Katie & Deb’s Australian Design Dilemma

When Katie & Deb from down under contacted us for decorating help we couldn’t help but be excited. While most of our clients live here in the US (along with the occasion Canadian consult) we actually offer to help anyone across the globe, as long as they can provide some links from their area that we can “shop” to make their mood board. There’s not much of a difference between 70 miles and 7000 when you’re dishing out virtual decorating advice, right? Here’s their letter:

We’re so excited to be getting your advice!! Deb and I moved into a brand new townhouse but it lacks personality & warmth. We’re struggling to arrange the furniture in the living area and make best use of the space while infusing it with some style. We like clean & modern but relaxed– nothing too slick/fancy. When it comes to accent colours our favourites are blue & green- along with natural tones like brown, white, straw. Pottery Barn is our favourite store but we don’t have it in Australia so we like Freedom, Oz Design Furniture and IKEA. We’d like a new sofa/chairs that are more informal and can seat more people. The piano stays along with the TV stand and the white walls. We’d like new lamps, curtains (those blinds have to go!), and a rug. The bookshelves are going upstairs so please ignore these. Really looking forward to your advice!! -Katie and Deb



This bright open space is primed for a transformation. Here’s the mood board we whipped up for a casual, warm, and relaxing space where Katie and Deb can feel right at home:


And now for the mood board breakdown. Remember that we’re linking to Australian products and companies so the prices and measurements may need to be converted. 

1. Our color scheme will be full of Deb and Katie’s favorite colors: rich chocolates, sandy tans, leafy greens and punchy blues to take their über white room to the next level. And when it comes to furniture arrangement, we have a major plan. Since the bookcases against the wall in the second picture will be moving upstairs we’d love to see the TV and the stand move over to that wall so they’re the last things you see upon entering the space. By shifting the focus away from the TV and bringing in a new sectional we’ll really add function and style to the space.

The sectional will be placed facing the wall where the existing sofa and chairs live now, but thanks to one long, low piece (instead of three) the room will feel more balanced since the sectional will be more to scale with the spacious open plan living area. The piano will then shift to the middle of that wall (where the TV and stand are seen in the second picture above) for an open and airy feeling thanks to more space on either side of it. Then we’ll bring a rug in to ground everything and some plush and welcoming accessories to finish things off. On with the show…

2. We’d love to see the piano bench covered in this luxe new grass green colored fabric. Recovering it should be no sweat thanks to this tutorial, and tying it into the new color scheme will allow the bench to easily act as extra seating in a pinch since it will so seamlessly fit in with the rest of the room.

3. This trio of art is a breath of fresh air, and there’s nothing better than something subtle and soft on a white wall in need of some interest. We’d love to see all three of these hung centered above the piano. Thanks to the fact that they’re not super high contrast to those bright white walls (like a bright blue or green canvas might be) they’ll look soothing and soft as opposed to boxy and jarring. And if Katie and Deb want to add more black and white art in white frames to the wall over time, they can build on this collection and extend more art across that wall as they amass favorite photographs and prints.

4. We might just move to Australia for the lamps. This beauty had us at hello, and we’d love to see two of these on either side of our aforementioned sectional resting on these crisp side tables that will coordinate with Deb and Katie’s current TV cabinet- and even tie in with their piano.

5. Here’s the frequently mentioned sectional that will completely transform the space. We searched high and low for the proper proportions and measurements (the metric system is hard!) until we found this fabulous answer to our frantic sofa frenzy. We think the two-seater + chaise will really add modern yet comfortable style when it’s switched out for the grouping of smaller seating options that currently lives in the room. And not only will it facilite more guests, but we also have an idea up our sleeves to add even more seating in a pinch beyond the couch and the reupholstered piano bench. Don’t go anywhere…

6.We are crazy in love with this pillow pair. The textured green one perfectly ties into our color scheme and will add a punch of fun and personality to the sectional while the bright happy blue one reinforces the other color in our palette.

7. Taking a cue from our texture green pillow, and adding to the functionality and style of the space- this AMAZING ottoman will serve as a place to rest feet and also becomes extra seating when there’s a crowd. And since the sectional above is actually the three-seater and we think a two-seater + chaise will work better for Deb and Katie, one ottoman will fit perfectly (and if they end up being able to fit the three-seater we’d love to see two ottomans next to each other for even more texture and fun- and seating!).

8. This rug is really going to ground the entire living area and add a shot of dark chocolate to our color scheme. The reason we chose chocolate for the rug is because it will really set off the sectional as well as add more of the rich brown color that’s found in the piano and the TV stand to bring the focus away from the perimeter of the room and back into the lovely seating area in the center. And the grid pattern echoes the trio of art prints, the furry square ottoman and even the modular lines of the sectional that rests upon it. This rug actually doesn’t appear to be available in the biggest size (200 x 300 cm) which I think is perfect for the space (you really want a big rug to ground a big sectional). So perhaps Katie and Deb can find that size in stores, or purchase two of the smallest rugs (140 x 200 cm) and create almost an identically sized rug by laying them next to each other.

9. Katie and Deb requested a way to store some stacks of CDs that they had laying around on the floor, and we think this warm and happy little basket (or hamper as they say in AU) will be just the thing.

10. These yummy curtains will again help us add a splash of personality and punch to the formerly all white space and thanks to the fact that they’re patterned but not too thick, the sun will still stream though them and even make the curtains appear to glow. Mounting one long curtain rod high and wide above the glass doors will look great with one of these panels on each side of the rod. Then we’d love to see some inexpensive Ikea sheers between the curtain panels to avoid pattern and texture overload and really frame the view instead of overwhelming it. Hanging another rod at the same height as the one above the glass doors with the same two printed curtain panels framing the view (no sheers needed on that side) will add balance and drama from the moment you step into the space.

11. We love love love this great floor lamp with a jute shade, and we think it will work perfectly with the table lamps we’ll be bringing in and add even more ambiance to the space. Placed in the left corner of the room in the second image above (kind of where the piano lives now) the lamp will look gorgeous in front of our printed curtain flanking the sliding doors, and will really create that breezy and casual feeling that Katie and Deb adore.

For a few finishing touches, we’d love to see a large potted plant tucked into the corner nook shown in the second picture on the right. And to add some of the color and styling that we’ll be bringing into the living area, a sand colored table runner would look great on the dining table with a big green or blue vase/bowl in the middle. And if Katie and Deb really want extra credit, they could paint the current frame of their dining room art white to tie in with the white canvases and frames that will hang on the opposite wall. Bellisimo! Wait, wrong country, but you get the idea…

So there you have it. An Australian living space that’s welcoming and warm. We can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

Update: We sadly can no longer find the time to take on client commissioned mood boards (we now whip up general inspiration boards instead) but if we ever reinstate them we’ll make a big announcement!


  1. Amanda says

    Australian advice! WOOHOO! We don’t have anywhere near as many fantastic shops as you guys (oh my heart aches!) but you’ve still pulled it off. I can’t wait to see the end result!

  2. Katie & Deb says

    Wow!!! We absolutely love it!!!! Can’t wait to see it on our home
    computer instead of this tiny phone screen. You have done such an
    amazing job … congratulations and thank you so much!!!!
    Katie & Deb :)

  3. Brooke says

    Love the colour scheme :) I envy all the amazing stores you have in the US. Australia doesn’t have nearly enough. Katie & Deb, your home is going to look amazing! Sherry & John, I love your site, I check it out everyday. Keep up the great work!!!!

  4. Jessica says

    This is fantastic, I live in Australia and we have very few reasonably priced stores to shop from (for example, our Target doesn’t stock furniture, maybe a TV stand and an ottoman, but no where near the extent of the US Target). I was hoping to find an Australian mood board and this is great. Thanks guys.

  5. raedawn says

    hi there! looking for some inspiration and came across this pic. trying to understand something from this mood board since i have a wall with the exact configuration(window on the one side and then a glass door). was your suggestion 4 patterned panels: 2 over the window and 2 over the door with sheers between the door panels? essentially, the entire wall will be covered with curtains? just looking for some clarification! thanks.

    • says

      Yup, just as it says in the description next to #10, hanging two rods at the same height with the same panels flanking both the window and the sliders will add balance and keep the back wall of the room from looking lopsided or unfinished. Hope it helps!


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