Interior styling advice from The Home Journal’s Dani Wales

For The Home Journal editor Dani Wales, a balance of function and form is most important when designing an interior space.
“Aesthetics are what we see straight away but you don’t want to compromise on the functionality of the space just to make sure it looks pretty,” Dani says.
Dani Wales has been styling and renovating homes since her success on two seasons of Channel 9’s The Block.

The former Block contestant says when she first meets with clients to design a new room or whole house, she spends a lot of time trying to understand how their family uses or will use a space so she can suggest layouts and furniture that are practical as well as stylish.

Dani says creating mood boards before starting a new project – like designing an office space – is a task she’s recently started employing.

Creating mood boards is a great way to understand how your design choices might work together, Dani says.

“It’s really going to give you a good understanding of how things come together. It shows how important the texture is and getting the right contrast with colour so you can put a palette together. It’s amazing how much creating a mood board can change what you think was right for the space before.”

home interior design textures
Dani says texture is important to bring dimension and character to a home.

Writing a brief before researching furniture and accessories for a space is also important, Dani says.

She recommends first taking note of the colours and textures of furniture and accessories you already have in your home.

Complementing your existing furniture and décor with any pieces you introduce is important to create a flow throughout your home, Dani says.

“There’s no point going and buying a timber desk if you don’t have any other timber items in the house. You have to make sure the piece of furniture you’re buying will tie back to the look you’ve executed for the rest of the house.”

Dani recognises that with houses becoming smaller, having a dedicated study or home office might not be achievable. So it’s important to select an area of your home that could serve multiple purposes.

For someone who only occasionally works from home, she suggests a room could serve partly as an office and partly as a play area.

“My mum tells me time and time again that she used to change me on the desk in their bedroom,” Dani recalls, laughing.

If someone is looking to place a desk in a living area, like the kitchen or lounge room, Dani recommends making sure it’s is either “partially hidden” or very clean and organised.

“You don’t want someone walking into the house and seeing the messy desk area straight off the kitchen. It’s not going to be a great look. If it’s directly in people’s eye line, you’ve got to keep it spotless all the time.”

Dani says when creating a multifunctional space you might need to compromise on the current layout.

“It might come down to redoing the layout of that entire room.”

And when you come to shop for your new pieces, it’s all about research and keeping things within your budget.

“Make sure you get the best products you can afford so research it first.”