We've Toured Over 100 Homes – Here Are the 15 Design Lessons We've Learned
Here at Bed Threads, we love sharing all the interior tips, tricks and advice so you can create the home of your dreams.
Along the process, we've also talked to countless inspiring creatives in our The Makers series, where we always jump at the opportunity to ask them what their advice is when it comes to designing a space that promotes rest, happiness and tranquility.
From avoiding trends to investing in vintage finds, below you'll find 15 of the best design lessons to consider and implement in your home.
15 Best Design Lessons We've Learnt From Touring the Homes of 100 Creatives
1. Don't settle for one style
There are a myriad of different interior trends so the thought of having to choose a single style to implement throughout your entire home can be challenge, let alone stressful. However, why are you limiting yourself to one style in the first place? Is it because that's what's considered the norm?
Take advice from our home tour with ceramicist Jessica Choi, who "set themes" for each room to add a wealth of character and warmth to her home.
"I didn’t want to settle with one specific style as I like different aspects of all styles, so I set a theme for each room: one playful, one classic and one minimal. Although everything is still a bit of a work-in-progress, I think each room sets a different mood when you walk in, which adds a lot of character to the house."
2. Every object should tell a story
Your home should be a direct reflection of your personality and life — doing so will ensure that no matter what room you're in, you're always in a state of happiness and comfort.
Take advice from our home tour with artist Mafalda Vasconcelos, who has styled her home with meaningful pieces.
"Every object in the house is purposeful and, in a way, tells our story. We collect objects when we travel back to South Africa and Mozambique, my family lives there and Africa in general holds a very special place in my heart. So, we have a few wooden ritual objects like masks and trinkets, handmade and artisanal objects and art. We also love vintage books and sculptures."
Among her collection is a drawing she bought at a beach at Ilha de Moçambique, made and sold by a young boy dreaming of becoming an artist, a handmade wooden banana bowl made by a Mozambican artisan and a small painting made by her nephew when he was five-years-old.
3. Major renovations aren't always necessary
We love sharing all our tips on how you can update any space without spending hundreds - or even thousands - of dollars on renovations. This is because we actually mean it — you don't need to knock down walls to make a space feel like a dream home.
Take advice from our home tour with artist Bobby Clark, who updated an old "cold" Melbourne home without a single renovation.
"We have given it so much love without any renovation needed. We have a huge outdoor space on a corner plot and always talk about all the things we could do but stop ourselves as we know it's going to be knocked down when we move out. We’ve added as much as we can without being able to put holes in the walls or knock them down," Clark explained.
"The house felt cold when we moved in. The previous couple had a light blue couch and cool coloured textiles so we wanted to really lift the space with warm tones."
Now, every room you step into in Clark's home is flooded with warmth and joy. It's the perfect space to raise a family, paint and entertain. A plush velvet couch in the living room complements the matching dining chairs, her own statement artworks are hung on walls throughout the space and the bedroom decor is kept simple with subtle pops of colour. But the most show-stopping element has to be the incredible statement art wall in the dining room.
4. Invest in interchangeable decor items
We all know the term 'quality over quantity', and this should be at the forefront of your mind when choosing decor items (and even furniture) to style your home with. It's key to invest in high-quality and interchangeable pieces you know you'll have forever, even if that means spending a little more money. Not only will you save money in the long run, but you'll be able to style these items in any room of your home.
Take advice from our home tour with ceramicist Caitlin Robson, who loves adding intrigue to each room in her house through lamps, rugs, soft furnishings and special objects, especially ceramic pieces that are interchangeable.
"Using ceramics, lamps and side tables that are all interchangeable around the house is an easy way to give a space new life. I think by selecting pieces that are crafted for the long run rather than disposable furniture is key."
5. Buy decor items first
It's conventional to firstly examine a space and choose specific decor items based off of what is needed. However, take advice from our home tour with interior designer Simone Haag, who starts her creative process doing the opposite.
"I always start my creative process with things I actually love, so I don’t design the space and then fill them; instead, I find the things I want and then design the space around them," she said. For her relaxed beachfront weekender on Victoria's Phillip Island, dubbed 'Angler's Shack', Haag was certain she "wanted to create a California-Arizona vibe and approached the design process with this in mind."
"I had already collected a few pieces before we even purchased the shack, including the most amazing Bumling pendant from Sweden, which now hangs over the dining table, as well as beautiful tangerine Carl Hansen dining chairs."
6. Decorate boring white walls with art
Art has the power of turning a home with boring white walls into one filled with warmth. Take advice from our home tour with artist Madeline Jovicic, who turned her “quite generic” plain white-walled apartment into a holiday fantasy brimming with personality through art.
"This apartment is a quite generic and modern space, which isn’t my style at all, so my goal has been to fill it with items that bring in some much-needed warmth and character to the space."
Throughout the space, you can find the Australian artist’s playful and whimsical painting style - with references to street food, sardines and gelato stands - hung up on the walls.
7. Follow your intuition
Scrolling through Pinterest is great for inspiration but you never want your home to be a direct replicate of an image you found on social media. Instead, you want your living space to be your own unique place. To execute this, look beyond chain furniture shops and search online marketplaces and small vintage shops for special finds. Take advice from our home tour with photographer and all-round creative Jess Tran, who style her home by following her intuition.
"The way that I decorate is purely by seeing what I need furniture wise and seeing what's available on Craigslist, vintage stores, Etsy, Facebook Marketplace, Chairish, TheRealReal and AptDeco.
If the piece is a strong standout to me, and my partner signs off on it, the rest is built piece by piece as I find it. That's the magic of buying vintage and second-hand—you are a bit at the whim of the universe in terms of selection."
8. Give each room a 'vibe'
Do you want your dining room to be joyful? Is your bedroom calming? What about your bathroom — is it soothing? Each room should have a 'vibe', which is created through colour and texture. Take advice from our home tour with The Block star's Josh and Jenna Densten, who built their family home with the word 'calm' at the forefront of their minds.
"Design and style your home based on the feeling you’re wanting to create for that particular room, Jenna Densten said. "I’m all about calm vibes because my life is well, hectic! For me, a calming interior is all about a neutral colour palette where I feel most at ease, but for you it might be blues or greens. Each room can have a different ‘vibe’ or feeling, but you need to ensure there’s a link through colour, texture or materiality throughout the home."
9. Layers are key in the bedroom
Your bedroom should be about layers and balance. Invest in natural materials, greenery, art, ceramics and any other items that brings you joy. Balance high and low-cost items, the scale of objects, smooth and tactile surfaces and curved and linear pieces.
Take advice from our home tour with co-founder of homewares business Wandering Sol, Zoe Dent, whose bedroom is a layered sleep oasis.
"Layering texture and tones such as the stunning textural Bed Threads linens creates warmth and character.
This textural element extends to wall art. We have so many talented artisans in Australia, many whose works are very affordable and sculptural handmade artworks creates a point of difference."
She adds: "Bringing nature inside also compliments this natural sculptural element as an oversized branch or potted plant can enhance the connection with the outdoors, which we all need to balance the screen-heavy modern life."
10. Get creative with storage options
The most unnerving thing in a place of rest is visual clutter so this can be a massive problem if you're short on storage space, especially for renters. The solution is to get creative with storage options. Take advice from our home tour with ceramicist Tantri Mustika, who had to think outside of the box when styling her rental property.
"I am so busy working that when it comes to enjoying my home space I want to spend minimal time cleaning, so getting organised has been a key feature to this particular house. Storage is very minimal so I had to be a bit creative and create hidden places for things that are functional but not particularly nice to look at."
For example, Mustika built herself a breakfast nook "specifically measured out and made to fit into the little space", which both the table and bench seat have hidden storage.
"I had to think about maximising the small space to its full potential and although it could have ended up being something completely different in style to what it is, I had to think about how I could make something that I felt was pleasing to look at and live with, but also served a practical purpose."
11. Honour the beauty of negative space
We can spend so much time, effort and money filling every space in our home with vases, ceramics, plants, furniture and so forth, but there's a fine line between a home being homely and claustrophobic.
Take advice from our home tour with interior stylist Jessica Bellef, who's thoughtfully curated home is filled with just the right amount of treasures.
"Always add more books, more art and more lamps, but leave some breathing space. Negative space is powerful and can help create a calm room that gives you the space to let happiness and good thoughts in."
12. Prioritise your bathroom
Bathrooms are often overlooked when it comes to decorating or styling your home. But when it comes to blissful places at home to unwind after a long day, a clean and organised bathroom will help soothe your mind (and also beats out a spa any day).
Take advice from our home tour with editor Leigh Campbell, who, after a long and stressful day, can rely on her bathroom to help ease her mind, body and soul.
"The bath, though not a room, is also my special place because a bath is like prayer to me. I have one most nights to signify the end of a busy day and to relax and try to (somewhat) switch off."
There’s a lot more to consider than hanging a few new towels up and calling it a day. A well-designed bathroom will leave you with a beautiful, functional space, no matter the size. Done incorrectly and you end up with a space plagued with impracticality that doesn’t bring you an ounce of joy. Here's a guide on how to turn your bathroom into a five-star resort.
13. Think of the design process like a recipe
The concept sounds strange but take advice from Australia's favourite home cook Jessica Nguyen, who drew inspiration from her adoration for food to style her dream home.
"I style my interiors the same way I create recipes; never stick to one cuisine, theme, style or era because life is too boring to just stick to one thing. That being said, just like I do tend to learn towards Italian and Asian recipes, I do love anything that is vintage from either the Art Deco, Mid Century and Hollywood Regency periods. Finally, just like the perfect home or recipe, it still has to be functional/delicious!"
14. Be patient
Just like how Rome wasn't built in a day, styling your home will always be an ongoing process. take advice from our home tour with founder behind bespoke leather atelier Saddler & Co., Jemima Aldridge, who spent 18 months renovating a cottage with her partner.
"Time and patience were required to create the artisan touches!"
15. Incorporate vintage finds
While it might be easier to visit your local shopping centre and pick out a new table from a chain store, there's a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes from rummaging (or scrolling) through an antique market and stumbling across the one.
Take advice from our home tour with eyewear and accessories designer Poppy Lissiman, whose home is styled with beautiful vintage furniture to give it a more interesting and charming feel.
Her favourite homeware piece is an antique rattan headboard—“I get so many comments on it,” she said of the find, which came from trawling Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. “It’s an ever-evolving process—and I’m always on the hunt for the next treasure.”
"Having pieces which you genuinely love and are truly considered. Rather than reverting to going to IKEA or getting something everyone else has I suggest getting inspiration whether it's from Instagram or magazines (Architectural Digest Spain is my favourite) and then looking for pieces you like then searching locally for secondhand/similar.
I saw a similar India Madavi piece which was obviously insanely expensive but then started searching from rattan pieces on Gumtree, Facebook marketplace and in auctions. It didn’t take me long to turn up some gems, including my antique headboard which was an absolute bargain."
Need more bedroom styling advice? We've rounded up our 25 most popular bedrooms on Instagram here, so you can create the sleep sanctuary of your dreams.