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Staying organised in style

March 25th, 2013



It really is the case that it’s not how much space you have that determines how efficiently and comfortably you live, but rather how you design and organise that space. I’d love to say I’m a freak of the neat variety, but unfortunately I am far from it, so for me – and what I preach to my clients – ‘A place for everything & everything in its place’ is the ultimate mantra for any busy household or indeed office space. This means having a well-edited space only full of things that you really need and use.

So how do you best go about that…? Well, the good news is that being organised has never been more stylish or more simple than ever before and if you’re prepared to take the time to step back from your living or work space and create an overall plan looking at the function and layout of your furniture, you will enjoy an immediate positive impact on your every day life.

1. Do double duty – What furniture can serve a dual purpose in your home? A bench by the hallway is more useful if it also offers storage for shoes, handbags, umbrellas etc. Use an old trunk with a flip up lid as a stylish alternative to a coffee table and an ideal spot to store magazines, DVDs.

2. Think vertically! Maximise space with vertical storage, for instance, in the kitchen use vertical storage shelving in your pantry, drawer organisers for dry goods and install overhead pot and pan storage to free up space below your counters. Other vertical storage solutions include hanging bicycles from the ceiling, installing bookshelves over doorways and even, hanging extra seating on the wall.

3.In terms of a colour palette, as much as I encourage clients to introduce colour into their home and resist the ‘default to beige’ temptation, a neutral palette in areas where you want to feel organised and in control is advised… you can then let loose and have fun with colourful accents like cushions, throws and art.

4.Only surround yourself with things you love. Give favourite colours, artwork, photos, plants and personal items or collections pride of place, and get rid of (or at least hide away behind closed doors!) anything that annoys you, including those bulky binders of old bills or piles of toys that have barely been touched since Xmas 2012. For an on-trend solution, use rustic rolling storage crates – perfect for wheeling away toys, magazines etc under the bed.

5.Find yourself some fabulous organising accessories. Look out for Lucite (clear acrylic) storage pieces… not only are they chic but they also allow colourful items you put inside to shine. A clear desktop tray for storing pens, pencils & a few personal items will look tidy and will make you feel less chaotic throughout the day. Using accessories doesn’t necessarily mean buying new… you can re-purpose items such as this vintage toaster rack.

6.Chalk boards are nothing new, but for me they are the LBD of any household to help you feel organised and in control of all the ‘stuff’ that’s going on….  It doesn’t have to be black chalk paint – you can paint a section of your wall with whiteboard paint and frame the area by attaching moulding directly to the wall. Perfect for chalking up your weekly schedule, ‘cannot forget’ list and displaying the ongoing stream of kid’s art, school notes etc. The same concept works just as well in the office – visual to do lists, tacked up invites requiring an RSVP or business cards requiring a call back.


Case study: A Home Based Workspace with Inspiring Style

Last year I redesigned a home office space for home business based mum, Louise, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. Louise was looking to create a space where she felt focused, energised and organised (read: ‘in control’!). Many of us these days work from home, yet don’t want our workspaces to overtake our living spaces, particularly with all the messy paperwork, cables, ugly printers etc. It’s so easy to let a home office slide off the bottom of the ‘deco to-do’ list, but the way you arrange and decorate the space can significantly impact your productivity.

Organised elements of Louise’s redesigned office space relevant to all office spaces:

>>Client files and reference books are hidden behind accessible cabinetry and what is needed within reach, for example her work related magazines, were displayed on open shelves.

>>Stylish & inexpensive woven baskets sit on the bottom shelves for quick access storage.

>>Look beyond the desk… avoid clutter pile-ups by placing another work surface near your main desk. In Louise’s case, this provided dedicated space where she can spread out on a specific, ongoing project and also a great area for stepping away from the computer to recharge, brainstorm or even… (sounds indulgent, but it really shouldn’t be…) sit with a cup of tea and reflect!

>>Incorporate elements typically reserved for residential interiors, such as wallpaper and rugs, for comfort and individuality and unexpected twists. For Louise we dedicated one wall to her collection of antique plates – this, says Louise, raises her spirits at the end of a hard day, so don’t just reserve your art for your living room!

Louise’s case is another reminder that designing a practical and functional space does not require sacrificing style!

<This article was first published in the launch issue of Born Organized Magazine – a great read covering Home, Office and Lifestyle topics & advice – and where I, Anya H, write the Interiors column. Read the launch issue of Born Organized here: or follow @BornSmartHQ >.



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