Posted on December 21 2017

That Flat: Inside the Hong Kong Home of Shana Buchanan, Founder of iDecorate

Festive flat inspo!

With just days to go until Christmas, it’s safe to say that we’re feeling pretty festive! And who better to ensure that our flats are decked out to the nines than CEO and founder of coveted homeware brandiDecorate! We chat to Shana Buchanan for her tips on dressing the perfect tree, how to incorporate this year’s Christmas trends around your home and her predictions for 2018…

Tell us about your background and where you’re from.

I am originally from Australia and have been in Hong Kong for almost six years!

Where do you live and why? 

We live on Lyttleton Road, in Mid-Levels West and we love that it is so green and peaceful, yet just a stones throw from Sai Ying Pun High Street and the MTR station.

Where have you taken inspiration? Did you initially have a theme in mind?

As the Founder and CEO of iDecorate I am inspired daily by our products, thanks to all the incredibly talented artists and designers we represent! I also take inspiration from places that I’ve been to and designers I covet, such as Illse Crawford and Kelly Wearstler. I don’t like to stick to a theme, I fall in love with objects and incorporate them into my home or designs for clients.

What’s your favourite piece in your home?

Our (iDecorate!) Grey Velour Armchair that swivels on a solid brass base

Where is your favourite place to shop for homeware in Hong Kong?

It sounds obvious, but I’d of course have to say iDecorate! All the objects in our store put a smile on my face – they have a story and special meaning behind them.

What advice would you give before you move in? Any tips for styling a home?

Always start with a floor plan! If your landlord or builder doesn’t have one, get out the tape measure and make a rough one yourself. Then I always say keep the walls white and large furniture neutral, and introduce colour with rugs and art on every wall.

Large art prints are the best way to break up spaces, and add character and colour to your home. They don’t have to be expensive, we sell so much art from Australia that is under $5,000 – it’s huge and beautiful (and likely to increase in value someday!) Start collecting art and then you can form colour palettes in each room from the colours in your art work.

What’s your favourite interior trend?

The Skandi-Minimal trend has been huge in Australia for over ten years (although now its getting boring!) and the maximalist trend has been huge in the U.S.A. for the past ten years… I feel like there is now a trend emerging which weaves these two opposing design concepts together! I’m playing with that in the products we are developing and projects we are undertaking for a handful of clients.

On the flipside, which interior trend do you wish would come to an end?

Industrial décor in restaurant fitouts (insert snooze emoji here), the trend is so ten years ago!

Most sentimental item?

Family photos from our wedding day, it was just so special – especially as we had our son, Axel with us.

One item you’ve had for years but can’t part with?

A pair of Tom Ford Gucci heels with a snake embellishment, and my very first Gucci handbag – which I bought with money I’d saved working graveyard shifts at the petrol station when I was at university!

On a scale of 1- 10, how shocked were you at the size of Hong Kong homes?


If the sky was the limit – what would you splurge on?

A ski chalet – with lots of acreage for horses!

What has been the biggest home improvement you’ve made? Any tips and tricks for easily updating the look of a room?

The biggest home improvement I made this year was to actually buy an artificial Christmas tree! Last year I bought a beautiful, real tree and admittedly it smelt incredible for the first week but it quickly went brown and shed – it was also quite difficult to dispose of. This year I bought the most incredible two-metre tall artificial tree from Brightens in Prince Edward for only $1,300 which has pine needles that look identical to the real thing and the shape is absolutely perfect.

Make your tree fun and unique. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. For this shoot, I kept comparing my tree to Pinterest and asking myself “Is this tree Pinterest-worthy?” now it’s a silly question but it actually makes you realise that you can use more decorations. Have fun and add colour, keep adding decorations until you fill in all the gaps and then stand back and snap a few photos to see if it really does look full.

Tip: Avoid tinsel! If you have tinsel, it’s time to get rid of it. Cut it up and use it to decorate presents and gift boxes or donate it a charity. Opt for bows and oversized balls to fill gaps instead.

What are the big Christmas trends of 2017?

Overseas, the biggest trend is making Christmas feel less ‘formal’ and instead more colourful and quirky. It’s all about Kitsch vintage-inspired decorations (I love our Beetles car, cute animals and candy-inspired decorations) but I’m also seeing lots of brightly coloured flamingoes, emus, doves and owls. I think it’s important to upgrade your old decorations with new ones!Don’t rush into buying everything at once either, we’re all tempted to buy new ornaments but then you can quickly end up with a mish-mash of decorations and a very confused looking tree. I decorated my tree in mid-November using a Candyland theme with touches of pop-culture and handblown glass ornaments. For me, its all the little details that make the biggest impact.

Tip: One nice way to recycle old decorations is to decorate gift boxes with an ornament and give them to your loved ones, friends or colleagues.

What colour palette have you gone for this Christmas? Any tips for coming up with your own?

Mix up and modernise your colour palette by adding non-traditional colours to your theme. The ribbon shops in Mong Kok are a perfect source for inspiration and a fun way to try different colour combinations. We bought rolls of fluro pink, burgundy, and blush pink ribbon in different textures, mixing matte polyesters with lush velvet. Avoid limiting yourself to typical greens and reds and try adding burgundies with metallics and pastel shades.

Adding bows to your tree is an inexpensive way to introduce new colours! Buy extra wide ribbon to make a few for your tree or wrap empty boxes with the bows to add colour in other parts of your home. If you can’t find baubles in your colour scheme, buy spray paint from a hardware store and spray baubles to match!

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