Shaynna Blaze: “Break out of your cookie-cutter mould!”

Shaynna Blaze is a triple threat: Block judge, award-winning interior designer and author. She pops by The Block Shop to talk styling, this season’s Blockheads and her new book, Design With Colour and Style.

What’s the most styling common mistake you see in a house being prepared for sale?
Trying to make it look like a magazine picture, I think. We’ve gone past that clinical look of formulised interiors. One of those things you need to do with a home, even if you’re trying to sell it, is make it look like a home. It can’t just look like a carbon copy of something else.

What can our shoppers do to give their spaces that homely vibe?
Create little vignettes – that’s the word of the moment – create little areas that have things you’d use on a daily basis. Have a display on your coffee table that isn’t just a stack of books, but actually a little trinket box that has some candles, a set of flowers, to create a sense of mood. Display something that shows how you’d use that room.

What inspired you to write Design With Colour and Style?
When I wrote Design Your Home I aimed to create a set of books – so hopefully there’s a third part [Laughs] – defining the different areas of styling. If I put everything in one book, it’d just be confusing. The first book was all about setting up the basic rules and the plans, and this one’s all about personality.
The inspiration for Design With Colour and Style is to break people out of that cookie-cutter mould. Everyone gets so scared to branch out and show their personality in their homes because they feel it has to be picture-perfect. This is all about creating your own style, your own interior, taking inspiration from those looks, but not copying them.

What’s the easiest way to add colour to a room without repainting it?
Look, artwork is always the best. That gives you the biggest impact. Coloured vases and candles work too, in smaller ways. The main thing is, if you’re going to start splashing colour around the room, always start with maybe two colours – that gives you a base to see if it’s going to balance well, and then start layering your colour from there. People start to get really excited and get lots of different colours, thinking it’ll be energetic, but it can actually get really fussy if you don’t get the balance right.

What do you think of our Triple Threat Blockheads?
Josho and Charlotte, instead of charging right in, they took their time to find their style and really, as of this week, they’re really hitting their stride. They’ve got their mojo, they know their look, and they’re running with it.
Tim and Anastasia are focused on who their buyer is. They have their client in mind, and that’s important. We tell the couples to always think about their potential buyer, and they’re doing that quite well.
Jess and Ayden are fun, and we see that in their rooms. They’re going for a very sophisticated look, but with a young twist.
What Dea and Darren are doing really well is, when they style, they create that homely feel, they’re creating a space that people will connect with. That’s their main strength.

After so long with The Block, do couples still surprise you?
Absolutely! And that’s what’s so good about it! Looking at Triple Threat, they’re four very similar apartments, and they’ve come up with four completely different styles. It’s always everybody’s interpretation, and that’s what’s so surprising. What Josh and Charlotte are doing, it’s so different to what Tim and Anastasia are. As you go from room to room, you realise, “Wow, that’s a totally different take on it.” They’re really savvy, they’re researching what’s out there, honing in on shops and suppliers, finding out the “now” finishes and the “now” colours, and I think that’s great.

Browse the Block Shop’s colourful stock to start putting Shaynna’s tips into practice. To buy a copy of Shaynna's new book click here.

Interior design expert Shaynna Blaze is passionate about helping people uncover their own personal interior style. In this book, she explores the intriguing, enticing elements of colour and style and explains how you can use them to transform your home. Using beautiful photographs and practical examples, Shaynna shows how colour affects a space and the mood of those living in it. She reveals how contemporary and historic design styles have developed, and ways they can be interpreted to suit your taste, with hands-on tips for putting your ideas into practice. With her warm, down-to-earth approach, Shaynna offers guidance and inspiration to help you discover your own individual style and colour palette, so you can design your dream interior.