Styling A Bookcase

Books are a reflection of your personal interests. They provide a story about you - the choice of genre you choose to relax , entertaining , diets, sport, cars , lifestyle, pregnancy, young toddlers and so much more.
I am an avid collector of coffee table/lifestyle books however one must be mindful that books can add enormous clutter to your home. If they are streamlined then they can create a stylish, warm atmosphere. An inappropriate display looks like a 2nd hand book sale. Paper backed books, cookbooks, and pregnancy/toddlers guides should be in a special cupboard (preferably with no glass)
Hard backed books, single brand of magazine stacks are the ones to display.
Many living in Singapore are in rental properties and are unable to consider built-ins. Simple bookshelves or single modular shelves on the wall are all viable options for display. Make them more interesting by adding mirror to the back panel. Paint the back panel a different colour. It provides an instant update and makes your bookcase look like a custom piece even if it isn't. Another option to provide the same effect is to add wallpaper to the back panel.
If you're a home owner with built ins, ensure bookcase are properly lit either by halogens in the roof of the bookcase or place picture lights on the front pelmet and ensure they have dimmers.
To prevent book displays from becoming busy, stick to 1 -2 colours (including objects) to make them pop. For example group books with black spines and add white objects or flowers. Create some vertical groupings but also have some books laying flat with the bindings/titles showing.
Books of similar heights need to be grouped together. Too often you see random books stuck in or objects that clearly couldn't find a home somewhere else in the house and they destroy the balance of the display.
Art/Picture frame are a must. I am a big fan of hanging artwork in the middle of a bookcase to create a layering effect.
Natural - Add a potted plant, flowers in a ceramic pot (not glass) or something tropical - faux coral or an oversized nautilus shell on the top of stack of books.
  • Nina Beale

Moving House - Before & After

Moving House and transforming the rental property to feel more like home.
Moving house is undoubtedly a stressful event in people’s lives. I recently completed a domestic move to a colonial Black & White house.
Planning is the key. I am one for suffering in the old house with boxes and chaos but when I am in to the new house I want it prepared and ready to go day 1 of sleeping there.
I approached our move a different way – I personally installed kitchenware, clothing, linen, bathrooms and garden plants/pots prior to the main move.
Packers were meanwhile packing whilst this was happening. No point in you being home when they are packing up and gives you a head start on the house
I also achieved the following prior to moving in;
  • Artwork Installation.
  • Electronic & TV Installation.
  • Lighting.
  • and TESTED it was all functioning prior to the move.
The first night in the new home we were pretty much a normal house as the grunt work had been done. Then the following few days were spent arranging the accessories which is the enjoyable part.
The key areas I focused on to personalise the property to our taste involved the following:
Attached are a few before and after photos to help inspire freshening up your home over the summer!
Paint - Look at the difference it makes
Staining furniture to give it a new look
Pots & Planters – great room filler and cost effective
Mirrors – create light in dark areas of the house
Faux plants
Scatter cushions – uplift tired sofas without re-upholstering or purchasing a new sofa
  • Nina Beale

Pop Of Colour

My style has a large emphasis on neutral tones and pieces that are classic so that they can be moved anywhere and last for years. Living in the tropics lends itself to bright colours. Painting walls is one way to transform a living space, but for those renting it is not necessarily an option. Painting a door is a possibility as it is easy to return to the state it was taken over and not so costly.
In using colour, My rule is 80% neutral tones in a room and 20% colour so that the colour doesn't overwhelm the room. I personally tend to avoid brightly painted pieces of wooden furniture (found in many Asian inspired furniture) as then the room is dictated by the colour of the furniture and it tends to date quickly.
Using colour in upholstered fabrics on chairs or ottomans are a great way to add a pop of colour to a room as are ceramic lamp bases, lamp shades and rugs.

However, there are smart ways to add colour with minimal expense;

  • Throw blankets
  • Colour of photographs used in photo frames - blue background with silver frame is an easy addition and enjoyable!
  • coloured photo frames
  • Colour code books in a book shelf or on a coffee table
  • Put up a mirror on a bare wall that reflects on to a painting or outside with greenery. Instant colour.
  • Contrasting neutral tones - black and white, brown and black etc also provide colour to a room
  • Bar area - use different colour bottles/liquids to add colour
  • Use gold accents - vases, boxes to add colour and glamour
  • Flowers
  • Indoor plants
  • Fruit
  • Cushions
  • Ceramic pieces
  • Prints
  • paint the back of a bookcase in a colour of choice
  • reframe prints and change the matt surround
  • Colour code pencils in pen holder on desktop


  • Nina Beale

Top Ideas For The Entrance Hallway

Entrance hallways or foyers are such important spaces in a home - no matter how big or small - They are often the forgotten space as they are decorated for practical purposed or treated as a pass through area. They are particularly important in my mind as it is the first impression people have of you and your home. There is a saying that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". So very true - I always use plants, flowers or topiary potted in planters to help bring the outside in. Table, mirror or chair are a must. Mirror opens up the space and is also practical to do a final check on one's appearance before leaving the home. A hanging pendant light brings a touch of glamour.
In Asia, the tradition of leaving shoes at the front door before you enter also requires storage - add texture via wicker baskets or hampers. Small ottoman to sit on to put your shoes on is another alternative to the chair. Chest of drawers and secretaries in a hallway area a versatile way to hide clutter. It can be used also as a space for an impromptu bar when you have guests over.
  • Nina Beale