5 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL FURNITURE SHOPPING

Re-styling your home can be an exciting time! Perhaps you're buying or building a new home or maybe you're just needing a change from your current look. Whatever your situation the golden rules are still the same and today I'm going to share with you the 5 steps to successful furniture shopping. 

There is nothing that hurts my ears (or eyes!) more than hearing stories of people who have purchased the wrong size, colour or fabric and are then are stuck with those expensive mistakes! Furniture is not cheap, well good furniture isn't and making large purchases like these need to be taken as seriously as a car or house purchase. Your furniture style and selections play a huge role in the quality of life you and your family will have which is why I recommend you actually consult with an interior designer to get this complex process correct!

Now I have to mention, as many don't realise,  when you use a designer to style + purchase your furniture, you will actually get your furniture cheaper than retail prices. The discounts you get on your furniture will often be so great that it covers your design fees and ensures you won't risk losing money on successive shopping mistakes! It really is common sense approach to decorating and it amazes me how many people don't understand that hiring an interior designer will save you money and get you enjoying your dream home for many years to come. If you still don't want to talk to a designer and get a professional looking home, then at least let me give you these 5 steps to successful furniture shopping.

1. Measure your space

Before you even step out your front door or press purchase on your computer, I can't emphasise how important it is to measure measure measure. Yes, please please get the tape measure out! I know it sounds like common sense but I hear so many stories of people going out, purchasing an expensive piece and then realising IT WONT FIT THROUGH THE DOOR!! This is so common and just crazy considering most furniture stores require 20/40% non-refundable deposits on orders. It's like buying a car not knowing if it actually runs or drives.

A few considerations on the importance of measuring!

  • Measure the width/length of the space- Write it down :)!!!

  • Measure your door way/access points/elevators (IMPORTANT)

  • Work out how all the furniture will sit together

  • Do you have the correct space between all your pieces?

  • Will the room flow and function correctly or will you be tripping over things?

  • What proportion of negative space will remain once the sofa is in place? Will it be the correct proportions or will it look too small/too large and unbalanced?

2.Functionality

Often a purchase can be made without taking into consideration all the important factors we need to consider. So when it comes to functionality, is your purchase going to tick all the boxes? Ask your self the following ; 

  • What is the purpose of the piece?

  • What do I need it to do in the space? 

  • How many people will it need to cater to?

  • Is it suitable for the people living in the space, elderly/kids/dogs etc

  • Will it last as long as I need it to?

3.Style 

What is your style, are you clear on your perfect style? This is when a designer is very very handy as we have ways of helping clients find out their true style. Many considerations need to be made, here are just a few:

  • What is your personal taste and style? 

  • When you find a style you like, ask yourself, 'is this a passing trend + will you feel this way in one month, two months or could you change your mind and then dislike your purchase'? = wasted money/time

  • Will the style suit the rest of my family?

  • Will the style suit the rest of my furniture?

  • Is this in keeping with my style or will this add to my homes already confused split personality. :) :

4.Colour

Do you know your colour palette? A colour palette consists of usually 3-4 colours that your whole home is based on. Make sure you have this sorted before any big purchases are made!! This is the number one blunder I see! Sorry guys, but too often the colour is wrong wrong wrong!!!!! All wrong I tell you!! Sorry I got a little emotional there, but I have to say, so many people are getting colour wrong!!! This is because there is actually a science behind creating a colour palette. Designers don't just pull things out of the air and hope for the best (that's what others may do, but NOT designers) We base our colour palettes on a thing called 'chords'and colour wheels. Chords are almost like music chords but instead of being made up of notes, they are made up of colours and tones and this is why if you are serious about getting colour correct, get a designer!!

A few considerations you can use for your next purchase are:

  • Create a colour palette

  • Decide which colour from your palette your new purchase should be.

  • Will the colour of your piece work with your other furniture colours

  • Is the colour choice going to create balance + the complete the colour chord.

  • Is it working well with the actual style you have chosen or is the style + colour choice creating a confused look.

5.Materials

The material you use will either reiterate your chosen style, bringing the space to next level or it could honestly be the end and a complete disaster. Creating a polished seamless space requires pulling together so many factors and possibly the most important is the materials you chose.

  • Is the material working with your chosen style ( black leather + coastal = not happy) Well perhaps a clever designer could make it work, but ensure your thinking about the common materials used in your particular style, not because it is on 'trend' but because materials create a sense of feeling and energy that will further communicate the design style you're trying to achieve. Hard shiny surfaces = cold , wood+ fabric = warmth/inviting/relaxing  etc....

  • Is the material high quality, durable? Will it last and cater to the use of the furniture piece?

  • Is it fake or authentic? Is this important to you?

  • Is it toxic? Faux leather is often full of chemicals and even genuine leather can be tanned using poisonous chemicals. Ask your supplier, if they don't know is it worth the risk?

  • Ask your retailer 'whats the fabric composition and how does this affect durability?' Whats the 'Martindale Test' reveal? This is a rub test that reveals how well the fabric will hold up against abrasion.

Well, those are my 5 steps to successful furniture shopping, I hope you get a lot out of them and perhaps I saved you from a near disaster! My last little bit of advice is to take your time with this, please don't go out for bread and come home with a ridiculous sofa that looks like someone actually enlarged your bread and threw it in your living room, lol. There is so much more to consider than just imagining yourself sprawled out on your sofa and it's important to truely understand that good interior design is not just fluffing cushions!! Interior Designers study for a minimum of two years + so that they can consider all the many many factors needed to correctly design a space. So please if your thinking about re-styling, consider getting a designer! Its a beautiful experience and it will save you so so much time + wasted money. I know many people have some style + many have a clever eye, but here is so much more to really getting this right! This is so important and if you create a beautiful space, your family will thank you for many years! In the mean time, happy shopping!!

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

 

 

HOW TO INCREASE THE ZEN + POSITIVE ENERGY IN A SPACE

Saturday, Saturday:)

Oh I love it! Saturday just has the best feel don't you think! Everyone is in a good mood on a Saturday! There's just so much possibility, whether you're at home with the fam or your loved one, or even if you have to work, Saturdays are the best!! Today, on my favourite day of the week, I thought I would give you the tools to create a quick refresh in your home. So grab a cuppa and have a read and make today's activity, giving your space a little energy facelift!

#selfiesaturday

So let's talk about energy! What do I mean by lift the energy? Well, I'm not talking about increasing your electricity bill, if you're like most of us, you don't need help with that ;). What I actually mean is the energetic vibration that surrounds you, in your space. Think about when you have walked into a space and it just feels wrong! There is a heavy, depressing feeling and you really just want to get out asap! That feeling can happen on a large scale or even just a small scale. Sometimes the energy in a space can become flat and although you may not be able to see a physical reason why, you will just feel horrible and naturally want to get out. When that space is our home, it can be quite depressing! These energies can affect your mood, motivation, happiness levels and just your overall quality of life. Who would think the space you live in could have so much effect over you? Well, it does make sense, as pretty much everything in the universe, including ourselves, our furniture and our home is all on some level, a connected force of energy. Now I say connected and I want to emphasise this part as it really is important to recognise nothing is separate, and everything has an energetic influence + effect. I hope you're getting what I mean by this, I know it's a little e=m2, but this really is science expressed creatively through design. Your home is supposed to rise up to meet you when you come through the door and if your space is smacking you in the face with a wet fish, then it's time to admit you need to sort out your home's soul vibes.

Soul Shapes actually specialises in this area and I offer both online and in person 'Energy Shift' design solutions. So if this is all resonating with you, check out the i design energy shift package or get in touch to organise an onsite consultation or a free info chat.

Now for those of you who just can't wait any longer and need to get your space feeling right asap, then let's get into these beautiful, affordable ways to increase the zen + energy in your space! 

 

Colour

One of the major reasons the energy in a space can feel blaaaa, flat and depressing is a simply the colours used in the space. Now I'm sure most of you would be aware that colours have a psychological affect on us. This really isn't rocket science and you only need to ask yourself how certain colours make you feel to know what colours you should be surrounding yourself with. So for me I love pastel blue, it's calming, it's refreshing and it really is gentle and not too intrusive.  I know I want to have this colour around me and I only recently gave my master bedroom an energy shift with new linen in pastel blue. If I were to have gone, brown or red, I have to tell you those colours would not make me feel calm + refreshed. Brown to me is a sad colour (sorry brown) and I would only use sparingly with lots of other brighter fresher tones that keep the space + energy lifted.  Colours are actually really clever in the way they tell you what they will do by categorising themselves into light + dark tones. So light colours will make you feel literally light, fresh + new! Dark colours will make you feel moody, heavy + little more serious. I'm definitely not saying 'don't use dark colours ever' but you have to factor that if you do go dark, you will need to counter act these darker tones with the correct balance of light to keep it balanced. You could achieve this literally through adding lighter colours in the space or you can actually increase the lighting so that the same balancing principle is achieved. So simply put, check your space is not too much of the heavy tones, get it balanced through adding fresher tones in new cushions, sheers/curtains/blinds rugs or even better paint! To take it next level you might want to consider changing out some heavy darker tone furniture pieces. If this is the case, when you're ready, get in touch and have Soul Shapes create completely new selection of furniture + decor for a fresh + modern look. Clever interior design is what we are about and you would be surprised just how much a professional can transform a space

Saging

Lastly, there is an energy lifting ritual known as 'saging' that has been used for hundreds of years. Saging is often used in spaces that may have residual spirit energy that one may want to remove. You may have heard many do this when they move into a new house to remove any bad vibes or energies either from the previous owners or perhaps from the other side. It really is a great way to at least make a concentrated effort to lift the space. A sage stick is a super large, chunky type of incense stick made from the herb sage (hence the name). Sage, when burnt has a very strong smell and has  protective qualities +  the ability to move on and dissipate unwanted heavy energies. You can find them online or possibly whilst purchasing your crystals. Then perform this ancient energy lifting ritual by opening all the windows and with the lit sage, gently feather the smoke around all corners of your home. Be sure to go into dark little corners and really flurry the smoke into any damp, dark areas. Then, when done close your windows leaving only your own positive vibes in your space!

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Aromatherapy

Do you ever smell a certain perfume and your instantly transformed back to a time or memory and the feeling is so strong that you almost feel like your back in that exact moment? This happens to me all the time and I find it so interesting. Especially if it's a memory from years and years ago, it's like another part of myself returns for that brief second. Well, this is just one quick thought that comes to mind when I think of the power of smell on the psych. There really is something magical about the effects of scent + I'm sure you will agree, whether it's the smell of yummy food or a beautiful perfume, scent, is super influential on how a space feels. 

Plants + Flowers

 

Visually plants + flowers obviously look amazing and aesthetically they are a beautiful design focal point. Did you know that bringing plants into your space actually improves the air quality? Go grab a big fat beautiful plant or bunch of flowers and pop some next your bed, in your living room, bathroom, kitchen, everywhere!!! Go crazy and watch your mood lift and bloom like your gorgeous flowers! I know this is a popular trend and so many of you design savy peeps are all over this, but isn't it good to know that they do more than just look pretty!

Himalayan Salt lamps

Himalayan Salt Lamps are so hot right now and another one of my favourite ways to lift the energy in a space. These beautiful lamps are able to purify and clean the air in a space by absorbing water in the air + trapping dust, pollen + pollutants. Not only can they cleanse the air and improve breathing capabilities but they remove odours too! Now my favourite thing that salt lamps do is they literally increase our energy levels! Yes, you heard right and don't we need it! Salt lamps are said to combat the positive ions that exist in our air. These positive ions really should be called negative ions ;) as they reduce the flow of blood around the body which drains our energy. But in actual fact, it is the beautiful salt lamp that produces the negative ions that are so super beneficial, and they also help neutralise the electromagnetic radiation produced by household appliances. Electromagnetics are known to cause fatigue and interfere with our natural healthy rhythms and cycles affecting sleep and concentration. There is so much exciting information available on the benefits of salt lamps, for more info head to http://negativeionizers.net/negative-ions-benefits/ .

Crystals

Crystals are energy expressed as matter, just like everything, however, crystals are said to be concentrated forms of powerful energy that are known for their healing and energy shifting properties. For hundreds of years, humans have used crystals in their homes and they are said to improve health through their ability to emanate into a space and our own auras. These beautiful naturally occurring stones come in so many shapes + colours and they have so many specific healing properties. Choosing a crystal to place in your home can be as simple as asking to be led to the right crystal. Literally you need to ask "show me the right crystal" . Find a local market or spiritual store and let your intuition guide you to a stone or collection of stones for your home. Place them in your pot plants, next to your bed (depending on the stone), research your stones properties and follow the guidelines of working with that stone. The main thing to remember is that the relationship between you and your stones is very intuitive and you need to trust your gut instincts when picking them You can still purposefully choose a stone that perhaps has energy enhancing properties and many have the specific purpose of removing negative energy which would be perfect for a little energy facelift.  

Well, thats it from me today, Im off to the Decor + Design fair in Melbourne.

Enjoy your weekend and if you have any other energy lifting ideas you want to share with the rest of the the 'Soul Circle Tribe' please do below! 

don't forget to take time to connect.

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

Reference - http://negativeionizers.net/negative-ions-benefits/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO DIY A BUDGET KITCHEN FACELIFT IN A WEEKEND

Hey there all you savvy home owners. It's time to roll your sleeves up on today's 'Selfie Saturday'

#selfiesaturday

Today I'm sharing how to DIY a budget kitchen facelift in a weekend! As you can see the before and after is quite dramatic (CHECK OUT MY LITTLE BEFORE + AFTER VIDEO ABOVE)  and you might be shocked to know that hubby and I did all of this for around $200, over two days! Now bare in mind there is further you could go with this facelift and I will be adding in lights, new handles + new appliances soon etc. but for now this our little diamond in the rough.

I also just wanted to quickly touch on a few considerations before you go deciding whether to try this on your own kitchen.

We chose to do this as with all our other renos, we needed to keep the budget down and until we are ready to invest in a new kitchen, this was the best option to keep me happy whilst I wait.

 

Choosing your Colours

So, first thing first. What colour are you going to chose?

If you're in a position to get a new kitchen, then you may decide that DIY is just not going to cut it for the long term. This project came out amazing but there are a lot more upgrades I would really like to make and if the budget permits, I advise speaking to a designer about getting a full kitchen renovation. But for those of you who are on a tight budget, and just can't handle looking at your kitchen anymore, then let's go!! 

 

Choosing your Colours

Look at your bench tops, are they ok? Do they need painting? You can get laminate paint which is so so amazing from any hardware store. Speak to your store rep and they will guide you to the different laminate paints available and also advise you on application.

If like me your bench tops are an ok colour, look at what colours are in your bench top and then perhaps when you are at your paint store, grab some similar samples of your bench top tones and then compare them with what ever colours you might be considering for your cupboards. I was lucky I have grey tones in my bench top and I knew that white would go great. If you are deciding to paint your bench tops, then take the same approach in pairing up your colour swatches and see what works.

What about your tiles? Do they work with your chosen colours?? Make sure you pair up all colours ,tiles, bechtops, doors. Does it work? No, then maybe you need to consider painting your tiles too. we painted ours in white and it is simple and really affordable! You may want to get creative here, if your budget permits, you could get two or three tile paint colours and play around with some fun designs. Since doing our kitchen, I have now decided Im going to get some pastels and paint some geometric shapes scattered in the tiles.

Think about the light in the space too. If your kitchen is dark, without much light, I would stay away from dark colours. Also if your kitchen is small, going light is a super clever way to make it look much larger than it actually is. I also considered the colours around the kitchen because obviously this will affect the overall look of your kitchen. With all the beautiful plants and trees outside my kitchen window, I decided to get a very slight mint tint in my white and together the view and cabinetry work perfectly together.

Choosing the right paint!

WOODEN KITCHENS

Water based or oil? 

Typically people tend to think that oil based paint is the most durable and is the best choice for cabinetry. Well, oil is very durable, yes! The good news is that you can get some great, very durable water based paints that are highly recommended for wooden cabinetry.

We used a water based paint and it is holding up beautifully. I can spray it with cleaners, I can wipe it, and it does not stain, chip or peel.

Water based is so much easier to work with and most importantly it will not stink your whole house out making it the perfect option for a quick weekend makeover. The only recommendation is that for the first 4 weeks, try to be extra careful with paint work at it does take a few eeks to really cure and lock in a nice tight finish.

Oil paint, of course will give you an excellent durable finish, but it can get a little thick and fiddly with those detailed areas and as I mentioned really smelly. You also need quality brushes which can push the budget up. If you're not sure, speak to your local paint expert or hardware store sales person and get them to explain the pros and cons so you can really make a good decision that you are happy with.

LAMINATE KITCHENS

This is easy, you will use laminate paint which can also be used on bench tops! Simply grab your laminate paint and have it tinted to your chosen colour/s. 

 

OK, READY TO DIY ? LET"S DO IT!.......................

 

STEP 1. TRICLEANIUM ULTRA CONCENTRATE WASH -

Wash all your doors, benches + tiles (if painting) with this degreasing soap. It's really easy to do. Just mix with warm water as per instructions, and simply wipe over all your doors. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe with clean water to remove all the grease build up.

STEP 2. PRIME + SAND

Depending on whether you have wooden or laminate doors, you will have to either sand + prime for wooden or just prime for laminate.

We have wooden doors, so after step 1 we gave all the doors a light sand. Just a little rough up, nothing too full on or time-consuming.

We then used Taubmans 3 in 1 Interior & Exterior Primer which is perfect for wooden surfaces and preparing to paint with water based paint.      

NOTE- LAMINATE REQUIRES LAMINATE PRIMER- If you're painting over laminate you will need to simply clean and then paint with laminate primer. Ask your hardware store for a recommendation.

STEP 3. PAINT

Now it's time to get in and paint your cabinetry. We used Dulux Aquanamel which is , as I mentioned, a very durable water based finish. Do two- three, thin coats, ensuring you let each coat dry as per the tins recommended dry times. I used a paint brush + a roller alternating between the two. The brush was great to start off, and then I would finish with a light roll to get a nice even finish.

Now as I mentioned, be careful not to knock your doors for the next 4 weeks. Really give the surfaces time to cure so your finish will last as long as you need!

WHAT ABOUT MY UGLY TILES??

Ok so if you do decide you're going to do your tiles, it really is as simples as preparing with a the grip lock primer (pictured) and then roll on (or spray) two coats of tile paint.  My lovely bunnings lady told me that the Taubmans oil based enamel is exactly the same as the much more expensive tile paint. It was half the price and the finish, even with a roller, is beautiful!

The primer drys very quick and it is a little awkward to work with but dont be too fussed, just get it on. Once your primer is dry, (it is really quick drying) then simply cut in around the tiles in the same way you would paint a wall. Then use a small roller to get a perfect, even finsh.

Tile paint is so good and it's very difficult for the untrained eye to tell when tiles have been painted. The finish is durable, easy to clean and the quickest, most affordable trick in DIY.

MY UGLY BENCH??

So if you do decide to do your bench top too, You will need to get laminate primer + laminate paint. Now I am yet to work with this paint, so I can only give this basic advice. Ask your hardware store for tips or check out bunnings DIY video tutorials. I know they have one on laminate DIY makeovers. I have been thinking about whether I want to make over my kitchen again ( i know crazy lady) and I was thinking I might do the bench top this time. Or I just wait till we build our extension and rip it the whole thing out. I love DIY and when I get a good idea I can't handle not seeing what it will look like. Anyway don't be surprised if you see another version of my kitchen soon, but shoosh don't tell hubby ;)

THATS IT!

DONE.

TOO EASY!!

Well thats it from me today. I hope you get something out of this little DIY. Remember if your kitchen is already perfect and not in need of a facelift, you could still apply any of these DIY applications to other cabinetry or furniture that might need a revamp!.

Enjoy your weekend!

don't forget to take time to connect

 

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

5 WAYS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH WINTER AT HOME

Hey guys!

Thanks for stopping by for your weekly 'Selfie Saturday' sesh.

For those of you who may be new, 'Selfie Saturday' is a weekly sesh on ways to improve your life from the inside out. I'll be delving into the many ways to design your life, from interior design for the soul to increasing your connection to source + yourself!  With our busy lives it's sometimes hard to find the time to take stock + check in on our self. I want this blog to be your 5 mins every Saturday where you can reflect and perhaps tweak things up a little. 

It's all about you , so take a break, enjoy, it's Saturday! 

 #selfiesaturday

Well winter in Australia is truely here!  Especially for those like myself living in one of the colder cities, Melbourne!

For many, winter can be a gloomy time of year. You get stuck indoors a little more, you walk outside and start hugging youerself like a crazy person in a straight jacket, just to stay warm. All the annoying things that you totally would'nt have to do if the sun would just come out!

They say the grass is always greener and if your spending all your days dreaming of a tropical island where the sun is beaming, then today I want you to realise that the grass is pretty green right here, smack bang in the middle of winter! 

It's taken me basically my whole life to realise that as much as I love a hot sunny day, going to the beach and crusing with my roof off, I am 100% a winter girl! After spending 5 years in Perth WA, (A very hot hot city, similar to LA) I came to realise how stressful I felt from constant constant hot weather. At first I was like, "yes this is amazing, enjoy your rainy days all you other suckers in the cold states, I'm living it up in my endless summer!" But as the the years passed, I slowly noticed that there really was no relief and having the sun glaring everyday was kind of boring, predicatble and actually just too much of a good thing! I came to realise how much I was missing the seasons and all the juicy stuff that only a season can provide.

So let me to tell you the 5 things that I do at home that make me fall in love with winter.  Hopefully I can inspire you to go indulge in one of these perfect winter activites and get you appreciating that there is a time for everything + the variety + balance proper seasons bring to our life is so soothing to the soul. It's all about embracing life, so lets stop the winter winge and embrace the moment!

 

Sititing by the fire

OMG (WARNING I say this a lot) OMG, OMG I love love sitting by the fire. There is something so soothing about cosying up under a big chunky knit and staring into the flames. Whether it's with your BFF's or your honey, it's really just such a great way to get connected with yourself and those around you. I guess it comes back to the idea of sitting around the camp fire. It brings about a sense of contemplation, almost hypnotising and so so soothing to the soul. I feel like it's a big warm hug from mother nature and she's saying "It's all good girlfriend, I got you, just keep sipping on that red wine, everything is all good!"  :)

 You don't have a fire at home? Thats totally fine because my next fav thing to do is go to a gorgeous restaurant and drink a hot chocolate by the fire! So if your feeling these hot firey vibes and your bummed because you don't have a fire, get googling stat and go book in for a cosy lunch somewhere.

Winter Decor

Some of the ways to embrace winter around the home can also be through your decore! Have you seen the gorgeous chunky knit's available these days? They really are to die for and would make the most lush addition to your bedroom or living room + are a must have to embrace winter. You could also change your bedlinen, cushions or artwork up and embrace some winter tones and styles. Obviously it might not be in the budget to spend too much on seasonal purchases but any investment you make can go into rotation and then you could sell them for some cash to buy some summer pieces later in the year. Candles are great through winter, again it's about that connection with the elements and the soothing energy that a flame brings to a space. My last winter must have, which is actually and all year must have, is bringing in flowers and plants. This really is an all season must have, but I think it's especially important through winter. One of the main reasons we get down through winter is not being able to go outdoors and get our nature fix. Connecting with nature has been proven to increase our happiness so it's important to bring those endorphin providing elements indoors as much as possible. Plants and flowers are also visually up lifting and there is actual research that shows our sense of calm and happiness is increased just by having a plant in our line of sight! Cool hey!! So go grab some beautiful flowers from the garden or a market and cheer up you and your space!

Cooking 

Winter is the perfect season to bring out your Betty Crocker! I mean who wants to stand around a hot hoven in summer? No one!!! Thats why summer is great for eating out or BB'Qs but it is not great for all the delicous meals that require hanging by the stove.

Some of my favourite winter dishes are yummy full flavoured curries! My husband Jai makes the best best curry ever, I seriously am obsessed with his curry! So when winter comes it's out with the french oven and in with spicey flavour bomb meals! 

My other favourtie is of course pumpkin soup!  I make a really delish pumpkin soup that I top with dill, sour cream, salt + pepper! I love smelling it simmer on the stove  on a winters day & I always serve with a crunchy bread.

Now for something sweet, my banana cake! Of course you can bake cakes in summer too, but is it as nice as eating it in winter? No, it's just not as nice! When you serve up some warm cake, with melted butter and nice hot cup your favourite vice, some kind of magic happens that you can never get in summer. Trust me, I have tested this theory, being the cake freak that I am, I tried to enjoy cake in summer and yes it is always yummy, I mean it's cake! But the experience is not as warming and soothing as it is on a cosey winters day. 

Reading

Picture it..... It's Saturday, your sitting in a gorgeous reading nook, reading your favourite blog ;) You hear the rain on the roof and you can see the trees blowing in the wind through your window. Cosy overload!! Again this can be embraced through summer, in a hammock under a tree, ok I'm feeling that could be winning me over, but I still think winter provides the best atmosphere to really get engrossed in a good book. I mean in winter, your stuck in side, your mind is not wondering whether you should jump back into the pool like it would in summer. It's not distracted with too many other options so theres a good chance you could really get completely taken away into some amazing other world. One of my favourite reads of late is Gabby Bernsteins "The Universe Hads your Back" and I have aslo just finished reading " In the Company of Women" by Design Sponges' Grace Bonney. I'm more into reading about people who inspire me more than fiction, but I'm open to any suggestions if you have some you would like to share hit me up  in the comments below.

Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in affecting our mood and a great way to warm up a space and bring an injection of cosy is through lamps and lighting. If you have dimmers, then you will instantly know what I mean. As soon as you turn down the wattage in your lighting a sense of calm instantly comes over you. This is also another reason I feel too much sunlight can be stressful. Having excessive, glare + bright light as been known to cause headaches and actual emotional stress. So what's an easy way to embrace this idea and warm up in winter?  Bring in more lamps! Add a few around the living room or by the sofa or reading chair, make sure you have them in your bedroom, by your bed or dresser. I have one in my kitchen which instantly makes cooking in my kitchen more enjoyable. Experiment with this and see just how much you can change things up to make winter time feel like a cosy treat rather than a boring burden.  One important thing to note, use warm white globes, not cool. Cool white will make you feel like your in a hospital. It can feel cold + clinical and the idea of bringing in lamps is really to make you feel all warm and relaxed during this time of year. 

Well that's it from me guys,  I hope I  got you feeling a little more into winter!

Enjoy your weekend and remember there really is'nt too much of winter left so make hay whilst the sun don't shine ;) 

Don't forget to take time to connect!

 

Peace Out xx

 

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

What's 'SOUL' got to do.... got to do with it? !!

#Selfie Saturday

Morning, afternoon or evening fellow soulies! Happy weekend + thanks for stopping by to Selfie Saturday!

Today I want to talk about Soul Shapes + exactly what my business + brand is all about. Ok let's get really clear on exactly what I mean by 'SOUL SHAPES' & most importantly, when it comes to interior design, what's soul got to do with it?

Soul

Wow this is a big topic! Firstly I want to clarify a question you may be wondering,  "is the 'SOUL' in  SOUL SHAPES a religous thing? So this is a bit of a grey answer and out of respect for everyone's individual beliefs, I have to say both Yes + No.  

Truely the meaning of SOUL in 'Soul Shapes' is completely up to you. It is yours to do with as you like!  After all it's your Soul not mine :)

Confused ? Ok Let me explain.

The word SOUL (I sometimes refer to as Source) can mean many things to everyone + obviously it depends on your own personal beliefs. If you are religous and following the teachings or beliefs that incorporate a belief about your soul then for you, the SOUL in 'Soul Shapes' could most definitely have a religous meaning in your life. If thats you, thats great. I'm not about preaching to anyone what they should or should'nt  believe in and I respect that we all have to do what is right for us. If your not religious, then perhaps you could apply the word 'SOUL' as just who you are on the inside.

I do however want to share a little about my own perception + what the word Soul in my business name means to me.

I see the SOUL as (wow getting deep now ) the core essence of our being, consisting of an energy system that is eternal + ever connected to all things in the universe. In short, I  view my soul indepedently from a particular religion and more as a natural occurrence, a universal energy form that does'nt require praying to a specific god or the need to follow one specific set of rules in order to embrace + enhance my experience as a spiritual entity.  I must admit, that although I personally don't partiularly worship a specific religon/god/goddess, I do appreciate and follow many of the principles + beliefs of certain religions. There are some religious beliefs that resonate with me + some that don't. I am always learning and what I feel today could easily change tomorrow, but for the most part I have been pretty consistent in my current beliefs for many many years.

What I do believe in, with out and shadow of a doubt, is my free will to chose my own path and what works for me. This is also what I believe for others too! I also believe that through practicing a healthy lifestyle that includes clean eating, meditation, yoga + affirmation rituals, I can elevate my happiness and connection to my soul.

What ever your belief system on this, I want to emphasise that you are welcome to embrace the word 'SOUL' how ever you see fit. 

Again I'm really all about free will and what ever works for you and your soul :)

Shapes

Ultimately, when you break interior design down into forms, it really is just a combination of many varying shapes, cleverly placed to create feeling, instigate action, aid fuctionality  + of course, add visual appeal. Over the past few years I have played around with the idea of how an energetic field is created through every interaction we have with our external world + how our external world plays a huge part on how our inner world is shaped. It is all very interconnected and neither are seperate from one another. This then lead me to consider how the components of a space all combine to create a feeling and evoke an action.   I wondered as an Interior Designer if I could play with shape + form in a way to create clever interior design solutions to help us enhance our soul connection and levels of peace + happiness.

 It makes sense when you think about the fact that a successful interior always considers how the design increases functionality. Why should we only consider extrinsic functionality? Yay extrinsic I mean the typical things like bench height, how the draw opens and closes etc., all very relevant and important. But why stop there? What about the intrinsic functional needs of the user? This is where Soul Shapes really is changing the perception of how to design and we are really aiming to lead the scope into a new + exciting design shift. 

Through this new approach to functionality, I have developed a collection of kitchen designs that are tailored to encourage clean eating for the soul, raw + dry ingredient storage and also the inclusion of indoor edible gardens. I offer home temple designs, where I convert spare rooms into duel purpose spaces -bedroom/meditation studio. I also design commercial yoga + meditation studios along with all standard practice, typical interior design solutions.  My approach to styling is contemporary, with a focus on creating 'Spaces with Soul'. 

 

 

 

It’s about tailoring design solutions to encourage healthy lifestyles + habits that ultimately increase our connection to source,  our happiness + quality of life. 

 

Why do I want to connect with my soul?

The next thing I want to talk about is, why would I even want to bother wasting time connecting with my soul? Many think, what a waste of time and simply zone out as soon as any one starts talking about these topics. If that is you, please, please for me, just this once, don't zone out and hear my story. Around 18 years ago, I had what some call an awakening, enlightenment , what ever the correct term is, I discovered a way to increase my awareness + energy levels so much that I felt absolutely amazing!  During that time I began meditating everyday and received an abundance of happy energy radiate through out my body + soul. I lost a heap of weight, I developed razor sharp concentration, focus + problem solving abilities. I lost all my fears (most :) ), became super confident and developed an overwhelming sense of peace in my life. It was also the first time I really understood that I am a spiritual being. Before then I also just viewed myself in the physical sense, just a body with a brain and of course a heart, but all of a sudden, I was like wow I have an eternal soul! Discovering that with in me was a powerful powerful source of energy that through meditation I could connect with, elevated my consciousness to the point where I began to feel as if anything was possible and that there where no limits to what I could achieve in my life. Look it really is a tricky thing to truely explain but if you have had this awakening yourself I know you will get what I mean. For those of you who perhaps are still like " what is she on about!" I need you to understand that I changed from a fragile confused girl, to a strong, healthy energetic girl who removed all the fear beliefs that had previously stopped me from embracing life. It was so life changing and I almost felt like a completely different person! Actually, in many ways I was a different person + it was all through connecting with my true core, soul/ source ( what ever you want to call it) I had deep realisations about myself + life that I never would have otherwise had.

Now the changes that happened in me where so so epically amazing and life changing, that it was then I naturally became dedicated to wanting to share + help others have the same transformation I did. I also decided I would spend the rest of my life researching + seeking new + powerful ways to increase my connection to source/soul merely for the simple fact that when my soul connection is strong + present, I am absolutely free, happy, peaceful + full of life energy.  As you could imagine, 18 years ago talking about spirituality, meditation + soul connection was no where near as main stream as it is today. Back when I first experienced spirituality I would share with my friends + family about my amazing spiritual discoveries and how if they would just take time to connect that they could feel amazing like me too! What I got of course was a lot of eye rolls, laughing, making fun of Mel the hippy hahahaa. Look I can laugh about it and I did back then too. But what I will say to the doubters is that this stuff works in a way that until you really really try it you will never understand and if all your going to do is laugh, then I say to you my friend, that in the end I will have the last laugh ;) 

 

 

 

Have a beautiful weekend and thanks again for stopping by!

Don't forget to take time to connect!! 

 

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

OUR NEW BOHO CHIC WIDE PLANK FLOORS + ALL THE DIY DEETS!
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Yes! Floors are done!

#SelfieSaturday 

Hello I hope your week was a good one! Did you achieve anything special or was it just one of those weeks that flew by with nothing much happening? I dislike those weeks, it feels as if you have gotten no where but then again life happens in needle point movements, so we are always making progress whether we see it or not.

Mine was fairly good, was glad to be well + I said goodbye to that horrible flu! Everything was a little chaotic,  as by night I was painting floors and by day I was juggling my time between work  + keeping my 1 year old from staining the pre sealed floors. It was kind of crazy town but as you can see it was well worth the effort. I get in those moods where I'm like "I'm doing it + nothing's stopping me" . I was so sick of looking at the old honey coloured wood floors, although they can look gorgeous in the right space, they just where not working with the rest of the tones in our house. Warm wood floors can be the perfect flooring for large style homes but given we are renovating a smaller cottage style I wanted flooring that would create an illusion of space.

The light tones used now blend in with the colour of the walls, removing from the eye where the floor ends + the walls start. The previous colour of the floor really just highlighted the floor perimeter + made the space look smaller. Now, your eyes float around without any disruptive colour changes. The idea of using stripes comes back to the old fashion rule of thumb "horizontal stripes make you look wider" a fashion no no but an interior yes yes! 😀 . It's so amazing how big the space looks now and I have to say I think this has been one of my fav design tricks in this property.

The idea to use stripes was not just to create an illusion of width in the room, but I also am pretty obsessed with wide plank flooring + knew I could create the look by painting two planks in alternate tones. It's worked just lovely, Im really in love with the results and the space just feels so calming + has more of a high end finish for very little $$$. 

So there was a lot that went into choosing the right design but once finalised, I was a lady on a mission!! Big thanks to my hubby Jai + daughter Lexi who helped create these beautiful 'Hamptons meets Boho', striped floors. Oh + of course thanks to Saxon our 1 year old quality control manager for racing around his big toy truck + testing the durability! 

 

Mels House
The idea of using stripes comes back to the old fashion rule of thumb “horizontal stripes make you look wider” a fashion no no, but an interior yes yes!
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Get the look! 

Prepping the floors 

Most of our floors where stained with a honey maple colour. The great thing about deciding to paint over pre stained floors with an opaque finish meant we didn't have to sand back all the way to bare wood. A light sand just to rough up the surface is all you need to do to get a nice locked in finish. So if you do have wood floors and your thinking about which way to go, remember it is a huge huge amount of work to sand back to bare + depending on the wood your working with, it may just not be worth it. Don't get me wrong of course I love the look of wood and the warmth a nice grain can bring to a space but I guess it depends on the floor plan + size of the space, whether your starting fresh with completely new flooring or working with old boards. For us after going through all the possible outcomes, pros + cons of each look, this was the best decision for our space, time available + budget!

What paint did I use ? 

So I went with an outdoor decking paint by Cabots. We chose SURF MIST + PALE BIANCA, a very slight contrast in the colours and the reasoning was to create calm rather than chaos. If you have a strong contrast between your two tones then you will be creating drama, aka in my mind chaos. Ok let me clear this up before I get messages about loving a strong bold stripe! Haaaaha ok  a strong contrast like black + white or perhaps a darker grey could both look amazing too ( obviously theres heaps of colour palettes you could play with). The question is, do you want to feel calm in your home or do you want a very energised, bold + dramatic space. If I were doing a commercial space or perhaps a walk in wardrobe I may be tempted to play around with a more bold contrast. But my home is where I want to feel at peace. The low contrast creates such a lovely calm that images just don't show. As I look around the space I feel soothed, relaxed + it's a really beautiful experience to feel how changing just one element in a space can have such a huge effect on the soul.

Now back to the specs, so as I said I used Cabots which is an outdoor decking paint. Now an outdoor paint is not always the most durable despite what one may think. The pores in an outdoor decking paint are designed to stay open a little to allow for the fluctuating temperatures that we get in the elements. So why did I use a decking paint if it's not the most durable? Well our house is a split level, in the mountains. We are raised on poles which creates a vacuum of wind that flows under our house. Inside however we are either toasting by the fire in winter or cooling by the air conditioner in Summer. For me I felt that I wanted a little flexibility in the paint lock as we really are exposed to some shifting temperatures changes both under + above the boards. If your not in conditions like ours, you may want to check out the Watsons' Interior Floor Paint.

We then chose the the Cabots top coat sealer to finish off. The top coat was the most expensive purchase but still great value at $114 per 4 ltd tin. It gives a water proof finish. We chose the matt finish which has given just a slight sheen, enough to lock everything in place with a little lift of tone. You can get the sealer in high + semi gloss too.

 Surf Mist + Pale Bianca

 

$60                                                                                                   Keep it low contrast for calm!  High contrast for drama!

 

 

 

 

 

Adding colour #1

Once you have prepped your floor, roll your first colour over two planks and then leave two planks and so on. You don't need to tape off at this point. Just do 2-3 good coats and try to stay as close to your two board edge as possible. Don't forget to cut in at the end of each row!

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Taping off your design

 

Once you have done 2-3 coats of your first colour, let it dry for 24-48 hours. The longer the better!! Then it's time to tape off for your next colour. Now the RIGHT TAPE IS SO IMPORTANT! DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS. The best tape to get is quite pricey around $11 per roll from bunnings. However I can't stress how important it is to use the right tape, believe me I tried others and they all peeled off my beautiful paint and hubby + I had to fix all the patches by hand. So the best, most amazing tape to use is  3M™ScotchBlue™ 24mmx55m Delicate Painters Tape

The trick to a nice tape off is just to simply start at one end taping on the top edge of the planks already painted. The tape is really easy to work with and you don't have to be too precious at this point. Just make sure it looks nice + straight to your eye and that you are following the line of the plank.

 

 

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 3M™ScotchBlue™ 24mmx55m Delicate Painters Tape

$11.00

Adding Colour # 2

This is the fun part + where you will really get to see what your new floors are going to look like! So roll 2-3 LIGHT coats. Its better to have 3 light coats than 2 heavy, messy coats that will most likely bleed under your tape. Once you have rolled in between your tape, ensuring you have good clean lines up to your tape, wait 30 mins and then stepping only on colour #1 go on in and start to gently peel tape off. I do this quite soonish as the longer you leave the tape, the more like you are to get paint peels. Now unfortunately, even with the amazing blue tape, you will still get a few peels. Don't PANIC, lol. I did ;) But it was super easy to just fix them up, by hand, with a gentle feather and a downward line stroke. We had a few peels using the green tape (pictured), I then moved to the blue tape which really in comparison was amazing and only had a few peels.

CFP FLOOR SEAL

$114.00 

Finish off  

Let your second colour dry for 24- 48 hours. Then it's as simple as rolling on 1-2 coates of the CFP sealer pictured below!  I used the matt, it is so perfect and I really wouldn't want to go a semi or a full gloss. I think floors with a high sheen create too much reflection, shine and glare which doesn't look great and effects the visibility of your pattern. Just think of all your lights reflecting off gloss, not good!!

 

Your Done!! 

So thats it guys, it's a little fiddly but so worth it!  Our floors coast only $230 and I'm so in love with them! If you have any further questions on application etc, please feel free to ask away below.

Have a gorgeous weekend, take some time out for yourself.

Remember no one is going to look after you but you!!

 

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

DIY - Paint Your Wood Floors! Budget Makeover #SelfieSaturday

Selfie Saturday

Hey guys, wow Saturday again! I swear every week goes quicker + quicker! Although in all honesty I have been super sick with the flu this week so my head isn't sure what day it is!  Anyway just thought I'd share a little DIY project with you all today. 

So we have bought a cute little mountain house that we are fixing up. I have been going through a heap of design ideas for the floors and after weighing it all up, we decided on some gorgeous thick, low contrast stripes.  So the colours we chose are Surf Mist + Pale Bianca from 'Cabots Decking+ Exterior range. 

I just thought I'd share my thought process in deciding which way to go with these floors  + perhaps you can apply the same process to your own project if or when you do your own wood floors.  

I'm was very helpful! #selfiesaturday

I'm was very helpful! #selfiesaturday

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What was on the table + why I went yay or nay

White wash floors- I love this look but with an already white kitchen I decided it would be a little too white on white and I really wanted to make sure we had something with a bit more warmth. 

Grey wash floors-  This could have looked amaze but it would have required a full sand back and for the amount of work I just didn't feel the end result would be worth the effort required. So yes it could have been a winner, but I knew there would be another more practical, cost + time efficient idea. So I kept refining the ideas!

White with a small warm wood chevron pattern- this would look amazing and I was so so close to going with this. The colour balance would be perfect. A nice punch of organic warmth with the wood floor exposed as a thin chevron line married up against white. However I decided for this floor plan it would be too chaotic and busy.

Grey + white chevron of equal thickness - similar to the above train of thought, high impact yes✔️ But we just felt it would feel too busy so it was a nay.

Original wood floors with white mandala stencils - I love the additional spiritual reference and intricate patters you could bring into a space but again it came back to addinging warmth + intrest without going over the top. I knew I wanted something that would pull everything together, but this wasn't going to do it.

Grey + White thick stripes - well as you can see in the progress shots, this is the winner! ✔️✔️ We chose a very subtle grey , white contrast to keep the pattern subtle, soft but with still enough layers of colour to really calm the space and hopefully give a high end, next level finish. This pattern will be painted through out the whole house, except for the bedrooms where we have some lovely neutral , light mocha accent carpet. 

So anyway this was us today, still a little sick with the flu but we managed to get one room started.  

Will show you th finished space next Saturday along with all the steps to get the look! 

Peace Out xx

 

Melanie Sherwell- Interior Designer  

Creator of Soul Shapes - Lifestyle Interiors  

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WHY WE ALL NEED A ZEN DEN!

Selfie Saturday 

Hey there, happy Saturday + more importanly happy long weekend!! Whoop!

Thanks for dropping in to 'Selfie Saturday'! For those of you who may be new, 'Selfie Saturday' is a weekly sesh on ways to improve your life from the inside out. I'll be delving into the many ways to design your life, from interior design for the soul to increasing your connection to source + yourself!  With our busy lives it's sometimes hard to find the time to take stock + check in on our self. I want this blog to be your 5 mins every Saturday morning where you can reflect and perhaps tweak things up a little. 

It's all about you , so take a break, enjoy, it's Saturday! 

#selfiesaturday

Today I wanted to look at how we can create new + positve, life changing habits through clever interior design. 

Did you ever think about how the lay out of your home affects the way you live your life? When you look closer it's easy to see that we really are just creatures of habit and you only need to take a squizz at a few typical house plans to see the common patterns that we design around.

So let's break it down a little.

A typical home has a kitchen, bathroom, living room, family room, theatre, bedrooms + if your lucky a gym ;)  Now let's think about the activities that we autonomously participate in when we are at home. So we cook, we eat, we sleep, we watch tv, talk and spend time with family.  In a nutshell, the majority of our activites are centred around the purpose of the rooms in the house + of course our needs as human beings. We all do pretty much very similar things at home + it's interesting to note that despite the fact that we are all very different human beings, with our own interests and our own free will, when we are in our homes, we are all very similar creatures of habit!  So today I want to explore the question.....

"How dependant is the relationship between the design + layout of our home to the types of activities we carry out in them?"

To answer this question, I want to first look closer at habits + what really is involved in creating a habit. A common theory on the foundation of forming habits is the 3 R's , REMIND , REPEAT, REWARD, you can read more about this in Charles Duhigg's book 'The Power of Forming Habbits' (see below) .

Now the theory goes that in order to create a new habit in a way that the new activity becomes an automatic part of your daily routine you only need apply the 3 R's to your desired goal. So you must be constantly reminded of the activity, you must repeat the activity + their must be some type of reward at the end of the activity.  So let's apply this to our home + look how a floor plan contributes to forming habits.

REMINDER; On a daily basis you walk past the same rooms and are reminded of their function which in turn become your daily habits.

REPEAT; A house doesnt change (too often). Seeing the same rooms + their functions every day, is  an unavoidable repetitive action that will lead to either a positive or negative habit.

REWARD; The pleasing result of engaging in each task. ei - eating = enjoyable, sleeping = rejuvenation, engaging with family= happy + loved ... you enjoy these activities, which reinforces the habit. You get it!

The lay out of your home really is a constant injection of the 3 R's into your life! Now lets all consider that a home floor plan is a pretty permanent fixture in your life, you can't walk in a different direction or take steps to avoid the habits that are formed from just living in your house.  So clearly your home is a huge huge influence on the person you are + the person you want to be!

With that in mind, naturally the next question is,

'What would happen if we changed the typical house floor plan to encourage different activites?"

Well I think it's fair to say if the 3 R's have any truth to them (which they do, there is a ton of research on this) you would soon see a huge shift in our daily routine, with a huge opportunity to introduce the formation of new life long habits! This is very cool!! 

What would happen if we included a meditation/yoga studio? What would happen?? Exciting things I tell you!! 

By creating an actual tangible space in our home to spend time connecting + rejuvenating our souls, we could actually, dare I say, change the world!  

Yes it's a big call, and it would possible take many years to see a cultural change, but could something so simple create a huge shift in our world? It is often the case that sometimes the answer can be so simple we don't even see it.  Imagine how our world would change if the new norm was to include a "Zen Den" in our typical floor plan! For those of us who already understand the absolute vital importance of taking time to meditate, it's really up to us to lead the way in creating this new norm!  Imagine the positive influence it could have on those who have never thought to try meditation!  One thing I know about society, as a collective we do behave similar to a heard of sheep, sorry guys no offence but you know (me included) we tend to follow each other + trends at the drop of a hat. With that in mind imagine the effects on our world if a new trend started, the 'Zen Den Trend' :) oh yes I LOVE IT!  You know it may sound a little far out and perhaps a little comical at first, but I love to look for positive solutions to the crazy world we live in, and I am so into this idea! There really is so much good that could come from an at home 'Zen Den!' The accessability of having a designated space to connect at home is not only ideal for time poor peeps who are already meditating, but again it encourages a deeper connection whilst enforcing those 3 R's and a more regular, fluent practice.  Could  this be the start of seeing meditation becomming as habitual as brushing your teeth in the morning! How cool is that!!! Damn cool! #nojoke

Now I can hear some of you saying, well not everyone can afford to build a room specifically for yoga/meditation and perhaps on some level it may be an extravagant addition.  With thousands of research all prooving meditation reduces anxiety, increases happiness and health, I think the question we really need to ask is;

 " Can we afford not to?"

With our rising rates of obesity, depression, suicide, do we really need to continue to prioritise a second living area or big flash theatre room over a place to connect, heal, revitalise and work on becoming the best version of ourselves? I mean it seems so so obvious that the initial rationale would be that this is an extra cost that most families can't afford. You know I totally get that, but honestly, I feel like that is a cop out excuse for those who really just don't get it!  We need to re work the budget or our thinking further because this really is a serious lifestyle consideration we need to make! You only need to look at how our world is to see that things need to change!! We can't continue to ignore the fact that our world is not at peace and we need positive change, positive solutions and I really believe that the new soul loving collective would agree with me. With so many people now practicing meditation + yoga, it's clear that this healthy trend is helping people in deep long lasting ways. It's those people, who like me will be more interested in creating a healthy, fulfilled home over the old outdated floor plan that typically breeds unhappiness + poor health. 

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have your own 'Zen Den' already? Would you love a room dedicated to your practice, built in to your daily life in a permanent way?

I know I want this so bad! I currently meditate and practice in front of my fire place which is great when the kids are asleep! We plan to build a second story in our home and on the top of the list is my beautiful 'Zen Den' which will of course I will design :)  So with regards to the cost, I get it, this is not something we can all afford to rush out and do straight away. But is it something we could consider planning for in the future?

Yes!! A big fat namaste yes!!! :)

Anyway, enjoy your long weekend, make sure you  take 5 mins to chill, meditate, stretch + reflect and thanks again for stopping by.

If your thinking you might want to get in and try meditation or find out a little more on todays topic, I have popped a couple of books below that will get you sorted!

Peace Out xxx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

$8.33
$9.45

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  

Launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 5.

Agh Saturday! How good is it!  Well Im going to be honest it was going great until my hubby jumped on the computer and accidentally deleted my previously half written Selfie Saturday blog, #annoyed.  Anyway perhaps it was because I was making fun of his brown jumper + brown pants and asking him if he is trying to be a tree on purpose. #dorkydad #treeman #treepose

Anyway, final week of the'Launch it Challenge!'

Week 5, we are going online guys! Let's get your domain name + website off the ground. 

Domain names

So now you have your amazing business name, you may just want to slow down a second because to get the final tick of approval, you will need to search the domain name data base to see if your business name or variation is available. What is a domain name? Well if your a tue beginner to all this, let me briefly spell it out. A domain name is your online address. With out a domain, you can't really exist online! Domains are really just 101 of "How to Launch Your Online Business" When you purchase your domain, you will then be able to use it as your actual website address + also to create custom email addresses. 

There are lots of domain name hosts , these are just a few to go check out. I have used crazy domains mostly but there really are so so many!  Don't limit yourself to just these few, I just wanted to make it easy for you to go have a snoop and get your head around it.

  •  https://au.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search     
  • https://www.crazydomains.com.au/
  • https://www.name.com/domain/search

These are just a few sites to get you going. It's free to search and you only pay when you find a domain name that you want to purchase. Honestly most are fairly similar in price but I think godady.com has some pretty cheap prices!  So how it works, you will pop your potential business name into the domain name search area.  Let's have a play around with a hypothetical name ummmmmmmmm lol thinking, thinking, ok our business name is 'launch it' so now I will throw launchit (no spaces) into the domain name search + hit enter. So now you will see a bunch of options come up, launchit.com, launchit.com.au, lauchit.net.au, launchit.melbourne. Heaps of domain name combinations will be offered to you, but of course only the ones that haven't already been taken by some other business savvy peep. The most popular domain name combos are obviously .COM,  if your in Australia, .COM.AU, New Zealand .COM.NZ , Europe .COM.EU , you get it!

Now if your business is strictly online and you offer an international service then you will want to aim to get .COM. Why?  Well you will show up in search engines all over the world rather than just your country. It also communicates instantly that you are an international brand. I currently have www.soulshapes.com.au but I also have soulshapes.com on back order as it is currently used by a small photography business in America. Now on this point, if your domain name is not available you will need to go and visit the website to assess whether you want to continue with your business name.  Just because your domain name is taken, does NOT mean you have to give up the idea of using it yourself. Go and find + research the website with the domain name you wanted for yourself. Look into what sort of company they are. If it is a small company, in a different industry, in a total different country, you may just need to tweak your name a little and you will be fine to still use it yourself. If a company has trademarked a name then that is different again. There are search engines available to search trademarks + I know in Australia you can search through the business name registry and it will also list trademarks.  In Australia you can have a similar name to another business, but it can't be exactly the same. Now if your wanting to stand out as a leader in your niche, your not going to want a name similar to anyone else in your industry.  Firstly you won't look very original and you will just get lost in website searches. So as I said if you have a name and someone else has something similar but it is not trademarked + they are in a different industry and country I say go for it!  Maybe add on a little extra variation like "launch it Australia" or "Launch it Live"to avoid any copyright issues and even further personalise your brand. With regards to trademarked names I would advise getting a professional to look into your name before going ahead. Make sure your chosen name is legal, and register your name with your country's Business Name Registry before going into our next step which is creating your website!

 

Creating your website

This is the FUN bit, but it is also a bit of a headache if you have never done it before. I guess my first bit of advise is, if you have not done this before and you do have a budget you may want to just skip this and outsource it. Sometimes outsourcing can be the best thing you can do for your business and if your wanting cutting edge, top of the range layout and flow then outsourcing could be something to consider.  Although, yes many website platforms make it super easy to create your own website and of course I'm about to go into all of that, it's still worth noting that there is a lot more to a good website than just throwing up a few paragraphs of writing and photos. If your looking at creating a large online store and you really want to have an international presence then yes follow these tips, I can totally give you heaps of advise to get you up online, but I will only be touching on it and you will still need to do your own extended research on copyright, layout, graphic communication ect. So I  just wanted to to emphasise there is a heap of work that goes into a good website and outsourcing to those who do it everyday may be quicker than trying to teach yourself to become a net nerd overnight. If you don't have a budget, and you are ready to put in lots of hours in layout and content research, then whoop lets get on it!

Now that you have your domain name lets go find you a host. These are just a few to get the ball rolling.

  • www.godaddy.com
  • www.wordpress.com 
  • www.squarespace.com
  • www.websitebuilder.com
  • www.crazydomains.com.au

You can also head to http://www.webhostingbest10.com/best-website-hosting to check out some reviews on the top 10 website hosts around the world. 

Obviously you will want to check out price, versus value. A few things to look for are, how many pages do you get? Do you get a free personalised email? Some will include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is where the host will help your website show up in search engines + help people actually find you. SEO is so so so important and actually quite tricky. Especially if your competing against a heap pf other large, well established companies with fully developed websites + link backs. It's definitely a great add on to have! You can do your own SEO but again theres quite an art to it and it will take a whole lot of research to get your self up on all that so it is also another great reason to outsource (at least the SEO component).

Once you have had a play, looked at a few templates and worked out which is the best value for you, go ahead and sign up so you can get started. #exciting #youronline

When you start to create your website, you will be asked what name you want to use for the site. You will initially be given a domain name with the hosts name attached. So if you created a site + your name is "launchitlive" and your host is wordpress.com, then your web address will read www.launchitlive.wordpress.com. Now we of course do NOT want the host name in our web address (totally unprofessional + uncool) and because your a super savvy domain name holder, your now going to want to customise your address to your personalised domain address. Every host platform will have a section where you can go ahead + customise your sites account details. Details such as the website address are customisable and you will need to find where you can import your own domain name and follow the prompts. Don't be scared if things are starting to look a little too 'geek town' at first,  it really is simple and you will just need to enter your personalised domain name that you want + your domain name host {wordpress). This is just communicating to your website host where they need to search for your registered domain name. Your simply telling your domain name host that your website host will now be the home address of your domain name. Confused? If you get stuck, message me below and I'll be happy to walk you through it or answer any questions. So you will need to specify the exact domain name in full www.launchitive.com.au + also the current host for the domain name.  If you purchased your domain name from crazydomains.com.au you will enter that in to the section that asks for current host address. Once you have popped those two important details into your website account details, your new domain name will start to transfer over to  your website + when complete will become your new website address. Once you have started the process of transferring your domain name over to your new host (your website) you don't need to do any more. But it is really worth noting that sometimes it can take a few weeks for a domain name to transfer over to a new host. If your wanting to get your site up asap then purchase your domain name from the same place you intend to host your website. This is the quickest way to get your self up and running and possibly will ensure fewer glitches. Some website hosts will actually five you the option to purchase a domain name whilst creating your website. That is a really nice + easy option!

Ok so your domain name is up, and your website now reads www.lauchitlive.com.au and the wordpress component has gone! Yes looking good!

Colours, Font + Layout

Ok now this is what I am good at and is really up my alley as a designer. Your now ready to start telling the word all about your services/ products. If your like me you may just want to jump straight on in and start playing around.

To save yourself sometime, I would actually get a few things clear on paper before jumping on a playing around like a mad person ( yea that was me).

  • List the colours you love and think suits your brand
  • Think of the imagery that suits your brand
  • Choose legible, easy to read fonts. Think about the style of font too, is it communicating 2017 fresh + modern or 1995 tacky town ??
  • Is there any additional themes you might want to have associated with your branding? (Vintage, country, modern, simple ect)
  • Do you have testimonials from clients/customers that you can add to your site? (So important!!)
  • Will you be including a blog? If so what will you call it? What will you talk about with your readers?
  • Have you got your company policies/ terms and conditions ready to go? (you may need to outsource this)
  • Really think about the layout and how the information will flow from one page to the next
  • Will you make your products page your home page? Is it clear where your services + products are on your site. Make it easy for visitors to purchase or contact you.

Once you are clear on the above it will make creating the site so much easier than figuring it all out along the way. In saying that I created mine as I went along but it take me a lot longer than it should have, which is why I'm giving you this heads up! As I said Im only just touching on all of this,  to go into it fully would mean quitting my job as an interior designer + I really need to get back to my own actual work!

Well thats it guys, week 5 on the "How to Launch Your Online Business " challenge. I hope I leave you a little more in the know than when you started and perhaps your about to commence something awesome! Good luck and if you do want any more info feel free to ask me a question below.

Have a gorgeous weekend + I hope you really are feeling super inspired, ambitious and ready to kick some entrepreneurial ass!  

Make sure you check in + subscribe for next weeks "Selfie Saturday". I'm going into why it's so important we start to create functional spaces to practice yoga + meditation in our home + workplace. This area is my true passion footprint and now that I have given you all a quick helping hand to find your own thing, I am very excited to get back to mine. When you do find your passion footprint it really is like your BFF. I just love my work and I can't tell you how good it feels when you find your true purpose.

As Steve Jobs says :

" The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle, as with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it".  

#stevejobsfan #quoteobsessed #designshift #designgoals

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

Launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 4.

Hey beautiful people! I hope you have had a wonderful week! I have to say my week has been pretty lovely. Had a nice catch up with a lovely friend down at our gorgeous local cafe. I fitted in some yoges and a few beautiful walks/run around my neck of the woods ( like literally, I was running in the forest, lol :) I then spent most of the week behind my desk looking out my window at the gorgeous birds who visit my little bird bath. Sometimes I wonder if I get too excited over birds, like a crazy bird lady lol. Honestly I just love watching them splash and go crazy, it's a nice distraction and break from the computer screen. Anyway enough tree hugging ( for now that is, there will be lots more, cause that's how I roll!  ;)  let's get into week 4! 

Today I wanted to start getting you thinking about how to come up with your business name. I was going to go into websites/ domains but after chatting  about this with my friend the other day I decided to slot this one in first. So we where talking about business names and how many of us naturally all start to think about business names in the same way. It's funny how we can think we might be coming up with something very unique only to find that name is taken. "What I thought it was so perfect but it's gone!" is a really common situation to find yourself in at the begining. 

When thinking of your business name  the first question that will crop up is do I use my own name or create a totally seperate business name + identity? So I thought I would list a few of the pro's + cons for using your own name versus a business name;

 

USING YOUR OWN NAME-

Pros

  • Creating yourself into a brand is a great way to keep consistancy and bring your identity and personality into your products + services.
  • You won't have to worry about getting sick of your name beacuse theres a good chance you kind of like yourself  (hopefully) :)
  • Using your own name rather than a business name makes you seem more affordable and approachable to potential clients.
  • Depending on your name, it can make you easier to remember. If your name is Dick Assman :) :)  then you might want to get that crazy memorable business name up on a billboard stat! :) If your name is really complex to pronounce, hard to remember then this one may not apply to you.

Cons

  • Using your own name can actually make you appear less experienced and so if your aiming to get those big clients or sales it might be a little turn off to those more high end clients/purchasers.
  • It can be a little restrictive if your wanting to add future business partners or staff as other collegues may be putt off by your name being all over the place.
  • It's a missed opportunity to quickly let others know what your business is about. If I just use Mel Sherwell, people will only think who is she, what does she do and what does she stand for? Most will not care and before you know it they will have clicked off onto some other page and forgotten all about me.  When people surf the net they can be lazy and just will not bother to go and click onto your bio to find out, "oh shes actually an interior designer" It's not likely people will make that extra effort to find out.

 

 

You can’t connect the dots looking forward: you can only connect them looking back.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. ......
— Steve Jobs

 

USING A WELL THOUGHT OUT BUSINESS NAME-

Pros

  • In a very short second you can communicate so much to your potential clients about what you actually do. Make the most of every second of exposure you get with a clever business name.

  • A clever business name can also be very memorable, especially if you think of something that communicates your services + perspective. Remember to get into the mind of your potential clients. How do they think? What name would excite your potential customers or target audience?
  • A good business name can communicate who you are + what your about.
  • This is an ooprtunity to demonstrate your creative/intelectual ability. This is of course if you come up with a name that is creative and intelligent ;).
  • You may include words or imply a point of view that communicates what your business represents, your goals, beliefs + ethos 
  • A business name can communicate that you really do mean business + are one to be taken seriously.
  • With the additional information that a business name communicates, your also building trust and rapport much more quickly than a personal name.
  • Your communicating that your business is hoping to grow with no restrictions and you have high expectations of where you are heading. This communicates to potential clients that they are dealing with someone who is ambitious, dedicated and aims to achieve great things, including your services/products.
  • You can leverage your self to really stand out with a clever business name. With so many interior designers + stylists out their, I just couldn't handle 'Mel Sherwell Designs', ummm boring not too mention no one would blink an eye lid at a name like that. I needed something to communicate who I am as a designer and why I'm worth remembering.

Cons

  • Everyone always says this one, it's a long term committment to use a business name! Well yea, so is having a business :) But I guess their is a small amount of truth in this statement. Lets just say you decide after a few years you want to go in a new direction and your business name no longer suits you. Well then perhaps a business name could be a con in that circumstance. My answer to this one is, just start a new business. As long as you have been consistantly marketing your personal name alongside your business name, you will still be building your reputation which you can take with you always.

  • A business name can sound a little more formal which can be off putting to smaller clients, wanting a more personal service. People do like to know who they are dealing with and not just be speaking to a brand name. However I think it only takes one or two emails with a your personal name/signature to start personalising the service. Also who wants to only target small clients. I mean yes I love personalised jobs of any size, but I would'nt brand my whole business to only target smaller jobs. I want serious clients, who want a professional service. I really can't think of any more cons to having a super cool, well thought out business name. As I mentioned earlier, I like to use a little of both in my business name. In all of my social media accounts I include both my personal name and my business name. I'm always, 'Mel Sherwell - Soul Shapes' . I love having both and I think it represents me  Mel Sherwell the designer + then my creation, my perspective + my work 'Soul Shapes'.

 

 

 

 

Workshop it

So just to finish up, let me throw a few more considerations you can ponder to help get you on track with this business name thing.

So lets go back to your passion footprint in the earlier weeks. What did you discover was your passion footprint + your unique view point in your industry? Write it down

again on a piece of paper.

An example scenerio might be,  if your a florist, are you a florist who works with wild flowers, or the more lux varieties of roses etc? Be honest, what do you love? Then choose that! You have to love your passion foot print (if you dont know what I'm talking about, go back to weeks 1 + 2) Forget about the clients for a second and just think about what gets you exctited! Ok, got it! Great, keep your niche in the front of your mind at all times! This is always the focus of your business, so stay on track and now write down some key words to describe your niche -  Wild Rose, Natural Bloom, Peaceful Posies...... you get it. Keep writing down key words to describe your niche, + your view point. Then throw in some key words about your ethos, your believes or your goals.

This is how to workshop in a direct, purposeful way and I promise you in amongst all those words is your business name. Now you just need to bridge the correct pair together. I like the idea of a pair as it gives you more power in communicating what your about rather than just one word. At times one word may do it, but generally not.

Now good luck, have fun, relax with it! I remember when I came up with Soul Shapes, I knew I instanlty loved it, but it did take me another week or two of playing around with other ideas to realise it was the winner. So be patient and the key to creating is to keep your mind open and positive!!

Enjoy your weekend everyone.  I promise next week we will get into websites + purchasing domain names.

Peace out 

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 3.

Good Morning, good afternoon or good evenning. What ever time it is where you are, happy weekend vibes + thanks for stopping by for week 3 of the 'Launch it Challenge'. If you have just joined the challenge, then it's not to late to jump in. This challenge is a fun, stream lined starting point on how to launch your online business.  You can easily go back and read through weeks 1+2 but make sure you subscibe to Soul Circle so you don't miss any future posts. 

Ok it's the weekend, we all want to be doing relaxing , fun things. This is too much for your head today right? No it's really not!! Well my point is, it shouldn't be!

Remember, chasing your dreams should be the thing that makes you the happiest! I touched on this in week 1 and I just wanted to quickly remind us all that our passion should make us super happy! So if your not feeling that into week 3 today, it could be as case of "your just not that into it". If you are'nt working on your true true passion, everything else will either flop or if it does somehow get off the ground, you won't have the stamina to keep putting in 100%. So please, be honest and if your not excited to be working on your dreams today, then you possibly need to go back and edit edit edit. I know sometimes we all need to switch off on the weekend but if you are serious about launching your online business + especially if your working full time, then the weekends need to be go time!  Anyway, I just want you to be clear and ready to go and I really understand that the first steps do take the longest. ( I really really know!) So please stay with me, read on but just bare in mind that some of you may need to keep pondering over the direction your heading before taking your next steps.

If you have been workshopping your true purpose + direction and like me are feeling super excited to work on a Saturday (it's not sad, it's called being ambitious ;) ) Then whoop, let's get stuck into it. Time to smash it fellow entrepreneurs!

What have you got that I want! What can you do for me?

If you really have worked through weeks 1 + 2 and your feeling really pumped, then it's time to start getting to the real point of all of this.

Let's start with your products + services . What will your offer your clients or customers? When thinking about your product range or services let me share with you my one rule of thumb. 

1. Ensure your service or product further communicates your message?

This is so so important and the perfect way to refine exctly what you want to sell or offer to your customers.

Think about your potential client. Who is your potential client? Teenagers, adults who like fish, adults who like knitting, you get the picture ;)  So the one thing we can say for certain, regardles of what your in the business of, is that your potential clients are of course going to be someone who appreciates your message + your unique passion footprint. So we can easily assume that your client is also going to want a service or product that reiterates your message. Your target market doesn't just want a little bit of what you have to say, if they like your vibe + your work, then they are going to want as much of you as they can get. So, your products + services need to speak more of what YOU are all about.

Let me think of a possible scenerio. Ok, so your starting an online business selling plants. (I know it's random but they do exist and it's the first thing that came to my head :) :). So lets look a little closer at this e - plant selling entrepreneur ( let's say her name is Betty). Betty has decided her brands message is to communicate that using plants in and around the home will create a more harmonious + peaceful life. Now Betty could decide to sell every plant under the sun. It might make sense, the more options for customers, the more sales right? Well not necessarily because Betty's clients and target market are only going to be those who want to use plants to create zenful spaces. The clients Betty will attract are a niche customer who want a niche service. Why should Betty provide plants for cutomers she will never attract to her store. It's pretty obvious, but you would be suprised how many businesses try to sell every product in their industry. When that happens, your brands message is lost, your customers are confused and you will turn your target market away, stat!  So what should Betty offer her customers? A beautiful carefully selected range of plants that are also know for their zen like qualities. Bonsais, Maples, Lotus flowers anything that will enhance her message and appeal to her specific customers.

2. How should I price my products + services?

Now if your selling products, pricing may be a little easier for you (unless your manufacturing or creating home made products). Most online retailers will just sell at the recommended retail price. If you are making or producing your own goods then of course you would follow the formula of materials + time to design + time to produce + postage. Now for those offering services, it is good to see what others in your industry are charging for a similar service but only as a guide. My belief is to charge what you in your heart + soul think is fair to you and your customer. It's really not good if you wack a ridiculously high price on a service that you truely don't believe is worth what you are offering. In saying that the same is true in the reverse, never never undersell your self just to get a sale. Finding the sweet spot in your price point can take a little bit of juggling, but if you are genuinely honest to both you and your client and see things from both perspectives, then you can slowly get to the happy spot. Ask your self, how many hours go into delivering this service at it's highest standard ( because of course you always want to have the highest standards of service). What are you happy to receive for this service? Now if those greedy little green men start jumping into your prices you'll need to tell them to shoosh up because running a business with greedy eyes will never work. Create authentic + honest price points that will automatically build a bridge of trust between you and your clients before you even begin.

There are also factors such as GST if your in Australia, but most checkout platforms will automatically add that on for you. I really just wanted to remind you to factor that additional charge in when refining your price points.

Now, next week im going to go into website + logo design so make sure you spend some time thinking over everything, take some notes and try to go through all the questions and really workshop them fully. You only get out what you put in so it's really up to you and how much you really want to lauch your online business. I'm going to finish icing my daughters birthday cake now, wow I cant believe I have a 12 year old! Where has the time gone??? Time, time, oh it does fly, so with that in mind, lets make it count and go smash our goals!!

Peace out!

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?  -Week 2.

#launch it  

Hey everyone, Happy Saturday!

I hope your relaxing, or spending time with friends and family! It's so important to have some down time. I just got home from Wonderlust Melbourne. If you have'nt heard of it, it's a gorgeous yoga festival and it seriously was so beautiful! I'll be doing a write up on it all on Monday so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Anyway as I said last week, this 'How to Launch Your Online Business' challenge will go for the next few weeks. So if this is something you have been thinking about doing, I hope you have subscribed to Soul Circle and will stay with us all the way.

Now for those of you who read last week, #week 1, I hope you got some thinking done and maybe some of you might have had, as Oprah calls them, an aha moment?

If you did then great, we can start thinking about what to do next, so sit tight I'm about to get to it.  If your still stuck, you can still continue into all of the following weeks. In the mean time, keep digging deep and paying attention to what creates a spark in your soul. Take sometime to do a 5-10 min meditation, focusing completely on what your passion is and note down any ideas. Don't be afraid to write down any random, or weird thoughts, even if it does'nt make sense straight away, you will be surprised how random thoughts can turn into amazing + epic ideas! 

Now, if you did have a little light bulb moment last week and your ready to start thinking about the next steps, then lets get into it!

So you have an idea, you think you have found your JAM, that's awesome! Congratulations, that really is one of the hardest parts. Being honest and admitting to yourself that there is this thing that you really love + want to do despite the fear, your like "Im going to do it!"  Big pats on the back!

Now, it's one thing to have a passion, but now you have to make it yours! So as we did last week, I'm going to throw a couple of D+M questions at you. Questions that will get you thinking about how to take a passion, that maybe many peope share and make it yours.

 

What is your unique passion footprint?

Today I want you spend sometime thinking about your unique view point. I really believe we all have our own individual view point or footprint that we can stamp all over our passion. Think about Steve Jobs, he didnt just create computers, he reinvented them, with a vision that only he could really bring about. 'Apple' is Steven jobs footprint on technology. Ok so next, lets think about Jamie Oliver, whether you like him or not (that's not important) he was one of the first to really take food + cooking to cool town. Jamie Oliver has created an amazing brand, putting his own spin into his cooking has made him millions of dollars for his rustic, holistic approach to food. I think you get the point. It's not about just going and creating an online business that is same, same. You have to really think and ask yourself, "what is my perspective on ______?" What can I bring to my passion that really communicates what I am about and what I believe in?

Again, spend sometime with this, even if you get zero inspo and you have no idea, come back ask your self again tomorrow and the next day, every day until you get your 'aha moment'. Meditate on it and it will come! We all have a purpose, find yours and you'll find your footprint!

What is your message?

With any good concept or idea, you have to refine it! Or as I like to say in design, edit, edit, edit. To me you can never edit and refine an idea enough. There is always more creative bubles waiting to be thought, so open your mind and get into the mode of refining your footprint.

So you have your passion, tick, you found your unique blueprint (or you will soon), now lets get your message! Your message will be the big part of your blueprint, but as I said we need to refine that unique view point even further. If you don't know what your message is or what your brand is going to communicate, how will your customers or clients know what the purpose of your service is? Let me break it down, so lets say we have someone who has a passion for writing, then he/she discovers their unique footprint is writing about spirituality, now they would need to refine again to discover their strong message. Perhaps it could be something like "Spirituality + Food" or "Encouraging Spirtuality in Children", just a few quick thoughts, but you get the picture. It's all about making it your message, your authentic view point, your passion!

When your working on this, I cant stress how important it is that your message is authentic to you! Don't just think " I think this idea will make money" that will never work guys! Why, because if you are not sincere, if your messge is not backed up by truth + authenticity, no one will hear a word your saying, nor will they believe what your saying. So make that passion yours, find your voice + be true to yourself.  Lastly, edit, edit, edit.

Thanks for stopping by guys, I'm going to plonk in a hot bath, OMG 5 km's and 70 mins of Yoges, I'm tired!

Peace out and Happy Mothers Day to all you amazeball Mums xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELFIE SATURDAY - IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU!

 

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS?

#launch it   

I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about how to launch your own online business! Why?? Well today is the official launch of my new Interior Design business Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors. #exciting #launchday

Ok, back to you! Now where to start, exactly! That is the question we all start with, my advice to anyone thinking about getting online is to just start!

It can be daunting, what will I call myself? What can I offer? Now these questions are really the two things you need to spend the most time on and it can really get overwhelming!

After returning from maternity leave, I have been working so hard on rebranding my services as a designer and it really has been so fun but a lot of hard work too.

Anyway, it's Saturday morning, this is a little heavy for weekend vibes, so lets keep it nice and simple for today. If you do find some time to relax with a note book and you want to start letting your mind wander over to #goals #dreams then here a couple starting point questions to ask your self.

Have a go, let your mind flow, (whoops that rhymes, love that!) write down any idea you get from the questions below and next Saturday, I'll go through the next steps of "how to launch your online busines?".

Make sure you sign up to Soul Circle so you don't miss any of these as there really is quiet a lot of steps in the process and it's deffintely best spread out,  slowly at a comfortable pace. Chasing dreams does not have to be stressful! Relax, enjoy + ponder the following questions.

What do you love?

What is your passion? What do youu truely truely love about life? Write it down and be honest! Don't let fear get in the way of these answers. This is such a common blockage many have when they start to think about what they love or want to do, the dark side of the mind creeps in saying things like,

" dont be stupid, you cant do that" or "I cant do that and make money, I'm better just sticking to my day job, it's safe and secure"

All these stupid thoughts are incorrect and keep you from progressing and evolving towards your goals.

So I'll ask you again, if you had plenty of $$ and there were no fears blocking you, what would you do if you could do anything in the world?  If your answering, " I'd just lay on the beach all day" then this post may not help you, lol. This 'Launch it' challenge are for those who want to follow a dream, to make a difference and most importantly to feel satisfied with life. I can promise you, money does not bring long term happiness, only achieving your goals can do that!

What are you good at?

Usually the thing that you are good at, is similar to your passion! True story! So if you have trouble answering the above, "what is your passion?" Then spend more time thinking about "what am I good at"?" Now you might have trouble with this at first, especially if your super busy with your day job, family etc, you may not have had time to really think about what you are good at.

I can say that I honestly believe we all have something we are slightly better at than others. We don't have to be the best at it to say "we are good at it" so again, keep those negative thoughts away like "oh there so many people alreay doing it" or " I'm ok but not that good", again, stupid stupid goal blocking thoughts. No one is the best at anything, there is always someone better and there is always a way to get better! So let those thoughts run around your head over the next week, share your thoughts , questions below and I'll be back next Saturday and hopefully you may have had a few epiphanies and will be ready for your next 'Launch it" tips.

 

Melanie Sherwell

Interior Designer - Soul Shapes

HOW TO DESIGN FOR A HEALTHY MIND

As a kid, I used to watch my Maltese clean freak Mum run around getting the house just perfect. My Mum is the kind of lady who vacuums every day, washes the curtains once a week and bless her I'm surprised she doesn't have plastic on the couch. ( love you Mum xx) Now as an adult, I can see Mum in her own extreme way is like that because of the way it makes her feel. To my Mum, having the cleanest home, in some ways gives her the cleanest + happiest mind. Now I'm not suggesting we all go grab the hoover and clean our house, but I do want to chat about how good design can make us feel clearer mentaly and generally happier too! As Coco Chanel said

" An Interior is the natural projection of the soul"

You only need to look around your space + your life to see how it's mirroring your internal world.

In so many ways, good design really can enhance our mental health and overall wellbeing . Whether your tackling your next DIY design project, renovation or new build there a few things that you really need to consider other than the obvious " how will it look?

Think about it, if your home creates feelings of calm, fresh lux, guess how the space will make you feel?....You got it, calm, fresh + lux or translated, relaxed, rejuvenated and worthy.

If your space is cluttered, hard to navigate through and so messy you can't find a damn thing, I think you know what I'm getting at here. Your mind will of course will  feel, cluttered, stressed, frazzeled + confused and you can bet that all of these icky feelings will spill over into the rest of your life.

So whether your just in need of a good tidy up or your working on your own home design project, let me give you a few points to consider before going any further!

  • De clutter +

Create a space for everything to live permenantly!! Everything in your home, should have it's own little home. Find neat, out of sight ways to store your personal belonings and if it looks messy, remember that' going to seep into your brain so revise it again. Keep revising until you find soulutions that look tidy + function easy. If you can't find a place for that bunch of old board games no one is playing, donate them! My best advise, donate donate donate + stop the hoarding people! ;) The other option for you sentimental folk who just can't let it go, storage buckets! Pop them neatly in a shed, basement or under the bed.

  • "How does the design make me feel?"

Its a fairly obvious question to ask but with so many getting lost in all the design trends and fads around these days, it's so easy for us to get confused in the design process. How the space makes you AND your family feel is absolute priority over whether you are obsessed with Scandi or not. Trends and design styles are great starting points but just make sure your not getting caught up in the hype of what's cool and forgetting that hubby may not feel quite at home with a rose pink throw ;) So , trends yes go for it, but ensure you have really thought about why you have chosen that trend, colour palette or design style, as it's easy to forget the most important thing to consider,....YOU + YOUR FAMILY!

  • Bring in the elements!

 Whether it's considering how the sun shines through a window, or where the breeze blows when you open a window,  incorporating the elements into your space is one of the best things you can do to design for the mind. Bring in a real living object like an indoor plant and feel the benifit's of imporoved oxygen flow and being close and connected with nature. In our natural state as human beings, being close to nature is an innate need we all have and we certainly function so much better when we are close to nature. Think about when you go for a walk, the fresh air, the wind blowing, the sun on your face and how all your troubles melt away. When we are close to the elements, we feel alive! We spend so much of our time indoors, it makes sense that we get tired + disconnected!! ..... Get creative and think about all the cool ways you could work the elements into your space + how you can get connected as much as possible.

So take a look around your space or think about your approach to design to date. Run through the above as often as possible until you get a home that really brings out the best in you. After all a home is supposed to be a place that we feel safe and protected!

Your already doing some or all of the above? Great tell me about them!  If you have any suggestions or want to share how your own design for the mind tips, share them below I'd love to get inspired too!

MEL SHERWELL- INTERIOR DESIGNER

SOUL SHAPES-Lifestyle Interiors