26 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


Money-Saving Tips For Decorating Your First ApartmentImage Source: Studio McGee

Sure, graduation and your first job are huge steps towards adulthood, but what’s the true sign that you’ve officially made it? When you get the keys to your very own apartment. Moving into your first (or second) place is a big deal, but we all know it can come at a high price. It was a rude awakening the day we realised our Pinterest-fuelled dreams didn’t exactly fit our budget. But don’t give up hope! Having an apartment that’s chic and affordable is totally possible. The key is knowing the tricks and hacks that will help you save money without skimping on style. That way, you’ll save your money for what’s really important . . . the housewarming party.

1. Upgrading your wall art? Don’t spend a fortune

Image Source: Domino

Building up an art collection doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. If you can’t bare white walls, there are plenty of websites that specialise in affordable art.

2. Add Something Old

Image Source: Melanie Acevedo for Domino

Add character and save cash by buying your decor secondhand, a trick from former Bachelorette star Jillian Harris. Local thrift stores and flea markets are all full of fun and practical finds that won’t cost a fortune.

3. DIY When You Can

Image Source: Dana Miller / House*Tweaking

If you’re up to the challenge, take on a DIY project — the beautiful results might surprise you. This bar cart is actually an inexpensive Ikea kitchen cart that was repurposed with green paint, wood stain, a bottle opener, and a towel bar.

4. Think Long-Term, Not Just For Now

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Since it is likely you’ll be moving around for the next few years, pick items that can travel with you. Avoid oversize furniture and be sure to invest in pieces you’ll love for years to come.

5. Master the Art of Paint

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Even the grungiest flea market piece has potential to be beautiful. A fresh coat of bright paint can make all the difference and will help your space look dressed up, even though you’re on a budget.

6. Do Double-Duty

Image Source: Matthew Williams via LABLstudio

Short on space and money? Make sure the few pieces you do invest in can serve more than one purpose. This coffee table doubles as extra seating when guests come to visit.

7. Make the Mattress Your Splurge

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Money is tight when you’re moving into a new place, but the one thing you should never skimp on with quality is your mattress. Not only will it get a lot of use, but going cheap can lead to back pain and health issues. Check out these tips for buying a quality mattress.

8. Raid the Garage

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

If you have relatives nearby, get busy exploring the garage or attic for handy items you can commandeer for yourself. Things like silverware, old furniture, or art could make their way into your stylish studio.

9. Get Creative With Storage

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

Yes, your first apartment is probably pretty tiny, but use organisation to your advantage. While you can keep big items tucked away in a box under the bed or in your closet, keep jewellery, makeup, and other small collectables stored out in the open.

10. Buy Budget-Friendly Essentials

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse

No adult should have to live with paper plates and sheets for curtains, but if you’re worried about all the little things adding up, there are ways to get what you need while staying on budget. Shopping for affordable apartment essentials means that you can squeeze everything you need into your budget.




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09 March 2018
By portermathewsblog


Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

The way Shannon Smith transforms a bare apartment into a cosy home might cause you to confuse her for a magician, or an interior design fairy godmother at the very least. The Homepolish interior designer can do wonders to a space no matter how tight the budget or small the square footage.

The secret to creating a stunning home, she says, is to focus on three things when decorating. “I am a firm believer that you don’t need a lot of stuff to make your space feel finished. If you consider these three things — texture, colour, and scale — you can make any space feel cosy.”

Keep reading to hear what Shannon has to say about approaching each.

  1. Texture: The More The Merrier

    Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

    “Add texture with area rugs, drapery, vintage pieces, or natural fibers,” Shannon advises.

  2. Colour: Layer Three

    Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

    “Layer colour in your space to add depth, even if it’s neutral,” she says. “I always try to choose three colours — a light colour, a dark colour, and something in between — and scatter them throughout the space.”

  3. Scale: Go Big, or Go Home

Image Sources: Laura Metzler and Homepolish

“Large art pieces, leaning floor mirrors, and big area rugs accentuate the height of the ceilings or the width of a room,” explains Shannon. “If you are worried about living in a small space, focus particularly on this tip as it will usually make your space feel larger.”





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20 November 2017
By portermathewsblog

Emily Blatchford

It’s time to get crafty.

We know, we know. It’s still only October. But you’d be surprised how quickly this end of the year seems to slip away.

October turns into November and then all of a sudden it’s Christmas Eve and you’re at K-Mart playing tug-o-war with another shopper for the last set of fairy lights.

So to save you the hassle of trying to decorate last minute (and having to resort to the leftover red and green tinsel), HuffPost Australia spoke to Deb Bibby, editor-in-chief of JONES Magazine for a sneak-peek into the must-have Christmas trends of 2017.

But wait. Before we start, we have to ask. Do Christmas trends actually exist? Or is it pretty much also Santa and Rudolph every year?

“Yes, I think they do,” Bibby said. “And I think they are kind of dictated a little bit by fashion. This year we are seeing trends such as all white… just beautiful layers of crisp white all in different textures.

“And you can do that beautifully on a tree. It can be really elegant and chic. Though I would say if you are going for all white look, make sure you get baubles that are different textures to create some interest.”

As for other trends to watch out for, Bibby said organics, crystals and even underwater, beachy themes will be appearing in stores, as well as more traditional fare.


“There is a lovely trend for all the organics and more natural decorations. So for instance in the upcoming issue we have this gorgeous tree with earthy colours and gold baubles.

“This style really lends itself to home-made decorations as well. That natural thing is very on trend. You could pick a dull gold bauble and then make some things with the kids using cardboard or brown paper, such as little origami pieces tied with a bit of gold thread. You’d be surprised how much fun the kids have making these things. They just love the process.”

For those wanting something less earthy, Bibby said filling the tree with crystals can make for an eye-catching look.

“Then there is slick crystal, and you can use real crystal or a more affordable crystal style decoration, depending on your budget. Mass decoration looks beautiful if you can do it. You know, really filling the tree.”

While a crystal-covered tree may be stretching the budget for some, Bibby maintained Christmas decorations don’t have to be expensive.

“I mentioned before the earthy organic tree, with all those beautiful homemade pieces. Or if you wanted to invest in one thing a year, David Jones does beautiful limited edition hand blown baubles. I think that’s a really lovely thing for a young family to do, to start a tradition. Every year you could buy one of those to add to your tree.

“If all else fails, resort to fairy lights. Even if you took a branch — like a white branch — if you took a branch out of the garden and hung a simple selection of baubles on it, or threaded some fairy lights through the tree, even simple touches like that can look magical. Especially for kids, too. If you can’t afford lots of baubles, my advice would be to go for fairy lights.”


If in doubt, use fairy lights.

Given Christmas falls in the Australian summer, Bibby also said it can be fun to play around with beachy themes.

“I think underwater themes are really fun. You can get little decorative characters and little fish — it’s just beautiful for kids,” she said.

“You can have a lot of fun with little fish, little mermaids, starfish, beautiful blues… I think there’s something to be said for just having fun with the tree and not taking it too seriously. Let the kids contribute by decorating the tree with you.”


For those with more traditional tastes, Bibby said it’s fine to embrace the old red, green and gold but warns not to overdo it.

“If you are more for a traditionalist going for the greens and the reds, tone it back a little bit,” she said. “I wouldn’t go full on green and red. Perhaps the odd red through a green tree but not a full on multi-colour extravaganza.”

She also notes there are other ways to embrace Christmas traditions such as getting into candles, wreaths and pine cones.

“Candles are a beautiful thing at Christmas time, as well as being massive gifts at Christmas. They are just not dying… a candle is still a beautiful, beautiful gift,” she said.

“Even the scent of a particular candle at Christmas can really be special. Pick a particular ‘Christmas scent’ so that’s a memory for your children.

“Speaking of scents, using pine somehow on the table is lovely if you don’t have an authentic tree. And I love a good wreath. It’s a really nice welcome to Christmas.

“If you are having people over to your house, you want to make it feel special, and having something on the door to announce Christmas is a great way to do that.”

As for Christmas decoration no-nos?

“I think tinsel… if you were stuck with tinsel, stick to one colour you might be able to get away with it,” Bibby said. “I wouldn’t add different colours of tinsel. Look, it’s not my favourite decoration.”

For more Christmas decoration inspiration, see our favourite pins below.

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