore Biennale opened on 13 March featuring the work of 63 artists from 30 countries, and presented across 5 venues:

  • The Singapore Art Museum at Bras Basah Rd
  • SAM at 8Q (along Queen St just behind the Singapore Art Museum)
  • National Museum of Singapore at Stamford Rd
  • Old Kallang Airport
  • Merlion Park at Marina Bay

This year’s theme ‘Open House’ alludes to a gathering of multiple perspectives and creative processes and the commentary on how we move between borders, see each other’s points of view, and form connections with others.

The event is on till 15 May and as the works are distributed across the city, you’d probably be best taking your time to visit the sites over a few days or weekends. Did you visit any of the sites – what did you think? Any favourites? Here’s a glimpse of a few of mine:

Architecture Exhibition: 20 under 45

20 under 45: the next generation is a collection of works by Singapore-registered architects under the age of 45. Exhibited in late 2010, the small display is up again for a second viewing at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) building at Maxwell Road.

Some outstanding works:

Above: Richard Hassel, WOHA Architects – 1. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Indonesia; 2. Crown Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport, Singapore. I love how alive these structures feel! It takes an inspired mind to soak in the culture and geographical beauty of these locations, blend that with a modern aesthetic, and create something as wonderfully surprising yet completely natural as these structures.

Above: Ling Hao, Ling Hao Architects – Small Worlds at Niven Road, Singapore

This sort of narrow multi-storey ‘shophouse’ is a common sight along the old streets of Singapore – it offers homeowners lots of exciting design possibilities – but also challenges (especially for bringing light into such a narrow space).

Above: Alan Tay, Formwerkz Architects – Aramsa Spa, Singapore

Aramsa Spa is a top class spa set none other than in the center of the humble heartlands at Bishan Park. The lush garden landscaping and graceful architecture of wooden walkways flanked by reflection ponds, glass rimmed lounges, bamboo beamed outdoor showers, and unexpected details (e.g. corrugated iron sheets reminiscent of kampong tin roofing are used to segregate the outdoor showers) give the place its irresistible allure. What I love is how open it is yet so private – rustic yet modern – and how it clearly loves nature and encourages visitors to commune with it. I’ve seen many imitations but Aramsa Spa really got it right down to the heart.

International Furniture Fair Singapore 2011

International Furniture Fair Singapore 2011 was held from 9 to 12 March at the Singapore Expo at Changi. Featuring 534 exhibitors from 24 countries, the event showcased a diverse mix of design styles and concepts. Highlights included D’Space and Platform showcasing designs from budding young talents under the theme ‘No Boundaries’; as well as discussions at the Furniture Design Forum led by award-winning designer Naoto Fukasawa, Belgian architect and ‘total designer’, Vincent Van Duysen and sales head for Italian furniture brand Moroso, Marco Cappellin.

Above: 1. Eclectic secret friend designs by Tithi Kutchamuch; 2. More from secret friend family; 3. A Part From Eagle by Anon Pairot.

Above: 1. Pendant and Juno Lamp by Anurak Suchat of Aesthetic Studio 2. Paperfold by P.C. Ee of Exit Studio; 3. Hi Ho Rocking Horse by Jarrod Lim.

Also on exhibit were designs produced in a 3-day design workshop ‘Design Inevitable’. Held prior to the event, the workshop conducted by Mr Fukasawa offered 20 Singapore-based designers the rare chance to work with the master and develop minimalist interpretations of their own. Some of the designs produced included:

Above: 1. Bed by Ang Xinwei; 2. Tiptoe Dining Chair by Yang Tah Ching; 3. Twins by Len Lim.

Shortlisted finalists of Furniture Design DNA‘s design competition 2011 also had their work on display. Winners were announced on Wednesday.

Above: In the Designer Category 1. WIND Screen/Shelf by Jerry Low (Grand prize); 2. Igloo Stool by Page Tan (Merit); 3. Sprout Table by Sharina Bi Abdul Rashid (Merit).

Above: In the Student Category 1. Sheep Chair by Tzu-Chi (Grand prize); Liseta Bookcase by Samir Wadekar (Merit); 3. You’ve Got Mail by Nur Sabeela Binte Abdul Karim (Honorable Mention). Images via TodayOnline.

Walking around the exhibits, stands featuring eco-friendly products and furnishings using recycled/reclaimed materials really stood out. One which gained a lot of attention was D-Bodhi‘s Street Art concept (which incidentally also won Best Stand for Category C – stands of 200sqm and above). Expanding on its range of eco-friendly furnishings using materials such as reclaimed teak wood and brushed iron, the brand launched its new d-Blue collection of recycled jeans fabric furniture that included everything from poufs and lounge chairs to coffee tables. A personal favourite of mine was Sharda Exports which featured hand-tufted and woven carpets, rugs and pouf coverings. I especially love their sock carpet featured below.


Other interesting exhibits included moods for wood featuring an assortment of metal framed silhouette furniture; lendaiyan and an air-filtering air lamp by wa francis chu from dream lab one as featured on DesignBoom; and cascade light by Ango.

Find out more about the IFFS here.

Dreamy Four Poster Beds

As it opens onto a balcony overlooking the waterway, we foresee our bedroom becoming an extension of our living room. In order to delineate the space between bed and living room, I thought it might be interesting to explore the four-poster bed option.

Below: A whimsical take on the traditional four poster bed, hand-forged by sculptor, Shawn Lovell.

Below: A another version by Turkish designer, Asli Tunca.

Below: A cosy fairytale bed at Jolly Days Luxury Camping.

Below: Tree of life motif veil four poster bed via Apartment Therapy.

Below: A simple yet effective four poster bed featured on Apartment Therapy.

Below: A luxurious tent bed fit for a king at a Botswana Safari house.

Below: A beautiful Indonesian dark wood bed via house to home.

Creating a Mood Board

It’s easy to go overboard with things you like.

Making a mood board is a good exercise especially when testing out ideas for a hypothetical space (or wedding/event/product/website/whatever you’re designing). Even if you don’t like to be overly controlled, a mood board enables you to find, collect and edit your thoughts; adding better clarity and context to your decorating decisions. The last thing you want is to come home to disagreeing furniture staging their own gun fight at the O.K. Corral.

Some general practices for building a mood board include:

1. Make it Editable – if you’re making a physical board, using pin-boards or masking tape – that way you can add, remove or rearrange things as you progress. Electronic mood boards are a good option as they’re easy to edit and great for saving online inspirations.

2. Maintain some Proportion – not an absolute rule but if it’s going to look large in your room it should be larger on your mood board.

3. Arrange the Space – try to arrange your mood board as you would place them in your room i.e. ceiling fans appear at the top of your mood board, carpets below, curtains next to window fixtures etc.

4. Layer – layering textures such as wood grains for tables and furniture fabrics over wall paint swatches can help add depth and a better feel for how these items will look in your home.

5. Keep an Eye on it – put your mood board within easy reach – you want to keep checking back to see if you’re still hot about that fuchsia wall or if you’ve new ideas that would look great in the space  – it could be at your desk, or if it’s an e-mood board, your computer desktop, screen saver or blog.     

6. Keep Collecting – whenever you come across something you like whether it’s a colour swatch, fabric sample, magazine cut out, online image or a sketch you’ve done – keep it. If it doesn’t already fit in, you can keep it in a clear folder for future reference or reuse if you change your mind. Take note of shop names/locations if you think you might need to go back there and buy the items.

Here are a few great resources to help you get started (plus a few extras):

Olioboard – specially for interior design; strong community and some retail links

Mydeco – specially for interior design; great access to unique furniture, good community and retail links

Flickr – the defacto place for pictorial inspiration and great for collecting images

Pinterest – another great source of images and ideas

And here are just a few awesome boards created by some very talented people.

Below: The inspiration board in Drew Barrymore’s office which was designed by Ruthie Sommers as featured in Domino Mag.

Below: Stylish mummy, Nicole Balch from Making it Lovely frequently features inspiration boards on her gorgeous blog. Here’s one she uses as an electronic work of art.

Below: A beautiful colour story board created by interior design student, Kylie Sarley, on her blog Bandelle.

Below: An attic office mood board by bmoreguy using olioboard.

Sliding Barn Doors

These have been around for awhile, but the moment I really fell in love with them was when I saw them in Elle Decor’s feature on Meg Ryan’s Beach House.

Since then I’ve been noticing them everywhere – houses and apartments alike.

Below: Apartment Therapy kindly featured this instructional post from House Tweaking.

Below: This salvaged door propped in front of the pantry adds a lot of character and adds an interesting focal point for the kitchen. Image via myhomeideas.

Below: A heart-stopping bright red sliding door by architect Barbara Bestor.

Below: A country kitchen by Hutker Architects via Attic Mag.