DESIGN ADVICE: BUILDING CHARACTER

Australian House & Garden Magazine was recently asked by one of their readers ' How do you breathe soul into a new build? We purchased a two-bedroom apartment off the plan and I'm not sure how to make it look less like a 'white box'. I was thinking of using storage units to break up the spaces. Is this the best approach? '

House & Garden consulted a panel of Interior Designer experts, including our very own Demi Barnes, for their help. Demi shares her advice:

New builds are typically finished with white and glossy surfaces to make them feel open, but they can feel uninviting until they're infused with the owner's personality. First, you need to layer tonal colour to create a warm atmosphere.

Gorgeous blue shades are layered in this London home

Then introduce accent colours that complement your existing pieces.

The burnt orange in the artwork is the perfect accent to the indigo walls of Donna Karan’s Manhattan apartment.

The burnt orange in the artwork is the perfect accent to the indigo walls of Donna Karan’s Manhattan apartment.

Coarsely woven area rugs are effective at softening sterile spaces. Or, try adding over-sized floor cushions and other textiles in bold patterns and colours.

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Incorporating storage is a good way to break up an open-plan living space. Floating shelves or an arrangement of hooks allows you to create a gallery of sentimental items that is both practical and visually interesting.

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You could use an open shelving unit as a room divider and add linen or wicker storage baskets. 

Beaded moroccan baskets add a textural eclectic touch.

Beaded moroccan baskets add a textural eclectic touch.

Open shelving with stacked books and objet create a pretty and practical solution.

Open shelving with stacked books and objet create a pretty and practical solution.

Check out the January issue of Australian House & Garden for more expert advice.

Image 1 via Architectural Digest / Image 2 via Yatzer / Image 3 via House Of Philia / Image 4 via Bonnie and Neil / Image 5 via Muuto / Image 6 via Pinterest / Image 7 via West Elm