Check your decorations

Do a stocktake of current decorations, throw out the broken ones that you have kept for years to fix for next year and never have. Keep the ones that have a sentimental value such as the ones your kids made or were your grandmother’s, for example.

## Set a style with colour Sort your decorations into colours. Assess your booty and decide on the dominant colour. I prefer to keep to a basic colour and use this throughout the house, with one or two highlights. If you are starting from scratch and tossing everything, think of a colour you like — it does not have to be the traditional green and red. You may like a gold theme, or silver and blue, or even purple. By using a theme, it means that although the decorations may be very different they are still tied together.

Discount decoration ideas

Visit the discount stores in your area. Buy a large glass bowl and place a candle with baubles surrounding it. Add some greenery.
Easy ideas work
Purchase cheap white pillar candles in varying heights. Select an odd number as they are easier to arrange.
Cover the candles in PVC glue or craft glue and then roll them in glitter. Allow them to dry and arrange them on a platter for a sparkling table centre piece.

Pot luck

Purchase a cheap terracotta pot, and spray paint it in your colour theme. Collect pine cones still on a branch from your local park and spray them in the same colour.
Place a foam brick or something similar into the pot and arrange the pine cones, adding decorating beads to hide the foam. Add a ribbon around the pot to finish the look.

Instant home colour

Collect plants from the yard and place in a vase. Throw in a few coloured leaves in the theme colour and add a bow for an instant centre piece.
Lights and baubles
Purchase a hurricane lantern, add a few baubles, a string of beads with some greenery and you have created a million dollar look for very little.

## Paper trees Make a Christmas tree from a magazine and spray paint. For more details, google how to make a magazine Christmas tree. You can keep it with the original print or spray paint and decorate it with glitter.

Trays of white

Paint cardboard trays of varying sizes in white (I suggest seven). Stencil Merry Christmas onto them and place them on a shelf.
All of these looks can be achieved with minimal money and a little bit of ingenuity.
If all else fails you can collect from the
Aussie bush and decorate the leaves and branches with tinsel and baubles for a true blue Christmas.

## Lighting: the forgotten element of design Lighting is one aspect of design that most people treat as an afterthought when they've finished their makeover and realise it doesn’t quite look “right” — the wow factor is missing. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of successful interior design; it imparts a sense of gratification whereas bad lighting can render a room a “white elephant”, which users of the space avoid as they feel uncomfortable, and even depressed. Until recently, installing a series of down lights was considered a contemporary touch to a space, but people have found that they create areas of light and shadow. They also require a large number to effectively light an area, although with new developments in LED lighting this situation is improving. Lighting has both functional and aesthetic roles within interior design. To start, the basic use of any room needs to be identified. For example, is it a home office that requires clear, shadow free lighting, or a chill out area where comfort and ease is the major purpose? Lighting can be categorised into three basic groups:

Task lighting – areas that call for this type of lighting include those designated for reading and writing, computer use, sewing, food preparation, makeup and showering etc;
General lighting – this provides a general level of lighting to enable the occupant to move comfortably in the space;
*Special lighting – this type of lighting usually provides the aesthetic appeal by providing a focal point, or defining a threshold within a room especially in open plan spaces, or adding ambience to a room.

The first two categories of lighting are important but the category of special lighting is where the “wow” factor in an interior design can be achieved.
Over the past couple of years the general public has embraced the idea of using pendant lights over dining tables and select areas to highlight a space, but this can be limited when ceilings are low. This has been responsible for an emergence of the use of lamps, such as beside the bed, the lounge or as floor lamps. These items can become the new art work of a space, especially with open plan homes in which walls are limited to hanging art. People are now using the concept of lighting as an element of the design process.
Special lighting can be anything from rattan style to the traditional chandelier. Chrome finishes are still very popular, although the warmer tones of copper and brass are making a return.
The floor lamp is making a big comeback, from simple statement pieces to bold works of art. Arc lights are still popular, and are a great way to impart an artistic feel onto a ceiling. For colour, white, off white and black are the most popular, with symmetrical and drum shades proving popular. The materials used can vary from lace and string to paper and plastic.
Using lamps in interior design involves identifying what their purpose is in the space. Is it to be the focal point or the secondary point of interest? Floor lamps can be used in place of side tables, especially for asymmetrical designs, or lamps can be placed in alcoves or cut out areas found in foyer areas.
The use of soft lighting can create ambience, and a spot light can be used to highlight an unique architectural feature or art work. ☐