In the Mood

Belle Property Central Coast’s Cathy Baker, who can add interior designer to her string of qualifications, shares some classic advice about styling your home.

Not many people are aware, but before becoming a real estate agent, I worked as an interior designer. Once learned, the principles of interior design stick with you. And one thing I learned is that interior design trends tell us more about where we’ve been than where we’re going. The colours and styles are what we need to heal, whether it’s minimalist in reaction to our over-complicated lives, or the colours and styles we’re seeing now that show we need our homes to be protective spaces.

The pandemic conditions over the past year have redefined our idea of how a home, even a holiday home, needs to work. As we’ve spent more time in our homes and holiday homes, we’ve needed to ensure that we can zone our homes for work and rest, or make zones multifunctional.

Making your home your own

While the ubiquitous ‘coastal chic’ is never going away, there’s no reason your home must follow the dictates of popular opinion. 

Most property buyers on the Central Coast in the past have bought a white box. There’s a good reason for this; property sales agents know that white will show well in marketing photography. And it does; white sells homes. But a white box can be hard to live with. Minimalist all-white or all-neutrals might not suit the way you feel or the way you wish to live. This year, you might want to think about adding more colour.

Colour affects our emotions

Take a look at the 2021 colour palettes of any paint company in the world and you’ll notice that the palette is markedly warmer than it has been in previous years. That’s because colour trends, just as for other interior trends, reflect where we’ve been. The past 12 months have seen us retreating into our homes; we want colours and textures around us that nurture and protect.

Globally, the trend is towards a warmer organic palette (look out for turmeric, sage, cinnamon and peach among other on-trend colours, which sound less like paint colours and more like a recipe). However, we have to decorate for our Australian light and more relaxed lifestyle.

The Hamptons style is increasingly popular, with warmer tones but still with crisp white that looks clean and bright. For example, the 2021 Dulux blue, Five Fingers Peninsula, is more of a blue-grey that will sit well alongside the softer whites of 2021. For more drama, but still with a warm undertone, go for Winter Sea.

Who are you styling your home for?

If your home is to be your retreat, whether permanently or as a getaway, create the mood you need rather than trying to emulate what you’ve seen on Pinterest or Instagram. This is your home and it needs to work for you. If you’re styling your home to prepare it for sale, then take inspiration from homes for sale or for rent on the Central Coast.

Curating your possessions

After the past 12 months, most of us are over minimalism, except to minimise cleaning.

However, this isn’t the time to clutter your home with every piece you’ve collected on every holiday you’ve ever been on. While the flight to the familiar has encouraged us to surround ourselves with much-loved objects, the secret to a home that looks relaxed and styled is careful curation of your prized possessions.

Following interior design rules

Obviously, interior design has rules but, to my mind, there are three key rules to keep in mind when you’re styling your home:

  1. Choose a signature or hero piece of furniture for each room and give it space.
  2. Use texture and layers to create interest and add comfort.
  3. Get the lighting right.

My next ‘rule’ would be to get a great interior stylist on board to help with your project. For more than 10 years, Belle Property Central Coast has partnered with the team at The Beholder to create luscious interiors that transform houses into homes. As Belle Property Central Coast prepares to open our new Terrigal office, we’re delighted to be close neighbours to The Beholder Styling + Design, who will take over our former Terrigal office to open their signature homewares store The Beholder at Home. Leah from

The Beholder has a mantra of ‘designing spaces that evoke emotion and bring joy’. We look forward to seeing the transformation of their new home in Terrigal. 

Looking for more home-styling inspiration? 

Check out some top interior designer homes and properties that have been professionally styled for Belle Escapes at our website,, or visit


Cathy Baker

A well-known, and loved, local on the Central Coast, Cathy runs community events, is owner of Central Coast Life & Style and has cemented herself as the market leader for prestige home sales. If you don't yet know Cathy then seek her out.