How To Bring Any Living Space To Life With Great Furniture

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Chances are you’ll have a new appreciation for your living space after the past two years – and a renewed desire to make it a stylish oasis in which you truly enjoy spending time. If this is your mission, who better than the experts to guide you to styling success?

In partnership with Samsung, we explore feasible ways for you to incorporate fashion-forward elements into your living space. So we sat down for a special chat with Design By Them founders Sarah Gibson and Nicholas Karlovasitis, who shared their top tips for using furniture to elevate your living space.

The industrial design duo launched their Sydney-based design house in 2007, creating a celebrated brand of furniture, accessories and lighting based on a timeless aesthetic and a flair for collaboration. Led by an ever-growing body of Australian design talent, Design By Them has created a collection of over 120 bespoke products to date, with numerous awards and exhibitions to their name, including a show at Milan Design Week 2019 .

Here, Gibson and Karlovasitis pass on some of their design wisdom to help you create an enviable living space with minimal effort.


Nicholas Karlovasitis by Paul Liddle


For these designers, inspiration comes from afar and favors past eras over contemporary trends.

“I love design history and seeing how design has evolved over time, gradually changing and improving with manufacturing and technology,” Karlovasitis said. Concrete playground. “I love [looking at] how movements form and how they embrace certain ideologies, as opposed to any single creator or brand.”

Gibson is another proponent of looking to the past for inspiration; whether it’s browsing mid-century modern shops to rediscover old-fashioned carpentry techniques or discovering some local architectural qualities. “I’m a bit obsessed with Australian architecture and interiors,” she explains. “I like a long walk admiring the built environment.”


Paul Liddle


Before you go on a furniture-buying spree, the pair have some big no-no’s.

Buying for now, rather than for the future, is a common purchase that Gibson encourages to avoid. “Having an eclectic interior means you can collect pieces over time that will always go [together]rather than having to redo your interior every five to ten years,” she says. “You wouldn’t replace your art and you shouldn’t replace your furniture either.

And to create a space that’s truly yours, it’s best to avoid simply copying the interiors you covet on Instagram. “I think your home and belongings should be personal and reflect who you are,” says Karlovasitis. “A lot of people try to recreate an interior that they see without making it their own. Spaces should be personal.”

If you’re new to style and need to build confidence in your choices, Karlovasitis recommends investing in items that are easy to use and move around — that goes for both furniture and technology. Take, for example, Samsung’s The Serif TV, which he owns and says “looks more like a high-end piece of furniture.” The TV was designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and has a chic design with an “I” shaped profile and trestle legs.

“It is flexible and complementary an interior rather than looking like an afterthought or compromise,” he explains.



When it comes to selecting pieces for your space that will last the distance and serve you well for years to come, the pair say custom furniture is the way to go. “A lot of custom furniture is made from materials that can be refinished and wear better. This is important if you want to preserve your furniture for the long term,” acknowledges Gibson.

If you’re willing to part with a little more cash for these kinds of parts, Karlovasitis says it’ll be worth it. “You’re not just paying for the workmanship and the materials that go into a piece of furniture, but also for the design and the craftsmanship,” he explains. “By investing in good design, you reward brands that produce thoughtful, better products.”


Paul Liddle


The designer duo also have a few practical focal points that will save you money in the long run if you get what you pay for.

“Invest in things that will last, so when you look at the cost of the item over the lifetime of the product, it’s not very expensive at all,” Karlovasitis offers, recommending people avoid trends. “I always think anything you buy should have looked good thirty years ago, as well as today and 30 years from now.”

For Gibson, a good living room and dining table top the list of rooms worth investing in. “Dining chairs can be expensive, but you use them every day. If you don’t have the budget for six chairs, you could build your collection slowly. Or go for an eclectic look, with each chair being different” “, she explains. And for the rest, minimalism is the best. “These days, you do not need a TV stand, you can fix things on the wall or invest in a nice stand. Hooks are also handy and an inexpensive way to store items where space is tight.”


Paul Liddle


Finally, when it comes to rules, there are no rules. “You just have to find the balance between minimalism and character and work towards what you love,” says Gibson. “Nick and I often think like this when designing; for us, the balance between minimalism and character is somewhere in the middle. For someone else, it can swing right or left. Everything the world is different.”

Karlovasitis backs this up by saying, “You can set your own rules if you want, but don’t let styles or trends dictate your choices.”

As for the rules that you can directly ignore? “Having a strict color palette,” says Gibson. “With the right balance, anything can go. Blue and green should never be seen – really?”


If you’re looking to add a touch of designer aesthetic to your living space, check out our editor’s pick of must-have housewares.

To learn more about Samsung’s The Serif, created in collaboration with renowned industrial designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, visit Samsung’s website.

Top Image: Paul Liddle

Posted on May 12, 2022 by

Libby Curran

About Oscar L. Smith

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