We all want to know what’s going to be on trend in homewares over the next 12 months so I spoke to a retail store owner, an interior designer and an interior decorator for their predictions.
Sydney interior designer Lynnne Bradley, of Lynne Bradley Interiors, is also recently back from Europe, where she saw rounded and irregular shapes popular in furniture, a revived popularity of brown furniture and antique pieces, and plenty of colour. “Coloured patterned textiles mixed in with coloured plains create energised soft furnishing schemes. Colours such as terracotta, coral and yellow offer a refreshing way to punctuate navy blue, pinks, greens and crisp whites.”
She has some tips on how to incorporate these new trends into our homes. “Think of seasonal styling such as using linen cushions and bed linen in the summer and rich velvets and weaves for the winter.
“Rugs are available in all shapes, sizes and prices and should be used to create comfort, layering and visual impact in a room. Placed under beds, positioning two contrasting designs side by side in a living area or installing a polypropylene outdoor rug is transformative. Don’t forget the power of the mirror and think brass framed and oval or an obscure shape.”
Project by Lynne Bradley Interiors, photo by Craig Wall
A Q&A with Lynne BradleyRead More
Real reno: A luxe guest suite you’d never want to leave
You know what they say about house guests and fish? Well I’d certainly be doing my utmost to stay more than three days in this gorgeous guest wing, newly renovated by interior designer Lynne Bradley. Not only is it a smart yet serene space that is big on comfort, it even has its own kitchen attached. As I said, when can I stay??
“My brief was to create an elegant, sophisticated and inviting suite that oozed luxury and comfort. My clients want to make their guests not only feel at home but also to feel private from the workings of the rest of the home,” says Lynne of the guest wing that is located on the ground floor just off the entry foyer of a tri-level family home.
Home to a family of four, including two young adult sons, the large home was built 15 years ago and sits on a steep slope overlooking bushland. “My clients often have their elderly parents/in-laws stay over and host international friends a few times per year,” says Lynne.
A study in blue, the room draws on Hamptons styling. “I didn’t reference any particular design period although the room hints at a modern interpretation of the Hamptons style which is a look that resonates with my clients,” says Lynne. Having carried out other renovations to the home in the year prior, Lynne was careful to connect the suite’s aesthetics to the rest of the home. The dark blue wall is one such element. “I was very keen to choose a dark blue wall colour to create depth and contrast to the crisp white trim of the woodwork as well as linking back to the deep blue accents in the entrance.” She chose natural sisal flooring to connect with the floorboards in the foyer and kitchen area.
Of her favourite part of the renovation, Lynne loves the bed zone. “The rug underneath the bed, with its bold striped border give an illusion of width to this space whilst also adding a soft foot fall from the bed. The stools at the foot of the bed allow guests to place bedding there as well as somewhere to put their shoes on and converse with someone sitting on the nearby sofa,” says Lynne.
“It was important to inject pattern and texture into this space, so I had the bed and sofa custom made in patterned textiles. I love the bed area – the layering of the sisal, rug and upholstery is delicious!”
Featured in the Saturday edition of the The Daily Telegraph, March 24th.
Feature from the March issue of House & Garden.
My vision for the staging of The Sonata Project, was to provide a kaleidoscope of colour, pattern and texture that is richly decadent.
The Sydney Morning Herald
In the 19th-century mansions of Paris, female leaders of society hosted soirees at which the aristocracy mingled with intellectuals, writers, artists and musicians. In such salons the shy Chopin would perform his intimate piano masterworks, almost entirely eschewing public concerts.
Australian pianist and lecturer Bernadette Harvey will recreate something of that milieu on November 11, turning the Sydney Conservatorium of Music into a salon, with two large canvases by Sydney artist Lara Merret, magnificent floral creations by Myra Perez of the My Violet florist studio, and props arranged by interior designer Lynne Bradley. Harvey herself will wear Romance Was Born outfits.
The purpose of this opulence is to frame four new piano sonatas by Australian composers in the first recital of Harvey's Sonata Project. Her threefold ambition is to support 21st-century Australian composers, fill a void in large-scale piano works by female composers, and to keep the classical acoustic solo piano recital alive and engage new audiences.
"I adore the instrument," Harvey says. "I've been playing it since I was two, and my love for it hasn't waned. The idea is to keep it relevant, bringing it up to date, and including a much wider audience, a much broader reach into the community."
She is concerned that the traditional recital is increasingly confined to a small number of star pianists who travel the globe. "I've heard it said that the piano is a dinosaur and the piano recital is not relevant any more to young people. I love those recitals, but a lot of the repertoire is of the standard canon and attended by mostly elderly people."
Despite that, Harvey feels positive about the future of the piano. But she recognises the need to engage a younger audience, who she says no longer receive the same musical education in schools and often do not know how to listen to longer works.
Harvey will give the world premiere of new sonatas by three young Australian women and by Ross Edwards, one of Australia's most acclaimed composers. The women are Sydney composer Aristea Mellos, Jane Stanley, who now lives in Scotland, and Melody Eotvo, who is based in the United States.
Women today have largely achieved parity in orchestral numbers and as solo performers, but not as composers.
Aristea Mellos says women could have careers as virtuosi and, particularly, vocalists in the 19th century but often used a male pseudonym to write.
"It begins with Clara Schuman and Fanny Mendelssoh, and then you get the Dame Nellies– people who were able to subvert the rules of class," she says. "The equivalent doesn't occur with composition until the mid-20th century; that's when we begin to see women having their works performed publicly or even accepted into academic institutions as composers.
"So for us everything is just beginning, it's really emergent, and in some ways that makes it difficult because for so long we've been excluded from music history or denied a voice. But things are just beginning to happen for women in the field of composition, and it's exciting."
Ross Edwards is supportive of the salon concept. "I think it's a terrific idea. What she's trying to do is wonderful, and it reminds me of what I tried to do for orchestral music in the late '80s. I wanted to get suitable lighting to create a visual atmosphere which would enhance the music, and it worked brilliantly.
"Then I started putting people into costume," he recalls. Australian oboist Diana Doherty performed his oboe concerto dressed partly as a bird, "and she was totally thrilled and went around the world doing that." Saxophonist Amy Dickson played his concerto as a goddess, cleverly changing costume on stage.
"I think that's what Bernadette is getting at, to recreate the romance and make music into something more than a whole lot of bottoms sitting in a hall trying not to rustle their programs or cough."
Edwards' new sonata, Sea Star Fantasy, is based on a famous and beautiful fragment of medieval plainchant called Ave Maria Stella Maris. He often uses plainchant as a unifying device, to bring another dimension to the music. "My music is based on the sounds of the environment, but is clothed with all sorts of references to other cultures. Because it is a distillation of the sounds of the environment, I feel I am able to look at the world as an Australian and send the music out with that particular flavour."
Mellos was inspired by a week in Rome. The exuberant first movement is based on a party near the Pantheon, while the much darker second movement recalls a visit to Cardinal Spada's Gallery, with his grotesque collection of deformed children, crucified martyrs and gory biblical scenes. The final movement, Vanishing Point, is inspired by forced-perspective frescoes found throughout Italy.
Harvey wants to take the Sonata Project to other places in Sydney and around Australia. It will be an ongoing series, and she already has people writing sonatas for the second iteration in late 2018.
Although Harvey relishes the many links with women, past and present, in the first concert, she is wary of allowing a gender focus to dominate the Sonata Project. She doesn't really feel it is necessary – it is hard for anyone to get new works performed today.
Although she could count on one hand the number of large-scale piano sonatas by women in the history of recorded composition in Australia, affirmative action is changing that.
"The University of Sydney has hired a world-famous composer, Liza Lim, to head composition. I think that now women have just got to get on with process of writing, getting more confident and writing big virtuosic works," she says.
"That's what I hope to show in this concert; these works are big, they are bold, they are great to play, and I'm sure they will be taken into the repertoire of Australian pianists – they're that good."
The Sonata Project will be unveiled at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Saturday, November 11.
The Sonata Project is designed to capture the opulence and excitement of intimate 19th Century European music salons where great musicians launched new works. I have orchestrated the overall design of this project including the stage décor. Props by leading furniture makers together with abundant floral arrangements, frame immersive paintings. This set will transport the audience into an sensory utopia.
Limelight Magazine | Features | Classical Music
by Angus McPherson
The pianist will explore this question and more through the premieres of four new works in a setting of Lisztian opulence.
How did the idea for the Sonata Project evolve?
The sonata project is my response to three questions: is the piano sonata relevant to composition of the 21st century?; why are so few piano sonatas written by female composers?; and what is the future of classical piano music?
What do you hope to achieve through this project?
I am enlarging the number of large-scale, serious solo works for piano written by Australian women composers. I hope for a time when these compositions are featured in serious piano recital programmes the world over. I’m presenting these new works on a stage adorned by the work of some of Sydney's best creative designers and artists and is my way of showing my respect both for the value and importance of the new works as well as my appreciation for all art forms. Kurt Vonnegut's famous quote sticks with me: simply that “art is a very human way of making life more bearable.” I would add to that, more beautiful.
What were some of the things you wanted to keep in mind when putting together the programme?
Well, above all to excite the imaginations of the audience. To show them that there is more to musical life than Beethoven and Mozart! And that these sonatas can be as easy to get to know as any of those by the Old Masters!
In choosing the sonata as the compositional model for the project and the concerts, I’ve determined the kind of programme I want to deliver and made my job much easier than it normally is. Programming is an art in and of itself, and a difficult one especially when considering the overwhelming amount of material that exists for solo piano! In terms of the sonatas themselves, I asked the composers to write a large-scale serious work for piano according to their individual responses to the word, Sonata. The programme I will present on November 11 is one of great variety – dark and frightening at times, lush and romantic, exciting and virtuosic.
What is it about the music of each of these composers (Aristea Mellos, Melody Eötvös, Jane Stanley and Ross Edwards) that speaks to you?
Of course it is the shock and the excitement of the NEW, but mainly it is the ethos of the journey it has taken them on. Interestingly, each one was greatly challenged by the prospect of writing a sonata – it has such an esteemed pedigree. They had to think big and bold and virtuosic, and each one has achieved this in vastly different ways. Not one of the women had written a sonata before!
Aristea’s evokes the sounds, colours and moods of her time in Italy – I am attracted to the use of lyricism and compelling rhythmic movement of her first and third movements which are cast in the lush mode of E Flat Minor. The slow movement in particular is evocative, with the ghastly “suffocating” atmosphere of the Cardinal Spada gallery – this movement winds itself up into a glorious, though short-lived, climax.
Melody’s sonata grips me in a malevolent and pervasive strangeness that I imagine to be the “King in Yellow” upon which the work is based. She magically maintains this dark presence throughout, whilst portraying through sound-imagery the unfolding action of the ghost story of the Demoiselle D’ys. Her working out of the sonata form is extremely subtle – she forced me to dig deep into the intricate textures and overlapping thematic material to get at the truth. I enjoyed this challenge!
Jane’s sonata is tightly and remarkably designed for a composer whose harmonic language is essentially non-tonal. It is muscular, powerful, gestural and incredibly virtuosic. The slow movement, despite the dissonance, has some achingly beautiful moments brought about by her keen examination of the use of pedalling and other technical devices unique to the piano.
And finally Ross’s work, as with every piece I have played of his, expresses the joy of life, positivity, love of and beauty of nature. He has used as his inspiration one of the most beautiful of chants in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the Sea, and its gently mournful arcs are heard throughout the first movement. The lushness of the E flat mode connects this sonata with the first on the programme, Aristea’s, giving the programme a sense of communion. The following movement springs to life in a typically exuberant, rhythmically compelling joyous dance, interspersed with wild bird calls. The cool, quiet moments to me are like being at rest on the floor of a forest, listening to its sounds, and the faint return of the chant is like a dream.
These sonatas are all close to me now. I love every part of each one and I can’t imagine life without them! The composers have poured their hearts and souls into these compositions, and it behoves us as players and listeners to give them profound and wholehearted attention, and to find the jewels which lie hidden within them.
How collaborative was the composition process?
Pretty close, yes, but not overpowering. They all know my strengths and how to play to those. They would send me snippets, which I would comment on – and of course we workshopped them – some in the flesh, others by electronic means, so that there is nothing which the audience will hear that we haven’t worked on together! I compose a little myself, so I am very aware of my role as a presenter, but I think the composers have found it useful to bounce some of their best ideas off me as they push their own boundaries.
What were the challenges in putting this together?
There was of course the question of funding. How to buy these gifted composers the time to work. That’s where the Australia Council comes so splendidly to the rescue of composers such as Melody, Jane and Aristea. A private donor sponsored the piece by Ross, and dedicated it to the love of his life. And of course I am indebted to Tall Poppies and Belinda Webster, who has produced the Sonata Project’s first CD, not to mention my husband Peter, my recording engineer and editor. Since part of my Project was also to construct a magnificent setting – such as Liszt used to organise for his salon concerts – I was fortunate to have the services of Lynne Bradley, who has designed a beautiful stage setting, and Romance is Born which has provided me with unique gowns.
What can the audiences expect to hear in this concert?
They will hear the outpourings of three gifted female composers and one male composer who are taking piano music to a new level in this 21st century. They will also experience some of the luxury and opulence which Franz Liszt used, in presenting his marvellous new music to amazed audiences, and hopefully they will all smile and say: “Classical piano music is in good hands.”
Why is this project important to you?
Because I am a performer first and foremost, and it is musical death for a performer to get so stuck in the old, ‘acceptable’ repertoire that, by the time you’ve discovered what new excitements lie ahead, it is too hard to play it! I also feel as I mature that I want to contribute something of considerable value to the next generation of performers and composers, and to Australia’s cultural identity.
Where do you want to see the Sonata Project go from here?
I see no end to it, for it is a very viable and flexible art form, and will endure as long as good, original piano music endures and as long as there are composers wanting to write for it. Oh, and as long as we have The Australia Council, Tall Poppies, the Conservatorium and… the audiences to support us!
Bernadette Harvey performs The Sonata Project at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Verbrugghen Hall on November 11.
For designer Lynne Bradley, who heads up Lynne Bradley Interiors, a love of design was influenced by two primary driving forces. The first was her mother, who had a true passion for creating a beautiful home, and the second was her appreciation and participation in the performing arts. In fact, Lynne’s first career was as an agent for classical musicians in London, after receiving her music degree from The Conservatorium of Music.
Her design career evolved organically following that, as she found she was often working on projects for friends.
We had the opportunity to speak with Lynne recently about her work, which she considers a design journey. Her goals are to bring together creativity, flexibility, and practicality in her projects, and she prides herself on the ability to source the finest in interior items thanks to her work with elite architects, artisans, and suppliers. Lynne works across aesthetics and brings together an inspired infusion of her love for fashion, architecture, nature, fine art and the performance arts.
1. When did you first decide to become an interior designer and stylist and how did you get started with your design business?
When I was a child I could always be found rearranging my room and making things. I was very creative and had a big imagination. My first career was as an agent to very famous classical musicians in London, having completed my music degree at The Conservatorium of Music. During my time as a student, I used to style a choir that I was in and create stage sets for my piers performances. Then, moving into arts administration I was often locating venues for concerts, styling the stage and designing the programs and posters. One highlight in this career was meeting and collaborating with former Beatle, George Harrison, who would always help me set the stage for Ravi Shankar who was one of my artists.
I was definitely influenced by my mother who was always sewing, painting or wallpapering our home. She had a great stash of textiles which I used to help myself to or I would pick up her scraps and turn them into something. My mother loved making our home welcoming and beautiful and was constantly redecorating the house. I believe in the term that ‘you learn your trade around the kitchen table’.
As a sewer myself, I was often making curtains, blinds and cushions for my friends, so in a way, I was always a designer. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third child and having renovated my own first home through which I realised I had a talent for design, that I decided to study interior design and embark upon my second career. I did a lot of work for family and friends for free to practice on them and got a lot of compliments, so my business sort of took off from there. I have been in business for 17 years now but only in the last 4 years, due to a young family, have I really let it take off.
2. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Orchestrating the minute details of lining up trades and suppliers to keep a project running on time as well as helping my clients to appreciate that their beautifully crafted bespoke pieces take time to deliver.
3. Is there an interior design style you favour and do you have your own design aesthetic?
I am not a believer of favouring one style over another. I am inspired by so very many genres and love everything from Classic English design to minimalist contemporary. My own design aesthetic is to respond to the clients and the architecture of the space I am working on, making my style bespoke and individual. I am known for my use of colour but I am equally happy working with a monochromatic palette if that is what is required. I do love a touch of glamour and enjoy an eclectic mix of pieces that have been collected over the years, and am focused on delivering a one of a kind result to my clients that is multi layered. I am passionate about unique design.
4. Who are other interior designers you admire?
There are an amazing number of talented Australian designers whom I greatly admire and these included Thomas Hamel, Blainey North, Cameron Kimber, Melissa Collison, Adelaide Bragg, Greg Natale, Arent Pyke. My international favourites Isle Crawford, Kelly Wearstler, India Mahdavi, Kathryn Ireland, Jean-Louis Deniot, Mark D. Sikes, Kit Kemp, Stephen Gambrel.
5. What inspires you?
Music, Art, Ballet, NATURE, colour, travel, fashion - pretty much everything. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so much beauty and have access to so many exquisite things.
6. What do you think is the essential piece of furniture we should all have in our bedroom?
A beautifully designed bedhead upholstered in an exquisite textile, along with a super comfortable bed, pillow and luxurious bed linen. These are the core elements of a luxurious bedroom for me. I always tell my clients that the Master Bedroom is control central and it must be a calm, comfortable and beautiful space to retreat to so that they can cope with the many demands in their lives.
7. What key element do we all need for a chic living room?
A luxurious, generous and comfortable sofa and armchairs that you can sink into. Ottomans to put your feet up and a beautifully curated coffee table that tells a story about the inhabitants.
8. Do you have a favourite project or story behind a project?
All of my design work is very personal to me and I put a piece of myself in each space. I guess that my favourite projects are those that are fully appreciated by my clients.
Lynne has a unique idea about design. She sees her work as ultimately about problem-solving for her clients, and with that, she integrates an appreciation for the long-cherished items with fresh design and bespoke pieces. Lynne is likely to continue spending her free time creating beautiful things and enjoying hobbies like singing, as well as being with her family. All of the experiences she appreciates in her free time are also likely to continue influencing her work in a significant way.
Let's Get Personal ......
1. What else are you passionate about besides your work?
My family comes first and they are my number one passion. I am blessed to have my husband Mark, two sons James and Harrison, and daughter Emma. I am also passionate about art, architecture, fashion and the performing arts. I also love to bake, paint, sew and craft in my spare time and am very much a ‘maker’.
2. What is your most treasured belonging?
Precious ceramics passed down to me from my Great Aunt and my mothers tapestries that she has made for us. I also treasure photos and videos of my precious children as they were growing up.
3. What's one thing people may not know about you?
That I sing in a choir called Soulfood A Cappella and perform regularly in Australia. I am also a massive bower bird and love to pick up and style with flowers and other things from nature.
4. In 10 years I'd like to be ….
I am passionate about Interior Design and I will still running my business and helping my clients to achieve spaces that improve their lives. I embrace change and look forward to developing as a designer and developing a product range and maybe being on a design show. I look forward to helping others achieve their goals.
5. What can't you live without?
My beautiful family and friends as well as being surrounded by nature and colour.
Designer Kitchen by Lynne Bradley Interiors
Designer Lynne Bradley had chosen the galley style layout for this open-planned kitchen to allow for sufficient space for the family to work together and comfortably flow through the corridor of joinery to other areas in the home.
The kitchen envelops the dining area and is not short on storage. The introduction of a cut-out in the island adds interest and a useful shelf to display treasured pieces. This motif is repeated in the wall unit on the opposite side of the dining area.
The surface of choice for the cut-out, splashback and display shelf is Smartstone Statuario Venato, a beautiful surface inspired by the prized Statuario marble and featuring a luminous white background with fluid grey veining.
Lynne explained, “To break up the feeling of the island being block-like, I experimented with creating a different dimension through installing a ‘cut- out’. This shape was framed with custom square steel tubing and back-lit with concealed LED strip lights for mood lighting.”
“Reconstituted stone was my immediate selection for the bulk of work surfaces to provide a practical surface, and teaming this with a ceramic surface continued the durability, texture and contrast needed.”
Featured in Belle October 2017 issue
Joinery by Kastell Kitchens
Photography by Craig Wall
Reimagining Sonatas for a New Generation with Flowers, Art and Romance Was Born
Published in Broadsheet Sydney
by Jane Albert
A new kind of classical music event happening next month will feature fashion label Romance Was Born, large-scale artworks by local artist Lara Merrett and stunning floral designs from Redfern florist Myra Perez (My Violet).
Called The Sonata Project, it’s by internationally acclaimed musician Bernadette Harvey; an innovative collaboration that marries bold new piano sonatas written by three young local female composers with captivating visuals from established artists.
A pianist who received her first medal at just two-and-a-half years of age, Harvey regularly collaborates with international solo and chamber musicians and has noticed the need to make classical concerts more relevant to younger audiences.
In 2014 she won a grant to explore whether or not the sonata is still relevant in the 21st century. The result is The Sonata Project: three new 15-minute sonatas by young Sydney composers Aristea Mellos, Jane Stanley and Melody Eotvos performed by Harvey, and a sonata by celebrated Australian composer Ross Edwards.
Part of Harvey’s mission was to reach a broader audience, so rather than the usual deathly quiet and often monochromatic experience of classical concerts, she has planned a stunning visual component of the performance.
“I hear a critical voice saying music doesn’t need other things, but I counter that with the fact that today’s society is very visually stimulated. We don’t have the training we used to have in how to listen to music, so we’ve isolated a lot of people. And apart from the visual beauty of art and the floral arrangements, and the gorgeous world-class instrument – a Fazioli – we’ll be using, it’s a way of inviting people to celebrate art,” says Harvey, who also lectures at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Harvey has collaborated with interior designer Lynne Bradley, a former fellow student at The Con, who reached out to Romance Was Born designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales. The duo, which has also collaborated with The Sydney Theatre Company, invited Harvey and Bradley to its Sydney factory. “They were very unassuming but such talented, beautiful people,” says Harvey, who will wear four different designs selected by RWB to complement the music. The addition of Merrett’s large-scale canvases and the floral arrangements complete the picture.
“Traditional recitals are kind of stuffy, let’s be honest,” says Mellos, 29, whose sonata will have its world premiere during the concert. “Concerts in the 18th, even 17th century were rowdy experiences, you could bring in your chicken, people were drinking beer, standing in the aisles … It was completely bawdy.”
Mellos began composing her piece years ago while studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and says she was initially overwhelmed by the weight of expectation.
Inspiration struck during a Roman holiday in 2014. The first of her three movements is about a crazy party she attended one summer evening in an apartment overlooking the Pantheon. “It was like being in a Fellini film – people speaking five different languages, everyone smoking and drinking and singing Puccini arias; while the noise from the street bounced up from the cobblestones below. It was wild,” she says.
The second movement is much darker and more ominous, the result of a fascinating yet horrific art exhibition she visited in Rome. The third ponders perception, from Italian frescoes’ habit of challenging and playing with visual perception, to one’s place in the world.
“It took years to write but I think it’s one of the strongest things I’ve ever written,” she says.
During her performance Harvey will be encouraging both applause and vocal appreciation, not common at most classical music events. “I want it to be more joyful: hence the staging and clothing. I still love studying the classics, but I do see it as my vocation to reignite some excitement and passion for the music that’s written today,” says Harvey.
The Sonata Project will be performed at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music on November 11. Tickets are available here.
I am thrilled to see that a very special project that I’ve been working on, as Creative Director, has made it into the Financial Review!
Colour your world: what's in vogue this week
by Annie Brown
Financial Review | Oct 6 2017
Expect a fully immersive experience when pianist Bernadette Harvey takes on The Sonata Project, a program of three world premieres written by female Australian composers Jane Stanley, Aristea Mellos and Melody Eötvös, with a fourth work by Ross Edwards.
Intended to evoke the aesthetic and ambience of a 19th-century musical salon in Europe, the concert also features striking furnishings and props, paintings by Lara Merrett and floral arrangements by Myra Perez. Harvey will wear creations by Romance Was Born.
6.15pm for 7pm, November 11,
The Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
$13 to $50.
How to choose the right TV screen size
The TV is clearly the centrepiece of your home theatre and most important question to ask yourself is “how big should my screen be”?
It’s a question a little like “how long is a piece of string” – the answer will depend on a lot of factors. But when we’re talking home theatre it’s better to go big, so we recommend a minimum of 55-inches, which is fast becoming the most popular screen size in Australia. From there, you can basically go up and up until you run out of room and budget.
Lynne Bradley is the principal designer at Lynne Bradley Interiors and an expert when it comes to designing your home theatre.
Lynne notes that when choosing a screen size, you need to consider the optimal seating distance.
“The right distance will depend on the size of your screen and how big your room is,” says Lynne. “You want to maximise the resolution of the screen and, generally, the higher the resolution, the closer you can sit. If we take a 60-inch screen as an example, you might want a seating distance around four and a half metres.”
If money and space are no issue, Lynne suggests choosing the largest screen you can afford. The Hisense Series 9 ULED TV, available in 75-inch or soon to be released 85-inch is a fantastic option for the ultimate home viewing experience.
The height of your screen also matters, according to Lynne. “You should look slightly downwards at the centre of the screen and remember that comfortable viewing is paramount.”
Lynne recommends a height of around one metre, based on the eye-level of an average size adult while seated.
How to choose between a wall mounted TV or a media unit
This is another popular question. There’s no doubt that a wall mounted TV looks impressive, but is it right for you?
The layout of your lounge room be a major factor in this decision. It’s worth taking some time and figuring out the ideal place for your TV— it may not be the position you have it in now.
“Think about your floor plan to maximise room flow, seating, reflections from lighting — even storage needs,” says Lynne.
Once that’s done, you can determine if the wall can take the weight of your screen and whether you’ll need an electrician to hard-wire the power or even install more power outlets. Don’t forget to factor in the distance and height issues previously mentioned.
“Contemplate if you want your screen to pivot or pull out, if you’re not able to sit directly in front of the screen,” adds Lynne. “And remember that if you decide to go with placing your TV on or in a media unit, make sure it securely placed to prevent injuries to children.”
How to create the perfect sound
That’s the screen taken care of, but vision is only half of the home AV experience. A good surround speaker system can turn a simple movie into a truly immersive show.
It’s easy to get hung-up on the numbers when you’re looking at 7.1 channel speakers and high-end AV receivers. Even the experts agree that this can get very confusing. Much like TV size, the number of speakers you want around a room will depend on how much space you have and how much cabling you’re willing to have running around.
If you have the space, you should be looking at 5.1 channel surround as a minimum. That gives you rear speakers and a heavy bass blast from the subwoofer — and if you like your action movies, you’ll really notice the difference that brings.
However, a good option for people with limited room is a soundbar. These replicate surround sound rather cleverly, despite usually being a single speaker unit with a subwoofer. A soundbase is similar, but designed to sit under your TV instead of in front.
How to watch your favourite movies and shows
Unless you’re only watching Freeview and video on demand services like Netflix or Stan, you’ll want a media player. If you’ve got a 4K ULED TV — and you really should — then you’ll want to splurge on 4K Blu-ray player to get the most from that pixel-packed screen. The Xbox One S is a good option here — it not only plays 4K Blu-ray, it’ll keep you entertained gaming wise as well.
#HisenseHack: If you can, make sure you hardwire your TV to your network with an Ethernet cable rather than relying on Wi-Fi. These days we’ve got so much connected to our wireless networks, they can get a little unstable.
Finally, think about the seating arrangement and make sure that the couch and chairs all get a good view of the TV, with as little angle as possible. It’ll make family nights a lot more fun.
By Nic Healy.