Wednesday, January 10, 2007

tips on creating the Wow factor

from: Katia Guida, Interior Designer*

Katia Guida is an award-winning Brisbane-based interior designer and decorator who spends much of her working life adding inspirational finishing touches to display homes throughout Queensland.

Katia works with many of the Sunshine State’s most successful project home builders to give their displays the ‘WOW’ factor that, so often, is the difference between ‘Sale’ and ‘Fail’!

We asked Katia to share some of her experience with a few simple tips. Here’s what she had to say.

“How you live is almost a definitive statement of who you are, so don’t be afraid to reveal your true personality with the colours, textures and objects you choose.” says Katia. “Remember, it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive to make an impact.”

“There’s nothing like a splash of colour to liven up or tone down a room. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, it’s really up to the individual. I find that creating a feature wall by using a contrasting colour to the rest of the room is amongst the most effective approaches. Ideally, to work well as a feature, the wall should have no visual interruptions – no windows, doors or recesses.”

“One of the basic principles of interior design, particularly when working in an open plan environment, involves creating visual anchors. With fewer walls to place furniture against, if you’re not careful chairs and tables can appear to ‘float’. A rug will define an area in the same way that walls once did, as well as adding in colour and textural interest.”

“Interesting prints can be surprisingly affordable and are widely available from retailers such as Freedom Furniture. One large print makes the greatest impact, but combining a number of similarly themed and framed pieces also works well.”

“Priced around $15-$30 each, decorative cushions are a brilliant way to add colour, shape and texture. Today’s cushion has come a long way from the relatively humble and anonymous item it once was. Crafted in suede, fur, leather, satin and even beads, they are taking on a more artistic flavour that can really help add to the overall design signature of any room.”

“It’s often overlooked, but it’s incredible the difference a well thought out lighting plan can have on a room. If you’re in the process of building a new house or renovating, don’t just sit idly by and take what you’re given – you can have input into the way lighting works in your home. There are three basic lighting styles to consider:

  • Ambient – generally, this is the overall lighting that illuminates the room. Can be fitted with a dimmer switch to add interest.
  • Task or functional – ideal for specific purposes, such as lighting up a painting or a kitchen work surface. Task lighting is usually able to be angled directly where it’s required.
  • Decorative – used to create mood and focal points in a room, for example using a lamp to create a pool of light or uplights to bounce light off ceilings and back into the immediate environment.

Read more about lighting:

Personal effects
“Personal family belongings, photos, nick-nacks and even sporting memorabilia add vivid colour to what is really a snapshot of your life. So make liberal use of items that reveal the real you. If children are part of your household, get them involved in the decision-making too.”

Glassware, crockery and utensils
“Don’t hide them away, put them on display! Items like glassware, crockery and even kitchen utensils such as saucepans contribute shape and interest to the overall interior. It’s almost like staking out your territory and making your own mark.”

*Katia Guida is available for in-home design consultations through her own company Facades and Interiors. Katia can be contacted at or by calling 0412 734 937.


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