Here Are 5 Interior Design Trends to Watch this Year

Early each year, the team at Furniture Fitouts likes to take a moment to reflect on the latest interior design trends. We pause to consider which trends that were catching on last year are now running full steam ahead. We also explore up-and-coming trends that we expect to see stealing the show in the months to come. Doing so gives us a chance to prepare new approaches and furniture pieces to use in home staging.

And now that we’ve taken a proper inventory of the current interior design trends, we thought we’d share five of the most prominent ones here:

1. Interiors Are Getting Greener.
Eco-friendly design may be all the rage these days, but in this case, ‘going green’ has everything to do with colour and nothing to do with your home’s carbon footprint. The colour green is making an enormous comeback in homes and interiors. This strong colour makes for an eye-catching accent, but ‘restraint’ is the operative word. A little green goes a long way when it comes to interior design.

2. Artisan Furniture Is Growing Even More Popular.
Handcrafted furniture was already on the rise in 2016, and this trend promises to grow even stronger in the coming year. There’s something special about an article of furniture that was made by hand rather than mass-produced in a factory. Handmade items take time and skill to create, and each one has its own little quirks and nuances that make it 100 percent original. Needless to say, artisan crafts will give your interior an authentically artistic atmosphere.

3. Rescued and Refurbished Furnishings Are on the Rise.
In some cases, the so-called ‘rescued’ look is just that – a look. In other words, these furnishings and decorations are made new to look like they’ve seen some wear before being reborn into a new interior design. But for the purist, nothing compares to the thrill of finding a discarded article of furniture, stripping it down and making it new. In either event, the rescued look gives interior warmth, texture and a hint of nostalgia for a bygone age.

4. Marble Keeps Getting Bigger.
Back in 2015, designers began pointing to marble as the next big thing in interior design. Sure enough, this ornate stone took the interior design scene by storm in 2016, and it continues to be a favourite pick for designers. Marble shines in minimalist interiors with neutral colour palettes. We’re also seeing more marble pattern prints for upholstery, pillows and other softer interior design fixtures.

5. Expect More Pattern Prints All Around.
Marble print upholstery is one of many pattern prints that you can expect to see more of in 2017. Tribal prints (such as mud cloth patterns) are already gaining popularity. Tropical prints are also seeing an upsurge – in terms of upholstery, decorations and even wallpaper.

Whether you need to schedule a styling consultation or stage your property for a quick sale, the team at Furniture Fitouts can ensure that you’re making use of the latest trends in interior design. Contact us today to learn more.

Guide to Buying Off-The-Plan Apartments by Perth’s Property Experts

New apartments being built on the corner of Labouchere Rd and Mill Point Rd, South Perth.

New apartments being built on the corner of Labouchere Rd and Mill Point Rd, South Perth.

While there are several great advantages to buying off the plan, buyers must still gain a comprehensive understanding of the development before committing to a purchase, say Perth property experts. With a sharp increase in the number of apartment complexes built across Perth in recent years, local real estate agents like Mark Hay have urged buyers not to rush decisions.

“It is risky if you don’t do the homework and those buying off the plan need to be fully informed,” he said, “People need to think to themselves why they are buying off the plan instead of an established home. When you can’t see and touch something, there is always some risk attached.” The off-the-plan specialist urges buyers to research both development and developer to ensure it’s the right fit.

Seek Local Opinions

Gavin Hegney, an independent property analyst, says it’s vital that buyers contact local experts to benefit from their opinions. “Sometimes people do not understand exactly what they are buying,” he says, making it essential that buyers speak to local real estate agents and local councils to get a feel for the area and see if there are upcoming developments that suit their criteria.

As interpreting a building development from a plan isn’t always easy, it’s “important to sit alongside someone who can interpret what exactly the development entails,” said Mr Hegney, who encourages buyers to consider the timeframes when buying off the plan and use 3D programs to enable them to get a better idea of what they’re buying.  

Advantageous but Risky

The managing director of Momentum Wealth, Damian Collins, says there are many advantages to buying off-the-plan apartments but buyers need to be aware of the risks involved, like buying at the peak of the market cycle.

“In such cases, buyers may find that when they reach settlement at the building’s completion, the value of their apartment may be less than what they’re paying for it,” he said, which “can lead to finance implications, as lending may be affected and a greater level of equity is required to fulfil the purchase.”

Nevertheless, buying prior to construction is a great way to secure an apartment at current property prices without having to pay for it for another two or three years, the usual timeframe involved for the completion of such projects. This delivers benefits such as providing homeowners with ample time to sell their existing home before moving into an apartment that requires less maintenance and having “a choice of colour selections provided by the developer” if buyers purchase early enough.

Mr Collins also spoke of the off-the-plan incentives offered by developers, which “are quite common in today’s market,” he said, “An example of this is a free BMW with The Precinct apartment sales in Mount Pleasant”, with other incentives regularly offered “including kitchen upgrades, furniture fit-outs and guaranteed rental returns for a period of time.”

With the notable benefits to buying off the plan and incentives such as these, there’s little wonder why property buyers are snapping up apartments across Perth so enthusiastically. However, anyone considering an off-the-plan purchase needs to be aware of the risks involved. 

Green and Sustainable Features a Trend Among Perth Homebuyers

Sustainability matters: Jenny Marsh is happy with her recent decision to buy an off-plan apartment in “WA’s greenest” Evermore development in White Gum Valley. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper

Sustainability matters: Jenny Marsh is happy with her recent decision to buy an off-plan apartment in “WA’s greenest” Evermore development in White Gum Valley. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper

Keen to be green is a notable trend among Perth homebuyers, with sustainability just as important as property price and location, claim researchers from Curtin University. This backs up claims by local property experts who say that as homebuyers are increasingly willing to pay higher property prices for eco extras that enable them to reduce their bills, property developers will find it advantageous to cater for this trend as the city grows.

Sustainability Attributes Essential for Perth’s Property Market

Research by the Sustainability Policy Institute at Curtin University found that sustainability attributes are essential for the continued growth and prosperity of the local housing market and that many homebuyers see these eco-friendly features as a notable benefit that will influence their decision to buy. The report involved surveying residents who had purchased new developments across Perth on the factors that influenced their decision to purchase their homes and shows buyers are particularly keen on properties with features that reduce electricity and water costs or enable less car travel.

Producers of the Curtin Report, Jemma Green and Peter Newman, said the local property market was “demanding sustainable dwellings” and despite the insistence of real estate agents and industry bodies, people are willing to pay extra for sustainability options because of the financial and environmental benefits delivered.

“These results suggest that if the market provided more options of housing with sustainability attributes, people would choose them and developers would have a larger range of buyers,” they said. “The findings strongly suggest that as the market offers more developments with these attributes, residents’ demand for them will also increase.”

This, they claim, was evident from the 27 medium-density developments in the mid-price housing range of $350,000 to $600,000 which showed there was a strong market in Perth for eco-friendly features, such as solar power and renewable resources, as well as lighting and water efficiency.

Western Australia’s Greenest Development

The Evermore development by Yolk Property Group aims to be “WA’s greenest” with 24 properties featuring real-time water and power monitoring, leading-edge solar and lithium battery technology along with an electric vehicle charging points and communal bicycles for residents to use.

Jenny Marsh, a Subiaco social worker who purchased one of the White Gum Valley developments, spoke of her ambition to purchase a sustainable property that further enables her to lead a lifestyle that lessens the impact on the environment.  “The aim to be zero-carbon and the use of the shared solar technology interested me,” Mrs Marsh said. “There’s a commitment to sustainability.”

She discussed the green lifestyle she leads and how sustainable properties make it easier for people to reduce their carbon footprint.  “I do as much as possible to reduce my carbon footprint, from recycling water with buckets in the shower to riding my bike everywhere I can. I think a lot of people do what they can, but properties with these things actually built in will make it far easier,” she said.

With Perth homebuyers increasingly keen to be green and developers keen to capitalise on this trend, when can we expect to see sustainable properties become the norm across Perth?

Perth’s First “Micro Lots” to Go on Sale

The first “micro lots”, blocks measuring just 80sqm, go on sale this year and are expected to shake up the Perth housing market. A sign of the times, as many see things, with Perth block sizes rapidly shrinking to suit the smaller budgets and changing lifestyles of local residents.

The first 80sqm blocks, which will be priced at less than $300,000, go on sale in Ellenbrook and are the smallest green-title lots Western Australia has ever seen, though several local property experts have said we can expect to see even smaller blocks in the future. Some confidently predict that tiny 50 –  60sqm blocks could become the norm within a few years.

Shrinking Lots, Growing Interest

In 2016, Perth’s average lot size was 383sqm, significantly smaller than the 2008 average of 525sqm and the 700sqm blocks which were the norm throughout the 1970s. According to UDIA WA chief executive, Allison Hailes, local developers are catering for the needs of lower income earners and time-poor buyers who prefer small lots requiring less maintenance.

The 80sqm lot trial was approved in 2015 and the developer responsible for the project, LWP Property Group, expects construction of the 11 micro-lot homes to be completed about October. Its Innovo village, situated in Ellenbrook, consists of 11 two-storey terrace display homes built on green-title blocks that range in size from 126sqm to 175sqm.

With prices starting from about $320,000 and floorplans reaching up to 200sqm, the project is generating significant interest despite street frontage as narrow as 4.5 metres. Property experts like Ms Hailes believe interest in the micro lots, which are new to Perth, would gather momentum. “Once the community can see how good developments can be on smaller lots I expect interest in them will then start to grow more rapidly,” she said.

A growing trend that many have noticed is that people are happy to forego a big backyard if it means they have better access to public amenities and spaces. As LWP managing director Danny Murphy says, “It’s a bit like inner-city living but on the fringe,” who went to on to say that lot sizes will continue to shrink in size, “We’ll start with 80sqm … but we’ll get down towards 60sqm — I think in the next three years you will see that in Perth.”

How small is 80sqm?

How small is 80sqm?

That view is shared by other local property experts, like Brad Thompson whose Perth-based business, Thompson Sustainable Homes, was involved in the Innovo village project. He’s of the opinion that Perth would soon be like Queensland and the Eastern Seaboard states where blocks are as small as 50sqm, “That’s where the future will be heading in WA.”

Local homebuyers like first-homebuyer Natasha Bederson, who bought an Innovo off-the-plan terrace home, cite the ease-of-maintenance, price and absence of strata fees as factors that attract them to micro lots. With more people moving to Perth, a growing population and sluggish income increases, micro lots could be exactly what the city needs to ensure everyone has the ability to buy a property and have a place of their own to call home.

The guide to estimating space when furniture shopping

When it comes to buying furniture, it is best to be prepared. While we are all prone to impulse buys every now and again, buying furniture that is the wrong shape or size can lead to major headaches down the road.

Not measuring properly is one of the most common mistakes made by people when it comes to furnishing their home. Buying furniture that is too large or too small for your living space can look unsightly and is often impractical. Here are five key tips to help you buy the right furnishings for your home.

Measure Your Space

The first thing to do when buying any piece of furniture or appliance is to measure the space it is intended for. Once you know the exact length, width or height available you can begin to plan the furnishings that will fit your available space. Be sure to measure any alcoves or nooks as well to ensure the perfect fit.

Doors and Stairs

While you may have ample space inside your home, remember that you have to get the furniture into the house in the first place. This can be an issue with prefabricated furniture and it is one that is easy to forget. Doors, windows and stairs are the most common “tight spots”, so be sure to measure these and any furniture you consider buying first. Also remember to take account of light fittings and ceiling fans to avoid any accidental damage.

Maximize Your Space

While it may be tempting to splash out on a spacious sofa or king size bed, you should only do so if they fit comfortably in your home. When it comes to buying furniture, it is best to consider all the factors. For example, will the sofa allow enough space for end tables? Will the coffee table make the room too cramped? Or will the bookcase block a window? Taking a holistic approach to furnishing you rooms will ensure a more comfortable living space.

Power Outlets

While most modern homes are fitted with plenty of intelligently placed power outlets, it is important to keep these in mind when buying furniture or planning the layout of any room. TV stands, desks, end tables, bedside tables and any piece of furniture that will have a lamp or electric appliance will need to be placed near a power outlet if you wish to avoid using unsightly extension cables. Also ensure that larger items like beds, sofas and bookcases will not block any power outlets.

Be Inventive With Your Storage Space

Storage can take up a surprising amount of space in any home and can quickly become an issue in smaller apartments and houses. Open and closed shelving on walls can help you clear up a lot of the clutter in your home. It is also worth considering multi-functional furniture, such as beds with storage drawers that can help you save on storage space.

At Furniture Fitouts, we are committed to providing high quality furniture solutions for every room in your home. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Defence Housing Australia to Revolutionise the Fremantle Property Market

 Future apartment development in Fremantle

An artist’s view of Defence Housing Australia’s $61 million Liv Apartment development in Fremantle.
Picture: Defence Housing Australia

Fremantle has been undergoing a quiet transformation in recent years, but a new Defence Housing Australia apartment development project is set to accelerate that steady growth and make Western Australia’s second-largest city a target for property investors who’ve traditionally favoured the larger cities on the Eastern Seaboard.

The $61 million development project is one of the biggest in the city to date and will be built on a 1300sqm space in Queen Victoria Street at the location of a former car yard. In addition to 166 units, Liv Apartments will accommodate several commercial tenancies and attract members of the public as well as ADF members.

Complementing Fremantle’s Growth

With the city growing steadily, the time is right for a major development to complement Fremantle’s growth, says DHA managing director Jan Mason, “Fremantle has much to offer in terms of amenities — the local pool, fitness centre, art galleries, live music venues, beaches, harbour, museums, cafes and bars — all within walking distance from Liv.”.

Along with residential developments such as the DHA’s Liv Apartments, Western Australia’s bustling port city is undergoing a notable transformation with major urban renewal projects, like the Kings Square redevelopment, seeing $1.3 billion earmarked for renewal and redevelopment schemes.

“It’s an exciting place to create a new community,” says Ms Mason, who went on to explain that of Liv’s 166 apartments, “59 will be retained for Defence members and 107 will be made available to the public.” The new apartment complex is within 30km of the ADF’s barracks at Irwin and Campbell and is to be completed by next year.

Creating Local Jobs

One of the big benefits of the project is the creation of new local jobs in Fremantle, with 10 staff members from project builder Georgiou Group employed on-site, along with four labourers and up to 15 apprentices employed directly. “We see local jobs for local people as the first step in creating sustainable communities and great places to live,” said Ms Mason, who also spoke of how new development projects present great opportunities for local businesses.

“Economic modelling by the City of Fremantle suggests new residents in Liv could potentially contribute $16.7 million to the local economy every year,” she said and that, “Liv will have up to nine commercial tenancies, potentially bringing in new businesses and new employees into the precinct.”

One Planet Friendly

In keeping with the spirit of innovativeness and ushering in change across the City of Fremantle for the benefit of all everyone who calls it home, Liv Apartments will be the first development project in Western Australia to receive an environmental approval rating under the One Planet guidelines.

These guidelines, a part of the One Planet Fremantle initiative, are based on the principles of waste reduction and leaving a smaller carbon footprint, principles that seek to create a future in which everyone leads happy and healthy lives while using a fair share of earth’s resources.

With innovative projects and initiatives like these gaining popular appeal among its residents and business community, Fremantle’s transformation is certainly shaping up to be very exciting indeed.

5 hacks to liven up the dull living room

Livening up a drab living room can be a creative and fun process. Whether you want to do a quick spruce-up or a complete overhaul, transforming your living space does not have to break the bank.

Here are five quick and easy hacks to reboot your living room:

A Splash of Paint

There is no easier way to transform the look and feel of your living space than a fresh coat of paint. Whether you are looking for a cozy feel or bold, modern colours, we suggest that you start entirely from scratch. And don’t be afraid to be inventive. Accent walls and attractive colours for doors, windows and skirting boards can really transform a room. Top it off with wall hangings and wall art for an entirely revamped living space.

Rearrange Everything

Repainting is a great time to remove everything from your living room. Not only does it make the painting job easier, it can help you gain a fresh perspective and new ideas on how your living room could look. This is especially helpful when planning new furnishings, but can also help you maximize your space and create a new look for your room with your existing furniture.

Revamp Your Furniture

If you are redecorating on a budget you won’t want to entirely refurnish your room, but you can reinvent the look and feel of your existing furniture. Throws and covers can be a great way to transform chairs or sofas, or you could even consider reupholstering. Other items, such as end tables and coffee tables, can be revamped with a coat of paint, while buying smaller items, such as ottomans, can add something new to a room without breaking the bank.

Lighten Up

Very often living rooms can appear dull because of lack of light. If you do not have a lot of natural light in your living room, there are a number of easy ways to create a brighter feel. Painting your ceiling white is an easy first step, while you might also consider changing your window coverings to let in more natural light. Perimeter lighting, such as standing lamps, can also be an excellent alternative or addition to overhead lighting. If all else fails, you could go for the dark and cosy look instead!

Add Some Personality

The living room is a haven for rest, relaxation and family time, so it should reflect your tastes and personality. While too many knickknacks can make a room look busy, some antiques or other older items that are dear to you can add a lot of personality to a room. It can also be nice to decorate with art or crafts that you or members of your family have created. You could also consider adding a dedicated space for your favourite hobbies, such as a reading nook or a painting space.

At Furniture Fitouts, we are committed to providing the highest quality furniture and home decoration solutions. Contact us today to see how we can brighten up your living room.

Tips and Tricks for Furnishing Compact Apartments and Other Small Spaces

Furnishing a large property may be an expensive undertaking but in other ways it can be much easier than furnishing a small apartment or a single room. With so much space at your disposal, a large property offers a host of possibilities and very little in the way of limitations. A small space, on the other hand, requires careful planning and certain compromises if you are to achieve a pleasing result. In this short article, we are going to take a look at some of the tips and tricks professionals make use of when furnishing less capacious properties.

How the Professionals Tackle Small Spaces

Below is a short list of factors you should bear in mind when furnishing a compact property or room, along with some tips on how to cope with each one.

  • Functionality – When you only have a limited amount of space with which to work, functionality becomes extremely important. This does not mean that you cannot include decorative items in your interior design but you should try to ensure that they are functional too. In the kitchen, for example, you can utilise the space underneath a small breakfast bar to store crockery or other items, rather than just leaving it unused. Dual-purpose furniture, such as sofa beds, is another great idea when furnishing a small property.
  • Creating Separate Areas in One Room – Many small apartments have a single main room that serves as a kitchen, dining room and living area, and sometimes even a bedroom too. If you furnish such a space carelessly, it will end up looking cluttered and confused. The trick to making a studio apartment look stylish is to use pieces of furniture to mark out separate areas: to create distinct living, sleeping, dining and kitchen area without walls. For example: your breakfast bar will naturally separate the kitchen and dining areas and you can place your sofa at the foot of your bed, facing away from it of course, to draw attention to the centre of the living space rather than to the sleeping area.
  • Colour and Its Effect on Space – When decorating and furnishing a compact apartment or house, it is advisable to use light colours that will create a more spacious feeling. Dark colours, unless used sparingly, will have the opposite effect: the walls and furniture will appear to crowd in on you, making you feel cramped and claustrophobic. If you have small children in your home, cream or white sofas and chairs may seem like an impractical choice but if you choose a suite with upholstery that can be easily washed or wiped clean, it could still work well in a family environment.

There are, of course, many more tips that you can follow when furnishing a small space but that is all we have room for in this article! If you would like some professional advice on how to furnish your property, or perhaps some help sourcing everything you need, please feel free to get in touch with us at your convenience.

How to Style Your Apartment for a Quick Sale at a Good Price

Properly styling and staging your apartment is a complicated process. But when done well, it can help owners sell the unit quickly and at a price they can feel good about. At Furniture Fitouts, our staging and styling specialists regularly work with our clients to help them accomplish this. Given our extensive experience with the issue, we thought we would take a moment to share some insight from our years of staging apartments for sale. Read more

Tips on Hiring Furniture for Your Next Important Event

At Furniture Fitouts, we regularly supply hired furniture for events being held in and around Perth. These range from small, private affairs in our clients’ homes to grand-scale events at major venues in Perth. Along those lines, we have plenty of experience providing our clients with the furniture they need to make their event as successful and comfortable as possible.

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