7 steps to style the perfect vignette

A great way to showcase your favourite pieces and add style to a space is by creating a vignette. A vignette, simply put, is a grouping or arrangement of items, usually on a shelf or a table.

It can sometimes be difficult to get that ‘perfect' balanced look when styling a vignette, so I thought I would share a few of my tips and tricks, that I have learnt along the way, to help you create a fabulous arrangement.

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1. Inject some personality

To avoid your vignette looking too staged, add in some personal items that reflect your style and personality. I will often include beautiful perfume bottles, jewellery, loose pearls or even a bag or clutch purse.

2. Hunt & Gather

I find it helpful to have already assembled a selection of items that I could use, like plants, candles, vases and books within reach of the area I am styling and then I cull as I go.

 Stacking books or magazines is a great way to add height to smaller items

Stacking books or magazines is a great way to add height to smaller items

3. Play with height

A very important tip to remember is to make sure you vary the height and scale within your vignette, this allows the eye to travel freely over the display and create visual interest. Stacking books or magazines is a great way to give smaller items height.

 Start adding items that are different heights & shapes

Start adding items that are different heights & shapes

4. Odd is best

Grouping items in odd numbers, especially in three, is far more visually pleasing to the eye than grouping items in even numbers.

 Adding the hanging greenery to the pot creates more layering of heights

Adding the hanging greenery to the pot creates more layering of heights

5. Avoid clutter

Remember, less is more! Stand back & review the pieces you have chosen, do they work well together, does everything flow? If you feel your vignette looks to busy, try swapping out or eliminating a few items until it works.

6. Play with texture

Mix various textures, tones & shapes together to make your vignette really pop.

 Use pieces that reflect your personality & style. I absolutely love this Chanel snowglobe & gorgeous black marble candle from Burn Baby Burn Candle Co.

Use pieces that reflect your personality & style. I absolutely love this Chanel snowglobe & gorgeous black marble candle from Burn Baby Burn Candle Co.

7. Be you

Have you ever brought an entire outfit that you saw on someone and tried to recreate that exact look on yourself, only to have it miserably fail? No matter how hard you try, you will never master something that isn't your true style. So embrace who you are & surround yourself with things that you love. I guarantee you will have way more fun creating a space if it reflects your true style.

 Try adding a framed print or photo to your vignette.

Try adding a framed print or photo to your vignette.

I am so excited to be guest hosting this week's ‘Black’ themed challenge & look forward to seeing your vignette styling & featuring your amazing entries.

🖤 Em xxx

 The finished vignette - height, texture and personality!

The finished vignette - height, texture and personality!

Em is the guest host of our 'Black’ themed photo challenge this week. Find out how you can participate here - Creative Challenge Entry Details

You can see more of Em's beautiful photos on her Instagram account @stilettos_and_bricks and visit her website stilettosbricks.com

Ceiling height photography: How to capture the perfect 'on the bed' style flatlay

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Have you ever been scrolling on Instagram and seen an image like the one above and wondered to yourself ‘how did they actually take that shot?’ If you have pondered this exact question, you aren’t alone. The logistics of getting your camera high enough to take in what appears to be a whole bed can be a little puzzling and not everyone has access to drones, tripods or 6ft tall Instagram husbands to help them out.

We have the wonderfully creative Eszter Csáky from Instagram account @handmadeglamour sharing her secrets to indoor aerial snapping so you’ll be able to take your flatlay game to new heights. Luckily the trick to snapping from the ceiling is easier than you think and you’ll be able to achieve it at home just by getting crafty with some basic household items.

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1. Find a box or some cardboard

Any size will do to begin with as you can cut it to fit. In this case, this small one was already nearly the perfect dimensions for an iPhone which is what you’ll be using it to hold.

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2. Open it up and cut to size

Cut off the sides of the box and any excess parts so you will end up with a long straight length of cardboard.

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3. Measure it to fit your device

Measure the width of your phone and mark it so you know where to fold the cardboard

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4. Fold the cardboard 

Fold the sides in so that it will cradle your device and apply some tape to the tabs so that you can attach it to the ceiling.

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5.  Attach it to the ceiling

Use the tape (or your adhesive of choice) to stick the cardboard box to the ceiling and place your phone inside it with the camera facing down

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6. Use a remote timer to take the shot

If you are getting in the shot yourself and the 10 second timer isn’t long enough to get into the right position you can use a remote for your smartphone iPhone camera  (Note - You can purchase these bluetooth smartphone camera remotes for under $10 online!)

7. Take your shot!

You are now ready to start snapping your ceiling height photo - how easy was that?

Behind the Scenes: Getting Creative with Amy Shamblen

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Hey, Amy Shamblen here! If you follow along on my Instagram (@amyshamblen) then you know that I LOVE color and typography! I’m super excited to let you in on a little behind the scenes on how I created this week’s Creatively Squared challenge #cs_trickortreat. From inspiration to the final image, here’s my steps that I use for all my images!

  1. Sketch it out

When it comes to brainstorming, I like to write random words down that come to my head on whatever subject I’m creating around. Since this week was Trick or Treat, some quick words that came to mind were pumpkin, candy, spooky, and ghost. Since I love color and sweets, obviously I had to go with candy!

I always start with a rough sketch of what I want to do beforehand. I like to incorporate typography into a lot of my work; I was a designer before a photographer and love the merging of the two worlds.

I decided using the challenge name would fun, so I started looking at some typefaces to gain some inspiration. Since I decided to go with candy, I knew that I would need a lot of it in order to bring the idea to life. The thought of lots of tiny objects instantly reminded me of those I Spy books, which was a big source of inspiration, too.  

Once I found a typeface I liked, I sketched it out and refined it until I got a pretty good rough to base my photo on.

2. Gather props!

Or in this case, LOTS of candy! This is definitely the fun part. I wanted something in a pink color scheme, so I picked out lots of candies with pastels. I avoided chocolate since I felt it would stand out from the rest of the bunch and become a distraction.

I made sure I got candies with lots of size variation. The bigger pieces are great for filling in big spaces, and the little ones are perfect for finishing off the edges of the letters.

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3. Lay them all out

Easily the most time consuming part, ha! I keep my sketch off to the side when I start organizing my candy. I first start by separating the big pieces, the long pieces, and the small pieces so they’re easier to locate when I need them. To add a bit more Halloween spirit into the mix, I also used some little bones and spiders from the craft store.

Once they’re organized, I fill in the areas that have lots of space. In this case, the T’s and K were my starting point. I wanted to try something fun with the candy buttons, so I rolled them up and held them in place with some tape.  

After the large areas were finished, I started filling in the spaces with the smaller pieces. I try to find the natural places where something may fit best. For example, the top left of the “R” was a perfect place to put the square piece of licorice. A lot of this process, though, is trial and error to see what works best.

4. Shoot!

Once everything looks pretty good, then it’s time to photograph! I know that it won’t be absolutely perfect at first, but stepping away and looking at it in the camera helps aid what edits to make.

I always use the lights in my studio as opposed to natural light. That’s how I can get those crisp shadows. It also allows me to have complete control over the lighting situation because let’s be real—Ohio isn’t the most ideal place for consistent sunshine. I also use a white bounce card to fill in the shadows of my subjects.

After I touch up some areas that looked a little off, then I capture the final image and get ready for editing.

5. Bring it into Photoshop

I always capture my images in RAW and import them into Adobe Bridge. From there, I can quickly rate them from 1–5 stars and choose the best one. Then, I open up the best image into Camera Raw and play around with the color saturation and luminance to really make them pop.  

I then bring the image into Photoshop. From here, I start fine tuning the image by moving around the individual pieces. Often, there’s a lot of extra space that I can condense by bringing some pieces closer together. This helps form more cohesion within the image. If there’s a lot of extra space, sometimes I duplicate some pieces to help fill in the voids.

Once everything looks fabulous, I crop it down to a square and export it at a web resolution for Instagram!

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Thanks so much for following along on my behind the scenes! I hope you enjoyed it and are inspired to create some fun images of your own!  


Amy is the guest host of our 'Trick or Treat' photo challenge this week (October 29- November 4)

Find out how you can participate here - Creative Challenge Entry Details

You can see more of Amy's beautiful photos on her Instagram account @amyshamblen


How to include fresh flowers in your flatlays and not break the bank!

I don’t know about you but I always feel more at home when I have fresh flowers in the house. Though in my home, flowers don’t stay in the vase for long! I’m always asked about how I can afford to include so many fresh flowers in my flatlays. Well the answer is pretty simple really...I keep them in the fridge to prolong their freshness! I learnt this trick off one of my Instagram idols @HumphreyAndGrace and I haven’t looked back since. I shared it recently on my Insta stories and I was inundated with messages so I thought I would write a quick blog about it and answer some of the common questions.

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Off with their stems...

Yes, I do cut off their stems directly under the flower before I refrigerate them but this simply is a personal preference. I find they sit better in my flatlay without their stems, and this also makes them easier to store in the containers. This is certainly not necessary though. It’s all dependent on how you will eventually use the flowers in your flatlay builds.

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You use what?

In terms of containers, I use my Tupperware containers because I find the little vents are handy for adding some air ventilation if needed but honestly you could use any plastic container really. I don’t think it’s a deal breaker if you prefer to store your vegetables in your Tupperware instead and use the Chinese takeaway containers for the preservation of your flatlay flowers...completely up to you!

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To water or not to water...

I generally don’t add any water. I may give them a little spray if they are looking a bit sad but I have found that the condensation in the container is enough. I have also found that if you add too much water they do start to go mouldy. When I first started I did use moist paper towel on the bottom of the container but I have found that this isn’t worth the extra hassle either.

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The best of the bunch...

Recently I have been using Ranunculus because they are in season here in Australia and they are perhaps my all time favourite flower to flatlay! I’ve found that they don’t last as long as other flowers though, perhaps because of their delicate nature but I can still get a good couple of weeks out of them!

My most successful flowers to have on chill would have to be roses. Obviously it does depend on the freshness of the flowers but if you source the freshest of roses they can last for over 4 weeks. I have thrown some roses away because I simply grew tired of using them in my flatlays!

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So there you have it, a simple way to include flowers in your flatlays without a trip to the flower market every other day!

Happy flower faffing! Marisa xx

@Marisa.Young








Less is more: How to refine and simplify your creative aesthetic for visual clarity

We’ve all heard the saying ‘less is more’ and, although there is no single origin or definition of this phrase that we know of, it is most often interpreted as taking a minimalist approach to design which will inturn maximise the clarity of the output.

While most frequently used in reference to design and architecture, this concept can be applied to all of the creative choices we make. From dressing ourselves on a daily basis, to decorating our home or composing that next snap for Instagram. Each step of the process can be curated and refined to obtain a more simplified and practical result.

Although it sounds like it should be easier to do less, the art of refining our choices can often be more difficult. To help you apply this philosophy to your own creative aesthetic, we are going to discuss a few easy ways that you can incorporate the mantra of ‘less is more’ to different areas of your life.

Embrace simplicity

Many popular design trends are inspired by the tapering back of unnecessary decorative elements to focus on form and functionality. Although creativity doesn’t always need to be functional it can help to think about ways to clarify the message or narrative you are trying to tell. Simplifying the elements of your composition can assist in clearer visual communication and increase the chance of your vision resonating with your audience.

Try not to overthink it and focus on the core message of what you are trying to achieve. Founder of Third Boi apparel Bianca Latorre says that when it comes to designing “it’s often almost more challenging to create something beautiful and original whilst resisting the temptation to over do it.” It helps to take a step back from your creation and question each element - does it help strengthen the story or does it distract from it?

 Keeping it simple at home. Photo by Lisa Lee featuring logo sweat from Third Boi.

Keeping it simple at home. Photo by Lisa Lee featuring logo sweat from Third Boi.

Use a limited colour palette

Experimenting with colour is a beautiful and powerful way to express yourself creatively and a simple way to clarify your vision is to reduce the number of colours you are working with. Although, applying a minimalist mindset when it comes to colour choice doesn’t mean you have to stick to classic monochromes or neutrals.

You can still make bold colour choices and experiment with prints or patterns, as long as you stick within a select range of complimentary shades. Working with a restricted palette can also enable you to focus more on other elements of your composition and make more deliberate choices when it comes to design, shape and hierarchy.

 Using a restricted colour palette doesn’t mean you can’t use bold colour or prints. Photo by Lisa Lee featuring her favourite items from Third Boi.

Using a restricted colour palette doesn’t mean you can’t use bold colour or prints. Photo by Lisa Lee featuring her favourite items from Third Boi.

Curate your collection

Whether you are styling your home or a photograph it is important to know what you want the focal point to be and then minimise the surrounding distractions. Trying to work with too many elements can be overwhelming, so start with just your hero piece and then see what else you need to incorporate to complement it visually.

Taking a simple approach to your home decor or fashion choices can result in a more elegant aesthetic where individual elements are able to be appreciated more. When items are given room to breathe they can be better recognised and celebrated for their unique design and architectural details.

 Reduce clutter to increase your creative clarity. Photo by Lisa Lee

Reduce clutter to increase your creative clarity. Photo by Lisa Lee

For the avid photo stylist it can be hard to part with props that you might want to use one day but clutter can be a creativity killer. The Marie Kondo approach to possessions is if they don’t serve you, they would be much happier to serve someone else. This philosophy is handy for focusing on what you actually need and identifying what is worth keeping on hand. Prioritising only what is truly beautiful or is needed for functional reasons can help simplify daily decision making and leave more time for creativity.

Maximise negative space

Experimenting with negative or white space as it’s often known can be very liberating. We are often tempted to fill up any space we have - whether it be hanging art on walls, decorating coffee tables or the filling the full frame of our camera. Knowing which areas to leave intentionally blank can often take a lot more consideration than simply utilising the entire area at hand.

There are many design theories, such as the rule of thirds or the golden ratio, that explore different ways to use negative space within art and photographic compositions. These methods support the notion that in order to be visually pleasing a composition must strike a harmonious balance between positive and negative space.

Considered use of negative space can also help you draw the eye of your audience directly to the hero or focal point of your space. By leaving the surrounding area intentionally blank or clear you can direct your viewer right to where you want them to look. This simple technique works for many creative applications of design, decoration or styling and results in a more dramatic impact.

Interested to read more on this topic? You might also enjoy our blog post: When less is more, finding freedom and fulfilment by living simply

In Summary

When we focus on doing less we are more deliberate, measured and present. We can prioritise what is most important and ensure quality over quantity. This results in a more fulfilling outcome for many people and there are a growing number of movements that support this ideology from slow living to capsule wardrobes.

Not everyone can find satisfaction in a minimalist lifestyle but when it comes to your creative expression incorporating less obstacles for your audience to visually interpret will enable you to more clearly communicate your point of view. Don’t make them work too hard to appreciate the story you are trying to tell or to admire the beauty of your artwork. Simply put - a more minimal approach can help maximise the effectiveness of your visual narrative.

Top 6 Ways to Creatively Frame Your Photography Subject

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Framing isn't just for finished art work - it is also a clever way to compose your image before you take it. Whether are you are photographing people, places or objects, there are many creative techniques you can to draw your viewers eye right to your subject.

Creative framing can help add drama and impact, set the scene and balance the hierarchy and aesthetics of your image. A frame doesn't have to be a traditional box or hard edge, you can frame your image with organic shapes or any type of line that helps visually direct your composition.

Here are our top creative ways you can frame your photography subject for more impact:

Using kitchen items such as trays, plates and boards

This is one of the easiest and most effective framing techniques you can use in your images. Plates, trays and other types of serving ware make excellent frames for photographing table top or flatlay scenes. Simply by placing the items you wish to photograph inside a larger item and shooting from above you can create an instant framing effect for your image.

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It doesn't have to be just for food or kitchen related photography, other household items like clipboards, books and linens can be used to achieve the same effect. Think about how you can contrast the size, colour and shape of your subject with the background prop you are using to frame it.

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Creating a frame with flowers, food or other objects

Arranging a collection of complementary items to form an edge or arc around your subject is an eye catching way to showcase the hero of your image. This technique is very popular in product styling because it allows you to add context to the item you are styling while adding visually pleasing elements to your image.

 Image from creative campaign for Global Nature Australia, styled and photographed by Shelley J

Image from creative campaign for Global Nature Australia, styled and photographed by Shelley J

Your frame doesn't have to be a square or rectangular shape it can be any arrangement of objects or decorative elements that help showcase the hero of your image.

 Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y 

Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y 

 Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y

Framing two ways using florals by Marisa Y


Using Negative Space

Leaving large areas of your image intentionally blank is a great way to draw your viewers attention right to the focal point of your shot. By adjusting the hierarchy of the elements within your photo you can make even the smallest object stand out. 

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The 'hero' of your shot doesn't have to be the largest element of your image. With clever framing you can create an elegant composition where your subject can still shine without dominating your photo. 

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Working with shapes found at home or in architecture

In your own home windows, doorways, shelving or even baths can make great frames for composing your image. Taking advantage of existing shapes in your house and neighbourhood is a simple and effective way to frame your shot. Look around and see what shapes you can find in the structure of your home and also in your furniture.

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Using buildings and their framework is also a very impactful way to photograph people and places. There are so many amazing architectural shapes out there in the world, look for shapes, contrasting colours and interesting elements of the places you go that you can use to create more drama and highlight the focal point of your photo.

 Creatively Squared founders Ruth and Scott on holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam

Creatively Squared founders Ruth and Scott on holiday in Hoi An, Vietnam


Reflecting your subject using glass or mirrors

You can neatly frame your photography subject within a mirror or reflection. This technique allows you to compactly display a portion or your shot within the existing frame of your reflective object. 

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On a larger scale you could even use the other half of the reflection to complete the frame and completely surround your subject matter. Think about what half a frame might look like and how to continue the effect on a reflective surface.

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Looking through a phone or glass

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Framing your photograph through a looking glass, your phone or viewfinder can put an interesting twist on your image. Some glass items even reflect your image upside-down which can add a surprising and whimsical element to your photo. At home you could experiment with photographing through a fishbowl, vase or wine glass - even your reading glasses could make an intriguing frame for your shot.

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Using an actual frame

Traditional rectangular shapes or picture frames themselves can be used in creative ways to compose a visually interesting images.

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Use an old photo frame or create frame shapes out of tape or other household items. This is a really cheap and effective way to frame your shot and can be used on horizontal and vertical surfaces.

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Alternatively you could arrange boxes or trays to get the same effect as a photo frame, this will create more depth to your image and allow you to consider more angles and orientations for your photo.

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Are you up to the challenge of creatively framing your next image? Join our 'In the Frame' Instagram photo challenge and you could win some great prizes! 

For more creatively framed photo inspiration check out our Pinterest board
 

Interior style tips: How to transform your space using art prints

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How do you style prints in your home? Do you stick to larger pieces that make a statement? Or do you use art to make your space feel tranquil and relaxing? In our home, its all of the above. I have prints that I have selected for their calming qualities and I also have prints that we have chosen for their “wow” factor. Each space in my home is different and as a result, the art we have chosen for that space must be styled differently. The perfect print can transform your space, if styled correctly.


How exactly do you do that?? I would love to give you the perfect answer, but I am still searching for it! What I can give you though, is a few tips and tricks that I have come across to help you to style your prints in different spaces in your home.

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Shelfie

You can spend a huge amount of money on the perfect piece of art for your home but will you like that art piece in 12 months’ time? I am constantly changing over prints in our home, especially on my favourite styling tool – my mantle, because I get sick of seeing the same piece over and over again. For this reason, I don’t buy lots of expensive forever pieces, the majority of my art has been sourced from affordable online print stores. This allows me to change up my art every few weeks to change the look and feel of our home without breaking the bank!

Most of the frames that I use on my shelf are from Adairs. Their gorgeous timber gallery frames
come in a range of sizes in natural or painted finishes. Their frames can be leaned against a wall or attached with permanent hooks or 3m command strips (perfect for renters or those who like to frequently change things up!). The Adairs frames can also be used time and time again without the frame fixtures wearing or breaking. Don’t be afraid to add and layer multiple prints on your shelf. I love to layer 2 – 3 different prints in varying sizes, usually sticking to the same theme.

After I have selected my print, I add my decorative items in varying heights just to the side of the print. Decorative items can include candles (my personal favourite), vases (with or without real or faux flowers), stacked books, greenery, marble décor, jewellery cones etc.
I always try to add an odd number of homewares if they are to be grouped together; my number of choice is usually 3. I like to group my items in a triangle arrangement – the largest item is first at the back, the next in size is placed to the left and moved a little forward and the smallest item is put in the middle of the other two items, but again moved a little forward to create the triangle.

Once you have arranged your items, step back and assess whether you are happy with the way it looks. Does it feel balanced? Are you happy with the colour and tone? Is there enough space between your items? You might need to move things around, swap over décor items until you are happy with the way the space looks and feels.

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Bedroom

We chose a large piece to hang above our bed, but there are no rules about the number of pieces you should use or their location. Framed prints can also be leaned on picture shelves above your bed, hung above bedside tables, or larger pieces can be casually leaned against a wall. If you have multiple pictures on the same wall, they can all be brought together cohesively by using the same colour or style of frame.

Size matters! Bigger is always better. Artwork that is too small can look lost and disconnected in the space. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect piece - bed size, ceiling height, bedhead height, room lighting etc. Your artwork should measure at least half to two-thirds of the bed below. And prints should also be hung at least 15cm above the edge of your bedhead.

Less is more, adding too many pieces in a bedroom can make the room feel cluttered. You don’t need to have art on every single wall in your room. Try and keep a balance between art and bare walls to promote calm and relaxation. No need to overstimulate in a room where the goal is to relax and sleep!

Choose a piece that matches the style and colour theme of your room, including the furniture and bed linen. We had already selected bed linen, cushions and throws to match our winter colour scheme before we purchased the print now above our bed. The grey quilt cover and euro pillows are from my favourite linen brand Aura Home (Vintage Fringe Linen). I added extra charcoal pillows to add depth and some cushions that match the cream and natural coloured throws I have at the end of the bed. I found our print online (The Print Emporium) and I couldn’t believe how perfectly it matched my winter colour pallet! It has completed the space and given it a balanced and cohesive feel.

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Living Room

In our living room we have large statement pieces. They range in size from 50x70cm to 100x140cm. Larger framed prints should be hung at eye level. The mid-point or centre of the framed print should be between 57-60 inches (roughly 152 cm) from the floor. Go for the lower end of the range if your ceilings are low or if your family is on the shorter side (that’s us!). In rooms with higher ceilings, art can be hung a little higher.

I have a plant under each print in this room. I loving adding greenery indoors – I have fiddle leaf figs, rubber leaf plants and a monstera (Adairs have a great range of faux plants if you are a notorious brown thumb!).

My main print in this room sits right next to my entertainment unit so I have styled the space with more homewares and personal photos. Here I have also arranged my decorative items on a tray. When your items are grouped on a tray the space looks less cluttered as your brain is more likely to see it as one element in a space rather then seeing the items individually. It gives a more organised and less cluttered feel.

Ultimately print selection is going to be based on your personal preference. Only buy art that you love. My final top tip would be to stalk your favourite Instagram accounts. Nothing better than seeing how other people have styled art in their own homes.

Scandi-style ideas for a kid's room

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Designing a kid's room from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but it can be so much fun too. Having curated my son's room over the past few years, I thought I could share some of my stories and key tips for a Scandi-style kid's room.

1. Room theme

I know it sounds like a cliché, but kids grow up so quickly... I actually think Harvey may end up taller than his six-foot-three dad! He is growing so quickly, and he sometimes has the attitude of a teenager. I am sure you all know what I am talking about. So make sure you keep that in mind when deciding on a room theme and design - it should continue to evolve over the years as your little one grows. For our Scandi room, we painted all the walls in a cool grey that will never age. We decided on feature wall decals of a classic winter Scandi forest to add a unique element, which can be easily be peeled off when he grows out of them.

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2. Lighting

We are lucky as this room gets plenty of natural light so we’ve included sheer curtains to allow the natural light to filter, and a block out roller blind for sleeping.

As a typical boy, our little man loves dinosaurs. I still laugh when I think about the time I was flicking through Insta, and Harvey was peering over my shoulder. All of a sudden he let out an almighty roar, I nearly spilled my coffee all over my lap! I realised he was looking at a really cool pic of a wooden dinosaur light. So yep... I had to get it for his birthday a couple of weeks later.

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3. Furniture

As difficult as it can be sometimes, you don’t want to fill the room up too much - a cot and nursing chair take up quite a bit of space especially if the room is small. When it was time for the cot and chair to move out, we opted for an extendable bed which will grow with him. It also means he has room to make a lot of mess. So much mess! Actually... maybe we should fill it with more furniture to stop that, now there’s a thought?!

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4. Scandi prints

There are so many cute Scandi themed prints available, at very reasonable prices. I'm always switching prints around as I style his room for photos, it keeps it fresh and changing. I am not sure how much he actually notices or appreciates it, but at least I do. White and wooden frames are definitely my favourites. A question for all you mums out there - last September my husband put up a Richmond Tigers Premiership poster on Harvey’s wardrobe door.... when am I allowed to sneakily rip that down, surely it's time?

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5. Decor & Keepsakes

Lots of beautiful wooden toys have been added to this room, they are all such good quality and will last forever and hopefully be treasured and passed down to the next generation. Our Write to Me baby book is always on display with my favourite memories and photos and often features in my photos, along with many other treasured items.

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6. Storage solutions

In keeping with the Scandi theme we have a beautiful set of wooden drawers jammed packed with, yes you guessed it, lots of white, grey and black clothes (I can get a little Scandi obsessed, I know). A shelf is always a great idea for storing books or for the little trinkets you don't want small hands to touch, lots of keepsake storage boxes or toy boxes can help to hide toys away and our wooden wheelbarrow is great for storing books or blankets.


Kelly is the guest host of our 'Moments That Matter' themed photo challenge this week. Find out how you can participate here - Creative Challenge Entry Details

You can see more of Kelly's beautiful Scandi style on her Instagram account @myscandistyle

Passport packed: How to capture inspiring images on your next travel adventure

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I am usually known for my pastels & foodie shots but wanderlust was once my middle name and it was actually on a 6 month hiatus to Kenya I discovered my passion for photography now the rest is really history. I like to now think of myself as an occasional wanderer and LOVE how the excitement bubbles inside whilst I am scrolling through my feed, archiving dreamy destination shots on Insta, pinning the top 10 foodie must eats, and scrolling through Airbnb likes its the new Vogue living mag. Creating content while you’re on the road is a whole different kettle of fish and I thought I would share with you my top 5 tips to taking amazing shots whilst on the road!

1. Tell a story

I must admit that I do take some props from home on my journey. I love taking a net bag to carry groceries in, a linen tea towel usually in pink, and a couple of my favourite accessories like a monogrammed pouch or a boater hat as they all tie the story back to my own brand. Also, a great way to tell your travel story is to collect up ticket stubs, travel guides, hotel pamphlet, cool little post cards and even cardboard coasters… you can use them to create flatlays on the go and add a personal touch to your images.

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2. It’s ALWAYS about the light

And hotels don’t always have the best light so sometimes you need to get creative! We’ve all ogled those incredible “on the bed” shots with the beautiful big windows and views for miles. Most hotel beds are of course pushed up against a main wall so sometimes we need to relocate the “bed” to the window/view/balcony to make the most of the light! I love to take my room service shots on my “faux bed” by the window. Simply relocate the bed sheets/pillows to a table or the floor near the window, add some texture to the sheets and use the beautiful props you’ve brought from home or collected on your journey to create the scene and tell your story. As the light can be a bit unpredictable on the road I always have my Pentax K-3 DSLR, Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100 and my iPhone 6s (soon to be upgraded) on hand!

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3. Do your research and plan

I love trawling through Instagram, Pinterest and Airbnb before I visit a destination and mark off places I want to photograph. As a freelancer my budget doesn’t always extend to the beautiful hotels I love to photograph BUT the good thing is most hotels have services open to the public and this allows you to get some nice shots without the expense. My best example is my favourite pastel hotel in Cape Town - you can pay $600+ for a room per night or you can enjoy their incredible high tea with dessert buffet, unlimited scones & tea, and you can then wander the beautiful grounds for approx. $35! 

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4. Don’t be fooled

You may have seen the insta famous spot in a street just off Venice Beach, California. I dragged my sister from Weho all the way down to Venice to get the shot of the beautiful bunting that spells Venice and the pastel coloured buildings in the background. On arrival I was quite taken aback to find the building that I had thought was pink was actually a deep tone of burnt orange! My shots needed a good dose of Lightroom to calm the burnt orange down and I put a disclaimer on the image to let people know that the buildings were in fact grey and burnt orange not pastel purple and pink. We are all guilty of a bit of colour tweaking here and there but I do recommend finding some original images of your dream destinations and places you’d like to photograph so you know what the original looks like!

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5. Remember to be spontaneous

 At the end of the day my most loved travel images are my most spontaneous! It can sometimes be easy to get wrapped up in getting the a beautiful shot but remember to enjoy yourself, explore and discover new places you’re travelling to!


Dani is the guest host of our 'Wanderlust' themed photo challenge this week. Find out how you can participate here - Creative Challenge Entry Details

You can see more of Dani's beautiful photos on her Instagram account @danibarrois and her personal portfolio danibarroisdesign.com

My first month working as a Creatively Squared content creator

You might be surprised to find out that I have only just began to officially 'work' for Creatively Squared as one of their content creators. I have been with Creatively Squared from the very beginning. I'm an active member of the community and I have enjoyed hosting challenges from time to time. But recently I have stepped up and tried my hand at content creation and product styling for Creatively Squared. This has allowed me to delay my return back to my day job and pursue my other loves in life, styling and photo making. I say making because if you follow me on Instagram you will know that I, like many others on the gram, love actually creating a photo as opposed to taking a photo. Of course, I do a lot of photo taking too. 

 Styling Ta Ku wine varieties for Accolade Wines

Styling Ta Ku wine varieties for Accolade Wines

Joining the Creatively Squared ranks also allows for a very flexible work arrangement around looking after my wee munchkin, Aylee. As I am a Mother now, I am very much time poor [and I thought I was time poor before Aylee]. I need to be very efficient with what time I do have and allocate that time accordingly. Creatively Squared simply provides me with a brief and mood boards [which they have refined themselves directly with the client] and I simply style to meet those requirements. It really is that easy and it allows me to focus on creating the beautiful content. 

 Getting creative with juice boxes for Golden Circle

Getting creative with juice boxes for Golden Circle

I have learnt so much through my first few jobs with Creatively Squared. The guidance Creatively Squared provides brings the best out of my creative process and has be invaluable in my styling journey. I think these skills are reflecting positively on my own personal style too. The jobs so far have all pushed me to step outside my comfort zone and try different styling aesthetics that I wouldn't otherwise attempt in my world on the gram. I have especially loved venturing to the 'dark side' and styling a little bit moodier than my usual light and bright aesthetic which has really surprised me. 

 Putting my background in architechture and love of interiors into practice styling for Stockland

Putting my background in architechture and love of interiors into practice styling for Stockland

 I've loved creating beautiful imagery for household brands

I've loved creating beautiful imagery for household brands

Lastly, working with Creatively Squared gives me the opportunity to work with big brands which I otherwise wouldn't. I find it very hard to charge anyone for styling and content creation because I love it so much. I am so passionate about doing it and simply want to help others out through it...I find it hard to put a monetary value on this. Creatively Squared takes the awkwardness out of the client negotiations and those financial nitty gritties which again allows me to focus on the creativity. And it's nice to get financially rewarded for all my hard work sometimes. Plus, I see it as an investment back into my own Instagram and ultimately that’s supporting lots of small businesses because let's face it, I'm totally obsessed with buying things for Aylee! 

 It's been great working with businesses of all sizes from big supermarket brands to startups like Cardly

It's been great working with businesses of all sizes from big supermarket brands to startups like Cardly

You can see more of Marisa's beautiful photos on her Instagram account @marisa.young


If you love styling and photography and like would to join the team at Creatively Squared we are always looking for passionate creatives to work with our clients. Apply online today!