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Define your style

Out with the old, in with the new or is it in with the old and outwith the new, or even keep what you have and add something extra?  You choose…

Is your house looking a little dull? Do you have that corner which just keeps on catching your eye but you do not get around to changing or refreshing your home as the year is just too busy?

The holiday season it is the ideal time to tend to all those tasks which we never get round to doing. Whether it be a late spring cleaning session,moving some furniture around, or even getting that dreaded curtain replaced which has been bothering you all year round.

Instead of splashing out on more items which you might not need, why not invest in long term items such as new furniture or in some cases, it might even be old furniture for that authentic look.

Whatever your preference, purchasing furniture is not the same as purchasing a TV or sound system. You cannot simply go and buy the latest technology, or get advice from the sales representative, because furniture is a personal taste. “Buying furniture is similar to buying a home. Aside from your home, followed by your car, your furniture is your next biggest investment. It needs to be comfortable, appealing, long lasting and of course, and probably most important – you need to be happy with your purchase. So do not go out and buy on a whim, rather take your time in looking for the exact item which caters for all of the above” advises Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Determine your needs and style

Look at items already in the room, what you can keep, what you could possibly double up, and make sure you know what you like, as this will save you time, frustration and help you to focus to find even the unlikeliest pieces of furniture.

Don't have a style yet? Walk around your house and look at all the items you own. Is there something which you cannot even consider parting with such as an old chair or a table which does not match anything else? Why are you holding on to it and why did you obtain it in the first place? Make sure to write down the pros and cons as they pop up and do not to overthink it. Also look at your wall decor– are they family photos? Abstract pieces? Or items which you inherited?   Also note the colours and textures. You should be able to find a clear pattern and will be able to determine which pieces should go, and what you should get. However, we have outlined the biggest and most well-known styles below should you wish to classify your taste.

Although there are so many design-styles such as Mid-Century Modern,Industrial, Nautical, Scandinavian, Bohemian, Urban Modern, Shabby Chic,Farmhouse… and the list goes on – they all fall into the following themes which is why we focus on the parent categories:


Although many people might confuse this with contemporary – there is a difference: Modern design refers to a period of time, it is a design style that was created in the 1920’s – 1950’s. It is a defined style which doesn't change, and will remain such for ever. This is recognizable by its clean,unadorned interiors, use of natural materials such as wood, leather and teak. Moulded plywood and plastic is very popular in modern furniture, as well as polished metal. The furniture is very open and raised off the floor, and walls are often white, all allowing for an expansive feeling. Modern interiors generally have bare floors and if area rugs are used, they are typically wool,and neutral in colour. This style is often referred to as retro these days.

Contemporary Design

Contemporary design is ever changing. The word by definition means' existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time' and that is exactly the same for the use of the term in interior design.Contemporary design refers to what is popular or used right now. It doesn't have to be something that is “designed” right now – for example; furniture and art from the modern era are often used in contemporary design, and tradition mouldings and millwork are incorporated in many cases.

Right now a contemporary home might include large windows, unique or odd shapes, open plan and harmony with the surrounding landscape. The finishes would use a lot of natural elements such as fir or cedar and stone. The finishing details and furniture are in-ornate and use clean lines. Comfort and sustainability are key values that are important in a contemporary home. In twenty years from now, something else will be considered “contemporary”. Part of the confusion is that coincidentally, right now, many elements of mid-century modern design are very popular and are being incorporated in to contemporary designs.

Contemporary design can also lean more to the eclectic because it is ever changing and borrows pieces and styles from all different eras as time evolves. Thus if you are not always updating and replacing items in your home –you might rather fall into the eclectic category.

Vintage and antique

Vintage interior design is all about creating a sense of charm and history using unique and statement pieces that have a strong presence. It is all about embracing the things of the past and enjoying them just as they are,or some pieces may be updated by restoring them. By adding antiques,collectibles and estate sale items you can develop a vintage atmosphere.

The impression is that antique items comes with a price-tag, which is why we called in an expert for some advice on this category. “Despite contrary belief, antique furniture is very similar in cost to new furniture but will increase in value over time, unlike new furniture, which will depreciate overtime” says Jacqui Moskovitz, co-founder of The Crown Collection, a furniture studio specialising in Decorative Antiques, French & Vintage furniture, Silver, Crystal and Accessories. Jacqui says that everyone should be able to enjoy the elegance and sophistication which decorative antiques offer. The Crown Collection is a new genre of antique furniture and accessory store.Quirky, slightly eccentric, sometimes eclectic, but always classy and tied to timeless and classical principles of artistry and acknowledged quality. The Crown Collection specialises in affordable decorative antiques, rather than serious investment antique pieces.

Jacqui was born into high end home decoration. Her formative years played out in one of Natal's most exclusive homes, between wood panelled rooms and antique leather studded couches. At the time, her father was a highly respected property developer and city councill or who built and owned landmark hotels. Jacqui's mother, a Grande Dame of Durban, worked with top interior designers and architects of her time ensuring that her homes were “talking pieces”. This is what shaped Jacqui to become the custodian of The Crown Collection, based in Bryanston, Johannesburg, which stocks over 3000 unique items. Jacqui is responsible for the operations and is in charge of procurement for the company.Her advice when buying furniture, is to buy what you love, however sourcing the exact look antique or vintage piece that you require may prove time consuming and difficult, thus we suggest consulting with experts such as The Crown Collection who are able to source and supply the items you envision for your home.


If done right, it could quite possibly be the most creative, richest, nuanced of all styles. This gives you the opportunity to mix different styles, periods and even cultures, meaning that it could be very personalised and easily added on to. This allows you to include a few vintage pieces into your already modern design, and yet still integrate them seamlessly.

To furnish in an eclectic style means to select what appeals to you from a variety of styles, periods, and sources. It means mixing modern with traditional, elaborate with simple, and East with West. An eclectic home may lean towards a single style but will not commit to a single trend. The eclectic space could also convey a sense of whimsy, playfulness, or drama, and all because of furniture and accents that are paired together in unexpected ways. This style is diminished by its contrasts, unexpected combinations (for instance a mix of old and new), and is extremely personal and unique, because the elements are chosen by the owner.

Now you have your style and you are ready to shop with a clear focus on what you want, stop! First measure, re-measure and measure again as this will determine the scale and number of pieces to buy. The worst mistake possible is to purchase an item, only to realise it will not fit once you get home. Also take into consideration the shape of the item, as a bulky item might fit into the dimensions, but it could make a room feel cluttered. On the other end you stand a chance of purchasing too small for a large area, which might make the items seem scattered and out of place. Remember to measure your gates,doors etc – where the item will have to pass before entering the home.

Think about who will be using the items as this might mean that you would need to cater for special requirements like the colour and material used,as light fabrics or glass tops would be impractical for a family with small children. You might even have to plan for special heights, width and even the depth of a seat. Also think about special needs, health, budget or after sales service – look at the warranty should anything go wrong, and of course upkeep.Will you have the time to maintain that beautiful leather couch you just bought?

Whilst enjoying revamping your home this holiday, do take the time to plan and prepare. As we have seen above, purchasing furniture is much more complex than simply walking in and selecting an item, and it might be worthwhile spending some time to make these choices.

“If you do decide on 'out with the old and in with the new' then why not give the experts a call and find out whether your 'old' might be worth something 'new' to someone else. Our best advice is to make your home your own with your own personal signature and always opt for quality before quantity as this will save you costs in the long run” Hutchison concluded.

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Engel & Völkers
Licence Partner Hoedspruit
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    1380 Hoedspruit
    South Africa
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