I dare you to step away from cookie-cutter homewares

I dare you to step away from cookie-cutter homewares

Our houses are where we can express our personalities, a showcase for the “things” that reflect our individualism.

Alex Fulton/Supplied

Our houses are where we can express our personalities, a showcase for the “things” that reflect our individualism.

OPINION: Our world is full. Full of colour, pattern and design.

Our natural world is a plethora of shapes and decoration and so it seems instinctive to design and decorate our homes in a similar way.

Our houses are where we can express our personalities, a showcase for the “things” that reflect our individualism.


Good decor design follows some simple rules… without being a slave to them.

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I’m often asked when I first knew that I was an interior designer. That always takes me back to my bedrooms growing up. Note the plural – we moved a lot in my youth, and it was always a little thrill to discover which room was mine when we arrived at a new home, knowing I was going to get the opportunity to put my mark on it.

I’d think of a theme, and then started the process of designing. This was exciting. Making four walls my own with my personality and touch.

Not all were memorable or even successful, but I can still feel the delight of being in my own space, a space that showed the world what I liked and how I lived. While A-ha and Duran Duran posters have been swapped out for curated art, and handmade duvet covers replaced by designer bedding over time, the ethos and feel of designing a space has never changed.

Why then are we OK to live in houses dressed in cookie-cutter homewares? Have we forgotten the fundamentals of why we decorate? Are we really making our interiors our own, or just doing what everyone else is doing?

It’s time to start designing for you, to make those nine squares of Instagram actually look like you. Express design in your way, fill your house in memories and style that reflects who you are and how you live.

Go on… I dare you.

If you need a bit of inspiration to get you started, here are some designers that embrace personality and uniqueness, who have let their interior hair down and are shaking it all around.

Alex Proba

German multidisciplinary designer and artist, Alex Proba, now based in New York, captured social media by storm by painting her Hill House pool with one of her artworks.

Not one to stick to the mundane, her work has been seen on so many different canvases. One to watch and be inspired by.

Annique Heesen

Bay of Plenty based interior architect Annique, from Gezellig Interiors, is a natural at minimal spaces and authentic design. Her beliefs start from only using what you need, and she does it incredibly beautifully.

Her inspiring spatial designs are always sympathetic to the environment and have a credible and simplistic feel.

Aelfie Oudghiri

Based in Brooklyn NY, Aelfie is a home furnishing brand known for outrageous patterns, quirky graphics and bold use of colour.

Her Instagram is a fantastical display of these homewares in her own home as well as various other locations. Her style is optimistic and eccentric personified.

Evie Kemp

Evie started her career in design as an artist, but she has managed to bring her individual flair and personality into her home and its interiors. Her home is ever-changing with colours and styling.

Life is never boring for Evie, her husband, 2 dogs and a cat. Such a joy to see a New Zealand based home that has broken the beige mould and embraced maximalism like a boss.

In case you are inspired, she has also written an e-book called Much.

Angela Chrusciaki Blehm

Artist and stylist, Angela’s home is curated to perfection, and a visual feast.

Her house is a very traditional US-based rural farmhouse, but the exterior belies the interior which is a riot of colour and design.

For her, everything about her interiors hinge off colour and pattern but are contained in a traditional style. I could quite happily live here.

Martin and Sharvin (Happy Village Interior)

Martin and Sharvin exude life. If you go to their website it opens with the following quote “Life is full of colour, why shouldn’t you home be?” Says it all.

Their home is full of secondhand finds that have been repurposed and re-worked into all facets of their home to create some kooky and very expressive vignettes. Bravo.

Alex Fulton is a Christchurch-based interior designer, stylist, writer and former guest judge on The Block NZ.

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