The secret to style

June 27, 2018

The secret to style

Sunshine Coast-based interior designer Kate Cooper knows a things or two about creating and maintaining a beautiful home. We picked her brain to get the industry secrets behind creating a luxurious space, whatever your budget or lifestyle. 

How long have you been an interior designer/stylist?

I started my business in 2014 after I finished studying and have never looked back. Prior to design I was a teacher, so it’s a very different field. Design is much more creative, which I love.

How do you describe your style?

My personal interior style is contemporary coastal but I see so many different styles in my client’s homes that I have an appreciation for many. It makes it interesting to work with clients who have a different aesthetic to mine.

What is luxury to you?

Luxury in design and in a home is all about having a carefully designed and considered space both externally and internally. For me, an architecturally designed house with the use of authentic finishes like natural stone, timber or timber veneer is luxurious. Completed with custom-made or built-in cabinetry and bespoke furniture using materials like linen, leather, wool, silk or velvet. The finishing touches of art, soft furnishings and décor should complement the design and reflect your personality. They are essential in creating a luxurious home and should not be overlooked. Luxury is timeless.

What’s the secret to achieving luxury when styling and designing a home?

When designing your home and then styling it, you have to be meticulous about the details and the materials. When selecting hard finishes they have to not only be amazing quality but well executed. The attention to detail is the secret. For example, if you have a beautiful stone tile laid, the edges need to be mitred or have your custom ottoman or cushions piped to finish it off.

 Is it possible to achieve a luxurious home on a tight budget? 

My advice would be to spend money on spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms first. Use the best stone and tapware you can afford at the time. I always tell clients that the kitchen tap is the most used tap in the house, don’t be frugal when selecting it. Flooring is a huge one for me in a home. It is one of the largest surface areas in your home, so be wise when allocating money to it. Once you feel a great quality carpet you will never go back! Save up to purchase more expensive or better quality furniture for bigger ticket items and mix it up with more affordable pieces.

How do you create a luxurious home with a young family?

A family home needs to be functional and durable. It’s still important to have luxurious elements but it needs to be protected from bumps, breaks and grubby hands. Get rugs and fabric upholstery treated with a stain protector. When choosing a fabric, get a linen blend so it has some man-made fibres in it to increase its longevity. Seal any natural or porous stone or find a porcelain alternative so you can still achieve a luxurious feel. Seek out a sofa that might have removable covers for easier cleaning and for day-to-day living, get the children to sit at the bench to eat and purchase more hard-wearing stools.

What are your top tips for styling a home?

Use the pieces of furniture or art that you love to guide you. These are the non-negotiables when designing a space. I often use a piece of art or an inspirational image to start the process of adding furniture and décor to a room. Make sure the furniture proportions are right first, then ensure you have a good balance of colour, texture and pattern with your soft furnishings and décor. The most common mistake I find is people that believe everything in a house or room should be ‘square’ or ‘round’. Mix up the shape and make it interesting to the eye. 

Living on the Sunshine Coast, a lot of homeowners sway towards a coastal vibe. Is it possible to achieve a relaxed coastal and luxurious look at the same time?

Absolutely, it just comes down to materials. Use natural materials such as linen, timber and stone. Select a colour palette that is conducive to the coastal environment and take inspiration from the beautiful locations we have here on the Coast. 

What are some luxurious trends to try in 2018? 

If you are renovating or designing a new kitchen in 2018, make sure you include integrated appliances like your dishwasher, fridge and even your cooktop. Integrating appliances has been around for a while but it’s becoming more popular. It creates a luxurious finish in a kitchen that has beautiful two pack or timber veneer cabinetry.
For textile lovers, wallpaper is definitely making a resurgence this year. Not just a wall but a whole room. There are so many options with pattern, texture and colour when choosing a paper so professional advice on selection and installation is recommended.
When following trends, I’m most cautious about colour because the colour of the season or year will come and go. Use colours in your home that reflect its style, your lifestyle and your personality.

Are there any products you are loving
at the moment?

I’m loving cabinetry that looks like an item of furniture, like
the Zuster Furniture bathroom range from Reece Plumbing. Bathrooms have changed so much over the years, I’m excited to
see where they will go from here. In line with one of the trends, I also think the Pitt Cooking range of gas burners are amazing! They’ve won me over with an integrated gas cooktop that makes cleaning easier. 

1. Pitt Cooking Range, available at
2. Country Road Chela Cushion RRP $69.95, available at Country Road
3. Hello Trader Berber Throw
RRP $125, available at Hello Trader, Maroochydore
4. Barefoot Gypsy Moroccan Cushion RRP $75, available at
 5. Sheridan Camira Stone Vase RRP $29.95, available at Sheridan
6. Issy Halo by Zuster, exclusive to Reece 

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