Trial & Error

Shamrock Furniture

Grazia describes her style as “contemporary classic with a twist of unpredictability”. The original Danish chairs were purchased and reupholstered by Shamrock Furniture in a Chelsea Textiles fabric.

Shamrock Furniture is famous with chair and bed design
Shamrock Furniture is famous with chair and bed design

The artwork is by Australian photographer Bill Henson.

Grazia Materia has been working as an house interior designer for 14 years. In 2005 she started furniture and product design business Temperature Design ( with Vicki Corbett.

  1. Key element If you’re looking to buy (or even rent) a home put natural light at the top of your must-have list furniture such as sofa, chair, recliners, dining table, bed and mattress. Grazia says it’s one of the most important elements to a beautiful interior. Also, include ambient lighting where possible and avoid too many downlights. Her favourite light is the Golden Bell Pendant 330A, designed in the 1950s by Alvar Aalto.
  2. Strike the right balance Use magazines as a starting point to establish what you like and dislike, Grazia says. For example, for recliner reviews, is a good reference. But make sure your home reflects you and your lifestyle rather than what you’ve seen in a magazine.
  3. Common mistake A big no-no for Grazia is going to one retailer and purchasing a package of items. “The interior ends up looking like a showroom of pieces instead of a home,” she says. Also, the packages usually offer quantity instead of quality. But she doesn’t believe that quality items necessarily mean a high pricetag or carry a brand label.
  4. Avoid replica repetition “The market is saturated with replica and copy designer pieces,” Grazia says. “Rooms that have an abundance of these pieces in the one area look ridiculous.”
  5.  Feature walls Grazia is not a fan of painted feature walls. “It’s smarter to do a feature room colour,” she says.
  6. How to complete a room Commit to just one look – the one you’re trying to achieve. “Although there are lots of great styles it’s best not to try and have them all in the one space,” she says.
  7. Using colour “If you’re going to commit to a strong colour in your interiors, such as on the floor, then balance that out with colours of equal strength and tones for balance. Otherwise make the colour the feature, and your accessories subsidiary to it.”
  8. On speed dial Decor Design for good-quality leather; Zepel Fabrics for affordable upholstery fabrics; Coulson Tiles for simple and classic styles. Supertuft Carpets and Fibonacci Stone for flooring. Beachfront Design for kitchens and cabinetry. See stockists, page 158
  9. All-time faves Sofa and recliner: WM sofa designed by Wood Marsh Architects ( Chair: Favela Chair 1991 by the Campana Brothers ( Fabric: Sussex Linen by Elliott Clarke ( Bed: Sinclair Bed by Temperature Design ( Flooring: American Oak herringbone parquetry.
  10. Always avoid “Clutter caused by incorrect furniture selections and placement is one of the main ways to ruin an interior.”

Furniture selection process:

Ready Set Decorate; (3 COFFEE TABLES and Recliner Chairs, 6 GREAT LOOKS)

It’s amazing how a few simple styling tricks can transform a coffee table and best recliners from cluttered to cool. Here’s how


These are the items that are often found cluttering a coffee table. But as it’s a key piece of furniture, think about styling it as you would any other surface in your home. Choose display pieces that work with your theme but also strike a balance between form and function, then think carefully about their arrangement. Read on for inspiration.

coffee table and recliner chair are good matching pieces of furniture
coffee table and recliner chair are good matching pieces of furniture


Create vignettes by clustering a mix of decorative items in an all-white theme. The different shapes and sizes of the pieces add interest, while keeping to the same colour unifies the look. A tray, with a black-and-white design that echoes the cushion behind, is a simple and effective way to keep the display contained. Neatly stacked mags and books underneath keep the surface clutter-free; they look smart, too.


Same coffee table, completely different look. The plain white surface is the perfect background to display an eclectic mix of accessories in bright and bold colours. Different materials – wooden ornaments and glass vessels – add texture and interest. Instead of using a tray, travel trinkets are displayed as “exhibits” in a glass dome a quirky way to showcase favourite finds. Jewellery can be used to dress your table, too here, colourful beads are draped decoratively over a wooden spice rack, which also comes in useful as a spot to stash any small bits and bobs. On the storage shelf below, a set of baskets is an attractive way to hide remote controls, pens, nailpolish and any other messy-looking objects that always end up on the table. Books and coffee tables are a natural pairing, but if the spine of a favourite tome doesn’t coordinate with your theme then just turn it around to show the opening side. Colourful tribal-style cushions and rug tie the look together.


This space screams girly sophistication. Pops of bright pink and red – through the nailpolish, tray and candle votive – echo the colours of the rug and cushions. Even the roses are colour-coordinated with the scheme. Magazines make great coffee table reading material, but they have another use, too – stacking at different heights creates “shelves” that are perfect for displaying well-chosen ornaments. The grafitti bust makes a strong style statement it’s classic but with a cool, contemporary twist. Consider shape and material, too: the round glass vase echoes the table, and helps balance the straight lines in the space.


For a cutting-edge contemporary look, a monochromatic palette works brilliantly. The glass tabletop lets the solid stripes of the rug dominate the scene, so we kept the styling simple. A collection of playful pieces in a strictly black and white palette, such as the boot ornaments and resin vessels, add quirky character. Photos make great display pieces clear acrylic frames with pics on both sides means they can be positioned anywhere. Mix up textures to keep the look interesting: porcelain, glass, mirrored finishes, and resin with a hint of metallic come together to create a cool modern look.

Many people give best recliner reviews and best coffee table reviews for white and simple styles
Many people give best recliner reviews and best coffee table reviews for white and simple styles


A natural wood table can be dressed to suit any scheme. For an earthy vibe, we kept to a neutral palette with hits of warm yellows and greens. The table has a readymade vignette station in the sunken corner section – perfect for a cluster of vases. Our large rattan tray, which echoes the texture of the rug, helps contain the clutter on the table, while the Pantone tins are are cute way to store ugly items – remote controls! out of sight. Don’t forget the space under the table. We’ve showcased an interesting piece and snuck in another cool storage box. The enclosed metal base means they won’t go wandering across the floor.


For a contemporary coastal feel we opted for a white backdrop in the sofa choice with blue and green accents to echo the colours of the ocean. The natural tone of the coffee table resembles sand, and the table showcases a selection of interesting beachcomber finds. Don’t be tempted to overclutter a surface full of shells is not a good look! Clear acrylic boxes are unobtrusive so are a great way to display your seasideinspired pieces. Stack at different heights to add interest. The wooden bird ornaments are a cute touch. Don’t forget a few small bowls to hold smaller items. The cushions and rug should tie in with the theme – blue and white stripes are suitably beachy.


Watch this video for recommendations to select contemporary modern coffee table and recliners

Setting a table: simplicity, luxury, and refinement–that’s how to set a table and chairs with Italian elegance

Italy furniture style

Italy is famous for both its food and for the style and elegance of its table dressing. Our table settings are unrivaled in simplicity and luxury. We say simplicity and luxury, but there is also a focus on craftsmanship and respect for family traditions, combined with a measure of pride, which justifies that bit of creative folly that sets us apart.

style and elegance of Italy table dressing
style and elegance of Italy table dressing

Italian Table Setting

For dinner in a country house or on a terrace by the sea, the table setting will be more colorful and rustic than it is on other occasions. But here, too, nothing is left to chance. With a brocaded linen tablecloth or damask linen in a vivid color by Frette, one of the largest linen producers in Italy, the dishes, the pitchers, and the soup plates should be from Ceramica di Caltagirone. This ceramic ware, from a small town in Sicily, features lively designs and colors, with decorations that often date back to the Middle Ages. Craft traditions have been handed down from father to son for centuries. A service whose plates have so much personality may be accompanied by flatware of simple lines to make the whole a bit lighter, such as the Caccia model in silver designed by Luigi Caccia Dominomi for Alessi, a true classic in international design.

Italy table and chair set for restaurants
Italy table and chair set for restaurants

The house of Alessi is well-known for its colorful, amusing, and at times irreverent products. It manufactures and redesigns traditional and important pieces such as the Bauhaus and Dressler models, modern-looking even though they were created more than a century ago.

Dining in Italian style

For the rustic table, the glasses and pitchers may be of colored glass with differing tonalities, as in the Carnevale series by Venini. This famous glassmaker is one of the cult houses of “Made in Italy,” having allied its name since its 1921 founding in Murano with some of the most prestigious, world-famous names in architecture–Mendini, Sottsass, and Aulenti.

If the occasion is an important one, like Christmas, a birthday, or a christening, it is time to bring out the rare pieces from the past such as the magnificent tapered Venini goblets in crystal and gold from the Casanova series created specifically for Fellini’s Casanova, and no longer in production. Their value is exploited to the fullest if they are placed on a delicate white organza or needlepoint lace tablecloth by Jesurum. Logically, the dishes should also be of the same quality. You can choose a classic, such as the Lago Blue model by Richard Ginori in white bone china with an electric blue border trimmed in fine gold. Thanks to an ancient underglazing procedure that Richard Ginori has been using since 1735, this material is especially glossy and so resistant that it can be put in the dishwasher. If a touch of frivolity is needed with dessert and coffee, the plates, cups, cake plate, and sugar bowl from the Dolci Deco series are a beautiful choice. Inspired by the watercolors of the artist Davide Pizzigoni, they are designed by Bulgari and made of porcelain with delicate pastel effects.

Italian dining
Italian dining

Seguso stands out among goblets in the Murano tradition. Its pieces are still blown by hand, using a method going back to the Middle Ages. The classic models are based on eighteenth-century ones and are made in slightly iridescent opaline glass with flecks of gold between the rim and the stem.

Watch this video to see how to decorate an Italian table

If you love POMEGRANATE and its color, you should read the POMEGRANATE furniture and interior style


The Homestead
The Homestead

The story of the Homestead

The story of Waterloo Village is most closely linked with the history of one family: the Smiths. The Homestead, built in the 1760s, became Peter Smith’s home after he arrived in Waterloo in 1831. Smith opened a general store and developed several other businesses that supplied or were connected to the canal trade. Located on a hill overlooking both the canal and store that was the basis for the family’s wealth, “the rather imposing home looks down on the small empire that Smith built here,” says Darcy Hartman, director of education for the village. “The structure helps portray the life of a man who did something for a community that really lasted.”

The Homestead travel site

The history of The Homestead

Smith lived at the homestead with his wife Maria and their 11 children. As his fortune grew, Peter served as a state senator and helped to found the local church, in addition to being a member of numerous boards and societies. Only six of the Smith’s 11 children – Samuel, Matilda, Caroline, Peter Jr., Nathan, and Seymour – survived to adulthood. All six at one time or another lived in Waterloo homes. Three of the sons carried on the family businesses. Samuel managed the store and lived in the Iron Master’s residence, built in the late 1700s to house the head of the forge. He also managed the family’s grist- and sawmills. Eventually he went into the railroad business, and sold his share in the store to his brothers. Peter Jr., also involved in the family businesses, built a mansion for his family in 1871. Seymour married the daughter of a miller and built Wellington House in 1878. Nathan lived next to the church in a structure that is now used as the parish house. Matilda and her husband lived in the Canal House. Caroline married and moved to New York.

classical bedroom interior
classical bedroom interior

The design of The Home-stead

The main block of the Homestead includes a parlor and dining room on the first floor with luxury tables, chairs set and furniture interior design and bedrooms on the second floor with classical bed design.

luxury dining room in the first floor
luxury dining room in the first floor

In 1876, the house was remodeled to include Victorian embellishments such as bay windows and a porch. A 20th-century addition provided a music room and a modern kitchen. Hartman points out that, compared to the many rustic structures in the village, it is a standout. The Homestead is decorated in a more formal style than it might have been when the Smiths lived there. Continuing research probably will dictate changes to the interiors and may reveal additional dependencies. The barn, built in the Victorian period, houses a gunsmith and signmaker’s shops.


Pomegranate: The Seeds of Design

House and fashion decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape in interior
House and fashion decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape in interior

Why shape and color of pomegranate is popular used in interior?

Fashion and House Decorators love the pomegranate for its color and shape. Chefs are drawn to its sweet juice and jewel-like crimson seeds. But in addition to these modern uses, the pomegranate has been a popular motif in the decorative arts since ancient times. As a religious symbol, its significance spans the Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths.

The history of pomegranate

The fruit is from a tree native to Iran. After 2,000 B.C., the cultivation of this fruit spread through the Arabian Peninsula and Mediterranean countries. Today, pomegranates also are available in other places, including California.

pomegranate style house interior
pomegranate style house interior

In the ancient cultures of Greece, Rome, and China, the pomegranate represented fertility and future descendants. In ancient Greece, it was a symbol of Persephone, the goddess of agriculture, and signified the return of life in the spring. In Latin, the pomegranate is known as punica granatum, the “apple with many seeds.” Roman women often wore bridal wreaths of pomegranate branches, also seeing it as a fertility symbol. In ancient India, the juice was considered a remedy for infertility.

How pomegranate style is used in house and fashion design?

pomegranate style bedroom
pomegranate style bedroom

Called the liu in Chinese, the pomegranate is known as one of the “Three Plenties,” or wishes for good fortune. Combined with a lemon (symbolizing blessings) and a peach (meaning longevity), the pomegranate is one of the most common motifs in Chinese decorative arts. “This symbolism is very meaningful to the Chinese; it is the ultimate idea of the good life: fertility, the wish for a long life, good fortune, and many sons,” says Amanda Lange, assistant curator of ceramics, metals, and glass at Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts.

“Because the Chinese believed the pomegranate represented future generations, ceramics with images of the fruit may have been given to couples upon marriage,” she adds. The motif often is included on the popular “Tobacco Leaf,” a Chinese Export porcelain pattern made for the European market from the 1750s to the 19th century, and still reproduced today.

Pomegranates also are important symbols in the Jewish and Christian religions. There are abundant biblical references to the pomegranate, including one to King Solomon and his pomegranate orchard. In Judaism, the fruit represented fecundity. The fruit’s reported 613 seeds correspond to the number of Torah commandments that believers were expected to obey. Ancient Jewish temples often were decorated with images of the pomegranate.

A pomegranate style souvenir design
A pomegranate style souvenir design

The pomegranate’s Christian significance includes that of fertility, but the fruit also symbolizes the Christian church, whose congregation members are represented by the seeds contained in one shell. The pomegranate was popular as a decorative motif from the 15th through the 18th centuries on textiles, rugs, silver, embroideries, and wall coverings. The flowering pomegranate tree appeared frequently on 16th-century Tabriz and Persian rugs. Jacobean plasterwork of that time often depicted split pomegranates. Some 17th-century silver tankards featured pomegranate feet instead of ball feet.

“A stylized pomegranate has been a decorative motif since biblical times,” says Titi Halle, owner of Cora Ginsberg, an antique textiles dealer in New York City. Inspired by Islamic designs, the fruit also appeared on Renaissance velvets and damasks used for clothing and interior decoration. This elaboration of the fruit’s design looked more like an open flower or palmette in a geometric framework than the actual fruit.

By the mid-18th century, the pomegranate’s religious meaning was overshadowed by its graphic popularity. “The pomegranate was part of the textile design repertoire, perhaps copied from natural history books, but people didn’t ascribe any meaning to it by this period,” says Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles and costume at Colonial Williamsburg.

pomegranate style reclining chair - furniture design
pomegranate style reclining chair – furniture design

By mid-century, such motifs were replaced by smaller-scale striped or floral patterns. Pomegranate designs on fabrics for interior decoration also went out of fashion. “By the 1750s, copperplate printed textiles with figural designs and historical scenes were used for curtains and slipcovers,” says Baumgarten.

The popularity of the pomegranate’s image on wall coverings is shown by wallpaper, circa 1509, found on the beams of Christ Church dining hall at Cambridge University in England. This printed paper repeats abstract pomegranate designs that were inspired by Italian Renaissance textiles.

“Wallpaper always imitates something else,” says Joanne Warner, assistant curator of wall coverings at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City. “It often is closely aligned with popular textile patterns and motifs.” When pomegranates appeared on fabrics, wallpaper followed suit. “While the design was used in Colonial America, it is not a major theme. It’s not like the pineapple,” adds Warner.

Woodland Wonder

Neutral-coloured crockery, napery and placemat. Black-handled cutlery. Decorative sprig and polished stone placecard. This place setting offers a lunch-in-the-forest vibe, with the placemat cutouts reminiscent of a bird-pecked treetrunk. And the placemat was once a tree, too

Place-card setting just like a SET THE TABLE

set of table
set of table design and organizaing just likes how to design a place-card

6 pretty place setting ideas

From pebble placecards and ribbon-tied cutlery to fresh and funky placemats, delight your guests this Christmas


This elegant monochromatic setting has a stately nautical feel – think captain’s table on a 1930s ocean liner. The placecard adds a friendly element and a touch of green. Lines of wide ribbon create a table-runner with a difference, and contrast with the plates’ circular. This style is really good for luxury table and chair set of big parties.

elegant style place card setting on luxury table and chair set
elegant style place card setting on luxury table and chair set

Natural TOUCH

Simple and sweet! A leaf with a name written on it makes a charming and original placecard. We’ve echoed the shape of the leaf in our fabric placemat – and the points of the leaves on placemat and placecard are at angles to each other to suggest growth. White napkin and plates complete the oh-so-fresh look. The natural touch style is suitable for wood tables and chairs with white cover.

simple and sweet place card on a wood table with white cover
simple and sweet place card on a wood table with white cover

punchy COLOUR

This setting is both feminine and fun, with its mix of pinks and blues offset by the white crockery. A blue paper doily, stamped with the guest’s name, and a white paper crown add to the sense of frivolity, as do the coordinating toothpicks. This kind of place card is suitable for classic table and chair set.

punchy color place card on classic chair and table set
punchy color place card on classic chair and table set

hint OF LUXE

There’s visual drama in this setting. It starts with the funky black and white tablecloth – actually a piece of 1960sdesigned Marimekko upholstery fabric – complemented with tableware in white, green, yellow and gold. (Even the wine bottle suits the scheme.)


Frosted glass star, $6.95, Country Road. Name stuck on star with Bella! “Petites” Alphabet stickers, $6.60 for pack of 1404 in assorted fonts, NAPERY Marimekko “Praliini” fabric (used as tablecloth), $105 a m, Chee Soon & Fitzgerald. TABLEWARE Ellen Moss bowl in Green, $97.50, The Bay Tree. Parker bread plate, $9.95, dinner plate, $12.95, and Vienna wineglass, $9.95, Country Road. Midas cutlery, $450 for 24-piece set, Seletti. Luigi Bormioli “Vino Classico” decanter, $99.95, David Jones. Nachtmann fine crystal glass (just seen; a collector’s item), $122.75, The Bay Tree. Half Mile Creek chardonnay, $9.95. GIFTS Boxes, from $1 each, and ribbon, $3.49 a metre, Spotlight.


We’ve used a piece of gorgeous Japanese-motif wrapping paper to make our placemat. The punchy green and yellow colours are repeated in the glassware. A cute ribbon, tied with a button, lends a charming and playful look to the setting.

Real Homes

A modern two storey house with open space
A modern two storey house with open space

Fabulous feature

A custom-made plywood entertainment unit adds warmth to the crisp colour palette of concrete floors and white walls, as do the vertical slats that form the stairs’ balustrade. “It’s one of our favourite features,” Jan says.

bondi, NSW, with its relaxed, laidback and beachy charm, has been the suburb of choice for Jan Edwards and Cameron Hearne for many years – but their address has not always been the same. A few years ago, when out on one of their regular morning walks, they spotted this semi for sale – and were hooked. Although the location was close to perfect – a few minutes walk from the beach – they decided a renovation would be in order to optimise the space on the small building block. So once the house was theirs, they consulted with an architect. The result? The front facade and two front rooms were retained, but the remainder of the property was knocked down to create in its place an open-plan, four-bedroom, two-storey modern family home with all modern furnitures such as luxury tables and sofa chairs, leather recliners, and wonderful bed interior. The open-plan living, dining and kitchen area, which flows to the back garden, has proven a great hit. Not only is it a wonderful space to live in, homeowner Jan says, but perfect for entertaining family and friends. “We love to cook for them so the kitchen and dining area are an integral part of our home.” However, it was necessary to keep the couple’s home office separate – and create a peaceful retreat for uninterrupted work. “Sometimes it’s important to be able to escape what’s happening in the rest of the house,” Jan says.

Colour for the interior and exterior of the home

Dulux “Vivid White” was the preferred colour for the interior and exterior of the home. “White walls seemed the natural choice as a backdrop for our furniture and artwork,” Jan reveals. It also sets off the beautiful wooden elements that feature in the house – from the stunning timber slatted stair balustrade, the bespoke plywood entertainment unit, and the timber floors upstairs. Both the white walls and the wood also work well with the polished concrete in the downstairs area. “We love the warmth and natural appeal of the timber contrasted against the coolness of the concrete,” Jan says.

Select your color
Select colors for your furnitures and each room in the house

The couple’s favourite feature in their home depends on the season. “The barbecue and outdoor shower are wonderful in summer, and the underfloor heating was fantastic in winter,” Jan says. “We also love the way the house opens up from the hallway to the void in the lounge room.” One of the upstairs bathrooms has a glassless window that opens onto this void, allowing in swathes of sunlight. A practical and a quirky feature.

The location of Jan and Cameron’s once small and uninspiring semi may just be close to perfect, but now that they’ve renovated, their home is spot on!

Early adopter

Lomandra, a native grass. grows beneath the kitchen windows, which allow for cross ventilation. “The house was extremely advanced for its time in terms of being eco-friendly,” Tash says

How do you gauge intelligent design? If it’s the ability to stand the test of time, then this 1950sdesigned modernist home in Heathmont, Vic, surrounded by a sprawling garden planted at its inception, fits the category. “We love the space, the serenity; we feel as though we are living in the trees,” homeowner Tash Dumais says. “And it’s due to the really good design by the architect/ builder, who had a vision of what the house would be like once the surrounding trees grew.” When Tash and her husband Daniel first stepped into the vertical weather boarder, set on one-third of an acre, eight years go they were immediately attracted to the awe-inspiring views of the garden, the light flooding through the expansive windows and the sense of space. It helped that the era of the home also tied in with their love of mid-century design. However, they still considered making a few changes, but not until they had lived in the house for a year in order to get a feel for it. “This was sound advice from good friends,” Tash recalls. And it was a year later that the couple decided to simply renovate the kitchen and the bathroom, with the focus on improving the design using complementary fixtures and finishings. Other than that, many original features remained including the dramatic timber-slatted feature ceiling in the living area, which gives the room a sense of space, scale, warmth and texture.

eco-friendly house makes us feel as though we are living in the trees
eco-friendly house makes us feel as though we are living in the trees

Once the renovations took place, the couple brought their design nous to the interior. “The design and decoration of the home has been inspired by the beauty of the space itself, and my love of design and beautiful pieces,” Tash explains. “My design approach in quite intuitive. I’ve got a pretty keen eye for what I like and dislike – and can hunt it down from a mile away!”

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