Tanika Blair is a young and vibrant Gold Coast based interior, food and product stylist and photographer. Her love of styling and interior design sees her undertake projects ranging from large scale commercial jobs to smaller, boutique spaces.
Tanika recently styled and photographed a shoot for Hackett Home Styling in which our Hycraft Caribbean wool carpet was used.
We caught up with Tanika to get her advice when it comes to styling your home and discover what drives her unmistakable flair and passion for the design industry.
How do you make sure you are buying the right sized furniture for a space?
If you are selecting furniture for a new build, use the plans. Stick to the scale and draw out your furniture pieces on the floor plan - this will give you a good idea of how much room you are going to have in between furniture pieces to move around.
If you are currently in the home you are shopping for, use masking tape (or the like) to measure out and stick down the sizes of your furniture on the floor, then you can step back and get a good idea of how big that piece of furniture will be.
When it comes to flooring for your home, where do you start?
You want to get a good idea of how the whole home, including your furniture is all going to look in the end. The best way to do this is to create a moodboard. Though it can take a little time, you will be so thankful when you are done.
A mood board helps you to get a good idea of what you like and don’t like, and gives you a style and colour palette to stick to when shopping so you don’t end up coming home with different, random pieces that don’t work well with each other. You’ve always got to be thinking about the big picture and using the mood board as your guide.
Once you have created your moodboard, you can get a good idea of the contrasting colour you are going to need on the floor. Being such a large area of the finished space, I’ve even started with the floor colour and then chosen paints, which are available in limitless colours, and furniture to match.
Every home and style is different but I find if you are going to have timber floors but also have timber furniture you want to make sure they are different, so if you have dark furniture go with light floors, or vice versa, so that there is a contrast. Or maybe you just need to pick a different tone, just don’t do them the same as it is really hard to match your timber furniture and timber floor exactly so if you are slightly off it looks wrong.
How do you get the mix right?
I am a big believer of not buying a “furniture package” where every piece is from one particular collection. Truthfully, it’s just really boring. You should love every piece in your home.
The pieces I am most thankful for in my home have taken me over a year of searching for, or a year of looking elsewhere and realising it’s that particular piece I keep going back to that I love. It also brings stories that goes with the furniture, like my entertainment unit from America. I saw it online 12 months before and then - when visiting LA - we walked into a store and there it was... on SALE. There is still an occasional chair I check out online at least every couple of months that I fell in love when living in the UK: one day I will have the perfect spot for it and I will buy it.
Don’t rush it, take your time, browse, shop and browse shop until you find that piece that makes you think “I have to have you”.
What direction do you see interior trends going?
I’m not a big believer in following trends for your home, you should look through history to find inspiration, furniture styles of a certain era for example. It’s always nice to pick up a couple of pieces from trends that pass through while they are there, accessible and if you love them.
I really like gold, like a brassy gold (I really hope that doesn’t lose its touch and get put into the tacky pile because I don’t want to lose it).
Pastels have been huge this year which is nice but it looks like we are going to have more moody, dark, jewel tones for next year and I’m excited to see what furniture and homewares are designed by our local creatives in these darker tones.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of working in interior design?
What I find most challenging and it still throws me, is your home is exactly that … YOURS and it should be decorated the way you like, you should love everything in it and love being in it.
When someone like myself comes in to tell you how to decorate and style your home, it can be hard because my ideas may not be particularly right, and there is no “right” way of decorating.
I’ve found with all of my past clients, we worked together and achieve the best result when we are able to get to know each other, spend time with each other, I ask lots of questions and learn about their lives. Same goes for my photo shoots: the more time I spend with my clients, the more I get to know what they like and what kind of style they really see their products in.
Even if someone tells me they like a particular style, they might like bits of other styles and they just don’t realise it until we get started, and a mix of styles is always better than just one.
Photographer and stylist: Tanika Blair
Homeowner and stylist: Nicky Hackett, Hackett Home Styling
Carpet: Hycraft Caribbean in colour Bahamas
Issie Mae Cushions
Lamps and bedside tables - The Beach Furniture
Issie Mae Cushion
bedside tables - The Beach Furniture
Walter G Textiles (cushions)
Escape to Paradise (cushion)
Bedside tables - The Beach Furniture