Gina Ciancio from Style Curator
Website: Style Curator
Photographer: Thorson Photography
Style Sourcebook Profile: Style Curator
Meet Interior Stylist Gina Ciancio from Style Curator. Design has always run through Gina’s veins. She grew up in Brisbane in a creative family. Growing up with her Dad as an architect, Gina would spend many afternoons in his office where she could see his latest designs (back in the days when they still did physical models of homes). Fast forward a few years, she then studied a Bachelor of Creatives Industries (Media and Communication) and a Bachelor of International Business – with the intention of pursuing a career in PR. After several years of working in the Communications industry, she decided to pivot and follow her real passion. One day it hit her that she needed to start an interiors blog. That very same day she bought the domain name and got started! Since that day she has worked extremely hard to get her design blog to where it is today. Many a sleepless night, blogging into early hours of the morning, spending her weekends creating DIY’s and content for the blog and her hard work has paid off. Seven years on and the Style Curator blog is now her full time job. The site has had millions of views and more than 100,000 followers across its social media accounts! It was a no brainer that we had to chat with Gina and discover some of her tips, her advice for someone that is wanting to pursue a career in the interior styling field and how she finds the balance between style and functionality (plus lots more).
Tell us a bit about how you got into the interior styling industry and what your career journey has looked like to date.
I never planned on becoming an interior stylist. I’ve always loved decorating but did this for myself. Slowly over the years, I shared some of the styling I was doing on the blog and it was so popular – more so than the work of professionals! I think that’s because it was relatable and attainable. It gave me the confidence to share more styling tips and tricks, and it didn’t take long before brands started reaching out wanting me to style their products. I still keep the look very achievable – no editorial style photoshoots – but will throw in something completely OTT now and then for fun.
Style is literally your first name (well your business’s not your own). How important do you think the styling aspect of a project is?
Styling is that final layer that brings a space to life. It’s what helps people have an emotional connection with a space. Especially now with Instagram, Pinterest and other social sites influencing people’s projects (who hasn’t stalked Pinterest for design inspo?!), having striking images is essential to stand out. I’ve been hired by builders and similar construction businesses to style their finished projects for these reasons.
"After honestly years of thinking about what I could/should do, it hit me to start an interiors blog. That day I bought the domain name and got started. I knew exactly what I wanted to create and set about to make it happen."
- Gina Ciancio, Style Curator.
What does ‘Style’ mean to you?
Style to me is a personal expression. It’s a way of sharing who we are and what we love with others.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is contemporary with pops of colour (loooove art) and feminine touches (I love having fresh flowers in the home, metallic accents and there’s almost always a candle burning).
Have you always had a consistent style or has it evolved over time?
I’ve always loved contemporary design but I can see my style has evolved. It’s more layered now and I’m finding myself drawn more to warmer tones and pieces. I’ve also become braver with colour!
What would be your advice to someone who is wanting to pursue a career as an interior stylist?
Start today! Many of the best interior stylists are not trained - Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors for example is one of Australia’s leading interior stylists.
Simply starting and practicing, even in your own home, will help you discover your personal style and what looks good.
Reach out and collaborate. Perhaps there’s an interior designer or stylist in your area who would love to have an assistant for a day where you could get real hands-on experience. Or perhaps there are some start-up businesses who would love the opportunity to have their products styled. They could loan these for a week for you to style and photograph and in exchange you would gain experience, build a portfolio, and get a client testimonial.
What does a typical day in the life of Gina from the Style Curator look like?
Ha, depends which day of the week! Mondays I’m with the kids so I’m unrecognizable and generally around playgrounds or the zoo. Tuesdays are a busy work day where I’ll prep for any shoots that week and get blog content done. Wednesdays I’m often product styling or completing DIYs. Thursdays are more blogging, admin and client meetings. Fridays are generally video shoots and photo shoot days.
What are some of your go-to styling tips?
Layering items whether it’s bedding for a luxe bedroom look or objects to create a vignette
Mix things up, we’re often drawn to the same things but contrast is king. If all your décor is made from one particular material, such as brass or concrete, look at what other materials you could introduce such as some woven baskets for softness
Don’t neglect your walls – artwork, mirrors, wall hangings, etc. – will bring your home to life
Plants are always a good idea
Feather inserts in cushions for a full look
Declutter your home – this isn’t a fun tip but it’s free and often has the biggest impact
What are some tips you’d give someone who is trying to find their own personal style when it comes to interiors?
It’s totally okay to look for inspiration outwardly but rather than replicate what you like, look at how you could put your own spin on it.
Experiment and mix things up, you’ll never know what you like/don’t like until you try.
Style also needs to be practical – ask yourself if the item/styling idea will work in your situation (pets, young children, budget constraints).
Where are some of your favourite places to shop for all things interior?
For quirky, luxe, and unusual pieces, I love seeing what Fenton&Fenton have. For furniture, particularly outdoor furniture, the range at Early Settler is great and their sales are amazing. You’ll often find me in Adairs buying bedding, towels and other home essentials. I also love shopping small, checking out local boutiques or finding independent makers on Instagram or Etsy.
What are some of the highlights you’ve experienced in your career to date?
Winning ‘Best Australian interiors blog’ at the international AMARA awards (this was a turning point for me as I was struggling after the birth of my first son – 6 months old and barely sleeping, I was exhausted and thinking about stopping the blog).
Live TV appearances on The Today Show and Sky News sharing styling tips and design inspo.
Being Foxtel’s Lifestyle influencer for their rebrand – involved a lot of fun events and writing for their site.
Building the site to a point where it is today and having a loyal and engaged audience that love the home as much as I do.
Waking up every day knowing I’ve got something fun and challenging to work on.
What is your favourite room in a home to style and why?
Probably kids rooms because they’re just so fun and children don’t hold back with their excitement when they see the finished space.
How do you find the balance between style and functionality?
I’ve tried to tip the balance but it doesn’t work. Style needs to be functional. I’ve bought a cream rug when I had a black-haired dog… needless to say, that didn’t work. I’ve styled beautiful glass objects on the coffee table only to have them smashed by my young kids. We’ve all got constraints and the trick is to work out what’s right for you in your home at this time.
Talk us through your creative process when deciding what you are going to do with a space.
I’ll start with some sort of inspiration, that might be a piece of art, a colour palette or an overall theme. Then I’ll start sourcing items, looking for a mix of materials for interest. I’ll always have measurements at hand to make sure the scale of objects will work in the space. Then I pull it all together, generally adding lighting, artwork, decorative accents, plants and whatever else the space calls for.
What are some of the next projects you have coming up in the future?
I’ve always got plenty of collaborations on the go and with Christmas around the corner, things are starting to get festive!
There are plenty of home styling clients booked in and I enjoy working with people one-on-one to create homes they love.
On a personal note, we’ve just ripped out our bathroom and will be hopefully finishing that reno soon.