Interior styling 101: Finishing touches for that ‘wow’ factor

While big-ticket items tend to dominate decision making during a renovation or new build – choosing flooring, paint colours and exterior cladding, for example – the smaller interior styling details are just as important when it comes to completing your house and making it feel like a home. Think a brightly coloured front door or a stunning statement artwork, each sure to deliver a pop of personality and help tie your scheme together.

While these accessories and accents are usually brought in towards the conclusion of a project, it’s important to leave room for them in your budget, then channel your inner stylist and try adding one (or all!) of these seven interior design finishing touches.


Hot hardware

Drawer pulls, door knobs and handles might be small in size, but they have the potential to make a major impact. Choose hardware that’s consistent with your home’s aesthetic: if your renovation or build is Hamptons-inspired, opt for ornate pieces in solid metal; for a Scandi Barn design, you’ll need sleek and minimal hardware in brass or blonde timber. And don’t forget your front door – a statement knocker is like jewellery for your home’s façade.


Accents of greenery

Houseplants have a myriad of benefits, from reducing stress to improving air quality and adding gorgeous greenery. Breathe life into your spaces by using plants as an interior styling tool.

Decorate with little pots of succulents; create a focal point with a large and leafy philodendron or fiddle-leaf fig; or hang a planter overhead (try creeping and cascading species such as devil’s ivy or Boston fern). Consider greenery as a way to enhance your home’s exterior too – hanging baskets or planters housing potted colour or trailing vines will pop against freshly painted cladding.


Beautiful bar stools

Bar stools are sometimes an afterthought in kitchen design, but according to the team at Three Birds Renovations, they have the potential to be the main event.

“Start with your vision board and inspo pics, and go back to the images of kitchens you love,” advises Three Birds co-founder and marketing director Lana Taylor. “What do their bar stools look like? Are they sleek and modern, or comfy with cushions? Do they have backs or not? What colour are they?” In terms of kitchen bench measurements, allow a width of 50–60cm per stool for a comfortable fit.


An outdoor room

Exterior styling is an extension of interior styling, and treating your outdoor spaces like indoor rooms will make them instantly more inviting.

“One of the biggest mistakes we made when we first started renovating was to get so excited with all the fancy finishes and furnishings inside that we didn’t leave enough budget for the outside,” says Bonnie Hindmarsh, co-founder and creative director of Three Birds Renovations. “Since then we’ve made sure we always allocate enough budget to create outdoor areas we’re proud of.”

Bonnie suggests dividing your exterior space into distinct zones for playing, relaxing and entertaining, and adding features such as a cosy fire pit, luxurious daybeds or weatherproof cushions that reference your home’s interiors. Using a contrasting exterior cladding to clearly define an outdoor ‘room’ will enhance this effect.


Stylish window treatments

You’ve built a home with big, beautiful windows – so don’t forget to dress them. Window treatments serve dual purposes, both functional and decorative, and the best ones strike a balance between the two.

Choose trimmings to suit the space’s aesthetic: full and flowing curtains work well in traditional living rooms and bedrooms (also consider blackout blinds for the latter), while roller blinds are a match for minimalist, modern homes, and white sheers lend a romantic touch to softer spaces.

Consider how your windows look from the outside, too. For a classic beach house or Hamptons look, white plantation shutters will complement exterior cladding, such as the Linea™ Weatherboard or Stria™ Cladding ranges. For busier exterior walls such as brick, or a vertical cladding like Axon™, a smooth window treatment such as a roller blind will provide a calm contrast.


Ambient exterior lighting

Often with interior styling, we focus solely on how our home will look in the daylight, but your decorating decisions should consider night-time, too. Shine a light on your home’s façade with a pair of exterior wall sconces at the front door, or create a cosy glow in the backyard with lanterns, fairy lights or even downlighting in the trees.

Outdoor lighting also serves a very practical purpose, as it can be used to illuminate pathways, pools and steps. For extra convenience, install motion sensors that automatically switch the lights on and off as you move through the space.


Mementos and memories

To truly turn your house into a home, you need to inject some personal touches. Framed family photos or travel souvenirs infuse rooms with warmth and nostalgia, and serve as conversation starters, too.

Use curios and keepsakes to style vignettes on your coffee table or shelves, and create a gallery wall using family photos, snaps from your travels or your children’s artwork.


Interior styling is often a fun and rewarding creative outlet, but it can be hard to know where to start. Read our guide to kicking off the decorating process in your build or renovation here, and find out more about engaging a professional designer, decorator or stylist here.

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