Lauren Li of interior design and decoration firm Sisällä guides us through her strategies for keeping and displaying sentimental items, and using beloved objects as forms of decoration.

Hey Lauren! What is your take on the Marie Kondo craze?

My take away after delving into the Konmari method is, don’t be too hard on yourself or you may live to regret it! Hold onto sentimental things that hold special memories, and instead of throwing them out, move them to a new spot in the house. Those pieces that ‘sparked joy’ when you first laid eyes on them may look a bit tired now, but just store them and bring them out in six months. You’ll feel that spark again and be so thankful you still have it.

Don’t go too extreme. For me, the most depressing thing about ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ is that an absolutely bare room is celebrated. No-one should live in a house so minimal that the rooms have absolutely no furniture or artwork (what is the purpose of an empty room?). In the process of throwing everything out, the soul of the space is thrown out too.

What’s your advice on storage solutions?

When storing sentimental pieces, keep a combination of closed and open storage. Pieces like vases, candles, ceramics and décor objects can be shown on display on open shelving and occasionally refreshed and swapped out with other pieces stored in cupboards.

Where built-in isn’t an option, a few key pieces can serve a function and still look great. A bench seat, hooks, mirror and a console for keys and to store mail means that the space works and you’ll never lose the keys again. Shelving that has closed storage incorporated in the design is perfect, such as the String System from Great Dane.

In this project by Sisällä, the in-built cabinetry slides open on both sides, to reveal a hidden TV behind the bookshelves, and a door though to the guest room beyond! Photo – Tess Kelly.

Interior by Lauren Li of Sisalla. Lauren highlights, ‘My number one storage tip is to start with the entry. When everything has its place where the family enters, the whole house runs smoothly.’ Photo – Tess Kelly.

Lauren recommends storage that has a mix of open and closed compartments incorporated in the design, such as the String System from Great Dane, as seen in Derek Swalwell’s house, captured by Eve Wilson.

‘Built-in storage in kids spaces is so valuable. It can be customized to fit specific school bags, sports bags and library bags. Shoes are stored, ipads charged and notices are noticed’ says Lauren. Photo – Tess Kelly.

Where built-in isn’t an option, a few key pieces can serve a function and still look great. A bench seat, hooks, mirror and a console for keys and to store mail means that the space works and you’ll never lose the keys again. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

MLB residence by Mim Design, with storage under the stairs and concealed cocktail cabinet. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Exemplary cellar storage in Mim Design‘s NNH Residence. Photo – Peter Clarke.

Walk in robe designed by Mim Design. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

MLB residence by Mim Design, with storage behind fireplace for TV, games and technology. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Details of the Bilgola House by Louella Boitel-Gill.

Storage design in the Bilgola House by Louella Boitel-Gill.

This inspired shelving display at Flack Studio’s Fitzroy HQ is designed to keep the team inspired!  It showcases a constantly rotating edit of favourite magazines, imagery, materials and textures inspiring the studio’s current projects.

As with every Flack studio project, The Malvern House project features distinctive bespoke cabinetry, with a mix of open and closed shelving for storage and display. Photography – Sharyn Cairns, Styling – Marsha Golemac.

Bespoke cabinetry in The Malvern House project by Flack Studio. Photography – Sharyn Cairns, Styling – Marsha Golemac.

Bendigo home by Flack Studio, utilising the sleek USM from Anibou storage unit. Photo – Brooke Holm, Styling – Styling – Marsha Golemac.

Sleek cabinetry  brings a contemporary edge to this heritage designed by Carole Whiting. Photo – Jack Shelton.

Carole Whiting explains. ‘I often conceal joinery – or give it a double use – for example a dividing wall that doubles as a pantry. The door handles are also hooks which help conceal the fact that it is essentially a cupboard.’ Photo – Jack Shelton.

Clever storage solutions abound in the compact O’Grady House by Whiting Architects and Carole Whiting Interior Design. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Storage solutions in the O’Grady House by Whiting Architects and Carole Whiting Interior Design. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

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