Want to change up your interior? Here are my five fast tips to give your home a shot of style this year.

A new year calls for a new you. Whether it be a new haircut, a new trip, or a new look for your home. There are much easier ways to give your place that wow factor without a total makeover. Freshen up your space and keep it current, get rid of things you don’t like, or haven’t paid attention to in the last year. Avoid fads, but keep an eye to movements in design and adapt them for your personality. To liven up your space, whether it be big or small, follow my tips below for five on-trend changes that’ll blow your guests away.

Interior designer and Creative Director of his own company, AZBcreative, Alex Zabotto-Bentley has spent the last couple of decades making a name for himself as a respected asset in the Australian design industry. A creative force, Alex specialises in all aspects of design, from installations to interior designing and decorating. 

1. Green on Green on Green

Green Interior. Image by note thanun via Unsplash.

Green Interior. Image by note thanun via Unsplash.

It’s really easy being green! With all the controversy over climate change, it’s no surprise that Pantone’s official colour for 2017 is called Greenery; a warm, leafy green. It’s the colour of new growth and revitalisation – and after all the world’s trials last year, we could do with some fresh optimism. We’ve been bringing the garden inside for years, so it’s nice that Pantone caught up! I personally love a mélange of green (dig that word mélange too).

Layering tone-on-tone makes a powerful but harmonious statement, and adds an edge of 1940s old Europe to a space without being too heavy. Green lifts neutral tones and adds a sense of luxe richness to deep blues, natural wood tones and antique golds. Mix up textures and shades. A bold Grant Featherstone armchair in a fresh spring green linen – sexy. And plush forest green velvet cushions, emerald green glazed tiles and ceramics, arrangements of sculptural greens instead of flowers can bring a room to life. Make it as punchy or subtle as you like. Check out the amazing paintings by Jacqueline Tieprmann or even lose your mind over the Perini’s Casablanca-inspired range of tiles.

2. Do the flip: A garden full of furniture and a house full of plants

House Plants. Image by Cole Keister via Unsplash.

House Plants. Image by Cole Keister via Unsplash.

Ever wanted to live in a green house? Now’s the chance. You don’t have to be a natural gardener to create your own green house at home. It’s an idea that took hold in the Victorian era, with indoor glass conservatories, and has kitsch, slightly 1970s charm. Start with cool, exotic tropical plants; think of low-maintenance varieties like monstera and strelitzia. Miniature rhododendrons and orchids add pops of hothouse colour and that seventies classic, devil’s ivy grows easily. It’s usually sold on a bark post, but you can remove the post carefully and let it trail along the tops of cabinets, armoires or even your refrigerator.

And the garden full of furniture? If the weather’s good, why not haul the sofa outside for an eccentric tea party? Or even just scatter some cushions from fantastic collaborations from Basil Bangs with Aussie superstars like Lucas Grogan and Jonathan Zawada. Just check for clouds.

3. Rooms within rooms

Living Room. Image by Ashley Byrd via Unsplash.

Living Room. Image by Ashley Byrd via Unsplash.

We love custom areas to escape. You don’t need a lot of space to create a comfortable retreat, just think about how you can make a visual separation within spaces. Reading is back in a big way, so create a mini library – you’re own cosy reading nook. Banish the minimalist concrete pots dipped in white paint, the random swipes of fluoro paint and the uncomfortably sharp geometric terrariums of last year. Fill the area with book stacks – you can even use them to create a low table. Add an amazing armchair upholstered in a fresh, unexpected shade, a vintage reading lamp, a classical sculpture; be inspired by spaces like the New York Public Library or the gorgeous Admont Abbey in Austria, and create a little space to dream…and use it! One of my favourite treasure troves for second hand art and design books is Cross Books – trust me on this!

To make more spaces within a living room, take out the coffee table – it’s just a junk collector, anyway – and rearrange the furniture to create smaller, more intimate conversation areas. You can use small occasional tables if needed between chairs to encourage lingering conversations. Giant floor cushions in tonal Belgian linens open the space to new possibilities. Take the focus away from the TV and put it back on actually talking and interacting.

4. Get raw. From materials to colours; the new neutral is natural.

Entryway. Image by Collov Home Design via Unsplash

Entryway. Image by Collov Home Design via Unsplash.

Touch it, feel it, see it. Thick stubby weaves, natural dyed fabrics, linen, cottons, bleached and stripped of colour. Soft tones drawn from the earth, dirt and stone, in shades of slubby grey, bisque, French white and Moroccan white. Create a sense of calm and sanctuary with tactile layers and subtle shades. It’s about removing distractions and superfluous colour, without being bland. So find one colour to offset the neutral (did I mention I love green?)

But what saves it from looking 80s beige? The key is in the amped-up textures; add in rough-hewn woods, luxurious pleated silks, over-dyed cottons and heavy gauge knits. What you get is the comfort and sense of escape people are craving now, and everything you see and touch soothes the senses. From insanely amazing, locally designed towels from Loom Towels to almost everything from Safari Living, you can’t go wrong with any picks from these online stores.

5. Zero DIY


That’s right, no more weekends lost in a Bunnings Warehouse or in the emergency room with a self-inflicted craft injury. We’re advocating for true artisans and a revival of the endangered skills of the craftsman. I’m thrilled, because I’ve never been a fan of poorly sponged paint effects and wonky timber palette coffee tables. We’re not living in a student share house anymore! But the human touch is essential to create a space that resonates with soul and warmth.

Look for handmade elements with a beautiful finish by master craftspeople. These are pieces you will treasure forever. MarkDouglass makes state of the art handblown glassware, sculptures and lighting in his Melbourne studio; find ceramic art pieces like the exquisite work of Jai  Vasicek of Ahoy Traderto pottery and plates from Bridget Bodenham, and collect hand crafted pieces from Wootten Leather. And keep and eye out for one-off art works by sculptors like Will Coles. You can get beautifully crafted, site-specific, quality pieces that fit your needs exactly and that can be handed down through your family with no risk of injury. Can’t argue with that! So say a joyful farewell to Bunnings, though we will miss the Saturday morning sausage sizzle in the carpark.

Keep up with Alex Zabotto-Bentley through ABZcreative and on Instagram at @azbcreative 

Feature Image by Nastuh Abootalebi via Unsplash.