5 Minutes with D+D’s Senior Assistant Stylist | Lara Dale

June 2016, ‘Moving on Up’ By Lara Dale.

When I left the nest to move to the big smoke at the ripe old age of 18, I was fortunate enough to find a room in a share house through a family friend. All I needed to bring was a bed (or in my case, a mattress) and everything else was sorted… easy! And so began my love affair with share housing, no lease, no furniture, no need to buy anything other than what would fit in my little room. It was the perfect relationship… 

Fast forward 10 years and I’ve just signed the lease on my first home with my partner Will (a fellow share housing veteran and the Logistics Manager of Design & Diplomacy) only to realise that all those years of floating from room to room left us with a distinct lack of furniture. Luckily for us our job meant finding temporary seating was easy, but starting from scratch to fill a home with furniture and create a house that pleases both of our aesthetic tastes within our (very moderate) budget…. not such an easy task.

Working as a Senior Stylist Assistant at Design & Diplomacy I have seen empty houses become works of art in a matter of hours, so naturally I assumed we would enjoy the same effortless experience in our own home. But I was wrong… In the wise words of Morcheeba ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and filling your home with things that you love is going to take time.

It has been 1 month today since we collected our keys and although we have a long way to go, we’ve managed to achieve quite a lot in such a short amount of time and we’ve done it by doing the following these simple steps.

  1. Write a list of the things you need (not want) in order of their importance and focus on buying them in that order. 
  2. Budget. Choose which items you are happy to spend a little bit more money on and which items you can get away with spending less on. For example, a good couch is a focal point for your home and you’ll likely be spending a lot of time on it, so it’s worth spending the extra money on it.
  3. Create a Pinterest account and collect images of styles that you like. Going shopping for homewares etc can be quite overwhelming if you don’t have a rough idea of the style that you like. 
  4. Shop around, whether it be online, or pounding the pavement. Keep yourself informed on what is out there. I have a horrible habit of saying no because I want to wait till something better comes along. If you have done your research and know what is out there you can buy with confidence when you find the right thing for the right price. 
  5. Know your SALES! If possible, plan to shop around them. There are an abundance of sales throughout the year and great deals to be had, particularly at the moment, just follow the big red EOFY (End of Financial Year) SALE signs right to your next bargain.
  6. OUTLETS! Outlets outlets outlets!!! If I could live in one I would. I decked out my kitchen with items I picked up outlet shopping and it cost me next to nothing! 
  7. If, like me your funds are limited, look into finance options for larger items. A lot of larger retailers offer 12 to 24 months interest free finance, which means you can get all the larger items that you need and pay it off over time. 
  8. Gumtree or EBay are great resources for furniture and appliances. A fridge or washer can be picked up at a very reasonable price as well as other household items like kitchen appliances, TV’s and even hairdryers.  
  9. Don’t have a bedframe? Or have one that’s outdated? You can buy a bed base for under $200, simply add a valance and voila. It’s a simple look that I love and you can easily upgrade down the track with a frame.
  10. Bedding, Linen and Homewares are a plenty at places like Kmart and Target and Ikea. You can find almost everything that you need in these places without breaking the bank. Utilise them but don’t go overboard, like I said there is no need to get everything straight away. Buying all of your homewares from Kmart in one go could have you falling victim to a fad. Choose your items wisely.  
  11. Last but not least. ENJOY! I certainly wont say shopping for a fridge is therapeutic but once you have the necessities what a wonderful creative outlet decorating your home can be.