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10 finishing touches you need for every room in the house

By Emma Smith

Whether you’ve got an interior design degree or not, it’s pretty easy to tell when a room is missing something, be it a print on the wall, an extra cushion on the bed or a house plant in a corner.

Finding what that je ne sais quoi is isn’t always easy, and when you’ve already capped out your budget buying, renting or renovating a home, keeping it under cost can be hard.

According to Mia Lake, interior design director of Vic Lake Architects, the finishing touch doesn’t have to come at a large cost. She says you can find the perfect piece at a steal.

Under $30:

1. A touch of brass

Brass details make a space look more luxe. Picture: West Elm

“Brass adds instant glamour to a room,” says Mia. She recommends this marble and brass dipping bowl, $29, by West Elm.

“If you placed this bowl on a coffee table or in a bedroom to hold TV remotes and trinkets, it would keep the space looking tidy and organised. You could also set it on an island bench and put lemons and limes on it to add a sense of fresh, healthy glamour to the kitchen.”

2. Natural baskets

Just like plants, woven baskets inject an element of the natural world into the home. It doesn’t hurt that they’re space-saving buckets as well.

Woven baskets are great for storage. Picture: Aldi

“You know those things that you need within arm’s reach that don’t look very glamorous? This is where baskets come in handy,” says Mia.

“My trick is to group similar objects, place them in a basket and put it in the corner of a room. For example, if you don’t have a lot of storage in a bathroom, toilet rolls look great in a basket next to the toilet. The same concept works for kid’s toys, living room blankets, beach towels, magazines etc.”

3. Textured cushions

Mastering the number of cushions on a bed or sofa is an art form. To ensure you have enough while keeping it under cost, Mia recommends getting plain cushions from budget brands and placing a decorative one that you love in front of them.

“Its boldness will lift the status of the cheaper cushions,” Mia adds.

Target cushions in autumnal shades, $15 – $20.

4. Soap dispensers

You — or your guests — shouldn’t settle for plastic supermarket soap pumps. Adding a non-disposable one can truly lift a bathroom.

A soap tray that doubles as a jewellery holder – how good?! Picture: Anthropologie.

Mia loves this Mimira  soap pump from Anthropologie, $16-22, because it’s luxe but classic. “Gold detail is a winner when decorating. It makes your space look instantly more expensive. These are good for bathrooms but don’t forget your kitchen sink — it also needs hand soap.”

Under $50:

5. Hourglass ornament

Ironically, it’s often the unusual pieces that bring unity to a room. Case in point: this hourglass ornament, $32.

“This hourglass decorative piece would look great as a decorative item in your kitchen or study,” says Mia. It takes 15 minutes to filter so it’s handy as well. Turn it and start ticking off your to-do list.

An interesting timeless timepiece for an element of surprise. Picture:

Mia’s favourite is the green one, but choose the one that will suit your style.

“I love using green in my interior colour palettes. It’s emblematic of natural greenery so it has the power to link any interior space with the outdoors, making it feel bigger and more tranquil.”

6. House plants

When in doubt, add a house plant. It’s a rule that’s never let us down and Mia agrees. If you kill everything you touch, Mia recommends finding some fake plants that look seriously life-like.

Hot tip: Mix living plants with faux varieties. That way, at least one will always look alive. Picture: Leaf Supply

“Cursed with black thumbs? Opt for realistic looking faux succulents in concrete pots, which instantly add colour and decoration to a dull space,” Mia says.

“You can have one feature pot, or group two or three together for a cosier look. Faux plants will look more realistic if they’re clustered together, or better still, paired with real hard-to-kill plants.” Living plants obviously vary in price, but you can grab some great varieties for under $50.

7. Bowls

Striking ceramics can be a kitchen show-stopper. Picture: Barefoot Gypsy

“I love bowls. Bowls are like baskets; baskets are for the floor, and bowls are for bench tops. Grouping similar objects (like keys, business cards and spare coins) and placing them in a bowl looks better than leaving them out on a bench,” says Mia.

Mia’s pick: these Barefoot Gypsy bowls, starting from $40.

Under $200:

8. Bold Bedding

When did white become the standard colour (or shade) of bed linen? It’s so vanilla.

Making your bed with a bit of colour can transform your boudoir from boring to bold and the proof is in the purple — this purple vintage washed linen from Adairs, to be exact.

It has texture and adds character, and the best bit is, the colour is called ‘wine’. Wine and bed … we’re onboard.

You thought getting out of bed was difficult, try doing it with this plush purple bedding. Picture: Adairs

9. Quirky Storage

While fearful of sounding like Shaynna Blaze, storage is important. But it doesn’t have to come in the form of daggy filing cabinets and offensive tupperware … and it doesn’t have to be hidden.

School’s back! How cute are these lockers by Mustard Made? Picture: Bronte Godden @lazybonesphoto

Just like the natural baskets, there are a number of storage pieces that add to the style of a room, rather than detract from it. Mia’s pick: these quirky lockers by Mustard Made that come in different sizes and a wide range of colours. Okay, this baby costs a little more than $100 ($199 to be exact) but we couldn’t resist.

Pop them in the hallway, use them as a bedside table or even add them to the kitchen for some extra cabinets. They’ll inject a bit of fun to finish off the dullest of dull rooms.

10. A teepee

Try to make your children’s rooms into fun, inspiring spaces that they can call their own. Picture: Pillow Talk

“All it needs is a teepee,” said no one, ever. But when it comes to completing the kid’s room, it’s true.

A tipi is the ultimate final touch to convert your child’s bedroom from a place where they sleep to a place where they dream. Throw a few fairy lights into the mix and let their imagination run wild … even into the jungle.

Mia’s pick: the Aurora Canopy from Pillow Talk, $129.95

Bank of Melbourne’s promotion T&Cs: New Complete Freedom customers only. Offer excludes customers who hold or have held a Complete Freedom Account with St. George Bank, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA at any time. Read the terms and conditions at before making a decision and consider if the product is right for you.
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