Bettina Brent is an interior designer based in Melbourne. Her passion for interior design and styling begun when her and her builder husband bought their first renovation property. She fell in love with the whole design process and hasn’t looked back since. Bettina is a busy lady. Juggling three children, fur babies and her plant gang, all while assisting her husbands building company and working as a colour consultant for a new home builder (I think we need to take a breath now), Bettina is the epitome of boss lady. Bettina’s timeless, mid century inspired interiors are a mixture of vintage and new furniture pieces and greenery is her secret weapon when it comes to styling. We spoke with Bettina about her love for furniture thrifting, her advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in interior design and how she styles with colour.
What does ‘Style’ mean to you?
Style is an extension of my personality, who I am and feeling comfortable with my design choices.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve got a blend of styles but I’m definitely influenced by mid-century and Danish design, with a Scandi neutral colour palette. I love second hand furniture to restore and reuse, put together with natural textures, throws, cushions and lots of indoor plants.
Would you say that your style has changed over time or remained the same?
Some things have changed, some things have stayed the same. I’ve always loved mixing vintage furniture and décor and lots of textures but my colour palette has definitely calmed down (hello red couch!).
How did you get in property and product styling?
I loved renovating our first home so much I decided to enrol in an interior design course. My husband and I hen went on to design and renovate more properties. After finding a derelict mid century house, we want to restore it – keeping the original features. I started documenting it on Instagram and it’s still a work in progress! The property styling was something I wanted to do after my youngest started school as a creative outlet. I have since moved onto colour consulting for a large new home builder, helping clients put together their mood boards.
What would be your advice to someone who is wanting to pursue a career as an interior stylist?
Preserve! Keep styling, researching, putting together mood boards or vignettes, take a million photos and use social media as a portfolio of your work.
Styling is a huge part of your job. Talk us through the styling aspect of each project.
This is a hard one – weighing up your own style as compared to the client or item you’re styling. If it’s a client job, I listen to what they like and put colours and products together that I think they will like and work from there. If it’s product styling, it needs to highlight the product but fit into my fairly neutral aesthetic.
What are some of your favourite colours to style with and why?
I am all about the neutrals – white, grey, beige, tan, blush. My life is fairly chaotic so I feel having these colours around me is calming. Keeping this colour palette throughout my home enables me to move stuff around.
What does a typical day in the life of Bettina Brent look like?
Haha, a little crazy! Once I’ve got the kids and husband out the door, its cleaning the house so I can actually style somewhere where the light is right(ish). There’s usually only one area of my home that’s nicely styled. Always emails and boring paperwork but now I have a new passion for essential oils that I’m spending time researching and putting into practice.
"I love thrifting and buying and selling on Facebook marketplace so I can justify changing up my home regularly, all things interior design and champagne".
- Interior Designer Bettina Brent
Do you have any styling hacks that you could share with us?
I’m all about the budget, mixed with your style. Buy from second hand shops, scour Facebook marketplace, gumtree and eBay – so many treasures! Style with them, repair them, DIY, paint them and when you’re done you can resell them!
What would your advice be to someone who just doesn’t know where to start with styling their home?
Style Sourcebook and Pinterest. Look up colour palettes and styles, save the ones that resonate with you and you will soon have what your ‘look’ is.
What is your favourite room in a home to style and why?
I love the main living areas. So many variables – couches, coffee tables, art, cushions, plants, styling items…
What are some of the highlights you’ve experienced in your career to date?
First paid job doing what I love, being featured in print and renovating homes that families love.
Where do you tend to find your inspiration?
All the social media and I still love my magazine subscriptions. There’s something so relaxing about flicking through a mag on the couch.
How do you find the balance between style and functionality?
We have three children so it’s always been challenging for me to work around them and weigh up aesthetics with practicality. I try to get up before them to get organized, to have a quiet cup of tea and make one of my many lists. And buying second hand so I don’t feel too precious about it.
What are some of the next projects you have coming up in the future?
So much to be excited about! Completing our outdoor space and garden, starting a new business and a new mid century renovation.